Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween

The weather is beginning to cool, the trees are gradually letting go of their leaves after displaying a breathtaking show of crimson and gold.  All around, there is beauty… if one will just take a moment to behold it.
That is, until your eyes fall upon the disembodied foot hanging from that mailbox over there…
Oh, yeah.  That “holiday”.  Halloween.  The festival of all things gross and evil.  Why do people celebrate these things?  I have no idea; I’ve never understood that.
What bothers me most, however – what I really don’t understand – is why churches have special programs to celebrate “Halloween”.  I really, really, don’t get it. What is the logic behind this practice?  Why do we try to baptize this festival of evil by getting the church involved?
We dress up our kids as witches and ghosts, give them skull shaped candy and, in short, celebrate death and evil and paganism…
… and then tell them that Jesus hates sin, that He died to redeem us from our sin, that witchcraft is wicked, and that Christ has overcome death?
Doesn’t work, people.
Don’t tell me that Halloween is just a neat chance for kids to dress up, that churches get involved to help avoid the danger of going to knock on strangers’ doors, and that it’s all a bunch of innocent fun.
That illusion may have been possible to believe in decades past, perhaps, when the blatantly evil side of Halloween wasn’t always so overt – but a simple glance at the Halloween decorations in Cracker Barrel or Walmart or any other store should convince anyone that this is not just a harmless, silly way to amuse the children.

Friday, October 4, 2013

America - World Police?

It seems to be a widely accepted notion, nowadays.  America, as a strong, powerful nation, is responsible for the well-being and security of other nations.  This is not merely the view of the liberals, but of conservatives as well.
While most Americans recently were strongly opposed to Obama attacking Syria, they seem to forget that much of Romney’s rhetoric was quite similar to Obama’s.  If Romney had won the last election, would he have responded differently to the situation?  I doubt it.  (Though I do think that so-called “conservative” Americans would have been far more likely to support him, the same way they supported Bush.)
“America has a proud history of strong, confident, principled global leadership—a history that has been written by patriots of both parties. That is America at its best….
[I]t is the responsibility of our President to use America’s great power to shape history—not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events….
The President [Obama] has failed to lead in Syria, where more than 30,000 men, women, and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the past 20 months. Violent extremists are flowing into the fight. Our ally Turkey has been attacked. And the conflict threatens stability in the region….
America can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. These are real achievements won at a high cost. But Al-Qaeda remains a strong force in Yemen and Somalia, in Libya and other parts of North Africa, in Iraq, and now in Syria. And other extremists have gained ground across the region. Drones and the modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight, but they are no substitute for a national security strategy for the Middle East….
The greater tragedy of it all is that we are missing an historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the Middle East—friends who are fighting for their own futures against the very same violent extremists, and evil tyrants, and angry mobs who seek to harm us. Unfortunately, so many of these people who could be our friends feel that our President is indifferent to their quest for freedom and dignity. As one Syrian woman put it, “We will not forget that you forgot about us.”
It is time to change course in the Middle East. That course should be organized around these bedrock principles: America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them… no enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them… and no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America’s capability to back up our words.”
-excerpts from Mitt Romney’s speech on foreign policy (August 2012)
This is not only true among those who are “establishment Republicans” but also among the Tea Party groups.  There were many who liked everything about Ron Paul “except his foreign policy”.  Non-interventionalism is not a common idea nowadays, and few seem to embrace it consistently.
“A large void in ethical world leadership has been present for quite a while, and this is a perfect time for the United States to step forward and offer effective, morally consistent policies unconstrained by political correctness.  If a bully faction or bully nation is beating up on those with whom it disagrees or simply doesn’t like, we should immediately stop them with brutal force, if necessary, because it is the right thing to do.  If that were done consistently, I guarantee that such incidents would cease almost immediately.” -Ben CarsonAmerica the Beautiful
We are so willing to support war, nowadays.  We seem to view it through rose-colored glasses, feeling that to protest would be, somehow, un-patriotic, that we would become some sort of modern-day Benedict Arnold if we dare question whether or not we are involved in a just war.
Yet, it is essential that we do question.  If we truly do support our troops, it is our duty to ensure that they are not being sent to die for no reason.  We need to make sure that they fight only for things which are worth fighting for, that they do not enter a war which they have no business entering.  Supporting our troops does not mean that we cheer when they are sent to fight and die in unconstitutional wars.
I know the protests.  But the evil dictators!  Who will suppress them?  Who will step in to quash their tyrannical regimes if we do not? 
But is that the job of civil government?  To continually become involved in the conflicts of other nations, declaring ourselves to be the policemen of planet earth?  On July 4, 1821, John Quincy Adams answered that question clearly:
“And now, friends and countrymen, if the wise and learned philosophers of the elder world, the first observers of nutation and aberration, the discoverers of maddening ether and invisible planets, the inventors of Congreve rockets and Shrapnel shells, should find their hearts disposed to enquire what has America done for the benefit of mankind?
“Let our answer be this: America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government. America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right.
“Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.
“She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….
“Her glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of mind. She has a spear and a shield; but the motto upon her shield is Freedom, Independence, Peace.”

To go into other counties in the world and act as the world police is not a task given to the civil government. No matter how nasty their bullies and tyrants, we should not be getting involved.  World police? This was not a principle which our founding fathers embraced, and I think I can state with confidence that they would be utterly horrified at the wars which America has willingly entangled herself in during the last several decades.
As Ron Paul stated, “Legitimate use of violence can only be that which is required in self-defense.”  This is a completely Biblical principle.  God has not appointed us to be policeman, judge, jury, and executioner of those who are acting wickedly in other nations.
Thomas Jefferson encouraged “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
“We the people” set up our Constitutional republic with a limited civil government to rule us.  We did not give – could not have given – it the authority to judge other nations, other citizens, other governments.
“How did we win the election in the year 2000? We talked about a humble foreign policy: No nation-building; don’t police the world. That’s conservative, it’s Republican, it’s pro-American – it follows the founding fathers. And, besides, it follows the Constitution.”
-Ron Paul