Letting the camel’s nose into the [moral] tent

There’s an old Arab proverb that warns, “Never let the camel get its nose under the tent, because the rest of the body will follow“.  It’s a variation on the Western proverb that “if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile“.  I daresay the concept is common among almost all cultures.  In politics, they call it “moving the Overton window“;  starting with discussion within a socially accepted range, then moving the discussion to gradually include more and more extreme elements, getting people accustomed to the new concepts.  In due course, society will accept as common or normative things that

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It depends how you look at life

I was somewhat taken aback by a British survey claiming that four out of ten people were unhappy about life choices they’d made. According to a survey of 2,000 British adults commissioned by UK charity consortium Remember A Charity, four out of ten people regret how they have lived their lives so far. Spending too much time at work and not traveling enough were among respondents’ biggest regrets. Other common regrets among those surveyed included neglecting their health and not spending enough time with their family. Many wished they had been a better parent to their children. All of that regret seems

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Not quite Biblical

Stephan Pastis nails it again!  Click the image to be taken to a larger version at the comic’s Web site. It may not be Biblical, but there’ve been times in my life when I’ve been sorely tempted (and may even have given in to the temptation) to follow Rat’s credo instead of the more orthodox version . . . Peter

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A sad, lonely end for a very dangerous man

I’m not sure how many of my readers are familiar with the story of Thomas Silverstein.  He was convicted of multiple murders while behind bars, and as a result spent the last 35 years of his life in almost continuous solitary confinement.  He died in hospital in Colorado last month. Silverstein was profiled in Pete Earley’s 1992 book “The Hot House:  Life Inside Leavenworth Prison“.  He became something of a celebrity as a result . . . largely to those who had little or no idea just how very dangerous this man was, and how utterly evil his actions were. (By the

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I think the Vatican – and chromosomes – have the right of it

Speaking the truth, in the face of popular rejection of it, has never been easy or safe;  but if one wants to be honest, it has to be done.  I commend the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education for doing precisely that. The Vatican condemned gender theory on Monday as part of a “confused concept of freedom”, saying in a new document that the idea of gender being determined by personal feeling rather than biology was an attempt to “annihilate nature”. LGBT rights advocates denounced the 30-page document, called “Male and Female He Created Them”, as harmful and confusing, saying it would encourage hatred

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The greatest amphibious invasion in history, 75 years ago today

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces landed in Normandy, France.  It was the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany’s occupation of Western Europe.  Together with the far larger and more deadly battles on the Eastern Front at the same time, it signaled the impending doom of that most evil of empires. My parents both went through World War II, my father in uniform, my mother on the so-called Home Front.  The experience changed them forever.  It was one of the truly pivotal conflicts in the history of humankind, and still resonates to this day.  Here are some video clips

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The Catholic Church’s institutional rotten core

Let me reiterate that I’m not opposed to the Catholic faith as such.  I was born and raised in that faith, I became a priest, and I worked hard to be faithful to its teachings.  However, the clergy sex abuse scandal, and in particular the way bishops expected their priests to deliberately mislead and lie to the faithful over what was happening, drove me away.  I’ve written about the reasons for that on numerous occasions.  There has been no improvement whatsoever in that situation, apart from a few faithful bishops who are setting a personal, individual example.  The institution itself is still ducking

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Sometimes the jokes just write themselves

I did a double-take on reading this report. The owner of the life-size replica of Noah’s Ark in Northern Kentucky has sued its insurers for refusing to cover, of all things … rain damage. Ark Encounter, which unveiled the 510-foot-long model in 2016, says that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, and its five insurance carriers refused to cover nearly $1 million in damages. There’s more at the link. But . . . what if the insurers claim that rain damage to (of all things!) Noah’s Ark was, almost by definition, an Act of God? Peter

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A sobering reminder of an eternal reality

Daniel Greenberg, who blogs at Sultan Knish, is going through the slow, but inevitable loss of a loved one.  He’s written about it, very personally and very movingly. Our lives are defined by numbers. Our deaths are defined by them too. Somewhere out of sight, in the world or in our bodies, a clock ticks insistently away. Most of the time we are fortunate enough to be deaf to the relentless clockwork march of time. Until we begin to hear. And are unable to stop. There are many clocks in the hospital room where she lies dying beneath a plastic blanket inflated

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