Re: Mark Tooley's Here Come the Churches:
In many ways it is so sad and maddening what has happened to the nation's mainline churches -- that is, their seemingly complete lack of focus on the Gospels and great traditions of the Protestant movement.
When I came to Michigan from Tennessee as a child, I felt alienated from this new culture in many ways, and one of them was the differences among the people who attended Methodist, Presbyterian, and the other mainline churches. They seemed so formal and attractive in their well-dressed congregations with their formal (at least to me, more used to the louder and more emotional fundamental churches of my parents) services. How I wished we were part of that establishment culture.
Well, like many other things, be careful what you wish for. When my dear wife and I married we chose the United Methodist church as a compromise since she was a Roman Catholic. For the first few years we both enjoyed the traditional services and music that dated back to John Wesley who originated Methodism as a way of educating the poorer classes in England. Wesley actually remained an Anglican priest throughout his life. We bought a cottage in the historic Chautauqua village in Bay View Michigan and enjoyed 40 years of the religious and educational activities of the Bay View Association. Unfortunately we also witnessed the the church's abandonment of its true mission to save men's souls in favor of the latest hot button social and political fad -- homosexuality, global warming (I can't remember if the churches also joined Newsweek in the global ice age hysteria in the 70's), etc. These liberal churches have become essentially part and parcel of the federal government just as the government has become an active partner with our great corporations and it is not hard to figure out who the true master will be in any such relationship. This too will pass away and Christianity and the ancient people of the Old Testament will prevail.
-- Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan
Protestantism's being fundamentally shaped by the culture is without question a foundational trait; its churches' proclivity for voting on a position regarding same-sex marriage is about as reasonable as would be their voting on the laws of physics. Hence, the only question to be asked upon reading Mr. Tooley's commentary is whether said commentary is more on the order of grasping at straws, or whistling past the graveyard.
-- Francis M. Hannon, Jr.
CONFLICTING LIBERAL URGES
Re: George Neumayr's The Purple Prose of Cairo:
The cultural imperialism of white Westerners is on display again.
George Neumayr points out the latest example when he writes: "His (President Obama's) proclamation speaks of LGBT "youth" and the "harassment" they face, as if America is teeming with 16-year-olds who have gotten sex-change operations in brave defiance of their peers, as if it is the president's duty to encourage teens in bisexual explorations."
No doubt this mindset is currently at work on language that will provide for sex change operations in a universal health care bill. (One wonders if the 16 year-olds will need parental consent.)
But if a dark-hued shaman, medicine-man, or witch-doctor were to perform a clitorectomy on a young member of his tribe, the very same Western elitists would express shock and outrage, decrying the procedure as sexual mutilation!
Cultural elitists like President Obama need to develop a more nuanced view of the world. Their ethnocentric biases lead them repeatedly to the promotion of simplistic solutions to complex international problems. President Obama has the ear of kings and potentates, but the imams see right through him. After all, if President Obama had any respect for Islam, his daughters would be raised in the faith and he would cover his wife's arms.
-- Dan Martin
President Abraham Lincoln prudently stated, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." This wisdom proves even more profoundly true of a man.
-- I.M. Kessel
THE MOST SCANDALOUS STORY NEVER TOLD
Re: Daniel J. Flynn's Three Times a Felon:
Daniel Flynn tells a tale that has gone amazingly untold. As a recent Massachusetts citizen raised in Chicago, the stench of Massachusetts politics is familiar. But Daniel, have you forgotten the august William Bulger? True, not indicted or convicted, but complicit, shameless and venal enough for mention. (Complicit for aiding and abetting his murdering gangster brother, Whitey, long featured in the FBI’s 10 most wanted...not kidding, true).
When Mitt Romney proposed to cut the UMass budget, ex- Speaker Bulger, and then UMass Chancellor, rose to the occasion. The proposed cut was 5%, but UMass en masse rose to protest the effort. Faculty, administrators, 'activists,' and students were mobilized and descended on the Capitol at Beacon Hill. William Bulger vowed to fight for education and freedom, after all, his special clout and skills were why UMass gave him the job after his resignation for the Speakership.
But Mitt Romney earned his money in private equity, and he knew Bulger well enough. He offered a seven-figure retirement package to old Billy to sign off on what amount to, in the world of business, paper clip money cuts -- even at 10%, UMass’s bloated budget could afford the cuts. The drama ended. Billy B. "took the package." UMass took the cuts. By Bay State political standards, a thing of beauty...it almost made me want to vote for Mitt.
-- Christopher Roberts
THE END OF HISTORY IN VIETNAM
Re: George H. Wittman's Road Back to Pork Chop Hill:
It's important to recall that the DPRK was rolled back up the peninsula almost as fast as they had rolled down it until China entered on the side of the North. With a repeat performance by China extremely unlikely, an attack on the ROK would be far more likely to ensure destruction than survival of the Kim dynasty. My bet is that they are still just playing the extortion game.
-- Ned Schrems
HOLY SEE THAT AND RAISE YOU AN INTERNATIONAL CONFRONTATION
Re: Rev. Michael P. Orsi's Washington and Rome:
What on earth does Fr. Orsi mean by attempts "to elide Vatican and U.S. policy"? Does he perhaps mean align?
George Weigel is a fine fellow and, I think, quite reliable on American involvement in Iraq, but I agree with Fr. Orsi that Mr. Franco has a better grasp of the Holy See's attitude in the area of foreign policy. The Vatican supports or opposes U.S. policy for reasons it feels are good and proper. For instance, the Holy See put together an alliance that included many Muslim countries in order to oppose an international pro-abortion initiative of the Clinton administration. I am certain that the Obama administration will present similar occasions in the future.
-- John F. Eros
TOO MUCH MAVERICK
John McCain keeps talking about "reaching across the aisle" to get things done. Well, if just writing laws were getting things done, that may work, provided people don't stretch so far they leave their principles behind. But the chief executive of a state or country does not write the laws, although he may have an input, including the power of the veto. The chief executive carries out policy and enforces the laws.
There is no aisle in the Oval Office as far as I know. There is a desk, some chairs, and maybe a sofa bed, depending on the administration, but the Oval Office is not a legislature. It is where executive decisions are taken and policy is set and initiated.
The President may reach out to members of the opposition, but someone who wants to be known primarily for reaching across the aisle should be a church usher.
-- Pat Gooley
TOO CATHOLIC FOR NOTRE DAME
Re: Joseph Lawler's The Salvaging of Notre Dame:
I graduated from Notre Dame with honors in 1973 with a degree in economics. I have an MBA from Michigan, a law degree from St Louis University with honors, and a master of laws in tax from Washington University. I have over 30 years experience in business and law. I'd love to teach at Notre Dame, but I'm a conservative, practicing Catholic with four children, and I've been married for 33 years to the same woman. I'd be welcomed like the Bubonic Plague at Notre Dame. And I'd love to debate Jenkins or any of his faculty.
St Louis University is Catholic in name only, but Notre Dame was a place I had more hope in. Not anymore.
-- Jim McNichols '73