Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ben Stein talks about Harding

Here is a cool article that came from Harding.
Ben Stein spoke a little while ago and this is a re-cap. I don't know that I would have gone to see Ben Stein if I were a HU student, but this article sounds like it was a great night. AND, although I couldn't wait to get out of Searcy (but LOVED and cherished my friends and time at HU) apparently Ben Stein loves it. Next time I'm at Sonic on Race St I am SO looking in every car.

Here's the article:
Ben Stein speaks to a standing room only crowd

Ben Stein was outstanding as the American Studies Institute Distinguished Speaker on Feb. 10. Kudos go to Dr. Jim Carr, Dr. Bob Reely, the ASI board and staff for choosing him.

When I met him before the lecture at the “grip and grin” photo opportunity, his demeanor was remarkably humble and personable. Later I learned that he was not feeling well and wasn’t sure if he would be able to speak. With a little gravel in his voice, he took the stage and immediately connected with the audience stating that he felt like he was home. “Never in the history of the American Studies program will you have a speaker who has been to Searcy more times than I have.” He explained that his wife is from Prescott, Ark., and his in-laws retired at Eden Isle near Heber Springs, Ark. His favorite place to eat in Searcy is Sonic on Race St., and he has been there numerous times. Can you imagine driving to the Sonic to get a burger and seeing Ben Stein in the next vehicle?

Stein talked briefly about his movie, “Expelled,” and had many stories that resonated with the standing room only audience. His father, Herbert Stein, worked with President Nixon. When Nixon was asked to go to the groundbreaking ceremony for the Malibu campus at Pepperdine University, he was unable to attend and sent the senior Stein. Ben Stein also worked for Nixon and taught at Pepperdine during the ’80s.

As he looked at the crowd, he said this verse kept coming to him - Matt. 5:13. “You are the salt of the earth, and White County looks very salty tonight.” He made comparisons about living in Beverly Hills and wondering where all the sane people were. He smiled with a twinkle in his eye and said he was going to call his wife because he had found them (the sane people) in the Benson Auditorium at Harding University in Searcy, Ark.

He and his wife have been married for 44 years. He described his first meeting with his future father-in-law, who was a decorated career Army man. In the summer of 1966, as a wise guy, long haired hippy, he asked his girlfriend’s father, “Why are you in the Army? Do you like war?”
The soft-spoken man who became his father-in-law responded, “We who are in the Army hate war, but we do what we have to do so you and my daughter won’t have to.”

Stein said people often ask him what it is like to live in Beverly Hills surrounded by the stars. He said the real stars are the men and women American soldiers. He spoke more about his father-in-law, Col. Dale Denman Jr., as a representative of millions of American men and women who have gone off to fight for freedom and fought against cruel, tenacious enemies. “They often lost their lives in so doing. They prevailed, and I get to live in spectacular freedom, glorious, bright freedom, every day because men like Col. Denman were as brave as they were.”
“I have relatives and friends who get out of bed every morning and do an hour of exercise to keep them fit. I don't do that. My exercise is that I get out of bed and hit my knees and thank God for waking up in America, where I live in peace and freedom, no Gestapo chasing me, no KGB putting me in the Gulag, no Hamas blowing me up. That exercise does not keep me thin, most assuredly. But it does set me up for my day by putting me into an attitude of gratitude for the men and women who wore the uniform and still wear the uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere.”
His take on the financial crisis that we are currently experiencing was interesting. He suggested the answer is finding people who will lead us back to a godly America where people respect each other as children of God. “If you think of people as dots or specks or mud on your shoe in the universe, then it doesn’t matter if you take advantage of them for your own profit or greed. The first step in the solution is to recognize that we are in a moral crisis. The heart of this crisis is that people have rights, and we are sparks of the Divine and children of God. There has to be a restoration of God in public life. We have tried to live without God, and it is not working. The dominant culture has stopped believing that there are any consequences for their actions, so they live their lives by selfishly thinking only about themselves while stealing from charities and putting people in homes they could not afford. If we keep going down this road, what makes us think that we are immuned from disaster?”
He spoke more about the sacrifices of the men and women who have given their lives for our country and the soldiers who are trying to put their lives back together at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
He believes that we should ask this question, “What can I do for my fellow man, created in God’s image? If America decided to help instead of taking advantage of others like the dots, then we will be on the road to recovery.” As he was closing, he said when he was in high school he attended the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy on a cold day in January 1961. He thinks of his words often and believes the formula to returning sanity in our country is found in these words from President Kennedy, “We all ask God to bless this great country, and we all ask God do His best for this great country and to go to work for this great country, but here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”
The ASI staff described him as “very grateful, complimentary and low maintenance.” He left a message for them expressing his gratitude and said that Harding is one of the best universities that he has visited. A few days later, Judy Cuellar, financial aid counselor and current Harding student, received a call from her parents in Kerrville, Texas. “They asked me if I knew who Ben Stein was. I laughed and said ‘yes’ and that he was here recently. They said they just saw him on Fox News and he said something like this...”

You can't live on $250,000 in California or New York. About
the only place you can live on $250,000 a year in this country is
Searcy, Ark. Searcy, Ark., is my favorite place.

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