Jewish World Review Feb. 27, 2003/ 25 Adar I, 5763

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Consumer Reports

War and principle | Principle does rear its magnificent head on occasion, and we are in awe of those who sacrifice for inviolate standards. The Mesa First Assembly of God (Mesa, AZ) returned $70,000 it had received in donations from a man who was paying a partial tithe on $1.6 million he had embezzled from his employer, Honeywell. While the church balked at first, it did return money tainted by ill-gotten gains. Filthy lucre, taken even when the source is unknown, is still filthy lucre.

The Salvation Army turned down $100,000 from the winner of $14.3 million in Florida's Lotto. Maj. Cleo Damon returned the check to David Rush as a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army explained, "There are times where Major Damon is counseling families who are about to become homeless because of gambling. He really believes that if he had accepted the money, he would be talking out of both sides of his mouth."

The donor called Maj. Damon "sanctimonious," adding the lottery was not gambling, "There's no bigger gamble than investing in the stock market. For them to say this is gambling is an overstatement." Perhaps so, but Maj. Damon is not counseling stock market addicts.

While political backlash may have been the true motive, Sen. Charles Schumer (D. NY) gave the $69,000 in PAC donations he had received from Enron to the Enron Ex-Employee Relief Fund. We all know how tough it is for a Democrat to give back money to the people to whom it belongs.

The Catholic Diocese of New York has filed suit to challenge a New York law that requires it to pay for contraceptives as part of its health insurance for employees. The cost for providing such coverage is minimal, but the Diocese honors the tenets of faith. How can the church cover contraceptives for employees in its 800 schools, 40 hospitals and 61 nursing homes when it counsels its members against the use of birth control? The Mississippi University for Women kicked MTV off its campus.

Administrators had given permission for the show to interview students on campus. But when they learned the title of the series for which MTV was interviewing, Sex and the Itty Bitty City, they declined fame and gave the raucous network the big hook.

They risk fortune, fame, popularity and even funding for principle. Why? Because not standing firm makes them uncomfortable. Hypocrisy irks them.

Tony Blair and George Bush have declining poll numbers. Targets of protests and focus of disdain, they still stand firm on disarming the diabolical Saddam.

Principle executed always costs the executor. Mark Twain's words: "The weakest of all weak things is virtue that has not been tested in the fire." Rationalization does get the better of most principle. $70,000 in the hands of a church and $100,000 in the hands of the well-run Salvation Army could be leveraged into much good. But, accepting those funds causes tension between values and goals. What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

The principle-challenged lack either backbone or logic. A New York Times reporter offered the following analysis of the Michael Jackson interviews, television's creepiest moments since Tiny Tim married Miss Vickie on the Carson Show, "[t] his is all a good thing. What seems to be lost in the concern for Mr. Jackson's children and underage friends or disgust over televisions' excesses is that the more we see of Mr. Jackson right now, the healthier we are as a nation: at least it indicates we are not at war."

Let me try and follow this. If we're watching perverts who dangle children from hotel balconies on television we're better off than if we went to war to remove an evil despot who threatens us with nuclear and biological weapons and al-Qaeda?

These relativists earn the trust and focus of the people as Bush and Blair twist in the wind. Sean Penn, doped-up Spicoli of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and a deadhead walking, was lionized for mixing it up with Saddam. George Clooney, Ed Harris, Susan Sarandon and other paparazzi fodder have respect. Our president and Mr. Blair, who stand before us sacrificing their political futures, are mocked.

Singer Sheryl Crow, whose latest hit involved the praising of sunscreen, lectures us that war is "an admission of failure." Actually, war is the ultimate act of principle. The now-spineless French understood that when they participated with us in our fight for freedom, handing us a turning point via Operation Lafayette at Yorktown. Vivre liberte!

The "make love, not war" crowd reincarnated rants again because moral relativists cannot grasp absolutes. Principle cannot speak to the unprincipled. They pick, they choose, they compromise. Their only principle is the right to waffle. Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair sacrifice all as the airhead heathens around them claim the high moral ground and the media coverage at no personal cost.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


02/20/03: Diabolical women
02/14/03: Deadhead poets and society
02/07/03: Misguided compassionate conservative
01/31/03: The Wisk "fix it!" mentality
01/24/03: There are only two types of people in the U.S.: Trial lawyers and their clients and those who have had to pay trial lawyers and their clients
01/16/03: "My ex is a minority, so I deserve special treatment"
01/07/03: Why libs will never have a Rush Limbaugh
01/02/03: The year that was
12/26/02: Capital offenses, power and Harry Potter
12/20/02: Mundane superlatives cause trouble
12/09/02: Let the sacking begin
12/05/02: Amazing Grace that saved me from my CO2 emissions
11/27/02: Free speech, Harvard, and First Amendment looneys
11/25/02: Eminem culture
11/14/02: Hollywood trash
11/04/02: Patron Kennedy Saints
10/28/02: What the snipers and Moose taught
10/22/02: Nobel Prizes and other ventriloquist acts
10/17/02: The window on the liberal mind and war
10/14/02: Leaders don't change; followers do
10/07/02: Do it yourself
09/27/02: Hosers rise again
09/20/02: Girly gridiron
09/13/02: Erudite buffoons
09/11/02: One year later, crass demands, greed, and litigation are back --- but rights are diminished
09/06/02: Public schools: An unqualified success
08/30/02: The Shakespearean tragedy of affirmative action
08/23/02: Hollywood Joe's admission
08/15/02: Cheapskates
08/08/02: Ode to a coal miner
08/02/02: Sarah Brady's gun gift
07/26/02: Don't do it, Tiger
07/18/02: Reality Muppets
07/09/02: We're all going to die, live with it
07/02/02: From the eye of the storm
06/27/02: Nick not right
06/20/02: Behind the music
06/14/02: The sum of all fears in vouchers
06/06/02: Where was Agent Rowley when the FBI needed her?
05/30/02: Of big hair and sanity
05/24/02: Should I embrace liberalism?
05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
05/09/02: A mother who cares enough
05/02/02: Go ahead, pass judgment
04/29/02: The irritation of the modern wedding
04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
03/22/02: Blame Oprah, Rosie, Sally, Ted, David
03/14/02: The costs of women's feeble choices
03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
02/14/02: Ease up on the brothers and sisters
02/11/02: Because I was courted
02/05/02: Fat fault
01/24/02: Tolerance does not mean stupidity
01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
01/03/02: The year that was
12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
12/20/01: Free Speech and the political spectrum
12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
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12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
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11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
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11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
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10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
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09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
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10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
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07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings