A voice of peace 4


By Tom Quiner

Is an Islamic mosque a good idea at Ground Zero?

Is there a single voice today who speaks for Christianity? Obviously the Pope speaks for the Catholic world.  But in a sense he is the de facto Christian voice to the world on “big picture” issues even if all Christians don’t agree with all Catholic doctrines.

So in 1985 when Pope John Paul II traveled to Morocco, the world paid attention. There in the Casablanca Stadium, he said to the gathered Islamic youth “We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God.”

What a powerful symbolic gesture.  He was extending the hand of peace from the world of Christianity to the world of Islam.

His Papacy was marked by repeated ecumenical outreach.  In 2000, he visited the Holy Land and arranged a ceremony which included an Islamic Imam and Jewish Rabbi.  The purpose of the ceremony, complete with songs from children of the three faiths, was to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

The ceremony unraveled.  A Rabbi offended an Imam when he characterized Jerusalem as the “united eternal capital” of Israel.  The Imam walked out.

Nonetheless, the Pope, a world-wide voice for the Christian world, was seen as a voice of reason, as a leader for peace and understanding between the world’s religions.

There is no comparable voice for Islam.  That presents a problem when it comes to the Ground Zero mosque.

Americans aren’t hearing enough voices of peace coming from the world of Islam.

Americans are concerned about what is actually being said inside of mosques in this country.  They may be voices of peace.  Most probably are.  It’s the uncertainty that worries Americans.

How many mosques in this country advocate Sharia law, for example?  It doesn’t help when you hear about a study done by The Center for Security Policy that states that only 20% of mosques have no taint of Sharia.  Only 20%.  Is that really true?  It’s the doubt that bothers us.

The world hungers to hear loud voices raised in the Islamic world that proclaim their desire for peace.

The world so very much hungers for Islam to check the violent tendencies of the most extreme elements of their faith.

Until that happens, America is going to be uncomfortable with a mosque located at Ground Zero.

A victory for the little people 2


By Tom Quiner

Jesus, the embryo

Look at the photo of the human embryo above.  It is about 33 days old.  To simplify discussion of important recent events regarding its future, let’s give it a name.

How about if we call it Jesus.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth has stopped President Obama in his tracks in his desire to use Jesus for scientific experimentation.

A little background:  President Bush II established limits on embryonic stem cell research which were immediately dismantled when Mr. Obama was elected.

President Obama talked about the need for “protecting free and open inquiry.”  He talked about the need for letting scientists “do their jobs, free from manipulation and coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient.”  He lifted Mr. Bush’s ban.

There’s a problem.  He wants Jesus’s stem cells.  He wants scientists to prod and poke and ultimately destroy Jesus in the hope of finding cures for diseases, regardless of the loss of humanity involved in such an undertaking.  The ends justify the means.

There’s another problem:  it’s illegal.  So says Judge Lamberth.  Federal monies cannot be used to destroy human embryos.  The ban “encompasses all ‘research in which’ an embryo is destroyed, not just the ‘piece of research’ in which the embryo is destroyed.”

Jesus has gotten a reprieve for now.

When some folks hear the name Jesus, they think of the “Word become flesh.”  One of those people is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  She waxed eloquent about her belief in the Word at a recent press conference.

For non-Christians reading this article, the Word became flesh when the Virgin Mary conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.  However, when Ms. Pelosi was asked to clarify at what point Jesus had a “right to life,” she refused to answer.

Ms. Pelosi and President Obama both need to answer that question.  Mr. Obama’s religious affiliation is open to some debate.  I believe the President has answered quite adequately:  he’s a Christian.  He believes that the Word became flesh.

Exactly when, Mr. President and Madame Speaker, did Jesus get a “right to life?”  If not at conception, when?

While the two most powerful elected officials in America ponder that question, let us cheer Judge Lamberth for this victory for the little people.

Two reasons Obamanomics isn’t creating jobs 2


By Tom Quiner

This is how ObamaCare works.

As many of you know, jobs are hard to come by.  The unemployment rate continues to hover near ten percent despite stimulus spending by the Federal Government which will surpass the cost of the Iraq War (see previous post).

Nothing the Democrats have done is working.  In fact, the case can be made that it has made things worse.

Why?

It boils down to two big concerns with business owners:  cost and uncertainty.  They go hand-in-hand.  Obamanomics is increasing the cost of hiring new employees, but business owners aren’t sure by how much.

Consider ObamaCare.  It has created 159 new government bureaucracies in 2700 pages of legislation which wasn’t read by the people voting for it.  Unelected bureaucrats will figure out how the whole thing works.  Just look at the chart above which takes a stab at diagraming the intricacies of this mammoth piece of legislation.

ObamaCare will hike taxes by $569 billion dollars.

ObamaCare creates 17 new insurance mandates.

ObamaCare adds 16 million people to tax payer-funded Medicaid.

President Obama has never run a business.  He doesn’t understand the impact that uncertainly has on hiring decisions.

Now let us turn to the new 2,300 page Dodd-Frank finance regulatory act.  The Wall Street Journal reports there will be “no fewer than 243 new formal rule-makings by 11 different agencies.

What will these new rules be?

How much will they cost?

Business owners have other concerns.  Will Congress allow the Bush tax cuts to expire? (Why don’t tax increases ever expire!?)  Will Congress increase the payroll tax?

The only thing that is certain is that it is going to cost businesses more to hire new employees, and that is bad for unemployment in this country.  Democrats have written 5000 pages of new legislation in these two bills alone and America is paying the price.

What would be the best stimulus for our economy?  Elect a Republican Congress this November.

Is the Iraq War responsible for our deficits? Reply


By Tom Quiner

The Iraq War is plainly not the cause of our soaring deficits. Graph prepared by Randall Hoven for The American Thinker.

Voices on the left are clear:  our fiscal problems are the result of an unnecessary war on Iraq forced on the country by former President Bush.

Democratic Party strategist, James Carville, is blunt:

“It was under Mr Bush that the deficit spiralled out of control as we fought an unnecessary and endless $3,000bn war in Iraq…”

Writing in the Washington Post, Linda Bilmes (a member of Harvard’s faculty) and economist Joseph Stiglitz were even blunter:

“The Iraq adventure has seriously weakened the U.S. economy, whose woes now go far beyond loose mortgage lending. You can’t spend $3 trillion — yes, $3 trillion — on a failed war abroad and not feel the pain at home.”

Writing in The Nation, Christopher Hayes is bluntest:

“First, the facts. Nearly the entire deficit for this year and those projected into the near and medium terms are the result of three things: the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts and the recession. The solution to our fiscal situation is: end the wars…”

The Iraq War certainly makes voices from the political Left emotional.  Fortunately, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has weighed in with a detailed financial analysis of he war’s cost.  It turns out the folks above were just plain misinformed.

It is certainly fair to argue if the fruits of our efforts were worth the tremendous cost to our nation.

Reasonable voices can debate if the removal of a mass-murdering dictator and the establishment of a democratically-elected government were worth it.

Reasonable voices can argue if the piece of mind knowing that the country truly is free of weapons of mass destruction are worth it.

The jury is still out on Iraq, and a healthy debate should continue on whether the price was worth it.

However, when it comes to deficits, the debate is over.  The CBO spells it out.  The war accounted for just 3.2% of federal government spending while it lasted.

Look at defense spending under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in the 60s when it accounted for 46% of all federal spending.  Contrast that with Bush II when defense spending was less than 20% of federal outlays.

The chart above really lays it on the line.  The last year Republicans were in charge of the budget was 2007.  Deficits exploded after Democrats took over.  The biggest culprit is Obama’s stimulus package which will cost far more than the Iraq War ever did.

We went to war with Iraq on the basis of a bipartisan Congressional resolution.

And for the record, we went to war with Iraq on the basis of bipartisan Congressional Iraq War Resolution (H.J. Res 114).  In the House, 82 Democrats voted to go to war; in the Senate, 29 Democrats voted to go to war.

The next time you hear an angry voice blaming our deficits on the Iraq War, tell them to talk to the non-partisan CBO.

Which art is more beautiful? 2


By Tom Quiner

Beautiful. Transcendent.

Ugly.

I stepped into the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Museum several years ago and got the shock of my life.  The “art”, and I use the term loosely, was ugly.

It was pornographic.

It demeaned.

It was the kind of art that pulls you down into the muck.

What happened to beautiful art?  I’m talking about the kind that lifts the soul, that thrills the senses, that simply “transcends.”  It’s out there.  But most of it was created before the 20th century.

The greatest art ever created was created in the name of Christ.  After all, what can be more beautiful than Jesus Christ?

And yet the Christian world has let the secular world take over the defining and creation of art.

The time has come for a renaissance of Christian art.  The time has come for Christians to become active participants in creating and supporting Godly beauty in the name of art.

Pope Benedict XVI is leading the way.  Did you hear what he did earlier this year?  He invited artists from around the world to meet him at the Sistine Chapel.  The great singer Andrea Bocelli was there, as was award-winning film composer Ennio Morricone.  In all, 250 artists representing different disciplines heard the Pope call on them to “renew the Church’s friendship with the world of art.”

He’s talking to you.  And he’s talking to me.

He’s talking to the third-grader in art class.  Create beauty.  Share beauty.  Absorb beauty.

Think about it.  What are God’s attributes?  Truth.  Goodness.  Beauty.  Beauty is vital to the well-being of our very souls, for beauty is the reflection of God’s truth and goodness.

Let us create art that reflects that kind of beauty.

“Beauty … can become a path toward the transcendent, toward the ultimate mystery, toward God,” says the Pope.

The world will be won by beauty.