Tag Archives: Communist

The Weatherman and The Catholic

By Jim Bennett
Daily Review Atlas

Historically, the lecture halls of academia have been seedbeds of free thought and expression. The intellectual rigors of classroom discussion and the spirit of open inquiry on university campuses have served young scholars well.

But I’ve been reading about two professors recently and as I compare their stories, I can’t help but conclude that an ill wind is blowing.

William Ayers and Kenneth Howell have a lot in common. They both hold doctorate degrees, they’re popular with their students, and they work for the University of Illinois.

During the Vietnam Era, William Ayers helped found a communist revolutionary terrorist group called The Weather Underground Organization (WUO). Ayers and his pals were opposed to war, what with all the violence and bombs, so they took the obvious, logical step of declaring war and setting off bombs in a bid to violently overthrow the government.

It was June 9, 1970, when a WUO bomb planted in a men’s room rocked New York City police headquarters. On March 1, 1971, the Weathermen blew up a U.S. Capitol building bathroom. The following year, on May 19, they set off an explosive device in a ladies lavatory in the Pentagon. On Jan. 21, 1975, they bombed a washroom in the U.S. State Department.

The lesson here? When William Ayers steps out of the little boys’ room and warns, “Don’t go in there,” you really, most definitely, should NOT go in there.

While Ayers’ continued to prosecute his ongoing War on Plumbing, he collaborated
with other Weathermen to write their Marxist-Leninist manifesto, “Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism” in 1974. It was dedicated “To all who continue to fight” and “To All Political Prisoners in the U.S.” Named among the “fighters” and “political prisoners” in that dedication was Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin who murdered Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

But that’s all in the past. Surely a venerable institution like the University of Illinois
would not retain him on their faculty unless he had categorically renounced all his incendiary rhetoric and the violent terrorism perpetrated by the group that he co-founded and led, right?

Wrong. In Ayers’ interview with Dinitia Smith, published in the New York Times on, oddly enough, Sept. 11, 2001, he is quoted as saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs.” In January of 2004, speaking to the Television Critics’ Association Press Tour in Hollywood about the Weather Underground bombings, Ayers said, “Did we do something that was horrendous, awful? I don’t think so.” A true master of the Non-pology, Ayers’ public statements of “regret” for his crimes ring with all the sincerity of Eddie Haskell complimenting Mrs. Cleaver’s housecoat. In a New York Times op-ed piece published Dec. 5, 2008, Professor Ayers actually characterizes the Weather Underground’s attacks as “severe vandalism.”

Now come on, son.

Where I come from, “severe vandalism” means a car has been keyed rather than egged, or a Ding-Dong-Ditch assault has escalated to include a flaming bag of you-know-what left on the porch. But when Ayers’ group bombed NYPD Headquarters, they used 15 sticks of dynamite, injured eight people and took out much of the building’s second floor. Calling that “severe vandalism” is like calling Chernobyl “an unscheduled interruption of utility service.”

William Ayers currently holds the titles of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Monmouth College, my alma mater, gushes like a schoolgirl at any opportunity to provide this man with a platform.

Dr. Kenneth Howell, on the other hand, just got sacked at the end of the Spring semester. A Religious Studies professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2001, Howell’s course on the tenets of Catholicism included lectures explaining the church’s teachings on sexuality. In preparation for an upcoming exam, Howell, a Catholic himself, sent an e-mail to his students on May 4, clarifying some points from classroom discussion about natural moral law as it relates to homosexuality.

An unidentified friend of an anonymous student in the class cried, “hate speech” to the department chair and Howell was terminated. A distinguished 10-year academic career was snuffed over someone’s hurt feelings. Howell has been fired for teaching the subject matter of the course he had been hired to teach.

Meanwhile, though, the U of I can’t get enough of William Ayers.

Oh, there’s an ill wind at work for sure. And you don’t need a Weatherman to know which way it’s blowing.

Jim Bennett is the Pastor of Rozetta Baptist Church in rural Henderson County.

Copyright 2010 Daily Review Atlas. Some rights reserved

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Why I DID Celebrate July 4th

By Jim Bennett
Daily Review Atlas

My Independence Day was almost ruined by an editorial entitled “Why I Don’t Celebrate July 4,” by Matthew Rothschild. He’s the editor of “The Progressive,” a journal for those who classify Noam Chomsky as a moderate.

Rothschild sees the Fourth as a “mindless patriotic bubble bath we’re all supposed to soak in all weekend long.” It’s too provincial and unsophisticated for him.
Well, that shows what he knows. Like most Americans, I marked the occasion with an air of reverent dignity, enjoying the understated traditions that make it so special:

5 a.m.: Dressed in my Uncle-Sam-on-stilts costume, I joined the other 137 members of the Uncle-Sam-on-Stilts Club on the courthouse lawn for our annual re-enactment of the entire Revolutionary War from start to finish. (It was my turn to portray John Paul Jones; you have no idea how hard it was to capture the HMS Serapis while balanced on two eight-foot-tall wooden beams, all while rocking the bass line to “The Lemon Song.”)

5:10 a.m.: Breakfast of gluten-free jonnycakes in town square.

5:30 a.m.: Returned home to awaken the children with musket fire and assemble them in the driveway for another rousing reading of The Federalist Papers.

10:30 a.m.: Church service. In lieu of my usual sermon, I simply stood in the pulpit, waved a Gadsden flag, and sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” through a bullhorn.

Noon: Picnic in the churchyard, featuring the time-honored rock-paper-scissors
tournament in honor of General Rochambeau. As is our custom, the winner received the title of “noose-bearer” for George III’s hanging-in-effigy and got first crack at the Cornwallis piñata.

It seemed like the perfect end to a perfect morning: After the Baron Von Steuben look-alike contest, I headed for the parsonage to rest up for even classier events that evening. Unfortunately, that’s when I happened across Rothschild’s essay and my red American blood was brought to a rolling boil.

“My heart does not beat faster at the strains of the Star Spangled Banner,” Rothschild writes, “much less at the sight of F-16s flying overhead to kick off the show.”

Now, it’s really not the perceived tackiness of our celebratory conventions that bothers him, nor is it the phenomenon of patriotism itself. Truth be told, Rothschild might just as well have stood in a schoolyard, chanting, “Conservatives go to Jupiter to get more stupider! Liberals go to college to get more knowledge!”

I’d venture that his rant is more a response to some new research than it is to patriotism itself. At the very least, it’s a validation of it: A new USA Today/Gallup survey reveals that 48 percent of conservatives describe themselves as “extremely patriotic.” Only 19 percent of liberals would make such a gauche claim.

He writes that patriotism (meaning, of course, “conservatism”) is “the father of nationalism,” and “nationalism is but the egg that hatches fascism.” An intellectually honest survey of the historical landscape reveals the true pattern, however:
Liberalism is collectivism’s pappy, and fascism is the rotten egg laid by the vulture of collectivism. Marxists, Maoists, and Stalinists all start with the favorite pastimes of “progressives”:

1. Foment class conflict through inflammatory rhetoric.

2. Bully entrepreneurs with confiscatory taxation and legislative coercion.

3. “Redistribute” co-opted wealth to grow bloated government programs, establishing an epidemic of addiction to the udder of entitlement.

4. Disarm the populace.

Placing fascism at the conservative end of the political spectrum is ridiculous. Fascism requires the biggest of governments because it must exert extraordinary control over the populace. Regulatory intrusion into the lives of citizens is now, and always has been, the delight of liberals. A true conservative is devoted to the shrinking of government in order to advance the freedoms of each individual.

On the night of the Fourth, my family and I sat by the ball field in Cameron and watched in delighted awe as the world’s only atomic fireworks display punched scorching holes through the mesosphere. I realized then that I should give Rothschild some grace. After all, I had enjoyed advantages he lacked. He was raised by liberal activist parents in the affluence of Highland Park, while my folks brought me up in the family business in Monmouth. When he was studying Marx at Harvard, I was learning arithmetic from Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Bobby Dunlap, hero of Iwo Jima. And Rothschild’s first real job was working for Ralph Nader, while mine was working for Marine Corps Commandant Al Gray.
With an underprivileged background like that, should it really surprise us that Matthew Rothschild lives in the greatest nation in the world but sees nothing to celebrate?

Jim Bennett is the pastor of Rozetta Baptist Church in rural Henderson County.

To read Rothschild’s column visit: http://www.progressive.org/wx070310.html

“Did I do that?” By Jim Bennett

In Our Next Issue: Are Baptists Responsible for Climate Change? Lengthy Sermons Produce Greenhouse Gases.

            I recently found myself at a newsstand, staring in disbelief at a magazine.  I initially thought it was some kind of parody, but it wasn’t “The Onion,” it was “The Atlantic.”  Yes, the venerable “Atlantic,” founded by such literary luminaries as Emerson, Longfellow, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.  On the cover of the December 2009 issue is a photograph of a Christian cross bedecked with signs reading “Foreclosure” and “For Sale,” along with this headline:  “Did Christianity Cause The Crash?  How Preachers Are Spreading a Gospel of Debt.” 

Yes, I did. I did do that.

           For a moment I pictured myself dressed as Urkel, standing in the smoking rubble of a demolished US Treasury Building, pointing at the mess and sheepishly, nasally intoning, “Did I do that?”        
            In all fairness, the article does refer specifically to the chicanery of the name-it-and-claim-it prosperity frauds.   I have long been disturbed by cashier-clergymen like Peter Popoff and Benny Hinn, though my objections are mainly theological in character.  But to blame bad doctrine, heretical though it may be, for the global economic collapse is absurd.  (Unless, of course, Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd have been ordained and are now co-hosting a new “PTL Club” television program.) 

I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of Dodd.

 
            The article aside, however, the cover draws no distinction between health-and-wealth con men and legitimate, sincere, biblical believers.  Call me paranoid, but I wonder if this isn’t an early and mild precursor to persecution.     
            I use the phrase “early and mild precursor” advisedly.  In Islamic regions, in parts of India, and in communist nations like China and North Korea, persecution simply comes with being a Christ-follower; here in the States, on the other hand, the church has it relatively soft and cushy right now.  But could magazine covers like this one be a foretaste of the near future?   
            If so, the first requirement would be a real or ginned-up crisis – the kind that inspires mob mentality and fear.  After that, the scapegoating can begin in earnest.  History bears this out:  When Emperor Nero wanted to initiate his own campaign of anti-Christian persecution, he did it by pinning a disaster on them.  In 64 A.D., a fire destroyed 10 of the 14 wards of Rome.  The citizens suspected Nero was behind the fire.  In his Annals of Imperial Rome (XV.44), the Roman historian Tacitus wrote an account of Nero’s response:
            “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called ‘Christians’ by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted.”        
            Nero killed two birds with one stone.  He coerced confessions to dodge the blame, and he finally had a viable rationalization for persecuting Christians.
            Maybe you’re saying, “Well, O Paranoid One, this magazine cover does hit on Christianity, but other faiths take a beating in the media too.”  Hm.  Let’s contrast the Atlantic cover against one recent incident:  The Fort Hood Massacre. 
            The Culture and Media Institute is a conservative group that monitors media trends for signs of liberal bias.  They recently published a study entitled, “PC News: Networks Downplay Terrorism, Muslim Connection in Ft. Hood Attack.”  Some highlights: 
            “85 percent of the broadcast stories didn’t mention the word ‘terror.’ ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news

ABC News reports that the gunman was not shouting "Allahu Akbar," but was, in fact, just singing "Rock the Casbah."

referenced terrorism connections to the Fort Hood attack just seven times in 48 reports.”  
            Only “twenty-nine percent of evening news reports mentioned that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was a Muslim.  Of those, half (7 out of 14) defended the religion or included experts to do so.”
            Remember the slaying of abortionist George Tiller?  It seemed like every news outlet in America was describing it as “domestic terrorism,” and many in the media didn’t even wait for the capture of a suspect before connecting Pro-Life Christian teachings and rhetoric to the murder. So, while the cover of “The Atlantic” whispers that Christianity caused the recession, it seems the major news networks would have us believe that Islamic jihadist teachings and terrorism played no role in the Fort Hood Massacre. 
            Am I paranoid?  I can only paraphrase Joseph Heller or Kurt Cobain or the anonymous bumper sticker sloganeer who first observed, “I may be paranoid, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘they’ aren’t out to get me.”  (Insert eerie Theremin solo here!)     
            So watch and pray, believers, but most of all, trust, because “God hath not given us the spirit of fear.”  And we can be sure this hasn’t taken our Savior by surprise:  In Matthew 10:22, Jesus said, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

          
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