Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sometimes I just can't sit back and be quiet

For the second time in as many days, I've been assaulted by an email from someone in my family or extended family. No, I didn't say I've been assaulted IN an email, but BY an email.

I am a Christian, with what I consider to be Christian values (remember "Love thy neighbor," and "Do unto others"?), but I do not insist that my family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, blog-readers, or even the people who go to my church believe as I do. I think one of the greatest freedoms we enjoy in this nation is the freedom OF religion: that means you can be Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Secularist, Wiccan, Atheist, or any of a bazillion other religions and expect your choice to be respected.

I do not believe that organized prayer should be returned to schools. I believe children can pray whenever and however they choose as long as no one else (especially the school administration) dictates to whom or for what they should pray or not pray. I mentally cringe when I recall the daily New Testament reading in my school and the Christmas pageant, realizing today that there were a fair number of Jewish children in my classroom. I also ponder how difficult it must have been for the Catholic children to hear the closing words of the "Christian" Lord's prayer ("...For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory..."). Those lines were added later (most scholars believe from the Illuminations done by monks) and Catholics do not say them. So, no prayer in schools. Unless, of course, EVERYONE gets a turn and the Christian parents will allow their children to sit through readings from the Koran, prayers to Isis, etc.

I don't think the lack of prayer in schools is responsible for the "moral decline of America." I think people make choices, and some of them are bad ones. I don't think the tragedy at Columbine, Alabama, upstate New York, or any other such tragedy is because there is no prayer in schools. If that's so, then how do you explain the Sunday School teacher and granddaughter of a minister, sexually abusing and the murdering her daughter's playmate? Was she denied prayer? How do you explain Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, or Ted Haggard - ministers all - straying from their marital vows? As I said: people make bad choices.

I think the words "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. They weren't added until 1954, after all, so really don't have the imprimatur of centuries, regardless of what Sarah Palin thinks. In fact, the Pledge didn't even come into being until the late 1800s, and I'm not even sure we should have a pledge. For an interesting article, see here.

I don't think gay marriage, people living "in sin" (I'm guilty!), or the host of other "ills" that some claim are besetting this nation mark the end of Life As We Know It. I think a lack of empathy, the great divide between the haves and have-nots, the increasingly intrusive nature of the extreme right and their brand of narrowly-defined religious values into government, and a need among many to be "right" no matter the cost to their fellow humans, are far greater threats to unity and continuation of our way of life.

I don't think taxes are bad, but necessary. And I found it intriguing that while Gov. Perry of Texas was stirring up his constituents to secession from the Union, many of them were waving American flags.

I don't think firearms should be outlawed in this country, but I can't think of one good reason for a private citizen to own an AK-47 or any other kind of assault rifle.

I'm sure I've offended some of my readers (and perhaps some of my family members), and for that I am sorry. I'm not normally an offensive person. But *I* have been offended, and those who committed the offenses had no regard for my feelings.

Sometimes, even the most tolerant of people can be pushed once too often.


  1. Brava!
    What really irritates me is when the ultra conservative right send an email that is so blatantly untrue and they actually perpetuate something that is so false that even an idiot should be able to determine that.

  2. Brava!
    What really ticks me off is these conservatives send out mass mailings of emails and never check the facts. They just accept ridiculous stories and perpetuate them. Their ignorance is scary.

  3. Not offended. I almost never participate in "issue" converstations anymore because they always seem to turn into mean spirited bash sessions, not to mention, I love my family and friends, but we often do not agree on political/social topics. I find it easier to remain silent (most of the time) than engage people who aren't going to listen to my views anyway.

    It's refreshing when someone can speak their mind (or write) without turning it into an attack on those who disagree.

  4. WELL SAID, CHERYLE!!!! EXCELLENT!!! I think you should submit it for publication to such as the "My Turn" column in NEWSWEEK!!!

  5. Nicely done, Cheryle. A better pledge of allegiance might be just this..."different strokes for different folks."

  6. We must have similar DNA lurking between us. Bravo, Cheryle, for saying what too many don't. I agree 100% with ALL you have said. I second the notion that you should submit this for publication!

  7. now I'm curious who the offender is. It amazes me what people send around in emails....

  8. Those damn monks .. they changed many a scripture over the years!!

    Great Blog Gran .. think I'll add a link to my blog


  9. !brava! again. And while I agree with almost everything you said, I disagree with you on the subject of assault waepons.
    I know of three good reasons to own an assault weapon:
    1. To compete in DCM matches. (DCM means Director of Civilian Marksmanship, and military weapons are the only ones allowed)
    2. You just like to shoot at things: tin cans, targets, etc. -- in a place where it is legal.
    3. For it's historical value. I have such a rifle -- a 7.7mm Arisaka, taken in WWII from Iwo Jima. Wouldn't be much good for mass murder: holds only 5 rounds and is bolt action to boot. My brother has a replica of a Zouave rifle, like the ones used by some of Geo. Washington's troops. One shot. Muzzle loader. Technically, they're both assault weapons. Really, one is an antique, the other is a sporting rifle: you can hunt deer or elk in special seasons.

    Now the baseball bat with which they killed Mulugeta Seraw -- that was an assault weapon.
    Truly, what determins whether something is an assault weapon is intent of the user.

    Damn! didn't mean to get so carried away.

  10. There's a great reference in the book "Good Omens" to the Bugger-All-This-For-A-Lark bible, in which a frustrated monk was obviously all done with sitting in the dark and tracing words and very willing to tell the reader as much. (Speaking of changes to the Lord's Prayer).