Moral choices

I posted this in The Facebook, and got one response - from my sister. Maybe nobody else saw it, maybe nobody wanted to comment, maybe it upset some. I'll tweak and repost. 

There was this article, from the CBC -  Survivors, faith leaders call on Catholic Church to take responsibility for residential schools.

"The Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in B.C. said last Thursday that preliminary findings from a survey of the grounds at the former residential school in Kamloops revealed the remains of 215 children — some as young as three years old."

These were schools for young native children, taken from their families. The schools were run by various church groups, mainly Roman Catholic,  from 1831 to 1996. The intent was to assimilate them into Canadian (non-native) society, by force if necessary. Abuse was common and has been well documented. 

"The Roman Catholic Church was responsible for operating up to 70 percent of residential schools, according to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS). United, Anglican and Presbyterian churches were among those operating the remainder. In the years since, the Roman Catholic Church is the only one that hasn't made a formal apology."

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The Meaning of Christmas

As opposed to the Meaning of Life - which we all know is 42.

(For all my non-Christmas oriented readers - please substitute your own significant event marked by crass commercialism, guilt, and over-indulgence)

I was trying to remember all those Christmas at the Walton's moments a good family is supposed to have, and drew a blank. I wondered if it was because I was senile or just didn't have a lot to remember. I called my sister to check, she doesn't remember us having a lot of traditions all together as a big happy family either. Which of course resolves the issue - either we are both senile or there's just not a lot there.
I suspect the latter, which is sad in a way, but I've managed to grow up slightly strange perfectly normal in spite of it, ignore the voices in my head, and build my own traditions. Even after I first separated and the kids were at their mom's over Christmas for the first few times- we just had it a week early at my place too. Then I went to my sister's and had a great time. Another year, alone at Christmas, I bought my own stocking stuffers, woke up "surprised" and was just fine.

I guess my point is rather simplistic. The meaning of Christmas is whatever we want to make it - there's no "correct" answer. And if you don't have a lot of traditions already - start some. They're the glue that binds together the generations in a family, whether it's singing carols together, pulling silly wind-up toys out of the stocking, or deciding who gets the Pope's nose.

Evangelical Right

Well, that's both Bush's backing, and the fervour of his convictions.
Although whenever he speaks he seems to have that bewildered look on his face - like he's waiting for the voices to start again in his head so he can continue. He SEEMS to get impassioned, but it doesn't look real, just well rehearsed. Not a big deal, if he was an intelligent and reliable leader I'd cut him some slack on it.
Anyways, it looks like Bush didn't worry about winning part of the middle, but focused on winning ALL of the Evangelical Right - and did so. It's a very well organized, cohesive, rich, focused group - a massive machine that saw an opportunity and mobilized. So he owes his re-election to them - and the next 4 years will be pay-back time. His brief speech talked about family and faith values, and moving forward with confidence and faith. Every second sentence seemed to mention faith.
I'm an atheist myself, or more likely an agnostic, I don't feel any need for religion or god(s) in my life. Don't need it to explain how we got here, or what we're doing here. Or to tell me what is right and wrong, if I'm doing good in my life or not. Or to pass the hat for money or bang on my door shaking a bible in the air. I have developed my own set of values, they seem to work well for me, I am quite happy with my life and a positive influence (I hope) on those around me. I help others because I want to - not as an indulgence to get me out of purgatory faster. I raised my kids to be open minded about it, and helped them to also develop a good set of values - to make their own choices. They did go to various churches as they were learning - neither attend now. They may later - as long as it helps them, but is not a crutch, I wouldn't mind.
Religion seems to be spreading in the US, and it's an effective partner. It's an easy way to rally people, you can do things based on faith rather than facts, and if things are tough - well, there's always the hope of a happier afterlife.
Bush has promised to reunite a divided America. He said that 4 years ago, and for whatever reasons, it's divided even more - this was a vicious and polarizing campaign. But he only has two years to do so now.
This is because as we saw the campaign leading up to an election takes two years - when the party is focusing on defining themselves in a strong position, racking up all the brownie points they can, and dissing their opponent at every turn. Plus, he's not running again, so doesn't care as much to build those bridges, leaving the rest of the Republican party busy promoting the next wide eyed zealot.
As for the Democrats - might be Kerry, I doubt it. And they seem to have less of a definite platform, other than being anti whatever Bush was doing. So they make take more than 4 years to become a serious challenger.

Maybe there's hope - Nixon showed if you really screw up you're out. But the only way Bush could do that is for the American economy to go down the tubes, massive terrorist attacks within, and anarchy in the Middle East. Hmmm - maybe that's not as much hope as I thought.

Some Easter traditions

For the non-religious, time to take off 3 or 4 days from work and spend the time cleaning and cooking.
For the religious, a number of traditions. Ukranians have a serious looking basket from pre-Christian times. From then also comes the Wiccan Ostara, related also to the Babylonian Queen of Heaven Astarte, who supposedly had hatched from a huge egg, a symbol of fertility and rebirth. And for the non-religious, there's always the old standby, Easter Bunnies and baskets of treats.