Points By Drew Pritt


John Paul I – Saint of WHAT IF???
October 30, 2007, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Culture, General Views, Religion

Holy Father, Pope John Paul I

Sorry for my absence, as I have been focused on schoolwork, personal life, and other pursuits. However, in this time, I have taken considerable time to ponder and consider the legacy of Albino Luciani, better known as His Holiness, Pope John Paul I. From August 26th to September 28th, just a mere 33 days in 1978, this man reigned as the Supreme Pontiff and Vicar of Christ’s Church here on earth. Heir to the legacy of Saint Peter and so many other great men, he was at the very core a true pastor, and I believe a true Saint. But a Saint of what?

For some history is of their own making but for others history is thrust upon them. For a rare few, destiny dictates the need for a certain person, but they believe they do not rise to the challenge when in essence they do. As humans, we seek recognition that our work and our purpose on earth has somehow been fulfilled. Yet, we also want a legacy quite often. The Ancient Greeks believed immortality was achieved through those who carried their name on. In Sir William Shakespere’s play, Hamlet, he implores the character Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend, to carry on his legacy and to tell his story. Recently, a new book has come out about the letters of Mother Teresa and the periods of mournful agony and loneliness she felt while serving God. Yet in humility and obiedience she served him none the less.

Since I was at the library, I picked up John Cornwell’s novel, A Thief In The Night, which was an analytical and serious investigation into the sudden death of this Pope. This is a man who never sought greatness and yet by his mere being exuded and taught more about true Christianity in 33 Days then many before him. Yet he is sadly overlooked. His sudden death and the subsequent “Who shot JR” culture of the period, as well as a major investigation/audit of the Vatican Bank made John Paul I’s death seem sinister and plotted. In actuality, it was a combination of simple things that brought his own demise, at a most inopportune time.

Here is a man who refused to wear the triple tiara crown, refused to use the royal we when speaking, and mixed both C.S. Lewis and Pinocchio into his sermons in that brief period. On three separate occasions, this Pontiff, Vicar of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and heir of Saint Peter humbled himself during a sacred mass to serve in the role of an altar server. Some portray this as weakness and almost Hollywoodesque with a Peter Sellers-like character in the role of Pope. Yet John Paul I’s decision to humanize the Papacy made it easier for John Paul II to reach out to others and show a human and simpler side to the Papacy.

Had he lived, John Paul I would have been more revolutionary than John Paul II. Theologically he was progressive and ahead of his time. The Pope soon after his election had made statements indicating that he believed the church’s position on contraception was immoral and outdated. In conversation with several people, the Pope had indicated that a rethink of the encyclical Humanae Vitae was needed, allowing the use of the contraceptive pill among the faithful. The late Pope supported these comments by reference to malnutrition in the Third World, with the words “God does not always provide.” Luciani had been elected to the Papacy largely through the support of Cardinals from the Third World, with whom he had shared a desire for a “Third World” Pope when he arrived at the Conclave that ultimately elected him John Paul I. 

John Paul I most likely died as the result of a pulmonary embolism. It is a fact that fact that Luciani had experienced a retinal embolism in 1976. He drank 4-5 cups of coffee regularly. At the time of his election, he has stopped taking a blood coangulant during the conclave, and his feet swelled up. So much so he could not wear the slippers provided to him. There are other factors that this book brings out.

In the end, I believe Albino Luciani, should be dubbed the SAINT of WHAT IF. What if there had been a progressive Pope in the 1980’s who focused on changing society through its views of sexuality and social norms rather than through the more political Cold War Pope. It was not to be and it was God’s will otherwise.

Either way, I see in this “SMILING POPE” the face of a good man who at another point in history would have become immortal by showing that Christianity is not about forcing ideology or views of God on someone. Rather its about focusing on the here and now and meeting people where they are and caring for them there. 

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THE ARROGANCE OF RELIGION
October 11, 2007, 5:41 am
Filed under: Culture, Religion

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Faith and Religion are two different concepts.

Faith is best defined in Hebrews 11:1 which states : “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ” Hebrews 11 goes onto speak about faith, its role in a walk with God, and the people who recieved many gifts eventually because of faith.

Religion is a set of common beliefs and practices generally held by a group of people.

Religion has had effects as well. Religion gave us planes flying into buildings. Religion has given us division. Religion has given us such words in the English language as schism and apostasy. As God is to light and the Devil is to a false light, so also is Faith to Religion. And this week, I found out that, even though I am a “Christian” and I am proud to be an Episcopalian, I have always had a distrust of Baptists. I now have had that belief reaffirmed.

I am a student at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a non-traditional campus. It saddens me as I had yet another experience this week that reaffirmed the feeling I have towards Baptists. The religion over all is intolerant, inconsistent with the message of Christ, and overbearing. Rather than go into the messiness, I am laughing over what I believe to be God’s way, because in the midst of my religious turmoil, I found the above ad for the Church of my choice, the Episcopal Church. In the midst of my righteous indignation, I see the Presiding Bishop, and in a tongue in cheek manner she reaffirmed for me why I am an Episcopalian and others choose to be Baptists.



THE PEOPLE, not Money, WIN!
October 10, 2007, 3:54 am
Filed under: Local Politics

THE PEOPLE WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Robert Michael Daugherty (I)* — 1,446  54%

Anna Swaim (C) ——————– 1,248 46%

I had the opportunity to view the other three candidates for LR School Board, just as I had earlier for Lt. Governor in 2006, up close and personal. Michael Nellums & Anna Swaim were at the forums and Daugherty I ran across at like ACORN and the LR CTA. It was a little uncomfortable because both Daugherty and I shared common friendships and allies so it was hard for many of them to make a definitive decision. But once I lost, and I did get beat, but once I got beat I was out there working hard for Daugherty.

Some asked me why I came to this decision. The reason why is a number of reasons but money played a big part in it.

I always look to see who donates. It says a lot about the candidates, where they come from, and who they listen to if elected. I also looked at how the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and sadly even the Arkansas Times made this into an initiative not on test scores or merit pay but on race and racial politics. Here we are celebrating the integration of Central High fifty years later and the ghosts of that era still plague us.

So on Election Night the first time, I endorsed Daugherty, because thats where the heart of the people lay. In the runoff, the Swaim Camp raised large amounts of money. Money that could have gone to After School Programs went to billboard signs. Money that was raised that could have gone to playground equipment and new ceiling tile paid for direct mail glossy mailers and other forms of advertisement.

You may ask how much was spent? Well Swaim raised $17,000 before the first filing and an additional $12,000, so $39,000 was raised and much spent. Daugherty kept par in some respects that he raised $15,000 and Michael Nellums had raised $3,500. Yours truly raised $100.

More importantly though, the Daugherty & Nellums donations were mainly Zone Two residents or members of the Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association in Daugherty’s case. Swaim’s contributions looked like a Who’s Who of the elite, wealthy, and powerful interests of Little Rock/Central Arkansas who do not live in Zone Two.

Also, Daugherty held two rallies, the second of which I spoke at, and were moderately attended where food was given out and speeches were a lot. Reverend Benny Johnson who does the crosses for the victims of violence was a frequent person there, just like at the Victory Celebration held on John Barrow Road, where food, back slapping, and dancing was seen. The people there live here and more importantly, their kids go to school here. These people who worked for Daugherty I worked alongside for in the Bill Walker for Mayor Campaign, the Diane Curry for School Board Campaign, the Mike Beebe campaign, as far back as Jim Guy Tucker and Charlie Cole Chaffin. These are not wine and cheese socialites doing their duty for selfless service. These are residents of Zone Two who want the best education possible for their kids, their neighbors kids, and everyone who lives in this part of the city.

I walked the streets and hung up mailers with my friends. I called and I emailed. I also blogged and did what I, Joe Q. Citizen with money and a mere sense of public duty could do. I was joined in this effort by The Gang as the Democrat Gazette labeled them (Diane Curry, Charles Armstrong, Katherine Mitchell), as well as Linda Chesterfield, Joyce Elliott, Bill Walker, Tracy Steele, Pat Lynch, Grainger Ledbetter, Brownie Ledbetter, Cathy Koehler, and so many more. We had college students, teachers, pastors, and just plain old everyday working folk from Zone # 2. We worked and this evening, we showed, that VOX POPULI still is true today. The PEOPLE still rule!

Congratulations Robert Michael Daugherty, you won the old fashioned way, you earned it!



Could 2008 See The Rise of JESSE???
October 3, 2007, 12:57 pm
Filed under: National Politics

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am a purveyor and collector of political buttons. I always seem to make a little money on the side in designing campaign logos, so I like to look, and sometimes get ideas. Most of the time, each button, seems to tell a story or a tale. The last time I remember seeing campaign signs for a Presidential candidate with the name Jesse was watching Jesse Jackson speak at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. I was a young child and didn’t understand the immiediate significance of the event, that an African-American candidate, had obtained and come so close to taking the Presidential nomination. As my watching of Presidential politics followed, this was followed by the rise four years later, of a larger than life yet erratic Independent Presidential candidate named H. Ross Perot. Thus became my interest in third party candidacies.

So with 2008 looming with so many larger than life candidates for President could there be room for a third party candidate? For a third party to even make a blip they would need someone larger than life. I mean the Democrats have a former First Lady turned U.S. Senator as well as first woman seriously in line to be President battling with an African-American, a Nobel-Prize nominated Hispanic Governor, two distinguished U.S. Senators, a former U.S. Senator and one of the author of the Pentagon Papers, and then an also-ran one term U.S. Senator and Vice Presidential nominee and a peacenik U.S. Congressman. Thats just the Democrats. The Republicans have the Mayor of New York City during 9/11 battling with a U.S. Senator who was a Vietnam War P.O.W. battling a Mormon Republican former Governor of Massachusetts whose father also ran for President and was a Mormon Republican former Governor of Michigan battling a Watergate Counsel turned actor turned U.S. Senator turned actor turned Presidential candidate. You also have a U.S. Senator, a few Congressmen, and a former Republican Governor of Arkansas who has been before his states Ethics Commission almost two dozen times and whose only other discernible trait is that he lost a lot of weight and in true Republican style wrote a book to make money off of it.

Could Hollywood dream up a scenario?

So a third party candidate would have to be larger than life. Arnold Schwarznegger, a liberal Republican actor who married into the very Democratic Kennedy family and became Governor of California can’t run because he was born in Austria and is a naturalized citizen. Mike Bloomberg, who was initially headed to be elected Mayor of New York City on 9/11 can’t run because frankly he’s a billionaire and why would he run? Chuck Hagel, another P.O.W. turned politician, is a U.S. Senator happy playing Hamlet On The Prairie in Nebraska and just swore off politics like a drunk from a bottle. Other names bantied about are former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia. But outside of those who observe politics like myself, who know Sam Nunn to be a genius and a true statesman, in Peoria he’s not as well known. If he were to run it would be easier through conventional means.

So who could run? Preferably someone elected as an Independent before.

Enter Jesse Ventura from stage right, no pun intended, or maybe I do philosophically speaking. Ventura is a popular former wrestler who in 1998 shocked the nation to the core by taking the now defunct Reform Party nomination and winning a stunning victory as Governor of Minnesota over the son of a former U.S. Vice President and a popular Mayor who is now a U.S. Senator.

Jesse Ventura is anything other than simple. As Governor his administration was anything other than insignificant. His political appeal is definitely NRA membership holding, WWF-watching, beer drinking, shopping at the local Save-A-Lot populace. When he ran in 1998 he turned out voters who traditionally do not vote with an inconventional campaign that included campaign commercials with are you ready for this…..plastic action figures. He also had signs with neon green and neon orange and black writing. Trust me when I say neon is not a typical color for campaign logos on major statewide campaigns.

Jesse Ventura was born James George Janos. “Don’t vote for politics as usual.” was his slogan. After his election, bumper stickers and T-shirts bearing the slogan “My Governor can beat up your Governor!” appeared in Minnesota and became ubiquitous virtually overnight. He spent considerably less than his opponents (about $600,000), and is widely regarded as one of the first candidates to effectively use the internet, before Howard Dean tried it, as a medium of reaching out to voters in a political campaign. Ventura went on to gain the highest approval rating of any governor in Minnesota history, with some polls ranking his public approval as high as 73 percent in 1999, despite controversial public comments.

He’s also a Vietnam Veteran and get this a United States Navy Seal.

So where is he philosophically and politically. As the late actress Lucille Ball would say, “WELL????????”

As Governor, Ventura publicly supported a unicameral (one-house) legislature, light-rail public transport, property tax reform, gay rights, and is strongly pro-choice. While funding public school education generously, he opposed teachers unions, and did not have a high regard for the public funding of higher-education institutions. In November 2004, an advertisement began airing in California featuring Ventura. In it, Ventura voices his opposition to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s policies regarding Native American casinos. Additionally, Ventura supported the use of medicinal marijuana, advocated a higher role for third parties in national politics, and favored the concept of instant runoff voting. In one of his books, he mentions a visit to a prostitute in Reno, Nevada and he admitted to visiting brothels in the Philippines while serving in the military. Ventura has publicly stated that prostitution should be legal, since it will exist in any case, and legal controls protecting the health of clients are needed. He was even quoted as saying “I voted in hopes to make prostitution legal once, and I’d do it again in a second.” He admitted to trading a belt made of gun cartridge casings in exchange for 10 dollars plus the services of a prostitute in Nevada during his younger days.

One issue of the day that Ventura is strong against is the War in Iraq. Ventura is serving as an advisory board member for a new group called Operation Truth, a nonprofit organization set up “to give voice to troops who served in Iraq.”

As a veteran, Ventura has what we call street cred. to say “The current use of the National Guard is wrong….These are men who did not sign up to go occupy foreign nations.”

Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare might not be Republican, it might be Jesse Ventura as the Green Party or another Third Party candidate, and then we could be stuck with four to eight more years of God Forbid, ANOTHER REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION.

We’ll see…..stay tuned, same station, same bat channel!