Friday, July 29, 2005


My first thought this morning upon waking was "self-deception". Just the word, so maybe it wasn't a thought exactly, but it was there on the edge of my subconcious mind waiting for me to wake up so my SC could spit it into my conscious mind. Why was I mulling this over? Am I trying to deceive myself in some way? So now I'm peering into the shadowed nooks and crannies of my soul with a scrub brush in hand ready to cleanse away any self-deception. The quote of the day in my daytimer seems rather prescient under the circumstances: "Being extremely honest with oneself is a good exercise" says Sigmund Freud. I couldn't agree more, which makes me all the more wary of why my mind is circling around self-deception while I sleep. You'd think by looking at our culture that self-deception was a national past-time. Most people are tamping down thoughts and feelings about their inadequacies, their loneliness, their despair, their fears, their insecurities, their jealousies, their envies, their betrayals, their longings, their hopes, their failures, their bitterness, their shame.

The phrase regarding people who "live lives of quiet desperation" comes to mind, but I can't remember who said it or where I read it. It's almost a sin in our culture to not be happy or to think positively about yourself and your life. So we cloak our true feelings and problems from ourselves with false happiness in the hopes that this is really living. Yet reaching a point of true contentment and joy requires going through the pain of realizing you're a flawed, sinful, imperfect creature. Without that realization the only thing left is self-deception and that will never bring contentment or joy.

More Hypocrisy Please

Can we please have a Victorian awakening? I'm so sick of the over sexualization of our culture especially of our children. There is no escaping the sex. I receive porn emails all day long at work. I do not ask for them, I do not seek them out. They just come to me. My work has spam blockers and firewalls that filter out needed client emails but cannot manage to filter filth. I'm ready for some good old fashioned Victorian hypocrisy. Let people do what they want in the privacy of their homes, behind closed doors and draped windows. But in public, let them act civilized and discreet abhorring public displays of affection and immodesty. I don't care if it's hypocritical. I don't care if they are seething sex fiends in their own residences, as long as I don't have to see or know. Of course I'd rather people treat themselves with respect and engage in healthy sexual relations instead of treating their bodies as if it is a mere instrument for their pleasure that has no connection to their mind or spiritual state. But if they can't manage that, they at least can give the appearance in public that they do.

We're due for a Victorian Hypocrisy Awakening. Our period of sexual liberation and freedom hasn't led to wholesale happiness and good times for most people engaged in the revolution. We have more divorce, more sexually transmitted diseases, more abortions, more emotionally stunted adults, more suicides, more teen anomie, more broken families, more pornography, more teen girls sterile before they've even reached the age of consent. Can we finally admit the sexual revolution has left more people dead and wounded than sexually fulfilled and content? Can we please?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

On Romney's Being Mormon

Roberts starting the confirmation process to become a Supreme Court Justice, a possible second retirement from the SCOTUS, Tancredo sparking a brouhaha for saying the US should bomb Mecca if provoked, and now Mitt Romney announcing he's running for President. This political season is hot and I like it!

I like Mitt Romney especially since he was willing to take a strong stand against embryonic stem cell research despite most of Massachusettes being favorably disposed to it. He probably has a good chance of getting the nomination, which would be a first for a Mormon. I am curious to how his Mormonism will play out in the media and with the GOP constituency. I think he'll have a tough time getting the conservative evangelical vote after reading the following quote from an online Atlantic Monthly article (ht: NRO):

"How Mormon am I?" he said. "You know, the principles and values taught to
me by faith are values I aspire to live by and are as American as motherhood and
apple pie. My faith believes in family, believes in Jesus Christ. It believes in
serving one's neighbor and one's community. It believes in military service. It
believes in patriotism; it actually believes this nation had an inspired
founding. It is in some respects a quintessentially American faith, and those
values are values I aspire to live by. And I'm not perfect, but I'm one aspiring
to be a good person as defined by the biblical Judeo-Christian standards that
our society would recognize."

Romney has to make his Mormon beliefs sound mainstream in order to get votes from people who are normally suspicious of cult-like religions. It is true that Mormons share a very similar ethic and morality to Christians. However, the problem is that evangelical Christians know that Mormonism is NOT Christianity and so does Romney. So, in his attempt to sound mainstream about his beliefs he's actually hurting his chances among evangelical Christians who don't like disingenuous religious claims that attempt to collapse the differences between mutually exclusive religious beliefs. For example Romney equivocates on the phrase "believes in Jesus Christ" in the above quote. To say he has a belief in Jesus Christ is to be so vague as to be meaningless. Does belief mean he accepts the orthodox Christian definition of belief, or does he simply have a historical belief? A Mormon belief in Jesus and a Christian belief in Jesus are two very different beliefs. Mormons do believe that Jesus existed, but they do not believe in One triune God, with Jesus Christ being the second person of the trinity who died a sacrificial death so that we might be saved from our sin. This is the Christian view of Jesus not the Mormon. Evangelical Christians will bristle at the idea that Mormon belief and Christian belief are essentially the same. In some respects, Romney is between a rock and a hard place. If he affirms that his beliefs are different than orthodox Christianity, he'll probably lose votes from both the left and the right who are wary of Mormons. If he tries to minimize the differences and instead speak in civil religion type terms, then he'll alienate conservative evangelical Christians who will resent his attempts to sound like one of them.

I have an evangelical Christian Conservative friend who said if Romney wins the nomination, he may end up voting for the Democrat because he couldn't vote for a Mormon. I think this is silly and fallacious reasoning for making political decisions. I'm not sure why exactly he would vote this way, it may have something to do with not wanting to legitimize Mormonism through such a public and national position. Although I can sympathize with this reason, it does make me wonder how many people have converted to Mormonism BECAUSE Romney was the Governor. Though I disagree with Romney's religious beliefs, I do not think they should necessarily disqualify him for consideration. If he's a true conservative who will propose policy in keeping with his conservative beliefs, that's more important to me as a voter than if he gets his own planet when he dies (I'm assuming this is a Mormon belief based on anecdotes from others. I have never researched this tidbit myself). To vote for a Democrat simply because Romney's a Mormon seems to me to be cutting off your nose to spite your face. While I can say that I wouldn't rule Romney out because he's Mormon, I cannot say the same would be true if he were a Muslim. I'm still thinking through why that would be and perhaps I'll post on it later. Right now it's more of a gut reaction than a reasoned decision. But just because I wouldn't vote for him if he were a Muslim doesn't mean I'd vote for the Democrat!

I do hope his being Mormon leads to a fruitful national discussion about the role of religious beliefs in politics. Everyone has a belief system whether it's religious or irreligious. The reigning ideal of a neutral public square and government is pernicious and false. It's false because everyone has a worldview that shapes their attitudes and beliefs. If your worldview is not shaped by religion then it is shaped by some other philosophy (like naturalism or materialism). The only difference between the two is that a religious worldview is much easier to spot and to ridicule. I'd rather see all ideas battle it out in the public square regardless if they're religious. Let voters decide what's persuasive and what is not instead of using subtle bigotry to marginalize those with religious beliefs. As such, the Muslim who runs for President would have the opportunity to address my skepticism in an attempt to persuade me he'd be the perfect candidate because of or irrespective of his religious beliefs. Those who believe in materialism (the philosophy that all that exists is matter) should have to answer the tough questions of how their beliefs are consistent with Democracy (I don't believe they are) just as those who have religious views must do. Neutrality simply does not exist.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Dr. Richard Mouw is the self-professed evangelical president of Fuller Theological Seminary. While researching Dr. Mouw's views on Islam, I came across some other pieces of interest. His opinion of polygamy is odd and gives me the impression he's trying to say the cool thing to stay a part of the "in" crowd. Although his opinion may make more sense when coupled with his comments regarding Mormons and evangelicals. Here's a critique of that apology. I agree that Mouw was out of line apologizing for "we evangelicals". His blanket apology incriminated everyone engaging in ministries to Mormons. He made no distinctions between those who are doing good honest work and those who may not be.

I dislike blanket apologies. If neither I nor my ancestors were involved in slavery do I need to apologize for it? My ancestors were starving in Norway due to famines and bad government policy. I don't require an apology from the Norwegian government for their treatment of my ancestors. I think, that's history and move on. Where does the apologizing get us? Why perpetuate a grievance victim culture that requires apologies from those who weren't involved to those who weren't afflicted? Apologies from white southern slavers to their slaves? Yes. Apologies from those who actively discriminated against blacks and wanted to keep them segregated to those who were actually affected by those policies? Yes. I, however, feel no need to apologize for what other white folk have done in the past. Why do I have to apologize for the bad actions of other white skinned folk that I have no relation to whatsoever? Why does our all being white automatically put us all in the same category? If I had to apologize for simply being in the same color category as those who've committed heinous acts, I could never stop. I'm still waiting to hear the apologies from the black Africans and Arabs that sold their brethern into slavery in the first place. I'm waiting to hear an apology from Muslim Imams for the persecution and slavery of Christians. Actually I'm not waiting. I don't expect an apology or require one. All these after-the-fact apologies are pointless since they don't involve those who truly need to be apologizing or those that truly need the apology.

However, I do believe there is a role for governments to apologize for state sanctioned actions that happened in the past. I believe Turkey needs to apologize to Armenians for the genocide of 1918. To this day they refuse to admit anything even happend. I don't know if this ever happened, but I think the US governement should have apologized to the Vietnamese for leaving them to the Chinese communists and cutting off all aid to the south Vietmanese. I think the Russian government should apologize for the USSR's slaughter of millions under communism. I think South Africa needed to apologize to their black community for years of Apartheid. It's appropriate for governments to recognize their misdeeds especially open and democratic countries. But apologies that come as a result of false multiculti guilt I can do without.

Remember when Pope John Paul apologized to Muslims for the crusades? Was that appropriate? I'm not so sure. I understand he was apologizing for those who killed and marauded in the name of Christianity, when that is NOT what Christianity is about, but did he need to apologize for those crusaders who were defending their homeland from Muslim invaders? I believe there's been a bit of revisionist history about the crusades as well. If Muslims still considered the crusades with pride like they used to, would there have been an apology in the first place?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Why I'm Happy

Yeah! George Bush chose NOT to pander to the hyper-sensitive calling for a SCOTUS nominee based on skin or sex preferences. Instead he picked the BEST person for the job. From everything I've read so far John Roberts Jr. sounds quite brilliant. He's won 25 out of 39 Supreme Court cases earning him one of (if not the best) records before the SCOTUS. A top notch legal mind who has no desire to legislate from the bench, who is an originialist. No chance he'll be bringing in international law or European opinions for his decisions. I've no doubt that he'll be confirmed. The fact that he won't legislate from the bench should make Democrats happy. It means he won't actively be trying to reverse Roe. V. Wade since it currently is the law of the land. However, I do believe if homosexual marriage came before him he would vote against it since he wouldn't see a "right" to it in the Constitution. The Democrats couldn't get a better candidate from Bush than this since Bush would be flayed mercilessly by his constituency if he nominated someone without solid conservative street creds. I read on Wikipedia that he has written 40 opinions while on the DC Court of Appeals with only two dissents. I don't know enough about the ins and outs within the Courts of Appeal, but that sounds like his judgments are so logical and consistent with the law that they leave no room for dissent. That's impressive!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My Favorite Dog

Somebody in the marketing world must love Westies. Or the Association of West Highland White Terriers is doing an awesome PR campaign to get the dogs into the media. I see them in TV commercials for dog food and air fresheners, in furniture magazines where they add a touch of class, and in short films. I'm not complaining since I love these pups. They have the air of old men from a bygone era who would have been most comfortable sipping a brandy or cognac in deep leather chairs before a warm hearth talking Tory politics. Or they would have been in Cricket whites getting relief from the heat with a gin fizz. These dogs are not mere dogs, but formidable ladies and gents of a time that knew both comfort and hard work. I love terriers in general for their spunk and verve, their curiosity and confidence. They have a no fuss manner that belies their loyalty to and adoration of their owners.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I love this word. Perhaps because of all the consonants bunched up at the end. It's a word that evokes place in my mind even though it has nothing to do with place. I think of dry, barren North African lands filled with forgotten British folk.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Is this psychological dog torture? Any self-respecting pup should bite the owner who attempted to put paws in these monstrosities. I'm advocating canine disobedience as the only way to end such humiliation!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Share a Secret

Need to unload a secret, but don't know who to trust? Forget telling a friend, tell a stranger instead.

Family Reunion

This is my first cousin once removed, Bekah. And yes, those are scissors she's sucking on. She got dubbed Danica Dickens junior since she reminded everyone of me at that age. Think of the babyish Spanky from the little Rascals, then visualize a female counterpart. That's Bekah. She had a deep hearty cackle laugh that sounded like a demon being expelled.