Friday, February 25, 2005

Go nu-cu-ler, as President Bush would enunciate

Drop the bomb.

Stop the Democrats' unprecedented filibustering of judicial appoitments. America needs more constructionist judges on federal benches and the time to act is now. Let's find out early in this term if Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Spector will carry water for the president or not. Let's find out early whether Democrats will invoke the filibuster or allow a majority of Senators to approve judicial appointments. If the Democrats indeed filibuster, Republicans must employ the available rules change to allow judicial appointments to be approved by a majority vote of the Senate.

It will not be acceptable for Democrats to allow votes on some nominees they consider "acceptable," while turning away others they deem "unacceptable." True that some candidates may be stronger than others, but there is no place to draw the line between which nominees can be filibustered and which cannot. None can be filibustered. If a single Bush judicial nominee is filibustered, Republicans must act strongly and swiftly.

The elite judiciary that presides in many courts today is remaking the nation's laws in a way never foreseen by the Founding Fathers. This must stop. Republicans must not waste or miss the opportunity sitting before us right now. The Judiciary will be President Bush's chief legacy. Iraq will stabilize and troops will return home -- but the Judiciary will man the sentinels of power in the U.S. for decades to come.

Sen. Spector. Majority Leader Frist. The time to act is now.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Read it and Reap

In a dream world, I'd have abundant time to research interesting topics and write meaningful -- and brief -- essays about them. But I don't have that time. Thankfully, however, many terrific individuals do -- and today they are called bloggers! If you haven't visited any other blog site than mine, I would ask you to do so. You will reap a wealth of information and understanding that is not available in any mainstream newspaper, magazine or from the big three TV networks. Here are links to a few of my favorite blogs:
realclearpolitics.com
powerlineblog.com
hughhewitt.com
nationalreview.com
washingtontimes.com
drudgereport.com

One of the refreshing things about the bloggers is that they have a point of view -- a bias, if you will -- that they admit to. Major media, like NBC, the New York Times or your local newspaper, pretend to be unbiased, but clearly are not. You can find a weblog that reflects any bias you want -- and then it is up to you to judge the value, the accuracy and the enjoyment of any site. If you don't like the site, if it has nothing to offer, you simply never return. On the other hand, I have found many reliable sites that offer perspectives I'd never get on my own.

When it comes to blogging, I am a novice, a pilgrim. A friend -- who'd started a blog of his own -- led me to a website that helps you create your own weblog site. That's what I've done, but I am terribly poor about adding creative touches and links to my site. Thankfully, again, others are masters at this. Among the best known internet news hounds is Matt Drugde, who first wrote about Monica Lewinski's stained dress...so many years ago. Internet bloggers continue to break important news stories that otherwise would be ignored by the mainstream media. It was bloggers -- including some of those I have linked -- who broke the story that Dan Rather's hit piece on Pres. George W. Bush's National Guard Service, was based on forged documents provided to CBS by a democratic operative in Texas. Rather has since announced his retirement, but CBS has yet to release the report of its internal investigation on the news fraud. And, through weblog links, I viewed several home movies of the Tsunami destruction that took hours or days to make it to the major networks.

If you use the internet for e-mail, for shopping, for research or for anything, please take five additional minutes and click on a link to explore one of these weblogs I've listed. Most weblogs offer a variety of brief current events news, with various links to related pieces and references. It's informative and it's fun. When you read blogs, you often are reading the news that will become the topic of the next day's radio talk shows.

Take care all. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

They say it's your birthday!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Generally, there are just three times a year you can read that name in the newspaper: after a mass killing; when the Superbowl MVP collects his trophy; and at Christmas. Why?

What is it about Jesus’ name that so offends people? The free expression of Christian faith in society and in government has been stifled by those who march to a different drum.
But, what better time to reflect on Jesus than the celebration of His birth? No event has changed the course of human history like the virgin birth of Jesus. But, today, many would like to gloss over the true meaning of Christmas.

What is Christmas? What’s the reason…
…back of all this busy season?

It is a question that deserves contemplation. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas that we lose sight of the baby Jesus among the packages.

And, in an effort to be inclusive – in an effort to not offend others who believe differently – society has muted the meaning of Christmas. Christians watched as Nativity scenes became controversial displays. We watched as “Silent Night” and “The First Noel,” gave way to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
How could someone truly celebrate Jesus’ birth without also embracing Him and His teaching? One must believe He is the son of God, or Christmas is just another holiday – like Lincoln’s birthday. To embrace His teaching, one needs to know His word, the Bible. What is there to celebrate if Jesus was just another man or just a prophet?

But to express faith in Jesus involves risk. Some will wonder: what will others think? Will I be able to live up to His standard? Am I good enough?

And, …this is exactly what Christmas is about. God sent his son because none of us are good enough. God sent His son as an expression of His love for us. God sent His son that “whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) This is indeed the reason behind the season! This was the cause of celebration and joy that accompanied His birth 2000 years ago. By all means…”hark the herald angels sing, glory to the new born king!”

But many today are offended by God’s word. They don’t like that the Bible has standards. They don’t like that the word separates good from evil, wheat from chaff. They reject the truth that is in God’s word. It troubles people to think that God has one way to heaven. But that is exactly what Jesus taught, “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.” (1 Timothy 2:5) He taught in the book of John that “no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” Why celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas, yet reject His teaching?

Scripture teaches it is God’s desire for “all” to come to know Jesus. And if – in an effort not to offend people who have other beliefs – we fail to introduce people to the one person who holds the key to eternal life, then we have not loved our brothers and sisters in the way Jesus taught.

And yet, if we say Jesus is the way, we risk persecution. If we are faithful and obedient to what the Bible teaches, it can offend people. This is the way it has been since Jesus walked the earth and this is the way it will be until He comes again. Proclaim Him and risk persecution; deny Him and live an eternal life apart from him.

At Christmastime this year, please think about the reason for the season.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Kerry...man of Catholic faith. Not.

There is much to disagree about from last night's third and final presidential debate, but here is one item I've not heard anything about just yet.

Sure there is some chatter today about how Kerry talked his way around a question about his Catholic faith. Kerry was asked: "The New York Times reports that some Catholic archbishops are telling their church members that it would be a sin to vote for a candidate like you because you support a woman's right to choose an abortion and unlimited stem-cell research. What is your reaction to that?"

Kerry then danced his way through by saying, "I respect their views. I completely respect their views. ...But I disagree with them, as do many. I believe that I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. ...Now, with respect to religion... I know that throughout my life this has made a difference to me. "

Here's where Kerry stepped in it... bad. Kerry: "My faith affects everything that I do, in truth. There's a great passage of the Bible that says, 'What does it mean, my brother, to say you have faith if there are no deeds? Faith without works is dead.' And I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people. That's why I fight against poverty. That's why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth. That's why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith. "

So curious, isn't it, that when imbued by his faith, Kerry proudly boasts of fighting for the earth and for equality and justice -- but he sadly has no fight in him when it comes to fighting for the unborn (which, oh by the way, is part of the faith he was just bragging about.) Where are Kerry's "deeds," where are Kerry's "works" when it comes to fighting for the unborn.

Those deeds are easy to spot and hard to hide. A vote against partial birth abortion. Repeatedly voting to support a woman's right to kill her baby (and it's not just her baby by the way. It's someone else's baby too.) No siree. Kerry only fights for the things he believes in -- and he believes in women having a right to have their babies killed -- even in extreme partial birth abortions. That's the real Kerry.

Finally, for democrats who want to buy his logic not to impose his faith-based views on others, shouldn't you be upset that Kerry might impose his faith-based views on poverty and justice that he spoke about? Once again Kerry wants to have it both ways. He wants to be against abortion... and, oh yes, for abortion. He wants to vote against abortion, but only his honor keeps him from doing so... so, instead, he votes to kill near fully-delivered babies through the gruesome practice of partial birth abortion.

Yes, there are many topics and statements from last night's debate that have people chatting. But Kerry's pretzel-logic on his Catholic faith -- takes the cake. Kerry has no fight in him for things that matter, because he doesn't seem to know what matters.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Teachers' Union Dirty Tricks

Have you heard what the teachers' union is up to in Jefferson County Colorado -- one of the 30 largest school districts in the nation? The local NEA-affiliate, Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA), was caught trying to grant graduate credit to its teachers for participating in campaign efforts on behalf of Democrats. It's certainly no surprise that the teachers' union supports Democrats, but what is surprising -- actually appalling -- is that they'd try to get graduate credit for teachers who leaflet neighborhoods with Democratic campaign literature.

The JCEA was caught red-handed by Pamela Benigno, Education Policy Center Director, at the Independence Institute in Golden. Link to them at i2i.org or phone Pam at 303-279-6536. The Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization.

According to the Institute, "Benigno has exposed a local teachers' union for making a promise it couldn't keep. The promise was academic credit for providing support to union-endorsed political candidates and issues."

The Institute issued a news release http://i2i.org/edteacherscredit.aspx-- that I've not seen picked up by my local Rocky Mountain News -- stating that the JCEA was telling its members that Adams State College in Alamosa would grant one semester hour of graduate course credit for teachers' participation in an Oct. 9 political rally and literature drop. "However, the Adams State College Board of Trustees Chair said no such agreement had been made," said Benigno.

"It's inappropriate, to say the least, that a teachers' union would offer academic credit as a way to entice teachers to promote the union's political agenda and in the process cheapen the value of academic credit," Benigno added.

On Friday Benigno sent a memo to Colorado Governor Bill Owens, Commissioner of Education William Moloney, Colorado Commission on Higher Education Executive Director Rick O'Donnell, Adams State College Board of Trustees Chair Peggy Lamm and Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Cynthia Stevenson to expose the fraud. "She urged them to take immediate steps to stop Adams State College from awarding credit for political activism," according to the Institute.

The release goes on to say that "after confirming the union's offer to its members, Trustee Lamm told Benigno that the college had never responded to the union's request. 'Adams State College never approved credit for this event, nor did we intend to,' she said."

In January of this year, I co-authored a paper with Benigno, "Should Colorado School Districts Stop Collecting Political Funds?" http://i2i.org/article.aspx?ID=963 The paper made the case that Colorado School Districts -- including the JCEA who is caught in this latest impropriety -- that publicly-funded school districts should cease using their public payroll systems to provide withholding services for teachers' union dues and fees. The Institute is continuing to look for legislative sponsors to carry a bill in the Colorado Statehouse to stop such practices.

According to the latest news release, "Benigno learned of the alleged plan to grant graduate credit for political activity from the disgruntled husband of a Jefferson County teacher. The caller said a JCEA representative had left a phone message soliciting his wife's participation in the event. The Education Policy Center's director confirmed the information directly from the JCEA before sending the memo. To fulfill the graduate credit requirements, the JCEA said teachers have to attend the political rally and distribute political literature to area voters. A JCEA representative told Benigno the total time commitment would be three to four hours.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

Response to an unbelieving friend

You posed two questions for my response:

1. How can someone support the sanctity of human life and at the same time support the use of force as a punisher of wrongdoing or as a defender of freedom?

2. Is all life equal? (You asked, "who besides humans has ever said human life is more valuable or holds more sanctity than other life?")

Before I present my arguments, let me discuss a couple of your ground rules or conditions. One, you said to "work from the assumption that we both believe God exists." I can find no common footing in this statement because you have not told me about your God. Is he a capital-G God or a small-g god? Is he creator of all things, who establishes right and wrong, good and evil? Or is he a generic, amorphous god without characteristic? Is he the creator that made man in his own image, or was he merely a watchmaker that started the universe ticking from an unformed primordial ooze? If your god is just someone or something that started everything ticking, what use is your god? You might as well call your god "nature," as the humanists and naturalists do. If your god simply made everything and then walked away, what purpose does he have today? If, on the other hand, the God we have in common is the Creator of all things, made us in His image, set man in authority over the earth and the animals and, most importantly, "has a plan a purpose for our lives" then, indeed, we have something in common or a common world view, if you will. But, I seriously doubt that I should assume we believe in the same god or share the same world view. And, absent a shared world view, most all of our logic, debate and argument will likely come to little effect as we have no basis for truth. For if there is no truth, we cannot persuade one another by rational arguments.

I must therefore violate your other condition, "do not present the Bible as literal truth because you don't believe it is." What then is the basis of truth for you? Is truth what man is able to reason in his mind? Is truth only the laws of nature (ignoring they were founded by nature's God)? Is truth what one person thinks, a collection of people think? Perhaps before I can even begin to address the questions that you posed to me - and which I reiterated at the opening of this letter - we must establish what is truth, because without truth there is no basis for rational argument.

So, your ground rules for debate leave me with little hope that you will be persuaded by my reasoning, but, I've gone this far, so let me try.

If there is no "truth" - no absolutes - that separate right from wrong and good from evil - then why shall we have this debate? If peace is no better than war, why does it matter what the most warring nation has been? If animal/insect/plant life is equal to human life, why not just let the rules of nature apply - that since man, in survival-of-the-fittest-mode, is the most able he can do whatever he wants to the other animal life and to the earth. Who's to say that killing a cat (or a human) as a ritualistic sacrifice is more or less worthy than killing a cow to eat? Why shall we have this debate if truth is relative and all viewpoints are equal?

And, if truth is not relative, then what is the basis for truth? How can truth be known? You pull the rug from under the Bible before the debate begins by stating the Bible is not true. If the bible is not true, then I again ask what is true and how do you know it's true? Is it good or bad to kill an unborn baby? Is it good or bad to kill invading insects that ruin crops? Is it good or bad to slaughter an animal for food? Is it good or bad to harness coal or wind or water to have electricity? Is it good or bad to mine the earth for oil and fossil fuels to heat homes and drive cars? How do you know? If there is no absolute standard for morals or other things, then one cannot say in a final sense that anything is right or wrong. By absolute, I mean that which always applies, that which provides a final or ultimate standard. There must be an absolute if there are to be morals or real values. If there is no absolute beyond man's own ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions. This, I am afraid - conflicting opinions - is what you and I have between us. And, it was based on these differences that I previously decided it was better not to debate with you. But, as you argued when you were in town, if we don't discuss the essential things of life we really will not have deep or close kindred relationships. But, if the beliefs continue to stand in contrast, I would rather have a brother than a debate partner. "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city." Proverbs 18:19

You say the Bible is not true, but I say that it is. I used to think that Christianity was a crutch - something to explain the unexplainable, something to prop you up when you needed a lift. Many people, I think, confuse "religion" with Christianity. "Religion" was instituted by man to commune with God, but Christianity - a belief in the life and teachings of Christ - is what God instituted to commune with his people. Religions - sects or denominations of people who tend to share similar spiritual viewpoints - have gotten off line many times over the ages. You made a claim in your note that "it's not like Christian beliefs have not changed in the last 2000 years and they will again." To which I would say that people's beliefs have changed, but God has not changed. The god of the bible is the same yesterday, today and forever - and just because man or man's religious beliefs have gotten off kilter from time to time is no reason to discount the Bible. Christianity is a relationship with God, not a relationship with a church. The truth and authority of the Bible has been the question of the ages. This debate is won in the hearts of men and women and children who freely chose to give their hearts to Christ. Until that debate is won in the heart of each man, I believe he will be incomplete, that he will suffer doubt and indecision about the purpose of life and of the existence of life ever after.

The Christian world view is the only one I have found that holds together, that is complete from beginning to end, that establishes a purpose for life and creates the groundrules to hold life together in the face of unexplainable and unspeakable tragedies and heartaches. So, it is only on this basis that I can present my arguments to you. If you dismiss the foundation of my arguments, you dismiss my argument. You have heard that Jesus is the rock, that He is the foundation - and for me he is.

Question 1: How can someone support the sanctity of human life and at the same time support the use of force as a punisher of wrongdoing or as a defender of freedom?
To answer the question, I will assume there is right and wrong and good and bad. (Sadly not all even agree to this anymore).

Is human life sacred? Yes.
Why? We are created in God's image and it is his desire that all men should come to know him in a personal way.

Then how can man ever be justified to kill another man? Because, at the same time that the Bible teaches Thou Shalt Not Kill, it also teaches justice and the establishment of governments to carry out justice. The actual translation of the sixth commandment in Exodus 20 is Thou Shalt Not Murder. Is killing justifiable as a punishment for murder? Yes. Someone who murders has broken the law and in a lawful land should and will face punishment for that murder. Is the death penalty the appropriate punishment, we can debate that another time. As laid out in scripture, government has the god-ordained responsibility to protect the innocent, reward good and punish evil. Does every government do this flawlessly? No, and when they do not, it is the responsibility of the people to reform the government. And if the government cannot be reformed, it sometimes (as in the birth of America) is the responsibility of good men to revolt and to establish a new and better government.

Is government ever justified then to go to war to protect its people and the freedoms of its people? Of course. Does this mean all wars are just. Of course not? But, at least in the U.S. - as opposed to the Taliban or Nazi Germany - we have a form of government that allows us to elect our leaders, to chose the people we want to lead us - and we have the constitutional protections to get rid of those leaders if it is warranted. Is the U.S. the most warring nation ever? Perhaps? Is the U.S. the worst nation ever? Far from it. People still flock to America as a beacon of freedom.

Can human life have sanctity and there still be justification for killing in defense or in punishment? You bet.

2. Is all life equal? No.
Only man is made in God's image. Only man was given authority "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. ...And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over it. I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky; and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given."

Now, if you disagree with this evidence that life is not equal, then let's look at the natural evidence. Is any animal, insect or plant life equal to man in what they have been able to establish since creation? Do lions not still hunt for food and kill other animals? Have any animals cultivated crops, engineered buildings, given donations for the poor, built hospitals for the sick (don't many animals just eat their wounded?) If you aim to tell me that all life is equal, please be prepared to provide the evidence of that equality.

As it appears our correspondence may be marked by lags in time, if you will refresh the dialogue (as I attempted to do today) I will be better able to follow the argument. If we can stick to the two questions you raised - perhaps you could provide rebuttal to my positions - that would be good. But, if like me, you feel compelled to address other portions of my statements, I would ask that you address the questions I raised: Is there absolute truth and how do you know? Is your god the creator and what purpose does this god give for your life?

Please let us end this debate at any future point that it could begin to diminish, rather than improve, our relationship. I am after far more than intellectual understanding in this exchange. I think you and I understand each other full well. And if our understanding of each other's positions just drives us further apart, I want no part of the debate. My desire is to draw us together - not intellectually - but in our hearts.

With love...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

What's wrong with CBS "thanking" supporters?

What's wrong with CBS News "thanking" e-mailers for support of Dan Rather's story on Bush's National Guard service?

Today the KerrySpot http://www.nationalreview.com/kerry/kerryspot.asp reports:

"The Bush critics are e-mailing CBS, saying 'good job, what courage' on this story. According to multiple posters at the liberal chat site DemocraticUnderground.com, the network's response to the positive emails is:

"Dear [e-mailer],
Thank you for taking the time to write. Your support is appreciated. As you can imagine, we've been inundated with negative emails. It's refreshing to hear from a viewer such as yourself. We strive for the highest level of journalistic integrity and will continue to do so, no matter what the cost. A free society demands free, unmuzzled media expression."

"CBS Evening News"

What's wrong with this official correspondence from CBS? These people aren't writing in about an entertainment show -- about some sitcom they liked -- they are writing about news -- about something to which there is objective truth! If CBS was concerned with the objective truth of the documents they relied on for their report, they wouldn't be thanking people for their support of an attack on President Bush -- while failing to thank others for their interest in the truth.

Since the scandal broke a week ago, I've personally accessed the CBS website twice and sent e-mails telling them to end the charade and fess up that the documents are fraudulent. Guess what? I didn't get any e-mail back from CBS thanking me for my interest in journalistic integrity.

What else is wrong with CBS above reply to "supporters." How can CBS possibly proclaim, "We strive for the highest level of journalistic integrity and will continue to do so." If CBS cares at all about journalistic integrity, they would be joining in exposing the truth that the documents are frauds, propped up by the network's own attempt to legitimatize them with dubious experts who are backing away from CBS faster than rats leaving a sinking ship. With lame defenses like, "the documents must be true because the president hasn't disavowed them," how can they possibly claim they care about journalistic integrity? John Kerry has not disavowed the claims of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth -- but I doubt that CBS interprets that to mean the veteran's claims must be true. Hardly.

CBS rightly closes its "thank you note," with a truism: "A free society demands free, unmuzzled media expression." CBS just learned this lesson bigtime as the unmuzzled and unwashed (pajama-clad) bloggers gave the big boys a spanking in what it means to truly have free media expression -- media expression not tainted with bias of the Big Media.

I'm still waiting for my "thank you note" from CBS -- thanking me that I cared enough to write because I don't want people misled by irresponsible reporting. I don't expect my thank you ever will come. Rather's retirement would be thanks enough for me.