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, August 20, 2011

Anxiety attack

Have you ever had one of those weeks in which it seems almost everyone around you is pushing your buttons, seemingly trying to provoke you into doing something you'll seriously regret? Yeah; one of those.

I'm here to tell you, it isn't just you. Globally, there is a wave of animus that is engulfing millions of people. And it is neither accidental nor coincidental.

In London and other European cities mobs have increasingly devolved from ideological and social misfits to racial tribalism. As I noted in the previous posting, it's also happening here. As in other US cases, officials are carefully walking a "see no evil" line, in which any hint of racism - if it is (obviously) black-on-white or Muslim-on-Christian - is automatically denied by politicians who are equally quick to pin the blame on anyone other than the actual culprits.

Earlier this year, I posted Glenn Beck's discovery of an active plot by SEIU organizer Steven Lerner to begin an assault against the banking industry by encouraging millions of people to purposely default on their mortgage payments, with the aim of causing the entire economic system to collapse. The apparent goal was to have the resulting crash to cause widespread riots and violence to ripple across the country. Taken to its logical conclusion, that atmosphere of chaos would be just the crisis needed to declare a national emergency that would necessitate the nullification of our constitutional rights. Because of Beck's public warning, the effort didn't really get off the ground at that time, although more than 400 showed up to annoy people at JP Morgan Chase's annual stockholder meeting in Ohio.

Now, they're back, and bolder than ever. Capitalizing (if I may use that term) on the massed protests in Wisconsin and other areas, the mobs are set to occupy Wall Street itself in what organizers are calling the Days of Rage, with the goal of creating “a week of civil disobedience, direct action all over the city:” Since this action could be an impediment to the conduct of big business, maybe even Mayor Bloomberg will find a backbone and impede them in return.

In addition to the larger efforts at mobocracy, smaller but just as sanctimonious groups including the AFL-CIO (isn't it curious; the union labels are everywhere) are once again protesting individual corporate officers at their homes.

When union thugs end up destroying businesses or driving them away, you can thank your local union member for his support (union dues, protests, intimidation, etc.) in causing even more job losses. And in case you don't work at a big corporation and don't care, keep this in mind: every large corporation buys goods and services from hundreds of small businesses - everything from the local restaurants and pizza parlors patronized by the workers and their families, to the office supply companies, security firms, gas stations, corner stores and markets, hardware stores, beauty- and barber-shops, and many others.

If there is anything to be learned from all this, it is simply that...if people really are out to get you, you aren't schizophrenic. And ironically, it seems that the only folks more afraid of violence in the streets are the people at the top of government. The irony isn't that they are afraid, because they hold the military, police, judicial and political power; it is that they are afraid all that power won't be enough to keep them eternally in those positions of power.

Stand, or get knocked down. This week may become one of the most memorable in recent years, and it could go either way; to glory or infamy. Glenn Beck is holding his Restoring Courage event. Actually, it is a series of events taking place over four days in Israel.
  • On Sunday, Glenn, historian David Barton, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Pastor John Hagee and others will speak at the Roman ampitheater in Caesarea, where the biblical stories of Ruth and Esther will be highlighted.
  • Monday, from the Old Train Station Plaza in central Jerusalem, there will be a remembrance of the Holocaust, as a reminder of the evil men can do, and the threat that looms over all of us when we forget that. At a time when anti-semitism is again on the rise globally, and billions of people around the world are being programmed with the belief that average Americans are no better than the dehumanized (and patently false) depiction of Jews, there is coming a time when we all will need courage.
  • On Tuesday, Glenn will follow that with a special documentary he produced which follows his personal journey into Auschwitz-Birkenau, where more than one million people (incidentally, not just Jews) were systematically murdered by a government, while citizens went about their business literally within a stone's throw away, and did nothing about it. We once boldly stated "We shall never forget," and yet there is barely a mention of this shattering chapter of history in the schools or in the media anymore, other than the History Channel archives, which most people never watch.
  • The keynote event happens on Wednesday, where Glenn and others will meet at the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, only yards from where Jesus Christ overturned the tables of the money-changers. Glenn will " issue a challenge to all citizens of the world to stand with and declare their support for Israel."
If the impending fate of Israel doesn't interest you, you aren't nearly as alone as the citizens of that tiny nation. It is literally surrounded by enemies determined not to merely beat them, but to utterly destroy them - every man, woman and child, and not just in Israel. Muslim clerics (remember that Islam is equally a religious and political system). Millions of Europeans are revisiting their historic disdain for Jews, and many Americans are being turned against them by our own current government (which also happens to be recalling many of the policies, activities and goals of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union). I have even heard Christians argue that Israel deserves no special attention from us, in the sense of upholding our historic defense agreements with them. Personally, I don't believe my Christian faith tells me that abandoning our honor or compassion is the right way to go. But then, to each their own interpretation of scripture, I guess.

If you are one of those people who doesn't believe we should stand up for Israel when they need us most (by the way, they haven't asked for help yet; what they are looking for is someone that will at least speak on their behalf -- in other words, a friend), then perhaps it is time to recall the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller. The exact text of what Martin Niemoller said, and which appears in the Congressional Record, October 14, 1968, page 31636 is:

"When Hitler attacked the Jews
I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics,
I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists,
I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church --
and there was nobody left to be concerned."

You can follow Glenn Beck as he tries to restore the compassion and courage of the American people (you didn't really think the Israelis needed to be reminded of courage, did you?) by signing on to his fledgling internet TV channel which officially launches September 12. You can subscribe to GBTV without contracts for $4.99 per month (until launch day, after which the price goes up to 9.95 per month unless you're already locked in). Having seen a number of productions already presented, I can say it is worth the cost. However,for those who just can't go that step, it was just announced that TBN will carry at least one event (Sunday) so far.

As I've stated before, I don't like to put anyone on a pedestal because we're all flawed. But Beck has done what no one else with his ever-expanding media footprint has been willing to do; put everything - including his own money and his reputation - on the line to put the evidence, the truth as he sees it, and a call for a return to moral principles, and a return to God as revealed in the Bible. Many of those who criticize Beck have either never actually listened to him - other than perhaps a selected sound-bite by other critics - or they judge him purely on the rants of those critics. You don't have to agree with him on everything (I don't), but if you listen to what he presents; the evidence and his interpretations thereof you may tend to consider him worth listening to. The truth is that we've been lied to by virtually everyone, and he's trying to discover the truth, and get it out there for the rest of us to see. And Beck sees God as the ultimate Truth; as do I.

You don't have to get all religious to understand - with a little serious study - that the Bible actually is the essential handbook for the human race. It uses history to illustrate how people get off the track, and that common sense, integrity, morality, fairness, honesty, love, and compassion are timeless principles. If you're willing to believe you aren't the center of the universe, it also shows that there actually is a Being that created and cares about us; and He provided everything we need - eternally - if we're only willing to accept it. But unlike certain other faiths in which your only choice is submit or die, the Bible shows that the God it describes is a God willing to give you a choice to do it your way and suffer the eventual consequences, or do it His way and reap rewards beyond your comprehension.

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