Hollandaise Sauce and Health Care  

Posted by Brock Booher

I had the pleasure of taking my sister and her husband to breakfast the other morning while on an overnight in Los Angeles. He found a nostalgic diner nearby complete with walls of stone, wood paneling, and cozy u-shaped booths covered in red vinyl. The staff was very friendly and the menu inviting - except for the eggs benedict. The waitress informed us that they couldn’t serve hollandaise sauce with the eggs benedict because it contains high levels of trans fat, and that is against the law in California.

According to the Los Angeles Times the law requires restaurants to use oils, margarines and shortening with less than half a gram of trans fat per serving and is punishable by a fine of up to $1000. "California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am pleased to continue that tradition by being the first state in the nation to phase out trans fats," Schwarzenegger said. "Consuming trans fat is linked to coronary heart disease, and today we are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier future for California." (July 26, 2008Patrick McGreevy, Times Staff Writer)

Of course this begs the question, what other self-destructive activities should the government outlaw in the name of personal health? After all if the government is footing the bill for health care then they should be able to outlaw activities that are harmful (or potentially harmful) to our health. You can just hear your parents saying, “As long as you live under my roof, and I pay the bills…”

What will be outlawed next? Motorcycle riding? Unprotected sex? Surfing large waves? Twinkies with chocolate milk? Running with scissors?

Our personal liberties are directly linked to our level of personal responsibility. If we are willing to accept the consequences of our actions, then we should be free to make those decisions, provided they do no harm to others. If we wish to be protected and cared for at every turn, then we will eventually give up all of our personal liberties in the name of comfort or protection. Any risky activities will be outlawed or severely restricted in the name of health and safety.

We all make intentional personal decisions that sometimes carry harmful consequences to ourselves, or even others. But making those choices and suffering the consequences is what freedom is all about. No risk – No reward.

The questions is do we really want the government so deeply involved in our personal daily decisions? I guess that depends on whether or not your want hollandaise sauce with your eggs benedict.

PDF - Public Displays of Faith  

Posted by Brock Booher

If you were about to board a transcontinental flight and several Muslim passengers from your flight knelt in prayer in the boarding area would you feel uncomfortable? Would you feel the same way about a group of Orthodox Jews with yalmurkas and long traditional beards gathered in prayer? How would you feel about a group of Nuns or maybe even Mormon missionaries? How do you feel about public displays of faith?

As an airline pilot, I see public displays of faith everyday. I guess more people are afraid of flying than care to openly admit. I see Muslims praying in the boarding area. I see Catholics crossing themselves just before they step on to the plane. I see people kiss their fingers and tap them on the plane for good luck. One Bible-carrying passenger stopped and told me how she said a prayer every time she took her seat on the plane. I just grinned and said, “You too!?”

Faith is the motivating force behind all of our lives. I don’t care what you believe about God, if you didn’t have faith that the sun was going to come up, you wouldn’t get out of bed. Unless you have knowledge of the future, your every action is driven by faith. Every accomplishment beyond our simple existence of the moment requires faith.

Various religions require overt acts of faith. These acts include everything from silent prayer, to bathing in the Ganges River. Each public display of faith demonstrates to the world, and to the intended god, that the believer has faith strong enough to evoke action. Action, the highest form of faith, is required to demonstrate one’s level of faith.

But what if these acts of faith interfere with or even harm the lives of others? A suicide bomber in the name of Allah, car bombings to resolve a dispute between Catholics and Protestants, Sikh assassinations to end perceived religious oppression, all have the same thing in common – violence committed in the name of faith.

Clashes between good and evil sometimes do escalate to the level of violence, but I don’t believe that the fight against evil requires the willful taking of innocent lives. The battle against evil requires that we change lives – starting with our own.

So the next time you board a flight, go ahead and display your faith in public. Maybe your overt act of faith will inspire someone. We only hope that it inspires others to do good - not wet their pants in fear.