Category Archives: Politics

My Two Pesos Worth

The weather this Christmas Eve morning here in North Texas was about 40 degrees with drizzle and sleet. I’m training for another marathon in February so I was out running my long training run this morning as I always do on Saturday or Sunday each week. Even though it’s cold and rainy, I have to get some milage in or it sets me back too far in my training.

As I was out running in the cold drizzle this morning I ran through a new neighborhood under construction. Passing by two homes under construction, I saw they both were full of workers. As is usual here in Texas, the workers were all Latino.

I know there is racism of all kinds all over the world, but as you would expect, here in Texas we get more than our fair share of bigotry toward “Meskins”. It comes in all varieties, but goes something along the lines of “a bunch of lazy illegal immigrants that do nothing more than mooch off the government”.

As I ran through the neighborhood looking at those men working in the cold drizzle on a day that most people have off, I couldn’t help but get a little angry over the current attitude in our country towards immigration. This example I saw this morning of those men working hard on a day they would have rather been off is only one example.

When you go through these construction areas these immigrant workers are there working early and typically work till dark. They work in the cold, the extreme heat, they work in dangerous jobs, and they work for relatively low pay.

I had read an article in the Seattle Times recently about the fruit orchards in Eastern Washington. Because of the crackdown this past year along the border, there aren’t as many migrant workers coming north to pick fruit. The fruit was literally rotting on the trees.

The growers were offering jobs to local American workers for $10.50 per hour. Because of the recent economic problems in the US, they were getting quite a few Americans showing up to work. However, almost NONE of them would work more than a day. The article stated the biggest thing that made them quit was having to climb ladders with heavy sacks full of fruit on their backs. The growers were having to make due with the few immigrants that made it north and the Americans that were working for a day at a time.

I don’t know how I feel about illegal immigration. After all, it is the official law of our land and I believe we should obey the law. However, there is absolutely no way any honest thinking person can deny we aren’t all benefiting from a workforce willing to work as hard as the Latin American immigrants for the pay they work for.

Here in North Texas we benefit from relatively low cost housing. Food in this country is cheap compared to the rest of the world. Local restaurants can’t keep consistent help, but by turning to immigrant labor to fill these positions we have a good labor force of long-term adult workers instead of attitude-wielding teenagers with very little work ethic. These and more benefits can be contributed directly to low-cost immigrant labor.

Again, illegal immigration is just that, illegal. I agree we can’t allow a free flow across our borders. Any nation that allows that forfeits a certain level of it’s sovereignty.

However, we need to all think about this: the next time some of us might be tempted to complain about those “lazy wetbacks”, consider the hard labor of those construction workers out in the cold rain, or the kitchen workers over the hot grills in our restaurants, or the the farm labor picking our fruit and milking our cows. All for long hours and low wages. These workers by and large are thankful for the work and thankful for the ability to support their families.

I’m not as opinionated as I used to be. As I get older things aren’t as black and white. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have a lot of regrets. Over time God has allowed me the grace to view people more as individuals with the same basic hopes and dreams I have.

Whatever your opinion may be on illegal immigration, before forming your opinion put yourself in their shoes. How far would you go to have a better life for your family? Would you, as a man, be willing to work hard labor to feed and clothe them? Would you consider leaving where you now live and moving to a strange place to give our kids a chance at good schools and a better opportunity?

I would bet if you honestly examine yourself, you would probably be willing to do some extraordinary things to care for the ones you love. Maybe we should show others the grace they may need for doing what they feel they have to do.

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Rose Colored Glasses

As I was in McDonald’s this morning for our weekly “Daddy-Daughter” breakfast, I noticed on the TV overhead that New York had become the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Since New York is the largest state so far to allow for same sex-marriages, the new law’s supporters were confident this is now a sign that same-sex marriage laws would begin to sweep the nation.

While there are other states that have adopted same-sex marriage laws, their acceptance in those states has been anything other than easy, California’s law, for instance, has been tied up in court since 2008 after a huge backlash from voters. While same-sex marriage supporters may have newly energized hope that these laws will sweep the nation, it remains to be seen whether this will be the case. While I doubt that it will be a tide that sweeps the nation, I do feel America will gradually come to accept same-sex marriage much like much of Europe has.

For quite some time now I’ve disagreed with the myth that America was founded as a Christian nation. I’ve also disagreed that we’re currently a Christian nation, in spite of what the polls may say. America is largely a pagan nation with pagan beliefs.The myth that we are a christian nation grew largely out of the de-segregation of the South and gained notoriety during the years before Ronald Reagan was elected president. This “Take back America for God” myth was popularized by Jerry Falwell and the Moral majority.

Yes, the name “God” was used throughout the original writings of our founding fathers of this country and there is no doubt that most of them believed in a “higher power”. But even a precursory reading of history books make it clear that the founding of this nation had absolutely nothing to do with freedom of religion but had everything to do with freedom to be able to physically prosper as we pleased. This “Christian Nation” myth didn’t come along till later with the fear of godless communism sweeping the world.

I’ve posted this before, but I’ll post it again. For everyone, especially Christians, who still insist on believing that America is or ever was a Christian nation, I strongly, highly, and insistently recommend the book UnChristian America: Living with Faith in a Nation That Was Never Under God by a man named Michael Babcock. Dr. Babcock does an unbelievable job of defending the belief that America was never a Christian nation to begin with by laying the groundwork of the history of this nation’s founding and the beliefs of the leading thinkers influencing the beliefs of the movers and shakers of that time. He follows up by giving a detailed history of the “Religious Right” and how they came to wield political power in the Republican party.

It is my belief this book is a must read for every single American Christian today. If you allow it to, this book will change they way you think about what are the important issues within Christianity in America. Most of all, however, it will give you a newfound understanding that it is only the Gospel that can save and not our political system. Jesus never intended us to fight our battles through politics. We were only to preach the Gospel faithfully and expect persecution along the way.

See, I’ve read the end of the Book of Revelation. This world doesn’t ever get “won for Jesus”. It will get steadily worse and persecution of a small faithful band of believers will increase. Only the Second return of Jesus Christ will ever set this world right. Not our political power, but the right hand of Jesus.

It’s time Christians in America started acting like we believe what the bible has to say about this and got off our political “moral majority” high horses and started simply preaching God’s word simply.

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The Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil

There was a time in my life where I enjoyed politics. I kept up with what was going on in both US and Texas politics. I listened to most of the political talk shows on talk radio, read the newspapers frequently, and typically watched all presidential debates and speeches on television. I had several friends who were also political junkies at work, both conservative and liberal, and I enjoyed debating politics any chance I had.

After committing my life to Christ, that’s now all in the past.

The first year after becoming a Christian I poured myself into the Bible. Especially the New Testament. Within weeks of my salvation I couldn’t stand to listen to my talk shows. They actually made me ill. Suddenly they seemed racist, hateful, self promoting, and in all honesty not very “conservative”. In other words, I couldn’t make the conservative politics of the day align with what I was learning in God’s Word, the Bible.

Nevertheless, to this day I have remained a pretty faithful voter. For quite some time now, although I never was really “for” any candidate, there were certainly candidates I didn’t want in office. I was voting for the “lesser of two evils”.

Reading this article here on the Defending Contending blog, is there really such a thing as the “lesser of two evils”? Is it ever okay for a Christian to yoke themselves to one person over another simply because they only commit 20 sins a day while the other guy commits 100 per day? 

In God’s eyes isn’t sin still sin? to put it another way, is a candidate that supports abortion any better than one that lies? Is a candidate that commits adultery any better than one that supports gay marriage? Is any sort of political manipulation acceptable in order to get what you want? Is it ever okay in God’s eyes for a talk show host to mock the body features of a candidate’s wife? Is it okay in God’s eyes for a talk show host to obtain and use illegal prescription drugs while calling a political candidate of being a liar and theif?

I no longer consider myself Republican or Democrat or even any other political labels that are currently being affixed to voters these days. The older I get and the more understanding I have of God’s character as revealed in His Word, the Bible, the more I realize that there isn’t any political candidate that can align themselves with the Word of God and still remain a popular politician. Here’s why:

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18-19, ESV)

No political candidate can be my savior. He can’t be loved and adored by the majority of the population and practice his Christian faith. He can’t have his entire life scrutinized and still be adored by the media…..he would seem to weird.

Several years ago I used to attend a Wednesday evening Bible study at the church I attended. Before the study would start, several of the older people would sit around and talk about what the president was doing and what they had heard on the political talk shows of that day. It amazed me of the endorsements they were giving to politicians who were known unrepentant adulterers, liars, blasphemers, and crooks.

Although they would never admit that they considered these “conservative” politicians their saviors, you could never tell it by how worked up they became during the conversations. Whether they would admit it or not, they talked as if they could vote a certain candidate into office or a get a certain law passed, then everything in America would begin to align itself with godly values. In other words, their candidate would be their savior here on Earth.

So, just how far should a Christian become involved in politics? Take a look at this article link here on CNN regarding the Rev. Franklin Graham’s endorsement of Donald Trump during the upcoming presidential election. You all know Donald Trump, the purveyor of soft core porn, gambling, lust, greed and all the thing any good Christian should seek in a candidate.

Take a look at this article here also on Fox news about Donald Trump’s latest business venture in Atlantic City. I’ll post a little excerpt below to whet your whistle:

New Jersey’s casino regulations prohibit nudity and real or simulated sex acts in the gambling halls. To comply with that, Scores would have to partially cover its dancers in pasties and G-strings, unlike their totally nude counterparts in New York City, if it were to get approval to open inside the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. Their application has been pending for nearly a year, with no timetable set for a decision from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

So what business does any Christian ever have in supporting a person like Donald Trump? Is it really better to hate a president who supports abortion and gay marriage all the while we’re supporting a man who wants live sex shows in his casino? Or how ridiculous is it to support a Mormon man who believes Jesus (who is actually Michael the archangel) was the brother of Satan and they were conceived out of a sexual relationship “god” had on another planet? It it okay to support a guy like this simply because many of his moral values align with my Christian values?

I don’t know exactly what the answer is in regards to how far a Christian should engage themselves in politics. I’m still feeling out those boundaries myself. I do know, however, what God’s Word, the Bible, says on how I should conduct myself in regards to the world. I know I am not to be unequally yoked to the world or its people because we’re merely sojourners here. This earth is not our home. So, are we to be so emotionally involved with something that doesn’t belong to us anyway?

Are we really capable of choosing the “lesser of two evils” wisely? 

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I Know What I’m Doing, Trust Me

How many times have we heard those words out of people we’ve known? How many times have they turned out to be a bunch of nonsense? People let us down. People are sinners by nature and even though they may have the best intentions, they let us down. At the core level, people can’t be trusted fully. Only One can be trusted to be Faithful and True 100% all the time. That’s God.

So when we read something in God’s word, the Bible, whose meaning is pretty plain, why can’t we trust what He says to be true? Or why can’t we come to believe that a command in scripture is just that, a command? That no matter how we try to rationalize something and filter an event in our lives through our cultural context, God’s word is still true 100% of the time. God cannot lie.

So when we see something like this:

13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1-7, ESV)

or this:

2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:1-3, ESV)

Why is it so difficult for American Christians to understand that these very words from God are to be trusted and obeyed?

This past couple of days, with the killing of Osama bin Laden, I’ve seen some of the most disgusting public displays of  un-Christian behavior from some our Christian acquaintances. Behavior that flies directly in the face of what these verses command above.

We, as Christians, are first citizens of Heaven and second citizens of the United States. Our loyalty is to the God of Heaven and Earth first and the USA second. We are representatives of Jesus Christ here on earth first and patriotic Americans second.

When God commands us to respect our leaders, pray for our leaders, and quietly obey our leaders (short of violating scripture), He means just that. God doesn’t mean for us to slander our president, to mock him, or even to openly stir up rebellion against him.

Now I know some may say “So we were to have done just what Hitler said without ever saying a word”?……….Uh, no……..that’s not what these verses imply at all. If this is difficult to be rationally understood, then that might just be where the problem lies.

I’m certainly not advocating that we’re never to speak our opinions nor stand up against injustice. I’m also not saying we aren’t to pray to God for godly leadership. What I am saying is we aren’t to ever mock our president, make fun of his wife, call him names, insult his intelligence,……..or……most of all…….his race. That’s nothing but an arrogant stance before God on our part and is in direct disobedience to the explicit commands of scripture.

The most perfect human being ever created (not including Jesus) falls so far short, is full of sin and rebellion to God, and fails God’s standard every single day. This “perfect” human’s righteousness would be considered nothing more than “filthy rags” before God. Who are we to open our mouths only for the purposes of mocking or insulting our leaders, who are far from perfect, and who have been placed there by God?

Yes, that’s what I said. Barak Hussein Obama has been placed there by God, whether you like it or not. Satan didn’t place him there as president, God did. And guess what……Hilary Clinton was placed in her position also.

So, as a Christian, the thing to do is take God at His word and pray for our leaders and show them respect. Stop grumbling and complaining openly and publicly about our leadership and show humility and respect. Grumbling and complaining about our leadership is nothing more than grumbling and complaining about God’s choice for this day and time in our lives.

You never know, God just might be trying to teach us something. Maybe a little humility?

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Let God Sort ’em Out

I didn’t really want to do another post on the death penalty or anything related to it. But it seems to me that stories about people being freed after serving long sentences for crimes they didn’t commit have been popping up a lot. One article in particular about a man in Texas being freed after 30 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit caught my attention yesterday.

A little background: In my past I was a hard-core death penalty supporter.  Even now, I can’t say I am totally against it, if it’s administered perfectly without error. Which, of course, I can’t see how it could possibly be. As I’ve stated in these articles here and here, my mind began to change after reading the John Grisham book, The Innocent Man.

I was a little familiar with the subject of John Grisham’s book before he wrote on it, but after I knew more about the facts it made my blood boil how people could be so heartless as to fry a man just because he was a “freak” without having a shred of evidence.

Actually, it scared me.

I know what the Word of God says:

Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. (Exodus 23:6-8 NIV)

Regardless of my opinion on whether a man deserves death or not, and whether or not God gives governments that power, His word declares an innocent man isn’t to be put to death, nor are we to entertain false charges against anyone. Period.

A couple of recent articles in Texas Monthly Magazine about a man named Anthony Graves merely cements my viewpoint on this.

Anthony Graves was a man convicted of a gruesome murder and burning of the victims in Somerville, Texas about 20 years ago. His conviction came in spite of the actual murderer, Robert Carter, denying Anthony Graves had anything to do with it. Additionally, Anthony Graves had a good alibi complete with witnesses.

It’s a disgusting tale of ignorant police work, heartless investigation practices, and a desire merely to close a murder case at any cost. Even if that cost was an innocent man’s life. The worst of all is it’s a tale of district attorneys looking to make a name for themselves on the backs of innocent, poor, uneducated, and mostly minority men. A situation that is all too common in Texas these days.

 The first article can be read here and the second article, the one about him being freed, can be read here. Additionally an interview with Anthony Graves can be watched here.

To all who are death penalty supporters, again I would suggest you do a little research. Start with my article here and the links contained in it. Read the John Grisham book The Innocent Man. Move on to the David Dow book An Autobiography Of An Execution. Perform Google searches on how many innocent people have been freed because of DNA or other evidence.

Take a look at the total unreliability of eyewitness evidence and especially confessions from “criminals” who are subjected to hours and hours of questioning while being hungry, thirsty, and sleep deprived (a common interrogation tactic in many police departments). Over and over again it’s being proved people will confess to anything after being interrogated in this manner, even crimes they didn’t commit.

You’ll be amazed at what you’ll uncover.

Most of all, I appeal to my fellow Christians. We need to hop off the conservative bandwagon and stop parroting what so many of our conservative politicians are advocating and be people who are driven by the Word of God.

We need to see that true justice is done. True justice…..that no innocent man is put to death or wrongly incarcerated for lengthy prison sentences.

Please, my fellow Christians, pray about this…..search it out……turn every stone over and examine them….please be assured you’re on the side of true justice.

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But, But, I’m So Tired of Cake!

As I was driving to the community college after work to pick up my daughter, Emily, I came up behind a pickup truck with a sign on it that I’ve actually seen numerous times. The sign read: “Work hard, millions on welfare are depending on you“.

Though I’m sure there are people from both sides of the political camps that would express similar beliefs as the sign I saw on the pickup truck, I believe one could agree that odds are this guy would consider himself “conservative”.

It’s at this point, and other issues similar to the before mentioned sign, that I have such a difficult time reconciling my faith with the political parties of today.

As most would agree, evangelical Christians tend to align themselves with the politicians and political beliefs that are considered “conservative” and “Republican”. I would also dare to say most of the evangelical Christians aligning with such politics and politicians that would espouse such beliefs as the sign I saw on the back of the truck.

The thing about being Christian, though, is that we aren’t to align ourselves with the politicians and their slogans. We align ourselves with the truth of scripture. Alone.

And the truth is, while there are certainly those in our society that are fully capable of working and supporting themselves that are actually taking a free ride, there are literally millions more that can’t. As Christians we aren’t to judge why the 20 something unwed mom became pregnant and then cast her aside.

What’s done is done. She’s pregnant and the kid is on the way. It not only is destructive to the future of our society to let her flounder, it certainly isn’t the way Jesus would want us, as the richest blessed nation on the planet, to treat those who are least capable of defending themselves.

All across this country today there are broken homes. A divorced mom with no skills that will allow here to support her kids. Families abandoned by fathers. Moms addicted to drugs while her kids wallow in filth with nothing to eat. Yes, it’s caused by their sin. Their selfishness, lust, pervision………….The very same things you have been forgiven of. The very same things that even now lurk in the dark corners of your heart.

Read the Old Testament prophets some time and ponder why God judged the nation of Israel. One of the main reasons is the way Israel was treating its poor while the rich wallowed in oppulence……just in case the hair is beginning to raise on the back of your red neck.

Far too many Christians sing “Gawd bless Amerca” and wave “Old Glory” while forgetting why God blessed America….or any nation or individual for that matter. Our blessings aren’t to be hoarded and spent on feeding our lusts. They’re to be used to share with others.

Don’t believe me, fellow Christian? It’s in the Bible, look it up.

As Christians, we need to stop aligning ourselves with the politics of today. Stop aligning ourselves with the people sticking slogans on the rear windows of their pickup trucks. It’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ that’s the power unto salvation, not the latest campaign slogan of a politician.

Meanwhile we’re commanded to help the poor. So, while I admit our government makes a poor administer of feeding the poor, the need to care for the poor is a command of scripture nonetheless.

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It’s All In The Execution

When I was in 11th grade, I had an American history teacher that was, for lack of a better word,  “liberal”. As he taught, he always felt the need to interject his viewpoint on whether he agreed with what was being taught or not.

There was a time once when he expressed his opinion on the death penalty in Texas, and of course he disagreed with it. I stood up and argued, rather heatedly, with him in front of the class. It went on for quite a while. I wasn’t going to let that one slip by.

I had been a good student, rarely ever getting less than an A on assignments. But when my final grade came out in the summer, I was given a 70. Barely passing. While I can’t prove it, I certainly feel my little hissy over the death penalty hindered my grade.

I was always a proponent of the death penalty and at times even joked about being the one who would gladly “flip the switch”.

My views have changed somewhat. I don’t know exactly what God’s mind is on the death penalty (in light of the New Testament, of course). I’m still a little unsure whether a person who is guilty deserves to die for taking the life of another. After all, the Apostle Paul would have been sentenced to die in the state of Texas. 

I do know, as I’ve written here before, that we are not to put an innocent man to death. At all. Ever. It’s now my opinion that any system that would allow it needs to be abolished.

And most of all, how dare any Christian support wholeheartedly any system of justice that would allow an innocent man to be put to death and then shrug your shoulders and say “Oh well, you can’t be perfect all the time”.

I just finished reading the book titled “An Autobiography of an Execution” written by David R. Dow. He’s a death penalty lawyer in Houston, Texas writing about his experiences representing over one hundred people convicted of the death penalty in Texas.

While the book is largely David Dow’s viewpoint, it doesn’t take hardly any research to know much of what he is saying happens in every death penalty case. The sad point is, it ought to turn your stomach. His account of inept attorneys, indifferent judges, an electorate that is largely ignorant of the death penalty process (of which I was one), and just the system in general ought to get the attention of everyone, but especially Christians.

After reading The Innocent Man by John Grisham (a non-fiction account of several innocent people on death row in Oklahoma) and now this one by David Dow, and considering most of all the words of God……

6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. (Exodus 23:6-8 NIV)

We need to take a long hard look at just what justice is. What God says justice is. You see, whether it makes you uncomfortable or not, God loves everyone the same, even murderers. And in our thirst for revenge I do know that at the very least God said that we had better see that even a murderer receives justice.

Give both books a read. It just might change you forever.

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