Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Massacre of the Innocents.

Today's lesson comes from Matthew 2:16–18: The Massacre of the Innocents.
When [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Get up, he said, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old or under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.
It is part of the Narrative of the Birth of Christ, yet this incident is only mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew and later Christian authorities who use this gospel as a source.  It is repeated each year with the singing of the Coventry Carol, which came from that City's Mystery Play:
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his owne sight,
All young children to slay.
That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Some people have doubted this was an actual historical event since it is only mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew.  Some people see this as being a contrived feature of the Gospels to show that Jesus was the Messiah by fulfilling the prophecy of being called out of Egypt.

Today is the anniversary of a mass shooting where 20 small children were shot.  This incident was well reported and documented, yet there are some who would deny that it happened.

Unfortunately, this is only one incident where children fall victim to firearms violence.  It seems that children are shot both intentionally and accidentally on a daily basis in the States.

There are those who would twist an archaic passage in the US Constitution which deals with an obscure institution, the Militia, which some would like to say would cause this to be an unintentional consequence of a "right" to own weapons outside the context of that institution.  This is despite the Constitution's purposes of  "insuring domestic tranquility" and "promoting the general welfare" as well as saying that people should not "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law".

Instead, we see people acting like Herod and countenancing a new slaughter of the innocents.  For what purpose?

Unlike the unborn, these are not speculative lives: they are persons who were living, breathing, and playing.  They had parents who wanted to bring them into this world. They would have had futures had there not been the easy access to firearms which leads to these new massacres of the innocents on a daily basis. 

For those who would say they want to protect the unborn: why do they not wish to also protect the born?   As Sister Joan Chittister pointed out:
I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.
I will add that you cannot call yourself pro-life if you tolerate the daily massacres of the living innocents on top of the"pro-birth" attitude mentioned by Sister Joan Chittister.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Next 2014 Bad Penny Award Goes to the NRA

WW I pennies with bullet holes in them
considered 'trench art'

The NRA consistently demonstrates their failed level of limited thinking and lack of moral values in their political and policy positions. They ONLY value guns, to the exclusion of all else, including people, and actual safety - in this case, global safety. They have taken a pro-terrorist position.

In the video from the Daily Show, this is evident in the pro-ivory importation/ pro-terrorist position.

Where is the connection?

Elephant ivory taken by terrorist poachers is funding anti-American and other terrorist acts, including attacks like the one on the shopping mall in Kenya.

As noted by Think Progress:

NRA Campaigns Against The Plan To Save The World’s Elephants

...While many people would make the mistake of assuming that this was about helping save endangered elephants, the NRA understands what the real motivation is. “This is another attempt by this anti-gun Administration to ban firearms based on cosmetics and would render many collections/firearms valueless,” the NRA said in its call to arms. “Any firearm, firearm accessory, or knife that contains ivory, no matter how big or small, would not be able to be sold in the United States, unless it is more than 100 years old. This means if your shotgun has an ivory bead or inlay, your revolver or pistol has ivory grips, your knife has an ivory handle, or if your firearm accessories, such as cleaning tools that contain any ivory, the item would be illegal to sell.”

For that reason, the NRA implores its members to flood the White House and Congress with phone calls and emails to “let them know you oppose the ban on commercial sale and trade of legally owned firearms with ivory components.” That desire to resell old — but not antique — weaponry clearly is more important to the NRA than preventing the looming extinction of the species — which is linked closely to the skyrocketing demand for ivory. “In 2013 alone an estimated 30,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory, more than 80 animals per day,” Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week.

The commercial ivory ban is only part of a new National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking announced at the same time as the embargo, which prioritizes “strengthening domestic and global enforcement; reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife at home and abroad; and strengthening partnerships with international partners, local communities, NGOs, private industry, and others to combat illegal wildlife poaching and trade.” In that vein, the United States has been leading the charge in persuading countries around the world to destroy their stockpiles of intercepted ivory, annihilating six tons of it last November. Since then, Togo, China, and France have also followed suit and destroyed seized contraband of their own.

Aside from the conservation concerns, which the NRA doesn’t seem moved by, poaching is increasingly being viewed as a national security issue for the United States. In an interview last year, Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, said ivory had become a “conflict resource.” An Enough Project report from last year also found that Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army has begun poaching ivory from elephant tusks to fund the group’s activities, which include abducting children and forcing them into sex slavery.

Conservative values, pro-gun values, are failed values; conservative and pro-gun thinking is failed thinking.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tis the season ------for the 2014 PENNIES!

For those of our readers who have forgotten (or never knew), the pennies are our two cents worth, good penny or bad penny, for the preceding year in news.

First penny of the year -- A hooray for President Obama, for finally being the president post-mid year second term elections that we had hoped he would be post 2012.

Hooray for the executive orders, hooray for the status of the economy, hooray for him standing up to and challenging more aggressively the right wing thugs in Congress, and for his handling of racial conflicts, especially police violence related incidents.

And a second good penny to Stephen Colbert, for his ending of the Colbert Report in fabulous style.  To borrow a few lyrics from an old James Bond 007 movie theme:
"Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you're the best

And nobody does it better
Though sometimes I wish someone could
Nobody does it quite the way you do
Why'd you have to be so good?"

(although if anyone can follow Colbert's act, it's Larry Wilmore)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The REAL reason for the season

As we get close upon "Christmas", we will get people whining about the "reason for the season".

Got news for you--it ain't got nothing to do with the Bible or Christianity.

And the holiday doesn't make as much sense in the Southern Hemisphere as it does in the Northern.