.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Letters

-A A +A

What a privilege to live here

    I am so proud to be a volunteer at The National D-Day Memorial. Since the dedication on June 6, 2001, thousands of people have visited this site from all over the U.S.A. and from many countries around the world. Most, if not all, of these visitors have been very pleased with the experience. They have expressed high praise for the monument itself and for the genuine knowledge, compassion and friendliness of the people that work here. Some have even said that they thought this monument was more personal and more meaningful than some of those in our nation’s capitol.

    Many times I have witnessed a member of the staff greet a veteran (and/or relative or friend of a veteran) - sometimes with a handshake, sometimes with a hug - always with respect and a “thank you.” Each veteran leaves there knowing that our country is proud and thankful for his or her service. All D-Day Memorial staff members “wear many hats” as they help each other whenever the need arises. The staff members are an amazing bunch of people - spending time to answer many questions from visitors or volunteers. After working for the highly-respected FBI for over 30 years, I never dreamed that I would work for another group of people that I could admire as much. The staff and the volunteers have a special interest in promoting this monument: to educate people about the sacrifices that our veterans and their families made during the WWII days, to honor those who have served in the armed forces and to honor those who continue to defend our right to freedom.

    This monument is a “work in progress”: a place where thousands of students come each year to learn important history and respect for our country; a place where veterans come to pay respect to their comrades; a place where Americans can gather for friendship. The beautifully landscaped grounds; the companionship between the staff and volunteers and visitors; the awesome arch and statues – all make this a place of Honor and Respect for all Americans and Allies.

    Those of us that live in or near Bedford are honored to have this Memorial, known worldwide, located here. We are able to visit the site often, watch its growth and share these beautiful grounds with all the men and women who have fought and are now fighting for our right to live here in freedom. Veterans from all our wars, along with their families and friends, are welcomed and honored here. It is a great privilege to talk with these men and women who have fought for our freedom in WWII, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf War, and to those who are now serving in our armed forces.

    Due to the current financial situation, there is a shortfall in the funds necessary to keep the Memorial open. The least we in Bedford can do is to find financial donations to help the National D-Day Memorial Foundation staff and dedicated volunteers to keep this Memorial open so that they can continue with their mission of honoring the valor, fidelity and sacrifice displayed by the Allied Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

    Those that visit and work at the D-Day Memorial do not come as Democrats or Republicans; persons of one faith or another; rich or poor; persons of one color or another; or persons of any particular background. They come here to honor those who have given their lives to provide freedom for us. Many of them are delighted to be able to purchase meaningful mementos to take back to those veterans who are unable to get to the Memorial. Those who have not yet been able to do so, will be very glad when they do make the trip to:

The D-Day Memorial

A Place For All Freedom-Loving People to Gather.

A Place for Exchanging Stories of Times Remembered.

Where All People Can Show Respect and Compassion for One Another.

Shirley Green

Bedford

Response doesn’t do

justice

    While I appreciate John Barnhart’s attempt to respond to my letters of March 13 and May 13, I must say the attempt doesn’t do justice to someone who writes a weekly column.  He seems to rely exclusively on the fundamentalist faith tradition rather than relying on the many biblical scholarly sources.  If he is not a fundamentalist, I apologize.  I would never want to call someone that if they aren’t.  A Biblical scholar who teaches some of the Elderhostel’s I attend on religion, said, “My experience has been that fundamentalists wouldn’t change their minds if Jesus appeared to them in person and told them they were idiots.”

    I will try to respond to both parts I and II in the order Mr. Barnhart presents his points.

    1  “. . . there is only one version (of the Bible).”  Don’t take my word for the fact that there are over 200 versions of the Bible, look it up in many different biblical reference sources.  Wikipedia might be the easiest,  It suggests over 450 different versions and specifically lists 125 different Bibles.  To say there is only one is to suggest that Chevrolet’s, Camry’s, Cadillac’s, Lincoln’s and Saturn’s are the same because they are all cars.  When you can sell that to car buyers, I might agree there is only one Bible, but I doubt it.  An easy way to settle this question is to look at a Protestant and a Catholic Bible.  They are not the same.

    2.  “. . . the church had already recognized only four gospels three centuries before this (Nicea) Council met (in 325 CE).”  This is an easy refutation.  Mark was written in the late 60’s or early 70’s CE, Matthew and Luke in the late 80’s and John not until the turn of the century.  These gospels weren’t even written until 35 to 65 years after Jesus’ crucifixion.  So they were clearly not recognized three centuries before Nicea.  Of the approximately 50 gospels known today only four were selected as part of the canon, but they hadn’t been selected by Nicea.  Many others were still in the running.

    3.  “There had been consensus on the bulk of the New Testament cannon generations before this Council met . . . .”  Absolutely not true!  The very first time the 27 books of the New Testament appeared in one list was in a 367 CE letter from Bishop Athanasius to his flock identifying the books he thought should be recognized as scripture.  This issue wasn’t settled until at least the fifth century CE.

    4. “Arius Christology was not (accepted) and he had been excommunicated for this reason several years before the Council of Nicea met.”  Constantine had invited all 1800 Bishops but only about 300 or so attended the Council.  Arius’ followers attended and argued for the concept of subordination; i.e., God first, Jesus second and the holy spirit third in importance.  It was Athanasius who argued for the convoluted concept of the Trinity which leads many Jews, Muslims and others to believe Christianity is not even monotheistic.  Barnhart is right that Arius’s followers lost the battle.  How?  By a vote—not divine intervention.  Athanasius had more votes and Arius continued to be labeled a heretic.  But isn’t it interesting that in John’s gospel he says at least 50 times something equivalent to “I can only do what the Father permits.  I can do nothing on my own.  I can only do the will of him who sent me.”  If that isn’t subordination of Jesus to God, what is?  It certainly isn’t equal status as suggested by the Trinity.

    5  “The Old Testament does not contain Elohist or Yahwist traditions.”  This is just factually not true.  An exegesis of the first two chapters of Genesis reveals two distinct creation accounts with conflicting chronologies.  The first account, which uses the word Elohim for God places the creation of man and woman on the sixth day, at the very end of creation.  In contrast, the second Yahwist version (which begins chapter 2 verse 4) has plants, animals and birds created after the man.  If these aren’t two different versions, the English language is really screwed up.  In addition to this, there is a Yahwist and a Priestly version of the flood story.  The Yahwist version is (Gen 6:5 to 8, 7:1 to 23 and 8:2 to 22)  The Priestly version is (Gen 6:9 to 22, 7:6 to 21 and 8:1 to 5 and 13 to 19).  If these aren’t two different versions of the same story, there is something even more strange about the English language.  One version says seven pairs of clean animals and a pair of the unclean.  The other says “bring two of every kind into the ark.”  And this is just one of the flood story differences which itself was taken from the Gilgamesh Epic and several other flood myths of earlier religions.  I agree with Barnhart that Yahwist and Elohim refer to the same person, but they are from different traditions and their narratives contain conflicting information. 

    6. “There are not three conflicting sets of Ten Commandments.”  Well if that is not the case, why are the Protestant and Catholic versions not the same?  There are many sources of these differences but again, Wikipedia may be the easiest where it clearly shows that, as a minimum, the versions are not the same.

    7. “As far as who Jesus is (when he becomes divine) . . . .”  Barnhart makes my point for me.  The Bible is inconsistent on its determination of when Jesus became divine.

    Paul says that Jesus was a human like anyone else but from the line of David and that he was declared to be the Messiah by the resurrection.  This is the earliest form of the Christology known as Adoptionism where God adopted a human being to be king.  Paul believes God adopted Jesus and declared him to be the Messiah by resurrecting him.  So Jesus becomes special at his resurrection, in Paul’s understanding.  This is consistent with very early Christianity.

    Mark does not have a birth narrative and includes nothing about Jesus’ life before his public baptism.  According to Mark, Jesus was baptized for the remission of sins just like anyone else, but that at his baptism God adopted him.  So Jesus became special at his baptism for Mark. He is not special before.

    Matthew and Luke mention nothing about Jesus being preexistent but both believe he is special from birth.  Both believe he was conceived without human effort, but both still apparently see Jesus as human who is special from birth.  Matthew also sees him as more powerful than Mark as evidenced by his insertion of the dialog between John and Jesus at Jesus’ baptism (Matt. 3.13-15) and by his choice of verbs referring to Jesus not performing powerful deeds when he went to his hometown (cf. Mark 6.1-6 and Matt. 13.54-58).  Luke sees Jesus as powerful but not all-powerful.  Note Luke 5.17 which indicates that the power to heal was not something essential to Jesus but seems to be accidental.  Also, the parable told in Luke 18.11-27 indicates that, as a parallel to the story of Jesus, Jesus has to go away to get true power for himself.  That is, he has gone away (up to the Father) to get power and will return to bring judgment.

    John sees Jesus as preexistent and at least supernatural from the beginning (John 1.1-14).  There is no question that Jesus is the messiah in John’s Gospel, though his being the messiah is rather ambiguous in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke).  There is also no question, though, that Jesus is not as powerful as God in John’s Gospel as there is clear Subordinationism throughout the Gospel.

    8. “The subordination of Jesus to the Father in John (and in I Cor.) . . . . “  Clearly subordination is not the same concept as the Trinity.  Barnhart made a special point that Arius, the champion of subordination was labeled a heretic for his views which is correct.  He also cites additional biblical passages that seem to suggest subordination and I agree.  But none of this changes my basic point that when Jesus became divine is not consistently or definitively addressed in the Bible.

    If the church can’t agree on the points above, how can anyone believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible?  Sanctified ignorance is still ignorance.  There are some wonderful messages in the Bible that we should all consider, but it was written by men who wanted to tell “their” stories and not a God story.  So where is the inerrancy? As the great cosmologist, Stephen Hawking said:  “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance . . . it is the illusion of knowledge.”  So it is with religion.

    Obviously I can’t answer Janice James 6/3/09 letter because Bulletin rules say only one letter a month.  I will have to decide then whether to answer her or other critics.  I can say she didn’t have to convince me “she was no scientist.”  She says “Just because the majority (and it’s much more than a majority) of scientists profess evolution does not make it true.”  If that doesn’t do it, I doubt I could ever convince her since science is the major source of truth.  With DNA, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming.  She is right though that giving only selected information is indoctrination, not education.  That is my biggest concern about religious indoctrination, particularly of the young, since it is close to child abuse.  No one familiar with science education would ever call it indoctrination.  There are so many inaccuracies in her letter that I’m not sure I want to spend one of my opportunities to challenge them.

David McLoughlin

Forest

Thank You

    Say goodbye to transparencies! Through the generosity of the Bedford Area Education Foundation, I was able to purchase a document camera and LCD projector for Otter River Elementary School. These technology tools will greatly benefit the students here at Otter River by providing hands-on learning. We are very fortunate to have an organization like the Bedford County Education Foundation, willing to provide funds to our local schools to help them acquire the tools they need to improve our children’s education. Again, I would like to express my gratitude to the Bedford County Education Foundation for approving my grant for the document camera and LCD projector at Otter River Elementary School.

Kelly Steele

Teacher- Otter River Elementary School

Bedford

Save the

D-Day Memorial

    You May Get What You Wished For:  I have visited the World War Two Monument on the Mall at our Nations Capitol.  It is impressive, World Class, but it felt to me impersonal. 

    It is obviously historical and has vivid displays but reserved, like visiting a museum or battlefield.  The National D-Day in Bedford is also World class.  But it is warm, personal, interpretive and alive.  Why?  I think it is because of the action in the display, realism of the re-created bronze soldiers and the local people, the volunteers. 

    Do we really want to turn over this Memorial to the Federal Government?  The hardship, sweat, effort, vision and money that many Virginians, and others, exercised to get the facility built, should be carefully considered before letting the National Park Service, with its thousands of pages of regulations, take over and erase the character of the Bedford project.

    I think it is admirable for Senators Warner & Webb to now get involved with the possible placement in the National park system but I am also skeptical of politicians being involved.  It will be troubling to hear or read about how “I Saved the D-Day Memorial so vote for me!” I was also surprised to hear the D-Day was in financial trouble.  I have not seen, read or heard that they desperately needed money until a month or so ago. 

    The D-Day Board should publish their budget in the local papers and then present a plan on how the citizens can preserve the Monument, what amount is needed to get it solvent and keep it there.  Why not exhaust the private sector option before going to our government?  Run a Jerry Lewis type telethon and see what pledges the foundation can obtain. What if in a few years, with the way our country is currently bleeding red ink, a Massachusetts or California lawmaker says we can’t afford the Bedford Memorial so let’s close, sell or consolidate it with the one in Washington?  Then we would have the Federal Government deciding what to do with the real estate.  

    Turning the Memorial over to the Park Service may be the only viable option but I feel that the Foundation owes it to the thousands that put boots on the ground in service to the Nation and to the Memorial, to exhaust every possibility of self funding the project.  I do not think they have gotten the word out to many people of their financial plight.  I hope there is not some other reason, a reason the general public doesn’t know about, that is pushing them to want the government to take control of our local but now, National treasure.

S. H. Parsons

Forest