In Germany yesterday for the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, former President Bush reminisced about some bad advice he received a decade ago: "In my view, that would have been an open provocation, tantamount to sticking our fingers in the eyes of the Soviet military." Who advised him to do what?
Send your answer by noon ET Thursday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday's Question (No. 334)--"Paige Proofs":
Fill in the blank as Rev. Paige Patterson, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, responds to critics: "Show me a single case where a Southern Baptist has ____________, and I will do my best to see it never happens again."
"Fun."--Colleen Werthmann and Carol Rodriguez (Jim Asplund, Francis Heaney, and Colin Murphy had similar answers.)
"Gotten 800s on the SATs."--Katha Pollitt
"Evolved from some other form of life."--LeRoy Tabb and Wellesley Wild
"Named his son Paige."--Jay Welch and Greg Diamond (similarly, Steven Davis and Arthur Stock)
"Professed belief in some ridiculous half-man half-god who performs miracles and can be three and one at the same time and lives forever."--Dale Shuger
Click for more answers.
Many responses were built on the assumption that Southern Baptists are bad in bed. Certainly, some religious groups associate sex with sin, which can either be inhibiting or inspiring, depending on your point of view (and whether or not you own your own vestments). Still other faiths forbid specific erotic acts, such as getting undressed or smiling. Of course, sexual pleasure is not experienced in groups (unless you are very lucky), but between two individuals (at least one of whom should be awake at the time, praying for forgiveness). And so there is no proof that any particular religion is sexier than any other. There is, however, some evidence that sexual satisfaction correlates with educational attainment; for instance, those who completed graduate school express greater sexual happiness than those who dropped out of high school. You'd think this sort of thing would show up in more educational reform plans. But not Trent Lott's. (Praise the Lord.)
Entirely Aboveboard Answer
"Show me a single case where a Southern Baptist has acted deceptively."
Rev. Patterson was commenting on a letter from the Jewish Community Relations Council, an umbrella group of more than 60 organizations, protesting his denomination's use of "deceptive" tactics to convert Jews. Members of the council, including--in a rare show of unity--the leaders of all four Jewish seminaries, are particularly vexed by the Baptists' use of tallis and yarmulke in a Christian service.
"Our quarrel with the Southern Baptist Convention is not over its right to proselytize," said the letter. "Rather, the Jewish community is deeply offended that the S.B.C. has formally embraced a strategy that attempts to deceive Jews into believing that one can be both a Jew and a Christian."
That S.B.C. employs a very different conversion tactic than the straightforward hot lead enema used by the Inquisition to convert Jews, sometimes turning them into "Maranos," or secret Jews, other times into "pre-Christians," or dead Jews.
Medical Leftovers Extra
- Mental Health: "I am personally shocked--shocked!--when something like this happens."--New York's Gov. George Pataki discovers that the deinstitutionalized mentally ill do things that harm others; he proposes to change the state's policy on forced deinstitutionalization. Sincerity check: In his first four years in office, Pataki financed 200 new housing units; there are about 10,000 homeless mentally ill people in New York City alone. Honesty check: I added the second "shocked."
- Mental Health 2: "This is serious wacko stuff."--Pat Buchanan comments on a Donald Trump's tax plan. This is what psychiatrists refer to as "the pot calling the kettle, like, some kind of pot" or what Wildman Fisher calls "monkey vs. donkey."
- Theological Health: "A legislator has introduced a bill to prevent circumcision after death."--Deborah Sontag writes in the New York Times. Or after heavy drinking, she does not add.
- Yuck "ha-ha"? Or yuck "blecchhh"? Health: "There's a big yuck factor to reusing devices."--Dr. Larry Kessler of the FDA comments on "single use" medical devices being cleaned and reused. He does not refer to foreskins.
Shocking (and delightfully so) religious intolerance.