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By Jack Bernard, contributing columnist | Having lived in small Southern towns for most of my life, I believe that the preachers are almost universally good people, modest folks who care much less about themselves than their flock. There are some exceptions for example former Winder Pastor Jody Hice, now Rep. Hice, who preached hate as a right-wing radio show host.
However, I don't feel as positively about televangelists. I am not a religious scholar, but is the inference in the above quote that Billy Graham will be poor in heaven?
But, Brother Billy was not even the richest preacher in the USA, much less the world. Here is a listing of the six wealthiest American preachers (net worth, from Beliefnet):
Graham was "preacher to the presidents." He was a big Nixon supporter right down to the bitter end. He also told Nixon regarding Jews that: "They don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country." Would Jesus, a Jew, have approved of Graham's documented anti-Semitism?
According to the conservative pundit George Will (WP, 2-22-18): "Graham frequently vowed to abstain from partisan politics and almost as frequently slipped this self-imposed leash, almost always on behalf of Republicans." For example, an older Graham placed a Washington Post advertisement in November 2012, urging religious people to vote Biblical values such as "support the Biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman."
Did this set the tone for today's evangelicals, 80 percent of whom approve of a president who has been married three times and has had numerous salacious affairs while married? A man who epitomizes the moral opposite of nearly everything that evangelicals believe?
When the missionary Stanley Jones asked Gandhi about Jesus, his response was "I love Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ."
This column is not intended to negate the good works of Billy Graham. For example, to his credit, he pushed desegregation at a time when it was not popular.
However, the mainstream
media seems much more interested in dwelling on Billy's Graham fame than
evaluating his legacy. This is intended to balance the scales.
By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher | If you moved to Gwinnett after 1984, you may not realize the significance of that year politically for the county. You would not be alone. The county's population in 1984 was 226,100, while today it's estimated to be 960,000. So a great majority of residents, 733,100, have moved here since 1984. You are in good company.
Back in 1984, the county was still composed of mainly white residents, more than 95 percent. Today that's no longer the case, with the white population in 2018 in a minority, and with African-Americans, Hispanic and Asians being together a majority of the county.
The year 1984 was a watershed year in politics. Up until 1984, Gwinnett had elected mostly Democratic officials, though Louise Radloff had won a school board post in 1973. But until then, she was the key Republican to hold office in Gwinnett. (Ironically, Mrs. Radloff is still on the school board, but when Republicans gerrymandered her district, she ran for office as a Democrat, won, and still sits on the School Board, with 45 years of service.)
What happened in 1984 in Gwinnett startled both the Democrats and the Republicans. There were 17 contested races for county commission, school board and legislative races on the ballot that year, while only one Democrat (Probate Judge Alton Tucker) had no opposition.
When the voted were counted, all 17 Republicans won, sweeping out the surprised Democrats (and Republicans).
We bring this up in 2018, after 34 years of Republican control of most offices in Gwinnett, as qualifying begins today to run for political office in the May primaries.
With the change in Gwinnett's population make-up, today showing more diversity, it could happen that 2018 might be the best chance for the Democratic Party to gain more positions in Gwinnett. After all, in the 2016 primary, several Republican office-holders came close to losing to a Democrat. In addition, one new Democrat won election over Republicans in 2016, as Samuel Park won a legislative seat, defeating Valerie Clark.
This is complicated by several Gwinnett Republicans deciding that they will not keep the post to which they were elected in 2016. That includes State Senator David Shafer, running for lieutenant governor; and Rep. Buzz Brockway seeking the office of Secretary of State. Add to that three Republican state representatives folding their tent and not planning to run (Reps. Brooks Coleman, Joyce Chandler and David Casas). That makes five Republicans giving up their posts.
Another factor needs to be included: the fact that in the 2016 presidential election, Gwinnett went for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. That was the first time in years that Gwinnett did not vote for a Republican presidential candidate, and the candidate that they voted for in that year was a Georgian, Jimmy Carter.
Meanwhile, where for many years the Republican Party has been far more organized than the Democrats, this, too, is changing. There is a much stronger Democratic Party in Gwinnett now, with the party having organized training sessions, in addition to seeking people to run for office. Whether it will bode well for success, at least the Democrats are about equally organized as are the Republicans.
All this add up to
anticipating that the political year 2018 will be far more competitive
than in the past. It might just well be a year that will be remembered
as also being a bellwether year.
By Debra Houston, contributing columnist | In a Letter-to-the-Editor, Don Lundy wrote the Gwinnett Forum (January 19) of a philosophy professor who called him a racist because, "You were born and raised in a racist society." Don asked our readers, "So do I have some racist residue that cannot be completely removed?"
Don, your leftist professor was shamefully manipulating you. The residual racism remark was intended to impose "white guilt" on you. Don't fall for it. You can no more take blame for your ancestors' offences than take credit for their altruisms. Former President Jimmy Carter grew up in Georgia and has dedicated his life to human rights. What of him?
I don't think you're a racist. Racists would never search their souls for residual racism. They know their souls are dark and dirty. However, I like the idea of examining our beliefs, particularly about race.
Racism is taught, not inherited. I'll give you a personal example. It was 1963 and Dad announced after church he was visiting a sick brother at the Veterans Administration Hospital (VA) on Clairemont Avenue in Decatur. We kids tagged along, still dressed in our Sunday best.
We arrived at the VA and entered an elevator. Before the door closed, Dad noticed a black family hurrying to board. He held the button until they stepped inside. And then he did something I'd never seen a white man do. He spoke to a black man as an equal.
On the ride up, those two men chatted in relaxed tones. I stared at the man's daughter - a girl my age in a colorful dress. I guessed her family had gone to church that morning, too.
What struck me most was how normal the dads acted. Both families were nearly a mirror image of the other, except for the color of our skin. The elevator rose and opened. Dad motioned for the black family to exit first. The little girl's dad said thanks.
This scene could happen in any elevator today, but this was 1963. If you were not yet born, or your memory is fuzzy, let me break down some of that year's events. In January, the new governor of Alabama, George Wallace, announced, "Segregation Forever." In April, the Birmingham police used dogs and cattle prods on civil rights demonstrators. Medgar Evers, a member of the NAACP, was shot in front of his home. The KKK were the murderers.
On September 15 1963, four little black girls died in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. I'm sure those girls wore colorful dresses that morning like my mirror image and me in the elevator.
A black man and a white man speaking cordially dad-to-dad in an elevator was an object lesson for me and maybe my mirror image. Both dads exhibited a kind of brotherly love unheard of if you watched television news. Today we continue to work toward equality, against a backdrop of polarization, with a refusal to acknowledge we've come a long way. Our last president was black. And he was a dad of two little girls who grew up before our eyes in the White House.
Despite our race,
politics, or religion, we need to remember that the kids are listening.
Let's behave like grownups and teach our children well.
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Editor, the Forum:
How do you reign in guns already out there? Parents pass away, next of kin get possession of the firearms and no registration happens. Grandkids get access, but there is no record.
How do you control kids on the fringe who might take action? Who do you call if you suspect? Is there a central phone number and what action is taken? In other words, if a troubled student tells someone else that they might get back at the school, who exactly does the student call, and can the authorities confiscate all household guns without legal recourse?
I see many times that felons are caught with firearms. But I see little to nothing done to prosecute the family member or girl/boyfriend who let them get the gun.
When someone dies and has a registered firearm, how do you track what happens to that weapon?
What do we do about the many people who have guns and mental issues who don't seek mental help? They just spiral down and decide to take out others with them.
How about people who reach the end of their rope financially, lose their job and feel going postal is their answer?
Raising the age of gun ownership does nothing if relatives or friends have guns that the unstable person can access.
Figures that one letter writer has very short memory
Editor, the Forum:
In a recent letter, it turns out that Mr. Sullivan of Buford also has a very short memory.
The Republicans in Congress had a publicly stated policy -- repeat publicly stated policy, no secret -- of opposing anything, anything, that the Obama Administration proposed. This was not hearsay, but was in the media, even on Fox News. I'm surprised he didn't hear about it.
Also, it is not necessary to have a majority in Congress to stonewall legislation, as I certain Mr. Sullivan knows.
Tends to disagree with previous scenario about arming teachers
Editor, the Forum:
Whoever wrote this ("Read this possible scenario and question, do we arm teachers") is a political hack and not very good at fiction.
A draft Gwinnett
Countywide Trails Master Plan unveiled on February 21 envisions a network
of county trails tying in with trails of cities and community improvement
districts to create a seamless, interconnected web of bike and pedestrian
pathways for recreation, commuting or running errands.
Upgrading of CSX railroad crossing has begun in Gwinnett
will replace the railroad ties on their tracks through Gwinnett County,
which started March 5. CSX is working to make the public aware of the
project and to ask for motorists' patience as the company seeks to make
the crossings safer.
Great American Cleanup offers prizes for best Gwinnett projects
Great American Cleanup is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Gwinnett as the nation's largest community improvement program. Launched by Keep America Beautiful in 1999, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful (GCB) anticipates making this year's event bigger and better right here at home.
During the Great American Cleanup local residents, schools, organizations, civic groups and businesses are encouraged to take part in a variety of community improvement projects. Ranging from starting a community garden to creating a video about sustainability, projects must be completed between March 1 and May 31, 2018. Project submissions are due by June 8, 2018. The three most outstanding submissions will win a prize of $500 each.
To get started, participants
will select a category from the Great American Cleanup Page on the Gwinnett
Clean & Beautiful website at www.gwinnettcb.org,
complete the project, report their results, share their photos and cross
their fingers in the hopes that their project will be selected as one
of the winners.
Gwinnett County Public Library (GCPL) celebrated the first class of Career Online High School graduates at the Lilburn Branch Saturday afternoon.
Eight community members who completed an accredited high school diploma and credentialed career certificate participated in the ceremony. Career Online High School, a program brought to public libraries by Gale, a Cengage company, is part of the world's first accredited, private online school district. The program is specifically designed to reengage adults into the education system and prepare them for entry into postsecondary career education or the workforce.
Clyde Strickland, whose donation helped launch Career Online High School at the library, shared words of encouragement with the graduates. "This program can put people on a path that they've never dreamed of," said Strickland. "You can not even imagine where you are going."
Career Online High School scholarships are supported through private funding and donations. To support the program, please contact GCPL Development Manager Shelly Schwerzler at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit gwinnettpl.org/foundation.
Mill Creek teacher wins DAR's Outstanding History Teacher Award
Mrs. Elizabeth Summerlin
has been named the 2018 Outstanding Teacher of American History winner
by the Philadelphia Winn Daughters of the vAmerican Revolution chapter.
She is an American history teacher at Mill Creek High School. The chapter
presented Mrs. Summerlin with a $500 check.
Outside the classroom,
Mrs. Summerlin has served as a docent at the Old Governor's Mansion in
Georgia. At Georgia State College and University, Mrs. Summerlin served
as History Club president, where she hosted some of the nation's most
respected historians. Mrs. Summerlin is also involved in the National
History Bee and History Bowl - academic competitions that reward students
across the nation for studying history.
Natasha Trethewey, an English professor at Emory University in Atlanta, served as poet laureate of the United States from 2012 to 2014. Her collection Native Guard won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 2007.
Trethewey's works forge a rich intersection between the historical and autobiographical. In poems that are polished, controlled, and often based on traditional forms, Trethewey grapples with the dualities and oppositions that define her personal history: black and white, native and outsider, rural and urban, the memorialized and the forgotten. The daughter of a black mother and a white father, Trethewey grew up in a South still segregated by custom, if not by law, and her life astride the color line has inspired her recovery of lost histories, public and private.
Trethewey has spent much of her life in Georgia. She maintains deep roots in her native Mississippi, where she was born on April 26, 1966, in her mother's hometown of Gulfport. Her parents, Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough, a social worker, and Eric Trethewey, a poet and Canadian emigrant, met as students at Kentucky State College in Frankfort and later crossed the state line into Ohio to marry-a situation whose ironies and implications the poet deftly explores in "Miscegenation."
After her parents' divorce, six-year-old Trethewey moved with her mother to Atlanta, returning every summer to the Gulf Coast. Here she began to discover the complexities of her essential duality-when she was with her father she could pass for white and be treated more equally than when she was among her mother's people. Trethewey also began to write during these years, at her father's urging.
Trethewey's young adulthood was ruptured by violence and tragedy. In 1984 her mother divorced her second husband, Joel Grimmette; a year later, Grimmette shot his ex-wife to death. Nineteen-year-old Trethewey, who was finishing her freshman year at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, where she was an English major and a varsity cheerleader, turned to writing poetry to deal with her grief.
She completed her B.A. degree at UGA in 1989, and in 1991 she earned an M.A. degree in English and creative writing at Hollins College in Roanoke, Va., where she studied with her father, a professor there. By the time she earned her M.F.A. degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1995, Trethewey was starting to publish, and her work has since appeared in the country's most prestigious literary journals and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry in both 2000 and 2003.
Trethewey took her first teaching job as an assistant professor of English at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, in 1997. In 2001 she joined the faculty at Emory University, where she is a professor of English and the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry. In 2005-6 she served as the Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Duke University in Durham, N.C. Trethewey was the fourth African American poet, and UGA's first graduate outside of journalism, to win a Pulitzer Prize. In early 2008 she received the Mississippi Governor's Award for literary excellence, and later that year she was named Georgia Woman of the Year by the Georgia Commission on Women. In 2011 she was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.
Mississippi named Trethewey state poet laureate in 2012, and that same year she began her tenure as U.S. poet laureate, dividing her time between her home in Decatur and Washington, D.C. During her second term she launched a feature called "Where Poetry Lives" on the PBS NewsHour Poetry Series.
Trethewey is married
to Brett Gadsden, a historian and assistant professor of African American
studies at Emory.
This edition's mystery photo is a beautiful building, which someone snapped during the holiday season. Figure out where this building is, and send your answer to email@example.com and be sure to include your hometown.
The mystery Photo in the last edition was very local, and stumped some people. Joseph Hopkins of Norcross saw it immediately: "Yes, this is none other than the fountain in Lillian Webb Park in our Norcross, A Place To Imagine." The photo came from newly-elected Norcross City Commissioner Chuck Paul.
Jim Savelelis of Duluth sent in the correct answer, as did Bob Foreman of Grayson: "The mystery photo looks like the stairway water fountain feature at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross, Georgia. I thought you might be too obvious with this one and trying to trick us, so I looked it up to be sure. You would never try to trick us, would you?"
of Palmyra, Va. told us this about the photo: "Named after
the city's mayor emeritus, Lillian Webb, the new five acre park is a
dramatic engineering feat as well as a spectacular venue. Over 72,000
brick layers, 1667 cubic yards of concrete, 130 tons of steel, and 650
tons of stone veneer were used to create this seemingly effortless flow
of water over stone, and to create adjacent platforms offering places
to relax and enjoy the view of the park."
your roots, a genealogy workshop will be held on March 6
at 10:30 a.m. at Bethesda Park, 225 Bethesda Church Road, Lawrenceville.
Learn how to get started in this hobby and explore free genealogy databases,
including the Library Edition of Ancestry.com and Heritage Quest. Registration
is requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or calling Gwinnett County Parks at 678-277-0179. For more information,
or call 770-978-5154.
Free Photography Workshop at the Dacula Library Branch, 265 Dacula Road, on March 10, at 2 p.m. Join the Georgia Nature Photographers Association for this informal talk and Q&A photography workshop. Hear information about cameras, editing software, and tips for getting better photographs with the equipment you already have.
(NEW) Norcross Bicentennial Stories: Sunday, March 11 at 3 p.m. at the Norcross Cultural and Community Center. Authors Edith Holbrook Riehm, Gene Ramsay, and Cate Kitchen have come together with historical stories of local city in their book, Images of America: Norcross, which tells of the town's founders, residents, and visitors, combining everyday life with historical events that stretch over 140 years. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
Abstract workshop: Kudzu Art Zone in Norcross is presenting a workshop in abstract painting with noted artist Wan Marsh. entitled Intuitive Abstract Painting and Collage. It will be held Wednesday, March 14 to Friday March 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Ms Marsh is an abstract expressionist painter and says her "work is inspired by nature and includes organic forms, cycles, seasons, growth, life and regeneration." Kudzu Art Zone is located at 116 Carlyle Street in Norcross. For more information call 770-840-9844 or see the website: www.kudzuartzone.org.
(NEW) Workshop on small business growth will be in Sugar Hill at its Community Center on March 15 at 11 a.m. Grow your business with help from Reference USA. In this session, you'll learn how to access Reference USA for free from your home or office, plus learn other methods. Presented by Gwinnett County Public Library, lunch is provided. This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. RSVP to email@example.com.
Paddy's Day PathFest in Braselton will be held on Saturday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Last year's event brought out nearly 1,000 people having fun along the Braselton LifePath for the Path Parade and Quest. The goal is to bring awareness of the stores and services available along the Path to local residents. To find out more information on the LifePath and the PathFest visit the event page at https://www.facebook.com/BraseltonLifePath.
Youth Summit: The Snellville Youth Commission will host a Youth Summit from 12-5 p.m. on March 17 at the City Hall, 2342 Oak Road. The event is free to all area high school-aged students. For more information visit http://www.snellville.org/snellville-youth-commission.
(NEW) Coffee with a Cop: Wednesday, March 21 from 9 a. m until 11 a.m. at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Building, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, on the third floor. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Duluth, the public is invited. Please RSVP to 678 442 6504 or email David.D.Woods@gwinnettcounty.com.
Center Bird Walk at Mill Creek Nature Center, coordinated by the
Southern Wings Bird Club, Saturday, March 24. Park between the
Bird Watchers Supply stores and Tuesday Morning. Walk begins promptly
at 9:30 a.m. (There is no Monday meeting in March.)
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Issue 16.91 | March 6, 2018
TODAY'S FOCUS: Dr. Billy Graham: Humanitarian or Unrepentant Capitalist (or Both)?
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Looking Back
to the Political Watershed Year of 1984 in Gwinnett
ANOTHER VIEW: Let's All Behave Like Grown-ups and Teach Our Children Well
SPOTLIGHT: Heaven and Associates,
FEEDBACK: Many Gun Owners Come
into Them as Inheritance from Relatives
McLEMORE'S WORLD: Illegal Immigrants
UPCOMING: Gwinnett Unveils
Countywide Trails Master Plan of 320 Total Miles
NOTABLE: Eight Students Graduate
from First Career Online High School
RECOMMENDED: Alexander The
Great by Phillip Freeman
MYSTERY PHOTO: Distinctive
Building is This Edition's Mystery Photo
CALENDAR: Norcross Bicentennial
Program is March 11 at 3 p.m.
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Our 2018 list:
GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
© 2001-2018, Gwinnett Forum.com is Gwinnett County's online community forum for commentary that explores pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.