Sunday Morning Ethics, 9/6/2020: Dog Food, A T-Rex, An Astronaut, The Pope…But No 2020 Campaign Items Whatsoever! Let’s Hear A Little Applause!

1 . Boy, the Pope must hate the U.S. media. ‘Did you hear that four people say the President called our soldiers “losers”? It’s true! They really say that!’

Pope Francis called gossiping a “plague worse than COVID” and risks dividing  the Catholic Church. The devil, he says, is the “biggest gossiper.” who is seeking to divide the church with his lies.

Francis was discussing a Gospel passage about the need to correct others privately when they do something wrong. The Catholic hierarchy calls this the “fraternal correction” of priests and bishops to correct them when they err without airing problems in public. You know; like when they sexually abuse children. “Gossip” apparently means “talking about things the Church is trying to cover-up.”

Got it, Your Holiness!

2. Proposition: It’s unethical to buy your dog’s food at the Dollar Store. Sunshine Mills Inc., an Alabama-based pet food company, issued a recall of its dog food this week due to the levels of Aflatoxin, a toxic mold by-product with  the potential of making dogs sick, according to a Food and Drug Administration news release. The products recalled are  FAMILY PET Meaty Cuts, Beef Chicken & Cheese Flavors;  HEARTLAND FARMS Grilled Favorites Beef Chicken & Cheese Flavor; and HAPPY LIFE Butcher’s Choice Dog Food. All are sold exclusively at Dollar General and Family Dollar stores.

I wonder if they sell baby food?

3. Let’s play “Whimsically Charming , Rock Stupid or Unethical”! UK hubby Adrian Shaw was sent out by his wife, Deborah, to purchase a garden gnome, to “tidy” the garden, But Adrian had an inspiration, Knowing that his wife loved “Jreassic Park,” he decided to buy an 11 foot long model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that cost nearly $2000 and required another $750 or so to install it.

Then he set the T-Rex up in their garden, like, uh, a garden gnome:

Adrian says he assumed his wife would be delighted. Unfortunately, she first saw the model in the dark, at night, when she put out the dog for a loo break. Adrian realized his mistake when he heard the screaming.

My dad would have been tempted to pull a stunt like that. Tempted.

4. Well, let’s think about this...The Rockwood School District’s  Pond Elementary School in Missouri received a complaint from  a parent when “Ron’s Big Mission,”was read to a second-grade class. The book is based on the life of Astronaut Ron McNair, an African American astronaut and a member of the doomed 1986 Challenger crew, and tells the tale of his fight to get a library card as a child growing up in segregated South Carolina  in the 1950s.

After hearing it read to her 7-year-old during an online video chat, the parent urged other parents to “preview what we are letting the kids see on there.” The statement was posted in a Facebook group for Concerned Parents of the Rockwood School District.

In defiance of the complaint, Pond Elementary School principal Carlos Diaz-Granados will read the book to the entire student body via Zoom next week.

Observations:

  • This being reported as a brave school opposing a racist parent. She’s certainly an inarticulate parent. Is the second grade too early to be indoctrinating kids about how racist the United States is? I don’t know, but I also don’t think it’s an illegitimate question. I also am certain that “previewing what we are letting the kids see on there.” is absolutely necessary for all parents, since public schools, their teachers and administrators are not trustworthy, and getting less so by the day.
  • Reading the book to the whole school is flagrant virtue signaling by the principal, and a waste of education time for the older students.
  • The question is, if an African American parent complained about a book celebrating  John Glenn’s life as furthering a white supremacy narrative, would the principal have reacted the same way? It’s not even a question, is it? The book would have been pulled from the curriculum, and the School District would have issued an apology. Does anyone doubt this?

5. Ethics Hero: J. K. Rowling! Right or wrong, Harry Potter’s creator has integrity and the courage of her convictions. J. K. Rowling joined the LGBTQ “Most Hated” list—especially the T’s—when she retweeted an op-ed  that used the phrase “people who menstruate” for “women.”  Rowling objected, saying that “erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.” She was immediately branded a bigot and transphobic, of course.

After  the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization’s  president, Kerry Kennedy , said that Rowling’s assertion that sex is assigned at birth “diminished the identity of trans and non-binary people,” Rowling didn’t grovel, or apologize, or deperately calculate what would be safest for her book and movie royalties.  Instead, she took to her website, and wrote that Kennedy “incorrectly implied that I was transphobic” and announced that she was returning the prestigious Ripple of Hope Award Kennedy’s organization gave her last year.

“I feel I have no option but to return the Ripple of Hope Award bestowed upon me last year,” she wrote. “I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience.”

Perfect. Brava!

16 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Ethics, 9/6/2020: Dog Food, A T-Rex, An Astronaut, The Pope…But No 2020 Campaign Items Whatsoever! Let’s Hear A Little Applause!

  1. 3) I cannot believe that he thought spending nearly $3000 on the lawn — without consulting his wife — was a good idea. I think he might be getting coal in his stocking this year.

    4)Looking at the description and reviews on Amazon, it appears that this could be a good book to use as a starting point for discussions of prejudice in our nation’s history. I am not sure if 2nd graders are old enough to really benefit from that sort of discussion, though. Perhaps something along the lines of everyone should have equal opportunities and do the history discussions a bit later on.

    5) I really appreciate Rowling standing up to the mobs, especially as I don’t believe she is exactly a die hard conservative at heart. She is basically too big a figure to have to worry about being canceled. That doesn’t automatically come with a spine, though, so it’s refreshing to hear her tell them basically to bugger off.
    Not only is that a good example, but she also allows her publisher to exhibit some backbone, as well. Harry Potter is, simply, too big to fail, if I might coin a phrase….

  2. 1. I’m sure that’s not what he was thinking of, but his grasp of the optics of this situation is extremely poor. Then again, Francis’ grasp of a lot of ethical and moral issues isn’t the best. I still say he wants to be “chief nice guy” instead of pope.

    • I don’t think Francis ha a case of what paid political consultants call “bad optics,” Steve. I think he’s just bad. He’s a Marxist. He’s a closeted gay guy heading a church that imposes preposterous restrictions on its gay members. He’s also a pedophile protector and enabler. Of course in my way of seeing things, he’s the head of the Catholic clergy and therefore the top guy in what’s little more than a nasty, gay cabal.

      Having been brought up Catholic by lots of Catholics, I hold the Catholic faith in high regard, as I do many of the Church’s lower ranking clergy and most of the laity. But to the extent the Church is its senior clergy, I find it awful. And Francis is the embodiment of all that awfulness.

      • Don’t know anything about him being a closeted gay man, although I guess it’s a possibility. I do think that the upper echelon of the church served as procurer and enabler for abusive gay and pedophilic clergy for far too long. I also think he is one step away from Marxism if he isn’t Marxist already, exactly the wrong man at the wrong time. That said, he’s 83 years old, with only one lung, and I’m sure his time as pope is limited. St. John Paul died at the age of 84, and Benedict XVI stepped down at the same age in 2014 (he probably should never have been elected in the first place), Paul VI was 80 when he died. The less said about John Paul I, the William Henry Harrison of the papacy, the better.

        • Decent guys know when to step aside. I admit I’m irrational about him, but I doubt Francis is a decent guy. I suspect he’ll hold on into complete incapacity and death and cause as much damage to the church as possible. It’s the Joe Biden/Nancy Pelosi/Robert Byrd/Strom Thurmond model he’s following.

    • 2. They do. I wouldn’t trust them as far as they could throw them. Cheap=junk.

      3. Rock stupid. Never play a stunt like that on your significant other unless you know for a fact they will love it. Most guys surprise with candy, flowers, jewelry, or items the other person has expressed a desire for. This woman expressed a desire for a garden gnome. He should have gotten the gnome, then told her what he saw when he came back.

      4. Dumb. I read the text of the book, it’s harmless enough, but it’s one of those virtue-signaling stories where you can see the end from the first word. Will he be allowed to check out the books? Will the people representing the system tell him he can’t? Will those people finally be shown up for the ignorant racists they are? What do you think? It’s frankly just a longer was of delivering the Very Important Message that RACISM IS BAD. Reading the book over the PA to the whole school is just being obnoxious and trying to embarrass this parent in front of the whole community, which is absolutely unnecessary, and could even be dangerous right now. Mrs. So-and-so said WHAT? Let me blast out a tweet to Black Lives Matter, and they’ll do the rest. Somehow I doubt John Glenn gets talked about much anymore, there really isn’t room between Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King and Barack Obama.

      5. Good for her. Still doesn’t make up for her stupid attempt to troll Mike Pence.

  3. Re 3: I have no problem with a person spending money he or she has earned on anything provide he or she can honor all prior obligations in a timely manner. How a person spends his personal funds is no ones business but that person’s.

    Obviously the wife was startled but everyone knows such creatures are extinct so it is unlikely that the fear will persist.

    Whether he needed to confer with his wife is an issue between them not society.
    Every family’s finances are unique. We have no idea whether the origin of the funds were from his labors, her labors, a bequest from one of his family members or winnings from th Irish Sweepstakes.

    Had he surprised her with a 3000 dollar piece of jewelry she might be just as startled but would we be suggesting he confer with her prior to such a purchase; probably not. Thus, if he is under no obligation obtain permission to buy an expensive gift for his wife he should have no such obligation to use funds to buy himself an object that would give him satisfaction.

      • True, but I gotta say that a frivolous purchase for me is not in he same league as one for say Jeff Bezos. Heck, when we were just married $40 was something to be discussed; today I can drop $300 and my wife won’t bat an eye.

      • I say it depends on the couple. My wife has a checking and savings account as do I. I have a credit card as does she. Household management funds are deposited into a third account. Each person deposits the proportion of household expenses based on their proportion of the combined incomes.

        Further, what might be deemed a major expense to one family is daughter Sally’s weekly allowance in another. I have no idea whether this couple has gobs of discretionary funds or they are living paycheck to paycheck.

        Keep in mind that arguments over finances is one of the leading causes of divorce. Because husbands and wives or any two people do not value things the same having a desire vetoed because the other thinks it frivolous will eventually lead to resentment and arbitrary retaliatory vetos, arguments and divorce.

        Couples should create budgets for the living costs and emergencies and fund them together in whatever proportion they agree to. The rest is discretionary to be saved/invested or used as the creator of the funds desires.

  4. Regarding Number 1, the pope is simply offering a sermon about this weekend’s readings from the lectionary:

    Jesus said to his disciples:
    “If your brother sins against you,
    go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
    If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
    If he does not listen,
    take one or two others along with you,
    so that ‘every fact may be established
    on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
    If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.
    If he refuses to listen even to the church,
    then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
    Amen, I say to you,
    whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
    and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
    Again, amen, I say to you,
    if two of you agree on earth
    about anything for which they are to pray,
    it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
    For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
    there am I in the midst of them.”

    MT 18:15-20

  5. 4)In the 1950s, Robert A. Heinlein wrote a number of juvenile (young adult in today’s terminology) science fiction books, a number of which are surprisingly readable even today. I was just looking at one and reading the introduction to it by William Patterson. He relates something Heinlein told his editor a few years after this book was written in 1953:

    “I have been writing the Horatio Alger books of this generation, always with the same strongly moral purpose that runs through every line of the Alger books (which strongly influenced me; I read them all). ‘Honesty is the best policy.’ – ‘Hard work is rewarded.’ – ‘There is no easy road to success.’ – ‘Courage above all.’ … ‘Stand on your own feet’ – ‘Don’t ever be bullied.’ … These are the things that the Alger books said to me, in the idiom suited to my generation: I believed them when I read them. I believe them now, and I have constantly tried to say them to a younger generation which I believe has been shamefully neglected by many of the elders responsible for its moral training. ”

    Heinlein could have written that today instead of in 1959 and it would be just as true and just as needed. I believe if his kids were in some of today’s schools he would be out raising a mighty ruckus.

  6. In the past Harry Potter has been on the most frequently challenged books list. Primarily from rock dumb parents who are convinced that Rowling is trying to convert their children to Wicca. Now I’m anticipating that the rock dumb lefty parents are going to challenge them because Rowling is transphobic.

    Meanwhile kids and adults in the middle will keep reading them.

  7. 1. This might be an overreaction there about cancellation in the workplace. If I make a mistake at work (and none were related to sex) I don’t think the boss calling me out in public is effective or right. In some settings, the sharks start circling because of the target on the employee, setting someone up after management shift like new boss or change in wokeness. When errors are made, they are not unforgivable ALL the time, that leaves to paranoia and no chances to learn better.

    I agree the church screwed up regarding the abuse, but not all errors on the job are worthy of public humiliation and cancellation. A homily is also for the lay listeners and their jobs, as the congregation are not in the fraternity of priests to own the sin of the abuse. If I’m in trouble for forgetting to submit some paperwork. private correction is proper not a calling out in public over something correctable and the resulting gossip will make my doing my job at all in jeopardy.

    People do not need to know as much gossip that FB and Twitter other sites live for. Isn’t speaking against the mob lynch mob of gossip waves that wanted to silence Rowling why she got a hero award today? The pope is on more fragile ground, but everyone needs to understand that social pressure from what ‘everyone says’ has gotten way too arrogantly powerful. Too bad the pope wasn’t willing to take on the platform mob directly about rumors but made it more abstract.

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