Let me state very clearly - and I hope it is obvious - that the United States Government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. - Barack Obama's secretary of state, September 13, 2012
I said earlier this week that Barack Obama is not an American because he does not believe in the founding principles of America. Republicans need to keep pounding this point home, because this is a huge weakness for this President in the upcoming election. But much more important than that is how incredibly dangerous Barack Obama's foreign mindset is to our national security.
Obama's secretary of state is dead wrong. We have never had a commitment to religious tolerance. We have a commitment to religious liberty. The two are closely related, but are most certainly not the same. "Tolerance" is very dangerous because it can be used to silence views that are seen as "intolerant" - which is exactly what the Muslim terrorists are demanding that we do.
Again, make no mistake about it. This is about Sharia law. This is about banning all criticism of Islam and Mohammed, and Barack Obama is playing right into their hands. This obscure video is an excuse for the riots, not a reason for them.
Religious liberty, meanwhile, is very different. Religious liberty means our government will allow us to practice our chosen faith and to speak of our faith without worry that the government will come knock down our door and arrest us for not following the state's chosen religion or the majority's chosen religion - or for being "intolerant." Religious liberty means that I can say Islam is a false religion (which it is) and Mohammed is a false prophet (which he is) and Muslims can also voice their opinions. Government's only role is to make it illegal for Muslims to kill me for saying what I just said.
If Obama was an American, he would not be denouncing the video. The only people he would denounce would be the terrorists. If Obama was an American, he would not be distancing himself from the video. He would be embracing freedom of speech and telling the terrorists to deal with it.
If Obama was an American, he would not be rounding up the man who made the film like he was some sort of criminal. He would be ordering the Libyan government to turn over the terrorists so we can exterminate them - or we will come get them ourselves, and exterminate them.
The remarks by Obama's secretary of state were utterly despicable. In response to terrorist attacks against America, in response to the obviously premeditated and pre-planned murder of our ambassador, the Obama administration's response is to denounce the "offensive" video two days after 9/11.
I never thought I would see the day when the President of the United States would side with the terrorists, especially only 11 years after the war crimes committed on September 11. That day is here, and we knew this day would come the moment Obama was announced as the winner of the 2008 election. Obama must not be re-elected.
Someone "responded" to my last letter to the editor questioning Barack Obama's record on civil liberties by, well, not addressing a single point I raised in my letter.
What was interesting is that the response dismissed my entire argument as "a snarky little letter" and focused on my closing line: "How's that hope & change workin' out for ya?" (On a side note, it's interesting that is always tied to Sarah Palin, when the phrase I use comes from Rush Limbaugh. Palin's phrase is slightly different.) So let me break it down:
Questioning why President George W. Bush is not actively supporting Mitt Romney is irrelevant to Obama's record on civil liberties.
Complaining about the economic downturn that was in place when Obama took office is irrelevant to Obama's record on civil liberties.
Complaining about the Republican House (ignoring the fact that Obama had huge majorities in both houses when he took office and could do anything he wanted) is irrelevant to Obama's record on civil liberties.
The fact of the matter is that, after years of rhetoric about Bush's record on civil liberties from Democrats and promises by Obama himself to be more respectful of civil liberties, Obama made it worse. Not only has Obama re-authorized the Patriot Act, but he has also increased the use of drone strikes, including one to assassinate an American citizen who had not even been charged with a crime.
In the comments for my letter, it was suggested that republicans would have blocked a significant overhaul of the Patriot Act. Again ignoring the fact that Obama had huge majorities in both houses for the first two years of his time in office, Obama did not need to do anything to get rid of the Patriot Act. He simply had to do nothing at all. Yet the Democratic Congress passed and the Obama signed an extension of it.
But it does not end there. Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on New Year's Eve 2011. The American Civil Liberties Union points out that this law codifies "indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history." What happened to the promise of more respect for civil liberties?
The question I asked three weeks ago remains unanswered. How's that hope & change workin' out for ya?
Last week, Peggy Welch signed a "cleancampaign" pledge for the race to represent the new District 60, which has moved north to include Morgan County as well as parts of Welch's old district in Monroe County.
Before I even get to the issue, the Herald-Times displayed incredibly bad judgment in having Mike Leonard be the reporter assigned to this race. Leonard has a long history of sharply partisan attacks on Republicans and conservatives, including an utterly shameful incident earlier this year where Leonard spewed a smear against a Christian pastor who was to speak on the IU campus. (See here and here and here and here and here for more about Leonard.)
Leonard did not even attempt to contact the pastor for the "news" article that appeared on the front page of the Herald-Times. Even if Leonard covers this race in an ethical, factual and truthful manner, his reporting automatically lacks credibility because of his history of being a dishonest partisan hack.
As to Welch's "clean campaign" pledge, she is obviously rattled about mailings sent by the House Republican Campaign Committee to voters in her district criticizing her for joining her fellow Democrats in fleeing the state to prevent the Indiana House of Representatives from doing business in 2011. I posted a scan of the mailing on Twitter and PhotoBucket, and there is nothing uncivil about it - the mailing truthfully reports Welch's record as a legislator. There are no personal attacks whatsoever in the mailer.
But Welch does not like it, whining that the Republicans "dropped three negative mail pieces the first week of August" and claiming that "it is possible for a first-time candidate to control her caucus." Welch bragged that she told the state Democrats that she would not go negative and would not allow them to do so either - which is simply not true. One mailer attacked her 1998 opponent, Jeff Ellington, for allegedly turning his back on Middle Way House. I hope that Welch simply does not remember this mailer, and is not being dishonest.
Congratulations to Peggy Mayfield for not playing this silly game. These "clean campaign" pledges are often a sham, little more than a thinly-disguised effort to get Republicans to not criticize Democrats at all, even on relevant things like someone's record or qualifications for the office.
As much as people whine about negative campaigning, if a candidate truly believes that his opponent is not qualified to serve because of his record, qualifications or ideology, that candidate has an obligation to go negative to explain to the voters why electing the other candidate would be ineffective, counterproductive or destructive. The HRCC is absolutely right to attack Welch for fleeing to Illinois and preventing the business of the state from getting done.
The key point here is that negative and dirty are not the same. Falsely claiming a politician has committed adultery, stealing yard signs or vandalizing campaign headquarters are examples of dirty tricks. Criticizing a legislator's voting record or behavior in office is relevant to the campaign and would not violate a sane clean campaign pledge.
ABC News was whining last night about ATM fees. I see absolutely no problem with this. Do you really expect another bank to give you services for free, when you don't have an account there? You can always go to your own bank's ATM, and there are other ways to get access to your cash for free - like most grocery stores.
It is really irritating when some fool will not let me over and then proceeds to pass me on the right. Look, fool, if you would slow down and let me over, you would not have to pass me on the right. But you're so impatient that you simply do not care about proper behavior. You and your kind need to not be driving at all.
Barack Obama's response to the preplanned terrorist strike on our consulate in Libya and the preplanned Muslim "outrage" over an obscure low-budget Internet movie continues to be a shameful betrayal of American values.
Not content with his embassy employees in Cairo apologizing for our First Amendment, Obama has now dispatched his Secretary of State to continue to apologize for America. Oh, we don't have anything to do with this evil video, Obama's SOS whines pathetically. Please don't blame us for the actions of those bad people insulting Mohammed.
Folks, this is ridiculous. Does anyone really think that the attack on our consulate in Libya by well-organized militants with assault weapons and rocket propelled grenades was not planned well in advance to coincide with the eleventh anniversary of the war crimes committed by Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001? It is true that the terrorists have managed to exploit the sensitive feelings of mindless savages to whip up some AstroTurf outrage, but let's be honest here. These protests have nothing to do with an obscure Internet video. These protests are part of a planned attack on freedom and a effort to implement Sharia law.
If anything, Obama is inviting further attacks by repeatedly apologizing for our Constitution and begging the terrorists not to blame the U.S. government for the "offensive" words of relatively unknown Internet activists. Displaying weakness only invites more aggression. Remember that Osama bin Laden himself wrote after we cut and run from Somalia when warlords and terrorists murdered our troops and dragged their corpses through the streets in a demonic victory celebration. Remember, we were there on a humanitarian mission to stop a man-made famine. Those mindless savages must have really wanted to starve to death.
Let's get this straight: Free speech does not invite terrorism. People say critical things about Islam all the time, and this is what the terrorists are angry about? The terrorists suddenly decide, on the anniversary of 9/11, to get angry about an Internet video that has been up for several months? Please. No one is that stupid. This is all a ruse to attack our freedom - to demand that the government practice censorship of speech that Muslim terrorists find offensive. The worst thing is that Barack Obama is siding with the Muslim terrorists.
I am not a "birther." I am convinced that Barack Obama was born in the United States and is a natural born American citizen. But with or without a birth certificate, born in Hawaii or born in Kenya, Barack Obama is not an American. He does not believe in the Constitution that he swore to protect and he does not believe in the right of free speech that so many Americans have given their blood to protect. Obama actually attempted to convince Google to remove the "offensive" video - to practice censorship to appease the terrorists. Obama's ideology is both foreign and dangerous.
And once again, let's not forget that deceased Libyan tyrant Moammar Gadhafi was marching toward Benghazi just a year and a half ago and would have burned that city to the ground and slaughtered every single person there had the United States and other Western powers not intervened and gave the rebels just enough breathing room to mount a counter-attack, topple Gadhafi and then summarily execute the war criminal as soon as he was captured.
The complete and total lack of gratitude is evil.
An increasingly popular and unquestionably evil meme making the rounds in the media is that this is a clash between "extremists" - as if the people who made the controversial video are on the same moral ground as the mindless savages who rape, murder and riot. Rachel Maddow actually said this on her September 13 program after listing a number of incidents where Muslim terrorists rioted and murdered in response to something that "offended" them:
Nobody has the power to force a civilized detente between provocateurs and the angry mobs who give them meaning.
We need to have an adult conversation about Islam. Christianity is insulted all the time. Take a look at comment sections for newspapers not to mention various forums scattered across cyberspace and you will see countless examples of blasphemy. Yet when the taxpayer money is used to fund "art" like a picture of a cross in a jar of urine, you don't have Christians rioting and murdering and engaging in wanton destruction of property.
Why is that? What is it about Islam that turns otherwise normal people into mindless savages hell bent on killing anyone who disrespects their "prophet" or their religion? Is there something wrong with Islam itself that brings about these actions? We need to have an adult conversation about the "religion of peace" and whether it actually is what its defenders claim it to be. Can we have that conversation, as adults, without being accused of racism or bigotry?
The following is an open letter to the legislators that represent Monroe County in the Indiana House and Senate.
What is sad here is that after the Indiana Daily Student published an irresponsible editorial basically advertising the smartphone app (which I will not name here) the app becomes the catalyst for a violent crime. What the app does is make it possible for people to "hook up" for anonymous sex.
"Hooking up" is not new by any means, but the extent to which sexual intimacy has been cheapened in our culture to the point that people will give their bodies away without a second thought is a great tragedy that has destroyed many souls. This is not God's plan for sexuality as our Lord Jesus Christ explained in Mark 10:1-9.
Both the Indiana Daily Student and the Herald-Times reported this week that a man was raped by another man after meeting through a social networking smartphone application. But the IDS article contained a surprising and disturbing quote: "Indiana Code does not constitute forced man-on-man penetration as rape." A quick look at IC 35-42-4-1 confirms this.
While the rapist would be prosecuted under the Criminal Deviate Conduct portion of the code, I believe this is an unfortunate oversight in the code that should be corrected as soon as possible. Men who are victims of rape should not be told by the Indiana Code that what was done to them is not rape. Everyone instinctively knows that sexual penetration against someone's will is rape, regardless of whether it is done to someone of the same sex or opposite sex.
I find it amazing that this is still the case in 2012, but this can be fixed easily and with almost no effort or time. I see no reason why we should not have complete bipartisan agreement on changing the law to make it clear that all rape is indeed rape. In fact, this is such an obvious common-sense change that it should pass unanimously in both houses.
As a reminder, the Community Reinvestment Act played a huge role in the 2008 financial crisis. Big banks were pushed by the federal government to give loans to people who could not pay them back. The banks tried to make this work, but eventually the whole house of cards came crashing down. It is shockingly dishonest for Barack Obama and his cronies to blame the banks for the crisis that the government created with foolish policies like the CRA.
Oh, yes. Obama wants to be President of all Americans. Right. This is the same guy who invited Republicans to present their ideas on fixing the economy and then gloated "I won the election, I'll trump you on that." And he did that in January of 2009. Could Obama be any more of a shameless hypocrite?
There's nobody that's been a bigger Teabagger than Congressman Pence. - John Gregg, Democratic candidate for governor.
John Gregg shocked a number of people in an interview with Gary Snyder when he called his Republican opponent a "teabagger." That word is a slur used by the Left (especially Internet trolls) to demean Tea Party supporters. It is also a sexually degrading term used to describe the act of a man putting his scrotum into someone else's face or mouth.
I regret the need to post the graphic description above, but it is important for people to know exactly what the word that Gregg used actually means.
Gregg is clearly getting frustrated, as seen by a precious statement that Pence needs to "get his ass back to Washington" but the calling Pence a "teabagger" is far over the line. Gregg may excite the far Left with these remarks (especially Leftists in Bloomington) but most people do not appreciate this kind of language. It is unprofessional and unworthy of a candidate for statewide office.
But using the word "teabagger" is instructive because it illustrates Gregg's mentality. It illustrates that Gregg will not hesitate to use sexually degrading slurs to a huge number of Hoosiers who agree with the philosophy advanced by the Tea Party and vote accordingly.
John Gregg was never going to win this race, and he will be fortunate to get more than 45% of the vote. Gregg could try to lose with dignity, but he has apparently decided he is not interested in doing that. It is a sad commentary on his political career.
A few weeks ago, Mike Adams wrote a column in which he explained why abortion opponents must not make an exception for rape and incest. Then he said the following about Mitt Romney's position allowing for these exceptions:
This is not a sound position for a committed conservative. Nor is it a sound position for a committed Mormon. It is evidence of deep moral confusion and chronic moral capitulation.
Romney's position is not unusual. Our last two Republican Presidents - George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush - allowed for this exception, as did failed candidates John McCain and Bob Dole.
Allowing for an exception for rape is the position of someone who opposes abortion but has not deeply considered it and why it must be opposed. Allowing for a rape exception is also the position of someone who does understand it but is a coward, unwilling to stand on principle for the fear of what will be said about him. You can decide for yourself which one fits Romney.
But please, let us not forget two very important things.
First, banning abortion but allowing exceptions for rape and incest would ban well over 95% of all abortions. That is certainly better than 1.2 million murders per year, protected by our corrupt legal system. Sixty thousand murders per year is still far too many, but, again, it is better than 1.2 million.
Second, we have to consider our opposition. Barack Obama is so deranged that he actually supports infanticide. He voted against banning it when he served in the Illinois state legislature. That is also not the position of a Christian, and we know from his stance that Obama is not a Christian. Obama's deranged stance in abortion demonstrates that he actually worships the demon Molech.
I said when the Todd Akin controversy erupted that the rape exception is a distraction, used to hide the fact that the vast majority of abortions are elective abortions and not the "hard cases."
But while we should not allow the Left to distract us from the main issue (especially given their deranged pro-infanticide candidate) we should not distract ourselves either. Pro-life activists hold deep convictions about preventing the loss of innocent life even in the case of rape and have problems with Mitt Romney because of it.
I've been involved in the anti-abortion movement for 16 years. I vehemently disagree with Romney's stance on exceptions, but that will not prevent me from voting for him. Romney's position on abortion will save over one million lives annually if it is ever implemented into law. Let's not be foolish and throw away the whole loaf because we are only getting 95% of what we want.
Rush Limbaugh has been pounding the point home for a week that very few people have seen this video. Certainly not enough have seen this video to cause the large scale riots last week. What happened here is that Muslim terrorists stirred up some mindless savages in a preplanned, premeditated attack on America on the anniversary of 9/11.
This whole thing was staged from the very beginning, and it was planned very well. The scheme is that we will be frightened into censorship of free speech, pushed along by evil people who want to suppress free speech in the name of "tolerance" - something that should be universally dismissed as absurd. Restricting free speech is not and cannot be tolerance.
The so-called "outrage" over an obscure film is an excuse for terrorism, not a reason for it. Had this film never been made, the terrorists would have come up with some other excuse to attack our embassies on 9/11. This is about establishing Sharia law worldwide, and converting people to Islam by force.
The refreshing thing about Ryan is his honesty. If you ask him what his position is on an issue, he will tell you. The problem is that Ryan is not the nominee, so he will need to be more disciplined in not going off the reservation. The Romney campaign will need to strike a balance so that Ryan continues to be honest but is also disciplined in subordinating his opinions to Romney's when the two differ.
I agree with Ryan, and I would go farther - take the federal government out of it and allow the states to decide whether to allow medical marijuana or even decriminalize it entirely. That said, I dislike this issue for two reasons.
First, it is dishonest. The goal of the medical marijuana movement is clearly full decriminalization of cannabis, but done incrementally. Rather than be honest and push for full decriminalization (or at least make it clear that is the end goal) they're being deceitful and trying to get a foot in the door. I hate these kinds of games.
Second (and more importantly) smoked marijuana is simply bad medicine. Puff for puff, smoked marijuana is more carcinogenic than tobacco smoke. A new study shows that there is a significant ink between marijuana and testicular cancer. There are other legal means of getting the main ingredient in marijuana other than smoking it. Rather than expose people to the negative health effects of marijuana, we should have the main ingredient delivered in a safer way.
It boils down to this: Exploiting sick people for the purpose of advancing a political agenda is wrong. Again, I agree with decriminalizing marijuana. I certainly do not believe that criminalizing marijuana is any of the federal government's business. However, it is simply unethical to use medical marijuana as the proverbial Trojan horse for the purpose of getting full legalization, giving false hope to sick people.
Pastors who preach the gospel and ONLY the gospel every single sermon are not serving their congregations. Christians - yes, Christians - struggle with sin and we even give ourselves to sin. We need to be encouraged with practical, helpful sermons and we need to be rebuked. If your pastor does not preach of sin and judgment and repentance, lovingly encourage him to do so.
For crying out loud, look at all of the helpful things the Apostle Paul wrote in his letters to Christians in various cities and how many times he rebuked them. Are we better than they were? Are we in Bloomington better than the decadent Corinthians? Absolutely not.
This is not to say the gospel should not be preached - obviously it should - but let's not ignore the reality of day-to-day life for believers in Jesus Christ.
When Leftists (including President Obama) whine about the budgetary decisions of the Bush administration, they usually mention "two wars" and tax cuts, and sometimes they will mention the Medicare prescription drug benefit. When they lump the war in Afghanistan with the other things, it raises serious questions about whether they "get it" regarding the importance of the War on Terror and the legacy of 9/11.
We can debate the wisdom of the tax cuts and the expansion of Medicare, and the war in Iraq was a war where we pre-emptively attacked another sovereign nation and forced regime change. We can debate whether these three were necessary or wise. It is foolish and dangerous to lump the war in Afghanistan with the other three things.
This should not have to be pointed out, but we were attacked on September 11 - eleven years ago this past Tuesday. We were attacked without provocation by Al-Qaeda. Their attack was not simply an act of war. It was a war crime. Rather than targeting a military base, Al-Qaeda targeted civilians with the intention of murdering as many noncombatants as possible.
In response, we resolved to go get the war criminals responsible for this atrocity. They were hiding in Afghanistan, sheltered by the oppressive Taliban regime. We asked Afghanistan to hand over the war criminals to us and they petulantly refused. In response, we were forced to invade and destroy Al-Qaeda's network ourselves.
What is the point? The point is this: We had a choice as to whether to implement the tax cuts and the Medicare expansion. We had a choice as to whether to invade Iraq. We did not have a choice as to whether to invade Afghanistan. That was not a war we wanted, but it was a war we had to fight. Not invading Afghanistan was never an option. Had we done nothing, it would have only guaranteed another 9/11.
Does President Obama understand why we had to invade Afghanistan to attack the Taliban and Al-Qaeda? Obama's premise is that we did not spend as much energy on Afghanistan as we should have, and to some extent he was right. But when he and his fellow Leftists lump Afghanistan in with the other three things as if it was a war of choice, it raises serious questions about whether he really "gets it" or whether he grudgingly did the right thing only because it was politically necessary. We cannot afford a President who thinks like that.
15 years ago, the Nazi Paparazzi murdered Princess Diana. Now it looks like Duchess Catherine is next on their hit list. I have an honest question for the Nazi Paparazzi - was murdering Prince William's mother not enough? You have to stalk and threaten his wife too? You people are evil and you need to be behind bars.
I share the anger of many Americans at the senseless acts of evil perpetrated by Muslim terrorists against our consulate in Libya and our embassy in Egypt, especially the barbaric murder of our ambassador in the city of Benghazi - a city that we saved when Muammar Gaddafi's forces were marching in its direction with the intention of slaughtering the people there.
You're welcome, by the way!
The raid of the consulate was especially bad. Armed militants staged what was clearly a pre-planned raid to coincide with the anniversary of the war crimes committed by Al Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001. They murdered our ambassador and three others in a horrific scene that immediately reminded me of the Mogadishu Massacre in Somalia.
There cannot be enough scorn heaped upon the utterly despicable statement by the Obama administration's representatives in Egypt, who said the following:
"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."
This is evil, my friends. Not just wrong. Not just misguided. Evil. Our embassy in a foreign nation, who report to Barack Obama's state department, apologized for the fact that we have free speech in the United States of America. Our embassy apologized for basic American principles and for our Constitution.
Governor Mitt Romney lambasted the embassy's statement, as well he should have. The embassy's statement was completely inexcusable and represented an attack on our liberty. Barack Obama and his supporters were obviously stung by Romney's well-placed attack, which is why they are shrieking about it. Romney must not back down.
One of the concerns conservatives had about Romney is that he would not be willing to attack Obama the way he attacked his Republican opponents. Romney's attack on Obama this week proved that he might be willing to do just that. The fact of the matter is that if you're going to unseat an incumbent in any office you have an obligation to show why that incumbent does not deserve to remain in office.
What Obama should have done is fired every single employee of that embassy and replaced them with people who actually love America. If Obama was serious about sending a message to terrorists and war criminals that these types of attacks will not be tolerated, he would make it clear that there will never be any capitulation or apology for American freedoms.
But does Obama believe that? He was harshly criticized early in his administration for going on what was described as an "apology tour" around the world. The statement of Obama's employees in Egypt (after all, he is the head of state and responsible for what our embassies do) does not help with the perception that he does not believe in basic American principles.
American principles, American values and American liberties are all under attack and we must never compromise in defending them. If we do, we will cease to be America. Anthea Butler wrote a deranged editorial actually calling for the arrest of the person who made a movie that has Muslims angry with the United States.
This is not to defend the movie. I have not seen it, or the trailer for it, and I do not care to. This is because I could not possibly care less about the movie, but I do care about defending free speech from terrorists and war criminals who have the primary objective of obliterating freedom and literally hate us because of our freedom.
Don't believe me? Read the words of one of the militant Muslims who is furious with us for allowing free speech: "I see the U.S. government allowed the Web to spread this link all over the world without limiting freedom, without banning it."
Do those who scoffed at the idea that "they hate us for our freedom" have an answer to this quote? Arresting the people responsible for the controversial movie would be giving aid and comfort to al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists and war criminals by giving them exactly what they want. This is also not a new phenomenon. Muslim terrorists rioted and murdered over a Florida pastor burning a Koran and over the publication of cartoons lampooning Muslim religious figure Mohammed.
This war on terror, which has been raging for several decades prior to the war crimes committed on 9/11, is absolutely about freedom. That is why we must never compromise to mindless savages who riot, murder and commit wanton acts of destruction because their precious feelings were hurt. That would be a betrayal of everything this nation stands for.
Are you a Christian? You need to be part of a local church. (See Hebrews 10:24-25.) It was never the intention of the Author of Scripture or the early church fathers that we be "lone wolf" Christians.
For decades, people have been able to get Biblical teaching from a variety of sources. Years ago, you could watch sermons on television (though you have to be careful because there is a lot of garbage out there) or you could send away for tapes of sermons and teaching. Now, you can go on the Internet and listen to as many sermons as you want, free of charge. Many people use this as an excuse not to attend church. It should not be this way.
I was listening to a teaching a while back from a person I respect, who delivers valuable expository teaching on the Word. He said that some folks had ordered his sermons and said that because they could not find a good church they considered him their pastor - something that drew no rebuke for the man I respect a great deal. It should not be this way. We need to be fed the Word directly from the pulpit, sitting in a church building. We should not get our teaching exclusively from MP3 files or streaming video. There are many reasons for this.
First, we need to submit to the authority of the leadership of a local church. We need to have a pastor who knows our sin and can recognize problems and sin in our lives to rebuke and encourage us. Local church leaders (elders, pastors and deacons) are the shepherds of our souls. You cannot have the sins and failings of your own life rebuked and disciplined by an MP3 file or a streaming video, because the preachers in that media do not even know you exist, much less what is happening in your life.
Second, it breaks our pride to submit to the authority and be taught God's Word by someone we know. When we know the pastor's sins, when we know his children's sin, and when we know the sins and failings of other church leaders, we must be humble in order to submit to their authority. As a father myself, I anticipate my failings will in some way be a blessing to my son, as he submits to my authority not because his father is a perfect man but because he is ordered to do so by our mutual Father in Heaven.
We also need to have fellowship with other believers. We can exhort and rebuke each other, encourage each other, and pray for each other. As Christians, we need the fellowship of other Christians to encourage us as we deal with a fallen world. It is good for us to pray for each other and it teaches humility when we confess our sins to one another and ask our brothers in Christ to pray for us to overcome these sins. We show the love of Christ when we pray for and serve our fellow Believers.
None of this is to say you should not seek out extra teaching on Scripture. I have done this and it is a good practice. I am not trying to discourage Christians from seeking to be instructed, exhorted and encouraged from various teachers. (Of course, you need to be sure that what you are listening to is Biblical, because you do not want your mind poisoned with filth such as the wicked Health and Wealth Gospel heresy.) But you need to be in a local church, where you can be challenged directly and where you can help others in their faith.
Rioting and murdering in response to a web video about the "prophet" Mohammed is the wildly disproportionate action of mindless savages. The terrorists who murdered our ambassador must be brought to justice and we should demand 100% full cooperation from the Libyan government.
I saw a post on Facebook last week about Christian doctrine and my first reaction - my very FIRST reaction - was to be offended by the post and to justify myself. (It does not matter who posted it or what it was about. I am intentionally omitting it because that is not the point.)
In my reaction, I sinned, even though I have not said a word about it to anyone else until right now. I was absorbed in my pride, because the god that I worship is Scott Tibbs.
What is your first reaction to criticism of what you practice or believe? Your first reaction should not be to be offended or to justify yourself. You should recognize that when you see a rebuke by someone who loves his Father in Heaven, that rebuke is almost certainly done in charity.
Your first reaction should not be my reaction. Your first reaction should be "Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am sinning. I need to study God's Word and pray about it."
Love God and His Word. Love His servants and be thankful for the rebuke you get. Have a soft heart. Recognize that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) and realize that you are an incredibly talented liar - especially when lying to yourself.
Notice how Gallup fudged the numbers by polling registered instead of likely voters. Polling registered voters instead of likely voters this close to the election is meaningless, which is why I don't trust most of the mainstream media's polls. We know there is an enthusiasm gab between Republicans and Democrats, with Republicans more excited about this election than Democrats. And even with fudging the numbers, when an incumbent is under 50% in September, that's got to worry Democrats.
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. - Proverbs 13:24
If we want to honor our Father in heaven, we must discipline our children here on earth. In doing so, we reflect His character and His love for us. By instructing our children in good behavior, we prepare them for how to live as an adult and - with God's mercy and grace - for how to live a life of service to the Lord. The Bible is filled with instructions for us on this matter, as well as good and bad examples.
When Samuel went to serve the Lord, he was placed in the care of Eli. This was a bad environment, because Eli was a failure as a father. His worthless sons stole the meat from people sacrificing it to the Lord, threatening to take it by force if it was not given to them. They had sex with women in the temple. (See 1 Samuel 2:12-16.) But God was with Samuel, who was dedicated in his heart to serving the Lord.
That is why it was so sad when Samuel failed his own sons by not disciplining them. (See 1 Samuel 8:3-5.) The sons of Samuel were so corrupt that when he was old, the people of Israel did not want to have them rule over the nation and asked for a king instead. After watching Eli fail so badly that God killed his sons, and after watching Eli himself be struck down by God, Samuel did not heed the one lesson he should have learned.
But that is not the only failure of God's servants in discipline. King David did nothing when his wicked son Amnon raped his sister Tamar. Because of David's failure to act, his other son Absalom then took vengeance on Tamar's behalf, murdering Amnon. Absalom became a problem for his father later, staging a coup and humiliating David by having sex with David's other wives in front of the people of Israel. When Absalom was killed by David's faithful servant Joab, David openly and loudly mourned Absalom, embarrassing the people and leading to a stern and well-deserved rebuke from Joab. (See 2 Samuel 13-19 for the whole sordid tale.)
But David didn't learn his lesson. Despite the fact that the throne of Israel was supposed to go to Solomon, David's son Adonijah rebelled against his father's authority, staged a coup and took the throne for himself. We see a very sad description of David's relationship with his son in 1 Kings 1:6, where the Holy Spirit reveals to us that David never crossed his son by questioning his behavior at any time.
Keep in mind that David, who was also an adulterer and murderer, was a man after God's own heart. It is an incredible blessing for us that Scripture records for all time the terrible failings and sins of God's people We can take comfort in those examples, knowing that our sins do not condemn. It is God's grace that saves us, not out own works - which would damn all of us to eternal torment in Hell. The Apostle Paul reinforces this point when he writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that we have no temptation but that which is common.
God's commands to instruct our children continue in the New Testament. In 1Timothy 3:4 and 3:12, the Apostle Paul explains that one of the qualifications for bishops (elders) and deacons is that their children must be under control and well behaved. The Apostle Paul further commands children to obey their parents in Ephesians 6:1-3 and Colossians 3:20, reminding of God's promise for those who honor and obey their parents and reminding fathers to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord while not provoking them to wrath.
But earthly fathers and mothers are a pale and flawed shadow of the perfect Father above. In all of our interactions with our children, we are to be pointing to the perfection of God and always instruct our children to worship and serve Him - even if that is in conflict with what we as parents want.
I have been waiting for Google Plus to open up its API so that I can automatically feed my blog to my G+ profile. According to DigitalTrends.com I am going to keep waiting. Why? Because Google does not intend to open the API at all.
I understand Google's reasoning. They want G+ to be a place for original content, not necessarily stuff that is automatically posted from another site. The problem is that G+ (with 170 million users) lags quite a bit behind Facebook and its 800 million users. Opening up the API would allow G+ to have more content, which would encourage people to read it more.
When G+ first launched, there was some excitement about it. One of my friends on both Facebook and G+ commented many times that the content on G+ was much better. The "circles" makes G+ a combination of Facebook and Twitter, and I wondered if G+ would seriously challenge Facebook. It looks like that is not going to happen.
In my opinion, the lack of an open API is something that is holding G+ back. I personally find it useful to be able to schedule posts on Facebook for a future time, and it is convenient to have my fan page automatically update with new blog posts without needing to touch it. The fact that I can auto-post doesn't impact the time I spend on Facebook, it just removes busywork. Take away the busywork, and I will probably spend more time looking at my news feed.
Here is what boggles my mind. Google owns Blogger, and there has been some integration between Blogger and Google Plus. My Blogspot profile automatically goes to Google Plus, for example. So while I understand why Google would not want to open up G+ to content from around the Internet, why would Google not have Blogspot posts automatically update a G+ profile? You have the option of manually sharing to G+ when you post a blog, but that only exists if you publish immediately. There is no option to automatically share if you schedule your posts - and virtually all of my blog posts are scheduled for the future.
What Google should heed is the lessons of MySpace, which was the undisputed king of social networking in 2006. Facebook was only available to a limited audience, before eventually opening up to everyone and challenging MySpace. But while Facebook started implementing more features - tagging friends in pictures, the news feed (which was very controversial at the time) and other things to allow people to do more, MySpace stood still. It became clear that Facebook was the superior software, and eventually the users followed. If Google wants to make G+ a legitimate competitor to Facebook, they need to offer their users more ways to provide content.
(County Council member Geoff) McKim projects $29,164,956 in revenues from property taxes, county option income taxes and miscellaneous fees during 2013, resulting in a $1,269,059 deficit as the hearings begin.
Leftists (especially Rachel Maddow) have been declaring for weeks that Mitt Romney's ads attacking Obama on welfare reform are a "dog whistle" to racists and play on racist resentment whites have against black people. With these criticisms, Romney's critics on the Left reveal their own racist views.
Here's the issue: The only way the accusation that Romney is a "racist" works is if you assume that welfare recipients are black. By claiming that Romney is playing on "white resentment" of "black welfare recipients" Romney's critics reveal their own assumptions about who is on welfare. There are blacks, whites, Hispanics and others who get various kinds of welfare payments - the benefits do not exclusively go to any one race.
So who are the real racists here? Is it the Romney campaign, for attacking Obama's executive order on welfare reform? Or is it Obama's defenders, who claim "racism based on the premise that welfare recipients are black? It is obvious that it is the latter.
When Obama was elected in 2008, the promise was that our nation's first black President would help heal our racial divisions. That did not happen. In fact, it got worse. This is because Obama's opponents were accused of opposing him simply because he is black - as if Republicans would have fallen in line had Southern white male John Edwards been nominated and elected instead and pushed the exact same policies.
See, this is why we cannot heal our racial divisions in this nation. We cannot have a rational discussion of public policy - be it welfare reform or housing policy - without opportunistic race baiters shamelessly playing the race card and accusing their opponents of "dog whistling" to white racists. If we are going to deal with issues of race, we have to stop injecting race into every issue.
Last night, ABC Nightline had an eye-opening report about corporate cash at the Democratic National Convention. Specifically, Duke Energy got over $200,000,000 from the Obama administration. Now Duke's CEO has pledged to raise millions of dollars in campaign contributions for Obama, as well as spending huge amounts of money at the convention.
Years ago, Lance Armstrong's enemies began a so-called "investigation" of his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, but that "investigation" has about as much credibility as a pro wrestling match. The outcome has been predetermined for years - Armstrong is guilty. The "investigation" was always going to continue until the "investigators" got what they wanted. This "investigation" was never legitimate and was never anything more than a witch hunt.
Now, Armstrong has decided he will no longer cooperate with the so-called "investigation" because it was never going to be conducted in good faith. John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said this about Lance Armstrong: "His failure to rebut these charges, these very serious charges, mean that he's effectively acknowledging that they had substance."
John Fahey is a liar.
The fact of the matter is that Armstrong has cooperated for years with this "investigation." He has submitted to literally hundreds of tests, none of which have ever determined he was doping. The reason he is giving up now is because it is more than clear that this is not, has never been and will never be a legitimate or fair "investigation" of doping. If this was legitimate, it would have ended years ago. If I said what I really thought about this despicable and shameful defamation of character, it would require a long string of obscenities that would be completely inappropriate for this or any other website.
The treatment of Armstrong is appalling. Here is a man who nearly died of cancer, and set up a foundation to help cancer patients. He fought back from the cancer, beating it and doing what should have been impossible. There was a very strong likelihood he would never be able to ride competitively at all. He not only did that, but he won the Tour de France - several times. Because of his personal courage, discipline and perseverance, he is an inspiration to millions around the world.
I don't know why there is such an unhinged vendetta against Armstrong, and frankly I do not care. But Armstrong's enemies need to drop it. This witch hunt has permanently tarnished the reputation of cycling and shredded the credibility of the various anti-doping agencies, much in the same way the thoroughly corrupt French so-called "judges" permanently destroyed the credibility of Olympic figure skating by accepting bribes a decade ago. This entire process is about politics, not justice.
I am the author of the very first letter to the editor published in the Herald-Times criticizing the Patriot Act. I lobbied the Bloomington City Council to pass a resolution against the Patriot Act in 2003.
While I vehemently disagree with President Obama on a wide variety of issues and will vote against him again, I had hoped that one positive thing that would come from his election four years ago would be a greater respect for civil liberties, especially after his party had been so critical of President Bush's record on civil liberties.
No such luck. Obama re-authorized the Patriot Act, allowing continued overreach of federal power and the ability to monitor Americans.
That is not all. The Obama administration has drastically increased the use of drone strikes, including one to assassinate an American citizen who had not even been charged with a crime, much less convicted of a crime. Now we are increasingly seeing drones used for surveillance here in America.
Obama has continued to sell military equipment to local police, raising more civil liberties concerns.
To Democrats who had the same hopes I did, I have a question.
Note: I submitted this as a letter to the editor on August 27.
In the IDS article about county government meeting times, county commissioner Iris Kiesling tried to use overtime for county employees as an excuse not to have meetings at a time where they would be accessible to the general public. The overtime claim is nonsense and Kiesling knows it.
First, county employees work 35 hours per week, and time between 35 and 40 hours is banked as compensatory time at a rate of one hour earned per hour worked. Schedules can be adjusted to allow employees who need to attend an evening county commissioners meeting to take that time off. County council meetings have always been held outside of normal county government working hours, so this has been the case with employees required to attend those meetings for many years. It is simply a matter of elected officials and department heads managing their employees' schedules.
Another important point is that department heads are often the ones required to attend the meetings. Department heads are classified as "exempt" employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act and do not get overtime or compensatory time time for working extra hours. Because of these facts, there is no legitimate reason county government would need to pay any extra money in overtime costs.
Kiesling has been a county commissioner for more than 15 years, having taken office in 1997, so she knows all of this. Before that, she was on the Bloomington City Council as an at-large member. The city council meets at 7:30 p.m. Perhaps it would be an inconvenience for the commissioners to meet during the evenings, but the commissioners were elected to serve us. If Kiesling is not willing to take that step, perhaps she should be replaced by former plan commission member John Newlin.
The IDS is to be commended for citing Republican candidate Nelson Shaffer's support of reform, especially since the Herald-Times completely ignored his statement on the issue. Shaffer is clearly the best choice to replace outgoing county commissioner Mark Stoops. To learn more about Mr. Shaffer, visit ElectShaffer.com or facebook.com/NelsonRShafferCampaign.
We keep hearing that Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney among women, and how the gender gap is a problem for Romney. However, polls have consistently revealed that the overall numbers are very close. The conclusion? Romney obviously leads Obama among men by a similar margin to Obama's lead among women. Why is there no worry over this gender gap? Why does the media only focus on the gender gap among women?