Thursday, August 4, 2016

Judicial justice or vigilante justice - you decide.

The criminal justice system doesn’t always gets things right, and wouldn’t even if all those running it were honest and fair and sometimes it seems few of them are, but the alternative is far worse. Vigilante justice in which the citizens and police officers acts as judge, jury and executioner without given the accused a day in court is dangerous to all of society. You are foolish if you think because you are a law abiding citizens it has nothing to do with you. Road rage is vigilante justice! Today vigilante justice may seem justified by many in society when it comes to drugs, child abuse, elderly abuse, pedophiles and rape, but who is to say vigilante justice will stop with just those illegal acts.

If you think everyone ever accused of a crime is guilty I again say you are foolish. Innocent people can be targeted. Lisa-Jayne Samuels was given a 20 month sentence for making a false rape allegation against Terry Brown. Lisa-Jayne Samuels was a serial rape liar, but initially the police took her claim seriously. Mr. Brown was attacked by a vigilante mob who stabbed him. Even worse, his pregnant fiancée tripped and fell during a confrontation and suffered a miscarriage. The man was innocent and eventually Lisa-Jayne Samuels was charged for filing false charges and convicted.

American vigilantism originally came about as a frontier response to the threat and reality of crime. The first settlers who moved to the Deep South and the Old West were not protected by a criminal justice system. There were no law enforcement agencies, no regularly scheduled court sessions, no nearby jails or prisons, and there was a vast open spaces to which offenders could escape from their victims. In the absence of any legal system victims and their allies felt compelled to track down and round up outlaws and "take the law into their own hands.”  That is not the case today.

People claim that the justice system today is only for the wealthy. Those people who claim that and support vigilantism need to study history and see who the vigilantes punished and even killed. They did not go after the wealthy they went after the lower class people and marginalized people.  

Vigilantism usually is the results of the government not doing its job and the citizens becoming frustrated. Instead of correcting the problems in government it is easier for some in society to go after the one they deem the ‘criminal’. Anyone and I mean anyone who supports vigilantism is breaking the law.

To legitimize their lawless deeds, vigilantes argued that their ends justified their means. They claim they are trying to preserve traditions, enforce moral codes, and further respect for authority. Their biggest claim is that they are trying to protect law-abiding citizens from internal and external evil forces.

More concerned with suppressing disruptive behavior than with respecting due process some elected officials approve of vigilantism.  It is simple, direct, swift, certain and those that are looking for a so called quick fix will support vigilantism. They will turn a blind eye to all the evils of vigilantism.

The Ku Klux Klan in the United States was a vigilante group. Originally they went after husbands that were abusive or neglecting their families, but they then started going after Black people, Jews, Catholics and those that were said not to have paid a debt.  Black Life’s Matter Organization in the United States is a vigilante group.

If you support vigilantism then why do you not support revenge killings, drive-by shootings, turf battles between rival drug-selling groups, and mob hits among warring syndicates. These are all a type of vigilantism. Teenagers act as vigilantes when they attack homeless vagrants and drive them away or set them on fire. Police Officers themselves engage in police vigilantism if they beat a suspect on the street, during the ride to the police station, or in its basement, in order to make sure the perpetrator is punished before being released with a mere "slap on the wrist" by the "revolving door" of an lenient justice system. When society ignores vigilantism police officers feel more empowered to carry out their street justice (vigilantism).

 Some in The right-to-life movement—convinced that abortion constitutes murder—assassinated doctors who legally terminated pregnancies or bombed the clinics where these medical procedures are performed (vigilantism). White supremacist Neo-Nazi groups randomly attacked complete strangers because of their race or religion because they are seeking vigilante justice. Militia groups are vigilantes. They set up their own "common law courts."

Support any type of vigilantism and I will venture to say one day it will come back to haunt you. You will find yourself on the other side of the fence and then you will oppose curb justice or vigilantism.  When you have a government that is endorsing vigilantism there is nothing that will stop it and while you fight drug addicts and pusher today in a few years you will be fighting vigilantes. This should be of grave concern for those that feared the regime of Marcos in the Philippines.

The Philippines in 1915 earned the dubious distinction of having the worst record of 87 countries in bringing wrongdoers to justice, according to a study of countries plagued by impunity. Is this the drug pusher or drug addicts fault? I do not think corruption in the Philippines is the cause of impunity, but it is the results of impunity. If you believe you are not going to be caught or punished for a crime you are more likely to commit a crime. Yes, corruption contributes to impunity, but it is not the cause. A failed justice system is the root cause of impunity. I believe  countries that do not provide opportunities for economic development also fail to reduce the unequal access to security and justice for their citizens.

Most courts in the Philippines have over one thousand cases on their dockets – an impossible task. Is that the fault of drug users and drug pushers? The Justice Department claims there are not enough courts. Is that the fault of drug users and drug pushers? A lot of the courts that are established do not have judges to staff them. Is that the drug users and drug pushers fault? judges appointed to cases take longer than the time limitation of three months fixed by the Constitution for them to decide a case some cases go on for years. Is that the drug user or drug pushers fault? Do the cases move at a snail pace because there are no jury system in the Philippines and all cases are decided by a judge? If that is the case is that the fault of a drug user or drug pusher?  Maybe vigilantism looks good now, but will it really solve the problems that plagues Philippine justice?   I do not think so.

As of August 3, 2016 Police figures show that 402 drug SUSPECTS have been killed since the end of June. That figure does not include those slain by suspected vigilantes. Two hundred eleven more men are known to have been killed by vigilantes. These being killed are not rich people they are the poor in Philippine society. They are not the wealthy Drug Lords - many of them are a part of government. 565,805 have turned themselves in and promised to straighten out their lives and released. Drug addiction is not something you can cure with a promise and the Philippine government does not have the facilities or the funds to provide rehabilitation for these men. What has happen when these men turned themselves in they put a target on their backs to be killed by vigilantes.

Innocent until proven guilty - justice – equal treatment for all - moral legitimacy are the rights guaranteed to the people living under a democratic government and without those rights they might as well be living under a dictator or monarch.  Freedom is a slippery hill to climb and when you start sliding backwards you do not usually stop until you have lost all your freedom. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Democrat Convention - Played on emotions - little truth

Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim American was ordered to Iraq years ago, his father wanted to talk to Donald Trump about his being an American Muslim soldier sent to war in a Muslim country. While I have great sympathy for Captain Khan’s parents I feel he distorted what Donald Trump has said. I understand in Captain Khan’s grief he may have taken what Donald Trump said and only heard what he wanted to hear. I also believe like many American's he believed the twisted lies of the media and the Democrat Party.

Captain Khan, 27, died on June 8, 2004, after he told his men to take cover and then tried to stop a suicide bomber outside the gates of his base in Baquba. Captain Khan and his parents are not the Muslim’s Donald Trump is trying to protect the American citizens from. Muslim Americans that are outraged by what Donald Trump has said are not putting the interest and safety of American citizens first and foremost.

Mr. Trump’s call for restrictions (ban) on Muslims entering the country is for the safety of American citizens and that should be the first responsibility of the President of any country. Donald Trump has not called for a permanent ban on Muslims. He only wants to give the U.S. Government time to setup procedure and policies that would help prevent terrorist from entering the United States. He is not for open borders which have proven to be a disaster for European nations and the United States. It appears Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party are more interested in being politically correct and winning Hispanic votes than protecting American citizens. I question where exactly does their loyalty lie.

Captain Khan’s father said If restrictions on Muslim immigration had been in place decades ago neither he, a lawyer with an advanced degree from Harvard Law School; his wife, Ghazala, who taught Persian at a Pakistani college before raising three boys in the Washington suburbs; their eldest son, Shaharyar, who was a top student at the University of Virginia and a co-founder of a biotechnology company; nor Captain Khan, who posthumously earned the Bronze Star, along with a Purple Heart, for saving the lives of his men, would have been allowed to settle here. That has nothing to do with the present terrorist problems facing the nations of the world. Donald Trump nor any other American would have even considered putting restrictions on Muslims “decades” ago. The time have changed and in the interest security for American citizens our immigration policies must change to meet the new threats.

The Democrats used Captain Khan's father and that is a disgrace. His speech was emotional and worthy to be told, but not at the Democrat National Convention. Captain Khan's father’s story is worth far more than to simply try and win votes for Hillary Clinton.  I am sure his father is very proud of his family, a foreign family that has integrated nicely into the United States.  I am proud of them and the millions of other foreign citizens that have done the same, but that does not mean I am for open borders at a time like this. Hillary nor the Democrat Party cared about his loss they only cared about how it might turn voters against Donald Trump. Like Hillary said in the Congressional hearings "What difference does it make (to her) now".

Mr. Khan criticized Mr. Trump’s statements as UN-American in an article published by Vocativ just a short time back. Please explain to me why it is UN-American to try and protect American’s from Radical Islamic Terrorist.

I found it interesting that Mr. Khan said Hillary’s campaign asked whether he needed speech writing help or any coaching. It seems they were really concerned that he would said the words that advanced their cause not Mr. Khan’s. 

I served in Vietnam and as a veteran I found it offensive that Mr. Khan took a swipe at the fact that Donald Trump has never served in the military. I might add Mr. Khan nor his other son have ever served in the American military and I do not think that makes them less of an American than their son that did. Mr. Khan needs to realize we have an all-volunteer military and if Mr. Trump was not drafted during the Vietnam conflict then he simply is like thousands upon thousands of other American boys. If I am not mistaken Hillary Clinton has not served in the U.S. military nor has her husband Bill Clinton.

Mr. Khan met his wife at Punjab University in Lahore, Pakistan. They moved to Dubai, where their two eldest sons were born, then arrived in Houston, renting a $200-a-month apartment. Eventually they settled outside Washington, where Mr. Khan worked at a mortgage company and at law firms. I suppose the $200 a month rent remark he gave to reporters for an apartment in Houston, Texas in 1980 was supposed to denote a difficult time. I am from Houston, Texas and in the 1980’s,  $200 a month would have gotten you a very decent apartment. Better than most lower middle class people in Houston lived in. Two hundred U.S. dollars in 1980 is equal to $579.57 in 2016.  A brand new town-homes on Lake Houston with swimming pools, tennis courts, putting range, parking, near parks, airport, malls and The Woodlands which is and exclusive neighborhood is advertised  today - 4 Bedrooms, 2 baths, $1,090 per month with a $200.00 deposit.  What is difficult for one family is luxury for another.

I think we should also note that their son was killed by a MUSLIM does he not want Americans to try and protect their family from the same danger occurring within the borders of the United States.

Khan said that Hillary Clinton, "called my son the best of America." I would think Donald Trump and most if not all Americans would call him the same. Once again the Democrats got the emotional speech they wanted in an attempt to play upon the emotions of American voters and win votes. They did the same when they used the mother’s that had sons killed by the police. There sons were not the best of America, but the Democrats got the boost they were looking for by using these mothers for their purpose.

"Look for the words 'liberty' and 'equal protection of law,'" Mr. Khan said while standing next to his wife, waving the paperback document of the Constitution vigorously and questioning if Donald Trump had ever read the Constitution. The Constitution is for the protection of United States Citizens, not for aliens that have not even entered the United States. That is the very reason Muslim Islamic Terrorist were held in Guantanamo Bay in order to prevent them from having Constitutional rights.

By the time Mr. Khan speech was over I began to wonder if  ethnicity was more important to him than being a United States citizen or in the least were their some conflict in his mind between ethnicity and United States citizenship.

"Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty-handed," he said, believing that with hard work he could raise his three sons "in a nation where they were free to be themselves and follow their dreams." He and his wife both had impressive University degrees so they were not like most immigrants. He should speak with the illegal aliens crossing the southern borders of the United States and then he would understand what EMPTY-HANDED really means. It also appears the United States has been very good to him and his family.

"Vote for the healer," Mr. Khan said, "not the divider." Obama and Hillary are healers of racist tension. Unfortunately Mr. Khan was not in the United States during the 60’s and cannot see how under Obama and Hillary our country is reverting back to the same racial tension we experience then. He has no comparison to use as to what a healer really is. Obama and Hillary both support the Black Life Matters Organization and that organization is not looking to heal racial tension in the United States.

The lack of action that Obama and Hillary Clinton took in Benghazi to protect our people is enough for me not to vote for her. Her failure to use a secured server is another reason I question her ability to be President. The Democrat Party emails released prior to the convention is enough to tell me that corruption is top to bottom in the Democrat Party. They will lie, cover-up, cheat do anything they can for one vote. What will Donald Trump do I really do not know, but I doubt if it will be more of the same failed policies. If he fails then I hope he fails trying something new.

I am not trying to take anything away from Mr. Khan ‘s grief and sacrifice, but his speech contained a lot of emotions and things stated as facts that are not exactly true. I still stand by what I said earlier he was used by the Democrat Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

They will know you are Christians by your LOVE!

I am a news junkie and it is hard for me not to listen and read the news daily. I also like the social media because I want to know what others are thinking. But, it is  getting difficult for me to read and listen to so called Christians espousing their hate, bigotry and hypocrisy these days, especially on social media. Many proclaim homosexuals cannot be Christians, well I have news for them they themselves are not Christians. 

Christians were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26).  Christians at the time did not call themselves Christians. The term Christian was created by none Christians to define a group of people that followed Jesus’ teachings. It may have even been a term used in a derogatory manner.  The non-Christians (pagans and Jews) noticed how the people that followed Jesus acted. They saw that these “Christians” tried to mimic the life of Jesus.  The title “Christian” was given to the followers of Jesus it was not a term they chose for themselves. The term “Christian” actually meant “little Christ.”

The Christians in Antioch were not known for their hate, venom, being judgmental,  religious pride and good theology. Instead, They were known for acting and behaving like Jesus Christ. I no longer believe that is true for many Christians today.

And they will know you are my disciples by your: rules, traditions, rituals, theology, right wing power, rhetoric, purity, denominations, your condemnation of those you think are evil, and your disgust of those who do not believe as you do.  I do not think that is what John 13:35 says, at least that is not what it says in my Bible. “And they will know you are my disciples by your LOVE” (John 13:35).

If you do not have unconditional love for others they will never know that you are a Christian no matter what you say or do.

What name would non-believers give us “Christians” today? I hate to think of the words that would be used to describe us today, but I am sure it would not be “Christian” - Christ like or little Christ.

If you are truly a Christian you do not have to tell people that you are. They will know by the way you live your life. They know you are by your love of ALL of God’s creation. Where did this idea come from that Christians can use words that make people hate them and in doing so Christ is proud of them?

Telling your gay co-workers they are destine for hell, you are destroying our society, you are trying to convert our children to your way of life, God hates you, God cursed homosexuals with AIDS, God is punishing us with storms because people are beginning to accept your life as normal and the list goes on and on and on - does not win souls to Christ and I do not think it makes you a Christian or a better Christian. Some Christians actually believe telling gays that God hates them is standing up for Christ.

I do not know where you stand on homosexuality or gay marriage and I do not care, but I think the response God wants us to share with those that differ from us is to tell them “God loves you.”  The same is true of how we feel towards Muslims. We cannot hate ALL Muslims because of the actions of a few Radical Islamist Terrorist. A man posted on social media following Peter Theil’s speech at the Republican Convention, “I hope the queer dies before he gets home”. If that is not Radical Christian Terrorism what is? People words like that are RADICAL CHRISTIAN TERRORISM!

Love is the proper (and only) response to ALL people, no matter what they believe or do, if we are followers of Jesus. If you want to represent Jesus to people, don’t do it by hating or condemning them and don’t use the line about how you “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.

How many Christians that are espousing this hate have stopped to think about the fact that the only people who really hated Jesus were the religious people. Those who were condemned and judged by the religious people loved Jesus and were accepted by Him. Could it be possible if the world hates you, but religious people love you, you might not be following Jesus. I pray that never comes to be a reality.

God’s love is UNCONDITIONAL love and it is getting harder to find Christians that have UNCONDITIONAL love.  I am beginning to believe those who love unconditionally, but do not claim to follow Jesus are closer to the Kingdom of God than those who claim to follow Jesus but only have conditional love. If God is love then it only makes sense to me that love must define the character of a Christian or anyone that believes in the one true God.

I have stated many times on this blog it is not what you say, post on social media or how many Bible verses you memorize or how often you attend church, take communion or attend Bible studies that makes you a Christian. Christianity is a lifestyle you choose and try to live 24/7, 365 days a year.

I do not care if you call me a Christian or not, but I do care if you cannot see Christ in me, for if you do not, I have failed my God. I refuse to sit back and say nothing and pretend what some are doing in the name of God (Christians and Muslims) against those that do not believe as they do is okay and that God called them to do it or that they are representing Christ on earth.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Divided Nation / Divided Christians

Part II
Divided Nation / Divided Christians

Reading the comments in social media is alarming to me. It seems to me that many Christians today are traveling the same path that Islamic radicals are traveling they feel they are right and there is no discussion on the matter.

I believe that the Quran contains passages about fighting and I believe that the Bible contains passages about fighting that we would not agree with in 2016. I believe most Muslims today read those passages in  the same way most Christians read stories from Joshua in our Bible about the killing of Canaanite men, women, and children.  Most Muslims and Christians do not see these passages as commands to kill those who do not share their faith. However there are some Islamic extremists that see the Quran’s passages about the rules of engagement in wars from Mohammed’s time and prior as permission for violent activities and there are some Christians extremists (generally those who translate the Bible literally) that see the violence in the Bible towards those that did not believe as they did as a pass to violence today. The Quran and the Bible all contain passages that are not peaceful and passages that are peaceful. It is how we react and interpret those passages that makes the difference in 2016.

The Five Pillars of Islam are: (1) There is only one God – Christians should not have a problem with that; (2) Pray five times a day – it would be helpful if Christians adopted that practice; (3) Give to support the needy – Christians have always believed that; (4) Fast from dawn till sundown during the month of Ramadan – many Christians practice the tradition of fasting and I believe it is a healthy tradition; and (5) If possible make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime – many Christians go to Israel each year and many more would like to make a pilgrimage to Israel.

You see we have many things in common. Why don’t we try and concentrate on those things. Why do we generalize that all Christians and all Islamist are bad? Why are the extremist on both sides determined to prove that the Quran and the Bible is evil from beginning to end?

There are divisions among Christians and there are divisions among Muslims. Muslims and Christians have their own liberals, moderates, conservatives, fundamentalists, and extremists.

ISIS truly believes what it professes: that it is engaged in a conflict to bring about the end times. The primary enemies of ISIS are other Muslims who do not share their beliefs. The Islamic view of end times involves victory in a climactic battle in Syria among all the nations of the world and God’s people.  I would say the majority of Christians believe that there will be a climatic battle in the Middle East among nations and God’s people. Because Fundamentalist Christians and Islamic Extremist believe what they are doing is God’s work they are a difficult force to fight. Is it even possible to win over Christians who think God wants all homosexuals dead and when they voice hated for homosexuals they are doing God’s work or Islamist that believe God wants all Christians dead? I honestly do not know. If it is it will take a mighty work of the Holy Spirit to do so.

The division in the U.S.A. now over racism, disdain for the police, riots in the streets, a few rogue police officers, yelling at  one another on Kelly’s show (FOX) and bigoted social media post does not speak well around the world for the U.S.A. or Christianity. I think a  lot of people around the world and in the U.S.A. believe some American’s are acting as extremist. Many of us want to think of ourselves as a Christian Nation so we should act like it.

Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, expresses how we are to wage spiritual war: never avenging ourselves, never repaying evil for evil, overcoming evil with good. Most of us believe it’s wrong to judge an entire category of people based on the actions of a relatively small number of extremists within that group. At the same time, terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists within our midst have heightened our concerns about future attacks — from Adam Hamilton. I am not saying we should not use military force against ISIS. I am saying we cannot generalize about any group of people and we must be careful to the best of our ability to target ISIS and not all Muslims in general. I certainly do not want to be associated with literal radical Bible interpreters and many Muslims do not want to be associated with I.S.I.S.

We have legitimate fears about attacks by Islamic extremists, but how do we apply our faith in ways that balance those concerns for people’s safety with our belief that it is wrong to judge someone only on the basis of religion or nationality or gender or sexual inclination?

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:14-21). These scriptures are extreme and it  may be impossible to follow all of them, but the harder we try to follow them the better we will be and the world will be.

We are not battling Islam, because there is no such thing as one Islam. One Islam cannot be extracted from the numerous offshoots, branches, and sects that make the world's 1.3 billion Muslims as ideologically, religiously, and politically fractured as the other two monotheistic faiths, Christianity and Judaism.

The "War on Terror" should really be called the "War on Militant Islam or War on Radical Islamic Terrorist." The terrorists of September 11, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban all adhere to an ideology we have come to know as militant Islam, a minority outgrowth of the faith that exudes a bitter hatred for Western ideas, including capitalism, individualism, and consumerism.

It rejects the West and much that it has to offer seeking instead to implement a strict interpretation of the Koran and sharia (Islamic law). America, as radical Muslims see it, is the primary impediment to building an Islamic world order.  Radical Muslims have a history of violence against American, Western, and even Muslim interests. But the movement did not appear spontaneously it has taken 14 centuries to evolve.

Many Muslims adapted to the fast-paced changes common to Western industrialization and modernization, but some Muslims rejected them. Instead, they created a rigid ideology embedded in the traditional values and laws of the Koran. This is the known today as Islamic fundamentalism, or Islamism.

Islamism represents a yearning for the "pure" Islam as practiced by the prophet. Not unlike the American Amish, the movement rejects much that is innovative. Islamist, however, take the rejection of modernity a step further. They perceive those who have introduced these innovations as its enemy.

Islamist Radical Muslim Terrorist not only reject the influence of the West, they reject the legitimacy of their own governments in the Arabic world, which they see as subservient to the West. Therefore the overthrow of these regimes has become an important part of their agenda.

The biggest push for this agenda came in 1928, with the founding of the Ikhwan al-Muslim or Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This organization became the cornerstone for most of today's Islamist movements, advocating Islamic beliefs and values as expressed by the common Egyptian. The organization rejected western rule and England's secular influence over Egypt. Obama made a grave mistake when he embraced the Muslim Brotherhood over the dictator ruling Egypt for over three decades.

"The earthquake" came in 1979 when Iran became the first modern Islamic republic, as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini overthrew Iran's secular regime and established a new order in which sharia became law. Suddenly, Islamism was no longer an ideology of movements. It had inspired a state. America's first violent introduction to militant Islam came shortly after Khomeini's Islamic Republic was established in 1979, when Islamic extremists seized the U.S. embassy in the Iranian capital of Tehran.

Given that militant Islam has plagued America for 22 years the attacks of September 11 should not have been surprising. A trend had been established. So, perhaps the biggest shock of that tragic day was the nation's utter surprise. Psychologically, America was completely unprepared for the attacks - why? I think because our government has refused to make it clear who our real enemy is and name them – all for the sake of political correctness and a President Obama that seems to have some need to defend ALL Islam thinking that we are so naive that if we reject some Islam we will reject it all.

Bin Laden's own words. "We have seen in the last decade the decline of the American government and the weakness of the American soldier. He is ready to wage cold wars but unprepared to fight hot wars...We are ready for all occasions, we rely on God."

Militant Islam has strongholds in Algeria, Egypt, Somalia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan, to name just a few countries. The challenge now for the western world is finding ways to destroy the radical infrastructure and arrest or kill militants while bolstering the influence of moderate Muslims.  No one in the Obama administration seems to know how we can accomplish this task. We cannot win without the support of moderate Muslims.  Hatred of ALL Muslims is not going to gain the support of moderate Muslims. Americans must come to terms on who are enemy really is and it is not ALL Muslims.

Until we Americans learn to love ourselves and each other we cannot expect the world to love and respect us. If we want to talk about Radical Islamic Recruitment I would imagine showing the division among our people is a great tool to use in their recruiting. One 30 second video of Americans fighting among ourselves in the streets is worth millions of words. It becomes okay to kill homosexuals if you can demonstrate that even your enemies, the Americans, hate homosexuals. It is easy to claim that Americans are out to destroy you if you can demonstrate that Americans are willing to destroy other Americans that do not agree with them. Finally it is easy to demonstrate that Democratic Laws do not work when we take to the streets and riot over injustice in our country rather than engaging in civil conversations about our differences and injustices.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

We are divided as a Country and as Christians.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  Abraham Lincoln is most known for that quote, but actually Jesus Christ said if before Abraham Lincoln even thought of it.  

Our Nation is more divided today than I have ever seen it in my lifetime. It is worse than during the turmoil of the 60’s when Vietnam and Love-Ins were festering topics.

How are we divided well let us count the ways: 

We do not listen to one another any longer. If someone does not agree with us we question their motivation. Immediately anyone who does not agree with our religion or our politics or our views in general are judged stupid and evil. We are no longer willing to have reasonable discussions and reach a consensus on what we have in common and work from there.

There was a time when Republicans and Democrats had difference in opinions on how the country should be run. But, we did not hate one another and try to destroy one another. We had political differences and that was it – simple.  The elections came and went and the losers accepted their loss and we moved on as one supporting the elected candidates. What is ironic is there are far fewer differences in the two parties than ever before and we do our best to destroy each other before and after the election and nothing productive is ever accomplished.

One only has to follow social media to see that we no longer have thoughtful, and respectful discussions. We no longer are interested in trying to win anyone over to our way of thinking, instead with our words we do all we can to turn them away by attacking their sincerity, intelligence and faith.

What happen to LOVE!  Mention homosexuality to some Christians and you will see the most vicious, vile rhetoric come from their heart and their mouths. The Orlando massacre shined a light on the bigotry of some lay and some ministers within the church. For example, “I wish one Saturday night a group of people would organize all around the country and go to every gay bar in America and kill ever single queer in there and that would stop them from leading our children and grandchildren astray”, “They were not afraid in that restroom in that queer bar in Orlando. They were too busy having sex to be afraid”, “My only problem with the dumb terrorist in Orlando was he did not kill them all.”  The list goes on and on and on and the people vow up and down they are CHRISTIANS.

I think some Christians are going to be shocked when they reach the Pearly Gates and find them padlocked. I do not think the words some Christians are using in speaking of homosexuals are the words God wants them to use.  

I realize some Christians say they are  tired of being made into the bad guys. They’re tired of being called the bigots, the haters, etc. I was told by one Christian,  “If I do not speak out loud and clear now to stop the homosexuals one day I may lose my right to do so.” I do not think it is the agenda of homosexuals to prevent Christians from believing as they wish or to take away their right to free speech, but it is their agenda to be able to speak and live as they believe. There are bigots on both sides of the issue and if you do not want to be called a bigot then do not act like one.

At the Indiana Statehouse, Rev. Ron Johnson Jr. of the Indiana Pastors Alliance addressed a roaring crowd: “We’re not here today because we’re angry. We’re not here because we hate people. “We’re actually here,” he said, “because we love Jesus.” He went on to say, “How can government force people to act against their religious consciences — against an unshakable belief that marriage is between a man and a woman?” Has the government ask any Christian to do that?  There are laws about discriminating in a PUBLIC business. The government has only ask that we respect the rights of others to believe as they want, just as the Christians opposed to homosexuality do. 

I heard similar arguments at my Grandmothers church, First Baptist Church of Pratt City, Alabama against integration and interracial marriages. The only words coming from his mouth that I agreed with was, “I’m not asking for special protected class status. I’m asking to be left alone, for crying out loud.” Rev. Ron Johnson that is all the gay community really wants.

For some evangelical Christians, who are led by ministers like the Indiana Pastors Alliance there is no compromise. Expanding the state civil rights law to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes would effectively feel like a betrayal of their constitutional rights.

Not all Christians share their views. Some Christians agree with enacting nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, including a coalition of mainline Christian denominations and a group of 141 faith leaders who signed onto a letter of support. Bishop William Gafkjen, who oversees Indiana and Kentucky congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said he doesn’t feel that adding to the civil rights law threatens his religious freedom.

Christian’s are more divided today than ever before in my lifetime. There has always been some that thought if you did not belong to their church or denomination you could not go to heaven. There has always been some that thought they were the only ones that knew how to interpret scripture. But, there are some Christians today that are nearly or they are militant about their opinions.

If you believe me to be wrong then next Sunday after church start a conversation with those you just worshiped God with about immigration.  If one person does not explode like a stick of dynamite has been ignited in them - I would be shocked.  A recent National Public Radio report noted, “Immigration is shaping up to be one of the most contentious and emotional topics in the 2016 presidential race.”  Even among us Christians.

We seem to forget that all Americans have immigrants in their genealogy if they take time to go back far enough.  The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 banned racial criteria for immigration. From that time on, people would be admitted “on the basis of their skills and their relationship to those already here” and to find refuge from oppression. The problem is not immigration the problem is that our immigration laws are not being following by our politicians. The law never intended to allow illegal immigration into our country.

 There are approximately 11.3 million persons in the U.S. today without authorization—without some kind of Visa or Green Card. Of these, roughly half came here on a Visa or Green Card that has now expired, and half came into our country by crossing the border without authorization. The problem is not all immigrants the problem is illegal immigrants and whose fault is that they have freely crossed our borders and overstayed their visa’s without any repercussion. If I was from a depressed country and could get to the Promised Land legally or illegally I would. I would especially do so when the President of that country encouraged it. Now this is the question that will set fire under some - would it be legal or illegal today for the Jewish people to take the land of the Canaanites, which is now Palestine? Would the Jewish people at that time be consider illegal aliens today?

The Bible has many references to immigrants—in fact, foreigners, strangers, and aliens are mentioned more than 150 times.

In Leviticus, God says: “When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them. Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

The question of immigrants is complicated today by the extreme radical Muslims. I think the main solution to that problem is strict enforcement of our Immigration Laws. I am not convinced discrimination against any one particular group of people is the answer.

All people that desire to enter our country should be vetted and required to meet stringent guidelines regardless of their religion or country of origin.  I think people should prove they can contribute to the betterment of the United States in the future in order to enter and that seems harsh to a lot of liberal thinking Christians. I think there should be set time limits as to when they must demonstrate they have a command of the English language.  But, I am no longer for discrimination against a certain group of people.  I once was because I feared radical Islamic Muslims.

I disagree with many other Christians on taking in refugees. I am for HELPING and protecting refugees in their own homeland. I do not think as Christians we can stand by and not offer assistance, but to bring their problems to our shores when we already face so many problems I simply cannot support it. If we do allow them to enter the United States I think we have a Christian obligation to treat then as  fellow citizens of the United States.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Stop trying to be what you think people want you to be - be who you are!

Many people have crossed my path that were good intelligent people, but for them it just did not seem to be enough. They were perfectly fine as they were, but they felt a need to exaggerate their skills, education, wealth and family background to make themselves sound even more important than they already were. Now remember there was nothing wrong with these people and there was no need to exaggerate.

 You will never be happy in life trying to impress other people. It just doesn’t work, it has never worked and it will never work. You might be able to impress a few people. If you are lucky you may impress a lot of people for a short while. But you will never impress everyone. No one can be all things to all people. No one can satisfy all people. I have found that if you have exaggerated something in your life eventually if people are around you long enough they will catch on to you and it may be the end of a great friendship, business relationship or social relationship.

I know a minster of music who had an outstanding voice, was great with people, never met a stranger and no one ever had a bad first impression of him. He could remain positive in any circumstance. In your worse circumstances he could make you feel better. He simply could not love himself for who he was and would try to make his life story fit what he thought you needed to hear to be impressed.

He casually mentioned in a conversation at church that he had been a realtor and had a license. He told this to some people in the church that owned a real-estate company. Soon after the conversation they got a contract to sell condominium’s in a high rise project on the beach. They needed all the help they could get. They remembered the casual conversation and contacted him. They offered him a full-time position, but were willing to let him work part-time, whatever hours he wanted. At first he declined the offer, but they kept insisting. What was he to do? How was he going to get out of the problem he created?

I went to him and told him he had better take care of the problem immediately. I even told him he could tell them I would not allow him to work part-time. I thought that was what he did until one day the husband and wife realtors came to me and said we have  problem. Immediately I said WE have a problem. They then told me my minister of music had sold quite a few units and a realtor in competition with them had found out that he did not and never did have a realtors license. He was threatening a class action lawsuit. I told him I did not have a problem, the church did not have a problem and the people of my parish did not have a problem, but they and the man they hired part-time had a problem.

In the end they had to contact everyone he had sold a contract to and give them the option to rescind the contract. No one backed out. They praised the man for the good service he gave them. He escape prosecution and you would think he would have learned his lesson. In the end our parish did suffer because the realtors left the parish and we lost $1000 a week in donations.

After I came to the Philippines my lawyer contacted me and said the F.B.I. was looking for the man and wanted to know if I knew where he was. He had posed as a lawyer and had taken some $35,000 from illegal aliens to get them a green card. They finally found him in a small town in Mississippi where he was posing as a licensed psychologist and ordained minister. He now resides in a Federal prison. If the man would have simply been himself he would have done better than fine in life. He had looks, personality, charisma and people skills.

I think even those among us with a healthy self-esteem take notice if one person says something negative about us. I would have several hundred people tell me on Sunday my homily spoke to them, but let just one person say they got absolutely nothing out of what I said and later in the week I could tell you every word the negative person said and not one word of what those that praised me said. We generally go from the negative comment to going over and over in our minds why does this person, I barely know, not like me or could I have done better.

People have a desire to be liked by other people. It’s built into our human condition to want to look and feel important to others. I always laugh to myself when I hear someone say; “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.” If you think little of yourself, regardless of how great you really are, you will tend to exaggerate (low self-esteem) and everyone cares what others think of them. Some just care more than others.

I do want to clarify the statement I made above - I do not think small children care what others think and I think that when we get in the final years of life we tend not to care as much what others think of us.

Spending your life trying to impress everyone will eventually send you into a state of despair and unhappiness. It’s impossible to impress everyone. We can simplify our lives right now and improve our happiness today by striving only to impress God. If you concern yourself solely with what God thinks then the perceptions of others will take care of itself.

When you come to realize or accept that what others think of your or how they feel about you is something you really have no control over, your life will become a lot simpler, a lot happier and a lot more fulfilling. “…bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt 5:44).

People use words to reach certain goals even when they do not really mean what they say and even if they weren't aware of their unconscious goals. Not everyone is aware that they are exaggerating. They get so wrapped up in trying to be all things, to all people, the words just flow off their lips.

Each person has different psychological goals and unmet needs that he or she tries to reach and fulfill through every possible method available to them. Because those goals and needs differ from person to person ‘why’ one person does something might be different than ‘why’ another person does the same thing. That is why I hesitate to put labels on peoples actions. But, over the course of my business relationships and ministry I have found: (1) When we are not happy with something in our past - for example - if we were bullied in school we may now may want to appear to be braver than we really are,  so we exaggerate our braveness; (2)  If a person believes that others look down on them, which is a common sign of low self-esteem, then they might exaggerate to prove to others that they are much better than others think and (3) Many people would rather be believed even if they know that their arguments are invalid rather than change their opinion or admit they were wrong. I am sure there are many more reasons, but these are the most common ones I have come across as to why people exaggerate.

Why do most politicians (if not all) lie - because they are Narcissists. “Because they can” as the cliche goes. Seriously, narcissists do lie and they lie constantly. They lie about their education, they lie about their achievements, and they lie about extramarital affairs or what they had for dinner. If someone else is boasting about their 2015 Mercedes, a narcissist will claim he or she has a 2016 Mercedes just to make themselves appear more superior. They commonly lie to seek attention. Politicians are not the only ones that are Narcissist.

Narcissists use lying and deception as handy tools to get whatever they want. A narcissist will look you right in the eyes, without blinking, and lie right to your face. Narcissists become so skilled at lying that many of them believe that they are telling the truth. Others use constant lying as a way of controlling the people around them. Bill Clinton said, “I did not have sex with that woman.” Did he lie? He lied by most people’s standards, but by Bill Clinton's standards what they did may not have been sex. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are perfect examples of unhealthy narcissistic people.

I guess people exaggerate or they are narcissistic because some people need excessive attention and get it by behaving inappropriately. It could be due to lowered self-esteem, a lack of self-confidence, low levels of self-worth or self-love, trying to compete with others especially other family members or feeling insecure. Regardless of the reason it is not healthy and you cannot keep up the charade forever.

I am beginning to think the problem cannot be fixed, but it can be managed. The best way I know to help the person to learn to manage the problem is not to respond to them. Do not give them the attention they are seeking. As long as they continue to get attention they are not going to try to manage the problem.

There is something called  healthy narcissism and it is essential for emotional well-being. We need narcissism to feel confident in ourselves, and to give adequate consideration to others. The healthy narcissist does not focus exclusively on themselves, demanding that the world reflect back their false manufactured sense of self and an image of idealized perfection.

In closing if you do not know it by now even ministers sometimes tend to exaggerate points in their sermons or homilies to make them more significant to you and hope you will remember them better and apply them to your daily lives. Parents also sometimes exaggerate dangers in order for their children to be more careful. Sometimes exaggeration is healthy in order to make a point. Exaggerations are not all bad, but lets not over do it!   

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Christians wouldn't act that way - really!

Really: How do they act:

You have a “I love Jesus sticker on your bumper” and you pass me going twice the speed limit in a school zone.

I look in my rear view mirror and I cannot tell if you are pushing me or following me, but you do have a cross hanging from your rear view mirror.

You have a “What would Jesus do?” sticker on your rear window and I am sitting behind you watching you blow your horn and shoot the finger at someone taking too long at the stop sign.

You leave church an when you get to the parking lot you see someone has parked too close to your car and the first thing that comes out of your mouth is “Goddamn fool”.  I witness that two Sundays ago.

Its almost laughable when I see people at church (my neighbor) treating others as if they were mortal enemies. Gossiping behind others backs, silently and verbally wishing for their failure, and coveting their possessions.

There’s nothing wrong with a friendly debate among people of the same or different denominations…but when you end up telling me I am not a Christian because I am Catholic and insist on holding it against me…then you have forgotten what Christianity is all about.

When you post Bible verses on my email and go to church each week and I know you are married and using a singles site on the Internet. It makes me question if I even want to be a Christian.

How do you think you’ll ever be able to convince someone that they should investigate Christianity if their only interaction with Christianity is you and you demonstrate qualities even the unbeliever does not want to have.  Have you ever considered that you’re actually hurting Christ more than helping Him with how you treat others? Do you really think that showing up on Sunday and listening to the band or singing in the choir is going to bring others to Christ?

Christ said that you should “let your light so shine” so that others will want to come unto Him. Is your shining light a a red warning light to avoid Christians? Perhaps you are like a fire hydrant extinguishing any light that might be burning faintly within others.

If you call yourself a Christian…then just start loving others and overlooking their faults. Stop trying to make everyone else pay for their sins. God’s got that under control. Become an ambassadors of mercy instead of trying to replace God by being judge and jury. If you make that change you’ll never have to beg someone to listen to your message about Christ again.

There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t see some conservative going on and on about how the Republican party is the party of “good Christian values” and everyone else (specifically liberals) is waging some kind of war on religion. Going to church doesn’t make someone a Christian. Christianity is based on a belief in Jesus Christ and one’s attempt to live their life based on the values for which He taught.

I have really noticed from the comments following the Orlando shooting on social sites and media sites how many conservative Christians base their devotion to their faith on how strong their opposition is to homosexuality.

These are some other things that I have really noticed over the last eight years -Prosperity minsters make all Christians sound like our religion is based on GREED. It seems some Christians believe Jesus Christi would have an AR-15 strapped to His back - that is not a Christian issue that is a political issue. Christians should be  teaching acceptance and tolerance of others, but many are not.  That we’re all humans and it seems some have forgotten that - we all sin.  That we should treat each other with respect and kindness - calling others derogatory names does not seem to fulfill that Christian obligation. Some of the comments certainly do not reflect love and kindness.  Many Christians seem to have forgotten that whole “love our neighbor” thing. Do we should think we should try and FORCE our beliefs on others and judge them stupid heathens if they do not agree with us - God does not - that is why God gave us ‘free will". God gave us the right to choose to believe or not believe. God said “fear not” why are so many Christians on social media sites expressing fear of those that do not agree with their beliefs – I have faith God will prevail. 

Our actions outside of church are what matters the most to others wanting what we claim to have.