Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 4, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 11



Mountain View News Saturday, May 4, 2019 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 




Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton


In our world today, it is 
difficult to find anything 
good, let alone anything 
good to say about anything 
or anyone.

One thing I like about the Gracious Mistress 
of the Parsonage is that she can find some 
good in just about everything. Sometimes it 
just rubs me the wrong way.

I, on the other hand, have a hard time finding 
good in anything even though I try so 
hard. That just demonstrates the difference 
between us. They say opposites at-tract, and 
so we have a very strong attraction here.

For the most part, I go along with her evaluation 
of “Good” because she has been right 
more times than wrong. Don’t ask me when 
she has been wrong, for that would be a very 
delicate subject and I am not a very delicate 

One area of life I have a very difficult time 
finding anything good is politics. I stay completely 
away from politics as much as possible. 
Oh yes, there have been those times 
that I greedily rubbed my hands and wanted 
to jump into that cesspool. Thankfully, I do 
have a little bit of common sense still lurking 
around in my head and refrain.

The question I ponder quite often is, if you 
put all the politicians together in one room 
could you find one little gray cell active? Perhaps 
the cost of being a politi-cian is to give 
up all those tiny little gray cells that make the 
rest of us operate in a world of sanity.

I try not to go any further than that, because 
I cannot trust myself once I get start-ed on 
the trail. As a young boy, I had a beagle I used 
to hunt rabbits. You’ve heard of the old rabbit 
trail. Once “Sparky” got on a rabbit trail 
he was never going to give up. There were 
times when I lost him for several hours while 
he was running that rabbit trail. He did not 
know how to give up.

I do not want to get involved in that kind of 
activity. If I do not start it, I do not have the 
compulsion to end it. It is like me and potato 
chips. If I eat one chip, I can’t stop until all are 
gone. If I do not eat one, I do not have any 

So, as much as is humanly possible, I stay 
away from politics.

One evening this past week my wife and I 
were watching the news and the whole thing 
was about politics. As for me, when they say 
Washington is broken, I know they really 
mean that the politicians are broken. In fact, 
they are broken beyond repair.

However, as we were watching the news I 
was getting a little ticked. I was grum-bling 
about everything I was hearing, knowing a 
politician will say one thing today and the 
complete opposite tomorrow. That is because 
there is nothing in their brain cavity to create 

For some reason, I started grouching out 
loud. It is one thing to grouch and not express 
it out loud. It’s a whole other ball game when 
I grouch out loud because my wife can hear 
me. As I was groaning and gritting my teeth 
my wife said, “You know, you ought to be very 
grateful about those politicians.”

Oh boy, here we go. I crossed a line somewhere 
and was not sure how to get back home.

My wife is not afraid to express her opinion 
about anything. That includes politics and 
politicians. I was trying to process this idea of 
being grateful about politicians. I could not 
come up with one idea that would lead me to 
a point of being grateful about politicians. 

I knew I needed to keep my mouth shut at 
this point. If I would express any ideas along 
this line, I know my wife, as usual, would have 
the last word.

I was okay until this politician said something 
and all of a sudden, I exploded, “What’s 
wrong with that idiot? Doesn’t he have any 
common sense?”

When I finished my rant, I realized I said it 
out loud. When I say “out loud,” I mean in 
such a way that the Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage could hear what I was saying.

“You ought to be,” my wife said, “very grateful 
about that politician.”

I did not know what she was talking about 
and so in violation of my own rules, I said, 
“What in the world do you mean by that?”

She looked at me and said, “If it weren’t for 
those crazy politicians I would never know 
how smart you really are.”

I just stared at her not knowing what in the 
world to say. She was finding some-thing 
good in a politician because it made me look 
good! I must say, I never would have thought 
of that in a million years.

At that moment, the thought dancing in my 
very crowded cranium was, my wife was the 
smartest person I have ever met.

It made me think of what the apostle Paul 
said. “And we know that all things work together 
for good to them that love God, to 
them who are the called according to his purpose” 
(Romans 8:28).

Since that episode, I have been looking at 
politicians a little bit differently. And if ever I 
have agreed with my wife, it is this time.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family 
of God Fellowship, and lives with the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage in Ocala, FL. 
Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@ The church web site is www.

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Holocaust survivors, 
their families, 
their friends, and 
their allies all gathered 
in the state 
Capitol building 
here Wednesday. 
And they vowed to 
never forget.

But how can they?

How can they when the same sparks that 
lit the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, 
Treblinka, and other extermination 
camps keep burning in our own time?

How can they when Charleston, Pittsburgh, 
Christchurch, Opelousas, Sri Lanka, 
and now Poway have become part of 
our shorthand of hate?

When Linda Schwab, a Holocaust survivor 
from Harrisburg, Pa., stepped up to 
light one of six candles commemorating 
the memories of those here and gone, it 
was hard not to be a little in awe of the 
strength of someone who’d lived through 
the worst mankind has to offer, and was 
still standing among us to tell her story.

Wednesday’s remembrance ceremony in 
the ornate reception room outside Pennsylvania 
Gov. Tom Wolf’s office was the 
35th such annual observance. And it 
came just days after the shooting at the 
Poway synagogue, on the final day of 
Passover, that left one person dead and 
three more injured.

And that shooting came six months to 
the day after another coward opened fire 
on worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue 
in Pittsburgh’s leafy and wonderful 
Squirrel Hill neighborhood, claiming 
the lives of 11 people, simply because of 
who they were and what they believed.

“Let’s be clear, on this day of Holocaust 
remembrance, that we cannot equate the 
tragedy of the Holocaust” to the shootings 
in Squirrel Hill and Poway, or the 
Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, Marc J. 
Zucker of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition 
said. “But we cannot ignore the 
threads that connect them.”

In 2018, there were 89 reported acts 
of anti-Semitism in Pennsylvania, according 
to Nancy Baron-Baer, the Anti-
Defamation League’s regional director. 
Nationally, there were 59 victims of anti-
Semitic violence last year. That’s nearly 
three times higher than the 2017 tally, 
she said.

“Fighting this kind of bigotry cannot 
be a partisan issue,” Baron said, rattling 
off a list of recommendations for 

They include collecting better data to 
track acts of extremism, giving law enforcement 
the tools and training it needs 
to report and respond to hate crimes, and 
anti-bias education for students at both 
the K-12 and higher education level. A 
2014 Pennsylvania state law mandates 
such education.

Baron called the fight against anti-Semitism 
and hate a non-partisan one. And, 
at least for that hour on Wednesday, 
she was right. Pennsylvania state House 
Speaker Mike Turzai, a Republican, and 
Democratic Rep. Dan Frankel are two 
western Pa. lawmakers who agree on 
almost nothing, but they agreed on that 

Frankel, who is Jewish, represents Squirrel 
Hill in the state House. He called the 
shootings a strike “in the heart of my 

“In my family, there are liberators and 
death camp survivors,” said Frankel, 
who authored the 2014 Holocaust education 
law. He also helped organize a rare 
legislative joint session commemorating 
the Squirrel Hill massacre just two weeks 

It was hard not to despair Wednesday, 
hard not to wonder if we’re ever going 
move past the poisonous tribal loyalties, 
the toxic politics, the blind stupidity, and 
historical amnesia that too often leads to 
immeasurable tragedy.

The Holocaust survivors, like the soldiers 
who liberated them, are passing into history, 
taking their first-hand experience 
with them. They’ve transmitted their 
knowledge to their descendants, who 
have transferred it to their children.

And on Wednesday, a 16-year-old young 
woman named Luka Joy reminded us all 
of the transformative effect that knowledge 
can have when it’s received by an 
open mind and a welcoming heart.

Reading aloud from an award-winning 
essay on what she learned about the 
Holocaust, Joy, a sophomore at Carlisle 
High School outside Harrisburg, offered 
the simplest of lessons.

“If we don’t know, or remember, we 
won’t learn,” she said, with the directness 
that only a young mind can muster. “No 
matter who you are, you should never 
stand by as others suffer.”

And her plan to make sure others learn 
that lesson?

“Let’s make compassion part of our 

We all could use a refresher.

An award-winning political journalist, 
John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The 
Pennsylvania Capital-Star in Harrisburg, 
Pa. Email him at jmicek@penncapital- and follow him on Twitter @

Patti Davis is 
the author, most 
recently, of the novel 
“The Wrong Side 
of Night” and the 
daughter of Ronald 
and Nancy Reagan.

Dear Republican 

I have never been 
part of you, but you have been part of 
my family for decades. I was 10 years 
old when my father decided to stop being 
a Democrat and instead become a 
Republican. From that point on, you 
were a frequent guest at our dinner 
table — and an unwelcome one to me. 
I wanted to talk about my science project 
on the human heart, or the mean 
girls at school who teased me for being 
too tall and for wearing glasses. 
Instead, much of the conversation was 
about how the government was taking 
too much out of people’s paychecks for 
taxes and how it was up to the Republicans 
to keep government from getting 
too big.

You went from an annoying presence 
at the dinner table to a powerful tornado, 
lifting up my family and depositing 
us in the world of politics, which no 
one ever escapes. I know it’s not completely 
your fault. My father’s passion 
for America, his commitment to try to 
make a difference in the country and 
the world, and his gentle yet powerful 
command over crowds that gathered to 
hear him speak made his ascent to the 
presidency all but inevitable. He would 
have gotten there one way or another; 
it just happened to be as a Republican.

You have claimed his legacy, exalted 
him as an icon of conservatism and 
used the quotes of his that serve your 
purpose at any given moment. Yet 
at this moment in America’s history 
when the democra-cy to which my father 
pledged himself and the Constitution 
that he swore to uphold, and did 
faithfully uphold, are being degraded 
and chipped away at by a sneering, irreverent 
man who traffics in bullying 
and dishonesty, you stay silent.

You stay silent when President Trump 
speaks of immigrants as if they are 
trash, rips children from the arms of 
their parents and puts them in cages. 
Perhaps you’ve forgotten that my father 
said America was home “for all the pilgrims 
from all the lost places who are 
hurtling through the darkness.”

You stayed silent when this president 
fawned over Kim Jong Un and took 
Vladimir Putin’s word over America’s 
security experts. You stood mutely by 
when one of his spokesmen, Rudolph 
W. Giuliani, said there is nothing 
wrong with getting information from 
Russians. And now you do not act 
when Trump openly defies legitimate 
requests from Congress, showing his 
utter contempt for one of the branches 
of our government.

Most egregiously, you remained silent 
when Trump said there were “very 
fine people” among the neo-Nazis who 
marched through an American city 
with tiki torches, chanting, “Jews will 
not replace us.”

Those of us who are not Republicans 
still have a right to expect you to act in 
a principled, moral and, yes, even noble 
way. Our democracy is in trouble, 
and everyone who has been elected to 
office has an obligation to save it. Maybe 
you’re frightened of Trump — that 
idea has been floated. I don’t quite understand 
what’s frightening about an 
overgrown child who resorts to name-
calling, but if that is the case, then my 
response is: You are grown men and 
women. Get over it.

My father called America “the shining 
city on a hill.” Trump sees America 
as another of his possessions that he 
can slap his name on. A president is 
not supposed to own America. He or 
she is supposed to serve the American 

In their book “How Democracies Die,” 
Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt 
warned: “How do elected au-thoritarians 
shatter the democratic institutions 
that are supposed to constrain them? 
Some do it in one fell swoop. But more 
often the assault on democracy begins 

Trump has been wounding our democracy 
for the past two years. If he is 
reelected for another term, it’s almost a 
given that America will not survive — 
at least not as the country the Founding 
Fathers en-visioned, and not as the 
idealistic experiment they built using 
a Constitution designed to protect de-
mocracy and withstand tyranny.

My father knew we were fragile. He 
said: “Freedom is never more than 
one generation away from extinction. 
We didn’t pass it to our children in the 
bloodstream. It must be fought for, 
protected and handed on for them to 
do the same.”

So, to the Republican Party that holds 
tightly to my father’s legacy — if you 
are going to stand silent as America is 
dismantled and dismembered, as democracy 
is thrown onto the ash heap 
of yesterday, shame on you. But don’t 
use my father’s name on the way down.

Mountain Views News

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