Michael's Reviews > The Secret Power Within

The Secret Power Within by Chuck Norris
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's review
Mar 06, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: 1990s, the-martial-way

This isn't a book review, although I have read the book. This is more of a political tirade. Continue at your own risk.

A friend recently sent me a link to one of Chuck Norris's articles, "What if Mother Mary Had Obamacare?", an article just as inane as its title. It might surprise many of you to learn this, but I was a pretty big Chuck Norris fan before discovering this side of him (solely based on his skills as a martial artist and his place in martial arts history, not AT ALL based on his acting). So, this was a bit more aggravating for me than the time when I discovered Orson Scott Card was a far-right wackaloon . . . I didn't have much of an investment with him. (And I don't think everyone on the right is a wackaloon. Just the wackaloons among them.)

I'm disappointed in Chuck.

Anyway, I read a few articles, ending with the one that pissed me off the most, http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=120227, and noticed a little button at the bottom that said "Email Chuck Norris."

I just couldn't resist. Part of it was wanting to let him know how shameful what he's doing is. Part of it was hoping to make him see a little bit more reason in his thinking. And part of it . . . well, part of it was just me thinking it would be really cool to throw down the intellectual gauntlet with Chuck Norris, yet still be hidden well enough that he can't just roundhouse kick me.

Anyway. Here's the email I sent in response to his article, for any of you curious enough to keep reading.

Chuck Norris,

I remember reading an autobiographical book you wrote some years ago---The Secret Power Within---wherein you wrote about a time when a young man approached you, angry and wanting to fight. You wrote about how all it took to dispel his anger was to sit down and talk with him and treat him with respect---and, by showing him respect, you earned his.

I'm disappointed because it doesn't look like you afford people the same level of respect in politics.

In one of your most recent columns, you refer to an editor at the New York Times writing, "The Founding Fathers were paranoid hypocrites and ungrateful malcontents," and then use that as an example of the 'liberal' media's attitude toward the constitution. However, you leave out the fact that this quote was part of a book review, and was clearly the editor's summary of another author's belief. This lack of honesty in your presentation of the facts shows a lack of respect for your readers and for the editor who wrote that book review.

But what I'm most concerned about is your column about how President Obama's Christmas address didn't express enough Christian fervor. You then go on to make unfounded assumptions that the founding fathers intended us to be a Christian nation, and that religion is necessary for ethics. Out of respect for you, I'll assume you really believe both of these assumptions. I'm going to tell you why, in both cases, you're wrong.

Concerning our founding fathers, you give quotes from John Adams, George Washington, and Benjamin Rush where they indicate morality and religion are important to the sound running of government. Did you notice that not one of them said "Christian religion?" I believe this to be intentional. While we're quoting, we can look at a quote by Thomas Jefferson---also one of the founding fathers, and later a president. "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." This was in a letter to Baron von Humboldt, 1813.

Since you quoted John Adams, let me offer up something else he said, this time in a letter to John Taylor (where he wouldn't need to cater to his audience quite as much): "The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes."

But, while I could quote the founding fathers to make my point, let me quote an actual U.S. treaty, the 1796 treaty with Tripoli, written while Washington was in office and then signed by Adams: ". . . the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." Pretty cut and dry, isn't it?

Feel free to learn more about any of these if you don't believe me. In context, their meaning doesn't change.

Secondly, I take issue with what you said about religion being necessary for ethics. I am an Atheist and have never been a Christian. I was not raised in a Christian household. Yet my parents taught me the difference between right and wrong, and everything I needed to know in order to live an ethical life. I'm no less patriotic than you; I say the national anthem and believe in freedom and pay my taxes and donate to charities. I don't need a religion of any kind to do the right thing. There's a reason all societies agree that stealing, rape and murder are bad things: because they are. Not because one religious book says they are.

I think that, if you really analyze your own views, you'll find YOU don't use the Bible for many of your moral beliefs. Do you think slavery is a sin, even though the Bible indicates otherwise? Why? And don't you agree that murder is worse than working on the sabbath? Why?

Because we understand suffering, and because we can empathize with others, most of us are moral. It has nothing to do with religion. Some of your beliefs about right and wrong are based on ideas from the Bible, but not all of them.

That said, it sounds as if you see this country as a "Christian" nation, and I wonder what you think a Christian nation would look like. When I think of countries where religion holds more sway over government than secular law, I think of Iraq, Iran, and the Middle East in general. I think it's intensely anti-American for you to think your religion has a special importance in a country where religious freedom is protected by the first amendment. That freedom is protected just as much for me, an Atheist, as it is for you.

I hope that you have the opportunity to read this message. If I've misunderstood your argument, or if you believe I'm wrong and have reasons why, I'd be happy to hear back from you and debate these important issues. I honestly believe that our country will continue becoming more and more divided along political party lines unless we are willing to talk to those we don't agree with, and resist the urge to dismiss the other side as idiots, socialists, fascists, or anything else, other than Americans with different views from ours. Thanks for your time.


Of course, after sending the email, I got an automatic message saying Chuck was out of the office and didn't receive my email. I should've guessed he'd be unreceptive.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Jacob (last edited Mar 07, 2010 12:06PM) (new)

Jacob He's probably standing outside your house right now. Waiting. Charging up that roundhouse.

Also: that link isn't working. Considering the reaction it got from you, that might be a good thing, eh?

Michael Dave, I didn't mean to delete your comment on here. It was accidental. I am technologically handicapped.

The correct address for the article is http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=1... . . . my failed link is yet further proof of my handicap.

message 3: by Jacob (last edited Mar 08, 2010 08:35PM) (new)

Jacob Thanks for that. The banner ad on the top of the page reads: "First They ABORTED The BABIES...NOW They Are COMING For The OLD. IMPEACH OBAMA!" Oh, WorldNutDaily, how you amuse me.

And having read Chuck's multiple-cringe-inducing article, I have to congratulate you on your (excellent, well-thought-out) letter. It would be great if Chuck actually got to see it, but I imagine it got lost in the pile of mail from adoring fans.

Michael I think part of what got under my skin so much about Chuck's articles is that its almost like he thinks this IS a scholarly effort. He quotes sources. He takes them completely out of context, but most of the time you don't get THIS much supporting evidence for crackpot theories.

message 5: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal You should've mentioned how that pagan Bruce Lee kicked his ass.

message 6: by Eh?Eh! (last edited Nov 10, 2010 01:38PM) (new)

Eh?Eh! Hahahaa! Michael is cool!

And it's true, that thing about Bruce Lee.

Michael You should've mentioned how that pagan Bruce Lee kicked his ass.

I should've mentioned that. I wonder whether he feels Bruce Lee's American birth was valid...Bruce's parents were both foreigners, even though Bruce was technically born on American soil. Sounds like an anchor baby to me.

message 8: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal Show me the birth certificate!

message 9: by Ryan (new)

Ryan "In context, their meaning doesn't change."

If words could be roundhouse kicks...

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