LAME (no pun intended - but ha! think of the implications of the potential symbolism! HA)
Now, of course We are going to be flamed by some angry person for this complaint - but so be it. It's not that We don't appreciate the elderly formerly-homeless man's sentiment in carving walking sticks with the 10 Commandments on them. By all means, this is a fine American tale of a man in poverty making more of his life...but Mr. Bush on the other hand...maybe if you were the President of Zimbabwe we might think it a lovely gift....
The AP report is below for any curious readers, but let Us draw out this fine excerpt:
The Ten Commandments?" asked the pope.
"The Ten Commandments, yes, sir," the president responded.
B16: Ze Ten Commandments?
Bush: Tean Co'mandments, yeas sir,
B16 (to himself): Ach! Protestantz. Zhey'ave carved zee wron ones!
WELL don't you tell Us that it's not fair to assume Bush gave the Pope a stick with the Protestant set of the Commandments on it!
He probably doesn't even know there's a difference.
Come on America.
(6/11/07 - DALLAS, TX) - Under the light of a single bulb of a floor lamp, Roosevelt Wilkerson carves the Ten Commandments onto the smooth surface of a wooden walking stick with a tool resembling a screwdriver. He paints the letters red, black or green, but leaves the stick a natural off-white color.
The walking sticks made by the 62-year-old ninth-grade dropout are owned by famous clients: former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, Gov. Rick Perry, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and now Pope Benedict XVI.
President Bush gave the pope a Moses walking stick engraved with the Ten Commandments -- one of Wilkerson's creations -- during a visit Saturday to the Vatican. The president described the stick as "a piece of art by a former homeless man from Texas ... Dallas." "The Ten Commandments?" asked the pope.
"The Ten Commandments, yes, sir," the president responded. Wilkerson caught a television news report on the president's visit but didn't hear the exchange about his stick.
"This is the biggest step I've made in my life," said Wilkerson, who attends St. Paul United Methodist Church in Dallas. "God does things in mysterious ways."
Until a few years ago, Wilkerson was homeless. Now, his income comes from the sale of his sticks. Wilkerson's friend, Susan Nowlin, ships the 5-foot-long sticks to people around the country. Each sells for $75, although Nowlin said Saturday it may be time to raise the price.
She attended Southern Methodist University with Laura Bush and told Wilkerson a few weeks ago the U.S. State Department had called and said President Bush wanted to give the pope one of his sticks.
"He was very calm about it," Nowlin said. "He's very calm about everything."
President Bush received his first stick from Wilkerson a decade ago when he was Texas governor. After Bush became president, Nowlin presented him with a second one.
Wilkerson said he has carved his entire life. About 15 years ago, the Dallas native began carving the Ten Commandments on ash and cedar walking sticks. "God gave me this gift," Wilkerson said. "He put the gift in my hand."
He gathers wood for the sticks from the Trinity River banks in southern Dallas. Then Wilkerson shears off the bark with a paring knife and sands the wood to a sleek finish.
At his one-room apartment above an East Dallas laundry, Wilkerson inscribes the first five Commandments lengthwise around the top of the stick. The second five are carved on the bottom half.
"I like to do it for people," he said. "It's something special." (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)