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So-Called Citizens

FeinsteinA New Class of American Citizens

This week, at the confirmation hearings for John Brennan, we learned much about the Obama administration justification for the use of drones, even to kill American citizens.  Senator Dianne Feinstein, an Obama mouthpiece, even created a new class of American citizen…”so called.”

Senator Feinstein was questioning Brennan, President Obama’s nominee for C.I.A. Director, about the justification for killing Anwar al-Alwaki in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.  Believe me, I do not approve of al-Alwaki’s activities, beliefs, or words, but he was born in New Mexico and that fact makes the following exchange between Feinstein and Brennan most disturbing.

Addressing Brennan on the subject of al-Awlaki Senator Feinstein said, “One of the problems is, once the drone program is so public, and one American is caught up, people don’t know much about this one ‘American citizen’—so called.  They don’t know what he’s been doing, they don’t know the incitement he has stirred up. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about Mr. Awlaki and what he’s been doing.”

When Brennan didn’t answer her quickly, fully, or loudly enough, the Senator continued her defense, “See, that’s the problem. When people hear “American,” they think someone who’s upstanding. And this man was not upstanding by a long shot.”

John Brennan agreed with her statement with a simple, “yes,” so she persisted in her statement, “And maybe you cannot discuss it here, but I’ve read enough to know that he was a real problem.”

Finally Brennan involved himself agreeing that al-Awlaki “was intimately involved in activities that were designed to kill innocent men, women, and children, mostly Americans. He was not just a propagandist.”

What caused my jaw to drop was the Senator’s summation at the end of the exchange with Brennan, “And, so, Mr. Awlaki is not an American citizen by where anyone in America would be proud.”

The Proud and Upstanding Standard

In the instance of Mr. al-Awlaki, I may, personally agree that he was “worthy” to be assassinated, however, I am flabbergasted, appalled, and frankly, scared to death that this administration has granted itself unchecked authority to kill American citizens.  My reaction is exacerbated by the fact that one of the administration’s greatest supporters, Senator Feinstein describes, and the current C.I.A. Director nominee allows, that the executed was not, “upstanding” or a citizen of whom we could be “proud” and therefore, his execution is justified.  His citizenship was reduced to “so-called” by unilateral decree.

What constitutes the standard of “upstanding” or “proud” put forward by Ms. Feinstein?  I am certainly not “proud” of this President nor am I “proud” of the Majority Leader in the Senate, and the Speaker of the House is not at the top of my list either.  I find the people who made the backroom deals that were done in order to pass Obamacare, far less than “upstanding.”  However, I do not consider them worthy of a drone strike.  I don’t like the socialistic tack this administration is pursuing.  But, however much I may disagree, their citizenship is not “so-called” just because I decide that they don’t meet my standards.

What I find most distasteful and frightening is that no one in the administration has made any attempt to distance themselves from Senator Feinstein’s remarks.  If allowed to stand unchallenged, who is to say what group, what theology, what individual that the government finds challenging won’t be summarily stripped of their citizenship and executed?

Should I Be Afraid?

I am a Christian.  I am a small-government conservative.  I own weapons according to my Second Amendment rights and WILL NOT give them up, nor allow the government to know where they are located.  I write this blog and other articles with the express intent of influencing the thinking of other people.  Am I on a “hit-list?”

President Obama has made his contempt for Christian absolutes extremely obvious.  Mr. Obama and the liberals that support him believe that government is god.  The President’s actions have made clear his total disdain for our Constitution and its roots.  He and his supporters rewrite history whenever necessary.  Christians do not call this behavior “upstanding,” we call it lying and we oppose it.  My role is publicly calling for truth and disclosure.  I do it regularly.  Should I be afraid?

Sorry, Senator Feinstein, but Mr. Alwaki was an American citizen.  I, like you, find his behavior reprehensible, but I find yours not much better.  Mr. Obama, nor you, have the right to rescind his citizenship and execute him without restraint.  Nor would I rescind yours and remove you even if I could.  That is what sets The United States of America apart as a nation.

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My Sensible Solution For Immigration Reform

A Nation of Immigrantsveteran-300x263

Immigration reform is a hot topic of conversation at the moment.  It was a key issue in the last election cycle.  There are many who argue passionately for amnesty being extended to illegal aliens already in the country and there are many who argue passionately that the word “illegal” still has meaning.  Unfortunately, there is far more heat than light being generated in most of the debates.

Politically, both parties seek to get an advantage with a growing voting bloc.  Both parties want to be seen as the champion for Latinos.  Both parties want to be able to trumpet that THEY are responsible for Hispanics gaining political clout in the United States.  And both parties risk losing part of their base voters who live in border states.  We live in interesting times.

Displayed on a plaque on the inner pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, is the poem, The New Colossus¸ written by Emma Lazarus.  It was a donation by Lazarus to a fund-raising effort to construct the base of the Statue.  She initially declined to contribute the work, but a good friend convinced her that her work would be of great significance to the immigrants who would sail under Liberty into New York Harbor.

While Liberty was not conceived and sculptured as a symbol of immigration, Lazarus’ poem has become exactly that.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

We are a nation of immigrants.  Unless you hail from Native American roots, your ancestors “came” from somewhere.  As you read the history of our nation, people came here looking for a better way of life.  People came here looking for freedom.  People came here longing to worship in whatever manner they saw fit.

As a matter of historical fact, Native Americans were treated poorly and duped into questionable treaties by the Western Europeans due to naivete on the part of the Native Americans and European cunning and overwhelming firepower.  Some argue that the current political situation and argument is hypocritical at best.

Into the secular dispute, Christians must include a discussion of Biblical, Kingdom principles.  As Christians, which side of the debate should we support?  If it comes to a vote, how should we vote?

A Nation of Laws

Illegal immigration is a personally difficult subject.  I have good friends on both sides of the debate and even more importantly, I have personal who were born in the United States, but whose parents came here illegally.  The parents have never violated the law, have held jobs and (I assume) paid taxes, and lived quiet lives.  The entire family has a deep, personal, and active faith in Jesus Christ.  Each of them attends and supports the church with time, energy, and substance.  For me, simplistic answers are insufficient.

If I take the position that mercy should be shown to illegal immigrants and amnesty and citizenship should be given to those who arrived here illegally, but have not engaged in criminal behavior since their arrival, I compromise the rule of law and make it anecdotal.  The problem with anecdotal law is that it can change at the whim of any ruler.  The basis for the establishment of our nation was to escape anecdotal law and launch a system based on the concept that “all men are created equal.”

Illegal immigrants steal American taxpayer dollars through Medicare, Medicaid, and other governmental programs that provide “free” benefits and do not require citizenship as a basis for receipt.  “Theft” does not always happen at the point of a gun or result in an arrest and conviction.  Robin Hood is celebrated in folklore, but in history, he was a common thief.  Does then that immigrant family I know actually participate in “criminal behavior?”  And should the parents be deported?  Does anything less threaten the rule of law in America?

Those who argue for amnesty always use “grace” and “mercy” as their arguments.  Those arguments are not without merit.  Jesus had little use for the Pharisees and Sadducees who were the lawyers of His day.  He chided and condemned them for creating regulations that no one could keep and called them, “hypocrites” regularly.  Does that mean that we should lay aside our laws and simply welcome all who find themselves within our borders no matter how they arrived?

Mercy without a standard is meaningless.  If anyone who can geographically locate himself within what are now our borders, then our borders are meaningless.  What purpose do they serve?  If our borders are to be protected, if lives are put at risk and tax money is spent to do so, then our borders must be significant and citizenship must be significant also.

A Sensible Solution

I wonder what would happen if politics were removed from the debate?  Would there be so much name-calling and vehemence if illegal aliens who became citizens could not vote…ever?  It seems to me that caring for all those who are genuinely in need is a Christian mandate, but as a legal American citizen, I resent having my vote diluted and my resources reallocated to people who have broken laws without my consent.

The situation seems a dilemma until political advantage is removed.  Christians are, I believe, more than willing to assist those less fortunate.  It has been proven again and again, that America responds to needs from a disaster more generously and more quickly than any other nation.  I don’t think caring is the problem.

Don’t confuse a secular debate about law with a spiritual debate about “care.”  Jesus was clear that His Kingdom was not of this world.  He also said that while we are not “of” this world, we are “in” it.

I believe that if the church is allowed to be the church and the government stops playing god for votes, the debate between Americans becomes a profitable discussion and not a screaming match to gain an advantage.

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A Nation Grieves

A Nation Grieves

Words to adequately describe the events in Newtown in the past few days do not exist.  For the heroes who did their best to protect the innocent children who were massacred, “grateful” is a woefully insufficient description.

It was an almost immediate response for many to politicize the tragedy, but this is not the time for the political discussion.  Whether the fault lies with “guns” or with the “moral decline” of this nation is a dispute in which we will gladly engage at another time, but it is appalling to use these beautiful, innocent, babies and their families to make points.  This is a time for compassion and support for those who have suffered the loss.

Today, we grieve.  We grieve for what the shooter did to others, but we also grieve for his family, who lost son, brother, and mother in the shooting, and must carry the family name for the balance of their lives.

I have a two adult daughters and a 9-year old granddaughter.  As I watched and listened to the news reports this past week, all I wanted to do was embrace all of them.  I wanted to tell each of them, one more time, how much love I have for them and that nothing else in the world mattered.

We know who, we know how, we know what, we know when, and we know where.  We will never understand the why.  The shooter’s personality and mental condition will be sliced and diced by the pseudo-experts over the days and weeks ahead, but, at the end of the day, their opinions may be “educated,” but they are just guesses.  Only he knew why he did what he did

Death is never an easy subject to grasp, even for adults.  The death of a child is, emotionally, even worse.   King David was a man of war.  He was accustomed to men around him dying.  But, when the death of Absalom, his son, was reported to him, the Scripture says he was “shaken.”  He wept, and cried out what every parent of every child who dies has said, “If only I had died instead of you….” (2 Samuel 18:33).

This tragedy comes in the midst of the celebration of the birth of a baby, a unique child, the Son of God.  He, too, was killed senselessly and without just cause.  But, His death was part of the plan of God, and he rose after three days as He had promised he would.  Paul reminds us that believers in Jesus Christ do not “grieve as those who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)  Note that he did not say we would not grieve.  The separation, the hopes, dreams, plans and futures that will not be realized, the senselessness of an untimely death, cause us to hurt, to grieve, to mourn.

It is right and appropriate that we do, however, because we believe that because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, we have hope that we will be reunited.  It is that hope to which we cling.  It is that hope we offer as comfort to grieving parents.  Innocent children were slaughtered, they are with God, and we live in HOPE.

To all in Newtown, and to all who grieve, we offer a prayer from the famous Christmas Carol, “Sleep in Heavenly Peace.”

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Decision Time

Make A Decision!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  We all have to make them and we all procrastinate as long as we can with difficult decisions.  We say, “We’re trying to get all the facts before we decide,” but we are really trying to decide what happens if we do this and what happens if we do that…if we’re not sure, we prefer to put off the decision hoping that someone or something will make it for us.  (You’re probably not like that, but the rest of us are)

Well, tomorrow is Decision Day.  It is more than Election Day.  It is a day in which we will decide on a direction that our nation will take for the next several decades.  Your children and grandchildren will be effected by the decision you make tomorrow.  If that seems melodramatic, I assure you it is not.

Consider These Decisions…

It was an ELECTED judge whose decision began the rulings that led Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court where justices appointed by ELECTED Presidents and confirmed by ELECTED Senators made a decision (against over 100 years of precedent law) that abortion was legal.  That initial ruling is now being interpreted as a “right.”

It was a Supreme Court APPOINTED by ELECTED Presidents and confirmed by ELECTED Senators that made the decision that God was to be removed from our society.  The Court’s decision was that the Constitution provided for a “separation clause” that has been used to work toward a secular society.  The Court’s decision was not based on a strict interpretation of the document, and its interpretation still plagues this nation.

It was an ELECTED Senate that, for political reasons alone, made the decision to allow a man, disbarred for lying, to remain President.  And the currently ELECTED President makes Mr. Clinton look like a saint.

Here’s Why YOU Need To Make A Decision

Mr. Obama has called the United States a “post-Christian” nation.  It was Mr. Obama’s decision that has plunged the United States into more debt in four years than his predecessors combined.  It has been Mr. Obama’s decision to lie about his faith.  The decision or decisions made regarding the events in Benghazi ultimately lie with Mr. Obama.  It was Mr. Obama’s decision to send out surrogates to blame an obscure video for an Al-Qaida attack.

It was Mr. Obama’s decision to appoint and approve an Attorney General who has thumbed his nose at Congress and everyone else.  The decision to pass what has become known as “Obamacare” was made in the middle of the night by ELECTED officials who cared nothing for the unintended consequences of their actions.

It is the decision of the Department of Health and Human Services and its APPOINTED Secretary, to require employers to “cover” abortive and contraceptive drugs to their employees even though their personal religious convictions are violated.

Saul Alinsky was never elected to any office, but his beliefs and writings have been studied and believed by liberal democrats for decades.  Contrary to the Judeo-Christian eithic upon which this nation was founded, Alinsky’s philosophy has been blatantly adopted as public policy by the current administration.  Every decision that this administration has made is tainted with Alinsky’s sewage.

My Decision Is A Matter of Faith

Please don’t think that I am so naïve as to believe that the Republican ticket is perfect, but the alternative makes my decision relatively easy.  Governor Romney was not my first choice for a candidate, but the socialist, godless, anti-family, morally bankrupt agenda put forth by the Democrats and Barack Obama is beyond my contempt.  As a Christian, not a Republican, I cannot allow Barak Obama and the democrats the opportunity to APPOINT anyone who will continue to marginalize the Church, violate the sanctity of life, and to thumb their noses at those of us who believe that values matter.

As I said earlier, my decision in my personal vote does not reveal naivete.  Romney may be a better decision but I do not (and probably will not) agree with all of his policies.  However, I do believe he will restore a measure of dignity to the Office of President.  And, I do believe that he hold a faith in Almighty God that the current administration disdains.

It is time for you to make your decision.  I call, today, for you to vote tomorrow.  If you don’t agree with me, go vote just to cancel me out!  Get involved in the process, make a decision.  Your vote, your decision, might make the difference between a baby living and dying, your kids learning the value and importance of prayer, and continuing to worship the God whom we serve freely.

Moses challenged Israel to make a decision to serve the Lord and Joshua did likewise.  Joshua’s words seem to summarize my feelings on this day before Decision Day.  “. . .if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.  But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD!”

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WE, THE PEOPLE

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

We, the People!  Note where the burden of responsibility was and still is placed, it is on We, the People.  We, the People will decide on an historical course for our nation in the next few weeks.  Many are fasting and praying for the decisions that will be made.  It is appropriate that we do. 

I have been involved, for the past couple of years, with an organization called The Proud Americans.  It is a politically conservative organization that proclaims the traditional values of God, Family, and Country that made this nation great.  I have been blessed and honored to speak, not only at church events, but all manner of events, including state-wide political events.  I have learned something very frightening during my travels.

Only about half of the people who call themselves Christians in this country, are registered to vote.  That means about 30 million of the 60 million or so “named” Christians are on the sidelines when it comes to electing people that represent the Christian view of marriage, life, and freedom.  That, to me, is an appalling statistic.  We, the People, doesn’t include half the Church?  Surely not!????

I have become weary of hearing pastors (who are educated to know better) proclaim that the Church has no right to speak to political issues.  Tell that to Nathan, Isaiah, Peter, and Jesus Himself.  I hear much noise from them and others, that our Constitution separated Church and State.  No it did not.  What is guaranteed is that we will never have a State Church (such as the Anglican).  The Constitution and the men that wrote it never intended that Christians stand down and never bring their world-view to the debate.  We, the People includes, actually expects, Christians to lead the way and be the conscience of our government.

As I speak in various churches, I encourage people to vote every time they have the opportunity.  Christians must participate.  I have never, would never, and don’t encourage anyone to vote based on party, personality, race, denomination, or “likability.”  I will encourage a vote, and will personally vote for people who share my Christian world-view and will work to advance it.  I will also do everything in my power to defeat candidates who do not.  We, the People bear the responsibility of electing worthy officials.

What a candidate believes about the definition of marriage matters to me.  What a candidate believes about when life begins matters to me.  What a candidate believes about freedom of speech and what defines “hate speech” is critical to me.  And those things are fundamental to We, the People.

The sanctity of life and marriage being between one man and one woman are not societal inconveniences, they are Biblical standards, truths.  Any politician who would “change” the truth of the Bible does not belong in a position of authority.  We, the People won’t allow it happen if we are true to our responsibilities.

But what do We, the People do when neither candidate “feels” right?  What do We, the People do when it seems that there is much to dislike about both candidates?  What do We, the People do when one candidate supports one issue appropriately and the other candidate supports another issue appropriately?  There are two things We, the People must do.

First, be informed.  One cannot even pray if not informed on the issues.  If you vote a straight party ticket – either party – shame on you, and don’t complain about anything because you have not voted from an informed basis.  There are scalawags in both parties (and some independents as well) who do not deserve your vote as a believer.  Don’t vote for them!  You must read, listen, watch, talk, discuss, debate, and learn about which candidate will uphold the values we hold dear.  Whether on a national level or local level, it matters not.  We, the People must know for whom we vote.

Second, and critical for We, the People, PRAY.  Seek God’s direction and wisdom as you vote.  He has promised that when we lack wisdom and pray, He will provide it to us.  But when you pray, make time to listen.  Talking “at” God is not prayer.  Ask, seek, and be still.  He will speak to your spirit in that “still small voice.”

It is, “We the people”, that put men and women into office.  It is “We the people” that have the power to replace them if their service has been unacceptable to “We the people.”

“We the people” means the family, the neighborhood, the local community, the Township, the County, the State, the Nation, and, most importantly, The Church.  When “We the People” humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, turn from our wicked ways, then He has promised to hear our prayers and change our circumstances (Miller’s paraphrase of II Chronicles 7:14).

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