Easter A day of a reflection for Christians around the world
He is risen! is the jubilant cry that was heard nearly 2000 years ago and is repeated most every Easter Sunday by Christians all over the world. After all, we are referring to the most holy day of the Christian year. Its when Christianity shines its very finest.
Faith and spirituality are of paramount importance to Americans. Thats what Bill Broadway of The Washington Post said in quoting David Kinnaman, research director at the California-based Barna Research Group. He said that the level of a persons spirituality is very important in determining how he or she acts on a day-to-day basis.
For pastors and priests, the occasion of Easter Sunday allows them to minister to members who attend services only once or twice a year, and also to potential members. But for those who are scholars of American religion, it offers a chance to observe the moral character of individuals and determine the nations spiritual identity.
For the first time, next week the Barna Research Group will hold a post-Easter survey, as Broadway again quoted Kinnaman, to quantify the number of people (who attend) and the huge uptick over other Sundays throughout the year.
Barna hopes that the results will help indicate the reality of where Americans are spiritually and to what extent they may be expressed at Easter.
Can anyone really say for sure how many people attend Easter services? The Princeton Religion Research Center took a Gallup poll 13 years ago, estimating Easter attendance at 49 percent of adults nationwide.
Best estimates suggest that a majority of the nations adults and their children this means 120 million people will be attending an Easter service today.
Barnas Easter survey comes at a point in time when several studies have questioned conventional wisdom that 40 percent of all American adults attend church or synagogue weekly.
Tom W. Smith is a social analyst and survey director at the Chicago-based National Opinion Research Center. He says church attendance is the single best predictor of how a persons religious beliefs will affect the behaviors of others.
I dont dispute that going to church is important. It is, whether its once or twice a year or, more desirably, if its 52 Sundays a year.
I happen to believe that the way a Christian sees what Easter represents is between himself and the Godhead, or Holy Trinity. What the Cross and the Resurrection mean to the follower of Christ is, I feel, THE most important matter of all.
On a much different note, as promised here are the
answers to the 20 Baby Boomers music trivia quiz that was in this
past Wednesdays column.
James Clavier of Ann Arbor, Mich., sent me
an e-mail asking if anyone can remember a fire that destroyed a glass factory
in Salem in about 1920. He said the factory was owned by his great-grandfather,
West Virginians need
to be extra careful
during fire season
This is a dangerous time for West Virginians. With the warm, dry weather of the past week, conditions are ripe for brush and forest fires. It is up to all of us to exercise caution when burning outdoors.
It can happen very quickly and have devastating results. A family in Hedgesville was burning a pile of leaves in the backyard last week when it got out of control and spread to the deck. From there the house burned down and there was nothing the family could do to stop it. The fire also scorched 2.5 acres of nearby woods. This past Tuesday alone there were 23 fires reported across the state.
We are right in the middle of fire season in West Virginia. Strict regulations are in effect until May 31. You can only burn outdoors from 4 p.m. until dusk. It is recommended that you have a hose nearby in case things get out of hand.
We all know, however, that many homeowners violate those rules. They feel that its their property, they can do as they darn well please.
Fine. But they should also know that they can be held liable if their little fires turn into big ones. They can also be obligated to pay the costs of fighting the fire.
We can all help to minimize the risks this fire season by simply using some common sense. We have to remember that fire, fueled by dry, highly combustible leaves and brush, can wreak havoc on our homes and our environment.
Before you strike that match, you have to ask yourself: Is it really worth it?
Letters to the Editor
Local Lions Club members have impact both here and
Clarksburg Fire Department to be
Unfair method used to estimate gas bill
Easter should be
a calming time for
Eastern Europe crisis
Today is not just another one of the 52 Sundays in 1999. The Easter Sunday holiday is a very special day in the hearts of millions of Americans and millions of others around the world.
For those who practice Christianity, the Easter holiday celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This day is a symbol of hope of an afterlife for those who live a good and just life on this earth.
We hope the holiday can serve as a calming time in Eastern Europe. It is alleged that Serb military actions are leading to the deaths and the mass expulsions of tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians.
American and NATO warships have been firing missiles and planes have been dropping bombs into the region during the past week in an attempt to bring an end to alleged Serb atrocities being committed on the ground. The targets are military in nature, but it is apparent that innocent civilians are sometimes casualties.
Right now, NATO and President Clinton have ruled out the use of ground troops. No American relishes the thought of American boys dying on foreign soil. This is especially true when it involves a civil war in another nation.
Easter is about peace. An emissary for Pope John Paul II has called on NATO attacks to halt during Easter. We hope NATO listens. And we hope Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevics army will cease its violence against Serbs.
This holiday is also about new beginnings as spring begins to bloom around us. Let us hope that President Clinton can find a new way to stop the ethnic violence in Kosovo other than the bombing. The current action is dangerous for the entire world. The Balkans have already served as a stage for the beginning of one world war.
We hope that the leaders of NATO will keep in perspective the possible danger to the rest of the world that is connected to the activities in the Balkans. It may not be possible for outsiders to solve the ethnic problems of a country. We hope NATO leaders will be wise enough to recognize whether that is the case in Kosovo.
We wish peace for you and your family on this holiday. And we pray for the safety of American service men and women in Eastern Europe.
Telegram editorial board member
White-collar crime is just that a crime
Our judicial system needs a wake-up call when it comes to so-called white-collar crime. The concept of lady justice being blind while holding scales just doesnt hold water.
We cant call it justice when an 18-year-old kid from an unthinkable background commits a desperate act to get money for a drug addiction and ends up in prison for five to 10 years. Kids like this need love, counseling, teaching and second chances. They dont need prison terms that assure a lifetime of criminal activity.
Compare that circumstance to a supposed pillar of the community who is caught doing a truly despicable act and walks away with a fine and just a few months in prison. The latest example comes to us from Atlanta, Ga., where a former professional baseball player had parlayed his athletic fame to gain public office.
Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Pat Jarvis served as DeKalb County sheriff. Federal prosecutors contend Jarvis pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from people who conducted business with DeKalb County. In some cases, prosecutors said, rolled-up bills were passed to Jarvis in plastic foam cups at a restaurant.
The federal investigation didnt occur until 1996 after he had left office and had been appointed by then-Gov. Zell Miller to be executive director of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Council, which certifies the states police officers and establishes training programs. The federal charges forced him to give up that position.
In January Jarvis pleaded guilty to a federal mail fraud charge in connection with the investigation of his shake down activities for payoffs. A federal judge sentenced him this past week to 15 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay a $40,000 fine. The judge recommended that Jarvis serve his sentence at the minimum-security prison camp adjacent to the Atlanta federal penitentiary.
This is ludicrous. The man betrayed the public trust and profited by hundreds of thousands of dollars and is fined $40,000 and ordered to serve 15 months in a country club prison. Who says crime doesnt pay?
Jarvis led a charmed life as a professional athlete. He was elected to office to serve taxpayers. He had every advantage in his life and he blew it. He is 57 years old and knew exactly what he was doing.
Now, think again of that typical black 18-year-old inner-city youth who possibly came from a broken home with little parental guidance and little encouragement in school. He is surrounded by gangs, drugs and violence. He sees no way out.
This typical youth has a few minor brushes with the law and then one night in a panic to get money to buy drugs he breaks into a convenience store and is caught. Because he has a record he goes to prison. He is sentenced to a lot longer than 15 months and doesnt go to any cushy minimum-security facility. He does hard time and turns into a hard man who is doomed to resentment and fighting society the rest of his life. And doomed to come back to prison again and again.
This isnt necessarily all at the foot of judges. For example, the federal judge in the Jarvis case ordered the maximum fine and jail sentence allowed under the law.
It is up to legislators at the state level to revisit criminal codes. It is time to get tougher on white-collar crime, particularly in cases involving elected officials who should be able to be trusted by the public.
It makes sense to punish white-collar criminals severely. No, they probably didnt use a gun or threaten anyone physically. But they are the most guilty criminals of all because they know right from wrong and have made the choice to cheat, lie and steal. They are the hardened criminals who should be serving hard time.
Those young angry men who commit violent acts must be punished. But often they face tough lives, tough choices and have little help in seeing alternatives to the paths they are on. Cant our society see that some way other than hard-time prison sentences must be an alternative for judges who think some of these kids can be saved? Cant we devise programs that give new choices to such young men?
Lawmakers are to blame for this injustice. They can fix it. Give the judge the opportunity to put public officials away for a very long time when they cheat the public trust.
Terry Horne is the publisher of the Clarksburg Exponent and the
Clarksburg Publishing Company, P.O. Box 2000, Clarksburg, WV 26302