Reversing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Dream

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I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963).

In the last few weeks and month, maybe even years there has been many racial events that prove that the United States still has issues with racism and identity. Treyvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson. The incident in Texas where the police reported to a pool party because there were too many black people. New York City police choking out a suspect that leads to his death. The shooting in Baltimore, Maryland. And most recently the story of a white girl posing calling herself black when she clearly is white by her genetic heritage. All of these incidents are tragic and insane in their own way, but the bigger issue that I see within them all is the reversals of one of the dreams by the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior. Many groups of people in different ways have contributed to this dream being reversed in modern America. In short, today we only seem to judge by the color of skin instead of content of character.

Let’s start with the story of Rachel Dolezal. She was recently fired from her leadership position with the NAACP because she had lied about her race. She was born to and raised by two white parents. She claims to the “trans-racial” in the way that some people claim “transgender.” Basically this means she was born one race, but identifies as another. Personally I don’t have a problem with a white girl serving as the head of the NAACP, because there are plenty of people who are in the racial and ethnic majority that could do a great job representing the interests of the black or any minority community regardless of their skin color. While they may not completely understand the struggle that does not negate their ability to represent their interests. The NAACP concurred with this mind-set. She was not asked to step down because she was white, but because of her deceit. I am not sure what was going in Ms. Dolezal’s mind when she decided to “become” black but she must have thought in some way that it would help her in life. She was judging herself by the color of her skin instead of her character.

The other major events that are reversing King’s dream are the different incidents involving police officers and racial or ethnic minorities, specifically black people. I don’t care if its Texas, New York City, Furguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland or where it is occurring people on both sides are judging on the color of skin as opposed to their character. Many in the black and minority communities are only seeing the color of skin of those shot instead of looking at their character. Some of the black people at the hearts of these incidents don’t have very strong character. Michael Brown was not a gentle giant. He robbed a store just a few minutes before his death. The same judgement of color of skin is playing out when the black community judges the police involved too; they are largely white.  The storyline becomes the actions of WHITE police officers shooting BLACK people without any context of the events that led to the incidents.  On the other hand, the people on the opposite side of these incidents are judging by color too.

Yes, many of the people involved in these shootings are white and many of the people as victims in these incidents are blacks. Either way, too many people are quick to judge the black people who are rioting and condemning the entire group. Judging them on the color of their skin and not their character of those involve. We should look at the actions of the majority who are not rioting and using violence in their protests. Also, just because a person is a police officer does not give them a free pass or allow to not be judged at all for their actions. Many are quick to give the police the benefit of the doubt in these incidents as others give the benefit of the doubt to the victims, just because they are police. There are bad police officers and we must judge them based on their character, not the color of this clothes.

The thought process could be said in a larger sense in how we deal with each other in the other categories in which we place ourselves.  Too many times we divide ourselves by political, social, economic, and religious categories and judge others by those categories.  When we do that we judge people by those categories as opposed to their character.  Not all Republicans or conservatives are xenophobic, poor hating, racists.  Not all Democrats want to bring about a socialist communists revolution in America.  Christians are not necessarily homophobic because they believe what the Bible says about that lifestyle.  Homosexuals are not trying to turn the world gay.  Rich people do not necessarily want poor people to stay poor.  The poor do not want to live off the system. Muslims are not terrorist. Asians are not bad drivers.  Jews are not cheap.  Blacks are not lazy. All of us are to busy judging each other on the color of our skin or the group we belong to instead of judging us by our personal character and actions. If we could look past the labels and see each other we could finally work with each other and find compromises to the problems we face as people and a nation.

How should we respond to these events? First, we must respect the process that is in place when these events occur. Most cities, and states have rules in place to try to judge as fairly and as equitably, as possible, when a police officer kills a person on the job. The rules put in place are to make sure that the officer has due process and his other constitutionally guaranteed rights protected. While they are not perfect, they are the best we got right now. If you feel they are unfair, or unjust then work with local and state officials to make them better. Work with local police to connect them with your community. Also realize that police will go on trial and some will be found guilty, because they acted outside of the law and they will punished for it. As much as we must respect the process we must respect the idea that we must expect higher of our law enforcement officials. A gun and bullet must be the last case scenario when dealing with suspects. We should expect better from our police officers.

Second, we must have compassion on all parties in these cases. A few days ago I watched a later episode in the series “The West Wing.” In the episode, Congressman and Democratic Party Candidate for President Matt Santos had to speak at a black church immediately the shooting of a black child by a Latino police officer. The main crux of his message is that we need to have compassion on each other in this situations. Compassion on the cops who had to pull their gun and kill someone. They will live with that their entire lives on their conscience. Compassion for the victims, because no one deserves to die without due process, regardless of their crime. Compassion for the families involved who now face life without loved one or the prospect of life without loved ones. We must have compassion because it can heal us more than vengeance ever can.

Lastly, both sides of these issues are guilty of judging based on the color of skin instead of the character of those involved. We need to get all the facts about a case before any of us race to judgement in favor of police or victims. Unfortunately the news media does not always help with that, but each of us has it within our power to critically read the news. Don’t just look at one site for news on these incidents, look at several from different perspectives. Then make judgements about the case. But remember these accounts are at best second and third hand information, therefore it may not represent the truth. In the end, we must judge on these people’s character, not their skin color. That is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior desired over 50 years ago. We must live up to that dream today.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Class dismissed!

Is it Time for a Woman to be President?

Since Hillary Clinton just announced that she is running for the office of President of the United States, the titled question is definitely one that bears being answered.

To clear up some historical facts, former Senator and Secretary Clinton is not actually the first woman to run for President.  Technically Victoria Woodhull ran for President in 1872 as part ticket of the Equal Rights Party (Trotman 118-119).  Frederick Douglas was the Vice-Presidential candidate, but they did not seek his approval.  So sorry Hilary this happened over a century before your historic run in 2016.  But none of this answers the question.  Is it time for the United States to choose a woman President?

Yes, women have been vital to this nation since our beginnings.  Their role in many stages of U.S. History from the colonial era to 2015 cannot be disputed.  In the words of Abigail Adams to her husband as he served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, we must “remember the women.”  Women served as examples and teachers of republican virtue long before many of them could vote.  They also stood up for many causes advancing the ideas of liberty and freedom long before they had equal liberty as their male counterparts.  They practiced the rights available to them fully even if they did not have all of them.  The role of American women in our history answers an unequivocal YES!  It is long past time for the United States to elect a woman to the office of President of the United States. Unfortunately the second part of this essay will be more politically biased than the first.

While I believe it is time for the United States to have a President, I do not agree that it is Hillary Clinton.  Events in the last several years, even the last few weeks, have shown she is not a person worthy of the office. Now given of the history of men who have served as President, the previous argument could be considered moot. There are many men who had done worse things than Hilary before they became President, but this is not an article comparing her works to theirs.  Let us judge her on her works alone.

In the last several weeks it came out that Hilary Clinton, while Secretary of State did not follow the law or federal regulations about the storage of her emails.  She stored them on a private server at her home. This violated federal law and State Department regulations.  She did release some of the emails on that server to the State Department, but the emails she released was done according to her own judgement not anybody elses.  We don’t know what else could be in the emails on the server because she won’t release.  This flagrant violation of the law and her refusal to give her server to the State Department or Congress for their review of any other vital emails related to her time as Secretary of State shows that she thinks herself above the law.  Is this a characteristic we want of a person whose job it is to enforce the laws of the land?

Now to clear something up because I know someone on the other side will say it.  I DO NOT think Sarah Palin is the woman to be elected President.  I think there are better candidates on both sides of the aisle that would be better choices of President than Palin or Clinton.  Honestly, while I may disagree with Senator Elizabeth Warren on her policies, her staunch stance about not running for President makes her more attractive in my mind.  The fact that she is not seeking power when she could make a good run at grabbing it.  This is a characteristic that is to be highly praise in our system, much like how George Washington did not actively seek power, but took it up when required and requested by those above him (Keep in mind my conservative friends, I am only comparing Washington to Warren in this one aspect of not seeking power .  So do not put words into my mouth about me saying they are the same person).

I don’t know if the first woman to be elected President has made themselves known yet.  I do believe it is time.  I believe that the first woman President is closer and further away than political pundit may think. I believe we will see the first woman President within a generation.  Who it is I am not sure, but I hope it is not Hilary Clinton.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?  Class dismissed!

Trotman, C. James. Frederick Douglass: A Biography. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2011. Print.

Hilary Clinton 2016 Logo. 2015. Newser. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

Gay Marriage, Religious Freedom & the Free Market

So in the last few days Indiana passed a hugely controversial law .  This law has sent the internet into a tailspin of debate and diatribes for and against this law, the people who support and oppose it, and what to do about it..  There are three aspects to consider in this issue as described in the title.  I hope to explain my position on each one of them and how the relate to each other by the end of this article.  I know this article will probably aggravate many people on both sides of the political argument, because that’s just the way I roll.

Gay marriage.  It is time to admit this is a thing.  Marriage is a relationship sanctioned by the state and entitles those getting married according to the laws of their state to specific rights, privileges, benefits and responsibilities.  Because  it is a state sanctioned relationship the state cannot legally deny one group of people the right to get married.  To do so would violate the equal protection they have under the law and the privileges entitled to them as citizens of the state protected by 14th amendment of the U.S. constitution.  Therefore, within our civil society they must be allowed.  I do not like the idea of the state redefining marriage, because I always wonder what is the next redefinition that will get us further from the truth of what marriage is in our society.  But in the interest of equal protection of the laws, equal rights, full faith and credit, and any other number of constitutional issues, gay marriage should be allowed by our society in a civil manner. Where did this perspective come from for a conservative Christian?  Let me explain.

My belief about this came, as strange as it may seem, from a conservative political pundit, Judge Andrew Napalitano.  A few years ago, on his Facebook page, he said regardless of whether homosexuality is a choice or not (Not a debate I am going to get into now, so don’t try to bait it), does government have authority to deny these couples the right to choose their mate and get the benefits that come from it.  He referenced the 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia that deemed the anti-misogynistic laws  that prevented whites and blacks from getting married as unconstitutional.  This went further to convince me that in our civil society we should allow gay marriages to occur.  The fact of the matter is that many of these men and women are living in a marriage relationship already.  My friends Don and Quin have been together nearly as long as my parents, why should the benefits of marriage be denied to them in our civil society. Acceptance of this perspective is not without consequences thought, both intended and unintended.

In several states gay couples have attempted to use services related to weddings from business men and women who are Christians who believe that gay marriage is contrary to the Bible (which it is) and therefore choose not to take part.  Penalties have been laid on them by the state and sued in their courts to force them to provide their services, which would violate their religious beliefs.  Anyone who says this is not a clear violation of the religious freedom clauses in the first amendment will have to explain to me why it is not (Those who do please explain in the comments).  This is not what worries more than a different unintended consequence.  What happens when a gay couple decides they want to get married in my church, by my pastor and he says no because it violates this freedom of religious expression?  Will the state step and tell my church that they have to do this or lose their non-profit status?  Could a judge order my pastor, on pain of fines or jail time, to conduct such a service?  Many of you might say it would never come to that, but if the government can force a business and its owners to operate for the benefit of someone else, against their expressed wishes and beliefs, why couldn’t they do this to a church?  The best way to handle this is through the free market of the economy and ideas.

The free market is an economic idea related to capitalism that believes that the best regulator of goods and services is the market itself, not a government or other entity.  In a truly free market economy a business is free to do business with whomever they choose with little or no regulation from the government.  When a business says that they will not serve a person they are within their rights as individuals and businesses.  No one can be forced to service another person.  Just as no one can force a person to shop at a specific business for their wants and needs.  So what do we do in those situations where a business owner does not want to service a gay couples’ wedding?  Let the free market decide.

Bakery A claims they don’t have to provide a wedding cake for Gay Couple X because to do so would violate their religious beliefs.  Couple X is free then to get their cake from any other bakery they want which will service their needs, Bakery B.  Bakery A has lost business too.  I am also willing to bet Couple X is going to tell their friends who are getting married that Bakery A won’t make their cake which could lead their friends to take their business elsewhere.  It may even lead to boycotts and protests, all of which are perfectly legal under the 1st Amendment.  Bakery A after acquiring a reputation for not providing cakes for homosexual marriage ceremonies begins to lose business, while Bakery B has seen his business increase because of the recommendations of Couple X.  The free market has clearly decided that Bakery B was the superior businesses because of its willingness to put religious beliefs aside in the prospect of getting new customers.  This is not to say Bakery A will go out of business, but their rights as individuals in their religious beliefs, and their right to service whom they will in the free market it preserved.  No one is hurt and everyone gets what they want.

How does this all connect together?  Gays marriage is a thing and they will be getting married, regardless of our beliefs on the issue.  It is only a matter of time before all 50 states by their own laws, or decisions of the federal courts must allow for equal access to marriage for those of the same gender.  Nothing short of a constitutional amendment will change that, and I don’t see that happening any time soon.  With that trend in mind, we must protect the religious rights of those who don’t agree with gay marriage. They must be allowed to honor their deeply held beliefs and not forced into doing anything personally or professionally to compromise them.  Lastly, the free market of ideas and of the economy will rule as it always does to bring balance back to the market place.  Gays will still be able to get cakes, invitations, photographers, videographers, tuxedos, dresses, and all the accoutrements involved in weddings regardless of a person’s religious beliefs on gay marriage.  This will happen because some shrewd business person will open up a business to service them because he/she know they will get business and be able to make money doing it.  The free market is already at work within Indiana with this law being passed.  Companies are pulling out and people are actively protesting and boycotting the state.  This is forcing the state to react to this law.  The free market does work and we need to let it work.

A couple of side bars related to the article above, but not exactly part of the content itself.  One of them is absolutely hilarious so please read to the end if you want a good laugh.

Side Bar #1:  Many of the businesses sued by homosexual couples for refusing to give them service for their wedding had already been serviced by these businesses in the past.  These businesses just choose to discriminate when it came to their participation in a wedding that went counter to their religious beliefs. So they are not discriminating against homosexuals in and of themselves, but against being involved in a ceremony that violates their religious beliefs.

Side Bar #2:  Some may ask, what about the laws Congress passed to end segregation in public accommodations in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement? Would those apply to this case?  Well, one could argue that these laws were violation of free market principles, and it was, but Congress had authority to so such things because it its authority to regulate interstate commerce. These public accommodations (hotels, restaurants, bus terminals, etc.) operated under the clear premise of interstate commerce.  Therefore Congress had authority to regulate them.  The same argument could be made in the cases of the Indiana law.  Very few businesses today operate only at an intrastate level.  I am betting bakeries, chapels and other wedding businesses, while they do operate solely in the state, they engage in interstate commerce when they buy the supplies they need to operate their business.  So Congress could possibly regulate this, but it would still violate the religious liberty of the individuals who run the business.

Side Bar #3: The husband of former Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann was the first victim of this law.  He was dress shopping for her in Indianapolis when they visited this weekend in support of the law.  The lady who owned the dress store exercised her right to deny his service because she thought he was gay.  HA! I am not saying he is  gay, but it is sweet irony that situation makes me laugh out loud.

Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Class dismissed!

Uncle Tom: The Historical & Literary Reality of the Term

An Uncle Tom is a term being thrown around in the last few weeks.  I have seen it used to describe Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas both recently and in the past.  An Uncle Tom is defined as “a black who is overeager to win the approval of whites” (Merriam-Webster).  A friend used the term to refer to homosexuals who excuse the anti-homosexual agenda being debated and legislated upon in several states; Arizona being the chief among them.  The origin of the term comes from Harriet Beecher Stowe novel, of almost the same name(“Uncle Tom’s Cabin”) that condemns slavery.  The problem with the term Uncle Tom and its accepted derogatory definition do not line up with the real characterization of the character Uncle Tom as portrayed in Stowe’s book.  This article will first outline the true view of Uncle Tom as portrayed in Stowe’s novel.  Next, it will explain where the derogatory term originated.  Lastly it will analyze why its a horrible and discriminatory term for anyone to use including blacks.  Thus, calling a person an Uncle Tom is more could condemn the person using as a bigot than of the person its being used against.

Written by Stowe during the height of American sectional related to slavery and published in 1851, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” condemns the southern slavery system.  The story traces the lives of several slaves within the system, the title character of Uncle Tom being the chief protagonists.  Throughout the story Uncle Tom is sold many times, through no fault of his own, to progressively worse masters and further south.  In these situation Tom accepts his fate most of the time.  The biggest change in his character is near the end when he refuses to listen to his master’s orders to whip a fellow slave.  He also refuses to stop reading the Bible, encourages slaves to escape and eventually killed by his master for not obeying his orders.  Even with this brief description the calling a person an Uncle Tom is not a correct depiction of the derogatory term used so often against black Republicans and conservatives.  While Tom does not actively fight against the White power structure in the entire novel, he could not be seen as a person who supports slavery or is overeager to win the approval of whites.  He is just the opposite.  People like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Jessie Jackson, Jr., and other black leaders of either political party could be called Uncle Toms and look on the term with pride, if used correctly.  The problem with the term is that it is not based on Stowe’s original work.  It is based on a satirical play that totally changes the character and the meaning of the term.

When someone calls a black person an Uncle Tom today, it refers to the derivative works of Stowe which she had not control (Williams, 2002).  These works transformed Tom from a sympathetic Christ-like figure who actively fights against the white slavery system and power to a foolish, apologist, that supports the slave system in the American south (Meer, 2005).  These inaccurate depictions of Uncle Tom have been the basis of the term used today.  This view of Tom goes completely against the view Stowe had when she published her novel and she would have disagreed with the term as an insult for blacks (Keyes, 2002).  The point being calling a person an Uncle Tom is not a correct term based on the work of Harriet Beecher Stowe.  To call a person this term, with this definition actually supports a racists view of blacks and African-Americans because it characterizes Tom inaccurately and in a stereotypical view of black created by already avowed racists and bigots.

This history of the term Uncle Tom is clearly and obviously misunderstood and used incorrectly in modern America.  To this end what should our reaction be, as citizens, to the use of this term in U.S. History.  First, we should condemn anyone who uses it because any use condemning blacks of supporting the “white” power is clearly an incorrect use of the term.  To that end we should educate our fellow citizens as to the true literary and historical meaning of the term and show how calling a person an “Uncle Tom” is actually a positive term.  Secondly, we need to educate people who would suggest that blacks and/or African-Americans have to support a particular party or political agenda is just as bigoted as an Uncle Tom.  The view that all black are required to members of the liberal Democratic Party and acts in their best interest is an ignorant view an educated and civil society.  It implies that blacks cannot think for themselves and choose for themselves their own political beliefs.  It implies that any one political party has a monopoly on the interest or agenda of any one particular group.  It also ignores history that shows the best friends of blacks for much of our history was the Republican Party while Democrats supported slavery, Jim Crowe laws and institutionalize racism and segregation for over one hundred years after the Civil War.  In the end the use of the term, Uncle Tom, shows that the person who uses the term probably more clearly an Uncle Tom than the person who is called this term, because the term supports a racists view of blacks.

Calling a person an Uncle Tom is a condemnation of the person using as a bigot than of the person its being used against, because they clearly don’t understand the real intended meaning of the term.  This article first laid out the original intent of Stowe when writing Uncle Tom in her novel in the 1850s.  It is a term of praise for a person who fights against the white power and slavery system.  Next we traced the meaning of the term to today as it springs from works meant to make fun of Stowe’s original.  These works distort the terms real meaning based on the author’s real intent in their writing.  Lastly, we examined how we could respond to people who use this term.  What is the take away from this article.  We must be careful what we call people.  Calling a person an Uncle Tom clearly betrays the meaning intended by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her classical work.   But if we studied what it really meant we would realize being an Uncle Tom is not such a bad thing and that the use of the term discriminates against people who just have a different political perspective than the rest of or part of a group.  We should know what we say before we say it, and for that we have to understand the words we use.

Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Thanks for reading and have a nice day!

Keyes, Allison (2002-11-29). “NPR : A New Look at ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin'”The Tavis Smiley Show (NPR). Retrieved 2008-01-09.

Linda Williams (2002). Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson. Princeton University Press. pp. 7, 30–31 47–62. ISBN 978-0-691-10283-2. Retrieved 2009-04-16.

Sarah Meer (2005). Uncle Tom mania: slavery, minstrelsy, and transatlantic culture in the 1850s. University of Georgia Press. pp. 1–4, 9, 14–15. ISBN 978-0-8203-2737-2. Retrieved 2009-04-16.

“Uncle Tom.” Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. < Tom>.

CHRISTmas not GIFTmas

It’s that time of year again.  Christmas is just a few short days away.

Anyone who knows me knows that if I see Christmas decorations and goods being sold or advertised before Thanksgiving it ticks me off.  This year is one of the first where I have seen Christmas sales being advertised before Halloween/Reformation Day.  This is seriously the earliest I have ever seen that happen and it makes me madder than all get out.  Here is why.

Christmas is a Christian holiday.  Like it or not, that is the truth.  Yes, I know the history behind how Christ’s birth came to be celebrated.  The church wanted to prevent the Christians from celebrating the pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. So they created Christmas.  I academically that Christmas originates from that tradition.  With that being said, the nearly two millennia of celebrating Christ’s birth as a replacement to the pagan winter solstice kind of makes it a permanent part of the Christian culture.  No one celebrates the winter solstice anymore with the methods used by the Gauls and other pagan people.  Therefore Christmas is a Christian holiday.  So what’s my beef now?

My beef is with people trying to take Christ out of Christmas because without Christ this holiday has no meaning.  As stated above no one celebrates the winter solstice; they celebrate Christmas.  If you remove Christ from Christmas and it is just a part of the “holiday season” then we have further along the idea of this mass consumerist society and that Christmas is just a part of the look at me and everything I bought attitude that has become our culture.

Whether you believe it or not, Jesus Christ was a person who lived and died by crucifixion at the hands of the Romans and his own people for saying he was the son of God.  This is a confirmed historical fact by many hostile and friendly historical sources of the era.  Whether you believe he is the son of God sent into the world to pay for our sins to allow us to enter into heaven is an act of faith not fact.  But Christmas still celebrates him and his historical birth and eventually his death.  But our society and developing global culture has replaced Christ with Santa, the shepherds with snowmen, and the star proclaiming his arrival with reindeer with a red nose that glows.  And the meaning of Christmas has lost all meaning.

Christmas is not the most important holiday in the Christian churches calendar, but it is important.  Easter can only happen because Christ came to earth as a child.  The message of Easter is present in Christmas because the manger ends at the empty tomb.  I give gifts at Christmas because of the gift that was given to me.  This gift from God was given to me whether I was naughty or nice.  I do not earn it, it is a gift.  It is the forgiveness of sins.  Therefore, I give gifts to my friends and family as an example of the gift given to me from Jesus Christ.

If we remove the Christ out of Christmas, we are just giving gifts with no meaning.  No purpose but to just give them for the sake of tradition.  Maybe that is enough for some people, but that is not Christmas, at least not for me.  Maybe that expression of belief is an example of the moral relativism we live in today.  Holidays have the meaning we give them instead of their intended point.  If that is the case then holidays have no meaning at all.

True Equality

Today and tomorrow the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing several cases on the marriage, its definition in one state and the role the federal government has in defining it based on a law passed by a Republican Congress and a Democratic President. Today is being dubbed Equality Day by some. But one thing I want us all to remember is that regardless of the outcome we are all equal in many ways. Specifically today though I want to talk about how we are all equal in the eyes of God.

First, in the eyes of God we are all equally his creation. We were all equally made in his image. That means regardless of your gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliations we are all loved by God. He created and knows us all equally in our inmost being. He created us equally in his eyes so no one is above another on this earth.

Secondly, in the eyes of God we are all equally sinful.  We are all equally deserving of damnation and hell, regardless of whether your sin comes from one part of Leviticus or is one of the big 10 in Exodus.  We are equally dead in the eyes of God because of our sins.  We are equally condemned because of our “thoughts, words, and deeds” We have all been condemned by “the things we have done and the things we have left undone.” We have not love you with our whole heart, we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.”  This is the Law given to us by our Creator. God demands that his creation be perfect and we have never been perfect. But we are all equal in another way.

Thirdly, We are all equally justified before God “by the innocent, bitter suffering and death” of Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection provided everyone on earth, regardless of their sins, an equal share of the inheritance that God has prepared for his adopted sons and daughters. This is not because our work, but the work of Jesus Christ. This work is given to us as a free gift of grace to live life eternally with him. There we will have true equality with each other because we will all have been equally saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. In the Book of Life we are all equally saved regardless of whether we came to at birth or just before death. It is written in the Book of Life, where all the records of our equally evil and sinful deeds: “Paid in full” with Christ’s signature on the ledger line.

Lastly, we are equal in the eyes of God in our job to share this grace and Gospel with one another. We cannot exclude anyone because we disagree with this sins or political orientation. The grace and forgiveness of God comes to all who would seek it. It is not our job to deny it to anyone.

Let us remember this Holy Week that we are all equal in the eyes of God. Equally created. Equally sinful. Equally saved. Equally commanded to love. So stop with the politics and love one another, as Christ loved you.


The Hypocracy of the Government Teacher

It has been an interesting political season the last 18 months.  Those who follow the political landscape  of the United States have seen the rise and fall several Republican candidates on the path to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL a few weeks ago.  In the end it was candidate Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, CEO of the venture capitalist corporation Bain Capital, and savior of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT that won the Presidential nomination of the Republican Party.  His challenge now is to take the fight to the popular incumbent Democratic candidate, Barrak Obama.

In classes taught as a government teacher, I often stressed the importance of voting because to is our way to provide for a change of government every two years.  In a way we have a bloodless coup every time we elect or reelect members to the U.S. Congress, and the office of President.  That is one of the beautiful things about the American Republic.  Voting gives us a voice to the change we want to see in our government and in our nation.  Those who don’t vote are widely criticized and admonished even though we are lucky if more than half of the American electorate gets to the voting booth every four years to elect our Chief Executive.  It is sad to say that this year my words to former and future students make me a hypocrite.  I do not plan on voting for the office of President of the United States during this election.  I will still cast my ballot this November for members of Congress, and state and local governments, but neither Mitt Romney nor Barrak Obama will earn my vote this year.  Please allow to me address the most prominent criticism and defense for my choice.

One argument that people have made towards me about this election is that if you don’t vote, you protest vote, write in or otherwise vote for someone that does not have a D or an R behind their name that you are giving your vote to the opposing candidate. It doesn’t matter what the party it is or who is the candidate, you are not helping the other side and the reason that they lost. This in all honestly is one of the most ridiculous and guilt ridden statements that can be made to a voter and never changes their mind about their decision. Anytime someone uses this logic I want to tell them, “I tell you what if the other guys wins by one vote in my state, you can tell me your told me so.”

The previous argument is similar to the premise you have to choose the lesser of two evils. I am sorry but if both the candidates are “evil” why the hell are we voting for them in the first place. I know, I know this is a figure of speech but who is to say what is “evil” and what is the lesser? It’s personal preference and opinion. To one person Barrak Obama is the lesser, to other Romney is the lesser. Either way your still voting for evil.

What will happen if Obama or Romney is elected to President? No one can truly say for certainty what will be the results. But the pundits on both sides play this out like it will be Armageddon should the other side be elected. I do not subscribe to that method of thinking because it only divides us more as a nation. It tells us that one sides is always correct and one side is always wrong. It pits against each other when we need to come closer together and be able to compromise on solutions that will fix this nation. The Republicans have some good ideas and concepts that work and so do the Democrats, but neither side cares about compromise and solutions. All they care about is the consolidation of more power into their hands. Which is the major reason why I am not voting for President this November.

I don’t trust the Ds or the Rs. Both of them are evil in some way and none of them have all the solutions need to fix this nation and give us the Republic we were given and deserve. I don’t care how many times God is mentioned in their party platform if they don’t act in like Christians. I don’t care how one says its committed to equal rights to all groups but does not protect those that are the most vulnerable or decides one group is more equal than others. I trust people not parties, and I don’t trust either candidate.

Both candidates believe in big government solutions to our problems. I have not seen any plans put forth by these two candidates that will mean less government in the lives of normal individual citizens. Even the Ryan Budget is a big government solution to a big government spending. It does not get rid of the programs that put us in our situation, it only makes it financially feasible for a time. One candidates wants to continue to overtax and over regulate the job creators who can pull us out of this recession. The other candidate wants to cut taxes on the richest despite the fact that greed is more rampant now than it has been in any other time in our history. Neither candidate is truly serious about about lessening the burden of government on the people. Each side only cares about satisfying its base and compromise has died. A person can hold to its principles and still compromise with those who they disagree with ideologically. The Founding Fathers found several principles on which they disagreed and they still were able to compromise when they came to those disagreements. In my study of history I have never seen our nation this divided except at the years leading up to the Civil War.

People follow parties that they don’t know enough about and they follow parties blindly without any real critical thinking about them. I am guilty of this as much as anyone. People are more concerned with American Idol and the keeping up with the Kardashians than about making thoughtful and informed choices about their government. If people were informed I am willing to bet neither party would have the voters enthusiastic for this election, despite its importance. Maybe if we all paid attention then we could have candidates who are not evil, but principled. Maybe we could have candidates who are not partisans, but true representatives of the people. Maybe we could have representatives who don’t care about the next election, but doing what is necessary to protect equal justice under the law and equal rights of the citizens, and respect the limits of the constitution instead of trying to find ways around those limits.

In the end though our problem is not the people we elect to office, its us. We the American people have decided to be complacent and we have gotten the representatives we deserve. We have been told to vote for the lesser of two evils. We have been told to vote for the party, instead of the candidate. And that is why I refuse to give my vote to either the D or the R in this election. If you don’t like my choice, fine; if you don’t respect it, that is your right. If you want to make me feel bad about it, keep your mouth shut. I am not interested in the brow beating, the guilt trips, and extreme partisan arguments with no interest in compromise. That is my political creed from now on. It is my desire to find good political compromises to the problems we face that honor the limits of the Constitution while protecting the American people regardless if those ideas come from the left of the right, the Ds or the Rs, Obama or Romney, or neither.