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Showing posts from November, 2006

Thou Shalt Not Covet – A New Perspective

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Traditionally, we look at the Judeo-Christian commandment “Thou shalt not covet” as an injunction against wanting what other people have. But it can also apply to how what other people have affects the value of our possessions.

“Thou shalt not covet.” This basic part of the Ten Commandments means that we should not crave what other people have. In a day and age where some people have a lot more than we do, it is easy to consume our lives with wanting others’ possessions—the fast and beautiful automobile, the luxurious home, frequent nights out at the finest restaurants, cabins and condominiums in the mountains, and season tickets to professional sporting events are some of the items on my covet list.

But there is a different form of coveting that we don’t often recognize as such. This consists of not wanting other people to have what they have, because their possessions may detract from the value of ours. The problem is compounded in our eyes when our possessions are leveraged to t…

Banning Prayer in Public Schools

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We have prayer in public places very frequently: the Supreme Court, Congress, athletic events, state legislature meetings, and meetings of city councils and county commissions for example. So why should we not have prayer in public school classrooms? Because such prayers might allow religion to exercise undue influence over our children.

Both houses of the Congress of the United States begin each session with prayer. Members of a variety of religions are called upon to provide those prayers. Something very similar occurs in the US Supreme Court.

Before being called to active duty military, I served for 5 1/2 years on the city council of the city in which I live. We began each meeting with a prayer. On every occasion we asked for a volunteer from the audience to give a prayer. On some of those occasions the mayor or a member of the council was the person who volunteered to give the prayer.

If we have prayers in these public venues, why should we not allow prayer in public schools?…

Not Much Will Change

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It doesn't matter which party gets a majority in the House or the Senate, not much is going to change in the way government runs. Will we stop unconstitutional programs? No. Will we cut wasteful spending? No. Why? Because our representatives do exactly what we want them to do.

I'm writing this post on election day, before the polls close, with breath baited beyond anything that has ever been baited before. Democrats pontificate that it's high time for a change, and so that's why they're going to take over the House and Senate. Republicans tout the recent improvement in poll numbers to prognosticate that they're going to win.

Maybe they will, maybe they won't. It's all very entertaining, the conservative pundits punding and the liberal news organizations editorializing--and we get vignettes about Mark Foley and John Kerry absolutely free(!), but you know what? It really doesn't matter. But this thought occurs to me as I think of the intelligenc…

Utah Proposition 3 is a Waste of Money

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Transportation funding initiatives known as Proposition 3 in Salt Lake County and the Opinion Question in Utah County are fraught with unknowns. They stand to be colossal wastes of money. Mixing automobile transportation funding and public transportation funding in one initiative is a mistake, because each mode of transportation is so different from the other.

It seems like just about everyone in Utah is in favor of the transportation funding initiatives that are on the ballot in Utah. I'm not.

It's interesting to note that the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) transit district was formed as a result of the pending energy crisis in the early 1970's. It didn't pay its way then, and it never has since. In 2000, Utahns subsidized every Trax rider to the tune of $6.60 per ride, and every bus rider got a gift of $2.20 every time he rode. According to some, we have a new transportation crisis.

In 2000, UTA requested additional subsidies in the form of a .25% increase in the sa…