Wish I'd said that!

In recent decades, the ACLU has used its so-called "wall" to fight tooth and nail to prevent government sponsorship of the Pledge of Allegiance, memorial crosses, Ten Commandments displays, nativity scenes, Bible displays, and virtually every other acknowdgement of America's religious heritage.

At the same time, it is worthwhile to note that there have been some instances in which the ACLU has endorsed public displays of religion. For example, When New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani threatened to cut taxpayer funding from the Brooklyn Museum of Art for displaying a painting of the Virgin Mary with cow dung and pictures of female sexual organs pasted all over her body, the ACLU was first in line to defend the display. U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon ruled that New York City's elected officials were not allowed to place conditions on the museum's funding.

In another instance, the ACLU offered its support to the taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts, after the agency sponsored an art show featuring "Piss Christ" - an exhibit consisting of a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine.

In the ACLU's myopic world, it appears that the only permissible publicly-funded displays of religion are those which blatantly mock or disparage the Christian faith.

-- Indefensible: 10 Ways the ACLU is Destroying America, Sam Kastensmidt, 2006

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Sense of Depth

This new music video from country music star John Rich has a story to tell that more and more people are able to empathize with these days. It's music like this that swayed me to contemporary country music a couple of years ago; it's ability to touch on the "everyman" in each of us and to tell a very personal story without giving me a headache.

Unimpeachable source: On Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh gave an inquiring journalism student an in-depth perspective on exactly what he does and why. The student was given an assignment on Rush, who was profiled in a superficial and generally negative way in one of his college textbooks. Rush gave him nearly ten minutes of airtime, and kudo'd the student as being among the very few (aspiring, in this case) journalists to actually call him and ask him specifically about his views. He said most so-called journalists prefer to slam him relying on lies posted on liberal websites. He told the kid (I'm paraphrasing) that "everything I say and all my data is posted my website. But they never seem to check it out for themselves."

The Gaff King. The Obama machine continues to run as smoothly as a used Yugo in the area of international protocol. At the G20 conference, the President of the United States of America actually bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia. In case you weren't aware, presidents of the (formerly) greatest country in the world do not bow down to third-world monarchs, they behave as equals. This follows another incident in Britain where Lord Barack gave the Queen an iPod (she already had one) filled with his speeches, no less. And our own Queen Michelle also broached protocol by touching the Queen Mum. But in their seeming limitless ability to overlook the inconvenient, the Europeans are full of...excuses, and continue to shower the Obamas with awe and admiration.

When you look at all the behavioral boo-boos pulled by Obama during Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent visit to Washington, we arrive at a crossroads on why it is happening. Either all the protocol experts at Foggy Bottom have suddenly started smoking wacky tobaccy, or both of the Obamas are totally ignoring any advice on how to behave as the leader of the free world, or they are intentionally trying to decimate any respect the world has for the US. Or...maybe Obama fired all the holdovers at State who actually knew how to advise him on such matters of state.

Set your sights on this. For variety, there is a report from the University of Rochester that playing video games can help improve night vision. It seems that hours of playingng shooting games onscreen can improve your ability to distinguish shades of gray, helping discriminate between objects at dusk or in foggy conditions.

Giving it away. In addition to being the most powerful nation in recent decades, America has also long been the most generous nation in history. We have given extraordinary amounts of our bounty to help other nations. In addition to protecting our soveriegnty, our Navy has been in the forefront of international disaster relief. And our ordinary citizens have given graciously to charities for the purpose of helping all sorts of people in need. This largesse was given voluntarily, straight from the heart and through the wallet. But the Obama plan seems to be to cripple that generosity by taxing charitable giving. I'm nowhere close to rich (even by Obama standards), but for years I have tried to squeeze out enough to send a few bucks to a number of organizations, all in addition to tithing at my local church. But now I fear I will not be able to afford to be so generous, and that bothers me, because it is the power of the State that is applying crushing force against my morality. That is offensive, and millions of people will suffer more because folks like me will be less able to afford generosity. The worst of it is that I think it is intentional, as a ploy to force more people onto government dependency and therefore, anchoring more votes to keep them in power - which may have been the ultimate aim of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. For any benefits that may have come from that program, the 'unintended consequences' included the breakup of the traditional family, the increase in drug and alcohol abuse, especially among children and teens, the spread of STDs and unwed pregnancies (leading to the legalization of abortion) and a dramatic increase in street crime and delinquency.

Speaking of deliquency: American kids often get a bad rap about their fledgling forays into individuality, and as an old fogey (I never thought I'd be looking at it from this perspective) I'll have to take some blame for blaming the teens for outrageousness. But as we get older we tend to forget that every generation goes through this coming-of-age idiocy, and the things we learn about ourselves at that time help us to turn into the person we ultimately become, for better or for worse. But if American kids get a hard time, think what it must be like for Iraqi teens as they absorb bits of American culture (how worthwhile that is, is another story) from our troops and increasing freedom and awareness of the world outside. It may well be another unexpected dimension of George Bush's Middle East doctrine.

Cone of Silence? Senator Jay Rockefeller has drafted two bills - Nos. 773 and 778 - which would appoint a National Cybersecurity Advisor and would essentially grant carte blanc control of the internet. Under the pretense of stopping cyberattacks, it would open the door for government to snoop on anyone, and could eventually allow them to censor policitally incorrect speech.

Anyone who takes more than a second to look at all the Obama malAdministration is doing -- bullying its way into control over the economy, surrendering our remaining sovereignty to the corrupt and incompetent UN, attacking our social institutions, pushing us toward a total cradle-to-grave dependency on government, and attacking our already dwindling rights -- can see we are merely a shell of the America our founders envisioned and sacrificed so much for.

While I truly love my country and the ideals it was founded upon, I honestly don't think I can sing the national anthem or recite the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. While we are still the home of the brave, we are becoming more and more the home of the whiny and dependent. While we still have more liberty than virtually any other nation, we cannot truthfully say we are the "land of the free" when we cannot defend ourselves without worrying about government or slick lawyers coming after us, when human life isn't deemed worthy of protection even at birth, when we must guard ourselves when we criticize government abuses, and when we are immorally taxed into poverty.

We used to say we trust in God, but now, too many of us trust in government instead. And a false god such as that will only lead you where you don't want to go. Ultimately, our only real hope is a national repentence, and prayer for God's forgiveness.