- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 8, 2004

American style

“‘American Idol’ is very American. It is competitive, just like sports and our economic system. It is also democratic: The viewers get to vote for the candidate of their choice. …

“This third season had been criticized for being biased against quality and against African-Americans, as several talented minority candidates were voted off. And yet, the winner, Fantasia Barrino, was a young black woman described by judge Simon Cowell as ‘the best contestant we’ve had in any competition.’

“‘American Idol’ has brought music back to prime time. It is arguably the most positive of the reality shows. But it also brings back the downside of a mass culture. Go, for example, to a ball game and if the national anthem is performed by someone under 30, it will likely entail grandiose note-bending with rhythm ‘n’ blues stylings, what has become the ‘American Idol’ style.”

Gene Edward Veith, writing on “Very American Idol,” in this Saturday’s issue of World

Godless’ schools

“Southern Baptists, sometimes famous for their fractiousness, are about to take on a debate all but guaranteed to splinter them even further. But give them credit. It’s a debate all of America should listen in on and learn from.

“The argument will come … when the Southern Baptist Convention is convened on June 15 and 16 in Indianapolis. …

“[A] radical proposal this year … calls on the convention to put its considerable reputation behind a resolution recommending that parents throughout the 16.3-million-member denomination remove their children from what the resolution calls ‘godless’ and ‘anti-Christian’ public schools.

“Nor does this resolution come from some cranky, radical corner of the SBC. Its main author is T.C. Pinckney, a retired Air Force pilot and brigadier general and publisher of a popular Baptist newsletter. …

“The proposal, co-authored by Texas attorney Bruce Shortt, says public schools … effectively oppose Christianity and produce an education that is ‘godless.’ …

“It simply encourages serious Christian parents to form a mass exodus from the public-school system. And Mr. Pinckney predicts candidly that if they do so, the public-school system would probably collapse. ‘I think that would be one of the finest things that can happen for the United States,’ he says.”

Joel Belz, writing on “Public divide,” Saturday in World

Ancestral honor

“Julian Bond’s comparison of the Confederate flag … to the swastika is highly offensive, especially to those of us who are Jewish, and shows he knows little about either the Confederacy or the Nazis.

“Some 3,500 to 5,000 Jews fought honorably and loyally for the Confederacy, including its Secretary of War and later State, Judah Benjamin. My great-grandfather also served, as did his four brothers, their uncle, his three sons, and some two dozen other members of my mother’s extended family. …

“While our ancestors may have lost the war, they never lost their honor, or engaged in anything that could justify their being compared to Nazis. It was the other side that did that.”

Lewis Regenstein, writing on “Julian Bond’s Nonsense,” Saturday at www.lewrockwell.com

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