No Such Thing as Ten Commandments?
(This column first appeared in the Mountain Eagle in April, 2010. Short'sregular column will be back next week.)
By Dale Short
When I went to work in 1971 for the now-departed
in Sumiton, the editorial page had a little box of text at the bottom that said,“We welcome letters from readers on all subjects, except politics andreligion.”And I thought, well, that's dumb. Just think of the great conversationswe could have in the Letters section. So I changed it, and told people theycould write to us about anything on their minds.That didn't last long. Mainly because when you have a 24-pagenewspaper it's just not economically feasible to have 12 pages of letters fromreaders. And if you left somebody's letter out, they accused you of being aCommunist or an atheist or whatever.Almost everybody has a hot button connected to one of those subjects,and things can turn ugly pretty quick. That's why I make it a habit not todiscuss politics or religion with strangers. Rarely does any good come of it, just ruffled feathers.Of course, not everybody feels this way. I was writing a check in astore once and asked the clerk what day of the month it was. It happened to be the 31
. “Gosh,” I said, just making conversation, “this month has reallyflown by.”“Yes, it has,” he said. “And some day, we'll all wake up in eternity.”I'm sure he considered this a Christian witness, but it really creepedme out.One of the highest compliments I've ever been paid was when I gave atalk at a writing conference and a young guy came up to me afterward andsaid, “If you ever decide to start a new church, I'll join it.”I told him I appreciated it, but that if I ever decide to start a church, please get me to a hospital fast so they can adjust my medications.Although.If I ever did start a church, it would probably be based on one principle: If you're a Christian, there is no such thing as the TenCommandments.I'm guessing this might be a hot-button issue, for a few folks, but hear