AMID ALL THE GLOBAL PROBLEMS FACING
US, THE CONCEPT OF SPORTSMANSHIP HAS
ALSO BEEN SERIOUSLY TARNISHED
Any collector of present day American humor certainly has
in his collection of favorite stories jokes about lawyers,
blondes and politicians. The blondes stories are about the
much maligned "dumb blondes," while the lawyer and
politician stories are about corruption, dishonesty, cheating,
twisting the facts, etc.
Thus two professions important in American history and our
way of life are vilified and made the point of ridicule. Yet the
most important document in the history of this nation –
the Declaration of Independence – was signed by 56 of our
founding fathers, and approximately half of those signers were
lawyers. All of them, if they had not been previously, became
overnight politicians, separating themselves from their former
government and rulers, and establishing a new, "rebel" form
of government which became the United States of America.
The present day jokes about lawyers and politicians would not
have applied in those 18th century days and we have always held
those signers in highest respect. By contrast, it will be recalled
that 150 years earlier, in his play, "Henry VI," Shakespeare had
used the phrase, "The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers."
(Those words have been used by lawyer-bashers for years, yet
they were actually spoken in defense of the role lawyers play.)
So in recommending a life-long profession for young people,
two choices are more or less removed due to the reputation of
certain practitioners. And what remains as an example of
honesty and decency? One could always point to athletics or
sportsmanship which take the rules of conduct from the historic
Olympic games, begun in 776 BC and continued until they
were canceled in 393 AD, after approximately one thousand
years of the finest in athletic competition. The Games were
revived in 1896, and were held that year in Athens where
they were born. They continue to this day, expanded into
competitions which have become international in scope.
But even in this realm, corruption has crept in, and we have
just witnessed the women’s sprint champion from the
Sydney Games having to give back her medals due to the
use of steroids . . . and the 2006 Tour de France biking
champion had his title stripped for the same reason . . .
baseball’s Barry Bonds home run title is in some disrepute
over steroids . . . a professional football star is in deep
trouble for animal cruelty . . . and even this past weekend
the baseball playoffs had a star pitcher under investigation
for possible steroid use.
Thus all the way from the traditional lawyer critiques
to the here-to-fore sacrosanct athletic sportsmanship,
virtually every aspect of our present day life is tarnished
by a form of conduct which comes under the Bible label
of sin. We have spoken before of the need in this country
for a spiritual awakening, or a "revival" to use an Old
Testament term. We who make up the Christian church
cannot continue to allow every aspect of our way of life
to be compromised by these failures to live according to
the pattern Jesus established for us.
Afterthoughts . . .
A step toward a "One World Religion?" We have
read about the letter signed by 138 Muslim clerics and
scholars from all branches of Islam, addressed to Pope
Benedict XVI and other religious leaders throughout
the world. The document calls for world-wide religious
unity, and says, almost as a threat, "Our common
future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself
is perhaps at stake." The Vatican calls the call for unity
"very interesting"and "very encouraging." The Anglican
Archbishop stated, "The call to respect, peace and good
will should now be taken up by Christians and Muslims
at all levels and in all countries." Bible scholars will find
portions of prophecy reflected in such proposals as set
forth in the actions of the Anti-Christ in Daniel 8:25.
Freedom of the press was an 18th century problem.
Concerns over the real intent of the First Amendment did
not begin in our day, but were also felt in the early years
of our country. "If by liberty of the press were understood
merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public
measures and political opinions, let us have as much of
it as you please. But if it means the liberty of affronting,
calumniating and defaming one another, I for my part,
own myself willing to part with my share of it." – from
Benjamin Franklin, 1789
A valuable asset in the Christianity/Islam debate.
Anew book, "Religion of Peace? Why Christianity is - and
Islam Isn’t" by Robert Spencer offers a clear defense of the
need for an alliance of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus
and other victims or potential victims of a universal Jihad,
an alliance centered around the values that the historic
Judeo-Christian principles have given to the world. Spencer
demonstrates why we can’t defeat the Islamic threat without
defending and asserting the faith that built the civilization
of the West – Christianity.
Views of Americans in familiar Bible stories. The
Barna Research Group of Ventura, CA has once again made
a helpful report on the views of Americans with respect to
some of the most familiar stories from the Bible. Six Bible
stories were presented to the research group, with the
following summary results: on Jesus rising from the dead,
75% accepted it as literally true, with only 19% feeling it is
not literally true; on Daniel in the lion den, 65% found it
literally true; on Moses parting the Red Sea, 64%; on David
fighting Goliath, 63%; on Peter walking on water, 60% and
on God creating the world in 6 days, 60%. Those responses
are encouraging, but there is a tendency to reject accepting
the truth of the stories as meaningful in the life of a person.
In words taken from the Barna conclusion, "Sadly, for many
people, the Bible has become a respected but impersonal
religious history lesson that stays removed from their life."
This is not a presidential campaign story, but Lynne
Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, has discovered
that her husband and Barack Obama are related – not closely,
but actually 8th cousins. The common ancestor is Mareen
Devall, an immigrant from France. Mrs. Cheney discovered
the relationship – which has to be described as strange –
while she was doing research for her book, "Blue Skies, No
Fences," which describes her growing up in Wyoming.
George Washington on influence of foreign powers:
"But if we are to be told by a foreign power what we shall
do and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet
to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little." --
George Washington in a letter to Alexander Hamilton, 1796.
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