Choosing Love Over Fear: U2 in Paris

 

Now that the Fall Semester is over, I finally got a chance to watch the return of U2 to Paris after their concerts were cancelled in the aftermath of the terrible, November terrorist attacks.

All…I…can…say…is…WOW!

 

Peace4Paris.svgAs you know, I earlier took issue with the boys from Dublin because of the automatic Songs of Innocence music download that went onto everyone’s Apple devices and  their apology.

After watching this concert, I admit “mea culpa”. This may be the best concert I have seen. Ever.

Bono summed it up perfectly at the beginning of the HBO broadcast: “Every night we go on stage there is a feeling of anticipation. But, this night, this night is different. There’s a time to cry. There’s a time to pray. There’s a time to shout. This night we choose love over fear.” In the following 2 sets and an encore completed in over 2+ hours, U2 illustrated what love over fear really looks like. Continue reading

When Free Expression Isn’t Free: Pope Francis and the Western Tradition

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

There he goes again. Pope Francis is confusing the point.

He condemned religious violence in response to the attack in Paris. Westerners tend to applaud the condemnation of religious violence. All well and good.

But the New York Daily News believes that Francis made “a rare rhetorical misstep.”

But then the Pope confused the point by saying, “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

While the sentiment is understandable coming from a man of the cloth, it conflicts with Western traditions of free expression, while enabling repressive religious zealots around the world to claim the Pope is in their corner.

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911: The Names

I wrote this a year ago to honor those who lost their lives in both 911 tragedies.

All night I thought about the families who lost so much on September 11, 2001, the day of the most devastating domestic terrorist attack in American history.  Over 3,000 Americans lost their lives.

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All week I have been debating whether or not my son, Christopher, who was born in 2001, should watch the documentaries reliving those tragic events.  We watch, but it is still hard to comprehend.  It is still hard to believe.  Christopher says he does not remember a time when we did not think about terrorists.  It is the new normal.  We know when something feels like terrorism.  We do not believe there is such a thing as “spontaneous attacks” anymore.  Those are just words that are made up.

All morning I thought about how I could come up with the right words to honor these victims, some of whom leapt to their deaths to avoid the flames that were overtaking the towers.  I also wanted to pay tribute to the four Americans who lost their lives in Benghazi one year ago today.  Their names were Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glenn A. Doherty, and Tyrone S. Woods.  I thought about how there really are no words that are good enough in and of themselves to bring closure to the families and friends of the fallen who have lost so much.  Only words accompanied by concrete action can really be meaningful now.

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