Friday, April 29, 2005

The American People

Whenever you hear someone use the phrase “The American People,” your brain should immediately scream out, “Warning, diving into deep dung!” This is because there is virtually nothing that the American People agree on. Even if someone suggested using our nuclear arsenal to destroy all human life on earth, I’m quite convinced that some American idiots would think that was a good idea! So when you hear someone say, “The American People” understand that what follows is blatant political rhetoric designed to bypass your critical thinking ability and to urge you to “get on the bandwagon like everyone else."

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hate speech

I was flipping channels the other day and happened across the Oprah show. Oprah was talking to someone who said that in their country racist speech was illegal. Oprah agreed that it ought to be illegal and the audience broke out in applause. I would like to see an end to racist and hate speech too, but should it be outlawed? The problem is, who will define hate speech? Conservative Christians might like to define all anti-Christian rhetoric as hate speech--for example, like the hate speech of Colorado congressman Ken Salazar who recently called James Dobson an antichrist! A Muslim group might want to define anything offensive to Islam as hate speech. Some secular or atheist groups might want to outlaw all public religious speech as hate speech. The whole idea of freedom of speech is to protect the ideas (the key word being ideas) of the minority. I was astounded at how quickly an audience was willing to flush their first amendment rights down the drain--but of course, they really didn’t want to do away with the first amendment, they just wanted to silence the speech that they disagreed with.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The most segregated time in America

I just heard it again yesterday: "Sunday mornings are the most segregated times in America." The implication is that this must be because of racism in the churches. My daughter, who is white, goes with her black boyfriend to an all black church. She told me that the people in this church are very friendly and loving toward her. I would never assume that just because this is an all black church they must be racist. Quite the opposite seems to be the case. In fact, even if there were several people in that church who didn’t want my daughter there because she is white, I would still not automatically assume that this was a reflection on the entire church (All churches are filled with sinners just like hospitals are filled with sick people). Why should anyone immediately jump to the conclusion that just because a church is predominantly white, Chinese, Hmong, Hispanic etc. that they are automatically racists?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Children out-of-control

In the news this past week was the story of a school that called the police to handle an out-of-control five-year-old. She was physically attacking the school staff. The police, who put the kid in handcuffs, are now being sued by the mother! I don’t know all the issues involved in this particular case, but the case does show how ridiculous it is to think that if we just reasoned with children we would get them to think clearly, or the idea that when that doesn’t work we can always get them to obey by making them take a time out. Anyone who has seen the video knows that this little girl was not going to be persuaded by reason and she was certainly in no mood to take a time out! So what was the school supposed to do? They can’t spank her. Apparently, the police aren’t even supposed to restrain her. Maybe the time has come to reconsider spanking. Spanking should be used very sparingly, as a last resort and only in cases of outright rebellion. Those who disagree need to come up with a way of dealing with kids like this one because other methods are apparently not working.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Lapdogs and watchdogs

Back when Bill Clinton was president, Hillary Clinton went to China and publicly took a stand against the Chinese forced abortion policy. If Hillary had been a republican, pro-life supporters would have undoubtedly hailed her as a hero. Because she was a democrat, the pro-life silence was deafening. Ah, but then Bill Clinton got involved with a White House intern. If Bill Clinton had been a republican, the National Organization for Women would have become absolutely rabid. But since Bill Clinton was a democrat, the silence by NOW was deafening. If you think this post has anything at all to do with the Clintons you’ve missed the whole point so let me spell it out. We’ve all seen democratic or republican strategists on TV. There are no actions so heinous that a good political strategist could not justify. But that is their job. Too many people are like political strategists. They support their party right or wrong. Such people are lapdogs. Don’t be a lapdog, be a watchdog, even if it means opposing your own political party on particular issues.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Good and Evil

It has become very popular among academics, intellectuals, politicians and others in America and Europe to believe that everything is relative including good and evil. Sometimes good and evil really are relative so it is easy for these intellectuals to produce convincing examples. But the relativity of good and evil has become such an absolute to some people that they can’t even bring themselves to condemn the destruction of the World Trade Centers as evil! One thing I would point out is that if you ever have the misfortune to come accross someone who genuinely believes that good and evil are entirely relative, be afraid…be very afraid! People who believe that all evil is relative could potentially justify any evil if it was to their advantage. If good and evil are entirely relative, such people may convince themselves that it is not evil to lie to you or about you, to steal from you, to hurt those you love, or even to destroy you and your loved ones if they find that to do so would further their personal or political interests.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The greatest mystery

Someone once said, the greatest mystery in the universe is, “why is there something rather than nothing.” He was right, of course. The simplest solution would be that in the beginning absolutely nothing existed, and absolutely nothing has ever existed. Since that seems rather absurd, consider some of the other options: 1) Stuff, or matter, always existed. The problem, of course is that it’s hard to imagine something that has just always been there. We want to ask, “but where did it come from?” 2) God always existed. The problem again is that it is hard to conceive of someone who has always been there. We want to ask, “where did God come from?” 3) Yet another option is to imagine that absolutely nothing existed--and then something came into existence all by itself and evolved entirely by chance into the astounding complexity that we see even in what used to be called a simple cell. There are, of course, other options as well but my point is that regardless of which option we choose, they all take a healthy dose of faith. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Same-sex marriage continued

Ty took great offense at my opposition to same-sex marriage. I can’t help thinking that Ty was reacting as much to what he thinks I must be like, as he is to what I actually wrote. So let me clarify: The facts are 1) I’ve had good friends who were/are gay. 2) I would oppose any effort to make “sexual orientation” illegal (as Ty suggested, as if that would be possible), 3) I have publicly spoken to Christians about the evil of self-righteousness and hatred toward gays. 4) I have publicly condemned all violence toward gay people. Nevertheless, I still think it is a bad idea to re-define marriage.

Ty responded to my post by asking “Why the hell would two elderly sisters "marry?" Two elderly sisters might want to get married, Ty, for exactly the same financial and security issues that gay activists cite as reasons for wanting to legalize same-sex marriage.

As for Ty’s claim that the state wouldn’t allow it--How could anyone possibly know what an elected government is going to do? If same-sex marriage is legalized, what possible reason could there be for keeping two elderly sisters from having the same financial benefits as other same-sex couples? My point was that when we re-define marriage we open the door to all kinds of other alternative marriage options that may have significant negative consequences on society in general and on future generations of children in particular. Ty did not answer that concern.

But since we’re on the subject, I might as well dig myself in even further. I not only think same sex marriage is a bad idea, I also think that gay sex is a bad idea. Let me explain. Suppose you were an alcoholic and your doctor told you that you needed to give up drinking or it would kill you. Your friends, on the other hand say, “don’t worry about it …you were born that way…it’s just who you are…you have every right to drink. Let me pour you another scotch!” My point is that if you have friends who encourage you to engage in behavior that may lead to your death, it might not be a bad idea to re-think your choice of friends.

On final tangent: if you’re a Christian who looks down his nose at gay people, it might be a good idea to re-read Matthew 23 and see what Jesus has to say about self-righteous religious people who think they are better than others.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Worship

Correct me if I’m wrong but I’ve always been under the impression that worship services were supposed to be about worship. This isn’t brain surgery so why is it that so many churches don’t seem to get it? Take, for example, worship music. “Holy, Holy, Holy,” or “All hail the power of Jesus’ name”, now that’s worship. Similarly, more contemporary songs, like “We love you Lord” or Majesty are also worship. But the chorus of one contemporary song goes, na, na, na, na, na, na. What’s that? Na, na, na, might be fun in a child’s summer camp, but it’s hardly worship. Another contemporary “worship” song says, “We’re living in the days of Elijah, We’re living in the days of Ezekiel.” I don’t even know what that means but I’m quite sure its not worship. Unfortunately, most of the old hymns were no better. “We shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves” may have been a good evangelistic song but it’s not worship. The fact is that I’ve attended churches of numerous denominations all over the country for more years than most of you have probably been alive and I have yet to find even a single church--not a single one--that took care to ensure that the songs they sing in a worship service were primarily directing praise to God. Why is that?

Friday, April 15, 2005

War and Peace continued

Someone commented that my post on War and Peace is incomplete. He/she is absolutely right. Let me say something about the other side of the coin. While war is sometimes a necessary evil…often is it is just plain evil. For example, hypothetically, it would be evil for a country to wage war on another country in order to take away, or even to control the price of, the oil in that country. While many are convinced that this is what the war in Iraq was all about, I am not one of them, though I have nagging suspicions that oil was at the heart of our war to free Kuwait--but I digress. So what can America do if our addiction to foreign oil is a matter of national security? We need to launch an immediate, and long overdue, national program to dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil--even if it hurts! How do we do that? Let’s see, 1) government grants for research into alternative fuels, 2) tax relief to companies that begin a massive program to produce hybrid cars, 3) tax incentives to help people buy those cars, 4) drilling for oil in Alaska, 5) offshore drilling (our attitude seems to be, let the Arabs mess up their environment for oil but don’t touch ours. Isn’t that a little racist?). How do we fund all this? How about a $2.00 increase in the gasoline tax on non-commercial vehicles? I really don’t know. I’m not an economist. What I do know is that when America decided to go to the moon back in the 60’s, we found a way to do it. I’m convinced that if we really wanted to, we could cut our addiction on foreign oil--we just don’t want to because it would hit us in the pocketbook. So while we may yell peace, peace, most Americans--especially those in Hollywood--would probably vote against any program that would reduce our addiction to oil if it hurt our own environment or if it affected our pocketbook. And our politicians know that.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Gay marriage

Gay marriage is a big issue in my state right now, but I have some questions. If same-sex marriage is legalized, could two girlfriends get married for the financial benefits even if they aren’t gay? Could two elderly sisters marry each other for the security and financial benefits? If marriage is to be redefined anyway, why limit it to two people? Why not three or more? (If the idea of bigamous, polygamous or even incestuous marriages sounds far-fetched, just remember that not long ago gay relationships were also widely regarded as perversion)! Of course these new marriage arrangements may have enormous legal, financial and social consequences for society, not to mention the unpredictable emotional consequences for the future generations of children who are raised in these “alternative lifestyles.” But why worry about potential consequences? All that really matters is your personal civil rights and financial well being....right?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

War and Peace

I believe in peace, not war! On the cover of the April 2005 issue of American Libraries there is a picture of a library with a bunch of sayings painted on the wall. One of the sayings reads, “Why do we go to war to have peace?” Isn't that a good question? But wait, if not for war, black people might still be slaves. If not for war Hitler may have succeeded in totally exterminating Jews. If not for war, Americans may not have the freedom to paint naive sayings on their wall, like “Why do we go to war to have peace?” Could it be that in an evil world, war itself is sometimes a necessary evil?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

United Nations Sex

Several months ago it seemed like the whole world was (rightly) outraged because some American soldiers mistreated some genuinely bad guys at Abu Ghraib prison. Several weeks ago, however, a news story broke about a United Nations cover-up of the rape of hundreds of women and children by U.N. "peacekeepers" in Africa. You haven't heard of this? Go to Lexis Nexis and type "United Nations Sex" and read some of the articles. My question is this: Why is it that when American soldiers mistreat some enemy combatants, America is outraged, but when United Nations workers rape hundreds of women and children, silence by the media, congress and hollywood is deafening? Where is the outrage?