9/11 – 2013

    1. Million Muslim March?
    2. Shakespeare vs. Bible
    3. Unicorn caught on Audio Recording!
    4. Syria, schmearia!

1

Church obligations and work obligations together have me stretched thin. Apart from those two spheres, it’s hard for me to focus on much the last few days. Facebook, however, alerted me vital news that 2 million motorcycle riders are descending on Washington, DC around the same time as a Million Muslim March.

That American Muslims would be so tone deaf as to stage a Million Anything March on the 12th anniversary of the  destruction of the World Trade Center struck me as implausible, so I Googled the topic expecting to find Snopes high up on the hit list.

What I found instead was a Snopes article from 2006 about an anti-Muslim hoax, together with a lot of right-wing sites attacking the credibility of Snopes because, among other things, it is supposedly funded by George Soros  and supposeldly lied about the attorney-client relationship between now Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and President  Barack Obama.

The purported proof on the right-wing sites  does not readily persuade. I tried to click through, and got no further than images of a Supreme Court website where the names of Elena Kagan and Barack Obama appear side-by-side in a manner that suggests to me that they were codefendants rather than attorney and client. Further links took me off to irrelevancies. I stopped trying to figure it out.

So my thought remains: if there really is a Million Muslim March on Washington DC today, as one site seems to be promoting under the rubric “Million American March against Fear,” then the organizers are truly and profoundly tone deaf.

That there should be a calculated confrontation by 2 million bikers directed toward an Million Man event of which I had never heard until the evening before strains credulity even further. I’ll believe it when I see it in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or Washington Post.

2

Speaking of our august national newspapers, Ross Douthat  published a column in the New York Times Sunday that seems to argue, somewhat equivocally, that Congress needs to approve our Excellent Syrian Adventure or the President’s credibility will be destroyed and the world will run amok.

 Noah Millman at the  American Conservative respectfully demolishes the argument, brick by brick, concluding less methodically than evocatively:

So this thread of anxiety about inaction and crippled Executives, including from someone like Douthat who has grown increasingly skeptical of the Washington consensus on foreign policy?

The great exponent of this anxiety in the personal sphere (which, in his case, was emphatically also political) was Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and his most famous exposition the soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be,” and ends thusly:

Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action.

Thinking too much about the possible consequences of one’s actions can, indeed, puzzle the will. The sort of person who goes into politics is never the sort of person who wants to be known as a Hamlet—as indecisive, lacking in backbone, more inclined to interpret the world in various ways than to change it. Better to lack a conscience if the alternative is to be a coward, and lose the name of action.

But it’s worth remembering: the action that Hamlet is perseverating about in this speech, fearing that he lacks the courage to overcome his conscience?

It’s suicide.

But my favorite argument against Syrian intervention comes from Elizabeth Scalia at First Things:

While speaking “off script” in 2012, Obama drew a red line around the use of chemical weapons. Now he is being challenged to do something or risk becoming a discredited irrelevancy both at home and abroad. It is a point that cannot go unconsidered. Can we as a nation risk allowing the American President to be regarded as feckless, reckless, and rash with words he is unable to back up? At this writing, the headlines are chaotic and confused, and the administration seems uncertain about what it wants or needs to do, but confident that some action—perhaps “unbelievably small” action, according to the Secretary of State—must be taken, by someone, and pretty soon . . . or maybe later.

What an awful position Obama has put the country in. If we do nothing, we present ourselves as toothless and give Assad (and other nefarious players) tacit permission to use chemical weapons with seeming impunity. If we do something, but try to keep it small we risk seeming like a nation of Herods. He, recall, made a rash promise to Salome and then became willing to serve up a measure of collateral damage (John the Baptist’s head, to be precise) for the sake of saving face.

(Emphasis added) Just so.

3

We all know by now, having been so assured no fewer than three times by Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, that there is no reason for anybody to have any doubts about the wisdom of  any objective of the nonexistent gay agenda unless they are motivated by hate, hate, hate!  Justice Kennedy’s latest such assurance came in the context of this summer’s same-sex marriage cases.

Put differently, secular and rational arguments against same-sex marriage are as nonexistent as unicorns.

Remarkably, however, Ken Myers at Mars Hill Audio Journal  seems to have caught a unicorn on tape on Volume 117, and is offering the recording for free download even to people who don’t subscribe to the Journal.

On volume 117 of the Journal, we featured an extended interview with Dr. Robert George about the book he co-wrote, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. The positive response to this interview — and the significance of the argument Dr. George develops — has encouraged us to make this segment of the Journal available as a free download on our new website.

Listeners who are not currently subscribers will be asked to sign in to the website by creating an account. The audio will then be available to download or stream (including streaming to a mobile device).

We encourage you to let others know about this insightful conversation, and about the book that inspired it.

Of course, you already knew this because you subscribe to the Journal, don’t you?

4

It is not 100% beyond the realm of possibility that I inadvertently swapped the name “Egypt” for “Syria” in my recent communication to Senator Dan Coats (R, Indiana). But I distinctly remember copying and pasting my message as I went from one Congressman’s site to two Senators’ sites, and Congressman Todd Rokita responded appropriately regarding Syria.

Sen. Coats, however, seems to have missed the point:

Dear [Tipsy]:

Thank you for contacting me in regard to the recent political unrest in Egypt and the persecution of Coptic Christians there.  I appreciate this opportunity to respond ….

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.  Please do not hesitate to keep in touch with me on additional issues of importance to you.

Oh, yeah! After a meaningful, personal response like that, Senator, you betcha I’ll be in touch on Youth In Asia, Gladly The Cross-Eyed Bear, Our Father in Heaven (Howard be Thy name), and all the other issues that weigh on my mind.

Syria, schmearia!

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.