Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Concern for Daughter's Health Causes Rick Santorum to Quit Campaign

This past Thursday, I composed a humorous post, satirizing Rick Santorum's resolute persistence in his challenge of Mitt Romney for the Republican Presidential nomination. Today, Senator Santorum amply demonstrated his dedication to true family values. His three-year old daughter Bella, who suffers from a rare genetic order, had been rushed to the hospital on Friday. After a weekend spent with his family off the campaign trail, no doubt filled with soul-searching and prayer, Senator Santorum announced today that he is ending his campaign for the Presidency. He has put his love of his daughter and concern for her health and welfare, and the well-being of his family, over personal ambition. In doing so, he exemplifies exactly the type of role model that he promised he would provide as President of the the United States.

I am sure that all Americans join me in heartfelt and earnest prayers for a speedy and full recovery for Bella Santorum, and in expressing all of our best wishes for future good health, happiness and prosperity to Senator and Mrs. Santorum, and their entire family.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Iran tries 12 Christians on Easter

BosNewsLife reports that Iranian authorities in the northeastern Iranian city of Rasht chose to try 12 Christians, including a minister and his wife, on Easter Sunday for "crimes against the order." The trial of the twelve (pictured above) comes amid reports of mounting pressure on devoted Christians in Iran, including former Muslims, amid a rapidly growing house church movement in the Islamic nation. It is taking place not far from a prison where another Christian cleric, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, faces possible execution for refusing to abandon his faith in Christ and return to Islam, according to court documents seen by BosNewsLife.

The Kosher Hedgehog wonders, "Why is there not more of an outcry about this outrageous religious persecution from world Christianity?"

NYT: Romney and Netanyahu are old Friends

An article published in today's New York Times reports that Mitt Romney and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a friendship dating back 36 years, when they both worked as corporate advisors at the Boston Consulting Group. They have remained close, sharing meals in Jerusalem, Boston and New York.

According the the New York Times article, as summarized in the Jerusalem Post:
When Netanyahu wanted to incentivize pension funds to divest from Iran-connected businesses, Romney advised him on which US officials to go to. When Romney, as the Massachusetts governor, wanted to shrink his government’s size, Netanyahu suggested ideas from his personal experience, according to the report.
“We can almost speak in shorthand,” Romney said in an interview with the Times.
“We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar.”

While many of us would consider these revelations in the New York Times to be a strong positive for the candidacy of Mitt Romney, one suspects that the editorial board at the Old Gray Lady is aghast. Their preferred Presidential candidate, President Barak Obama, one will recall, has a very different sort of relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu. In one of his periodic "open microphone" gaffes, which seem to be the only way one discovers the real opinions of our President, Mr. Obama was heard to complain to French President Nicolas Sarkozy,"You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day."

Somehow, to me at least, Governor Romney and Prime Minister Netanyahu seem to have the more mature working relationship. What do you think?

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Happy Easter 2012

Easter Music

Once again Easter is here. Regular readers will remember that this is a Judeo-Christian blog - in other words, one of us is a Christian and one of us is a Jew, and we each take our faith seriously. In that spirit, and and as before, I'll post the words of my all-time favorite hymn, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing:"
Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
This biographical summary tells us a little about the author, Robert Robinson. The music is a beautiful traditional tune named "Nettleton," about which you can find more in Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second, by John Wyeth. I've heard several hymns set to the same tune. As a congregational hymn "Come Thou Fount" is a little on the difficult side but most church choirs can handle it easily. My favorite arrangement is the one by Mack Wilberg, associate conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Easter Thoughts

This is another favorite, from the late Neal A. Maxwell, of whom Hugh Hewitt is a great admirer. It's full of quotable nuggets:
The gift of immortality to all is so choice a gift that our rejoicing in these two great and generous gifts should drown out any sorrow, assuage any grief, conquer any mood, dissolve any despair, and tame any tragedy.

Even those who see life as pointless will one day point with adoration to the performance of the Man of Galilee in the crowded moments of time known as Gethsemane and Calvary. Those who now say life is meaningless will yet applaud the atonement, which saved us all from meaninglessness.

Christ’s victory over death routs the rationale that there is a general and irreversible human predicament; there are only personal predicaments, but even from these we can also be rescued by following the pathway of Him who rescued us from general extinction.

A disciple’s “brightness of hope,” therefore, means that at funerals his tears are not because of termination, but because of interruption and separation. Though just as wet, his tears are not of despair, but of appreciation and anticipation. Yes, for disciples, the closing of a grave is but the closing of a door that will later be flung open.

It is the Garden Tomb, not life, that is empty!
Neal A. Maxwell, Wherefore Ye Must Press Forward, pp. 132-3

"Those who now say life is meaningless will yet applaud the atonement, which saved us all from meaninglessness."

I love that. Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

In Every Generation

Tomorrow evening Jewish families throughout the world will sit down together as they have every year for millenia, with matzoh and bitter herbs on the table, and parents will relate to their children the story of how God brought us, the Children of Israel, out of Egyptian slavery and freed us to serve Him and Him alone.

"In every generation a person must look at himself as if he came out of Egypt."

"This is what has stood by our fathers and us! For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand!"

--The Passover Haggadah

To my Jewish brothers and sisters, Chag Pesach Kasher v'Sameach--may you have a happy and kosher Pesach. To all of our friends, Happy Passover.

DATELINE JAN. 19, 2013: Rick Santorum Vows to Fight On!

Dateline Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, 2013: Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum vowed to his supporters to fight on for the GOP nomination, despite the fact that President-elect Mitt Romney will take the presidential oath of office at the inauguration tomorrow. Speaking to a dwindling audience of supporters, consisting entirely of members of his immediate family, the former Pennsylvania Senator declared:

"Yes, we're entering the final quarter of the ball game, and we're behind in the score. Who is ready to play come from behind in the fourth quarter?"

Senator Santorum said he is not persuaded by the fact that Mitt Romney already has defeated President Barack Obama. "Yes, Mitt won the election," he noted, "but he won it the wrong way. He persuaded centrist voters to vote for him, instead of persuading them to change their political beliefs and vote for me."

Mrs. Santorum did not attend the campaign event, possibly because she has accepted a position in the new Romney Administration.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

What do Recent Important Presidential Election Endorsements Tell Us?

There have been some important endorsements in the Presidential election these past two weeks. Mitt Romney, the Republican frontrunner, was endorsed by former President George H. W. Bush and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. President Obama was endorsed for re-election by Russian President and Putin water boy Dmitry Medvedev.

That is not too unfair a characterization of Medvedev's attack on Mitt Romney after Governor Romney reacted to the now infamous "open mike" gaffe of President Obama. Governor Romney criticized President Obama, stating that the President should understand that "Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage" and "is without question our number one geopolitical foe." The Governor's remarks were a sober and reasonable assessment of the leading role that Russia has played in opposing U.S. efforts to stop the Assad regime in Syria from murdering its citizens and to reign in the Iranian nuclear weapons program. President Medvedev angrily responded that Governor Romney's remarks "smelled of Hollywood."

President Obama was overheard telling President Medvedev to carry a message back to Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin. President Obama said, "On all these issues, but particularly missile defence, this can be solved, but it's important for him to give me space. ... This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."

For those who would make little of the implications of President Obama's plea on the prospects for United States foreign policy during a second Obama term in office, I recommend this column by Charles Krauthammer. As Mr. Krauthammer drily observes, "You don’t often hear an American president secretly (he thinks) assuring foreign leaders that concessions are coming their way, but they must wait because he’s seeking re-election and he dare not tell his own people."

I hope that all of the recent endorsements make a deep impression on American voters.

Islamic Religious Tolerance Update: Malaysian Govt Sermon Calls Jews the "Main Enemy"

An official Malaysian government sermon, prepared and distributed by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department and delivered on March 30, said that "Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behavior and murders performed by them.”

In the case of the only recent murders of which I am aware that involved Muslims and Jews, the Jews were the victims and a Muslim was the killer. That would be the slaying at a Toulouse Jewish school of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, a religious instructor at the school; his two sons, Arye, 6, and Gabriel, 3; and Miriam Monsonego, 8, the daughter of the school principal. Their killer was a radical Islamist, now happily deceased, whose name, may it be erased, does not merit mention here in the same paragraph as the names of his holy victims. One can see from the photographs below of those murdered Jews what a threat to Muslim lives they must have posed, in the warped eyes of the Malaysian government writer.

Of course the Malaysian government no doubt would say that they were referring to the murder of Palestinians by Israel. This conforms to the general charge that Jews are committing unpardonable aggression when they shoot back.