Conservatives Chasing the Zebra

Wow. I just realized I’ve spent so much time giving you bits and pieces of my conservative views, that I’ve not actually given you a post just dedicated to why I believe it. That will be fixed with this post, and it will most certainly be a long one. The reason I am writing this is because today I read a blog post that questioned the basis of conservativism, and the basis of liberalism, and compared and contrasted them. The video on the blog post had a man, Adam Strange, who, in summary, stated that conservativism is based on a moral order system, God above man, man above earth, men above women, whites above blacks, straights above gays, Christians above non-Christians, America above all other countries, and rich above poor. On the other hand, Strange suspected, liberalism was for equality. That every man should be given a fair and equal opportunity to succeed. Here’s the video, though I will warn you, there is some language.

Now these are absolutely the differences between conservatives and liberals, but I suggest that Mr. Strange has them in the wrong order. I am going to enjoy responding to this, not just by defending my belief system per se, but because this political debate, that of values and whatnot, is one of my all-time favorite subjects.

First of all, I would very highly disagree with the argument Adam made about the moral order. Here’s a very interesting point that I truly need you to understand, that will probably blow your mind. Are you ready? Here it is. True conservatives should not be against gay rights on a federal level.

Now, I know, you’re probably thinking, “Wow, did he just mean what I thought he said?” Yes. I am not against gay rights on a federal level. I am absolutely 100% AGAINST homosexuality on a moral level, but why shouldn’t they have human rights, they are as much humans as you are, right? Here’s the deal. The federal government is there to protect rights. It’s quite brilliant how this country was constructed. The federal government comes from the following principle, found in the declaration of independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”

So the government is there to secure rights, but specifically, unalienable rights. The most important thing that God gave us, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is our Life. Life is purposeless without Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness automatically comes with Liberty, and Liberty is secured through Property, and there’s a lot more theory behind all of these, but I’ll leave it at that for now. That is what federal government is for, to secure our basic rights.

Now back to my example of gay rights. Gay rights does not violate any of the unalienable rights, though you should know there are more unalienable rights then just those I mentioned. So why do so many people vote against gay rights? Because many people misunderstand what conservativism is. There’s a lot I could say that the liberals have done to violate the federal government’s purpose.

Take, for example, the abortion issue. Whether or not it’s life now (I don’t want to argue all day about something that may always be debated), it directly takes away that child’s right to Life, which the federal government should legislate against. Health care is not, the people have made choices that have gotten there in the first place, and though there are those people who are truly in a stuck situation, where they truly want to get out of the hand that fate (or God, as I believe) has dealt them, the people around them can fix that, because it’s not the federal government’s job to fix Life, or even to save Life, only to end direct removal of (directly violate) a person’s right to Life.

Anyway, sorry to get off on that path, but I’ll rein this back on track for a minute. So we tell Congress to get rid of unnecessary legislation. But then something happens. The people kind of feel weird that there’s this weird gap where lots of legislation used to be, and now it almost feels like something should be there. So, because many conservatives are Christians of some kind, they start legislating morality, such as homosexuality, thus becoming the monster that they were trying to get rid of.

Many conservatives (Many times my brothers in Christ), think that this is a battle of our respective religious morals, against the foes and evil which would seek to destroy us. Some (very few, don’t misread this) liberals act with evil desires, and heck, so do some conservatives, but most liberals probably have very good morals too, I know many Christian liberals. It’s not a battle of good vs. evil, it’s mainly what to do with the morals that we have as a country so to use them in the safest way possible, so to not make it a theocracy for us Christians, but to be able to use the gifts that God has given.

The true idea of conservativism is that federal government should be dedicated only to the securitization of rights, that “void” of legislation – that many believe should be filled – is actually healthy, because the federal government is not there for the purpose of legislating morality. Morality will depend on your religion, and will be debated until the end of time. Instead, by putting your emphasis on something that is solid and necessary, that will keep everyone basically protected. The ways that the Founders laid out how to secure the inalienable rights were laid out in the Constitution.

So then, how does anything smaller than wars, instances of legal justice, etc. get done? By the states! In fact, that’s one of the most genius things about the way the country was set up. You want to legislate morality in Texas? I really don’t have too much of a problem with that on the state level, though it’s still a bad idea. You want local free health care in the state of Illinois? Go right ahead. I still don’t think it’s an effective way to operate, but the people who don’t like it can move to another state. (Just an example, no offence to readers in Texas or Illinois.)

There’s a little bit of stability testing, finding what system works best in whatever you live. If Rhode Island has more people in it than Indiana, maybe Indiana needs to change the way they operate, since it’s driving so many people away. See what I mean? I just want to keep choice (but not so much that the people can step on each other’s rights, such as being pro-choice as far as the abortion issue goes) a very big part of America.

Now for the other part of America: Equality.

First, let me go into what I believe about issues such as men above women and whites above non-whites: the prejudice of things that people can’t control. Now, many liberals want to legislate (on the federal level) that black men, for example, be given more benefits, to “apologize” for our ancestors enslaving their ancestors and so forth, and because many are in a sticky situation nowadays. Aren’t we all.

But such legislation has actually hurt many black communities. For example, black men who have children in pretty bad situations are given certain benefits. So what do the men do? They try to get as many children as possible, by going from woman to woman, having more and more children. Understand that this is not a racist comment, by the way, this is something that men of all races (though no more than one race exists, everyone came from Adam and Eve) would do if given an opportunity. Anyway, because of these reckless men, children are born without fathers, they are taught to raise themselves, and look for a father figure in gangs. They grow up as men without moral character or a respect for the law, and continue to vote for the party that gets them “free” (paid for by taxpayers) stuff. The government gets involved again, and the cycle starts all over again. Not to mention the fact that the feds shouldn’t be involved in class redistribution of wealth anyway, but I’ll get into that in a minute.

Why not do what the true conservatives want, and say that people are people, and give them equal rights? Promising things to only certain people based on the color of their skin is the epitome of racism. How are we the racists? How are we the ones suppressing women? Just give the people equality already, rather than favoring he (or she) who was once expected to not succeed, and ended up being just as talented, smart, and capable as the rest of the world.

As far as homosexuality goes, homosexual nature is, well, nature, to some people. I know that it is wrong to act on that desire, though. It is a choice you make to act on that nature, making it slightly different from sexism or racism.

Should homosexuality be legislated by the federal government? Of course not. Should the state governments ban being gay? No, that’s a nature, something you can’t control (though I honestly don’t think that the majority of people were born with that nature, but still, the point remains). Now, should the acts associated with being homosexual be banned on the state level? That’s a really tough question, and since I can’t really find a solid answer, I think I’ll leave that up to each state, rather than making the ultimate decision on it.

Christians above non-Christians: I recommend you meet a true Christian or two.

Another dumb one: America above all other nations. That’s brilliant, I love how he tries to say that we are unfair because we believe that making the right decisions will lead to a prosperous country, and because other countries don’t do that, we shouldn’t either. Jump off of your friends’ cliffs much, do ya, Adam? Maybe we could be an example. Not that we want to affect the world in a positive way, that might be offensive. Just a thought though, and I apologize that honor is such an outdated concept, and somehow makes us as a party 200 years too late for this century. Who needs morals these days, right?

And now, for the all-time best thing that he said: That we favor the rich above the poor. But unless you were listening very closely, you may have missed that he proposed the answer to be a viciously hated (by liberals) conservative idea.

He said that liberals were for equality, that all people, no matter what, should have an equal opportunity to succeed. That’s right, the equality of opportunity. I hasten to note that many liberals have chewed me out for expressing such an idea too many times to count, because this is, indeed, a conservative viewpoint. If liberals are for equality of opportunity, then I must be completely uninformed. No, the majority of progressives I know are for the equality of outcome on a federal level. Meaning that whether I contribute to society to work or not, I should get the same pay in the end as the man who has worked all his life and gave the world a lot. Which, of course, is unfair. Not to mention it creates a society where everyone depends on each other to support them, leading to an inevitable destruction of the nation.

Now, many liberals don’t want total equality of outcome, only a vague “sharing” of wealth. But this isn’t sharing, this is stealing. Other people don’t deserve my money, and the feds certainly shouldn’t be the agent of the violation of one’s right to Property. Not that taxes are bad, but please do it at the same equal rate. Progressive taxes have different rates for different classes of people; isn’t that favoring one group over another, the underdog, as it were?

The other thing that many want to say, when the “save the poor” tactic doesn’t work, is that they are trying to “level the playing field,” saying that makes it equal. Needless to say, liberal chess would suck. You’d kill my queen in chess, and I’d get to just knock your queen off the board to keep us equal. If I knew I couldn’t be victorious, I’d stop playing, and then how does the economy grow?

Now I know that life isn’t always like chess. You may be born in a poor family, or you may be the spoiled son or daughter of a multimillionaire. But either way, you usually still have enough for at least a basic education, and an equal opportunity to move in the same upward movement. And chances are, that spoiled child will probably squander his money when he gets out into the real world, and will have to learn either very good financial choices or get a job just like the rest of us. And yes, an employer will hire a poor man if he has dedicated himself to being the best that he can be at whatever job that he chooses, and a passion for it certainly helps, too. That is fairness, and that is equality. The opportunity that no matter where you start, you can always work hard and earn a greater and greater living for yourself.

One final thing before I close: A quick nature clip that is played several times throughout the course of the video, whenever conservativism is brought up, is very misleading. There is a video of a lion chasing a zebra down in the jungle and eating it, and it is a sad video, which grips at your emotions and makes you think of conservativism as the rich chasing down the poor and defeating them, which is a misconception. As I said before, the working poor can make whatever adjustments they need to, whether it be reading books to better educate themselves on good job strategies, making good business decisions, working harder and faster, etc.

It’s competition. All of America should be made up of all equal lions chasing after the same zebra, the same goals, the same drive to make them run faster and faster, until the ones who want it most and push their legs fastest get first dibs. And what should the ones who don’t get there in time do? Go find another zebra, and try harder next time!

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Your Future Starts Now

A birthday is a wonderful thing. Another year of life, another year for you to be able to make a difference. I realise that with turning 16 comes a lot more privilege, as well as a lot more responsibility. I’ve gotten some awesome letters from some of the adults in my life who have told me that now was about the time that they started deciding what they wanted to do with their lives that God has given them.

I’ve been thinking for a while today, what this new year of my life, as well as my life in general, needs to be about. I’ve been thinking about what the value of a life is, and even what it could have been over these first 16 years. God wants us to live our lives to the fullest, but there is so much distracting us from doing God’s work, some disguised as bad habits, addictions, and sin in general, but even more common is the little things in life that add together to make a life of wasted time. I’m definitely guilty of this; it seems like my time on my computer, whether to get my work done or to look up the newest funny video, causes me to neglect spending time with my family and building those relationships all around me.

I’ve been so self-centered for so long, I have forgotten what truly spending time with people and growing with my brothers and sisters in Christ looks like. I know that is not who I want to be. I want more out of this life than just the temporary. I want God to do so much with my life, yet I’m not willing to get off the couch and hang out with my family. Because in the long-term, that status that I posted won’t matter, but what will matter is the relationships that I build as I come of age who influence me positively every day.

This year, I make this 17th year resolution: to get out more; to stop being afraid to ask myself the big questions about who I want to be and what defines my life. I want God to define my life, and stop putting my future off. Because my future does not need to start in a year, a month, or even tomorrow, thinkers.

Your future starts now.

What will you do with it?

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Political Compass – Where Are You On The Political Scale?

Sorry I’ve not posted for a while, thinkers. I’ve been busy with school and whatnot. Things are getting better, though, and I should be posting much more often soon enough. But there’s something awesome that I saw on another blog yesterday. It’s called the Political Compass, and it’s basically this rater for where you fall on the political stale, from the social Authoritarian to the social Libertarian, and from the economic left to the economic right. Where on the scale do you fall?

I’ll write back to post my results, and an explanation of why I think that way. But I encourage you to share this with friends. Write in the comments whether or not you actually think it’s accurate. I thought it was pretty good accuracy-wise. Try it out, see where you fall on the graph. I’ll be looking forward to hearing where your opinion takes you!

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Church and State, Minus the Church

As I recently started reading what was indeed a very well-written, thought-provoking, non-insulting blog, a certain article caught my attention. It was called, “Who Says Who is a Christian?” and it discussed a controversy in the news when President Obama said at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast,

“And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.

But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.” It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.”

– President Barack Obama

I enjoy reading this blog, because though I disagree with many of its principles, it was refreshing to see an intelligent blogger that gives a well-explained opinion. I am impressed how they think, not insult. So I thought that I would respectfully comment on this idea presented that God has called government to redistribute wealth. I will then go on to address one more question that follows logically from the issue of the National Prayer Breakfast: How much moral territory should the separation of church And state encompass in a religiously free country?

Why We Question President Obama’s Quote

Now first of all, I want you to realize, thinkers, that Christians are upset about this quote not because we find his opinions inadequate, but rather, because we believe it to be a misquote of the Bible. We challenge President Obama’s opinions not to suggest that his views are different and are therefore wrong, but for the reason that we challenge anything, right or wrong: to find Truth. If we can find Truth, we will be much better off as a country. And as a leader of a country, I think it acceptable for me to say that President Obama’s choices based on what he believes to be true will affect many people, so he needs to be much more careful with what he says and does.

Religious tolerance is a good thing, and I’m sad to say that it’s slowly but surely escaping from America’s grasp. But if I as a Christian was elected President and was to write a law (ignoring, for a moment, the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States) that says that all people who disagreed with Christianity deserved to die, just maybe the people would find it fit to question my authority to do so. That is why we now do the same to President Obama.

As a side note, people are going off and saying that he’s not a Christian because they disagree with him. I’d like to make sure you understand that if we want to ask whether or not he is a Christian, we need to realize that being a Christian does not mean that you believe in God. It doesn’t even mean that you believe in Jesus, any fool can believe that Jesus existed. A Christian is a Christ-follower, meaning that your actions show that you have begun to try to follow Jesus with all of your heart, abandoning all else. A relationship is required. Maybe President Obama is a Christian, maybe he isn’t, that’s not my place to judge. I can’t judge where a person is, only where Jesus says we need to be, as a part of our search for Truth.

The Analysis of the Scriptures

The real problem with President Obama’s assessment of Jesus’ words is that he has done so without really analyzing the Bible itself. If we look at Jesus’ words in Luke 12:35-48, the passage which the President addressed, we see that it says:

“‘Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Peter said, ‘Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?’ And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”

This is a cool passage, no? It parallels quite nicely the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30:

“‘For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”

As we really look at these two sets of verses, we see that it is basically saying out of our hearts we should be willing to use what we have been given to God’s glory, money included. I recognize that the latter passage is really talking more about how to use it to get more back, but if we really think about it, using money to God’s glory does include giving to the poor and needy. But I still disagree with President Obama’s conclusion, that the Government should be taxing as a response to the former passage. Two things stand out to me in this passage that, I believe, contradicts the conclusion that our President has come to in regards to its message:

  1. God looks at the heart of a person, and He values our everyday choices to serve him. If our President is using this passage to illustrate that the government should force money out of people, I would say that it entirely contradicts this message. Remember, no third-party came along and forced them to use what they had. It was their choice. They made their own choices, and God judged them all based on what they did with what was given them. The government’s role is to secure rights, not to make people happy. That only leads to an abuse of governmental power. There are no “Rights to Get Money When You Are In a Tough Situation.” I also think it fitting to note that this message is directed not to the Servants’ neighbors, to take the money and make them use it. That would be wrong, and they would get in trouble with the law for doing so. So why does the government think it’s OK for them to do so? Remember that these passages present a charge for people to make the choice to do what’s right, not to be forced to. The phrase “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required,” in verse 48 of the first passage, is directed at the people who are giving, not to the government who has no right to require the well off giving to the poor. It means that God will look at the gifts (money included) and talents He gave us, and He will look at what we did with them. The more blessed we are on this earth, the less excuse we have for being useless with our gifts. Also, if the government is the one taking the money and giving it to the poor, then there is no room for the generous heart, which defeats one of the primary purposes of a person giving to the poor in the first place.
  2. On a similar note, I often hear the following associated with the conservatives’ ideas: “You must hate the poor and want them to die if you don’t like high taxes. You are being stingy! Isn’t giving to the poor a part of being a Christian?” The funny thing is, they could not be further from the truth! I believe in giving to the poor, that’s where 10% of the church’s money goes every Sunday! The problem is not whether or not to give to the poor, it is how it is done. My parents are very generous in giving, they give generously to different programs and charities, but they do so because they can choose and have chosen to do so, not because the government is making them. The government is very inefficient in its methods. It takes a small portion of what it “collects” it and gives it to the poor, and the rest is used for work on useless projects that get our country even further in debt. It was never meant to tax the people to a degree that they can no longer give out of the generosity of their hearts. I believe that the government is the wrong way to bring about giving. It is not our president’s money, and it is not him who is providing for the “generous donation to the poor.” It is you and me who are paying for this, but not because we want to, but because we have to. Also, the government has no boundary of distinction between those who are really in a pickle and truly cannot work and those who have simply chosen to not even try. There are simply “rich” and “poor.” Eventually, if the hard-working keep being taxed to an extreme while the poor don’t have to pay a dime, there will eventually be one single class of wealth. And when we have to give to the poor and will eventually just get the same amount of money as everyone else no matter what we do, why work hard at all? And as soon as all of the American people realize that they can get the same amount whether they work hard or not, it will incentivize an entire country to do no work. It is not generosity, it is sinking America through enslaving the American people. This is why It is the job of charities to distinguish between the needy and the wanting, and that will keep our country going out of real generosity that will keep this country functioning properly, and doesn’t come with the phrase, “By the way, vote for us!”

The Separation of Church and State

Before I close, there was one more point that the writer of the blog post mentioned that I do not want to leave untouched. As I said before, it is not my place to say that President Obama is not a Christian, especially if it’s only because I disagree with him on certain subjects. It is not the government’s job to specify religious correctness (all religions, atheism included), as that blatantly flies in the face of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which states that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” All of the text before the first comma has led to the idea of the separation of church and state.

If we look a little bit at the background of this idea, we see that there were times in history where the king ruled both as ruler, and as interpreter of the Scriptures. On the other hand, there have just as problematically been times when the Pope, as head of the church, has indirectly functioned as ruler over a country as well. Many people were led to escape Britain and come to America because of a very controversial paper written by James I of England called the Divine Right of Kings. In this paper, King James basically stated that because he was King, he had the God-given right of total political and religious legitimacy. In other words, because he was king, he was always right, and therefore, no one had any right to question how to rule his country, nor how they were to worship God. If they wanted to believe in something, they had to believe it the king’s way.

Because of this, the Founding Fathers of the United States wanted to be careful to make sure that this wouldn’t happen again, and wrote that the government would leave religion out of every piece of legislation, so the people could worship freely as they wanted to. But something has happened as of late. People have misinterpreted this idea to mean that religion should be taken out of everything, including some of our nation’s historical monuments or the public education system. And because atheism is usually not considered a religion, they can teach evolution in school as much as they want! Do you not see something fundamentally wrong with that? This has only lead us to coming full circle, having a president who has the power to say they can do anything… because God told him so.

With all of that in mind, however, someone is wrong. A person’s religion truly affects how they choose to lead, there is no escaping that. Government should lead with their religion in mind, as cannot be avoided, but the danger comes when they start making bills that take prayer and the Ten Commandments out of schools, or start demeaning free religion through legislation. We live in a country with the freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. If we can get to Truth as far as religion is concerned, just as we try to do with science, we can best find how to elect our leaders, so to be best prepared in how to move as a country in the future. Because if you try to take “religion” (with a false meaning “belief in God”) out of leadership, you are really forcing atheistic leadership into office, which guarantees a democratic worldview, taking away from the ever-present search for Truth and a truly ideal government.

So Thinkers…

What do you think? Am I being too hard on our President and his choice of words, or is there something to be said for authenticating what truly is from God? Also, what do you think about the issue of the separation of church and state?

Debate’s My Life. Thanks for being a part of it.

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Robbin’ Hoodlum

As I mentioned before, I am a conservative. One of the things that I disagree with liberals about quite often is the idea of the redistribution of wealth. Why, you ask? Because I’m a mean, horrible person who hates the poor and in the end, wants to destroy America as we know it. Or something like that.

It’s a very touchy subject, and so I’ll try to approach this topic with caution. I’ve talked with people about this before, and I hope that you read my words carefully before commenting or really thinking about this subject, so my words aren’t misunderstood or misinterpreted.

First of all, please understand why I ask that you really need to think about this issue. People bombard us with wrong ideas all the time, especially in the media. I’ve mentioned several Disney films in previous posts because, well, Disney is one of the offenders as well in the world of media indoctrination. I’m sorry to all of the Disney fans out there, but it’s true. You see the slightest offences in movies, and because they’re cute and animated, you let it slide. I’m guilty of this, as are many people. But I must have seemed like the biggest jerk on the face of the planet when I asked a question to some friends on Facebook. It was something along the lines of the following:

Is the character in the following picture a good guy, or a bad guy?

I’m a terrible person for even questioning the words of this furry little guy. But, like all movies, “Robin Hood” needs to be seen with a critical eye. I went back and recently read a part of the transcript, and what I found was a very interesting scene at the very beginning of this classic film, when Robin Hood and Little John are first introduced:

Little John: “You know something, Robin? I was just wondering, are we good guys or bad guys? You know, I mean, out robbing the rich to feed the poor…”

Robin Hood: “Rob? That’s a naughty word. We never rob; we just sort of borrow a bit from those who can afford it.”

Little John: “Borrow! Boy, are we in debt.”

*Bugle sounds*

Robin Hood: “Ha, ha. That sounds like another collection day for the poor, eh, Johnny boy?”

Little John: “Yeah. Sweet charity!”

The audience is then left to assume that these are the heroes of the story, and the bad guy is subsequently introduced, with Prince John taxing the life out of the citizens of Nottingham. The people are starving, but Robin Hood will save them by giving them “what is rightfully theirs.” What a great guy this Robin Hood is for returning the people’s wealth by taking it from big, mean Prince John, right?

Wrong.

Prince John, I will agree, is beyond greedy, and his actions are most certainly not justified. However, Robin’s redistribution of wealth is wrong in so many ways, and I will offend many by making this my topic of writing, but I have to make this clear. I’ll explain this in 2 ways, how it is wrong as a Christian, and how it is wrong as a U.S. citizen.

How It’s Wrong As A Christian

Well, this one isn’t terribly hard. Let’s head over to the Ten Commandments, shall we? Exodus 20:15 says: “You shall not steal.” This is a little vague, so let me basically explain what all of that means. You shouldn’t steal. There we go, moving on.

Actually, that’s only the beginning of this issue. Many people are willing to say, “But what about people who are unwilling to support their families? Come on, Luke, have a heart.” Jesus addresses this specifically when asked about paying taxes. His response was as follows: “‘Show me the coin for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.'” Could he be any more clear? Jesus is saying that even overbearing taxes are no reason for us to rebel against our authority.

If taxes aren’t, then, what is? I mean, we separated from Britain, so what makes our actions any more justified? I believe that when man’s law goes against God’s law, that God’s law always triumphs. Otherwise, there is no justification for rebelling authority that God has allowed to be placed over us. Since being a thief is acceptable neither in man’s law, nor in God’s, I think it safe to say that it’s not permissible.

How It’s Wrong As A United States Citizen

Think about this. There are rights that a U.S. citizen has, including the inalienable rights. The three mentioned in the Declaration of Independence are a person’s right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. But if you really think about it, you’ll realize that without Property rights, neither Life nor Liberty would mean anything. You would literally have nothing. Because God gave man the right to own property, I believe Property rights are sacred, and are, in fact, unalienable. So if the right to own property is inalienable, being a thief is a violation of that, it should indeed be punished.

But about the man who can’t support his family? Isn’t that different? Well, what we tend to forget in this instance is the baker who is stolen from. What did he do to deserve being stolen from? He didn’t, and it does not stand to reason that he should suffer for another man’s misfortune. Unfortunately, as hard as you try, there will always be a wealthy class and a poor class, because the consequences of actions play out and determine a man’s status of wealth. The right thing for the baker to do would be to give the man some of his bread out of kindness, because that is what people are called to do for each other.

The funny thing about America is that even the poor in this country have TVs in their house, food to eat, and a warm place to sleep at night, which is more than can be said for third-world countries. If you truly don’t have any food to eat, then people will notice, because people are not all bad. Americans have hearts, and have proven time and time again that they are willing to help the truly poor in this country get back to a steady situation. So there is no need for thievery to be the answer. Either the poor in this country need to get off their rear ends and start working, or, if they cannot do so, the churches needs to step up and help, to do what God called them to do.

The Rich

Now I think, since I’ve spent so much time talking about the poor, I think I ought to make a couple quick notes about the rich. How many Americans think that the rich are evil? Too many, in my opinion! The rich are not any more evil than the poor are! In fact, in the U.S., they usually can’t be! Think about it, how did evil, maniacal Ben Gates get rich, or Steve Jobs, or Henry Ford, or even Thomas Edison? They worked for it. They got off their butts and worked to make this world a better place! I mean, what would have happened if Thomas Edison hadn’t invented a practical version of the light bulb? Well, for one thing, wherever you’re sitting would probably be much darker right now, but also, he wouldn’t have become as rich as he did! Why? Because he reformed the very world that we live in! Doesn’t he, then, deserve to reap the rewards of doing so? So what makes him evil? Because he has more money than you? Jealousy, thinkers, is another matter altogether, but I promise, it’s also in the Bible, if you’d like me to look up some verses.

Sadly, though, you and I both know it doesn’t end there. Not all rich people are good, like not all poor people are good. Prince John is still out there. The difference between Prince John and Thomas Edison is that Prince John did nothing fantastic or world-altering in order to rule. What happens to people like that? Well, If Prince John represents government in particular and its right to tax, I’m afraid Prince John, though obviously overtaxing the citizens to death, has certain rights that he has as a ruler. One of these is that he can legally tax the people.

If Richard had been the one taxing, he would have done so to a much less degree, and the people would be happy about that. Why? Because he has the authority to do so, and because taxation, when regulated and very limited, can be helpful. It’s the over-taxation that is the problem, not the taxation itself, so don’t misunderstand me. But if you want to get technical, the people live in England, so they are subject to England’s government. So stealing money from Prince John is, unfortunately, wrong, because Robin Hood has no right to give to the people what isn’t theirs. Sadly, they have a government where their rights can easily be trampled on, provided they have the wrong leader. That’s why being a U.S. citizen is such a privilege, because our government answers to the people. They have the right to tax, but that’s only because we tell them do so. The moral of this section, then, is this: people of Nottingham, come to America. We have apple pie!

On the other hand, in a more general sence, if you are talking about some of the founders of certain – not all, but certain – big businesses, it’s sad for the other businesses that are trying to compete, but that is the art of capitalism! If “Joe’s Appliances” was to make good business decisions, maybe it could compete with “Wal-Mart,” with a proper name change, of course. Stealing from “Wal-Mart” is not the answer, whether directly or through legislation that unfairly taxes the rich, punishing them for working hard and taking the risk of creating a business. Risk and reward is one of the ideas that surrounds American business strategy, and it makes a fair playing ground for “Target” and “Wal-Mart” to go at each other.

Who Are We, America?

So what is the “Robin Hood” of  today’s world? Who is the false hero who goes about and steals from the rich, gives to the poor, and is praised fervently for doing so? Why, our very own U.S. government, or course. We have fallen into blaming the rich for all the problems in the U.S., and so the rich must pay by being unfairly forced to pay much larger taxes than is reasonable. And who’s the hero? The government is! Since the poor is getting money, that makes the government a good thing. So what makes the other programs that takes all of its money and gives it to the poor who are actually unable to work inadequate? What about the church, who takes a lot of money from the offering plate and specifically gives it to the hard-working poor with a real situation? Don’t they deserve some credit for doing what they were created to do? Oh wait, the government isn’t there to make people feel happy, is it? The government’s job isn’t to take from the hard-working, keep most of it themselves for “government stuff,” and take the remainder of it and give it to the drug addicts and lazy in this country.

Hmm, unfair taxation, who does that sound like? Yep, that’s right. Our government is like a sick, twisted combination of Robin Hood and Prince John? Stealing from the rich, taxing the people unfairly, then taking a small percentage of it and giving it to charity. This isn’t who we are, America! I will not steal back from the government, because that just makes me like them. But come election time, my family going to vote for people who will stop with the tyranny and the thievery. It’s time for our reform! And if you have a problem with that, maybe you don’t belong in America. You can just return to the injustice that you are seeking for, back to the world that my America has protected us from!

So Thinkers…

Who do you say Robin Hood is? Is he another “Prince John?”

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Tebow’s Lucky Numbers – 4 8 15 16 23 42

I recently started watching LOST. I’m in season 2 right now. Out of all of the stories and flashbacks, though, I think Hurley’s has got to be the most interesting. He uses some numbers that he heard from a psychologically unstable man in the lottery, and wins. He then begins seeing the numbers everywhere, but finds bad luck follows him everywhere he goes. He then tries to find what the source of those numbers are. The numbers – 4, 8,15,16, 23, and 42 – become a superstition among those who have used them.

I bring this up because recently, there has been a lot of talk about Tim Tebow and his passing yards. The numbers “3” and “16” seem to be showing up everywhere. Christians all over are freaking out, and believe it is a direct sign from God that Tebow is going to win the Super Bowl, as it corresponds with one of the most pivotal scriptures of all time, John 3:16, which reads: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Let me get straight to the point. I want to be very careful with this. I am glad that people are excited about this, but I don’t want it to get superstitious. I don’t want these to become the numbers in LOST. I’m afraid that people are taking these too seriously, and are calling it a direct sign from God. Is it? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. That’s not really important right now. The truth is, Tim Tebow is not ultra famous right now because of his extreme talent in football. It is because he has been bold in proclaiming Jesus’s name wherever he goes. I don’t want people to be so stuck on the message in the score that we miss God’s work.

I heard the man who made my science book speaking at a convention in Cincinnati. He was talking about a certain cell that helps in holding our skin together, or something like that. Apparently, it looks like a cross. Christians went ballistic and started making a big deal about this to scientists all over, saying how it symbolizes how the cross holds us together spiritually. It was big for Christians. However, he said just as quickly that soon after, a similar cell was discovered that also held something together, I don’t remember what. It was shaped like a swastika. Try asking your friends what the spiritual significance of that is.

All I’m saying is that the truth of Tebow’s message isn’t dependent on the scoreboard or Tebow’s stats. I think we should keep this in perspective. Please don’t make this out to mean something it doesn’t. This “3-16” business, I think, makes a great segway for conversation, but not really a great topic for conversation itself.

For instance, there is no reason to say to your atheist friend, “Yo, did you hear about that whole ‘3-16’ thing? Now tell me God doesn’t exist after seeing this!” Unfortunately, if I was an atheist, I might take you for a lunatic religious nut who believes things only because ESPN said so. I want this to become more. The conversation, from my perspective, should look more like this: “Yo, did you hear about that whole ‘3-16’ thing? It’s a funny coincidence that it reminds so many of one of the most pivotal scriptures of the Bible, John 3:16, right? ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ That’s an amazing message, isn’t it? The fact that God would do that for all sinners. That’s the amazing message that Tim Tebow has been living by his whole life, and that’s what makes him so unique, and why Christians make him their role-model.” Wouldn’t that be a much better use of this than trying to make God magically appear out of the stats? Who knows, that friend that you have may actually understand your ideas, and may start thinking about Christianity.

God did orchestrate this, but I think he had a greater picture in mind when he did so. I pray that God does His Will with this, and that the people accept Christ because He died for them and loves them, not because Tim Tebow threw 316 passing yards. Or because LOST told you 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 are magic numbers. Because as soon as the stats say otherwise, Jesus’s followers might just stop following, and will just move back into everyday distractions from reality, which will continue to drive them away from the hope God offers.

So Thinkers…

Are you going to be using this unusual circumstance for God’s glory? How you choose to do so is up to you, but will you at least try to make Tim Tebow’s message your message as well?

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The Map on the Declaration of Independence – Part #2

See, any fool can tell you that we have become less and less of a Christian country over the years. We’ve fallen into a point where the masses are taught to believe that we were just accidents, that there is no purpose in life because we were not designed with any specific purpose. Therefore, we must create our own destiny. But many of the men who wrote the old documents that founded America believed in a god. Some were Christian men, others were deists that believed that a god created us and then left us alone to go do, well, whatever it is that gods do. However, although I don’t agree with deism, I note that they had to have believe in a creator in order to found this country. Because if the media is right, and we are just accidents, there was no god to give us these unalienable rights, and we were not born with them at all. That is why we have as of late found ourselves losing these rights to the government. Let me show you what I mean by going into the rights that are listed in particular.

Life – You have the right to life. Why? God gave you that privilege. It says in Genesis 2:7 that: “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” If God gave you life, then it is unalienable. That’s why we punish murderers. They are denying your God-given right to life, which is not right. But what does society say? “What gives you the nerve to say that a person has the right to life, when life has no meaning? There is no purpose in life, so that child that you are about to have, Miss Everywoman, does not need to exist. Abortion is an option that you can make.” Abortion is a subtle way to openly refuse life to a human being, which disregards the unalienable rights of this country.

Liberty – “Liberty” is one of those words that you hear all the time, but I think it right to define it. It is: “The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” In other words, liberty is the freedom to choose. You can make the right choise, you can make the wrong choise, but all in all, you have a choise. Why? God gave you that privilege, too. Genesis 2:16-17 says: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'” God gave them a choise. He basically said, “Choose life and refrain from eating, or choose death and eat.” He did not force them to do anything, because we know if He had, we wouldn’t have given up perfection in the first place. If God gave you choise, then it is unalienable. That is why we punish overbearing government. It is refusing a person’s right to choose his choise of how he wants to live, by creating unnecessary legislation that hinders free will. But what does society say? “Big government is good. Government will make choices for you. It’s easier for you to avoid choise, that way you can relax. Just let government choose and serve you.” Big government choosing unnecessarily for people has led to a basic enslavement of the people via unfair legislation like that of 17th and 18th century Britain that drove our nation away in the first place. Note that life and liberty are very closely related, as one cannot live without choosing to, and choise only comes with life.

Pursuit of Happiness – This is where it gets a little difficult. “Happy” is defined as: “Having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with.” Happiness is being satisfied with something in your present conditions. But that in and of itself can only be measured by the individual. Happiness is a choise to be content, so it is simply a state of mind. Many people in this country try to interpret this to mean that happiness should be guaranteed to the individual. That is not what government is for at all, as I will prove later on. For now, I’ll show you that there is more to this than meets the eye. What we tend to forget is that word “pursue.” See, man has the ability to make choices to make his living conditions better. That is what the pursuit of happiness means. Choices come with consequences, good or bad. We have the choise to make the right decisions to obtain the better consequences or circumstances. Today, that looks like working hard at getting a good education, working hard in life, getting a good job, being a person others look up to, et cetera. These things don’t necessarily mean that you will be happy, but you have the guarantee that you can make risks and reap the rewards. Why? Take a wild guess Who gave you that privilege as well. Genesis 4:3-5 tells us that: “In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.” There are a million more examples, but I thought this one would work well. Abel picked a blood offering, one that honored God. He gave his best lamb away, and for making that sacrifice, Abel was blessed. His brother gave only fruit, something that was not as thoughtful, and most likely, it was easier to give. He didn’t give God his best of the best, and God favored Abel’s offering more. See we are given the ability to risk and reward. Both tried something different from one another, and the consequences were different as well. If God gave the ability to receive consequences for your actions, then it is unalienable. That is why we disapprove of governments that disregard blatant crimes and promise the wrong kind of equality to all people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equality. I, however, believe solely in equality of opportunity, rather than of outcomes. For example, God gives us a choise whether or not to follow Him and receive eternal life, or choose to follow their own paths and receive only destruction. Not everyone is guaranteed heaven, but everyone has the opportunity to choose it. I believe it is the same way with just about anything, that we can do anything that is humanly possible. We can murder, steal, or do whatever we want to, but we will receive the natural and legal consequences set out for doing so. But what does society say? “It’s not right that the man who worked hard for his money has more than that lazy man who has nothing. It is only fair that no one receives consequences for his actions.” We have fallen into a world where consequences are gone, so people may do whatever offences they please, because they have nothing to fear. Also note that the pursuit of happiness is just a specific form of liberty, as it is the ability to make choices, but specifically, choices that benefit themselves and those around them, which thereby connects it to life as well.

So here’s my point about everything I’ve said so far. All men are created equal, but they could not be equal if they each were evolved from certain kinds of monkey. The only way man has unalienable rights is because God created them that way. If they were just an accident, they do not have those rights for being a human because being a human means nothing, and no one really gave them to the people when they were conceived. After all, according to macroevolution, we are no greater than animals, so why does life even matter? What does it really matter that you have choices, they mean nothing. So what; you can pursue happiness. Happiness is only for a little bit, and it’s not worth protecting. Here’s the kicker though. The declaration then proceeds to make a humongous statement: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Wow.

So that basically answers the ground-level question: “What is the purpose of government?” Government is there to secure the rights of the people. But think back to everything before that. We’ve given natural rights meaning, showing that they are created by God, and that government is only meaningful because we have rights worth protecting. Isn’t that an amazing thought? Government is meant to set in stone the very gifts that God gave us in the first place. It’s not to make us as human beings happy; it’s not to create a meaning of life, but rather, to reenforce God’s meaning of life that he made for us in the start. That’s what makes government so intriguing to me. That is the treasure that is hidden on the Declaration of Independence, and I urge that you hold onto it and see it for the treasure that it is.

This gives us the answer to another such question: “Why are we falling into a governmental pattern of secrets and misplaced priorities?” As we have begun to lose our status as a Christian country, the role of government becomes less and less sacred. The purpose of the U.S. government is becoming less and less clear as we move forward, and I wonder how many people actually believe the government’s purpose is to make them feel good. As soon as we lose our Creator, our rights become trampled on, because they are no longer worth protecting. I pray that for the future of this country, we recognize that non-Christian leadership will lead nowhere, and if we really want a government worth having, we need to regain the position that we once claimed as the basis of American leadership, for the side that best upholds the rights of Americans.

So Thinkers…

What do you think? Is this a fair assessment of the purpose of government?

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