My take on “The Hobbit” 2

We’re on the road, and Friday we were caught in the ice storm in Oklahoma City, taking shelter in a hotel in Bricktown, OKC’s very cool entertainment district.  It was 9:30 p.m. and I was just settling down for a long winter’s nap, when my wife said, “Let’s go see the Hobbit!”  Showing that we nearly-senior citizens can be just as impulsive, reckless, and irresponsible as the callow young, we walked four blocks through the freezing rain, slip sliding away to the nearly-empty multiplex where we were just in time for the 9:45 p. m. showing.  (It was nearly 1:00 a.m. when we made our way back, way, way past our accustomed bed times.)

As my wife commented, most critics have been saying that the first installment of the Hobbit was kind of slow, with all that atmosphere and exposition, and that the second installment, The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug is much better, with non-stop action from the very beginning.  As often happens, the critics describe something true, but fail in their interpretation and in their assessment.   There is way too much action in this second movie, which is not nearly as good as the first one. [Read more…]

You are not allowed to disapprove of gay sex

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson was not accused of mistreating gay people, nor of interfering with their freedom to have sex as they please, nor did he say anything against gay marriage.  He said that the physiology of gay sex is “illogical” and quoted 1 Corinthians.  For that he lost his job.

Those who disapprove of gay sex need to realize that if they say anything about it, any aspirations they may have to public office are probably doomed and they may even lose their livelihoods.

This has to be one of the biggest moral and cultural turnarounds in history.  Just a few years ago,  homosexuals were closeted, lest they risk their jobs and reputation.  Now, evidently, Christians and others who hold traditional moral beliefs are going to have to hide them in the closet.

Some will say, turn around is fair play.  But just switching who is mistreated does not further the cause of tolerance and freedom. [Read more…]

Corporate assaults on freedom

When we think of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other civil liberties, we usually think of the way the government has violated or could potentially violate them.  The Bill of Rights limits what the government can do and thus is an important safe guard of its citizens’ freedom.  And yet, the government is not the only institution that can quench civil liberties, as we see in the Duck Dynasty controversy.  Phil Robertson’s freedom of speech and his freedom of religion were punished not by the government but by the Arts & Entertainment Network, along with the corporations that sponsor his show.

Corporations are not restricted by the Bill of Rights.   Nor is the more generalized “social pressure” that comes from cultural disapproval. But individuals who are silenced by corporations–which in some ways have more power than the government–are not free.  Individuals whose religion is persecuted by the society–whether from mobs or cultural sanctions–are not free. [Read more…]

Christmas carols on the Incarnation

Sean Morris posts on how the classic Christmas carols draw on the Nicene Creed as they confess that the baby Jesus is God incarnate.  See his examples after the jump.  What are some others? [Read more…]

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Christmas

Matthew Schmitz explains the difference between “merry Christmas” and “happy Christmas” and why the former is a more fitting greeting.  See what he says after the jump, along with what I say. [Read more…]

Swiss will vote on a guaranteed national income

While we argue about a guaranteed minimum wage, Switzerland is considering a guaranteed minimum income.  The Swiss will vote in a national referendum on whether or not to give themselves a guaranteed income of $33,600 per year, whether they work or not. [Read more…]