Saturday (Night’s) Stray Thoughts

Lots of things going on in the world and in the land of blog. So much that I was tempted to skip the post today to concentrate on other things—like the IRS 1040. But a former student mentioned in an email that “Stray Thoughts” has been an enjoyable feature to read; she even provided a few links on subjects, some of which I’ll hold for another occasion.

March for Reason
I am waiting with decidedly unbated breath for reports on the march in Washington today (March 24). It was formed by a few atheists and featured Richard Dawkins speaking in honor of the recently deceased Christopher Hitchens, all in an attempt at rallying people of non-theistic mindsets. The trumpet call was that of reason, and the hope was that it could be an opportunity to be seen as nice, non-caustic representatives of those who have no faith, but do have a heart. (Non-caustic and Richard Dawkins would seem a bit of a stretch, but I’m willing to give him the chance at reforming—I live by faith after all). It’s the premise itself that is so old and worn out: faith and reason have nothing to do with one another, and a thinking person must choose reason in order to be taken seriously. No faith involved in assuming chance plus time yields a world containing reasoning beings? Come now, you’ll have to do a little better in order to claim the intellectual high ground. Another part of the rallying cry is for the heart of non-theists to be demonstrated, especially through altruism. That’s a great idea; I have no interest in claiming that non-believers do not have a heart or an ability to care about others; I do think they are incapable of providing a solid accounting for its existence.

On the Political Trail
Will he or won’t he? Will Mitt Romney have enough delegates to win the Republican nomination before the convention? It seems many pundits question whether he can win the nomination at the convention if he doesn’t win it beforehand—all the more reason to talk about inevitability in his camp. Rick Santorum, meanwhile, seems to have a problem with evangelicals, in that he can’t live with them and he can’t live without them. One thing for certain is that his staffers will need to do a better job at choosing those with whom he will share a platform, as last week he was introduced by a very zealous God-and-country, good vs. evil pastor who was sure where the Lord stood in this election. Backtracking without disaffecting is tricky business for a candidate in second place.

Health Care Debate
Aside from the blistering attacks given by Republican candidates, “Obama Care” may get a very deliberate scrutiny by the Supreme Court. Reports have been circulating across the internet, citing real or fabricated clauses in the 2,000+ pages that if true would be of real concern. We have all heard about the abortion and contraceptives controversies. I find it interesting that feminist groups want the government to stay out of the privacy of their bedrooms when it comes to abortion on one hand, also want the government to be there to provide contraceptives at public cost on the other hand. All of which raises what ought to be a concern for all of us: just how much do we want government involved in heath care at all? Something is amiss when children cannot take aspirin or cough syrup without explicit parental consent, but can be taken across state lines for a surgical procedure called abortion without ever being told about it. That, in my opinion, is the unavoidable consequence of a politicized state running what ought to be a private concern—our health. And it is not without great cost that we do such things. In separate reports it was mentioned that Americans pay an average of $7500 per person for health care; in England, it is $3500. Or in Singapore, heath care costs 7% of income; in the U.S., it’s 17%. Are we really that much healthier?

Blogging, Twittering, and Making a Difference
I’ve been reading a few blogs, including an always interesting one from a former student, which dare to raise questions such as why people do this sort of thing. Is the need really there, as far as lives into which these few words speak in a way that encourages new ways of thinking, calls old ones into question, and spurs more deliberative approaches to the living of a faithful Christian life? Or do we just like to hear ourselves think, foolishly believing that writing or speaking a few words can substitute for getting out and actually doing something? Do we write for ourselves or for others? I’m not always confident of giving the right answers to those questions. Maybe we should, while we’re at it, ask why people read what bloggers write. Feel free to answer.

A Season Misspent
I realized belatedly that I have not really paid attention to Lent this year in the manner in which I have in the past. Daily posting of the season have not been the pattern, for which I should repent. There will be reflections during Holy Week, beginning Palm Sunday, which will stay specifically on that week of our Lord’s Passion.