The Press-Dispatch

March 14, 2018

The Press-Dispatch

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The Press-Dispatch Wednesday, March 14, 2018 C-9 OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg Seasoned pastors will tell you that the contemporary church is plagued by "meism." Abandoned long as being a place of worship, fellowship, and comradery, the modern church is plagued by peo- ple who demand the church to be about them and support their causes and definition of what it means to be a "Christian." The cultural battle within the church is not fixated on any one age group, though often divisions do erupt along generational lines. For example, youth demand contemporary music and worship while the older members demand that "traditions" be maintained. In the grand scheme of things, music and worship are only side is- sues compared to the redefining of the church mission by social jus- tice warriors. Fortunate is the pas- tor who can maintain a core uni- ty when there are traditionalists, moderates, and progressives with- in the same church. Lost in the bitter struggle to control the conscious of the local church is their insurgence against scripture, which angers God! King Saul was told by the prophet Samuel that "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as in- iquity and idolatry." Let that sink in. The extremes of conservativism and progressivism hold to untenable posi- tions. Conservatives demand the church maintain a 1950s style of worship, while pro- gressives demand more social jus- tice initiatives. One group wants to minister to an era that no longer exists, while the other removes the foundation of discipleship. In other words, the right desires to maintain a church for a bygone era, while the left removes disci- pleship as its core purpose and re- places it with social justice. It is the progressive block of the church that is the most vexing and dangerous because their founda- tional standard is not the biblical/ historical Christ and Church, but a patchwork of humanis- tic ideas and social jus- tice. The 21st century progressive-social jus- tice church fails to re- alize that the universe as God created it does not revolve around how they feel about it. Progressives be- lieve to a large extent that since they are made in His im- age, God serves them. Therefore, with enlightened understanding, our era can go be- yond God as our ancestors under- stood Him and create a heaven on earth. This attitude is problematic be- cause humans are fallible, and being imperfect, our reference of what is moral and everlasting is subject to change. Therefore, those difficult passages in the Bi- ble that demand spiritual sacrifice Minority View by Walter E. Williams The Weekly by Alden Heuring Hidden agenda or ignorance? Points to Ponder by Rev. Ford Bond The Church of Me Preventing 'the tyranny of the majority' Heritage Viewpoint by Edwin J. Feulner People often refer to the United States as a democracy, but techni- cally speaking, that's not true. It's a republic. Big deal, you say? If you care about your rights, it is. The Found- ing Fathers knew their history well, so they knew better than to establish the U.S. as a democracy. In a democracy, of course, the majority rules. That's all well and good for the majority, but what about the minority? Don't they have rights that deserve respect? Of course they do. Which is why a democracy won't cut it. As the saying goes, a democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. The Founders were determined to forestall the inherent dangers of what James Madison called "the tyranny of the majority." So they constructed something more last- ing: a republic. Something with checks and balances. A system of government carefully balanced to safeguard the rights of both the majority and the minority. That led, most notably, to the bicameral structure of our legis- lative branch. We have a House of Representatives, where the number of members is great- er for more populous states (which obvi- ously favors those states), and the Sen- ate, where every state from Rhode Is- land and Alaska to California and New York have exactly two representatives (which keeps less-populated states from being steamrolled). Being a republic, we also don't pick our president through a di- rect, majority-take-all vote. We have an Electoral College. And a lot of liberals don't like that. Their attacks on the College are nothing new, but the defeat of Hill- ary Clinton in 2016 renewed their fury. A fter all, as they never tire of pointing out, Mrs. Clinton cap- tured more of the popular vote than Donald Trump did. They see the Electoral College as an imped- iment to their political victories, therefore it's got to go. The latest attack comes via new law- suits filed in federal courts in four states (Massachusetts, Cal- ifornia, South Caroli- na and Texas). "Un- der the winner-take- all system, U.S. citi- zens have been denied their constitutional right to an equal vote in presidential elections," said Da- vid Boies, an attorney who repre- sented former Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 election. I doubt Mr. Boies and his fel- low attorneys are really ignorant of why we have an Electoral Col- lege. But it's important that the rest of us know. "The Electoral College is a very carefully considered structure the Framers of the Constitution set up to balance the competing in- terests of large and small states," writes Hans von Spakovsky, a for- Drinking soda elsewhere Expedition happiness Continued on page 10 Continued on page 10 Continued on page 10 Continued on page 10 Farewell to Ireland, but not to the Irish Lucid Moments by Bart Stinson Around this time of year, ap- proaching St. Patrick's Day, you begin to see Internet memes with a background of smirking, tipsy Caucasian yuppies hoisting their drinks skyward. The text is along the lines of "there are only two kinds of people: Irish and people who wish they were." I guess I fall into the first category. I'm part-Irish, anyway. My pa- ternal ancestors intermarried with Horstmeiers, Swans and Pot- ters, among others, thus diluting the Irish blood and character. But I am a Stinson, and my County Sli- go ancestor crossed the Atlantic as a young man nearly 150 years ago. Mike Pence's ancestors emigrated later from that same county. If my original Stinson immi- grant wished he or his descen- dants were Irish again, there's no surviving evidence of it. He never visited the land of his birth after he left, and we're told he never wrote home. He was probably illiterate, but he could have gotten help if he wanted to get in touch. We don't know why he left, but the Irish Po- tato Famine (1845 -1852) may have been the final straw. President Trump has a word for countries like Haiti, El Salvador and the Ireland that my ancestor fled. Trump's ancestors in Scot- land, too, suffered a potato famine. It last- ed even longer (1846 - 1856), but wholeheart- ed British charity there helped prevent Scottish starvation. Thank God that Irish lad became an Amer- ican. He went straight from his ship to Mar- ion County, Tennessee, without ever living on the East Coast. He owned a small home site, which we can't visit because it lies un- der a large man-made lake now. If you've ever driven east across Tennessee, it's that beautiful lake that you crossed just before Chat- tanooga. It must have been psychological- ly powerful for him to buy that plot. It was almost certainly the first time in his memory that Stinsons owned their own place, no longer perpetual tenants in British-occu- pied Ireland. There have been prominent WASP Stinsons who did our name proud, but that was them. We were the struggling, alcohol-plagued Irish Catholics, who were known to drop our children off with the Nuns at the orphan- age. My Irish immi- grant ancestor may have seen the signs prohibiting dogs and Irishmen from enter- ing bars. I don't know whether, in his case, this was unjust. Irish- Americans on alcohol had a reputation for behaving like animals. This was unfair to some of them, but not all. There is much to admire about the Irish. Start with the fact that they saved Western Civilization af- ter the Huns and barbaric German- ic tribes overran Europe, destroy- ing libraries as they went. The de- votion of the Irish monks to re- copying the manuscripts of great Western and sacred literature de- serves our permanent gratitude. The Irish missionary history, be- ginning with St. Patrick, is beyond heroic. So I don't like the Internet memes that trivialize St. Patrick, perhaps the most important Chris- tian since St. Paul. I'm not amused My Point of View by Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. Before we discuss violence with guns, I'd like to run a couple of questions by you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day near- ly 30 Americans die in motor ve- hicle crashes that involve drunk driving. What kind of restrictions should be placed on automobile ownership? Should there be fed- eral background checks in order for people to obtain a driver's li- cense or purchase a car? The FBI's 2015 Uniform Crime Report shows that nearly three times more people were stabbed or hacked to death than were killed with shotguns and rifles com- bined. The number of shotgun and rifle deaths totaled 548. Peo- ple who were stabbed or hacked to death totaled 1,573. Should there be federal background checks and waiting periods for knife purchas- es? Any mature and reasonable per- son would argue that it is utter non- sense to deal with drunk driving deaths and knife deaths by having federal background checks and waiting periods to obtain a driv- er's license or to purchase a car or knife. One would recognize, just as courts and the general public do, that cars and knives are inan- imate objects and cannot act on their own. Therefore, if we want to do something about deaths re- sulting from drunk driving or be- ing stabbed or hacked to death, we must focus on individuals. It would be folly and gross negligence of victims for us to focus on inani- mate objects like cars and knives. Guns are also inanimate objects and like cars and knives cannot act on their own. It's also plain fol- ly to focus on guns in the cases of shooting deaths. What about the availability of guns? It turns out that for most of our history, a person could walk into hardware and department stores or a gun store, virtually anywhere in the United States, and purchase a rifle or pistol. The 1902 Sears mail-order catalog had 35 pages of firearm advertise- ments. Other catalogs and maga- zines from the 1940s, '50s and '60s were full of gun advertisements di- rected to both youngsters and par- ents. "What Every Parent Should Know When a Boy or Girl Wants a Gun" was published by the Na- tional Shooting Sports Foundation. Another magazine advertised "Get This Cowboy Carbine with Your Christmas Money." Just a few states even had age restrictions for buying guns. Private transfers of guns to juveniles were unrestrict- ed. Often a 12th or 14th birthday present, from a father to his son, was a shiny new .22 caliber rifle. Today, there is far less availabil- ity of shotguns, rifles and pistols than any time in our history. That historical fact should raise the question: Despite the greater ac- cessibility to guns in previous de- cades, why wasn't there the kind of violence we see with today's far more restricted access to guns? Have rifles and pistols changed their behavior from yesteryear and they are now out committing mayhem and evil? To answer in the affirmative can be dismissed as pure lunacy. Thus, if guns haven't changed, then it must be that peo- ple have changed. Half-witted psy- chobabble such as stopping chil- dren from playing schoolyard games like cops 'n' robbers won't do much. Calling for more gun re- strictions, gun-free zones and oth- er measures have been for naught. We must own up to the fact that laws and regulations alone cannot produce a civilized society. Moral- ity is society's first line of defense against uncivilized behavior. Mor- al standards of conduct have been under siege in our country for over a half a century. Moral absolutes have been abandoned as guiding principles. We've been taught not to be judgmental, that one lifestyle or set of values is just as good as another. We no longer hold peo- ple accountable for their behav- ior and we accept excuse-making. Problems of murder, mayhem and other forms of anti-social behavior will continue until we regain our moral footing. Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason Uni- versity. Much to my family doctor's dis- may, I've started drinking more soda than usual. But if I'm going to be drinking something that's terrible for me, it's more fun to at least dress that soda up a lit- tle so it feels like I'm fancy and cultured, not just unhealthy. So, here's a few of my favorite simple soda creations you can whip up for yourself or the kids in a normally- stocked kitchen. • First up is everyone's favor- ite, your regular old caramel so- da. This would be Coke or Pepsi or RC Cola or whatever hipster brand you prefer. Try mixing two parts caramel soda with one part cran- berry juice to add some tartness to that classic caramel bite. • Next up is an easy one, root beer! Everyone knows about the root beer float, but instead of the standard vanilla, try a scoop of chocolate ice cream with hot choc- olate syrup in your root beer. It's a floating chocolate sundae! • Lemon-lime sodas like Sprite, Sierra Mist and 7-Up are nice be- cause they're caffeine free, they mix well because they're clear and because Americans are used to a slice of lemon on the rim of basi- cally every drink in every restau- rant. Try one part lemon-lime so- da and one part orange juice for a tropical concoction that's perfect for brunch or a breakfast-style supper. • The odd multi-flavor sodas that go by Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pi- bb or Dr. Thunder for some rea- son all share one thing in com- mon: they pair well with a good, tart lemonade. Try one part lem- onade and two parts soda, or a teaspoon of pure lemon juice for a similar boost of sour in your soda. • Red cream sodas like Big Red are sickly sweet on their own, but that's part of their appeal. Try go- ing halvsies between a red cream soda and a red sports drink for a milder sweet treat that also hy- drates you. • Not many soda compa- nies have a grapefruit soda, but Squirt is one example that seems to always show up in my house. Though it doesn't sound good, a spritz of vanilla flavoring in your grapefruit soda completely chang- es the flavor in a good way. • You may be wondering, "why haven't you mentioned Mountain Dew yet? " Well, it's terrible. You heard me. However, it does have an unusually high caffeine con- tent among sodas, so try mixing it with a stiff green tea for an in- tense wake-up call. It's not like you can make it worse, after all. That's all for now! Enjoy your fancy sodas, and have a great week! All of us long for happiness. I don't know of anybody who does not. So as I was browsing through some worthwhile documentaries, I came across this title—Expedi- tion Happiness, clicked on it and bingo, I watched the episode from start to finish. It is a story of a couple from Ger- many who found out they had a common interest in venturing for a year of travel in different parts of the world. They were young and in their early twenties, and you know people who are young and healthy do not fear adventures. So they bought an old school bus, worked on it a lot and converted it into an RV coach. They had it shipped to Canada

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