Friday, March 31, 2006

"Momma Twoop" Reports on the Illegal Immigration Issue

A couple of things:

First, check out this article Mexican illegals vs. American voters - Editorials/Op-Ed - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper written by Tony Blankley, March 29, 2006, for some interesting statistics, excerpts follow (I added the bullet points to the polling data):

"National polling data could not be more emphatic — and has been so for decades.

  • Gallup Poll (March 27) finds 80 percent of the public wants the federal government to get tougher on illegal immigration.

  • A Quinnipiac University Poll (March 3) finds 62 percent oppose making it easier for illegals to become citizens (72 percent in that poll don't even want illegals to be permitted to have driver's licenses).

  • Time Magazine's recent poll (Jan. 24-26) found 75 percent favor "major penalties" on employers of illegals, 70 percent believe illegals increase the likelihood of terrorism and 57 percent would use military force at the Mexican-American border.

  • An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (March 10-13) found 59 percent opposing a guest-worker proposal, and 71 percent would more likely vote for a congressional candidate who would tighten immigration controls.

  • An IQ Research poll (March 10) found 92 percent saying that securing the U.S. border should be a top priority of the White House and Congress. Yet, according to a National Journal survey of Congress, 73 percent of Republican and 77 percent of Democratic congressmen and senators say they would support guest-worker legislation...."

"...The public demand to protect our borders will triumph sooner or later. And, the more brazen the opposing politicians, the sooner will come the triumph. So legislate on, you proud and foolish senators — and hasten your political demise. "

Now, consider this recent phone conversation between our own "Momma Twoop" and a representative of Senator Lugar's office. She sent me this email yesterday recounting the conversation:

We're too irrational (or maybe stupid) to know what's best for us and our country.

As you all know, I called Lugar's office in Indy this morning. The more I think about the conversation, the madder I become. I started off asking this aide, who was male, if Sen. Lugar still supported a guest worker program/amnesty in the face of hundreds of thousands of protesters marching in support of a foreign country, burning American flags and flying US flags upside down. His reply was, "Well, Ma'am those who are burning US flags and flying them upside down are only a tiny fraction of the thousands who are protesting." I said, "Why would he want amnesty for people who would do that?"

Can you guess his response? Bet you can.

You guessed it. He said, "Those marching are only a tiny portion of the 20 million (he actually quoted that number!!!) here in the country." Then he went on to say that the Senator does not support amnesty. He said they would be required to register for a NEW kind of visa, HB-5 (I think), pay a fine, show proof that they were attempting to learn English, and they had to have a job. I asked how issuing a NEW kind of visa would be any help when we couldn't even keep track of those holding visas now and I also said that anything short of sending them back home to re-enter this country legally is AMNESTY and it will encourage more to come. He said that the legislation Lugar supports would put in place 1,000 new workers each year over several years to deal with that part of enforcement. I said, "1,000 immigration employees for ELEVEN MILLION people?!" He then tried to mollify my anger by telling me that Lugar supported "strict border enforcement" by doubling border agents, beefing up border security, blah, blah, blah. I said, "Border security has allegedly been "beefed" up for the past five years and it hasn't accomplished anything. How is this going to be any different? We CANNOT keep track of those who are here NOW, either legally or illegally!"

I asked him why Lugar would support this when polls overwhelmingly show Americans, including his constituents who sent him to DC to represent their wishes, do not support a temporary guest worker program or amnesty. He get this....HE SAID:

"Senator Lugar was voted into office to do what HE thinks is best for the nation and Indiana."

There you have it folks. We don't matter. We didn't vote him in because we wanted to have a say in state matters. We might as well not even call his office, I guess. He's the Ruler of the roost. He does what HE thinks is best because he's just that damned good. We're either too stupid or, according to this aide, too "shooting from the hip" , a.k.a. too emotionally-driven, to be given any attention. I asked him, "So, you're saying that Hoosiers are too stupid to know what's best for them or the country?"

"No ma'am. I'm just saying that Senator Lugar was sent to Washington to do what HE thinks is best."

Me: " you're saying we don't matter?"

"No ma'am. I'm just saying that Senator Lugar was sent to Washington to do what HE thinks is best."

Me: That is exactly what you're saying. Americans don't matter.

Him: Ma'am, of course Americans do matter, but he isn't going to shoot from the hip. He was sent to Washington to look at the situation and do what HE thinks is right for the country.

Me: Does the Senator know that during the first half of this decade, jobs held by Americans actually DECREASED by half a million, but jobs held by foreigners, legal and illegal, actually INCREASED by 1.3 million?"

Him: Yes. I'm sure the Senator is aware of that.

Me: Then why, when it is IRREFUTABLE that Americans are being displaced from their jobs, would he support legalizing millions of illegals? Not only that, they're a NET COST to the American taxpayer as it is and they will cost us even more once they become legal. They aren't going to become magically richer. They're going to use even MORE taxpayer funded services. HOW can he support it?"

Him: They pay billions in taxes.

Me: But it's costing Americans BILLIONS MORE than the BILLIONS they allegedly pay in. Illegals are a NET COST to taxpayers.

Him: The Department of Commerce says differently. They say that if we send them all home, our economy would collapse. (Notice how he didn't argue with the FACT that they DO cost more than they bring in. He's a good little spinning top, that aide!)

Me: 80,000 Hispanic workers didn't show up for work in Georgia to protest immigration legislation and that state survived.

Him: Out of the 20 million here.

Me: And what makes you think Americans wouldn't step up to the plate once their competition left, or that other areas wouldn't survive if illegals left over time?

Him: I'll pass your comments on to the Senator. Have a nice day. ::click::

Pass this on to anyone you care to. I'm so mad right now, I could bite a nail in two. Am ringing Bayh's Indy office next.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Slater: Why America is Polarized III

I had hoped I would get a further reply from Dr. Philip Slater, but since I did not I am going to go ahead and post the last reply I received from him. I had not posted it here yet. For background on this discussion, please refer to my previous blog entries: Slater: Why America is Polarized and Slater: Why America is Polarized II.

Following is Dr. Slater's reply to my update on Slater: Why America is Polarized II, followed by the reply I sent him this morning:

In a message dated 3/17/2006 4:11:39 P.M. Central Standard Time, pslater@XXXX (link removed) writes:

Your addendum is correct. The quotes were meant to refer to the perception of human nature. Because in fact, I am perfectly willing to accept the premise that human nature doesn't change so long as you recognize that no one, in fact, can demonstrate conclusively what it is, but only utter culturally-determined opinions about what it is. And those opinions are in a constant state of flux.

What my article is about is culture, which makes people behave in all kinds of strange ways and consider them both virtuous and "natural". Cultures change, and hence the way people behave changes.

Yes, of course competition is part of human nature and we are all competitive as well as cooperative. But for most of human history, until the last 8000 years or so, the latter was seen as more important, valuable, etc. And as the world shrinks, this will become true again.
Traits don't disappear, they are simply discouraged or relegated to certain social and personal compartments. The traits don't change, they are part of human repertory. But their importance changes. Just as an actor is capable of playing many different kinds of roles, but in Hollywood he's likely to become typecast and many of his potential abilities will atrophy somewhat.

I hope this clears up the confusion.


Dear Dr. Slater,

I have been waiting to update my blog with this response in the hope that you would reply to the rest of my email, as you mentioned above, so that I could reply to both this and your continuing thoughts.

I would disagree with you on your suggestion that no one can conclusively demonstrate what is human nature. There, absolutely, are some things or actions which mankind holds in common across the globe. Yes, it certainly is somewhat ethereal, but I am certain that if one put one's mind to it that commonalities could be determined to be human nature.

I agree that cultures go through changes, Dr. Slater, that isn't an issue and never has been an issue. What was an issue for me was what I erroneously perceived as your assertion that human nature changes.

In times of polarization in America do you think it is helpful to the goal of communication to make further effort to define different groups and add labels, heretofore unknown?

What purpose does this serve?

I too am very interested in the topic of polarization in America, but add to that interest the effects that labeling has on discourse in America today. I find communication fascinating. I also think that a more Nationally unified America would be beneficial in many ways to aid in this communicative goal. I can't help but feel that this further, new labeling is detrimental to National unity so I wonder what goal you have in proposing it? Further, I wonder if this is not a bit of the "divide and conquer" philosophy in action. It seems as long as Americans can be kept polarized the less those who would like to change its culture (or control it) have to worry about interference in their cause. As long as Americans are polarized to such an extent it is detrimental to real communication, to real "connecting," if you will. What is YOUR reason for creating a new category of the way Americans culturally communicate in further effort to polarize them, or if I am wrong and you are not trying to accomplish further distinctions and new "modern" labels with which certain Americans will surely tout themselves more elite, intelligent and *hip* than other Americans because they are not trying to "control" but rather "connect" (doesn't that sound special?) , then by all means, please explain the purpose of this "creation" of yours.

I still disagree with you that these two characterizations, "Connecting" and "Controlling" Cultures exist in the firm categories you have defined. I do not believe that you can broadly, or generally, attach these communicative attitudes to people. All people, to various degrees, hold some of the qualities of what you describe as "Connecting" and some of the qualities which you describe as "Controlling," yet, regardless of the approach, the ultimate goal remains the same: Both cultures seek control through different means, in the end suggesting that both cultures are, in fact, "Controlling" Cultures.

Thank you for your time.


Jacke M.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Abdul Rahman

Angel, at The Rogue Angel, has a blog entry on the Afghani case of Abdul Rahman, Christian Refuses To Deny Christ, complete with some breaking news I haven't read yet.

She provides a link so that one can write a letter to the President to take action, along with many links to news stories about the case. Please visit there and take action. Thank you.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Anti-war Counter Protest

3-18-06 Anti-War Counter Protest
After Action Report

“So, what has George Bush done to show his enemies that he loves them?” (The stupidest question of the day launched by an intellectual and repeatedly self-described “progressive” Christian law professor regarding the president’s actions towards terrorists.)

Most of the people at the protest were nice. Those that had something nasty to say did so in drive-by fashion. “George Bush is the enemy,” while walking quickly past us. “Oh, you’re protesting peace,” as they hurried across the street to join the peaceniks. One man actually walked backwards across the street while giving us a verbal lashing. The only problem was that he hadn’t a single tooth in his head and his lips were like earthworms on steroids. We couldn’t understand a word he said. It all came out as “Thhhhhhhhppptttoooo, sscchhhhhhhhpot, sshhhhhhtat!” I simply responded with a smile and said, “Have a nice day!” Mom asked, “Are they all spineless? Don’t they have the balls to say something to our face? Most of them only snipe!”

We arrived downtown at about 12:45 and parked in a garage about a block away, due east of the Circle. It was a nice sunny day, but cold and windy. People had already started gathering on the Circle. We decided to walk around the south side of the Circle first to see if there were any others like “us”…people who support the troops, think they should be allowed to finish the job, who are proud of the great job they have done thus far. No luck at finding others, so we stationed ourselves on the outer portion of the Circle, on the northwest corner where Meridian Street comes in. This put us directly across the street from the anti-war crowd.

We stationed ourselves and held up our signs. One two-sided sign said: “Support the Troops, Let Them Finish the Job!” and “Honor the Dead by Rooting for Victory!” The other two-sided sign, the one I held, said: “Peace Activists Aid the Enemy!” and “Al Qaida Supports You! WE DO NOT!” I also held a single-sided sign which read, “Support the Troops! Support the Mission!”

We could see people across the street reading our signs, prompting me to turn my sign around for their benefit. I wanted them to know exactly how I felt. Not long after we revealed our signs, several men made their way across the street towards us. Their names were Gary, Gary and Jerry, all Vietnam veterans, one in a wheelchair. The man in the wheelchair asked Mom, “Finish the job, eh? I guess that’s the problem. No one knows when the job will be finished.” I spoke up, “When Iraq can take care of its own security and provide for its own defense, it will be finished.” He mentioned that it seemed highly unlikely that would ever occur since they couldn’t do anything but squabble over the kind of government they wanted. I reminded him that they were a very young democracy and that they were going to “squabble” over many things for quite a long time. I said, “Expecting everything to go smoothly in such a short time is unrealistic. Do you think any Democracy was able to agree on everything immediately?” He just shook his head. He said he couldn’t support the war because of all the people getting killed and I asked him if he could recall any war our country has ever been in where no one was killed. Again, he just shook his head. He then asked if I felt the falling poll numbers meant there was little support for the war in Iraq. I told him the poll numbers only meant that they (pointing to the peaceniks across the street) had achieved a little more success with their propaganda campaign. He said, “Wow. Propaganda. Thanks.” I said, “You’re welcome.” I said, “I’m here because what happened in this country during Vietnam will not happen again if I can help it. Anti-war propaganda will not go unchallenged as long as there is breath in my body. Our troops deserve better.” We talked for a while more and, after my replies stumped him repeatedly, he said, “I respect your opinion.” I thanked him for his service to our country, and off he went.

The other two men, Gary and Jerry, had been talking to Mom, so I didn’t hear what they had to say. After they left, though, she said they acted as though their status as Vietnam veterans qualified them as being “right” and us wrong. Mom told them that family members and friends who were also Vietnam veterans felt exactly as she and I did and she was there representing them. They all left on friendly terms.

A countless number of people drove by shouting “Alright!” or giving the thumbs-up to Mom and me. Quite a few people went out of their way to tell us that they were with us 100%. One man came over with his daughter who looked to be about 11 or 12 years old. He shook our hands and said he used the anti-war rally as an educational tool for his daughter. They had walked through the crowd while he explained the lies on the signs to her. They stood with us for about 10 minutes.

The actual first person to join us as we stood on the corner was a window washer. He had been washing the exterior windows of the Columbia Club high above the crowd and came down on his break to see what was going on. He was disappointed with what he found. When he saw us, he made a beeline towards us to shake our hands and tell us he agreed with us completely. He stayed with us for the duration of his break and when it was time to return, said he wished he had a huge sign to unfurl from the top of the building he was working on. Ah, that would have been wonderful, but no such luck.

Another man came walking across the street with his girlfriend. He was a Gulf War veteran and he told us he agreed with us and shook our hands. He pointed at the crowd across the street and said “Those folks are idiots.” His girlfriend said, “And he ain’t getting no loving after today!” She was a peacenik, but she seemed nice enough and she made her remark with a smile on her face. Hopefully it WAS just a joke! They walked on, but when they returned, she went over with the peaceniks and he stayed with us, holding one of our signs. He stayed with us for about 40 minutes.

Some young folks came walking up from Ivy Tech, a young man and young lady. She was a student there and he was in from New York visiting her. They both agreed with us and stood with us for about 10 to 15 minutes. Another young man came walking by, said “God bless you for doing this” and kept walking, holding his arms up and yelling “Bush! Bush!” to see if he got a reaction from the other side of the street. I raised my signs and hollered “Wooooweeeee!” at him and he responded in kind.

The peaceniks were comprised of a variety of folks – old, young, hippyish to preppyish. One man was carrying a McDonald’s sign, with the golden arches made out of cardboard. Instead of McDonald’s, it said “McDubya’s” and he wore a Cheney mask. Mom asked what in the hell his message was supposed to be. I said, “I don’t know. The only thing I can figure is that he’s trying to say “Look at me. I’m an asshole.”

At some point during the "peace" rally, Cindy Sheehan called in and gave a speech via a cell phone. We couldn't really hear what she was saying as the PA system wasn't very good. Thank goodness for small favors.

The prize encounter of the day, though, was with the condescending, elitist “law professor” quoted above. She came over with a smile on her face, trying to mask her desire for an argument. Her first words were, “Hello, I’m a law professor and I guess I’m one of the enemies.” We said hello. She asked if we were Christians, because Christ said we were to “love our enemy.” I said, “Oh, do you love George Bush?” She said she did. She’s a Christian, she said, but she would do everything in her power to remove the criminal from office. Mom asked her what made her think he was a criminal. She said “wiretapping Americans, the illegal, immoral war in Iraq, and the unconstitutional Patriot Act.” Mom said, “wiretapping Americans?” And she said, “Yes. I’m a law professor and what he did was clearly against the law.” Mom said, “But what about all the other law professors who have come to a different conclusion than you? Are you going to dismiss them?” The lady said, “Ma’am, have you even read the law? I’m a law professor,” as though no one on the face of this earth had the qualifications to question her. I spoke up, “I have read it and you’re wrong. Warrants are needed only when Americans are the TARGET of the wiretapping. They were not. The TARGETS of the wiretaps were foreign agents calling into, or being called from, the U.S., which is clearly allowed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.” Rather than argue with any of the facts laid before her, she chose to attack my intelligence. “And what do YOU know about the law?” I said, “I’m neither a lawyer nor a law professor, but I’m also far from stupid. Do you think Americans, those who aren’t law professors, are too stupid to understand the law?” Rather than answer, she chose to change the subject. “Do you agree with the war in Iraq?” I said, “Yes, I do,” and while I was answering that question, she fired off another. “Do you think George Bush is a Christian?” I said, “What does that have to do with anything?” “Well,” she said, “he says he’s a Christian, but he doesn’t act like one. As Christians, we’re called to love our enemy. If he’s a Christian, why aren’t our troops in Rwanda instead of Iraq?” she asked. I said, “Don’t you mean Darfur? Why are you blasting him for “illegally invading a sovereign” country, suggesting we had no “right” to invade even for humanitarian reasons, while blasting him for not invading another sovereign country for humanitarian reasons? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical, not to mention intellectually dishonest?” They’re so hypocritical on all their stances! Again, she changed the subject. “I’m talking about motive. We’re over there killing innocent people after we armed Saddam.” I said, “That’s a lie. Aren’t you, as a Christian, supposed to tell the truth?” She said, “Yes.” I suggested she could start by dropping that lie from her rhetoric. I informed her that between 1970 and the Gulf War, the U.S. was responsible for providing a total of 1% of all of Iraq’s weapons imports, the majority of their weaponry came from Russia, China and France. She responded by saying (and I’m still giggling over it), “If I give you a gun, I’ve armed you.” I said, “If that’s the analogy you want to use, fine. If all of Iraq’s weapons were a ‘gun,’ it would be more accurate to say the U.S. provided a bullet or a grip, not the entire gun. Suggesting otherwise is a LIE, something your Christianity forbids.” I asked her why she would rather ignore the truth and damn her own country by giving everyone else a pass. She said, “Did I ever say I damn my country?” I asked her what she thought she was doing by lying about who armed Saddam, giving all other countries a pass, ignoring the facts, and instead choosing to lie about it and her country. She said she didn’t give everyone else a pass, but America is where she lived, voted and could change policy. I said, “When you say ‘We armed him,’ it is a lie and you’re consciously choosing to lay blame on your country, one of those LEAST responsible for it. You are damning your country by doing so.” Again, she changed the subject. “The bible says we’re supposed to love our enemies. What has George Bush done to show our enemies that he loves them?” After picking my jaw up off the pavement, I said, “What would you have him do…send over a ship full of Americans to expose their throats for the terrorists’ enjoyment?” She said, “I can see there won’t be any areas of agreement between us.” I said, “No, I don’t think there will be.” She said, “I’ll pray for you. You know, we’re working very hard to take Christianity back to the way it should be, to what it really represents, which is love.” I said, “You do that, and we’ll pray for you, too.” Mom said, with a smile and a bewildered look on her face, “Yeah. You really, really need it.”

I can’t really remember all this crazy lady said, but I do remember her responding to something Mom said with, “Oh, but that’s in the Old Testament,” as though it should be ignored. When called on it, she brought up some passage from the OT which called for stoning someone as punishment. When Mom and I were both attempting to tell her that the LESSONS of the OT were still valid, she continually changed the subject. I also remember asking her what gave her the right to take one passage of the bible, “Love your enemies” and to ignore everything else contained within it in her quest to bend over backwards to bash her country. She never answered. She did go out of her way to portray herself as a TRUE Christian, whereas Mom and I were only “pretending” or “fake” ones. I kept thinking, “This woman is delusional and truly believes everyone, aside from herself, is too stupid to see the truth.” It’s scary to know that she is actually in the position of influencing young minds!

After she left and Mom and I recovered from the incredulous encounter, we stayed around for several more minutes. Things were winding down and the chill had settled into our bones. The final high note was to see an SUV with two occupants driving by. The passenger of said SUV was giving the one finger salute to the peaceniks on the Circle through the driver’s lowered window. I cracked up laughing and looked at Mom’s watch. It was 2:40 p.m. and I said, “Let’s wrap it up. I think we’ve done our job.” Mom agreed and we made our way back to the parking garage.

Mom did an interview with the Indianapolis Star. I gave an interview to Fox 59 and a Bloomington student newspaper. Fox’s coverage was short, but pretty unbiased, which is good.

That’s it for now.

Until next time…..

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Something to share

I felt blessed when I came across a wonderful blog entry this afternoon and I wanted to share it for two reasons. One because it is about horses and I think they are one of the most amazing creatures God graced this earth with. Second, because it is used as an example of God in our lives, and also, how we too can affect the lives of those around us.

Here ya go.........
Jericho's Journal: Listen for the Bell

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Listen for the Bell

Someone emailed this to me and I wanted to share it with ya'all.

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.

From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing..Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind.

His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.If nearby and listening, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her halter is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her.As you stand and watch these two friends, you'll see how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray. When she returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally and looks back, making sure her friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see.

Good friends are like this. You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.

Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Slater: Why America is Polarized II

Much to my surprise I found a reply from Philip Slater, Author and Playwright, last night. Following is his email reply to the email documented in my previous blog entry: Slater: Why America is Polarized and the answer I emailed to him a few moments ago:

In a message dated 3/16/2006 5:51:44 P.M. Central Standard Time, Philip Slater (private email address removed) writes:

"Dear Jacke:

You seem to have misunderstood much of what I was trying to say--partly, I think, because it's very difficult to cram a book-length set of ideas into a short article, and partly because you seem very attached to the idea that nothing ever changes.

First, I did not say that human nature is culturally-determined. I said that how cultures DEFINE what human nature is culturally-determined. Cultures do determine what parts of "human nature" are valued and encouraged and what parts are devalued and discouraged. Research studies show, for example that altruistic behavior is innate in humans, and even in mammals. It is, in fact, an important survival mechanism for a comparatively weak and awkward species. but our capitalistic culture encourages competition and selfishness, tells us that 'nice guys finish last' and 'winning is the ONLY thing', etc. Control culture demonized sexuality. Connector culture, when it becomes dominant, will probably demonize aggression.

I don't know where you're living if you think nothing has changed since the 1950s. Or maybe you're not old enough to remember. Why do you think fundamentalists the world over (for there is essentially no difference between Muslim and Christian fundamentalists in what they advocate) are in such a rage?

I thought I made it clear that no 'pure' version of Connector culture could ever exist for long, any more than a 'pure' version of Control culture could, although both have been attempted. It's a question of emphasis. But the emphasis is changing, and will continue to. And if you think control is the be-all and end-all of human striving then I feel bad for the way you're living.
It's true that control has been an exaggerated part of human striving for a long time in most of the world. Most cultures have a myth of a "Fall", when humans gave up the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of trusting to nature, and tried to control their food supply through agriculture. There's no turning back from that fatal move, but we are beginning to learn from it.

Philip Slater"


Dear Dr. Slater,

I don't know how you got the idea that I am, or seem, very attached to the idea that nothing ever changes. You have misunderstood me. What never changes is that our world is constantly changing. What you misunderstand is that I was speaking about human nature. Though the world and all of its societies and cultures are always changing, human nature does not change. It is unclear what you meant in your reply when you wrote "I said that how cultures DEFINE what human nature is culturally-determined." While it is true that cultures may value different aspects of human nature more than others, human nature is, in and of itself, immutable and yet, in your original article you wrote:

"We've been steeped for so long in this cultural system that many people assume its customs and norms are locked in our DNA. They think Control Culture is just "human nature". But what was "human nature" two thousand years ago is very different from what "human nature" was twenty thousand years ago, or what it will be a thousand years from now. Human societies have managed to persuade people to act in the most varied and outlandish ways, and to believe their odd habits "natural"." (emphasis mine).

You appear to confuse actions and habits, and perhaps even fads, with human nature, Dr. Slater. Why you choose to confuse the two, or guide others into an unclear understanding of the distinctions between the two, I can only guess. It seems to me that if you want to be taken seriously that you would want to distinguish between habits or behavior and human nature, instead, you have implied that human nature is in a never ending state of flux or, I have considered, that since you have enclosed human nature in quotation marks every time you have used it, that possibly you believe human nature is a fallacy? It compels me to define the meaning of human nature for you and for the readers of my blog:

Human nature, 1. the quality inherent in all persons by virtue of their common humanity.

Quality, n. 1. a characteristic, property or attribute: useful qualities.

Inherent, adj. 1. existing in something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute.

Humanity, n. 1. the human race; mankind.

(Source of all definitions: The American College Dictionary (New York: Random House Inc., 1951)) (some emphasis mine).

Dr. Slater, don't get me wrong, I very much appreciate the time you took out of your schedule to reply to me, however, it does not take a Harvard Ph. D to see that you are suggesting that human nature is mutable. It does appear that you suggest that human nature is effected by the culture of the time in which a man lives and that it is mutable. This is not true. Human nature is immutable.

You bring up other issues in your reply which I must address. You wrote "...but our capitalistic culture encourages competition and selfishness...." I agree, our capitalistic culture certainly does "encourage" competition and selfishness, however, the manner in which you phrase this charge seems to suggest that there is something wrong with competition. I believe that the competitive spirit is an inherent attribute of mankind, in other words is human nature, as well.

People are faced with choices in their lives every day. People can choose to compete and be selfish, compete and be benevolent, not compete and just get by in life. There are a myriad of choices which human beings must make about how they will live their lives, what will be their priorities, etc. I would assume that when you publish a book you receive pay for it. I assume that because your books are listed at that you would like to continue to benefit from them. Likewise, you have a listing of plays you have written at your web site and provide your email address to those who might be interested in them. Do you charge a fee for the use of your plays? The point I am trying to make is that you are competing in the marketplace of original thought, Dr. Slater.

When you receive your royalties from these works you have a choice of what you will do with the proceeds. Will you buy a new car, will you go to the dentist, will you decide to remodel your home or parts of your home, will you put some of the proceeds in a collection plate at the church of your choice, will you give it all to charity, will you give a part of it to charity? In short, YOU and YOU alone will choose how benevolent or how selfish you will be with the proceeds of the original thought which you have sold in the marketplace. I cannot help but wonder what you envision as the alternative to this capitalistic culture? A socialistic culture? And if so, who is in "CONTROL" of the purse? The "Connecting Culture?" Why wait for the government to demand that you give an equal share of your income to those less privileged than yourself, Dr. Slater? I would happily provide you with my address and you can send me my fair share today! ;)

Again, you claim that I misunderstood what you have written in your eleven to twelve page article and yet you seem to have totally misunderstood the point I was making in my own one and a half page review of same. I would like to be given credit for raising questions which you refused to answer, instead you have chosen to pretend that you were misunderstood. You, good sir, are the writing teacher, I am a simple blogger, living in the Missouri Ozarks with little training in the skill. It would behoove you to articulate yourself in such a way that others, such as myself, could not misunderstand you, however, that said, I don't believe I have misunderstood you at all.

I would love to address your aside that "there is essentially no difference between Muslim and Christian fundamentalists in what they advocate." Perhaps some other time, but for this email I would like to return to the original subject and finish making my point.

Our Nation has historically always been steeped in change, Dr. Slater, that is what I meant by there being "nothing NEW under the sun," this is a quote that comes from the Bible, in case you are not familiar with the phrase. It was written by King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes, through the inspiration of God.

We have always been changing. There has always been a government in power which was placed there by the American voter. Our Nation and the greater world is not and NEVER HAS BEEN a neat, tidy place but has always been in flux, that is what has not changed, that we are in a constant state of change. Emphasis has always changed and you are right to say that it will continue to change. You suspect that I believe that control "is the be-all, end-all" and offer sympathy for my life? That is not necessary, but I appreciate the sentiment. It is human nature to exercise control over our lives, Dr. Slater and that, good sir, is immutable.

Jacke M.

Note to readers: It occured to me as I was rereading this entry that Dr. Slater was referring to what we "perceive" as "human nature" when he enclosed human nature in quotation marks in the quoted portion of his article. In that case I might have crafted my reply to his email somewhat differently. The fact that it took me so long to grasp his meaning is simply an indication, in my opinion, that he could have articulated himself a little better in that part of his article. Yes, this is an admission that I did misunderstand him, however, I feel that if I misunderstood him that the chances are that many other people may have misunderstood him as well. Therefore, this has been a good opportunity to clarify his meaning.

The greater argument would be over whether a want to control one's own life and effect control over the world at large, including other people, animals and agriculture is human nature. I believe that it is human nature and has been documented throughout history. It is not a cultural fad.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Outreach in the Real World?

I have been debating with myself about whether to write this post or not. I realize that my blog often is somewhat cold, somewhat aloof and not very personal. Probably because while I don't consider myself as cold, I am somewhat aloof and reserved except with very close family and friends in my life. I suppose God chose to make me that way, chose to put me in the situations in my life that I have been in to groom me that way, has a purpose for me being me. I must say, though, I am just not as emotionally connected as most women. I don't cry at the drop of a hat like some of my friends and often don't get the "warm and fuzzies" about the same things many of them get the "warm and fuzzies" about. I am who I am, I just don't know how to become someone other than that. I wonder, at times, if it has something to do with raising two step-sons who were typical boys. Anyway, I have decided to try to blog about this latest disconcerting episode in my life even though it is so immensely personally and I almost hate to give it enough credence to even blog about it. The reason I have chosen to do so is to point out that church just isn't perfect.

First of all, I have commented on my previous church at some other people's blogs but never written about it here. My husband and I were members there for just a couple of months shy of eight years.

We worked in the children's ministry. We worked in Children's Church, Royal Ambassadors and Vacation Bible School. We loved that work, but in retrospect I realize I could have done a better job in serving Christ than I did there. I could have taken more initiative. I could have promoted more events outside of the normal structured times and I had good intentions, I just never got around to doing it.

We served under an elderly pastor who the Deacons of our church tried to force out without a vote from the congregation. It is my humble feeling that the pastor's authority was undermined for at least two years prior to this effort to oust him. Without going into too much detail, there was an eventual vote and the majority of the congregation wanted the pastor to stay. Due to the extreme stress of the situation, however, the pastor ended up resigning. The stress was having an adverse effect on the pastor's and his wife's health. My husband and I were visiting family out of state when the pastor resigned and we never returned to the church.

I understand that many members in that church believe that anyone who left the church, because of what happened there, left because they were "following the pastor" rather than God. That is not the reason we left. We left because of the unloving nature and sheer evil intent, in my opinion, of many of the members there, Deacons included. We left because of the impatience of people in wanting to hurry into the future of our church rather than wait for God's timing. It is my belief that if all would have just relaxed that this pastor, who had faithfully served the church there for over fifteen years, would have retired as God's will became apparent to him. Instead he was run out of the church and the church was splintered due to the impatience of some members and Deacons. I do not believe that it would have been God's will for him to leave under the circumstances in which he left. This situation was an eye-opener for myself and my husband. We did not expect that our brothers and sisters in Christ at that church could be so venomous, could scream and shout in a business meeting and treat the pastor who had served us so well with such disrespect.

We left that church and joined another several months later, taking the children we had been taking to church for about three years with us. We sought a new church home which offered a good children's ministry and had a heart for children and we found one at this new church. Our hearts were still broken and this was not the church we were used to but we felt it had promise and we wanted to be a part of its growth.

Shortly after we joined, the Church began an AWANA program. This is, by far, the best children's program I have been involved with since I began serving in a church. New policies were put into place for children's workers. Each of us had a background check done on us. Our focus has been on teaching and ministering to the children with a pro-active view on protecting them. I have always totally supported this view and still support this view today, unfortunately, it is this protective aspiration which has pained me recently and it is this that I am going to blog about this morning.

Nearly three and a half years ago we met our next door neighbor's son, I'll call him Eric. Eric was seven years old and he liked to come over and work with my husband on whatever project he happened to be working on in the back yard and only after receiving the permission of his mother. At this time it happened to be our deck. My husband had gotten some lumber from a deck that had been demoed when we were working for the house mover. Eric had great fun wielding a hammer, he'd never wielded a hammer before. We began taking Eric to church and a few months later we began taking his two young sisters, Sissy and Charity with us also. Sissy was three years old and Charity was one. My point, here, is that we did not go trolling for children to take to church, it happened as a natural occurrence as Eric had struck up a friendship with my husband and it developed into us taking he and his sisters to church. We thought this was what being a Christian was all about, outreach. We still feel that this is what being a Christian is all about. As any of you who have ever worked with children will understand, people who haul children around to church with them two to three times a week, teach their classes, take them to lunch and occasionally receive an after school visit from the oldest, tend to get attached to them. We also have a nice relationship with their mother. As a matter of fact, they come and get in our storm cellar with us during bad weather and we have helped financially with the children whenever possible.

That brings us to the weekend which my husband and I were out of town. This was the weekend that we attended the FairTax conference in Momma Twoop's state. Our church was having a "pajama party" for the pre-schoolers that Saturday and we had arranged for another member to pick up Sissy and Charity so they could attend.

On the Friday before the pajama party Charity had taken a fall off of her grandmother's front porch and had received an, oh, approximately two inch long scratch on her little baby cheek for the effort. So, she and her sister got picked up on Saturday morning (you can see where this is going, can't you?) and they went to the pajama party. It also appears, and I learned about this after the fact, that Charity had walked into the bathroom on her mommy when she was having her monthly and noticed that mommy was bleeding. Naturally, Charity wanted to know why her mother was "bleeding down there" and wanted to play mommy herself by comforting her mother because she was bleeding and obviously had a boo boo. Charity's mom tried to brush it off but ended up telling Charity that it was something older women did and she shouldn't worry about it. Charity is four years old, hardly old enough to understand menstruation and hardly old enough to give a detailed accounting of how and why and when and all that. Nothing more was said at home about it.

So, the following Tuesday afternoon I got a visit from Charity's mom. Someone, ANONYMOUSLY, had reported her to the Department of Family Services. Someone had said that Charity has a scratch, some bruises, has been telling this anonymous source that her mother has been making "inappropriate comments" about her own private areas and that a male figure in her life and the life of her sister has been "excessively" hugging them, carrying them and giving them kisses! Because Charity has not been going to school and had been no where else but the pajama party after she had gotten the scratch on her face, we had no question that it was someone who had been involved with the pajama party at church. The mother assured us that the DSF worker thought the whole thing was "stupid" but that she had to file a report, nonetheless. We have no doubt that this "male figure" is my husband. The girls love for him to carry them around, often he'll put them on his shoulders and he, absolutely, does hug them and kisses them on their little heads. Geesh.

Evidently someone has a problem with my husband loving these children whose lives he, and I, have been involved with for three and a half years. At least one good thing may come out of it. The mother is talking about making us the God Parents of the children so that this unconventional relationship may not seem so odd to outsiders. I'll tell you though, the idea that someone thinks that my husband carrying 6 and 4 year old little girls around is inappropriate and felt it necessary to report it to DFS, or even mention it, really irritated both of us and to have it brought up by a member of our own church, the church which we voluntarily gave our consent to run a background check, is even the more galling.

Of course, we both felt that the person who called DFS should have discussed it with the pastor first, who, incidentally, knew NOTHING about it, and that it should have been brought to him before it was taken to DFS. All things considered we are trying our best to continue in the church, and the pastor has encouraged us to do so with his blessing. His words were, more or less, that if someone isn't saying something bad about you then you're doing something wrong. And I should make clear that I believe that if there is a question of abuse in the church that the person who questions it should discuss it with the pastor and that if there is agreement that it should be reported. As it is today, the mother, who we had been encouraging to come to church and working with for these three and a half years is even more alienated by this action and less inclined to come to church or trust the church. Now, there's "outreach," in the real world for ya!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Slater: Why America is Polarized

Recently Wildwest recommended that I read a blog entry at I am a Christian Too, specifically, Slater: Why America is Polarized. I finally took him up on it and read it over the weekend. Today, I looked back at IAACT and found this reply from Wildwest to the comment I left there:

"Jacke, I enjoyed reading your comments about Slater’s article. Iwould encourage you to send your comments to Philip Slater. His e-mail address is on his home page."

So, I took him up on that recommendation, as well.

Following is the email I sent to Dr. Philip Slater:

Dear Dr. Slater,

I recently posted a comment about your thesis "Why America is Polarized" at
I am a Christian Too » Slater: Why America is Polarized. A friend suggested that I should send you the comments, so I am taking him up on it.

I found many, many things I could comment upon in reading Philip Slater’s “Why America is Polarized,” but I think I can sum it up this way. America has always been in the process of accepting change and America has always experienced different levels of polarization in the process. I disagree with many of Dr. Slater’s hypothesis, primarily having to do with “human nature.” He appears to suggest that culture dictates human nature, this simply is not true, culture does not dictate human nature. Human nature is not dictated by external circumstances and exterior action. Human nature is more about internal motivations — things that are common among ALL men, regardless of where they live, regardless of custom or culture. Human nature is instinctual and fixed, attitudes may change, human nature remains the same.

As far as breaking down our society into a “Control Culture” vs a “Connecting Culture” both “cultures” communicate and both “cultures” cooperate. I disagree with the idea that our society can be placed into these two little boxes so neatly, just as I have always disagreed that we can generalize too broadly about “progressivity” or “conservatism.” Both Dr. Slater’s “Control” and “Connecting” Cultures seek the same goal. We are all controllers, we just use different means of reaching our goal.

Slater uses the example of “breaking” a horse in the traditional “broncobuster” manner as opposed to the “horse whisperer” method. In the end both the broncobuster and the horse whisperer seek and achieve the same goal, control over the horse, use of the horse and dominance of the horse. Both are controllers using different methods. People cooperate and communicate generally to get what they want, to win the argument, to win the battle, to fix a belief already held or to change to another fixed belief. People are just not that malleable and to suggest that the “Connecting Culture” attitude is completely free of the want or will to become the “Controlling Culture” is just simply dishonest.

Slater says: “The only thing that can be expanded indefinitely is communication—relationships, linkages. And that’s what Connecting Culture is all about.” I beg to differ. That is what LIFE is all about and always has been.

Under the caption of “The Legacy of the Sixties,” Slater writes: “Few people recognized the common denominator to these movements, and the various groups involved—hippies, anti-war protesters, civil rights activists, feminists—engaged in loud and bitter arguments about priorities. But the significance of the period should not be underestimated. For the first time every assumption of Control Culture was being called into question by a substantial segment of society.” The reason for these loud and bitter arguments was to exert CONTROL in an effort to move our society in a different direction. Connecting and Controlling are the same, again, they only use different tactics to gain control.

Slater says “it would be nice if some sort of compromise were possible.” There will be compromise. That’s how change occurs and it is inevitable. There is a center, it simply remains unrecognized right now, it is there, just as always. If, as Slater seems to be suggesting, the Controlling Culture is on it’s way out to be replaced by the Connecting Culture at the point that it is accepted, the Connecting Culture BECOMES the Controlling Culture. Further, he claims that basic values or fundamental principles will smother themselves out…I disagree. I believe that, since, unlike Chinese communism of Mao Zedong, America has lived under a system of Democracy and Capitalism, that the smothering will come from an overload of debauchery in our case and that debauchery will smother itself out rather than the opposite, as Slater suggests. That’s human nature, human nature will return to a state of support for basic values and fundamental principles. We will not continue to spiral into chaotic oblivion wherein Slater seems to think that communication and simple cooperation are the end goal of the Connecting Culture, that is merely the means to their goal. The goal is and always has been about control.

For these reasons I feel that Slater’s paper is an exercise in futility. As hard as we try to pretend we are living in unique and incomparable times that is simply untrue. It is just as Richard L. (another commenter at IAACT) said “No delusion of a New Day or New Rules will allow us to escape the consequences of our actions. What has gone before will be repeated once again. There is nothing new under the Sun.”

Comment by Jacke — 3/11/2006 @ 10:17 am

To read Slater's blog entry, yourself, click on this link: Philip Slater: Author and Playwright

The Frog in the Pot

As evidenced here: JackeHammer: It's About Our Children, Stupid!, I have long been opposed to gay marriage because it makes the unhealthy lifestyle of homosexuality appear to be "normal" to our children who are taught in our public schools that it is simply an "alternative lifestyle," no better or worse than the heterosexual lifestyle. I document the fact that there is a much higher rate of disease and mental illness, along with a higher suicide rate, among the gay community in the above, previous link. I also point out in the comment section, that according to studies, the higher suicide rate has been proven NOT to be linked with intolerance of their sexual preference but has more to do with the higher occurrence of break-ups in relationships:

The American Journal of Public Health Highlights Risks of Homosexual Practices

"While society's alleged oppression of homosexual individuals (homophobia) seems to be a favorite panacea-like theory for the mental-health problems of those who practice homosexuality, the Dutch study is not supportive of such a hypothesis. Dutch society is recognized as one of the most gay-affirming and gay-tolerant in the world, and yet the risk for mental illness among those who engage in homosexuality remains high, and significantly higher than among heterosexuals in that country."

Homosexuality and Mental Health Problems

"The Effect of Social StigmaThird, does pressure from society lead to mental health problems? Less, I believe, than one might imagine. The authors of the study done in The Netherlands were surprised to find so much mental illness in homosexual people in a country where tolerance of homosexuality is greater than in almost all other countries.
Another good comparison country is New Zealand, which is much more tolerant of homosexuality than is the United States. Legislation giving the movement special legal rights is powerful, consistently enforced throughout the country, and virtually never challenged. Despite this broad level of social tolerance, suicide attempts were common in a New Zealand study and occurred at about the same rate as in the U.S.In his cross-cultural comparison of mental health in the Netherlands, Denmark and the U.S., Ross (1988) could find no significant differences between countries - i.e. the greater social hostility in the United States did not result in a higher level of psychiatric problems."

Now, the reason I bring this up again is to clarify that my reason for opposing gay marriage is that I don't want it treated as though it is a normal and HEALTHY alternative to heterosexual marriage. It is not. It is an unhealthy lifestyle, but our children are not being warned about the higher percentage of health risks in a number of categories when homosexuality is talked about in our public schools. This does a disservice to our children.

Another argument that has been used by some Conservatives is the "slippery slope" argument. Bill O'Reilly, a moderate, often sites this argument on his radio program. I have also used this argument myself. People generally get brushed off as a lunatic, myself included, when we suggest that those who practice bestiality, pedophilia and those who would like to engage in polygamy would also like to have the privilege to marry the goat of their choice, the child of their choice and have multiple spouses. But...and that's a big BUT, it appears that this argument is not so crazy, after all. Yesterday, I came across a posting by "H-Bomb" at

"One of the arguments often dredged up by opponents of gay marriage has been that if the state were to endorse the marriage of any two people other than a man and a woman (which is what marriage is, by the way) it would inevitably open the doors to the normalization of other “lifestyle choices" (or as I like to call them, "twisted perversions") such as polygamy or even bestiality. The bestiality argument in particular was blown out of the water, and its adherents were easily discredited as over-the-top wackos. And then, wouldn’t you know it, the subject of decriminalizing bestiality actually came up in the Massachusetts (where else?) legislature in the form of a bill. Well now comes the “out and proud” polygamy movement, complete with a glossy, largely approving spread in Newsweek...."

From the Newsweek article:

"There's a sound legal argument for making the controversial practice legal, says Brian Barnard, the lawyer for a Utah couple, identified in court documents only as G. Lee Cooke and D. Cooke, who filed suit after being denied a marriage license for an additional wife. Though the case was struck down by a federal court last year, it's now being considered by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Barnard plans to use the same argument—that Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 sodomy case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individuals have "the full right to engage in private conduct without government intervention," should also apply to polygamous relationships."

Stanley Kurtz of nationalreviewonline (NRO) says here:

Stanley Kurtz on Big Love & Polygamy on National Review Online

"It's getting tougher to laugh off the "slippery slope" argument — the claim that gay marriage will lead to polygamy, polyamory, and ultimately to the replacement of marriage itself by an infinitely flexible partnership system. We've now got a movement for legalized polyamory and the abolition of marriage in Sweden. (See "Fanatical Swedish Feminists.") The Netherlands has given legal, political, and public approval to a cohabitation contract for a polyamorous bisexual triad. (See "Here Come the Brides.") Two out of four reports on polygamy commissioned by the Canadian government recommended decriminalization and regulation of the practice. (See "Dissolving Marriage.") And now comes Big Love, HBO's domestic drama about an American polygamous family....

...This means the real challenge we face is not from a huge, nationally based movement of so-called "Mormon fundamentalists." (These renegade polygamists are emphatically not members of the mainstream, Mormon Church.) Instead, as in Canada, the challenge will come from a complex coalition: gay radicals who favor same-sex marriage but who also want to transform and transcend marriage itself, feminists (like Canada's Martha Bailey) who feel the same way, Hollywood liberals like Tom Hanks (an executive producer of Big Love) who want to use the media to transform the culture, civil-rights advocates like the ACLU and ex-Humphrey aide Ed Frimage, libertarian conservatives like John Tierney and an ever-larger number of young people, fundamentalist "Mormon" polygamists, and the ever-growing movement for polyamory (which features both heterosexuals and large numbers of bisexuals), and perhaps someday (as in Canada) Muslim and other non-Western immigrants.

This complex coalition ranging from old-fashioned Humphrey-style liberals to anti-marriage feminist radicals, to libertarian conservatives, is what will power future efforts to radically deconstruct marriage. And we're only at the very beginning of these efforts. For the most part, cultural radicals are holding back, knowing that anything they say may jeopardize the movement for same-sex marriage by validating slippery-slope fears. The remarkable thing is that, at this early stage, the radicals have forced themselves so openly into the cultural argument. That is a sure sign that if same-sex marriage were to be safely legalized nationally, the way would finally be open to a truly concerted campaign to transform marriage by opening it up to polygamy and polyamory, or by replacing it with an infinitely flexible partnership system. Whatever we're seeing now is only the barest hint of what will happen once the coast is clear."

Recently I commented at Angel's blog: The Rogue Angel, under the topic of I Just Don't Get It when she was questioning why Christians blog more about the sin of homosexuality than they do other sexual sins, such as adultery and fornications:

"I agree with you Angel, but I think homosexuality comes up more often at blog sites because it seems to be a particular bone of contention between "Conservative" and "Progressive" Christians. Some "Progressives" deny that it is a sin at all. You do not see "Progressives" or "Conservatives" denying that adultery, lying, cheating and stealing is a sin but rather they were born that way, therefore we must all give them a pass, do you? I don't. Yet, in conversations I have had at "Progressive" blogs I do hear challenges among some Christians as to whether homosexuality is a sin and how can it be a sin since people are born that way and God doesn't make any see? So, if you see more blogging done about the sin of homosexuality than lying, cheating, adultery or stealing, I think it is simply because no one challenges the fact that those are sins.

I do see my own sin everyday, Angel, and I do realize that my sin is no less a sin in God's eyes than the sin of homosexuality, to me there is no differentiation with sin, to some, however, they refuse to call the sin of homosexuality a sin to begin with, now there, that's your differentiation. :)

Posted by: Jacke January 21, 2006 02:26 PM"

Then yesterday, my co-contributor, Momma Twoop sent me an interesting article, Religious group merges with gay rights task force / 1,400 'welcoming' congregations are represented -- hopes for 10,000 in 5 .. , here's an excerpt from that article:

"The gay rights movement has found God.

After decades of working to change secular institutions, the national movement, which has largely convinced society that homosexuality is neither a mental disorder nor a crime, is focusing on what its leaders say is their last, and biggest, challenge: convincing believers that it's not a sin.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the country's oldest gay rights organization, announced Monday that a religious organization representing 1,400 Protestant congregations that unconditionally welcome gays and lesbians has merged with the task force.

Over the next five years, the task force wants to increase membership in the Institute for Welcoming Resources to 10,000 congregations."

So, no war against Christmas? No "conspiracy" to end traditional marriage? No cultural war? Progressives keep telling us that, don't they? And while we sit like a frog in that gradually heating pot of water on the stove top, they keep turning up the heat, praying we won't notice the hand on the dial.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


I remember
a summer's night and
touching my face gently.
If only
Time would have stood still
for us,
I could have been
with you
I only have times
like that
to look back on
and remember.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

:0 (Updated)

I heard about this on the radio on my way home Monday: St. Louis, MO Top Stories

State bill proposes Christianity be Missouri’s official religion

09:24 PM CST on Saturday, March 4, 2006
By John Mills, News 4

"Missouri legislators in Jefferson City considered a bill that would name Christianity the state's official "majority" religion.

House Concurrent Resolution 13 has is pending in the state legislature.

Many Missouri residents had not heard about the bill until Thursday.

Karen Aroesty of the Anti-defamation league, along with other watch-groups, began a letter writing and email campaign to stop the resolution.

The resolution would recognize "a Christian god," and it would not protect minority religions, but "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs.

The resolution also recognizes that, "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, "justified recognition."

State representative David Sater of Cassville in southwestern Missouri, sponsored the resolution, but he has refused to talk about it on camera or over the phone.

KMOV also contacted Gov. Matt Blunt's office to see where he stands on the resolution, but he has yet to respond."

I'd wager State representative David Sater of Cassville will soon be looking for gainful employment in another field.


I think I may have spoken too soon. This is not as simple as I at first thought. For some weird and totally unexplained reason I lost my mind and took the media's word for this story rather than looking into it myself, now I regret that. Following is a link to the bill, House Concurrent Resolution No. 13, and the entire, less than a page long bill, itself:


House Concurrent Resolution No. 13
Whereas, our forefathers of this great nation of the United States recognized a Christian God and used the principles afforded to us by Him as the founding principles of our nation; and

Whereas, as citizens of this great nation, we the majority also wish to exercise our constitutional right to acknowledge our Creator and give thanks for the many gifts provided by Him; and

Whereas, as elected officials we should protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs while showing respect for those who object; and

Whereas, we wish to continue the wisdom imparted in the Constitution of the United States of America by the founding fathers; and

Whereas, we as elected officials recognize that a Greater Power exists above and beyond the institutions of mankind:

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-third General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, that we stand with the majority of our constituents and exercise the common sense that voluntary prayer in public schools and religious displays on public property are not a coalition of church and state, but rather the justified recognition of the positive role that Christianity has played in this great nation of ours, the United States of America.
So, that's it. While the article I posted above doesn't say this, the radio account I heard on the way home on Monday stated that this bill "made Christianity the State Religion." Where the heck does it say that? What exactly is wrong with recognizing our Christian roots? This bill addresses Christianity specifically, it allows, with the "exercise" of "common sense," voluntary prayer in public school, NOT MANDATED prayer, it allows for religious displays on public property but does NOT MANDATE it and states that those exercises do NOT represent "a coalition of church and state," simply a recognition that the majority of Missourians are Christians and should have the right to practice the freedom of religion the constitution was intended to afford us.
What am I missing here? It does not deny the right of any other religion to display whatever religious displays that their respective practitioners want to display, it does not deny other religions any rights and even intends to practice "common sense," it merely wants to resolve that CHRISTIANS have a right to practice prayer and display their religious symbols, yes, on public property (gasp!). It even has language incorportated in it to promote respect for those who object.
Do we really have freedom of religion in America or not!??? It's a sad state when we have to try to pass a resolution to insure us the rights that our founders intended all along. That is what this is about, freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.
The media is spinning the story again, as if they ever stopped, and I fell for it this time.

Freedom of Speech is a Good Thang, Opinions are Relative

I am still smiling over yesterday's exchange. There is no point in rehashing everything that was said, if you are interested you can find the discussion at my blog entry
Those Wacky Liberals and Democrats and Their Free Speech Bias and Brandon's blog entry at a badchristian blog, a liberal patriot? in both the entries and the comment sections. Dan Lewis at a badchristian blog summed it up about as well as anyone when he had this to say:

Dan Lewis said,
March 7, 2006 at 2:03 pm

(Brandon had said)

"Brandon’s a hypocrite because…

1. On the one hand he wants free speech.

2. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to let conservatives have free speech.

3. He displays this by berating a person’s argument who told him to move the fuck to China.

4. He should just let people say whatever they like, because that’s what freedom of speech is about."

(Dan Lewis added)

"It’s not too hard to imagine steps 5 through 8 of the future course of this argument:

5. On the one hand, Brandon wants to use his free speech to define free speech.

6. On the other hand, he wants to prevent others from using their free speech to define free speech.

7. But then, he wants to use his free speech to explain that defining free speech does not prevent others from using their free speech to define free speech.

8. On the other hand, he wants to prevent others from using their free speech to argue that defining free speech does in fact prevent them from using their free speech to define free speech.

I am starting to buckle under the g-force of this argument."

To summarize, any idiot or sage, depending on one's own perspective can say any stupid or brilliant thing they want to say, what one does not have the right to expect is to not be challenged on anything they say.

For an example: Cindy Sheehan has the right to say terrorists are "freedom fighters," and Bill O'Reilly has the right to challenge that statement. By challenging the Sheehan statement he has not tried to remove her right to free speech, he has merely exercised his own. As a matter of fact, by responding to her statement directly, he has shown her a certain amount of respect, though probably not intentionally, and one could argue that he only extended that respect because the media was disproportionately giving her air time at the expense of other family members who have lost loved ones in the War on Terror.

The good new is that no one has lost their right to speak freely, the good news is also that no one has lost their right to challenge another when they exercise that freedom.

Suggesting that by challenging another you have taken away their right to free speech is a straw man's argument, and when someone challenges their right to challenge, one engages in the very same behavior as the first challenger, in short, whether that argument is put forth by Cindy Sheehanites, Neal Boortz, Brandon at a badchristian blog or Jacke at JackeHammer, that argument exposes them all as the hypocrites they are...and we've already established that we're all hypocrites, right?

That brings us to the issue of respecting others, and that's a whole 'nother subject.

If a neighbor complains to his friend that he doesn't like the neighborhood in which he lives, perhaps the next door neighbors play loud music and host loud parties and keep him up at night. Maybe his neighbor on the other side has a big dog which barks all night long, at any rate, he has some righteous grievances. Would it be wrong for the friend, hearing of his friend's displeasure with his living arrangements to suggest that he might be happier living in a different neighborhood? Would that be a reasonable suggestion? What if the neighbor took that to mean that his friend was trying to tell him "either move or SHUT UP about your neighborhood!" ? Would the friend's suggestion be unreasonable just because the original friend chose to take offense?

I tend to think the friend has a valid bit of advice in suggesting that his friend move if he is unhappy in that neighborhood. Could he have instead suggested that his friend try to discuss the problems with his neighbors? Sure, and that would have been a valid bit of advice too. Both bits of advice would be reasonable, wouldn't they? What if the friend, the one living in the bad neighborhood called all of his other friends on the phone and told them that his advising friend had told him to either get the heck out of that neighborhood or shut the heck up about it! Well, that would be somewhat disrespectful, in my opinion, because it really isn't at all what the friend had suggested, he had merely offered some reasonable advice.

What if, in the blogosphere, someone accused another of telling them to get the heck out of America if he didn't like it here, rather than responding to the advice as what it was, a suggestion that if one was so unhappy and discontented in America they should consider moving to another country? What if he wrote a blog and implied the originator of the remark might be a hypocrite and an aspiring totalitarian!? Funny, huh?

Perspective is a funny thang.

Freedom of speech is a good thang.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Those Wacky Liberals and Democrats and Their Free Speech Bias

Well, I'll be darned. I got back from my trip yesterday and I find that by generalizing about self-professed "Progressive" Christians in an effort to further my position that the Body of Christ needs to be unified, that it has been offered that even recognizing the fact that these varying viewpoints exist I am furthering the division among the Body of Christ rather than my true intention of trying to find some commonality and respect across the aisles between these differing factions in the Body of Christ. Angel, it appears, has totally misread my intentions for dialog, read it here: The Rogue Angel. It seems that everywhere I turn lately Democrats or liberals or Progressives are challenging whether we should even discuss our viewpoints at all, that is, if we happen to be Conservative or Republican or a Conservative or Republican Christian. Now, by seeking to have conversations or even discuss my disappointment in the conversations I've had in the past, it seems I am furthering the divide!? Give me a break!

Brandon writes here: patriotism and loving the usa:

"So, while I’m revelling in the free exchange of opinion, let me offer you one for free. Suggesting that because I don’t believe in your ideals, I should pick up and leave, well, that seems, to me at least, to be a little hypocritical. It feels a little like you’re suggesting that freedom isn’t really all that it’s cracked up to be. It feels a little like you’re trying to create the totalitarian regime the likes of which you profess to despise." (emphasis mine)

I don't know, is it just me or does it seem like Brandon, in his attempt to accept freedom of speech and revel in the free exchange of opinion, is also attempting to demonize someone for exercizing his or her own freedom of speech by suggesting that he move to China!? Brandon wants to be able to say whatever he wants (again) but doesn't seem to appreciate others saying what they want in return. Brandon doesn't want it to be suggested he is less than patriotic because he doesn't approve of every single thing that goes on in America (as if that would ever happen) but when someone suggests he move, he, in turn, accuses the person of trying to create a totalitarian regime!? Oh, my! Remember this?:

Freedom of Speech Liberal Style (Revised and Revisited AGAIN)

"I cannot tell you how many times in discussion with liberals that if anything "bad" was said about Cindy Sheehan, and by the term "bad" I mean factually contrary to her message or exposing her bias against the war before her son Casey was even killed, was viewed as a Conservative trying to silence Cindy Sheehan's message. Since when did commenting on an issue, a public figure's background, mean you are silencing them?...

...Okay. When you are debating or having a discussion with someone on the internet, in a debate group or a comment section of a blog and they:
  • Tell you you cannot speak to a particular subject because you have no experience
  • Change the subject
  • Attack the style in which you write rather than the content and context of what you are writing about
  • Laugh at you
  • Call you names
  • Suggest you have no independent thoughts but are merely a blind follower, a kool-aid drinker, in other words, question your intelligence

Chances are you have struck a nerve and the person engaging in such rhetorical tactics is telling you to shut up."

Is Brandon engaging in a little name calling here? Is he calling the person who invited him to move to China a hypocrite and comparing him/her to a totalitarian dictator? What are the implications?

But that's not all. I visited this morning and clicked on the Nealz Nuze link to find this:

"There's a Whole Foods store about two miles from my home in Atlanta. I've shopped there a few times, and gave Belinda a $500 Whole Foods gift card for Christmas. Now it looks like I'm going to have to give the Fresh Market store on the way to the studios a stab.

I've received a copy of an email to Whole Foods "Team Members" from the southern regional offices. Here you go ... read it for yourself.

'Good afternoon everyone.

I need everyone's cooperation on an important issue that has come to my attention here at the regional office.

Recently, on numerous occasions, I have found copies/printouts of articles such as: Today's Nuze, The Hill, and in either the TM break room or the restrooms. This is not acceptable and cannot continue.

We have to ensure that this is a pleasant and welcoming working environment for all of our TMs and visitors. As you all know, on any given day, the regional office has a variety of different visitors (vendors, TMs from other stores/regions, central TMs, candidates for interviews, etc.). We need to make all of our visitors and TMs feel welcome here.

If you have any questions, please refer to the "Solicitation and Distribution Policy" and "Offensive Material" on page 55-60 of our GIG (General Information Guideline).

Thank you for your cooperation.

Vanessa Hall

Team Member Services Director

Whole Foods Market - South Region

1180 Upper Hembree Road

Roswell, Ga. 30076'

So, there you go. I guess Nealz Nuze is offensive material to the management of Whole Foods. Well, it's their company and they are certainly free to put in place any policy they wish as to what reading materials may be brought to their places of business. I do wonder, though, if TMs (another PC name for "employees") are allowed to bring newspapers or news magazines into the break rooms and restrooms. Are they forbidden also? Newspapers, you see, have editorial positions and a multitude of columnists expressing opinions from both the left and the right. Does Ms. Hall try to protect visitors and TMs from exposure to those opinions? Maybe she has an assistant that goes through the newspaper and cuts out any opinion pieces or editorials that might (gasp!) offend someone! In the sports section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution you will often find advertisements for "massage parlors" that provide something more than just a shoulder rub. Newspapers with advertisements for sexual services might be OK at Whole Foods ... or maybe Ms. Hall has her assistant cut those out also. While she's at it, she needs to cut out all of those announcements for religions services. We don't want Jews to be offended by announcements for a pancake supper at the local Baptist church, and everybody knows that we don't want Muslims to be offended by announcements of services at the local synagogue. Oh, the humanity!

Maybe it's just the conservative and libertarian ideas that are put forth in the Nuze and that can be found on that bother Ms. Hall and the managers of the southern region. Maybe Whole Foods just has a very liberal corporate culture that is intolerant of divergent viewpoints.

Damn. I really liked that store. It would appear, though, that I, and people who think like me, aren't exactly welcome there any more. Drat! Just when I was starting to eat healthy."

Like I said last night under the title of "Do Christians have Freedom of Speech:

"Those who fought for Brandon's freedom to express himself however he sees fit also fought for every other citizen in this country to suggest that any other citizen move to China, France or Russia, go fly a kite or take a leaping fly, not that Brandon suggested otherwise, I just felt it needed to be said. We either all have the same freedom or we don't. None of us gets the privilege of choosing what the other gets to say."

So, what's all the bitchin' about? Either someone has freedom of speech or they don't. I don't get to enjoy my rights at the expense of yours or vice versa. Geesh!