- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2004

Health issues

Just down the road from George Washington’s historic Virginia estate is Mount Vernon High School, where in recent days a 10th-grade student, subjected to the movie “What If I’m Gay?” during his health class, raised his hand and asked the teacher whether a movie “What If I’m Straight?” also might be shown?

No answer yet from school officials, the student’s father told this column yesterday.

Kerry’s roots

A “practicing Catholic” is how Sen. John Kerry describes his faith, although not everybody agrees.

“On this first day of Lent,” says Joseph Starrs, director of American Life League’s Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church, “we encourage and challenge Sen. John F. Kerry and the 500-plus other pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ politicians to use these 40 days of preparation for Easter to reflect upon the simple truth that you cannot be Catholic and support abortion in even the least way.”

Mr. Starrs suggested Mr. Kerry and his fellow Catholics — Democrats and Republicans — also see Mel Gibson’s new movieþ “The Passion of the Christ,” as part of that reflection.

“No human being can experience this film, especially one claiming to be of the Christian worldview, and not be profoundly changed for the better,” he notes.

While he is of Christian faith — his name as Irish-sounding as they come — Mr. Kerry learned only recently that two of his grandparents were Jewish. He had known since the 1980s that his paternal grandmother was a Jew, but only in recent months did he learn his paternal grandfather was born to a Jewish family in the Czech Republic.

“Fritz Kohn” changed his name to “Frederick Kerry” and immigrated to the United States in 1905.

Summon the sculptor

A Republican has led a successful campaign to erect a statue of a Democrat on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol.

Late last year, state Senate Majority Leader Bill Stephens, a Republican, prefiled a resolution to honor “one of Georgia’s most notable political figures” — Sen. Zell Miller, a Democrat.

“Senator Miller’s public service accomplishments rival any of those individuals now honored at the Capitol,” the Republican argued, days after Georgia’s Democratic Party removed Mr. Miller’s name and picture from its Web site after he had spoken unkindly of his party’s focus and direction.

The Republican leader said he decided the state’s highest-ranking Democrat deserved such an honor after former President Jimmy Carter condemned Georgia’s former Gov. Roy Barnes for appointing Mr. Miller to the Senate upon the death of Sen. Paul Coverdell.

Mr. Stephens makes clear that he was an aide to Lt. Gov. Miller during legislative sessions in the 1980s, and became his director of communications during the 1990 gubernatorial campaign. And, yes, the Republican’s mother, Barbara Stephens, mayor of Morganton, attended school with Mr. Miller at Young Harris College.

State senators, however, saw no conflict of interest — overwhelmingly approving the erection of Zell Miller’s statue by a vote of 49-1.

Tough guy

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Republican, checked himself into George Washington University Hospital yesterday after suffering mild chest pains that later were determined to be “non-cardiac.”

The 70-year-old Harley-Davidson enthusiast and former Olympic judo athlete, who once tackled an intruder in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, is expected back at work shortly.

Recognizing racism

All white men look alike, Rep. Corrine Brown, Florida Democrat, said Wednesday at a meeting where she called President Bush’s policy toward Haiti “racist.”

Mrs. Brown’s outburst came during a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill between administration officials and members of Congress, the Associated Press reports.

She became angry and began yelling at Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, the State Department’s top official for Latin America. The black congresswoman slammed as “racist” Mr. Bush’s approach to the crisis in Haiti — where rebels are on the verge of ousting socialist President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was installed in 1993 by the Clinton administration.

She then denounced the Bush administration for sending “a bunch of white men” as representatives to the meeting — to the shock of Mr. Noriega, a man of Mexican ancestry.

“As a Mexican-American, I deeply resent being called a racist and branded a white man,” Mr. Noriega responded, sources told AP.

To which Mrs. Brown replied: “You all look alike to me.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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