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:


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

Thank you.

Larry Craig

Friday, March 28, 2014

Employer and employee rights

Employer and employee rights

Politics is all about framing the issues, the choice of words.  If Hobby Lobby were choosing their employees’ birth control, that would be wrong.  They are only contesting whether they should be paying for them, at least some of them.  They are not taking anything away from their employees.  These employees were quite content to work for them before the government starting telling employers more things that they have to do and giving people new rights that they never had before.
My wife and I paid for our birth control.  We never expected that anyone should pay for it for us.  I have union insurance, which was always considered good insurance, but birth control was never a part of the plan as far as I can recall.  Haven’t look recently. 
There was a good article I read recently that asked the question, if something is a right, does that mean that the government should provide it for us?  Using the Second Amendment as a test case to answer the question, if I have a right to keep and bear arms, does that mean that the government should provide me with a gun?  If the answer is no, then should the government see that women are provided with free contraceptives if they have the right to use them?

I had a job once that I left because the health insurance was getting worse.  I had had cancer, and the rates were rapidly climbing with higher deductibles.  Nobody would have thought that my employer had to provide a certain level of insurance to me.  They did what they could.

Monday, March 24, 2014



The idea of average people having guns in a modern civilized society can sound so, well, uncivilized.  One reason for this, at least for those of us in the United States, is that we are oceans away from so many of the countries where wars have been fought.  We certainly have had our share of wars, but most of the time we would just send our professional soldiers overseas, and we would then just read about them or watch clips of them from over here.
But the question is being asked, and rightly so, why average people, particularly here in the States, would need to have guns for themselves.  Those who live in urban areas certainly feel a lot less safe than they used to.   Many of us still remember a time when people often left doors unlocked and felt perfectly safe doing so.
The Second Amendment [A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.] is in the news often as its meaning is being debated and laws are being passed hopefully consistent with its meaning and intent but more concerned with the safety of the public. 
The meaning of the Second Amendment seems unclear to many today who are trying to mesh its meaning with the perceived need to protect our society from what many see as excessive gun violence.  It is certainly not written in a way that it would be if it were written today. 
While those who wrote the Second Amendment and voted on it are not around for us to ask them about it, the person who originally wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which includes this Second Amendment, also wrote about the Constitution.   
James Madison, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote a series of papers, The Federalist Papers, where they explained and defended the then proposed Constitution from those who were opposed to it.
There are at least three issues discussed in these papers that in my mind are pertinent to this matter of guns.
First, there were concerns that the federal government would gain too much power.  And what is very interesting about this whole discussion is that it is never mentioned that the states would or should appeal to the Supreme Court over whether a matter was of state or federal jurisdiction.  No, their recourse was to the fact that the people of the states were armed.
But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole. The same combinations, in short, would result from an apprehension of the federal, as was produced by the dread of a foreign, yoke; and unless the projected innovations should be voluntarily renounced, the same appeal to a trial of force would be made in the one case as was made in the other.  [italics mine]  Federalist no. 46  James Madison
It is of great importance in a republic . . . to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, . . . .     Federalist  no.  51    James Madison
He is saying that the people of the states would treat the federal government’s power grab the same way they would treat the threats of a foreign power.  Just as in the War for Independence, people fought against their own government to regain their freedom, so too they would do it again if the federal government tried to exert too much authority.
We need to understand that
[t]he powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. 
The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security.    Federalist no. 45  James Madison
The Founders had seen in Europe how when the citizenry was unarmed, tyranny exerted itself and continually enslaved the people.  But we were an “armed” nation, and thus we could protect ourselves from ever having tyrants rule over us.
Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.   [Italics mine]  Federalist no. 46  James Madison
In other words, Madison was saying that besides being an “armed” people, our system of local governments chosen by the people can easily and effectively unite them to fight off any threats of tyranny by the national governments.
The thinking here is that it would require the use of force for the federal government to impose its will on the states, and the states would stand against this abuse of power by force as well.  Reference was then made to that just recent of events, the American Revolution, where states resisted the will of the larger government [England] for the sake of their freedom.
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state.  . . .
The obstacles to usurpation and the facilities of resistance increase with the increased extent of the state, provided the citizens understand their rights and are disposed to defend them. [italics mine]  Federalist no. 28 Alexander Hamilton
It was not the need for guns for personal protection that was thought important but the need for the states to be able to marshal forces against the abuse of power of their national government.  James Madison noted that if those nations in Europe had this same ability, there would not be those dictators that they then had.
Crime and the need for personal protection was not a serious problem then, but that is for another article.
Related to this was the question of whether it was wise to have a standing army in peacetime.  And the answer to this question was the same.  There was no real threat to the freedom of the people, because the armed citizens of the states would always be larger in number than any army the federal government would have under its command.   Federalist no. 46  James Madison
It may seem strange why Madison and Hamilton would refer to the use of force against the federal government.  If the federal government mandated a course of action for the people of the states which the states, or state, refused to accept, as an encroachment or abuse of the rights of the state, what recourse would the federal government have to force compliance from the state? 
Today most people and states accept the ruling of the Supreme Court to decide such disputes, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change in the near future.  There are too many court decisions that are negating the votes of the people, as in state constitutions, and even rewriting the federal government’s argument in a major case to support a law that by its own standards should have been struck down.
I would not be surprised to hear of a state telling the federal government to get lost if they try to make them enforce a particular law or stop them from doing something they believe they should.
Lastly, when the Constitution of the United States was proposed, there was no Bill of Rights, as in a Second Amendment, attached to it.  Not only was it considered not necessary, but it was considered dangerous to even have one.   
It has been several times truly remarked that bills of rights are, in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgements of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince.  . . .  It is evident, therefore, that, according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need of particular reservations. "WE, THE PEOPLE of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Here is a better recognition of popular rights, than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our State bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government.  Federalist no. 84  Alexander Hamilton
The idea is: the people of the United States are not subjects of a government from which they would need protection, but they themselves are the ones who give the government its authority.  Why would people need a bill of rights when they are the ones in charge?  It would be like the owner of a company drawing up a list of things that he can and cannot do with regard to the company to make sure the company lets him do what he wants.
What people keep forgetting is that we are not subjects of our government.  The government is an extension of the will of the people.  A bill of rights would suggest that this is something that the government is allowing us rather than rights that we have prior to and apart from any government.  And this is why they saw an inherent danger in having a separate bill of rights.
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights. . . .
There remains but one other view of this matter to conclude the point. The truth is, after all the declamations we have heard, that the Constitution is itself, in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS.                        Federalist no. 84  Alexander Hamilton
So, as this would pertain to the matter of guns, according to those who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, there is no need for an Amendment guaranteeing one the right to keep and bear arms, because there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the federal government the power to restrict them. 
Could states?  Technically, I suppose they could, but this would have been unimaginable to the early Americans, because they had just fought a war about this whole idea of “unalienable rights” endowed by their Creator, “that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
And there’s no point in a right to liberty if you have no way to defend yourself from those who would take it away.  But that’s what our police and military are for.
Actually not quite.  Since they are tools of the state, the possibility always exists that they would be used to enforce the abuse of those who would take away our freedoms, and it is up to the people to protect their God-given rights, with force if necessary.
As you may recall, the War for Independence was not a war against a foreign country.  It was a war against their own government, to free itself from their excessive control.  It’s government which takes away the freedom of its people, and whether it’s done through a hostile takeover or slowly, one law and regulation at a time, the results are the same, just easier to get used to.
You read the writings of the Founders, and you realize very quickly that they are quite aware of history, particularly recent European history, and the natural human proclivity for government to always assume or take more control over its people. 
We like to think this is so ancient history, but what we have here in the United States was new on the world scene.  And what we have here has changed significantly from what it used to be, but being so gradual, few people see the bigger picture or know where we used to be.
By spelling out these rights as we see in the Bill of Right in detail, there was concern that the federal government might suppose it had the authority to curtail or otherwise modify these rights.  As it was noted earlier, “the powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined.”

The Founders of our country would think it naïve for a people such as ourselves to trust a government, any government, even our own, to protect them from those who would take away their freedom.  Governments are prone to abuse their power like weeds are prone to show up on your lawn.  Maybe not as quick but just as sure. 

class warfare

class warfare

Chicago Sun-Times
Letter to the Editor

What troubles me the most about all this talk of class warfare is that the government is deciding who has too much, how much a person should be content to live on, and that they have the right to take the rest.  Of course, they will put this all to a vote, and, of course, all the millions who don’t have anything will vote to take more from those who do, because it doesn’t affect them directly.

If I could write science fiction, I would write a novel about how the government eventually took over all private investment and savings to pay for the national debt, and the government became the country’s employer, so that all paychecks came through Washington, so that everything would be fair.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

political beliefs

political beliefs

Daily Herald
Letter to the Editor

You had a leading story Saturday about the Republican Party’s rejection of Susanne Atanus because of her beliefs on a number of issues.  I am hoping that you might offer the same service for the Democratic Party for the sake of equality and fairness. 
I can help out here a little by offering a list of some of their more prominent beliefs.

Money grows on trees.  (You might have to be older to appreciate this one.)
You can spend money you don’t have if it’s for a worthy cause, like buying votes.
You can borrow money forever and never have to pay it back.  Pay a credit card with a credit card.
The world’s largest economy can run indefinitely on borrowed money.
Government can control the economy.
You can create prosperity by spending borrowed money.
There will always be enough people to lend money to our government.
Being in debt to other nations could never adversely affect our foreign policy.
You can create wealth and jobs by printing money.
You can boost the economy by taking money from one person and giving it to another.
You can lift up the poor by tearing down the rich.
You can reduce poverty by making employers pay their help more.
Government can solve every problem by making laws or spending money on it.
You can stop people from killing each other by banning certain weapons. 
You can protect people from being killed by banning guns from certain places.  (On a side note, my company just banned any and all kinds of weaponry from our place of business, yet I work there every day with 12 inch knives.)
You can eliminate hate by making laws against expressing it.
You can unite a nation by regarding everyone as part of a competing group. 

Most of these beliefs make me want to just laugh out loud, but then I remember that these people are running our country.  I get scared thinking that they don’t know what they are doing.  Then I get a scarier thought.  What if they do?
Thank you

Larry Craig

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Quickest, Easiest Way to Fix Our Economy

The Quickest, Easiest Way to Fix Our Economy
Politics are constant word games.  If you propose a bill, it is almost required to include at least one of the following words: equal, fair, discrimination, freedom.  Anyone who opposes a bill with any of these words is obviously an extremist if not also sexist, racist, or any of a number of –ist words.
This same game was played several decades ago when trade agreements were proposed in Congress.  Charging a company for importing goods to our country was considered protectionist and unfair to developing nations.  So we stopped charging imports from different nations as they agreed not to charge us for shipping goods to their country. 
This was called free trade.  That should have been your first clue that something was wrong.  Nothing is free but the air you breathe. 
We tax our companies at one of if not the highest corporate tax rates in the world.  But then companies that we cannot tax, because they are foreign, can sell their stuff here at no cost to them? 
So what happened?  Millions of our jobs went overseas.
This was called inevitable.  Globalization. 
But did anybody ever ask why?  Why was this inevitable? 
But, no, it is not nor ever has been inevitable.
Countries have always traded with each other.  And for most of our nation’s history, imports were taxed.  Every nation taxed imports.  In fact, the taxes on imports almost paid our entire federal government’s expenses except in wartime until probably early in the 1900s when the 16th Amendment was passed, allowing Congress to tax incomes. 
So what some people are calling free trade is really only free for other countries. 
Most of these imports are not from indigenous foreign companies in developing nations trying to get a seat at the table,  but these are mostly American jobs that went overseas because the cost of doing business here was too high.  And taxes are a big part of it.
This hype about helping developing countries is overplayed and just plain wrong.  For example, Bangladesh has a population of about 155,000,000 people, yet they make much of the clothes that we wear.  Do you mean to tell me that a clothing manufacturer in that country doesn’t have enough of a market in that 155M people to build a business?  These clothes are being made specifically for sale in the American market, because we have made things easier for companies to do everything over there than over here. 
If a nation does not have an internal market strong enough to build a thriving economy, then they have inherent structural deficiencies that our creating certain export industries over there is not going to be able to overcome.  This is a false guilt put on Western nations for being prosperous.  We are not prosperous just because we live over here and they live over there.  We have done things over here that they have not done over there. 
Wealth is not a limited pie that the world has to divide up.  Wealth is created, but like crops needing soil, air, water, seed, fertilizer, a country needs to provide the environment for economic growth.
Our political leaders are responsible for the lack of jobs in our country because of their greed, shortsightedness, and the belief that helping other countries was more important than helping our own.
Our country has gone from being the financially strongest nation in the world to the nation with the largest debt of any country in the world. True, some workers in other countries now have jobs they would not have had otherwise, but we have only traded our unemployed for their unemployed.  And why is that a good thing?
Is this supposed to help our economy that we can buy an appliance for a hundred dollars cheaper while our taxes and borrowing keep increasing, because we don’t have enough jobs over here? 
To call ourselves a rich nation is a misnomer.  There are a lot of wealthy people here, and most of the people here are better off than in any other nation of the world, including our poor people, yet our nation as a whole is broke, living off borrowed money, having sent millions of our jobs overseas so that now more people depend on other people supporting them in some way than are actually working fulltime.
So what is the simplest, easiest way to fix our economy? 
We need good paying, fulltime jobs for millions of people.  We used to have them.  They were called manufacturing jobs.  We lost them, because we tax our companies too high, and then we stopped taxing foreign companies (imports).
So what to do?  We want to make the United States the best place for a company to do business.  Why do people start companies in the first place?  Why do businesses exist?  They do not exist to make jobs.  They exist to make money.  The more companies there are here, and the more they can grow, the more jobs there will be.
Politicians want to tax corporations, because they are constantly looking for things to tax, because they need money to buy people’s votes.  But higher taxes on companies only raise the price of the goods and services they sell, which again makes products from other countries look cheaper, because we don’t tax them.
But if they were to, say, eliminate business taxes (wow, did I say that?) or at least cut them way down, this would all translate into companies flocking here and companies starting up, and millions of jobs being created.  And those workers would pay all those taxes we thought we were losing, plus we wouldn’t be paying for all their government assistance.

And we then need to tax imports to our country.  The simplest reason is that it is fair.  Our companies have financial obligations to our country that increases their cost of doing business.  A foreign company should bear some of that burden to do business here.

The Single Greatest Danger to our Country

The Single Greatest Danger to our Country
If you had to pick the single greatest danger to our country, what would you pick?  I am sure that if we took a poll, there would be many suggested answers.  My answer would have been different if you had asked me a month ago. 
The reason why this is not obvious to everyone is that there are many issues that are all interrelated.  One affects another, which affects the first one again, causing a spiral effect, leading to the chicken and the egg question: which came first?
Those of you who have read my writings know that I believe our country was founded as a Christian nation and that, when and as Christianity was removed from public life, government expanded to fill the role in people’s lives that their faith and individual responsibility used to fill. 
After several generations of government trying to act as if there is no God (secularism), it has inserted itself into a role not envisioned by our country’s founders: the great Benefactor and Problem Solver.  Every societal problem is now the role of government to fix.  And this is where the slippery slope becomes a cliff, and more and more of our people are jumping over it. 
I say jumping, which suggests that they are doing this on purpose.  It’s true but not exactly accurate.  Spread a table of food, anything, before a group of starving people, and it’s only a matter of time before they all willingly take of the food, even though they know it’s not theirs or food they normally would eat if they had a choice.  So, yes, they ate willingly, but they were played.
So what is the single greatest danger facing our country?
It is a political strategy. 
Now politics is always about strategy.  If you want a law that kills off mothers, you call it the Progeny Empowerment Program, or PEP.  Wording is everything.
In elections, politicians have to sell themselves to their potential constituents as being better for them than their opponent(s).  They make promises, many of which they can’t keep, many of which are beyond their ability to keep, and many of which they may have no intention of keeping.  But this has now been taken to a level that threatens the very foundations of our country. 
This political strategy has been embraced by one of our major political parties.  I will not say that every person in this party embraces this strategy.  I don’t believe most of them are even aware of it.  But I don’t believe that somebody in high places in this party is not aware of it.  I believe, at the highest levels of this party, this is the game plan.  Better to be a ruler in a third world country than an ordinary citizen in a free one.
The strategy is this:  Identify a specific demographic in our country.  It could be the unemployed, seniors, blacks, women, Hispanics, minimum wage workers, gays, parents of preschool children, single mothers, minorities in general.  Then find something that many of those within that group would really like, like a higher minimum wage, gay marriage, free preschool, free contraceptives, years of unemployment benefits.
Make it sound like these are just basic rights, certainly well within the ability of a rich, enlightened, and diverse nation as ours.  It doesn’t matter what it costs, how it will be paid for, or how it affects everything or everybody else.  That segment will become a loyal supporter of that party even though they may disagree with other particular issues, because they really want what is being offered.  And anybody who opposes these benefits is heartless, extremist, rightwing, or bigoted.
It doesn’t matter if the thing is controversial.  Take the issue of gay marriage.  That issue is dear to the gay community, and I can’t imagine there would be too many gays who would not vote for this party at this point.  Now many people are not in favor of gay marriage.  If that was the only issue out there, the opposing votes could cost them the election.  But no worry.  Surely those who oppose gay marriage are members of some other demographic. 
Perhaps they are a minimum wage worker.  Or Hispanic.  Or a preschool parent.  What minimum wage worker doesn’t want to make more money?  This will soon be the issue of the  year as the elections approach, and all the minimum wage workers will vote for this party regardless of their views on, say, gay marriage.  Why?  They want this more, because it affects them directly more.
So piece by piece, demographic by demographic, this party is attracting loyal voters, because they can vote themselves things they want. 
This issue of extending unemployment benefits is now current in Washington.  One side is willing to extend them if all can agree on some other government expenses to cut.  The other side can’t think of a thing to cut, because spending money wins friends, and votes. 
Meanwhile our national debt increases at a rate of a trillion dollars a year.  I don’t know how they think this will all end, but this can and will all come crashing down at some point, and even soon.  And as long as they have someone else to blame, they don’t mind.  And besides, they and all their closest allies are well taken care of.

So I believe this political strategy is the greatest threat to our country at this present time.  Everybody wants something for themselves, and it doesn’t matter who pays for it.  They can print more money, but many of those people who have lent our country money don’t live here, and when they get tired of the incredible shrinking dollar, they will call in their debt, and life here will be changed forever in ways nobody will like.

How to Pick a President – Really

How to Pick a President – Really
Can you think of any problems with the way we currently elect a President?  Do we really think we are getting the best people to run, yet alone be elected?  Is anybody bothered by the need for a candidate to raise millions of dollars to mount a campaign?  Isn’t the very idea of a campaign fraught with cunning, manipulation, deception, backroom deals, slander, owing contributors and favors, potential for outride fraud, stolen elections?
Do we really think we are getting enough options?  Under our current system, third party or independent candidates have little chance of success in that under our present system, they only reduce the number of votes needed for somebody to win, meaning that a candidate can win a state without even getting a majority of the votes, which is just wrong.  Do you really think our politicians want to change this? 
Does a President really need to be photogenic or a good debater?  Doesn’t the very idea of running for this office attract people who might seek personal power and glory rather than what is really best for the country?  Should an incumbent spend half his term running for a second term?
Did you know that our Constitution wanted none of this?  Political parties were considered “mischievous if not downright evil” in those days, and it was “felt that gentlemen should not campaign for public office (The saying was "The office should seek the man, the man should not seek the office.").”[1]
A direct popular vote was rejected also, because larger states would have too much weight in the decision. 
The Founders decided to have an electoral college.  And like a lot of good things, if you don’t take care of it and remember why it was set up in the first place, it deteriorates and changes, and shrewd people can distort it.
The Founders didn’t want a campaign where people bashed each other and had fund raisers where you had to pay $5000 to have dinner with the person.  And who and how many people can take two or more years out of their lives to campaign and travel around the country?  Don’t these people have jobs and families?  So it’s usually (career) politicians and the very rich who run.  We say we don’t like either, but all the other people don’t want to be away from their families or can’t afford to be away from their jobs.
Each state is supposed to choose people to be electors.  They couldn’t be federal office holders or profit from the government.  I would take that to mean for our day that they would not be recipients of any kind of government assistance or benefitting from a government program, besides not already holding office.  I would understand that also to mean Social Security, but that’s another article.
The electors could vote for anybody they thought would be the best President.  It could be somebody already in government, but it could also be a writer, a business person, a professor, why even a talk show host.  And, of course, at that time, there were no political parties. 
Originally they voted for two people, at least one of which had to be out of state.  A list of all the nominated candidates with their vote tallies was then sent to the Senate to be counted.  If someone had a majority, they became President.  If no one had a majority, the names of the five people with the highest number of votes was sent to the House where they would vote state by state (one vote for each), the one with the majority would win.  The 12th Amendment reduced this number of potential candidates to the top three. The person with the second highest number of votes would be Vice-President, not somebody that a candidate picked out by himself, but actually the second most desired person for the job.  The 12th Amendment changed this also, so that they would vote separately for each position.
What happened along the way was that the states ended up letting voters decide who the electors were, and political parties chose who the possible electors would be, based partly on their commitment to a predetermined candidate.  It’s a bit like a gerrymandered representative district.  You can vote how you like, but the politicians have essentially already decided who is going to win.  You do get two choices, but the plan was to have a totally open field of candidates based entirely on merit and not on looks, debating skills, or political clout.
It sounds so democratic to have the voter choose the electors, but what it has done is to limit our choices in many cases to the lesser of two evils.  It has limited our choices essentially to the two major parties whose candidates were chosen in primaries where, depending on the number of candidates, it could have taken at little as 20% of the vote to win in a state. 
And, again, we are limited to those people who can take several years out of their lives to campaign, travel around the country, raise funds, and owe a lot of people favors for their help and money.
Now we are at a point in our country where, while politicians have always tried to buy people’s votes through government goodies, this has been taken to a whole new level where our country is drowning in debt, and the people continue to vote for the one party determined to give as much as they can to as many people as they can to ensure their continued success at the polls, regardless of how this affects the country as a whole.
Now this may sound like a problem so large that talking about solving it is meaningless.  But it’s not.  It starts with the states, even one state.  It’s the state legislators who decide how a state chooses its electors.  They would need to explain to their people what the Constitution says about how a President is to be elected and why they chose to do it that way.   They would need to explain how the current system fails the intention of the Constitution and them by severely and adversely limiting the number of possible candidates and probably excluding many better candidates. 
The legislature would need to establish rules for choosing electors and be very transparent about the whole process.  This whole change in procedure will be portrayed by the media as a way to further rather than impede backroom political maneuvering and dealing.  It’s a political axiom that you can’t take something (away) after you have given it. 
There will be loud critics who will believe that this will undermine democracy by supplanting voter participation.  They would rather you felt empowered by voting for either of two candidates of their liking rather than having the possibility of having better people through an unfamiliar, long forgotten process that was originally conceived by the very people who created our Constitution in the first place.
In a close Presidential election, this state’s action, or states’, might be enough to leave the election undecided after election night until the Senate counts the votes at a later date and maybe even has to send the matter to the House for the final decision.  The public would then learn of the possibilities offered to them by doing this the way it was originally intended.
The office of President is too important not to ensure that the very best person is elected to this position.  Our current system has too many problems and limitations: only two parties to really choose from, a pool of candidates pretty much limited to career politicians and the very rich, a process based on campaigns requiring huge amounts of money that ends up rewarding the large donors, a route that attracts people who seek power more than service.
As states gradually try to follow more the parameters of the Constitution, it will lead other states to do the same.  Many times when I have seen the Presidential candidates, I have thought to myself, “Is this really the best that we have?”  The only way we will have the best candidates is that we choose them out of everybody and not just from those who are willing and able to mount a two year, extensive, expensive campaign where their lives are examined back to their earliest childhood.  The Constitution tells us how we do that.

[1] http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_history.php

The Illinois Republican Primary

The Illinois Republican Primary
In a very short time, voters will decide which of 4 Republicans will run for governor in November.  Under current rules, the winner can have as little as 26% of the vote. 
Not only is this wrong, it is also unwise politically.  You wouldn’t know who the strongest candidate really is.  Maybe the 74% would want anybody but that one, and they would vote Democratic rather than to have that one candidate win in the Fall.
Nobody should win an election who does not have more than 50% of the vote.  The Presidential election is an obvious exception in that it is the states that elect the President and not the individual voters.  Yet within each state, whenever there is a third party candidate, a winner need only have 34 % of the vote to win, and this is wrong as well.
There are two options we can do to remedy this.  We can have runoff elections (expensive), or we can allocate points to each candidate on our original ballot. 
With four candidates, give each candidate a number (4,3,2,1).  A number can be used more than once.  If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote on the first counting, then tally all the numbers, and the one with the highest tally wins.
Our country needs more options than the two parties often currently provide us.  Third party candidates now generally split the votes in a way that voters are often very reluctant to vote for them.

We need to do better, and we can show everybody else how to do it right in Illinois.  For a change.

Why President Obama Should be Impeached – Now

Why President Obama Should be Impeached – Now

This isn’t the first time that I thought President Obama should be impeached.  But something has changed.
I don’t expect most people, even elected ones, to understand how government debt hurts the economy, how inflation is caused by government policies (I include the Federal Reserve here.), and how it cheats people out of their money.  There are a lot of other common government practices where most people just don’t understand the bigger picture; they just accept the story they are told at face value.
But something has happened which everybody can understand and which, in spite of all the perceived benefits of an Obama presidency, should cause them to rise up and put an end to it.
It has now been proven that President Obama is a liar.  I don’t mean just the fact that he lied at some point in the past, but that he has been shown to lie regularly.
Now I am the first to admit that not all lies are the same, and everybody at some time or other has been or is less than truthful.
“Do these pants make me look fat?”  “How do you like my new outfit?”  “How was the meal?” 
Many of us know the feeling when a parent, spouse, or boss asked us in an angry tone of voice whether we had done such and such a thing.  The fear of the possible repercussions made us afraid to be totally honest.
But President Obama has been shown to have lied over and over with regard to his health care plan.  The whole story of this bill’s passage is one filled with examples of corruption, bribery, lies, and manipulation.  Obama pledged before his election that every bill would be posted on the internet for three days before voting so everybody would have a chance to read and comment on it.  This was a bill that had to be passed so we would know what was in it.
But I digress.
In trying to sell this bill to America, Obama lied.  And lied.  And lied.  The same ones over and over.
The whole point is that, when a person has been found to be a liar, their credibility is destroyed.  You never know any more when they are telling the truth.
When Obama says that we need to have the NSA spy on us for national security reasons, is he telling the truth?
When he tells us we need to arm the rebels in Syria for our own security, can we believe him?  Should we?
When Obama says that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon under his watch, can we believe him?
When he says that, when Obamacare is fully implemented, we will all be happy, can we trust him?
Once you know somebody is a liar, you never know when he is telling the truth.
The problem here, of course, is that Obama is our President.  If we don’t know when he is telling us the truth, he has forfeited his right to be our President.
At this point, it will be asked if a President can be impeached for being a liar.
The answer is yes.  A president does not need to commit a criminal offense.  He does not need to break any laws per se.  The reasons can “include[e] serious abuses of power and attempts to subvert the Constitution,”  “offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”
“ . . . linking impeachable offenses to crime would be bad policy because such a definition would be both too broad and too narrow. It would be too broad because it would include crimes with no functional relationship to malfeasance or abuse of office, such as driving while intoxicated. It would also be too narrow because it would protect many abuses of office that are not crimes – such as the executive’s abuse of the pardon power, or a judge’s refusal to decide any cases.”
“An impeachable high crime or misdemeanor is one in its nature or consequences subversive of some fundamental or essential principle of government or highly prejudicial to the public interest, and this may consist of a violation of the Constitution, of law, of an official oath, or of duty, by an act committed or omitted, or, without violating a positive law, by the abuse of discretionary powers from improper motives or for an improper purpose.”[1]
If you cannot reasonably assume that the President is telling the truth, then how can he lead our country?  You will never know if he is lying until the damage is done.  That is no way to run a country. 
There has been talk in the past about impeachment for President Obama, but this was discouraged, because impeachment was considered pointless, seeing that the Senate has enough Democrats to defeat any attempts to remove Obama from office. 
Well, that’s their choice.  But for the House to overlook these enormous violations of the public trust is itself a violation of the public trust.  The House is the branch of government closest to the people it represents.  If they don’t stand for us against this bold, blatant disregard for common decency, then we are doomed.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why American Christians need to be (More) Politically Active

Why American Christians need to be (More) Politically Active
and much of this applies to the rest of us as well     
American Christians live in a country unlike most countries of the world and certainly unlike all the countries that were in existence in Bible times.  That last part is particularly important, because most Christians act like they’re still living in the ancient Roman Empire.
The Bible says that everyone “is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.     Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
In another place, it says to “submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

So Christians read this and accept everything that our government does as being of God.  Many of them have even accepted the inevitability of persecution from this same government as being a part of God’s plan for our nation’s future.

What they are missing is that we are the government.  The people in Washington or Springfield, if you live in Illinois, they all work for us.  They are supposed to serve us and not we them.  We don’t have rulers and kings; we have representatives, people who work for us.

Suppose you had a business and you looked at the books and saw that your money was being spent foolishly, you would fire the people involved and hire new ones.  If your employees did shoddy work and lied to your customers, making promises they couldn’t or wouldn’t keep, you would fire them.  Because they represent you.  Your name is on the business.

Suppose you hired a lawyer to defend you in a case but found that he was actually helping the people who brought suit against you, you would fire him, because he is supposed to represent you, to argue your cause, to stand  up for you.

I know Christians think this whole world is just a place that they are passing through, yet most I know take quite good care of their houses, their cars.  They work hard on their jobs, because their work reflects them and their testimony for God.  Well, this country is another extension of who you are and your testimony for God. 

The whole world is watching the United States.  Many of them still think of us as that Christian country that we used to be.  And what do they see?  Massive debt, borrowing more money than any other country in the world.  A nation that used to be great by so many standards just being average at best in those same categories.

Is that so unimportant in the light of eternity?  Are these just earthly things that pale in light of heavenly things?  Is this the whole world that Jesus warned us about gaining that would profit us nothing if we lost our own souls?

Christians care more for that one tribe in some mountainous region of the Andes Mountains where the gospel has never been preached than that nation around them that used to send most of the missionaries to other lands, as it methodically erases God from public life, so that entire generations grow up thinking of Christianity as passé, a relic of an unenlightened past and Christians as narrow-minded dolts with their heads up their butt.

Where I think many Christians are missing the forest for the trees is that they are focused almost entirely on individuals but fail to see how large public actions affect those same individuals, or their children growing up. 

Jesus told a parable comparing people’s responses to the Word of God to different kinds of soil.  Some had rocks and thorny plants in them which inhibited these people from responding adequately to God.  Christians are failing to appreciate how the government and culture are affecting the soil of people’s lives by legalizing and normalizing behaviors and attitudes that provide new barriers for people to seeing the validity of the gospel.

Christians are sowing seeds of the Word of God through their words and actions, and the government and culture are following them with dump trucks unloading rocks and gravel on all the visible soil.

When evolution is not challenged in our schools, our school boards, and state legislative sessions, whole generations grow up believing that this is settled fact and the Bible is just made up stories along the lines of ancient mythology, that life is just some cosmic accident of no intrinsic value, and there is no God responsible for all this and to whom we are accountable.

When the Bible is removed from public life and our government, there are no more rules but that of the lowest common denominator, and that is a pretty low standard, where lies don’t reflect on one’s trustworthiness, where normalcy is rewritten to be all-inclusive, where debts don’t have to be repaid, and more and more of life comes under the hand of government to ensure that everything turns out the way it wants.

Christians believe they can undo all this by one by one conversions, which is like saving the Titanic, one bucket at a time.

The Titanic sank, and the United States, and Western Civilization as well, is sinking, while Christians are distant bystanders.  A few issues like abortion and gay marriage have gotten their attention, but there are dealing with the aftereffects, like sandbagging your house against the flood when they should have fixed the dam a generation ago.

They are definitely late to the party, but there are enough of them to turn this around if they own this country like they own their own houses and businesses.

If you found that your bank was skimming a few dollars from your checking or savings account every month, would you say anything?  Yet the Federal Reserve prints billions of dollars a month of new money that devalues all the money you already have in those same checking and savings accounts.  They also keep interest costs down so they won’t owe so much on the money they borrow.  But this means also that all the money you save, because you don’t waste your money and believe in saving, is actually losing money in the bank.

Do you shop at different stores when you find that you are paying more than you have to for the same thing?  Our government can’t think of one way to cut its spending except to offer to cut your favorite things so you just agree to them spending however much they want on everything else.

When an organization asks you for money, are you particular where you give your money, only looking for the most worthy of causes and those who use their money the most wisely?  Do you know all the things your government spends your money on?  Their standards are a lot lower than yours.  Is that how you want your money spent?

Do you sacrifice to live within your means so that you don’t go into debt, because you believe it is wrong to owe people money, because the debtor is slave to the lender?   Your government can’t function for a day without borrowing about 40¢ of every dollar they spend.  The government pays off its credit cards with a credit card.  And whose name is on the card?  Yours and your children’s. 

They don’t think they have to pay it off.  Actually they don’t.  You do.  They don’t have any money but what they take from you. 

If somebody took your credit cards and bought things in your name, would you be upset?  Would you try to stop the person doing it?  That is called identity theft.  The government doesn’t need to steal your identity.  They don’t care if you know who’s taking your money.  The game is to take it in ways that you can’t keep track of, so you would need to be an accountant with a lot of time to figure out all the ways they are taking your money.

I was looking at my pay stubs to prepare my income taxes and saw that between what the government took out of my check and my property taxes, they were taking about 50% of my gross income.  And that’s not including city stickers, state sticker, gas taxes, sales taxes, and all the fees and taxes on my utility bills.  I would love to give to a number of worthy causes, but the government is taking too much of my money to spend on what they want and not on what I want.

Christians believe in being good stewards of their money, but what about the other half of your money, the money the government takes from us?  Should we not care how that is spent? 

Would you pay for somebody’s abortion?  You already are through Planned Parenthood, which your government subsidizes.

Do you believe in the military, the one that now bans chaplains from praying in the name of Jesus?  If you look this up online, please be sure to check the dates on the articles.  This used to be one of those urban legends, but no longer.  I haven’t kept up with all the new rules.  They don’t want to make them too public, but this is not the military we used to know. 

Are you aware that the rules of engagement have been changed in ways that greatly increases the number of our casualties?  There are far more soldiers who have been killed and wounded than need be, so that we can fight kinder, gentler wars. 

Are the souls of those overseas more important than those of your neighbors?  True, some have heard nothing about Jesus before, while our nation still comes to a halt one day a year at Christmas.  But we are letting our culture and our government fill the lives of our neighbors with moral and intellectual stones and thorns which will make them increasingly unresponsive to the Good News of the gospel. 

The early Christians may have considered themselves “strangers and aliens” in their lives then, but our nation here is just an extension of your home or your work.  You don’t let strangers trample through your yard or your house or let anybody tell you how to run your business.  Well, don’t let people run your country either who don’t represent or look out for your interests.  You should be as concerned about your country as you are about your own house, car, and business.