Bill Christensen's Blog
RE: Letting Bill Clinton Off Easy
It may surprise folks a little -- but I largely agree with Marion. In fact, I've been directly involved in getting groups of pro-life activists to change from aggressive and/or offensive messages to communications meant to "provoke reflection" and encourage "hope-filled alternatives" (just as Marion suggests). Sensitivity, empathy and solidarity with women is essential. And, yes, reinforcing stereotypes and raising walls may result from the behavior that appeared to be displayed by the students. The point in my piece, however, was focused on the irony of the scene. I was an antiwar activist, and a participant in the largest single protest rally of the Viet Nam era. Clinton's political will was forged in this same context -- and it often got hairy out there. In fact, the behavior of the student protesters, the policy makers, and the police was frequently less than peaceful. (What? No peace at a peace march?) Thankfully, college kids possess a gift for passion. And when they're committed to a cause it can get messy. I appreciate the mess. And can still see myself among them. What got to me was that Clinton did not see himself among them, too. I can imagine one of the Steubenville kids walking up to Bill after the rally, saying, "You don't recognize me, do you? I'm you forty years ago." Mr. Clinton is a past President of the United States, an elder statesman. He had an opportunity for a great teaching moment. He could have closed the gap a little, and said something like, "I was like you. I understand your passion, and I encourage your activism. But we really can't dialogue right now, so this is not the right time". Instead he came off like a rigid ideologue. And, yes, he did put words in their mouths. Words he knew had nothing to do with their cause. He really slammed the door shut. By the way, I've heard from a few people that the kids making noise in the video may not have been Franciscan students. The standard mode for Franciscan protests is, evidently, to remain quiet, prayerful and respectful in such situations. All of this said, still, I largely agree with Marion.
RE: None of the Above: The Only Vote Worth Casting in November?
Eric, You caught my attention with this one: "I would be interested in your reply to this statement: Christ came calling us to love our neighbor—personally and individually. He did not come calling governments to set up institutions to love its people." I may be wrong, but the history of western civilization sure seems to be, among other things, the history and development of the philosophy and practice of governments as informed by the light of the Gospel. This starts with Jesus' own commission to the Apostles just prior to the ascension when he said" Go ye therefore and teach all nations". It is certainly evident in the works of St. Augustine, largely considered to be a cornerstone of western development. John Paul II referred to Christ as the "Redeemer of man and history" How can redemption, intended to restore all things to the original purpose not include governments in conjunction with all other facets of humanity and civilization. The scriptures declare that Christ is "Lord of heaven and earth". How can this be without including the governments of the earth? Angelo has by no means indicated that the solution to all ills comes by way of governmental decree. But,at the same time, governments are in fact, "called to love". Nothing in the cosmos is outside of the gravitational pull of Christ's love and redemption.
RE: God, Government and Freedom—A Response to 'None of the Above'
Hi, FreeThinkingAtheist ... Your passion is clear in your statements about McCain & Iraq. The invasion was definitely wrong on many, many levels. But now that we have broken the place and its people, the question is what do we do? Responsibility, charity and justice must be at the heart of our considerations – placing the needs of the Iraqi people at the fore of our actions. Sadly, that inevitably demands more sacrifice from us. Please take a look at the article by Gerald Powers posted in the Feb. 18th online edition of America Magazine. It's titled "Our Moral Duty in Iraq". Powers is director of policy studies at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and former director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network. Here's the link to the article: http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=10618 If you are not a registered user of the site it is worth registering just to read this one. Let me know what you think. Kind Regards, Bill
RE: Sarah Palin Meets Woody Allen, Across the Great Divide
Hi, Chassup: From your comments you look like you really have it in for "the author". You chastise him for pieces of the post that cannot be attributed to him and disregard the positive parts that can be attributed to him. He starts by saying "... you can find hope in Sarah Palin." (very positive comment) ..."the woman who has been blamed for re-igniting the culture wars (blamed by others, not the author) shows signs she can appeal across the cultural divide"(another very positive comment). He calls the suggestion of a fusion of red and blue into purple "absurd", and yet, you chastise him for that one, too. Fact is a fusion of red and blus would go a long way towards "ending the culture wars", because it inherently would mean joining the anti-abortion Pro-Life agenda and policies of one party with the humanly and socially constructive ideas and agenda of the other party. You might want to read the author's little post again.