A Law America Should Not Need

am flagSome members of Congress are sponsoring legislation requiring that the only flag to be flown at a US embassy is the American flag.

It seems to be a strange law to be needed.  After all, what other flag would someone fly at a US embassy? The Chinese Flag? The Russian Flag? The French Flag? The English Flag?

Of course, the impetus for this legislation isn’t some renegade American ambassador flying the flag of Italy over his embassy. No, it seems a gay pride flag has appeared over a few of our embassies. Perhaps this occurred to curry favor with local activists.  Perhaps it was a misguided attempt to influence local culture.


Whatever the reason, it was a clear, loud symbol – of how weak is our government’s grasp on truth and morality.  A US embassy should be a symbol of only those things represented in our founding documents, not the latest social trend or excursion into immorality.

Yes, I believe homosexual behavior is disordered. It isn’t some new normal and no amount of gay demonstrating or banner-waving will change that. No, I don’t believe people with same-sex attraction should be discriminated against or treated like lepers in ancient times.  But treating people with dignity and respect does not require me to celebrate sodomy.

vatican-city-flag-2886047_960_720I’m sure there is someone in an American embassy in some foreign land who might want to hang some banner other than Old Glory over his building. How about a Confederate Flag? How about a Peace Flag? How about the United Nations Flag? How about the Vatican Flag?

Each of these flags would be inspiring to some folks. Each would be highly offensive to others.

The American Flag should not offend anyone representing our nation in one of our embassies.  If it does, that person needs to seek a new line of work.


Why must things go bump in the night?

1377-1244933977c4kRPerhaps I suffer from selective memory, but I’m convinced that there are certain challenging events that only occur between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

Cases in point:

  • A pregnant wife decides it is time to go the hospital to deliver the baby. It can come earlier in the night if the husband already is asleep.
  • Raccoons knock over garbage cans.
  • Babies cry really loudly. Yes, they cry at other times, but during this time they make much more noise.
  • Airplanes fly lower and more directly over the house.
  • The muffler falls off the car driven home late by the neighbor’s teenage son. In some cases, the muffler doesn’t have to fall off because the kid is driving a motorcycle.
  • There is a huge storm with thunder and lightning.
  • A leak in the roof starts to drip and makes a really loud plop. Drips are pretty much silent during the day.
  • After you visit the bathroom and flush the toilet, the handle sticks and the water continues to run. This never happens at noon.
  • A wrong number calls.
  • The dog and cat renew their mutual mistrust.

You may think these things can happen during daylight.  Maybe they can happen to you when the sun is up. But not to me. I always get bumped in the night.

If it bleeds, it leads

The axiom in local news coverage is that if it bleeds it leads.

This truth is stated with ironic humor, but it really is a truth.  As a small point of evidence, I offer the top eight headlines in the Chicago Tribune’s July 5, 2018, issue:

  1. Two hit by lightning along lakefront as storms send holiday crowds running for cover
  2. 2 dead after branch from 100-year-old tree falls on crowd at fireworks show in Quad Cities
  3. Chicago police officer shoots dog while chasing suspect on West Side
  4. 7 wounded in Fourth of July shootings in Chicago, including 2 teens
  5. Former fire captain gets 36-year prison term for raping probationary employee near Champaign
  6. Woman found dead along Chicago River in Goose Island
  7. Divers search for man who went into Fox River during fireworks show
  8. ‘Sexy’ steal of home by Javier Baez energizes Cubs during 6th straight win

The first seven articles are by any definition “bad” news, some involving the literal shedding of blood.

The eighth story is positive, I think.  I assume it is good that Baez had a “sexy” steal, although I don’t know what makes a steal sexy. Perhaps it means his pants fell down. I don’t know; I’m a White Sox fan and we keep our pants on in public.

I understand the basic criteria for news. News is what has the most effect on the lives of people, what is emotional, what is unusual. It isn’t news when the vast majority of airplanes land safely; it is news when a plane crashes. It is really big news if a plane crashes and someone famous was on the flight.

I’m not so naïve as to think the leading headlines in Chicago Tribune will ever be something like this:

  1. Record turnout for Sunday Mass in area Catholic churches
  2. Emergency response workers bored by lack of action
  3. Young nun wins national spiritual poetry contest
  4. Priest leads march to thank taxpayers for making social programs possible

But as a Catholic, I do need to keep my eyes, ears, and heart focused on the positive – and what I can do to minimize the negative.  I can’t help but feel empathy for two people hit by lightning during a July 4 event. But I can be thankful that hundreds of thousands of people were not injured.

The headlines are often distressing.  However, behind those negative events are millions of positive events.  And perhaps the most positive news of all is the negatives are such a small part of reality.

God’s blessings will always outshine the bleeding leads.