Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Islam School Flap—Maybe Not Everybody In Friendswood Is Lousy

Recently the principal of Friendswood Junior High School, here in the Houston area, held an assembly where a local Muslim group explained the central tenets of Islam.

This was in response to an incident of harassment against Muslim students.

The Friendswood school board reassigned this principal after parents complained. The controversy was whipped up by a local “Christian”  group and by talk radio.

After this, it was easy to condemn the people of the Friendswood school district as intolerant.

No doubt many of these folks are, in fact, intolerant.    

However, at a school board hearing after the trouble, the majority of speakers stood up for the principal.

It’s often the few that get the attention. And it’s not hard to see the school board as less than a Profile In Courage.  

I’ve reading a biography of Mark Twain.

Twain once met Frederick Douglass. Douglass told Twain how his daughter had been kicked out of a school in Rochester, New York after parents complained about a black child being enrolled the school.

Douglass insisted that the kids be allowed to vote on if the girl should be allowed to remain. Not one student voted to expel the girl.

I’ve no way of knowing for sure, but I bet the great majority of students in Freindswood were not offended to learn about Islam.  

Sometimes it seems that a job of parents is to make sure their kids acquire the same fears and prejudices they were left with by their parents.    

In any case, some of the good people in Friendswood did speak up. And I believe many young people in this country grasp that a new day of greater acceptance of others is ahead.

Above is “Woman With A spray Of Flowers.” This is Islamic art from 16th century Iran.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Art, Books, Houston, Texas | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hazy Picture Of Mississippi River & Hazy Images Of A Different Time And Place

I took this picture of the Mississippi River last week from the window of an airplane.

The picture came out hazy.

Looking at the Mississppi River got me thinking about the Mark Twain biography I’m currently reading.

While Twain’s riverboat days were only a small portion of his life, I find them interesting. 

I think part of that comes from my years living in Cincinnati along the shores of the Ohio River.

I’ve wondered what it must have been like when Cincinnati was a river town.

I’ve thought I might have been able to function in a frontier society that placed a value on self-creation. ( At least if you were white.)

When I read about Twain’s time on the river, I get an ill-defined longing for a different place and a different time. 

It’s a hazy notion that well compliments this hazy photo. 

I think we all have half-formed ideas in our minds of places we would like to visit and times we wish we could go back and see.

It’s a good thing we have books and imaginations that can partially take us to places we wish we could visit or recreate.   

May 7, 2008 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati, History | , , , , | 7 Comments

Photo Of Ohio River From Eden Park Overlook In Cincinnati

Here is a photo of the Ohio River I took from the Eden Park overlook in Cincinnati. I took this picture last July.

Here is information about Eden Park. 

I was thinking about our great inland rivers this morning because I have started to read Mark Twain–A Life by Ron Powers.

The Ohio River and Twain’s Mississippi River connect in Cairo, Illinois.

We are all connected as well.   

April 9, 2008 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati, Pictures I Have Taken | , , , , | 6 Comments