Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I don't know what the shepherds heard that night so long ago.
     Angelic messengers of God defy my mind, although 
I love to hear the story of the angels from on high,
     and sing about that holy night when music filled the sky.

For if we hear the angel song and know the joy it brings,
     then Christian faith today as then must be a faith that sings!
A song there is for all to sing, yet each one's own must write ---
     a song of faith and hope and love, a song of truth and light.

Have we a Christmas Song, I ask, a message to proclaim?          
     What news have we to share with those who may not know the name
of him whose birth we celebrate each year on Christmas day?
     Is there a melody of works that blends with what we say?

The shepherds heard the angels' song with gladness and good cheer.
     I wonder if our Christmas Song brings joy to those who hear,
and hope to those who have no hope and need a helping hand?
     A song of acts our song must be, before they'll understand.

The Christ of whom the angels sang, a servant Christ was he,
     and if we want to be like him then servants we must be ---
our Christmas Song, a servant song; our gospel backed by deeds;
     our peace on earth, good will to all; its theme:  our neighbors' needs.

What better way to tell the news about the Savior's birth?
     How better to proclaim good will and peace to all on earth?
So let our hearts and voices now blend with the angel throng,
     for what would "Merry Christmas!" mean without a Christmas Song?

From Now, That's a Miracle!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


        A few days ago I started an article advocating the normalization of the relations between our country and Cuba, but some pressing personal matters forced me to put that project on hold. I had planned to urge President Obama to take steps to fulfill his early intention to do that.
President Obama announces is new policy toward Cuba.
        Then yesterday, following Cuba’s release of American Alan Gross, whom they had held prisoner for five years, came the President’s world-shaking announcement that the move toward normalization had begun. It was initially brokered, as it turns out, by Pope Francis. The USA had released three convicted Cuban spies, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, and Ramón Labañino, members of the so-called Cuban Five, in exchange for Gross and an unnamed US intelligence agent, whom they had been holding for twenty years. Even as Mr. Obama was speaking, Cuba’s President Raul Castro, brother of ailing Fidel, was simultaneously informing the Cuban people of the exchange in a tone some commentators called remarkably conciliatory.
        President Obama sees this as a first step toward ending the embargo, an action only Congress can take, because of congressional legislation naming three conditions that have to be met first: 1, the liberation of all political prisoners; 2, the legalization of all political parties, guaranteeing the freedom of the press and of labor unions; and 3) the scheduling of free elections for the Cuban people, with international supervision.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Dec. 9, 2014 - Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne
Feinstein is besieged by reporters about the Committee's
summary  report on torture (Saul Loeb/Getty Images)
       The first time I heard about the use of
torture by the CIA in their interrogation of prisoners I was appalled. Such procedures violate international law and are completely contrary to our American values.
        With the release of the 525-page summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s much longer report of more than 6000 pages, I am even more appalled, not just by the totally inhumane and brutal practices employed, but by the reaction of those who opposed the release of the report, whether for fear of evoking retaliatory strikes by terrorist groups or out of a misguided belief that the use of such practices was effective and hence justifiable.
        The report shows clearly that the use of torture was not effective.  But that is not the point! Whether it was effective or not, the use of torture is morally and legally wrong. We lost the high moral ground with our preemptive invasion of Iraq and the use of torture has added to our disgrace. What right have we to complain the violation of human rights by any other nation, when we ourselves our just as guilty? The end does not justify the means, and those who say otherwise are doing our nation a huge disservice.
       As for whether or not the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report should have been publicly released, it had to be! One thing that distinguishes America from her enemies is our willingness to confess our mistakes, to disown whatever illegal practices we engaged in, and to recommit ourselves to the high principles for which our nation has always stood, even when individuals and parties have sometimes strayed from them. Would that other nations would do the same.