“What is to be thought of a nation boasting of its liberty, boasting of its humanity, boasting of its Christianity, boasting of its love of justice and purity, and yet having within its own borders three millions of persons denied by law the right of marriage?—what must be the condition of that people? ”

This was said by Frederick Douglass at a Public Meeting Held at Finsbury Chapel, Moorfields, London, on Friday, May 22, 1846.  It seemed remarkably current for some reason.  Probably you do know the following quotation:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.   George Santayana

For Whom Do The Bells Toll

The Governor of Connecticut has asked that church bells be rung on Friday at 9:30 am, one week after the tragic events in Newtown, to remember the victims.  It reminded me of a passage at the end of Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael mystery, One Corpse Too Many, in which a number of hostages are killed and a murderer “hides” his victims corpse among the others.  The book ends this way:

“‘As for justice,’ said Brother Cadfael thoughtfully, ‘ it is but half the tale.’  He would say a prayer at Compline for the repose of Nicholas Faintree, a clean young man of mind and life, surely now assuaged and at rest.  But he would also say a prayer for the soul of Adam Courcelle, dead in bis guilt; for every untimely death, every man cut down in his vigour and strength without time for repentance and reparation, is one corpse too many . . .   ‘From the highest to the lowest extreme of a man’s scope, wherever justice and retribution can reach him, so can grace.’”

Why should the church bells not ring 28 times?  Are there not, indeed, 28 victims: all of them a result of our society’s failure to deal adequately with issues of mental health and gun violence?  Is not every life precious in the eyes of the Creator?



Green Peas and Politics

Don’t you love it when something highly planned and scripted goes suddenly, publicly wrong – like Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair on Mitt Romney’s time!  The red light went on and Clint kept on talking.  And today the talking heads are talking about Clint as much or more than Mitt.  All that planning and breathless talk of a “surprise guest.”  And no one more surprised than the planning committee who wanted the focus on Mitt and wound up with the focus on an empty chair!  Like the Mets game yesterday where no one thought to catch a pop up between the pitcher’s mound and home.  As a Mets’ fan, I wasn’t surprised but I thought the Republican National Committee, like the Yankees, had things under better control.