Friday, December 28, 2018

If You’re Over 50, Chances Are the Decision to Leave a Job Won’t be Yours

Age discrimination was supposed to be a problem we solved years ago; but alas, it is still with us.  And, in my experience, it is especially true if you are clergy.

When I was a seminary dean/president, church search committees often got in touch with us looking for a new priest.  Every congregation wanted (though they didn't realize what they were asking) a priest who was under 40 with 20 years experience!  It got to be a joke among seminary faculties.  Our response: "Yeah, and it will happen as soon as we start ordaining them fresh out of high school!"

It was especially a problem in the Episcopal Church in those days because, while congregations wanted younger priests, Commissions on Ministry were only sending older candidates to seminary and telling younger candidates to go experience the real world and come back in 5 or 10 years.  I argued at the time that we were losing a whole generation, because the brightest and best were not coming back.  That is not to disparage the second career students I have known who became excellent priests, but it did result in a statistic (at one point) where the average Episcopal priest was 57 years of age, which is not sustainable from a pension standpoint, nor does it build healthy congregations for the ranks of its clergy to be monogenerational.

Now, in the Anglican Chuch in North America (ACNA), I am seeing the opposite extreme.  Every congregation wants, and most are getting, younger priests, even if it means skipping a traditional seminary education as the normal route toward ordination.  These congregations may as well hang out a sign, saying "Older clergy need not apply."  Along with this, I saw a post on Facebook the other day chiding Anglican churches for jettisoning liturgy, emulating the neighboring megachurch, and becoming, in effect, Anglicans in name only.  What do these have in common?  The common thread is a lack of regard for liturgy, tradition, age, and wisdom--and the pursuit of the newest, latest thing, even if the benefits from that new thing are largely imaginary.

If you're an Anglican, you need to remember that a crucial part of our heritage is standing in the tradition of genuine catholicity--that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all [meaning all the faithful] ("ubique, semper, et ab omnibus" in the words of the 5th century fighter of heresy, St. Vincent of Lerins).  Philosopher George Santayana's maxim "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" is nowhere more true than in theology.  There are no new heresies.  We jettison the past and those things that keep us in touch with the past at our peril.  Yet that is precisely what the Church in many places is doing today.  And, while I have met older clergy who should have been jettisoned long ago (for their heterodoxy, not their age), by and large, we need to respect our elders and the wisdom we can learn from them.

So be an advocate for the older folks you know (clergy and others).  God willing, you'll be one of them someday.

For further reading:

If You’re Over 50, Chances Are the Decision to Leave a Job Won’t be Yours

Monday, November 12, 2018

Anti-Semitism and Conservatism

Two observations based on recent events:

#1 The wave of anti-Semitic hate spreading around the world right now is frightening.  To any objective observer it should be clear that President Trump is the strongest supporter of the Jewish people we’ve ever had leading the free world.  The worst thing the left could say with any credibility is that his support for Jerusalem might anger anti-Semites, but we don’t make decisions based on the heckler’s veto.

What is causing this rise in anti-Semitism?  Who are the biggest threats?  Muslim extremists?  White Nationalists?  Could it be that those on the political left are the leading cause of anti-Semitism by their constant verbal attacks on Israel, which paint them as the oppressors and the Palestinians as the heroes?  I think so; at least they have the biggest voice, since they control most of the media.

#2 The kind of violence we have seen lately (the massacre in Pittsburgh, the vandalism of a synagogue in Irvine, CA) plays into the hands of liberals and their attempts to blame conservatives for Anti-Semitism, even though an increasing part of it is coming from liberals.  But we do occasionally see anti-Semitic expressions and actions on the part of people who otherwise identify as political conservatives.  So I strongly wish that conservatives could disown and disavow anti-Semites once and for all.

I look at the Pittsburgh shooter and I wonder what did a Jew or Jews collectively ever do to this man to make him hate so much?  The answer is probably nothing; it's just that he filled his head with all sorts of bizarre conspiracy theories.  Life dealt him a bad hand, and he had to blame somebody.  But this kind of insane violence isn't the constitutional republic we call America; and principled conservatives need to drive a stake through the heart of this evil so it no longer rears its ugly head.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Statehood for Washington, D.C?

There is a petition going around to grant statehood to Washington, DC.  Proponents argue that "The United States is the only nation in the world with a representative, democratic constitution that denies voting representation in the national legislature to citizens of the capital.  In addition to paying federal taxes, District residents pay local taxes and bear all the responsibilities associated with citizenship."

The proponents even quote Vice President Pence, who supported statehood for the District of Columbia in 2009, when he was a Representative in Congress (prior to being Governor of Indiana).  They conveniently omit mention of the fact that Vice Pres. Pence has changed his opinion in the years since.

What proponents of statehood for D.C. don't consider is, if the US is the only nation that denies voting representation in Congress to its capital city, then why not abolish the District of Columbia and return the land and population to Maryland and Virginia?

A little history: The "Residence Act" on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast.  The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state.  The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district.

So returning the land and the people living on it to those respective states would give them voting representation in Congress.  Rhode Island may be a small state, but a one-city state with the voting power of a state is preposterous.  Why not the State of Chicago?  Or the State of Los Angeles?  Or maybe a separate state of New York, New York?

If every city the size of Washington, D.C. wanted to be a separate city, it would add 22 states to the US.  The New York City boroughs of Manhattan and The Bronx are twice the size of Washington, D.C.  The Boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn are four times as large.

There are 693,000 people in Washington, D.C.  I don't have the exact numbers of people who would be added to Maryland and Virginia if the land were returned to each state.  But if it were divided anywhere close to equally, that would be slightly under 350,000 people added to each state.

The population of Maryland is 6 million; the population of Virginia is 8.5 million, making them 12th and 19th among the 50 states.  The addition of 350,000 people would move Maryland up one notch and not move Virginia up in the rankings at all.  They can handle it.  And if they say they can't, it is most likely because they and the residents of Washington, D.C. want to add seats in Congress for one particular political party.  Care to guess which one?

(Before anyone objects, I readily admit my own biases in the matter.  But I also believe my argument stands on its own merits.)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Antifa vs. Brown Shirts: Two Peas in a Pod

It appears that I was ahead of my time. As a freshman in high school (well before anyone postulated the "horseshoe theory), I wrote a paper (not as a class assignment but for myself) in which I I concluded that the commonly-regarded "two ends" of the political spectrum not merely formed a horseshoe but, in fact, a complete circle.

The real spectrum is between totalitarianism on the one hand and the constitutional rule of law with democratic elections and freedom of choice on the other. But these are better represented as opposite sides of a circle than either a straight line or a horseshoe.

Fascism and Socialism both oppress people in totalitarian systems, regardless whether it is popularism on the left or right that draws people toward one of these views. Both draw people into regimented movements where freedom disappears.

This is why Orwell's "1984" could be describing either a Communist or a Fascist government. It does not matter: personal freedom has been destroyed in either case. There is only the will of a dictator that everyone must obey, whether that is termed as "the collective good" or whatever. So whether you go to the left or the right, when you move away from a constitutional republic, you end up in the same place.

And on a practical level, I would say that anyone who cannot see the similarity between Antifa and the Nazi Brown Shirts is biased and blind. Antifa may be opposing what they call fascism, but their violent intolerance of anyone who disagrees with them means that if they had the political upper hand, they would impose their ideology just as rigidly as any Fascist or Communist government ever has, most likely under the charisma of a leader who would rise to the top and become a Big Brother.

It is also worth remembering that Nazism stood for "National Socialist German Workers' Party." The only thing that separated German "National Socialism" from Soviet Socialism and the borderless, globalist socialism we are seeing today was pride in their nation and race and the fact that some private ownership of property was retained, as long as it served the national interest.

(For those not familiar with it, the horseshoe theory asserts that the far left and the far right, rather than being at opposite ends political spectrum, in fact closely resemble one another, much like the ends of a horseshoe. This view tends toward the view I proposed except they didn't close the circle.)

See also:

Monday, July 30, 2018

Scientists identify mystery liquid in Egyptian sarcophagus

From here, where there are more photos.
A POOL of murky, red liquid found around three mummies in an Egyptian sarcophagus has been analysed by scientists.

THE unsettling red liquid pooled around three decomposed mummies found inside a 2000-year-old burial chamber in the historic port city of Alexandria in Egypt has taken on a life of its own.

Horrifying images of a trio of skeletons floating in the murky soup led to rumours the “mummy juice” contained medicinal or supernatural properties, with locals anxious to bottle the stuff.

Others feared its odd colouring signified the presence of a metal such as mercury.

The large, black granite sarcophagus was unearthed in the Sidi Gaber district earlier this month and cracked open despite fears that doing so would unleash an ancient curse.

The General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Moustafa Waziri dismissed early speculation the tomb could contain the remains of Alexander the Great, saying instead it may have belonged to a priest.

However, the discovery of possible arrow damage to one of the skulls means the bones probably belonged to military officials, according to a statement released by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities yesterday.

Authorities also revealed the liquid was neither “juice for mummies that contains an elixir of life” nor “red mercury” but something far more pedestrian — sewage water.

But the ugly — or in this case — smelly truth has failed to scare off the believers, even inspiring an online campaign.

A petition entitled “let the people drink the red liquid from the dark sarcophagus” has attracted more than 16,000 signatures.
A screenshot of the petition
“We need to drink the red liquid from the cursed dark sarcophagus in the form of some sort of carbonated energy drink so we can assume its powers and finally die,” petition founder Innes McKendrick wrote by way of explanation.

Workmen found the black granite tomb five metres underground during construction of an apartment building in the historic Mediterranean port city.

Dr Waziri said the skeletons had partially disintegrated because sewage water from a nearby building had leaked into the sarcophagus through a small crack in one of the sides.

The 30-tonne coffin, the largest yet found in Alexandria, prompted a rash of theories in local and international media that it may be the resting place of Alexander the Great, who founded the city that still bears his name in 331BC.

The legendary Macedonian leader died in 323BC in Babylon, in what is now Iraq, but his remains were later moved to Alexandria. The exact location of his burial remains a mystery.

Dr. Waziri said it was unlikely the remains found this week belonged to any notable members of the Ptolemaic dynasty (332BC-30BC) associated with Alexander the Great, or the subsequent Roman era.

Fears of an ancient curse stem from a string of deaths reportedly associated with those involved in opening of Tutankhamun’s crypt in the early 1900s.

“We’ve opened it and, thank God, the world has not fallen into darkness,” Mr Waziri said last week.

“I was the first to put my whole head inside the sarcophagus, and here I stand before you — I am fine.”

The sarcophagus is the latest of a series of notable archaeological finds this year in Egypt.

Others include a 4,400-year-old tomb in Giza and an ancient necropolis in Minya, south of Cairo.

The opening of this sarcophagus last week coupled with the total lunar eclipse on Friday (also referred to as a "Blood Moon") has made a number of people of varying perspectives from conservative Christians to New Agers speculate this could mean the end of the world.  I think a greater sign of the end of the world is the more than 30,000 people (the number was climbing at the rate of about one ever second while I was looking at it) who signed the petition on so they can "finally die" (as the author of the petition put it).

I am certain these people aren't Christians.  God says in the Bible, "all who hate me love death" (Proberbs 8:36).  The increasing number of not merely "nones" (those having no religious affiliation) but the increasing lostness and despair (Nihilism) in our society is one of the signs given in Scripture that will precede the end times.  It is worth pondering the following passage:
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.  (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Left's Child Separation Scam Exposed With a Single Tweet

The latest scam by those on the Left is to claim that the Trump administration created the policy of separating children from their illegal immigrant parents at the border.

The scam is so ridiculous that it can easily be destroyed by a single tweet:


Separating minors from their illegal immigrant parents is NOT a new policy invented by the “cruel” Trump administration.  It was signed and enacted by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and enforced by every President since then.

In a May 30, 2018 Newsweek article entitled, "OBAMA HELD MORE THAN DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN SHELTERS COMPARED TO TRUMP WHITE HOUSE," the magazine reported:

Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration for Children and Families spokesperson Kenneth Wolfe told Newsweek on Wednesday that it had as many as 10,852 undocumented children in its custody—a significant jump from the 8,886 that were in the agency's custody on April 29, according to the Washington Post.

In fiscal year 2013, under the Barack Obama administration, the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) had as many as 25,000 unaccompanied children in its care across 80 shelters, according to a July 2014 article in Mother Jones.  (See also the video below.)
President Trump defended the prosecution of those who illegally enter the United States during a speech Monday before a meeting of the National Space Council: “The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility.  It won’t be.  You look at what is happening in Europe and other places, we can’t allow it to happen to the United States.  Not on my watch,” Trump declared.

Trump urged Democratic lawmakers to accept his immigration priorities in legislation which would end the practice at the border.  The President also referenced the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe, which he also tweeted about Monday morning:

The president is 100% correct.  The ones responsible for their children being separated from them are the adults who chose to cross the border illegally.  Further the law was created by Democrats and the Trump administration is simply following the law.

What is the difference between illegal immigrants having their children taken from them and American citizens who are sent to jail being separated from their kids?  None.  Break the law and you'll have your children taken from you.  It is strange that those complaining now said NOTHING during the Obama administration.  (Remember the picture circulating on the news last week of children sleeping in cages.   It was later debunked: THE PHOTO WAS FROM 2014!)

But there are some facts the President didn't mention (I guess the length of a Tweet makes it hard):

1. The United States is a compassionate country.  We admit two-thirds of the world's legal immigrants each year--MORE THAN ALL OTHER NATIONS COMBINED! According to Wikipedia:

Legal immigrants to the United States now are at their highest level ever, at just over 37,000,000 legal immigrants. Illegal immigration may be as high as 1,500,000 per year with a net of at least 700,000 illegal immigrants arriving every year. Immigration led to a 57.4% increase in foreign born population from 1990 to 2000.
2. Under President Obama's "Catch and Release" policy, those who showed up at legal entry points with children were admitted with only a promise to show up for an immigration hearing, which many never did.  This led to an epidemic of abductions south of the border and child trafficking.  Many of those showing up with children were not actually their parents.  Separating children, which is what the 1996 law provides for and which is only temporary, allows authorities to verify whether the children are actually theirs.

A conveniently overlooked part of Trump's Tweet is his call for Congress to change the law.  Trump has repeatedly urged Democratic lawmakers to accept his immigration priorities in legislation which would end the practice at the border.  But Democrats don't want to do this as long as they have an issue they think they can use to their political advantage.

So what might a change in the law look like?  Well, here is my suggestion:

1. Build a border wall and employ border security that actually discourages illegal immigration.

2. Enlarge the legal border entry stations so that they can handle the number of legal immigration applications.  We did it for generations of immigrants at Ellis Island and other entry points.  We can do it now.

3. Establish guidelines and categories for legal amnesty requests that are so clear that determinations can be made at the border.

This can happen and it will as soon as those on the Left start working with the President instead of weaponizing the immigration issue.

Photos used to support claim that Trump keeping children in cages--all revealed to have been taken in 2014!

Democratic Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar admited to CNN that the Obama administration attempted to cover up the child migrant situation during that administration.  “It was kept very quiet under the Obama Administration.  There were large numbers of people coming in.  The Obama administration was trying to keep this quiet,” Cuellar told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

State Dept.: North Korea Using Executions, Torture Against ‘Serious Threat’ of Christianity

From here:
The U.S. State Department affirms in its annual International Religious Freedom Report, published Tuesday, that the communist regime controlling North Korea “considered Christianity a serious threat, as it challenged the official cult of personality and provided a platform for social and political organization and interaction outside the government.”

The State Department – citing United Nations reports, NGOs, and media organizations specializing in North Korea coverage – found that Kim Jong-un’s regime regularly employed “arbitrary executions, political prison camps, and torture amounting to crimes against humanity” against anyone suspected of adhering to any faith, but targeted Christians in particular throughout 2017.
Read the rest.

Monday, May 28, 2018

After Killing the Muppets with Leftist Propaganda, Disney Murders ‘Star Wars’

I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi a few months ago and came out saying "Well, they gave Star Wars 'the Disney treatment'--all 'Grrrl Power' and multiculturalism.  They have killed Star Wars."  Now an article on Breitbart News makes the same point about what Disney is doing, with the facts to back it up.  It is a brief article, but I cannot do it justice by trying to excerpt it, so I encourage you to read the whole thing here.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sen. Joe Lieberman: Why US Embassy Jerusalem move happened and why it matters

This is a historic day. Why did it finally happen and why does it matter? Senator Joe Lieberman explains:

From here:
In 1995, I had the privilege of working in the U.S. Senate on the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act (JERA) with a bipartisan group of colleagues, including Senate Majority Leader, Bob Dole of Kansas and Senator Pat Moynihan of New York.

Our bill found that “Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital,” and “Since 1950, the City of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.” In fact, at the time, Israel – a fellow democracy and one of our closest allies in the world – was the only place in the world where we did not locate our embassy in the city designated by the host country as its capital.

Our legislation aimed to eliminate that inequity by mandating that “Jerusalem should be recognized (by the U.S.) as the capital of the State of Israel and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem.” There was broad bipartisan support for the JERA in the Congress, but not in the administration. Part of the reason for that opposition was the traditional struggle for influence over foreign policy between Congress and the president. But more was about the particular historical moment.

Two years earlier in September 1993, the so-called Declaration of Principles of Interim Self-Government (also known as the Oslo Accords) was signed at the White House by Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir Arafat. It laid out a timetable for the resolution of “final status” issues including Jerusalem. Hopes were high then for a permanent two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. People who argued against the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act said that it would diminish or extinguish those hopes by determining the status of Jerusalem.

We supporters of JERA said that was clearly not true, that our legislation would not affect the implementation of the Oslo Accords at all but simply treat Israel like every other country in the world and respect its right to designate its own capital. In fact, the United States already owned a piece of land in West Jerusalem on which we intended to eventually build our embassy, and that piece of land had been part of Israel since its re-establishment in 1948. Unless one thought that a two-state solution would involve Israel ceding sovereignty over land in Jerusalem that had been Israeli since 1948, which no one did, there was no way the Jerusalem Embassy Act would affect final status negotiations pursuant to the Oslo Accords. In fact, we argued in Congress, that moving our embassy to Jerusalem could ease the way to a two-state solution by giving Israel the confidence that the peace process, which we supported, would not result in Israel’s right to its historic capital being diminished.

Nevertheless, the Clinton administration said that a premature focus on Jerusalem could undermine negotiations and complicate the chances for peace, so President Clinton would veto the legislation.

To avoid that veto, a compromise was agreed upon that was practical and lead to enactment but was not based on reality or principle. A new section was added to our legislation which enabled the president and his successors to suspend the law from becoming effective every six months if he determined that such suspension was “necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.”

That amended legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 93-5 and the House, 374-37. President Clinton still refused to sign the law but let it go into effect without his signature ten days later, as is provided by law. At the time, the president said the act “could hinder the peace process. I will not let that happen and will use the legislation’s waiver authority to avoid damage to the peace process.”

That is exactly what President Clinton and his successors, Presidents Bush and Obama, did repeatedly over the next 22 years, until December 6, 2017 when President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ordered that the American Embassy be relocated to that capital. On February 23 of this year, President Trump announced that our Embassy would open in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

In the Arab world, concerns have been expressed but the focus of the Arab world is, like Israel, on the great threat from Iran. It is true that hopes for the peace process are much lower today than they were in 1995, even though the Trump administration correctly continues to work for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In sum, when President Trump finally implemented the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995, the sky – as far as we know – did not fall, as so many had long predicted.

There is a larger lesson to be learned from this story. America remains the strongest nation in the world and should never hesitate to make important foreign policy decisions that we believe are consistent with our national values and interests, because of predictions by others of the worst possible reaction to those decisions. Otherwise, we are likely to diminish our national strength and compromise our national values and interests.

That lesson is worth remembering in a number of other foreign policy decisions President Trump has made or will soon make, including pulling the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement and negotiating with North Korea.

Joseph I. Lieberman is chairman of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a former U.S. senator from Connecticut, and the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice president of the United States.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Texas Woman Prays While Others Gawk at Suicidal Man

From KSAT, where there is video;
A Texas woman prayed for a suicidal man as police attempted to talk him down from jumping to his death. Other bystanders spent their time taking cell phone photos of the impending tragedy while others shouted obscenities at him.

KSAT ABC12 saw the woman praying and asked her about her decision. The woman, Grace Hernandez, told the reporter that with Mother’s Day approaching, she “felt compelled to pull over and pray.”

Her prayers were answered as police successfully talked the man down from the billboard where he contemplated his demise.

Hernandez said she also prayed for the police and first responders who worked fearlessly to save the man’s life.

“My prayer is not just for him,” Hernandez said. “My prayer is for everyone that’s around this because you don’t know what could happen. I’m just grateful God heard my prayers.”

Others who watched took a different tack and actually encouraged the man to jump, the news outlet reported.

Officials reportedly transported the man to an area hospital for evaluation.
POSTSCRIPT -- I normally have a high regard for Texans--their Christianity, their conservatism, their manners (which I realize are not necessarily characteristic of all Texans) appeals to me. Sadly, the people shouting obscenities and encouraging the man to jump were Texans too. Watch yourselves, Texans! The fall from true virtue and civility into barbarism is an easy slide.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Facebook Punishes European News Site for Criticizing Mass Migration

(Last week I voluntarily took a 30-day hiatus from Facebook.  I decided to end it early because the growing scandal regarding the misuse of our data as well as censorship by social media companies is too great to remain silent.)

Facebook has repeatedly punished a fast-growing news website for its conservative views on immigration and other topics–-suspending its moderators, censoring content, and threatening to close the site down., which takes pride in its “uncensored news,” has been effectively bludgeoned into submission by Facebook and recently announced it will censor itself to avoid losing its page.

According to Facebook statistics, was growing at the rate of about 30,000 new followers every month, with some days registering as many as 5,000 new followers.

As examples of some of the “offensive” postings that incurred the wrath of Facebook, exhibited a photo of Poles protesting behind a banner that said “Mohammed not welcome.”  Despite the fact that the photo was undoctored and the news 100 percent accurate, Facebook forced the site to remove the content and suspended one of the site’s moderators for 24 hours. also posted a book review of former Czech President Václav Klaus, who compared the influx of migrants to “the barbarian invasions of Europe.”  The review was highly critical of uncontrolled immigration, and for this, Facebook punished by removing the article, suspending a moderator for 30 days, and threatening to shut the site down permanently.

Do we really want social media companies censoring us?  The reality is that social media companies now exercise a control over our lives, communication, and commerce that previously belonged only to government.  We need legislation extending the First Amendment freedom of speech as well as other Constitutional rights to Corporations as well as government.  We already do this with Equal Opportunity Employment.  We need to do it with the right to Free Speech!

Friday, April 06, 2018

China pulls Bibles from online bookstores

In the history of the Jewish and Christian traditions, there have been the ancient Egyptians, the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, Alexander's Greek Empire, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Soviet Empire, the Nazi Third Reich--all bent on destroying either Jews or Christians, or both (i.e., the children of Abraham).  All these empires are gone with the wind.  Jews and Christians are still around.  If the Chinese Communists want to continue a war on Christians, I think I know who has history on their side.

From here, where there is more:
Chinese online retailers have recently pulled copies of the Bible from their shelves.

A merchant told AFP that 'Bibles and books without publication numbers have all been removed in recent days.'

The clamp down on the books comes as the Vatican and Beijing negotiate to appoint bishops in China.

China’s officially atheist government doesn't like organized movements it can't control, including religious ones, according to AFP.
Read the rest at either AOL or AFP.

A little biblical food for thought:

Genesis 12:1-3
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 17:1-8
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

Galatians 3:7-9, 26-29
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Waitress' Act of Kindness Leads to College Scholarship

Over the last couple of weeks, a picture of a young Waffle House worker helping out an elderly man has been making the rounds.

18-year-old Evoni Williams was working one Saturday when she noticed an older man with an oxygen tank struggling to cut up his food.  The man said his hands didn’t work too well, so without hesitation, she did it for him.

Another customer saw the random act of kindness and posted a picture of it on Facebook. And it took off!

About a week later, it had been shared more than 40,000 times, and it caught the attention of Texas Southern University.  Evoni had been working at Waffle House to save money to go to college, so TSU offered her a $16,000 scholarship!  It’s a life-changing gift for her!  Read the original story at Fox10TV NewsSee the original Facebook post.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Col. James S. Munday, Rest in Peace

I originally wrote this piece in November 2015 when I was in Savannah, Georgia, for my last surviving uncle's 100th birthday.  Col. James Stanley Munday, USAF Ret. ("Uncle Stan") passed away this afternoon at the age of 102.  Healthy and vigorous until the last few months, he lived life to the fullest.  Rest in peace, Uncle Stan!


Lt. Munday in 1942
Col. James Stanley Munday's flying career began several years prior to World War II, when he and some buddies barnstormed all over the Midwest.  When the war arrived, "Uncle Stan," as many in the family now call him, went off to flight training for the US Army Air Force (before the US Air Force became a separate branch of the military) and emerged as a First Lieutenant and pilot (yes, you read that right, he skipped 2nd Lieutenant), commanding the crew of a B-24 "Liberator" bomber.

Before he could depart for overseas duty, the Air Force commandeered his squadron's B-24s for anti-submarine duty and switched Lt. Munday over to the venerable B-17 "Flying Fortress."  With barely more than a few hours to get "checked out" on the B-17, Lt. Munday found himself and a crew ferrying their own B-17 over to the 384th Bomb Group at Grafton Underwood, England, which would be their base for the duration of the war.

Bastille Day, July 14, 1943 found the Americans engaged in a "maximum effort" assault to show our French allies that we were determined to win their freedom and achieve victory over the Nazis.  After bombing the Nazi-occupied Villacoublay Airfield and aircraft factories outside Paris, Lt. Munday and his crew succumbed to enemy flak and strafing from Focke-Wulf 190s.  Lt. Munday himself took an enemy machine gun round from a FW 190 in the leg.  Keeping the B-17 aloft while his crew bailed out, Lt. Munday finally bailed out almost too low for safety.

Col. Munday (2nd from left) with Alex Gotovsky (left)

Landing in his parachute in a grove of trees, near the village of Les Essarts-le-Roi, Lt. Munday was aided by a young French boy, Alex Gotovsky, who hid Munday's parachute and directed him to a hiding place.  (Young Alex' family had become refugees in France following the Communist Revolution in Russia.)

The treatment and recovery from the wound in Munday's leg would take many weeks.  Finally, with the help of the French Underground, Lt. Munday was disguised as a French surveyor, equipped with forged identity papers and sent south.  Being out of uniform and in civilian clothes with forged papers meant Munday would be shot as a spy if caught.  The long journey led over the Pyrenees (traveling through the mountains at night on foot) to Barcelona, then Madrid, then at last to Gibraltar, where he could secure a flight that would take him back to his base in England.

Col. Munday in 1963
Thus began an Air Force career that would take James Stanley Munday through B-29 duty in the Pacific, hurricane hunting over the Atlantic, and finally into the ranks of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in which he would spend the remainder of a long and distinguished career.  In those years, he flew every model of bomber and tanker (and most of the transports) that the Air Force possessed, becoming a Command Pilot and rising to the rank of Colonel.

In 1997, Col. Munday returned to the village of Les Essarts-le-Roi where he was awarded a medal and had the opportunity to be reunited with Alex Gotovsky, the young boy who had once helped him hide from the Nazis, both of them now much older.

The celebration of Col. Munday's birthday took place at the national "Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum" ourside Savannah, which Col. Munday helped found and where he volunteered each week as a guide for many years.  There was nothing quite like hearing about the Mighty Eighth Air Force's many adventures from a pilot who had been a part of them all.

Col. Munday with yours truly at his 100th birthday celebration.
If you are ever in the Savannah area, I strongly encourage you to take a tour of the museum, with its many exhibits and aircraft, and the magnificent grounds with a chapel that is a reconstructed English parish church like the one near their World War II base at Grafton  Underwood, England.

Col. Munday turned 100 years old on November 1 and is still sharp, vigorous, and in good health.  In what I consider to be a real act of faith, he just bought a new computer.  He will probably outlast this one too.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Flashback 30 Years: Guns Were in Schools ... and Nothing Happened

From PJMedia

The millennial generation might be surprised to learn that theirs is the first without  guns in school.  Just 30 years ago, high school kids rode the bus with rifles and shot their guns at high school rifle ranges.

After another school shooting, it's time to ask: what changed?

Cross guns off the list of things that changed in thirty years.  In 1985, semi-automatic rifles existed, and a semi-automatic rifle was used in Florida.  Guns didn’t suddenly decide to visit mayhem on schools.  Guns can’t decide.
High school gun range 1985. "Obey instantly all firing line commands."

We can also cross the Second Amendment off the list.  It existed for over 200 years before this wickedness unfolded.  Nothing changed in the Constitution.

That leaves us with some uncomfortable possibilities remaining.  What has changed from thirty years ago when kids could take firearms into school responsibly and today might involve some difficult truths.

Let’s inventory the possibilities.

What changed?  The mainstreaming of nihilism.  Cultural decay.  Chemicals.  The deliberate destruction of moral backstops in the culture.  A lost commonality of shared societal pressures to enforce right and wrong.  And above all, simple, pure, evil.

Before you retort that we can’t account for the mentally ill, they existed forever.
Paranoid schizophrenics existed in 1888 and 2018.  Mentally ill students weren’t showing up in schools with guns even three decades ago.

So  it must be something else.
High school gun range.

Those who have been so busy destroying the moral backstops in our culture won’t want to have this conversation.  They’ll do what they do -- mock the truth.

There was a time in America, before the Snowflakes, when any adult on the block could reprimand a neighborhood kid who was out of line without fear.

Even thirty years ago, the culture still had invisible restraints developed over centuries.  Those restraints, those leveling commonalities, were the target of a half-century of attack by the freewheeling counterculture that has now become the dominant replacement culture.

Hollywood made fun of these restraints in films too numerous to list.

The sixties mantra “don’t trust anyone over thirty” has become a billion-dollar industry devoted to the child always being right -- a sometimes deeply medicated brat who disrupts the classroom or escapes what used to be resolved with a paddling.

Instead of telling the kid to quit kicking the back of the seat, we buy seat guards to protect the seat.
High school gun range, 1984.

If you think it’s bad now, just wait until the generation whose babysitter is an iPhone is in high school.  You can hardly walk around WalMart these days without tripping over a toddler in a trance, staring at a screen.

The high school kids who shot rifles in school in 1985 were taught right and wrong. They were taught what to do with their rifle in school, and what not to do.  If they got out of line, all the other students and the coach would have come down on them hard. There were no safe spaces, and that was a good thing.

Culture is a powerful force for good. When good behavior is normalized and deviant destructive behavior is ostracized, shamed, and marginalized, you get more good behavior.

Considering evil in this debate makes some of you uncomfortable, but evil bathes all of these shootings.  I am reminded of Justice Antonin Scalia’s spectacularly funny and profound interview in 2013 when he toyed with a New Yorker reporter about evil.  “You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil!”, he chortled.

Setting targets for rifle shooing inside a high school gun range.

Thirty years ago, kids who brought their rifles to the high school shooting range didn’t wonder about evil and cultural decay.  They simply lived in a time in America when right and wrong was more starkly defined, where expectations about behavior were clear, and wickedness hadn’t been normalized.

The idea that guns caused the carnage we have faced is so intellectually bankrupt that it is isn’t worth discussing.  Remembering where we were as a nation just 30 years ago makes it even more so. It’s time to ask what changed.

High school student with rifle inside high school range.