- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 18, 2005

Dirty jobs

“Where’s the ACLU? This co-mingling of government and religious resources must stop. Church groups, asked by local and state officials to take charge of feeding programs at government shelters like the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, also held worship services and passed out Bibles. Pastors prayed with evacuees, apparently thinking they might need spiritual as well as material help. …

“Here’s why the usual critics are generally silent: Christians are the Dirty Harrys of social service in today’s America. The 1971 film ‘Dirty Harry’ starred Clint Eastwood as a San Francisco cop hated by the liberal mayor but called upon when the going got rough. In the movie, the Eastwood character gained his nickname because he took on the most difficult tasks the city can offer. ‘Now you know why they call me “Dirty Harry,”’ he tells his partner after heroically saving one person from death: ‘Every dirty job that comes along.’ …

“When a Katrina crisis occurs, our ‘separation of church and state’ turns into a marriage, with government and religious entities linked in providing aid to victims.”

—Marvin Olasky, writing on “Dirty Harry Christians,” in the Sept. 24 issue of World

Rand’s influence

“This year marks the centenary of the birth of Ayn Rand. …

“Twenty-two million copies of Rand’s books have been sold; in 2002 alone, sales of her behemoth 1957 novel, ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ reached 140,000 copies. According to a Library of Congress survey in 1991, ‘Atlas Shrugged’ was, after the Bible, ‘the second most influential book in America today.’ Among public figures who claim to bear the mark of Rand’s influence are Clarence Thomas, Oliver Stone, Cal Ripken Jr., and Hillary Clinton. In his youth, Alan Greenspan was an acolyte. …

“Rand continues to command attention as the heroine or villainess of a passionate libertarian strain in conservatism — although she disdained the label of conservative or libertarian. … Whatever you might call her, there has never been a more vehement champion of rugged individualism, laissez-faire economics, the primacy of property rights, or the businessman as cultural hero.”

—Algis Valiunas, writing on “Who Needs Ayn Rand?” in the September issue of Commentary

Home-school boom

“The majority of families who home-school are conservative Christians, to be sure. But another sizable portion are secular counterculturalists. … Home-schoolers put their numbers at about two million, the federal government guesses closer to one million, but everyone agrees that the number is growing by 5 percent to 15 percent a year.

“All of which means that there are millions of parents buying books for their children’s kitchen-table schooling. …

“According to recent polls, nonreligious families now make up more than 40 percent of the home-schooling market. For much of this group, the reading list is determined by the ‘curriculum in a box’ companies. The most famous of these are K12, founded by former Education Secretary William Bennett and popular with parents who want a heavy emphasis on ‘values,’ and Calvert, in Baltimore, which created the market in 1906, when it began mailing its lesson plans to the children of missionaries and diplomats.”

—Mark Oppenheimer, writing on “What They’re Reading at the Kitchen Table,” Sept. 2 in the Wall Street Journal

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