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.

Our country’s worldview used to be Christianity. Now we are told it is and has always been secularism, which is practical atheism. This issue divides our country, but those who disagree are divided as well on how to respond.

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 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.

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 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 partiular 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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Muslims and airports a response to a letter in the Tribune


This is in response to an article on the Perspective page (August 16).  The writer asks if the TSA searches him every time he travels, because he is a Muslim.

The public has a very short memory, or at least you think so by reading newspapers or watching the news on television.

We didn’t have a TSA or a Department of Homeland Security until 19 men from the Religion of Peace hijacked four airplanes and attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  We used to be able to run through an airport at the last minute to catch a flight, but no, those days are gone forever.
 
So far it seems the only danger we have of people wanting to blow up airplanes is from people of that particular religion.  So frankly, if we only searched people of that religion at airports, we probably wouldn’t be less safer than we are now where we search old ladies and people in wheelchairs and little kids. 


Six Ways Our Government is Failing Us (Part 2)


Our forefathers fought a war in order to be able to establish the government they gave us.  Our government is failing the American people by not doing what they created it for.

The purposes of our government are outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution.  The first two purposes, in order to form a more perfect union and to establish justice, were covered in the first article,

The third purpose of our government is to insure [sic] domestic tranquility. 

Tranquility is not a word you will hear to describe life in the United States.  There is another word that was often used in the early days of our country to describe the people here.  The Declaration of Independence used it when talking about this new government that they wanted to form.  That word is happiness.

Our Founders established our government to promote the happiness of the American people, to see that our country lives in tranquility.  Just to be clear.  To be tranquil means to be “quiet; calm; undisturbed; peaceful; not agitated, free from disturbance or turmoil.

Our country has never been lass tranquil than it is right now, and there are two basic reasons for this.  And both of them have their sources in government.

The first reason that our country is not tranquil, or happy, is that the political left, the Progressives, Democrats are trying to compel fundamental changes to our country.  They insist that the United States, both now and throughout its history, has been, frankly, wrong.  On what?  Just about everything.  And they are trying to change that.

But there are two problems here:  The first is that, while the Founders would have welcomed a vigorous debate over the principles and values of our country, there is no debate, no discussion, no dialogue here.  They feel that there is nothing to debate, discuss, or dialogue about.  In fact, the Progressives, the left, the Democrats prefer to compel people to, if not agree, at least not oppose their ideals. 

They do this in two ways:  The first is that they will use the court system either to intimidate those who might oppose them or to essentially write laws that compel compliance with their views.  The second way is through social activism, primarily mass protests, that attempts to shame those who disagree with them into compliance. 

The second problem with the Democratic, leftist, Progressive agenda is that they deny the foundational principle of our country: that we are endowed by our creator with unalienable rights.  That statement alone establishes that our country has a religious, specifically Christian, foundation.  They insist that our nation has always been and was intended to be a secular nation. 

But if we are a secular nation, then we don’t have unalienable rights.  We only have such rights as the government allows us.  And we have lost the foundation principle of our country, the one that makes / made us what we are, a unique nation. 

While there are many particular issues in the left/Progressive/Democratic agenda, it is important to be aware of the underlying assumptions that guide it. 

If an issue is divisive, or controversial, or contentious, it is not the place of the government to assume the high moral ground and decide for the people what it will do.  The government gets its authority from the people.  They have reversed that today.  When the people have decided on an issue, then it’s time for the government to act.

One example here is Planned Parenthood.  Abortion is certainly one of the most divisive issues in our country, yet the government insists on using millions of dollars of taxpayer money to fund it.  This is not a case where the government is deriving its authority from the people. 

In fairness to the Democrats, Progressives, the left, most of the issues that they talk about the most and insist most strongly on, they see as rights issues.  And this will take a separate article to discuss fully. 

Basically, they see the country as fundamentally flawed, and it requires a fundamental makeover to get it right, and it is not going willingly.  So that is why they need to protest, riot, scream, and even get hostile and violent at times.  It is all justified to get our country off the wrong track and onto the right one.

The left, Democrats, Progressives, reject the idea that our rights come from God and insist that the government provides them.  And the very idea of rights changes when God is removed from this picture. 

Our country was founded on unalienable rights given to us by God, and the Founders decided to list some of them in the Bill of Rights.  They were all things that we could do without government intrusion and in some cases, protections that the government had to provide, as in court cases.

Now rights have become what the government must provide for people, whether citizens or not, and what people must do for other people, whether they want to or not.  This is not the liberty our Founders had in mind when they established our country.    

The right to freedom of speech must be curtailed if it infringes on a person’s right not to be offended.  People have to give more of their money to government to give to those who have less.   

Charity has always been a major part of American life, but it was always done voluntarily.  Now the government has assumed that role and driven the country into unsustainable debt with almost no possibility of getting out of it.  But that is for another article.

The second reason that our country is not happy or tranquil is that our government is more concerned about people who are not citizens of our country than those who are.  This is not to say that these other people are not needier than our own citizens.   But just as there are needier people in the world than my own children, my first responsibility is still to my own children.  And our government exists to take care of its own people first.  That’s why it was created.

If it fails to do what it was intended to do, then we have the right to replace it, and our Founders expected that we would.   That was why we replaced the English government of the colonies with one of our own creation.  It was not looking out for our interests first.

Is it selfish, exploitive, discriminatory, and racist for our government to take care of our own citizens before considering the needs of other people in the world?  No.  Remember that our government gives more money in foreign aid than any other country in the world, a lot more.

When a mother takes care of her own children before other needy children, is she being selfish, exploitive, discriminatory, or racist?  No.  Is she supposed to look at all the needy children of the world and choose the most needy and focus her attention and resources on them before her own children?  Again, no.

This is why God created mothers and fathers..  Children need an extraordinary level of care that is usually best provided by its birth parents.   And our government exists for the same reason: to take care of its citizens.  If the citizens want to do something for other people, they can, and they do.  But that is not the government’s job, unless the people give it authority and direction to do so. 

Domestic tranquility.  The happiness of the people.  The left, Progressives, Democrats will insist that we as a nation have deprived an ever-increasing number of people in this country of those very things, and they are best suited to remedy that problem.  They believe it is past time for discussion, because we as a nation are too blind to see our own faults.  Our prejudices are too ingrained, too inherent for any hope of change, so they, and our government, must force these changes on the American people.

Two very different visions of and for our country.  Is there any way to bridge the two and bring peace again to our country?

The first and most important thing that we must do is to try to restore the vision of our Founders.  The left, Progressives, Democrats will insist that they were flawed too and times have changed.  The problem with that is that when you want to fundamentally change a country, you have essentially conquered it, just without all the death and destruction of a typical war.  But that’s for the next article.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Six Ways Our Government is Failing Us (Part 1)


I really wanted to have a positive title for this article, but that kept sounding like it was making some suggestions or just sharing some good ideas.  No, our government is broken.  Can it be fixed?  Yes, but there is so much wrong you can easily doubt it.  You almost don’t even know where to begin. 

So, we need to start from the beginning.  The very first words of the Constitution give us the purpose of our government, why we have one, this one, in the first place.

I think it is important to remember that our Founders fought a war in order to be able to establish the government we have.  Or, shall I say, the government we used to have.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The first reason we have the government we have is to form a more perfect union. Our nation has never been more divided.  Is that the government’s fault?  Apparently, our Founders expected our government to have an important role in uniting us. 

For years our government has been pushing diversity.  They keep telling us that diversity is our strength.  They don’t say how this strengthens us, but it’s hard to see how it can unite us.  And that’s the first reason given why we have a government in the first place.

When people question the value of diversity, they are often labelled in ways that are meant to shame them and essentially shut down any discussion on the issue.  But the question is still there: what is the government doing to unite us?

Government itself is divided, and divided more than at any time in its history.  So how can a divided government unite a divided country?  It can’t, especially since one of the major political parties in our country actually wants to divide us. 

How can I say this? 

For one thing, they insist on putting everybody in our country into a group.  We are never just Americans; we are all identified by our race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or whatever, and we are all made to feel that we are competing for pieces of an ever-shrinking pie.  No one group can ever prosper except at the cost of another group.  Ask a Democrat if they want our country to be united, or at least why they want to divide us.

Another major cause of this division is multiculturalism.  It’s a belief that there is nothing unique or special about American culture that is worth keeping or protecting.  All cultures are basically equal.  So, there is no reason to favor or not favor any groups of people from coming to our country.  In reality, those with cultures most like ours are almost barred from entering, and those with the greatest differences are not only preferred but sought out.

One example here is religion.  Religion is not just a collection of beliefs or preferences that people have, like their taste in music or food.  A person’s religion is an all-encompassing worldview of life, their entire value system. 

Yes, people have a right to live according to the consciences, a right to free expression of their religion.  But that does not mean that if you mix a lot of religions together, you should expect peace and harmony, because they are all alike.  On the contrary, you will have inevitable clashes of worldviews, where everybody has a different value system.  Recently a Muslim boy in India was either attacked or arrested for killing a cow, which is sacred to Hindus. 

Our Founders wanted and expected and formed our government the way they did because they wanted the nation united.  How is a nation to be united when its people can’t even agree on the most basic questions about life?  Married people have a hard time achieving a perfect union, and they enter that relationship willingly and after having committed themselves to each other in love. 

Asking or expecting people to unite who don’t share the same culture or values is something that might not have ever been done before.  In a secular country, secular values are higher than religious ones, and they will enforce them with the full power of the government.  So, where in the past, moral values were things that the people would do based on their personal beliefs, now morals are behaviors enforced by law to compel people to comply with them.  Is that freedom?  Or liberty? 

The government is supposed to make things easier for us, not harder.  It is not supposed to force things on its people that they naturally see problems with and then tell them to like it.  That is not the role of government.

So our government has failed to unite our nation yet alone make it a more perfect union.

The second purpose of our government is: to establish justice.

The idea of justice is very common today in political speech, and there are numbers of websites that give their views on what it means here to establish justice.  They talk about the court system that the Founders set up, jury trial and all, but if you read much of what the Founders wrote, that was not the biggest thing on their minds.

Liberty was.  And freedom.  If justice is, as the First Webster Dictionary defined it, “The virtue which consists in giving to every one [sic] what is his due,” then it would be a mistake to think that the Founders didn’t have the government’s role in securing those unalienable God-given rights in mind.

Is the government failing us in securing these rights?  Yes.

How? 

They keep telling us that we are a secular nation and that we were always intended to be a secular nation.  But that’s not true, because our nation is based on a belief in human rights that were given to us by God.  And just not by any God.  Islam had been in existence for 1000 years before our county was founded, and both then and now there is no Muslim county in the world with an idea of human rights like we have.

Our Founders believed in God as taught in the Bible.  When they say, and this is what Democrats say, that we are a secular country, they don’t mention anything about our rights coming from God.  So where do they come from?  The only thing left is that they come from the government or the consensus of the people, in which cases they can be changed or revoked. 

We see that happening today with the First and Second Amendments.

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and exercise of religion.  But you can’t guarantee freedom of religion unless religion is consistent with the highest values of the land, otherwise there would be conflicts.  And this is what is happening today.

If we are a secular nation, then you don’t have unalienable rights.  Those can only be given by God.  But secularism doesn’t recognize any religion as being true.  They are all just people’s preferences.

But, no, they will answer.  Secularism only means that our government must be neutral with regards to religion.  It cannot prefer one religion over another.  But you can’t say that unless you regard all religions as not being true.  In a word, secularism is practical atheism.  It won’t come right out and say that.  That wouldn’t go over very well with a lot of people, but they are hoping that people won’t figure that out.

But if Christianity is not true, then you don’t have unalienable rights.  If you don’t have unalienable rights, then you have rights given to you by the government and/or the consensus of the people.  If you don’t have unalienable rights then our country has been taken over by an enemy who wants to destroy our country.  The takeover won’t be complete until the Christians and all the older people who remember how things used to be are dead.  The secularists have pretty much control over all our public schools, most of the universities and the media, so the coup is almost complete.

This is the number one reason why our country is so divided today.   Ask a Democrat where our rights come from.  If they say “from God,” ask them which God.  If they say from the government or the consensus of the people, then they are seeking to overthrow our government.

Is that too strong of a statement?  When people want to overthrow a government, what is it they want to do?  They want to install a new government.  And if you want to change our country from one based on unalienable rights given to us by God to one where rights are given and defined by the government and / or the consensus of the people, then you have fundamentally changed the whole foundation and structure of our country.  That is a takeover as serious as a foreign power had come in and taken over.  But because they are already Americans and elected officials and the media doesn’t say that they are doing anything wrong, they are getting a pass.

And what is this new government they want to install?  Socialism.  Where the government pretty much controls everything.  It takes from the rich to give to the poor. 

The problem is that you end up with fewer rich people, because why would you work 80 hours a week and give all your money to the government so they can give it to other people who aren’t working as hard as you if at all.?  They picture the rich as being idle people who spend all their time playing tennis or sailing boats.

Secularism is the religion of the land, so we are told, though they don’t call it a religion.  But a supreme value system is a religion, whether you have a God or not.  Its values are higher than religious values, so then there are conflicts between religious practices and the government.  And secular values win, because as a secular country, well, secular values are higher than religious ones.

The same goes for free speech.  The First Amendment says that freedom of speech cannot be abridged, but it has been decided that any speech that anybody can construe to be offensive to anybody in any way must be forbidden.  And this includes anything you might say in a private conversation or even if you were to say it out loud with no offended people present

This has had a chilling effect on freedom of speech, and frankly it is wrong.  There is no question that the Founders would rather allow speech that someone might consider offensive rather than having other people decide whether or not you have the right to say it.  They recognized the importance of being able to discuss and debate anything.  Government imposed restrictions on speech and practice was one of the main reasons so many of our Founding Fathers came to our country in the first place.

So in the matter of our government securing our rights given to us by God, it is failing.  It has denied that God has any place in our public life, so they won’t even talk about rights given to us by God. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Bigger Problem Behind the Gun Problem


The Second Amendment is not a law that was passed by Republicans a few years ago, and now we are finding that it is unrealistic and that guns need to be highly restricted and regulated. 

It was not a part of the body of the Constitution, because a lot of the Founders didn’t see the need for it.  They figured that if the Constitution didn’t give the government the right to restrict guns, we don’t need to specifically say that we have a right to have them.

The point is that the right to keep and bear arms has always been there, 242 years as a nation and long before that when we weren't), and it is only now that we are having a problem with them.  The Founders called us an “armed” people and thought that was a good thing, necessary to preserve our freedoms.

So, if we are now having a problem with guns, something changed in our society that is making more people prone to use them for evil purposes. 

The problem is that nobody is asking that question, and everybody is just accepting the need to hire thousands more law enforcement officers, pass a lot of new laws, and spend millions of dollars that they can’t really afford.

The answers proposed by Democrats always involve spending more money on law enforcement, flooding the streets with more policemen.  Every problem with them requires government rules, laws, programs and money.  And lots of them.  And this requires constant pressure on the government to try to get more and more money from the people to pay for all these things.

We have lost our moral compass as a nation, and nobody wants to talk about it.  We have replaced religious values with secular ones, and nobody wants to admit that they are not working.  The highest moral value that we now place on people is tolerance: tolerate your neighbors, put up with them or simply ignore them,  

We have removed God from public life, and faith in God has always been the highest motive for restraining evil actions in people.  It is God who holds people accountable for their actions, and it is God who knows what goes on in our hearts and when no one else is looking.  Not everybody who hates other people acts out that hatred, but God sees it and takes that into account.   

Our country was founded on a belief in God, not God in some generic sense or some god found in all religions, but it was God as taught in the Bible.  This God gave us unalienable rights, and no other nation or religion has this or believed in this.

It is the Bible that gives us reasons to value other people.  They are created in the image of God just like we are.  It teaches us to love our neighbors, to care for them, help them, respect them.  Our moral code used to be the Ten Commandments plus one: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 

Now we teach our children that people are just animals that can talk, created over millions of years by random chemical processes with no purpose or reason for being.  There are no rules but what we make, and the best secularism can do is to tell us to put up with each other.

When we can abort a million babies a year as a human right, it is but a symptom and sign that we no longer value human life.  Oh, the ones who lose loved ones know that isn’t true on a personal level, but in the abstract, the government cannot make people care for other people.  Caring for other people is a religious concept, and it was Christianity that made loving your neighbor as yourself a large part of our nation’s moral framework for most of its history. 

If we don’t return to our roots, our nation will continue its slide to division, chaos, and lawlessness.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

How to Get the Money out of Politics: another letter that newspapers won't print


The Sun-Times, and I’m guessing a lot of other newspapers as well, constantly complain about getting big money out of politics.

The Times offers several proposals, both of which I reject, because they require using public money to give toward candidates that I may oppose as well as just spending money that the city, the state, and the federal government don’t have.  They’re all broke, and they don’t need more things to spend money on.

The answer is right before their eyes, but they refuse to see it. 

Tell the candidates that the newspaper is open to them.  Use that to get their message out.  Let them put up articles as often as they want.

But there are rules:

1)         This is not your campaign.  We want ideas, details, and solutions.  No slogans, clichés, or campaign talk. 

2)         You will not bash your opponents. If you are able to discuss your differences with them in a reasonable and informing manner, you may.  The goal of this privilege is to inform the public on how best to solve our problems.  Inform us.

Protesting on highways: a letter to a newspaper


If I decided to walk down the middle of Lake Shore Drive, I would be arrested.  But if I say I am protesting some injustice, I shouldn’t?

The Sun-Times reported recently that it cost the city over $300,000 to pay for the march down the Dan Ryan, money that the city can’t really afford.

The police should gather at the entrance of Lake Shore Drive before the people start arriving and being plenty of paddy wagons.  As soon as someone tries to enter the Drive to stop traffic, they should be arrested.  The police should not enter Lake Shore Drive to stop traffic for them. 

They want more businesses to move to the South Side, then start making the South Side a safer place to open a business.  Police aren’t the answer, because they only come in after a crime has been committed.  They need to figure out why there is so much crime.
 
They are quick to blame it on things out of their control, like how much money the government gives out or how other people think of them.  But that only locks them in to their situation.  It makes people feel powerless.  I don’t buy that, and neither should they.

making property taxes affordable: a letter than newspapers never print


I applaud Willie Wilson for helping people pay their property taxes.  As was noted, he has been doing this for a very long time.  To stop now just because he is running for mayor would be unfortunate, and to insist that he stop is just plain wrong.

The bigger problem that we should be addressing is the idea of property taxes in the first place.  I didn’t give the matter much thought until I was out of work for an extended period of time.  The idea of being taxed on a non-liquid asset just seemed, well, wrong.

Two-thirds of property taxes, at least where I live, goes toward funding schools.  You want to solve the school funding problem and maybe help people stay in their homes?  Shift school funding to income taxes.

I have proposed for years that the state should determine a basic per student amount that should provide a good education, say $10,000 per student.  This should be raised through the income tax. If a wealthier area wants to spend more for their students, they would be free to continue on as they have been doing, but that first $10,000 would come from the income tax.

I would also strongly suggest that this income tax be separate from the regular income tax.  It should be called The School Tax and appear that way on pay stubs and tax forms.  That way there is no commingling this money with general revenues.  You know that would happen.

Besides solving the school funding issue, it would also solve the problem opening up more housing to minorities in the suburbs.  Instead of government subsidized housing, which is wrong and creates anger among the new neighbors, it makes more housing affordable in the most important area, property taxes.