Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Islamic indoctrination for public school kids? No problem!

Imagine if public school students were required to learn Christian prayers, fast during Lent, adopt saints' names, and generally pretend to be devout Christians for a day. Do you think the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State might, shall we say, put in an appearance?

But require those same students to learn Muslim prayers, fast according to Muslim practice, adopt Muslim names, paint Muslim slogans on banners, and generally pretend to be devout Muslims for three weeks, and hey, no problem. This, according to Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the incomprehensible Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Hamilton was, inter alia, among the first to declare the Partial Birth Abortion Ban unconstitutional, just a few hours after it was signed into law.

Chant rules

Thomas Merton explains why Gregorian chant rules:

"The cold stones of the Abbey church ring with a chant that glows with living flame, with clean, profound desire. It is an austere warmth, the warmth of Gregorian chant. It is deep beyond ordinary emotion, and that is one reason why you never get tired of it. It never wears you out by making a lot of cheap demands on your sensibilities. Instead of drawing you out into the open field of feelings where your enemies, the devil and your own imagination and the inherent vulgarity of your own corrupted nature, can get at you with their blades and cut you to pieces, it draws you within, where you are lulled in peace and recollection and where you find God."

In short: chant will still be sung a thousand years from now, while all the vapid "praise songs" and Christian pop music that stultifies so much contemporary worship are long forgotten.

Fr. Merton may have gone a little overboard with the fashionable leftism that washed into the Church in the 60's, but he remains one of the most skilled Catholic writers of the 20th century, and his conversion, described in his autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain, is one of the most influential of a century that drew many great men and women of letters into, or back to, the Church.

The Front of Decent People

Sunday's beatification of Cardinal Clemens von Galen, one of the most courageous figures in the German resistance to Hitler, happened to come just a few days after I finished Thomas Fleming's The New Dealers' War.

The Front of Decent People, as the chief resistance organization called itself, ultimately included not just the prominent, like Admiral Canaris (Germany's spymaster), General Rommel of Afrika Korps fame, and Claus von Stauffenberg, the maimed Catholic veteran whose bomb should have killed Hitler in 1944, but thousands of ordinary Germans as well. And thousands of them died for their actions when that bomb failed in its purpose.

It must have taken extraordinary courage to work secretly against the Nazis, let alone openly condemn their practices, as von Galen did in his famous 1941 sermon against their program of euthanasia. Thank God we don't live in such an age.

But there's still plenty of work to be done, it seems. In the comment at the end of the excerpt at this link, we read that after von Galen spoke, the Nazis stopped their mass euthanizing of the mentally ill and others considered "life unworthy of life," but carried on more discreetly:

Drugs and starvation were used instead and doctors were encouraged to decide in favor of death whenever euthanasia was being considered.

Starvation. Doctors encouraged to decide in favor of death. Remind you of a young woman from Florida who was in the news recently?