Preacher Bill | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Preacher Bill
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HATE THE SINNER, LOVE THE SIN
Re: Katharine Boswell’s Bill the Baptist:

It was hard not to laugh out loud when reading Ms. Boswell’ s report of Bill Clinton preaching before a “progressive Baptist” gathering. Truly this man has no shame.

Bill, moralizing and theologizing! The incongruity of it probably made it hard for Ms. Boswell to write the report with a straight face. She manages well, and finally introduces some reality: “The former president spoke a great deal about loving and forgiving people, but very little about sin, specifically his own past history of marital infidelity.”

Now, I have no qualms about correcting the morals of my fellow citizens, because over the years I’ve saved up a great deal of righteousness — to spread around to the morally needy — and I’ve done this without any expectation of reward. But Bill Clinton ran out of righteousness long ago, and now has to eat into his principle in order to cover costs.

Clinton praises those who “put love above everything else because we see through a glass darkly and know in part.” I suppose one must look through smoked glass when reading the commandments, being too bright to contemplate with the unaided eye. Especially the fornication ones.

The Southern Baptist Convention comes in for some praise for apologizing “for slavery and for its segregation and discrimination.” And this coming from someone who plays the race card and makes even Republicans say, “Be like Barack!”
C. V. Crisler
Gilbert, Arizona

90 PERCENT OF DEMOCRACY
Re: David Catron’s The Obama Juggernaut:

David Catron has a point, it is getting pretty late in the political season for the Republican Party to start running Presidential Candidates and having primaries. With the Democrats down to three liberals (Hillary, Obama and the Manchurian) I would have thought the Republicans would have started to put forth viable adult candidates by now. If they continue to drag their feet the Democrats will win simply by showing up. As is, the first Tuesday in November is starting to look like a good day to start work on that bomb shelter, start planting my own carbon credits or simply buying all the windmills and solar panels I can before they are mandated and become a bit pricey. I’ve got the compact fluorescent thing covered and my ten speed, 24 speed actually, is already prepped for the task of earning for Uncle Karl what is his to distribute as he sees fit. Or perhaps simply go fishing in my zero carbon foot print fishing boat (powered by my bike). Sure doesn’t look like this year’s political race is going to have any of the virtues of the just completed Super Bowl. Too bad, another boring year wasted and millions of tons of Green House gases pumped into the atmosphere for nothing.
Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

Perhaps it is pertinent to note that an anagram of “Barack Obama” is “Arab Back Mao.”
David Govett
Davis, California

SALAMANDER SLANDER
Re: Carrie Sheffield’s Hyde Park Prophet:

I would like to write in and correct a minor impression left by Carrie Sheffield in her obit of the Mormon leader Gordon B. Hinckley. When the Hoffman forgeries were purchased, the Church actually published the text of at least one of them. I remember reading it in an official Church publication, and it was very weird. Saying that the Church squirrels away historical records into vaults is correct, but the practice is for safe-keeping. For all the stories out there that claim the Church hides such things, which she did not explicitly say but can be inferred, in this case a text that was troubling, maybe even damning, was made public and not hidden from the world.

I sometimes wonder if Wikipedia is any more reliable than Hoffman, but for what it is worth, it cites the church publication that published the “Salamander Letter.”

The whole thing is an ugly blot. Not nearly as ugly as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, but still quite ugly. A Mormon created lies to discredit Joseph Smith. The Church was duped by the forgeries. Being told they were authentic they bought them. Yet having something that raised doubt about Joseph Smith, the Church made it public, and asked us to still believe Joseph was a prophet of God. The forger, who I repeat was a member of the Church, went on to murder people to cover up his actions. But luckily for one of his intended victims, one of the creep’s bombs went off too early, he was caught and the whole mess unraveled.

While Hinckley is one of the victims in this story, some have said his being duped means he couldn’t be a prophet of God. But what prophet ever was perfect? Not Moses, or any other prophet in the Old Testament. Nor frankly were the New Testament Apostles, or Paul. That latter book makes it very clear that only one who walked this earth can claim to have been perfect and never again will there be another. And it is Jesus Christ, that perfect man, the Son of God, who suffered for us and overcame death and sin, in whom we are to place our faith.

Yes, believing that Christ is leading us today through modern day prophets and modern day revelation is one of the many things that some other Christians use to say we are in error and have been duped.

But still, it is a shame that a good man, who spent his life as a faithful and earnest disciple and servant of Jesus Christ, has to have his memory smeared with this tragedy. He has done so much that is good, much of it outside the Church and outside of our country. To spend so little time on what he has done, and so much on this and a handful of controversies is a horrible distortion. But it happened and even as a victim it smears his life. Yet I see his publishing the text as evidence of his living honestly and of his faith in Christ. So I felt it important to correct the possible misimpression that could be drawn from Sheffield’s article. Yes the Church leaders were worried it would cast doubt on Joseph Smith and the Church. Yes they stored it in a vault. But they still published it.
James Bailey

I enjoyed Carrie Sheffield’s memorial of the late President Gordon B. Hinckley, but she got one part spectacularly wrong. When talking about the Hoffman forgeries, she said, “Church leaders squirreled away these purchased letters into a vault, worried their disclosure could damage the church’s reputation.” On the contrary: the LDS Church in each case promptly announced its acquisition and made the full text and photographs of the documents available, even publishing them in official Church publications (such as the “Church News” supplement of the Deseret News). In the case of the forged “Joseph Smith III blessing,” which claimed that succession in the LDS Church Presidency should be hereditary, the LDS Church donated it to the Reorganized LDS Church (now the Community of Christ) which split from the LDS Church in the mid-1800s over exactly that issue. Until the forged nature of the documents was known, they were the focus of much scholastic analysis, debate and writings (cf. the first edition of D. Michael Quinn’s Early Mormonism and the Magic World View). Pat Bagley, an LDS editorial cartoonist with a penchant for poking fun at the LDS Church, even had little ‘white salamanders’ showing up in his cartoons for a while.
Bruce F. Webster
Parker, Colorado

CLINTONFREUDE
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Not Upset about the Upset:

Good article, Mr. Homnick. I agree with everything you said, but I am human and while I seek better, I am still flawed.

If Barack Obama walks all over Mrs. Clinton, I will rejoice. For him and for our country. I will also rejoice because Hillary Clinton has, for years, not only ridden dubious coattails, she has also done her best to stack the deck with this ridiculous Super Tuesday of twenty plus primaries.

Hillary never plays fair nor by the rules, so pardon me if I experience some very joyous schadenfreude! Here’s to February fifth!
Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

Obama and Clinton both propose a change for America. What change do they propose? For almost a century, the Democratic Party has slowly chipped away at our American Traditions in order to bring the kind of change that Obama and Clinton now openly propose.

Almost four centuries ago, New World Americans made a big change from Old World traditions. It recognized each individual’s freedom to pursue legitimate self-interests and aspirations. It provided prosperity for individuals and their families. That prosperity, added to other successful individuals, created prosperous communities and a prosperous nation. This is what Democrats want to change.

Democrats campaign openly on a need to change to the interests of community being superior to the interests of the individual, that “It Takes a Village.” Theirs is the image of Robin Hood. Robin stole from the rich to give to the poor. Compassion favors Robin Hood, and he is the hero of the young and uninformed. Without the rich, however, there is nothing to share with the poor. If preventing individuals from working and building prosperity makes the poor better off, then why would America be at a level of prosperity it is now? It would be more like other impoverished Old World nations.

The New World, America, differs from the rest of the world; because it recognized prosperity only comes from individual freedom, never the dictates of a Robin Hood government. Government has never created anything; only taking what the people it dominates produced.

The only change necessary is to reverse what the Robin Hood politicians have done to America in the past century. It would be to go back to the change given us by our American ancestors, of individual freedom, small, non-intrusive government and lots of elbowroom to imagine, design, create and make better products and methods that give prosperity to everyone. Everyone shares the least in equality of outcome, but gains the most with wealth created by free people.

If the envious, angry, depressed and power-hungry bring about a change back to the Old World, a renewed Obama, Clinton and Robin Hood tradition of equality of outcome and poverty, America may never recover.
Clay Barham

FREE THE CORN
Re: Patrick J. Michaels’ Corn on the Mob:

Centralized, top-down planning of the production of ANY resource will resort in either severe shortages or wasteful surpluses. If the “Department of Bricks” decided that a certain Marxist economy should produce 50 million brick per year, how did they know that consumers will not want only 5 million or 500 million? They did not know. That is why the Communist system failed. It is a fatally flawed theory. The success of Wal-Mart is based on the check out registers tallying what customers want to buy each day, and replacement orders are based on these “votes.” This is decentralized, bottom-up allocation of resources. It is called the “Free Market.” It works.

Energy production is no different from any other consumer demand resource, but we have centralized planners from both political parties trying to make a flawed theory work by simply mandating it. All we will get are unused surpluses or severe shortages. Let Congress pass a law to pay off the federal debt, stop crime, end war, and eliminate old age and death too. The next George Orwell or Ayn Rand will write allegories about this generation and its rush to Stalinist Five Year Plans of our energy supply. It would be ludicrous if it were not going to hurt so many and so much.
David Shoup
Augusta, Georgia

SOFT SPOT FOR JESUITS
Re: George Neumayr’s A Man for Ball Seasons:

Mr. Neumayr may or may not be the product of a Jesuit education, but if he is he doesn’t mention it and in all events, doesn’t sound like he’d be very proud of it had he been. I have been, however, enormously proud of mine for many, many years. I also have some familiarity with the Archbishop referred to in his article: having seen his reaction to some professedly Catholic politicians’ arguments in favor of a “woman’s right to choose” viz. Catholic Magisterium teaching. Bishop Burke [then Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse] was not sympathetic, telling them that they could expect draconian consequences if their apostasy wasn’t reined in. The man understands he bears some responsibility for doctrinal purity and indeed, some responsibility for the souls of some theologically-challenged members of his flock. I too graduated Marquette University [Law ’70] as well as the unaffiliated high school of the same name. Rick Majerus has any number of virtues I suppose….at least in terms of witless candor and basketball competence. If that is enough for an ostensibly Catholic institution to man the barricades in his defense, I guess it can. But for someone who genuinely revered the history and discipline of the Jesuit order I’m saddened. In my life I’ve met all kinds of Blackrobes, humble-arrogant, liberal-conservative, reticent-gregarious, saintly — some, maybe not. Always, until now, brilliant. Now I’ve finally met some dumb ones.
James C. Eaton
Chetek, Wisconsin

THE NEXT ASHCROFT?
Re: Philip Klein’s Leadership Shrugged:

I saw Giuliani speak about two years ago at a conference. I’ve seen dogs with more charisma. My wife has a Masters in communication and she said a month ago that that the Florida strategy was the most moronic idea she had ever heard. She was absolutely correct. Also, now that he is out, he is campaigning harder for McCain that he ever did for himself. The irony is that he is expecting a nomination for attorney general or Homeland security chief from McCain but he will never get confirmed by a democratic Congress. If I was a Giuliani contributor, I would ask for a refund. Side note: McCain must realize that that the only way he can win is to be against Hillary, so will he now subtly start going after Obama.
Aftan Romanczak

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Jimmy Carter’s Covenant and John R. Collins’s letter (under “Jimmy the Baptist”) in Reader Mail’s Total War:

As for Mr. John R. Collins’ curious statement regarding the evangelical left (“Christians see through this dialogue and feeble attempt to categorize people politically”), I will leave to others to decipher.

Mr. Collins goes to claim to the effect that there are no distinctions among Christ’ s disciples. There are only “just Christians.” Whatever the attraction is to warm up to such a notion, the truth is no such person as “just Christian.” This is so because we are both more than that and less than that at the same time.

We are more than “just Christian” because there are a number of “fault lines” within Christian theology one cannot escape standing upon one side or the other. Each disciple would like to believe he only listens to the very golden words falling from Christ’s mouth; but when each of us speaks some old dead theologian is doing the talking. Each of us carry with us two thousand years of development and dispute. Christianity is divided and words such as Evangelical, Orthodox, Fundamentalist, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Nazarene, and Dispensationalists signify very real things. We are more than “Christian” because each of us carries names denoting what it means to be a Christian.

Each of us is “less than Christian” for the very same reasons. To say one is “only a Christian” pretends a temporal event that hasn’t happened — at least not yet — and perhaps will never happen. Christ’s Church is not united and as for this day we do not have the tools to put the pieces back together. It is good Christians of all types are more friendly with one another than they have been in the past; but try putting us all under “one roof” and the old wars will break out again. Maybe a unified Christian Church will happen within “time” itself. One suspects, however, that it only will be after the end of time upon Christ’s return we will be “just Christian.”
Mike Dooley

There’s a eerie parallel between what Carter says about Christ accepting Satan’s temptation to rule over the earth and a passage in C. S. Lewis’s work The Great Divorce.

Great article, by the way; I saw it when it first showed up on the AmSpec website, but didn’t read all the way to the end. (“More mush from the wimp,” he mused, thinking of Carter, not of Macomber.) I later caught Jonah Goldberg’s link to the passage in question, which simply astounds me.
Bruce F. Webster

Fourth day now with the peanut President’s picture on the masthead…isn’t that readership abuse?
Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

The Editor replies:
No abuse intended — a Comcast outage kept us unable to post Monday’s graphic until 9 a.m. yesterday morning.

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