Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hooligan fishing

I have been hooligan (eulachon) fishing a couple of times this week. Hooligan, as they are called in the Pacific northwest are small fish, members of the smelt tribe. The fish I caught were about eight inches.

These fish appear in enormous numbers in late May and early June in some streams, but not others. Most of the run appears to be males, according to what I have read. That was true for me; of the 14 fish I caught, only one was a female.

To fish for hooligan, one stands on the bank or in the water with a dip net and just sweeps until catching the fish. I caught 14 in an hour's work, but when the run is strong 14 fish can come much more quickly. Others were fishing there, too. During the run, there can be dozens of people dipping.

They were tasty little fish. The fourteen we ate were enough for four of us. We'll go back for more!

Disguised Antisemitism?

The Jerusalem Post reported today that "A day after the British Union of Colleges and Universities (UCU) voted to consider imposing a boycott on Israeli academics, UNISON, the largest labor union in Britain, threatened to impose a boycott of their own on Israeli products."

This is part of an international fabric of such boycotts wrapped in a mantle of solidarity with the cause of the Palestinians. Could that rotten smell be in reality just a less lethal brand of Hitler's antisemitism rising up again?

What a strange reaction this is: constant aggression against the people and nation of Israel -- like rockets raining down on Israeli towns -- and trade unions want to boycott Israel???? Is it possible they meant to boycott the Palestinians and some poor fool just reversed the names by accident?

This reaction by UNISON and others who want to condemn Israel is evil. It is unhelpful to the cause of Mideast peace.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Free Speech Nightmare

I awoke this morning with a nightmare still fresh in my head. The grief of the confiscation of my Swedish Bible was still fresh.

The gist of the dream was this: my Bible was banned because it contained text that was not approved by the government, even in a language other than English. It had the New Testament in it.

The specific offensive text was that condemning homosexuality. It was deemed hate speech.

When we lived in Sweden in 2003 a mild mannered pastor named Åke Green was arrested by the police for violating the nation’s laws against saying that homosexuality was wrong in a sermon to his small church in Borgholm. Pastor Green did not preach hatred of homosexuals, but condemned the sin – something that Christians have done since the days of the early church. Disciples are called to love people, but to hate sin.

At the time it did not seem so surprising in the overwhelmingly secular nation of Sweden. What is surprising is that we are so close to this today in the United States. Legislation passed the US House of Representatives just a few weeks ago that could have had a similar effect in this country if signed by the President.

President Bush has signaled he will not sign the legislation, but it is certain to come up again, and with a legislature and presidency controlled by the democratic party, it could become law.

We’re not really so far from the scenario in my dream.