Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fundamental Radical Extremist

We hear these words all the time, but what do they really mean? Often these adjectives precede or follow a religious term in the case of "radical Muslim" or "Christian fundamentalist." In an interview this week of Muslim turned atheist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, TV show host Travis Smiley made the statement that Christians commit murder every day. Citing shootings inside post offices and schools, he says "There are so many more examples of Christians, Ayaan, who do that [murder] than you could ever give me of Muslims who have done that inside this country where you live and work" (full video here).

The claim by Smiley seems to be that Christians are responsible for as much violence as Muslims. They say people commit crimes from all religious backgrounds, so the problem isn't religion, but extremism. On the contrary, religion is the center of the problem. Smiley, like Rosie O'Donnell before him make three major errors in reasoning.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A 'Religious' Problem

For the third time this week, someone said to me, "I'm not really a religious person," so I'd like to respond to what might be a common misunderstanding of the Christian religion. It made me wonder how a "religious" person is different from a regular person. If these three friends represented only anecdotal accounts, it wouldn't be worth blogging about, but I fear it represents an underlying assumption that's widely held.

Last month, famous biologist and UCI professor Dr. Francisco Ayala donated $1.5 million dollars to a UCI genetics program. Dr. Ayala was awarded the Templeton Prize in March which comes with the cash prize matching this gift he gave to the University. The Templeton Foundation was impressed by Ayala's work in solving the problem of faith and science. In reference to this, Ayala told the press "We don't have belief in evolution; belief is accepting something for which we have no evidence" ($1.5 Million Dollar Prize Donated to UCI, Orange County Register, April 22, 2010, Local 3) So, according to Ayala, once we relegate faith to the private and personal realm, and we allow science to determine the reality of our daily lives, the problem goes away. In short, science is objective; religious belief is not.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Arizona's Immigration Bill: 'Racial Sin' or Liberal Spin?

What is with all the controversy over Arizona's immigration bill SB 1070? I'm a law enforcement officer relocating to Arizona next month, so I figured I should read this bill for myself. After all, unlike the 1,100 page health care bill, it's only 15 pages long.

The primary charge by critics is the deprivation of civil rights. Since the bill's passing, we've all heard of public outcry from immigrant groups as well as boycotts by cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Liberal Christian and Sojourners founder, Jim Wallis, has gone as far as calling for all Christians to blatantly violate the new law. Despite threats to sue Arizona, at least two leading White House officials who voiced their opposition to the bill admitted they haven't even read it. So, before I decided how Christians should respond, I read it myself.

The text of the bill begins by laying out the specific way in which the bill is to be implemented. Despite the claim by Jim Wallis, in a Huffington Post article that the bill "would require law enforcement officials in the state of Arizona to investigate the immigration status" or "all law enforcement officers will be enlisted to hunt down undocumented people," nothing in the text even implies as much. The bill doesn't require law enforcement to do anything. In contrast, the bill specifically requires what law enforcement is NOT to do. You'll find it's actually pretty restrictive.