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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

Advent - 40 days to Christmas        Monday, November 15 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

What it's not

Though we've looked at theoretical thought from many angles, it occurs to me that the main thrust of the inquiry hasn't been adequately emphasized. That is: We need to learn to think theoretically so we can begin to comprehend the theoretical thinking of others. If you've ever said "that's too dense for me to understand," it's more likely traceable to a lack of training of your thinking processes rather than your native intelligence. I believe that a "theoretical thinker" with a lower IQ can go farther than a naive thinker with a higher IQ.

I copied down some "naive thinking" last week in a letter to the editor I found in a newspaper online site. That letter writer makes arguments that I've been seeing in pro-Kerry and anti-Bush columns and letters since the election. I'm putting my comments after the letter, matched to the reference numbers in red:

George Bush stole the election not once, but twice. The second time by pandering to the religious right.(1) The president of the United States is supposed to be the leader of all Americans who are made up of many different religions.(2) In his eyes the people who are regular churchgoers are supposed to be the good people.(3) How about others who may be just as religious but don't flaunt it like the one in the White House?(4) He convinced those same people that to be gay is a sin and should be looked down upon.(5) During the debate when he was asked about people who are gay, and his answer was that he thought it might be by choice.(6) Then they(7) pounced on Kerry for bringing up Cheney's daughter. Why didn't Cheney and his wife become angry with Bush for making his remark?(8) I dread what is ahead with this "strong" Republican leadership. They also use the word liberal as a derogatory expression.(9) Father Bush started this when debating Dukakis. If the Republicans look in the Webster dictionary they might want to be called liberal. The following definitions are: broad-minded, warm-hearted, open-minded, free from narrowness, bigotry or bondage, high character, a free and generous heart, any person who advocates liberty of thought, speech or action and one who is opposed to conservatism, distinguished from radical. (10)

Here are some of the points at which this letter misses the "theoretical thinking bullseye":

1. Several articles in the press, including the Washington Post, no pro-Bush medium, made the point only days before the election that President Bush hardly ever speaks about details of his religious commitment. I saw no articles saying that he appealed to his "core voters" on such details (and as the moderator of the Christian News and Media Portal, I am always on the lookout for such reports).

2. The President has made many assurances to members of all American religions, and to Muslims in particular, beginning with his remarks immediately following 9/11. Though his "core voters" are supposedly evangelical Protestants, he visited the Vatican in the past year and his campaign specifically appealed for support among Jewish voters and, by all accounts, increased the support from both Jewish and Catholic voters this time compared with 2000. An academically trained thinker would refer to these claims before trying to dispute them.

3. Where does this opinion come from? No Christian would hold the view that "the churchgoers are the good people." To any serious Christian, the church is a hospital for the sin-sick, not a country club for God's elite. An analytical thinker would know and recognize this. If the writer really believes the President isn't a Christian, he or she should say so and make a case for such an opinion.

4. See answer 1. Where has the President "flaunted" his religion, except to mention it in answer to questions on interview shows and in debates?

5. Anyone who has read the Bible knows that it (not the President) labels gayness (defined as advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle and social action programs) as sin (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 6:8-10). If the writer has evidence that the President has ever said this (which I strongly doubt), much less convinced anyone else of it, I—and any other analytical thinkers who might be reading—would like to see some evidence.

6. What he said when asked whether he considered homosexuality a choice or an innate condition, was "I don't know." Even many in the gay press and homosexual academics agree that no one knows the answer to this question or whether one answer fits all.

7. They?

8. Which remarks did he make that should have angered the Cheneys? That he doesn't know the origin of homosexual orientation, or that he can support civil unions while opposing the redefinition of marriage?

9. From a conservative perspective, political liberalism is against just about everything conservatives want for our country; how could they not consider it a pejorative?

10. Most conservatives have been stressing for at least a generation that the classic dictionary definition of "liberal" better describes today's conservative Republicans than the Democrats. President Reagan made this claim many times (that the Democrats left him, not that he left them, and many of his admirers love to repeat it).

Again, this isn't intended to reopen pre-election hostilities or to hold up this particular letter as especially odious; highly paid columnists have been no less off the mark in similar outbursts of frustration over losing the election. It is intended only to illustrate what I mean as the difference between theoretical thought and naive thinking..

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Signs of our times

On a plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."

Sent by Trudy Myers  

Advent Thought for today

O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light, and Where there is sorrow, joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi, 1182-1228  

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