- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2000

Moral image

"In today's society most people think of morality in terms of restrictions and prohibitions: 'Don't do this' and 'Don't do that.' But as philosopher Charles Taylor points out, there is an older, classical tradition that considers morality less in terms of what not to do and more in terms of how to be and what to love. In this tradition morality is central to the good life and the happy life.

"To see the truth of the proposition that morality is central to happiness, consider this: our sense of well-being depends in large part on how others see us and on how we see ourselves. We don't just want others to admire us for our wealth, we also want them to respect and cherish us for who we are. This means that most of us care about how others evaluate us morally. Bill Gates doesn't want people to think he's a rich jerk; he wants them to think he is a really nice guy. He wants to see himself this way. This example illustrates the point that our self-image and our happiness depend upon our ability to convince others, and ourselves, that we are decent human beings."

Dinesh D'Souza, from his new book, "The Virtue of Prosperity"

Who is a family?

"American Family Association … criticized a new television commercial from John Hancock Financial Services, which shows two lesbians adopting a baby and declaring themselves a family. What John Hancock has done is to promote same-sex couples as the equivalent of a husband and wife.

"That is insulting to millions of people who believe in the sanctity of marriage and the family… . The commercial shows two women at an airport holding a baby, and one of the women whispers to the sleeping baby, 'This is your new home.'

"In the conversation, the viewer hears that the child's papers evidently adoption papers? are in the diaper bag. Then one says, 'Can you believe this? We're a family …' The comment … was followed by one woman saying, 'You'll make a great mom,' to which the other responds, 'So will you.' "

American Family Association Vice President Tim Wildmon in a Sept. 21 press release

Pulpit politics

"Recent events in churches across the country raise questions about whether there is a double standard in the way conservative and liberal churches can act during election season… . In Detroit on Sunday … Vice President Al Gore campaigned at Greater Grace Temple, where, after endorsing Gore in his sermon, the pastor, Bishop Charles H. Ellis, presented him with a jacket emblazoned with the church logo on the back, and 'President Al Gore' written on the front.

"President Clinton spoke Sunday at Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., in favor of Democratic Senate candidate Chuck Robb … from the pulpit, Clinton depicted Robb 'as a political comrade in arms who urgently needs black voters.' … Don't these episodes violate the so-called wall of separation between church and state? You bet, said even the liberal Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

" 'We filed a complaint against [Greater Grace Temple] with the Internal Revenue Service [on Monday] for partisan politicking on behalf of the vice president,' said Steve Benen, spokesman for Americans United. Jim Henderson, of the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, said the courts have prohibited nonprofit religious organizations such as churches from either supporting or opposing candidates for public office. Whether the government is interested in prosecuting such instances is another matter."

from "Pulpit Politicking" posted Oct. 31 on the Citizen Issues Alert

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