About our Catholic friends. No, the Catholic Church is not down and out because of the recent accounts about priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals who have allegedly committed dreadful sins. Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, a devout Catholic and a conservative commentator, and Mark Thiessen, former speech writer for President George W. Bush, are being too dire in regard to what the sexual abuse scandal is doing to the church at large. They foresee a weakened church.

What percentage of Catholic priests do you suppose has engaged in sexual misconduct? What percentage of the Cardinals has overlooked it? I believe I could guarantee that the percentage of misbehaving protestant pastors is much higher, yet nobody is declaring that Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. are finished.

In the seven Baptist churches of which I have been a member, three of the pastors are strong, faithful men who finished well and are in heaven. Four are still serving God and practicing what they preach. I’ve no doubt that they too will finish well. Protestant ministers, because of sexual sins, have been falling like flies all of my life. This says nothing about the seven pastors I’ve had, and others I know from other denominations. It is, however, a serious reminder of how ministers and everybody else had better guard their hearts.

Catholics and I disagree on many things, but not on the deity of Christ. I bristle at how the media are pointing their fingers at Catholics. Catholics have been at the front of the pro-life movement. Like evangelicals, they build schools, hospitals, orphanages and prison ministries. They are the largest religious group in America. Expect the media to beat up on them for another three weeks or so until something else negative pops up.

About the Governor’s race. Knowing Brian Kemp, I suspect his campaign handlers had to persuade him to do those television gun commercials, not because of the gun or the message, but because he knows the whole thing was hokey politicking. Kemp’s not into hokey, contrived things. He’s a slow-talking, serious guy who thinks before he speaks and prefers straightforward communication. But hokey sometimes wins the day and did in the Republican primary as it did when Sonny Purdue’s campaign dubbed Governor Roy Barnes “King Roy,” the giant rat. Watch, though, as the former state senator and secretary of state sets forth his vision for the state in the next two months. It will not be hokey.

Knowing Stacey Abrams, I still say Mr. Kemp needs to be at his best. The nice, well-spoken Ms. Abrams can formulate and deliver a clear, unambiguous compound sentence before a debate opponent can clear his throat. Never has there been a better display of red versus blue than in this race, but never has there been a larger band of purple that can be swayed either way. Yes, in Georgia. Remember that Cobb County, Newt country, went for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Probably never before have the philosophical lines been more clearly drawn than in this race. Abrams is an unapologetic Clintonista; Kemp, an equally unapologetic Trumpster. This race is George Orwell’s Big Brother versus Calvin Coolidge’s limited government. It is socialism versus federalism. If, during debates, there is any degree of backing away from the candidate’s base in order to woo purple voters, it will be Abrams who does so. Kemp will not budge.

About the president and the media. I’m sorry, but President Trump’s fighting back with the media is doing my heart good. Anyone old enough to look back and survey the media’s recent history knows that Presidents Kennedy, Clinton and Obama were the media’s darlings, all Democrats. Not so with Democrats Johnson and Carter. Hmmm, was Johnson too much barbecue and Carter too many peanuts? Probably. But Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes, all Republicans, were nipped at constantly by the networks and the nation’s largest newspapers.

Except for sending out his vice-president to label the media “nattering nabobs of negativism,” Nixon did little other than fume. Reagan resisted, successfully, with his humor. The Bushes, gentlemen both, endured it. But Trump isn’t willing to take it. Little wonder. Nipping has been turned into resistance and outright attack, with such verbal lobs as “treasonous,” “mentally disabled,” “traitorous,” “racist” and much more.

The media has hidden behind the 1st Amendment long enough. “Free press” doesn’t mean that the press cannot be criticized. Objective journalism and commentary have turned into carping. May the president’s bold response to it continue.

Roger Hines is a retired high school English teacher and state legislator in Kennesaw.

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