Thursday, February 21, 2008

Snow Spit and Moon Light

The weather has been erratic here lately, but that's part of the charm of winter in Appalachia.

It seems as if it's spent the week spitting snow. Tuesday I watched from the windows of my classroom as the snow came and went in short bursts and flurries. Because one of our teachers had to spend two days this week at a county activity, I had the pleasure on Tuesday and Wednesday of teaching math to the second and third graders. They watched the snow through the morning out our windows and acted as if they thought Old Man Winter was teasing them. None of it ever stuck there at the school...

So I was surprised on my way home when snow started to appear on the ground as I approached the state line. I arrived home to find between two and three inches of white powder in my yard.

Tuesday night was beautiful. I went outside at about 11pm and stood in the snow covered yard. The moon was full and huge in the sky. The wind was almost completely still. And the light made the yard look like a giant black light was shining on the snow. It was a beautiful scene. I stood there for about ten minutes with a glass of Burgundy in my hand, watching Canis Major help Orion chance Taurus across the night sky. And I thought about the poem by Frost, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening...

It warmed up a little on Wednesday and some rain washed all the snow away. I'd hoped to see the lunar eclipse, but I saw clouds instead. And it seemed like the rain washed the snow away only to make room for new snow - about an inch by Thursday morning.

I've talked previously about my drive to work. On Monday the slick roads contributed to an accident that blocked my path to work for about 45 minutes. A head on collision near Skygusty, WV. One of the vehicles was almost unrecognizable and both drivers had to be cut from their vehicles.

We are supposed to get freezing rain over night. Perhaps we'll get a phone call in the morning telling us not to come.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Is Barack Obama a "Closet" Muslim? Hmmm...

First, let me say that I think the idea of a "closet" Muslim is an oxymoron. I don't think Muslims ever deny or hide their faith - especially not for religious reasons.

Barack Obama's father was a Muslim, from Kenya. His father left his life early (around the age of three, I think) and died in 1982. Obama's step-father was an Indonesia Muslim. Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country on earth; but it is a comparatively secular country compared to most other nations with large Muslim populations. In the early 1970's Obama was sent to the US to live with his mother's parents while his mother, Kansas-born Ann Durham, pursued her PhD in anthropology and traveled the world. Durham died in 1995.

Obama and his family have been active members of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for over 15 years now. He's written about "how he accepted Jesus Christ into his life," in the words of a Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) story on the issue.

But the best evidence that he is not a Muslim is a video of him, recorded by CBN, denying that he is a Muslim. You can watch that video here.

I lived in countries with large Muslim populations and studied Islam. Muslims do not deny their faith - not for any reason.

But isn't his middle name Hussein? Yes, it is. That's a Muslim name. His father (who named him) was a Muslim. But what's in a name? Being named "Isaac" or "Esther" doesn't make you Jewish. Your name alone doesn't make you belong to a particular religion...

But didn't he take the oath of office on the Qur'an? Sorry; that was Keith Ellison, Congressman for Minnesota's 5th District. Obama used his family Bible. (The Qur'an Ellison used once belonged to Thomas Jefferson.)

The simple truth is that there is no evidence that Obama is a Muslim and plenty of evidence that he's not. Anyone who insists on saying that he's a Muslim probably has an agenda other than promoting the truth...