How to Abuse Religion and Another’s Commentary in a Single Act–Compliments of the Religious “Right”

24 Dec

I received a most interesting email from Gary the other day and asked his permission to post it.  After researching the part of the email HE forwarded from his friend, I found not all of it was quite, ahem, kosher.  It was purported to be a commentary written and recited by Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning.  According to Truth-Or-Fiction, the email includes some of what Ben Stein wrote about Christmas in 2005, but there are additional comments that he did not make.  The remainder was added by someone “who apparently thought it was really clever to put words in Ben Stein’s mouth.”

I have highlighted what Stein DID say, but was NOT included in the email, in BLUE.  What is highlighted in GREEN is what Stein DID say that was included in the email.  Ben Stein DID NOT SAY what is highlighted in RED, but it was part of the original email.  What you will find in WHITE is Gary’s response to the original GREEN and RED email, a response which I heartily agree with irregardless the identity of who wrote what is highlighted in RED.  Let the confusion commence!

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:


Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:

I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don’t know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise’s wife.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young. It’s not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was  Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities [Nick and Jessica] and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities [Nick and Jessica] came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:  This is not intended to be a joke;  it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.  She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.  And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.  How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events… Terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.  The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself.  And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock’s son committed suicide).  We said an expert should know what he’s talking about.  And we said OK.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.  If not then just discard it. No one will know you did.  But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards,  Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

I got this from my friend Red, a Vermonter.  It didn’t sit well.  My response follows:

I am not a fan of Ben Stein.  Not his commentaries, not his politics, not his humor.

I disagree with Madeline O’Hare suing about prayer in school being what started the downward turn in morality.  The argument is in and of itself flawed: it presupposes that morals ONLY come from God; that those who do not believe in God are immoral, and then makes the jump that those whose beliefs are outside the mainstream are somehow immoral.

Personally, I think that argument is a crock of shit.  Human beings go to war over  difference of ideas.  We believe in a democratic form of government and the communists have a different idea, so we fight them: in Viet Nam and elsewhere.  The Muslims think Christians are Godless (even though both groups worship the same God, albeit differently, so we go to war.  At this date, more people have been killed in the name of Christianity than any other cause.  That may change in our lifetime.

Take a look at the point at which school psychologists got a good foothold in the schools, and see if you don’t find that personal responsibility, pride in achievement and no small measure of shame at failure went the way of the Passenger Pigeon at that same time.  Success was no longer important.  Trying meant everything.  Bullshit.  Unless you keep trying until you succeed, you learn that failing is ok.

Personally, I think the religious right (to whom I refer as the religious wrong) pose a bigger threat to national security than all the terrorists in the middle east combined.  Frankly (and this is my opinion and I accept responsibility for it), the fight between the Christians, Muslims, Jews and everyone else sugars out to whom has the better imaginary playmate.The Muslims are firm and certain in their belief that their way is the only way.  So are the Christians.  And both groups continue to slaughter each other to prove their point.

George W. Bush was the first president to pander to the religious right shamelessly.  Only now, in the final days of his presidency, does he admit that he doesn’t believe the bible can be taken literally.  But all’s fair in love and politics, and he’s not running for office, so he can afford to be more honest about his disbelief.

This is a secular nation.  Religious freedom is a right guaranteed the people, and that includes the right to believe something different than what the majority believes.  Yes, I think it has gotten a bit nuts referring to a “holiday tree,” and celebrating Kwanzaa instead of Christmas.  Hell…celebrate ALL the holidays.  Embrace differences.  Just don’t use taxpayer dollars  to do it.

Anyhow, enough of this rant.  Merry Christmas to you and yours Red.

Your liberal, Godless and moral transplanted Vermont friend.


Thanks, Gary.  Excellent rant.  I think this takes all the “cleverness” (and the foot) out of the mystery writer’s mouth!  All that is left is the right-winger’s obvious abusive and deceitful use of someone else’s work and name to further their own religious agenda.  Tsk, tsk.  Methinks this writer will be getting much coal in their stocking for years to come.


One Response to “How to Abuse Religion and Another’s Commentary in a Single Act–Compliments of the Religious “Right””

  1. gt281 December 24, 2008 at 5:10 PM #

    I’m blue,, green,, white and red all over…
    Merry Festivus….

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