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The Narrow Mind

I believe it can be scientifically demonstrated that there is a direct relationship between how easily one gets offended and the narrowness of their mind.

 

Yes, this statement is supposed to be a joke. But what makes us offended? It is when we ascribe our own beliefs about someone’s motivation to their speech or their conduct. We assume we know more about the intent of someone than they do themselves. We apply our own prejudices, biases and understanding about life into someone’s speech, rather than opening our mind, and stepping back and really asking ourselves, “is this person really the person I think they are?” Sometimes they are, often they aren’t, but too far frequently we are so quick to react. Just because we ourselves may assign certain judgments to a situation, doesn’t mean everybody else thinks the same way. This is something we have to seriously consider before jumping to conclusions. It takes an open mind to do this. You can’t do this when you are offended.

 

An example is the Confederate flag. For some people, yes, it is a symbol of racism and slavery. But there are other people who simply do not share that association. To them, it represents Southern pride, community, what have you, completely devoid of anything having to do with racism. It is easy to immediately brand them as having a racist motivation for flying the flag, because that’s OUR particular association. It takes patience and a really open mind to dig deep behind the true reasons why people do things.

 

Did you find yourself suddenly bristling at my mentioning of the Confederate flag just now? Question is, why? I’m not defending the flag. I’m simply trying to make the salient point that too often we try and force our own associations into somebody else’s motivations. For some, the Confederate flag is the symbol of American racism, that’s all it can ever be. Since that’s how they view the flag, everybody must as well, therefore it makes sense that by extension, those people would be racist. And now we’re offended. For the Confederate flag flyers, they get angry that those accusing them of all sorts of horrible things cannot understand the more delicate nuances behind what the flag means, and therefore, they get offended back. They refuse to understand the sensitivity that others may have to the flag, and instead vow to fly it stronger and higher out of spite. In the end, walls are erected, and the divide grows.

 

The Confederate flag is a perfect example of what I’m talking about, but there are so many other examples out there. Too many times the past few months, I’ve seen people get outraged over articles that reinterpret what a certain political figure has said, out of context, in order to portray that individual in a predetermined construct. Talk about Fake News, they’re all FAKE, right and left! Go to the source and consider the context, not only of the entire speech, but of that person’s collective works and speech as a whole. And do so with an open mind. Respond, don’t react. Walk away. Seek truth. If we do, I think we will be amazed at what we become.

A Word to the Right Wingers

This message is directed to all of my conservative, right-wing, Christian friends, especially if you voted for Trump. If you are at all even remotely observant, you would have discovered the absolute backlash against you and what you stand for all over Facebook today. All kinds of horrible and vile things are being said about who you are and about your motivations, that you know is completely untrue. Unfortunately these straw men portrayals have been perpetuated by a political party and media wishing to use these attacks as a political tool and an effective campaign strategy. This has been going on for generations, so much so, that it has become a truth to so many people.

You are told that you are the most despicable type of evil that exists, and that you must obviously be motivated by hatred, racism, sexism, you name it. You know that none of these things about you are true. You know your heart and your motivations. You know that there is nothing more that you long for than to end this bitter division and to come together as one nation. But you’ve also discovered, like me, that trying to convince people of your true nature, through words, is pointless.

If you wish to stop this backlash against you, you have only one option–to prove them wrong through your actions. That is your challenge over the next four years. You have to live like Christ lived. You have to accept your victories with grace and reach out in love to all people. You need to make it very hard for their character assassinations against you to stick. As Saint Peter said, live in such a way that false accusations against you don’t make sense. And false accusations will come. They will always come. Conduct yourself in a manner that makes them look silly.

I’m officially going to take a stand for decency. Unfortunately, I don’t see a whole lot of it since the elections. And this saddens me greatly. Screw political parties and their leaders! If we allow them to divide us, we let the WIN! Relationships mean much more to me.


PS: A long time ago, I discovered very quickly that the people who where violently opposing my political stances were doing so based on a premise about what I stood for and my motivations that was completely flawed. I errantly believed that if I could simply reassure them with persuasive word that what they thought about my politics was incorrect that we could at least open up a conversation and find some common ground.
So I became a crusader. I used Facebook, this blog, and other social media outlets as a forum, looking forward to getting a conversation started. But boy was I so wrong. Over time, I discovered that this was not the case. People preferred to hang on to their misconceptions, despite my pleading, and I lost a lot of dear friends as a result of it. When I discovered it was a worthless effort, I withdrew, preferring simply to be an observer. If I’m going to be crucified for my beliefs, I’d rather it be for my love of Christ, not over stupid politics. Only rarely will I make an exception… and I feel that now is one of those times.

PPS: I’ve watched with alarm over the past 24 hours people justify all kinds of retributory acts, including violence, against anybody who voted for Trump and for the Trump presidency. Their excuse is that it’s totally okay if it’s done in the name of “protesting the great evil.” This made me beg the question, what if, just what if, you are wrong about your assumptions of Trump and his supporters? What if he has had a change of demeanor recently? What if it is possible for him to moderate toward the middle while in office? Would that be welcome news to you? Would that provide the proper relief you need to put your fears to bed? Are you willing to put at least a glimmer of a hope that he does the right thing?

Never Hillary trumps Never Trump

After much consternation, I have decided that I’m going to vote Donald Trump this election. Here is why.

There’s only going to be two outcomes from this election. Either Trump or Hillary is going to get elected. I’m sorry, but no third party will carry a single state, and even if they did, that’s incidental to the amount of electoral votes that person will need to take the election away from Donald or Hillary.

So my only choice is, who would be worse? If you truly believe that moral condition of both candidates is the same, then your point would be valid, it doesn’t matter who wins, the conclusion is the same, might as well write-in Alfred Newman.

I, however, do not believe that the final outcomes will be similar. I am mostly libertarian in my philosophy, my key issue being freedom and liberty. Who do I think will respect religious liberty more, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Well, that answer to me is pretty one-sided, Donald Trump, no comparison. Who do I think will work to protect the life of the unborn? Well we know Hillary Clinton has already said she supports abortion in the third trimester (a procedure that most of Europe has recently banned!) and whose primary donors includes Planned Parenthood. Again, the answer is pretty clear. Donald Trump, while in the past has been wishy-washy on the issue, at least has given lip service to the pro-life cause, and perhaps has made a genuine stance on the issue.

Pick any issue that matters in regards to liberty and freedom, and on all of them, Donald either is equal to Hillary, or he is fares better.

Are there some concerns about some of his stances? Yes, absolutely, especially when he proposes big government solutions to some of the issues we face. Are there some concerns about his character? Uh, yes, but character has nothing to do with policy. Some of the most charming presidents have had some of the worst policy ideas. Again, I’m a pragmatist. I recognize that we’re not electing a Messiah. We can’t get perfect in this world, so the most we can hope for is better and pray that whomever ascends to the position has a heart open enough to hear God’s prompting on their life and their leadership.

For those of you who can’t stomach a Trump presidency, this isn’t a knock on your position, you make wonderful points and raise reasonable concerns. For me, however, a Trump presidency doesn’t scare me. A Clinton one does. That’s the basis for my rational. Now I could be wrong, verdict is still in the air and the election is still a few months away. I’m not a Trumpster nor a Trump hater. I am persuadable and there’s still much that can be done to move my opinion one way or the other.


PS. I’m really fed up with the BS accusations about Trump and the Republicans being racist. If “racism” is the only reason why you won’t vote for Trump, then you are seriously deceived, and quite honestly, intellectually lazy. Since the Republicans have been falsely and bizarrely (bizarre as to how in the world is it allowed to stick without any evidence!?!) of racism, naturally, Trump must be racist by association. It’s intellectually lazy, because it’s become the go-to rhetoric to try and shut up opposition speech when you don’t know how else to combat it.
After his acceptance speech, I can’t tell you how many liberals and blog writers summed it up by saying it was the most racist thing they had ever heard. Which means, they didn’t listen to it, because if they did, there’s no way in the world a reasonable person would have come to that conclusion. Even if Trump is racist, that speech was the furthest from racist one can get! The whole night both Ivanca and Trump pandered to every single minority group, promising policies to help their group on a personal level, INCLUDING the LGBTQ community! The few shots of the crowd (were very quick, because it’s clear even the networks are trying to promote this racist meme) showed an extremely diverse group complete with Asians, Jews, Blacks, Hispanics and Whites. A large contingent of Hispanics were waving signs proclaiming “¡Hispanics para Trump!” Even with this video evidence, I still heard some claim that there were only whites in the crowd! Yeah, I get that that’s what you hope the truth is, but when reality proves otherwise, how can you mentally get around looking at a picture and then calling it what it isn’t?!
If you’re in the camp that’s trying to tell me that his acceptance speech was racist, then it’s obvious that you had mud in your ears, and truth and reality don’t matter to you, so it’s obvious I cannot reason with you.
If you want to PERSUADE me not to vote Trump, use real FACTS, not broad racist accusations.

Trump the Madness

For those who have known me long, you might have picked up on a few things. First, I am a libertarian leaning conservative. Second, I try not to get mired into any allegiances with individual people or politicians. I simply don’t have the stomach for it. And third, while I will frequently sit back and remain quiet, I am very quick to defend, rigorously, truth and freedom.

 

The latest hysteria over Donald Trump is what has me particularly troubled. Reading the blogs that I do, this feverish outrage is coming from both Republicans and Democrats. Look. Donald Trump is a lot of things. He’s insulting, unfiltered, narcissistic, crass, bullying. But he is also NOT a lot of things that have been unfairly attributed to him. Let’s not make him worse than he already is. The reason he is getting this reputation is that so many are WANTING to believe the false narrative put out about him by both the liberal media AND the Republican establishment. That’s what I’ve noticed about politics over the course of 30 some years. We are eager to villianize our opponents. It’s not enough that we have evidence that such politician has a zit on his forehead. Nope, we are going to immediately proclaim that he has leprosy, thereby justifying our poor treatment and quarantine of that individual.

 

Donald Trump has some undesirable traits. But let’s drop the hyperbole and stick with just the facts. Let’s not allow ourselves to get caught up in the mob mentality and be quick to hate. Let’s not assume attributes to an individual so that we can justify our hate. Yes, I’ve seen the YouTube clips. Yes, they are troubling. But they are a string of clips taken out of context to make Donald Trump appear to be somebody worse than he is. Guess what? I can find a string of YouTube clips of words spoken by Barack Obama himself that suggest that he’s the antichrist. Heck, I could probably slice and dice the words of Mr. Rogers, if I wanted, to make him sound like Stalin.

 

The point is, STOP! Take a deep breath. Before you start lashing out all of these hateful accusations against an individual, ask yourself if the means by which you are doing so is not hateful itself? The ironic thing is, I’ve seen several of my friends on Facebook repost a picture of Donald Trump painted naked (with a very small …), complaining about how Trump is so crude. Huh, what? Is not your posting just as crude? Are we to the point where the wrong we proclaim to hate we are allowed to exercise in response?

Are we to the point where the wrong we proclaim to hate we are allowed to exercise in response?

Take a deep evaluation. Where did your ideas about this person come from? Are they based on a personal knowledge of that individual, or have they been worked up by all of the far left or far right blogs and YouTube videos you’ve been watching? Here is what I know. Ten years ago, during the middle of the “Apprentice,” NOBODY would have suggested Donald Trump was any of the things they are now accusing him of being. He was clearly not racist on his TV show (ask contestant Amarosa). He was not bigoted. He was not Hitler. He was not Satan. He didn’t become those things until… he joined the presidential race as a Republican. Suddenly, Donald became all of those things.

 

People loved him back then. They envied his wealth, his influence. They watched his show. They loved the way he said “you’re fired.” And yet we were SOOO willing to forget all of this once the political mud slinging started. How do I know this?

 

I went to Donald Trump’s Facebook page. I wanted to see who among my friends liked it. I was shocked. Some of the most outspoken against Mr. Trump currently liked his page. Both from my liberal and Republican friends. No doubt they liked the page long before Donald entered the race and simply forgot they had done so. What changed? Did Donald Trump change? Or did you allow yourself to get caught up in the hype? (Quick, run to your Facebook and double check this isn’t you!)

 

Sean Hannity made the observation that Donald Trump is very polarizing. You either love him or hate him. There seems to be no middle ground. I’m trying to be that middle ground. I’m not a huge fan, but I don’t revile him either. The point of this blog is not Donald Trump, but the greater picture of the human condition. Let’s together avoid mob think and start searching and standing for truth.

Thoughts the morning after the Paris attacks

We are at war. By we, I mean anybody who loves freedom. We do not get to choose not to be in this war, it was waged against us. When someone picks a fight with you, you don’t get a choice not to be in the fight. There are two choices: Stand up and defend ourselves, or be destroyed. There is no other choice. These attacks demonstrate once again that there is a such thing as evil in this world, and that evil cannot be compromised with or appeased. You can give evil everything it demands, and it will still take more. You see, the only thing that will satiate the blood thirst of these people is absolute power and dominion and freedom loving folks stand in the way. There was no Western nation more friendly and accommodating to Islam, and still, look at what became of it.

Radical terroristic Islam is just like Nazism of the 1930s and 40s. It must be conquered in a similar manner. This cancerous thought must be destroyed. Our challenge today is that there is not a single figurehead like Hitler that we can focus our energies on. There is no single nation state we can turn our attention to. We must give young people tempted by this ideology a clear and obvious choice. First by destroying with swift resolve anywhere where this cancer resides, but then having the international community come back in to help rebuild the societies that are left behind. Teach the beauty of freedom and make the choice clear. Choose tyranny and you will be destroyed or choose freedom and you will thrive.

Submission

We were made in God’s image. That’s what is promised to us in Genesis. And yet, while we hold on to this, and we are encouraged by it, knowing that attributes like creativity and compassion are a part of that image, we look around at the depravity of the world and we wonder, is this a part of God’s image? What’s going on here?

In Isaiah (chapter 14), the Bible calls Satan the destroyer. The reason is that Satan has destroyed one aspect of the image of God that was initially in us that is no longer a part of our being. The result of this destruction is the reason for all of the hell we see in the world. What did Satan destroy? Submission.

Submission? That doesn’t sound like fun. That sounds all old school and Victorian like. Thus my point. Our natural inclination is to NOT submit. And while we may have periods of submission, sometimes even willful, perfect submission is not a part of our being and it is not a natural response. Without perfect submission, we cannot be right with God.

Submission has to be learned. If left to our own devices, we will spin into a mess of depravity and of selfish ambition. Look at any society or individual who has done so. Look at the biggest jerks of the world. What’s one thing they have in common? A refusal to submit. We glorify the rebel. Oh, what a free thinker! He bucks societal norms! Yes, I want to break the law, too!

Submission is how we stay bonded with God. It is through this bond that we can get the free flow of the Spirit, bringing to us the fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, among others. You break this bond and you break the connection. Submission is not something that should be dreaded, it is something that should be sought after and cherished!

Every healthy relationship is about submission. True love is submitting oneself to another. True love is saying my ambitions are secondary to your well-being. True love is sacrificial, eternal and most importantly, willful. You must choose true love. It’s not a feeling that is conjured in the moment. It is an active choice and duty.

Submission is the part of His Image that was destroyed during the fall. This means, then, that one part of God’s image is submission! Now you may be saying, wha-? God? Submissive? Who on earth is God submissive to? That’s not like the God I know. And it may not be the God you’ve been taught about, but look at Scripture more closely. God made us in His image and before the fall, this included submission. Now if we were made to be submissive to God, then who is God submissive to?

Himself. Now this may not make a lot of sense, but hang in there with me. God is submissive to Himself. Meaning, he cannot, will not, violate His own precepts. God is a God of order and of natural law. He establishes the universe and He submits Himself to His own laws. As the example of perfect submission, He cannot violate His own laws, His own nature. If He did, all of creation will be unraveled and we would be lost in our sin forever. That’s how vital it is that God remain submissive to Himself.

Because of this, as a part of God’s own submission to Himself, He cannot look upon sin. He cannot violate that aspect of Himself that has been established since before time began. So many people ask, well if God is real, why does He… The answer is He can’t. Doing so would violate His submission to Himself. He also will not violate man’s free will. This is another part of God’s nature that He is submissive to. God’s law instructs that true love is measured by free will.

Because God submits perfectly and completely to Himself, it is man’s free will and man’s sin which makes it so that man can no longer be in the presence of God. The Destroyer knew this. Like the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia, Satan knew of the old magic, that old magic being the inability of God to violate His submission to His own nature. But like Aslan, God knew of an even deeper magic. Death was the result of sin and only death would allow God to stay in submission to Himself and still be able to look upon the sinner. It was the spilt blood that would harmonize everything together.

This is the beautiful thing about what submission looks like. God gives us the perfect example. He found a way to remain perfectly submissive to Himself, while rescuing humanity. And just in case we weren’t clear, He sent His Son to earth, to live and demonstrate in our physical presence exactly what submission to God looks like. Christ, being a part of God Himself, remained in perfect submission to the triune God in every step that He took. God’s submission to Himself was demonstrated in the person of Christ, so that when God asks us for the same submission to Himself, we can know what it looks like. The Bible reports that Christ was so submissive, that He even submitted Himself to the cross, so that His death would become the atonement needed to restore what Satan had destroyed.

When you think about what it cost to restore our ability to be submissive to God once again, perhaps you won’t look at submission with such dread and aversion in the future. Satan is also the father of lies. Godly submission has never been a bad thing. It’s the Destroyer that has sought to convince us otherwise. God, in His perfection, submitted Himself to Himself. He created us to do the same, as a part of being in His Image. Satan destroyed this part of human nature. Christ restored it. To Him be the Glory!

Just So We’re Clear

As a conservative and as an economic libertarian, I (and my ilk) are often accused of being cold hearted, uncaring, and most importantly, uncharitable. And by the same people, they try and point to Christian charity as a validation for socialist or “shared wealth” policies. The claim Christian liberals sometimes make is that Jesus, himself, was a socialist, as he commanded the rich upper class of his day to sell all of their possessions and to give to the poor. “If you believe in capitalism,” I heard one radio caller make the claim, “then you are not a true Christian.”

So to be clear and to make sure there is no confusion, I will lay it out right here, on record, on this blog that all five of you lovely fans read: I absolutely believe in sharing the wealth. One hundred percent. Yep. So there you have it.

Here’s the distinction. I believe God (Jesus) commanded us to give and take care of the poor and the lesser among us on an individual basis. The issue is about the heart. I believe each individual is responsible for the gifts that God has given them and each person should, in the conviction of their own heart, give a portion of that away to charity. (2 Cor. 9:6-8) At the end of the day (or life period) we each will stand account for what we did with the worldly possessions that we cannot take with us anyway. If an individual chooses to hoard what has been given to them, that is their unfortunate prerogative. They are the ones who will have to answer for this, individually.

As a society, absolutely, sure, we should do what we can to encourage charity. However, I am deeply opposed to forcing it through redistribution taxation and policies. And indeed, if you look at Jesus’s life, he never forced anybody to give. He commanded the rich man, “sell all of your possessions, give to the poor, and FOLLOW ME.” When the rich man did not, Jesus did not chase after him. He let the rich man keep what he had. Jesus also did not say, “I tell you the truth, this is why we need a Marxist society.” In fact, in that passage, we tend to emphasize the wrong part. We look at the ‘give to the poor’ part and completely gloss over the ‘follow Me’ part. It wasn’t as much about giving to the poor as it was about following Christ.

The problems with federalizing charity are multiple. First, there is no conscious heart effort when our taxes are taken out of our paycheck. We don’t think about it, it’s automatic, and for some under a certain income bracket, they don’t even pay income taxes. There is nothing willful or intention about “giving” through our taxes. True giving often leads us to ponder about the recipients, which may, in turn, inspire us to further action, such as volunteering our time. This does not happen when we do not think about our giving.

The second problem is that we cannot control where our money is going. Our tax “charity” often ends up supporting programs that may not align with our moral convictions. Which brings me to the most critical downfall of federalized charity, and that is that in reality, the idea that taxing the rich is somehow “charity” is an illusion. Those that assign themselves as the “redistributors” find themselves very rich. The only transferring that occurs is from the pockets of the business owners to the bureaucratic fat cats. Very little of that tax dollar ends up in the hands of those who really need it. By comparison, the average rate of return for every dollar given to a private charity is 85%! The Bible never makes any claim to support higher governmental taxes, but it does frequently encourage us to be good stewards of our income. When given the choice between 1% or 85% of my charitable dollar going to the poor, any reasonable person would have to conclude that the latter would be the wiser, and by consequence, more Christian thing to do.

If you say, “I support higher taxes on the rich, therefore, that makes me more charitable,” you are deceiving yourself. Do the rich have more than their fair share? In some cases, yes. Should the rich be more charitable? Most definitely. But Christianity is all about individual conviction. Not once do I see in Scriptures, “look to your rich neighbor and see what you can take from him to give to the poor.” In fact, what I do see is that the societies with the strongest free market policies have the highest charitable giving rates, by far. You don’t hear of the massive giving efforts by the people of North Korea. And while North Korea and China are premised on redistributionist Marxism, during global disasters, you never see them pour forth with aid.

Just so we are clear, I will say it again: I support socialism (what?!)

Socialism, or redistributionism, or whatever you want to call it, works best when it is not forced. If people want to gather together into small communes of “shared prosperity” on the local level, more power to them. However, even in small microcosms, these shared communities have proven to be disastrous. Ever heard of Jonestown? Jamestown? What about Acts 5?

Belief in a Creator God who holds us responsible for our hearts and actions is what brings about charity. And it is this kind of belief that allows us to operate with free markets. I love free markets, because I love freedom. The foundation of any free society starts with their free markets. Take away free markets, and all other freedoms fall away. I also love charity. I believe charity is a byproduct of free markets, which are the result of a moral nation.

About Hobby Lobby

Apparently FB has exploded today, so I felt compelled to respond. Since I need to maintain a reputation on social media, I think I’ll use my blog as a forum to respond. In reality, it’s a bit dangerous to interject, for many of the voices out there are sounding like fools and to respond to a fool, one becomes one himself. It’s a risk I’m willing to take, I guess.

Several are now making the argument that if Hobby Lobby can force their religion on their employees (again, not happening, a complete straw man) then what next, forcing a Jehovah Witness to drink blood? This doesn’t even make sense. And actually that argument works in favor of Hobby Lobby, the failure to see so is almost comical. What next? How about forcing Christians to pay for abortion pills? Isn’t that what is at stake here?

Another argument is that Hobby Lobby won the right to deny women health care. Wow. Really? Do you really believe that’s what happened, or you just posting this complete lie to trump up your cause? Anybody working at HL can get whatever treatment they want. I have not heard of a case where the CEO of HL follows his employees to Walgreens to make sure she doesn’t acquire certain pills. All this is about is the money. The issue is whether HL should be forced to pay for it. They are not denying anybody anything. Remember, the employees work FOR HL, not the other way around. A person works at a job in an agreement to do labor in exchange for compensation and benefits, but even the benefits should be determined by the company, should it not? It is the owners who make the decisions that either make or break the business. They need the employee to help make it happen. By agreeing to help HL run its stores, does that suddenly give the employee the right to demand that their employer suddenly pay for a bunch of controversial birth control pills? By forcing HL to pay for the controversial pills is it not that the employee, via the government, is forcing ITS worldview (religion) on HL? If we are talking about Constitution liberties, should not HL be afforded theirs?

In the end, those who are screaming foul at the Supreme Court decision, when you break it down to its simplest point, are upset that the government does not have the right to tell a company what it should pay its employees.

I find it rather curious how outraged some are over the idea that Hobby Lobby won protection against being forced to pay for something that violates their religion. Somehow, this is a grand crime against humanity, meanwhile real hate crime is being perpetrated all over the Middle East… teenagers in Israel are being murdered in cold blood for being Jewish, Sudanese woman sentenced to death for marrying a Christian, Iraq being taken over by force, girls being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery in Nigeria. Shouldn’t we be collectively focusing our venom on these real human violations?

 

Defending the First Amendment

The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments about whether or not Hobby Lobby should be forced to pay for their employees’ contraceptives and abortions, despite religious objections, as a part of Obamacare. Four justices have already voiced that they will side with the government. I find this to be mind bogglingly shocking. These people were put there to DEFEND the Constitution, with the very first Bill of Rights being to protect religious freedom. It should be a slam dunk case, with Hobby Lobby winning easily. That fact that FOUR of the justices think otherwise is frightening. What on earth is their justification?

Their argument is that Hobby Lobby is a corporation and that the First Amendment does not apply to corporations. Say what!? First off, that makes zero sense. Corporations are nothing more than collections of people and it is my understanding that the First Amendment applies to ALL people. Corporations are owned by people, staffed by people, managed by people. Corporations are people and in that respect they are no different than government. They reflect the values and integrity of the individuals that make them up.

But even if corporations are some strange separate artificial intelligence entity, what good is the First Amendment if it doesn’t apply to EVERYBODY?? When the government can start to pick and choose who gets protected by the First Amendment and who doesn’t, you have entered into dangerous territory, and the fact that four justices think that it’s their job to decide who doesn’t get protected by the First Amendment means that we are already there!

I brought this point up to a liberal friend and his response was, “Well, I don’t like Hobby Lobby pushing their religion on their employees.” What does that have to do with the issue? Hobby Lobby is not forcing the employees to do or not do anything. The government IS forcing Hobby Lobby to do something it finds objectionable. If Sue Employee wants to have an abortion while under the employ of Hobby Lobby, Hobby Lobby will not stop her from doing so and frankly, I don’t think Hobby Lobby cares what Sue Employee decides to do with her life outside of Hobby Lobby. But why should Hobby Lobby be FORCED to pay for that abortion? It’s Sue’s abortion, not Hobby Lobby’s. She should pay for it herself, if that’s what she wants, or find somebody who does want to pay for her abortion.

Even though Hobby Lobby does not get involved in Sue Employee’s personal life, if Hobby Lobby, or any company for that matter, wishes to establish for themselves a code of ethics on how they feel their employees should conduct themselves outside of employment, I would defend their right to do so. Sound extreme? Well then, work for another company. We do not have forced employment in this country. Nobody is forcing anybody to work for any company. Why is it that so hard to understand? If Sue Employee wants her employer to pay for her abortion, she can get a job with one who will.

What does the First Amendment specifically say? It says “Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof.” The Obamacare mandate violates this on both accounts. First, it denies Hobby Lobby their free exercise of their religion. I bring this up and I hear liberals say the First Amendment is supposed to keep people from forcing their religion on others. No, it doesn’t. Considering the fact that a lot of the signers of the Constitution were ordained pastors or ministers, I doubt that this is what they had in mind when they signed it. No, the First Amendment ALLOWS people to proselytize, Bible bash, witness, share, whatever you want to call it, to one another. Don’t like it, tough, it’s their freedom. What it DOESN’T allow is for government to force ITS religion and yes, secularism IS a type of religion. By forcing Hobby Lobby and anybody else to pay for contraceptives, the government is establishing that this is their worldview (religion) and this is their way of forcing you to acknowledge it. The failure to understand this is a failure to understand the First Amendment.

God’s Party

In honor of the CHRISTmas season, I thought it would be fun to put this out there:

This notion that the God who created the universe somehow has a party affiliation is a comical one. I remember when Jon Stewart came out with the argument that Jesus was a Democrat, Facebook lit up with everybody debating one side or the other which way Jesus would cast his vote, should he step in the booth on election day.

Some discussions from both sides got fairly heated and I wanted to just jump in and say, “you silly people, He’s neither. Duh, He’s American Constitutionalist!” But I was afraid the joke would have been lost on them, so I refrained.

The truth is, God is sovereign and ALL authority has been given by Him, whether recognized or not. The idea that God belongs to a certain political party is presumptuous on our part. God doesn’t belong to a party, we belong to Him. Instead of saying, God is Republican, we should be saying, as a Republican, we belong to Him. And that’s the big distinction.

We’ve all seen the bumper sticker that says “God is not a Republican.” That’s true. But God is going to favor the party or candidate that conducts his or her life according to Biblical principles. Right now, within the very platform of the Democrat Party are violations of certain Biblical principles, such as the right to life for the unborn. And regarding the redefinition of marriage, while Christ’s blood has made it possible for all of us to find favor in His eyes, including gays, marriage is a sacred institution and one party is working to change that definition (to be fair, both parties have long desecrated it with massive divorce rates, infidelity and the like). It’s the Democrat party that has an active coalition that is working hard to remove any mention of Christ in the public arena.

And finally, it’s only one party that is built on the idea that stealing from the rich to give to the poor is somehow compassion, when all it really does is foment covetedness, a violation of one of the ten commandments.

During the 1970s, the Democrat Party owned the evangelical vote. But for some reason, during the 1980s, they slowly started removing evangelical principles from their platform. Now I’m starting to hear Republicans complain about the evangelical wing of their base. Do Republicans also want to lose favor as well? God doesn’t hold political allegiances. If you abandon Him, don’t expect Him to take your side.

I’ve known decent evangelicals who vote Democrat as much as I’ve known those who vote Republican. In the end, this earthly realm is a mere shadow of the Kingdom that is to come, in which there will only be one party, the party of Jesus Christ.

Separation of Church and State?

Okay, so to address the argument I hear spewed constantly, “Separation of church and state is guaranteed via our Constitution. Keep your religion out of our laws.”

Of course, it’s an easy argument to refute, you know, considering the fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” isn’t even in our Constitution! In fact, the separation the Constitution does mentions is the separation of powers between branches of government, and considering the Congress’s and Supreme Court’s inability to keep the Executive or each other in check these days, one wonders how much this is being violated.

Thomas Jefferson did mention the “wall of separation” in a letter ABOUT the first Amendment, but Jefferson was more concerned about the state invading onto the church. Not to mention the fact that the Constitution wasn’t even ratified by Jefferson, and that the language of the first amendment was understood and passed by devout church goers to be exactly as it reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof!” As in, if a bakery owner does not want to make a gay cake topper due to religious objections and free exercise, she has that constitutional right!

But beyond that, the idea that there is no religion in our laws is ludicrous!

There is a Christian moral standard, just as there is a moral standard to every belief. State law is dictated by one person or another’s moral standard. Whomever is in charge will always impose their belief system on the populace. I don’t believe incandescent lightbulbs are going to destroy the planet. But because somebody else holds this moral belief, they have been banned. Sharia law is the moral standard in other countries, replacing Habeas Corpus. It’s impossible to separate “church” and “state” when you broaden the definition of “church” to all moral belief systems. In America, law is determined by the moral code of those whom the majority have elected. This is now what the will of the people has determined. Christians, now as a minority, must deal with the laws of the current “church” that is in power. I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing, it’s just an observation I’m making.

So we are commanded to keep OUR religion out of law, but OTHER religion is permissible? I mention this to try and get you to recognize it for what it is. You’re fine pushing your belief system on others even as you scold us not to do so to you. Recognize that belief is belief and we ALL are working to try and get others to agree with us, regardless of where we stand on the religious and political spectrum.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin: a review

I have just finished reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

If I were to sum up the crux of this book, I could say it in two words: emancipation and evangelism. Certainly, we are all aware of the former as being one of the main intents of this book. What is rarely discussed is its evangelical nature. Harriet Beecher Stowe is the sister of famed Brooklyn preacher Heny Ward Beecher and the Christian world view she brings to the text of these pages is very evident, and quite frankly, in our world that has turned so vehemently secular, refreshing.

Every argument she presents is done so in a context of a Christian mind set–in fact, she appeals to the heart of the Christian as a basis for her case for the dignity, humanity and equality of the black person. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything. She is quick to show of how even within certain churches of the age they tried to use scriptures twisted out of context to justify the activity of slavery.

What an amazing step in time this book was. And what a sobering and awful reminder of our past. Being 150 years removed, it’s easy to forget the cruelty of those days. Stowe’s account brings you as eye witness to the accounts of several slaves as they are ripped from their families and sold to good and evil masters. A great point Stowe makes is that in a system like slavery, in which the slave has no rights, their livelihood is dependent solely on the character of their master.

One critique I read on Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the steady use of the ‘n’ word. This, they proclaim, is the reason why it cannot be read in the public schools. Nonsense! The ‘n’ word is used in context as the vernacular of the day, and while demeaning, there were other books littered with profanity that were part of my required reading growing up. No, I suspect it is the evangelical nature of the book that has kept it from being part of the high school curriculum. Every chapter, it seems, shared the gospel. Stowe solidly makes the case that a man’s character cannot truly change without the transformative nature of Christ. We see this in the lives of Uncle Tom for sure, but Augustine, Miss Ophilia, Cassy, and even Topsy.

Now to get to the main point of this essay. When I first heard the epithet “Uncle Tom” being used it was in context of a black person disregarding their heritage and acting like a white person. Having grown up in predominantly black neighborhood, I heard this phrase thrown around all the time. Lately, it’s instantly the label pinned to any black conservative, the accusation being that if they hold on to free market ideals, that somehow they are cowtowing to the slave holding republican– in a sense they are weaklings used by right wingers.

Having just read the book, I scratch my head and wonder, have these people making these charges of Uncle Tom even read the book? Yes, by their mischaracterized idea of what an Uncle Tom is, it surely is an insult, but the uncle Tom of Stowe’s account is nothing like that. Stowe portrayed him as the ultimate virtue of Christian character. He believed in the forgiveness of every man, including his persecutor. The accusation is that Tom embraced slavery as his lot in life and was unquestionably subservient to white man.

This is not the same Tom that I read. Yes, Tom respected the authority over him, as described in Colossians. But when presented with the chance to be free, Tom quickly embraced it, and even when the opportunity for freedom fell flat due to the untimely death of a tender-hearted master, he continued to ask of it and long for it.

The idea that Tom was weak, not willing to stand for anything but the slave owner’s will, obviously does not take in account the final chapters. The reason for Tom’s brutal beatings was because he wouldn’t do certain things he felt immoral. In fact, Legree was ready to make Tom chief overseer of all the slaves, as long as he was willing to “tow the line.” Quite the contrast from today’s modern portrayal!

In reality, though Tom’s life was a tragic one, he showed more strength in character and christian virtue than any of the white owners above him. “Uncle Tom” shouldn’t be a slander, if taken in the context of Stowe’s writings, but rather a term of endearment. In reality, by labeling black conservatives as “Uncle Toms”, these detractors are unknowingly attributing to them that same moral fortitude.

Having concluded with the reading, I often thought that this would make a great movie. Unfortunately, I do not trust Hollywood to do it correctly. The whole point of Stowe’s writing was to appeal to the Christian man. I would want any movie made from this writing to include the heavy Christian doctrine. Hollywood famously either disregards Christianity, misrepresents it, or mocks it. A lot of the text was building a case against slavery, written in a time where such activities were legal. These elements certainly could be downplayed or dropped for today’s world, however, I think it important to emphasize and showcase our sordid past, lest we be tempted to fall into it once again.

A movie of Uncle Tom would be epic and powerful, if done properly. The problem with most Christian movie houses, is they lack the budget to put together a quality project. The problem with most Hollywood outfits is that they lack the willingness to produce a Christian film. My hopes for such a film will have to remain as just that. However, if such a project does go underway, let me know, I’d be happy to work as art director or concept artist. (contact form available above.)

In conclusion, regardless of your religious affiliation, I highly recommend the book, and it would be hard not to read it and not be moved. A great step into history, a great portrayal of humanity.

Christ, the Editor

This story is for allegory only and is not meant to be an accurate representation of actual future judgment day events.

The last thing I remembered was watching the large truck as we were approaching the intersection. After that, a ripping of the soul from the body, as a bandage is ripped from a wound, except at its fiercest level. It was then that I realized that this was it, my time on this earth had concluded, the final chapter had been written.

The next thing I knew, we were in a line and approaching a large table filled with books on it. As I came up to the table, an angel, strong and towering, handed me a book. “Take this,” he said, depositing the gilded artifact into my arms. I nearly sank with the shear weight of the object. It wasn’t heavy like we understand mass on earth. Sure the book was large in scale, but weight took on a different form in this new spiritual realm. Instead, what made it heavy was its significance.

“What is it?” I dared to ask.

“These are the entire recorded works of your life, good and bad, to be judged for admittance into the Kingdom,” boomed the angel. “At the gate, this book will be open, and the contents read aloud.”

Oh. I held the book in front of me. I was curious about what might be inside. Maybe I should open up to a page and read what it said. Perhaps I could open up to the part where I helped out at the homeless shelter, once, in 1997. Those were good times.

I inserted my fingers someplace toward the center of the golden pages and started to pull back just a little bit. But then I stopped. I realized that this line of people approaching the throne was thick. Even a casual glance my direction would easily read whatever contents happened to be on the page that I opened up. What made this thought worse was that I recognized some of the people I was in line with. Folks I had gone to church with, folks I knew growing up. What if I happened to open up to that one time I did… ?

As I stood there, it started to become quite obvious to me that there were quite a few moments of my life that were downright shameful. What made it worse is that these were moments that I had labored to keep hidden. You see, I had grown up in a Christian family, lived a Christian life. I worked hard at creating a polished Christian image for the outside world to see. I had built a reputation based upon spin and positioning. It wasn’t easy to maintain this image.

But now, in the presence of glory, I began to remember all of hidden thoughts of hate, of disgust, of impatience with people. How many times had I gossiped behind somebody’s back, as a form of revenge? How many times had I lusted with my heart and my eyes? What about the secret sins, committed in the darkest moments of my life? It seemed as though these were far more in number than any “good works” I performed. And what of the good works? Did I not do them for my own glory? Did I not do good works for the sake of tooting my own horn and shining the spotlight on my own life?

I pulled my fingers back out of the book. I became sick to my stomach. My goodness, the contents of this book point to only one conclusion about who I was.

Up ahead, were massive gates, sparkling with radiant beauty. I might have noticed them more, if I hadn’t been so preoccupied with my current situation. We were approaching what looked to be like a man behind a lectern. I assumed him to be St. Peter. A thin, knobby man approached the lectern. “Hand me your book,” St. Peter said. The thin, knobby man hoisted his book onto the wooden surface. It landed and made a heavy sounding “thump!” St. Peter opened to the first page and started reading.

Not even getting halfway through the second page, Peter looked grimly at the man and said, “I’m sorry, but this is unacceptable, and cannot be allowed into the Kingdom. Be off.” With that, I watched as the book was suddenly chained to the man, his works bound to him for eternity and with that, he was gone.

Soon it was my turn. “Yes, my book, I know, you want it, here you go,” I humbly said. But as I lifted the book up, it oddly appeared as though it was much lighter than when I had first started carrying it. A bit bizarre, I noted. Then Peter started to open the pages and read.

I sat with my head bowed, but to my surprise, the reading was quick, and was filled with good works. I opened my eyes quizzically and peered onto the pages of my book. It was filled with a script that I could not recognize. But I did recognize that many sections were crossed out with red ink. It appeared as if Peter was skipping over the crossed out sections and reading on. He flipped from page to page, continuing to read, and continuing to skip over the red ink. “Excuse me, sir,” I interrupted, “Why aren’t you reading these parts right here?” I asked, pointing to the crossed out sections. “Because you gave your life to Christ, “ Peter replied, “the book has been in His possession ever since. These are just the sections He chose to edit out.”

St. Peter, knowing the long line behind me, quickly finished, and handed me my book back. “Well done, sir, take your book with you and enter the Kingdom.” My hands trembled as I gingerly took back the book, with tears in my eyes, and gratitude in my heart. I put my hand on the handle of the massive gate and felt a beautiful warmth fill my body. I turned and looked back at Peter. “I’m curious,” I called back to him, “the red ink that He used…?”

Peter turned and smiled back. “His Blood.”

A Message from a Prophet

“Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,

This child marks both the failure and
the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
as God reveals who they really are.”

Luke 2:33-35 (MSG)

As I was studying the story of Christmas, I came across this passage. Picture the scene. Mary and Joseph, a godly couple, are coming to get their miracle baby properly dedicated according to the laws of Moses. I imagine that despite the crazy events leading to the birth, that today they are in good spirits. They’ve seen angles, been adored by shepherds and wisemen, and they were probably full of anticipation about what raising Jesus, a man whose name meant “God Saves,” might mean.

No doubt they, like many others, saw the Messiah as coming down and bringing justice to the earth, lifting oppression from the land, crushing those pesky Romans, and making everything perfect and wonderful and better. And so when a strange old man approaches them, asking them if he could prophesy over their promised child, my guess is that they were like “sure, the more blessings, the better.”

What came next was anything but expected. Instead of waxing on about how their lives over the next several years is going to be a bowl of peaches, he turns to Mary and tells her that this Christ child will be a polarizing character–misunderstood, misquoted, rejected. He even tells Mary that her baby will bring about a pain in her own life so severe that it will be as a sword piercing her very soul.

Not exactly the kind of news you’d like to hear coming from a seer. But that’s the whole paradox of the Christmas season. While the Christmas holiday is a glorious day, we have to remember that the whole reason Christ came to this earth was to suffer. Simeon knew this and prophesied it. It’s about Christ’s deliberate, willing, and redemptive suffering for mankind. Christ came to this earth, not to enjoy a long, plump life, but to suffer at the hands of His own creation. His life was marked by pain from the very beginning.

And consequently, so was Mary’s. By choosing to follow God’s plan, she brought pain onto herself. This, too, is a sobering thought. “Mary,” said Simeon, “this child will wretch pain into the very core of your being. But from it a greater good will come.” Christ later tells His disciples, “no servant is greater than his master. Since I have suffered, those who follow Me will also suffer.”

So this Christmas, as we remember the joys of the holiday–the time with family and friends, the wonderful foods and candies, the twinkle in children’s eyes–let us also not forget the real reason the baby Christ came to this earth. It was to endure great suffering so that we could be saved. And that is a reason to celebrate.

A Conservative’s Response to the Latest Shootings

I have remained unusually quiet these past few weeks in response to the shootings in Aurora, Oregon and Connecticut. The reasons are two-fold. One, my own suffering with my health has made it difficult to respond to much of anything. My time on the social media and blogosphere is way down as I battle daily pain and mental fogginess.

But that is no excuse for disregarding the pain of others. I confess I can have that tendency sometimes. I am not proud of this fact about myself and it is something I must keep working on.

However, the main reason is that my initial and still very strong reaction is one of anger and heavy controversy. I debated for weeks on whether I should put this out there, knowing it might cause some to be offended. But if I don’t say what I believe to be the truth, what culpability then is mine?

And if you are one who is easily offended, just know that I am not forcing you to read further.

Obviously we have a problem here. The frequency of these shooting binges is rapidly increasing. What is being done about it? Why are there that many killers who snap like this? Were not innocent adults in a movie theatre bad enough? Must we go after children now?

You can bank on the fact that within five minutes of any of these types of shootings the cry for gun control rings out. And it is tragedies like these that sharpen people’s opinion in that direction. While I’m not a fan of guns, I recognize that the problem is not the tool itself. A gun does not make a killer more likely to kill. A gun makes a killer more ABLE to kill, yes. A gun death is a quicker, easier death than a machete death, but if you remove the gun, you have not solved the problem. The killer still exists and he will find a way to kill, whether he acquires a gun illegally or utilize some other weapon.

The second solution being proposed is to put our society into a police state. After tragedies like this, it amazes me how quickly so many are willing to blindly trade in their freedoms for a little sense of security. Sure, I don’t mind extra long lines and pat downs in order to get into my local McDonalds, as long as I’m safe, right?

The problem is, for some of these murderers, their stated goal is to erode our freedoms. And when we capitulate in order to protect against them, we have lost twice as a society. And as we have observed, the more rules we put on OURSELVES in the name of “protection” the more these murderers work around these rules to commit their crimes, which inevitably leads to more rules placed on US.

In both of these knee-jerk solutions, we have not dealt with the core issue. We have not stopped the creation of these killers.

Violence has always existed. It is at the core of humanity. We look at fifty years ago as a bucolic time in America, but we tend to gloss over the lynch killings in the South, done in the name of justice and righteousness. The problem is that as a society, we have allowed moral relativism to blur the lines between right and wrong. We all have dark fantasies that creep up into our minds from time to time. It is called our sin nature. Most of us are quick to rid ourselves of them when they occur.

These young killers did not wake up one day and say, “Huh. I think I want to kill children today.” Getting to this point of depravity takes time. It is a slow indulgence into their dark fantasies that fosters over time. I do not believe for a moment that the Sandy Hook killer was just mental and therefore he somehow couldn’t help himself. No, whether the theatre shooter or the elementary school shooter or whomever, they made a calculated and deliberate decision to look a soul in its eye and remove its life. Perhaps by the time they had arrived at that murderous moment, there was an element of removal, as I suspect there would have to be in order to do this kind of horrific thing. However, getting to that point was a daily decision to not put to death their murderous fantasies, but to engage them instead.

The problem is that today’s society makes indulging in these dark fantasies much easier than it used to be. I may sound fuddy-duddy, but I point my fingers first at the entertainment industry. We have video games that glorify violence through hyper-realistic graphics, allowing players to become the mass murderers of their delusions. Instead of putting to bed these dark desires, we cultivate them through these games. The step from being a murderer in a fantasy world to becoming one in reality, then, becomes smaller.

Now I know the gaming community will scream foul at the last paragraph, as I have heard them try and defend themselves after all of these tragedies. I’m not saying ban video games. Angry Birds is not going to make people want to go out and kill pigs. There are certainly gray areas on this issue, but I am never shocked when we read the profiles of these killers to find that they played violent video games. There is a realm where it is too far, and I do not think it’s that hard to figure out. The problem is, nobody has the guts to stand up and say, no, this is immoral. As a gamer, do you have the moral fortitude to draw your own lines? If not, why not?

And I don’t want to just pick on gamers. The glorification of violence is everywhere. It’s in our movies, it’s in our books. I never saw the “Saw” movies, but after reading the description, I could not understand how they could be so popular. Why would anybody want to take their mind to that place?

We have allowed post modernism to tell us that there is no such thing as an absolute right and wrong. After 50 some years of preaching this, we wonder why we suddenly have teenagers that see nothing wrong with killing people point blank. We have an entire party that won an election based on an idea that killing unborn children should be a right, and then we scratch our heads when one kills children five years out of the womb.

This is controversial, yes, but do we want to solve this problem or not? Do we want a prison society filled with killers or do we want to finally address the issue of the human heart?

Ultimately, we are a land that has turned against its Creator. Any society that has done so in the past has seen the consequences. I do not advocate that government should do anything about this. On the contrary, government should back off and let the church work. Love needs to be our motto. Truth needs to be our banner. We need to reach the hearts of the individual with the amazing Good News of Jesus Christ. He alone can save us from our darkness. It starts with Him. But the decision rests with me and you.

 

Post Script: In all of this, it’s easy to arm chair quarterback, but the fact remains, there are people hurting today and we must not forget this fact. My heart breaks for those families and my prayers go out to them, especially as we approach the Christmas holiday. I cannot know or imagine their pain and fear. Lord, cover them with your Mercies today, shower love upon that community. May we rise up as a Body of Believers in love for our fellow man.

The Undecided

Okay, so it’s election season and the cartoons have been few and far between. I’m sorry, okay, a lot’s been on my plate lately, and since this is my NON-paid gig, it sits in the backseat.

I am going to make a declaration that may sound outrageous upon first utterance. This Tuesday, I do not think everybody should vote. In fact, I strongly believe that some people should not vote. Now that may sound harsh, and perhaps it is a little, so let me clarify. I do believe that every informed person should vote. That’s a big distinction.

“It’s your right!” come the calls from those who are trying to get one demographic or another to the polls to swing it favorably their direction. Yes, and with all rights, there comes responsibility.

YouTube is full of videos mocking the uninformed voters, people who cannot even name the vice president of the opposing party. (Some who cannot even name the VP of the person they just voted for!) It amazes me when I find out the reasons why people support certain candidates in any given election. Usually it’s because they believe the negative ads against the other person. But other reasons include likeability, swagger, good looks… What is this, the high school prom?!?

And what really boggles my mind is the so-called undecided demographic. How can you be undecided? No one should ever be undecided. Let me break it down for you. You have core values. These can be broken down into economic issues, social issues, and foreign affairs issues. Each party (notice I said party, not person) has made statements about where they stand as a party on those issues. You find out which aligns most correctly to yours and you vote the party ticket.

You and I can disagree on the roll of government, and that’s fine. We can argue those merits based upon our own understanding of history and I’ll let you throw in your vote for the Democrat party. But if you are pro-life, believe in private property rights and favor a strong military, it does not make sense to me that you would vote Democrat, simply because he’s cooler than the Republican.

Every voter should know where they stand on all of the ballot issues before they arrive at the polls on election day. To be reading the questions for the first time is foolish. And then to cast a vote, just so they don’t have empty spaces on their ballot is even worse. Let me clue you in. If you don’t know, don’t vote! An incomplete ballot is still counted! It is perfectly fine to show up on election day and just vote for president (or county sheriff, whichever you’re most passionate about). Your vote will count. And you won’t inadvertently be voting for a cause or person that just might not align with your values.

The founding fathers originally felt that only land owners should be allowed to vote. I certainly am not advocating we go back to this, but they had a point. They knew that if you owned land, you had to be intelligent enough to make that transaction a reality. And an intelligent voter is always an informed voter. There is no national intelligence requirement for elections, nor would I wish for one (I could see abuses in that in a hurry), but people should at least be informed on the issues.

I don’t remember the exact quote, but it’s from Thomas Jefferson and goes something like, “the uninformed electorate are tools in the hands of a despot.” How true that is. If we can be swayed by razzle, dazzle, then only we are to blame when we vote away our freedoms.

 

Freedom’s Thoughts on Immigration

Sorry, no cartoon. I’ll work on that as I have time, but in the meantime, I have purposefully remained very quiet on this issue of illegal immigration, the biggest reason being that you will not find me being as hard lined about the issue as many of my conservative friends. The problem is not the immigrants, it’s the criminal element behind it, and like all issues, I’m not sure either side is honestly addressing the problem fully.

I believe the best way to solve the problem of illegal immigration is to inject capitalism into the Mexican economy. Many Hispanics I’ve talked to would prefer to stay in Mexico if their government wasn’t so corrupt and the opportunities that exist here would also exist there. The problem with Mexico is that its quasi socialist experiement has demonstrated exactly what socialism will lead to, forcing the people to want to flee. I would too, and should we be so hard on them for doing so?

When they do come to America, they exhibit a work ethic that’s unparalleled. They do the work that Americans are “too important” to do, without complaining, making ends meet, all the while sending paychecks back to Mexico. This, while Americans collect unemployment.

As Milton Friedman observed, the problem with illegal immigration is not the immigration, but when they end up falling into one of our welfare systems. Of course, that’s actually kind of the problem with America in general.

Why don’t we do in Mexico what we’ve done in China? Let’s establish our factories down there, make trade across the border easy and attractive and watch what happens to our immigration problem as good jobs return to Mexico. Eventually the people will demand government clean up its act and perhaps we could start a positive change in that broken land.

Don’t get me wrong, we still need to do a better job making sure drug lords and terrorists don’t stream across our border, but we figured it out on the Canadian side.

Granted, my feelings are probably too simplistic and there’s probably much more to it than little me can truly conceive, but they are my thoughts and this is my blog. And speaking of thoughts, I wrote the following the other night about English as a second language. Although this blog is already dangerously too long, I still think you might find it enlightening.

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There is a movement out there trying to establish English as the official language of America. I think this is a stupid movement. I am vehemently against it. It would be a waste of tax payer dollars to even debate this in committee. It’s anti-freedom, and personally, I think it’s anti American.

America is a land of immigrants. The British just happened to be the most predominant people group, thereby establishing English as the main language of the colonies (although the French had Louisiana. I don’t remember Thomas Jefferson requiring the residents ofNew Orleans to make English their language after the LA purchase).

America was not founded as one big boy’s club, but as pockets of culture blending together to form our own unique experience. In this country, you decide what you want to make of yourself. If you choose not to learn the dominant language of America (English), you do so at your own disadvantage. But I’m not going to force that decision on you. That’s YOUR responsibility and undertaking.

However, if a business wants to reach a Spanish speaking demographic, and cater all of its advertising, packaging and editorial content strictly in Spanish, more power to them. If it delays the Hispanic from learning English sooner, then that’s a consequence of a free society. If it creates large pockets of Spanish speaking only areas in our country, then as an English speaker, learn the language or move. That’s how freedom works.

Conversely, if a store owner wants to say he’ll only serve English speaking customers, that’s his RIGHT to do so. It’s HIS store, HIS business, HIS decision, HIS consequences. What I don’t understand is why the ACLU is trying to force him to change his policy. What happened to HIS civil liberties? Why aren’t they defending them? I may disagree with his policy. And if I do, then I won’t shop there. And obviously the large Hispanic shopping base won’t be doing so either. And I can try and persuade him to change his stance. But government and the courts have no right forcing him to change his policy. Once again, we sacrifice freedom in the name of socially acceptable.

Colorado’s Step Into Art History

Have you ever stopped in your tracks and gazed at the beautiful architecture of a nicely crafted building? Have you ever sat and admired a truly gifted fashion designer mix colors and fabrics and patterns together to craft something amazing? If this generally does not describe you, then I can understand why you may not understand the art of Christo. And if this does not describe you, then you do not have artistic sensibilities and should really not be making judgments on the quality of his work.

Personally, I have read and seen pictures of many of Christo’s works with great admiration, wishing only that I was older in age to have had the opportunity to witness them in person. This past Tuesday, I’ve finally been given a chance to do so. After many 15 long years of fighting with the State ofColoradoand other jurisdictions, Christo has finally been given the green light to move forward on his “Over the River” project, the draping of semi-sheer fabrics over the Arkansas River, down near Salida, Colorado.

This is a victory for the State ofColorado. Christo has aged significantly since the start of this process and he does not have many years left. His wife and partner Jean Claude has already passed away. This may be his last project, makingColoradothe only state inAmericato have had TWO Christo art projects, the first one being the Rifle Gap project. This will give the state ofColoradoa prominent place in art history.

Scores of letters have been written in opposition to this project, many filled with half truths and misunderstandings. So, let’s start with the facts. It’s a temporary exhibit. Some letter writers cried about how horrible it would be to block the sun over theArkansas. Two weeks, folks. That’s it. And in my opinion, not enough time. Also, Christo will be using sheer fabrics, creating a luminous quality. More sunshine will flow through this fabric than on a cloudy day!

Some of the letters I have read ignorantly stated that it is a burden that tax payers should not have to face in this economy. Those people need to read Christo’s proposal, for not a dime of tax payer money will be spent on the project. He funds every single project himself, pays for every worker (upwards to 200, and in an economy desperate for jobs, this is a good thing) himself, recycles all material used, and leaves the area a better place. For a financial standpoint, there are simply no grounds on which to oppose it.

Other letter writers have complained that it would stop the rafting industry. Who would want to raft through a covered river? they ask. I would, and I know many, many fans from around the world who would line up in droves to run the rapids under this historic and temporary monument. It would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would not be surprised to see rafting companies selling Christo packages at ridiculous prices.

Overall, if you appreciate his work, you’ll probably be joining me and thousands of others from around the world down in Salida in order to behold this once in a lifetime event. Otherwise, in 2014, it’ll all be over and we can get back to our lives.

A Fool Says In His Heart

Was privileged to illustrate the article by Lee Strobel discussing the various proofs for the existance of a Creator. You can read the full article here:

http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/review/mar11.asp

Unmixable

This illustration accompanied the article written by William Boyken that discusses how our Bill of Rights are incompatible with Sharia Law. To read the full article, go to:
http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/review/feb11.asp