victim status

I could be wrong, but I think we’re missing a few things…

 

“Brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”

 

How could troubles be an opportunity?  And better yet, how could they ever be considered an opportunity for joy?  What exactly are troubles an opportunity for?

 

I think of the recently deceased Chuck Colson, whose troubling stay in federal prison after his Watergate-related crimes led to the founding of Prison Fellowship, an organization that ministers to the ‘least-of-these’ masses in a radically effective way…

 

I think of Corrie Ten Boom, the Dutch prisoner of a Nazi concentration camp, whose barracks was invested by massive swarms of fleas, yet it was the fleas which kept the abusive guards away, allowing the prisoners to study together and thus encourage one another…

 

Prisons and fleas.

 

Troubles and trials.

 

Opportunity?

 

Many see troubles as unjust.  Nothing worthwhile.  Absolutely no good.  Dare I suggest — thus completely contradicting any concept of opportunity — we don’t like troubles and trials; in fact, we labor intentionally to avoid them at all costs.  Not only do many of us toil to minimize the trouble, when the trouble actually manifests itself, we are more likely to proclaim a seemingly ‘last-ditch’ status as opposed to wrestle with the possibility of the positive.  We identify ourself or others as a “victim.”

 

… “My son didn’t make the better team; the coach doesn’t like him.”  [In other words:  my son’s a victim.]

 

… “I didn’t get the promotion; they always promote minorities.”  [I’m a victim.]

 

… “All we want to do is work, to be able to support ourselves. But thanks to the rich being greedy, we can’t even have that.”  [We are victims.]

 

… “We deserve better. This is the hull of a slave ship.”  [We are victims.]

 

You can agree or disagree with any of the above and the degree of truth within.  The Intramuralist is not suggesting that there is zero truth in the expressed reasoning; the Intramuralist is suggesting, however, that in each of the above there is no recognition of potential opportunity (let alone one laced with any semblance of joy).

 

While physical, emotional, and spiritual troubles are not something I would wish upon anyone, I am also saddened by those who feel justified in encouraging victim status within troubling circumstances.

 

“You don’t deserve this!”

“How dare they do that do you!”

“You’ve been wronged!”

“We’ve been wronged!”

 

While wronging does happen on this planet, how much wiser would we be if we would instead more often ask:

 

“How can I grow?”

“What can I learn?”

“What can I accomplish through this negative set of circumstances?”

 

Many actions and words today favor blaming others as opposed to wrestling with self responsibility… demanding help as opposed to empowering individuals … and playing victim as opposed to recognizing opportunity.

 

We have forgotten the value and joy of opportunity…

 

… not to mention the prisons and fleas.

 

Respectfully,

AR

fanfare

In case I have somehow failed to be transparent, allow me to briefly reveal that the Intramuralist is a diehard Reds fan.  Diehard.  I love them.  Growing up in the era of the Big Red Machine (and as a child, opportunistically desiring to root for a winner), I have long followed their failure and success.  Hence, when in the bottom of the 9th with loaded bases and 2 outs Sunday, when former MVP, Joey Votto, hit a walk off grand slam to win the game, I was literally jumping up and down.  It was awesome!  (… with all due respect, newfound Washington National fans…)

 

Yet perhaps what was most awesome about Sunday — and what’s most relevant here (for even the non-sports fan) — is not Votto’s all-star performance; it was not the fact that the dramatic game winner was actually his 3rd round tripper of the game; rather, it was how Votto spoke about his exceptional performance thereafter.

 

He didn’t boast.  He didn’t brag.  He didn’t chastise his opponent.  In the immediate post-game interviews, where superlatives were generously cast upon him, Votto resisted all attempts to affirm his own performance and his worth to all others.  Contrastingly, he complimented the opposing team’s pitcher, noting how difficult he is to hit, and then calmly spoke in regard to how all the fanfare wasn’t his forte.  Votto said, “Moments like this, this is kind of the icing on the cake, but all the little grinder type things are more my style.”  In other words, when the lights were on and the camera was rolling — with nothing scripted — Joey Votto displayed genuine humility.  In a moment where he could have bragged and could have boasted and we all would have listened — he intentionally chose not to.  He chose to be humble instead.  That, my friends, is something from which even the non-sports fan can learn.

 

We speak much these days about desiring unity — how if we were somehow more united in purpose and pursuit, we would be wiser; we would be more productive and successful.  And yet, we routinely abandon that which is our greatest unifier.  Unity is absolutely dependent on humility.

 

And so in Washington, intelligent men and women say they desire unity, but then they…

 

… blame all lack of success solely on someone else…

 

… use “I/me/my/myself” in a speech more times than we can count…

 

… say their top political priority is to deny one person a second term…

 

… and/or take credit for an outcome that was contributed to by many…

 

Friends, these actions reek of arrogance.  There are too many people touting their claim to their desired icing on the cake.  There is no humility in these actions.  When there is no humility, regardless of intentions uttered into a public microphone, there exists no unity.

 

Then again, perhaps that’s the actual bottom line.  Perhaps unity is merely an exercise in lip-service for environments extending beyond the Reds’ clubhouse.  Perhaps unity is simply something that sounds good — that many say they want — but in actuality, is merely the desire for others to cede individual opinion.  Thus, I conclude that many who boldly proclaim sincere unifying efforts often wish most to squelch opposing opinion.  That’s not unity.  If we desire unity, we must instead begin by modeling personal humility.

 

After Sunday’s Reds’ game, it was not only Joey Votto who donned a seemingly ceaseless grin.  The entire team was elated — the veterans, the rookies, the coaches and local media.  Age didn’t matter.  Experience was irrelevant.  The Reds’ clubhouse was completely united in their joy.

 

Were they united because they were victorious?

 

Were they united because Votto hit a walk off grand slam?

 

To some degree, yes.

 

But they were perhaps more united because of how Votto spoke about his role in the victory.  In the unscripted moment of truth, Votto affirmed others and focused on much more than his own accomplishments.  He demonstrated great humility.

 

(Did I mention I love the Reds?)

 

Respectfully,

AR

good politics?

In case you missed it:

 

First, background info, prior to Sunday…

 

  • In 2004 then State Sen. Obama said, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” and “I don’t think marriage is a civil right.”
  • When campaigning in 2008, Obama and VP Biden opposed same-sex marriage.
  • Gay marriage is legal in D.C. and in 6 states, while Maryland and Washington have referendums pending in November.
  • With the ongoing state marriage debates, gay rights activists have pushed Obama to vocally advocate for same-sex marriage.
  • Obama has said his position is “evolving.”
  • Historically, a majority of Hispanic, African-American, and Catholic voters don’t support gay marriage.

 

Then, beginning Sunday…

 

  • Biden appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying he is now “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage; his office immediately began clarifying the VP’s comments, saying they reflected no change in policy.
  • Both left and right leaning news outlets believed Biden’s latest verbosity was intentional, with the President wanting to “have it both ways.”
  • On Monday, White House Press Sec. Jay Carney attempted to clarify Obama’s position, saying, “Marriage is a state issue, and the states have the right to take action on it.”  Carney added that Obama’s “views on LGBT rights are crystal clear.”
  • Left and right leaning commentators continued debating Obama’s views, with CNN’s Anderson Cooper saying, “The president’s position on gay marriage is anything but precise.”
  • On Tuesday, swing state North Carolina voted 61% to 39% to ban gay marriage in their state constitution.
  • On Wednesday morning, Obama said he was “disappointed” in North Carolina’s vote.
  • On Wednesday afternoon, Obama said his position on gay marriage has now evolved, saying, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”  He also stated that the states have the right to decide.

 

Shew.  Sorry; that’s a lot to follow.  Know, though, that all of the above is fact.

 

The Intramuralist understands that this is a sensitive issue; it is hard to discuss well.  Almost all conversations end up with someone on both sides spewing scorn in the name of passion (as in the Colorado state legislature Tuesday, where one civil union supporter yelled, “I hope you f***ing die!”).  I was amazed, too, for example, at the number of persons who boldly identified the North Carolina vote as the manifestation of bigotry.  Hold fast to your opinion, but is one automatically a bigot if they oppose same-sex marriage?  Is that what Pres. Obama was considered the first 3 years of his term?

 

Allow me not to digress, friends.  The point of this post is not to debate the legality nor morality of same-sex marriage.  We have addressed both advocacy and opposition in previous, respectful posts.

 

The concern I have this day is the factual timeline shared above:  the supposed “evolution.”  The entire transpiration of how the administration is approaching gay marriage looks like, feels like, smells like, quacks like…

Politics…  the motivation for this policy feels like it is completely political.  There is no cultural conversation — led by the federal government — as to what is wise and what is foolish.  What is good.  What is moral.  What is the long term impact.  What evolution of the policy will be good.  What evolution of the policy will be destructive.  How the Constitution supports government’s involvement.  The primary motivator is what makes for good politics.  Egad.

 

Now don’t let me act as if politics serving as the primary motivation is indigenous to Pres. Obama.  The Intramuralist believes this happens all over the place, across all party lines, transcending all issues, and most of the time, we’re all oblivious.  Issues and advocacy is passed off as prudent policy, when the reality is that the motivation for the policy is purely political.

 

Truth?  I can’t tell how Obama feels about gay marriage.  Does he really support it now — or does he feel he needs it to please and thus shore up his so-called “base”?  Did he really oppose it before — or did he feel as if he couldn’t be honest because it might negatively impact the Hispanic, African-American, and Catholic vote?

 

Change the issue.  Change the politician.  Are they being honest with us?  Or is their support or dissension based most upon what they believe to be good politics?

 

I said it before; I’ll say it once more…

 

Egad.

 

Respectfully,

AR

the equity error

With eager politicians sensing an enticeable electorate, an ageless maternal mantra is being systematically extinguished.

 

“Life isn’t fair” is the frequent refrain.  The challenge is that we each take turns dismantling the mantra.  We say it isn’t fair, yet we act as if it should be.  Therein lies the equity error.  It’s rampant; it’s all over — amidst all demographics.  Call it the fallacy of fairness…

 

During the 2008 presidential primary season, when attempting to discern the plausibility of a Barack Obama presidency, I was struck by Obama’s foreshadowing response to ABC moderator, Charlie Gibson.  When Gibson asked why Obama desired to raise the capital gains tax when the lower tax rates advocated by both Bill Clinton and George Bush netted measurable, increased government revenue, Obama replied, “Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”  At the time, I remember thinking that perhaps since Obama’s background is in law, his economic understanding was momentarily lesser.

 

Since that time, however, we have witnessed “fairness” manifest itself in proposed policy.  Regardless of effectiveness — let me say that again — regardless of effectiveness — policy and advocacy are being promoted on the perception of fairness.  That’s why this portrayed stab of equity is in error.

 

We discussed this briefly in regard to the Occupy Movement.  The movement has a fairly firm — although initially incongruous — list of demands.  Yet the bottom line of these clearly, disillusioned capitalists is that they believe happiness is their right; they have confused possessing happiness with pursuing it.  Hence, in order to be happy — which they see possible through free housing, education, income, and medical care — they believe it’s appropriate to take from someone else.  They believe it’s fair.

 

In France on Sunday, the French elected a new president, Francois Hollande.  Hollande is a socialist.  In fact, he intends to increase spending, borrowing, and taxes, even though the European nation is already deeply in debt. For those making in excess of $1.35 million annually, Hollande proposes taxing them at 75% (you read that correctly), as    seizing the income of the wealthy is only fair.  Socialism is another manifestation of the equity error; the government then serves as the discerner of fairness.

 

Since when do we have a right to that which belongs to someone else?

 

Income?  Opportunity?  Even inheritance?  Should that which is someone else’s good fortune be shared with me?

 

Follow me briefly for a relevant side note…

 

My oldest son plays high school baseball.  He does very well.  3 weeks ago I ran into into a fellow baseball parent in the check-out lane at the nearest grocery; our sons play on the same team.  The parent enthusiastically shared with me that her son had been elevated to the next highest team at the high school.  What was my reaction?  Elation!  Congratulations that their son was asked to play on a better team!

 

The reality is that in that moment, I had 2 possible ways of reacting:  (1) looking at the situation from the perspective of how it affects their son; or (2) looking at it from the perspective of how it affects me.

 

When we look at life from “how it affects me,” we lose sight of reality.  Their son’s progress, for example, had nothing to do with me; it had nothing to do with my son.  Their son was rewarded.  Excellent!  I need to celebrate the success of their son as opposed to falling prey to comparing them to me.  I need to celebrate the success of others as opposed to labeling them as “greedy,” “arrogant,” or even “opportunistic.”

 

In other words, fairness is irrelevant.  But that’s hard to admit; it’s far easier to dismiss the maternal mantra of “life not being fair” than it is to wrestle with our own circumstances.  “Equity” becomes bigger than reality.

 

Whether capital gains tax or high school baseball, the success of someone else need not be shared with you and me.  Life’s not fair.  My mother once told me that.

 

Respectfully,

AR

savage

“The Bible.  We’ll just talk about the Bible for a second.  People often point out that they can’t help it, they can’t help with the anti-gay bullying ‘cause it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans, that being gay is wrong.  We can learn to ignore the bullsh*t in the Bible and what it says about gay people, the same way, the same way we have learned to ignore the bullsh*t in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation.  We ignore bullsh*t in the Bible about all sorts of things.

 

The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document.  Slave owners waved Bibles over their heads during Civil War and justified it.  The shortest book in the New Testament is a letter from Paul to a Christian slave owner about owning his Christian slave, and Paul doesn’t say, ‘Christians don’t own people.’  Paul talks about how Christians own people.  We ignore what the Bible says about slavery because the Bible got slavery wrong… if the Bible got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced wrong, slavery, what are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong?  100%…

 

People are dying because they can’t clear this one last hurdle.  They can’t clear this one last thing in the Bible about human sexuality… [continuing, as dozens are quietly now walking out..]  It’s funny as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react.” 

 

Such were the words of Dan Savage, an anti-bullying advocate, especially in the gay & lesbian community, speaking at the National High School Journalist Conference in Seattle on Friday.

 

Friends, as said here several times, human sexuality is a tough issue; it’s tough to handle well.  The Intramuralist has friends engaged in multiples lifestyles, and as some of us have discussed, this is hard to talk about; people confuse disagreement with disrespect.  They aren’t the same.

 

What concerns me most about Savage’s words — founder of the “It Gets Better” project, an encourager of gay teens to persevere, supported by various celebrities, activists and politicians — is not his stance on homosexuality.  It’s his savage approach.

 

When we disagree with other people, is it appropriate to attack them?  Is it appropriate, in a sense, to verbally bully them?  … to disparage them or to regard or represent them as being of little worth?  Savage not only demeans the people who disagree with him, but also to embolden his point, he denigrates and distorts the source.

 

Choose not to believe in the Bible.  Choose this day who you’ll serve.  Choose to agree or disagree with it’s teachings.  But to suggest that the chances of historical scripture being wrong are “100%” means one also inherently proclaims that oneself is infallible.  The lack of humility within that proclamation thinly veils an unfortunate foolishness.

 

I am not suggesting that Savage is right or wrong in his passion regarding the lack of limits on human sexuality; he is entitled to his passionate perspective.  He is, however, factually inaccurate in how he presents the contents of scripture, especially, for example, in regard to slavery.  The Bible does not condemn slavery; neither does it advocate the brutality and dehumanization that has manifested in the minds of contemporary culture.  The Bible teaches against slavery as we know it.

 

I thus wrestle with the reeling discomfort when Savage or any man claims to be more knowing and knowledgeable than God.  I wrestle also with the distortion.

 

Friends, I have many flaws.  Contrary to not-even-popular belief, I don’t know it all.  And there are things within the Bible that are far too wonderful for me, that I cannot even begin to comprehend.

 

But never will I equate my lack of comprehension to a personal omniscience…  me, this fairly insightful, witty blogger knowing exactly what is right and exactly what is wrong… me, knowing more or better than God… me, knowing it all… me, being able to claim a lack of comprehension of scripture as a definitive proclamation.  I will never proclaim a wisdom all according to “me.”

 

So in those areas where each of us disagree — where our passions and experience have challenged us in varied manners and ways — I make one promise:  I will never call you “pansy-assed.”  I won’t think it either.

 

Disagreement is not the same as disrespect — and the intentional employment of disrespect and distortion only decreases the validity of one’s perspective.

 

Respectfully,

AR

warning: may contain traces of nuts

[Originally posted in June of 2009.]

 

Yes, I am fearful we are going nuts.

 

There are all sorts of them.  Cashews, almonds, walnuts, brazils, filberts, peanuts, pine, and pecans…  There exist immeasurable means of preparation.  Dry roasted, honey roasted, salted, shelled, redskin, blanched, granulated, not to mention that wonderful cinnamon glazed.

 

Next we must choose what form we desire the protein to come in… whole, half, pieces, mixed…  It certainly makes it hard to choose.  Some are grouped together via creative packaging; some are not available at the local grocer; some are available only from preferred networks.  And some people, too, are allergic, making eating and obtaining nuts currently impossible.

 

I am sorry to say, but the cost of nuts has soared.  I remember boiled peanuts from Plains, Georgia being significantly less expensive 25 years ago.  It is challenging to continue paying more for protein… something that gives us the energy to go on and keeps our bodies in solid shape (thank you, Dr. Atkins).

 

And so perhaps we should control the ebb and flow of nuts in this country.  Perhaps we should socialize both its production and availability.  If we overhaul the nut system in this country, perhaps we could save billions!  Hail, Plains!  We need our nuts!!

 

Socialism has said to work.  At least somewhere.  Europe maybe?  But aren’t they now severely struggling financially?

 

Hmmm… forgive my tinge of sarcasm, friends, but the Intramuralist is concerned with the promotion of socialism in this country — government ownership and control of industries…  especially now, as I foresee 2 significant hiccups (in addition to the gestational reactions):

 

Hiccup #1:  The nut system overhaul claims to save us billions but cost us trillions.  It is money we do not have.  Do you know where our government currently finds its bill-paying, auspicious pot of gold?  We continue to borrow money from China, and frankly, the Chinese are not known to be crazy about our nuts.  (They have also been known not to be crazy about our human rights.)

 

My friends, no single entity in this country is allowed to operate at a continual, annual loss without either being eliminated or going bankrupt.  For the US government to continue borrowing — and to justify specific entitlements being an exception to the rule — it is worrisome indeed… even if it is simply about nuts.

 

Hiccup #2:  If the government controls the nuts, the government will discern which nuts are worthy — and which are expendable.  Since the initial nut costs are nothing short of outrageous, they cannot afford to take care of the nut-eaters who are a perceived financial drain on the system.  In other words, the government will be picking out the pistachios.  Perhaps, in fact, the pistachios will no longer exist.  We will then as a country miss out on what even a green, little nut can contribute to our culture.

 

People who need nuts should get nuts.  Even Macadamia.  But government assuming control of everyone’s protein choice seems arguably Orweillian.  If the control seizing also entails the utilization of a checkbook with zero money left in the account, then financial foolishness is an added, incredibly valid question.

 

Time to snack on the Thai lime chili cashews in my cupboard.  Perhaps the break will enable me to refrain from acknowledging all the nuts involved in this process.

 

Respectfully,

AR

slip sliding away

One cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a camel gently thrust his nose under the flap and looked in. “Master,” he said, “let me put my nose in your tent. It’s cold and stormy out here.” “By all means,” said the Arab, “and welcome” as he turned over and went to sleep.

 

A little later the Arab awoke to find that the camel had not only put his nose in the tent but his head and neck also. The camel, who had been turning his head from side to side, said, “I will take but little more room if I place my forelegs within the tent. It is difficult standing out here.” “Yes, you may put your forelegs within,” said the Arab, moving a little to make room, for the tent was small.

 

Finally, the camel said, “May I not stand wholly inside? I keep the tent open by standing as I do.” “Yes, yes,” said the Arab. “Come wholly inside. Perhaps it will be better for both of us.” So the camel crowded in. The Arab with difficulty in the crowded quarters again went to sleep. When he woke up the next time, he was outside in the cold and the camel had the tent to himself.

 

[Special thanks to CamelStories.com for “The Camel’s Nose in the Tent”]

 

The metaphorical camel’s nose illustrates the potential worsening of a situation when small, questionable scenarios are initially permitted. The allowance of the nose in the tent creates the potential for a scenario never imagined, but possibly dire.

 

Where — albeit by gradual steps — have we possibly witnessed the protrusion of the “camel’s nose”?  Help me here.  This is honest wrestling.  My desire is not to persuade nor embolden; the Intramuralist’s desire is to respectfully dialogue and thus grow.

 

Where have we permitted scenarios to exist that may potentially evolve into the camel taking over the tent?  Where have we promoted an initial, specific desire, policy, or behavior that as it progresses, manifests itself as a progression of wrongful thinking?

 

On Tuesday, we discussed the argument for after-birth abortion, the process of intentionally killing a newborn.  When abortion was legalized in all states in 1973, did the Supreme Court foresee that less than 30 years later, some in academia would seriously consider the legalization of killing babies outside the womb?  … that some would intentionally desire to reframe “infanticide,” calling the procedure “after-birth abortion” instead — in order to minimize the moral argument?  Was that recognized as a potentially offensive protrusion?

 

“If the camel…”

 

Consider the federal government’s routine practice of deficit spending.  When Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of Treasury under President Washington, arguably first proposed incurring debt for the purpose of establishing credit, did Hamilton foresee a 21st century government that is now almost $16 trillion dollars in debt?  Did those who advocated the exercise envision that spending within our means may become a secondary priority to spending itself?

 

“… once gets his nose…”

 

What else, friends?  Tell me.  Again, I do not assume to know all, but where else does the animal nose begin to reek?

 

Pick your social issue.  Pick your fiscal practice.  Pick your societal evolution.  Where has the practice gone too far?  Where has the initial acceptance been possibly ethical, but the potential progression is now imprudent?

 

“… in the tent…”

 

Borrowing from China?  Negative campaigning?  A 2 party system?  Acceptance of adultery?  Violence and sex on TV?  No prayer in schools?  … Where are the camels, friends?  I don’t claim to know all of the above.  I only ask the question in order to avoid the slippery slope of potential foolish and unethical activity.  Otherwise…

 

“… his body will soon follow.”

 

Respectfully,

AR

after birth

As a current events observer in search of wisdom (or yes, also, a lack of it), every so often an issue evolves that causes far more than a pregnant pause.  In order to accurately dissect the wisdom, allow me to first share the facts.  I will omit emotive expression… at least initially.

 

In the Journal of Medical Ethics released 6-8 weeks ago, 2 Australian philosophers argued the case for “after-birth abortion.”  Note that I did not write “partial-birth abortion.”  “Partial-birth” is a term created by the pro-life movement.  The term “after-birth abortion” was put forth by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.  They propose the following:

 

“When circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible…  We propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus… rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.”

 

The authors stated desire is to reframe infanticide.  In their argument, the philosophers suggest that any maternal interest trumps the value of the newborn.  Actually, identifying the baby as a “newborn” is not always their choice of words.  They write…

 

“If a potential person, like a fetus and a newborn, does not become an actual person, like you and us, then there is neither an actual nor a future person who can be harmed, which means that there is no harm at all…  In these cases, since non-persons have no moral rights to life, there are no reasons for banning after-birth abortions.”

 

The baby born is referred to by the 2 intelligent philosophers as a “non-person.”  Not “an actual person.”

 

The above are the facts.  Now the emotion.

 

Are you kidding me?!  

 

A “non-person”?

“No reason” to ban the practice?

“No harm at all”?

 

Where is the line between infanticide and abortion?  When does murder come into play?

 

(Note that this coming Thursday, the Intramuralist will again address society’s ethical “slippery slope.”  This will serve as example #1.  Egad.)

 

After substantial outrage, no less, to this after-birth article (which the Journal of Medical Ethics has since pulled from public viewing), the authors attempted to extinguish the growing firestorm, suggesting the proposal was never intended for public view; it was solely meant to be an “academic debate” among “fellow bioethicists” already familiar with the topic and arguments.

 

But tell me, why in academia do the proclaimed most intelligent believe the killing of life is even an appropriate debate?  Regardless for who this debate was intended, how can such proposal be deemed ethical by any?

 

The Intramuralist concludes with a few familiar refrains:  first, intelligence and wisdom are definitely not equal.  There is no wisdom in this debate, regardless of with whom it takes place and how supposedly smart the participants are.  Intelligence and wisdom are not synonyms, a fact of which academia often seems unaware.

 

And second, allow me to ask:  who are we to demean the value of someone else’s life?  Whether that be due to income?  … race?  … gender?  … or in this case, a newborn babe?

 

A person.  An actual person.  Life.

 

Respectfully,

AR

battle of the sexes

Man vs. woman.  Woman vs. man.

 

Now that the madness of college basketball has concluded (at least until the fanaticism of college football begins), I am reminded of a lingering issue, as highlighted again by the major sports’ media last week.  For the record, this blog is not about sports.  Hence, my respected non-sports fans, please keep reading.

 

A growing trend in women’s basketball — both college and professional — is for teams to practice against men.  This trend started several years ago, and the exercise has evolved to a degree in which many teams actually host tryouts for the male practice squads.  According to an ESPN survey of last year’s top 25 teams, 92% of the women’s teams use male practice players at least some of the time.

 

Why?  According to Kelsey Bone, center for last year’s ladies of Texas A&M, the 2011 champions, “When we’re successful in practice against guys, it helps us and gives us confidence going into the games.”

 

Or according to Bones’ teammate, guard Sydney Carter, “I think it’s made me a lot smarter; it’s definitely made me quicker.  They give me the chance to learn the game at a different level, and so when I get to the women’s game and I’m playing against women, I feel like I’m a step ahead all the time.”

 

But as perhaps some imagined, regardless of whether or not it gives the women confidence or makes them smarter and/or quicker, some are vehemently protesting the practice and asking the NCAA to eliminate the exercise.  The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics says this “violates the spirit of gender equity and Title IX” (Title IX is the legislation which requires that gender never be cause for exclusion from education programs receiving federal financial assistance; granted, athletics were never mentioned in the original statute).  

 

The Title IX aspect of the opposition has ample validity.  Some are concerned that by utilizing men, less female scholarships are offered because not as many players are needed on the team for practice purposes; hence, fewer female scholarships are offered.  The question, though, is the validity regarding “gender equity.”

 

Gender equity.  Man vs. woman.  Woman vs. man.

 

Equity.  Fairness.  Ah, a current, populist buzz word.

 

Even though most all involved admit that the use of male athletes makes practice more competitive and challenges the women’s teams in an unprecedented way, many still camp on the issue of fairness.  It’s not fair to use men.

 

Friends, when we utilize the concept of “fairness” to frame demographic differences — instead of embracing, celebrating, learning and growing my sense is that we miss the available wisdom.  While all men were created equal, the Declaration’s prudent proclamation should not be equated with God creating us male and female, each beautifully distinct.  Equal rights does not equate to equal gifting nor ability.

 

Thus, we would be a healthier, more discerning culture if we recognized that not all people are the same.  Men and women do things differently.  While no stereotype is 100% full-proof, there are certain activities that men as a whole and women as a whole do typically better or worse.  After all, as best as I can tell, only 6 women have ever dunked in a college or professional game.  Men and women are different.  In more than just basketball.

 

The point of this blog is not about dunking nor about sports.  My desire instead is to erase the notion that the differences between genders is something to be “battled.”  If we celebrated our differences instead of fighting their existence, we would be wiser.  There would be fewer “chips on shoulders” and less division in society.  My desire is to eliminate the embracing of division.

 

We certainly are a fickle society… embracing division when it serves us, but claiming “fairness” when we’re uncomfortable.  There need not be a battle of any sexes.

 

Regardless of the court.

 

Respectfully,

AR