Friday, October 26, 2012

Liberty, an Election, and a Rock on Mars

I'd be concerned if folks stopped trying to move to America. I think America benefits each time someone with new ideas and fresh enthusiasm comes to my native land.

I'll admit to a bias. My ancestors, not too many generations back, were 'foreigners' who decided that life would be better here. Their motives were a mix of hopes for a better standard of living, and a desire for the freedom to practice their faith without interference from the state.

The freedom to act as if religious beliefs matter is one of the big issues in the November election. I think religious freedom is a good idea: but again I'm biased. I think being allowed to act as if God matters is okay.

I also think that "freedom" doesn't mean "free to be like me." As a practicing Catholic, I must believe that:
  • Religious freedom is vital
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2104-2109)
    • For everybody
      (Catechism, 2106)
Meanwhile, a robot is still exploring Mars: and that's another topic.
  1. Immigrants and a 'Foreign' Religion?
  2. A Little Martian Pyramid Named Jake

1. Immigrants and a 'Foreign' Religion?

"Voter scorecard informs Latinos about religious freedom threats"
Michelle Bauman, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (October 25, 2012)

"A group that works to offer a Catholic voice in the public square has released a new guide to inform Spanish-speaking voters of religious liberty concerns in the presidential election.

" 'Our Christianity - our religious fervor - is a huge part of our lives,' said Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, director of Hispanic Outreach for the Catholic Association.

"She told CNA on Oct. 24 that Hispanic voters need to realize that the current administration 'has been aggressive' towards religion, conscience and the Church.

"Religion is 'intrinsically' part of the Hispanic way of life, she said, and 'it's too central to our culture to give that up.'..."
I could be wrong about this, but I suspect that some of the fury over immigrants from Latin America is rooted in a fear that America will lose the "P" in WASP.

America hasn't been most 'Anglo-Saxon' for several generations: but at least newcomers looked 'Anglo.' Many were Protestant, safely secular, or willing to keep quiet about their 'foreign' beliefs.

Folks who look like me or my ancestors could, in principle, learn to speak with an American accent, wear suitably drab clothing, and pass for 'regular Americans.' Many of today's immigrants don't have that option. Maybe it's time for America to get over trying to be 'British,' and that's not quite another topic.

Out of the Frying Pan - - -

"Out of the frying pan and into the fire" means: "If you get out of one problem, but find yourself in a worse situation, you are out of the frying pan, into the fire." (

If Americans decide that religious freedom isn't as important as giving the current administration four more years, folks who came here seeking that freedom may feel that they'd have been better off 'back where they came from.'

Which reminds me of a few decades back, when [whatever we're supposed to say when referring to Apache, Cheyenne, Lakota, and the other folks who'd been living in North America for 20,000 years or so] finally got America's government to recognize treaties signed in the 19th century. Whew! That's a monster of a sentence, but I think you get the idea. Moving along.

This 'regular American' supposedly said 'if those Indians don't like it here, why don't they go back where they came from?

It was funny, sort of, at the time.

Back to an issue today's immigrants, and many others, should take very seriously:
"...President Obama is given a failing grade for his policies, including the federal mandate that requires employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and abortion drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences. Romney is given an 'A+' for his actions and pledges to uphold religious freedom.

"Growing up largely in Mexico with parents from Cuba, Christie said that most Hispanics in the U.S. 'have left their countries because of a lack of freedom' in the economic, political or religious realms...."
(Michelle Bauman, CNA)
I think Americans have gotten used to the idea that an American doesn't have to be pale.

A Tradition We Can Do Without

On the other hand, I still run into folks who seem to think that "American" and "melanin-deficient" mean the same thing. I also run into the same old antipathy for Catholics and Catholicism from time to time.

(Chick Publications, via, used w/o permission)

From ''Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty'', 1926. Published by the Pillar of Fire Church in Zarephath, NJ. Copyright was not renewed.
(Pillar of Fire Church, via Wikipedia, used w/o permission)
"From ''Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty'', 1926. Published by the Pillar of Fire Church in Zarephath, NJ...."

(From Thomas Nast Portfolio, Ohio State University, used w/o permission.)
"The American River Ganges, a cartoon by Thomas Nast showing bishops attacking public schools, with connivance of Boss Tweed. Harper's Weekly, September 30, 1871." (Wikipedia)

In a way, anti-Catholicism is an old American tradition. Which is why I don't think that old ideas are necessarily good ideas: and that's yet another topic. Topics.

2. A Little Martian Pyramid Named Jake

"Curiosity Rover's Pet Mars Rock 'Jake' Unlike Any Seen on Red Planet
Clara Moskowitz, (October 11, 2012)

"A rock on Mars being studied by NASA's Curiosity rover is unlike any Martian stone ever seen, and is surprisingly similar to an unusual, but well-known, kind of rock on Earth.

"This type of rock is the first of its kind encountered on Mars and is helping broaden scientists' understanding of how igneous rocks form, scientists said today (Oct. 11). The rock, named 'Jake Matijevic' in honor of a Curiosity mission team member who died in August, is a 16-inch-tall (40-centimeter) pyramid-shape specimen that Curiosity encountered at its landing spot in Mars' Gale Crater...."
A rock that's not quite knee-high for many folks isn't, by itself, newsworthy. What makes 'Jake' special is that it's on Mars, and the first of its kind found on that planet.

Martian Prospecting

Curiosity's work on Mars includes scooping up bits of Martian soil, shaking them, and sending back videos of the process:
Silly as it may sound, that's a pretty good way of seeing what the soil is like.

Back to 'Jake:'
"...'The spectrum that we're seeing was not what I expected,' said APXS principal investigator Ralf Gellert of Canada's University of Guelph. 'It seems to be a new type of rock that we've discovered on Mars' that wasn't seen by NASA's previous Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

"Jake appears to have higher concentrations of elements such as sodium, aluminum and potassium, and lower concentrations of magnesium, iron and nickel, than other igneous rocks studied on Mars.

"... While previously unknown on Mars, this type of chemical composition is seen in a rare but well-studied class of rocks on Earth. On Earth, such specimens are found on oceanic islands such as Hawaii and in other places. They are thought to form when interior rocks melt to form magma, which then rises toward the surface. As it rises, it cools, and parts of the material crystalize, preferentially selecting some elements while leaving a remainder of liquid magma that is enriched with the left-behind chemicals.

"However, the researchers said it's too soon to know whether the Jake rock formed this same way.

" 'This is based on one rock and one has to be careful not to extrapolate,' said Edward Stolper, provost of Caltech and co-investigator on Curiosity's science team. 'You have to wait and see if we find others and if relationships among them give us clues into the processes.'..."
(Clara Moskowitz,
If this was science fiction movie from the 'good old days,' we'd probably have seen a Martian princess and/or hideous monster by now.

But this isn't "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster" (1965). It's real. And, I think, at least as exciting.

A Healthy Interest in God's Creation

As for how I can be interested in science and be a Catholic, I've been over that before. Fairly often.

Basically, I think God is smarter than I am, more powerful, and apparently has no problem with big numbers. Besides, I don't see a point in giving us curiosity, if we're not supposed to be curious.

The way I see it, not showing an interest in this marvel-filled creation would be a strange way of showing respect for God.

"...the things of the world

and the things of faith

derive from the same God...

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 159)

Related posts:

No comments:

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.