Are you willing to strip naked in public for the sake of political correctness? 5


By Tom Quiner

Here is news you may have missed from this past weekend:

Lashkar-e-Taliban gunment barged into a home in India and murdered a 60 year-old woman. This group is a militant Islamic organization whose goal is to introduce an Islamic state in South Asia.

In Iraq, an 8 year old girl and woman are “disassembled” in their own home by Islamic bombers.

In Afghanistan, a paramilitary group called Fedayeen killed four civilians, including a mother and her child in two suicide attacks.

In Pakistan, a woman and her two children are crushed to death by a Taliban rocket strike.

This is a small sampling of the daily world-wide murders committed in the name of Islam.

The United States has experienced thousands of casualties here and abroad in ongoing terrorist attacks perpetrated in the name of Islam. More than 40 separate incidents have occurred in the past 40 years involving the U.S. and its citizens here and abroad.

Islamic terrorists have a special fondness for involving planes in their terrorist plots. In 1984, they murdered two Americans when they hijacked a plane from Kuwait heading to Pakistan. In 1985, they executed a U.S. Navy diver when they hijacked an Athens to Rome TWA flight. Later that year, they bombed airports in Vienna and Rome, killing 20 people including 5 Americans.

The next year, they detonated a bomb on another TWA flight, this time from Athens to Rome, killing 4 Americans. And there was the explosion that killed everyone aboard the Pan Am flight from Lockerbie, Scotland to New York in 1988.

The list goes on. The World Trade Center bombings involving 4 jets is the most notorious recent example of terrorism involving jets. And of course, last year there was the underwear bomber who attempted to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25th, the day Christian’s celebrate Christ’s birth.

This leads me to the Transportation Safety Administration’s (TSA) recent draconian security measures. They’re beginning to use body scanners that allow them to look at us naked. They’re groping passenger’s private parts checking for weapons. They’re forcing some folks to undress.

A 71 year old man put it well. He has an artificial knee with metal parts. He was forced to pull his pants down in a public space to be checked out. He said he’d be willing to do it if it would save the lives of people on his plane, but it wasn’t necessary.

I have a modest solution. Rather than groping and publicly undressing grandmas and grandpas and children, why don’t we strategically target the people who fit the profile of a typical terrorist? That will reduce the number of people who require intrusive screening by 95 percent.

If I am a Muslim male, I will not like it. On the other hand, if I am a Muslim male, I’m already being screened with current regulations being what they are. So nothing will change for them.  But why put everyone else through this charade in the name of political correctness?  For that is what it is.

Some will say this unfair because most Muslims are peaceful. They are correct. Most Muslims are peaceful. But is it fair to submit everyone else to overzealous screening because of a few bad Muslim apples? No, it’s not.

Some will say, “well what about Timothy McVeigh?” And they are correct. There are certainly plenty of nutty white guys in this world. However, when it comes to airline security, it is clear that the profile of potential terrorists can be narrowly drawn.

It’s time to put an end to political correctness in screening passengers. Let’s limit these intrusive searches with more narrowly-defined criteria.

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Jesus, remember me … Reply


By Tom Maly

Throughout scripture, Jesus often acted differently from the expectations of His day and was not shy about challenging those who acted hypocritically as they sought to practice their faith.

As an example, talking to any woman, much less a Samaritan woman, as Jesus did at the well, was scandalous.  He also touched and healed lepers and recently we heard of him being  chastised for dining with a tax collector, a sinner, Zacchaeus.   He relished in telling stories which contained scenarios of people acting outside of the norms of tradition.  In many ways, he tested the limits of the tolerance of the prevailing power.  The result of his provocation culminates in the Gospel story of today.

Jesus is dying between two “bad actors” who, for reasons unknown to us, were found  to be deserving of the most painful, shameful death that the Romans could devise at the time, crucifixion.   Jesus was also deemed to warrant this death mostly because He challenged and defied the artificiality and pretense of those who sought to live by and enforce the religious norms of His time.

And yet we read this Gospel on the Feast of Christ the KING!

Some king.

Dying on a cross – the cross which symbolized the worst possible punishment? Everyone knew a king of that time could have anything he wished merely by speaking and ordering that his wish be granted.  The rulers and soldiers who taunted him certainly knew that.

Once again, Jesus defied expectations because he was operating with a different kingdom in mind.  He envisioned and sought to bring about a kingdom filled with leaders who serve, subjects who love, and which was meant for all of mankind.

May all that we are and do bring witness to the kingdom Jesus offers.

[Thanks to Tom Maly for his thoughts on the gospel reading. The excerpt from The Woman at the Well above features Scott Stilwell as Jesus and Lisa Bourne as “the woman.” Music is written by Phil Havens with lyrics by Tom Quiner.]

***

35And the people stood by, looking on. And even the (A)rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; (B)let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”

36The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, (C)offering Him sour wine,

37and saying, “(D)If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”

38Now there was also an inscription above Him, “(E)THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

39(F)One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? (G)Save Yourself and us!”

40But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

41“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

42And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”

43And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in(H)Paradise.”


The impossible dream that really happened Reply


By Tom Quiner

Pope John Paul II’s life was a miracle.

A Slavic Pope? Impossible!

The fall of communism?  Impossible!

This man was perhaps the most beloved human being of my lifetime. This video pays homage to the drama and beauty of his life. Someone posted this comment on YouTube below the video:

“I was an Atheist for a long time, I found my home in the Catholic Church and my heart tells me it was John Paul’s prayers that brought me home. This man was Christ-like in every way.”

What are we attracted to in a person? Surely holiness is consistently THE most beautiful attribute a person can have. Pope John II was our role model.

We love you, Papa!

 

Do you believe prayers are answered? 1


By Tom Quiner

I participated in an event called 40 Days for Life as recounted in my blog posts on October 7th and 8th.

I stood with others in front of the Planned Parenthood facility where abortions are performed. We quietly prayed for the unborn in Des Moines and throughout America.

I’m a small cog in a huge movement of the faithful who are praying consistently, fervently, and passionately for the pre-born children.

Does it do any good you may ask?

Most of the time we’ll never know how our loving prayers for the pre-born move their mothers and fathers, how they soften their hearts, how they change minds.

I got an e-mail this morning from the national director of 40 Days for Life with exciting, quantifiable results:

• 82,000 people participated in these prayerful gatherings
• 238 cities across 46 states, Canada, Australia Denmark, Northern Ireland and England were involved.
• 788 lives were spared from abortion (imagine how the world can be changed by these lives!).
• 8 abortion workers quit their jobs.
• 1 more abortion facility went out of business
on day 2 of this fall’s campaign.

Here in Iowa, we need prayers more than ever. Planned Parenthood is on the verge of expanding tele-abortions beyond Iowa’s borders with the tacit approval of our state’s Attorney General.

A late-term abortion doctor is attempting to move his practice into Council Bluffs.

Do you believe prayers are answered? I do. I ask for your continuing prayers for the pre-born. Pray that their parents and our politicians realize that these tiny human beings aren’t expendable. Prayers change hearts more than any old blog ever will.

Three ways to reduce federal spending 2


By Tom Quiner

Why the huge deficits?

Liberals blame the Bush tax cuts. That notion can be quickly discounted. The Federal Government has pretty consistently collected taxes in the amount of 20% of gross domestic product for the past fifty years. It’s the spending that has changed.

The reason for our huge deficits is the increase in federal spending to an unprecedented level of 25 percent of GDP.

We’ve got a spending problem, not a tax problem. So what are the solutions?

It seems to me that three quick ones come to mind:

SOLUTION #1: Congress constrains spending starting now. Perhaps it will happen. This is a unique political climate with a Tea Party movement with a great deal of influence. I suspect the next two years may be frugal ones. But do you trust Congress long term regardless of which party is in control? I don’t.

SOLUTION #2: Implement the Fair Tax. The fair tax is a national sales tax on all consumption. The idea is to eliminate all other taxes and replace it with one tax on every item you purchase.  The rate that has been bandied about is 18 percent.  So, if you purchased a hundred dollars of groceries, you’d pay an $18 national sales tax on top of the local sales tax. In Iowa, that rate is six percent, so your net tax payment would be $24 in this example.

There are significant pros and cons to this approach. The biggest pro in my mind is this: taxpayers would feel the pain of taxation with every single purchase, which is an excellent way to deter excessive taxation by elected officials. As it stands now, the government takes money from your paycheck before you ever get it, so you’re not as aware of the pain of taxation.

The problem is that Congress could implement some other new tax down the road on top of the Fair Tax and we’re back to square one. And although the Fair Tax would make it tougher for Congress to increase taxes, that may not slow down their spending habits.

SOLUTION #3: Amend the Constitution to limit spending to 20 percent of GDP. In a case of emergency, such as a war, Congress could exceed that limit with a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress, an act that would have to be repeated each year they wanted to exceed their Constitutional limits.

This approach would force Congress to make the tough spending choices they refuse to make now. We’ve got a spending crisis. Our interest payments on the national debt alone will soon bury us. It may be time to amend the Constitution to force our elected officials to spend our tax dollars responsibly.