A little late, but better than never.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a very patriotic person (at least as it is defined in current political discourse by either the left or right); my loyalties lie with my family, the Church and the local community.  But on the Fourth of July I don’t mind watching fireworks displays with my children, and so we headed down to the local riverfront to watch the annual show over the Mississippi River.

Somewhere in the middle of it, I was struck with a thought: these fireworks are supposed to represent “the bombs bursting in air.” This is the reenactment of battle, albeit with a lot of artistic license.

I apparently wasn’t the only one with this thought. Iraq II veteran Ryan Harvey had these thoughts:

I tend to believe … that the fireworks celebration is not about Independence, it’s about explosions. It’s about war. It’s a yearly mass-experience that reminds us that we live in a culture of violence and that we are safe enough from war that we can celebrate it from a detached position. But it’s not a conspiracy by some branch of government or some multinational fireworks company, it’s a cultural practice, an unwritten consensus.

You can read the rest of Harvey’s essay at Iraq Veterans Against the War.


In Mississippi, there is a ballot petition going around under the name of Personhood Mississippi.

Basically, the voters hope to put it to a referendum and amend the state constitution to define human life as beginning at fertilization and give full legal rights to — I guess — zygotes, embryos and fetuses.

I realize that this is an effort to effectively make abortion illegal in Mississippi, and I believe that induced abortion at any stage is a grave evil.

Something about defining humanity through a ballot initiative, however, rubs me the wrong way.

Maybe it’s because it gives too much power to the god of state. It is no longer, “God says this is life,” but rather, “Mississippi says this is life.”

Then — and this is my real concern — there’s precedent.

If a group of voters can constitutionally define “life” one way, what’s to stop a mobilized group that wants to define it a different way from doing the same thing? At that point, it’s no longer judicial activism legislating evil, but the pure will of the people — 50 percent plus one.

Slippery slope may be considered a logical fallacy, but I happen to believe in it.

EDIT: Apparently, the Diocese of Jackson has released a statement  not endorsing the petition because the bishop thinks it might hinder national efforts to end abortion.

I’d love it if my daughter has red hair, but — silly me — I’m leaving that up to God. However, it looks like I could have had a chance to ensure it after all.

I can’t even begin to describe how uneasy this makes me feel.