Thursday, December 10, 2015

Since When?

A Challenge for Peace


Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen
Can be Reached on Facebook


Paul Petersen first rose to prominence in the 1950s playing Jeff Stone on The Donna Reed Show, and transitioned to a singing career in the 1960s. In the early 1980s, he had a recurring role as a police officer on Matt Houston, and in the late 1990s, he played the author Paul Conway in the film, Mommy's Day.

In 1990, Petersen established the organization A Minor Consideration to support child stars and other child laborers through legislation, family education, and personal intervention and counseling for those in crisis (Wiki).

The Essay: (Reprinted from Paul Petersen's Facebook timeline). 

Since When?
I warned you I would get serious. When did good manners disappear? When did politics become a blood sport?

When did political disagreements become a death sentence in America? Are the shrill voices of imperfect human political views actually listening to God’s voice when they condemn others? What is the nature of their God that excuses murder at the point of a sword, or dismisses sincere dissent as a capital offense? Is there in human affairs such a thing as an Unchallengeable Truth?
Since when?

Since when did religious or political differences become an excuse for hatred? Simply put, what makes anyone’s beliefs more righteous than someone else that shares the same Earth and lives with the same set of facts? Is anyone so Right that they can hate, condemn or kill in the name of opinions?
Since when?

I see the world through the prism of the welfare of the Child, period. America’s Founders lived in the real world. They knew absolutely the dangers of a religious theocracy, of kingship, of slavery and indentured servitude. They experienced first-hand bigotry and intolerance. They knew the risks of unfettered Power. In each case they endeavored to prevent the dominance of an unchallenged power.

Politics is a messy enterprise. Accommodating differing viewpoints is a challenge…unless you agree to agree on fundamental values…and that’s what’s missing in the world today. What is best for children? Native Americans, I believe, had it exactly right when they asked that all beliefs and decisions be framed by the consequences of those beliefs “…down to the 7th generation.”

Where in the world are children better off than America? It’s a simple question. Look around. We are all faced with imperfect choices. We are human and prone to error…because we’re human beings, emphatically not perfect. If your political and religious beliefs lead to the detriment of children “down to the 7th generation” you are my political opponent, but not my enemy.

If you believe I am your enemy when I try to help children based on my personal beliefs does that mean you have the right to hate me, muzzle me, banish me, or kill me? This is America. Show me the evidence that you know a better way. We all know the reality for children in countries that adhere to Sharia Law. We all know where slavery is supported by theocratic rule. Tell me again how much better it is for children when dominant quasi-religious beliefs masquerading as politics are the rule.

What do you believe is best for children? Central governmental authority? Religious doctrine? A dictatorship? There is plenty of blame to go around my friends. In the meantime, someone has to clean up the messes made by intolerant adults.

That’s been the way of humankind since forever.

Paul Petersen