I have to tell you that the phrase in the title makes me more then a little angry. Why is that? Because perceptively and logically its the truth.
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On another sleepless night I find myself thinking about the last eight years of my life. The people I have met while becoming more politically active. The division in conservatism that I see in plain sight. Its time for us to realize that these things are not minor. These things don’t even cross the threshold of “I agree with you 80% of the time”, and it is a lie of epic proportions sold to us over eons of a two party system that two parties could ever represent us. You see a problem with the nomination process. I do too. Its time for us to finally talk about it.
This was almost 4 years ago. Nothing has changed yet everything has changed. Problems with the two party system are being revealed yet all the solutions I hear would only entrench them further even if it happened to change them slightly for the better. Its time to stop pretending that two parties can represent this vast country and its time to do something about it.
In my life, the first game-changer was the realization of being a father. It made me seek out a voice to further those things I believe in. It becomes much more real when you become a father. I always had significant ideas about how government should get out of our way…to increase freedom and decrease dependency on a huge bureaucracy that proves every day just how ineffective and corrupt it is. So I decided to become significantly more active at that point. Laying out arguments for what policies could improve this country we live in. Going all in with a party that I don’t trust, because I see significant good in segments of that party that I thought could be empowered and those that I see as the problem in the party be removed. I continued believing that this was the best, maybe only way to effect change. Then, after I predicted…
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So, I had started a full detailed rundown of candidates and realized that if I did it that way it simply would not be done anytime soon. Instead I will be giving a brief summary of what I am looking for in a presidential candidate and then grade the candidates based on what I believe their positions are based on prior statements, speeches, debates, or if applicable their voting records.
We are at a point where simply choosing the better of two evils just will not cut it. I cannot accept pale pastels and thinly veiled progressives as presidential candidates.
It is always interesting to see the arguments against Religious freedom masked in the promotion of equal rights. This is a pretty good opportunity to show a few things that is either willfully or otherwise ignorant about the arguments made about Christianity when talking about religious freedom with those who fail to understand what rights are and what the first amendment means and has always meant.
So we will go one by one. “Christians are seeking the ability to deny service to anyone with whom they disagree on morality issues”. Wrong. I will give an example of protected denial and an example of a not protected denial.
A denial that is not protected: A customer comes into your store to eat a meal. He has his homosexual partner with him and just sits down and orders his dinner and eats it. You cannot refuse to serve this individual no matter what the law in the state is, this is not an example of where freedom of religion would apply. You are not in any way participating in anything you do not agree with you merely are serving food to an individual.
A denial that is protected only if it is consistently applied to all: A customer comes into your store to eat a meal. He has his homosexual partner with him and proceeds to act in PDA that you find offensive. Otherwise is just there to eat and orders his food. The only way that this can be an example of a protection is if all excessive pda is handled in the same matter.
A denial that is protected: That restaurant has a program for having receptions after weddings and rents out a whole room and caters the event and allows decorations for the party to exist inside of its establishment. The denial in this situation is protected because of its inherent sponsorship/participation in the event. This is in the vein of a reasonably applied sincerely held religious belief and is as thus protected by the first amendment and related laws (which to be honest with an appropriate judge the extra legislation should not be necessary at all).
Some Christians may be out there saying they want to deny simple services to those they don’t agree with, but I have not encountered one. The participation or perceived promotion of the lifestyle is where the problem lies, not merely serving a customer.
It never fails when these conversations happen about anything in the public sphere and Christianity. There is almost always someone who comes in and calls all Christians hypocrites. Well, I am here to say, those people are correct. We are called to live a lifestyle we simply cannot live up to on our own. If it were not for the blood of Christ covering our sins, not just before, but also after our Christian walk begins none of us would be viewed as righteous from the judgment seat at the end of days. My name is Joshua, I am a Christian therefore I am a hypocrite. I will never reach that moral responsibility I believe is right. I will always fail. My salvation is through the perfection of Jesus and not through any work of my own.
The next thing that is important is to understand how the definition of love is different for those who are truly Christian compared to what that definition is for someone who believes in a world with no god. There are clear consequences for believing that there is a heaven and a hell.
To the world, love might be just accepting everyone for exactly who they are no matter how much they accept their own human nature. Without a God that definition is perfectly reasonable. After all, if we are not created, and there is no heaven and hell then all we are is animals that have more cognitive abilities then other animals and to deny our human nature is pointless in the long run even if it does have consequences for us in this life. After all, there would then be nothing after this life. At this point, even those who believe in medical consequences for homosexuality are limited just to a self imposed punishment of potential health harm that is not a sure thing and could be escaped by some who choose that lifestyle statistically, and many do not believe these things are health risks.
To a Christian, however, love has a very different meaning and a very different set of prescribed actions in different circumstances. If the God of the Bible exists and the Bible is his word then love is more then just our earthly minds would reason it to be. No individual sin hold any more consequence then another sin. Salvation, after all, is not about being perfect. Its about repenting from your sin and asking Jesus to wash you clean as a sacrificial lamb that covers our sins. With that said, why is it such a big deal that we identify what a sin is and why is it a big deal that we are not seen as promoting said sin?
“She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Many people know the story of the adulteress who found grace from Jesus, but not as many know how it applies. Jesus is pointing out that the law was never intended to be the judge in itself. The law was meant to point to the need for a savior. This is why its important that people call the old testament the law and the prophets, because both are needed in order to interpret the law, and in the times of the laws exact actions Israel was under a theocracy with judges appointed as intercessors between the Israelites and God. Without the prophets, the law is just a long list of prescribed punishments where no exceptions or grace could be found in the law.
Many Christians will, of course, disagree with me. They are proponents of the concept that is the old covenant and the new covenant. In the end I believe a complete study of the Bible, even inside of the old testament, points to one single covenant throughout. The sin that prescribes your punishment to hell is being born of Adam (born human). The only way to eternal life has always been the belief in the need for a savior and that God in His wisdom would send that savior to act as the sacrificial lamb as pointed to in exodus and in the prophets.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality.” This is a verse that many people pretend does not exist. Its 1 Corinthians 6. Does that mean that any who ever commit sexual immorality will not inherit the Kingdom of God? No. It doesn’t. After all, “‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart.” Not only was David welcomed into the Kingdom of God, he was the only person found in the Bible with the honor of being called a man after God’s own heart.
How can that be? This is the same david that committed adultery, murder, even went through periods of time with idolatry. Because the purpose of the relationship with God is not its results, its in the heart and its in what its intent is. What that person identifies with and strives to be not who that person is. Its an interesting juxtaposition isn’t it? The same Bible, both in the new testament says both that adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom of God also says that David who committed murder to cover up his adulteress affair was a man after God’s own heart. There are two things that you can do with this dichotomy. You can either throw the Bible out as a guide to God’s will, or you can accept that its an individuals identity as a Christ/God-follower that saves them with Jesus’s sacrifice allowing for that to be enough. What you cannot do is identify yourself as pursuing sin instead of Christ and then claim to be a Christ-follower.
To love the sinner, you must hate the sin. To embrace sin is to reject Christ over that area of your life. Its akin to seeing a car go up a hill you’ve walked up and saw a bridge out that cannot be seen over the hill to continue on its journey with no warning. To not warn of the danger of embracing sin, much less promoting that sin as normal and acceptable through business actions is not love it is hate on a level that is repugnant. In the end, we are not of the world and we were told that we would be persecuted for our love. Mainly because without God, the definition of love is the closer to the Christians definition of hate then its definition of love.
These days it seems everyone is concentrating so hard on the things they want that they fail to see the unintended consequences of accomplishing what it is they want. Sure, there are thousands out there echoing the same comments about the deal in Arizona. I’m not here to discuss the legislation that much other than to say that it is widely misunderstood and if people actually understood it they would realize that the bill was limiting the scope of a pre-existing law by clarifying the intent of the law. But thats not what I am here to talk about. I am going to just give you a few scenarios and see how you feel about each.
First, you have a returning service veteran who was a marine on the front lines somewhere. He returns and is medically and honorably discharged from his military service because he developed PTSD. When he gets home he takes stock of what talents he has and decides his best way to return to society would e to pick up an old hobby and turn it into a business. He becomes a professional photographer. One day, after he’s gotten some word of mouth he gets a call from a church. After looking into the church it seems that church protests at military funerals and believes that soldiers are murderers and make a public spectacle of doing such. They believe that being a soldier is being a murderer. They call this guy, probably unaware that he is a soldier or the person who solicited him did not do their research on the individual they are hiring. So, a law that states that there is no right to refusal on grounds of moral or religious grounds would then force this soldier to go to a rally of theirs. Take pictures of what he finds detestable. Allow those individuals to use his photography for promotions of their work that flies in the face of the person that he is. Is this really what you want?
Second scenario. An owner of a bar that is a well known gay & lesbian establishment doesn’t stay open during the week. In order to fight the margins and give employees more opportunities to make money during the day or provide jobs that otherwise would not be there they offer their establishment out for rental during the day when the bar is closed. They have deals to have a wait staff and full catering to these events that are done. The bar owner is a gay rights advocate and truly detests the idea of people believing that homosexuality is a sin. One day he receives a phone call from a traditional evangelical church looking to do an interactive Bible study on Sodom and Gomorrah. Because the law is clear that he cannot discriminate and he has no right to refuse to perform a service performed for another based on a religious reason he must then perform that service. He is then forced to hear the most intense, most categorically strict teaching on homosexuality that leaves no room for grace in the talk. The study takes two hours of time yet he and his staff have to be there, listen to it, give the bible study a forum and thus promote it. After all, its what he does for every other similar group that rents out his bar during the day. Is this really what you want?
A muslim is in public relations as an independent (running his own company) and is approached by a company whose sole product is pork. They sell everything on a pig in one way or another. Pork, ham, bacon, and even pork fat made into a sauce. Because he has no right to refuse based on his personal beliefs he has to take on the project. After all he was paid his standard rate, and was asked to do the same thing he does for any other customer. So, not only does he have to work for the company that he has moral objections to, he has to directly promote that which he believes is immoral. Is this what you really want?
Where does religious freedom start? Where does it end? What are the consequences of the logic being used to promote an idea.
After Season 6×08 of the series “The Mentalist” it has been made abundantly clear that I held an incorrect perception of the role and magnitude of what I believed to be the foundational character of “Red John” actually was. Bruno Heller went to great lengths to make him seem like he was merely an inherently flawed, perverted sociopath with delusions of grandeur. That he was scared of death to the point he actually called 9-1-1 right before he was killed. Instead of rehashing my list of disappointments in the episode I am going to take the story from the closure of the CBI.
We start out with Patrick Jane in the church. He’s just sitting there, but as he is sitting there menacing music plays (organ heavy but similar to past red john themes) as you hear Bertram and Jane talking on the phone earlier. As the conversation ends you see Gale Bertram walk in the side door and pulls a gun on jane then they have a conversation similar to what actually happened in the episode losing the “I don’t know who Red John is” and the “I’m just a foot soldier”. Bertram believes he actually was calling the shots as RJ’s right hand man. When he gets to the “loose ends” part of his speech you are looking at Patrick Jane and hear a gun go off. You quickly switch to Bertram who says “who?” and watch him fall over and die, just as it happened in the show itself. As soon as he thuds, the camera switches to Thomas McAllister who says “Hi, Patrick” and Jane says “Hi” and cuts to commercial.
Coming back from commercial break they would cut to the farm. The farm where the Red John Smiley first showed up. In this, the first murder connected to Red John it would show Tom McAllister and Ray Haffner where Haffner says “I was sent here by Brett Stiles to fix this”. Fade from that back to the church. Going into Red John and Jane’s talking back and forth. Jane not giving McAllister what he wanted. Largely following the show at this point. When he says “You probably have a lot of questions for me, we have time if you want.” A flash of the smilie over his child’s bed, flash to bosco dying, a flash to a catatonic kristina frye, then back to Jane’s line about “pathetic delusions of grandeur”. At the end of “thats why your wife and kid are dead” a flash to him in the scene where he called out red john (none of the scenes have sound just the continuance of music). I would keep the pigeon flying in his face, but it would be a flash, not have him screaming like a baby but rather backing off and distracted. Just enough for jane to pull the gun. Jane would not shoot at that point, but stand at advantage with Red John still armed. It would cut to a passed out Brett Stiles on the couch, then to a scene between Stiles and McAllister some time after the barn incident had happened. Stiles would say “you are dangerous to my flock, and you are not welcome here.” A henchmen (maybe cordero?) would come in to the church with a gun at that point, but at a bad angle. As this person comes into view, McAllister had laid down his gun because of Jane’s advantage knowing he would come in. Henchmen takes a shot, but it misses jane. As the shot is fired McAllister starts running. Quick cut to a car waiting for Red John on the other side of the graveyard area. He knew that it was likely that the FBI would catch up to Jane if they stayed at the church so he had planned ahead. While running for his car, Jane catches up to him. Shoots him non-mortally, but enough to knock him down. Cut to commercial break.
From the commercial, I would show a bunch of clips of nothing but red john smily faces. Then quick hits of McAllister with Rosalind Harker, then with Lorelei Martins, then with the psychiatrist. Then showing the death of lorelei, then cut to the psychiatrist screaming. Then cut to a scene that would explain the bombs. Have Red John say that “you are not a murderer”, and Jane retort, you should know better then that as he put his hands to his neck. A flash of McAllister at the mall watching Jane and Carter talking. The blinking was good, but have him say no to both questions. Make it a little harder for Jane to finish the job. End the show exactly how it ended.
You could have some of the same scenes interspersed throughout, but less is more with the CBI team in this episode unless you wanted to make it two hours. The only important parts were the “your boyfriend” conversation and the team standing up to Abbott and getting arrested. Would this solve every question? No. Do I really have a suggestion to figure out how the list was figured in this episode? No. But I guarantee you I would be fully appreciative of this episode had it been closer to what I had in mind. keeping most of what happened with only small, short cutscenes and cutting out the craziness about red john being afraid to die.
After seeing a long list of complaints about the Affordable Care Act (which I prefer to call Obamacare) by professing conservatives on a local news facebook page I have decided that this post is necessary. Do we really expect to win the support of people who we denigrate and call vicious (and mostly untrue) names? The point of this is not to deny the abuses. The point of this is not to say that the people that “conservatives” talk about do not exist. The point of this is to show what I consider hypocrisy in all too common conservative talking points.
The only people who need “insert entitlement program here” are those that are too lazy to get off their bum and work.
In this particular case the program was Obamacare. Everyone knows that I am against Obamacare and have been one of the most outspoken proponents of being more aggressive in trying to uproot the program and keep it from germinating. Lets go over the facts of who Obamacare was supposedly intended to help, and those that assume that the legislation will help them. In order to qualify for Obamacare you must make at least 100% of poverty level. By definition if you make more then poverty level you are working. The average person who makes poverty level type money are retail workers, many of them young, some even with full college educations and student loans to pay off. Many of these people have the will to work and the qualifications to work at a higher level of pay, but those jobs are not available right now.
Now, a conservative argument is that liberal policies hurt the jobs market and create an atmosphere where every job opening has hundreds of applicants. I believe this argument is true. My question to those who continually put down those that don’t make much money and who are seen as needing help to pay basic bills such as health care is how is it consistent to both say that liberal policies are having an adverse effect on the middle class and poor and also say that those that are lower middle class and poor are lazy bums who are fully loyal to the democrat party? To me, neither can be true in full without the other being false.
Want to know why conservatives are looked at as being completely apathetic and for the rich? Because we don’t fight for those that are hurt by the policies we abhor in their perception. Why this perception? Because people don’t care about what you know or what you can do for them until they know you care about them. If you don’t care about them they are going to question your motives, and be cynical about just who you are trying to help. As no one can help someone by insulting them.
Think of your favorite color. What is it? When did you decide on it? Its actually quite a funny question, because I can sit here and tell you all day why I picked my favorite color, but its not something I could ever sit down and say “Hey, I decided aqua was my favorite color on my 5th birthday!” Everyone who knows me past a certain point knows that my favorite color is Dolphin aqua. (The kind currently on their uniforms which is the same as their 80’s uniforms, not the green/teal they wore in the mid 90’s forward) Is picking your favorite color a decision? Well, yes, picking is synonymous with decision.
Thinking of everyone I know, I have very few friends/relatives that have changed their favorite color. In every situation I can think of, the change in color coincided with a significant life event that made a color take on a whole different meaning. Of course, there are examples of those who never really developed a favorite color. These are those that seem to change it every other week with fashion and culture dictating it, or other external factors.
This morning I decided to wake up. I decided to get dressed. I decided to get in my car and go to work. I decided to follow my work restrictions as humiliating as rolling around in a MartCart all day is when your job description is supposed to be what mine is. My nature is to like sleep. My nature is to sit around in my pajama’s all day. My nature tells me that I don’t like my job enough to enjoy going to work. My nature is such that the idea of today’s day of work would be humiliating and frankly every fiber of my being did not want to do it. Yet, I counteracted my nature by my decision making.
So what if I had woke up and did things differently? What if I did those different things consistently over a long period of time? What if I stopped denying the area’s of my nature that would hurt me and my family in the long run? What would that look like? Ok, so on day one…so what? Maybe the first day I slept in too long and became late to work. Maybe the day after that I just decided to go to work, but man I am real tired of following my work restrictions and I got fired for it. Maybe after that I allowed my nature telling me to stay in my pajama’s all day to take over every day. Eventually I will no longer be making conscious decisions at all. But am I no longer making the decision? I certainly am making a decision.
Sin works no different then any other part of human nature. Every human’s nature is to sin, and each human have their own vice’s in their own unique intensity and variety. Are human beings on average monogamous by nature? No. Are human beings on average prone to practice chastity and virtue? No. A person who embraces their nature is still choosing to embrace their nature.
Be very careful of embracing your human nature fully. There is a reason that we are called to deny our fleshly desires outlined as sinful behavior. It leads to a loss of control over your decision-making processes. We become a slave to our nature. We become that which the evolutionist swears we are, nothing other then an animal with advanced communication capabilities. But we do have one capability that other animals both do not have, and have no need of. The ability to deny our nature and act according to Godly principles. The ability never ensures its ease. if things are coming easy for you then you are either in a rare state of relationship with Christ, or something is wrong. You should be able to see your decisions behind you. See where you denied your nature.
Make a habit to force yourself to see what decisions you make daily. It does not take forever for a behavior to become like your favorite color, nearly impossible to change. It starts with the realization that you are human, and that these behaviors are not beneficial for you in the long run. Your relationship with Christ covers your sins, but sins can still drag you down while you are still on earth. Don’t concentrate on your nature, concentrate on the choices you make every day. Concentrating on your nature will lead you down a path of exasperation that can, and will lead you to violate your principles.
There is nothing in your life that is not a choice someone made.
I always love interesting debates. Ones that defy logic in particular. A guy from Duck Dynasty walks into the trump hotel and gets thrown out. I certainly would be upset if that were to happen to me. The link http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/trump-hotel-not-apologizing-for-booting-duck-dynasty-star.html . This incident, in review, was not a huge deal even to the duck dynasty star that it happened to. He brushed it off. But this does bring up an interesting question of how people perceive rights and when perceived rights get in the way of actual rights in my opinion.
Do you have a right to maintain a beard? Sure you do. If a hypothetical business decided it was in its best interests to ban those with beards from their establishment is that their right? Yes it is. Sometimes it is hard to just see the truth. The truth is that life is not always fair. People do not always agree with your lifestyle choices, or how you have decided to “decorate” your body for lack of a better terminology. Not only do people have the right to disagree with you. They have the right, on their own property, to exclude you from their business or personal property for those disagreements. This is why I cringe when I see campaigns to force business’s to accept tattoo’s. Do I believe it is necessarily right for a business to exclude people from working for the reason of an exposed tattoo? No. I think the stigma is going away and that our culture is increasingly accepting it in the public square. However, if you want to work for, shop at, dine at, or participate in anyone’s privately owned business you go by their rules.
So the question is, why is this such a hard issue to wrap your head around? There is a simple, one word answer. History. Before the civil rights movement eradicated the practice with legislation many store owners would deny service to a person based on the color of their skin. In most states the definition of unlawful discrimination is pretty vague. In order for the discrimination to be lawful a business owner must “show a logical basis for the decision and must be evenly applied and attributed”. Many people take this, and run a long way with it. But the most common explanation and barometer used by courts is if the condition for which service is denied is not something that can be controlled or chosen. This has been largely the reason for the intense debate on whether or not homosexuality is genetic or if it is a lifestyle choice. But, even if it were ruled to be genetic (which science does not actually support as of now) there still would be the entrenched first amendment rights that would grant that this http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/06/07/gay-colorado-couple-sues-bakery-for-allegedly-refusing-them-wedding-cake/ case involves a choice. A choice to get married. Even if the lifestyle is genetic it is still a choice to get married.
It is a hard debate, but I believe it is a very important one. Do I have the right to force you to allow me in your establishment when you have set guidelines as to what is acceptable there? I say I do not have that right, and no one should have that right.