A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Protect your Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Protect your Rights. Show all posts

July 22, 2023

Can We Still Claim to Be a Moral and Religious People?

As I've sat and watched the circus surrounding our government's House of Representative hearing on censorship, it was plain to see the mockery against the First Amendment of our Constitution. And I harkened back to a quote from one of our Founding Fathers; one that has long struck a chord in my patriotic soul. One sentence of a speech made by President John Adams in 1798 [to the Massachusetts Militia] has survived on the pages of history ... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.  First of all, I want to make it clear that he is insinuating that without moral and religious people, the Constitution would be inadequate to rule any other people. He is pointing the Constitution towards the people, NOT the government. So, in the wake of increased contempt and scorn for our founding document, I believe it is incumbent upon us to examine ourselves. Are we still a moral and religious people? What were the 18th century standards for those character virtues which President Adams mentioned?

You can get a better idea how to answer those questions when you read President Adam's sentence within the context of his entire speech. And it will definitely make you wonder what he would think of us today. Here's the full version of what he said: “While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while she continues sincere and incapable of insidious and impious policy: We shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence. But should the people of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour and frankness and sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, Ambition, Revenge or galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and Religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

First of all, that is quite an image ... a whale going through a net implies that the net is weak and insufficient for protection. I believe the meaning is that we are the net that protects the power and strength behind the Constitution. Are we worthy of the freedoms it offers? And don't let the language of that day prohibit you from discerning the spirit of those well informed words. I believe this is what he was trying to say, in terms of today's conversation... At the time he gave this speech in 1798, we were still a new nation. And the newly-elected second President of the United States was stating several social, moral, and religious principles we needed to sustain in order to avoid a rapid dissolution of our unified states. He's careful to say, WHILE (as long as) we do these certain things, we will be successful. What were those things? First, we needed to remain undefiled by the conspiracies and plots that were enveloping Europe at the time, such as the French Revolution and its consequences: attempts at de-Christianization of the populace, a leveling of social classes, and bribery attempts within official government circles, both foreign and domestic. The new American nation was also subject to seizure of property on the high seas by both English and French ships, and it certainly seemed as if war was impending and the U.S. could be drawn into it. That would have been disastrous for us, having just emerged from the long war that was won for our independence. 

And, IF we, as a nation and government, could continue to function honestly, without covert and secret operations, and, instead, form our policies in a Godly and righteous manner, THEN we could hope that the nation would survive, just as Providence (God) intended. He then gives this warning ... BUT, if the people of America should ever become deceptive and deceitful in their dealings, acting as if they supported Justice and fairness, yet actually adopting wickedness and greed -- if they should ever wear the mask of truth, honesty, and innocence while rioting in rapine (the violent taking of what belongs to others) and insolence (rude and disrespectful behavior), THEN "this country will be the most miserable habitation in the World". 

President Adams then goes on to say that these sins of the nation rest on the shoulders of the people, not the government! What?! Why? How could he say that? Let me posit my theory as to his suggested meaning. Our nation was built with the idea that the government would reflect the character of the people. For the first time in history, a country's citizenry would decide the moral character of its government through the process of democratic representation. This means our government is elected by its citizens. Citizens vote for their government officials, and these officials represent the citizens' ideas and concerns in government. In other words, we deserve the government we elect.

 Look closely at what he says ... there is no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled [unchecked] by morality and religion. In other words, if the character of the citizenry of our nation becomes corrupted and polluted by [in his words] Avarice (extreme greed for material gain); Ambition (here, in the sense of being driven or motived for wrong reasons and toward wrong ends); Revenge (refusing to forgive and instead, choosing to pursue retribution); and Gallantry (which in 18th century speech, meant viewing women as sexual objects for gain, rather than behaving in honor towards them) -- If we decline into that shameless and sinful behavior, then there is no government, nor governing document, like the Constitution, that can control the inevitable loss of the country.    

Can you honestly meditate on John Adams's words and deny that we are becoming the very definition of what he warned against? This nation has long been loyal and believed in the ideals of civil and religious liberty, as well as the value of moral character. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, were adopted to establish and protect these ideals for all the generations of this nation. But they seem to be coming into question now. Moral character used to be important, espoused throughout our national identity -- from families to the Halls of Congress. 

And how do we define moral character? The best definition I've found comes from an online class I am taking from Hillsdale College, called Theology 101: The Western Theological Tradition. The definition is this: "Moral Character is to build [within yourself] the courage and the justice and the wisdom and the moderation to live your life as a good human being". I believe John Adams and his fellow Founding Fathers had that in mind when they crafted our nation's government and the Constitution, which was written to influence every aspect of our daily lives.

But, as I witness the way in which some of the members of our society behave, and the ways in which our members of government carry out the ideas and concerns of the citizenry, I am left wondering if we can still claim to be a moral and religious people. And my understanding of that concept is that morality and religion are intertwined -- the way we treat each other is influenced by our relationship with a Sovereign God who bequeathed this blessed land to us so that we might receive the blessings of a virtuous and righteous nation. Even more important to understand is the idea that this morality and virtue/religion is the foundation of our republic, and the means by which we remain free. 

So, in my personal opinion, President John Adams would look at where we are today, and shake his head in sorrow. We are in jeopardy of losing what he and the Founding Fathers fought so hard (physically and philosophically) to establish for us. He warned us against all the things we are steeped in today ... corrupt politics, greed, deception, rioting, sexualization of women [and now children], wickedness, and the destruction of our relationships with each other and with God. We can no longer deny it, and if you aren't seeing it, you need to come out of your delusion, because it is coming for all of us. 

I, for one, -- and I know there are MANY more like me -- still believe the spirit of our founding exists today. And restoring it begins with me. We must all take John Adams's words to heart, and declare, "Not on my watch, and not by my family". I am grateful to have been born in this great nation, and to have received its abundant blessings. It is worth preserving, and it is worth the hard work it will take to repair the mistakes we've made. But I believe the Lord wants to work with us to re-establish His original purpose for this nation. We might not be able to claim we are still a moral and religious people, but we can sure begin to become one again! And let us stand behind the Constitution and not let the whale destroy the net of freedoms it guarantees us. Let us be a people that are worthy of them!

Acts 10:34-35    So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him". 

November 17, 2020

Are We On The Verge Of Destroying Our Nation's Pride?


Radio host and political commentator Michael Savage is quoted in his book, Trickle Down Tyranny, "Economies can be rebuilt, armies can be repopulated, but once a nation's pride is gone it can almost never be restored." In 2012, an article on the United Church of God's website quoted a Conservative Party member of the British Parliament, who wrote, "The Arab Spring, the threat of Iran as an emerging nuclear power, the continuing violence in Syria and the American reluctance to get involved there, have all signaled the weakness, if not the end, of America’s role as a world policeman." That statement was followed by a warning that this was just one aspect of America's waning national power, and the writer felt it served as a prophecy that was beginning to be fulfilled; a prophecy that "may be on the verge of accelerating with frightening speed if the nation doesn’t take drastic steps to repent and change its self-destructive course."  

What do you think? Do events seem to be accelerating to you? In the Bible, God spoke to the rebellious nation of Israel and said, "I will break your pride in your power." It was a warning for rejecting His statutes and commandments, and breaking His covenant with them.  It would be the penalty if they turned away from Him to follow after leaders who led them to worship pagan idols; and leaders who abandoned God to increase their own wealth and power; or leaders who neglected God's moral laws to serve their own lusts and flesh. And I look at the condition of our nation today, and it is so clear that there is a massive split along ideological, political, spiritual, and social/cultural lines. I'm not sure there has ever been a more clear delineation between good and evil. 

What I am seeing in my country today is no different than what the prophet Isaiah saw during Israel's prosperous reign.  He could just as easily have been speaking to us when he warned, "O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray and confuse the direction of your paths" (Isaiah 3:12). And isn't his admonishment of  “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20) just as appropriate for today?  The corruption, misconduct, and fraud in our election process is not only embarrassing and shameful [and may be criminal], it dishonors the efforts of our Founding Fathers to give us a Constitution that would protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens. The original intent of that distinguished group of patriots was to write a code of laws designed to allow the citizenry to live, work, worship and advance their lives while participating in the governmental process, protected by rights and freedoms that are natural, God-given and safeguarded by law. Oh, how far this generation of leaders have fallen in this election!

Leaders make a difference in the continued survival of their nations, and the Bible records that even the nations favored by God lived or died by the influence and actions of their leaders. The histories of Israel and Judah prove that. And now we witness our elected leaders calling for lists to be made of those who have differing political views. The free discourse of ideas are censored, and the First Amendment is in serious danger of being nullified. I want you to consider how much of this significant safeguard of our freedoms has been threatened in the last year: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As I look upon the utter chaos that seems to be at the heart of governing leaders today, I want to thunder like Jeremiah, and shout at our misguided and hateful Congress. These are the leaders who have resented anyone who doesn't fall in line with the Anti-Christ agenda to subdue the world for the kingdom of darkness. These are the leaders "who try to make My people forget My name… and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness".  Yes, I know that this nation has made mistakes and our dream of building a country where all men live as equals has fallen short of that lofty goal. But what I'm seeing now is more like a nightmare! 

I believe it is incumbent upon us to revisit the heart of why this country was founded in the first place ... "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." That is an except from the Declaration of Independence and describes why the colonists felt driven to separate themselves from the government of Great Britain.

The problem we are encountering today is that we are divided into two camps who each think that the form of our government has become destructive to their existence; that they have the right to alter or abolish the government which threatens their safety and security. Each side believes there has been a long train of abuses, that they are being subjected to absolute Despotism, and it is their right to throw off this kind of oppression. This historical document also declares that long-established governments should not be changed [or discarded] frivolously. But we have come to the point where these two distinctly different factions are no longer willing to suffer silently or willingly. 

What we are seeing playing out before our eyes is the result of a prideful nation whose leaders strayed from the original covenant with God and sought to bless themselves and this nation through their own power. They abandoned virtuous and moral principles and joined with the citizenry to create laws that fed their own desires and lust for self-fulfillment. And now we see a rapidly accelerating deterioration to violence in the streets and a full-blown rush to a communistic form of government. UNLESS... the million people who descended on Washington D.C. in support of traditional values and a return to our Christian principles in government, in our families, in our society, and in every aspect of this nation's culture storm Heaven with our repentance, our confession of allowing wickedness to cover the land,  and our declarations for a return to the Lord's statutes and laws. 

Then I believe that God will remember His covenant with America, entered into with the Pilgrims, and He will not reject or destroy this nation. Then I believe we will once again find favor with God and He will restore our nation's pride. We will once again be inhabited by a righteous people who refuse to bow down before false gods or sinful leaders. But we must not grow tired in our efforts, nor become slow to respond to the Enemy's increased attacks. We must persevere, no matter how long it takes and how bitter the fight becomes. Then we must "clean up our act" and destroy the altars of abortion, sex trafficking, and wealth and greed. We must invite the Most High God to once again establish His statutes, ordinances, and laws in this great nation, and declare that He is our God and we are His people. Father, please forgive us of our sins and hear our prayers for Godly and righteous leaders!

Proverbs 14:34    Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.

April 15, 2016

Why Religious Freedom Protection Laws Are Under Attack

     Frankly, I'm getting tired of Big Business and the Entertainment Industry distorting the attempt by state legislatures to apply some common sense to the culture war over same-sex marriage, transgenderism, and other LGBT issues.  I know we now live in a world where God's commandments are no longer seen as the guide by which we should live our lives.  And I realize that there is no way to put this genie back in the bottle.  The Supreme Court (man's law) has supplanted God's laws.... at least in the public square.
     It is hard to ignore the battle that is creeping across our land, as states enact individual laws that some Americans argue protect our religious beliefs and rights, while others argue that these pieces of legislation are discriminatory against the LGBT community.
     Mississippi and North Carolina are in the public crosshairs for their recently passed legislation that proposes to protect the religious beliefs of their citizens; but the truth is that nearly 200 bills have been proposed in various state legislatures in 2016.  I can't help but feel it is in response to the citizenry's alarm over businesses, such as bakeries and florists, who have not been allowed to run their companies according to their consciences, along with the disconcerting transgender bathroom movement.
     But perhaps just as unsettling is the distortion and downright lies being engendered by corporations and entertainers, who misrepresent what the laws are designed to accomplish.  Gina Miller, has written a sharp and incisive article on Barbwire.com, pointing out the inconsistencies and the misrepresentations of the Mississippi law.  In her article, she writes, "It’s certainly distressing to see the large corporations and senseless celebrities and politicians babbling their nonsense about a law that only reiterates our fundamental, God-given rights of conscience that are already protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution... This is not about a homosexual being denied generic products or services, nor is this about denying “single mothers baby shower services,” because none of that is happening."
     She continues:  "Another of the big lies pushed by opponents of Mississippi’s law is that it’s no different than “Jim Crow” laws, that this is a “civil rights” issue.  That is a grotesquely sinister affront to the genuine civil rights struggle that black people engaged in."  I must agree!  Black people, white people, yellow people, brown people, and all people are equivalent in God's eyes.  He created us all!  But when we are rebellious to His natural order; when we do not recognize His sovereignty in determining marriage, the sex of a person, or how we are to respect Him and each other, then by what "right" can we demand that all must conform?
     In essence, what the opponents of both the Mississippi and North Carolina legislation are trying to do is to "rebrand" religious liberty (upon which this nation was founded) as nothing less than bigotry, intolerance, and hatred.  Not so!  What the new laws are attempting to do is to prevent discrimination by ensuring the government will not force people to violate their conscience in very specific contexts spelled out by the law.
     As Jennifer Marshall at Religious News Service points out, "For starters, Mississippi’s new law ensures that churches and other religious groups aren’t punished for declining to host or solemnize weddings that would violate their conscience. Remember the controversy over Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky? Mississippi won’t have that kind of a showdown because the new law ensures everyone eligible for a marriage license gets one without delay while also accommodating individual clerks who want to opt out of issuing marriage licenses altogether."  (While I'm pretty sure that this is still too accommodating for our Lord, how can anyone declare this is a hate law?)
     Ms. Marshall also points to the fact that "the law also ensures religious schools and ministries, [who are] serving those in need, can continue to set their personnel and housing policies in accord with their beliefs. (This provision covers only religious organizations, not businesses. The law has nothing to do with business hiring or landlord policies.) Faith-based adoption agencies will be free to continue placing every child they serve with a married mom and dad... While bakers, a photographer, and a florist in other states have faced massive fines, creative professionals in wedding-related businesses in Mississippi cannot be coerced to use their talents to celebrate same-sex weddings."
     Isn't it time that these business owners be protected, based on their faith?  And why should people of faith be forced to give in to the pressure for transgender bathrooms?  I applaud Mississippi's new law, which allows private businesses and schools to set their own policies for the use of bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. But would it surprise you to know that PayPal announced plans to cancel an office expansion in North Carolina after that state passed a similar privacy protection measure?  Even though the law leaves them and other businesses free to make these policies however they see fit?
     Am I reading this wrong, but does it look as if Big Business and the Elite Corporations have no desire in compromising -- although I hate that word?  Doesn't it seem as if they want Christians and Christian businesses to bow down to the morally corrupt culture, and admit our defeat?  But here is the truth that they will never admit, and don't want the general public to know:  Most of the new law is about protecting religious groups and individuals who have a different perspective on marriage. It guarantees their religious freedom while not taking anything away from anyone else. What the new law is trying to express is that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of differences.  Big Business and the Entertainment Industry believe in that precept, too -- unless you are Christian, and wish to live your life (which includes how you conduct business) according to your moral conscience and faith.
     I just want you to be cognizant of this media and marketing blitz that is going to come against the religious community.  We are already seeing it on nearly every TV commercial and prime time show. They are targeting our children in school, and portraying the faithful as bigoted, hate-filled, insensitive and intolerant.  "Transgenderism" is the new cause célebré; children are encouraged to seek their "true" gender, which could be the opposite of that in which they were born, or any number of variations, according to their desires and what they would "like" to be.  Experimentation and imagination are invited and cultivated.
     The Bible tells us that immorality will increase in The Last Days, and even tells us what an immoral society looks like:  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.   I think men wanting to dress as women and using the womens' bathrooms pretty much hits the target of immorality, wouldn't you say?
     So, while we watch our society and culture grow further away from our Christian morals and values, we can expect the backlash and the distance between us to grow.  The discord between the faithful and the faithless will become rampant; and sadly, those weak in their faith will walk away from the hope that is Jesus, and distance themselves from us, too.  But I'm not telling you anything you didn't know.  It's just hard to watch it coming so fast, and almost without a fight.  At the same time, it is our privilege to stand for God in this battle, and to seek His Spirit for courage and endurance.  We know it's coming ... and we know what we must do!

Matthew 24:11-12    "Many false prophets will appear and mislead many.  Because lawlessness is increased, the love of most people will grow cold."

January 6, 2016

The Stand-Off In Oregon: Who's Right and Who's Wrong?

     Once again, there seems to be a powder keg about to be lit in America.  This time it is a standoff that involves the Hammond family of Oregon and the Federal government, and self-appointed patriots, spearheaded by Ammon Bundy of Nevada, who sincerely believe they are guarding the Constitutional rights of citizens.  But it is easy to get caught up in the rhetoric and the emotions, and difficult to discern the truth from the innuendo and personal agendas.
      After reading several accounts from various news sources, this is the case, as I understand it.... Everything takes place in the context of the Fish and Wildlife Service buying up all the land around the Hammond ranch for a wildlife refuge. Apparently owning half the land in the West was not good enough for the feds; more was better. Then, the feds allegedly took what seemed like retaliatory actions against the Hammonds after they refused to sell.
     The current crisis stems around what were designed to be controlled burns (or fires) conducted by the Hammonds in 2001 on their land; the first, to reduce juniper trees that have become invasive in that part of the country. That fire burned outside the Hammonds’ private property line and took in 138 acres of unfenced BLM land before the Hammonds got it put out. No BLM firefighters were needed to help extinguish the fire and no fences were damaged.  Interestingly enough, a range conservationist for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) stated that this fire improved the rangeland conditions owned by the BLM.  Let me also say that burns such as this are common among ranchers and farmers in order to control invasive trees and plant life that can prohibit farming and grazing on private lands.
     There was then a second fire, in 2006, which was a backfire started by Steven Hammond to protect their property from fires being set by lightning.  Steven's wife, Susan, later testified in court, "There was fire all around them that was going to burn our house and all of our trees and everything. The opportunity to set a back-fire was there and it was very successful. It saved a bunch of land from burning.”  However, the BLM asserts that one acre of federal land was burned by the Hammonds’ backfire, and Susan says determining which fire burned which land is “a joke” because fires [from the lightning strikes] burned from every direction.
      The result of this actions was convictions by the federal government against the Hammond's for two counts of arson.  The dispute was over whether they intended the fires to spread to public lands, and a jury convicted Steven Hammond and his father, Dwight.  The judge in the case said that the damage to some juniper trees and sagebrush did not warrant the five-year mandatory minimum sentence under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, and sentenced Dwight Hammond, the dad, to three months, and twelve months and a day for Steven Hammond, which they have served.
      But now, the Ninth Circuit has held that the minimum five-year sentence was not so disproportionate as to violate the Eighth Amendment’s “cruel and unusual punishment” clause. So,  now the Hammond's have been resentenced to five years in prison, under an antiterrorism law passed by Congress.  In fact, they made it clear that they intended to voluntarily turn themselves in and serve out the remainder of their sentence, under those federal minimum sentencing statutes, and after losing  in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  And that brings us to the current standoff in Oregon.
     Since the Hammond's are willing to return to prison to serve the full five years of the mandatory minimum, they do not wish any interference from anti-government or patriot groups which see this case as an overreach by the government.  The Bundy group, however, is the same group of people who backed Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher, who accused federal government officials of trying to illegally push his cattle off of protected BLM federal land.  That standoff came perilously close to pitting armed civilians against federal government agencies, with echoes of Ruby Ridge and Waco.  Fortunately, the government backed down and disaster was averted.
     But, somehow the Bundy group feels strongly that it is imperative they take a stand for the Hammond family, even though the Hammond family has not asked for help, nor do they want it.  Furthermore, since Saturday, the Bundy protesters have taken over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge visitor’s building, and refuse to leave until the five-year prison sentences handed by the Justice Department to the Hammond's are softened.  
     Naturally, this has caused a firestorm among politicians, lawmakers, constitutionalists, and patriot-minded Americans.  Everyone from Presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, to Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, to TV personality Montel Williams, have weighed in.  Rubio and Cruz both call for an end to the standoff and the end to lawlessness.  Cruz said, “Every one of us has a constitutional right to protest, to speak our minds.  But we don’t have a constitutional right to use force and violence and to threaten force and violence on others. And so it is our hope that the protesters there will stand down peaceably, that there will not be a violent confrontation.”  Rubio added that while he agreed with critics of federal land use policy, “Let me just say, first of all, you’ve got to follow the law... There are states dominated by the federal government in terms of land holding and we should fix it, but no one should be doing it in a way that’s outside the law. We are a nation of laws, we should follow those laws and they should be respected.”
     While the Oath Keepers organization is a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, they do not intend to insert themselves in a situation where they are not wanted.  Their founder, Stewart Rhodes, released the following statement:  We cannot force ourselves or our protection on people who do not want it.   Dwight and Steven Hammond have made it clear, through their attorney, that they just want to turn themselves in and serve out their sentence. And that clear statement of their intent should be the end of the discussion on this.  No patriot group or individual has the right or the authority to force an armed stand off on this family, or around them, against their wishes.  You cannot help someone who does not want your help, and who are not willing and ready to take a hard stand themselves.
     But then there are those like Montel Williams, who appears to encourage lawlessness by government officials, themselves, in the face of constitutional protests.  Williams said in several Twitter messages he’s quite OK with authorities using deadly force to take out the Oregon protesters who’ve taken over a federal building – that they’re “buffoons” with “terrorist” tendencies and unworthy of constitutional protections.  What?!?  Deadly force?  Unworthy of constitutional protections?  As nervous as it makes me for the protestors to push the envelope of civil disobedience, this kind of talk from a celebrity mouthpiece sickens me.  Since when does a private citizen feel compelled to call for deadly force against another citizen?  And who is he to judge that they are not due constitutional protection?
     While it sometimes seems to me that man's laws are becoming subject to tyrants and public opinion, I must remind myself that all government has been instituted by God.  I know, I know, that is so difficult to understand in the midst of perceived injustice.  But we must remember that there can be NO power, of ANY government, except what God allows.  So we must always keep in mind that He is working out a purpose that is probably far different than what any personal agenda for “improvement” that we deem necessary.  When our leaders are self-serving—or even outright devilish—it is God’s responsibility to remove them—NOT OURS!
     If ever there was injustice, it was the Roman tyranny over Judah when Jesus walked the earth.  Yet our LORD did not advocate the overthrow of the Roman government, even though He could have called down armies of angels to do His will.  It is a difficult concept for us humans to know how to act in love and righteousness when faced with corruption, unfairness, tyranny, and repression.  No matter how hard it is to understand, we are called to follow our nation's laws until they are in direct conflict with God's laws -- no matter how wrong or unfair they seem.  From my Biblical standpoint, the Hammond's have taken the high, and more difficult, road.  May God's peace abound in the wake of their tough decision.

Thank you to Patterico's Pontifications website for the clear and precise understanding of the Hammond family's court cases.  

I Timothy 2:1-2     "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."

May 9, 2015

Courageous or Irresponsible?

     Whether you agree with her methods or not, one must certainly give Pamela Geller credit for making Sharia law in America come out of the shadows.  The outspoken and controversial political activist has been known for her opinions on radical Islam and the politicization of Islam.  She has become a tireless spokeswoman against "creeping Sharia" in our country, which has resulted in her being labeled anti-Islamic and Islamophobic by the media and pundits on both sides of the political spectrum.  Geller is a Jewish American, and her pro-Israel stance has also made her a target of anti-semitic critics.
     All that being said, she is not averse to public and heated disagreement when it comes to getting her message across: Sharia law is dangerous, and has no place in the American judicial system.  She asserts that Shariah law is different from the theological constructs governing other faiths, claiming that canon law only applies to Catholics and Jewish law only governs Jewish people; she said that Shariah law differs in that it “asserts its authority over non-Muslims” as well.  Her continued campaign to shine a spotlight on the dangers of making concessions to Sharia in the name of "tolerance" and "inclusivity" in order to appease radical Muslims, has kept her message on the fringes ... no media pundits or outlets would take her seriously or give her air time to present her views.
     To be honest, it is tough to applaud her decision to hold a contest mocking the prophet Muhammad.  There is no one who would say she didn't expect a violent outcome.  And I have heard others remark that there were other ways to achieve her goals.  But can you suggest another way that would have forced all the news corporations to cover the fallout of her decision; or that would have forced a discussion of the full ramifications of Sharia Law into the public forum?  Is anyone focusing on the fact that two men were compelled to try to kill her, or others, in the name of jihad?
     Who has not seen or heard radical cleric Anjem Choudary's call for Ms. Geller to be put before a Sharia court and receive the full penalty for facilitating such offensive cartoons, “and if found guilty, of course, she would face capital punishment.”  Did you get that?  In the United States of America, you have a religious cleric promoting a sentence of death for exercising the right of free speech that this country prizes so much!  What a gross misrepresentation of what our justice system is all about!
     You might think that her methods were crude and in poor taste, but ultimately, she accomplished her goal: pointing out that Islamic Sharia law goes against everything this country stands for.  What's more, the mask has been pulled off, and the public has a clear view of how Sharia restricts and obstructs freedom.
     I want to be clear; I don't agree with everything that Pam Geller stands for.  She is "socially liberal" in her support of abortion legalization and same-sex marriages.  She is a theist who defends the Judeo-Christian ethical tradition, but I can find no evidence of a declared faith.  But she is a stalwart defender of free speech as a protection against tyranny, and is unafraid to provoke or offend in order to prove a point.  In response to critics who disapprove of her event in Garland, Texas this last week, her response is unapologetic:  “There is no automatic or unavoidable response to being insulted. No one is forced to kill for being insulted,” she said. “Those who choose to do so are responsible for their actions. No one else is.”
     Then there are those who find her methods too offensive and controversial.  And I would dare say that many of our church leaders would shy away from confronting the religion of Islam and Sharia law because they don't want to offend.  But by avoiding the subject, do they then lack any credibility and/or influence?  Think about Jesus and how He made his point in the public arena!
     People either loved Him, or loved to hate Him.  He wasn't afraid to offend the religious leaders of His day, the Pharisees; nor stand up to the political rule of the Romans.  The crowds flocked to Him because of the things He said and did; yet, they also loved to argue with Him and accuse Him of blasphemy and consorting with the Devil.  His methods were certainly controversial for the day, and He was a threat to the accepted practices of His time.  But He was willing to draw attention to Himself in order to shine a light on truths that needed to be revealed.
     Now, Pamela Geller is no Savior of the world, but she understands that if you want to be heard, you sometimes have to be willing to be bold, be criticized, and be willing to be misunderstood -- all in order to draw attention to your cause and make people think for themselves.  Whether she was courageous or irresponsible, the debate that her event has engendered may well wake up America to the danger that lies within.  May God use it for His glory!

Jeremiah 17:10    “I, the Lord, search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”


April 28, 2015

New Terminology: What Is The Meaning Of "Space To Destroy"?

     Let me be clear ... I am merely a simple woman who relies on my spiritual discernment to instruct my thoughts and opinions.  I do not claim to be perfect, but when I hear something more than once on the same day, I tend to see it as an affirmation of something that is, at the least, reasonable to consider.
     Yesterday, on the front page of the Drudge Report was an article titled, "The Odd Tactic of Giving Baltimore Protestors 'Space' to Destroy".  Also, yesterday, I heard a recording from Bastrop, TX, in which a spokesperson at a meeting between the public and officials with the Jade Helm military exercises announced that "space would be given to both protestors and those who wish to destroy".  That just seems so counter-intuitive to the nature of peaceful protest, does it not?  So why would this particular terminology be used?
     I understand the anger and confusion over the mysterious death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.  There seem to be no concrete explanations as to how his fatal back injury occurred.  It is natural for citizens to demand answers and to express their outrage publicly.
     Similarly, there is much confusion and suspicion over the explanations given for the military exercises known as Jade Helm, especially in Texas.  So, what might the two events have in common, and why would comparable language be used in describing what law enforcement and city/county governments will allow?
     Could it be that once it is established by local law that protestors have been given "space to destroy", any attempt by property owners to defend their possessions or premises will be against the law?  The mayor of Baltimore was quoted as saying, "We work very hard to keep that balance [between free speech and destructive elements], and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate."  Are we to interpret that to mean that some destruction of personal property is permissible in order to guarantee free speech?  How much is too much destruction?  What rights do property owners have to protect their property against public -- but government-condoned -- destruction?
     It would appear that we are once again blurring the line of the original intent of our Founding Fathers and what the new "intellectual" concept of government is becoming.  According to the Foundation for Economic Education, "The Founding Fathers upheld the economic view of property. They believed that private property ownership, as defined under common law, pre-existed government. The state and federal governments were the mere contractual agents of the people, not sovereign lords over them. All rights, not specifically delegated to the government, remained with the people–including the common-law provisions of private property. Consequently, the constitutional rights regarding free speech, freedom of religion, the right of assembly, and private property rights are all claims that individuals may hold and exercise against the government itself. In brief, private property refers to the rights of owners to use their possessions which are enforceable against all nonowners–even the government."
     Then there is the specific terminology in the Fifth Amendment, which states, "No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."  I know that in the use of private property for the Jade Helm exercises, it is being promoted that land owners approached the government offering the use of their property.  I know that at least in one instance, this is not true.  The property owner was approached by representatives of the government.  So, by declaring that use of the land was consensual, is this a way to avoid reparations in case the "space to destroy" gets out of hand?  In effect, does it do away with the rights of property owners to defend themselves?
     And what of the store owners and shopkeepers and homeowners in Baltimore?  If protestors are given a license and "space" to destroy, how will they be compensated for damages to their property?  What rights do they have to protect their personal property, if the City of Baltimore has established a right and space to destroy?
     In fairness and honesty, I will tell you that the Mayor of Baltimore has attempted to clarify her statement by saying that there was never any intent to suggest that those seeking to incite violence also had the space to operate.  I certainly should hope not!  But we all know that once that impression has been conveyed to the public, there is no taking it back.  You must decide for yourself if it was intentional, or not.
     The bottom line is this:  All Americans should have the opportunity to voice their opinions peaceably, while respecting the laws of the nation and the private property of individuals.  That being said, I suggest that officials carefully consider how their terminology will be interpreted.  I cannot imagine any manner in which "peaceful protest" and "space to destroy" belong in the same sentence!

Isaiah 64:6    "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."


April 17, 2015

The Best Defense Of the 2nd Amendment I've Ever Heard!

     I suppose the Sandy Hook tragedy will forever be used by the gun control crowd to further their talking points.  It's a conveniently emotional topic in which to rally support for more gun regulation and eventual transformation of the Second Amendment.  So, I wasn't surprised to hear it brought up again in an attempt to portray conservative Presidential candidates as the heartless gun nuts that the Opposition would like us all to believe they are.  But here is how you handle that trap ...
     Question:  In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, a statistic surfaced putting support for background checks at 90%.  Did you go against the want of the nation, with your vote against Manchin-Toomey [which would have required background checks on all commercial sales of guns]?  And also, how does public opinion shape your response to national problems?
     Candidate's Response:  You know there's an old line ... there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.  You're right, that was a poll that was bandied around a lot, but you can find a lot of results in a poll, depending on how you frame the question.
     As you and I both know, we have a system of background checks in place right now.  When either of us goes to a federally licensed firearms dealer, there's a background check that is put in place.  What Manchin-Toomey was trying to do was extend that to every private sale between two individuals... to put the federal government [in the middle], (not in terms of having a system of background checks for federally licensed dealers) ... but for you and me, for two guys in a duck blind selling their shotguns, one to the other.  And the federal government doesn't have any business there.
     And if you ask the American people that, they don't want the federal government getting in between private consensual sales between individual citizens.
     And I would note ... when you asked about the role of public opinion polls ... when it comes to Constitutional rights, what matters is what the Bill of Rights says.  It doesn't matter what might be popular at the moment.  We've seen regimes across the face of the earth come and take away peoples guns; strip away their right to defend themselves.  And sometimes it's been very popular, and yet it is an inevitable prelude to tyranny.
     Our country was founded on a radical proposition, which is that our rights don't come from government.  They come from God.  And the purpose of the Constitution .... Thomas Jefferson said the Constitution serves as chains to bind the mischief of government.  And the entire reason for the Second Amendment is not for hunting; it's not for target shooting -- those are both wonderful; it's great to go with your family and your kids to go hunting or skeet shooting -- but that is not what the Second Amendment is for.  The Second Amendment is there so you and I can protect our homes, our families, our children, and our lives.  It's also there as a fundamental check on government tyranny.  And that ultimately is not subject to public opinion polls.  It's subject to the expressed protection of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.
     My response:  Those who would seek to bow to public opinion as the ultimate decision-maker would lead us down that slippery path to tyranny.  Are they that naive?  Can they not look at history and see how easily the masses have been manipulated and have played right into their tyrant's hand?  All one has to do is read a concise history of how the Nazi Party used gun control to "cleanse" and "control"; first, their own nation, and then the nations they proceeded to invade and conquer.
     Did you know that in 1941, just days before the Pearl Harbor attack, Congress reaffirmed Second Amendment rights and prohibited gun registration?  Look how easily public opinion has been swayed in just 74 years!  So do you really want some public opinion polls to determine your freedoms and the right to protect yourself, home, and country?  Due to the proclivity of sheep to be easily led to the slaughter, how could you trust those opinions?  Based on the near ignorance of important issues by the populace in this country, public opinion polls is a ridiculous way to govern!  The Constitution is the best -- and only -- method by which we can maintain our freedoms.  The freedoms that were given to us by God should not be subject to the whims and impulses of the guileless masses.

By the way, that educated response to the Second Amendment ambush was Senator Ted Cruz.  You can hear his response first-hand by clicking on this link.

1 Peter 2:16   "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."

February 9, 2015

The Vaccine Debate and The Hegelian Dialectic

     It seems that the Vaccine Debate has become the next Hegelian Dialectic being forced upon us.  I have talked about this "Marxist process of change" before, but in case you are not familiar with this term, let me explain it.  Let's say those in power want to accomplish some goal; we'll call it A, but they know that the populace would never go for it.  So they create scenario B that drives the public into a panic.  They then have solution C (which is actually A) waiting in the wings to help solve B.  But what the populace doesn't realize is this: they've been played.  The whole sequence of events was staged and planned to achieve the original goal.
     Confused?  Let me give you a little demonstration of this theory ... say some malevolent government wanted to institute martial law, but the people of the nation are generally lovers of freedom, and the officials know the people will not easily surrender their rights.  So agents within the government create a situation (say something like Ferguson, Missouri), that spills over into nationwide violence and chaos.  Widespread looting occurs, cities burn, innocent citizens are targeted by angry mobs, and the nation's economy becomes seriously affected.  Those same freedom-loving citizens start to think that perhaps a temporary period of martial law is needed to get things back to normal.  They beg the government to do something, anything, to solve the problem... and guess what?  The original goal is achieved; but it ain't temporary!

     Now carry that premise over into the curiously revived debate on Vaccines.  I say "curiously" because, doesn't it seem like this issue came out of nowhere?  Like overnight?  There has been an ongoing discussion and controversy over vaccines for quite some time.  Frankly, it is my impression that doctors are divided over the necessity of so many vaccines on the market today.  Plus I am not convinced that there is not a link between childhood vaccines and autism.
     According to the Autism Science Foundation,  "In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network reported that approximately 1 in 68 children in the United States has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than previous estimates reported in 2012, of 1 in 88 children. In the 1980’s autism prevalence was reported as 1 in 10,000. In the nineties, prevalence was 1 in 2500 and later 1 in 1000."  Now this organization is careful to say that a decade ago, research seemed to show that vaccines were a likely cause of autism, but they have changed their stance to reflect that recent research has discounted that theory.
     Then there is The Autism Society, which says "There is no known single cause for autism spectrum disorder, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function... Research indicates other factors besides the genetic component are contributing to the rise in increasing occurrence of autism – for example, environmental toxins (e.g., heavy metals such as mercury), which are more prevalent than in the past."
     Now, I am not a doctor nor a scientist; and I have no way to prove which of the above theories is the correct one.  But I cannot dismiss the countless stories of normal, healthy infants suddenly developing autism after receiving a conglomeration of vaccines during a well-child checkup.  I have heard too many stories like this one:  My neighbor, and good friend, experienced a frightening situation when her infant son went into a seizure-like state after receiving a vaccine shot.  I can understand why she, like many mothers I know, do not get their children vaccinated.  And there lies "the rub" for our government, and why there is a need for the latest Hegelian strategy.
     You see, I don't want to engage in a conversation about the pros and cons of vaccinations -- although that is a worthy discussion to have.  (Please read this well-documented report on measles in the pre-vaccination era versus today.)  No, I'm more concerned in what that discussion seems to be leading towards.  There is a near hysteria over the recent measles outbreak in California, with parents concerned that unvaccinated children who get the measles could spread the virus exponentially, causing an epidemic of children who might "suffer the serious complications of measles, such as deafness and brain damage or even death" (as one CNN news report disclosed).
      As the alarm over the 155 cases of measles in 16 states (which started at Disneyland in December) is trending as a major "measles outbreak", I am more alarmed over what I see as a collaboration between the media and government to hint at "forced" vaccinations.  When you have Megan Kelly, one of the out-front news anchors of Fox News saying she "is not opposed to Big Brother getting involved when it comes to child vaccinations", I think that is a deliberate and planned warning to the American people.
     First of all, explain to me why 155 cases in about 2 months is cause for such hand-wringing?  The Center for Disease Control, itself, reported 27,672 measles cases reported in 1990, and 75,290 reported cases in 1971.  True, they acknowledged that failure to vaccinate children at the appropriate age was the major factor in these numbers; but they also related that there was an increase of measles in Central and South American countries, and that black and Hispanic children are less likely to be age-appropriately vaccinated than are white children.
     So, it seems to me that it's not really the number of measles cases that is the cause for all the hysteria; could perhaps the recent measles cases just be a convenient excuse to push the vaccine agenda?  Let's see, what recent events have occurred in our country that would have introduced a large population of unvaccinated children of Hispanic origin into the midst of our otherwise healthy population?  Could there be any connection between our open, porous borders and the sudden push for vaccinations for all children?
     And if you want to follow that trail down the rabbit hole, you better screw on your tin foil hat ... because I have some very important questions that everyone must answer for themselves.  Do you trust the CDC and do you trust all the additives in today's vaccines?  Do you believe that the Elite of the world are interested in population control?  If so, why, and how could they implement a widespread reduction of the world's population?  Is there any connection between the growing GMO food supply and the combinations of vaccines that children now receive?  And, finally, do you think the U.S. government should mandate vaccinations for all children?  Consider Megan Kelly's response (whom I would certainly include in the ranks of the Elite) when asked if she opposed mandatory vaccinations for children.  She clearly stated her objective:  "No".
     Now, let's go back to the question I asked at the beginning of this essay ... Doesn't it seem like the heated debate on this issue came out of nowhere?  Is it possible that mandatory vaccinations (for whatever reason -- good or bad) are the goal?  And in order to sell the American people on yet another loss of the freedom to live their lives as they choose, a "false measles epidemic" is incited to cause widespread panic and a demand from frantic parents to protect their children from those immoral parents who choose not to vaccinate?
     I know it all sounds crazy and Machiavellian; and it is difficult to think that anyone could engineer such devious plans for the world's population.  But the Haves will use any means necessary to retain control over the Have Nots.  It's just too bad that we have to question the motives behind everything these days.

Galatians 4:17:   "They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them."

November 4, 2014

To Vote Or Not to Vote .... What Is Our Christian Duty?

      I think it's fair to say that most Americans are having conflicting emotions about voting in the mid-term elections today.  While we acknowledge that we are blessed to live in a country that still allows us to vote for our elected officials, we are rather disillusioned with the process.  We are tired of the false promises, the broken pledges, the voter fraud, the corruption that seems to be inherent in politics, and the fact that most elected office-holders end up not representing us at all!
     In fact, I have heard more disenchanted talk this election cycle from people who take their civic duty seriously.  For the first time in their adult life, they considered not voting.  "It doesn't make an iota of difference", they say.  "The Republicans and Democrats are exactly the same.  It doesn't matter who wins -- nothing will change; we will get the same government."  I cannot dispute their logic.  So, is it important that we vote today?  Will casting a ballot earn us anything more than an "I voted" sticker?   Will we really have a say about what form of leadership we experience?  Or are higher powers really in control, and pulling the lever is inconsequential?
    It may surprise you to learn that voting has been a part of the American experience since the settlement of Jamestown in 1607 -- and nothing much has changed in those 400+ years.  It has been a long, protracted experiment, with periodic changes, both expanding and contracting the enfranchisement of its citizens.  We are still tampering with the process!  Voting fraud has been common from the outset, with votes being bought and sold; and different states enacting their own voting laws, adding to the disorder and capriciousness of elections.
     One could say it's been a messy business from the beginning, and it seems to be inspiring even less confidence today.  So, should we abandon the thought that it is our "duty" to vote?  If it's not going to change a thing, should we even bother?  If I was looking at the situation through the world's lens, I might be convinced to stay home.  But does God have an opinion?  Is the act of voting somehow important to Him, or is it man's effort to make himself seem relevant to a civilized society?
     In the Old Testament we read of the Israelites' desire for an earthly king.  From that first appointment of King Saul, we learn that God is involved in those who rule the nations.  And it is clearly seen that the people usually get the kings/rulers they deserve.  If a people desire and take steps to live their lives according to Godly principles, then their choice of a leader is reflected in the governing of their nation.  But, far too many times, citizens of a country have strayed from the path God would have them follow, and they appoint a leader that, in essence, becomes a figurehead or icon  for their idolatrous ways.
     Down through the centuries, history has shown us the repercussions of godless leaders.  But we only have to look at the last 100 years to get a picture of men who blatantly displayed their disregard for the God of the Universe ... Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot.   Based on how other leaders have performed their duties as heads of state, we can only imagine what they profess in secrecy.  So, with the evidence showing a preponderance of godless leadership, does God still want us to vote?
     First, we need to understand that He is in control, regardless of the actions of sinful leaders.  And I think we need to consider our duty and responsibility to vote as a means of furthering His will by approving men with good Christian values.  We are commanded to pray for our leaders, and clearly directed to obey legitimately elected authorities, unless they specifically defy or contradict the Lord's commands.  (So please do not quote Romans 13 as proof that we are to follow godless leaders, no matter what).  
     So, can you see why it might be important to exercise your right to vote when laws concerning abortion, the establishment of marriage, or persecution of the faithful might offend God?  We, here in America, still have a voice for our Christian faith; unlike those who are being persecuted elsewhere around the globe.  But how much longer will we enjoy that privilege if we become complacent about voting for God-fearing men and women?  How long before it becomes against the law to preach the Gospel message in the public domain?  We still have the right and the opportunity to promote, protect, and preserve a government (and government leaders) that still recognize God as their Source of Power.
     I think we can all agree that those choices are becoming less viable.  I believe that the government leaders we elect in the next two cycles will have profound influence on whether this nation remains touched by God.  That is why it is incumbent upon each of us to pray and to study the candidates and choose wisely.  The effects of our indifference about voting is apparent in the state of our nation.  When Christians stay home and/or remain silent in the political arena, we get the government we deserve; God hands us over to our desires.  If we stand a chance of getting this country back on track, then Christians need to stand up and be counted!

1 Samuel 12:13   "And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the Lord has set a king over you."


May 10, 2014

Do You Vote?

     Somehow, after the Texas Primary Elections in March, I managed to misplace our voter registration cards.  Knowing that the Runoff Election is coming up at the end of this month, I decided to call off the search and just get them replaced.  I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised, as I talked to the County Clerks about voter participation, to find that the important 2014 midterms are not showing an increase in voter involvement.
     I find that extremely unsettling.  I do not know of one person who has not expressed dissatisfaction at the present state of our nation --- from either side of the aisle; discontent seems to be nonpartisan.  Yet the most viable vehicle we, as citizens, have to express our desire for change is all but ignored.  Voting is essential to a free and democratic society, yet only 57.5% of the population of the country voted in the 2012 national elections.
     As pointed out on the website, Global Politician, a Democracy is a nation ruled by its citizenry. In a true democratic society, it is essential to ensure a government that follows the will of the people; and not the one that force the people to follow it -- that is, a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
     French philosopher, writer, and diplomat Joseph de Maistre's oft-quoted warning is certainly applicable to our generation:  Every nation gets the government it deserves.  By this, he means that the actions -- or lack thereof -- of a citizenry will result in the character and morality of its government.  When nearly half of our country neglects its duty to safeguard the nation, then we are left with the natural demise of the nation.  And we can't say we weren't warned ... I would like you to contemplate the words of these wise men who exhorted us to protect our cherished liberties:

     Samuel Adams, Founding Father (1781):  Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual - or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. 

     Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury (1789-1795):  A share in the sovereignty of the state, which is exercised by the citizens at large, in voting at elections is one of the most important rights of the subject, and in a republic ought to stand foremost in the estimation of the law.

     Matthias Burnett (Pastor, 1803):  Consider well the important trust . . . which God . . . [has] put into your hands. . . . To God and posterity you are accountable for [your rights and your rulers]. . . . Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you. . . . [L]ook well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust. . . . Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant; or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. Think not that men who acknowledge not the providence of God nor regard His laws will be uncorrupt in office, firm in defense of the righteous cause against the oppressor, or resolutly oppose the torrent of iniquity. . . . Watch over your liberties and privileges - civil and religious - with a careful eye.

     Noah Webster, American textbook pioneer (1823):  When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, "just men who will rule in the fear of God." The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be sqandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.

     Daniel Webster, U.S. Senator (1840):  Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.

     Charles Finney (Pastor, 1868):  The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them. . . . Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter. But the time has come when they must act differently. . . . Christians seem to act as if they thought God did not see what they do in politics. But I tell you He does see it - and He will bless or curse this nation according to the course they [Christians] take [in politics].

     James Garfield, President of the U.S. (1883):  Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. . . . [I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation . . . it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.
     As you can see, they all took the exercise of their voting right very seriously; they said it plain and clear ... we are responsible for the character and morals of our governing body.  And, my, how we have abdicated that duty.  The sheer number of non-voters has allowed our freedoms to slip away.  When we don't represent ourselves, we open the door to corruption, decay and evil.  We should never forget that people sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedom and our right to vote; it is our sacred obligation to exercise the opportunity they so selflessly afforded us.  True democracy in a republican form of government demands the involvement of the people --  otherwise, in absence of that participation, there is no moral government ... and our demise is certain.

Isaiah 9:16    "For those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up."

April 26, 2014

The Battle Over Bundy

     In regards to the ongoing theatrics at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada, there has been a barrage of accusations among a wide spectrum of Americans, all who claim that they believe in freedom, liberty and limited government.  While the different camps seem to agree that the federal government over-reached in its armed reaction to Mr. Bundy's refusal to pay grazing fees, they are world's apart on the aftermath of his standoff.
     Some, like Glenn Beck, affirm that Bundy and his supporters are fomenting violence; while others such as Alex Jones, claim they were on the ground in Nevada and there was a concerted effort to remain nonviolent and follow the path of civil disobedience.  And now the name-calling has begun... and the attempts to discredit Bundy as a racist.
     I was amazed (and alarmed, actually) that the Beck camp was so quick to denounce Bundy as a racial bigot, due to his comments to the New York Times on the state of the black race.  Did he express his position eloquently?  No.  Was the use of the word "Negro" outdated?  Of course.  Yet it was far from inflammatory.  Having known quite a few Western ranchers, I can tell you that they are not current in our culture's slang or euphemisms.  I'm pretty sure, that to Mr. Bundy, "Negro" was a polite term that he has used his whole life.  To make him out to be something he is not, is not only reckless, but unconscionable.
     And who among us has not decried the current Welfare system as a new form of slavery?  It restricts the freedoms of all races to pursue life, liberty and happiness, as their Creator designed them.  After reading the NY Times interview, it appears to me that Mr. Bundy is a religious man, and is taking his moment in the spotlight to denounce the systems that are killing the human spirit.  It is his naiveté and lack of sophistication when dealing with the news media that kept him from filtering his thoughts and comments.  On the surface, there is nothing wrong with that --- it's kind of nice to hear frank, honest and sincere statements.  Remember, he doesn't have a high-paid publicist managing his every word.  Bet he'll think twice before giving his opinion on anything other than his struggle with the BLM.
     But to all those who have come out to denounce this man and his cause ... have you given any thought to the idea that this interview might have been orchestrated to do just that?  To cast him in a despicable light, and therefore give rise to disagreements and cat-fights between those who basically agree on the foundation of his fight?  Do you realize that the focus has now been taken off the government and transferred to some ridiculous and overblown comments; and that by fighting among yourselves, you are tearing down the very fabric of your righteous argument?   (And is it only me, but does Beck seem to be digging a deeper hole for himself by trying to protect his original misguided impression of the Bundy affair?  And just who is he relying on for his information?  They don't seem to have a clear understanding of the real picture).
     Whatever is going on behind the scenes, it smells rotten to me.  Politicians, who just days before, saw this as a constitutional fight, are now distancing themselves from Mr. Bundy's uneducated comments.  Far more provocative and incendiary comments have been made in the past by such real racial haters as Shabazz of the Black Panthers, yet some behind-the-times remarks by a plain, unpretentious rancher threaten to nullify one of the most important events in our modern history.  Think this is all accidental?  Keep your eye on what matters, and don't get fooled by the shell game.

Isaiah 32:7    "As for the scoundrel—his devices are evil; he plans wicked schemes to ruin the poor with lying words, even when the plea of the needy is right."

April 9, 2014

SCOTUS Leaves Christians Defenseless

     By refusing to hear the case of a New Mexico photographer who declined a job to commemorate the same-sex union of two lesbians, the Supreme Court of the United States, in effect, is forcing Christians to go against their religious convictions, and to do it against their will.
     The photographer was accused of violating New Mexico's "sexual orientation" law which mandates that there can be no denial of service based on discrimination by those offering their services to the public. Here are the facts, as reported by World Net Daily:  In 2006, Elaine Huguenin received an email from a woman, Vanessa Willock, asking if she would be “open to helping us celebrate our day,” a “commitment ceremony” between her and her same-sex partner.  When Elaine and her husband, Jonathan, politely declined because the ceremony was at odds with their beliefs, Willock found another photographer, for less money.  But that did not stop her from filing a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, demanding the Huguenins be punished.  And that is the primary objective ... to punish.
    The Huguenins said they would “gladly serve gays and lesbians” by taking portraits. But photographing same-sex marriages or commitment ceremonies would “require them to create expression conveying messages that conflict with their religious beliefs,” according to their petition to the Supreme Court.
     OK, I feel like a broken record whenever I try to discuss my convictions on this subject.  It's really very simple for me.  While my religious beliefs do not condone the redefinition of the word "marriage" to become anything other than the Biblical meaning, I would not tell another person how to conduct their lives.  It is their choice.  But it is equally my choice to not be coerced into approving their choice.  Doesn't it seem as if the New Mexico law is doing just that?
     Let me just put it into terms that apply to me.  I am a writer.  I am also a Christian who honors my God's commandments to the best of my abilities.  There are certain actions that He has made clear to me that He does not approve of, and of which He would not want me to write in an approving manner.  I am guilty of some of them; therefore I am not comfortable passing judgment on others who may commit different acts that offend Him.  I can only change me and my heart, with His help.
     But my religious beliefs and consciousness regarding an issue like same-sex marriage are the same beliefs that would not permit me to write and glorify someone's actions who is a murderer, an adulterer, a gossiper, a slanderer, an abuser of his/her parents, a God-hater, a greedy embezzler, a liar, and so forth.  Before those of you who disagree with me, go all Duck Dynasty on me .... I am not equating same-sex marriage with the act of murder.  I am just trying to make the point that the Bible is my standard for a broad spectrum of activities.  That doesn't mean that I think no one should be allowed to write about them; I simply choose to let someone else do that honor, should they so desire.
     But forcing me, as a Christian, to say that I approve of what Jeffrey Dahmer or Bernie Madoff did is no different than forcing a Christian photographer or baker to use their artistic expression in approval of same-sex marriage.  No one is saying that you can't have your wedding cake or your commitment photographs; in fact, in every single case brought before the courts, the couples have been able to find someone who is happy to supply the service.  Just don't force someone who chooses to abide by their religious convictions to do something against their faith and their will.
     Yet by declining to even consider the case, the Supreme Court of our land is, in effect, condoning the decisions of the lower courts.  And it doesn't stop there!  I could hardly believe it when I read that one of the New Mexico State Supreme Court justices said that being ordered to compromise one’s beliefs is simply the “price of citizenship.”  As a group, the New Mexico justices released this statement, in part:  At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead... In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship."
     In short, Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin must compromise, show tolerance and respect for others who are different than they.  But because they are Christians, they cannot expect the same treatment.  They, apparently are not worthy of tolerance or respect; and anyone who disagrees with their religious beliefs does not have to compromise.  And exactly why doesn't Vanessa Willock have to compromise to accommodate the contrasting values of Elaine and Jonathan?  Where is Vanessa's respect for someone who believes differently than she does?  Where is the outrage over the "social injustice" perpetrated against the Huguenins?  But remember, it is not about justice; it is all about punishing.
     I am afraid this is just the beginning of the legal persecution of Christians.  When Judge Tim L. Garcia of the New Mexico Court of Appeals says that states can require Christians to violate their faith to do business; and the United States Supreme Court does nothing to protect our rights to practice our faith as commanded, then where does it all lead?  If we are Bible-believing Christians, we know good and well where we're headed.  It's not going to get any easier from here on out.  We must make up our minds to continue and persevere in our faith.  As our Lord told us, there's a price to be paid to follow Him.  You have a choice ... compromise or stand firm.  What will you do?

Revelation 14:12     "Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus."

June 12, 2013

In The Blink of An Eye ...

     You know that my tin foil hat is always only an arm-length away, right?  And if you've read enough of my posts, then you know that I find it uncommonly coincidental that the movie industry seems to forecast what the government has in its planning stages long before the framework becomes reality.
     Such is the case of the mildly successful movie, Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise.  Supposedly, one of the themes of the sci-fi movie was the role of preventive government in protecting its citizenry, as exemplified by the ever-present eye-flashers that identify everyone who walks through a public plaza; targeting ads at them and feeding the police information about their every move.  Now who would ever have a problem with that?
     Well, apparently parents of elementary students in Polk County, Florida, did when they found out that their children’s irises had been scanned without permission as part of a new security program.  Several schools, ranging from high school to grade school took part in a program called Eye-Swipe Nano, in which officials from Stanley Convergent Security Solutions took iris scans of students between May 20 and 22.  But here's the problem .... the letter allowing parents to opt out wasn't sent until May 24th.  Some lame excuse about a secretary's medical emergency causing the delay isn't cutting it with parents.  One parent took to Facebook, posting: ‘This is stolen information, and we cannot retrieve it.’
     School Board members praised the program, calling it just another layer of security for the students.  And supposedly, the pilot program has been suspended and all records and scans from the program have been destroyed.  Yeah, riiiight!
     But lest you think that this is some new untested technology that is still on the horizon, you might be interested to know that it's nearly standard practice in other parts of the world.  According to an article on TheVerge.com, hundreds of millions of people in India have been iris-printed, along with thousands of Iraqi civilians and anyone who goes through customs regularly in Dubai. It's the gold standard of a modern ID program, easier than fingerprinting and more stable than facial recognition. All you have to do is look at the camera and open your eyes. And unlike in retinal scans, the scanner doesn't need to be up close. It's just a photograph, taken in infrared, which in theory could work if taken from across the room.  ((That makes me feel secure about my privacy!)
     And it only makes sense that with all the talk in the halls of Congress of "a national ID program", that this type of technology is a shoe-in for keeping track of our every move, a la Minority Report.  It goes without saying that civil libertarians are not happy.     

     "The concern is that biometrics will be used for the mass tracking of individuals," according to Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union. "If that kind of ID system becomes routine and widespread, it turns us into a kind of checkpoint society." Even in India, the system is still only used at police stations and government offices, but once the print is connected to a universal ID, it's easy to imagine iris scans becoming as commonplace as pulling out a driver's license.
     Who among us can't imagine the misuse of such a universal ID program in the hands of an oppressive regime?  This technology has progressed from military use (to track "friendlies" in Iraq) to local law enforcement in India and Mexico, and has now appeared in our school systems.  How long before it is mandated for every citizen?  Perhaps this information is part of what will be housed at that big data bank in Utah; you know .... the one that the government insists is benign (wink, wink).  Sorry for the sick humor; I simply couldn't resist.  Keep your eyes wide open on this one, folks!

Mark 8:25      "Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly."