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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
            Monday, February 24 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterCulture wars

Here I go again, as President Reagan used to say, often tongue in cheek. Here I am taking up a controversial topic again after swearing off controversy for its own sake. But what with all the anti-war and pro-attack rhetoric being promulgated I seem drawn back and back again to this week's topic. So as a compromise I'm going to pledge to do my best to deal with this controversial topic as "noncontroversially" or at least as "unconfrontationally" as I can. Rather than being emotional and passionate, let me try being objective and reflective. And then as an encore, let me try to hold your attention for a couple, three, or more such postcards.

Though some may think "culture wars" is something invented by erstwhile Presidential candidate and more regular news columnist Pat Buchanan, who uses it frequently, the idea is much more deeply rooted in our generation's history. I remember well that in his early years as the quintessential Protestant evangelist, Dr. Billy Graham began just about every sermon by describing a culture war between good and evil, images that resonate in the speeches of President Bush since 9-11 and the declaration of war against terrorism. Good and evil may be the two cultures in conflict. Even Jesus said, in the Sermon on the Mount, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword," (Matthew 10:34).

Some, especially since the 9-11 horrors, think and/or fear that the cultures soon to be clashing are a post-Christian western culture and a jihad-inspired middle east and eastern Islamic culture. If you've kept track of what's going on in India and among its neighboring countries, you might think it will break out between Muslims and Hindus, or a strange alliance of western "Christians" and Indian Hindus against the Muslim world. Either of these scenarios might presage what, many fear, may be the war to end wars, Armageddon as foretold in the Apocalypse/Book of Revelations.

Others look to clashes between political liberals and political conservatives as the culture war that's most pressing in American society. Many university scholars who'd rather not think in black and white categories like good vs. evil might be more comfortable talking about the clash between modernity and traditional views of life. I personally (though not alone in this) would prefer to think the real clash is between theists and humanists.

I suppose some will say that all of these are slices of the same culture-war conflict pie, especially if you eliminate the Christian vs. Muslim one, the one thing among these that doesn't look the most like the others. Now I have some explaining to do, which is enough of a start for a week's topic. This could even go longer than this week's three entries, into some "extra innings," so to speak.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 Word play (last of series)

26. When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
27. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.
28. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
29. Acupuncture is a jab well done.
30. Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of defeat.

—Sent by Carl Essex

Thought for the day

The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are right.

—Mark Twain

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