Father Bob Cushing has worked awfully hard to prepare his church, St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, for their pending move to Columbia County.
The church bought the defunct driving range and golf teaching center on Columbia Road a couple of years ago, and will soon move there from its current site just across the county line on Pleasant Home Road.
The last few days have been anything but pleasant for Cushing, however, and now we hear he won't be coming to Columbia County after all.
All the trouble started with the recent Chronicle story on the religion page, when Cushing gave new voice to the term bleeding-heart liberalism. He's going to Japan on Saturday, he says, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He'll also continue a relationship with a now-76-year-old man wounded in the World War II-ending bombing.
And he's going to apologize for the United States dropping the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Well. Somebody forgot to tell Father Bob that the bombs that ended World War II, saving far more Japanese and American lives than they took, were created with research that has for decades been part of Savannah River Site.
Yep, the place old timers call The Bomb Plant.
It's bad enough that Cushing would thoroughly anger every single World War II veteran in the Augusta area - and, tragically, there are far too few of them left to get angry - but he's also stepped on the toes of the vast numbers of nuclear-age workers whose jobs helped our community to grow.
(Remember: That threatening letter sent to Bob Pedde, the Westinghouse executive who announced the 400 SRS layoffs, wasn't a love note; someone is risking federal prison to express their anger at the cutbacks.)
My opinion? Several years ago, I mail-ordered a pair of silver earrings for my wife from the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque, N.M. The earrings are in the shape of Fat Man and Little Boy, the A-bombs dropped on Japan. (She thinks they're tacky, and won't wear them. I don't understand.)
Don't bother to try to buy some like it; they pulled them off the shelves. It seems a group of Japanese tourists had been through the museum, and while browsing the gift shop were offended at the bomb-shaped earrings. (I'm sure someone has already apologized to them, so no need to alert Father Cushing.)
This whole exercise of "apologizing" for distant, perceived grievances is wallowing in needless, pointless guilt, akin to the U.S. Senate's recent apology for slavery. If it was a slave owner apologizing to a slave, that would be valid; but the far-removed descendants of some slave owners apologizing in general terms to people who have never even met an American slave? Give me a break.
Confession and apology are good for the soul. But accepting blame for things for which you aren't responsible seems a lot like horning in on Jesus' territory. Surely a priest knows better than that.
The world is a far better place because our team nuked Japan and defeated it 60 years ago. It would be even better if we had nuked Iraq in Gulf War I. But the national, wimpy timidity that grew between those wars has created the atmosphere in which good, well-meaning men like Father Cushing can honestly believe they'll bring peace to the world by folding paper cranes and groveling.
We won't have the opportunity to welcome Father Cushing to the Columbia County community. And we sure won't apologize for missing it.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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