Friday, February 4, 2011

Notes: Tuesday, February 1-Friday, February 4, 2011

1. On Egypt and developments there considered with respect to the State of Israel

From the Herald the other day:

Writing in the Israeli daily Haaretz, military analyst Amos Harel says: "The collapse of the old regime in Cairo, if it takes place, will have a massive effect, mainly negative, on Israel's position in the region. In the long run it could put the peace treaties … in danger, the largest strategic assets [Israel has] after the support of the US."

Explaining what is at stake, a senior Israeli official is quoted in The New York Times: "For the US, Egypt is the keystone of its Middle East policy. For Israel, [Egypt] is the whole arch."

The former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Eli Shaked, writes: "The only people in Egypt who are committed to peace are the people in Mubarak's inner circle, and if the next president is not one of them, we are going to be in trouble."

[...] Ron Lesham warned in Haaretz of the consequences of Egyptian politics operating without Mubarak: "The parties will be myriad and fragmented, colourless and disappointing, left-wing and right-wing - and all of them hostile to Israel. An unstable, rudderless transition period, a parliamentary democracy in the Turkish model, if not the Iranian, will give rise to a religious regime that within a few years will presumably be in control of the best-trained and best-equipped army in the Middle East."

[my square-bracketed ellipsis, italics and other square-bracketed interpolations in the original,]

Labels: Egypt, State of Israel

2. "Obama signs Russia arms pact"


US officials said Mr Obama would make the ceremonial gesture in the Oval Office, before the milestone pact comes into force on Saturday at a ceremony in Munich attended by both nations' top diplomats.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new START agreement's ratification last Friday after the Russian parliament passed the pact, which was endorsed by the US Senate last month.

The treaty comes into force when the two nations exchange their respective "instruments of ratification".


Labels: Russia, U.S.A.

3. On exaggerated reporting of the Australian Christian Lobby's (A.C.L.'s) reaction to the N.S.W. Coalition's plan no longer to abolish ethics classes

When the critical thinker reads a headline about "Christians vent[ing their] anger" above a first line beginning with the words "FURIOUS Christians", he or she thinks "Those are pretty strong words. Are they warranted?" Now can anyone read that article and tell me how one could answer that question in the affirmative?

Labels: A.C.L., S.M.H.

4. Mr. Ackland on the High Court's dealings with Church-State relations

The excerpts which are of interest to me:
The constitution says that the Commonwealth cannot make a law for establishing a religion, or for imposing religious observance or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Importantly, ''no religious test shall be required as qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth''.

In 1981, in a case brought by the Defence of Government Schools people, a majority of the Barwick court said state aid was perfectly kosher and did not violate the constitution. Only Justice Lionel Murphy accepted an argument that decisions of the US Supreme Court which prohibited direct government support for religious institutions should be followed here.

The majority did not take a particularly broad view of our constitutional provision, confining the restraint to laws that sought to ''establish'' a religion in Australia. As long as the government did not officially identify itself with one religion or another, then all would be well.

[...] Ron Williams says his children have been subjected to religious zealotry by chaplains employed through the Scripture Union. He has persuaded the Sydney solicitor Claude Bilinsky and barrister Bret Walker to challenge the program on constitutional grounds in the High Court. The case will be heard in May, not as an appeal but as part of the court's original jurisdiction.

[...] Then there is the crunch constitutional point. Any school chaplain engaged under this scheme holds an office under the Commonwealth. By requiring these chaplains to comply with certain guidelines, a ''religious test'' as a qualification for a government job is imposed. This, it is argued, breaches the constitution.

Labels: Church and State, Constitution, High Court of Australia, law

5. Someone who does not oppose assisted suicide on the notion of 'dying with dignity'

An interesting letter in today's Herald:
Throwing in the towel is not dignity

John Newton and Bryan Milner (Letters, February 3) are taking liberties with the English language. Dying with dignity? I don't think so.

Euthanasia legislation parading as dying with dignity is a misnomer and insults those with true dignity. It is silly for a society to make suicide, or even assisting suicide, a crime, but it is hardly a dignified exit to life. When we accord ''dignity'' to those who throw in the towel and say that those who fight to the end ''lack dignity'', we have lost the concept of dignity.

Dignity refers to the human spirit, to qualities worthy of esteem or respect. It has nothing to do with whether someone needs help to eat or go to the bathroom. By all means let people exit how they want but please don't say it was dignified. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with throwing in the towel but that is what it is.

When you feel the need to wrap your actions in inappropriate words to make them palatable, you probably don't truly believe you are doing the most honourable thing.

Mary Ancich Birchgrove

Labels: euthanasia

6. A couple of interesting websites which I've discovered

Via the Blogger profile of a commenter at Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog I've discovered that the philosopher Edward Feser has a blog:

The first post which I saw at Dr. Feser's blog linked to an article entitled "The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Law":

Natural-law ethics's three metaphysical presumptions are the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and psychological liberty. I have not read Dr. Oderberg's paper yet but I would be quite interested to do so, if I have time.

Labels: morality, natural law, philosophy

7. "A Review [by Mr. Muehlenberg] of Unplanned. By [former "Planned Parenthood" clinic director] Abby Johnson."

Labels: Abby Johnson, abortion

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Andrew Corsini, Bishop, Confessor, A.D. 2011


Anonymous said...

If that cretin's argument were valid, which it is not, one couldn't have chaplains in the armed forces.

Some people have difficulties with English comprehension.

This is not to say that there shouldn't be an established religion. There should be - catholicism.

+ Wolsey

Cardinal Pole said...

"If that cretin's argument were valid, which it is not, one couldn't have chaplains in the armed forces."

Good point.

"This is not to say that there shouldn't be an established religion. There should be - catholicism."

Hear, hear!