The Holy See screwed up my change of address form I sent so Im responding rather late to the pope's latest offering to his children. The meat or actually, the gristle of the speech was that faith must be tempered by reason. Without reason, faith turns to fundamentalism. Pretty enough words I suppose for the leader of an organization that once burned the Library of Alexandria to ashes. But I suppose I can hardly disagree that its better to be a little bit irrational than completely irrational. Which leads me to the Christian right in America.
Once upon a time third year stats students could predict republican/democrat voter tendencies by education/income data. Now, the best indicator of whether one voted republican is the frequency of church attendance. And so I wonder if the republican party needs to heed the words of the pope and inject some reason to its faith. I ask this in the context of recent events in North Korea. Forgetting the potential threat that a nuclear Korea presents, its a curious embarrassment to US foreign policy. Lets remember that the US went to war in Iraq ostensibly to secure the US (and the world) from WDMs. As Americans apathetically digest the fact that there weren't any, Korea goes nuclear. Indeed, the pope couldn't find a better time to urge that faith be tempered with reason.
As far as the war in Iraq goes, despite the fact that I consume news fairly voraciously, I did not notice anyone noticing an ironic signpost pointing to the preposterosity that is US policy: Sometime in the last month, more Americans have been killed in Iraq than were killed in 9/11. The Afghan mission was apparently about justice while the Iraq mission was about saving American lives from danger. While 2700 Americans were killed in 9/11 (plus others non-Americans who inccidently are become a fast growing nation. All non-Americans need is a catchy tune and some postage stamps to be the largest nation on Earth!) where was I? Right 2700 killed in 9//11 and now 2756 (as of Oct 11 2006) Americans have been killed. All I can say to this curious milestone is to quote David Byrne and the Talking Heads: "Letting the days go by, water flowing under ground, letting the days go by, same as it ever was, same as it ever was..."
For the stat curious, the US casualties in Iraq are officially listed at 20, 468 while Iraqi civilian losses are pegged at between 400, 000 and 600, 000 depending on what data you believe. Staggering folly on par with some other numbers I dug up for contrast.
In the five years since 9/11, there have been approximately 150,000 gun deaths in America. Wow. Half of those are suicides leaving 75,000 gun deaths costing the health care system 4 billion dollars a year. That's ten 9/11s every single God Bless America's War On Terror Years!!!
And while Americans are dying by the thousands in Iraq in the name of American security, and by the tens of thousands at home in the name of the 2nd amendment, Korea apparently casually builds nuclear weapons. Indeed, will the republicans please add some reason to their faith.
You'll never hear me say it again:" Will they please listen to the pope!"