The Case for Coffee
I read Derek Dyson's letter, Coffee: For Believers Only!, May 17-23 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly, with mixed feelings. I could relate with Derek's angst as an employee, assuming his report is accurate, and as a liberal thinker, the latter adjective not assuming its oft political connotation. However, being a graduate from Oral Roberts University's seminary and the Associate Pastor of Father's House, I can also detect the stereotypes and prejudices in Derek's writing that he assails against Nordaggio's.
Derek's report of how Nordaggio's management handled the situation seems inept from a managerial and human resources perspective. As a Christian, I was somewhat embarrassed, while recognizing that Nordaggio's has not been heard from in this matter. I have seen similar attitudes exhibited by Christians in other contexts and, as a Christian, especially of the flavor focused upon in Derek's letter, I deplore being stereotyped in this fashion. Derek typifies his opinion in the letter of "Christianity and the intolerance that its followers embrace."
I am one Christian that does not embrace intolerance. Much of my life has served the addict, alcoholic, prostitute, homeless, mentally ill, and, yes, homosexuals. Furthermore, I was not the only Christian performing such services. Indeed, ORU graduates, from an institution Derek describes as a "500 million dollar empire... built around this scam," are frequently seen in service to the fringes of society displaying an unimaginable level of tolerance and compassion. They are joined by graduates of other local Bible schools as well. It would be interesting to survey the percentage of Christians serving such populations vs. the percentage of non-Christians performing those same services. While I lack such data, my experience tells me that Christians overwhelmingly show up in compassion toward others. Derek's letter, and views on his Myspace, betray his prejudices, even though he attempts to portray himself as an open-minded, free-thinker, a "liberal" in the classical sense of the term.
I think that Derek might err in thinking "tolerance" to mean embracing. Let's look at Merriam-Webster's definition:
2 a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own b : the act of allowing something : TOLERATION
3 : the allowable deviation from a standard; especially : the range of variation permitted in maintaining a specified dimension in machining a piece.
While many Christians do, in fact, judge others, many also do not. The fact that Evangelical Christians, those believing in the authority of the Bible in matters of faith and practice, cannot embrace homosexuality as being an alternative lifestyle, that is compatible with biblical standards, does not preclude them from being "tolerant" by the above definition. Indeed, the tolerance of those serving Christians, referenced above, is magnified by this definition. This tolerance is consistent with the love that Christ preached and demonstrated, being rejected by many of the church people of His day He went to the streets, to the sinners, publicans, and prostitutes -- yes, even those outside His religion. Comparing Christian tolerance with the tolerance of other religions worldwide, Christians display this example of Christ by contrast.
Calling Christians intolerant is not only unfair, it is hypocritical. I share Derek's disdain for censorship. However, a place of business has the right to maintain the atmosphere that it seeks to target the market it chooses. I find Derek's ploy here to be manipulative and anything but liberal and democratic. Derek wants Nordaggio's to let Urban Tulsa Weekly distribute its papers at their places of business, so he labels them "censors," disaffirming their right to set their atmosphere and target their market. Why? Inferentially, it would appear that he disagrees with the atmosphere and the target market. Freedom of speech does not extend into private property, or to the employees of businesses who might wish to take the message or atmosphere in a different direction. So, I ask, who is the real censor here?
Derek describes himself as a "secular humanist". The U.S. Supreme Court cited Secular Humanism as a religion in the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins (367 U.S. 488). The reasons being that it has a theism, albeit usually atheism, a world view concerning creation and the roles of humanity in its environment, and a normative standard, a sense of morality. In Derek's letter and upon his Myspace it is clear that his sense of morality has been offended. His essays, thus, do not take on a purely philosophical, Socratic questioning. Rather, they are spiced with a sense of judgment. One wonders just how tolerant is Derek?
As a Christian, I have often found a double-standard among liberal thinkers and PostModernists. The tendency is to promote freedom of speech and thought for a diversity of perspectives -- except Christianity. The rebuttal is often cloaked in prejudicial language, like Derek uses, that Christians as a class are intolerant, judgmental, censoring, etc, excluding themselves from the embrace of diversity. All the while we are asked to understand the viewpoint of, for instance, a radical Islamo-fascist who saws off the head of those innocent bystanders who might disagree with their radical perspective. How did Christians get excluded from that embrace of diversity?
Christians are often viewed as unintelligent in the same manner that prior stages of development in this country, and the world, looked upon women and certain ethnic groups. While liberal thinkers and PostModernists would consider such attitudes an outrage when directed at these populations, the same is well accepted when directed at Christians. This double-standard is exercised in our schools and institutions of higher learning cultivating its greater prevalence in successive generations. The effect is not only accelerating prejudice and intolerance, but a proselytizing of our youth toward this religion of Secular Humanism in the name of education. The demonstrations of this are far too numerous to list in this letter of response.
Perhaps Nordaggio's mishandled a termination. Until we hear from them we will not have sufficient evidence to judge, unless you are one of the double-standard people. My question, however, has to do with just how liberal and free-thinking are the readers of this publication? Do you harbor such prejudicial stereotypes that Derek displays? Or are you really open to free speech? Are you consistent in your embrace of diversity?
HYPERLINK "http://fhtulsa.org/"; Father's House Church
The Beauty of Tax Cuts
In a recent "Wizard of Id" comic strip, the king informs his subjects, "I'm pleased to announce that I've balanced the budget." One subject then asks another, "What does that mean?" The all-too-true (and thus only mildly funny) response is: "He spent every dime we gave him."
This is a dead-on accurate description of how the Oklahoma budget process works. The state agencies, teachers, state universities, and all the other tax consumers first spend weeks holding teary press conferences describing the millions of dollars worth of unmet needs. These figures, when you add them all up, far outstrip any estimate of the money available for that year. When the money comes in, it surely all must be spent -- and generally is -- because no matter what we have we will never meet the needs of those dependent on government.
Well, the horrible cries you have been hearing from the vicinity of 23rd and Lincoln these last few months are coming from these tax consumers and their political patrons. They have discovered that we have less money to spend than they had hoped for. It turns out that, strangely enough, recent tax cuts may have played some role in the reduction of the pie. The Tax Commission estimates that the tax cuts passed the last two years may have reduced the spending pie by as much as $300 million -- and these permanent spending cuts will increase each and every year.
These developments should go a long way to settle an intramural debate among Oklahoma conservatives. Some conservatives have been arguing that reducing spending is more pressing than cutting taxes -- or at least one should invest as much political capital in trying to cut government programs as in cutting taxes.
Others of us have argued that the only way to cut government spending is to cut taxes. Unlike with the federal government, the state requires a balanced budget -- if you cut the revenues, you have to cut the spending. Now if you had tried to cut government programs directly, the tax consumers would have trotted out the poor child, the teacher, the rural firefighter, or the correctional officer who would be hurt by the cruel cuts, and you would find yourself on the losing end of the political stick.
If, however, you cut spending by reducing taxes, all that will appear in the press is an announcement that revenue has dropped -- or, as is the case this year, that it hasn't gone up as much as projected. The whining and wailing of the tax consumers that their money has been stolen by the greedy taxpayer causes no stir at all.
So if you a hear a House or Senate leader tell you we have to cut spending before we can cut taxes, keep in mind that failing to cut taxes guarantees that we do neither.
I find it a bit interesting how I have watched J. Inhofe be so rude all the time. By all the time I mean when I see him on CSPAN channels. Since 2000, I have seen his pattern, so I know that this specific example is not a one time "bad moment" (see attachment)
Open Letter to Sen. Inhofe
23 March 2007
Senator J.M. Inhofe,
I am extremely displeased with your mode of questioning when Mr. Gore was before the Senate this week.
It IS irregardless as to whether you agree with climate change and the role humans play in it. The very foundation of "public" hearings - and any hearings is to "fact find". Note this is different from tailoring questions to manipulate the answers given. Any federal representative should avail themselves of all the info. and then evaluate appropriate actions. Furthermore, I expect as a citizen in this country, that Senators and Congresspersons will always conduct themselves with grace, modesty, courtesy and openess. This was a poor display entirely unbecoming of you, and the American identity.
We have many serious and compelling problems and issues to contend with, and none of us ever will place ourselves in an ideal position to address any of it, if the only way we probe an issue is with a "yes-or-no-answers" mindset. It is only a disservice to us all.
Understand, this is not about Gore, Democrat, Republican or conservative. I am speaking of conduct and honest intentions to problem-solve. Regarding party "b.s." I'll only say the Republicans can ill afford to have snippy and combative people leading them at this juncture (not that it is EVER appropriate anyway).
Thank you for your attention. Let me close by asking two things: 1) did YOU take the eco-pledge? If you didn't, then your attempted point, to Gore, is voided; 2) Help me understand how you have shown role-model leadership by being a part of a Congressional body which only met a mere some 105 days for 2006...was the state of our union so blissful to only require such little time devoted to working for the public?
Scott T. Shier,
College student &
Flying Under Radar--Until Now
I am writing to introduce your readers to the Fraternal Order of Eagles, I have been involved with the Fraternal Order of Eagles for more than 14 years and beginning in July of this year; I will be serving as the Membership Chairman for the state of Oklahoma. I am writing today to raise awareness of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and all the great things we are doing for our local communities, our state, and our country.
The Fraternal order of Eagles is an international non-profit organization with more than 1.1 million members worldwide. We are known throughout the United States & Canada as "People Helping People." Together, we donated more than $100 million to our local communities, charities, medical research, families in need and many more.
Oklahoma is the home to six aerie and auxiliaries, 1989-2007 we have raised over $400,000.00 for charities such as, diabetes, heart, cancer, spinal cord, child abuse, etc. 1989-2007 we have given over $460,000.00 in grants for medical research across the state including, The LaFortune Cancer Center, St. John's Health Systems, Oklahoma Health Science Center, funding research for kidney, diabetes, spinal cord, and Alzheimer's.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles, founded in 1898, has had seven United States Presidents as members, it was through the Eagles that the concept of Mothers Day was started, we sponsored America's first Workman Compensation Law, and played a major role in the fight for Social Security.
I encourage community members to reach out to your local Fraternal Order of Eagles aeries & auxiliaries. Together, we can work as one to continue being "People Helping People."
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