Thursday, April 09, 2015

Douthat: Interview with a Christian; Our Push for ‘Passion,’ and Why It Harms Kids...more

...We have come to believe that only those who have passion find fulfillment and success professionally. It’s as if passion is life’s magic pixie dust. We want success for our children and believe that only passion can lead them there. We hold on to this myth despite considerable evidence that millions of people have lived long, happy, useful lives filled with joy and contentment and devoid of a defining passion.

And if passion is what makes our children look as special to colleges as they are to us, it’s also what lets us off the pushy parent hook. If a child has a “passion,” we’re not overdoing it in our zeal, or pursuing our own agenda. We’re just making their dream possible. Really, it has nothing to do with us.

If passion were just a matter of semantics, a word heedlessly thrown around in place of interest or pastime, this might not be a problem. But seeking a passion in childhood or adolescence has become an obsession in itself, and it is not without costs.

When children can’t find their elusive passions, yet feel compelled to proclaim one, they grab onto an interest, label it a passion and buy the requisite instrument or equipment. This is not a harmless charade, because fake passions crowd out real ones. When you are busy playing on the lacrosse field six days a week because in seventh grade you liked going to practices with your friends and your coach once mentioned you might have some talent, you may never discover that computer graphic design is your calling. When you take every opportunity to play piano daily in a band, orchestra and private lessons, you could easily miss the once-in-a-lifetime joy of being a member of a field hockey team. Pseudo passions can eat up our days and lay waste to any chance of finding a real ones...

Judge Officially Declares Open Season on Children
...A California judge has reduced a child rapist's mandatory 25-year sentence down to only 10 - saying anything longer would be 'cruel and unusual punishment'.

Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly told an Orange County jury that 20-year-old Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto 'did not intend to harm' the three-year-old girl he raped at his family home in June...

   ...Nevertheless, the grand mufti - who is also the head of the Supreme Court of Ulema (Islamic Scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas – said that as part of the Arabian Peninsula, it is necessary that Kuwait destroy all of its churches...

Tikrit mass grave may contain bodies of 1,700 Iraqi soldiers killed by ISIS

Nebraska newspaper overdoes it on 'injustice' faced by gay Catholic teacher ...Mr. Eledge must have known when he applied to teach at this school that certain behaviors would be required of him. The key question, as always, is whether the school had any kind of written covenant signed by teachers as they accepted jobs at what is clearly a Catholic school that, to some degree or another, is under the authority of Catholic teachings.

This is a no-brainer, folks. When I taught for a year at a Baptist university, I was asked to sign a statement agreeing to live a moral lifestyle and not drink alcohol, even in the privacy of my home. Brigham Young University requires applicants for teaching positions to adhere to Mormon teachings forbidding the consumption of coffee. Eledge may have been a poor choice for a tearjerker piece in that no one is forcing him to teach at a Catholic school plus there are options for him at public schools.

True, it’s idiotic for the Omaha diocese to refuse to comment. With them being ripped apart in social media, putting one’s head in the sand is not the way to go. But couldn’t the reporter have tried a bit harder to find a valid voice that could be used to accurately insert Catholic teaching on this issue? Was there no one who could comment about a Catholic school needing its staff to adhere to Catholic teachings?...

Douthat: Interview with a Christian
...O.K., enough pleasantries. You’re a semi-reasonable Christian. What do you think about the terrible Indiana “religious liberty” bill?
I favored the original version. Based on past experience, laws like this protect religious minorities from real burdens. As written, the Indiana law probably wouldn’t have protected vendors from being fined for declining to work at a same-sex wedding. But I would favor that protection as well.

Seriously? Shouldn’t businesses have to serve all comers?
I think they should be able to decline service for various reasons, religious scruples included. A liberal printer shouldn’t be forced to print tracts for a right-wing cause. A Jewish deli shouldn’t be required to cater events for the Nation of Islam.

But those are issues of belief, not identity. Denying service to gays is like denying service to blacks under Jim Crow.
None of the businesses facing sanctions are saying they wouldn’t serve gay people as a class; they just don’t want to work at nuptials. This isn’t a structural system of oppression, a society-wide conspiracy like Jim Crow; we’re talking about a handful of shops across the country. It seems possible, and reasonable, to live and let live...


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