Friday, May 6, 2016

Of Pastries And Potties

The cruel evil entity called ISIS is on the march in the Near East, Texas is experiencing deadly flooding, the world economy is on the verge of devastating collapse, refugees continue to pour into Europe and the USA from Africa and the Near East, anti-Semitism is on the rise in many places, racial prejudice is tearing apart a number of American cities, a narcissistic criminal is about to be nominated for President by the Democrats, and a narcissistic con-man is about to be nominated for president by the Republicans! So - what is our society focusing on as of critical importance right now - what are companies, states, and other corporate entities taking sides on and are willing to stake their economic and social viability and future on?

The answer: baking cakes with pro-gay messages and who can use what restroom!

Surely, this is a clear sign that American society has lost its senses, or, at least, any understanding of what truly matters and what truly doesn't matter.

Obviously, the so-called LGBT (and whatever else may be being conjured up in the moral abyss for which to claim rights) activists have decided that their agenda and desires are more important than the needs and issues that face everyone else. And they have apparently decided that since the marriage barrier has been broken and conquered, it is time to move on to better and more critical issues, such as making people who have sincere religious objections to gay marriage be forced to write pro-gay messages on cakes (it is very noteworthy that so far only Christian bakers, and not Muslim bakers, have been targeted by star-crossed same sex lovers) and making sure that any man can march into any women's restroom in the name of equality and justice (which is why I will be accompanying my 10 year old daughter into any restroom frequented by men in order to insure that justice is maintained).

The fact that these are the issues de jour at this time in our country shows the moral and character bankruptcy of American society. We are like squirrels fighting over a crushed acorn in the middle of a traffic way, unaware that a huge semi-truck is barrelling down the road, about to crush them and the nut together.

This is seriously silly!  Seriously!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Some Thoughts

When the Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage was a constitutional right under the 14th amendment, the majority and minority opinions said that this should not be used to pressure or intimidate those who disagree with and do not accept same sex marriage.

All the justices made it clear that those who hold to the belief that marriage is a union between one man and one woman are not to be considered bigots, and that it is the just and good right of anyone to hold to this belief.

They also went further to say that the "right" of same sex marriage should not be used to censure or punish those who disagree through either legislation, litigation, or employment.

Also, many proponents of same sex marriage declared with great bravado that giving same sex marriage legal status would not have any substantial effect on "traditional" marriage, and would not change anything for those who practice heterosexual marriage.

Many same sex marriage proponents said that the issue of concern was only same sex marriage, and that the legal status of same sex unions would have nothing to do with polymorphous marriage or people who considered themselves transgendered.

It was also declared that the legalization of same sex marriage would have little or no real effect on American society or the daily lives of most people.

Well, so much for those thoughts!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Clever Kopp Comment

(I came across this clever comment in the Kopp Disclosure, a blog by Dr. Robert Kopp, a pastor in Illinois.  I thought those of you from all political stripes might find this amusing.)

Once upon a time there was a king who
wanted to go fishing.

He called the royal weather forecaster and
inquired as to the weather forecast for the next few hours.
The weatherman assured
him that there was no chance of rain in the coming days.

So the king went fishing with his wife, the queen.

On the way he met a farmer on his donkey. Upon seeing the king the farmer said, "Your Majesty, you should return to the palace at once because in just a short time I expect a huge amount of rain to fall in this area". The king was polite and considerate, he replied: "I hold the palace meteorologist in high regard. He is an extensively educated and experienced professional. And besides, I pay him very high wages. He gave me a very different forecast. I trust him and I will continue on my way."

So he continued on his way.
However, a short time later a torrential rain fell from the sky.
The King and Queen were totally soaked and their entourage chuckled upon seeing them in such a shameful condition.
Furious, the king returned to the palace and gave the order to fire the professional. Then he summoned the farmer and offered him the prestigious and high paying role of royal forecaster.

The farmer said, "Your Majesty, I do not know anything about forecasting. I obtain my information from my donkey. If I see my donkey's ears drooping, it means with certainty that it will rain."

So the king hired the donkey.

And thus began the practice of hiring dumb asses to work in the government and occupy its highest and most influential positions.

And the practice is unbroken to this day...
From KOPP DISCLOSURE: I've Got to Ask!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Trump Temptation

I, like many, have been puzzled by the apparent success (so far) of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate.  Sure, I get it that many people are angry at the present morass that passes as a government in the United States, and there is great fear regarding the attacks on American culture by the Obama administration and the anti-Christian socialist Left.  So, I do understand the appeal the Donald has for those who just want to express their outrage and fear toward politicians who care only about their personal power and are willing to sacrifice the great American heritage for the sake of gaining approval in the great Washington insiders club. But what I don't get is the willingness of so many so called "evangelical Christians" to support Mr. Trump even though he has in the recent past and in the immediate present spoken and acted against basic Christian beliefs and practices.  As Pope Francis (with whom I disagree on many political views) declared in his trip to Mexico, there are certain attitudes and actions that can actually be considered as "not Christian" because they go against what the Church, the Bible, and our Lord Jesus the Christ teaches.

Here is a man who has personally benefitted financially by the suffering and weaknesses of others. As a major casino developer and owner, he has preyed upon the frailty of people who gamble compulsively.  He has reaped rewards by purveying many of the things that are associated with casinos and gambling, such as pornography.  His many bankruptcies, while legal, have resulted in many smaller less protected investors being ruined financially.  Sure, this may be an accepted business practice, but I have known committed Christian business persons who have risked everything financially and endured great personal hardships in order to avoid a bankruptcy that would have devastated their fellow investors.  And I haven't even yet mentioned the personal character traits of being mean and unforgiving to those Mr. Trump considers less worthy than himself, his prideful declaration that he doesn't need to ask God for forgiveness, his support for the Mengele-inspired Planned Parenthood, or his own reveling in his moral peccadilloes.  

In short, it is highly likely that a President Trump would be a far more virulent enemy of the Christian faith than President Obama has ever been.  Obama is simply misguided, whereas Mr. Trump is intently dismissive! For him any religion is just a pawn to be used to advance his goals, which consist primarily of self aggrandizement and amassing as much power over others as he can.

Now, in saying all this (and I am sure it sounds a bit harsh), I am not trying to make Mr. Trump out to be an evil man, or to say he is self-consciously trying to become a tyrannical enemy of the Church. I personally like him and find him very entertaining.  I have read about some of the very kind things he has done for others, and he is reported to be a very attentive and loving father. That is all commendable, but up to this point it is clear that he is not advancing a Christian friendly view of people and the world.  

It is clear that he is willing to say whatever to anyone to feed upon their fears for his own personal benefit, a practice well in line with his approach to business in general.  He is not a self-reflective man.  He ignores Socrates' admonition to "know thyself,"  and I suspect he rarely ponders the questions of what is right or wrong, and good or evil. His identity, intentions, and actions are all about one thing and one thing only: to "make the deal." (I am afraid that Mr. Trump would be quite lost in a conversation with Augustine regarding the eudaimonistic virtues of the the greatest good, with Kant regarding the deontological nuances of personal motives, or with Mill regarding the utilitarian consequences of our actions.)

First of all, even Christians are still human.  As the reformer Martin Luther rightly declares, all Christians are simultaneously saint and sinner. So, it is quite intrinsically human to sacrifice personal character and beliefs in order to gain personal security and to strike back at someone or something that has hurt you, or who threatens to do so.  It seems that many Christians are doing just that.  They rightfully fear for the safety of this country given the threats in our world today and the Obama administration's weak response to them.  They are angry at those on the political and social Left who are attacking the traditional values and cultural heritage of America, even to the point of seeking to silence evangelical, orthodox, and Catholic Christians (and political conservatives) with repressive social and legal maneuvering.  

Many Americans are extremely upset with the dishonesty and corruption of the Democrat party, and the supercilious selling out and hypocrisy of the Republicans.  Our government no longer serves the people, but seeks to subjugate everyone for the benefit of a select few. There is in all of us a primal desire to strike back, and Mr. Trump is telling us that he will do this for us. He riles the politically correct, stripping them of their smug veneer and revealing their Orwellian desire to dominate others.  He promises that Christians will be protected from their adversaries so Christians can have a safe space in our society.  He angers those who have up to this point appeared immune to having to give account for their agendas and opinions.  These things are very attractive to people who feel powerless before the onslaught of despotic liberal policies and the mocking self-righteous fascism of the so-called social progressives. Mr. Trump knows this, and he knows exactly how to use it.

Secondly, many "evangelical" Christians are succumbing to the temptation that their brothers and sisters on the liberal religious Left and in the fundamentalist Right 
have been doing for so long (a temptation, I might add, common to Christians since the days of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century). As the devil tried to make a deal with Jesus to get him to bow down to the devil just once in order to reclaim the world for God, so Christians are being tempted to set aside biblical principles and values in order to gain vindication and respect in our society.  There is nothing wrong with seeking these things, but God's way calls us to be faithful to God's will expressed through the living Word, Jesus the Christ; and the written Word, the Bible; even at the expense of our own security and satisfaction. 

When the devil tried to tempt Jesus, Jesus chose to trust that God's way of self-sacrifice would ultimately be the way that God would bring true security and true vindication. The devil offers the illusion of an easier and more immediate way, but it is a lie. If Jesus had bowed to the devil, then the world the devil promised would have been lost, not redeemed. If Christians (or any group, for that matter) place their trust in a person who is so manifestly devoid of regard for God, is this not in a real and substantial sense bowing our knee to the devil and hoping this will somehow bring about the things promised by God?

(I am not saying only a faithful Christian can be supported as a candidate for president.  As the reformer Martin Luther aptly stated, it is better to be governed by "a wise Turk" rather than a foolish Christian.)

Yes, there are many threats and dangers facing Christians in the world today, and yes, American society is becoming very hostile to any who would dare name the Name of Jesus and seek to be his faithful disciple.  However, any candidate who courts the votes of Christians and is not seeking to live by God's will, is not willing to admit their need for God's grace, and who shows no repentance (or even remorse) for their failings in life, is not a candidate who will seek the good and welfare of Christians when they become the President of the United States. 

I would love to hear Mr. Trump declare his faith in Christ through repentance for his sins and to demonstrate a humble resolve to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So far, though, he has defiantly flaunted only rancor and hubris, with a Saul Alinsky arrow for any who question or cross him.   Indeed, Mr. Trump in his present form is simply a right wing version of Barack Obama, a ruthless demagogue who has no regard for America, Christianity, and the Constitution. Like the present man in the White House, Mr. Donald Trump will govern with the aristocratic mindset that America's founders sought to leave behind in Europe, and whose subsequent waves of immigrants risked all to escape. This is definitely not a good deal!