Let’s play “Name That Leader!” 

April 3, 2017

The President of the United States recently met a foreign leader. To leader of which country did he say the following?

“We agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind [you]. [You’ve] done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind [your country] and the people of [your country]. The United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing.”

Is it: 

A) England, our longest, strongest ally?

B) Germany, the economic power of Europe and a bulwark against Russian intervention and actively leading in humanitarian aid in the Syrian refugee crisis?

C) Egypt, a country ruled by a tyrant who has actively repressed its people?

D) Myanmar, ditto?

The very depressing answer is C. 

Not only did he not say anything like this to England or Germany, he refused to shake German Chancellor Merkel’s hand and, said that wasn’t insulting enough, handed her an invoice for $374 billion, marking the amount of Germany’s NATO shortfall. Nice guy. Classy guy. Our guy. 

Religiously Speaking

July 17, 2010

Without wanting to, I’ve spent more than a little time today thinking about religion.  I’m out-of-town for my nephew’s engagement party.  He’s marrying a lovely Baptist girl.  My (non-Baptist) sister and my (non-Baptist) parents have made much of the fact that the wedding reception will be alcohol free.  There were questions about whether the engagement party should be similarly free of merriment alcohol.

Here’s what I wanted to know:  If my Jewish friends can somehow tolerate without comment my having a ham sandwich in their presence, why can’t I have a beer on a 90+ degree St. Louis day in the presence of my new Baptist friends?  My guess is that the answer probably has as much to do with my family’s hangups (not surprisingly) as any intolerance on the Baptists’ part.

After that discussion, I began reading the NYTimes’ coverage of the Vatican’s new pronouncements on the pedophilia scandal.  As I read the articles, the priests have essentially said that while pedophilia is bad, ordaining women would be worse.

At a news conference at the Vatican, Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, the Vatican’s internal prosecutor in charge of handling sexual abuse cases, explained the change on women’s ordination in technical terms. “Sexual abuse and pornography are more grave delicts, they are an egregious violation of moral law,” Monsignor Scicluna said in his first public appearance since the sex abuse crisis hit. “Attempted ordination of women is grave, but on another level, it is a wound that is an attempt against the Catholic faith on the sacramental orders.”

The pedophilia scandal–on-going for decades if not centuries–is a blip or some annoyance to be dispensed with. Whereas the ordination of women would so fundamentally rock the Boys Club that it couldn’t be considered.  And people think the members at Augusta National have issues.

I understand that the priests think that having women join their ranks would undeniably change the church.  But isn’t that the point?

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