where religion and politics meet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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,

For now I want to focus my writing now articles specifically addressed to Christians. So most of my new posts will be on my other website listed below. I will continue to write and post short responses to newspaper columns and letters and even other articles as the inspiration hits me.

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

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

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

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The United States Constitution, Muslims, and Donald Trump


Why do we have a government?  Or maybe it is better to ask, what is a government, our government, supposed to be doing? 
I know what a lot of people think the government should be doing, but our country fought a war in order to be able to write the Constitution that we have now.  They rejected the government they had and fought with guns for the right to create a new one, this one. 
Some people are hoping that enough people aren’t paying attention while they try to change our government to do what they want and ultimately to change our country.  They are also hoping that enough people don’t know what our government is supposed to be doing, which would make their job a lot easier.
The purposes of our government are best described in the Declaration of Independence and in the Preamble to our Constitution.
The Declaration of Independence says that people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” and “that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”  The people have the right “to alter or to abolish” any form of government that becomes “destructive of these ends” and  “to institute new Government,” one that “shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Government is supposed to “effect [our] safety and happiness.”  The first thing we need to understand about government, our government, is that it exists to promote the welfare and happiness of the people of the United States. 
But doesn’t our government have any responsibility for people in other nations?  It’s hard to be responsible for people when you can’t change or control their politics, their beliefs, their economy, or their government.
But what about those people who want to come here to gain a better life?
You can start with the between 19 and 55 million refugees in the world today, depending on who’s counting.  If we are expected to place as many refugees as possible in our own country, then simply put, we have two options: We can intervene in these countries, choose sides, and try to resolve the issues that are creating these refugees, most likely with our military, or we can let these countries disintegrate and try to pick up what pieces we can. 
But then how many can or should we take in, and who says how many that is?  But then will we be placing the needs, welfare, and happiness of other people over our own?  That is basically the reason why they fought the War for Independence in the first place.
But wait.  We have always been a nation of immigrants.  True, and any person not yet living here is a potential immigrant.  If any person who wants to come here has a right to come here, then we are placing the needs, welfare, and happiness of other people over our own.  So the question is how to set an immigration policy that upholds the government we fought a war to get but one that is still compassionate to other people in need.
Government is supposed to “effect” our safety and happiness.  We may differ exactly how it is supposed to do that, but it should be clear that it is not the place of government to do things over the will of the people and then tell them to like it.
Nor is the government to do anything that risks our safety.  The world is experiencing today an epidemic of terrorist activity by Muslims.  Some people are denying that Islam itself is the problem.  They want to insist that people who are prone to violence and murder are just using Islam as an excuse for their behavior.  Why this isn’t a problem for other religions is not discussed. 
We are spending billions of dollars every year tracking over a million people on our terror watch list, hoping to catch these people between the time they do something illegal and the time when they actually kill people. 
Why are we doing this? 
But the debate is going on.  Our government is acting as though there is no debate.  The American people are not convinced.  So the government is not effecting our safety and happiness by insisting on allowing, encouraging, and accepting millions of Muslims into our country.  I say millions, because this is not limited to just this recent migrant/refugee crisis.   Our immigration policies have favored Muslims almost to the exclusion of other people groups for at least the term of our current President.
And what does the Constitution say is the purpose of the government, our government?
The answer is found in the Preamble to our Constitution, which reads like this:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America ...
The first named purpose of our government is to form a more perfect Union.
Originally this idea of a more perfect union would have applied primarily to the states, 13 states uniting under one federal government.  But why should that be thought of as so difficult?  These were people who came basically from four neighboring countries in Europe, almost all of them Protestant Christians of the same race.  Yet a more perfect union between these states, these people, was the first thing on the minds of our Founders.
People talk about how our country is a country of immigrants.  For almost the first 350 years of our country’s existence, from the time of the first colonization through the formal founding and almost 200 years later, our immigrants were almost entirely from Europe, where they all had state churches.  So they were essentially all of the same race and religion. 
But we also had a distinctly American culture, born of Western Civilization yet unique among the nations of the world.  We taught this culture in our schools, and our nation was proud of it.
Our forefathers thought it was wise to bring in immigrants only or at least predominantly from the same countries that settled our country in the first place.
In 1965 the immigration policy of our country was changed, though it was promised that it would not affect the existing demographics.  In reality, immigration policy since 1965 has favored any country but those from which our country was first populated.
Immigration is forever.  Whoever comes here either assimilates into our country or expects our country to adapt to them.  Our government and schools no longer value or promote American culture, so assimilation is no longer expected.  Those who come here will have children, and their numbers will only increase.  So bringing in immigrants is far different from aiding them where they are   Essentially we will be letting other nations change the nature of our nation, which is exactly what we fought a war to end and what losing a war means.
For years now, our government and our schools have been promoting multiculturalism and diversity.  Where our Founders stressed unity, our country is now encouraging diversity. 
They say diversity enriches us.  But they don’t say it unites us.  And that is what our government is supposed to be concerned about.  It is not the job of the government to enrich us.  It is up to the people themselves if and how they want to be enriched.  It is the job of the government to help us unite with each other better.
Our forefathers sought future citizens from the same lands that our past citizens came from.  They shared the same culture, religion, and values.  They wanted “a more perfect union.” It wasn’t even just a simple matter of being united. It was supposed to be a “more perfect union.”  Our Founders did not think it wise or desirable to create a diverse nation
A diverse nation can only unite through its lowest common denominators, meaning that there will be fewer and fewer things that actually hold people together.  And this only comes when people’s differences are muted.  Instead of expressing one’s religion publicly, for example, you now have to do it privately so as to not offend anyone of a different persuasion.
Bringing people into our country from very different cultures without teaching or promoting our own values and culture will only create many subcultures and societies within our borders with a union in name only.  We will no longer be simply Americans but all kinds of hyphenated-Americans with no bonds to our neighbors.  This is not a more perfect union.
The government wants to bring thousands of people into our country when the country is deeply divided as to the wisdom of this move.  Contrary to forming a more perfect union, this is a bold attempt to divide the country.  It wants to spend billions of dollars, i.e. take billions of dollars from everybody else or borrow this money and charge us the interest forever, because they certainly have no intention of paying it back. 
These billions of dollars will be used to support these people for years.  It will be used to try to weed out any dangerous people, though it admits it can’t guarantee its results.  Oh, and we will spend billions of dollars tracking over a million of them hoping to stop them if and before they do something violent.  This is not effecting safety and happiness.
The government also seeks to silence any opposition to this move.  It has no concern whether any of this will form a more perfect union.  All indications are that it will not, and that it is certain to cause divisions.  The government’s idea of union here is to squelch any sign of disapproval and think it has done its job.
It is a union created and enforced by government authority and restrictions rather than by the people joining together united around an ideal, much like Yugoslavia and Iraq, artificially created countries that were held together by tyrants, but when the tyrants were removed, the countries splintered apart, usually violently.
Establish justice
The idea of justice has changed recently in American judicial policy and our public life.  The Declaration of Independence referred to “certain unalienable rights’ that people were endowed with by their Creator, and it is the role of government to secure these rights. 
Justice was first concerned with protecting our rights, but the very idea of what a right is has changed.  Originally rights were things that we could do, which the government either couldn’t prohibit or diminish.  Now rights are increasingly defined as including things which people are entitled to have, and it is the duty of the government to see that they get them.
So establishing justice here is essentially assuring and asserting that the people of the United States can enjoy and exercise their God-given rights. The first such rights are given in the First Amendment:   
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We are told and taught that our nation and all Western nations are and were meant to be secular nations.  Secularism is a worldview whose moral framework consists of basically six principles: equality (new definition), fairness, tolerance, diversity, relativism, and multiculturalism.  In the absence of the Christian virtue and command to love our neighbors, the directive is to tolerate our neighbors, best exemplified by not giving offense to anyone.
But if our nation was intended to be a secular nation, the First Amendment would not have protected the free exercise of religion, because secularism would have values that would have superseded any religious value.  There would have been inevitable conflicts, and religious freedom would have to be curtailed.  The fact that there is a First Amendment protecting the free exercise of religion shows that there was a consensus that religious values and behavior were in the best interests of the country.  That they had a particular religion in mind, namely Christianity, is evident by the fact that the First Congress, the Congress that passed the First Amendment, had Bibles published to be used in all the public schools.  They knew, as John Adams said, that “our Constitution was made for only a moral and religious people.”
A few years after this amendment was ratified, the United States fought a war with a four Muslim countries in northern Africa.  Our leaders could not understand why these countries insisted on attacking our ships and enslaving our sailors.  The Muslim leaders explained that this was what Muslims do, and they showed them from the Quran why this was so. 
When we say our Founders believed in the free exercise of religion, it may well be possible that they had only the current religious situation in the country at that time in mind.  But if they did indeed believe that this was a universal human right, they would not have thought that immigration to our country was a human right, and they would not have supported Muslim immigration, or at least mass immigration, because their first concern was the welfare, safety, and happiness of the people they fought a war to protect.  The Barbary Wars, as it was called, would have shown them the incompatibility of the Quran and Islam with the American way of life.
The First Amendment, while highlighting the right of people to exercise their religion, does not negate the fact that our Founders still wanted Christian principles taught in our schools and guiding our public policy nor would it mean that our government considered one religion as good as another.  Changing the demographics of our country by increasing the Muslim population will cause a culture war that will tear our country apart, as evidenced by the cultural conflicts all across Europe today.
Another part of the First Amendment is to prohibit any abridging of the freedom of speech.  Freedom of speech is entirely incompatible with Islam.  People are regularly put to death in Muslim countries for things they are even merely accused of saying if it is critical of Islam, the Quran, or Muhammed.  We are already experiencing today restrictions on speech that would have been intolerable to our Founders.  Note too that this freedom extended as well to the press. 
insure domestic Tranquility  
Simply put, how are we to have domestic tranquility when we are filling our country with people who are offended by many of the things we already do here and that are a basic part of who we are.  For example, Christmas is a national holiday.  It is the one day of the year where essentially everything closes down.  Yet Christmas highly offends Muslims.  It is considered blasphemous to them.  Already we have school districts that want to ban holidays, because many of their students don’t celebrate them, and they want to be inclusive.  We are putting the interests of people newly arrived in our country over that of those of our citizens. 
But isn’t that the nice, kind thing to do?   But if we change our country to match the countries of all the people who come here, then we no longer have our country.  We fought our War for Independence for nothing.  We threw off the English government so we could establish our own.  But then we are supposed to give up our way of life gradually to please everybody else who comes here? 
People want to come here because of the society that we have produced.  If we change our society to be like all the other nations, then we are no longer who we once were and no longer have the reason for our existence. 
Say all you want about tolerance, but if you have to try to force people to accept a government policy, not only will you not succeed in getting everybody to go along with it, you will always have to coerce many of them, and many others will not embrace this cheerfully.  Yet the Constitution is there to ensure our domestic tranquility.  And the Declaration of Independence says that government should effect our happiness.  And if it doesn’t, it needs to be replaced.  And that is exactly what our current government is doing.
provide for the common defense
Our federal government is now involved in many activities which the Constitution does not say is its business.  In fact, all activities not explicitly given to the federal government in the Constitution were supposed to be left to the states.  But one of the clearly stated duties of the federal government is to provide for the common defense.
We usually think of defense as protecting our country from an invading army or fighting a war overseas for some vital interest of our country.  But when we are defending our country, what is the enemy trying to do?  Kill people, yes.  But why?  Sometimes the goal is to exterminate a people, like the Muslims in the Middle East want to do to Israel. 
But usually one country or groups just wants to defeat another country or group.  They would then change the government according to their liking.  We fought our first war with England to change the government that we had for one of our choosing. 
So providing for the common defense isn’t just about warding off an attacking army.  It is about protecting our government from changes that the people didn’t authorize; it is about protecting the rights and freedoms of the people from those who would take them from us. 
Anything that disrupts a more perfect union, our government is supposed to protect us from.  Anything that deprives us of justice, that is, that denies us or curtails our God-given rights, our government is supposed to protect us from.  Anything that endangers our domestic tranquility and anything that diminishes our general welfare, our government must be vigilant to protect us from.
And when our government fails to protect us from losing our union, our justice, our tranquility, or our general welfare, we have the right, no, the duty to throw off this government and demand a new one.
Right now the entire world is experiencing the threat of Muslim terrorism, such that we can’t even board an airplane without having to take off our shoes and undergo all manner of screenings to ensure that we are not terrorists.
We are currently spending billions of dollars a year trying to track over a million people on a terror watch list, which is almost uniformly Muslim.  We have far more Muslims coming into our country than we are able to verify that they do not impose a danger to our country.
Our government is willing to risk the safety, lives, and general overall quality of life for all its people in order to not offend people who either it is trying to bring into our country or who have already come.  Why is it doing this?  Even confirmed peace-loving Muslims will have children who are susceptible to the siren call of killing in the name of Allah.  There is no other demographic of people in the world with anywhere near this level of risk.
The government keeps trying to convince us that most Muslims are nice, peace-loving people who fit in quite well in American society.  Yet those of us who are older remember a much more peaceful time in American life.  Even in the sixties, when we had riots on college campuses, nobody was trying to kill everybody.  There were a few cases, but in general American life was safe.  But these incidents did not change our whole way of life. 
Our country has changed.  It is no longer a safe place.  We had an entire federal department created for our security.  The reasons can be summed up in one word: Islam. 
Yet our government keeps insisting that this is not the problem, though the presence of Islam is the only relevant thing that has changed.  Our government is willing to jeopardize if not sacrifice our security.  Why?
The world has become a much more dangerous place, and now our own country is experiencing levels of danger that can only be attributed to our government’s failure to provide a common defense.
promote the general Welfare
The idea of government promoting the general welfare has had two very different interpretations in American history, but there are two common areas of agreement that will be helpful here.
The first is that the government is to be concerned for the welfare of the people of the United States first.  That sounds so obvious at first, yet in today’s thinking, it can also sound selfish, intolerant, and uncompassionate. 
A good illustration of this is the family.  I have a wife and two kids, both grown.  We raised and provided for our kids.  That didn’t mean that we didn’t care about all the other kids on the block, but we can only do so much, and frankly all those other kids was none of our business.  If somebody had a serious problem, maybe the neighbors might help out, but we couldn’t be responsible for what went on in other people’s homes.  The same goes for countries and governments.   Their first responsibility is for their own people.
Immigration is a case in point.  The government often, too often, is more concerned for the general welfare of people who don’t live here than for the people who do.  And then when they do come here, their welfare becomes more important than the welfare of everybody else.  There is little or no concern for how particular immigrants or groups of immigrants will either contribute to or at least not diminish the welfare of the people already here, and by them, of course, I mean the citizens of the United States. 
The mantra here is the word ‘immigrant.’  Any person not living here already is a potential immigrant, and since we are a nation of immigrants, one is considered as good as another.  The mere fact that a person is an immigrant automatically, we are assured, means that they will contribute to the life and vitality of our country.  No mention is made of the fact that immigrants in the past had to meet certain standards, such as literacy, in order to be accepted into our country.  Sick people were either turned back or held in quarantine until they were considered safe to proceed.  Anyone believed to require public assistance was turned back.  Now it is assumed that they will need it. 
So not only is a person’s ability to contribute to our country not a factor in immigration today, but we are spending billions of dollars a year to support people at a time when our country’s debt has never been higher.  To put it another way, we are borrowing money we will never pay back to support people who are coming into our country.  The interest on this debt that we will be paying forever reduces the standard of living for everybody by contributing to inflation and higher taxes. 
But isn’t it selfish for the United States government to focus on the needs and welfare of the American people when they have it so well, and the rest of the world lives at a so much lower standard of living?  Should we not be sharing the wealth?
That is not for the American government to decide.  The American government is supposed to take care of the American people, i.e. its citizens, period.  The American people have always been a generous people, but that is not the role of the government.  If I want to give my money to help out somebody else, fine.  But it is wrong for the government to take my money and give it to whoever it chooses. 
The better question is: why can’t other countries do what we did to become rich?  Some will say that we became rich by exploiting the other countries.  That, of course, relieves those countries of any responsibility to change anything, but most Americans don’t believe that anyway. 
The other principle about promoting the general welfare that is common to the two different views is that the general welfare is something that applies to everybody, not just to some.  For example, the Affordable Care Act would be unconstitutional under this provision in that the government is raising money (taxes) to give to only certain people to pay for their medical insurance.  This is not a broad general program that benefits everybody.  You can be sure that the political party that passed this legislation will have loyal voters for as long as this program is in effect.  Meaning that any political party that wants to repeal this act will find a lot of people automatically opposed to their efforts.   
The act of the federal government raising money (taxes) to pay for the support of immigrants is not promoting the general welfare.  It is putting the welfare of a select group of people, people not even a part of our country, over the welfare of everyone who is.  In the past, the goal of immigration was to bring in people who would make a contribution to our country, or at least not be a burden or detriment to it.  Our immigration policy now is almost entirely for the benefit of those the government wants to bring here. 
secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity
It might be helpful here to quote the definition of blessing from Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), which will give us a better sense of what this meant at the time this was written:
3. Any means of happiness; a gift, benefit or advantage; that which promotes temporal prosperity and welfare, or secures immortal felicity. A just and pious magistrate is a public blessing. The divine favor is the greatest blessing.
Notice that it is liberty that brings the blessings, the temporal prosperity and welfare.  It is not the role of government to provide the blessings.  It is not the role of government to provide housing and food and medical insurance for people.  Government has no money but what it takes from people. 
But notice here that the policies that government follows are not just to promote the welfare of the American citizens living now but to future generations as well. 
One example of how our governments, local, state, and federal, act unconstitutionally here is by their policy of borrowing money for their daily business.  Our government usually would borrow money to fight a war, but to borrow money just to fund the day-to-day operations of government robs from future generations.  Nobody in government talks about actually paying off this debt, but our children will be paying the interest on this debt forever. 
With regard to immigration, we must remember that immigration is forever.  Those who come here will have children and grandchildren who will impact our country in many ways.  Before we embraced multiculturalism, immigrants were expected to assimilate to us.  Now we will have separate Muslim communities forming around the country to which we will have to accommodate our way of life for theirs.  The country that we are leaving to our children will be very different from the one we had and the one our Founders intended for us.
So, in summary, bringing Muslims into our country will divide us rather than unite us.  It will diminish justice by diminishing free expression of religion (as in Christian religion) and the press.  It will destroy domestic tranquility rather than ensure it.  It will permeate our country with the very things our government is supposed to defend us from.  It will undermine the general welfare.  It will jeopardize the securing of the blessings of liberty to our children.   And it will outright eliminate our safety and happiness as a nation.
As of right now, Donald Trump is the only person running for President who sees that there is a problem with Muslim immigration in itself. 



Thursday, February 4, 2016

gun violence in Chicago: a different angle

There’s something missing in all this talk about gun violence in Chicago.  We act like everybody in Chicago would kill people if they had a gun handy, and if we can only keep the guns out of their hands, they might just learn to get along with everybody else.

But I get inklings from time to time that this gun violence is mostly gang related.  And most gangs I am led to believe are heavily involved in the drug trade, which by the way is also illegal.  So if these gangs have no problem getting illegal drugs, I see no reason why they would have any problem getting illegal guns. 


Maybe we should focus our efforts on gangs instead of thinking of individual acts of violence.