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Stateside with Rosalea: Faith and gomorrah

Stateside with Rosalea: Faith and gomorrah

By Rosalea Barker

Happy St Patrick's day down there! Heaven only knows we won't get a chance to celebrate it here tomorrow, seeing as that seems to be the day set for the invasion of Iraq. Coincidence perhaps? Well, I've just been listening to a radio show put on by the president of Concerned Women for America, and I'm not so sure.

Admittedly it was a replay of her Friday show which features listeners' feedback but I imagine the sentiment expressed in one letter she shared with us is typical of the show's audience. Celebrating the passage of the ban on partial birth abortions in the Senate last week, the writer said: "We have partial birth abortions in this country because of Catholic senators." Other letters were to do with homosexuality and the Catholic Church.

And homosexuality and feminism - CWfA was formed in 1979 as a Christian counterweight to the radical elements of feminism. Responding to a voicemail message that "you've made Jesus Christ a Republican", the show's host said: "We're not Republican. We support Republicans because we don't find a lot of Democrats pushing moral values." Later she said her show's not pro-Republican, because "they're too watered-down", but she finds "that most of the bad characters are Democrats and the only good characters are Republicans."

Another writer, listening in Canada. said he wished his country had a leader like President Bush, who was doing the right thing no matter if everyone in the world hated him. He quoted John 15: "If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first. If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don't belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you." With supporters like this, who needs reality?

Actually, I had to search for that quotation because I'd written the reference down wrong, and the quotation I first turned to was John 16. At least, I thought it was John 16 cos I'd gone further back in my childhood Bible from John 20 where the bookmark happened to be. Those old rice paper Bibles... they're a trick aren't they!! I found myself puzzling over Luke 16 and came across this gem at Luke 9: "And I say unto you, make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations."

What's this? Jesus is telling people to worship mammon so they can go to heaven? Surely I've misunderstood that olde English. Here's what it says in the Contemporary English Version - I like to think of Laura Bush sitting quietly in her pretty yellow chintz winged chair making a nice little needlework picture of it, so she and George can have it framed above their bed: "My disciples, I tell you to use wicked wealth to make friends for yourselves. Then, when it is gone, you will be welcomed into an eternal home."

I'm sure Laura was listening to that nice radio program too while she was doing her needlework, much as I listened to it as I knitted myself a warm vest for when I can't afford heating any more. She will have smiled as she heard the country music song that introduced the show, with its words about "some people say we don't need this war" and "have you forgotten when the towers fell?" A worried look would have passed across her face as mention was made of the brave young people about to go to war, but then she would remember that she's not the Queen of England, after all, so no-one can rightly expect her to put her daughters in uniform, as happened in the Second World War.

I wonder if she celebrated Einstein's birthday last week, and remembered that he said, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that he didn't know what WWIII would be fought with, but he knew for sure that World War Four will be fought with sticks and stones.

Why doesn't Tommy Franks spare us the trouble and just march right on into the White House with 50 years' worth of Democratic presidents in his wake? Cos that's what this ridiculous venture will come down to. When all those Republicans rose to their feet at the 2000 convention yelling "Bring them home! Bring them home!", they didn't say "in body bags".

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