Friday, January 25, 2019

The Shutdown, The Wall, and Illegal Immigration

While it may be denied, it is not difficult to see that we have a problem with illegal immigration. I guess that says something positive about our nation that so many people want to get in. But every crime committed by an illegal immigrant—especially the more heinous and violent ones—is a stain on our federal government, demonstrating its failure to protect its own citizens. Not that it’s ever had a problem with failure before.

So I am in agreement that something needs to be done to curb and stop illegal immigration. Let me explain the reasoning behind that.

I am sure there are people out there who want to prevent illegal immigration because they have a bias against Mexican people and other Latin Americans. But I don’t think that’s the majority view by any means. The process to legal immigration, which we could argue is convoluted and could be more streamlined, is designed to weed out violent criminals. By documenting who comes to the U.S., we are able to deny people who will be a risk to U.S. citizens. That’s what any country would do. It is not bigoted, it is sensible.

There is a demonization by some liberals of people who hold this view. They will equate wanting to prevent violent criminals from entering the country with hate and racism.

I don’t care who it is. If the person is Canadian, European, or Latin American, if he’s a violent criminal he shouldn’t enter the country. I know most immigrants—and most illegal immigrants—are fine and not a danger. But we can’t know that unless we document them and subject them to a background check (that many of us have to go through for work, purchasing firearms, etc.). The “Build Bridges, no Walls” or whatever catchphrase peopleuse is naïve. It would be criminally reckless to just let anyone in, and underneath the half-baked opinions I think people know that.

But apart from violent criminals, we should welcome immigrants. I’ve had some good friends who are immigrants. It is not a bias towards other ethnicities, but a basic desire to weed out people who would be a threat to our citizens. If you want to demonize that, you need to find a better argument, if you even care enough to do so.

With that being said, we turn to the issue at hand. We’re in our second month of a government shutdown. Personally, if federal employees weren’t being hurt by it, I wouldn’t mind a partial shutdown. Half the federal government could be shut down permanently and it would probably improve our lives. But, unfortunately, caught in the middle of the political stalemate are a whole lot of people being screwed over. The Coast Guard, TSA agents, air traffic controllers, and other “essential” people are being forced to work without pay. Other employees are out of work altogether.

It’s ridiculous. I don’t know why there isn’t a provision anyway to at least pay these people, even if other areas are underfunded or not funded. A lot of people are struggling as the President and Congress stare at each other across no-man’s land. Their stubbornness isn’t affecting them, so they don’t care.
Illegal immigrant Cristhian Rivera is accused of murdering Mollie Tibbetts.
1. This is an immigration issue, not a "toxic masculinity" issue. But that
doesn't fit the liberal narrative.
2. I can only hope justice is done and Rivera is executed.

What is this about, anyway? President Trump, who I didnot trust in 2016 and don’t trust now (although unlike the irrational masses, I don’t think every thing he’s done is terrible just because he’s mean), told us that we were going to build a wall and Mexico would pay for it. That made plenty of sense, with sovereignty and all. Then it was going to be reimbursed by Mexico. Now we need to appropriate funds or the shutdown continues.

While I agree with the President that illegal immigration is a problem, I don’t think his solution will actually solve it. A wall might decrease the numbers, crossing the border openly is only one way of getting in. From accounts I’ve heard, the most common way of illegally immigrating is through overstaying visas. That doesn’t get solved with a wall. I can’t imagine tunneling comprises a huge percentage, but that also can’t be stopped by a wall unless it is dug deep, raising costs even further. There is also smuggling across checkpoints, which apart from the smuggling is a legal means of entering the country.

The same is true of drugs. Smuggling and tunneling are common ways of getting them across. We could also go into the excessive costs, which would be significantly more than the $5 billion espoused by the President, the environmental impact, and taking private citizens’ land (though it might be justifiable if a wall would help things).

The wall seems much more to me as a lasting monument to President Trump. He wants a symbol to point to, a literal mark on our country. An ego like his needs fueling.

I imagine everyone found something they liked and didn’t like in these thoughts. My point is that liberals are naïve or just don’t care when it comes to the safety of U.S. citizens from criminals that we can’t document. Maybe it’s a bleeding heart, maybe it’s to help voter fraud, or maybe it’s just contrarian. Meanwhile, many conservatives believe a wall will help the problem, when I fear it will not. And while we argue over the merits of the Great Wall of Donald, we continue to trample on the federal employees still waiting for their paychecks.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Abortion, and Why Christians Can't Vote Democrat

While I unabashedly admit that I am politically conservative, I don’t think there are a lot of political issues that have a set Christian viewpoint. I’m not ready to say, “Jesus would have lowered taxes,” or something to that effect. And I think it is important to not make political views into biblical views if there’s no a scriptural backing.

But there is one that, so I’d think, is pretty clear in scripture. Abortion is more than just a political issue, but it is that, and it is typically an issue surrounding elections.

In writing this, I am operating under the assumption that a Christian is anti-abortion. If you as a Christian support abortion, I’d encourage you to check out a book I read, a collaboration of some great writers. It’s called the Bible. It might change your perspective.

So assuming there is a basic understanding of human equality in God’s eyes, we have to take the practical step in our political decision-making.

Christians, you can’t vote for Democrats.

I’m not saying that voting Democrat makes you not a Christian or implies you aren’t a Christian, because the candidates we vote for don’t determine our salvation, though I all but heard it in 2016. In fact, I have well-respected and good friends that have done so.
Photo via The Odyssey Online

Nor am I saying that being a Christian means you have to vote Republican. I know on the surface this seems partisan, but I’m not saying to be Christian is to be Republican, and I’m not saying don’t vote for Democrats just because they’re Democrats. I’m saying don’t vote Democrat because of what they support, and if Republicans were pro-abortion I’d say don’t vote for them. It just happens, in this case, that an entire political party is wrong. (And like the Planned Parenthood and NARAL endorsements, it makes knowing who not to vote for a little easier.)

Now, like I said, I disagree with the Democratic Party on a lot of issues. (To be fair, while I agree with a good part of the Republican Party’s platform, they have a knack for choosing nominees who either don’t share some of those beliefs or are too cowardly to do anything about them. We waited two years with no repeal of the Affordable Care Act, no defunding of Planned Parenthood, etc.) Most of these issues, however, are not gospel issues.

But it’s different with abortion. There is such an obvious answer in scripture and it strikes at God’s heart by killing innocent humans created in His image.

I’ve heard the argument that abortion is but one of many issues and shouldn’t make or break a vote. I’ve even heard actively pro-life people made fun of for being “single-issue voters.” Consider this.

If a candidate lines up with us on everything else, but supports the legal killing of Jews, would we vote for him? If everything else checked out but she thinks it should be legal to kill black people, should we vote for her? If he thinks killing the elderly because we don’t want to take care of them is morally acceptable or even good, should we vote for him?

I mean, it’s only one issue, people. So he’s wrong on that little issue of killing innocent people if they meet or fail to meet certain criteria, but his economic policy is great. He wants to waive our student loans and he really knows what he’s doing with national security. Why should supporting the legalized killing of a group of human beings be a deal-breaker when he has so much else going for him?

If that is a deal-breaker, and we believe the preborn are equal to us and deserving of the same protection, why is it okay to vote for someone who supports the legalized killing of one group of human beings but not ones who support killing other groups of human beings?

The problem in the church is that we pay lip service to the equality of the preborn, but we don’t actually believe it. Otherwise support for the killing of a group of innocent human beings would be appalling enough to make everything else not matter. While Planned Parenthood is lying with their “3 percent” line, even that small amount would moot any positive contributions and make them evil. The same is true of candidates.
Photo via The Odyssey Online

Now, what about that rare Democrat who is anti-abortion? I would ask a follow-up. Will he/she still back the Party in relevant decisions? For example, in the 2009 vote for Speaker of the House, where the Democratic majority selected Nancy Pelosi, the known pro-life Democrats in the House—Collin Peterson, Henry Cueller, and Daniel Lipinski—all voted for Pelosi. The Speaker has enormous power in determining what legislation comes to a general vote, and I would question where these men prioritize their anti-abortion beliefs if they want a Speaker who will do all she can to prevent pro-life legislation from having a chance. Supporting the Party who holds to a pro-abortion view will stifle any progress to prevent the injustice.

Pro-life Democrats are going the way of the Whigs, so this probably won’t be a huge issue in the future. While I would not automatically discount a pro-life Democrat, I would hesitate to determine that his/her commitment to life is greater than his/her commitment to the Party.

But for the vast majority of Democrats, there is a commitment to the legality of abortion. We saw how far they’ll take it during the Kavanaugh deliberations. They’re much more committed to death than the Republicans are to life.

We need to repent of our complacency or complicity as this injustice continues to take place.

I’m not going to shun you or question your salvation if you’re voting for Democratic candidates. But I will question you on how you can consider the preborn our equals when you’re voting for candidates who vow to make sure they keep dying.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Lessons from Paul's Sojourn in Corinth

Our definition of success and God’s definition of success don’t always match.

Have you ever had that moment when the Spirit tells you to talk to a person, and they completely reject what you have to say? It has left me asking why God put me there in the first place. I’ve seen this before in my life. The Spirit tells me to go talk to someone and he completely rejects what I have to say. Did I pollute God’s voice with my own thoughts? If not, God, why did You put me up to this in the first place?

Ancient Corinth. Picture via Realm of History.
When Paul came to Corinth from Athens, his ministry initially seemed mild. He was making tents with Aquila and Priscilla and reasoning in the temple for a while. But then God called Him to something more.
And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. –Acts 18:5-6

Being “pressed in the spirit” is from the Greek word sunechó, which means “to be held fast,” “to be seized,” “oppressed,” “afflicted,” or “constrained.” It does not directly tell us that this is of the Spirit, but it’s a logical jump to make. An individual with a close walk with God will experience being “pressed in the spirit” by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul was urged to go all out in preaching the gospel to the Jews in Corinth. But, in our eyes, he saw no success. The Jews in Corinth opposed him and blasphemed.

It could have been easy in that moment to look at what transpired as failure. His goal was to convert, and it didn’t happen. But we have to look at it with Heaven’s eyes.

Think of the wider, long-term consequences. This was a huge moment in Paul’s ministry for two reasons. First, the Jews in Corinth heard the gospel. That’s never a bad thing, no matter the reaction. Now, if they choose to reject Christ, they do it in full knowledge, and no one else can be blamed for their unbelief. They were given the opportunity, and that’s all we’re responsible for.

Second, this was when Paul doubled down on bringing the gospel to the Gentiles, which was still a fairly new thing. It was a watershed moment that illuminated Paul’s path that God had laid for him.

William Borden. Picture via The Traveling Team.
It’s not that God used failure. There was no failure. We define success in numbers or stories. God defines it in obedience. He knows the end. We have to trust Him, obey Him, and leave the consequences to Him.

We could look at the lives of people like William Borden or David Brainerd. Surely dying in your 20’s before your ministry takes off is a failure. Surely being born into poverty and the victim of abortion attempts is failure. Surely Joseph being a slave and a prisoner for years is failure. Surely Jeremiah’s ministry of being ignored and ridiculed was failure. But in all these things God had a purpose.

Surely a man’s ministry ending in crucifixion is failure. But it was our salvation.

God’s ability to exercise His Providence is not predicated on our understanding. Our following Him is never failure.

The lesson to learn from Paul’s time in Corinth is that the Spirit will call us to do things that will end in failure in the world’s eyes. We have to trust that God sees the bigger picture and has a reason for what might seem futile in our eyes.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

You Can't Cry "Believe Women" When You Vote for Hillary Clinton

A couple weeks ago, my friend Joe and I, long-time partners in crime, were counter-protesting a Women’s March event in Columbus against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. My issue was not with the “Me Too” movement or any number of other issues (I disagree with their economic views, but that’s hardly worth my time). My specific issue was that one of their principal points of opposition of Kavanaugh was their fear that he would be the deciding vote in overturning Roe v. Wade (which I am not so quick to believe).

While we were there, outnumbered about 75-2, a number of protestors attempted to block us and our signs. This gave me the opportunity to have a captive audience; if they left, I wasn’t blocked. If they didn’t, they were going to hear what I had to say.

Photo via
Besides sharing the gospel, which is the most important thing to do in that situation, I was able to have a small conversation with a man probably only a few years younger than me. I asked him what his goal was in being out there. Was it an intrinsically-focused event to rally supporters, or was the purpose to win others over to their side?

“We want to win people over,” he said.

“I know I’m not the easiest target since I’m directly opposing you,” I responded, “But if you’re trying to convince others you’re right, why are you trying to hide an opposing view instead of discuss it?”

That’s exactly why I’m writing this. I thought I was done with the topic. But as I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized that these individuals really can’t claim the high ground on this issue. Their marked hypocrisy revealed itself to me.

“Believe women” and “I’m with Her” are wholly incompatible statements.

I’m not saying this to be partisan or blast people. I’m saying it because I’m telling you all that your inconsistency on this issue leaves you with no credibility when you talk about it. I’m saying it as someone who does not share your views as a warning. We’re not buying the act. If your goal is to convince us, you’re not doing it.

And I think a lot of conservatives did not handle this well either, lacking in sensitivity. In 2016, we had the choice between a presidential candidate who uses women and disrespects them openly, and a presidential candidate who is probably a greater menace to women, especially those that have been victims of sexual harassment or assault. We all want to jump up and claim we care about victims and care about women, then we go out and vote for one of these candidates. I’m not buying it.

An Instagram post of mine from around the time of the election
It is well documented that Bill Clinton is about as big a scumbag as one could find in politics, which is an astounding feat considering the competition. I tip my hat to him. But also documented, although more hidden, are the actions of Hillary, who rode Bill’s coattails into politics at the expense of anyone who might get in the way of her ambition, including her husband’s trail of affairs and assaults.

There was the time she called Gennifer Flowers, one of the women with whom her husband had an affair, “trailer trash” in an ABC interview. She is “some failed cabaret singer who doesn’t even have a resumé to fall back on.” She also told Esquire that if she could cross-examine Flowers, she “would crucify her.”

When stories mounted of various affairs Bill had, Hillary called it a “bimbo eruption.”

There was the time Bill sent a state trooper to approach a woman on his behalf, seeking to have sex with her, and Hillary said “we have to destroy her story.”

She characterized Monica Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony toon.”

Of course, there were the times that as an attorney Hillary led by example in the call to “believe women.” As she defended an alleged rapist, she wrote that the 12-year-old alleged victim “is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing.” She was taped laughing about the way she had vital evidence dismissed. “[The defendant] took a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.”

Then there was the time she cornered Juanita Broaddrick after she accused Bill of rape, “thanking” her for “everything” she had done for Bill, squeezing her hand when she tried to walk away and repeating it more forcefully.

Of course, in her own words, all of this was just a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

You all don’t need me to tell you that Bill is a scumbag and Hillary covers for it. The couple is a real-life epitome of Tom and Daisy Buchanan. They use people and then retreat behind their wealth, avoiding the consequences.

Only this last time, the consequences weren’t entirely avoided. You have to be the worst presidential candidate in history to lose an election to Donald Trump. People saw through her. She had a point when she called out Trump for his treatment of women, but he had a point when he flipped it back on her.

And that’s what I’m here to say. That 12-year-old who Hillary fought against in a rape case returned fire later in life. “And you are supposed to be for women? You call that for women, what you done to me?”

I sat here for weeks listening to the cries to “believe women.” I looked at it with a cool head. Yes, we need to take seriously claims of sexual assault. But blind belief in the face of little evidence is dangerous.

But what struck me is that the people championing the “believe women” mantra had absolutely no credibility, at least the majority of them that voted for Hillary Clinton. When women came out with allegations against her husband, she did everything in her power to silence them. She called them “sluts” and “bimbos” and threw other creative insults. She cornered them in public. She defended alleged rapists in court. And when she gets called on it, she says the allegations against her husband were different than those against Kavanuagh.

Now it all makes sense. Photo via New York Times
She’s right; the allegations against Bill were much more credible.

Still, she just won’t believe women.

Even if Hillary Clinton was not guilty of the outright coverups and disgusting statements about Bill’s victims, she still broke the rules in the liberal game. She didn’t believe women. She doesn’t trust women. The very fact that Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, and Leslie Millwee say that they were sexually assaulted and sexually assaulted by a certain man is enough. End of discussion. We have to trust them. No one would ever lie about such a thing.

So I’m sorry, but when people who vote for someone like Hillary Clinton rant about the need to believe women, I don’t buy it. It’s disingenuous. It’s intellectual dishonesty. I’m not fooled.

This was never actually about believing women. It was about political gain and protecting the crown jewel of legislation from the Bench.

Two years ago, Democrats, you voted for someone with an abhorrent record on treatment of sexual assault victims. You chose someone who is the polar opposite of the “believe women, regardless of the evidence” principle. But now you jump on others who wanted to be careful not to hang an innocent man by first investigating whether there was any truth to the allegations. Where was the cry to believe women at the polls that day?

Or maybe that principle only applies when you’re trying to keep abortion legal.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Legitimacy Behind a "Me Too" Movement, and Why This One Has Lost It

I didn’t want to write this. I really hoped this movement would stay on the rails of legitimacy. There was a problem that has left a lot of scars in its wake.

Source: ABC News
The concept of a Me Too movement is not a bad one. It encourages women to find support, and offer it as well, and encourages them to speak out against the perpetrators. And yes, I as a large, gun-toting man will probably never experience sexual assault, at least not in its traditional definition.

The most I can offer is my sympathy and support. I have a lot of close female friends, and I would be devastated if anything happened to them, let alone the effect on them. I can’t overstate the sickness of sexual assault. I think rape should still be a capital offense.

I say all that because I do not want to be mistaken as simply dismissing this movement or this issue. But for God’s sake, we have to be fair.

There are two ways that this Me Too movement has gone off the rails, despite all the potential. I’ll cover the less timely one first.

The Dilution of the Definition of Sexual Assault

The “one in five women” mantra has been trumpeted by the Party of Bill Clinton to score points in elections. But it’s from a survey that covered two campuses with a sample size of less than 6,000, which though it might seem large is not a large enough sample size to deduce something about such a large group. There was a low survey participation of those the researchers tried to survey, and it included questions “about events that you think (but are not certain) happened.” Never did it ask directly if someone had been raped.

That’s not to say there’s no problem. But the survey is consistent with the watering down of the meaning of sexual assault. “If you think you might have had sex while you were drunk, we’ll call it rape.”

There have been many tragic stories that have come out of this movement. One that sticks with me is the story of one of my favorite women’s basketball players. We’ve seen countless victims of men like Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nassar.

WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart, whose heart-wrenching Me Too story was
featured in the Players' Tribune. Source: Players' Tribune
I don’t speak for those victims, but I think it does them a disservice to cast the net so wide. Sexual harassment is terrible, but it isn’t rape. Being touched inappropriately is just as bad or worse, but it isn’t rape. Again, it doesn’t mean there’s no problem or that lesser things aren’t bad too, but we can’t expand the definition of sexual assault so wide that it isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. And yes, that is ultimately on those that choose to take it less seriously, but diluting its meaning opens the door for those problems.

Destruction of Due Process

Speaking of opening doors, this one has been opened with a bulldozer. I can’t and won’t deny that throughout history rape has not been taken seriously, and in some circles still isn’t. Hence why a Me Too movement that doesn’t go rogue is not a bad thing.

I am not going to trash Dr. Ford or any other accusers of Brett Kavanaugh. I am not going to stake a claim that he is for sure innocent of those accusations. That is because, outside of a handful of people, no one knows.

But that’s not what we’re hearing. “If she says it, it happened.” “Believe the victims.” We’ve lost our heads. We’re willing to drag a man through the mud on the word of a woman who has a fuzzy memory of 35 years ago.

Harvey Weinstein and some of his victims. Source: Malay Mail
And I don’t even like Brett Kavanaugh. I don’t think he was a good choice. I would have rather seen Amy Coney Barrett (and try accusing her of sexual assault). It would be somewhat amusing if Kavanaugh was denied and Barrett took his place, a much more known quantity on some key issues.

But I don’t want to see that happen by someone being railroaded. There are reasons that would make me lean towards Kavanaugh being innocent. The timing is impeccable; after 35 years and weeks after President Trump’s announcement, now we get an accusation. Perhaps it took that long for the Democrats to dig someone up who knew Kavanaugh when he did some dumb stuff as a teenager. And it is not lost on me that this is the swing vote. Justice Gorsuch replaced another conservative justice. This time it’s Justice Kennedy, who has consistently voted in favor of “reproductive rights,” the affectionate term for dismembering human beings. As we’ve seen over years in the news and as I’ve seen personally, liberals pull out all the stops in defense of the blessed sacrament of the progressive church. What is one man’s reputation when killing babies is at stake?

So I lean that way, but I don’t know. None of the Democrats on Capital Hill or any other liberals do either, but that won’t stop them. And frankly, the conservatives don’t either. It’s a dangerous thing to shut down a woman’s accusations without investigating them. And it’s also a dangerous thing to presume a man’s guilt, and take it further by letting nothing sway you otherwise. Any of us are vulnerable when the standard of proof is nonexistent.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Source:
This is where blindly believing an accuser gets us. VanDyke Perry served 11 years in prison for rape and Gregory Counts 26 for being wrongfully convicted or rape. Clifford Jones served almost 30 before being exonerated. Lawrence McKinney served 31. The list could go on, and those were with “due process.” These are wild accusations. It’s a motif of To Kill a Mockingbird. The Party of prisoners’ rights is the one telling us to have unconditioned trust in accusations. People accuse others of things they didn’t do all the time. It’s dangerous to simply believe it. And it costs some people an awful lot.

I’m trying to be reasonable and sensitive here, though I’m sure people are still angry. That’s the society we live in. It’s easier to silence opposition than to answer it. But I thought it important enough to say something that I wrote this outside of my usual two-week pattern I keep to avoid devoting too much time away from studies and ministry.

I’m not saying sexual assault isn’t an issue. I’m not saying we shouldn’t listen to women who say they are victims. I am saying that we shouldn’t make other victims. Because if Dr. Ford and others are lying, Brett Kavanaugh and his family are the only victims. Every man falsely accused and assumed guilty is a victim.

We have to keep our heads. I think the premise behind the Me Too movement is important.

But this one has gotten it wrong.