August 27, 2013

50 Years Ago He Had a Dream--Is It Becoming a Nightmare?

by Larry Peterson

Fifty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now famous "I have a dream" speech in Washington D.C. A quarter of a million people stood and listened. Here are  a few excerpts:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today."

 "Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence."

"So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Of course these are only several out of context remarks from that great speech. And it WAS a great speech. I dare say over the last fifty years we had come a long way in seeing Dr. King's dream of  joined  hands between white and black people actually materialize. The Alabama mentioned in the speech is long gone.  Governor George Wallace and his famous "Segregation now, Segregation Forever" inaugaral speech from January, 1963 seems almost surreal. We had come a long way. Barack Obama is the President. We have had and have  black Supreme Court Justices. We have had a black man as Secretary of State and we have one as Attorney General.  At present there are 43 African-Americans serving as congressmen and women and two as United States Senators.

We had come a long way  and then, on February 26, 2012,  a 17-year-old by the name of  Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida by a neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman. From "we HAVE come a long way" changed to "we HAD come a long way". The race baiters pounced. Time to fan the flames of intolerance and hatred and spit in the face of everything Martin Luther King stood for. Even our own President of the United States dipped  into the trough of animus and racism helping to divide a country that  before Trayvon's death had actually come together more so than anytime in our history. It was far from perfect but it was so much better. How sad to see all of that progress cast to the wind.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King on this anniversary is a fine thing. But the people on the podium should not be using this man as camouflage for an agenda that flies in the face of everything he stood for. This can be a time to bring people together, to tamp out the flames of hatred, and to honor the progress we have made in race relations. There will  always be the narrow minded, black and white, who harbor mindless and insensible prejudice based on skin color. It is not a perfect world.  In his honor it is time to heal and spread the words once more of Martin Luther King, "“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” His dream should not turn into a nightmare.

August 20, 2013

Absurd Headline: Atheists tend to be more Intelligent than Religious People

Comedian Bill Maher said, "I think religion is a neurological disorder." Christopher Hitchins said, "the person who is certain and claims divine warranty for his certainty belongs now to the infancy of the species.' And of course, Frederick Nietzsche, the consummate atheist says, "In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point."  Oh yeah, he also said, "God is dead." WHEW!!

I guess these famous atheists (actually, Bill Maher says he believes in God--not religion) have been validated because the U.K. online paper, "The Mail Online", bellowed a headline that began with the following, "Atheists tend to be more intelligent than religious people" (according to a U.S. study done at the University of Rochester). Researchers found that those with high IQs had greater self-control and were able to do more for themselves. They also have better self-esteem and build more supportive relationships."

Look, I am just a blue-collar guy and sparring with this cerebral, high-browed, intellectual stuff is a bit intimidating for me. But PUH-LEASE. How did they ever come up with such "facts"? As far as IQ tests are concerned I know some folks that, based on IQ scores, have brilliant minds sans much commons sense. Some of them seem to have a bit of a problem as they navigate the pathways of life itself. My hybrid observations have shown me that those folks are easily offended and, as a defense mechanism,mask their true feelings and become downright obnoxious when all they really want is to be like everyone else. As for myself, I hated taking IQ tests and received lousy scores which explains my simple perception of the geniuses around me.

I hate to disagree with these uppity University findings but it seems to me that many of those who believe in God and  a religion to worship Him have no problem with self-esteem even though the findings show differently. Hey, University of Rochester folks--did you factor in humility? Yeah--religion can instill  a sense of humility in people which would negate the self-pomposity caused by pride and not be self-esteem at all. Did you ever hear of the word Ego? These findings need to be re-evaluated immediately.

We live in a seemingly secular world. The combined media of print, broadcast, cyber, and instantaneous, promotes self-gratification, self-indulgence and swats away like a pesky fly the idea of self-control and self-denial. We are in the Age of Relativism. If it "feels good" it is okay. I say that is nonsense. I say that there are  millions and millions of people, all over the world who believe in God or a Divine Entity they might call a different name. I say that most of these people worship God guided by some kind of religion. The pseudo intellectuals who are "intelligent" enough to have rationalized away the existence of a Creator have waltzed themselves right into a barren field empty of Hope. They have used their smarts to outsmart themselves. It is actually sad. At this point in time they seem to be getting their way with the anti-God, no-God propaganda but their narrative has been built on sand and will fail. That is what I  call "natural selection" when God is in the equation.

As a Catholic man I shall ask God to give them the necessary grace so they might take an objective look at the perfection in the natural world around them. A rising  sun every 24 hours, not 23 or 25. The change in seasons, the new birth of a springtime, day and night, sunshine and moonshine, baby ducks following their mom.

The most sophisticated iPhone did not build itself. The folks who did were able to do so only because of the perfection in the world around them. Without that perfection we could not have the certainty of mathematics or the laws of physics. That iPhone could never have been. As for me, I choose  to admire with awe those baby ducks.

August 14, 2013

On the anniversary of his martyrdom we remember St. Maximilian Kolbe

 On this date in 1941, Father Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan priest and a prisoner of the Nazi's incarcerated at the Auschwitz death camp, traded his life to save the life a man who had a family. They starved him for ten days and then finished him off with an injection of carbolic acid. He was 47 years old. He was canonized a saint on Oct 10, 1982 by JPII and is the patron of drug addicts and the imprisoned. The man he saved was reunited with his family after the war and was present at St. Maximilian's canonization. St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.

St. Maximilian Kolbe
                                                       Fr.Maximilian Kolbe 1939.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           


August 13, 2013

It Makes Sense to Me: The "Tipping Point" is Approaching and God has Ou...

It Makes Sense to Me: The "Tipping Point" is Approaching and God has Ou...: What are the "Good Old Days"? I heard that cliche when I was growing up and I can remember thinking when I heard it , Oh no, not a...

August 12, 2013

The "Tipping Point" is Approaching and God has Our Backs

by Larry Peterson

What are the "Good Old Days"? I heard that cliche when I was growing up and I can remember thinking when I heard it , Oh no, not another speech about when "I was in school or when I was growing up or when this was this way or that cost this much and that was when people had respect for a dollar" and so on and so on. I always hated that and I am sure that my eyes did not get stuck in a rolled up position because I always lowered them quickly when I heard, "Don't you be rolling those eyes at me young man!" 

Then I grew up, got married, we had kids and my wife and I said the same things to our kids and they rolled their eyes up inside their foreheads and now I hear  them doing that to their kids. So the beat goes on and the world keeps turning and the generations come and go and some things change and some things never change. Things like technology and medical advancements have given us amazing things and expanded our life expectancy dramatically. Heck, I still cannot figure out how you can pause a live television program and play it later. That doesn't even make sense to my geriatric brain. These are good things.

What about our Nation? Have the changes we have seen over the past half century become so permanently instilled into the younger folks that there is no turning back? I am talking about  attitudes, common decency, morality, honor and integrity, love of God, family and country. 'That's what I'm talking about' (which is a new age cliche). Well, I'll tell you why we not only can, I will tell you why we will.

The 1960's began with the end of the Eisenhower presidency and the transition to the Kennedy Presidency, aka "Camelot". Well,  Camelot was shattered  with President Kennedy's assassination. The war in Vietnam was in its early stages and President Johnson expanded our role. The draft was still the law of the land and all young men were required to register when they turned 18 years old. As the war expanded protests erupted on college campuses all over the country.  "Hell no, we won't go" was a popular slogan of the day.

President Johnson declined to run again and in January, 1969, Richard Nixon was sworn in as president. Troop deployment in Vietnam soon surpassed 500,000. Needless to say, one of the defining moments of the decade of the 60's was the unexpected and spontaneous Woodstock Festival that took place in upstate New York in August of 1969. Over 400, 000 young people descended on Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, NY for this event. (The concert was NOT in Woodstock. Rather, it was 45 miles southwest. The organizers could not get a permit to have it in Woodstock.)  Anyway, in pouring rain and without sanitation facilities, the young folks partied hard for three days and turned "Woodstock" into a symbol of a new age. The age of "meism" was officially upon us.

So why, in a ten year period, did so many of the liberal minded in this Woodstock generation who were  flexing the muscles of "meism" turn to Ronald Reagan and his conservative mantra and cast "meism" to the curb? I believe it was religion. There was a revival of sort throughout the 70's and millions of baby-boomers were "born again". Now, in 2013, it seems that we have turned totally secular. The past five years have witnessed an actual attack against God being part of Country. The leftist liberal press and  the executive branch  of our government have been on a quest to separate the two. It cannot be done and the attempt to do so will ultimately fail. Many do believe it is too late? Many believe that we have passed the point of no-return. I say, "nonsense". Please, do not roll your eyes at me.

Look, there are millions and millions of Americans who believe in God and Family and Country. Just like when Ronald Reagan came along and was swept into office in a landslide, I think we are getting close to that point again. Maybe it is a bit further down the road than I think it is. But it is there. The 'tipping point" will be reached soon and the power structure will be changed. God has our backs--no problem.

                                    copyright©2013 Larry Peterson All Rights Reserved

August 3, 2013

Meet Fr. Richard Ho-Lung; Is He the 21st Century Version of Mother Theresa?

CANDLES IN THE DARK: the Authorized Biography of Father Richard Ho-Lung and The Missionaries of the Poor

Candles in the Dark: The Authorized Biography of Fr. Ho Lung and the Missionaries of the Poor
Written by: Joseph Pearce
Published by St. Benedict Press, 2013,   Charlotte, NC 28241   259 pages

“Thank You, Joseph Pearce”. In an age where the priesthood is constantly under attack, you have given us the story of a present-day priest who is so filled with an unconditional love for the poorest of the poor, the handicapped, the mentally challenged and the unborn that this love has already changed the world in the darkest of places. When I finished reading this book I closed it and simply stared at the picture of the man on the book jacket. I had never heard of him and here I was, suddenly transfixed by the gentle, Christ filled face looking back at me.
Father Ho-Lung and his missionaries work in the most disgusting, filthy, squalid and unclean places imaginable, caring for weakest and most vulnerable of God’s creations. Father Ho-Lung and his followers have given away all their personal belongings, taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience,  put smiles on their faces and followed  their motto, “Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross”.
Richard Ho-Lung’s parents came to Jamaica from China in the mid 1930s. Richard was born in 1939. His parents were Buddhists, and, in his formative years, Richard was raised Buddhist. His mother taught him to respect the earth and all of the wonders of nature. His father had an affinity  for the poor and taught Richard to “never forget the poor people of Jamaica, no matter what”. That sense of caring by his father has stayed with Father Richard his entire life.
If “less is more” I must pull in the reins on this review. There is so much in this book that will inspire you. For example, Father Ho-Lung is called the “reggae priest” because he wrote hit songs that topped the music charts and even rivaled the greatest “reggae” musician of all time, Bob Marley. Father Ho-Lung developed the “Caribbean Mass” with his cultural music and to this day writes music that is used to raise money for his order, the Missionaries of the Poor.
I would love to see this book read, or at least referenced, in all Catholic High-schools. I would love all young people to know of this man, whom some have dubbed “The 21st Century Mother Theresa”.  Father Richard Ho-Lung has been called the ‘reggae priest”, the “renegade priest”, the “dancing priest” and the “fiery priest”. However, Father’s favorite title is that of “ghetto priest”. That is where he works, where he lives and where he will die.
Please consider getting this book. It chronicles the life of a simple man, his conversion from Buddhism to Catholicism, his improbable ordination as a Jesuit priest, his hand-in-hand walk with Pope John Paul II to the sanctuary when the Holy Father visited Jamaica in 1993, his founding of the Missionaries of the Poor who today number over 500 members from 13 countries. (In 2011 the Missionaries of the Poor Sisters were formed.)
Father Richard Ho-Lung: lover of the downtrodden, the ill and the handicapped; lover of the beggars and  peasants and a bellowing voice for the unborn; Father Richard Ho-Lung, who has fought the crime, poverty and injustice that permeates the filthy ghettos of Jamaica; Father Richard Ho-Lung who sat on the floor with Mother Theresa, just talking, when she visited Jamaica. Both she and Pope John Paul II have been declared “BLESSED” by the church. One day I believe that Father Ho-Lung will join their ranks.  Seeing how Christ’s love is amongst us through his priesthood bolsters our faith and reinforces our resolve to fight and defend this faith we have been gifted with.
To the author, Joseph Pearce, once again—Thank you, nicely done.

August 1, 2013

Hey Atheists, Guess What? We are a Judeo-Christian Nation, Like it or Not.

by Larry Peterson

I consider myself a tolerant man. I have always tried to understand, to the best of my ability, the other side. You know the old cliche, "there are two sides to every story"? Well, guess what. Not this time.

So, here it is. When it comes to one topic it seems the tolerance I always prided myself on has somehow evaporated.  I am so over the atheists, these non-God people, who are trying their utmost to have the name of God removed from everything possible in the country. And I am also sick to death of all the ignorant judges who acquiesce to their foolish demands and to school administrators who cater to the slightest little non-God rant by even one person.Our children deserve better (I digress). Anyway, here is what I do not  understand: since the existence of God and freedom of religion are two separate things how do they get away with all their nonsense?

I guess my tipping point came when the "American Atheist" movement sued Bradford County, FL because it had a monument to the Ten Commandments outside the court house. The County "agreed" (such wooses) to take it down but the people who donated it refused to remove it. So the county compromised and allowed the atheists to erect their own non-God monument next to the Ten Commandment monument. Isn't this absolutely ludicrous. Remember--the existence of God and freedom of religion are two different things.

The beginnings of  the United States had rooted long before the eighteenth century. By 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed,  the words "we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights" were included in that document. The acceptance of a Creator, aka God, was unquestioned.  The Constitution of the United States was ratified on September 17, 1787 and the Bill of Rights on September 25, 1789. The very first Amendment was that which we know as freedom of religion, speech and press.  There was never a question of whether or not God existed. The question was how were we to worship Him. The answer was; any way you choose. The government would make no law establishing or prohibiting any religion. How beautiful is that.

Here is the unvarnished truth: The Constitution of the United States of America was established  based on Judeo-Christian principles. The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. The very foundation for the Constitution was "Natural Law". What is that? Natural law  is God's law. Ever hear of the Ten Commandments? The Jewish law began with Abraham, moved to Isaac and then to Jacob.  Simply said, Jewish law recognized the individual family as the nucleus of their society. This nucleus developed and grew  into the 12 tribes of Israel and by the time of Moses these 12  tribes had numbered over 600, 000. Then Christianity, rooted in Judaism, merged together and Anglo-Saxon law followed. Along came the Magna Carta in 1215 and 572 years after that our Founding Fathers rooted our Constitution into that unbelievably fertile soil. The tree that grew from that soil was the greatest nation ever seen, the United States of America. Sometime the fruit was not perfect. Sometimes it was downright rotten. But for the most part, the tree grew and flourished. Interestingly, it is rooted in Natural law. I know that this is a simplistic explanation of the Judeo-Christian principle but this information is available to anyone who wants to check it out. 

Our Founders believed in God. They KNEW HE existed. There was no doubt. And these were pretty smart guys. Natural Law, which is included in the Ten Commandments, was the very foundation for our Constitutional republic. That is why the Commandments are in so many court houses around the country including the Supreme Court. They do not tell us what religion to belong to. They do not tell us how to worship God. They just tell us what comes Naturally to all of us. You should not kill, you should not steal, you should not lie, etc. We know these things without being told. How we worship the God who gives us Natural Law is up to us. 

For people to fight against the existence of God as unconstitutional or for judges to agree with that premise is absurd.  I for one am sick of it. I do not care if a person does not believe in God. I do not care if a person worships a rock. Knock yourself out--but leave me alone. I am not bothering you, am I? If  I am, get over it. We are a Judeo-Christian nation, like it or not. We must always remember that a magnificent tree cannot survive if you rip out its roots. Rather, it will wither and die.