Don’t forget you have until April 15 (but only until April 15) to make your IRA – or Roth IRA – contribution for 2002, and even to set one up if you haven’t already done so. TIAA-CREF accepts enrollments on-line. If you’re flush (though who is ever flush?), you could make two contributions while you’re at it – one, in time’s nick, for 2002, and one, nice and early, for 2003.


Magda: ‘I have several problems with the baptism story. First, those are our tax dollars at work: they paid for the soldiers’ time, the water, and the salary of the Chaplain. So much for the separation of church and state. Second, it would be a simple humanitarian gesture for anyone to make the water available to hot, tired soldiers – without any strings. Are we going to see the military withholding water from the Iraqis pending conversion? Third, this is a severe abuse of his role as chaplain. My godfather (a rabbi) was a navy chaplain. It is their job to provide comfort and lend an ear, to play confessor when needed, and to either provide the religious services or arrange for the religious services needed by the troops. It is not okay for an individual chaplain to misuse his post to evangelize his own religious convictions to the troops. He is there to serve, not to convert. And certainly not to withhold anything that could be for the good of the troops, in order to serve his personal agenda.’

☞ Well, of course, I agree. I thought the story was sufficiently loony that people would recognize I was not being entirely serious when I said, ‘makes sense to me.’

Duncan: ‘You write: ‘I do not begrudge [the President] his faith in any way. But I would like our foreign policy to be entirely logic, rather than even a little faith, based.’ In other words, the President is free to believe anything he wants, but when it’s time to make the really important decisions, he should ignore his deeply-held convictions and instead rely on ‘logic.’ Wouldn’t that be rather hypocritical of him? Not to mention the implication that faith and logic are somehow incompatible, an idea that religious people from across the political spectrum might question. Secular people in government all have beliefs that inform the decisions they make on behalf of the public. These beliefs may or may not seem ‘logical’ to those who do not share them. Nevertheless, we do not suggest that they abandon their beliefs before performing their public duties. Let’s not require religious people to do so either.’

☞ Religious faith has led to more needless slaughter than perhaps any other cause. (‘I have caused great calamities. I have depopulated provinces and kingdoms. But I did it for the love of Christ and his Holy Mother.’ – Queen Isabella of Spain) Sometimes war is necessary and just – but that’s something, in my view, not to take ‘on faith,’ but only when facts and logic lead to this conclusion. Just my opinion.


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