Friday, October 21, 2005


Prominent in the news this week have been articles about the devastating earthquake in Pakistan and the court proceedings in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania contesting the teaching of intelligent design in science classes in Dover, PA.

Beliefs are just fine but comparing intelligent design to real science is like teaching astrology in an astronomy class. Putting intelligent design in a science course rather than a religion course is offensive and probably an educational set back for some students. However, the injury is small when compared to the suffering inflicted by natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and hurricanes.

In the New York Times last Sunday, an article by Michael Luo noted that these calamities have given rise to apocalyptic speculation that doomsday is upon us. End of history; Jesus is coming. But the world soldiers on, whether or not by intelligent design.

The human tragedy caused by natural disasters, wars, and terrorism is eclipsed by the unspectacular actions or inactions by our own government. Along with other countries, we have failed to respond effectively to situations such as rape and pillage in Darfour and famine in Niger. The U.S. negligence is worse because of our position in the world and because of actions limiting our aid such as requiring food to be purchased here and shipped in American ships.

Other policies of the Bush administration policies have exacted an additional toll. Women's groups have pointed out the enormous incidence of death and suffering resulting from withdrawal of U.S. support of family planning and reproductive rights around the globe. All because there may be abortions somewhere. The financial support needed internationally to educate sex workers about AIDS and condoms and other safe practices has been denied or diverted to faith-based organizations who adhere to the Bush agenda. All because of the Bush opposition to abortion rights.

What is the cost of Bush policies preventing sex education that includes awareness of the value of condoms for safe sex? Or the policies that prohibit the distribution of disposable needles for drug addicts? More AIDs, more pain and suffering and death.

And how much damage in human life, environmental health, crop failures and famine, and human habitat has been and will be caused by Mr. Bush's refusal to acknowledge or act upon the threat of global warming? That is immeasurable.

Does all this add up to pro-life or compassionate conservatism?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


With 24 hour news channels, news radio, and the internet, we all are swamped by the amout of news we are urged to absorb. Between domestic affairs and international events, we are hard-pressed to keep everything straight.

Not helping at all are two popular TV dramas, both featuring accomplished actors in the role of U.S. president. The new program, Commander-in-Chief stars Geena Davis as the first woman president. In the long running series, West Wing, Martin Sheen has been serving us well as our president.

The problem is that these programs strive to be current in the problems facing the government. So we have Geena Davis confronted with the killing of our DEA officers in South America. As president, she dispatches warplanes to send a very strong message.
West Wing gives even more issues and crises. In a new presidential race, one candidate gets into the issue of attempts to put the concept of intelligent design into science classes. Meanwhile, the president is confronted with the dangerous situation arising from assassination of a Palestinian leader.

Then, all during these and other West Wing plots and sub-plots, there is an ongoing investigation of a security leak at the White House. Aides and other officials, including the chief of staff, are being subpoenaed; some are testifying. With all this, it is no wonder that we don't know who may be indicted, C.J Cregg or Karl Rove.

Many of us criticized President Ronald Reagan for confusing movies with real events.
Now we are much more sympathetic.