Marilyn & Malala–Victims of Religious Bigotry

Marilyn

When I first heard the news report about Taliban gunmen shooting a 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl, I thought about my sister Marilyn. Both Marilyn and Malala Yousafzai were victims of religious bigotry. While Malala will survive, my sister died after she was violently attacked. Even though the details are different, if their stories can be presented to the world community as examples of how outdated religious dogma breeds ignorance and fosters crimes against women, they may spark positive changes.

Malala was born in a rural valley in Pakistan at a time when the Taliban ruled the area. Even at an early age, she was acutely aware that girls were treated as second class citizens by a fanatical religious group enforcing an out-of-date religious dogma which strictly forbids any education for girls. [Read more...]

Who Is Barbara Anderson?

Barbara Anderson

I have a new hero and her name is Barbara Anderson. In addition to being a prolific writer, she is a tenacious investigative reporter, a meticulous researcher and a modern-day vigilante fighting for truth and justice. She is unrelenting when it comes to helping victims of child molestation, exposing policies that protect pedophiles and reporting acts of religious tyranny.

Barbara is not at all unlike John Galt, Ayn Rand’s mythical hero, in Atlas Shrugged. In Rand’s story, Galt is a principled counterpoint to a failed society with out-of-touch leaders, who embrace unjust policies.

Barbara Anderson

Rand does not introduce her hero in the first part of the book, but promotes him by continually asking, “Who is John Galt?” Toward the end of the story, Galt appears and delivers a scathing manifesto condemning the inept society that he has abandoned.

Today, I can hear Barbara’s Galt-like voice condemning the Watchtower Society with, “You have heard it said that this is an age of moral crisis. You have said it yourself, half in fear, half in hope that my words have no meaning. You cry out that man’s sins are destroying the world and you curse people unwilling to practice the beliefs you promote. Since belief, to you, consists of sacrifice of this life for a promised better life in a new world, you have squandered precious life now. In the name of a return to a theocracy, you have sacrificed all those evils which you hold up as the cause of the world’s plight. You sacrifice justice because you don’t want to bring reproach upon a God you believe directs your activity. You sacrifice individual thinking skills for top-down group think with no accountability for your poor decisions. You sacrifice reason for faith. You sacrifice self-esteem for protection of failed church policy. You sacrifice happiness for a ‘Let us wait on Jehovah. He’ll resolve the problem in His own due time’ mantra.”
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Wu Wows at Wanda’s Harvest Moon

Squash Art

It was a great party! One of the most unusual culinary experiences I’ve ever had. And I shared it with fun-loving Tucson transplants from around the world.

The Celebration, at least for me, had its genesis when my friend Charles Hedgepeth announced, “Wanda Zhang is hosting a Man Han Imperial Feast at her Oro Valley Harvest Moon Restaurant on October 7 and I’d like you to join me.” This Feast had its origin in China a long time ago and was known as the grandest of all meals. Originally, it lasted for three days and consisted of over 100 eye-appealing mouth-watering dishes from every region in China. “Wanda will downsize it for Tucson,” Charley said, “but an 8-course meal orchestrated by world-class chef Yongdong (Tony) Wu, should be enough to wow you.”
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Unexpected Propositions

My friend, Rick Cunningham, and me

My friend, Rick Cunningham, recently confessed of his delayed naiveté related to an unexpected pickup—a proposition—which went unnoticed by him for nearly thirty minutes at a Michigan Home Depot.

Rick had been slowly chopping down small trees on land fronting a cabin on Half Moon Lake that he and his wife, Mary, just purchased. He was cutting with a chain saw on life support and three large trees still needed attention. If the job was to be completed in his lifetime, he had to buy a new saw. So he stopped work and headed for the store.

While walking toward the chain saw section in a deserted Home Depot aisle, a heavy-set woman in her late fifties, wearing tight jeans and a t-shirt, smiled at him as they passed and sweetly said, “Hello.”
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