Archive for August, 2005
Surveys show that professors vote nine to one liberal. And I am willing to bet that many of those who tell the pollster — or their students — they have EVER voted for a non-liberal candidate are just trying to sound “fair.”
There are about a hundred respectable conservative books dedicated to reciting facts, figures and quotes with the theme, “Good gracious, Mommy, colleges are left-wing!”
What if the shoe were on the other foot? What if universities were thinly-disguised CONSERVATIVE seminaries for teaching a rightist faith rather than a leftist faith?
Do you think LIBERALS would be writing books saying, “Oh, goodness gracius, all these sincere liberal professors have a bias!”
They would be saying that the universities were using tax money to push a rightist agenda and this must stop.
They would be on the campuses and in the streets.
The left plays hard ball. The right plays kisseepoo.
A man in a Washington restaurant was choking on a piece of meat. No one knew what to do until a guy said, “Don’t worry. I do this all the time.”
He grabbed the choking man by the testacles and squeezed HARD. The man went “AAAH!” and the piece of meat went flying out of his mouth.
The waiter was deeply impressed. He said, “I’ve never heard of that procedure. Are you a doctor?”
The guy replied, “No. I work for the IRS.”
You remember that famous photograph of Jane Fonda in North Vietnam at an anti-aircraft gun pretending to shoot down American planes with a smile on her face? Everybody has finally gotten upset about it and Fonda herself has apologized for it.
Recently Jane Fonda announced that children in upstate South Carolina were STARVING to death. Her Yuppie friends had said they were not getting enough food stamps, I guess, so she called that starvation.
So when I see that photograph of Jane Fonda at the anti-aircraft gun I see a different picture than other people do.
Within a mile of Fonda at that time she could have seen people who were actually STARVING.
If you have actually seen and SMELLED people starving, you never use that word freely again.
I told my doctor brother that STARVATION had a particular SMELL, and I wondered if I were imagining it. Sure enough, he explained to me that it does have a special smell to it.
I have seen what was left of a village the Communist Idealists have finished with. I have seen and smelled starvation. I have gone across the deadlines of many a Communist country where there are land mines and men with automatic weapons to keep people from escaping the Workers’ Paradise.
And I myself have escaped into irony with terms like “Peace Loving Democratic Republics” and “Workers’ Paradises.”
I deal with respectable conservatives who are as treasonous as any Communist because they want to push the genocide against my race.
And humor keeps me going.
But there is a fury in me. It is a screaming, vengeful creature that wants to get out.
I am a very sensitive person. I am also a warrior who has fought very long and very hard.
I have fought in a world where the most unspeakable, horrible people, people who make Jane Fonda look like a saint, have to be treated with respect. And humor and irony have kept me going, because I HAVE to keep going.
But that is an awfully lot to be going on in the brain of one mere human being. The beast wants to be let out, and the mature, ironic man knows he must keep fighting.
All of which makes me very, very tired.
I have had two nervous breakdowns.
Oddly enough all this encourages me.
There is on person on earth who knows all my many failings, but who also knows that I will fight until the very end. And that is the one person whose approval I really need.
I think I’m a hero.
Devout Christians want to know the history of the Church. But their interest is largely academic.
Devout, undoubting Christians have no doubt about WHY Christianity succeeded. They are sure that it was inevitable. God made it succeed.
But I am 99% atheist. I’m not uncomfortable about that. Jesus praised faith the size of a mustard seed. If most Christians weren’t mostly atheist, Jesus wouldn’t have talked about faith so much.
And it is that 99% of me that finds church history fascinating.
A devout Christian believes that Christianity’s success is very simple: God made it what it is today.
But an atheist believes that this titanic, powerful, ancient institution is built on NOTHING except a total appeal to human psychology.
If you are a student of human psychology, which every practical politician must be, you would be a real idiot not to study this greatest success in human history.
Weekly WhitakerOnline.org Articles
Lord Give Me Strength!
I have pointed out to many people at many times that Political Correctness is a RELIGION, and if we attack it as a RELIGION we can destroy it.
And almost invariably the person I am talking with will say something like, “Well, it is LIKE a religion. It is a very rigid belief system.”
And I say a little silent prayer, “Lord give me strength. Let me remember that this retard is trying to be sophisticated. He knows not what he does. And keep me from committing physical violence against him.”
This dribbling moron, in his desperation to show he knows big words, has justified the entire Political Correctness establishment. He has completely destroyed the whole strategy I laid out.
So I take a deep, deep breath, clinch my shaking hands together and pull apart my fingers that were set to deliver a karate chop to the bridge of his nose, and ask him what the difference between “a rigid belief system” and a “religion” IS.
He never has the foggiest idea. It just sounded real smart. But he has completely missed my point.
Under the Constitution, there is nothing necessarily illegal about government establishing “a rigid belief system.” There is nothing necessarily unconstitutional about the government financing a group of professors who advance “a rigid belief system.”
What the Constitution specifically forbids is an established RELIGION.
If you say something is “a rigid belief system” and not a RELIGION, you have legitimized the whole professor-priesthood.
That is one hell of a price to pay for sounding sophisticated.
I did NOT say, “Political Correctness is LIKE a religion because it is a rigid belief system.” I said “Political Correctness IS a religion because it is a belief system based on FAITH.”
Physics is not a religion because it helps send real rockets into real space. It WORKS. Political Correctness is a religion because it doesn’t WORK. It is based on FAITH. Paying professors who teach a faith is ILLEGAL.
Telling dirty jokes in class is immoral but it is not illegal. Assaulting students is ILLEGAL.
Teaching a rigid belief system at public expense is immoral. Teaching a religion at public expense is ILLEGAL.
Is there any way on earth I can get past this moron’s desperate desire to sound sophisticated to make him recognize the difference between immoral and illegal?
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“In Other Words” Is WRONG
The blithering idiot who is trying to be sophisticated thinks he is just stating what I said “in other words.” That’s a great way to miss the whole point.
My Internet radio program this week can be linked at: Townhall – The Untrained Eye is entitled, “The Silly Ideas We Live By.”
They are each ideas that have caused incalculable suffering, and every one of them started as a sophisticated interpretation of a real fact.
They all sounded harmless and even idealistic when they first came out.
Long ago Americans discovered that some intellectual tools are very useful. You need to learn to read. You need to learn arithmetic. Today no one just learns a skill and stays with it the rest of his life. He must keep learning the newest techniques.
Then came the fatal words, “IN OTHER WORDS, education pays.”
As a direct result of those OTHER WORDS our young people are now serfs to the professor-priesthood. A young person must waste four years of his youth in a university, then he must spend ten years paying off a backbreaking student loan.
But that is only the beginning. After he has paid off the student loan and has spent fourteen years serving the professor-priesthood, this person now in his mid-thirties can begin to think about having a family. But every child he plans to have will be another serf to the professor-priesthood.
So this person in his mid-thirties must begin to save money, not for a home or anything he or his family can use, but for tuition for each of his children, which means he can’t have more than one or two. Tuition is rising astronomically and it already represents a back-breaking burden.
All this happened because of “IN OTHER WORDS” education pays.”
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Other Examples of “IN OTHER WORDS” That Kill
The Constitution of the United States says that this country exists to provide “We the People and OUR posterity” with the blessings of liberty.
So we hear this line every day, “IN OTHER WORDS America is all about spreading Democracy around the world.”
Take a look at the casualty list in Iraq this week if you want to see what that IN OTHER WORDS has cost us.
America was taken away from the several hundred thousand Indians who were still living in the Stone Age by the wave of Indo-European invaders who had earlier conquered Europe. It is now the richest country on earth and, for all the carping we do, the freest country on earth. We destroyed Communism, which enslaved a third of the human race.
And now comes the fatal slogan, “IN OTHER WORDS America is a Nation of Immigrants.”
If I have to explain to you what THAT little IN OTHER WORDS is doing to us, you belong in a retarded home.
Whitakeronline is NOT devoted to “in other words.”
I consider words to be vitally important. I have used weapons and I have used words, and the words have been infinitely more important.
No war hero ever made the slightest difference in real human history. Those who used words have MADE real history.
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Try to Understand The Words I Use
I do not say things so that they can be translated into other words. I work very, very hard to write and rewrite and use words to express my exact meaning. You have every right to reject my advice, but you do NOT have the right to distort it.
Ole Bob am a very, very out-of-date sort of person. He means EXACTLY what he says.
If what I say is wrong, as it often is, you have every right to CORRECT me. Being corrected upsets other people. They called it being embarrassed.
Ole Bob has been wrong too often to be embarrassed by being wrong one more time. Others call it embarrassing, I call it learning something. Good solid corrections are genuinely appreciated and you don’t have to be nice about it.
But I do NOT appreciate interpretations. If YOU believe something, put it in YOUR name. Do NOT say it is what I said unless you are quoting me in full.
As for quoting me in full, the easiest thing in the world is to get permission from me for reprints. You can’t reprint my whole book because a lot of other people have put a lot of effort into it. But even when it comes to that, I am certain that, if you could get more copies out than we can, my team would not only be glad to have you do it, they would help you do it, all free of charge as usual.
My team would make just about any personal sacrifice to get a million copies of my book out there and READ. That fact makes me feel wonderful. It makes me feel great that my words, my own words, are that important to such admirable people. It keeps me going.
I spent two years and rewrote that little book sixteen times. “Rewrote” not “edited” it. I spent thousands of dollars on it.
All that work and a lifetime of experience produced a piece of work a handful of great people are willing to make enormous and unpaid effort to promote.
But remember that all that dedication is to MY words. It is NOT to IN OTHER WORDS.
The geniuses who wrote a far shorter and more important document, the United States Constitution, fought over every single word in it. They did NOT write it so that a bunch of Federal judges could say IN OTHER WORDS and substitute their own opinions for the Constitution.
What the founding fathers said was good enough.
I feel that what I say, over and over and over and over and over and over, things like “Political Correctness IS a religion” is exactly what you need to hear.
You are free to agree with me or disagree with my words. But you have no right to TWIST them.
(Reprinted to Blog from email list of 8/20/05)
*** Bob’s Insider’s Message ***
I was a political appointee of the President, but before and after that I spent time in the regular career civil service.
So when I was appointed by Reagan to the Office of Personnel Management(OPM), another Big Presidential Appointee pulled out the organization chart and showed me how they had come in and reorganized OPM.
I have a reputation for laughing in all the wrong places, but in this case I managed to keep a perfectly straight face.
You see, every time a new administration comes in the professional civil service wants to keep them from rocking the boat. The standard way of keeping them occupied was something we called “playing alphabet soup.”
Every new cabinet secretary is going to Clean Up the Mess in Washington by making everything logical and orderly. So he takes the Office of Career Development (OCD) out of the Directorate of Training (DOT) and moves it to the Human Resources Development Unit (HRU).
Every administration appointee works on shuffling this alphabet soup around far into the night. By the time he has reorganized everything, the dangerous period when the new administration might actually do something has passed, and everybody is settled into Business As Usual (BAU).
It makes not the slightest difference who is in what letters of the organizational alphabet soup. The same high-level career people will be doing the same thing they have been doing for the past twenty years.
This is all well and good, except that people get hung up in trying to follow all the movements of the letters, and respectable conservatives debate the merits of this arrangement vs. that arrangement and argue with liberals over the most minute details of having this agency under that agency and so on, and forget the main point – that the same people are doing the same thing they have always done, and wrecking the country. This last detail seems to escape the notice of almost everyone who is allowed to appear in the media to tell us what is going on.
Getting caught up in following the shuffling is about as useful as playing the “shell game” with one of those con-men on a city bus. And a whole lot more disastrous for the country as a whole.
The reason we are expending the effort to bring you WOL, a radio program, and my book, is that someone needs to call attention to that forgotten detail, the one that everyone seems to have overlooked while following the shuffling.
That is the first line in Tennessee Williams’ play “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
Well, the only person stranger than Whitaker’s blog readers is Whitaker himself. And I depend on the kindness of you folks who are stranger than fiction.
If I write something good, I like you to tell me so. If I write something bad, I need you far, far more to SAY SO. I mean this sincerely: If you don’t call me down, then when I say the same thing out in the cold, cruel world it will cost me, and more importantly, the cause of truth, a great deal.
If a congressman gets caught in a remark that is factually absurd, somebody on his staff is going to pay for it big time. I don’t have any power over you, but I do depend on you in much the same way.
When Ole Bob says he doesn’t mind criticism, he is understating the case by several parasangs. I NEED criticism, and this is the one safe place to get it. If I say something here and you don’t call me down, I can’t fire you, but I sure can be ticked off.
So if you don’t want an old man’s curse to follow you to the grave, weigh in.
Comments on the blog interest me more than what I have to say.
Naturally I hope this is not true for most of my readers, since boring people is a writer’s nightmare. It is my hope that I am just used to what I have been thinking about, so my comments sound to me like more of my same old same old while commenters give a new life to the dialogue.
If I become boring to YOU because my comments start sounding to YOU like more of the same old same old, you owe it to me to tell me so.
There is nothing wrong with the same old same old if it is a consistent point of view applied to interesting new situations. Most of my readers read this stuff to hear Bob’s take on different situations.
But keep me consistent and keep me interesting. There is nothing quite as pathetic as an old guy who keeps saying the same thing over and over and I do NOT want to be that old man.
My blog entry about LOTR being a repeat of the Neibelingenlied led to an interesting little exchange which I quote in full. In this dialogue I answered the first comment, and I will answer H.S. at the bottom.
“You might find this interesting: ‘[Wagner’s] overall religious views are somewhat ambiguous, not in nature or of his devotion, but of what he believed. Wagner was an enthusiast for Jesus Christ, but insisted he was of Greek origin and not Jewish. He also insisted the Old Testament of the Bible had nothing to do with the New Testament, and that the God of Israel was not the same God he believed was the father of Jesus. Wagner criticised the Ten Commandants, claiming it lacked the mercy and love of Christian teachings’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wagner). ”
Comment by Alejandro — 8/15/2005 @ 6:50 pm | Edit This
“Wagner sounds exactly like me.”
“The Old Russian Orthodox Church had exactly the same view of Jesus’ Father versus the Old Testament Jehovah.”
Comment by Bob — 8/15/2005 @ 8:55 pm | Edit This
How “old” do you consider to be “old?” When the communists took over? Before that? The original split from the orthodox creedal belief sets?
Comment by H.S. — 8/16/2005 @ 3:30 pm | Edit This
H.S., I ran across this belief of the “old” Orthodox Church in reading biographies of Peter the Great. That was the Orthodox Church creed when Peter the Great came to power. As you know Peter the Great tried to make everything in Russia conform to Western standards. He even tried to make Dutch the national language.
Peter changed the ritual of the Orthodox Church, but I have been unable to find out whether this particular doctrine, that the Old Testament was completely wiped out by the Coming of Christ, was among the changes he made or whether this came later or if it is still an allowable concept within today’s Russian Orthodox Church.
As usual, any information on this would be appreciated.
I have just been laughing my keester off at me.
Some time back I was actually arguing with texas holdem. I had no idea that texas holdem was a computer that ran off random Wise Sayings to send off as spam to blogs like Whitaker Online.
They struck me as a cut above the usual regurgitations that liberals and respectable conservatives hit me with.
But it put my fans in a really embarrassing situation:
How do you explain, with all respect, that your Great Genius is arguing with a computer?
I am sitting here helpless with laughter.
Laughing at me and feeling sorry for my readers.
It must have been AWFUL for you!
Yes, the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) is a repeat of the Niebelungenlied.
Tolkien was a scholar of Indoeuropean beliefs, and much of what he says in LOTR is a repeat of what Wagner describes in his opera.
What a surprise! One student of Indoeuropean history says what another student of Indoeuropan beliefs said.
Wagner, bless his soul, was a dedicated devotee of Indoeuropean ideas. But when it came to those ideas he was a romantic idiot.
Wagner said Odin gave an eye for love of Freya.
Odin gave his eye to have more KNOWLEDGE. That makes Odin unique among all the gods of every other relgiion. All the other gods already knew everything already or they were after Wisdom.
They considred mere knowledge, merely knowing more factual information, to be the kind of thing a peasant would worry about.
Nobody notices this but me.
What impresses most people is a premise of the Nieberlungen and of LOTR that is totally astonishing to those of us who were raised in the Old Testament tradition.
We have been taught that if anybody has absolute power it means they are absolutely right. Jehovah has absolute power and if you don’t like what he says he will show he is right by damning you forever into eternal despair and agony.
You can’t get righter than that.
Decades ago when I first read LOTR I kept waiting for some hero to take the All Powerful Ring and turn it to Goodness. I was astonished when the final triumph was the destruction of this Ultimate Power.
When I first read LOTR I kept waiting for the Humble Frodo and the Humble Sam to somehow turn the Ultimate Power to good, the good that it had always been at heart.
After all, I had always been taught that Total Power was the same thing as Total Good.
But Tolkien got the Indoeuropean mentality exactly right. To our ancestors, total power meant total evil.
Our ancestors were burned alive for believing that. Nobody worries about them. The only persecution anybody is concerned about is discrimination against the Jews, who were allowed to practice their religion.
Our ancestors are a bunch of ashes. Who worries about ashes?
Tolkien spent his whole life trying to perfect the Silmarillion and to get it exactly right. He was a good Catholic, but he never believed the Old Testament premise that the bully is always right, the idea that if Jehovah is all powerful he must be all good.
Lord Acton, another traditional Catholic, coined the phrase, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
LOTR and the Niebelungenlied are total contradictions of Judeo-Christianity. But I believe they are reaffirmations of the teaching of Christ.
If they aren’t, then I’ll go with the Odinists.
Diamondlike said that what I say boils down to the fact that everybody is right and everybody is wrong. It is a matter of perceptions.
What bothers me about this is that Diamondlike comes so close to an important truth that his failing to get the whole point is dangerous.
If the history of Christianity teaches us anything, it is that those who come very close to the whole truth are far more destructive than those who are simply and obviously wrong.
It is true that we are all human and honest people can be wrong. But if this just boils down to everybody is right and everybody is wrong, we are worse off than we started. This logic leads us to the conclusion that no one is completely wrong. It leads to the conclusion that no one is completely evil.
A person can be purely evil.
Whitaker’s First Law relating to truth (Truth with a capital is ALWAYS the enemy of truth) says that a human being can be altogether evil. It says that a human being can be altogether wrong.
Whitaker’s First Law relating to the truth says that someone who genuinely believes he is perfectly good is sure to be perfectly evil. Such a person is incapable of reason. Such a person is incapable of simple mercy.
The person who has no doubt that he is absolutely right is convinced that he is the only arbiter of what is right, the embodiment of Truth and of Mercy. In the name of his conviction that he is Truth and Mercy Incarnate he becomes the ultimate enemy of simple truth and simple mercy.
Every priest of the Inquisition believed that. Every member of Stalin’s Secret Police believed that.
The person who is convinced that he is the True Intellectual, the Only True Prophet of Truth, becomes the Priest of the Temple.
He is the absolutely, altogether evil.
Not a day goes by when I don’t think about C.S. Lewis’ little book, “The Screwtape Letters.”
That little book is a collection of letters from the Senior Demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood. The letters are advice on how to tempt humans into Hell.
Why do I like it so much? If you spend your life in politics, any good, thoughtful advice on wrestling with the Devil is welcome.
I mentioned below one of the great insights Screwtape had. It was about the sin of gluttony. Screwtape says Wormwood should keep people believing that gluttony is just eating too much. Screwtape points out that gluttony has nothing to do with how MUCH you eat.
The sin of gluttony, the one that gets people into Hell, is ANY obsession with food. The little old lady who sends an overworked waitress back to the kitchen to get her “Just a LITTLE bit of food” is practicing the kind of gluttony Screwtape wants.
Thinking about that, it occurred to me that you don’t have to have sex all the time to be sinful. If you are obsessed with NOT having sex, that is just as good as being a sex addict.
Screwtape points out the person who thinks he is not being a glutton by eating too much will realize why he is faced with the Pit of Hell. But the person who spends his life making life hard on other people because he is obsessed with just the right amount of food thinks he is being an angel. He will be astonished, too late, when he finds out the truth.
Not only do they come to Hell, says Screwtape, but they are more amusing when they get there.
I don’t suppose I have to tell you that if you don’t choose your roommate carefully, you’ll pay for it big time.
The guy I stay with is not judgmental about other people, but he won’t give me a break. Everybody but me has a reason for what they do, but not me. You know the old Army motto, “Be all you can be?”
This guy expects me to be more than I can possibly be.
If I give what he would consider a “reason” from somebody else, he calls it an “excuse” when I say it.
The man calls me names he would never call anybody else. He never completely forgives me when I make a bad mistake.
Many times I would like to kick him out of here, but I can’t.
I live alone.
The Rio Grande is the only place on earth where the first world borders directly on the third world. But our other southern border is interesting too.
Our other southern border is the only place on earth where you go directly from America into Europe.
No, I did make a typo there. When you cross our NORTHERN border into Canada, the states you leave behind, New England and the Northwest, are totally European. There is absolutely nothing American about Canadian attitudes. When you go into Canada going north you are going from one part of Europe into another.
But exactly the same thing is true of the Northwest and New England. Accepted attitudes in Canada are exactly the same as accepted attitudes in Britain and France. But the same thing is true of New England and the Northwest. A New Englander, a Canadian and a Frenchman could sit down and talk and, from what they say, you couldn’t tell who was from where.
Alaska votes conservative Republican. You would play hell finding any other state on the Canadian border which is conservative Republican. As I said below in “One America, Two Europes” there is absolutely no difference in accepted opinion in our “red states” and accepted opinion in Europe, including Canada.
Alaska is American in the extreme. It repudiates the environmentalism which has replaced socialism as the accepted attitudes of Canadians and Frenchmen. Alaska has the highest percentage of members of the National Rifle Association of any state in the Union.
I have no more personal identification with Washington State or New England than I do with Paris, France. And they have less personal identification with me than they do with any non-American anywhere. To them I have nothing to do with “America.” They say loyalty to America has nothing to do with loyalty to Southerners or other Americans.
They say they are loyal not to a particular people but the PRINCIPLES of America. And every principle they are talking about is the total European loyalty to Political Correctness.
No, I said that America’s SOUTHERN border is the only place where America is side by side with Europe. In order to drive to the “lower forty-eight” an Alaskan must cross his SOUTHERN border into Canada.
At that southern border, many Alaskans have been detained because they have Hate Literature in their cars. In Canada as in the rest of Europe, you can be jailed for having Politically Incorrect literature in your car.
As in Europe, you can be jailed for not telling the Thought Police at the border that you have illegal literature in your car. As in Europe, the banned literature is burned and you are billed for the cost of destroying it.
As in the rest of Europe, any weapon you have in your car will be immediately confiscated without compensation. Once again, if you do not tell the Thought Police about the weapon in your car, you are headed straight for prison.
As in the rest of Europe, they have every right to search your vehicle without the slightest authorization from anybody.
So America has two southern borders, both unique in the world. The Rio Grande is the only place on earth where the third world lies directly beside the first world. America’s other southern border is the only place on earth where Europe lies directly beside America.
I have always been fascinated by the history of the Reformation because I, like the Reformers, have always been pitted against the Great Authorities and Established Institutions.
How can one man be right when all the Authorities are wrong?
Many and many a time I feel the same thing Luther felt at Worms when he said to the Emperor, “Here I stand. I can do no other.”
One thing that tripped up the Reformation at its height was the vicious infighting between its leaders. Luther hated Zwingli, the brave leader of Swiss Protestantism who died in battle, with a passion.
Luther said, in my loose translation:
“When my prayers lack passion, I think of Zwingli and the pope, and my fervor returns.”
He apparently hated Zwingli MORE than he hated what he called The Whore of Babylon!
Although the Lutheran Church skips over it, Luther was every bit as much a believer in predestination as Calvin.
I am always subject to correction. In fact, that’s a major reason for the blog. But from my considerable reading of history, Calvin never denounced Luther and Luther never denounced Calvin. Considering how strong their opinions were, that surprises me. Calvin looked upon Luther as the founder, and said repeatedly that Luther’s doctrine was incomplete, but he never denounced him.
I prefer Luther because he had such a giant sense of humor. The man laughed all the time:
“When I break wind in Wittenberg, Rome hears it.”
Luther was raised in the sand hills, just as I was. His father owned a factory, just as mine did, but Luther was raised among the peasants just as I was. He had a giant education, just as I do, but it did not change his fundamental, Bible Belt attitude. He looked the Emperor and the Church Authorities straight in the kisser and said, “That is not what the Emperor says. That’s not what the Pope says. I stand by what the BIBLE says!”
Luther was a man I could get inside of.
On the other hand, I get the distinct impression from his friendliest biographers that nobody could get inside of Calvin. Calvin the man was much, much kinder than his doctrine. He was only responsible for helping execute one heretic in his entire life, though he had a degree of civil authority Luther never held.
But no one ever mentions his ever laughing out loud the way Luther did.
And Calvin was not, as everybody says, “The theocratic dictator of Geneva.” He was not even made a CITIZEN of the place until late in life. It is to Calvin’s discredit that he approved completely of the burning of Severtus, which I mention in my book. It is not true he ordered it. He couldn’t have.
Calvin was probably the greatest theologian who ever lived, but I have little use for theologians. I come from a line that goes back to the Reverend Alexander Whitaker, the son of a Cambridge don who came to America in 1609 “to convert the savage Indians.” This reaches right down to my grandfather who was a circuit-riding country preacher and my sister, who was a Director of Religious Education.
In other words, my tradition is the preacher who begs everybody to come to the front and accept the Lord, not the theologian who is careful to be sure that only Worthy People are allowed into the church.
Calvin stood in the doorway of the church, making sure that only the Worthy came in. Considering his hatred of Zwingli, I am sure Luther did the same thing. But Luther’s image, the laughing welcoming evangelist, is the one I identify with.
“Suffer the little childen to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
It is hard to imagine anyone less like children than the sour-faced Puritans who had a special place in their churches for the even more sour-faced, humorless, elderly Elect.
My approach in politics is the same as my ancestors’ approach to religion:
Get them baptised and get them INTO the church. THEN you teach them what is right. That’s what the church is for.
I am sure a lot of people are a bit bothered by my reaching out to all the wrong people and my making irreverent remarks.
Blame it on my blood line.
When Jesus sat down with the Evil Sinners He probably even LAUGHED with them. That is NOT the Calvinist picture of Christ. The Puritan would have been right there with the self-righteous Temple Jews condemning Him.
We used to have a saying on the brick plant, “We laugh, we joke, but we don’t PLAY.” You do your work and you can crack all the jokes you want to. But jokes are there to make the work go easier. They are never to substitute for the job at hand.
Jesus had a purpose and He had a sense of humor.
Or at least that is what my blood line tells me.