ERROL CASTENS: Coffee Clutchers save the world



At our latest impromptu meeting the other day, the Coffee Clutchers’ first order of business was to pass a resolution to set aside the complaining about cold and rain in favor of complaining about pollen.

Bud (an ironic name for an allergy-prone man, to be sure) noted that yellow pine powder had made his blue truck green, and Pete testified that his doctor’s office was standing-room-only when he went to get an allergy shot earlier in the week.

Tiring quickly of that line of lamentation, I recalled having felt rain as my wife and I had left a restaurant the other night, and she doubted my veracity, but the drops on the windshield when we reached the car proved my point.

“The bald man is always first to know when it’s raining,” I said.

Maurice cut to the recent headlines. He called it unconscionable that the soldiers at Fort Hood – and every other U.S. military base – are left defenseless when a terrorist, a crazy person or just an ordinary criminal decide to open fire on them.

Mark tried to shush him.

“It’s too early to talk about that,” he said. “Let’s at least bury the dead before we make it political.”

Maurice noted those who’d screamed for more gun control before the bodies were cold at Sandy Hook, Aurora and other mass killings in “gun-free” zones.

“The same question was asked after the killings at Washington Naval Yard and Quantico last year,” Maurice said. “It was also asked after the first Fort Hood massacre and the Little Rock recruitment shooting in 2009.

“If the question had been discussed properly after the Fort Bragg shooting in 1995, maybe those others wouldn’t have had the body counts they did,” he said. “So just how long SHOULD we wait?”

Clyde pulled a paper out of his pocket and read a quote from President Jimmy Carter.

“‘If you don’t want your tax dollar to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values, because you don’t,’” he read. “What do y’all think of that?”

A couple of guys nearly spat their coffee.

“Let me see if I get this right,” Chester said. “When Jesus admonished us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and visit the sick, he wasn’t talking about personal action but just supporting the idea that government should do that?”

“If government programs solved problems, I’d have no objection,” Clyde said. “But a half century of the War on Poverty has perpetuated poverty, not ended it. Too many policies do more to keep people dependent than to help them become self-supporting – like discouraging marriage and depressing personal initiative.

“I refuse to bow to the mantra that says if I don’t love ineffective, wasteful, counterproductive and even cruel schemes of politicians and bureaucrats, then I must hate the poor and be unChristian,” Clyde said.

Contact Daily Journal reporter Errol Castens at (662) 816-1282 or

  • Charlie Brett

    Good column. As a Christian I believe in the teachings of Jesus. As an adult with the ability to reason I realize that government programs penalize hard work, personal initiative, and Christian morality!

  • FrereJocques

    Perhaps if our churches would preach more about helping poor people and less about hating certain other groups of people, and wasting time and resources (read: money) trying to enforce their own religious beliefs on the rest of us through politics and law, there would be less need for Government welfare programs.