Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, March 10, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 9



Mountain Views News Saturday, March 10, 2012




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


Patricia Colonello




Richard Garcia


Lina Johnson

Ivonne Durant


John Aveny 


Jeff Brown

Pat Birdsall

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Ron Carter

Rev. James Snyder

Bobby Eldridge

Mary Carney

La Quetta Shamblee

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Meaghan Allen

Sean Kayden

HAIL Hamilton My Turn

STUART Tolchin......On LIFE 



It annoys the hell out 
of me every time I hear the claim that 
America is a “Christian nation.” And I am 
not just referencing this to America since I 
am equally miffed by statements about any 
nation being a one-religion nation--or be it a 
Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist nation. 
A theocracy is the antithesis of democracy--
They just don’t mix! 

Religious zealots love to trot out the ‘Christian 
Nation’ line. They use the expression to try 
and prop up support for their lame ideas, 
and they try to imply that being a supposedly 
Christian nation gives them justification 
for imposing chaplains upon school kids, 
funding catholic youth day, Presidential 
Prayer Breakfasts, etc.

To me it is a meaningless concept and not 
only meaningless but also demonstrably 
untrue. So I would like to give an analogy to 
show why I think it is a silly idea:

Suppose I have a box of fruit. Most of the 
contents is apples, but there are a reasonable 
number of oranges, and some pears etc. It 
would clearly be incorrect to describe this as 
a box of apples. I could describe it as a box 
which consists predominantly of apples. Or 
even more accurately as a box consisting of 
a mixture of apples, oranges and pears. But 
under no circumstances would it be correct 
to simply refer to it as a box of apples. 

So why do Christians think it is acceptable 
to label a country consisting of many 
different religions, and of course atheists, 
as a Christian nation? To label America as a 
Christian nation when most probably 40% 
or more are not Christian is inappropriate.

Christians may defend such a statement 
by saying it refers to a country founded on 
Christian values (conveniently putting aside 
such notions as stoning to death for cursing 
your parents). Admittedly America does 
have a significant Christian background. 
Historically Christianity has been the 
dominant religion, and in times gone by the 
church had far more power than it has today. 

Had another religion dominated then 
America would most likely have a somewhat 
different culture, for example, sharia law 
may be present in this country if Islam was 
the dominant religion historically. So it 
would be silly to deny a Christian influence, 
but such an influence has waned and is no 
longer relevant in our modern society. 

With only 23% going to church regularly 
we can see that the influence of Christianity 
is becoming a thing of the past, except in 
the eyes of the devout Christians and some 
American politicians pandering to the 
Christian Right.

Let me make another analogy to illustrate 
another of my objections to the “Christian 
nation” concept.

America is a white dominated country, but 
obviously there are many people of different 
races living here. Most people would regard 
it as racially offensive to label America as a 
“white nation”. 

So if it is offensive to label Americans as 
a “white nation” because it ignores the 
significant presence of various other races 
then why is it regarded as acceptable to 
label America as a “Christian nation” and 
offend atheists and other religious groups? 
And it makes no more sense to call America 
a Christian nation than it would to call 
America a “heterosexual nation” just because 
there are fewer homosexuals. 

A country is a collection of individuals, and 
while a country may have characteristics 
(such as ‘sport loving’) trying to lump us all 
into a single category is crazy. Even saying 
America is a country which is predominantly 
Christian (according to the last census) 
would be to miss the point that religion is 
NOT a dominant force in the lives of the 
majority of Americans. 

So to all you Christians zealots out there 
I say: wanting America to be a Christian 
nation does not make it so. So stop labeling 
all Americans as part of your deluded belief 
system and accept that you no longer have 
things your own way.

America is NOT a Christian nation and was 
never intended to be one by our Founding 
fathers. Thomas Jefferson, a product of the 
Enlightenment, the author of the Declaration 
of Independence, and an outspoken Deist, 
disdained Christianity. He said: ”There is not 
one redeeming feature in our superstition of 
Christianity. It has made half the world fools, 
and the other half hypocrites.”

 One of 
my oldest 
friends in 
the world 
died last 
week and the 
Rabbi conducting the services 
called on me to be the first one 
to speak at the funeral. There 
had been a message the night 
before requesting that a written 
speech be submitted ,which the 
Rabbi would review to be sure 
there were few duplications 
or something. I really didn’t 
understand the purpose of the 
writing, but I reluctantly wrote 
some paragraphs and e-mailed 
them to the Rabbi.

 Prior to calling on me to 
speak the Rabbi spoke and, it 
seemed to me, had basically 
given my speech. I realized that 
he had probably never met my 
deceased friend and perhaps 
had used my writing gain a 
sense of who my friends was. 
It’s all understandable, but I felt 
kind of naked and used. What 
was I going to say? I wish I 
could tell you what I said, but I 
really don’t remember much of 
it. I know I was tearing but I 
had the feeling that most of my 
emotion was stuck inside me 
and not being communicated 
to the audience. 

 Maybe I was thinking too 
much about me and not enough 
about my friend. Really, I 
didn’t want to think about 
my friend. He was now gone 
and the last months had been 
pretty horrible as his body was 
bloated by medications and 
he had lost most of his mental 
facility-but this person and I 
had grown up together. We 
met in junior High School and 
went to High School, College, 
and Law School together. He 
brought me notes from class 
while I was hospitalized in 
College, he let me use his 
apartment in Law School 
as a place for my secret girl 
friend and I to be alone. After 
Law School we travelled the 
Country together and attended 
our respective weddings. 
After our divorces we both 
became single parents and 
travelled around with our kids. 
He helped to conduct my next 
wedding to my present wife.

 Right before we knew 
anything was wrong he was 
staying with my wife and me 
and we went out to play golf. 
He had been my golfing mentor 
and was always better than me, 
but that doesn’t really say much. 
On this particular day he had 
real trouble teeing up the ball. 
It wouldn’t stay balanced on the 
tee. The next day he stepped on 
his computer and lost his cell 
phone. We, mainly my wife as 
I recall, prevailed upon him to 
go to a doctor. He was operated 
on the next week and a brain 
tumor was located. The news 
was not good, and there were 
four more operations as and his 
daughter travelled around the 
Country hoping he could be 
cured. Last year my son and I 
took him from the hospital to 
my mother’s funeral and then 
to the memorial at my sister’s 
house. I was glad he was there 
and other than a slight limp and 
a little befuddlement he seemed 
mainly like his old self.

 The next day he went 
home from the hospital but 
soon there was a seizure and 
a couple of more operations. 
He travelled to Europe with 
his daughter and her husband 
but things got worse, and now 
he’s gone. At the funeral I was 
one of nine pall-bearers who 
carried the casket from the 
hearse to the grave. Before 
we pulled the casket from the 
car the funeral director asked, 
“Who has a strong back?” No 
one spoke up and eventually 
someone said, “We aren’t going 
to get any stronger. Let’s do 
this.” We nine white haired-
old men carried the casket to 
the grave. As I returned to my 
wife, son, and friends my son 
was crying. I tried to comfort 
him and later asked my friends 
if they knew what particularly 
had caused him to break up. 
My friend’s wife said, “I think 
it was because you all looked 
so old.” Who knows? We are 
old and my friend was gone. 
Really, we aren’t going to get 
any stronger or any younger. So 
what is there left to do or to say 
in this life? 

 My only way of living 
consists of just telling others 
how I see daily life My aim in 
this and all my other articles is 
to share the truths that come to 
me as I, along with everyone 
else, struggle along trying to 
make the best of things. No, I 
am not getting any stronger or 
any younger, but I hope maybe 
a little wiser. This life that I 
have lived and shared with my 
family and friends is uniquely 
my own - and yet it is all of 
ours. My generation had the 
best of intentions and now we 
look around and wonder if we 
had made mistakes. What has 
happened to the world and to 
our values? Are we about to 
enter other wars and watch 
the destruction of our whole 
planet? I like to think that if 
we lasted this long we must be 
doing something right and the 
best thing we can each do is to 
share that sense of right with 
everyone else so “Let’s do this”.

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OUT TO PASTOR A Weekly Religion Column

I find it quite amusing 
that some of the brightest 
and richest people in 
our country do not seem 
to have a clue as to what 
they are doing. Most do 
not have the common 
sense that God gave to a caterpillar. As Abraham 
Lincoln used to say, common sense is not 
as common as it used to be. Amen, to that one.

The financial experts are telling us that we 
need to buy gold or silver to safeguard our investments. 
I am way ahead of the game. Several 
years ago, I got a gold tooth. Fortunately, 
for me, I got it before the financial crisis in our 
country. I cannot tell you what a remarkable 
feeling it is to walk around with your fortune 
in your mouth.

I hear about all of the investment schemes that 
are supposed to make me rich. I have a sneaking 
suspicion that the only people getting rich 
are those with the investment schemes. They 
want us to buy stocks and bonds and futures. 
I never heard of anything so silly in all my life.

What would I do with stocks, bonds and futures, 
whatever in the world they are, in my 
portfolio. I have no idea what a portfolio is but 
I am certain it has something to do with these 
investment schemes. I just do not want anybody 
folioing around with my port, thank you 
very much, sir.

If I got my facts right, and I looked it up in 
the dictionary, port has something to do with 
wine. Why would I want to put a bottle of port 
into my folio and pretend it is some kind of an 

I really have to give it to these investment 
schemers. They really know how to pull the 
wool over our eyes. I want to go on record as 
saying that they are not pulling any wool over 
my eyes. Just leave my wool alone. If I want my 
wool pulled, it certainly will not be over my 
eyes, I will tell you that right here. This wool 
pulling sounds more like sheep fleecing to me, 
and I want nothing to do with it.

 For me I have discovered a way of safeguarding 
my wealth. My basic financial philosophy 
is simply spend less than I make. I know that 
is a revolutionary concept in today's world, but 
it has stood me in good stead for many a year.

We live in a culture that has absolutely no 
spending control whatsoever. This culture 
does not know the relationship between saving 
money and spending money.

For example. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage 
came home the other day and in a very 
exuberant tone told me how much she saved at 
the grocery store. "I saved $119.23 today at the 
grocery store. Isn't that terrific?"

Being the humble, demure sort of guy that I 
am, I did not ask her a question that was buzzing 
around my head at the time. The question 
was, how much did it cost me to save you that 
much money?

Having a happy home is more important to me 
than exploring truth at its core. Especially in 
this area.

My financial strategy down through the years 
has been a very regular and wise investment 
plan. I am not quite sure how I came up with 
this marvelous plan, but one day it just hit me. 
Ever since that time, I have been using my financial 
investment plan.

My investment plan only cost me $19.79 back 
in the year of our Lord 1986. Since that time, 
it has faithfully served me and I have no complaints. 
I have through the years thought about 
upgrading my investment plan, but then what 
would the purpose be?

Back in 1986, I saw in the men's department of 
the JCPenney store in our community a very 
nicely tailored navy blue and gold striped gentleman's 
vest. It immediately caught my attention 
and as I examined it, I noticed that inside 
this vest was a variety of pockets. I looked at 
them and that is when it hit me.

Down through the years I have often wondered 
why somebody else did not come up with this 
idea. I guess I am just a genius.

I bought the vest and brought it home and 
hung it in my closet after I first labeled each 
of the inside pockets. There was a pocket for 
dollar bills, one for five-dollar bills, one for 
ten-dollar bills and one that I do not use as often 
for $20 bills. Every time I have a little bit 
of change left over I go to my closet turned to 
my best and invest that money where nobody 
can find it.

My investment plan is more or less an in and 
out exchange program. When I have a need, 
I sometimes divest some money. Through the 
years, it has been a great blessing in my investment 
plan and is something that I am rather 
proud of.

 Solomon put it in great perspective concerning 
wealth when he said, "Remove far from me 
vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor 
riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 
lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is 
the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take 
the name of my God in vain" ( Proverbs 30:8-9 

My investment plan is well buttoned up for future 

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. 
He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs 
Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@ The church web site is www.


RICH Johnson


the 17th of 
March is 
St. Patrick’s 
Day. The 
first St. 
Day Parade 
was held 
17, 1783 in Dublin (of course). 
Interestingly the celebration 
appealed to both the Roman 
Catholic and Irish Protestants in 
Ireland. One of the big reasons 
to celebrate the holiday was it 
was made an official “feast day” 
which permitted lifting the Lenten 
restriction of eating and drinking 
alcohol. St. Patrick’s Day is not a 
legal holiday in the U.S. but it is well 
celebrated with a mix of displays of 
the color green, feasting, drinking 
of alcohol, numerous parades and 
religious observances.

According to legend, St. Patrick 
drove what reptile from Ireland? 
Snakes. Ireland never had snakes 
cause they don’t like the cold and, 
oh yeah, they can’t swim well. By 
the way, there are also no snakes in 
New Zealand and Hawaii. 

What sugary breakfast cereal 
features a dancing leprechaun 
who claims his cereal is “magically 
delicious?” Lucky Charms.

What are the colors in the Irish flag? 
Green, white and orange. The green 
represents the Gaelic tradition of 
Ireland; the orange represents the 
followers of William of Orange; 
and the white represents the truce 
between the two.

Name a college sports team with 
the name “Irish” in it. Fighting Irish 
(Notre Dame) The team had also 
been given the nicknames “Rovers” 
and “Ramblers.” “Fighting Irish” 
became the official name in 1927.

Where is the biggest St. Patrick’s 
Day Parade in the world? New 
York. 150,000 marchers travel the 
1.5 mile parade route in New York 
City. 20 major cities in the U.S. have 
parades on St. Patrick’s Day. 

What does “Erin Go Braugh” 
mean? Ireland forever.

What is the name of the Irish 
Gryffindor student in the Harry 
Potter series? (Hint: He attends the 
Yule Ball with Lavender Brown). 
Seamus Finnigan.

What happens when you “Kiss 
the blarney stone?” The gift of 
eloquence or skill at flattery.

Almost 25% of people from what 
state are descended from Irish 
immigrants? Massachusetts.

What happens to a leprechaun if 
you look away? The leprechaun will 

Several sports teams adopt special 
St. Patrick’s Day jerseys. These 
teams include in baseball, the Los 
Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers 
and Philadelphia Phillies (all done 
during spring training). Basketball 
teams that have “third” jerseys 
exclusively for St. Patrick’s Day 
include the Boston Celtics, Chicago 
Bulls, Toronto Raptors and the New 
York Knicks.

What it means to be Irish:

 You will never play professional 

 At least one of your cousins is a 
firefighter, cop, bar owner, funeral 
home owner or holds political 

 You think you sing very well.

 You have no idea how to make a 
long story short.

 Much of your childhood meals 
were boiled.

 You never hit your head on the 

 You’re strangely poetic after a few 

 You will be punched for no good 
reason…a lot.

 Many of your sisters and/or 
cousins are named Mary, Catherine 
or Eileen. At least one is named 
Mary Catherine Eileen.

 Someone in your family is 
incredibly cheap. It is more likely 

1. You may not know the 
words but that won’t stop you from 
2. There is not a huge 
difference between your last Wake 
and your last keg party.

And finally, why did God invent 
whiskey? To keep the Irish from 
ruling the world. So, from the 
15% or so representing my Irish 
Ancestry, Happy St. Patty’s Day. 

Mountain Views News

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