Posts Tagged ‘ New York ’

Commentary: Ground Zero Mosque

I am sure most everyone has heard about the potential “mosque” near ground zero – in reality it is an islamic-based community center open to all peoples. Newt Gingrich and other primarily politically and socially conservative public figures have becoming increasingly outspoken about their disdain for this idea and claim that it is offensive and un-American – ignoring that 10 percent of those who died in the attacks were Muslim and that the American quilt consist of Muslims. Some have lighter opposition and simply do not want the mosque close to 9-11.

To speak truth, 9-11 was the result of a terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims. The tragedy is terrorism not Islam. Yes, they were influenced by passages in the Koran, but it is kin to Christian slave owners proliferating modern slavery in colonial and early America. These Christians were inspired by and utilized the Bible as their defense. Slavery, not Christianity, was the issue. Now I am not making a plea for the theological correctness of Islam and I am not an unitarian. Arguments towards such ends are mere strawmen. I believe that the Christian faith, towards which I am unwaveringly committed by the redemption that is in Christ, is concerned with hospitality, even towards those who are quite different. Christianity is concerned with love, even towards – if not especially – towards those who do not know the love of Christ. Christianity is concerned with reconciliation. This reconciliation is perhaps the most potent of points. The terrorists want us to be like them, evil in its simplest, wants to beget more evil. Unjust war begets unjust war. Hatred begets hatred. oppression begets oppression. This is the cycle of sin of transgression. This is the reason why the Father God sent the Christ incarnate; to reconcile us to take us out of the cycle and put us back into right relationship with God. Allowing . . . welcoming, the Islamic center, is a picture of that reconciliation. It is not the full reconciliatory process which we receive through Christ  – to suggest that is blasphemous -,but it is a mirror of that ultimate reconciliation and a means for Christians to be Christ-like and to show the world who the Christ is and what the Christ has done for and offered us all.

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Soda and the Health of a Nation

– watch the video before you read the comments –

The video is referring to the obesity tax suggested by NY Governor David Paterson .NPR also recently posted a segment about a Soda Tax.

The BIG issue that I can see is that sometimes we get dependent on taxes – like we have with tobacco. Why can’t we just make cigarettes illegal? Well, we are making a bundle in tax revenue. NJ makes $2.57.5 and RI makes $2.56 per pack.

What is possible is to utilize the taxation to limit usage but not factor the tax money in normal state budgets. Tax money can be utilized to run special programs or to supplement under-funded projects. But they would not be a primary source of revenue. That keeps us from being dependent on people drinking soda and sugary “fruit juices” so that we can have their tax money. While this is occurring and people are weaning off of sugar we can work to further regulate the contents of soda and fruit drinks.

I also wonder if the tax will actually cause people to change their behavior? I would think that the tax would have to be somewhat significant in order to change people’s thoughts and beliefs.

I know an opposition to this tax would be that it doesn’t have the same effect as smoking does, especially second hand smoking. But I would argue that it does. Although smoking causes the most deaths and health problems, obesity is second on the list (15.2% of Preventable deaths are because of obesity/overweight). Childhood obesity has also dramatically increase in the past years.  Additionally, health care costs go up for all when doctors and hospitals have to worry about obesity. This will become even more an issue if we head towards a universal(ish) health care system

This is by no means a silver bullet. Americans have to choose not to pay the extra money for the new taxed soda. Additionally, Americans have to make familial and personal health choices not to drink Soda to the degree that we do.

I personally, believe that we need further regulations on what food is approved by the FDA, but also realize that change comes slow and often within a process. But if we can work out a plan to tax Soda as a bridge to greater regulation of soda and sugary beverages then go for it.