Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PC Watch (part 3) - Too Weak to Live with Freedom?

Wikipedia/Free Speech Wall

The above picture is of the  Freedom of Speech Wall in Charlottesville, VA. Permanently inscribed on one segment of the wall is this text from the Bill of Rights, Amendment I:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
[reference:  Bill of Rights Transcript Text]


Free Speech vs PC

My motivation for this thread - PC Watch - is a reaction to the disturbing trend to silence free speech.

You may have heard the recent controversies in the news.  Someone says something offensive or has expressed an opinion - even one expressed or acted upon many years ago - that does not line up with the prevailing PC - Political Correctness.  What ensues is an orchestrated campaign of personal destruction to censor, boycott, or run a person out of his/her job. (This could be a subjects for many posts.)

That strikes me as wrong, wrong, wrong!

I agree inciting violence and harassment should not be tolerated and not be exempt.  But now, it seems, we are to never speak anything to offend anyone - especially those with a powerful grievance lobby.

What has happened to Freedom of Speech in the America I grew up in?

Are some groups not strong enough to hear diverse opinion; therefore anything that offends them must be silenced?  Hence, the obvious question is ...

Are we too weak to live with freedom?

Alan Charles Kors who is s a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania makes this case:






Below is a list of some of the points made in the clip above.

Princeton in the early 1960s:

* Professors (though mostly left leaning) did not see their task as producing clones in the classroom

* Diverse set of readings were given to students

* Students were told *not* to write what professor had wanted to hear  (can you imagine that now?!)

* The following groups coexisted at Princeton in the early 1960s and were not censored:
   - Gay Liberation
   - Campus Crusade for Christ
   - Maoists
   - New Age Leftists
   - Campus Republicans
   - Socialists

* Students were free to argue among themselves and offend others

* Students learned to talk to each other and humanize each other - and hence change minds

* The answer to horrible speech was bearing witness to your beliefs (hence more speech)

The fallout today of Political Correctness:

* Today we are paying a terrible price for the "comfort" of not offending anyone

* Double standards evolved when enforcing exemptions of free speech on some groups, but not others

Some conclusions:

* Due process of law should protect freedoms for all - especially those whose expressions are seen as "abhorrent"

* We are either all equally free or we are not free

* There is cause for optimism as long as we hold this belief in our spirit -

It's a Free Country!!!

Any thoughts? 

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Reference of reading assignment for Princeton students as mentioned in the video clip above  -

Road to Serfdom:  The Illustrated Road to Serfdom

YouTube http://youtu.be/mkz9AQhQFNY

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Previous post in this series:

 PC Watch (part 1) - Political Correctness (2013)

PC Watch (part 2) - The South Park Offense (2013)


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Photo from:  Wikipedia/Free Speech Wall

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pray4America (part 13) - Apollo 13 Reflections and Prayer

Wikipedia/Apollo 13

This is my 13th post for this thread.  So  the number 13 will be the theme of this post.

Apollo 13 ...   April 13 ....

After the successes of Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 that had landed men on the moon, three would be a charm for Apollo 13, even if its number can be considered unlucky.

But on April 13, 1970 (according to the reckoning of standard time zones in the US), this unlucky malfunction happened, as dramatizes in the following movie clip:




For a listing of significant events of this ill-fated flight, check out:  Apollo 13 Timeline

But like in many times of distress in our nation's history, our leaders have called for prayer, not only in times of peril like Apollo 13, but also for prayers of divine protection, such as the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.

Below is a clip about prayer during the Apollo missions:


Apollo 13 has been called the "successful failure."   The world had watched this drama unfold on live TV from a nearly fatal catastrophe in space to a nail-biting rescue, where nobody died.
[reference:  Apollo 13 - The Successful Failure ]  

(It was also the makings of a great movie of its namesake - Apollo 13 (1995).)

  
 That said, there is not always deliverance in this life.  As for the space program, we have had the tragedies of Apollo 1,  Challenger, and Columbia, which remind us of our mortality.  (And this is a topic for another post.)

Yet, in times of trouble, many Americans as well as those throughout the world looked to the heavens - to the Creator - for help.

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Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

Psalm 107:19-21 (NIV)   

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And for our present perils, here is a prayer for deliverance:


Heavenly Father -

During crises and grave danger in the past, we have called on You, Lord God, for help.  And gracious Lord, You have answered us and changed the course of history.  May we never forget Your mercy during these times as well as Your goodness during peace and prosperity.

Forgive us for living like practical atheists, like You don’t exist.  While shutting You out of our daily lives, we sometimes only come to You as a magic wand of deliverance, especially from the peril caused by our disobedience.

May we repent of our unbelief and for treating You like an idol.  May we recognize our need as we do not live by bread alone, but by every word the proceeds from Your mouth.  And though the grass withers and the flower fades, Your Word  abides forever.  

We ask for your deliverance for our heroes, home and abroad, in their distress – as You did during the perils of Apollo 13.  May we daily walk with You and be Your instruments for healing in our land.

In Jesus Name we pray,

Amen
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May we remember our Creator in the good times as well as the crises as we continue to ...

Pray for America

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Photo from: Wikipedia/Apollo 13

Friday, April 4, 2014

BTTT (part 3) - The Samantha Matijevic Chronicles

 Cover art by MBDesignsInc


The Samantha Matijevic Chronicles is a coming of age family saga that explores life in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  Let's look at a snapshot of each of these eras over the past 50 years.

1960s - Samantha at the Crossroads

The volatile 1960s find thirteen year old Samantha in a small town in rural Montana, groping her way into her future as America is doing likewise.

One of the most impressive events for a thirteen year old girl would be to witness - for the first time - men orbiting the moon, Apollo 8, as seen below in this clip:






1970s - The Colter Church Conspiracy

Would-be messiah Bill Renfrew finds naïve college student Samantha Matijevic an easy mark in the uncertain 1970s.

For any college age student in these troubled times, the Jonestown massacre stands out as a warning to the naive and gullible, who put their trust in a false messiah, as seen in this clip:






1980s - STC - The Satellite Test Center

The old boy network finds itself turned upside down in chaos and comedy when the 1980s usher young professional women like Samantha Matijevic into the male-dominated Satellite Test Center.

For those working in aerospace during the Reagan years, the Challenger disaster particularly drove home the dangers and sacrifices of those who braved into space exploration, as seen in this clip:





And it's time for a BTTT - back to the top - look at these books which capture a snapshot in time.

For more info, please check out:  S. K. Smith - The Samantha Matijevic Chronicles


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Other posts in this series:

BTTT (part 1) - The Colter Church Conspiracy  (2012)

BTTT (part 2) - Winged Coronet (2012)

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Earlier posts on this saga:

Samantha at the Crossroads, Book 1 in The Samantha Matijevic Chronicles (2009)