I believe in separation of church and bank.
That’s why I’m not, as the Rev. Franklin Graham suggests, moving my bank business from Wells Fargo because the bank ran an ad recently featuring a lesbian couple learning sign language to communicate with their adopted daughter.
Wells Fargo has its own reason for breaking barriers by featuring gays in an ad.
Perhaps bank officials thought the ad might attract new customers. And it might.
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Or officials might have felt they wanted to present an image of inclusiveness that says, “We’re in the banking business and would love to have you aboard, no matter if you’re black, white, blue-eyed, bowlegged, Baptist, Catholic, prefer Eastern N.C. barbecue to Western N.C. barbecue or vote Democrat or Republican.”
I bank at Wells Fargo because I deposited my first paycheck there way back when it was Wachovia. Each payday, I would try to leave at least $10 of my $40 weekly salary from the Burlington Times News at the nearby bank.
Yes, I was apprehensive when Wells Fargo took over Wachovia. And I’ll admit I don’t like the size of their checks. It’s not easy to write on the “Pay to the Order Of” line “N.C. Birdwatchers Association of North Carolina” or some other long-named recipient.
The folks at my Crabtree Valley branch are like members of my own family. I would never leave them because of a business ad that offended a preacher. They are unfailingly kind, efficient and patient. Not only to me but to everyone, including, obviously, to gays.
Methinks the Reverend Graham, in this case, might be treading the fine line between preaching the gospel and meddling in the natural course of commerce.
The common cup
In a recent People’s Pharmacy column, Joe and Terry Graedon fielded a query from a reader concerned because her pastor, in dispensing communion, didn’t wear gloves while passing the communion wafers.
She feared that her husband, a kidney transplant recipient, might catch germs because of his low immune system. She wondered if she should just skip communion.
I can identify with her concern, up to a point.
In the rural church of my youth, members sipped from the common cup as Jesus and his disciples did.
For me, as a fresh recruit in our foothills Baptist Church, it took a long leap of faith to sip from the common cup after heavily bearded, unkempt, tobacco-chewing old Mr . Spicer had strained the communion grape juice through his heavy mustache before passing the vessel on down the pew.
All I could do was hope that the Lord, in His omnipresent mercy, would protect me from any contagious afflictions since we were complying with His biblical example.
Several of you passed along remembered gems from your high school or college speakers.
Winnie Morgan of Chapel Hill was not at all impressed with her high school graduation speaker, the then superintendent of the Martin County Schools, who read the classic children’s story, “The Little Engine That Could.”
“I was incensed that he would insult our intelligence that way,” she wrote. “But his presentation has always stuck with me, so it worked.”
Bob Chapman, also of Chapel Hill, remembers only one comment from the speaker at his high school graduation in Groton, Conn.: “We are graduating people who may be successful later in life and some who will be less so. But we can take pride in the fact that we taught them all how to diagram a sentence!”
And reader James Bradley of Durham calls my attention to the recent graduation speech by Lou Holtz, former well-loved football coach at N.C. State University, who addressed the graduates at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.
Coach Holtz stressed that there are only four things a person needs in life.
“They need something to do, someone to love, someone to believe in (Jesus Christ), and something to hope for.”
The speaker at Doreen Weaton’s graduation began by stating he was going to talk about three things.
“We were all relieved when he seemed to be finally winding up,” she remembers. “Then he said, ‘… and now, the second thing.’ And even the college president’s mouth dropped open.”