Slugging It Out - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Slugging It Out

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s The Gentleman From Virginia:

Thanks for more on the Gentleman From Virginia. “Tempted to slug him…” was he? How I wish he had tried. President Bush probably would have decked him faster than you can say “glass jaw.”

I read a lot and remember a little of it. In The Nightingale’s Song enough of Jim Webb’s boxing career was high-lighted to give one a pretty good idea of his character. When he faced Oliver North in the ring at Annapolis, he whined that he lost it because he was afraid he was going to hurt North. Webb’s claim was that the coach favored North and tutored him on what to expect from Webb. My question is, why would anyone climb into a ring, fearing they are going to hurt the person they are fighting? North cleaned his clock on points. And, how’s this for Sore Loser, Webb ambushed the coach next day, for a little post-bout pouting. Coach Smith said Webb was the only midshipman he had had words with in twenty-seven years.

All of this puts me in mind of John Kerry and the ski slope — “I don’t fall down, that s.o.b. got in my way…” Another thin-skinned loser. I love it.
Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

It appears that Jim Webb has joined the ranks of what I term “Retroactively Tough-Guy Democrats.” The main characteristic of this group is the assertion, always after the fact, that the person so afflicted was really, really angry in a given situation, and he or she was just able to defuse such fury in the nick of time. A variation of this is the glorious “You-May-Not-Remember-Because-It-Never-Happened-But-I-Was-So-Tough-On-(fill in the blank)” Assertion.

In the last decade, we were told by a Clinton flunky that the President had considered punching a critic of Hillary in the nose. Last year, the esteemed teenaged senator from Louisiana, Mary Landrieu, threatened that she would have physically attacked any politician, including President Bush, who had questioned the post-Katrina mess. Bill Clinton was on TV angrily telling Chris Wallace that he had “tried” to capture or kill Osama. Al Gore confidently asserts that if he had been elected in 2000, his response to September 11 would have been so much bolder than Bush’s, and that he would have avoided war in Iraq. Next thing you know, Walter Mondale will reveal that he was just moments away from taking a swing at Reagan after the Gipper’s classic vow to refrain from making his opponent’s age an issue in the 1984 campaign!

And now we have the silly Jim Webb. Mr. Tyrrell, you are 100% correct. With this bunch in control of Congress, the next two years will be fun, fun, fun!
Douglass C. Nanney
Memphis, Tennessee

Most Marines can identify with the novelist Jim Webb to some degree, but he’s hard, as RET describes, to really like. He has shown, over the years, a tendency to self-destruct…though I’m surprised the process has begun so early in his Senatorial incarnation. I’m predicting he will resign from the Senate just as he did as SecNav.

I totally agree with your stance on rude Democrats, but your statement:

“The Republicans have a few such stinkers, for instance Newt Gingrich, but not nearly as many.”

is, I believe, not helpful to the Republican cause because I see Newt as our next Reagan. He sees the world better than any other candidate, and we’re going to need him in ’08. Who do you see turning things around, McCain? We need a candidate we can solidly get behind, or McCain will split the GOP vote (there may even be a third party candidate, i.e., another Perot) and the Dems take the White House in a slam dunk.
John P.
Elmhurst, Illinois

It seems to me, as I observe my beloved country from the “cheap seats”, so much of what we see, hear and read is predicated on an emerging expectation of extreme behavior and aberration. I fear this will lead us down a cultural road upon which America’s critical solutions and progress are battered by cheap spectacle and selfish stalemate. Where is our overwhelming demand for reason and tangible effort… for the common good of us all?

Common sense and basic courtesy are immensely valuable traits in our everyday lives as “fellow” citizens and contributors in general. As these traits become political rarities and the Mr. Webbs become the expectation… apathy and disgust, in the cheap seats, could very easily erode a “United” States of America into ineffective fractions.

This country is a bona fide miracle and worth the effort to preserve. Sacrificing some ego and resolving to be American’s, in the sense we all know we should, would be well worth the effort in results.
John Curtis
Paradise, California

Mr. Tyrrell is usually on the mark. Not this time. The Republicans have as many or more people who act this badly as the Democrats do. Examples:

Dick Cheney telling Sen. Patrick Leahy to “go **** yourself” on the floor of the Senate.

Ann Coulter calling for the execution of… well, just about everyone not white and Republican, so far as I can tell. Her response: it was a joke! Ummm… yeah.

Rush Limbaugh choosing to ridicule and mock Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s on the air and then choosing not to apologize for this behavior.

Rep. Don Young telling a correspondent that anyone who thought “bridge to nowhere” money should be redirected to Katrina victims could “kiss my ear!”

And of course, just about every political talk show on TV has now denigrated to “he who can interrupt the loudest and most obnoxiously wins.”

This sort of rudeness is an relatively recent American epidemic which does not discriminate between red and blue. There are people who I would not want to spend a car ride with on both sides of the aisle.
Ross Glenn
Longmont, Colorado

I have to disagree with your characterization of Newt Gingrich. In the past 12 years he has matured. Webb is a boor and is not a good novelist. He writes smut that some mistake for grittiness. There is something seriously wrong with that man.
L.I. in Maryland

Given that President Bush is a former fighter pilot and probably the most physically fit president in history, and that he works out with heavy weights every day (or so I’m told by NBC Nightly News), I think that if Senator-to-be Webb were to “slug him” he would have quite a nasty surprise when GWB knocks him flat on his [rear].
Daniel McNamee
Somerville, New Jersey

Senator-elect Webb is a real piece of work. The ease with which this Democrat dandy dons close fitting snake skin garments tailor made to clothe his former political adversaries with precision says much about his character … lack of.

No wonder Slick Willie has embraced Webb with such enthusiasm as a fellow opportunist of the truth trimming persuasion. On the other hand, Slick Willie can lay some claim to being … well … slick. This clod is even more clumsy, belligerent, unwieldy and unpredictable than John McCain. The Democrat party is welcome to him. He is a person one would much prefer to have as an enemy than a friend, at least one who would prefer not to wake up and find a cobra in bed with him.

The recent campaign in which Webb prevailed has yielded another priceless benefit to the GOP: George Allen has revealed himself under the merest pressure to be a chap who can’t cut it when the going gets rough. Most now realize he doesn’t have the grit to be the GOP standard bearer in 2008. Only serious contenders need apply.

Mr. Tyrrell is correct to remind readers of Webb’s abortive stint as SecNav — another facet of his brittle, easily irritated persona and rather iffy character. At a critical time during the Reagan administration when both the Navy and the Marine Corps needed a politically savvy lion stalking the halls of power to defend their interests in the highly competitive, highly political DOD budget wars — as they had had during the years when the magnificent John Lehman was SecNav — they learned to their sorrow that what they had instead was a pussy cat. Clumsy in getting himself into an egregious peeing contest with SecDef Frank Carlucci, he pouted, quit, took his marbles and went home in a huff, abandoning those who depended on him and who had had such high hopes for him.

Given the nature of Virginia — historic incubator of great presidents and one of the most patriotic, conservative states in the union — it will be VERY surprising if the guy whose motto seems to be “Semper Cry” gets more than one term in office. He is the very opposite of a Virginia gentleman. Indeed, he gives every appearance of being a churlish, immature cad who lacks both grit and staying power.

All things considered he is fortunate our President has the strength required to be a gentleman. Otherwise it might have been the great Academy boxer, Webb, who got knocked on his kiester when he wised off to the Commander In Chief: Don’t mess with Texas.
Thomas E. Stuart
Kapa’au, Hawaii

Mr. Webb’s revelation that he was tempted to “slug the commander-in-chief” offers several pugilistic possibilities in the next Congress that will include a couple of boxers and other assorted “ne’er do wells.” In the Senate, he could go toe-to-toe with Nevada’s Harry Reid, a former boxer. And perhaps Mr. Webb can be matched with his fellow Virginian, and indeed my representative in the House, Jim Moran, whose pugilistic capabilities have been well-documented.

Perhaps Brian Lamb at C-SPAN could be the announcer for a match between Mr. Webb and Mr. Moran with any proceeds going to paying down the national debt. The possibilities seem endless.
Timothy Wise
Arlington, Virginia

And the moral of the story is… Be careful who you vote for. You just might get him (or her). The next two years are indeed going to be fun to watch!
Jim Lawrence
East Sandwich, Massachusetts

It appears that Sen. Webb is vying for that much-hoped-for MSM designation, “Maverick!”
Glenn Smith
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Great piece.
David Peterson

Re: Carol Platt Liebau’s Bad Girls Go Out:

Carol Platt Liebau, the reason the bottom feeders continue to lower the Bar of Good Taste, is simply that our society welcomes them to. As long as mom and dad continue forking over their hard earned money for People magazine type magazines, and waiting with great restlessness for Entertainment tonight, it will continue. As long as mom and dad do not spend quality time with their children, it will continue. As long as mom and dad let daycare, the schools, television and the web, become their children’s mentors, it will continue.

We all have the responsibility of taking care of our children. Many parents view that responsibility as simply a roof over their children’s heads, three squares a day, and a TV in every room. Others, actually spend quality time with their children, listen to and answer their children’s questions with great interest, and consciously make an effort to steer their children away from the bottom feeder mentality. Sometimes, one of the spouses will actually stay home and raise the children! Many of today’s parents have opted to pour their time and efforts into the acquisition of material possessions, over the less glamorous and harder work of “doing the family thing.” Carol Platt Liebau, with the three names and the three plus jobs, perhaps you lost sight of that, or you wouldn’t have to ask why?

Exhibitionism should surprise nobody. We have each year since the 1960s removed morality, self respect, and dignity from the mores of our society. It began with the liberal darling Madeleine Murray O’Hare. She was a reprehensible wrecking ball of a woman and single handedly removed God from America’s daily life. She of course was aided by a stacked liberal Supreme Court. The next progression is legalize murder of the most defenseless members of our society: unborn children. Easy to do as Ms. Roe illustrated with the connivance of amoral Supreme Court. Euthanasia has now become a topic for legalization. It will in the near future be possible for each of us to ask a Doctor to kill us if we’re sick enough. That will move to killing us by our choice for any reason and finally to others making the decision whether we live or die. This is not fancy, it is certainty.

We had a President who was an adulterer and if his victims are to be believed – and they are as credible as he — he committed sexual battery as well. But he is the present darling of democrats and radical liberal groups around the world. And you’re worried about ignorant, vapid, female celebrities who don’t wear underpants!? Maybe one very strange thing will come from all this. If the democrat African American ladies from Congress who defended Mr. Clinton’s sexual proclivities with the logic that “no man can resist what that girl stuck in his face,” rape may cease to become a crime and, rather, become an expectation.
Jason Brutus Kane
Palm City, Florida

The article by Ms. Liebau is an accurate one, no doubt about that. I wonder if, however, it might not be too little, too late. Normally, as a male, I would not comment on these “women’s” issues. I have enough trouble with the radical feminists without this issue. Ms. Liebau, however opines that men ought to help disabuse young, and not so young, girls of this behavior.

The genie came out of the barrel with the legalization of abortion any time any where. Women used to keep men civilized and kind of under control much of the time. Women used to know how to say “no” and mean it. After all, when it came to sex, men had the fun and women bore the results, which wasn’t fun. Times have changed. Now there is no “cost”, no price to be paid for rampant sex, any time, any where, with any person. The woman can simply abort the resulting inconvenience.

Little did we know when I was a raging hormone teenager, that the girls were more anxious to jump into bed then even we were. We didn’t know how aggressive the female of the species could be in pursuing a continuing stream of new sexual conquests.

I read that over 50% of our population is female. Well over 50% of the adult women under 50 (there are extremely few “ladies” left) are inclined to “have sex” with multiple men, women, and/or children at almost any time and place. Face it, people, girls as young as middle school age are pursuing men and boys for the purpose of having intercourse. Oral sex is no longer considered sex. Exhibitionism and debauchery are the happening thing today, and the female portion of the population is leading the way and, in fact, showing the males how it is done.

Ms. Liebau, I would love to see your attitude become the norm again. I am just afraid that we will not see such a revolutionary change in societal morals in our lifetimes, unless Islam does, in fact, take over.
Ken Shreve

Mr. Tyrrell and Ms. Liebau have independently chronicled the current cultural rot and incivility within our country, albeit from two distinct perspectives. Sadly however, if you overlay these articles onto one another, the analysis fits both perfectly. While it is a given that preceding generations will bemoan the quickening pace of the next generation’s race towards Gomorrah, nonetheless, what is happening in our society today spans those generational differences. It is also no coincidence that Democrat leaders and Hollywood starlets, of all ages, are guilty of the same over the top crassness and juvenile behavior; after all, their sense of entitlement derives from same casuistry. Since Florida 2000, the vilification of George Bush has become its own cottage industry, with each new attack requiring the next to be even more outlandish and outrageous. Breathtaking lies about the economy, Iraq, global warming and more, are roundly applauded from elite circles everywhere. The recent tirade by the 3rd rate actor, Michael Richards, bubbled from the same ego cauldron that allowed Senator —Elect Webb and Senator Kerry to mouth their crudeness, without an ounce of regret.

A pathology of self-absorption and entitlement has granted immunity for dangerous and boorish behavior to be perceived as chic or even gutsy. Messrs. Richards, Kerry and Webb, as well as Ms. Spears, not only can’t keep their legs together, they can’t seem to keep their lips together either. What’s worse, they revel in it .Mr. Tyrrell attributes some of this behavior to irrationality and abnormality. Ms. Liebau calls for all adults to come forward. Who could disagree?
A. DiPentima

Rosie O’Donnell, on The View, has asked Victoria Secret to send Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears some panties. At least Rosie has expressed her disgust at the crotch displays of these two low class entertainers. It is a start.
Kay Williams

Re: W. James Antle III’s Marital Problems:

W. James Antle fails to note that the argument over gay marriage is all about a line in the state dictionary, no more, no less. While a majority, maybe large, maybe slim, may favor the line in the state dictionary stating that “marriage” is only between one man and one woman, no state has tested whether the state should be allowed to favor “married” couples over “civil union” couples. Since such a test has not been conducted, how it would fair is a matter of speculation. I speculate that it would fail virtually everywhere. Ask Joe or Jane Sixpack whether a child is best served by a father and a mother, the complementary influences of a man and a woman in the same house, and not by two men, or two women, or one man, or one woman, and that therefore the state should favor that child by tax benefits for a man and woman couple, but not any other permutation, and Joe’s or Jane’s antennae would quiver, wring their hands, rend their garments, and refuse to allow a different tax filing status for one versus the other. The concept of egalitarianism, regardless of merit, regardless of rational assessment, is so deeply ingrained in today’s society that no challenge to it can be condoned.

Is arguing over a dictionary definition really worth the effort? I say no.
Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

Re: Eric Peters’ Prozac for Car and Driver:

The scariest moments I have had in a car was when I was driving the family Taurus with Mom, Dad, Sis, and her kids packed into the car. I was driving the speed limit, but in cruise control (yes, another electronic gadget), in the rain (yes, I know). Entering a curve, I tapped the brakes to disengage the cruise control, but that caused the back tires to swerve. A couple of steering corrections, a jolt to the car as the rear tires stopped skidding, and we were on our way once more — at a slower speed without the cruise control.

Yes, I recovered from an incipient skid and I know the procedures — get off the brakes, steer into the skid, don’t overcorrect — but I would really like to have that electronic gadget that responds quicker than the conduction paths through my neurons.

Expensive cars like Mercedes and BMW have had stability control first. These cars have good safety records to begin with, in part owing to design, in part that they are driven be older and wealthier people. On balance, you can’t say that stability control is compensating for a population of bad drivers. Stability control reduced the death rate in these already safe cars with safe drivers by 40 percent — by contrast, the effect of anti-lock brakes and airbags has been negligible, and only seat belts have had such a big effect on safety.

No, I don’t think stability control should be mandated any more than ABS should be required. Getting stability control on a sedan, however requires buying foreign. Stability control is standard on a Hyundai of all things, but you can’t even get it as an option with Ford or GM unless you get an SUV.

So stability control adds $1000 to the price of a car — there are all kinds of things people choose to spend money on — leather seats, satellite radio, GPS, higher-powered engines. If I am going to spend my money on a new car, I would like to spend some money on the best electronic gadgets our engineers can devise. I wish our domestic car makers would offer this feature so it doesn’t have to be regulated and legislated.
Paul Milenkovic
Madison, Wisconsin

Re: G. Tracy Mehan’s Charle Rangel Wants to Draft My Daughters:

I, too, dislike the idea of a national draft. Especially in evidence of a superior army of volunteers. But I also dislike the take on the subject from Mr. Mehan, that women especially will be caught in a reprehensible net should the draft be reinstated. My problem with his argument is his bundling of all women into a community of universal inclination based on gender. The “nurturing and sustaining role of a mother” is not present in all women. “The role of mother is biological”, he states in fact, but fails to observe that the biological role of motherhood is not the only impulse intriguing to all women. Some women are not wanting motherhood. Perhaps Mr. Mehan thinks this disorderly. But all childless women do not end up as purposeless loose cannons, morally bankrupt, in jail, committing infanticide, or even sad. They may choose, and thank God for the times we live in, not to bear children. Perhaps Mehan reflects scholarship earned in his household of six women, six who may indeed have a respectable communality of ambition. But it is a narrow view and does not hold much water in the rest of the world outside his door.

Post WW II, into the sixties and seventies, I knew American women who were deeply furious still at not being allowed to join in combat during the war. The rage against an enemy, an enemy of state or family or property or thought, is as legitimate in women as in men. Rage is a human virtue. I regret to read Mr. Mehan’s statement that there is a “unique role of women as mothers.” Where it is undeniable biological possibility, it is reprehensible philosophy that anyone’s organs must dictate their path in life.

I urge Mr. Mehan to give a little more breathing room to freedom of choice by both genders. And I urge Mr. Mehan to be more generous to the women in combat today, who would, I believe, resent his condescension and pity and tainted view of the unique opportunity women soldiers have seized to be brave, angry, adventuresome, spirited, skilled, and patriotic, without feeling sorry for themselves or that they were missing a pursuit that he decides is more noble. They may indeed be gaining more than he can see.
Barbara D. Sparhawk

Re: Jorge Amador’s Lopez Obrador’s Election Fraud:

The main problem with Lopez Obrador is not only that he is an egomaniac who is attacking the democratic institutions in our country, but he is also surrounded by a group of allies from very different backgrounds (even people like Manuel Camacho, one of the PRI operatives in 1988, responsible for really stealing the Presidential election to Lopez Obrador’s party then) who suddenly have found themselves unemployed while they were dreaming in a cabinet post.

AMLO and his followers have given us so many arguments about the fraud and Mr. Amador’s article is a good reminder of some of them. One of this arguments is that the media sold overpriced time TV to the PRD. That is funny because he was the candidate that appeared more on our TV screens during the campaign.

Even though he is a leftist candidate, Lopez Obrador announced us last March that he had held a meeting with Carlos Slim, the third richest man in the world, and Juan Ramon de la Fuente, dean of our National University, to agree about how the private sector would put their money in the public one. I cannot even imagine what would have happened if Calderon, the right wing candidate and winner of our last Presidential election, had said something like that. Carlos Slim has no other interest in the Mexican government assets but PEMEX and CFE (oil and electric power), both the last jewels of the crown, both very inefficient government monopolies. Controlling them would have made Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffet change their place in the Forbes list.

If I get fake Policia Judicial credentials and begin telling my neighbors that I am a policeman, you can be certain that the real Police would arrest me, maybe beat me, and then take me to the judge. Lopez has named himself President, put himself a Presidential symbol and has selected a cabinet. He is a very public impostor who deserves to meet justice.

Now that the American PRD is controlling both houses many Mexicans that support President Calderon are worried that some Representatives and U.S. Senators would listen to the false accusations of the loud Mexican leftists. President Calderon has a difficult task ahead. He has promised to enforce the existing law. I hope he does.
Ernesto Anaya
Mexico City, Mexico

Re: Paul Chesser’s No Spark for a Higher Power:

Well said, Paul.

I have argued for many decades (perhaps longer) that an orderly creation requires an orderly Creator. Seems sort of obvious, doesn’t it? My arguments pre-dated even Dr. Michael Behe’s in his acclaimed book, Darwin’s Black Box. I claim no special brilliance.

But…hey…what did I know…I was just a system engineer at a major military aircraft manufacturer. Couldn’t complex systems like helicopters just materialize out of nothing by the mysterious disorderly and random process of evolution?

Of course not, dummy …helicopters contain no “living elements”…unlike animals, vegetables, insects, fish, fowl, etc., which all are chock full of these peculiar substances.

Well, I countered, aren’t all living things ultimately composed of lifeless compounds …doesn’t a dead frog one moment after being struck by a Porsche 911 consist entirely of the very same complex molecules that he (or she) did just a moment prior to impact? What changed? What ‘living elements’ were taken away by the force of that Michelin tire? And if we consider the beginning of the life cycle of our frog, what ‘living elements’ were added to it at its birth? At its conception? At its pre-fertilized stage as an egg?

The answer is pretty simple, I think. The frog is made up of complex compounds reducible to simpler elements all found abundantly in nature. Like hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and so forth. These elements in their simplest state exist all around us and are completely lifeless. And it was evolution though disorderly and random that cleverly assembled all these lifeless thing to make this frog.

Well, I would respond, who sat in the driver’s seat of evolution directing this process?

No one sits there …it just happens. And to make it happen takes millions of years. With enough time disorderly and random evolution will ultimately produce orderly things. Logical, eh?

Yep …it’s those millions of years that make it work. And thus helicopters should just happen. If we took all of the lifeless components of a Blackhawk helicopter and placed them in a large box and began to shake that box …in a million years, give or take a couple of hundred thousand, all the parts would have rearranged themselves enough times by trial and error to have finally fallen together as a perfect flyable helicopter. Every rivet properly bucked. Every bolt and nut perfectly tightened. All the wiring harnesses plugged into all the right receptacles. And that is why we use that clever manufacturing process called evolution here at Sikorsky to build every helicopter. Yep, it takes a bit longer, but we don’t need any of those expensive engineers and computers and riveters and test pilots. But who built those 25,000 or so individual parts and put them in the box and shook the box?

Why it was evolution again …out there busily creating order out of disorder. You know …like if you buy a new house and then landscape the yard around it, and then leave it in the hands of evolution for a couple of years. It just gets better and better doesn’t it? You don’t have to mow or cut or paint or repair, right? Blind evolution just makes it all improve over time …imagine what it might look like after a million years of evolution diligently working at it.

Well, in these discussions folks just might be getting my drift. To nail my argument, I might add that evolution fails to account for most of the higher laws of physics …particularly the sort of philosophical 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (the Law of Entropy) which simply stated tells us that all things when left alone (that is, in the hands of evolution) will tend toward a state of disarray. Your house, yard, car, all of it will tend to fail, wear out, degrade, rust and so forth without input from you, the intelligent manager. Without intelligent input and action everything runs down. To get that Blackhawk helicopter requires intelligent input (and a lot of taxpayer funding). To get a frog (far more complex than a Blackhawk helicopter) requires intelligent input from a Creator (and thankfully no taxpayer funding). And it is this Creator who has also built an orderly universe with all the necessary ingredients (ponds, streams, bugs, other frogs and Porsches) so the frog can not only be created but live a useful though somewhat risky life. God is the Intelligent Provider of input to our universe and He constrains its ultimate destiny. God created and modulates entropy. Col. 1:16 – 17 “For by Him (God) all things were created …and by Him all things consist (are held together)”. For this we can be temporally and eternally grateful.

Well …these discussions during my tenure at Sikorsky usually went nowhere. Why? Because to dump the evolution model and embrace the creation model requires something more than the brilliant technical logic I have lucidly (but humbly) postulated. It requires acknowledging the existence of God, and this is the stumbling stone that becomes the Mt. Everest no dedicated evolutionist can get over. One can almost hear their mental doors slamming shut. They just won’t go there. And that is the sum of it.

With all my heart I believe all of science stands upon this one idea. This idea …this fact: it is true science to believe in God. Why? Because all of true and accurate science depends absolutely upon orderliness in thought, in action and in all processes. And the intelligent Creator God is that very Author of all essential orderliness. Disorderly and random evolution guided only by impersonal time won’t hack it when you need to build a Blackhawk or a frog or a Porsche.

In sum, Paul, I heartily cry Amen to your article on science and religion. Keep up the good work.
Ron Coddington

Re: Rick Reigle’s letter (under “Expanding Faith”) in Reader Mail’s Why They Do It:

In response to Rick Reigle — I believe that God has some gifts given solely to those that are His children and some gifts for all of His creation whether they acknowledge Him or not. A common grace if you will. As a believer and a surgeon, I think modern medicine and much of technology falls into the category of a common grace. So your reasoning that if we really had faith we wouldn’t need modern medicine is flawed. Why shouldn’t believers avail themselves of the gift of modern medicine given by God to everyone? Why does using modern medicine somehow lessen our faith or God? Even secular medical research seems to support the fact that spirituality (their term not mine) positively affects outcome in treatment of disease. The best combination in treating illness is medicine, faith and prayer!
Dr. Joyce I. Bonenberger FACS

I’m writing in response to Rick Reigle’s snide editorial, in which he asks whether believers’ “belief in an imaginary God is so strong that they’d consider eschewing a hospital in favor of praying for one of their children who was dying from a medically-treatable disease.” First, I’d like to point out that believers don’t believe in an imaginary God. If we believed Him to be imaginary, we’d scarcely waste our time insisting that He exists. I mention this only to point up how transparent and juvenile Mr. Reigle’s bigotry is. He’s so anxious to insult and offend that he can’t even restrain himself from uttering this most foolish absurdity. “Belief in God” would have served just fine; “belief in an imaginary God” allows him to subtly put his own opinion in his enemies’ mouths.

Second, and more to the point, I think Mr. Reigle needs to be enlightened as to the purpose of prayer. Prayer is properly employed as a means to unite oneself to God’s will; not to unite God to one’s own will. Non-believers, of course, in their spiritual blindness and arrogance, typically assume the latter. They think Christians view God as some sort of Santa-in-the-sky, and prayer as their wish list of “toys” they hope to receive. This is not the case. When we pray for our sick children, it is much more in the spirit of “If it be Thy will, let this cup pass from me,” than it is, “Fix my kid, dammit.” Why? Because it may well NOT be God’s will that this or that child survive. On the other hand, without direct, immediate insight into His actual will on the matter, we are obliged to use the wits He gave us to bring about, or attempt to bring about, what is obviously a natural good: our, or our childrens’, survival. We are natural creatures living in the natural world; we were made for this world and the world was made for us. Therefore, it is in the natural order of things that we conduct ourselves accordingly, and eat (and cure, etc.) by the power of our own hands as far as that is possible.

As for who’s the more delusional, secular humanists with faith in science “to solve real problems” or God-fearing believers, clearly it’s the secular humanists. After all, science has no power whatsoever to, for example, deliver Mr. Reigle from the flames of Hell or to forgive his sins — both “real problems,” whether Mr. Reigle wishes to admit them or not. God, on the other hand, can easily cure anyone He wishes of disease instantly, even if that power is seldom or secretly used.
Jim Newland
Santa Clarita, California

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