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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Monday, May 3 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Short takes

Did the President lie about WMD? This has been a topic on the list for the past week. One writer said the President told the world he had "proof," but when plenty of time to produce it after Iraq's military was "pacified" had elapsed, no proof was produced. Ergo, Mr. Bush had no "proof"; he lied.

But hold on. "Proof" is generally used to mean "credible evidence." People accused of murder have gone to the gallows on much less "proof" than the President had about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The best proof, of course, was the eye-witness findings and their documentation of the UN weapons inspectors who went to Iraq as one of the conditions of the cessation of hostilities ending the so-called Gulf War. They had irrefutable proof.

What was, in my mind, enough "evidence" to claim that the WMD were still there when our forces attacked last year was the fact that no "evidence" was ever produced by Saddam—in violation of the agreement ending the previous war and in the face of years of threats of reprisal by the UN—that the weapons had been removed or dismantled. There was lots of other evidence, too, which has been a matter of public records, and certainly the testimony of US, British, and other intelligence operatives are generally to be considered credible evidence.

There is no "proof" that the weapons were not secreted over the border into Syria or Iran just before our forces invaded, nor that they are still underground in bunkers or even in onion patches in the backyards of former weapons experts. So no, I have to say that the charge of "claiming existence of WMD was a lie" is nothing less than hate speech or, to spin it more favorably, "campaign rhetoric."

Catholic doctrine on the death penalty. I keep seeing claims that if left-wing politicos should be barred from communion for advocating "abortion rights," right-wing ones must be excluded for advocating the use of death penalty laws. But there is considerable difference between the two, not even considering the fact that abortions end innocent life and the death penalty ends the lives of guilty murderers. The two big arguments against abortion is the biblical evidence that Israel was enjoined repeatedly from the sin of Moloch (killing babies), and both Moses and Jesus were under the sentence of death by evil rulers (Pharaoh and Herod respectively) in their infancy. And there are biblical texts affirming that God knows His children even in the womb. And the Bible has throughout history been interpreted as supporting the death penalty in duly constituted government entities (Exodus 21:12: "He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death"; even the universally appreciated lay theologian C.S. Lewis wrote in support of that interpretation).

And though the present Pope has spoken out against the death penalty, preferring mercy over what many would call retribution and I think is justice for murdered victims, the Catholic Catechism specifically says: "Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty..." (article 2267). Furthermore, unlike on the pro-abortion politicians, the Vatican has mode no pronouncement about pro-death penalty ones.

And incidentally, I must admit that there is as much ambiguity about the death penalty in my own Orthodox tradition as there is in the Catholic one. I don't think its preservation requires Christians to crusade on its behalf, as I think we have to do against abortion. But I do believe that ending the death penalty would weaken society's understanding of the primacy of life (any lesser penalty for murder implies that murder is hardly more serious than selling drugs or insider trading on the stock market).

Finally: a member of the list replied to an adversary on Sunday: "you said I would argue with Jesus for not being a Republican. What makes you think he isn't a Republican?" We do have on the highest authority that He is seated on the right hand of His father (Ephesians 1:20, Hebrews 8:1).

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Kids in church

A Sunday school teacher asked her class, "What was Jesus' mother's name?" One child answered, "Mary." The teacher then asked, "Who knows what Jesus' father's name was?" A little kid said, "Verge." Confused, the teacher asked, "Where did you get that?" The kid said, "Well, you know they are always talking about Verge 'n' Mary. "

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz 

Thought for today

There is no distinctly native American criminal class save Congress.

— Mark Twain
Sent by Trudy Myers 

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