Divine Destruction

Dominion Neanderthals

Stephenie Hendrickson's feature ("Divine Destruction," Nov. 2) helps make us all aware that extreme ideological viewpoints from anywhere on the socio-religious map literally expose the entire planet to great risk.

As a theologian, I am appalled at the archaic use of dominion theology to defend the rape of the land. While this may represent a few narrow-thinking and politically charged persons, represented by the likes of Pat Robertson or former Interior Secretary James Watt, the larger amalgam of Christian theologians have carefully researched and applied the Genesis text Hendrickson references in a far more accurate, consistent, and faithful manner than the "dominionists" referenced in her feature story in the Weekly.

When the Creator said, "All this I give to you . . . ," the giving was not for plunder and eventual ruin, but for long-term stewardship. And, it is the lens of stewardship theology through which we must look when we read Genesis and practice the God-given task of earthkeeping. The concept of stewardship is taking care of something that belongs to someone else and returning it to them in such a way that they might say, "Well done." So it is with our planet. Someday, we who remain on earth must return it to God and receive our Maker's assessment.

Shame on the dominion theology Neanderthals. Don't give up on the majority of us Christians and theologians that are thinking, believing, and living stewardship theology.

Dr. Randy L. Rowland


Christian Power

I was surprised to see such a lucid article about the environmental issues ("Divine Destruction," Nov. 2).

The problem is that many people whose thinking is influenced by Christian Reconstructionism don't realize where the ideology is coming from.

Many church congregation members are also not aware of the extent to which their local church leaders have aligned with politicians seeking to use the Christian base for power and industries seeking to use the Christian base to roll back any kind of regulation on business, be it environmental, safety enforcement, or health care and retirement for their employees.

Thus, Christianity is becoming a mix of purely greedy power seekers and a crowd that will simply go along with them when given broad generalities to comfort them (e.g., our candidate is "a person of faith" who will "serve with Christian values").

I meet Christians who say they want to protect the environment, say they don't believe in pre-emptive war, and say they believe in helping the poor, but this is at odds with the philosophy of the political candidates that their church actually gives money to.

This is serious business, and even today, the level of sheer disbelief and denial in the American public provides cover for these people to continue to stack their chosen politicians into the White House and onto the Supreme Court. Folks simply can't believe that our system can be compromised by a small determined group of extremists. But the truth is, it can be.

Terry McCaw

Mercer Island

1 Sentence, 4 Arguments

A friend tells me that your recent article ("Divine Destruction," Nov. 2) includes this laugher:

"Marvin Olasky—a former Maoist who is now a Reconstructionist—coined the phrase 'compassionate conservatism,' and was hired by the Bush campaign in 2000 to serve as their top consultant on welfare." That one sentence includes four errors: I was not a Maoist, I am not a Reconstructionist, and I was not hired by the Bush campaign.

Oh, the fourth error in the sentence is the claim that I coined the phrase "compassionate conservatism." I didn't, although I did help to develop the concept.

Marvin Olasky

Stephenie Hendrickson, author of Divine Destruction: Wise Use, Dominion Theology, and the Making of Environmental Policy, replies: I don't know if Marvin Olasky has willfully misread the excerpt of my book or not, but regardless, he seems to have missed the fact that the sentence he quotes is itself a quote—of charges raised by best-selling author and esteemed professor of media studies Mark Crispin Miller. The attribution is clear. Further, Miller has elaborated on Marvin Olasky's connections to the Reconstructionists and the Bush administration, as well as to his coinage of the "compassionate conservative" phrase, in his well-sourced recent book, Cruel and Unusual. Meanwhile, Olasky's background as a Communist is well documented. He's even written about it himself. And there's nothing laughable about any of it.

They Are Our Airwaves

Mossback ("Three Smart, Small Steps," Nov. 2) worries appropriately about a judge's decision that makes John Carlson's political campaigning on KVI a reportable gift to the I-912 campaign. What's missing in Mossback's cautionary note is this: Carlson and Kirby Wilbur, in crusading and propagandizing for the gas-tax repeal initiative, are using your airwaves and mine.

While Ronald Reagan succeeded in wiping out the doctrine of fairness that once governed broadcast speech, the fundamental law is still there: the airwaves belong to the public. Broadcast stations are licensed in the public interest, necessity, and convenience. The point is, broadcast speech is not like street speech or newspaper editorializing.

If KVI's owners want their station to be a tool of the Republican party, goodie for them. No one's trying to restrain or restrict what KVI's broadcasters say. But when they deliver the public's airwaves to a specific political initiative, then the public has a right to know about it. Not to stop it, just to know about it. That's what the court demands. Not censorship, not restraint, just public reporting.

It's funny how the right wing, which controls damned near everything in American politics, still manages always to make itself the victim. I hear Carlson whining that he's being treated differently in this case than Seattle P-I editorial writers. Of course he is, and should be. Newspapers are not licensed or regulated, thank God. Broadcast stations are and should be. The decision makers of 1934 got it right. Those are our airwaves.

All that the Public Disclosure Commission and a Superior Court judge require is that the I-912 campaign let the public know that I-912 owns a couple of radio talk-show hosts in Seattle. Isn't it possible that a voter in Ritzville or Walla Walla, who may never have heard of Carlson, might find it useful to know this? As they used to say in journalism, if there's nothing wrong with doing it, then there's nothing wrong with reporting it.

Bob Simmons


Black Hole of King County

I applaud Rick Anderson's exposé ("Dead End Jail," Nov. 2). On March 13, 1996, I was arrested as part of a protest in front of City Hall and brought to this filthy hole.

I had a splitting headache, and so after a very long wait, I managed to see a medic at the jail to get some over-the-counter medication. The floor of the holding cell, I pointed out, was covered with a fine patina of filth where anything might grow, including hepatitis. The phones did not function, and there was no bathroom tissue.

A class-action lawsuit against this facility should be strongly considered but, beyond that, there should be professional discipline within the medical profession for those who have been knowingly complicit in these conditions for roughly a decade.

And, by the way, all the charges against me were dropped.

John Hoff

Appleton, MN

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