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Bennett Chicks Duo Contrition Works
by J. Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor
7 May 2003

Bill Bennett and the Dixie Chick have at least one thing in common: repentance.

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 are over.

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 lifestyle.

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 over."

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 the charts.

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 to music-down-the-house.

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 throne.

Thank you, Mr. Bennett. Thank you, Dixie Chicks. With that, we wish all of you a bright and happy future.

Joseph 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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