Got your flag and your blue beret? My helpful calendar says today is United Nations Day. I guess we're supposed to salute capitulation in the face of violence, protection of corrupt dictators and surrender of national sovereignty.
I'd prefer a celebration of United Nations Day in which we say goodbye to the useless passel of bureaucrats, kick them out of the United States and let them go plague the Hague.
Politics in pulpits
Speaking of plagues on our existence, did you see the story in the paper the other day about how shamelessly the Democratic candidate for president and his running mate are campaigning from the pulpit of predominantly black churches?
The story also noted, by the way, that support for President Bush has steadily risen in the African-American community. Coincidence?
Actually, my guess is Bush is gaining because he has overwhelming support from the military, and blacks make up a higher percentage of the military than they do the general population.
Traditionally, black churches have been a hotbed of political activity, but it goes too far when politicians get in the pulpit and preach the gospel of their election. Such political proselytizing rarely happens in white churches, and when it does it's cause for lunatic-level condemnation by the usual suspects for violation of "separation of church and state."
That's a complaint you never hear when a politician is behind a black church's pulpit -- mostly because no one wants to get called "racist" for pointing out the hypocrisy.
Right on time for this issue, politics and religion will be the subject of a forum 7 p.m. Monday in the Washington Hall Cafeteria at Augusta State University, featuring representatives from several local churches and religions.
Interestingly, the ASU announcement of the event makes note of the pulpit "recently" coming to the "center of political issues."
"For example," the note says, "the Republican Party has begun an aggressive campaign to identify 'friendly' congregations and encourage conservative Christians to vote in their favor. Some members of the clergy have even spoken out from the pulpit against the Democratic nominee."
Thus, ASU's Political Science Club is holding the forum "in response to the growing role of religion in politics."
Did you notice? The role is "growing" only because conservatives have gotten into the act. Where were these indignant little inquests when liberals dominated the pulpit?
Help for Hackett
Churches should be dominated by prayers, not politics, and one person who continues to need lots of prayers is Stephanie Hackett.
The former director of community activities for Columbia County's Chamber of Commerce is in rough shape after a round of cancer surgery this past week, according to her mother, Sandra Rountree. She was practically hollowed out by the surgery that found far more cancer than the doctors expected.
News-Times' correspondent Debbie Steele has kept up with the family, and says "Please remember that the Stephanie Hackett Cancer Medical Fund has been established and donations can be made at any Regions Bank, although it is preferred that contributions be made at the Furys Ferry Road branch. There is also a Web site set up, stephaniehackett.org, where more information can be obtained.
"Individuals wishing to assist the family with meals or day care are asked to contact Alexa Meyer at 613-1140. Ms. Meyer is a member of Journey Community Church, where the Hacketts attend, and (she) is setting up a schedule for those wishing to help.
"And, the greatest need right now is prayers!"
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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