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Food for the Poor Godspy.com: Faith at the Edge


Matthew Lickona | 02.08.08


Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dies

Once Made Trenchant Observation Regarding the Significance of Personal Experience in the Formation of Certain Theological Positions Regarding Activities Proper to the Human Person.

Earl Butz and Pope Paul VI

Over on his Tumblr, Radar Online Editor Alex Balk takes a moment to note the passing of former secretary of agriculture Earl Butz.

First, he lauds fellow blogger Daniel Radosh for being willing to print what the papers won’t, namely, the actual quote that eventually led to Butz’s booting. The NY Times wrote: “he described blacks as ‘coloreds’ who wanted only three things — satisfying sex, loose shoes and a warm bathroom — desires that Mr. Butz listed in obscene and scatological terms.” Guess what? The original quote is offensive. If you’re curious, Radosh has it here 

But then Balk digs up a choice quote of his own, in which Butz gives his opinion of (Italian) Pope Paul VI’s opposition to artificial birth control. Reports Balk: “The comment? ‘He no play-a the game, he no make-a the rules.’”

Secretaries of Agriculture: fighting to preserve our precious agricultural resources from the depredations of rapidly multiplying hordes since 1974. Amazingly, President Ford actually rebuked him for it. (I’m guessing the rebuke was more for the accent than the comment itself. “It’s not what he says, it’s the way he says it…”)

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By tfrei AT 02.08.08 07:00AM Not Rated


Earl Butz was also a major architect of modern, corporate, and indiscriminate farming.  “Get big, or get out!”, he used to say.  This philosophy was influential in destroying thousands of small, local, and rural economies across the country. I do not wish to speak ill of the dead, but his lack of sensitivity to people of color was connected to his philosophical brand of materialism which reduced the human person to a cog in a much bigger economic machine.


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