HYPOCRISY

Hypocrisy. Another term that comes to mind for feigning to be what one is not is “phoniness.” And does anyone really like or admire that aspect of another’s personality? I think not. Frankly, I find phony people among the most disgusting people on the planet. A phony person is a stupid person, an irrational person and therefore a person who’s opinions are unworthy of acknowledgment or respect. I am constantly amazed ( and little in life now surprises me ) at how people can espouse a position and then act completely differently to what they advocate. I suppose that is why I routinely dismiss the opinions of celebrities and politicians who attempt to use their positions to influence others, like one of my favorite singers, Barbra Streisand, who supports liberal causes that supposedly favor individual rights but who opposed the public walking by on the beach below her mansion in Malibu or Senator Patty Murray from Washington state who was in the forefront of attacking the Catholic church for trying to adhere to their principles on abortion, joining the alleged “war on women” rhetoric but who pays her female staffers $26,000 less than her male staffers. It is easy to dismiss such disconnect in thinking with cliches such as “no one is perfect” or “do as I say not as I do,” but the reality is that those who choose to influence others to believe what they do should at least be honest with themselves. “Hypocrite: one who talks on principles and acts on interest.”

Letter to Editor, SSP

In response to letter to Silver State Post, June 13, 2012

As a retired jurist, I must take exception to Pastor Schillo’s condemnation of “some” Supreme Court Justices for what he describes in his recent column, “There Just Isn’t A Way To Keep Prayer Out Of Our Schools,” as their adherence to the separation of church and state.

While speaking editorially it may be appropriate to characterize oneself as a “simple man,” apparently inferring that simple men can more readily reach the right conclusions on moral issues than those men (and women) who would apply a more rigorous intellectual examination of such issues, it should be incumbent upon even a simple man to avoid criticism based on erroneous facts.

The Pastor opines that “[M]ost people do not realize that the men who founded this country very much realized that God is the author of all rights and liberty.” He adds, “[T]he word ‘God’ or ‘Creator’ is seen in almost all the documents that were written by our founding fathers….” He concludes that the concept of a separation of church and state is to be found “…nowhere in the Bill of Rights.”

All of these statements are in support of his argument that a literal reading of the First Amendment’s language, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” supports his contention that school prayer would be appropriate were it not for the folly of “some” Supreme Court Justices who have “re- interpreted” this language to ban school prayer.

First, an examination of just two of our most important “founding” documents, our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence indicate that our founding father’s provided no support for religion in the affairs of man. Any references to religion in the Constitution were restrictive in nature and a “literal” reading of the Declaration of Independence makes it clear that our founding fathers believed that “[G]overnments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Second, a reading of Abingdon School Dist. V. Schempp, 374 U. S. 203 (1963), the so-called “school prayer case,” makes it clear that a long line of consistent cases, decided by multiple panels of different Supreme Court Justices during our history settled the law that the effect of the language of the First Amendment “…was to take every form of religion out of the realm of things which could directly or indirectly be made public business and thereby be supported in whole or in part at taxpayers expense…This freedomwas first in the Bill of Rights because it was first in the forefathers’ minds….” The Court made short shrift of those who continue to engage in sophistry regarding the plain meaning of this language by adding in regard to those who ignore the “long established, recognized and consistently reaffirmed” cases supporting the separation of church and state that “…such contentions…seem entirely untenable and of value only as academic exercises.”

While I respect belief in God and those who follow that belief in whatever form and sympathize with those who are victimized by “political correctness,” the latter often taken to ridiculous extremes, as the Pastor notes, nevertheless, it is disingenuous and historically inaccurate to argue that our founding fathers, though deeply religious, were not concerned with maintaining the separation of church and state.

Contrary to the suggestion of those who argue that the Court’s rulings are somehow anti-religious, our Court has consistently carried forth our founding fathers’ insistence that the state, in any guise, cannot use its authority to force its citizens to adhere to any particular religion or the exercise thereof.

The ability of the Pastor to conduct his particular religious beliefs free from the interference of the state and his ability to freely write about issues, however inaccurately, has and continues to be maintained, in large part, by a strong and independent judiciary.

Remembering Summers

Remembering summers…. No school, fishing and hiking, mowing lawns for money, sandlot baseball. And movies. Lots of movies. I guess my love of movies is in the genes. One of my late mom’s favorite memories was walking from the ranch into Deer Lodge with her grandma Emma to see the silent films, complete with a piano player, at the Rialto theater. One of my fondest memories is taking mom back to the Rialto many year’s ago when we made a trip to DL. In the 90’s most of the Rialto was gutted by a fire. Thanks to the perseverance of our little community, millions were raised from all over the world and the Rialto has been restored. Mrs. B and I attended the grand reopening and over 300 hundred people from all over the country came to pay tribute to those who had led the effort to restore the theater. And last night, I walked down town and sat in the newly restored theater and enjoyed a summer blockbuster ( see accompanying column). The theater was fairly full but with 300 seats, I sat in the middle with an unobstructed view and enjoyed the latest sound system and digital projection. And then I walked back to the Manse in cool, crisp air, scented with pine. Ah, summer in the mountains!

Battleship

It’s pretty hard not to take advantage of seeing the latest films on the big screen in our newly renovated theater here in DL when the ticket price is $5.00 or about the same as what you’d pay to rent or downstream a movie on your home “big screen.” The film I watched last night was one of the big blockbusters for this summer, Battleship. It seems that all the big films are either based on comic books or video games and this one was based on the Hasbro game of the same name. Apparently thinking he’s Hitchcock, former actor turned director Peter Berg appears in all his films but excusing this burst of egotism, managed to hit all the usual elements for a successful action pic, including a big name cast, over the top special effects and even a little humor as the U.S. Navy, getting their turn in the limelight, turns away another alien invasion. With barely a nod to ET, it seems we no longer even bother to ask why any right thinking alien race would want to take over this planet or why we’re always out gunned and out manned by beings with superior technology but always prevail anyway, particularly when we’re led by anti-authoritarian protagonist rebels who suddenly come up with incredible solutions to save the day. Ah, Hollywood. And speaking of Hollywood, Berg managed to put in a couple of politically correct ( for Hollywood) little zingers showing our current President about to explain to the public what was going on and showing MSNBC as one of the networks covering the story. It would have been refreshing to have also shown Mitt Romney being interviewed saying something like “Don’t these aliens understand that it’s the economy stupid” and Bill O’Reilly from Fox News, shaking his fist at the sky saying, “The spin stops here!” But since Ben Hur died, there aren’t any conservatives left in Hollywood, so I suppose Berg can be forgiven for not wanting to buck the Hollywood establishment. Up next at the Rialto, Johnny Deep in a remake of Dark Shadows. I think I’ll have to skip that one.