and OH, YES, THE ELECTION, OR . . . ?

But first, this word from Whitney Hopler, editor of
the "Live It" channel, writing in Crosswalk Update on
April 28: "If you want to make a powerful and lasting
impact on the culture, you’ve got to do more than just
consume it, critique it, condemn it or copy it. .. Tap
into the Gospel’s power to transform culture ... With
God’s power at work to make the impossible gloriously
possible, every culture can be changed for the better."
Ms. Hopler has expressed in a few words the underlying
purpose of the American News Commentary: to share
with our readers some thoughts – hopefully perceptive
ones – on how to tap into the power that is ours as God’s
people and use that power toward improving our culture.

Because of its potential effect on world peace and
on survival of the nation Israel, former president Jimmy
Carter’s ill-advised trip to the Middle-East gets primary
attention. In last week’s issue we said that the adjective
"naive" was among the kindest terms applied to Carter.
This week it went down hill from that level. The Israeli
Ambassador to the United States called him a bigot. Of
the many headlines on news stories about his trip that
appeared this week, here are just two: "Carter’s Visit
Emboldens Terrorists," and "Jimmy Carter Tells One
Story; the Facts Tell Another." Discussions on Capitol
Hill continue as to whether the Secretary of State should
revoke his passport. After his meetings with the Hamas
leadership, Mr. Carter announced that he had secured
promises that Hamas would accept Israel’s right to exist
within the 1967 borders. But Khaled Mashaal with whom
he had met, announced "We agree to a Palestinian state
on pre ‘67 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital with
genuine sovereignty without settlements but without
recognizing Israel." So much for Mr. Carter’s diplomacy;
better he should stay at home and implement God’s word,
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." (Psalm 122:6, NIV)

Charles Dudley Warner, a 19th century editor and
journalist, took Shakespeare’s "Adversity makes strange
bedfellows," revised it slightly, and gave it new life as
"Politics makes strange bedfellows." It well describes
situations which we observe at every election, but there
is a new application this yea r. The proponents of Al
Gore’s "Global Warming" theory have treated the nation
to a series of TV commercials in support of the theory;
in one instance featuring as spokespersons Nancy Pelosi
and Newt Gingrich, and in another version, Al Sharpton
and Pat Robertson. Strange bedfellows, indeed. But no
more strange than the increasing evidence that Mr. Gore
has "sold us a bill of goods," as the old saying puts it. The
first Australian to become an astronaut with NASA, Phil
Chapman, pointed out recently that sunspot activity has
not resumed after hitting an 11 year low, raising fears that
instead of warming, the earth may be heading into a new
Ice Age. The cooling factor during the past year has been
0.7C, the fastest temperature change in the instrumental
record. Concludes Dr. Chapman, "My guess is that the
odds are now at least 50-50 that we will see significant
cooling rather than warming in coming decades." It is
a sad commentary on our nation’s religious life that an
issue like this has become such a major component of
the doctrinal agenda for some nominal "evangelicals."

The election drones on, but the side issues capture
the attention. Next Tuesday the Democrat primary
contest moves to Indiana and North Carolina and the
battle between the two remaining aspirants will resume.
Barack Obama seems to be maintaining a slight lead
over Hillary Clinton in total votes, pledged delegates,
etc. The administratively impotent Chairman of the
Democrat party, Howard Dean, is demanding that the
contenders make a decision by mid-June, with one of
them dropping out, but it appears that the struggle will
continue to the national convention in Denver in August.

The most exciting element to date has been the ranting
(and raving) of Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah
Wright, who this past week praised Louis Farrakhan,
affirmed that Zionism is racism, accused the USA of
terrorism, repeated his accusation that America had
invented HIV-AIDS to eliminate black men and ethnic
minorities, claimed the CIA had imprisoned Nelson
Mandela and stood by his proposition that "God damn
America." On his publicity tour he is accompanied by
a security detail provided in part by the Nation of
Islam. Mr. Wright’s assertions of being a poor, down-
trodden down-trodden black, are somewhat suspect
in view of the $1.6 million retirement home being built
for him, abutting the swank Odyssey Country Club in
Tinley, Illinois. How much his wild accusations will
affect the political fortune of Barack Obama is solely a
matter for speculation, but it remains a fact that Obama
was a member of that church for 20 years, was married
there, and his children were baptized by Mr. Wright. If
"religion" plays any part in the election of our next
president, this current entertainment by Mr. Wright
may have its serious aspects.

And speaking of religion in politics, Speaker of
the House, Nancy Pelosi, has been using what she
claims is a quote from Scripture over and over again.
On Earth Day last week she repeated it again: "The Bible
tells us in the Old Testament, ‘To minister to the needs
of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those
needs is to dishonor the God who made us.’" Several
Bible scholars from every part of the theological
spectrum have been unable to locate such a verse, or
even one for which Ms. Pelosi’s quote might be sort of
a paraphrase. But the Speaker seems to have a unique
view of religion – in her case her choice is Catholicism.
Despite the order from Pope Benedict XVI that any
politician who supports abortion must be denied
communion, during the Pontiff’s recent visit to this
country, Ms. Pelosi and Senator John Kerry, for
example – both ardent advocates of free choice –
were right there to receive communion in the Pope's
presence. It seems to be a matter of tailoring church
doctrine to fit the political situation.

If you would like to receive this newsletter by email,
every Wednesday morning, simply send your request,
along with your email address to our email address:
american_news_2008@yahoo.com Oh, to be perfectly
fair, if you ever want to stop receiving the newsletter,
just send that request to the same address.

Instead of our usual "Founding Fathers" quote,
let’s go back a bit further in history. We’re not much on
reading or quoting Aristotle, but Nancy Salvato, whose
judgement we trust, offers this for our consideration:
"According to Aristotle there are three good systems
of government: monarchy, ‘government by one,’
aristocracy, ‘government by the best ones," and polity,
‘the other two together with the participation of all
the other citizens.’" When the above mentioned systems
of government fail, it is "because they are degenerating;
monarchy into tyranny; aristocracy into oligarchy,
and polity into democracy. ‘Democracy’ is the term
Aristotle uses for what we today would call mob-rule."

And now, some random thoughts ...

Remember Cindy Sheehan? The anti Iraq war
activist who set up camp outside President Bush’s Texas
ranch vowing never to leave there till the war was ended,
and who joined with President Hugo Chavez in
Venezuela in criticizing America? Well, she’s back, and
in the news again. Now she is in the process of filing as
a candidate to oppose Nancy Pelosi in the upcoming
election for her Congressional seat from California. To
obtain the 10,000 signatures to get her name on the
ballot, her supporters are setting up ironing boards
and card tables throughout San Francisco. The often
used term, "worst possible choice," comes to mind.

Want more holidays? Here’s an idea: the Institute
Humanist Studies in New York has proposed a whole
new list of appropriate holidays – such as "Thomas
Paine Day," and "Darwin Day." One can even conceive
of "Madelyn Murray O’Hair Day" for the devoted atheist.
The Institute’s Executive Director, Matt Cherry, has
expressed the hope that Hallmark will produce some
appropriate cards to mark the new holidays.

A little levity goes a long way: with the new IRS
rebate incentive checks in the mail and actually in
some peoples’ hands, these thoughts on how to spend
them have been circulating: (1) If you spend the money
at Walmart it will go to China; (2) If you spend it for
gasoline it will go to the Arabs; (3) If you purchase a
new car it will go to Japan; (4) If you buy fruit and
vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras and
Guatemala . . . etc. The suggestion follows that the
best place to spend it so as to help the American
economy is at yard sales . . . those are some purely
American businesses.

Ever wonder about your news reports? Of
course you have. All too few are "fair and balanced."
Or even honest. Maybe this is why – the Pew Research
Center for the People and the Press released a survey
reporting that only 6% of professional journalists
describe themselves as "conservative" as compared with
36% of the nation’s population. Another aspect of the
report disclosed that only 8% of journalists attend a
church or synagogue weekly. Further, two thirds of
the journalists admitted that their political leanings
impact their reporting. Face it: getting a fair and
balanced – or honest -- report on the day’s happenings
is increasingly difficult, approaching impossible.

And back to the Founding Fathers: From the
Continental Congress, 1787: "I therefore beg leave to
move – that henceforth prayers imploring the
assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our
deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning
before we proceed to business, and that one or more
of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in
that service." – Ben Franklin (Fortunately he didn’t
have the ACLU to contend with.)

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