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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Death To America

  Death to America. When most people hear that phrase they think of radical Muslim terrorists who are also shouting "death to Israel", and anything else they wish death upon. but death to America could be coming at a faster pace than even terrorists might imagine, and in a much simpler manner than just blowing stuff up. It seems to be coming in the form of the death of the United States Constitution.
  You remember that antiquated piece of parchment the Constitution don't you? That is the one that starts out with "We the people". We the people don't appear to be paying much attention to it these days. We have five people who waltz around in black robes, and everyone says they are experts on the Constitution, but that remains questionable at best. Apparently it is the job of these five people to find things in the Constitution that are not there. That job description seems more like that of "magician" than "justice". The best part? These people are appointed for life. They can interpret the Constitution in whatever way they like, who is going to stop them?
  That moldy old piece of paper known as the Constitution then goes on to enumerate a Bill of Rights. These are 10 rights that are not given to us by any men or governments, but our Creator, in whatever form it is you chose to worship the Creator in. Because they are given to us by the Creator, they cannot be taken away by men or governments. At least that is the original idea. In the past six years, almost every single one of these rights has been maligned, ignored, twisted, or just plain threatened with extinction. Hmmm, six years huh? Coincidence? I think not.
  When this very thin-skinned president hears people say things about him that he doesn't like, he threatens the first amendment. The right of free speech. The reason it is first is because it is the most important. When a crazed racist gunman shot nine people in a church in South Carolina, the second amendment, the right to keep and bear arms  was immediately to blame. That old piece of paper sure has an itchy trigger finger. When the IRS thought it was a great idea to target Conservative and Tea Party groups for their beliefs when filing for 501c3 tax status, those groups were asked the most invasive and irrelevant questions, and asked to produce information that was in no way related to their request.This could only be described as a fourth amendment violation of unreasonable search and seizure.
  The most recent, the 10th amendment. It states quite clearly, that any powers not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution are powers granted to the States and/or the people. Roughly 37 states put whether or not they wanted to ban same-sex marriage to a vote of the people. What could be more American? All but 3 or 4 said yes, they wanted a ban. The will of the people. Well, the five people in robes came along, again, and said essentially, too bad. Your vote is null and void because we know what is better for your state more than you do.

  How have we gotten to this point? How has the Constitution, a document so genius in its creation, so wise to have a method of checks and balances, written by ordinary men who knew human nature and it's thirst for power, become so distant from it's original form? Why have we as Americans not protected that original form? Because we wanted to make it say something it does not? Because we wanted to make it fit our own agenda? Because on a basic level, if it does not say what we want we throw a tantrum and decide that is what it says anyway? Yes, yes, and yes.
  If we are going to just pick and choose which of those amendments we like and which ones we don't, we are rapidly headed to a bad place. A place that may be hard to recover from.
  But just one more question. If we have done this to four of the first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, how many more will we do it to? We are almost half way there. Does this mean that the fundamental transformation is nearly complete?           

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thoughts on Charleston

     The entire nation was horrified this week as a deranged racist lunatic went to the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina this week and opened fire, killing nine people, including Pastor Clementa Pinkney, as they sat in a bible study.
  A bible study, in a church. Shouldn’t that be one of the few places in your life that you feel safe? Innocent people, no doubt doing something they have done on Wednesday evening for a long time. It is nearly impossible to wrap one’s mind around.
  It is not a time for politics; it is not a time for lectures. There will be plenty of time for debate on race or gun control or whatever else people think needs debating. It is a time to remember and celebrate these nine people. By all accounts, they were not just Sunday morning Christians, they were 24/7 Christians.
  For many people, even those of us who were not born at the time, it conjured up images of a church bombing in 1963 in Birmingham Alabama. Four little girls lost their lives. That was such an ugly time in our history, most people will readily admit to that. We all want to think that things like that just don’t happen anymore.
  What stands out about this? Definitely first, the reaction of the good people of Charleston. Be it ingrained Southern hospitality and politeness, or just plain humanity, what was meant to pull them apart has only brought them together. There have been no riots. There has been no looting. There have been no death threats. Only love and solidarity for their community. Have the usual instigators and trouble makers who seem to show up on the scene been warned stay away or else? That would be nice. The citizens of Charleston have been nothing short of an amazing example.
  Does it take unfathomable acts of evil such as this to make Americans of all stripes come to a screeching halt and examine, not each other, but ourselves? Should we take inventory of our own hearts and minds? Refreshing our proverbial page can only be a good thing.
  Can we make certain that these nine people did not give their lives in vain? What does that mean? Well, there may be a lot of definitions to that. While we reflect on a Sunday morning on all that has happened this week, and even though we may not have known any of the victims personally, we feel like we do now. How would they like us to proceed from here? With hatred in our hearts and thoughts of revenge? Doubtful. This Blogger can only speculate, but I am guessing that Reverend Pinkney, a man of God who invited a total stranger into his church to worship right alongside of him, and the others would be the first ones, just as their family members did, to forgive the stranger. They would want us to come together as Americans, and as human beings, and just love one another.

  The people of the Emmanuel AME Church and the people of Charleston will get through this. They are stronger than they realize today, and they have nine guardian angels that will show them the way. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Color of Everyday

  Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "we must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools". It is, like so many wise things that he taught, true. What would he think of the state of black and white people today? Everyone thinks they know. Everyone thinks they know who or what is to blame if that relationship is less than what Dr. King envisioned. But does anyone ever catch a glimpse in their everyday life of what they think that Dr. King's vision might have been?
  Well, there may be a small one. This is they story of women. Women who work together. The women work with some men too. Don't get 'em wrong, they love the guys, but this is their story. Yes, the interaction between women who are thrown together in a work environment can be well, complicated. This is not about that. It is about similarity in a time that society and the media insists on telling us how different we are.
  The place and the job are not important. What is important are the conversations. The place consists of roughly forty women, roughly half of them black, half of them white. They are different ages, different generations, different backgrounds, different life experiences, different opinions and worldviews. All those ingredients in some way, shape the people they are. What may go largely unnoticed however, is how all of those differences bring about a sameness that even those in the story might not have realized was there.
  At the heart of the story, as stated before, are the conversations. As women in a group are prone to do, they talk. They talk a lot. They talk about husbands, they talk about boyfriends, they talk about children, they talk about work, which might be a bit more saltier than other topics, but who doesn't complain about the job? They talk about school. So many people with so many dreams and goals can only be a healthy environment. They talk about things that go on in their lives apart and outside from the eight hours their lives intersect. They talk about each other too, After all, we are talking about women here. But the one thing that can be taken away from this story is despite being different in so many ways, the lives of these women mirror each other more than not.
  While Americans have watched as places like Ferguson and Baltimore go up in flames, could it be that there are more places like the one described here than anyone thinks? Yes there are. Granted people will get along with who they have to in order to keep their job. No one is saying that none of that goes on here, but could it really be more than that? Surely the idealist in all of us wants to believe that. But if it can happen among people who not even really trying to make a statement on society, just merely trying to come to work, what would happen if there were people who did try?
  I happen to be one of this group of women. I like to think I learn something from all of them. One thing is for sure, from the younger ones I have learned how tragically un-hip I have become. But that is OK. Maybe something this Blogger considers a ton of fun happens too.

  With very little effort, we can prove society wrong a little bit more every day.
  Well done ladies. Well done.     

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Religious Tolerance: OK For Me but Not For Thee

  Indiana made big news recently with the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It prevents local and state government from "burdening a person's right to exercise their freedom of religion". It was seen as a big win for Christians who seem to be targeted more today for their beliefs than anyone else. Gay and Lesbian groups say it is a license to discriminate.
  While Indiana was making headlines with the signing of this bill which becomes law on July 1, something happened in Iowa that did not make news. At the closing of the invocation marking the opening ceremonies of the Iowa House of Representatives legislative session, a prayer was delivered by Wiccan Priestess Deborah Maynard.
  Queue the double takes. What?! A state full of good Christian God-fearing farmers inviting a Witch to say a prayer in the Statehouse? You bet your pitchforks. But while we are on the subject of religious freedom, some curious things happened during that prayer.
  Some of the lawmakers did not attend the ceremony to protest the prayer. Some did attend, but turned their backs, again in protest of the prayer. Members of a local church protested outside the Capitol. Seems like a lot of to do about a little prayer. But wait a minute, aren't we talking about religious freedom, religious tolerance? Aren't these the same people who cheered for the Indiana law?
  Well, yes they are. Maybe right here is where some questions need to be asked. America's very founding is on a bedrock of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, even the right to protest freely. The first immigrants to the new land came here to escape persecution at home, and to worship as they saw fit. Are the descendants of those who first arrived now saying that religious freedom, religious tolerance is selective? As a Wiccan, am I being asked to stand in solidarity, something I am quite willing to do, with my Christian brothers and sisters who are asked to bake wedding cakes for gay weddings, and refuse because it is something that goes against their beliefs, while a Priestess of my faith is disrespected as the very people who now demand religious tolerance turn their backs on her in "protest"?!
  Wicca is a religion that is very often misunderstood. Many people assume we are a cult of Devil-worshippers. That and many other things about my faith that could not be further from the truth. Also true is that there is a fair amount of Wiccans
 and Pagans who do not have nice things to say about Christianity, many times based on their own life experiences. No one can tell you that your own experiences are wrong, but those assumptions are not right either. I can't speak for other Wiccans and Pagans, but I have never demanded that others of different faiths agree with what I believe, what I do ask is that you respect it, just as I would yours.
  One of the Iowa State Reps said that he asked himself, in this situation, "what would Jesus do"?
  Great question, what do you think he would do?         

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fishing For Christians

  It is the gift that keeps on giving, the story that has no ending. A new story or opinion can be written everyday, and is, about the state of the mainstream media. It is not clear just what it is they practice anymore, but one thing is for sure, it definitely is not journalism. And recently, with the attention of the nation on Indiana and its new Religious Freedom Act signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence, the practice is clearly that of creating a narrative and furthering an agenda.
  A textbook example of this could be seen in a report by CNN. Being the loyal foot soldiers of the Left that they are, they took a trip to Jeff Davis County Georgia. It is a rural community, south of Atlanta, with a population around 15,000. It is also not a wealthy county. But what Jeff Davis County Georgia is rich in, is bible believing Christian business owners. It no doubt did not take the interns in charge of research much time to hunt down Jeff Davis County. It also did not take more than a cotton-pickin minute to hunt down said business owners, florists even, whose words CNN could twist to make it look as if they were fresh from the Klan meeting.
  As expected, most said they were bible believing Christians who did not believe in gay marriage. One woman even had a son who was studying to be a Southern Baptist minister. CNN had hit the hill billy jackpot.
  The targeting of Christians may have begun quite by accident. Maybe one gay couple really did encounter a bakery who would not bake their wedding cake. But at that point, somebody realized what they had and what they could do with it. What is now being called the "Gay Mafia" has realized that they have the power to destroy the livelihoods of people who disagree with them. And that now appears to be the ultimate goal. One spoonful of butter cream frosting, one tea rose at a time.
  The Gay Mafia also has very willing accomplices in the media. They are willing to put out as much false information about the Indiana law as is needed. They are willing to portray the people who oppose it, Christians, as hate-filled homophobes whose sole purpose in life is to discriminate against gay people. There are Christians all over America, even in places like New York City and Los Angeles. Were those Christians less accessable to CNN than a small county in Georgia that no one in the CNN newsroom could find on a map a week ago? Then again, no one in the CNN newsroom could find Ferguson Missouri on a map either prior to August 9 of last year.
  The founding fathers made provisions for a free and open press in our most sacred of documents, the Constitution. How has that gift been repaid? With falsehoods, implications, omissions, stereotypes, the list goes on and on. Surely they never envisioned anything like this.
  Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels taught us that if you tell a big enough lie, and repeat it often enough, people will believe it.
  Anyone know if Joseph Goebbels was a fisherman?   

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Justice For Darrin Wilson?

  It may have finally happened. The Michael Brown case may be, once and for all, at least legally, put to rest. There were no winners. But there was also more than one victim. So what happens now for Darrin Wilson?
  A lot of information is being brought to light that could not be during legal proceedings. The scope of lies by "witnesses", deceit, cover up, and oh yeah a lot of witness intimidation of those who were not willing to lie to further the "hands up don't shoot" narrative, all to keep the victim hood not just of Michael Brown, but others like him afloat, is itself, or should be a criminal offense.
  Darrin Wilson's fate was sealed from day one. It seemed as though Michael Brown's body had not even been removed from the crime scene, and calls were being made to the usual suspects, Jackson, Sharpton, etc. Local activists were preparing the "hands up don't shoot" narrative, and the anti-cop rhetoric was ramping up. Marchers lined the streets, and "protesters" did what they do. In this case, looting and destroying local businesses.
  So what now? Those involved will move on to the next case of perceived injustice. There is Michael Brown's family, granted he will not be replaced, but sadly, this family seems to be more interested in him now than when he was alive. Potential financial gain tends to put people, even loved ones, in a whole new light.
  What happens to Darrin Wilson? He was found not to have done anything wrong. Does he get any quality of life? His career in law enforcement is obviously over. Unless he invests in some plastic surgery and changes his name, that part of his life over. By all accounts, it was his dream to be a police officer. He still has a family to support, a wife and a new baby. How exactly does he do that? A lot of people on social media express hope that he will sue the pants off of Sharpton et al, but as we all know, the wheels of justice turn slowly, bills need to be paid now.
  Where might Darrin Wilson make his home now? Certainly not in Missouri. If his family all reside here well, too bad. People are convinced he is a
murderer regardless of the facts. So he must possibly leave parents, siblings, and grandparents, everyone he loves, for a safe environment for himself and his family, if there is one.
  What about just a quality of life in general? For most people, that does not involve a constant fear for, not only your own personal safety, but the safety of your family. Darrin Wilson will spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. He will spend the rest of his life getting death threats. He must live this way every day for the rest of his life. Let that sink in for a minute. What if this were you?
  Has Darrin Wilson paid a high enough price for his shooting of Michael Brown? Who gets to decide? The protesters? The Department of Justice? The media? Would any of those marching in the streets live with this sort of "justice" if they were the ones living Darrin Wilson's life today?
  The answer to that is no. As we have all learned, if the uniform you wear is blue, justice just doesn't apply to you.        

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

  When most parents sign their sons and daughters up to play Little League sports, they want their kids to have fun, but they would also like them to learn a few things along the way. Things like being part of a team, being a good winner and a good loser, playing fair and by the rules. Sometimes the lessons are imparted and learned, sometimes delivered and ignored, and sometimes neither one seems to take place.
  Much attention has been placed recently on the Jackie Robinson West Little League team from Chicago. Last summer, the all African-American team won the National Little League Championship. However, evidence has come to light that the team may have broken some rules, and they were stripped of their title. The team is charged with recruiting players from outside the district where the team is allowed to recruit players.
  As some might expect, allegations of racism have been quick to follow, and since Al Sharpton is no doubt exhausted from stirring up racial tension in Ferguson Missouri and tax evasion, he has handed this one off to Jesse Jackson. Jackson, as he has done to so many other entities, is using the threat of legal action against Little League International if they do not comply with his own racist and bullying demands.
  A lot can be said about what the parents and coaches may or may not have done. Darold Butler, the team's Manager has been suspended, and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly has been removed from his position. But the most important question has to be, what does this teach the kids?
  There is no doubt it is the kids who are hurt the most. They will go to school and suffer taunting and humiliation that only other kids can dish out, and it will stay with them for the rest of their lives. But what are they being taught about dealing with the consequences of one's actions? Are they being taught that you take your consequences, in this case, like men? Or are they being taught that the ends justifies the means, that cheating, if it in fact did happen, is only bad if you get caught, that if do cheat, get caught, and yell "racism", everyone will get scared and back off?
  What are the kids being taught about being perpetual victims? If you have to trot Jesse Jackson in to save the day, does that in itself say to the kids that whatever they do in life will not be seen as good enough unless some so-called black "leader" swoops in to see to it that it is deemed up to par?
  While Jesse Jackson huffs and puffs about racism and the lawyers pick apart every aspect of the rule book that, by all accounts, is very clear and strictly enforced, another question lingers. Should the boys have to endure the punishment having their championship vacated because of the stupidity of the adults around them? They appear to be the only ones doing the right thing in all of this, just working hard and playing their hearts out to win a championship. They have learned that lesson on their own.
  The obvious answer is no, they should not. But it may be one more cruel lesson they learn from this experience. If that should be the case, the best we can hope for is that they grow up to emulate the class, dignity, and integrity, of the man for whom their team is named.
  

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