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AARP Lurches Left     2/20/2003
By Robert Knight

List of 'Fearless 50' Innovative Americans Is Liberal Dream Team

If you're over 50 and a super achiever, you're probably either a scientist or a liberal activist.

That's the gist of "The Fearless 50: America's Greatest Innovators," in AARP's March/April edition of its eponymous magazine, published by the American Association of Retired Persons. (AARP the Magazine replaces Modern Maturity).

A few conservatives sprinkle the list, including neoconservative historian Francis Fukuyama, 50, New York Times neoconservative columnist William Safire, 73, neighborhood black activist Robert Woodson, 65, and Islam historian Bernard Lewis, 86. Indicative of the liberal bias, the magazine describes Safire as "right-leaning, but open-minded."

The list is top heavy with such liberal luminaries as Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, pro-drug legalization philanthropist George Soros, and former Episcopalian Bishop John S. Spong, whose entire entry is reprinted below.

Featured on the magazine cover is Steven Spielberg, 56, whose spectacular directing career has been overshadowed of late by his increasingly strident liberal activism. Spielberg was recently featured as the keynote speaker at the annual fundraising dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest homosexual pressure group. He was quoted as eagerly supportive of his wife Kate Capshaw doing a lesbian sex scene with model Elle McPherson for a Showtime network special. Spielberg also noisily turned in his Eagle Scout badge to protest the Boy Scouts' continuing reluctance to allow homosexual men to take young boys into the woods. A heavy donor to the Democratic Party, Spielberg has been lauded by some conservatives for his pro-gun stance.

Joining Spielberg for special recognition with longer profiles is former President Jimmy Carter, 78 ("America's global conscience"). Missing from the long list of Carter's accomplishments is his brokering of the deal during the mid-1990s in which North Korea received nuclear aid from the U.S. in return for promising not to have a nuclear weapons program. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il recently admitted matter of factly that his government had lied to the credulous Carter and Bill Clinton.

Novelist Toni Morrison, 72, who wrote the 1988 Pulitzer Prize winning Beloved, garnered this reprinted accolade from critic John Leonard: "What happened in 1988 was a novel we'd always needed, a book whose absence on the canonical shelf of Wonder Bread white boys left a heart-sized hole in our literature big enough to die from." Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes, call your office (from the Beyond).

Here are a sample of the honorees and accompanying descriptions:

Eleanor Smeal, 63, president, Feminist Majority Foundation: "She leads the fight for women's rights. When you hear the term 'gender gap,' credit Eleanor Smeal." Notably absent from the list is Beverly LaHaye, who founded Concerned Women for America 24 years ago and built it into the nation's largest public policy women's organization. Also missing is Phyllis Schlafly, who founded Eagle Forum and who stopped the feminists' Equal Rights Amendment from becoming law after it had already been ratified by 34 of the 35 states needed.

Ted Turner, 64, Vice Chairman, AOL Time Warner and chairman, Turner Foundation: "His proudest moment was in giving away $1 billion to the U.N. before Wall Street took its toll." Unmentioned are Turner's repeated slurs against Christians, and his shoddy treatment of his (now ex-)wife, Jane Fonda, after she reportedly began going to church in Atlanta.

George Soros, 72, investment manager, philanthropist: "He's changing the world, $100 million at a time." Soros is worth $7 billion and has already donated $4 billion to various causes, many of them liberal crusades such as eliminating drug laws and liberalizing sexual mores. He has also given to Poland's Solidarity movement and public works projects such as a water filtration plant in Sarajevo.

Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi, 78, founder of The Spiritual Eldering Institute, Boulder, Colorado: "He inspires a generation to gain and share wisdom. Already one of America's most controversial rabbis - he embraced reincarnation and declared that social commitment trumps philosophy and creed - Schacter-Shalomi is now enlisting an interfaith mix of older people to come to terms with their mortality, learn contemplative skills and share their knowledge with younger generations." Missing from the list is any traditionalist Jew, such as Rabbi Daniel Lapin, whose Toward Tradition organization is revolutionizing relations between Christians and Jews and fueling a rebirth of traditional Judaism.

John S. Spong, 72, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey:

He prods the faithful to deeper thought.

He insists he's a Christian, but Spong persistently challenges major tenets, including the idea of the Resurrection as a physical phenomenon. "Christianity must escape the traditional understandings in which it has been captured," he writes, "or it will die." While traditionalists of all stripes have risen to defend their faith, supporters laud his creative thought. "[Spong has] courage and imagination unintimidated by conventional wisdom," writes Harvard's Peter Gomes.

Gomes, you will recall, is the openly homosexual chaplain at Harvard who promotes homosexuality among the young and castigates anyone opposing "gay" activism as "homophobic." As for Spong, he not only denies Jesus' resurrection but His virgin birth, the efficacy of prayer, as well as the existence of the Trinity. Spong also supports church blessing of homosexual unions, and just about every other heresy known to Christendom. One of his recent ventures was to write a column for a pornographic Web site.

On March 28, 2003, Spong is slated as a keynote speaker for the "Breaking the Silence: Gays and Lesbians in Our Schools" conference sponsored by the University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon, Canada. This is the same town in which a man who placed an ad in a newspaper featuring a list of five Bible verses regarding homosexuality was hauled before a human rights commission in June 2001, along with the paper's publisher, and both were ordered to pay $1,500 each to three homosexuals who complained that the ad amounted to "hate speech."

Here is an excerpt from Spong's essay, "A Call for a New Reformation," which can be found on the Newark Diocese Web site.

Darwin postulated instead an unfinished and thus imperfect creation out of which human life was still evolving. Human beings did not fall from perfection into sin as the Church had taught for centuries; we were evolving, and indeed are still evolving, into higher levels of consciousness. Thus the basic myth of Christianity that interpreted Jesus as a divine emissary who came to rescue the victims of the fall from the results of their original sin became inoperative. So did the interpretation of the cross of Calvary as the moment of divine sacrifice when the ransom for sin was paid. Established Christianity clearly wobbled under the impact of Darwin's insights, but Christian leaders pretended that if Darwin could not be defeated, he could at least be ignored. It was a vain hope.

So, too, would one hope in vain that AARP would show more respect for the beliefs of millions of its members, who belong to the most conservative demographic age group in the country.

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