- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Valuable unity

“[The war between Israel and Hezbollah] revealed something of inestimable value: A resilience among Israelis that neither its friends nor its enemies counted on … Israelis were unified to a remarkable degree. At the height of the conflict, poll after poll showed over 90 percent support for the government’s decision to launch the campaign and the war’s continuation … this overwhelming support continued until Israel held its fire.

“This must have come as a shock to Israel’s enemies. It is a long-standing myth about Muslim radicals that Western democracies possess an inherent weakness: That their love of commerce and bourgeois pleasure will inevitably render them incapable of standing up for their own way of life; that the determination and purity of the jihad will defeat the morally flaccid, potbellied bobos of Brussels and Brookline.

“Yet time after time this belief is proven wrong. Even if democratic leaders sometimes show faintness of heart, democratic peoples are frequently willing to endure hardship, and to fight ferociously, to defend their freedom.”

— David Hazony, writing on “The War of Fog,” in the autumn issue of Azure

Campus worldview

“I’ve had professors say Jesus was a homosexual, the god of Islam is the same god of Christianity, and sneer at the Bible calling it a book of myth. … These statements were made in core content classes required by all students.

“Early in my freshman year we were told to analyze an essay by Nicholas Maxwell titled ‘Cutting God in Half.’ The article purported that if God exists, he cannot be all loving and all knowing. We were told to write using our own worldview.

“I wrote from a Christian worldview and the professor returned my paper with 33 handwritten comments on it such as, ‘What is good?’ ‘What is faith?’ I made an appointment with my professor and the head of the English department to discuss the paper. I asked point blank if I was going to be graded down for writing from a Christian perspective even though that is what the instructions called for.

“The head of the department looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘You cannot use the Bible in academic circles because it is regarded as a book of myth.’ End of discussion. That obviously presents quite a problem for Christian students who are told to write an opinion paper using their worldview.”

— Abby Nye, author of “Fish Out of Water: Surviving and Thriving as a Christian on a Secular Campus,” interviewed Tuesday in Front Page at www.frontpage.com

The fine print

“Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’ is set to open in two weeks. The comedy follows a fictional Central Asian journalist who travels across the United States and interviews real people. Several of the film’s unsuspecting stars have come forward recently to say they got duped into participating in the mockumentary. Most say they never read the fine print on the release forms they signed. What kind of releases are they?

“Extra-long ones. …

“The document describes a ‘documentary-style film’ designed ‘to reach a young adult audience by using entertaining content and formats.’

“The release form seems to cover all the bases, but it’s not clear if it precludes all legal action. …

“On the other hand, a claimant would have a tough time proving his case. Everyone that Borat interviews knows he’s being filmed for a movie, and no one tells them to say embarrassing things.”

— Daniel Engber, writing on “Borat Tricked Me,” Tuesday in Slate at www.slate.com

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