Archive for the ‘ Controversy ’ Category

Every Year

It’s that time again.

 

I’ve posted this several times before and plan to do it every January 16th as long as I’m blogging.

It’s important to me.

It’s important to the nation.

Religious Freedom is one of the basic human rights, and a right guaranteed by the US Constitution.

Today is the anniversary of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

My favorite President, Thomas Jefferson, wrote it back in 1777.  I wasn’t there.  We didn’t discuss it, but if we had, I’d have cheered him on.

The statute was the first of its kind in America, and is one of three things Jefferson insisted be put on his tombstone.

Jefferson's Tomb at Monticello

He wanted the statute along with his authorship of the Declaration of Independence and his founding of the University of Virginia engraved for all eternity.  He was proud of it, and he should have been.

There was no real religious freedom in the American colonies.  Virginians had to belong to the Anglican Church to hold office, Baptist preachers were put in jail for speaking their conscience and minds, and the Puritans/Congregationalists of New England banished most who were dissenters, including Roger Williams, the Baptist founder of Rhode Island.  Even the Catholics had a state of their own, Maryland.  George Calvert aka Lord Baltimore, was a Catholic follower of King Charles II.  Charlie was a closet Catholic and a good friend of Calvert.  Calvert was granted a colony charter by the King allowing Catholics to worship freely.  That freedom wouldn’t come to Great Britain for nearly a hundred years.

So, why is today so important?  Well, religions and religious freedoms in America are under attack.  Biblical interpretation is decried, poo-poohed and dissed at every turn.

Muslims, Jews, Baptists, Catholics, and the rest…they are all  under attack.

But, America is a nation of Freedom OF Religion, not a nation of Freedom FROM Religion.  It simply means that you can have one if you want, decide not to have one if you so desire, and you can’t keep anyone else from worshiping at the place of their choice.

So, today, when you pray or choose not to, remember that a tall red-headed patriot from the foothills of Virginia authored the document that gave us the beginnings of our Religious Freedom.

And be thankful for that.

 

Just in case you’d like to read the statute:

An Act for establishing religious Freedom.

Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free;

That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do,

That the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time;

That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical;

That even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the Ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind;

That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry,

That therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right,

That it tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments those who will externally profess and conform to it;

That though indeed, these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way;

That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

That it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order;

And finally, that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

Delicious Debate

Eggnog is not a global thing, it’s a western culture thing!  Who knew?

Honestly, I thought it was everywhere!  And I thought everyone loved it.

It isn’t and they don’t.

I used my fancy red punch bowl once and filled it with eggnog.

40 people in the house, and I was the lone ranger at the punch bowl.

Traditionally consumed in Canada and the US, eggnog is a Christmas season beverage.  It usually goes on sale around Thanksgiving (American in November) and lasts until they run out of the stuff in January.

I love the stuff, but it’s generally a take it or leave it kind of thing.

Most people add booze to their eggnog – I do not.

I tried the stuff for the first time when I was in High School, and I’ll admit; it was spiked!

I won’t go into details, but nowadays, someone would probably go to jail…but hey it was the 60s.  Things were different.

When alcohol is added, rum, brandy, and bourbon are the choice.

Back in the day it was Seagram’s 7.  (The booze of choice for Germantown teens, if I remember correctly!)

But, I digress.

As I was saying, it’s a Western thing.  A few South American nations partake, but they call it Ponche Crema, and it’s not all that widespread.

So, where did it come from?

Who thought UP this crazy, thick, sweet concoction that is either loved or hated.

Really, there is no middle ground.

Origins and ingredients are debated.

Honestly, we can’t agree on much anymore!

According to many sources, nog was a strong beer brewed in East Anglia – a large area of England to the north and east of London.

Or, maybe it comes from the small carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol in pubs across the area.

In the 1760s, there was a drink called egg flip, which got its name from the way it was made.  The mixer poured the concoction from one container to another to mix it UP!

Some say it is an Americanism – a word invented in the US of A in the mid 1700s, but Captain John Smith, in his diaries used the term eggnog in 1607 while in Jamestown , VA.

One college professor insists that it is the combination of two words – colonial slang – and stems from rum which was called grog, which was served in the noggin mug mentioned earlier.  He says the colonials called it egg-n-grog, and as the accent or state of stupor changed, it was slurred into eggnog.  This is disputed by the folks at dictionary.com who tend to think the Scot’s version of the drink and word is probably more accurate.

Of course the Scots called it nugged ale, and with the influx of Scots-Irish into the US, it could have come from there.

BTW, they warmed their nugged ale, or eggnog with a hot poker from the fire place.

Hey, the microwave was a long time away!

Other online dictionaries say it is truly an American term and didn’t show UP until 1775 along with our independence.  Apparently a Maryland clergyman, Jonathan Boucher wrote a poem about the drink.  Not published until 1805, it contained the line, “fog-drams I’ the morn, or better still egg-nogg at night hot suppings and at mid-day grogg.  My palate can regale…

Not a catchy tune, American Bandstand would give that a 2!

The first printed use of the word wasn’t until 1788 when some dude in New Jersey referred to a young man drinking a glass of eggnog.

And in 1869 we saw the first dictionary entry for the stuff where it was defined as a mixture of wine, spirits, eggs, and sugar.  Dairy got not cred.

The debate rages in culinary circles – those people can be vicious.  Especially the culinary historians.  They all think it comes from posset; a medieval drink made with hot milk and then curdled with wine or ale and the occasional spice like nutmeg or some such.

Honestly, everyone has an opinion.

Well, everyone except the Norwegians.

Just sayin’

So, back to the stuff, a couple of tips:

When you add booze, it’s no longer eggnog, it’s milk punch or egg milk punch.  Technically – but, hey, who’s technical at Christmas?

It’s fattening.

Really fattening; the average cup has 225 calories, but many brands can reach 400 or more!  Add the booze and YIKES!

A single cup can contain the equivalence of 15 packets of sugar and the saturated fat of a Big Mac.

But, hey, it’s Christmas!  You can diet in January.

Drink UP, I say, Drink UP!  Maybe I’ll have a party, the punch bowl gets no play!

Open for Discussion

When my kids were littles – which was a long time ago…

…they always left a Diet Pepsi and cookies for Santa.

Yes, I was a bad dad; I convinced them that the whole milk and cookies thing was a scam and that Santa really liked Diet Pepsi.

I was not, and never have been a milk drinker, and TLW was all opposed to pouring the milk back in the carton after it had sat out all night and we both thought it a waste to pour it down the drain, so – as I drank mass quantities of Diet Pepsi at the time, Diet Pepsi it was.

They bought it, so win-win.

I always wondered why the littles had to bribe Santa with milk and cookies since his one job is to bring toys to all the good little girls and boys.

So of course, I had to do some research.

Much to my surprise, it’s not all that cut and dry, there are theories out there.

And you all know how much I love conspiracy theories; again win-win.

Some think it is linked to the real Saint Nicholas.  During the feast of Saint Nicholas, which is December 6, kids would leave food and drink for the sainted one and all who attended him.  The whole sleigh and eight tiny reindeer thing had not come into to being yet.

In turn, while the kids slept, Saint Nicholas would leave gifts where the food had been.

Then there are those who believe it goes along with the Christmas tree.  The Germans would decorate a paradise tree with apples, wafers, and cookies.  This tradition, as Christianity spread across Europe, would morph into the Christmas Tree and over time, when decoration came from the dime store and not the family kitchen, the wafers and cookies would move to a plate for Santa to snack on.

And then there’s the Norwegian Theory.  Of course the Norwegians have a theory!!

Norse mythology to be exact.  Folks would leave hay and treats for Odin’s eight legged horse, Sleipner, hoping the god would stop by during his Yuletide hunting trip.

Some might say the eight legs morphed over time into eight reindeer and the treats for Odin’s freakish mount would become treats for Santa’s ever so frisky sleigh pullers.

Eight legged horse; what was that guy smokin’?

This story, as the Norwegians conquered parts of northern Europe was passed on to Dutch children who still leave treats for Father Christmas’ horse.

That’s just a few.  There must be 50 or so out there ranging from possible to impractical.

The idea of milk and cookies for Santa didn’t really take off in the US of A until the Great Depression.  Economic hardships touched nearly every home in America and parents who were hanging on by a thread wanted to teach their kids to share even in times of poverty.

They were telling the kids it was important to give to others as the kids hoped for some small gift from Santa.

So this Christmas when your littles leave milk and cookies for the fat man, tell them why.  They aren’t bribing Santa; they are giving as he goes along the way.

Where Are We?

This is a picture of …

  • The Capitol in Washington, D. C.

 

  • The Seat of Government for the United States.

 

  • A frat house full of horny post-adolescents.

    All of the above.