Monday, September 12, 2005

George Bush the modern Constantine and other musings

Following up on my commitment to review all the planned bulletin inserts from the Glimpses series of the Christian History Institute, I have decided that the issues in my possession pass muster for distribution to the Central Presbyterian Church of Tarentum even though I have some minor issues with things that are not necessarily stated clearly or accurately.

Issue # 192, entitled "Constantine: Christian or Opportunist" describes Constantine's challenge as having to decide how far he could push a Christian agenda in a largely non-Christian society. The authors state that President George W. Bush faces the very same issue today. They then go on to state:
And many ask if Constantine himself was truly a Christian? Or was he merely an opportunist, using the Christian faith for purely political ends? Historians would debate this question down through the centuries.
The authors tactfully avoid raising the same questions about President Bush, apparently leaving room for future historians to make their own evaluation.

Issue # 189, entitled "Nettie McCormick: It Is Better to Give" is a brief biography of the widow and heiress of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of a mechanical reaper. The article describes her philanthropy and use of the McCormick fortune to support church work. There is a misleading sentence in the penultimate paragraph where it states that "She became a leading benefactress of the Presbyterian Church in America."

This sentence is misleading because there is a modern-day denomination called the Presbyterian Church in America, organized in 1973 - fifty years after the death of Nettie McCormick. The institutions named in the article that she and her husband had supported so generously, McCormick Theological Seminary and Tusculum College, are both related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). During Mrs. McCormick's lifetime this modern-day denomination went by the name the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. I can deal with the possibility of confusion on the Sunday we use the insert at Central.

Issue # 188, entitled "Presidential Inaugurations: 'I do solemnly swear ...'" is an interesting one about the use of the Bible at Presidential inaugurations. There is a minor and unnecessary use of exclusive language in the penultimate sentence. The Twenty-First Century started a few years ago, so I would have expected better.

Issues # 190 and 191 are interesting topics and the articles don't raise any concerns for me.

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