This just warms my heart!

After all the terrorism and finger-pointing and fighting and speculation and profiling and racism and ignorance … all of that and more, I’m completely humbled by this and so very appreciative.

While we were arguing about whether Duke can play the Muslim call to prayer, other Christians were fasting with their Muslim brethren during Ramadan.  Before ISIS beheaded 12 Coptic Christians, other Muslims formed a human shield around Egyptian Catholics attending Mass.  And Christians formed a human shield around Muslims praying.

It makes my heart ache that there are places in the world where violence and death and torture is a very real possibility, but in the middle of all this darkness there is light.  There is hope.

Yes, we CAN treat each other like brothers under the same God.  We CAN.  And we WILL.

Helpful hints for life

Free of charge!  Provided by your friendly neighborhood blabbermouth blogger.

– Theoretically salvation is accessible to people who lack the intellectual capacity for logic.  After all, Christ did die for ALL men.(*)  So if you have faith and that’s all you have, fine – go on about being your bad self.  Just don’t break any civil laws and don’t hurt anyone and we’ll be cool.  That said, don’t pretend you have logic and history on your side, because you don’t.

– And don’t pretend you’re being attacked and persecuted when someone invites you to logic and you fail miserably.

– If you don’t know how to logic, methinks you ought to think twice before trumpeting about the superiority of your education.

– I know it’s scary when someone challenges the foundation of what you think and believe, but you really ought to be able to answer and explain how and why you believe what you do.  Even if that answer is, “Let me get back to you – I read up on all this once upon a time and it’s not fresh in my mind anymore.”

– Obviously you don’t owe me or anyone else anything, but if you issue a challenge like “prove me wrong” and then someone does just that, well then you have some work to do.  Work that involves something other than “Well I wasn’t talking to YOU anyway.”

(*) Despite what the new Eucharistic prayer says effective 11/27/11.  I refuse to believe that English-speaking Catholics all converted to Calvinism.


Q: Da fuq?  It almost seems as if you’re directing this at someone specific, but I see no names or links or anything – why is that?

A: Why yes, this was inspired by someone specific!  How very perceptive.  Unfortunately, as you may have picked up, this person fails at logic, so I can guarantee you all of the above will be completely lost on them.  And they do seem like a sweet kid, so I don’t really want to be mean and hit them in the face with it.  I’ll just vent here and leave it be.

Q: You COMPLETELY lost me when you started making obscure references to Catholic liturgical practices.  I don’t even know what to ask because that was confusing as hell.

A: My apologies – I forget sometimes that not everyone can read my mind.  The long and short of it is that back in November 2011 (if memory serves), the Catholic Church came out with a new English translation of the Mass.  I hated it then and I still hate it now; it has some real issues.  I’m actually working on a post that goes into more detail; if you happen to catch that one hopefully you will see what I mean.

Q: How can logic POSSIBLY lead someone to Catholicism?  Atheism is the one that has logic on lock-down; it’s a known fact.

A: Known fact, eh?  See my post “Sexism is ugly” for clarification on how I feel about “known facts.”

That aside, this is a great question, and it’s really too big to fully answer here.  Besides, other people have done a much better job than I could possibly hope to do.  Like this guy, or this guy or this guy (if you prefer your people to be alive), or many, many others I won’t link to.  Google “Catholic apologetics” if you really want to get lost.

Q: But religion is anti-science!  It’s a known fa … errr … established history.

A: The idea that the universe is a rational, orderly place that can be explored and discovered through logic and scientific experimentation actually came from the Catholic Church.  The idea is that if it is the nature of God to be infinite order, then those portions of His creation that do not have free will must also be orderly.  Such a framework not only allows for but encourages science as a way to better understand God’s creation.  For starters – the guy who proposed a helocentric model of the solar system was a devout Catholic, the father of modern genetics was a friar, and the guy who proposed the Big Bang Theory (the science, not the TV show) was a Jesuit priest.

Q: We’re getting off track.

A: Agreed.  Here’s where I was going with this –

At any given point, keep in mind the following –

– What do I know?

– How do I know it?

– What is the most likely explanation?

– What merit is there (if any) to dissenting thoughts?

That last question is by far the trickiest.  There has always been an issue with false / misleading information and the internet has done a great job at giving EVERYTHING a wider audience, both the good and bad.  But the good news is that, like I said, the good stuff has a greater audience, too!

Here’s my suggestion: do your best to have a good command of what you believe and generally why you believe what you do.  I’m talking the very VERY foundational things.  Do you believe in God?  Why?  Do you subscribe to a particular religion?  Why? Where does authority for doctrine and discipline come from?  How do you know?

If you have a grasp of WHY you believe these foundational ideas, you are better able to engage or fact-check yourself and others when someone challenges you.  Who knows – you might learn something.  Maybe you were wrong about some things.  At the very least you will stretch your brain and learn how to logic better, which is a very important life skill.

Woman discriminated against for being Christian

Or, more accurately, she was discriminated against for the brand of Christianity practiced by the college she went to.  Here’s the story.

The TL/DR version is that Bethany Paquette applied to be an assistant guide intern for a company called Amaruk, which is a Norwegian wilderness tourism company.  Assuming she truly is an experienced river rafting guide as described in the link, this seems like a great job for her to apply for.

Now, tell me, dear readers – what normally happens when you apply for a job at a company that doesn’t want to hire you?  That’s right – usually nothing.  They either ignore your application altogether or send a form letter with some pleasant-sounding bovine excrement like “Thank you for applying.  Unfortunately all our Senior TPS Report Analyst II positions are filled.  However, we will promptly print out your electronic application so that we have the pleasure of physically shredding it.”

But is that what this fine, upstanding company did?  Of course not.  These self-described Vikings decided to take a moral stance and change the world for the better by … lashing out at the applicant because they didn’t like her alma mater, Trinity Western University.  Here is the email chain.

Now, in fairness, the fact that she supposedly didn’t meet all the qualifications for the job is the first thing said in the reply to her.  But it’s never made clear exactly which qualifications she didn’t meet, and I admit I’m kinda curious –

1) The fitness standards aren’t outlandish – I met them myself when I was 19 and in the Air Force.

2) She’s clearly fluent in English

3) I assume she is “legally entitled to work in region of operation.”

4) I’m also going to assume that she has “no violation under any wildlife legislation.”

So of the possible qualifications, that leaves only current active/inactive PAWGI Certified Assistant Guide (CAG) certification or the “backcountry experience” (however that is defined and assessed) that she supposedly didn’t meet.

And while they make a lot of noise about the fact that she knew or should have know that she didn’t meet the qualifications, is it REALLY so ridiculous that she applied anyway knowing that she didn’t meet all the minimum qualifications?  Men do it often enough.  In fact, it’s a good possibility that it’s one of the reasons for the $.077/$1 wage gap (not an entirely meaningless number to the extent that it results from individual choices that are not freely made).  According to these figures, Ms. Paquette displays confidence in her abilities uncharacteristic of most women.  If this is how men play the game, and we want to tell women to change their behavior to succeed at the game as it’s played today, we need to encourage this behavior in women, even in the face of this type of rejection.  I hope Ms. Paquette doesn’t let this incident kill her self-confidence, and I hope more women start doing the same.

But this seems like such a random, obviously-horrible way to engage with a job applicant, I wondered whether there was some explanation other than anti-Christian bigotry or misogyny.  Usually these prejudices, where they exist, aren’t so … well-broadcasted to “the enemy,” in no small part because of the teeth of anti-discrimination laws.  So I scanned through the comments at the CBC link above to see if anyone chimed in with any helpful info, and I ran across something from a creatively-named fellow named Not Paid to Post Here: “The outdoor adventure company provides outdoor adventure services for gay men.”  Oh.  Well, if that’s true, then the outburst doesn’t quite seem so random.  Not excusable by any means, but somewhat explainable.

To see if I could verify this, I did a couple Google searches for gay-friendly travel, gay-friendly outdoor adventures, expeditions, things of that nature, but Amaruk never showed up in the first handful of links.  Not even when I followed some of the links and clicked around a bit.  And I poked around the Amaruk website, seeing several muscular, shirtless men (no women that I saw) as well as the very standard-sounding “We embrace diversity and offer our staff and clients a tolerant environment free of harassment and prejudice.”  Okay.  Does this seem to be discretely marketed to gay men to you?  I honestly can’t tell, having never spent much time trying to figure out the sexual orientation of anyone I know.

But just for fun, let’s run with this primarily-gay-clientele hypothesis for a moment.  I see two possibilities – 1) this would be a GREAT work environment for a straight woman, as sexual harassment from the clientele shouldn’t be a concern; or 2) the company is concerned that someone who voluntarily associated with a gay-unfriendly institution would be permanently out of commission due to “moral objections” to leading a group of gay singles and couples.  But consideration of whether an applicant would fit in with the company culture should come AFTER determining whether the applicant is qualified.

Whether Ms. Paquette was rejected because she legitimately wasn’t qualified for the job or because she wouldn’t be a good fit for the company culture, Amaruk completely bungled their handling of this.  At the very least they could have just clicked “delete” and not even responded.  I’m sure they do it all the time.  But they decide to crucify (ha ha – see what I did there?) a TWU graduate with NO CONTROL over Trinity’s administrative policies because of objections they have to the institution as a whole?  Remember the guy who went through the window at Chick-Fil-A to harass an employee over the viewpoints of the company owners?  Yeah.  Very similar thing.  That guy was denounced as an asshole and ultimately fired; rightly so.  For the same reasons, and also because it appears they very clearly, self-righteously and unapologetically broke the law, I hope they lose the court case and I hope they pay for it.