where religion and politics meet

Everybody has a worldview. A worldview is what you believe about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Nations have worldviews too, a prevailing way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Politics is the outworking of that worldview in public life.

We are being told today that the United States is and has always been a secular nation, which is practical atheism.

But our country could not have been founded as a secular nation, because a secular country could not guarantee freedom of religion. Secular values would be higher than religious ones, and they would supersede them when there was a conflict. Secularism sees religion only as your personal preferences, like your taste in food, music, or movies. It does not see religion, any religion, as being true.

But even more basic, our country was founded on the belief that God gave unalienable rights to human beings. But what God, and how did the Founders know that He had? Islam, for example, does not believe in unalienable rights. It was the God of the Bible that gave unalienable rights, and it was the Bible that informed the Founders of that. The courts would call that a religious opinion; the Founders would call that a fact.

Without Christianity, you don’t have unalienable rights, and without unalienable rights, you don’ have the United States of America.

A secular nation cannot give or even recognize unalienable rights, because there is no higher power in a secular nation than the government.

Unalienable rights are the basis for the American concept of freedom and liberty. Freedom and liberty require a high moral code that restrains bad behavior among its people; otherwise the government will need to make countless laws and spend increasingly larger amounts of money on law enforcement.

God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were always important parts of our public life, including our public schools, until 1963, when the court called supreme ruled them unconstitutional, almost 200 years after our nation’s founding.

As a secular nation, the government now becomes responsible to take care of its people. It no longer talks about unalienable rights, because then they would have to talk about God, so it creates its own rights. Government-given rights are things that the government is required to provide for its people, which creates an enormous expense which is why our federal government is now $22 trillion in debt.

Our country also did not envision a multitude of different religions co-existing in one place, because the people, and the government, would then be divided on the basic questions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our Constitution, which we fought a war to be able to enact, states, among other things, that our government exists for us to form a more perfect union, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It could not do this unless it had a clear vision of what it considers to be true, a vision shared with the vast majority of the people in this country.

I want to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

Because religion deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, though the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation, critical thinking, and a hunger for what is true.

Science and education used to be valuable tools in the search for truth, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions of life without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education generally no longer considers the search to be necessary, possible, or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues. Many of the newer articles are shorter responses to particular problems.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-RztuRKdCEQzgbhp52dCw

If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Larry Craig

Sunday, June 21, 2020

fix the school funding problem


When I read and watch the news, I keep looking for specific things people suggest or demand that will actually change things.  I’m not seeing much of anything.

I made a list of four things, and I would like to offer one here.

Minorities often complain about the public schools in their areas.  The biggest complaint is inadequate funding. 

As long as public schools are funded by the property tax, schools in minority areas will probably always be thought of as underfunded.

I suggest that we fund public education through the income tax.  Yes, this will require a tax increase, but property taxes will go down substantially.  And this is far more palatable.  The value of one’s property is no indication of a person’s ability to pay taxes on it. 

Retired and unemployed people can find tax time extremely taxing, literally and metaphorically.
However, this education tax must be kept separate from the general funds, otherwise it will be spent on other things.  In fact, I would suggest tax forms and pay stubs have a separate education tax designation.

Let the state determine a base amount of spending per student, and raise that through the income tax. Local school boards should be allowed to raise and spend more, however their local community decides.

People who choose to send their kids to private schools should be able to deduct the amount spent on private schools up to the amount they would pay for public education.   People shouldn’t have to pay twice for their children’s’ education.

Monday, June 15, 2020

immigration: a forgotten subject


Can we talk about something else for a minute?  Take a break from the pandemic, protests, police, and President stories?

Sunday’s paper had an article (Maple Leaf Model, June 14) that was quick to bash the United States and to praise our northern neighbors.

Unfortunately, the author was right in some ways, but way off in others.

Imagine you owned a large company, and you needed to hire 500 people.  You put out a call to hire, and 10,000 people applied for work.

What would you do?

If our government did the hiring, they would hire everybody who showed up in person first and then mix up the rest between relatives of current employees, people who need a job the most, and top it off with a lottery, taking people at random.

That has been our country’s immigration policy for decades.  Oh, we do make room for some people who are actually highly qualified, but there’s only so much room.

Canada is praised for setting a target for immigration rather than a cap.  It is not mentioned that our cap is about 6x times higher than their goal. 

Canada is praised for not taking everyone but preferring those with “desirable” qualifications.  Our government leaders pride themselves for not turning anyone away.

The author seems confused, though, about which political party favors which immigration policies.
 
I do hope his article sparks a national conversation on something else here beyond all the current crises.


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

police in public schools


Have we forgotten already the reason the police are in schools in the first place?

Our nation is flitting around from one crisis to another, making laws, rules, and regulations in fits of emotion only to find that the solution to the first crisis doesn’t work in the next crisis.

We demand police in every school in the wake of a rash of school shootings, which seem to have stopped for some reason, hmmm, but now mobs demand their removal, so that suddenly sounds like a really good idea. 

We shut down the economy to enforce social distancing, but it doesn’t matter now if people are protesting.
 
In crises, the media work to rouse the emotions of the people, and our political leaders hurry to change or fix things to quell the masses, but it leads to poorly crafted legislation and kneejerk solutions that are nothing more than band aids. 

Everybody is in such a rush to change things, they will make decisions based on emotions and not wisdom.  This will only undermine the confidence of the people in our political leaders and only further the divide in our country.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

After the protests, then what?


We have seen and heard the anger and frustration of so many people.  Fine.  Now what?

I really don’t expect to see much happen as a result of all of this, because there is no focus on what exactly we are to do now.  Legislative sessions will open, and they won’t know what to do.

The men involved in George Floyd’s death have been charged with crimes.  The courts will have to figure out their levels of culpability and the appropriate punishment.  The public, not being privy to all the information, likely will not be satisfied with all the outcomes, and maybe there will be another wave of protests.  The irony is that street justice is one of the very things they’ve been complaining about, and it will be very thing they will then be demanding.

So what do we do now?

Without people making specific reform proposals, nothing is going to change.

So I offer my proposals:

1.         My first thought here is that we should have thousands and thousands of people wanting to become police officers.  Somebody has to do it right, and when nobody is, the right response is for people to step up and show everybody how it’s done.

As much as possible, I would only employ minority officers to work in minority neighborhoods.  I see that as a step backward as a nation, but I see as much animosity from the public toward the police as the police are accused of having toward the public.  Maybe someday in the future we can stop seeing people by races, something like Martin Luther King talked about.

That’s going to require hiring by race, which will need to be cleared by the courts, but it seems that the conditions here mandate race as a requirement of employment in many cases. 
 
2.         I would change the method for funding schools.  We have relied on the property tax, and it’s not working.   Poor areas are not able to generate enough money for public education.  The state should determine a basic level of spending per student and raise that through the income tax.  Public education money must then be kept separate from general funds, otherwise it will be spent on other things. 

3.         The gangs must be shut down.  This decision must be broad-based in that you don’t want any one individual publicly responsible for making that decision.  The drug cartels won’t like it, so you can’t give them any particular individuals to target in retaliation.  It could lead to a real war of sorts, with casualties.  Wars cost a price, but sometimes they are necessary, and this is a necessary one.

4.         We need investment in the black community, but people are not going to want to invest there unless they can be sure their investment is safe from non-business risks.  Those who destroy or vandalize property must be punished.  There are no excuses.  They are hurting their entire community by their acts, not just the particular property owners.
 
I think this is a good start.  When I think of more, I will write again on this.


Monday, May 25, 2020

So what exactly did they die for?


It’s Memorial Day as I write this.  We as a nation pause to honor those who died to secure our freedom.

I have to ask if we still know what freedom we are talking about when we do that.  Is it the freedom to vote, to have a democracy where we elect our leaders?  Is that all?

Did our Founders go to war with England, the world’s leading superpower, over the right to vote?
The Declaration of Independence had a long list of grievances against England, but the grievances were based on more than just the fact that we don’t like them.

Our country was founded on 5 beliefs as noted in that Declaration of Independence.

The first is that all men are created equal.  Some might laugh at that, because there was slavery at that time in the United States.  Their first thought, however, was that nobody had a divine or inherent right to rule over other people, like, say, King George. 

When it came to slavery, half the colonies were against it, and half were in favor of it.  They could have created two separate independent nations, but they decided to create one and figure out what to do about slavery later.  Turns out it took a civil war, but we ended it.

The second belief is that God gave unalienable rights to human beings.  These rights precede and supersede government, such that government did not give them and government cannot take them away.  As such, contrary to what we are commonly told, ours is not a secular nation.  A secular nation cannot give you unalienable rights, because in a secular country, there is no Higher Power than the government.  The government cannot give you rights that supersede it.

The third belief is that these rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  A lot of people believe that we violate that right to life by our support for abortion.  And the pursuit of happiness would call for a small and limited government, so that people have more freedom to pursue their interests, unhindered and unburdened with obtrusive government.

The fourth belief is that government exists to secure these rights.  As our country has shifted more toward secularism, we now see the government’s responsibility as to take care of us.

The fifth belief is that when government does not secure those rights, it is the right and duty of the people to alter the government or to abolish it altogether and make a new one. 

As a side note, the Second Amendment exists, because the Founders know what it took to establish this country in the first place.  They figured people might need to do it again sometime.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

what's wrong with mass mail-in voting


Everybody is in a mad rush to expand mail-in voting.  I wonder how many of them know what they’re doing, and how many of them actually do know what they’re doing.

Mass mail-in voting breaks two of the most fundamental criteria in democratic elections.

First, we have no idea who is voting with mail-in ballots.  We have no way of knowing if every ballot reached the person intended, who actually filled the ballot out. or what happened with the extra ballots.  Extra ballots?  Of course, there will be extra ballots.  Just like polling places have as many ballots as names on their lists, at least at a polling place the ballots have to go into the machine during voting hours.  Ballots will go to the wrong houses, people will have moved, there will be extra ballots at the printing company.  There will no longer be any matching of a ballot with a live person purporting to being the person registered.

And, secondly, an essential part of democratic voting is the right and the responsibility to vote in private.  That is why when we go to polling places, we don’t all fill out our ballots while seated around a large table.  We go into a private booth, not only so that nobody else knows how we voted, but that nobody else can influence our vote.

All that is lost when voting is not done at the polling place.  Heck, we don’t even allow candidates, their surrogates, or even their signs to get near a polling place.   We don’t know who’s badgering or forcing anyone to vote a certain way when they are away from the polling place.

People are complaining that people shouldn’t have to risk their health to vote.  People died to protect that right to vote.  A lot of people.  The right and privilege to vote doesn’t come cheap. 

If people have health issues, we can accommodate that.  But there are all kinds of essential businesses open, because people still have to do essential business.  Voting is an essential business.  We have 6 months to work out any potential problems if people are worried about catching something when they vote.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

voting as an essential business


It seems the Tribune is also on the bandwagon for supporting mail-in ballots for everyone.  (Even Abe Lincoln supported using mail-in ballots, May 7)

It wants the state to mail ballots to every registered voter.  This on the same day that the other newspaper in town was lamenting stimulus checks being sent to a lot of dead people. 

I wonder how many dead people are still registered to vote and who will still receive a ballot to vote in November’s election.  You don’t think somebody else would use it to vote, do you?  Nah, that would be too cynical of human behavior.

Anyway, you will, or should, recall the reasons why we have polling places in the first place.  The first is to make sure that the person voting is who they say they are and that they are qualified to vote.  Well, Illinois gave up on that, but at least we know that the person voting is registered to vote.

With mail-in ballots, we have no idea who is voting.  There will be a lot of ballots that will not reach the intended person, either they’re dead, moved with no forwarding address, or just sent to the wrong house.  We get a lot of wrong mail at our house, and we often wonder if we’re getting all of our mail.

The second reason is that in a polling place a person will vote in total privacy.  No one will know how they voted nor be able to influence their vote.  No cajoling, no coercion.  A truly independent vote.

That is totally lost with mail-in ballots.  Heck, I could vote for my whole family, or I can unduly influence how everyone else votes. 

This is wrong.  If a person is sick or otherwise immobile, or, in this case, afraid of getting sick, let them request a mail-in ballot.  Other requests for mail-in ballots should be done in person with corroborating identification.  We have 6 months to the election.   There are plenty of essential businesses and services open, and people use them all the time, because, well, they are essential.  

Voting is an essential business.   We have 6 months to make it a safer experience if people are worried about that.