Although Easter Sunday is behind us and the actual date of the Easter Rising of 1916 is still ahead, we tip our hats today to the event that literally cleared the ground for modern Ireland.
My ancestors on my father’s side came from the West of Ireland but I grew to adulthood without, I think, ever hearing about the rebellion. My Irish inheritance consisted of my Catholic faith, the Irish nuns who taught me in primary school, a repertoire of sentimental Irish –American songs, and a book called The World’s Debt to the Irish (great book, by the way).
When I started to read W. B. Yeats and James Joyce at university it was just as hard for me to work out what on earth they were talking about as for anyone else. Suspecting that it would all be too awful, I have never really applied myself seriously to Irish history.
Someone who has is Rowan Light, a post-grad history student whose essay, “What does the ‘terrible beauty’ mean?”, sheds light on the different strands of ideology and sentiment that sparked the Easter uprising: “the duality of republicanism and constitutional nationalism; the rebels of Easter 1916 and the soldiers of the Somme; victims of British colonialism and willing partners in the building of empire; the traditions of the north and south…” But Rowan also points out that Ireland today is embroiled in an internal culture war, whose resolution is far from certain. Recommended.
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Common Core educational standards have not surfaced in the US election as one of the key issues, as pundits once predicted. Opinions are split, but not necessarily on party lines. Republican candidate John Kasich supports them, but they are rubbished by his opponents Ted Cruz (“abolish the Department of Education” and Donald Trump (“a total disaster”).
Bernie Sanders has said nothing specific on the issue, but supports them. Hillary Clinton recognises that there have been problems with the roll-out of the Common Core but says “I have always supported national standards”.
Below, the President of the National Association of Scholars and author of the a book on the controversial program gives his opinion in an interview with Carolyn Moynihan.
ONE LAST THING: We've just opened a survey about your favourite books. We'd like to know what are your favourites about heroes and heroines of conscience? You may enter as many times as you like. It's a kind of crowd-sourcing of the wisdom of MercatorNet readers. Click here: http://goo.gl/3um2fe
For those of us interested in the right to act in accordance with our consciences, what is happening in Canada is extremely worrying. As Margaret Somerville points out in her article today, health care workers and institutions are being forced into cooperating with euthanasia.
This is something that happens in no other country, even the Netherlands and Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. As she writes:
In general, progressive values advocates claim to give priority to rights to individual autonomy, choice, control over what happens to oneself, and tolerance for those who believe differently. Yet in relation to respect for the freedom of conscience and, where relevant, religious belief, of physicians or institutions who oppose PAD, none of these principles seem to be applied. Why?
I haven't started to wade through Pope Francis's 256-page "apostolic exhortation" Amoris Laetitia (PDF), since it was released on Friday. I am taking the Pope's advice that "I do not recommend a rushed reading of the text".
I belong in the slow class. It was astonishing to see how comprehensive and authoritative the reports over the weekend in the world press were -- after about three hours of research. Perhaps their rushed readings explain some of the odd interpretations and provocative headlines.
An American theologian in Rome, Fr Bob Gahl, has written a good summary for MercatorNet which sets the scene for the Pope's proposals. It's a great introduction to what promises to be an extremely thought-provoking read.
Today is the 50th anniversary of Time magazine's famous -- and at the time highly controversial -- cover featuring the "God is dead" theological movement. The paradox of a theology that wants to talk about God without God is still with us, or so I have suggested in my article on the subject. Certainly one can go to church and hear a lot about the ethical dimension of Christian faith -- being kind to our neighbour, caring for the poor and marginalised, looking after the environment -- but somehow miss hearing about God himself, what else he wants of us, what he wants to do for us if we will only let him. But without such strong food, will Christians -- and others -- be able to withstand the pressure to conform to the new and rather dubious ethics evolving around the sexual rights agenda?
Today, April 7, marks the 22nd anniversary of the Rwanda genocide. About 800,000 people were slaughtered in the tiny nation in the course of a few months, mostly Tutsis, but also moderate Hutus and many of the Twa, Rwanda’s Pygmy people.
The United Nations has set April 7 every year as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda. It’s a pretty sombre moment which prompts calls for “never again”. Unfortunately, however many times the world says “never again”, mass killings seem to happen again. They are happening right now in Iraq and Syria at the hands of Islamic fanatics in ISIS.
"God's blessing will be greater for those who forgave. Because Jesus said forgive each other, love each other the way I love you. This is what we need to learn: forgiveness … My hopes for life are for there to be no wars. With no wars there will be love. If there is no love there is no justice. And justice is what satisfies humans."
Personal forgiveness is possible and is the only way to secure lasting peace.
In his piece on the LGBT bullying of the Dominican Republic by the US through its gay ambassador, Michael Cook references a White House blog post in which "Eight of the nation's most powerful out leaders, including ambassadors and an envoy to the State Department, explain how proposed trade agreements will export our values of equality and tolerance."
It's quite an eye-opener. It explains how "new trade initiatives"including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)" -- which the New Zealand government, for one, has signed up to and is busy right now explaining to a sceptical citizenry -- are doubling as means to export "values", a weasel word for LGBTQ etc cultural norms. They won't have much work to do in our country, where politicians have already bent the knee to gender ideology, but they are ready to ready to use neo-imperialist tactics on culturally conservative countries like the Dominican Republic. At that rate Mexico should welcome Trump's "wall" -- to keep the Americans out.
Clichés are so handy. The brain keeps whirring, the mouth keeps opening, the hands keep typing, even when the clutch is not engaged. They’re fuel for the linguistic version of a perpetual motion machine.
But they’re hard to avoid. One of the current ones is the term “to be radicalized”. As Ken MacIntosh points out in his article below, this is almost meaningless.
“The problem with this approach is that nobody is ultimately responsible for anything. Those who radicalise were, in turn, radicalised themselves. And so on and so on. And in a world without personal-responsibility there is no right and wrong. There is no social-disapproval. There is no stigma. Nothing to restrain. Everybody becomes a victim of circumstance. Which is not true: we all have free-will.”
North Carolina's public bathrooms have become unlikely battlegrounds in the sexual revolution. Its legislature recently passed a bill specifying that people are only permitted to use facilities intended for their biological gender. As a result of this common-sense initiative, the state is in danger of losing billions of dollars in Federal funding and hundreds of jobs.
Would anyone have expected this ten years ago? Or even five years ago? Or a year ago? I doubt it. The real problem is not where transgender women can relieve themselves but what will be the next front. Polygamy? Transgender kids? Homophobic churches? It's hard to predict. But one thing is sure: this is not the last battle.