Stories I’ve Found, 2/8/2013

Interesting stories I’ve found lately:

Consider this: what if a fair sized town of African Americans or Native Americans in this country had stockpiled weapons and organized defenses in the 1920s (or 50s for that matter) with intent of protecting themselves against popular prejudice (such as lynch mobs) and/or the state and/or national government, would they have been left alone? Who would get away with that today?

Lauren Markoe asks Did Gun Control Prevent Jews From Stopping the Holocaust? This surveys a lot of comments from different sources on the question. I don’t think it would have made a difference for the German Jews to have rifles and small arms: the Nazis would have gotten them anyway, as the Warsaw ghetto revolt of 1943 shows.  The Nazi fanaticism on this issue transcended everything else, including their conduct of the war, and I think if the Jews had armed resistance, the Nazis would have used tear gas and tanks to get them.

I found this bit while looking at the What’s New page on Snopes.com, so you know it’s been fact checked: Ronald Reagan said AK47s aren’t necessary for recreation or home defense.

Daniel Burke gives us a couple of updates on the Apocalypse. The first one talks about a growing trend to assume the AntiChrist will be a Muslim, something a few Christians accept but many Apocalyptic Christians reject.  His second article unpacks the Muslim expectations of the Apocalypse, how they’re similar and different to Christianity (in both of them, Jesus comes back!)  Of course, I’ve already made my nomination. . .

Another update about a troubled region: the Coptic Pope outlines current discrimination in the new Egyptian Constitution, and decries current popular outbreaks of violence against Christians.  Some of you will remember I quoted the Grand Mufti of Egypt calling for peace and justice a couple of weeks ago: unfortunately, the Grand Mufti is as much in personal charge of Egyptian Muslims of every stripe (and their government) as the Pope is over ordinary Christians of every stripe (and our government).

Elizabeth Scalia, the Anchoress on the Patheos blog, takes the best look at the new Los Angeles controversy around Archbishop Gomez’ disciplining Cardinal Mahoney and Mahoney’s subsequent response.  Her description and assessment of all the issues at play here is the best I’ve seen on the Internet. I would add that as noted elsewhere, only the Pope can officially suspend a bishop from his office or reduce his responsibilities, although I would assume as others have that Archbishop Gomez talked with his colleagues before issuing his statement.

Child Abuse isn’t just an American problem, or a Catholic problem. This article shows us the huge travesty that going on around child abuse in India, where child molestation has only been recently criminalized.

Following an earlier story: the Colorado conference of Catholic Bishops has decried a Catholic hospital’s argument that fetuses were not human beings and could not sue for wrongful death. When this case goes to appeal, the lawyers will be instructed not to use a morally unjust law to the hospital’s benefit.  Points given for a consistent ethic of life here, although why they weren’t in closer touch with their counsel before now is a mystery to me.

George Handley asks the question: Can Literature Save the Earth?  His thoughts are very good, and of course my answer to this question would be IT’S A GOOD START!

In Super Bowl Ads and Saudi Sexism, Omid Safi uncovers some silly reasoning in Saudi culture, and some comparably silly standards that apply to almost every ad from the Super Bowl.  The virtue really does lie in the center.  I think this quote is particularly apt: “Women are not objects to push sales of commodities, nor are they commodities.” At the end of this article, do click through to The Onion story: “Teenage Girl Blossoming Into Beautiful Object.”

Calah Alexander points out a double standard for men and women that still exists today.  I think she’s right: it’s not that women shouldn’t cuss because it’s unattractive; women shouldn’t cuss because it’s not a good idea for anyone to cuss.

A new reality show to join the legion I already avoid: the Lives of Pastor’s Wives.  This GetReligion piece offers some balance and clarity (as usual). I could make a snarky comment that my Church doesn’t have to worry about this, but we have our own relationship problems that have been over documented.

Praise Songs for Dummies  is your guide to becoming a Christian rock star. Gosh, why didn’t I know about this when I was working on my doctorate in music? (For those of you who don’t know me, I really DO have a doctorate in music.)

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