Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | October 14, 2008

Puh-lease: humility, humanity, and headlines

“I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day.” ~ Rev. Arnold Conrad, past pastor of the Grace Evangelical Free Church, at a John McCain rally on Saturday

This prayer was one of several items that had me shaking my head, rolling my eyes, and uttering a two-syllable puh-lease recently.

In order of importance, here’s what offended me about Conrad’s prayer:

• ‘Hindu’ is not a god, it’s a term for a follower of Hinduism. It does not take lots of smarts, sophistication or effort to discern the difference. How would Rev. Conrad like it, I wonder, if someone talked about Conrad praying to Protestant? Conrad might find such a person to be ignorant or disrespectful. Or maybe he’d just roll his eyes in pity or disgust.

• Conrad seems to think that the “bigger” god in whom he claims to believe needs his advice. I can only conclude that Conrad must either think very little of his god or Conrad must think an awful lot of himself. Either way, my reaction is the same: Puh-lease.

• The AP said that Conrad’s prayer “appeared to dismiss faiths other than Christianity and cast the election as a referendum on God himself.” This is a prime example of why our Founding Fathers established this nation with separation of church and state and why we must work diligently to protect it.

•••

Dispatch columnist Cynthia Walker’s recent column opposing Proposition 2, which would require “that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely,” had me shaking my head.

Before deciding to oppose Prop 2, Walker talked to chick salesman Fred and retired chicken farmer George. Paraphrasing, they told her that chickens are dumb critters that are happy to be kept in extreme confinement. Walker didn’t talk to anyone about the humane treatment of calves and pregnant pigs.

Walker shared Fred’s claims that Prop 2 would dramatically increase California eggs prices, forcing us to import cheap eggs from Mexico and the Midwest.

Sounds compelling, except that after a similar law passed in Arizona, the egg, veal and pork industries didn’t flee that state. And Mexico doesn’t raise many chickens because it can’t grow much chicken feed, as even Prop 2 opponent Dan Sumner concedes. And a University of California study [PDF] predicts that Prop 2’s passage would cause the cost of eggs to increase by less than a penny each.

Pardon my eye roll.

Take Walker’s secondhand advice from Fred and George about the humane treatment of chickens and completely ignore the issue of humane treatment of calves and pregnant pigs? Puh-lease.

Instead, I’m remembering Jesus’ parable teaching that we are judged by how we treat the least among us and voting yes on Prop 2.

•••

Many reactions to a recent Morgan Hill Times article noting downtown’s many empty storefronts show a naïveté that makes me roll my eyes, including these letters to the editor:

• “Many of our merchants are angered and outraged by the story. … We encourage the Morgan Hill Times, as a downtown business, to be more supportive of the downtown and less disparaging. Gloom and doom headlines certainly don’t help. We need the Morgan Hill Times to be a part of making downtown a wonderful place to be, not a detractor,” wrote former Mayor Dennis Kennedy, Lesley Miles and Jorge Briones of the Morgan Hill Downtown Association.

• “Making downtown sound abandoned and negative does not help any of us,” wrote Sabrina McClain, owner of the oddly capitalized THE annex, a downtown furniture store.

News flash: The Times’ job is not to cheerlead; its job is to report the news. The struggling downtown certainly qualifies as news that the newspaper’s readers need to know.

When the newspaper, residents or leaders stick their heads in the sand about any topic – downtown, crime, schools – problems get worse, not better.

Complain that a newspaper reports the news? Puh-lease.

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Responses

  1. […] the issues, on the merits I’ve written a lot lately about choosing candidates based on their merits, based on their positions on the […]


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