Thursday, 19 August 2010

Words from a wise Jewish Mayor

Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question – should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? 

That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another. 
"The World Trade Center Site will forever hold a special place in our City, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves – and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans – if we said 'no' to a mosque in Lower Manhattan. 

"Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values – and play into our enemies' hands – if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists – and we should not stand for that. 

"For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime – as important a test – and it is critically important that we get it right.

(Michael Bloomberg, Republican Mayor of New York)

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A religion with a violent tradition

No -  this is not Islam.  These are texts from the Christian Bible.


A.      Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
down to its foundations!”
 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!


B.     And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.

C.     And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
D.    But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:  But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

E.        Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples!
         Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it.
    For the LORD'S indignation is against all the nations,
         And His wrath against all their armies;
         He has utterly destroyed them,
         He has given them over to slaughter.
    So their slain will be thrown out,
         And their corpses will give off their stench,
         And the mountains will be drenched with their blood.
    And all the host of heaven will wear away,
         And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll;
         All their hosts will also wither away
         As a leaf withers from the vine,
         Or as one withers from the fig tree.
    For My sword is satiated in heaven,
         Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom
         And upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction.

F.       And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
 that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

A. Psalm 137, 7-9; B. Deuteronomy 7:2; C. Deuteronomy 7:16; D. Deuteronomy 20:16-17; E. Isaiah 34:1-10;       F.  Revelation 19:11-21

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Fellowship of Believers, Sarasota, FL

This is just about the most stupid and pathetic Church sign I have ever seen. Only numskulls would be attracted to a Church like this. I have advised my dog and my cats never to attend this dumb Church.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Taxes are good!

“Freedom is not free” is a slogan which we Americans use, as we express our deep gratitude to the women and men of our Armed Forces. I say AMEN to that.  We owe a great debt to our soldiers, sailors, marines and aviators.

“Freedom is not free” might also be a slogan in favour of paying taxes.
I say this because despite the fulminations and obfuscations of the blatherskites on the right and the cowards on the left, taxes, in and of themselves, are not bad.  In fact they are very good, since they enable us all to share in the burden of providing public services.

I cheerfully pay my income tax since (for example):

(a) I am glad that we have a strong military; 

(b) I am relieved to know that we have national public agencies which support public health (through research); 

(c) I am in favour of the governmental agencies which review the safety of new drugs; 

(d) I know that we need those federal bodies which monitor the food supply to ensure its safety. 

None of these governmental services are free, so I am more than happy to pay my fair share in federal income tax for the common good.

At a more local level my taxes help to enable public safety (fire, jails and police); 

provide for decent public education;

support the libraries which enrich my life; 

see to it that my trash and recyclables are collected from the kerbside; 

fix, build and maintain roads. 

I am happy to contribute towards the costs of the above, but also for services which I will never usesuch as public schools – for I remember those good citizens who paid their taxes so that I could receive good education.

During the four years in which I have lived in Sarasota my property taxes have been reduced by more than 50%.  This is largely because the appraised value of my home has also been reduced (because of the slump in the housing market).  In fact the appraised value is about 33% of what I paid for my home; and is less than 50% of my mortgage! 

My 2010 property tax is $1030.  I have been advised by the Sarasota County Taxing Authorities that in 2011 it will be $541 or $572 (depending on which version of a budget is accepted).  It is not enough.  I should be asked to do better to enable greater funding for a multitude of county and city services. 

I will be in touch with the county and city commissioners to propose that they introduce a voluntary “additional tax”, (which those of us who desire high quality public services for all citizens), will gladly pay.

P.S. (Is there "waste" in the use of my federal and state taxes.  Of course there is.  I abhor this waste. 

But it is also true  that my local "free enterprise  supermarkets  waste a great deal of produce and meat which has has reached its "beyond sale" date - and throw it out. 

I am smart enough to understand that I am paying higher prices to cover this waste. 

In short, I am being "taxed" by private enterprises, so that they can dispose of the foodstuffs which they cannot sell.