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.

Monday, July 20, 2020

A Never Trumper... No More?

Five years ago President Trump announced he would seek the Republican presidential nomination. He was one of 17 major candidates that entered the primary race, the largest presidential primary field for any political party in American history. The field was robust with many well known candidates with considerable experience in government. There was a wide representation of Republicans with more liberal candidates like Ohio Governor John Kasich and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and stanch conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Bobby Jindal. The field had young rising stars in the party like Marco Rubio and new comers like Ben Carson, the renown neurosurgeon. The experience was vast with nine state governors running in the field and five U.S. senators, among them was Carly Fiorina, a successful business executive. Among all this promise for the future of the Republican party, Donald Trump entered the race with years of media prowess, nearly unmatched name recognition, and a powerful real estate brand.


With all that "star" power he also brought with him a volatile reputation of toying in politics and a bad reputation for a quick temper, attention-grabbing celebrity feuds, and being a "ladies man." Trump was hardly the serious conservative that the conservative base was looking for and he was not the cooperative liberal Republican the establishment wanted to work with. So how did this dark horse win the race? I think in large part there were many on the right who had grown tired of politics as usual and were fed up with years of being labeled as bigoted haters by liberal media and politicians, while Republican leaders rolled over on the culture war. The phenomenon is 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. President Trump promised to be the one who would punch back, who wouldn't take it laying down. He was just the kind of junkyard dog that people were willing to put their bets behind. He became their dog in the fight and they were confident that he wouldn't back down.

To the shock of many in the nation, including myself, Trump was declared the presumptive Republican nominee in May 2016. Many in the Republican party couldn't understand the phenomenon that was responsible for his increasing support and hoped that Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio might inch him out, but by the end of the primary voting process, Trump had a commanding lead in the number of pledged delegates, ensuring a smooth process for being declared the nominee. However, at 44.9%, Trump had the lowest percentage of the popular primary vote for a major party nominee since the 1988 Democratic primaries.

Personally, this was a hard blow for me. I was VERY opposed to Trump during the Republican Party primary season and my feelings about the choice our party made are still conflicted. For years after, I considered myself a political orphan, perhaps I still do. My opposition to Trump at the time was informed by what I could see in his life and behavior that demonstrated to me that he didn't have a steady self-mastery, a proper humility, or a principled dedication to conservative principles. Beyond his character (not judging his heart, only his actions) I had serious concerns about what his leadership would mean for the greater conservative movement and ongoing culture war. I saw in Donald Trump an easy archetype of the false caricature the left has of Republicans. I'm afraid that this concern has been confirmed since President Trump was elected President.

President Trump's intemperate ways and twitter vomit, his very persona, has become the confirmation bias the left needed to prove their narrative of the Republican party as belligerent capitalist — racist —misogynist. His particular set of weaknesses have played perfectly into their narrative and the media has gleefully exploited it to the fullest. Before his election I considered the possibility that a Trump candidacy and presidency would do more damage to the Republican party in the long run, and therefore the conservative movement, than what the Democrats could do with the presidency; especially since conservatives had proven over the years that they are most effective in opposition to the executive rather than in the oval office.

One of my go to quotes at the time was: "If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures."  ~ Alexander Hamilton

It's impossible to know for sure how far down this path of cultural revolution and the dismantling of our Constitution we would have traveled under another Clinton presidency, and of course I may have been wrong about which was worse, but one thing that was very clear to me then and has continued to be true, is the fact that neither path was a good one. I still regret the loss of what might have been the only good path and that was our party having chosen one of the many solid Republican candidates that had been passed over in the stardom haze of Trumpism.

President Trump's most committed followers have been passionately loyal to him and have regularly defend him even when he behaves petulantly and lobs his brash bombastic claims into the social media soup. This love affair with Trump has been bewildering to many on the left and the right, but what is absolutely incomprehensible to those on the left is the general support that the President has held within the rank and file of the party. This has become an even greater proof of their contrived narrative of the deplorable right wingers that inhabit heartland America. This has made it even easier for leftist who live in insular liberal population centers to dismiss the well-founded reasons for which President Trump has earned the general support of the party. After all, very few on the coasts have the inconvenient contradictions of having been personally acquainted with a discerning analytical Trump supporter.

From a former "Never Trumper," who happens to be a committed conservative and one of those "deplorables" who live in the heartland, I think I have a pretty good grasp of the reasons Republicans chose Trump as their bulldog in the political fight. These are three of the most basic:

1) CLEAN HOUSE: Washington has become toxic to the American system and Trump promised to be unpopular and “drain the swamp.” For this voters believed they needed a bulldog in the china shop, and Trump seemed to fit the bill.

2) CULTURAL PROTECTION: Conservatives have been vilified by the left as racists and bigots for generations and this is rapidly intensifying as the culture war ramps up. Traditional Christian Conservatives went from a majority culture to the minority counter-culture and with the left using tactics to silence conservatives the backlash was inevitable. Trump is part of that backlash. Someone they believed would fight for what is most precious -- freedom of speech, worship, and exercise of religion in public life. They were assured that Trump would appoint strict constructionist judges on the Supreme Court. All of which have been under attack by the left.

3) ECONOMIC PROTECTIONISM & NATIONALISM: Trump ran on a platform of economic protectionism. He promised to take on the globalist and protect American jobs and sovereignty. US manufacturing jobs have been particularly harmed by globalization and Trump promised to bring back those segments of our economy — thus the rust belt went for Trump. Immigration was part of this economic protectionism and protecting sovereignty. Voting your economic and sovereign interest against economic and governmental globalist has been labeled by the left as dangerous forms of nationalism and populism but to Americans whose jobs have been stagnated by globalization and illegal immigration, President Trump is being loyal to America first.

President Trump has been moderately successful in fulfilling his campaign promises despite being his worst enemy, and to the extent with which he hasn't been successful his base easily excuses him because of the continual implacable attacks from the left and their media allies. President Trump has serious leadership deficiencies and isn't the grand champion of the conservative cause that many on the right imagine him to be, but these realities are overshadowed by the extreme derangement on the left, and thus as a result the gloves are off on both sides of the isle and we are in an all out brawl.

With the election of Trump conservatives may have given up on the steady dedication required to win ground on the political stage and in the culture. Ultimately, they made a risky trade between the steady course and a short frenzied outburst of emotion. From the start I have listened to the extraordinary hope that Trump is capable of single-handedly cleaning house in Washington, exposing the corruption, executing justice, and beginning the essential work of restoring the integrity of our Constitutional government before it's too late. It was desperation to believe that a Trump could accomplish all this in four years by mixing up a political dog fight in Washington. What was more certain was that Trump at the head of the party and the nation would give the left the fodder they needed to catalyst their culture war to a whole new level.

Republicans have put too much of our energy into winning elections while drifting helplessly to the left on the shifting political and cultural sands. Regardless of the elections we've won, the party and the nation continue to move to the cultural left. Winning elections has not made Republicans effective at pushing back against the false narratives of the left and protecting Constitutional government, free markets, or traditional American values. President Trump, for all the hopes that were placed in him, has not been effective at this either. Without doing the hard work of steadying the ground under our feet, it is only a matter of time before we are out of the government for the duration and then our Constitutional government is truly in danger of being lost forever.

... So... now what? Do we vote for Trump?

The damage is done, the false caricature of the party that I feared would be verified, has been thoroughly cemented on the left and is gaining ground in the center; and so, this time around I don’t have that consideration in the mix when making my choice. So what is the primary consideration this time around?

I don't believe that the country can long remain united if the ideological divide continues to precipitously widen. I’m hoping for some way to peacefully coexist and for civil liberties to be retained, but I'm not very optimistic. My friends on the left believe that Trump is the greatest risk America has ever faced and that we will be united if he is defeated in 2020. I believe that the left is allowing the greater risks to rise in this mob movement that is rooted in cultural Marxism and is calling for an end to law and order and the destruction of the American system. President Trump may be uncouth and intemperate but he doesn't want to tear down the American system and he isn't threatening law and order, and for those reasons he seems to be the only speed bump in this road to the disintegration of the union.

Usually at this stage of the Presidential political season the news media would be covering the back and forth of Presidential candidates debating their public policy agendas. We'd be looking at the upcoming Presidential debate schedule and listening to candidates position themselves ahead of those debates. Today it looks like we may have a Presidential election without debate, we may even have an election without people going to the the polls.

The media is beginning to signal the game plan to avoid putting Joe Biden on the debate stage with President Trump. In the place of media coverage of the candidate platforms and records there is only one position that matters and that is the candidates support for the Black Lives Matter cultural revolution. In this political twilight zone the candidate who wants to get the U.S. economy back on track is considered reckless with human life. The candidate who speaks against the lawless tactics of Marxist cultural revolutionaries threatening to tear apart peace and order, threatening lives, antagonizing peaceful citizens, destroying property, and destroying historical monuments, is considered racist. But the candidate who is hiding in his basement, occasionally appearing in a video interviews and displaying an concerning lack of understanding about -- well, just about everything -- is the anointed presumptive nominee of the Democrat party.

The chasm in the country right now has become too dangerous a threat to turn over the White House to the leftist gaining control of the Democratic party seemly unopposed. Essentially the train has left the station and is seems like the only thing left, that has any hope of meeting the most important objectives — to defend our Constitution, and thus preserve our natural rights to direct the affairs of our own families unimpeded by leftist control — is to support President Trump in 2020.


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.

SOCIAL SCIENCE:

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.

RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE:

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.

ObamaCare & ObamaCore: Disrespect For the Rule of Law and the Rights of the People

What does ObamaCare and ObamaCore tell us about how the administration views American government and it's relationship to the people?

There are numerous examples of how the Obama Administration has routinely manipulated and sidelined our representative government, but none more telling then his greatest policy achievements; the control of the US Heathcare system and the control of the US Education system.

I was thinking about the past five years of Obama's Presidency, evaluating his policy agenda, and how much of it has actually been accomplished through the legislative process. The only piece of major legislation I could identify was ObamaCare. He has never passed a budget or funded any government program outside of the realm of crisis management. Besides ObamaCare the only other significant policy he has managed to jump start is his Education Agenda, Race to the Top and it's end game, Common Core. And this he did under a shroud of secrecy and outside the legislative process entirely.

With all of the coverage revealing abuses of power in almost every executive branch department; IRS, DOJ, DHS, EPA and DoS there's been very little room for the story out of the US DHHS. It was discovered that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been fundraising to support the implementation of ObamaCare. She's been hitting up private healthcare related companies for suplimental funds, as ObamaCare is costing billions more than projected (no shocker there). Problem #1) the companies are the very same that will be under regulation by her department. Problem #2) her actions have been compared to the Iran-Contra scandal where Ronald Reagan used privately funded military units for US special ops. Since then it has been against the law to raise private funds for federal government functions because by so doing the exectutive branch is getting around congresses constitutional war powers and the powers of the public purse.

How does this relate to ObamaCore. The Common Core is a federal education program funded in part by private companies who not only benefit financially if they are in good favor with the DoE, but will be under the regulation of DoE mandates for standards and testing. In my opinion, ObamaCore is an even more startling example of how willfully the Obama administration seeks to subverting the democratic process and how foolish congressional action let it happen.

With Common Core, the DoE easily skated around federal law because Congress wrote a Trillion dollar blank check to the executive branch, known as the 2009 "stimulus". By doing this they essentially handed away their constitutional powers over the purse to Obama. With nearly a TRILLION dollars at his complete discretion, he unilaterally wrote education policy outside the legislative process. After all, there was no need to go to congress, he already had the money to get it started.

Obama's DoE proceeded deliberately but in secret on Obama's ultimate policy objective, Common Core, a federal control of standards, curricula, and testing in 50 states. While Americans were verily familiar with the grant program Race to the Top, we were completely in the dark about Common Core. Yet, the Common Core was "approved" by unelected political unions in 2009 without a word. Race to the Top federal funding was used as a carrot to entice State's to cooperate without knowing exactly what they were agreeing to.

To get the rest of the seed money for ObamaCore, the administration simply "partnered" with private corporations and NGO's to fund the further implimentation, much the same way as Secretary Sebelius did for ObamaCare. In both DHHS fundraising and ObamaCore the "donations" are being funneled into NGO non-profits so that the Feds can argue they aren't directly funding federal intiatives with private funds. With Common Core this goes both ways because the scheme allows DoE to claim that the Common Core is not Federal direction of education, which is not only against at least three federal laws, it is unconstitutional.

If you dig into the Common Core scheme, it looks like nothing more than government money laundering, the subverting of the legislative process, and the complete disregard for the governance and rights of the people. It is becoming harder to separate out the stealthy undemocratic takeover of American education and the other shady (if not illegal) targeting and suppressing of political enemies, dissemination of private information for political gain, the almost constant misinformation cloud designed to avert and confuse those who ask questions, and the pro-quo to dodge responsibility for governance in almost every respect. 

ObamaCare and ObamaCore give us a plain view of how Obama views the relationship between the government and the governed. He does not see our government as servants of the people. His disrespect for the rule of law, the rights of the people to be represented, and the sacred rights of speech, religion, privacy, and even parental authority is beyond reprehensible. He has made an enemy of all we hold dear.

"They" Just Don't Get "US"

Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty star and southern evangelical Christian, made these comments (below) in an interview with GQ magazine. They set off a firestorm of controversy and passionate support from fans when Phil was suspended by A&E for upcoming seasons of the widely popular show.

These comments where used at the article's intro, no doubt because of their obvious crudeness and therefore selling power:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Phil on his perscription for what ails our world:

“If the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”

Phil on the state of morality in our society:

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong... Sin becomes fine.” What is sinful? "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Phil on judgement:

"We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

Phil on the role of Jesus in world peace:

"All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s eighty years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”

At this point in the interview GQ's Jeff Riedel interjected his personal astonishment at what he sees as glaring inconsistencies in Phil's religious world view, but Riedel's astonishment only reveals his own ignorance of Christian precept.

Christians believe that upon two great commandments hang all the laws and commandments of God and their order is essential. The first and greatest commandment is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” (Mark 12:30; see also Matt. 22:37) Devout Christians who study the scriptures believe Christ when He instructs us on how to "love God", Christ says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15) Therefore obedience to the commandments of sexual purity, among others, are essential to abiding the first and greatest commandment, to love The Lord thy God.

In order to inculcate obedience to these commandments in the next generation, Christians must exercise righteous judgement related to immorality. For upon this obedience hangs all of our faith and belief. It seems Reidel would have Christians abandon obedience and love of God in order to show "greater love" to their fellow men. Reidel believes that Phil is inconsistent in ascribing to biblical judgments about sinful acts while at the same time speaking of the second great commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Mark 12:31) He misses the fact that Christians encourage obedience to God because of their confidence that the world would be a far better place, and men and women far happier, if we all loved God more and were more obedient to his laws. Therefore Christians do not believe it is consistent with "showing love" to ignore sinful behavior which they believe will certainly lead to misery. Rather, Love of God and obedience to his laws will lead to greater individual happiness and greater love between all of God's children.

Of course secularists, like Riedel, are delighted when a Christian refers to their favorite Bible verse, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matthew 7:1) This one phrase has become a universal excuse for sin without judgement or consequence. It is also used effectivly in silencing a majority of Christians on social political issues. Christ's admonishment that we "judge not" has been cherry picked out of scriptural context. In the very passage Christ clarifies that "with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Which denotes an understanding that we are accountable to the laws of God that we hold as a standard for all.

Riedel would see fewer inconsistencies if he were to take more time to understand the doctrines. Love of our fellow men does not require that a Christian abandon the first and greatest commandment to love God and abide his law. And Phil's comments though crass at points and perhaps lacking the sensitive tact our PC world demands, reflect the night and day clarity of moral law laid out in the Bible and a determination to live a life true to those first two commandments, upon which hangs the whole of the Christian faith.

Full Interview at GQ:

http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson?currentPage=1

Search for the Garden of Eden: The Modern Obsession With Health

This morning surfing my Facebook news I came across another article drawing correlation between a widely used so called "environmental toxin" and a predicted rise in Autism and finally I was motivated to write a few of my recurring thoughts on the topic.

Just about every health article these days sites some man-made "environmental toxin" as the culprit for some modern health epidemic ranging from inflammation to brain impairments and behavioral disorders. We are warned of the dangers of environmental contaminants such as common pesticides, phosphates, parabens, synthetic dies and fragrances, Phthalates, Triclosan used in anti-bacterial cleansers, SLS, SLES, Formaldehyde, Toluene, Propylene glycol, Sunscreen chemicals, over use of antibiotic medications, vaccines, PCBs, PBDEs, and mercury.

Each article sites some study that show correlation to autism, ADHD, infertility, life-threatening allergies, digestive disorders, and so on and yet there are no concrete answers. I am not unconcerned by these reports, like every mother, it is terrifying to think that the food you feed your child or the products you use to keep your house and children clean may be poisoning those you are trying to protect by the same means. I believe in limiting refined sugars and processed foods, in eating an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, and in avoiding medicating your children unless absolutely necessary. I'm a natural birth doula, a homeschool mom, and may be pegged by some as a natural living nut case. I read these health articles because I suffer from a chronic illness that many health professional attribute to environmental toxins and diet.

I don't know if we are speeding toward the predictions of generational catastrophe but I do know that these reports are essentially saying that our modern era health challenge appears to be related to our diet and hygiene practices. The thing is, that is not a novel condition in the course of human history. As I have spent time worrying about these reports, spent money trying to eliminate these "toxins", and amending my healthcare regiments I have begun pondering on how our modern health challenges compare to generations of humans before us. I think these thoughts help keep my natural earthy ways grounded in common sense. 

These two factors, diet and hygiene, have controlled the human health condition since the dawn of human history. Environmental challenges have terrified humans since the first time humans saw the effects of malnutrition and poor sanitation. Now at a day when modern invention is solving the challenges of malnutrition, sanitation, and common deadly disease we are seeing a rise in childhood epidemics of autism, life threatening food allergies, immune disorders, and behavioral disorders. More adult bodies are becoming intolerant of common foods, overweight, and dependent on medications. Sounds pretty bleak, and yet when compared to the plague, starvation, dysentery, ergotism (poisoning from a fungal infection of grain), leprosy, malaria, typhoid, measles, small pox, and puerpetual fever; not to mention the average life span and general poverty and filth that were inescapable realities of the majority, our modern health condition looks pretty good.

Life before the discovery of penicillin, antisepsis, chemical pesticides, preservatives, and even modern construction and chemical cleansers meant that disease and malnutrition were a constant companion of life and that death was a constant threat. It seems another human condition is a constant -- we need to worry about every possible threat and imagine that a mass castastrophe is on the horizon. Sometimes I wonder how far we have come from those days when superstition placed blame on anything and everything in the absence of facts. It seems I come across a weekly article blaming one or all of the before mentioned "environmental toxins" for one or all of the "childhood epidemics" and I am left with some basic questions about their claims. 1) Which is it, is it one of these or all of these chemicals combined that are responsible for Autism, ADHD, Chronic Allergies, Digestive Disorders, etc? 2) How can we KNOW when NO studies of adequate duration and control have been done? -- And some of the studies moms have relied on in the past have turned out to be completely bogus! 3) And, Is it even possible to have a controlled study of each and every "environmental toxin"? 

The answers seem as mystifying as were the quandaries of our ancient progenitors even with all of our scientific advancement and in spite of our advancement we are behaving much as they did when faced with these threats. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to eat healthy or that we shouldn't take a critical view of the chemicals we are exposed to, I just think we are in danger of over reacting and eliminating technological advancements that have most contributed to our increased health, pleasure, and life span in a fool hearted attempt to live in a Garden of Eden. There has been no perfect human generation free of health challenges and as our generation compares to past ones we enjoy unprecedented health and wealth. And yet in predictable human fashion we are not satisfied, in fact, I think we are less satisfied. Our society as a whole seems to be obsessed with the quest for perfect human health. We don't endure the human condition, which is one of sickness and trial, with the same acceptance that past generations. I sometimes wonder what our ancestors are thinking looking down on us as we complain about how our clean abundant lives are killing us. I mean it! There's great great great... grandpa Smith saying, "I suffered my whole life from gout and malnutrition and died of the plague and your complaining because your super yummy food, clean house, and medications will be the death of you!"

I'm sure our ancestors are amazed and happy that we have improved life so much and don't begrudge the attempts we make to further improve them. What I'm saying is that whatever we do to improve our lives and health should place a healthy weight to the benefits these advancement bring to our lives and should not react against them without the proper evidence of their villainy. I'm saying we need to keep a healthy grateful perspective about life overall as we seek for improved physical health.

What A "Green" World Look Likes

The case against electric cars as detailed by Ozzie Zehner in his IEEE Spectrum article "Unclean at Any Speed: Electric cars don't solve the automobiles environmental problems," is iron clad. For one who thinks we are wasting tax dollars on policies pushing these so-called "green technologies" I found the article fascinating.

“Are electric cars indeed green?” a U.S. Congressional Budget Office study found that electric car subsidies “will result in little or no reduction in the total gasoline use and greenhouse-gas emissions of the nation’s vehicle fleet over the next several years.” -- The studies reveal at best that the "lifetime difference in greenhouse-gas emissions between vehicles powered by batteries and those powered by low-sulfur diesel is hardly discernible"... at worst, "the sorcery surrounding electric cars stands to worsen public health and the environment rather than the intended opposite."

I recommend the well researched article that makes a rock solid case against policies that push electric cars as a reaction to global warming. It's worth your time but don't be fooled, the author is a global warming alarmist who makes his case against electric cars only to follow it with legislative plans to attack the manufacturing of cars overall. In fact using the author's analysis and concern for CO2 admissions, you would conclude that all manufacturing needs to be heavily regulated or cut back to make an impact on "global warming gases."

The author's conclusions should stand as a sober warning to all of us who care about economic stability. This is a glimpse into where Global Warming Alarmist will take us if we allow Man Made Global Warming Theory to be taught as fact and used as a political tool to transform human life on this planet. The author recommends that instead of focusing on electric cars what we should do is "prioritize the transition to pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhoods... better land-use planning to reduce suburban sprawl and, most important, fuel taxes to reduce petroleum dependence."

While the picture he paints of futuristic green cities may sound attractive to the rising generation who has been indoctrinated to believe that Man Made Global Warming is going to destroy life on planet earth, his proposal for how to accomplish his Green World Order would play out like a fascist nightmare few young people today have even contemplated. As is the instinct of "progressive liberals," he calls for "legislation" and "policy" to bring about migration to Green Urban Centers. The use of government policy to "reduce urban sprawl" and to curtail manufacturing can only mean one thing -- The government must be given the power to control every aspect of life that would be necessary to accomplish it.

In his Green Utopia those who don't want to live in a tightly packed urban center in a small flat in some "sustainable" high rise would be enemies of the state, outlaws, forced to live a lifestyle they hate or face the consequences. It's hard to imagine how he would propose the government curtail manufacturing and the impact that would have on our quality of life in America and our economic stability. Predictably the author takes no thought for the reality that any so-called Global Warming is in fact a Global issue and can't be solved by Americans handing over their freedom to his central planning schemes.




As with all Global Warming Alarmist this author falls short of describing the kind of world government he must certainly envision if he is in the least interested in seeing his world come to fruition. Even massive central planning schemes in the western world will make only marginal decreases in CO2 in worldwide output. Will China (where most manufacturing occurs) go to any great lengths to reduce it's green house gases? What about other growing manufacturing countries, who will regulate them?

What would this rising generation really be willing to give up to get a glimpse of what this Green world looks like? Would they submit to the fascist schemes of a international environmental police vested with the power to control every detail of where and how people live across the globe. The ironic thing is that any chance of that working out to the benefit of humanity is as inconceivable as the picture he paints of what his "Green" world looks like.

Why the Men Women Want Are in Short Supply

Another news blip scrolled past me on my Facebook news feed today, just one more in a growing number of stories from woman bemoaning the scarcity of good men, and honestly stories like the one I read today really bother me! So today I decided to blog the comments I've always thought to make but didn't for what will be obvious if you keep reading.

This particular article ends with this plea, "Please teach your sons to be men, because the women of the world are tired of the boys." What I would like to ask, from a mother of boys to mothers of girls, is for mothers to teach their daughters how to be women because the power that women have on how men will behave is incalculable.

Now I realize, women are sensitive and this kind of direct blunt language is often highly offensive to woman, and for that reason women are rarely told that their behavior can be highly toxic to men and by extension the foundation of society, the family. But I'm going to be as blunt with you all as my mom was with me because I'm grateful for a strong mother who taught me to guard my behavior and the hearts of men I would have power to influence.

I believe women are in large part responsible for the demise of men!! First as mothers but more so as girlfriends and wives and here are some reasons why:

Feminism has led to the emasculation of men. It has encouraged women to be sexually loose, uncharacteristically forward, and has resulted in disfiguring the beautiful dance of courtship and marriage. Women send out errant flirtatious signals to men prompting men to pursue them and then crush them with their indifference. Women were already complicated to begin with but women today have thrown away the courtship rule book and it's bound to result in timid men.

Of course none of that goes far enough! The fact that there are tons of boys growing up without men in their lives is in large part the fault of women -- I'm not trying to let men completely off the hook here -- but when a woman divorces her sexuality from her sacred responsibility to protect the unborn children her womb is uniquely capable of creating, she has a elevated responsibility for bringing life into the world without a father by her side. Short of rape, it is a woman who holds the key to sex -- Just ask men how much power over sex a woman has -- a women can give or deny a man that pleasure by her will alone. Short of rape, if a baby is born it is born because she chose to give it life, and if it is born out of wedlock it is -- for the most part -- her choice.

If women want strong masculine men; men who will sweep them off their feet, marry them, be faithful to them, protect and provide for them and their children, they need to rediscover the art of feminism, the old fashioned kind.

So the next time you hear women bemoaning the loss of strong masculine men remember what they need to hear is not what they want to hear, but if they don't begin to hear it and understand it the life they desire will continue to elude them.

Take it or leave it, but sometimes you just need some blunt advise from a happily married wife and mother of boys.

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

I am Christian trying to understand Islam. This presents some unique challenges, but I will attempt to answer the question, "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?" From my Christian perspective. To reason this out I will attempt to make comparisons between the doctrinal and historical progressions of these two world religions.

Christian history hasn't been free of stain, but over the 2000 years Christian doctrine has spread through the world the world has climbed out of darkness. The vast majority of crimes laid at the feet of Christianity by modern historians were committed during a time of ignorance and darkness, a time when the vast majority of Christians could not read the bible for themselves, and many evil men used the ignorance of religious people to consolidate their own power. Christ's teachings, when set free and given directly to the people, has led to freedom and brotherhood in a more civil society. The freedoms responsible for the progress of western civilization were founded upon the Judeo-Christian bible and the societies a religion produces may be the best gauge of whether a religion is a religion of peace or not.

In comparison Islam seems to have progressed backwards. When Christians struggled in darkness Islam was a spark of light, but that spark was fleeting and Muslim societies moving forward have often been the enemy to freedom, civility and brotherhood. The overwhelming majority of Muslim societies are theocratic totalitarian regimes and those are the ones we can work with. The political Islamic movement sweeping the middle east now is a far worse perpetrator of oppression, carnage, and death. So how do we as Christians reconcile what we see from what we are told about the Islamic faith?

I don't want to believe that the kind of evil we see in ISIS can be a legitimate interpretation of the Muslim faith that many hold as a religion of peace. I know many good Muslim people. I respect their close nit family culture, their modesty, morality, and devotion to God. It is because of the stark contrast between Muslims I meet at my local grocery store or park in America and the disturbing movement of radical Islam burning across the globe that I find myself asking this question, which is the true measure of the religion?

It is certainly a very disturbing reality that ISIS finds the justification of their acts of barbaric murder and rape within the pages of their holy book and are able to teach the words of the prophet Muhammad in their recruitment of Islamist terrorist. At this observation some would quickly point out the barbaric acts in Christian history that were justified by appeals to the Bible, although the level of cruelty in radical Islam today isn't the most apt comparison to Christian atrocities of the past, many Christian slave masters did appealed to the bible for their justifications. As a Christian I am well versed in the Biblical arguments against such interpretations, and in that light I try to give weight to the Islamic scholars who interpret the Koran very differently than the radical Islamist.

As I have studied the arguments made by various Islamic scholars it is evident that the more peaceful passages of the Koran referenced as evidence that Islam is a religion of peace, come from the earlier revelations. Which is significant, it explains the spark of light at the beginning of the religion and the decent into war and darkness, but it explains much more than that to those who understand the nature of revelation in establishing doctrine.

As a Christian I understand how revelation provides the administration of church teaching and practice. It has been long held by Christians that ancient Mosaic law was fulfilled and supplanted by the newer revelation provided by Christ and this pattern of divine revelation holds the belief that the newer the revelation is the more correct and applicable it is to standing doctrine and practice. In Christian doctrine the newer "revelation" is the more peaceful precepts of Christ that did away with a more ancient temporal law.

It is easy to understand that in the Muslim faith many would subscribe to the same pattern of revelation, as they feel deeply that Muhammad is the mouth piece of divine law. Since the most oppressive laws of jihad used to justify ISIS atrocities in the name of God are the most recent revelations given by their prophet, radical Islamist stand on firm doctrinal ground as they teach that these passages supersede the more peaceful teachings of earlier revelations. The order of revelation within the Koran seems to explain why the "progression" of the faith has been from light to darkness, rather than the other way around.

A smaller more westernized sect of Islam has called for a Muslim Reformation of sorts. They believe that they can persuade Muslims throughout the world to reject violent interpretations in favor of more figurative understandings and peaceful interpretations. I certainly pray they are successful in their aims for without a reformation that would bring Islam into a peaceful brotherhood with western civilization we face an eventual clash of civilizations that will likely result in great death and destruction for all.

Let's analyze what form this reformation would take by comparing it to the Christian reformation. The Christian reformation came as Christians rejected some of the scriptural interpretations of Pope's when they were able to examine for themselves the teachings of the Bible. Christians discovered in the pages of their holy book that many of oppressive traditions had no biblical bases. They in essence denounced the belief that those Pope's were speaking for God in those points inconsistent with the divine revelation of Christ and his apostles. They were appealing to the words of Christ as the mouth piece of divine law and it was the law of Christ that set the stage for this reformation.

What would Muslims appeal to for their reformation? Since it is Muhammad himself who spoke in holy writ those words that provide justification for violent jihad, and not some later religious authority, would they not have to reject the latter revelations of their prophet and supplant them with the more modern teachings of moderate religious leaders in order to reform? Would this not seem to devout followers as a full rejection of the foundational premise of their faith which is that Muhammad's words were of divine origin? If Muslims do this are they not saying that their prophet was a fallen prophet and shedding doubt on all of his scriptural work?

This reasoning leads to a conclusion that must be somewhat alarming for many Muslims, a unraveling of the divine origins of their faith. This is the reason that I am not optimistic that the peaceful Islam will prevail over the more fundamental teachings that have led to theocratic totalitarianism at best and ISIS and their terrible atrocities at worst. I am simply unsure that a Muslim reformation is possible.