Friday, December 16, 2005

Norman Lear: Letter to God
Norman Lear: Letter to God

Norman Lear

The Creator
Supreme Being
Et al

Dear God,

You are in the news so much lately, I figure you must be thinking a lot about what’s going on down here. Not that I need the news to remind me of you, I think of you more often than you know - - well maybe not more than you know - - but a lot. A whole lot. I’m Jewish, as you also know, but I don’t do the synagogue or church thing. I hope you think I’m as religious as the next guy, because I certainly feel I am, even though I approach you so informally. I grope for understanding through the tradition I was born in and every other tradition. Because I don’t belong to a congregation, I think of myself as an Unaffiliated Groper. Okay, so here’s a bit of understanding you may be willing to help me with:

Sometime after 9/11 the President and Commander-In- Chief (sometimes I think of him as your Evangelist-In-Chief) appointed a bipartisan 9/11 Commission to investigate that event and make recommendations for preventing such tragic occurrences in the future. It’s almost two years since they issued their report and just a couple of weeks ago the panel issued a “report card” about how well the administration and Congress has been doing with their recommendations. So what did we learn? To this date the Evangelist-In-Chief and the United States Congress have virtually ignored the 41 anti-terrorism recommendations made by the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission. On nearly half the most important actions needed to protect America’s safety the Administration and Congress earned a “D” and “F” or an incomplete grade.

Now you probably understand that, Dear Creator, because you made us and you know us inside out. But what must perplex even you is how these very clear anti-terrorist measures have yet to be taken, while at the same time the administration pushes hard to renew and expand the Patriot Act to protect us from the very same terrorists by limiting our rights to privacy along with other civil rights and liberties.

This is driving me nuts. Our leaders would like the FBI to have the right to know what books we’re reading, check out our medical records without our knowledge, monitor our telephone calls and emails, and continue to imprison anyone suspected of terrorism and hold them for indeterminate amounts of time without charging them with a crime. At the same time cargo ships are still entering our harbors with unchecked cargo; our nuclear plants are as unprotected as they ever were; the police are still unable to reach firemen attending the same emergency; and billions of dollars are being doled out based not on risk of attack but on Congressional spending formulas, generally recognized by the Congress as pork barrel spending.

So tell me Lord: In the Bible, you were known to test societies by forcing them to endure tribulations for seven years. Does this mean that we have only two more years to go? Our leaders seem so certain they are right about everything, even suggesting they are doing your will. Are they? I realize my questions will only be answered in the fullness of time. In the meantime, I offer you this ecumenical prayer which has its roots in what certain among us think of as your country, Texas: Dear Lord, please grant me strength, patience, wisdom, and humility. Help me always to search for the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it. Amen.

P.S. Unlike others we know, some in high places, I have no problem with the words
Merry Christmas and wish you the very merriest.