Category Archives: Politics

Discussions about POLITICS and GOVERNMENT. POLITICS and GOVERNMENT at all levels – Federal / State / County / City / and Local. This category is about all things that interest me in POLITICS and GOVERNMENT.

Is Abortion Murder?

I know I have made my opinion known on the topic of abortion within this blog in past posts, however, some topics are important enough, worth enough, to be revisited again and again.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C.

January 22nd is the anniversary of the 1973 Roe Vs. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion as a “Constitutional” right in the United States of America.  During those 45 years since that ruling, there have been (conservatively) 60 million abortions in the United States alone.  To put this into perspective, six million people of Jewish decent were murdered by Nazi Germany between 1941 – 1945 during World War II.  If you are generous and allow a full 5 years across WW-II for the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany (in reality, they were slightly more compressed), you would achieve nearly the same rate of 1.33 million deaths per year for both Jewish people killed in the Holocaust and abortions in the U.S. since 1973 (1.20 million/year vs. 1.33 million/year for the Holocaust and Abortions in the U.S. respectively).

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – march participants

While both abortions in the U.S. and the Holocaust are (were) state sponsored events (the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned abortion in the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 as well as Government funding of Planned Parenthood – using taxpayer dollars – which sponsors abortions), the justifications that each hide behind are quite different (presumably to make one sound less horrifying than it really is).

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – Marchers were of all ages, gender, and race.

While the reasoning used by Nazi Germany to justify the murder of millions of Jewish people all across Europe are completely indefensible by any right thinking individual, the subtlety used to justify abortions within the United States are more cunning and deceiving.  Within the abortion argument in the United States we hide behind words like embryo and fetus.  By using these words to describe a phase of human life, we tend to isolate the subject of the abortion and make it sound less human and thus perfectly acceptable to remove and throw away.  We simply state we are terminating the pregnancy (vice acknowledging we are terminating a human life) and having safely justified our actions to ourselves, we move on.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – united in cause.

But the question still remains: Is Abortion Murder?  Just because we have justified it to ourselves does not mean that it is OK.  Nor does it mean that we will not be held accountable for our actions just because we’ve excused ourselves of them.  Have we fooled ourselves into believing that the termination of a pregnancy (vis-à-vis abortion) is OK because we are not actually taking a human life, when in reality, we actually are?

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – pause and think.

I suppose if you are Atheistic in your world view, it doesn’t really matter.  After all, there is no God, no Moral code, and definitely no purpose or meaning to life.  Given the foundation the Atheist builds their world view upon, they really shouldn’t mind killing of any kind.  After all, with no God to answer to, and everything in existence being meaningless, it wouldn’t matter one way or the other if abortions were murder or not.  But if you are Atheistic in your world view and you are intellectually honest with yourself, then why do you care how the morals get defined?  There is no more control over which process wins here than there is with stars burning out in the heavens.

2018 National Right To Life March Washington D.C. – marching together.

If you are Agnostic in your world view you shouldn’t have an opinion unless you are directly affected by the issue.  And even then you should pick your friends carefully.  After all, if you had one influence in your life that favored abortion and another, equal influence, that opposed abortion, it would be pretty confusing for you.  The Agnostic would have to flip a coin in order to decide.

However if you are Theistic in your world view, then you must believe that all life emanates from a God, a Creator.  And if you cannot definitively define the exact moment in time when that God-given, Creator induced life begins, then you had better err on the side of caution and treat all credible instances as human life.

This is essentially what President Ronald Regan said during his time in office.  President Regan argued (from a Theistic point of view, without stating it explicitly) that if one could not determine the point that human life began (we may all agree that the individual cells are life), that you could not act responsibly in terminating that life without being potentially guilty of murder.

So is abortion murder?  Consider that the fetus stage appears human in form.  We have hands, feet, a head, a torso.  A face.  Consider that at the fetus stage that we have a human heartbeat (~6 weeks), at the fetus stage we can measure brain waves/activity (~6 weeks.  Indeed the brain needs to be developed enough at this stage to govern organs such as the heart).  Consider at the fetus stage you can begin to see rudimentary facial expressions.  There are ultra-sounds of a fetus even sucking their thumb.  At the fetus stage you may even determine the biological sex of the child.

Some have argued as to whether or not the child is sentient at the fetus stage.  We know that at the fetus stage the child reacts to stimuli such as pain.  Very early on the child can even react to the voices of its mother and father.

These are what we know, in a rudimentary way, through both science and medicine of today.  Who knows what we will be able to discover or discern in the future?

And of course there is the religious argument.  Christianity teaches that the person (the spirit – that part of you that will endure forever) is known by God (the Creator) before you are even formed in the womb.

Is abortion murder?  How can any reasonable person say that it is not?  And we destroy thousands upon thousands of lives each year in the United States alone.  Isn’t it time that this practice is stopped?

The Way

Psalm 84:5-12 New American Standard Bible

5 How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion! …They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
…The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

So…
Psalm 86:11
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

My GPS has changed my life! I’ve put all my maps aside for the most part. “She” always knows where I am and how to get me where I want to go…most of the time. I call her Jennifer.

It has taken much of the stress of travelling away. Having my own personal navigator aboard, assuring me of my next turn and happily re-calculating when I get off course, is a lifesaver.  It has removed the concern of ever being lost. Amazing…how does she do that?  My techie friends tell me it’s not that complicated.  Though I don’t get it, I do trust my way to her.  Though I don’t understand, I believe her commands and go where she directs, confident I’ll ultimately get home.

The application to these verses is obvious. The psalmist tells us that having God’s Way in our heart will always get us “Home”, to HIM and Zion, His dwelling place. It is there that every “good thing” we need for life is found. Everything required for my sufficiency, adequacy and security is there in great supply. He is very happy to deluge us there with His best.

No wonder, the psalmist would ask he Lord to teach him the way to walk and to revere HIM enough to stay on that road to His presence…the ultimate Destination.

Actually, there are only two ways in Life, God’s way or another one. There are many voices calling to divert us from His prescribed path. His word, The Bible, has been God’s GPS for me in this life for some time and is always spot on. My problem is, I too often take “side trips” and get lost in the complexities and troubles waywardness brings.

Psalm 139:23
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Knowing his vulnerability and predisposition to waywardness, the psalmist asks his Heavenly Father to search his heart for the entrenched habits and thinking that would upstage God’s way, and requests personal guidance in His eternal, life-giving, sustaining path.  Just think, having your own personal, resident Spiritual navigator with you, always directing and ultimately, to Himself.  It’s true! He wants to plug into your life and take you where you should go.  It brings the confidence He intends us to have in the difficult days we live.

The psalmist’s prayer has become mine every new day.  Wayward as I have been and still can be, I’ve put aside all other “maps” and trust His unfailing direction for everything. For me, that is making all the difference.

My prayer for you is to find His way and stay there. You will never regret it. Make your way “Home” to Him and know the best and most He’s gives.  For me, I’ve made up my mind.  I’m

Heading Home,

Mitch

Are You Standing for the NFL?

American Flag proudly flying above the U.S.S. Constellation in Baltimore, Maryland’s Inner Harbor.

I’d like to have a word with Americans today.  And when I say Americans, I not only mean citizens of this great Country, I mean citizens who are loyal to the Country and its Government.  Because you are the only true citizens.  Because that is what it means to owe allegiance.  It means to be loyal to the Government.  If you are not loyal to the Government, you are not a true citizen of the county.  You may be an anarchist or a revolutionist, but certainly not a citizen.  Because a citizen is loyal to their Government.

Here in the United States of America, we have many methods of demonstrating our loyalty to our Country, our Government, and our Ideals.  However there are three undeniable expressions of loyalty that every American has agreed upon for decades, that expresses our loyalty and our Allegiance to our country and our government.  And those three expressions are (1) To serve in the United States Military (the Armed Forces of the United States of America – the United States Navy, the United States Army, the United States Air Force, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard).  If you serve in the defense of our country, and you serve honorably and loyally, you are proven to be a loyal citizen of this great country.  As a matter-of-fact, we have had a program in our past where we have extended citizenship to foreign nationals who have served honorably in our Military.  My wife has Filipino family members who are U.S. citizen today because they served in the United States Military.  (2) To salute and revere our flag.  Acknowledging our flag has been considered for decades to be a sign of patriotism towards our country.  And to salute our flag has always been considered to render a military salute for military members in United States Military uniform and to place ones right hand over the heart for citizens not in United States Military uniform.  And by standing, if one is capable of doing so, while rendering said salute, while facing the flag.  And (3) by reverencing our National Anthem in like kind.  These three methods of showing patriotism for our country has never been debated seriously in our history.

The acts of some of our professional sports players, most notably those in the National Football League (NFL), to not follow these practices (Jaguars, Ravens kneel at UK game) is, by definition, a disrespect to the American flag, the American National Anthem, and our country.  It can be perceived as nothing less.

The citizens of the United States of America have many divides over the course of our history.  However, other than the United States Civil War (where the South actually succeeded, set up their own government, and had their own flag), we have never not respected our country through our differences.

I have had lots of differences with my country during my lifetime.  Abortion for example.  I believe abortion cheapens life and kills innocent, defenseless, human babies.  And yet I’ve never knelt before the United States flag.  The assault on my Christian values.  Which I believe has led to many of the problems we experience today.  And yet I’ve never disrespected our National anthem.  And the protests against our great Military, during the Viet Nam War, and the wars that have followed.  And yet I have never not honored my country.  I love my country, as is evidenced by my actions and what I do.

I married a Philippine citizen (who is now a Naturalized American Citizen).  And we have traveled to the Philippines many times over the years to visit family and friends.  On some of those trips we have attended festivals where the Philippine National anthem was played.  I have stood respectfully, but I have never placed my hand over my heart or recited the pledge to their flag.  To do so would be to disrespect my country.

When American Football players stand on foreign soil (the United Kingdom) and kneel when the United States National Anthem is played, it is not only disrespectful to our country, it is tantamount to renouncing their citizenship.  And when they stand and place their hands over their hearts for the United Kingdom’s National anthem, it is not only disrespectful to our country, it is tantamount to pledging their allegiance to a foreign country and government.

The same is true for our members of Congress or any other citizen who does not honor our flag, our anthem, or our Government.

We must find ways to work together to overcome our challenges, but disrespecting our country is not one of them.  That is quitting the team.  We must support the team and work with it to make it a better team in the end.  And thankfully, here in this country we have the freedom to do just that.

Consider this, what if one of those NFL teams had some differences amongst the players on their team?  And what if some of those players chose to protest those difference by wearing the jerseys of a rival team?  How far do you think that would go?  What if they were to bring out the flag or team colors of a rival team and place them over their own team colors?  How long would it be before their teammates, coaches, staff, and owners sat down and had a word with them?

We may have differences, and we may have problems, but we are still Americans and we should still honor our country.  And quite frankly, if you cannot, then I invite you to leave and let those who do honor our country to hold up the flag.  Let me know how far you get in any other country on Earth disrespecting their flag, anthem, or government.  I’d suggest you try North Korea first.

Do You Stand with the NFL Today?  I hope not.  I hope you boycott the NFL until they learn to stand at attention with the rest of us, for the United States Flag.  If you want to kneel, try the altar at your local Church.

A New Dynamic

When I started LRPSP three plus years ago, I had no intention or desire to have a blog.  I did not set out to simply archive my thoughts for all the world to peruse. If you have read any of them and taken pause, been blessed, or given new thought to some subject, then I am truly humbled and pleased.  However this was not my original goal.

What I really envisioned when I started this journey was a discussion. A debate of ideas. And debates and discussions take multiple parties. The Scriptures say that  “iron sharpens iron”. And one lone voice cannot sharpen itself nor lead others to sharpen themselves.

I have long believed that we must each run our own race. I can no more stand before God in your stead than you can stand before Him in mine.  Therefore you must grow as I must grow. And you must seek truth as I must seek truth. And hopefully I may intone a thought that inspires others to think deeper, but others will intone a thought that causes me to think deeper.  I don’t want to just share on a blog, I want others to begin or continue a journey in their lives that will lead them to a Creator that loves them and desires a personal relationship with them, as He does me.

I have also desired to consolidate voices into one strong accord. A choir of voices if you will. A choir is made up of parts, yet when they sing together, each part comes out in beautiful harmony that pleases the soul.  I know your time is valuable.  And I also know that there are many great voices, most much greater than mine, out there that may bring true value to your life.  I’ve desired to bring voices together here on LRPSP to help maximize your time and search for that material.  I’ve longed to build that choir.

Today I am very happy to announce that LRPSP is beginning to build that choir.  It is with great humbleness and honor that I welcome a new Contributing Editor to this site.  My Christian Brother Mitch White is joining LRPSP to add his voice and his part to the discussions that take place here.

This will afford you, those that linger on this site to read a few words, a new perspective.  You will now be able to consider topics from a different point of view and perspective.  And I know that will bring even greater insight and blessing to your life.

Welcome Brother Mitch, to LRPSP.  I, and I hope others, look forward to all that God has to share with us through your voice.  It is truly a New Day here on LRPSP and it is exciting to look forward to all God has in store for us as we each journey to know the Great I Am more personally in each of our lives.

Are You Rich?

Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, recently addressed the Harvard University graduating class during which he said:

“We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas,”

A Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a concept that has gained quite a bit of attention recently.  Finland has recently started experimenting with the idea and Canada and India are giving it consideration.  Finland may be the first country to practice UBI, but it is hardly the first Government to do so.  The city of Livorno, Italy began a UBI program in June of 2016.

Switzerland rejected a UBI referendum by more than 75% of voters.

It is interesting that supporters of UBI view it as the means of addressing income inequality in society today.  It is interesting that this particular reporter terms it as an urgent necessity.  Definitely something we must absolutely have.

In my estimation, UBI is nothing more than a repackaged welfare (see definition 3) program that is completely socialistic in nature.  These ideas are nothing new and have been around for thousands of years.  Consider the account from Mark 14:3-8 in which some self-righteous people where quite upset at what they considered a waste of money.

It is interesting to me that we hear very little about the fact that Jesus was in the home of Simon, a leper, when this story is recounted.  Or the fact that the woman that brought the box of alabaster apparently had the resources to possess it, and yet she also came to the house of the leper (something a person of wealth would not normally do).  But these are thoughts for another time.

The point I’d like to get to in the account is that there were those that pondered the thought that the ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred pence and the proceeds given to the poor.  Basically welfare.  Socialism.  Sell the goods of the rich, and give them to the poor.  A concept put forth by the Jewish culture some 2,000+ years ago.

As long as there has been inequality in the world, which Spiritually occurred about the instant that Adam took a bite of the forbidden fruit, and Physically has been since about 30 seconds after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, mankind has been looking for ways to make things equal again.

Of course in doing so we have been ignoring the words of Jesus when he answered those very same self-righteous distractors with:

And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.”

I relish the fact that Jesus told them that (basically) they could do good for the poor whenever they wanted to.  I kind of feel the same way about those crying out about inequality today.  No one is stopping you from helping the poor and you don’t need to wait on anyone else to start.

The interesting thing about all of these social experiments to me is that the terms are all relative.  Compared to most (or perhaps even all) of my wife’s family, we are very rich.  However, compared to the people that live just six miles down the road from me, I might be considered poor (the houses in the community six miles down the road average $2,750,000.00 per home.  About 7.37 times the cost of my home).  And those folks could even be considered poor when contrasted to Mr. Zuckerberg.

Another interesting thing to me is that Jesus actually said that those that would inherit the kingdom of heaven, would be poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).  And with good reason too.  God cannot help you if you are rich.  The rich people of the world don’t run to God every night asking for their next meal or a place to lay their head.  Only the poor people do that.  Sometimes we lose our dependency upon God because we become too rich for him.  We no longer need his help.  We are self-sufficient without him and are happy to keep him on the shelf in the event that bad times come our way.

And yet we still feel like we need to play social games with society.  We need to wipe out inequality.

Alright, I’ll play along.  I’ve got a proposition for Mr. Zuckerberg:

Hey Mark, if you’re reading (and I know you’re not) let’s try a small scale UBI experiment right here at home.

I currently make a little over $130,000.00 USD/year.  I’ll use that as a round number.  I have (roughly) six years to retirement (I could conceivably retire earlier, but lets go to minimum retirement age).

My idea of a “new idea” is to purchase a yacht (how about this one: Sea Ray Fly 460) and to make the Great Loop while writing about the experience and the people I meet here on this Blog.

But obviously I can’t do that on my present income.  I would, of course, still need to meet my basic family expenses, for six years at my current salary that would be $780,000.00, I’d have the cost of the yacht, about $750,000.00, and I’d have the operating expenses of the yacht itself, lets estimate $200,000.00/year or $1,200,000.00 for six years.  That would be $2,730,000.00.  We could just round that up to $3,000,000.00.

Why doesn’t Facebook hire me for a $3,000,000.00 USD contract for six years (I’d bring some diversity to the company since I’m sure you’d agree my political, social, and religious views are different than your own) and I’ll become an ambassador traveling around interviewing people about their situation in life, compiling statistics on exactly what a correct UBI would amount to, as well as exploring the mechanics of such a plan to see if it could realistically be met.  At the end of the six years I’d sail off into retirement, and you could evaluate just how well your $3,000,000.00 was spent.  A social experiment and you get an employee out of the deal as well!

I’ll be waiting for your call ………………….

United States Presidential Elections Continued (Part 3)

This post is a continuation of my previous two posts.  If you want to read this post in context, go back to this post and read through sequentially.

I left you in my last post with the thought that I find the current allegations by women against the Republican nominee for President of the United States Donald Trump to be too convenient, contrived, and too coincidental to the leaked tape of his (so-called) locker room talk.  They hold little credibility when compared by the same measure to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial hearings.

But the last thought I’ll leave you with is the comparison of the physical and historical evidence.   In President Bill Clinton’s case we really do know that he ‘walked the halls of power with his pants around his knees’.  We know this for a fact because of the stain left upon the blue dress.  This, as you may recall, was confirmed through DNA testing.  One might wonder if any of Donald Trump’s accusers will be able to produce any similar evidence.

I don’t really need to provide this, but I will, in President Bill Clinton’s case there were not any real dissenting witnesses.  In Donald Trump’s case, there are those like Natasha Rickley that have come forward to paint a picture that does not quite line up with the stories put forth by his accusers.

However you  compare the cases, it seems clear that Donald Trump is at least equal of the same verdict as President Bill Clinton and should be acquitted of all charges.  But the media doesn’t seem to want to draw this conclusion.  They would rather charge forward, needlessly trying Donald Trump in the press without just cause.  A case they seem unwilling to bring against candidates they support wholeheartedly.  That is a fair and balanced press for you.

I could spend time a lot of time making a case for Donald Trump to be our next President.  But the counter would just be all of the reasons why others don’t believe he should be.  So instead, please allow me to make a case against Hillary Clinton,  You see, I do not believe that the United States of America can afford Hillary Clinton as President at this time.  And given the nature of our political system, the alternative is Donald Trump.  One of them will be President of the United States of America.  I pray that it will not be Hillary Clinton for the following reasons:

  • Probably at the top of my list is Hillary Clinton is Pro Death.  She is for the killing of unborn babies in every conceivable case.  If you are Pro Life (Christian/Catholic/or just a respecter of life), and you intend to vote for Hillary Clinton, I’d respectfully ask that you not show up at the March for Life.  At least be consistent in your actions.
  • A close second is Hillary Clinton is Anti Religion.  She said it herself as reported here.  Hillary Clinton does not believe that the Clergy should interpret and expound upon God’s word.  She believes that the only thing that should be preached are those things that align with her own world view.
  • Hillary Clinton is Anti Freedom.  Once again, she said it herself.  She has publicly stated that the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment.  Forget the Constitution or the separation of powers.  The only thing that matters is Hillary Clinton’s own world view and her ability to force it upon others.  If you value your freedoms, a vote for Hillary Clinton is sure to erode them.
  • Hillary Clinton is Anti Military.  I’ll admit some guilty knowledge here, but it has been pretty well established that Hillary Clinton has not been a supporter of the U.S. Military in the past (you need look no further than Benghazi to substantiate this).  If you desire a strong America and a Military equipped to protect our homeland and our allies and other interests in the world today, a vote for Hillary Clinton will not get you there.
  • Hillary Clinton promotes socialism.  She wants to fix the current healthcare system in America (the Obamacare law) by guiding us towards a single payer system.  Federalization of the healthcare system for all Americans is socialistic.  It is contrary to the values this county was built upon.  If you desire to protect and promote American democracy, a vote for Hillary Clinton will work against you.
  • Hillary Clinton is Anti Economy.  Hillary Clinton’s tax plans, her ideas of larger government, confiscatory taxes on the wealthy (who are the ones carrying our tax burden to begin with) are not what America needs right now.  America’s economy is currently very fragile with almost nonexistent growth and an anemic job market.  A vote for Hillary Clinton could push our economy into a free fall that would take years to recover from.

Personally, I do not believe that America can afford Hillary Clinton as President at this point in our history.  In a few weeks, we will all decide.  I pray that God will place the President in place best equipped to preserve our prosperity and our freedoms.

Here is a first ever on LRPSP.COM – A poll.  Our first ever, non-scientific, completely free, and non-binding election poll.  It costs you nothing except a couple of clicks of the mouse.  So why not go ahead and play along?  This poll is completely untracked and anonymous:

Submit

United States Presidential Elections Continued (Part 2)

So this morning I left you with some thoughts on the current Presidential Election here in the United States of America, in this post: I Attended The President Clinton Impeachment Trial.  I’ll continue that discussion here.

The point I was trying to make when I left off this morning, was people are quick to impose their own self-righteous, moralistic views  on others, but they don’t want to consider others views in their own world view.

Which is EXACTLY what they accuse Christians of.  I’m accused of wanting to impose my moral values on everyone else (Which of course, is absolutely not true.  I simply want to exercise my freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  AND – I actually am an ordained minister and thus at least somewhat qualified to do so.  If it just so happens that I, in correctly filling my God-given mandate to proclaim his word, you are convicted by the Holy Spirit of God that you are in sin, well I am sorry.  I hope before God I fulfilled his will correctly, and accurately represented his word, as I am called to do.  But your conviction is between you and God.  I personally expect nothing from it.  You are free to go about your business as you see fit.  But I digress.)

So, Mr. Anderson Cooper.  YOU want to play the moral card?  I’m the one that should be outraged here.  Why do you get to decide that when I speak the truth about God’s word and homosexuality that it is hate speech, and then turn right around and decry Mr. Donald Trump for his use of language regarding women?

It isn’t conservative Christians that have taken away free speech in America, it is duplicitous liberals who want to control the very essence of our lives.

For most of my entire adult life, I’ve had to sit in the workplace and listen to people take the name of my Lord and Savior in vain.  I’ve had to silently sit by while people swear by God, ridicule God, make God out to be something he is not, and yet I cannot even say that God’s word says that homosexuality is wrong.  That is hate speech.  That is hurtful.  That is demeaning.  Really?  Well all of the speech I’ve endured concerning my religion and my faith, is equally hurtful.  Equally as hated.  And equally demeaning to me.  I’ve endured it for decades.  Why doesn’t the other side step up to the plate and do the same?

Alright.  I perceive you’re screaming at your screens about now that you get my point on the speech, but that the question was concerning actions that the speech described.  I also perceive (based off my current word count), that there is going to be a third blog post continuing my current diatribe.

You can decide for yourself as to whether Donald Trump’s words were vulgar, hurtful, disrespectful, and language that should not be used.  And I would probably agree with most of you.  However, if we are going to analyze Donald Trump’s words and parse them through some special moral parser, then it is only fair to do the same thing with Hillary Clinton.  But when that is done, suddenly free speech goes out the window.  Suddenly there are protected categories.  You see, I believe that Donald Trump is free to all the vulgar language he wants to use.  Because if I am free to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then lives are changed and vulgar speech is changed.  But if we start deciding in this country what can and cannot be said, then we might as well just move to North Korea, or the old Soviet Union, or Iran,  because our freedoms will have been lost regardless.

But the question (and current allegations) concerns Donald Trump’s behavior more so than his words that were used.  So I’ll move on.

Suddenly, after the scenario at the debate I described in my last blog post played out, women have been coming out of the woodwork to say that they indeed, have had their space violated by Mr. Trump.

As near as I can tell, from the current set of allegations, the stories are ranging from supposed incidents in 2007 all the way back to 1986.  A span of 9 to 30 years.

And my question is Why now?  Why at this point in the election cycle are we suddenly hearing from you?

Let’s consider the fact that within days/weeks of the Oval Office incident, Monica Lewinsky had confided in her friend Linda Tripp.  And it wasn’t long before Linda had told someone who had told someone else, and suddenly someone is coming into the Oval Office saying “Mr. President, We have a problem.”  Bill Clinton’s charges were while he was still in Office.  As near as I can tell, Donald Trump’s charges are at least a decade old (and in a few cases multiple decades old).  What happened?  Why did it only take a few days for Monica Lewinsky’s story to grow legs and leave the compound but for Mr. Trump the stories have been tightly locked away for decades?  You’ll pardon me, but I am highly dubious.

I might also inquire as to the nature of the alleged altercations.  I mean, for all I know, if they really did occur, they could have been consensual.  Isn’t that the claim that was made about President Bill Clinton?  Hey, it was consensual so why do we need to go sticking our nose into it?  And before you trot out the former Apprentice contestant all in tears and visibly shaken over her ordeal in 2007, let’s go check with Monica Lewinsky, because perhaps the passage of time has brought her to her senses as well.  I’ll bet that Monica Lewinsky now realizes, that as a young woman she was taken advantage of by the most powerful person in the world, and was made to believe that she was OK with it.  But now, 28 years later, she probably realizes just how horrible and demeaning it really was and is ready to break down and cry before the cameras.

And with that equally controversial thought, I’ll leave you once again until my third post on this line of thought, this evening.

TO BE CONTINUED ……..

I Attended The President Clinton Impeachment Trial

I opened this can of worms, and now I’m stuck with seeing it through to the end.

When I started this blog site, I looked at areas of discussion that would interest people and keep them engaged.  These are generally the areas we are most passionate about.  Politics is one of those areas.  However, when I originally added politics, I was not necessarily thinking of political races for office.  I was considering discussions that were political in nature.  That is, discussions that revolved around the governance of society.  Our laws, our freedoms, our methods of meeting needs as a society.  This is the broader and, in my view, more important discussion.  We all live in a society in one form or another.  There are very few, if any, people on Earth today that are a society of one.  And societies, by necessity, must have rules and regulations, and governance of those rules and regulations.  And that is the important discussion.

However, given my previous post, I Am No Saint, and given the latest news reports, it would be disingenuous of me to leave things hanging as they are.  So I will continue on down this path no matter how ugly it gets.

First of all, I actually did attend the portion of the President William Jefferson Blythe Clinton impeachment trial that was open to the general public, for the period of time I was allotted (and that was allotted to each person seeking to attend).  I attended the trial for several reasons.  First of all it was historical.  President Bill Clinton is only the second U.S. President in history to be impeached.  Neither of the two were removed from office (both were acquitted after Congress failed to gain the necessary two-thirds vote).  Secondly, I was interested in the proceedings.  It is not often in one’s lifetime that the opportunity affords itself to see government in motion in real-time.  I was fascinated with the process and wanted a glimpse into the inner workings of the congressional process.  And, as a bonus (if you can call it that), there were a lot of celebrities in the audience.  We got to sit on the same row, about five or six people down from where Whoopi Goldberg sat (I’m pretty sure her views on the trial were the exact opposite of mine).  Funny side story about that:  We watched Whoopi come in and sit down.  The person she sat next to greeted her when she arrived and they shook hands.  After a couple of minutes she got up and left the chamber for a few minutes.  While she was gone, the young man sitting next to the person that had shaken Whoopi Goldberg’s hand leaned over and whispered something to them.  The person chuckled, nodded, and then shook the young man’s hand.  I pointed it out to my wife at the time, commenting that obviously the young man wanted the opportunity to say that he had shaken the hand that shook Whoopi Goldberg’s hand (right after Whoopi had shook that hand).

So I was at the Bill Clinton impeachment trial (for a few minutes of it anyway) and know first hand, how seriously (or not so seriously) those proceedings play out.  And it was serious.  President Clinton was charged with perjury concerning his testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.  And while he was acquitted of both charges (and thus not removed from office), the dividing vote (50 – 50 in the Senate on the Obstruction of Justice charge) speaks to the highly political nature of the proceedings.

It is a simple question.  Did he willfully give false testimony while duly sworn before an appointed body concerning his relationship with a White House intern?  I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, he did.  And you can either agree or disagree with that, but the legal system spoke and we have our justice (or lack thereof) today.

The interesting thing to me is the political rhetoric at the time.  The feminists who supported President Bill Clinton came out of the woodwork to decry the proceedings.  They claimed that the President’s personal sex life was private, and of no concern to the people.  They claimed it was consensual and that what two adults do is none of the business of the rest of us.

Today, Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump is getting his own impeachment for perjury trial in the general media and free press of the United States of America.  This stems from an answer he gave in the second Presidential debate with Former Secretary Hillary Clinton.  When pressed by moderator Anderson Cooper about whether or not he had actually done the things referred to in his comments to Billy Bush, he replied “No, I have not.

And, obviously in response to those words, several recent claims have been leveled against Mr. Trump that would seem to suggest that he was being somewhat less than honest (one such story here).

In effect, Mr. Trump is being tried in the media for perjury (interestingly enough, just like President Bill Clinton was tried before Congress for the same charge).

Now I personally find these charges to be ludicrous and comical in nature, but I will do my best to treat them as seriously as they possibly can be given the circumstances.

To begin with, I am actually shocked at the outrage over Donald Trump’s comments.  I thought what a couple of guys talked about in private was between themselves and not any of the business of the rest of us, correct?  Why is it that Mr. Trump’s talk concerning women is so far out of line as to be considered grounds for public persecution and Former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s words are not?  And yes, I know, if it weren’t for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

We allow flag burning in the United States of America.  Protected by the courts (some of the highest in the land), as a right of free speech and expression.  And flag burning means, the flag of the United States of America.  The National Flag.  Try that in North Korea, without getting shot.

And before the language police go to far, consider the fact that the inevitable outcome of limiting free speech, is to eventually restrict your own freedoms and liberties in the future.

And with that controversial thought, I’ve reached my self-imposed limit for a blog post.  I purposefully set out to make my blog posts, readable, digestible, posts that one can read and contemplate in about five-minute sittings.

So ….. TO BE CONTINUED ……. In another post this afternoon.

I Am No Saint

I have a sermon entitled My 10 Greatest Sins.  It is actually a discourse on The Ten Commandments, however I talk about them personally and how they apply directly to my life.  I explore them from the standpoint of how I am guilty of each.

I’ve only preached this particular sermon a couple of times in two different places.  I ought to bring it out more.  The interesting thing about this particular sermon is, that it is illustrated (verb, definition 2) by sin in my life.

And the thing that makes that interesting is that every single course on preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I’ve taken, every great preacher that I’ve discussed sermon delivery with, every instructional work I’ve read on the topic of sermon delivery, has told me (and will tell you) that you never, ever, talk about your own sin.  Let alone illustrate points of sin out of your own experiences.

And I understand why that instruction is there, however, I have one small problem with it.  And that is Paul of Tarsus.  Paul did not shy away from informing Timothy that he was Chief amongst sinners (I Timothy 1:14-16).  Paul was straight forward with the early Church because he knew they were aware of his past (Acts 7:57-59).

You may not personally be aware of my past (though there are those that are), but you should not assume that my sins are few and my transgressions lite (just as I do not assume that for anyone else in the world).  Paul of Tarsus may have been foremost amongst sinners when he walked the Earth, but today, I tell you that I am Chief amongst sinners.

You may inquire of me who I have murdered and why I am not in jail for it, but you should consider that one does not have to physically end a life in order to take a life.  You and I impact people around us every single day.  And given the chance, we impose our will on others.  And where we win, we rob others.  And where we hate with an intense hatred, we murder those people in our hearts.

So yes, I assure you, even though the breaking of God’s law may not meet your particular definition, I have broken them all.  And I believe that is by His definition, not mine, and I don’t believe I could stand before the Throne of God and defend any one of them were He to chose to charge me with any of the 10.

So I am Chief amongst sinners.  You may ask, so what is my point?  How does myself being the biggest transgressor of God’s law in the world today have any meaning or effect in anyone else’s life or the world around me?

Well you are (hopefully) reading this blog, are you not?  Are you not contemplating your own arguments, defenses, introspection, and evaluation of your own world view at this very moment in time?  I believe you are, whether you admit it or not.

And it is important, because by doing so you evaluate my positions and arguments and use that information to conclude your own agreement or disagreement.

You see, the dirty little secret is: I could really care less if you agree or disagree with me that I really am Chief amongst sinners.  That is really my position before a Holy God and how I approach my own world view.  I understand that when my sin is great, His Mercy is greater.  When my transgressions are  not loveable, His Love loves more.  When I am pathetic and hopeless, He finds Value and Hope.

It is not that I make myself a great sinner in order that His Salvation becomes greater, it is I recognize that I am great sinner so that His Great Salvation is not diminished.  And I believe the great songwriter/theologian William R. Newell understood this principle when he penned the words (At Calvary):

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!

No, it doesn’t really matter to me much at all if you agree or disagree with my self characterization.  What matters to me is that you understand that I believe it, and that it then becomes part of your evaluation of your own understanding for the purpose of the discussion.

Which brings me to the thing that is pressing heavily upon my soul, and that is the pending elections for the President/Vice President of the United States of America.

Within the last 48 hours or so, we’ve now discovered the so-called October SurpriseDonald J. Trump has expressed some pretty ugly views about women and used some very vulgar language.

And now, apparently, the entire Republican Party leadership wants to abandon him.  Many prominent leaders have called for him to step down, to abandon the race (story here).

And I have but one question: Has the entire conservative electorate (in the United States of America) lost their collective mind!?!  The election clock is ticking and we have less than 30 days until the people of the United States of America vote for (ostensibly) the leader of the free World and somehow the answer to lewd and insensitive talk (I am sure that there have been recent examples, but what is currently being put forth is 10/11 years old) is for the nominee to step down?  And do what?  Hold another Republican Primary?  Have those in charge place their presumptive candidate forward?  Less than 30 days before the election is to be held?

AMERICA: If I, whom am Chief amongst sinners, am allowed by a Holy and Righteous God, to preach His word, to espouse on this blog, to represent Him here in this life, can we not find it in our hearts to be a little more civil towards the person the majority selected as their nominee?

Consider the alternative.  The opponent doesn’t face her mistakes (sure she said she made a mistake having a private Email server, but that didn’t address the issue).  She has always skirted her own accusers and condemned those who have brought the spotlight to bear on her transgressions.

The fact is, America just cannot afford Hillary Clinton as President.  The Nation is probably near bankruptcy as it is.  And she is certainly not the one to be casting any stones.

Donald J. Trump has sinned in the past, and he will sin in the future, but he is still the best choice for America, and he is my choice.  And I pray that God will spare the United States of America by placing him in office.  And I pray you will join me in that prayer.

By-the-way – I lied.  I titled this post I Am No Saint.  But I am a saint.  Not because of anything I’ve done, or will do, or ever could do, but because Jesus Christ has redeemed me through his work upon the Cross.  But when you look at me you will not see a saint.  You will see anything but saintliness and you would agree with my post title.

Hopefully when you look at Donald J. Trump, you will not see the sinner, but rather a President.

Are Your Decisions Based On Knowledge or Understanding?

Job 38:3636 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?  King James Version (KJV)

Have you ever wondered how someone could purport to hold the exact same set of beliefs as you and yet seem to be on a totally opposite page?  I have.

For example – consider the United States Democratic nominee for President, Hillary Clinton.  Former Secretary Clinton claims to be a Christian and hold with Christian values.  And yet she strongly supports abortion (a position opposed by nearly every major religion of the world, including Hinduism and Buddhism) and has even called on people of faith to change their religious beliefs and cultural biases (YouTube Video).

Here is the quote from her speech:

“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.

I think to myself, “Wait-a-minute.  Abortion is wrong.  It is murder.  It stops an innocent human life before it even has a chance to defend itself.  Furthermore, there is enough teaching in Scripture to clearly make the case that it is immoral and against God’s desires for our lives.  I understand it is the law of the land … BUT, I could never support it.  I will never change my beliefs about it.  I will never bend my cultural biases regarding it.  To do so would be to deny my Faith.  And my FAITH is foremost in my life.

Former Secretary Clinton, in her remarks calling on people to alter their religious beliefs, has, in reality, just discriminated against me on Religious grounds.  Supposedly a protected category.  Which is an interesting discussion in and of itself, but is not what I want to focus on today.

What is just jaw dropping, mind-boggling, puzzling about this is: why in the world does someone who claims to hold Christian beliefs, call on people of the exact same set of beliefs to change them?  What does she understand that I don’t understand?  And why is she just as sure that her position is the correct one, as I am that my position is the correct one?  How can two separate people lay claim to the exact same moral code in their lives and yet draw two totally opposite conclusions and understandings?

Most of my Christian life I have heard pastors and teachers refer to the (allegorical) 12 inch difference between an eternity in either Heaven or Hell.  What has often been referred to as the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.  It is the allotted distance between the brain, and the heart, in the average human being.  However I never gave it much consideration.  The illustration has always been given as a picture of the difference between an unsaved person, and a saved person.  I have never once seen a study that described it any other way, nor have I come across any study that has applied it to any other application.

It is difficult to research common euphemisms or pithy sayings like this.  They almost always fracture into a myriad of directions the further back in time you go and it is almost impossible to source them back to single individual, time, or event.  However, that being said, I believe this one might have grown out of an understanding of Job 38:36, at least I would like to believe so.

In Job 38:36, God asks Job a question.  His question is – who was it that gave you understanding and wisdom?  And in doing so, reveals that there is a huge difference between knowledge and understanding.

You see, what Job 38:36 is saying in a nutshell, is that you put knowledge in your head, but understanding is placed in the heart.

What’s the difference?  Well consider this, if we have a law of the land, say a speed limit placed upon a particular highway, I can learn the traffic laws.  I can know how to read and interpret a speed limit sign.  I can know how to properly operate a vehicle such that it remains within the confines of the speed limit as prescribed by law.  I may even know the reasoning that went into establishing that law.  All of that is knowledge that I hold in my head.  But it takes the understanding in my heart to actually put that knowledge into practice.  It is my wisdom and understanding that guide me to following and implementing that law.

This now explains two things to us.  One is why in the world former Secretary Clinton and I can be on two totally opposite pages in life, and Two, why her call for those of us with different views to change our religious beliefs is so dangerous.  It is because the difference is between knowledge and understanding.

So NO, former Madam Secretary.  I do not, and will not change my religious beliefs and cultural biases.  Because my religious beliefs are rooted in an understanding within my heart, and not just based on the knowledge that is in my head.  My wisdom guides me in this matter and I understand that God teaches that abortion is wrong.  And that is not what I say, it is what God says.  And for me to abandon that, is to abandon God.

My prayer is that all of us would be careful with our wisdom and understanding.  You see, if God is not the one placing wisdom within your innermost parts and understanding within your heart, then who is?  Is it Satan?  Because he will step in and fill any void created by a lack of action on our part.  Our seemingly exasperating differences of opinion and our exhausting rhetoric is easily explained by the differences, not in our knowledge (the facts in our heads), but by our understanding of that knowledge (the wisdom in our hearts).

I’m not worried about what is in your head.  I’m worried about what is in your heart.