Taking Another Day Off

I’m taking another day off. Mama problems.

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Apple Watch Review: Do NOT Buy

Apple Watch: $349 to $17,000. Religious Freedom: Priceless. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Shinya Suzuki https://www.flickr.com/photos/shinyasuzuki/

Apple Watch: $349 to $17,000. Religious Freedom: Priceless. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Shinya Suzuki https://www.flickr.com/photos/shinyasuzuki/

I’m not buying an Apple Watch.

In fact, as Apple obsoletes the many Apple products I own, I plan to replace them with products from another company. When Apple obsoletes my Mac Pro, my sons and I are going to build a computer. I’ll probably do another post on that decision at another time.

Until Tim Cook took off after my First Amendment rights, I was a fanatic Apple fan girl. I’ve got a desktop, laptops, a phone and a tablet to replace over time. I assume Apple will help me with this with their new Tim Cook method of forcing Apple owners to buy new products by obsoleting the ones they have.

I already have an old Mac Pro and a Gen 1 iPad that ain’t doin’ nothin’ because Apple obsoleted them. I gave the iPad to one of my kids and he tells me it’s unusable because it will no longer run Safari. I also have an obsoleted iPhone out there, somewhere. I donated that, so I don’t know what’s happening with it.

So I know without doubt that every single Apple product I own will take a dirt bath due to Apple obsoleting it, and that will probably happen fairly soon. That alone is reason enough to look elsewhere for replacements. But I’ve been such a fan girl that I allowed the company to do this to me.

Until now. I’ll put up with them ripping me off by maliciously obsoleting my expensive tech stuff. I’ll tolerate Apple Maps, which still sends me on long trips to nowhere when all I want to do is cross the street. I’ve accepted the many different plugs necessary to charge my laptops, and I work around the inconvenience of no cd player on my Mackbook Air. I’ll even tolerate the bizarre and unfixed bug in their operating system that keeps telling me that my computer can’t sync with iCloud and inviting me to open iCloud preferences and fix this.

But using my money to go after my First Amendment rights is a bridge too far. Because you see, it is my money. And yours. All those billions Apple has? That market share that keeps growing? That bounding stock price?

Your money and mine filled those coffers and pushed that stock price.

If you want to spend your money to finance attacks on your First Amendment rights, then go for it. This is America. People can be as politically suicidal as they want. But me and my $$ are going elsewhere.

To begin with, I’m skipping the Apple Watch. If I decide I must have a smart watch, Pebble Watch is ready when I am. Actually, I think Pebble Watch is the cool buy, anyway. Pebble is the number one seller of smart watches. They are the innovators who created the entire smart watch market. They are, in many ways, what Apple once was; a cool, founder-run company innovating itself into our hearts.

If you want to be a herd-follower and donate your dollars to attacks on your First Amendment freedoms, buy the Apple Watch. But if you want to be uber cool, buy the Pebble Watch. Just go to Amazon, type in Pebble Watch, and you’ll see a long list of great choices, all for a lot less $$ than the Apple Watch.

When I first said that I was leaving Apple, a few commenters on other sites said that they “don’t do boycotts.” If that’s true, they’re safe.

This is not a boycott. What I am suggesting is that you make an individual decision as the individual that you are that you will not spend your money in ways that support those who attack religious freedom. That is exactly what I’m doing. This is my decision. It is about me and my $$ and my personal loyalty to the things I believe.

I am capable of taking a stand all by myself.

Are you?

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What’s the Threat to Christians Worldwide?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab https://www.flickr.com/photos/harrystaab/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab https://www.flickr.com/photos/harrystaab/

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The Story of the Armenian Genocide

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by young shanahan https://www.flickr.com/photos/youngshanahan/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by young shanahan https://www.flickr.com/photos/youngshanahan/

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The Murderers Got Away With It.

Photo Source: Wikimedia, Public Domain

Photo Source: Wikimedia, Public Domain

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? Adolph Hitler

The murderers got away with it.

Their success encouraged Adolph Hitler in his assumption that what had been done to the Christians by the Turks could be done by the Germans to the Jews, and no one would remember it later. Every time I publish a post on the Armenian Genocide, I have to delete a few comments claiming that it never happened. The “explanations” are spurious, the comments are full of rage.

I assume that the people who make these claims have been brainwashed by lies.

It is a miserable experience to face what you have done when what you have done is a crime against humanity. But it is a necessary beginning to forgiveness and healing.

Turkey has been running from its own history for 100 years. This not only dishonors the dead, it creates a climate in which others who are inclined to practice genocide feel that they can get away with it. After all, there is precedent of a million-and-a-half cold-blooded murders that not only went unpunished, but were swept under the rug of history and forgotten for a century of bloodshed.

I began this post by saying that the murderers got away with it. But, of course, no one ever gets away with anything. This life is a short experience. Eternity awaits. In that eternity, everything we do is known. No one gets away with anything.

There is only one Way out of the misery of our sins, and that Way is the Cross. Only the death of God could be sufficient to pay the price of sins such as those that we humans can commit.

If the Turks lived out their days wallowing in the muck of thinking that they got away with it, they were deluding themselves. God is not mocked. They paid the price, in full and for eternity.

Part of our call as Christians living on this side of eternity is to erect and maintain barriers that fence in the bestial impulses that prey on all of us. No person, anywhere, is so pure that they can, of their own thinking and good intentions, prevent themselves from falling into the trap of their own fallen nature.

The vast hubris of telling ourselves that we can be good, that we are, essentially, good, is just that: Hubris. The people who claim this are oftentimes advocating and committing crimes of blood guilt while they say the words.

Jesus said that there is none good except God. He did this to point out to the rich young man who sought to follow Him that he was, in fact, addressing God in the flesh. But the point He made transcends that conversation.

There is none good but God. When we try to pretend otherwise, we doom ourselves to the anguish of constant self-justification. Any contradiction of the life lies we use to pretend that our sins are not sins pushes us to rageful attack. We live today in a society that is rotting with the rage of those who deny the real God so that they can be their own god.

Righteousness and self righteousness are two different things. Without the Cross, without the redemption that only Christ offers, all our righteousness is self righteousness, which is to say, that all our righteousness is a pose, a sham and a lie.

The Ottoman Turks committed genocide against the Christians of Armenia. This crime was not just a crime against the individual people who were murdered. It was not just murder, committed one and a half million times. It was a crime that struck to the heart of what it means to be human. It was a crime so vast and so evil that it is a crime committed against every human being who ever walked, or who will ever walk, this planet.

The call to bring this genocide into the light is not just a call for justice. It is a necessity of human survival. There are some crimes that we must not ignore and can not tolerate if we are to survive as a species. Genocide is one of those crimes.

ISIS is in the process of committing new genocides today. Their targets are Christians and the followers of the ancient religions that predate Christianity. But their ultimate victim is Islam itself.

By committing genocide and claiming that it is an Islamic practice, they are also claiming that Islam is of the devil. No one outside Islam is defaming the faith in this manner. It is coming from its own violent adherents.

Only the harsh cleansing of truth can scrub away the stains of sin this deep.

The truth is that the Armenian genocide was genocide. The truth is that it was committed 100 years ago by the Ottoman Turks.

The truth is that this crime is so vast, so deeply threatening to our claims of humanity, so portentous in its capacity to kill without limit, that human beings as a race, a tribe, a species, can not, ever, allow anyone to get away with it.

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Taking a Day Off

I’m taking today off. Family stuff.

I’ll be back tomorrow.

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Pope Accepts Bishop Finn’s Resignation

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

The Roman Catholic Church in America is under attack from many directions.

First, it is the target of everyone who opposes traditional Christian teaching and morality.

Second, it is the target of those who want to destroy Christianity’s influence in Western culture because they hate religion.

Third, it is the target of both extreme left Christians and extreme right Christians who have joined forces with those who want to destroy Christianity’s influence in Western culture. I am speaking specifically of those liberal Christians who have aligned themselves with atheists against other Christians and those conservative Christians who have gone the way of deifying militarism and corporatism.

Fourth, it is under both direct attack and attempts to co-opt it by corporatist influences who want to silence any voice that might criticize their actions on moral grounds.

If you will notice, all of these attackers combine on one point: They want to destroy the prophetic and moral voice of the Catholic Church in American society, and indeed in all of Western society. They do this because the Catholic Church’s teachings call them and all of society to something better than the exploited and degraded version of humanity that they want.

Sadly, there is a fifth and a sixth line of attack against the moral and prophetic voice of the Church. That line of attack comes from within the Church itself.

Fifth, the Church is under attack from within by Catholics who have aligned themselves with political and social forces outside the Church. They attack the Church in the areas where its teachings disagree with the teachings of those social and political forces. These people are aligned  on both the secular political left and the secular political right.

Sixth, the Church is under attack from those of her own clergy who, for their own reasons, are ripping off their priesthood.

As always in any competitive circumstance, these attackers from within are far more damaging that all the attacks from without combined. However, the single most damaging attack against the Church’s prophetic and moral voice has come, not from without, not from the pews, not even from the priests behind the altar.

It has come from the Church’s own bishops. This damage has accrued because of the wide scale, deliberate, long-term and totally indefensible practice of allowing priests to molest children in the parishes entrusted to them and doing nothing to stop them.

The Vatican has not been as remiss in dealing with this as the press would have us believe. Pope Benedict XVI removed over 400 priests during one 2-year time span for sexually abusing children. He also removed a Cardinal for personal sexual misconduct. I think the reason this is largely ignored by his critics is that they didn’t like him for other reasons and were not fair enough to tell the truth.

Pope Francis has moved this up a notch. He has removed a Bishop in Paraguay,  another bishop in Argentina, the Papal Envoy to the Dominican Republic, bishops in Ireland for either committing child sex abuse of sheltering abusing priests. He has also removed Bishop Peter Tebartz-van Elst for high living.

Now he has accepted Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation resignation Bishop Finn was convicted of failing to report a priest who had taken pornographic photos of little girls in his parish.

These are important steps for the Vatican. These bishops have done great damage to the moral and prophetic voice of the Catholic Church at a perilous time for Christianity. The laity is justified in demanding a change in this dynamic. In fact, the laity’s refusal to accept this behavior is a critical incentive for change.

At the same time, it is just as important for the laity to stand behind the bishops when they are trying to lead in the right way. We need the Vatican to pull those who go astray. We also need to support those who stay the course and follow Christ in the face of public criticism.

We live in times when the Church is under attack. Whenever one of our religious leaders takes a firm stand on Church teaching, he is immediately smeared and slandered. It is up to us, the people in the pews, to stand with him and support him.

It’s easy to get caught up in anger because of the betrayals of some bishops and forget how hard the others work and what good men they truly are. If you have a bishop who follows the faith and teaches the truth, take a moment to let him know that you appreciate him.

We are in a time when Christians who follow the Gospels are attacked constantly. Don’t peck your bishop apart over trivialities. Support him as best you can and follow his leadership.

 

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Some Things, You Don’t Forget.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Joseph Novak https://www.flickr.com/photos/josephleenovak/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Joseph Novak https://www.flickr.com/photos/josephleenovak/

Sunday was the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

I wasn’t going to mention it on this blog, but I’ve decided that I should. I remember that day as if it just happened. Some things, you don’t forget.

 

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Muslim Refugees Throw Christian Refugees Overboard into the Sea

Italy and Libya. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Italy and Libya. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Muslims, fleeing other Muslims by going to a Christian country for refuge, threw fellow migrants who were Christians overboard.

From Christianity Today:

Fifteen Muslim migrants face charges of murder fueled by religious hatred after allegedly throwing a dozen Christian migrants overboard this week during a sea crossing from northern Africa to Italy.

Refugees who survived the crossing “burst into tears” as they described the violence to Italian police, AsiaNews reports. Italy and other countries have welcomed more than 10,000 refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea in recent days. Such migrations hit a record high last year, reports the BBC, which has mapped the problem given the journey is also producing record deaths.

The boat in question left Libya with 105 passengers on Tuesday. An Italian navy ship took the remaining passengers on board and transferred them to a Panamanian ship that docked in Italy on Wednesday, according to CNN.

The Christian victims were Ghanaian and Nigerian, and the accused Muslims are from the Ivory Coast, Mali, and Senegal, according to The New York Times (NYT).

 

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Ds Win: Senate Sex Trafficking Bill Will Pay for Abortions.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by evan courtney /Applications/Curio.app

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by evan courtney /Applications/Curio.app

The United States Senate is finally going to vote on a bill they claim will help sex trafficking victims.

No monies will go to shelters for sex trafficking victims. All the $$ will go to law enforcement and health care facilities.

What that means, is that sex trafficking victims can get their almighty abortions, but they will not have a place to sleep afterwards. Or, if they do have place to sleep, it will be provided by sources other than those in this bill.

The bill in question is the much-debated and long-delayed bill that would create a fund for sex trafficking victims from fines and other monies accrued by enforcement of existing sex trafficking laws. What victims may get out of the bill is more money for law enforcement to actually enforce existing laws.

That’s good news, since one of the things I’ve dealt with here in Oklahoma is a reluctance on the part of our state law enforcement agency (as opposed to local law enforcement, which has been much better) to follow the sex trafficking laws we’ve passed. They say that enforcing these laws would cost them too much money.

The monies in the bill slotted for health care will go through what amounts to a shell game of  transferring the money into one fund and then paying it out of another fund. That way, the money used to fund this bill will be “government” money rather than “private” money.

This is to avoid the appearance of using “private” monies, i.e. fines. This money will go to health care where it will be dispersed according to existing laws concerning abortion.

At this point, the debate gets a bit muddy, with both sides claiming victory. The Rs say that the shell game monies will be disbursed according to existing Hyde amendment restrictions, and the Ds say that they stopped an expansion of the Hyde Amendment into private monies. Both sides are doing a victory dance and engaging in mutual catcalling.

The truth is that existing health care monies, when they are disbursed at the state level, are used for abortions for just about any reason. The definitions are wide enough to allow medical practitioners to do any abortion at any time during pregnancy that they wish. If this bill puts these monies under existing law, the same thing will happen with them.

I had to pass a bill directly ending the practice of doing what were essentially elective abortions in state-funded hospitals in order to stop this in Oklahoma.  These abortions included what were essentially coerced abortions and abortions that were so late term that the babies survived and were then left to die.

What was needed to stop this was to use definitions that have kept pace with realities. Shifting monies from one fund to another was just a doo-dah the senators did with one another so that everybody could claim victory.

The bottom line: The Ds won and everybody, including both sides’ political backers, gets a fund-raising letter and a campaign speech out it. The bill will pay for abortions.

What it will not do is help sex trafficking victims get back on their feet and rejoin society. Law enforcement is not a social service agency. Their job is to enforce the law, not care for victims. If shelters are available, they are very relieved to place victims there. But if there are no shelters, the only option they have is to put the victims in prison.

The games that get played through the criminal justice process actually serve to create additional trauma for victims, who are often from outside this country and not only do not speak the language, they do not understand the society. The court process is often deeply damaging to rape victims who are American citizens. This damage is far worse for foreign nationals who have been brought here as slaves and subjected to long-term abuse, terror and repeated violations of their humanity by being sold over and over for sex use.

If some of this money ends up being used to provide protection for sex trafficking victims, that would be good. Traffickers have a lot of motivation to kill potential witnesses who can put them in prison. The only real protection these women have now is that they are hidden.

Medical care, while it’s necessary, is the smallest part of the equation to getting these women back on their feet. They need housing, clothing, food, counseling, spiritual help (It’s astonishing how many of them ask for a priest or preacher when they enter a shelter where they feel safe to do so.) and most of all, love. They need stability over a period of time. They also often need vocational training and help with employment.

The shelter I’m affiliated with makes a two-year commitment to each woman they take. This is really a minimum to get them on their feet again. It is absolutely necessary for their healing.

This bill isn’t going to do much to actually help trafficking victims. If it’s not properly monitored, the monies will never benefit a single victim, but will be poured out, like water on sand, into the larger budgets of the agencies to which it is going. The one thing we can know is that the Ds and the Rs have made sure that at least some of this money will go to the abortion industry.

I am disgusted to the core with people who put abortion ahead of women, and who Do. Not. Care. About. Women. except for to make sure they get abortions.

The feminist movement once proclaimed that women were more than their reproductive organs. When did they forget that?

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