Saturday, September 29, 2007

Religions and Glorious Diversity

The province of Ontario was founded with two schools system. It's incorporated into the constitution; it's part of the very fabric of the province.

The two original school systems were both Christian -- one was Protestant, the other Catholic. Since the Protestants were the majority, the Catholic system was viewed as a minority system, and the Protestant one was viewed as the dominant or "public" school system.

The "public" school system may not have been officially and legally incorporated as a Protestant Christian system, but there was no doubt it was Protestant in fact if not in name -- it reflected the culture of its day.

I can remember, as a boy, beginning each day with the Lord's Prayer. It meant absolutely nothing to me. I was not a Christian. My parents were nominally Christian, but faith was neither mentioned nor taught in our home. So students like me just went through the motions and recited it.

But, there it was. A stake in the ground. A symbolic representation, in spoken words, of Ontario's founding culture. Ontario was a Christian culture. And Christianity was the dominant ideology that would provide moral light to Ontario's citizens.

I remember a Protestant minister once visited one of our grade-school classes. He made a deep impression on me. I was still not a Christian.

I remember that, in grade nine, we had to study one of the books of the Bible. It was part of the curriculum requirements. We were still reciting the Lord's Prayer. I was thinking about girls, basketball, and the Beatles, and was still not a Christian

The Lord's Prayer was removed from Ontario schools in the name of multiculturalism and plurality. Secularists have since seized upon the removal of such Christian trappings to proclaim that Ontario is a secular province, and Canada a secular country (as if this were always so).

But it wasn't always so.

Today, a debate is raging in Ontario over whether the government should extend funding to all religious schools, and not just the remaining legal stump, the Catholic school system.

Toleranct, multicultural, diverse Ontarions are showing an aversion to doing this that amounts to an intolerance of religion bordering on bigotry.

Don't get me wrong.

I'm not necessarily against a single, unified school system used to propagate the beliefs and values of a unified, unitary culture. But this is not what Ontario is about. Like other provinces, and Canada as a whole, it has embraced the multicultural ideology that embraces all kinds of cultures, beliefs and values.

If that were true, the province would presumably embrace multiple school systems, just as it claims to embrace multiple cultures. What is more characteristic of a culture than its educational philosophy and practices?

Yet, letter-writers argue that in order to promote glorious diversity Ontario must have a single, state-controlled school system. They suggest that religious instruction breeds intolerance; they suggest in effect that religious persons who spend their own hard-earned cash to educate their children according to their religious faith are anti-social, and bad for society. So much for embracing diversity; scratch a diversity-lover beneath the surface and you have someone insisting on conformance by everybody else to his or her beliefs and values.

The problem with demanding that persons of faith fund a secular school system and send their kids to it (unless they can afford to "pay twice") is that secular public schools are neither faith- nor morality-neutral. They have a distinct world-view, and it is one that is antithetical to the worldview of Christians who believe in a loving God who should be embraced in all aspects daily life, including (no, especially,) the education of one's children. (For example, in the name of Tolerance, Canadian school children cannot be told that there is a kind God who loves them, but must be told that homosexuality is a perfectly splendid practice -- so much for moral or religious neutrality.)

Another point has to do with public funding. Letter-writers are against "public funds" being used to finance religious instruction (but they don't seem to have a problem with "public funds" being used to promote functional atheism).

Here is my response to the secularists who oppose the use of "public funds" for religious education:

"There is really no such thing as public funds. All there is is pooled money that has been taken from private individual sources. As much as you may dislike it, persons of faith are just as much members of the public as anyone else. Yet you confiscate their funds and use it to fund the school system of your choice. Those same funds should be available to them, either by voucher or allocation, to educate their children as they see fit.

By all means be in favour of a single public school system -- that is a legitimate position to have. But drop the claim of being in favour of multiculturalism and diversity too."

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Friday, September 28, 2007

After all, chimpanzees are only human

Animal rights activists in Austria, who just happen to be human beings, are lobbying the Austrian courts to declare a certain chimpanzee to be a person.

As far as I know, no chimpanzees have lobbied either human or chimpanzee courts to be recognized as persons.

Aren't the human animal rights activists being a bit presumptuous to deign to claim to know what the chimpanzees want? Doesn't it suggest a presumption of superiority on the part of the humans?

And wouldn't that make them specieists?

Please, in the name of equality and equity, and plain-old down-home common sense, let the chimpanzees speak for themselves.

And let's put a stop to specieism.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cool Sails in the Sunset

A certain Prof. Salter has a novel idea for combatting global warming. He has proposed that 50 remote-controlled yachts spanning the globe and spewing a fine mist of salt water into the air could do the trick. The salt would get carried up into the clouds, which would increase the reflectivity of the clouds, causing more sunlight to be bounced back to the sun, thus cooling the earth and offsetting global warming.

This could be done quite cheaply -- at a tiny fraction of the cost of environmentalists' invasive and disruptive plans, so cheaply in fact that if people gave to Prof. Salter's plan rather than to Al Gore's profitable speeches, it would just about cover the cost (I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea.)

But, as the National Post article puts it, there's a problem with his proposal.

"They promise to save the planet for a pittance, and without making humans pay a dear price for their profligate ways. Fifty ships a year, built at a cost of some $400-million to $500-million, would remove the increased warming now attributed to all the fossil fuel burning. They would also provide the time required for an orderly transition to economies based on renewable fuels -- the passion of Prof. Salter's professional life."

It sounds like a great idea, so naturally environmentalists dislike it. They don't even want to consider it. They don't want to spend a dime testing his theory.

You have to ask yourself, "why?".

I don't know what answer you come up with, but here's mine:

Solving the global warming "crisis" easily would be a disaster for them. They love being in crisis mode. They want there to be a crisis. They have turned it not into a merely practical problem but into a great moral crusade of good-vs.-evil; us-vs.-them; they want to blame the west for its prosperous ways, and they want to intrude as much as they can into other people's lives. They love railing against conservative governments that drag their feet on this issue -- althought they happily left the Canadian Liberals alone when they talked the talk but utterly failed to walk the walk. This fact alone tells you that many environmentalists are frankly politically motivated and want to impose socialist goals and values on societies and dsicredit and undermine conservative regimes.

It may also be a matter of displaced conscience. Bill Gothard has a theory, and I tend to agree with him, that when a person suppresses his God-given conscience, his conscience pops up in some other area -- man is hopelessly moral, and needs to feel that he is living by a moral code. So, a person who supports the destruction of a human life in a mother's womb may take up the cause of saving whales, or not eating meat, and make that her righteous cause.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that Al Gore was once a pro-life man. He swallowed his pro-life views and became a rabid, and I mean rabid, supporter of abortion rights. Perhaps his zeal for environmental causes, and "saving the planet" is a consequence of a seared conscience in a matter of first importance to God -- human life, a substitutionary morality where instead of revering human life, he reveres the environment instead. And man, instead of being evil for aborting human children, is evil for using incandescent lightbulbs.

Food for thought.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Friday, September 14, 2007

O. J. Simpson's at it again

What a circus the O. J. Simpson trial was.

I tried to attend the trial. I had the perfect plan. I made a side trip to Los Angeles on my way back to San Francisco from Washington, D.C., stayed at a downtown hotel so I would be close to courthouse, and took a taxi instead of my rent-a-car so I wouldn't waste time looking for the courthouse or a place to park.

That's when my best-laid plan fell apart.

I hopped in the taxi and said with considerable satisfaction, "take me to the O. J. Simpson trial."

The East European taxi driver didn't understand. "Simpson Avenue?" he said, consulting a book of L.A. street names.

"No, no -- the trial, the O J. Simpson trial.

Turns out he had never heard of O. J. Simpson, and had no idea that the city he was driving in was transfixed by the trial of the century.

"The courthouse", I said, to which he replied with a glimmer of recognition:

"Ah, the courthouse". Followed by, "Which one -- there are three courthouses."

I was panicking at this point. I think I told him the wrong courthouse. At any rate, at some point I asked him to just let me out of the taxi, and he did.

Eventually I found the courthouse. But I arrived too late for the daily draw for public seats.

So I watched the circus from outside.

It was a circus. Those fuzzy microphone covers on long poles. Reporters. On-lookers. Security.

"Here's Johnny!", someone shouted, and sure enough, up pulled Johnny Cochrane. He got out of the car he was riding in, went to the trunk, got his suit jacket and put it on. He looked very self-confident and pleased with himself.

A few minutes later Robert Shapiro arrived. He just got out of the car, suit jacket already on. He looked a bit frumpy compared with Johnny and didn't seem to be enjoying himself as much.

It was around the time of the "glove doesn't fit" debacle, to be followed shortly by the "you must acquit".

* * *

The same O. J. Simpson is in the news again today.

On Friday Las Vegas investigators questioned O.J. Simpson about a break-in at a casino hotel room involving sports memorabilia.

The good news, if you can call it that, is he has a book coming out called "If I Did It".

He can just add a supplementary chapter to cover the break-in.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Old Glory

According to this article (h/t Drudge) --

Students at a local school cannot wear clothing depicting the US flag. Apparently students were showing up wearing the flags of other countries, and we can't have that, so, in order not to discriminate -- we can't have that -- the wearing of all flags was banned, including old glory itself.

A young woman had wanted to wear the flag to commemorate 9/11.

These kind of rulings come from the same kind of people (those on the left) who uphold a dissenter's right to burn the flag.

So, the state of the union is that (in at least one school) you can't wear the flag as a sign of patriotism or respect, but (as a general principle) you have an ACLU-given right to burn it.

Makes me glad I'm on the right.

What I would like to know is, exactly what would be wrong with a policy saying the only flag you are permitted to wear is that of the USA? Sure it's discriminatory, but so what? Making an exception for the flag of your home country seems reasonable to me.

And not all discrimination is bad.

Life properly lived consists of making informed discriminations.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Creationism: Let the evidence fall where it may

Ontario is in a flap over the idea of extending government funding to non-Catholic schools. The concern? Christian schools plan on teaching that the world was created, and not the unexplainable results of random, meaningless processes that came from... where?

Imagine the idea of Christians teaching that the world is created! The uber-Tolerance crowd can't tolerate the idea!

To which I say this:

Christians might agree to not teaching the theory of intelligent design in schools if teachers would stop teaching the non-scientific belief of materialism in science classes.

Materialism posits that the material universe is all that exists. All science is currently built around this non-scientific, unproveable philosophical assumption.

Materialism is a philosophical belief, not science.

Let the evidence point where it may. The evidence of apparent design in the universe, the evidence of an unextinguishable moral stamp on the human heart, and the persistent belief that humans have value, purpose and destiny (as seen in the secular belief in "human rights"), all point to both design and a Creator.

Without a Creator, a belief in human rights is absurd, and the moral stamp within the human heart nothing more than a cruel joke of mindless, uncaring evolution.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Get Real

According to the CBC, the United States, China, India, Australia, South Korea, and Japan are not part of the real world.

A CBC-picked commentator criticized Stephen Harper for flirting with joining the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6).

She said the AP6 would distract from the "real work" of climate change being done -- Kyoto, and the UN.

The Kyoto accord specifically exempted two of the world's top polluters -- China and India.

The AP6 includes them.

It consists of Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United States.

Go to (h/t sda)

And you will see a very creative map of the world that shows boxes representing populations.

Now take a look at some of the "big boxes" --China, India, and the United States.

Apparently not sufficient to be considered the real world.

According to the CBC.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria's?

Maria von Trapp was the real-life heroine behind the movie The Sound of Music. The "real story" is that of a deeply committed Christian woman and her family. She has written books, including one entitled "Let Me Tell You About My Saviour".

What a great title for a book!

After the von Trapp family escaped Austria, they settled in America. They soon found their way to Stowe, Vermont.

During a recent drive from Toronto to PEI, we decided to take a side-trip to Stowe, where the von Trapp family homestead is located. It has now been made into a luxurious lodge complex. It's a beautiful mountain setting and we were thrilled to be there.

We were, however, surprised and disappointed to see that the "menu" of daily activities at the resort included a heavy dose of new age spirituality, including morning meditation (all about "calming and centering" oneself) and yoga.

Of course, I have no idea what the Trapp family's actual religious beliefs and spiritual values are, but I know that eastern meditation and yoga (despite what some Christians seem to think) are incompatible with Christianity and dangerous.

Perhaps the modern-day Trapps felt obligated to continue to offer a spiritual theme, but it is sad to see the turning involved. It is so easy to turn from Christ to spiritual... traps.

As for the matriarch, Maria, I can only imagine what she might think.

"Father, we pray in Jesus' name for the offspring of Christian families who have turned away from the faith. We pray that you would restore those over whom and for whom prayers to You were made by parents, grandparents, and ancestors. Turn them (and us) back to you, O God. Restore our hearts. Renew our faith and direct it towards the only God and Saviour Jesus Christ. TJC, Amen."

May God turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers -- and mothers.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Which costs more, coal or wind energy?

Which costs more, coal or wind energy?

Take the following power sources: wind, solar, nuclear, coal, hydroelectric.

See if you can rank them by cost -- from cheapest to most expensive.

While you are working it out, consider these points:

* Wind-power is unreliable, and its cost distorted by present government subsidies [those on the left argue that ALL power sources are subsidized by governments].

* Coal is a C02 emitter (just like you and me), so it's "bad".

* Nuclear power has low-to-zero C02 emissions. Logically, a person ought to be entitled to carbon credits by investing in nuclear technologies, but, since nuclear power is out of favour with environmentalists, I doubt that it works that way.

* In Canada, hydroelectric power was so dominant historically that we still refer to electricity as "hydro" and the electric bill as the "hydro bill".

OK, here's my ranking, based on an article by David Frum on energy costs in the National Post.

1. Coal. Carbon-emitting coal is the cheapest energy source. Coal plants are currently being built like crazy in China, and the Kyoto agreement so loved by Liberals exempts China from Kyoto. If that's not political, rather than scientific, I don't know what is.

2. Hydroelectric Power. A great energy source.

3. Nuclear. Carbon-friendly, but there's the cost of mining the uranium, the issue of disposing of nuclear waste, and the security threat associated with terrorism.

4. Wind-power. Clean, but unreliable.

5. Solar. Clean, but expensive.


a. I had to guess on the order between nuclear and wind-power. Mr. Frum simply says that nuclear costs more than coal and hydro, and wind-power costs twice as much as coal. Environmentalists argue that when the security costs of nuclear are thrown in, wind-power becomes cheaper.

b. David Frum didn't mention solar power, but I scanned articles on the subject, and solar was presented as a more-expensive source of energy.

* * *

Remember: "this is my Father's world". We are here as stewards. But also consider this: it is God who put the coal and oil and natural gas in the ground -- did he not do so for our use and benefit?

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"