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

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

letter to my state senator who is running for governor re: property taxes

Hi Daniel

Happy New Year!  I hope you are doing well.

I read the article in the Sun-times today about politicians and property taxes which features you.  I didn’t know that property taxes were a big part of your agenda.

Did I ever tell you my plan for property taxes?  I’m sure I did, but maybe that wasn’t on your mind much back then.  I first really got interested and involved with property taxes a long time ago when I had been out of work for a while and then had to pay them.  The inherent unfairness of taxing someone on a nonliquid asset while having no real income got me to thinking.

Rich people want to be able to spend more on their kids’ education, and poor people don’t have enough money for many basic things.  I think rich people also like high property taxes as a way to keep rich neighborhoods rich. 

My proposal:

The state first determines a basic amount per student to provide an adequate, good education.  Let’s say $7,000 per student.  This amount would be collected through the income tax. 

Now, and this is very important this money must be raised and collected totally apart from the general fund.  I would say, first figure out what percentage of general revenues now goes toward education.  So we then, for example, would say, of the 5% current state income tax, 4% goes toward the general fund and 1% is the education tax. 

Add up the number of students in the state, multiply by $7K, and the education portion of the state income tax is adjusted to add up to that amount.  Say, add 2%, so the education tax is now 3% of income. 

Now every school taxing district will know that they are receiving $7K for every student in their district.  They know how much they will receive from the state, and this amount is then deducted from the property tax bills. 

If a richer area wants to spend more on education for their students, they are free to raise their taxes any way they see fit.  But everybody has at least the basic education funding that the state considers adequate.

There is also another very important part of school funding that needs to be addressed, and seeing that you are running for governor, this can give you a good boost.

People who want to send their kids to private schools now currently have to pay tuition and still pay enormous amounts to the state for public education.  I believe this is the main reason so many Catholic schools are going out of business.  A lot of people can’t afford both property taxes and tuition.  And they shouldn’t have to.

Anyone who pays tuition to a private school should be able to deduct that amount from their property or their income taxes, depending on which way you want to go.  But nobody should have to pay both.  But the amount of their deduction should not exceed what they would owe in taxes. for education.

The plan is simple and fair.  Some may consider the plan regressive, where poorer people are affected more by an income tax increase than richer people.  The easiest way to fix that is by raising the standard deduction. 

I know you favor a progressive income tax.  My biggest concern with that is that the state will then see this as an unlimited source of new revenue, when the state really needs to cut its spending in a major way.  Too many agencies with too many employees making too much money and with unrealistic, unsustainable pension liabilities.

You could make that the main part of your platform, if you really want to win.  Tell the people that you want to change the State Constitution to be able to change the pension plans to make them more realistic and in line with actual revenues.  And more in keeping with people get in the real, I mean private, sector.  I get about $12,000 a year of taxable pension income. 

Thanks so much!  I hope you actually read this and found it helpful. 

I wish you well.  I don’t normally vote Democratic, but if you agree with my plans, I could certainly reconsider.

Larry Craig

Friday, December 15, 2017

Why the Alabama Senate Election Should Concern You, and It’s Not What You Think

Alabama just voted to replace a Senator who was picked to serve in the President’s administration.  It was a very close election and was won by a Democrat.  If you support Trump’s agenda, you will be disappointed more than you would if the Republican had won the election.  That will concern a lot of people, but that’s not why I am writing this.

There are a number of reports of voter fraud: buses of people brought in from out of state to vote.  This is why automatic voter registration is a bad thing and why voter registration rolls need to be kept updated and cleared of non-eligible voters, like dead people, people who have moved, and non-citizens:  they provide more potential for non-eligible voters to vote.  This should concern all of us, but that’s still not why I am writing this.

The vote tallies were very close, but neither candidate received a majority of the votes.  This should make us hopping mad and prompt everyone to do something about it.   If not write letters or protest in the streets, we should at least agree that it is not right, needs to be changed, and we should at least talk about it enough so that maybe other people will do something that might lead to change.

Think about this for a minute.
We have 330 million people in our country, and the only two people we got to pick from for President were Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Really? 

We have a two party system that tries to cram everybody into two polarized political parties that are getting further apart by each passing election.  On the Republican side, we had Republicans, Tea Party, and Libertarians competing for the nomination, and the Democrats had a Democrat, a Socialist, and I think the Green Party going for top honors.  And then we hear that the leaders of the Democratic Party rigged the system giving the Democrat their support in ways that made the Socialist lose in what would have been a much closer primary election if they hadn’t.

And then, of course, there are the independents and undecideds who can go either way, depending on what is trending in the latest news cycle. 

We are told that’s what the primaries are for, to weed out the candidates who have no or little chance of winning, but that is not the case at all.  If you have, say, 17 candidates running, like the Republicans did, and everyone got single digits in a primary vote, and one candidate got 30%, is that candidate the best choice?  We don’t know.  You still had over 60% of the voters who didn’t vote for him, or her. 

I had about 8 candidates that interested me, but I could only vote for one.  That’s no way to pick a candidate.  Let everyone vote for as many as they want, or maybe no more than 5.  Now that will tell you which candidate has the best chance of winning. 

But even then, when you get to the final two, one from each party, if a third candidate wants to run, it only screws things up.  People know he, or she, can’t win, but should they vote for them anyway to make a point?  Should they vote their conscience, or think politically?

What can happen in a three-way Presidential race, or in the Alabama race where write-in ballots were highly encouraged, is that a person can win the election with as little as 34% of the vote.  And that is just wrong.  And stupid. 

A President still needs a majority of the Electoral College to win, but the state elections don’t require a majority to win.  So you never really know who the majority of the people want. 

But you say we do.  We have the national totals.  But the Founders chose an electoral college system for choosing a President, but that’s for another article.  But simply, the Founders knew that people all over the country were different and had different needs, interests, and wants. 

Determining a President by popular vote would become a tyranny of the majority, where minorities of opinions would have less say in the final results.  For example, people who live in large urban areas tend to vote differently from people in rural America.  People in largely populated states vote differently than people in less populated ones.  The Founders wanted a President for all America, not just the most heavily populated states.

Our country needs third party or independent candidates.  We need more options in the final election.  And there is only one thing that makes that impossible in our political process, and it’s not money. 
Now money is certainly one of the reasons the system doesn’t want to change it or hasn’t changed it so far.  They don’t want to make it any harder for their candidate to win.  But raising or having a lot of money is not the main reason independents or third-party candidates don’t run.  It’s why we shouldn’t expect the system to change.  This is why ordinary people need to get involved, at least simply just start talking about it.

The only thing that stops a third party or independent candidate from running in most elections is that everybody knows that if you give your vote to that candidate, you are more likely to get the candidate that you don’t want the most a better chance of winning.
You are used to voting for one of the two major parties, but this time you are intrigued by the third person.  So instead of voting for whomever you ordinarily would have voted, you vote your conscience, taking votes away from the person you would have voted for, thus essentially giving your vote to the person you really didn’t want to win.

Nobody should have to make that choice.

Nobody should win an election without winning a majority of the vote.  The Presidential election is unique in that the Founders intended for states to have more of an independence than they do today.  Originally the Founders had state legislators choose their senators, because they wanted the Senate to represent the states.  The only people they wanted directly elected by the people were those in the House of Representatives. 

Yes, I know things change, but with too much change, you lose the country that we were founded to be in the first place.  That is why changing the Constitution is not an easy process.  We have the most stable country in the world because of our current system.  We have had the same Constitution longer than any other country.  And I think that has been a good thing.

So, every election should require a majority of the votes to win.  This is why we don’t get more choices, independent candidates. third party candidates.  This means there need to be runoffs in any election where nobody has the majority of the votes. 

Or a cheaper and faster way to go is that, when there are more than two candidates, allow voters the option on their ballot to pick a second choice.  This will allow people to vote for whom they really want rather than the lesser of two evils, in some cases.

This one change will revitalize our elections and break the two-party control over our lives.  Which, of course, it is why it will never happen.  Unless people start talking about it and demanding it.  If you personally don’t have the time or energy to actively work for change, at least just talk about it.  And eventually people who can do the work for change will be more inclined to do the work. 

This one change can do more in a positive way for our country than possibly any other one thing, except, of course, for term limits.  But that’s for another article. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The bigger issue in the Christian baker case and why it affects all of us

The Bill of Rights lists some of the rights that our Founders considered to be natural rights.  These are rights that are not conferred by government but endowed to us by our Creator.  These rights are all things that we can do without government interference or are prohibitions on the government that might seek to limit those rights.  These also are rights that are foundational to what we are as a country and the reason for our existence.

The government is also free to create its own list of rights, but it cannot create new rights that supersede or infringe on the natural rights without destroying the very idea of our country.  Our natural rights would cease to be rights, and the Bill of Rights would no longer be a list of some of our rights but just a list of current laws subject to change, like our tax laws.

None of these natural rights puts requirements or restrictions on other people.  That is, I don’t have a right that depends on the government coercing the cooperation of other people to fulfill.  E.g. I don’t have a natural right to a home that must be paid for by other people.

The government could theoretically create a right of home ownership funded by the other members of the society.  What will inevitably happen as the government creates new rights is that conflicts will arise between the natural rights that our nation was founded on and the new rights created by our government.  If the new rights supersede the natural rights on which our nation was founded, then the foundation of our country has been destroyed, and our country is no longer the one that we had.  It would be no different if it had been taken over by a foreign power. 

In the case of the Christian baker who refused to make a cake in honor of a gay ‘marriage,’ the government-created right of not being offended requires another person to do something against his will.  Sometimes this case is portrayed as one of discrimination, but, no, the baker didn’t object to making the cake because the customers were gay, but because the cake celebrated something he considered to be immoral. 

Why are all these court cases involving Christians anyway?  Would there be a court case if the baker were Muslim?  Has anybody asked a Muslim baker if he would make a cake for a gay wedding?  Or a Jewish baker if he would make a cake in honor of Naziism?  Or a black baker for a KKK event?  Or a gay baker making a cake in honor of Focus on the Family, an organization commonly despised in the gay community for its efforts in opposing gay marriage?

Rather than focusing on whether a Christian wants an exemption from a law so that he can discriminate against a protected class of people, the real question is whether the government can create laws that supersede natural law and how that affects what our country is all about in the first place.  You make not like Christians or what the baker did, but once the precedent is set, you may find your own favorite right taken away or truncated next, as the government keeps expanding its role in our society.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thoughts on Immigration Reform

There are lessons here for those who have eyes to see.  While these lessons have broad applications throughout life, they are particularly relevant with regard to government and governmental policies.  Briefly they can be summarized like this:
1)         If you start a policy, it is very hard to end it.
2)         If you give people something, it soon becomes a right.  They will then expect it, and it will be very hard to take it away from them.
3)         The smallest thing will usually grow to something very large, and this is why you have to nip things in the bud before they take root. 
4)         If you create something, ask yourself where this could lead in 30,40,50 years, because it will go there.
It is illegal for a person to cross the border into another country without the consent of that country, assume an identity, and continue to live there.  Many people who do that have brought their families, including young children.  They are illegal as well, we get that.
The problem is that for years our government was not serious about stopping this.  At times it was even encouraged, though not openly.  And this was known to those who wanted to come to our country. 
Now many people are complaining about illegal immigrants, but they should have started complaining 20,30,40 years ago.  I know. It’s hard to regular people who have jobs and families to organize or be heard by the powers of government.  Now we have somebody in authority who wants to do something about it, but he is facing immense pressure from others in government to just go along with the program.
I would like to offer some thoughts in resolving this issue:
1)         President Trump is right to let DACA expire.  When it was first enacted, everybody knew that President Obama did not have the authority to enact it.  It was a law, and Presidents don’t make laws.  Congress does.  Congress is totally inept in solving any problem, so I am not hopeful they will get it right.
2)         The first and biggest problem is that Congress will pass a blanket amnesty.  The problem has gotten so big, they will want to try to solve it all at once.  Immigration used to be and needs again to be an individual process.  A country has to know who it is letting into its country.  And that, of course, implies the right of refusal.
3)         But first things first.  No program of legalization for illegal immigrants should even begin until a wall is built to secure the border.  Why?  Any kind of legalization will encourage more illegal immigration, because it will hold out hope for a future legalization.  But, secondly, President Reagan agreed to a blanket amnesty when he was promised that a wall would be built.  That was in 1985.  Get the wall first, or you will have this same problem ten years from now.
4)         I would give these children of illegal immigrants six months to apply for legal status.  But first we need to establish again the rules, or standards, for legal immigrants.  I have a government textbook from 1949 that lists over a dozen requirements, including literacy at least in their original language, healthy, normal as in not crazy or really stupid, good morals (by our standards, not theirs), and not likely to require government assistance.
If the line is too long, give them a letter of intent that will protect them deportation if they can show they meet these requirements.
5)         But what about their families?  If the children are still dependent on their parents, or even if they are not, should their parents be protected as well?
If families are so important, then by that reasoning we should never imprison somebody who has a family.  If somebody in a family is deported, they can decide if it is more important for the family to stay together or for some to remain in this country.
6)         Could this lead to citizenship?  I have no problem with that, but we need to think again about what citizenship really means.  You can’t have allegiances to two countries.  You also need to speak, read, and write English.  How can you be an informed, responsible citizen if you can’t read an American newspaper, watch the evening news, talk to all your neighbors, read our books, and listen to our politicians?
And they should also be required to learn about what made America what it is, not just a few facts about the branches of government.  They should be required to take and pass a college or high school level class on Western Civilization, taught in English, of course.  A citizenship loyalty oath to the United States doesn’t mean much if a person doesn’t understand the essential nature of our country.  This oath should also include a commitment to those values. 

Now that DACA is due to expire, Congress will work very hard, in a big hurry, to address as many immigration problems as they can, so allow me to offer some more thoughts on the subject.
1)         Birthright citizenship is a very important issue if we have any intention on controlling illegal immigration, and it is also being highly abused.  Children of foreign workers and people visiting our country do not automatically become American citizens if they are born here.  The American Indian didn’t even receive citizenship under birthright citizenship.  That required an act of Congress.  So why would we think that children who are born to people who are in our country illegally should be considered United States citizens? 
This must end, otherwise our country will still be encouraging illegal immigration.
2)         We need a pause on legal immigration until we get the jobs back.  We have way too many people who are not in the labor force who should be and who are on government assistance.
3)         We must end chain migration.  This is where legal immigrants are able to bring their extended families over here as well.  Most Western countries are encouraging immigration now, because their populations would shrink without getting more people into their countries.  Westerners are not having enough children to maintain their population, so the population grows older, and younger people are needed to help pay the social costs for these older people.
Bringing family members of immigrants into our country basically defeats the whole purpose for bringing these immigrants here in the first place.   Any benefit of a new taxpayer is generally offset by family members who are more likely to need some form of government assistance or government services, whether public schools or public health services. 
4)         Look after the interests of our own country first if you want to continue having a country that can help people in the first place.  We are told we are a nation of immigrants, but that was before multiculturalism and diversity.  We used to have a distinctly American culture that we were proud of and that we fully expected immigrants to embrace and assimilate to.  But now we don’t teach American culture, or at least Western Civilization, and we are told to embrace diversity.  They say that diversity enriches us, but they don’t say that it unites us, which is what our Constitution prioritizes.  And it’s not.
We are told we are a nation of immigrants, but we are not told that for most of our nation’s history, those immigrants came almost entirely from the same nations of immigrants who founded our country.  And that was by design.  It was always regarded as wise to maintain the same demographics in our country.  It was only recently historically that we were told that diversity is our strength. 
Now immigrants come almost entirely from what we used to call Third World countries.  And they will make our country more like those countries from which they came and less like the country they wanted to come to in the first place.

Immigration is not a right that people have to move to another country.  Houses have doors, and yards have fences, and countries have borders.  If you don’t want strangers pitching tents in your yard, walking into your house, helping themselves to the food in your refrigerator, then you might understand that countries exist for the general welfare of the people living there.  If people are free to enter them without restrictions, then countries cannot ensure the welfare of their people.  Immigration exists either to benefit a country or at least to try not to hurt it.

Any attempts to deal or resolve these issues in a manner that puts the interests of our country and its citizens over that of the people who want to come here are being labelled as racism, bigotry, phobias, hate, nativism, or nationalism.  And those who want to have a common sense immigration policy will need a better understanding what that entails if they want to withstand that verbal onslaught.
5)         Focus on the best and brightest immigrants.  We are told that we have a responsibility to help all the poor and refugees in the world, because we are so rich.  What they are not telling you is that we are no longer rich.  We cannot be rich if we are 20 trillion dollars in debt and we have to borrow money from other countries to pay our bills.

There are between 19 – 55 million refugees in the world today, depending on who’s counting, and most of the rest of the world is living below our standard of living.  Should we take them all, or are we allowed to choose between them?  Choosing some means rejecting others, so it would be hard to do that today without somebody being up in arms over how we made that choice. 
So let me suggest that if we choose the neediest first, then any aid we give to them will be a direct one to one transfer of money.  We feed them, we clothe them, we house them, and maybe they will get some kind of job that pays enough where we will actually receive some tax dollars from them to offset in some way what we have given to them.  Is that a selfish thing to consider?   You decide, but it does mean that we are only able to help the least amount of people.  There is a limit on how much money we have.  In fact, we have none, if we have to borrow money to do this, which we do.

If we chose people on the basis on how much these immigrants can contribute to our society, educated people who already know English perhaps with marketable skills and from a culture similar to ours, then their dependence on the wealth of others for survival is limited and what they can pay into our system in tax dollars is more substantial, which means that we can theoretically help far more people.  Our government is already so deeply in debt from being ‘compassionate’, it’s at the breaking point.  There is compassion, and there is stupid.  You don’t give your kid’s college money to feed, house, and clothe a homeless person.

Any debate on immigration will be emotional.  You will see and read stories about real people.  OK, we help create this problem.  But we must not be lured into trying to do too much where we end up doing something stupid, like giving things to a million people who you don’t know who they are, where you are spending money you don’t have (i.e. borrowing) and can never pay back, and you give up things that don’t belong to you.  Governments do this when they spend your money, give things to people and send you the bill, or give away your children’s future for their political gain.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A parent’s concerns about the issue of transgenderism and public schools

I know someone who is a teacher in middle school, and they plan on introducing some major changes due to the issue transgenderism.  He asked me to write some thoughts about it without appealing to religion as an authority.

First of all, I must admit I am confused about what exactly transgenderism is.  Gender has always been about biological differences in humans and animals that are easily seen from even before birth and continue throughout a person’s life.  There are occasionally people born who have characteristics of both sexes, or genders, and we call that anomalies.  They exist, they are rare, and, while not life threatening, we consider them mistakes in nature.  We say that something went wrong.
Now if we want to change the meaning of the word ‘gender’ to something subjective, I suppose we could.  I’m not sure if we take a vote on that, or wait until a dictionary company decides that for us.  

But we are still left with two sexes.  And they are different.  Even elite athletes divide athletic competition by sex.  The best female tennis players in the world still play on courts smaller in area than the men and play 2 out of 3 instead of 3 out of 5.  All records are kept separately by sexes.

I am confused by what it means that a person identifies with the opposite sex.  Regardless of what the person thinks, the body will continue to grow and develop in the same way it started to.  Girls will still grow breasts, have menstrual cycles, and, if everything continues to work right, be able to grow babies inside of them.  And every boy, whether he considers himself to be a boy or not, will develop the ability to fertilize the eggs a woman produces, and together a baby is created.

I am a white male of German, Scottish, English, Irish descent.  Am I able to choose my race, my ethnicity, or any other physical characteristic merely because I decide to do so?  If I decide to identify with being black, would anyone say that I am now black?  But what has changed and what should I expect to change?

If I say that I now identify as a woman, what does that even mean?  I may dress like a woman, because I can see how they dress.  But how can I say that I know how a woman thinks or whether I can change how I think to what a woman thinks? 

We have been hearing a lot about how differences between men and women are simply societal constructs, that basically there are no real inherent differences.  So why would a person want to change their gender?  What are they changing?  The same people who are saying that these differences are constructs are the ones who are encouraging this fluidity of genders.  But that robs it of all meaning.

But the bigger question here is the role of the public schools in these issues.

Now the way life is set up, whether you believe in a God who created it or whether we all evolved through random mutations, the fact remains that children are born through the union of two people, each of a different gender, or sex.  Regardless of their individual preferences, the genders of their birth are the determining factor on whether a child is born.

And children are born as children.  They have to be taught almost everything, from how to use the potty to how not to kill yourself when walking around the house.  Children also have to be taught how to live.

If a child is not taught good hygienic habits, how to eat right, how to share and interact with people, the importance of exercise, children will grow up dirty, smelly, rude, selfish, fat, and unhealthy.  They need constant guidance in every aspect of their lives.  And if you have kids of your own, you know you don’t rest easy until your kids are married to a good person and they have good jobs, and then you can breathe a little easier.  If you see them on a path that leads to problems, you try to show them a better way.

Schools are a part of that process.  Transgender people have suicide attempt rates 5 times higher than the general population.  You try to guide our kids with regards to eating, smoking, drinking, and drugs, hoping to steer them away from unhealthy and dangerous behavior patterns.  Transgenderism is a risky lifestyle.  Are you afraid to talk about this? 

And how will this affect the rest of a child’s school experience?  Will children use washrooms and locker rooms according to their perceived identities?  You don’t see any problems here?  Regardless of how a person perceives themselves, they still look like they did before on the outside.

And what about sports activities?  You don’t see any problems with a girl competing against boys or a boy competing against girts?  I can think of a few.

And how is what you are doing preparing these kids for life?  Once they leave school, they will no longer have people keeping a close eye on everything that is going on to protect them, to be sure that everyone uses the right pronouns, and treats them with courtesy.  I dare say you are relegating them to the fringes of society, to sub-cultures, away from the regular flow of life.  Is this what we want for our children?

Just like you talk about the dangers of drugs, obesity, drinking, you need to have frank discussions about a lifestyle that will inevitably lead to a lot of heartache and pain.  Our schools are supposed to help kids from going there. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Rethinking Affirmative Action and Racism

There has been a lot of very emotional talk and action in our country lately about racism.  In the hysteria, I think the heated emotions have clouded some of our thinking.

Consider affirmative action.  Affirmative action was created to help black people whose ancestors were slaves in our country, because somehow something that ended 150 years ago still had permanent lingering effects on the ability of black people today to do well in life. 

Since then it has expanded to include women and every non-white person in the country, even those who came here long after slavery ended, except for certain Asian peoples who obviously don’t need help and whom nobody wants to talk about anyway.

Affirmative action is based on two presuppositions, which both of which I consider to be the very epitome of racism.

Affirmative action believes that white people are inherently racist, and that they all have oppressed all non-white people forever and still do.  So I am a racist?  Because I am white?  Aren’t we constantly lectured about how not all Muslims are violent, and not all women want to have children, and so on.  Affirmative action insults me as a white person and just because I am a white person.  But, no, I am not going to say that I am offended.

Then, at the same time, affirmative action assumes that every non-white person and every women needs government help, subsidies, set-asides, hiring goals, admission goals to be able to get ahead in life.  Forget white supremacists.  Your very affirmative action programs make their case for them.  If everybody in the country except white males needs help, then you are saying the same things that those whites believe.

To me, you can’t have it both ways.  You can’t condemn white people for being racists, and you can’t condemn white supremacists, while at the same time you insist that everybody else needs help to succeed in life.

Trusting Science: a letter to a newspaper

Your editorial [August 21] makes the case that we should trust science more, because it can accurately give all the facts about a solar eclipse.

I see three kinds of science.  Maybe there are more
Science is best when it does what it originally was used for: observing and measuring things.  Under the influence of Christian theology in the West, people saw that nature exists apart from God and revealed the glory of God.  So they began to study it for its own sake and could soon describe laws of nature.

A second kind of science gathers raw data, like a birth here, a death there, a disease here, a temperature there.  It is then up to the scientist to look for patterns, trends, causes, relationships between all the various pieces of information. One big problem here is that he never knows if he has all the relevant and necessary information to make the right conclusions. 

One example here is world temperatures.  Prior to the invention of satellites, determining something like average world temperatures can hardly be accurate, especially when temperatures are calculated to within one to two degrees, and then conclusions are drawn about the differences.

The third kind of science has to do with origins, like the origin of the universe, of life, and of human beings.  Science assumes that every event has or had a natural cause.  This means that even if the evidence regarding the origin of the world or of life pointed to a Supreme Being who created it, science would not even consider it.  The only answers it will accept are natural ones.

Or, in other words, science is not interested in looking for the truth about the world, but it only wants explanations that fit within its presuppositions.  But then it acts like its answers are the final answers.

So my trust in science directly corresponds to what it is trying to do.

Friday, June 16, 2017

letter to my state representatives

Hi Laura, Daniel

Laura, you sent me an email regarding some open meetings on updates from Springfield.  It’s been a while since I wrote either of you, so I thought it is time that I do.  A joint letter makes sense, since you both are my representatives in Springfield.

Daniel, you are running for governor, and I wish you well.  I am glad that you are, because it shows that you want to do more for the state than your current position allows.  I would do the same thing, if I were a state senator.

Let me be very frank, even blunt, in my comments.  I am angry with the entire political system in Illinois.  The problems have been here long before either of you went to Springfield.  So I blame your predecessors, but now that you are there, you have to decide what the real problems are and how and if you really want to tackle them. 

The most serious problem in Illinois is the government pension plans and the state Constitution that protects them.  The Constitution needs to be changed, allowing pension plans to be changed, but nobody wants to even talk about it.  I write letters to the newspapers.  Silence.  I write letters to politicians.  Nothing. 

The state is bankrupt, and this is the reason.  The Democrats don’t care about paying the bills, balancing the budget, bond ratings, nothing.  The only things they care about are raising the state income tax and getting a progressive income tax.  If they get these things, they can die happy. 

Me, I am taxed out.  A few years ago while doing my taxes, I noticed that taxes took one half of my gross income.  And that’s not counting sales taxes, fees on utilities, and all the other myriad of ways that the government confiscates my money to spend in irresponsible ways. 

I started collecting a pension from my union a few years ago.  After what they take out for taxes, it’s under $600 a month.  No wonder I’m still working.  Politicians find the temptation to use public money for their own interests too strong to do the right thing with all that responsibility.

If you don’t change the State Constitution, the state is done.  If you don’t change the State Constitution, nothing else you do will really matter.  You will be spending borrowed money that will never get paid back.  And we will be spending billions of dollars just on interest payments.  That’s a waste of money that we entrust you to spend wisely.

The second biggest problem in our state is the size of our government.  We have more agencies than any other state in the country, and it’s not even close.  That shows that our elected leaders have no responsibility in spending our money.  They are out for themselves.  Making friends and building their political bases. 

A third significant problem, I don’t know how big it really is, but if it is typical for other municipalities, then it is a very significant problem.  Schools take up about 2/3 of our property taxes.  Property taxes are driving people from their homes, especially older people.  Some years back, I was out of work, and I realized the unfairness and stupidity of taxing people on what they own, which has no relation to their ability to pay huge taxes on it.

Several years ago, when the Chicago Public Schools was going through its annual financial mess, I found that at that time CPS had about 50,000 employees and only 15,000 of them were teachers.  I suggested they fire everybody but the teachers and the janitors.  I have no doubt the students and taxpayers would both be far better off.  Another example of the state just spending money first and then expecting people to cough up the money to pay for all these things.

Maybe I shouldn’t rank these problems.  Number one is definitely number one.  Another major problem is gerrymandering.  People who draw up legislative boundaries should not have demographic information when they are doing their work, especially about voting patterns.  All they need to know is where people live and geographic boundaries.  Communities should not be divided in drawing maps.  It’s probably best for computers to do the job, but they should have only the barest of information. 

Some will argue that you need to draw districts that have minority majority populations, as this is the only way to ensure a minority representative.  But that’s what people do when they want to minimize a group’s representation: put as many of them as possible into as few districts as possible.  Better to have sizable minority populations in many districts rather than a majority population in a few. 

The only real way to avoid mischief is to draw maps blindly.

I could go on, say, with term limits, but if you try to do too much, you probably won’t be able to do anything.

I wish you both well. 

Larry Craig

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Time to Do Something [an article for Christians]

A lot of Christians see our country in serious need, and they don’t see the answer in politics or Presidents.  They believe God has to do something, and they are praying for a miracle.

But when you look at the history of revivals or miracles, they are always identified with people.  The United States has had revivals before, and they all started with the work of people, like Jonathan Edwards, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, and others. 

In the Bible, Jonathan delivered Israel, when he took his armorbearer and went the two of them to pick a fight with the Philistines.  The Israelites were stalemated for 40 days, intimidated by Goliath’s challenges, until a shepherd boy, David, said, I’ll go.  I’ll kill the Philistine.  Jesus fed 5,000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread, but someone had to give Jesus his lunch. 

Revivals and miracles can also be associated with particular problems.  I read recently of the revival under George Whitefield, and then the problem was infant baptism.  The Church had been relying on its people having been baptized as infants and didn’t press people for their personal commitments to Christ as they got older.

The big problem that defines our country and Western Civilization today is secularism.  And I believe this is the issue that the Church needs to confront and the one frankly that God will use to bring the revival we have been praying for.  This is the issue where the Church can confront society peacefully but forcefully, where its message will become the talk of society, from news shows, talk shows, social media, and the person on the street.

Secularism puts all religions in the box of private opinions like your taste in movies or music, your favorite ice cream.  There are no right or wrong religions; they are just opinions on things that are not relevant to the workings of society.  And they certainly don’t have any place in public life.  One is as good as another, so just don’t try to impose yours on anyone else.

Secularism is essentially atheism, but it prefers to say that it values and respects religion.  All religions.  Which really means no religion, because every religion believes that it is the truth, the truth about life and reality.  They have very little in common, if you actually do the work as to what they believe and how they affect life.  So to say that you respect all religions means that what they teach is inconsequential in that it isn’t really true.

Secularism likes to point to our First Amendment as touting freedom of religion, as if our Founders didn’t really care what religion anybody believed in, like they were all equal and one is as good as another.  This is all historical revisionism, where when people don’t know the history, modern political figures alter the narrative to fit their agenda, and people learn to accept this new version of their history as true.

The facts are that the Declaration of Independence says that our rights come from our Creator, so atheism is incompatible with the American Spirit.  If there is no God, then our rights come from government, and that is precisely what our Founders fought a war over. 

The Constitution contains the words “in the year of our Lord.”  You can find sources that say that that phrase is not original, but you can see pictures of the original Constitution, and it is hard to imagine how this could have been added later.  The Constitution wasn’t done on a computer where you can easily move text around.  And that is a specifically Christian statement.

The First Congress had Bibles printed to be used in all the public schools.  And it was only in the early 1960s, that the court called supreme ruled that Bibles and prayer could not be a part of public schools, almost 200 years after our nation’s founding.  Nobody caught that for 200 years?  The same goes for public displays of the Ten Commandments.  Now all of a sudden, we are to believe that they are incompatible with our Constitution?

So how do we confront this secularism peacefully but forcefully, in love but with conviction, openly and publicly?

I believe the answer is by remembering the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.  Or, as Christian’s used to say, the Lord’s Day. 

For most of our nation’s history, stores were closed on Sundays in respect to God.  Now not only are they open on Sundays, but for most businesses, it is the busiest day of the week.  And when people shop on Sundays, people have to work in those places of business on that day to take care of these customers.  And in many cases, working on Sunday used to be voluntary at overtime pay, but now it is just another work day.  A day like any other. 

I think we underestimate how much value God puts on that seventh day of rest. 

Christians have long argued about “keeping the Sabbath.”  Some say it is only a Jewish responsibility, that it was just a part of God’s covenant with the Jewish people a long time ago.  But the idea of the Sabbath goes back to creation and Genesis.  The very existence of the seven day week throughout the world is testimony to the idea of the Sabbath that goes back to the very beginnings of human history. 

You can read the various attempts to explain the origins of the seven day week, but there is nothing in nature that makes a seven day week obvious or natural.  And they just don’t know how to explain it. 

I was stunned recently when I read Jeremiah 17 again, a passage I have read dozens of times before.  In verses 24-27, God told His people that if they had just kept the Sabbath, they would not undergo the judgement that He was bringing on their nation.  I know there are other verses in the book that show that this was not the only reason for the judgment, but this one issue alone was enough to avert the entire crisis. 

So what exactly am I asking for by remembering the Sabbath?
I am asking that Christians stop shopping on Sundays.  This would include going to restaurants, the movies, the library, gas stations, Walgreens, and even sporting events.  This is not a boycott, because it is only shifting your buying to another day.  Sporting events can be another story.  Kids have sports on Sundays.  And when the Christians stop playing on Sundays, somebody is going to take notice.  Then, of course, there are the professional sports where you have to miss church to go there. 

It’s time that Christians confronted the culture and said, “Enough.  We were wrong to sit by and let our country turn the Lord’s Day into an ordinary day.  The God of the Bible is God, and we are going to live our lives to honor Him.” 

I am asking that you pray about this.  If you agree with this, post it on Facebook.  Print it out and take it to church.  Show it to your pastor, and ask him to support it from the pulpit.  Take it to your small group; talk about it with your friends. 

We have been praying for years for God to do something.  I believe He is waiting for somebody to start doing something, and He will work through that.  And I believe this is that thing.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

stopping gun violence

A recent Sun-Times reader again called for the government to get rid of guns as the way to solve the high rate of gun violence in Chicago.  We are forgetting history when we do this. 

First of all, James Madison noted in the Federalist Papers that we were an “armed” people, which he regarded as a good thing and the only thing that prevented us from being ruled by a dictator.  And, secondly, John Adams said that our Constitution was only made for a moral and religious people. 

The Ten Commandments used to be the moral code for our nation.  It has only been in the last few decades that suddenly the display of the Commandments has been ruled unconstitutional after centuries of common use. 

Secularism and political correctness do not provide the moral fabric needed in a nation to provide domestic tranquility.  Those last words are taken from the preamble to our Constitution as part of defining the purposes of our government. 

Senate confirmation hearings and Democrats

A recent Sun-Times reader lamented that the Republicans seemed to be rushing on Donald Trump’s cabinet appointees, scheduling hearings for several nominees at every day and seemingly not waiting long enough for thorough background checks. 

I had just read about this where it said that this was somewhat rare for the Senate to do.   The most recent time it had done this was on President Obama’s first cabinet.  That was when the Democrats just got complete control over the House, Senate, and the Presidency. 

We should expect with some level of certainty that the Republicans will be a bit more, what’s the word, perhaps brazen in their dealings with Democrats for a time.  It has been observed that Democrats only talk about bipartisanship with they are in the minority.

Friday, January 13, 2017

fixing gerrymandering: a response to an editorial

The editorial in today’s Sun-Times reminded me of something I heard once about Democrats: they only believe in and talk about bipartisanship when they are the minority party.

The editorial was about gerrymandering, one of the greatest evils in our country today, though I haven’t yet been confident in the proposed ways that representative districts should be drawn.  Nobody seems to want a blind map.  They always want maps drawn to help or favor some group that needs help, and the meddling and mischief begin.

But the thing about the editorial that prompted me the most to write was this deep concern that the Republicans in most states would be drawing the maps the next time.  So somehow the Republicans apparently won the majority of the states’ legislative branches when the Democrats drew the districts. 

It was bad when the Democrats had the power to draw representative districts.  But now that the Republicans are going to do it, it’s so bad that we now have to stop it.