Right answer is respect, inclusion
The following commentary is intended as a response to a section of the commentary of Providence Sr. Mary Beth Klingel, published in this space on April 8, 2012.
Near the end of her comments, Sr. Mary Beth asks for her readers’ consideration of two very important questions. “Deep down, do we really want to be unaccepting of our neighbor?” and “Have we convinced ourselves that we have no tolerance for a different viewpoint?” I believe these two questions are not offered as mere rhetorical questions, simply asked for effect, but rather are offered to us as issues to be considered, discussed, and hopefully constructively resolved.
In discussing these issues, we have to ask ourselves, as every American generation down to the present day has, just what kind of a society do we really want to be? Do we want to be, as we may be in real danger of becoming, a “society” of isolated, insular little groups, constantly at verbal war with each other, or do we, in this generation, want to become a society in which we can and do recognize, tolerate, and very importantly, even celebrate our many differences in background, heritage, and lifestyles, while developing, embellishing, and polishing the American dream to the benefit of all? In other words, do we want to become a society of inclusion?
These questions posed by Sr. Mary Beth, are hard questions, calling us to hard thinking and insightful thoughtful dialogue. But we, as Americans, have encountered, discussed, and successfully resolved such issues in the past, and we can do it again. Let us remember that we are the people about whom Sir Winston Church (himself the child of an American mother, Jenny Jerome, and by act of Congress, an honorary American citizen) once commented, “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing after they have tried all the wrong things.”
So, let us all sit down together at common tables of discussion, and vow not to leave our discussions until, as best we individually are able, we come to common understandings of how we shall respect, and, yes, celebrate our many differences while simultaneously recognizing and celebrating our common heritage as Americans.
— Earle L. Harvey
Theme sounds strangely familiar
“If I am rich and successful, it is because I have worked hard and am God-fearing. If you are poor, it is because you are lazy and have no proper beliefs. I have taken advantage of the opportunities this great country provides, while you sat at home, did drugs with your buddies, and expected the government to send you a check. And if you don’t agree with my political and religious beliefs, you are trying to destroy this blessed country.”
That seems to be the theme running through a lot of current statements by the devotees of one major political party. Hardly original, but, I fear, firmly believed. The original version has quite a history.
At the time of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, among others, complained about the selling of “indulgences,” which were sort of like “get-into-Heaven” tickets. The reformers stressed the Grace of God; they emphasized “predestination,” a sort of “Aren’t we lucky to be the chosen ones?’ view. In an early example of political and religious corectness, “Peace on earth to men of good will” (et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis) was wrongly re-translated as “Peace on earth; good will toward men.” If everything was predestined, we couldn’t have that embarrassing “men of good will” hanging around.
But what started as a religious controversy became for some a defense of the powerful and wealthy. God had predestined some for eternal happiness, the argument went. And surely the almighty would not want His chosen to suffer, even here on earth. So, if you were rich and successful, it was a sign that you were among the chosen. If not … well, there wasn’t much you could do about it except accept your proper place in life. The old “Divine Right of Kings” became the new divine right of the rich rule.
Nowadays, the same belief holds: if you are blessed to be rich, then God is on your side. If you are poor, and espceially if you don’t have a job, it’s your fault. And if you think that the poor — and the shrinking middle class — need some tax advantages like those of the rich, you are probably a heretic (Communist? Muslim?) out to destroy this country.
— John Paul Maierle
Good explanation, still no solution
What spasmodic convolution of the heavenly stars’ alignment would condescend to interject the names Ladwig, Wilkinson and Broshar into the same sentence, let alone to possibly end up putting all three of us on the same page?
In his letter of April 14, Mr. Broshar assails my previous letter of April 7, wherein I criticized the earlier letter of March 18, by Mr. Ladwig. The subject was registered sex offenders and where they may legally reside. Mr. Broshar accuses me of turning the discussion into a “liberal-versus-conservative issue.” Interestingly, this is the same thing I was suggesting Mr. Ladwig had done.
All in all, however, I felt Mr. Broshar’s letter was the best, most thoroughly thought-out and well-written one he has contributed to these pages.
Mr. Broshar interpreted Mr. Ladwig’s letter as meaning that current “restrictive laws do little to provide safety to the children but at least it allows the police to better know where the offenders live.” This is a far cry from what I gleaned from Mr. Ladwig’s letter. Even after recently rereading it, it still seems a strained and painful extraction to journey from Mr. Ladwig’s words to Mr. Broshar’s interpretation.
Even so, extending benefit of doubt, I hope that I was mistaken in my interpretation and that Mr. Broshar’s interpretation was the correct one. Why? Well, for one thing it would mean that Mr. Ladwig was being more reasonable than I gave him credit for and the world can always do with a few more reasonable men. (If you don’t believe it, ask any woman.) Also, it would put the three of us on the same page and I don’t find the notion of two conservatives and a moderate landing on the same page as being as distasteful as some might suppose. A bit of gruff companionship from time to time can do a body good.
I won’t go back through Mr. Ladwig’s letter phrase by phrase to defend the conclusions I earlier expressed but will instead commend Mr. Broshar for expressing concern about “the unintended consequences of legislation that causes more issues for law enforcement to monitor the activities of these sex offenders.”
One further problem with having laws that tend to “herd” the sex offenders into concentration in areas such as the trailer park where the little girl was murdered is that the paroled offenders end up associating one with another much as they did when incarcerated and we know that often “prison is just college for criminals.” So, too, can be a trailer park.
Mr. Ladwig’s final paragraph still makes it seem to me as though he is blaming what are undoubtedly high rates of recidivism among sex offenders on every soft-in-the-middle “legislator, judge, parole officer, prosecuting attorney or child-welfare officer.” It is disturbing to read about new cases almost daily. But the truth is that if every offender were put away for life the number of cases would remain about the same. It is the nature of primary urges to often go astray, for new predators to emerge with every dawn.
Otherwise, to reiterate, Mr. Broshar’s opinion on this issue seems to be a fairly close appoximation of my own, and if he is correct, that it is the opinion also shared by Mr. Ladwig, so much the better. If such is truly the case, then Mr. Broshar stated the view more clearly than had either I or Mr. Ladwig.
One thing we should all be able to agree on is that the only person responsible for that little girl’s death is the creep who killed her.
In conclusion. Misters Ladwig and Broshar, where might we suggest these felons be allowed to reside after their incarceration is completed? Sadly, none of us has offered a solution, (not counting Mr. Ladwig’s sarcastic one), other than simply to maintain the status quo. The “free-market” solution alluded to by Mr. Ladwig is indeed not very satisfying.
— Clay Wilkinson
Facts about our founders
I would like to share some facts about our Founding Fathers during the American Revolution and how they relied on our heavenly Father for guidance and strength to shape the new republic.
The Liberty Bell was emblazoned on its side with Leviticus 25:10, proclaiming liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. It rang, proclaiming liberty, when the Declaration of Independence was first read publicly on July 8, 1876. The first official act of the very first Continental Congress was Tuesday, Sept. 6, 1774. “Resolved, that the Reverend Mr. Duche be desired to open the Congress tomorrow morning with prayers at the Carpenters Hall at 9 o’clock.”
Foreseeing a full-scale war, Congress was determined the nation not enter a conflict unless it was in a proper relationship with God almighty. On May 16, 1776, Congress proclaimed: “The Congress, desirous to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely on His aid and direction do earnestly recommend a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer, that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness.”
The Congress also saw a shortage of Bibles so it authorized the Committee of Congress A Vol. VIII, 1777, p. 734. On Jan. 21, 1781, Robert Aitken, a publisher of the Pennsylvania Magazine, petitioned Congress for permission to print Bibles for the use of schools.
That edition is now called the “Bible of the Revolution.” On Sept. 10, 1782, Congress issued its “endorsement” Vol. XXIII, 1782, p. 574.
Congress, composed of America’s statesmen and patriots, was neither of nor reticent about placing their whole-hearted endorsement on the use of the Bible for schools and citizens.
John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court and president of the American Bible Society, said: “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
Since that time up to the present, we have fought the enemies within to safeguard these rights. Even back in 1873, the Indiana legislators acted to further protect what our founders gave us. State Law Section 167 School Law of Indiana, 4th section of the 1st Article of the state Constitution, “The Bible shall not be excluded from the public schools of the State.”
— Charles Davis
Santorum and the Constitution
Once enemies to the death, Rick and Mitt are suddenly palsy-walsy now that Romney is the primary winner. Don’t forget that Mitt was the worst candidate in the world for the Repubs and that he represented the rich of Wall Street and not the people on main street, said Santorum.
No matter. Romney now says Santorum will have a major part in the Party. No surprise there. Romney needs all the votes he can muster to overcome a baggage of negatives that threaten to sink him in November. That means not only Santorum’s conservative, Evangelical, and Tea Party supporters but independents and “blue collar” and other disaffected Democrats as well. Not to mention women’s votes since the polls indicate he is at least 20 points behind Obama.
It is easy to understand why Santorum is so quick to make nice to the head of the Party and maybe the president-to-be. Already his seconds are touting him for a run in 2016. Crazier things have happened. How about an obscure peanut farmer or a B-class Hollywood actor? But Santorum’s baggage appears to be worse than Romney’s. Opposing contraception and the separation of church and state won’t please a lot of voters now or four years hence. I also found his slam at Obama rather odd when he accused him of snobbery for urging a college education for everyone. Santorum, by the way, has an undergraduate degree, a master’s and a law degree.
As long as I’m piling on against the primary loser, let us not forget Rick’s hit at Mitt: “We’ve got a liar in the White House. We don’t need another.” In a recent interview, reported in “This Week” magazine, the ex-senator appears to be in need of a reality check vis-a-vis his own veracity. He is accused of “spreading disgusting lies” about the Netherlands. He claims the Dutch “murder our elderly with glee,” that euthanasia accounts for 10 percent of all deaths in that country, and that half of those are involuntary because the hospital beds of the old and sick are needed. Also, that anyone who wants a better chance of surviving a hospital stay must wear a bracelet that says, “Don’t euthanize me.”
The result of this system, Santorum claims, is that old folks don’t risk Dutch hospitals but head abroad “to escape the fatal injections.”
The truth, however, is that only 2 percent of deaths involve euthanasia, and those who opt for it must undergo a waiting period and present witnessed informed consent.
“This Week” concluded that the demonization of our NATO ally “would be laughable if it weren’t for the horrifying reality that Santorum has a shot at the presidency.”
There’s a name for not only bending the truth but twisting it into knots: demagoguery.
Another example of the latter is his repugnance at the idea that church and state should be separate. He confessed he felt like throwing up at the idea of President Kennedy’s famous speech to a large group of Protestant clergymen when he said he would honor the separation of church and state rather than allegiance to the Vatican.
I do believe that the lawyer and ex-senator from Pennsylvania needs another look at the First Amendment to the Constitution. It is this foundational value of freedom from governmental meddling that has allowed those of all faiths, or none, to flourish.
By the way, as long as we’re on the subject of hypocrisy, let us not neglect Rush, the Great Guru of the GOP. After calling a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” for her statement in support of contraception coverage for women (Rush thought it just a ruse to have more irresponsible sex), he was quickly hit with a barrage of criticism. He stubbornly countered that he stood by his statement. When his sponsors started deserting like the proverbial rats from a sinking ship, Rush performed one of the fastest 180s in the history of reversals. He couldn’t seem to apologize profusely enough for maligning the young lady. What a great Rush to Wisdom!
— Saul Rosenthal