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4.28.2014

A Reversal of Order


"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it."--Abraham Lincoln
In America, during the last century, a dramatic shift in political power has occurred.  This paradigm shift, (or flip-flop for a better description), has been orchestrated by progressive thinkers and power-hungry politicians. The flip-flop reversal from a citizen-derived-governing power to a bureaucratic-politician-union boss controlled state has been detrimental to the health and prosperity of our great nation and completely contrary to what the Founders intended. Somehow, somewhere, the American people became convinced that they were not in control. Hog wash! While, somehow, somewhere, politicians became convinced they were elite, all-knowing, in control and need to act on our behalf because we aren't capable of using our God-given intellect. Huh, no! Obviously, we are all confused and ALL bear a certain amount of responsibility. 

The Founding Fathers, despite their mostly wealthy and educated pedigrees, were clear in their desire to entrust the power of governing to the people.  Their intent, their heart's desire, was to create a republic where citizens were invested, involved and  in control of their own destiny.  The Founder's meetings and conventions were the embodiment of  the concept of "representation of the people, by the people". These men weren't professional politicians. They weren't life-long bureaucrats or lobbyists. They weren't community organizers. Yes, some were politically active and were involved in the newly established governments of the 13 colonies. But they were, for the most part, lawyers, doctors, merchants, shippers, land speculators, scientists, businessmen, ministers, farmers and a university president. They had diverse educational backgrounds. They were an eclectic bunch of men, most were wealthy; some self-made, others, heirs. As different as they were, they were unified in their belief that freedom was God-given and precious. They were drawn together by their desire to establish a free society and their determination to secure and provide these freedoms and liberties for their posterity. So trust me when I say, modern day America would appall Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

We have allowed our freedoms to be usurped. We have forfeited our rights, our liberties, our lands, our money, our voice in the name of compromise, compassion and change. We have neglected our civic duties. We have been cowards and turned a blind eye to the encroaching powers that are slowly but surely eroding our vast, inherited wealth of freedom. Obviously, I am not speaking to all Americans. There are those who have fought and done all they can do to preserve the idea of American exceptionalism. But unfortunately, we haven't been loud enough. 

I can't speak for you, but I am done. I am finished being bullied. I am tired of being politically correct. I refuse to remain silent any longer. We are the ones with authority. We are the ones in control. We have allowed ourselves to be convinced that those idiots in Washington D.C. know better than we know. We have allowed career politicians, with no business experience and self-serving agendas, to make laws and regulations that are crippling our economy. We have allowed tree-hugging liberals, who are more concerned with protecting spotted owls and brown beetles than they are with American energy independence, to successfully thwart drilling and energy exploration. We have allowed American babies to be aborted and burned as waste in factory incinerators. We have allowed people to question the relevance of the flag, the pledge and prayer. We have mortgaged ourselves to communist countries and turned our backs on our Israeli allies. We have allowed out-of-control unions to dominate the employment and jobs conversation. We have in essence, given permission for the lobbyists and special interests groups (not our special interests but their own) to wield incredible influence over our elected officials. We have allowed this administration to begin the conversion of the America we know and love into a Euro-styled nanny state. Some in America have surrendered. But rest assured: there are some of us who have not been defeated.    
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."
Yeah, I know. Amazing, huh? Truly, those words speak volumes to my southern, conservative soul! How did they find the perfect words and formulate this incredible declaration of freedom? How did those old, gray-haired men (no offense intended, I love gray hair and men), from a different time and era create a proclamation with unending relevance? How did they know that their plight would also be the plight of future generations? 
James Madison once said, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." I claim not to be an angel, but an American. I urge not for the succession of my state or for the complete overthrow of government, but for the reigning in of a government that has very clearly over stepped its bounds. I call simply for a return to reason and restrained governance. I argue that terms limits could prevent entrenchment and isolation and that accountability and transparency should become common practices instead of abstract concepts politicians use to obtain power and then quickly forget. 

It always amazes me when I hear our dear leader disparage America while he travels the world. It reaffirms how I feel about him, his views and his presidency. I really love it (can you feel the sarcasm?) when I hear him discuss his perceptions of America, the American people and what "we are dealing with". I cringe when he apologizes for our foreign policy and shakes his head, as though disgusted, when talking about our domestic condition. He is the worst ambassador president our nation has known. I believe the Founding Fathers would be appalled at his indifference, ego-centric attitude, anti-American opinions and his over usage of executive orders. He is no George Washington. He is no Lincoln. He is no Reagan. Heck, he isn't even a Clinton. Our Founders were wise men, driven by a desire to obtain freedom despite a potentially very high cost. They valued freedom more than their fortunes, their statuses, their lives. Their words and proclamations are utter perfection. Their legacy is boldness in the midst of fear, bravery in the face of giants, and freedom above all else. The documents they penned are a call to action for every freedom-loving, God-fearing, mad-as-hell American. This fight has only just begun. And I don't know about you, but I madder than ever and readying myself for a long, ugly, worthy war that I have every intention of winning.

4.24.2014

"We are the hands and feet not the enemy..."



"If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." --John 8:36

We are Born Free

I tell people all the time that I am a caged animal. When I use this metaphor, I am usually discussing my marriage. I explain to people that my dear husband, in his infinite wisdom and for my own sake, established basic perimeters in my life: my cage, so to speak. It's rather large, very roomy and generously equipped with everything and every opportunity I need in this life. As long as I operate within the confines of my cage, we live in perfect harmony...well, most of the time it's harmonious. You see, like a loving parent does for their child, the boundaries are set up for my own good and for the health of our marriage. I am perfectly FREE to live my life as long as I don't cross certain lines. And trust me, if you knew me, you would understand why this is necessary!! :) 

But I admit, some people are taken off guard by my metaphoric cage. They are offended by my submission and conclude that I must be incapable of independent thought. Really? Are you reading this blog?! That, my friends, couldn't be further from the truth. I am perfectly free in my life...and thanks to the healthy boundaries established by a loving husband, I am perfectly safe and secure. But obviously, my discussing my marital freedom is very ‘micro’. When I consider freedom in a broad, big, ‘macro’ sense, I automatically think of America. I suppose my idea of freedom is rather simple. Primarily, because I, like most Americans, take it for granted on a daily basis. But freedom in this country and in our world is complex, costly and ever-changing. What one considers freedom, another sees as aggression. What some consider freedom, others see as lawlessness. What some view as fair and protective, others declare as unfair, overly possessive and oppressive.

However, there is a freedom, a true freedom that exists beyond what this world and her nations and constitutions can provide. There is a perfect freedom that overcomes all bondage and any master. There is a perfect freedom that is possible for and accessible to anyone willing to accept it and conform to the truth: Galatians 5:13 says, "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, serve one another." There it is. Plain as day. I am called, through glorious freedom, to serve others; to be the hands and feet of the body of Christ. I am called to love my neighbor as I love myself (Leviticus 19:18) and to bear another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). I am called to help set the earthly captives free, regardless of their life position or the reasons for their enslavement.

Merriam-Webster defines the word 'free' as: not held as a slave or a prisoner; not subject to the control or domination of another; not physically held by something. We are born to be FREE from fear. We are born to be FREE from bondage. We are born to be FREE from oppressive governments. We are born to be FREE from the grip of sin and the condemnation of this world. We were ALL born free and then this world, our fears, our failures, our sins enslave us.

Sometimes I look around at the condition and direction of the world and want to run away and hide myself and my precious family in some deep, dark "conservatives only allowed" cave or bunker. Sometimes I want to throw my hands in the air, wave the white flag of surrender and declare earthly defeat. And some days, I admit, I pray for Jesus to return and to return to us quickly. However, in my moments of clarity and peace, I know that all is not lost. I know that I am called, for a time such as this, to be the light of this world, a city on hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). I know that I am called to love this world but not conform to it (Romans 12:2). I know that I am called to represent Jesus, His love, and His sacrifice to fallen, needy people all around the world, so that they too, can know and experience the perfect freedom found only in my Savior. But in my self-pity and because I am human, I get depressed, frustrated and angry. When Supreme Court rulings don't go my way or moronic legislators pass some outrageously ignorant law (i.e. Obamacare), I feel abandoned, rejected and ignored. Often times, when I make the mistake of watching the news, I feel very, very alone. 

And in those moments, the LORD provides... 

A few years ago I had the pleasure of getting reacquainted with some people from my childhood. Michael David Branch and his beautiful wife, Krista, are precious souls living in freedom. They embody so much of what I love about Jesus and America and exemplify so much of what I fear we are losing as a nation and as a people. They are brave patriots doing their part to politically energize Americans while simultaneously showering those they encounter with the love of Jesus. As we say in the South, "they are killing two birds with one stone". Oh, and did I mention that they are super cool, super hip, talented musicians?! Yeah, I know...be jealous, I really do have amazing friends!! They recently released a new single entitled Born Free. And if I ever to have my dream job of going around the United States and whipping conservative audiences into a frenzy--this would be my song. Their song (with their permission of course) would be my theme song; it would remind me that I am right, I am reason in madness, I am not alone, and that my power is the kindness I show to those around me. The lyrics are worth reading:

BORN FREE
"With no agenda
I'm a single voice in the wilderness.
Drowned out by the noise
created by giants in the land.
There's a reason I'm
standing in the midst of the madness.
It matters less if I'm heard
and more that I say what must be said.
It may not be now
but some day you'll understand,
That the gift of power
is the kindness in your hands."

CHORUS

"I'm not falling before you 
begging for mercy,
groveling at your throne.
But to speak the truth
to say how it should.
I know I'm not alone.
We are the hands and feet
not the enemy.
We are BORN FREE."

"It's so easy to get drawn 
in to the foolish games.
A paper kingdom where 
strength is only illusion.
Some words should be spoken
we're called to be unafraid.
To be the voice of reason in a
world full of confusion.
It may not be now
but one day you'll understand,
That the gift of power
is the kindness in your hands."

CHORUS

"I'm not falling before you 
begging for mercy,
groveling at your throne.
But to speak the truth
to say how it should.
I know I'm not alone.
We are the hands and feet
not the enemy.
We are BORN FREE."

“We are born free.” Do we really understand the enormity of that status? Can we, as selfish humans and narcissistic Americans, grasp the awesomeness of that gift? Most days, I don't think so.

Guys, it is time. Each of us has the ability and the God-given freedom to accomplish real change in our lives, in our families, in our communities, in our nation and in our world. Galatians 5:1 says, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." We need to stop being fearful and start being bold. We need to quit feeling sorry for ourselves and recognize the amazing gifts we've been given. We need to stop bowing down to temporary, earthy idols and focus our eyes and attention on things eternal. We need to stake claim to our inheritance and step up to our calling. We need to break free from earthly cages that are enslaving our minds, bodies, and hearts. The only perimeters we are subject to are those that exist in accordance with the Word of God. It is time for our apathetic generation to get informed, engaged and involved. This world isn't going to resolve itself into rightness. This nation isn't going to reverse course willingly. Friends, we are the lights, we are a city on a hill. We are the hands and feet, we're not enemies, we are BORN FREE. 


For more information on Krista and Michael David Branch and their music, please visit their website kristabranch.com or LIKE her on Facebook! Expect big things, very big things, from this amazing couple.

4.23.2014

You misunderstood me: I don't hate gay people. I hate their attempt to redefine marriage.



"For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." --Genesis 2:24

Disclaimer: Even those of you who agree with me often, may find this one hard to swallow. You have been warned....

So, here it goes...the big, bad, lose-a-whole-bunch-of-your-friends issue: 
I DON'T hate gay people. I DON'T want to require them register, be marooned on a deserted island or forced to under-go shock therapy--these are accusations that have been leveled against me. I DON'T want to make it illegal to be gay--another accusation. I love everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, or chosen sexual orientation because Jesus, my Savior, commands me do so.  

However, I do hate the orchestrated attempt by many to allow homosexuals to redefine marriage. Marriage, as defined and ordained by God, is a sacred union between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24). Yes, I admit, modern heterosexual divorce rates have damaged what I believe to be God's ideal definition of marriage. (That is always the argument used against me when I argue for Biblical marriage.) In fact, last year I was confronted by a very angry lady who had been deeply offended by my postings on protecting Biblical marriage. After she was finished yelling, I was able to determine that what made her more angry than anything was that she felt as though I condemned gay people more harshly than the others committing sexual sins. So, let me be very, very clear: yes, heterosexual cohabitation prior to marriage, incest, sexual promiscuity, rape (even marital rape), polygamous marriage, and sexual relations with animals are all sin--let's just lay it out there so we can all move forward with the discussion.   

And if you know me or have read anything I have ever written on sexual sin, you will know that I do not condone any of the above listed behaviors. I recognize that we are sinful people living in a fallen world and therefore each of us has, at one time or another, fallen short of the glory of God. Myself included. I know that when I point my holier-than-thou finger at some else's sin, I have three, dirty, messy, ugly fingers pointing right back at me. Trust me, I am not judging anyone. I am simply speaking truth and trying to explain the societal and eternal differences between a teenager's temporary sexual misconduct verses an adult embracing, embarking upon or accepting a sinful sexual lifestyle that will become part of who they are and what they believe.

WHEW...well, now that I have probably thoroughly offended some of you and not been harsh enough for others, I will move on...

The Bible is clear, crystal clear, on the immorality of same-sex relations. Homosexual behavior is described as wicked (Genesis 19: 7), an abomination (Leviticus 18:22), a detestable act (Leviticus 20:13), and an unnatural and indecent act (Romans 1: 27). Now, let me head off the angry retorts right here: I am addressing the behavior, not the people. I don't believe anyone to be an abomination, nor am I calling anyone wicked, detestable or indecent. I am speaking to behavior. I believe we are all created in the image of a loving Savior. However, sin is sin. And tiptoeing around certain sins because it is convenient, trendy or easy to ignore, doesn't make them less sinful or more likely to go away. We are all human thus making each of us sinful: Pride, lying, stealing, drunkenness, adultery, and envy to name a few of our favorites. But I also believe that the redemption, grace and mercy that are represented by the blood of Jesus, covers ALL sin. "Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." --1 Corinthians 6:9-11   

I am often asked whether or not I believe homosexuals will go to Heaven. I'm not going the lie...I have no idea. I know Heaven is going to be filled with people who believe that Jesus was born to the virgin Mary, suffered, was crucified for our sins, proclaimed dead, and buried in a tomb. And then on the third day, he arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven and now sits at the right hand of God. If a person believes this and accepts Jesus as his personal LORD and Savior--they will go to Heaven. That is the promise--that is the good news--that is what I believe. But we mustn't forget and we mustn't neglect that Jesus commanded the people in the New Testament that He healed, saved and revealed himself to, to go forth and sin no more. Hebrews 10:26-27 says, "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES". And I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that an encounter with Christ would have fundamentally changed the people involved: if they were greedy, mean, murderous, sexually immoral or prideful when they first met Jesus, I believe they would have been different after the introduction. If they were lost, they had been found. 

So, yes, I really do love gay people--I love them and their families. I do, however, hate the deception related to sinful nature of the behavior and am deeply troubled by the current attempts to force me and others into acceptance. But let's just be honest: unfortunately, I am a beginning to represent the minority opinion on this matter. Americans, including many Christians, are tired of the fight. The discussions about whether or not homosexuality is wrong are heated, emotional, and often times inflict more harm than produce good. Preachers are scared to death of the subject. The last sermon I heard on family and marriage was physically painful to watch. The preacher was a nervous wreck and chose his words way too carefully in a valiant attempt to avoid any and all offense. Legislators flip flop on this topic faster than pancakes cook. This debate is a no win situation for politicians. Too many Americans have a son, daughter, brother or sister that have "come out of the closet". When those around us, when those we love, choose to enter into a sinful lifestyle, regardless of the sexual orientation, our affection and our human nature make it nearly impossible to condemn them. So, yes, I see the tide turning and know that because we dwell in a fallen world filled with confusion and deception, gay marriage is probably going to continue to spread and the gay community gain traction. 

So, this is my solution: government should get out of the marriage business. Government is involved in marriage because at one time, the marital union represented societal stability. However, now it is mostly relevant in a secular sense because it affects your tax filing status and healthcare, retirement, and death benefits. American divorce rates continue to rise in both heterosexual and homosexual marriages. More and more people are choosing to simply live together or create families as individuals. As hard as it may be to believe, to many individuals the idea of marriage is antiquated. So, let's leave marriage to us religious folks who like to do things the old-fashioned, biblically described, God-ordained way! Let's put marriage back where it belongs: in the spiritual realm--between one man, one woman, and God. Let's all file our taxes as individuals and designate our beneficiaries with good estate planning. For those of you who are aghast at my proposal--stop and think about it for a minute. I am not giving up, I am going back to God. I am not surrendering, I am strategically selecting my battles. 

I know I am right on this people! And I don't need our nightmare-of-a-president, our out-of-touch Congress, or the isolated Supreme Court to agree with me. I would rather take defining marriage away from our misguided government and forfeit the secular benefits attached to it, than allow them to redefine or further de-sanctify it.  I know this solution might seem crazy to some of you but I think this would actually work. Yes, the gay community would spin my proposal as a victory for them, their mantra would be: 'If we can't marry, then no one can'!! But in reality, traditional marriages would still be taking place all over the country, in small and large churches, in front of large crowds or in the presence of two witnesses. The ceremonies would still involve rings, vows, and a covenant sealed with a kiss. The difference: we wouldn't have to get a marriage license. Why not officially forfeit our recognition by a nation that is already trying desperately to ignore us? Men and women would still be joined in matrimony, in holy matrimony, exemplifying the original and intended design, in the presence of a holy God. 

They won't win. I won't win. He will.



4.22.2014

You misunderstood me: The 2nd Amendment doesn't guarantee my right to bear arms. The 2nd Amendment assumes I already own a gun, and restricts you, Sir Government, from taking it away.


"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." --George Washington, First President of the United States

A couple of months ago I had the enormous privilege of hearing Rafael Cruz, father of Senator Ted Cruz, speak. During his speech Mr. Cruz said so many things that energized me! He said so many things that I agreed with; so many things that encouraged my right-wing, crazy, conservative heart!! However, toward the middle of his speech, he was rocking along when suddenly he busts out with, "the second amendment doesn't guarantee you the right to bear arms". Well, being that we were attending a Republican fundraiser in the conservative, great state of Texas, it wasn't surprising that the room fell VERY silent. I wondered to myself, "where is he going with this"? And then, just as my mind began to stray, he did what all truly gifted communicators do--he quickly drew me back in with an amazing, eye-opening explanation!!

Mr. Cruz opines, and I now agree, that the 2nd Amendment was written under the assumption and should therefore be interpreted with the understanding, that the Founders believed that American citizens WOULD possess and bear arms. Think about that realization for a moment. Still thinking? Yeah, I know...it's deep and profound. And therefore, the entire purpose of the last portion of the 2nd Amendment would have been intended to prevent the government from restricting the arms assuredly already possessed by the people. I like that interpretation. And more importantly, I think it makes perfect sense. 

But unfortunately, not everyone is easily persuaded. So, I offer these further explanations:

Consider the time in which the Constitution was drafted and ratified. A much different time from the present; a time where a man's word was his bond and his reputation, everything. A time when life was simple but very, very hard. A time of hunting for food and killing for survival. A time when people settled disputes outside of courtrooms and in the absence of police officers. A time when men took offense and disrespect seriously and would have killed or be killed rather than be dishonored. 

Consider the ramifications of the bloody Revolutionary War. The newly born nation was not only being constructed but also recovering from the war and grieving the heavy losses sustained. Consider the personal reflections of these men; these revolutionary heroes and Founding Fathers, who would have been deeply and desperately invested in the creation of a document outlining a democratic republic. These men weren't strangers to each other or to the idea of freedom; they weren't novices to the American plight. Many had been signers of the Declaration and fought as soldiers in the war. They had pledged their lives, liberties and fortunes to each other and their noble cause. These men successfully revolted against a controlling, out-of-touch monarchy in England...and I think it is safe to conclude, that in the immediate aftermath of their revolution, they would have erred on the side of freedom, not imitated monarchical restriction. Taxes on tea had pissed them off (excuse my language, but seriously, they were really mad); think of what taking their guns and ammunition would have done! 

Think for a moment about the passion they would have felt as they set out to design a country and compose a defining national document based on inalienable rights and God-given liberties. These future-forward thinkers were embarking upon uncharted waters. No country existed like the one they were purposing. There was no template, no international example, no foreign diplomat to answer their questions, guarantee success or guide the young nation during its growing pains. 

The Constitution was written by astoundingly intelligent men. It was constructed in such a way as to provide certainty and yet evolve with times and circumstances. Now don't get me wrong, I am a strict constructionist and therefore believe that the Founders said what they meant to say and addressed the issues they deemed worthy. And I am therefore led to believe and happy to conclude that the Founders would not have been upset by me "clinging to my guns and my faith". I think they would have considered me wise and patriotic. I think they would have assumed that I owned a gun and ammunition and that I would know how to use it. I think they would have advised that I clean it often and cling to it daily.

So, yes, I think it is safe to assume that Mr. Cruz's interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is correct. Our Founding Fathers were pretty darn clear and remarkably insightful. Their wisdom laid the foundation of our great nation and their sacrifices secured freedom for their's, our's and future generations. Their impact on the world and history is immeasurable.

So, I'll leave you with this for today...
If the Founders and our revolutionary forefathers were upset enough to wage the most effective insurgent war ever known to mankind due to over taxation on tea (I know I am over simplifying, but please indulge me), I shudder to think what their patriotic responses would have been to someone or some government attempting to limit or contest their right to bear the arms of their choosing and ammunition in whatever quantities they saw fit. Oh, blessed be the poor soul that would have had the unfortunate duty of posting that notice or announcing that order. Based on historical facts, I think the messenger would have been killed. I don't think our Founder's would have been compliant or quiet in the face of this infringement and therefore, I don't think we should be either.


4.16.2014

You misunderstood me: I don't hate poor people. I hate laziness and socialism.





"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." --Winston Churchill

Favorite Accusation Against Conservatives #2: Conservatives hate poor people.

I DON'T hate poor people. I DON'T hate unemployed Americans. I DON'T hate people who receive food stamps. I DON'T hate children on Medicaid. Yeah, these are all things that people have said to me and about me and about others who share my political opinions. 

When my husband went back to school, we were both unemployed, raising two small children, and living off of a dwindling savings account and student loans. In his second year of law school, the census rolled around. I don't like the census: The concept makes me mad and I feel as though some of the questions violate my privacy. So, I refused to fill it out. Refusal, is of course, against federal law, so it was no surprise when a federal census representative showed up on our front door step. I kindly invited her in and we exchanged pleasantries. She asked me some of the more general questions on the census forms and I agreed to answer them while still refusing to answer others. Toward the end of our conversation she began asking me about our household income, or in our case, the lack thereof, and our healthcare coverage. Although we were unemployed at the time, my husband and I had allocated funds to provide health insurance for our children. I explained to the agent that our children are our financial responsibility, not anyone else's. The census agent was fascinated by that declaration! She pulled some papers out of her leather satchel and began to explain the glory of Medicaid and CHIPS and how I should get my kiddos enrolled. She told me that it wasn't fair that I should have to pay high healthcare premiums for our children while my husband was in school. I allowed her to speak and then as gently and respectively as I could, I informed her that I was an educated, able-bodied individual and that if and when our money ran out, I would get a job and pay for my children's healthcare the old fashioned way--by working. I smiled and explained to her that one of the greatest lessons my parents taught me as a child was that life isn't fair

Now hear me out: I know there are individuals who are working hard and still can't afford health insurance for their children. And benefits such as Medicaid and programs such as CHIPS have, up until the disaster known as Obamacare, served to bridge that gap. So, don't misunderstand me: I am not belittling the honest efforts of some to make ends meet and yet, they still need some help. My issue with the census agent, and the countless other bureaucrats I have had the misfortune of dealing with, was that I was UNEMPLOYED at the time of her lecture, not UNABLE to work. There is a difference. 

So, that story and that friendly bureaucrat lead me to my next admission: I hate hand outs to able-bodied American brats. I HATE laziness. I detest attitudes of entitlement and expectancy. I loathe the idea of long-term governmental dependency.I believe in a strong work ethic, personal responsibility and ambition. I believe in small businesses, free markets and entrepreneurship. I believe in low taxes and frugal spending habits (at the household, local, state, and national level). I believe that excessive taxation cripples economic growth and that the redistribution of wealth is not only socialistic and stupid; but also down right immoral. "Taking from the rich and giving to the poor" makes everybody feel all warm and fuzzy--but as great as it sounds and as wonderful a notion as it seems, taking from some, in order to give it, unearned, to others, is theft. 

It is bad business to discourage innovation and even worse business to reward slothfulness. I believe that most Americans can do anything they want to do and are capable of being anything they want to be, if they are willing to sacrifice and work hard enough. Like I have said before, the difference between me and a liberal: The liberal man wants to hand out fish to the poor so that he can create a dependency, thus securing his power. I want to teach the poor to fish for themselves, so that one day, they can become my socio-economical equal or perhaps, my boss!  

One day during my husband's final semester of law school, I was complaining about being poor and deeply in debt, when a fellow law school student explained to me that being poor was a temporary state, while being impoverished was a more permanent condition. I liked, and needed, that clarification. I think we, as Americans, have a skewed perspective when we discuss 'poor people'. American poor people still have housing, clothes, food and in many cases, thanks to Obama, cell phones. I don't think many of us have encountered true poverty or come face to face with someone who is truly unable to help themselves. Contrary to liberal belief, I and many other conservatives, sincerely want to help individuals and assist in meeting people's most basic needs. I want to end hunger, provide clean water and medical aide to any and all needy Americans. But, trust me when I say, our bloated government is not capable of accomplishing these monumental tasks. Bureaucrats and special interests groups manipulate and complicate the most well-intended social solutions. 

American standards of living have dramatically changed in recent decades: everyone feels entitled to owning a home, everyone thinks they should own two cars, everyone assumes they should go to college: we have morphed into a society where everyone thinks everybody should have everything right now! Our system and our expectations are unsustainable and out of control. Our poorest person is still relatively comfortable when compared to the people of other nations. People in other countries would give anything, some their own lives, to experience a moment of American opportunity. Husbands leave their wives behind, parents live separated from their beloved children, so that they can come to America in search of their dream, their chance at prosperity, their piece of the American pie. Everyday, American success stories rise out of the inner cities and small town, rural USA and succeed in ending the cycle of poor that has defined their lives and imprisoned their families. In America, a poor man or woman, can obtain an education, work hard, stretch out their hand and grab success. If you don't believe me, look around you.

My heart's desire is to minister to all people regardless of education or income. I want to figure out a way for our society to teach the less fortunate and assist in equipping them to help themselves. Otherwise, when our bloated national government finally goes bankrupt because they can't sustain the high costs of an entitlement society; dependent, poor people in America will find themselves being sucked into true poverty--and that my friends, will be a much more difficult condition to improve. 





4.14.2014

You misunderstood me: I don't hate women. I hate abortion.


"Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood."
--William Howard Taft
When I first began using Facebook as a platform for sharing my opinions about the political and social catastrophes of our time, I knew I was opening myself up for some pretty ugly criticism. However, I accepted that if I was going to be bold enough to say the things I wanted to say, I needed to be big enough to face the possibility of nasty responses. At first, my Facebook friends who disagreed with my views were quick to comment and lovingly 'blast' me. Their disagreement with my political leanings didn't bother me and secretly, I loved the healthy banter! I did and still do, really enjoy a well-informed, educated debate on substantive issues and have a deep appreciation for anyone who is engaged and passionate and can carry on a rational conversation. 

Over time, I think my friendly dissenters found that a vast majority of people in my 'pool of friends' were in agreement with my political, religious, and social views and they stopped replying on the open feed to some of my more controversial statements. I was 'unfriended' by some and avoided by others. Last year, I was confronted at a craw fish boil by an angry lady who had been deeply offended by my postings about protecting traditional marriage and ending abortion. I began receiving some pretty colorful private messages: not necessarily from my Facebook friends but from others on Facebook who saw my postings via someone else. Some of the messages were mild and sort of funny. Others were angry and very, very harsh: I have been cussed and called everything from a racist, to a sexist, to a bigot, a hypocrite, a fascist and a "heartless, mindless follower of a non-existent god". 

I am, in my own humble opinion, none of those things.

So this series of postings is my attempt to address some of the most common misconceptions of conservative politics and to explain why some, myself included, are so deeply committed to preserving the goodness that sets our nation and our people apart. 

Here it goes....

Favorite Accusation Against Conservatives #1: Conservatives are engaged in a war on women.

I DON'T hate women. For Heaven's sake, I am a woman! I have a daughter, sister, mother, five nieces and countless female friends. I am not seeking to "reverse female progress" or strip women of the rights and equality they have struggled to obtain over the last century. I am glad I have the right to vote. I am glad I have the ability to work. I am thankful for the right to obtain an education. I think women are strong, beautiful and quite often the glue that holds this mess-of-a-life together! It would be counterproductive and illogical for me to hate women--I am not really one who tolerates self-loathing and self-pity. 

I DO, however, HATE the murderous procedure known as abortion. Misguided pro-choice activists and self-absorbed feminists proclaim the legalization of abortion as the greatest economic and social equalizer of the last four decades. Other activists and out-of-touch politicians opine that the 'right' to legally obtain an abortion has been the single most liberating aspect of the women's lib movement and argue that any attempt to end or restrict abortion is an attack on the freedoms, liberties and bodies of women. Yeah, I know...seriously?! 

In 1973, when the Supreme Court of the United States of America, in a 7-2 vote, ruled that a woman's right to privacy and therefore, the right to obtain an abortion, was protected under the 14th Amendment's due process clause, American society turned a dark corner. The repercussions of atrocities like abortion and genocide are often delayed. The true nature of the violence is hidden and the advocates are often very capable and skilled at spinning the situation to reflect their preference. Sometimes the most heinous societal shifts are small, quiet--often times, the most destructive movements are slow fades. But four decades later, the tragic reality of abortion is crystal clear. In January of this year a study was published that quoted the number of abortions since Roe v. Wade as being 56,662,169. How is that possible? How is it that a seemingly civilized nation, that proclaims a love for and commitment to securing freedoms and liberties for all people, has allowed the lives of millions of babies to be ended?

Abortion, as defined by me, is an emotionally destructive, murderous method of ending unplanned, unwanted or imperfect pregnancies; the slaughter of innocent life disguised as an out-patient medical procedure; a violation of a baby's Constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness shrouded in a veil of convenience and privacy desired by a selfish, deceived or fearful mother. That, my friends, as uncomfortable and unpopular as it may be, is truth. This so-called liberation for women wasn't a move in the right direction. Abortion wasn't a victory for our gender, it is all out war on unborn life--especially unborn life in minority communities. According to CNSNews.com, in 2012, there were more black babies aborted (31,328) than were born (24,758) in New York City. These numbers are staggering and should break every American's heart.

Abortion has demeaned and emotionally imprisoned American women, alienated American men, killed untold numbers of American babies and trivialized the sanctity of God-given life. Psalm 127: 3 and 4 say, "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth." I have a uterus and have birthed two amazing children. I have experienced the thrill and stresses of pregnancy and the incredible miracle of life first hand and can't imagine choosing otherwise. 

However, I live in reality and know that some women find themselves in difficult situations: pregnant and young, unwed, sick, poor, raped. I know parenthood isn't ideal for all people, at all times. Trust me, I get it. But there my friends, in those sad and sometimes seemingly hopeless situations, is where the beauty and perfection of adoption presents it's redemptive face!! There are life-giving options available to women in all conditions of life, from all backgrounds, that protect the sacred life of the child, provide emotional relief and psychological healing for the mother, and redeem an unwanted, painful situation. 

I love all women; born and unborn. I don't hate women who have had or will have abortions. Nor do I judge them. I don't hate abortion doctors and abortion clinic workers (although, in the spirit of honesty, I sometimes want to). But I believe that one day, the Heavenly Father that created and loved each of the unborn babies, will hold all of these individuals accountable for their roles in the barbaric fate of the innocent. As Christians, our silence and indifference is dangerous. The reality of our sin as a nation and as a people is far reaching. Just as the wages of sin is death, our condemnation is unavoidable: until we repent and end the massacre, our posterity will reap the consequences of the death we have sown. 




4.07.2014

Fiddler's Green and An American Brotherhood


"Duty is ours; consequences our God's."
--Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson


I began writing this entry last week after the shooting at Fort Hood occurred. This morning, I turned my computer on and went to Yahoo news and began searching the headlines for facts about the shooting, the condition of the victims, the situation in general. There were ten headline stories about Hollywood: I now know that Kim and Kanye are spending $125,000 on each of their wedding guests. My life is officially enriched (insert sarcasm). There were six stories about gay marriage and how if you disagree with their right to wed, you are a bigot. There were three headlines about adorable Prince George and Kate Middleton's amazing hair. There was, however, no information, no update, no headline regarding this seemingly already forgotten tragedy. 

My husband and I have friends at almost every Army post in the nation. The Army is a small, close-knit community and if you stay in long enough, you can't help but meet people, who know people, who knew those people, who you know from somewhere else. The 'smallness' of the military world is intrinsic to it's uniqueness. The familiarity of its people is one of the most beautiful aspects of military life: you never move anywhere that you don't know somebody. Friendships are fast, real and last a lifetime. 

But the true treasure of the military life, beyond the friendships, beautiful duty assignments, and the cool cultural experiences, is the camaraderie of the soldiers. My husband isn't a social butterfly. In fact, I could describe him as almost too quiet, almost too reserved, almost a bit anti-social. (Needless to say, he married his opposite!) He doesn't have many close friends and doesn't require much 'guy time'. But there is something special about the relationships he developed with the men he served with in the Army. There is a bond; a lifelong, deep, never-changing respect and admiration for each other that most in the civilian world can't understand and won't ever have the opportunity to experience. 

Something unique is formed between men when their lives are at stake and all they possess is their faith in God and trust in one another. Something is created when two people see each other respond instinctively in a selfless and heroic manner during the chaos of battle. Something exists between individuals when they experience the trials and tribulations of combat together, side by side. The reality of war is brutal and bloody. In battle, loss of life is unavoidable, for both soldier and civilian. In war, the dead are mourned. The wounded, sometimes forgotten. The survivors, forever changed. That is why there is a special bond created before, during, and in the aftermath of war; a brotherhood where only the most honorable, the most brave, the most loyal find solace.

This noble brotherhood, this camaraderie, is why the reality of what has happened at Fort Hood, twice, is so unbelievable. When an American soldier is killed, senselessly murdered, at the hands of another soldier; at home, safely in America, on a military installation, it is unimaginable. It is a betrayal of trust: a devastating and inconceivable act of violence. 

However, with all of that said, when I first married into the Army, someone explained to me that the military is "simply a cross-section of society". Our armed forces are comprised of men and women from all over the world. There are individuals from differing socio-economical, education, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Each member of our military is similar in their willingness to serve our nation but the reasons that drive them to serve vary greatly. Many are driven by the noble desire of selfless service: duty, honor, country. Others are motivated by the educational benefits afforded to them through the GI Bill and see a 4-year enlistment as a way to better their station of life in the long term. While others see a short term commission as an officer as an excellent way to pay back their staggering student debt while at the same time, learning leadership and organizational skills that will benefit them in the civilian workforce. And, let's just be honest: there are others who need to get away from small-town USA and distance themselves from "that group", "that girl" or "that lifestyle". All of these individuals, motivated by different things, once in uniform, are united as one--one amazing military force to be reckoned with. 

But the reality of their diversity doesn't fade away with a short hair cut, freshly shaven face and camouflaged attire. The underlying issues that bring some of our service members into the military are still present. I say all of this because I feel like it will be easy for liberals and pundits to blame this horrific act of violence on Mr. Lopez's 4 month tour in Iraq, the war on terrorism in general, the over-stressed military force, the stigma of mental illness within the military community, the .45 caliber pistol, or George W. Bush. But in reality, none of those things or people pulled the trigger. Mr. Lopez did.   

I am sure this tragedy will raise more questions than it will provide answers. In the coming days, (if the media gets bored with Hollywood and Obamacare's supposed success,) we will tire from hearing the terms PTSD and gun control while pundits on television offer up their opinions and diagnoses. The liberals and gun control activists will blame the gun, not the shooter. Legislators will offer up their condolences and go into "reactionary mode". Psychiatrists and psychologists will attempt to explain the shooter's behavior with all sorts of statistics and 19-letter-long mental conditions. But my fear is that in the frenzy to find an explanation and an understanding of the shooter and his motives (or lack thereof), we will forget about SGT Timothy Owens, SFC Danny Ferguson, SGT Carlos Lazaney and the other sixteen injured victims.
    
When an American soldier is killed in a foreign land by a foreign enemy, it is heartbreaking. The family is devastated, the military grieves a fallen brother and our country mourns a lost hero. But Fort Hood isn't foreign soil and SPC Lopez wasn't an enemy fighter. These brave men and one woman were home, resting in the comfort of American safety and security. They were at ease; visiting buildings at what should be one of the safest places on the planet. And yet, evil touched them. The actions of one evil, deluded man, stripped those brave Americans of their lives and their freedoms. And Mr. Lopez's moment of psychosis and rage, changed his legacy of heroism to that of being a deranged, suicidal killer. I wish I had answers or some amazing words of comfort, but I am at a loss. 

My husband was a Cavalryman in the Army. Yes, he wore a stetson and earned his spurs in combat. And before each of his deployments, there was talk among the troopers of a place call Fiddler's Green. During our time in the Army, I never asked what Fiddler's Green was or looked it up on the internet--I never wanted to know why the troopers talked of eventually meeting up there. Last week I Googled the term and this is what I found: Fiddler's Green is a place where fallen troopers gather. A place where heroes sit around, drink from their canteens and tell stories of war to the tune of a fiddle that never ceases to play. It is a place of unending happiness and continuous dancing. A place for soldiers to find rest and peace. A place where those in the noble brotherhood of the American military converge to spend eternity among each other. For Christians, a place like Heaven. In my mind, I imagine a "SOLDIER'S CLUB" with very exclusive entry: dog tags, short hair and combat boots required. I can see a basic concrete block construction, bad, florescent lightning, and tactical maps and white boards hanging on the walls. I can smell the musty odor. 

I pray that SGT Timothy Owens, SFC Danny Ferguson and SGT Carlos Lazaney are sitting around an old, wooden table and reminiscing about their glory days. I hope they know they were loved by their families and appreciated by a grieving country. I hope they are meeting up with fellow heroes; heroes, from all generations, that departed this life on a battlefield while sacrificing for our grateful nation. I pray that these brave men are at peace and have found at last, a safe, secure place to spend an eternity in perfect freedom.