Sunday, April 24, 2005
You will need several copies of this Living Will; one for each Senator, one for each member of Congress, your Governor, and two more: one for Bush and the other one for whomever is actually running the country (Dick Cheney? Karl Rove?).
I, _________________________, being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.
Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.
If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.
Under no circumstances shall the members of the Legislature enact a special law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma.
Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case. I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run for the presidency in 2008; it is my wish that they play politics with someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.
I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my behalf. They should mind their own business, too.
If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living hell.
Morality is always the product of terror; its chains and strait-waistcoats are fashioned by those who dare not trust others, because they dare not trust themselves, to walk in liberty. - Aldous Huxley
Saturday, April 23, 2005
The up-to-date copy of this post will be maintained at: http://genweblog.blogspot.com/2006/12/valories-genealogy-message-boards.html
Administrator's page: http://boards.rootsweb.com/Default.aspx?view=admin
Selkirkshire, Scotland: http://boards.rootsweb.com/localities.britisles.scotland.sel.general/mb.ashx?view=admin
( SCT-Selkirk list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/SCT-Selkirk-L.htm )
Dalarna, Sweden: http://boards.rootsweb.com/localities.scan-balt.sweden.counties.dalarna/mb.ashx?view=admin
( Basinger list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Basinger-L.htm )
( Baysinger list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Baysinger-L.htm )
( Bowhay list - not my list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Bowhay-L.htm )
( Calhoon list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Calhoon-L.htm )
( Calhoun list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Calhoun-L.htm )
( Colquhoun list - not my list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Colquhoun-L.htm )
( Cowen list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Cowen-L.htm )
( Cowin-L: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Cowin-L.htm )
( Daiber list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Daiber-L.htm )
( Disney list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Disney-L.htm )
( Goosic list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Goosic-L.htm )
( Horine list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Horine-L.htm )
( Kammer list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Kammer-L.htm )
( Kammerer list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Kammerer-L.htm )
( Kemmerer list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Kemmerer-L.htm )
( McBee list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/McBee-L.htm )
( McPhail list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/McPhail-L.htm )
( Orme list: http://lists.rootsweb.com/index/surname/o/orme.html )
Clan Chattan: http://boards.rootsweb.com/topics.ethnic.celtic.scottish.chattan/mb.ashx?view=admin
( Clan-Chattan list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Clan-Chattan-L.htm )
Clan Colquhoun: http://boards.rootsweb.com/topics.ethnic.celtic.scottish.colquhoun/mb.ashx?view=admin
( Clan-Colquhoun list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Clan-Colquhoun-L.htm )
Clan MacBean: http://boards.rootsweb.com/topics.ethnic.celtic.scottish.macbean/mb.ashx?view=admin
( Clan-MacBean list: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~valorie/Clan-MacBean-L.htm )
Clan MacPherson: http://boards.rootsweb.com/topics.ethnic.celtic.scottish.macpherson/mb.ashx?view=admin
( Clan-MacPherson list: http://lists.rootsweb.com/index/intl/SCT/CLAN-MACPHERSON.html )
How to Use the Rootsweb/Ancestry Message Boards
Making Most of Message Boards and Mailing Lists: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20040128.txt - From the RootsWeb Review archives
Meandering Through the Message Boards (locating boards, navigation -- the basics): http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20020710.txt
Maximizing Searches on Message Boards (using the advanced search feature): http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20030108.txt
Message Boards - Utilizing Surname-Specific Searches (searching for those difficult surnames): http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20030924.txt
Portals to Success (message board gateway): http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20020731.txt
Message Board Icons: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20020529.txt
Visual Aids on Message Boards (more message board icons): http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20020814.txt
Where and How to Post on Message Boards: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20020904.txt
Effective Message Board Posting: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20020911.txt
Message Board Queries (using the Subject, Surname, and Classification fields): http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20020724.txt
Message Board Attachments: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20020605.txt
Message Board Options -- Say It With Pictures (more about attachments): http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20030528.txt
Will the Mystery Guest Sign In, Please? (Message Board Registration and Login): http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/review/20040303.txt
(Registration and login are now required to post)
My Genealogy Lists: http://valoriez.blogspot.com/2003/12/valories-genealogy-lists.html
I keep the subject of my inquiry constantly before me, and wait till the first dawning opens gradually, by little and little, into a full and clear light. - Isaac Newton, 1642-1727
Friday, April 22, 2005
After 30 years of effort, the Washington Gay Rights Bill is Defeated again. When will the Legislature understand that homosexual citizens deserve equal rights with all other citizens? Sen. Jim Hargrove, a Democrat, said he opposed the measure for religious reasons. "I believe adultery is wrong; I believe sex outside marriage is wrong; I believe homosexuality is wrong," he said. "I cannot give government protection to this behavior." And yet homosexual *behavior* or homosexual *intercourse* had nothing to do with this bill. The legislation would have prohibited discrimination in jobs, housing and insurance. And presumably Hargrove opposes allowing gay persons to marry, and doesn't see the irony in his ignorant statement.
To quote a story on 365gay.com,
Microsoft, Washington state's biggest employer, is accused of bowing to a conservative Christian group and pulling its support for an LGBT civil rights bill, ensuring its defeat. The New York Times has picked up the story - Microsoft Comes Under Fire for Reversal on Gay Rights Bill: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/22/national/22gay.htmlI'm so happy to be able to say that I use no Microsoft products!
The legislation, which gay rights groups had fought for nearly 30 years to achieve, fell by only one vote yesterday in the state Senate.
Microsoft, one of the first employers in Washington to write LGBT equality into its company policy, and a longtime advocate of the civil rights bill, withdrew its support this year. LGBT activists say the move followed a meeting between the company and the leader of an evangelical church located a stone's throw from Microsoft's Redmond headquarters.
According to the Seattle PI, "Minority Leader Bill Finkbeiner, R-Kirkland, took most of the heat yesterday for his no vote." He had previously voted for similar measures. The PI: "Finkbeiner said although he was conflicted about the vote, he didn't think the new law was necessary." "'There's a lot of things that I think are wrong, and we don't have a law against them,' Finkbeiner said. "I don't believe that in any way this vote condones discrimination in any way, shape or form. I still absolutely believe that it's wrong. I still believe that it does happen in some occurrences, but this state is actually pretty progressive and open minded.'"
Finkbeiner is wrong. If the bill was not needed because there is no discrimination taking place against gay people because of their sexual orientation, the bill would not have been introduced. 16 states in the US have similar legislation, along with some cities and towns. All of them were written and passed because there was a need for them.
To write to your Washington state legislators, see: http://www.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx
Write or call them, and express your feelings about this injustice. Equal rights for ALL!
Post Script: This has made me angry enough to look up Equal Rights Washington and join and donate money. http://www.equalrightswashington.org/
Also see: Teen shows wisdom that elders lack: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/jamieson/219935_robert13.html
Now that I've donated some money to fight the injustice in our state, and written a letter to Sen. Finkbeiner, I'm starting to feel a bit better. ERW had a cool link for writing letters to editors of newspapers: http://capwiz.com/wa/dbq/media/. This makes it easy to send up to 5 short letters to newspapers who accept letters by email. Try it!
A coalition of organizations working to advance equality for the LGBT community in Washington State.
http://www.equalrightswashington.org email: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 12216
Seattle, WA 98122
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike. - Oscar Wilde
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Am I out of touch? I've heard of 420 (or 4:20, 4/20) before ("Stoner's Day"), but at this point, I don't know anybody who is celebrating. I never wanted to use drugs, and by the time I met them, those friends who indulged had mostly stopped. Now that my kids have grown up and moved into Seattle, my links to the dope smokers in the neighborhood are gone. So I'm out of the loop. Sounds like friends of friends of Colin's will be puffing today, but I don't know them. It seems odd to celebrate Adolf Hitler's birthday by lighting up a doobie! But that's just me.
See Snopes.com for more about 420: http://www.snopes.com/language/stories/420.htm
NPR's take on 420 - talk to your kids: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4607795
Marijuana in the Body: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dope/body/
Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all: the apathy of human beings. - Helen Keller
Monday, April 18, 2005
Etienne Herrbach has kindly given me permission to quote his post to the FRA-ALSACE-L@rootsweb.com:
In German-written records, many forms can be found beside the standard German names resembling the English and French forms. The following table lists the various forms that can be seen more or less frequently in Alsace, but also in Germany and in Switzerland:
Legend: English / French / German; Alsatian (various forms)
January / Janvier / Januar; Jänner (Jenner), Wintermonat, Hartmonat, Hartung, Eismond
February / Février / Februar; Hornung, Taumond, Narrenmond
March / Mars / März; Lenzmond, Lenzmonat, Lenzing, Frühlingsmonat
April / Avril / April; Ostermonat, Ostermond
May / Mai / Mai; Wonnemonat, Weidemonat
June / Juin / Juni; Brachmond, Brachmonat, Rosenmonat
July / Juillet / Juli; Heumonat, Heumond
August / Août / August; Erntemonat, Ernting, Sichelmond, Bisemond
September / Septembre / September; 7ber, Herbstmonat, Herbstmond, Scheiding
October / Octobre / Oktober; 8ber, Weinmonat, Dachsmond
November / Novembre / November; 9ber, Windmonat, Nebelung
December / Décembre / Dezember; Xber, Christmonat, Heiligenmonat, Dustermond
(Note the roots "monat(h)" = month and "mond" = moon -- obvious relationship!)
The short forms (7bre, etc.) were often used in Latin records, too.
As to the French Revolutionary calendar, needless to say that the months did not correspond at all to traditional months; e.g. 1st Vendémiaire = 22 or 23 or 24 September, depending on the year. There are plenty of websites explaining that, and softwares converting dates between the two systems.
Let me just add that in Alsace the revolutionary months were sometimes translated into German-Alsatian names (Brumaire => Nebelmonat, Frimaire => Frostmonat, Nivose => Schneemonat, etc.). Therefore, one must be careful since some translated forms re-used the traditional forms above, e.g. Windmonat = Ventose, but also = November, Erntemonat = Messidor but also August. However, the translated forms of revolutionary months were not used very widely in Alsace; instead, the French names were spelled according to the "Alsatian accent": e.g. Termittor or Dermidor for Thermidor, Brairial for Prairial, etc.
- Wolff C., 1975. Guide des recherches généalogiques en Alsace. Editions Oberlin, Strasbourg. [out of print]
- Roll C.R., 1991. Manuel illustré pour la généalogie et l'histoire familiale en Alsace. Le Verger, éditeur, Illkirch. [in process of revision]
We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing. - Mother Teresa
Old Style and New Style Dates and the change to the Gregorian Calendar: A summary for genealogists: http://www.cree.ie/genuki/dates.htm
10,000-Year Calendar: http://www.calendarhome.com/tyc/
Calendars for the Years 1582-3000: http://www.aaronscollection.com/calendars/temp/
Frequently Asked Questions about Calendars (web pages, pdf, text file): http://www.tondering.dk/claus/calendar.html
Month Names in Germany, France & Switzerland: http://valoriez.blogspot.com/2005/04/month-names-in-germany-france.html
The French Républican Calendar: http://www.napoleon.org/en/essential_napoleon/calendar/index.asp
Roman Numeral Year Dates, A Conversion Guide: http://www2.inetdirect.net/~charta/Roman_numerals.html
The Julian Calendar: http://www.polysyllabic.com/Julian.html
Regnal Chronologies: http://www.hostkingdom.net/regindex.html
Jewish Calendar: http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm
Western-Chinese Calendar Converter: http://www.mandarintools.com/calendar.html
Maya/Aztec Calendar calculators: http://www.diagnosis2012.co.uk/mlink.htm
The Seven-Day Week / Meanings of the Names of the Days: http://www.crowl.org/Lawrence/time/days.html
History of the Months / Meanings of their Names: http://www.crowl.org/Lawrence/time/months.html
History of Calendars: http://astro.nmsu.edu/~lhuber/leaphist.html
Interactive Calendars: http://www.calendarzone.com/Interactive/
Some Unusual Calendars: http://www.theorderoftime.com/cyber/to/time/calendars.html
Cyndi's List Calendars & Dates: http://www.cyndislist.com/calendar.htm
I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony
Sunday, April 17, 2005
I woke up thinking about narrowness, and focus. Aren't they the same? I don't think so. Narrowness implies closing oneself off to new experiences, sensations, thoughts and ideas. Focus, on the other hand, implies a GOAL. A person (or even a nation) can be focused on that goal, and still remain liberal, open, generous, curious, and spontaneous.
A narrow person can also be focused, and may even reach the goal faster that way. But will they be able to enjoy the accomplishment? I think there is a reason that we call the classical education "liberal." We used to value curiousity and breadth. Nowadays, it seems that "conservatism" is in style instead. In other words, narrowness. I find that sad, but understandable. People are scared, because of the attacks, and the present administration is trying to stoke and grow that fear.
However, the way to meet challenges is with creativity, not fear! Diversity is a sign of strength in a society, and in systems in general. If we retreat to a Fortress America, we will be under attack from all directions. I hope we regain our liberal stance, and use our creativity, our riches and generosity, our openness and intelligence, to improve the world.
Thus endeth the sermon.
Another fascinating look at this issue (sorta) - Cool to be Dumb: How Being Stupid is Part of the American Way from YGA Magazine: http://www.ygamag.com/pub/pages/editcooldumb.html
Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to nurture it in solitude and to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads. - Erica Jong
Monday, April 11, 2005
Joseph Hansen deserves his own post. I enjoyed his books so much, and am so sad I found them after his death.
Just finished Fadeout (1972) by Joseph Hansen, recently deceased. Too bad it took me so long to find Dave Brandstetter, bereaved gay insurance investigator. Good twists and turns in Sixties California, and a nice noir ending. Next ordered:
The man everybody was afraid of and Death claims. Finished Death claims (1973) at the cabin. Nice twists and turns. I love how Hansen intertwines the personal life of his Dave B., and the mystery he is trying to solve.
Our power was out for 5 hours today because of a wind storm. I took the opportunity to finish The man everybody was afraid of (1978), my favorite so far. The ending was a bit of a let-down, after the high tension of the main story. But all ends were tied up neatly, I guess. I need to order the next 2 or 3. While I'm waiting for them, I started one of my Christmas books, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, which is the beginning of a long series of long books. This one is 850 pages (paperback), and there are 7 books so far. It's set in the Highlands of Scotland, near where my McPhails, Macphersons and MacQueens came from, and straddles the world of post-war Britain and 18th-century Scotland. Sex, romance, fantasy, history, heroic deeds AND genealogy -- what's not to like? Finished Outlander tonight, and it was even better than I hoped. On to Hansen's Troublemaker (1975), which I had to ILL. So I got them a bit out of order. Troublemaker was a quick read! And a bit lack-luster, compared to the others. I wish I could have read it in order. Trouble on the horizon for both Dave's father (heart) and his relationship with Doug, and of course the mystery is solved, finally. And naturally, I'm still waiting for Skinflick (1997) too (ILL). sigh.
Next up, Gravedigger (1982). When I finished Gravedigger (it was a short one), I went looking on the Web for more information about Joseph Hansen, and happened onto his blog, http://josephhansen.blogspot.com/. No wonder I love his books -- the man can not only write, but THINK! Gravedigger, by the way, is really good. So exciting, really, I didn't want to put it down. Why does Dave put himself in such danger?
And they just keep getting better and better (and shorter)! Nightwork (1984) might be the best yet. This one involves illegal waste dumping, along with racism, racist gangs, poverty and corporate malfeasance. Romping good story, and I think he and his lover Cecil are finally in a good place. About time for some happiness!
Next, The Little Dog Laughed (1986). This is the most political yet. And it has little to do with gay issues, either, although the hypocricy of the US military about gay soldiers is certainly highlighted. The bad guy is a thinly-disguised Oliver North with his own private army, but once again Dave escapes with his dignity. What wit, what charm! The surprise ending is a laugh -- I can't wait to see where Hansen takes this. Skinflick is in at the library, so I'll be dipping back to the past.
But first, an oldie that Hansen wrote under the nom de plume Rose Brock, Longleaf. Part historical, part romance, part mystery-thriller. What hooked me was Bird's search for her true family, which meant going from her little town in post-Civil War east Tennessee to the mysteries and dangers of New Orleans. What bothered me was a genealogist niggle -- only the *father's* family was inquired into; there was not a search for the marriage record, and thus, Bird's mother's family name. Oh, well! It was a good read. All right, Skinflick. What a great book, and a pivotal part of the series. Not only does Dave confront the sex trade (bodies, books & mags and films), but also the death of his father and loss of his rebound relationship (and his car!). So he has to rely on friends, both personally and professionally. He ends up almost dead, but I think this is the low point, and he survives. Solves the mystery, but his company still has to pay out the money......
Thomas was working on my computer most of the day, so it was fortunate that Early Graves (1987) came in! This is Hansen's first treatment of AIDS, and it's a doozy! Hard to remember the fear and loathing that surrounded HIV and those who were afflicted with it, today. And yet, the fear and loathing continue in some places. I was thinking this was a bit late, but I see that Philadelphia didn't come out until 1993. This was string of murders of gay men, all infected -- and it ended up right on Dave's doorstep. Literally. Dave's life is at risk in so many ways! He survives, though, and Cecil still loves him.
I'm so sad that this series is about to end for me. Dave is getting tired, though. In The Boy Who Was Buried This Morning (1990), he gets on the case just to keep from boredom, sadness, and too much smoking and drinking. Aging is not for the faint of heart! Thank goodness he goes on the job, however, even if he can't save the life of one of the innocents. Hansen takes on the 'haters' - the KKK and their allies. And then buys a restaurant, and retires from the biz for good. I'm glad Hansen gives him in swan song in the last of the series, A Country of Old Men (1991). It will be difficult to bid Dave farewell.
I'm so sad and downhearted. I wish I had read the dozen books more slowly, so I had some left. A Country of Old Men was great, although the most difficult to read. The story begins with a battered and neglected pre-schooler who witnesses - maybe - a murder of a person he knows and trusts. Too much drinking, too many drugs, too many people who hurt those who love them because they crave their substance of choice more than they crave their loved ones. I've seen too much of this in real life. The mystery is nice and tangled and baffling, but the road is winding through sad country, and you know, heading to a sad ending. Bon voyage, dear Dave. I'll think of you often, and you too, Joe Hansen. How odd that I read the ending of this series the day after the death of Johnny Carson, whom Dave (and his father) so closely resembled. Wealthy, humble, reserved, compassionate, attractive. And they both disappeared from public view about the same time. Fare you well, all of you slim smiling men.
A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. - Albert Einstein
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings
United States Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue South West
Washington DC 20202
I strenuously disagree with your stand on PBS and the Postcards from Buster episode. Gay issues DO belong in the classroom -- although I cannot see that visiting a household headed by lesbian women can be counted as "raising the issue." Gay and lesbian children are IN our classrooms. Should they have to suffer persecution, bullying, harassment and even rape and murder because of who they are?
NO! And no person should suffer this treatment just because they are out of the mainstream in some way.
Please take a strong stand on behalf of ALL children to be treated with respect, dignity, and safety. Urge all schools to implement strong anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies that explicitly cover gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
Robert R. Zimmerman
copies to: Terry Bergeson, Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction
Dr. Barbara Grohe, Superintendent, Kent Public Schools
King County Journal
Press Release: PFLAG Supports Day of Silence
Washington, D.C. - April 7 - Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) strongly supports the students participating in next week's Day of Silence. The Day of Silence, April 13th, is an annual, national student-led effort in which participants take a day-long vow of silence to peacefully bring attention to bullying and harassment faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GBLT) youth and their allies in schools. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the organization that coordinates the Day of Silence, anticipates that 450,000 students in all 50 states will participate this year.
The Day of Silence brings attention to a chronic and dangerous problem, as PFLAG's Schools Assessment Survey found earlier this year. The survey, which focused on resources available to students, parents and faculty in schools across the country, found 70% of schools had no training for educators on how to stop GLBT bullying and 92% had no training for students on how to stop GLBT bullying.
"At a time when physical and verbal abuse against GLBT students has become an epidemic, the lack of resources and information to protect our children is shocking," said Jody Huckaby, PFLAG's Executive Director. "The voices of our GLBT young people have long been silenced in our schools and their plight only made worse by institutional indifference."
PFLAG parents, having too often seen their own children suffer physical or verbal abuse, are particularly supportive of the students' efforts on the Day of Silence. Sam Thoron, father of a lesbian and PFLAG's president said, "We know from personal family experience how damaging harassment at school can be. I salute the courageous students participating in the Day of Silence and call on school administrators and educators to stop ignoring these kids and put an end to bullying and abuse."
Day of Silence: How You Can Help
The Day of Silence, a project of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in collaboration with the United States Student Association (USSA), is a student-led day of action where those who support making anti-GLBT bias unacceptable in schools take a day-long vow of silence to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment -- in effect, the silencing -- experienced by GLBT students and their allies.
How can you help? To support your local schools in participation in the annual Day of Silence, April 13, 2005, find resources at http://www.dayofsilence.org/. Your participation could make a difference in the level of involvement in the community while letting GLBT students know they are not alone. TeachRespect.org also has some PSAs and other resources: http://teachrespect.org/. Contact your local schools, and find out what training teachers and staff are getting to better support LGBT students.
In separateness lies the world's great misery; in compassion lies the world's true strength. - Buddha
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Non-catholic outsider I am, but John Paul's contradictions move me to write about Karol Jozef Wojtyla, 1920-2005 who became the first Polish pope, and the first non-Italian pope for over four hundred years. He is given credit for helping Polish communism crumble, and thus contributed to the eventual end of the USSR. And yet he was a severe critic of modern capitalist society. He was seen to have liberated many from the heavy hand of communism, but severely treated those who advocated liberation in Latin America. He constantly visited the poorest nations in the world, and preached against the causes of poverty and suffering. However, by continuing the church's invectives against birth control and the use of condoms, he condemned more people to poverty and suffering and death from AIDS than perhaps any human in history.
He venerated Mary, and was reportedly very respectful of individual women, but made the rejection of the ordination of women a major part of his papacy, and continued the destructive policy of denying birth control to women. He loved children, and was a strong advocate of priestly celibacy, but made no effort to stop the sexual abuse of children by priests all around the world.
In his treatment of gay persons, Pope John Paul was positively schizophrenic. In his Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons:
Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed to those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.Later, in his 2005 book Memory and Identity, John Paul labeled homosexuality an "ideology of evil." And yet -- not a sin!
He was the first pope to visit a mosque or synagogue, or visit modern Israel, even calling the Jewish people "our elder brothers." And he was the first to apologize for the horrifying paralysis of the Roman Catholic Church during the Second World War, when there was no Catholic action to protect Jews. However, he enraged Jews around the world by beatifying a French Jewish Catholic convert. Although he labored to make ties with other religious leaders around the world, he left little ecumenical progress. The Eastern Catholic church accused him of "poaching" their adherants in the newly-opened countries of the former USSR. Talks with the Anglican church were broken off when they began ordaining women.
Although I'm sure he saw no contradiction, the Pope's strong stand against both abortion and capital punishment split American political views neatly in half. And although he met with conservative American leaders such as George Bush, and agreed with him on abortion and some other issues, he spoke strongly against capital punishment, and was seen as one of the world moral leaders against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He stood against authoritarianism in government, but centralized the Catholic church even more than it was previously. This in contrast to the growing pressure from the Catholic laity for more local control of parishes and dioceses.
Although Africa is the only continent on which the Catholic church is growing, the Pope continued to declare any use of condoms as sinful. Consequently, AIDS is destroying and entire generation of Africans. And in Latin America, where the Church is declining, he punished those who taught the Liberation Theology which was carrying the continent towards social justice and social change. Although there are not enough priests for most parishes, he refused to reconsider the ordination of women or married men.
He began his papacy projecting a young, vital image. He was even a skier! But he ended his reign by exposing his ill-health and increasing weakness to the public more than any world leader in history.
All in all, it will be very interesting to see what the cardinals decide for the future. Can they possibly elect another man with such enormous contradictions to carry the Roman Catholic Church into the 21st century? Will there be a Third Vatican Council to bring the Church closer to world leadership again? The reforms of the Second Council seem very long ago and far away, along the hope those reforms brought to the world. Will the tensions within the Church crack it apart? The contrast between the Church left behind by John Paul II, and that left behind by Pope John XXIII could not be greater. Much beloved Pope? By the size of the crowds, evidently so. But a *great* Pope? Only time will tell.
Well, now the RC church has decided to stay on JPII's road, for a while. Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) cannot live forever, thank goodness! For another view, from a Catholic from Chicago, see the Sun-Times columnist Andrew Greeley's opinions: http://www.suntimes.com/index/greeley.html. He quotes: "'It is wrong to say that the Holy Spirit elects the pope because there have been popes the Holy Spirit would never elect.' Source? Joseph Ratzinger."
He who allows oppression shares the crime. - Erasmus Darwin