where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes 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.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying 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.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary 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.

I want to focus my writing now on articles specifically addressed to Christians. So most of my new posts will be on my other website listed below. I will continue to write short responses to newspaper columns and letters and post them here.

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:


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

Thank you.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Globalization: Spreading Poverty Worldwide

Note:  After this article, I want to focus my writing on Christians.  You could call my articles sermons or Bible studies.  If our country is saved, morally, economically, politically, spiritually, it will be because Christians have increased their involvement in our culture and our politics. 
I will continue to write short responses to letters and columns in the newspapers, most of which are posted here.  My sermons and Bible studies will be on my other site,LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com
If you are new to this site, be sure to check out the older posts.  

Globalization: Spreading Poverty Worldwide
We have been told, and we are constantly being retold in case we might forget, that globalization is inevitable, good, and necessary for (our) prosperity.  I believe that this is a false narrative.  I believe that the only people who prosper in globalization are the rich and the politicians, but neither need this to get richer.  They just use whatever we give them to make their money, though if you tax the rich too high, they will just move somewhere else where they can keep or make more money.   

Globalization is essentially political correctness applied to nations, where nations only became rich at the expense of the poor, where nations are all equal such that no nation should be rich while others are poor. The wealth of the richer (read: Western) nations should be spread out over all the nations.  No one nation should be a world leader.  All should sit at a round table and vote equally on world issues.  Everybody, especially the richer, more powerful nations, should be subject to the feelings and opinions of all the nations as a whole. 

No political system or culture is considered better than another, though richer, Western, and Christian nations, cultures, and religion are inherently suspect, because they have been deemed oppressive, phobic, and exploitative.

But what exactly is it about globalization that is so wrong?

There are at least three problems with globalization, any one of which should be enough for any nation, at least those considered to be wealthier, to reject it.

The first problem with globalization is that it links all the economies of the nations together.  This has two results. 

The first is that problems in other countries can now hurt our economy.  As I write this, there is talk that a recession in China could cause a worldwide recession.  When China was booming, nobody was saying how wonderful that was for everybody else, but when they have problems, everybody else can be affected. 

We are told that we should be happy China is sending all these cheap imports here, because they save us money at the store.  That’s good only because incomes have gone down here since we sent so many jobs overseas and flooded our country with more workers than we have jobs for.

With globalization, when a country does well, it doesn’t transfer into prosperity for anybody else.  But when a country does badly, everybody else, meaning richer nations, can suffer.  Even Greece’s near bankruptcy sent American stocks downward. 

But globalization also means that we are taking the control of our economy out of our hands and placing it in the hands of other people, people over whom we have no control.  We can’t tell China how to run their economy. 

Globalization wants us to build or maintain our economy on exports, which means that we are dependent on other nations prospering and buying from us before we can prosper.  So they have to be doing well before we can, and if they don’t have the money to buy our stuff, then we don’t make any money and we lose jobs.

Why would any nation want to depend on everyone else for their own prosperity? 

When the United States made all of its own stuff, we always had plenty of jobs.  The 1930s were an exception, but that period of time was unique and subject to different interpretations, whether you think the government, including President Roosevelt, was a hero or the villain, whether you think they showed the limitations of capitalism and the need for more government control or whether the government itself hampered the economy.

Which leads us to the second problem with globalization.  With the rise of free trade and globalization, things can be made anywhere, and they are pretty much no longer made here.  And, consequently, we no longer have enough jobs for our people, which drives the need for higher taxes and more government borrowing, because we now expect the government to take care of everybody.

When we made all of our own stuff, we had plenty of jobs. And as the population increased, so did the jobs, because the population increase itself fueled the demand and growth of the economy.
When we had the jobs, there were very few government assistance programs.  Now that we don’t have the jobs, we have all kinds of government assistance programs, and where does the money come from to pay for them?  From those who are still working.  But their buying power is vastly reduced, because the government needs more and more of their money to help the people who can no longer find jobs.

In fact, since the rise of globalization, the United States has gone from being the richest nation in the world to arguably one of the poorest.  The point is arguable because of all the material things that everybody seems to have, but the federal government (that’s all of us) is $18 trillion in debt, the states are another $4 trillion in debt, and average household debt is over $7000, not including mortgages.  And these debts are increasing, not diminishing.

The third problem with globalization is that it is like adding another 2 billion people to the workforce.  A surplus of labor only works to drive down worker’s wages and benefits.  You can always find somebody who will do the work for less.  This drives jobs out of the wealthier nations and sends them to the poorer. 

Does this help the poorer nations?  Not really.  They are poor because of the economic structure of their country.  In about a hundred years after our nation’s founding, the United States became the world’s leading economy.  It surpassed nations that had existed for thousands of years.  People will argue about the reasons, trying to isolate that one leading factor: was it capitalism, the right to private property, the Protestant work ethic? 

But the point is that the movement of a company or even an industry to another country will not turn that country from a poor one to a rich one.  It just dilutes the wealth of the rich nations and spreads it out all over the world, so richer nations become poorer, the poor stay poor, and all the nations become more equal, equally poor.

Prior to 1916 there was no income tax in our country, so taxes on imports were the primary means of financing our federal government.   During the Great Depression, many argued for not taxing imports, because we sold far more in exports than we bought in imports, and they were afraid that countries taxing our imports would hurt our economy even further.  But there was never a question of our companies moving overseas and then shipping their goods back to us.

Globalization wants you to think that putting your own country first over other countries is selfish.  They will use such terms as nationalism and protectionism as disparaging terms to shame compliance with their agenda.  The argument is also framed as greedy corporations wanting protection from foreign competitors, resulting in consumers paying higher prices to benefit that corporation. 

The fact is that our government needs money to provide necessary services.  The government has no money of its own.   The money has to come from somewhere.  When we don’t tax imports, then we have to tax our own people more.  When we tax imports, we can tax our own people less. 

Why is taxing imports preferable to taxing our own people?  Imports compete directly for American jobs.  So whatever we save on cheaper imports from not taxing them, we pay for in lost jobs and higher taxes.  So ultimately it costs us more when we don’t tax imports.

Growing up, we always had access to foreign made goods.  We usually paid a little more for them, but it was often considered worth it because they were either unique or thought to be of better quality.  But it was never our companies sending our own stuff back to us.

But just as families put their needs over that of their neighbors, so countries need to put their needs over that of their neighbors.  Each family is a unit of society motivated by love and responsibility.  It is also the largest unit of society that individuals can actually control, so to speak.  I can’t control what goes on in my neighbor’s house, just as we cannot control what goes on in another country. 

If we take care of our country first, like we take care of our families first, and other countries take care of their countries like they take care of their own families, we will all do our best for our own.  We have always helped other countries, but it is the difference between giving them a fish or teaching them how to fish.  The first has a limited impact, but the latter an unlimited impact.  You don’t give them our jobs; you show them how to create their own.   

Friday, July 17, 2015

gay marriage again - a response to a letter in the paper

The issue of gay marriage is far from settled, just like the issue of abortion wasn’t settled by a Supreme Court decision either.

The issue isn’t about who you love or whether you were born a certain way.  The issue is children, whether a child has a right to a mother and a father. 

Whether you believe in God or evolution, they both ended up at the same place.  It takes a man and a woman to create a child.  The Bible talks a lot about the roles of both parents.  Without a Bible, we have no idea of how things are supposed to be.  We all have opinions but no one to tell us if one is right or wrong.

With gay marriage, people want to remove a mother or a father from a child’s life and call it good, no, just as good, in fact equal, to a family with both natural parents.  It’s true that children often grow up without one or both of their natural parents, but nobody has been calling that good or just as good as if the child had both parents. But with gay marriage they want to call it equal.

Who has the right or who gave anyone the right to take one or both of a child’s parents from them and then try to tell them that they didn’t really need them, that this arrangement is just as good?

This trend has been a long time coming, with surrogate mothers, sperm donors, and the normalization of single mothers.  But up until now, nobody has been calling them equal to the natural family.  Gay marriage is that next step, and it is one step too far.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How to fix the pension crisis in Illinois

Why is nobody talking about changing the Illinois State Constitution with regard to pensions?  I’m not one to change constitutions lightly, but the one sentence added to the 1970 Constitution regarding pensions is nothing essential to our form of government and certainly was not a provision that was debated with public input to ensure a government that best represented the people and that had their best interests in mind.  Somebody wanted to protect a benefit that was too good to be true and likely to be looked at in future budget discussions.  So this provision locked it up, and politicians could act like this was untouchable.

If and when people start talking about fixing the Constitution with regard to pensions, we will no doubt be flooded with stories about former public employees just scraping by on a measly pension, as if we are required to provide a generous middle class lifestyle for life for all former state employees.

But those who are serious about correcting our pension system will find outrageous, even criminal abuses of our system, things like career end promotions that boosts one’s lifelong pension payments; people retiring in their 50s, living off the state, meaning, everybody else pays them generously while they go out and get another similar job, six figure pensions with full health insurance.

I wouldn’t charge the recipients of these benefits with criminal behavior, but those who made them possible should be held responsible for criminal abuse of the public trust and public money.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Why I Think Climate Change is a Lot of Hot Air, and Why This Issue Matters

The issue of climate change is quickly becoming one of those issues where any discussion of it is immediately cut off, because the matter is considered to have been settled.  That is a possibility, but anyone who has taken Politics 101 knows that the quickest way to silence the opposition and prevent a debate is to act as if the issue has already been settled, and there is nothing really to discuss.  If some people didn’t get the memo, that just shows how little they know.

I question the claims of climate change for a number of reasons.  The first two reasons come from my graduate studies.  My work was not in the physical sciences, but there are certain common features in most or all fields of higher learning that are relevant here.

My first reason comes from the fact that science, like almost all intellectual disciplines, values the latest research and findings over that of the past.  You wouldn’t teach a class on chemistry with a textbook written in 1940.  You wouldn’t even want one from 2012. 

Scientists today can measure the temperature anywhere on the planet at any time and derive an average global temperature.  They could not do this prior to the age of satellites.  In fact, prior to the use of satellites, the concept of deriving an average global temperature was wishful thinking.  Global temperatures would need to be taken almost simultaneously in order to derive an average, and this was impossible before the use of satellites.

I have no doubt that if this issue had contrary political implications, all pre-satellite global temperature data would be deemed inconclusive.  And this matter of political implications is the second reason I question climate change.   

For many questions posed to researchers in any field, there are usually not enough facts to fill in all the blanks, and the presuppositions of the researcher generally provide the framework with which to interpret the facts. 

Facts can answer simple questions, like what was the high temperature in Chicago on July 1, 2014, but they are like dots on a sheet of paper.  How they are connected to form what picture depends on the person viewing the dots.   

The prevailing narrative in Western civilization right now is political correctness.  This was birthed in secularism, and other expressions of this worldview include environmentalism and globalization. 

Environmentalism is about a lot more than recycling and getting emissions tests for your car.  The planet has become an object of reverence, and most industry is now seen as harming the planet and reflecting human disregard for it. 

Globalization is political correctness on a worldwide scale.  It isn’t just about free trade, but it says in part that all nations are equal, one culture is as good as another, and rich nations became rich at the expense of the poorer ones.  There shouldn’t be rich nations and poor nations.  It’s not fair.  The wealth should be distributed, as though wealth were either an accident or the result of greed and exploitation.  The United Nations wants rich nations to share their wealth with the poorer nations, because the richer nations are primarily at fault for climate change. 

Unfortunately, we no longer have rich nations, except maybe Germany.  All the other Western nations are essentially broke from keeping up with all the other politically correct mandates.

Since most scientists who worry about global temperatures rely on government funding for their livelihoods, and the government is known to use that funding to discourage dissenting views, and the government has shown itself to be untrustworthy more often than not, and for the other two reasons I noted, I don’t trust the hysteria that is now common with regard to the climate.

In fact, I have learned to beware, be very afraid, whenever the government says these is a crisis that we have to act upon immediately.  That is a sure sign that the government will ask for a huge spending bill that will reward their donors and further bankrupt our country.  And their haste in doing this is meant to keep anyone from finding out all the ways they are going to screw us, even those who will be voting on it.

One More Look at Obamacare

A lot of people are praising Obama and Obamacare for providing them with health insurance at an affordable price.  What we must not forget is that other people are paying for that insurance or at least paying the interest on the borrowed money that is paying for that insurance. 

The best and cheapest insurance has always been employer provided group insurance plans.  But our government sent millions of those jobs overseas through their free trade agreements and high corporate tax rates.  And many companies that have remained here find their insurance costs exploding from ever increasing government mandates.

So Obamacare is a government fix to a government created problem.  And, like bad medicine, it tries fix one problem but creates more and worse problems.

The party that gave us that fix has now locked up several million people as lifetime voters, because they are dependent on the government for their health insurance.  Watch for this pattern in all new government programs.  The government will offer a benefit to a group of people, and it doesn’t matter what it costs, how it will be paid for, or what effect it has on everything else.  The party in power has now locked up their votes for life.

The loss of jobs creates demands for government money, which means higher taxes and interest costs for borrowed money.  The higher insurance costs for everybody else dampens the economy by taking billions of dollars out of people’s pockets. 

If you want the government to help you, the economy, and the American people, tell them to bring these jobs back home.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Doesn’t the FBI have more important things to do? The Dennis Hastert fiasco

I find the whole Dennis Hastert trial a sham and a shame on our country.

Dennis Hastert is a flawed man.  But he is not on trial for his flaws.

Dennis Hastert behaved inappropriately a long time ago, but he is not on trial for behaving inappropriately.  And, apparently, nobody brought charges against him in the last 30-40 years for this behavior.

Dennis Hastert made a lot of money, and a lot of people are wondering how he got all that money.  But he is not on trial for how he made his money.

Dennis Hastert used his money to pay somebody not to talk about his misconduct in the past, but he is not on trial for paying somebody not to talk.

He is on trial for taking his own money out of the bank.  The government wants to know if you take a lot of your own money out of the bank, because some people who take a lot of money out of the bank are crooks.  But he is not on trial for how he used his money, but just for the fact that he took it out of the bank.

He is also on trial for lying to the FBI.  That never would have even happened if the government minded its own business about what people do with their money.  If Hastert did something illegal with his money, then charge him for that.  But his crime was just taking his own money, and then essentially telling the FBI that it is none of their business what he does with his own money.

Doesn’t the FBI have more important things to do?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Difference between Public and Private Sector Jobs

Jesse Jackson lamented the loss of public service jobs, because they were high-paying jobs that many minorities were able to get (June 2).

But there is one difference between public and private sector jobs that we must never forget.  Private sector jobs are paid for through the profits that a company makes.  Public sector jobs are paid for by us.

Say, for example, we have a society of 1000 people, and everyone made a $1000 a week.  There is no government, so this is what their take-home pay is.

They decide to have a government, so they enlist 200 people to run it.  They want the best and brightest, so they pay them $1200 a week.  So that’s $240,000 a week to run the government just in payroll.

If everybody paid at the same tax rate, it would take 23% of their paychecks to pay for the government payroll alone.  So where their take-home pay was $1000 a week before, it is now $770.  The public sector employees would take home $924. 

So the smaller the government, the more money that people get to keep of what they make. 
Government jobs are good for those who have them, but they are a burden on everyone else, so government must be as small as possible if it is to benefit us, just like you don’t want to pay more for a car or an appliance than you have to.

Our focus should be on bringing American jobs back to the States.  When we made all of our own stuff, we had jobs for everyone.  We need to admit that we were wrong on free trade.  A country has a responsibility to provide jobs for its own people.