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Potpourri

Ernest Cassara


Red Meat to the "Religous" Right

Worried about the coming congressional elections, President Bush decides that it is time for an amendment to the Constitution to bar same sex couples from being married.  Of course, this will go nowhere, but he is currying favor with a group that claims for itself the label "Christian."  This label, of course, has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus, who, I seem to recall, had nothing to say on the subject of same sex marriages, but, on the other hand, said that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, calling it the second great commandment, after the first of loving the lord God.

I was thinking the other day of our Harvard Square Puritan forebears.  They did not allow their ministers to perform weddings.  It was the job of the civil magistrate.  Had this practice continued, all couples would have enjoyed "civil unions."  Then, it may have been easier to allow our fellow citizens, who happen to be homosexuals, the same privilege as their heterosexual neighbors.  What particular churches do about the ceremony of marriage is their business, not the state's.  Matter of fact, of course, the state must issue a license for a union.  Why?  Because of sentiment?   No, because of property is involved in a union.


Coulter Strikes Again!

You will recall that Anne Coulter was banished from the online edition of the National Review a couple of years back for writing that "we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity."  She was writing of the Middle East, of course, but, even the National Review could not put up with her particular brand of Christianity.

Now, she's back, attacking the widows of men killed when the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell.  Apparently, she does not approve of their getting financial compensation, and, in some cases, their politics.  She, however, is now having problems of her own.  The Boston Metro newspaper of 13 June revealed that she had lifted passages from a Portland, Maine, newspaper, thus committing plagiarism.  Then, in the 15 June issue, I read the following intriguing satirical note: "In a plagiarism appreciation ceremony hosted by Oprah, Anne Coulter gets her ass handed to her by fellow hall of famers Kaavya Viswanathan and James Frey.  Watching from home, Dan Brown says, 'maybe I'll use this for my next book.'"

Aside from the question of plagiarism, I could not help but ruminate on the change of values.  As little as a year ago, I never read or heard on radio and TV references to someone's "ass."  Now, I hear it constantly on the Daily Show, from Jon Stewart and others, without the word being bleeped, and in other programs.

Now, Congress, that great watchdog of morals, has given the FCC the ability to impose even greater fines for incidents of "indecency" in broadcasting.  As someone pointed out, it is all right to picture folks being shot, exploded, cut by chain saws, etc., etc., on television, but, a bare nipple sends the Congress and the FCC into conniptions.

If "ass" is now permissible, will "arse" be far behind?  That old term, after all, has been around much longer than the name stolen from a silent, patient, and, often, beautiful beast, and applied to the human body.

Which, while we are being crude, I might as well refer to the great story told by Mark Twain somewhere in his thousands of wonderful pages.  As you know, he had little respect for Congress, to which he referred as made up of America's native criminal class, or for state legislatures.  It was in reference to a particular state legislature that was debating strengthening the laws against arson that Twain reported that one of the members said that it seemed to him a simple matter, that anyone guilty of arson should be forced to marry the girl!



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