Month: July 2014

God bless Israel, a fiddler on the world’s roof: opinion

A rocket fired by Palestinian militants from inside Gaza Strip makes its way towards Israel. (AP) Earlier this month I took my children to watch their grandfather, who they affectionately call their "Pop," perform in the classic musical "Fiddler on the Roof" at a community theater near Birmingham. Pop played one of the Jewish residents of Anatevka, Russia, who were struggling to keep their culture, their homes and their heads amid the anti-Semitism of the early 20th century. The young Jews believed their traditions were out of date. The older Jews believed their traditions were being eroded by outsiders. And the Tsar just wanted them all out, period. The lead character, Tevye, explained their precarious position during the opening monologue. "Every one of us is a fiddler on a roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck," Tevye said, as a young man played a violin while balancing on a rooftop built on the stage. "It isn't easy." As my children clapped and kept time with the musical's popular songs, and smiled with amazed delight at seeing their beloved Pop sing and dance upon the stage, my thoughts couldn't help but drift to the ceaseless plight of the Jews, and the current attacks on the nation of Israel. During Biblical times the Jews were driven out of Israel by calamity and then hauled out by conquest. They were entirely expelled by the Romans and scattered like seeds in the wind to every corner of the…

Alabama’s EWTN fights to maintain religious liberty in America: opinion

Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, in a photo taken last year. (File) Around the time of our nation's founding, the world was ruled by the whims of men. Whether through the hands of kings or caliphs, warlords or witchdoctors, fear and superstition reigned. Then our Founding Fathers came along, and one of them, John Adams, reportedly once wrote, "Liberty would reign in America." Not gods. Not men. Only liberty, with equal justice under law. Adams and his fellow founders then established a limited government to help preserve and protect our nation's unlimited resource -- human freedom. That's why it's so disheartening to step back and fully consider that the same government wants to force a Christian ministry to do something that clearly violates its denomination's long-held beliefs. ETWN Global Catholic Network, the Irondale-based media ministry founded by Mother Angelica, faces fines of $35,000 per day because it refuses to comply with an Obamacare mandate to provide its employees with healthcare coverage that includes birth control, drugs that can cause abortions and sterilization procedures. Some think this issue was resolved when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month in favor of Hobby Lobby. However, the court only said that closely held corporations -- i.e. family businesses -- could be exempted from the mandate due to the owner's religious beliefs. The justices said nothing about non-profits, which is how most ministries like EWTN are organized. Hours after the Hobby Lobby decision was released, a federal court in Atlanta granted EWTN an injunction…

Men have a right and a role in the abortion issue: opinion

Pro-life protesters pray during a abortion protest outside Huntsville's Alabama Women's Center For Reproductive Alternatives in 2012. (File) Men are told that they don’t have a legal right or a moral role in the abortion issue. Many believe that it’s not only a woman’s right to choose, but it’s also a woman-only issue to debate. “No uterus, no right to talk about it,” screamed a women after she kicked over an anti-abortion display earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio. After a profanity-laced tirade where she accused the pro-life demonstrator – a man – of being “misogynist” and “racist,” the woman passionately expressed a standard pro-choice attitude: No men allowed. Video of the incident went viral, partly due to the woman’s unhinged demeanor. But pro-life supporters will recognize her arguments, and her behavior, as fairly representative of what pro-life men see and hear from many abortion rights supporters. Do men have a right to talk about abortion? Of course, according to the First Amendment and any reasonable interpretation of the issue’s impact to the whole of society. But do men talk about it enough? Sadly, no. “Our culture has told men for decades that they have no voice when it comes to abortion,” said Kathy Hall, executive director of Choose Life of North Alabama, a crisis pregnancy center in Huntsville. “Men have bought the lie and for the most part have become silent on the issue. Men do have a voice and have a great influence in whether or not a…

Paul DeMarco ad shows he’s a fighter but might not be a winner: opinion

General George S. Patton was famous for delivering gritty yet honest speeches during World War II. "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country," he reportedly told his troops. "You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." The quote's authenticity isn't certain, but its meaning remains clear: being willing to fight isn't enough. You must be able to win. If politics is war by other means, then Patton's lesson could be applied to the run-off for the Republican nomination for Alabama's 6th Congressional district. Paul DeMarco, a state lawmaker from Homewood, says he's a fighter for the conservative cause. "I'll fight for what we believe, no matter what," he said in one typical campaign commercial. DeMarco recently proved his willingness to fight by launching an attack ad against his opponent, Gary Palmer, the former president of the conservative-leaning Alabama Policy Institute. The ad implies that Palmer is for tax increases by quoting half of a sentence he wrote in 2003 about a package of state tax increases and accountability measures known as Amendment One. DeMarco's attack ad displays the following sentences from an op-ed written by Palmer during the debate about the amendment: "I would be willing to support a tax increase..." The ad doesn't show the rest of the paragraph, which reads, "...but only on the condition that we first set in place some meaningful accountability measures. Unfortunately, the proposal before the people of Alabama [Amendment One] falls well short of…

Thank God for Mississippi’s display of the Republican establishment’s desperation

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., survived thanks to Democratic voters and Mississippi's open primaries. Alabamians have an old saying about our sister state to the west: "Thank God for Mississippi!" It's said that the Magnolia State keeps Alabama from being first on the bad list and last on the good list. I've only repeated the adage tongue-in-cheek because there's much to love about Mississippi. Its food, music and literature are second to none. But this summer I'm saying "Thank God for Mississippi" with conviction because their recent Republican Primary exposed how desperate and self-serving the entrenched party establishment has become. Specifically, it has given conservatives two actions to seriously consider. First, the primary fiasco provided a glittering example of why states should close their Republican primaries to only registered Republicans. In Mississippi, as in Alabama, a Democrat can vote in the Republican Primary, and vice versa. Last month incumbent Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, an establishment Republican, was forced into a runoff after his Tea Party-backed challenger, Chris McDaniel, received more votes, but not a majority, during the primary. Cochran's response? He and the party's establishment in Washington, D.C., launched a well-funded effort to get Democrats to vote for Cochran in the Republican Primary's runoff. Their votes watered-down the Republican support for McDaniel, and Cochran won the runoff by a few thousand votes. The result is absurd: More Republicans voted for McDaniel in their party's primary and its runoff, but the party establishment – with the help of Democrats – secured the…