Monthly Archives: January 2010

ALVIN S. SIMPLETON SAYS THEY WON’T GO WAY

Here in America, there are some contentious issues that just won’t go away. I mean they’ll be with us as long as the nation exists. Abortion, the death penalty, racism to name only three. But the one that has been nagging the human race down through the ages is the conflict or seeming conflict between religion and the state. In our great nation, the founding fathers tried to settle the conflict for us Americans by putting in the Constitution the doctrine of the separation of church and state.

Well sir, every since the founding fathers wisely separated church and state, them religious folks have been tryin to make that separation disappear.

The most recent of their efforts here in my home state of Tennessee became evident in 2008 with legislation that authorized the state to create a course for a “nonsectarian, nonreligious academic study of the Bible.” Based on the legislation, the Tennessee Board of Education has drawn up Bible Curriculum Guidelines for teaching the Bible in public high schools starting next fall.

What, you might ask, exactly will be taught?

Highlights from Tennessee’s Bible curriculum: Courteous of the Tennessean newspaper  in Nashville.

• Students will read biblical narratives, identify chief characters and analyze plot, literary form and intended impact on the reader.
• Students will learn and discuss pivotal historical events and geographic locations and compare the religious, social and cultural lives in the ancient world.
• Students will show how the Bible has impacted art, literature, music and thought by reading pieces of work that use biblical allusions and listening to music that relies on biblical text.
Source: Tennessee Board of Education

Now, the legislators, teachers, and anybody else who cares to consider the matter knows there will be court challenges and the state will more than likely lose.

My question: is it possible to teach a nonsectarian, nonreligious Bible course?

It seems to me the very fact that one of the textbooks is the Christian Bible makes the course both sectarian and religious.

And I’m betting who ever teaches the course will, in one way or another, proselytize.

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Filed under American Government, church, History, politics, state politics

ALVIN S. SIMPLETON SAYS I CRY FOR HAITI

I tried to avoid writing about Haiti because looking at the images on TV and in news magazines was too heart rending for me. And I hate to see a grown man cry, especially me. But when I read an article in the  New York Times, published January 22, 2010 by Mark Danner about the history of Haiti, I had to say my piece. He calls Haiti “everybody’s cherished tragedy.” He argues that Haiti’s problems “have been caused by men, not demons.”

This prompted me to ask, as many pundits on TV and in the news magazines and newspapers have, will we, that is, America really help Haiti this time?

A more important question is in view of Haiti’s history of corruption by all of the men who have ruled the island nation, can Haiti be helped?

After order is restored and things are back to normal, well as normal as they can be in Haiti, will the elites who govern the nation put the money many nations will donate to help rebuild in their pockets or use it to help the people, who are mostly poor?

I predict that the US and other nations, after a while, will leave and the corruption will begin.

I cry for Haiti, a country rich in history, some of it good, most of it terrible for the poor citizens.

I cry for Haiti whose people have endured and will do so again.

I cry for Haiti in the hope that the earthquake will bring its rulers to their senses.

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Filed under Foreign Affairs, History

ALVIN S. SIMPLETON SAYS EARTHQUAKE AND FIRED FOOTBALL COACH ARE NOT EQUAL

I was going to discuss the two messes bout race. You done read bout them. Senator Reid made what some call a racist remark bout Obama during the campaign and some folks is upset bout it. Some folks also upset bout the census including the word “Negro” as a choice for us Black folks. These two is minor problems compared to what is happening in Haiti and here in my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.

A devastating earthquake hit Haiti. The University of Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin resigned after just one season to take the head coaching job at the University of Southern California.

Now, I’m a loyal fan of the Vols football team and have been since I was a teenager, even though in those days, the Vols had no Black players, and a section of the stadium was set aside for us “colored.”

But I worry bout my fellow citizens in Knoxville when the news bout the coach shares equal space on the front page of the Knoxville News Sentinel with the news about the earthquake. They also share about the same amount of space in the pages of the paper.

It seems to me that we here in Knoxville have our priorities screwed up. But then I think bout how the Vols bring in money every Saturday they play.

Them earthquake victims dont bring in nothing. They need money, medicine, food, and God knows what else.

So, ifn you’re reading this blog, find a way to help.

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ALVIN S. SIMPLETON SAYS SNOW STORM STOPS EVERYTHING

When I was growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, the school never closed because of snow. Man, many of us had to walk to school in sometimes 6 inches of snow. Okay, I know that aint much for folks living the Midwest and northeast, but to us it was a whole lotta white stuff. I didnt know could stop traffic until I moved to Chicago. In Knoxville, I sometimes helped my uncle pull cars out of ditches, but that was bout the extent of any inconveniences because of snow.

Well, here I am back in Knoxville, and on Thursday a snow storm hit East Tennessee. It wasn’t as bad as the ones that hit the Midwest, but for us, it messed up commuters trying to get home, and closed the schools in every county in East Tennessee and some in Southern Kentucky. Schools closed today also, Friday.

Man, I cannot get used to the idea that a little snow can stop everything, traffic, school, folks gettin to work. Here in the city, only bout an inch fell.

When I was growing up, I liked the snow until I learned to drive. Once I leaned to drive, I drove the jeep my uncle and I used to pull cars out of ditches, which meant I stayed out in the snow a lot longer and got a lot colder. That was when I started to hate that white stuff. Now it keeps me inside the house sometimes until the sun comes out and melts it.

If it never snowed again, I wouldn’t miss it one bit. Snow is dangerous.

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ALVIN S. SIMPLETON SAYS HE DON’T DO RESOLUTIONS

At one time in my misguided youth I made New Year’s resolutions that I never kept. This made me wonder when I reached middle age, which was around 50, why was I wasting my time planning to do things I knew I would never do. So, I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.

But, I do try to start off the new year with a clean slate. Therefore, I discarded all my notes on subjects for this blog so I can begin accumulating new notes for 2010.

I’m an optimist. I believe this year will be better than the next. I believe this despite the fact that the year for me start off on a negative note: I didn’t get a raise in my pension. But, I’m still healthy and able to pay what few debts I have.

This year I believe the economy will get better, maybe not a full recovery, but better than last year.

Bankers, as they are already doing, will try to figure even more ways to get around the new credit card regulations. I know most of us can’t go without them credit cards but I sho wish we could, then we could tell them bankers to shove it where the sun don’t shine.

The Iraqis will go on killing each other trying to gain a political advantage.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban will be heard but rarely seen, and the government will be as corrupt as it was before the recent bad elections chose the same man as president.

North Korea will continue its dance in trying to get the US to sign a nonaggression treaty.

The government of Iran will continue to blame the US and Europe for troubles of its own making.

Lastly, conservatives will go even more negative on President Obama. Nothing he does will be right.

Well, there you have my predictions for 2010. And no I don’t plan to look back when 2011 rolls in to see if they are correct.

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