Friday, November 7, 2008

Put this in your Pipe and Smoke it!

Ben Stein is always worth a careful read!
by Charlie Leck

I don’t completely agree with the following commentary by Ben Stein. I certainly don’t agree at all with the silly musings of Billy Graham’s daughter, who Stein cites, and her ideas about why Katrina happened – though her concept could be fit into the pattern of mythology of the Hewbrew, Christian and Islamic scriptures.

Whatever, there’s a kernel truth here and a whole boatload of common sense that appeals to me and Stein is worth reading and thinking about. We do need more tolerance in America – more tolerance for religious points of view and more tolerance by the religious of those who choose to be less so. We should make a deal with the religious freaks. We’ll be more tolerant of them if they’ll be more tolerant of us!

I think the question Stein is raising has to do with throwing the baby out with the bath water. We’ve thrown religion and religious contemplation out of the schools. Have we thrown moral contemplation and ethical studies out with it?

For instance, I don’t believe in the physical spanking of children (mentioned below); however, when we convinced parents not to do it, did we provide parents with ideas about how to make their children understand they were doing something wrong? In other words, when we threw spanking out, did we throw discipline out with it?

Ben Stein, a terribly good writer and a handy thinker, raises some significant questions here. Don’t discard it all because you disagree with a sentence or two. On a cold autumn night, like the one we’ll have tonight, as we sit before the fire, this is something we should “put in our pipes and smoke.”
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning (commentary).

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it.. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crèche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too... But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?' In light of recent events... Terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they Don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on Your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they Will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... No one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards,
Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy Ben Stein’s wit and his often self-effacing sense of humor. I agree that he’s worth a careful read—with emphasis on careful.

    Stein’s intelligent wit and humor tend to be disarming, which creates an opportunity for him to pull some fast ones. In this piece, after lulling us into a state of complacency by invoking the notion of tolerance between Christians and Jews, he suddenly springs the “the concept . . . that America is an explicitly atheist country.” That is NOT what separation of church and state is about, and his implication that a secular government is the equivalent of an atheist government is deceptive and dishonest.

    Asserting that anyone has said “we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God” is creating a straw man and defeating a nonexistent argument.

    I won’t bother to address what Charlie identifies as “the silly musings of Billy Graham’s daughter.”

    Really, is saying “you better not read the Bible in school” the equivalent of denying any assertions of morality contained therein? He goes on to suggest that, believing there are other, better means of disciplining children than physically abusing them, it logically follows that turns them into people who “don't know right from wrong, and [aren’t reluctant to] kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.” Really?

    Maybe this is good advice from Ol’ Ben for “people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.” But I know I’m not one of them. Are you?