- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2000

'Touched in the head'?

" 'Touched by an Angel,' is unapologetically religious. Each week, angels visit people in need, saying, 'God loves you; you're not alone.' And there is always a hopeful ending… .

"Despite its 17 million viewers a week, its rankings in Nielsens' top 10, its spin-off show and books, and an upcoming Web site, 'Touched by an Angel' is generally considered schlock by television pros. The year after the series debuted in 1994, USA Today sneered that CBS must have been 'touched in the head.' …

"You might expect a 45-year-old born-again Christian to be a shrieky, preachy Pat Robertson type. But ['Touched by an Angel' creator Martha] Williamson is not a tight-lipped Bible-thumper. She's giggly, warm, and self-deprecating… .

" 'We target people who are discouraged and disillusioned, people who think God is far away,' Williamson said. 'I want to say God isn't distant, he's right here.' … Williamson's angels clearly draw their power from God, and talk about God.

" 'The angels never say, "Follow your heart," ' she said. 'In TV, anything hip is always about listening to your inner child. I don't discount that. We should listen to our hearts and inner child, but following them around gets you in trouble. We can't have angels spouting situational ethics.' "

Christina Valhouli, writing on "Gutsy Jesus Girl," in the December/January issue of George

'Affirming what we are'

"The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that restrictions on importing hard-core pornography, including homosexual erotica, were constitutionally legitimate infringements on freedom of expression.

"But it also declared that Canada Customs officials had unfairly targeted homosexual pornography …

"In a 6-3 decision, the court rejected the position of the Vancouver gay and lesbian bookstore that brought the case that homosexual pornography should have a special exemption from the restrictions… .

"Janine Fuller, manager of the store, Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium, had said … that pornography was more important to gays.

" 'It is extremely important to our community, as well as affirming who and what we are,' she said at the time… .

"The U.S. women's rights group Equality Now had argued that violent or degrading material should be banned, regardless of the sexual orientation.

"Its written submission to the court had detailed material that Customs had stopped Little Sister's from importing including a magazine showing women hung from chains … being whipped by other women.

"It also pointed to incest and assaults on children, with titles like 'An Enema from his Father.' "

Randall Palmer of Reuters, writing Friday on "Canada's top court says porn import restrictions okay"

'Code of honor'

"I can no longer engage in any conversation about the Confederate flag, because you've got the black fanatics on one end and the redneck yahoos on the other.

"We people in between who I suspect probably are a minority can't be heard for the racket. So I stay out of that fuss, except to say that I'm for the Confederate flag flying anywhere anybody wants to fly it at any time… .

"[Confederate President Jefferson] Davis had this code of honor that literally was disruptive. For example, some superior officer came to him and reported that some brigadier was unfit for the job and should be relieved from duty. This brigadier was a good friend of Davis's, and Davis fired him. And the man came to see Davis and said, 'How could you, my old friend, do this to me?' … [Davis] said, 'You've got your orders.' That's the code… .

"Davis had this stiffness that gave him tremendous integrity, but it interfered with his efficiency as president."

Civil War historian Shelby Foote, interviewed by Bill Kauffman in the January/February issue of the American Enterprise

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