FUN IN THE SUN
Re: The American Spectator‘s A Great American Picnic:
Truly I am disappointed! You announce a Pig Roast, yet when I look thru the pictures, nowhere did I see Senator Durbin being “served.”
Sounded like a rollicking good time.
— John McGinnis
I KNOW MIKE PENCE
Re: John Samples’s One Pence:
I worked with Congressman Mike Pence for the three years immediately prior to his successful run for Congress in 2000. Congressman Pence was a radio talk host on Network Indiana and WIBC-Indianapolis, and I can confirm that he believes everything he says. As a talk host, and in private conversation, Mike has always been candid and unwavering in his beliefs. He was a breath of fresh air as a host, and remains that as a congressman.
When Mike announced his candidacy for Congress, I believed he would succeed in being elected, but thought the endless political wrangling might drive him crazy and that ultimately he would find the experience of being an honest man unafraid to stand alone with his principles and beliefs to be too unpleasant to tolerate. I underestimated him. He seems to be quite comfortable in that role.
While conservatives and liberals alike may find something to disagree with in Congressman Pence’s beliefs, none should ever question whether he actually believes what he’s saying. The things I hear the Congressman say on national media outlets are those same things he said in my office when he had nothing to gain by saying them. America is fortunate to have a man of principle like Mike Pence in the halls of a building populated by political opportunists and panderers.
— Kent Sterling
Assistant Operations Manager
PROUD TO SERVE
Re: unsigned’s letter (under “Fan Mail”) in Reader Mail’s Fireworks Displays:
I am not ashamed, nor embarrassed, to call myself an American. In fact, I am damn proud to be an American!
I served in the U.S. Navy for 6 years and was Honorably Discharged. I served for lots of reasons, one of which was to provide you with the freedom of speech. I remember you spitting on me at airports and burning the flag. I remember receiving that same flag at a ceremony honoring my brother-in-law’s death in Vietnam. He too served to keep you free.
My sons served in the U.S. Armed Forces. My brother was a Marine who served in Korea earning a Purple Heart. My father, uncles and grandfathers served in the U.S. Armed Forces off and on from 1900. My family has been on this continent since the 1650s with members fighting in the American Revolution, the American Civil War (both for the Union and for the Confederates), the Texas War for Independence, the Spanish-American war. One of my ancestors signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. They too served to keep you free.
My grandmothers worked for the right of women to vote. My wife was a judge. My sister was a very successful professional. My mother served on a school board and was a successful mechanical engineer who also taught in the public school system. These strong women in my family helped other women to enjoy a lifestyle of freedom that can be experienced only in the U.S.A.
The U.S.A. has provided my family, and yours, with opportunities to live long and well. As I look around the world I see starvation, humiliation, long lines for medical care, pits filled with dead bodies, headless corpses, women as slaves, under-nourished children, people living in hovels, open sewers, contaminated water, excessive unemployment and more. The U.S.A. has given lives and money to help these people, more lives and more money than any other country on Earth. The charity of Americans is unsurpassed.
My family and friends are Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Hebrews, Moslems, Buddhists, Mormons, Hindus, Amish, Vodun, Sikhs, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Episcopalian and who knows what else. The U.S.A. has no peer when it comes to religious freedom.
There must be a reason the U.S.A. is the most desired destination country for immigrants: The U.S.A. is a country of opportunity that is fed by freedom.
The liberal lifestyle you want for us would be to lose all that we have earned.
— Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico
A CHURCH WITHOUT EVEN A CHOIR
Re: Mark Tooley’s Happy Birthday, Amerika:
Mr. Tooley says in his article that the United Council of Churches is “comprised of denominations totaling over 40 million mainstream Americans.” Presumably he got the number from the UCC itself. In context his article implies that the UCC may actually be able to call on that many people. He should be a bit more skeptical.
The UCC may technically include churches with 40 million people, but how many of those people actually follow its dictates? The number of actual activists the UCC can call on for its liberal crusades is almost certainly a tiny fraction of that 40 million. Most advocacy groups (left, right and otherwise) vastly exaggerate the number of supporters they have. As social scientist Robert Putnam noted in his book Bowling Alone, most of these groups count as members anybody who writes them an annual check, even if that is the extent of their “activism.” And many of them aren’t even aware of what they’re funding.
The real proof of an advocacy group’s support is whether anybody actually jumps when they issue an ultimatum. Who can remember the last time the UCC was able to shake up the powers that be in Washington?
— Sean Higgins
I’m a Presbyterian and have long been disgusted with the politics of our senior leadership. While I donate to my church’s building and general funds, I never give to Presbyterian charities or other programs.
Any other advice on we can change the leadership of these church organizations?
— Chris B.
Tired of the seamless flow of bilge coming from the pulpit these days? Come join us at your local Southern Baptist Church this Sunday. Just look for the parking lot full of cars with American flag stickers in the windows.
— Randy Gammon
Re: Gary Bauer’s What’s the Excuse for Inaction Now:
In all of the articles published by TAS regarding gay marriage, not once has a writer placed one iota of responsibility for the current state of marriage on heterosexuals. Which is interesting since only heterosexuals can marry. For decades, religious conservatives have been crusading against homosexuals as people living on the fringe of society, promiscuous and with completely different values than mainstream America. Now, gay people want the same things that heterosexuals want, namely marriage, families and the security that comes with those institutions, and the social conservatives don’t want that either. Homosexuals shouldn’t be able to marry, but heterosexuals can marry and divorce, marry again and divorce again, marry yet again… you get the idea. Hypocrites!
Mr. Bauer states, “For instance, the Constitution guarantees the federal government the right to regulate commerce, which is the cornerstone of the Controlled Substances Act, our national policy on illegal drugs.” Mr. Bauer uses as an example arguably the single biggest public policy failure in this nation’s history, aside from slavery and Vietnam, to make his point. I can’t imagine any American wanting to create any public policy on the basis of the war on drugs.
Mr. Bauer’s complaints about what is happening in the states is unprincipled as are the positions of most religious conservatives. Supporting states rights means doing so even when the individual positions are distasteful. I guess he is for states rights… unless he comes out on the wrong side and then federal intervention is necessary just like in the Schiavo case.
Where are the public policy solutions from social conservatives for the war in Iraq, GWOT, pension crisis, the lousy stock market, corporate fraud, impending Medicare crisis, the trade deficit, skyrocketing costs of higher education, military buildup of China… the list goes on. Social conservatives are banning flag burning, supporting FMA, obsessed with keeping Ms. Schiavo alive, and generally embracing the most meaningless public policy imaginable while ignoring important and difficult issues that impact all Americans.
Exactly what is going to change if the FMA passes? I mean, besides desecrating the Constitution? Fewer abortions? Will the divorce rate plummet? Less adultery? What is that saying about a speck in your own eye? I’m just asking.
— Ben Berry
Have you heard Mr. Bush address the issue of defending traditional marriage since he gave the subject two sentences in his latest SOTU address?
Have you seen or heard of him meeting with the GOP congressional leadership to get a DOM amendment passed and sent to the states?
Have you seen or heard of him meeting with GOP governors and state party heads to work out a strategy for ratification?
If you have, could you send me a note, please? I’d really like to be told I’ve been missing something.
— Byron Keith
Re: Judd Magilnick’s The Secret of the Bell:
Very interesting reading, not at all what I expected from the title.
One point you almost had within the story, and it is not a big one, is where you mentioned:
“Our Founders, each integrating rationalist enlightenment philosophy into his own personal view of religion, often threw off mixed messages with enough sound bites for both sides to claim them as one of their own.”
The reason for this is what you missed, and that is to be expected these days. The founders of this country were, in large part, Freemasons, and one of the foundational teachings of our institution is tolerance. The First Amendment of the constitution embodies the Masonic attitude, Freedom of speech, of religion, of assembly, of the press (speech again).
George Washington, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, among many others were adherents of the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons. Benjamin Franklin was even the Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania for a term.
My point is that the reason their words seem ambiguous is that they were chosen deliberately to be ambiguous, to demonstrate tolerance to men of all faiths in a new country. To be a mason, a man must be honorable, have a faith in god, however he knows him, and to believe in the immortality of the soul. Tolerance of differences is a quintessentially Masonic teaching.
— R. Theron Dunn
What a lovely piece of writing. Liberty from God in sevens to the bell. Thank you.
COURAGE AMONG THE ILL
Re: Lawrence Henry’s On Dialysis:
Lawrence Henry’s article entitled “On Dialysis” made me very thankful that I was able to do peritoneal dialysis at home, and have never once had to have hemodialysis. The article caught my attention as I have had two kidney/pancreas transplants, with treatment for cancer in between, caused by immunosuppressive drugs. I have been on perotineal dialysis twice in my life, having two catheters placed for this purpose.
I too, have met many different types of folks in my hospital stays, doctor visits and checkups at dialysis clinics and find it easy to strike up friendly conversations dealing with all that we “professional patients” have in common. However, such associations will never turn me into a moral jellyfish. Quite frankly, in reading Mr. Henry’s piece I first thought it to be some sort of strange satire, relating the string of perverted, illicit and pitiful relationships through some kind of amoral eyeglasses.
When first glancing at the title, I thought that perhaps Mr. Henry’s article was going to be one of those inspiring and uplifting stories about courageous people accepting their physical limitations and overcoming them. But it appears to be one of those harsh, naked, reality pieces instead. In reality though, there are numerous cases of acceptance, courage and perseverance among the chronically ill.
Thank God I have been able to do peritoneal dialysis at home. All the dialysis centers I have seen are filled with TVs, usually running soap operas, CNN, or Oprah. That alone would be enough to do me in!
— Joe Sheppard
Just about a week ago, George Neumayr inspired much howling at the moon from the Bluebloods along these lines:
“…even though after three times Mr. Reed from KCPT noted that Moyers is retired from PBS, you just went on about the liberal bias. What’s up with that?”
“Here’s a few hints: Bill Moyers is retired. FACT: Not on TV anymore. He’s not a threat.”
“I am angered by the fact that since Moyers is gone….”
If only it were true! I just saw a PBS promo for something called “Wide Angle” featuring Moyers as the moderator. From a PBS press release:
“‘We’re thrilled that Bill Moyers is returning to PBS as the new host of WIDE ANGLE,’ said Jacoba Atlas, senior vice president, PBS Programming.”
What a disappointment. We think we’re rid of him, then this Moyers fellow pops up quicker than Bill Clinton.
George Neumayr, do you think you’ll be receiving any apologies?
— Dan Martin
CULTURE OF DEATH
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell’s Death to Rader:
Lose the philosophical hand-wringing in reference to the application of the death penalty. There is only one reason to put a criminal to death. That is because he, or she, has proven himself to be such a danger to the other members of society that he must never have the opportunity to be free. It is not effective as a deterrent, and modern methods of execution are certainly not punishment.
The death penalty must not be applied lightly. It should be reserved for only the most extremely dangerous people and all safeguards must be employed to assure that the person convicted is, indeed, guilty of the crime in question.
Right or wrong, it is the only method that guarantees extremely dangerous, violent people never have the opportunity to injure other members of society again. Prisoners can escape or be pardoned or have their sentence commuted if they are simply imprisoned. They can not escape from death.
Society has a duty to protect its citizens from predators in their midst. If society will not do this, then the members of the society will.
— Michael Tobias
The death penalty establishes the value of life.
— Raymond Barton