Father Law ~ Mother Mercy

law_mercy

When did the Law become our parents?

Why aren’t parents protecting their children?

Why do the powers-that-be feel it’s their job to protect everyone’s children?

I’m not talking about situations when the Law needs to intervene in criminal acts against children—physical violence in public spaces, kidnapping, physical abuse, and other such crimes.

What those questions relate to is the Importuning Law; specifically, importuning on a telecommunications device—soliciting sex on a computer from an underage person…

If you like to twist your mind around legalese here’s Ohio’s Importuning Law.

The most startling part of the law is where it says the “offender” is guilty “…whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person.”

This seems to mean that someone could be in an Internet chat room, believing the other person is 21 years old, and, if they’re only 14, the “offender” is guilty of a felony…

Sound twisted to you?

Also, police are permitted to pose as underage persons and entrap “offenders”. This has been challenged in court.

There are a great variety of opinions surrounding these situations. One example is on waspohio.org.

Here are those questions again, in a slightly different order:

When did the Law become our parents?

Why do the powers-that-be feel it’s their job to protect everyone’s children?

Why aren’t parents protecting their children?

I’d love to have your comments and I hope the comment section becomes a riot of conversation!

Spiritual Quote:

“…it should be recognized that the ultimate solution to the problems of humanity lies not in penalties and punishments, but rather in spiritual education and illumination. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written:

“It is incumbent upon human society to expend all its forces on the education of the people, and to copiously water men’s hearts with the sacred streams that pour down from the Realm of the All-Merciful, and to teach them the manners of Heaven and spiritual ways of life, until every member of the community of man will be schooled, refined, and exalted to such a degree of perfection that the very committing of a shameful act will seem in itself the direst infliction and most agonizing of punishments, and man will fly in terror and seek refuge in his God from the very idea of crime, as something far harsher and more grievous than the punishment assigned to it.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1992, Violence and Sexual Abuse of Women and Children

And, in a more detailed format:

“Proposal submitted by the Bahá’í­ International Community at the Pre-sessional open-ended Working Group on the Question of a Convention on the Rights of the Child, Forty-first session of the Commission on Human Rights New York, USA 25 January 1985 Revised Article 16

1. In addition to academic education, the child shall be entitled to receive guidance training and education designed to promote his social, spiritual and moral development and well-being. 2. The fundamental objectives of such guidance, training and education shall be: a. To promote the harmonious development of the personality of the child and the realization of his full potential; b. To protect the child by developing his ability to resist outside influences or pressures likely to lead him into lawlessness or delinquency, or into practices injurious to his physical or mental health or to his social, spiritual or moral well-being; c. To prepare the child to exercise the rights and undertake the responsibilities of adult life in a manner consistent both with his own well-being and with the well-being of others; d. To foster in the child a respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and an attitude of understanding, respect and friendship towards all people, regardless of race, sex, class, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief. e. To foster in the child an awareness of and a desire to promote the principles of universal peace and brotherhood proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations. 3. The States Parties to the present Convention, bearing in mind that, in accordance with article 8, the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child rests with his parents or guardians, shall use their best efforts to: a. Raise the level of public awareness of the importance of the social, spiritual and moral education of the child, particularly during his early years; b. Promote recognition and understanding by all those concerned with the upbringing of the child, most particularly his parents or guardians of their indispensable role. and the primary importance of their example, in the social, spiritual and moral development of the child; c. Encourage schools to develop guidelines and courses of instruction designed to foster the social, spiritual and moral development of the child.
Bahá’í International Community: 1985 Jan 25 Question of a Convention on the Rights of the Child

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Religion & Human Rights

religious_persecution

Two Prickly Folks At The Café

PF1: “How can you say that? God intended for His servants to worship him through well-trained and devoted ministers—people called to His service and anointed with His power!”

PF2: “Bull!  You think God cares about the kind of ministers you have? Bigoted, servile automatons is what they are!!

PF1: “Well, I’d rather listen to one of my ministers than one of your so-called ‘priests’—just a bunch of puny excuses for real  men—

~~~~~~~~~
Your humble observer quickly left the Café before a fist-fight broke out…
~~~~~~~~~

That imaginary “conversation” isn’t all that different from real ones I’ve heard. People displaying highly irreligious attitudes as they fight like animals over what they claim is the “True Faith”.

This kind of religious intolerance can quickly lead to actual violence and, if sanctioned by powerful organizations or governments, roll right downhill into flagrant and physical persecution of whole groups of our human family.

From the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom:

Countries of Particular Concern:

Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Lest someone think that concerning themselves with religious freedom is of low value, remember: losing one freedom erodes the security of other freedoms…

International Conventions that need global support:

International Religious Freedom Act of 1998
“The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom shall have as its primary responsibility the annual and ongoing review of the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom and the making of policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress with respect to matters involving international religious freedom.”

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes the freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching.”

From The Guardian:
“Religious persecution can never be excused, but its causes can be explained. The haunting fear of hidden, unexpected revolution drives every dictator, sooner or later, to savage attacks on those he fears most and understands least. Dictators who claim dominion over a man’s mind as well as his body, whose regimes are based on tyranny and their people’s ignorance of the outside world, are wont to attack religious leaders, who must, at all costs, be discredited.”

Spiritual Quote:

“The activity most intimately linked to the consciousness that distinguishes human nature is the individual’s exploration of reality for himself or herself. The freedom to investigate the purpose of existence and to develop the endowments of human nature that make it achievable requires protection. Human beings must be free to know. That such freedom is often abused and such abuse grossly encouraged by features of contemporary society does not detract in any degree from the validity of the impulse itself.

“It is this distinguishing impulse of human consciousness that provides the moral imperative for the enunciation of many of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration and the related Covenants. Universal education, freedom of movement, access to information, and the opportunity to participate in political life are all aspects of its operation that require explicit guarantee by the international community. The same is true of freedom of thought and belief, including religious liberty, along with the right to hold opinions and express these opinions appropriately.

“Since the body of humankind is one and indivisible, each member of the race is born into the world as a trust of the whole. This trusteeship constitutes the moral foundation of most of the other rights — principally economic and social — which the instruments of the United Nations are attempting similarly to define. The security of the family and the home, the ownership of property, and the right to privacy are all implied in such a trusteeship. The obligations on the part of the community extend to the provision of employment, mental and physical health care, social security, fair wages, rest and recreation, and a host of other reasonable expectations on the part of the individual members of society.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Mar 03, The Prosperity of Humankind, Section II

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Unity >>> Peace

peace

Jim and Melissa at the café:

M: They should just continue bombing the hell out of them…

J: And that’s going to solve things?

M: It gets rid of the terrorists.

J: It’s also getting rid of innocent people.

M: There’s no other way to stop them.

J: What if you had a son and he was in Gaza and the bombs were falling on him?

M: I’d never let a son of mine be  in a situation like that.

J: So, there’s a beginning to a solution that doesn’t need violence—women taking charge and using love to fight war.

M: Hmmm… Never thought of it that way…

~~~~~~~~~

Just a story? Seem like a weak argument? Still think the bombs are the solution?

Try spending some time on Sixty Years, Sixty Voices, a site that chronicles the experience of 30 Palestinian and 30 Israeli women who’ve been involved in the conflicts and hold the conviction that focused female action can  stem the tide of violence…
 
“The foundations for lasting peace in the Middle East are embedded in the voices of these Israeli and Palestinian women. They know war and they know peace, they know weakness and strength and they know the human heart. In a torn land they find a common ground built out of wisdom, experience, and because they have walked the walk. Here they stand and speak out, if we listen there is hope.” – MARIANE PEARL

Just one of the many videos from the site:

Spiritual Quote :

“The highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest form of matter, earth! Land belongs not to one people, but to all people. This earth is not man’s home, but his tomb. It is for their tombs these men are fighting. There is nothing so horrible in this world as the tomb, the abode of the decaying bodies of men.

“However great the conqueror, however many countries he may reduce to slavery, he is unable to retain any part of these devastated lands but one tiny portion—his tomb! If more land is required for the improvement of the condition of the people, for the spread of civilization (for the substitution of just laws for brutal customs) — surely it would be possible to acquire peaceably the necessary extension of territory.

“But war is made for the satisfaction of men’s ambition; for the sake of worldly gain to the few, terrible misery is brought to numberless homes, breaking the hearts of hundreds of men and women!

“How many widows mourn their husbands, how many stories of savage cruelty do we hear! How many little orphaned children are crying for their dead fathers, how many women are weeping for their slain sons!

“There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human savagery!

“I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.

“Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness.

“When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other’s hands! So may all the savagery of man disappear by the Mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul. Do not think the peace of the world an ideal impossible to attain!

“Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God.

“If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.

“Do not despair! Work steadily. Sincerity and love will conquer hate. How many seemingly impossible events are coming to pass in these days! Set your faces steadily towards the Light of the World. Show love to all; ‘Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man’. Take courage! God never forsakes His children who strive and work and pray! Let your hearts be filled with the strenuous desire that tranquillity and harmony may encircle all this warring world. So will success crown your efforts, and with the universal brotherhood will come the Kingdom of God in peace and goodwill.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 28

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Dangerous (?) Youth . . .

youth
What makes a youth go bad?

Why do youth so often seem to act in a contrary way?

What can make youth want to be supportive of productive change?

How can we harness the vast energy of youth in the most important causes of our time?

Why are the youth in Greece so mad?
From Fox News: Renewed Riots Break Out in Greece as Protesters Clash With Police

From Le Monde Diplomatique: Mass uprising of Greece’s youth

Spiritual Quote :

“Man must walk in many paths and be subjected to various processes in his evolution upward. Physically he is not born in full stature but passes through consecutive stages of fetus, infant, childhood, youth, maturity and old age. Suppose he had the power to remain young throughout his life. He then would not understand the meaning of old age and could not believe it existed. If he could not realize the condition of old age, he would not know that he was young. He would not know the difference between young and old without experiencing the old. Unless you have passed through the state of infancy, how would you know this was an infant beside you? If there were no wrong, how would you recognize the right? If it were not for sin, how would you appreciate virtue? If evil deeds were unknown, how could you commend good actions? If sickness did not exist, how would you understand health? Evil is nonexistent; it is the absence of good. Sickness is the loss of health; poverty, the lack of riches. When wealth disappears, you are poor; you look within the treasure box but find nothing there. Without knowledge there is ignorance; therefore, ignorance is simply the lack of knowledge. Death is the absence of life. Therefore, on the one hand, we have existence; on the other, nonexistence, negation or absence of existence.

“Briefly, the journey of the soul is necessary. The pathway of life is the road which leads to divine knowledge and attainment. Without training and guidance the soul could never progress beyond the conditions of its lower nature, which is ignorant and defective.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 295

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Peace ?

nonviolence
Peace?

When?

How?

Today, the spiritual quote will follow directly after the news clips, for reasons that will become very clear:

From the Chicago Tribune: Chicago schools, cops to curb student violence

From the Associated Press: Spain: Street violence after immigrant’s death

From the Guardian, UK: Sex, violence and classroom action

“There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human savagery!

“I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.

“Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness.

“When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other’s hands! So may all the savagery of man disappear by the Mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul. Do not think the peace of the world an ideal impossible to attain!

“Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God.

“If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 29

“These principles for nonviolence were adapted by the Denver Area Task Force for: A Season for Nonviolence – January 30-April 4, 1998

“Inspired by the 50th & 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi
and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

1 — Today, I will reflect on what peace means to me.
2 — Today, I will look at opportunities to be a peacemaker.
3 — Today, I will practice nonviolence and respect for Mother Earth by making good use of her resources.
4 — Today, I will take time to admire and appreciate nature.
5 — Today, I will plant seeds–plants or constructive ideas.
6 — Today, I will hold a vision of plenty for all the world’s hungry and be open to guidance as to how I can help alleviate some of that hunger.
7 — Today, I will acknowledge every human being’s fundamental right to justice, equity, and equality.
8 — Today, I will appreciate the earth’s bounty and all of those who work to make my food available (i.e., grower, trucker, grocery clerk, cook, waitress, etc.)
9 — Today, I will work to understand and respect another culture.
10 — Today, I will oppose injustice, not people.
11 — Today, I will look beyond stereotypes and prejudices.
12 — Today, I will choose to be aware of what I talk about and I will refuse to gossip.
13 — Today, I will live in the present moment and release the past.
14 — Today, I will silently acknowledge all the leaders throughout the world.
15 — Today, I will speak with kindness, respect, and patience to every person that I talk with on the telephone.
16 — Today, I will affirm my value and worth with positive “self talk” and refuse to put myself down.
17 — Today, I will tell the truth and speak honestly from the heart.
18 — Today, I will cause a ripple effect of good by an act of kindness toward another.
19 — Today, I will choose to use my talents to serve others by volunteering a portion of my time.
20 — Today, I will say a blessing for greater understanding whenever I see evidence of crime, vandalism, or graffiti.
21 — Today, I will say “No” to ideas or actions that violate me or others.
22 — Today, I will turn off anything that portrays or supports violence whether on television, in the movies, or on the Internet.
23 — Today, I will greet this day–everyone and everything–with openness and acceptance as if I were encountering them for the first time.
24 — Today, I will drive with tolerance and patience.
25 — Today, I will constructively channel my anger, frustration, or jealousy into healthy physical activities (i.e., doing sit-ups, picking up trash, taking a walk, etc).
26 — Today, I will take time to appreciate the people who provide me with challenges in my life, especially those who make me angry or frustrated.
27 — Today, I will talk less and listen more.
28 — Today, I will notice the peacefulness in the world around me.
29 — Today, I will recognize that my actions directly affect others.
30 — Today, I will take time to tell a family member or friend how much they mean to me.
31 — Today, I will acknowledge and thank someone for acting kindly.
32 — Today, I will send a kind, anonymous message to someone.
33 — Today, I will identify something special in everyone I meet.
34 — Today, I will discuss ideas about nonviolence with a friend to gain new perspectives.
35 — Today, I will practice praise rather than criticism.
36 — Today, I will strive to learn from my mistakes.
37 — Today, I will tell at least one person they are special and important.
38 — Today, I will hold children tenderly in thought and/or action.
39 — Today, I will listen without defending and speak without judgment.
40 — Today, I will help someone in trouble.
41 — Today, I will listen with an open heart to at least one person.
42 — Today, I will treat the elderly I encounter with respect and dignity.
43 — Today, I will treat the children I encounter with respect and care, knowing that I serve as a model to them.
44 — Today, I will see my so-workers in a new light–with understanding and
compassion.
45 — Today, I will be open to other ways of thinking and acting that are different from my own.
46 — Today, I will think of at least three alternate ways I can handle a situation when confronted with conflict.
47 — Today, I will work to help others resolve differences.
48 — Today, I will express my feeling honestly and nonviolently with respect for myself and others.
49 — Today, I will sit down with my family for one meal.
50 — Today, I will set an example of a peacemaker by promoting nonviolent responses.
51 — Today, I will use no violent language.
52 — Today, I will pause for reflection.
53 — Today, I will hold no one hostage to the past, seeing each-as I see myself-as a work in process.
54 — Today, I will make a conscious effort to smile at someone whom I have held a grudge against in the past.
55 — Today, I will practice compassion and forgiveness by apologizing to someone whom I have hurt in the past.
56 — Today, I will reflect on whom I need to forgive and take at least one step in that direction.
57 — Today, I will forgive myself.
58 — Today, I will embrace the spiritual belief of my heart in my own personal and reflective way.
59 — Today, I will enlarge my capacity to embrace differences and appreciate the value of every human being.
60 — Today, I will be compassionate in my thoughts, words, and actions.
61 — Today, I will cultivate my moral strength and courage through education and creative nonviolent action.
62 — Today, I will practice compassion and forgiveness for myself and others.
63 — Today, I will use my talents to serve others as well as myself.
64 — Today, I will serve humanity by dedicating myself to a vision greater than myself.

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What’s Wrong With Us ?

sick_worldSo many problems in our Human Family… So hard to see the way out… So hard to even see why…

Could it be Our fault?

“How long will humanity persist in its waywardness? How long will injustice continue? How long is chaos and confusion to reign amongst men? How long will discord agitate the face of society?… The winds of despair are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divideth and afflicteth the human race is daily increasing. The signs of impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing order appeareth to be lamentably defective.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 216

From the Guardian, UK: US and Russian warships line up in dispute over Georgia

From Agence France-Presse: Indian police told to shoot religious rioters

From the New York Times: Dalai Lama, Citing Exhaustion, Cancels Trips

From the Christian Science Monitor: North Korea threatens to renew nuclear program

I write this blog with the clear intention of helping humanity. We all work hard to secure a little peace in this world. But finding understanding about why so many crises are happening or what to do about them is, for some, far too hard . . .

So, to make it a bit easier, I offer these articles:

Eradicating Genocide
The Eradication of Violence against Women and Girls
Full Employment and Decent Work
A New Framework for Global Prosperity
The role of men and boys in achieving gender equality
Eradicating Poverty: Moving Forward as One
The Impact of Racism on Women

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Language That Deceives

No particular news focus today except the language it uses. I scanned Google News at 11:50 p.m. GMT. Bold/Underlines are the language in question.

Unsubstantiated statements given as if they’re quotes:
From the Daily Times of Pakistan: Musharraf’s impeachment dominates PA session “PML-Q’s Amir Sultan Cheema said the president had the right to defend himself against the impeachment motion. He praised Nawaz Sharif as a humble man, but added that Nawaz seemed to be under the influence of Asif Zardari.”

Unsubstantiated statements given as if they’re quotes/facts:
From the Telegraph of the United Kingdom: John Edwards admits to lying about affairHe stated he had not been in love with Ms Hunter, an obscure film-maker”

Words commonly used to make unsubstantiated statements sound true while not referencing sources:
From the Associated Press: Security tightens more as Olympics get under way “On Thursday, a videotape purportedly made by the Turkistan Islamic Party, a militant group seeking independence for Xinjiang, was released with threats of attacks during the Olympics. The group is believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have received training from al-Qaida.”

An example of the right way to attribute statements:
From Agence France-Presse: Hundreds attend anti-coup rally in Mauritania “Abdahalli’s daughter said Friday she was concerned about her father’s safety and security.
“I am worried about my father’s health and safety given that he has not been freed,” Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi told AFP from her family home.”

I’m not trying to say these stories are completely devoid of truth. I’m pointing out that, even in a story with a lot of research behind it, there can be subtle (or not so subtle) traps for an unwary reader. Politics has taken this twisted art to unbelievably unrefined heights !

Today’s spiritual quote, concerning newspapers and written in the 19 Century, is completely valid for the swift transmission of news on the Internet:

“The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 39

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