Points of Ponderation…..Episode 2.19

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

You may have heard about Operation Varsity Blues, the cheating scandal that’s been in the news lately in which dozens of well-to-do parents are charged with bribing ostensibly prestigious universities to admit their children. Two relatively prominent names associated with the situation are actresses Lori Loughlin (most famous for her role as Aunt Becky on Full House) & Felicity Huffman (formerly on Desperate Housewives & wife of more accomplished actor William H. Macy). I saw a post on Twitter about it and couldn’t help but be mildly bemused. The Tweeter opined that “I don’t understand why everyone’s so appalled with Lori Loughlin & Felicity Huffman. If my child was average at best and I had $$ to throw at a brand name college to give her that advantage in life, I absolutely would. So would 95% of parents. Sure it was shady but who cares?? Maybe redirect your moral compass towards more pressing world issues.” A few thoughts. First, I am constantly flummoxed by liberal hypocrisy. They hate “rich people”…unless they’re liberal actors/athletes/singers. This kind of rampant cheating, in which wealthy & influential individuals used their affluence to screw more deserving students out of an earned spot, should be prime soap box fodder for self-righteous libs. You can damn sure bet that if the culprits were well-known Republicans the liberal crusaders would be apoplectic, but because the two most notable names (thus far) are actresses from well-regarded TV shows it isn’t a “pressing world issue”. Secondly, the most amusing thing to come from all of this (thus far) is the fact that one of Loughlin’s daughters is the worst kind of Millenial stereotype…a vapid “Instagram influencer” (whatever the hell that is) who has admitted that she has zero interest in higher education outside of partying & football games. Yeah Mom & Dad…money well spent there lol. I am also blown away by the idea that anyone would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their kid into any non-Ivy League college, because everyone one of a certain age knows that in the grand scheme of life it really doesn’t matter, and the youngsters involved in this thing don’t actually need a degree anyway, right?? If the family is that prosperous & well connected and the offspring are really pretty they’re all set…no need for a college degree, and it is certainly unnecessary to spend so much money or risk legal consequences. The whole thing is just stupid. But somehow…just as with the illegal immigration debate…those of us who believe in the rule of law & doing things the right way are the ones with a misguided “moral compass”. Uh-huh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone is familiar with the old axiom “you are what you eat”, but I think we can extend that logic further because there are much more influential things than food. Perhaps it would be more appropriately stated “you are what you consume”. What kind of books do you read?? What kind of movies & television programs do you watch?? What kind of music do you listen to?? What kinds of people do you associate with?? How do you spend your spare time?? No one is saying that watching the occasional silly movie or engaging in meaningless frivolity makes a person lazy or stupid, just as becoming knowledgeable about specific topics doesn’t mean that a person is wise, kind, or generous. However, in general think it is a good idea to understand how what we consume can impact…positively & negatively…our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of intellectually vacant liberals…

There is a lot of chatter these days about Democrats pushing the ideas if a) eliminating the Electoral College, b) “packing” The Supreme Court with more than nine justices, & c) lowering the voting age to 16. Oh dear Lord…give me strength. Where shall I begin?? First of all, it is true that The Constitution does not specify the number of judges to be seated on The Supreme Court, and its size grew from six to ten at various times throughout the 19th century as the country expanded. However, since 1869 The Court has had nine justices. FDR attempted a “packing” maneuver in 1937, wanting the number of judges to grow to 15, but Congress shut him down (it all worked out okay for Roosevelt…he got his New Deal anyway). Isn’t it odd how nine justices has been just dandy for 150 years, but with The Court now leaning ever so slightly to the right & the very real possibility that a Republican President could have up to five more years to appoint another judge or two or three all the sudden Democrats think The Court needs to expand?? Secondly, the voting age was understandably lowered in the 1970’s from 21 to 18 because if folks were old enough to be drafted into military service then they should have the right to vote. However, a lot has changed in the ensuing years. For one thing, there is no draft anymore, so that logic isn’t applicable. My own personal opinion?? I would love to see the voting age raised back to 21…or maybe even 25. I don’t believe that young adults are…in general…nearly as mature or well-informed as they were fifty years ago. To be honest, I like the idea of passing a civics test as a requirement to earn the right to vote, but realize that’ll never fly so the best thing would be to keep the status quo. There is no way on God’s green Earth 16 year olds should ever be allowed to vote. I don’t even think they should be allowed to drive. I’d raise that age to 18 or 21 as well, but that’s a discussion for another day. And the big one…the Electoral College. This topic really gets me revved up. Unlike the size of The Supreme Court or a specific voting age, which aren’t detailed in The Constitution therefore opening windows for debate, the Electoral College is specifically written about. Why do Democrats despise The Constitution?? They’ve been hellbent on altering & eventually eliminating The Second Amendment for decades, and now, when a Presidential election doesn’t go their way they throw a temper tantrum. It’s like dealing with millions of apoplectic two year olds who haven’t had their naps. They need to get this thru their thick heads…the cultural elites in New York, Los Angeles, & Chicago do not speak for the rest of America. Just because you can pack a bunch of people into a few metropolitan areas doesn’t mean you make the rules. This isn’t grade school where a big mean kid can push around all the smaller children. I am reminded of a scene toward the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith when Anakin Skywalker turns to The Dark Side and murders a group of younglings. The United States is not a democracy, it is a republic, which means that we have a Constitution that guarantees inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the government & protects the minority from being abused by the majority.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 3.17

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

 

 

Head-ScratcherRecently I ran across an article about a film called Kuso. Perhaps…contrary to some well publicized opinions…mixed martial arts really IS artistic in comparison.

 

 


fridge

Good information.

 

 

 

I won’t pretend to be a legal scholar, but all indications point to President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee…The scalesHonorable Neil Gorsuch…being a conservative jurist and a Constitutional originalist, and for me that’s the whole ball of wax. It is THE #1 reason I voted for Donald Trump. I decided that I could handle whatever shortcomings he may have and deal with any disagreements I might have with his decisions as long as, by the end of whatever term he serves (four years?? eight years??) The Court is leaning in the right direction. It looks like he’s off to a good start.

 

 

 

Well…it’s pretty spot on, right??

 

 

 

kroger-logoKudos to Kroger, who recently launched their ClickList grocery service. It’s like shopping on Amazon, only for fruit, cereal, & meat instead of books. You fill the virtual shopping cart at your own leisure wherever you happen to be surfing The Net, schedule a pickup time, call a number when you arrive at the store, and then someone brings your stuff out and puts it in your vehicle. You pay the person with your credit/debit card and boom…you’re on your way home without ever having to get out of your automobile. It’s not quite home delivery but it is close enough. As most citizens of The Manoverse know, I have used a wheelchair since childhood due to a birth defect called spina bifida. I’m not exactly old yet, but I’m not 20 years old anymore either, so getting in & out of my vehicle multiple times in a day is more challenging than it used to be. ClickList is a blessing for me, and I can see it being useful for elderly folks or young parents who would rather not take their small children shopping. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also recognize clicklistthe valuable benefits to those with a healthy disdain for screaming babies, stupid people, & humanity in general. I am told that WalMart is also offering a similar service, though it hasn’t become available in my locale just yet. The thought of never having to go inside WalMart ever again fills my entire being with delight.

 

 

 


Enough said…..

 

 

 

american-flag-1I find it fascinating that the same people who shout from the rooftops that “times change” and that we “need to be on the right side of history” when justifying arguments for certain social issues are the same folks who want to hearken back to the good ol’ days of Plymouth Rock & Ellis Island when trying to make the case for illegal immigration. You can’t have it both ways.

America: A Eulogy

Okay…I tried. I have been holding back…resisting the urge to pontificate on a confluence of recent events that a decade ago I wouldn’t have imagined possible. But I just can’t do it. I cannot remain silent.

 

hugLet me first say that my purpose is not to insult, demean, or degrade anyone. I come in peace. I approach my task with love. I respect the opinions & feelings of others, although it seems like nowadays that peace, love, & respect is a one way street. My father has always taught me to disagree without being disagreeable, a lofty goal that I far too often fail to achieve. However, thru that failure I have learned that arguments, contempt, & vulgarity do nothing except intensify the chasm, and really…aren’t we divided enough??

 

Today is Independence Day. The 239th birthday of the United States of America. Millions of people will be celebrating flagwith cookouts, concerts, fireworks, & various other frivolities. Many may have already began the festivities a couple of days ago. I plan on participating in some of those activities and will undoubtedly have a nice time. However, from a big picture perspective I do not consider it to be a happy birthday. As a matter of fact I believe that our nation went on life support on November 4, 2008 and the plug was finally pulled sometime in the past few weeks. Now I am no medical expert, but I do know that a person in a vegetative state can sometimes hold on for awhile after the machines are turned off, and I think that is where America stands at the moment. We’re still breathing, but the end is imminent. Depressing?? Obviously. Honest?? In my opinion…yes. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay. I’ve tried being an optimist but it doesn’t seem to suit me.

 

What would a medical professional say is the cause of death for America?? Probably something like “complications resulting from sin, political correctness, & apathy”.

 

constFrom the time of its founding America was referred to by many as The Great Experiment. Democracy. Freedom. Liberty. These were radical concepts in the beginning. No monarchy for us. Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Religion. The right to participate in the process by voting and, atleast theoretically, pointing our elected leaders in the direction we wanted the country to go. Oh sure there were some pretty significant bumps along the way. I don’t think you’d find anyone these days that believes slavery was ever a good idea. The fact that women couldn’t vote for the first century & a half of the nation’s existence seems silly now. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s & 60’s is an undeniable blight on our history simply because black folks should have never had to fight for equality & fairness in the first place. But I believe that one can be patriotic without being intellectually dishonest about these scars, and we should be able to acknowledge past mistakes without painting America with the broad brush strokes of hatred & disdain.

 

Unfortunately it seems the experiment has ended. The United States has somehow transitioned into an oligarchy gavelwherein a chosen few with money & influence make the rules while condescendingly patting the rest of us on our collective head and treating The Constitution as if it is was written with erasable ink. Free speech is only free if this ruling class deems it appropriate. Freedom of the press is laughable since the media has become nothing but a tool willingly used by the powers-that-be to propagate their agenda. Religious freedom has been completely redefined and may very well be eradicated soon enough. The right to keep & bear arms…written by the Founding Fathers to provide an avenue for the citizenry to protect themselves against lawbreakers of all kinds, including an overzealous & tyrannical government…is constantly under attack and will likely be eliminated in my lifetime. American exceptionalism has been portrayed as arrogance, with too many of our leaders seeking to bring this once great nation down to an equal level with other countries so they don’t hate us. The Godly principles that were undeniably a bedrock of our discovery as “The New World” and our fight for independence are now seen by many as offensive & obsolete. I suppose there are those that would call this progress, but nothing could be further from the truth.

 

iwoThe United States used to fight for big ideas. Now we bow down to the lowest common denominator. We used to go to war in defense of freedom & liberty. Now we file lawsuits and ban things from public view because a few overly sensitive types whine & complain. We used to be the tough guys on the block that everyone else looked up to and expected to lead the way. Now we are a nation of sheep who are afraid of upsetting anybody and fret over whether or not people like us. Our media has sold us out. Our politicians have sold us out. Our culture has been decimated. Our history has been bastardized.

 

fathersI often wonder what men like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, & Abraham Lincoln would think if they could visit America in the 21st century. No one knows for sure, but allow me to offer an opinion. On one hand I believe they’d be fascinated by technology…television, The Internet, automobiles, computers, smartphones. Those guys were sharp cookies. Brilliant minds. They’d dig having so much information & knowledge readily available. But on the flipside I sincerely believe they’d be horrified & disappointed in how we’ve taken their life’s work, the nation that they fought so hard to make a reality, and damaged it by twisting or outright dukesignoring their words, spitting on the beliefs & values that guided them, reducing God’s influence in society, & becoming a weakminded, narcissistic, covetous population that blithely murders 3000 innocent babies every day but thinks The Dukes of Hazzard is evil.

 

I want…I need…you to know that it is hard for me to express these things. I love my country. There is nowhere else obama-logoI’ve ever wanted to live. I truly believe that it is those that oppose our traditions, our values, our history, our culture, our freedom, & our God that hate America. During Barack Obama’s initial presidential campaign he talked about “fundamentally transforming” the country. Now I know that supporters of Obama try to shine that up real pretty and make it sound like something good. However, when you study Obama’s history, his influences, & his education it becomes clear that those words weren’t used accidentally. He never wanted to tweak things, make minor changes, slightly adjust policy, or do a course correction. His goal was always to alter the United States on such a deep level that it would essentially become unrecognizable in comparison to what it was before. To that end he has been frighteningly successful. The transformation is so profound that I don’t think the damage can easily be undone no matter who we elect in 2016. I suppose it is possible that I am being slightly unfair to Obama, that this makeover would have happened even without his guidance…but I don’t think so.

 

pray2I don’t have many answers. I wish I did. I would prefer to be more hopeful, especially on this holiday, but I’m being honest. Your opinion may be different. You may think everything is just dandy. That is certainly your right. Unlike the vitriolic, smallminded keyboard warriors that like to vomit their hatred in the direction of myself & others who see thru the stupidity and understand what’s really going on I don’t seek to censor anyone. If that’s how entities like WalMart, NASCAR, & Warner Brothers choose to approach things then all I can do is spend my time & money elsewhere. That may be the silver lining in all of this. As more & more individuals, companies, & entertainment outlets cave to sin & political correctness it provides more time for me to focus on God and His purpose for my life. I truly believe that He is at work separating the wheat from the chaff. Which will you be??

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 5.13

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

I was recently prescribed a week long course of steroids…a Z-Pak…to treat bronchitis, and I was somewhat taken aback by the side effects. I have always heard about ‘roid rage, but since I am far from a ripped body builder hangin’ at the gym pumping iron I never thought I’d experience it. However, words cannot accurately describe the absolute fury I felt for several days. One evening I deleted probably 20 people from my Facebook  simply because one humorless know-it-all I barely angerremember from college ticked me off. Another night at work my poor co-worker had to hear a quite vociferous rant about job related frustrations, and even though that irritation isn’t anything new I’ve rarely felt…or expressed…such visceral disgust. It’s the medication…I know it is. When I had my weekly weigh-in I gained a pound even though I’d stuck to the program pretty good. Now granted…the symptoms of the bronchitis subsided considerably which I guess is the whole point of the drug, but I am quite uncomfortable with the ancillary issues created.

 

 

It seems that the Late Night Wars may be heating up once again and y’all know that is amongst my favorite frivolous topics of ponderation. The rumor is that NBC suits (them again) are spooked by ABC’s move of Jimmy Kimmel to 11:30pm. Kimmel’s irreverent, wry sense of humor is likely to attract the younger demo…something that Jay Leno is thought unable to do. Basically Kimmel is what David Letterman was 30 years ago and Conan O’Brien almost became in the not so distant past. So the geniuses at The Peacock Network are pushing Leno out the door (again) and moving Jimmy Fallon to 11:30pm. Personally I don’t have a problem with that plan. Leno once upon a time had promise but has grown stale. He’s lenokimmelcomfortable & amiable like Johnny Carson was, but has never quite measured up to the legendary Carson. I’d take things a step further though. Ostensibly Fallon is going to take over The Tonight Show (because that worked out oh so well for Conan), and yet another new host would take over the Late Night show in at 12:30am. But here’s what I’d do. I’d retire The Tonight Show altogether. Any host that takes over that mantle will forever be compared to Carson and can never equal the legend. End that show and just move Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to 11:30pm. He could stay in New York, stay in the same studio…keep everything the same except for the time slot. Remember…having to “change for the 11:30 audience” is what destroyed Conan. I think an evolving society that is increasingly okay with things like teen pregnancy & same sex marriage can handle a revolutionary idea like enjoying the same kind of humor that works at 12:30 an hour earlier. Then you bring back the Later title for the 12:30am show and find a decent host for that gig. I’ve heard the names Tina Fey & Amy Poehler batted around. I’d suggest maybe trying to lure Craig Kilborn back to the late night scene, or possibly Joel McHale. kimmelWhat I’d really love to see is a revival of the one-on-one interview type of show that Bob Costas or Tom Snyder used to do. That’d be awesome if the right host could be found. At any rate, change is coming. Leno has had a nice run and maybe he’ll end up on Fox or Bravo or A&E, or he could just slip into “retirement” and continue doing stand-up like Jerry Seinfeld. I know axing The Tonight Show franchise may seem like a radical idea, but anyone who has been paying attention in 21st century New America knows that there are very few sacred cows anymore. I’d rather see it go into retirement than see Jimmy Fallon be forced to conform to some archaic standard and have his career castrated like Conan’s was a few years ago.

 

 

I don’t talk about my “real” job in this forum for a variety of reasons. I do like to retain some sense of privacy, plus I really don’t want to get fired. But suffice to say that I deal…indirectly…with other people’s problems and I’m kind of getting tired of it. I call it Big Redneck Drama. I am well aware that my childhood & family lifefp was as close to ideal as possible. My parents loved one another, didn’t drink or do drugs, and treated myself & my sister as good as any parents could. That is why I have such a difficult time wrapping my head around some of the absolute idiocy that I am confronted with on a daily basis. At this point in my life it doesn’t seem as though…for whatever reason…God is going to bless me with a wife or children. And I know plenty of people out there who would dearly love to have those things as well but do not or cannot. So it is beyond my limited comprehension why people blessed with a family that others genuinely covet take every opportunity to crap all over what they have been given.

 

 

The equality crowd is at it again. They are all using a pink equal (=) sign as their profile pic on Facebook like good little liberal sheep. That’s their right as Americans, but I’ll be damned if I will support it. The thing is, I really think that most of these peoples’ hearts are in the right place. Equality sounds like a fine idea. Minorities…blacks, women, the disabled…have fought for it for decades or even centuries and still have to wage battle to a degree. But as much as I respect & honor the rule of law I ultimately answer to a higher authority and my God tells me in His Word that homosexuality is shameful, unnatural, lustful, & indecent…an abomination. Both the 7th chapter of Corinthians and the 5th chapter of Ephesians clearly identify marriage as being between a man and a woman. Now, does that bgmean that we are to mistreat or harm those who choose what we consider to be the wrong path?? Of course not. Both myself & God know that I sin far too often, and I am thankful that I am not shunned completely by those who may not agree with my every decision. I’d be a very lonely man if society rejected me for my mistakes. But there is a fine line between rejection & approval. While I believe wholeheartedly that every individual should be treated with a spirit of love, respect, mercy, & compassion I do not think wholesale tacit approval of a deviant lifestyle is the right course for our nation. The U.S. Supreme Court is about to rule on the constitutionality of California’s Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man & one woman. I am doubtful that the law will be upheld, which means that the definition of marriage in America will likely be altered forever. That’s okay. Like I said…at the end of the day I answer to a higher power and it is His way to which I adhere. If that upsets people then that is just something with which I will have to deal.

 

 

So I guess Jim Carrey has written a parody song attacking the late Charlton Heston and defenders of the 2nd Amendment. That’s fine. It is his right to do so, just as it is my right to not watch the stupid video. I don’t follow Carrey on Twitter but I hear58948_JimCarrey.png that he has been kind of an ass on his feed, saying some pretty derogatory things about gun owners. Here’s why I get so annoyed at the hypocrisy of the left though. I guarantee that Mr. Carrey has an armed entourage everywhere he goes and that his home has 24/7 armed security. That’s nice if you can afford it, but for most of us in the working class all that stands between us and evildoers is a .22 or a 9mm or a .44. The Constitution of the United States gives law abiding citizens the right to own firearms. What’s so difficult for the Hollywood elite to understand about that??

 

 

 

 

In Defense of The Constitution

My Dad has always told me “you may not get your way but you can get your say”. It’s wisdom along the same lines as “well, the worst they can do is say no” and closely related to “an opinion is like an @$$^*!#…everyone has one”.

 

In fact, The Constitution of the United States guarantees that everyone can “have their say”, express their opinion, etc. It’s called The First Amendment. However, like other parts of The Constitution, there are folks in 21st Century America that want to cherry pick the parts they like and discard the ones with which they do not agree (much like how The Bible is treated). There is a not insignificant minority of people who would like to see guns banned, even though The Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear arms. Christians have stood by and watched as God has been pushed aside in the most asinine of ways over the course of the past few decades, with the PC crowd citing The Establishment Clause of The First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”), while conveniently forgetting the second half of that sentence that says “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof “. All manner of controversial issues…taxation, same sex marriage, abortion, capital punishment, affirmative action, etc…are, at their core, a tug of war wherein The Constitution is used and misused, bent, twisted, and shaped to fit whatever argument is being made by any particular side.

 

The question becomes, is The Constitution really that difficult to understand?? I don’t think it is.

 

There have been two things in recent weeks that have grabbed my attention in relation to The First Amendment, and more specifically, peoples’ understandable but troubling disregard for it. But before I dive into those issues in particular let me refresh the collective memory of the masses by spelling out exactly what The First Amendment says. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” There is a lot of good stuff in there ladies and gentlemen. I already mentioned how Freedom of Religion has become Freedom from Religion, especially if that religion is Christianity. But my focus now turns to the Freedom of Speech.

 

Freedom of Speech” is admittedly rather vague terminology, but essentially it means that we all have the right to say anything about anyone, even if it is critical or negative, so long as it isn’t slanderous, obscene, or may insight violence. And even those exceptions are so narrowly defined that a lot of things may be offensive but still within the realm of legality. That very restricted piece of no man’s land…offensive vs. unconstitutional…is the battleground that brings about this particular diatribe.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on a case involving the Westboro Baptist Church. This is a church in Topeka, Kansas that has gained a certain amount of infamous notoriety in the last couple of decades for traveling around the country to protest at funerals and other gatherings, expressing very clearly their anti-homosexuality beliefs. Basically they hate everyone, including every other religion and all Christian denominations and churches except their own, and believe that President Obama is The Anti-Christ and Pope Benedict XVI is The False Prophet. Obviously they have not been informed that Oprah is The Anti-Christ. Anyway, I think it is safe to assume that an overwhelming majority of Americans from every corner of the sociopolitical spectrum and all religiosities would likely find the activities of this “church” appalling. I don’t feel like I’m stepping too far out on a limb by saying that there might be more unanimity on this than just about any other topic, including the relative merits of Justin Bieber’s career or the entertainment value of Vin Diesel films. The Court ruled in favor of Westboro, saying that their protests are protected free speech. Not surprisingly this is a tough pill to swallow for many, but it gets to the heart of the matter. The Constitution protects (almost) ALL speech…not just the stuff with which we agree.

 

Another situation is more local. A few weeks ago here in northcentral West Virginia a young U.S. Marshal was shot and killed by a suspect on whom he was trying to serve a warrant. I did not know the young man, but we apparently had a lot of friends in common. The overwhelming sadness of the tragedy cast a pall over this area for days. The outpouring of love and respect for the fallen hero and his family was amazing. However, there are always a few dissenters. One of the local TV stations had an article on their website about the shooting, and the vast majority of the comments after the article were supportive, sympathetic, and respectful. Unfortunately a few weren’t, and not only called into question the tactics of law enforcement in general and this deceased officer in particular, but were downright repugnant and insulting on a variety of levels. The whole thread got really ugly, and was made worse by the response of those who were, undoubtedly in good faith, coming to the defense of the officer, his family, and the police as a whole. Was there good reason to be upset and even disgusted?? Absolutely. But there were demands, both on the station’s website and its Facebook page, to delete the comments. Someone even blamed one of the news personalities who hadn’t done anything wrong and by all accounts is a genuinely good guy. A tragic story was made worse by idiotic fools who seemed to be getting their jollies by stirring the pot and making inflammatory statements, but it wasn’t helped by well intentioned yet misguided individuals seeking to spit on The Constitution and suppress free speech.

 

The theme song for an old 80’s sitcom said “you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have The Facts of Life”. That is a good summary of freedom, justice, The Constitution, our government, and our nation. Is it all perfect?? No. With gun ownership comes the unfortunate result that sometimes people are going to get shot. Democracy doesn’t mean that we will always agree with everything our elected leaders do. Sometimes an innocent person will be sent to prison and the guilty will go free. We take the good with the bad because most of the time things go right and in comparison with every other nation in the world America has far and away the very best system available. The opening words of The Constitution say “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Notice that one of the goals is not to form a perfect union but a more perfect union. The Founding Fathers knew that nothing is perfect, but that there is nothing wrong with striving for perfection. We cannot have freedom a la carte, picking & choosing what we like and what we do not. Freedom of Speech means that sometimes we might not agree with what is being said, but we must find some way of dealing with it besides trying to squash the freedom itself. It would be great if everyone was polite, courteous, and appropriate, but it is an irrefutable fact that there are a lot of people who are either stupid, mean, or both. And sometimes two people are just going to disagree about something, whether the issue is big or small, with neither individual necessarily being right, wrong, or evil in any way. In America even the folks who are wrong and not very nice about it have the right to be wrong and not very nice. We must be extremely cautious not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

 

I wish groups like the Westboro Baptist Church didn’t exist, and that everyone who decides to express their opinion would do so in a manner that was respectful and gracious, but that just isn’t realistic. Utopia, Paradise, Eden, or whatever you might refer to it as went out the window the second Eve was beguiled by Satan and nibbled on The Forbidden Fruit. So we must deal with the world the best way we know how. The Founding Fathers…although not perfect men themselves…established freedom & liberty as the bedrock of these United States, and it works better than anything else out there. We should never stop seeking a more perfect union, but we also need to stop being so cavalier toward the level of excellence we have already achieved.

 

 

Separation of Church & State

Little White Church

How much longer until our churches are deemed illegal??

It all started with some well meaning church folk and a big hunk of cheese.

Let’s jump right into this controversial issue by stating as fact that “separation of church and state” as applied and attributed to The United States of America is a complete myth. That phrasing is never used in The Constitution, Declaration of Independence, or any other official document. When Thomas Jefferson made a passing reference in a letter to “the wall of separation”, he was specifically referring to The 1st Amendment to The Constitution, which simply says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Of course it goes on to talk about the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly. But the part that we’re specifically concerned with is what’s commonly known as The Establishment Clause.

There are two things that jump out at me when I read The Establishment Clause. First, the main focus was anxiety about the federal government declaring an official religion. The people that came here from England had gone through a lot. Britain was a place that went back and forth between Protestantism and Catholicism, depending on who was wearing the crown. The prevailing religious doctrine changed merely on the whim of a monarch, and the people had no choice in the matter. Not following the rules set forth by The King or Queen had dire consequences. The founders of the New World, what became The United States of America, wanted freedom to worship God the way they chose, not the way the government dictated. Secondly, the latter part, the part that seems to be so conveniently ignored these days, specifically says that the right to freely exercise this freedom to worship God shall not be prohibited. So why is it that our government, and more specifically The Supreme Court, has done nothing but try to prohibit (or at the very least inhibit) the free exercise of religion?

When did freedom of religion evolve into freedom from religion? We’ve become The United States of the Offended over the course of the past couple of decades. We get ourselves in an uproar over the irrelevant issues but fail to defend the most significant of our freedoms. The “separation” battle has gone so far that we have people fighting to eradicate any and all mentions of God, such as “In God We Trust” on our currency and the phrase “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. It’s insanity, and most certainly not what our Founding Fathers intended. They wanted the citizens of this country to decide for themselves how to worship God.

There is no disputing that nearly all the men that laid the foundation of this country were Godly men. They may have followed an assortment of doctrines, but generally speaking all believed in God. For the most part these gentlemen were deists or Unitarians. I will not go in depth on either subject, as I trust my readers’ ability to research such topics if they so choose, but suffice to say that our Founding Fathers believed in God even if they weren’t followers of Christ and were somewhat suspicious of organized religion and “church” as an earthly construct.

So if it can be agreed upon that men like Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed in God and that any philosophical departures were more dogma-centered, why then should God be eliminated from our daily lives?? Christians believe in God. Muslims believe in God. Jews believe in God. Even Eastern religions believe in God in some form, though they may define it differently than what is generally accepted in our hemisphere.

The only people who don’t seem to believe in God in any form are atheists. Depending on what source one chooses to rely on, atheists are about 10% of the U.S. population. Consider this…..about 7% of Americans are vegetarian, yet every town big and small has a McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc. If someone is a vegetarian they simply don’t eat at those places. Or maybe the more tolerant among that group are able to sit in a restaurant and have lunch with a friend or co-worker who is consuming meat of some sort while they stick to fruits and veggies. Why can’t atheists practice this broadness of mind??

Now I know what some would say…..it’s easy to avoid meat because there are other choices on the menu, but this circumvention isn’t possible when it comes to God. I will concede the point only when it comes to money. Everyone, atheists and believers alike, must make use of the same currency that evokes the name of God. But this is where my indignation kicks in. First of all, it’s ONE thing. That’s it atheists?? That’s all you got?? Secondly, I once again reiterate that we are talking about 1o% of the population. We are a democratic society. And while that does mean that every vote theoretically counts, it also means that the majority rules. I am sick and tired of kowtowing to people who are outnumbered more than 10 to 1. Get over yourselves. If you’re in any kind of contest imaginable and you are over-matched by those odds, you lose. Life isn’t a Rocky movie. Not all underdogs are lovable and most really don’t stand a chance.

Why then have we gotten to the point in 21st century America where The Ten Commandments are not allowed to be displayed in a courthouse and employees are told to utilize the term “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”?? The answer is easy: The Supreme Court. The Court’s job was meant to be interpretation of the law, but somehow it has evolved into actively making law, sometimes even superseding The Constitution. Nowhere is this more prevalent than the issue of separation of church and state. As previously stated, the only thing in the original documents that formed the framework of the country that even alludes to the issue at hand is the 1st Amendment to The Constitution, and we’ve already examined this so called Establishment Clause. It clearly was meant to prevent a national religion and ensure each individual’s right to worship God without government interference. However, The Supreme Court has taken it upon itself to loosely “interpret” this clause to justify all kinds of lunacy. In direct contradiction to what our esteemed forefathers meant to happen, religious freedom is being hindered, not supported.

I fear that this is a Pandora’s Box that we will never be able to get under control. Things like eliminating prayer in school have stretched beyond the school day to the point where invocations are no longer allowed at events like graduations and football games. Christmas trees aren’t allowed anywhere near government buildings. The mere mention of God or allusions to anything remotely religious in any type of public setting seems to create a paranoid hysteria, albeit among a decided minority. Of course, as was mentioned, our society seems to bend over backward to please these vocal fringe groups, and therein lies the problem.

Whatever happens, however far we spiral downward into the abyss of Godlessness, just know that it wasn’t supposed to be this way, no matter what anyone says.