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Monday, December 24, 2012

Why a person needs the AR-15

I have patiently watched various shows with their hosts (ahem, Piers Morgan) with their holier-than-thou and smarter-than-thou comments about our 2nd amendment rights.  The question they so often ask is "Why would anyone need a gun that can shoot 6 rounds a second?".  My eyes bleed as I watch uninformed "gun experts" answer their questions with such meekness and uncertainty (uh, well, you see, uh, these guns are ..uh ...)

Let me answer you Mr. Morgan.

First of ALL AUTOMATIC weapons are ILLEGAL already in this country.  Guns such as the AR-15 are only manufactured as "SEMI-AUTOMATIC" weapons.  For the uninformed person, this means that  the gun only fires 1 bullet for every time you pull the trigger.  The killer at Sandy-Hook was using such a gun. 

To make all semi-automatic weapons illegal would be to make practically all hunting rifles today illegal as well. The only difference between the AR-15 and these guns is, bullet size and style of gun.  My 30-06 Remington is a semi-automatic and has a higher bullet velocity than the AR-15.  So are we going to make my gun illegal as well?   What criteria are you going to use to determine whether a semi-automatic will be used for hunting or not?  Are we going to judge a book by its cover?  What if we took the AR-15 and made it look more like a hunting rifle?  Would you be okay with that?

Secondly, the reason why I as an American citizen would "ever need one" is simple.  Because under certain circumstances the people we employ to protect us, CAN'T!  Look at Katrina in New Orleans and you see massive looting by people and no police to protect them.  Look at the Rodney King riots in LA, and you see people standing on the roofs of their businesses, with semi-automatic weapons protecting their livelihoods.  You live in a fantasy land thinking that such occurrences can't happen, when in fact they do happen and when that day comes, we need as citizens the BEST weapon to protect ourselves and our families, AND THAT IS THE AR-15!  No other weapon is outfitted to better protect my family than this gun.  (BTW - how the gun looks is important as well as how it performs.  Its image means business and deadly force)

Finally, Mr. Morgan, while I do not own such a weapon, it is my right as a citizen to be protected by the best weapon possible.  I, as a honorable and law-abiding citizen, can be trusted with the decision to have it in my possession if I so choose. Maybe YOU don't trust people like me but that does not give you the right to make that decision.  Do we limit ourselves to what a few paranoid individuals feel safe with?  No!  If we did, no one would drive, fly or even ride a bicycle for that matter. 19 men killed over 3000 people with 4 jets.  Did we ban jet airplanes because some deranged individuals can take possession of one and kill thousands of people with it?  No.  Last I saw, millions of people still choose to fly every day.

Mr. Morgan, you live in a fantasy world (it's a disease of liberalism) if you think that banning one style of gun will suddenly make all life safe in this world.  People like this killer will find other ways to carry out their evil intents.  However, people like you will not be held accountable for your promises of a utopian world (by relinquishing our basic rights to self-defense) do not come true.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The "Deliver us from Evil Act of 2012"

Building on my last blog, I am starting to write the bill of all bills.  The "Deliver us from Evil Act of 2012".

This bill will promise to prevent any all all future acts of atrocity imaginable for those who want it.

First we must consider all possible access points of evil in society:

 1) Life
 2) Health
 3) Financial

Congress needs to supply the ways and means to insure that all 3 of the above is protected from all sources of evil for every member of society that requests it (or even if they don't... after all the government does know best!).

The government will provide security to each person in such a way that people like the gunman in Colorado or Newton Connecticut could ever harm a citizen.  They must be protected 24/7 365 days per year.   All people who can come in contact with those citizens must be thoroughly screened and checked for all weapons great and small.  The best way (at least according to the TSA) is a thorough electronic body scan that can sniff out guns, knives and bomb making materials.   Also these individuals should be kept from cars, planes, trains and other mechanical devices that are known to be used by people who intend to do us harm.   They should also be kept away from shopping malls, theaters and other public places where terrorists might have ill intentions.

These people should be supplied with round-the-clock medical care.   Doctors, Dentists, (even psychologists) should be provided at a seconds thought to the person who needs it.  Also, ample amounts of low-fat, low-salt, organic, health food should be provided along with 24 hour health-club like services to insure that these citizens are at the peak of health at all times.  No expense will be too much for these people.  Weight rooms, treadmills, stationary bikes... nothing off limits.   To protect their mental health, the government will supply adequate amounts of education services and also entertainment in the form of music, movies, TVs, and computers. 

To protect these citizens from financial ruin inflicted by people like Bernie Madoff, we will require these citizens to surrender their finances to a group of individuals who will over-see their money (just looking out for them of course!).   And since we are already taking care of their life and health, there really is no reason for them to acquire wealth anyway.

Does this sound too far fetched?  Actually it's not and we have plenty of places like this already.  They are called:


Deliver us from evil

   And deliver us from evil...

   Those words come from the Lord's Prayer.  Martin Luther (the Lutheran reformer) says in his small catechism:

We pray in this petition, in summary, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.

  For the Christian who believes firmly in God's promise of salvation through Jesus Christ, these word's provide hope and healing.  We know that even in the midst of the most horrific circumstances that God will have the last say.  He will rescue us from the body of death and this world of evil.

   But to those who don't believe, this world can be a horrible place filled with evil.  They cry out to those with "political power" and say:


   Fear and sadness rule the day and rule the arguments.  We want to prevent this from happening again and fool our emotion-driven-brains into thinking that a political task force and a new set of laws will be able to "deliver us from evil".  We cry "Do whatever it takes to keep this from happening again!" but you know deep down they can't.

   After 9-11, we feared flying again and said we should not let people with box-cutters on planes to do what the 19 hijackers were able to accomplish.  The government obliged and now children as young as 2 have been "frisked" by adults (how many are pedophiles we do not know) at the airport.   grandmothers who could barely walk have been stripped searched and humiliated.  We have been regarded as "guilty until proven innocent" and we allow them to remove all manner of items from our possession in the name of  "safety and security". 

   Later, a shoe-bomber tried (and failed) to take down a plane with explosives put into his shoes.  Now we gave up the right to not bare our feet in public and are forced to take them off and place them in containers and handled by TSA agents.  Then another bomber tried to use different liquids in separate containers and assemble the bomb mixture on board the plane.  So, we gave up the right to bring our own refreshments, toothpaste, mouthwash, makeup, perfume, deodorant, hand-sanitizer, etc.. 

  Then another bomber used his underwear as the method to conceal the bomb and we gave up the right to not be searched without a warrant.  Now we allow our teenage daughters and wives to be ogled by old men sitting behind computer screens, filling their corrupt minds (and probably flash-drives) with detailed images of their bodies.   We give up the privacy of our private parts all so we can get to where we need to go.

   After 9-11, we passed the Patriot Act.  In it we gave up rights in our communications and our rights on the internet.  We allowed warrant-less searches and seizures of property.  Under it's powers, the FBI only needs to have a minute amount of reason to believe it to be connected to a terrorist situation and they can enter your homes or tap your phones and search your emails.  Just ask General Petraeus, how the FBI was able to access his personal emails and those of his mistress without obtaining a warrant from a judge?  Answer: The Patriot Act.   If they can do this to a 4 star general, who can they NOT do this to?

   Freedom, to some, is to be feared above all.  To them, too much freedom is a scary proposition.  With freedom comes uncertainty and with uncertainty comes fear because I don't trust what you might do with that freedom.  Freedom therefore has become equated with evil and must be limited, controlled, and even taken away if necessary.   To the politicians, the taking away of liberties and freedoms is "delivering us from evil".

   The truth is that on the same coin of freedom comes both good and evil and there is no way to separate the two.  They are 2 sides of the same coin.  Slice the coin in half and you still have a head side and the tail side.  Slice it in half again... and you still have 2 sides.  In fact you will have 2 sides until... the coin is completely gone.    No one likes evil (except for the evildoers).   For example, evil exists even in our courtrooms.  Everyday, people are charged with crimes they did not commit.  Those in charge knowingly do this, because they know they can get away with it (I have witnessed this in person).  The very system put there to insure our freedom and our rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is the cause of pain, suffering and misery.  Those intrusted with the safety of others abuse their power.   Do we do away with the courts?  No!  Will we be able to remove the evil from them?  No!     Our courts, government, fertilizer, poison, guns, knives, axes, cars, airplanes, trucks, etc.. all have their place and purpose in our society, but they can also each be used for incredible evil as well.

   This is why The Lord's Prayer does NOT say:  "Guard us from evil"  or  "Protect us from evil".  Instead it says "deliver" which implies that evil WILL COME TO US.  It will touch our lives at some point and we will have to deal with it.   We ask that God will some day set all things right and take us from this vale of tears to where no evil can harm us again.

   Only God can truly "deliver us from evil"


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Am I God?

    Today's computer activated world has given man the impression that he is virtually super-human and almost "god-like",  but reality bytes (pun intended) when you examine it.

Omniscient: All knowing

   Modern man can with a few keystrokes on their keyboard obtain almost any information using Bing or Google.  No more thumbing through encyclopedias or other reference books.  He has a system that brings to his mind the latest information available on eHow and Wiki.  He can expand his "knowledge" to almost limitless levels.   He can also know more about what is going on in "his world" than ever before.  He can read an article about:
  • a shooting in Connecticut. 
  • a bomb-blast in Iraq
  • a drought in Africa
  • a missile lauch in North Korea.
  • a glacier shrinking in  Greenland.
  • a girl missing in Florida

    However, most of the "knowledge" is really just "trivia" dressed up as information.   Much of it has not been filtered or checked by any qualified person.  The phrase "I saw it on the internet" has become a laugh-line for many a joke, TV shows and movies.  We must understand that information is not wisdom.  It's data and that's all.  Wisdom is the ability to take that data and make a leap beyond what you've read or consumed.

    Wisdom is not being stupid, and stupidity is something we seem to have an abundance of these days.

Omni-present:  Present Everywhere at the same time

    The internet has given us the ability to reach out to people all over the globe.  We can have multiple browser tabs opened and be Facebook-ing, Twitter-ing, browsing, Google-ing, e-mailing, all around the world all at seemingly the same time.   We can also spread ourselves thinner than ever before.  Commercials show Dad's and Mom's "being-there" for their kids via "skype" and "face-time".   In one commercial, Dad shows up to his son's music recital via Facetime on the iPad. (Way to go Dad!  I am sure it will mean a lot to him).   You don't have to be there in person... you just have to be there "virtually".   Who needs to fly home for Thanksgiving when we can just have computer monitors placed around the table?

     Also, the internet has given us the idea that we can "be there" for everyone in the world... even those we have never met.  Like God answering prayers, we believe we can reach out to a hurting world with our electronic fingers and heal a hurting world.   We write long emotional poems and sermons to heal every kind of hurting person we have become aware of through our network of "friends" and "friends-of-friends".   We must stop what we are doing (doesn't matter since we have an infinite amount of time .. see later section) and reach out to them and grace them with out omniscient wisdom because we just googled a story on that subject and now we feel we are an expert on the subject and als one of our friends-of-friends had a similar (well not really similar..but quite close to be used here) incident that we feel would be of use to this person who we have never met and probably never will.  Mean while, our real next door neighbor is at the door wanting to ask if you for a favor and you are pretending to not be home.

    Additionally I think Google-maps has allowed us to feel like God in one other way.  Through it, we can fly to any part of the world and "drop in" in a seconds time.  At no other time in man's existence has he ever been given this ability.  Zoom-out, move-east, move south, zoom-in... and BAM! Your there!   We are never lost (at least not in a physical road-map way).  We can also see danger ahead (look's like there's bad traffic ahead) and we can avoid it and not be late....again!

Infinite amounts of time:

   We perceive God as being outside of space AND time.  It is what allows him to hear ALL of our prayers at the SAME TIME.   So too, with our computers we perceive that time slows down or even stops when we are on the internet or the computer.   Because these devices do things so "fast" we think what the amount of time we are using them doesn't add up.  Like a scene out of the movie "Clock Stoppers" we think that time has stopped for us, but everyone else moves on.

   In reality though, each of these activities takes a certain amount of " real time".  We don't have a 25 or 30 hour day.  We still only have 24 hours and reality slaps us hard in the face when:

           ....Dinner is not done.
           ....Work is yet unfinished.
           ....You missed another appointment.
           ....You will have to do with another 4 hours of sleep tonight (6 if you are lucky).
           ....The bills have not been paid
           ....and on and on and on

    Please don't get me wrong.  Computers and the Internet have been very helpful to man.  But all advances have their place, time and limits.  They do not make us super-humans.  They do not give us god-like qualities.   We need to turn them off and:

- Physically be there for others
- Prioritize our time and do the things that are important and meaningful to those around us.
- Accept our limits and that we don't have to know everything

Personal insight.
Even as I am writing this very blog, I am thinking to myself, "My God, am I trying to be you?  Am I wasting my time right now?  Am I trying to be omniscient?  omni-present?  omnipotent?"  The anwer to that question quite frankly is "yes" and I too need to hear my own words and take them to heart and change course as well.

    Finally, we are NOT God.  We are really just people with grand-illusions of ourselves and if we allowed ourselves to be analyzed by a psychologist, I think we would deserve to be put into mental hospitals.  My concern is for our future generations.  We, who did not grow up with this technology, still know what it was like BEFORE we had the internet and instant gratification. We remember having to write letters, pick up the phone and talk, either looking up information or accept the fact we did not know.  We lived within our means and our limitations.

     What will THIS generation be like that does not see its limitations and believes itself to be super-human-gods?   What egotistical maniacs with illusions of grandeur will they become?  

Makes me wonder.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fanning the flames

     How would you feel if you called 911 about a house on fire and instead of fire truck showing up the city sent a gasoline truck loaded with gas and they started to squirt more fuel onto the fire.  Unless your Mayor's name was "Nero" and your city was Rome, you would definitely think something was terribly, TERRIBLY WRONG!   

     I contend that all of this attention to the families on Newtown  are only going to increase the amount of this kind of gun violence.  After all, with our 24/7 cable news, the killers name (which I will not mention here) has been mentioned over and over again.  His school pictures are put up on the screen 10 times every minute.   We are bombarded with interviews from doctors, relatives and friends who claim to have known him and offer twisted forms of sympathy for him and his troubled mind.

     To me this will only foster MORE of this kind of violence.  How many mentally disturbed individuals are out there this very minute watching with glee the post-humus attention the killer is receiving from news media, hollywood stars, pro athletes, politicians ... and yes, even the President of the United States.  These individuals don't care if it's negative press that the killer is getting, for to them ANY ATTENTION is better than NO ATTENTION.   We must understand that the mentally ill, like this killer, do not see things the same way as you and I do.  When they see the President eulogizing the teachers, and children of the school, they see him as eulogizing the killer and giving credence to what he did.  It's a warped and twisted world that many of these people live in.  We may mean good, but they don't see it that way.

    Therefore all this attention (I am sorry to say) is only fanning the flames and at this very moment producing the next mass-killer, all the while we think we are trying to eliminate them from our society.

     Frankly, I am tired of all this attention.  Yes, what happened was tragic.  These parents dropped their children off at the most safest place on earth they could only to find it was not so.  But at the same time, over a 100 people died yesterday on automobile accidents and many of those people were children.  But these people are unmentioned.  The President won't be coming to their funerals, or give speeches from the White House.  No one will put their name on a helmet  or a jersey.  No one will be calling for the end of automobile accidents or the end of the automobile.  No congressional bills will have their names of them or their town inscribed on it.    

    We have replaced real sympathy with virtual-sympathy.  Through the internet we can offer sympathy by writing long sermons or poems on our Facebook wall and pass it on to our friends, thinking somehow we have enlightened the rest of the world and that our virtual-tears and virtual-sobs will virtually change the world.  All the while our neighbor next door has lost a father, a mother, a sibling or is dealing with depression, cancer or both.  For after all, those problems require too much of us.  (Don't they have doctors for that?)  Maybe that next door neighbor has a troubled son who needs help but she doesn't know where to turn?  Maybe he's depressed or lonely and has no father-figure to help him?  (Isn't there an after school program for kids like this?  What am I paying taxes for anyway!)  Instead, we like helping people over the internet because those people are not going to show up on our door step at 3am looking for help.   We can keep them at a virtual-distance from us where they can't touch us and yet we can fool ourselves into thinking somehow we are touching them.

    So, go ahead and write on your Facebook walls.  Send e-mails and e-cards to the school.  Hash-tag them on twitter.  "Friend" some of the survivors and first responders and tell them you will "pray" for them, but know in your heart that you never will because you are too busy reading the next juicy piece of news they have on the Newtown-killer.   Write another touching poem about the massacre and how they will all be missed.

    Who knows?  Maybe the next killer-in-the-making will read your diatribe and in their own warped and twisted mind be emboldened to be even MORE infamous (not famous) than the Newtown-killer.  You, however, will be lulled into the mistaken idea that this won't happen again because we will prevent killers like this from gaining access to these weapons of mass destruction.  But of course...
  • Timothy McVeigh didn't need an assault weapon to murder his victims in Oklahoma. All he needed was a few hundred pounds of cheap fertilizer and a U-haul truck.  
  • The Una-bomber didn't need an AR-15 to kill his victims.  All he needed was the US Post-office to deliver his boxes of death.  
  • The largest US school massacre occurred in 1927 in Bath Michigan by a frustrated school board member who killed 45 children with 3 bombs placed in the school.
   But then again, who needs facts in an age of feeling.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Have yourself a Sisyphean Christmas

It's that time of year... again!   Time to put up the lights, put up the tree, put up the decorations, fight the crowds, buy the presents, make food for parties, wrap the presents, eat food that's bad for you, decorate the house, listen to constant Christmas music, hear old favorite Christmas songs mangled by hosts of new "singers" on the radio/TV who have to put their own special spin on them, watch Christmas "specials" that seem to have very little to do with the holiday, .....etc.etc.etc.   Then when it's all over, put all the decorations away, pay all the credit card bills and wait until NEXT year when you get to do it ALL OVER AGAIN!

    For me, I sometimes feel like the Greek mythological person, King Sisyphus.  Sisyphus angered the gods (especially Zeus) for his idea that he was smarter and more clever than them. As punishment for his egotistical attitude, Sisyphus is made to push a boulder up a hill in Hades every morning, and just when he is about to get the boulder all the way up, it begins to roll back down the hill under its own weight and making him start all over again. Thus, this is where we get the word, Sisyphean, which means: "a fruitless endeavor".

    Maybe I am just getting older, but this year I am finding it very difficult to find the strength to push this "boulder" up the hill again. (do you feel like that too?).  And, yes, I know that this "boulder" makes other people happy and it gives us time to be with family and friends.  We are constantly admonished to not be "Ba-Hum-Bug!" scrooges and to see the joy of it all.  But to me, the whole idea that this holiday can be turned into a secular holiday devoid of all religious meaning leaves one empty and feeling like Sisyphus rolling the boulder up hill day after day, year after year.

    Then I think about another "boulder" that was rolled.  A real rock (not a mythological one) that closed the real tomb of our real Savior Jesus Christ. When it was rolled away, it gave hope to a lost and hurting world.  Because of that rock being rolled, Christmas IS joyous because Jesus rose from the dead after paying for our sins so we would not have to pay the penalty in Hades (hell).    It's not a fruitless endeavor that we must endure year after year.  It's a time when we can hear the angels proclaim TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY for the whole world once again. 

To those who believe like I do.... Have a MERRY Christmas!!

To those who don't .....  Have a Sisyphean Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another sign that 2012 may be the end of the world

A sign of the end of the world would be things like:
  • The moon turning to blood
  • The sun refusing to shine
  • Earthquakes in various places
  • Wars all around the world
Now yesterday another sign that this may be the final year.... Michigan has become a right-to-work state.

Who would have thought that the most union owned-corrupt-state, although Illinois is in a very close second, could turn from its union masters and allow anyone who wants to work to work without being FORCED to pay union dues.  Nobody saw this one coming and even though President Obama put his two cents into the discussion saying that "This is not the direction we should be going"  (guess they didn't get his memo on what "Forward" meant or what direction forward was), the governor signed the bill passed by the legislature.

Of course Michigan still has a long way to go.  The unions will continue to put pressure on their "members" to pay their dues (looks like a good year for the tire stores and auto paint industry), but slowly they will be drained of their money as in these hard times, families need every dime they can get their hands on and dues will have to wait.   Also, the unions will be more active to punish the politicians who voted for it and get "their guys" back into power but hopefully the people of Michigan will see that more jobs is better than NO highly paid union jobs (zero time anything is still zero).

Hopefully this will bring much needed jobs back to Michigan.  For too long jobs have left this state that once was the envy of the world.  Over the past several decades, the unions inflated wages and benefits well beyond what was sustainable, but even worse is their constant interference in how businesses operate.  Far too often they would limit the kinds of work the employees can or cannot do.  For example, Teamsters unions Hostess Bakeries to use different truck drivers for those who deliver bread and those who deliver snack foods.  Really?  What would be next, Ho-Ho drivers and Ding-Dong-drivers?   Of course this is just their way to get more work for truck drivers, but it just adds more to the cost of what we buy until the company cannot function anymore (as was the case with Hostess) and close their doors.

While this is good news to me... it's a little unnerving.  If Illinois or Wisconsin becomes a right-to-work-state too, I may have to hold off on buying that "University of Illinois 2013 Calendar" as it might be a waste of money.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A warning to despots who tried to rule our lives..

To all current and future despots who want to rule our world and our lives...

  • King Herod the Great thought he would rule Judea... but he died at the age of 72
  • Emperor Nero thought he would rule all of Rome...but he died at the age of 31
  • Genghis Khan thought he would rule all of Asia... but he died at the age of 65
  • Napoleon thought he would rule all of Europe ... but he died at the age of 52
  • Hitler thought he would rule the world ... but he died at the age of 56

Jesus died and rose again and rules the hearts and lives of millions in this world.  Despots come and go, but Christ lives forever.  He came to give us life and give it to us abundantly.  He did not come to enslave us, but to set all mankind free!  You may yet mock him and spit on him but he cannot be stopped from his rule.

So go ahead with your great plans and your great ideas... we will not oblige.

In the end you will lose too!

I am so done with Christmas

I recently read an article that showed a popular teen store called "Urban Outfitters" incorporating profanity-laced products in their Christmas catalog.  With shirts that say "Merry Christmas B----es!" and Let's F---ing Reminisce" , I have been officially pushed over the edge with Christmas.

Christmas has been stolen by the modern day Grinches and I say "FINE!, You can have it!"

I see commercial after commercial that makes me want to vomit
  • Santa Claus picking up a person in a car and telling them "What the Ho Ho Ho are you doing?"  (we all know the "ho ho ho" is Santa's way of saying "f---" ... isn't that so FUNNY?)
  • A father giving his kids 2 cookies to shut them up from arguing when he should just put them in separate corners and tell them there will be no presents under the tree if they don't stop.
  • Victoria Secret using the holiday to push braziers and panties on models where "angels wings" (so now God's special messengers that brought the shepherd's the Good News for the whole world are transformed into whores and skanks to "stimulate" men to buy underwear?)
  • Car commercials showing Santa driving Mercedes or BMW's around and people "wishing" for a new car for Christmas (Really?  I don't know ANYONE who thinks they are going to get  a new car under the tree...or a giant red bow... who are these people?)
  • Garmin uses one of my favorite Christmas Carols, "Carol of the Bells", for its "jingle" so now generations to come will think of their GPS system and not the final words in the last line of the carol which says "Tell all the world Jesus is king".
I see people behaving badly and making Christmas a bloody-hell when it should be a joyful time
  • The Salvation Army and their bell-ringers and saying they are "annoying" and should not be allowed to collect money for the poor... after all isn't that the GOVERNMENTS JOB?
  • Schools not allowing children to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" because it has a strong religious theme in it (Well excuse me that IS what Christmas is all about).
  • Atheists putting up billboards claiming that Santa and Jesus are BOTH myths.
  • People getting into brawls at "Black-Friday" (Really?  Black is associated with Christmas?) and go to even the extreme of shooting each other.
Corporations and other groups want to abuse OUR CELEBRATION for their own profit and at the same time destroy its meaning, spit in our faces and tell US what WE can say or not say on this day.  (often they will claim that the "druids" celebrated the winter solstice with bonfires long before the Christians took it over)

I know there is still a lot of good in Christmas and maybe I am only seeing the negative, but I often feel like Charlie Brown crying out in the empty auditorium "Does anyone know what Christmas is all about?" .  While I DO know what Christmas is all about, I feel that much of the world says "So what?  Who cares? All it means to us is more sales and more profits for us!  We can do with it what we want and you can't stop us!"

What can we do as Christians?
  • Turn off the TV for the month of December
    • Watch Christmas DVD's of old movies and shows
    • if you have a DVR, record the shows you do care about... and skip the commercials
  • Don't watch the "news" which only talks about 
    • people getting into fights or robbed at malls
    • how Christmas sales are going so far and how it will effect the economy
  • Listen to Christmas music or read a book
  • Stay out of the malls and crowds. 
    • Buy on-line if you can and save yourself from being over commercialized.
  • Give to a Christian charity in someone-else's name
    • Lutheran World Relief is one of the best run organizations around
    • Salvation Army

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Establishment Clause

The Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

To understand the "Establishment Clause" you need to understand the founders of our country.  In 1534 Henry the 8th, through the "Act of Supremacy"  declared the king to be the only Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England.  Later the "Treasons Act" made it punishable by death to not acknowledge that idea.   Because the ministers of the Church of England were paid by the king, they effectively became his "mouth-pieces" to disseminate the "kings truth" rather than "God's truth".  Later groups of "separatists" decided to worship their own way in their own homes.   This caused alarm by the government, leading them to pass the "Act of Uniformity" that required all citizens to attend the Church of England every Sunday.  A person who chose not to attend would be fined 1 shilling every Sunday.   People conducting non-conforming church services would be imprisoned or executed. These acts were what drove our founders, the Pilgrims, to take the long and dangerous voyage over the Atlantic and risk their very lives to come here.

This is what "establishing a religion" really looks like.

Placing a nativity on a courthouse lawn does not EVEN COMPARE with having a church bought and paid for by the government and forcing citizens to attend it.   If our founders saw what some in this country consider "establishing a religion" they would be mortified, because they risked life and limb at the hands of their government while people today just have to say "their feelings were hurt" or "they felt left out" in order to evoke the "establishment clause".

The government has always in the past tried to encourage religion without establishing one.  For example, 1782 Congress reviewed and recommended the printing of the Aitken Bible (also known as the Bible of the Revolution).  Why did they do this?  Because at the time the only Bibles available were the English translation and they were in short supply after the Revolutionary War.  Aitken's paid for the printing of the bible, but he requested Congress to review it and give a recommendation so he could get it printed.  Here is a statement printed inside the bible:

"Reverend Gentlemen,
"Our knowledge of our piety and public spirit leads us without apology to recommend to your particular attention the edition of the Holy Scriptures publishing by Mr. Aitken. He undertook this expensive work at a time when, from the circumstances of the war, and English edition of the Bible could not be imported, nor any opinion formed how long the obstruction might continue. On this account particularly he deserves applause and encouragement. We therefore wish you, Reverend Gentlemen, to examine the execution of the work, and if approved, to give the sanction of our judgment, and the weigh of your recommendation. 

Was this establishing a religion?  No.  Not in the least!  It was promoting it though and there in lies the difference.  To illustrate my point, consider that the federal government promotes home ownership by allowing home-buyers to deduct their mortgage interest and property taxes from their income.  Why? Because homeowners are a benefit to society.  We become better citizens by putting down roots in our towns and cities.  We become INVESTED into our communities.   If, however, the federal government MANDATED that everyone over the age of 25 buy a home or pay a penalty (kind of sounds like Obama-care doesn't it?) ... then that would be ESTABLISHING home ownership.

Putting up Christmas Trees or having Thanksgiving celebrations does not MANDATE or ESTABLISH a religion... it PROMOTES it.  Why should the government promote religion?  For the same reason it promotes home-ownership.  It makes us better citizens and it helps support the Republic. George Washington said in his Farewell Address the following:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness

A moral and ethical people are the foundation of a Republic.  A moral people will not
  • steal from the government
  • lie to the public
  • steal votes
  • take advantage of others
  • show charity out of their own wealth.
  • etc..etc.. etc..
What about Al-Qaeda and Muslim Extremists?  Should government promote them as well?  The answer here is simply NO!  You may be asking  "But why not?  Are they not religions as well?".  My answer here is simple, "Because they do not support the tenets of our Republic".
  1. Do they support Freedom of Religion?             No.  
  2. Do they support Freedom of Speech?               No
  3. Do they support Freedom of the Press?            No.
  4. Do they support the ownership of property?    No (not if your not muslim).
  5. Do they support a woman's right to vote?        No.
So therefore, unless they are "moderate muslims" who DO support these tenets the government does not have to promote it (though it cannot entirely dissuade them either ... except if they break the law).

The Republic needs religion to survive but religion only needs the Republic to leave it alone.