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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You want to be Governed by the Sodomites, Keep Voting for Liberals

By now you have almost certainly seen the ruling (5 to 4 overturning DOMA; punting on Prop 8) and read the pundit’s breakdown. If you didn’t hear Rush today, read his take here. For some good conservative news/commentary, see: Jim Daly (Focus on the Family); American Center for Law and Justice; Answers in Genesis; World Net Daily; My Website.

Given these rulings, one thing is clear: if you want gay marriage to be the law of our land, keep voting for liberals (or at least, not for conservatives—real ones that is). During Obama’s presidency, so far he has appointed two Chief (oops!) justices to the U.S. Supreme Court (Kagan and Sotomayor). Both voted to overturn DOMA. The Obama Justice Dept. refused to even defend DOMA. All of the states (along with D.C.) that currently allow same-sex marriage are led by liberals.

The nonsense that, politically speaking, the social issues don’t matter is helping to destroy this country. Only a nation that has forsaken God and His eternal truths allows the slaughter of its most innocent and helpless, along with the destruction of the foundational institution of civil society. A nation's laws and its government are, to a great extent, a reflection of where that nation is spiritually. Right now, that reflection is quite ugly.

Take heart though! Let us work as if everything depended on us, and pray as if everything depended on God.

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Illegal Immigration: A Christian Perspective

As immigration dominates our political discourse, operating from a Christian worldview, as I always seek to do, it has been rather difficult for me to get my mind around what is the mind of Christ on this issue. It becomes even more difficult when attempting to apply the Christian worldview to what amounts to a secular political solution.

In my research for this column, I came across several great conversations/columns on immigration from a Christian worldview. (They are archived here.) While examining these conversations, one thing is clear: even within the Christian community there is a wide variety of opinion on how best to reform our immigration policy. This is even true, though to a lesser extent, in the more conservative evangelical community.

What makes the issue of immigration more challenging than topics like abortion or marriage is that there is not clear-cut biblical direction on the matter. Some who favor a more liberal position on immigration often point to Leviticus 19 or Deuteronomy 24 (go read them) when making their arguments in favor of an open-borders type policy.

However, as Alan F. H. Wisdom, then vice president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) noted nearly three years ago, “The United States is not analogous to ancient Israel. Biblical ‘sojourners’ [aliens or foreigners] are not easily comparable to modern-era illegal immigrants. The ‘foreigners’ in ancient Israel were non-Israelites who were permitted to pass through or reside in Israel. They were required to comply with Israel's laws and respect its customs.”

Wisdom adds, “Weighing the costs and benefits of immigration is complex. Immigrants often have valuable skills. Their cultures enrich our national life. The Christians among them can renew our churches with their fervent faith. At the same time, large-scale immigration imposes burdens. Taxpayers bear new expenses for education, social services, health care, and law enforcement.”

Weighing the cost of illegal immigration must be an important part of any discussion on immigration reform. A 2010 study says that the cost is $113 billion annually. According to the report, the single largest cost—about $52 billion a year—comes from educating the children of illegal immigrants. “Nearly all those costs are absorbed by state and local governments,” the report concludes. This is significant because, although illegal immigrants do contribute to the tax base (through sales taxes and the like), they rarely are property owners and local property taxes are the chief source of funding for public education.

In addition, uninsured illegals cost American taxpayers over $4 billion a year in healthcare costs. This includes receiving Medicaid benefits. According to Kaiser Healthcare News, “Federal law generally bars immigrants who enter this country illegally from being covered by Medicaid. But a little-known part of the state-federal health insurance program for the poor has long paid about $2 billion a year for emergency treatment for a group of patients who, according to hospitals, mostly comprise illegal immigrants.”

One often neglected aspect of this debate, especially within the Christian community, is the role of the Mexican government in the matter. Whatever the number of illegal immigrants is (Some estimates place the current total at about 11 million. Others say the number may be as high as 20 million, while some put it at over 40 million.), there is little doubt that most hail from Mexico. In 2005, a Pew Hispanic Center report said that 56% were from Mexico. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office reported that it was 62%.

Most of these Mexicans are poor, low-skilled laborers who are looking for a better life in the U.S. The government of Mexico seems very content with the status-quo when it comes to the virtual open-border policy that currently exists within the U.S. As a column in FrontPage Mag recently noted, “The message of the Mexican government to its citizens is: You want a job, human rights and medical care, then go to the US if you can’t afford it here.”

Of course, to a great extent, illegal immigrants don’t have to “afford” things in America. As I already implied, they have significant access to a myriad of government services (food stamps, schools, Medicaid, and so on.) in the U.S. Combine such state welfare with the billions of dollars ($25 billion in 2007—about 3% of Mexican GDP) earned by Mexican immigrants (legal and illegal) and sent back to their homeland, and it seems that Mexico is reaping quite a financial benefit.

However, as FrontPage also notes, with so many Mexicans able to leave their country for work and welfare, the Mexican government has little incentive to improve conditions there. And despite decades of illegal immigration, economic and living conditions for poor Mexicans have improved little, if at all. Thus, the current immigration policies of the U.S. have made us an enabler, hurting not only the American taxpayer, but the millions of poor who are still living in Mexico. Is this very Christ-like?

It should be pointed out that, if we did not have the massive welfare state that exists (for citizens and non-citizens alike) in America today, it is unlikely that we would be having such a fierce debate over current immigration policy.

If within the Christian community we can’t even come to a consensus on matters such as abortion, homosexuality, and marriage, it seems to me very unlikely that we will ever get to a clear agreement on immigration. What Christians should seek, says Dr. Daniel Carroll Rodas, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Denver Theological Seminary and author of Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible, “is a moral compass from the Bible, not a blueprint for policy. To imitate how an ancient people dealt in its laws with foreigners in that agrarian peasant context does not make sense…But this legislation was seen as judicious and as a pointer to the God of Israel (Deuteronomy 4:5-8). In other words, the law contains a set of enduring principles that can be carried across borders and across the centuries.”

And just as was ancient Israel, we are a nation of laws. “No man will contend that a nation can be free that is not governed by fixed laws,” said John Adams. President Clinton, in his 1996 State of the Union Address declared, “We should honor every legal immigrant here, working hard to become a new citizen. But we are also a nation of laws.”

Though we are a nation of laws, those laws should not be 1200 pages each! (Such volume alone should disqualify any bill.) Writing in the Federalist Papers, James Madison instructs us that “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

Lastly, as well meaning Christians debate immigration, we must remember that, along with the obvious call to be compassionate and forgiving, as Mark Tooley, the current president of the IRD puts it, we must remember “Christianity’s understanding of the state’s divine obligation to enforce laws and protect its people.”

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Where Is Daddy?

On this Father’s Day, we celebrate a dying role. With all of the problems currently plaguing our culture—crime, violence, promiscuity, poverty, divorce, drug abuse, and so on—the one thing that we as a nation could do to remedy such things most quickly would be to return fathers to their families.

You’ve almost certainly heard the sad statistics when it comes to fatherhood in America. However, the stats continue to shock: as a recent Drudge headline noted, 60% of all families in Richmond VA are led by single parents, with the vast majority being fatherless. For black families in Richmond, a staggering 84% are led by single parents.

The numbers are similar in dozens of large cities (pop. 50,000+) all across America. From Savannah to Atlanta, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, Hartford, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Detroit, more than half of all families are led by single parents, with the numbers for minorities—especially blacks, being significantly higher.

The demographics have been trending this way for decades. This begs the question, why? Why are so many American dads not married to and in the home with the mother of their children?

There are two scenarios to consider: the dads who divorce and the dads who never marry. Increasingly, it is the latter that is more common. In December of 2011, Pew Research revealed that, according to U.S. Census data, “Barely half of all adults in the United States—a record low—are currently married, and the median age at first marriage has never been higher for brides (26.5 years) and grooms (28.7)… In 1960, 72% of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51% are.”

What’s more, again according to Pew Research, since 1997 the percentage of men ages 18 to 34 who say that having a successful marriage is important to them dropped from 35% to 29%. While for women in the same age group, the numbers rose from 28% to 37%. According to family and feminism expert Suzanne Venker, many men have decided never to get married because “women aren’t women anymore.”

And neither are men “men” anymore. “Ever since the sexual revolution” adds Venker, “there has been a profound overhaul in the way men and women interact.” With its lies about sex, parenting, and gender roles, the modern feminist movement that “birthed” (pun intended) the sexual revolution has been devastating to men and women alike.

Many men have been deceived into thinking that, among other things, they can have all the sex that they want without any real commitment or other consequences. Thus, it is little wonder that so many men bought into the modern feminist lies. With the explosion of pornography and the hook-up culture, and with little societal stigma to engaging in such behavior, far too many men have allowed themselves and the roles that they were created to fulfill to be cast aside. Ironically, this has led to a “neutering” of the American male. 

Many women have been deceived into thinking that, among other things, they are no different than men and can have careers and children without marriage or devout motherhood. (Certainly not all women with careers are unfit mothers, but being successful at both can be overwhelming.) Thus we end up with women in combat and many attempting or being forced to be the “breadwinners” (the vast majority of whom are poor single mothers) of the family. For the first time in American history, women outnumber men in the workforce and more women than men are obtaining college degrees.

And many women today who do marry are doing so much later and are having one child (or at most two) as they attempt to postpone, or at least “balance,” motherhood with careers. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 1970 only 1% of U.S. births were to women 35 and older. Today that rate has increased nearly 10-fold.

Such data is especially true for white women. While the marriage rate in the U.S. is much higher for whites than for other ethnic groups, the childbirth rate is devastatingly low. So much so that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau for the calendar year ending 2012, for the first time in U.S. history more whites died than were born.

Thus, it’s not just fatherhood that is dying, but motherhood as well. And it’s not just the men and women (and the millions of children such relationships produce) who have been deceived into living such lies who suffer. What we are seeing here is the death of the traditional (biblical) family, and when the family dies, that will herald the end of our republic.   

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Big Govt. Can't Fix Immorality

We see it time and again. Whether the problem is poverty, bad schools, gun violence, crime in general, or even the spread of disease, the liberal answer is always the same: more government. The recent gun debate raging in America illustrates this well.

After the wickedness at Newtown, true to their “never let a crisis go to waste” mantra, Obama and his subordinates all across the U.S. have engaged in a full on press to enact significant gun control legislation. This continues in spite of the Senate’s defeat of a bill in mid-April that would have increased background checks and banned certain “assault” weapons.

For President Obama, this allows him to carry on his never-ending campaign and give more speeches on the matter. Whether speaking in Mexico (where his administration is responsible for placing thousands of untraceable weapons in the hands of criminals), or before police officers, Obama has vowed to keep fighting for gun control.

On June 5 of this year USA Today highlighted “the plague of inner-city gun violence.” Much of the focus of the piece is on 20-year-old Anderson Baker—a former gang-banger from Camden, New Jersey who (rightly) scoffs at the idea that gun control measures such as banning “assault” rifles and large gun magazines and increasing background checks would stem the tide of gun violence that is rampant in America’s urban culture.

By his late teens, Baker had been involved in dozens of shootings. The tough gun laws in New Jersey—in 2011 the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ranked N.J.’s gun laws the second toughest in the country—never once hindered Baker in securing his weapon of choice.

“I wanted to shoot people because that’s what I saw growing up,” said Baker who “grew up” without a father and whose mother had the first of her four children at age 13. The USA Today article reveals that Camden city officials also have little hope that more gun laws, such as those proposed by Obama, are the answer.  Instead, Camden officials are clamoring for “a holistic solution that gets to the heart of why people such as Baker turn to violence in the first place.”

As is so typical with today’s liberal media and liberal politicians, and in spite of the plain evidence staring them in the face, there was not one mention of the breakdown of the family being at the root of what really plagues urban America. Instead, USA Today notes that Camden lawmakers “[A]lmost to a person” were focused on “a failing education system, a dearth of jobs and a street culture that rewards and even encourages criminal behavior.”

They left out poverty, lack of health care, and George W. Bush. Of course, the reason why such things are given focus is that they beg a political solution. When confronted with the countless cultural tribulations that result from the millions of Americans who are living without a mother and father at home, almost any solution that can get people to the ballot box is preferred.

Another critical point: do you notice the often circular nature of the liberal arguments? It can go something like this: violence is the result of poverty; poverty is the result of a lack of education; kids don’t go to school because the schools are too violent. It’s dizzyingly maddening!

Now some might be wondering, with all of the conservative efforts when it comes to the “social issues,” are not conservatives also using politics as a means to a moral end? “Legislating morality” is often the accusation.

Conservative efforts are both the same and different. First of all, as I have noted many times, all law is rooted in some morality. Second, it is one thing to attempt legislation that encourages liberty, individual responsibility, and limited government, while being true to God’s Word; it is quite another to support legislation that promotes servitude, dependence, and massively grows government—to the tune of trillions of dollars, and that is driven by whatever morality seems to be most popular at the time.

When dealing with the immorality that is destroying our nation, good government must recognize what it takes truly to change bad behavior—something that “gets to the heart” of individuals, to quote the officials in Camden—and, at best, partner with such efforts, or at least, do nothing to hinder them.

In other words, we can’t have a government that encourages sexual immorality, whether through taxpayer funded abortions, promiscuous sexual education, or the promotion of homosexuality, and then wants to pay for the consequences of such immorality with billions in tax-payer funded welfare. We can’t have a government that seeks to cure poverty or violence with a godless secular education system. We can’t have a government, as Grover Cleveland put it, that “encourages the expectation of paternal care” while weakening “the sturdiness of our national character.”

In other words, we don’t need a government that thinks that it can, through mere secular means, cure all that ails our culture. We need a government (of course that means elected officials) that understands that truly to change someone, truly to change behavior, requires getting to the heart of individuals. And of course, this requires spiritual efforts, and we all know where that leads.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My Notes from the June 2013 Hall County GOP Meeting

Speaker: Doug Collins, 9th district Congressman:

  • Recent scandals are popping out like candy from a Pez dispenser
  • Immigration bill in the House will look nothing like what’s coming from the Senate
  • “If Obamacare starts next January, we’ll probably never get rid of it.”
  • Congress was not fully briefed on NSA program (in other words, Obama lied)
  • Very close to having a vote on the Fair Tax in Ways and Means Committee (for the first time ever!)
  • A Flat Tax is also on the table (there’s a little more support for a Flat Tax than the Fair Tax)
  • Georgia 9th is the number two strongest GOP district in the country

Speaker: Kris Yardley, Hall County GOP chairman

  • Truth has gone out the window in this administration
  • GOP needs to hone its message: American Communist Party has over 2 million email contacts—National Republican Party has less than 150,000
  • GOP needs to halt internal fighting—sometimes simply agreeing to disagree while focusing on the real battle

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Boy Scout's Next Capitulation

To encourage his demonic protégé, Screwtape explained to Wormwood, “It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing…Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

With the Boy Scouts of America’s (B.S.A.) decision to allow young gays into their ranks, another signpost warning against the sin of homosexuality has been removed.

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts had the Constitutional right to exclude gay members. This was because, as the Court concluded, opposition to homosexuality is part of the organization’s “expressive message.” Part of the Scout Oath states that Scouts will keep themselves “physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” The Majority opinion in the 2000 ruling noted that the Scouts “teach that homosexual conduct is not morally straight,” and that it does “not want to promote homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior.”

In his dissent of the 2000 Supreme Court decision, Justice John Paul Stevens declared, “it is plain as the light of day that neither one of these principles—‘morally straight’ and ‘clean’ [a reference to the Scout Law]—says the slightest thing about homosexuality.” It seems that the Boy Scouts have now surrendered that “expressive message” and agree with such an abhorrent and morally ignorant conclusion.

As Al Mohler warned prior to the B.S.A. vote, surrendering this core conviction “is both a legal and moral disaster.” For example, with their “expressive message” now compromised, how now can the Scouts argue legally to prevent the inclusion of homosexual leaders? The 2000 case against the B.S.A. was brought by an assistant Scoutmaster of a New Jersey troop, James Dale.

In 1990, while a student at Rutgers University, Dale gave an interview to a local paper that revealed he was gay. B.S.A. officials got wind of Dale’s interview and expelled him from his position in the Scouts. On the advice of counsel, Dale wrote to the Boy Scouts asking why he was expelled. The B.S.A. replied that they “specifically forbid membership to homosexuals.” Thus the B.S.A. has now lost the whole crux of their argument that led to the 2000 ruling.

What’s more, as so often is the case when one begins to ignore moral absolutes, the Boy Scouts have opened themselves up to further moral erosion. After decades of battles leading to, among other things, the reversal of laws against sodomy, broad cultural acceptance, and marital rights, the homosexual agenda has (tragically) made significant progress. Now we get to face the ascension of another perversion that has long been “married” to the homosexual movement: transgenderism.

One of the most significant events that launched the homosexual movement occurred in 1973. That was the year that the American Psychiatric Association (APA), by a vote of 5,834 to 3,810, removed homosexuality as a disorder from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). About two weeks ago the fifth edition of the DSM was published. Guess what was not in it? That’s right: gender identity disorder.

It was removed last year because, as the Associated Press recently put it, “a growing faction of medical experts who no longer see this as something to be fixed.” Not that the APA has a great track record when it comes to what needs “to be fixed.” As I referenced a few weeks ago, much of the DSM is simply made-up nonsense to (try to) help us make sense of what is evil. However, just as with homosexuality, by a simple vote, the APA lets us know what we no longer need to consider evil.

The Associated Press reveals, “Some experts predict that views on gender will evolve in much the same way they have for sexual orientation…Today, the gender spectrum includes those who are transgender, who see themselves as the opposite gender, and those who are gender variant, or gender nonconforming, whose gender is more ‘fluid.’ For kids, it means they identify part of themselves as boy and part as girl.”

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have granted legal rights to “transgender” people. In Colorado, the parents of a 6-year-old boy, who now, supposedly, wants to be a girl, are suing their school district for not allowing him to use the girls’ bathroom. Radical Massachusetts laws are requiring schools to allow students who “identify” as the opposite sex to use whichever bathroom, locker room, and sports teams they choose.

In addition, the Massachusetts law (ironically!) allows no tolerance for students who are uncomfortable with the transgender directives. They are to be “re-educated,” says pro-family advocate Brian Camenker.

Thus, how long will it be before the Boy Scouts are again in court? This time it will be a couple (probably same-sex) who wants their young girl—who has decided that she wants to be a boy—in the name of “tolerance” to be able to join the Boy Scouts. However, the fight won’t last 23 years in this case. After all, the next moral compromise will be easier than the previous one.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2013, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World