June 30, 2015

The Right to Marry and the Right to Carry

The Civil War had just ended. The south had been reduced to rubble, the slaves were freed, the prisoners returned home, but now came the problem of how to insure that the legal ramifications of this war would remain in place as well as the problem of what to do about the debt accrued by the Confederacy over the course of the war. If the now united nation refused to pay the southern debt, would that also force them to default on all war debt? There were many voices both in the general public and in the body politic that were of the opinion all debt accrued during the war, both public and private, should be completely removed from the books so that the entire country could start over again from zero. Naturally, both domestic and foreign banks were not at all happy with this idea of debt forgiveness, not to mention the millions of private citizens who held war bonds from the United States, the Confederate States, or both!

The newly freed slaves were another matter. At one point before the war Congress had debated the idea of paying slaveholders for their slaves. That idea was no longer an issue, but the same people who had put it forward now had another idea: force the former Confederate states to pay each freed head of household "reparations" in the form of land (40 acres) and a mule to work that land. If not the former Confederate states, then perhaps the former slaveholders themselves? No laws were ever passed by Congress or state legislatures granting reparation to the former slaves, however, the debate over reparations sparked yet another debate: were the former slaves even citizens? Many of the former Confederate states refused to acknowledge that the freed slaves were Americans. An idea that began gaining popularity in both the north and south was the idea that the former slaves should be expatriated back to their "home" countries in Africa, despite the fact that the vast majority of slaves were not from Africa at all, but had been born into slavery in the United States.

The Fourteenth Amendment became the final solution to all of these debates after it was passed by Congress in 1866 and finally ratified in 1868. The section most important to today's thoughts is Section 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

This section has been quoted in dozens of Supreme Court decisions, including the recent decision to redefine "marriage" to include same-sex couples:

The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs.
...and a few paragraphs later adds:
The right of same-sex couples to marry is also derived from the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always coextensive, yet each may be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other.
...but this court decision not stop there. It went on to provide both philosophical and legal justifications for redefining "marriage" to include same-sex partners:
The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.
...and this led into a very surprising conclusion regarding who can demand an inherent right be recognized regardless of the existence of a law seeking to restrict that right:
While the Constitution contemplates that democracy is the appropriate process for change, individuals who are harmed need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right.
...now maybe I'm jumping the gun a little bit, but all this talk of "an inherent right" keeps reminding me of the Second Amendment:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Does this mean that since the State of Ohio has granted me permission to carry a loaded firearm concealed on my person at all times and in all places neither restricted by law nor marked by a "No Concealed Carry Allowed" sign prominently displayed at the entrance, I can now exercise this inherent right in all fifty states?

Bearing Arms: SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage mandates nationwide concealed carry reciprocity
Allen West: YEEhaw! This side-effect of the gay marriage ruling will make liberals EXPLODE
Breitbart: Same sex ruling sets up national reciprocity for concealed carry

June 22, 2015

It all began with a campaign button

In the context of the debate over whether or not South Carolina should move a copy of the old Confederate Army Battle Flag from a memorial next to the state capitol into a museum, someone on Facebook asked why on earth anyone would appreciate the old stars and bars. So I replied with some nostalgia and an anecdote:

I had family on both sides of the Civil War. Whether this particular flag flies or gets moved to a museum is meaningless to me. The flag itself, being a battle flag, speaks to me of courage in the face of overwhelming odds and certain defeat. I understand that some modern people see it as representing hatred, but this is a very new interpretation that was not even an issue as recently as the 1980s. No one complained about it until the NAACP began losing power and influence in the decade leading up to 9/11. I know. I was there and watched the controversy being invented.

There was a black Georgia farm boy I was in the army with who had one on the wall over his bunk. His family, some slaves, some free, fought hard on the side of the south. One of his grandfathers was a flag boy at Peachtree Creek. A volunteer, by the way, and a slave, who got permission from his master to join the Army of Tennessee.

It's funny, sometimes, the stories history books never tell because nobody bothered to write them down.

All through the 1980s the NAACP was losing power, financing, and influence. They were rapidly on the way to becoming completely irrelevant. Firebrands like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton carried a passion and a torch no one needed any more. Under the Reagan "trickle down" economic theory American cities that had been pivoting on the brink of disaster began recovering. Black Americans were welcomed in medical schools, legal schools, Ivy League schools, technical academies, and everywhere else. Old post-Civil War/Reconstruction Era Black guilds for business, technical trades, and agriculture suddenly became relevant again as the first generation to benefit from Dr. King's legacy began achieving success in areas that their parents and grandparents never could have dreamed of entering. Many of today's most popular black actors, singers, and other performers entered the industry during the 1980s, following in the footsteps of Sammy Davis, Jr., Bill Cosby, and a handful of others who had first broken into Hollywood's protected ranks despite powerful prejudices in the 1950s and 1960s.

And then Bill Clinton used the Confederate Battle Flag in a campaign. Posters, banners, buttons, just like the one at the top of this page, began appearing. They ran as Southern Blue Dog Democrats dedicated to breaking the hold of "corrupt" Northern Republicans who they claimed were "owned and controlled by industries dedicated to death and destruction." Suddenly the NAACP found its voice. They began screaming that the Democratic Party adoption of the old battle flag was a huge betrayal to blacks everywhere because the flag itself was symbolic of hatred, slavery, and a lasting symbol of white privilege. Not long after the NAACP began it's fiery attack, academics and pundits began showing up on television and in newspaper op-eds presenting historic facts to prove the NAACP's fury was justified. The Clinton-Gore campaign quickly dropped the offensive materials and issued profound apologies. I watched the whole messy affair unfold on the pages of Time magazine and on CNN (which had just recently become available in Japan). It was during this controversy that Time shifted from a more or less centrist editorial slant to a far left anti-establishment viewpoint.

I still don't understand why this simple campaign button created such fervor. Throughout my youth, "The South will Rise Again!" had been a theme underlying every improvement in schools, economy, scientific development, and industry throughout the South. Under President Carter the South had once again discovered it's Southern Pride and had dedicated itself to proving they could compete in a world based on fair and equitable treatment of all people, regardless of race, gender, or even political affiliation. (In the 1990s, the LGBT movement was still a minor group of folks with loud voices out in San Francisco that nobody paid attention to.)

Politics in the information age has become a battle of competing rhetoric, with both sides reaching for the one internet meme that will convince unaligned independents to throw themselves behind one party. In this desperate search for five, ten, or fifteen words that will touch the hearts of people with little or no interest in politics, facts get lost in the shuffle and history becomes an amorphous ball of clay that each side attempts to mold into something that will prove they are righteous while their opposition is evil. As the 2016 Presidential campaign unfolds and this rhetoric heats up, please take a moment here and there to look up the facts behind the brutally competitive, often contradictory ideas that will be thrown around by both sides. We have at our fingertips the greatest library of information humanity has ever assembled and made available. Let's use it to keep the politicians honest, shall we?

June 19, 2015

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Shooting

I don't know what causes me more pain, reading that a hate-filled racist shot and killed nine people in the oldest black church in America, or the dog and pony show that began the moment the last shot was fired. They were still counting bodies when Fox News announced this was an attack on faith. The doctors were still cleaning up from their failed attempt to save the ninth victim's life when President Obama announced this shooting should motivate Americans to give up their guns. Before the names of the victims were even known, race advocates across the nation were proclaiming this was a terrorist attack aimed at keeping black people oppressed. And even late night comedy got involved with Jon Stewart pleading for somebody to do something.

I cannot comprehend racism. But then, neither can I comprehend the "gangsta" culture that has overtaken America's working poor. Almost no one realizes that the majority of people who receive handouts from the government are neither black, hispanic, asian, nor any other minority. The majority of working poor in America are the same as they have always been: poor whites with no opportunity to advance. No one seems to notice that for every rich white man with a corner office there are hundreds of thousands of homeless white men, women, and children living in our streets. Black community leaders want everyone to believe that because of slavery and the Civil War blacks are the most hated group in America, all the while conveniently ignoring that even today the vast majority of slaves were and remain white. The second largest group of slaves has always been, and remains to this very day, Asian. Blacks were never more than a tiny percentage of enslaved people and today that percentage is almost zero.

I'm not black. I would never pretend to be black. Nor would I try to claim I empathize with black people who feel oppressed. Nor would I pretend to sympathize with the white people who hate blacks. To be bluntly honest, I find the entire issue ludicrous. White people who hate blacks, black people who hate whites, both groups are completely insane. Yes. Insane! This level of paranoia and hatred is a form of mass hysteria and I cannot comprehend why people allow themselves to wallow in it. Nine people who gathered together to study the Bible on a quiet Wednesday night are now dead. Shot down in cold blood by a man so filled with hatred he sat through the entire Bible study, prayed with them, and then went out to his car to retrieve his gun so he could kill them. Now the whole world knows his name.

NPR has published the names of the victims, but I will not pretend to know their names. In three days, four at the most, no one will remember their names, not even the NPR staffer who wrote the article. Their families will feel the loss as an empty hole deep in their chests for the rest of their natural lives. Prayer, counselling, and compassionate friends will help them learn to carry that hole around, but it will never go away. Once taken, a life cannot be restored and a loved one cannot be replaced. I can empathize with those left behind. This is a pain I know well. It is a pain we all have in common at some point. Those who are taken suddenly and without warning hurt the most because we who are left behind cannot stop ourselves from speculating what good those who died might have accomplished if they were still here with us.

Violence is as much a part of our human existence as is the hatred which creates it. The pain we carry reminds us that we are still alive; it reminds us that we ourselves can die instantly and without warning. Yes, it is true, the young man who killed these people is no different in his hatred than any ISIS terrorist cutting the head off a captured Christian. I will not pretend to understand hatred so deep it leads someone to brutally murder innocent people. I do not empathize with people who walk into an unarmed crowd and kill indiscriminately. I refuse to let some talking media head, some community activist, or some cable television comedian put me in the same class of person as the insane people who perpetuate these acts of mass slaughter. The death of the children at Columbine, Sandy Hook, Westgate Shopping mall, Beslan, and so many other places cuts me just as deeply as it cuts anyone else. The families are cut deeper, far deeper, and the burden of pain they carry far exceeds my own, but it still hurts me because I am human, and a father, and an uncle, and a brother, and a son. However, I am also a realist. I know that there is no human way to prevent these crazy individuals from slaughtering strangers.

I grieve for the nine people killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. I really do. I grieve every time I hear about another violent death, another rape victim, another natural disaster. But it pains me just as much when people in power try to use these tragedies to force their ideology down my throat and demand I live my life in accordance with their own paranoid delusions. We cannot remove violent people from our midst. As long as there are humans there will be violent humans. The only thing each of can do is individually prepare ourselves for the fateful day one of these predators crosses our path. The victim is always the first line of defense against the predator. The one genuinely fatal flaw in modern American society, the one lunacy that drives all of our worst mistakes as a society, is this insane, delusional idea that with just the right social change we can live in a world without violence. It will never happen. Violence and hatred are part and parcel of who we are. Our violence is what brought us up from a naked scavenger on an open savanna to the peak of civilization. None of our art, our pacifism, our love of nature, our scientific success, our miraculous healing powers, or our religious fervor would be possible if we were not at our very core a wild, violent animal capable of picking up a rock and killing the stronger, better equipped predators we shared that savanna with.

Our hatred is as much a part of being human as is our love. It is each of individually who chooses which aspect of our potential we will develop. We cannot destroy the ability to hate without also destroying the ability to love. So stop this silly arguing over which laws to write and which freedoms to restrict in order to make sure this never happens again. It will happen again. It is inevitable. When it does, I will grieve just as deeply for the next set of victims as I now grieve for the nine who died Wednesday night.

June 16, 2015

Donald Trump Announces Presidential Run

I have to confess, I never expected Donald Trump to actually run. He talks a good game, but in the end, for three presidential races in a row all it has been is talk. Like many successful American businessmen, his greatest skill is his ability to communicate. I was completely shocked to see him come down that escalator and announce his intention to run for President of the United States. This changes everything.

Donald Trump is not Mitt Romney. He is far more successful and the core of his business is real estate rather than venture capitalism. Donald Trump has personally overseen the construction of dozens of golf clubs, tropical resorts, office buildings, residential buildings, government buildings, even a few schools, in dozens of countries around the world. The man knows how to gather investors, set up a plan, follow through on the plan, and then make sure everything is completed on time and under budget. That could very well prove to be exactly the skillset we need in the White House. Assuming, of course, he has both the stamina to complete his campaign and the salesmanship to convince 51% of America he is the right man for the job. Neither of these is a sure thing. A Trump project is normally a six-month affair, a year at the most. Anything beyond that he normally sells off long before completion. Donald Trump is not only a great negotiator, he is a great delegator, dumping responsibility on someone else the moment he gets bored. This is not a luxury a President can afford.

Nonetheless, he is a charismatic speaker who knows how to reach people from a wide variety of cultures and economic strata. His business contacts are global and widely diverse. He has more international friends in more countries than I do, and believe me, that's a major accomplishment all by itself. This gives him an instant global network the likes of which no American President in history has ever enjoyed. He really can call up any national leader in the world, invite them over for a round of golf, and then negotiate a new treaty. This is an important aspect of a Trump Presidency that should not be overlooked. A major reason for the success of George W. Bush in the days after 9/11 was his ability to forge new relationships with world leaders who prior to 9/11 had little or no interest in anyone or anything related to the United States. Ronald Reagan was even better at forging new relationships with world leaders. Donald Trump would come into office with all of those relationships already in place. Despite the insistent cries for isolationism that have always been with us and always will be with us, the United States of America cannot survive completely on its own. Our modern world is completely interlinked and interdependent. Like it or not, we need the rest of the world just as badly as they need us.

At this point in time, my money is still on Marco Rubio as the candidate with the right ideas. However, I threw in with Rubio on the assumption that Trump was once again blowing hot air and had no real intention of entering the race. Now that he has, I'm going to be paying close attention to how Rubio responds to Donald Trump as well as how Donald Trump presents himself. Donald Trump is not the kind of man who feels a need to respond to the other candidates. He assumes, quite rightly, that it is their job to respond to him. For all his flash and arrogance, Donald Trump is not truly a pathological narcissist. He honestly does have many of the right ideas, the right skills, and the right connections to be one of the most powerful and effective American Presidents in the history of our nation. In many ways, he really is the best man for the job.

I only have one problem accepting Donald Trump as a serious candidate: I cannot imagine what he stands to gain by running for President. He says he wants to restore national pride and international strength. Well, down through history all of the most destructive and dangerous tyrants have all said exactly the same thing. They have all made this claim because the most evil leaders throughout history have all had one thing in common: they needed affirmation of their own worth. Donald Trump knows his own worth. He does not need to prove anything to anyone. So, if it is neither greed nor raw narcissism that is driving him, what could it be? Patriotism? I don't know. That is what he claims, but Donald Trump is a very successful salesman. The key to becoming a successful salesman is being able to read people well enough to figure out what they need and then promising it to them, regardless of whether or not you can actually deliver on that promise.

My interest is piqued. Donald Trump's announcement changes everything. This has suddenly gone from a huge field of so-so candidates lacking a shining gem to a field of so-so candidates orbiting around a blazing sun. But only time will tell if it is a healing sun or a destroying sun. I am curious to see what comes next.

And by the way, Donald, if you do win and happen to need a new Ambassador to Japan, I know the people and the culture and have many connections at all levels of Japanese society. I also happen to be available...

Modern English Bibles

A friend of recently made a post on Facebook which implied without stating directly that the only English version of the Bible worth reading is the King James Bible. I wrote this little essay in response and decided to preserve it here as well (with a few small edits).


Modern English Bibles

While it is true that there are differences between the King James Version of the English Bible and the various other modern English translations, in almost every case these differences occur because of inclusions in the King James Version from the Latin Vulgate that do not appear in any Greek texts (or at the very least, not in the majority of Greek texts).

There are essentially three "original" versions of the Old Testament (two Hebrew, one Greek). The last time I checked (in 2010 or so) there were several hundred "original" versions of the New Testament (encompassing around 50,000 Greek texts). The King James Version translators relied on one Hebrew Torah (Old Testament), the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), and a compilation of broken Greek texts assembled in Rome known as Textus Receptus, as well as the Latin Vulgate. A dramatically smaller pool of available material.

Luke 4:4, for example, quotes Deuteronomy 8:3. The only "original" text that includes "by every word of God" in Luke 4:4 is the Latin Vulgate, clearly indicating it was added to the Latin at some point in the past, possibly as a clarification. (1 John 5:7 has a similar problem, the King James Version matches the Latin Vulgate and none of the Greek texts.)

The King James Version is a wonderful translation. But it is no more or less "accurate" than any other non-paraphrased English version. The Revised Standard Version and New World Translation are the only two modern versions of the Bible that I personally have some quarrel with. Both of those began life as simple revisions of the King James Version with "consultation" of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. The idea behind the New King James Version amuses me, but if someone wants to insist on the King James Version, the 1611 edition ought to be good enough.

My personal study Bible is the Archaeological Study Bible in New International Version. It is no more or less "perfect" or "accurate" than any other, but the format and study notes appeal to the historian in me.

It is worth remembering that King James, the person who paid for the King James Version translation, was Catholic. It always amuses me when Protestant sects insist the King James Version is the "only" accurate translation. The King James Version was created solely for the purpose of countering the Geneva Bible which in the 16th Century had become the defacto translation for English Protestant Churches, including the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. In colonial days, the King James Version was prohibited in many of colonies because it was considered a "profane Catholic text". One of the earliest conflicts resolved by the First Amendment was the freedom to distribute King James Version bibles throughout the new nation.


Luke 4:4 (KJV)
And Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."

Luke 4:4 (NIV)
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone'."

Deuteronomy 8:3 (KJV)
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV)
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

1 John 5:6-9 (KJV)
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

1 John 5:6-9 (NIV)
This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.


June 11, 2015

Creeping fascism

It all started two days ago, maybe three. I followed a link to a video report at Fox News about ISIS throwing homosexuals off of rooftops. Like always, there was a short ad prior to the video. To my great shock, and I admit, horror, the ad featured a beautiful young girl about nine years old lecturing me on how Global Warming was going to do her great harm long after I had died and abandoned her. There was no text, no splash screen at the end, and no hint at all of who had made the video, let alone who had paid to have it run on the Fox News website. When my video finished and I went to another video about ISIS in Ninevah, another video played with a similar monologue by a different beautiful little girl.

Then I read an article about what had really gone down in McKinney prior to the filming of the now famous video. A private pool in a luxury neighborhood had been invaded by a flash mob bent on terrorizing the residents. Dozens of youth from one of McKinney's poorer neighborhoods had decided it was entirely unfair that the rich people living in this neighborhood had access to this big, empty pool while all of them were stuck out in the summer heat. One bright individual sent out a Snapchat image of the empty pool followed by an invitation to all his followers to "invade" the "sacred white pool" and "take it for ourselves". So they did. Dozens of them. They jumped fences, followed on the heels of residents with keys, or were let in by people already there. Once inside, they ridiculed the residents, make threatening gestures, started fights, and at one point attacked a woman trying to collect her children and take them out of the pool enclosure. Police were called. As fate would have it, the first officer on the scene had just arrived from not one, but two suicide calls. Emotionally on edge, faced with an army of aggressive, loud-mouthed, disrespectful and threatening young people, he overreacted and pulled his firearm when two young men blindsided him.

Then today I read this: "I can't remember if I cried, the day, Uke Players died." This is a blog post at, "Got a Ukulele...", one of the three most informative, useful, enlightening, and enthusiastic ukulele sites in cyberspace. For some reason known only to the administrators, a long-standing ukulele players Facebook group recently banned all of the most influential people in the world of internet ukuleledom. Writers, composers, professional musicians, dedicated amateurs, and harmless collectors suddenly earned the administration's ire. Those who were banned have universally expressed shock and innocence, unable to imagine what they might have done to earn being cast out of a group many of them had belonged to and participated in for years.

Look around you. Hundreds of such examples are popping up daily. What used to happen only on occasion has now become so frequent it occurs every couple of hours. Elitists with no tolerance for dissent, no respect for opposing viewpoints, and no willingness to hear any view that is not in lockstep with their own have moved into positions of control in hobby groups, in online discussion forums dedicated to such innocent topics as Japanese flower-arranging, in news sites that for years have been foremost in providing an outlet for oddball journalists, and even some hardcore libertarian forums, have all fallen victim to this creeping personal fascism that is spreading through our world. We have now completely passed the limits of polarization. Remember this post back in 2010, "Something odd this way comes"? Not long after making that post I was getting over a hundred rabidly profane attacks on every single video, every single day. I deleted that channel and did not return to YouTube for almost two years. Once I had returned, it took nearly another year before I could work up the courage to post a video.

I took a nap this afternoon. During my nap I had a pretty bizarre nightmare. I was a "Frog in a Blender". Some anonymous hand would hit the switch and after reducing me to pulp, reconstitute me so they could hit the switch again. I abandoned the idea of a vast, evil conspiracy trying to take over the modern world at least six or seven years ago. My last post that came close to being a "conspiracy" rant was probably, "McGraw-Hill Runs America", and even that one was meant as tongue-in-cheek satire.

However, something is happening out there. ISIS, for example, is being allowed to run unchecked through ancient Bible lands. Yes, "unchecked" is exactly what I mean. The minor successes of the bombing campaign and Iraqi army are mere pinpricks that have done nothing to slow down the advance of ISIS nor interrupted their consolidation over the areas they control. The only thing keeping ISIS from continuing their advance is they have reached the limits of their supply lines. Once they get the logistics of this vast landholding they have captured worked out and flowing smoothly, you will see them launch another blitzkrieg style assault on territory bordering them. Mark my words, Syria will fall next year and Iraq will be gone the year after, or maybe vice-versa. Remember, you read it here first.

I don't understand what is going on. It is easy to label it a "conspiracy", but whatever it is that is happening runs much deeper then a simple man-made conspiracy. There is a global cultural revolution underway. Billions of people all over the world have suddenly decided they like the idea of living under a benevolent dictatorship. Convinced of their own righteousness, they are doing everything in their power to marginalize and eliminate any voice of dissent, any rumor of freedom, or any insistence that tyranny is bad for humanity. There is a very real genocide taking place in the Middle East. Christians, Jews, and even moderate Muslims are being driven from their traditional homelands. Not just under ISIS. In Nigeria, Tunisia, Bahrain, and several other countries being anything other than a militant Muslim dedicated to "civilizing" the world under the "purity" of Shari'a has now become an unpardonable crime punishable by death. This is real. And even worse, here in the west a creeping sort of fascism dedicated to ignoring the violence has overtaken news outlets, discussion forums, social media sites, and even some online games. There are now countless places in cyberspace where any discussion of anything other than positivism will get you instantly banned for life. Schools have become fascist enclaves with non-gender toilets, Christian businesses are being boycotted for simply living in accordance with their faith, Muslim taxi drivers are refusing to pick up passengers from bars at closing time, and some Christian businesses are refusing to serve non-Christian customers of any kind! Islamofascism is taking over the Middle East while social fascism is taking over the rest of the world. This is a very dangerous combination!

I don't know where all of this will end. I only know it will be horrific and bloody.

June 09, 2015

A Storm of Change is Sweeping the Earth

For the past forty years I have spent every waking moment trying to understand the changes sweeping through our world. The chaos of the past two years is unlike anything I have ever seen and is so far beyond my worst case Armageddon scenario that I can no longer be sure I haven't missed a few important clues along the way. If our world, no...if God's people don't reverse course right here and now then we'd better hope Tribulation and Rapture theology is right because we are about to enter a dark age like nothing the world has ever seen. Your worst nightmares about the final days will look like a picnic compared to what's coming.

I am probably wrong. I always have been a little too paranoid. Nonetheless, when too many coincidences mount up and the everyday man on the street starts spouting nonsense then I know the shit has already hit the fan and we are all on the verge of being sprayed with sewage.

Let's start with firearms. I love being an American. I love having a safe full of rifles and pistols. I love being able to buy guns and ammo in half a dozen different stores within a ten minute drive of my house. A free people are allowed to own the weapons of their choosing, as many of them as they care to possess. An enslaved people is not allowed access to weapons because their overlords know they will be the very first targets those weapons are trained on. Over the past decade, despite an enormous effort to oppose it, Americans have become more free than at any time since the day after the passing of the 1934 National Firearms Act. This freedom is not enjoyed in every state, but in most states any adult with a clean criminal record can purchase a firearm, take it home, and even get permission to carry it with them everywhere they go. There are more training courses available now than at any time in our history. American firearm owners are now the best trained, best equipped standing army in the entire world. And all of that could vanish within the next eighteen months.

Next, let's talk social justice. Racism in America has become virtually non-existent. Interracial marriage is a daily occurrence. People of all ethnic backgrounds can be found working happily in every single field. The only barrier to advancement in today's America is your own ambition and personality. The color of your skin, the zip code where you were born and raised, the neighborhood you grew up in are by and large irrelevant. Not everyone goes to college and not everyone lives in a mansion on the side of a hill, but more people from more diverse backgrounds are working and succeeding now than at any time in our past. Even more remarkable, all of this success is taking place in the final days of one of the worst economic recessions in global history. True, many people are out of work, lack access to good education, or spend their days in a drug-induced euphoric trance, but the vast majority of us have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. We are so successful as a nation that our poor people are obese and our rich people spend a good portion of their earnings on frivolous pastimes like visiting every concert in the world held by their favorite musicians. Men, women, blacks, hispanics, asians, whites, homosexuals, straights, and transgender individuals can be found in dire poverty, fabulous wealth, and everything in between. This is it, people. What you are experiencing right now is the progressive utopia your grandparents did not dare dream to see. Unless of course, it all collapses in bankruptcy before year end.

What is this storm threatening to destroy the modern world? It has many layers, much complexity, and is attacking us both individually and collectively every single day of our lives. The process began over a century ago and has been so gradual in its development that we are now the proverbial frogs in a pot unaware that this comfortable warm bath is about to boil us into dinner for whoever it is has been tending the fire. I don't know who it is, and this is part of what worries me. If I could identify the cook, then we could tip the boiling water into the fire and throw steam in their face. Part of the problem is that the "cook" is neither a particularly diabolical individual nor an insidious secret conspiracy. Instead, there has been a dramatic cultural shift that has gone completely unnoticed by those who have become its victims. This shift has two parts, one high and one low.

The high part is the church. The Body of Christ on Earth. God's chosen people. You and I and everyone who claims to be a Christian. Not the Muslims nor the Jews, neither the Buddhists nor the Hindis. No other religious body in the world shares our sacred calling. You and I, the children of God, have a purpose, we have a sacred duty shared by no one else. Our lives are not our own. This gift of grace that brings us eternity also brings with it an important job that we have failed to follow through on. Do you really want to know who is to blame for the chaos in our world? It's not progressive politicians, it's not the Freemasons, it's not the Council on Foreign Relations, it's not a shadowy clique of extremely wealthy individuals with delusions of divinity. The real problem is you and I. As followers of Christ it is our sacred duty to help everyone around us. It does not matter if we like them. It does not matter if helping them cuts into our free time. It does not matter if helping them cuts into our entertainment budget, nor does it matter if helping them cuts into our life savings. It is our job to do everything in our power to make the world a better place, even if this impoverishes us, gets us sent off to jail, or gets us killed. Our job as a follower of Christ is not to keep up with the Kardashians, play computer games with our friends, or attend concerts by famous Christian performers. Our job is to heal the sick, clothe the homeless, and feed the poor. This is not an option, my brothers and sisters. This is not something we do after we make the car payment, pay our tithe, and set aside money for our summer vacation. Everything you or I have was given to us by God for one purpose: to make the world a better place. I'm not saying you should sell everything and join the homeless under a local overpass. I am saying you should get your ass down to that overpass with clothes, blankets, food, tampons, boxes of clean underwear, reams of clean socks, flashlights, batteries, portable radios, and anything else you can think of to make their lives a tiny bit better. This is not supposed to be a hobby, this is the entire purpose of our life on Earth! Yes, I mean you; not just me, not just your pastor, you personally!

So you're talking to your neighbor and she mentions they just found out her husband has cancer. Offer to cook them dinner. Not today, every single day until your pantry is empty or his therapy is complete. Some kid in your neighborhood was busted for selling drugs? Get yourself down to the prison and visit them. Tell them it's terrible what happened, but if they are willing to do the work to turn their life around then you are willing to take steps to ease the process. Don't do it once, do it once a week until they order you to leave them alone, the guards refuse to accept you, or they finally finish their sentence and return home. After they return home, visit them often, bring them dinner, call them up and ask how they're doing. Really listen to their concerns. Don't preach at them, don't read them the riot act, just listen. Yes, if they are truly insane then in the end they might kill you. But it is far more likely you will be the reason they turn their life around and become someone the entire community respects and admires. This is not the pastor's job, the court's job, the government's job, nor the probation officer's job. This is the sacred duty you and I accepted the day we accepted Christ as our lord and savior. We in the Body of Christ have abandoned our sacred calling. We have delegated the care and nurturing of our community to faceless bureaucrats appointed by corrupt politicians, both of whom are nothing more than parasites feeding off the taxes you and I are paying in order to do a job we were called by God to live our life doing. This is not an option. This is the entire reason Christ died on that cross to save you from your sins and empower you with the Holy Spirit. This is why he spent two nights in hell and rose again on the third morning. Your spiritual duty is not speaking in tongues and paying your tithe. Your sacred duty is the care and feeding of God's creation. Why is our world in chaos? Our world is in chaos because you and I have failed at the calling God set before us on the day he called us to repent and live anew.

The low part is the result of the failure of the high part. What happens when the Body of Christ fails in their sacred duty to tend the needs of God's creation? That creation dies beneath the weight of sin imposed by Adam's glib acceptance of the fruit Eve offered him. Greed, self-absorption, unrelenting anger, rebellion against morality, hatred of strangers, cruelty to animals, narcissistic compulsions to rape, pillage, or plunder, these are all the result of our base human nature. This is the animal inside us taking control over the rational mind God gave us and compelling us to destroy our own life along with the lives of everyone around us. In like manner, denial of reality in order to justify imposition of our collective will on non-conforming individuals is not our sacred calling. It is exactly the opposite. Any time we demand conformity to some pre-conceived notion we hold about civilized behavior we feed the animal in ourselves and in the people we are condemning. Thugs in our streets are acting out based on our failure to be a shining example of God's promise. True, it is their choice. No one is responsible for a criminal's behavior except that criminal individually. They make their own choices. You do not carry their guilt. However, that does not negate your sacred duty to lighten their burden to the greatest extent you are able. What is "fate"? What is "karma"? Karma is receiving back tenfold the disdain and condescension you have shown to others. Nothing more, nothing less.

This is what happens when God's people fail in their sacred duty to love their neighbor and provide for the well-being of strangers:
Fox News: Witnesses report media story on McKinney incident incomplete
Fox News: TSA whistleblowers describe culture of distrust
Fox News: ISIS captures 88 Eritrean Christians
Fox News: Attack on aid group triggers riots in Turkey
Fox News: Family members beat pregnant teen to kill baby
BBC: Inside Mosul, Life under ISIS
NJ 101.5: 61 arrested, ten police injured at concert
Daily Mail: ISIS executioner throws gay man from rooftop
Business Insider: Millennials lying about their daily diet is destroying fast food
Business Insider Australia: 8 of 10 men accused of shooting Pakistani student Malala released
Washington Examiner: Proposed regulations will make internet gun sites illegal
Vox: Radical college professor fears students are even more radical

And this was just as tiny fraction of the insanity. I fear this is only the leading edge of the overwhelming storm of anger and self-righteous violence that is coming. One of the reasons I have such a hard time posting these days is that there is so much happening that I cannot keep up with it. All of it relates back to the same cause: people are disenfranchised, alone, and afraid. This is exactly the reason God has called us out from among the bulk of humanity. Alleviating this misery is the sacred duty you and I were called to perform. Nurturing those in pain, empowering the disenfranchised, providing security to the fearful, these are the tasks God has called us to do. Our job is not to condemn Bruce Jenner for becoming Caitlyn. It is not our place to demand laws deciding who can and cannot marry. We are called to show the world by the example of our lives that there is hope, and through that hope, there is a better way to live. We have failed in that duty and the inevitable result is chaos sweeping across the world. How will the world respond? The world will respond in the same way it always has: oppression, control, and genocide. You and I can change the future. We can choose to elect responsible politicians, to help our struggling neighbors, to show respect to young people filled with anger, to lead by example rather than by dictate. Or, we can spend every day and night pursuing health, wealth, and happiness, oblivious to the chaos unfolding around us until it sweeps over us and destroys us.

If something does not happen to change the priorities of God's people then the world will assume they have the right to destroy us and God will allow it to happen. I don't know when. I don't know how much or how little time we have left. I only know that already this summer is worse than last summer and last summer was the worst I had ever seen. So I will blow this trumpet one more time. This is the moment of decision that I began to feel approaching over a decade ago. It is here, it is now, and there is no turning back.

Choose wisely. The fate of the world is in your hands.

June 03, 2015

Gender, biology, and the future of humanity

I added this video the day after writing this post because it seemed fitting.
The LGBT movement would like us all to believe that masculinity and femininity serve no purpose.
This is a great lie.


Biology is absolute. Nature abhors a vacuum. Unfortunately, the modern world is often unwilling to accept simple, absolute realities. "Progress" has come to mean denying the reality that surrounds us and forcing it to adapt to our imagination. This thinking is highly delusional. It is quite common to find large segments of civilized societies falling into such delusional thinking just prior to their collapse. Violent crime, pestilence, and social unrest are symptoms of an impending social collapse. They are not the cause. Civilizations implode once a critical mass is reached and delusional thinking prevents the society from adapting to our dynamic, ever-changing reality. Mother Nature has no patience for a delusional species. Her solution is extinction.

The whole world, quite literally, is talking about a sixty-five year-old former Olympian who just underwent gender reassignment surgery. I have spent three days dodging news articles, op-eds, Facebook posts, Twitter posts, and Google+ posts, but to no avail. The story is everywhere. Therefore, I have decided I might as well jump on this bandwagon and write up a blog post of my own.

As I pointed out in my opening, Mother Nature's solution to delusional thinking is simple and straight-forward: the species dies out completely. It is foolish to think that we as humans are somehow magically exempt from the natural world, the laws of nature, and the consequences of delusional thinking. If we continue down this path of denying fundamental biological realities and insisting that science is divine then sooner or later there will be no more humans. I have no idea what will replace us, but nature most certainly will replace us. Our natural world must have a sentient species because only a sentient species has the capacity to develop the means of escaping this planet and spreading throughout the greater cosmos. We are on a very strict deadline. We have, at absolute best, roughly one billion years to find a way off this planet or no life at all will survive.

The real danger of all this applauding a man who becomes a woman or vice versa, the real problem with the entire LGBT movement, is that such thinking denies the basic laws of biology: it takes both a man and a woman to create, nurture, and teach a child how to survive and prosper. Test tube children created from the embryos of two women or the zygotes of two men are a fascinating scientific development that could become a reality any day now. However, this kind of human reproduction is rife with problems. Even if every single problem can be overcome, it will never account for more than a small percentage of people. It cannot provide the foundation for colonizing the entire cosmos. Good old-fashioned sex between a fertile man and a fertile woman will always be the best source of children and there must be children or humanity has no future.

If Bruce Jenner, old and falling apart, has decided that in order to be happy he must become a woman, I have no problem with his decision. I hope that for whatever time she has left on this earth Caitlyn Jenner enjoys days and night filled with contentment. I hope she never regrets her decision. I have no problem with two men or two women who decide they are in love and desire nothing more than to spend their lives together. As long as these cases account for only a small minority of people I don't see any problem with it. What bothers me, what troubles my mind and causes me to worry about the future, is how society is responding. Calling these people, "heroic", "brave", or "courageous" is foolish and highly delusional. Assuming that the vast majority of homosexuals and transsexuals are both sane and stable is a frightening conclusion that denies their potential contribution to the future of our species. Do we really want to risk the survival of humanity by granting a high, preferential social status to individuals who deny reality, deny their own biology, and insist their genetic code is in conflict with their emotional life?

We as a society should not condemn these individuals. We each individually should treat them with the same respect and courtesy we would award anyone else. Every human deserves the right to express their worldview in a non-violent, non-destructive way. Each person has the right to defend their life against predatory violent people who seek to destroy them. Everyone has the right to pursue their own concept of happiness provided that pursuit does not damage anyone else. Treating other people with courtesy and respect should be common sense. We are all in this together and if our species is to survive and prosper we must cooperate with one another. However, the moment any group of people is granted preferential treatment it introduces the very real danger of this preferred class becoming destructive and tyrannical. LGBT parades are no worse than Independence Day parades. The moment leaders within the LGBT movement begin preaching that the LGBT lifestyle is more natural and more rewarding than classic heterosexual lifestyles then we have a huge problem. This is the situation we find ourselves in now.

The crass self-sexualization of Caitlyn Jenner, the Vanity Fair photo set dripping in overt sexuality, is not dangerous because it somehow compromises social mores. The danger here is that young men and women by the millions are now being taught that they don't need to learn to accept the reality of their own biology. They are encouraged to desire becoming the opposite gender of the one they were born into. Homosexual behavior cannot produce children. A man who becomes a woman cannot become a mother. A woman who becomes a man cannot become a father. They are infertile. They cannot produce children through sexual relations. At some point, the glorification of the LGBT lifestyle and the awarding of social status and preferential treatment to it will result in millions of potential parents losing their ability to produce children. Their genetic material will not be available to future generations. It does not matter that in a given generation that individual is living a non-reproductive lifestyle. What matters is that each life is short, temporary. Each individual life is, quite frankly, completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. You are not more important than I am and I am not more important than you are. The only thing that really matters is what contribution we make to the future of our species. For without that contribution, the species has no future.

You are not the center of creation. Without your contribution to the future there will be no future. The one real aspect of the Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn Jenner transformation that we should be applauding and rewarding is that Bruce Jenner took the time and made the sacrifices necessary to have children and raise them to adulthood before he became she. Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn, lived the life he was born into and fulfilled his duty to humanity and humanity's future. That is what we should be applauding. The courage he displayed living as a man until he had completed his obligations to his children and to humanity's future is the most important aspect of this story. The transformation itself did not take courage. After all, he was only becoming herself. All it required was money and time. It is noteworthy that Caitlyn is now Caitlyn, but it is not something worth holding up as an example of responsible living. Raising children who are mature, responsible, and capable of carrying the family into the future is both commendable and worthy of applause. This is the sacrifice the media should be celebrating.

WebMD: Gender Dysphoria
Wikipedia: Gender Reassignment Surgery
Simply Psychology: Biological Theories of Gender
Russell Sage Foundation: The Future of the Family