Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Djibouti - Gitmo - Iraq

From Brian of Djibouti:

Here is a picture I took this morning at the orphanage. This little guy is my favorite kid. He always helps clean up and kind of runs the show. He is wearing some of the clothes that were sent from the US. Thanks for all of the things that you have sent, it makes a difference…and in case anyone wanted to know, Yes he is up for adoption!

Thanks again

We have already started collecting soccer balls for the little guy and his friends. Thanks, Jill. And this from Karen:

I'm so excited.. I found Nike soccer balls, on the net of course,..three, delivered de-flated to my door this friday! ..regulation, size 5, a good soccer ball ( I never knew this much about soccer balls before today!). I'll drop them by Starbucks this Saturday to you for shipping, Bill?..or shall I send them direct?..either way, I'd like to help pay for shipping on your package to Djibouti.

Johnny is in our prayers, also.. what can we send him?
Love in Jesus,

From a new friend Eric at Gitmo:

I enjoy your blog, it is well-written and thoughtful. I am a naval officer stationed at Gitmo. I mostly agree with your writing, but stopped when I read this:

If you want a short-hand reminder of theJudeo-Christian value system just look at any US coinwith its three sayings: In God We Trust, Liberty and EPluribus Unum. The fundamental American belief in God,the Creator of Judeo-Christian values, means that ourvalues are universal, good for all peoples at alltimes. Hindus, Muslims, secularists and atheists havediffering opinions - that is their right - but they are wrong.

My quibble is the slap at the Hundus. I see their value system as comparable to ours. I have listened to and read stories of Hindu Saints essentially giving the Hindu version of the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, the Bill of Rights, etc. are all cornerstones of our value-system. Hindus have a smiliar version. Perhaps, the idea of Polytheism is a sticking point, as many point to this as backwards. Really, Hindus are not polytheistic in the broad sense. They say"God is everything" and endeavor to see Him in everything. God takes many forms, but it is always God. How can something not be God, a Hindu might ask. Someone who is evil/violent might be labeled as someone in a low vibration or someone who is not aware that he/she too contains the spark of God. (The goal of Hinduism is to worship God and strengthen this connection/spark to Him.) I wanted to write you to express how much I respect the Indian culture and the Hindu value system. They have an enormous population with different economicresources than us. But they are in no way to be lumped in with the Muslims. Keep up the good work. I enjoy reading your blog.

Very Respectfully,

My reply to Eric:

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I have to admit that I know little about Hinduism and that I threw in the reference only to make the point that the Judeo-Christian value system is superior to all others. Replace Hindus with American Indians or secular Christians if you wish. It is the unique combination of the Jewish belief in the one all-powerful Creator and the laws of the Old Testament plus the Christain dedication to spreading the word of God and liberty for all men that is so powerful.

Did you see Senator Allen last week? His brother Greg lives here and is a friend of mine.

Eric replies:

Thanks for your personal message and the forwarded email from John McCain's brother. It was very interesting. I just missed Senator Allen last week by ten minutes in the galley. He had lunch with a friend of mine. He is certaintly someone to watch. Dick Durbin was here at the same time. (A non-event in my book.)

Take care,

The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly. -Theodore Roosevelt

This statement from TR certainly rings true in our Iraqi war and in Israel's fight with Hezbollah.

Grandson Johnny is leaving for Iraq (second tour) on Monday. I hope he will let us know his address by the end of next week. Many are already collecting things for Johnny and his fellow troops.

Thank you, Dear Friends.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


An interesting response to Eric..... How can you confidently assert the superiority of something (the Judeo-Christian values) over something else (Hinduism) which you then confess to know nothing about? It seems rather hard on the Hindus to be mindlessly thrown in with the groupings you hate so much, namely Muslims and Atheists. Of course, the Buddhists, Sikhs and Confucianists escaped specific reference, but were presumably also condemned by implication. I suspect you know nothing about them either.

Why do you persist in making sweeping statements about things about which you're almost totally ignorant?


2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless Johnny and thank God we are in America where all can voice their opinions!!!!


9:25 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

I explained to Eric that my statement was general: the uniquely American Judeo-Christian value system is superior to all others. This is my opinion and it is easily justified by America's greatness and by the immense good that we do. No other value system has propelled any other country to such heights. No other hyperpower has ever shown less inclination to colonialism. That is my definition of best.

What country/value system do you think is better?

ps Your last line is gratituous nonsense as, being a regular reader, you well know.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No other hyperpower has ever shown less inclination to colonialism." Ummmm, Iraq?

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


My last comment is not "gratuitous nonsense". Time and again in your posts you make specific comments and then leap to some general conclusion as though it were obvious. It isn't intellectually honest, and, as a scientist, you ought to know better.

Your question about what is the best value system is a very interesting one. Your answer is that you think it's the Judeo-Christian one because (1) it's the one you know, (2) it's monotheist with laws, (3) we're clearly the top dog and do good things.

We claim to be peace-loving, but it isn't clear to me the country that spends more than the rest of the world combined on arms has the best value system. Are we good because we're armed to the teeth? Buddhists never indulge in shock-and-awe.

Neither is it clear that the most consumerist, materialistic society in the world has automatic entitlement to claim the best value system. Are we good because we're rich?

As Judeo-Christians we brought Hitler to the world, but not Gandhi. Today we have George W Bush but not the Dalai Lama.

So, rather than thumping your chest and proclaiming that we're superior to everyone else, wouldn't it be better to recognize that there are many value systems in the world which produce good people. You should celebrate that fact rather than trying to knock the others down.


1:57 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

Spoken like a true moral relativist!

There are good and bad people who espouse every value system, that is not the point.

I reject the relativistic nonsense that all value systems are equal. You do too, unless you want to hold Nazism and Stalinism up to the rest. So given that value systems have value, how would you choose which one is best?

I say look for the system that produces the most freedom, the most prosperity, the most power and does the most good. America wins hands down.

I could argue each and every one of your points, but I'll just comment on just one.

Americans (that includes you) and the world should count their blessings that the US spends so much on its military.

Without our Navy, trade routes around the world would be overun by piracy and the world economy would collapse. Like Britain did for centuries, America now protects free trade around the world. If we decided to decommission our navy the rest of the free world would tremble.

And our military stationed around the world at great cost are there to prevent hostile takeovers. If we left South Korea, how long would it take the pajama guy to invade ... it would be measured in hours.

When Buddhists (or any others) are willing and able to protect the world and will suffer and die for other's freedom, I'll consider their value system against ours.

10:11 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home