The Universe, the Star of Bethlehem and Professor Alex Filippenko

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 30 April 2008 0 Comments
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I have been learning from and enjoying your newsletter
for four years. While I have not always completely agreed with you, I
have not significantly disagreed with you until recently. Your
comment several weeks ago about the "integrity" of John McCain was
badly misplaced. I have been a resident of Arizona for over 30 years.
I was concerned when McCain moved to Arizona with the intent of going
into politics, but I was very pleased when he became a "Goldwater
Republican." Early in his career he followed that path, but as he
became more and more a national figure he changed. To this day I
proudly claim to be a Goldwater Republican, but McCain no longer can
be identified with the Senator's libertarian views. While I disagreed
with Goldwater's position on civil rights, it was consistent with his
desire for as little government involvement as possible.

Senator McCain has a perfect "Christian Right" voting
record on women's rights, particularly on reproductive rights. His
opinion on stem cell research and a number of other Christian Right
issues is very much what they want, in spite of their current
protestations. McCain has a temper and holds a grudge against those
who cross him. If you know any Republicans from Arizona please ask
them. His record is far from clean on "helping" big business. He
continued to work for Charles Keating even after Keating's practices
were suspect.

Senator McCain is as pro-war as his new best friend George Bush; he
is just smarter about how he expresses it. The only point I will give
him on this issue is that he has a son who is in the military. I have
long felt that a president or congressperson should have a child or
grandchild in the military. I wonder how long the Iraq invasion would
have lasted if the Bush twins had been serving on the front line.

Thanks for listening and for your continued insights in
the newsletters.


Thank you for your letter. I can disagree with the
positions that a politician takes and still applaud his integrity. In
John McCain, I see a man who bore the indignities of imprisonment in
Vietnam with courage and integrity. He was abused badly by the Bush
campaign in the 2000 primary, especially in South Carolina, but he
nonetheless was a supporter of the nominee of his party on many
issues. He called leaders of the religious right on their religious
intolerance. Along with his close friend Senator Lindsey Graham of
South Carolina, he opposed the Bush administration's policy on
torture. He put his political life on the line for his belief in a
larger military presence in Iraq. He has apologized for his mistake
in not backing a national holiday for Martin Luther King. Even when I
feel he is totally wrong on an issue, I give him credit for putting
what he believes is in the best interests of his country ahead of his
own political future.

If temper were to disqualify a person from the White
House many, from Andrew Jackson, who fought duels with his opponents;
to Richard Nixon, whose tirades are on taped conversations for all to
hear; to Bill Clinton, who was known to explode from time to time,
would never have served.

I think McCain is intelligent and that he has integrity.
Those are important considerations for the one who will occupy the
White House.

I will vote for the person who most reflects my
priorities for this nation. That will not be Senator McCain, but if
he were to be elected, I would not feel as despairing as I do about
the present administration.

John Shelby Spong




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