Those pesky liberal judges.

Everybody knows those pesky liberal judges are to blame for the legalization of abortion in the US right? Republicans will overlook a multitude of a candidate’s sins if they just promise they’ll nominate conservative judges.
So every election cycle Republicans nominate the same “moderate” Republican to run in the general election and we’re told we have to vote for him, for a multitude of reasons but mostly, to block those liberal judges from infiltrating the SCOTUS.
We’re told abortion will never be outlawed without a  Republican to nominate good conservative judges.

I scroll through social media looking at the whole spectrum of political posts and I wonder why recent history is so easily forgotten.
With Roe v. Wade in 1973 the SCOTUS voted overwhelmingly to legalize abortion with a 7 to 2 vote. Of the seven who voted to legalize the slaughter of unborn children, five were appointed by Republican presidents.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Five of the seven votes to legalize abortion were from Republican appointed Justices.

Flash forward to 1993 for Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
There were eight Republican appointed Justices and one Democrat appointed Justice who voted against Roe v. Wade. This case could’ve been the catalyst for overturning Roe v. Wade. But alas, another failure on behalf of conservative judges.
Reagan/Bush appointed Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter formed a plurality upholding Roe v. Wade. 

It’s not just conservative appointed judges that are terrible on abortion. Maybe a good conservative President could do something the courts refuse to do? Flash forward again to George W. Bush’s administration. And be sure and remember the Republicans had all three branches of government long enough to implement whatever they wanted. Under the Bush administration Planned Parenthood received over $2 billion, maybe more, in funding. Under Bush federal funding for Planned Parenthood increased every year, slightly more than it did during the Clinton administration. The dismal argument given here would be Planned Parenthood doesn’t spend federal money (your money) on abortion. In reality, every federal dollar given to them allows them to spend a non-federal dollar on abortion.

It makes you wonder what Republicans would run on if abortion was illegal? If you ignore the rhetoric and look at actual facts, the two parties are almost identical.
I’d be shocked if abortion is ever outlawed.
You can’t legislate morality.
Morality can only come from a heart change, and true heart change only comes from an encounter with Jesus Christ. We’re called to be ambassadors for Christ on this earth.
Not politicking activists placing our faith in a broken worldly system.

It’s amazing to me the Christian response of, “What do we do then? Just not vote and watch the country go to Hell? We have to do something.”
I’m not anti-voting, but I’ll tell you that two minutes on my knees in prayer can do more than the thirty minutes or more it takes you to vote.

You can blame the judges, politicians, or the system but true change will only come when our hearts are in the right place. Go ahead and vote. I won’t be condemning you for it but don’t be surprised in four years when we hear the same rhetoric and the same old tired arguments from both sides of the aisle.

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Jesus The Socialist.

Bernie

This is not an endorsement of any candidate running for President. I would never stoop so low as to support any of the candidates running for either party’s nomination. If you are one of millions supporting a candidate, that is between you and your conscience. With that being said, the success of self described Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders has brought Socialism to the forefront of debate and has legions of Americans, Christian and others, arguing that Jesus was a Socialist. It is a mantra chanted with every modern election but this time around it seems to be louder and much more prevalent. I have heard it said, among other things, Jesus was a Socialist hippy living in a commune with His disciples. Jesus was a lot of things but He was not a Socialist. Nor was he a Capitalist, Communist, Fascist, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Conservative, Liberal, or an advocate of any other system of worldly government or earthly kingdom. He was the author and the finisher of our faith and the architect of a heavenly kingdom.

For the sake of clarity let us define what true Socialism is. Socialism is the organization of a society in which business and production are owned by the government. Goods, and a person’s wealth, are distributed by the government and there is no private ownership of property. Basically the government forcibly takes income from one person, keeps a portion of it, and distributes it as they see fit. This type of system in more modern times has usually been spurred by violent revolution, and in very few cases by majority vote.

Jesus did not come to earth to spur political change or start a revolution. This is more than evident for the entirety of the New Testament. The common misconception for the Israelites at the time of Jesus was He came to lead a violent rebellion or revolution against the Roman Empire for the occupation of Israel. And when they found out this was not His mission He was quickly rejected by many. When Jesus was being arrested Matthew 26:55-56 (NIV) says this:

In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Does an unarmed teacher whose small band of disciples deserted Him sound like a political revolution? Of course not. He was not promoting or condoning an earthly political system. To twist scripture and who Jesus was/is into advocating a political structure or school of thought is a perversion of His message and a major misunderstanding of the Gospel. It is also thinking on the level of the religious and political folk who were so brazenly opposed to Jesus in the accounts of the New Testament. After all, it was religion with the help of government that killed Jesus. Jesus refused to build and bow to an earthly kingdom and so should we. One example is Matthew 4:8 -10 (KJV):

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Some argue our government should be structured by Jesus’s example of communal living and charity i.e. feeding the poor, caring for the sick, etc. In the book of Luke (KJV) Jesus said, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.” Jesus did not say or imply that the government, or your neighbor, should take your belongings, keep a portion of it, and distribute it to anyone. Nor did He say the taking of your property or wealth was acceptable by majority vote. To put the responsibility of feeding and clothing the poor on government’s shoulders, is not what Jesus taught. He taught personal individual responsibility, sacrifice, and giving. It is far too easy to be generous with someone else’s wealth.  And if you are an advocate of government or anyone else taking someone else’s livelihood, for any reason, you are supporting theft and making the earner a slave to the state. If you forcibly take income from one person to give to another it is immoral. It is absolutely in ere when a person advocates the government do what God has called the individual to do. The scripture calls for individuals and the church to care for the poor.

It is human nature to project who and what you believe onto your god, believing he or she is just like you. And that god is on your side in every conflict. After all, every nation that has ever been in war has believed God, a god, or gods were on there side. Stop projecting who Jesus is based on your own bias or party platform. Who Jesus is is clearly written throughtout the whole of scripture.

Jesus the Socialist? Not hardly.

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 (NIV)

Render Unto Caesar… Is it “Christian” to pay taxes?

Uncle Sam

Here are a few everyday taxes that  we “pay our fair share of” for you to ponder. There are hundreds more.

Federal Income Tax
State income Tax
Payroll Tax
Social Security Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
State Sales Tax
Gasoline Tax (Federal and State)
Utility taxes (Water, Gas, Sewage, Electric, Cable TV, Phone, etc.)
Various licenses (Just a Tax by Another Name) for Hunting, Fishing, Marriage, etc.
Car Taxes (License Plate, Transfer taxes, New Car Surcharge, Motorcycle, etc.)
Hotel Taxes
School tax (State and Local)
IRA and Investment Taxes and Penalties
Inheritance Tax (Federal and State)
Small business Taxes (Too Numerous to List)
Dog License/Permit (Tax by Another Name)
Air Travel Taxes
Boat Tax (Watercraft, etc.)
Gift Tax

I have heard it argued that it is, in fact, the Christian’s duty to pay taxes. And that it is the Christian’s Biblical responsibility to pay them blindly, without question or hesitation. Please allow me to be just a little nit picky here. First of all, one does not pay taxes, taxes are taken. Taxation is coercive. No matter how noble the cause, no matter how justifiable the ends may seem to be; if you forcibly take income from one person to give to another it is theft and it is immoral. Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, whatever the excuse, it is immoral and is nothing less than theft. In the book of Luke (KJV) Jesus said, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.” Jesus did not say or imply that the government, or your neighbor, should take your belongings, keep a portion of it, and distribute it to whomever. Nor did He say the taking of your property or wealth was acceptable by majority vote. Which would mean to any reasonably thinking person that taxation is not justifiable for any reason, whether it be noble or not. The majority of taxes are not allocated for noble causes in the least. Your tax dollars are funding illegal and immoral wars, abortions, erroneous and failed social programs, foreign “aid”, government salaries and pensions, and thousands of faulty projects, boondoggles, and bridges to nowhere. You and millions of others are funding, without a voice, an out of control, immoral, and wicked behemoth.

It is laughable to hear the term “government funded” thrown around so flippantly when it comes to government’s pet projects, grants, social programs, and so forth. How could an entity that does not produce anything have any honest means to provide anything? Government does not produce anything because it uses coercion to fund itself. The very heart of the state is taxation. Taxation, especially the income tax, is immoral, unethical, and unconstitutional. You would be hard pressed to discover any genuine constitutional scholar that could successfully argue the legitimacy of the income tax. Nor would you find a true teacher of the Gospel teaching a legitimate Biblical excuse for such an obvious and unjust crime against an individual. Your wealth is being robbed from you at an increasingly alarming rate. There are a plethora of taxes with new ones being voted to law on a regular basis. As of 2014, the number of pages in the federal tax code was 74,608! Imagine how long the tax code will be in thirty years. Perhaps in the future the governemt will abandon taxes altogether, control all of your income, and give you a stipend? It is not an outlandish statement considering the enormity of the tax code, the out of control spending from the government, and the increasing number of politicians and government employees who bleed the system. So the next time someone puffs out their chest to brag about what the government does with our money, just remember Washington, DC, per capita, is one of the richest cities in the world. Remember that the next time you struggle for money to pay for gas so you can drive to your second job. All the while your representatives in DC are being driven to their elitist functions and parties by their driver in a government owned vehicle with gas you paid for.

The biggest argument I hear from Christians who are so eager to do their civic duty and pay taxes is from the book of Matthew.

Matthew 22:15-22 (NIV). Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Your immediate response to this would be to take it at face value with a knee-jerk reaction saying, “Yeah, there it is. Jesus condones and promotes taxes… So you better pay your fair share!” But that is a very easy and shallow argument. The best teaching I have ever heard on this scripture is from Jeff Barr. Among other things he says: “Over the centuries, theologians, scholars, laymen, and potentates have interpreted the Tribute Episode incorrectly as Jesus’ support for the payment of taxes. First, this interpretation does not square with the political climate of the times. The Tribute Episode is set in the middle of a decades-old tax-revolt against Caesar’s tribute. Second, the rhetorical structure of the Tribute Episode, itself, contradicts any interpretation that Jesus supported paying taxes. Third, the Gospels contain episode after episode of subtle sedition. The Tribute Episode is just another of these subtly seditious scenes. When seen in the context of subtle sedition, the phrase “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” means that the emperor is owed nothing.”

It is no more a Christian’s duty to pay taxes as it is for the Christian to knock on their neighbor’s door and take their wallet at gun point. Charity is not supporting the government taking people’s wealth and redistributing it and stated very plainly it is supporting stealing. Even if it is done by majority vote, because theft by majority vote is still theft. True charity is voluntarily giving one’s own money, from the sweat of their own brow, without threat or law.

Ephesians 4:28 (NIV) Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

 

 

Ten Random Facts About American Politics.

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I used to be a loud and obnoxious political junkie. Even worse, I mingled politics with my faith. Then I started to read books about foreign policy, economics, and study real history. I meditated on God’s Word and let His Spirit speak to me about my role as a Christian in politics. I turned off Fox News and talk radio and began to actually think objectively. Here are ten facts about American politics in no particular order.

1. American politics is like professional wrestling.

Behind the scenes they’re friends and partners. Writing a script and planning well crafted distractions. Their only difference is rhetoric.


2. The GOP doesn’t mean “God’s Own Party.” 

A reformed DC insider once said Democrats and Republicans go to the same parties, sleep with the same whores, do the same drugs, and drink the same drinks. He said Christians would be shocked if they knew the reality that is Washington DC.

3. Christians lose credibility being involved in politics.

Take the 2012 presidential race for example. Christians publicly supported Mitt Romney and mainstream Christian ministers publicly endorsed him. One big problem: Romney is a Mormon. So Mormonism is a cult and will send me to Hell, but you want me to vote for Romney because he’s great for the country? Of course most of Christianity has accepted, or is starting to accept, Mormonism as just another Christian denomination. Thanks in part to Mitt Romney’s success in helping make their cult mainstream.


4. Vote for the lessor of two evils.

Voting for the lessor of two evils is still voting for evil.

5. Campaign donors.

Most, if not all, of the presidential candidates in modern times have the exact same top donors to their campaign.

6. Politicians are bought and paid for.

They should all be required to wear suits that look like Nascar uniforms.

7. There is a such thing as class warfare.

It’s us versus them. “Us” meaning everyone, and “them” meaning the ruling class. The ruling class includes ALL politicians (including your guy) and everyone politically connected.

8. Show me the money.

Washington, DC and the surrounding area is the wealthiest in the world.

9. If you don’t vote you don’t have the right to complain.

If you do vote YOU don’t have the right to complain. You’re perpetuating a broken and criminal system. If your vote really mattered there’d quickly be an alternative to voting put in place.

10. “We” don’t do anything.

Never ever say “we” when referring to anything the government does. “We” don’t tax, go to war, give foreign aid, hand out entitlement checks, give bail outs, etc, etc, etc. the government does. Ours isn’t a government for the people by the people. It’s a government of a few well connected family and friends. An exclusive club you’ll never be a member of.

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The Iran Deal

Nukes

Other than knee-jerk hysteria, hype, and slanted opinion; do you really know what this Iran Deal is about?  Let me be clear here: I in no way support the government of Iran. Nor am I a fan of President Obama, or ANY politician for that matter. But this deal could possibly be the only thing Obama has done right, or will do right, in his entire presidency.

Iran was never a weapons threat. They have not invaded or made a preemptive strike against another nation in a thousand years. It is time to move past the rhetoric from some of Iran’s leadership and look at their actions. Even Benjamin Netanyahu and former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have said they have NEVER feared an Iranian first strike, even if Iran had a nuclear weapon. The Israelis only fear is that an armed Iran would limit their freedom of action in the entire region. In other words, Israel would not be able to wage wars in the region if Iran did, in fact, develop a nuclear weapon.

The United States has had a cold war with Iran since 1979 when the hostages were taken. In 1979 the Iranians overthrew the American imposed dictatorship that the CIA helped to install in 1953 by overthrowing Iran’s democratically elected government. Iran has been repeatedly threatened with aggressive war from not only the United States but others across the region for years. The rhetoric from both Iran, the U.S., and Israel is nothing short of chest thumping pomposity for mostly political gain.

In the deal, Iran has taken their already safe guarded IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) civilian nuclear electricity program and agreed to significantly scale it down limiting their enrichment percentage to 3.67. This is industrial electricity grade uranium 235 and cannot be used for a nuclear bomb. The deal also says they will use everything they produce without stockpiling it. The Iranians have also agreed to shut down their second facility which only enriched up to twenty percent, still short of bomb grade and was used for their medical isotope reactor given to them by President Gerald Ford. They will also be bringing in Americans to assist them in reconfiguring their Arak facility so it does not produce and rely on heavy water. The water will be so polluted with other isotopes and waste that it will be completely useless for bomb making. They do not even have the reprocessing facility used to make the waste into useable plutonium if it was not polluted. They are also going from twenty thousand operating centrifuges to five or six thousand.

In this deal the Iran nuclear program will be the most inspected in history. All the facilities will be under the inspection agreement. The program was always safeguarded but now any reasonable thinking person could draw the conclusion that it is doubly safeguarded. In other words, any person who is not politically motivated can draw the right conclusion.

So does Iran want a nuclear weapon? Probably. But why would they not? Everyone around them has one. I hope Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. My wish would be that no nation, including the United States, on the planet would ever possess nuclear warheads.

So what does this deal really mean? For starters it could be the end of the cold-war with Iran. Especially considering the sanctions aimed at them will be lifted as a result of their cooperation. Sanctions never damage or hurt a government to any degree worth mentioning, but they do damage and hurt a country’s populous. A populous, by the way,  that includes Christians (who have been there for centuries), innocents, missionaries, and peace loving people who wold love nothing more than to live their lives.

So why all the hype? It seems to be a right of passage for every presidential nominee to threaten and condemn Iran. Mostly because it appeals to the overwhelmingly ignorant population stirring up a misguided and perverted swell of patriotism. It also ensures job security for the huge Israel lobby in DC who funnels the wealth of small nations into these campaigns. Interestingly enough these same chest thumpers never condemn Saudi Arabia’s atrocities.

So other than rhetoric from the U.S., Israel, and Iran; what makes you believe Iran has the ability to develop a nuclear bomb? Is it the candidates who profit from the lobbyists? Is it the doomsday TV evangelists who profit from the hype? Or is it talk radio or cable news getting their talking points from the highest bidder? If you believe that Israel is God’s chosen people, and God will protect them at all cost, then how could Iran destroy Israel even if they had a nuclear bomb?

Christmas-in-Iran-by-Wedin2

Christmas time in Iran.

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Nativity scene on the streets of Tehran.

I Am a Political Atheist.

“If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.” – Mark Twain

“Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” – Proverbs 4:27 (NIV)

Yes, it is true, I am a political atheist. I do not believe in elected politics or the almighty god of democracy any longer. I will admit I used to be a political junkie and election night was my Super Bowl. I would argue the doctrine of what I thought was conservatism like a fiery Pentecostal evangelist. I was right, you were wrong, and that was the end of the story. I was an apostle of Shawn Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh and I new all the clever RNC talking points spewed forth by the aforementioned. I thought I was educated in the way of elected politics, political theory, conservatism, and what the Bible said about who and what to vote for but I was dead wrong. Blasphemy was common place and I did not even know it. I actually thought Republican and Christian were synonymous and if Jesus were here in the flesh He would actually vote, and even worse vote a straight Republican ticket. An awakening began in me around 2004. The Spirit of the Lord began to deal with me concerning these matters and I began to read books and essays on economics, elected politics, political theory, history, and Christianity’s role in politics. I was becoming what the political elites and the media do not want you to be; educated.

No meaningful change ever comes from elected politics. Sure, they will throw you a bone from time to time by lowering or raising a tax or passing some controversial bill, but it is just a dog and pony show. Voting has become a sacred cow. Election Day is akin to a holy day to be revered and respected by the masses and voting is considered an honor similar to a religious rite. After all, “good men and women died for our right to vote.” A good majority of polling stations are even in churches. In election season you will hear the same pitch over and over. “If you don’t vote you don’t have the right to complain!” It is my opinion that the folks that do vote do not have the right to complain. The voters are the ones perpetuating a broken system and voting for the proverbial “lessor of two evils.” The problem with voting for the lesser of two evils is you are still voting for evil. There is no choice in elected politics. You have two sides arguing over two candidates who are bought and paid for by the same corporations and supported by most of the same special interest groups. In reality it is only their rhetoric that is just somewhat different. Politics is like professional wrestling. In front of the camera the wrestlers are enemies but behind the scenes they are friends and even write their next match’s script together.

Senate races are especially amusing to me now. The age old argument is you have to hold your nose and vote for candidate A because you do not want candidate B’s party to win the majority. But so what if one party has the majority over the other? Americans are either incredibly optimistic, ridiculously naive, or the majority of voters have early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. One only has to go back a short time to see the folly of the, “majority will run amuck” myth. In 1994 after the Republicans won the congress with the “Republican Revolution” and Speaker Newt Gingrich made his “Contract with America” the Republicans repealed nothing. That is right; nothing. All their talk of the bloated Clinton controlled government and they repealed nothing. Government, on their watch, just got bigger. More recently under Bush II’s administration when the Republicans controlled every branch of government, government grew more than even FDR could have imagined . The spending was astronomical and the policies were detrimental. The TSA, No Child Left Behind, The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (the largest socialized medicine scheme since Lyndon B Johnson), and countless other boondoggles were ripe with fraud and cronyism that would would make LBJ look conservative. Bush’s numbers in his first four years, while his party controlled Congress, added almost $350 billion to the federal budget.

The Republican pander to the religious-right is especially sickening at election time. A lot of Christian Republicans will tell you they are a one issue voter and the swing of their vote depends on the candidates position on abortion. If the Republicans did not have the “pro-life” platform to run on, they could not run. If they really wanted it abolished it would have been abolished by now. And what constitutes being pro life? How could someone claim to be for life and lobby to bomb civilians? The Republicans controlled the government under Bush and essentially they could have rammed almost anything through but here we are years later and abortion is still legal, government is a tyrannical behemoth, and Bush’s extra-constitutional exploits paved the way for Obama’s follies. It is astonishing to me how Obama supporters could still hate Bush. Obama has taken the Bush Doctrine and ran with it. Obama shares a myriad of commonalities with Bush; so much so you would think Bush never left office. For example both administrations had enormous bailouts, out of control federal spending, colossal unemployment numbers, stimulus packages, assaults on civil liberties, huge expansions in social medicine, executive orders, and more illegal wars and skirmishes than all administrations combined. Any reasonably thinking and educated person would look at the two administrations and draw one conclusion, that these two are one.

So what is a good Christian political atheist to do? It is simple really. Pray and believe God for the best despite the ridiculous propaganda and folly of the ruling class. A Christian should only look to the Bible for their example. There is no example of the early church promoting political revolution. Jesus could have came to earth and set up an earthly kingdom here. The Jews fully expected Jesus to helm a major political revolution. In fact, Satan promised Jesus that very thing if Christ would only bow down and worship him. The Word says in Matthew 4, “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” I cannot even begin to imagine the Apostles advocating and promoting Caesar the way Christians advocate politicians. Even if Rome would have been a “Christian” nation you would not have seen politicking in the early church because it only causes division and bitter divide amongst believers and those we are called to reach. No substantial or meaningful change will ever come from elected politics, if it did voting would be outlawed. Change will only come when people wake from the slumber, really educate themselves, turn off Fox News and CNN, and study unbiased history while seeking God’s will.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)