We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The blogger-commentator David Warren caught a bit of flak for raising questions about the behavior, and the "conversions" to Islam, of the two newsmen last week. He has written a reply to those who criticized him, here.
I have to say that I had similar reactions to Warren's as I saw the events unfold. I suspect that I would have done exactly what the two men did, but I would not have been happy about it. Renouncing your beliefs and your traditions, even at gunpoint, is not something to feel good about, even if the gunpoint renders the "conversion" invalid.
This is a better topic for our Dr. Bliss, because this is not my brief on this blog, and maybe I can extract a comment from her before I post this, but the story reminded me of the impossibility of getting through life without accumulating a dump-truck load of things to feel shame and guilt about.
No matter how careful and mindful we are, if we have a working conscience, we will accumulate that load. The offer of forgiveness from God is a miraculous blessing, but many of us find it impossible to forgive ourselves of such things - and I don't think that is a bad thing.
Similar to survival guilt, if I were Steve Centani I would find what I had done to save my skin to be a source of embarassment for many years. But I hope I would have had the fear, practicality, and appropriate contempt for my captors, to do the same thing, and get home to my family and my warm bed.
Is it possible to get out in the world and to do things without accumulating shame and guilt? I doubt it. I think it's part of the burden of being human.