Monday, May 19, 2014

The Great Cat Conspiracy - continued

... actually, we could call this the Never-Ending Story ...

Oddly enough, considering I've been a Cat Man all my life (even though our household also includes a magnificent Border Terrier), it wasn't until a few years ago that I started suspecting that cats were in cahoots pretty much all over the world. I blogged about this early in my blogging career, when I first saw a Simon's Cat cartoon and realized that Peaches did exactly the same thing as the cat in the cartoon, except, of course, for the bit with the baseball bat; and that was only because I didn't have one handy.

The suspicion was confirmed when others at my workplace (so many of my co-workers on the 17th floor at Metrotower II were cat people at the time that I'm sure the Evil Empire (otherwise known by its official title, "Human Resources") started to check into the definition of "discriminatory hiring practices") saw Simon's Cat and said, "my cat does exactly the same thing!"

Now ... more evidence that the International Cat Conspiracy is alive and well. When I was little, I noticed early on that my cat -- a Siamese named Tuptim (as, in fact, were many Siamese cats at the time, thanks to The King and I) -- had an uncanny ability to pick the exact spot on a book or newspaper where I happened to be reading and curl up there. As it turns out, she was by no means unique.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

and, lest you think this concept exists only in cartoons,

Exhibit C

Daisy Mae, who's "helping" Amelia, also finds my computer keyboard particularly comfortable, and I've had to develop a reflexive motion with my left hand, sweeping her tail away as I type. Even by not actually being directly on the keyboard, the constant "C" is significant. 

"If she knew what she was staring at,
she wouldn't be a cat."
-- Walt Kelly (creator of 
When she's not on the keyboard, Daisy Mae has another favorite place on my desk: under the lamp ... and on top of the router. She hasn't knocked me offline yet, but while she appears to be dozing in the lovely, relaxing warmth, she's probably communicating telecattically (like Peaches, on the right) with other cats around the world (those with the motto: "Opposable thumbs? We don' need no opposable thumbs!") to find out how to do that.
The Kaufman-and-Hart play, You Can't Take it With You, includes a woman who writes novels and uses kittens as paper-weights. When my parents produced the show at the old Avon Theatre in Vancouver in the 50s, they used real kittens in the cast. They were generally kept on the desk with saucers of cream, but one day they went walkabout. Dad went a-hunting and eventually heard mewing backstage and discovered the kittens had found a hole in the wall and -- being cats -- crawled in to investigate. Dad wound up ripping out most of the drywall before getting to the beasts in time to get them onstage. Even then, the constant "C" had not been factored-in, and this was a good decade before Moore made his prediction.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Trinity Western's Community Covenant and religious freedom

Monday's Vancouver Sun has some excellent perspective this week from Dr Emma Cunliffe, associate professor in the UBC Law Faculty, about the controversial Community Covenant at Trinity Western University.

When the issue blew up a few weeks ago, with Law Societies in other parts of the country refusing to recognize TWU law grads because of that Covenant, I took a few minutes and actually read the thing. It's full of all sorts of subversive stuff, like respect others, love your neighbour, treat others with dignity and humility -- a cynic might suggest that's the very thing that would turn off the legal community -- but the section on sexual morality is the one that people are exercised about. Certainly, it's been construed as anti-gay, although the actual wording is pro-traditional male-female relationships, so it also excludes people who have sex out of wedlock and/or live together without being married.

(By the way, the love, respect, dignity and humility thing is something TWU would do well to apply to traveling fans of its sports teams. I work closely with the UBC Thunderbirds, and TWU fans are, far and away, the rudest, most obnoxious fans we can think of. I wrote a blog posting a few years ago, called "What Would Jesus Cheer?" and the response from some readers when a TWU student paper picked it up suggested I'd struck a nerve.)

But Dr. Cunliffe hit a point that moves this into a completely different realm. She contends that requiring students and teachers to live by this Covenant on penalty of expulsion "compels individuals to live according to a discriminatory moral code regardless of their true beliefs." I'd take it a step further: while the Professor focuses on the fact that gay or lesbian students would have to suppress their true feelings and/or beliefs, the notion of any organization imposing a particular code of conduct on those who want to be part of it smacks of cultism. Whether or not I agree with the principles is neither here nor there: the fact is, no one should be forced into agreeing.

God gives us freedom of choice. Having given us dominion over the earth, He is not about to make Himself a liar by manipulating us. Yes, He makes it clear which He would prefer us to choose -- I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that thou and thy seed may live ... and that thou mayest cleave to Him, for He is thy Life ... (Deut. 30:19-20 KJV) -- but the choice is still up to us. No institution should presume to take that choice away.

One is not known as a Christian by the things one hates or shuns: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)

Love, in other words, is what defines a Christian. Is signing a Community Covenant part of that commandment?