Friday, April 27, 2007
A secular view of light years/the speed of light/the age of the Universe
We measure distances between heavenly bodies in light years, that is, the number of years it takes for the light to travel from, for instance, a star to our planet will represent the distance. Light is figured to be traveling at a bit faster than 186,000 miles per second, so a light year is a vast distance. The Sombrero Galaxy is 50 million light years away! We can see it! Therefore either the Universe is older than 50 million years old, or God created the Universe with an appearance of age!
An answer to the quandry
This is a cart-before-the-horse situation! When God made Adam, He didn't make him as an embroyo in a womb, but rather a fully grown male. Was this deceptive, or was it just practical? In the case of all the stars in the Universe, the fact is that in the Book of Genesis, God clearly creates light before he creates the stars. In other words, instead of firing up a star and having the light travel to us, he created the light and then made sure it traced back to a heavenly body thereafter.
Genesis 1:3 - And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
God created light on the first day of creation. But he doesn't create stars until day four! The sum of day four is devoted to God putting the sun and the moon and the stars in place. Yet the light has been there since day one.
Genesis 1:18 & 19 - God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
So, there was no attempt to deceive. The light was created first, and then later He created sources to continue shining said light. Sure, God could have made an outer globe with floodlights the size of Cleveland a few thousand miles above our heads and a massive sunlamp in place of the sun. He could have made us with rhino horns and polka-dots if He wanted!
But God wanted to present to us a massive, incredible, awesome Universe as a way of trying to illustrate how awesome and magnificent the Creator of said Universe really is. So stars are actually raging nuclear reactions rather than sparkling little points of light, but to the naked eye they are lights for the night sky. There was no intent to deceive, but really, if God was going to make this massive Universe as it is, how else would he deal with the light question? Hmmm?
A secular viewpoint of the Big Bang
The stars and other objects in the heavens are all moving away, apparently, from some kind of starting point and the evidence appears to be that there was a massive explosion that began the Universe. One second there was nothing and by the end of the next second an entire Universe of matter was being flung out into space. The objects currently in space give the appearance of having traveled for billions of years out from this initial event. If God created 6,000 years ago or so by simply speaking, why do we see this evidence with our eyes and instruments?
I cannot know the Mind of my amazing Creator God, but I can take a shot at this. First, remember that the physical laws of the Universe all have to hang together. The beginning of the Universe was either a masterful job of design and planning (my belief) or a impossibly lucky chance event (which many in the world believe). It just so happens that every creature and every process we see in nature have the appearance of being designed and are far more complex than discernible to the naked eye.
All that is to say that there is certainly a good reason for the objects in space to have the appearance of moving away from a common starting point.
1) They must move in some direction
2) Moving in random patterns would bring about chaos and collisions
3) Moving towards a central point would bring about a fiery end to the Universe
4) Moving away from a central point avoids collisions and allows for predictable operations
If God just placed immovable objects in the heavens, gravity would begin to work upon them and eventually the stars would begin heading towards the nearest neighbor. The relationships in placement would be changed (so much for constellations and navigation by the stars!) and, soon, there would be collisions as the closer bodies found each other. The eventual result would be utter chaos.
Again, that God would align the planets in this way makes perfect sense and probably has nothing to do with making scientists of the 20th century believe that the Universe began with a Bang. Furthermore, that He took an entire day to create and align all the stars of the heavens implies that He put much effort into the final result. We are not able to go back in time to observe how He did it. But He said it was done in one day and the result is certainly logical.
Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
We know that God, according to the Book of Genesis, took six days to create the Universe, with light being created on day one, the source of the lights being created on day four and Man himself being saved for day six. In those six days, He developed all the laws of the Universe, created all matter, furnished all energy, designed and started all life. What a creation!
We know that secular scientists promote the idea of a Universe that happened by chance some 15 billion years ago or so. All laws and relationships and creatures and functions and operations that all work together in concert so beautifully well all just happened to happen by pure random chance. Now that would be a miracle way beyond raising someone from the dead, in my opinion!
We now have observed that the speed of light is not a constant and that the average rate of the speed of light may well be decaying. Light can seem to move faster than it should in certain situations and other times, slower. The study of Quantum physics has thrown the Newtonian view of the Universe into the corner, there are fuzzy areas between particles and waves and odd relationships between operations and the observation of those operations. The nature of the Universe is a continual surprise to those who study it.
There are people on both sides of the evolution versus creation aisle looking at the other side with absolute awe at the other side's colossal ignorance. This guy, on the God side, has just presented some logical and simple explanations for problems secularists will present as they attempt to move God out of the realm of science. There are smart folks on both sides but often philosophical requirements can blind them to the nature of the actual evidence.
BTW - after being challenged on the issue of ice cores, and making a post about that very thing, the challengers have been mum. I suspect that is the normal response to having a rug pulled out from under one's self. My post didn't prove that ice cores show a short age for the earth but they certainly show how a short age for the earth is supported by the evidence of the ice cores. Tree rings will be discussed in short order as well.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Assertion: Using ice cores to try to determine the age of the earth is based upon starting suppositions.
by Michael Oard
December 28, 2006
On December 3, Dr. Hugh Ross’s Reasons to Believe website featured a new result from the Dome C ice core, drilled from on top of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. This ice core was drilled down to 3,190 meters and is supposedly over 800,000 years old in the uniformitarian* timescale.1 The website stated that evidence for the great age of the core is demonstrated by the discovery of the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal at about 780,000 years in the core, based on a recent article from Nature.2 However, this deduction is equivocal, even from a uniformitarian point of view.
The beryllium-10 bump
The geomagnetic reversal was not directly measured in the Dome C ice core. It is a deduction based on a slight increase in the abundance of the radioactive isotope beryllium-10 measured down the core, or a beryllium-10 bump, assumed correlated to the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal.2 This reversal is the last major reversal in the uniformitarian geological timescale before the recent period. The geological column contains dozens of paleomagnetic reversals, assumed to be caused by reversals of the Earth’s magnetic poles. The subject of reversals, and how they fit into the Creation-Flood model is beyond the scope of this article. Russell Humphreys has a good hypothesis on their cause during and right after the Genesis Flood.3
Beryllium-10 is a cosmogenic radioactive isotope formed by cosmic rays in the same manner carbon-14.4 Unlike carbon-14, it is scavenged from the atmosphere in about three weeks to one year. Beryllium-10 has a half life of 1.5 million years.5
However, the researchers arrived at this beryllium-10 bump by indirect methods. First, the bottom of the core between 3,100 and 3,190 meters contains many surprisingly beryllium-10 spikes or strong increases in concentration, making the background analysis of beryllium-10 in the core difficult: “However, their [the spikes] presence makes it very difficult to evaluate the production rate trends in the 10Be profile, which is what interests us here.”6 The origin of these spikes is unknown, but believed to be due to some sort of concentration variation on short spatial scales. So, the researchers apparently ignored the spikes in their calculations, which, in my opinion, is a questionable procedure.
The plot of beryllium-10 at the assumed age of the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal does not look significant. So, the researchers used the medians rather than the means of five measurements within each 55-centimeter long core sample. This procedure reduces the effects of small spikes left in the profile. However, it enhanced the beryllium-10 profile at the desired location at 3,160 meters—again, I would submit, a questionable procedure.
But, there were also enhanced beryllium-10 values at 3,100 and 3,180 meters in the ice core. Why wouldn’t these peaks be the sought-after Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal, especially since there are a number of “paleomagnetic excursions” in the normal period since the Matuyama-Brunhes reversal.7 An excursion can be thought of as a decrease in paleomagnetic intensity, assumed to be caused by a failed reversal. Why couldn’t any of these many excursions be correlated to the beryllium-10 bump at 3,160 meters in the Dome C ice core?
A Major Theoretical Problem
The researchers have a major theoretical problem. They assume that during a geomagnetic pole reversal, the intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field decreases tenfold, which allows more cosmic rays to form beryllium-10. The problem is that the effect supposedly occurs only equatorward of 60° latitude, which means that there should be no change in beryllium-10 production above the Antarctic Ice Sheet during a reversal!6,8 So, the process of increasing the concentration over Antarctica under these circumstances becomes speculative, although the formation of beryllium-10, its poleward transport, climatic effects, and its deposition on the ice are complicated and poorly understood.4,9,10
They justify the increase in beryllium-10 at the presumed Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal by pointing to a spike in beryllium-10 at about 40,000 years, corresponding to the Laschamp geomagnetic excursion, within their timescale for the Antarctic Vostok ice core. There is another spike at about 60,000 years.10 Each spike supposedly lasted one to two thousand years. These spikes are also found in deep-sea cores.11,12 Researchers use these Vostok spikes as reference horizons to date other ice cores. However, such correlations have not fared well since the spikes are only about twice background levels, there are other spikes but not as high as the two spikes, the spikes are absent where expected in other cores, and they are located at the wrong times in other cores.10
The origin of these beryllium-10 spikes is not known within the post-Flood ice age model, but there are a number of possibilities.4,9,10 The beryllium-10 trend in ice cores could be caused by (1) changes in production rate, (2) changes in the atmospheric circulation, and (3) changes in the precipitation rate.13 The geochemical cycling of 10Be is quite complicated with a number of minor inputs and variations.14
After all the manipulation of the measurements in the Dome C core and the theoretical problems, the researchers express some doubt over their results: “If correct, this provides a crucial tie point between ice cores, marine cores and a radiometric timescale.”6 They are hoping for more than just dating the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal; they hope to tie ice cores with marine deep-sea cores and radiometric dating methods. It is interesting that these three systems are not yet tied together, although it is really the supposed timescale of deep-sea cores that actually “dates” the ice cores, as we will see below.
What about the Old Dates?
What about the old dates of hundreds of thousands of years obtained in Antarctica ice cores? How legitimate are these? First, Antarctic ice cores are not dated by counting annual layers, as is supposedly done in Greenland ice cores, because the snowfall is too light on top of Antarctica. The claimed counting in Greenland cores is based on many assumptions, especially the assumption that the ice is old to begin with.15 Dome C, as well as Vostok, is dated by ice flow modeling and wiggle matching of oxygen or deuterium isotope plots from deep-sea cores: “On the basis of ice flow modelling and a comparison between the deuterium signal in the ice with climate records from marine sediment cores, the ice at a depth of 3,190 m in the Dome C core is believed to have been deposited around 800,000 years ago.”4
Ice flow modeling assumes an ice sheet in equilibrium for millions of years. So, old age is automatically built into the ice cores. Deep-sea cores also have oxygen or deuterium isotope fluctuations. Ice cores are simply wiggle matched to the deep-sea cores, which are then dated by correlation to the astronomical theory of the ice ages or the Milankovitch mechanism, reinforced by radiometric dating of certain key points, called reference horizons.16 The whole enterprise is one big exercise in circular reasoning, sometimes called the reinforcement syndrome.17
Sadly, it appears that Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe are again unnecessarily aligned with questionable old age deductions. The Scriptures—and the evidence—suggest a recent creation.
- EPICA Community Members, Eight glacial cycles from an Antarctic ice core. Nature 429:623–628, 2004.
- Raisbeck, G. M., F. Yiou, O. Cattani, and J. Jouzel, 10Be evidence for the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic reversal in the EPICA Dome C ice core. Nature 444:82–84, 2006.
- Humphreys, D. R., Reversals of the Earth’s magnetic field during the Genesis Flood. In Walsh, R. E., C. L. Brooks, and R. S. Crowell (editors), Proceedings of the First International Conference on Creationism, Volume II Technical Symposium Sessions and Additional Topics, Creation Science Fellowship, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pp. 113–126, 1986.
- McHargue, L. R. and P. E. Damon, The global Beryllium 10 cycle, Reviews of Geophysics 29(2): 141–158, 1991.
- Yiou, F. and G. M. Raisback, Half-life of 10Be, Physical Review Letters 29(6): 372–375, 1972.
- Raisbeck et al., Ref. 2, p. 82.
- Buyodo, Y. and Valet, J.-P., Global changes in intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field during the past 800 kyr, Nature 399:249–252, 1999.
- Steig, E. J., P. J. Polissar, M. Stuiver, P. M. Grootes, and R. C. Finkel, Large amplitude solar modulation cycles of 10Be in Antarctica: implications for atmospheric mixing processes and interpretation of the ice core record,Geophysical Research Letters 23(5):523–526, 1996.
- Morris, J. D., Application of cosmogenic 10Be to problems in the earth sciences. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science 19:313–350, 1991.
- Oard, M. J., The Frozen Record: Examining the Ice Core History of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, California, pp. 101–104, 2005.
- Yiou, F., G. M. Raisbeck, D. Bourles, C. Lorius, and N. I. Barkov, 10Be in ice at Vostok Antarctica during the last climatic cycle. Nature 316:617–618, 1985.
- Raisbeck, G. M., F. Yiou, D. Bourles, C. Lorius, J. Jouzel, and N. I. Barkov, Evidence for two intervals of enhanced 10Be deposition in Antarctic ice during the last glacial period. Nature 326:273–277, 1987.
- Beer, J., et al., 10Be variations in polar ice cores. In Lanyway, Jr., C. C., Oeschger, H., and Dansgaard, W. (editors), Greenland Ice Core: Geophysics, Geochemistry, and the Environment, American Geophysical Union Monograph 33, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., p. 69, 1985.
- Finkel, R. C. and K. Nishiizumi, Beryllium 10 concentrations in the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 ice core from 3-40 ka. Journal of Geophysical Research 102(C12): 26,699–26,706, 1997.
- Oard, Ref. 10, pp. 1–199.
- Oard, Ref. 10, pp. 111–122.
- Oard, M. J., Ancient Ice Ages or Gigantic Submarine landslides? Creation Research Society Monograph No 6, Chino Valley, Arizona, pp. 11–13, 1997.
*I am aware that most mainstream scientists consider themselves “actualists” and not uniformitarians. Actualism is similar to uniformitarianism except that the former believes in a few large catastrophes sprinkled throughout earth history, such as meteorite impacts. They also admit that the present is not necessarily the key to the past, but that geology must always believe natural processes operated in the past. I believe this philosophical point of view can be used as an excuse when deductions from the rocks and fossils are contradicted by present processes. But since few people understand the distinction between actualism and uniformitarianism, I will continue using the term “uniformitarian,” especially since this latter doctrine was the philosophical principle used in geology to throw out the Flood.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
A thread running through the discussions of various "hate crime" and "special protection" legislations being discussed in this blog is the status of those who practice homosexuality. I have stated my viewpoint clearly, that homosexuality is a choice, it is a sinful practice, but that it is wrong to act as if homosexuality is any more sinful than adultery or thievery, etc.
It is also very apparent that there are many forces who have joined together to promote the homosexual agenda. Allow me to present their apparent goals:
1) To elevate homosexuality to the same status in society as heterosexuality.
2) To thoroughly decriminalize homosexual behavior.
3) To force anyone who believes otherwise to, by law, act as if they are in agreement with the first two points.
4) To cause those who disagree to face financial and legal penalties for taking the other side.
Shall we review?
1) To elevate homosexuality to the same status in society as heterosexuality.
The push to change the long-held tradition of marriage from being only a joining of man and woman into something altogether different is one of the main goals in seeking to bring this about. Marriage, a tradition handed down from religious ceremony, has never been about just sex. It has been about family, having children, grandchildren, etc. Marriage has been under attack from the forces of evil all along. Society benefits from stable marriages from which healthy and stable children are most apt to emerge. It is tragic that sinfulness and adultery have caused so many marriages to end in divorce. Yet there is no better formula for the success of the family. Homosexuals, in an effort to get the rest of us to see them as "normal", are now in the business of "co-opting" marriage for their own purposes. Terrible!
Statistics show us that homosexual unions are far more unstable that herterosexual unions. There are much higher instances of abusive behavior, of drug and alcohol abuse, and the occurrence of STD's. Clinics in the major cities will point to the homosexual community as the primary source of STD problems and especially AIDS.
2) To thoroughly decriminalize homosexual behavior.
There are those who claim that society is wrong to legislate morality. Yet, we do legislate it. Otherwise murder would be legal (murders other than the organized murders of millions of babies in the womb, euphemism = abortion. We already have that, to our shame!) and society would suffer. Laws against sodomy are being removed from the books. For years, we had such laws in place, but looked the other way when they were violated. There was something of a general "don't ask, don't tell" attitude at work, in which only the most violent and troublesome offenders would be subjected to prosecution. Now that option is being taken away. Of course, laws against adultery are being wiped away, too. But then some laws that legislated against pedophiles are now being watered down as well. I wonder if people understand where all of this is going? The approval of adultery and fornication led to the approval of homosexuality now which leads to the approval of pedophilia in another generation or two, unless we work to stop the tide. Some of you may vehemently disagree, but I posted on this subject previously and presented evidences, among those evidences being the game plan for NAMBLA: "First get the homosexuals in the door and then, we follow!"
3) To force anyone who believes otherwise to, by law, act as if they are in agreement with the first two points.
The way in which the lawmakers in the camp of the homosexuals are writing legislation now, those of us who hold traditional views may find ourselves being told we must hire homosexuals even in our church and could find ourselves being linked to a hate crime simply by repeating the words of God Himself! Pandora's Box was opened the first time anyone wrote special protections into laws, made up racial quotas and began making up special events that were race or religion or sexual orientation-specific. There should never have been a Black History Month, but rather a balanced teaching of history that was entirely colorblind. And don't get me started on the Day of Silence! I just want you to imagine the outcry from the press and the loony left and the ACLU if schools organized a Day of Jesus, in which students proseletized all day carrying bibles and quoting verses and Passion of the Christ was shown and then, at day's end, they would all sit around singing hymns and planning how to further the cause of the Gospel???
4) To cause those who disagree to face financial and legal penalties for taking the other side.
Zombie Time has captured some of the more radical of the homosexual movement making themselves look nasty and ridiculous (while mostly concentrating on revealing the liberal idiocy of that odd creature, the San Francisco Moonbat), as they have been doing for decades. But lately that crowd has become more beligerent, to the point that they openly threaten heterosexuals and Christians with violence in front of the news media and generally avoid criticism from either that largely liberal group or pandering politicians. This radicalization of the homosexual movement has brought about an attitude of confrontation, seeking to find politicians who will pass laws to make it possible for them to force Bible believers to go to jail for their religious beliefs.
I believe that the radical element of homosexuals will not rest until they have succeeded in shuttering every church that teaches the Biblical view of homosexuality and cause every individual believer to be silenced or punished. I believe that these efforts are the epitome of evil.
As usual, the forces of evil array themselves against the forces for good. They will "wear sheep's clothing" if they must, pushing forward the tiny minority of homosexual couples who actually stay together in a monogamous relationship without beating each other, straying to other partners, passing STD's or sexually assaulting minors. They will try to hide their agenda in legislation that seems to be well-meaning but in actuality is an attack on the Constitution and our basic freedoms. Let us not forget that freedom of speech and freedom of religion were the impetus that drove so many pioneers from Europe and across the Atlantic to our strange shores in an attempt to build a better society.
But homosexuality will never be right! It will always be a sin, just as murder is and adultery is and theft is and lying and cheating and beating up your neighbor is a sin! There are many in this world who practice all of these things and yet we must not go so far as to accept these acts as normal.
Don't come at me with the "sexual orientation" pitch, either. I have no doubt that many, if not most, homosexuals desire to have sex with their own sex more than with the opposite sex and whether that was entirely by choice or at least in part from some other impetus is immaterial. You may claim to have been born with the desire to have sex with five-year-old girls, but we mustn't allow you to do it. You will have to sublimate your desires, fight them, point them in another direction instead of allowing you to have your way with kindergartners. Perhaps you say that sex with corpses turns you on, that doesn't mean we have to allow it. The first person might do well to marry a very petite and youthful spouse and the second, someone gaunt and cold....well, hey, that is better than the alternative.
In truth, there are organizations devoted to help re-orient homosexuals. I know a couple, now man and wife, who were both dedicated homosexuals, came to become Christians, and made up their minds to change. They worked at changing their minds and their habits, met at the classes, finally married. They've had children together, been successful in business and he has run for political offices and won. You would never know, to look at them, that they were once vastly different in sexual orientation and lifestyle.
I suppose the monogamous homosexual couple and the "changed" from homo to hetero couples are both exceptions to the rule. Most homosexuals struggle with the stigma and difficulties inherent in such a lifestyle and orientation. Once, society shunned and hated them. Now, society is trying to normalize them. Both are wrong. If we would take the Christian viewpoint, we would continue to value the homosexual as a person and seek to help him leave the homosexual lifestyle behind with counseling and fellowship and support rather than derision.
I am a Christian. I believe in absolutes. Homosexuality is wrong.
I am an American. I believe in the good of my country. Homosexuality is damaging to society.
I am a human. I believe humans have intrinsic value. Homosexuality needs to be seen as an aberrant act, but those who practice it as worthwhile human beings who are simply doing wrong rather than subhuman wretches who must be reviled and beaten and spat upon.
So I say to you who disagree with me, can you not see the end of the trail you wish us to follow? Every wrong turn has consequences. And, I say to those who revile homosexuality, remember that we were meant to hate the sin and not the sinner.
You may recall that in previous posts I have presented evidences and so this post is something of a summary of postings done over the last year's time. Disagree all you want, but if you disagree with the substance of what I say, come armed with evidence. Thanks to all!
"(An aside: There are a lot of different sins at the bottom of the pyramid. But I've noticed a lot of Christians want to focus on the consensual-sex stuff to the exclusion of everything else. Does anyone have any idea what motivates them? It seems really creepy and voyeuristic to me.)"
"I think you're missing my point. I know that the Bible makes reference to sexual sins. It makes reference to a lot of different sins.
What I don't get is why some Christians seem to obsess on sexual sins in general, and homosexuality in particular. I just don't understand the fascination with it.
Is homosexuality more damaging to society than Sabbath-breaking or praying out loud on street corners?"
Answers: Christians "obsess" over the sins that certain groups try to promote. We wouldn't be focusing on abortion if so many people weren't so enthusiastic about killing babies. We wouldn't be focusing on homosexuality if there wasn't a push to change marriage and force us to hire known homosexuals in schools and force us to allow them as scouting leaders and so on. We push back when sinners push their sins in our faces.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith. David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, and Peter F. Crossing in their "Missiometrics 2007" report in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (Vol. 31, No. 1: 32) estimate that approximately 173,000 Christians will have been martyred from mid-2006 to mid-2007. This represents an increase of 1.2% over last year and compares to 160,000 martyrs in mid-2000 and 34,400 at the beginning of the 20th century. If current trends continue, Barrett, Johnson and Crossing estimate that by 2025, an average of 210,000 Christians will be martyred annually.
excerpted from The Voice of the Martyrs
Christians in this country have it made compared to those in many overseas nations. We are not often murdered for our faith. But it does happen, and often Christians are assaulted simply for being Christians. Church burnings are commonplace enough if you watch the news each night. I have personally been attacked for being a Christian physically, because I dared to let people know of my faith.
On college campuses, the liberal agenda rules. Christians and conservatives in general are villified by college professors and speakers who are one or both get shouted down or even attacked from coast (Columbia University) to coast (California SLO campus). It is quite possible that Christians and conservatives are, in such venues, more likely to be subjected to a "hate crime" than anyone of a homosexual bent.
There is no big push to bring about a "hate crimes bill" to protect me and those of my creed. Schools are not promoting a "Day of Christ" to bring about awareness of Christianity and Christians and promote activism to protect us. There is not a quota system in schools or corporations to try to be sure an adequate percentage of Christians get accepted or hired. When a group of Christians get attacked the news media are not quick to carry the story.
But, you say, Christians are a majority in this country and need no protection, don't make me laugh! Are they? Let us shed some light on that...
The Theologica Blog presented some interesting facts in a posting, Between Two Worlds. It turns out that although around 40% of the population of the USA claims to attend church, the number of people who do so is much lower.
Only about 18-19% of the population are found in a church service on a given week, and only half of those are attending an evangelical Christian church service, while about 3% attend mainline churches and 6% go to Catholic services.
From that website: "How many Americans go to church regularly?
If you listen to the answers provided by major opinion research firms, the answer usually hovers around 40%. (National Opinion Research Center: 38%; Institute for Social Research’s World Values: 44%; Barna: 41%; National Election Studies: 40%; Gallup: 41%.)
But in recent years this consensus has been challenged. It seems that it’s more accurate to say that 40% of Americans claim to attend church regularly.
In 1998, sociologist Stanley Presser at the University of Michigan—whose “research focuses on questionnaire design and testing, the accuracy of survey responses, and ethical issues stemming from the use of human subjects”—co-authored a study entitled: Data Collection Mode and Social Desirability Bias in Self-Reported Religious Attendance, American Sociological Review, v. 63 (1998): 137-145 (with L. Stinson). Comparing diaries with actual attendance, they made the estimate that the actual percentage of Americans attending church from the mid-1960’s to the 90’s was about 26%.
One of the problem comes in how the question is asked in a poll. Different questions yield different results. For example, in a survey you might ask, “What did you do last weekend?” listing for the person a number of possible activities, including church-going. This will yield a very different response than if you asked, “Did you attend church last Sunday?”
One factor is that people often answer according to what they think someone like them wants or ought to do. So people tend to overreport on the number of sexual partners they’ve had and how much money they give to charity, and tend to underreport on illegal drug use and the like. Hence, church attendance is often inflated."
The numbers of Christians in this country seem to be declining in proportion to the population, even while the faith is growing world-wide. It is also evident that Christian influence depends greatly upon what region of the county you live in. (The numbers of church-goers varies widely by state, as you see in this chart).
I can attest that the average church-goer is not terribly involved in church activities or Christian outreach. Based on my research and numbers from The Barna Group, only about 25% of the 18-19% of the population actually attending church are participating in any volunteer activities within or associated with the church. These are the people who are truly involved in Christianity and are more likely to share their faith with others.
What it boils down to is that only 5% of the population is therefore a outreach-oriented Christian, the kind who might tell you about Christ. That isn't much bigger than the percent of the population that is homosexual (homosexual activists will claim up to 10% of the population, which is ridiculous while some claim as low as 1%. I think 2-3% of the population is the best guess based on studies and polls I have viewed).
Then we look at the racial demographics of the USA as of 2005 according to Answers.com:
According to the Census Bureau, 2005 American Community Survey the US population is as follows:
White American, 74.7%, or about 700 million (the definition of White includes European Americans, North African Americans, Middle Eastern Americans (e.g. Arab Americans), Central Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans who reported as White in the 2000 Census)
Black or African American 12.1% or 34.9 million
Asian American 4.3% or 12.5 million,
American Indian 0.8% or 2.4 million
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0.1% or 0.4 million
Two or more races 1.9% or 5.6 million
Other 6% or 17.3 million
The figures above include people who declare mixed race or multiracial ancestry, and people who identify themselves as Hispanic. As of the 2000 Census, U.S. federal law defines Hispanic to indicate any person with ancestry from a Latin American country or Spain. The category includes Sephardic Jews, and speakers of Ladino are classified with Spanish speakers in the U.S. Census.
Hispanics of any race: 14.5% or about 41.9 million.
I suspect that if we consider your racial heritage, your religion, your voting preferences, your sexual orientation, your gender and whether or not you liked dogs or cats, you would find that your particular grouping would be a minority group. My minority group is this:
Mixed race (European Caucasian/American Indian)-Christian-Conservative-heterosexual-male-loves dogs-barely tolerates cats.
I don't want special protection for my group! I want equal protection under the law as an American citizen, period. Don't give me more or less protection because I am a Christian or a heterosexual or for any other reason. Don't do it for homosexuals or Asians or cat-lovers or karaoke addicts, either.
Un-American special protection laws actually mean persecution for others. Look at what is now being proposed in Oregon!
"...A legislative plan to "eliminate attitudes" opposing homosexuality is moving forward in Oregon, even though opponents claim it threatens churches and establishes pagan morality as a benchmark for their operations.
Senate Bill 2, already endorsed by the state Senate and favored by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat, now heads to the floor of the state House following a 5-1 committee endorsement.
It is expected to be voted on within the next week.
In the House Rules Committee, an amendment was offered that would have provided an exemption for Christian churches and Christian groups in the proposal to grant broad new powers to the homosexual community by designating them as members of a protected minority class.
However, the amendment was rejected in favor of a plan to continue to allow homosexuals to demand Christian churches hire them when there are job openings – among other issues.
"This is still an intrusion of the state into religious liberty, and makes [Christian organizations] subject to state control," David Crowe, of Restore America, told WND.
"It favors the homosexual community and puts the church in a defensive posture, having to defend itself and its beliefs, policies, doctrines and employment," he said.
The Oregon Family Council had proposed an amendment derived from similar legislative plans in other states where homosexual community members have been granted special rights, but it was rejected.
"This is very objectionable. It reveals that this is an agenda. They couldn't care less about what the people of Oregon think," said Crowe..."
Freedom and liberty and justice for all - threatened by the "progressive" forces for political correctness. We need to stand and fight. As was said of the time of the rise of Hitler...
First They Came (Pastor Martin Niemoller)
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
The Bible, Slavery, and America's Founders
And now, LOBOINOK!
While we are on the topic, adultery should be criminalized also, no?
How about death for sassing your parents, working on the sabbath, etc?
At the beginning of this country's history of common and civil law, those(as well as others) were crimes punishable by death.
If you are not capable of recognizing that the laws then, were few but effective because they imposed harsh, immediate and public penalties - as a result, they had a polite society and far more freedoms... then you will have far more difficulty comprehending laws that are millenniums past, rather than centuries past.
And while I appreciate your statement on racism, the Bible/God clearly had no problem with slavery.
"When God gave the law to Moses, slavery was a part of the world, and so the law of God recognized slavery. But this does not mean that slavery was God's original intention. The law of Moses was given to fallen man. Some of the ordinances deal with things not intended for the original creation order, such as slavery and divorce. These will be eliminated completely only when sin is eliminated from the earth. God's laws concerning slavery provided parameters for treatment of slaves, which were for the benefit of all involved. God desires all men and nations to be liberated. This begins internally and will be manifested externally to the extent internal change occurs. The Biblical slave laws reflect God's redemptive desire, for men and nations."
Types of Slavery Permitted by the Bible
The Mosaic law permitted some types of slavery. These include:
1. Voluntary servitude by the sons of Israel (indentured servants)
Those who needed assistance, could not pay their debts, or needed protection from another were allowed under Biblical law to become indentured servants (see Ex. 21:2-6; Deut. 15:12-18). They were dependent on their master instead of the state. This was a way to aid the poor and give them an opportunity to get back on their feet. It was not to be a permanent subsidy. Many early settlers to America came as indentured servants. These servants were well treated and when released, given generous pay.
2. Voluntary permanent slaves
If indentured servants so chose, they could remain a slave (Ex. 21:2-6; Deut.. 15:16-17). Their ear was pierced to indicate this permanent subjection. The law recognized that some people want the security of enslavement. Today, there are some people who would rather be dependent upon government to provide their needs (and with that provision accepting their commands) than do what is necessary to live free from its provision and direction. Some even act in a manner that puts them in jail, desiring the care and provision they get more than personal freedom.
3. Thief or criminal making restitution
A thief who could not, or did not, make restitution was sold as a slave: “If a man steals . . . he shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft” (Ex. 22:1,3). The servitude ceased when enough work was done to pay for the amount due in restitution.
4. Pagans could be permanent slaves
Leviticus 25:44-46 states: As for your male and female slaves whom you may have ‹ you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen [brother], the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.
In the Sabbath year all Hebrew debtors/slaves were released from their debts.. This was not so for foreigners (Deut. 15:3). Theologian R.J. Rushdoony writes, “since unbelievers are by nature slaves, they could be held as life-long slaves” 1 without piercing the ear to indicate their voluntary servitude (Lev. 25:44-46). This passage in Leviticus says that pagans could be permanent slaves and could be bequeathed to the children of the Hebrews. However, there are Biblical laws concerning slaves that are given for their protection and eventual redemption. Slaves could become part of the covenant and part of the family, even receiving an inheritance. Under the new covenant, a way was made to set slaves free internally, which should then be following by external preparation enabling those who were slaves to live at liberty, being self-governed under God.
Involuntary Servitude is Not Biblical
Exodus 21:16 says: “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.” Deuteronomy 24:7 states: “If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently, or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you.”
Kidnapping and enforced slavery are forbidden and punishable by death. This was true for any man (Ex. 21:16), as well as for the Israelites (Deut. 24:7). This was stealing a man's freedom. While aspects of slavery are Biblical (for punishment and restitution for theft, or for those who prefer the security of becoming a permanent bondservant), the Bible strictly forbids involuntary servitude.
Any slave that ran away from his master (thus expressing his desire for freedom) was to be welcomed by the Israelites, not mistreated, and not returned. Deuteronomy 23:15-16 states:
You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.
This implied slaves must be treated justly, plus they had a degree of liberty. Other slave laws confirm this. In addition, such action was a fulfillment of the law of love in both the Old and New Testaments. The law of God declares: “. . . you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:17-18). Leviticus 19:33-34 clearly reveals that this applies to strangers and aliens as well: “The stranger, . . . you shall not do him wrong.. . . . you shall love him as yourself.”
It was forbidden to take the life or liberty of any other man. Rushdoony writes:
Thus, the only kind of slavery permitted is voluntary slavery, as Deuteronomy 23:15,16 makes very clear. Biblical law permits voluntary slavery because it recognizes that some people are not able to maintain a position of independence. To attach themselves voluntarily to a capable man and to serve him, protected by law, is thus a legitimate way of life, although a lesser one. The master then assumes the role of the benefactor, the bestower of welfare, rather that the state, and the slave is protected by the law of the state. A runaway slave thus cannot be restored to his master: he is free to go. The exception is the thief or criminal who is working out his restitution. The Code of Hammurabi decreed death for men who harbored a runaway slave; the Biblical law provided for the freedom of the slave. 2
Rushdoony also says that the selling of slaves was forbidden. Since Israelites were voluntary slaves, and since not even a foreign slave could be compelled to return to his master (Deut. 23:15, 16), slavery was on a different basis under the law than in non-Biblical cultures. The slave was a member of the household, with rights therein. A slave-market could not exist in Israel. The slave who was working out a restitution for theft had no incentive to escape, for to do so would make him an incorrigible criminal and liable to death. 3
When slaves (indentured servants) were acquired under the law, it was their labor that was purchased, not their person, and the price took into account the year of freedom (Lev. 25:44-55; Ex. 21:2; Deut. 15:12-13).
Laws related to slaves
There are a number of laws in the Bible related to slavery. They include:
1. Hebrew slaves (indentured servants) were freed after 6 years.
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment (Ex. 21:2).
If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. And when you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed (Deut. 15:12-13). Hebrew slaves were to be set free after six years. If the man was married when he came, his wife was to go with him (Ex. 21:3).
This law did not apply to non-Hebrew slaves (see point 4 under “Types of slavery permitted by the Bible” above), though, as mentioned, any slave showing a desire for freedom was to be safely harbored if they ran away. In violation of this law, many Christian slaves in America were not given the option of freedom after six years (and many escaped slaves were forcefully returned). To comply with the spirit and law of the Old and New Testament, non-Christian slaves should have been introduced by their master to Christianity, equipped to live in liberty, and then given the opportunity to choose to live free. Christianity would have prepared them to live in freedom.
2. Freed slaves were released with liberal pay.
When these slaves were set free they were not to be sent away empty handed. They were to be furnished liberally from the flocks, threshing floor, and wine vat (Deut. 15:12-15).
3. Slaves were to be responsible.
We have mentioned that some people prefer the security of enslavement to the uncertainty of living free. People who live free have certain responsibilities they must maintain. They cannot have the fruit of freedom without the responsibilities of freedom. It is within this context that the following law can be understood:
“If he [a Hebrew slave] comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.” (Ex. 21:3-4)
“The bondservant, however, could not have the best of both worlds, the world of freedom and the world of servitude. A wife meant responsibility: to marry, a man had to have a dowry as evidence of his ability to head a household. A man could not gain the benefit of freedom, a wife, and at the same time gain the benefit of security under a master.” 4
Marrying as a slave required no responsibility of provision or need of a dowry. He gained the benefits of marriage without the responsibilities associated with it. Rushdoony continues:
“If he married while a bondservant, or a slave, he knew that in so doing he was abandoning either freedom or his family. He either remained permanently a slave with his family and had his ear pierced as a sign of subordination (like a woman), or he left his family. If he walked out and left his family, he could, if he earned enough, redeem his family from bondage. The law here is humane and also unsentimental. It recognizes that some people are by nature slaves and will always be so. It both requires that they be dealt with in a godly manner and also that the slave recognize his position and accept it with grace. Socialism, on the contrary, tries to give the slave all the advantages of his security together with the benefits of freedom, and, in the process, destroys both the free and the enslaved.” 5
4. Runaway slaves were to go free.
As mentioned earlier, Deuteronomy 23:15-16 says that a runaway slave was to go free. He was to be welcomed to live in any of the towns of Israel he chose. The Israelites were not to mistreat him. Rushdoony says that, “Since the slave was, except where debt and theft were concerned, a slave by nature and by choice, a fugitive slave went free, and the return of such fugitives was forbidden (Deut. 23:15,16).” This aspect of Biblical law was violated by American slavery and the United States Constitution (see Art. IV, Sec. 2, Par. 3). “Christians cannot become slaves voluntarily; they are not to become the slaves of men (1 Cor. 7:23), nor 'entangled again with the yoke of bondage' (Gal. 5:1).” 6 Those who became Christians while slaves were to become free if they could (1 Cor. 7:21). If they could not, they were to exemplify the character of Christ (Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 4:1; 1 Tim. 6:1-2). Eventually, Christianity would overthrow slavery, not so much by denouncing it, but by promoting the equality of man under God, and teaching the principles of liberty and the brotherhood of mankind under Christ. It would be the responsibility of Christians, especially those who found themselves in a place of owning slaves (for example, many Christian Americans in the past inherited slaves) to teach such ideas, and then act accordingly. Many Christians in early America did just this. Phyllis Wheatley was introduced to Christianity by her masters, educated, and given her freedom. Many American Christians, in both North and South, at the time of the Civil War did much to educate slaves Biblically. Stonewall Jackson, who never owned slaves himself and was against slavery, conducted many classes in his church to educate slaves.
5. Excessive punishment of slaves was forbidden.
A slave could be punished by striking with a rod (Ex. 21:20-21), but if the punishment was excessive, the slave was to be given his freedom (Ex. 21:26-27; Lev. 24:17). This included knocking out the tooth or damaging the eye. This applied to indentured servants as well as other slaves. Since the owner would lose his investment in such a situation, there was a financial incentive for just treatment.
Just treatment of slaves was required of the masters. Paul writes: “Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” (Col. 4:1)
6. Slaves could be brought into the covenant.
Slaves could be circumcised (brought into the covenant) and then eat of the Passover meal (Ex. 12:43-44; Gen. 17:12-13). Slaves could also eat of holy things (Lev. 22:10-11).
7. Slaves had some rights and position in the home and could share in the inheritance.
(See Gen. 24:2 and Prov. 17:2.)
8. Slaves were to rest on the Sabbath like everyone else.
The Fourth Commandment applied to all (Ex. 20:8-11).
9. Female slave laws were for their protection.
Exodus 21:4-11 gives some laws about female slaves, which served for their protection. These Hebrew female slaves were without family to assist them in their need or to help to provide security for them. These slaves laws were a way to protect them from abuse not faced by males and to keep them from being turned out into the street, where much harm could come to them.
Examination of the Biblical view of slavery enables us to more effectively address the assertion that slavery was America's original sin. In light of the Scriptures we cannot say that slavery, in a broad and general sense, is sin. But this brief look at the Biblical slave laws does reveal how fallen man's example of slavery has violated God's laws, and America's form of slavery in particular violated various aspects of the law, as well as the general spirit of liberty instituted by Christ.
The Christian foundation and environment of America caused most people to seek to view life from a Biblical perspective. Concerning slavery, they would ask “Is it Biblical?” While most of the Founders saw it was God's desire to eliminate the institution, others attempted to justify it. At the time of the Civil War some people justified Southern slavery by appealing to the Bible. However, through this brief review of the Old Testament slave laws we have seen that American slavery violated some of these laws, not to mention the spirit of liberty instituted by the coming of Christ.
Slavery and the New Testament
When Paul wrote how slaves and masters were to act (Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 4:1; 1 Tim. 6:1-2; Col. 3:22-25; Titus 2:9-10), he was not endorsing involuntary slavery or the Roman slave system. He was addressing the attitudes, actions, and matters of the heart of those Christians who found themselves in slavery or as slave owners. This encompassed many people, for half the population of Rome and a large proportion of the Roman Empire were slaves. Many people were converted to Christianity while slaves or slave owners, and many Christians were enslaved.
It is in this context that we can better understand the example of Paul, Onesimus, and Philemon. Onesimus, a slave of Philemon who apparently stole some money from his master and ran away, encountered Paul in Rome and became a Christian. Paul sent him back to his master carrying the letter to Philemon. Author of the famous Bible Handbook, Henry Halley writes:
The Bible gives no hint as to how the master received his returning slave. But there is a tradition that says his master did receive him, and took Paul's veiled hint and gave the slave his liberty. That is the way the Gospel works. Christ in the heart of the slave made the slave recognize the social usages of his day, and go back to his master determined to be a good slave and live out his natural life as a slave. Christ in the heart of the master made the master recognize the slave as a Christian brother and give him his liberty. There is a tradition that Onesimus afterward became a bishop of Berea. 7
The Mosaic slave laws and the writings of Paul benefited and protected the slaves as best as possible in their situation. God's desire for any who are enslaved is freedom (Luke 4:18; Gal. 5:1). Those who are set free in Christ then need to be prepared to walk in liberty. Pagan nations had a much different outlook toward slaves, believing slaves had no rights or privileges. Because of the restrictions and humane aspect of the Mosaic laws on slavery, it never existed on a large scale in Israel, and did not exhibit the cruelties seen in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Assyria and other nations.
Sinful man will always live in some form of bondage and slavery, as a slave to the state, to a lord or noble, or to other men. As a step in man's freedom, God's laws of slavery provided the best situation for those who find themselves in bondage. God's ultimate desire is that all walk in the liberty of the gospel both internally and externally.
As the gospel principles of liberty have spread throughout history in all the nations, man has put aside the institution of overt slavery. However, since sinful man tends to live in bondage, different forms of slavery have replaced the more obvious system of past centuries. The state has assumed the role of master for many, providing aid and assistance, and with it more and more control, to those unable to provide for themselves. The only solution to slavery is the liberty of the gospel.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
For all of you who read this post, if you are Christians I say, "He is risen!"
For all who are not.....my hope is not that you become a Christian in order to change your vote or your lifestyle or your scientific point of view. I do hope you do come to know Jesus some time in your life, for I believe deeply that He is "the Way" to eternal life and a relationship with the very God who created the Universe and all that is in it. Jesus tends to change from the inside out but it isn't about that. It is about your life.
If you were a believer in Christ and a Christian, like myself, I would hope that you would care enough about others to tell them about your faith. You would not let fear stop you, nor criticism, nor political correctness. If you knew that you knew that you knew that you had a cure for cancer, wouldn't you get it to the pharmaceutical laboratories so they could begin producing it and save lives? If you knew how to get crops to grow at twice their rate and size, wouldn't you try to get that knowledge to experts in husbandry in order to help put an end to hunger in the world? I would hope that you would!
You know the story, witnessed and historically documented in such a way that Jewish Law would have to consider it to be a true account. Jesus lived a sinless life, died a sinner's death, thereby having the right to suffer in your place and mine and take our penalty. He then rose from the dead as the First of all those born of woman to have eternal life. He was God becoming man to bring man to God forever. He simply seeks for those who will believe, repent, and become one of God's children by asking the Lord to come into their hearts as Savior.
It's not a ritual, it is a decision.
It's not a religion, it is a relationship.
Those of us who know Him reply, "He is risen indeed!"
Friday, April 06, 2007
May I now please express my personal beliefs concerning racism and homosexuality, and also, my opinion of the Christian stance on both of these issues?
Racism: Story One:
Define racism as you will; You can parse it small so that even seeing a difference of any kind between races is a sin, or large, so that only acts of hatred apply. For me, racism is this: To look down upon someone of a different race or allow such a mindset to rule your actions. You may call me a racist because I believe that the average person of Black African descent is genetically predisposed to have more vocal chords involved in the production of sounds when singing, or have more quick-twitch muscles in the legs than most other races. Call me a racist if I believe Caucasians are genetically predisposed to more easily sunburn or have red hair. Call me a racist if I assert that Asians are more likely to have more slender skeletal structures and be a bit shorter than the average of all races. But, in those remarks, I believe I am stating observations and not in any way making value judgements. There are so many differences between us in the gene pools, some of color, some of size, of strength, of almost any attribute you can name. I believe that those differences are blessings, in that variety is the spice of life and if we all looked alike and had the same attributes it would be a dull world, indeed.
I know that stereotypes exist, for instance, Asians are smarter, "White Men Can't Jump", Black guys run faster, etc. There are some stereotypes that are deadly to the soul to believe, for instance, that Asians cannot be trusted and Blacks are stupid/inferior and so on. There are many who believe stereotypes and inflict these lies upon their children and their children's children. Such opinions sicken me.
But let me tell two stories and then make a point. Herein I will write words I personally detest and I leave it to you, the reader, to decide if I was right in doing so.
I am considered a White Guy. In truth, we all have very mixed heritages. I can trace my ancestry from Anglo-Saxon and Norman sources, but also Native American Indian and the tribes that lived in Scotland before there were Scots and even the Asian invaders that swept across much of Europe long centuries past. I was born in a community in southern Indiana that consisted primarily of White people and they were all I knew until the age of about six years.
The first time I became aware of Black people was at a ballgame. Yes, I saw them around my small hometown sometimes, but no one said much about them and I was too wrapped up in the world of family and friends to give them a thought. Now, my entire family was crazy about the Cincinnati Reds and when the adults gathered they would speak of Frank Robinson and Gus Bell with such reverence that I believed that the Reds were almost gods on earth. Imagine my joy at being able to go, with my cousin, to a Reds game with my grandparents one evening!
Old Crosley Field was, even almost 50 years ago, a structure past its prime. But the lush green field and the chattering crowd impressed me immensely. Baseball was heaven on earth! Then the players came out onto the field to warm up and so on. I don't remember much about batting practice or anything else, I just remember my Grandma pointing out Frank Robinson, the best of the Reds, to me. He was a Black guy!
Revelation! My hero was a Black guy! I was so young I had not even begun to collect baseball cards, so I had no idea that Black people could play baseball. In my town, they kept to themselves and I never saw them save at a distance. But here, in Cincinnati, they put on uniforms and were known around the country as athletes.
Frank Robinson will probably always be my favorite player. As a young person, I saw how great a hitter he was and how determined a fielder and baserunner. He had the attitude that he would run through a wall to win and I thought that was so great. As I grew older, I learned more about him and decided he was even more admirable than I first realized. But back to the story...
Now, my hometown was in an area where we could go up into the hills and find arrowheads and multitudes of fossils and lots of cool rocks like geodes. Geodes were bumpy, round rocks, heavy, that had a treasure inside. They were quite hard, but when you broke them open they would be somewhat hollowed out and within that brown rock were beautiful crystals. I loved finding them, but they became a cause of contention between myself and most of my male relatives. Because, you see, in that part of the country, geodes were known as Niggerheads!
I may have been small, but I understood that Nigger was a derisive term for Negro, and that is what Black people were called. Therefore, while other kids and my own family called such rocks by that term, I referred to them as Negroheads and would not let laughter or mocking dissuade me. God bless my Dad, who also began to call them that, although it would have been better had he taught me the word, geode, and be done with it. I suppose his amusement at his son's crusading spirit gave him the greater pleasure and he left the academic world to someday teach me a better word. In retrospect, I can see that terming such a rock a Negrohead was scarcely better than the alternative, but I thought I was doing the right thing at the time.
I had a date with a pretty young girl I didn't know well, so this was to be our first official date. I was twenty-something, had just gotten my Honorable Discharge from the Army, and was back "home" in the town I had called home back in my High School years, South Bend. She was a hostess at a nice restaurant in town and I was to meet her at her place of work, take her home to get freshen up, and then we would go out.
I waited at the bar for her to be finished, and I had brought with me a yellow legal pad upon which to write. I often wrote poems or made observations to be incorporated in never-written novels back in those days and had a number of such pads that had been partly used. I must confess that I had accumulated them during my days as a military journalist, so I suppose the Army did send me with a few parting gifts, although they were given out to me willingly as part of my job and so I never considered them to have been stolen. I used them for work and I used them for my leisure and, now, there was for a time only leisure. I began scribbling something upon the pad.
My date, I will call her Diane, appeared just as I was about to head to the men's room. I asked if she wanted me to order her a drink (she did, and I complied) and then I left the pad there on the bar while I went to relieve myself. Upon my return, I found she had looked through the pad and, near the end, found a page with this one thing scribbled, "fuck you, nigger!".
You cannot imagine my shame upon seeing those words. For one thing, Diane's father was a Black Man and her mother was at least partly Black herself. Diane was lighter-skinned than either of them but she was obviously not a Caucasian. I always printed my words in all caps rather than write them out, for my handwriting is so terrible, and so it was obvious that I had written those words.
How could I explain? When stationed in Washington, DC, I had become good friends with a Black guy who I will call "Dooley", who in size and appearance remarkably resembled Muhammed Ali. When I hung out with him, I also usually hung out with his Black friends and therefore many of them became buddies of mine, too. Soon they became comfortable with me and it amazed how often they called each other the word, "nigger!" They would do it as a friendly term or they would do it to deride each other, but they would do it all the time. They just usually didn't do it around White guys, so I was taken aback at first. But then again, all these guys thought it was fun to call me "honky", like when something would happen and they would think my reaction was typically white and one of them would say, "You're just a White honky!" and everyone would laugh. And so it was that one day I was trying to write something and Dooley was razzing me and, rather than say anything, I just turned the pad around, opened it up deep inside, wrote those words and showed them to him. Dooley just rolled his eyes but as I recall it didn't stop him from bugging me until I quit writing and talked to him about what was going on.
I remember another evening when we had both shared a very potent joint and were sitting on a park bench, overlooking the Potomac, and drinking in the scene. Dooley confessed to me his greatest frustration, in that he was so good looking that he never knew if women wanted him for his good looks or for who he was on the inside. He wondered how he could ever be loved for just being him. I told him how much I would have loved to have his particular problem, but then I saw that here was this big strong guy with tears in his eyes and that he was actually deeply troubled. After months of being buddies and one very strong joint he was baring his soul. These were my pre-Christian days and I really had no answers for him. But I did say that I loved him as a friend just because I thought he was cool....and he always had good dope! That made him laugh, and that was the best I could do.
How could I tell Diane that "fuck you, nigger!" was code between friends and in no way racist? I did try and I think she tried to absorb it, but it was awkward and we just never got over it. That first date with Diane would also be my last date with Diane.
I tell these stories because I want you, the reader, to understand how vile racism is to me. I detest it in any form, whether it be Ku Klux Klan or Black Muslim. In our country we make Black vs White the headliner for racism, but certainly those of every race face racism in our country.
If you go to see the movie, "Amazing Grace", you will be reminded of the slave trade and the horrors of it, and the Christians that fought hard to see it ended. Like Wilberforce, I truly believe that all men of all colors are made by God and have the same inalienable rights as all other men.
Jesus believe this. Thus, he went to Samaria (to most of the Jews, the Samaritans were a cursed people who were inferior in all ways) to preach to Samaritans and most especially, to the Samaritan woman at the well. Consider that she was living in sin, was a so-called inferior race, and a so-called inferior sex, yet Jesus wanted to give her the same gift He sought to give to the Jews, the gift of eternal life in relationship with an eternal God! This is why so-called "Christians" who try to twist the Bible to teach that there are cursed or inferior races make me angry.
Because I believe this, I will also oppose racial quotas that are supposed to in some way "make up" for racism in general or the iniquities of the past. NO! Two wrongs do not make a right. This will pit me against those who claim to be against racism at times, but let them revile me for that. But I tell you that being a Christian is to attempt to be like Christ and Christ died for all just as He created all. In the eyes of God, all colors are beautiful and all languages are delightful and He would have everyone of every nation be aligned with Him. How could I believe differently? I knew it in my heart before I even knew God in my heart, it is Truth and all those who oppose that Truth are wrong.
My post "Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007"
brought forth many comments and one of them stated in part that "the only reason you and other fundies are writing about this is because it affords homosexuals some protections, and fundies generally hate any sort of legislation dealing with homosexuals."
Let us deal with that. First, I believe homosexuality is wrong, it is aberrant behavior. You would have no trouble, should you research, in discovering that homosexual relationships involve more domestic violence, more incidences of disease, more changing of partners, etc, than relationships that are heterosexual in nature. So experience teaches us that homosexuality is not all that good for society as a whole. Indeed, pedophilia is more prevalent among homosexuals than it is heterosexuals as well.
But wrong in practice and experience pales beside my primary reason, which is that God says that homosexuality is wrong. Do you need chapter and verse? I am sure you are all aware of the Biblical teaching. Permit me to share Leviticus 18:22-24
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
These are among the verses used to teach us that homosexuality (and bestiality) are sins against God. These are commandments God gave to His people, for all people, and they continue to stand, just as the admonitions to not bear false witness or murder also stand. I therefore assert that homosexuality is wrong and should be considered a sin, not accepted as normal and good.
The Bible says quite a bit in that particular chapter of Leviticus, for instance, Leviticus 22:20
Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her.
If you read that chapter, you understand that God says it is sin to have sex with your mother, father, aunt, uncle, etc. It also says that adultery is a sin! Now I challenge each and every one of you to search the Bible and show me how adultery or having sex with your mother is any lesser or greater of a sin than having sex with someone of the same sex?
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne was compelled to walk around with an "A" upon her forehead to denote being exposed as an adulterous woman. I think some of my Christian brethren believe homosexuals should have to wear an "H" on their person, much like the Jews in the days of Hitler were forced to wear a yellow star inscribed, "Jude" until such time they were herded into camps and slaughtered like beasts. But they are so wrong!
Yes, I have had homosexual friends and no, I didn't think they were terribly wicked and depraved above all men. Before my coversion to Christianity I had been, at times, a druggie and a drunk and an adulterer and certainly a fornicator and violator of many laws of both God and man. There is no difference in the eyes of God, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God!" I am condemned for my sins unless, by the Blood of Christ and the mercies of God, I am forgiven. This is also true of those who practice homosexuality.
In my opinion, it was wise to have laws on the books prohibiting homosexual behavior since it is deleterious to the common good. However, the United States is not a Theocracy, it is a democracy based upon Godly principles. I understand, even as I disagree, the motivations of those who press pro-homosexual causes. Unfortunately, to decriminalize homosexuality has also meant that the homosexual agenda just moves the line forward. Homosexuals are trying to not just legalize their sins, but legitimatize them as well. How? By trying to change what marriage is, for one thing. Also, by trying to penalize those who speak against homosexuality by passing vague laws who, if applied in certain ways, could cause those of us who oppose the homosexual agenda to face jail for presenting our views! Freedom of speech is in peril, as is freedom of religion, by these pro-homosexual crusaders who are intent upon receiving a legal stamp of approval upon their sin and to criminalize those who disagree.
I oppose all efforts by front door, side door, or back door, to put an end to freedoms of speech or religion in the United States of America. I oppose all efforts to legally force Americans to recognize homosexuality as some kind of protected specialized behavior.
On the other hand, let's be clear on this point. I don't believe homosexuals should be discriminated against because they practice homosexuality any more than should be adulterers or people who exceed the speed limit. The true Christian sees all men and women as children of God who are sinners and need the mercy of God in their lives. Homosexuals are not a special set of people to be treated differently, as lepers were once treated in Biblical times. I say that Jesus healed the lepers, he didn't revile them. Christians should not revile homosexuals, just see them as sinners whose sin is no greater than the next-door neighbor who has an affair with his secretary.
Therefore, when I opposed the LEHCPA of 2007 or any related legislation, I am not doing it from prejudice or hatred. I am doing it on principle and with reasoning. To quote a commenter, "Worse yet, there are some key phrases that open doors wide that many people don't want opened. For example, Pike said, the bill is to "prevent and respond to alleged violations," meaning "the government does not even have to wait until a hate crime has been committed but may act pre-emptively to 'prevent' crime."
Pike is sort of right here, but trying to start a needless fire. Prevention. The bill authorizes the grants. These will be education grants to inform and educate about diversity. PRE EMPTIVE ACTION DOES NOT mean sweep people off the street and throw them into Guantanamo with no due process...oh, sorry, getting into a whole nother topic there..."
Nice try, but that is exactly the problem. This section opens the door for free speech to be prosecuted and for federal monies to be thrown at a problem from the wrong direction. I don't hate homosexuals, but I hate the idea of my right to oppose them being taken from me and my freedoms threatened because they have succeeded in crafting wrongheaded and dangerous legislation.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
That being said, we come to the Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007. I have been alerted by chaos-engineer and then scolded by lava for deliberately or carelessly presenting misinformation about that bill. Allow me to reply, first by excerpting the words of Ted Pike of the National Prayer Network:
"...the vast majority of Americans remain oblivious to the existence of the hate bill in Congress, or how it dangles like the blade of a guillotine over our precious and vulnerable liberty."
Why would he say such a thing? For one, laws like this have been enacted overseas with devastating results for personal liberties. For instance,
...such laws already have been used around the world, where in Canada pastors are fearful of reading biblical injunctions against homosexuality, and in Australia where two pastors were convicted of "vilifying" Islam.
The H.R. 254 plan, proposed by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, is "stealth legislation at its most devious," Pike said earlier. He said people take a glance, and then say, "This bill just wants federal power to prosecute bias-motivated violent crimes in the states – what's wrong with that?"
"There's plenty wrong with that!" he said. First, the Constitution does not grant federal government the "police state privilege" of being your local law enforcement. "Unless the government finds evidence of slavery in the states, jury tampering, voter fraud, or crimes involving interstate commerce (where jurisdiction is unclear), the Constitution's message to the federal government is blunt and emphatic: 'Butt out of local law enforcement!'"
However, Pike said the authors of the new legislation have been clever, inserting in the proposal assertions that because five states do not have hate laws, the federal government has "no choice" but to "enhance federal enforcement of hate crimes." That includes new ranks of federal agents to address the "serious national problem" that exists.
Worse yet, there are some key phrases that open doors wide that many people don't want opened. For example, Pike said, the bill is to "prevent and respond to alleged violations," meaning "the government does not even have to wait until a hate crime has been committed but may act pre-emptively to 'prevent' crime."
Peter LaBarbera, of Americans for Truth, noted that in Canada and France both, legislators have been fined for publicly criticizing homosexuality. Three years ago, a Swedish hate crimes law was used to put Pastor Ake Green, who preached that homosexuality is a sin, in jail for a month.
"And recently, a British couple told how they were denied the chance to adopt because it was determined that their Christian faith might 'prejudice' them against a homosexual child put in their care," LaBarbera added.
Already in the United States, Catholic Charities of Boston halted all adoption operations in the state after being told under Massachusetts' pro-'gay' nondiscrimination law, only agencies that placed children in homosexual-led households would get licensed by the state.
He suggested a visit to StopHateCrimesNow to hear the testimonies of those who have had first-hand experience with so-called "hate crimes" laws. A 75-year-old grandmother describes how she was jailed for testifying about the Bible, in the United States.
That last website is obviously posted to express a particular point of view that is contrary to the framers of the aforementioned act. I looked to find a website that was neutral, to see what viewpoint was being expressed abou the bill and the TVC response to the bill, and came upon this one. Here is an excerpt, and my comments:
I tend to be suspicious of hate crimes legislation, nonetheless, because it seems to me that the actual violence is a sufficient reason for action, and if that violence gets out of hand, then one can increase the law enforcement. This should occur no matter what the motivation for the violence is. Further, there seems to be a bit of a stretching effort here to justify federal involvement in these crimes.
So far I am in complete agreement
I’m especially suspicious when hate speech gets involved, but I’m not seeing that here. “Speech codes” strike me as both unliberal and unconservative–just plain unsound and dangerous.
Sounds like a way to take away 1st Amendment rights to me...but do go on!
That said, I simply do not see where the TVC gets their alert from the text of this bill. I would think it would be a clear, Christian duty to oppose violence against people irrespective of what we think of their lifestyle, character, sexual orientation, or anything else. The sole debate should be one of strategy. How do we best protect people from violence?
It is our Christian duty to protect people from violence but not from oppression? I disagree vehemently, for in any totalitarian society the restraints on free speech are among the biggest tools used to repress all freedoms and eventually rain down violence and death upon those who disagree with the "Powers That Be."
Laws against violence to others without regard to motivation are, and always have been, the means by which we as a society protect people from violence.
It may well be that this bill is not the best strategy, and as I said it raises certain questions with me. I would like to know just how much accomplishment we expect from the grants that will be given and the use of federal resources, and how such success would be measured. Will we revisit this particular item of spending after a period of time and see if it has accomplished its goals? You see, I’m not at all certain that it will accomplish those goals, or that it is the best way, and our representatives in Washington have this interesting way of making the spending look good, but leaving out the measurement of success.
Ah, money! Of course, legislation like this includes money to be doled out, what a surprise!
One option that occurs to me for dealing with violence is increasing law enforcement generally, not so that we can have big brother looking in every window, but so that we can give every crime of violence due attention, and pay professional police officers the wages due their professionalism, and hire new ones where officers fail to live up to that standard. Perhaps some reprioritizing might be useful, for example, from prosecuting minor drug offenses and in favor of dealing with more serious, violent crimes.
But what is most clear to me is that the TVC response is not so much about the bill as about their own agenda. Let me ask this: How will holders of “traditional” values (as defined by the TVC) deal with violence against gays, lesbians, cross-dressers, and so forth? Or is that not an important issue to you?
Why artificially segment violence against these groups from violence against little old ladies or businessmen or black teenagers or any other group? The law is best when it is blind to color or race or creed or religion or motivation. This bill is a terrible idea, period!
Then, I came upon this website and copied this letter that was posted there, having been addressed to Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA 21st):
There you go! I am in basic agreement with the writer. I cannot fathom a reason for such a bill, other than to try to make political hay with a certain constituency at the expense of basic freedoms and/or to find another way to line somebody's pockets with grant monies down the line. Or, even worse, is the motivation to truly advance the idea of Politically Correct Thought Police, Federally Funded, looking over our shoulders to make sure we both say and do the things that the Party in Power mandate must be thought and said?
Just one comment...remove the "hate" from in front of the "crime" and then I will support what the writer has said entirely. Hate is a matter for the heart, a social issue, if you will. Attitudes and thoughts must not be subject to legislation. Crime is another matter. If hatred leads to a crime, the crime must be prosecuted vigorously and in that way the hate will be defeated to at least an extent. Prosecute crimes (against Gays or Christians or Blacks or Women or Hispanics or Asians or Bingo Players or NASCAR Fans or any group you wish to single out) to the fullest extent without regard to the thinking behind them and I will be in complete agreement with you.