Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Personal Asides: The Christian Right is Looking…Does the Bible Frown on Dirty Stories?...More Spiritual Sons and Daughters…Trivia Answers.

The Christian Right.

“The New York Times” which is hardly an authority on the Christian Right, being an articulate instrument of the secular Left, nevertheless has a political correspondent whose beat is conservatism…and he does pretty well. He is David Kirkpatrick. He reported Sunday that the Christian Right is seeking to find a presidential candidate since it is not impressed with any of the Big 3—Giuliani, McCain or Romney. I have enough connections with this group to know that some fragments are indeed looking. My advice to them—unsolicited as it is—is this: Don’t be too choosy or picky…disqualifying this and that candidate because he is insufficiently conservative, or has freckles or said something heretical at a church picnic in 1974. Keep this up and you’ll be out in the cold. Don’t get the Big Head and think that the Electoral College is your oyster. It is not. You’d better settle on somebody who’s in the major leagues rather than fool around with the also-rans: Brownback, Huckabee and Hunter. They may be ideologically better than others but the issue is not going to be embryonic stem cells or anything like it in 2008, no matter how much we wish it to be.

The issue will be national security. I’ll bold-face it: national security…how to protect this nation from a wild and woolly world out there. The fact remains that if we lose the Iraq War, this world and this nation will be a lot more dangerous for us, our children and grandchildren. So, social conservatives, keep on being choosy on the minutiae and you’ll end up either with a candidate who can’t get elected or by withholding your favor foul up the Republicans a candidate who is deprived of a majority—allowing either one of their Big Three—Clinton, Obama or Edwards—to get in. No one was more critical of Bob Dole in 1996 than I. But here’s Dr. James Dobson telling the Council for National Policy in prideful terms that he voted for a third-party candidate for president that year because Dole was insufficiently conservative. He must have been thanked profusely by the Abortion President, Bill Clinton for that act of woolly headed non-political sagacity. Smart guy that Dobson. He showed `em all right.

The idea that because one hasn’t been a pro-lifer since Roe v. Wade he is disqualified is sophomoric. Ronald Reagan signed the most permissive abortion law in the nation; George H. W. Bush was known as “rubber George” for his strong support of federal contraceptives and abortion rights. Just go ahead and pick some Arkansas hayseed who lost 110 lbs in a year or and is a palavering evangelical preacher or a Kansas Reagan imitator and when you lose the whole thing to Madame Clinton you can repent at leisure. Grow up, social conservatives. We’re not back to the early `80s where, having elected a pro-life president, we were throwing our weight around on how we would end legal abortion: shall it be an amendment banning it altogether or an amendment which would send it to the states? Well, with all that bravado we didn’t have the troops to submit even the weakest amendment. We had arrogant leaders who were blacklisting future candidates including that whacko Richard Viguerie drawing up a list of disqualified candidates, including vetoing somebody because in college he voted for a radical as president of the freshman class.

Already this loud-mouth who attacked Reagan for being insufficiently conservative, who has profited more monetarily than most social conservatives through his mailing lists has disqualified those who are not for building an anti-immigration wall…and others are saying that unless a candidate is protectionist he should not be supported. Don’t they get it? The issue is not about these things: it is about national security and who is best equipped to win the Iraq War and keep us vigilant at home. Look around at the whole field but don’t get so picky that you end up endorsing Ron Paul whose loss in the primaries will make you feel so principled…and alone.

The Bible.

Now that I got that off my chest, here’s a trivia question for those who know the Bible. No search engine allowed. Does the New Testament frown on the telling of scatological or dirty or tasteless stories? If so, where? Can you call the appropriate verse or verses? If you sneak a compendium of quotations to cheat on this, you’ll hear a mighty rumbling from somewhere up above. Frankly, telling improper stories is my secret failing—the more scatological the better—and a sin I’ll to kick this Lent.

More Spiritual Children.

Spiritual Daughter. Mary Hobbes, a nurse with a radiant, smiling face like a Botticelli angel, a former Franciscan nun who is the dedicated therapist at the St. Benedict’s Home where the nearest I had to a brother, my cousin, Fr. George Helfrich, my same age, lived and who was the one he wanted at his bedside when dying…the only one beside his brother. Nope, he didn’t want me. But I wouldn’t want me bedside either. Hobbes indeed resembles an angel if she is not indeed one who was sent to earth to provide comfort. She’s back ministering to others at the St. Benedict Home, eaking out a living on the peanuts the archdiocese pays while it overpays Jimmy Lago (Jimmy is his real first name), the lord Chancellor.

Spiritual Son. Terry Przbylski, onetime suburban newspaper writer and editor, thoroughly profound follower of politics; great accordion virtuoso; gifted prose stylist; expert on Polish-American history, a Michigander and wholehearted critic of contemporary journalism.

Spiritual Daughter. Kathy Salvi, excellent adviser and wife to Al, mother of a great family, dedicated leader of Opus Dei, excursionist to the Beijing population conference years ago when traveling there meant great sacrifice and some danger; gallant candidate for the Republican nomination for 8th district Congress.

Spiritual Son. David McSweeney, youngish (barely in his 40s) brilliant investment banker who exhibited a superb range of expertise on all the issues affecting the Congress during his whirlwind race against Melissa Bean, the incumbent, who was a sorry match for him.

Spiritual Son. David Dring, 30ish press secretary to state House Republican Leader Tom Cross whose issue familiarity and expertise with media is truly outstanding and unrivaled with a thorough acquaintanceship across the state that is edifying.

Spiritual Son. Nicholas Hahn III, head of a conservative group of students at DePaul who are out to change the flaccid university to truly become what it advertises itself to be: Catholic. And at the same time, leading the fight to give conservatives an equal hearing on campus. Young, 19, articulate and a born leader…a future top-notch lawyer…he is in his second year as a lay missionary for Catholicism and conservatism at a heathen, hedonist university whose president and board tolerate and endorse Queer Studies: 101 and who should be ashamed of themselves for selling out…while the archdiocese looks the other way and a so-called paragon of Catholic education, American archbishop John Miller, stationed in Rome and known for his homiletics on true Catholic education is timid, hiding under the rug and doesn’t even answer his mail. Tell me, where do they find paper shufflers like Miller? And how do we find more brilliant young men like Hahn?

Trivia Answers.

The perceptive Freiderich March got the answer to the first question where the guy standing next to me in a restaurant Men’s Room said he saw me on C-SPAN and enjoyed my remarks about foreign policy. He thought I was Lawrence Eagleburger the roly-poly, jowly former secretary of state. He was first; D. J. Skraggs was next. And old friend Frank Nofsinger got the second one—where the guy believed I was the late Lawrence O’Brien who was chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the break-in at his Watergate office, asking what I thought the crew expected to find in my office. Congratulations. And thanks to my cranky neighbor Eric Zorn for his correction on my punctuation.

In 1972 when I was 44, still roly-poly with reddish hair and jowly, I was in Washington, D. C. and hired a sleek, black stretch limousine to pick up my boss, the CEO of Quaker, at the Madison Hotel, driven by a chauffeur with cap with me sitting in the back seat reading the “Washington Post.” The car swept up to the hotel entrance during that era when negotiations were underway to end the Vietnam war. A dark-haired young woman cried out, “Look! There’s Dr. Kissinger!” I disembarked, held up two fingers in a victory sign and said in my best Germanic accent: “Negotiation iss the key!” was kissed lastingly on the mouth by the self-same, emotionally overstressed woman (a not too bad experience, actually) and strode into the hotel to small clapping of respectful applause. My boss who was waiting inside the door said, “well, what was that all about?”


  1. I agree that national security will be the issue in '08, but unfortunately for those Republicans and conservatives heavily invested in GWB/Cheney/Rumsfeld, the public tide will be anti-Iraq War.

    This means the only hope for Republicans will be Ron Paul--or Chuck Hagel, should he jump in. All the others are lost causes, like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Tom, I also agree with your analysis of James Dobson in 1996--but you could replace Dobson with Roeser and Clinton with Topinka and your story would still ring true. "[You] showed `em all right."

    Last, I can't think of a scripture on "telling" dirty or 'potty' talk, but their is an admonition from the Apostle Paul's epistle to the Phillipians about 'thinking' on the opposite. Chapter 4, verse 8 states, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

    The eloquence of the King James version is magnificent.

  2. The Pharisees were complaining that the Apostles did not ritualy purify their hands before eating. Lord Jesus told them "Nothing one puts in one's mouth makes him unclean. It is what comes out of one's mouth that can make him unclean." Don't remember the verse exactly. Probably from Matthew.

  3. 1. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

    2. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)

    Sorry, I used biblegateway.com. Don't know Bible well enough to answer otherwise. Thanks for asking.