Monthly Archives: November 2006

I’m confused

Dennis Prager is a bit upset that the new Minnesota Congressman, Keith Ellison, wants to take his oath of office on the Quran.

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so — not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

That seems pretty extreme.

America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress

I’d really like to think Praeger is being sarcastic, but he’s serious. Apparently he doesn’t realize in 1674 the Jews of Barbados were allowed to take an oath on the Torah. And in 1822 the Jews of Maryland were granted the right to take a non-Christian oath. For a long time we’ve allowed elected officials to ‘affirm’ as opposed to making an oath. So he’s a little behind the times. More recently, Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii, took her oath of office on the Torah.

But what really confuses me is why anyone would want a non-Christian to take the oath of office on a Christian bible. I mean — what is the purpose of an oath? It’s to assure that the individual is telling the truth, right? And if the individual doesn’t believe in the words contained within the Christian Bible, and they take their oath on that, then they would have no fear that they would be punished by their god for their lie. Only if they’re taking their oath on something that they believe will it have any effect — right?

I remember clearly a scene from some movie where a member of the clergy substitutes his ‘own bible’ for the bible offered him. Unbeknownst to everyone it’s a work of Dickens, so the clergy member has no problem lying.

The law should be changed so that if an elected official’s religion allows an oath to be taken, they should be forced to take their oath on their religion’s holy book. Otherwise, there’s no point.

Would they allow him to choose Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Nazis’ bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison’s right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?

There are people who might argue Mein Kampf is their spiritual holy book, so I won’t make the argument I’ve seen elsewhere that that isn’t a holy book so it’s an unfair comparison. If someone were elected in this country who, G-d forbid, felt that was their holy book, then they should take the oath of office on that book. Otherwise, their oath is meaningless, and they might as well be crossing their fingers behind their back.

I’m confused

Dennis Prager is a bit upset that the new Minnesota Congressman, Keith Ellison, wants to take his oath of office on the Quran.

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so — not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

That seems pretty extreme.

America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress

I’d really like to think Praeger is being sarcastic, but he’s serious. Apparently he doesn’t realize in 1674 the Jews of Barbados were allowed to take an oath on the Torah. And in 1822 the Jews of Maryland were granted the right to take a non-Christian oath. For a long time we’ve allowed elected officials to ‘affirm’ as opposed to making an oath. So he’s a little behind the times. More recently, Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii, took her oath of office on the Torah.

But what really confuses me is why anyone would want a non-Christian to take the oath of office on a Christian bible. I mean — what is the purpose of an oath? It’s to assure that the individual is telling the truth, right? And if the individual doesn’t believe in the words contained within the Christian Bible, and they take their oath on that, then they would have no fear that they would be punished by their god for their lie. Only if they’re taking their oath on something that they believe will it have any effect — right?

I remember clearly a scene from some movie where a member of the clergy substitutes his ‘own bible’ for the bible offered him. Unbeknownst to everyone it’s a work of Dickens, so the clergy member has no problem lying.

The law should be changed so that if an elected official’s religion allows an oath to be taken, they should be forced to take their oath on their religion’s holy book. Otherwise, there’s no point.

Would they allow him to choose Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Nazis’ bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison’s right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?

There are people who might argue Mein Kampf is their spiritual holy book, so I won’t make the argument I’ve seen elsewhere that that isn’t a holy book so it’s an unfair comparison. If someone were elected in this country who, G-d forbid, felt that was their holy book, then they should take the oath of office on that book. Otherwise, their oath is meaningless, and they might as well be crossing their fingers behind their back.

Timelines and MySpace update

Toad has a timeline that some TechSupport workers might find helpful.

Reminds me of my experience with MySpace. As I mentioned on October 5 I finally got an email from MySpace saying they were working on my problem.

I forgot to mention that I got another email from them on November 16

“Dear MySpace.com User,

Thank you for contacting MySpace.com Customer Support.

Unfortunately, that option is not available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Sincerely,

MySpace.com Customer Support Team”

The above was referencing my request to find out why they had deleted my old account. It was a reply to my original complaint from 9/15…and not my complaint when it was deleted a second time. And not their comment in October that they were working on my problem. So who knows, give them a month, and I might get another surprise email from them.

My new account is still working.

Not Jewish – but is he a dentist?

I’ve been procrastinating writing about this particular aspect of the Michael Richards story just to see if anything else turns up about it. But apparently after it was revealed that Michael Richards made anti-Semitic jokes in a routine several months ago, his PR guy announced, “Michael Richards can’t be anti-Semitic, because he’s Jewish.”

Of course, the reaction he got was, “Really? When did he convert?”

And it was, “Oh, he hasn’t converted. He has some Jewish friends though, and he likes the Jewish philosophy.” Source

Of course, I feel with great power comes great responsibility, but I’m not a Marvel Comics Superhero. I also agree with most everything Jesus said in the New Testament, but I’m not Christian. Of course, most everything Jesus said is also in the Old Testament. The Jewish philosophy, and Christian philosophy, and the Muslim philosophy are pretty much all very similar. But Richards proclaims himself Jewish, so he can’t be anti-Semitic. It’s a shame he can’t proclaim himself Black. (Unless of course you’re reading a satirical newspaper)

Of course, it’s all reminiscent of The Yada Yada — the 153rd episode of Seinfeld. Where Seinfeld’s dentist converts to Judaism, and Jerry thinks it’s only so he can tell Jewish jokes.

Note: I’m not saying I think Richards is anti-Semitic. He’s probably as anti-Semitic as he is racist. It’s just that he came up with a very stupid defense. Of course, lapsed Catholics have never been accused of being overly ‘clever’. With apologies, naturally, to my friends who fall in that category.

Chicago Nativity

A lot of bloggers are talking today about the City of Chicago demanding that a Christmas Festival remove a nativity scene.

Of course, if you read the news story, it doesn’t really say that. What it says is still a bit of a head-scratcher, but there is a little exaggeration in the retelling in a lot of places.

These are the facts as I read them from the article:

1. The Christmas festival is produced by the Chicago German community, and is called Christkindlmarket
2. There will be a nativity scene on display at the festival.
3. The City of Chicago expressed a concern that New Line Cinema’s plans to display parts of a new film entitled The Nativity Story on televisions might not be appropriate.
4. The City of Chicago insists it made no demands or ultimatums.
5. The festival made the decision to drop New Line Cinema as a sponsor in response to the City’s concern

“Our guidance was that this very prominently placed advertisement would not only be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts, but also it would be contrary to acceptable advertising standards suggested to the many festivals holding events on Daley Plaza,” Jim Law, executive director of the office, said in a statement.

I agree with those who say that those who go to Christkindlmarket must expect to see religious items. It seems silly. But the prominence of the advertisement could make a difference. And while the “acceptable advertising standards” aren’t specified, they could be completely unrelated to the religious nature of the advertisement.

This really can’t (or shouldn’t) be portrayed as a city trying to remove Christ from a Christmas festival. As Jesus seems to have a prominent location in the festival already, and they don’t seem to mind.

Banning Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson wants to ban the usage of the N word on television and in films. Which, would naturally, mean even bad characters wouldn’t be allowed to use the word. Nor would it allow a character to use the word at the beginning of the film, and change to the word ‘friend’ by the end, eliminating the performance of such classics as Huckleberry Finn.

No word on whether or not he would ban the usage of the word ‘hymietown’.

Speed of Meme

This guy is conducting an experiment to measure the speed of memes. I read about it on Toad’s blog. Get 10 people to participate, and you will have luck for 7 years. Good luck, bad luck, mediocre luck, I’m not certain. But you will have luck.

Happy Turkey (repost)

I posted this Edgar Guest poem in 2004, but I decided something light and festive should appear above that long serious essay below. I love Edgar Guest. For what he was — a king of sentimental, greeting card poetry.

Thanksgiving – by Edgar Guest

GETTIN’ together to smile an’ rejoice,
An’ eatin’ an’ laughin’ with folks of your choice;
An’ kissin’ the girls an’ declarin’ that they
Are growin more beautiful day after day;
Chattin’ an’ braggin’ a bit with the men,
Buildin’ the old family circle again;
Livin’ the wholesome an’ old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother’s a little bit grayer, that’s all.
Father’s a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an’ to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin’ our stories as women an men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we’re grateful an’ glad to be there.
Home from the east land an’ home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an’ best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We’ve come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an’ be frank,
Forgettin’ position an’ station an’ rank.

Give me the end of the year an’ its fun
When most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin’ with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An I’ll put soul in my Thanksgivin’ prayers.