Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Me, weighing in on the Cordoba House

Ok, here’s the thing about the Cordoba House, the proposed "mosque" near Ground Zero...

First of all, I have to wonder how many of the most embittered and outspoken critics of the Cordoba House, a proposed Islamic Center to be built two blocks from Ground Zero, even LIKE let alone have actually BEEN to New York City. (If they had they’d know that two blocks is like...practically another city) When I first moved there I was amazed, not just at the diversity, but at the ability of humans to coexist with such diversity. People who were from cultures and religions that were diametrically opposed sat next to each other on the subway, peacefully reading their newspaper in arabic or hebrew or chinese or whatever. I remember thinking the fact that the city hadn’t blown itself to tiny bits was a testament to human kind and it’s ability to tolerate someone who was VERY different, from you. I discovered that diversity and tolerance is what the big apple is all about--well, that and really great pizza. It gave me hope for us humans.

Second of all, over 50 Muslims lost their lives that day, and no, not I'm not including the highjackers. Included in that group is a young paramedic whose EMT bag was found next to his body underneath the rubble 6 months later. His family didn't know where he was that whole time because he wasn’t scheduled to work that day, but when he saw the need he went to help, and gave his life to do it.

Third of all, what WOULD Jesus do. We don’t get to pick and choose when we’re going to follow his creed. We shouldn’t do it just when it’s convenient or easy. He taught us “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you”. He taught that because he knew THAT was the only hope this world had. So I say it’s time to put your money where your WWJD jewelry is and honestly ask yourself what he would do.

Fourth, all Muslims are no more guilty for 9/11 that all Christians are for the Inquisition. I saw a sign that claimed it was like building a shrine to Hitler in Germany. Well, you could also say its like building a church with a big fat cross on it in the middle of Jerusalem - a city that suffered unspeakable injustice during the crusades.

And finally, all of the above doesn’t matter. What’s it to me if they build the center, or don’t. I didn’t loose someone that tragic day. Ultimately, I think it should be up to families of the victims. It should be up to the kid who will never know first hand his father’s smile, or the parents who still feel a gapping hole in their hearts, or the widower struggling daily to raise his children without their mother.

I think it should be up to them--seriously, let ‘em vote. They’re the ones who had to pay the price, not me and certainly not those spot light grabbing politicians and news pundits . And while I do feel a great deal of sympathy for them I won't presume to speak for them. To be honest with you, I can’t say I’d blame them if they didn’t want it. All good will and tolerance aside, that such faction could splinter from a religion....well, it isn’t new but it can be scary.

But wouldn't it be something if they agreed to let it be built. Wouldn’t it say something about tolerance, understanding, love, and forgiveness. Wouldn’t it say something about being the bigger person and setting aside your own profound grief so maybe a bridge might be built and such a tragedy might be be avoided in the future. That would give me hope for us humans all over again.

But if those families should decide that the wounds are just too fresh and that for some the insult too great, then I hope those planning to build the Center would change their plans and move the building to what would be considered a more respectable distance. Not because they have to, but because they choose to out of tolerance, understanding, love, and forgiveness. From what I hear, their religion teaches that too.

And that would give me hope for mankind as well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Plan Enough

"I know the Lord has plan for me and he has led and guided every step of my life so that I would be here."

I have a confession. I get jealous when I hear people say that. I wish I felt there was an specific plan for my life and that I was right where I needed to be due to the Lords guidance. I gotta say, I just don't feel that.

Maybe God had a really great exciting plan for me and I've somehow missed an important turn. I get that feeling sometimes and I just can't seem to shake it. It's not that I think my life is really terrible, on the contrary it's lovely, it's just... the dreams of my youth have not matched the reality of my middle age.

Not to sound ungrateful but what would be the point of a plan that leaves me as a suburban housewife in some nondescript town wrestling with leaking toilets and belligerent children? If you were to sit down and come up with a plan for your life would that be it? Is that really something that God would come up with? Surely He could come up with something a little more meaningful.

And what about all those starving children in Africa, or that woman born under the Taliban who was executed because she raped. Frankly, if you ask me, those are really crummy plans.

Maybe at the last minute it will all come together. I'll stand back and suddenly see this magnificent tapestry. Or maybe it will be like one of those crazy drawing exercises where you draw something that doesn't look like a thing and then when you're done you turn it upside down and you realize, "Oh my gosh! It's the Mona Lisa!" or something like that. I'll keep you updated.

In a world where there are endless variables and the choices of someone we've never even heard of can have a profound effect upon where we end up -- I have trouble believing that God himself can co-ordinate that. And if he could, why would he? He created a world of endless variables for a reason.

No, I just don't believe that whole "plan just for me". It would be nice to think it's the case....maybe I've just lost faith.

But I do believe we have to keep on trying to do our best every day and endure to the end. We need to nurture our testimony and our relationship with The Lord by praying and reading the scriptures. We need to honor our commitments, teach our children right from and wrong and love our spouses. We need to be kind to others and do what we can to lend a hand to those less fortunate and contribute to our community, even if only in small ways. And we need to hope that somehow we'll find a way to utilize our talents to make our family and society better.

If we can do that then I believe everything is going to be OK. I don't know how, but somehow in this life, or the next everything will work out.

I know God planned to send us a Savior, his son, so we could repent and learn from our mistakes rather than be forever condemned by them. And I know that if we follow this plan we can return to be with him someday. And maybe that is plan enough.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nazis, Manson, and Polanski

I wonder how Roman Polanski would feel if the Nazis who mercilessly persecuted his family in Poland during WWII were allowed to simply go free because the crime was committed so long ago. Or perhaps those Charles Manson followers who savagely murdered his 8 1/2 month pregnant wife should be able to walk now because, after all it's been 40 years.

No, I can't imagine he'd feel very happy about that.

And yet he expects to be handed a get out of jail free card for raping a 13 year old girl 32 years ago.

Perhaps he feels that he is an exception to the laws of our land because of the wonderful films he's given the world. But many of those Nazis were living peaceful lives and contributed greatly to their community before they were hunted down and dragged to Nuremberg. And those Manson followers have just been ideal prisoners.

Unfortunately for Nazis, Manson followers, and Polanski that's not how our country's justice system works. You commit a crime, you get caught, you pay for it. And although plying a 13 year old girl with champagne and Quaaludes before sexually assaulting her orally, vaginally and anally isn't quite as heinous as murder, he still needs to pay for it.

The fact that the victim, now 42, has forgiven him publicly and even requested the charges against him be dropped (which, I dare say is more generous than he would be toward a Nazi or his wife's murderer), does not change anything. Prosecution of severe crimes, such as child rape, are left to the discretion of the State, not the victim. To not prosecute this crime NOW sends a dangerous message to a public that frankly already has some issues with sexual exploitation of children. Avoid the law long enough, wait for the victim to forgive you out of shear desperation to move on with her life, and you can get away with doing anything.

I can sympathize why the victim would feel the way she does. Every time this comes up it places unwanted focus and attention on her family and forces her to relive what must be painful memories. But that isn't the fault of the State, it Polanski's. If he truly recognized how wrong he was then he would man up, face his sentencing, and serve his time. If he did that then both he and the victim could finally lay this unfortunate incident to rest. But instead he has avoided, justified and dragged the whole ugly affair out.

No doubt there is a tidy little knot in Hollywood who feel not being able to accept your Academy Award in person is punishment enough, (Not all stars feel this way. Thank you Chris Rock for having the courage call Polanksi what he is--a rapist), but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most of the people of the Great State of California feel that right is right and that the prosecuting attorneys representing them have an obligation to bring this man (and I use that term very loosely) to justice. If Polanski wasn't who he was, if he were say... just some random black man, or a conservative congressman I image the Hollywood elite would be singing a different tune but instead they seem to be coming up with their own realities where there is "rape" and "rape-rape" and the fact that the victim's mother was in the house some how casts a shade of gray on Polanski's guilt.

No matter how you look at it Roman Polanski was found guilty of statutory rape.* Sing and dance all you want, that's the bare knuckles fact. Not allegedly guilty but found in a court of law to be GUILTY. He needs to stand before a judge and be sentenced as that judge deems appropriate within the preset range determined by the laws of the State of California. After and only after he has served that time is his debt to society paid. Living in the lap of luxury in France for 32 years does not pay it, being forgiven by the poor child you victimized does not pay it, and making critically acclaimed films does not pay it.

It's rather ironic--many Nazis and those responsible for the murder of Sharon Tate have stood trial, been sentenced, and have paid, or are still paying for their crimes. And THAT is more than Roman Polanski can say.

*BTW - The original charges of rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious acts upon a child to which Polanksi plead guilty were plea bargain to simply statutory rape due to the victims effort to remain anonymous. However, because Polanski fled prior to sentencing, all of the original charges remain pending. So all this talk about what he technically is guilting of is just smoke and mirrors. Once he ran, all bets were off.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

100 Blankets

Every baby deserves a warm soft blanket.

So I've decided to make 100 fleece baby blankets to donate this year. I figure that's about 8 blankets a month, with 4 extra that I gotta try to squeeze in at some point. Fortunately, I LOVE making these blankets. They don't require any sewing, just some cutting and tying, which I can do while I'm watching T.V. It's fun to pick out the fabrics and I can usually pick up fleece on sale, or even in the remnant section.

I thought blogging about it might be a fun way to keep myself motivated, and I can post pictures of the blankets as I go along.

The idea for the project started after I read a quote. I can't remember the exact who or what but it was something to the effect of, "Don't worry about success, worry about making a difference."

Hopefully at the end of the year 100 babies will feel the difference and that sure would feel like success to me.

Gotta go. Got some blankets to make.

If you would like to join me and make some blanket of your own, direction for making them are at Even 1 blanket will make a difference. Let's start something.