Me Too?

The song by the same title, sung by Meghan Trainor, is about a woman who respects herself.  Toby Keith also sings a song by the same title about a man who loves his wife.  Both have powerful messages about love and respect for one’s self as well as for a loved one.

The Me Too that comes to mind in 2018 is the “new” Hollywood revelation about the sexual abuse of women by influential men in the industry. Everyone has heard stories of “casting couches” throughout history.  It’s only now that the women of Hollywood have decided to shed light on what should have been exposed years ago.  The stories of their “bravery” include Twitter hashtags and donning designer gowns that costs more than you or I earn in a year. Some members of this movement decided a long time ago to keep quiet even though they knew fellow actresses were being raped and abused.  Their choice silenced victims, thereby enabling predators, in the name of furthering their own careers. The hashtag that should be trending is #Shame.

True bravery is not found on Twitter or in designer showrooms.  It’s found where everyday men, women, and children deal with evil, have systematically called out bias and abuse, and are met with threats, name-calling, blackballing, jail, and even death—but  have never given up the fight.  Two groups were on display the 3rd week of January who claim to do all the above.  We saw the March for Life followed the next day by the Women’s March. The March for Life consists of diverse groups who have been protesting abortion for over 40 years. In fact, their walk is the largest human rights march in the world but goes unnoticed every year with little to no recognition or media coverage.  The Women’s March, on the other hand, is in its second year and is made up of mainly President Trump protestors and promoters of abortion on demand.  This march was covered on every television channel and news outlet for days.

If you watched the March for Life in Washington, DC or even one of the smaller marches held in cities across the US, you were struck by first, the young age of the participants, their contagious enthusiasm, happiness, smiles, and inspiring signs. The Women’s March was spiked with anger, hate, vile signs, hats, and costumes—not by all, but by too many.

I have a question for those members of the #Me Too/Women’s March.  If you can make a stand for equal pay, against sexual assault, and all abuses and injustices against women, why can’t you stand against the slaughter of future women in the womb?  Why?  Or should I ask #Why?

I’d also like to ask that question to most of the Democrats in the US Senate1 and the two female Republican Senators2 who voted down the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act held January 30, 2018.  Doctors and scientists have confirmed that infants in the womb can feel pain at the 20 week mark and probably earlier, yet these fellow humans still want to murder babies up to and including the moment before birth. This bill excluded cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother so why didn’t they vote for it?  Why? #Why?

A Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll3 published in January of 2018 concluded that more than six in ten Americans support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy; this includes 56% of Pro-Choice Americans, 56% of Democrats, 74% Pro-Life Americans, 73% of Republicans, and 64% of Independents.  Those numbers are staggering.  So why did they vote against it?  We need to demand an answer.  However, our request will be met with the same disdain and silence as they bestow upon the peaceful protestors who attend the March for Life.

Question: Why does the modern feminist movement only relate to certain women?  Shouldn’t it relate to all women—even those who have had abortions and have suffered greatly because of it?  What about the millions of aborted baby girls?  Who would they have become?  Does it even cross the average Women’s March protestor’s mind that one of those aborted girls could have been their wife, sister, best friend, co-worker, teacher, supervisor, scientist, inventor, or even the organizer of a women’s march? I wonder how many Women’s Marchers even know Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other leading suffragettes were vehemently against abortion.  Instead they idolize Margaret Sanger, eugenicist, Nazi sympathizer, and racist.

Anger at the indifference for human life is not just targeted at politicians and protestors.  Days before the March For Life a story broke by the Lepanto Institute4, and confirmed by Dutch radio that Lilianne Ploumen was honored by, of all people, Pope Francis, with the title of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. Ms. Ploumen is responsible for She Decides, an organization that funded over $300 million dollars to international agencies for the sole reason of performing or promoting abortions worldwide.  Ms. Ploumen was also the Director of Programs and on the Board of Directors for CORDAID, the Dutch Catholic aid relief agency that was caught funding Planned Parenthood and dispensing contraception.4

This action has infuriated and confused many Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Not only does it baffle the faithful who have been praying and peacefully protesting for an end to abortion, it’s also a direct slap in the face to those millions of marchers who come from all over the world for 40+ years to participate in the March for Life. Not to mention the priests, nuns, and laypeople who have dedicated their lives to end this culture of death and minister to young mothers and babies as well as their parish congregations.

 History will judge us.  More importantly, God will judge us—all of us.  If you haven’t already, it’s time you stand on the side of good, the side of truth.  On that note, I’d like to ask the members of the #MeToo movement and the Women’s March, are you sure your Twitter key phrase is #MeToo, or is it really #Me-NotYou?

 

1 Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) Democrats who voted in favor of Act

2 Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Republicans who voted against Act

3 Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll, January, 2018.  To view all results or to view or print a pdf version of the Poll click here: www.kofc.org/en/news/polls.html#/

4 www.lepantoinstitute.org/pope-francis/pope-francis-awards-architect-safe-abortion-fund-potifical-honor/

Advertisements

DAUGHTER

The song by the same name was performed by Pearl Jam and is about a child with a disability.  Usually my articles and the titles of the songs by the same name have nothing in common, but this one… If you follow the news like me you may be aware of the Bonnie Liltz story.  Actually, the real victim of this story is not Bonnie but her late daughter, Courtney. You see Courtney was adopted by Bonnie at the age of 2.  Courtney had cerebral palsy and had to have 24-hour care.  However, the young woman was thriving. Speaking, when doctors said she wouldn’t, feeding herself, and using a computer. According to Bonnie Liltz, “she was a happy girl”1.

On May 27, 2015, after twenty plus years of caring for Courtney, Bonnie decided Courtney’s life must end.  She came to this conclusion because she, Bonnie, was battling cancer and other health issues.  Courtney had no say-so in the matter.  Bonnie mixed a cocktail of several drugs and fed it to her daughter, Courtney. She then attempted to take her own life, but was unsuccessful.

Bonnie Liltz, who is still ill, and very much alive is upset because the Illinois courts think she should—I don’t know—go to jail for murdering her daughter.2 You see Bonnie doesn’t want to go to jail.  She is now asking for “mercy” from Bruce Rauner, the governor of Illinois.  It also appears that because Bonnie is so ill the state jail just can’t seem to take good care of her.  Hmmm. Now let’s think back.  Isn’t it ironic that it was for this same reason that Bonnie decided to kill Courtney? Yes, you read that right. Bonnie worried that she couldn’t care for Courtney if she was too ill and she didn’t want to subject Courtney to state care because it wasn’t adequate—so, she killed her out of “mercy and love”. That’s amazing.

Also amazing is how many times Bonnie Liltz refers to God and the “gift” she received from Him when she adopted Courtney, and how “all life is precious”.  Really, wow!  So being Courtney was a gift from God how does Bonnie reconcile that she, not God, would decide to snuff out that gift?  And now that she is the ill one who cannot receive individualized care, it becomes a whole different story?

Bonnie, who is currently out on bond, didn’t like state sponsored jail life and is now asking for clemency to spare her from the horrors of it.  The Illinois Department of Corrections (state) just can’t provide the (individual) healthcare that Bonnie is accustomed to. You know, eating what she wants, taking her medications, and good quality physical and mental care.  She lost 14 pounds in jail! This is the same argument she made for taking Courtney’s life.  The state could not take care of her in the same manner that she, an individual citizen, could.

So far the courts are having none of it. She was sentenced to 4 years for involuntary manslaughter, which is a far lighter sentence then the one she bestowed upon her daughter.  It’s becoming the norm for judges to sentence killers of the innocent to lesser stints in jail and it’s wrong.  There is that slippery slope that pro-life advocates keep spotlighting. If abortion is legal, why stop at the fetus just before it’s born? Why not after birth and maybe up to say, 2 years old or older? And what about the disabled? That leads to the elderly. We’ve already started legalizing suicide for the sick, so why stop there?  You know, all in the name of “compassion”.

Thanks to abortion (the proverbial foot in the door), we are seeing this happen all too frequently. Mothers who no longer want to care for their child will kill them, out of mercy of course, and judges pass on lenient sentences. The child doesn’t have to be ill, just inconvenient. Some cases are more heinous than others, yet it’s difficult for Americans to wrap their heads around a mother who can kill her own child. This must stop or it will end with infanticide and worse.

Christians are taught that all life is precious from womb to the tomb. We are against capital punishment as well. It’s a hard sell when you look at some of these horrific serial offenders.  God teaches us that everyone can change. We must forgive.  St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans 12:19 that vengeance belongs only with God.  However, God never said there should be no justice for the innocent and oppressed.  In fact that very thing is mentioned quite often in the Bible.  Jesus summed it all up in one sentence: love your neighbor as yourself. If you follow that golden rule you’ll never go wrong.

Back to Bonnie Liltz.  I’m sure Bonnie was a selfless mother at one time.  She cared for her disabled daughter for over 20 years. Being a mom is a thankless job on a good day. One may have looked at her and thought her a saint at one time. I agree with her thinking that the state could never take care of Courtney like she did. She was worried about her daughter and what would become of her once she was too ill or dead.  However, her end game was all wrong.

It’s very easy to feel compassion for a mother with a very ill child. How can that be murder? The mother thought the best place for her daughter was with God in Heaven. She didn’t stab or shoot her. She just went to sleep and never woke up. There was no pain1. Tell that to the millions of mothers who have and still are caring for their sick children.

Answer me this, would you feel comfortable with another person making the decision to end your life? What happens when you’re too old or too sick to take care of you? If this becomes the norm it will eventually make its way mainstream and come for all of us.  Eugenics is making a comeback.  It seems that the more we forget our history the more it just keeps circling back.

Bonnie Liltz references God so often that I wonder if she belonged to a church or a support group. If she did, she could have talked to her pastor or friends who could have reached out and got her the help she so desperately needed. She was overwhelmed, distraught, ill, and confused. Someone could have counseled her and this tragedy would never have happened.

If Governor Rauner has an ounce of sense, and I’m not sure that he does since he lied to his constituents and just made Illinois the most abortion friendly state in the union, he will uphold the Illinois courts and keep Bonnie Liltz in jail.

 

1 Suburban Mom Who Killed Disabled Daughter in Botched Murder-Suicide Speaks Publicly for 1st Time; Carol Marin and Don Moseley, NBC 5 Carol Marin Reports, August 31, 2016.

2 Bonnie Liltz initially was charged with murder but plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Come Together

The Beatles released this song in 1969.  Some say John Lennon penned the song for Timothy Leary’s quest to become governor of California, while others insist he’s talking about all four of the Beatles.  Whomever he was talking about the message is clear.  Everyone has bad habits, quirks etc. but it’s time to get a grip and come together.

I thought about this as we prepare for Thanksgiving.  The first big Holiday of the year and the first time many families and friends will be getting together since summer.  It’s also the first time everyone will be around the table after this election cycle.  Holidays bring out the best and worst in us and the larger the family, the more assorted the characters.  This year could be a doozy.  With many Americans divided on several fronts you can guarantee more fireworks than Independence Day—and that’s just for Chicago White Sox and Cub fans!

I’ve been hearing from friends and acquaintances that some of their family members will not be attending Thanksgiving dinner under any circumstances because certain members of the family who will be present supported one presidential candidate and they cannot accept that.  Cannot accept is actually being kind.  The words and adjectives being used are repulsive.  If I can live through a Chicago Cubs World Series you can sit down and break bread with your family.

Here’s a newsflash.  We’ve been deciding the fate of our leader via elections in this country for over 200 years, and in each there was one winner and yes one loser.  In politics everyone doesn’t get a trophy.  If the President is doing a lousy job there are checks and balances in place to keep him or her on the straight and narrow.  For those who are educationally challenged in US government—elections happen every 4 years.  The greatest protest of all is silent and done in the privacy of the voting booth.  Well that’s true unless you live in Chicago and then all bets are off.

I brought up baseball and the World Series for a reason.  Baseball and voting in an election are not the same, although each year it seems like it is.  The fact is voting in an election is not like cheering for your favorite sports team.  In sports the winners get a trophy and lots of money.  Fans get boasting rights and in the case of the World Series, spend a fortune on team paraphernalia.  The country is at the heart of presidential elections.  It’s not my team is better than yours because whether your blue, red, green or in-between we’re all technically on the same team.  Team USA.  Or so I thought.  If Mary Matalin, a prominent Republic consultant, and James Carville, a prominent Democrat consultant, can be married for 23 years1 anyone can get along.

Whether you are a Cub fan or White Sox fan, a Democrat or Republican, this is the time to come together.  Some people will not be able to be home with their families and others are completely alone or hospitalized.  Others have lost a family member and don’t know how to “celebrate”.  I’m sure all these Americans would give anything to celebrate Thanksgiving with their missing or lost loved one.

If you are lucky enough to live in this country you have much to be thankful for.  So please leave your politics at home.  Celebrate that you can spend another Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  Thank God that you live in a country where you can change your leader every 4 years, speak freely for or against it, and it doesn’t lead to bloody revolutions as it does in other countries.

And to my friends who are White Sox fans—sit next to your relative or relatives who happen to be Cub fans and let them gloat.  We did it in 2005.  Give thanks to God for all you’ve received this year.  Everything is better with turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie—even a Cubs World Series.  And remember, baseball season starts in just 4 short months!

1 Matalin and Carville were actually married on Thanksgiving Day, 1993

 

Hush

1968 Deep Purple, right?  Also a traditional gospel song, Hush, hush, somebody’s calling my name.  The kind of hushing I’m writing about is in regard to the clergy.  I can’t tell you how many times, over the course of the years, I’ve witnessed confused parishioners approach their parish priest and ask them, “Father, which candidate promotes our values and beliefs?” only to be told that they can’t give an opinion.

When did priests and pastors lose their 1st Amendment right to free speech and why?  The Founders were clear that everyone, including religious, have the right to free speech.  If it wasn’t for the Black Robe Regiment during the Revolutionary War, which consisted of clergy who gave inspired sermons that the American Revolution was a righteous cause, to some even leading their congregations into battle, we would probably still be English subjects1.

Civil War researchers acknowledge the importance of the clergy as well.  The war made it acceptable, if not obligatory, to speak out against slavery.  Churches, both clergy and congregations, played a major role in the Underground Railroad.  So what happened?

Is it because of separation of church and state?  Thomas Jefferson, credited with these words, was referring to the separation of church and State, (emphasis on the capital S).  He was easing the fears of religious clergy that the newly formed government would not inflict a State-sponsored religion on the country, as there was in England.   That’s what the Pilgrims ran from.  It was what our country was built on; freedom to practice and live out the religion of your choice wherever you live and whenever you want with no restrictions.

It’s no accident that our first civil right states:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech…  (emphasis on prohibiting the free exercise thereof.)  It means no man can stop you from practicing, speaking, or living out your religion.  So how can Congress or any agency in government curtail a member of the clergy’s 1st Amendment, God-given right?  The answer is they can’t—not as long as the Constitution is the law of the land.

Silencing of churches begin in 1954 when then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson (D-TX) decided that tax-exempt entities (mostly consisting of houses of worship) should not be allowed to speak out on politics or lose their tax-exempt status.  Why would he do this and why did Congress go along with it when it states clearly in the 1st Amendment that Congress shall make no law…  Hmmm, let’s think.  Could it have anything to do with Johnson’s re-election campaign that faced stiff opposition from conservative Christians?  Or perhaps it was about silencing pastors, especially black pastors, during the civil rights movement?  It’s certainly strange that from 1788, when the Constitution was ratified, until 1954, preachers, pastors, and priests were free to exercise their right to free speech when speaking directly to their congregations.  Coincidence?

The Johnson Amendment, which many contest is unconstitutional, has been facing significant push-back the past few years from pastors who are willing to challenge the law and participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday2, an event that takes place on a date leading up to Election Day.  The movement began with only 33 clergy members participating and has now swelled to 1,800 members and counting.  Priests and pastors that pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor are no longer bowing down to man and giving up their God-given right.

It’s our obligation, as American citizens, to be educated and defend our way of life.  This includes the clergy, as so many in the congregation are thirsting for truth and guidance especially since government-run schools are no longer teaching US history.  Since it’s not learned in schools, it’s up to everyone to educate themselves on both our history (good and bad) and the Constitution.

Freedom doesn’t come free, just take a trip to Arlington National Cemetery and look around.  We as a nation and as a people are in trouble.  We can no longer close our eyes to the attacks on life, privacy, free speech, and religious freedom.  It’s time to wake up those who either can’t or don’t want to see. It’s time to take a stand.  This is especially true for the clergy.  It’s that Moses moment.  This election year I will not violate my conscience.  I’ll stand by my principles and beliefs.  It’s that MLK moment.  I will not give in to misplaced anger or give in to violence to push an agenda conceived by man.  I will not call out for a king3, because he alone can’t make a nation great.  I will put my trust in God and not man.4   It’s time.  To quote John Adams, “Liberty once lost, is lost forever.”  To everything there is a season.  A time to keep silent, and a time to speak.5  Now is the time to speak.

 

1Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, Religion and the American Revolution, Library of Congress. www.locgov/exhibits/religion/rel03.html

2 An event sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) a Christian legal group based in Arizona.  Visit www.adflegal.org for more information

3 1 Samuel 8

4 Galatians 1:6-10

5Ecclesiastes 3:7

It’s Good to Be the King

Who doesn’t love Mel Brooks?  This particular song was from the soundtrack of History of the World: Part I.  The idea of a king ruling over us is not particularly well received here in the US, or is it?  Our nation was built on Judeo-Christian principles.  We were firm believers that our rights come from God, not man.  However, over the past few years many of our citizens either have forgotten or no longer believe that.

History teaches us when you have a ruler who controls the population it never ends well, which is why the Founders gave us a Republic so that man could rule himself with as little government interference as possible.  To quote Abraham Lincoln, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  So what happens when these people decide they want a king or queen?

I’m reminded time and time again of 1 Samuel 8, when Israel rejects God as their king and demands a man to rule over them.  Even when God, through Samuel, tells them they will relinquish many of their freedoms, they still demand a king.  They want to have what other nations have—a false sense of security at the price of oppression and loss of liberty in service to the king.

As a serf in a kingdom you are entitled to what the king or queen bestows upon you.  However, many don’t realize what the king or queen gives you—the king or queen can take away.  If you’re a friend of the ruler it means a lofty position, land, money, all on the backs of said serfs (you).  Serfs get to work for low wages and pay high taxes to the ruling family to provide their “free stuff” but more importantly to provide a lifestyle fitting for a king and his royal friends. Sounds familiar?  Yeah, but this ruler will be different.  This ruler will take care of us.  He or she will protect us from the bad people who say mean things, or want us to follow the Constitution, or want to do us harm.  So we give up our God-given rights in the false belief that the ruler will bring us security.  After all, he’s going to build a huge wall around the castle!

What images appear in your mind when you think of a king? A  crown, huge castle, opulence, greed, trumpets and great fanfare, a dungeon to jail those who speak out against the monarchy? You think huge, you think loud, and you think extravagant.  There is no question the boisterous voice is heard over the quiet, but does that mean what comes out of the loudmouth is always correct?

Let’s take a trip in the time machine back to 1960’s.  We all remember the riots, the days of rage, Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, as well as the civil rights movement—Malcolm X and MLK.  Did the violent win over the peacemaker?  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, a man of God, stood for the rights of Black Americans.  Was he vulgar, ostentatious, or violent?  No, he was the exact opposite; actually making his followers pledge an oath of nonviolence.  Did he promise African-Americans free stuff?  No.  He looked to a day when people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.  Did he say rise up and demand the rich pay their fair share?  No, he said whatever you become, become the best at it. If you want to be a garbage man, be the best garbage man. And yet he won.  Why? He had truth on his side—God’s truth.

Unfortunately, the history revisionists have left out the religious side of Rev. King.  It’s quite remarkable since almost all his speeches and writings were steeped in scripture.  Was he perfect? No.  None of us are.  He will be remembered as a modern day Moses.  How many rulers or overlords can you say will be remembered as such?

As America turns further and further away from God and instead turns to a king for a false sense of security, there are days I feel like the prophet Jeremiah, reluctant to speak yet compelled to do so.  Feeling I am not qualified to state the obvious yet I hear Him whisper in my ear, ‘Fear none of them, for I am with you and will keep you safe’ Jeremiah 1:8.

I have quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer so many times but never before has his words had more meaning than they do now.  “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us innocent. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”  I know when I meet Jesus face to face I can tell him I spoke out.  I did my part.  I tried to be a good watcher on the wall (Ezekiel 33:6).  Jesus told us, “I am the truth, the light, and the way,” (John 14:6) “and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).

As we approach Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, it’s good to remember that the King of Kings entered the world not as a flamboyant king, but as a humble, defenseless child.  He didn’t live in a castle; He was born in a stable.  His parents were not wealthy aristocrats.  We do know He never condemned or threatened those who spoke out against Him or those who even plotted His death.  He didn’t join the local Occupy Jerusalem movement or support Jewish Lives Matter.  Instead of a gold crown He was given a crown of thorns. He stood in silence as His own people mocked Him, spat on Him, and humiliated Him.  He did not raise a hand against those who tortured and crucified Him.  Instead, He forgave them all.

Jesus accepted everyone, even tax collectors and prostitutes.  He also cured a Roman Centurion’s servant and offered life giving waters to a Samaritan woman.  You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to know prostitutes, repentant thieves, tax collectors, outsiders, and a soldier from a conquering empire not your own would not be welcome in a king’s court.

Where we go as a nation I have no idea.  I can tell you if we stay as divided as we are now it will only bring about disaster.  “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25.  However, I have hope.  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Who would you proclaim as your king and savior?  A man, or the King of Kings?

 

The Holy Spirit—The Parachute

Not a song title, and yes I know it’s the Paraclete.  I remember one of my daughters coming home from school one day, telling me she learned about the Holy Spirit in religion class.  I asked her who is the Holy Spirit and what does He do?  She answered immediately and enthusiastically. “He’s a parachute!”  Each Sunday when our priest recites The Divine Praises before Mass, I chuckle to myself when he says and I repeat, blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.  I think of my daughter’s parachute.  I don’t remember if I corrected her or not but maybe in her youthful innocence she was right.

The world was amazed and awed by former President George H.W. Bush’s parachute jump last year in honor of his 90th birthday.  I must admit, for a man who can no longer walk because of Parkinson’s disease, it was inspiring.  However, he was tethered to a member of the All Veteran Parachute Team.  I’m not taking anything away from our former president because tether or no tether, it’s scary.

I didn’t think much of it until today.  Today is the Feast of the Ascension and that means Pentecost is just around the corner.   With that realization, the Holy Spirit decided to pay me a visit and that small still voice whispered in my ear, “being a Christian is like jumping out of an airplane”.

So I thought about it and as usual the Spirit is right.  Nowadays, when we step out of our comfort zone and dare express our opinions, isn’t it a lot like jumping out of a plane?  Especially if, ONE: you talk about your faith, and TWO: you actually live it.  Free speech and freedom of religion are not what they used to be.  The Founders had a reason for placing those two protections in the first amendment.  They were the very bedrock of our country’s founding and the Constitution.  It’s sad and dangerous that Americans do not know their own history and those in power prefer to keep it that way.

A couple of weeks ago, while commenting on an acquaintance’s Facebook post, ironically about past presidents, the topic came up about presidents who were born poor.   I commented that the poorest presidents in my lifetime were either Nixon or Bill Clinton.  However, two other people disagreed.  Within seconds I was labeled a racist, homophobic and a member of a hate group.  I don’t know these people so I asked them how they could come to such a hateful conclusion of me.  They both responded because of the pictures I posted and some of my likes.  The argument between these two strangers and others on the page became more heated so I exited the conversation.

Later, I went back and looked at what strangers could see of me on Facebook.  Practically all of my posts and pictures can be viewed by friends only, but there are a few that I don’t mind sharing with the public.  So what classified me to be included in those detestable camps?  I found a few pictures of Jesus, my church, and two “likes” for a pro-life group and the Catholic Church.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been attacked on Facebook.  It happens all too frequently by faceless cowards, shrouded with the cloak of anonymity.  However, I was once threatened by someone I knew, someone who I classified as a friend.  Why?  She was on Facebook spewing hate against Jews, Christians who are not Catholic, and a well-known pastor from another Christian denomination who I personally admire.  I told her I did not agree with anything she said and I had friends from those Christian denominations who live their faith.  She then emailed me.  She was furious with me, threatening me with personal harm and calling me every name under the sun.  And to make matters worse, she is a Catholic!  I stood by what I believed and I told her I’d pray for her.  To those of you who are Facebook savvy, she then promptly “unfriended” me.

Yes, being a Christian is exactly like jumping out of a plane.  I mentioned President Bush was tethered to a veteran jumper.  Like Bush, we too are tethered to a veteran, except ours is even more reliable.  Our parachute is the Holy Spirit.  Remember that when navigating the not too friendly skies of living Christian in today’s society.  And if your child comes home from school or from their religious education class and tells you all about The Holy Spirit, the Parachute, don’t correct him or her.

Bibi, I’ma Want You

Who can forget the cool vibes from the music performed by the 1970’s soft rock band, Bread?  But the song title is Baby I’ma Want You, not Bibi. Yes, except I really mean Bibi.  Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel to be exact.  What does an Israeli politician have to do with me and you, especially as Christians living in the US?

Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East and the only representative democracy and developed country in the region.  Israel shares its borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, and Gaza Strip and Egypt on the southwest.  And you think you live in a tough neighborhood?  There are over 8 million people who live in Israel.  Approximately 6 million or 75% of those people are Jewish, 1.7 million or 20.7% are Arabs, and the remaining 4.3% are non-Arab Christians.1 Arabs live in Israel?  Yes, and they possess the same rights as any other Israeli citizen.  Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Arab homosexuals can live without persecution.  77% of Arab Israelis say they would rather live in Israel than anywhere else.2

We Christians share much with our Jewish brothers and sisters.  We both have Jesus—contrary to what some believe—He was a Jew!  The Old Testament is known as the Torah to the Jews.  Both the Old and New Testaments go hand-in-hand.  Jesus fulfilled the words of the prophets.  All of the great stories, historical and otherwise, of the Old Testament foreshadowed Jesus. Without knowledge of the Old Testament you can’t have a robust understanding of our faith.  Many of our Christian practices are symbolic of Jewish religious traditions and our holy days are entwined with theirs.  Despite what you’ve heard our country was based on Judeo-Christian beliefs.  In 1654 Jews arrived in New Amsterdam, now lovingly known as New York.  Many Jews were honored patriots during the Revolutionary War.3

Israel has the right to exist.  Their people have the right to live without others threatening to hunt them down and kill them for the crime of being Jewish, regardless if they practice the faith or not—they’re still Jews.  Throughout history Jews have been expelled, forced to convert, had their property confiscated, synagogues burned, they’ve been enslaved, outlawed, burned alive, massacred, forced to wear badges/hats, mass arrests, victims of the Inquisition, imprisoned, hung, drowned, public torture and this persecution is not limited to the Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis.  This is throughout time4.

Islamist extremists, whether they are Shia or Sunni, ISIS, or the mullahs of Iran, main objective is to wipe out the Jewish people.  This quote is from one of the Islamic Hadiths:  “You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say: Come here, Muslim, there is a Jew hiding himself behind me; kill him.5” I don’t know of any talking rocks but these extreme zealots take the words of the Koran and the Hadiths literally.  To say they are not Islamic is ridiculous.  However, their form of Islam is psychotic.  This group isn’t satisfied to simply return us to 7th Century existence.  What they really want is to hasten the Apocalypse.  Sound crazy?  It is.  But not to them!

Let’s look at Iran’s recent history.  Persia, as it was known until 1935 when the Iranian ambassador to Germany persuaded the Shah to rename Persia, Iran or “land of Aryans”.  The definition of Aryan in Nazi terminology was a Caucasian, blue-eyed, blond haired race.  Why would German Nazis court Iran? Simple, it possessed lots of oil and they both hated the Jews.  A Hitler envoy also promised a pan-Islamic state stretching from Morocco to Iran, something the Arabs of the Middle East longed for since losing the Ottoman Empire after World War I, and being lied to by the English and French with the Sykes-Picot Agreement, further breaking the region up into the countries that exist today.  Fast forward to November 4, 1979 when Muslim students stormed the US Embassy and held 52 hostages, not releasing them until January 20, 1981.  Iran has been a theocracy ever since and has sponsored countless acts of terror not only against the US but around the globe, and are working with Hezbollah against Israel.

Why would Iran, a country so rich in oil, need nuclear power?  They don’t.  They want a nuclear weapon.  They want to destroy Israel, the “little Satan” and call for death to America, the “great Satan”.  Many administrations have attempted to thwart their nuclear ambition.  The Saudis, Egyptians, and Jordanians are against it as well, but they have let the US do the heavy lifting.  The tough economic sanctions imposed on them, which would be lifted if this deal is signed, have practically destroyed their economy.  This has brought dissension on the streets of Iran in hopes that the people would rise up and over through the mullahs and their oppressive government.  While this has slowed them down, Iran never stopped working on acquiring nuclear power.  Now, they are closer than ever.  And what does the US do?  Negotiate a bad deal while Iran conducts military exercises, blowing up a mock US carrier just last week and denying access to UN inspectors.  These are the same people who danced in the streets and passed out candy after 9/11.  What could possibly go wrong?

While our politicians are naïve at best, Israel and Netanyahu who live in this environment are not.  Netanyahu has information that we, the American people and our Congress need to know before signing an agreement that could bring death and destruction to Israel first—and then to us.  The President says John Boehner dissed him by inviting Netanyahu to address Congress without his permission.  I beg to differ.  We have 3 equal branches of government—emphasis on equal.  We do not have a king.  Boehner, as the head of the legislative branch, has every right to invite who he pleases to address Congress—especially when it means life or death.  Unfortunately, several Democratic congressmen and women decided to blindly obey and boycott Netanyahu’s address.  I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on—their duty is to serve and protect us whether they like what they hear or not.  This is not a democrat/republican issue.  This is an American issue.  This is an end to civilization as we know it issue.  This is a life or death issue.  This is a moral issue. If it offends our enemies—so be it.

Netanyahu said in his address, the days of Jews suffering silently are over.  They will stand.  As Christians we must stand with them.  What would Jesus do? Netanyahu is facing an election in his country within the next 2 weeks and has a lot at stake.  I don’t believe he addressed Congress to win the election back home.  Contrary, he’s losing ground in an election that was his for the taking.  Why?  Because he’s putting the lives of Israeli citizens first.  He’s putting Israel before politics.  What good is winning an election if within a short period of time, Iran will nuke Israel off the face of the earth?  That’s what a leader does.  He tells the hard truth and doesn’t sell candy-coated lies.  He confronts issues and calls evil by its name.  He tackles issues that are not popular.  We have no right to offer Israel as a sacrifice to lunatics in the hope that they will leave us in peace. Who would you rather have as your leader?  Neville Chamberlain or Winston Churchill?  And if you don’t know who either of those two men were, shame on you.

Do you as a Christian want to be on the right or wrong side of history?  Will you stand as Corrie ten Boom and her family stood?  But even more so, do we as Christians want to be on the right or wrong side of God?  In Genesis 12:3 God tells Abraham, referring to the Jews, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will find blessing in you.”  I know which side I want to be on and that’s why I sing, Bibi, I’ma want you.

1The Jerusalem Post, 12/30/2014

2 Arab Israeli Conflict, 10 Facts About The Arab-Israeli Conflict, www.arabisraeliconflict.info

3 Touro Synagogue, America’s Oldest Synagogue, Jews In America From Inquisition to Freedom.

4 Simple to Remember, Judaism Online, Jewish Persecution, Timeline of Judaism, History of AntiSemitism www.simpletoremember.com

5 Hadith Collection Sahih Muslim Book 041, Hadith Number 6981

Previous Older Entries