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, January 30, 2015

Health care, immigration, and the Republicans

The Herald printed a long letter (January 10) on immigration, Obamacare, and Republicans that needs answering.  If it made it into print, someone high up at the Herald must have thought it was worthy.

The reader finds the Affordable Care Act a resounding success, though it had a rough start.  She believes that it proved the insurance companies were unjustified for high insurance costs that they blamed on the insured having to pay for the uninsured.  And now people are able to buy, as in afford, their own health insurance. 

I recently saw figures that said 87% of the people on Obamacare get government subsidies.  That means that other people are paying toward their policies.  So, in the past, insurance premiums were higher than what they could have been if people didn’t have to cover for the costs incurred by the uninsured.  Now instead of people having to pay for other people’s costs for their health care, now everybody has to pay for other people’s insurance premiums.  Is that better?  No.  Actually it is far worse.

In the first case, the costs were paid for.  But our government runs on borrowed money.  It doen’st have all the money that it spends.  So that means to pay for, I mean subsidize, all these insurance premiums, it has to borrow money.  If out interest rates ever go back to normal, as in to rates such as they always have been, we, as in our country, will be paying anywhere between a half to a trillion dollars a  year just in interest payments on what we owe.  This is because our government wants to provide for everybody’s needs and provide security for every problem from the cradle to the grave.

So if people now have medical insurance now that didn’thave it before, it is only because everybody else is paying for it.  The old way was better, because the costs were paid off, but now it’s like a credit card that will never be paid off.

As for immigration, the Senate bill was over 800 pages long.  More and more Republicans are rejecting this massive comprehensive bills, because nobody can read them, they don’t and can’t get debated in full, and there are always things hidden in them that most people won’t like when the bill is passed.  They realized it is more responsible to debate and vote on a few ideas at a time.  But the Democrats in the Senate last term wouldn’t take up any of these bills.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Are we a Christian nation? Does it matter?

A reader ((January 19) says he gets tired of pointing out that the United States is not a Christian nation.  And I think he means as well that the United States never was a Christian nation and that it was never intended to be one.  He didn’t say, however, just what kind of nation we are or were supposed to be.  I think he meant to say secular. 

Nations have a worldview, just like people do, an underlying set of beliefs about life that direct its policies and actions: what is right, what is wrong, what is true, what is false, what is good, what is not, what are the rules, are there any rules?

When our country was founded, all the countries from which our people came were Christian countries with state churches.  All Christian but different denominations.  The Founders wanted religion free from government control, but they did not separate religion from public life. 

To do that would say that religion had nothing to do with reality or truth but was just people’s personal feelings and preferences, like their taste in books or music.

A good place to start with determining the worldview of early America is to look at the schools in our country from before our country’s founding up to modern times.

Education is now a function of the federal government, but that was not the case at the beginning.

The New England Primer was the first textbook printed in the United States (1690) and was for the next hundred years the beginning textbook for everybody and was in widespread use in public and private schools until well into the 20th century.  Forget Dick and Jane.  Children learning to read from this were well beyond that in a very short time.  But they learned their ABCs with such rhymes as:

In Adam’s fall we sinned all
Heaven to find, the Bible mind.
Christ crucified for sinners died.

The McGuffey Readers came in the early 1800s and were the dominant readers used in public and private schools for at least the next century.  Not only did they teach reading at a much higher level from the earliest stages, but the series includes passages like this from the First Reader:
“Who is it that gives us food to eat, and clothes to make us warm?
It is God, my child; He makes the sun to shine and sends the rain upon the earth, that we may have food.”

And, of course, the Bible was taught as a main textbook.  Schools were meant to teach morals as well as facts, and there was no other book for that like the Bible.

For a country to have limited government, such as the Federalist Papers described it, it needs a moral, independent, and caring citizenry. 

Moral in that they don’t require an ever expanding government to keep making more rules, regulations, and laws that require more police and courts and prisons to keep everybody in line, safe, and compliant.

Independent in that they don’t require government assistance, financial or otherwise, people who believe in hard work and self-reliance.

And caring in that the people willingly and eagerly sought to provide for the needs of others, eliminating the need for government programs, and since these are all at the grass roots level, eliminating waste and fraud.  
There used to be hundreds of Christian societies devoted to every kind of social problem in the land, all run without public money.

Christians are taught to love their neighbors and not merely to tolerate (put up with, ignore) them. 

As John Adams said: “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

But now our country has officially become secular through fiats from the Supreme Court and the rise of political correctness, multiculturalism, and an immigration policy that currently favors those most unlike the majority of us in culture and religion.  Our schools have been stripped of everything remotely religious, and the newer generations have been taught a version of American history cleansed from anything religious.

With this secularization, our government has expanded, because it has now assumed responsibility for the welfare of all its citizens.  They can no longer take care of themselves or act honestly and humanely with each other.  They now require the government to monitor and control all areas of their lives to ensure the right outcomes. 

For those who can see history from the broader perspective, our county changed radically starting in the 1960s (though earlier signs were present, like the 1930s with the New Deal) with a new view of government that replaced the kind of government you could have with a religious and moral people.  The country is now living on borrowed money. It’s the largest debtor nation in the world.  Our schools are average at best, where they used to be the best in the world.  We lead the world in almost no positive categories where we used to lead the world in everything.  The standard of living has been in decline for decades

There is so much debate about whether our country was or is a Christian nation, but no one seems to be asking whether our country is going forward or backward.  Are we going in the right direction? What is the right direction?  Where will we be in 10, 20 years if we continue on this same path?  I contend that we have lost our way as a nation, and we won’t like a lot of the things that we will meet on our current course.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Response to a newspaper columnist’s statement about Jews and hell

Hi Neil
I hope you are doing well.

I enjoy reading your columns.  You always have something worth reading. 

In your column on the Pope and Hebdo, you made a statement that is not true, though I am sure that statement has been used to make a point, but the point has been muddled.  I apologize that my explanation of all this is a little long, and you probably heard all this before, but your statement surprised me, so something was lost along the way.

No church believes or teaches that all Jews go to hell, or as you put it, “damned . . . for the unforgivable crime of being ourselves.” 

Jesus was Jewish, and so were Peter, Paul, and all the other apostles. 

Christians believe that the religion of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has been thoroughly revised and updated, such that instead of calling it Judaism 2.0, it was given an entirely new name, Christianity.

The animal and grain sacrifices, practiced from before even the time of Moses and greatly expanded at his time, were replaced by Jesus’ one sacrifice and offering, his death and resurrection, Good Friday and Easter.  That’s why they happened in conjunction with Passover.  He was the new Passover lamb.

Instead of a high priest and other priests, Jesus is the new high priest and all believers become priests themselves.   

Instead of a temple, a place where God was uniquely present and where all these rites were to be performed by the priests, every believer’s body has become a sanctuary where God’s Spirit would reside.

The ethical and dietary laws were simplified and even dropped as legal requirements in many cases, though  the value of many of those laws in offering direction to one’s life even today are still recognized.  E.g. pork is no longer forbidden, but there were reasons why it was prohibited in the first place, and many believe those reasons are still valid today.  A number of sexual practices like incest and bestiality were called abominations, and the Church and most societies today still consider them off limits, though some other practices are being challenged.

Oh, and the user name and password have both been changed to J-E-S-U-S, not case sensitive.  These changes had been talked about for centuries prior to the changeover; and when the time came, many Jews switched over, but many still preferred the analog, beta, black and white, dial up, floppy disk version.   
When the reception became spotty and muffled, they rewrote the instruction manual to lower performance expectations and found meaning in the fact that they were owners of the original product, though it became more like a Victorian mansion that had been gutted and completely redone inside. 

These upgrades are still available today at no cost to anyone who asks for them, but Management will not be responsible for damages for those who don’t make the switch.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob promised them that He would make a great nation out of their descendants and give them a land as their inheritance.  But first they had to live for 400 years in Egypt under Egyptian rule.  He then sent Moses to bring them out of Egypt and into this new land.  Before they entered the land, He made a covenant with them.  As part of this covenant, He gave them His laws for this new life that included an elaborate sacrificial system involving priests and animal sacrifices to make atonement for their sins.

He also warned them that if they didn’t keep His covenant, He would scatter them throughout the world.   He also promised them a time when He would bring them back to the land and restore their fortunes.
Twice in their history their nation and temple were destroyed. The first time was in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians.  He warned them this was coming and told them they would be back in the land in a short time.  A small remnant returned under Ezra, a priest, in 536 B.C.

The second time they were destroyed was in 70 A.D. by the Romans.  Survivors were scattered throughout the Roman Empire and again in 136 A.D. 

Their entire Temple system had been destroyed including their priesthood.  This second destruction of the Temple forced the Jewish leaders to rethink their whole religion.  They got together somewhere around 94 A.D. and essentially redefined the Jewish religion without the priesthood and sacrifices.

Since then, many Jewish people have accepted Jesus, and many of them no longer felt it necessary to marry only other Jews.  But there are many Jewish people today who identify themselves as Jewish believers or Messianic Jews.  They celebrate all the Jewish feasts as well as the Christian ones.  They consider themselves fully Jewish and fully Christian.  And Christian Bible is the Jewish Bible with an appendix describing all the updates with a full explanation of why they were necessary and how to implement all the changes.

Wish you well.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Wedding Cakes and Equal Rights

Response to a letter about respect and equal rights (January 26):

In the late 70’s, the Nazi Party wanted to have a parade in Skokie , which at that time was home to thousands of Jews who in one way or another were directly affected by the Holocaust.  The parade never took place, but the courts ruled that the right of free speech trumped the right of people not being offended. 

And if the Nazi paraders had stopped for coffee and bagels at a Jewish restaurant afterwards, I am sure they would have been denied service, and I don’t think any court in the country would have found them guilty of anything.  And if these same people came into the restaurant at any other time and without their Nazi paraphernalia, I am sure they would have been served without incident.

When a baker refused to bake a cake for a ‘gay wedding’, this was not an act of discrimination violating the civil rights of gays.  The baker did not refuse to bake the cake because they were gay.  He refused to bake the cake because he believed his actions would have been supportive of an idea and act which he believes to be wrong and wanted nothing to do with.  If this had been a cake for the 60th anniversary of Playboy magazine or a Planned Parenthood function or a swinger’s convention, he would have refused those just as well. If the gay customer had merely asked him to bake a birthday cake, the baker no doubt would have done it. 

I wonder: if the baker were black and the customer wanted a cake for the local KKK, would the reader still insist that the baker bake the cake?  What if the baker were gay and the customer was Focus on the Family?

Is this picking hairs here?  Many people, particularly gays, were up in arms because the founder and owner of Chick-fil-a was found to be a supporter of traditional marriage.  They boycotted the whole company, so apparently they saw that companies can indeed represent viewpoints, so in a real sense they have public speech, which is protected under the First Amendment.  Anybody who owns a company will tell you that his business represents him.  If his company does something dishonest, it reflects on him personally. 

The reader believes that judges who refuse to perform a ‘gay wedding’ should be removed from their position.  By the same measure, a doctor who refuses to perform an abortion should lose his license as well.  Should CVS lose its retail license because it refuses to sell cigarettes?  Cigarettes are legal, after all. 

The law merely says that ‘gay’ marriage is legal in certain places.  The law does not require any particular persons to perform this rite.  It only defines who is able to. 

The reader expects everyone to eagerly embrace ‘gay’ marriage because it is legal now, but she noted that refusing to serve “colored people” used to be legal too.  I suspect she would have expected or wanted people to have disregarded that law, because that would have been the right thing to do.  I think she recognizes that something is not right just because it is legal.  And a lot of people believe that applies to ‘gay marriage’ as well. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Does a Child have a Right to a Mother and a Father?

A response to a letter January 24 on the legal reality of gays and gay marriage:

We keep hearing today about people’s rights and how more and more things are now considered a right. 

When the Bill of Rights was passed, rights were seen as things people could do without government interference.  Starting with Franklin Roosevelt, rights came to be seen more as things that people were entitled to and that the government had the responsibility to see that people got these things.  Roosevelt admitted that the goal here was to get votes, stay in power, and increase the role, size, and reach of the government.

So more and more things today are talked about as rights.  Everybody wants what they want, and they believe they are entitled to them.  With regard to gay marriage, I ask the question:

Does a child have a right to a mother and a father, and to be raised by them?  We have already normalized and accepted single motherhood in our society.  There is no longer any stigma for a single woman to have a child.  While their children often turn out well, statistically they are at a steep disadvantage.  But nobody is saying that single motherhood is just as good, or equal, to a family with a mother and a father.

But in gay marriage, we are intentionally removing one parent out of the child’s life and calling this just as good as a two parent home.  Equal, in fact.

Whether you believe in God or evolution, they both ended up in the same place.  It takes a man and a woman to create a child.  Who has the right to say that a child doesn’t need both of its parents?  Does a society have the right to remove a mother or father from a child’s life in order to please someone else?

The fact that something is legal doesn’t make it right.  Laws are often made by political pressure whether through money or potential votes

If children grew on trees, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.  People wouldn’t be getting married at all except perhaps as a safeguard for getting old, so that they wouldn’t be alone.  But marriage has always been society’s means of seeing that the children that inevitably result from men and women getting together are raised to be good, productive, moral citizens.

We don’t talk a lot about children being the reason for marriage, because too many couples find out that they are unable to have children, and it is usually very painful when they do.  But we don’t know up front who those couples will be.  But we do know that children need strong homes to be raised in.  Yes, some parents don’t parent well, but it’s wrong to remove a parent from a child’s life before the fact and call it just as good as if it wasn’t removed.

So whatever laws there may be, there will always be people who will insist that gay marriage is not equal and should not be called equal, because it encourages the raising of children without one of their parents and saying it doesn’t make any difference. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Islam and the violence in the news

A reader (January 16) wrote a long letter concluding that “one cannot attribute these attacks to Islam.” 
We keep hearing how that Islam is a religion of peace and that all this violence done in its name has nothing to do with the religion. 
The fact is that if Islam were a religion of peace, it never would have become a world religion.  Islam didn’t send out missionaries; it sent out armies.  At least three times they tried to overrun Europe, but they were stopped. 
The Muslims have been at war with each other for centuries: Sunnis vs. Shiites, and Islam is now spreading south through Africa by bloodshed, not persuasion. 
Say 10% of the world Islamic population supports jihad, (and that is a very low number, read the polls), that’s over 150,000,000 extremists.  We have no way or don’t try to screen Muslim immigrants to our country for their sympathies for violence.  But if 10% of them sympathize with it, that’s over 300,000 in our country alone. 
The United States is about 3% Muslim.  In Europe, the numbers reach 20, 30% in parts.  Read what’s going on in Europe.  Watch the youtube videos, and there are many.  Europe is cracking under the tension of Islam and European culture.  More and more of them are admitting that multiculturalism was a mistake.
If you are a Muslim and believe Islam is a religion of peace, tell your parents you want to change religions.   

Thursday, January 15, 2015

unasked questions from my Senator

Hi Mark
You were kind and thoughtful enough to email me to ask me what issues are most important to me.  You offered a list to me of possible issues.  I chose five, which you later followed up with questions.

Thinking more about this, I realize that just as important as telling you what I regard as the most important issues is explaining why I didn’t choose the other issues.  The fact that you included them on your list of possible issues shows that these are issues that you consider as possible or actual priorities.

You sent back follow-up questions to my list.  I would like to see what follow-up questions you have for these issues.  Please send them.
As for the other issues you suggested:
1)         Honoring & Serving Our Veterans
This is important, but I’m not sure our government knows the best ways to do this.  There is the VA scandal.  It’s shameful, so fix it.  If more money is needed, we need to cut something somewhere else to pay for it.  We can’t just keep spending money we don’t have.  A good start is the Department of Education.  We had the best schools in the world before we had one, and now our schools are mediocre at best.  Cut out the whole department and save $50 billion a year.

The best way to honor our veterans is to start declaring wars that we intend to win instead of broad military actions with no intent on an early resolution with rules of engagement that put our troops in grave danger and serious disadvantage.  If we want to put our troops at great risk in order to avoid civilian casualties, I think we should allow any soldiers the option to opt out in these kinds of conflicts.  I think it is criminal for our political leaders to send our troops to fight and then put their lives at greater risk than absolutely necessary. 

There is a difference between targeting civilians and targeting an enemy that may endanger other people, but we should not endanger our soldiers as an alternative.  We need to stand up to the world and say that we will not risk our soldier’s lives because our enemy has no respect for the lives of others.  But we need to start by declaring a war first.
2)         Fighting Crime
I have written extensively about this.  My articles are on my blog poligion1.blogspot.com.  Most recently, I wrote Peace on Earth and in our Streets.  I hope you can go through my site and read that and the other ones.

Very simply, the problem is the family.  We already have laws that are not being obeyed.  Our prisons are full, and the cost is a burden on taxpayers.  People learn right and wrong primarily at home from their parents.  But we have encouraged people to have children without getting married and we have pushed our women to get out of the home and into the workforce, so our children are being raised by television, movies, peers, social media, and their basic human impulses.  Until we start encouraging families to form, stay together, and encourage and enable parents to raise their children, crime will always be a serious problem for us.

A big part of enabling families is to bring American jobs back home.  Middle class families used to be able to support a family on one income.  Now most jobs left are service jobs which pay nothing. 

Our jobs went foreign primarily through free trade agreements, but our massive government with its massive spending and its need for massive tax revenues is also forcing companies to move to where the taxes are lower.  So we save a few dollars on an American product made in another country, and then we pay for all kinds of social services and a huge justice system, because we don’t’ have anyone to teach values to our children.

I support the death penalty.  We hear of cases all the time where somebody was put on death row mistakenly, but I never hear of anybody being punished for giving false testimony or withholding evidence.  That needs to be changed.  In the Bible, the person who gave false testimony received the same punishment that the falsely accused person was to or did receive.

If people are still concerned that a person may be unjustly condemned to death, then raise the standards for the death penalty.  There are cases like the Colorado movie theater case where the perpetrator is not in doubt.  He should have been executed long ago.

As for gun control, we tried Prohibition long ago, banning alcohol; and while that lowered the alcohol consumption for a lot of people, it brought about more crime related to it and was repealed.  People are less likely to threaten others if there is a good chance the other person is armed.  I have read and heard of many, many examples of this.  

Besides, our Founders believed that the public needed to be armed not for self-defense, but as a protection against its own government.  It was because so many people in our country had guns that we didn’t have dictators or tyrants in our country as they had in Europe at the time.
3)         Supporting Farmers & Agriculture
I confess to know too little about this to have any comments.
4)         Advocating For Human Rights
Our country used to think of rights as things that you could do without government interference.  Now rights are seen more and more as things that you are entitled to and that the government is responsible for seeing that you have, even at public expense.

This change in understanding rights goes back as far as Franklin Roosevelt who saw government benefits as a way to win elections, but I see another major contributor to this in the secularization of our nation.  When people had faith in God, they found their security in God, and a nation of God-believers looked out for each other.  But in a secular nation, we teach multiculturalism and tolerance, and there is no longer any social cohesiveness where people feel responsible for everyone else.  And there is a no longer any sense of security, so government is seen as responsible to take care of everybody.

So the list of human rights keeps expanding.  And the government will spend itself into bankruptcy trying to give everything to everybody.  The latest thing is now giving everybody two years of college free.  What’s another $50 billion dollars?  There is no sense of the value of money anymore.  Just spend it.  We can always print more.

What is happening also is that almost any issue can be framed in such a way that a certain outcome can be argued as being a right: a right to child care, a right to a secure retirement, a right to affordable healthcare, a right to a good and affordable education, a right to birth control, a right to a livable minimum wage.  And there isn’t enough money there to pay for all this.  Unless . . .

Why don’t we just stop the game and tell everybody what is going on?  The goal is socialism.  The difference between socialism and communism is that socialism allows people to acknowledge God in their private lives, but the government acts as if there is no God and they are the highest power.  Communism says right out that there is no God and sees religion as a threat in that it can teach values contrary to the system.  Socialism, coming through the way of democracy, can stifle the religious impulses and thinking through laws that emphasize the rights of others that trump any personal religious ideas.

In both systems, you have a ruling class of government employees and elected officials who live quite well.  And as long as they are happy and comfortable, they will put up with or accept any public outcomes that don’t affect that.

Protecting The Environment
The environment is important, but there are several problems with how we are dealing with environmental issues.  The Constitution says that all lawmaking authority resides in Congress, but we have given to government agencies authority to make rules that essentially are laws and that have a great impact on our country.  Any action has consequences.  Any car that drives emits substances in the air that are harmful.  Should all cars be banned?  This is a decision that should be and is left with our representatives in Congress.  The EPA is making decisions that Congress should be making.  Do we really want to eliminate our entire coal industry?  That question should be debated with public input rather than decided by this one government agency, and no doubt with influence from the President.

The issue of climate change is being used today as an attempt to shift wealth from richer nations to poorer nations.  I hear too many contradictory voices here, but one side is saying very loudly that the issue is settled.  I really doubt that.  I believe there is an agenda here to inhibit Western manufacturing with the ultimate goal of reducing Western (read: American) wealth and promoting socialism through more government dependency for basic needs.

I am concerned that the noble vision of protecting our environment will prompt lawmakers to make decisions with good intentions but bad judgment. 

Reforming Our Immigration System

I have also written extensively about this, so I hope you can go to my blog here as well: polition1.blogspot.com.  Let me summarize a few points:
1)         The notion of birthright citizenship to illegal aliens needs to be addressed.  The 14th Amendment was written to give citizen status to former slaves.  Native Americans did not receive citizenship through that Amendment.  It took an act of Congress in 1924.  Children born to foreign diplomats here do not get citizenship.  Why should illegal aliens?  Note the expression “under the jurisdiction thereof” in the Amendment.  This notion only encourages more illegal immigration.
2)         Immigration is important to many Western countries, because our birth rate is low, and we need immigrant workers to pay into the system and support an increasing number of elderly.  However, our immigration policy now favors families, so any benefits of new workers is nullified by the addition of the rest of the family which includes the elderly, the disabled, and anyone else who will not be working. 
3)         Our borders need to be secured.  NOW.  A country needs to know who is coming into its country, and it has the right of rejection. 
4)         Our country took in millions of immigrants in our earlier years, and we had no government benefits for them, and so we got people with ambition and initiative.  It was also much easier to start a business then.  Now we make it difficult.  And we simply can’t afford all the government benefits that we offer new immigrants, legal and illegal. 
5)         Our government is using immigration policies to change the dynamic of our country and to increase the voters of the Democratic Party.  At least that is the party that tries harder to spend government money on all kinds of benefits to gain the votes of the recipients.
6)         We used to have an American identity, which we have traded for multiculturalism.  So in the distant past, immigrants learned the American way of life, became Americans, and we were all enriched for it.  Now we are ashamed of our American heritage, and we have nothing to teach immigrants but tolerance, and so we have lost all social cohesiveness.  We live in the same space, but we are not connected to each other. 

Protecting Women's Rights

I think even asking the question of women’s rights is problematic, because I would submit in most cases we are framing issues as rights that muddy the real issues at stake.

Does a woman have a right to kill her unborn baby?  Forget the right; why is she even asking the question?  We used to teach Christian values in our country, where sex was sacred and intended for married people, children were blessings from God, and we had an economic structure that allowed families to support and raise a family. 

But we have rejected religion as being unenlightened and repressive; we have taught our children that sex is recreation; and we have taught our daughters that it is more important to have a career than to have a family. 

And so we have girls and women being pregnant who either have other things they want to do more, simply can’t afford to raise a child, or who just feel totally inadequate for the task.  This is no way to raise our next generation, and treating it as disposable like a litter of kittens only degrades human life.

Does a woman have a right to free birth control, or, in other words, should everyone else pay for her contraceptives?  Is this a joke or what?  This was just a ploy by the President and the Democrats to expand the role of government, make people feel entitled to more things, and to get more people to vote for them, the party of compassion.

Equal pay?  This is not as simple as it sounds.  I work for an industry that has ‘degraded’ contracts every time they make a new one by reducing conditions and benefits for new hires and keeping the current conditions and benefits for those voting for the contract.  So we have people working together where one person will get time and a half for Sunday work and others will get differing amounts, zero, one, or two dollars more per hour, depending on how long they have worked here.  Hourly rates of pay, vacation time, and all kinds of things can be different depending on when a person was hired.  Is all this equal pay for equal work? 

Two people with similar backgrounds hired together doing the same work, I would expect an equal compensation package.  But often one’s pay is determined more by one’s length of employment at the one place and not simply the type of work. 

Under the guise of women’s rights, we also have the push for women to do and be represented equally in all manner of things that I don’t think are in our best interests.  There is a push to have women in combat, and we need to lower our standards to do that.  Is that wise? 

We push to have women become doctors or other jobs that almost preclude even the idea of having a family.  I think we highly underestimate and understand how children should best be raised.  But that’s for another time.

In spite of all our talk about equality, the fact remains that only women can have children.  And the average woman needs to have 2.1 children for a society’s population to remain stable.  Less than that and a society shrinks as its population ages, generally burdening it with increased costs for caring for its elderly. 

We discourage women from having children, making them think they need jobs to be equal and fulfilled.  I think we are doing a disservice to them when we do this.  And when they do have kids, we make it harder for them to spend the time with them that they (both of them) need, either through the social pressure of working outside the home or simply the economic pressure of being able to live on one paycheck, assuming, of course, that she is married in the first place.

Serving Local Communities

The Federal government has no need to serve local communities and no business doing so.  The Federal government does too much as it is.  Read the Constitution and the Federalist Papers.  The responsibilities of the Federal government are few and defined, and this is not among them.  
Thanks again, Mark

Larry Craig

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

feminism: a letter to a newspaper columnist

I read your article on feminism with interest.  I feel bad for all the times you were treated unjustly.  While I understand (or think I do) the drive for feminism, I do have some concerns.
1)         I am concerned about what feminism has done to the family.  The fact remains that a civilization still needs to have children to maintain itself, and every women needs to have on average 2.1 children for a society to do so.  When women bear less, the population ages, which puts more strains on a society as the costs of supporting and caring for the elderly increase. 

Having children is an afterthought for many women.  Even getting married takes a second place to furthering their careers. 

Immigration has been seen by some as the answer to this, but we have changed the system to promote whole families immigrating, which only temporarily helps the problem as the first generation of immigrants usually has more children than the rest of us, but they soon catch up with us in ensuing generations.
2)         Once children are in the picture, we minimize what it takes to raise them.  We act as if all they need are food, clothes, a place to stay, and potty training.  Everything else they can or will just learn on their own or in schools that the state provides for us.  The state likes this, as it allows them to mold the next generation just the way they want it, compliant and appreciative for all the government does and should do for them.
3)         I am concerned about what feminism will do to our society.  It’s like calling a hammer and a screwdriver equal.  They’re both tools, and one is just as good as the other.  It’s just that when you interchange them, you are trying to pound screws and screw nails, because you are afraid to acknowledge inherent differences between them.  You don’t want to be called a toolist.

We try to make women into soldiers, and so we lower the standards to let more women into these roles.  Is that wise?  We insist that women spend years pursuing high levels of education and essentially force them to continue working at some high demand job instead of spending time with their children.  We make it sound so demeaning for them to do so and so sexist to think they should.

We keep reading in the papers about violence and crime and killings and all manner of societal ills.  I submit that most of this is due to fathers not being a part of the family and parents not being the primary influencers of their children’s lives.  I believe that feminism contributes to this.  

The Illinois Retirement Savings Program: what could go wrong?

The retirement savings program in Illinois has just been signed by Governor Quinn.  “(T)he state won’t have access to the money because it will be pooled as the private property of the workers outside of the state treasury.”  What is missing here is that this ‘private property’ has to be invested.  Any money that is invested in state bonds will be trading hard cash for state IOUs.  So technically the money won’t be in the state treasury, but that money will be gone nonetheless.

Comparing the United States with other countries

The Sun-Times editorial (January 5) noted that our country now ranks 16th in the world in livability where we were number one as recently as 1988.  It’s “time to start climbing from no. 16 ranking,” though the article didn’t tell us how but did offer several noble reasons why it is so hard to stay on top.

It’s hard to be livable when we are “absorbing large immigrant populations” [their words, not mine] and “trying to make multiculturalism work.”

But we have always had a large immigrant population.  Isn’t that what we keep hearing, that we are a nation of immigrants and that immigrants built our country?  We didn’t just start doing this in 1988 after we last led the list. 

And why is trying to make multiculturalism work such a good idea?  That just means that we believe we have no uniquely American culture, American values or identity, or at least one that we want newcomers to our country to embrace.  One culture is as good as another.  Is that a good thing?  Exactly what is it that made our country the one that more people want to go to than any other in the first place? 

The editorial gives the various reasons why Switzerland is the number one country for livability:
1)         The Swiss have money.  Our government has decided to be responsible for the welfare of 300 million people and is now over $18 trillion in debt.  Many people, including in the media, don’t see what the problem with that is.  For one thing, debt makes everything that you buy more expensive, so you are wasting money that could be spent better elsewhere.  And this takes money out of the economy, meaning your pockets, to pay for all this. 
2)         The Swiss not only have a low crime rate, but people feel safer there.  We used to teach morals to our kids, but that involved religion, and we don’t want any part of that anymore.  And there is nobody at home anymore to raise the kids, because if there are two parents there, they both need to work just to get by, and the rest of the homes only have one person there, and, well, kids do better with two.  Kids are raised today more by their peers and the media than by parents’ role modelling and personal instruction.
3)         The Swiss can find decent work.  We sent millions of good paying, decent jobs overseas.  We call it free trade.  The idea of free trade sounds so noble, so American, but instead of other countries sending their goods to us without being taxed, we just sent our companies and our jobs over there to send our own goods back to us.  But didn’t this help our export business?  No export business will exceed what a country needs to produce just to meet the needs of its own people.  How much of our products were they expecting that we would sell overseas anyway, especially with our higher labor costs?
4)         The Swiss have good schools.  We used to have good schools, the best in the world, until we started the federal Department of Education to run our schools.  They are mediocre at best today.  We need to get rid of that department and return education to the local level.  Homeschooled kids regularly do better than public schools students.
5)         The Swiss don’t retire broke.  We used to have people who could live off the interest of their savings.  But now with the government debt so high, they manipulate the interest rates so that they stay low, so people don’t see the true cost of the massive debt of our government.  So any money left in banks loses value.  And with our manufacturing jobs gone, people aren’t making enough to save anything let alone money for retirement.

The editorial then names two other factors that are taken into consideration here: the health of family life and trust in public institutions.
1)         We have no family to speak of anymore.  We have made the idea of a stay-at-home mom demeaning, and we have even made it impractical as well, since it is becoming harder all the time to provide for a family on one income.  We have encouraged children without marriage and children without their natural parents, so children are more along the line of pets that only need a minimum of care. 
2)         Trust in our public institutions is at an all-time low.  ‘But then it is not surprising.  The President of the United States has shown himself to be an inveterate liar, but the public and the media shrug it off as overselling or politics.  The government seems to be a world unto itself, finding new ways to spend money it doesn’t’ have to gain the favor of different groups of people who they want to vote for them in the future.  

The game is how to gain benefits for themselves and close allies in ways that don’t attract the public attention. 

Now the editorial asks us to start climbing out of this mess.  But how?

I contend that our problems stem from the idea that our country is supposed to be a secular nation, and anything religious must be strictly private and totally absent from anything having to do with government.

Why is this the problem?  Because it is hard to talk about yet alone teach morals apart from talking about God or a Higher Power.  So our schools are bereft of moral instruction, and our families, what’s left of them, have little time or energy for that either.  After several generations of this, we have a population whose only morals are pragmatism and tolerance.   No one’s looking out for anyone else anymore, because that is a religious concept, so it’s everyone out for themselves. 
There is a lot more that can be said, but this is a letter and not a book.

The Obama Presidential Library

If Chicago must have the Obama library, then I fully agree with the reader who said that it should be on the site of the former US Steel company site, if only for symbolic reasons.

The site is a reminder of the time when the United States led the world in manufacturing and standard of living.  The North won the Civil War, and we won World War 2 in large part because of our manufacturing strength.  Obama’s era is the time when more people left the work force than probably any time in our nation’s history.  I think it is fair to say the President Obama prefers that the United States doesn’t lead the world in anything.

The real war on women

I think the real war on women is when we tell them they should have careers more than a family, that they need a career to be fulfilled or equal and families are unimportant.  They can have a child later if they really want one, but a job is the priority.  

I am more convinced than ever that children need a parent in the home all the time.  We say they can go back to work when the kids are in school but then the kids come home to an empty house, and both parents are tired at the end of the day, and they let peers and the media raise the kids.

The Electoral College and why we should keep it

There are two purposes of the Electoral College, which to me demand its retention.  The first is that through the Electoral College, it is the states that elect the President and not individuals.  This way the President represents the whole country and not just a few parts.  I have seen election maps where a candidate won maybe 99% of the counties in a state or the country and the popular vote was very close.  That’s why every state has two Senators, regardless of size.  To represent states equally and not based on their respective populations.
I am a believer in the original use of the Electoral College.  The legislators chose electors, who were not affiliated in any way with the government, and they voted for the person they believed was the best person for that position.  No campaigns, no speeches, no fundraising, no media ads.  They could have chosen a college president, a CEO, a philosopher,a professor, an author, or a talk show host.  Just the best person they thought for the job.  Of course, the person ultimately chosen had to have the majority of all the votes and not just be the highest vote-getter.  The Federalist Papers describes the process in detail.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Stealing and cheating

The Sun-Times reported (January 5) on theft and cheating in the Chicago Public School system.  What I found surprising is that it seems everybody seems surprised about it.  I’m not surprised at all.  I am sure there is a lot more that they haven’t uncovered yet.

Why am I not surprised?  Stealing and cheating, while certainly not victimless crimes, are attempts by people to gain some advantage or personal gain in situations where there appears little chance of getting caught and where there are essentially nameless, faceless victims.  Is this so bad?  Doesn’t everybody want to get ahead or look better in the eyes of others? 

Why not steal and cheat once in a while?  Doesn’t everybody, given the right opportunity?

To complain about this, to me, is invoking a higher authority, like there is a standard of right and wrong that has nothing to do with risk of getting caught, the magnitude of a crime, or whether anyone is actually being hurt.  Like things are just right or wrong in themselves.

All this seems to me like a carryover from the old days when our society believed in God and the Ten Commandments.  But we have relegated all that to the wishful thinking of the unenlightened past.  Science has shown us that there was no God that created us and who consequently holds us responsible for our lives.  Trying to get ahead seems to me like that survival of the fittest we keep hearing about that was responsible for us being here in the first place.  

The biggest problem with our elections and what to do about it

The biggest problem with our electoral system is that most elections are made for only two candidates.  If there are more than two candidates, many people who would have voted for one candidate vote for another, and the other candidate who would have lost often ends up winning the election with less than 50% of the vote.  This is wrong, but don’t expect lawmakers to change this.  This would completely revolutionize our electoral system and lessen the chances that most politicians currently in office would keep their jobs.  People could finally vote their conscience and not just for the candidate pundits say has the best chance of winning.
Any election where no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote should require a runoff election of the two highest vote getters.  An alternative to this is to allow voters to rank or otherwise show preferences for more than one candidate on their original ballots, so that votes can be shifted from a person’s first choice to their second choice if there is no clear winner on the first ballot.  This is especially pertinent in Presidential elections where a third party candidate splits the vote in a state, so nobody gets a majority.  You don’t want to wait for a runoff election before finding out who won that state.
This principle applies particularly to primaries, where often there can be a large field of candidates.  In the last Presidential primary, the large number of candidates failed to show a clear winner.  I don’t think any candidate ever had more than 50% of the vote, so we didn’t ever really know which candidate had the most support of all the potential voters.
My suggestion:  Say we have ten Republican candidates and ten debates.  After the first debate, have the Tea Party and the Republican Party each conduct a poll of likely voters.  This would be necessary to keep both parties honest here.  Then after the second debate, let them conduct the same poll but without the name of the person who got the least number of votes the first time.  After the third debate, conduct another poll but again eliminate the name of the candidate who got the fewest number of votes the last time.  I wouldn’t ask these candidates who got those least votes to drop out or be removed from the debates just yet.  Some of them may still be unknown to the voters.  After the fourth or fifth debate, you could ask on the poll if any of the dropped candidates should be brought back, but I think things should be getter clearer.  After the fourth or fifth debate, these candidates could be asked to withdraw from the debates.
But the final candidate should have a majority of the likely Republican voters and not just be the best of three or four leading candidates.

So I agree with you that more candidates running for office is better than fewer.  It’s just that our system is not currently constructed to best handle that.