Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 5, 2015

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 5, 2015 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder





Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Dr. Tina Paul

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Lori Koop

Rev. James Snyder

Tina Paul

Mary Carney

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Welborn

Renee Quenell

Ben Show

Sean Kayden

Marc Garlett

Pat Birdsall (retired)


The New York Daily News cries “Fire!” so often on its front 
page that readers are wary of false alarms. But what the News 
came up with following the shooting rampage in San Bernardino was one of the 
boldest moves a newspaper could make.

The boxcar headline said: GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.

Against a grim black background, the paper reprinted tweets from four Republican 
lawmakers. In separate posts following the bloodbath, each focused on 
“prayers” – for the victims and their families.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Indeed, sending “thoughts 
and prayers” after a tragedy is the decent thing to do – a practice followed by politicians 
from both parties. It’s also the safest thing to do.

The Daily News ran a quasi-editorial summary at the bottom of the dramatic 
page. It read: “As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of 
blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless 

Deep breath. The “cowards” the paper called out were Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, 
Rand Paul and Paul Ryan.

The point, driven home in heavy-handed tabloid style, is not a knock on religion. 
Rather, it’s a blast against those who have the power to pass meaningful gun legislation 
yet refuse to do so – even in the face of one ghastly shooting incident after 

Following the terrorist attack in Paris, the hashtag #prayforparis turned up quickly 
on social media and then on billboards across the city. “The terrorists pray, 
good people think,” was an instant response from many in the Twitterverse.

Writing from Paris, columnist Maura Judkis noted, “As #prayforparis spread and 
was used by people farther and farther from the tragedy, it wasn’t long before 
people began to question the veracity of those prayers, calling out a double standard. 
If we pray for Paris, many asked, why are we also not praying for the people 
of Beirut, who suffered losses in an Islamic State attack, or any other place in the 
world where innocent people die?”

Which brings us back to California, where 14 innocent people died and many others 
were wounded. Where prayers are welcome, but action should be demanded.

No matter what emerges regarding the two shooters’ ties to radical Islamic groups, 
the availability of guns, especially military-style weapons, must be addressed.

In the words of Pope Francis, “You pray for the hungry, then you feed them. 
That’s how prayer works.”

Yet, thanks to the Daily News, the issue of prayer could become an issue in itself. 
If so, that would be a complete distortion. Prayer isn’t the thing, hiding behind 
prayer is.

When confronted any day now by interviewers and debate moderators asking 
about the News front page, there are two approaches politicians might take:

(a) There’s nothing wrong with prayer! How awful that anyone would use a tragedy 
to take away not only our right to defend ourselves with guns, but also our 
right to pray!


(b) We extend our prayers because we genuinely sympathize and care. But we 
don’t stop there. It’s time to cast aside partisan politics and take meaningful action 
to curb the gun epidemic in America. That’s what the victims deserve, along 
with our prayers.

Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is available at and © 2015 Peter Funt. 

Maybe because I am 
getting older I am feeling 
more of the strain of the 
activity of the season: shopping, which is 
not my favorite pastime any time of the year. 
I cannot say that for the other occupant in 
our usually merry domicile.

 If anybody is a shopping queen, the trophy 
has to go to the Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage. I do not know if she invented 
shopping, I just know it is in her DNA. In 
our house, DNA means "Deal Negotiator 
Authority." If she cannot make a deal, 
nobody can.

 I have discovered something quite 
disturbing during this time of the year. I 
call it the Cha Ching Syndrome.

 It all came together when my wife came 
home from one of her shopping sprees 
very excited about how much money she 
had saved. If there is a coupon available 
anywhere, she has it, or knows where to get 

 It hit me one day; how much money did she 
have to spend to save money?

 I first recognized my Cha Ching Syndrome 
when my wife convinced me to go shopping 
with her. She caught me by surprise and I 
could not think of any excuse not to go with 
her. At least not any excuse she would buy 

 "It will not take too long," she pleaded in 
such a way that I could not refuse. "I just 
need someone to help me take the packages 
out to the car."

 "Then," she said with an infectious smile, 
"we can go and have lunch together. Doesn't 
that sound like fun?"

 How can you possibly argue with that? 
I could not come up with any legitimate 
excuse and so I "volunteered" to go with my 
wife shopping with one qualifying element; 
she had to take her car. I did not want to use 
my gas to do something I was not excited 
about doing.

 I had a sinking feeling in my stomach that it 
would not be my favorite day. A favorite day 
for me would be staying at home reading 
one of my favorite books on my favorite 
easy chair. The word "favorite" can never be 
associated with going to the mall.

 We made it to the mall and my wife knew 
exactly where to start. I knew where I wanted 
to go, but I was under strict orders to assist 
my wife in this shopping extravaganza.

 I could not help but notice how many stores 
there were in this mall. I never knew there 
were this many stores in the entire world. 
Where do these stores come from? Who in 
the world is buying all this stuff to keep the 
stores operating?

As I looked around, I noticed the mall was 
crowded with people. I had to be careful 
so not to be run over or run over anybody. 
There was such an obsession to buy that I 
had to be careful not to get in anybody's 
way. I am ready to die, but I sure do not 
want to die in a shopping mall. That would 
be the epitome of blasphemy as far as I am 

 "Oh," my wife said gigglingly, "are we going 
to save money today."

 Then it slowly began to dawn on me. How 
can you save money in a shopping mall 
whose only intention is to get as much 
money out of your wallet as possible?

 As we went to the first cashier to pay for 
our purchases, I heard a faint Cha Ching. I 
did not think too much of it at the time.

 When we came to the second cashier, I 
heard a little louder, Cha Ching, Cha Ching.

 The first one did not get my attention, 
but this one did. Then we went to the third 
cashier. Almost booming in my head I 
heard, Cha Ching, Cha Ching, Cha Ching.

 We were getting close to the end of her 
shopping spree and she said there was one 
more store she needed to go to. Patiently, 
and loaded down with packages, I followed 
her to the last store of the day. Do not ask 
me which it was, after awhile they all look 
the same to me.

 I felt like I was backed into a corner. We 
were at the register and my wife looked at 
me and said very calmly, "Do you have any 
cash on you? I've used up all mine."

 Slowly, I open my wallet, pulled out all 
the cash I had and with a trembling hand 
handed it over to her. Cha Ching.

 "Thank you," she said, "you helped me save 
a lot of money today."

 All I could hear was Cha Ching echoing 
in my head and I could barely understand 
what she was saying.

 When it was all over my wife saved $39.14 
(Cha Ching) which only cost me $219.79 
(Cha Ching, Cha Ching, Cha Ching).

 During our lunch, which I ended up 
paying for (Cha Ching) all she could talk 
about was all the money (Cha Ching) she 
had saved today and had me to thank for it. 
Sometimes it is best to go along so you can 
get along.

 Paul understood the power of money, he 
wrote "For the love of money is the root 
of all evil: which while some coveted after, 
they have erred from the faith, and pierced 
themselves through with many sorrows" (1 
Timothy 6:10).

 To be obsessed with money is to lose the 
real value of life.


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DICK Polman

HOWARD Hays As I See It


Month after month, execrable bullhorn artist Donald 
Trump remains perched atop the polls, and 
there’s growing concern that the guy might actually 
win the nomination. Various super PACs allied 
with the party establishment keep threatening 
to bomb him with ad campaigns, and Republican 
regulars are freaking out at the prospect of an autumn 
2016 debacle that features landslide losses in 
every voter category except celebrity-besotted angry white people.

But fear not, Republicans. There still seems to be a firm ceiling 
on Donald Trump’s detestable appeal. I’ve long felt that he’ll fade 
when the game truly gets serious — when voters start paying close 
attention and seek to get the maximum value for their ballot. I’m 
happy (and relieved) to report that two smart, sane political observers 
are saying much the same.

The number-crunching Nate Silver reports what’s so often overlooked: 
Trump’s first-place status is far weaker than it seems, 
because most likely Republican voters have barely tuned in yet. 
Trump is on top, for now, mostly because people know who he is 
and the media magnifies whatever emanates from his big mouth.

“Right now,” Silver points out, “he has 25 to 30 percent of the vote 
in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify 
as Republican. That’s something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate 
overall, or about the same share of people who think the 
Apollo moon landings were faked.”

Silver reminds us that most of the current surveys “cover Republican-
leaning adults or registered voters, rather than likely voters.” 
He also notes it’s still too early to query likely voters, because “if 
past nomination races are any guide, the vast majority of eventual 
Republican voters haven’t made up their minds yet.”

Silver looked at the exit polls for the last four competitive Iowa 
caucuses — the Democrats in 2004 and 2008, and the Republicans 
in 2008 and 2012 — and found that 65 percent of the voters made 
up their minds during the final month. And in the last four competitive 
New Hampshire primaries, 71 percent of the voters made 
up their minds during the final month.

Which brings us to David Greenberg, an historian based at Rutgers, 
who points out that early polls, conducted one year away 
from the general election, have traditionally given us only “fleeting 
impulses of an electorate that remains overwhelmingly disengaged.” 
And when pollsters query people who are disengaged, the 
respondents tend to gravitate to the candidates they’ve heard of. 
As Greenberg notes, “Many people who are actually undecided ... 
will cough up a name when a poll-taker calls and prompts them.”

Right now, Greenberg writes, “only about 10 to 20 percent of voters 
are tracking the campaign closely. Normal people tend to tune 
out the arcane, minute developments that the Twitterati are quick 
to label game-changers. Believe it or not, they have better things 
to do.”

So, here are past samplings of the disengaged elecorate: One year 
away from the 1976 election, the Democratic frontrunners was 
Ted Kennedy. One year from the 1988 election, the Democratic 
frontrunner was Jesse Jackson. One year from the 1992 election, 
Democratic voters wanted Mario Cuomo. One year from the 2004 
election, the Democratic fave was Howard Dean; before Dean, it 
was name-recognition favorite Joe Lieberman. One year from the 
2008 election, the Republican frontrunner was Rudy Giuliani. The 
early autumn Republican favorite, one year from the 2012 election, 
was pre-oops Rick Perry.

Could Trump be the exception? Conceivably. But all told, Silver 
rates Trump’s nomination prospects at “considerably less than 20 

Of course, it would greatly aid humanity if the Republicans could 
begin to coaelsce around a relatively sane Trump alternative. (Jeb 
Bush? John Kasich? Even Chris Christie?) 

The longer the vacuum persists, the higher the odds of Trump filling 

Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in 
Philadelphia ( and a “Writer in Residence” at the 
University of Philadelphia. Email him at

“The language you choose 
matters. You are not free 
from the judgement of the 
consequences of your hate-
filled rhetoric.”

- Ilyse Hogue, president 
of NARAL Pro-Choice 


I spend a good part of my 
“day job” in my car. A week 
ago Friday, rather than 
tuning in to whatever NPR station was coming in 
as I usually do, I kept it on KNX. I couldn’t leave the 
breaking coverage of the shootings at the Planned 
Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. 

 What struck me early on were statements, I 
believe attributed to local police, that the shootings 
were unconnected to the clinic itself; not that there 
wasn’t yet evidence of a connection, but that there 
simply wasn’t a connection – period. The narrative 
became that the shooting likely started somewhere 
else, with the shooter happening into the clinic 
while fleeing. 

 Fox News latched onto comments from a witness 
at a nearby nail salon, who seemed to recall the 
incident as having begun at the Chase Bank next 
door – with the story then becoming that of a “bank 
robbery gone wrong”. Though Chase soon tweeted 
it wasn’t involved, the right-wing blogosphere 
breathed a sigh of relief and ran with this new 
narrative, anyway. While a shooter remained on the 
loose with unknown numbers of casualties and of 
those still in danger, they blogged and tweeted high-
fives to each other, celebrating that pro-choicers 
might yet be denied a potential talking-point. 

 As reports confirmed fatalities, including 
that of at least one police officer, the right was 
busy ridiculing the “liberal spin machine” for 
suggesting it was an attack on Planned Parenthood. 
Jonah Goldberg joked, “Shooting at a bank? Has 
anyone blamed Bernie Sanders for his extreme 
rhetoric yet?” From Fox News contributor Erick 
Erickson, “(the) Left upset the only people dying 
at Planned Parenthood today are babies.” As more 
information came out, Erickson deleted his tweet – 
but later compared Planned Parenthood president 
Cecile Richards to Joseph Mengele.

 The shooter, Robert Dear, reportedly told 
arresting officers, “No more baby parts” in 
suggesting a motive for his actions. This recalled 
those bogus videos of last summer alleging 
Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of fetal tissue – 
allegations state and federal investigations showed 
to be a lie. More specifically, it recalled the rhetoric 
used by the right wing in referring to those videos. 
GOP contenders Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina 
and Donald Trump went on news shows the day 
after to condemn the shootings, but then repeated 
the lie about selling “body parts” that apparently 
motivated it (while Fiorina described suggesting 
such motivation as “typical left-wing tactics”.)

 Fiorina also lied that “the vast majority of 
Americans are prepared . . . to defund Planned 
Parenthood.” According to a recent USA Today 
poll, less than a third would support cutting off 

 Last August, the month after the videos came 
out, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) declared that “what’s 
happening at Planned Parenthood . . . is atrocious, 
it’s grotesque, it’s barbaric” and that it’s time for 
people to get “fired up”. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took 
it further, describing on the Senate floor how we 
“treat children like agriculture, to be grown and 
killed for their body parts, to be sold for profit.”

 Some questioned the likelihood of prosecuting 
a terrorism charge against Robert Dear, because 
of the difficulty in establishing motive with a guy 
dismissed as some delusional, mentally-unstable 
recluse. The day after the shootings, however, 
the Washington Post quoted an official who 
described the incident as “definitely politically 
motivated”, with NBC News reporting that Dear 
brought up President Obama with investigators, 
as well.

 Two days after the shootings, Sen. Ted Cruz 
(R-TX) offered his own assessment of Dear as “a 
transgendered leftist activist”, and complained 
about “the vicious rhetoric on the left blaming those 
who are pro-life.” For his part, Dr. Ben Carson 
blamed extremism on “both sides”. (Responding 
to the videos, Carson reminded a radio host that 
“the whole purpose” behind Planned Parenthood 
“was trying to eliminate black people”.)

 According to the National Abortion Federation, 
it’s not a matter of “both sides”. Since the late 1970s 
through last year, there have been eight murders 
and 17 attempted murders of abortion providers, 
42 clinic bombings and 182 arsons. But according 
to NAF president Vicki Saporta, the “intensity 
and volume” since those videos were released is 
“unprecedented . . . calling clinics and making 
threats to murder all the doctors or to wipe out all 
the staff.”

 National Abortion Rights Action League vice 
president Sasha Bruce agrees, “This isn’t something 
new, but it’s definitely been notable since the 
summer with these videos. What’s notable is the 
intensity and the level of these attacks. It is not 
common that you hear about three arsons in a row” 
(New Orleans, LA, Pullman, WA and Thousand 
Oaks, CA)

 Ilyse Hogue, quoted above, addressed the creator 
of those videos in a Facebook post: “Sorry, David 
Daleiden. You don’t get to create fake videos and 
accuse abortion providers of ‘barbaric atrocities 
against humanity’ one day and act shocked when 
someone shoots to kill in those same facilities the 

 Writing in Salon, Heather Parton suggested 
that “The fact (Robert Dear) is reported to have 
used the same rhetoric as mainstream politihcians 
should give those politicians some pause. In fact, 
they should have paused before they cynically 
dispersed these hoax videos and exploited them 
for political gain.”

 After the shootings, I heard a radio interview 
with an OB-GYN practitioner working out of a 
clinic in the Washington, D.C. area. She described 
how, in addressing her own security concerns, she’d 
periodically google her own name to find personal 
details – home address, medical credentials, etc. – 
on threatening websites. What concerned her most 
was finding pictures and personal details of her 
young daughter, as well.

 But, as Parton noted, such websites are no longer 
necessary to push some madman over the edge; 
“They can just tune in to a Republican presidential 

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