Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Rainbow Contradiction

In the Old Testament book of Genesis, scripture tells us how God decided to wipe all of humankind from the earth with a great flood because of their wickedness.  Only the righteous Noah and his family were spared because of his faithfulness to God.  After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah and his kin that He would never again send a flood to destroy the earth.  His promise of this covenant was the beautiful rainbow He set in the sky.

I have always loved rainbows, since I first heard this story as a child.  There is something about them; about the prism that the rain droplets make that separate the light wavelengths into their different beautiful colors that has always fascinated me and made me feel joyful. 

These days, it is both ironic and frustrating to me that the rainbow has been recognized as the symbol for the gay rights movement.  I don’t know if this misappropriation was done intentionally and mockingly of God or not, but regardless, I have long ago discovered that God allows us to suffer the consequences of our own sinful actions – particularly when we purposefully choose to take a stand against Him.  As a nation, we seem to have done precisely that, and embracing the LGBT movement is just one more example of our turning our backs on God. 

It seems that we are once again presented with another significant opportunity to turn away from Him.  The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is expected to release its ruling on gay marriage in the next few days; likely it will be on Monday June 29th.  SCOTUS will rule on whether states can legally ban gay “marriage”, and also whether states can refuse to recognize a same-sex “marriage” that was legally performed in another state.
Many learned folks presume that the SCOTUS will indeed strike down gay “marriage” bans.  Regardless of whether they do so this month or not, it does seem that public opinion would suggest that it is inevitable that gay “marriage” will eventually become the law of the land within the next few years. 

I, personally, don’t think the government should be involved in the institution of marriage of any sort.  Marriage, as it has been defined and held to for millennia, was and is only between one man and one woman.  It is a religious sacrament.  It is the bedrock principle of western civilization.  Without this sacrament, it is impossible to believe that our societies would have flourished and prospered.  Government really should not be inserting itself into this by granting licenses to whomever it deems appropriate to engage in holy matrimony.  That is something better left to the churches.  Or, if a person is a non-believer, they can become “married” through a civil wedding.  Regardless, the government should stay out of it.

Personally, while I see the long-term societal harm of gay “marriage”, I am rather Libertarian on the issue.  If two gay people choose to form a union, so be it.  But to misappropriate the term “marriage”, which is a religious sacrament between man, woman, and God, to describe their union seems to be a slap in the face to those of us who still do hold marriage to be a sacrament – to be sacrosanct.  Gay people can call theirs a bonding union or what-have-you, but it is not marriage. 

God created marriage and words mean things.  We can twist words and try to give them new meanings but saying that two men or two women joined together in a civil ceremony is a marriage is about as ridiculous as calling a man, a woman.  You can call it whatever you want, but that doesn’t make it so.

Of course the upcoming SCOTUS decision will have many drastic long-term ramifications for our society.  If they do strike down gay “marriage” bans as expected, we can also expect further lawsuits against religious institutions that still recognize the sacramental nature of marriage and refuse to “marry” same-sex couples.  These institutions will be targeted as discriminatory and hateful and in violation of federal law.  Already there are efforts under way to remove the tax exempt status of many faith-based organizations that refuse to recognize, let alone celebrate the LGBT culture and lifestyle. 

Those individual Americans that believe homosexual actions are wrong and sinful will also be further ostracized and targeted via force of law in the coming decade.  Already private businesses have been shut down and destroyed for refusing to take a peripheral part in gay weddings.  In Canada, it is considered hate speech and illegal to preach against homosexuality.  In certain states, Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to shut down because they refused to adopt out children to gay couples. 

How long until the federal government insists that since gay “marriage” is the law of the land, that churches must “marry” gay couples or lose their tax exempt status, or even worse be fined?  This likely decision would seem to me to create additional great conflicts as it places the “right” of gay “marriage” up against our 1st amendment right to freedom of religion and the exercise thereof.  This probable decision will likely only serve to further divide an already fractured nation.

Despite all of this, we are all still called to love our neighbor as our self.  God tells us not to condone sin, but also not to condemn our brother or sister.  It is His place for such judgment.  We must love our neighbor, regardless of their sin.  And we are all sinners; me, most especially.  Love the sinner, hate the sin, we are told.  That means we love each and every child of God, not just the straight ones.  Everyone.

Our country and the world is indeed changing, and I fear it is certainly not for the better.  It is infinitely easier to be on the right side of history than it is to be on the right side of Truth.  That said, I will stick to my beliefs and do my best to live my life according to them, regardless of the contempt that our new “enlightened” society throws at me.  Even Christ said, "In the world you will have troubles, but take courage; I have overcome the world."  John 16:33 

And I know and believe in Him when He tells me this.  All of that said, I still want my rainbow back. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Progressives Continuing Mission to Eradicate the 2nd Amendment

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.  

Thus says the 2nd Amendment of The United States Constitution.  This crucial, self-evident right of the people was one that our Forefathers enshrined within the Bill of Rights.  James Madison thought that the Bill of Rights was largely unnecessary since the Constitution itself clearly defined the specific powers and duties of the federal government.  Any other powers not specifically enumerated within it were assumed to belong to the people or the States, as was then clarified by the 10th amendment.

Fast forward to the 21st century and I find myself very glad that our forefathers did indeed stipulate the first ten amendments (The Bill of Rights) for the American People.  Even so, there are many people today, particularly on the left of the political spectrum, that assume the 2nd amendment was never intended to be an individual right.  After all, it talks about a “well-regulated militia”, so in their minds this must be a governmental right.  Such people are either ignorant of history and context, or are deliberately dissembling.

First of all, would it make any sense for the Bill of Rights to enumerate all of the individual rights of Americans that the federal government was obliged to protect in the other nine amendments but insist on another governmental right in the second amendment?  If that was the intent of that amendment, why wouldn’t the framers have placed that within the main body of the Constitution? 

No.  All of the rights delineated in the Bill of Rights were absolutely intended to be rights reserved to individual American citizens and not to the federal government.  This was finally confirmed yet again in the 2008 Supreme Court decision of District of Columbia v. Heller and again in McDonald v. Chicago in 2010. 

Nevertheless, today’s leftist politicians have become a little more circumspect in how they violate their oath of office to defend the constitution when they seek to ban private gun ownership.  In other words, they have tried to incrementally infringe on this individual right.  The have lied to the American People. 

“Nobody wants to take your guns away,” they decry.  “We simply want to enact ‘common sense’ gun laws that any reasonable person should be able to agree with.  After all, nobody needs an ‘assault weapon’ or a ten round magazine – let alone a thirty round magazine,” so the paraphrase goes from politicians such as Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein, and Chuck Schumer, to President Obama himself.

Yes, what the left cannot eradicate carte blanche by doing an end run around congress or by illegal executive orders, they try to do piecemeal with innocuous sounding ‘reasonable bills’ presented in congress.  Here are just a few of the current federal and state attempts to erode our vital 2nd amendment right:

House Resolution (H.R.) 1454 – This bill would give President Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) the authority to ban nearly all common rifle ammunition.  This was tried recently with a proposed ban on all “green tip” 5.56 mm ammunition which is used in perhaps the most ubiquitous of rifles in the United States: the AR-15.  Luckily the outcry from the public was so great, that the BATFE backed down on this ban for the time being.

Operation Chokepoint – This is the Obama Administration’s new set of shadowy banking regulations that is currently responsible for shutting down gun shops nationwide by making it impossible for them to secure ordinary loans and lines of credit.

United Nations Gun Ban Treaty – Despite the fact that the U.S. Senate has failed to ratify this pernicious treaty, the Obama administration is still on mission to implement many of the anti-gun tenets of it.

H.R. 1217 – This new proposal in Congress would implement Obama’s national gun registration scheme.  (It is a lot easier to confiscate all of the legally owned weapons if you know who owns them, after all!)

S. 407 – This new bill in Congress would ban the manufacture and sale of standard capacity magazines.

H.R. 224 – This new proposal would empower President Obama’s anti-gun Surgeon General to publish propaganda that frames our Second Amendment freedom as a public health problem.

H.R. 307 – This new Congressional bill would force us to pay for a national gun “buy-back” scheme through our tax dollars.

H.R. 225 – This proposal would give unelected anti-gun bureaucrats at the Consumer Product Safety Commission the authority to regulate and ban our firearms as they thought reasonable.

Multi-state legislation 1 – Several proposals are pending in multiple states that would require gun owners to keep their firearms locked away, unloaded, and disabled, thereby rendering them useless for self-defense.

Multi-state legislation 2 – Various proposals are also pending in many states that would increase taxes, sometimes severely, on all firearm and ammunition purchases.

Multi-state legislation 3 – Many states are trying to pass Obama’s national gun registration scheme that failed to pass congress two years ago on state levels.

Multi-state legislation 4 – Finally, multiple states have put forth legislative proposals to repeal “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” laws that effectively strip a gun owner of the right to use a firearm in most self-defense situations.

The purpose of the second amendment was not to secure Americans with the ability to go hunting or trap-shooting.  Our founding fathers knew that the only way to protect our young nation against enemies both foreign and domestic was to provide that “We The People” were able to ensure our own safety, and thus hold government accountable as it exercises its Constitutional duties – and only it’s Constitutional duties.  It is ironic and quite worrisome that many of our elected officials today are seeking to infringe upon or even eradicate the one amendment from the Bill of Rights that guarantees that we will still retain all of our other rights.  After all, an unarmed citizenry becomes completely reliant upon the beneficence of government in their granting of our other rights.

Those members of congress and elected officials who would seek to enact legislation or enforce regulations that are contrary to the 2nd amendment are indeed in default of their oath of office to support and defend the United States Constitution.  Every last one of them that so brazenly ignores the dictates of the Constitution, especially when it comes to violating any of the enumerated amendments in the Bill of Rights is a disgrace to the public and the nation and should no longer be allowed to serve in such a capacity accordingly. 

If only the American public was not ignorant of civics, history, and the long-term ramifications of not holding these officials accountable.  It is incumbent upon us to pay attention to our elected officials with what they say and do, regardless of their political party.  When they do violate their oath of office by violating our Constitution, we need to all work as a community to ensure they are removed, or at least not re-elected to office.  It requires diligence, but the guardianship of our American liberties certainly deserves no less!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Veteran Died Today

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Joe has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Veteran died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young,
But the passing of a Veteran
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Veteran,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever-waffling stand?

Or would you want a Veteran
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Veteran,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Veteran's part,
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:


H/T: Susie

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Need for Mutual Respect in the Debate of Gay Rights vs. Religious Rights

There seems to be a lot of overblown and heated rhetoric in the news recently pitting gay rights against religious rights, thanks to an irresponsible media whipping up stories where none really existed. Let’s look at two theoretical scenarios of just how such issues could play out.

Scenario 1
Gay man: Hi, I would like to order a wedding cake for me and my husband-to-be’s wedding.

Bakery owner:  I don’t think so.  I don’t serve homosexuals for any event, especially weddings.  In fact, you need to leave my store right now!

Gay man:  Whatever.  I am going to make damn sure your business is boycotted and ruined, you hateful bigot.

Scenario 2
Gay man: Hi, I would like to order a wedding cake for me and my husband-to-be’s wedding.

Bakery owner:  Well, I really am very sorry.  My religious beliefs dictate that I cannot help you out with your wedding though.  I certainly don’t have any animus against you and will be happy to serve you with whatever other needs you might have such as pastries, birthday cakes, and so on.  I do hope that I don’t lose your future business because of this.  I also hope you understand and can respect my position and the fact that I must follow the dictates of my conscience and faith.

Gay man:  Well that is disappointing to hear because you do have wonderful cakes.  I can appreciate that you are trying to live life according to your conscience though. Can you recommend another bakery that might be able to help me?

Bakery owner:  I don’t know for sure.  There is that bakery on Main Street that you might try though. Their cakes are nearly as good as mine.  (laughs)

Gay man:  Okay.  Thanks.  I’ll try over there instead.

For some reason, it seems that collectively we as a human race are losing all common sense and decency when it comes to how we treat and respect each other. These scenario’s present just two options of how the same situation could be handled. Although this begs the question, shouldn’t respect for each other be something that ALL people practice?

Indiana and Arkansas have now passed state versions of a law mirroring the bi-partisan federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, which was introduced by former Democrat Congressman, now Senator, Chuck Schumer, which passed the House unanimously then the Senate to win by a 97 - 3 vote, and was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton.  The difference is that the new Indiana law, which is essentially the same as the federal one, has caused nothing but hate and discontent.

Gay rights advocates assume this Indiana law will protect wide-spread discrimination against them. They fear that the new norm under this law that twenty states now have on the books will allow something similar to scenario 1 above to become commonplace.

I am certain there are people in America that would act just like that and there are people of differing faiths with just such a mindset.  However, there are even more people, including Christians, that would not respond in such a way.  I would hope that most people would be sufficiently polite and respectful of each other, even if they have disagreements, to act more like the second scenario. Indeed, in our nation of diverse views and beliefs, wouldn’t it be far better if we could show respect towards one another, even when we disagree?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could behave like the two gentlemen in the latter, rather than the former scenario?

Now if a gay person were indeed to be denied service by a business merely because of the fact that he or she was gay, then a legitimate case of discrimination could be made.   But if a gay person is insisting on service that goes against the conscience of the business provider, then isn’t that a violation of the business owner’s ability to exercise their first amendment right to freedom of religion?   Respect for each other’s rights MUST be a two way street.  Unfortunately, this is not what seems to be happening lately.

Recently in Walkerton, Indiana, a local business named Memories Pizza experienced the wrath of those that were against the business owners abiding by their consciences and faith.  A local ABC news affiliate was trying to create a story by canvassing local businesses after the passage of the state’s religious freedom restoration act. They happened to strike pay-dirt when they asked the co-owner of this family-owned pizza parlor if they would hypothetically cater a gay wedding.  The owner said that her religious beliefs would not allow her to do that.  Even though the business happily serves gay people on a regular basis, the uproar caused by this small business owner simply stating her beliefs, has brought forth chaos, death threats, and even a local high school coach advocating others to march with him to burn the business down.  Needless to say, the family had to close their business and go into hiding for a week until the initial outrage passed.

Douglas Laycock, a constitutional scholar at the University of Virginia Law School who helped win passage of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, said no one has ever successfully used such laws to override nondiscrimination statutes. He expressed frustration that gay rights advocates seem to be ignoring this in their attack on the Indiana law.  “I don’t know if they don’t know that, or whether they’re pandering to their base,” Laycock said.

States began passing their own Religious Freedom Restoration Acts after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the federal law didn’t apply to states; consequently, twenty states now have their own Religious Freedom Restoration Acts.

The Indiana law, the federal law and those of the other 19 states with similar laws do not even mention the words “gay”, “marriage”, or “homosexual” anywhere within them.  It wasn’t drafted to be an “anti-gay” bill, but rather to allow a defense in court for businesses had  they felt  they were being forced to participate in actions that went against their consciences or religious convictions.

Former Senator Santorum summarized the debate quite aptly on Face the Nation two weeks ago.
“No business should discriminate … because of who you are,” Santorum said. “But it should have the ability to say, ‘We’re not going to participate in certain activities that we disagree with on a religious point of view.’” …”If you’re a print shop and you are a gay man, should you be forced to print ‘God Hates Fags’ for the Westboro Baptist Church because they hold those signs up?” he asked. “Should the government force you to do that? And that’s what these cases are all about. This is about the government coming in and saying, ‘No, we’re going to make you do this.’ And his is where I think we just need some space to say, ‘Let’s have some tolerance (and) be a two-way street.”

Indeed!  Simply because many Americans have a religious belief that God created us male and female, and that marriage is a sacrament that unites these two basic expressions of humanity in a unique covenant, really does not amount to a form of bigotry.  We, as Americans, need to respect each other, even when we disagree with each other.  Hatefulness on either side of this debate only serves to exacerbate an already out-of-control matter.  The ultimate victim if we persist with such a lack of tolerance and respect for each other will be our God given and constitutionally protected right to live our lives according to the dictates of our conscience and faith.  That is an America I do not want to live in!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The 150th Anniversary of the End of the Civil War

One hundred and fifty years ago today, the bloodiest war in American history came to an end as General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate cause to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

Having lived in Virginia for several years back in the early 1990’s, I was struck upon first seeing Appomattox Court House in how small and unassuming it was, particularly because this was the place where the culmination of our nation’s bloody atonement was concluded for our pernicious sin of slavery.

Many other nations at the time of our Civil War engaged in slavery, and indeed many still do today, but America purged its soul and finally made the first monumental step in keeping the promise of our Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal”.  More than 700,000 people died in the cause of our Civil War accordingly.

Sadly, the sesquicentennial anniversary of this event that saved our nation and its soul will probably not even be mentioned in most media outlets today.  As Americans, most of us will ignorantly go about our daily lives and not stop to thank God and pray for those men who 150 years ago today ended our Civil War where they fought, bled, and died to save the union and make amends for a great evil.