How am I not myself?

This blog serves as personal therapy, stress relief, information sharing, and the occasional sanity check. Enjoy!

Ben Stein November 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — My Dysfunctional Life @ 5:06 pm

My dear friend Kathy sent me this article via email today. It’s from Ben Stein, a writer, actor, comedian, and all-around smart guy. If you don’t know the name, you would know the face; he was the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off who said, “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller…” He also had a show on Comedy Central called “Win Ben Stein’s Money” where he tested people on their knowledge of history and current events, in exchange for monetary prizes. He currently gives commentary on CBS Sunday Morning about random thoughts, values, and events.

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

The following was written by Ben Stein and
recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary:

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees..  I don’t feel threatened.  I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are:  Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me.  I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I kind of like it  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year.. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu.  If people want a crèche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.  I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country.  I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?  I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.   But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:  This is not intended to be a joke;  it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.  She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.  And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.  How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.  The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock’s son committed suicide).  We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.  If not then just discard it….. no one will know you did.  But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards,  Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein
*   *   *

He brings up some excellent points here, and I often wonder about how we will handle such things as we are raising our [future] child. I guess I’m old school…I don’t think kids should be hit, as in beaten, but sometimes a spanking is a necessary evil.

Kids need to be responsible for themselves; whether it’s their words, their actions, or their inaction. They need to know that we are all a part of something bigger, and what we do affects others. How our actions affect others is OUR responsibility, as well as our kids’.

Let’s face it– kids are a reflection of their parents; what they are taught, whether good or bad, is usually learned in the home. Instead of coddling kids, as is the current trend, we should be teaching them right and wrong, how to be a good and responsible person, and how to be accountable. Accountability is the key, and it’s not something I see very often anymore.

It’s nice to know there are people out there who still think like this; too bad there aren’t more of them.

I’m not a very religious person, but there are some values that everyone should have, whether Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic, etc. Be nice to each other, treat others as you wish to be treated, and be responsible for your own actions. Oh yeah, and thou shalt not kill/steal is a good one, too.

These are things usually learned in church, wether it’s Sunday School, CDD, or classes for your Bat Mitzvah. If the family doesn’t belong to a church, then these things need to be learned at home. Unfortunately, they often aren’t.

It’s funny that this letter came to me now…I have just recently rejoined the leagues of the churchgoing. I hadn’t been to church in 20 years except to attend a wedding or a funeral. Truthfully, I’m surprised lightning didn’t strike me as I walked through the front doors. I was a churchgoer until my parents got divorced, then I kind of figured, what’s the point?

Now, as a future parent, I see the point. I want my child to be raised with these values and a sense of community. I want my child to know right from wrong. And I do know that, ultimately, the responsibility for educating my child on these things falls to myself and my husband, but reinforcement from other sources can only hit these points home that much harder. So I joined a church, and I go (almost) every Sunday. When we adopt, that child will be baptized, and attend church as well.

Once they get a certain get to a certain age, they don’t listen to their parents anyway, so hopefully, the lessons learned elsewhere will stick with them when the words of Mom and Dad seem ridiculous. It’s funny how the prospect of parenthood makes you see things differently….

Another perk…I love to drink wine at 10am on a Sunday morning! YUM!

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One Response to “Ben Stein”

  1. eeyore Says:

    Ben was also a speech writer to President Nixon


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