Tags: This | Why | Have | Problem | With | Organized | Religion

This Is Why I Have a Problem With Organized Religion

Friday, 20 April 2001 12:00 AM

Walton High School is in East Cobb County, an Atlanta suburb. Every year WHS has its baccalaureate ceremony at the Mount Bethel United Methodist Church. That may be about to change, though, because WHS parents are looking for another venue. Here's why.

This year the baccalaureate address is scheduled to be delivered by Rabbi Steven Lebow. Yeah, you heard me right: "rabbi." Some of you have already picked up on this, some maybe not, but Lebow – being a rabbi and all – is Jewish.

Lebow plans to talk to the students about values, family and faith in God. Not a bad combination of ideals. But it looks like Rabbi Lebow isn't going to get to deliver his message unless another place is found. It seems that "Rev." Randell Mickler, the Mount Bethel pastor, hath spoken from on high and hath decreed, "Verily I say unto you that this non-Christian will not be permitted to speaketh to the WHS graduates on account of he don't believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ."

Actually, what Man of God Mickler said about fellow Man of God Lebow is that he will not be permitted to give his address because of "his Jewish beliefs." Oh, and Mickler added this: "To have a person who is a nonbeliever of Christ is, in a sense, dishonoring Christ."

Note, please, that Rabbi Lebow spoke at a similar ceremony last year at the Johnson Ferry Baptist Church – just down the road. The Baptists win the tolerance competition this time.

So, Mickler speaks of "dishonoring Christ"? I would say that that label belongs to the Christian here, not the Jew.

So today is the second anniversary of the Columbine school shootings. It's the second anniversary of a day when two miscreants shot up their school and then ended their own sorry lives.

And now we have the anti-gunners pointing to Columbine and telling us we need more gun laws, or else we'll see more Columbines. Groups including Handgun Control Inc., the Million Mom March, and the Children's Defense Fund are pressing Congress to make criminal background checks mandatory at gun shows nationwide. And Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman are gearing up to propose not only background checks but also a waiting period on purchases made at gun shows.

Widespread ownership of guns is part of the reason our crime rates have dropped to their lowest level in 30 years. More Americans are licensed to carry concealed weapons. What does a background check at a gun show accomplish? Very little. The BATF already requires dealers who sell guns at gun shows to do background checks on their customers. Private transfers of guns between individuals require no background check – and the number of privately transferred guns that turn up in crimes is very, very small. And many private sellers already take precautions by only selling to buyers with a concealed-carry permit – which means the buyer has already been checked out by the police.

What does a waiting period on gun show purchases accomplish? It prevents law-abiding Americans from obtaining access to the tools that could save their lives. What happens if Joe Q. Public buys a gun at a show and then has to fend off an attacker while he's waiting to take delivery on that gun? Or the woman who wants to have a gun for protection against her estranged husband? Is she going to call him up and say, "Don't come over for the next three days while I'm waiting to buy a gun"?

It was those two sickos who did the shooting at Columbine – not the guns. So why are Columbine survivors, parents and gun-grabbing groups ignoring this fact? They're irrational and emotional. If they had an ounce of reason in their heads they'd see that their efforts to restrict Americans' access to guns are a step in the wrong direction.

Several months ago Sean Hannity and I went at it on his television show on the issue of the war on drugs. If you really want to get this cutie worked up, just mention that you think the nonviolent drug offenders should be turned out of our jails and this absurd and un-winnable war halted.

My listeners tell me that Sean got worked up on this subject again this week when a guest suggested that actions should not be considered a crime unless you can locate a victim.

Come on, Sean! Hey, I know you read these notes! It's time for you to decide just who owns you. If you claim ownership of yourself, then why are you so eager to cede to the Imperial Federal Government the authority to decide what you do and how you treat yourself? To say that government has a role in this decision is to surrender ownership, in whole or in part, of your body to the police power of the state.

Can't have it both ways, pal!

Let me tell you about the irrationality of the government's war on drugs.

Since 1998, there's been a law on the books that requires college students to disclose drug convictions on the main application for federal financial aid. If a student has been convicted of possessing or selling an illegal drug, the law says he can't receive any federal grants, loans or work assistance for at least one year following the conviction.

While Bill Clinton was in office, the Department of Education allowed applicants to skip the question on the application. But the Bush administration has decided to enforce the law – and so now students have to tell the government if they've been convicted of possessing or selling drugs.

There's the problem. The question only deals with drug convictions. According to Students for Sensible Drug Policy, if you've committed other felonies like assault, rape or murder, you can still receive financial aid. One conviction for a nonviolent drug offense, though, and you may as well kiss that financial aid goodbye.

We have tens of thousands of people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses. The government spends billions of dollars each year trying to eradicate the drug trade – and in the process, robs you of your rights. And now they're going to stick it to the college students – not the rapists or the murderers, but the ones who want to get high in the privacy of their homes.

Does this make any sense at all to you? Do you see how absurd the war on drugs has become?

George W. Bush can't catch a break from the environmentalists these days.

He decides to spend more time reviewing arsenic rules and catches hell. He decides to pull out of the Kyoto Treaty and catches hell. And he lends his support to an international treaty to phase out 12 of the world's deadliest toxins ... and still catches hell.

The treaty was agreed on by 122 countries last December. It calls for a ban on what's known as the "dirty dozen," including PCBs and the pesticide DDT. It mandates reductions in the byproducts of burning waste and industrial production. These chemicals can cause cancer, damage to the central nervous system, reproductive disorders and immune system disruptions.

All in all, it's a safe move for Dubya. Signing on to the treaty doesn't impact American businesses at all, according to the chemical industry, because the U.S. prohibited or restricted the targeted chemicals years ago. It's just good public relations.

Greenpeace activist Rick Hind isn't satisfied. He called Bush's support of the treaty "very hollow and insincere" because Dubya hasn't called on the Senate to ratify the treaty. Hind also criticized the administration's recent decisions to uphold Bill Clinton's last-minute regulations on wetlands protection and lead.

Remember what I've said before. All those 1960s radical socialists needed a place to go – and they found it in the environmental movement. There they can rail against their capitalist enemies until they're blue in the face.

It won't matter how many concessions Bush makes to the environmentalists. They hate him. They hate him because they don't have his ear like they did with Bill Clinton. So they're going to protest every move he makes over the next four years.

You just can't satisfy these people.

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Walton High School is in East Cobb County, an Atlanta suburb.Every year WHS has its baccalaureate ceremony at the Mount Bethel United Methodist Church.That may be about to change, though, because WHS parents are looking for another venue.Here's why. This year the...
This,Why,Have,Problem,With,Organized,Religion
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2001-00-20
Friday, 20 April 2001 12:00 AM
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