Thursday, June 14, 2018

Happy Flag Day 2018!

Clearly, I have fallen off my regular blogging ritual! Where does the time go? The days get more and more crowded all the time, and unfortunately, I have to let some things go by the wayside, like regular updates here.

But I wanted to jump on today to acknowledge a day that is very close to my heart, as long-time readers of this silly little blog may know. It's Flag Day!

Since I was little I have always loved this day (for more reasons than one, as some may know:-) But one of the thrills I remember as a young kid was seeing so many houses in my neighborhood flying Old Glory so majestically on this day. I loved how television stations would announce Flag Day in between commercials. I loved the respect all this showed for our Flag and the meaning behind it, namely freedom, pride, patriotism. It drove home for me from a young age that our country is special, blessed by God, and that we are blessed to live in it.

It has saddened me over the years to see fewer people flying their flags on this day. Maybe they don't own them anymore. Maybe they don't even know it's Flag Day. I certainly rarely hear it announced anywhere anymore. But worse is to see the growing disrespect and disdain for the Flag that is popping up all around. Some universities have even attempted to ban it altogether, while some student governments have ruled that it can be flown on campus as long as it is accompanied by a Gay Pride flag. That's sad, because it clearly means students don't realize the inclusivity for which the U.S. Flag stands. 

There is greater vocalizing these days that the Flag is divisive, representative of oppression and racism and any other ills misanthropes want to throw at it. Now we also have people refusing to stand for it as our National Anthem is sung, which is truly disheartening to see.

But for me, the Flag will always represent what America is, the greatest force for good this world has ever known, and I for one, will always fly my flag proudly. I hope others will too.

                                     Happy Flag Day!!!


Monday, May 7, 2018

Michigan House Bill to honor suicide should be rejected

Not that I'm on any kind of suicide kick or anything, but maybe to illuminate the point of my last post, a bill introduced in the Michigan legislature last week actually wants to honor suicide. 

HB 5914, introduced by Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette,  aims to designate a portion of M-95 as the "Rep. John Kivela Memorial Highway." Kivela, a Marquette Democrat, died last year by committing suicide. 

Understandably, Cambensy, a fellow Marquette resident and colleague of Kivela, would feel a strong sense of wanting to remember him. But we already have a suicide epidemic in America. Look at the number of young people killing themselves as a "solution" to bullying or other challenges that life presents to them. Where are they getting the direction that suicide is never the answer to anything, no matter how intense the problem?

Publicly honoring those who kill themselves would only romanticize and glamorize suicide. Unstable people contemplating such a devastating action may see a highway memorial as encouragement that taking one's own life is not only acceptable, but noble.

Taking it a step further, someone seeking vainglory of any kind may see the naming of a stretch of highway after themselves as pretty appealing. Since they may not achieve that honor through the actual type of accomplishment normally required, why not consider other means of attention, especially the type that would  live on in perpetuity in such a public way? Obviously, were HB 5914 to pass, suicide would be moved to the list of the type of accomplishment that can get one the attention and praise he seeks.

The obvious point, of course, is that suicide is a tragedy, not a heroic action deserving of honor. In no way should the Michigan House even consider passing HB 5914. 

What they could consider passing though is HB 5923, also introduced last week, which asks to designate a portion of I-94 in Jackson County as the "Corrections Officers Jack Budd and Josephine McCallum Memorial Highway" in honor of the two prison guards killed in the line of duty in 1987. Honoring those who lose their lives against their will while serving others should take precedence over those who choose to take their own lives, no matter how tragic the circumstances that led to that fatal choice. Only by rejecting suicide in all ways can we even hope to restore the full value of life that has been lost in a culture all too eager to embrace death.

HB 5914 needs to be rejected.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Normalizing suicide is nothing to celebrate

The news of multiple deaths and injuries to the youth hockey team in Canada is gut wrenching. These young people and the accompanying adults were on their way to a game this past Friday, probably just enjoying the moment, when the unthinkable happened, snuffing out lives way too early, without any indication of imminent tragedy. My heart breaks for all those in unimaginable grief right now, especially given the shocking nature of the tragedy. 

But the devastating event that happened to the hockey team has me thinking of another tragedy that recently unfolded in Canada. It, too, involves death, but, in this case, takes on a wholly different tone of tragedy because the two people who died purposely set out to end their lives under Canada’s permissive euthanasia law.

In a recent interview with The Globe and Mail, George and Shirley Brickenden reminisced about their first date – a "fairy-tale evening that led Mr. Brickenden to propose marriage six days later". The Brickendens knew that six days after this interview they would be dead. On March 27, George and Shirley died holding hands in their own bed in a Toronto retirement home. Their children watched from the foot of the bed as their parents drew their last breaths at almost the same moment. The couple died by lethal injection administered by a “physician”.

Suicide is terrible in itself. But to aid someone in procuring their own death is profoundly wrong, and yet another sad reminder of the culture of death in which we live. One might use the argument that the couple was in great pain and bedridden, which still wouldn’t justify suicide, but, "two nights before their death,” the Globe and Mail reports, the Brickendens “went out for one last date at Opus, their favourite restaurant in Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood. The next night, they bid farewell to more than 20 members of their immediate family at a bon voyage dinner at their daughter Pamela's apartment."

I’ve been to my share of farewell parties. They're usually bittersweet, and can even be painful, especially at the end of the party when it’s time to say goodbye to the guest of honor, who is usually simply just going to another job or moving out of town. It's hard to fathom the type of mindset George and Shirley’s loved ones must have been in when that party came to an end. 

For the media to romanticize and applaud the couple's decision to end their own lives indicates how eroded the sacredness of life has become. We're no longer supposed to celebrate things like large families or patriotism or simple acts of chivalry, but are expected to embrace murder-suicide as something good because it allows us to shirk any amount of suffering - something we're supposed to reject at all costs. It's the quality of life that has become sacred - not life itself.  

And how far have we fallen that the children would not try to talk their parents out of this decision? Well, maybe they did try to no avail, but to then have a party? Talk about throwing in the towel. Even the Dean of Toronto's St. James Cathedral admitted he had "without hesitation" supported the Brickenden’s wish for their funeral to be held at the Anglican church. When a supposed house of God normalizes and embraces the throwing away of life that God creates, we had better take notice and we had better take a stand. 

A similar case took place last year in Oregon when Charlie and Francie Emerick held hands as they died together in their bed after taking lethal doses of medication obtained under the state’s Death with Dignity law (actually over 1,300 similar cases have taken place since Oregon’s law passed). And as happened with the Brickendens, the Emerick’s children treated their parents’ self-imposed death as something noble. Their daughter, Sher Safran, even documented and filmed her parents’ conversations and preparations right up to their deaths. 

As Time reports, “It was supposed to be a remembrance only for the family, but they ultimately decided to have the clips edited into a film that could be shared outside of the immediate family." The result is "Living & Dying: A Love Story," a documentary that details the background of the Emericks’ final decision and their resolve in carrying it out. In other words, a documentary that attempts to put a sparkling spin on darkness.

“I thought it was brave and beautiful,” said Carol Knowles, a member of Francie Emerick’s book club, of the documentary. “You could see the care with which Charlie and Francie had made that decision.” If only Carol could have seen the tragedy unfolding before her very eyes. Maybe she would have been the voice the Emericks needed to hear.

“They had no regrets, no unfinished business,” the Emericks' daughter added. “It felt like their time, and it meant so much to know they were together.”

While the devil works feverishly to convince the world that death is something romantic at best, no big deal at worst, I wonder if, like with post-abortion syndrome, eventually members of these families are going to have significant emotional problems associated with the type of complicated grief that comes with major guilt. Unless they are sociopaths (which I doubt), they will only be able to stay in denial of the wrongfulness of these actions and their complicity in it for so long. At least, not to wish regret on them, I hope they come to that realization of wrongfulness, because that would signify hope that this darkness can eventually be overcome by the light of truth – the truth that life is sacred, and that even the suffering that often accompanies life is something to be valued.

The whole thing is abhorrent, but more than anything, it's just sad. No doubt abortion doctors would disagree. They probably see this rejection of the life that God created for us as an opportunity to expand their business. Now they can get them coming and going. In the meantime, as long as certain clergy, health professionals, and family members would have everyone believe that ending life is a good thing – and unless more of us stand up loudly for God’s truth - things will only get worse. At the very least, celebrating self-imposed death comes off looking like a slap in the face to those who are experiencing grief against their will. 

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Leftist censorship and misogyny alive and well...

Next week, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg will appear before two congressional committees to discuss revelations that Facebook has lost control of the data of millions (or even billions) of users. But there's another scandal going on at Facebook: Conservative speech is being systematically targeted and censored.

It's been happening over many months. Earlier this year, Facebook announced a major change to its algorithm that took conservative posts out of your news feed. Zuckerberg said the change was made to promote "news that is trustworthy, informative, and local."

For many years now, conservative sites have been noting the negative impact of Facebook's algorithm changes, as their pages and posts "coincidentally" reach a smaller and smaller audience. Facebook also allows less and less traffic to move from Facebook to conservative homepages.

Recent evidence of this is revealed by what Facebook did Breitbart, one of the largest conservative sites in the nation. Facebook is now tagging every post that links to a Breitbart story with an "about this article" info bubble that calls Breitbart a "far-right" website, and then says: "The site has published a number of falsehoods and conspiracy theories, as well as intentionally misleading stories. Its journalists are ideologically driven, and some of its content has been called misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist..."

As an aside, it makes me laugh that Breitbart is called misogynistic by Facebook while it completely ignored Hillary Clinton's recent comments in India where she actually said American women who voted for Trump did so because their husbands and male bosses coerced them into doing so. If that isn't hating on women, I don't know what is. But I guess a "champion" of women like Hillary is allowed such appalling speech as long as she touts the far left agenda every chance she gets.

As for Facebook and the other rulers of Silicon Valley, Congress may need to act to draw lines around what is or is not permissible, including how much of our own data is accessed by and sold to vendors for their own uses. But each of us needs to take a look at what we put out on social media; what we think it means to others; what we think is meant by social media connections with others; how we weigh it, and how much we can be manipulated by it. Above all, we need to be responsible for knowing what we can and should do to limit access to our own data if we don't want this sort of thing happening in the first place. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Left's latest lunge at free speech will leave you speechless

Oral arguments took place today in a critical Supreme Court case that will decide whether the government has the power to force citizens and pro-life organizations to promote abortion.

The case involves three pro-life crisis pregnancy centers who are fighting a California law that requires them to promote abortion. In general, California AB 775 requires licensed medical centers that offer free, pro-life help to pregnant women to post a disclosure in printed and digital materials, and at both the entrance to their clinic and a visible location within the waiting area saying that the state of California provides free or low-cost abortion and contraception services.

The disclosure must also include a phone number for a county office that refers women to Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry, and forces unlicensed pregnancy centers to disclose they are not recognized by the state of California as an official medical facility. The notice must be in a font size and/or color that draws more attention to the disclosure than to the other words on the page, which obscure and crowd out their pro-life speech. Failure to comply carries civil fines up to $1,000 per violation.

To force crisis pregnancy centers to speak a message that goes directly against their religious beliefs and mission to save lives is a shocking and disturbing violation of the First Amendment’s protection of free speech – both the right to speak and the right to not speak.

The pregnancy centers subjected to this attempt to silence them provide free care and resources to thousands of Californians. Many of these women are alone and desperate for support, and a pro-life pregnancy resource center may be the only non-abortive option available for disadvantaged mothers who wish to choose life.

It's no secret that pro-faith, pro-life, and pro-family citizens and organizations are coming under increasingly hostile attack. It would be a serious blow to both the pro-life movement and free speech overall if the state is allowed to require forced speech from any citizen or organization. The Supreme Court should declare the law unconstitutional so as to block other states from following in California’s steps.

Can you imagine the racket we'd hear if Planned Parenthood were forced to advertise on its website and "clinics" where women can go to save their babies’ lives? I’m sure the noise would be deafening.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

A new low: "Christians" claim abortion is God's work

The season of Lent that we’re currently in apparently is having no impact on certain abortionists who claim their Christian faith actually gives them moral grounds for committing abortions.

“I became morally convinced that it was not a conflict of my Christian values to provide abortion care, and in fact it became unethical to me not to do so,” said self-proclaimed (and obvious relativist) "Christian" abortionist Willie Parker.

He recently published a memoir, “Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice,” in which he wrote, “I believe that as an abortion provider, I am doing God’s work.” He also claims he is protecting women’s right to decide their futures for themselves and to live their lives as they see fit.

Question: isn’t God’s work the child in the womb that these abortionists are destroying?

Sarah Wallett, the medical director at Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis, has been equally outspoken about Christianity as her inspiration for ending the lives of babies in the womb. “I can imagine no person who is in greater need of Christ-like love and excellent medical care than a woman who is faced with an untenable pregnancy, and I am grateful every day to feel thy spirit and thy guiding hand on my work,” she said in a recent interview with the Memphis Daily News.

Who is “thy” in Wallett’s proclamation, I wonder: Christ, our Savior, Who came to us through, of all places, the womb?

She went on to say, “I think part of changing the conversation around all aspects of reproductive healthcare is having open, honest conversations about it. I hope to be able to provide accurate medical facts about this kind of care as well as compassionate, non-judgmental care for my patients.”

First, forgive me for wallowing in semantics, but an “untenable” pregnancy is, in the pro-abortion mindset, simply code for “unwanted” pregnancy. Second, since when do abortionists support “open, honest conversations” about the issue when there is a solid push to undermine pro-life initiatives, such as forcing crisis pregnancy centers to provide information on abortion services, or when abortion mills fight for the right of minors to procure abortions without parental consent?

On top of it, if people like Wallet want to “provide accurate medical facts”, they should start with the fact that abortion is not healthcare and abortion comes with documented health risks, which this “caring” community doesn’t care to acknowledge, let alone share with the women about whom they supposedly care.

Above all, no one can call himself a real Christian and ignore God’s Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Kill. These abortionists hide behind their pseudo-Christianity, but take an eraser to any of God’s laws that stand in the way of their anti-God agenda. They can assert all they want that they are doing God’s work, but in reality all they’re really doing is Satan’s bidding -- and, as Satan does best, they have been seriously deceived.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Gun-free zones make schools easy targets

I'm not sure how much our hearts can take in yet another school shooting. I didn't jump right on this topic when it happened last week - Ash Wednesday of all days - because it's just too much. But I'm not going to talk about morals, or the impact of violent video games and psychotropic drugs, or the failure of the FBI to make good use of all the warnings it was given about this particular shooter. Those are all important things that do deserve attention. But for now, let's consider this from the perspective of common sense.

If you look at pretty much all of the public shootings we've had in the past few years, they all took place in gun-free zones. The little sticker on the door declaring certain places as such is supposed to deter a person hell-bent on murder, when all it does is remind law abiding citizens to leave their guns at home. This makes those law-abiding citizens in gun-free zones sitting ducks to those who want their 15 minutes of fame no matter the cost to human life. 

Nobody is arguing against sensible gun laws. We have plenty on the books already and most reasonable people are open to looking at common sense ways to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. But look at places like Chicago, which has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation. It also has one of the highest murder rates in the nation. The murder rate in Russia, where handguns are completely banned, is nearly four times higher than the US. And as we've all to often seen lately, people are using any means possible - cars, pipe bombs, etc. - to commit crime.  

Let's be real: criminals don't care about the law, so we need to be able to protect ourselves. Also, it's important not to lose sight of the fact that when deciding which movie theater to shoot up in Aurora, CO, of the eight theaters in the area, the gunman who unleashed a hail of bullets on movie goers admitted he specifically chose the theater he did because it was the only one of the eight listed as a gun-free zone.

I know this will go over like a lead balloon to some, but how many of these wanna be murderers would dare walk into a place that they knew would be teeming with armed law-abiding citizens? Maybe it's time to consider doing this at the schools. The murderers have their limits on who they'll pick on. After all, they're just murderers. They're not courageous. Like the Aurora, CO, killer, I doubt they'd dare go near a place that they knew could shoot them down before they could get off the first shot. 

Our jewelry stores and banks are protected with armed guards. Politicians are protected with armed guards. Maybe protecting our kids is worth looking into how we might responsibly arm schools as an option. Don't they deserve it? I am aware of all the reasons people may balk at this, but until we do change our culture to the point that the beasts among us change with it, I have yet to hear anyone come up with anything else at this point. Have you?

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