Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

A Crack in the Dam: Will Treason Leak Out?

July 26, 2017

Suddenly there is a crack in the dam and the bottled up news of the sabotage of the 1968 peace negotiations by Republican Party Leaders may trickle out. July 12, Jonathan Martin wrote in the New York Times, “There is only one known historical parallel to the Trump campaign’s contacts with the Russians, and it involves Richard M. Nixon. Running for president in 1968, Nixon told H. R. Haldeman, his eventual White House chief of staff, to “monkey wrench” peace talks in Vietnam in order to scuttle any deal that would have handed Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic nominee, a political victory in the closing days of the election.”

It’s not a secret but it is largely unknown. Anna Chennault, the widow of Flying Tiger hero Gen. Claire Chennault, revealed her part in the treachery in her 1980 autobiography, The Education of Anna. Seymour Hersh reported it in his 1983 biography of Kissinger, The Price of Power. Bui Diem, South Vietnamese ambassador to the US, wrote about it in his books. The documentary evidence in the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library was declassified in 2008, and you can hear President Johnson say, “That’s treason,” and Republican leader Everett Dirksen reply, “I know”. However, outside of book reviews, the story has been widely ignored by the news media and historians, even histories of the Vietnam War and biographies of Lyndon Johnson.

Mr. Martin cited John Farrell’s new book, Richard Nixon: The Life. Maybe at last the truth will be known.

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Republicans vs. Religious Liberty

July 14, 2017

Christianity, Islam, Judaism and most other religions require followers to practice hospitality to others, especially to refugees, “the least of these” as Jesus expressed it. However, politicians who claim to believe in limited governmental power also claim the unlimited power to deny religious liberty to believers who attempt to practice their religion in addition to proclaiming it.

Naomi is the Answer

June 12, 2017

Many people believe the Bible is a book of answers. If so, is there an answer to our troubled nation? There are many rules in the Jewish Bible regarding hospitality to the stranger, the foreigner, the other. There are many references to the sins of Sodom and all are about inhospitality to outsiders. In the Christian Bible (Matt. 25:43) Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in.” Therefore, you are doomed to the same eternity as Satan and his angels.
However, those scriptures have shallow roots and few seeds. Maybe a story would be more fruitful.
Because of famine, a Judean family moves to Moab as economic refugees. Does God have an attitude toward Moab? Yes. According to a Psalmist, “Moab will be my chamber pot,” God declared, because they were inhospitable to the Hebrews. (Ps. 60:8) In Moab, Naomi and her husband raise two sons who marry Moabite women. That is a violation of the Mosaic law that forbids Jews allowing sons or daughters to marry outsiders (Deut. 7:3)
In time Naomi’s husband and her two sons die. Naomi decides to return to Judea and tells her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their mothers. Women had few choices in those days.
One of the widows returns to her mother’s home hoping to be invited in. The other, Ruth, tells Naomi, “Your people will be my people.” Ruth was not an economic refugee. She was trying to keep the family together. Nevertheless, to be politically correct Naomi should have said, “No. My people are exceptional people and you cannot be one of us.” (Gen. 17:7)
Ruth also said, “Your God will be my God.” To be religiously correct, Naomi should have said, “No. No Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God.” (Neh. 13:1) Because Naomi was not politically or religiously correct, Naomi and Ruth return to Judea where Ruth meets Boaz, a relative of Naomi. Boaz was not politically or religiously correct either and the rest is a love story with a religious and cultural convert becoming an ancestor of King David, the glory of Israel, and Jesus the Savior of Christians.
Although the story is set in the time of the Judges, many Christian scholars tend to believe the Books of Ruth and Jonah were written in reaction to the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah that chronicle the return of the Judeans from Babylonian captivity. When they saw the desolation of Jerusalem, they vowed to make Judea great again.                                 First order of business: National Security. Rebuild the wall.
Second order of business: Tribal Cleansing. Ezra called for an assembly in Jerusalem.          Those who did not assemble would lose their property and be exiled. Those who did assemble were told they must separate from those unclean. (Ezra 10: 7-11) To be religiously correct, the returning captives rejected their wives, some of them likely pregnant, and their children. The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened to the wives and children but we know. We read it in the newspaper every day.
Perhaps Naomi’s way was the better way, the way our nation should go.

Pro Life Pretenders

January 27, 2017

Charles Camosy, Professor of Ethics in Fordham’s Theology Department, chided Sister Simone Campbell, spokesman for “Nuns on the Bus”, for calling “Pro-Life” proponents “Pro-Birth”. Once a baby is born it’s abandoned to the mercy of air, water, food and environment polluters and other merchants that put profit before life..

According to Reuters (7-14-05) Unborn US babies “are soaking in a stew of chemicals,” including mercury, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group based on tests of umbilical cord blood that reflects what the mother passes to the baby through the placenta. That stew of 287 chemicals includes 180 that cause cancer in humans, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. A Government Accountability Office report said the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the powers it needs to fully regulate toxic chemicals. “Pro-Life Pretenders” is the more accurate name for those want to weaken or eliminate the EPA.

Professor Camosy wants a Catholic religious (sharia) law to become a federal law that favors the “most vulnerable” but denies religious freedom to others. Dr. Camosy believes the most vulnerable in a pregnancy is a zygote (fertilized egg) although more than half of zygotes are not implanted. That 50+ percent would be the most vulnerable of the “vulnerable” because have no possibility of life. Yet, no one. including Camosy, proposes any effort to save them. They receive no religious rites and are treated as body waste without protest. Are they to be favored over a family? The mother loses her life, the children lose their mother and the father loses his wife. The family seems most vulnerable to me.

A nun suggested a federal law requiring a father to donate a kidney in exchange for a kidney for his fetus, baby or child should it require one. That seems a good law. The baby, fetus, child is clearly most vulnerable. Most fathers can live an ordinary life with one kidney and he would have some skin in the law. The law would be less prejudiced if the father were required to donate whatever could be transplanted—heart, lungs, liver, skin. So far, no Pro-Life Pretenders in politics, ethics or religion have made any effort to include the father in protecting the “most vulnerable.”

If it’s about “life” or “most vulnerable” which is more vulnerable, the father or the mother?

Religious Liberty for Whom?

December 9, 2015

The majority of American women and men have the religious freedom to plan their family as is best for the family without the dictate of a government or a religion. However a Christian employer can trump the religious freedom of Christian employees and discriminate against them by denying free benefits that a secular employer is required to give them. Trumping the religious freedom of others also increases employers’ profits.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have the religious liberty to choose their life-mate free of the dictate of a government or a religion but until very recently have been denied the benefits of such alliances that were indiscriminately given to others. However, some elected officials claim the right to discriminate based on their reading of their Holy Book. The scripture of choice is often Leviticus 20 that describes sexual sins and the punishment of them. Verse 13 requires that if a man lies with a man as with a woman both must be put to death. If a man has sex with his aunt or his sister-in-law the punishment is that they will never have children. How is that punishment possible without abortion or infanticide? (Lev. 20: 20, 21)

Another favorite scripture is the letter to the church of gentile converts in Rome. Romans 1: 18-27, seems to describe those who formerly worshiped fertility gods where sex with a temple priest or priestess was worship. Judah mistook his daughter-in-law for a temple prostitute (priestess) and impregnated her. (Genesis 38) Thus was Tamar in the geneaology of both King David and Jesus. Greek converts would also know of Greek love. (Matt. 1: 3)

The condemnation does not end at verse 27, and the letter did not have chapters or verses. Those came much later. In Paul’s letter equal sins are greed, envy, gossip, slander, strife, insolence, arrogance, boastfulness. Chapter 2:1, states to the reader: “You, therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

That’s not all. ““Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13: 1, 2) Perhaps those whose morality and politics are based on the Bible should read it.

Cyanide picking of the Bible to choose scriptures that condemn those you wish to injure is a sin. Christianity must not become the last refuge of the bigot.