Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obama and the Least of These

I told you, I told you, I told you! I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet but isn't it uncanny that on Saturday morning here in east Texas I was telling you how socialists historically have misused Matthew 25 to promote a socialist agenda and that very night Barack Obama goes to Saddleback Church and does that very thing? Shouldn't I get an award or something? Check out this short video:

A couple things:

First, Christ, in the passage in Matthew 25, is not addressing a secular society, he is addressing his Church--a Christian society. It is the Church's job to care for the poor and do ministry in Christ's name, not the government's. Charity belongs in the private sector where it is done much more efficiently by self-sacrificing people who have love for Christ and others as a motive. When government does "charity" it must take the money it uses from citizens whom it threatens with the use of force and then give it to others. Those involved too often have power and control as their motivation, not love for Christ--and power naturally corrupts.

Second, America does care for its poor. My goodness, in comparison to the rest of the world we don't even have any poor. America feeds the world, cares for people who are stricken with disease and disaster, is always first to send aid to other countries in need. Always. For Obama to imply that we do little is ludicrous. Furthermore, we do it freely, through private organizations, we don't need the government to act as a middle-man. Americans are the most generous people on earth.

Third, America's greatest moral failure is abortion. Period. Up until this century it was slavery and oppression of minorities, but that has been addressed in large measure. Lincoln ended slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation and a hundred years later the Civil Rights Act went a long way toward ending institutional injustice against African Americans. That moral failure was addressed and that is something to be proud of as Americans. But abortion is worse. It takes an entire class of citizens and, instead of just enslaving them--stripping them of their God-given rights based on nothing more than color of skin--it says to them they have no right at all, to even live. It takes their life for the most inexcusable of all reasons--convenience. It is repugnant, repulsive, barbaric. It is heinous. But to the left, and to Obama, it is defended as a "right."

Do you think maybe "the least of these" as referred to by Jesus might include the most vulnerable of those in whom God has breathed the breath of life--the unborn? What will the Great Judge of all the Earth have to say about those who had it in their power to pass legislation and end the holocaust against the unborn and did not, in fact, acted to sustain the holocaust and even protect it? And what about those, like Obama, who even acted three times in the Illinois state Senate to kill bills that would have outlawed infanticide?

Your greatest moral failure, Mr. Obama, was not drugs or alcohol. It was acting to protect abortion and infanticide (a redundancy, in my opinion) when you had it in your power to work toward outlawing them. Shame on you and shame on us and shame on the Democrats.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama references our Scripture!

Saturday night while no one was watching Obama and McCain both appeared at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church for a forum. Obama appeared first, answered questions from Warren, then left the stage for McCain to repeat the process. During his answers Obama made reference to the Scripture that I cited in my last post on the evils of socialism and used it to do exactly what I told you that 19th century evangelicals used to do with it. I have to leave for work now, but as soon as I can I will find video of it and post it here along with comments.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Legally Sanctioned Robbery

Governmental redistribution of income (socialism) is legally sanctioned robbery.

It is interesting to note that a large portion of the early socialist movement in England (mid to late 19th century) was made up of evangelical Christians. Their arguments were that as a society we were obligated to care for the poor and the downtrodden. This was both a logical extension of Christian theology and an integral and practical part of the Christian faith mandated by Christ himself.

Matthew 25:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

As a Christian society we are to care for the poor.

There are several problems with that and I hope to deal with each of them. They are, in no particular order:

(1) This is a mandate for the Church, not the state. "Christian society" does not equal society as a whole.

(2) What Christ mandates for the Church is rightly responded to by heartfelt agreement and submission by his disciples. In this case, the result is what we call charity--voluntary giving out of love for Christ and others (the two greatest commandments). By definition, charity cannot be forced. When it is, as in the case of governmental redistribution of wealth from the "haves" to the "have nots", it is not charity at all and thus not obedience at all.

(3) It violates the fundamental economic principles of justice taught in the rest of Scripture, principles such as "the laborer is worthy of his hire" and "if a man does not work, neither should he eat."

Let's look at the third briefly:

If I were to go to each of my neighbors and ask them to give to a worthy charitable cause this would be a laudable use of my time and energy. Some of my neighbors would likely give and they would be following the mandates of Christ in doing so. Others would not give for various reasons and this does not necessarily mean they are disobeying Christ, again for various reasons (maybe they gave at the office)(smile).

Understand, however, that there is a principle involved here that is fundamental to justice and the maintenance of a just society and it is this: money earned by an individual rightfully belongs to that individual, not to anyone else and not to society as a whole. It is that individual's right to do with that money as he wishes. When someone else takes that money by either force or deception we call that a crime. It is an injustice.

So let's go back now to my example but change it just a little. What if I go door to door to all my neighbors and instead of asking them to give voluntarily to a good cause I threaten force against them unless they hand over a certain portion of what is theirs to me so that I can give it to other people. What would happen? The police would be called and I would be thrown in jail. Why? That's called robbery and is punishable by law in every human society since the beginning of time.

Except when government does it in a socialist society.

Why is it that government can do what would be a crime if an individual did it? What right does one individual have to force another individual to do what that other individual wishes with the first individual's money? None. I have no right at all to force you to do anything with your money. It is yours. However, for some reason we have been conditioned to believe that it is okay for government to decide what individuals should do with their own money, for government to take that money by force away from its rightful owner and give it to someone else. Socialism is legally sanctioned robbery. It is a fundamental injustice and a violation of individual liberty. It is our God-given right to keep what we earn and do with it as we wish. Our obedience to God's commands and submission to Christ's mandates must be voluntary or they are not obedience or submission at all.

This is not an argument against all taxation. There are certain things that government must do to protect our liberties and those things require the equal support of all citizens, but re-distribution of wealth is not one of them. Socialism is an unjust and blatant misuse of governmental authority. It is robbery and it is tyranny.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Alexander Solzhenitsyn died this past Sunday. Don't know who he was? Don't feel bad. Neither did I. But after reading a bit about him on Al Mohler's blog I now have some new books added to my wishlist.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Texas Stands Tall

It is sad when anyone dies. It is sadder still when someone is cut off at a young age, an untimely death, as it were. What is even more sad is when the ones who die at a young age are the victims of a senseless act of evil. That was the case with Elizabeth Pena (16) and Jennifer Ertman (14) who were gang-raped and brutally murdered fifteen years ago in Houston, Texas.

One of the culprits, Jose Medellin, was executed for his part in the crime last night.

Genesis 9:6 (ESV)
“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.

It is not surprising to hear that Texas has executed another criminal. As Eustace would say, we do that round here. What does grab your attention is when Texas snubs its nose at Mexico and the world to do it.

Thank God for Texas. No wonder I live here.

The World Court had argued that Medellin, a Mexican national (he was here illegally, his parents having crossed over illegally when he was three), suffered legal harm when he was not informed of certain rights he had under the Vienna Convention. Mexico's Foreign Relations Department had sent a note of protest to our State Department regarding Medellin's case.

Our State Department responded back that he should not have been here illegally in the first place and the Mexican government should concern itself with that fact as well as the other fourteen gazillion illegals who are over here.

I wish.

No, in response, the President asked the states who are currently holding Mexican nationals on death row to review those cases. But the Supreme Court ruled that neither the President nor the World Court could intervene on the sovereignty of Texas and force it to delay the execution.


What's scary is that there was ever a doubt, that this battle ever even had to be fought.

But Texas stood tall and when the time came Medellin was given his lethal injection and justice was served.

Mexico can go jump in the river (those who haven't already). If the Mexican government weren't so woefully inept and corrupt and cripplingly socialist the people wouldn't be fleeing here in droves in the first place. Take that Mexico's Foreign Relations Department.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

People Are Listening to Obama

There is hope for America yet. Change is no longer just a slogan, it is becoming reality. Can you feel the electricity in the air? Those aren't goosebumps, those are Obamabumps. It's the power of inevitability that is sweeping our land. Obama speaks and people listen.

Yes, I made fun of Barack Obama's suggestion that we could save as much oil by simply airing up our tires and getting tune-ups as the oil companies could produce by new drilling. Yes, I utilized my second amendment rights and unleashed my rhetorical cannons on that idea. But I now have to concede that perhaps I rushed to judgment.

People are listening.

As I was driving to work this morning and listening to the Glenn Beck program on the radio (and I highly recommend him and his show) I got to noticing the other cars out there with me. I did more than notice them, I purposely looked at all the tires that were going by me, attached to those automobiles busily carrying their human cargo to school and to work. Know what I saw?

Not one under-inflated tire.

I know, I know, I know. It's hard to believe, isn't it? What has it been, only a week? Already America is listening to Obama and inflating her tires. Why, it seems like only a few weeks ago when just about everybody was driving around with a flat. But now, thanks to Barack Obama showing us a better way, people are inflating their tires and soon, and I do believe it will be soon, gas will be back down to $3, even $2 a gallon.

Feels good doesn't it?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Douglas Adams and Dirk Gently

Douglas Adams is the world-famous author of the world-famous Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. And, yes, there were five books in that trilogy. I read them in high school and, though I'm sure a lot of the satire went right over my head, I found them a delight. I read them again when in my mid-twenties and then a third time about three years ago. The first was made into a movie.

It is ironic that Adams was an atheist for, in my opinion, he was nearly a god with a pen. I absolutely adore his prose. It's not just that he's funny, he can paint a picture in a most colorful and hilarious way. He also seems to be able to find the humor in everyday characters and bring it out. As a writer I could only wish that I had the vocabulary to describe to you how great a writer I think Adams was.

Yes, was. Sadly, he is dead. Sadder still is the fact that he only wrote two novels in his Dirk Gently detective series. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul have to be the funniest books ever written. I can remember being up at 2am in my college dorm literally rolling on the floor and laughing while reading The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. I have just started reading the first one for the third time and its sequel will follow. I love these books.

Buy them. Read them. Go to your local library and check them out. Do it now!

Jupiter Rising

Friday night I was peacefully eating a bite of supper and watching a little television when I noticed my boys were busy with something out in the front yard. A few minutes later in comes my younger son Michael (5) with a little bit of a disappointed look on his face. "Dad," says he, "can you help us find the star we're trying to look at? Jimmy can't find it."

"Hold on," I told him, "I'll be out there in a minute."

Sure enough, the boys were outside with the telescope. It wasn't quite dark yet and my first reaction was to tell them that it was still too bright to see any stars. Then I noticed that one star was visible just over the horizon toward our west(?) Jimmy was busy getting frustrated because he could not get it in his viewfinder. "That's not a star, that's a planet," I said, showing off just about the sum total of my astronomical knowledge.

"I know," said Jimmy who is about to turn twelve. "That's what I wanted to look at. What planet do you think it is?"

"Probably Venus," I guessed.

So I had him bring me out a chair and I sat down and tried for a good while to find the planet in the telescope. This was not as easy as it may sound as the telescope is a bit rickety on its tripod stand and it tends to not want to stay where it is fixed. Just before it was my turn to get frustrated I struck pay dirt. There was a large, bright ball of light in my lens, but out of focus. I adjusted and it got smaller and smaller until there was a tiny planet looking back at me. I was surprised, nearly stunned actually. I had not believed that the telescope would show something that clearly. I looked again. "This is not Venus," I told Jimmy. "It's Jupiter." What surprised me is that I could see it clearly enough to distinguish which planet it was. But the identity was unmistakable. I could make out the colors and the horizontal stripes. Jupiter.

The boys took turns looking at it breathlessly. I wasn't certain, but those tiny dots which seemed to be surrounding it, could they be moons? Jimmy ran and got his star book and confirmed that, yes, Jupiter was viewable in the night sky during the month of August from just before to a few hours after dark.

What excited me was how excited they were about it. Of course, Michael is excited about anything that excites Jimmy. It's a younger brother thing. I took advantage to encourage Jimmy about a possible career field in astronomy. I want him to know that the whole world is open to him as a possibility and that his only limitations are those he places upon himself, so I'm always doing this. Michael piped up, "Yeah, and I'm going to Mars."

"You are?"

"Yeah," he said matter-of-factly. "I was watching the Backyardigans the other day and they flew to Mars in a spaceship." It was as if it were commonplace.

"Well, you just might," I told him.