Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Farewell from editor-in-chief
Apr17

Farewell from editor-in-chief

A very wise man I call my dad has always told me, “Life is about relationships.” These words have never seemed more true than now, as I reflect on my time at UMHB. I still remember leaving for college like it was yesterday instead of nearly four years ago. I didn’t know a single person. I was scared to death. But very quickly, I found a community of friends that have become my family, and they have made Belton home. When I think back over the time, many of the details blur together. But the things that stick with me are the people. When I leave, I probably won’t remember every lecture I sat through, but I will remember the classmates who sat through them with me, often grumbling together over every assignment. I won’t remember all of the late-night study sessions, but I’ll remember the moments of delirium with those who endured them with me. I won’t remember all of the good times, or the tough moments, but I’ll remember the friends whom I laughed, cried and lived life with. Whether we realize it or not, there will probably never be another time in our lives when community is so easily accessible. For many, our closest friends are just a short walk away. Along with so many activities, organizations and things to be involved with, also comes the opportunity to live life alongside others. Please, don’t take this for granted, and don’t miss opportunities to invest in the lives of the people you come in contact with daily. To my friends, professors and peers, thank you for making my experience what it has been. They say college is the greatest time in your life, and so far, I can say this couldn’t be more true. To The Bells staff, thank you for your dedication, hard work and most of all, your friendship. You have not only made my job easier, you have made it so much fun, and I could not have asked for a better group of people to spend endless hours in the lab with, cover events with, stress about deadlines with and go to conferences with. As you continue to tell stories, take photos and do all of the other things that come with journalism, remember to not only tell stories that matter, but also to cherish the time you spend together, and learn from one another. To all my fellow Crusaders, whether you are preparing to walk the stage in May, or you still have several years ahead of you, my advice is to make the most of your time with the people around...

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Titanic voyage #2 in 2016

The unsinkable ship already sank once, so why is Australian businessman Clive Palmer building another ocean liner and dooming it with the name Titanic II? Does Palmer not remember Leonardo DiCaprio freezing to death as he clung to a piece of wood, rather than climbing onto the raft that clearly could have held two people? Sorry about the bitterness, but there is simply nothing romantic about hypothermia. But Palmer and designer Markku Kanerva assure critics of the safety of this work in progress. Sound familiar? Oh yeah, the Titanic I when it set sail for New York in 1912. The whole world saw how wonderful that turned out. With promises of a maiden voyage in 2016, thousands of people have already signed up to participate in history’s potential remaking. The new ship will feature an almost identical layout as the first, with antique furnishings and embellishments. Passengers even have the option of donning period clothing for the journey. After all, who doesn’t want to sport Kate Winslet-worthy garb? Still, wouldn’t the memory of the horrific tragedy put a damper on the party? Granddaughter of socialite and survivor Molly Brown, Helen Benziger, has given her full support of the project. “Bringing this ship back? I don’t know the words…. It is a chance to go back in time,” she told The Guardian. Sure, it would be great to reenact Jack and Rose’s highly unlikely and strangely accelerated relationship. But nothing about playing tag with icebergs sounds enjoyable. Palmer seems fairly nonchalant about the outrageous sum of money going toward the endeavor. The threat of colliding into a monstrous piece of frozen water doesn’t seem to bother him either. Why? Global warming, naturally. “Anything will sink if you put a hole in it,” Palmer told The Guardian. “There are not so many icebergs in the North Atlantic these days.” All joking aside, the proposed passenger ship could offer a blast into the past for passengers willing to open their wallets for a pricey trip. Already, millions of dollars have been offered by  eager journeyers. Thanks, Blue Star Line, for making a hopeless romantic’s dream come true. The final verdict on the project? Launch the safety rafts now, just in case. Or at least send DiCaprio to the rescue. It’s the least you can  do,...

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Successor to pope still under review

In the last 600 years of papal reign, this is the first resignation, which was made by the now pope emeritus, Benedict XVI. According to the guardian.co.uk, the pope stepped down due to “advanced age” and deteriorating strengths. Benedict has been pope since 2005. The sudden shift in leadership, almost entirely unexpected, paves the way for a successor to be chosen by Easter. Benedict set a tone for change with his dramatic personal example. Thoughts and opinions have been raised as to whether or not an American cardinal will be chosen. Many are saying that there is no chance for an American pope because of the current economic situation in the U.S. While this is not definite, it is unlikely that a citizen of the United States will be elected pope in the upcoming conclave or even in the distant future. Several issues arise when discussing electing an American cardinal to take the place of the pope. The superpower status of America is a major obstacle. It has more than enough worldly influence without an American as the next pope. If another nation was to ever dominate the world, the chances of an American pope would increase. The cardinals are struggling against the perception, held particularly by Europeans, that most Americans aren’t sophisticated or learned enough to handle the papacy. They could compensate for their outsider status by spending years in Rome and being multilingual or at least speaking Italian fluently. Other languages that would be beneficial for an American pope would be Spanish, French and Latin. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan is under consideration for the papacy and is thought to have one of the highest profiles in the U.S. church, but he lacks the language skills needed in the position. The role of the U.S. in the world today is what weighs most heavily against an American pope. According to foxnews.com, the Vatican navigates complex diplomatic relations within the Muslim world, in China over the state-backed church, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and                                beyond that. Some might think  that an American pope would place the interests of the United States over Catholics. There is still a chance for Dolan and other cardinals in the U.S., but persuading the Europeans that an American is best for the job may be...

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American church falls to idols of the world

With statements like, “America was founded on Christian principles” or “We are a shining city on a hill,” some politicians and pastors seem to believe that God was one of the original signers of the Constitution. The majority of Americans believe that America was founded as a Christian nation—according to a survey by the First Amendment Center, 65 percent of the population believe this. Many pastors preach about how America is in decline because it has turned from the Christian heritage once valued by the people. Republican politicians often run with promises to steer America back toward God. In 2003, a select group of a few hundred families looked at America and did not like what they saw and did something about it. They created Christian Exodus, whose core belief is that America has left its Christian roots and become a land of moral decay. The group believes the solution is for Christians to break away from the land of the free and home of the decayed. An excerpt from the organization’s website explains how the initial goal was to move thousands of Christian constitutionalists to South Carolina to accelerate the return to self-government based upon Christian principles at the local and state level. The project continues to this day, with the ultimate goal of forming an independent Christian nation that will survive after the decline and fall of the financially and morally bankrupt American empire. The average person most likely considers the idea of South Carolina breaking off and forming an independent Christian nation absurd, but the sentiment that America is shedding its Christian values and becoming a land of decadence is common. Facing the depravity of man is something every Christian experiences. Expecting society to be anything but sinful is naïve, and believing that past society was less sinful is foolish. The belief that America was once a shining land of saints is polluting the church. Many Christians idolize the supposed traditional American values of the past. The only traditional values a Christian should turn to are those preached by Jesus and practiced by the early church (see the first five books of the New Testament). The truth is most of the founders of our nation, those who drafted the Constitution and held public office, were not professing evangelical Christians. Many of them were deists and quite secular in nature. The notion that America was founded to espouse Christian values is folly. Biblical concepts and themes can be found in the Constitution, but the same can be said for almost all Western literature and law. Our Constitution begins “We the People,” and the name God is mentioned...

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The legacy and chaos left behind
Mar14

The legacy and chaos left behind

After a long battle with cancer, a controversial political figure died last week— Venezuela’s president of 14 years, Hugo Chavez. In the wake of the country’s loss, international debate over his legacy has begun to stir. When his usually frequent and long-winded televised speeches, which the nation’s channels were forced to air, became less frequent, the population knew something was wrong. Who was this man, what were his beliefs, and how did those beliefs impact his nation and the world politically? Chavez was born in a humble household to two lower-middle class teachers. As a child, he dreamed of professionally playing America’s pastime, baseball. Ironically, he would grow up to become one of the world’s most anti-American leaders. Chavez was educated at the Military Academy of Venezuela in Caracas. As he attained higher ranks, he gained significant influence when he became a captain and instructor at the institution. Early on, some of his colleagues became suspicious of his agenda when he began espousing Marxist ideas. Perhaps more troubling was his close friendship with the Castro family of communist-governed Cuba. Some contend that Chavez worked wonders in Venezuela, while others have a different viewpoint. Democratic Senator Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts praised the socialist leader for his economic policies and aid to the poor in an interview with the Associated Press. He said, “Some of the wealthiest people on our planet have more money than they can ever reasonably expect to spend.” What’s concerning is that an American would have such respect for a leader who supported the idea of wealth distribution and would imply that rich people should feel guilty because they cannot spend all of the money that they have. In addition, how can Kennedy praise Chavez’s work with the Venezuelan economy or his supposed care for the poor? Take a look at the facts. During Chavez’s presidency, the country has seen record highs in inflation and steady currency devaluation. Both factors affect the poor. One of the only things adding a sense of stability to the economy is the massive oil industry that rivals the Middle East’s. Chavez made his hatred for America and its leadership loud for all to hear. In an address to the United Nations, he said of the former president, “Mr. Bush, you are a donkey.” In addition to his dislike for the U.S., he displayed what most would interpret as paranoia of American assassination attempts. In an 2009 CNN interview with Larry King, he explained how he “saw” his assassins. The question is what the Chavez legacy will mean through this...

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Breakfast at Obama’s
Mar06

Breakfast at Obama’s

“With his mouth the Godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escapes.” These words from Proverbs 11:9 opened an eyebrow-raising speech given by Dr. Benjamin Carson at Washington’s annual Prayer Breakfast. Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, offered some controversial remarks that have Obama supporters fuming. Although he took a firm stance against a liberal agenda, if those who were so offended would take a moment to step back and digest what he said, they just might realize it made sense. This is what Carson, a successful medical professional and student of history and politics suggests to remedy America’s troubled health care system. “Here’s my solution. When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account, to which money can be contributed, pre-tax from the time you are born, to the time you die,” he said. Carson grew up in extreme poverty, and through the motivation of his strong-willed mother accomplished what many middle- and upper-class Americans have not. Because of his personal experience, he is passionate about the education of the underprivileged and pointed out problems with what he called a “dumbed down” educational system. He pointed to a time in American history when other nations were baffled by a young, fledgling country’s success. “See, anybody who had finished the second grade was completely literate. He could find a mountain man on the outskirts of society who could read the newspaper and have a political discussion, could tell him how the government worked,” Carson said, paraphrasing the discoveries of Alexis de Toqueville, a European analyst sent in 1831 to study the U.S. success. What further angered the liberals in attendance at the Prayer Breakfast were his words of caution concerning America’s future. He struck a nerve when he began giving historical examples of what can happen to a government when it foregoes financial common sense and  moral decency. Referring to ancient Rome and the irresponsibility that caused the empire’s fall, he said, “They destroyed themselves from within. Moral decay, fiscal irresponsibility. They destroyed themselves. If you don’t think that can happen to America, you get out your books, and you start reading. But, you know, we can fix it.” Carson also confronted the growing problem of political correctness which has become so prevalent in recent years. He believes people have become so easily offended and afraid to upset others that no one can speak freely or truthfully anymore. “And people walk away with their feelings on their shoulders, waiting for you to say something. Ah, did you hear...

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