Category Archives: Destiny Nation

Will This Post Matter?

 

berlin-wallWhen I was growing up, our Air Force family was stationed in Germany. During those years, my mother and father took us on trips all over Germany and so we were able to visit many breathtaking places: the Rhine River Valley, the Salzburg salt mines, Mad King Ludwig’s castle, the beautiful Black Forest region, and even the Austrian Alps. However, the two places I’ll never forget were the German concentration camp at Dachau and communist-ruled East Berlin. The sights, sounds and smells of those places are burned forever into my memory.

Dachau. My family and I walked along a dirt path bordered by an uneven line of white-painted rocks corralling patches of red posies and brownish-green grass. “Keep Off the Grass” warnings were posted in German and English. The path led to a large, white, one-story building with a black hole for an entrance. Tentatively, we stepped inside the iron doorway into a large room, perhaps 25’ by 40’, lit by a single light bulb. A horrible odor like rotten meat assaulted my nose and I gagged. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I saw – nothing. The room was completely empty except for a row of drains set into the cement floor and dozens of spigots pointed downward from the ceiling. Wondering what this place was, I noticed a sign on the wall. Thirty seconds later, I knew that I was standing in a Nazi gas chamber where, during WWII, Jewish people had been herded and locked into this room and then stripped naked while gas poured out of the ceiling, choking, suffocating, and ultimately, poisoning them to death.

East Berlin. My family took a tour bus to the communist side of Berlin. The Berlin Wall separated East Berlin from West Berlin so to pass from one side of the city to the other, we had to stop at the guard stations known as “Check Point Charlie”. This guard station was manned by East German soldiers armed with very large machine guns and snarling guard dogs.

Once outside the bus, we were struck by the contrast between communist-controlled East Berlin and democratic West Berlin; it was like walking from a color picture into a colorless photograph. Literally, everywhere, everything was black and brown and gray. Buildings destroyed during WWII still sat in great, bombed-out heaps of dark brick and black ash. Few people– all clad in gray or black – walked the streets and those who had ventured out kept their mouths closed and their heads down.

No one dared to smile.

My father, in Air Force uniform (because he was off base), approached an old woman to ask a question. I remember her ancient her coat on that cold, gray day – shabby and brown, with frayed sleeves. My father asked her, in German, if the building across the street had been destroyed during the war. The woman refused to look at my father. Mumbling something about not knowing what war he was talking about, she hurried away.

As our bus prepared to leave East Berlin, we again had to stop at Check Point Charlie. This time, the armed German guards boarded the bus and checked behind each seat, looking for anyone trying to escape East Berlin. They also rolled a large mirror under the bus to check for anyone desperate enough to try to hitch a ride out underneath it.

Big government Socialism gone very wrong.

I tell these stories to make a point. I am passionate about this country. Of course there are those who would tell you that that’s an understatement. I am deeply grateful for so much about our nation, particularly our freedoms: the right to say whatever we want without fear of government reprisal; the right to travel anywhere, anytime; the right to assemble together, to arms ourselves, to worship whomever and however we please; the right to “due process” if arrested and arraigned: a jury trial, the “presumption of innocence” in court, and the prohibition to be tried twice for the same crime.

So many other countries just don’t have these rights!

I teach teenagers and it breaks my heart to see that so many of them have no idea what our rights are and therefore no conception of their rarity in this world or their value. In fact, many students and even adults don’t know even basics facts – the VP’s name, for example. Therefore – and this is the point of this entire post – many, many, people in this country do not have any idea what’s at stake in this election. And these folks are going to vote.

Because of my father’s service and the lack of freedom I’ve witnessed in other countries, I understand that these freedoms must be defended and protected. And the best way to do that is to vote for those who will defend our Constitution.

So what are the candidates for?

Constitution and Supreme Court: Trump is for appointing justices to the Court who will uphold the Constitution which he sees as defining our law. Clinton will appoint justices who see the Constitution as a “living, breathing document” which can be changed. If the Constitution can be changed, then so can the rights listed in it. (See above.)

Economic Growth: Trump is for lowering taxes for businesses which has, in the past, caused businesses to grow and create more jobs; Clinton will raise taxes on businesses which is what has happened under Obama. That has not worked.

Military Readiness: Trump will expand the military; Clinton will maintain or decrease the military. This readiness speaks to our ability to defend ourselves against terrorism – or not.

Healthcare: Trump will replace Obama’s one-payer (insurance company) health care plan with one with lower premiums, lower deductibles, and more insurance plans to choose from; Clinton will keep Obamacare or institute a similar plan.

Illegal Immigration: Trump will build a wall and can make Mexico pay for it simply by cutting aid to Mexico equal to the cost of the wall. Clinton will not build a wall; she says she will increase border patrols. (That has not worked to date.) Trump is for deportation of criminal illegals and a “path to citizenship” (vs. amnesty) for other illegals; Clinton is for amnesty for all illegals, meaning they receive automatic and immediate citizenship and voting rights.

If Hillary Clinton is for the same policies as Obama – which she is (proven by the fact that he’s campaigning for her), and if those policies are not working now – which they’re not, how can we believe that doing the same thing for the next four years will improve anything in our country?

More importantly, if our Constitution and the Supreme Court are lost with this election, we will not get another chance to save them. We must vote to uphold the Constitution of the greatest country in the world – the United States of America.

I’ve seen the results of more government control in other countries. The only people who really think that’s a good idea are the people running those countries. People escape to this country to get away from countries controlled by governments.

There’s a reason for that. Think about it before you vote.

 

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Happily Ever Never

emperor

Once upon a time, there was a place that had been run for many years by a not-so-nice emperor in a state called The People’s Republic of New York. Now in that state were many citizens who did not have many of the same rights as citizens in other states – which many New Yorkers didn’t really think was fair, but that was beside the point. No one really cared what the citizens thought. For example, the citizens of New York really believed in a thing called The Constitution which had another thing attached to it called the “2nd Amendment” which specifically said that citizens of the United States (which New Yorkers were even though the emperor sometimes forgot that) had the right to “keep and bear arms”. That meant that the citizens of New York (who really were citizens of the United States) should be able to buy a gun (legally) and carry it around.

Alas, it was not to be.

Sadly, the citizens of New York were only “allowed” to “keep arms” (have a gun) if they obeyed many, many rules, paid lots of money, and then were “granted permission” by the State. And even then, getting a gun permit took the citizens three to six long months – if they could get one at all.

In addition and even worse, the citizens of New York were not allowed “to bear arms” (carry a gun) unless they fit into a very small group of people called law enforcement, military (some of), or had a business requiring them to transport gobs of money. You see, most of the citizens were not deemed worthy by the State to have this privilege. But that confused the poor, dumb citizens of New York who really believed that The Constitution was more powerful than the emperor of New York and his helpers who, they could only conclude, had not read The Constitution. Furthermore, the citizens of New York did not think it was fair either that the emperor and his helpers got to “keep and bear arms” themselves – and they weren’t even military, law enforcement, nor did they own any businesses. (Although, the citizens concluded, since they did have gobs of money from taxing other people’s businesses, maybe that’s why they got to “keep and bear arms”.)  The other thing that made the citizens mad was that none of the criminals in New York ever had to get permission to keep or bear arms either.

And so it was that only the criminals and the politicians had all of their 2nd Amendment rights in The People’s Republic of New York.

But the thing that really made the citizens of New York very sad and depressed was that in other states like North Carolina, the citizens there could go and get a pistol permit in just three days which included “conceal and carry” privileges! This meant that the citizens of North Carolina still had their 2nd Amendment rights because they had not been stolen by their leaders. (This made many of the citizens of New York get mad and move there.)

The moral of the story is this: If the citizens of the United States elect a nationwide, liberal emperor who takes over the state of North Carolina and all the other states besides, then all of the U.S. citizens will suffer as have the poor, dumb citizens of The People’s Republic of New York.

And if this happens, no one will live happily ever after. Ever.

 

 

 

 

 

No Freedom, No Destiny.

constitution-burning

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”

This, as you know, is the introduction (“preamble”) to the United States’ Constitution, and its purpose is to outline exactly what our government is supposed to do for “We the People”.

So – let’s see if that’s been happening . . .

The government is supposed to secure the “Blessings of Liberty” for ourselves and our “Posterity”.  Our “liberties” are the rights which are given to us by law – and which, unfortunately, we’ve come to take for granted. These rights, established first in the Declaration of Independence, include the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. This means that our government cannot just up and kill us for political purposes (as happens in some countries); the government cannot deprive us of our freedom or “lock us up” without “just cause” and “due process”; and the government cannot interfere with our own individual decisions regarding what brings us happiness and fulfillment (unless we’re breaking a law in the pursuit). Furthermore, the government cannot deprive us of rights such as freedoms of speech, religious expression, assembly (gathering with others, including to protest), to have and bear arms, and many other rights. (See the Bill of Rights.) And finally, the government is supposed to “secure” these rights, meaning to make certain they are “guaranteed,” they’re “safe” for us and our “posterity,” our children.

Is this happening? No. In New York State, for example, citizens don’t have the right to “bear” arms; “Conceal and Carry” permits are very rare and only issued by judges when we can “prove” we need one and the burden of proof is tough. Most of us don’t have that Constitutional right anywhere in New York state. That’s terrifying when you think about it.

Is “religious freedom” secure? No, not when companies are being forced to comply with practices that violate their religious beliefs such as providing abortion coverage with medical benefits. Now I get that not everyone reading this may agree with businesses being allowed to exempt themselves via “violations of conscience” but keep in mind that if the government says they “must” violate their consciences, it may well say one day that you must as well.

Is “freedom of speech” secure? Not entirely. “Hate speech” is now against the law and carries severe penalties. While that may seem like a good idea, who determines what is hateful? That’s the scary part. If someone doesn’t like your opinion, suddenly it’s “hate speech”.

Our government is supposed to “establish Justice”.  “Justice” means that all laws and the punishments for violating them are fair and just; it means there is no partiality shown in favor of the rich and/or powerful. Unfortunately, the fact is that justice, as defined by the Constitution has been violated in Washington D.C. when powerful people there have disregarded laws and then not only not been convicted but not even charged. Other not-so-famous people have been both charged and convicted of the exact same crimes. Has justice then been served? Has our Constitution been upheld? If everyone is not held to the same standard as others, then no, it hasn’t.

Is our Constitution in danger? The answer should be self-evident but in case it’s not, yes, our Constitution is in danger. Is this an exaggeration? No. Because once justice is trampled, so is our freedom. It’s over. Justice is the cornerstone of the Constitution.

Our government is supposed to “insure domestic Tranquility”. That means the government is obligated to keep the peace at home. Is this happening? No. Cities are burning as the authority of law enforcement (which is a government institution) is being undermined and even sabotaged. That’s a fact. And if our law enforcement at any level – local, state, or federal – is disregarded and disempowered, then there will be no “domestic tranquility”. Period. How can there be? Correct – there cannot. (Wait – there could be if “martial law” was declared and the military “kept the peace”. But I don’t think we really want to see that happen . . .)

Our government is supposed to “provide for the common defense”. This means that the government is supposed to protect the nation from its enemies – both foreign and domestic – through the use of a strong military force.

Is this happening? No. Terrorist attacks inspired by radical Islam in this country are increasing in frequency – whether done by terrorists at home or those accessing the United States through leaky borders or the non-existent vetting of refugees or immigrants. Moreover, the “common defense” is being undermined by a continuous “downsizing” of military force and equipment. These are facts, not speculation.

So – is the United States government providing for the “common defense”? No.

The government is supposed to promote the “general Welfare”. This does not mean the government is supposed to send out welfare checks or other government entitlements every month. Rather, promoting “General Welfare” refers to promoting “good for everyone”. The government is supposed to enact and protect regulations and laws which inspire and promote economic well-being, among other welfares.

Has this happened? No. The federal government has enacted policies detrimental to businesses, job growth, and general economic freedom in the market place. More government regulations on businesses result in fewer businesses established or able to stay in operation. This means fewer people employed and fewer people receiving paychecks, medical insurance and retirement benefits.

The state of our educational system is another “general welfare” failure in this country. Common Core? Not. Ditto the effects of failed energy production, healthcare, national debt, et cetera.

In short, the government has failed in the “general welfare” category.

I hope the point has been made that, above all else in this presidential election, we need to vote for those candidates who will stand for our Constitution and the rights it guarantees. If we don’t, it may well be one of the last votes we’ll ever be able to cast. Think I’m kidding? Voting is, essentially, a form of free speech, of expressing our opinions. If our freedom of speech disappears, I guarantee that our right to vote will do a quick vanishing act as well.

So – ROCK THE VOTE. But remember one thing as you step into the voting booth: No man or woman can ever guarantee your freedoms. Only the United States Constitution can do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civil War II . . .?

disunity

“”Nothing will be impossible for them!’”

Wouldn’t we all love to hear those words? They speak of unity and unity is a major principle of success. Disunity is a major cause of failure. But how much do we really think about unity? We don’t really think about it at all – unless we’re noticing division.

Division is much easier to spot. Let’s face it – this country is rampant with division. We see it everywhere:

Political Division. With the presidential election looming ever closer, Republications and Democrats are literally at each other’s throats. Not surprising though. When are they not? What is surprising – and devastating to our nation – is the division within the parties. Why? Because that creates so much more division among average citizens. Of course conservatives and liberals are going to clash. It’s their job. But when we see conservatives biting each other’s heads off and democrats doing the same among themselves, then it’s past time to pay attention. However, more on that later.

Racial Division. Dare I go there? There has, unfortunately, always been racial divide – although there has been progress. I don’t think anyone can argue legitimately that race relations have not improved since MLK, Jr. But are they where they need to be? Of course not, not saying that. That being said, the racial divide in this country is only getting worse as we see cities burn in protest to racial inequalities, both real and perceived.

It’s division on a grand scale.

The burning and destruction of cities are causing inter-racial divides as well as more general racial division. And is that the goal? While some people are protesting peacefully, others are coming from outside of those communities and burning, rioting and looting the very homes and businesses of the people that they claim to be trying to help.

Is that unity?

But let’s say protestors did only burn properties outside of inner cities – would that really solve race relations in this nation? Not a chance. Then what is the point of it? And who’s going to suffer the most if the divisions are not resolved? The very people who suffer now – only more so. The point is that racial and inter-racial violence is a graphic illustration of how division never does anything but cause more destruction and tragedy.

Economic Division. Increasingly, we’re seeing resentment and even hatred being spewed toward those who don’t “pay their fair share” in taxes. It’s generally one political party who’s criticizing the other for being “too rich”. On the other side of the divide, the “rich” (unclear where that line begins and ends) – many of whom are business owners – respond by making the claim that they did earn the money and it therefore belongs to them. The other political party is responsible for that perspective. And it doesn’t look as though that stalemate will be resolved anytime soon.

So – who’s right and who’s wrong?

Hear me now: while I have my own opinions, who’s right or wrong on these issues is not, not, not my point in this post.

My point is that division equals destruction – every time. It’s a law – like gravity. And it’s a neutral law – it applies to those doing evil as well as to those doing good.

Success because of unity does not just happen to good people or to those with good intentions. Any group of people who is unified will achieve success – whether or not they are nice people.  

It is imperative that we get this. If we do not, the United States of America is done.

If we look back through history, every victory, movement, breakthrough, or advancement that has ever been achieved has happened through the cooperation of people working together – whether the goals realized have been for good or for evil.

Unity equals success. And division equals chaos and destruction. Period. The consequences of disunity in any arena – government, places of employment, churches, schools, marriages and families – will, 100 percent of the time, result in FAILURE.

The Bible relates a story early in the history of civilization in which all people spoke a common language and so agreed (key unity word) to build a city and a “tower that reaches to the heavens”. Now God noticed this plan and, for reasons of His own, decided that the tower was not a good idea. He said, “’If as one people they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them’” (Gen. 11:6). (I’m guessing God had some intel on what “they planned to do”.) The point? It was their unity that made “nothing impossible” for the people. Now, would God have intervened in their plans if those plans had been for good and not for evil? Knowing God, probably not – which proves the point that unity among people breeds success – even if the goals are not noble ones.

What does this mean for our nation? Simply this: we need to unify if we’re ever going to survive. We almost didn’t survive as a nation during the Civil War during which well over a half million people died (620,000 to be exact). I fear that if the United States of America wages Civil War II, millions more will die than did in the first war. And because fewer and fewer children are even being taught about the Civil War anymore, they don’t see the potential train wreck just ahead.

Am I being too dramatic? If you think so, ask yourself this: If this nation does not become unified, “One nation, under God, with justice and liberty for all”, where will we end up? Can this fighting and burning and destruction continue? Can our Constitution and the rights it guarantees survive this political disunity ? And if we can’t stop fighting among ourselves, how on earth will we ever manage to defeat any threats from the outside of the U.S.? We must consider that question as well because at this point, we’re so divided that we can’t even agree that there are any outside threats to the United States.

So what? you say. Who cares anyway?

You will. We all will. And our children will.

So what can we do? We need to care – now – care enough to unify with our neighbor, with our co-worker, with each other. We need to fight for “one nation” – not with insults and hatred and firebombs, but with our unified attitudes and words and actions. We need to remember the good that this nation has in common. And we need to do it now.

Later will be too late.

 

 

 

 

Destiny Nation

Flag and Fireworks     For 240 years, the United States of America has embraced its destiny, as Ronald Reagan liked to say, as a “shining city on a hill”. Proof is Lady Liberty as she’s welcomed untold millions to find refuge and freedom and, in short, a home.  Thus the United States has been nicknamed the “Great Melting Pot” as generations from countries worldwide have assimilated to become proud Americans. 

     Nor has Uncle Sam been idle, leading the fight for liberty and freedom around the world. Everywhere on earth, on every continent, America’s influence and generosity can be seen and felt.  From being the Cavalry in World Wars I and II to promoting the principles of democracy to peoples who have never been told that all men are born free, America has led the charge in the battle for good in the very real face of oppression and evil.  Country after country, people after people have the United States to thank for rescue in times of war, political unrest, famine, natural disasters and financial crisis.

That’s the legacy of the United States of America.

     However, despite all of that, America’s greatest destiny has been – and continues to be – the privilege of bringing the life-changing news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to virtually every nation on earth. Dedicated and brave American missionaries, for the sake of that Gospel, have faced persecution, imprisonment and even death from the worst of dictatorial and communist countries.  America has sown its blood, sweat and tears into the soil of nations around the globe to proclaim the good news of true freedom in Jesus Christ – and what could ever be a more noble legacy than that?

     Many say that America’s best days are behind her. However, that’s been said before.  Imagine a war in which citizens slaughtered one another in one bloody battle after another.  Surely the Civil War was the end of our nation.  Or the stock market crash of 1929 which led to a decade in which fully one-quarter of Americans were unemployed. Add to that the great Dust Bowl in which nothing would grow and it certainly looked like the end of America.  Or World War I – the most massive war in the history of the world; surely that was the end of the whole world.  Or WWII in which the Nazis reigned in Europe and the U.S. was attacked on its own shores for the first time in its history.  There was no doubt then that the Apocalypse had come . . . Et cetera.

     Certainly the United States has problems and they are broadcast far and wide for all the world to see. But the only difference between the crises of today and those of all the decades past is cable news.  Without a doubt crisis was happening; we just didn’t know about most of it.

     Is it the end of the United States? I don’t believe so.  The United States still has a great destiny to fulfill: the continued spread of the Gospel worldwide.  And until the day comes that America quits doing that, our nation will continue in order to fulfill that destiny.  No other nation on earth has even come close to sacrificing what Americans have sacrificed in order to achieve that priceless goal for mankind. 

     God has not forgotten America because, despite all of the bad press, Americans like us have not forgotten God. The United States has sown its time, its people, its strength, its money, and its resources into saving and blessing other nations and so we will, according to the Word of God, “reap what we have sown”.  We have sown salvation, blessing, freedom and hope into the peoples of the world, and so we have a long future of blessing to look forward to as one the greatest nations history has ever known.

     So on this Independence Day, I hope you’ll join me in declaring the great destiny of the United States of America:

     “ONE nation under GOD with liberty and justice for all.”

     Happy Birthday, America – and may you have many, many more to come.