Worldview

Reflections on various world events.

Roland R. Hegstad writes the Worldview column for Ministry.

Khomeini-like

If you want to really insult a person or organization and are tired of the tried and true but also trite and blue (as in old cheese), here's a new pejorative for you: Khomeini-like. Credit the Couple to Couple League, an advocate of natural family planning, which has announced that it has discovered "unfortunate parallels" between the "operating principles" of the Planned Parenthood organization and the Ayatollah Khomeini.

How's that?

Well, it seems that "in his pursuit of happiness [getting the Shah], the Ayatollah reflects the view of the contraceptive birth-control movement that the end justifies the means," explains an official of the Couple to Couple League.

The possibilities for use of the insult in ecclesiastical circles seems endless: "The pastor runs the church by Khomeini-like methods." "The moderator used Khomeini-like tactics to get elected."

One must wonder, however, whether use of such a descriptive is really Christlike. Now, there's a word that hasn't suffered from overuse in the church. Imagine hearing, "The pastor really runs the church in a Christlike manner." "The school board settled its dispute in a most Christlike way." An old term, to be sure, but hardly trite. It just hasn't been used that much.

Gook lovers

Parishioners of Grace Episcopal church in Hulmeville, Pennsylvania, have a new name: "gook lovers." Members of the 250-member congregation got the name by offering to provide a new home in the area for Vietnamese refugees. Members had already rented and furnished an apartment in the nearby blue-collar community of Penndel, and were awaiting the arrival of their Vietnamese "family"—two brothers and their female cousin. However, just be fore Christmas, church board members and residents near the rented apartment began receiving anonymous phone calls warning of trouble if the Vietnamese came.

"We're gonna get those gooks when they get here. And we're gonna get those gook lovers for letting them come in here," one church member recalls being told.

Richard C. Ditterline, rector of the church, halted plans to resettle the refugees when the threatening calls persisted. Explained a church member: "We couldn't put these people in the position of having risked their lives and come halfway around the world to get here, and then place them in a situation where their lives might be in danger all over again."

It was a wise decision. But the church has gained a name it should wear with honor: gook lovers. Carve it on the communion table. Put it in the advertisement for church services. Let it be known that here are disciples who walk in the steps of One who ate with publicans and sinners, fellowshiped with Samaritans, and died between two thieves. For His "offenses" He, too, was called His day's equivalent of gook lover. But in so doing He was fulfilling the mission given Him by the Father: to go and to love a whole world of gooks. And to tell them that the Father, too, is a gook lover. To the Grace Episcopal church members, from one gook lover to an other: Thanks

Coalition supports religious amendment

Would you believe that such evils as drugs, crimes, the holding of Americans hostage in Iran, and the invasion of Afghanistan all can be traced to "expel ling God from the classroom"? That's the view of an ad hoc coalition of evangelicals pledged to renew the fight for prayer in public schools.

The group, called the Coalition for the First Amendment, announced its organization and purpose during the 1980 meeting of the National Association of Religious Broadcasters in Washington, D.C.

Already adopted by the Senate is a measure, introduced by Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), that would remove the issue from jurisdiction of the courts. The coalition urged radio and television broadcasters to support a discharge petition to get a similar measure out of the House Judiciary Committee and onto the House floor. Members of the coalition include television evangelists Jerry Falwall, of the Old-time Gospel Hour; Pat Robertson, of the 700 Club; Jim Bakker, of the PTL Club; and Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade for Christ. The television evangelists, whose yearly contributions exceed $150 million, are also sup porting the Christian Voice (see MINISTRY, December, 1979, p. 4) in its attempt to create a "Christian republic." Bright was the founder of the Christian Embassy, which also promoted a religious amendment to the Constitution.

Support of the ad hoc coalition by Southern Baptist president Adrian Rogers brought an expression of dismay from Baptist Joint Committee executive director James E. Wood, Jr. The SBC president, said Wood, has "completely repudiated the official resolutions of the Southern Baptist Convention." The SBC adopted resolutions sup porting the Supreme Court decisions against enforced Bible reading and prayer in its 1964 and 1971 sessions.

Said Wood, who has announced his resignation and subsequent return to the faculty of Baylor University in Waco, Texas: "Dr. Rogers did not consult with anyone on our staff about the serious First Amendment questions raised by the position of the coalition." Wood added that Rogers' stance "in fact runs precisely contrary to that taken repeatedly through the years by the Southern Baptist Convention, the Baptist Joint Committee, and its other member bodies."

Wood promised that the Baptist Joint Committee would continue "a vigorous fight" against "all attempts to undermine the First Amendment's ban on establishment of religion by the state."

Hot potato or rehash

Shorn of faith in the Resurrection, in creasing numbers of Christians and Jews are turning to reincarnation, says Pascal Kaplan, a specialist in parapsychology and mysticism.

According to Kaplan, reincarnation will become a "hot potato" in mainline Christianity and" Judaism within ten years.

Dr. Kaplan, 33, is founder-director of the Institute of Mystical and Parapsychological Studies at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California.

Whatever the future of reincarnation, not many Christians and Jews can be expected to agree with Kaplan that rein carnation was "part of Orthodox Christian teaching until 553, the Second Council of Constantinople," or that ' 'reincarnation has been part of the Jewish tradition for at least 2,000 years."

Kaplan should be sentenced to twenty minutes of Bible study. It shouldn't take longer than that to define the distinction between resurrection and reincarnation, and to find that the Bible gives no credence to the latter.


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Roland R. Hegstad writes the Worldview column for Ministry.

May 1980

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