ERROL CASTENS: Musings on a Friday

By Errol Castens

The Supreme Court essentially will be asked to decide in “Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC” what constitutes a minister. An ordained minister and schoolteacher was replaced during an extended illness, and when she threatened to sue the church to recover her academic-and-clerical position, it withdrew her “call” to the ministry. So much for the vaunted separation of church and state.
* Thomas Sowell shucks down to the cob: “An arrogant elite’s condescension toward the people – treating them as children who have to be jollied along – is one of the poisonous problems of our time. It is at the heart of the nanny state and the promotion of a debilitating dependency that wins votes for politicians while weakening a society.”
* On the other hand, having served a term or two in the extended-adolescence crowd 20-something years ago, I sympathize with the need for this nannyish statement by William J. Bennett: “We may need to say to a number of our twenty-something men, ‘Get off the video games five hours a day, get yourself together, get a challenging job and get married.’ It’s time for men to man up.”
* An acquaintance addresses term limits for officeholders with the contention that just as he wouldn’t want an inexperienced surgeon replacing his heart valve, he doesn’t want inexperienced legislators deciding policy. I contend that being in the ruling class fundamentally changes the psyche of most people who stay in it very long.
How else can we explain the collective insanity that has amassed us a $14.5 trillion debt, and far more in unfunded promises of health care, pensions and Social Security? How else could 536 people at a time from all political stripes have decided for most of the last 100 years that the richest country in the world can’t afford to pay as it goes, even during good to excellent economic times? How else do we keep “safety nets” that become hammocks for some and traps for others, or promise retirement benefits that any actuary can tell us we can’t pay?
* Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson says news reports – including in an article I wrote – that say he asked organizers to move the now-notorious “Scratch and Sniff” exhibit from the city-owned Powerhouse are not accurate. He reports that he had a cordial exchange about the potential controversy with Wayne Andrews, who heads Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and the artist’s decision to move the exhibit was voluntary.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at errol.castens@journalinc.com.