Daily Archives: November 9, 2013

Horton on Sherr’s victory

Bagging his pardon

Bagging his pardon

Sherr delivered a can of whup-ass to the Republican Town Committee and traditional Greenwich Republicans.

Republican leaders vowed to crush Sherr at the polls if he petitioned his way onto the ballot. But that threat only served to galvanize Sherr and his supporters, who very quickly amassed more than 1,200 signatures, setting up last Tuesday night’s electoral showdown. In the end, Sherr scored a knockout, emerging as the leading vote-getter among all school board candidates, and winning half of the town’s 12 voting districts.

A virtual who’s who of past and present school board members very publicly lined up against Sherr. Even the current School Superintendent William McKersie cooperated with the forces aligned against Sherr, only to then publicly apologize when he realized a superintendent, appointed by and answerable to the Board of Education, has no business getting involved in that board’s elections.

Former GOP school board Chairman Sandy Waters conducted her own anti-Sherr email campaign. “Three outgoing Board of Ed members, including the current Chairman, and every Board of Ed Chairmanand most BOE members for the past 15 years have publicly declared their support for these candidates, too (not Sherr). So, too, have 3 of our 4 state representatives,” she wrote, urging recipients to forward the message to everyone they could.

Since Horton’s Greenwich Time column is devoted to local politics, it’s a little surprising that he doesn’t consider some of the forces behind an election that saw both the Republican Town Committee’s and the Democrat’s candidates  (Ramadamadingdong Tamm and, earlier this summer, the unlamented  Stephanie Paulmeno) go down in flames. Could that all have been attributable to strategically placed yard signs? The real story here, I think,  is that there are now ways around the traditional power structure, and candidates no longer have to stand barefoot before the gates of Canossa to receive the blessing of the Holy Church.

Or at least, that’s the subject I’d have liked to have seen discussed.

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Smart diplomacy, continued

He promised it, he delivers: Obama coddles Iranians, alienates Middle East allies.  It came out yesterday that Obama secretly began easing sanctions on Iran four months ago, without mentioning it to what were once America’s allies who have joined in those sanctions, but really, he’s been up to no good since he was first elected. This is a man who despises America as an “imperialistic power” and has said as much, repeatedly. He vowed to change that, and he has: now we’re seen as a weak, befuddled former-power, and that suits our community organizer to a T. “For the first time,” says his Princeton-educated wife, “I’m proud to be an American.”

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(What’s left of) The Church of England condemns patriotic hymn: “almost obscene”

WhoLoves ya, Baby?  German propaganda poster, 1915

Who loves ya, Baby?
German propaganda poster, 1917

I’m not a huge fan of patriotic odes to royalty, or of organized religion, but it does strike me that, as usual, the Church of England is going out of its way to offend the last of its congregation. 

A leading Church of England vicar yesterday condemned the words of one of the country’s best-loved hymns as obscene, offensive and unfit to be sung by Christians.

The Reverend Gordon Giles, one of the Anglicans’ leading authorities on hymns, declared that I Vow to Thee My Country should be rewritten if it is to be sung by modern congregations.

His verdict was delivered in advance of the remembrance weekend when the hymn, which is especially valued by military families, will feature in thousands of services across the country and the Commonwealth.

Its patriotic words, written in the final year of the First World War, speak of the ‘final sacrifice’ made by those that love their country, and end with a promise of peace in heaven.

The hymn has been among the most popular since the 1920s. It was a favourite of both Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher, and was sung at Lady Thatcher’s funeral at St Paul’s in April.

But Mr Giles – a former succentor responsible for hymns at St Paul’s – called I Vow to Thee My Country ‘dated’ and ‘unjust’.

He said in an article in the Church Times: ‘Many would question whether we can sing of a love that “asks no question”, that “lays on the altar the dearest and the best” and that juxtaposes the service of country and that “other country” of faith.

Mr Giles said that the hymn had a ‘dated military concept of fighting for King and country.

This, he said, ‘gives offence, as it is based on the idea of a king as head of an empire, whose bounds need to be preserved for the benefit of subjects at home and abroad.

‘In post-colonial Britain this comes across as patronising and unjust. Associating duty to King and Empire with a divine call to kill people and surrender one’s own life is a theologically inept reading of Jesus’ teaching.’

Mr Giles, who is vicar of St Mary Magdalene in Enfield in North London, added: ‘Furthermore, if the cause is wealth, power, influence, national pride, then the sacrifice is diminished and its connection to the pride of suffering is, for me, almost obscene.’

Pal Nancy’s church removed “Onward, Christian Soldiers” from its hymnal years ago when the Congregationalists bowdlerized  the sect’s entire collection of approved songs, purging all that mentioned war or God “the Father” and, I kid you not, substituting American Indian songs instead. Indians were animists, not Christians, and rather bloodthirsty practitioners of rape, pillage and torture, but they were also a matriarchal society, so that balances out and makes it okay, apparently. My next, and only visit to that institution will be in a pine box, and I have requested that Nancy order up Mr. Sullivan’s piece as the final recessional music. The walls will surely come tumbling down.

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