4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 13, 2005
cbe itchigan fatlad
JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors
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THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
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London and Madrid.
- Al- Qaeda member Adam Yahiye Gadahn
- a taped message threatening terrorist
attacks, broadcast Saturday on ABC News.
COLIN DALY THE Mic : KIAN DAL
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Spreading only part of the Word
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK BoRN IN TiE U.S.A
f you chanced to
walk across the Diag
you probably witnessed
a proud Michigan tra-
dition - a loudmouth
from atop a stool, this
students at the "Univer-
sity of Masturbation" to
cease drinking, fornicating and sodomizing
lest we be cast into a lake of fire.
This guy didn't provide quite as good enter-
tainment as Brother Stephen, who visited three
years ago and employed an impressive variety
of vocal tones that ranged from a demonic
growl for statements like "The Koran is a ter-
rorist manual from Hell!" to a cheery sing-
song, complete with gestures, for "Ashcroft is
a good man because he loves the Bible!" But
he still put on a good show and managed to
anger and offend plenty of sinners, judging
from the number of people who got in shout-
ing matches with him.
To be fair, yesterday's evangelist didn't just
shout. He eventually settled into a quieter dis-
cussion with a smaller crowd, largely other
Christians, to whom he tried to sell his partic-
ular brand of Christianity. In his view, he lives
a life entirely without sin, and the Bible com-
mands him to judge sinners. Of course, he had
a nifty, convoluted answer to the old "Judge
not lest ye be judged" line. It isn't much good
to argue with these guys; they always have a
nifty, convoluted answer.
I might not agree with anything these Diag
evangelists say, and I might cringe every time
they shout to a gay person that homosexuality is
a sinful choice or to a Muslim that he worships
a false god, but I find myself with a certain
degree of respect for them nonetheless. They're
going up against nearly every social norm to
act on their beliefs. Jesus tells them to love their
neighbors, and nonbelievers will burn in Hell.
As loving Christians, they're trying hard to
save the rest of us from damnation.
A bit of begrudging respect, however, does
not approval of militant evangelicals make.
There sure doesn't appear to be much love in
their preaching to the sinners - "scathing"
was the word the evangelist himself used yes-
terday to describe it. And I just have trouble
taking people very seriously when they mis-
leadingly argue against evolution by claiming
it violates the Second Law of Thermodynam-
ics. Then there's the ever-present specter of
hypocrisy, from endless televangelist fund-
raising scandals to the situation that has kept
the gay-bashing Brother Stephen from return-
ing to our campus - a 2004 conviction for
soliciting sex from a 14-year-old boy.
What I find most troubling about the sort
of hard-line Christianity that has an increas-
ing degree of influence in our society and
government, however, is its strict focus on the
individual. The sole important factor in deter-
mining salvation, in most brands of evangeli-
cal Christianity, is personal redemption, not
good works. Thus, the focus is on sins of the
individual conscience that separate us from
God. In practice, most of these sins deal with
sex or drugs; these are the "moral" issues that
dominate so much of our political debate.
Left behind are some other portions of the
New Testament: the part about turning the
other cheek, that bit about it being more dif-
ficult for a rich man to get into heaven than for
a camel to get through the eye of a needle, the
Sermon on the Mount and that whole blessed-
are-the-peacemakers thing. They don't exact-
ly play up the command to love thy neighbor
as thyself either.
Jesus's teachings have inspired literally
millions of people to go out and do good in the
world. Christian charities carry on this work
around the world today. And yet, as comfort-
able as the evangelist was yesterday shout-
ing graphically about sexual "sins" in terms
not particularly fit for print, he saw no need
to encourage his listeners to help the poor or
treat those around them more kindly. He did
mention Hurricane Katrina - but, rather than
pushing the crowd to donate to and assist in
relief efforts, he argued that the disaster was
God's punishment for a wicked city that was
allowing a gay festival originally planned to
take place shortly after the hurricane hit.
I'm perfectly aware that such extreme views
as that version of Katrina aren't representative
of most Christians, or even most evangelicals.
And I'm probably going to hell, if only for the
pleasure I derived from watching the evange-
list argue that it is possible to live a life without
sin against an older, very devout man who later
said he once healed an atheist with terminal
cancer by praying with him on the sidewalk
outside of Michigan Book and Supply.
But many of the beliefs the evangelist
espoused - that evolution is a lie, that homo-
sexuality is a choice and a sin - are more
widely shared, and their proponents are
increasingly determining the direction of our
government. Evidence that policies they advo-
cate such as abstinence-only sex education
don't work means little to a crowd that bases
its worldview on faith.
The divisive doctrines the evangelist preached
may or may not save souls, but they certainly
don't use Christian teachings to make our soci-
ety more tolerant or charitable. I doubt the Jesus
who loved the lowest of the low in his society
would be very pleased with that.
Zbrozek can be reached at
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Shake up season with night
and nonconference games
TO THE DAILY:
Our football program needs to update itself
beyond Lloyd's atrocious, predictable play-
calling. Why don't we play titanic nonconfer-
ence games anymore? We used to: Miami in
1988, Florida State in 1991. It's been a long
time since we've played a nonconference game
similar to the thrilling Texas-Ohio State game
last weekend. What are we afraid of? We're
Michigan, damnit! Let's truck in some lights
and play one of these games at night. Can you
imagine how big it would be to play a Southern,
Cal., LSU, Tennessee, Florida State or Miami
game under the lights at the Big House on
national TV on a September Saturday night?
Instead, we're stuck with boring noon games
against whatever Directional Michigan/Mid-
American Conference cupcake is on the sched-
ule this week. I know that might upset some
Victors Club members who like to be safely
tucked into bed by sundown and remember
when players wore leather helmets, but Michi-
gan football needs to shake the dust off more
than just Lloyd's playbook.
It doesn't get any better
than Coach Carr
TO THE DAILY:
I implore Aaron Johnson to think twice
about his strong criticism of Lloyd Carr (An
open letter to Lloyd Carr, 09/12/05). As a loyal
supporter of Michigan football since the day I
was born, there is no one I would rather have
coaching our Wolverines than Carr. Why?
Let's take a look at the evidence.
In his first decade as head coach, Carr has
coached his teams to at least a share of five
Big Ten championships, as well as one nation-
al championship. He has led the Wolverines
to nine consecutive New Year's Day bowl
games, winning five of them. Carr is fifth
mrmnvct nartiv Divsn I o rnochec in ovprall
a staggering amount of intense criticism. There
are plenty of teams nationally that would do
almost anything to attain the kind of success
Carr has had at Michigan, and the fact that fans
like Johnson cannot appreciate and celebrate
the University's successful and clean football
program gives me the impression that there is
nothing within reason that would bring them
the satisfaction they desire.
Yes, it is depressing to see Michigan lose,
and I must admit I was extremely disappointed
after Saturday's game. The season, however, is
not lost. We can still cheer our Wolverines to a
third consecutive Big Ten title and a third con-
secutive trip to a BCS bowl game. And it's very
possible the Wolverines could once again be in
Pasadena when all is said and done. Let us not
concentrate on what went wrong in one game,
and instead concentrate on what we can do to
make sure our football team knows that we're
still behind it for the remainder of the season.
This includes supporting our head football
coach and his coaching staff.
Stale season plagued by
TO THE DAILY:
Matt Venegoni (Did M's loss ruin the day? It
shouldn't, 09/12/05) wrote that "even though
the loss was a big, sad letdown, it was hardly
shocking. Our expectations are so high at
Michigan that any time we lose ... the winds
are taken out of our collective sails." He's
wrong. The reason that the loss was "hardly
shocking" is not because our expectations are
so high, but rather because our expectations
are low. After Saturday's game, Michigan
has lost three out of the last four games to
Notre Dame, three out of the last four games
to Ohio State and three out of the last four
bowl games. That's not an enjoyable statistic.
This is hardly the Michigan program it once
was. How far have we fallen if we have to
tell ourselves before every big game, whether
it be Notre Dame, Michigan State, Iowa or
Ohio Stnaethat aCCsshouldn't ruin our dav?
son's silly attack (An open letter to Lloyd Carr,
09/12/05) on Coach Lloyd Carr in yesterday's
Daily. What do you want? Clearly, unless our
Wolverines win every single game, you will
declare the season and the program a fail-
ure. Since the 1997 championship season,
Michigan ranks as the third most victorious
program in the country. That's better than the
Trojans you so hope to emulate, and even the
legendary (note the sarcasm) Urban Meyer or
Kirk Ferentz, whom you claim as the arche-
types to which Lloyd should aspire.
Nope, since 1997, it's Miami, Florida State
and Michigan. Last I checked, third out of 119
isn't so bad. But I guess Carr and his staff
should really go back to the drawing board
and figure out what they're doing wrong. I
expect so much better than back-to-back Big
Ten Championships! I've been so miserable
spending my last two New Year's Eves party-
ing in southern California on the eve of the
Rose Bowl! Come on, we're all frustrated by
the offense's performance on Saturday, but
during pregame, I bet you were telling every-
one in sight how Chad Henne was going to
throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns.
It's just one game, not time to panic.
Michigan always loses a game that it
shouldn't. That's part of the charm of Michi-
gan football, but it all works out in the end.
Again, last I checked, Michigan has played on
New Year's Day every year since 1997. Can
you say the same about all the other genius
coaches you listed? Nope, you can't.
Lloyd is a class guy who represents our
school incredibly well. And, oh, yeah, he wins
a whole bunch of football games, too. More
than all but two programs in the country.
Clearly his performance needs improvement.
Saturday's Big House
turns to outhouse
TO THE DAILY:
Watching the Michigan-Notre Dame
ame here in California, I was appalled at
Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Amanda Burns, Whitney Dibo,
Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Eric Jackson, Brian Kelly, Theresa Kennelly,
Raiiv Pr.hhak -M tAr Ra s.avi] R1CCse llDn Skowrnnski.Brian Slade, Lauren