March 20, 2019

ENGLAND: Hundreds Of Muslim Parents Protested Schools In Britain About LGBT Rights Curriculum. Islam Got Their Wish After Threatening To Protest Every Week Until The School Stops This LGBT Class.

BBC News, UK
written by Sima Kotecha
Tuesday March 19, 2019

Four more schools in Birmingham have stopped teaching about LGBT rights following complaints by parents.

Leigh Trust said it was suspending the No Outsiders programme until an agreement with parents was reached.

Earlier this month the city's Parkfield Community School suspended the lessons after protests were held.

Campaigner Amir Ahmed said some Muslims felt "victimised" but an LGBT group leader said No Outsiders helped pupils understand it is OK to be different.

In a letter seen by the BBC, Leigh Trust said it was halting the lessons until after Ramadan, which finishes in June.

The schools involved are Leigh Primary School, Alston Primary School, Marlborough Junior and Infants School and Wyndcliff Primary School.

'Outrageous'

Leigh Trust - which is yet to comment publicly - said it wanted to discuss the programme with parents to find "a positive way" of teaching about the Equalities Act.

Some parents at Parkfield, and the other four schools, claim the classes are inappropriate for young children and the schools' LGBT message contradicts Islam.

The No Outsiders project was created and piloted at Parkfield in 2014 by assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat, who was made an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education in 2017.

Ofsted has deemed the lessons as "age-appropriate".

Mr Ahmed, one of the leaders of the Parkfield protests, said he had seen a presentation about the programme that was to be shown to the government as part of the school's Prevent strategy - which is aimed at reducing radicalisation.

"I think that's outrageous," he said.

"It's quite disgusting that the school has presented our children as potential radicals."

A spokesperson for Parkfield Community School said: "The powerpoint was written four years ago in line with Prevent duty at that time.

"No Outsiders is all about tolerance, accepting difference and respect, which are all key aspects of community cohesion and our fundamental British values."

Mr Ahmed said his community was "respectful and tolerant" of British values but now felt victimised.

He claimed parents who had protested were "effectively seen as homophobes in the wider community".

"Fundamentally the issue we have with No Outsiders is that it is changing our children's moral position on family values on sexuality and we are a traditional community.

"Morally we do not accept homosexuality as a valid sexual relationship to have. It's not about being homophobic... that's like saying, if you don't believe in Islam, you're Islamophobic."

But Khakan Qureshi, a gay Muslim activist who runs Birmingham South Asian LGBT and was invited to visit Parkfield School last week, said he supported the need for the lessons.

"Myself and many others knew from a young age that we were different and we wish we had this sort of education," he said.

He feels the Muslim community as a whole is not homophobic, but believes a minority within the protesters are "agitating".

"The attitudes of the protesters towards the No Outsiders programme is completely homophobic," he said.

"No matter how they package it, it still comes across as homophobic."

He said given the existing legislation to stop discrimination, "I don't understand why certain communities here in the UK are not adhering to those laws".


Fox News
written by Lukas Mikelionis
Thursday March 7, 2019

Hundreds of Muslim parents and their children – dressed up as superheroes – protested outside a primary school in Britain on Thursday against planned lessons on LGBT rights.

More than 200 protesters organized the demonstration against Parkfield Community School in Birmingham over the school program called “No Outsiders” that includes teachings about homosexuality, including same-sex relationships and marriages, and challenges homophobia.

The organizers accused assistant head Andrew Moffatt, who is gay, of promoting LGBT rights against the wishes of the parents, who carried placards reading “Say no to sexualizing children” and “respect and be respected.”

Thursday’s protest came even as the school, where virtually every child has Muslim parents, reportedly suspended the curriculum in response to the outrage and protests. About 600 children were withdrawn from the school in a day as a result of the program, which also teaches about race, religion, gender identity, age and disabilities.

“Up to the end of this term, we will not be delivering any No Outsiders lessons in our long-term year curriculum plan, as this half term has already been blocked for religious education (RE),” the school said in a letter to parents, the Guardian reported. “Equality assemblies will continue as normal and our welcoming No Outsiders ethos will be there for all.”

The school denied that it caved to the protesters and said that the class on gay rights stopped at half-term as planned.

But the school admitted that before the return of the classes they will need to have a discussion with parents and teachers about it, according to the BBC.

Some parents during the protest spoke to the crowd through a megaphone, saying the lessons weren’t “age appropriate” and accused the school of violating not only children’s but also their religious beliefs, as Islam doesn’t approve homosexuality.

Protesters said they will continue to protest every week until the school nixes whole program.

According to a 2016 Channel 4 survey on attitudes of British Muslims, more than 50 percent of respondents said they don’t believe homosexuality should be legal in Britain, while 47 percent of respondents said that it’s not acceptable for a teacher to be gay.

JAPAN: The Conservative Politician Fighting for Gay Rights in Japan

Bloomberg News
written by By Isabel Reynolds and Emi Nobuhiro
Thursday February 14, 2019

Tomomi Inada isn’t trying to get Japan to legalize same-sex marriage, or ban discrimination against gay citizens. The conservative lawmaker just wants to “promote understanding” of LGBT issues.

Even that seems too much.

The former defense minister said she’s unsure she’ll be able to introduce new legislation seeking greater tolerance of same-sex relationships amid opposition from her Liberal Democratic Party colleagues. Members of the ruling party have publicly opposed calls for change in recent months, some warning it would slow the already anemic birth rate.

“People asked me if I’d turned left wing,” said Inada, an LDP executive and an adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “It’s a tough situation for me, but I think it’s a human rights issue and nothing to do with being conservative or liberal.”

While other developed countries, including the U.S., Australia and most of western Europe have moved to recognize same-sex marriage, traditionalist Japan has barely budged. Now, business groups are cautioning that the country’s LGBT policies are hurting their hunt for top global talent, and activists argue the situation could become a source of embarrassment when Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics.

A group of 13 same-sex couples filed suit Thursday -- Valentine’s Day -- over what they contend is marriage discrimination in Japan. The government’s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, signaled little interest in change.

“Whether or not we recognize same-sex marriage is a problem that relates to the roots of what a family should be in our country,” Suga told parliament. “So it’s something that needs to be considered extremely cautiously.”

Inada’s lonely battle to pass the legislation shows both how Japanese sensibilities may be changing and how much further advocates have to go. Inada, who led the defense ministry from August 2016 to July 2017, is better known for her justification of Japan’s past colonial expansion across Asia, than for promoting minority rights.

“There is so little understanding that some conservatives think recognizing LGBT people will destroy the traditional family, or reduce the birthrate,” Inada, who is one of just 22 women in the 283-member LDP’s lower house caucus, said in an interview last month.

Financial Hub

Like elsewhere, Japanese gay rights advocates found increasingly vocal allies among multinational corporations, who see it as a competitive issue for the world’s third-largest economy. A Hong Kong court ruling allowing dependent visas for same-sex spouses last year raised the pressure on places like Tokyo and Singapore.

“Looking at Tokyo as an international financial center, and how to attract foreigners, it would be better to establish a framework to attract talented people,” Hiroyuki Arita, representative director and president for asset manager BlackRock Inc.’s Japan unit, said in an interview.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan -- supported by sister organizations from Australia, Canada, Ireland and the U.K. -- went a step further in September, publishing a policy paper calling for full marriage equality.

The Japanese public appears more tolerant than the LDP, which has controlled the government for all but four years since 1955. Homosexual relationships were long condoned among the samurai class and Buddhist monks before Japan’s mid-19th century modernization and adoption of “Western” values.

Divisive Comments

Transgender entertainers are among the biggest stars on local TV. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which highlighted the difficulties Queen singer Freddie Mercury faced as a gay man, was the country’s top-grossing movie last year.

A poll by public broadcaster NHK in 2017 -- the most recent data available -- found 51 percent of respondents believed same-sex marriage should be allowed in Japan. That compared with 41 percent who were opposed.

Still, some LDP members continue to stoke outrage from the LGBT rights advocates, such as when Katsuei Hirasawa argued in a speech last month that the “nation would collapse” if everyone were gay. Another ruling party lawmaker, Mio Sugita, published a magazine article last year describing gay couples as unproductive because they don’t have children.

Abe himself said in 2015 that the country’s constitution, which requires the consent of “both sexes,” didn’t envisage same-sex marriage. While a few local governments issue certificates to same-sex couples to help them overcome difficulties renting homes, or gain next-of-kin status in hospitals, the unions have no legal standing.

‘No Right’

Ai Nakajima, who was among the activists suing for marriage equality Thursday, said she was being unfairly denied the right to live in Japan with her German spouse, Christina Baumann. “Tina has no right to live here and can’t get a visa,” Nakajima said.

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan has submitted its own bill that would outlaw anti-LGBT discrimination, and is discussing another to allow same-sex marriage, according to Kanako Otsuji, the country’s only openly gay lawmaker. Neither bill can pass at present without support from the ruling party.

“The ball is in their court,” Otsuji said.

Inada, a former lawyer, argues the constitutional wording was intended to give people the right to marry without securing the head of household’s permission, not to exclude same-sex couples. For now, she’s focused on fostering a dialogue between gay rights advocates and the ruling party.

I invited members of the LGBT community to LDP headquarters for discussions,” Inada said. “When I asked them if they’d ever visited before, they said they had -- but only to protest outside.”

HAPPY Tuesday Everybody! :)

Days Of The Week-1

Sending Some Inspiration Your Way...๐Ÿ’–

March 17, 2019

Irish Shamrocks and 4-Leaf Clovers Or Is It 3-Leaf Clovers? History Of Shamrocks Draws Clear Distinction Between the Two

written by David Beaulieu
[source: About.com]

The thought of Irish shamrocks evokes visions of the green landscape of the Emerald Isle as surely as does St. Patrick's Day itself. But there is no real McCoy that can claim to be the authoritative version. If you have your heart set on making such an identification, you had better start looking for some 4-leaf clovers, because you'll need lots of luck! But ironically, the latter, themselves do not qualify, for reasons that history makes clear.

The term "shamrock" derives from the Irish word, seamrog, which translates as "little clover." Rather vague, considering that there are many kinds of clovers -- and even more plants that can pass as clovers to the layman. Consequently, in St. Patrick's Day celebrations a number of plants serve as Irish shamrocks. But identifying a particular plant as the one and only true Irish shamrock is a dubious practice, botanically speaking.

Even among the denizens of Ireland, itself, there is no consensus that dubs one particular group of plants as the true Irish shamrocks, as was reported in a 1988 survey. The survey, conducted at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin, revealed that when the Irish wear the "shamrock," it can be any one of four plants. Three of the plants are clovers, while the fourth is a clover-like plant known as "medick." All four are in the Pea family:

1.Lesser trefoil, or hop clover (Trifolium dubium): 46%.
2.White clover (Trifolium repens): 35%.
3.Black medick (Medicago lupulina): 7%.
4.Red clover (Trifolium pratense): 4%.

Various members of the Wood Sorrel family (such as Oxalis acetosella) are also sold as shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day. These clover look-alikes are more easily cultivated as houseplants than is real clover, making them popular for interior decorating during St. Patrick's Day celebrations. But the wood sorrels are not even related to the four plants listed above. One would be quite justified at this point in asking, "What's the story here, how can such a diverse group of plants all be considered Irish shamrocks?" And there is, indeed, a story that accounts for the confusion ....

The Legend of St. Patrick and Irish Shamrocks

What medick, the wood sorrels and the true clovers all have in common is a trifoliate leaf structure, i.e., a compound leaf with three leaflets. The number 3, of course, is significant in the Christian religion, because of the doctrine of the Trinity. Irish legend has it that the missionary, Saint Patrick demonstrated the principle behind the Trinity using a shamrock, pointing to its three leaflets united by a common stalk. But there is no way of determining with certainty the exact plant referred to in the legend. This much we can say about Irish shamrocks, however. By definition, for a clover to represent the Trinity, it would have to bear 3 (and only 3) leaves. So for all the good luck they allegedly bring, 4-leaf clovers technically can't be considered shamrocks (not in the sense that St. Patrick made the latter famous, at least).

But the foregoing does explain the ease with which multiple "shamrock" representatives are accepted. A candidate's trifoliate leaf structure can override its family history, including geographical anomalies. For instance, some of the wood sorrels widely used in the U.S. as Irish shamrocks are of South American or Central American heritage, which hardly conjures up images of the grassy slopes of the Irish countryside!

Page 2 will look at the belief in 4-leaf clovers as lucky charms....

We have seen on Page 1 that the three leaves of the "shamrock" represent the three persons of the Trinity. But what of the notion that four leaf clovers bring good luck? Since the operative number here is four, the history behind these lucky charms clearly must be different from the Trinitarian tradition behind the shamrock. Indeed, it is widely believed (although I can't cite the ancient sources to back it up) that the significance invested in them pre-dates Christianity, going back to the pagan period, when the Celts attributed great potency to them.

Celtic dominance once extended across Ireland and much of Western Europe. It was the Druids (Celtic priests) who elevated four leaf clovers to the status of good-luck charms, allegedly potent against malevolent spirits. Their status as Celtic charms is the origin of the modern belief in their power to bestow good luck.

What do four leaf clovers mean, symbolically? Besides good luck, they are sometimes said to stand for faith, hope and love. But another interpretation is widely known via the following verse:

I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before.
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain,
Third is the roses that grow in the lane.
No need explaining the one remaining
Is somebody I adore.
I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before.

The first literary reference to draw on the tradition of four leaf clovers as good-luck charms seems to have been made in 1620. In that year, according to the University of Illinois, Sir John Melton wrote, "If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing." It is estimated that, on average, there are 10,000 three leaf clovers for every instance of a true four leaf clover.

Oxalis Deppei as a "Four Leaf Clover" Substitute?

Nowadays one can take the easy route to finding "four leaf clovers." Oxalis deppei is widely sold as the "good-luck plant," because it bears a leaf that always has four leaflets. However, as already noted, plants from the Oxalis genus are not true clovers, only clover look-alikes. Besides, when that fourth leaflet is automatic, how could it possibly hold its own with a true good-luck charm? Oxalis deppei strikes me as being suitable for gags only; there's not an ounce of romance in this phenomenon....

Considering the St. Patrick's Day traditions surrounding shamrocks and four leaf clovers, it is surprising that the clover is often looked upon as a weed, the killing of which we deem central to the care of our lawns. But it was not always so. Indeed, the University of Minnesota Extension Service points out that, until relatively recently, it was standard practice to include clover seed in lawn seed mixes:

"Until the 1950s, clover was included in lawn seed mixes as it was regarded as a prestigious lawn plant. It may be considered an attractive, low-maintenance ground cover that is soft to walk on, mows well and will fill in thin spots in a yard."

Landscaping enthusiasts believe in making their own luck through solid decision-making, rather than relying on Celtic charms and the proverbial "luck of the Irish." The information on Page 3 may not send you scurrying to find any four leaf clovers. But it may make you re-think your attitude toward your lawn....

Saint Patrick's Day Symbols and Legends

[source: The Sudburystar]

Leprechauns
Seen as cranky tricksters with hidden pots of gold in Celtic folklore, leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day until 1959, when Walt Disney released Darby O’Gill & the Little People.

The film featured a cheerful, friendly leprechaun who quickly evolved into a symbol of both St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland.

Celtic Cross

When St. Patrick converted the Irish to Christianity, he was successful because he didn't try to make the Irish forget their old beliefs. The true origin of this symbol seems to be unknown. However, legends tell of St. Patrick combining the sun cross, a powerful pagan symbol, with the Christian cross to create a new symbol of Christianity.

Alcohol

Legend says St. Patrick was once served a less-than-full measure of whiskey at an inn. To teach the innkeeper a lesson, St. Patrick claimed there was a devil who fed on dishonesty in the inn’s basement.

Upon return, he found filled glasses and banished the demon, proclaiming everyone should have a drop of the “hard stuff” on his feast day.

Snakes

Legends have always claimed St. Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland.

In fact, there were never snakes on the island. “Banishing of the snakes” seems to be a metaphor for the eradication of paganism and the triumph of Christianity.

Green

Although blue was originally associated with St. Patrick, green ribbons and shamrocks were worn to celebrate him as early as the 17th century.

Ireland’s national colour has been green since the 19th century and Ireland is often referred to as the Emerald Isle.

Corned beef and cabbage

Though St. Patrick’s Day fell during Lent, the ban on eating meat was waived in the past and people would dance, drink and feast on Irish bacon and cabbage.

In the 19th century, poor Irish immigrants couldn’t afford Irish bacon and substituted cheaper corned beef instead. The change in meat holds to this day.

Shamrock

According to legend, St. Patrick used three-leaf shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish people.

They are also symbols of good luck, Irish nationalism and the rebirth of spring.

Four-leaf shamrocks are thought to bring extremely good luck as they are so rare.

Harp

The harp is an ancient musical instrument used in Ireland for centuries.

Although not as recognizable as the shamrock, the harp is a widley used symbol, appearing on coins, the presidential flag, uniforms, official documents, and the world famous Guinness Beer.

Saint Patrick, The Patron Saint of Ireland. Find Out Who He Was.

The full story of St. Patrick’s life from kidnapping to
 the Irish people’s faith
written by William A. Thomas
[source: Irish Central]

Ireland celebrates Saint Patrick every March 17. But how many of us can really say that we know who he is – or who he was – and how relevant he is in today’s secular, and for the most part pagan, society?

Saint Patrick is not only the Patron Saint of Ireland, but he is also the Patron Saint of Australia, Nigeria and Montserrat, which gives him a universal recognition in the Church and in the world. He is also ‘Apostle’ by God’s design to the Irish worldwide in the same genre as Saint Paul was ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’. Saint Patrick also becomes the Patron Saint on March 17 in almost every country of the world, as people celebrate their “Irish-ness” or links with Ireland through family and friends.

Saint Patrick is also probably the best known Saint around the world, after Saint Therese of Lisieux. Not only are many people named after him, with some 7 million bearing his name, but many establishments, institutions and churches are called after him. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York being the most famous of all.

By all historical accounts Patrick was captured by an Irish raiding party somewhere along the west coast of what is known today as Great Britain, more than likely Scotland because of its proximity, although many would say Wales. We know that there were boats leaving from, Strangford Lough, in Larne at that time, around the year 426 AD (one can see Scotland from Larne on a clear day; it’s about 10 miles away).

Raiding parties, with warriors known as the “Picts” people would land somewhere on the coast, and if the place was inhabited would usually do a “smash and grab job” of looting: young people, animals, clothes, weapons etc, and if they were opposed by anyone, they would have killed them in order to get what they wanted. They were able to run inland for about three miles non-stop, while leaving a handful of men to guard their vessels.

On one such raid Patrick was snatched and brought to Ireland as a slave. His job was to mind the sheep at night in case wolves, wild dogs, foxes or even wild bears would take them or their lambs. He did this on the slopes of the Slemish Mountains in County Antrim.

We know from our history that Patrick’s father was a deacon and, therefore, a good Catholic. He was one who taught the faith in his own community, and no doubt one who prayed unceasingly for Patrick, in a special way after his son's kidnapping, asking the Lord for his safe return. (We know some of the sources that give testimony to these facts from Patrick's “Confessions,” and the “Epistle against Coroticus” and a number of “Ancient Lives,” including the Book of Armagh II, held in Trinity College Dublin).

Although Patrick was only 16 years old when taken into slavery, he was able to escape six years later and return home. He recounts a “dream” (vision) he had, when an angel of the Lord came in the night, and told him of a ship that was leaving Ireland, and how he might be able to take it by traveling south, near Dublin. By this time having spent six years in virtual isolation away from people, Patrick who was often cold, hungry, and lonely, had turned to prayer and, like his father, had prayed non-stop asking God to deliver him. His prayers were finally heard and God had designs on him. In fact, it would be fair to say, that Patrick had become somewhat of a mystic at this stage, so intense was his prayer life and his constant communication with God.

He arrived home to the delight of his parents and was re-united with his family and friends. He later began to realize that he may have a vocation to the priesthood, or some ministry of prayer in the Church. At this time the Church was already established somewhat in Ireland. There was already an Archbishop of Armagh by the name of Pallidus, who may well have come originally from Scotia again given the proximity of the North of Ireland to the west coast of Scotland.

Ireland was not ecclesiastically independent at the time, but came under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Arles in France, which is connected to the great Mediterranean Sea by the Rhone River and from there by a direct link to Rome. Patrick often thought about the Irish and prayed for their conversion to the faith. In his time in Ireland even though he was a slave, he had developed a profound relationship with God and a great ability to pray. Later as he said himself in his “Confessions” he was tormented by the “Voice of the Irish” whom he had heard calling in the night “Come back to us Patrick.”

Once Patrick was ordained a priest and had learned Latin and French, he asked to be sent as a missionary to Ireland, or, as it was known then, Hiberniae, which means the “Land of Winter.” Patrick had a great missionary zeal and was soon to become Ireland’s second Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland. This he undertook and gave himself two mandates, first to evangelize the pagan Irish, and secondly to setting up the ecclesiastical structures and dioceses with a view to achieving independence from Arles, which was supporting the missionary activity in Ireland up until that time.

To do this without modern communications, roads, rail, telecommunications etc was very difficult, but Patrick was not deterred by hardship, after all he was on fire with the love of God in his heart. He knew what his mission would be, and how difficult it was, but he trusted always in the power of God to deliver him, and so he went about evangelizing. He did this by setting up many quasi-monastic structures in towns and villages when he passed through them.

He may have remained there for a month and preached daily about the Kingdom of Heaven and baptized those who accepted the Gospel. Those who excelled in their faith, he ordained to the deaconate, leaving them in charge of the prayer and the various liturgical ceremonies, while in many cases he ordained many devout men to the priesthood. Later he was able to select from them good and brave men whom he consecrated as bishops with the approval of the Pope. He was also successful in setting up dioceses in larger towns as he journeyed throughout the island of Ireland.

Saint Patrick had laid the foundations not only for the Catholic Church in Ireland, but for all of Western Europe and as such deserves the title, yet to be bestowed, of Co-Patron of Europe along with Saint Benedict, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Holy Cross (Edith Stein) and Saint Bridget of Sweden.

The Catholic Church in Ireland evangelized and educated its own people first and provided the first organized educational infrastructure for a society that previously had none. The monasteries were built and there were plenty of vocations to the priesthood, the religious life and to the lay vocation as craftsmen and women.

The Irish monks became teachers and inventors. They were, in addition to leading the monastic life of prayer, also great builders and craftsmen. Given that there were so many vocations they began to look at the possibilities of becoming missionaries not only to Europe but to the Americas. Many monk missionaries left Ireland well prepared, some bound for Scotland, where they set up a monastery on Iona, still others went to France establishing the famous monastery of Locmine in Brittany which still exists. Others went to Spain and even the likes of Saint Brendan the Abbot, went to North America (474-577).

Saint Patrick also realized that the word Christianisation was synonymous with civilization and therefore as Europe was being evangelized, they were at the same time being civilised. Europeans eventually became educated and were able over time to build the big monasteries and cathedrals of the world, that still exists. This is due initially to the untiring efforts of Saint Patrick and those great missionaries who are, for the most part now, forgotten by the Irish of today. Saint Patrick himself is really a gift of God to the Irish people, and for whom the Irish will be eternally grateful.

Saint Patrick died in Armagh in 461AD after being 29 years as Archbishop in that Archdiocese which now has the Primacy. The current Archbishop is known as “Primate of all Ireland.” His job would be to chair all meetings of the Irish Episcopal Conferences and to make sure that faith and morals are taught and upheld by both the religious and civil authorities.

There exists a very precious relic of Saint Patrick in Northern Ireland, his incorrupt right hand. This sacred and special relic is unfortunately kept in the Ulster Museum and not in a dedicated or special place which is open to pilgrims. There is also the jaw of Saint Patrick kept in a parish church in the Diocese of Down and Connor. His grave is beside the Cathedral of Armagh. Hopefully one day these relics will be gathered together and incorporated into an International Shrine of Saint Patrick, along with all the other materials, books on his life etc which show his influence on the entire Catholic Church.

To celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, therefore, is to commemorate his life and works and to give thanks to God for the gift of this great Saint, while imploring his intercession before the Most Blessed Trinity. Saint Patrick did indeed use the shamrock to try to explain how there can be Three Divine Persons in one God, because as we all know there are three leaves in one stem on the shamrock.

Patrick is also the one who left us with the Celtic Cross. When he began to evangelize he found that many of the pagans had worshipped the sun and so he incorporated the sun into the Latin Cross, likewise when he met the Druids who worshipped a sacred standing stone, that was marked with a circle, which was symbolic of the moon goddess, he incorporated that also. The Celtic Cross is now world famous and revered by all.

"St Patrick Breast Plate", written by the Saint himself.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation. Amen!

Irish Poem: The Legend of Ireland's Magic Harp

The Legend of Ireland's Magic Harp
by Unknown author

In the misty hills of Ireland
A long, long time ago,
There lived a lovely Irish lass
Who loved her father so.

One day he went to fetch some wood,
But he did not soon return,
And so his loving daughter's heart
Was filled with great concern.

She searched for him throughout the day,
And when a fog came in
She wept, for she was fearful
They would never meet again.

Then suddenly, a little band
Of leprechauns came by.
They all were very saddened.
To hear the lovely maiden cry.

They asked if they might have a lock
Of her long and golden hair,
Then tied the silken strands across
A crooked limb with care.

'Twas a magic harp they'd made,
And when the maiden touched each strand,
The music led her father home
Across the misty land.

And to this day the harp remains
A cherished symbol of
The blessings of the hearth and home
The Irish dearly love.

HAPPY St. Patrick's Day! CHEERS!!! =)

"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you
In the palm of his hand."
~Irish Blessing

May you be poor in misfortunes,
and rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness,
from this day forward,
May good luck be your friend,
In whatever you do,
And may trouble be always,
A stranger to you.
~Irish Blessing

May you always have work for your hands to do,
May your pockets hold always a coin or two,
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane,
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain,
May the hand of a friend always be near you,
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
~Irish Blessing

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.
~Irish Blessing

May the friendships you make be those which endure and all of your Grey clouds be small ones for sure. And trusting in Him to Whom we all pray, may a song fill your heart every step of the way.
~Irish Blessing

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.
~Irish Blessing

May luck be our companion
May friends stand by our side
May history remind us all
Of Ireland's faith and pride.
May God bless us with happiness
May love and faith abide.
~Irish Blessing

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
~Irish Blessing

A best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.
~Author Unknown

USA: Former Aide To Former First Lady Michelle Obama Urged Chicago State's Attorney To Asked Chicago Police Superintendent To Turn Over The Investigation Of Jussie Smollett’s Case To The FBI

The Chicago Tribune
written by Megan Crepeau, Jeremy Gorner
Thursday March 14, 2019

After being approached by a politically connected lawyer, State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx asked Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn over the investigation of Jussie Smollett’s reported attack to the FBI, according to communications provided to the Tribune.

Foxx reached out to Johnson after Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, emailed Foxx saying the actor’s family had unspecified “concerns about the investigation.” Tchen, a close friend of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wife, said she was acting on behalf of the “Empire” actor and his family. A relative later exchanged texts with Foxx.

The exchanges began Feb. 1, three days after Smollett claimed two men approached him near his Streeterville apartment building, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, hit him and put a noose after his neck. It would still be 2½ weeks before he was charged with making the story up, but some media outlets were already starting to question the actor’s account, citing unnamed police sources.

“Spoke to the Superintendent Johnson,” Foxx emailed Tchen back on Feb. 1. “I convinced him to Reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation.”

The same day, Foxx texted with Smollett’s relative, whose name was blacked out in copies released by her office.

“Spoke to the superintendent earlier, he made the ask,” Foxx wrote. “Trying to figure out logistics. I’ll keep you posted.”

“Omg this would be a huge victory,” the relative replied. ๐Ÿ‘ˆ

“I make no guarantees, but I’m trying,” Foxx wrote back.

Kiera Ellis, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office, said Smollett’s relative was specifically concerned about leaks to the media that purportedly came from the Police Department.

“When she initially engaged in the communications, Mr. Smollett was still believed to be the victim of the crime,” Ellis said. “As the investigation started to change and it became a possibility that he could actually be a suspect, that is when she made the decision (to recuse herself).”

It is not uncommon for people to approach Foxx with information or concerns about cases, and it is “fairly typical” for her to contact Johnson directly to request updates or get information, Ellis said.

Tchen could not be reached for comment.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi could not verify whether Johnson and Foxx discussed turning the case over to federal agents and refused to ask the superintendent about it.

But Guglielmi noted that the FBI had been working on the case with Chicago police from the very beginning because it was reported as a hate crime. Also, a week earlier, a letter addressed to Smollett at the “Empire” studio made racial and homophobic threats against the actor — a federal offense.

Whether Foxx’s communication to Johnson was proper depends on her motivation for making the request, said Robert Loeb, a veteran attorney who also teaches at DePaul University College of Law.

“If she’s doing a favor for somebody with some influence, that would be unprofessional and she should be criticized,” he said. “If she was trying to clean up a mess that had compromised even her own office and a clean investigation from the FBI would be in the interest of truth, then what she did is laudable.”

The released texts between Foxx and the relative stop on Feb. 13, the same day a memo was sent out by Foxx’s chief ethics officer, April Perry, informing staff that Foxx “is recused” from the Smollett investigation. It did not say why. First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats, the second highest-ranking official in the office, was placed in charge of the investigation.

Her recusal was not publicly announced until Feb. 19, the day before charges were filed against Smollett alleging he made up the whole story.

Foxx’s office said she recused herself “out of an abundance of caution” because she had conversations with one of Smollett’s relatives after he reported the incident, and then acted as a go-between with Chicago police.

Foxx’s office did not elaborate on those conversations with the relative, bringing a jab from Anita Alvarez, the former state’s attorney handily defeated by Foxx in 2016.

“Maybe I should have just recused myself from the difficult cases that came across my desk when I was state’s attorney,” she posted on Facebook. “I was under the impression that when the voters elected me and I took my oath of office it meant I had to do my job.”
The Chicago Tribune
written by John Kass
Friday March 15, 2019

As TV actor and want-to-be-victim Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty on Thursday to staging his very own fake hate crime, I thought about someone else on trial in this case:

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

The state’s attorney hasn’t been charged with anything and won’t be. She doesn’t have a formal role in the Smollett fake-hate-crime case, now that she’s recused herself owing to a conflict of interest.

But she stands in the court of public opinion after a remarkable Tribune story by reporters Megan Crepeau and Jeremy Gorner.

It is an account of how Foxx was contacted in the Smollett case by a politically connected lawyer close to Chicago’s most prominent political families, the Obamas and Emanuels.

That lawyer, Tina Tchen, was chief of staff for former first lady Michelle Obama, and she is a friend of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wife, Amy Rule. Tchen was apparently a go-between for someone in the Smollett family.

There was literally an “omg” moment in the texts, because Foxx did what was asked of her:

She lobbied Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to drop the Smollett case and push it over to the FBI. ๐Ÿ‘ˆ

She did so as Smollett’s heroic story — that he was the victim of a hate crime committed by supporters of President Donald Trump — was being unraveled by Chicago detectives.

So how should Foxx plead on this one?

Does she plead stupidity, and say she was blinded by political lights, by someone close to the Obamas, and say she lost her way and would like to beg mercy?

Would Foxx ever give a Chicago police officer that kind of break?

No. Most cops would laugh if you asked them that.

“Spoke to the Superintendent Johnson,” Foxx said in an email to Tchen on Feb. 1 obtained by reporters. “I convinced him to Reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation.”

That day, Foxx texted a Smollett relative.

“Spoke to the superintendent earlier, he made the ask,” Foxx wrote. “Trying to figure out logistics. I’ll keep you posted.”

“Omg this would be a huge victory,” the Smollett relative replied.

“I make no guarantees, but I’m trying,” Foxx replied.

“I understand,” the Smollett relative typed. “I appreciate the effort.”

Omg.

Omg, Kim Foxx, where do I go with this?

It’s easy.

People reach out all the time in politics. You’ve got a guy who’s got a guy, that’s the Chicago Way.

It just so happened that there was another Tribune story, this one with Ald. Danny Solis, 25th, talking while wired up by the feds to Victor “Whispering Vic” Reyes, a lobbyist who worked for the Daleys.

Whispering Vic wanted city business, and wanted Solis to get him some, in exchange for political fundraising.

“How ’bout anything, Danny?” Reyes was quoted as saying on an FBI wire. “How ’bout anything? Not just the big one. How about one f------ thing?”

All that was missing was Solis saying, “It’s Chinatown, Vic. It’s Chinatown.”

Foxx shouldn’t have had any contact with Tchen or the Smollett family. She’s the prosecutor for Cook County. All she had to say was, “It’s under investigation. I can’t have this conversation.”

But she did. Omg.

Foxx is the political protegee of Toni Preckwinkle, boss of the Cook County Democratic Party and president of the County Board, and a candidate for mayor of Chicago. Preckwinkle should be asked about this, as should her opponent, former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot.

Now for every heater case that comes anywhere near Foxx, cops and taxpayers will have to wonder: Is there an omg moment in this one too?

Foxx was so badly burned here that her office is trying to flip things around to say that Smollett’s family was concerned about leaks to the media from police.

“When she initially engaged in the communications, Mr. Smollett was still believed to be the victim of the crime,” Foxx spokeswoman Kiera Ellis told the Tribune. “As the investigation started to change and it became a possibility that he could actually be a suspect, that is when she made the decision (to recuse herself).”

You mean, Smollett became a suspect when the heroic story he told to his ABC media cheerleader Robin Roberts began to fall apart?

That story of how he fought off those two tough Trump supporters (who turned out to be friendly Nigerian bodybuilders) who allegedly put the rope around his neck? How he fought them off with a cellphone in one hand and a tuna sandwich in the other, and both the phone and the sandwich survived?

That story?

You know who doesn’t get to call Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and text her and have omg moments?

The victims of real crimes, not fake ones. Crimes with real blood and real pain, floating face down in Chicago’s river of violence.

Like 1-year-old Dejon Irving, shot in the gang wars just about the time Smollett wanted to become a hero.

Or what of the families torn up when the grandfather or grandmother die, weeks, sometimes months, after being attacked in street robberies that are forgotten? Or the mothers and fathers who have lost their sons and daughters to killers who are never brought to justice?

They don’t get the Kim Foxx omg moment, but they’re not stars, like Jussie Smollett.

Jussie Smollett: "I'm The Gay Tupac"
Yeah. Okay. Whatever. ๐Ÿ™„ If Jussie were so innocent and there was no evidence to convict him, why is he getting important people in major legal trouble who put their careers on the line for him because he was trying to sweep this case under the rug?!