Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Awaking the Sleeping Tiger

If you haven't noticed, I've been quiet the past couple of weeks. This is partially due to the fact that my semester was coming to a close and I was no longer required to blog as frequently, it was also due to the holidays, but I have to admit, I've been less than inspired of late. The Healthcare Debate was depressing and disheartening and although it has been passed, I'm not sure how much celebration is appropriate. Another strange attempt to blow up an airplane is thwarted. Just not much in the line of hope.

And amid all of this, is Tiger Woods. Tiger burst onto the scene in the mid to late 90s and captivated everyone because of his school and his apparent disdain for the hussle and bussle of fame. He was a good guy. He was a good athlete. Finally the world could focus on an athlete's talents, rather than get caught up in his or her moral flaws. But oh how the mighty have fallen.

As woman after woman after woman steps up to claim a piece of the toppling of Tiger, I find myself strangely unsurprised. Granted, I'm not the biggest fan of professional golf, but this lack of expectation for the moral characters of the "celebrities" in this world is something very deep and very troubling. Who can we turn to for encouragement when those our world apparently values the most are failing at their cores?

In Alex Altman's "The Moment" in Time Magazine (Dec. 21, 2009), he says: "As much as we love tearing down our idols, we're suckers for tales of redemption, and one Sunday next year, Woods will hoist another trophy. At that point, perhaps we can admire the achievement without deifying the athlete - and stop mistaking public prowess for private virtue."

There it is. There is the issue in a nutshell. As a society, we have come to allow our public leaders to be let off the hook, morally speaking. But really? We spend billions of dollars to pay these people to continue to entertain us, to encourage us, to remove us from our boring and humdrum lives, yet we can't hold them to a higher standard? I strongly disagree.

I'm disgusted by this situation. And I feel completely entitled to expect higher morals than have been exhibited by many a celebrity or leader. If they didn't sign up for it, stop taking our money.

One final thought. The other day I was talking with my Mom and I wanted to really push this issue about the moral high-ground, so I asked "What if a sex scandal came out about Obama?" Both of us paused. The weight of the question sort of lingered in the air. My Mom answered that she would be devastated, and when I thought about it, I would be too. Here is a leader, who has worked for the trust of millions, and if that trust would be broken, so would this country. I expect the people I admire and support to show more respect for my trust.

Maybe the real issue is not that the public figures we follow are so bad, but maybe we give our trust out too easily. Maybe it's time to have a vetting process for the roles of celebrity and athlete. I don't think that's too tall an order.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Need Suggestions From You Fine People!

The semester is over, my class is complete, the year draws to a close. So now I find myself wondering what direction my blog should take. And that is where you all come in. I would like suggestions and feedback as to what you found interesting (or not interesting) about my blog thus far, what you would like to see more of, or maybe even a new direction that you think would be cool to read.

So, please let me know. Otherwise one of two things will happen:
1) I pick a direction that no one is interested in besides myself
2) I stop blogging

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Global Warming is an issue of morality, Ms. Palin

In response to Sarah Palin's recent claims that climate change is based on "junk science and doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood," Al Gore said that "global warming is not a political issue but a moral one,” he said. Which is it? Is it immoral to do nothing about global warming?

Global warming is all of the above. It is a moral issue, it is scary, it is political, it is real. Although I have to disagree with Sarah Palin on most issues, her description of “doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood” is correct. I agree with her statement, but not the sentiment behind it. I agree because the end is now scientifically in sight if we continue on our path and that to me is doomsday. And I also agree with the idea that the prophetical voices of many environmental activists are coming out in troves to warn us of the impending doom.

What I believe Sarah Palin was attempting however, was to say that this fear is unfounded. To show the world that the progressive left uses scare tactics as much as the conservative right. Unfortunately, the progressives have science to support their fears, whereas the conservative right has little to support their fear mongering. Exhibit A: Palin herself.

"As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border."

I’m sorry, but the idea of an air invasion from Russia is pretty terrifying. And I’m not even sure Palin’s use of the term “junk science” could be applied to this, because there is no scientific proof of anything of the sort.

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

This makes me shake in my boots as well. Standing in front of a death panel? Yikes. I better run for cover!

What this shows us is that fear mongering is something this country has come to know and treasure. Both the progressives and the conservatives use this as a technique, but the major difference, in my opinion, is that the issue of global warming is scientifically proven and will affect all of us. It will not just affect the poor, or the rich, or the healthy, or the sick, it will affect all of us.

It is absolutely immoral to ignore the scientific evidence that has shown us the trajectory of global warming. I rarely call out the morality of individuals, but I will say this: Sarah Palin, as a leader of society, one in whom people have placed their trust, you have a responsibility to lead people in the right direction. Your responsibility is to do your research into the subject, to read the evidence, talk to people from both sides. It is unacceptable and un-Christian to ignore this shocking proof of the demise of the earth. From one Christian woman to another, I beg you to do your research, to speak the truth, to be a leader for environmental justice. Not just watch as those who trust you jump off the proverbial cliff.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Decking the Halls in the White House?

Christmas decorations at the White House include a crèche in the East Room (despite reports that White House social secretary Desirée Rogers suggested that the Obamas were planning a "non-religious Christmas.") Should the White House, whose residents serve all Americans, display a crèche or a menorah or any strictly religious symbols during the holidays?

As a religious woman, I have to ask, does it really matter? In a perfect world, the White House would display decorations from every religious tradition, including atheist decorations (I am not exactly sure what those would look like). Maybe the Obamas thought about this, and maybe they realized that would show the world that they were working just a little too hard and that that is just a little too ironic when we still have the words “In God We Trust” printed on our money. And we still recite “One Nation, Under God” as children when we make our pledge of allegiance.

The Obamas are Christians. Always have been. And they live in a house. Therefore, decorations of that house will most likely include decorations that are slanted towards their persuasions. Just like the “style” of the interior changes with each new president and family, so too will hopefully the religion one day. I have a feeling that if the President were Jewish, this conversation would not be taking place for a couple of reasons. The creche would not be appropriate for what the occupants believed. Just as the creche is appropriate for what the Obamas believe, maybe a Santa Claus isn’t? Who knows.

I think the issue we are looking at is one of parenting. The Obamas have two young girls that they must raise in terribly difficult circumstances. Amidst all of the security and formality, these girls need to learn about their family’s morals and values. If the Obamas are Christian, which they have explicitly illustrated themselves to be, then the jobs of Michelle and Barack go beyond President and First Lady. They must also be the ones to explain their faith to their children, and where else can that be done than in their own house? In such a materialistic world, showing the girls what the season really means to their family is very important.

Maybe the Obamas are still working on getting the rest of their decorations up, like so many other families. Maybe the menorah is still in a box yet to be unpacked. Maybe the Kwanzaa Unity Cup is still being delivered. But all I can say is that let’s allow this family to have some aspect of normalcy in such a crazy predicament that is being the First Family.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mommy, will you look under the bed? I think there’s a Muslim hiding.

Q: What's your reaction to Sunday's decision by voters in Switzerland to ban construction of minarets, the slender towers from which Muslims are called to daily prayers?

As a religious woman, this ban on the construction of minarets is absolutely terrifying. I am terrified because this comes on the wake of the shooting at Ft. Hood, and I feel that we as a country, in fact, as a world, are at the crux of something very dangerous. We are dangerously close to limiting the religious freedoms of our neighbor, and that never turns out well.

I’m not saying that we’re on the brink of internment camps, but maybe I am. Maybe that’s the next step.

I fear that the next issue of violence that can be attributed to anyone with even a miniscule relation to the Islamic faith will be the tipping point, and we will make it clear to our Islamic brothers and sisters that they are not welcome and that they in fact are in need of restrictions, control, and repression.

We live in a time where we are all afraid, and unfortunately, the scapegoat at the present moment is the religion of Islam. We are desiring so much to point our quivering fingers at the culprit, and in doing so have deemed a few crazy zealots as the models of the religion.

When George Tiller was killed by a religious zealot who was most likely Christian (although most news reports failed to mention this), the issue of the murderer’s religion was never in the forefront. Had the murderer been Islamic, the tables would have been turned dramatically.

Sure, Sweden might have different rules and regulations when it comes to religious freedom, but this decision to ban the construction of Islamic minarets symbolized the global fear of Islam.

What are we afraid of? Do these minarets remind us of our dwindling churches? Does the call to prayer remind us of our failing and disturbingly quiet prayer life? Or are we most afraid of the fact that people who are different from us are religious in a way that we refuse to come into conversation with?

I’m terrified. I fear that the worst is still to come. The more we oppress this religious group, the more reaction we will see. Could you expect anything less if you were in the same situation? May God and Allah help us all.

Copyright 2009 Windy-Wisdom