Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Wednesday, January 07, 2004  

One Nation, Under Ford (and Hewlett-Packard)

From the Sac Bee: SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the dismissal of a employee who posted anti-gay religious messages at his work station in response to his employer's campaign to promote tolerance of diversity.

This article makes it seem like this fellow was a religious bigot who attacked homosexuals at work by generating "a hostile and intolerant work environment" , the court ruled.

However, when he posted three large-type Biblical passages over his work cubicle, including one from Leviticus condemning homosexuality in explicit terms, his supervisor removed them.

In meetings with management, Peterson said he would forgo his display only if the company would take down "gay" posters that were part of its diversity campaign. He claimed his religion compelled him to speak out against the posters, to hurt gay and lesbian co-workers and to confront them with the truth so they could repent.

After Peterson was fired - Peterson then sued, claiming the company was trying to change his religious beliefs in violation of federal civil rights law.

In throwing out the case, the 9th Circuit said none of the evidence showed that the company's motivation was anything other than a desire to eradicate workplace discrimination through efforts "entirely consistent with the goals and objectives of our civil rights statutes."

What the 9th Circuit Court didn't say was that their ruling effectively makes the company policy a new religious orthodoxy which is a jealous god and will tolerate no other religions before or beside it.

The company's diversity policy clearly violates a Christian's freedom of religious belief. It does not ask that homosexuals be tolerated and treated as human beings respected in their God-given rights. It demands that religious people alter their perception of homosexual practices and approve of homosexual lifestyles.

That is simply corporate despotism.

The Court assumes that moral disapproval is the same as overt hostility and discrimination. Now, to give the devil his due, what people generally condemn with strong convictions does cause them to act differently toward some people than others. But in truth, we act differently to everyone depending on their response to us, and our's to them.

If I hear someone I am talking to say in passing that Bush is Hitler, well, I pretty much shut down the conversation by refusing to acknowledge the accuracy of such a statement.

And if I have to work with a swishy homosexual, I will do everything I can to avoid his company for any length of time; same with a really butch dyke. I don't even have to be Christian to have those responses, but the PC figure they can force anything on anybody with a shred of personal dignity, scruples, and religious principles.

A company can make me work with someone I intensely dislike or disapprove of (if I wish to remain employed by them), but what is really happening is that they are trying to make employees like and approve of their fellows. The homosexual agenda is not same sex marriage exactly - it is for approval, acceptance, and license to all things perverted.

The idea is that all the problems of homosexuals will disappear if they are loved by society at large. They will at last be happy as who they are, and they only feel bad (and sick inside) because mean people say they are queer.

But homosexuals will always feel perverse, abnormal, unhappy, and strange so long as they despise God and grace (which is also true for anyone else). But the classic solution to anyone's discontent is to change others instead of the self.

What's infuriating is that people who should know better, our judges (who should have some realistic notions of human nature) endorse the "change others" principle.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 3:13 PM |

Is this true?

From a review on Paul Johnson's book on Art: Link via Collected Miscellany.

"The medieval cathedrals of Europe," says Johnson, "are the greatest accomplishments of humanity in the whole theater of art."

I think this is true (and add Bach's Mass in B minor and you have everything), but a small part of me quibbles. The review doesn't mention if Johnson has anything to say about the Parthenon or Pantheon. Both are stunning achievements of the ancient world.

I have seen the Parthenon at the Acropolis with my own eyes, and I never saw anything more beautiful and perfect in its balance, proportion, harmony, subtlety, charm, rhythm, and so forth. I can only imagine what it might have looked like originally with all it's statuary in the prediments and the frieze in the metopes encircling the building, plus the interior with its Athena.

We mustn't forget that the statuary would have been brightly painted. Some assume this would make them garish and absurd, but seen from a distance, they might have looked incredibly lifelike and stunning.

My only experience of a medieval Gothic Cathedral was Westminster Abbey, which did not make as strong an impression on me as the Parthenon did, which made me almost weep for its perfection.

Some, like William Blake, assault Greek art as mathematic and cold, whereas medieval, baroque, and rococo reflect exuberant, living, breathing art. The leaping, and curving line.

But the Parthenon has many curves in the structure itself. They are very subtle though. And, of course, with the original sculptures, it was intensely animated with human bodies and actions.

No, the purity, and genius of its simplicity (those amazing, but slight curves) has never been adequately repeated anywhere else; but still, I must yield to the gothic and romanesque churches for their soaring spirituality, and dense concentration of forms, variety, colored light, shadows, and so forth. They are an awesome music of the soul indeed.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:57 PM |

Anti-Dean Ad

This ad being run in Iowa is unintentional and intentionally funny.

If that link doesn't work, this one will.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:21 PM |

Tuesday, January 06, 2004  

Today's Quote:

The world tolerates conceit from those who are successful, but not from anybody else.

John Blake

Hmm, story of my life, but then, who's John Blake?

posted by Mark Butterworth | 11:44 AM |

Monday, January 05, 2004  

Justo Gallego has spent 40 years single-handedly building a cathedral, only to discover that his quixotic passion for the offbeat building was not widely shared. link via Amy Welborn

But as many of Spain's dilapidated churches are increasingly given over to storks rather than worshippers, the Church sees no need for another.

It's an interesting work - a sort of Spanish Watts Towers but on a much bigger scale. Look at these pictures here, here, and here.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 4:09 PM |

Today's Quote:

There is no monument dedicated to the memory of a committee.

Lester J. Pourciau

This, of course, is false. The Bible is a monument to a committee of sorts. We have memorials for the men who created the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Those were created by committee.

Just about every great movie you ever saw was made by committee; and every fine automobile; and countless other things. It was a committee that landed a man on the moon.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 2:43 PM |

Stupid is as stupid does

A guest columnist for a Seattle newspaper (Intelligent as a post) observes that Bush is popular because stupid people like him.

"It's the "Stupid factor," the S factor: Some people -- sometimes through no fault of their own -- are just not very bright."

Well, he's charitable enough not to hold some people's stupidity against them since it's not always there own fault.

"You know these people; they're all around you (they're not you, else you would not be reading this article this far). They're the ones who keep the puerile shows on TV, who appear as regular recipients of the Darwin Awards, who raise our insurance rates by doing dumb things, who generally make life much more miserable for all of us than it ought to be. "

Let's see, the average IQ for the Us is 98. The other top nations are: Australia - 98; China - 100; UK - 100; Italy - 102; Japan - 105; Hong Kong - 107.

Those who supported Bush and the war in Iraq and the war against terrorism are who? Australia, Uk, Italy, Japan, (Hong Kong would have had they been free to), and China was no hindrance.

"I don't have a solution to this problem. To claim I did would belie my previous arguments. But I do have some modest suggestions that might provide a start for discussion: an intelligence test to earn the right to vote; a three-significantly-stupid-behaviors-and-you're-out law; fines for politicians who pander to the lowest common denominator and deportation of media representatives who perpetuate such actions."

Now, one of the factors which lowers the national US IQ is illegal immigrants who are mostly poor and unskilled, so if we could factor out that depressor, we might have one of the highest IQ's on the planet.

Maybe Mr. NEAL STARKMAN should take a test himself regarding cause and effect, correlation vs. cause, idiotic opinionating masquerading as insight and fact.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 12:51 PM |

Friday, January 02, 2004  

Where do I sign up?

A musical based on the life of San Diego serial killer Andrew Cunanan ---- whose far-flung victims include fashion designer Gianni Versace ---- will be developed this year at the La Jolla Playhouse through a $35,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Playhouse announced last week. via The Corner

Hey, surely my projected sonnet cycle on the sweetness of faith in the life of Osama Bin Ladin is worth a buck or two, no?

Shall I compare thee to jihadi heaven?

posted by Mark Butterworth | 11:07 AM |

Thursday, January 01, 2004  


At our re-instituted Midnight Christmas Mass (the redundency is necessary, I'm afraid), during the time for offering the prayers of the community, we were called on once again to pray for our political leaders to exercise a "preferential option for the poor".

My mind shudders whenever I encounter that phrase in church (or any church document). It is one of those terms like social justice, social activist, or political progressive which implies that the one who applies it is superior in spirit and intention than others.

The job of caring for the poor does not fall to our government and our leaders. It falls to the family, church, and the town. Governments don't exist to care for the disadvantaged. They exist to defend one people from other peoples, and to enforce internal rules of order.

Also, there is an odious, affirmative action quality to the phrase -- "preferential option". Exactly how is government supposed to prefer the poor ahead of others? Two men rob a 7-11. One is poor, the other is not. Does the poor man get a lesser sentence? A better lawyer? A nicer jail?

Why don't the people who make up these ideas (umm, U S Bishops, Vatican Cardinals) give them a moment's thought? People have such a weakness for conducting thought by slogan.

(Remember this gem from Jesse Jackson -- "Justice delayed is justice denied!" Well, if that were true then God might as well be the Devil.)

posted by Mark Butterworth | 2:51 PM |

Cold Hollywood

I went to see the movie, Cold Mountain, last night with my wife. I was going to write a brief negative review but Jonathan Last beat me to it here: This same affliction (of killing off people) ravages "Cold Mountain" for the better part of two and a half hours, draining a story about love, fidelity, and the moral depredations of war of all tension and dramatic momentum. What is left is a husk and, for the viewer, the uncomfortable feeling of having been patted down by a grifter.

What I was chiefly going to comment on, though, is the cowardly directors of Hollywood who never seem able to comment on war as anything but a stupid mistake of stupid men. There is never a concession that people are entitled to defend their lives or their liberty; and that as harsh and horrible as war is, some things are worse.

Granted that in the midst of carnage, when the body most seeks flight, it may be difficult to recall the awful necessity, and grim resolve which brought a soul to such a pass; but even as a roadside bomb explodes beside a passing convoy, we must remember that the people planting such devices would break through our doors, and slit the throats of our children as they lay sleeping if they could. Just as they do as much as possible against Jews in Israel.

So, Mr. Hollywood director who has his actors moan about what violent criminals men are, and war is something we could just stop doing if we felt like it -- so what shall we tell the widows of NY, the mothers of blown up little Jews in Jaffa? Get out? Leave? Move away? Forget about it? The nasty men will stop if you ask them nicely?

And what about that little war which created the United States of America? I guess that was dumb, also, settled nothing, and left only evil in its wake?

posted by Mark Butterworth | 2:18 PM |