Saturday, February 28, 2015

MSNBC's immigration town hall

MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart hosted an immigration town hall meeting with President Obama on February 25 [1]. The following are my comments on the nearly one hour town hall. The first quite simply is that the immigration system is not broken. It is not perfect, but it is not broken. What's mainly wrong with immigration now is existing law is not being enforced. Border patrol agencies do not have the resources and tools they need to do their jobs and keep people out of here that are not coming lawfully. Then once they are here illegally, businesses that employ them aren't sufficiently penalized and sometimes not at all. Not enforcing the law doesn’t mean we need new law though. It just means we need to punish the lawbreakers.

President Obama said we depend on illegals for agriculture. That is not necessarily true either. The percentage of illegal immigrants that work in farming, fishing, and forestry jobs was only 4% only six years ago. More than half are service workers or construction workers [2]. So it is wrong to suggest that we need illegals to keep our agriculture industry going. Even worse, it is condescending toward the illegals because it assumes that is the only jobs such people would be capable of doing.

It was claimed during the interview that the Administration weren’t ignoring all illegals. He said they were going to be prioritize and deal with felons and other dangerous criminals, but the average illegal alien had no reason to worry. Practically speaking, it makes sense to try to track down and deal with the problem of felons and other dangerous people first when trying to prioritize who we are going to remove from the country. It is one thing to prioritize. It is another to ignore. It would be great to start with the most dangerous element of the illegal population. It is a mistake to stop there. Every single person who is here illegally is a criminal. If we want this to be a society based on the rule of law, a concept apparently foreign to this lawless President, then we need to uphold the law and not reward those violate it.

President Obama and people who agree with him on this issue blur the line on the difference between immigrant and illegal. There is a very important difference. An immigrant is one who has gone through the immigration system. They have either gone through the process to become a citizen or they have gone through the process to be here temporarily via student visa or some other means. By calling illegals “immigrants” and then citing all the ways in which immigrants contribute to society, he tries to make it look like those concerned with upholding the law and concerned with national security really just don’t want immigrants here. That is not true. Most people, including myself, who oppose the executive action do not oppose immigrants being here. They simply want the rule of law to be upheld and the knowledge that the ones coming here don’t intend us harm. With Islamic terrorism becoming a more dangerous threat than ever worldwide, it is all the more vital that we know who is here.

Even more ominous was President Obama’s threat when he was asked how he would stop ICE and the border patrol from enforcing the law and instead enforce his executive action. Obama’s response was, “José, look, the bottom line is, is that if somebody is working for ICE and there is a policy and they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it. So I can’t speak to a specific problem. What I can talk about is what’s true in the government, generally.” So there there will be consequences if someone chooses to follow the law rather than the President’s decree.

One of the basic underpinnings of President Obama’s executive action on immigration is that he can do this with prosecutorial discretion. It is true that the executive branch does have the power to determine what criminals are going to be prosecuted for. If someone is being charged with so many crimes that it would take too much time and resources to go through each one of them in the courts, prosecutors can go for the bigger crimes and go for the bigger charges that will equal the most severe punishment, longest jail time, etc… What President Obama and no prosecutor has the authority to do is make an illegal act legal just by declaring it legal. That is prosecutorial overreach that borders on criminality itself. It is not prosecutorial discretion. Furthermore, Obama said during the town hall that prosecutorial discretion allowed him to legalize part of the illegal population, but to legalize them all would be violating the law. What’s the difference?! He is redefining prosecutorial discretion as breaking the law to the degree that he is allowed to get away with it. Ignoring the law, as Obama is doing with this executive action, doesn’t make illegal aliens legal. He can’t make anything legal by choosing not to enforce the law, but that’s what he is trying to do. Immigration is good, but not everyone in the world can be an American.

One of the sillier moments of the town hall was when President Obama said they did not change the law to make all of the illegal aliens legal because they were too busy trying to fix the economy and pass Obamacare. They simply didn’t have time to deal with immigration reform. If it was so important to President Obama and the Democrats, they would have made time during the first two years of his presidency when Democrats had a majority in both the House and the Senate. They didn’t because of a political calculation. He didn’t want to have to defend rewarding lawbreakers during the presidential campaign. So he waited until after his last election to really start pushing for this. It had nothing to do with not having time.

Finally, President Obama had advice for the people in the audience when it comes to election time again. He chastised them for not voting in larger numbers and handing Congress to the Republicans. Then he closed by telling them that if they hear anyone running for office in 2016 that talks about border security, deportations, or anything else that actually has to do with upholding the law or protecting the United States, they should not vote for them. So to summarize, President Obama made excuses for breaking the law, threatened enforcers of the law if they don’t get in line with his illegal decrees, and encouraged people to vote against people who actually care about doing the right thing. That is what MSNBC’s immigration town hall was all about.

SOURCES

  1. Immigration town hall hosted by MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart with President Obama on February 25, 2015 http://www.msnbc.com/jose-diaz-balart/watch/full-video--pres.-obamas-immigration-town-hall-404561475518
  2. “A portrait of unauthorized immigrants in the United States: Section IV- Social and economic characteristics” by Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn of the Pew Research Center on April 14, 2009. http://www.pewhispanic.org/2009/04/14/iv-social-and-economic-characteristics/

Sunday, February 22, 2015

WWE Fastlane predictions

The first ever WWE Fastlane takes place tonight. There is no WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, but there is a match that will have implications on who will be Brock Lesnar’s next vict--I mean challenger--at Wrestlemania 31. The 2015 Royal Rumble winner and rightful number one contender Roman Reigns takes on Daniel Bryan who weaseled his way into a number one contender match. Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble match fair and square. This match should not even be happening. Daniel Bryan had his chance last year and he was successful. If he wanted to repeat, he should have won the Royal Rumble. When he lost, that should have been it. Instead, the WWE management gave in to the whining and complaining of the fickle WWE universe who all of the sudden don’t like Roman Reigns anymore. I hope that Roman Reigns runs straight through Daniel Bryan on his way to Wrestlemania and I believe he will, which will prove he is the rightful challenger for Brock Lesnar.

In the biggest title match of the night, Rusev will be challenged by 15-time World Champion john Cena for Rusev’s United States Championship. Personally, this seems like a former gold medalist trying really hard to win a silver medal, but either way somebody needs to put Rusev in his place and if John Cena is the one to do it, all the better. When the United States Championship belonged to the National Wrestling Alliance and later World Championship Wrestling, it was understood that the U.S. Champion was the automatic number one contender for the World Championship. Maybe if Cena beats Rusev, he can use the U.S. Title as a stepping stone to get his 16th World Championship. I don’t think that will happen though. It is not that I think Cena can’t beat Rusev. I just think that when Cena is on the verge of a victory, Rusev is either going to tuck his tail and run or get himself disqualified to keep the title.

In another title match, Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett is defending his title against his will against Dean Ambrose. Despite Barrett’s reluctance, he has been a great Intercontinental Champion several times. Dean Ambrose is one of those guys that think outside of the box though. You never know where he is coming from or what his next move is going to be. Unfortunately, in spite of this fact, Ambrose seems to be the guy who is always close to a big win, but never quite makes it. That was true with Seth Rollins. It was true with Bray Wyatt. He lost both feuds. I think he will lose this match as well and Wade Barrett will retain the Intercontinental Championship.

The Usos are defending the Tag Team Championship against Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, the tag team partner he seems to love more than his wife. Both of these teams are very good. They show tremendous teamwork. They know how to cut off their opponents and break someone down to get a victory. This is a very evenly matched contest. If it were a best of seven series, it would probably end 4-3. Since I see this as so evenly matched, I would have to go with the Usos just because I can’t stand the other team.

The divas will not be left out of WWE Fastlane. Nikki Bella will be defending her championship against Paige. Nikki Bella has been ruling the Diva’s Division with her sister Brie at her side ever since Brie made the difference in her title win versus AJ Lee. Brie’s actions outside the ring caused Nikki to win the title in near record time. Every time her sister gets in a precarious situation, Brie is there to bail her out. There is no reason to think that the match against Paige will be any different. I think Nikki Bella retains.

One of the matches I am not looking forward to is the brother vs. brother match when Goldust faces Stardust. I didn't really like this team except for when they were fighting for their jobs last year, but my wife is a big Stardust fan so I feel bad about this match for that reason. I am not sure the outcome of this match will make a difference. The big story here is that a good tag team and possibly a family has been split beyond repair. Just for the sake of predictions though, I think Stardust will beat Goldust. Goldust is the veteran, but Stardust has always seemed like he has something to prove. Whether that has been as a part of Legacy or with this team now, he just seems like he is always trying to burst out of the shadow of his brother and his father. He really wants this win to validate himself. On the contrary, I don’t know how much Goldust’s heart is in this. Stardust will win tonight.

A six man tag team match has been added to the event tonight as the Authority’s takes on the three men who were fired after HHH and Stephanie came back in power. This match won’t solve anything because this feud will not end. The Authority is not likely to go anywhere again. Dolph, Ryback, and Rowan aren't likely to go anywhere either. They are too good. So this is another match where I am not sure how much the outcome will matter, but I think Rollins, Big Show, and Kane will prevail.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Foundations: Part 3

Notes from my “Foundations of Faith” class. All Scriptures taken from the Modern English Version).
The steps for building a good spiritual foundation are given in Luke 6:47. All three steps are required. It is not enough to come to Jesus. You must also listen to what He has said. But coming and listening are not enough. You must also take personal action. A person can come to Jesus, hear what He has to say, but not respond. You can know the Word and still not act upon it. Jesus is not truly Lord of your life until you respond to His teachings. A good foundation is based on the Word of God. The man who came to Jesus, heard His Word, and then acted on it is called wise. This man made sure the spiritual foundation of His life was firm. He dug deep, removing everything between him and Jesus Christ. God's Word is the plan which shows how to build your spiritual life. The Bible must be accepted as the absolute authority and the plan for your spiritual foundation because “no prophecy at any time was produced by the will of man, but holy men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21). The purpose of God's revelation is given in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Bible contains instruction in the basic doctrines of Jesus. It also provides reproof and correction for failing to follow these teachings.

The man who built on a wrong foundation heard the Word of God but did not take personal action on what he heard. He is called a foolish man and compared to a man who built without a foundation (Luke 6:49). His house was built on the sand instead of the rock (Matthew 7:27). You build on the sand spiritually when you base your life on the traditions or religious beliefs of man. It is thinking you can make yourself spiritual by good works, church attendance, or religious ceremonies.

Jesus' story of the two builders reveals another great truth. It is the nature of life to be stormy. Circumstances of life result in many personal crises. You must face death, disease, and disaster. Even believers will face problems. Acts 14:22 warns that we must “go through many afflictions and thus enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). No one escapes the storms. Stormy circumstances of life are experienced by all people everywhere. The storms are the same, but what differs is how people respond to them. If your spiritual life does not have the right foundation you will fall. Just as the house built on sand, the fall will be great. If your life is built on the right foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word [doctrine], the storm cannot shake you. “At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has given us a promise, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also heaven.’ And this statement, ‘Yet once more’ signifies the removal of those things that can be shaken, things that are created, so that only those things that cannot be shaken will remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27). When the shaking experience comes, that which cannot be shaken will remain. Those who stand have built a right spiritual foundation.

A good foundation is a prerequisite for constructing a sound building in the natural world. The word “prerequisite” means that it is "required before". A proper foundation is required before constructing the "superstructure". The "superstructure" is that which is built on the foundation. A proper spiritual foundation is a prerequisite to spiritual maturity. In Hebrews 6:1-3 we are told we cannot go on to perfection unless the spiritual foundation is properly laid. Spiritual maturity is the superstructure [the building] which rests on the spiritual foundation. If the foundation is wrong then the superstructure will not stand and you will never achieve spiritual maturity. As the parable of the two houses indicates, it is not enough to be informed of these basic doctrines. You must make a personal response to God's Word and integrate these truths into the spiritual foundation of your life. If you do not respond to God's Word, you are like the man described by the Apostle James. “ Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man viewing his natural face in a mirror. He views himself, and goes his way, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in his deeds” (James 1:22-25). Remember that from the moment you decide to start building your spiritual life on the proper foundation, God will bless you.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Foundations: Part 2

Notes from my “Foundations of Faith” class. All Scriptures taken from the Modern English Version).
“Each one’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done” (1 Corinthians 3:13). All so called "Christian" works will be tested by God. The structure of your spiritual life will be examined to determine if it is built on the proper foundation. The only foundation of spiritual life which will stand is that which is built on Jesus Christ. Foundations are very important. The writer of Psalms realized this when he asked: “If the foundations are broken, what can the righteous do” (Psalm 11:3)? In the natural world if the foundation of a building is not properly laid the whole structure can collapse. The same is true in the spiritual world. A wrong foundation will result in spiritual disaster.

The Biblical record of Haggai stresses the importance of proper spiritual foundations. Israel was experiencing poor harvests in the natural world. Haggai told them to examine their ways: “You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes. Thus says the Lord of Hosts: ‘Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain and bring wood and rebuild the house, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,’ says the Lord. ‘You looked for much, and it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ says the Lord of Hosts. ‘Because of My house that lies in ruins while each of you runs to his own house’” (Haggai 1:6-9). To correct the problem, Haggai told Israel they must rebuild both in the natural and spiritual worlds. Rebuilding in the natural world was necessary for Israel because they had delayed building the house of the Lord. They had built their own homes and put their own concerns ahead of God's command to rebuild the temple. But more important, the spiritual foundation of their lives was wrong. They had been offering sacrifices [good works] with unholy hands. “‘So it is with this people, and so it is with this nation before Me, says the Lord, ‘and so with every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean’” (Haggai 2:14). A right work offered by unholy hands is not acceptable. The spiritual foundation of their lives was wrong and this is why they were not blessed by God. In the natural world Haggai told God's people that the foundation of the Lord's temple must be relayed. He said they must also rebuild their spiritual lives on a proper foundation. From the day that Israel started to build on the right foundation God began to bless them. “Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day when the foundation of the temple of the Lord was laid, consider: ‘Is the seed yet in the barn? As of yet, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you’” (Haggai 2:18-19). From the day you start to build proper spiritual foundations, God will bless you in every area of your life.

Jesus stressed the need for building on a good spiritual foundation. He illustrated this truth by a parable of two men who built houses. “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I say? Whoever comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show whom he is like: He is like a man who built a house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on rock. When the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, but could not shake it, for it was founded on rock. But he who hears and does not obey is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently. Immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49). There are several important principles in this passage. The first principle is that building a proper spiritual foundation is part of the doctrine [teachings] of Jesus. People were astonished at His doctrine. Part of that doctrine was the story He told about building on a good foundation. Paul also refers to building a foundation as part of the doctrine of Christ. “Therefore, leaving the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1). Paul then continues to list the content of the doctrine of Jesus.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Foundations: Part I

Notes from my “Foundations of Faith” class. All Scriptures taken from the Modern English Version).
“Therefore, leaving the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. This we will do if God permits” (Hebrews 6:1-3). The Bible compares the life of the believer to the construction of a building. “For we are laborers together with God: You are God’s vineyard; you are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Each believer is united in Christ with other Christians to form the Church. The Bible also compares the Church to a building. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the entire building, tightly framed together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).Whenever people erect a new building, they must first erect a proper foundation. Since this is a natural principle understood by all people, God used it to teach a great spiritual truth.

A believer must have a proper foundation in order to build a good spiritual house. The foundation must be laid according to the builder's plan. The Bible gives the plan of the master Builder, Jesus Christ. The purpose of your spiritual "building" is to provide a habitation--a dwelling place--for God. His Spirit will dwell in you only when your life is built on the right foundation. Paul asked:” Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16)? Because of this you are cautioned to build your spiritual life properly: “According to the grace of God which has been given to me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, but another builds on it. Now let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no one can lay another foundation than that which was laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11).

The spiritual foundation is based on God’s Word. “But the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who calls on the name of Christ depart from iniquity’” (2 Timothy 2:19). It is a good, eternal foundation. “Command that they do good, that they be rich in good works, generous, willing to share, and laying up in store for themselves a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19). It is based on righteousness. “As the whirlwind passes, so is the wicked no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation” (Proverbs 10:25). The two principles upon which the foundation stands are redeemed people living redeemed lives. It is built upon a rock, which is immovable. “Whoever comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show whom he is like: He is like a man who built a house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on rock. When the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, but could not shake it, for it was founded on rock” (Luke 6:47-48). The rock talked about in these verses is Jesus Christ. “Do not fear, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old, and declared it? You are My witnesses! Is there a God besides Me? There is no Rock; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:8).

Jesus Christ is the only foundation for spiritual life. God is the one who chose Jesus Christ as the foundation for spiritual life. “See, I lay in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, firmly placed” (Isaiah 28:16). The foundation of spiritual life is not a man-made creed, a denomination, or a religious ceremony. The foundation is Jesus Christ. Many professing believers try to build great spiritual structures of Christianity in their lives. They become involved in the program of the church and do many good works. The outward appearance of their spiritual building is good. But before long their spiritual building begins to sink and collapse. They become discouraged, defeated, and fall into sin. This is because they are trying to build on the wrong foundation. Just as a good foundation is necessary to properly support a building in the natural world, the right spiritual foundation is necessary to support the building of your spiritual life.

Friday, February 13, 2015

American sins: women's inequality

The last post in my American sins series s on female oppression. This ties into my point of this entire series of posts about the United States being a country founded on Christian principles because, if that is true, there should be evidence of it in how the country treats its women. No one loves women more than the God who created them. This is evident in the women who followed Jesus during His earthly ministry. Jesus appeared to women first after His resurrection [2]. He healed a Syrophoenician woman’s daughter [3]. He raised a widow’s son from the dead [4]. He allowed notoriously sinful women into His presence and freely, publicly forgave them despite the controversy that would have caused in that society [5]. He healed a woman with an infirmity spirit [6]. Many women weeped all the way to the cross with Him.

So if America was a Christian country at its founding, how does its treatment of women match up with the Bible’s treatment of women? Despite God’s view of women as discussed in Jesus’ interactions with them, world history has not been very kind to the female gender. The United States has been a place where women’s rights have been recognized more than any other country on Earth. This began with the Seneca Falls, New York convention led by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the Wesleyan Chapel on July 19-20, 1848. The convention addressed many rights women felt entitled to, but could not exercise, the right to vote being among them [7]. It would not be until August 26, 1920 that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote nationwide. “The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” [8].

Like much of world history, God-given rights of women were denied by the governments of which they lived for a long time. The United States was no exception. However, the United States repented of this (like all the other real and imagined American sins I have discussed in previous posts) and has granted women the rights they have deserved all along. The modern feminism movement of today has little to do with rights and more to do with politics. The angry, misandric, radical feminist leadership of today clothe their political desires in the language of equality so that those who do not fall in line with their wishes are seen as being against women altogether. While these attitudes are not universal among all women who proudly label themselves as feminists, it is generally true of what the movement has devolved into compared to what it once was.

Listening to the modern feminists, one would be led to believe that very little, if any, progress has been made in regards to gender equality in American society. Women are now earning more college degrees than men. The wage gap has almost closed completely when women and men with similar qualifications in the same professions are compared [9]. So if the wage gap has closed when considering all relevant factors, women are getting more college degrees than men, women have the right to vote, and a larger percentage of wealth is owned and controlled by women, what else could the feminists have to fight for?

One of the reasons they continue to fight is the same reason a lot of Washington lobbyists causes exist: it’s a job for those lobbying on behalf of whatever cause they are supporting. If you proclaim victory in the cause, you become irrelevant and must find something different to do. That is why people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are still in the public eye, for example. They have been successful in convincing an overwhelming number of people that institutionalized racism in America is still bad enough to need them around, despite facts to the contrary. The same could be said for the women leading these feminist causes. Despite the facts, if you can convince people that there is still a need to fight, you (as a leader) stay relevant.

Another reason is the abortion cause. As many conservative commentators have pointed out, liberalism could operate as its own religion. Like Catholicism with it’s seven sacraments, liberalism has its own sacraments: abortion, multiculturalism, organic food and vegetarianism, political correctness, same-sex marriage, climate change, and physician-assisted suicide. Abortion is at the top because “abortion is a welcoming of a newborn into the community of death by liberalism. Besides that, abortion frees women to be what they were unfortunately not born to be: men” [10]. As long as there are babies to be killed in the womb without the father’s consent, abortion will always have a part to play in the advancement of modern feminism. And as long as there are feminists looking to seek domination of or a life free of men as much as possible, feminism must continue to be promoted as if they have never gotten anything they’ve ever wanted.

SOURCES

  1. Luke 8:1-3
  2. Matthew 28:8-10; Mark 16:9-11
  3. Mark 7:24-30
  4. Luke 7:11-17
  5. Luke 7:36-50; John 4:1-26; 8:1-11
  6. Luke 13:10-17
  7. "Seneca Falls Convention Begins." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/seneca-falls-convention-begins
  8. "The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 19." National Archives and Records Administration. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_amendment_19.html
  9. Goff, Emily, and James Sherk. "Debate Analysis: Women's Pay Statistics Misleading." Daily Signal. The Heritage Foundation, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2015. http://dailysignal.com/2012/10/18/debate-analysis-womens-pay-statistics-misleading/
  10. Engler, Robert K. "The Seven Sacraments of Liberalism." The American Thinker. Thomas Lifson, 12 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2015. http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/10/the_seven_sacraments_of_liberalism.html

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

American sin: treatment of Indians

The next post of the American sins series has to do with past treatment of Indians. I usually encounter objections about past treatment of the Indians whenever writing about the need for better United States border security. The objection is that Americans have no right to complain about illegal immigrants coming into the country because the people that first came here didn’t get permission before coming here. They just came in, brought all kinds of death and destruction, stole land, and took over. As with all convincing deception, there are some kernels of truth in these arguments. The first travelers to this land did come here uninvited. Sometimes, the government did mistreat Indians. If that’s all you were taught though, you were short-changed.


American history curricula tend to present Indian life as one that was going along just fine for the most part until the European settlers came along and messed up everything. This pristine view of life for the American Indian is grossly overstated however. This “was a land sparsely inhabited by nomadic hunting tribes. Many were constantly on the verge of starvation. They had not yet discovered the wheel and had no written language. Tribe against tribe-they lived a violent and brutal existence. Of those Caribbean Indians Columbus came into contact with, the Arawaks attacked and enslaved the Siboney. The Caribs feasted (literally) on members of both tribes. Here’s a scene of one of Columbus’ search parties discovered on Guadeloupe. ‘They found large cuts and joints of human flesh...organized Arawak boy captives were being fattened for the griddle, and girl captives who were mainly used to produce babies, which the Caribs regarded as a particularly toothsome morsel’” [1]. So if anything, the arrival of the Pilgrims to America was an overall blessing to the Indians.


What about the charge that we stole the land from the Indians and therefore we have no right to complain when illegal immigrants come here without our permission today? The charge is baseless because, even if one could make a case that the land was stolen, it was stolen from other thieves. Many of the tribes themselves were thieves. They had stolen the land they occupied from other tribes.”In the case of the Black Hills, American courts acknowledge the land was taken in violation of the Laramie Treaty of 1868. $1 billion, fair market value of the land plus interest, has been set aside. But the Sioux have rejected it. They want the land. But is it their land? In the late 1700s, the Sioux took that land from the Cheyenne, who had earlier pushed out the Kiowa and the Arapaho. Land possession is part of a long history in which the stronger Native American tribes displaced weaker ones” [2]. The point is that most of world history has been fraught with forceful taking of land in one way or another, but the pilgrims were welcomed and in many ways improved life for those with whom they came in contact.


The title of this series is American sins. So all of this is not to say that there is the United States has been guiltless. The Trail of Tears where Cherokee Indians were forced to leave Tennessee and Georgia and relocate did happen thanks to President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830. About 4,000 died as a result [3]. However, for the most part, the existence of the United States has improved life for those that were already here. One of the best examples of this was Thomas Jefferson’s federal funding for Christian missionary work and the building of Christian churches among Indian tribes to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ [4]. That is the overall point here since my premise behind all of these stems from a post where I asserted that the United States was founded on Christian principles and has a rich Christian heritage. In this case, that is evident not just in the country’s overall good relations with the Indians, but in the desire to spread the Gospel to them using government resources. So much for the “separation of church and state” as it wrongly defined today.


SOURCES

  1. Limbaugh, Rush H., III. "Dead White Guys or What The History Books Never Told You." See, I Told You So. New York: Pocket, 1993. 68. Print.
  2. America: Imagine the World Without Her. Dir. Dinesh D'Souza. Perf. Dinesh D'Souza. Lionsgate, 2014. DVD.
  3. Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center. "A Brief History of the Trail of Tears." Cherokee Nation. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. http://www.cherokee.org/AboutTheNation/History/TrailofTears/ABriefHistoryoftheTrailofTears.aspx
  4. Dreisbach, Daniel L. "The Mythical "Wall of Separation": How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse." First Principles Series Report #6. The Heritage Foundation, 23 June 2006. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/06/the-mythical-wall-of-separation-how-a-misused-metaphor-changed-church-state-law-policy-and-discourse

Thursday, February 5, 2015

American sin: Slavery

I wrote a blog post on February 2 that was the first in a series of posts called American sins. The reason for these are due to all of the objections I encounter from those who disagree when I talk about America’s Christian heritage as I said when I first started these. It has been the country’s admittance to and attempts to correct those sins that help to prove its spiritual roots. I talked about interracial marriage the last time for my first “American sins” post. America’s controversial racial past can also be seen in regards to slavery.

Slavery was a part of the United States from the very beginning. Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution says, “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” American Indians and blacks were only counted as ⅗ of a person when it came to determining congressional representation. Certainly, that makes the country sound inherently racist from the get go unless one understands that there likely would not have been an agreement on a constitution without a compromise on slavery. The southern states would not have accepted a constitution where slavery was not permitted even though most of the other delegates were opposed to the slave trade as “dishonorable to the American character” as one Maryland delegate put it. For the southern states though, having no slavery was a deal breaker. So the anti-slavery delegates compromised. Another facet of the ⅗ compromise was that while southern states wanted slaves to have no rights as people, they wanted them to be counted as people when determining the number of seats each state would get in the House of Representatives. In that way, the south could protect and expand its prejudiced position by having significantly more representation in Congress. Anti-slavery delegates eventually wanted to work toward an end to American slavery, so they opposed the south’s duplicitous stance. The only way the two sides could come to an agreement was counting each black as ⅗ of a person.

It was not meant to be a permanent solution, as evident by Article I, Section 9, Clause 1, which outlawed the slave trade approximately 20 years later.. “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight.” Further evidence that this was not meant to be permanent as well as evidence of the country’s moral condition would come less than 100 years later after the Civil War with the addition of the 13th and 14th Amendments abolishing both slavery and the ⅗ clause. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state.” These efforts and eventual eradication of American slavery demonstrates an exercise in repentance. Repentance, as I said in the last post on this subject, is a paramount Christian doctrine, thus providing more evidence of America’s Christian heritage.

I made a distinction in the title between racism-based slavery and slavery in general because the Bible does not condemn all forms of slavery. I would agree that it is not God’s best, nor was it part of God’s original design for anyone to be into subjection to another, but it was permissible in certain cases. I would encourage you to read “Is all slavery sin?” to learn about the topic of slavery straight from the Scriptures.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Denver screwjob

The event that became known as the Montreal Screwjob took place on November 9, 1997. WWE Champion Bret Hart defended his title against European Champion Shawn Michaels on that night. Bret Hart was scheduled to leave WWE days later to begin working for WWE’s main competitor WCW. The WWE, particularly WWE owner Vince McMahon, could not afford to have their flagship championship taken to defended in their main competitor’s organization. So Shawn Michaels, referee Earl Hebner, and Bret’s opponent Shawn Michaels entered into a conspiracy to steal the title from Bret. Referee Hebner rang the bell and gave the title to Shawn Michaels just moments after Michaels locked in Bret’s own sharpshooter submission hold on him without even asking Bret if he wanted to submit. The conspiracy among leadership to steal a championship from a competitor was previously unheard of until that night.


This past Monday on Raw should be remembered in a similar way even if it does not reach the same high profile status as the Montreal screwjob in 1997. Roman Reigns legitimately earned a WWE World Championship match in the main event at Wrestlemania 31 by winning the Royal Rumble match on January 25. The Royal Rumble winner has been automatically the number one contender for the championship in the main event at Wrestlemania every year since 1993 with one exception due to controversy at the end of the match. Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble and deserves his title opportunity against Brock Lesnar whether the WWE fans like it or not. They can boo until they are blue in the face. That does not give WWE the right to just decide to take away what Reigns won on a whim.


That exactly what WWE’s power couple Triple H and Stephanie McMahon did on Monday night in Denver, Colorado despite not having “the authority” to do what they did. They deceived Roman Reigns and the willing WWE universe into thinking they had the ability to change the main event at Wrestlemania just because they are in charge. Then they set up a match between Roman Reigns and the winner of Raw’s main event that night--which turned out to be Daniel Bryan--for WWE Fast Lane on February 22. The winner of that match will now go on to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Championship.

I wonder how many people realize that they have just become part of the newest WWE screwjob with Roman Reigns as the victim this time instead of Bret Hart. They took away something he won without having any reason to do so. Their entire motivation was just because they thought he did not deserve it. That is not for WWE fans or management to determine. There is no asterisk next to the Royal Rumble match that says the winner will get a title shot at Wrestlemania unless the fans don’t like it. They can watch Wrestlemania until the main event starts and then turn it off if they don’t like who is in it. I am all for WWE fans having more say in what goes on in WWE. To just take something away from someone after they have already won it for the sake of the outcome being unpopular is just wrong though. The Denver screwjob is in Roman Reigns with WWE management and the WWE Universe as the culprits. I hope Roman Reigns runs through Daniel Bryan like Taco Bell runs through the average stomach.

Monday, February 2, 2015

American sin: "interracial" marriage bans

The Singerl twins: born in Australia in 2006. There are not multiple races, just one

I am going to be doing a series of blog posts that I call American sins. The reason for this is in response to all the objections I get every time I talk about the United States of America being founded as a Christian nation as I encountered again after my last blog post. People bring up all the systemic sins of America’s past with the attitude that they somehow prove the U.S.A. has never been a Christian nation. It has been the country’s admittance to and attempts to correct those sins that help to prove its spiritual roots.


One area that critics of American history like to bring up is the area of race relations. The aspect of race relations I am going to be talking about this time is interracial marriage bans that used to exist here in the United States. Segments of American culture frowned on interracial marriage at one time even though interracial marriage did not change the basic definition of marriage the way homosexual relationships defined as marriage would or do because it was still between a man and a woman. That is because the ban on interracial marriage had no basis in preserving the definition of marriage. It was rooted in preserving belief in white supremacy at the time. The same could be said for American slavery. It all had to do with preserving white supremacy. Neither had anything to do with preserving anything God-ordained even though some purposely misused the Bible to make it that way.


Faulty theories that claim different races evolved from many different starting points are the basis for current beliefs on different races. There are not multiple races of people in reality. These are just minor variations within the human race that make us look different. Human beings are one race that come from the same two common ancestors: Adam and Eve. We are all equal therefore. “Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7 Modern English Version). “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept. Then He took one of his ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:21-22 Modern English Version). “The man called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20 Modern English Version). “He has made from one blood every nation of men to live on the entire face of the earth” (Acts 17:26 Modern English Version). “The first man Adam was made a living soul” (1 Corinthians 15:45 Modern English Version). We all have the same basic brown melanin like Adam and Eve. Different skin tones are a result of the scattering of the world population following the Tower of Babel. “So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they stopped building the city. Therefore the name of it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. From there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:8-9 Modern English Version). Different combinations of the isolated, scattered populations caused different physical characteristics among people in the world to develop over time. This would include skin color.

Racism is not a product of God or those who believe in Jesus. It is a product of evolutionary theory that a select few people who call or called themselves Christians started believing and then used the Bible to try to back up their preconceived notions. God does not approve of marriages where one person is a follower of Christ and the other is not. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 Modern English Version). That has nothing to do with different skin color though. Look at what happened with Miriam if you want an example of what God thinks of this issue. “And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he married, for he had married a Cushite woman. They said, “Has the Lord spoken only by Moses? Has He not spoken also by us?” And the Lord heard it...When the cloud went away from over the tabernacle, Miriam became leprous as snow, and Aaron turned toward Miriam and saw that she was leprous...the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be ashamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again” (Numbers 12:2, 10, 14). No racism is valid because there is only one race. Marriages between people of different colors is entirely permissible and always has been. All state laws banning “interracial marriages” have now been repealed. Repentance from sin--turning from it and going the other way--is a necessity to even be called Christian. America repented of these and other racism-based sins by repealing these laws. They cannot be legitimately held against our country anymore.