What do Bill Bennett and the Dixie Chicks have in common these days?
Not photo impresses or musical high notes. Not live audiences or real-live agents. Something more important: repentance.
Bill Bennett, according to Newsweek and The Washington Monthly,
is addicted to gambling. At first he -- Mr. Book of Virtues -- denied it,
as most additive personages would do. But then, and in not too many hours
after the weekend story broke, he repented, claiming that his gambling days
Besides, Mrs. Bennett said to the media that her husband’s gambling junkets
indeed have come to an end. That is one sure way to bolster an addict’s resolve
to kick the whatever — with a wife who means her words.
Bennett has made $50,000 per espousing virtuous living speaking engagement.
He for years has also lost millions in casinos, enjoying an open door policy
to one plush hotel accommodation after another. All the while he has gone
on stage to deplore various evils and endorse the straight-and-narrow, disciplined
Repenting of his hypocrisy, Bennett stated: "I have done too much gambling,
and this is not an example I wish to set. Therefore, my gambling days are
The Dixie Chicks, caught in a flap of the tongue with, "Just so you know,
we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas," said later
in so many words, "I’m sorry."
Natalie Maines apologized after her slam against Mr. Bush brought gales of
criticism, including the trashing of the Chicks’ music. Maines’ remarks were
at the height of the Iraqi Freedom conflict. Those few words hurt, not so
much the troops or the President, as it hurt the Dixie Chicks’ standing in
Now Chicks start their performances with this offering: "We have a plan.
If you’re here to boo, we welcome that. We’re going to give you 15 seconds
to do that." Freedom of speech and all that. When Maines counted to three,
the audience went wild with support, introducing the Chicks to the rights
Now how can you fight repentant souls? It’s hard.
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," the Good Book reminds
us. We are all guilty of something. Therefore, no one can sit in final judgment
of another’s eternal destiny.
Consequently, when one of our mortal community does break in contrition,
it brings a smile to the face of humanity, reminding all of us to check our
closets for the secrets we need to ‘fess up ‘fore the Almighty’s merciful
Thank you, Mr. Bennett. Thank you, Dixie Chicks. With that, we wish all of you a bright and happy future.
Grant Swank, Jr., is the Pastor of New Hope Church in
Windham, ME. He is a a graduate of an accredited
college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at
Harvard Divinity School. Pastor Swank has been married
for 41 years and he has 3 adult children. He is
the author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various
Protestant and Catholic magazines, journals and newspapers.
He writes a weekly religion column for PORTLAND PRESS HERALD
newspaper, Portland ME. His columns have appeared on IntellectualConservative.com,
VIOdaily.com, AmericanDaily.com, MensNewsDaily.com, BushCountry.org, Chalcedon.com,
ConservativeTruth.com, FreeRepublic.com, WoundedShepherds.com, among others.
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