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

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Alone no more

Please pardon the delay in getting this edition out.  My step-Dad Ken Salisbury passed away earlier this week, and his passing has provided even more introspective moments than usual for me. He married my Mom a few years after I had moved in with my grandparents, and I had already been something of an outsider even to my own family.

It took me quite a while to warm up to Ken because my parents went through a bitter divorce which had long-term ramifications for me, and I suppose it was difficult for me to trust again. What I gradually learned was that there was a deep bond of love between Mom and Ken (hint to the oblivious: whirlwind romances and marriage don't automatically equate to a deep and abiding love), and I have worked to cultivate that sort of bond in my own marriage - which was a surprise itself, since my parents' divorce had convinced me against marriage until I hit forty. Over the years since we tied the knot I've learned it takes hard work, a high level of faith, a sense of humor, and a fair amount of patience and forgiveness (of myself, mostly). You'll have to ask my wife if I've succeeded.

I grew to respect Ken as I saw him stand by the family through the years and the difficulties, and the love and respect that they showed him gave me clues to what I had missed. Having an interest in history I tried to connect by getting him to open up about his wartime experiences. Other than one brief story about dealing with a German sniper during WW2 he was silent on those experiences, at least with me. That, I've found, was common from his generation, especially those who had seen a lot of action. It has probably always been that way, at least in American culture. For most soldiers who see war up close and personal, the memories are not easily forgotten, nor wanted.

I knew Ken was a man of honor and integrity, and I loved and respected him deeply despite my own emotional distance. My brothers and sisters will sorely miss him. So will I, because I know he was a unifying element of our family. But each of us rest in the faith and hope of a far richer existence for him knowing that he was a deeply committed Christian, and he and my mother - whom he had missed since her death so many years ago - are together again. The greatest blessing - although a difficult one - is that he was with family at the end, in the home of my brother and his wife instead of in a hospital or nursing home.

Faithless.  Speaking of faith; It is amazing how people who have spent their lives ignoring or mocking God are now trying to cash in on the whole "religion thing" by coming out with brand-new reinterpretations of the Holy Bible designed to cast doubt on the authenticity of the Scriptures and to simultaneously confuse those who are spiritually searching, water down the inspired word of God, and lead people into false beliefs.. Admittedly, that itself a sticky statement, because everyone naturally believes they follow the only true faith or have the correct interpretation.

Part of the problem is that most Christians never or hardly ever actually read the book that is the guide for that faith, which makes it so much easier to be confused or misled.  Bible editions that cater to homosexuals, feminists have their own obvious fan group, and now animal-lovers are pushing for an edition that panders to critterdom, leaving believers who actually have read the Bible scratching our heads, wondering what the next generation of Christians will look like. Absent a movement toward relearning scriptural roots, I'd venture to guess they won't look anything like those heroes of the faith who changed the world, all too often by allowing themselves to be sacrificed (not others, as with certain believers of another faith) in the Colosseum, burned at the stake or imprisoned unto death for their faith, or advancing the arts, sciences and institutions that made authentic Christian culture the most positive (and most maligned) force for good in human history.  But ultimately, the effort (in whatever context) belongs to each of us as we are able, and the results are up to God.

Admittedly, I'm speaking mainly about Western Christians in the Americas and what's left of them in Europe. But because Christianity is taking it on the chin in this part of the world because of a concerted drive by secular atheists and frankly, our own intellectual and spiritual laziness, it's quite possible that the next great wave of true believers will show up as the tranformational force in Africa (if it survives Islam's tendency toward forced assimilation), and China. As it did throughout Europe in the wake of the Dark Ages and the Muslim conquests, it is persecution that stirs the hearts, causes the Church to dig in its heels, and drives the gospel forward.

Cycle of death.  Under a Republican administration, recent "whistleblower" reports that The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco ,Firearms and Explosives has not only allowed but facilitated the smuggling of more than 2,500 guns into Mexico would have the potential to destroy a presidency and have heads figuratively rolling across the testimony chambers of Congress. But under the Obama "most transparent in history" malAdministration, don't hold your breath.  Incidentally, the agency, variously known as ATF, BATF, and BATFE are the same folks that helped, along with the FBI, to bring us the Waco and Ruby Ridge debacles. Their raison d'etre appears to be to hamper the exercise of the Second Amendment and needlessly duplicate some of the enforcement functions of other agencies.
Ironically, the "Project Gunrunner" so-called sting operation actually began in 2005 during George W. Bush's term (coincidentally, around the same time as US Border Patrol agents Ingnacio Ramos and Jose Compean were prosecuted and persecuted by our own Department of inJustice for wounding an illegal alien drug smugler) but it continues to steam along, racking up a body count along the way; including at least two US federal agents so far. The agency's fact sheet on the operation conveniently (and expectedly) dances around but avoids the fact that our own agents were "coaxing" US licensed gun dealers to participant in the plan to ferret out those who were aiding Mexican gun cartels in getting the firearms - reported to include .50 caliber sniper rifles - across the border to gangs who have no compunction at all over whom they are used against, or in which country. It's no surprise that the body count is rising.

Isn't it fascinating that at the same time our federal government has abandoned both its primary role as defender of our borders and the safety of the vestiginal force of agents that still put their lives on the line to guard it, it is permitting and providing very efficient firearms for the same people who are intent on pushing our southern border up against our northern border.

If truth has no agenda, then spreading falsehoods must...  There is an old saying, to the effect of, "You can tell how much power you have by the number of your enemies." If there is any truth to that old axiom, then Glenn Beck must be one powerful dude. For example, Media Matters has reportedly established a special "Get Beck" unit with a reported $10 million budget and more than 80 people specifically tasked with taking Glenn down; and it doesn't seem to matter whether the tactics are ethical, moral or legal. However, proving that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, their "Glenn Beck chart" (a takeoff on Beck's own frequent use of blackboards to illustrate his points) is pretty much spot on, and I don't see anything I disagree with on it other than a couple of minor contextual points.

But it isn't just Beck who has caused the radical Left to switch into high gear in what can only be described as an "open conspiracy" to take the US government down from the inside out and cause chaos, which would produce a leadership vacuum they would be only too eager to fill. The Left also continues to produce a generation that is less educated than their grandparents' generation (just being familiar with technology and being told you're smarter isn't really proof of greater intelligence), but filled with an inflated sense of self-esteem and generally unaware of how they've been cheated. The end product will eventually be a population of government-compliant worker drones who follow directions and won't loudly criticized government. Heads-up: Never say, "It can't happen here." It is. From the use of strategically-chosen "buzz-words", to carefully-planned schemes, a number of our fellow Americans, aided by a nondescript army of "useful idiots" who are signing away their own futures, are working overtime to discredit all the conservative bell-ringers.

Not an 'official' victim.  One of the most terrifying experiences a human can experience would be to be kidnapped, held against your will and beaten by a mob of more than a dozen men. Increase the terror factor by adding gang rape and assorted gross forms of sexual abuse - it doesn't matter what gender the victim is. Now, let's raise it up another notch; the gang of rapists are government soldiers or police tasked with protecting the public. Got the picture? Pretty damn depressing, humiliating, and angering, isn't it? So then, let's push it one step beyond: You are the victim; you finally get out, run into a hotel lobby crowded with journalists, crying out your name, what happened to you, and by whom you were victimized. Then government "minders" who work as waitresses, the manager, or simply faces in the crowd suddenly rush you, restrain and gag you and drag you out to a waiting car, only to disappear to who-knows-where. As I said; "imagine."
For one Libyan woman in her early thirties, it wasn't her imagination. Last Saturday, Iman al-Obeidi rushed into the restaurant in the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, crying out her frantic story; how she was stopped at a police checkpoint, held for two days and repeatedly raped and abused. Some of the reporters tried to protect her as  people tried to subdue her, but she was pulled away, the reporters threatened, and at least one camera was smashed by the suddenly-appearing "officials."  The "official" claim was that Iman was drunk, or mentally deranged, and that she was being whisked away to a hospital "for examination."

Is the woman merely drunk or deranged? I honestly don't know. I'm not sure anybody will ever find out for sure. I'm used to living in a country where, even if you're crazy or drunk, you generally aren't gagged to prevent you from speaking. I guess it's just a culture thing, this freedom we enjoy. But on the one hand, I wanted to call attention not just to one woman - whom I will give the benefit of doubt and believe her story until proven otherwise - but for all the thousands...millions of women (and men) who are shouted down, or gagged and dragged away by those who should be their protectors. And I don't just mean in backward, repressed foreign countries.

On the other hand, I want to call attention to this sort of horrible abuse, because it isn't only possible that it could happen right here in America, similar things may very well happen in our very near future, except for God's Providence, and a hefty dose of wake-the-hell-up for the vast majority of my brain-dead countrymen. I'm calling attention to the woman the government didn't want anyone to pay attention to because the world and the country we knew is rapidly disappearing. It is being "fundamentally transformed" into a nightmare world only a relative few envisioned, and that the rest of us only knew from enduring a depressing book or movie, and from slices of history few Americans have been taught, or that we are being subtly taught to forget.

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