The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Islam’


There are few culinary treats that I find more satisfying than a thin slice of Genoa salami topped with a piece of aged provolone all sitting on a crisp bread such as that Swedish delight, Wasabrød.  What a multi-national treat, blending textures and flavors in an exquisite and elegant manner.   My mouth waters as I write this and I feel impelled to go out and purchase the ingredients to treat myself to one of life’s great pleasures.  And perhaps I had better hurry.

A friend recently forwarded a purported response by the mayor of Dorval, a suburb of Montréal in the province of Québec, Canada to Muslim parents who had demanded that the schools in that city remove all pork products from the cafeteria lunch rooms of the city’s public schools.  The mayor allegedly answered with the following message:








After reading the email I did some research and discovered that this interchange was a fabrication, a takeoff of a similar purported exchange between the Muslim community in a town in Belgium and its mayor – also a hoax.  But that isn’t the point, because the sentiment which was supposedly expressed by Dorval’s mayor is exactly what should be said by elected officials at every level in every civilized country in the world when an immigrant minority makes demands of their host countries that they must accommodate the newcomers’ ethnic or religious beliefs.

Those who object to these demands, which are often although not exclusively voiced by immigrant Muslims are vilified as being Islamaphobes. This is, at the least, a mischaracterization of the motivating attitudes of such critics.   A phobia is nothing more than a fear.  And it is my view that it is not fear which directs the outrage against some in the Muslim community or Islam itself.  It is anger, an anger that I admit to sharing, at the outrageous, barbarous and uncivilized behavior of any individual or group which says that, “I and I alone know the truth and if you disagree with my views you should die and I will be the agent of your death.”

Genoa salami is a creation normally made using pork.  I presume the fact that I enjoy it, not to mention a few other thoughts, attitudes and beliefs which I hold dear are sufficient to qualify me as an addition to the jihadi hit list.  I consider myself potentially a victim of what I can only describe as Salamiphobia.  But if I get taken out for my food choices, I am completely confident that I will go to that big deli in the sky where I will be able to place an order for some Genoa salami topped with a piece of aged provolone all sitting atop a crisp bread.  And I’ll say to myself, “Those fools don’t know what they’ve been missing.”


Twelve years after the original 9/11, theories surrounding what really happened that day are flowing as fast as the blood in Cairo.  It’s fifty years since the JFK assassination and that is still the subject of new books.  And it’s almost seventy years since the Holocaust and there are still those who deny that it ever happened.

Interestingly, some of those who claim the last event is a fabrication and whose co-religionists are widely blamed for the first event will be marching for “Muslim rights” in our nation’s capital – if things go according to plan.  Truly, these are strange times in which we live.

In all probability, the “March,” if it comes off will have far fewer participants than the organizers’ goal of one million.  From the admittedly inaccurate numbers of perhaps 2.6 million Muslims in America, that would require nearly every other Muslim to participate.  Islam, which is the fastest growing religion in our prison systems, would have to secure a one day release for some of its incarcerated adherents to achieve its goals.

But the issue isn’t whether a million people show up in Washington.  It is a matter of the presumed motivation which is causing the organizers to make the effort to pull this event off.  That is, theoretically, “to combat the discrimination that Muslims endure in America and to give us non-Muslims a better understanding of what Islam is really about.”

Perhaps I’ve been fortunate.  My third and fourth years of college I lived across the street from Elijah Muhammad’s Temple of Islam #2.  There were always a few young men, nicely dressed in suit and tie who stood outside the Temple and made sure that no incidents occurred there.  This was about a mile and a half from the complex that Muhammad Ali built.

Because I lived in a very well-integrated neighborhood – not just in terms of race but in religion as well, I knew a number of Muslims who were proprietors of stores.  One family started in this country with one brother who came from Pakistan, who worked two jobs and saved enough to buy a Standard Oil gas station.  He then brought over two other brothers and his wife and all of them worked in the family business and purchased several more gas stations.

These were people who came here for opportunity, worked hard in what has clearly become the old-fashioned and now passé way and were well-integrated in their communities.  But that is my experience and one that is not shared by a lot of Americans.

What is the American perception of Islam?  It is rather different – and perhaps more accurate than mine.

The Twin Towers; the Taliban; accurate stories about the suppression of women’s rights in countries in which Sharia law rules the land; the Boston Marathon; the persecution of Christians; the constant defamation of Jews as pigs; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Iraq; the issuance of fatwas against anyone who speaks ill of Islam; well, the list goes on and on, but you get the picture.

In some respects, the presumed “persecution of Muslims in America” is very little different than Al Sharpton’s categorization of how blacks are mistreated in this country.  And the problem is that when any group engages in what most of us consider to be uncivilized behavior, it is hard for even the objective observer not to extrapolate from that and conclude that is how all members of that group behave.

It is understandable to me that Americans who see constant reports about the number of violent deaths which occur in Chicago and our other major cities and see that the assailants and the victims are mostly black conclude that blacks are violent.

It is understandable to me that Americans who read about young girls in Islamic countries who are the victims of rape or refuse the advances of a male whom they spurned being stoned to death or being the victims of “honor killings” conclude that is the way Islam works.

Well, although it isn’t the politically correct thing, there is a tremendous amount of violence in our inner city black communities.  And there is a tremendous amount of medieval behavior in countries where Islam is the majority faith.

If we start by admitting that, perhaps we’ll look for the path which will lead us to fixing those problems.  And that would be worth a great deal more than having a march on Washington – or anywhere else.


As I recall, the first eyebrow raiser written about  the life of Jesus hit the bookstores in the mid-‘70s.   A least it was the first one that was published in my lifetime that caused a stir.   It was entitled, “The Passover Plot”.  It sold so successfully that it was turned into a movie – which was also rather successful.

Now the purpose of this post is not to detail a history of books which contest the orthodox Christian view of who Jesus was and what he did.  Nor is it my purpose to defend that traditional view.  The catholic understanding of who Jesus was,  was rather nicely codified in 325 A. D. at the Council of Nicaea.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that a new book by a former Christian, now converted to Islam, is making such a hit as a best seller.  And what surprises me more is that when the author, his motivations in writing the book, the scholarship which he has gained through his education, are questioned, a significant part of the country, the secular humanists – to be found everywhere – seem to make of those inquiries a connection to the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada.

Frankly, I assume he wrote the book to make money.  And if that was his goal, he seems to be doing pretty well with his plan.  Since I like to find the simplest reason that things happen – I will stand by my simple explanation for the author’s motives – until proven wrong.

Now I don’t have a great deal of experience in child-rearing – but I did have the responsibility of directing a fairly large children’s choir at church.  Mostly the children were there because they enjoyed singing.  But as will be found among a large group, whatever its composition, there are always a few who want to throw a sabot in the machinery and mess things up – just to see if they can.

We had a few (thankfully, a very few) like that.

What I learned as their director was that they were less interested in creating a disturbance than they were in drawing attention to themselves.  Perhaps they had an underdeveloped ego or something along that line.  And I found that the more I turned my attention to them through admonition, the worse they behaved.  So I made things simple for the rest of the children and myself.

If those few kids got out of line at a rehearsal, I simply sent them home and told them that if they wanted to continue in the choir they would need to follow the same rules of behavior that I expected and could rely on from the vast majority of the children.

Not only did doing this cause most of these children to shape up and behave during choir rehearsals, I think it improved the general decorum of all the kids in the choir – who suddenly realized that as nice as I am, there were limits to what I would accept in the way of behavior.

Of course, there were two children, Jamal and Jasmine with whom this technique simply was not effective.  But I’m not sure that anything with which I was familiar would have been more so.  Ultimately, I found it unfortunate but necessary to terminate their relationship with the choir.  This, of course, led to a few nasty calls placed by their annoyed and flustered parents.

“My little J. is an angel.  I can’t believe you threw him/her out of the choir.”

“Well, Mrs. _. – it’s like this.  I have no doubt that your child is an angel.  But you know the demons in hell were also angels.  I simply think that your little J. is trying to emulate the wrong ones.”

The point of my relating this is not to give you an amateur’s advice on child-rearing.  But it is to point out how the Christian community is causing a book of suspect scholarship (or so I hear – I’ve not read it) to gain far more notoriety and increase sales to fatten the author’s bank account than it might have otherwise achieved if it had been published and ignored.

Incidentally, the book is entitled, “Zealot” and the author is Reza Aslan – just in case you want to add it to your Christmas list.

The thing that I find most amazing in this entire brouhaha over Mr. Aslan’s book is not his thesis but that he has the freedom to publish that thesis without interference by any government authority, here in a country built on Judaeo-Christian principles – the very ones that apparently must be in error if we are to accept his notion about the historical Jesus.

It is interesting that Mr. Aslan is able to renounce his Christian faith and convert to Islam without fear of repercussion from those who are among the clergy of the churches.  The same may not be his fate should he try to further broaden his religious horizons since apostasy from Islam is punishable by death – or so the Koran and the imams tell us.  And they carry out those sentences with piety and swiftness.

This week in Saudi Arabia, a young man was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes because he even suggested the notion of talking about religion and politics and “parental obedience”.  While the U. S. has officially “protested” this sentence, Raif Badawi will soon be forgotten as we unload the next shipment of oil from the Arab kingdom.

You don’t need to be a Messiah in order to look at a faith that treats its adherents in such a manner and shed more than a few tears.  At least I don’t.  And for those who want to establish the same Sharia law here in the USA – let me tell you that I would be one of the first in line to opt out.


The FBI has nabbed a small coterie of perpetrators who have been making money the old fashioned way – they steal it.  Apparently, they stole quite a lot – about $200 Million by creating false identities, creating fake credit scores and have socked it to the credit card-issuing banks.  While this number pales in comparison to the amount that our Federal Reserve adds to our national credit card, nevertheless, it is not an insignificant sum by almost anyone’s standards.

Given the way that we bend over backward to accommodate our Muslim citizens – that is if Babar Qureshi and Muhammad Shafiq are both Muslims and citizens – I’m merely inferring their religion from their names – I must confess that I’m a little surprised that they were arrested in their resident New Jersey.  The unlikelihood of their engaging in such an activity flies directly in the face of their faith.

As you know, credit card issuers stipulate an interest rate on unpaid balances.  That rate of interest is carefully detailed in the little enclosures that come with your credit card and for which you need an electron microscope to be able to read all the terms and conditions.  What you may not know is that it is forbidden in Islam to engage in a transaction at a specific, fixed rate of interest.

Of course, it is another tenet of Islam that is is perfectly acceptable to lie, steal from, cheat or otherwise engage in any activity against the infidel – including murder – if it supports the advancement of the cause of Islam.  So, since apparently these thieves had no intention of actually paying for anything that they purchased or the cash advances they received, I suppose the second tenet overrides that vexatious fixed interest rate thing.

I am sure there will be those of the OWS mindless-set who applaud anything that hurts the profits of big banking – while at the same time they are writing an elegy to the impoverished, oppressed and misunderstood of our Muslim neighbors.  Well, buckaroos and members of the Peanut Gallery, the people who ultimately feel the impact of this type of rip off are not the banks but their credit card customers.

It’s simple economics.  Those banks which suffered the injury will pass along the costs to their cad holders through higher interest charges and other penalties.  They will also write off the loss immediately, resulting in lower corporate taxes collected by the Treasury – at a time where we have President Obama and the Dems complaining that we need more revenues.

The events of 9/11/01 were devastating.  But with economic jihad we’re not talking about taking the lives of a few thousand people.  Economic jihadists are directly affecting the life-styles of millions of Americans  In a left-handed complimentary way, let me say that this is far more effective than crashing airplanes into buildings.  But, of course, it is far less sensational and for that reason will probably not get the attention it deserves as a part of the master plan of jihad.

That plan is simply this.  By whatever means necessary, to supplant Western civilization with its own world view; to bring the entire world under the yoke of the political philosophy of Islam; to establish Sharia law in all lands; to take no prisoners.

Those in Europe are learning, perhaps too late, that the Muslim infestation is reaching the same critical mass that in the United States we have reached with our permanent underclass.  It’s more than overdue that our politicians on this side of the pond stopped being accommodative and started being proactive while there is still time.  The sand in the hour glass is running very low.



I seldom begin a piece with a video, but this scene from “Trading Places” will set the stage for the balance of this post.  (Please pardon the vulgarity – but I was not in charge of writing the script).

If you remember this movie (one of my favorites despite the misrepresentations about how the commodities markets really work), you might remember this scene.  What is omitted from the video is that after Eddie Murphy realizes that the guests at his party are taking advantage of his largesse, the butler, played by Denholm Elliott says to him, “These people are not your friends, sir.”

Would you consider a friend a person who thought that he was justified in stealing from you?

Would you consider a friend a person who thought that lying to you was not only acceptable but laudable if it served his purpose?

Would you consider a friend a person who thought that murdering you was not only something that would be forgiven but was a righteous act on his part?

Would you consider a friend a person who believed he had every right to ridicule your faith but had the right to exterminate you for criticizing his?

Would you consider your friend a person who subscribes to Islam?

Let me be clear that I am not writing this post to be critical of anyone else’s religion.  But Islam is not a religion – rather it is a political ideology.

The Prophet Mohammed (Blessed be his name) spent thirteen years in preaching the faith he had received from Allah.  He had 150 converts at the end of this effort.

He then went from Mecca to Medina (where the second version of the Koran was written).  The Koran of Mecca which regarded other faiths inclusively was supplanted by the the Koran of Medina – in which non-believers were depicted as lower than dirt and it was the duty of the faithful to destroy them.  And they did.

Islam, the faith had failed.  But Islam the political ideology had gained precedence and it truly succeeded.  It swept over the Arabian peninsula and extended it’s grip to Anatolia, north Africa and tried to make inroads in Europe.  It left a swath of devastation and death in its path.   And it abolished all remnants of the cultures it subsumed.

If you are not an adherent of Islam, those who subscribe to its doctrines are not your friends.

Those in the Western world who are apologists for the Islamic philosophy are not only misguided but as foolish as Clement Atlee when he engaged in his appeasement of Hitler by ceding the Sudetenland to him.  (Hitler was greatly admired in the Islamic community for his vision of exterminating the Jews).

We in America are privileged to have, for the moment, a Constitution which protects our rights to belief or disbelief in a Supreme Being.  No such freedom of choice exists within countries that have adopted Islamic Sharia law.

There is in Islam no greater edict than following the example of the prophet Mohammed (Blessed be his name).  Nor is there a greater sin than blaspheming against him.  (Blaspheming against Allah bears nowhere near the same consequence or retribution).  And it is for that reason that I view Islam not as a religion but as a political movement.

So what does the doctrine of political Islam teach us?

First and foremost, that we are to accept every tenet and every doctrine of Islam without question and are to emulate the example set for us by Mohammed (Blessed be his name).  We are to pattern our lives after his life.

Thus it is not only acceptable but correct to marry girls who are only six years old and have sexual relations with them when they reach eight.

That women have only half the worth of men.

That men may have multiple wives and an unlimited number of concubines but women must remain chaste in devotion to their husbands.

That we will be forgiven for the murder of three of our co-religionists during our lifetime.

That killing as many Kaffirs (heathens) as possible is the path to Paradise.  The more the better.

Setting aside the question of whether your are a member of a religious group or not, most of us have a “Western mindset” which is based on Judaeo-Christian principles.  We believe it is wrong to lie, to steal or to murder others in our society.  That is the reason that when people commit these acts they make news and we are shocked at how they have violated the social contract that we think of as normal.  No such mindset exists within the world of Islamic Sharia law.

I would have thought that those in Washington who are apologists for this alternative political agenda would have read and perhaps even understood a history book or two.  But I realize that my expectations may well have been misguided.

Instead, we have self-deprecating statements coming out of the Administration regarding events like those that occurred in Libya.  “It is all the fault of the nasty video portraying the prophet Mohammed (Blessed be his name) in a derogatory if, historically accurate, way.

The values I hold – and which you probably do as well – have no relevance to the political philosophy of Islam.  The Koran of Mecca – that we each of us have a right to co-exist in a peaceful manner is not the scripture which guided  Islam on 9/11 nor of those who wish to eradicate the “pigs” who live in Israel and, by extension, those Kaffirs who live anywhere else.

It is essential that those in authority get a grip on the reality of what the Western world is facing and take a long hard look at their apologetics, seeing them for what they are.  Nothing more than what the Byzantine emperors attempted to do in buying off the invaders with silver and gold – a strategy which ultimately failed

While we may love our enemies we should also guard ourselves carefully in our dealings with them.  Those who follow the political doctrine of Islam are not our friends.  And they never will be.


Somewhere in the Middle East an imam is conducting a religious service.  He tells the young people who are in attendance that they should gird themselves with bombs and blow up the infidel – sending them to the Hell that they deserve.  In so doing, they will be assured of Allah’s favor and life eternal.

He has given this sermon many, many times to many, many of the young faithful.

We know that some are inspired to act on the imam’s behests.  Suicide bombings, often carried out by young people, even children, are regular currency in the news headlines.  What I have never seen is a headline in which the suicide bomber was one of the imams who preaches this sermon.

Faithful imams, if your words are true, demonstrate that to your flock.

Lead by example.


In “Dreams From My Father” President Obama discusses extensively his father’s anti-colonial spirit and motivations.  Were this simply a documentary about his father and not a blueprint for the President’s own view of the world, the book might have been better titled, “Dreams Of My Father.”  I can only presume that the President, a person with several college degrees, made a conscious choice in entitling his work.

It will come as no secret that the most fundamental goal of most extreme Islamic cadres is this – the complete and utter destruction of Israel.  Those are not my words but theirs.

Corollary to that is the undermining of those governments it sees as supporting the continuance of the Israeli state – notably the United States and the United Kingdom ( but pretty much any western, non-Islamic country may be included in the list).

The United States is an obvious choice for their anger as this country has been a stalwart in supporting the tiny Israeli state militarily and philosophically, at least until the current Administration took office.  And Great Britain, who accepted the responsibility of providing a safe environment for the Jews who chose to immigrate to Palestine by the mandate of the League of Nations, is also an obvious target for their anger.

Americans have a very limited and often incorrect view of Islam.  They view most Muslims as nomadic Arabs, riding around the desert on camels and brandishing scimitars.  The fact is that while the most holy places of Islam, Mecca and Medina are in Saudi Arabia, most of the world’s Muslims are not Arabic.  This confusion is added to by the fact that all prayers and services in Islam, wherever they are conducted, are offered in the Arabic language – a requirement the Prophet Muhammad set out in the Koran and in various hadiths (sayings attributed to him).

If we were to look at the Muslim perspective in terms of today’s software technology, Islam would be God’s Revelation 3.0; Christianity 2.0; Judaism 1.0.  Islam is, of course, God’s ultimate revelation.  There is no religion 4.0 waiting in the wings to be unveiled.  We have seen that whether it is for religious or secular reasons, whenever anyone or any group believes itself in possession of “ultimate truth” there are no boundaries that may not be breeched in their attempt to “purify” the world according to their sense of righteousness and correctness.

As examples we have the ruthlessness of Joshua (famous for the battle of Jericho), we have the Inquisition, we have Hitler and Stalin, and today we have radical, fundamentalist Islam.  All are outgrowths of the same mentality – they believed that they and they alone were right – and would brook no interference from any who would stand in their way.

To return to the title of this post, why would radical Islam want to see an Obama victory?  Perhaps it is because they feel that of the two candidates, he would be less decisive in supporting the State of Israel than Governor Romney, thus allowing them to pursue their goal of annihilating the country and its people.

What support can I offer for this speculative theory?

First, the greatest and longest lasting colonial empire of all time had to be the British Empire on which, at one time, the sun never set.  Consider how Obama’s anti-colonial father, once a subject of that very empire in his native Kenya must have viewed these intruders in his land.  And if he passed those views along to his son, would that not explain why our relationship with our closest ally has become strained under the Obama Administration.

Second, consider the remarks that were made recently by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  He has been warning that Iran is extremely close to developing sufficient enriched uranium to make an atomic device.  In recent days he did everything but endorse Mitt Romney for President of the United States.  It is clear that he feels that his country has a greater chance of surviving a potential new holocaust under a Romney presidency than under one at which Obama is at the helm.

In a curious way, the views of radical Islam and of President Obama dovetail.  If we are to believe that the President shares his father’s views on colonialism, then it is not a far reach to see why radical Islam is comfortable with him because they also have an anti-colonial viewpoint – seeing the State of Israel as a colony created through the aegis of the Western powers – a colony of which they believe they are the rightful owners, endowed in that status by Allah.

The State Department initially categorized the attack on the the U. S. embassy in Libya as a spontaneous, unorganized reaction to the You Tube video which demeaned the Prophet Muhammad.  After several days of reviewing the events around this tragedy, the State Department changed its view and determined that the attack was anything but disorganized but was as well co-ordinated and planned as the events that took place on 9/11/01 here at home.

Why this attack at this particular time?  It is not hard to conjecture that with what has been widely advertised as a hotly contested and close Presidential race, it was to give support to incumbent Obama.  People have a tendency to stay with the same horse in a crisis, thinking that at least that horse knows the race course, even if he’s lagging behind the field.  Ask those who voted President Bush into a second term because of the then ongoing war in Iraq how well that theory worked for them.

There is no question in my mind that Mitt Romney is a lightweight in international affairs.  There is also no question in my mind that President Obama hasn’t bulked up very much on the subject either in his four years in office.  And lastly, there is no question in my mind that one of the brightest politicians on the planet, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is perhaps in the best position to know, has thrown his support in favor of a Romney presidency.

That suggests that Israel’s arch-enemy, radical Islam would prefer President Obama for a second term and will do it’s best to see that he is re-elected, by whatever means they have at their disposal.


Animals communicate with others of their kind in a variety of ways.  For most that is through body language and to a lesser degree through vocalization without the benefit of words or a specific language.  We humans too communicate to others through our body language (though this is mostly unconscious) but our primary tool is our language – the words we speak and how we employ them.  Language is a very powerful thing.

When the Second Vatican Council concluded in 1965, one of the most important and immediate effects on Roman Catholics was permitting the use of the vernacular language of an area for the Mass, rather than continuing the millennium and a half long tradition of offering the liturgy in Latin and Greek (“the Kyrie”).

Older communicants who had lived their entire lives with the Latin mass felt betrayed.  Now they had to learn the responses with which they  had grown up in another language.  Some viewed this as an outgrowth of what they viewed as the secularization of the Church.

The prelates who agreed to this change had the intention of helping people understand more fully what was being said in the liturgy and to be more participatory in it.  If they considered that a Roman Catholic from Milwaukee, WI could no longer attend a service in Paris, France and be able to make the appropriate responses, apparently they felt that the benefits outweighed the disadvantages.

In the forty-six years since the Council concluded, the Roman Catholic Church has undergone some major transformations.  At that time, only a small percentage of the Church’s faithful admitted that they thought the policy on birth control was wrong.  Today, that number is near fifty percent.  On this the Church has been consistent – and perhaps it is merely a reflection of the times and not an abandonment of the Latin mass that is responsible.  Or perhaps it’s a little of both.

Consider language in another faith, Islam.  The faithful, no matter where they go throughout the world will hear the imam offer up prayers to Allah in Arabic – and only in that language.   And they will make their responses in Arabic.

I spoke years ago with a friend who was a practicing Muslim – the owner of a small convenience store near my apartment.  He and his family were from Pakistan and spoke Urdu.  I asked him if he learned Arabic at his local mosque or took classes in it so that he could pray appropriately.  He surprised me with his answer, “He knew the prayers in Arabic because he had memorized them.  But he didn’t understand the language itself.”

That was precisely what Vatican II set out to abolish – mere repetition – and to replace it with understanding.  But as we look at these two dynamic faiths, it is clear to see how they have fared over these last several decades.  There has been a great deal of dissension within the Church of Rome – and a great deal of solidarity in the faith that Muhammad brought forth.  Could the language of their respective worship in some part be responsible?

When the waves of immigrants made their migrations to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries they came from multiple lands and spoke many different languages.  Not surprisingly, they banded together to live, where they could continue the language and the customs of their native countries.  But while they may have spoken their native tongues in their homes and with tradesmen who were from their country, they learned English.  That was the language of their new country.  It was the language of commerce.  It was the language that they had to know if they wanted to make a success of their lives here.

Italians gave up speaking Italian; Germans gave up German; Poles gave up Polish.  America was receptive to taking in these pilgrims but it required that they learn the official language of their new land, English.  And they did learn it.  And suddenly they stopped thinking of themselves as Italian-Americans or Polish-Americans and simply thought of themselves as who they had really become – just plain old Americans without the need for hyphens.  They had truly melted in the melting pot that America offered those who came to our shores.  They were now bound by common laws and a common language.

I wrote this post because as I was going to vote today I re-read the entire booklet with which I was provided.  I had glanced over the notice that is circled below which now requires that voting material be made available in Spanish as well as Filipino (Tagalog) to those voters who so request it.  I am sure that the intention behind this rule is to make sure that Americans who speak those languages will be better able to make informed choices about political candidates.

But as I reflect on the divisions which exist in America, many based on our hyphenated way of fractionalizing ourselves into x-Americans; y-Americans and z-Americans, it is hard not to think that we are bringing these divisions on ourselves – and they are harming us as individuals and our country.  And if we don’t find some common ground, the divisions and the rifts are only going to grow wider.

Perhaps one step would be our insistence on sharing a common language -because language is a very powerful thing.



Ever since their births there have been two half-sisters who have been quibbling and bickering and quarrelling.  Their names are Religion and Science.

Both half-sisters attempt to explain the true “nature of things”.  But they do that in very different ways.  Religion, the older of the two, relies on “faith” and Science relies on “fact”.  Faith may be described as that which cannot be seen but can be believed and fact on that which is observable and provable.

Both half-sisters make some excellent points which favor their positions.  Most people subscribe either to the philosophy espoused by one of the half-sisters and in so doing reject that offered by the other.  But are what both have to offer, really so different?

Religion, on her side of the family was blessed with a plentitude of cousins.  Her many family members include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam to name a few.  Science points to these various relatives as proving the case that if Religion truly had merit there would be only one way in which she expressed her world view.

Science too has many relatives on her side of the family; mathematics, medicine, astronomy, archaeology among others.  While Religion tries to come to an understanding of everything, Science segments her analysis of life into different disciplines, each concerned with its own specialty and ignores and shows little interest in the others – unless they happen on a discovery which might impact her own studies.

Science points out correctly that, despite Religion’s underlying theme of love and compassion, she has been the responsible party for so many of the wars that have plagued the earth.  But if Religion has the responsibility for starting these conflict, Science has elevated them to a destructive art form.

Mankind first fought these wars in the name of Religion with slingshot and spear and arrow.  Science gave us gunpowder and machine guns and the missile which could bring destruction all around the globe.

“Now am I become death the destroyer of worlds”  quoted J. Robert Oppenheimer from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita as the first A-bomb was set off at Los Alamos, NM.  Here was an example of how both Religion and Science could co-exist.  And it wasn’t a pretty picture.

It happened one day that I was at a conference which both Religion and Science attended.  During a break I was enjoying an iced tea on the patio of the conference center.  The two half-sisters sat down at a table near me and I overheard their discussion.

“You know, Religion you preach a message of love and understanding, compassion and forgiveness and yet as I am looking at today’s paper I see how that is actually carried out by your followers.  They murder each other, rob and steal and break all the commandments which you have established based on your faith.   How do you explain that?  To me it is evident and observable proof that what you have to offer is false.”

“Well, Science you are correct that what I teach and how that is applied by my students do not always coincide.  But how is that any different than one of your mathematics students who is given a simple problem, say what is the answer to the question how much is 3 x 5 who responds with 14?  Does the fact that this student and perhaps many more answered this question incorrectly invalidate the truth which you have found in your system of mathematics?  Or does it simply mean that they have not understood the principle correctly?”

“Well, Religion let’s look at another example.  For many years your leaders believed that the earth was the center of the universe; that the sun revolved around our little planet and then Galileo proved that was not true and that the earth revolved around the  sun.  Those leaders forced him to recant his position and shut him away in his house until he died.  How do you explain that?”

“Science, they were wrong.  But I would remind you that at the same time this was all happening those who were followers of your discipline believed that there were six planets in our solar system.  Then later our knowledge grew and suddenly there were seven, then eight then nine.  But then they reconsidered and decided that the last of these wasn’t really a planet and so now we’re back to eight.  If facts are just that, facts – how can they change over time?”

“Let me give you another example.  As you know, barbers were the first surgeons in your discipline that we know as medicine.  It was customary for them to apply leeches to an invalid patient to draw out the “bad blood”.  They were confident that this would help the patient heal.  Yet today if you were to go to any modern hospital I think you would be hard pressed to find even one which has a supply of leeches to treat any of the maladies of those who come there for help.”

“You see, Science we are not all that different.  I would assert that both you and I have a system that is based on faith.  What we believe today is what we think is true.  But as both of us have evolved over time our understanding has grown and our outlooks have changed to accommodate our greater knowledge.  And if you don’t mind, I would like to quote one of my followers, a man named Paul who summed this up rather nicely.”

“For now we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”

At that point I finished my beverage and left to re-take my seat at the conference.  The two half-sisters were still debating with each other.

I suspect that conversation will continue for a long time.

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