Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Would I support a Proposition 8 in Tennessee?

Facebook readers may read this on my blog by clicking here.

Today, few issues are so divisive as the "gay marriage" issue. The newly released Manhattan Declaration, as well as the recent defeat of a gay marriage legalization bill in the New York State Senate, has the issue front and center. Both Catholic and Evangelical Christians, as well as social conservatives, nervously await a sweeping stroke from our current administration defining any and all speech against homosexual behavior as "hate speech".

Interestingly enough, my stance on the subject has changed in the last year. Well, that isn't exactly true. I am still a Christian who thinks homosexual behavior is a sin. What has changed is with this whole idea of "gay marriage". I will begin my apologetic by asking a question.

If a marriage, any marriage, isn't holy in the eyes of God, will the state sanction of that marriage make it holy?

Well, the short answer here is no. How could it? Marriage is an institution with divine origins. What business does the state have interjecting its own criteria into it?

Allow me to give you an example. If my wife and I had been told by the state that we couldn't get married, for whatever reason, I would have said, "Fine." I would have then proceeded to purchase the rings, find a willing minister, say my vows before God and man, and introduce her to the world as my wife. And I wouldn't have given a hairy hoot what the government thought about it.

Personally, I cannot understand why homosexuals want state sanctioned marriage. The tax benefits? I would gladly relent any supposed tax benefit if in return they got their grubby paws off my marriage. I find it ironic that they are fighting so hard to acquire something I would willingly jettison if I were permitted. If anything, state sanction taints marriage, which should be holy and untarnished by secularism. I have a hard time believing this push to have gay marriage legalized is motivated by the desire to be in a different tax bracket. Are they fighting so hard so they can use the word "marriage"? What is stopping them from using that word now? State acknowledgment?

Since marriage is a patently religious institution (I have never understand why any atheist would desire marriage by the way. What's the point of marriage if we are little more than a primate?), I think marriage ought to be performed and regulated by the couple's religious order. And various religious orders ought to have the intellectual means to develop criteria and principles in which marriage under their orders are to be implemented.

So I am not "pro" gay-marriage politically, I am gay-marriage neutral. I would not vote on it at all were a gay-marriage bill introduced in Tennessee. The government, in my estimation, has no business telling anyone, through rule of law, whom they can, or cannot, marry. That is between them, their god, and, of course, their intended spouse. To say it is illegal is, in my opinion, not only legislating morality, but it is nonsensical (1). With regards to it being legislated morality, let me explain what I mean by that. Let's assume we say gay-marriage should remain illegal based on the premise of Christian morality, or based on the premise that homosexuality is a sin. Fine. But anger is also a sin. Should we make anger a criminal activity? What should the penalty be, 30 years to life? I didn't go to church Sunday, which in the minds of most Christians is also a sin. Should I go ahead and lay my head on chopping block now or wait until I am officially indicted by the courts? Should adultery be criminalized? What about pride? Covetousness? Lust? Should we slap the cuffs on the next teenager we see oogling some girl? You cannot make something illegal based purely on the idea that it is a sin. In my estimation, you have to prove, objectively, that the act is either a threat to order, or an injustice.

Let me give you another example of the distinction. Let's say some guy stops by the store on his way home from work and picks up a case of beer, goes home, and gets hammered out of his mind. The Scriptures clearly define alcoholic intoxication as sin. By doing so, he has sinned, but he has broken no law. But in this condition, let's say he decided to jump in his car and drive back to the store. Now by drinking and driving, he has become a threat to order, and has consequently broken the law. If he hurts or kills someone in this condition, then he has committed an injustice, and has also broken the law. But just getting intoxicated in your own home is neither a threat to order, or an injustice, and is perfectly legal, though still a sin.

So, do you see the distinction between how laws shouldn't be made based purely on the idea that they are sin. Also, regarding gay marriage in particular, if there is any religion in America that honors marriage between gays (and there is), then making gay marriage illegal is in contradiction to the first amendment, in my opinion. In fact, most of America was populated by immigrants who were fleeing a country where a church was attempting to impose their morality on citizenry through rule of law. That is why we have the first amendment. And that is why it is FIRST, in fact. It was an important aspect to guaranteeing our rights, to not have a church imposing its morals and traditions upon those who did not wish to observe them. Have we become the thing we fled from over 200 years ago?

Now, having said all that, allow me to voice a reservation about my stance on this subject. Being a Christian who believes that homosexual behavior is indeed sinful, I know who is behind this movement to keep gay marriage in the political realm. In fact, it has been an ingenious tactic of Satan to gain the social acceptance of any sinful behavior by merely making it a political issue. When you study Satan, you find his whole strategy lies rooted in appetite. Everything he does to lead humanity astray is found by exploiting one or more of its natural appetites to be used in ways, or at times, or in quantities that are unhealthy physically and spiritually. Remember his attack on Job, first his affluence, then his life, was jeopardized. His first attack was on Job's material and vocational appetites, and the second was on his physical appetites. If money is the root of all evil, appetite is the trunk. Roots feed the trunk. The desire for money stems from our appetites.

So it stands to reason that Satan's appetites are never satisfied either. Thus, he is never satisfied with the ground he will have gained in perpetuating his agendas. He will always want more. I am afraid that if gay-marriage ever becomes socially acceptable, and legal, on a large scale, it will only be a matter of time before a gay couple taking a Sunday drive will spot some nice, quaint, little Baptist church, and think, "Oh, what a nice place to be married." But when the pastor declines the privilege based on the moral grounds of his religion, there will surely be a lawsuit. And we will find ourselves being guilty of a "hate crime" if we say we regard gay marriage as unholy. You can bet the farm that the same first amendment I cited earlier will be totally ignored by the courts when this pastor asks for his religious views to be honored.

One small addendum. If the day comes where simply having the idea, or expressing the idea, that homosexuality is sin, is considered hate speech by secular standards, I will stand my ground. I make no moral justification for homosexuality. I will say that the idea of our government interjecting its views into the holy institution of marriage is a byproduct of a weakening church, asleep in Zion, who has made it a habit of delegating too much of its liberties to the whims of secular government to begin with. A nation whose is Christian Church is where it needs to be will not need social engineering or social programming. By allowing government to inject itself into these areas, we have forfeited many opportunities for blessings. But alas, I fear the day is coming where a Church will lose any tax-exempt status, or worse, for merely saying, "Homosexuality is a sin, and hateful in the eyes of God."

(1) I say it is nonsensical because marriage is more than a ceremony and a union recognized by man's government. If two people join before God in truly holy matrimony, it matters not what any secular institution says. They are married! It only makes sense that the government could outlaw marriage if "secular" marriage was the only thing on the market.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Confederate States of America - Proposed Declaration of Independence

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a people to dissolve the political and governmental institutions under which they have governed themselves, and institute new government deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the institution of the new form of government.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to 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 affect their liberty, 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 shown 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.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these free citizens and sovereign states; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present United States Federal Government is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these free citizens and sovereign states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

In 1861, the United States declared war upon the Confederate States of America, a confederation of sovereign states that lawfully seceded from the Union and formed a government to provide new guards for their future security. The Confederate States of America was militarily occupied by armies of the United States and the Union was unlawfully maintained:

Since then the US Federal Government has enacted unconstitutional laws and authorized unconstitutional spending and the creation and funding of unconstitutional Federal agencies. It has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. It has imposed taxes on us without our consent:

The US Federal Government has borrowed so many trillions of dollars that the amount can never be repaid:

The US Federal Government created the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Homeland Security Administration, which are unconstitutional usurpations of the powers of the people and the states guaranteed in the 10th Amendment:

The US Federal Government created the Transportation Security Administration, which is a clear violation of the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution. The actions of the TSA violate the 4th Amendment, which protects citizens from illegal search and seizure without warrant based upon probable cause:

The US Federal Government created the Internal Revenue Service to enforce the gigantic Federal Income Tax Code, violating Article I of the Constitution:

The US Federal Government has violated Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution in which Congress may raise and support an army, but no appropriation to that use shall be more than two years. The US Federal Government has established hundreds of military bases on American soil, quartering large bodies of armed troops among us, violating the 3rd Amendment. Additionally, it has established over one hundred military bases in other sovereign nations around the world:

The US Federal Government is at this time retaining large armies of domestic and foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the lawful government of a civilized nation:

The US Federal Government has deprived certain individuals of the benefits of trial by jury by transporting certain individuals beyond seas to be jailed and tortured for pretended offenses, violating the principle of Habeas Corpus and the 5th Amendment of the Constitution:

The US Federal Government has enacted laws infringing upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms, an overt violation of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution:

The US Federal Government, through enacting the Patriot Act of 2001, has violated the 4th Amendment’s strictures on privacy and protection against illegal search and seizure. It has violated the 5th Amendment guarantees that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law:

The US Federal Government, through enacting the Patriot Act of 2001, has violated the 6th Amendment guarantees that in criminal prosecutions, the accused shall the right to a speedy and public trial, be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, and be confronted by the witnesses against him:

The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, signed on May 9, 2007, place all governmental power in the hands of the President and effectively abolish the checks and balances in the US Constitution:

The US Federal Government established the Federal Reserve, a consortium of private banks, to manage and manipulate the currency of the United States. This violates Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution which provides Congress authority to coin money and regulate its value. The Federal Reserve is unconstitutional:

The Federal Reserve has created massive inflation since its inception in 1913 by issuing paper money that has no underlying value in gold and silver. Because of the attempts of the Federal Reserve to manipulate the American economy, it created an abnormal cycle of boom and recession:

In 2008, the US Federal Government approved trillion-dollar financial bailouts to financial institutions and private companies, a clear violation of Article I, Section 8 and the 10th Amendment of the Constitution:

The US Federal Government has prosecuted unlawful and unconstitutional wars, including wars in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, violating Article I, Section 8, which grants the power to declare war only to Congress:

The US Federal Government created the Social Security Administration in 1935, a clear violation of the Article I, Section 8, and the 10th Amendment:

The US Federal Government, though its Judicial Branch, has altered legislation and created law, in violation of Article III of the Constitution:

The US Federal Government has obligated the United States to membership in the United Nations, and combined with other nations to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and superior by treaty to our laws; giving its assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

The US Federal Government has usurped the powers reserved to the States in the 10th Amendment as it relates to immigration and naturalization. It has obstructed the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and altered the conditions of lawful immigration of foreign persons:

The US Federal Government has altered fundamentally the forms of our government guaranteed to the free citizens and states by the Constitution of the United States of America.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. An institution of government, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define tyranny, is unfit to be the designated and chosen government of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches of the United States Federal Government. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their actions to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common citizenship to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt the quiet enjoyment of our citizenship and liberty. They have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the free citizens of the sovereign states of the Confederate States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do solemnly publish and declare, that the Confederate States of America, and all states within is, and of right ought to be a free and independent nation; that it is absolved from all allegiance to the presently established United States Federal Government, and that all political connection between the Confederate States of America, its sovereign states, and the United States Federal Government, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that this free and independent Nation has full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.

The free citizens of the sovereign Confederate States of America reject and absolve themselves from any and all bonds between themselves and the United States. Those free citizens and their representatives in the sovereign states of the Confederate States of America do now and should immediately cease collecting and forwarding all United States Federal taxes, tariffs or fees of any and every kind to the United States Federal Government in any form whatsoever.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reasonable Belief and Reasonable Unbelief: The Proper Application of Christian Faith

I have heard it argued by certain critics of Judeo-Christian tradition that a God who delivers salvation based on belief is behaving unreasonably, because disbelief in the Christian God is a stance that one can hold in good faith, even after making a serious and honest attempt to discover the answer.

That is a quote from a user on ChristianBoard. I appreciate the honesty of the question, and have often wondered myself, "Can a person be just as faithful in disbelief as in belief?" In one sense, yes they can. Even the Bible agrees. Remember, according to Revelation 3:15-16, God holds settled belief in God and settled disbelief in God as equally noble positions, although only one of those positions will render eternal reward and security. It is the wishy-washy "lukewarm" that will be vomited out.

But, there is more to it than just "belief v. unbelief". Belief is the Christian's apparatus used to see God. And God rewards those who use their belief in this way by revealing more and more of Himself to us. That is why Jesus used our sensory perceptions, metaphorically of course, as descriptions of what experiencing God is like "Taste and see that the Lord is good... He that has ears to hear, let him hear... etc" That is why I have a difficult time believing it when someone says they were once a Christian and now is an atheist. One has to exercise faith in God to become a Christian. And faith properly exercised WILL result in a revelation of Jesus Christ that is impossible to ignore. So for me, when someone says they were once a Christian, and through rational and logical thinking has become an atheist, it is like a man who goes swimming, and then consequently, through this rational thinking, refuses to believe in water.

To be quite candid about it, belief in God is easy for the Christian. Maintaining a perpetual belief that He is ultimately benevolent in all His ways is the Christian's challenge. If I doubted God's mere existence, I would seriously question the state of my own salvation. That is the very first thing God will make clear in the life of any sincere Christian. But He always seems to leave His benevolence open to interpretation of one's own environment and circumstances. The real threat to a Christian's faith isn't the voice that says, "Ah, so God doesn't exist after all.", but the voice that says, in the midst of turmoil and confusion, "So this is what God is like... Deceive yourself no longer."

It is quite natural really. What child, with their limited understanding of their own reality, doesn't not regard the restrictions imposed by adults as mere impediments to their own joy and happiness? It isn't until the child matures that he or she can begin to understand that the reason Daddy wouldn't let them use the mower, or the reason Mommy wouldn't let them use the kitchen knife, was actually to protect the child from a danger they didn't understand. We are in a similar position with God. What we see as God's oppressive hand could very easily be His protecting hand.

So the two compulsory requirements of faith from believers is to believe that He exists, and that He is benevolent. (Hebrews 11:6)

So "reasonable disbelief" is just that... reasonable. God can still use that. The lukewarm are those with a "visceral disbelief", whose belief in God fluctuates with the state of one's circumstances, health, emotional state, or even the state of their digestion. The church sometimes calls these unfortunate Christians, "Fair-Weather Christians". Their belief isn't based on logic, but on an visceral reaction to some circumstance. Whether it is a rejection of God based on a lost job, repossessed asset, or death of a loved one; or whether it is a presumptuous belief in God's benevolence due to currently being "on the mountain", it is precisely the same thing. The balanced, and true, Christian knows that God is still benevolent even when the temporal world is being stripped from them, one asset after the other, and they are also willing to being "pruned" by God when their temporal welfare becomes a little too stable.

So the true Christian knows that when God blesses with temporal security, they should accept the blessings with thanksgiving to God, and pass them forward when their needs are met. They also know, even in their most prosporous periods of their life, that trials are coming that may remove temporal security for a season. In fact, I would be concerned if I never perceived my temporal foundations growing shaky, or if I never experienced God's temporal blessings. A balanced Christian will experience this same balance from God.

Christians also know and understand God's chastisement. In fact, when God brandishes His whip, the true Christian will gladly expose his back, and drink in the pain. Not in some masochistic need to be beat down by God's retributive wrath, but in understanding His purpose. Though the whip's sting is deep, the Christian does not want it to stop until the lesson is learned, thoroughly. God's chastisement is not punitive, it is disciplinary. And when He is disciplining you, He will lay no stripe that isn't necessary. No throb of pain will be without purpose. Christians often pout at God's chastisement, when they should be rejoicing.

No circumstance shakes the true Christian's belief in God's benevolence.

On a side note, and back on the subject of reasonable faith, please keep in mind, the atonement was never meant so we could gain Heaven after we die. Eternal reward is a byproduct of Christianity. The atonement was to restore the fellowship Adam had with God before the Fall. And, as we grow and exercise an ever increasing faith, the restoration of that fellowship becomes increasingly more profound. There are those who achieved that fellowship so strongly, that all the "perks" of being a Christian became truly peripheral, and even irrelevant, to their communion with Jesus Christ. This fellowship with God is the house, comprised of the stones of the atonement, provision, peace, redemption, etc. The writer of Hebrews told us to abandon the elementary principles of Christ, and move on to perfection (Hebrews 6:1). That perfection isn't necessarily accumulating opinions, searching out all the correct doctrines of Christianity, or shaping one's theology. It is fostering an honest, thorough, and meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. That, to me, is the proper application of Christian faith.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Story of Stuff: Liberal Propaganda in our Schools

Facebook users will not be able to see the embedded videos. Please click here to see the videos.

This truly unbelievable video, making Capitalism out to be the prevailing evil in our society, has surfaced, and has apparently infiltrated our public schools as certifiable curriculum. My list of reasons why I detest the public school system is growing day by day.

Anyway, below is the video.

And here is the independent critique of the video.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Political Pearls of Wisdom

Facebook users can read this entry here.

Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.
— Ronald Reagan

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.
— Thomas Sowell

Most people who read "The Communist Manifesto" probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of "the workers".
— Thomas Sowell

If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else's expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves
— Thomas Sowell

No matter how disastrously some policy has turned out, anyone who criticizes it can expect to hear: "But what would you replace it with?" When you put out a fire, what do you replace it with?
— Thomas Sowell

The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.
— Thomas Sowell

One of the consequences of such notions as "entitlements" is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.
— Thomas Sowell

Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion.
— Richard John Neuhaus

Socialism is workable only in heaven where it isn't needed, and in hell where they've got it.
— Cecil Palmer

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
— Winston Churchill

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
— Winston Churchill

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
— Winston Churchill

No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism.
— Winston Churchill

For socialists, not just the wealth, but the guilt, must be redistributed.
— Andrew Sandlin

The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level.
— Norman Mailer

The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.
— Alexis de Tocqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
— Alexis de Tocqueville

A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.
— Alexis de Tocqueville

A government policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul.
— George Bernard Shaw

Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.
— Ayn Rand

To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, 'the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.
— Thomas Jefferson

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
— G. Gordon Liddy

Collectivism doesn't work because it's based on a faulty economic premise. There is no such thing as a person's 'fair share' of wealth. The gross national product is not a pizza that must be carefully divided because if I get too many slices, you have to eat the box. The economy is expandable and, in any practical sense, limitless.
— P. J. O'Rourke

The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.
— Margaret Thatcher

Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.
— Alexis de Tocqueville

I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.
— Margaret Thatcher

I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph.
— Margaret Thatcher

Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.
— Margaret Thatcher

To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches.
— Margaret Thatcher

To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.
— Margaret Thatcher

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
— Margaret Thatcher

We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the state is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the state.
— Margaret Thatcher

As God once said, and I think rightly...
— Margaret Thatcher

If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.
— Margaret Thatcher

And what a prize we have to fight for: no less than the chance to banish from our land the dark divisive clouds of Marxist socialism.
— Margaret Thatcher

Hope is no basis for a defense policy.
— Margaret Thatcher

There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty.
— Margaret Thatcher

Many of our troubles are due to the fact that our people turn to politicians for everything.
— Margaret Thatcher

Marxists get up early to further their cause. We must get up even earlier to defend our freedom.
— Margaret Thatcher

The Labour (Democrat) Party believes in turning workers against owners; we believe in turning workers into owners.
— Margaret Thatcher (Modified by LJ)

Good Conservatives always pay their bills. And on time. Not like the Socialists who run up other people's bills.
— Margaret Thatcher

When all the objectives of government include the achievement of equality - other than equality before the law - that government poses a threat to liberty.
— Margaret Thatcher

Socialists have always spent much of their time seeking new titles for their beliefs, because the old versions so quickly become outdated and discredited.
— Margaret Thatcher

In the Conservative Party we have no truck with outmoded Marxist doctrine about class warfare. For us it is not who you are, who your family is or where you come from that matters, but what you are and what you can do for your country that counts.
— Margaret Thatcher

Communist regimes were not some unfortunate aberration, some historical deviation from a socialist ideal. They were the ultimate expression, unconstrained by democratic and electoral pressures, of what socialism is all about. ... In short, the state [is] everything and the individual nothing.
— Margaret Thatcher

Freedom is not synonymous with an easy life. ... There are many difficult things about freedom: It does not give you safety, it creates moral dilemmas for you; it requires self-discipline; it imposes great responsibilities; but such is the nature of Man and in such consists his glory and salvation.
— Margaret Thatcher

...the unconditional supply of social benefits to those who were thought incapable of coping undermined the incentive to work and undercut the family unit. It promoted habits of idleness and delinquency. It permitted single-parenthood to become a financially sustainable, alternative way of life. By undermining the self-respect of so many of the most vulnerable members of society -- the respectable poor struggling for decency against the odds -- the dependency culture weakened society as a whole.
— Margaret Thatcher

I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.
— Margaret Thatcher

When others spoke of the fear of war, you spoke of the need for warriors and peace through strength. When others bewailed the failure of big government to provide for the collective good, you spoke of self-reliance, of personal responsibility, of individual pride and integrity. When others demanded compromise — when others demanded compromise, you, Ronald Reagan, preached conviction.
— Margaret Thatcher

To maintain the ascendancy of the Constitution over the lawmaking majority is the great and essential point on which the success of the [American] system must depend; unless that ascendancy can be preserved, the necessary consequence must be that the laws will supersede the Constitution; and, finally, the will of the Executive, by influence of its patronage, will supersede the laws ...
— John C. Calhoun (1782-1850)

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it [GOVERNMENT] come to dominate our lives and interests.
— Patrick Henry

In matters of Power, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the CHAINS OF THE CONSTITUTION.
— Thomas Jefferson

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That "all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people." To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.
— Thomas Jefferson

The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.
— Thomas Jefferson

There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.
— James Madison

Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at its worst, an intolerant one.
— Thomas Paine

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
— Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government that is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
— James Madison

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?
— Thomas Jefferson (1801)

“I prefer a man who will burn the flag and then wrap himself in the Constitution to a man who will burn the Constitution and then wrap himself in the flag”
— Craig Washington

"The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men."
— Samuel Adams

“The Constitution does not grant rights, it recognizes them”
— Jason Laumark

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
— Benjamin Franklin

“The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
— James Madison

“I also wish that the Pledge of Allegiance were directed at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as it is when the President takes his oath of office, rather than to the flag and the nation”
— Dr. Carl Sagan

“If the 1st Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.”
— Thurgood Marshall

“The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.”
— William Orville Douglas

“Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by each wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind.”
— Hugo Black

“The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
— Samuel Adams

“The Framers [of the Constitution] knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.”
— Hugo Black

“If the Constitution is to be construed to mean what the majority at any given period in history wish the Constitution to mean, why a written Constitution?"
— Frank J

“To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race”

— Calvin Coolidge

“[I]f we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us, that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”

— Daniel Webster

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

— Winston Churchill

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Ant and the Grasshopper

This was posted by a friend on Facebook. To view the original blog entry, click here.


Ants And Grasshoppers – The Old Version

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY—Be responsible for yourself!

Ants and Grasshoppers – Modern Version:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green.’

Acorn stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, ‘We shall overcome.’ Rev. Jeremiah Wright then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake.

Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around him because he doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY—Be careful how you vote in 2010.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What is Your Political Alignment?

Facebook Readers can read this on my blog here.

You won't get any argument from me as to whether or not Socialism is better than Capitalism. In my opinion, Socialism is far better than Capitalism. But, it is also my opinion that it suffers a fatal flaw. Socialism requires a mediator. Regular Socialism requires a man, governing a sub group of men, to regulate the Socialistic system. It is a system Obama is putting in place with all his "Czars". He is establishing a "rungs on a ladder" hierarchy of authority. The issue with Socialism is that authority corrupts. There is no one I trust with such a role in society. I would not even trust myself. It is for that reason that I do not consider Socialism a viable option for our society.

Capitalism also has many flaws, but in the end, none of the flaws are fatal, and the Capitalistic system is self-regulating. That makes Capitalism, as imperfect as it is, the only viable option in our society.

But in the end, I am an American, and believe in the U.S. Constitution one-hundred percent. So with any and all the supposed good points of Socialism, there is no provision for Socialism in the Constitution. The 10th Amendment says, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Nowhere in the Constitution is there a provision for such dynamic government interference into our domestic lives, or into any private industry, whether it be banking, autos, or healthcare.

But if you will notice, not too many Republicans are citing the Constitution as a means of slapping Obama's healthcare down. That is because the Republicans willingly infringe the Constitution just as readily as the Democrats to push their agendas through. The Patriot Act is proof-positive of this.

In fact, the Libertarians are the only voice the Constitution currently has in our government. But most are looked upon as eccentric. Glenn Beck, Neil Boortz, Andrew Napolitano, and Ron Paul are the most notable Libertarians in the eye of the public today, and they are all generally viewed as fringe eccentrics. The only areas where I cannot abide the Libertarians is their view of the military. What little I have heard is that they are adamantly anti-war, isolationists, would practically dismantle our military were they in power. I don't understand this, because the Constitution plainly provides for the Federal Government's involvement into foreign affairs, and even to declare war.

So Socialism simply means government control. So even if the Federal Government was competent (which they are not), I still do not want them to possess that kind of power. Socialism also forces me to contribute to the prosperity of my fellow man. That is something that I think should be one's prerogative, not a mandate, and especially not a government mandate.

On a tangent, this reminds me of a theology/politics/eschatology debate I am had with another friend who is quite Libertarian. You probably know that, in Christian prophecy, it is commonly held that Christ will return to earth to set up a kingdom for one-thousand years. My friend and I constantly debate whether such a rule will be Socialistic or Capitalistic. I firmly believe that the rule under Christ will be Socialism. He believes it will still be a minimal government system, and we'll maintain a "free market" even then.

As I previously stated, I believe the fatal flaw in Socialism is the age-old principle that authority and power corrupts. Christ is immune to such corruption. My argument is that we see a glimpse of the Socialism enacted by Christ in Acts 2:42-47. But that type of Socialism can only work if the Christian principle of "esteeming you brother higher than yourself" has a one-hundred percent participation rate, which can only occur during the rule of absolute Goodness. During Christ's reign, all his citizens will esteem their brethren higher than themselves, making Socialism, or the redistribution of wealth, viable.

Back to politics, there are even some Socialists who acknowledge its flaws. Orwell, who was a Democratic Socialist, believed that a Democratic Body mediating Socialism was the answer. He eloquently defined the issues with the typical mediation of Socialism with his book Animal Farm. With Socialism, it will not be long before the pigs governing us will be behaving just like the supposed tyrants of Capitalism. So, with Socialism, instead of the owner of a corporation gaining power through the accumulation of wealth by enticing Americans to buy their products, politicians will gain power by exploiting citizens with offers of more governmental perks (like a cheap public option in healthcare), making citizens more and more dependent upon government, and creating more and more government oversight agencies and regulatory entities, justifying the imposition of more and more taxes on the people to fund these institutions After all, expansion of government requires the expansion of their ways and means.

How much power are you willing to delegate to the Federal Government before you start having reservations about their intentions? And how do you justify giving the Federal Government any power that isn't delegated to it already by the Constitution?

According to our Constitution, the purpose of the Federal Government, outside of foreign affairs, is to maintain national infrastructure. Of course, that idea has been twisted and perverted until that has come to mean almost anything. During Colonial times, it simply meant maintaining a federal highway system to accommodate the exportation of goods between states.

A few Constitutional experts I have read suggest the founders knew that American society was going to be based on a free market, which is Capitalism with a twist. With raw Capitalism, the fear some folks have is quite correct. There can potentially be companies that can rise to a monopoly, and then on to power where they essentially become a aristocracy, a ruling class of economic elites. But the structure of the American system is one where that scenario is quite impossible, or at least very unlikely. Yes, companies can become large, but there is nothing wrong with that. Anyone providing a product or service that is in demand should not be restricted from success.

Take Microsoft for example. It is a huge company because it offers products in demand. But they cannot shut down any other company through a mere assertion of authority. They cannot stop Apple Computer, or any of the other computer company from competing with them, and Microsoft cannot stop us from buying their competitors' products instead of their own.

Also, as big as a company gets, there success is still wholly dependent upon their patrons. And when you combine a free-market with a free-press who can put their finger on any corruption or shady business practices within a company; alert and decisive patrons can, and will, pull their patronage away from that company, and take their business elsewhere.

For example, should the free-press investigate and find corruption within Microsoft, it can relay that to the people, and the people will essentially boycott them by migrating to the Operating Systems and software offered by other companies. That is why I was against the auto bailout. If the American Auto companies were guilty of half the indictments leveled against them by the press, then they should have just reported it, and let their patrons render judgment. The government should have never been involved. If GM is involved in business that I deem inappropriate, then let me render judgment by not buying their products. When enough people start this, it will affect their bottom line, and they will either change their policies to accommodate their customers, or go out of business. To accommodate demand (of both jobs and products) should they go out of business, new auto companies will arise, and existing one's will expand, and absorb any job loss or product inventory reduction produced by GM's failure. That is how our markets are supposed to regulate itself, and would regulate itself if the government would stay out of it.

Anyway, back to the founders, what they were trying to do was tell the Federal Government, "You're job, domestically, is to essentially grease the path for free trade, without actually interfering with it."

In other words, don't ignore it, but don't interfere either. It is a theme that pervades the cult phenomenon television series, Firefly. The main character, Malcolm Reynolds, says, "That is what governments are for. They ignore, or interfere, equally." And at the beginning of the series' subsequent movie, Serenity, River Tam tells her teacher that the issue with government is that they "meddle". That is precisely what I fear. A government that meddles where it ought not be meddling. But for a reason I cannot grasp, liberals tend to believe the Federal Government has every right to meddle, when according to our Constitution, they do not. They are not supposed to do anything not explicitly outlined in the Constitution.

I understand about being political neutrality. But still, one must have an underlying philosophy. I suggest you go to and take the test.

Here are my results...

It seems to be fairly accurate, I am a slightly right leaning Libertarian. I am far right on fiscal issues and center right on social issues. That makes me a solid Libertarian fiscally, and a Libertarian flirting with the Republican Party on social issues.

I am guessing you, my reader, prefers to look at every issue individually. That is fine. I do too. But there has to be a standard upon which you base your judgments. A plum line that remains static, and your judgments are in relation to that. My plum line in making political decisions in the Constitution, as I believe the founders had the absolute correct ideas toward the establishment of our country. The expansion of the Federal Government beyond its Constitutionally defined parameters is absolutely against the ideas of the founders. That is my underlying philosophy.

Here are the underlying philosophies to all four general political alignments. If you think the word "interference" is too invasive of a term, you may substitute the word "involvement" in its place. Having such a strong Libertarian slant in my philosophies, I think the word "interference" is precisely the right word.

1. Libertarian - Minimal government interference with both social and fiscal issues.

2. Liberal (Democrats) - Minimal to moderate government interference with social issue, but moderate to maximum government interference with fiscal issues.

3. Conservative (Republicans) - Minimal to moderate government interference with fiscal issues, but moderate to maximum interference with social issues.

4. Statist - Maximum government interference with both social and fiscal issues.

I have a hard time believing there is any such thing as a honest Centrist. A centrist will essentially believe that the government is doing everything exactly right, and that it has achieved a balance in political ideology. Do you know anyone who believes that?

I am guessing that if you are a part of Generation Y, or any subsequent generation, you will pass on taking the quiz. I have noticed that Generation-Y, and all subsequent generations, do not want a title. It is the earmark of their entire generation to resist being labeled. It makes me wonder what they check on the "race" section of applications. Do they check "other", and then write in, "Depends on the situation"? It is sometimes quite funny to watch them vehemently resist being labeled. I sometimes wonder if they even dare call themselves "human".

I think that generation believes that once labeled, they must adhere and are no longer permitted to think outside the boundaries of that label. That is wrong. I am a Christian, but there are times where its paradoxes and apparent catch-22's makes Christianity seem very fallacious in its ideas. But, when I wasn't a practicing believer, there were times when Christianity seemed very sensible, and contained relevant and the objective truth in matters. Having a title doesn't mean one cannot have an opinion outside the box. It just indicative of what their general underlying philosophy is. Can one have a political alignment without a title to suit it? And will they abandon that philosophy once someone invents a title for them?

In fairness, I will link you to an article called A Statist View of the Constitution, where the opposite idea presents itself that the Constitution is fluid, , not static, and should change. That idea is nonsensical, in my estimation. A Constitution that can be engineered and reconfigured to match current head of state's political views is exactly the same as not having a Constitution at all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thank God for Judge Andrew Napolitano

Facebook readers can read this original blog post here

If ever there was any political commentator who matched my own political philosophies, it is Judge Andrew Napolitano. Here is a speech he gave at a tea party in Ohio on August 1.

Notice the flag, which represents the second U. S. Revolution.

American Revolution 2

Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Relation of Tolkien's Writings and Christianity

Facebook friends, click here to read this on my blog.

Yesterday, I visited a local used bookstore. While browsing, I happened across their fantasy section. It was very diverse. The books were arranged alphabetically by their authors. There were a few exceptions. Among these were entire shelves completely devoted to C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Now it is no secret that The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book. I absolutely love it. It is spiced with the flavors of every literary genre, and contains depth of plot not typical in the fantasy genre.

Looking at those shelves, I was amazed at the fantasy literature I haven't read. I have always fancied myself a fan of fantasy. But, in truth, I suppose I am not. I have read more contemporary fantasy in the past, and I think it lacks something that is, in my estimation, a required component in within fantasy. It lacks what I call, "integration". Let me explain what I mean.

Most of today's fantasy books contain simple plots. There is an antagonist and a protagonist, all at odds with each other. The antagonist is usually someone who has turned malevolent from some abuse or neglect of society, and obviously has the stronger influence, making the protagonist the underdog in the conflict. In the end, the protagonist fends off the antagonist through more subtle tactics that involve virtue and strength of character. Such scenarios, thrown into a gothic of medieval environment filled with otherworldly entities, constitutes the status quo of fantasy literature today. The plot is one that can be easily adapted, without much deviation in the actual components or individuals, to primitive society, modern society, or even to the more advanced societies of science fiction.

Tolkien's story is certainly distinct from this. His story does have the proper "integration". His story would be hard to adapt to another genre. His antagonist is a force wholly otherworldly. Reading his book is both entertaining, informative, and a study in sociology. From the organic and primitive hobbits, to Rohan, a culture seemingly stuck at an intermediate stage of social advancement. The elves, who are both powerful and graceful, skilled in all manner of crafts, warriors, and so effeminate in appearance that their males often resemble their females, stand in stark contrast to the dwarfs, who are encumbered by physical limitations, though very strong, and so masculine their females resemble their males. Dwarfs and elves are also at different ends of the spectrum in regards their materialistic ambitions. Dwarfs are greedy, and elves desire only knowledge.

The people of Gondor stand as a neutrality of sorts. Certainly the military force of Middle-Earth, it represents a beacon of light. Their culture is a civilized one, who embraces every technological advance offered to them. Unlike Rohan, Gondor's buildings and society is an advanced one where the primitive is often supplanted by the modern. But it is also the historical center of Middle-Earth, and serves as the culmination of all the culture in Arda.

There are other finer points of interest. Elves, who tend to be intelligent and cultured, also tend to be in tune with their environment. They are friends to trees, and other living things. Orcs, by perplexing relief, are less intelligent and less cultured. Their society tends to be one of industry and competition. This type of society is, by nature, exploitative of the environment. Living primarily in industrialized areas all my life, I can see from whence Tolkien was drawing inspiration when he designed the Orcs as technologically advanced in the implementation of industry. Tolkien disliked the uprooting of the natural landscape to accommodate our industrial needs. Orcs also completely lack finesse, in favor of raw power. And the environment fuels this raw power. It should be noted that Orcs were once elves, corrupted by Melkor, the fallen Ainur who is the original otherworldly antagonist to the entire landscape of Middle Earth.

It is with great interest that almost every Christian book I read today will reference either Lewis' or Tolkien's myth to make a point. Is it because both Lewis and Tolkien were Christian? Is it because of the Christian undertones (which are profoundly more subtly embedded in Tolkien) that lay in both stories.

Living in the Bible Belt, it was generally taught during my adolescence, in my circle of Christians that fantasy literature was off limits to a sincere Christian. Supposedly because it references to many elements expressly forbidden to the ancient Hebrews, and consequently, Christians. Things like wizards, witchcraft, mythological creatures, and the unbridled use of one's imagination. Tolkien steers around many of these reservations by making subtle differences in our definitions and his definitions. For example, wizards, and their "magic", are as integrated into the landscape as humans. Magic isn't some otherwordly, and expressly forbidden, art used to manipulate our reality. In Tolkien's world, magic is just as much part of the landscape as water and soil. In his world, a wizard isn't a human who decides to study magical arts, but a whole race of beings delivered to Middle Earth by its primary deity (Iluvatar), and are known as the Istari. In other words, wizards aren't human, though they share many of the human frailties as well as human in appearance. Regular humans, generally speaking, do not possess magical attributes in Tolkien's world.

I think it is a shame. The cultural and sociological aspects within The Lord of the Rings is one that could benefit Christians if studied. Understanding the diversities within the various societies brings the genius of Tolkien into full light.

How does the elves' synergy with the environment provide a stark contrast to the Orcs who exploit their environment to progress and expand their industrial demands?

How does the primitive society of hobbits continue to flourish in spite of their deliberate naivety and apathy to the troubles beyond their own borders, and in spite of remaining true to the most primordial means of existence?

Does it surprise you that Rohan, who has its own unique culture, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the society of Norse mythology, maintains a strained relationship with their culturally diverse and socially elite neighbor, Gondor?

The idea of good vs. evil in Tolkien's myth is closer to Christianity than most contemporary works of fantasy, in my opinion. The source of evil is otherworldly. It cannot exist on its own, but subsists on perversions of things that were originally good by design. The strategy for overcoming this evil lies in a amalgamation of unity, faith, and the honest efforts of all who hate the evil. It requires believing for the impossible, and placing the outcome into the sovereign will of a divine power believed to be benevolent. It is the story of a king who chose a life of humility and exile in service to his people instead of just asserting power and authority, assuming his throne, and serving transparently from lofty heights.

The character conflicts are too numerous to list here. To name just a few, Boromir's patriotism urges him to assume a power he knows can only destroy, to preserve his nation. Frodo, who refuses to forsake the evil he is sworn to destroy must have the body part the evil is attached to severed before the evil can be completely abandoned. And Gollum, whose natural life is prolonged by assuming possession of the evil, but the prolongation of life only prolongs his misery the evil has produced.

There is much a Christian can learn from these stories, and it is my sincere desire that Christians will acquaint themselves to it more zealously. It is a worthy read. Lewis' Narnia is as well, but it was written for children. Tolkien writes for adults in his myth. You will be surprised at the level of depth into the human condition he explores. Those who really know Jesus Christ, who know what it is like to have your life intrinsically embedded in His, who knows what it is like to have Him wake you in the middle of the night with whisperings in your ear, you will see things in this myth that will amaze you. So, if you are a Christian, after your Bible studies, clear your mind with Tolkien's myth. Start with The Hobbit for necessary backstory.

Engage your mind, and happy reading!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is God Judging America?

If you are reading this on Facebook, feel free to read it on my blog here.

That is a question I recently asked a group of Christians on an internet forum. The answers were varied. Some said that God no longer judges nations in a corporate sense. Others say that the physical nation of Israel is the only nation under God's divine protection. And many agree that America is being, or is about to be, punished by God.

Most churches and Christians who believe God is punishing America as a nation believe He is doing so due to the rampant sexual abominations and injustices such as abortion. Others say that even if these sins ceased that we'd still be under judgment since we cannot stand justified before God as a nation with anything less than a 100% Christian population. Others call for the "Ninevah" approach of corporate repentance, but if memory serves me correctly, Ninevah had 100% participation. Is that an intrinsic possibility in America?

Now, while that is very interesting. The only problem is that the percentage of people who call themselves Christian hasn't deviated a great deal in the last 100 years. But society's norms have deviated from the Christian standard to the secular standard in leaps and bounds. Shouldn't society's norms tend to follow the majority of that particular society's religious conviction? It is common sense really, if the majority of society thinks murder is wrong, shouldn't murder really be a non-issue in that society, except for the occasional loony going nuts every so often.

To say we have lost God's favor on our nation assumes that we once had it. We cannot lose something we never had. But I am betting that we never had a nation that was fully, 100% Christian. So, in my mind, that argument breaks down. It is quite apparent with our leadership in the world (and other factors) in the last century that we indeed did have God's favor as a nation. And the dwindling away of our sovereignty and exceptionalism tells me that God is slowly withdrawing His hand of preservation and power. Those two things were, in my view, indicative of God's favor, in the case of Israel in Old Testament times, and indicative of us in the recent past.

When churches claim that our current calamities are God's judgment, the evidence they cite is that America's societal norms are profoundly deviating from God's prescription. Societal acceptance of biblically defined abominations like abortion and homosexuality are their favorites. This acceptance was a dead issue 100 years ago. These sins were, I am certain, still committed in secret back then. But society didn't accept them. Homosexuality, abortion, and even pre-marital sex carried a stygma. Today, society condones such actions.

What changed in the last 100 years that has convinced some Evangelicals and Catholics that God's judgment on America is nigh at hand?

For me, it isn't so much that society accepts, and in some cases
condones, such abominations. Sin has always existed. I think it is God withdrawing His hand of protection and preservation because America at large is simply telling God we do not want Him to be part of our corporate society. Even Christians think this. We want Him in our coat pockets so we can take Him out and talk to Him, ask Him for things, and feel good about ourselves. But we don't want His influence in our society as a whole. Taking prayer out of schools is hard evidence of this. God, once again, is no longer the great Orchestrator, and is perceived as the great Interferer.

So part of the responsibility I lay at the doorstep of the Church itself. Judgment begins at the house of God. I think the Church has lost much of her way, and wants an ally where she is offered either a master or a judge. One of the many indictments I have against the church is they all want to cease to be an earthbound entity of strangers and pilgrims whose home lies elsewhere in reality, and they want to establish their own little controlling aristocracy on Earth. It leads to paralysis of free thought, and gradually its adherents become pacified with only the most superficial doctrines, leaving the depths of Christ unexplored and unclaimed. To put it in Scriptural terms, "The salt hath lost its savor." How can any nation maintain the moral high ground with such an impotent Church backing it up?

Ah, but we'll discuss the Church another day. Today we are discussing national judgment. I apologize for deviating from the original topic, but I don't take back anything I said.

I think if there is anything to this, then there has to be a defining standard. We cannot know what is wrong until we know what is right. We cannot call a line crooked until we know what a straight line looks like. And if what is occurring is God's judgment, what is to be done to resolve it? How do we straighten the crooked line?

There is one Scripture that I think applies . The Bible says that when the wicked rules, the people mourn (
Ref). I think the implication is fairly clear. I don't believe the wicked mentioned here is necessarily the political leaders. I think it is the prevalent ideologies in a particular society.

Now why would the people mourn if sinful ideologies grants them all the liberties they supposedly crave? Because it isn't about the sin. As I said, sin has always been present. It is when the approval of sin becomes the preeminent philosophy of society. When the previous norm becomes viewed as puritanical, and the perversion becomes the new normal state. I don't want to stray too deep into politics, but unless I am mistaken, there is a bill in congress now that will make it illegal for churches to say anything about homosexuality (
s. 1390), and even pedophilia. We cannot call it sinful. Pedophilia will be a valid sexual "orientation". Can you remember when homosexuality was not an "orientation" but a "preference"? I can.

In fact, on this road, pedophilia and bestiality will soon supplant homosexuality as the new societal norm. Sex between consenting adults, regardless of gender, will be considered the puritanical view. I use sex as a means to illustrate, but it certainly goes beyond sexuality. Consider abortion. While pro-lifers fight the battle against late term abortions, early and mid term abortions become acceptable societal norms. Women seeking early and mid-term abortions barely meet with any resistance today. When post birth abortions come on the scene (
and as heinous as it sounds, I firmly believe they will), and the pro-life movement gears up to fight that, late term abortions will then gain society's commendation.

The progression is apparent.

Our grandmothers cringe at our young girls' complete lack of discretion and modesty. These girls wear clothing to church that is less modest than what was worn to beaches a few decades ago. Our grandfathers do the same when they see our young boys making babies, but not fathering them except at the order of the courts.

So it isn't really political. It is when the preeminent ideology contradicts God's moral standard, that is when I think a nation loses it's favor with God, and as a consequence, God's blessing. There are many challenges to my view. Feel free to leave a civil comment as to why, or why not, you think much or all of what we are seeing is God's judgment. When leaving a comment, brevity is the key. After all, if the Bard is correct, and brevity is the soul of wit, then it stands to reason that loquaciousness must be the soul of a dimwit.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Birthday America

It is 8:15 P.M. on July 4, 2009. I am sitting on my front porch, listening to a party three houses down, and another one can be heard from over a ridge at a local motorcycle shop. My neighbor's party must be primarily teeny-boppers, as I have heard nothing but modern pop music, and I can hear a very strange live rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama" coming from the cycle shop.

Another neighbor is lapping their house on a small ATV.

And since it is the fourth, and we are fast approaching dusk, I am hearing fireworks pop all around me, at various distances.

Today's society seems to be a strange one indeed. Being politically informed, I see our liberties being taken away from us little by little by our political leaders. Worse yet, a very select few people seem informed, and even less seem concerned. It is very troubling, because I know that our situation will continue to deteriorate until the masses educate themselves, unify, and mobilize efforts to quell the political wrangling taking place today.

I sometimes wonder what our forefathers would say if they saw The United States today. Would they find it as disconcerting as I do? What would they suggest? So, for her birthday, I am going to make six suggestions as what needs to be done to retain our level of greatness and exceptionalism. These are only six among many potential actions, and I offer none of them as cure-all solutions. I just think these things should happen for the betterment of our society.

  1. Move election day to April 16.
  2. Create and implement a litmus test on the subject of American government one must pass before they can vote.
  3. Implement a flat tax.
  4. Implement honest and true transparency in government.
  5. Make sure the final copy of the full text of new legislative bills are submitted, approved, and posted online where all the House of Representatives, Senators, and the American Public can read, and scrutinize, two weeks before any voting occurs.
  6. Make sure that every federally elected official has, in addition to all his experience and education, held a post-college, blue-collar position for at least five consecutive years, so they may learn to understand the true value of a dollar.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Real America

I need to rant a moment to Conservatives.

People like us are politically savvy. We understand the apparent dangers of government getting too big. We discuss these things on these forums and on talk radio shows.

But I have made a disconcerting discovery. The average person doesn't care. Political awareness is no longer the norm, but politics has been reduced to a studious hobby reserved only for those who are thus inclined. Voting for the guy who can make the most lavish promises is the new norm. Political awareness and proficiency is no longer required.

Most people are only thinking about their job, and about whether or not they are going to be able to pay their bills and keep their home. If government intervention and regulation means they keep their job, that is what they are going to pull for. They don't understand that such government involvement is a prelude to a Orwellian society. They don't care.

They don't know what the words "liberal" and "conservative" even means. They have no idea what the political spectrum or the Nolan Chart is. It isn't relevant to their lives.

That is why Obama's approval numbers are so high. People have genuine hope in him, and are not concerned with what lies years ahead of us.

You cannot convince these people that our healthcare system being run by a government bureaucracy is a bad, bad, bad thing. They only see how expensive it is right now, along with the idea that some people do not have medical care available to them. They think something needs to be done, and the government is the only one they regard as powerful enough to bring about reform.

You cannot convince them that letting GM fail as any other unsuccessful company will fail is a good thing compared to government taking it over. All they see is that the government will, as supposed, preserve many of the jobs that would otherwise be lost. In vain would you explain to them that GM under government management is like keeping a body alive through life support, that would die otherwise. It may have a pulse, but it won't be a potent contributor to the free market. In fact, it will only make it difficult for other car companies to compete, since they are competing against a taxpayer subsidized company now.

In summary, these people don't care about big or small government. Most have never read the Constitution! They don't understand that the government is supposed to be on a leash, not running loose devouring every corporate entity that suits their fancy.

I guess one of my little quips is still valid. Politics isn't about truth, it is about perception.

Is there any hope of getting conservatism into our government again? Realistically, is there any? Is it even possible at this point to rein our government back in within the bounds of the Constitution?

Would someone please explain to me what exactly we Conservatives are attempting to accomplish? I am not sure any more. There is a divide even among conservatives on how conservative is too conservative. Should modern day conservatism be reduced to what would have been considered centrist views by Buckley and Reagan? Should we, like most of the third parties, stick to our principles, and consequently lose forever the majority, never win an election, and become an impotent force in politics?

The simple fact is that we are not losing elections because the majority adhere to liberal policies. We are losing elections because voters are willfully ignorant of political science, vote based on oration and demeanor of the candidates, and are too lazy to read a book or two to become informed.

Personally, I cannot understand how anyone who is informed about political world history would want to rely on the federal government for anything. We are afraid of our government... But shouldn't that be the other way around.

One last question. Why isn't there uproar and outrage occurring in DC over over this obvious... OBVIOUS... Socialization and Nationalization? I see Conservatives writing books, and giving speeches. Well, NEWSFLASH!!! The voters don't read!!! The voters don't watch speeches!!! They watch Jon and Kate, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars. They work in repetitive, mundane jobs, and their only concern is their next paycheck. The million dollar question is, how do Conservatives reach these people. It is super easy for liberals to reach them. All they have to do is offer handouts and lavish promises. Problem solved for them. Conservatism faces bigger challenges.

But we Conservatives are faced with the tedious task of saying, in essence, "Elect us, and we will actually do LESS for you.", since diminished government is the core philosophy of Conservatism, and then we are faced with the burden of proving that philosophy is better for the social and financial health of all our citizens. How is this to be accomplished?

Here's to hoping a well bred Conservative here can enlighten me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus 8 - My thoughts

I must admit, this is a show I only watched sporadically. Being in the den with my wife while she watches her shows is when I'd usually catch it. I don't understand reality television, so this type of show generally isn't my forte.

But I did get acquainted with the show enough to understand the rub the current season is having on its fans. In four years, fans have essentially watched the Gosselin's young sextuplets go from infancy into almost their school years.

And I must concede, I think Aiden is an adorable child. You can see he is going to grow into a little geek, a title that used to be derogatory, but is now practically synonymous with fame and fortune.

This show did bear some redeeming characteristics from other reality television programs. For starters, the situations shown were not fake or manufactured. They depicted real life. Birthdays, trips to the doctor, trips to the dentist, vacations, picnics, and general domestic situations marked the average episode. No fake drama. No one to vote off the island (Now there's an unfortunate choice of words). No back-stabbing. It was all real.

Regarding the popular scandal associated with the show, in all honesty, I saw something like this coming. One doesn't put their entire family into the public eye without experiencing the cruel consequences of public life. And Jon obviously didn't have the constitution to deal with it. Jon's mistake is obvious, and has been exploited enough by the press. His deed is done. As of now, I can't really blame Jon. He messed up, but Kate is not helping matters. The question I now ask is why Kate is pushing so hard to keep this show on the air? Doesn't she realize her family is in a crisis and needs to deal with this privately? This is what I don't understand. What is she hoping to accomplish in leaving the show on for another season? Hopefully, SURELY, she doesn't regard the show, which was most likely the catalyst in destroying their marriage, as the very mechanism she needs to preserve it. Does she think that Jon will do the right thing on camera, where he might not otherwise? This tells me she does not take Jon's opinion seriously. He has voiced his objection to the show before. What in the world is she thinking by continuing the show through this ordeal?

Another issue I take is that the show has always went out of the way to propound the Gosselin's Christianity. This has become a reproach to the faith. A reproach that could easily be resolved by not continuing the series, and simply releasing a press-conference saying that the show is canceled until further notice. As long as the show is running, they will have paparazzi and tabloid articles to deal with. They need to purge themselves from this and deal with their domestic problems as a family. If they are indeed Christians, they do not need their dirty laundry aired in public. They need to deal with this like Christians, which certainly involves turning the cameras off.

Besides, once the public loses interest, which they will inevitably do after the show is off for a season, the pop-culture's press will too.

What about all the children, young girls with whom, perhaps, Kate was their only pattern for being a mother, or young boys, who was learning from Jon how to be a father? They have destroyed their confidence. Whether this family maintains cohesion, or explodes into a messy divorce, one thing is for certain, it needs to go off the air! We don't need this type of dysfunction perpetuated into subsequent generations, especially under the umbrella of Christianity.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Farm Town

Note: Facebook readers, click here to read this on my blog.

I have never been a fan of apps on social sites. I tried a few on MySpace, and found them to be more frustrating than helpful or entertaining. I tried YoVille on MySpace, but found that attaining any type of status was very difficult.

But recently, I have discovered a game on Facebook called FARMTOWN. It is a very addictive and very fun game.

You begin the game with a little money, and a little land. The premise is to plow fields and sow seeds, wait, and then harvest when your crop is ready. You gain experience points, which unlocks opportunities to more profitable crops and better structures.

Money is in the form of coins. Plowing costs 20 coins. Various seeds cost different amounts of coins. For example, you plow a field for 20 coins, and then sow grape seeds in that field for 20 coins. You have invested a total of 40 coins into a field of grapes. When they are ready for harvesting, you can direct harvest them and gain 50 coins, store them and gain 56 coins, or hire someone to harvest them and receive 67 coins.

Over time, and as you gain experience, you unlock more profitable crops. Most crops requires waiting 1, 2, or 3 days before they are ready to harvest. And once they are ready for harvest, you have approximately the same amount of time to harvest them before they go bad. Days are based on 20 hours. So if strawberries take 1 day to be ready for harvest, then after they've been ready for 1 day, they will go bad if not harvested. Want to make a little money while you wait on your crops to mature? Simply go to the market (or any area people gather) and allow those who want to hire their crops out to hire you.

Onions are the most profitable, followed by peas and sunflowers. There is a well-maintained "cheat sheet" which can be found on Google Spreadsheets. Click here to see it.

The player can also plant trees, which has a very low profit margin, but once planted, never costs the player another dime. Also, they only bear fruit once every 4 days.

Buildings, animals, paths, and other items currently serve no purpose other than aesthetic, but there are rumors that soon they will benefit the player some way.

The game runs a little slow on older computers, but there are ways to speed things up. In the Preferences menu (the menu marked with a little crescent wrench), You can freeze animals, hide trees, and hide buildings. All three of these options will speed up the process. Also, the game runs in Adobe Flash, so right click on the play area, go to Quality, and go to Low. This helps. One last thing you can do to speed things up is play full-screen. I know this sounds like a contradiction in terms, but there is something about playing in the browser that seems to slow the game down. Going full screen removes the ability to chat with other players' avatars, but that generally isn't an issue. In preferences, there are other options to facilitate your personal taste. There are also plenty of instruction videos here.

Farm Town is not perfect. There are plenty of bugs. Below are some of my recommendations to Slashkey, the game's developers.
  1. At present time, it is pretty narrow. You simply plow, plant, harvest, sell, and then buy. You accumulate wealth and assets, and just continue to plant and harvest. They should look into adding other functions and activities.
  2. Make buildings like barns and houses into their own sub structures with rooms and furniture, like in YoVille or SmallWorlds. Make decorating the inside of your house and barns yet another incentive for players to accumulate wealth in the game. The larger the house, the more rooms to decorate. Make farm equipment (like tractors and plows) available to store in the barn. Make stables in the barn to store livestock when not grazing.
  3. Make a livestock market, where livestock must be maintained and marketed. Mandate that so much grazing space be given per head to maintain the value of livestock.
  4. The avatar makes harvesting an infuriating activity. It walks all over the place attempting to get where it wants to go. And when it gets there, it is usually blocking you from clicking on the next field you want to harvest. Make it where the player can harvest while the avatar stays put in a neutral position, somewhere out of the way. A more intuitive interface is needed.
  5. Harvesting trees that are close together can be tricky. Make an option where only trees that are ready to harvest are visible, and they go invisible once harvested.
  6. Server interruptions are rather frequent, especially if there is a lot going on. This needs to be resolved.
  7. Lots of slowdown on older computers when there is a lot happening. Toggle graphics quality to go even lower until better play control is achieved on older systems.
  8. Allow permanent hires. A list of friends who do not have to be dynamically hired every time, who can go to your farm and harvest your crops at their leisure.
  9. Allow plowing of blocks of fields along with the "1 field at a time" plowing. I am thinking a 2 x 2 plot with spaces between fields removed, that would cost 80 coins. It would cut down down on player time, server workload, and a gaggle of other issues. Also, bulk sewing would be a neat idea too.
Will all these issues, it is understood that this game is still in beta. They are working the kinks. Thus far, they have done a mighty fine job.

This is a screen capture of my farm as of June 7, 2009. The appearance of farms is constantly fluctuating, and I will update this graphic as the appearance of my farm changes. As of June 7, changes were made to FarmTown, with even more upgrades promised. We now have flowers, which must be planted and maintained. It is still unclear how the flowers function or their benefits, but I am sure we will soon be enlightened. We also have RIVERS, which is awesome, especially the water mill. Until structures have a function, there is really no reason to acquire them outside of decorating your farm, which is a blast all by itself, and is much of the reason the game is so addicting.

Happy farming!!! :)