Saturday, June 11, 2005

Morning Paper News

Jordanian-born Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi has been ordered to turn himself in to Jordan's military court. Al-Qaida's leader in Iraq has 10 days to report in order to face charges of "plotting deadly attacks." He was charged with an attack in Jordan that killed one civilian.

Ten days -- that's June 20. All those who think he will show-up, raise your hand.

The Chicago Tribune reports the U.S. Army has started an investigation into the deaths of Capt. Philip T. Esposito, 30, and Lt. Louis E. Allen, 39. The pair had been living in a Tikrit waterfront palace. Other soldiers also living in the palace, reported hearing four explosions at about 10 p.m.

It was originally believed the explosions were from a mortar attack. Explosives experts, after examining the evidence and the scene, determined the blast pattern did not match those of mortar rounds. The Army's Criminal Investigative Division has not detained anyone in the case.

I'm thinking -- fragging.

In Murrietta, a California Army National Guardsman, Jorge Estrada, 21, was shot three times in the chest. The fatal attack last Thursday came while Estrada was home on leave from duty in Iraq. He came home for the birth of his wife's child. He and Diana had been married for almost a year.

Police are searching for Fabian Urrea, 19, who has been charged with murder. Urrea is a former boyfriend of Mrs. Estrada and is believed to be the father of the child.

(The sentence that occupied this space has been deleted by Indigo Red because of its crass disregard for the family and friends of Spec. Jorge Estrada. The immense disrespect shown to a brave and honorable American hero was totally unwarrnted and was just wrong.)

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Fate of European Christianity

This is one of the most important speeches to be given concerning the fate of European Christianity. I present it here in it's entirety courtesy of Hugh Hewitt and Denver Archdiocese.

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Denver
(Note: Chaput - pronounced Shapoo - is an American Indian.)

"OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance
June 9 , 2005 Cordoba, Spain

For a few weeks two months ago, the City of Rome doubled in size. People from around Europe and the world came to the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Some 600,000 people viewed his coffin on the first day. More than 1.4 million paid their respects before his burial. That should remind us of two things.

First, Europe remains obviously religious -- not simply in its nominal and active believers, but also in its culture and assumptions about the dignity of the human person.

What we know as "Europe" was shaped, in vital ways, by the Christian faith. Judaism and Islam also clearly made important contributions to the European experience. But the founders of the European unity movement were all professed Christians. Their commitment to the great project of Europe's future came from their moral convictions, which in turn grew out of the irreligious identity and Christian heritage.

Second, John Paul II's appeal to people of every faith -- and no faith - did not come simply from his personality but from his actions. His devotion to human freedom and his role in liberating Eastern Europe were rooted completely in his Catholic faith. In one sense, he embodied the greatness of Europe. And he did it by being a son of Europe's Christian imagination and history.

We know from the totalitarian regimes in Europe's recent past that a determined minority can persecute other minorities, and oppress even a majority of a nation's citizens. Discrimination and intolerance toward Christians and minority religious groups are rising in several areas of the world today. Europe, despite its heritage, is not immune. And unfortunately, other parts of the OSCE region show similar troubling signs.

Discrimination and intolerance take two forms: direct and indirect. Direct discrimination has the shape of legal restrictions, and often police harassment and legal barriers, designed to stamp out unauthorized or unpopular religious communities or to limit the legitimate exercise of their religious freedom. The intolerant behavior of some OSCE states continues to violate the basic human rights of belief and worship.

In several OSCE states, regimes discriminate against religious communities by creating structures of prejudicial treatment. High membership requirements prevent small congregations from obtaining legal status which, in contrast, is granted to other "traditional" religious communities. Lack of historical presence can block newer religious groups from qualifying for basic rights and privileges. Denial of legal standing has the very real consequence of either violating individual rights or stigmatizing entire groups. This is state-sponsored discrimination, and it violates OSCE commitments to promote religious freedom for all.

An equally dangerous trend now dominates other OSCE states, where public expressions of religious faith often seem to be ridiculed as fundamentalism. In the name of respecting all religions, a new form of secular intolerance is sometimes imposed. Out of fear of religious fundamentalism, a new kind of secular fundamentalism may be coerced on public institutions and political discourse.

At the same time, various media in the OSCE area now often allow symbols of Christian identity, Christian believers and their faith to be publicly abused. Programs like "How to cook a crucifix" and sacramental confessions recorded without the confessor's knowledge are deeply contemptuous of Catholic believers. This is unworthy of Europe's moral dignity and religious heritage. Furthermore, it stands in stark contrast to OSCE commitments to promote religious freedom.

Europe has given the whole world the seeds of democracy. Today's growing anti-religious and often anti-Christian spirit undermines that witness.

As with anti-Semitism, the OSCE must employ its practical commitments on combating discrimination to also fight discrimination and intolerance against Christians and members of other religious communities. Moreover, the OSCE must carefully monitor their implementation.

OSCE participating states must strive to protect Christian communities and other religious groups from discrimination and intolerance. The media should be encouraged to offer truly balanced coverage of religious faith. Educational systems should teach the value of faith in people's lives. The specific contribution given to public life by Christian communities and other religious groups should be remembered.

Democracy depends on people of conviction taking an active, visible part in public life; peacefully and respectfully, but vigorously. That includes Christians, Jews, Muslims and all religious believers, as well as non-believers. Public debate without a free and welcoming role for religious faith does not produce diversity or pluralism. It can easily do the opposite. It can create politics without morality, and public institutions without enduring ideals.

My hope is that OSCE participating states will do everything in their power to discourage all forms of religious intolerance - including any disrespect for Europe's own Christian roots."

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Road Trips and Sharp Sticks

While driving past Camp Pendleton, California recently, I saw acre after acre of sticks planted in the furrowed fields. "What the heck are those?" I wondered to myself because I was alone in my car on my road trip. Then I saw some larger, stouter sticks. And I wondered, "What the heck are those?"

My father was a farmer. My mother was a gardener. I have a thumb of Lincoln green. But, these sticks really had me stumped.

There were two American warships on the Pacific horizon. Two rooster tails were speeding their way toward the white sand. I pulled into the rest stop to watch the Marine Corps hovercrafts hit the beach. The exercise was part of the preparations for the invasion of California to reclaim the state from Mexico. The landings were beautiful and awe inspiring.

(What the heck are those?)

In that moment of reverie, it hit me. It's a sharp stick farm! This is where the sharp sticks we would rather have stuck in our eye come from. The larger sticks were obviously the 10 foot poles with which we wouldn't touch 'it' or 'that'.

Mystery solved, I drove another 40 miles to the town of Julian, ate a slice of apple pie that couldn't be beat and drove home. My tummy, curiosity, and day filled to the max. Wow, what a day!

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Notable News

Sometimes news stories catch my attention like nothing else can. These caught my attention today:

As reported in the Washington Post, Sen. Hillary Rodham-Clinton, speaking to her 2006 re-election supporters, had this to say about the current Administration and President Bush:

"There has never been an administration, I don't think in our history, more intent on consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda,"

and my favorite,

"It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It's very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

I remember something about the pot calling the kettle black.

Speaking of pot -- The Supreme Court today ruled federal authorities may arrest and prosecute people who use marijuana to ease pain, even if their doctors have prescribed the drug. The Supremes have determined the laws of the various States do not trump federal laws barring the drug. However, apparently if one can not endure the pain, the Supreme Court will allow the state of Oregon to assist in your suicide.

I can't put my finger on it, but something just is not right here.

And finally, illegal aliens in Texas are shocked -- SHOCKED -- they are being arrested, jailed, and deported because they are -- drumroll, please -- ILLEGAL ALIENS!

U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio said, "I want you to tell all your friends in Honduras that if they come through Brownsville, Texas, they will not be paroled into the system, and they will be put in jail and deported," when he sentenced an 18 yr. old criminal border crosser.

Well, now, at least one judge has actually read the law. Three cheers for Judge Felix Recio!

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.