Sunday, September 13, 2020

The War on America is Getting Black and Blue

As of July 2020 there has been a 28% jump in felonious officer deaths and violent crime in America’s 50 largest cities is up 24% as of July. Anti-police rhetoric espoused by groups affirming the messages of the BLM movement and politicians attempting to leverage the movement for their gain, are helping to fan the flames of violence across the US. If we cannot come together to reaffirm the rule of law the death and destruction will only increase.

Police Under Siege:

The cost of anti-police sentiment expressed in heated political rhetoric, especially from local and national leadership and media, is manifesting its self in attacks on police throughout the nation, leaving cops around the country feeling under siege.

The data is clear, periods of civil unrest coincided with an increase in police killings and anti-police sentiment helps embolden offenders. BLM’s mission statement charges police with being the agents of “violence inflicted on Black communities by the state.” The rhetoric of BLM calls for defunding the police in retaliation for “state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism” that they say is institutional throughout the nation.

It is not it coincidental that the spike in police slayings has occurred during this tumultuous time in which hostilities have been aimed at law enforcement personnel and BLM is actively scapegoating police for what they see as “the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on [blacks] by the state.” Any time the anti-police rhetoric heats up, it sends a message that it’s open season on law enforcement.

 The data that coordinates active civil unrest in leftist movements against law enforcement and increases in violence against police are undeniable. Slayings of police officers surged 61% from 41 in 2015 to 66 in 2016, including 17 who were ambushed, according to the FBI data. Two years earlier in 2014, 51 police officers were slain in the line of duty up from 27 in 2013, an 89% jump. Seven of the officers were ambushed. And in 2011, the year where Occupy Wall Street protesters clashed with police, law enforcement officers killed increased 28% to 72, including 15 who were ambushed.

BLM declared war on the American system and western civilization at large as systematically racist and the front line attack in their war is to undermine the rule of law and attack the police who are the first line of defense against violent crime. The results are proving particularly disastrous for blank Americans. As police and their families grapple with the terrible attacks on their service from both criminals and political leaders, attacks on police and law and order will have the greatest negative impact on the communities most at risk of violent crime and many black Americans will be caught in the upheaval with deadly consequences.

The Collateral Damage:

The open season on police coincides with an alarming increase in violent crime in which most of the victims are black and most of the perpetrators are criminals taking advantage of the attacks on police and civil unrest which is being fueled by the rhetoric of the BLM movement.

According to the Wall Street Journal “homicides, shootings, and gun violence in the 50 largest cities rose in 2020, with murders, in particular increasing by 24% so far this year, to 3,612. Thirty-six of the 50 cities have experienced at least a 10% rise in homicides.”

The Washington Examiner reported, “Chicago, the city with the most number of homicides, is averaging one about every eight nights. The total number of murders in the city in July climbed 139% compared to the same month in 2019. There were 105 homicides in July compared to 44 in the previous year, and the city is up 51% from the same point last year.” Fox News reported that “Chicago had 31 murders from July 6 to July 12 – a 417 percent increase from the 6 murders recorded during the same time last year. There have been 385 murders this year to date, a 48 percent increase year-over-year. July 4th weekend was particularly grim. One of Chicago’s bloodiest holiday weekends in memory ended with 17 people fatally shot, including a 7-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, and 70 more wounded.”

The Atlanta police department released numbers for July 2020 that showed a 240% jump in murders from that same period in 2019. Murders in Houston have increased by 37 percent, from 140 in 2019 to 178 this year, according to a July 8 report. The Los Angeles Police Department’s statistics show there have been 151 murders so far this year, an increase of 12.7 percent, and this amid some of the strictest COVID shutdown orders in the country.

The number of shootings skyrocketed in New York City with a 277 percent increase and Police said 97 percent of shooting victims were people of color. Philadelphia Police Department reported 224 murders so far this year, a 25 percent increase compared to the 178 reported at the same time in 2019.

BLM states on their website that “In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position.” With the heated rhetoric of BLM being adopted by the Democrat party and the main stream media, it’s time for the BLM and their allies in the Democrat party and main stream media to qualify their position. If affirmation to the obviously true sentiment that black lives matter denotes complicity with the movement that has inspired anti-police violence and led to less protection for black Americans as inner city violence skyrockets, then the entire sentiment is lost in the violent realities playing out in American cities in the name of social justice.

A Common Bond:

The data is clear that attacks against law enforcement officers correlate with times when rhetoric is high and that attacks against law enforcement result in a surge in violent crime of which the greatest percent of victims are black. This data suggests a great fallacy in the BLM proposition that the greatest threat to black lives is “state-sanctioned” violence.

The BLM message is one in which the police have been painted as the bad guys, they are the face of the so called “racist system” and therefore people who attack police and subvert law and order are vindicated. This rhetoric prompted by the BLM movement and embraced by the Democrat party and main stream media has played a significant role in the escalating violence against police and against inner city communities. If the rhetoric and trends follow the same patterns then the loss of lives, both black and blue, will continue to go up!

The one inescapable conclusion we can settle on is that the well being of both police and the communities they serve are inextricably connected. When police are under attack so are the citizens they serve. When law and order breaks down the only winners are the criminals and the greatest victims are the inner city poor.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Conspiring Men: The Times in Which We Live

This blog post is a political commentary on the times in which we live from the perspective of a Latter-day Saint. Clearly there is a monumental political struggle raging in our nation and conditions that threaten the stability of the world. There are an abundance of explanations for what brought us to this precipice and there are many theories of wide spread conspiracy. Theories of conspiracy abound on the left and right of the political spectrum, each side charging the other with evil intent to overthrow our society. It becomes difficult to discern truth and make correct judgments about the explosive charges being leveled back and forth.

For the left the conspiracy is that President Trump is working with the Russians to subvert democracy in America. On the right, President Trump is secretly waging a righteous war against a secret and subversive deep state seeking to tear down the American Constitutional system and breaking up a hidden cabal of Satanic worshipers within the upper levels of our government. Depending on which news you consume and what political persuasion you are loyal too will determine which of these conspiracy theories you entertain as plausible. Or maybe, you are one of those who just thinks all conspiracy theories have no basis in reality and dismiss it wholesale.

I am often asked by my friends what I think about this conspiracy theory or that. I am more comfortable answering the question, do I believe there are conspiracies that seek the destruction of American Liberty and Constitutional government? To this my answer is without hesitation, yes! It is a simple question to answer because I believe that the agency of man is of paramount importance to God and his plan for his children, and I believe the unique form of free government established in this land was inspired by God for the purpose of expanding that liberty necessary for the free worship of God in preparation for the fullness of times and the second coming of Christ. As a natural extension of this belief, I believe the devil is at work in the hearts of men and that there are conspiring men and women who seek to overthrow freedom and bring this world into either destructive chaos or total tyranny, and so far as they destroy liberty and prop up their own power they could care less which.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I believe in a Book of Scripture that is uniquely American and as an ancient account of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, the Book of Mormon contains parallels and prophesies of a sacred American Covenant that is a bridge between the ancient times and the last days. The prophets of Book of Mormon record events that prophets tell us are a type and shadow of our times, a warning to our day. Whether or not you believe the Book of Mormon is scripture, listen to these descriptions and ask yourself if they are not a near perfect description of the times in which we live:

“For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked [proud] people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction... the people began to grow exceedingly wicked... For behold, the Lord had blessed them so long with the riches of the world that they... began to set their hearts upon their riches."

Like our day, these ancient Americans had established a government of freedom, a government by the people, of the people, and for the people; and like our times, this government was in serious jeopardy when the more part of the people became wicked and elected corrupt leaders who corrupted their laws and institutions. The people enjoyed great prosperity and peace and became exceedingly proud as a result. This pride caused them to depart from the ways of the Lord. The people were so wicked and proud that they could not be governed by law or justice which is a disturbing symptom of rampant wickedness in our times as well, as we have daily proof in major cities throughout the US daily.

 "Yea, they began to seek to get gain... they began to commit secret murders, and to rob and to plunder, that they might get gain. Those murderers and plunderers were a band [organized crime] ... Satan did stir up the hearts of the more part of the [people], insomuch that they did unite with those bands... and did enter into their covenants and their oaths... that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured... by those who did belong to his band... And thus they might murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country and also the laws of their God. And whosoever of those who belonged to their band should reveal unto the world of their wickedness and their abominations, should be tried, not according to the laws of their country, but according to the laws of their wickedness... 
“Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants... were put into their hearts by — [Satan] — that same being... who spread the works of darkness and abominations over all the face of the land... And behold, it is he who is the author of all sin. And behold, he doth carry on his works of darkness and secret murder, and doth hand down their plots, and their oaths, and their covenants, and their plans of awful wickedness, from generation to generation according as he can get hold upon the hearts of the children of men.

This organized crime among the ancient people of America is not new to the world. The Book of Mormon calls it "secret combinations" and tells us that it was not new to America. This work of darkness increases in the land to the degree with which the people are wicked. The greater hold Satan has upon the hearts of men, the more expansive are the secret bands of organized crime and wickedness in high places. This truth can be verified in millennia of human history, but it is a truth that is denied today by the secular humanist dogmas of moral relativism; an ideology that holds no belief in evil as the opposite of absolute principles of righteousness. When you make it a central creed that there is no right or wrong, no evil or good, and that the only thing of consequence is your own "truth," your own version of happiness, then the powers of the darkness gain great power over the hearts of men and the decent of society is swift.

“And now behold, he had got great hold upon the hearts of the [people]; yea, insomuch that they had become exceedingly wicked; yea, the more part of them had turned out of the way of righteousness, and did trample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver. And it came to pass that all these iniquities did come unto them in the space of not many years. 
“And they did grow in their iniquities... to the great sorrow and lamentation of the righteous... [and they] did begin to dwindle in unbelief, and grow in wickedness and abominations... thus we see that the Spirit of the Lord began to withdraw from the [them], because of the wickedness and the hardness of their hearts.”

When you have striped from society the meaning of life that rests in righteousness, the only thing left is the selfish acquisition of things. The idols of their worship became their possessions, their wealth. They turned to their own way, their own truth, and mocked God. We see the same thing happening in our times. In our day we call this Materialism, and it has infected the whole world. Materialism is not new, nor is it a creation of American capitalism as many charge, but rather, it is the natural outgrowth of that based human nature that without check will act in envy and greed. It is in this state that organized crime and corruption gains it's foothold in a society.

“[The more part of the people] did build up [that secret band] and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land... and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret... combinations.” 
“And thus they [the secret band] did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God. And thus we see that they were in an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting destruction.”

~ Helaman Chapters 5&6, Book of Mormon 


What are the secret combinations, organized criminal bands, that have infected our government today?

In 1997, Elder Russell M. Ballard talked about our modern day “Gadianton robbers,” those secret bands subverting law and order, in this way:

“Every day our neighborhoods and communities are in desperate need of our support and our commitment to safety and law and order. Crime, in all its pervasive manifestations, is a serious worldwide evil and a moral problem about which Church leaders have great concern. The social, economic, and moral costs of crime are incalculable. It is no respecter of race, religion, nationality, age, culture, or socioeconomic status. 
“If we are not careful, today’s secret combinations can obtain power and influence just as quickly and just as completely as they did in Book of Mormon times. Do you remember the pattern? The secret combinations began among the “more wicked part” of society, but eventually “seduced the more part of the righteous” until the whole society was polluted.”

Elder Ballard warned that secret combination would obtain that same level of prevalence within our American system as it had among the ancient Americans if we were not vigilant in the defense of righteousness and that law and order that is supportive of it. Each of us should examine thoroughly the state of our own minds upon this subject and seek to know if we are among those "more righteous" parts of our society who are at this time being seduced by these secret combinations. To do so we must also ponder on that which is so disturbing to us, we must consider the possibility that there are secret combinations, that they have infiltrated our government and institutions, and that these powers in high places are a grave threat to the survival of our liberty. From there we may begin to identify what those threats are.

Organized crime has always existed to get gain and it's constant presence sometimes prompts us to discount it's dangers, but we shouldn't ignore the concerns Elder Ballard spoke of in 1997. We ought to ask ourselves why he would give such pronounced warnings about this rising threat? It may help give context if we review the history of the time and the changes taking place in the world after the end of the Cold War. Let's examine how these secret combinations among the more wicked elements of our world were aided in their expansion as the end of bipolar rivalry triggered the opening of borders and blurred the lines between the free world and the communist world.

“No one has benefited more from the political changes of the 1990's than international organized crime. Within the space of just three or four years, the world's great crime syndicates have joined in a planet-wide criminal consortium unlike any in history. A Pax Mafioso has emerged--an agreement to avoid conflict, devise common strategy, and exploit the planet peaceably together--linking the American and Sicilian Mafias, Russian organized crime, the Chinese Triads, the Japanese Yakuza, and Colombia's cocaine cartels. It threatens the liberty, security, and political integrity of the U.S., Europe, and all free societies." (Claire Sterling, Thieves World: The Threat of the New Global Network of Organized Crime, 1994) 
“International organized crime, an imagery menace for many in 1990, was a world wide emergency by 1993. The big syndicates of East and West were pooling services and personnel, rapidly colonizing Western Europe and the United States, running the drug traffic up to half a trillion dollars a year, laundering and reinvesting an estimated quarter of a trillion dollars a year in legitimate enterprise." (Thieves World, p. 14)

In addition to drug trafficking, organized crime has infected banking and capital markets and reached into our economic systems. Financial crime is rampant and threatens the safety and soundness of financial systems world-wide. In some cases, these crimes threaten the security and safety of the nation. These crimes range from fairly simple operations carried out by individuals or small groups to highly sophisticated rings seeking funding for criminal enterprises or terrorism.

Another area of organized crime that has seen vast expansions since the 1990's is in the trafficking of human beings, slavery, a most evil crime enterprise that results in death and misery across the world and has proliferated into western society, especially among the rich, politically powerful, and well connected. During the Cold War, human trafficking was not as prominent with the borders between the two ideological camps tightly closed, human trafficking was more limited in it's scope, especially in the western world. 

In economic terms, the expansion of organized crime is a by-product of socialized globalization, a toxic mix of lawlessness and state power. Since 1990 lawlessness is the new Russia. Richard F. Staar, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, observed that business life in Russia functions “at a level similar to that of Al Capone's Chicago. There is no effective system of laws to ensure the fair and orderly operation of business, banking, finance, insurance, stock trading, and so forth, and existing laws are neither consistently nor impartially enforced. Lawlessness and excess are more often rewarded than punished, and people have little protection against fraud by the new criminal class. The fall of the USSR was hardly the victory over the evil empire that many in the west believed it to be.”

Russia specialist Richard F. Staar, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, reports in The Washington Times (Nov. 27, 1996):

"In his book, Comrade Criminal, Stephen Handelman discussed connections between the already then well-established mafia underworld and corrupt bureaucrats, a relationship that apparently now has reached into the Kremlin itself. According to former Russian Social Security Minister Ella A. Pamfilova, a cynical redistribution of property currently is taking place. In her words, "The nature of the ruling class has not changed ... It is the same old corrupt, elitist, nomenklatura-bureaucratic swamp." 
"What is changing involves the national economy, half of which already has fallen under mob control, according to Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin. Former Director of the CIA, Robert M. Gates estimated earlier this year that two-thirds of all commercial institutions, some 400 banks (those in Moscow already control 80 percent of the country's finances), several dozen stock exchanges, and 150 large government enterprises are controlled by the mob. A recent Russian periodical revealed that about 40 percent of the Gross Domestic Product is in the hands of organized crime, mow merged with corrupt official and businessmen.

After the fall of the USSR the west unwisely put down its guard against the threats of global communism and decided that the best way to spread freedom was to open the flood gates of trade to the communist world. The new Russia morphed into a nation of organized crime controlled by the former KGB, and with the broken chains of western anti-communism, the Clinton administration and his globalist allies in the Republican Party, set China free to begin corrupt widespread trade with the west. The benefits of this arrangement were lauded in the US as the way to beat communism with free market trade, but the market China sought was anything but free, and the results have weakened the American system while enriching communism and organized crime globally.

Minxin Pei wrote in his book, "China's Crony Capitalism,” “that beginning in the 1990s, changes in the control and ownership rights of state-owned assets allowed well-connected government officials and businessmen to amass huge fortunes through the systematic looting of state-owned property—in particular land, natural resources, and assets in state-run enterprises.” Leveraging components of capitalism to capitalize on western consumerism, China built a quasi communist capitalism, that Minxin Pei referred to as “China’s Crony Capitalism.” Though Crony capitalism wasn’t a creation of China, it was perfected there. The use of centralized power to subvert free markets for the gain of some over others, began in the west as a byproduct of the mingling of socialist governments and the capitalist economic model. We saw it in Hitler's Germany and the expansion of it among European social democracies after World War II. In America, the progressive era laid the foundation for weakening American constitutional government and US law began mingling socialist control in the capitalist market. The expansion of progressive socialism in the US were catalyst forward by FDR’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society politics. Both initiated by progressive social democrats, the transformations were heralded as compassionate democracy but have in practice corrupted our laws and undermined the concrete mechanism of our Constitution that were designed to protect the people from the tyranny of crony government. We needn’t look any further than China to see how this corrupt alliance is an enemy to liberty.

“Mustering compelling evidence from over two hundred Chinese corruption cases involving government and law enforcement officials, private businessmen, and organized crime members, Minxin Pei shows how collusion among Chinese elites has spawned an illicit market for power inside the party-state, in which bribes and official appointments are surreptitiously but routinely traded. This system of crony capitalism has created a legacy of criminality and entrenched privilege that will make any movement toward democracy difficult and disorderly.” (“China’s Crony Capitalism”)

China seized upon the changing world order by mixing into the soup Chinese style control and corruption and produced a particularly toxic form of crony capitalism. The west enabled China to exploit capitalism because it enriched everyone. — especially the powerful and well connected. — The result was organized crime on a global governmental level. Thus, the defeat of communism was abandoned and instead America began doing business with the evil empire.

In the Book of Mormon these bands of organized criminals lived on the peripheral edge so long as the majority of the people upheld the high ideals and laws of their land and their religion, but when they departed from the true path, the laws of their land became corrupted and the criminals became their government. Today organized crime isn’t just among the gangs in the street, today the toxic mix of state power and crony capitalism has made government the organized criminals. The government has become the legalized form of the bands of robbers spoken of in the Book of Mormon. Not only is this not shocking, no matter how disturbing, it’s to be expected. It’s the prophesied path and the purpose for which the Book of Mormon prophets gave their warnings.

“And thus they [the secret band] did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God. And thus we see that they were in an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting destruction.”

Even some members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who study regularly the passages of the Book of Mormon that warn of these corrupt bands of secret “combinations,” and their threats to the liberty of the land and the religion of our God, misunderstand the threats we face. As did many of the righteous in ancient America who were seduced by the secret combinations and thus gave their support to these secret band until they gained the sole management of the government. We would be wise to examine what characteristics of these secret combinations are used in order to persuade good people to support them.

One such characteristic is how these bands are able to successfully characterize that which is good to be evil and make that which is evil appear good. The Book of Mormon identifies that a key characteristic of these secret combinations are that they “turn their backs upon the poor,” and as such some have been persuaded that Free Market Capitalism is the great evil that threatens us. After all, progressive movements in the west have successfully persuaded the majority of the world to view those who defend the free market and oppose expansive socialist government programs as enemies of the poor. Proponents of Socialism and Communism systems, purport themselves to be compassionate, fair, and attendant to the uplift of the poor. Unfortunately, this is a gross mis-characterization of reality and one of the clearest examples of calling evil good in our modern times.

The truth is, never has communism lifted the poor or upheld the innate human dignity and equality of man under God, and it has never been so great an evil as it is now that it has been enabled through the leveraging of crony capitalism to spread it's tentacles across the globe. Ironically, it was Karl Marx who coined the term “capitalism” as an indictment of the unique free market economic system that was a natural outgrowth of the transformative American liberty he so despised. In true communist form, Marx accused the American free market economy of the evils natural to communism. He charged Capitalism with the great sins of greed and materialism and argued that Capitalism would corrupt the world.

Many Americans today believe Marx got it right when they look at the so-called “capitalist world,” which is now widely infected with toxic socialist and communist forms of crony capitalism. Of course what they see is very concerning, it is essentially organized crime in the government systems across the world. It is rampant greed, death, and exploitation. Every iteration of pure socialism or communism has resulted the devaluation of human life, the destruction of faith and family structures, and ultimately the exploitation of the poor by the powerful; and it will be no different with every form of crony capitalism throughout the world today, be it the quasi communist capitalism of China or the western secular progressive form of crony capitalism within social democracies, for both corrupt the law and result in the same destructive ends.

What this great evil is not, is the child of the American system. No! Crony Capitalism is the exploited child of progressive socialism and communism. It’s the result of leveraging the power of capital through the central planning and controls of corrupt governments; and it’s a very serious departure from both free market economies and American Republican government. In a prophetic way, Thomas Jefferson described the criminal band that could subvert the reigns of government in this way: "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."

The American system was created as a great bulwark of protection to the liberties of the people against criminals outside and inside the government. Free markets are not exploitative of the poor, they aren't by themselves capable of malice toward anyone. Free markets are blind and operate only as a mutually beneficial gain for the individual and by extension society. However, Crony Capitalism is robbery by legal means and exploits the middle class and the poor while enriching the powerful. Even social democracies, socially progressive western states, have been far more successful at improving the quality of life for the poor, the more they moved away from socialist governance and closer to the true forms of free market Capitalism.

The big difference between Crony Capitalism and Free Market Capitalism is that the first is all about money and power and the second is all about liberty and the rule of law. The first is legalized theft, oppression, and death and the second is an essential support for the liberty of mankind.

For this reason we must be eternally vigilant and ever working to teach true principles of freedom, stand up to authoritarian, totalitarian, and anarchy world views and the tactics (social and political) that lead to them. We can’t bring down these organizations and ideologies without God’s help, we aren’t powerful enough, — and tyranny is always better organized than freedom, that truth can be very scary at times — but God IS powerful, more powerful then ALL and he is organized. He organizes us one heart at a time, as each faithful freedom loving person goes about the work of their daily life and is obedient to God, as we do each day, each moment, what His Spirit asks us to do he will organize his forces of righteousness against that great and abominable tyranny and it will fall. Their plans will be frustrated, but God’s plans cannot be frustrated.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Means Will Defeat the Ends

Here's my take on Trump's Constitutionally questionable executive order to legislate COVID relief package: 

1) Executive orders are meant to be used to effectuate legislation and not to legislate. It's not good when any POTUS exceeds executive boundaries, which he is doing with this executive action. 

2) It is "politically smart" to act in the face of legislative inaction, and in this case Trump is outmaneuvering the left who are leveraging a national economic crisis for political gain. It's politically smart but that doesn't make it right.

3) Cutting the payroll tax is NOT a war on Social Security. THERE IS NO SOCIAL SECURITY LOCK BOX. The government NEVER lets social security payments to go unpaid. Trump is not robbing social security and the Democrats are engaging in misinformation to manipulate the public when they say he is. Case in point, Obama passed cuts the payroll tax while President but he wasn't accused of stealing from social security. Everyone knows the payroll taxes are just taxes. 

4) The Democrats are once again acting hypocritically. President Obama signed several (understatement) Constitutionally questionable executive orders -- at the very least not in keeping with the purpose of executive orders in similar manner as Trump is doing now -- and then Democrats have nothing but praise for Obama. Because of the way that the Obama Presidency expanded the use of executive power through executive order, the Democrats have no card to play against Trump's use of that very same tactic. They enabled the abuse of power by showing no restraint when they were in office and giving up the high ground; if they ever had it to begin with.

5) The Republican defense of Trump's executive order is hypocrisy. The Republicans and Conservatives spent eight years in opposition to Obama's self-proclaimed executive rule by "pen and phone." The Republican party groaned when the Obama Administration put the balance of powers on life support to the universal applause of every elected official on the left side of the isle. Republican senators spoke out in grand Constitutional principle against such use of executive power and warned that America would never be the same. They were right, and now they will defend Trump for taking full advantage of the death of divided powers.

In short, it may be a shrewd political move on Trump's part, he may be winning the political chess game, but it isn't a good thing for the American system... BUT, who really cares about that anymore? It would seem nobody does, not on the left or the right. The only reason anyone on the left is mad is because they've been outplayed with their own "house rules" and the right has decided to play the game with Democrat house rules rather than stick to the principles of the Constitution. The right says they want to save the Constitution but apparently the only way to do that is win at all cost, even at the cost of ignoring the Constitution. It's the ends justify the means concept. 

We have an impasse, the left and the right have very different ends. The left wants to tear down the American system and replace it with a socialist or communist state. The right has long fought for the preservation of our Constitutional Federalist Republic and free market economy. Gradually the right has lost sight of the fact that the end they seek requires very different means then the ends the left desires. For leftist, weakening the Constitution to win political power enables their objective, but sadly when the right decides that we have to play the game the leftist way, we will discover that the means will certainly defeat the ends of our cause.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Let's Keep Business on Ice & Leave the Heat of Politics in the Public Square

The last few days I’ve read several articles about national sports teams kneeling or standing for the National Anthem. As sport teams try to get started back to playing for our entertainment they have to content with the highly charged culture wars raging in the country. This isn’t new but it continues to heat up. Sport leagues are under pressure on one side to make political statements about current heightened tensions over race in America. On the other hand they are threatened with boycott by those who don’t want to see the American flag or National Anthem disrespected. Thus, companies that run these sport teams are forced to gauge the political winds and make decisions about political signaling that will be most profitable to them.

I never dreamed that standing for the national anthem was making any political statement other than showing loyalty and reverence for the high American ideals for which the anthem and flag stand for. Even if those ideals have not always been lived up to, kneeling during that show of patriotism seems less like a political statement and more like spurning the privileges and blessings we enjoy today because of being an American. Yet, now it seems that kneeling and standing have become political statements on the front lines of a highly charged culture war. 

Everything in our nation is becoming politicized. We’ve allowed the classroom and university the university become politicized with little push back. Academia and even science is becoming politicized. We have an overly politicized media and now we see signs that even the internet and big tech are going to be politicized. There are no spaces that aren’t politicized by our degrading culture.

I wish consumers would leave their politics out of their business interactions and I wish business weren’t having to check the political winds and signal the correct political message in order to survive, but it’s not the fault of business that we've gotten to this point. Business is being leveraged for political power and it’s not surprising that business are now skiddish about any possible signal they might send that could tank their business. 

It’s been primarily those forces on the left that have used these tactics to leverage political control. When a CEO or high profile employee of a corporation says the “wrong” thing, the person is publicly shamed and the pressure is on to have that person fired. This is how we got “cancel culture.” This is the cultural trend where we go after corporations and institutions when their leaders or employees exercise their freedom and take a political stand we don’t like and we try to bend them to our will.

I think kneeling for the national Anthem is disrespectful and distasteful, but I think it’s an individual choice and an expression that is an extension of free speech. I think the corporation has a clear purview to uphold generations of sporting tradition and play the national anthem under the stars and strips. I think we should tolerate those individual athletes who kneel, sit, or stand — we tolerate it in the name of protecting a culture of right in which we send the message that though I might not agree with you, I believe in defending your individual rights to hold you opinions and express them. — Then the tolerance goes the other way. Those athletes who kneel, and the Americans who feel solidarity with their political opinions, should be able to tolerate the league standard for upholding the pregame tradition and not try to leverage their activism to get the tradition thrown out. I’m this way both sides give a measure of tolerance for the other and send a unified message that what we all agree on is that a culture of rights is paramount to progress for all.

Only when Americans across the political spectrum begin to behave this way, only when we all believe in those rights as sacred and fight to defend everyone’s right regardless of their politics, will freedom for all be secure.

What I want, I want people to stop punishing companies because of the politics of the CEO’s, or high profile employees. I want people to go eat at Chick-Fil-A if they like their food and stop punishing them for being conservative. I want people to go to an NFL game if they like football and stop pressuring the NFL to censure players for either standing or kneeling. I want to see activist on the left stop trying to push their opinions so aggressively on the rest of Americans who are proud of their country.

One thing is certain, corporations have to stop responding to the political mob and intimidation of the social media echo chamber. The “cancel culture” prompts business to behave politically because their natural default is to make money and when you have a culture that will punish companies because of politics then you cause them to get political. Business taking political stands and virtue signal to whatever the cultural wind is destructive of the American system these same businesses rely on for their prosperity. We the people are the only power that can set this destructive trend right.

The bottom line is that the problems we are seeing start and end with the culture. America is loosing her culture of rights and because of that everyone’s rights are in jeopardy.

In this environment, an unquenchable conflict is beginning —  the reality is, that in a world without equality of rights, in a world where people don’t uphold the rights of others by virtue of their own commitment to rights — it becomes a world about domination and there is no way to peacefully coexist. Factions break off and viciously fight to control the country and the culture so their ideas and way of life will survive. If we can have no confidence that our rights will be secure regardless of what cultural winds are blowing then the result is war not peace.

The American way is to live and let live, to keep business cold and impersonal so it can do its job and we can all benefit from the products and entertainments it provides. Leave The heat of politics to the public square where debate is free and open, and leave the culture to the home, the church, and the conscience; and finally unite around a shared history and culture of rights that will support the civil society and secure our liberties for years to come.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Cancel Culture: As the Culture Goes Eventually the Law Will Follow

An open letter in Harper's Magazine signed by over 150 liberal academics, journalists, writers, leaders and intellectuals warns their allies on the left of the chilling effect that cancel culture is having on the free and independent press, the robust exchange of ideas in the public square, and the real and present danger it poses to our culture of rights. The majority of what was written could provide an important platform of agreement between the left and right.

Conservatives completely agree that an intolerant stifling atmosphere antithetical to the free exchange of information and ideas is brought on by extreme tactics of public shaming, ostracism, and calls for swift and severe retribution. This "cancel culture" will, and already has, resulted in a steady narrowing of what can be said and what will be said. I hope that the letter will strike a cord in the liberal media that has been freezing out a robust debate, diversity of viewpoints, and the free exchange of information for years but I am doubtful that the words of reason will reach the cancel culture mobs that graduated in the disintegrationalist ideologies of leftist campuses for generations.

Though there is much agreement between ideas in this letter and ideas regularly expressed on the right, the letter starts out with the oddly disparate contention that the forces of illiberalism are allied with Donald Trump and gaining strength on the right, something they say the left has "come to expect" from the radical right, the letter seems shocked to discover a sudden rise of intolerance on the left. The authors seem to believe that the rising dogma of ideological coercion to leftist orthodoxy is a novel byproduct of recent protests for racial and social justice.

As a conservative my entire adult life I can attest to the fact that the intolerance from leftist is not a new cultural phenomenon, however, I think that what is new about what we are seeing is the woke mob is striking mercilessly at their own and liberal institutions in academia and the press. For the left who created the intemperate and illiberal leftist mob over decades of shifting the culture and political power through tactics of freezing out a diversity of thought in academia and the media, it's a pretty extraordinary to throw the blame on Donald Trump and "right-wing demagogues" they say are "exploiting the ideological conformity of the leftist orthodoxy."

Donald Trump's election was in large part a backlash on the right from years of being labeled as bigoted haters by liberal media and politicians, diversity of thought being squashed in American academia, and a cancel culture growing up from the illiberal left. People on the right see the Trump phenomenon like the kid who is continually bullied, who keeps taking the hits day in and day out, until one day the kid simply snaps and starts punching back. Trump was the counter-punch protest of the Republican electorate. Yet, the liberal signers of the Harper's letter seem to think that resistance to Trump on the left has created a new brand of leftist coercion and intolerance that had no place on the left before the Trump phenomenon. Beyond the obvious obfuscation of responsibility for illiberal followers of liberalism, the letter was a true reflection of the threats our culture faces and much of the letter are things being widely discussed in Conservative circles.

Hits on the right aside, those of us on the right would absolutely agree that it is essential that we "uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters." Those on the right support a strong culture of rights as the foundation of any free society and the reason the right has been speaking out against cancel culture is because it seriously undermines our Constitutional republic. Cultural institutions, businesses, leadership, and the general populous throughout our society and across the political spectrum are threatened by "intensified attitudes that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity." The Harper's letter is a glimmer of hope that there may be some basic agreement on the left and right that could bring some stabilization to our political discourse in time to provide much needed support to the peaceful transfer of power in the coming election. The combined statement warns:

"Censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our [leftist] culture... an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty... it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought... the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal."

"The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted... This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. "

My hope at reading the letter may have been tamped down some by the social media debate it prompted on a friends Facebook profile. The framing of the debate by a liberal friend of a friend revealed a seeming inability to understand the clear dangers of cancel culture on free speech and our American culture of natural rights that is essential to the support of our 1st Amendment rights. He starts out by asking, "What is new about "canceling" that is bad or illegitimate?" He called the strong stand taken in the open letter "weird centrist public intellectual backlash against what they have termed "cancel culture," "illiberalism," "censorship" etc." 

Despite his dismissiveness of the point of view he described as "weird centrist backlash" and the supposition of his question there is no real problem with cancel culture, he was motivated to consider the arguments in the open letter seriously because he said he "holds respect for several of the signatories." While my friend's friend said that he isn't an apologist for cancel culture, he believes there are definitely people like JK Rowling that deserve to be "canceled" or deplatformed to the degree that leftist twitter can do so. His attitudes demonstrate perfectly the concerns the signers of the letter have about the illiberal attitudes of people on the left.

The letter is clearly written and the conditions they describe are easy to identify within the culture yet this young liberal can't understand what the Harper's letter is actually complaining about. He doesn't perceive a legitimate speech argument in the Harper letter and says that there is "clearly not a 1st Amendment concern" in cancel culture because it's not specifically a "state action." He even asked, "What is new about "cancel culture?" The only change he can identify to our "speech culture" is that the "left is more organized" and has more power because of "twitter than they have had in the past, and thus their (the left) free speech is having more of an impact in the national conversation." Speaking of publishers specifically, he doesn't acknowledge any disparate impact of cancel culture on publishers in the press. To criticize the pressures put upon publishers by the "woke" is to presuppose that the press has no moral obligations to respond to the moral conscious of the culture.

From what I can gather from the general discussion of the topics covered in the Harper's letter, the attitudes of my friend's friend is not an unusual point of view on the left, especially among the young. It doesn't surprise me that there are so many Americans today who don't understand the foundations of our free republic and the reality that the culture shapes the government. The preservation of freedom of speech, and free society, requires not only a “system” of rights — rooted in law — but also a culture of rights. The destruction of a culture of rights will proceed the destruction of a system of rights. It isn’t unconstitutional for a business to discriminate against a person’s natural rights but it is certainly unwise in a society for the culture to approve of such actions and even more dangerous to encourage it. This is not a statement about government force, it's a statement about culture, which is the same statement the Harper's letter was primarily addressing. If America still had a strong culture of rights, public opinion would censure companies or institutions who are intolerant of speech rather than press them to discriminate against it.

Culture is dependent on the individual choices of free people acting based on commonly held beliefs. We have coexisted as peacefully as possible on a belief that free speech in the public square would be mutually protected by the culture, by individuals choosing tolerance, not by force but by goodwill. The liberal idea of a culture of free speech is the popular idea that even speech we find personally offensive must be tolerated for the sake of upholding the free speech and natural rights of all. Our culture of rights, our culture of free speech, has weakened. Perhaps to the extent that instead of general tolerance and mutual defense of a person's right to express their ideas in the public square, we have public pressure being used to send the message that speech will not be socially tolerated and people allowed to live free of cultural censure and collective social punishment. The result is less speech, less use of the rights of free speech by individuals, and as the culture goes eventually the law will follow.

Friday, July 17, 2020

10 Reasons America is In REAL TROUBLE

*written in 2013

1) Moral Decay: Christianity in this country is slowly retreating from Biblical principles, the Public Square, and American life in general. Our movies, music, and TV shows are provided by people who are almost universally hostile to Christianity and traditional American values.

2) Disintegration of the family: Starting in the sixties there was an explosion of children born out-of-wedlock and kids who don't grow up in two parent families fare more poorly on just about every scale imaginable. Thus we see the disintegration of the American family with undeniable evidence of soaring divorce rates, more out-of-wedlock birth, and all the social decay this causes.

3) End of Constitutional Government: Our entire society is based on a Constitution that is being systematically ignored, distorted, and treated as optional. Our federal government has grown so far beyond the boundaries that were originally intended for it by the Founding Fathers that it intrudes and interferes into almost every facet of American life.

4) An Entitlement Society: With the Democratic Party's entire electoral strategy based around giving people money and goods that they didn't earn, leeching off more productive people has become much more acceptable. To many people, taking welfare, food stamps, free lunches and anything else they can get the government to force someone else to pay for isn't shameful.

5) Dumbing Down of American Education in a Sea of Moral Relativism and Cultural Equality: Schools have moved away from teaching reading, writing, history, morality, and patriotism for the benefit of the students to pushing liberal indoctrination for the benefit of the teachers’ unions and salaries of professors.

6) No Independent Press: The mainstream media has become so partisan for the Democratic Party that it's not significantly different from a state-run media. Though we have some media outlets that counter the main-stream media bias the fact remains that every major network news organization, save one, runs a significant liberal bias. This is compounded by the same overwhelming bias in print media.

7) Erosion of Private Property Rights and the Redistribution of Wealth: Personal property rights were held sacred by our founding fathers to ensure that unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness would propagate endlessly. Personal liberty which is the antipathy of socialism and communism is completely dismantled in the communist manifesto by means of a progressive income tax and the redistribution of wealth.

8) Unraveling of the Civil Society: Today, two Americans may live in the same small community without ever talking. Instead of relying on each other and the private charity of the community and church we lived lonely isolated lives and look to the government for a safety net. Americans have lost confidence in our institutions. Most Americans don't trust our politicians, our criminal justice system, big business, our schools, our media or our churches.

9) Crony Capitalism: The greatest economic principles ever established for the sustainment of personal liberty and prosperity have been thoroughly polluted. The capitalism our founders believed would sustain a free nation has morphed into what some now call "Crony Capitalism". Elected officials have stopped breaking up monopolies, enforcing fair and even regulatory policy for all business, and are instead making special deals with mega-corporations for their mutual gain. These outsized corporations exert unhealthy levels of influence on our political process, which had lead to trillions of tax dollars being lavished on corporate-welfare, tax loopholes, and is destroying the free market.

10) Divided We Fall: The differences between the Republican and Democratic Party have become so great that there is very little common ground anymore. The core ideology of our two political parties are diametrically opposed to one another and cannot coexist

If The Supreme Court Redefines Marriage Under the Equal Protection Clause Is Religious Freedom In Jeopardy?

**Since this essay was written, not only has the LGBT lobby been successful at redefining marriage to include same-sex marriage and won their Supreme Court battle on the grounds of "equal protection," they lobby has applied it's full force to deconstruct the social concept of gender. The organization that has successfully argued that homosexuality is "biological" is now working hard to convince the public that sex and gender are not connected or set and therefore not biological. The LGBT lobby seeks special protections under civil rights law for any variation of sexual and gender identity.

                                                                  • — — — — — •

*Written in 2011

As an important preface to this paper I quote the definition of marriage as it has stood for thousands of years across diverse religious and ethnic societies both ancient and modern.

My source, the 1828 Noah Webster English Dictionary which defined marriage this way:

MAR'RIAGE, n. [L.mas, maris.] The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity,and for securing the maintenance and education of children.

• — — — — — •

I have been seriously disturbed by an increase in news accounts of Christians being labeled bigots and discriminated against for their sincerely held Christian beliefs about marriage. Of particular concern, peaceful religions are now regularly being compared to hate groups and labeled "religious extremists" because of their beliefs in traditional marriage. Reports of Christian Conservative leaders being disinvited from commencement ceremonies because of their support for traditional marriage. Reports of private business who are persecuted because of the owners religious beliefs that uphold the traditional definition of marriage. Alone these reports may seem isolated but Christians who opposes the redefinition of marriage find their beliefs in an increasing minority and are deluged with such attitudes throughout social media and the culture.

I believe that many who seek gender neutral "marriage equality" would not only like to redefine marriage in our society but would have religious objections to their goal labeled as bigoted -- labeling peaceful Christians as a dangerous counter culture of hate. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves but just as quick to silence those with a different view by applying labels like "homophobic" and "bigoted."

At the moment it seems the issue of "same-sex marriage" is a settled question with the majority of Americans who see no harm in redefining marriage. The LGBT lobby has been effective portraying same-sex parenthood as equivalent to being raised by opposite gender parents and most Americans are convinced that same-sex marriage will have no negative affect on the cohesion of traditional marriage. Even if all of these conclusions are true, very few Americans are asking whether "civil rights" for homosexuals will limit religious freedom for Christians, Jews, and Muslims whose doctrines teach that homosexual lifestyles are not in keeping with the bounds God has set for healthy family life.

The goal of the LGBT lobby is not simply to achieve legal equality in marriage but rather to stamp out any institutional thought, teaching, or practice that rejects their lifestyle. They seek to do this through the civil rights laws of our country which have the power to compel businesses, institutions, and individuals through non-discrimination laws. If you need proof of this all you need do is look at decades of political action against the private faith based organization the Boy Scouts of America. What LGBT activist seek is total acceptance that can only be achieved by stamping out what they see as bigotry in any institution public or private. This not a hidden agenda. The first step was to assert that homosexuality is as as natural as skin color or gender and that as such it deserves to be a special protected class such as those defined in civil rights act of 1964. Thereby providing punitive power against any business, institution or individual who exercises their religious liberty and freedom of association in any way that discriminates in favor of traditional marriage and sexuality. These businesses, institutions and individuals will be labeled a bigot, not just in the public square, but in law. Those organizations, such as religious schools or churches, that continue to teach that homosexuality is not moral will be considered to be engaging in hate speech, and any institutions that withholds membership or full fellowship to homosexuals will be guilty of discrimination against their civil rights. In this way the LGBT lobby will have the legal hammer they need to beat every organization in America that will not comply with their view of family life, gender, and sexuality.

The LGBT lobby is not satisfied with the public opinion trajectory that now seems inevitable to extending marriage equality by democratic means within a generation. They are not satisfied with religions who have welcomed same-sex marriage and gay clergy. They are not satisfied with the open teaching of homosexuality as natural and normal by an increasing number of public schools and institutions. They are not satisfied with the constant positive portrayal of same-sex couples in movies and media. They are not satisfied with hundreds of new laws and resolutions that require equality in the workforce, housing, and public accommodations. Instead LGBT activist have taken their battle for equality to the Supreme Court seeking a verdict that will bring them even closer to obtaining the legal hammer they need to forever enshrine their lifestyle as a protected class in constitutional law and civil right statues so that they can bring their view of sexuality to bear on every individual and institution.

For this reason Christians who hold sincere religious beliefs on this subject are not only concerned about the social consequences of redefining marriage and traditional family life but are becoming increasingly concerned about how the LGBT agenda may become a serious threat to our first liberty — religious freedom. If the Supreme Court rules as LGBT activists hope, the flood gates will open and test our most basic religious freedoms to teach, practice, and associate based on our most sincerely help religious beliefs. Religious organizations could face a wave of legal action on grounds that they are in defiance of national civil rights law and that their teachings, standards and regulations deny the civil rights of same-sex couples. I hope the Supreme Court considers this consequence when it deliberates this spring.

                                                                  • — — — — — •

An increasing number of Americans have been convinced that opposition to same-sex marriage on religious grounds is hateful and bigoted and deserves no consideration or protection. A question I often hear from supporters of same-sex marriage is, "Why should any religion be opposed to someone else's marriage?" The question itself reflects the reality that supporters of same-sex marriage see religious doctrines that are in opposition to homosexual lifestyles and same-sex marriage as bigoted beliefs. I have often wondered if my well intentioned friends who ask this question would support legal action to ban churches and religious organizations from teaching doctrines that oppose same-sex marriage? I hope that my friends who politically support same-sex marriage would hold back a moment and ask themselves if they support the full agenda of the LGBT lobby, which is to extend the special protection of constitutional civil rights to any variation of sexual and gender identity. If they do they probably have not considered how this will affect religious freedom -- the freedom to worship (believe, practice, teach, associate) God after the dictates of our own conscience.

Perhaps if more Americans better understood the sincerely held religious beliefs of Christians, they would be more tolerant of Christians like myself who cannot simply set aside their beliefs in matters both private and public. In an attempt to help those who do not believe any religious belief that discriminates against LGBT lifestyles in anyway could be described as "sincere," and thus have determined that there is no merit in protecting such religious beliefs under constitutional and civil law, I have added this next section as a lesson in what these sincere belief are and where they come from.


My personal opposition to same-sex marriage has two components, a societal component and a religious component. As a matter of public policy I oppose same-sex marriage on the grounds that marriage between a man and a women has been the bedrock of society for thousands of years because children are nurtured best by both father and mother in an intact nuclear family. My support for traditional marriage is informed by my religious beliefs but is also informed by millennia of practice and decades of research that show that children raised in intact nuclear families with a opposite gender parents fair better in every measurable way. While some recent research seems to indicate that children raised by homosexual couples also fair well, these studies are not as rigorous, are not time tested, and the data still indicates that children with a father and mother who honor marital vows is preferable.

Even without these modern studies and statistics there is overwhelming evidence throughout history and our modern society that the disintegration of the family is the leading factor in every major social problem that threatens our peace and prosperity. With marriage being the foundation of family life it is the disintegration of marital norms that is most to blame for the breakdown of the family. Therefore public policy that encourages men and women to form strong lasting family relationships for the nurture of children benefits society as a whole and the stability of generations strengthens our public institutions and is paramount to the health and stability of our society.


First I should note, as most are aware, Christians differ on doctrine and I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints so the below doctrines reflect our beliefs and differ in some ways from the beliefs of other sects. We recently met as a world wide church for our broadcasted 183 semi-annual world General Conference. Many of our church leaders took this opportunity to speak directly about the doctrine of the family to members of the church in 162 countries. I've chosen just teaching from this most recent conference to explain the foundations of our faith on this subject. Leaders of the church spoke in unison of God's definition of marriage and family life and warned of the consequences of turning away from marriage as God defines it, here are the excerpts:

(These statements of doctrine fully reflect my beliefs and convictions on this topic and represent the closely held religious views that an ever increasing majority of my country believe to be bigoted. None the less "me and my house, we will serve the Lord.")

• — — — — — •

David A. Bednar (We Believe in Being Chaste) gave the most thorough and foundational explanation of our beliefs and doctrines on marriage and family life during the conference so I start with his words.

"After the earth was created, Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden... God said “it was not good that the man should be alone” and Eve became Adam’s wife. The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females was needed to enact the plan of happiness. “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:11). The man and the woman are intended to learn from, strengthen, bless, and complete each other."

"The eternal importance of chastity can only be understood within the overarching context of our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness for His children. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a man and a woman in the marriage relationship prescribed in God’s plan."

"The means by which mortal life is created is divinely appointed. “The first commandment … God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. Thus, marriage between a man and a woman is the authorized channel through which spirits enter mortality. Complete sexual abstinence before marriage and total fidelity within marriage protect the sanctity of this sacred channel."

"The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given his children. Its use was mandated in the first commandment, but another important commandment was given to forbid its misuse... Outside the bonds of marriage, all uses of the procreative power are to one degree or another a sinful degrading and perversion of the most divine attribute of men and women”

• — — — — — •

Boyd K. Packer (These Things I Know), President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles warned against the changing laws that weaken the moral fabric of society.

"We live in a very dangerous world that threatens those things that are most spiritual. The family, the fundamental organization in time and eternity, is under attack from forces seen and unseen... Latter-day Saints recognize the transcendent importance of the family... The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result of the violation of God’s law of chastity."

L. Tom Perry (Obedience to Law is Liberty) greatly expanded on this subject, when he taught: "Today we find ourselves in another war. This is not a war of armaments. It is a war of thoughts, words, and deeds. It is a war with sin, and more than ever we need to be reminded of the commandments. Secularism is becoming the norm, and many of its beliefs and practices are in direct conflict with those that were instituted by the Lord Himself for the benefit of His children."

"Prophets have consistently warned against violations of two of the more serious commandments—the ones relating to murder and adultery [Sexual sin outside the bonds of marriage as defined by God]. I see a common basis for these two critical commandments—the belief that life itself is the prerogative of God and that our physical bodies, the temples of mortal life, should be created within the bounds God has set. For man to substitute his own rules for the laws of God on either end of life is the height of presumption and the depth of sin."

Included in the arguments in support of the redefinition of marriage is are regular discussions of the deteriorating state of marriage as if to say that we should not oppose the redefinition of marriage because after all heterosexual couples abuse their marriages regularly and children are more often raised today in broken homes then in intact homes. I find this an extraordinary argument that in essence is saying that we should support the further breakdown of marital norms and the intact family in our society, denying even more children the stable nurture of both mother and father, because we are already failing our children anyway. Many want to remove children as a central point in the debate and assert that marriage has as its primary purpose the love and pleasure of adult rather than the welfare of children, of course the end result is the same. L. Tom Perry warned that "The main effects of these depreciating attitudes about the sanctity of marriage are the consequences to families—the strength of families is deteriorating at an alarming rate. This deterioration is causing widespread damage to society."

• — — — — — •

As Mormons we have the unique belief that families are not merely created for earth life but that families are eternal and thus gender is an essential characteristic of eternal life. M. Russell Ballard (This Is My Work and My Glory) spoke to this unique Mormon doctrine that endows marriage with an even deeper significance in God's plan for his children.

"Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise [his] power... to establish an eternal family without a woman." This biological fact is also a spiritual absolute in God's plan for his children and while 'the world changes constantly and dramatically... God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging. Men and women receive their agency as a gift from God, but their liberty and, in turn, their eternal happiness come from obedience to His laws.“Wickedness never was happiness

Surely there could not be any doctrine more strongly expressed in the scriptures than the Lord’s unchanging commandments and their connection to our happiness and well-being as individuals, as families, and as a society. There are moral absolutes. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. These things do not change. In a world where the moral compass of society is faltering, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ never wavers." (L. Tom Perry, Obedience to Law Is Liberty)

• — — — — — •

Mormons do not discriminate against same-sex attraction as far as sexual sin is concerned. The church teaches that any violation of the laws of chastity has the potential to destroy eternal progression as well as bring about the calamities foretold by ancient prophets. Richard G. Scott (For Peace at Home) warned young people of the dangers in the world that can prevent them from establishing Christ centered homes, these dangers have been often discussed by church leaders and paramount among them are the dangers of pornography and sexual promiscuity and perversion.

"There is real danger in the environment surrounding you. Your great potential and ability could be limited or destroyed if you yield to the contamination around you. Stay on the Lord’s side, and you will win every time. One of the greatest blessings we can offer to the world is the power of a Christ-centered home where the gospel is taught, covenants are kept, and love abounds."

• — — — — — •

Speaking to the men of the church (but just as relevant to all) Robert D. Hales (Stand Strong in Holy Places) said, "We have the responsibility to stand strong... We are role models to the world, protecting God-given, inalienable rights and freedoms. We stand in defense of our homes and our families."

To the young men he added this sober council, "Young men, your fathers and grandfathers never faced the temptations that you face on a regular basis. If your father wanted to get in trouble, he had to go searching for it. Not anymore! Today temptation finds you! Please remember that!"

Years ago Elder Hales said these words to the youth, "The world has gone far afield... it has proceeded way, way out... What we and our children and our grandchildren have to remember is that the Church will remain constant, the world will keep moving—that gap is [becoming] wider and wider. … Therefore, be very careful. If you judge your actions and the standards of the Church on the basis of where the world is and where it’s going, you will find that you are not where you should be.” But these many years later he noted, "Back then I could not have imagined how far and how fast the world would move away from God; it was impossible to understand that... And yet the standards of Christ and His Church have not moved. As He said, “The truth abideth forever and ever.”

"When we understand and accept this, we are prepared to face the social pressure, ridicule, and even discrimination that will come from the world and some who call themselves friends. Most of us know someone who would say, “If you want to be my friend, you’ll have to accept my values.” A true friend doesn’t ask us to choose between the gospel and his or her friendship. To borrow the words of Paul, “From such turn away.”

"We are not authorized to negotiate the conditions of [God's] eternal plan. Sometimes we become the lightning rod, and we must “take the heat” for holding fast to God’s standards and doing His work. I testify that we need not be afraid if we are grounded in His doctrine. We may experience misunderstanding, criticism, and even false accusation, but we are never alone. Our Savior was “despised and rejected of men.” It is our sacred privilege to stand with Him!"

• — — — — — •

However the political and social climate change, however the laws follow, this will not and cannot change my religious beliefs. I cannot reject or deny my beliefs and would dare not choose to succumb to the pressures of society or even the persecution of laws and surrender my faithful obedience to the dictates of my own conscience. I hope the Supreme Court will not push our nation to that place, that they will not open the way for the LGBT lobby to begin a campaign of stamping out religious freedom. Christians like myself will not give way to the unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as moral that which is not moral, to accept as natural that which violates the laws of nature. I will not be intimidated by their characterizing me as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable.

In conclusion it is essential that all who have read these declarations of my beliefs understand that central to the Gospel of Christ is the commandment to "love thy neighbor as thyself" and the council of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in which he lovingly guides, "As I have loved you, love one another."

There are many inside and outside of the Christian faith who see religious opposition to "same-sex marriage" as a repudiation of these teachings of the Master. As I stated before many see the fact that devout Christians will not set aside their beliefs on this subject as evidence of bigotry, but a bigot is one who "regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance". So whether or not you consider a "sexual orientation" as a racial or ethnic group it is still incumbent on all Americans to examine whether the vast majority of peaceful followers of Christ are treating homosexuals with hatred before you could classify Christians as bigots for their religious beliefs. Christ himself taught by example how to treat all people with love, respect, and tolerance without condoning or accepting what he taught was sin. While Christ loved the sinner, he never loved the sin. He showed love and respect for all of God's children (whatever their sin) but he did not excuse sin, rather he forgave repentant sinners.

Our doctrine teaches that God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance and to enter His Kingdom we must be made perfect "even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." This is the central purpose of the atoning sacrifice of the Savior of the world, that through Christ all men might be sanctified and washed clean and made perfect in Christ. Therefore, while Jesus taught us to love one another he first taught us to "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart... soul... mind, and... strength" with "an eye single to the glory of God" and then instructed, "if ye love me, keep my commandments."

I will forever oppose the mistreatment of ANY human being without consideration of their gender, race, age, nationality, religion, political persuasion, or sexual orientation — the bulling, harassment, or violence against any person is a sin and an abomination in the sight of God — this is an unequivocal principle of my Christian faith as immutable as are the laws of Chastity which are foundational to my support for traditional marriage and my opposition to homosexual lifestyles.

While there will always be those who cannot reconcile these two beliefs as compatible I look only to the example of Jesus Christ to know that they are completely in harmony and that as a Christian I can be true to the laws of God in both defending traditional marriage and loving my neighbor.

Direct clarity on the doctrine of the Family as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be read in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.