In Whose Name?

RIP, Peter Falk. I had a two-degrees of separation from you. My teacher, Professor Norris Houghton, discovered you. Loved that rumpled look!

My friend Harvey today sent me a frightening letter to the editor of the Leaf Chronicle. It took some digging, but I located Leaf in Clarksville, Tennessee, the back of beyond northwest of Nashville, almost in Kentucky.

What prompted the letter was a column by Charles C. Haynes who criticized Texas Governor Rick Perry for declaring a Christian day of fasting and prayer, including a revival meeting sponsored by a conservative anti-gay organization. The intent is “national unity,” except that Perry seems to be seeking unity only for conservative Christians: He says in his press release that the gathering will be a “non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting.” Haynes found that Perry was acting outside the norm of days of prayer that fall under the aegis of a governmental organization.

Phillip Chambers took exception to Haynes’s column, saying that to practice any other religion besides Christianity is “going through the motions” and that Jesus represents the only “way to true blessing.” Chambers then defeats his argument by quoting the end of President Kennedy’s inaugural address: “Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing, and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.” No mention of Jesus. In fact, if one includes the sentence and a half that immediately precedes the quote, it is clear that Kennedy meant exactly the opposite: “Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth …” In other words, don’t ask others (that would include Jesus) to intercede for you; the way to true grace is through personal action.

Chambers’ second example is even more egregiously illogical and inconsistent. He quotes the thirty-third Psalm: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Those words were written centuries before Jesus was born! Also the context defeats P.C.’s argument: “and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” That, Mr. Chambers, would be the Jews because the original text was part of the Torah, specifically the Kethuvim, which came into being long before Christianity appeared on the horizon. N.B., Mr. Chambers, much that is in the Psalms is also incorporated into the Koran, the holy book of our Muslim sisters and brothers.

Based on those examples, I would say that the conclusions I draw from your quotes are that 1) action represents the highest calling, especially when it is done asking God’s blessing; 2) any people who acknowledge God  will be blessed.

As Harvey said, “Pardon me while I go through the motions.”

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One Response to “In Whose Name?”

  1. One Wonderful Concert « Lizr128′s Blog Says:

    […] to others to help her. She is living what President Kennedy said about judging us by our deeds (“In Whose Name?”) I hope the world recognizes her […]

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