It's Worse Than Spam!
I hate spam. What a nuisance. It takes time to delete.
But compare it to the other junk that hits my household. It is sent at taxpayer-subsidized bulk rates. It's delivered daily by a government postal worker. Most of it is removed weekly by another government sanitation worker. It is deposited in a land fill somewhere.
The postal workers bring it to my door at "no cost" to me. If I elect to visit the post office to pick it up, I am charged for storage space.
What's wrong with this picture? Spam in a can is bad, but at least the taxpayer is not subsidizing the real thing.
It's So Hard to be Consistently “Sensitive”
We're told that as Americans, we live in a land that is a religious and philosophical mosaic. Our nation is populated by atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Jews, Christians, and a growing number of Muslims.
It seems to make sense then, that in public discourse such as advertising or causal greetings, we should be sensitive to that fact. The alternative is insensitivity. So today we find widespread acceptance of the generic “Season's Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” instead of the presumptuous, though traditional, “Merry Christmas!”
Yet at about January 1, some in our culture continue to add the traditional words, “Happy New Year!” Shouldn't they be reminded that such a statement is equally presumptuous of a Christian world view?
Do they not realize that Americans of Jewish and Oriental heritage follow different calendars, and for them January 1 is not the beginning of a new year (and what about the atheist)? The truth is that the number 2006 relates to a significant world event that took place just that many years ago, according to secular history and the teaching of the Christian Bible's New Testament.
If we are to be consistently sensitive, then we must also cleanse our seasonal greeting of any reference to this Christian date and refrain from indiscriminate wishes of “Happy New Year.” The same should also be applied to such inadvertent religious proclamations as we find at the top of every page of our daily newspapers. In the trade, it's called the “folio line.” That's the portion of each page that includes the date of publication and proclaims the number of years since the birth of Jesus Christ.
Being sensitive is so hard. The insensitive U.S. government engages in proclaiming Christ's advent by including that number on every postage stamp, postmark, coin and all printed currency. And while we are striving to be so sensitive, shouldn't we change the number of days included in what we call the “week”? That too, is based on God's established order as explained in the book of Genesis. Even the very word “holiday” is a contraction of the English words “holy” and “day.”
Celebrate the Truth
Yes, this preoccupation with political correctness has gone too far! We've already eliminated our school's Easter break. School children no longer perform in a Christmas program. Even the Christmas tree has been renamed. It's time to celebrate the truth.
Our nation has become great because of the faith of our founders who based its system of government on the truth of biblical principle. They declared that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights….” Their efforts at establishing a free nation have been so successful, that the U.S. attracts millions of legal [and illegal] immigrants each year seeking to enjoy its freedoms.
Americans know what happened 2006 years ago. There is no reason to be ashamed of this fact, and no reason to surrender our godly heritage. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year 2006!
"The ideal companion takes many forms"
So says Ford Motor Company in an advertisement aimed at one of its target audiences. That's what triggered the following note to my friends.
There is no doubt we live in a fallen world. And I know I was included when St. Paul wrote to his brothers in Rome, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Yet I was pointedly reminded of our condition today as I read the extent of corporate policy and marketing activity directed toward a small but vocal special interest group by a troubled U.S. automobile manufacturer. Whether its ongoing emphasis is driven by a misguided "social concern" or a purely economic motive, it's a sad commentary on the state of today's culture.
As someone I have sponsored for an A or X plan purchase from this manufacturer, I ask you to consider the facts assembled at this web site as you contemplate your next vehicle purchase. As for me, I have contacted my local dealer and signed the pledge at http://www.boycottford.com/
Ford made the "ideal companion" statement in its "Life is Full of Twists and Turns. Care for a Partner?" ad for the Jaguar brand. You might have missed the not-so-subtle double-entendre ad, as it was published only in such targeted magazines as OUT, The Advocate and Metrosource. >>Check it out. Sorry, check it over.
Chaucer and Beowulf Too?
The United Nations Unwittingly Argues for KJV Language
According to Associated Press reports of a U.N. conference on trade, "A language is a culture. It contains the history of a people and all the knowledge they have passed down for generations." >>Knowledge Fades.
The same argument certainly holds for preservation of the sacred Scriptures of Christian and Jewish people. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," John 1:1. As our English Bible becomes diluted by new paraphrases and modern jargon, many believers make the same claim, "Truth is being lost!" >>Translation controversy.
Unwritten, primitive languages
Although today there are thousands of languages spoken around the world, some of them with a written alphabet, from the beginning it was not so. In fact, God, himself, initiated all of the world's diverse babbling (Genesis 11:9).
Today's effort to preserve the primitive tongues is complicated, because most of them are strictly oral. Contrary to the U.N. pronouncement, this greatly limits their historical reliability, as they have no written documentation to ensure precise transmission of tradition from generation to generation.
After stating the obvious, the March 2005 lament, "Knowledge Fades," continues to praise primitive languages for their value in protecting "centuries of know-how in preserving ecosystems." Finally, the predictable U.N. punch line, loss of these languages leads to "grave consequences for biodiversity."
Problems with primitive culture
But wait! This praise for primitive culture may be misguided. Consider the irony of a March 3, 2005, story critical of primitive culture. It seems that soot generated today by people using ancient cooking methods contributes to climate change. >>Cooking Linked to Possible Climate Changes.
Investigators claim, “The major source of potentially climate-changing soot in the air over south Asia is home cooking fires, according to a team of Indian and American researchers. The burning of wood, agricultural waste and animal manure for cooking is the largest source of black carbon in the air in that region, according to the team led by C. Venkataraman of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.”
If this story is to be believed, we have ecological reason to celebrate Western culture and capitalism. One Western industrial enterprise, General Electric, popularized the slogan, “Progress is our most important product.” Along the way, civilization has developed written language, preserved God's Word, utilized the printing press, and even elevated home cooking to ecological purity.
Yes, we must preserve both the written language and knowledge, without ignoring the words of King Solomon recorded in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Who Can Claim Success?
It's a Bush Victory!
Accommodationists such as Germany and France, including U.S. politicians who begged for more time to allow the international process to “work,” did succeed in delaying start of U.S. action in Iraq.
Of course, now they claim vindication of their position, because WMD have not been located in that nation. How ridiculous!
The UN and the rest of the world know that those weapons or their components had been there. That's the very reason UN inspectors were sent to verify that Saddam Hussein had kept his word to destroy them.
The truth is that it was only pressure from the Bush administration that resulted in the elimination of the WMD threat. Faced with the pending resumption of the Gulf War because of his failure to abide by peace terms, the dictator apparently disposed of the weapons. Recent news reports confirm that Saddam loyalists willingly allowed them to be broken down, shipped out, and converted to cash.
This is a victory of the Bush doctrine: weapons were literally scrapped due to U.S. pressure! Had it not been for the administration's decision to postpone its invasion, Saddam's regime would have been caught red-handed before the materiel could be moved.
Thanks to the resolve of President Bush, we no longer face a threat from Saddam or his weapons. But it's the accommodationists and their endless “international process” or "global test" that we have to thank for Saddam's war materiel now being scattered around the Middle East instead of under U.S. lock and key. >>Duelfer points to neighboring countries.
It's a Long Tradition
According to Joseph Farah writing in World Net Daily, barbaric acts of Islamic terrorism are far from new. Did you ever wonder who were the "Barbary pirates"? >>Read No more appeasement.
Flashback: 2001 Minus 60 Years
The "sneak" attack could have been foreseen, and measures to thwart the enemy could have been taken.
There was even a presidential cover-up, and the ensuing "independent" investigation did not reveal all of the facts. Twenty-five pages of critical evidence had been withheld from Congressional investigators.
Dominion, But for a Purpose!
The abortion of human life is man's attempt to exercise his own will. It is a choice one person makes about the life of another.
As God was putting the finishing touches on His creation, He had only one mandate for the man and woman he created. After blessing them, He commanded (verse 28), "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion." A few thousand years later (Matthew 28:19), Jesus had a command for His followers: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations...."
God knew that both of these commands required manpower. But throughout history man has made life and death choices that serve to thwart God's purposes.
Celebrating 'Earth Day'?
As God's hand moves the earth deeper into springtime, I was prompted to inquire as to the origin of a modern day observance, Earth Day. Depending on whom you ask, it has origins in the naturalism of Arbor Day, a day established in the treeless Plains of America in the 19th century.
Others point to the Vietnam antiwar protest movement as inspiration for its founding in the 20th century. Dedicated Earth Day observers also proudly point out that April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day, also marked the 100th Anniversary of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's birth. Unquestionably, its roots are outside of this nation's Judeo-Christian heritage.
Although stewardship is a biblical concept--doing the right thing for the right reason--this new "holiday" (a word that has lost its original meaning) deserves to be recognized by believers and their Church in the same way as the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter rabbit's eggs. Even Earth Day's environmental activist promoters must be chagrined at the commercial opportunism that now threatens to overtake their "sacred" turf. >>See exhibit "A," Lots of Trees. Lots of "Opportunity"!
So, as I read through the Bible I can't help but smile when I read such verses as Genesis 1:28, "God... told them, 'multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; you are masters of the... earth.'"
Now here in Deuteronomy 20:19-20, His chosen people are given rules for handling the trees: "Cut down the ones that are not good for food. Use them to make implements of war." His people, while wandering on God's earth, were camped in territory occupied by other tribes, as they were not yet in their promised land. "Go ahead," God said, "cut down the trees"! That's my paraphrase of just one of many verses that help me keep this modern observance in Biblical perspective. >>What is the Bible's perspective on environmental issues?
A Lesson in Charity
When Michigan's current Governor jabs at fiscal conservatives in the legislature, implying they're somehow deficient in their faith because they favor budget restraint and follow-through on the promised personal income tax rollback, she joins her Democrat colleague, Dr. Howard Dean, in displaying a lack of Biblical understanding. >>Read "On cuts, Granholm cites Bible, draws wrath" Detroit Free Press, January 3, 2004.
Both have recently made awkward attempts at expressing their Christian values. Remember, Dean, launching his new Bible Belt strategy, recently made a theological point about the suffering of Job in response to a request to name his favorite book of the New Testament. >>Read "Dean Now Willing to Discuss His Faith" The Washington Post, January 4, 2004
What Did Granholm Say?
Michigan's Governor Granholm said, "Often those who cloak themselves in a cape of religiosity happen to be some who are the biggest cutters." So as not to be misunderstood, she went on, attempting to quote chapter and verse. "Now, some of that can balance out. But when you get to cutting the services for the least of these--in the 25th chapter of Matthew in the 37th verse the Lord says, 'Whatsoever you do to the least of these, so also you do unto me' --that's when I question whether somebody is really living out the faith that they [sic] profess."
Here, Granholm incorrectly equates government programs with charity. Last October she applied similar tangled logic to her veto of SB 395--the Legal Birth Definition Act. Apparently, her definition of the “least of these” is a calculating, unwed mother, rather than her helpless, partially born baby on the verge of merciless slaughter. >>Read "America's other terminator in office," The South End Online, October 16, 2003.
Betsy DeVos Responds with Charity!
According to the Detroit Free Press, Betsy DeVos, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, well-known benefactor, and a devoted Christian, wasted no time in responding. "It is quite arrogant for the governor to cloak her views on balancing the budget in religious terms in order to demonize her political opponents," she said.
"The governor may not know it, but there are quite a few folks in Michigan who give regularly to charities and churches, and view this as an excellent and efficient way to help the poor and the less fortunate," DeVos said. "Apparently, she thinks that only government can do that."
Undoubtedly, it was her sense of charity that led DeVos to refrain from correcting the Governor's citation. The verse Granholm cited is not found in Matthew 25:37, but in 25:40.
A Lesson in Charity
By definition, charity is a benevolent, eleemosynary act--a voluntary, gratuitous gift. The Governor does not dispense charity. Her office does only what the State Legislature instructs. And the government has nothing to give without threatening to use, or actually using, its police power to forcibly extract taxes from its citizens. It dispenses legal entitlements and welfare, not charity. This is very different from the meaning of the word “charity” which is a generous and gracious expression of love for one's fellowman. It's simple mathematics, as taxes increase, the remainder available for charitable giving is decreased.
If the Governor would like to operate a welfare program according to Biblical principles, she might consider the words of St. Paul in his second letter to the church in Thessalonica. His command was, until recent times, an effective motivation for gainful employment and the basis for efficient government welfare administration, “if any would not work, neither should he eat,” 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
Dean's Biblical Blooper
As to Dean's misstatement, he's probably been reminded that except for portions of Genesis, the Book of Job may be the oldest book in the Bible. It records events that likely occurred during the time of the patriarchs, approximately 2,000-1,800 B.C. All this more than qualifies Job for its place in the Old Testament.
The former Vermont Governor's slip of the tongue notwithstanding, he probably knew Job was an Old Testament book. After all, he claims to have been “born a Catholic, raised Episcopalian, and became a Congregationalist.” His tolerance of diverse Biblical tradition is further evident in that his wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean, is Jewish and their two children "consider themselves" Jewish and celebrate Jewish holidays.
His Jewish kin would surely be familiar with Job, a beautiful example of Hebrew poetry right alongside the writings of Psalms and Proverbs. Not to worry, Dean has since explained that he had misspoken, acknowledging that Job is not in the New Testament.
Granholm is right to tout the virtue of charity, but mistaken when she equates funding government programs with fulfillment of a Christian's obligation to care for the poor. Yes, Christians are commanded to provide for the underprivileged. But it's a warped sense of charity to think Christian duty is somehow fulfilled when the State extracts taxes to support its programs, no matter how noble.
Onward and Downward?
The state of today's culture, like all culture before today, is bankrupt (one difference is the positive influence of Christianity on Western civilization).
For that reason I can't help but read scripture with an eye to its commentary on today's "highly evolved" norms. Psalm 113, among other things, is affirmation of God's sovereignty. I plan, hope, long to control my future merely to be reminded that God is in charge.
Of course Planned Parenthood was founded on a lie, but even the false promise of its name is counter scriptural: "He maketh the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children," verse 9.
How to Build a Legacy
I believe it is well to name cities, castles and streets in memory of outstanding local or national men of old.
But remind me never to allow anything here and now to be "called after my name" (Psalm 49:11). What an empty, futile effort toward eternal life!
Out With the Old?
It's interesting to read about the instruments used by the "clergy" in ancient times. At the dedication of the wall, the Levites used cymbals, psalteries, trumpets and harps to accompany singers. One group, in honor of the memory of King David, even used historical instruments (Nehemiah 12:36)!
This definitely sounds like measured, outdoor, marching music, not the chaos that frequently passes for praise tunes today. In fact, they didn't try to emulate the world, but to be faithful to the traditions of David.
Just As I Am
I am thankful that God expresses His loving kindness to me as he did time after time throughout the Old Testament. We always seem to have a good excuse for needing an exception: missed church (I was out too late Saturday night), failed to say grace (the restaurant was noisy), etc.
In 2 Chronicles 30, the King and his subjects collectively decide to change the date for observance of Passover (verses 3-4). Further, the King even allowed many to participate in Passover even though they were unclean (verse 19).
I am thankful for His loving kindness, because I know that my "excuses" are just that. This reminds me of the words to the hymn, "Just As I Am."
Dressed to Impress Whom?
Today's fashion in clothing is what could be described as a degenerated Ellis Island look--closer to prison attire. The most fashionable clothes in some circles come off the rack already soiled, patched and threadbare. >>See "America's Elites Take Their Cues from the Underclass."
In Exodus 28, God explains His reason (verses 2, 3) why those who come before Him have specified vestments: to lend to the dignity of their worship activity. This is a principle, which every informed believer should probably consider today as he functions as a priest in the NT sense.
Who's the Missionary?
In Exodus 34, God warns His people not to compromise with the heathen (v. 12). Of course I am tempted to do this every day of my life and am guilty of yielding.
I was reminded of Romans l2:2, which reminds me not to be squeezed into the mold of the godless world. When that happens, I am being just the opposite of a missionary--I'm being evangelized by the evil one.
One Man's Opinion
Language: How far will we go?
by Jay R. Hackleman
All citizens should be increasingly aware of the folly of political correctness carried to ridiculous lengths. Discretion is out; diversity is in. Instead of teaching Johnny the three “R's,” many schools emphasize self-acceptance. It's less important to know whether or not two-plus-two equals four, than to ask “How do 'they' feel about the answer?”
We can't even know a person's sex-it's “their” gender. The pendulum of hypersensitivity has swung so far toward androgyny, that many today live in a dream world, ignoring the obvious. Even our language is at risk of being wrested from our minds and tongues: waiters are now “wait staff,” every gunman is a “shooter,” a congresswoman is “congress person,” ad nauseam.
It's the culture, stupid
This is all evidence that North American culture is adopting new gods. Our speech is bowing to biased talking heads on tv, and mimicking that of the latest MTV idols. "D'oh!" Homer Simpson-style. In the process, we are surrendering certain terms, and diluting spoken English with imprecise phrases. Worse, if we're not vigilant, our written English will be the next cultural sacrifice.
Take colloquial usage of singular pronouns for instance. Surely you know that “they” is not singular! Yet we are slowly being conditioned to avoid making a precise distinction between singular and plural in our language.
Are you kidding?
By substituting a plural pronoun when the statement insists on a singular, we are grammatically incorrect. We blur the meaning, and the malapropism runs the risk of provoking laughter!
Unless using a plural is appropriate, “they/them/their” only confuses a statement in which a singular sense in demanded. Think about it:
They is voting.
They is a Democrat.
Is your wife available? Yes, they is.
Tom, hold my phone calls this morning. But if Palmer calls, I'll talk to them.
Is that your father's car? Yes, it's theirs.
Did you see what's inscribed on that tombstone? “They made a difference.”
No, I'm not kidding. This is precisely where our language is headed. The sensible alternative is to follow what is known as Standard English. Yes, “he/him/his” is still grammatically correct when an indefinite antecedent may be either male or female. That's grammatically, even if not politically, correct. So, take a stand and don't let your own words be “Borked.”
But it's not just the careless speech of school dropouts we're talking about. Even the time-honored standard for English usage, holy writ, is being modified (not translated) to appease the god of gender neutrality. In this respect, I have found The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood a reliable resource in dealing with the gender issue.
The enemy in my mirror
Fifty years ago, intentionally misusing a pronoun, Pogo first articulated a telling point applicable to this discussion by observing, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Who is that face in the mirror? It's my own face! I still have a voice--I choose my own words. As of this writing, each of us has the legal right to control most of his own speech. So let's stop the cultural slide, starting with our own lips.
Don't surrender. In my opinion, more than just language--our Western culture is being challenged!
A Litmus Test
by Jay R. Hackleman
Recently we've read about our departing national leader and his wife hauling in gifts and confiscating works of art intended for the White House. Time was when conscience and good character were so ingrained in the heart of our leaders that such behavior on the part of holders of the public trust was unthinkable.
Abraham Lincoln, as the nation's first Republican President, was renown for his honesty and humility. In contrast, the dishonesty and egoism of the recently departed 42nd president and his spouse are extensively acknowledged. Beyond humility and veracity, most widely questioned during that president's tenure was compliance with federal statute. By now we all recognize that character should be an important litmus test for all who hold the public trust.
The judgment of history is that Honest Abe's character was above reproach. How refreshing it is once again to have as our national leader a President who is respected as an honorable person-a man who is both confident and humble, one who is viewed with respect by nearly all citizens, regardless of their political persuasion.
Hungry. Willing to Work for Food
by J. R. Hackleman
We've all seen those hand-lettered signs at busy intersections. Places were traffic is high and there's little opportunity for one-on-one dialogue with the needy. We have only a fleeting moment in which to decide, and act, on our impulse--skepticism or compassion.
But, now I ask you to take a look in the mirror. Are you one who is truly “hungry”? Are you willing to work, and work hard to achieve what's important to you? Will you do more than despondently talk about your own neediness?
I trust that your answer is “yes!” Yes, you are willing to take responsibility--to act in support of those things that you can influence. You will resist the temptation to indulge in self-pity, defeatism, and slothfulness! If so, then go to the head of the class of volunteers! After all, it takes a team of hard working volunteers to achieve success at the polls.
Hungry for Success at the Polls
Volunteers are the ones willing to man the polls, distribute and display yard signs, work in telephone banks, and mail cards to neighbors. Good government needs “hungry” people like that!
Fortunately, the conservative cause has recruited a number of unselfish citizens willing to make the personal sacrifice necessary to run for elective office. But while most of the rest of us will never do that, we can provide those who do run with much-needed assistance-we can work.
From my perspective, here are a dozen simple ways in which we can each make a solid contribution to the team. Which task are you willing to tackle to satisfy your need for responsible government?
Be a precinct delegate
Recruit other volunteers
Make phone calls
Attend parades and rallies
Send friend-to-friend cards
Help with mailings
Send Letters to the Editor
Call radio talk shows
Display yard signs
Let's roll! Go ahead, hold that sign! Ask your friends (strangers, too) for support of your favorite Republican candidates. You might even be capable of doing more: maybe even making a financial contribution, something for which every candidate hungers!
As Michigan Lt. Governor Dick Posthumus has said, “We are still the most free, most successful example of this experiment called democracy the world has ever known-and with hard work we will make sure the American dream is alive and well.”
Take the First Step
Now's the time to put your convictions to work. Click here to confirm your willingness to fulfill one or more of those twelve tasks. We'll get back to you with details on how you can support the volunteer team in your community.