Entries Tagged 'Religion Blogs' ↓

Jesus demonstrated the 6 virtues


This column in today’s NYT discusses our uneducated nature and our educated nature (represented by Jesus). Was this idea part of your moral/religious education?

BTW–I wrote about this in the AC-T back in 2004.


More responsible than a third grader?

Our side is corrupt, but the other side is more corrupt.

A metaphor comes to mind when I look across the divide between liberals and conservatives. It is one we can all understand because we experienced it in third grade. Well-behaved third graders went to class with the intention of cooperating with the teacher. Uncooperative third graders went with the intention of disrupting the lesson.

At some point in their young lives, the first group internalized the philosophy that we all have a responsibility to one another. Disruptive students had not yet learned that lesson. But they were in third grade. Some people take longer to internalize basic life lessons.  

Here is how Melinda Henneberger of the Kansas City Star describes Mike Pence being like an uncooperative third grader, when he violated hospital policy by not wearing a mask at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota:

More than a million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and more have already died of it than we lost in the Vietnam War. If our leaders can’t put up with even so minor an inconvenience as a mask in response, then the message is that we have no real responsibility to one another. (4/30/2020, AC-T, p. 7A)

The third-grade metaphor helps us understand why Pence did not wear a face covering. It was not because he wasn’t infected. And it was not because he is the president’s sniveling sycophant, as Jenifer Rubin argued:


It was because he represents the Republican Party, which believes “we have no responsibility to one another.”

The Environmental Protection Agency rule rollbacks Trump has recommended, without a peep from Republicans, illustrates that belief. They believe government is not responsible for cleaning our air or water.

The divide within our country is simple, fundamental, and deep. It is the same divide we experienced in third grade. Liberals believe we have a responsibility to one another. Republicans do not.    

Attending religious services

Darwin described those who attend religious services during a pandemic:

He called it “survival of the fittest.”

Poor Pastor Osteen

AOL headline:

Massive Sum Stolen From Joel Osteen Church

I love irony.

Closed on Sunday

All these years I thought Chick-fil-A had a “Closed on Sunday” policy because it’s a Christian establishment. Now I learn that it’s not. I love irony.

Learned watching cable news, #8

Week of April 9, 2012

From Lawrence O’Donnell’s Rewrite I learned the Catholic Church has survived, and even flourished, because of its critics from within.  History tells us the Church has been corrupt in various ways.  Inside critics have often been the “good guys,” but this didn’t stop them from suffering the Church’s wrath.  Martin Luther is the best example — excommunicated for his 95 theses concerning the 16th century church, many of which criticized the institutional greed of selling indulgences.

Forgiveness sales are now a thing of the past. Has the Catholic Church apologized to Luther, a man with a protestant religion named after him? We know the answer.

Recent sex-abuse scandals illustrate another corruption of the Church.  Incidents may not have been caused by a policy that permits the ordination of only unmarried men, but the culture that grew up around that policy led to the practice of moving pedophiles and covering up for them.   We now know there is no better cover for the sex abuse of boys than a closeted homosexual culture — way to go Catholic Church.

I remember when our parish priest said the Church needed to change its policy against the ordination of married men.  The reaction from the congregation was spontaneous applause.

As O’Donnell points out, Church critics throughout history have helped reconcile the institution to Jesus’ teachings.  This happens with clarity when critics demonstrate the virtues Jesus modeled — understanding, imagination, strong character, courage, humility and generosity.

Why don’t Christians (including Catholics) know the six virtues of the educated person?  Was Jesus not the model of an educated person?  Didn’t He want his followers to be educated?  Hasn’t His Church let Him down?

Catholics are like everybody else.  They don’t want to teach the six virtues, but they want to teach all kinds of other things.  Why?


Hitchens should read TSVOTEP

At the 8:50 mark of his 60 Minutes interview, Christopher Hitchens (March 6, 2011) said, “If I could change just one thing, it would be to dissociate the idea of faith from virtue.”


Hitchens wants people to be virtuous but not religious because he regards virtue as good, and religion as the source of all tyranny. He believes three things about our virtue discourse:

1. People associate being virtuous with being religious.
2. Nothing could be further from the truth.
3. Belief #2 never gets through because of Belief #1.

Somebody should tell Hitchens The Six Virtues of the Educated Person “dissociates the idea of faith from virtue.” My book describes a virtue definition of “educated” that has nothing to do with religious faith. If these virtues were religious, they could not be an inspiring, useful definition of the educated person for American public schools.

Somebody should tell him soon. He has stage 4 cancer.

“Life” Poem and Prayer of St. Francis

This “Life”poem is on the internet. Bloggers are asking about the author’s identity. I would like to correctly attribute it, too. What percentage of high school classrooms should have this poem on the wall?

It reminds me of the “Prayer of St. Francis” we used to say before Algebra class (Thanks Mr. Strick). It is likely that none of us silly 15-year-olds acted any differently because we said those words each day. It is also likely, however, that those words have inspired our lives. Can anybody not be inspired by such beauty?

I am posting both here. They speak for themselves.


Life isn’t about keeping score.
It’s not about how many friends you have
Or how accepted you are.
Not about if you have plans this weekend or if you’re alone.
It isn’t about whom you’re dating, whom you used to date,
How many people you’ve dated, or if you haven’t been with anyone at all.
It isn’t about whom you have kissed,
It’s not about sex.
It isn’t about who your family is or how much they have
Or what kind of car you drive.
Or where you are sent to school.
It’s not about how beautiful or ugly you are.
Or what clothes you wear, what shoes you have on,
Or what kind of music you listen to.
It’s not about if your hair is blonde, red, black, or brown
Or if your skin is too light or too dark.
Not about what grades you get, how smart you are,
How smart everybody else thinks you are,
Or how smart standardized tests say you are.
It’s not about what clubs you’re in or how good you are at “your” sport.
It’s not about representing your whole being on a piece of paper
And seeing who will accept the written “you.”


But, life is about whom you love and whom you hurt.
It’s about whom you make happy or unhappy purposefully.
It’s about keeping or betraying trust.
It’s about friendship, used as a sanctity or a weapon,
It’s about what you say and mean, maybe hurtful, maybe heartening.
About starting rumors and contributing to petty gossip.
It’s about what judgments you pass and why;
And to whom your judgments are spread.
It’s about whom you’ve ignored with full control and intention.
It’s about jealousy, fear, ignorance, and revenge.
It’s about carrying inner hate and love, letting it grow, and spreading it.
But most of all, it’s about using your life to touch or poison other people’s hearts
In such a way that could never have occurred alone.
Only you choose the way those hearts are affected,
And those choices are what life’s all about.

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

No More Mosque Controversy

By now everybody knows President Obama believes Muslims have a right to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Here is the AOL teaser: “While some praise his support for a mosque near ground zero, reaction from GOP and 9/11 families is fierce.” The headline is, ‘Obama Slammed, Praised for Backing Ground Zero Mosque.’ Here is the link:

For the next several months commentators and politicians will re-state the following two positions:

1. We should allow the building of a mosque because doing so illustrates our commitment to the principle of religious freedom.
2. We should not allow the building of a mosque because this is not a religious freedom issue as much as it is a direct affront to the families of those who died on 9/11.

This issue challenges both our principles and our sensibilities. What is the best way to resolve it?

That was the question under discussion when Countdown’s Keith Olbermann interviewed Howard Dean on August 19, 2010. Dean believes we can find a compromise, but Olbermann thinks a compromise would undermine the principle of religious freedom. He also believes those who take the second position won’t compromise. The video is at:

I agree with Dean’s position. Several times during the interview he said “people of good will” should be able to sit down and find a compromise. Each time Olbermann ignored the “people of good will” part and argued that the other side would not compromise.
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