Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas Everyone

For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will. 15 And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.

16 And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. 17 And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. 18 And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

From the Gospel According to Saint Luke

May the Christ child bless you all this Christmas season and for the year to come.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Venite Adoremus Dominum

Last night I was privileged to attend the annual Christmas concert at the Catholic primary school my two sons attend. For those readers who don't live in Upper Canada (Ontario) a little context is required. (I know, I know, my preambles are ballooning and my main points are truncating.)

One of the anomalies of the Canadian constitution is that Catholics in this province have the written constitutional guarantee for public funding for a Catholic school system. Accordingly, there are parallel public and Catholic school systems in both primary and secondary levels. Each system has its own school boards and, within the curriculum guidelines established by law and the provincial ministry of education, each board sets its own policies.

.... an aside to my aside ...... As far as I know, democracy has not crumbled away to dust in Ontario because we aren't obsessive about separating church and province. You "progressive" Americans who look wistfully at our system as being more liberal than yours, please take note. All liberal combatants in the war to expunge Christianity from all public schools (e.g., the American Civil Liberties Union) might learn a thing or two from this, if learning is what is behind the obsession, .... which I sincerely doubt.

Anyways, the constitutional guarantees for religious schools arose because of the historic fears of Protestants in (then mostly French Catholic province) of Lower Canada (Quebec), that the school system there would be inculcated in Popery through the rigorous application of the thumbscrew and the rack, by wild-eyed, Spanish Dominican friars.

Conversely, the (then) Catholic minority in Upper Canada (largely refugees from that horrible republican revolution you had down south) feared that the schools in Ontario would be used to proselytize young Papists in Protestant heresy and thereby be damned for all eternity to awful poofed hairdos and endless reruns of the pastel suited TV evangelist Ernest Angely. (.... out foul spirit of John Kerry .... )

The resultant support for the respective religious school systems was one of the compromises struck in 1867 to create the Dominion of Canada and thereby protect both Catholic and Protestant British North Americans from the evildoers George Bush and Dick Cheney which, the Book of Revelations otherwise known as the NY Times, prognosticated would eventually steal power and lie to us all about weapons of mass destruction. Of course back then, weapons of mass destruction were a real threat, as the Aboriginal recipients of whiskey and smallpox ridden blankets learned to their great discomfit.

(Anyone seen my main point wandering about this post ... ?)

Oh yes. The Christmas concert.

There they were. Mary and Joseph looking reverently down at the baby Jesus in the cradle, only somewhat distracted by parents waving frantically at them from the fields around the manger. There were three wise men with crowns and several sheepish shepherds in bathrobes watching over their classmates in sheep's clothing. Also, a cow and the angelic choir with appropriately bent halos.

And carols. Lots and lots of real Christmas carols sung with great gusto by the choirs from junior and the senior kindergartens and the first, second, and third graders wearing dads' white shirts on backwards. There was even a choir of senior students at the side of the gym who sang during those interludes between stage performances when the curtain slammed shut and the clumping of feet could be heard amidst the strains of "Angels we have heard on high, gently singing o'er the gym." And in the background manning the lights and sound were the Grade eight roadies, with cool sunglasses and sophisticated but carefully careless demeanours.

I tell you most solemnly that the concert was a triumph innocent charm over the cynical strictures rhythm and melody. And a certain Master Brendan of grade two was the cutest and sung the best. I would not fib about such things.

Christmas is coming and if you aren't in the spirit yet, now is the time to join in the joy.

Despite the religious theme, no one fainted. The Government did not fall (That happened a couple of weeks ago for entirely more wretched reasons.). There is one negative note though. Unfortunately, that pernicious message of two millennia ago did mange to prevail. You have likely been subjected to it at one time or another. We all cringed as we heard it.

Gloria in excelsis Deo and peace to people of good will.

Amen to that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Omar Alghabra's candidacy

(photo of Omar Alghabra)

It seems (hat tip to Lost Budgie and Arabian Dissent ) that the Liberals have certainly selected an enthusiastic candidate to represent them in Mississauga-Erindale (just west of Toronto) two weeks ago. This riding is the one that gifted Canada with Caroline Parish, the George Bush doll stomping member of parliament and erstwhile Liberal.

I know that it is not uncommon for the victors in such internal party selections to wax philosophic about how they will work hard to achieve success in the greater cause. The Liberal candidate for Mississauga-Erindale appears to be no exception. According to the News release below he made it clear he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrades, ready to further their every interest and aspiration. For the rest of us it only remains to clarify what comrades and what aspirations.

From the website of the Canadian Coalition we see this press release. (Note: For the record, Mr. Alghabra vehemently denies making the remarks attributed to him by the Canadian Coalition. The accusation is not corroborated. )

For Immediate Release

Toronto, Canada Monday, December 19, 2005 - On December 2, the Liberal candidate for Mississauga-Erindale, Omar Alghabra, made his victory speech after winning the nomination. In that speech, he reportedly exhorted his audience, "This is a victory for Islam! Islam won! Islam Won! ... Islamic power is extending into Canadian politics".

Alghabra's victory speech was delivered to an audience of several hundred in the Coptic Christian Centre of the Church of the Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius in Mississauga. David Ragheb, a member of the congregation, reported that following Alghabra's victory speech, Markham Councillor Khalid Osman took to the stage and declared, "We have the east, we have the west, and now we have Mississauga!" to cheers and applause from the audience.

Ragheb also reported that Rogers Cable was present throughout and may have filmed the event. "A member of parliament is supposed to represent my concerns about taxes and roads in Mississauga, not promote an Islamic agenda," said Ragheb. Victor Fouad, a Coptic Christian, was disturbed to hear of such Islamist rhetoric from a Liberal who could easily become a Canadian parliamentarian.

Mr. Fouad assumed that Paul Martin would likewise disapprove of such incitement by a Liberal candidate, and so wrote to the Prime Minister detailing what had happened. That message was ignored. The event took place over 2 weeks ago, and Paul Martin's silence since that time can only be interpreted as approval of Mr. Alghabra's rhetoric. "I was surprised that Prime Minister Martin showed no interest in such a dangerous mixing of religion and politics," said Mr. Fouad. "Since he has said nothing about it and this candidate is still representing the Liberal Party of Canada, I have to assume that Alghabra has the endorsement of the Prime Minister."

He may well assume that. I don't. Paul Martin strikes me as the sort of person who would sell his soul in order to retain political office. Come to think of it, he has. But let us return to the main point.

If the allegations are true, it is a remarkable story. It takes a certain sensibility for a Muslim to shout such an incendiary claim in a political meeting, but particularly in a Coptic church hall. The Copts (the ancient Christian church in Egypt) have suffered a great deal of oppression at the hands of Muslims over the centuries.

Mr. Alghabra is no stranger to controversy. For instance, in September 2004, as the President of the Canadian Arab Federation he complained to CanWest Global about the media outlet changing a Reuters story to reflect the fact that the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is, in fact, a terrorist organization - a fact left out of the original story. Mr. Alghabra had this to say.
CanWest, one of the largest media conglomerates in Canada, is failing its responsibilities towards all Canadians, not just Arabs and Muslims. The media has moral and ethical obligations to report the facts when it comes to news reporting, not the opinion of their editors.
Well, what are the facts? According to a U.S. State Department profile on the brigade:

al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade consists of an unknown number of small cells of terrorists associated with the Palestinian Fatah organization. Al-Aqsa emerged at the outset of the 2000 Palestinian intifadah to attack Israeli targets with the aim of driving the Israeli military and settlers from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem, and to establish a Palestinian state.
Al-Aqsa has carried out shootings and suicide operations against Israeli civilians and military personnel in Israel and the Palestinian territories, rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip, and the killing of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. Al-Aqsa has killed a number of US citizens, the majority of them dual US-Israeli citizens, in its attacks. In January 2002, al-Aqsa was the first Palestinian terrorist group to use a female suicide bomber.
Location/Area of Operation
Al-Aqsa operates in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip, and has only claimed attacks inside these three areas. It may have followers in Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon.
External Aid
In the last year, numerous public accusations suggest Iran and Hizballah are providing support to al-Aqsa elements, but the extent of external influence on al-Aqsa as a whole is not clear.

[Note to editors of the Toronto Star. Clearly, Mr. Alghabra was not thinking of himself as a future Liberal candidate when he uttered those hasty words about the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Now that he is a Liberal candidate those words are inoperable. You may proceed with the usual Grit bias on all matters respecting his candidacy. I understand he was a member of your community editorial board until he was nominated.]

UPDATE: December 21st A.M.

The Toronto Sun has published a denial by Omar Alghabra today.
The federal Liberal candidate for Mississauga-Erindale vehemently denies allegations he promised supporters to bring the "voice of Islam" to Parliament Hill.
Omar Alghabra, 36, who's running for the Liberals in Carolyn Parrish's riding, said he's the victim of a smear campaign and insists he never uttered pro-Islamic remarks on the night he won the party's nomination Dec. 2.

"It's absolutely false, it's outrageous, libelous and offensive," said an angry Alghabra, who has contacted a lawyer and is considering legal action against his accusers.

"This is contradictory to all of my beliefs and I would never say such a thing ... If people are trying to smear my reputation, they will be proven wrong."
Frankly, I hope he's correct. I'd like nothing better than for this to be a dirty trick. The alternative is appalling

The Canadian Coalition that broke the story (see above) says it has six witnessess, including a Mr. Sheref who claims he voted for Mr. Alghabra but was shocked to hear his comments after the victory was announced.

I'll continue to follow this story. We must be careful to be fair to the candidate,while pursuing the truth of the matter. What about that Rogers videotape? Can it help us settle this controversy?

Connect the Dots

When I was a young child I used to enjoy a puzzle game called "connect the dots." It was a childish game intended to teach me the mathematical order of things. The numeral "one" must be connected to the numeral "two" which must be connected to number "three" and so on. The reward, if the puzzle is completed correctly, is to see a picture emerge clearly on the page. What begins as a jumble of individual numbers becomes a coherent whole to the delight of young eyes. Surely you also played this game, or do so with your children.

I am reminded of "connect the dots" whenever I read main stream media commentary on the riots in France, or the burning of Christian churches in Australia, or the cold blooded murder of a director in Holland, or the beheading of innocent Christian school girls in Indonesia, or the crashing of airplanes into buildings in New York, or blowing up of millennia old giant Buddhist statues, or the cultural background of rapists in Sweden and Norway, or the terrorist attacks on innocent transit riders in England or Spain, or the suicide bombing of restaurants or nightclubs in .... well ..... pick any nation at random, ..... you may well be correct and the list grows longer and longer all the time.

Consider the big picture if you will. The main stream media covers these individual stories in some considerable detail but doesn't really like to connect the various dots. When it does make an effort it usually does so in a way that makes the emerging picture look like one of Savador Dali's surreal paintings. It may contain many of the discrete elements but scattered about in a pattern which befuddles the viewer's capacity to see the coherent whole. This may work well in artistic analysis but it is a stupid way of informing public policy.

In today's recent column in The Telegraph, Mark Steyn nails it as usual.
These days, whenever something goofy turns up on the news, chances are it involves a fellow called Mohammed. A plane flies into the World Trade Centre? Mohammed Atta. A gunman shoots up the El Al counter at Los Angeles airport? Hesham Mohamed Hedayet.

A sniper starts killing petrol station customers around Washington, DC? John Allen Muhammed. A guy fatally stabs a Dutch movie director? Mohammed Bouyeri. A terrorist slaughters dozens in Bali? Noordin Mohamed. A gang-rapist in Sydney? Mohammed Skaf.

Maybe all these Mohammeds are victims of Australian white racists and American white racists and Dutch white racists and Balinese white racists and Beslan schoolgirl white racists.

But the eagerness of the Aussie and British and Canadian and European media, week in, week out, to attribute each outbreak of an apparently universal phenomenon to strictly local factors is starting to look pathological. "Violence and racism are bad", but so is self-delusion.
Steyn could have added the name Gamil Gharbi, perpetrator of the Montreal massacre, but his point is taken. Self-delusion can take many forms and a refusal to connect the dots and view the actual picture is one of them. The media likes to explore the root causes of the violent social spasms involving adherents of Islam. When it does so it usually focuses on the faults of the host culture.

The Americans are oil guzzling, fat, imperialists. It's all the fault of George Bush and the neocons. The British are historically culpable. The French are inhospitable. The Russians are brutal. The Filipinos are corrupt. The Aussie's are racist skinheads. Spain is really Andalusia. Swedish women are provocative. Dutch film makers are insulting. Hindus refuse their historically supine role. Christians are proselytisers and eat pork. Buddhists are idol worshippers and atheists are dope smoking, pornographic, child molesting, Satanists in jeans.

And the Jews! Well they are so far beyond the pale that all must be driven into the sea in a grand final solution worthy of Adolph Hitler in his prime. Those dirty Jews make Passover bread from the blood of Islamic children, you know. Look it up. It's in the updated internet Protocols of Zion.

Are all Muslim's terrorists? No. Do all Muslims hate Jews, abhor Christians, loathe Hindus, detest Buddhist and want to slaughter atheists? Hardly. But a whole lot of them, numbering in the millions, do and they are rarely condemned in a whole-hearted way by those who don't. That's the big picture.

That emergent picture is ugly and it only delights those shrivelled demonic souls who deploy young men and women to murder and maim innocents without mercy. For them, the big picture is an exquisite sensual delight. Ordinary folk, of whatever persuasion - even those who can't see the big picture - recoil in utter disgust. Some of us spend time connecting the dots because it is the truth that sets us free. But the journey to the promised land is fraught with peril and hardship and requires steadfastness when confronting great evil. And great evil it is.

Now where was I? Number 32 is connected to number 33, which is connected to number 34, which is ...........

Monday, December 19, 2005

Election Delirium

I hear there is a federal election underway in Canada. It must be true because there is no other explanation for the plethora of cardboard and plastic signs half buried in the snow banks at the sides of the streets. The law prevents such public scattering of refuse except during an election, so the proof is in the litter.

It's also asserted by the CBC that there have actually been two party leader's debates already. I don't believe it personally. No one I know has seen such a thing on television, though that may be more illustrative of the Mothercorpse's (CBC's) dismal ratings among ordinary Canucks than proof the debates never took place. If no one tuned in and clapped, was there really a debate?

I do know it's not safe these days for a homeowner to answer the doorbell on Saturday mornings. It may lead to long conversations, lacking proper philosophical, historical, or theological foundations about what one must do to be saved. Yes, the New Democratic and Liberal candidates are giving the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormon missionaries stiff competition out here in the suburbs.

According to rumours circulating in my neighbourhood, the Prime Minister is insulted that the Ambassador to the United States of America returned fire on Mr. Martin's "stick in the eye" remarks at the Montreal climate change conference. You may recall that Paul Martin accused the Bush Administration of lacking a global conscience because of its refusal to sign the Kyoto Accord and ignore the whole farce, the way Canada has. The U.S. was strangely offended by Mr. Martin's unprovoked attack. Some say it's because the American?s record on CO2 emissions is much better than Canada's - a fact that the Prime Minister has astutely ignored so far in his vicarious Bush baiting.

In any case, the mild rebuttal from Ambassador Wilkins was enough to set Mr. Martin off as the man to defend Canada's interests in matters international. Paul Martin says he will protect us from that evil man who recently brought democracy to Iraq. (Oh, you missed that one too. Hell, it was given play by the media for 30 seconds. Didn't you see it?) Anyway, Mr. Martin will not, he assured the electorate, be dictated to by George Bush. He may be correct in that assertion, but was not prudent to have said it.

It just reminds the voters that Paul Martin will only be dictated to by Jack Layton of the NDP who, in a hotel room one weekend last fall, rewrote the Liberal budget to include over $4 billion in unanticipated federal expenditures targeted at socialist pet programs. We the voters accept that Mr. Martin is a man with a global conscience who won't be dictated to unless his grip on domestic political power is at stake. For modesty's sake, though, it's best he not brag about it. That's part of those Canadian values the Liberals prattle on about. No bragging allowed. Unsupported outrage is okay, though, but only if it is aimed at our southern neighbours.

Perhaps the reason I doubt the existence of an election is because this is the accepted wisdom of the CBC pundits who says the campaign won't truly begin until after the HOLY DAY WHICH MAY NOT BE NAMED has passed. Mr. Martin is a self-described "strong Catholic," so it is not surprising to me that he arranged a political ceasefire for the December 26th Boxing Day sales. We must show respect for deep religious values, after all.

Given Mr. Martin's temporary armistice I expect I'm not trampling too much on the Liberal notions of Canadian values when I wish you all a Happy Boxing Day.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Iraqi election turnout News Staff
Final results in Iraq's parliamentary election may not be known for two weeks, but early indications show that more than 70 per cent of voters may have taken part.

Election commission spokesman Farid Ayar said first estimates show that between 10 and 11 million of the nation's 15 million registered voters cast their ballot. Turnout in what was a mostly peaceful election was so overwhelming that ballots ran out in some places.

"The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq is to be commended on the way it has performed its role under the difficult circumstances prevailing in Iraq," Paul Dacey, spokesman for the International Mission for Iraqi Elections, said Friday.

Iraqis were voting for the country's first full-term government since Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003. The vote will elect 275 members of a national parliament, who will in turn appoint a president. U.S. President George Bush described the vote, which took place amid a massive security operation, as "historic."

Election officials reported high turnouts even in Sunni insurgent strongholds such as Falluja and Ramadi. Sunni Arabs boycotted previous elections.

Alternative Justice?

When Americans do embrace the Christian religion in the public square it appears they sometimes overshoot the mark. Friends of mine sent along a couple of stories which illustrate why the principle of separation of church and state, though badly abused by secularist zealots, is not entirely without merit.

By Norman Sinclair / The Detroit News
December 6, 2005
DETROIT - In a lawsuit filed on his behalf by the civil rights group, a 23-year-old Catholic man from Genesee County is asking a federal judge to set aside a drug conviction, saying he was punished for not completing a Pentecostal rehabilitation program. Joseph Hanas was 19 when he pleaded guilty to a marijuana possession charge in February 2001 in Genesee Circuit Court and was placed in a diversion program for young, non-violent offenders.

Upon the recommendation of a probation officer, Judge Robert Ransom sentenced Hanas to the state-sponsored rehabilitation program - the Inner City Christian Outreach Residential Program, run by a Pentecostal church.

Hanas said the program did not offer drug treatment or counseling, nor did it have any organized program other than reading the Bible and attending Pentecostal services. He said his rosary and prayer book was taken from him and his religion was denounced as "witchcraft." Hanas said he was told his only chance of avoiding prison and a felony record was to convert to the Pentecostal faith.

After seven weeks, his mother and lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union in Flint succeeded in getting Hanas back to court. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, claims Ransom acknowledged the failings of the center but ruled that Hanas did not satisfactorily complete the program and sentenced him to three months in jail, three months in a boot camp, and placed him on a tether for three months. Ransom also placed Hanas on four years probation, which he continues to serve.

"This man was punished for insisting on the right to practice Catholicism and refusing conversion to the Pentecostal faith,? said Kary Moss, director of the Michigan ACLU." The pastor who operates the center, Rev. Richard Rottiers could not be reached for comment. Ransom has retired. Before leaving the bench he said he would not send any more prisoners to the Inner City center, citing a lack of accountability.

Mr. Hanas has brought suit against the state for his mistreatment and the American Civil Liberties Union is representing him. According to their brief Mr. Hanas was denied the right to have his priest or his parish deacon visit him. He was told he had given up his religious rights upon entering the program.
In Detroit, the American 19th century Know Nothing movement lives on.

You may have noted that I am a blogger with somewhat strong opinions. This case leaves me unable to muster so much as a tiny protest. It speaks for itself. Jesus wept and well he might.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas zealots

(photo by

Advent is with us and Christmas approaches. It is a wonderful time of year, replete with all the traditions which make Western civilization great. Take the annual war over evergreen trees, songs and stables for instance.

What would Christmas be without zealots strutting about the town square denouncing with great moral rectitude any public manifestation of Christianity in the public square? I ask you, would Christmas seem the same without them? I think not. Why, it would be like holding Oktoberfest without the Womens' Christian Temperance League demonstrating outside the Bavarian beer tents. (What do you mean they don't? They bloody well should!)

Lest you think I am being too abstract in my commentary, I give you this concrete example, courtesy of Life Site News.
The sign at McDonald's on the corner of Falls of Neuse and Spring Forest Road [in
Raleigh N.C.] reads: "Merry Christmas, Jesus is the Reason for the Season." It is a holiday message that Amanda Alpert thinks comes on a little too strongly.

"It offends me because it specifically talks about Jesus, Merry Christmas. It doesn't give credit to anyone else," Alpert said.

Alpert called the McDonald's corporate office in Atlanta and requested that the sign be changed to the politically correct Happy Holidays. The response was the owner has the right to do what she wants with the sign.

"I care because I'm Jewish, and the reason for the season is upsetting to me," Alpert said.

Now that's the spirit of the season, Ms Alpert! Too bad McDonald's actually pays attention to the US constitution and the rights of owners. Still, it was worth a try. A true zealot - in the non-historical, non-Jewish, anaemic secular meaning of the word - must keep at it. You go girl!

Or how about (from WorldNetDaily) the Christian hip hop dancers (aged 8-12) in the great State of California (hat tip to Lost Budgie) who were banned by John Gates, senior supervisor for the Parks and Recreation Division of Chula Vista, from participating in a town holiday festival because they were wearing T-shirts that read, "Jesus Christ Dancer."
The father of one of the dancers, Al Reyes, questioned the supervisor's decision, asking why a Hawaiian dance group was allowed to perform "Feliz Navidad," "The First Noel," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and a Hawaiian prayer song, in a native language.

After being challenged by a city representative on this point, Reyes said Gates replied, "I don't understand those songs, but I do understand what those shirts say."
Mr. Gates, may be tone deaf or maybe there were other reasons why he objected to the hip hoppers. Were they dancing to Gregorian chant? The article doesn't say. I like to think they were. Let's list Mr. Gates as zealous and vigilant, but somewhat musically challenged. Does the man not visit shopping malls?

I have already chronicled below the verbal assault by zealot John Kaiman on Fr. Nick Zientarski in Manhasset N.Y., when the good reverend father had the temerity to mention the child who must not be named during the blessing of the town's Christmas tree. I commend Mr. Kaiman for his efforts to protect the townfolk of Manhasset. For one brief shining moment he carried the torch of tolerance aloft. Now, alas, that torch is extinguished in because the intolerant burghers rose up as one to denounce his progressive efforts. Mr. Kaiman is a zealot ahead of his time. Lie you down to apologise a while to rise and denounce again, sir. Remember that zealousness is just another word for obstinate persistence.

Yes, we citizens should be grateful for the constant vigilance of these self-appointed guardians of the deep rooted culture of death, for they teach us much needed lessons about the need to be tolerant of others people's beliefs. I would truly miss them if they were not going about their sacred task. Of course, I mean "sacred" in its most anaemic secular sense.

I was going to mention that the tolerance crusaders rewrote the lyrics to the Christian song Silent Night in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. You may have heard Silent Night in the original Deutch, or possibly in its English version. I understand it has achieved a certain popularity in several languages since it was written by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr in Oberdorf Austria in l813. Most of us, with the possible exception of John Gates, would likely recognize the melody if we think about it. Mind you, unlike Mr. Gates, most of us visit shopping malls.

In my opinion, the new lyrics are perfectly suited to this age.

Cold in the night,
No one in site,
Winter winds whirl and bite,
How I wish I were happy and warm,
Safe with my family out of the storm.

Unfortunately for the storyline of this blog, the school board claims the whole affair is bogus.

Ridgeway Elementary didn't change the lyrics to "Silent Night." What they did was perform a 1988 copyrighted play called "The LittleTree's Christmas Gift."

That play actually contains numerous songs about Christmas, including the grand finale, an audience-led group singing of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." The play's creator,
Dwight Elrich, happens to lead the New Covenant Singers of Bel
Air Presbyterian Church
in Los Angeles.

In fact, "The Little Tree's Christmas Gift" has been performed in several churches, including the Oakwood Forest Christian Church in Kingsport, Tennessee, the St.
Anthony Parish School
in Des Moines, Iowa, and St. Mark's Episcopal Church of Abeline, Texas.

So why are the Silent Night lyrics changed in "Little Tree's Christmas?" Because the play is about a small, lonely Christmas tree that is told it is "
too scraggly, it will never sell." That character sings the revised lyrics - "Cold in the night, No one in sight, Winter winds whirl and bite" - in a scene lamenting his sad state. The rewording has absolutely nothing to do with "secularizing" the song.

Virginia, there is no "War on Christmas."

I think I shall cry and not just because of the thought of that scraggly little holiday bush all alone in the cold. It is the thought that zealotry is clearly not being taught in the public schools of Wisconsin. This is not good. We can't just let American youth graduate from schools without the proper indoctination on zealous vigilance and then just let them loose on society. Heck, they might vote for George Bush, or his doppleganger, the font of all evil here on planet Gaia.

Finnally, I choke up because of the more terrifying thought of there being no war on Christmas. Alas. If that assertion is correct, what's an old Catholic, former military, conservative blogger to do?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

We got that loving feeling.

Apparently the movie Brokeback Mountain is causing a stir in the main stream media because its plotline, set in the 1960s, involves a homosexual affair between two cowboys.

Regular readers of this blog will know how I feel about this sort of thing. I don't approve. In particular, I am a strong advocate of more conservative plotlines for cowboy movies. That same-sex loving feeling should never be introduced into westerns. Some things are much too important to fool around with like that. It's pushing the cinematic envelope too far. No sir. It is simply not credible. I say, keep the romance in western movies where it belongs.

Everyone knows a true cowboy loves his horse.

Monday, December 12, 2005

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree

Thanks to Lost Budgie I've been made aware of the latest bun fight in the Christmas - holiday - festivus - winter interlude - wars at It's a great world. Why, in this world you can re-orient your crappers so that they point away from Mecca or towards Mecca, and position yourself respectively as sensitive womb man, or curmudgeonly mastodon slayer. Note please. If you choose the latter you had better damn well be a mastodon slayer.

You can launch a public jihad on an imaginary literary pig called Piglet and believe you are doing the will of Allah, if is that is your particular bent. It is a well known fact that Porky the Pig and his friends lack juridical protections of other minorities and can be pilloried at whim. Yes, it's a great world! The demise of Piglet as a harbinger of the demise of Britain.

Today, you can even order prison guards in Her Majesty's royal prisons to remove their English flag lapel pins (the cross of Saint George), ... if you are the head of prisons and thick as a cinder cell block. You can even do this on the basis that wearing such pins is offensive to incarcerated Muslim criminals. You can, but I can note that the flags were not ordered off the prison guard uniforms to respect the sectarian prejudices of the Irish Republican Army. The average British Muslim criminal could learn a thing or two about English oppression from the average Marxist-bomb-toting Irish terrorist. So sayeth this Canuck of Irish Catholic descent. I'm just jealous. Muslims got Lawrence of Arabia; we got Robert Emmett. In the words of the old ballad.

The struggle is over, our boys are defeated.
Old Ireland surrounded with sadness and gloom.
We were defeated and shamefully treated
and I Robert Emmett awaiting my doom.
To be drawn and quartered well that was my sentence ......

It is a well known fact that a man about to be pulled asunder by four horses does not give the south end of a rat pointing north for the lapel accessories of his executioners. Of course, I take comfort that Robert Emmett really was on the side of the Irish. Larry Arabia, on the other hand, was actually screwing his ostensible allies.

What has this to do with Christmas tree dedications? Nothing. I became tangled in my preamble and am only now able to make my escape to my main point.

For several years now municipal governments tried to please everybody by asking everyone to pretend that the Christmas tree is in fact a holiday bush. They pleased no one, of course, except for that curious sort of miserable eccentric that exults in expunging all public references to the spiritual and cultural foundation of Western civilization. For such types every mention of a holiday bush causes nostrils to flare in triumph. Not that there is anything wrong with nostril flaring. (Someone from the British Columbia Human Rights Commission may log on at any moment.) .

I used to take exception to the flaring of left nostrils but now accept that the Canadian Charter of Judicial Rights and Privileges protects the noses of progressive camels to enter whatever tents they want without fear of parliamentary rebuke or public hindrance. For we are Canadians!

It seems though that in the good State of New York in the Town of Manhasset the good people are a tich unhappy.
When the Rev. Nick Zientarski invoked the name of Jesus Christ during his traditional blessing of the official Christmas tree lighting in Manhasset last week, he had no idea he had signed on as a soldier in the culture wars over Christmas.

Even as he spoke, the Roman Catholic priest said he could hear North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman angrily objecting behind him, "this is inappropriate." Then, Kaiman got up and told the crowd, "I just want to make it clear that this is in no way a religious ceremony."

A collective gasp came from the 200 adults and children gathered around the gazebo across from Town Hall. Nothing has been the same since in this well-heeled community that counts at least a dozen houses of worship in about 2 square miles.

"I have to tell you that Manhasset is in an uproar" over Kaiman's remarks, said Christine Roberts, who is Jewish and attended the ceremony with her two sons. "It really was the wrong thing to say at the wrong time. There is a lot of hostility going around. Angry letters to the editor of the local paper. Angry conversations. Insanity has absolutely overtaken this town." ....

A week later, despite public mea culpas from a white-faced Kaiman at a meeting Wednesday night and, again, in a letter to the editor in yesterday's Manhasset Press, angry constituents are still calling and sending letters. Some did not even witness the event, but heard about it through a widely disseminated e-mail from the priest.

In that e-mail to parishioners at St. Mary's, the 33-year-old priest explained he had decided to say a Catholic blessing, rather than "something generic," because "this was a Christmas tree." Besides, he said, clergy representing different traditions are asked each year.

"The reaction is beyond anything I could have imagined," Zientarski said yesterday. "Between yesterday and today, I've gotten 150 to 200 e-mails personally to me, all of it expressing support. And it's not just Catholics. I've heard from Jews, Greeks, people from other Christian denominations."

The reaction also has stunned and humbled Kaiman. "I over reacted and handled the situation poorly," he acknowledged in an interview yesterday. Kaiman said he had arrived at the park expecting a more nonsectarian holiday event because it is sponsored by the Manhasset Park District, the town and the local Chamber of Commerce."

I'm getting an education on this myself as I speak to a number of people in the community, and realize there really is a concern that the holiday is being diminished because people such as myself who gloss over the specific purpose of the holiday," he said.

Kaiman, who is Jewish, said that his reaction to the blessing had nothing to do with his own faith, but related to his concern the town might be perceived as sponsoring a sectarian religious event. He said he has apologized to the priest as well as to St. Mary's pastor.

Zientarski, for one, said he accepts that apology. He sent out a second e-mail yesterday, noting Kaiman's effort to mend fences. "He definitely recognizes the offense he committed and he's truly sorry," the priest said. "As Catholics, we want to offer forgiveness and give people a second chance."
Still, Zientarski issued a call to arms to everyone on his e-mail list to defend Christmas. "Call your stores and encourage them to say, 'Merry Christmas'(and Happy Hannukah too)," he wrote. "Look for those Nativity scenes! We should all be proud to be Christians who believe in the Lord, Our Savior, and we should encourage ALL faiths to be people of 'faith,' not 'holidays' and the secular."
Yes, there is a stirring in the hinterlands and it is good that this should be. It seems that we Christians are getting mighty fed up with the intolerance of others. That there should be intolerance of Christians and their beliefs is not too surprising. There was that incident on Golgotha.

Ah well, it was a Manhassat teaching moment as they say. Now where was it that I read the other day about the town that refuses to allow Jesus and Mary in their Nativity display. I accept the empty tomb as a given, but an empty stable?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Smoke and Mirrors

Via CBC News we learn Paul Martin has announced he will ban handguns if he is re-elected.

The Liberal strategy for making the streets of Canada's cities safer begins with banning all handguns and getting tougher on crime. Paul Martin announced the proposed ban in a troubled Toronto neighbourhood on Thursday.

"I've come to the conclusion that significant change is needed. I've come to the conclusion that we should ban handguns," Martin said at a community centre in north Etobicoke, a Toronto suburb rocked by a spate of shootings this year. Gunfire has been responsible for 50 of the 74 homicides in Toronto this year. "In a number of our cities ... there has been an upsurge in violent crime involving handguns," he said. "This is not the Canada we imagine. It isn't the Canada we want for our families."

The Liberal strategy, Martin said, would also mean tougher sentences for people convicted of crimes involving guns, better enforcement at the border to stop gun smuggling, and more police assigned to fighting guns and gangs.

This is disingenuous. Handguns have been very tightly regulated in Canada since the 1920s. Banning the legally regulated variety will do nothing to stem the gang shootings in places like Toronto. These handguns are not the ones being used to kill people. It is the illegal handguns being smuggled across the Canada-U.S. border by Canadian criminals that is the problem. And if the Liberals had spent the money wasted on their useless long gun registry ($2 billion and counting) on policing the border we would all be safer from internal urban violence.

The long gun registry, you may recall, was demanded by its proponents by the "Montreal massacre" in which Gamil Gharbi (aka Marc Lapine) murdered 14 women with a rifle at l'Ecole Polytechnique. The registry has cost a fortune and has done little or nothing to address the problem of urban handgun violence.

But then, it was never intended to do that. It was a cynical political move intended to show how deeply the Liberals cared about women. In electoral terms, it probably worked, as it targeted well educated, left leaning, urban women who had never held a rifle in their manicured hands and thought them icky boy toys. They took it for granted that guns were intrinsically evil, as were the men who owned and used them. After all, those of us who didn't massacre women were certainly ready, willing and able to shoot Bambi down in cold blood. It's one thing to bring home the bacon from the supermarket, and another thing altogether to bring home the venison from the hunt.

Meanwhile, the Liberals were actually cutting the resources and staff of the RCMP and closing detachments close to border crossing points. Mr. Martin now says if he is re-elected his party will address related policing and border issues. One has to wonder why, if they cared so deeply, this hasn't been the case from 1993 when they took office, to now.

Spin without real substance is a dreadful thing in the hands of politicians seeking high office.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The dancer

He pleases those who come across his sight
With eyes that brighten ours with great delight
Twinkling with a promise of new days
He dances in fluidly easy ways

Ladies stand about and twitter to their friends
Sneaking peeks through eyelash filtered lens
While manly men look carefully at him
with countenance so bright and theirs so dim.

He dances seductive reels with gilded heels
Thrilling with promises of new deals
Of grand new things not yet become
So tempting and so coveted by some

A man of aloofness and great charm
Within whose circle none will come to harm
A refuge to the heart felt longing
That deep desire for real belonging

But with his beauty an underlying cold
Which withers hearts and leaves them feeling old
Though with his dance he stirs us still
He turns innocence to his perverted will.

His is not beauty as we thought
His independence was very dearly bought
As shrewd glances at his shoes disclose
The cloven hooves which by his choice he chose.


And the beat goes on .........

Barbara Findlay - Lawyer and would be slayer of knights' rights.

The lesbian couple and their lesbian rights advocate Barbara Findlay have revealed their true motives for taking the Knights of Columbus to the B.C. Human Right Commission. According Doug Beasley in the Edmonton Sun:

An Edmonton lesbian couple is set to launch a court challenge of Canada's gay marriage law - and force the issue back onto the federal agenda in the midst of a bitter and divisive election campaign. Tracey Smith and Deborah Chymyshyn plan to appeal a recent decision of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, which declined to punish the Knights of Columbus for refusing to allow the couple to use their hall in Vancouver for their wedding reception.

"This is going to be the first real legal test of the (same-sex marriage law)," said the couple's B.C.-based lawyer, barbara findlay (who spells her first and last names with lower-case letters). "We want the court to make the call - how far does freedom of religion extend under the charter? Where do we draw the line?"

..... Smith and Chymyshyn planned to hold a reception following their wedding on Nov. 1, 2003. They rented the K of C hall - apparently unaware that the Knights are a Catholic fraternal organization.

They paid a deposit and issued invitations. In September 2003 the K of C - informed that the happy couple was, in fact, a same-sex duo - cancelled their reservation. In its ruling, the tribunal concluded the K of C was acting within its rights when it refused to allow Chymyshyn and Smith to use the hall.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The federal government stressed the point during the summer debate in the Commons over the gay marriage bill that religious institutions would not be compelled to sanctify same-sex unions.

However, the tribunal did find the Knights guilty of humiliating the couple, and ordered them to pay Chymyshyn and Smith a $2,000 penalty. Findlay said that's not good enough. "Basically the Knights were punished for bad manners, not discrimination," she said. "We won the battle. We're nowhere near winning the war."

Findlay - who specializes in gay and lesbian rights cases - said she wants the B.C. Supreme Court to at least order religious institutions to make their policies known to couples before they sign contracts. "Freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination are both guaranteed by the charter," she said. "Sometimes, two human rights can step on each other."

So there you have it. As Barbara Findlay has made clear. It wasn't about hurt feelings (the Knights apologized for the misunderstanding), or additional expenses (the Knights offered to reimburse them for out of pocket expenses). Given the above comments, a reasonable person might well conclude that the human rights complaint was a set up. This is all about getting the court to, "draw the line" on religious rights.

I've said it before. Nothing must be allowed to impede the advancement of the homosexual activist agenda. Nothing. This is scorched earth warfare folks and it's all being done in the name of tolerance.

Speaking of tolerance, David Warren has just written an excellent piece on the word and its development into the moral hingepin of modern liberal society.

Our super heroes have clay feet

Map of Paul Martin's Gaul bladder
courtesy of FORVM's Maps of the Ancient World

CBC news

Prime Minister Paul Martin hammered on the theme of national unity as his campaign swept through Quebec on Wednesday, but couldn't put the sponsorship scandal behind him.

"National unity is an issue in this election," said the Liberal leader. "(Bloc Leader) Gilles Duceppe formed a pact with [new Parti Quebecois Leader] Andrew Boisclair. They said this election is the first step on the way to a referendum. Gilles Duceppe will put it on the table. What we're saying (is), we're going to defend Canada.

"I can tell you right now we're not going to allow the separatists to divide Quebec families," added Martin. "We're not going to allow separatists to divide this country."
Give me strength. The Liberals, with their corruption in the sponsorship scandal, have done extreme damage to the federalist cause in Quebec. If today, we have a resurgence of the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois, we can thank the political party Paul Martin leads. Quebecers are outraged, and for the first time in some time, I agree with them.

To see the Liberals now posturing as defenders of this federation in this campaign is so contrary to the truth I think I'll need to travel with a barf bag in hand for the next two months. Good grief. He is completely shameless.

US Citizenship test

I just scored eight out of ten on the US citizenship test at blogthings. Now if I could just figure out which two questions I got wrong.

(surely the real test can't be that easy or short .... can it?)