Archive for the ‘Political Statements 2019’ Category

Abandoned Storefronts, Vidette, Georgia   1 comment

Image scanned from Angela Lee, Images of America:  Burke County, Georgia (1996)


My mother, father, sister, and I lived in Vidette, Georgia, from June 1980 to June 1982.  He was the minister of the Vidette, Greens Cut, and Friendship United Methodist Churches in rural Burke County, about the size of Rhode Island.

The buildings in the photograph above were still standing as late as February 1999, as Google Earth proves:

Now, however, only two of the five buildings remain.

Photographer Brian Brown posted an image of the two remaining buildings to one of his weblogs, Vanishing South Georgia, in 2014.

I remember the five buildings.  Look, O reader at the top photograph.  I recall that that building second from the right had been a bank.  I remember standing inside that structure as a child.

The decline of small towns such as Vidette is sad.  Although I have no desire to live in such a small, rural town again, I care deeply about disparities in society.  According to demographic predictions I have heard recently, 87% of Americans will live in cities and in eight states in 2040, thereby exasperating the rural-urban divide.  The truth of rural areas belies one of the many recent lies of the current, temporary occupant of the Oval Office; America is not full.  Rather, it has many empty spaces.  Many of them are in rural Georgia.

I want small, rural towns such as Vidette to be lively and economically vibrant.  We, as a society, cannot leave the rural areas behind and be the best we can be.





Realism in Politics and Policy   2 comments

I am, like most of my fellow Democrats, contemplating which candidate to prefer during the upcoming primary season next year.  The number of fine candidates is numerous.  Even the not-so-fine candidates are better on their worst days than Donald Trump is on his best days.

I have been reading about some of the candidates.  I have been reading at websites for which experts in domestic and foreign policy write.  A recurring theme, especially regarding Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, has been realism.  Warren, according to a longtime friend quoted in an article, has manifested a

data-driven worldview,

and changed her mind to fit the facts.  Biden, according to foreign policy writer James Traub, has demonstrated a realistic, not ideological, foreign policy.

I do not expect responsible policy-makers to remain consistent if consistency requires them to ignore date.  No, to ignore data would be to decide irresponsibly.  Actually, I seek a mature (in the highest sense of that word) President of the United States.  The more mature (in the highest sense of that word) he or she is, the better.  Particular policy matters may take a back seat to maturity as I ponder for whom to vote.  Besides, certain matters are ones best left to societal changes affected as people change their minds–what the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., called

a radical revolution of values

–than to court rulings and other acts of government.  Passing laws is necessary sometimes, but one should never imagine that doing so ends the offending actions.  (I wrote about this matter, with its subleties, here.)

I have seen a bumper sticker that reads,


I have not arrived at that point of political desperation, but have concluded that I may get there eventually.  Trump has lowered the bar so far that is has fallen to the floor.

The United States of America and the world deserve much better.  May we all have it on January 20, 2021.



Feast of Halford E. Luccock (November 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut, 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a19636



U.S. Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

The Reverend Halford E. Luccock comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the exposition on the Gospel of Mark in Volume VII (1951).

Luccock, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 11, 1885, grew up in a pious home.  His mother was Etta Anderson.  Our saint’s father was Naphtali Luccock, a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Luccock followed in his father’s footsteps and became a minister in 1910, after receiving his B.A. from Northwestern University (1906), B.Div. from Union Theological Seminary (1909), and M.A. from Columbia University (1909).

Luccock spent most of his career as a professor.  He was a pastor in Windsor, Connecticut (1910-1912), an instructor at Hartford Theological Seminary (1912-1914), and the pastor of St. Andrew’s Church, New Haven, Connecticut (1914-1916), as well as an instructor of the New Testament at Drew Theological Seminary (1916-1918).  Luccock married Mary Whitehead on July 17, 1914.  The couple had two children–Robert Edward Luccock and Mary Etta Luccock.  Our saint, attached to the denominational board of Foreign Missions from 1918 to 1924, was a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century from 1924 to 1928.  He wrote for that publication for the rest of his life.  Starting in 1948, he wrote a column under the pen name “Simeon Stylites.”  Luccock’s purpose in that column, as he explained it, was to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.  From 1928 to 1953, when he retired, our saint was Professor of Homiletics at The Divinity School, Yale University.

Luccock wrote and spoke in the fields of preaching, history, literature, and social critique, with many books, articles, and columns to his credit.  Our saint was not shy about expressing himself.  In September 1938, about a year before the European Theater of World War II began, he stood in the Riverside Church, Manhattan, and said,

When and if fascism comes to America, it will not be labeled, “made in Germany;” it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, Americanism.

The domestic political context for that statement was the rise of the openly pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic America First movement, of which Charles Lindbergh was a prominent spokesman.  The America First movement hoped to keep the United States out of the inevitable war, in which the country helped to defeat the Third Reich.

The essence of the statement remains relevant in the United States as I type these words, unfortunately.

Luccock, aged 75 years, died on November 6, 1960.





Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom,

and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Halford E. Luccock,

and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth

we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61


Watch Your Mouth, Etc.   1 comment

Unlike many people, both famous and obscure, I feel no compulsion to express most of my thoughts.  Perhaps the advice my grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Jr. (1905-1976), gave to my father, and my father passed down to me has influenced me properly.  My grandfather said,

It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

One may also substitute tweet, blog, and other verbs in lieu of “open your mouth” and be true to the statement.

General George Patton said that a man should be able to swear consistently for three minutes without repeating a word.  Patton satisfied his standard, I am sure.

That standard, however, is not for me.

Donald Trump is a megalomaniac, a menace to free society, a threat to the free press, and a peril to the Constitution of the United States, the free world, the global environment, the future of the human race, and much else.  He is also an uncouth lout.  I condemn him and all his menacing ways.  I also condemn Trump’s uncouthness.  He is probably the oldest profane toddler.

My standards require me to be consistent in these matters.

Pelagius said that one’s enemy triumphs when he makes one like himself.  Based on news, which I barely sample these days, so to avoid turning into Patton verbally on the matter of Donald Trump, the Mussolini wannabe with bad hair who has made some of his political opponents like himself, at least verbally.

This is wrong.  Public service requires one to live up to the highest possible standard.