16 December 2013

History, and Being Doomed and All That

Most everybody knows the saying I've alluded to in my title. I believe the saying to be inherently true, and not just in terms of repeating your history CLASS, but repeating the negative lessons of history itself.

It was Chesterton, I think, who said something like, "The wit of man in insufficient to invent a new heresy." I'm not positive my wording is exact, or even that someone other than G. K. said it originally, but either way, I love the saying because it seems to incorporate truth in a very consistent manner.

If we look around at all the various weird religions, pseudo-Christian cults, and spiritualities that are around today, it seems all of them (that I've found) have a strong parallel, if not are an exact duplication, of a heresy from the first five (or so) centuries of the church.

So, with all that in mind, I constantly push my Sunday School class along with anyone else who will listen to be well-versed in the history of the Christian Church, especially where it concerns aberrant teachings. Tim Challies has started what promises to be a very useful series on the seven great church councils on his blog. The first post can be found here. I sincerely hope many will read these posts, and they will be helpful in the edification of the church.

Obviously, we as Christians should have a good command of the Bible, and the Bible should be the primary locus of our study. But one of the ways of correctly understanding the Bible is to know and understand way it has been misinterpreted in history. These posts will give a good non-seminary-level overview of these misinterpretations.

May I suggest a few good books that I've used on this topic as well (each title is a link to the book on Amazon.com):

   1. Heresies, by H. Brown
   2. Heresy, by A. McGrath
   3. Turning Points (first four chapters) by M. Noll
   4. Historical Theology, by G. Bromiley
   5. Historical Theology, by G. Allison
   6. Historical Theology, by A. McGrath

08 November 2013

The Evangelical Resistance to Obamacare in a Nutshell

I've seen some new debate in the blogosphere on whether or not the evangelical resistance to Obamacare is legitimate or not, prompted mostly by a quote from 'out there' theologian N. T. Wright.

Wright got some immediate pushback, and rightly so. But even then, those pushing back got pushed themselves, and the debate seemed to get muddier. What is missing is a concise explanation of why evangelicals must oppose Obamacare, single-payer healthcare, and any other related scheme the left (or the right) might come up with that puts the government in charge of healthcare.

Pay attention here...this is going to be quick, and I don't want you to miss this-

Nationalized health care and freedom of religion, speech, etc., CANNOT both exist at the same time and in the same relationship.

Why not? Think about it in simple, logical terms rather than convoluted social arguments. Health care is directly related to health, and health is a direct consequence (among some other things) of behavior.  Religion is directly related to religious beliefs, and religious beliefs have the direct consequence of influencing behavior.

In a theocracy, there is no religious freedom because behavior (outward expression of religious belief) is restricted to the religion that is in charge. In a democracy, religious freedom can exist as long as the government is tolerant of various expressions of religious belief via behavior (what people say, do, etc.). But when the democracy adopts nationalized health care, it assumes authority over certain behaviors, and when these behaviors conflict with the best interests of the government, they are subdued or prohibited. These might include religious speech, such as opposition to certain medical procedures; they might include domestic behaviors such as keeping and bearing arms; or they might include social behaviors, such as disapproval of certain lifestyle behaviors (like for example, not wanting to photograph a wedding).

Some will make all kinds of logical-acrobatic arguments about these things, but they all boil down to the simple fact that when a government becomes the arbiter of behaviors associated with health care, they necessarily become the established religious authority in the nation. No loop-holing will change that fact.

07 November 2013

The Rub of the False Mega-Church Pastor

Recently, there's been a dust-up over a mega-church pastor in Charlotte and his new mansion. The reporting has been kinder than one might expect, which says a few things I won't go into here.

Being a mega-church pastor, aside from the spiritual implications, is not a bad gig. You can make a ton of money and you don't have to work very hard. Granted: there are spiritual implications, but from a completely secular, pragmatic point of view, its a nice way to earn a living.

But there's a problem that I haven't seen discussed yet. It is not simply that one can choose to be a mega-church pastor, and go open a mega-church. You see, almost all of these folks have built their church from the ground up. In other words, not just any Tom, Dick, or Steven can be a mega-church pastor. One needs to be gifted. (I didn't say talented. More on that shortly.)

So what's the problem? Aren't NFL athletes gifted, and that's why they make a bunch of money? Well, yes. But don't forget about all the hard work they have to do to take advantage of that gift and the additional hard work to stay at the top of their game. And I suppose you could argue that some of these mega-church pastors work hard too, as performers, as stand-up comedians, and so on. But let's get back to the gifted part. Where do you suppose that gift comes from?

Do you think there are any additional spiritual implications for those who are gifted at that level and choose to take advantage of the gift in a secular (that is, financial) way? Joyce Meyer is a gifted speaker. Creflo Dollar is a charismatic personality (no pun intended...really). Kenneth Hagin was a convincing preacher. All these have used their gifts for personal financial gain well beyond just about anyone's definition of 'paying the worker their wages'. There's even a new TV series about a certain group of these folks. (Disclaimer: I haven't watched an episode, and likely won't.)

Kinda makes me nervous. Shouldn't it?

22 October 2013

Settled Science?

So evolution is settled science, the experts all (publically, at least) say.

Well, if so, there's a slight problem. All that 'settled science' is about to need a re-write, again.

This story of a find in Georgia (the one South of Russia, not East of Alabama) is the enzyme in the reaction.  This is going to be interesting.

Celebrity or Servant?

I don't like publishing a blog article that is in content basically just a link. But this post by Jared Moore was too good to pass up.

I could re-list his points here, but I can't say it any better than he has, so I'll just redirect you to his page.

02 October 2013

Ever Been Up a &$!# Creek?

Well, I hadn't either, until Monday.

I looked out my office window at about 10am on Monday, and saw what looked like a water line break in my parking lot. But there was more.  The water didn't look real clean.

Turns out, the restaurant next door was having some plumbing problems with their bathrooms, so they called a local plumber. The local plumber (unnamed, to protect the guilty) pulled the cleanout plug for the line, which is in my parking lot, and started pumping raw sewage into my lot. He pumped at least 700 gallons of raw sewage, most of it solid waste, onto my lot, which then ran down the slope in front of the Enterprise Rent-a-Car location and into the access road for I-27.

I went outside and (hand over nose) asked the plumber what he planned to do about the mess, and he basically said it wasn't a big deal, he would clean it up, but he was going to lunch.

I then learned that sometimes government can be your friend. I called the city Health Department. It was only about five minutes after the HD inspector got off the phone with the plumber's headquarters that haz-mat cleanup vehicles started arriving. One giant vacuum sweeper and one trailer full of chlorine disinfectant later, all is back in order.

But next time someone refers to that proverbial creek, I'll be able to give them some details on the experience.

20 September 2013

Is There Increasing Turmoil In the Darwinist Camp?

On his blog today, Tim Challies posted a blurb about the success of a recent book by apologist Stephen Meyer. One of the commenters posted a comment about how much turmoil there is in Darwinist camps, "...as it is increasingly recognized how flawed their theory is."

Is there increasing recognition of flaws in Darwinism? The short answer is, no.

Is there increasing turmoil in Darwinist camps because of this recognition? Well, obviously, no.

I think the comment is wrong on both premises.

But there's more to the story. I'm a working scientist, even though I spend most of my energy in administration now. I can tell you for certain that recognition of the flaws in Darwinist theory is not recent. But over the last century or so, the problems with Darwinism have been kept to an in-house debate. What is 'recent' is the internet. Because of the rise of the internet and alternative sources for news and information, the ability to keep these kinds of things in-house has been lost.

So yes, there is turmoil, but it isn't over the problems in Darwinism, it's over the problems of keeping the public out of the debate. Just about anyone can now eavesdrop on scholarly conversations about things like this, and many do. Most of us would agree that this is a good thing. It keeps people honest.

While there are some scientists who would support their agenda by hook or crook, I would say that a majority of scientists, even when faced with philosophical or religious objections to their worldview, are mostly honest about it. Unfortunately, those who are all about an agenda are the most vocal, so a minority makes the rest of us look bad. (There's a great lawyer joke buried in that, but I won't digress at this point.)

Bottom line: Yes, there are problems with Darwinist theory, and yes, these problems are recognized. But the problems have been dealt with quietly in the past, and now are out in the open where others have entered the debate. I think this is good for everyone involved, as I believe truth wins over time, even in the face of some pretty organized propaganda. But don't expect secular scientists to bow a knee just yet; even if Darwinism collapses completely (not likely in the short run), the won't adopt a theistic worldview. They'll find another atheistic explanation for reality. That's because evidence doesn't, and has never, determined one's worldview, but rather one's worldview determines how evidence is interpreted. As one famous anthropologist said, "I wouldn't have seen it if I didn't believe it."

28 August 2013

When The Dream Becomes Reality

I don't post much here anymore, mostly because of time and priorities. But today is a day that deserves a post. It won't be long, but it is important.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the, "I Have A Dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King in Washington, DC at the Lincoln Memorial. Fifty years later, as we watch the news, we wonder if King's dream will ever become reality. But it has. Not completely, but it has.

On a widespread basis; on a macro-cultural basis, it is pretty easy to win an argument that Dr. King's dream has not been realized. In the speech, Dr. King said, "I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood." While this isn't Georgia, that very thing happens at my office every day. It happens at other small businesses, corporate offices, golf courses, coffee shops, and churches, all over this country, every day.

I'm not saying all is well and there is no more work to be done. The work of cultural change will never end. There will always be racism. (Why? Because the only realistic model for change is the Judeo-Christian ethic, found in the Bible, that we are made in the image of God, the imago dei, and thus all deserve equality under the law and within a culture...and there are a lot of powerful people in the culture that hate the Bible.) Racism is sin, and we can no more banish it than we can banish lust or greed or avarice of any kind. Until the onset of eternity, when all sin will be cast into Hades, we'll have these things with us. But that doesn't mean we can't be thankful for God's common grace and His specific blessings on those who repent of that sin and walk in fellowship with fellow believers of a different race or culture.

This nation isn't perfect, but it is certainly a lot better place than it would have been without Dr. King and his dream.  Let us celebrate that, if not in a big cultural way, in a local way, by sitting together at the table of brotherhood.

*Here is a transcript of Dr. King's full speech.  If you've never read it, take the time to do so now.  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/27/transcript-martin-luther-king-jr-have-dream-speech/

23 July 2013

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

My oldest kids, twins Will and Brice, who are about to start their senior year of high school, are leaving on Friday for a week of mission work in Ecuador.  It was hard to agree to let them go.

I've read, discussed, and even taught about how our own safety isn't the most important factor in how we should make our decisions before a sovereign God. Now it is time to put my money where my mouth is, and let them go, in God's good hands.

Nonetheless, I suspect my prayer life will be a little more active for the next week or so, and I'd appreciate if anyone reading this would throw in a little extra prayer for their safety, as well as their success on the mission field.

12 June 2013

Brice on the TV News

My son Brice was picked to participate in one of those TV interest spots on a local station last week.

He is interesting because he's not only a pretty good football player, but carries a 100.9 GPA.  Obviously, I'm very proud of him!

15 May 2013

Evercrappy So Switch

Every once in a while, someone comes along with a bit a creativity that speaks to a screwed-up culture so loudly and clearly that it can't be ignored. And occasionally, that manner of speech is even funny. 

This guy nails it. (If you continue to buy Abercrombie & Fitch, you have no soul.)

08 May 2013

Will Makes Local Sports Show

My son Will was featured in the local sports show here Monday night.  In this video, you can see him scoring in the win against Plainview (he's #16), then running off the field and showing off his blond hair. The segment he's in starts at about 2:12.

UPDATE (5/13): Looks like they took the video down...bummer.  I don't know where to find it.

KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

06 May 2013

On Disagreeing with Trueman (Carl, that is)

I want to encourage all of you who read this to start reading Carl Trueman's blog. I sometimes disagree with Trueman.

Carl Trueman

So why am I encouraging you to read a blog with which I sometimes disagree?  Well, it goes something like this:  There are a good number of bloggers I read with whom I disagree, most of them because I have a nagging fear that what they are saying is wrong and I can't quite give a specific reason (yet). This feeling has usually proved true.

With Trueman's blog, when I sometimes disagree, it is with a nagging fear that he is right, and I can't quite give a specific reason (yet). This feeling has usually proved true as well.

17 April 2013

Why Do We Try to Change the Culture?

The idea of cultural change is not new among Christian believers.  Exactly how the change should be pursued and implemented is a source of constant debate, however.  But at least we mostly agree that cultural change is something that should be pursued in the midst of a pagan-cultured world.

Racism is one of the cultural changes that most people agree about.  Yes, there are still fringe groups on every side of the issue who don't want change, or even want change in the wrong direction, but these are even less than a minority report among Christian believers. I've recently been thinking about the 'why' part of this change, and trying to re-orient my thoughts about it (as I've done with my thoughts on a lot of cultural issues) around the idea of gospel-centeredness.

To summarize my thoughts, I think I can safely say it this way: The reason we need to change the culture of subtle racism within the Church is not because it is mean to ___ people (fill in the ethnic/racial group of your choice, black, hispanic, or any other group), or because it is insensitive, or because it is illegal; rather, because it is sin.(1)

I firmly believe that we ('we' as in Christians, or 'we' as in Americans) have no moral right to force people out of their racism, whether that racism be thoughts or words. In fact, I don't think we can. I still think the first amendment got it right, and without the first amendment we are left with things like blasphemy laws, which destroy freedom at every turn. I do think the government has a right, and a duty, to make sure that racism is contained to the areas of thought and word, and not allowed to become deed.  Behavior is within the purview of government enforcement. Unfortunately, our government seems to regularly lose sight of these facts, opting instead of enforcing behavior to trying to implement and enforce laws against the way people speak, or even think, about racial issues. These attempts will always be counterproductive and even dangerous. But that's for another post.

Where we as Christian believers do have a moral right, and indeed a moral obligation, is to speak out against subtle(2) racism in the church. If we can refocus our thinking on racism from a so-called social-gospel issue (i.e., we shouldn't be mean to blacks because of what they suffered under slavery or under poverty) to a real gospel issue (i.e. we shouldn't think, say, or do racist things because it is a sin against God's image-bearer, and thus against God Himself; and more importantly, we should joyfully share the gospel with everyone), I truly believe we could almost eradicate racism in the church in short order.

Now, I understand that this kind of argument carries no water in the secular cultural world.  That's fine; it doesn't need to carry any. We can't control what a pagan culture thinks, says, or does. But we can control what we believe as followers of Christ by staying always focused on Scripture and a scriptural basis for our attitudes and actions. And if we succeeded in eliminating racism (practically) from the church, we would make a much larger impact on a pagan society than many would think. The parable of the wheat and the tares tells me we can never fully eliminate racism, or any other kind of sin, from the visible church. Jesus will take care of that at the end of the age. But we can certainly minimize it.

Why should this practically matter to any of us? For one, the local church would be much more effective in local ministry if the subtle racism were to be tossed out the back door of the meetin' house. Take a look at churches in racially-diverse neighborhoods.  It is hard to find very many that really look as diverse as they should. And if they don't, they are not ministering to the folks that live around them as well as they ought to be. Until we do something about the attitudes within the church that keep this the status quo, our churches will continue to fail to look like their surrounding communities. Someone will automatically argue that their church isn't racist. Other than a few weird sects, I agree that most churches are not overtly racist. But the subtle racism is still there.  Walk into any one of about 70% of the churches in America and see if the church looks like the community where they are found. If it doesn't, there is something wrong.

We can't force this to happen. R. C. Sproul is fond of the saying, "A man convinced against his will is a man unconvinced, still."  I agree.  By attacking racism as the sin that it is, rather than (only as) an issue of civil rights or of moral decency, we move away from the current platform of coercion (which seems to have too many illegitimate grandchildren) toward a program that changes the hearts of the people. I've heard quite a few folks say that only the gospel can save our culture. This is a bit vacuous of a phrase until it gets some shoe-leather, and once we get practical, it is not so difficult to see the inherent truth in the statement.

Then the question-behind-the-question looms:  Is our culture worth saving?

(1) Why do I call it sin? Read 1 John chapter 4 if you need scriptural support for this proposition.

(2) What do I mean by 'subtle racism'? This isn't the kind of racism that says, out loud, "I don't like black people" or "I don't like white people." It is the kind of racism that seem to be built into every fallen human heart, where we don't want to associate with people that don't look like us.

18 March 2013

Moron Bad Ewes of Language

On my handloading list, one member suggested we outlaw abbreviations and acronyms.  I thought it was a good idea until I started listing all the rules.  Here's what I came up with (you'll see why I nixed the idea)-

If I were to start making grammatical and spelling rules, the list would get a bit long.  

A preposition is a word you shouldn't end a sentence with. Or clauses. Or to which one might infer an infinitive that has been split. And starting sentences with a conjunction is bad. Misplaced modifiers are like the pen, lost by a man half full of green ink. Stay away from ad hominem arguments, you moron.

I would agree however, that it is best to be more or less specific, and that verbs has to agree with their subjects. And I'd recommend avoiding cliches like the plague. For clearer writing, always absolutely avoid annoying alliteration. The overuse of parentheses (however important or relevant) is often (or usually) overdone (by some, not all). Hyperbole should never be used; not in a million years...if I told you this once, I told you a zillion times. And, be very, careful, with overuse of, the comma.

Foreign words can be confusing, so make an a priori decision to not use them as they are not apropos. And I don't dig slang, so don't be gettin jiggy wit it. All generalizations are bad, so never make one. One-word sentences? Eliminate. And analogies are like what a bear does in the woods, so make like a tree and leaf them out. Comparisons are as bad as cliches. Two often to many people use the wrong form of to in a sentence or too.

The passive voice is not to be used in good writing. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice. Such obfuscation of scrivenry is perplexing. Use words correctly, irregardless of what you've seen others do. And don't make words up, this groks the noobels out of some readers. Don't misuse 'like'. Someone asked me to explain that, and I was like, "Write 'says', not 'like', when you are quoting someone."

Excessive feakin' interjections are crap!  And don't overuse the exclamation point!!!! I mean it! (Anybody want a peanut?) Stay away from rhymes and puns. I once used ten puns in a sentence to try to cause laughter. Unfortunately, no pun in ten, did. Puns are for children, not us groan ups. Plus, I don't feel that using an emotional descriptor to express a thought is a proper thing to do.

Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms. And don't verb words; verbing weirds language. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out, or repeat unnecessarily repeat any words. And most of all, remember that dangling sentences

I should probably add that only a handful of these are original with me.  Most of the others were picked up over the years in my reading of high-end academic journals, like the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip and such.

14 March 2013

The Quotable Wilson

I love Doug Wilson's writing.  He is always engaging, always on point, and even when I disagree, he is always convincing.  Currently he's engaged with some other good folks in a debate about some things that would take too long to explain here, but he is so quotable that I've published a few of his lines from a recent blog post here out of interest.

Here they are-

"How we arrive at our decisions is as important (over the long run) as what decisions we make. For example, any powers you give to the office of the Attorney-General when a Good Guy occupies that office will be a power that is still there when a Bad Guy shows up.

There is an important point in recognizing the difference between good guys and bad guys, and righteous decisions and unrighteous ones. Sure enough. But there is another level, and that is the level of understanding that you are creating a political power in a world where good guys and bad guys rotate through office."

"The Founders wanted to create a form of governance that famously utilized "checks and balances." They were afraid that if those checks and balances eroded, the way was opened to ungodly tyranny, and the nature of man would ensure that ungodly tyrants would find that open way instanter and go straight through it. And here we are, watching the great Tumor of the Potomac metasticize before our eyes."

"Prior to the (Civil) War, the Bill of Rights restricted the power of the federal government ("Congress shall make no law . . ."), and the states were the partial guarantors of that set of restrictions. As a result of the War, the Reconstruction amendments, and how those amendments came to be interpreted in subsequent court cases, the Bill of Rights was then applied to the states, with the federal government becoming the final arbiter of what was 'constitutional' or not. An important constitutional check on centralized tyranny had been removed.

... Indeed, I believe Patrick "Nostradamus" Henry laid the whole thing out in front of us beforehand, and in chilling detail. I believe he even identified the unlocked door of the judiciary as the place the tyrants would get in."

"So it has now been deemed constitutional, for example, for going on half a century, that American babies can be chopped up into little pieces. The content of Roe was appalling, of course, but we need to ask how and when it came about that the federal government got the structural power to tell almost all the states that were protecting unborn life that they had to cease and desist with that protection. It didn't come from a clear blue sky, so where did it come from?"

05 March 2013

An Interesting Observation

For many years, I've noticed that it seems like pastors have an inordinate number of special needs children; kids with Down's Syndrome in particular.  Of course when we observe something like that, we try to make sense of it in whatever our own worldview might be.

My worldview told me back then that the reason pastors had more kids with developmental disorders was because God knew those kids would need someone special to look after them.  Of course, there are a few theological problems with this, but none so serious that they overcome a worldview.

Then, not so long ago, a bit of reality hit me.  It has no less theological significance than my older view, and maybe more. It is tragically so much more simple than I originally thought:  The reasons pastors seem to have more kids with special needs is, they are members of a group who won't choose to kill those kids in utero when they find out they are sick.

Yes, I know that sounds crass, but I really think it is a better explanation of the observed phenomenon.  And it begs a couple questions.  First, why only pastors?  Why don't believers in general have more kids with special needs than the secular, non-religious culture, especially considering that having those kids means what it means?  I read recently that 95% of all Down's Syndrome pregnancies end in abortion now.  This can only mean one of two things...either God isn't giving believers kids with special needs, or believers (since there is far more than 5% of the population who are believers) are aborting these kids at a rate similar to secular society. 

Now certainly my observations do not a law make.  Just because I've seen this doesn't make it reality; I am well aware that conjectural and anecdotal evidence are quite a distance from real empirical science.  But the numbers don't lie. Something is up, something more than the simple tragedy of abortion.  No wonder Christians can't stop it, if they are some of the ones practicing it.

24 February 2013

A New Blog (by my Daughter!)

My 14-year-old daughter has started a new blog (with my encouragement).  If you want to read the musings of a Junior High student, you can find it here.

11 February 2013

Another Successful Season

Well, little Ryan finished his first season of school basketball tonight, and played a good game to boot.  We are very proud of him and his team, which won more games than any of the other Jr. High boys teams.

Good job, Rino!

05 February 2013


I don't know Rosa Parks.  I may or may not have liked her as a person, though by the accounts I've read, she was quiet and kind. She may or may not have liked me either.

But one thing I do know: her level of courage is to be admired and never forgotten.  We raise statues and monuments (and rightly so) to men who show this kind of bravery in battle.  And it is fitting that monuments have been raised in honor of Ms. Parks, for the same kind of bravery.

But her bravery has a bit different edge, for she had no guarantee that anything good would ever come from it.  In the culture and time in which she lived, her actions (as should would have known well) might have resulted in nothing more than her death or the death of her family members. But like the soldier in combat, she knew that what she was doing was the right thing to do, even if it cost her dearly. It takes some effort to put ourselves in her place, mentally.  We can't really begin to understand the threat level she faced, or the fear that one has knowing that the 'system' would not support us at crunch-time.  She knew what the system was, and she knew the risks she was taking and what it could cost her.

There is a good summary of the events that made her famous over on the Gospel Coalition blog, which are there because this week would have been Ms. Park's 100th birthday.

I don't know what it was like to walk in her shoes at the time and place where she lived, but I do know that I can appreciate her courage. And I know that she deserves a place among the greatest who have sacrificed so much to make our country one where Justice can be respected. As we face political issues that threaten to throw away some of that hard-earned justice, perhaps we should look not only to Lincoln and those like him, but also to Ms. Parks and those like her.  Perhaps we can get some of the courage we need from the unlikely heroes in our history.

Happy birthday, Ms. Parks.

28 January 2013

Universal Background Checks: Why Not?

One of the recent responses to the school violence last year was the idea of making universal background checks a reality.  Many folks like the idea, as it would seem to do more to keep guns out of the hands of those who might misuse them; at least more than a simple hi-cap magazine ban, or so-called 'assault weapons' ban.

So why wouldn't the average Joe (that's my name, so I can say that) support universal background checks?  I can think of three reasons:

(1) Background checks are already the law in every case where they should be used.

It is ALREADY a federal felony to be engaged in the business of buying and selling firearms and ammunition without having federal firearm dealers license.

It is ALREADY a crime for a federally licensed dealer to sell a gun without doing a background check – that's all dealers, everywhere, including at retail stores, gun shows, flea markets or anywhere else.

Further, it is ALREADY a federal felony to sell, trade, give, lend,  rent or transfer a gun to a person you know or should have known is not legally allowed to own, purchase or possess a firearm.

The penalty for selling a gun to a person who is a criminal, mentally ill, mentally incompetent, or an alcohol or drug abuser is a 10-year federal felony.  That's now, today, with no changes to the law.

It is even a federal felony to submit false information on a background check form for the purpose of purchasing a firearm.

We need to enforce the laws we already have; laws that both gun owners, the NRA, and the left agree on. Yet according to a 2012 report to the Department of Justice, more than 72,000 people were turned down on a gun purchase in 2010 because they didn't pass the background check.  Yet, only 44 of those cases were prosecuted.  Why, when criminals are caught in act of lying on the form to illegally  purchase a firearm, are they not prosecuted? On Thursday, January 10, 2013, in the White House meeting of President Obama's Gun Agenda Task Force, Vice President Joe Biden answered that question, telling NRA's Director of Federal Affairs, James Baker, that the Obama administration didn't have time to prosecute people for lying on the federal background check form.

So the answer, according to Biden is, 'We don't have time to prosecute criminals who break the law, so we need more laws.'

Now there's government efficiency for you!

(2) Universal background checks will turn normal conduct into a criminal offense.

Universal background checks are background checks on EVERY transfer, sale, purchase, trade, gift, rental, and loan of a firearm between any and all individuals.

Imagine a grandfather who wants to give a family shotgun to his 12-year-old grandson having to do a background check on his grandson before giving him the shotgun.

Or a friend having to do a background check on his lifetime best buddy before lending him a hunting rifle.

Or, if your mother had a prowler at her home, having to do a background check on your own mom before you could give her one of your guns for protection.

The so-called 'gun show loophole' is a myth; a straw man built for political purposes.  Every gun sold at a gun show by any of the attendees must go through that respective state's NICS (Federal) background check system.  If you don't believe me, go to a gun show near you, walk up to a table, and ask to buy a gun with no paperwork.  The nice man behind the table will at best laugh at you.  He'll probably call security over.  No one selling guns at a gun show wants one of his guns to end up being used in a crime. 

(3) It tramples on the rights of the law-abiding citizens while doing little to hamper the efforts of criminals.  The one analogy I've seen lately that best describes this is:

Using gun control to prevent violent crime is like trying to prevent drunk driving by making it more difficult for sober people to buy cars.

This agenda focuses on peaceable citizens, not violent criminals who obtain guns on the black market to carry out unspeakable crimes already prohibited under federal and state laws.  Instead of stopping crime and eliminating criminal conduct, they are creating more criminals--they are targeting you.

Gun control has never been about the guns, it is about control.  The left knows they can never quash our constitutional republic as long as we, the people, can defend ourselves.  We'd best not give up that right, especially in small chunks like this universal background checks idea.

Stats cited above came from: http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/articles/2013/1/universal-background-checks-%E2%80%93-absolutely-not.aspx

23 January 2013

Time for a New Bumper Sticker

At what point, pastorally speaking, should we stop praying for God to bless American and start asking for God to judge America?  I'm not being facetious, I'm being deadly serious.

It's not often I post a video from the other side, but this one is so bad, it's good.  It is the flaunting of evil, besides being racist and all those other things the blogosphere has decried.

Don't watch it unless you are prepared to answer my first question, above.

God, judge America.

16 January 2013

Running Commentary on Obama's Gun Violence Proposals

Running Commentary on Obama's Proposals...may be modified later...this is off the top of my head...some of these intellectual's best stuff sure doesn't require much thought to refute.

(I'll be editing this and adding more information as I have time to think about what's been said and what is intended.)

1. Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

This is already law. It does nothing except force agencies to comply with  the law. And Obama has no say over state agencies.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

Changes to HIPAA are probably needed, and making legitimate connections between the mentally ill and the NICS check system isn't onerous.  The problem is, who gets to say what 'mentally ill' means?  In the minds of some in charge, anyone who might want to own a firearm is 'mentally ill'.  As it stands such a practice is a blank check for government supression of freedom.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

Nothing onerous here, but why do states need incentives if the background check system works as it should?

4. Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

The categories of individuals who are prohibited from having a gun are, for the most part, well-designed.  There are some issues, such as where a woman can claim domestic violence has occurred when it has not, and her male significant other can be restrained from possession of a firearm, sometimes for months or years, even when he is guilty of no crime or intent to commit a crime. The problem is in the details: how will an AG review of the categories keep individuals like Adam Lanza from slipping through a crack (whatever that means)?

No one, not the NRA, not the average gun owner, and certainly not any person with any common sense wants felons, neurotics, or chronically violent people to have a gun. But expanding the categories and definitions to law-abiding citizens won't prevent crime.  Enforcing the laws we have, and occasionally shooting the criminally violent perpetrators, will.

5. Propose rule-making to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

To the best of my knowledge, this already happens in most jurisdictions.  The meaning of 'full background check' is unclear; most jurisdictions run a check in their state database, although many would also use the FBI's database.  Not sure what this really does except add paperwork to the local law enforcement officer's load.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

This is actually a good idea on the one hand; those who have doubts about an individual who wants to buy a firearm have been prevented from having access to the NICS check system in the past.  C&R FFL holders are instructed NOT to use the NICS system. They should have that option.  So should any private individual at (for example) a gun show.  Currently, we don't.

Where the problem lies is in FORCING private citizens to do background checks.  I should have the right to transfer (give) a firearm to my son when he goes off to college, and I shouldn't have to run a NICS check on him to do so.  How will this be enforced? 

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

Been there, done that, got nothin' for it.  The feds can't even do a national nonsmoking campaign right.

The NRA has run national gun safety campaigns for years, and nobody does it better than they do.  Ask just about any child in America to finish this instruction: "Stop! Don't touch! ... "  The Feds can't manage anything even close to this effectiveness.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Nuts.  Is he saying that none of the gun locks (already required by law to be distributed with a new firearm) are no good now? Were all the safes made of plastic? (Chinese, I bet!)

9. Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

And this isn't already done?  The only time I can think of that it wasn't was when Obama's people were running illegal machine guns to Mexican drug lords.  But try suggesting that anyone enforce the law in THAT case. The responsible people are running away from that as FAST and FURIOUS as they can.

10. Release a Department of Justice report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

Again, three words:  FAST AND FURIOUS.

11. Nominate a new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Hmm.  Why do I think it might be Feinstein, or Schumer? Or worse?

12. Provide law enforcement, first-responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

Proper training without armed intervention is really simple:  Sit down and wait your turn to die.  

Anyone who is REALLY serious about protecting kids in schools will make sure there are GUNS in every school, in the hands of trained personnel who aren't afraid to use them to protect the lives of the kids.  Otherwise, the schools (since Columbine) already have instituted huge changes in emergency procedures, come up with new security plans, and trained staff for emergency events.  If that's all he means, this is another non-sequitur.

And really...is there a law enforcement agency in the entire US that hasn't had active-shooter training since 9/11?

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

I can nail jello to a wall easier than I can define what that sentence says.  As one blogger recently said, Obama might as well just say, 'nyuk nyuk nyuk'; it means about the same thing.  But there's one little detail in that which WON'T happen...the prosecution of gun crime...you see, too much of it is committed by Democrats with connections (look at Bill Clinton's list of pardons when he left office for a quick summary).

Ask any second-week cadet at the local police academy if there's a difference between 'enforcement' and 'prevention'...but the POTUS seems to think they are synonymous.

14. Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

OK, we'll throw some money at research.  We might even learn something.  One thing I know will happen: if we learn that having more guns in circulation cuts down on violent crime, this research will be radically altered before it gets published.  And since we already have that data, and already know it is true that more guns equals less crime, I wonder what all that tax money will really accomplish?

15. Direct the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun-safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

Read this one: micro-stamping.  It is useless, but it is going to be forced on us anyway.  We could put a cop in every elementary school in America for less than this will cost, and it won't likely help solve a SINGLE crime, and does absolutely NOTHING to prevent violent crime.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors from asking their patients about guns in their homes.

In other words, you local doctor is now an arm of the Obama administration.  Funny, my family doc is a big-time shotgunner (competitive and upland game bird hunter).  I wonder how he'll take this? But I feel sorry for the single mom who has a handgun to protect herself and her children when her crusading anti-gun physician decides she's a danger to herself and her kids.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

Wow.  Does anyone out there think, even with FERPA or HIPAA, that you can't call the cops when someone threatens to harm you?  Really?  And remember, when every second counts, the cops are only minutes away.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school-resource officers.

Hey, this one makes sense (at least, everything but tying the SRO jobs to federal money).  This is basically what the NRA said needs to happen.  I wonder if Obama will give the NRA credit for this one?  Putting armed officers in schools will, unlike almost everything on this list, actually prevent the deaths of school children.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

Almost all schools and universities have already done this.  Between Columbine and Virginia Tech, those folks got the message.  I'm not saying all the plans are good ones, but then, the federal plans won't be any good either unless they include putting guns in those facilities. "The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." - Wayne LaPierre.  Houses of worship?  Some states are foolish enough to make it illegal to carry a concealed weapon in a church.  That makes the churches in those states prime targets for any nut (or terrorist) who wants a high body count.  Here in Texas, you can carry in church unless the church says no.  That law makes more sense. 

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

There's a lot that could be said about this from a financial perspective, but it really will do nothing to prevent a lunatic from becomming an active shooter if he or she chooses to do so.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

Same as the previous one. What this will do, over time, as more and more people become more and more dependent on Obama-care, is make it easier to control their behavior (like gun ownership) or risk losing their health care. That kind of thinking is what a values-neutral education will get you.

22. Commit to finalizing mental-health parity regulations.

I'm not even sure what this means, other than it gives a politician, rather than a doctor, final say in what's crazy and what's not.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on mental health.

The idea of Kathleen Sebelius moderating a dialog regarding the safety of children, when she's on record as supporting partial-birth abortion on demand, is so ironically foolish, it might qualify her to be the first person barred from gun ownership on the basis of mental instability. If there ever was a woman who delighted any more in the death of (unborn) children than Sebelius, I've yet to hear of her.  And what does the Secretary of Education know about mental health?  Can we get Charlie Sheen instead? At least he's had an anger management class.

Now here's some icing on the really stinky cake:  Obama has asked for $25 million for state-based strategies that support “young people ages 16 to 25 with mental health or substance abuse issues.”

This is the same president who's ordered the Federal government to NOT enforce federal laws on marijuana use pretending to care about substance abuse. Wow.

Selling My Logos v. 4 Manuals

I've moved on to Logos v. 5, so I'm selling my Morris Proctor L4 manuals.  $10 shipped. They are used, but in very good condition (no underlining or highlighting).  Includes both volume 1 and volume 2.

If you want them, please leave a comment with an email where I can contact you. Use this format to avoid spambots (using mine as example): jbboren (at) gmail (dot) com.

First reply with 'I'll take them!' and an email gets them.

07 January 2013

Isn't It Ironic?

America's direct involvement in Vietnam ended in 1973. The favorite epithet of the obnoxious liberal to cast upon our returning soldiers was "baby killer."

This same group of liberals has seen to the slaughter of over fifty million babies since.......1973.

Paedophilia as a Sexual Orientation

I've been reading about certain pressures by certain groups to classify paedophilia (pedophilia) as a sexual orientation, separate from heterosexual, homosexual, etc. This story in The Guardian is the latest.

There are several positives and several negatives to doing this. First, the homosexual community desperately wants this to happen. Whenever an major event of paedophilia happens, like the Penn State incidents, those in the homosexual community feel (rightly or wrongly) like their sexual orientation is to blame for the crimes against children, when in fact there's good evidence such an orientation is not to blame. The perpetrator in the Penn State case was a married man. So how are we to classify his sexual orientation?

Second, some on the far left are very concerned that this not happen.  After all, California just this winter passed a law making it illegal to use reparative therapy to try to change the sexual orientation of minors from homosexual to heterosexual.  If paedophilia was reclassified as a sexual orientation, there's no logical reason that paedophiles should not be protected from evil mental health experts who want to help them change in the same way that homosexuals are now protected. (A judge has put the law on hold for now for medical reasons...but the outcome is pretty well assured.)

So the homosexual community is left in a catch-22 situation where opposite outcomes are both equally harmful.

What isn't being factored into the equation by most at this point is this: we have already passed the point of no return on slippery sexual-moral issues. Thus, without some major intervention in culture, the normalization of paedophilia is already a guaranteed outcome. Woe is us!

So my prediction is this:  look for the homosexual community to begin to distance itself from the idea that got it to legalized gay marriage- that sexual orientation is innate and cannot be changed; and move toward the idea that sexual orientation is a choice, and a valid moral one based on the idea of what is desirable carrying the greatest moral weight in such a decision.  It is this position that will allow that community to continue to lobby for its interests without interfering in the interests of the paedophilia community, or harming itself by being associated with them.  Only after a period of time, when paedophilia is as accepted as any other sexual orientation will they allow any association between the two groups.