Thursday, October 29, 2015

US Muslims get to exercise religious rights. Why not Christians?

Just how far does the persecution against Christians in America have to go before we all start opening our eyes and fighting against it? Joe Kennedy, the long-time high school football coach in Bremerton, WA, had the habit of kneeling down in prayer on the 50-yard line after football games. He forced nobody to participate, though he was often joined by his players, and sometimes even players from the opposing team.  

But because someone in the stands who could not tolerate the sight of prayer complained about it, the school district began investigating the coach, and then ordered him to cease and desist. On Sept. 17, Kennedy, a private citizen, was told he must avoid kneeling, bowing his head or doing anything that could be seen as remotely religious. 

After deciding to continue exercising his Constitutional right to express his religion freely and therefore, continue the post-game prayer tradition, Kennedy was informed by the school district’s Superintendent Aaron Leavell that he violated the directives by engaging in religious-type behavior while on “duty”. So Kennedy was put on administrative leave pending further review of his conduct. This is an outrageous example of the insidious assault on Christians in public.

Nowhere in the First Amendment does it say Christians cannot exercise their religious rights just because they are on tax-funded public property. In fact, as taxpayers, we should have all the more right to exercise our Constitutional rights, but more to the point, only the government is prohibited from establishing a religion or from telling a citizen he cannot exercise his religion. The limits are on the government, not the citizen.

But what’s so sad and so telling, is that in this day of violence, hatred and evil, shouldn’t the sight of peaceful prayer be seen as a good thing? Don't we have bigger fish to fry? Unfortunately, not when you’re an anti-Christian, freedom-hating liberal.

Ironically, liberals, who customarily shun the Bible, are using it to cite a passage from it in defense of the school’s actions against Kennedy. Citing Matthew 6:6, which states: "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen," liberals claim that even the Bible tells us not to pray in public.

But that Bible passage refers to those who pray insincerely only to be seen. Actually, Jesus tells us that where two or three gather in His name, He is present, and commands us to publicly evangelize and spread the Gospel. You cannot do that from your bedroom behind closed doors. Moreover, the Constitution backs up our right to do just that – publicly express our religious beliefs -- no matter how much liberals hate that fact.

Still, the hypocrisy of the Left is astounding, if not outright frightening.

You don’t see this type of harassment with other religions. Recently two Muslim truck drivers sued after being fired because they refused to deliver beer, as they were payed to do, because alcohol violates their religious beliefs. Did the jury back up the business that fired the truck drivers for not doing the job they were hired to do? No. The jury awarded the drivers $240,000 after being defended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

So let’s get this straight. A high school football coach wants to exercise his Constitutional right to peaceful religious expression and he gets fired. Christian bakers who don’t want to provide services for a same-sex marriage for religious reasons get fined. But Muslims exercising their religious beliefs get nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Do you think a Baptist who also shuns alcohol would have his religious liberty defended like this?

Tell me there is not persecution against Christians in America. We really need to wake up to what is happening.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Liberals just don't get the Islamist threat

Democratic Presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has urged the United States to take in thousands of Syrian refugees, despite the concerns of many Americans that these immigrants will likely include Islamic extremists among them. 

Hillary seems not to notice that European nations are currently overwhelmed by the refugee crisis, and wants to bring the same situation here to America. It's of no concern to Hillary that this week, Germany's national security apparatus had a message for Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel:

“Your immigration policy will produce extremists,” and your country is importing “Islamist extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, [and] national and ethnic conflicts of other nations”.

Former Interior Secretary August Hanning told Die Welt Am Sonntag (the World on Sunday): “The German security authorities will not be able to handle these imported security issues and the resulting reactions,” warning that not only is Germany welcoming Islamist extremists, but that it will foster resentment in the native population.

He recommended that Germany closes “the border for immigrants without an entry permit in accordance with the legislation immediately, and to reject those traveling without an entry permit immediately”.

These are precisely the type of recommendations that are so revolting to American liberals and cultural relativists. The American people should be reminded that one such relativist is Hillary Clinton, who told the sister of one of the Benghazi victims that she should feel bad for the Libyan people, because they're poor and uneducated. 

Apologies, Hillary, but poverty does not cause Islamist extremism. In fact, many of the people being recruited to terrorist movements like ISIS come from privileged, well-educated backgrounds.

So the other thing American Democrats, like our president did back in May, are blaming the Islamist terrorism on is global warming. Dear Lord, help us. How about we blame the rise of terrorism on the real culprits: Spinelessness by governments out of fear of offending anyone, and plain old bad policy?

As the Republican field struggles to produce a clear frontrunner, Americans should be absolutely terrified that what's happening in Germany could well happen here. We simply haven't got the leadership or the backbone to stand up to terrorism and nobody is on the horizon as a clear frontrunner to run our country other than Hillary. But tell me, do you really trust your children's future to the likes of Hillary?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Principal withholds school election results because they're not diverse enough

When San Francisco-based Everett Middle School held its recent school council election, its principal, Lena Van Haren, refused to release the results, saying she was concerned that the winners were not diverse enough. 

While she would ultimately relent and release the results, her decision spurred anger among parents and kids who felt that the principal was putting diversity ahead of democracy. 

Critics compared her to a dictator who scraps elections when results don’t go her way...“The whole school voted for those people, so it is not like people rigged the game,” seventh-grader Sebastian Kaplan, who had run for class representative, told KRON 4, yet had no clue a week later if he won. “But in a way, now it is kinda being rigged.”

The controversy began as soon as the Oct. 9 election results rolled in. The principal was disturbed by the lack of diversity among the winners, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The school sits in San Francisco’s Mission District, a historically diverse neighborhood that has recently struggled with both gentrification and gang violence. Everett is as much a melting pot as the community, with 80 percent of its population comprised of students of color. Only 20 percent of students are white, Van Haren told KTVU.

So what’s the problem? An open, fair election was held, candidates openly competed, the student body voted, their votes were counted, and a disproportionately high number of non-minority students happened to win. 

“It’s not okay for a school that is really, really diverse to have the student representatives majority white," the principal told the San Francisco Chronicle. "The easy thing would have been to announce the results and move on. I intentionally did not choose the easy way because this is so important.” 

So let’s get this straight. The election results were “not okay," even though it was freely determined by the diverse students themselves who they wanted as their student council? What's more important than honest displays of democracy in this case?

Students who had run for office were left in limbo, wondering if they had won or lost and if it even mattered anymore. “I wanted to get more involved and change some things,” Kaplan, the seventh-grader running for class representative, told KRON 4. “I feel like it is disrespectful to all the people who were running,” he said, adding he felt discouraged and didn’t really even want to be involved anymore.

As one parent, Todd David, put it to the Chronicle. “It’s really, really disturbing to me that withholding the results somehow equals social justice or equity.”

After relenting and publishing the results -- in which "white, Asian, and mixed-race students" were statistically over-represented -- the school's (white) principal pronounced herself "concerned" about whether students' "voices are all heard.”

Yes, their voices were heard. Their voices are just under an attempt to be silenced by a politically correct administrator who seems more obsessed with race than the students clearly are.

Nevertheless, said administrator is reportedly considering adding seats or roles to the student council as an ex post facto means of mitigating this imaginary problem.

It's funny how liberals claim they are looking for a color-blind society, but they balk when it seems that’s exactly what these students demonstrated in the way they voted. 

It’s too bad that the principal herself is displaying the typical liberal trait of stonewalling and manipulation when things don’t go their way. Democracy was alive and well in this school, but liberalism tried to squelch it under the stifling chains of political correctness.

The bottom line is -- Lena Van Haren, not the vote or the election's outcome -- is the problem. Van Haren should be fired for teaching dishonesty rather than celebrating the electoral process, which sometimes provides results that disappoint some people. Heaven knows, I've been disappointed since 2008.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Now is not the time to disarm honest citizens

Following the evil campus shooting in Roseburg, OR, earlier this month, politicians immediately called for tougher gun laws, and a lot of comments on social media and news sites demanded an outright confiscation of all guns, even legally owned ones. To those calling for an unarmed America, I can only say, be careful what you wish for.

For all the gun laws already on the books in America, it’s not clear what new law would prevent a criminal intent on violence from committing such acts. It may be a cliché, but by definition, criminals don’t obey laws.

We could enact a thousand more laws only to diminish law-abiding citizens’ access to legal gun ownership, either because regulations make it too hard to get a gun, or because crippling regulations drive gun and ammunition manufacturers and retailers out of business.

Criminals, of course, would still obtain guns smuggled through the black market or other illegal means, creating a frightening imbalance between the armed and unarmed. And who do you think a criminal would feel more comfortable targeting, the defenseless victim, or the armed citizen? Anti-gun proponents say that’s what the police are for – to protect the endangered citizen confronted with violence -- but, as the saying goes, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

Some are advocating laws to make it more difficult for the mentally ill to obtain guns. Nobody would disagree with this. The problem is, we often don’t know someone is mentally ill until they go on a rampage.

And while it is common sense that a mentally unstable person should not have a gun, the concern is, who decides what is considered mentally unstable? Expanding gun control under a “mental health” umbrella could easily open the gates toward allowing legislators to include all sorts of traits deemed unacceptable for gun ownership, just like how the Department of Homeland Security lists people like veterans and pro-lifers as potential terrorists and extremists.

Just as suffocating regulations can threaten gun & ammo manufacturers’ existence, this medical backdoor method could advance anti-gun politicians’ goal to diminish gun ownership without even having to mention the Second Amendment, let alone attempt to change it in any way.

But what if all private, law-abiding citizens were stripped of their guns, as some are advocating. Would that be a good thing for America? Not if history is any indication.

Presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, caught a lot of flak recently for reminding us of what happened in Nazi Germany. In his new book, A Perfect Union, Carson contends, “Through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance.”

He defended that argument on national television, saying, “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed. I’m telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first.”

In its condemnation of Carson, the Anti-Defamation League actually proved Carson’s point when ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said, "The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.” Exactly. Perhaps if they hadn’t been stripped of their weapons, the persecuted may have had a fighting chance. The same goes for the students recently targeted in Oregon. Had it not been a gun-free zone, maybe the shooter would have met resistance, or been afraid to try in the first place.

Another well-documented look at how the Nazi regime used gun control to disarm and repress its enemies and consolidate power can be found in Stephen Halbrook’s book, Gun Control in the Third Reich.

In it, Halbrook notes, “A skeptic could surmise that a better-armed populace might have made no difference, but the National Socialist regime certainly did not think so — it ruthlessly suppressed firearm ownership by disfavored groups.”

One thing that protects America from dictatorship is precisely the fact that we are an armed citizenry. Considering not only Hitler, but Mao Tse-tung, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and other dictators in history were assisted in gaining control by reducing citizens’ access to weapons, we’d be naïve to think the same could not happen here were we to significantly disarm the populace. As Mao Tse-tung said, “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.”

In a perfect world, it would be great if we had no need for weapons or if we could believe that government officials looking to curtail our possession of guns was for our own good, as Hillary Clinton has promised to do should she become president. But it’s not a perfect world. Besides dictatorships, other evil exists. Just look at ISIS, for example, which promises to strike America.

Look also at our increasingly immoral culture, the devaluing of human life, and the bizarre trend of desiring fame, as the Oregon shooter himself said he was seeking. Now is not the time to disarm honest citizens. If anything, it is time instead to focus our efforts on renewing the culture through a return to faith and morals.

While President Barack Obama once ridiculed Americans for “clinging to their Bibles and their guns,” keep in mind those Bibles and guns are key to America’s foundation and liberty. Let's keep both our foundation and our liberty intact.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cecil's hunter vindicated - and rightly so

The Minnesota dentist and big-game hunter who killed Cecil the Lion while on a July hunting expedition was held up as the most hated man in America. Well, this most hated man in America won't face charges in the beloved big cat's death, a Zimbabwean minister said Monday.

The dentist's life was virtually destroyed by the hunting ordeal, which has been ruled to have been completely legal. So where is the apology to him? Will someone be held accountable for what this man had to go through, from the public shaming and threats, to impacting his business and having to go into hiding, along with his family members?

Am not holding my breath. He is still being viciously vilified. This man's entire life was turned upside down, but some are arguing that just because something is legal, it doesn't make it moral and so, therefore, the witch hunt and sabotaging of the dentist is justified. 

I wish these anti-hunting people could apply that same logic to the daily slaughtering of human beings in the womb. It's legal. But it's not moral. Where's the outrage from the lion lovers? But to them, what's a human baby worth compared with a fuzzy-wuzzy little lion?

The hypocrisy is mind boggling. Let's pray for enlightenment where there is darkness.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Environmentalists and the global warming hoax - who needs facts?

When Senator Ted Cruz recently asked Sierra Club President Aaron Mair to explain how he can claim there is global warming when there has been almost zero temperature increase in the last 18 years, Mr. Mair could not provide an answer.  Instead he defaulted to the knee-jerk liberal claim that 97% of scientists have concluded that humans are the cause or source of the global warming, so therefore, there is nothing to debate.

In fact, of all the science that has debunked global warming, there was only one article that made the 97% claim, and the Sierra Club is only interested in that one article. That’s because if the 97% claim falls apart, the entire global warming narrative will prove to be false (just like 'global warming' scientists admitted a few years ago in a series of emails they didn't think anyone would see) and groups like Mr. Mair’s will no longer be able to raise money on the lie.

Here is an inconvenient truth that Mr. Mair and other environmental alarmists don’t want to hear:

The 97% ‘consensus’ study, Cook et al. (2013) has been thoroughly refuted in scholarly peer-reviewed journals, by major news media, public policy organizations and think tanks, highly credentialed scientists and extensively in the climate blogosphere. The shoddy methodology of Cook's study has been shown to be so fatally flawed that well known climate scientists have publicly spoken out against it.

The fact that Mr. Mair was not familiar with the article “97 Articles Refuting The ‘97% Consensus’ is an indictment of his entire testimony. He was over matched by Sen. Cruz and under-represented by truth itself.

Will any of this change the global warming narrative? No.

Liberals hate facts because they get in the way of their policy – and tax raising, human control - pursuits. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Full text of Pope Francis’ homily to open the Synod on the Family

“If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 Jn 4:12).
This Sunday’s Scripture readings seem to have been chosen precisely for this moment of grace which the Church is experiencing: the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family, which begins with this Eucharistic celebration.
The readings centre on three themes: solitude, love between man and woman, and the family.
Solitude
Adam, as we heard in the first reading, was living in the Garden of Eden. He named all the other creatures as a sign of his dominion, his clear and undisputed power, over all of them. Nonetheless, he felt alone, because “there was not found a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:20). He was lonely.
The drama of solitude is experienced by countless men and women in our own day. I think of the elderly, abandoned even by their loved ones and children; widows and widowers; the many men and women left by their spouses; all those who feel alone, misunderstood and unheard; migrants and refugees fleeing from war and persecution; and those many young people who are victims of the culture of consumerism, the culture of waste, the throwaway culture.
Today we experience the paradox of a globalized world filled with luxurious mansions and skyscrapers, but a lessening of the warmth of homes and families; many ambitious plans and projects, but little time to enjoy them; many sophisticated means of entertainment, but a deep and growing interior emptiness; many pleasures, but few loves; many liberties, but little freedom… The number of people who feel lonely keeps growing, as does the number of those who are caught up in selfishness, gloominess, destructive violence and slavery to pleasure and money.
Our experience today is, in some way, like that of Adam: so much power and at the same time so much loneliness and vulnerability. The image of this is the family. People are less and less serious about building a solid and fruitful relationship of love: in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, in good times and in bad. Love which is lasting, faithful, conscientious, stable and fruitful is increasingly looked down upon, viewed as a quaint relic of the past. It would seem that the most advanced societies are the very ones which have the lowest birth-rates and the highest percentages of abortion, divorce, suicide, and social and environmental pollution.
Love between man and woman
In the first reading we also hear that God was pained by Adam’s loneliness. He said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18). These words show that nothing makes man’s heart as happy as another heart like his own, a heart which loves him and takes away his sense of being alone. These words also show that God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone. He made men and women for happiness, to share their journey with someone who complements them, to live the wondrous experience of love: to love and to be loved, and to see their love bear fruit in children, as the Psalm proclaimed today says (cf. Ps 128).
This is God’s dream for his beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self. It is the same plan which Jesus presents in today’s Gospel: “From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mk 10:6-8; cf. Gen 1:27; 2:24).
To a rhetorical question – probably asked as a trap to make him unpopular with the crowd, which practiced divorce as an established and inviolable fact – Jesus responds in a straightforward and unexpected way. He brings everything back to the beginning, to the beginning of creation, to teach us that God blesses human love, that it is he who joins the hearts of two people who love one another, he who joins them in unity and indissolubility. This shows us that the goal of conjugal life is not simply to live together for life, but to love one another for life! In this way Jesus re-establishes the order which was present from the beginning.
Family
“What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mk 10:9). This is an exhortation to believers to overcome every form of individualism and legalism which conceals a narrow self-centredness and a fear of accepting the true meaning of the couple and of human sexuality in God’s plan.
Indeed, only in the light of the folly of the gratuitousness of Jesus’ paschal love will the folly of the gratuitousness of an exclusive and life-long conjugal love make sense.
For God, marriage is not some adolescent utopia, but a dream without which his creatures will be doomed to solitude! Indeed, being afraid to accept this plan paralyzes the human heart.
Paradoxically, people today – who often ridicule this plan – continue to be attracted and fascinated by every authentic love, by every steadfast love, by every fruitful love, by every faithful and enduring love. We see people chase after fleeting loves while dreaming of true love; they chase after carnal pleasures but desire total self-giving.
“Now that we have fully tasted the promises of unlimited freedom, we begin to appreciate once again the old phrase: “world-weariness”. Forbidden pleasures lost their attraction at the very moment they stopped being forbidden. Even if they are pushed to the extreme and endlessly renewed, they prove dull, for they are finite realities, whereas we thirst for the infinite” (Joseph Ratzinger, Auf Christus schauen. Einübung in Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe, Freiburg, 1989, p. 73).
In this extremely difficult social and marital context, the Church is called to carry out her mission in fidelity, truth and love.
To carry out her mission in fidelity to her Master as a voice crying out in the desert, in defending faithful love and encouraging the many families which live married life as an experience which reveals of God’s love; in defending the sacredness of life, of every life; in defending the unity and indissolubility of the conjugal bond as a sign of God’s grace and of the human person’s ability to love seriously.
The Church is called to carry out her mission in truth, which is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions. The truth which protects individuals and humanity as a whole from the temptation of self-centredness and from turning fruitful love into sterile selfishness, faithful union into temporary bonds. “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love” (Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 3).
And the Church is called to carry out her mission in charity, not pointing a finger in judgment of others, but – faithful to her nature as a mother – conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a “field hospital” with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support; even more, to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer, to include them and guide them to the wellspring of salvation.
A Church which teaches and defends fundamental values, while not forgetting that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mk 2:27); and that Jesus also said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mk 2:17). A Church which teaches authentic love, which is capable of taking loneliness away, without neglecting her mission to be a good Samaritan to wounded humanity.
I remember when Saint John Paul II said: “Error and evil must always be condemned and opposed; but the man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved… we must love our time and help the man of our time” (John Paul II, Address to the Members of Italian Catholic Action, 30 December 1978). The Church must search out these persons, welcome and accompany them, for a Church with closed doors betrays herself and her mission, and, instead of being a bridge, becomes a roadblock: “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11).
In this spirit we ask the Lord to accompany us during the Synod and to guide his Church, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.

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.