Tuesday, March 29, 2005

America The Exceptional

America upon Reflection Posted by Hello

“Really now, in the last 40 years, whose standards have changed more-those of the Church or those of society? Who is looking like whom? … We have not changed the world, the world has changed us.”
Michael Brown- Revolution: Call to Holy War

I want everyone to step back for a moment, away from all of the partisan banter, and reflect on the actual condition (morally, spiritually, economically, politically, etc.) of our nation. Those on the Right believe that liberals are a bunch of "hate America firsters" while those on the Left believe that conservatives are a bunch of “hear no evil, see no evil” puppets of the State. It is as easy as it is unfortunate to figure what a persons assessment of our Union might be based solely upon party affiliation and who happens to be in power at the time of the asking. See, in one regard they are both right, and yet in another they are both wrong.

Both the Right and the Left despise America (at least the State and its policies) when the other is in power just as much as they love America (with a blindness only a mother could understand) when the others are out of it. When the State was controlled by Democrats all the lefties were in rejoicing. The Right during that time thought that it was the worst condition our State had been through in American history! Then Bush entered into office and the Right was ecstatic. Since he has been in office the conservative base has been all but worshipping the RNC. It would seem that nothing Mr. Bush does is wrong to them. All the while the Democrats are bemoaning every single thing that Bush has ever done.

So it would seem that both the Left and the Right are “hate America firsters” depending on which party is wielding power (most specifically, which is a true sign or symptom of Imperial Statism, the Executive Office). In the same measure, both the Left and the Right are shouting “America the Exceptional” when their Party is in office. This is partisan politics and merely a play at psychological self-deception when excluding oneself (at least the vast majority on both sides of the isle) from such a judgment.

So let us, as Bible believing Paleocrats, look at the state of our Union. Let us take a peek into the ills that we are riddled with. Let us look at the plank in our eye so that we can more accurately understand what we have to work on in pursuit of self-betterment. Once we realize the condition we are in the sooner we may be able to remedy the problem.

Here are some statistics that will help us make a sound judgment regarding our present condition. Some of the facts and numbers are hard to handle. (Trust me, I have preached on them to kids in youth group.)

Since 1960 the….

1. Divorce Rate has Doubled

2. Suicide Rate has Tripled

3. Reported Violent Crimes have quadrupled

4. Prison Population has quadrupled

5. Percent of babies born to unmarried parents has sextupled

6. Cohabitation (or live-ins) has increased sevenfold

Rates and Percentages, many in relation to the entire industrialized world
1. America has the highest percentage of single-parent families in the industrialized world

2. The highest abortion rate in the industrialized world

3. The highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the industrialized world.

4. The highest teenage birthrate in the entire industrialized world.

5. The highest rate of teenage drug use in the industrialized world.

6. 21% of American 9 year olds watch five hours or more of television daily. This is the highest in the industrialized world.

7. At present, the out-of-wedlock birthrate amongst Blacks is near 68%. They also have the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS right behind homosexuals.

8. Across American racial divides the out-of-wedlock birthrate is 1 out of 3.

9. Within the last few years out of the approximately 65,000,000 kids age 17 and younger, almost 28,000,000 (43%) spent time in a single-parent family. About 8.25 million were born out of wedlock, about 16,700,000 experienced the divorce of their parents, and additional 3,000,000 or so children were born out of wedlock AND experienced a divorce of their parents.

10. Among women born between 1971 and 1975, 2% were married to their partner at the time of their first sexual intercourse. That is one out of every 50 girls that make it abstinent until marriage.

11. In 1997 (not that long ago), roughly 3,000,000 teenagers, about one in four who are sexually active, acquired a sexually transmitted disease. Recent studies show that this number has increased.

12. 76% of all births to teenagers occur outside of marriage.

13. In 15 of our nation’s largest cities in 1995, the teen out of wedlock birth ratio was a huge 90%! In Pittsburgh and Baltimore it was 96.5%!

14. 4,000 babies are reported as being aborted every 24 hours.

15. 1,500,000 to 1,800,000 babies are reported to have been murdered by abortion procedures annually in our nation.

16. A 1997 survey conducted by George Barna used 152 different items to compare the Church and the world. He found virtually no difference between the two!

I am choosing to stop the list here although I could talk about the lives taken around the world through interventionism, the immorality of taxation (unbiblical taxation), Darwinist propaganda in public schools, the sex (pervert) education in public schools, public school education in general (in math achievement American public school students ranked 19th out of 21 nations), cases such as Terri Schiavo and the Philadelphia protesters (arrested and facing many years in prison for bringing the gospel to the streets of Philadelphia during a gay pride festival), as well as the gay revolution and the AIDS curse. The list could go on and on!

As I stated before, there is no question that America has done and continues to do good at home and abroad. But we must remember that the good we have done does not permit us to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to the atrocities committed by America at home and abroad. We, especially as Christians, must begin to take America by the horns and demand change. It is our responsibility as God’s reforming agent to confront the world and declare Christ as King, requiring that every area of life submit to his Lordship. For he alone can perform the surgery America so desperately needs in order to truly become “America the Exceptional.”

*You can access many of these figures in Michael Brown’s book entitled, “Revolution: The Call to Holy War.” You can also check out “Faith Commitment” by Barna Research Online at www.barna.org. *

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Marriage is More Than a Definition

My Wife and Child Posted by Hello

A thought today it may be good to step away from critical analysis and deal with an issue that is really personal to me. Family, more specifically, marriage. I have been married for over 2 years now and since our having "tied the knot" and during this time our nation has had to face some serious matters. Most relevant to this piece would be the debate over the meaning and definition of marriage. We were married around the time of the Lawrence v. Texas ruling and the subsequent events.

On the right you have those who cry for retaining the present definition of marriage. On the left you have them saying that the definition is as outdated as a stay at home mother or home schooling. Those in the center (like our beloved President) say that they want marriage to remain as it is but they would be o.k. with domestic partnerships and civil unions. It would seem as if the most prominent voices in society are all over the map on the matter. Save of course the voice of the people where majority after majority chose to amend State Constitutions to protect themselves from the onslaught of fags in veils and lesbians with mullets as “best men.” (Sorry Heather for the jab at your soon-to-be brother-in-law’s best “man”) The people’s voice is loud and clear on the issue.

Since my being involved in political discussion I have been asked on numerous occasions what my take on the issue is and what I think should, or could, be done. Anyone having even a modicum of insight into my religious and political persuasion ought to have an easy time figuring out which side of the isle I would find myself. I am a Christian Reconstructionist, a Paleoconservative, and a strong advocate for a homosexual death penalty. But here I want to attempt to put forth not only what “should” be done but also what, at present, is more “probable” to be done.

What should be done is to reinstate a homosexual death penalty. Truth be told, if we were to obey God’s Law concerning the sanctions against homosexuality we would have no “crisis.” The debate would be gone. At least from the homosexuals themselves. Their defenders could debate over whether or not to put them to death but not over whether or not we should alter God’s sacred definition and structure of marriage.

Another “should be done” would include the Church and the State to reconsider no-fault-divorce laws. These laws have done so much to strip marriage of its sanctity (and to say that marriage has any sanctity left amongst the tidal wave of reality TV show marriages, Las Vegas weddings, Jerry Springer weddings, and non-virgins wearing white wedding gowns proudly, is nostalgia at best and naivety at worst)

The Church also must reconsider its position concerning excommunication of members living adulterous lives due to their being divorced on non-Biblical grounds and then getting re-married on non-Biblical grounds. The Church must again take a hard stance on this issue as the primary defender and example of marriage in the world.

IT ought to be no surprise to us that the definition of marriage is under fire. Why wouldn’t it be? We, the Church, have not set before the world a good example of marriage, divorce, and restitution. We have also given them the impression that no-fault divorce is an acceptable, though unfortunate, event. This is a lie of catastrophic proportions! The Church has a divorce rate that is staggering! With the statistics available it would seem that the Church has a higher divorce rate than non-believers. And non-believers have a divorce rate of around 50%! Is it any wonder then that the world would be floundering in this sea of relativism and for-the-moment pleasure seeking? Doesn’t even the Word say that if the believer barely be saved what then of the world? By the looks of it we are being saved “as if through fire” leaving little or no room above the flames for the non-believer.

Concerning what “could” be done (as if what “should” be done “cannot” be done) on a Church and State level there are only a few alternatives. Some insist on a federal amendment to the Constitution. I am not a supporter of this measure. For starters, Republicans will never see it get out of committee or pass in the Senate. The House would be all for it but not the Senate. Another reason is because it is more of a political tool than a real concern for the vast majority of Republicans. Most of them have no problem with civil unions or domestic partnerships as long as they can salvage a “definition.”

Another problem with this solution is that it gets the civil government in an area where it does not belong. The Federal government has no Constitutional right to determine the definition of marriage. They are given specific right as explained in Article 1 Section 8. Granted they do not obey these guidelines this does not give us a permit then to separate from principle and law. It is kind of like saying that you will go 10 MPH over the speed limit because you know that there is a cop or a judge who does it. Point is, it is the law, and we are to uphold the law.

Constitutionally there are a few legitimate options but two are most probable. First, we could amend the “Full Faith and Credit” Clause to be more specific regarding what is eligible and ineligible to receive full faith and credit. We could also amend it in such a way as to allow states discretion as to what will receive full faith and credit. This is already done in part when dealing with “concealed-carry gun permits.” Another constitutional option would be to make a law needing only a basic majority (rather than the supermajority needed for Constitutional Amendments) establishing DOMA. Lastly, they could limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as well as lower federal courts. They even have the right to abolish any federal court outside of the Supreme Court. It may be wise to start with the 9th District. Court of Appeals if you ask me.
In conclusion, there is much that should have been done, even more that must now be done, and not a how lot that can be done. This is a strange time we live in. The Church must rise to the occasion and reclaim the right of “standard bearer.” Christians must come against the tidal wave of divorce and infidelity. It must reestablish the high standards that marriage once required. The Church would also do well to reconsider issues such as bride price, arranged marriage, and the effect that dating has had on marriage in America. And the government must do what it can within the boundaries that for better or worse it has imposed upon itself. This may not solve the problem but it will certainly get us thinking about how we can most effectively deal with it.

A definition is as reactive as it is creative and conservative. If marriage was in good shape there would be no debate. Definitions change only when the reality that it is to reflect and signify has changed. So for us to save a definition would do little to no good in saving, or even preserving, the reality of what it is to signify. Save marriage, the definition will follow.

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Monday, March 14, 2005

Hating Our Policies, Not Our "Freedom"

World Hatred Is Tool For Terrorism Posted by Hello

I am not of the persuasion that the terrorists (or the world for that matter) hate us because of our freedom. This line of reasoning, which prevails in our current political discussions over 9/11 and the War on Terror, is as dangerous as it is wrong--and that's saying more than a mouthful. People residing in Arab countries dislike the United States for many reasons but chief among their reasons are a) our "no-questions asked" relationship with Sharon and Israel b) their perception of the United States as an aggressor, bent on neoliberal hegemony and c) their no-so-unrealistic impression that Americans are rife with Islamaphobia. They see little difference between modern-day American and the imperial Western powers of years past... and all of these for good reason.

According to MIT Center for International Studies, the below figures are taken from "a poll conducted by University of Maryland asked respondents in five arab states- Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon- to identify their 'single most important issue,' including domestic issues."

Statistics concerning Arab Countries:

1. Egypt- 79% Palestinian-Israeli conflict
2. Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, and Lebanon- 60% Palestinian-Israeli conflict
*20 percent of the last 4 countries mentioned had it in their top 3 issues*

Zogby survey found little support for U.S. policy toward Palestinians.
1. 2%-6% of those in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Lebanon
2. 10% in UAE
3. 89%-94% in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Lebanon dissaproved of US mideast policy
4. 10% of Pakistan approved of US policy (79% dissaproved)
5. 5% of Indonesia (75% dissaproved)
6. 3% in Iran (95% dissaproved)

US approval and dissaproval rate in four Muslim countries:
1. 61% of Pakistan dissaproves of USA with only 21% approval
2. 63% dissaproval by Turkey to 30% approval
3. 88% dissaproval by Morocco to 11% approval
4. 93% dissaproval by Jordan to 5% approval
5. 69% dissaproval by Lebanon to 20% approval
6. 73% dissaproval by UAE to 14% approval
7. 94% dissaproval by Saudi Arabia (note where hijackers came from) to 4%
8. 98% dissaproval by Egypt to 2% approval

Asked whether they hate our freedoms or policies:
1. 76% in Jordan said policies
2. 78% in UAE said policies
3. 79% of Lebanon said policies
4. 81% in Saudi Arabia said policies
5. 84% of Morocco said policies
6. 95% in Egypt said policies

Asked if what America does is more important than who she is?:
1. Jordan- 76-16 say "yes"
2. Egypt- 90-1 say "yes"

How about our European Allies?
1. 60% if British despise American foreign policy
2. 70% in Germany, France, and Spain also despise our foreign policy

Sadly, many Americans would be startled--even offended--by these findings.
To many, though, these numbers are as predictable as the morning sun. Either way, Americans ought to take these findings seriously. They could do so by asking themselves and their political and religious leaders a few questions, including but not limited to:

1. With the hatred that "hostile" and "non-hostile" states alike have for the USA, do you believe that we are in fact more/less safe than before 9-11 and/or the capture of Saddam?

2. Is it fair to question whether our invasion of Iraq has fueled an already deeply-rooted resentment among Arab countries and is being used as a tool for the recruiting of potential terrorists?

3. Does the world hate us on account of our freedoms or because of our wars of aggression and dealings with the Palestine/Israel conflict?

Whichever way we answer, one thing ought to be certain: so far as the Arab world is concerned, the USA is anything but a "city on a hill."

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Have We Signed Away The World?

No Such Thing As A Spiritual Cease-Fire Posted by Hello

"Political pluralism is a myth, the official philosophy of a perpetual cease fire... it is... a gigantic public relations ploy of an implacable enemy, who uses a time of peace to consolidate his position for the next assault. Christians are naive. They believe that they should always think the best of people, giving their covenant-breaking opponents the benifit of the doubt. They should be ready rather to doubt the benifits."

Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism
Deuteronomy 4:5-8
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgements, even as Yahweh my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh to them, as Yahweh our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgements so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

Christians for the last 200 years have been on the political run. There was a time in our history that the Church understood the mandate of Christ to go to the "nations" in order to make "disciples." Mind you that he did not just specify "individuals" or "converts." He was crystal clear in the scope and meaning of this gospel and its consequent effects on society and culture. The Catholic Church for all of its faults understood the notion of dominion. Were there abuses? Certainly. Mankind is bound even in regenerate status to make fatal errors. Yet there was the idea that culture and politics were religious in nature, not secular. This concept is one that we have little recognition of in 21st century USA.

Other societies throughout history have grasped this concept and attempted to build upon it but very few had any significant success. Until of course the Puritans. The Puritans attempted to use the Law of God, most specifically Exodus 21-23 case laws, in formulating local ordinances. From Sabbath laws, to blasphemy laws, to witch-hunts (which in themselves are Biblical), to laws concerning fields and their un-harvested parts for the poor, and even adultery laws. Now did they ever over-do anything. Yes. Were they or their system perfect? No. But they were on the right track.

For me to use the Puritans as a positive example of Christian Reconstruction in Political-Law Theory may be a surprise to some. Most Christians at present see the Puritans more as an eye sore than a model to follow. Say may see them as evil-white-heterosexual-religious-bigots that burned people because they didn't like them. This is unfortunate to say the least. No group since the people of Israel have tried to reflect the Law of God in such a way as to glorify Him by reflecting His righteousness in society. Their worst fault may be that they were "over-zealous" for implementing God's Law-Word. But is that even a fault to be ashamed of?

For all of their faults they did not have fags wearing wedding gowns getting married by a professional music personality impersonator. They did not have Witches and Warlocks being publicly portrayed as heroes like Harry Potter. They would have cringed at the blasphemous ordination of homosexual priests. Neither would they have turned a blind eye to the rape of young children by perverted priests! It would be a cold day in hell before they would see women dying on a battlefield. The men who have robbed us blind through taxes and broken a trust (Social Security) would be prosecuted as the criminals that they are. And most certainly they would have been unable to sleep knowing that 4,000 innocent babies a day are being killed in abortuaries! They would have waged war on a nation that funded these child-murder centers responsible for 1,400,000 (legal and reported) deaths a year. Day care centers and their Public School counterpart would be history. Darwinism and Sex (mis)education would be banned. The Ten Commandments would be in every courthouse reminding the justices that they are not the Lawmakers. And no-fault divorce would be once again non-existent. Oh what a horrible world that would be!

Yet many will continue to chime, “Theocracy bad, democracy good.” The fact that people fear and despise the word Theocracy shows how deep the depravity of man is even within the hearts of the born-again. God Rule? Heaven forbid! Using the Bible as the standard of Law? Let it not be so! We want to go back to Egypt. Give us Egypt and all of their gods. We desire political pluralism. That seems much more wise, kind, and just than the OT Law of God. His law is so mean and inhumane. He would insist that we violate “natural right” of “innocent” people. Certainly the God I serve would not have that.” This is as sad as it is common.

So for now we will continue as we always have, believing in our hearts that the City of Man has swore to a cease-fire. We will live our lives complaining how bad things are wishing they were better but refusing to see (and even despising) the greatest (and only) alternative the to Man’s Secular City. We will call ourselves Conservative, trying our hardest to restrain the momentum of the wicked while retaining any speck of good that we can grasp a hold of. Moreover, Christians will continue to live an intellectually schizophrenic life of on one hand saying the world is destined for the antichrist while simultaneously doing things such as voting Republican in hope that it will not. What a strange world we live in. What a peculiar people we are. God have mercy.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Taking God To The Beats!

A Man On Fire! Posted by Hello

If one were to venture up to the top of the Y Center into the often forgotten "Y in the Sky" you would hear a sweet, sweet sound reverberating through the halls. Just what is that sound? It is the sound of Jerry Rezloff and his band of kids (as well as his son Jeremy) learning to sing and play instruments. But these kids are not just learning how to play the drums and guitar by any ordinary means. They are doing it by learning to play praise and worship music. They practice to the very same songs that we sing during our Church services!

Now I have to admit that when it comes to this program, and the director himself for that matter, I am certainly biased. For starters I happen to know him. I lift weights daily at the Y Center and one day while walking towards the entrance I couldn’t help but to notice bright lights flashing through one of the front windows facing the parking lot. I entered the room where I saw a man playing a praise tune on his guitar alongside his son beating away (and he is fantastic) on the drums. The room was plastered with pictures taken from the film "The Passion of Christ" and was lined wall to wall with all sorts of instruments. This guy had a great set-up and on top of it all was playing music that was glorifying the Lord!

We began talking and instantly hit it off. He is a pastor of a small Methodist church (He is a self-described stick in the mud within that denomination due to his Biblical stance on the issue of homosexuality) and an active member of the Salvation Army. He said that he has a real heart for the poor and for the children. He began talking to me about what he is doing for social change and his talking almost immediately set my heart aflame with joy! (Believe it or not I am a strong advocate for social change *smile*) From that point onward we have remained in communication and I would consider him a friend.

What made me feel like I ought to write about him and his "School on the Rock" was not as much how great the program is, or how I consider him a friend, rather, it is that men like him are so few and far between that to pass him by but with just a nod and a glance would be unfortunate. There are so few men that take the step beyond belief into the sacred realm of action. There are even less that do so from a perspective so Theo-centric. It would be an understatement to say that Gerry has Christ as the center of his life and his ministry. The spirit radiating off of this man is one of passion, diligence, commitment, and hope. He believes in his heart of hearts that God's way is the best way and the closer we align ourselves with His plan or design the better we and our pursuits (or gifts and talents) will be.

For thos like myself frustrated by Church apathy pertaining to social matters Gerry is a breath of fresh air. As for the men and women who desire to see God put back into every area of life (including the realm of music which Christendom championed for hundreds of years!) we have been given a living epistle by which to mimic. His name is Gerry Rezloff. My advice to you would be not only to do as he says, but also as he does.

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