Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Israel Stupid-- Not America

During the political debates the question of Iran has been raised several times.  The foreign policy of Ron Paul has been brought into question by all of the candidates. "Ron Paul would be a dangerous president," Perry said. "He would have us ignore all of the warning signs of another brutal dictator who wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. I won't. He would wait until one of our cities is wiped off of the map until he reacted. I won't wait."

As for Paul, Bachmann criticized him as misguided about foreign threats to U.S. interests.

Mitt Romney said, "The greatest threat that Israel faces and frankly the greatest threat the world faces is a nuclear Iran," he said. "One of the people running for president thinks it's OK for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I don't. I don't trust the ayatollahs. I don't trust Ahmadinejad. I don't trust those who backed Hamas and Hezbollah. I'm concerned that fissile material ultimately will find its way into the hands of terrorists and ultimately create mayhem in the world."

Gingrich said during a radio interview, according to National Journal. “He doesn’t want to blame the bad guys. … He dismisses the danger of an Iranian nuclear weapon and seems to be indifferent to the idea that Israel could be wiped out.

Huntsman has said the US and Israel will have to consider the military option to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, because economic sanctions won't be enough.

Who will a war with Iran really help? America or Israel?  Did we really secure democracy in Iraq?  How close to democracy is Afghanistan one year or ten more? Look at those who pushed us into a war with Iraq using the same rationale to go to war with Iran-weapons of mass destruction.  We don’t need another war to protect the interest of Israel.

Let’s face it people can’t help noticing that a pro-Israel faction has entered into the Republican Conservative language.  No one wants to say what is evident in all the media, the Republican leadership and the Republican candidates—the Neoconservatives are running this election.  To talk about the hidden agenda of these “newly made conservative” puts a person in line to be called a bigot, anti-Sematic or unpatriotic.  They have no problem pursuing their goals even at the expense of the truly Constitutional candidate.  They have influenced US foreign policy in the direction of protecting Israel.

Don’t get me wrong I understand the importance of Israel not only to the Neoconservatives but to the Christians who strongly support Israel.  I am not an enemy of Israel, I don’t hate Jews nor do I want to see the destruction of Israel.  If those who claim to be such supporters of Israel would allow Israel to be the sovereign nation it was established to be, they would solve their neighboring problems without the loss of American lives.  If we are such a friend to Israel why do we keep arming their enemies?  We need to stop allowing the elite and powerful from manipulating our country into wars that weaken us as a nation.  We need to fully understand that those who are forcing us into these wars have an agenda that is not in the best interest of our country.

 What I find frightening is that many of the Neoconservative’s who are Jewish and strong supporters of the Israeli government have allied themselves with Christians whose “love” for Israel comes only from their desire to see the end time prophecies fulfilled.  Many Christians who profess a “love” for Israel do not wish to see a resolution to the conflict in the Middle East.  In order for there to be a fulfillment of the end time prophecies there must be Armageddon—which is actually suicidal for Israel.  In actuality there is no true love for Israel by Christians who have an end time doctrine that advocates the destruction of Israel. The word “Armageddon” appears only once in the entire Bible and is found in Revelation 16:16. If you open God’s Word and read this passage yourself along with the verses immediately before and after it, you will be amazed at what you will find and not find in regards to the battle of Armageddon. 

Take a look for yourself:  Revelation 16:12-21And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. 17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

This is what Christians who profess to love and bless Israel are praying will happen soon.  The inconsistency of the doctrinal teachings of Christians who profess a love for Israel and the desire for the Rapture which can only happen by making Israel the sacrificial lamb is no more than a self-serving love.  The agenda of the Christians who are looking for the Rapture must encourage the ongoing violent struggle in the Middle-East or Christ will not return.

So when I see both the Neoconservative Jews and Christian Zionist coming together I wonder who is being used by whom?

You might ask who the Neoconservatives are--they are not conservatives. They are Progressives, in favor of big government control, more security laws, and a global government. They are the reason that so many in other countries dislike America, because of their desire to unite the globe in the name of American-style Democracy, whether other countries like it or not. They are the ones who involve us in foreign wars and foreign aid causes that have nothing to do with us.  With their deceitful ways of running as a Republican, they have been voted in over and over and have succeeded in making America more and more global in foreign policy and less and less isolationist all the while promoting a welfare state and favoring business moving manufacturing to other countries.  

This brings me back to the beginning.  Why are we so concerned about Iran?  Both Neoconservatives and the Christian Zionist share unwavering support for Israel, which they see as crucial to US empowerment in the Middle East. They see Israel as a key military outpost. Both groups believe that anti-Americanism and anti-globalization is unwarranted.  Both groups advocate the entire destruction and rebuilding of the Middle East into a US dominated political and financial transformation of the region. Where the Neoconservatives desire ruling a secular world and the Christian Zionist desire ruling with Jesus Christ.  Iran is just another stepping stone on the way to bringing about the desires of the Neoconservatives and the prophecies of the Christian Zionist under the guise of protecting Israel.

The US/Israel occupation of Arab land and the security of Israel remains a fundamental principal to be upheld by Neoconservatives in the US Government who traditionally support whatever Israeli government is in power and the Christian Zionist who continue to support the actions of Israel regardless of right or wrong-- all to bring about the Rapture. 

Just as a side note—beware of those who favor: large government control, war, foreign aide to help other countries, the spread of American Democracy to foreign countries, globalism, and have a dislike for isolationist foreign policy and supports security at the price of liberty and freedom; these individuals are not what America needs-- they are enemies of our Constitution and will destroy our liberties and freedom to enslave us to their own agenda of world domination.

Before you jump to conclusions, I do believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Defeating The Enemy-- Fear

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) ~ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

There are those within our country that desire to exert as much control as possible over the American citizens. Their primary means for establishing control are through promoting fear, secrecy, and polarization, and through distracting people from their spiritual duty to seek first the Kingdom of God. When these factions gain greater power and control, our freedoms and liberties are lost sometimes without our even realizing it. We find ourselves not only in bondage to elements that are enslaving us but into a spiritual bondage that will destroy us.

Fear is used as a powerful tool of control by these factions of the powerful elite. "The terrorists want to kill us all. Your job, home, and retirement are no longer secure. Your life is threatened by the lack of health care. You are either for us or against us. We might be attacked at any time." All of these messages push us towards fear.  And by encouraging us to focus blame on others such as terrorists and "evil" leaders, or even the "rich" the power brokers push us away from feeling in control of our lives and towards the role of powerless victims, so that we look to them for protection. The more we slip into fear and being victims, the easier it is for us to be manipulated.  As Christians we should not have fear but peace.  But more often than not we fan the flames of fear by allowing ourselves to become “prisoners of hope” without the faith needed to change our lives.  We are waiting on the mountain top of our expectations for the Lord to come and take us out of this mess.  Well, I am saying it time to stop being a “prisoner of hope” and become a “messenger of hope.”

I understand we are placed in a position of fear when we are unaware of the truth. Secrecy leads to control through preventing the exposure of hidden agendas, and through breeding distrust, suspicion, and paranoia in the world. In the name of "national security," we have been told daily that we should not know what is happening behind closed doors in government. Yet we are asked to keep vigilant watch over our neighbors, over those who question the government, and over those who look or act different from us, as they could secretly be a terrorist’s sleeper cell. Rampant suspicion and secrecy causes us to lose touch with the common humanity we share with all around us.  How can I show compassion and mercy on those I fear?  How can I make a difference when I am always blaming someone for my problems?

There are those who have divided this country to the point of immovable polarization.  We have a national mind set of “them against us.”  As long as we are focused on blaming and attacking one another we will not solve our problems.  Those controlling our attention on issues that have polarized us are taking our freedoms and right away from us as we fight one another.  The basis for our destruction is believing the lie of those who wish to have absolute control over us.  Our country has been served a steady diet of greed, violence, empty sex and broken relationship to the point we condone them as normal.   Our attention has been subtly diverted from our spiritual life to the more superficial attractions of sex, consumerism, sports, and money.

When we succumb to fear, secrecy, and polarization, and when we lose touch with our sense of spiritual purpose in life, the manipulators are able to exert ever more control over our lives and world.

So what do we do?  Stop the fear mongering.  The national fear, the secrecy, the polarization of our country and the loss of our spiritual life all have allowed those who would control us the power to subvert our country, take away our rights and freedom.  When we cast out the fear from our hearts and make a true commitment to renew our spiritual life and encourage others to do the same—we are changing the direction away from destruction.

Where do we start?  First, I must start with myself.  As individuals we need to develop a spiritual purpose in life.  To live the life with abundant joy-- it is important to have purpose and direction.  By choosing to live with a spiritual purpose and direction and focusing my life on “seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven” then my life will no longer be controlled and manipulated by the evil of those who seek to destroy me.  This new direction will weaken the seduction of media hype that distracts me from my spiritual purpose and direction.

Perfect love will cast out fear.  The prayer of Jesus was that we have joy and have it more abundantly.  We can also transform our fears by learning to know and understand the evil that surrounds us and its potential to destroy us.  We are children of the day not of the night.  The daylight exposes the evil while the night hides it. We are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We must be attentive to all that is around us knowing the danger and where it comes from.  

So what do we do?   Stop allowing ourselves to be the victim and instead become the solider of the Cross as we have been called to be.  Stop blaming others for our problems, and take the responsibility for allowing evil to use us to accomplish our own destruction. Start to demand openness and transparency of our leaders.  It is time we start to focus on ”good vs evil” rather than “us vs them.  This is a spiritual warfare we are in, fighting the forces of evil that seek the destruction of all that is good, holy and righteous.  So stop sitting around and fight the good fight of faith!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pundits, Manipulators, and Liars--American News Media

I have a degree in Communication that included a course in journalism.  The course was in investigative reporting.  I found it interesting but knew it was not something I would enjoy doing.  I have over the years learned to question “investigative reporting”.  Maybe it is from the definition of journalism- the art of ignoring all the facts that don’t support the article you’ve already written—or was told to write.

What passes for investigative reporting today is no more than “entertainment news commentary”.  There is a major difference between news entertainment and journalism.  Yes, I watch FOX News but with the disclaimer I understand that Bill O’Reilly, Shawn Hannity and Greta Van Susteren and others on FOX News are no more than news pundits who have sacrificed journalism for ratings and book deals and report what they are told to report.  The news media today-- both right and left are bought and sold by the rich manipulators of information.  The corruption within the news media is not new nor the manipulation of information.

Looking back in the history of the news media not much has changed.  Accusations against the press are common but when it comes from an insider it carries a little more validity to the accusations.  John Swinton, of the New York Sun and Tribune at a banquet of the New York Press Association in 1895, in responding to a toast on The Independent Press said: “There is no such thing in America as an independent press unless it is in the country towns.  You know it and I know it.  There is not one of you who dare express an honest opinion.  If you express it, you know before-hand that it would never appear in print.  I am paid $150 per week for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with.  Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things.  If I should permit honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, like Othello, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.  The man would be so foolish as to write honest opinions, he would be out on the street hunting for another job.  The business of the New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and race for his daily bread; or for what is about the same thing, his salary.  You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an “independent press”.  We are tools, and the vassals of rich men behind the scenes.  We are jumping jacks.  They pull the string and we dance.  Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, all are the property of other men.  We are intellectual prostitutes.”

Around the same time Professor Lester Ward wrote, “The newspaper is simply an organ of deception.  Every prominent newspaper is the defender of some interest and everything it says is directly or indirectly (and most effective when indirect) in support of that interest.  There is no such thing at the present time as a newspaper that defends a principle.”

That was in the late 1800’s not much has changed in 115 years.  Rich men still manipulate the news media.  Case in point—Rupert Murdock.  According to the 2011 list of Forbes richest American, Murdoch is the 38th richest person in the US and 117th-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $7.6 billion.  He is also listed in the Time 100 most influential people in the world.  He is ranked as the 13th most powerful person in the world.  He revels his contempt for most of humanity in this statement,  “I'm a catalyst for change … You can't be an outsider and be successful over 30 years without leaving a certain amount of scar tissue around the place.”  He has left a lot of scar tissue, shattering lives, destroying reputations, and deceiving many by the manipulation of the vast news media he controls. 

The media is manipulated in all manners, for example through professional public relations (PR), and covert and overt government propaganda which disseminates propaganda as news. What are often deemed as credible news sources can often knowingly or unknowingly be pushing political agendas and propaganda.

Here is the point of this blog.  So called journalists are far too reliant on sources sympathetic to their bias and their salary.   On the other hand there are politicians and public relation firms who manipulate the news media.  They perceive themselves as information warriors and perception managers.  Their job is to verify or deny selected information to influence the emotions, motives, and objective reasoning.  They sell truth projection, operation security, cover and deception all under the guise of truth.

We are fast approaching the time we will select a new leader for this country.  We must understand that all we are being told about certain candidates is part of the manipulation of the press—both left and right.  Listen to the message.  The message of every politician is to promise to resolve all of our problems.  Over the course of history we have come to doubt the veracity of their promises.  Today they are using a new promise, to save us from the unseen.  The powerful and sinister threat against the American people is the potential of terrorist sleeper cells in our country, terrorist on every plane and mode of transportation system in our country.  How do we fight this new enemy?  Declare war on terror!  What I have come to realize is that this is no more than the manipulation of the American people to give up their rights and freedom to the distorted exaggerations of the fantasy of politicians, security companies, and the international news media the Wanna be World Rulers. If they support the idea of fear from "terrorist" ask them how another war will resolve the problems?  A terrorist is not a country it is a person.  How many innocent lives will we take before we stop the manipulation?

During the 1950’s we were taught to fear and hate the Russians. Why?  The only Russians I knew were good people and were friends to our family.  For a young person it was confusing how these nice friendly people were to be feared.  That fear was removed on Nov. 9, 1989, jubilant East and West Berliners began tearing down the Berlin Wall, which had symbolized the Iron Curtain for years.  We no longer had to fear Russia it was falling apart.  So who was to be our next enemy to fear?

As Russia was losing its power status in the eyes of the American leadership, we were being primed for the next manipulation.  The “all-powerful” manipulators had been predicting the network of Muslims terrorist all through the 1990’s.  Just remember some of the movies about the threat of terrorist in this country.  One was with Chuck Norris who was "dumbfounded" at how closely the terrorist attacks on America mirror his CBS television movie The President's Man: Ground Zero, filmed four months before the attack, has an Islamic extremist threatening to detonate an atomic bomb unless three terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center are released. And the show's title even includes the name given to the devastated impact area in Manhattan where the towers crumbled. Norris says, "I am dumbfounded. When I saw the World Trade Center being destroyed on TV, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was horrible, freakish. When we did this movie, it was the furthest thing from our minds that something catastrophic would happen. But today, it certainly seems prophetic." In the movie, Norris' character urges students to remember that radical fundamentalist’s amount to just 1/100th of one percent of the world's 1 billion Muslims. Norris says those are his personal sentiments as well, and adds, "This tragedy has pulled our country together. Now, we've got to retaliate. It's time for terrorists to learn that they have awakened a sleeping giant, and they will pay the price." 

We now had our new enemy “terrorist” the manipulators were correct and America was at risk from this new Empire of Evil.  Just as the Cold War had the face of a Russian Communist we have the new face for our fears the face of a Muslim terrorist.

When will we stop allowing the rich and powerful to manipulate us into doing their evil?  I trust that I will not be viewed as "anti-American" but as genuinely concerned with, and scared to death by, the effects of US foreign policy as implemented by those who manipulate our news.  I fear for the survival of our republic which was conceived in liberty. We can change the direction of this country in the 2012 election and remove from power those who have been manipulating us into destruction.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day--Based on A Tragic Death,and Civil War

Many of the Christmas traditions we celebrate today came to maturity during the Civil War.  One of America's best known poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), made his contribution to the carols sung each Christmas season, when on December 25th 1864 he composed the words to “Christmas Bells” better known as "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". Two stanzas have been omitted from the original poem, which contained references to the American Civil War. The remaining five stanzas were slightly rearranged after the war in 1872 by John Baptiste Calkin (1827-1905), who also gave us the memorable tune. When Longfellow penned the words to his poem, America was still months away from Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9th 1865; and, his poem reflected the prior years of the war's despair, while ending with a confident hope of triumphant peace.

By 1863, even the abolitionists were appalled by the amount of blood and violence their cause had created. Even though President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 800,000 slaves outside the Confederacy were not covered under its authority. The War seemed no closer to ending than when it had started, despite Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. The summer of Union optimism had turned into its winter of discontent and would end with over 620,000 dead.

Although Longfellow condemned slavery, he was not a fire-breathing abolitionist. He was, however, a close friend of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, a radical Republican.  Sumner condemned “the peculiar institution” whenever and wherever he could, in harshest terms condemned slavery. Sumner delivered his infamous “Crime Against Kansas” speech on the floor of the Senate in May, 1856. This speech was particularly personal and inflammatory. Two days later, Preston Brooks, a Congressman from South Carolina and a cousin of one of the men insulted in the speech, approached Sumner and clubbed him over the head with his cane. Sumner was nearly killed. As a side note, on July 14, 1856 Preston Brooks resigned when he ended his speech by saying, Mr. Speaker, I announce to you and to this House, that I am no longer a member of the Thirty-Fourth Congress. [Brooks then walked out of the House of Representatives.]

Twelve years before, in 1842, Longfellow had published a small book of poems for Sumner’s group, The New England Anti-Slavery Association. Longfellow himself claimed that the poems were “so mild that even a Slaveholder might read them without losing his appetite for breakfast,” but Sumner was satisfied with it, and the group reprinted it for further distribution.

Longfellow followed politics closely and, by 1860, realized that there must be some sort of resolution to the problems which beset the nation. His most famous poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” was written in time for a Christmas publication in The Atlantic Monthly.  He hoped it would be a call for a new Revolution, although he, like so many Americans, never envisioned one so long and brutal.

Longfellow, like many in the country on both sides of the conflict, endured a significant amount of heartbreak during the war. The fall of Fort Sumter, the secession of the southern estates, including Virginia, and Great Britain’s declaration of neutrality were just some of the incidents that brought grief to the poet.

As with any composition that touches the heart of the hearer, “Christmas Bells” flowed from the experience of Longfellow-- involving the tragic death of his wife Fanny and the crippling injury of his son Charles from war wounds.

Henry married Frances Appleton on July 13th 1843, and they settled down in the historic Craigie House overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They were blessed with the birth of their first child, Charles, on June 9th 1844, and eventually, the Longfellow household numbered five children-- Charles, Ernest, Alice, Edith, and Allegra. Alice, the Longfellows' third child and first daughter, was delivered, while her mother was under the anesthetic influence of ether-- the first in North America.

In 1861, tragedy struck both the nation and the Longfellow family. Confederate Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard fired the opening salvos of the American Civil War on April 12th, and Fanny Longfellow was fatally burned in an accident in the library of Craigie House on July 10th. The day before the accident, Fanny Longfellow recorded in her journal: "We are all sighing for the good sea breeze instead of this stifling land one filled with dust. Poor Allegra is very droopy with heat, and Edie has to get her hair in a net to free her neck from the weight.  After trimming some of seven year old Edith's beautiful curls, Fanny decided to preserve the clippings in sealing wax. Melting a bar of sealing wax with a candle, a few drops fell unnoticed upon her dress. The longed for sea breeze gusted through the window, igniting the light material of Fanny's dress-- immediately wrapping her in flames. In her attempt to protect Edith and Allegra, she ran to Henry's study in the next room, where Henry frantically attempted to extinguish the flames with a nearby, but undersized throw rug. "Failing to stop the fire with the rug, he tried to smother the flames by throwing his arms around Frances-- severely burning his face, arms, and hands. Fanny Longfellow died the next morning. Too ill from his burns and grief, Henry did not attend her funeral. (Incidentally, the trademark full beard of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow arose from his inability to shave after this tragedy.)

The first Christmas after Fanny's death, Longfellow wrote, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays." A year after the incident, he wrote, "I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace." Longfellow's journal entry for December 25th 1862 reads: "'A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me."

Two years later, their seventeen-year old son, Charles Appleton Longfellow, ran away and joined the Union Army. Initially, the distraught father did not know where to find his son. The young man had gone to Washington, D.C. to seek a friend, Captain W. H. McCartney, commander of the 1st Massachusetts Artillery. Not wanting to enlist the son of a family friend, McCartney wired Longfellow for permission for “Charley” to enlist.  Patriotically, he gave it.

This was not the harebrained scheme of a teenager to get away from home and his father’s preoccupation with the death of his mother. Charley wrote, “I have tried hard to resist the temptation of going without your leave, but I cannot any longer. I feel it to be my first duty to do what I can for my country and I would willingly lay down my life for it if it would be of any good.”

The young man was soon promoted to Lieutenant, and his first combat experience came at Chancellorsville. In June, Charley contracted typhoid and malaria, and was sent home to recover. He rejoined his unit on August 15, 1863.

On November 27, as part of the Mine Run Campaign in New Hope Church, Virginia, he was severely wounded by a bullet that entered his left shoulder, traveled across his back, nicked his spine, and exited the right shoulder. He was carried by ambulance to a field hospital on the Rapidan River, and then sent to a hospital in Washington. His recovery was not at all certain.

Longfellow learned of his son’s injury on December 1, 1863, and left immediately, along with his younger son Ernest, to recover Charley. All during his journey to the capital, the father was not certain if he would be bringing back a wounded son, or a dead one.

In the midst of his sorrows—the War, a dead wife, a young family to raise alone, and a son who hovered near death—Longfellow thought of all the other households in the Union whose holidays were marred, some forever, by the events of the last three years.  He did what writers do: he wrote. The resulting poem was the one we know as “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day.” The poem was not intended to join the sugary sweet Christmas carols already in place.

Charley survived, and by December 8, he was back in Cambridge to recover at home.  He lived, but the wound was considered too severe to allow Lieutenant Longfellow to return to his unit.  He was mustered out on February 15, 1864.

The Christmas of 1863 was silent in Longfellow's journal. Finally, on Christmas Day of 1864, he wrote the words of the poem, "Christmas Bells." The reelection of Abraham Lincoln or the possible end of the terrible war may have been the occasion for the poem.  Lt. Charles Longfellow did not die that Christmas, but lived. So, contrary to popular belief, the occasion of writing that much loved Christmas carol was not due to Charles' death.

There are two stanzas of the poem that never made it to the song we know today. They describe the effect of the War, and the sadness of the inhumanity it had caused, so contrary to the spirit of Christmas. Here is the entire poem:
“Christmas Bells”
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on Earth, goodwill to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on Earth, goodwill to men!
Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on Earth, goodwill to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered from the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on Earth, goodwill to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on Earth, goodwill to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on Earth, “ I said:
“For Hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on Earth, goodwill to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth He sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on Earth, goodwill to men!

Friday, December 16, 2011

American Terrorist and American Traitor

The Republicans have forgotten the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which granted reparations for the internment of Japanese American.  On February 24, 1983, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians issued a report on Personal Justice Denied which was a condemnation of internment of American citizens.  The treatment of American citizens of Japanese heritage cost the United States taxpayer $1.6 Billion dollars being paid out to 82,210 American citizens. With the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 we are paving the road of relocation and internment of Americans.

The Personal Justice Denied Report stated, “This policy of exclusion, removal and detention was executed against 120,000 people without individual review, and exclusion was continued virtually without regard for their demonstrated loyalty to the United States. Congress was fully aware of and supported the policy of removal and detention; it sanctioned the exclusion by enacting a statute which made criminal the violation of orders issued pursuant to Executive Order 9066. The United States Supreme Court held the exclusion constitutionally permissible in the context of war, but struck down the incarceration of admittedly loyal American citizens on the ground that it was not based on statutory authority.

All this was done despite the fact that not a single documented act of espionage, sabotage or fifth column activity was committed by an American citizen of Japanese ancestry or by a resident Japanese alien on the West Coast.

The exclusion, removal and detention inflicted tremendous human cost. There was the obvious cost of homes and businesses sold or abandoned under circumstances of great distress, as well as injury to careers and professional advancement. But, most important, there was the loss of liberty and the personal stigma of suspected disloyalty for thousands of people who knew themselves to be devoted to their country's cause and to its ideals but whose repeated protestations of loyalty were discounted…”

Back when Congress actually had a budget-- 2001, it was decreed in the budget that the ten sites on which the detainee camps were set up are to be preserved as historical landmarks: “places like Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, Topaz, Amache, Jerome, and Rohwer will forever stand as reminders that this nation failed in its most sacred duty to protect its citizens against prejudice, greed, and political expediency”.

Somehow those who have taken an oath to protect the Constitution have forgotten their oath.  (Maybe this is the reason Congress is having such a hard time with the illegal immigration problem is because they don’t understand the Constitution?)  As an American citizen we have the right NOT to have taken from us, “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law and no matter who we are-- the equal protection of the laws of this country.

As an American citizen I have the RIGHT to a fair and public trial conducted in a competent manner, to be present at the trial, to an impartial jury and to be heard in one's own defense. The laws must be written so that a reasonable person can understand what criminal behavior is.

The Constitution makes provision for those who give aid and comfort to the enemy; we don’t need more laws confusing the issue. The Constitution defines treason as specific acts, namely levying War against the United States, or in adhering to our enemies and giving them aid and comfort.  

Merriam-Webster defines treason as-- 1: the betrayal of a trust: treachery. 2: the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government. . 

Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the sponsors of the the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, he actually said on the floor of the Senate, “It is not unfair to make an American citizen account for the fact that they decided to help Al Qaeda to kill us all and hold them as long as it takes to find intelligence about what may be coming next. And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”  

Sound like the betrayal of trust.  He took an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States of American- to hold in trust the Rights of We the People.  His statement on the floor of the Senate sounds like treason to me.  He, along with every supporter of the National Defense Authorization Act 2012 has openly shown their contempt for the Rights of the American Citizen, their disregard for the Constitution they swore to uphold and their failure in the most sacred duty to protect its citizens against prejudice, greed, and political expediency- no matter who they are or what they have done.
Maybe the driving force for the passage of was driven more by greed than political expediency? Could it be that we have the best politicians money can buy? Have they forgotten why they are serving the American people? The top Republican recipients from groups supporting the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 were: Rep. Eric Cantor VA-7 $99,950, Rep Kay Granger TX-12 $76,950, Rep. Geoff Davis KY-4 $61,600, Rep. Michael Rogers MI-8 $61,600, Rep. David Camp MI-4 $55,469, Rep. Vern Buchanan FL-13 $54,800, Sen. Robert Portman OH, $272,853, Sen. Richard Shelby AL $115,500, Sen. Mark Kirk IL $91,800, Sen. Roy Blunt MO $82,050, Sen. Patrick Toomey PA $80,050, Sen. Richard Burr NC $75,350.   For ONE vote they received more money than the average American earns in a year!

On top of this, those who profess family values, and anti-gay policies voted to remove Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which made it illegal to engage in sodomy.  The vote to remove sodomy from military law comes less than a year after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for gay soldiers.  

Not only are these Republicans wolves dressed as “conservatives” they are pushing the radical social agenda that is destroying America. Under military law sodomy is illegal, just as adultery is illegal, so they had to remove that prohibition against sodomy to push the social agenda of the left.

I am not a supporter of President Obama but there will be those who will blame him and the liberal Democrats for the passage of NDAA 2012 without accepting the fact that only seven (7) Senators voted against this bill and only forty-three (43) Republican Representatives voted against it.  Don’t blame the liberal social progressives for this one, blame the “Conservatives”.

The loss of our Constitutional Rights and the moral values of our country have been damaged by the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.  If you have not written your Congressman and voiced you outrage you are part of the problem in America and helping to pave the road to relocation and internment of Americans.

Monday, December 12, 2011

When Expectations Are Greater Than Reality

In 1955 my parents changed the course of their lives when they gave their hearts to the LORD.  At the age of seven my life in the church began.  I was unsettled in my Christian life until August of 1967 when I felt the call to the ministry and enrolled at Union Bible Seminary where I met my wife and started our spiritual journey together.  Since then I have earned my B.A. in Communications, M.A. in Christian Education, M.ED. in Curriculum Development and a Th.D. in Theology.  I have been in the ministry since I was nineteen years old.  I have served as missionary, evangelist, pastor, and teacher.  I am presently pastor of a rural Independent Quaker church where I have served for the past 28 years. I am a retired educator, having taught in both public and private schools. I give this information simply to provide my qualifications to speak to the issues within and outside the church.  

It is my observation over the 46 years of the ministry that there are some major issues within the evangelical movement of the church that must be addressed.  There is a void in understanding the principles of basic Christian doctrine and putting those doctrines in daily practice. 

Evangelical Christians, for the most part, are living their spiritual lives in a vacuum of truth and understanding.  The lack of spiritual knowledge has opened the door to smooth-talking ministers who can use the pulpit to defraud the majority of sincere follower out of their life savings and destroy their faith.  This has resulted in what Paul called the falling away.

Within the Evangelical Church today there is a fear to speak out against the deterioration within the church.  I, for one, am finished with being polite. I am done trying not to offend people who constantly teach a doctrine contrary to scripture and think they are justified in doing so because it is their duty to push their false-teaching on the church at large.  It is better today to do a touchy feely sermon than to speak out against the fact the church is failing in its doctrinal beliefs, there is a lack of Scriptural knowledge, and an inability to exert our God-ordained responsibility to stand for the truth courageously ignoring the criticism that comes from those who lack a deep spiritual walk with the LORD.  

Among the average believer there is the fear of raising their voice against false prophets, maybe it is because they have a lack of certainty of their own spiritual life.  After all, who wants to condemn people who teach about Jesus Christ?  However, the Bible has much to say about the believer’s responsibility in addressing and responding to those who corrupt God’s word.  Teaching about Jesus is not the same as rightly dividing the word of truth.  The issue is whether or not their teachings are correct according to the scriptures.  If they are not teaching and preaching the truth then we must react against them.

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah tells us that in the 14th chapter, God has no patience whatsoever with those who profane his name.  Nor is he tolerant of those who support such by listening and following their false-teachings.  In fact God has promised to pour out evil upon them for following such teachings

 Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.  Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.  And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them. Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.

There are many within the evangelical movement that supports these ministers spoken here by Jeremiah.  Some within these churches are concerned about their pastors not getting involved in anything controversial but yet they are content to support them with their attendance and offerings.  Many of these same pastors are critical of ministers who are standing for truth, getting involved in controversial issues and are political.

Today all you need to do is look at the largest crowds, the most lavish buildings and the richest ministers to see why the church is falling away.  These same Christians will not support ministers or statesmen who are fight the good fight of faith.  They will however, buy books, CD’s and go to “spiritual renewal conferences” where these same ministers are making millions spreading their false doctrines and destroying the message of the Gospel with their unholy lives.  These men and women are no more than slick marketing gurus who play on the fears and hatreds of people to make money and push their evil doctrines.  Many of these same modern day prophets have lives filled with scandal, adulterous affairs and divorce.  Their families are broken and destroyed by their evil living.  Yet, they have the follower in the thousands. What is wrong with this picture?

What is sad is that many of these ministers have made their alliances with those who are out to destroy not only the church but our country as well.  These same ministers have bowed to the power of mammon and no longer stand for truth.  There was a time in this country where these ministers had the vision of what God can do but they were drawn away by their own lust to fulfill their evil desires.  

When the prophets are silent and the Word of God is in short supply, the church withers and dies.  When the church dies, so does the country.  Is there hope?  The hands of the true prophets of God have their hands tied and their mouths gagged by the fear of being politically incorrect or controversial.  The prophetic message of God is seldom heard within the body of Christ today.  The message needed today must come by the spirit of God and not by consensus or debate. 

For our society to be renewed, it is necessary for the church, and by that I mean individual Christians together, to become a prophetic voice to our land. We must remember the price of being a prophet. If people were given the choice of straightening the wall or killing the prophet, they will usually kill the prophet instead of straightening the wall.

In the Minor Prophets and Daniel each of these books had a prophetic vision for the people.  That message never changed it was the prophets of God proclaiming the coming judgment if the people or nation did not repent and turn from their evil ways.  That message has not changed throughout the centuries.  If the people reject the message their nation was destroyed.  Solomon tells us that where there is no prophetic message the people perish. 

Judgment must first begin at the house of God. The reason America is going down the road of immorality is it is allowed from the pulpit. The reason there is a lack of scriptural knowledge in this country is the pulpit is not proclaiming the scripture.  The reason our politicians are so corrupt is that righteous people do not hold them accountable for their actions and this falls on those in the pulpit. 

I have lived long enough to see the past three generations disregard what previous generations held to be the foundational principles of faith.  They have become the critics of the church reminding us of our social obligation while telling us that we should remain silent regarding political issues—which by the way do impact social issues.  The social issues that we are told to stay away from are the very problems they expect the church to solve.  How can a minister preach about the sanity of life without exposing the evils of abortions?  How can a minister preach about the structure of the family without exposing the evils that destroy the family unit?  How can a minister preach about loving ones neighbor without exposing hatred, malice and strife?  How can a minister preach about honesty, integrity, accountability and responsibility without exposing the social and political issues of the day?

Our pulpits have become silent on the controversial issue of the day because there are those who give lips service of wanting to hear the truth but become angry and even hostile when the truth is given.  Those wanting to hear the message from the scripture are content to keep Moses in the bulrushes and Jesus in the manger but do not want to her the message of Law and Grace as it relates to their spiritual condition.

America is approaching another election year and true Christians should vote into office men who are honest, upright and fit to be trusted and not because they belong to the political party you support.  Christians have been guilty of voting in the “best of two evils”.  It is time to stop supporting evil men and expect them to do what is right. If America is to find salvation and alter the coming judgment of God, we need a voice from the pulpit that brings conviction upon the hearts of Christians.  We need to stop the shallow platitudes and slogans and become authentic in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  This only comes when we hunger and thirst after righteousness and have the courage to repent and turn from our evil ways.

We are living in uncertain times.  Many have had their faith shaken from the false-prophets creating disillusionment, disappointment and discouragements.  They have lost the vision and have been distracted from God by a weakened message from the pulpit.  To change this falling away there must be voices of truth from our pulpits reminding us of the basic foundational doctrines of the Word of God.  We do not need preachers and politicians who are gifted speakers but men unafraid to speak the truth in a manner that causes men and women to change their lives.