Notre Dame, False Dichotomies, and Societal Values

Why Believing in One Concept is not Necessarily Contrary to Another

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

“Speaking as a Catholic here…please don’t donate money to help Notre Dame. The church is worth $300 billion. Donate to help Puerto Rico recover. Donate to get the people of Flint clean water. Donate to get kids out of cages. Jesus didn’t care about stained glass. He cared about humans.” (1)

As a citizen of the world, I am absolutely appalled by this misguided statement made by author Kristan Higgins. Why am I appalled? I am appalled because Notre Dame is a symbol of not only the Catholic Church, but of a millennium of culture. It is essentially a living, breathing historical monument that gives its own unique perspective on the French Revolution. It holds countless forms of priceless art, not to mention a plethora of religious relics including the purported crown of thorns that sat on the head of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. This monument to French history is appreciated by millions of individuals around the world, of different faiths and different values. It is a timeless gem, and the loss of Notre Dame, or the lack of its restoration, is arguably truly devastating for all of humanity.

This leads to the next question. Why would someone make such a careless statement? In essence, Ms. Higgins has fallen prey to the misunderstanding brought upon us by false dichotomies. False dichotomies advocate, what some call, “the either-or fallacy,” also referred to as “black-and-white thinking.” (2) For example, individuals offended by the “Black Lives Matter Movement,” argue that “All lives matter.” However, simply because a movement advocates that the lives of African Americans in the United States matter, does not mean, or in any way advocate, that the lives of white, Asian, or other ethnic groups do not matter. Advocating for one group does not mean advocating against others. Similarly, simply because a person is pro-choice, does not mean they are against, or in any way opposed, to women choosing to continue with their pregnancies. On the whole, the pro-choice movement advocates the introduction of choices to young women, and the provision of assistance to them, regardless of what personal choice they make.

The false dichotomy advocated by Ms. Higgins argues that if you give money to a cause such as Notre Dame, you inherently do not care about people suffering around the world. This is not the case. One can care about restoring Notre Dame, and allocate money toward this cause, while still caring about “kids in cages” or people having clean water in Michigan. One must not care about one cause, to the exclusion of the other. Perhaps Ms. Higgins made her statement simply to be inflammatory and to start a dialogue on this matter. However, it is also very possible that Ms. Higgins believes what she stated, and in the process of taking her stance, ultimately misdirected funds that could have gone to help restore this timeless symbol of our humanity. Either way, it is important for individuals to understand the fallacy of false dichotomies, and not to fall prey to individuals making “either-or” arguments.

I am honored to have had the privilege of seeing Notre Dame twice before it burned. I am also thankful that my nine-year-old niece, who is well on her way to being a citizen of the world, also experienced the privilege of seeing and learning about this glorious cathedral. Contributing to its restoration, in any way one can, is a worthwhile endeavor, and it is not to the exclusion of other worthwhile causes around the world. In essence, one can care about the poor, and the restoration of Notre Dame, at the very same time, without degrading the value of the other. I implore you to give, to whatever cause moves you, without hesitation. Quite simply, in doing so, one can never go wrong, and, in the end, all of humanity ultimately benefits.

  1. https://amarketnews.com/2019/04/17/please-dont-donate-to-help-notre-dame-said-author-kristan-higgins/
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

Julian Assange, A Cat, and Diplomatic Asylum

The Role of A Furry Feline in an International Arrest

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

Julian Assange lived as a guest of the Ecuadorian embassy for more than seven years. Running from various charges, including a rape accusation in Sweden and an espionage charge by the United States, the embassy encompassed his last stand at resistance. Admired by some, and reviled by others, he attracted international notoriety and guests from around the world, including Amal Clooney as well as Pamela Anderson. Nevertheless, as time dragged on, and the presidency in Ecuador changed, the Ecuadorian government began to lose their patience with this famous visitor. Why? Well, at least one of the reasons included the fact that he did not properly care for his cat.

Through natural selection, cats have evolved into our nearly perfect companions. Left with the most basic of provisions, they can seemingly be left alone unattended for days. However, having a cat does take some effort, regardless of how self-sufficient they may seem. For instance, kitty litter must be provided and changed, as well as food and water. Without the supply of these essential items, cats will devolve into the angriest of creatures, often using the entire house as their litter box and meowing until, at which time, they feel properly attended.

In the absence of any specific reports, we are only left to guess how Assange neglected his beloved feline. One can imagine an Ecuadorian ambassador walking through the hallways of the embassy saying, “Is that cat pee I smell? Julian, this cat has destroyed our carpeting! Change its litter box, now!” Furthermore, one can also imagine the feline, pawing and begging at the office doors of the embassy employees, begging for food, because Julian, so caught up in international intrigue and the releasing of classified documents, forgot to feed his baby kitten. Repeated infractions would lead to Julian being branded as, not only a bad kitten father, but also a bad houseguest.

Now, it is imperative to understand that Assange did not view himself as a houseguest, but instead as an asylum seeker. After all, he was subsequently granted this status under the rules of diplomatic asylum. However, one can fairly say, especially in light of recent circumstances, that the rules of pet caretaking overrule the rules of diplomatic asylum when our feline friends are involved.

In November 2017, the Ecuadorian released a nine-page document regarding behavior requirements for Julian Assange. The rules included, amongst others, taking care of his cat’s “well-being, food, and hygiene,” or risk losing the rights to having a cat. (1) In response, Assange released pictures of himself and his beloved feline to the media, showing how much they adored one another. Apparently unable to live according to these unbearably harsh guidelines, Assange eventually released the cat to a local shelter, allegedly for the sake of its own well-being. One can just as easily argue that Assange embarked upon this act for his own well-being, considering his hosts had become arguably disgusted and tired of dealing with their long-standing infamous houseguest.

On the morning of April 11, 2019, London police pulled Julian from his Ecuadorian refuge. In response, hundreds of individuals came forward offering to adopt Assange’s cat, apparently unaware it had already been given away. While escaping to the embassy encompassed Assange’s last stand at resistance, the giving away of the beloved feline arguably represented his last stand at attempting to become a good houseguest. But, alas, Assange had acted too late, with the damage already done, leaving his hosts searching for a humane and legal way to get him removed from their premises. Releasing classified documents is forgivable, but apparently, neglecting a cat is not.

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/ecuador-julian-assange-please-clean-up-after-your-cat-2018-10?r=UK

King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Boeing, and Accountability

Why Maintaining the Trust of Subjects or Clients is Paramount to Business Success

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

Honesty and accountability are two characteristics required for a business to succeed. Boeing and the Kingdom of Morocco have recently devolved into chaotic situations, betraying the trust of their clients or subjects.

Once a beloved figure of Morocco, King Mohammed VI is now the focus of his subjects’ anger and bewilderment. His wife, the first and so far only Princess Consort, Princess Lalla Salma, has disappeared from public life, simply abandoning her charities and constituents. The Moroccon people are wanting answers, but the King and his court are suspiciously quiet. This is driving a wedge between the King and his country’s trust. Will their disrespect influence the countries with which Morocco does business?

The Boeing Corporation is an American favorite airplane manufacturer. The American government, its people, and other countries around the world, have trusted Boeing completely and rooted for its success. So powerful is this trust, that the Federal Aviation Administration has allowed Boeing to certify its own airplanes, absent the FAA’s final seal of approval. This once beloved company arguably betrayed this trust when they continued to fly the Boeing 737 Max, after two fatal crashes killing every person on board, and one more close call. Their silence and complicity regarding the reasons for the crashes as well as their possible role in it’s occurring, has frightened individuals around the world. Has Boeing’s drive for profit ultimately put its clients at risk? If so, are they willing to stand up and take responsibility?

These situations are similar in the sense that both King Mohammed VI and Boeing are essentially self-regulating entities, entrusted to keep the best interests of their constituents at heart. Their reputations are critical to the success of these “entities,” and a loss of trust will then lead to a lack of sales and/or trade agreements on both accounts.

In essence, a great deal of trust has been put into King Mohammed VI and Boeing. But just as easily as trust is given, it can be taken away. Princess Lalla Salma, once a feminist icon in the stifling Middle East, has simply disappeared from the national stage. The world press has resorted to frantically searching for the missing princess, as the royal court has refused to comment on her whereabouts, or whether she is even dead or alive. On the same token, Boeing made such substantial changes to the 737, that its newest incarnation, the 737 Max, barely resembles its parent, in either form or function. Despite this unsettling fact, Boeing has made no changes to the 737 Max training manual or checklist. Additionally, Boeing has offered its pilots no additional training or preparedness for the plane’s substantial changes. As a result, two horrific crashes have ensued, and the plane has subsequently been grounded by the FAA.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and there are no better examples than King Mohammed VI of Morocco and Boeing. Honesty and accountability are required for any entity to have the trust of its people. A lack of accountability has led to the possible murder of a princess consort, and the untimely deaths of many airline passengers. Businesses and governments must remain accountable and honest, or risk losing their reputation and trust in the ensuing chaos. Once trust is gone, it is very difficult to regain.

New Hire

Mediafy Communications Group announces the appointment of Christi Wilson as their new Indexing and Online Reputation Specialist. A native of Chattanooga, TN., Ms. Wilson is a graduate of Silverdale Baptist High School. The proud mother of two children, Christi enjoys music, make-up, and all things spooky-especially horror films. A dedicated and determined young lady, Mediafy is proud to welcome Christi as the newest member of the Mediafy team. Welcome Christi!

Hans Selye, Stress, and Rules for Success

Nine Methods To Implement For A Successful Career And Life

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

As a business owner, dealing with stress has become part of my daily life. Stressors include taking care of my family, taking care of my employees, taking care of my clients, and taking care of myself. For many people, stress comes in waves, comprised of heavy burdens followed by calm waters. For others, it is a constant rollercoaster comprised of no rhyme or reason. For me, it is a constant factor that I have learned to deal with through the implementation of various “rules.”

Hans Selye, known as the father of “stress,” defines stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” (1) These non-specific responses are further broken down into three defining categories.

These categories include:

Eustress: Defined as “moderate or normal psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer.” (2)

Neustress: Defined as “any kind of information or sensory stimulus that is perceived as unimportant or inconsequential.” (3)

Distress: Defined as “extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.” (4)

Stressors that lead to eustress can include winning the lottery or being accepted into college. Stressors that lead to neustress can include casual conversations or walking from one place to another. Stressors that lead to distress can include falling down and hurting oneself or participation in a violent argument.

In life and in careers, there is no escaping stress. As a result, there are methods that can be employed to assist us in dealing with it. A plethora of ideas exist toward this end. My experience as a business owner has led me to the following conclusions:

  • Honesty is the best policy. No matter how hard it may be, tell the truth. Even telling white lies leads to distress. Additionally, if you always tell the truth, you rarely have to worry about or have to remember what you previously said.
  • Be loyal. Whether at home or work, loyalty is required for any relationship to properly function. A break in loyalty is a break in trust. Once trust is lost, it is virtually impossible to recapture.
  • Follow through on your commitments. If you promise to do something, then, by all means, do it. If you promised to do something, but an event has occurred that makes following through impossible, refer to rule number 1.
  • Always do your best. If you commit to something, commit to it wholeheartedly. It is better to decline doing something at all, if you are going to do it half-heartedly. If you have a problem saying no, refer to rule 1.
  • Be solution oriented rather than problem oriented. When an obstacle appears, train your brain to see positive possibilities. This paradigm shift is required for the enjoyment of a successful career and life.
  • Make your home a safe-haven. Home should be a place where you escape from distress. Set this as a standard and communicate it to your spouse.
  • Set personal boundaries. Set a time when your day is over. Keep regular hours so clients and partners know when to contact you. Keep your personal life out of the office.
  • If you are a business owner or manager, treat your staff with respect. If you take care of your staff, they will take care of your clients. If you mistreat your staff, they will mistreat your clients.
  • Constantly work on bettering yourself. Never stop learning and encourage others to do the same.

Stress, whether good, bad or neutral, is a part of everyday life. Comprised of eustress, neustress, and distress, it has, for me, contributed to various methods or rules, leading to peace of mind for everyone involved. As a result of my efforts, I have a healthy mind, home, and business. May you follow these rules and experience the same benefits in your private and public life.

  1. https://www.google.com/search?q=hans+selye+definition+of+stress&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS790US790&oq=hans+selye+definition+of+stress&aqs=chrome..69i57.5871j1j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  2. https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS790US790&q=Dictionary#dobs=eustress
  3. https://www.coursehero.com/file/p1urrhh/According-to-Seward-neustress-is-neither-positive-nor-negative-It-refers-to/
  4. https://www.google.com/search?q=distress+definition&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS790US790&oq=distress+def&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.3134j1j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

The Irish Republic, the British Empire and Rebellion

Can Revolution be Reconciled with Love For Queen and Country?

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

I have often been accused of seeing the world through royal-colored glasses. As a history major in college, I, more often than not, gravitated toward the study of British history and it’s colonialism around the world. As the head of my church, the UK, and the Commonwealth around the world, Queen Elizabeth II has always commanded my deepest respect. Needless to say, the people of the Republic of Ireland feel quite differently.

The Republic of Ireland is a place where royals do not belong. It is a country built on the blood and sacrifice of Irish men and women who wanted to offer future generations their very best chance. No tiaras are for sale, nor t-shirts that say, “Irish Princess.” This is a populist country, born out of revolution, and it’s people hold a great disdain for the English.

As an Episcopalian, raised on fairytales and Princess Diana, I found the tragedies of the Irish Republic hard to reconcile with my internalized beliefs. Raised by Anglophiles, and indoctrinated with love of Queen and country, I found myself smacked in the face with a very opposing point of view. Our host explained to us that the British taxed the amount of sunlight used by the Irish. Additionally, we learned how the British cut down the majority of Ireland’s trees, shipping them abroad. Adding insult to injury, the British forbade the Irish from building their own homes out of wood. When the potato famine occurred, the British systematically starved the Irish by refusing to distribute food sent in aid. Heavily taxed, starving, and with their natural resources pummeled, the Irish radically grew in their contempt toward the British.

To put it simply, when the synthesis, (the British Empire) collided with the antithesis, (the Irish people) revolution occurred in the form of the Easter rebellion. I learned of this rebellion during what is called the GPO (General Post Office) tour. With the British preoccupied during WWI, and the idea of Irish “Home Rule,” tabled at the time, a small group of rebels took over the city of Dublin. The General Post office served as their headquarters, and success appeared within their grasp, until the British came in with reinforcements, ending the rebellion. A brutal execution by firing squad awaited the ringleaders of this event, turning moderate Irish nearly overnight into radicalized ones.

The plight of the rebels is emotional and heartbreaking. As an individual, I felt great understanding and pain for them. As a woman, I felt great pride in the females who took part, but as an Anglophile, I understood the need of the British to put down the rebellion. The sacrifices made by the rebels put the idea of “Home Rule” to rest, and made the idea of a republic the only acceptable solution. In the end, the rebels won, and the majority of Ireland today is a republic, free from the far-reaching tentacles of the British Empire.

As I learned of the terrible treatment of the British toward the Irish, I could not help but feel like a colonial interloper, traipsing through the halls of revolution. My host even commented that I seemed very colonial, and that perhaps such tendencies literally existed in my family’s blood. As I listened and learned about the Easter Rebellion, I also could not help but compare their treatment to that of franchises by their corporate offices. Many times, the high fees, extreme regulation, and lack of local control, can lead to a revolution of sorts. Many businesses, to whom I provide marketing services, began as franchises that ultimately claimed their independence. I have actually assisted various former franchises, in creating their own unique corporate identity. But is this not the will of man-to be free and in control of one’s own destiny?

As an American of British descent, and as a member of the Anglican communion around the world, I hold great love for Great Britain and it’s royal family. This will not change. However, as a woman and as an individual, I understand and respect the decisions made by the revolutionaries who spearheaded the Easter Rebellion. I feel I can understand and respect what occurred without betraying or sacrificing my own sense of self. I love Ireland; I love it’s people, and I also love Great Britain. However, the plight of the Irish is still very real and ongoing in its northern dominion, and only time will tell it’s final result. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to proclaim, ‘God save the Queen!”

Class Conflict, Elitism, and the Celebrity Cheating Scandal

How Marxism interprets Current Events in Our News

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

This week, the world rocked with news of what appears to be a diabolical cheating scandal involving some of our most beloved celebrities. From hired aces taking SAT tests to schools waiving normal admission requirements for a hefty fee, celebrities such as Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky from Full House) are now facing the likes of felonies, prison time, and the loss of their reputations. As more of the sordid details hit the media, like Loughlin’s daughter vacationing on the yacht of the president of UCLA when the scandal broke, how is the common person to interpret exactly what is going on in the rarified air of privileged elites?

In response to this question, I harken back to my days of old-more specifically, my college days of studying Marxist interpretations of history and the various ramifications of class conflict. According to Marxist theory, our society is comprised of the elite, the middle class, and the proletariat. The goal of the elite is to shrink the middle class, creating a larger proletariat of workers, and of course, a smaller group of elites who control most of the capital in a society. The C’s of elitism are:

  1. Closed
  2. Conspiratorial
  3. Consensus

The wealthy individuals and their children involved in this scandal are all part of an elite society that is closed to most of us. The common person takes the SAT or ACT, applies to colleges, and gets in based on merit. Community colleges are often part of this scenario, as is attending less well-known colleges and universities that lack the prestige of those in the top ten. Nevertheless, the common person plays by “the rules,” and attends the school to which their merits have gotten them. Additionally, the common person often works while in college, attends classes faithfully, studies, and takes tests. College is often a stressful time, but it is also a time of learning and growing as a person. For the elite, this is often not the case. The daughter of Lori Loughlin, for instance, never took the SAT test, skips class, parties often, and has plenty of spare cash. Furthermore, she aces her classes regardless of her attendance or participation. This type of world is closed to most of us, who struggle daily to balance school, work, and paying bills.

The participation of everyone from test takers, proctors, coaches, and admittance counselors, is indicative of the conspiracy in our midst. True elitism is very conspiratorial in nature, with various individuals participating in it, through the taking of illegal bribes in exchange for favors. The bribes create a false reality for the elite, where they appear to be like the rest of us, but better, where in actuality, they are simply cheating. The crux of the conspiracy is capital, (aka money,) which the elite compile through the exploitation of proletariat labor.

Elitism works because of the general consensus of the people living within its false reality. The fantasy of elitism is an illusion to which its’ members must all agree. Exploiting labor for the cheapest price is the name of the game, and capital is merely a means to an end. The primary end, for the elite, at least in regard to this scenario, is the fantasy of smarter, better children, putting out very little labor themselves. Children, such as the daughters of Lori Loughlin, spend the majority of their time on social media, rather than studying, in order to make more capital off their own pseudo-celebrity status. In essence, this is how the wheel of elitism goes ‘round and ‘round.

In every Marxist scenario, there exists the synthesis (aka the elite), and the antithesis (the proletariat and disillusioned middle class.) When the antithesis finally revolts against the synthesis, it is called revolution. One can argue that this revolution is occurring right now, within our criminal justice system coupled with the media, and framed by their reactions to these elitist shenanigans. The media will socially ruin them-the criminal justice system will lock them up and possibly throw away the key, at least for a while. As a society, one can argue that the common person has become disillusioned with this type of behavior, and will no longer put up with it. The revolution is occurring now.

While the world continues to learn more about the current celebrity cheating scandal and all of its machinations, the common person is able to witness history in motion. The three C’s of elitism are spotlighted by the bad behavior of the synthesis, and the revolution of the antithesis is evident in the media and our judicial system. As it currently stands, we all have front seats to the oxygen literally being sucked out of the rarified air so often sustaining cheating elites. The real world is here, and the here is now.

Reactions to “The Space Shuttle, Ted Bundy, and Unplanned Pregnancies.”

This e-column is devoted to the reactions I received to an article I wrote entitled, “The Space Shuttle, Ted Bundy, and Unplanned Pregnancies.” If you have not read this article, it is available at: https://www.mediafycommunications.com/the-space-shuttle-ted-bundy-and-unplanned-pregnancies/

As the author of an e-column, I am privy to emotions on all side of the political spectrum. As a woman, I advocate reproductive freedom and equal rights between the genders. As a business person, I am an advocate of capitalism and restricting the reach of government into our businesses. As a Christian, I believe in living my life in a Christ-like manner and loving my neighbor as myself. I also strongly feel that all voices have a right to be heard, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them. Following are some of the varied reactions I received to the aforementioned article.

Reaction #1

Katherine:

By your standards, I had no right to live and society would have statistically been better off if I had never been born because teenage pregnancies are inconvenient and because I might have grown up to be a bad person. Disgusting. My kids rock! Despite the fact that your stats say they should not be here. They are not related to Ted Bundy that I know of unless we are all related and therefore should all deserve to die based on your beliefs.

To equate teenage pregnancy to Ted Bundy’s life is idiotic and offensive. From someone who has never given birth, it is an idiotic position and very offensive to those who have (my wife had two miscarriages before we had our second child). By your standards, I do not have the right to have ever been born. While I’m not perfect, I did not grow up to be a serial killer or menace to society (as your f***** up stats suggest). But I may have been an inconvenience to my family. However I do now provide employment to over 500 employees and they are all are thankful for my contribution to society, as I’m a d*** good person to work for in today’s economy.

Because of my ability to provide for my family, my wife volunteers every week to cuddle, rock, care, and love for newborn babies in the ********* NICU. EVERY ONE of those babies deserve the chance to live and do great things despite their unfortunate circumstances. F*** statistics on their outcomes. It just takes saving one life to justify not murdering thousands.

My wife does that every day. She takes care of beautiful newborn babies regardless of their circumstances. And I support her 100%. (But I guess I don’t count since I should not have been born by current liberal standards).

This is not a debate or discussion. Do not communicate back. My values and views will not be changed. Therefore, do not attempt to do so. So do not attempt any further argument or discussion.

DO NOT RESPOND

Reaction #2

Katherine:

My mother and father were very young parents, going through very rough emotional dramas. When they were pregnant with a third child, they opted for a “home” abortion, which ultimately killed my mother. I feel that if legal abortions had been made available, my brother and I might have been raised by both parents even with their lack of making good choices. Who is to know if things would have turned out better or worse for any of our family. We were raised by my grandmother who was a very strong, independent woman. As I look back, I am also better for being raised by her, though those circumstances created other issues in my life. I firmly believe in a woman’s right to make those decisions and not the government. I am pro-life, while leaving these very personal decisions between a woman and God. Good article Kat.

Reaction #3

Katherine:
Amazing the way you tied those three things together. I tend to agree with you. I believe abortion is an individual’s moral choice-not a legislative one. I knew a woman who used abortion as birth control and had three in one year. To me, that feels wrong. My best friend in ********** had an abortion after birthing two children, and the couple felt they could not financially nor energetically support a third child-he more than she. A year later they split. She felt profound loss, and thirty years later counts how old the child would be.
With much bleeding and placenta previa with my third, it was suggested that I abort, since I lived so far from the hospital and, if I hemorrhaged, I could die in ten minutes. I moved closer to town and had no problems. So it seems to me that everyone’s story is different. My path is not your path. We cannot judge and we certainly cannot legislate.
One woman on Facebook loves Trump, only because of abortion. She is nasty about immigrants, fine about cutting food stamps and putting babies in cages. How is this pro-life? Pence wants to end birth control.
Cancer is a conglomeration of living cells. When smallpox was eradicated, scientists wondered if a small amount of the virus should be kept alive because it was a living thing. Physics shows us, if everything is made of the same molecules than everything is everything, and if everything is light on different density scales, then it is all just energy…so there is no right or wrong.

From Katherine Fry:

I want to thank everyone who took the time to send me a response. In closing, I would like to quote the late Dr. Martin Luther King. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” (1) I now open the floor for further discussion.

  1. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/martin_luther_king_jr_101472

Are We Saved By Good Works or God’s Grace?

An Episcopalian’s Interpretation of Recent Traumatic Events

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

Raised an Episcopalian, I have always been encouraged to think for myself and question the scriptures. For me, the Bible has always been a compilation of metaphors, symbolism, and opinions. In my particular brand of Christianity, literal interpretation of the Bible has never been a requirement. As a result, my education has included science, philosophy, mathematics, and more.

In high school, I learned about the term, “God’s grace.” As an Episcopalian, I had never heard of the term, “saved.” My religion simply existed as part of my life and ethnicity – my family has been Episcopalian or Anglican since 1533. The dual concept of being “saved by God’s Grace” also entered my consciousness during this time period. My religion teacher explained to me that Christians make it into heaven, not by works, but by faith, and that Grace is a gift freely given by God to us, as long as we believe. During my high school years, this concept mattered little to me. A rebel without a cause, my time in religion class consisted of arguing needlessly with religion teachers about whether or not Christianity comprised “the one true religion.”

These questions are for the ages, and for many, mean very little, until real tragedy strikes, and we are forced to reexamine the role these concepts actually play in our daily lives. Despite my obstinance, the teachings regarding God’s grace did resonate with me. I remember contemplating whether our eternal lives rested in good works or God’s grace. In many ways, I felt it might be a combination of these two concepts-that perhaps good works resulted from God’s grace. I also felt that these concepts might only matter on a theoretical level, holding little actual value.

Last Friday, my car hydroplaned, did a 360 turn, and then crashed into the guard rail. As the car spun out of control, I closed my eyes and “gave it to God.” After the car came to a stop, I realized that, while the car had suffered profound damage, everyone in the car remained unharmed. A supreme being, the universe, or God’s grace had saved us.

That Sunday, my mother-in-law passed away suddenly. While suffering from cancer for many years, she had actually been doing quite well. But when death came, it came quickly, and without much warning.

“Grace may be defined as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God to those who are under condemnation.” – Enns 2. My life and behavior have not always been perfect, and Lord knows there have been times when I most certainly did not deserve God’s grace. However, these two back to back tragedies resulted in an unmerited gift, that I did not deserve, but nevertheless received. My worries of having to take on a new car payment quickly disappeared, as my late mother-in-law’s SUV suddenly transferred into my possession. At this point, I believed in God and its presence in my life. I recognized that I am not in control and that some sort of a higher power is.

As I recall this story of God’s grace upon me to others, their eyes light up, and they realize it’s impact on this particular situation. As a cradle-born Episcopalian, I question scripture and I think for myself. However, this compilation of events has demonstrated to me that God’s grace is real. I did not deserve it, but received it anyway, because God’s grace is not earned, but instead freely given. As the priest says at the end of every church service,” Go in faith to love and serve the Lord.” And that I shall do, from this day forward.

Is Citizenship a Right?

An Analysis of the Cases of Shamima Begum and Hoda Mathuna

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

Is citizenship a right? Children born in the United States have a right to US citizenship, as long as they are not born to a foreign diplomat. However, citizenship can be revoked if the person:

  • Lies on their application. Foreign-born residents must complete an application process to become citizens of the United States.
  • Owes allegiance to another country.
  • Commits treason. (1)

A citizen is defined as “a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized.” (2) Being a subject is defined as “a person who lives or who has the right to live in a particular country…” (3) A right is further defined as “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.” (4) Therefore, one can surmise that citizenship is not an absolute right, but one that is eligible by being obedient to the government of which one is a citizen, and acting in a way that shows one is subject to it. An absolute right to citizenship does not exist. If one acts with malice toward one’s country, the qualified right to citizenship can be revoked.

Whether citizenship is a right or not has come center stage in the news lately, as two young girls who ran away to the Islamic state several years ago, now wish to return to their countries of origin. One such case is that of Shamima Begum. As a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl, she ran away from her home in the UK and joined the Islamic State or ISIS. Shortly after arriving in Syria, she married an ISIS soldier, effectively giving aid and comfort to one of the UK’s enemies. During her tenure with ISIS, Ms. Begum gave birth to two children, both of whom died. The Syrian military ultimately arrested her husband, and she fled to a Syrian refugee camp. It is there she claimed British citizenship and asked to return “home” to the UK. In the UK, the government can deprive one of citizenship if the act of doing so is conducive to the public good, and if the person being deprived of citizenship is not left stateless. (5) The UK Home Secretary revoked Ms. Begum’s citizenship, almost immediately after her case appeared in the news. He stated that Ms. Begum could easily become a citizen of Bangladesh, the native country of her mother, and thus not be left stateless. Ms. Begum herself indicated, that while disappointed that she could not return to the UK, she could nevertheless seek citizenship in the Netherlands, the native home of her husband. (6)

Hoda Muthana is another individual recently in the news for wanting to leave ISIS territory and return to her country of origin. Born in Alabama to a newly retired Yemeni diplomat, Ms. Muthana fled to Turkey at the age of nineteen. Once in Turkey, ISIS fighters received Ms. Muthana, arranged a marriage for her to an ISIS fighter, and eventually gave birth to a child of ISIS. Following the substantial loss of territory experienced by ISIS, Ms. Muthana publicly indicated her desire to return to the USA. In fact, she indicated that she has a right to return to the USA because she is a US citizen. In response to her claim and stated wishes, the United States Secretary of State declared that “she does not qualify for citizenship and has no legal basis to return to the country.” (7) In an official statement, the Secretary of State indicated that “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.” (7) However, one can easily argue that this is not the case. Born in the United States to a former Yemeni Diplomat, Ms. Muthana is almost certainly a native-born US citizen. Following this line of reasoning, Ms. Muthana’s attorney stated that she “is trying to turn herself into federal authorities and face consequences for her actions.” (7) Some believe, as a result of her treasonous activities, if she is a citizen, should have her citizenship revoked, thus blocking her from re-entering the country. However, citizen or not, it is reasonable to state that Ms. Muthana will not be returning to the USA anytime soon.

If joining ISIS constitutes treason, then both Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana can legally be deprived of citizenship to their countries of origin. But what constitutes treason? In the UK, treason is defined as, “the crime of disloyalty to the Crown.” (8) By joining ISIS, and swearing loyalty to the Islamic State, Ms. Begum most definitely committed treason. Similarly, in the United States, a traitor is one who, “owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, …(and is thus) guilty of treason…” (9) By marrying an ISIS fighter, and adhering to the will of ISIS-a known enemy of the United States-Ms. Muthana committed treason against the US. As previously stated, the US government failed to even recognize her citizenship in the first place and is subsequently refusing to allow her entry into the US period. They could of just as easily recognized her citizenship, and then deprived her of it. In either case, she is unable to return to the United States.

In conclusion, citizenship is not an absolute right. Instead, it is a qualified right that can be revoked if a person commits a crime that fits the punishment. Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana both constitute cases of individuals, born to western countries, pledging allegiance to ISIS, and committing treason by giving comfort and aid to the enemy. As a result, they are officially traitors, and will not be permitted to return to their countries of origin.

  1. https://legalbeagle.com/8068185-ways-lose-citizenship.html
  2. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/citizen
  3. https://www.google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/us/amp/english/subject
  4. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2016/nov/14/primer-prisoners-constitutional-rights/
  5. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/20/shamima-begum-could-the-plan-to-revoke-her-citizenship-be-stopped
  6. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/shamima-begum-citizenship-revoked
  7. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/world/middleeast/isis-bride-hoda-muthana.amp.html
  8. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_treason_in_the_United_Kingdom
  9. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason#Federal