Month: August 2014

Pro-life families should see “The Giver” together: opinion

Conservatives have long complained that our political philosophy and traditional values are under-represented in the steam of films flowing from Hollywood. That's why it makes news in our circles when one comes along that's both well-made and well-meaning. "The Giver" is one such film. "The Giver is the kind of movie that conservatives -- those who are yearning for a greater role and voice in the entertainment industry, so that our beliefs can have a greater impact and validation in the culture -- should be cheering," wrote Jack Fowler, the publisher of National Review. Pro-life conservatives should cheer loudly, indeed, considering the way the story treats the issue of life and its value at all stages. "It's one of those films that strike the heart and speaks to our time," said Raymond Arroyo, a host on Birmingham-based EWTN Global Catholic Network. "The questions it raises about...the preciousness of every human life regardless of what society says, are worthy of consideration." The film is an adaptation of Lois Lowry's 1993 dystopian novel, which is near the top of many pro-life reading lists. My wife and I have re-read our tattered paperback that sits within arm's reach on our bookshelf, and each reading unpacks new thoughts about life, our values and the troubled world that's reflected in Lowry's tale. The back of my copy explains the story: "Jonas's world is perfect...There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When…

Hey, food regulator, leave them kids alone! opinion

A recent bake sale for veterans at Robertsdale High School. (File) The picture from Baldwin County last February is as American as apple pie. Two girls from the Robertsdale High School chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions were signing a poster that read "Valentines for Veterans" as part of their club's bake sale to benefit the veterans' home in Bay Minette. Students who bought treats signed the poster, which was delivered along with the fund-raiser's proceeds to help purchase a television for the facility's common area. But while the picture may be as American as apple pie, it's the apple pie that might not be very American these days, at least in our public schools. Principals across the country have found themselves with the unenviable task of enforcing a federal mandate to limit the number of campus bake sales. The decree is part of the federal government's new nutritional guidelines for public schools, which are closely tied to First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative for children. But many would rather see the mandates move right back to whatever office hatched the idea, along with its requirement that local districts must monitor and enforce the standards. "We don't have enough teachers in our classrooms and now we are expected to hire some type of food police to monitor whether we are having bake sales or not," John Barge, Georgia's state school superintendent, told WSB-TV in Atlanta recently. "That's just asinine." Careful, Mr. Barge, you wouldn't want to bite the hand that feeds your schools,…

Nobody should be shocked when electric bills rise: opinion

President Barack Obama with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in Washington, D.C. (AP) Earlier this month Alabama Power announced it was reducing the amount of coal it burns at three of its power plants across the state, decreasing its number of employees and increasing the possibility that customers could pay higher rates in the future. Why? In a different era the answer may have involved the price or supply of coal, the cost of plant improvements or some other business-driven decision. But not today. Alabama Power was forced into that decision by President Barrack Obama's overzealous Environmental Protection Agency, which is on a climate change-fueled crusade to drastically reduce the amount of electricity produced from coal. Nobody should be surprised, though. Obama has been loud and clear about his feelings toward coal-fired power plants, which provide more than a third of all electricity consumed in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle asked Obama about coal when he was running for president in January 2008. "So if somebody wants to build a coal-power plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted," Obama said. He was describing his cap and trade proposal to tax American companies for carbon production that surpassed some arbitrary level, not this specific EPA regulation, but the motive is identical. Only the means has changed. His dislike of…

Organized secularism will never replace organized religion: opinion

A common criticism that atheists and agnostics have of Christianity is the catchall argument against "organized religion" overall. They usually say something like, "Organized religion has caused," and then list every horror from war to racism. Rather than being theologically insightful, the accusations usually explain less about faith and more about the accuser: They once had a bad experience with a group of Christians, or they honestly cannot accept the notion of God and might even disdain those who do. Yet many still feel an empty space in their lives. So where do they go to fill it? In some cases, organized secularism. "The idea is why not steal all the good bits about church – the music, the fellowship, the community work – and leave the God stuff," said Adam Newton in a recent Telegraph article about Sunday Assembly, a secular event he attends in Nashville. Sunday Assembly is an international "godless congregation that celebrates life," according to its website. The "show," as some of its Nashville members call it, consists of music, singing, dancing and lectures that resemble self-help seminars or motivational talks. So what's an atheist movement doing in the capital of country music? "People hear about it and email saying, 'I've been waiting for this my entire life,'" Sanderson Jones, a co-founder of Sunday Assembly, told the Telegraph. "It turns out that loads of us had this idea, we were just the ones who were stupid enough to try it." Not quite. People have searched for…