Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Get ready, folks, for a bit more outrage. Dad sent me another "forward" today. I display it here for clarity:

"Something not to laugh about :

If they know of him at all, many folks think Ben Stein is just a quirky actor/comedian who talks in a monotone. He's also a very intelligent attorney who knows how to put ideas and words together in such a way as to sway juries and make people think clearly.
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary:

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart: I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important?

I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are.

If this is what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.

Next 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 creche, 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 Nick and Jessica 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 Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

(Note: from here on the words are not Ben Stein's.)

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 recently) 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?

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."

.... Okay, people, are we ready?

This piece has so much going for it at first. I agree with Mr. Stein's viewpoints up to a point. The whole idea of separation of church and state should not mean that we can't be open about our religious views if we choose to be, and although the crass commercialization of this season has little to do with its spiritual significance, it's a lot of fun and blah blah blah I could go on.

Then, however, it segues, without really indicating that it does so. I added the line between Mr. Stein's words and those of the mysterious writer of the rest of the piece. It was the only thing that I altered, and I did it so that it would be clear that all that stuff about Billy Graham's daughter and so on did not come from Ben Stein.

Like most of the "Christian"-themed forwards I get, almost entirely from Dad, it makes its point about prayer in the schools and how Godless we all are etc etc with a few pithy examples (generally quite subjective) and then mires itself, and presumably you the reader, in its pit of guilt. It dares you to forward this to some other person so that they can see what a bigoted moron you are.

And, um, we get hurricanes because we are bad? I thought it was just that the planet has, like most, its own independent weather system that is not under human control and that events occur with no regard to whether or not they are convenient to us. Or considerate as to where we build our homes or how well we protect them from the forces of nature. To say that God makes catastrophic hurricanes occur "because we are bad" is to say that God is like a petulant child, visiting death and destruction upon innocent children and the like (along with the "bad" members of Louisiana society, say for instance) regardless of how deserving each individual child might be. If God expects us to be morally developed people, with compassion and love for all others whether they deserve it or not, why would He punish the good with the bad? It makes no sense. Please. Shut up.

But here's the line that first made me sit up and start shouting expletives:

"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)."

Okay, so, we should spank our kids because NOT doing so will cause them to suffer devastating mental illness?

It is so many kinds of offensive that anyone would bring up Dr. Spock's son's tragic suicide in an attempt to convince people that corporal punishment is okay.

Even more offensive than that is that Dr. Spock's son did not commit suicide.

Shut up, Dad. Or at least get your facts straight.


Mel said...

I am so sorry that, um... your Dad has such frequent brain farts, especially when it comes to e mailing you.

Did you respond to him?

Impetua said...

I did not. If I were to point out what I find offensive about that email we would have to discuss religion and politics. His wife would just use it as further evidence that I am some kind of weirdo pervert. I can't win.

Plus, I'm just tired.

Liz said...

Ugh, that sstuff he sends you is just so hateful! And you have been so patient with him, you should just block him. If he asks why his e-mails to you bounch you could just play dumb and say "Gee, I don't know dad, maybe you typed my address in wrong."