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

Friday, August 20, 2010

Taking the Higher Ground

The so-called Ground Zero Mosque (GZM) is a story that refuses to go away. Or more pointedly, the people who want it to happen won't allow it to go away, because they consistently rub it in our faces. I noted my own major objection last time, so I'll look at other views instead.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, taking a moment away from her duties to her fellow Leftist constituents in San Francisco (and breaking with other Leftists including desperate-for-votes Harry Reid and Howlin' Howard Dean), couldn't resist the temptation to add her two depreciated cents on the matter, not surprisingly giving her support for the mosque. On Tuesday, she told reporters that "I think everyone respects the right of people in our country to express their religious beliefs on their property." After missing the point with that remark, she immediately followed up with an accusation that Republicans were somehow "ginning up" the controversy, sayin that, "I join those who have called for looking into how...this opposition to the mosque [is] being funded."  Should we be surprised that she doesn't feel a need to find out who is funding the GZM itself?

Meanwhile, the congregation of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only church actually destroyed by the 9-11 attack (when Tower Two collapsed on it) is being stonewalled by city officials in its bid to rebuild the church, in part because their plan to rebuild it would cause the church to rise above the proposed Ground Zero Memorial (which still isn't complete, nearly ten years later). Obviously, no such height restrictions have been placed on the GZM Mosque project.

Religion remains one of the most unifying - and divisive - elements of human personal and social behavior.  More good has been done in the name of God than under any other banner. More evil has been done in the rejection of God than for any other expressed reason.  And there has also been no small degree of crossover in both causes. Individual interpretations of faith - or the lack thereof - have literally meant the difference between improving the quality of life for millions, or directly causing the deaths of millions. 

President Obama's own vision of his faith, as he describes it, appears to be a highly personalized yet vaguely-defined and fundamentally unscriptural version of the Holy Bible which allows him to pursue social change according to his political agenda, yet not feel any deep commitment to God's own stated requirements for us.  "[He finds] it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell," he states in a 2004 interview.  What I would consider an alarm bell occurs when, asked "what is sin?", Obama defines it simply as "Being out of alignment with my values."  His values, not God's.  That leaves a lot of territory open to interpretation.  Just a poor choice of words?  I dunno; he's the one with the Harvard degree. I never went to college, so perhaps I'm just to dull and ignorant to grasp his deeper nuance.

I will tell you that, after decades of being lost in selfishness, loneliness, sinfulness (according to God's word) and near-death experience, I finally came - almost grudgingly and over several years - to what I believe is a saving faith. I can tell you that no one comes to real faith on their own; it just doesn't seem like much fun, at least when you don't know much about it. You're either raised in that belief (and it therefore becomes habit at an early age), or you're convinced by someone else, or you discover it within your own self through personal experience and observation. 

I'm of the "school" that believes God Himself calls those He chooses to call, and He guides our path through life, and that he eventually led me, stumbling and bumbling, to what I now believe. Is that cruel, to think most people aren't saved? Perhaps, but for me at least, it isn't quite that simple. I also believe many delude themselves into believing they are saved, yet use that belief to justify their own sinfulness. Guess what: I could be just as guilty of such delusion as anyone else. I trust in God, I know He is in charge of my life (even though I don't even approach sinlessness), and that trust keeps me plodding along, trying my best to be a better person - a better Christian - than my natural inclinations would lead me to be.  And keep in mind, Christianity gives you a choice. Now, you may believe differently than me. Refer to my point above. I'm honest enough with myself to realize I could be wrong (although of course I don't think I am). But so could you.  The best we can do is to follow our conscience; He already knows how it will all turn out.
"Hero" worship.  New information has finally come to light that might have affected history much differently if it had been more well-known. Adolf Hitler was always portrayed to the German people (before his election as Chancellor) as a WW1 war hero. But according to a researcher, he was little more than a rear-echelon messenger, who was looked down on by the men at the front.  Hmmm...an unknown candidate who comes from obscurity and is hyped up as a larger-than-life fugure in order to get elected to the highest office in the land. Why does that sound familiar? [Note: translation of the Hitler propaganda poster says, "Give me 4 years' time."]

Get your mind "right."  There is a new, independently-owned, conservative TV network lauching September 8. RightNetwork hopes to be able to give a place and a voice for the not-so-Left-minded (wouldn't that be "right-brained") folks to settle in for news, entertainment, history, commentary and more. Kelsey Grammar has been doing promos for the network in advance of the opening. Ambitious, yes; and the sort of change I've been hoping for.  If it's not on your local cable (or satellite) provider's fall lineup, call and ask, "Why not?"

Thanks to Glenn Beck's website for putting up the Leftist think-tank Politico's new PowerPoint presentation designed to convince people to support Obamacare. There's plenty to discuss among the two dozen slides, but the very last point on the last slide was perhaps the most telling, in a way they probably didn't intend. The final "Do Not..." it warns the activists of is, "...say the law will reduce costs and deficit." 'Nuff said.

By the way: if you haven't been watching Glenn Beck on his Fox TV show this week, you've missed an incredible exposure of hidden American history, revolving around slavery and civil rights.  Just one more reason I believe Beck is one of God's chosen annunciators "for such a time as this."

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