The ‘Ben Stein’ letter that’s been floating through Facebook, Google+, E-Mail, and MySpace. Well, maybe not MySpace.

If you use a computer (and our scientists say that your presence here suggests it’s possible you do.  I may need a new team of scientists.), you may have encountered the following calmly worded letter attributed to Ben Stein:

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as “Holiday Trees” for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America . . .

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Beyond the modifications improperly added that put words in Mr. Stein’s mouth that he didn’t say, I’m concerned at the letter’s implication that atheists are to blame for natural disasters that kill.  It’s true, read how the letter describes Billy Graham’s daughter’s explanation that Katrina happened because the government has been asked not to be a part of organized religion’s proselytization efforts.

It’s an abhorrent accusation and should be offensive to not just the non-religious, but to anyone who considers themselves a member of humanity.  Natural disasters should not be political weapons used to push a theocratic agenda, they are natural disasters that should be guarded against and the victims should be helped without regard to skin color, sexual orientation, or yes, even religious affiliation/lack of.

This letter uses mild language to mask a bold, aggressive condemnation and is consequently a deceptive tool of hatred.  I cannot endorse the views in the letter and I urge anyone who reads it to think long and hard as to whether or not they wish to join a blame-train that demonizes the non-religious or if they agree that religion and government are two institutions that belong apart.

One thought on “The ‘Ben Stein’ letter that’s been floating through Facebook, Google+, E-Mail, and MySpace. Well, maybe not MySpace.”

  1. i don’t think she was implying that athiests or separatists were to blame at all. She’s simply saying that there’s a double standard: people can reject God in their daily lives but then blame Him for failing to protect them from natural disasters.

    If your son consistently rebelled against everything you taught him and rejects every one of your attempts to intervene in his life to protect him, how would you feel if he then accused you of not protecting him when some thing bad happened to him? She’s not saying that your son is to blame for bad things happening, but she is saying that his accusation against you is unreasonable. The great thing is that in much the same way you would be overjoyed if your son turned back to you and asked you to be involved in his life again, so would God be and He would jump right in without any hesitation.

    just a theologically necessary point: people also forget that God has never promised to protect us from all physical harm, even physical death.

    I think you will find that there were many religious aid organisations who did come to the assistance of victims without prejudice.

    Also, it seems to me that saying people should turn to God to prevent natural disasters (which we’ve established was not in fact what she said) is as abhorent as saying people should turn away from God because of natural disasters, which is what the presenter was saying.

Comments are closed.