Archive for the ‘#culture’ Tag

Samhain Revisited   27 comments

Halloween/Fall is coming, do you celebrate? What does that look like? Is it different this year?

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Separating Celebrations

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I love fall. It’s my favorite time of year and I decorate for it. Alaska only has a couple of weeks of fall in early September, so I would get gypped if I didn’t hang fall floral swag in my living room. I generally take them down when I decorate for Christmas on Black Friday. When we had dogs, we’d stack their winter bedding bales on the porch for an impromptu autumn display and our daughter would usually provide a friendly scarecrow and a couple of happy jack-o-lanterns.

Halloween

Halloween started as Samhain – a Celtic high holiday when, it was believed, the veil between the living world and the underworld thinned and the spirits of the dead could walk the earth. The Catholic Church tried to turn it into All Souls Day followed by All Saint’s Day on November 1, but they weren’t wholly successful because the Hispanic countries still celebrate it as Dia de la Morte – a holiday honoring the dead. In most of the Western World, the 20th century saw a marketing blitz that morphed these holidays in a fun kids holiday we call Halloween, although in recent decades, the pagan movement has revived Samhain celebrations.

Winter fell on Fairbanks this past weekend and we already have about four inches of snow, so by Halloween, it will truly be winter and might be 20 below zero on that day. Needless to say, that affects Halloween celebrations. Yes, we still have tricks and treats at the door, but our kids can’t really dress for it because they need to wear outerwear. And you don’t linger at the door giving out candy because that’s heating oil fogging out into the air trying to heat the planet. I always remember Halloween as an exercise in flirting with frostbite. We thoroughly enjoyed one Halloween when we visited in New Hampshire. No snow, incredible leaves, our daughter could wear her costume. But most years, Halloween is kind of painful here.

I also don’t particularly care for the holiday since we lived next-door to practicing pagans who would host Samhain bonfires complete with invocations to various underworld gods, including Satan.

Yes, I know it’s morphed into a fun holiday for children and adults looking for an excuse to party. I used to celebrate it myself. It was my husband’s favorite holiday for many years and he always took the kids around. Our daughter is a total actress and Halloween was a holiday made for thespians. But that experience with those former neighbors reminds me that it’s not all fun and games and there’s some people who remember the “old ways” and believe that modern society celebrating it feeds the power of worship to their preferred gods. As a Christian, I hesitate to encourage them with my own celebration.

In 1st Corinthians Christians are told that the rituals of this world have no meaning or power over those who don’t believe them (like Christians), but the apostle Paul also warns that when we participate in the world’s rituals and it causes others to stumble, we’re responsible for the harm that stumbling causes. I can’t comfortably celebrate Halloween knowing that there are pagans who think there is deeper significance than candy apples and the latest Disney character costume. I couldn’t escape the feeling that participating made me a hypocrite, so I stopped.

If you’re still celebrating Halloween, enjoy! I absolutely have no problem with people other than me celebrating it as a fun celebration. This is just a personal choice I made.

Instead of manning the door and the candy bowl at home, I now often volunteer at our church’s Fall Festival, which is an (indoors!) Halloween alternative. It’s got the candy, the games and the fun costumes (no ghouls or witches) without the Samhain/Dia de le Morte connotations. Brad might still make an effort if winter arrives late and we have near-freezing temperatures (that’s comfortable for us and with polypropylene underwear, you can actually wear costumes), but most years he locks the gates and keeps the lights low.

I guess that makes us Halloween grinches (though the kids seem to really enjoy the Fall Festival). Halloween is a fun time for kids, but when I look at it reasonable, it’s got this whole dark side that most people prefer to ignore and which our former neighbors made sure we were fully aware.

Covid19 Differences

I don’t know if it will be different this year. Our neighbors who celebrate it decorated their lawns again this year. The church hasn’t mentioned the Fall Festival, but I missed last weekend to go out to a cabin in the woods with my husband and friends (conveniently located near a hot springs resort) so I might have just missed the invitation and will learn of it on Sunday — or if I’d bother to read my email. I have noticed a lack of advertisements for indoor Halloween (the malls often host something, but there’s been a rash of store closures in the CVD19 pandemic, so maybe the malls can’t afford it this year) and I know for certain the Halloween Horror House won’t happen this year. Our daughter used to be a participant, so we got the notice that they wouldn’t need her acting skills this year. She was a truly scary mental patient one year.

Alaska hardly closed for CVD19. Our church was closed two months (two weeks of that voluntarily before the State mandated it) and the State of Alaska lifted restrictions in late-May. Mask-wearing is voluntary here except a few businesses have made rules that people more or less ignore. We are currently experiencing a spike in positive tests (in keeping with the start of cold and flu season here), but hospitalizations and deaths remain low (0.1% and 0.06% respectively), so I suspect door-to-door will still happen. After all, if you believe masks protect us all from CVD19, Halloween is a perfect holiday to show it.

Posted October 26, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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A Talented Young Lady   Leave a comment

Posted May 10, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in culture

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It’s the Height of Dishonesty   2 comments

Source: It’s the Height of Dishonesty

From Lew Rockwell

Walter E. Williams

One of the unavoidable consequences of youth is the tendency to think behavior we see today has always been. I’d like to dispute that vision, at least as it pertains to black people.

I graduated from Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin High School in 1954. Franklin’s predominantly black students were from the poorest North Philadelphia neighborhoods. During those days, there were no policemen patrolling the hallways. Today close to 400 police patrol Philadelphia schools. There were occasional after-school fights — rumbles, as we called them — but within the school, there was order. In contrast with today, students didn’t use foul language to teachers, much less assault them.

Places such as the Richard Allen housing project, where I lived, became some of the most dangerous and dysfunctional places in Philadelphia. Mayhem — in the form of murders, shootings and assaults — became routine. By thehttps://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=FFFFFF&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=lewrockwell&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=0817918752&MsrketPlace=US 1980s, residents found that they had to have window bars and multiple locks. The 1940s and ’50s Richard Allen project, as well as other projects, bore no relation to what they became. Many people never locked their doors; windows weren’t barred. We did not go to bed with the sound of gunshots. Most of the residents were two-parent families with one or both parents working.

How might one explain the greater civility of Philadelphia and other big-city, predominantly black neighborhoods and schools during earlier periods compared with today? Would anyone argue that during the ’40s and ’50s, there was less racial discrimination and poverty? Was academic performance higher because there were greater opportunities? Was civility in school greater in earlier periods because black students had black role models in the form of black principals, teachers and guidance counselors? That’s nonsense, at least in northern schools. In my case, I had no more than three black teachers throughout primary and secondary school.

Myths, Misunderstandings and Outright lies about owning Gold. Are you at risk?

Starting in the 1960s, the values that made for civility came under attack. Corporal punishment was banned. This was the time when the education establishment and liberals launched their agenda that undermined lessons children learned from their parents and the church. Sex education classes undermined family/church strictures against premarital sex. Lessons of abstinence were ridiculed, considered passe, and replaced with lessons about condoms, birth control pills, and abortion. Further undermining of parental authority came with legal and extralegal measures to assist teenage abortions, often with neither parental knowledge nor parental consent.

https://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=FFFFFF&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=lewrockwell&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=0817912452&MsrketPlace=USCustoms, traditions, moral values and rules of etiquette are behavioral norms, transmitted mostly by example, word of mouth and religious teachings. As such, they represent a body of wisdom distilled through the ages by experience and trial and error. The nation’s liberals — along with the education establishment, pseudo-intellectuals, and the courts — have waged war on traditions, customs and moral values. Many people have been counseled to believe that there are no moral absolutes. Instead, what’s moral or immoral is a matter of personal convenience, personal opinion, what feels good or what is or is not criminal.

We no longer condemn or shame self-destructive and rude behavior, such as out-of-wedlock pregnancies, dependency, cheating and lying. We have replaced what worked with what sounds good. The abandonment of traditional values has negatively affected the nation as a whole, but blacks have borne the greater burden. This is seen by the decline in the percentage of black two-parent families. Today a little over 30 percent of black children live in an intact family, where as early as the late 1800s, over 70 percent did. Black illegitimacy in 1938 was 11 percent, and that for whites was 3 percent. Today it’s respectively 73 percent and 30 percent.

It is the height of dishonesty, as far as blacks are concerned, to blame our problems on slavery, how white people behave and racial discrimination. If those lies are not exposed, we will continue to look for external solutions when true solutions are internal. Those of us who are old enough to know better need to expose these lies.

Posted August 13, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Religious Freedom in an Age of Secularism   Leave a comment

Star Parker (Center for Urban Renewal and Education

The late Claremont Institute scholar, Harry V. Jaffa, opened an essay he wrote called “The American Founding as the Best Regime,” discussing the meaning of the words of the preamble to our Constitution.

Included in those words, laying out the purpose of the Constitution is the phrase, to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

Jaffa says that “No words of the Constitution reveal the intention of the Constitution,” more than these.

“What is a blessing?” asks Jaffa. It is “what is good in the eyes of God,” he answers.

Jaffa then turns to the closing words of the Declaration of Independence, written 13 years before the Constitution, where, before officially declaring the colonies “free and independent states,” the signers appealed “to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions.”

And in closing the Declaration, ushering the United States into existence, the signers wrote, “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

The point is that it is worth recalling, in these times of chaos and cynicism, that America was founded with a sense of vision and mission and meaning. And this meaning was anchored in the religious values that some work so diligently today to purge from our nation’s public life.

As we all know, amidst that lofty vision at the founding was a far less lofty reality. The reality of a nation founded on the idea of human liberty as central to a God-given destiny, where 20 percent of the population consisted of black slaves.

In the midst of the civil war, driven by that ugly reality, Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address, saying, regarding the warring sides, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.”

Even this horrible struggle occurred with the perspective of the Biblical tradition of the nation in the background.

But today we are in a different place.

Rather than trying to perfect ourselves in the context of our Biblical tradition, the answer many have chosen today is to declare that tradition null and void.

So now today we try to navigate toward a fair, just and prosperous nation with a sense of right or wrong not rooted in tradition, but rather defined by politicians over dinner in fancy restaurants in Washington.

Is it any wonder why we’re where we are today? Why we have candidates running for president that represent nothing positive and have no sense of ideals that are not purely political, and why the votes they will receive will be solely because they are preferred to the other undesirable alternative.

After all, on what is our law based? What is the authority that ultimately defines the rules by which we live?

The American civil rights movement was led by a Christian pastor, who concluded his famous I Have a Dream speech with the words “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at least.” The Bible was his point of reference for justice.

But subsequently, along with the direction of the rest of the country, the civil rights movement became unmoored from the religious and moral values that drove it to begin with. Government became its god and the values of secular humanism, with right and wrong defined by politicians, displaced religion.

While it is true that we cannot impose the religious values in public life that we once had, we also cannot allow the values of secular humanism to be forced on believing, religious Americans.

There is only one answer. Keeping the heavy hand of government as limited as possible in the public square. This will allow, at least, the healthy parts of the country to prosper.

 

Source: Religious Freedom in an Age of Secularism

Posted July 3, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide

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LGBT activists blame Christians for Orlando attack   5 comments

Several prominent gay-rights activists took to social media to blame Christians for Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Source: LGBT activists blame Christians for Orlando attack

 

A Muslim did this, but somehow it is the fault of Christians for not wanting to violate God’s clear commands?

Bigotry is alive and well in the United States and in the gay rights activist community.

So, bigots … You’re welcome to live your chosen lifestyle, but if you try to force me to approve of it or participate in it as a vendor at your wedding, you force me to have an opinion and to resist your attempts. I’m not doing that because I hate you. I am doing it because I love God and His Bible tells me that the way to love you is to not condone your sinful lifestyle. Furthermore, my worshiping God by rejecting sexual immorality in my own life does no harm to you whatsoever … unless you seek to deny me the right to live my chosen lifestyle because you think yours is more valid. And then we have a conflict with one another that YOU are causing.

Enough said.

Posted June 14, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide

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How Policing Works in a Privatized City | Jeffrey Tucker   Leave a comment

While most of Atlanta is unfriendly to pedestrians, Atlantic Station shines.

The first time I entered Atlantic Station was about 18 months ago. I had some sense that something was different about the place, but I hadn’t understood that it was entirely private. I stepped out on the sidewalk and lit up a cigarette. One of these very nice private policeman came up and greeted me and politely asked me to put it out, on grounds that this was against the rules in this private community. I said, you mean by this building? He said, no, for the whole community.

Source: How Policing Works in a Privatized City | Jeffrey Tucker

 

I had heard about Atlantic Station from a friend who lives in Atlanta who is planning to buy a townhouse there, but I didn’t know about the private police force so this is an interesting bit of knowledge for someone interested in market-based anarchy. There aren’t a lot of examples of this to sink your teeth into and, like pretty much everyone else, I worry that a police force that belongs to a company is likely to be corrupt, but I’m with Tucker in thinking this sounds a whole lot better than a city police force that treats citizens like criminals because they aren’t staying exactly within the herd lines.

Is Segregation Always Wrong?   Leave a comment

The Rights and Wrongs of Segregation

Segregation is alive and well.

After a series of sexual assaults against women in Cologne, Germany, by Muslim migrants, a German rail service announced it was instituting “women only” train cars to protect women who ride the train. TheMitteldeutsche Regiobahn rail company says “the segregated train cars are designed to make women traveling alone or with small children feel safe.” Each train will have two “women-only” compartments “located at the center of the train and close to the customer service compartment.” Boys up to the age of ten will be allowed access to the special cars as well.

But this is nothing new. In Delhi, India, the metro rail system added a “women only” car to its trains back in 2010 after numerous complaints of women being sexual harassed by men.

“Women-only” train cars can also be found in Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, and Egypt. In some of these and other countries, there also exist “women-only” buses.

Here in the United States, the subject of segregated train cars brings to the mind of most Americans—except public school-educated students who slept during history class—the famous Supreme Court case ofPlessy v. Ferguson from back in 1896.

Source: Is Segregation Always Wrong?

Quotes from the article –

So, in theory, if individuals have the legal right, and businesses should have the legal right, to segregate people by race—even though in practice such segregation would not likely take place—then what was wrong with segregation as it was formerly practiced in the United States?

Everything.

Because …

These things didn’t happen because business owners were all white racists who didn’t mind taking the black man’s money as long as he could humiliate him while doing so. These things took place because the government mandated that they take place. The government violated the property rights of business owners on a massive scale. It is the government that instituted the segregation of the races. It is the government that maintained segregation by force. It is the government that caused racial injustices. It is the government that fueled animosity between the races.

Posted May 20, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide

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Leninist Heretic-Hunters   Leave a comment

Just another example of a good person who found that they can no longer practice freedom of religion in the Totalitarian States of Amerika. In fact, they are’t even allowed to think about it.

Leninists and Heretic-Hunters: The Thoughtcrime Prosecution of Ruth Neely

During her years as a Magistrate Judge in Pinedale, Wyoming, Ruth Neely performed dozens of civil marriage ceremonies. State law (Sect. 20-1-106[a]) specifies that magistrates, like “every licensed or ordained minister of the gospel, bishop, priest, or rabbi … may perform the ceremony of marriage in this state.”

Presiding at a civil wedding is a discretionary function of the magistrate’s office, not a mandatory duty. Neely had an unqualified right to decline a request to preside at a wedding, for any reason that suited her.

Prior to December 2014, she had never performed a same-sex wedding ceremony, because they were not recognized by the State of Wyoming.  Shortly before Christmas that year, Neely was interviewed by a newspaper reporter named Ned Donovan, who asked her if she was “excited” to begin officiating at same-sex wedding ceremonies.

A few weeks earlier, the US District Court in Wyoming had issued a ruling prohibiting state officials “from enforcing or applying” Wyoming’s existing marriage statute. Neely had made formal inquiries about how this would affect her responsibilities and had been counseled to refrain from public comment on the matter until official guidance was given.

In dealing with Donovan, Neely acted in good faith, not aware that the reporter with whom she was speaking was actually playing the role of  pursuivant – a heretic hunter working on behalf of the state and its allied “tolerance” industry. She explained that “When law and religion conflict, choices have to be made. I have not yet been asked to perform a same-sex marriage.”

Source: Leninist Heretic-Hunters

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