In spite of the great advances our nation has made in freedom and equality, there are many Americans who remain targets of violence by various hate groups. They may look differently, speak differently, or love differently than you or I, but they have the same right to feel safe in their own homes and in their own neighborhoods as anyone else. The Matthew Shepherd Act (S. 1105) provides federal resources to prevent violent crime and will make our streets a little safer for everyone.
While most of us might agree that stopping violent crime is a good idea, S. 1105 is not without its opposition. Almost daily, I receive propaganda from groups who want to defeat this legislation. It is sad to see the churches leading this charge. May I ask what part of the Great Commission advocates churches or their members to commit hate crimes against their neighbors? Quite to the contrary, everything I have ever read in the Gospels suggests kindness to our neighbors as the best choice.
Hate crimes, including threats, harassment, and brutal attacks are crimes motivated by bigotry against a particular group of people. Sadly, they still happen every day in this country, and from time to time even in our own neighborhoods. This needs to stop. To those who oppose S.1105, what have you done to stop the violence? You have failed to lead, you will not follow, now please just get out of the way.
Do two wrongs make a right?
I would like to ask the writer from the Pequot Lakes area a question! In regard to Clinton's pardons seven years ago and now George W.'s sentence commutation, does that mean two wrongs make a right? Instead of an Act of Contribution, what is needed is another chapter to George W.'s "Book of Lies!"
Will offensive plays be offered again?
In a recent issue of the Dispatch the president of Central Lakes Community College made a good and valid presentation of the need for a new performing arts center. It has been some time now since the college put on the play "Inherit the Wind," but the Christians that were belittled by the way it was directed and by flashing pictures of present day evangelists on the side wall, still have feelings about the event. I defend the director's right to put on the play in the interest of our precious right of free speech. I question their judgment in purposefully alienating an important part of our society.
Perhaps it would be a good idea for the president to look ahead for whom he would want to back the effort to get a new performing arts center. In short, should we support the effort, or can we expect it to be used to denigrate as it has in the past?
The performing arts can, and should, take on controversial subjects from time to time but there is such a thing as good judgment and good taste. We need to hear more from the president as to a "mission statement" before we decide.
Bush friends shouldn't get free pass
We are told in school, on TV, and by politicians that no person is above the law. Every year, hundreds of people in our community, and hundreds of thousand nationwide are convicted and sentenced to jail and/or prison for violating the law. They have to serve their time no matter how difficult or scary it is for them or their families.
Mr. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a wealthy, well-connected attorney and high level government employee was convicted of a felony involving national security. He hired one of the most expensive lawyers in the country to represent him; the judge was a Republican appointee, the same party as Mr. Libby. After a trial, the jury found Mr. Libby guilty, and the judge sentenced him. Mr. Libby had all of the protections available to him under the law, and the best representation money could buy. After he lost his trial, he appealed to his White House political connections. Mr. Bush commuted his sentence, and allowed him to serve no prison or jail time. The same rules that apply to all of us, that say if you violate the law and are found guilty you take the punishment called for by the law, did not apply to Mr. Libby. The criminal activity Mr. Libby was convicted of may have involved other members of the Bush Administration. Was there a deal in exchange for Mr. Libby's Commutation? If we want citizens to respect the law, we need to stop letting presidents give their friends a free pass.
Finding the truth
In any venue of honest and rigorous intellectual disputation, whether academic, scientific, commerce/business or jurisprudence, the closest approximation of truth hinges entirely on compelling evidence, verification and external corroboration. When these objective criteria are not met, educated people regard claims of truth as being cognitively worthless and devoid of merit. Our modern culture is absolutely predicated on this governing principle.
Attempts to arrive at the truth of a matter without the satisfaction of these criteria opens the door to all kinds of mischief, mayhem and bloodshed because purely subjective assessments of reality allow for an unlimited range of interpretations, and thus consensus is impossible.
Absurdities, incongruities, irrationalities and logically bizarre notions can, and do, hold sway. Consequently agreements about what is true, right or good, become impossible. Voltaire wrote, "Those who believe in absurdities, commit atrocities." History validates this maxim.
Religious doctrines and dogmas (beliefs), however, make no attempt whatever to satisfy these intellectual standards of truth telling. Instead, we witness ancient and archaic metaphors and misunderstood symbols, combined willy-nilly with mystical, mythological allegorical narratives derived from the fears, superstitions and magical thinking of an alien Zeitgeist millennia ago proffered by ideological zealots with a religio/political agenda as factual history. Then an attempt is made to dignify this incomprehensible and indecipherable mess of pottage by calling it "Theology."
Without the rigorous discipline of the scientific paradigm, which is the most reliable and dependable means of truth determination ever conceived, we are adrift in a sea of subjective variables, unverifiable claims, unsupported assertions and intellectual quagmires with no prospect of ever arriving at reliable truths about the physical and the factual of the earth and the cosmos.
In our attempt at finding truth in our lives, we have a choice to make - modern/scientific or archaic/religious thinking.
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