Saturday, October 3, 2015

Conversion of heart, not more gun laws, is what America needs

After the shooting in Oregon this past week, President Obama wasted no time blaming the shooting on the need for more gun laws. He ignored a few key things in doing so, however.

One, criminals don't obey laws. That's what makes them criminals. So a thousand more gun laws would not prevent a criminal from getting a gun if he wanted one.

Two, Obama ignored the clear motivation for the killer's murder spree. He asked the victims to identify their religion. Those who claimed they were Christian were shot immediately in the head. No gun law in the world will change the mind of a misguided zealot intent on slaughtering Christians.

Three, once again, Obama stood on his soapbox excoriating the "lack" of gun laws, rather than encouraging Americans to embrace right over wrong, to embrace a life that is built on self-responsibility, the desire to do what's good, and the importance of serving others. In other words, once again the president used a tragedy to trumpet his anti-gun agenda rather than talk about the fallen culture that has lead to the complete devaluing of human life.

No gun law in the world is going to prevent mass murders until we start focusing on the need for a conversion of heart. That's the leadership our president should have exhibited. Unfortunately, once again he merely turned tragedy into a political scoring point.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Kim Davis is rendering to Caesar and God

From Godfather Politics:

A pro-homosexual advocate wrote the following about the Kim Davis case in a Facebook post, being critical of the stand she has taken and those who support her:

“Read the Gospel ‘Render unto Caesar . . .’ [Matt. 22:21] and Jesus' commandment to love [Matt. 19:19; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; also Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8]. Then read the Constitution, specifically the Supremacy Clause and the First Amendment in [their] entirety. Come with something more valid next time. Peace out.”

Don’t you love it when someone appeals to the Bible to criticize a disputed point and then dismisses what the Bible actually says on the disputed topic? 

He appeals to “render unto Caesar” and “love your neighbor as yourself” in an attempt to silence opposition to same-sex marriage while ignoring passages that condemn same-sex marriage, all of which come from the same Bible.

First, we don't live under Caesar, although it seems we are moving in that direction. We live under the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state where we reside. In principle, these are our “Caesars.” Elected officials and judges also live under these governing documents that they took an oath to uphold.

Second, neither the United States Constitution nor the Kentucky Constitution supports same-sex marriage. The Kentucky Constitution specifically forbids it; therefore, Kim Davis was rendering to Caesar as the pro-homosexual advocate wants her to do. 

But keep in mind that the whole quote from Christ says “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God's.” I suspect that Kim Davis, in addition to keeping the oath she took to her state’s “Caesar,” believes she was also rendering “to God the things that are God’s.” Christ says we should only obey man's law to the extent that it doesn't conflict with God's law, and that when there is a conflict, God's law is the one we must follow.

Third, as to the First Amendment, it states that "Congress shall make no law. . ." The First Amendment was designed to keep the national law-making body (Congress not The Supreme Court) from passing a national law that would (1) establish a national religion and (2) prohibit the free exercise of religion as well as guaranteeing the freedom of speech, press, and assembly, as well as give all of us the right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Fourth, Congress did not make a law declaring that the states are required to acknowledge same-sex marriage, and that's the issue in this controversy. Neither the Executive nor Judicial branches can make law. So the Supreme Court's ruling on June 26 regarding same-sex 'marriage' was not a law enacted. In addition, Kentucky has not changed its constitution on the same-sex marriage provision. It’s still the law in Kentucky.

Fifth, the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" is originally found in Leviticus 19:18. Jesus and the other New Testament writers are quoting the Old Testament. The passage is sandwiched between Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, two specific passages that prohibit same-sex sexuality, and by logical extension, same-sex marriage. This means that a person can love his neighbor and still be against same-sex sexuality.

I can love my neighbor even when he or she steals, but that does not mean I can ignore the commandment “You shall not steal” (Ex. 20:15; Lev. 19:11). Loving one’s neighbor does not cancel the demands of the law for my neighbor. Consider what the apostle Paul writes:

"He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need." (Eph. 4:28)

Loving one’s neighbor means not ignoring a sin but finding a righteous remedy to that sin. That's where the love is: helping someone out of sin, not turning a blind eye to it.

There were people in the Corinthian church who engaged in same-sex sexuality and other sexual sins (1 Cor. 5:1-2; Lev. 18:8; Deut. 22:30; 27:20). They were loved and restored based on the law:

"[Y]ou yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:8-11).

When all the Bible is considered, it’s easy to see that loving one’s neighbor does not mean abandoning what it says about same-sex sexuality. 

Advocates of homosexuality and same-sex "marriage" want to quote the Bible to denounce the Christians who believe in the Bible's teachings, but their credibility is compromised when they leave out the parts of the Bible that actually condemn what it is they promote.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why the apology to Miss America is a bit disheartening

Vanessa Williams returned to the Miss America stage for the first time in 32 years this past Sunday night and received an apology from the organization for how she was "ousted" as the pageant winner after Penthouse published nude photos of Vanessa taken prior to her victory.

A couple things don't set right with me on this. I remember watching the Miss America pageant that year in 1983. Her being the first black American to win the Miss America crown was not what stood out to me. What stood out to me about her as a contestant was how beautiful, talented and graceful I thought she was. I was thrilled when she won because, in my simple teenaged mind, I just liked her the best. She was someone I could look up to and try to emulate.

When the nude photo scandal broke out shortly after her Miss America victory, I was admittedly disappointed in her. Call me a relic (call me what you will...) but I believe in and appreciate dignified, moral behavior. Posing nude for any public outlet like Penthouse doesn't live up to my image of what a role model should exemplify.

But for what it's worth, Vanessa Williams did something that redeemed her image in my mind: Rather than dragging the Miss America organization through the scandal and hysterically hurling claims of racism or intolerance, or her right to "be who I want to be", she agreed to resign without much further ado. 

We all make mistakes, and we all fall short of moral perfection at times. But the dishonor is not just in making the mistake so much as it is in trying to make excuses for the mistake and not owning up to it. Maybe Williams had little choice in leaving, but she could've chosen to make it a lot uglier than she did, and to me that just seemed to show a respect - for the Miss America Pageant and for the rest of us - that I appreciated. 

But in these past 32 years, our culture has changed drastically. While obviously everything wasn't picture perfect and pristine back then, there was a decency about the fact that debauchery wasn't publicly embraced, celebrated, and now, even apologized for -- not by the one committing the debauchery, but by those who condemn it.

That's why the apology from the Miss America Pageant doesn't sit right with me. Though I'm sure the intentions were good, the underlying meaning is disconcerting. It seems to have officially confirmed that indecent behavior isn't wrong, but society is wrong for disapproving of it. 

But it begs the question: At any point are we ever allowed to expect certain standards of behavior in people? 

For me, knowing that boundaries exist between acceptable and non-acceptable behavior is reassuring. But no matter how far away our culture moves from standards of decency and integrity, it doesn't mean we all have to follow suit. I still believe that we perform best and for the best when there are certain expectations made of us, when we acknowledge our wrong-doings and then act accordingly. But when we allow anything to go, then we get just that: anything goes. What's so great about that?

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Reflecting on Sept. 11 and where we are now...

Yesterday, as we remembered the attacks on America Sept. 11, 2001 (and am also remembering those Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2012, in the terrorist attack in Benghazi), I gather that most Americans old enough to remember that day on 2001 were reflecting on several things yesterday: where they were, how they reacted, their true feelings for their country, and where they stood with God, good and evil.

Several things were crystal clear for me that day, and remain so today. I was living in NY at the time. I had plans to go to the World Trade Center that day - or at least had plans to go through it. My job was located in Jersey City, NJ, and to get there, I needed to take the PATH train which I caught by taking the E-train subway to the World Trade Center, walking through the WTC, and catching the PATH from beneath the World Trade Center. On some days, I worked from home, so it was rather arbitrary when I would actually make the trek to Jersey, but Tuesdays and Thursdays were pretty much a standard.

On Thursday Sept. 6 I stopped at the mall in the World Trade Center and spotted a jacket I wanted but held off on buying it, telling myself if it was still here next time I came in on the following Tuesday, it was meant to be.

When I woke up that next Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, I just wasn't up to making the venture to the the World Trade Center and subsequently, Jersey. I decided to go in the next day instead, and went out to take my morning run.

By the time I returned from my run, the world had changed.

A friend of mine and I watched the incredible black, deadly, evil plume of smoke that used to be the two towers, safely from a bridge. Almost immediately cars raced by us, their vehicles festooned with American flags. Military fighter jets flew just above us, so low and close, we thought it was another attack. The highways were closed and phones were down, cutting us off from the world. It took me a long while before I was able to contact my family in Michigan. I never felt so isolated, so scared, so numb and so sick at the same time.

My boyfriend at the time, who worked in lower Manhattan, was unreachable. Then again phone service, land line or mobile, was barely available, if at all. 

I went to church. My parish, barely occupied on a weekday, was packed. We knew what we needed. We needed prayer. We needed God. And the two comforts I took that day were that we turned to God, and we united as humans. The humanity I saw that day would have been any skeptic's proof that God exists.

My boyfriend was safe, and that night in my apartment he made us an Italian concoction from his grandmother's recipe of honey, brandy and bay leaves meant to quell nauseous stomachs, of which we both suffered. It didn't quite help.

What seemed to help a little was watching the US Congress convening to sing "God Bless America" and hearing the resolve in President George W. Bush as he spoke words of strength, encouragement, and comfort. I felt discombobulated but took refuge in his words. 

Despite the countless fliers for missing loved ones I saw everywhere, on the roads, on car windows, in stores, at my choir practice, not to mention the countless funeral processions I was inadvertently a part of while driving over the coming weeks, there seemed to be a resolve and renewed unity in America. That gave me hope.

Yesterday, I listened to replays of President George W. Bush's comments made that day regarding the attacks on America. His words made it clear that we were the victims, but not the defeated. He also made it clear that we would not stand for such treatment. There was no question whose side our president was on.

I can't help but think of America today. While historically America has been the most powerful force for good anywhere in the world, we have a president today who apologizes for America while visiting other countries. We have a president who denies America's Christian heritage, and a president who promotes things like homosexuality, organizations whose sole business is to murder unborn babies, and foreign policy that plays right into the hands of those who have called for death to America. 

Under his "leadership", I've seen more Americans who have come to embrace the idea that America is hateful, and that tolerance has more to do with a willingness to reject God's teachings and force others to act against their beliefs than than it does with genuinely accepting differences in one another. 

Under our current "leadership", too often we see that things that are good and of God are rebuked, rejected and ridiculed. The sanctity of life, morality, and proclaiming God's word are suspicious, hateful, bigoted. Wrong.

I think of the rescue workers, the firemen and policemen, who sacrificed their lives that day in 2001 by running toward the danger to help people they didn't know, while everyone else was running from the danger. I think of how policemen in our country today are being shot for sport because under our current "leadership", they have been painted as the enemy.

As difficult as it is to see where things stand today, though, I am not disheartened because I know Who leads the way. I only pray that God will enlighten us where we stand in the dark, that He will have mercy on us, and that He will show us the way to truth, which is love, liberty and justice for all.

Praying that God will continue to bless America, and that America will return to blessing God.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Just because Islam opposes something doesn't mean America shouldn't too...

During Fox News’ live coverage of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ release from prison, anchor Shepard Smith criticized Davis and those who supported her decision to refuse to issue gay marriage licenses.

“They set this up as a religious play again,’ he said. ‘This is the same crowd that says, 'We don’t want Sharia law, don’t let them tell us what to do, keep their religion out of our lives and out of our government.’ Well, here we go again.’”

What Shepard is not getting though, is the fact that opposing same-sex marriage is hardly unique to Sharia Law. Not so very long ago, opposition to same-sex sexuality in general, and same-sex marriage in particular, was almost universal. Even President Obama was against same-sex marriage and nobody ever equated his stance against it as being a form of Sharia law.

So in other words, according to Shepard Smith’s logic, any law that is shared with Islam and advocates of Sharia law must be rejected because it’s too similar to Sharia law.

Really? Christianity also teaches that murder, stealing and committing perjury are wrong. These are shared by most if not all religions, including Islam.

So if Islam teaches that it is wrong to steal, should the United States abolish laws against stealing because it would be seen as Sharia law?

In reality, it's the bully-tactics of left and the homosexual lobby that are nearly identical to Sharia law when it comes to opposing Christianity.

As Graeme Wood wrote in The Atlantic in March 2015, "Muslim 'apostates' are the most common victims [of radical Islamist groups such as ISIS]. Exempted from automatic execution, it appears, are Christians who do not resist their new government. Baghdadi permit them to live, as long as they pay a special tax, known as the 'jizya', and acknowledge their subjugation. The Koranic authority for this practice is not in dispute."

Similarly, Christians can live in the United States, but they must "acknowledge their subjugation." It's a lesson that Kim Davis is learning, as are the rest of us.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Don't say 'he' or 'she' - university says it's offensive

More enlightened wisdom from the academic world.

Staff and students in the University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion want people to consider abandoning "he/she" pronouns and instead use gender-neutral pronouns such as "xe," "xym" and "xyr."

"Not everyone in society identifies on a strict male-or-female basis," according to diversity office staff, so they are asking people to be aware some may identify themselves with a name and gender that's not strictly male or female. 

"We should not assume someone's gender by their appearance, nor by what is listed on a roster or in student information systems," Donna Braquet, director of UT's Pride Center, wrote in a newsletter on Tuesday. 

She suggested instructors learn students' chosen names and chosen pronouns during the first few weeks of classes.

State Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, and a UT graduate, said he thought the suggestion was a joke.

"And then I found out it was true, at which point I thought, 'Are we really paying somebody to come up with this stuff?'" he said. "I would rather see public money spent on other academic areas such as math or technology." 

I'm sure most parents would appreciate that, too. (The Pride Center is fiscally supported by the state school, by the way).

In a phone interview with the News Sentinel, State Sen. Frank Nicely, R-Strawberry Plains, said "Maybe we ought to go back to 'thee' and 'thou' for everybody and that'll take care of it."

Pride Center staff, in a brief news conference on campus Friday, said it is important to know and understand minorities, including those who are gender-neutral.

Among the approximately two-dozen students gathered Friday was student Mandy Pitts, who introduced 'xymself" this way: "Hi. I'm Mandy. Xe." 

Pitts uses the pronouns "xe," "xym," and "xyr" (pronounced "zee," "zim," and "zur."). Some gender-neutral people also use variants of "they" or "them."


Meanwhile, with a hint of five-o'clock shadow coloring his cheeks, Pitts wore a button-festooned hat and a stretchy bright pink shirt with matching stockings peeking out from under a skirt while listening to Rickey Hall, UT's vice chancellor for diversity, speak about gender-neutrality in a courtyard near the campus Pride Center. 

"It's just to be respectful," Hall said. 

Really? I think it's to cater to misguided, indoctrinated, brainwashed young people who have been miserably failed by our godless, corrupt and insane culture, and then use the unthinking indoctrinated to pressure those of us who prefer to live in reality to comply with their fantasy world, lest we be labeled "bigots" and "haters" and then lose our livelihoods because of it.

What's so tragic about this is the clear rejection of God's plan as Creator of mankind, assigning us as man or woman as He sees fit, different in our attributes, but equal in our dignity. The complementarity of the sexes is God's perfection manifested, but the godless want to blur away even that vestige of goodness bestowed upon us by a loving Creator. And in doing so, they want to throw the entire culture into confusion and chaos.

I just hope that, in the godless liberals' embrace of "diversity", their definition of the word includes those of us who don't wish to have anything to do with what is rightfully perceived as nonsense. But then again, those of us who actually embrace reality are quickly becoming an endangered species, so I'm not exactly holding my breath that any type of "diversity" includes the likes of me.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Why we need to defund Planned

It says something very positive about our culture that tens of thousands of people in at least 300 cities across 49 states (and six foreign countries) protested on August 22 at Planned Parenthood clinics in light of recent undercover videos that show staff and officials admitting to committing late-term abortions and then selling the babies for profit.

But it says something very different about our culture that, despite the horrifying revelations, plenty of people still defend Planned Parenthood and instead condemn the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) -- the medical ethics group responsible for exposing Planned Parenthood -- and others who seek to defund it. But on what grounds are supporters defending it?

Thanks to its catchy PR campaigns, Planned Parenthood has convinced many that without it, women would have severely reduced access to healthcare.

But it should be noted that Planned Parenthood’s “healthcare” primarily focuses on sexual/reproductive health only, like birth control, abortion and treatment of STD’s. In fact, none of Planned Parenthood’s approximately 700 US clinics even offers mammograms.

In contrast, there are about 9,000 taxpayer-funded community health center locations that do provide more comprehensive healthcare services, regardless of one’s ability to pay (Planned Parenthood charges for its services). In other words, without Planned Parenthood, women would still have accessible, completely affordable, and more complete healthcare than what Planned Parenthood offers.

But what supporters don’t want to admit is that Planned Parenthood, according to its own annual report, is the nation’s largest abortion provider, having performed 516,000 “averted unintended pregnancies” through abortifacients and 327,653 direct abortions in FY-2014. The latter is more than 30% of the reported 1.1 million abortions performed annually in the US, the most by any one organization.

Supporters also like to downplay the fact that we taxpayers annually fund Planned Parenthood, paying over $528 million to it in FY-2014 -- all while the organization regularly opposes any compassionate or common-sense law that would restrict or make abortion safer (such as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act after 20 weeks in the womb, or requirements that minors seeking abortions get parental consent).

Planned Parenthood also vehemently opposed Texas’ attempts to require that doctors committing abortions have privileges at nearby hospitals – a law that would actually protect a woman if an abortion goes wrong and she needs emergency medical treatment -- and it celebrated California’s new law that allows non-physicians to do abortions. (Yet pro-lifers are the ones accused of wanting to return women to the back-alley.)

But, as many of us know, it gets incredibly worse.

The videos released so far by the Center for Medical Progress -- which have been edited for length but not for context as some try to claim (the full videos are available on CMP’s website) -- show not only the brutal reality of what Planned Parenthood is doing, but the callous indifference of those doing it.

From video confessions that intact babies fetch higher fees and joking about buying a Lamborghini with the profits, to harvesting one baby’s organs while his heart was still beating, the videos are as extremely difficult to watch as the descriptions of them are to read.

But as Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life says, “America won’t reject abortion until America sees abortion.” It’s time that everyone see it. The innocents caught in the crosshairs of today’s culture of death have suffered long enough.

As ghastly as these videos are, though, there is perhaps one small silver lining that could change hearts: The abortionists themselves reveal the humanity of the unborn child. After all, when describing the market demand for their organs, it’s difficult to push Planned Parenthood’s claim that the pre-born child is “just a clump of cells.”

Maybe this is why President Barack Obama admitted he refuses to watch the videos, though he wasted no time attacking states that voted to defund Planned Parenthood while warning all other states not to follow suit.

Other defenders say the medical research being done with these babies outweighs any moral implication. But unlike adults who can consent to donating their body for future research, these voiceless human beings cannot.

Also, let’s not forget that no scientific discovery, no matter how great, in fact no desired good whatsoever, justifies one act of evil. Yet for Planned Parenthood -- with almost 45% of its annual revenue from taxpayers and $90 million in profit according to its latest annual report – moral issues don’t seem to be the concern.

Despite what the videos plainly show, however, supporters continue to claim that Planned Parenthood is all about helping women, and that the entire scandal is merely an attack on women.

Rabid Planned Parenthood supporter, Hillary Clinton, for example, admitted she found the videos “disturbing”, but who did she condemn? The “three men” in New Hampshire who voted to defund Planned Parenthood. “It’s appalling that three men…of the Executive Council would deny women the healthcare they need and deserve,” Hillary declared.

Knowing what we know about Planned Parenthood “healthcare”, apparently Hillary and other supporters are willing to overlook the human trafficking of babies as long as women can still get the birth control and abortions that Planned Parenthood depends on (in addition to taxpayer support) to stay in business – despite the documented physical and emotional harm these practices are causing women.

Meanwhile, Sen. Barbara Boxer blasted not Planned Parenthood, but the Center for Medical Progress as an “extremist group”, and Nancy Pelosi called for an investigation of CMP, which she said was “trying to ensnare Planned Parenthood in a controversy that doesn’t exist.”

Doesn’t exist? Watch the videos. It’s time the blinders come off.

Isn’t it amazing and so very sad that when Cecil the Lion was killed by a trophy hunter in July, major news broadcasters spent more airtime covering it in one day than they did the Planned Parenthood monstrosity over the course of three weeks that same month (or since)?

It says something very pitiful about our culture that a hunted animal evokes more publicized outrage than does the selling of deceased babies. But as English writer G.K. Chesterton noted, in these modern times we have weakened major morals in favor of strengthening minor morals. Hence we see the elevation of animals over humans, and evil presented as good, while those exposing the evil are the ones publicly condemned.

As for Planned Parenthood, it’s not about compassion for women. It’s certainly not about compassion for innocent human life. It’s about passion for money. When it comes down to it, in fact, the question isn’t what would women do without Planned Parenthood. It’s what would Planned Parenthood do without women?

When the innocent offspring of used women are sold like inanimate commodities to the highest bidder, there simply is no defending it. If we want to reclaim our culture for good over evil, not only must Planned Parenthood be criminally investigated, but at the very least, not one more dime of our taxpayer money should be used to fund this grisly house of horror.

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