From: <CEvans1950@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 07:46:40 EDT


The Epsicopals are, for the most part, one of the saner more civilized Christian sects but one has to wonder if the priest gave any thought to the fact that his client hogged up a bed in the detox center that might have been needed for someone who was truly writhing in agony in the grips of withdrawal or overdose.


Priest Wins Think-Off .c The Associated Press

NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. (AP) - An Episcopal priest who said it's OK sometimes to lie won this year's Great American Think-Off, which asked whether honesty is always the best policy.

The Rev. Clark Berge was declared the winner by the audience at the annual competition on Saturday. The runner-up - who defended always telling the truth - was 19-year-old Mac Schneider of Fargo, N.D., who will be a student this fall at the University of North Dakota.

"There are certain circumstances that require moral courage to do the right thing, such as protecting a Jewish person in Nazi Germany," said the 40-year-old clergyman from Mount Sinai, N.Y.

"My personal example was helping getting a man into a drug detox center. They said they had no beds unless he was high. I gave him a sip of beer and presented him as drunk and they took him right away."

The incident, involving a man withdrawing from heroin, happened about 10 years ago in Tacoma, Wash., said Berge, adding that he doesn't take lying lightly.

"I'm totally opposed to lying in all circumstances except when compassion is absolutely necessary," Berge said. "If you can prevent a person from serious medical or physical harm or save somebody's life, these are situations where it's permissible to lie."

Berge, Schneider and two other finalists eliminated earlier Saturday received $500 apiece. They were chosen from 820 people from 45 states who submitted essays to be considered for the contest, which began in 1993 to promote the idea that philosophical thinking is not exclusively the purview of academics.

Previous topics at the event sponsored by the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in this tiny north-central Minnesota town have included the death penalty, the existence of God, and the value of money vs. morality in society.

AP-NY-06-21-98 1250EDT


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