Faith Based Initiative 1 Civilization 0

The damage is done. Ratzinger makes a comment contrary to where the Church stood before and then apologizes. Vatican could perhaps get distressed and spin it in any way it can to save face but the cost will be measured in American lives.

For my religious friends here are some inconvenient facts:

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Faith based initiative strikes back

It has been a spectacle for nonbelievers like myself to watch the pope “quote” an emperor from the past that Islam is a religion that has been spread by the sword. What is most savoring about all this is that for the first time it is not George Bush’s “fault”, nor is it a Zionist-Jewish plot to take over the world.

What is amazing about this new fireworks of ignorants going against each other is not that the Ratzinger is actually right. The irony is that the former Hitler youth pope presides over an institution that currently has trouble with its clergy misbehaving with minors and an institution that did not shy away from using the sword itself in exterminating its enemies, including a large number of Christians. As such, the credibility of the message is undermined despite the fact that what Ratzinger said was true and applies equally to his own institution. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Vatican only found out about religious tolerance and human dignity when it was no longer able to extend its interest by force, as it had for centuries, and had to start competing with other institutions of superstition in a secular free market.

Which brings me back to George Bush (and I will leave Jews alone for they never invade my privacy). In the same post I noted that it was wrong for GWB, as my president, to go to JP2’s funeral as the head of the state. Despite all the efforts of GWB to paint Islam as the “religion of peace”, Muslims have proven otherwise on numerous occasions. Therefore, my other hope/wish is that GWB stop calling Islam what it is clearly NOT and instead concentrate on materialistic affairs of this world that both his believer and non-believer supporters care about. Things like tax cuts for the rich, undermining of social security, more military expenditure instead of “investment”, less money for and PR in New Orleans, plans for invasion of Iran, etc. Otherwise, his non-believer supporters will have no reason to show at the voting booth and the Republican party will be left with the “Save Terry Schiavo”-cum-anti-abortion-cum-intelligent design fanatics.

Folks, I still continue to thank Allah for being a US citizen for I strongly believe that “of all tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.”

Betting on Euro Constitution Referendum

The French will soon hold a referendum on the European constitution. Polls, which are usually less reliable than futures markets, show that NON vote is ahead of OUI vote.

I was interested if there is a betting market on this vote which I think is more important in its impact on the world than the election in Britain. I checked Intrade and couldn’t find anything. Is anyone aware of any other markets?

My own mind is my own church

-Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11: Written during the administration of George Washington and signed into law by John Adams:
“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

-Thomas Jefferson to Jeremiah Moore, August 14, 1800:
The clergy, by getting themselves established by law, & ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man.”

to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813:
“History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.”

-Tom Paine:
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

Of all tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.

Amendment I of the United States Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

By going to John Paul II’s funeral George Bush may not have broken the supreme law of the land but he has shown disrespect for one of the most cherished liberties of our nation, a liberty that trumps every virtue that established religions stand for today. History will make its own judgment on JPII and I do not deny the fact that he was a decent and charismatic leader who put human dignity above all socio-economic systems, particularly Soviet communism. However, JPII did not take a stand against communism to defend the empire of liberty. His motivation was to preserve and expand church’s authority over a social system that had foolishly declared war against religion. Vatican only found out about religious tolerance and human dignity when it was no longer able to extend its interest by force, as it had for centuries, and had to start competing with other religions in a secular free market.

GWB represents all of America – an incredibly diverse nation thanks to its secular institutions – when he travels abroad. To vast majority of Americans who do not subscribe to the Catholic church’s brand of spirituality GWB’s action was disrespectful, if not an insult. Perhaps, the president should have sent a personal representative instead of flying aboard Air Force One.


P.S. Here is a British take on the same subject — It’s as if the Reformation had never happened

They don’t make Democrats like they used to

Paul Nitze, a life long Democrat who also served under Ronald Reagan, died on Wednesday. Having spent his childhood around the UofC where his father taught, he made it big both in Washington and on Wall Street. I suspect the readers of this page may not agree with some of the positions he took in over 50 years of political life in national security affairs, but in his National Security Council memorandum 68 (NSC 68), a classified report to President Harry Truman in the aftermath of first nuclear explosion by the Soviets, he framed US relations with the Soviet Union as a struggle between freedom and slavery. It was this kind of moral clarity, not nuance and international sophistication, that won the Cold War. Also it was the policies set forth in the aftermath of WWII by people like Nitze that have created the longest peace among major Western powers since the time of Romans. And it was the American security net championed by distinguished individuals like Nitze that allowed Western Europeans to take their minds off national jealousies and concentrate on economic integration. The world had never seen the spread of prosperity in such a short period of time.

It is hard to believe that Nitze’s party — with its affinity for international forums and therapeutic approaches towards foreign policy — has become the heir of Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Truman, and John Kennedy. The abdication of national security – reaffirmed during the Carter era and also during eight years of Clinton when the enemy plotted and attacked four times (WTC, Kohbar Towers, embassies, USS Cole) – has unfortunately rendered the Democratic party unelectable and opened the door for potential excesses and incompetence by the Republicans.