Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


May 29, 2012

LION AND THE LAMB: Two choices before us

CROSSVILLE — This week started off with two historic commemorations—a religious event that turned political, and a political event that turned religious.  

On this past Sunday churches around our country celebrated the birthday of the Christian church. On the fiftieth day after Easter (Pentecost), followers of the man who had been crucified as subversive by the Roman Empire were gathered together in Jerusalem, and were empowered by God's Spirit to continue the alternative community that he had established. Rejecting the Roman system of economic inequality, they decided to share their wealth so that all could have their basic needs met (Acts 2). This was considered subversive and socialistic by the Romans with their trickle down system, but many in the 99 percent found it good news and joined Jesus' alternative community.

Today we find the same debate going on in our nation. The Republican House budget bill, to protect tax breaks for the rich and inflate military spending, aims to cut $310 billion from vital domestic social programs such as food stamps, health care, child care assistance, school lunch funding, Head Start, and aid for older people with disabilities.

Republican Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chair, has said that his budget plan of cutting anti-poverty programs and helping people get out of poverty and dependency into a life of independence was inspired by the teachings of his Catholic faith. In response, however, nearly ninety faculty members and priests at Georgetown, the Jesuit university in Washington, sent him the following letter:

"We would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs to struggling families, radically weakening protections for the elderly and sick, and gives tax breaks to the wealthiest few. Your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

On Monday a second historic commemoration took place—Memorial Day observances by communities all across our nation. Originally called "Decoration Day," this observance started out in the South in 1865 as a day of remembrance for those who had died in the Civil War. The idea then spread to the North, and in 1868 was named "Memorial Day" by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. An estimated 750,000 died in that terrible war. Later, in 1950, a Joint Resolution of Congress provided a religious context for the observance of the day: "Requesting the President to issue a proclamation designating May 30, Memorial Day, as a day for a nationwide prayer for peace." (64 Stat. 158)

As one might imagine, the breadth of this concern has greatly increased over the years. It has been estimated that U.S. war dead from our 1775 War of Independence through all our other wars and military sorties to the present comes to approximately 1,300,000. We don't know what the future might hold for us since it appears that we are now in a state of permanent war. Our longest war ever, the current Afghanistan War, continues to produce many casualties, both in terms of death and permanent injuries.

The costs to our common wealth and common good over the years have been huge. We now spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined. We have about 700 military bases in 130 countries worldwide, and another 6,000 bases in the U.S. and our territories. According to research analysts at the National Priorities Project, our overall military costs budgeted for fiscal year 2013 will come to $931 billion. It also reports that the U.S. has spent nearly $8 trillion on defense since 9/11. Funds to underwrite these costs have been taken from our domestic needs in health care, education, employment development, cultural resources, and environmental sustainability.

Maintaining an empire is expensive. It will also require the soul of our nation.

Text Only
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014