- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2002

The Bill & Benny Hour

An Inside the Beltway item concerning former President Bill Clinton's latest purported sexcapades has become the topic of correspondence between a Christian news-wire writer and television pastor Benny Hinn of the Texas-based Benny Hinn Ministries.

"I appreciate your ministry," James L. Lambert, of San Marcos, Calif., tells the popular TV pastor. "My wife and I thank you for sponsoring your recent religious crusade at the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday night, May 24th, which we attended. The meeting on Friday was a blessing.

"You mentioned early on in the meeting that you met with former President Clinton for about 30 minutes recently. You also disclosed that you could not discuss what was said during your visit with him, which is understandable. You did say that Mr. Clinton told you that he watches you on television," recalls Mr. Lambert, who writes for Agapepress.

"I thought I would forward an article from the April 29-May 5, 2002 [National Weekly Edition] of The Washington Times, Inside the Beltway section. Though many people have prayed for Mr. Clinton over the years, I personally believe that he does not take the message of the Bible very seriously," he says. "This is the same Bible that he used to carry so visibly in and out of the church he attended.

"As you can see from the article, it was and still is a sad situation."

No response yet from the pastor. The article dealt with Mr. Clinton recently meeting a certain "blonde" for weekly trysts at the Hudson Hotel, as reported by New York City newspapers. Both Mr. Clinton and the blonde reportedly arrived separately on midweek afternoons and spent one to two hours in the hotel's 24th-floor penthouse.

Dixie five

If you think you hear "Dixie" drifting across the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery this Sunday, you're not mistaken.

"Where else can you hear this anthem today in public, sung with pride, with the flags flying all around?" reads the Confederate Memorial Committee's invitation to the annual Confederate Heritage Celebration in the cemetery's Jackson Circle.

"This year, we have expanded our program to include not only a brass band and eight-member color guard with all of the Confederate colors, but a pipe and drum band as well. And we will now increase the number of verses of Dixie to five.

"If you cannot hold up while singing five verses of Dixie, then just take a few seconds to listen to the strains of this Confederate anthem as it floats across the countryside once belonging to Robert E. Lee."

(The Confederate general once lived in a spacious mansion on a hill atop what is now Arlington National Cemetery. After Lee rode off to fight for the South, federal troops began burying the Civil War dead in his front yard. The same mansion now guards tens of thousands of U.S. war casualties).

This Sunday's celebration not only coincides with Jefferson Davis' birthday, it has been held at the cemetery every year since 1914 when the Confederate Monument was given as a gift to the nation by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

"Our objective is to honor the memory of our soldiers who fought for the Confederacy as well as to celebrate the Confederate heritage," daughter Vicki Heilig says of the 3 p.m. observance, whose speaker will be Mark Royden Winchell, professor of English at Clemson University and author of "Where No Flag Flies."

"Towards that end, I encourage all of you to bring your Confederate flags to the ceremony where we will wave them proudly," Miss Heilig says. "Where else in today's arena can you see one Confederate flag, much less many?"

Credit the nation

There was mixed reaction to news in this column that Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, will introduce a bill to amend the tax code and provide a refundable credit of $1,000 to elementary and secondary-school teachers, and provide and expand deductions for unreimbursed expenses for continuing education and classroom materials for teachers.

"I think Congressman Barr's idea to give a tax credit to teachers is great," writes Jack Moran of Virginia. "The teachers could certainly use the increase. To offset the loss of income-tax revenue, we should simply debit the budget of the Department of Education. That budget could, at last, provide some true improvement in education."

A Californian named Nanit, meanwhile, writes: "I have teachers throughout my family, and they have never complained about the money. They complain about the administration and the kids and the lack of discipline and backup by the parents."

Wayne Smith of Huntsville, Ala., warns: "If the tax-credit proposal for teachers is passed, this will open a horrific wave of every special-interest group demanding tax credits, also. And Congress will bend to nearly every one of them."

Finally, Ron Green says: "I don't get paid what I'm worth also. Where's my tax credit?"

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