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flag“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend” ~ Thomas Jefferson

The mission statement for my blog is “the faith, love and politics of raising boys to men.”   I’ve talked about bullyingbelief intimidation,  and the demonization of our young men. This isn’t a political post so much as it is about teaching my sons to stand up for what they believe in an environment that increasingly tries to silence their voices. Today, I want to talk about not just the dangers of silencing our beliefs (not just political but our faith-in-God beliefs), but silencing our beliefs due to oppression and suppression, and yes, how that looks in an election climate.

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” ~ Thomas Jefferson.

A young college student stood at the back of the crowd, talking to some friends a few nights ago. Coolness wafted through a wall of humidity just before a storm front came through. A band played a set of Merle Haggard favorites in our small town amphitheater.

Some children danced with luminescents, grandparents, parents, young mothers and fathers sat in their folding chairs just enjoying a summer evening. It was a sweet evening in America.

The young man, though,  kept pulling his grey Indian-cotton short sleeved shirt close, as if to hide his t-shirt. I was standing, fidgeting. Maybe if I’d been snuggled down into those comfy sports chairs, I might not have noticed his t-shirt. But I did – and it looked like a Trump-for-President t-shirt.

It saddened me that he was trying to hide it.

As we turned to leave, I stepped a few feet closer and asked about his Trump-for President t-shirt – congratulating him on wearing it. I thought courage should be encouraged.

He said, “Yeah – it’s a Trump  for President t-shirt, but I’m wearing this shirt over it because I don’t want to incite anything.”

I told him about the t-shirt one of my sons gave me for my birthday and about how I was concerned to wear it out, even grocery shopping – concerned even to put a sign in my yard.

He said he had a magnetic Trump-for-President bumper sticker for his car because he was a student at the college. Magnetic, so he could take it off because he didn’t want anyone damaging his vehicle because of his presidential choice. I imagine he also didn’t want his college GPA negatively affected, either.

We talked for a few more minutes – and I left, saddened for both of us. Saddened about the fear and cost of freedom of expression and speech, even in our small town.

This fear-inspired hiding of a t-shirt is the result of A Little Tyranny. A Little Tyranny is made up of little persecutions, like a scratch on your car, a lower grade, intellectual condescension in the form of patronizing disdain, name calling, all of which is in contrast to A Big Tyranny, which negatively affects physical safety, the ability to keep ones job because of different points of view over constitutional beliefs, and ultimately, individual freedom. Little Tyrannies risk growing into Big Tyrannies.

Tyranny has trickled down to small-town America – and it is sad. It is sad that an American boy about to vote in his first presidential election feels the need for caution – caution, not because these beliefs do not belong or deserve to be broadcast, a caution developed from reading about, watching those who have acted nation-wide to shut down through fists, blocking streets, venues, shouting down speech to close down the freedom to gather peacefully for an exchange of ideas, for an exchange of speech, for an exchange of freedom they might not agree with.

Our revolutionary forefathers fought battles so its sons and daughters wouldn’t experience this. The greatest generation gave up much of themselves so its sons and daughters wouldn’t experience this.

Tyranny is an exercise of power over others with a rigor not authorized by law or justice. It is associated with cruelty and oppression. It can be harsh, unjustly cruel, oppressive. It seeks to take away the voice, the beliefs . . . the rights of each citizen.

Followers of tyranny use tactics of intimidation, physical and intellectual bullying, oppression and violence to silence opinions different from their own. It does not scoot over to make room for anyone thinking differently.

The enabling of tyranny is evident in the “safe spaces” created for college students because different opinions scare them. This type of intellectual enabling of students, a type of encouraged self-imprisonment, atrophies intellectual development, resulting in a myopic understanding of the world, their country, their state and even their neighbors. If differing opinions can’t be faced, how can students and citizens understand the objective history of differing opinions, why people have those differing opinions, why differing opinions existing together provide a healthy environment where freedom grows. If students and citizens don’t understand, then they cannot respect differences – and if differences cannot be respected, intolerance develops. Intolerance then leads to tyranny.

 “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Followers of tyranny make no room for opposition. Those followers will shut it down any way they can – and when an existing government fails to protect the freedoms like those in our Constitution, then the environment will have been created out of which will grow persecuting intolerance – like Mao’s intolerance, Stalin’s intolerance, Hitler’s intolerance, Castro’s intolerance – all who imprisoned, tortured and eradicated millions and millions of people who didn’t agree.

I’ve always told my sons – and my college students, you need three reasons to believe something. In this election season, I have my three reasons for why I’m voting for Donald Trump.

  1. Non-persecuted Christianity can only exist under the umbrella of Capitalism. The umbrella of socialism/communism makes no room for Christianity. Where freedom for Capitalism exists, freedom for non-persecuted Christianity exists.
  2. Trump’s daughter is Jewish, and as such, will support Israel. “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). I also believe that God has a history of using unlikely men to lead his people out of oppression into a fully redeemed relationship with him (read Judges).
  3. Trumps supporters/followers don’t resort to tyranny in order to shut down the freedom to express differing opinions. If a candidate’s followers make no room in a political debate for differing opinions, most likely that candidate will make no room, if elected, for ideological, religious or personal differences either – and what was once individual bullying will become government-endorsed bullying to ensure differing opinions won’t exist to challenge their use of power.

“If men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter” ~George Washington, first U.S. president

The America I know does not persecute its citizens into silence. The America I know does not persecute its people into hiding their beliefs. The America I know was created so that no one would ever need to build priest holes to hide their religious leaders or freedom fighters.

“Let us not give up in freedom what we would never give up  in persecution” ~ Nik Ripkin, The Insanity of God

Tyranny in a free country gives birth to government sanctioned persecution that seeks to silence differing opinions permanently.

My father-in-law used to say, “I can’t hear what you’re saying over what your actions are telling me.”

If you can tell much about a man by whom he surrounds himself, then surely you can tell much about a political candidate by who his followers are. If one man’s followers seek to shut down another person’s beliefs through fists, destruction and bullying, and the second man’s followers don’t persecute those who believe differently, though they disagree, I would choose the second man every time. The second man will uphold life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

 “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved,” ~ Father Benjamin Franklin

 

 

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tomatoes_edited-1“Open up, heavens, and rain.
    Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness!
Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation;
    sprout right living.
    I, God, generate all this.
But doom to you who fight your Maker—
    you’re a pot at odds with the potter!
Does clay talk back to the potter:
    ‘What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!’
Would a sperm say to a father,
    ‘Who gave you permission to use me to make a baby?’
Or a fetus to a mother,
    ‘Why have you cooped me up in this belly?’” (Isaiah 45:8-10)

It’s raining, a long, summer-morning slow-drench kind-of-rain. Thunder cracks and rumbles to the north. Soothing quiet, except for the soft pat-a-tat of rain against the windows, and the noise like a rushing wind, only it’s the soft percussion of rain against pear tree leaves, maple leaves, cherry tree leaves.

The rain, it refreshes my soul. When it’s not raining, I miss the snow – because life slows down, the rush is sifted out of the schedule, leaving the good stuff like my husband and boys, friends piling in, crock-pot promises and something in the oven that needs a chocolate ganache – and stillness.

Right now, though, I need to savor the green of garden tomatoes and chard, cucumbers, corn and fresh onions, a bacon and tomato sandwich, my summer gazpacho, to savor the drowsy wake up of boys working summer jobs for gas money, movies and responsibility to savor the long walks at sunsets with my golden retriever wanting to make friends with road-side frogs.

Even in the midst of a world gone up-side down, God pours blessings like rain over tomato vines . . . . That’s the hard part, though: a world gone-up-side down. A world where babies. lives are bartered for cash over lunch, part by part – as if standing at the butcher counter haggling over parts and costs – yet, it’s  not cow liver and pigs toes the bartering is about; the bartering and haggling are over babies designed by God.

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government” (Thomas Jefferson).

How is this government-sanctioned murder any different than Hitler systematically murdering the Jewish people? The only difference is that Hitler confiscated the financial riches of a grown-up population, and our government sells the organs and limbs of the most dependent and powerless of humanity – so powerless that government took away its rights before it hat the chance to take one breath in order to cry out for help.

This horrific act is so diametrically opposed to the purpose and foundation of our country, a country beckons the helpless:

“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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
(Emma Lazarus, Statue of Liberty, “Collossus”)

Don’t unborn babies yearn to breathe free, too? Isn’t freedom and liberty – and all its promises of being created equal – aren’t these promises for unborn babies, too? Don’t unborn babies deserve our protection from such hideous violations to their bodies?

Lila Terhune in her book Cross Pollination pointed out that before every great move of God, babies were murdered en masse – before the children of Israel were delivered from slavery, before Israel and the world were delivered from the law into grace.

There’s a disquiet in my soul at the terrible wrong being done – and in the soft pour of the rain, in the quiet of my home, with all my boys – and all their organs and limbs in-tact – there’s the faint sound of the drum-beat of heaven preparing for battle. Can you feel it, deep inside?. . . to where you can almost hear it?

Praying today that the hands that guide the transducers probes in these abortion clinics hear that drum-beat of heaven along-side the heart-beat of God’s children in the womb. I pray their hands shake in fear of an angry Father-God over those who harm a single hair on the head of any of his children. This, after-all, isn’t a powerless Father – He is the God-of-Angel-Armies.

I pray that the Holy Spirit enter these rooms and change hearts so that these little hearts and souls will fulfill God’s designed plan for their lives – so the little heart in the womb will one day sit in a home watching a summer rain fall over their tomatoes, savor the taste of a bacon and tomato sandwich, while little arms of their own children wrap around them for protection in the rumble and thunder of a summer storm, take walks under a moon that resembles the curve of a raccoon’s whisker, confident that his or her country protects the weak in an America stands for and with God to protect all His children.

I pray, too, that God shows me how to help this happen.

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Thanksgiving – so much more than a turkey!

There is so much more to Thanksgiving than the turkey, the football – even the family gathered around the table. Thanksgiving is about recognizing the roots from which America grew. Not just the patriotic, freedom-fighting roots – though they are as inherently necessary to recognize. It is the faith seed carried over the ocean in uncomfortable, danger-laden ships, planted in soil with hungry cold hands because of a vision of living God faith uninhibited by political agenda.

“The Lord is the Help of My Life”  – William Bradford

The first Pilgrims came to American so they could worship The God of Abraham, read The Gospel of Love and  experience the second Baptism without being drowned in a wine barrel, be burned alive boarded up in your own home, or have your entrails slowly pulled out of you in the town square as government officials attempted to turn you away from practicing your faith in the way you chose. At that time, the government determined how you practiced your faith – and if you disagreed, well, the government became disagreeable.

They came to America to be able to speak God’s name in the town square in the court house, on the public streets, in the school houses – to live and voice their belief without fear of persecution.

That faith seed would grow roots that would reach into our constitution: Article 1:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

(As a matter of fact, public schools were created to teach children to read so they could read the bible)

In America, these early Plymouth settlers discovered the rationing of socialism and the plenty of capitalism through the work of their own hands – not their neighbors. They broke the glass ceiling of class restriction – like the cranberries we eat on Thanksgiving that float to the top in the harvest when water rushes through the cranberry fields, so does hard work, effort, talent – all based on individual gumption – not religion, not class, not government.

“He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream”

Today, the Thanksgiving Holiday is full of irony – a House and Senate have left Washington D.C. to celebrate a holiday founded on the success of Capitalism and faith in God, yet daily they work to strip God out of the very places Pilgrims sought to freely worship their God – the city streets, the court houses, the schools – they wanted God in every part of their lives, their community, and their government.

Some leadership have gone so far today as to remove a cross from outside a base chapel in Afghanistan .  This symbol of faith and hope sustains many of our military soldiers protecting not only us but these leaders.

Just like the flag bearers of old gave the hope, the courage to fight on in difficult situations to their the military men it represented, so too does the symbol of our faith. When these flag bearers fell, so too did the fighting soldiers’ morale, hope and survival statistics. These soldiers live in casualty-real situations, putting their life on the life for an America created and built with hands seeking God.

Yet daily, these government officials attempt to strip the foundations of Capitalism and reduce Americans to the once starving, frustrated, dying, struggling Pilgrims who started out in socialism – who died in socialism – hungry and frustrated.  Until the American Spirit at Plymouth through a capitalist contract  replaced the socialist creed to break the bonds of servitude unleashing individual potential resulting in the American Dream.

While Socialism binds the hands of flourishing enterprise, smothers the seeds of creativity from which inventions spring, and suffocates the very breath of freedom, Capitalism frees the hands of enterprise, allows individual creativity the independence to invent, and  gives freedom breath to speak without recourse.

How ironic that today our government officials celebrate an event so diametrically opposed to their actions. How ironic is it that protestors are calling for a return to the socialism that brought Plymouth settler’s to their knees.

How sad that they celebrate Thanksgiving while chopping at the root of its very creation.

These people calling themselves the 99% are missing a very important factor. A missionary man preached at our church a few weeks ago. He asked, “Do you have an in-door toilet? Do you have running water? Do you have electricity?. . . .If you do, you are in the top 10% of the world.”

Yes, the 99% are in the top 10% of the world.

The top 10% because of faith in God and capitalism.

William Bradford’s biography is sitting on my desk right now.  My sons know the history of our country, but not through classroom textbooks because the full, real history of the birth of our country not taught. Because God is not allowed in the story telling in today’s public school classroom.

Today as you thank God for His blessings, as you pull your family close, spend additional time discussing the start of our country, how we became that top 10%, what enabled us to achieve clean water, medicines that heal and prevent, homes with so much comfort, electricity and internet, a washer and dryer, an abundance of food to keep and share.

And pray for those soldiers whose crosses are being pulled down, who are fighting to keep America safe, to keep America free, to keep God in America.

Graft you, your family to the deep root of faith from which America grew.

~ Written, Thanksgiving 2010
~Revised, Thanksgiving 2011
~Revised again, Thanksgiving 2012

Other related posts:

Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting Tebowing and other such Religious Behavior

Words Make a Difference

The 10 Cannots of Freedom

To Save a City

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Note: The Robin Hood part was written in early July during my surgery convalescence when I had the opportunity to watch movies, i.e. Robin Hood – all versions, but especially my favorite. I kept wondering what God wanted me to do with it and today He let me know. This post lines up with my mission statement: The Faith, Love and Politics of Raising Boys to Men.

I also realize this is an unusually long post but it is my birthday week – where I turn 5 decades or 2 score and 10 years – and, while that is really a mighty selfish-excuse to torture such a lovely community with a Moby Dick-esque Tome of a Post, I’m taking full advantage of officially becoming old as dirt!!!! LOL

In the Beginning

Once upon a time, which is always a very long, long time ago, a loving Father created a Garden of Eden for the children He created. There was to be no king, no ruler, no dictator, president, no master, no slave – just a Father-child relationship – whether that child was itty bitty or grown fully.

The Father loved these children, making himself garments of skin for them out of the animals he created, feeding them sweet fruits he designed, allowing their creativity to grow through loving, generous acts of freedom like allowing them to name the animals. Can you imagine how your child would name the animals? I’ve often wondered how Adam and Eve grew to speak – one word at a time? Or did the Father pour language into them?

Many, many years later, He sat with one of the descendants of Adam and Even and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. . . so shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5).

One mother and father at a time, those offspring grew to be countless like the stars in the heavens. God no longer sat with them in their tents so much or out under the stars. These children’s children grew more like the world, sometimes forgetting the Father only to remember when times toughened.

Conflict Rising: And the Trouble Starts

Until one day, they decided they wanted a king. Other peoples had kings – and, well, the decided they wanted one, too. So they sought out the prophet because they were kind of scared of the Father in those times and begged the prophet to ask God to set a king over them.

“So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you:

  • he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.  
  • And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
  • He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.  
  • He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants.
  •  He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants.  
  • He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work.  
  • He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.
  • And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day” (1 Samuel 8:10-18)

Hope in the Rising Conflict

God found a good man, the best man, filled him with His Holy Spirit, allowing Saul to become more than he was – what every man had the opportunity to be with God and the Holy Spirit – but everyman didn’t want that

“Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man”(1 Samuel 10:6)

“When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart” (1 Samuel 10: 9) – something the Father was willing to do for every child of His – but only one man was willing to allow his brokenness to be made whole.

“Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord” (1 Samuel 10:25)

In this book were written things like this:

“When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel” (Deuteronomy 18: 18-20)

Learning Lessons the Hard Way
(Why you Don’t Want Someone Between You and God)

Through many hundreds of years later, many kings later – the children and children’s children met with good, noble, Godly leaders and ignoble, oppressive, cruel, selfish, ungodly leaders.

The Father, He would send Heroes to save His children from the yoke of oppressive leaders – especially when those children remembered Him, crying out to be saved. How many learned to cry out because their children were suffering? How that changes our view of our need for the Father!

God knew a King wouldn’t nurture or love His children like He would. God knew the  potential for abuse – for leaders to set aside His laws and install tyranny.

He knew.

Power in the hands of man risks becoming political – and when one rules to increase power, the freedom of the regular man, the every day man, the child of God becomes smaller.

That day so long ago when the Children of Israel cried out for a King – they handed over their freedom that day, trusting a man with all his potential for strengths and weakness, to rule selflessly like the Father.

When America was born out of religious persecution, when the freedom spirit inside man remembered itself, placed their by God in creation– and cried out to throw the yoke of tyranny from its back –

  • checks and balances were put in place to ensure that no man became king, that no man would wrestle away the freedom of their faith,
  • That no man’s family could be carried off into slavery – a goal we started with and ultimately achieved.
  • That no man’s work of his hands could be confiscated for another’s coffers.
  • That no man would die for worshipping the father.
  • That no government would force its citizens into immorality (think of how America handled Alvin C York’s right to be a conscientious objector)

The Declaration of Independence was born out of men seeking God’s kind of Freedom, taking out the middle man (the King) to live face-to-face with the Father.

The Part with the Robin Hood
(i.e. the Freedom Fighter, the one who takes out the middle man)

Watching Robin Hood last month with Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland was a similar thread woven into the history of kingship and rulers, whether historically, through fairy tales, legends, fables or myths, men stand up to abusive governments and rulers who encroach on God-given inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Robin Hood: “I’ll organize revolt, exact a death for a death, and I’ll never rest until every Saxon in this shire can stand up free men and strike a blow for Richard and England.”

Sheriff: You think you’re overtaxed, eh?

Robin: Overtaxed, overworked, and paid off with a knife, a club, or a rope.

Marian: Why, you speak treason.

Robin: Fluently”(Robin Hood, with Errol Flynn)

Watching Robin Hood that night, I thought of the challenges our country faces today, the history of the power of leadership since Saul was anointed – and how fraught that kind of leadership is without men willing to stand up to ensure that leadership stays noble, true and loving each person like the Father intended.

I’ve always heard, “Robin Hood – he steals from the rich to give to the poor.”

This definition of Robin Hood grates on me.

Because it is not true.

Robin Hood stood for Freedom against Tyranny, much like the Sons of Freedom did during the American Revolution.

The working class in Robin Hood’s day, the baker, the butcher, the blacksmith, the farmer, the tradesman were over-burdened with taxes confiscated brutally by a government that sought more and more of their earnings. If they couldn’t pay their taxes, they burnt their houses or confiscated their property, tortured the poor citizen and his family, possibly even hanging, burning or stuffing in a barrel, sealing it and filling it with wine so victim drowned.

Robin Hood, like the Sons of Liberty, fought to remove the government’s taxational foot off the producing neck of the people.

Robin sought to restore to the people their livelihood, their productivity, the ability to provide for their families, the ability to control their own destiny through a healthy work ethic spirit-fed with faith and honor to the Father.

Robin Hood stole from an over-reaching government to return to the working class what was rightfully theirs.

I think Robin Hood was a small-government kind of guy . . . . which was what God intended in the first place.

Restoration takes Work

I think God knew good leadership would require vigilance on the part of the people. We were not created for oppressive leadership. We were not created for big government. As I have said many times before, there is no generosity of spirit without choice.

jpreziosi created this with a Blue Cotton Memory quote in 2009

God designed us to choose to feed the beggar, to help the widow, the sick, the homeless, the lost.

When we give the best of our work to God, and then give the best of the work of our hands to those in need, then we remain in charge of the morality of our hearts.

When we rely on a government to collect the work of our hands to give to those in need, then the government makes those moral decisions for us.

Do you feel comfortable with the decisions and choices your government is making today in your name? Do those expenditures and rules line up with your beliefs – because your name is on that signature.

Robin Hood lost all in his quest for restoring right. He stood up to his community leaders and fought for those who could not fight for themselves.

Just like Paul Revere, George Washington, the Sons of Liberty, the signers of the Constitution.

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security” (Declaration of Independence).

Some historians believe that George Washington leading the American people to freedom was similar to Moses leading the children of Israel out of slavery. Many years later, those very same people would cry out for a King (i.e. big government to come between them and God)

Let us not repeat history and cry out for a King (i.e. big government) to take care of us.

There have been lots of heroes throughout history, a king called David, soldiers who fought to save the innocent – and the greatest hero of all, Jesus Christ.

“Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away”(Matthew 22:17-22)

Let us be a country who from the littlest person to the biggest renders all the God – from our hearts, to our pockets to what is in those pockets, to our time, to the work of our hands, to how we minister to the hurting, hopeless and hungry.

Let us be a country of  people living face-to-face with God, not a go-between, not a government.

Let us be a people sitting outside our homes, counting the stars with the Father, one-on-one – just the way He intended.

The End
(Or is it really the beginning)

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A few weeks ago, I posted an article, Congress Shall Make No Law Concerning Tebowing and Other Religious Freedoms. I decided a little grammar lesson would help clarify one section: defining 2 prepositions. Who would ever think prepositions could really make a powerful difference – yet they do.

A preposition can go through a law, above a law, below a law, with a law, behind a law, against a law, around a law, opposite a law, outside a law – just like our judicial system.

NPR recently did a piece on Tim Tebow. One commenter said our country ought to have “Freedom from Religion.”  Another suggested he should be penalized 15 yards for making unbelievers uncomfortable – that football should be a “religi-osity”-free zone.

Freedom of Religion: of used as “an act of determining; “to fix conclusively or authoritatively(Merriam Webster)”; “Hence of is the sign of the genitive case, the case that denotes production; proceeding out of, and a derivative sense denoting possession or property”(1828 Noah Webster Dictionary).

Freedom from Religion: from used as a function word to indicate physical separation or an act or condition of removal, abstention, exclusion, release, subtraction, or differentiation.

Words make a difference.

Freedom from Religion, that is not what our Constitution says – and words have meaning, legal meaning. The U.S. Constitution is a Contract with U.S. people.

Whoever said grammar was boring didn’t understand the games that could be played with it – or the freedoms that could be lost by not grasping the depth and breadth of each word’s legal power – even in a seemingly silly little preposition.

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The story about the US Airport Security forcing a 4-year-old disabled boy to not only remove his leg braces, but forced him to walk through the metal detector sent chills down my spine.

He had leg braces because he could not walk, yet these security officers empowered by our government said, “No walk. No Disney.”

The furious parent demanded to see a supervisor. The supervisor did not see anything wrong with the situation – and, this really burns me up. When the father said he would file a report, the supervisors just turned and walk away.

Just imagine what a health care industry empowered by government employees will be like! No heart for our children.  No heart for us. No Accountability for decisions. Just turning and walking away.

Gee, if the Canadian Prime Minister abandons the highly touted social medical system of his country to come to ours for heart surgery, what does that say the medical care provided in the United States?

Do we truly want a socialist system that does not provide the quality medical care our country does?  Is that the change President Obama promised? Good for failing?  The UK socialist medical system is struggling according to London news site The Independent: ” the hospital’s management was pre-occupied with cost-cutting and meeting crude targets set by Whitehall. But so too, it would seem, were the regulators. The trust appears to have been judged on the quality of its balance sheet rather than the quality of care offered to patients”(The Real Lessons of the NHS Disaster, 02/25/2010). Costing cutting care is not the answer.  I suggest cost-cutting the government.

Government needs to keep its meddlesome fingers out of my carbon emissions (right to exhale), my auto industry (I’ll never by another Chrysler – I’ll only buy Capitalistic Vehicles), the NFL, MLB, the wonderful mothers-day out programs my children attended – and most especially, the amazing health care system that has people literally dying to come here so they don’t die.

I never want to see someone, through sheer government empowered I-don’t-care-if-the-choices-and-my-behavior-are-wrong treat my child callously and then in my earnest appeal for right, turn their back on my argument and walk away.  Because they do not have to answer.  They are the long hand of the government. And you cannot sue the government.

 

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The media snarkiness irritates me, especially when it is condescending snarkiness is about something I just might do.  Like actually believe the Bible to be true, pray for answers, or. . . write notes on the palm of my hand.

When Sarah Palin wrote her talking points on her palm, and the media snarked her, well, they snarked me, too.

My talking points for a college class ended up on my palm one time.  I had forgotten my notes.  No paper left me with one choice – my palm – the solution to my dilemma.

Who would you rather have leading the country? A quick-thinking, can-do person who has the confidence to go out in front of a group of people and talk with knowledge and passion with a few organizational prompts on their palm or someone who reads what they  have to say from a teleprompter?

I spent years teaching college composition with an oral presentation requirement. Reading a speech earned a significantly lower grade. We talked about poor speech habits, like “Uuuuhhhh” – and discussed the need to eliminate them, though it did not lower the grade.  It was a freshman class after all.

However, on the national stage, we have a president who reads a speech written by other people from a teleprompter and former governor who motivates groups across America utilizing only 4 to 5 organizational keywords on her palm. And the media disses the governor?

The 21st century media is no Thomas Payne.  The President is no George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. And I am intrigued that a woman is the only one man enough to go out and speak to the American people without a computer telling her what to say.

This political season has provided wonderful opportunities for teaching my sons about the United States government- capitalism versus socialism, the pitfalls of compromise, the 3 branches of government, the constitutionally defined role of the president, the importance of reading contracts that bear financial responsibility, small government versus big government, the rules apply to us so pay your taxes, and no not all government officials have affairs.

Yet, recently, we’ve been left to explain why a president needs a teleprompter to talk to people in an elementary school, why it is not o.k. to say, “uuhhhh” repetitively when you’re talking to people (because your oral presentation teacher will dock your grade), and the importance of being respected in your career field of choice through expertise, dexterity, knowledge of that field’s subject matter.

Sadly, the president is not helping. “Gee, mom, I don’t have to do that stuff. I’ll just be president,” is something I live in fear of hearing on a daily basis.

However, I love it that there is someone out there who is faithful to their husband, chooses life, has common sense answers (at least common sense in my little ol’ corner of the world), and only needs keywords to talk for a long period of time over what she believes in. It sounds like she can talk the talk because she is walking it, too.

My boys?  They better grow up able to talk the walk.  Talking the teleprompter won’t get them anywhere down here in real America.

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