For the past several weeks, there has been a nauseating email circulating whose content is credited to conservative lawyer, writer, and game show host Ben Stein
. Here is the email:
Statement by Ben Stein (a must read)
If they know of him at all, many folks think Ben Stein is just a quirky actor/comedian who talks in a monotone. He's also a very intelligent attorney who knows how to put ideas and words together in such a way as to sway juries and make people think clearly.
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary, Sunday, 12/18/05.
Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart: I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. Theynever know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important?
I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.
Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are.
If this is what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu.
If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?
I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and JaneClayson asked her "How could God let something like this Happen?" (regarding Katrina)
Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.
And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How demand He leave us alone?"
In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school . the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK. Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW." Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.
I finally couldn't stand it anymore and replied to it. Here is my reply:
It does make you think...
Only a culturally isolated person wouldn't know that Lindsay Lohan--despite her undersirable personal life--is a gifted young film actor. It's not a big deal, but it also indicates that someone is out of touch with popular culture, which is nothing to brag about.
And of course it doesn't bother Stein that people call Christmas trees Christmas trees, since, duh, that is what they are. Of course, they were not always Christmas trees, since they were decorated before the birth of Christ, but they have been Christmas trees for hundreds of years. They are not, as his writing implies, some more general type of symbol that has been hijacked by Christians.
It doesn't bother Stein to see a creche on display in a public area, but Stein does not speak for all Jews, or for Muslims or Hindus or Unitarian/Universalists or Agnostics or Atheists or Christians who support separation of church and state. He wants a Menorah a few hundred yards away, which is fine, but that means he must be willing to permit symbols of all religions to be displayed in public, something the U.S. government and most state governments have fought hard to prevent. Only recently, the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq had to fight to get her husband's religious symbol placed on his headstone.
"But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to." Does he mean the America with separate lunch counters, restrooms, and schools? The America in which wife-beating and raping were not investigated by the police because they were "domestic matters"? The America in which a woman couldn't buy property without her husband's permission? The America in which gay citizens were pulled out of private clubs and thrown into prison? Perhaps he means the America in which people of Stein's religion could not join country clubs. Or the America in which girls who attempted to enroll in law school and medical school were harrassed by faculty and students to the point of having to drop out. Or the America in which killing a black person got you an inconvenient time in court and no time in jail. Maybe he means the America in which employers were not required to have even the the most basic safety standards for their employees. Or the America in which a woman with a college degree and experience could not get a job that a man with a high school education and no experience could get. Or how about the America in which highly toxic substances could be dumped into the water system to poison our children for generations?
Saying that he cannot find where it says that America is an explicity atheist country is the absolute worst in logical fallacies because no one said it was. Prohibiting a state religion not only is not saying the U.S. is an athiest country, but rather, the opposite.
Blaming Madeleine Murray O'Hare (a loopy fundamentalist, by the way) for terrorism and school shootings is on par with blaming feminists for the September 11 attacks (which Jerry Falwell did). O'Hare, however, despite her limited cognitive abilities, still did the right thing by asking that public education not be mixed with religion. That is an American value.
Benjamin Spock's son did not kill himself. He is as alive as I am. That rumor was started by people like Ben Stein because they cannot stand to think that someone who understands child development might know more than they do about raising children. Why anyone would ever hit a child is beyond us; there is a reason America is one of the most violent countries in the world.
Children who "have no conscience" are not antisocial because their parents didn't hit them. Most of them are that way because their parents modeled it by example. Hearing parents talk about fags and niggers, seeing parents drink too much and hit each other, knowing parents cheat on taxes and steal from the workplace, finding out parents have extramarital affairs, watching parents commit insurance fraud and drive over the speed limit--that is what children learn. And then there are the sons of antisocial fathers, who have been proven to be genetically inclined to be antisocial themselves.
But most of all, children grow up to hurt others because their parents hit them, humiliated them, put them down, played head games with them, abandoned them, and molested them.
"Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says." Stein can speak for himself; we believe little of what we read in most newspapers because we know that it has been filtered and edited to death. And we defy anyone to find one single American who does not question what the Bible says. If people did not (appropriately) question what the Bible says, they would all be living like ancient Jews, and they are not. They are not obeying Jewish food and bathing laws. They are not practicing animal sacrifice. They also are not on the street giving their money to the poor; rather, the majority of them are railing against the poor.
Ben's Stein's mad ravings should indeed make you think.