Selective historical airbrushing

The City of New Orleans is busy purging itself of Confederate statues, since these offend the tender sensibilities of today’s historically illiterate crybullies.  But if they’re determined to remove all vestiges of monuments to people who ever held racist sentiments, there’s work waiting for them in Washington, D.C.:

Lincoln white copy

It’s true Lincoln desired the limitation and eventual extinction of slavery, but it was not for this reason he went to war on his fellow Americans in 1861.  He made this very clear:

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.   – Letter to Horace Greeley, 1862

Yes, that previously voluntary Union that was becoming compulsory with no escape during Lincoln’s reign.  “Reign” is too exaggerated, you say?  Look closely again at the monument built to his memory.  Look at the front of the armrests.  They very closely resemble this, the Roman fasces — a symbol of authority in ancient Rome later adopted by Benito Mussolini and his flock of blackshirts… known as the fascists.  All they lack is the axe, but that does not diminish in any way the power unleashed by Lincoln in his War Against the States.  (It’s worth noting the Speaker of the House is flanked by the same imagery — with the axes as well.)  Certainly, today’s America more closely resembles the Imperial Rome of Caligula than the Republic that was swallowed up by Julius Caesar.

So if we’re going to demolish any memory of white supremacy or unConstitutional exercises of power, the Lincoln memorial has to go as well.

Of course, I know better than to hold my breath, waiting for consistency from these little minds that have nothing better to do than tilt at Confederate windmills.

This is my shocked face (not really)

A survey finds most American Christians are actually heretics in their religious views:

A survey of 3,000 people conducted by LifeWay Research and commissioned by Ligonier Ministries found that although Americans still overwhelmingly identify as “Christian,” startling percentages of the nation embrace ancient errors condemned by all major Christian traditions. These are not minor points of doctrine, but core ideas that define Christianity itself. The really sad part? Even when we’re denying the divinity of Christ, we can’t keep our story straight. Americans talking about theology sound about as competent as country singers rapping.

The article notes that today’s mega-churches are a “Bible-less alternative version of Christianity.”  This should not come as a surprise:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

(2 Timothy 4:2-4)

This is not a new development; rather, it’s a rapid acceleration of a long-term trend.  Years ago I had an ongoing discussion with a coworker who claimed to be Christian but also was emphatic that “all people are basically good.”  Pointing out the Scriptural warning that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) didn’t dissuade her from her position (thus indicating what level of authority she attributed to the Bible).  I pointed out this was easily observable, in that babies are the most self-centered creatures on the planet.  If they’re hungry, they scream to be fed.  If they’ve soiled their diaper, they scream for a change.  They don’t care if you just worked a 12-hour shift, or have the flu, or are worried about something else.  Sometimes it seems they scream just because they can.  The point?  Such self-centeredness is our default setting!  Children have to be taught not to snatch toys from another, or to smack another child who said something they didn’t like.  I’ve even joked you can learn everything you need to know about international relations by watching a kindergarten class.

Sadly, nothing I said had any effect.  The same individual, right after 9/11, expressed amazement that Christian missionaries were in Afghanistan (and that several were held by the Taliban for a short while).  She asked why they would go to a place that clearly didn’t want them.  I simply said “maybe because God believes that’s the kind of place where the Word most needs to be heard.”

America needs to hear the Word again, too.  More importantly, it needs to believe the Word again.  Everything else is merely symptoms of this root problem.

The talking points show

That’s how I usually refer to the Presidential “debates,” which are anything BUT debates.  (I debated competitively, and what goes on every four years is a mockery of what should be an enlightening process.)

While I’ve been extraordinarily preoccupied lately, I tuned in to the first 2/3 of the show… and immediately wished I’d taken my usual route of skipping the TV and just reading the transcript later.

Scores of political hacks will spend today trying to convince the public that one of the candidates won the debate.

My only gut reaction was “dear God, how did we come to this?”  Since the 2000 election, I’ve been amazed at the lack of substance and the inability to stay on a topic for more than 30 seconds at a time.  (I’ve also been highly annoyed with the exclusion of third party candidates, many of whom met the criteria to be on the ballot in all 50 states or very close to it.  The system is rigged.)  Someone with real plans and message discipline would wipe the floor with their opponent.

But we don’t have such a candidate.  Again.

May God preserve what’s left of this once great nation.

Quote of the day

“To most people espousing communism, the authoritarianism isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. All the talk about “sharing” and “compassion” is just to fool the rubes. People espousing communism should be treated as if they are on the same moral plane as people espousing Nazism, because they are.”  — Glenn Reynolds

 

One of the greatest propaganda successes of the 20th Century was to convince people that communism and fascism were opposite ends of the political spectrum, when in fact they both represent collectivist systems in which a small minority direct in excruciating detail the everyday affairs of the average person.  Kind of like Uncle Sam aspires to today.  The real polar opposite of such regimes is individualism and personal sovereignty.  In the extreme this is anarchy, which is hardly desirable either.  But the desire for a just and orderly society does not automatically translate into justification for a heavily regimented and autocratic one.  And nothing shows one’s ignorance of history so much as calling a champion of small government and personal freedom a “fascist.”

The next (il)logical step

Sadly, this is one of the most insightful ledes I’ve ever read in a story:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It looked like a typical Sunday morning at any mega-church. Several hundred people, including families with small children, packed in for more than an hour of rousing music, an inspirational talk and some quiet reflection. The only thing missing was God.

What would be the point of that, you might ask.

Jones got the first inkling for the idea while leaving a Christmas carol concert six years ago.
“There was so much about it that I loved, but it’s a shame because at the heart of it, it’s something I don’t believe in,” Jones said. “If you think about church, there’s very little that’s bad. It’s singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?”  (emphasis added)

OK, so like many people dissatisfied with something, these folks have set out to retain what they like, while removing the offensive features.  That’s fine if you’re improving a product.

It’s ludicrous if you are searching for Truth.

This really culminates a long trend by which nominally ‘christian’ congregations have frequently become little more than social clubs, meeting the need of ‘community’ without getting into all that icky stuff about sin and repentance and salvation.  What might be the “bad” parts about church these people think they’re eliminating?  If it’s the standard charges of hypocrisy, infighting, and what not, I’ve got news for them: that comes with any organization of human beings, regardless how well-intentioned they might be individually.   This would be easier to recognize if they were trying to build a fellowship based on observable truths, rather than utopian aspirations.  Instead, they are deliberately (provocatively, even) building a community that explicitly denies these foundations:

For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)

At the bottom of it, for most committed unbelievers the ‘bad’ part about church is accountability to something larger than themselves–larger, even, than any human-derived organization.  We desire the paradise of Eden, but not the obligation to listen to Eden’s creator about how it was supposed to function.

When I was a young boy spending a couple weeks with my grandfather, he gave me my first chance to fire a shotgun.  Naturally excited by this new privilege, I couldn’t wait to try it, and was sure I knew what I was doing… I watched TV, after all.  Granddaddy tried to give me a quick tutorial on how to hold the stock against my shoulder, but I was ready to go and not ready to listen.

I still remember how he quickly backed off.  “Awright…”  You know where this is going, don’t you?  Picking my bruised self up off the floor of the clay pit, I wanted nothing to do with that gadget for some time.  I hadn’t respected the instructions–or their giver–and I paid the price for it.*

I’ve come to a realization that all of humanity’s tragic history represents God doing the same thing: saying “awright…” to mankind’s determination to do things our own way.  He hopes for us to come to our bruised senses, so He can show us the error of our ways and offer us a second chance through His son–who took the worst of the beating for us! 

Humanity was wired to desire fellowship–with each other, and with our Creator.  Like an old TV set, we have a “vertical hold” and a “horizontal hold” that have to be tuned in appropriately.  For any group of human beings missing that ‘vertical hold,’ the frequent tragic outcome is control by a strong human leader–a cult, in other words.  The Enemy’s biggest desire is to provide humanity any rally point that does not include God.

We are seeing more open rebellion and hostility toward God than perhaps at any time in the Church Age.  If there was any doubt how humanity could be so mislead as to finally unite, but only in hostility toward God, it should be diminishing by the day.

May the Spirit open our eyes and keep them open.

* I recently had the joy of watching the older two Musketeers fire the very same shotgun, which I finally earned from Granddaddy and will one day bequeath to one of them.  If there is any consolation in that story, it’s that by having heard it from me, they were more than a little inclined to listen to me as I showed them the ropes.  As a result, their first experience was no less memorable, but considerably more pleasant! 

The ultimate low-information voters

Maybe I’m crazy, but if a voter casts a ballot for someone who’s been dead for months, shouldn’t there be a way to bar them from future voting since they’re clearly not paying enough attention to be a proper participant in the process…..

SEATTLE – Two candidates in separate races in Washington state are both leading their opponents in Tuesday’s elections. Should they both hold on for victory, do not expect any long acceptance speeches. Both candidates are currently dead. In the Seattle suburb of Des Moines, John Rosentangle won 71 percent of the vote over write-in candidates in the King County Water District 54. Rosentangle died last August of an illness. He was 63. In a city council race on the Washington coast in Aberdeen, John Erak, also dead, is leading Alan Richrod, very much alive, with 53 percent of the vote. The 81-year-old Erak was a former state representative and died in June shortly after announcing he was running to retain his seat. As of yesterday his lead was only 12 votes, and the results weren’t final. Both men died after the filing period closed and their names could not be removed from ballots. Should both candidates win, they will still be dead.

…and we wonder why our government gets away with what it does…

Ignorance explained in one image…

This is why I include a number of non-U.S. media outlets–or at least non-U.S. editions–in my news digests:

So, a week after President Obama and his team were Punk’d by Putin over Syria, the rest of the world is reading a cover feature analyzing the Russian leader’s agenda, while in America the focus is on whether college athletes should be paid.  Granted, at least some form of the Putin article also appears in the U.S. edition, but it’s certainly not the issue’s marquee piece.

Some will see this as (yet more) evidence of the U.S. corporate media carrying water for the Administration.  Others will (rightfully) point out that news organizations skew their coverage in the manner likely to generate the most sales/views. 

Both of which explains a lot about Americans’ ignorance of the world at large…

***
(Ed note: the image above is a modified screenshot of the Time Magazine page that removed advertising and relocated the URL info in order to ‘square off’ the image.  No other modifications were made.  The link to the actual page is above and here.)