Archive for November 2006

RELIGION AND VIOLENCE

November 30, 2006

It would be hard to make the case that religion itself is inherently violent.  Much easier to make the case, I should think, that institutional religion is by its very nature violent.  Institutional religion excludes those who do not belong to the institution.  Some people resent this.  Others boast about it.  Whatever, going back through history to the Crusades and beyond institutional religion has caused wars and perpetuated them. Consider Ireland in our own time.  Could there be any stronger argument to pursue unity and ecumenism so far as institutional religion is concerned?

NATION OR NOT?

November 28, 2006

Is this widespread debate about Quebec being a nation throwing any light on our national identity?  A recent poll shows that 34 per cent of Quebecers say they do not think “Quebec is a nation within Canada,” precisely the motion passed last night in the House of Commons.  Another poll reveals that one quarter of Quebecers do not feel “the Quebec people form a nation.”   Mr. Michael Chong resigned from the Harper cabinet because he does not believe we should be recognizing ethnic nations in Canada.

     Do you think we may be heading down a dangerous road here and recognition of Quebec nationhood is the last step before recognition of Quebec as a country?

BOBBY

November 27, 2006

Sometimes a movie comes along that poignantly brings back how much we lost.  “Bobby” is that kind of film.  It serves both as a tribute through archival fooage to the man some think might have saved the country from itself, and a portrait of Americans living in a climate of prejudice, political uncertainty and an unpopular war in Vietnam (substitute Iraq).  It brings back (with a gorgeous cast) all that might have been and all that was forever lost.

     By all means see it.  Better still, take a friend.  Bobby is a moving experience.  And while you are at it, tell us about any good movies you’ve seen lately. 

THE POPE IN TURKEY

November 26, 2006

In view of the fact Benedict insulted Muslims in his recent speech in Germany, then refused to apologize for the contents of his remarks, is it any wonder that millions of Muslism are now massing in Instanbul to protest the Pope’s imminent visit.  Further many Vatican officials oppose Turkey joining the EU because it is an infidel nation.  Considering these factors is now an appropriate time for the Pope to be visiting Turkey.  Except for more religious animosity what does such a visit accomplish?

IS DION THE ONE?

November 25, 2006

Today in a remarkable editorial, the Globe and Mail, made its choice for the Liberal leader to be chosen this coming week.  The Globe only assessed the four leading candidates and evaluated them this way:  Ignatieff has made too many mistakes; Rae has too much bagage; Kennedy is not bilingual.  Which leaves  Stephan Dion:  he has more federal experience than all the others combined; what he lacks in charisma he makes up in common sense;  he has mastered the two most important files in government – national unity and the environment. He is not perfect but he’s the best of the four.

      I must level here.  I am attending the convention as an alternate delegate for Dion. I am confident that when he becomes prime minister he will be one of the best leaders this country has ever had.

PAPAL INFALLIBILITY

November 24, 2006

Pope Benedict has written a book, to be published this spring, on Jesus of Nazareth.  The Pope says the book is not a work of Catholic doctrine and “consequently, everyone is free to contradict me.”  This admission has shocked a number of theologians.  Professor Giuseppe Alberigo of Bologna University writes “what this means is that the Pope is not totally infallible.”  He added that John Paul 11 qwould never have made a distinction between “official” Pope and “ordinary” Pope.

        Professor Luigi Vallauri of Florence University says “this is the attitude of someone who wants to have his cake and eat it, to be both Pontiff and an independent theologian.”  Can the Pope be infallible on Tuesday and a speculative theologian on Wednesday?

THE NATION OF QUEBEC

November 23, 2006

Prime Minister Harper says Quebec is a nation within Canada and all the federalist parties support him.  The PQ leader, Mr. Boisclair, says this is a good and necessary step on the way to Quebec’s independence.  Mr. Duceppe says it does not go far enough.   Some federal Liberals say it goes too far.  Mr. Ignatieff says this is what he’s been saying all along.  Most Canadians seem to support it as long as it does not mean anything for Quebec.

          Is all this hulubuloo just so much semantics as Mr. Dion suggests?  Or is there something serious going on here that could land us all in a constitutional quagmire before we are able to settle it one way or the other?

CONRAD&LADY BLACK

November 22, 2006

This shocker of a book will peel the rubber band off your investments.  Black and three of his buddies allegedly looted four companies of half a billion dollars that belonged to share holders.  Barbara Amiel, who admitted her “extravagance knew no bounds” had no trouble spending millions (she insisted on two gulfstream planes).  Black, in typical fashion, says he will crush his accusers at his trial this March.  He also says he wants his Canadian citizenship back.  Should we give it to him?

PALESTINIANS PERSECUTED

November 21, 2006

Canada’s Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is currently visiting the Gaza Strip where 80 civilians were killed this month by what the Israelis called a “technical error.”   Madame Arbour asserts that “The violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories are intolerable.”

       Why is it that the Harper government always supports George Bush when the UN votes to criticize Israel?  Are we biased?

November 20, 2006

Since same-sex marriage became legal in Canada,more than 12,000 same-sex marriage licences have been issued.  The Harper government has promised to raise the isue again for a vote in Parliament.  Why the delay?  Is Mr. Harper certain he would lose the vote to revisit the same-sex legislation?  Which he would.  Why not raise this matter in the house immediatley so that it can be settled  once and for all and 12,000 married couples will not be left in a legal limbo?