Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pope Defines Common Ground with Muslims

[Dialogue between Christians and Muslims] cannot be reduced to an optional extra: on the contrary, it is a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends. - Pope Benedict XVI

I couldn't agree more. An essential step to ensure peace in this world is through an honest dialogue between Muslims and Christians, which will prevent the most dangerous Islamists from using ignorance and fear to inspire hatred of Christians and incite terrorism.

In his address to Turkey's Religious Affairs Director, Pope Benedict mapped out the common ground that Christians and Muslims have:
As men and women of religion, we are challenged by the widespread longing for justice, development, solidarity, freedom, security, peace, defense of life, protection of the environment and of the resources of the earth.
We are called to work together, so as to help society to open itself to the transcendent, giving Almighty God his rightful place. The best way forward is via authentic dialogue between Christians and Muslims, based on truth and inspired by a sincere wish to know one another better, respecting differences and recognizing what we have in common. This will lead to an authentic respect for the responsible choices that each person makes, especially those pertaining to fundamental values and to personal religious convictions.
Freedom of religion, institutionally guaranteed and effectively respected in practice, both for individuals and communities, constitutes for all believers the necessary condition for their loyal contribution to the building up of society, in an attitude of authentic service, especially toward the most vulnerable and the poor.
Anti-religious secularism such as that in Europe and totalitarianism like that in many Muslim countries is a common threat to both Christians and Muslims who wish to practice their faith in peace. It will take courage and boldness on the part of both Christians and Muslims to accomplish these goals. Pope Benedict has demonstrated he has this courage. May God continue to bless his ministry!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Harper's Achilles Heel?

I don't much like Garth Turner, but his reaction to Mike Chong's decision to leave cabinet was a clear message that Harper's enemies believe they have found his Achilles heel. According to the Guelph Mercury, Turner said: "You're either with him (Stephen Harper) or you're out of the party. There's no room for dissent here and that's the message."

Harper's strict party discipline has many advantages, but when it totally stifles the ability of MPs to speak their minds there's a serious problem a case and point is a recent gag order on Dianne Haskett the party's star candidate in a London by election. The party instructed Dianne not to answer a questionnaire from a local pro-family group. As a result voters in the election were robbed of the opportunity to make an educated decision. A secondary result appears to be that many of her potential voters didn't turn out, leaving Dianne in a third place finish.

Traditionally, the Conservative party has been a party of democracy and free votes, one that empowered individual MPs. The party should return to these roots or give its opposition an easy target to attack them.

BTW, Suzanne at Big Blue Wave has a list of other bloggers who are speaking out against this injustice.

Mike Chong, My MP

Mike Chong, My member of Parliament was on the front page of the Globe and Mail. Normally, that would be a good thing, but when it's because he's resigning from cabinet, it's a little more complicated.

Mike says that by resigning he is taking a stand on principle. You absolutely have to respect that. As St Thomas More said, "I believe that when a man forsakes his own private conscience for the sake of his public duties, he leads his country by short route to chaos." Politicians must absolutely stand on their deeply held principles.

On the other hand, by resigning from cabinet, he's embarrassing his party and his government. There must have been a cleaner option. As intergovernmental affairs minister, surely he could have had a critical meeting in BC to talk about joint reaction to the recent storms, or Newfoundland to talk about the cod fisheries, anything far away from Ottawa, that would have made it impossible to vote on the motion he disagreed with. The other thing, is the motion passed handily 266 - 16; sometimes you've gotta pick your battles.

So I'm divided, I have to commend Mike for standing on his principles, but I wish he would have dealt with his concerns in a more discreet way.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Feast of Christ the King

I've always been fond of the Church liturgical calendar. As I understand it, it includes a lectionary that's shared by many mainline protestant churches. The Lectionary has a three year cycle that ensures anyone who attended daily Mass would hear every verse in the Bible at least once over those three years. It also works to draw powerful parallels between the Old Testament, The Gospel, and other parts of the New Testament.

Today is the Final Sunday of the year in the Church calendar. Next Sunday marks the beginning of a new year as we use Advent to prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas. Today is also the Feast of Christ the King. It's a perfect way to end the year and to put Christmas in context. In case you missed it, here are today's readings:

First Reading:
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led
into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14
Second Reading:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:5-8


Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you
the king of the Jews?"

"Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?"

"Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.

Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." John 18:33-37

Wow, what an awesome tesatment to Christ's power and Kingship over us. Long Live the King! (which in this case is eternally!)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Muslim Debates Tucker on Removal of Imams from flight

2 Things:

1) This is my first attempt to embed a YouTube Video I hope this works.

2) On the content. Apparently some Muslims were prevented from boarding a plane for two hours because they were praying, and Muslim groups have loudly objected and called the incident an example of racism and bigotry in America.

Overall, Tucker's got a point. While people have every right to pray in an airport, (what else is there to do?) the Muslim community has to recognize that people have serious concerns about their safety. The way to get acceptance is to demonstrate that you are also accepting of others, and at minimum that you are no threat. A regrettable event, but it's also regrettable if Muslim groups want to use this as an opportunity to condemn our society rather than adapt to it.

One last thing. I have to say I was totally impressed by the Muslim representative here. Tucker was an incredibly hostile interviewer and the spokesman totally kept his composure.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Income Splitting

Please! Income Splitting is the ultimate in fair taxation, allowing families to be taxed on total family income rather than their individual incomes. It will make family accounting so much simpler, rather than having to use complicated tools like spousal RRSPs, and other tax deductions. It also saves the silly problem that arises when one spouse gets a refund and the other has to pay additional tax. The tax cheque gets cashed right away, but the refund takes a lot longer.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

America Alone Part A

I purchased America Alone, last week and I'm about half way through it now. It's a quick read, funny and serious at the same time. However, if it wasn't so enjoyable, I might need to point out that Mark Steyn could qualify for a right wing AdScam. Just like the Liberal ad agencies that sold the same reports to different government agencies multiple times, more than one paragraph was taken from an article that I had read already. Seriously, so far it's an enjoyable read that links the topics he's written about over the past five years into a coherent treatise.

The book is chock full of tough questions for Islamists and appeasers such as this observation about 'moderate Muslims':
But, aside from the few brave but marginalized men like M. Ghali, one can't help noticing that the most prominent "moderate Muslims" would seem to be more accurately designated as apostate or ex Muslims, like the feminist lesbian Canadian Irshad Manji and the California academic Wafa Sultan. It seems likely that the beliefs of Mohammed Atta are closer to the thinking of most Muslims than those of Ms. Maji are.
Fortunately, I know of at least one other brave but marginalized Muslim. Salim Mansur is a Toronto Sun Columnist and a former professor of mine. In order to create any hope for peace we need to encourage more moderate Muslims to speak out so that faithful Muslims do not need to choose to listen only to self-hating heretics or murderous terrorists.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Luv U 2, Elton John

What has Elton John been smoking?

. . . Wait, I don't think I want to know. Anyway, here's the Associated Press article:

LONDON (AP) - Organized religion fuels anti-gay discrimination and other forms
of bias, pop star Elton John said.

"I think religion has always tried to turn hatred toward gay people," John said in the Observer newspaper's Music Monthly Magazine in an interview published Saturday. "Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays."

"But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion," said the singer, who exchanged vows in December in a civil union ceremony with Canada's David Furnish. "From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings, and it's not really compassionate."

John also criticized religious leaders for failing to do anything about conflicts around the world. "Why aren't they having a conclave? Why aren't they coming together?"

John said those in his own field have been similarly lax. "It's like the peace movement in the '60s. Musicians got through to people by getting out there and doing peace concerts, but we don't seem to do them any more," he said. "If John Lennon were alive today, he'd be leading it with a vengeance."

So if I get this right, John Lennon thinks people dislike him because he's gay and their religion tells them to. Hmm, could it be that he's just a condescending @$$.

Seriously, this interview is so bizarre and out there that it seems all you can do is laugh at him and shrug it off. Mostly that's all you can do. The scary thing is coming off of Remembrance Day and thinking of those who fought for freedom, we now face left-wing extremists that want to take away the most fundamental human freedom.

No worries, it will never happen. But that doesn't make Elton any more ignorant.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Tomorrow is Remembrance Day in Canada, Veteran's Day in the USA. It's a day to look back and remember the sacrifices that our soldiers made to keep us free.

Apparently, many Canadians are failing to even remember. This is sad. The fact that Remembrance Day falls on a Saturday should give many more people the opportunity to attend a Remembrance Day service. Instead, it appears that more people will even miss the minute's silence that is still often observed in many places of business.
November the 11 is celebrated because it coincides with the signing of the armistice that ended the Great War. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars instead it was merely the First World War in a century that has seen our brave soldiers fighting in many venues overseas to protect the ideals of freedom.
Unfortunately, it's no surprise that we are failing to remember. Too often our history is presented as a bunch of names and dates that get jumbled together without a specific story. Somehow we must focus on the overall narrative that shows Canadians and Americans have a proud tradition of heroism in the face of danger and of risking their lives for the sake of others. This is our common history and we must all take time to reflect on it no matter how long we as individuals have been living in the country.
Just a few notes of optimism, the federal government's new Remembrance Day TV ad ties in the sacrifice of today's soldiers who are fighting for the same goals as those who have gone before. There's a movement in place to have a state funeral for the last veteran of the First World War. Finally Ontario is inaugurating a new veteran's memorial.
It is in this spirit of optimism that I will remember and be thankful for the sacrifice of all of those who have served and are serving this country in our armed forces.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bad News?

Stephen Harper must be shaking in his boots. First his alleged puppeteer south of the border had his wings clipped in the election on Tuesday. Now according to the CBC, Canadians are turning against him and the effort in Afghanistan.

Fewer Canadians than ever before strongly approve of Canada's role in Afghanistan, and overall support for the war is down from June. It's only a matter of time until the Canadian soldiers come home tails between their legs and realize their true mission role is to be peace keepers sent to areas where actual combat has long ceased with orders not to actually interfere with the locals.

Oh Really? The bad news is based on a monthly poll done by Environics, one of Canada's least competent pollsters. You'd never guess by the media coverage that this poll shows an increase in overall support for the effort in Afghanistan since the last survey was taken in October. In fact, according to this poll, fully 50% of Canadians support Canada's effort in Afghanistan. (This is a perfect example for anyone interested in earning $500 by exposing left wing bias in Canada's media.)

My only question with the poll is what of the other 50%? I'm certain that our army is more popular in Afghanistan than it is at home. Canadians are on a noble mission that will not only rebuild Afghanistan, but give us a safer world. To all our men and women serving over there, I 'strongly approve' of your efforts!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Night USA

I don't know nearly enough about US politics to offer any meaningful analysis of seat counts in tonight's election. It certainly appears that the Republicans are getting punished somewhat in the House of Representatitves. I'm going to say it's likely a good thing. The Republicans were adrift and nothing could be more dangerous than an election that gave them reason to continue to drift. Looking at some early reactions, I found this quote from an MSNBC article interesting:

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a likely 2008 presidential contender, said Republicans had lost their way, telling NBC News’ Brian Williams that “many in our base believed we valued power over principle.”

“I think people have a frustration,” he said. “It reflects on the president, as well. We can’t continue to frivolously spend on these pork-barrel projects and call ourselves fiscal conservatives.”

That's definitely a fair statement. But since when does Sen McCain care about the Republican base? Everything I read about the man suggests he holds his own party and the base in utter contempt, simply a necessary evil on his road to the White House. I can make one prediction he'll never get there.

Time for bed, but we'll see what the morning brings.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Santo Subito!

Pope John Paul the Great has been credited with an authentic miracle. A complete and medically inexplicable recovery of a male lung cancer patient was apparently brought about after his wife's prayers through the great pope.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Countdown to the Pope's Visit to Turkey

Expect more incidents like this in advance of the Pope's visit to Turkey on November 28. Radical Islamic terrorists have high stakes in preventing the Papal visit and the serious discussions he proposes to have with rational muslim leaders. An understanding between the Catholic church and muslims is probably the world's best chance at peace. If mainstream muslim leaders express respect for the church, faithful muslims may follow and the radicals will become isolated. I commend the Pope and I pray that he will continue to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

London North Centre - Vote for Dianne

Dianne Haskett is running to be the Member of Parliament for London North Centre in the by-election slated for Nov 27. She's London's former Mayor who has impressive legal credentials and demonstrated that she had the nerve to stand up for her principles by refusing to declare Gay Pride day in the city of London, she was fined $10,000 by a kangaroo court otherwise known as a human rights tribunal. Londoners subsequently re-elected her with a resounding majority. Her decision spoke to her strength of character and that she was willing to stick by her decision despite intense media pressure. As the mayor who brought the Canada Games to London, she's more than qualified to guauge the will of her consituents and accurately represent them in Parliament.

Voters in London North Centre are priviledged to have the opportunity to vote for her. Canada's government will be better off on Nov 28, if the voters choose to send her to Ottawa.