AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Possibly better than tootsie rolls, illustrated screenplays are tasty little nuggets of cinematic flavor in a convenient pdf wrapper. Download and read your favorite movie in a quarter of the time it takes to watch it. And you can grab quotes and images.

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:02 am


An interview with Citizens for Health Board Chair James S. Turner
by Linda Bonvie
Food Identity Theft editor
February 18, 2014



Jim Turner

In an age when it’s not unusual for consumer petitions and outrage to cause big food manufacturers to remove ingredients, when the “informed” consumer is becoming more the norm than not, and easy access to dietary supplements is a “given,” it may be difficult for those too young to recall the original campaigns calling for safer and healthier products to realize how dramatically things have evolved over the last four decades.

To get a better perspective on what’s been accomplished and what has yet to be, as well as the role that Citizens for Health (CFH) has played in enabling consumers to make informed choices, I spoke with CFH board chair and food consumer activist James S. Turner, a partner in the Washington D.C. law firm of Swankin & Turner.

Turner, author of the landmark 1970 book, The Chemical Feast: the Nader report on food protection at the FDA and co-author of a follow-up book, Making Your Own Baby Food and more recently, Voice of the People: the Transpartisan Imperative in American Life, was one of the original “Nader’s Raiders,” a group of graduate, medical, and law, students who, working with consumer advocate Ralph Nader, investigated and ultimately changed many policies and gave new life to investigative journalism in the 1960s and ’70s.

Turner recounted his first meeting with Nader after a nine-month attempt to get an audience with him, sparked by a law-school assignment in 1966 to study Nader and his role in bringing about auto-safety reforms. Although Nader at the time was known only as a critic of the auto industry (having authored the book Unsafe at Any Speed), Turner realized as the class progressed that he was much more — that he was someone who “was actually arguing for corporate responsibility.” Starting with their meeting in March of 1968, he used his growing knowledge of food issues (inspired by the birth of his son Chris in 1966) as the basis for a whole new collaboration with Nader, one that culminated is Turner’s authoring The Chemical Feast.

FIT: You call yourself a food consumer activist. How did you get into that line of work and do you find it satisfying?

TURNER: Absolutely satisfying. I started out in 1968 investigating food additives, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
In 1969, my 25-student Nader team (mostly from law and medical schools) went to the Food and Drug Administration to focus on food additives, including the artificial sweetener cyclamate, which after a review the FDA took off the list of chemicals that are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for addition to food. As a result of the cyclamate manufacturers having been unable to prove the product’s safety to the satisfaction of the FDA, it has remained off the market ever since.

In 1975 I helped get a warning placed on saccharine, another synthetic sweetener, and from 1974 to 1981 I worked with the scientists who persuaded an FDA Public Board of Inquiry that aspartame (NutraSweet) needed more research before it could be marketed. However, Reagan’s newly appointed FDA commissioner reversed the board in July of 1981. Donald Rumsfeld, president of the Company seeking Aspartame/NutraSweet approval served on Reagan’s presidential transition team, had found the new commissioner among doctors who worked at the Defense Department in the mid-1970s when he was secretary, and decided not to redo research his company had done on the sweetener, which the FDA had found flawed.

In 1976 I worked with Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire to help protect consumer access to dietary supplements with the passage of the 1976 Proxmire Act, and again in 1994 as part of CFH, campaigned for the successful passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The part I’ve played in all of these issues and many more is one I’ve found very gratifying

FIT: What was the issue with cyclamate?

TURNER: When I first advised Nader “let’s do food,” I pointed out that food would exemplify the same things he was talking about in cars. And sure enough, we found that just like the car market, where the mantra was “safety doesn’t sell,” the food industry said nutrition didn’t sell. With cars, they sold design and prestige, while in the food industry the focus was on convenience, and, of course, sweetness. An excellent example has been the reliance on artificial sweeteners. When the 1938 Food and Drug Act was passed, there were a number of things that needed to be addressed further. To this end, Congress appointed a Select Committee to Investigate the Use of Chemicals in Food and Cosmetics (1950-52) which came up with several major amendments: Three of these were the Pesticide Act of 1954, the Food Additive Act of 1958, and the Color Additive Act of 1960.

These acts each created a regulatory mechanism for the additive they were addressing. The Food Additive Act, for example, said no food additive could be put into the food supply until it had been proven to be safe by the food industry. So industry had to turn in data to the FDA that would show “this is safe.” There were several exceptions, one being the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list. In the 1958 Food Additives Act there was this GRAS list exception, and the idea was that if no scientists raised questions about an additive, then it was GRAS. They put out a list of about 100 or so chemicals to the scientific community asking, “Do you think these qualify as GRAS?” Virtually all the scientists who responded on cyclamate said no, but the FDA allowed it on the GRAS list anyway.

When we sent our students out we added the GRAS list as a subject that should be looked at. We talked to everybody we could find at the agency, and one of the things we uncovered was the cyclamate story. And the evidence was building up that not only shouldn’t it be on the GRAS list, but it was inherently dangerous and likely shouldn’t be used in the food supply at all. That’s how we got involved with it.

Due to our investigation into cyclamate, one night two network news programs led with that story and it developed into a big firestorm. Within a week the FDA announced plans to remove cyclamate from the GRAS list, and that launched all this public awareness of what we were doing. That’s the opening story in The Chemical Feast.

FIT: Have you been involved in similar efforts with other questionable sweeteners?

TURNER: Yes, both saccharine and aspartame. When I got involved with saccharine, I did not think banning it was a good idea based on the law and science, but I thought a warning was. Ultimately, Congress adopted a warning and that warning was on the saccharine packages until 2000, when it was ‘pardoned’ by President Clinton at the end of his term with a law he signed erasing the warning.

FIT: How did you get involved with aspartame?

TURNER: I became involved with a group of scientists led by Dr. John Olney, from Washington University in St. Louis who were investigating the addition of MSG to baby food.

Dr. Olney was doing studies on various kinds of food additives to determine whether they might be among the causes of mental retardation. He had an assay that he used to show when the brain is being damaged by a chemical. MSG was one such substance, as was aspartic acid, one of two amino acids in aspartame, which caused the same kind of brain damage in animals that MSG did.

In 1970 we started looking into NutraSweet (the brand name under which aspartame was first marketed). When the FDA approved it in 1974, we objected and the agency granted us a hearing before a Public Board of Inquiry which stopped the marketing of NutraSweet until the end of the hearing.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected president, and he placed Donald Rumsfeld, the president of Searle, the drug company that originally made NutraSweet, on his transition team. Rumsfeld facilitated the appointment of the new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes, who quickly overturned the ruling not to allow NutraSweet to be marketed. So that which had been won by a scientific process was lost to a political process.

FIT: What is the focus of Citizens for Health?

TURNER: Basically it is choice, information, redress and safety that comprise our fundamental approach, because those are the consumer rights that President Kennedy envisioned in 1962 in a message to Congress. Those four things are what Kennedy said were the inherent rights of consumers in the marketplace.

CFH began by working hard for passage of The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994, which passed Congress overwhelmingly. CFH coordinated a campaign that generated well over one million letters, which still remains the largest number of letters written to Congress on any single issue. The idea was to stop the FDA from blocking access to information about vitamins, minerals, amino acids and certain other dietary supplements.

CFH believes that provided with proper information, consumers can make sound choices and intelligently comment on and participate in marketplace decisions. Once that that process is run fairly, CFH believes, safer, healthier, and more nutritious and effective products will ultimately emerge.

FIT: Who are CFH’s allies?

TURNER: We’re work with a wide variety of groups and individuals, and in our campaigns we ally ourselves with business interests that share our goals. In the campaign for DSHEA in 1994 we worked very closely with the retail natural food industry. In fact the president and founder of CFH was a health-food store owner who was also the president of the trade association for that industry. He felt that the trade association wasn’t doing enough in the public interest, so if he could create a consumer group that worked with the same issues, consumer interests would better be served.

That was the philosophy CFH was created with and why and how we got involved promoting DSHEA. When organic food came under attack in 1999 we worked very closely with the Organic Trade Association as well. CFH has conducted several information campaigns on alternative sweetener issues, and recently we’ve also received funding from the Sugar Association individual consumers, bequests and foundations.

FIT: Why is high fructose corn syrup such an important issue for CHF?

TURNER: We’ve always found artificial sweeteners to be a particularly egregious example of how the entire food system works. The thing about synthetic sweeteners is that they offer no real benefits that justify the risks involved in ingesting them, beyond the argument that using the non-caloric ones to sweeten food or beverages help keep weight off. But scientists are increasingly concerned that man-made, non-caloric sweeteners contribute to the problem of weight gain rather than helping address it. With HFCS, however, there isn’t even that specious rationale. It became ubiquitous in our food supply because, as a result of advancements in technology, it can be processed cheaply, allowing the food industry to save money by substituting HFCS for sugar. In an effort to cloak HFCS as healthy, industry has spent a lot of money trying to portray it as “natural” to consumers. But the fact is, none of the HFCS formulations are found in nature and HFCS did not exist until scientists patented a process to synthesize it from starch—any starch –,and this is done by using advanced technology to change the starch at the molecular level.
There has been a great deal of data emanating from all kinds of different scientific sources about the effects of HFCS consumption. The CFH’s role is to let the public know about this information, as well as the disinformation it’s getting from the corn processors.

We want to promote awareness that scientists believe that HFCS is different from natural sugar, that sugar consumption has remained relatively constant over the last 100 years, that paralleling the rise in HFCS consumption has been a huge increase in diabetes and obesity (and bottled water sales to ensure that everybody understands that correlation is not causation). We want the public to know that FDA has not approved HFCS containing more than 55 percent fructose, but many products have well above 55 percent all the way up to 90 percent fructose. We believe consumers should be aware of these facts and that the corn industry is attempting to hide them.

We are not arguing that HFCS has caused health problems; what we’re saying is that scientists are concerned about the prevalence of HFCS in our food supply. And, if a fair market is to live up to its word that it allows informed consumers to choose the best products available, it is very important for the public and regulators to know what those scientists have said and to take that into consideration. That’s the dynamics of CFH, to enable people to make informed choices.

Also, even though the FDA says that 55 percent fructose in HFCS is the maximum amount it considers to be GRAS, the Corn Refiners Association has continued to say that much higher doses are allowed by the agency.

The HFCS process is a gold-plated example of how a business model is created, – i.e., let’s sell a sweetener to the food industry and then make up arguments that diverge from the core issues.

FIT: How can consumers make the biggest impact on the food supply?

TURNER: Without a doubt by the way they buy. More and more people are making buying choices based on what they learn, and those are often quite different from what the food industry would like them to do. It is through such collective purchasing decisions that reforms come about. Harmful additives are removed by manufacturers, and wholesome and organic products are made more readily available when consumers demand these choices.

Editor’s s note: The following sources offer further reading on the health implications of HFCS use:

Ed. [L. Cantley, Cancer, metabolism, fructose, artificial sweeteners, and going cold turkey on sugar, BMC Biology 2014, 12:8; S. Swithers, Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Cell Press (2013).] Ed, See, e.g. Global Public Health (2012) 1-10, High fructose corn syrup and diabetes prevalence: A global perspective, Goran, Ventura, Ulijaszekb; Eur J Nutr (2012) 51:445–454; Metabolic and behavioural effects of sucrose and fructose/glucose drinks in the rat, Sheludiakova, Rooney, Boakes; Metabolism Clinical and Experimental 61 (2012) 641-651, Effects of high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose on the pharmacokinetics of fructose and acute metabolic and hemodynamic responses in healthy subjects, Le, Frye, Rivard, Cheng, McFann, Segal, Johnson, Johnson; Eur J Nutr. (2010) 49:1–9, Comparison of free fructose and glucose to sucrose in the ability to cause fatty liver, Sánchez-Lozada, Mu, Roncal, Sautin, Abdelmalek, Reungjui, Le, Nakagawa, Lan, Yu, Johnson; Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 97 (2010) 101–106, High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels, Bocarsly, Powell, Avena, Hoebel; Experimental Biology and Medicine 234[6] (2009) 651-661, The type of caloric sweetener added to water influences weight gain, fat mass, and reproduction in growing Sprague-Dawley female rats, Light, Tsanzi, Gigliotti, Morgan, Tou.],

- See more at: ... 4MbyN.dpuf
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:18 am

by Swankin & Turner, Attorneys at Law



James S. Turner, a principal in the firm, represents businesses as well as individuals and consumer groups in a wide variety of regulatory matters concerning food, drug, health, environmental and product-safety matters. He has appeared before every major consumer regulatory agency, including the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission and Federal Trade Commission, as well as the Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. Mr. Turner has served as special counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Food, Nutrition, and Health and to the Senate Government Operations Subcommittee on Government Research. He has also been a policy consultant to major corporations in the food, pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries, including such companies as Kraft Foods, The Quaker Oats Company, Hoffmann-LaRoche and AT&T. Mr. Turner was the lead attorney on a successful petition to the FDA to reclassify acupuncture needles from Class III to Class II medical devices, permitting their legal importation and distribution. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University School of Law.

Articles and speeches by Jim

Adam Smith Without Arrogance
Jefferson's Flaws: Are They Beyond Redemption?
FDA and The Nutrition Community, Past, Present and Future…
Dietary Supplements -- Health Care Reform and The Congress
Articles about Jim

Megatrends, by John Naisbitt
Organizations Jim is affiliated with

Citizens for Health
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:28 am

Jefferson's Flaws: Are They Beyond Redemption?
Synopsis of a Proposal for A response to Conor Cruise O'Brien's "Thomas Jefferson: Radical and Racist"
by James S. Turner



To emancipate all slaves born after passing the act. The bill reported by the revisers does not itself contain this proposition; but an amendment containing it was prepared, to be offered to the Legislature whenever the bill should be taken up, and further directing that they should continue with their parents to a certain age, then be brought up, at the public expense, to tillage, arts or sciences, according to their geniuses, till the females should be eighteen, and the, males twenty-one years of age, when they should be colonized to such place as the circumstances of the time should render most proper, sending them out with arms, implements of household, and of the handicraft arts, seeds, pairs of the useful domestic animals, &c., to declare them a free and independent people, and extend to them our alliance and protection, till they shall have acquired strength; and to send vessels at the same time to other parts of the world for an equal number of white inhabitants; to induce whom to migrate hither, proper encouragements were to be proposed. It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the State, and thus save the expense of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep-rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections by the blacks of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which Nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions, which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race. To these objections, which are political, may be added others, which are physical and moral. The first difference which strikes us is that of color. Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and scarf skin, or in the scarf skin itself; whether it proceeds from the color of the blood, the color of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in Nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us. And is this difference of no importance? Is it not the foundation of a greater or less share of beauty in the two races? Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of color in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony which reigns in the countenances, that immovable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other race? Add to these flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favor of the whites, declared by their preference of them, as uniformly as is the preference of the Oranootan [orangutan] for the black women over those of his own species. The circumstance of superior beauty is thought worthy attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs, and other domestic animals; why not in that of man? Besides those of color, figure and hair, there are other physical distinctions proving a difference of race. They have less hair on the face and body. They secrete less by the kidneys, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odor. This greater degree of transpiration renders them more tolerant of heat, and less so of cold, than the whites. Perhaps, too, a difference of structure in the pulmonary apparatus, which a late ingenious experimentalist has discovered to be the principal regulator of animal heat, may have disabled them from extricating, in the act of inspiration, so much of that fluid from the outer air, or obliged them in expiration, to part with more of it. They seem to require less sleep. A black, after hard labor through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight, or later, though knowing he must be out with the first dawn of the morning. They are at least as brave, and more adventuresome. But this may perhaps proceed from a want of forethought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present. When present, they do not go through it with more coolness or steadiness than the whites. They are more ardent after their female; but love seems with them to be more an eager desire than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation. Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions, which render it doubtful whether Heaven has given life to us in mercy or in wrath, are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection. To this must be ascribed their disposition to sleep when abstracted from their diversions, and unemployed in labor. An animal whose body is at rest, and who does not reflect, must be disposed to sleep of course. Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless and anomalous. It would be unfair to follow them to Africa for this investigation. We will consider them here on the same stage with the whites, and where the facts are not apocryphal on which a judgment is to be formed. It will be right to make great allowances for the difference of condition, of education, of conversation, of the sphere in which they move. Many millions of them have been brought to, and born in America. Most of them, indeed, have been confined to tillage, to their own homes, and their own society; yet many have been so situated, that they might have availed themselves of the conversation of their masters; many have been brought up to the handicraft arts, and from that circumstance have always been associated with the whites. Some have been liberally educated, and all have lived in countries where the arts and sciences are cultivated to a considerable degree, and have had before their eyes samples of the best works from abroad. The Indians, with no advantages of this kind, will often carve figures on their pipes not destitute of design and merit. They will crayon out an animal, a plant, or a country, so as to prove the existence of a germ in their minds which only wants cultivation. They astonish you with strokes of the most sublime oratory; such as prove their reason and sentiment strong, their imagination glowing and elevated. But never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration; never seen even an elementary trait of painting or sculpture. In music they are more generally gifted than the whites with accurate ears for tune and time, and they have been found capable of imagining a small catch. Whether they will be equal to the composition of a more extensive run of melody, or of complicated harmony, is yet to be proved. Misery is often the parent of the most affecting touches in poetry. Among the blacks is misery enough, God knows, but no poetry. Love is the peculiar oestrum of the poet. Their love is ardent, but it kindles the senses only, not the imagination. Religion, indeed, has produced a Phyllis Whately; but it could not produce a poet. The compositions published under her name are below the dignity of criticism. The heroes of the Dunciad are to her as Hercules to the author of that poem. Ignatius Sancho has approached nearer to merit in composition; yet his letters do more honor to the heart than the head. They breathe the purest effusions of friendship and general philanthropy, and shew how great a degree of the latter may be compounded with strong religious zeal. He is often happy in the turn of his compliments, and his style is easy and familiar, except when he affects a Shandean fabrication of words. But his imagination is wild and extravagant, escapes incessantly from every restraint of reason and taste, and, in the course of its vagaries, leaves a tract of thought as incoherent and eccentric as is the course of a meteor through the sky. His subjects should often have led him to a process of sober reasoning; yet we find him always substituting sentiment for demonstration. Upon the whole, though we admit him to the first place among those of his own color who have presented themselves to the public judgment, yet when we compare him with the writers of the race among whom he lived, and particularly with the epistolary class in which he has taken his own stand, we are compelled to enroll him at the bottom of the column. This criticism supposes the letters published under his name to be genuine, and to have received amendment from no other hand; points which would not be of easy investigation. The improvement of the blacks in body and mind, in the first instance of their mixture with the whites, has been observed by every one, and proves that their inferiority is not the effect merely of their condition of life. We know that among the Romans, about the Augustan age especially, the condition of their slaves was much more deplorable than that of the blacks on the continent of America. The two sexes were confined in separate apartments, because to raise a child cost the master more than to buy one. Cato, for a very restricted indulgence to his slaves in this particular, took from them a certain price. But in this country the slaves multiply as fast as the free inhabitants. Their situation and manners place the commerce between the two sexes almost without restraint. The same Cato, on a principle of economy, always sold his sick and superannuated slaves. He gives it as a standing precept to a master visiting his farm, to sell his old oxen, old wagons, old tools, old and diseased servants, and every thing else become useless: "Vendat boves vetulos, plaustrum vetus, serramenta Vetera, servum senem, servum morbosum, & si quid aliud supersit vendat." — Cato de re rustica, c. 2. The American slaves cannot enumerate this among the injuries and insults they receive. It was the common practice to expose in the island of Aesculapius, in the Tyber, diseased slaves, whose cure was like to become tedious. The Emperor Claudius by an edict gave freedom to such of them as should recover, and first declared that if any person chose to kill rather than to expose them, it should be deemed homicide. The exposing them is a crime, of which no instance has existed with us; and were it to be followed by death, it would be punished capitally. We are told of a certain Vedius Pollio, who, in the presence of Augustus, would have given a slave as food to his fish for having broken a glass. With the Romans, the regular method of taking the evidence of their slaves was under torture. Here it has been thought better never to resort to their evidence. When a master was murdered, all his slaves in the same house, or within hearing, were condemned to death. Here punishment falls on the guilty only, and as precise proof is required against him as against a freeman. Yet notwithstanding these and other discouraging circumstances among the Romans, their slaves were often their rarest artists. They excelled, too, in science, insomuch as to be usually employed as tutors to their master's children. Epictetus, Diogenes, Phaedon, Terence, and Phaedrus, were slaves. But they were of the race of whites. It is not their condition then, but Nature, which has produced the distinction....

Notwithstanding these considerations, which must weaken their respect for the laws of property, we find among them numerous instances of the most rigid integrity, and as many as among their better instructed masters, of benevolence, gratitude, and unshaken fidelity. The opinion that they are inferior in the faculties of reason and imagination, must be hazarded with great diffidence. To justify a general conclusion, requires many observations, even where the subject may be submitted to the anatomical knife, to optical glasses, to analysis by fire, or by solvents. How much more then where it is a faculty, not a substance, we are examining; where it eludes the research of all the senses; where the conditions of its existence are various, and variously combined; where the effects of those which are present or absent bid defiance to calculation; let me add too, as a circumstance of great tenderness, where our conclusion would degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings which their Creator may perhaps have given them. To our reproach it must be said, that though for a century and a half we have had under our eyes the races of black and of red men, they have never yet been viewed by us as subjects of natural history. I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind. It is not against experience to suppose that different species of the same genus, or varieties of the same species, may possess different qualifications. Will not a lover of natural history then, one who views the gradations in all the races of animals with the eye of philosophy, excuse an effort to keep those in the department of man as distinct as Nature has formed them? This unfortunate difference of color, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these people. Many of their advocates, while they wish to vindicate the liberty of human nature, are anxious also to preserve its dignity and beauty. Some of these, embarrassed by the question, "What further is to be done with them?" join themselves in opposition with those who are actuated by sordid avarice only. Among the Romans emancipation required but one effort. The slave, when made free, might mix with, without staining the blood of his master. But with us a second is necessary, unknown to history. When freed, he is to be removed beyond the reach of mixture.

-- Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson

In 1889 Henry Adams, carrying on his family's sometime vendetta against Thomas Jefferson, wrote a history of the United States of America During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson, trying, apparently, to put a stake through the then barely-beating heart of Jefferson's reputation. As an honest reporter, Adams told the truth about Jefferson's actions, evidently assuming Americans would find them objectionable. Instead, this book rehabilitated Jefferson by pointing out his great nation shaping-feats.

A complete and accurate, examination of O'Brien's charges in the full context of Jefferson's life, the revolution, and the American experience might also lift Jefferson's currently flagging reputation. Jefferson played well a key role on a team of revolutionaries whose ideas and actions continue to hold the world's imagination and affect its actions. Americans need to come to terms with their Jeffersonian heritage, whether or not Jefferson held (as he probably did not) unacceptably radical, racist views.

American revolutionaries were of many minds. Some early patriots went to Canada when war broke out. Fervent kaleidoscopic activity typified politics during and after the war. Allies and enemies often, if not routinely, changed sides. Events confounded politics. As Gary Wills points out, it took Lincoln to establish 1776 and the Declaration of Independence, not 1789 and the Constitution, as the birth of the nation. The Gettysburg address, Wills says, transformed the United States into The United States.

Jefferson tended toward political liberty and economic independence. His foil, Hamilton, urged economic efficiency and political order. Their struggle defines America. In 1876, Henry Cabot Lodge -and a hundred years later Walter Lippman--called America a Hamiltonian nation governed by Jeffersonian forms. Americans tend, consciously or unconsciously, to see reality as a balance of efficiency, independence, liberty, and order. Viewed this way, America without Jefferson will not be America.

A discernible back-and-forth with Jefferson at its core characterized the American revolution laying the groundwork for America as we know it. First came the Declaration of Independence a Jeffersonian thrust. A Hamiltonian parry, the Constitution, preceded the Jeffersonian Bill of Rights riposte. The Hamiltonian Federalist government of Washington and Adams, succeeded by the Jefferson electoral sweep of 1800, carried on the duel.

The Hamiltonians struck back after Jefferson's massive November 1800 victory by appointing the infamous "midnight judges" (including Chief Justice John Marshall) between election night and Jefferson's March, 1801 inauguration. For the next thirty-five years, Jeffersonian Presidents (Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams and Jackson) battled Hamiltonian Marshall and the courts to shape the nation. At Jefferson's death on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the die was cast.

Marshall's decisions cut executive government power. The Jefferson "mob" controlling central government scared Federalists. One 1819 case, Dartmouth College v. Woodward, set corporate rights against federal power. The nation split. Government, ruled by Jeffersonian principle (affected people need a voice -- i.e., vote--in decision making) squared off against corporations (semi-governments) ruled by Hamiltonian principle (only property owners -- i.e., stockholders -- have decision-making rights).

For the next hundred years increasingly "democratic" government (more issues presented to more voters) battled increasingly powerful (more land, money, authority) corporations to allocate national resources. The nation prospered and suffered. Painful pre Civil War agrarian/industrial struggles, cast as free v. slave, led to bloody war and increased corporate power. Post war boom/bust collapses (from railroads in the 1870's to agriculture and industry in the 1920's) destroyed confidence in Hamiltonian corporate economic structures.

Enter Roosevelt's activist government, with which we are just now coming to terms. Roosevelt, like Lincoln and Jackson before and Kennedy after him, drew on Jefferson to help America through complex times. Expelling Jefferson, so entwined with America, from the pantheon for politically incorrect radicalism and racism (even if guilty) poses a greater challenge to America's core viability than O'Brien's thesis considers. Ripping Jefferson from America's heart, necessary or not, will be bloody work.

A broader, more textured appreciation of Jefferson and of history might alter the O'Brien-created impression of Jefferson's pantheon future. "Someone should write a thesis on "The Influence of Thomas Jefferson on Hendrik Verwoerd,"' O'Brien says. Jefferson, racism, South Africa. Point made, further comment not needed. A less obviously anti-Jefferson point could be made by suggesting a thesis on Jefferson and Frederick de Klerk. This might present a different Jefferson for any needed redemption.

For example, O'Brien connects Jefferson to violent radicalism (too slow to condemn French Revolution excesses, alleged Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh wore a tee shirt with a provocative Jefferson quote). He does not mention attacks by contemporaries (and Henry Adams) on Jefferson for being too pacifist-impose an embargo rather than fight the British, buy rather than conquer Louisiana, and move Virginia's capital from Williamsburg to Richmond to avoid armed conflict.

O'Brien says "...the orthodox multiracial version of the American civil religion must eventually prevail -- at whatever cost against the neo-Jeffersonian racist schism" (emphasis added). "At whatever cost" sounds like the kind of unrestrained exhortation O'Brien condemns in Jefferson. One cost (considered by O'Brien?) of dumping Jefferson from the pantheon because of his violent rhetoric might be to lose him as the primary American example of limiting the use of violence as a tool of foreign policy.

By adding resistance to the federal government to his Jefferson indictment, and making it the moral equivalent of racism, O'Brien further weakens his historical case. Northern states like Wisconsin issued ringing states rights endorsements against federal government enforcement of fugitive slave laws. Nothing makes federal government power intrinsically multiracial. Nor do contemporary Americans, individually or collectively, see the federal government as uniformly superior to state or local governments.

One reason so many Americans, including a lot who are not right-wing fanatics, find "liberal" irritating grows out of a perception that "liberals" tend to claim a special identification with "orthodox American civil religion." History suggests that the political Jefferson would shun association with such a concept. In fact it is likely that orthodox civil religion will find less room in the American pantheon than will Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's vitality resists classification. Americans tend to suspect orthodoxy.

Dumping Jefferson from the pantheon comes down on one side of a deep, wrenching, centuries long, social/political battle, predating America's revolution. This battle divides those who, like Jefferson, demand that governments keep hands off individuals' right to use their life and liberty to pursue happiness from those who, like Hamilton, say power concentrated in properly motivated,competent, economically and socially elite hands best ensures the orderly society essential for individual enjoyment of life.

Dumping Hamilton comes down on the other side making more French Revolution type excesses likely. Americans stand astride this divide, one foot firmly in each camp. Each person develops a pragmatic mix of liberty, order, independence and efficiency for personal expression and gain. The Combined Jefferson/Hamilton blood in American veins creates collective decisions pundits find odd-divided government 22 of 28 years; pro choice/pro life abortion consensus; anti-government/anti-corporate anger, etc.

The American dynamic rests on "the pursuit of happiness,' staked out by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, dumped from the Constitution by central government advocates, reintegrated by Lincoln. Dumping Jefferson risks losing "happiness" as a central social value. Cutting the ground from under the Jefferson foot risks toppling Americans into a morass of individual rebellion against government intrusion into privacy, family, and personal values. A bloody business at best. Americans might prefer redemption for Jefferson.

O'Brien's self-described task, ensuring "at whatever cost" that "the orthodox multiracial version of the American civil religion" prevails "against the neo-Jefferson racist schism," has far greater risks and fewer benefits then O'Brien presents or appears to have considered. This fact, combined with O'Brien's brittle historical picture, makes a further, more faceted, reassessment necessary before individual Americans make a pro- or anti-Jefferson choice.

In summary, O'Brien chose to narrow and obscure the Jefferson legacy -- even if he had accurately reported the part of Jefferson's life that he addresses (which he did not). He leaves important aspects of Jefferson's life and actions that bear directly on his thesis, out of his argument. He leaves contradictory assertions unaddressed. And he makes poorly-thought out--rhetorical flourishes that, when examined, weaken his argument. O'Brien's topic is too important not to be addressed more completely.

James S. Turner
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:41 am

Nader Now Concedes That Bush Will Cause More Damage Than Gore
by Ron Kampeas
December 30, 2000
Associated Press



WASHINGTON -- They call him ''traitor,'' ''egomaniac'' and ''fool.'' Some of Ralph Nader's old battle buddies even call him ''politician.''

Many of those who fought with Nader on the frontlines for the environment, consumer rights and other liberal causes now say he betrayed them by not ending his presidential run in time to save Al Gore's candidacy. And they say his career as a public advocate is through.

''Who's going to work with him now?'' snorted Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., a powerful congressman who once worked with Nader on labor and regulatory issues.

The iconoclast's idol is undergoing the kind of beating he once trademarked, but Nader could care less.

''They were all anesthetized by Clinton, the snake charmer,'' said the man who described Gore and Bush as ''Tweedledum and Tweedledee.''

In an interview in his cramped campaign office -- just blocks from his cramped Washington bachelor's pad -- Nader sounded the same themes that informed his campaign: the two major parties are beholden to corporate interests, and voters lacked choice.

''The Democrats were moving toward the Republican Party, developing Republican agendas for Republican issues -- to take Republican voters away,'' he said.

That elicits moans from his former allies, who agree with him that much was wrong with the Democratic Party -- but who say differences are real, and now very very evident, thanks to the man they still affectionately call ''Ralph.''

Each starts by mentioning Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft, whose controversial civil rights record is already dogging his attorney general nomination. They also point to Andrew Card, a former automobile industry lobbyist named as White House chief of staff, and Vice President-elect Dick Cheney's oil industry past.

''We all complained how Clinton gave a green light to industry, but it can be greener,'' said Ken Cook, who heads the Environmental Working Group.

Nader now concedes that Bush will cause more damage than Gore.

''Bush is probably going to jettison the tobacco lawsuits, and he's not good on energy,'' he said.

That's a major departure from his insistence that Gore and Bush were two sides of the same coin. Having made the concession, Nader -- who avoids eye-contact like an oncoming Ford Pinto -- started scribbling notes to himself, and said a Bush presidency will at least galvanize liberals.

''Oh yeah,'' Conyers said scornfully. ''Now that we're not anesthetized, Ralph, we want to work real close and take instructions from you.''

Not all in the advocacy community blame Nader.

Maggie Geist of the Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod blames Gore for straying from his strong pro-environment record in a misguided attempt to win the center.

''He will have to explain to himself why he chose not to highlight that during his campaign,'' she said.

Joan Claybrook, head of Public Citizen, a consumer group, and once a close Nader ally, is also wary of a Bush presidency -- but she blames Gore's poor performance.

''You have to ask why he didn't win by a landslide, why he wouldn't let Clinton campaign in Arkansas,'' she said.

Nader's detractors readily agree that Gore misstepped -- but they say that pales next to Nader's willfulness.

''Nader was never the only factor (in Gore's defeat),'' said Cook. ''But it was the only factor that was a betrayal.''

Nader had his strongest support in a handful of states -- Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan. Gore ultimately won all five, but only after being forced to spend precious time and money there. Meanwhile, Nader only took 2 percent in Florida -- a state that was never considered a Nader stronghold -- but that was enough to throw the state to Bush.

Some say Nader strayed from his original aim of establishing the Green Party as a national force, and let his personal dislike for Gore color his judgment.

Gary Sellers, a retired activist whose friendship with Nader dates back to the 1960s -- Nader was the best man at his wedding -- says Nader hinted last summer that he would withdraw if it were getting close.

''He said, 'Oh, Gary, don't worry about it,'' Sellers said.

When it became clear in October that Nader had no such intention, Sellers established Nader's Raiders for Gore. He now describes Nader as an ''egomaniac'' seduced by one more stab at the national spotlight, and says he lied to his constituents about Gore's record -- just like the establishment politicians he once reviled.

''You don't throw the country away'' to prove a point, Sellers said, noting that Bush could appoint as many as 600 federal judges.

Peter Petkas, a Houston businessman and a Nader's Raider in the 1970s, said the same single-mindedness that drove Nader to heroic victories in those days undid the election.

''Ralph didn't see a way out, he locked himself in,'' he said. Petkas says he suffers the consequences of the ex-Texas governor's deregulatory fervor on a daily basis -- Houston is the nation's smoggiest city.

Nader says pulling out would have betrayed the Greens. ''The campaign built the basis for a long-range political reform movement.''

Notably, he does not use the word ''party'' -- the Greens fell well short of getting the 5 percent needed to qualify for federal matching funds, and they elected just 20 people to local office, including a sewage commissioner.

For some, those numbers spell the last of Nader. Norm Shiren, a retiree in Chappaqua, N.Y., modeled his modest local environmental activism on Nader's. No longer.

''Nader ended up throwing the election to someone who is going to do everything to ruin his issues,'' he said.
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:44 am


Peter J. Petkas
BY Linkedin




President, HoldTight Solutions Inc. [ Supply flash rust inhibitors and salt removers. Product data sheet, technical bulletins, and test data.]
Houston, Texas AreaBuilding Materials
Current: HoldTight Solutions
Education: University of Texas Law School
Websites: HoldTight Solutions website
HoldTight Solutions blog
PJP blog


HoldTight Solutions
1998 – Present (17 years)


NACE International

Additional Organizations:

Orthodox Christian Laity;


University of Texas Law School
1967 – 1970

Yale University
BA, History / English
1963 – 1967

Lamar High School, Houston Texas
1959 – 1963


Lee Metcalf, Democratic senator from Montana by Peter J Petkas( Book ) (Part of the Ralph Nader Congress Project, which provided biographies and vote analysis of sitting senators.]

Whistle-Blowing (with Peter J. Petkas and Kate Blackwell)


Orthodox Christian Laity

Orthodox News Top Stories

Orthodox news stories from around the world.

To submit a story please contact the News Editor.

Fire Ravages St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Babylon, New York
National Herald logo
Source: The National Herald By TNH Staff BABLYON, N.Y. – A fire broke out at 9:30 PM on July 21 that scorched the altar of the Church of St. Nicholas at 200 Great East Neck Road. “It was bad, but it could have been a lot, lot worse,” the pastor, Rev. Demetrios Kazakis told Newsday, and “Driving to his church early Wednesday, was able to maintain a positive outlook on a fire that ravaged the altar area of the West Babylon building where he and hundreds of his parishioners worship,” … [Read more...]

St. Vladimir’s Seminary to Confer Honorary Degree on Patriarch John X
JULY 14, 2015
St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary
Source: St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary The Most Blessed John X (Yazigi), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, will be visiting St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary on Monday, July 27, 2015, to receive an honorary doctoral degree conferred by the seminary Board of Trustees and Faculty Council. The degree will be awarded at a public academic convocation at 6:00 p.m. in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building, during which His … [Read more...]

Podcast: Orthodox Fundamentalism: what is it and does it exist?
JULY 14, 2015
Source: Ancient Faith Radio / Ancient Faith Today Length: 1:07:37 Earlier in the year, one of Kevin's guests, Dr George E Demacopoulos, wrote on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese blog that through the increasing expansion of 'Orthodox fundamentalism' in ordinary parishes, "the entire Orthodox Church is at risk of being hijacked by extremists". Father John Whiteford, ROCOR priest and blogger wrote a robust rebuttal to this article. On this episode of Ancient Faith Today Kevin discusses with … [Read more...]

UNESCO made Jordanian bank of the River Jordan a World Heritage Site
JULY 13, 2015
Daily Mail logo
Source: Daily Mail UNESCO made Jordanian bank of the River Jordan a World Heritage Site UN agency ruled east side of river was more likely to be Jesus' baptism site But more tourists visit the claimed baptism site in Israel, west of the river Scholars say official ruling has 'nothing to do with archaeological reality' By OLLIE GILLMAN FOR MAILONLINE For years, Christian pilgrims have waded into the River Jordan from both its eastern and western banks to meet at the site of one of … [Read more...]

Reflections on the Becoming Truly Human Program
JULY 9, 2015
AOCA logo
Source: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America "Becoming Truly Human" is an eight week outreach course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese that uses the vehicle of small group discussions and hosted meals to share the love of Christ. The following two articles by a layman and priest, tell the story of how this program is changing lives. ~~For many years as a Protestant, I witnessed to others because I thought it was my duty. After all, we had been scripturally … [Read more...]

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese: Its Past, Present, and Future – An Interview with Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides
JULY 8, 2015
The Interfaith Observer logo
Source: The Interfaith Observer by Suzy Lamoreaux Religions for Peace USA – A Member Profile Religions for Peace USA regularly spotlights member communities to be featured in The Interfaith Observer. This month, Suzy Lamoreaux interviews Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, who represents the Archdiocese on RfPUSA’s Executive Council. The Archimandrite was appointed director of the Office of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in … [Read more...]

Ancestors of Faith: The Reception of Peter
JULY 8, 2015
Deily Planet logo
Source: The Deily Planet What happened to St. Peter? The short answer is that we don’t know. The longer answer is more interesting. It is precisely the lack of authoritative information about Peter that enabled laterChristians to develop competing legends about the final years of his life. In some cases, these differences are quite surprising, especially for modern readers used to associating St. Peter with the Vatican. But not all of the stories about Peter place him in Rome. Why is … [Read more...]

Clergy Families: The Helpless Forgottens’ Cry for Help Answered Through Reality Therapy
JULY 7, 2015
American Counseling Association
Source: VISTAS Online - American Counseling Association Paper based on a program presented at the 2013 American Counseling Association Conference, March 20-24, Cincinnati, OH. Michelle E. Aulthouse Aulthouse, Michelle E., is a graduate of the Master’s of Education School Counseling program at California University of Pennsylvania. When she was asked to write a research article for a class, this topic was first in her mind due to her experience of growing up in a clergy’s home and seeing … [Read more...]

The Challenge of Outreach, by Nikolas K. Gvosdev, Ph.D.
JULY 7, 2015
Source: Orthodox Christian Laity The Challenge of Outreach, written in 1997, by Nikolas K. Gvosdev, Ph.D., foreshadowed the recent PEW Report on Christianity in America. The study was prepared at the request of Archbishop Spyridon. Too bad it got lost in the shuffle. We have posted it for your consideration and interest. CLICK HERE to read this excellent report. George Matsoukas … [Read more...]

Anchors Can Steady us or Drown Us – Ministering in our Time and Place!
JULY 7, 2015
letter in envelope
Source: Archbishop Lazar Puhalo Truly, the Orthodox Church is anchored in the Apostles and Holy Fathers, with the Scripture as our touchstone. However, to simply be anchored in the past, and attempt to live in the past is a betrayal of the Gospel, of the Apostles and of the Holy Fathers. It is a betrayal of the Commission that Christ has placed upon us. There is no time and place in which we can now live and witness except in the 21st century. If we are not willing to encounter the … [Read more...]
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:57 am

Peter J. Petkas: Reflections & Reruns
Metropolitan Jonah: Diversity in Unity (Dallas, 5 April 2009)
Saturday, April 11, 2009



[for a video of this sermon, go to:]

It is a great joy to see everybody here this evening from so many different communities, from different traditions. Orthodoxy is a celebration of diversity in unity, and unity in diversity. Our unity is in our one Lord and savior Jesus Christ, and our one Orthodox faith and our one commitment to living the truth, to living as Christians. Not to live according the spirit of the world, not to live according to our passions, not to live according to the desires that flit by through our minds and lead us into all sorts of trouble, but to live the truth, to live Orthodox.

And, our diversity is something we celebrate, not a diversity of lifestyles, but a diversity that reflects the whole spectrum of our community, people of all races, people of all colors, people from a multitude of different ethnic backgrounds.

And yet, there is another thing that unites us here as well: we are all Americans. We are a single community, we are a single community of Orthodox Christians, and we are the local church in Dallas, the local church in Northeast Texas. It doesn’t matter that we have all these various administrative jurisdictions, ultimately, because we gather together as one body, to pray with one mind and one heart, to celebrate the same Eucharist, to come to the same chalice. It doesn’t matter if we are eastern rite or western rite, doesn’t matter the language in the service is, but its all, we are one church, we are one local Church, and I might add, we are one indigenous Church.

Right now in world Orthodoxy there is a solution to our disunity being proposed. But I would propose there are two solutions. There’s one solution being proposed in which we all submit to Constantinople. We all submit to a foreign patriarchate where all decisions will be made there, where we will have no say in the decisions that are made. We will have no say in our own destiny. We surrender the freedom that we have embraced as American Orthodox Christians to a Patriarchate still under Islamic domination. I think we have a better solution.

And this is something of the utmost importance, and it is something imminent. It is not something where we can wait and say “Oh maybe in my grandchildren’s time there will be Orthodox unity.” I’m talking about June. And, if you think I’m kidding, there is a conference being convened in the Phanar in June to discuss exactly this - (actually, it’s in Cypress) - to subject the Diaspora to the single singular control, the so-called Diaspora, to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and thereby come into unity.

Well, that’s one model for unity. I would submit if we wanted a Pope we’d be under the real one. And I don’t think any of us want a Pope, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

But who are we really? I think part of this comes from a total and complete ignorance and misperception on the part of the holy fathers who are the leaders of the churches in the Old World. They don’t understand that there are Americans who are Orthodox. There are Americans who have been born and bred in this land who have embraced the Orthodox faith. There are Americans who have come over here - fleeing communism, fleeing Islamic domination, fleeing oppression. Who have come to this land to embrace a new life, a life of self-determination as well as a life that is governed by the Orthodox faith. I don’t think they understand that our church here has this rich diversity but we all share a common identity.

It doesn’t matter what language the services are in, we appreciate them all. We appreciate the Arabic and the Romanian and the Slavonic; we appreciate the Georgian and the Albanian and who knows what else. But we also have to appreciate the English and the Spanish and the French, just as we have to appreciate the Klinkit and the Aleut, and the Upik and the Athabaskian, who are the true indigenous Orthodox Christians of our land.

I don’t think the holy fathers in the Phanar understand that we are a Church, albeit with separate administrations, but that has a common value of determining our own destiny. A church that is dedicated to the conciliar process, which does not ignore the voice of the laity, which does not ignore the voice of the priests, a church which is united in its common commitment. Because we are Orthodox not simply by birth, we are Orthodox not simply by our ethnic heritage. We are Orthodox because we have chosen to be Orthodox. We are Orthodox because we have committed our entire life to Jesus Christ and the Gospel. And, it is that commitment to Jesus Christ and the Gospel and our commitment to bring our brothers and sisters in our land to that same commitment of Jesus Christ and the Gospel, not to some kind of alien ideology, not to some nationalist or imperialist ideology from some forgotten empire, not the imposition of foreign customs and the submission to foreign despots.

But, to a united Church in this country, a Church in which we value the diversity and value the unity equally. A Church in which we appreciate one another and listen to the voice of one another so that no person is devalued. So the traditions that our fathers in the faith have brought to this country are valued. So the efforts and the labor and the sweat and the blood and the tears of all those who have gone before us to establish the Orthodox Faith in America for over 200 years now, 215 years to be precise, to acknowledge their sacrifice. And, it is upon their sacrifice, upon their martyrdoms, upon their sanctity, upon their sacrifice that our Church here is built.

There are those there that say that there was no canonical Orthodox Church in the North American until 1924 until the establishment of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Greek archdiocese.

Excuse me. The Russian Orthodox Church established a missionary work here in 1794.
It established English-speaking churches where priests were trained to speak, to serve the liturgy, to teach the Gospel, and to bring faithful people into the Orthodox Church, from 1857 in San Francisco. They say our unity in America was a myth at the time of St Tikhon. Well yes, there were a few dozen churches that were not part of it, but what about the 800 that were? What about those 800 churches? Churches that may have had Russian clergy, or had clergy who were trained by the Russians, but were composed of Greeks and Serbs, of Arabs, of Romanians, of Bulgarians, and of converts, who have stood for the integrity of the Orthodox Faith and the integrity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the integrity of the witness, the missionary outreach which is essential to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not to make people Greeks, not to make people Russians, not to make people Arabs, but to simply bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to this land, in its wholeness and its completeness, as it was preached by the holy Apostles, in the fullness of its integrity. There are those there, in the old world, who devalue this, who say that they are the only criteria of Orthodoxy. Who are ignorant of our Saints, who refuse to recognize the sacrifice of so many of those who have come before us, in Christ, to establish the Gospel here.

I think we have a different solution.

It is imperative for us to come together. Not for all the other churches, the Antiochians and the Serbians and the Bulgarians and the Romanians and everyone, to join the OCA, but to come together in a new organization of Orthodoxy in North American that brings us all together as one Church, even just pulling together all our existing organizations so that all the bishops sit on one Synod, so that all the Metropolitans get together on a special Synod or something like that.

So we can continue our relationship with the Mother Churches, a relationship of love and support. Firm in our own identity as Orthodox Christians and making our witness to protect them from whatever evils confront them, whether it be an aggressive Islam, or whether it be Communists who now call themselves democrats (I’m not talking about Washington by the way, not at all.)

It’s very interesting. Seven months ago I was still an abbot in a monastery in northern California. Just a few months ago I was made Metropolitan and I had no idea, really, what the scope of Orthodoxy is in America. And, now I’m beginning to get an idea. Not only did I find myself the Metropolitan of the OCA, but Locum tenens of the Bulgarian diocese. Well, these are people who have fled oppression just as in so many eastern European countries. It’s the same people who were there under the communists; they just changed their titles.

It’s the same thing with the churches in the Middle East. How many hundreds of thousands of faithful Iraqi Orthodox Christians are living as refugees in camps in Jordan and Syria, ignored by the world. We need a united, powerful witness. A witness that will not only bear witness to the unity of the Gospel and our common commitment to one Faith in Jesus Christ the one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism that constitutes the Orthodox Church. We need to bear witness as a united Body, only to those issues that affect the Phanar, not only to the tragic situation in Cypress, but to those issue that affect all Orthodox Christian throughout the world. There is no witness in Congress. There has been no Orthodox voice, save one lone Serbian bishop, during the American aggression in Kosovo. There were so many hundreds and thousands of Orthodox Christians that suffered and died at our hands, and the hands of our government and our voice was muted.

We have to come together as one united Orthodox Church in North America in order to truly show people that the Orthodox Church is the One Holy Catholic Church, in order to show that truly we are the Church constituted by the Apostles of Jesus Christ. And, there is only one way to show that - not by self-righteous proclamations of our Orthodoxy it’s not by self-righteous condemnation of non-Orthodox Christians, it’s by coming together and showing people how we love one another, how we forgive one another. How we bear common witness to the Gospel. Though we have multiple churches and diverse traditions, we affirm that there is One Truth, who is the person of Jesus Christ. The Orthodox way of life is the way of the healing of the soul and the way of salvation.

It is imperative brothers and sisters, imperative on us that, we come together and with one voice, as the Orthodox Church of North America, to say to the holy fathers of the Old World, the Orthodox Church exists in North America. We are grateful for the support you have given us. We love and support your work. We rejoice in your victories and we are sad with your tragedies. But, you have to give us the freedom to take care of our own Church in our own country, in our own culture, and not to be controlled by people who have never heard a word of English much less allow a word of English to be spoken in the liturgy. We can’t allow our Church to be controlled with people who have no appreciation of our culture and have to bow to the Turkish Islamic authorities.

This, my friends, is something truly critical affecting our life and our witness. We hear of all of these scandals, all the stuff that went on in the OCA and all the stuff going on in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and all the petty little stuff that goes on in our parishes. All of that is pettiness. We have to come together. The Lord Jesus Christ is calling us together to be one Church in America, composed of all Americans, no matter where they came from, no matter how long their ancestors, or they themselves, have been in this land. Because the canonical organization of the Church, according to the Holy Apostles and all of the ancient Fathers, is not about some kind of international organization where we look 8000 miles away for some source of canonicity. But it is the local Church, the presbyters and the deacons, and the faithful people gathered around their bishop. This is the fullness of the catholic Church. This is the fullness of the Orthodox Church as it was given to us from the holy Fathers, as it was given to us by the Apostles. And, it is this that we must affirm.

That Church exists now, here, in our midst. It was planted by our Fathers in the faith generations ago, on this continent. It has grown and bears fruit. And, it subsists out of our common sacrificial commitment to Jesus Christ.

Let us give thanks to God for our unity, let us give thanks to God for our diversity. Let us affirm to our bishops that they will tell the bishops of the Old World, “There is an American Orthodox Church. Leave it alone.”
God Bless you. (transcribed from Sermon, April 5, 2009)

Metropolitan Jonah
St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral
April 5, 2009
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:14 am

Peter J. Petkas: Reflections & Reruns



Sunday, August 8, 2010
Fr. Elpidophoros of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Hellenism & Orthodoxy

The following paper contains what appears to me to be a stunning shift in the thinking of the Ecumenical Patriarchate which, however, relies on historical precedent and tradition to explain why the shift (my word) is really, "the same song, second verse" and not the breakthrough, which to this observer, it clearly seems to be. Peter Petkas

Greek Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
and the Church in the USA

V. Rev. Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lambriniadis
Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod
of the Ecumenical Patriarchate June 2010
at St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood New York.

[For a PDF version of this document, go to ... nglish.pdf]

[In the version that follows, footnotes appear in brackets "[...]" within the text to which they refer]

The topic that I have been asked to address today: “Greek
Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the Church in the USA.”
Beginning with the content and historical development of the phrase
“Greek Orthodoxy,” I will endeavor to explore its relationship to the
Ecumenical Patriarchate in order, finally, on this basis, to interpret the
perception of the Church of Constantinople with regard to the
ecclesiastical situation in the United States and present its vision for the
future of Orthodoxy in this land.
Read more »
Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 3:19 PM No comments:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Matsoukas comments on the Episcopal Assembly's work
Comments on the Episcopal Assembly
by George Matsoukas
Executive Director
Orthodox Christian Laity

We confess our fidelity to the Apostolic Orthodox faith and pledge to promote “common action to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox living in our region”…We call upon our clergy and faithful to join us in these efforts ‘to safeguard and contribute to the unity of the Orthodox Church of the region in its theological, ecclesiological, canonical, spiritual, philanthropic, educational and missionary obligations’ as we eagerly anticipate the Holy and Great Council.
MESSAGE: Bishops attending First Episcopal Assembly

What are the immediate accomplishments of the Assembly?

The First Episcopal Assembly of the Canonical Bishops of North and Central America took place at the Helmsley Park Hotel NYC, May 26-28, 2010. The 55 assembled bishops replaced the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops SCOBA and now all the bishops of all jurisdictions are the stewards of the Orthodox Church in the United States. They are working in a conciliar manner to develop a foundation to build a unified local Church to meet the spiritual needs of the people living in this geographic area.

The essential document to emerge from the historic Episcopal Assembly is the MESSAGE quoted in part as an introduction to my comments. The Message was collaboratively developed and approved by all the bishops. Further more the document enumerated long overdue actions including establishing:

A registry of canonical bishops

A committee to determine the canonical status of local communities in the region that have no reference to the Most Holy Autocephalous Churches.

A registry of canonical clergy

Committees to undertake the work of the Assembly, among others including liturgical, pastoral, financial, educational ecumenical and legal issues
A committee to plan for the organization of the Orthodox of the region on a canonical basis

A directory of all canonical congregations in our region.

Study this MESSAGE for it is a primary source of information and contains the practical results of the meeting.

Brotherhood and Unity are hallmarks of the first meeting

Another excellent primary source that gives us a feeling of the historical nature of this meeting was developed by Father Andrew S. Damick who was present in the meeting rooms. His report has been transmitted on many Orthodox Christian internet sites and can be read at Father Damick states “There was not politicking going on in the halls and at meals. There were just men working together. It was all almost routine, not particularly energetic. They were clearly comfortable with each other…. “Another priest present “interpreted this apparent brotherhood very positively, saying that this may represent another step in the formation of a mutual identity.”

Indeed the Holy Spirit is at work in this process of building up the foundation for a Unified Orthodox Christian Church in the United States through the common actions of our bishops to meet the spiritual needs of the faithful in this land and culture. We are gratefully to Lord that the bishops took positive long overdue steps to develop the blueprint for the unified, self governing Orthodox Christian Church in the United States. The bishops met in harmony and left in peace. They established positive relationships.

Leadership Noted and Commended

The work of the Holy Spirit is carried out though faithful Servants of the Lord and we commend all of our bishops who attended. We especially note the leadership of Archbishop Demetrios, a man of prayer, who personifies the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. He is wise and worthy! He successfully convened and brought to conclusion this First Assembly. We note that much pressure was put on him before hand by the Patriarchate, special interests in the Archdiocese and foreign governments. It seems he has to always be looking behind his back to get things done. May God continue to grant him good health, strength and many years! We also credit the success of the meeting to His Beatitude Jonah, born and nurtured in America, not a prisoner of Old World History and the Roman Empire, free of foreign domination. He is an example of the servant Bishop and has through humility brought the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America OCA to the discussion as canonical bishops. Archbishop Demetrios and His Beatitude Jonah, by their example of love=giving something up for the greater good, have made the assembly representative of the Bishops of America so that the first steps can be taken to develop the blueprint for a unified, multicultural Orthodox Church in America. Despite the considerations of Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey (GOA) the seating of the OCA was a non issue.

Moving Forward

Now the work begins and the details need to be worked out. The Secretariat of the Assembly elected and is headed by Bishop Basil of Wichita, KS. Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese AOCA. The work of the Assembly is on a fast track especially if the Great and Holy Council will be convened as indicated by some as early as 2013. This Great Council is a meeting of all Orthodox Bishops throughout the world. They are called together to make conciliar decisions concerning issues related to the faith. The last such meeting was held over 1000 years ago. We look forward to see how the committees developing the foundation for the unified and hopefully self-governing Orthodox Church in the United States will be organized. How will the faithful People of God, clergy and laity, participate in developing the blueprint for a unified, self governing Orthodox Church in the United States? We also would like to know how this process of continuing the work of the Assembly will be financed. We also expect that the work of the Assembly will be transparent and accountable to the People of God as well as the ancient Patriarchs and all the participating local hierarchs. We are prayerful that a transcript of the May 26-28 meeting in NYC will be released.

Communication with each other is necessary in this transitional period.

As we move ahead it is my hope that laypersons and clergy with courage will develop regional and local meetings and communicate with each other. The success of building up the Church in the United States depends on the thoughtful and active communication and participation of mature faithful people. We hope that each region’s clergy associations and hierarchs of all jurisdictions will meet together regularly during this transition period. The Pan Orthodox Meeting in Detroit in early May 2010 to discuss the conveying of the Episcopal Assembly is a model. It was highly successful and informative. Groups of laity such as OCL and others need to network and develop materials and regional forums to discuss WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A LOCAL CHURCH. We must stay focused in this transitional period and keep our eye on the prize of Orthodox Christian Unity and self governance. The grassroots faithful need to be actively involved in building up the church. They have been involved. They established all the SCOBA agencies and then when they were up and working successfully they were blessed. They established many of the Churches here before the archdioceses of any jurisdiction were in place. The faithful laity has always been as Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory said “the wind beneath the wings” of the bishops. It is time to bring them into the process. Building the Church in the United States is the work of all the people of God in synergy with each other.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 6:38 PM No comments:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pentecost 2010 Springtime for the Church in the Americas!

Behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.
Psalm 133:1

George Matsoukas
Executive Director
Orthodox Christian Laity

During the week following Pentecost, May 26-27, 2010 sixty five Orthodox Christian bishops, who have their sees in North and Central America, have been invited to gather at the Helmsley Park Hotel. The bishops will convene as the Episcopal Assembly which is an interim-transitional governing body of the Orthodox Christian Church in this New World territory. The purpose of the Assembly is to begin the process of developing the foundation for a canonically ordered unified Orthodox Church in the Americas. The blueprint that they develop for a canonically United Church will require more than this initial meeting. This process must eventually involve the whole body of the Church including clergy and laity. The final product, fashioned through a conciliar process and representing the work of the people of God will be presented for approval by the Great and Holy Council of all Orthodox bishops. This Council is part of the process of Orthodox Christian renewal and will be convened in the near future. This first meeting of bishops is a step in the process of developing working relationships with each other, asking the appropriate questions, defining the geographic territories of the Church, identifying resources available to them and setting up the appropriate committees.

This first Episcopal Assembly is different from other meetings of Orthodox Bishops such as the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas SCOBA or other Episcopal Meetings because this meeting has the blessing of all 14 Old World Primates of Orthodox Churches. It is the result of the Synaxis of Orthodox Primates that met in Istanbul/Constantinople October 2008 in response to the call of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. At that time the Primates declared that canonical order needs to be established in the so called Diaspora. In Orthodox Christianity all of us are in a Diaspora waiting to go home to the Lord. This unfortunate term has been used to describe people not living in traditional Orthodox lands – i.e. lands beyond the Old Roman Empire. Orthodox canonical order relates to the fact that there should be one bishop in one city. All 14 old world Primates signed the document authorizing the establishment of Episcopal Assemblies that will take place in the New World, Western Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. The Episcopal Assemblies are meeting with the blessing of all the Primates.

In June and December 2009 representatives of these 14 Old World Primates met in Chambesy, Switzerland. These meetings were convened by the Ecumenical Patriarch and chaired by Metropolitan John of Pergamon. The results were the Rules of Operation for the hosting, conveying and carrying out the work of the Episcopal Assemblies. Hosting an Assembly is not an easy matter for the North and Central America. This Episcopal Assembly brings together 65 bishops from 14 different jurisdictions, who are of different ethnicities, cultures and nationalities spread over an enormous land mass, many of whom have not met each other before, who are mostly extensions of their mother countries and not autonomous, who are governed by church “protocol.”

Notwithstanding these challenges we are confident that the imperative to Unite will overcome any differences because these bishops are all Orthodox Christians and are guided by the Holy Spirit. They reflect the realities of a multicultural Orthodox Christian faith – the Apostolic faith established at Pentecost in Jerusalem over two thousand years ago. They are the survivors of persecution, extermination, secularism, phlytism. “Their faith, even if it is as tiny as a mustard seed will make all things possible.” Matt. 17-20. They have been charged to create Canonical order which will lead to a glorious transformation of Orthodox Christianity in the New World.

The Rules of Operation require the conveners of the Episcopal Assemblies to be the representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople and if in some land he is not represented, the Order of the Diptychs will be followed and the convener is the next in rank as a matter of Protocol. In the New World we are blessed to have such a worthy leader in the person of Archbishop Demetrios. He personifies the Fruits of the Holy Spirit and will be able to assist and inspire his brother bishops to work in a conciliar manner. His coordinator is the indefatigable Father Mark Arey SCOBA Coordinator. He is working with selected members of the SOCBA planning committee to bring the First Assembly to a successful beginning. The Episcopal Assembly will meet on May 25-27 and will decide what administrative structure will be used for their future meetings when they meet on May 26-27. The Episcopal Assembly replaces SCOBA which is now disbanded. The Episcopal Assembly will decide how to integrate SCOBA agencies in the transformational structure.

What can we expect from the Episcopal Assembly? The Episcopal Assembly is not a business meeting. It is the bishops of the Church doing the work of the Church. The bishops of the New World Territories, North and Central America, will demonstrate to the Old World Primates that they can work together in a mature manner to establish a canonically united Church. If they cannot work together, then the canonical order will be imposed by the Old World Primates. The Plan they create will be presented to the Great and Holy Council for final decisions. It should be noted that the Rules of Operation call for the agenda of the meeting to be approved by the Assembly. Matters related to canonical order will be decided by consensus and each jurisdiction will have one vote. For example if 10 bishops are representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate they will all reach a consensus amongst themselves and cast one vote on the matter before them. The whole body will meet yearly or more frequently if they decide more frequent meetings are necessary. The Executive Committee will meet every three months and whenever necessary at the invitation of the Chairman or at the written request that shows cause of one third of its members.

Between now and the convening of the Episcopal Assembly it is recommend that you familiarize yourself with the primary documents associated with the meeting. They are:

1. Press Release pertinent to the October 2008 Meeting of All the Primates at the Ecumenical Patriarchate; 2. The Two Chambesy Documents: The Decision and the Rules of Operation June 6-13 2009 and 3.SCOBA Encyclical February 21, 2010 issued on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. These documents are posted on the OCL web site You may also want to read the OCL publication Orthodox Christianity at the Crossroad: A Great Council of the Church-When and Why available on line at or at Barnes and Noble. The 1994 publication Project for Orthodox Renewal available from Light and Life includes a comprehensive chapter “Orthodox Unity.

It should be noted that 10 Bishops of the South American Church met April 16-18 in San Pablo Brazil. The host was Archbishop Damaskinos of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The meeting focused on the adoption of a Spanish version of the documents of Chambesy and presented the situation of each Orthodox Church in South America. The Assembly established an Executive Committee.

It is the duty and responsibility of the faithful – clergy and laity- to look beyond their local parish interests and be concerned with the renewal process taking place world wide in the Orthodox Christian World. The faithful parishioners – the royal priesthood -need to be aware of what when, where and how the Assemblies respond to the challenges placed upon them. They have the responsibility t ask questions of their bishops and provide them with input. The renewal of the structure of the Church impacts each and every one of us and cannot take place without our input and involvement. We are experiencing and living through the first steps of renewal of the Church in one thousand years. This is the opportunity and challenge of the laity and the clergy as well as the opportunity and challenge of the hierarchy.

What can we do? How can we help? I suggest that the first step of meaningful involvement includes praying for the Holy Spirit to enlighten our bishops to do what is best for the renewal of the Church in the New World. The petitions regarding this Episcopal Assembly that have been included in the Divine Liturgy of the Churches within the OCA are excellent prayers that we can pray everyday until the work of the Assembly is completed and the Great and Holy Council is convened. They are:

V: That the Lord may grant our Hierarchs gathering in Episcopal Assembly to grow in wisdom and strength, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to increase in love for each other, deepening Christian fellowship so that conciliar decisions may build up a canonically united Orthodox Christian Church of the Americas, let us pray to the Lord.

R: Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy!

V: That their work may be guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit of unity and love, of compassion and mutual respect, inspiring each to contribute what will build up the Body of Christ, may move us all to rejoice in the full unity of the Church, let us pray to the Lord.

R: Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy!

V: Furthermore, we ask that God bless the work of all His People, uniting them for the building up of His Holy Orthodox Church of the Americas, let us pray to the Lord.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 7:34 PM No comments:

What’s Fate of Orthodox Unity and Diaspora? - The National Herald

May 7, 2010

"Behold now, what is so good or so joyous as for brethren to dwell together in unity?" PSALM 132

By Peter Marudas

Special to The National Herald

BALTIMORE- In late May, a meeting of potentially enormous significance for the Orthodox Church in America will occur in New York City when all Orthodox Bishops in good standing in North and Central America convene for a first-ever Episcopal Assembly. This unprecedented gathering has received little attention in most Orthodox circles and virtually none in the wider religious and secular media.

Nevertheless, its implications for the future of Orthodox Christianity in the Americas are both hopeful and controversial. The historic Episcopal Assembly will take place shortly after the Great Feast of Pentecost – the Kairos - when the Holy Spirit inspired the disciples to establish the Church.

Until 18 months ago, the mere contemplation of such a meeting would have been considered unthinkable in view of long-standing and entrenched official opposition to even discussing the question of closer intra-Orthodox relations. In recent years, a few Orthodox hierarchs with some support from clergy and laity openly but unsuccessfully championed unity initiatives. But with the exception of Orthodox Christian Laity, no group has consistently or aggressively pursued Orthodox unity in America. In October, 2008 the unity landscape experienced an earthquake, when His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew convened in Istanbul, a Synaxis (gathering) of the leaders of all Autocephalous (independent) Orthodox Churches; the entire leadership of world Orthodoxy.

At that meeting, Patriarch Bartholomew delivered a remarkable address about the dangers of division among the Orthodox in the so-called Diaspora and the pressing need for these believers to unify themselves in a way consistent with church tradition. Immediately, the assembled Orthodox leaders unanimously endorsed a communiqué calling for a process to address Diaspora issues - and to the shock of many - for the convocation of a Great and Holy Council of Orthodoxy; an encouraging announcement for those seeking greater Orthodox unity both here and abroad.


The Church leadership further directed their individual representatives to convene two meetings at the Patriarchal complex in Chambesy, Switzerland in June and December, 2009 to formulate specific plans for implementing their declarations regarding the status of the Orthodox in traditionally non-Orthodox lands. These deliberations expeditiously produced guidelines which required the formation of Episcopal Assemblies in a number of geographical regions and the Orthodox Church in uncharacteristic fashion managed in a matter of only 18 months to move from Istanbul to New York via Chambesy and convene this unprecedented meeting whose assignment is to chart the Church's future course in North and Central America.

This sudden change of heart and mind by Orthodoxy's leaders - all centered abroad - about Orthodox unity in the Diaspora has naturally provoked ecclesiastical and political commentary. Irrespective of such speculation, we can reasonably conclude that Orthodox leaders for whatever reason clearly decided to put aside any disputes in order to reach unanimous agreement on this unity initiative. Their actions should also be measured in the context of related developments, most notably the reunification of ROCOR (The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) with the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia, which ended a bitter schism generated by the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. This reunion meant that the membership of SCOBA (The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of America) for the first time included all recognized Orthodox jurisdictions. In that respect, there is already serious talk that one likely result of the upcoming Assembly is that SCOBA, whose membership is limited only to church heads; will dissolve to be replaced by a new entity.

While local Orthodox cooperation has generally been limited, national Pan-Orthodox organizations such as OCMC (Orthodox Christian Mission Center,) IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities,) OCF (Orthodox College Fellowship,) OCN (Orthodox Christian Network) and other groups continue to flourish and build strong bridges of intra-Orthodox collaboration of bishops have never publicly commented about Orthodox unity in the Americas, although some have called for an independent American church while others have expressed strong opposition to any change in present ecclesiastical arrangements.
As the regional representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archbishop Dimitrios will have the honor and critical responsibility of chairing this meeting. Perhaps the Assembly should be compared to our the Constitutional Congress where delegates had to organize themselves, create and adopt rules of procedure and then decide on an agenda which in this instance could be a topic of prolonged discussion and debate. Skeptics with some historic basis, but also with what some critics called hasty prejudgment, contend that the Episcopal Assemblies are merely a ploy by "Old World" Patriarchates to sidetrack any real progress toward unity.

They cite past actions by overseas Orthodox centers, which stifled efforts to seek unity and assert that the "church establishment" is deliberatively downplaying public attention on the Episcopal Assembly as a means of minimizing expectations and maximizing control. Others believe that such speculation, however, seems premature, as are more optimistic expectations that the Assembly would declare on the spot a united Orthodox Church in America, Canada and/or Central America. At this point, no one can with any certainty predict, given the unprecedented nature of this meeting, what will happen.


A wait and see attitude is certainly in order but the Bishops might give a hint about their intentions when they organize relevant committees to carry forward the Assembly's work. Under the rules, the Bishops may form committees comprised of their own membership but also open to clergy and lay participation. Whether these committees and other Assembly organs reflect legitimate, real and broad-based lay participation in the spirit of Orthodox conciliation and American inclusiveness and transparency may reveal how much. How the Bishops approach this task and what plans they have for a broader dialogue within the entire church will be crucial indicators, those close to the church believe.

Orthodox Christian Laity and other advocates of Orthodox unity (Full disclosure: I am an OCL board member) support the process established by the Istanbul and Chambesy meetings and view the Episcopal Assembly as the fullest and most tangible expression yet of a united Orthodox presence in America.

Episcopal Assemblies are merely a ploy by "Old World" Patriarchates to sidetrack any real progress toward unity.

Any results or decisions emanating from New York are unlikely to have any immediate effect on the Orthodox faithful but the meeting itself will raise questions, such as:

•Will the move towards Orthodox unity deliberately weaken ethnic affiliations and lead to the imposition of an English language liturgy?
• Will church-related ethnic language schools be abolished?

That’s a question not just limited to the Greek Orthodox. No such actions are likely but in the months and years ahead the Bishops and the entire church must be prepared to deal seriously and honestly with these and many other similar, provocative questions.

Clearly the mosaic of Orthodoxy in the Americas is dramatically different from the immigrant-dominated Church of the early Twentieth Century. Recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Middle East still enter the Church. But most members are descended from earlier immigrants and it is their marriages - many of them inter-faith – that have produced new members. These worshippers have also been joined in recent decades by an increasing number of Americans who have converted to Orthodoxy; sometime with families and friends. These developments pose challenges but also offer opportunities to acquaint the broader American community with historic Orthodox theology and practice.

One very current and extremely encouraging example of how Orthodoxy is preparing to engage the religious dialogue in America is expressed in the theme of the forthcoming St. Vladimir's Seminary Summer Symposium, "Hellenism and Orthodoxy (June 10-12.) Not only will Archbishop Demetrios deliver the symposium keynote but the Very Rev. Dr. Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lambrianiadis, Chief Secretary of the Holy & Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will discuss Hellenism and Orthodox Identity in North America.

The symposium will feature an impressive array of younger and thoughtful Orthodox speakers - panelists from America and abroad who will discuss how Hellenism, a critical component of Orthodox tradition, transcends conventional and generally narrower nationalistic perceptions. The seminar represents a working Pan-Orthodoxy at the highest theological and intellectual levels and perhaps could even eventually reach all the faithful.

Clearly something is stirring in world Orthodoxy. It was evident at the Synaxis of October, 2008, which forthrightly called for a Great and Holy Council- the last was held in 1872. It was also expressed at the subsequent Chambesy meetings and now is emerging in the regional Episcopal assemblies scheduled to convene around the world. These actions, unprecedented in both scope and speed, demonstrate to some that the Orthodox peoples are finally and confidently emerging from centuries of suffering and martyrdom to engage each other in the light of God's freedom. Strengthened by their sacrifices they are now able to bring the Orthodox message to the entire Oikoumene.

As these developments unfold, it is instructive to observe that as Orthodoxy embarks on what could be an unprecedented step toward unity in America, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism - in sharp contrast – have been and are consumed with fierce feuding involving both secular and faith matters; many of them so-called hot-button issues. This should signal caution to the Orthodox as they phase out from Old World divisions and into newer realities and many believe they must remain steadfastly faithful to the Church's theological and liturgical tradition and ever vigilant to avoid the fads, factionalism and rampant individualism, which regretfully constitute much of what they believe, passes for so-called contemporary American Christianity. On the other hand, they said that the Church, as it evolves, should seek to incorporate those practices of institutional integrity and collective and individual philanthropy, which distinguishes the many beneficent aspects of American religious life.

Perhaps guidance may also be found in the sentiments expressed by the late Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, the Twentieth Century's pre-eminent historian of Christianity who late in life left the Protestant Church of his childhood to become Orthodox. Following a lecture in 1998 at Baltimore's prestigious St. Mary's Seminary and University, he was asked why he had become an Orthodox? He initially declined to respond but then replied by stating he would provide his questioner with what he called a Western Answer: "What was de facto is now de jure," an obvious allusion to his long time sympathy for Orthodoxy and Western Christianity's preoccupation with legal definitions and theological precision. That could be an example as perhaps the Eastern Orthodox Bishops have already unified de facto by Liturgy and The Eucharist may also, in the spirit of Dr. Pelikan produce a de jure response at their May Assembly and maybe even produce the beginning of a clear path to ecclesiastical unity in America.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 7:21 PM No comments:

Alex Petkas Update -- 24 March 2010

24 March 2010

TO: Friends and family

Alex (with wife Emily) has spent a year in Philadelphia in a post Baccalaureate program in Classics at Penn. He finished one semester at St. Vladimir's Orthodox seminary then returned to Houston for what would have been a year and a half non-academic "sabbatical." He learned about this program just in time to get into it last fall, so his sabbatical was mercifully cut short. Penn is one of several places on the planet that has a classics faculty -- we are talking Greek and Latin -- with special strengths in 2nd & 3rd Century AD and early Byzantine literature, Alex's areas of interest.

Needless to say, he did extremely well, impressed the faculty, and recently received rather generous offers to join the PhD programs at Penn, Princeton, and the University of California at Berkeley, the latter two also having special strengths in his areas of interest. Though he loves Penn and was much more impressed with Berkeley than he expected, when they flew him west for a rather intensive meet and greet, he made his choice official today by notifying Princeton of his acceptance of their offer. All three offered what amounted to 5 or 6 years of tuition waivers plus a generous stipend and summer subsidies. For us this means that Alex will be (at least officially) off our payroll while he works on his PhD and for him it will mean he will be more or less free of debt at the end. And for Emily it means she will be able to work somewhere else than Starbucks and, at some point along the way, go to law school.

To say that Martha and I – and Belle too – are proud of him would be an understatement, especially given his on-line gaming detour (and resulting academic stumble) during the first couple of years of high school. Emily has done quite well on her first run at the LSAT – well within the range of students at top law schools -- and hopes to do even better next time

Alex can be reached at or or on his cell at 713-2031529. Emily can be reached at or or on her cell at 281-610-0657.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 4:21 PM No comments:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Right" to Life for the Born and the Unborn

This is one issue on which Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who has taken a very Orthodox and nuanced stance on questions of human life and human sexuality, and I are on the same page. We cannot become agitated about the right to life of the unborn, until we get clear on the right to life of the born – universal health care, the end of capital punishment, removing cancer-inducing chemicals in our food and in the air we breathe, preventing our children (and discouraging our friends) from eating themselves to death at McDonald’s and other fast food venues, dealing with drug and alcohol addiction, etc., etc., etc., etc. Let’s make life for the born at least as much a priority and with at least the same fervor, if not more, as life for the unborn. Stated another way, if we insist on bringing every fetus into the world, let us work hard to make the world safe for them and the rest of us – grant them a right to live as well as right to life. Or maybe, “If we grant those who have been born the right to live, then maybe we can figure out a way to perfect the right to life for the unborn.”

I should add that speaking of these profound issues in terms of "rights" is a peculiarly Western and American way of thinking about values and obligations. There seems to be a Western compulsion to view even complex philosophical and theological questions in legalistic terms. By thinking this way we of the West tend to obscure nuances, subtleties, and mysteries, on the one hand, and force our thinking into narrow, rigid, and sometimes formalistic channels, on the other. By seeking to draw up "rules and regulations" about what is True and False, what is Good and Evil, we can lose track of the Big Picture, of the Truth of God, of the Mysteries of Life.

The Patriarch says it well and in a truly Orthodox way. In his 2008 book, “Encountering the Mystery: Understanding Orthodox Christianity Today” (p. 150), he writes:

I also encounter many and diverse issues related to the sanctity of life from birth through death. Those issues range from sensitive matters of sexuality to highly controversial questions like the death penalty. In all such social and moral issues, it is not one or another position that the Orthodox Church seeks to promote in a defensive spirit. Indeed, we would normally refrain from expounding a single rigidly defined dogma on social and moral challenges. Rather, it is the sacredness of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God, that the Church at all times seeks to underline.

Those who would demand that our hierarchs and Patriarchs spew forth moral diktats and involve themselves in political controversies are, quite unintentionally I believe, pushing our Churches to become Eastern versions of the Church of Rome. If we as Orthodox Americans feel deeply about such issues as state-sanctioned abortions, or for that matter, safe workplaces, healthy diets, capital punishment, and clean air, to cite a few examples of issues laden with moral and theological implications, then we should exercise all the tools of citizenship in this great country to influence the debate and shape the outcome. We ought not drag the Church into these conflicts and thereby undermine both its moral and its doctrinal authority while re-defining its role in ways alien to Orthodoxy.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 1:34 PM No comments:

An Evening in Beaumont 11/28/09

Last night Belle and I spent the evening at ”THE THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT / CURED PARTY” for Charlene Bourque at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Engineers Hall on Spindletop Road in Beaumont, Texas, about 80 miles east of Houston. Charlene has been one of several cancer patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center here whom we’ve leant the use of our garage apartment for extended or intermittent stays during their treatment. Charlene is a friend of a friend of Belle’s daughter Amy. She suffered from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and went through horrendously difficult chemotherapy for the better part of the 8 or 9 months (for her story go to

Charlene and her husband Scooter (yes, Scooter) invited us to stay with them in their home in Lumberton Texas (about 9 miles north of Beaumont) last night after the big party at the IBEW Hall. Charlene and her family and her extended family are deeply religious. She called the 350 or so people who gathered for the celebration – of her apparent cure – her “prayer warriors.” You might think these folks must be Southern Baptists or Evangelicals. No, Roman Catholics. They are also deeply “West Louisianan” “coon-asses” (they call themselves that – proudly) -– Cajuns from that southeastern corner of Texas that, though west of the Sabine River, is culturally, ethnically, and every-otherwise-an extension of Louisiana Cajun country. For these people, family is bigger than faith, though faith is pervasive. The admixture of old French and more recent Italian, Greek, and Lebanese immigrants who worked – and still do – in the refineries and petrochemical plants and rice and cattle farms of the upper Texas and Louisiana coastal plan was, until last night, something I vaguely knew about, but had never experienced. (My dad grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana, whose culture now and in my Dad’s era, is a fascinating combination of the Red Neck South and Acadiana.

Listen to the names of some of the families at the party last night: Paladino, Garrod, Perello, Hebert (“a bear”), Pampolina, Gaspard, Restrepo, Boudreaux, Carizano, Begnaud (“beg no”), Pillitere, Guilbeaux, with a few Richeys, Davises, Smiths, and Murphys thrown in for good measure. Half the Italians had “Cajun” middle names and visa versa. The food was Texas Barbeque and potato salad and Cajun red beans and rice (“dirty rice” we call it – dark with filet gumbo seasoning) chased down with wine or Bud or Miller Lite. Local music impresario and cousin of Charlene’s, Phillip Pampolina, supplied the country & western, Cajun, and classic rock sounds as the women “line danced” and couples (like Belle and I) just danced to. And this was a family affair – kids of all ages infants to 83 (or more) – joined in the celebration.

A side note about Scooter Bourque whom I got to know a bit more last night: He grew up in Port Arthur, Texas (down the road a piece from Beaumont) and Brussels, Belgium, where he became fluent in real, not Cajun, French. His dad was a chemical engineer for Texaco. He spent 25 years as what Charlene called “a shift worker” at the North Star Steel mill in Vidor, Texas and then up and left and started his own now very successful business supplying air filtration equipment to schools, hospitals, and businesses in this corner of Texas. You can tell by his name, he’s a “coon ass.”

An evening to remember and cherish.

Posted by Peter J. Petkas at 11:30 AM
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:32 am


W. Harrison Wellford
Retired Partner
by Latham & Watkins




Harrison Wellford retired from Partnership on June 30, 2006. He was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office, where he also served as co-chairman of the firm's energy practice. In the 1980's, he was a leading advocate for the creation of the competitive power industry and was a founder of the largest trade association for the independent power companies. He served as outside counsel, strategic advisor and investor in two of the leading independent cogeneration power companies created during that time, Intercontinental Energy Corporation and Sithe Energies. From 1995-1998, he was Chairman of the firm's International Practice, directing Latham's expansion in Asia and other parts of the world. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Wellford was Vice Chairman of Sithe Energies, Inc., one of the world's largest merchant power generation companies. Since 2000, in addition to ongoing work in mergers and acquisitions and energy project finance, Mr. Wellford has assisted a number of renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource recovery and environmental technology companies with private equity financing, project financing, and mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Wellford holds a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University where he was a Danforth Fellow and Teaching Fellow and a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law School. He was a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University and valedictorian of his graduating class at Davidson College.

Mr. Wellford has advised Democratic President-elects, Presidential nominees and Senate Committees on Presidential transition planning for over 20 years. In 1976-77, he was head of the Government Reform Task Force for President-elect Carter's Transition Team and prepared the White House staff organization plan for the new President. In 1980-1981, he served as Presidential Transition Director for Executive Departments and Agencies during the Carter-Reagan transition. In 1992, Mr. Wellford served as White House transition advisor to President-elect Clinton and served on the Economic Policy Group of the Transition Team with responsibility for planning Congressional budget strategy. In 2004, he chaired Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry's pre-election transition team responsible for organizing the transition of the White House Staff and the Executive Office of the President.

From 1977-1981, Mr. Wellford was Executive Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President. He was in charge of management, reorganization and regulatory policy for OMB. He served for four years as Executive Director of the President's Reorganization Project which prepared and advocated before Congress executive agency reorganization plans for the Executive Office of the President, the Dept. of Energy, the Dept. of Education, the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency (FEMA), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and several other agencies.

In the US Senate between 1972-76, Mr. Wellford served as Chief Legislative Assistant to the late Senator Philip A. Hart, chairman of the Antitrust and Environment Subcommittees in the Senate. Between 1969-1972, he was a public interest advocate, serving as Executive Director of the Center for Study of Responsive Law (popularly known as "Nader's Raiders"), and advocating environmental and consumer causes before the Congress and Executive agencies.

He has written two books, Sowing the Wind, a study of government regulation of environmental hazards, and Unfair Competition? The Challenge to Charitable Tax Exemptions. His articles have appeared in Harpers, Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Monthly, the Outlook Section of the Washington Post and other national and professional publications.

Mr. Wellford served on the Board of the Center for Sustainable Development in the Americas, a NGO whose mission is the mitigation of Greenhouse Gases through the trading of carbon credits. He was Secretary Treasurer and a founding board member of Friends of Art and Preservation in Embassies, a nonprofit that uses donations of art and garden landscaping to enhance the cultural ambience of American embassies throughout the world, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and the Center for Excellence in Government. He has also served as a Trustee of Davidson College and has served on the boards of public companies including Vivendi North America, Sithe Energies and the General Nutrition Corporation.

Bar Qualification
District of Columbia

JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 1976
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1976
MA, Cambridge University, 1963
BA, Davidson College, 1962
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:35 am


FIELD NOTES – Neil G. McBride
(compiled May 28, 2010)
Interviewee: Neil McBride
Interviewer: Jessica Wilkerson
Interview Date: May 27, 2010
Location: Oak Ridge, TN



THE INTERVIEWEE. Neil McBride was born on December 12, 1945 in Dallas, Texas. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1970. After graduating, he worked for a year as the Southern Director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council in Atlanta, GA. He then worked for a year as a staff attorney on Aviation Consumer Action Project, established by Ralph Nader. From 1973 to 1978, he worked as a staff attorney for the East Tennessee Research Corporation, a rural public interest law firm funded largely by the Ford Foundation that provided legal and technical assistance to community organizations in East Tennessee. From 1978 to 2001, he served as director of Rural Legal Services of Tennessee. He is currently General Counsel to the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed McBride to the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors.

THE INTERVIEWER. Jessica Wilkerson is a graduate student in the Department of History at UNC-Chapel Hill, currently conducting research for her dissertation which will explore social justice activism in southern Appalachia, with special attention to women’s activism, from the late 1960s through the 1990s.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW. I met Neil McBride at his office in Oak Ridge, TN. The first couple of sentences of the recording were cut from the audio, but nothing of significance was lost besides the introduction. Mr. McBride willingly shared his history as a public-interest advocate in East Tennessee and gave a good overview of the types of community activism that he has helped to support in the region. There were no interruptions during the interview.

CONTENT OF THE INTERVIEW. Neil McBride discussed his work with Ralph Nader; involvement in setting up the East Tennessee Research Corporation; describes the work of the East Tennessee Research Corporation; the Tennessee Valley Authority Public Participation Project; starting the Coal Employment Project; influences on his work Tennessee; the relationship between the East Tennessee Research Corporation and community-based activism in Appalachia; Vanderbilt Student Health Coalition; Save Our Cumberland Mountains; gender and women’s issues in Appalachia; economic justice campaigns in East Tennessee; race relations and civil rights in East Tennessee.
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel

Postby admin » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:52 am

Sen. Bob Corker says the TVA Board of Directors has only one member with “any corporate board experience,” raising questions about its “entire governance structure"
By Tom Humphrey
August 26th, 2012 ... as-only-o/



-- Neil McBride, an Oak Ridge lawyer and adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee School of Law who is also general counsel for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.

Back in 2004, Bill Frist, then Senate majority leader, spearheaded congressional passage of legislation that eliminated the Tennessee Valley Authority's three-member, full-time board of directors and replaced it with a panel of nine part-time directors. Sen. Bob Corker, who succeeded Frist in a Tennessee Senate seat, now says the board isn't working out.

Corker first questioned TVA's governance structure and the qualifications of board members in an August news release. He elaborated in subsequent interviews, telling the Chattanooga Times-Free Press: "As you look at TVA today as an $11 billion-a-year company with tremendous challenges, it has a board of directors with the qualifications that I think would cause most Tennesseans to be very concerned. . . . We have only one person on the board, to my knowledge, who even has any corporate board experience."

We understand that picking TVA board members involves a political process -- they're nominated by the president and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. But has that really left governance of a governmental agency with $11 billion in revenues and almost $30 billion in debt to folks without appropriate corporate management experience?

As a starting point, it should be noted that the board, authorized for nine members, currently has just six and two of those have terms that will expire at the end of this year. President Obama nominated Peter Mahurin of Bowling Green, Ky., as a new board member in February, but there has so far been no Senate committee hearing scheduled on his confirmation.

It's thus at least possible the TVA board could lack a quorum of five members for meetings by the end of the year. That, setting aside qualification questions, would raise concern for whether the board could even function.

The one board member who Corker counts as having corporate board experience is Bill Sansom, the chairman. He is the longtime chairman and CEO of H.T. Hackney Co., a Knoxville firm in the wholesale grocery and furniture manufacturing business.

The other five sitting members:

-- Marilyn A. Brown of Atlanta, a professor of energy policy at Georgia Technological Institute and a "distinguished visiting scientist" at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

-- William Graves of Memphis, who retired in 2010 as presiding bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and who served on the board of Memphis Light, Gas and Water.

-- Barbara S. Haskew of Chattanooga, an economic professor at Middle Tennessee State University who previously served as dean of the College of Business Administration and worked for eight years as a TVA manager.

-- Richard Howorth, founder and owner of Square Books, an independent bookstore with two affiliates operations who is a past chairman of the American Booksellers Association. He served eight years as mayor of Oxford, Miss., and chaired the Oxford Electric Authority.

-- Neil McBride, an Oak Ridge lawyer and adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee School of Law who is also general counsel for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.

Brown and Graves are the board members with terms expiring this year.

Of this group, it would appear that Howorth might come closest to Sansom in business management background. In a telephone interview, Howorth declined to address Corker's comments directly, but said he does believe his background has provided ample executive experience to oversee TVA's operations.

"If I didn't, I wouldn't have agreed to take the job," Howorth said.

He spent 11 years on the board of directors of the American Booksellers Association, including two years as president and chairman, Howorth said. The association, a non-profit corporation, had a $40 million budget and the position "required a great deal of engagement," he said. Serving as a city's chief executive officer and as chairman of the electric board could also be viewed as the equivalent of corporate board experience, he suggested.

There's also the pending nomination of Mahurin, who is chairman of Hilliard Lyons Financial Services and who serves on five other corporate boards of directors, according to the White House press release announcing his nomination. Hilliard Lyons has 400 financial consultants operating in 12 states, according to the company website.

And some might see Graves' service on the board of MGLW, which serves some 430,000 customers, as providing an appropriate boardroom background though the ministry has been his primary profession.

A call to Corker's office for elaboration on his comments brought a return call from the senator himself.

"This is no way an attempt take shots at anyone," he said. "It's really about the federal process."

For presidents of both political parties, he said, appointment of TVA directors is "a hassle and to some degree an annoyance" that at times seems to involve "just crossing "Ts" and dotting ‘Is’ for political considerations."

"TVA is not that important overall to the federal government and certainly not to administrations of either ilk," he said. "It is extremely important to Tennessee. A big part of our economic future depends on TVA."

Corker said there is a need to "come up with a remedy" that meets needs all people in the TVA valley and indicated he will be engaged in that process, though declining to be specific about what reforms are in order.

The senator did not retreat from his contention that the board today is short on the corporate board experience needed for running an enterprise holding a regional monopoly in power production, though he repeatedly emphasized he was not criticizing anyone individually.

"Who knows? We may have four of five of the most stellar people on earth put forward to run TVA," he said. "But that hasn't happened before."

Corker expressed doubt about whether running a bookstore or even a national booksellers association counts as corporate board experience. As for the pending nomination Mahurin, Corker said "it sounds like he does have some experience" and that he hopes to learn more about the nominee's qualifications and background.

Our ruling

Corker’s point holds up, though we did find some other board members with experience they believe is equivalent to the corporate board experience the senator wants. Since that context was missing, we rate this statement Mostly True.
Site Admin
Posts: 31747
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Illustrated Screenplays

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests