If God Still Smites Places, Texas Is Begging To Be Messed With

If God Still Smites Places, Texas Is Begging To Be Messed With November 18, 2014

8219They say “Don’t mess with Texas,” but if God still smites places, they sure are about to tempt him.

Now, truth be told, I don’t believe God smites places– I believe Jesus is God, and Jesus obviously doesn’t smite places, but I don’t think that means we should just go around asking for it.

Texas however, is asking for it.

While the United States likes to sit in judgement over places like Iran and China over human rights violations, we don’t have much room to talk– because we have the government of Texas. And, just like Iran and China, the government of Texas loves them a good ole’ fashioned execution. In fact, Governor Rick Perry holds the record for most executions by a modern governor… it’s just what the State of Texas does.

Usually, the rest of the country stands back quietly and lets them do their thing, but in light of an execution scheduled for December 3rd, folks on all sides– even conservative deal penalty supporters— are crying foul.

Of course, as Jesus person who has embraced Jesus’ invitation to reject the use of retributive violence (Matthew 5:38-48), I join in their voices in imploring the state of Texas to halt this pending execution immediately.

AP_Texas_Execution_Panetti The man set to be executed is Scott Panetti, who is 56 years old. Now, Panetti did murder two people– his in-laws; no one is contesting that point. However, what makes this case especially repulsive (not that other executions are not) is the fact that Mr. Panetti is, and has been, severely mentally ill.

Shortly after honorably serving in the military, Panetti was diagnosed with schizophrenia which he’s now had for more than 30 years. His illness is well documented prior to the murders (which took place during a psychotic break), as Panetti had been granted disability by the Social Security Administration– and anyone who has ever dealt with Social Security would know that this process of proving one’s case is anything but a rubber stamp.

His murder trial was one that should go down in the history books, labeled Exhibit A in the case to demonstrate how broken America’s justice system is. Panetti defended himself at trial dressed as a cowboy– and the chief witnesses he tried to call in his defense? John F. Kennedy, the Pope, and Jesus himself. The entire trial was a farce– yet he was sentenced to die anyway.

Even though no one seems to disagree that Panetti is mentally ill, he’s scheduled to die anyway because the legal standards of competency are so thin– he only need to understand he is going to die, and have some understanding as to why it is happening. Even with that standard however, the US Supreme Court has previously ruled in 2007 that he did not have a rational understanding as to why he was being put to death– he believes it is a plan of Satan, big business, and the Bush family, to stop him from preaching the Gospel to other death row inmates. However, Texas pushed forward anyway and a lower court has ruled he is competent to be executed, claiming that he is exaggerating his level of impairment. With the Supreme Court refusing to hear another appeal, it seems that it is full steam ahead to execute him on December 3rd.

While we as Christians often disagree on issues, I’d like to remind us that if we are to truly call ourselves his “followers” (which by definition means we live and act the way he did) we must be the ones who are the quickest to show others mercy (Matthew 9:13). The advocacy to show mercy toward death row inmates– as we remember our savior who once himself unjustly sat on death row– is one of the chief ways we can point culture to Jesus. In this case, I’ve been pleased to watch Christians from both the left and the right join their voices in crying out for mercy from the State of Texas, and today I add my name to that list of voices.

Today we cry out– not just to the State of Texas– but to the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, that Scott Panetti, a man who is ill and sentenced to die, will be shown mercy.

I would encourage you to add your voice to ours, as we– the people of Jesus– become the people who are the embodiment of mercy.

schizophrenia
schizophrenia
schizophrenia

No, I don’t believe God smites places, but I can’t imagine that Jesus– the one who expresses the exact image of God’s person (Heb 1:3)– is sitting back and nodding his head in approval.

If you’d like to read more in-depth about this case, you can see a complete list of reports and resources, here. Also, see 5 Reasons Christians Ought Oppose The Death Penalty.

In the meantime, I’d invite you to “re-humanize” this case by watching this short video from Scott’s parents:

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  • Trev

    I do not even understand, at all, how the death penalty is legal. It is unfathomable. As an aside, the fact that he is incarcerated and not hospitalized is a telling sign of the state of Texan “justice”.

  • I oppose the death penalty because our justice system is broken. Police and especially prosecutors are not held accountable. Hence, we can never have a reasonable degree of certainty that the person who is being executed is guilty. However, this author works against his own cause by painting this as an issue of personal lovingkindness. The author writes: “We must be the ones who are the quickest to show others mercy.” Apparently, he makes this statement because the Savior told us not to judge and to always show mercy. The only thing was, Jesus was talking to individuals. Always. He made no statements about what governments should do. To the contrary, Paul wrote: “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4). How could Paul be opposed to Jesus? The answer is that he wasn’t. Please, Mr. Corey, argue this issue on its merits, not with sentimental arguments. Ridding our nation of the Death Penalty is too important for us not to debate rationally.

  • Herm

    How many children suffer because we choose to bring them into an over populated world that we know we cannot feed nor nurture them? No matter how many children we produce by the rhythm method there will always be an infinite number of possible lives not given the opportunity of life because we chose not to copulate. Should the church decree that all healthy members should be in a constant state of fornication to produce all the life possible to satisfy God’s love of life? To my knowledge God could have created every human being in His image possible right from the beginning but chose instead to start us much more minimally. According to the Genesis story God was even willing to provide for all our needs in a population control method suitable to the Garden of Eden. We took it upon ourselves to grow beyond and apparently without any real population control.

    Panther2017, I am so frustrated that we can’t see how much damage we do by insisting that ALL life is dear to God when we can’t even begin to comprehend what “ALL” really is.

    Life is instinctively dear to all healthy cognizant beings who will struggle to survive. Life should always be first subject to the will of those who choose to parent that life. Why do we, who so highly honor the informed Father’s will to terminate early His Son’s life in our behalf, stand between the informed parent’s will to do the same?

    Texas is only one more example of how much we, if left to our own limited abilities to reason, will impose our will on others by our laws that we choose in kind to impose on the most divine of Others, God. God and we can project far enough ahead to know that He need not smite us because of our own ignorant actions, without consulting Him through the Holy Spirit first. Our own ignorant actions will smite us of their own accord.

  • Quite simply, Herm, we should be very careful about terminating the life of any creature made in the image of God. Do you really believe God is throwing up his hands about overpopulation? Do you think he abandons his sovereignty to chance, only to watch children starve? All I can say is, you don’t have a very high opinion of God.

  • Kathy K-m

    It’s not just Texas, although they seem to be particularly good at it.
    The estimate is that about 80% of prison inmate suffer from treatable mental illnesses, yet the thirst for vengeance is so overwhelming, people would rather take a life, than save one.
    I find it rather ironic that those usually slavering for the death penalty, are the ones who are also claiming to be “pro-life”. If they spent as much time, money and effort, on the already born, we might see some improvement.
    In my opinion, when a society creates broken people, it’s their responsibility to fix them. Not kill them.
    (We haven’t had the death penalty or life without parole, in my country, for over half a century, so the whole thing seems utterly barbaric, to me. Especially coming from self-identified Christians.)

  • Herm

    Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

    God created mankind in their image and not “any creature made in the image of God.” This in context is very significant to begin a discussion of responsibility here.

    Douglas, my first reaction to your charge that I “don’t have a very high opinion of God” was one of being defensive. My more informed response to you is that to suppose that any of us know God’s way to balance His responsibilities to us would be no different than supposing at two years of age I knew what it took for my parents to balance their responsibilities to me.

    Do all people on Earth die? Could God intervene to make this not so? Does this give me, a child of God, a not “very high opinion of God”? No, emphatically no. I honor most my parents for loving me so much that they chose not to place me in a locked sterile rubber room for my entire life that I survive longest and less painfully by no choice of my own. I honor God most for loving mankind so much that we live and die most often by our imperfect choices in a chaotic world to learn the most perfect balance of life He has all authority over.

    God bless you that you may become able to discern that loving balance between life and death for mankind.

  • Herm

    Douglas, you write, “The only thing was, Jesus was talking to individuals. Always. He made no statements about what governments should do.”

    What about President Lincoln’s admonishment to us?

    “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    Based on the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    We are each, individually, citizen people in union that govern through a democratic republic.

    Jesus was talking to His church, His disciples and His charge as Lord. As Christians we are all individually responsible to His sovereign rule over us. It is His government we are in allegiance to.

  • AJ

    America’s legal system and police force are SO inept at dealing with the mentally ill it’s crazy in itself.
    One of my best friends(who also suffers from schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder) is missing several of his front teeth after a police officer beat him with a nightstick while in a manic state. He says he doesn’t even fully recall the incident. He has to take medicine several times a day to keep himself on an even keel.

  • Sherlang

    There are times where I am ashamed to be a Texan. What I don’t understand is how we can be so radically pro-life in the case of abortion, but then scream that people deserve the death penalty. How can you be against abortion but for the death penalty? Do those people deserve death? Probably. But guess what? So do I and so do you. We deserve death, but God granted us life through Jesus. It’s like one of Jesus’ parables, where the king grants one man mercy even though he owes the king so much, but then that man goes out and shows no mercy to someone who owes him a small amount. And what does the king do a second time? Hurl him into jail. Let’s show the mercy we were blessed with but didn’t deserve.

  • You sound like someone who likes to hijack threads and change topics. This is a discussion about a very specific person who is scheduled to die. Have some decency and at least discuss the actual topic before trying to steer the bus back to abortion.

  • Patti

    I just signed the petition on change.org. When human beings are objectified, it make it easier for the executioners. Scott Panetti is a beloved child of God. Please sign and stop this insanity.

  • We are no longer living in a Christian nation, nor one that has much resemblance to its past glory. But even if we were, Lincoln’s words, “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare,” are all arguably reasons to execute evil people. Did you read the Scripture I quoted from Romans? If so, what are your thoughts on it? It may be disturbing, but it is God’s Word.

    You can’t run a justice system on mercy alone. That’s why in the entire New Testament, you will find all the writers staying out of politics. Jesus told us, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12:17). On a personal level,we can love and bless and forgive and embrace violent criminals all we want (and should, when it doesn’t endanger us or our families), but it is the government’s job to protect society and maintain order. The need of murderers and rapists for love has to be balanced against the public’s need of protection — and justice.

  • Thank you for responding graciously. I truly mean no insult when I say that people who suggest that humans have a right to terminate an unborn child’s life are playing with God’s judgment. He is the one who said, “‘Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death” (Leviticus 24:17). God took away the penalty in the New Testament, but the principle still stands: God alone has the right to take life. We can wring our hands about overpopulation all day long, but God is not asleep. God personally and actively brings about every human birth that occurs on earth. He is more than capable of determining whether people should or should not be added to the world’s population.

  • Edwin Woodruff Tait

    I don’t think there is any sound historical scholarship behind your claim that Jesus was “talking to individuals.” That’s an anachronistic modern American way of looking at it (OK, with some roots in the Protestant Reformation, but that doesn’t justify it and is a long complex story). Jesus was describing the kind of behavior that marks citizens of His Kingdom. Followers of Jesus act this way, period. In all of their actions, “private” or “public.” If you split yourself into private and public, you are denying Jesus.

  • Edwin Woodruff Tait

    “Caesar” was a pagan power. God uses Caesar, sure, but we are not to be Caesar. Are you seriously suggesting that God only has a claim on part of your lives? Because that’s what your misinterpretation of Mark 12:17 implies.

  • Past glory? Was that the part where we bought and sold black people, or when we committed genocide against the natives?

  • Herm

    Douglas you do me a great honor by asking my opinion regarding Romans 13:4. I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my heart and mind to respond through me to you in kind using my experience.

    Romans 13:1-7 has been hotly contested all my life. There are many who see these passages as surely inserted at the time of Constantine when the Christian authorities rendered unto Caesar what was Jesus’, His church and His authority over it. Those same authorities simultaneously compiled and canonized our present Bible as the authentic scriptures, Gospels and word of God. None of the New Testament books and letters had been written at the time the apostles spoke of scripture and word of God. The Gospel was spoken good news. The Book of Revelations, the letter to the seven churches, was canonized later.

    Regardless of validity, I see Romans 13:1-7, if taken at literal face value, to be highly contradictory to Philippians 2:1-11 as substantiated by Matthew 28:18-20.

    In the first verse it says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” The word “established” is synonymous with “ordained.” I have an impossible time even wanting to live with a God who would ordain Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin as my governing authorities. It goes on to say, “Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Paul was beheaded by the Roman governing authorities for the crime of rebelling against their authority. They either got it horribly wrong, Paul was teaching counter to the reigning authority or that it was God’s desire for the Romans to take Paul’s life.

    I do not in any way believe that our Father in Heaven would ordain secular national leaders. I do believe that if Paul wrote Romans 13:1-7 his admonitions were purely toward church authorities. Nations of the world that we are chartered to make disciples for Jesus teaching were peoples bounded by belief systems more so than sovereign land borders.

    Jesus did say, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27 Perhaps, and I mean this sincerely, it is our obligation as His students (disciples) to continue in His example to be crucified teaching the authority and love of God the Father. I mean that we are, after all, promised that if we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strengths and with all our minds and we love our neighbors as ourselves we will inherit, as children of God, eternal life. What do we have to lose?

    You threw in a zinger when you inserted, “(and should, when it doesn’t endanger us or our families).” What if our secular governmental authorities are endangering us or our families, do we submit? I am willing to die, as did Jesus, on the chance that my enemy might repent later and live. I feel an awfully strong responsibility and a bond of love for my family to sacrifice them that my enemy might live. That’s a tough one for me.

    Now the real “Good News” (Gospel).

    “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-21

    The Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds unites us with the united hearts and minds of God. We are children in God’s Family and not mature authorities. The Holy Spirit will lead us in Jesus’ teaching and the protective nurture of our Father.

    Martin Luther King might possibly be the best modern example we have to learn from as how to rebel against destructive national authority as Disciples of Jesus the Messiah.

    I believe as you, and the Holy Spirit is not disagreeing in my heart and mind, that the death penalty should be taken off the table for our justice system. It might, if nothing else, keep us from once again making the mistake of murdering God in God’s name because we didn’t recognize Him as Lord of the Christians.

    Douglas, I hope I helped a little and thank you, again, for asking for my opinion. Love you!

    P.S.: We were never a Christian nation but we were once a more loving nation.

  • Jackie Heaton

    Probably none. Concern Troll alert.

  • Show me a nation that doesn’t have baggage in its history. You can’t find one, and the Gospel isn’t God’s plan to save nations, but individuals. In heaven, there will be no countries. As for America, we once had the rule of law and a strong moral foundation — in spite of our sins. There is no perfection this side of heaven, particularly when it comes to whole nations.

  • You’re still failing to distinguish between people and nations. Both are subject to God’s sovereignty, but God doesn’t give orders to nations. I challenge you to show me where he does in the New Testament. Even examples in the OT were rare. I look forward to your response.

  • This doesn’t have to be academically exhausting. I challenge you to find one command Jesus uttered that applied to a nation or government. He made no such commands. All of his commands applied to people and families and the body of believers. This was perhaps where my argument wasn’t phrased as well as it might have been. His words were not merely addressing individuals but the Church, as he knew it would develop after he was gone. However, God seems to leave secular governments alone to rule as they see fit, although Scripture indicates he has full sovereignty over who comes into power — “for there is no authority except that which God has established” (Romans 13:1). Anyway, you make a very interesting point about obedience in both the public and private spheres. Perhaps a Christian in public office should, if given the chance, abolish the Death Penalty. However, if by failing to eliminate the violent threat posed by a killer he permitted more killing (recidivism), then it would seem that leader has failed to effectively oppose violence, according to the spirit of Jesus’ commands. No easy decision, by any means, which is why I challenged the simplistic notion that capital punishment = lack of mercy. I don’t think it’s that simple.

  • A very thoughtful and complete answer, Herm. Thank you for teaching me. Hope it went both ways. God bless you!

  • gimpi1

    Then how do you explain the massive famines that have rocked the world in the past? The epidemics? The natural disasters? One real stumbling-block I have in matters of faith is that I see no evidence of divine-intervention – ever. Life appears random. The only kindness we have hope for is from each other. The earthquake, the drought, the microbes, never. If there is a god, why the inaction?

    Put more briefly, If God takes this “sovereignty” seriously. why does Ebola exist?

  • gimpi1

    When was that? I have a fairly strong grounding in history, but I have no idea what era you are talking about.

    Really, I mean this seriously. The enslavement of an entire race of people, the attempted genocide of another race of people, the denial of basic citizenship to most people, the legal, overt segregation and discrimination that marks our past, the abuses of our power, all this was very real, and every bit as much a “moral” concern as the sort of “sex and religious display” things people focus on now.

  • I actually agree with you on that point- this is why many Anabaptists don’t believe in voting or meddling with civilian affairs. My attempt here is to call Christians– those who follow Christ– to be voices of mercy within culture.

  • Trev

    I agree that Christians should not jump to theological/moral arguments first to make pro-life cases (like this example), but I do not see Mr Corey doing that. First he looks to this man’s mental state, and then ties in the Gospel at the end. The same should be, I think, for any issue in the so-called “culture wars” where Christians challenge the popular zeitgeist.

    I disagree, however, with the implication of your interpretation of St Paul’s statement in Romans. I found a few quotation from an Aquinas Study Bible on CatholicAnswers and a distinction is made between laws, and laws that violate the human and common good, and are considered acts of violence (one might put segregation here), and Divine Wgood (idolatry for example). I’d argue that capital punishment falls clearly under the unjust in regards to the human good. It is unnecessary for public safety to execute people. It uses more resources in society. It it unequally applied to certain demographics, etc. IT is debatable whether it violates Divine good, though I will argue that even if capital punishment is ordained in scripture, the fact that innocents are killed makes this a sin that cries out to Heaven.

  • Trev

    I am having trouble understanding the argument made in your first paragraph. Do you believe that 1) the world is over-populated? 2) spouses should contracept? 3) certain Churches (i.e. the Catholic Church) wants its adherents to have an unrestricted number of children?

  • Herm

    Yes, that is my belief.

  • Artistree

    Douglas,
    Thanks for your posts. Yes, we must distinguish between people and nations. More specifically, we must distinguish between the Two Kingdoms; the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God. God is sovereign over both. Christians, as individuals and as a collective family belong to the household of God’s Kingdom. This is known in Early Church theology as the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. The state has a right to have have a military and a justice system to execute against the lawless, but Christians as members of a different kingdom are called out to have a special role of spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom of God through evangelism, works of mercy and compassion.

    And God does direct nations, even though not through “orders”. In the NT look how God directed Rome to destroy Jerusalem in judgment( Matthew 23-24, Mark 13, Luke 21, Revelation)

  • If you have studied history, then you know that all those things happened throughout the New World during the colonization period. Only, other nations were not as humane as England. Spain and Portugal raped the entire continent of South America and part of North America too. They weren’t looking for homes. They came to rape, pillage and plunder — dig gold and silver out of the ground and take the wealth home. When the US became a nation, every great nation of the time was a part of the worldwide institution of slavery, so your very real moral outrage should be directed at the entire world, not just the United States, which actually helped lead the world away from slavery, at the cost of 620,000 souls and $14.5 billion spent during the American Civil War. Our “attempted genocide” of the Indians was not an intentional design. It happened because of repeated conflicts between different tribes in different territories. There is no question that, as a nation, we were guilty of many sins in our treatment of the Indians. The military’s imposition of order (not an attempt to do away with the Indians) recognized only white interests, which was an atrocity. What happened, however, would have happened under any circumstances, no matter whether America had been formed by the Germans, the Dutch, the Spaniards or whoever. All of Europe was storming the shores of the New World. Each nation was greater than the Indians in wealth, ambition and technology and would have taken land for its use just as we did. The Indians probably got a better deal with us than they would have with anyone else.

    In spite of America’s sins, this nation was a light for the world, offering freedom and prosperity under a brilliant and remarkably enduring Constitution that, for a time, limited the power and corruption of our leaders so that the rule of law could prevail. America accomplished many great things, but many people prefer to look only at the bad things — discrimination, racism, and all sorts of social injustice, all of which have been addressed at great cost in response to various movements. Just the fact that those movements were tolerated speaks to the justice we used to possess. Do you really think it’s possible for any country to attain perfection in this corrupt world? As I said, show me one nation in the history of the world that doesn’t have bones in its closet.

  • Are you kidding me? The issue of slavery is part of my doctoral work, and you’re factually wrong. The U.S. didn’t lead the world in abolition, in fact, we were almost dead last. Even Wikipedia shows that your version of history is way off: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolition_of_slavery_timeline

  • That, I can go along with. And perhaps we shouldn’t be executing people, even if we could trust the justice system. What we seem to have trouble with is ensuring that violent criminals have no opportunity to cause more bloodshed. Our failure to do this has led to the popularity of the Death Penalty.

  • gimpi1

    You’re absolutely right that all nations have taken part in slavery, exploitation and brutality. We’re far from perfect, but far from horrible. As to your specific points:

    Yes, we fought a civil war to end slavery, but remember, it was a civil war, we both fought to end and fought to preserve slavery. Many of those souls lost were those fighting to keep race-based chattel slavery. After the south lost, they managed – using terrorism, voter-suppression and corrupt laws – to reinstate a state near to slavery. Most of Europe ended slavery before the U.S. though, hypocritically, they still ran a slave-trade to the Americas, and they bought cotton for their mills from slave-plantations.

    Our attempt to wipe out the native population was quite deliberate, involving everything from destroying their game to germ warfare to “education” that involved trying to strip their culture from their children. I have no way of knowing if they would have fared better had France or Spain become the dominant culture in the new world, but our treatment was abysmal.

    Our constitution is, indeed, a brilliant start at creating a free society. However, I’m sure you’re aware of how far it fell short of that, originally. For instance, I couldn’t vote or own property, as a woman. Slavery was legal. Only property-holders were true citizens. We’ve come a long way in fixing the problems that were a natural part of creating a society at that point in time.

    Corruption and privilege has always been a part of our society. Remember the Teapot Dome. Remember the Mormons being driven out of Indiana. Remember red-lining and overt, legal discrimination. In what way do you see the rule of law not prevailing today?

  • Herm

    Who present was not in God’s eyes a “violent criminal”?

    The most renowned religious ruling authorities, the know-it-alls, who called for the death of Jesus the Messiah imposter?

    The riotous crowd yelling as one yes, yes crucify Him?

    The highest ruling secular leader in the territory saying, “Well, if that’s your popular voiced vote we will hang Him on a cross along with the placard mocking “King of the Jews”?

    The One who just before it was done said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”?

    Is it God’s failure to not have ensured “that violent criminals have no opportunity to cause more bloodshed”? Did the Father let His Son, His children, down and if not what was His saving grace?

    Do we really know God sure enough this time to keep from once again executing Him as an imposter in His name and in the name of those we seek to protect?

  • Texas_lib

    You don’t understand. The only people deserving of forgiveness are politicians (conservative) and preachers (fundamentalist) and our own personal friends and family. All others need not apply. We are the most zero tolerant people on earth. God smites us all the time (Dupont plant explosion, West, Texas plant explosion etc) Hurricane Ike…we just blame it on “teh gays”. As long as we have jobs, even poorly paid ones, and Rick Perry we’re God’s chosen people. Y’all should know that.

  • Herm

    We’re welcomed! Thank you!

  • Herm

    I agree with but one glaring exception to my heart and mind, “God smites us all the time.” We slap ourselves up side the head all the time and blame God for letting it happen. He tells us how not to do anymore damage and we shine Him on. I don’t blame my parents for the scars I earned from ignoring their love.

    Otherwise, good shot!

  • kirtking

    Our liberal class informs us that US governmental policies have no place for Christianity.

  • kirtking

    You really don’t understand the difference between an unborn child and an individual who has murdered multiple people? As for God, this would be the God that, according to the story, killed all the people of Sodom, Gomorrah, and before that, the planet?

  • kirtking

    What suckers think anyone deserves forgiveness? The problem with our country and the religious institutions is that there is such a rush to tolerate, to forgive that there is no consideration for justice: that a killer should pay for taking lives, that a company that hires illegal aliens should be closed immediately and assets confiscated, that a politician who lies should be removed from office immediately.

  • kirtking

    The belief that certain churches, i.e. the Roman Catholic Church, wants its adherents to have an unrestricted number of children, comes from people who want to slander those churches.

  • Texas_lib

    I’m not sure if you are kidding or not. If you’re not what Bible do you get all that anger and vengence from? When asked, Jesus said to forgive 70 times 7 and he lived that example. I don’t recall his ever saying anything about retribution. Perhaps you would be kind enough to supplement with Scriptural references. Maybe you could enlighten us all.

  • Herm

    Douglas this is only one example of the use of the word “nations” used twice and below is the Strong’s definition.

    This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:17-21

    Greek Strong’s Number: 1484

    Greek Word: ἔθνος

    Transliteration: ethnos

    Phonetic Pronunciation:eth’-nos

    Root: probably from

    Cross Reference: TDNT – 2:364,201

    Part of Speech: n n

    Vine’s Words: Gentiles, Nation, People

    Usage Notes:

    English Words used in KJV:

    Gentiles 93

    nation 64

    heathen 5

    people 2

    [Total Count: 164]

    probably from (etho); a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe; specially a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan) :- Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

    Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

  • Herm

    Is it not a tenet of many denominations that NO life should be denied except by God?

  • Herm

    Project on that thought just a bit, please. Did your parents intervene in all the errors of your ways? Did your parents intervene purely out of love to provide lessons, medications, nutrition and places/time to rest from the errors of your ways that you might survive? Mine did and I honor them for that. God does intervene but only so much that all of mankind has the time to learn from the errors of their ways.

    I hurt badly for all who hurt and so does God. I intervene to do all I can for all I can reach. This opportunity for a cognizant life of choice, with all its travails, needn’t have been and would not have been if left to our own devices, too often self-centered in inspiration.

    How many will die from Ebola … more than the Black Plaque? In 25 million Earth years around our sun why is mankind still around? Even without God do you believe there really is no beginning and there really is no end to reality which is without boundaries? Anyone who believes we earned our manna without any divine-intervention pretty much has a faith in mankind that we just can’t live up to.

    Nothing is more divine in character than caring enough to grieve for the loss of others except while they are alive and receptive…

    “So in everything, do to others what you would have them
    do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

    God bless you that in all your care you see the hand of God working before, behind and beside you. Love you!

  • gimpi1

    Well, my parents can’t cause earthquakes or prevent them. My parents didn’t create the Plague, and they can’t eliminate it. Innocent people die in natural disasters that have nothing to do with our actions. Volcanoes, Tsunami, floods aren’t earned.

    To argue that somehow it would be “manna” to not “create” virulent microbes in the first place doesn’t make sense. Now, since I understand that they are simply opportunistic creatures doing what they have evolved to do, I don’t exactly blame God, but If I were God, I would sure take some action to prevent their spread.

    I would also regulate the geosphere better, to prevent massive disasters related to plate-tectonics. I would keep an eye on the climate, prevent massive hurricanes from developing. I would break up the great planes with some elevation-changes to give less opportunity for tornadoes to develop.

    I see no loving, divine parent stepping up to aid us at all. Just the random natural world.

  • Herm

    And yet you hang inside this Jesus geek squad meeting discussing how to better love our Lord God and our neighbor. Are you hoping we can prove you wrong?

    I can’t prove anything to you but I know Who can and would gladly introduce Him to you, okay? Most attractively of all He can prove you loved as He has a now convinced but once was a self considered most unworthy me.

    Let me know, please, or just yell help here in the squad and many will answer and point to the Way. Trust me, it’s a beautiful ride.

  • DB

    “according to the story” I think you hit the nail on the head.

  • It goes back to God’s sovereignty. Did you ever consider that illness, disability and death are natural barriers to human pride and rebellion? I understand that you may not see why God cares what we do here, but he does. He has a purpose for this planet and this people and doesn’t intend to see them thwarted by our egos. There is also an element of love in his allowing those things to disrupt our lives. A major illness or a natural disaster has a way of bringing us back to the basics. People often turn to God in such times. Life isn’t about things going the way we want them to.

  • All three branches of our government routinely ignore many of the provisions of the Consitution. The Justice Department and the Federal Judiciary are largely rogue forces that have made themselves unaccountable for their professional conduct. They use the law to further their political aims — not all the time, but often enough so that justice is elusive. A few years ago, Senator Ted Stevens, R-AK, was convicted of corruption in a Justice Department investigation. After he was unseated, it came to light that the JD had deliberately lied and withheld evidence to obtain their conviction. A longstanding US Senator’s career was ruined for political reasons, and not one lawyer ever got so much as a fine.

  • The link shows that more than 100 years after we abolished slavery, other countries were still only just getting around to it. Our 13th Amendment changed the worldwide picture, since our continued involvement in slavery had kept the slave trade alive and perpetuated it through the buying and selling of goods produced by slaves.

    The reason we were late in ending slavery here was the South. The US started as a conglomerate of 13 disparate colonies, all of which had to be given some sway in order to unite us as a nation. In other words, slavery was our alcoholic uncle who had to be permitted at the family gatherings. It took decades of conflict and a Civil War to get rid of it. But the Founding Fathers opposed slavery from the outset. Many of them freed their own slaves, but manumission wasn’t a simple matter. Imagine sending an uneducated slave out into the world on a dime. Many of them were freed in the wills of their masters. Most of the Founding Fathers were engaged in real efforts to abolish slavery. However, they were blocked by entrenched southern interests. If you disagree, check out these links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson_and_slavery and http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1269536/The-Founding-Fathers-and-Slavery

    “In his writings on American grievances justifying the Revolution, [Thomas Jefferson] attacked the British for sponsoring the slave trade to the colonies. In 1778 with Jefferson’s leadership Virginia banned importing slaves into Virginia. It was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to ban the slave trade. Jefferson was a lifelong advocate of ending the trade and as President led the effort to criminalize the international slave trade that passed Congress and he signed on March 2, 1807; it took effect in 1808. Britain independently made the same move on March 25, 1807.”

    This is why the Civil War had to be fought. I realize it is currently chic to consider America nothing but a great thug (which we’ve regrettably become), but your ideas are one-sided.

  • Trev, you may be right. And as I said previously, I am opposed to the Death Penalty the way things stand.

  • Jeff

    Indeed not! Because there’s no reason to favor christianity over any other social group. Governmental policies should be based on social welfare, justice, equality, and similar issues of benefit to the masses. If those things happen to align with christianity, then that’s well and good but also just a coincidence.

  • Jeff

    Makes you wonder where his four upvotes came from…

  • Jeff

    Yeah, it’s the crazy quiverfull baptists who think everyone should have an unrestricted number of children. Catholics just think you shouldn’t have sex unless you’re trying to make a baby. So once you’re done having kids, you’re done having sex.

  • Lady Blue

    I would have to disagree with you. While it is true that we should show mercy, the fact of the manner, it this man did commit murder. In this case, the goverment is not baring the sword in vain. Please read Roman 13. Also, after the flood in Gensis, God commanded that if a man killed another man, the murderer is to be put to death. This law predates even the old coventant. Let me say this, I hate violence, I never like it. But I do believe in self defence. In fact, read proverbs. It’s all about what your heart attitude is. My brother is in the miltary, yet he would have never joined. He felt it was a call from God to join. He’d doesnt know why, all he knows is that he is obeying. Read Reveltion. In the letter, Jesus is a king judging.
    Another thing I would like to point out, I’m legally insane as well and I can tell you he would have had the mental capibitlies.

  • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

    Maybe God will smite Texas with a plague of Mexicans.

    Just because somebody is psychotic and deranged doesn’t mean it’s wrong to execute them. :) But this guy is faking, big time.

    I know somebody who got on disability for smoking pot. A psychologist asked her how often she smoked; she told him; it counted as addiction. So now she sits around all day living off of disability and smoking pot.

  • gimpi1

    Well, I definitely put myself in the “questioning” category. I’m not at all sure there is a divine force. I would like there to be, but wanting something is deadly to objectivity, so I distrust that desire. I don’t see any evidence for it in the natural world, but, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” to quote Dr. Carl Sagan. There are still unanswered questions, and that’s where I think any evidence for the divine may be found.

    Facts matter to me. More than anything else, frankly. Many people seem to regard facts as ornaments that they hang around the framework of their beliefs. They disregard facts that don’t fit with their beliefs. For me, the beliefs must be based on fact. Facts aren’t the ornaments, they are the framework. Everything else must rest on them. When I find a fact that contradicts your belief, the belief is what must change.

    I’m attracted to Christianity mostly because the things that annoy me appeared to annoy Jesus. Things like injustice, hypocrisy, cruelty. I respect the good things that have been done by Christianity. I wish they would be more honest about the bad things. No belief-system is perfect, and you can’t fix a problem you refuse to admit exists. That pushes me away.

    Biblical inerrancy is simply not supported by the facts. Creationism is nonsense. Being gay creates no harm, so it can’t be bad by any reasonable definition. The Christians who condemn people, who fought to preserve segregation, who call social justice evil, who cheer executions, they push me away.

    However, I know there’s another side to the coin. There are Christians are working to understand the natural world, instead of insisting it is in compliance with Genesis. The willingness to sacrifice, to work making people’s lives better appears to be a major part of some Christian belief. The Christians who fought against segregation, who resist oppression wherever it exists, who work for social justice, they draw me in.

    I’ve had several books recommended. I’m currently reading The Reason for God. I’m frankly disappointed in it at about the halfway point, but I’m plugging away. The author gets several basic facts wrong, and, as I said, that’s the kiss of death to me. If you can’t be bothered google the spread of Islam, for example, how can I trust you when you talk about the Bible?

    Does that answer your questions?

  • gimpi1

    But how do you know that, “He has a purpose for this planet and this people and doesn’t intend to see them thwarted by our egos,” without any evidence? Saying something doesn’t make it so. Is there a purpose for all those other planets out there? Again, how do you know? I can’t accept statements of fact without something to back them up.

    As for natural disaster making people turn to God, well, perhaps those that survive. Is it OK to kill 100 people to make me turn to God? 10? 1? That’s nasty math, no matter how you figure it. Again, it doesn’t speak well for God.

    I don’t understand the whole notion of sovereignty. Having the power to do something doesn’t make that thing OK. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect any God to at least be as kind as myself. That’s not a high bar to clear. I can’t give any God a pass, any more than I give my parents, my boss, or the President one. Cruel is cruel, no matter who is doing it. I don’t see that as rebellion. I see it as consistency. But I’m American, and we have a history of having issues with the whole notion of sovereignty.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t a divine force. I’m saying that you can’t use the natural world for evidence of it. I would like to believe that there is a divine element to existence, but as I said to someone else, wanting something is deadly to objectivity. I distrust things that I want too much. That doesn’t mean I refuse to look at evidence for them, but it means that the evidence has to be pretty darn good.

  • Ron McPherson

    “God commanded that if a man killed another man, the murderer is to be put to death.”

    The OT also stated that disobedient children should be put to death. Jesus came to show us a more excellent way. I have gotten myself in theological knots when trying to live by both the old AND new testaments. It doesn’t work. I am reminded often of Matthew 9:16-17.

    Peace

  • gimpi1

    I don’t see any branches of our government ignoring the constitution.

    I see corruption, but that’s always the case. It has gone on since the country was founded. We rank about average on the corruption scale (the Scandinavian countries were among the least corrupt, China and several African nations among the most). It’s not new. It’s older than the existence of the States.

    The Justice department also likely railroaded Ethel Rosenberg. Julius may or may not have been guilty, but Ethel was almost certainly innocent. A woman was hanged as one of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination. She simply owned the boarding-house where the conspirators met. She was regarded by everyone an innocent dupe, but the political climate demanded she hang, so she did. The McCarthy hearings were marked by massive political corruption and injustice. Did you really think any of this was new?

    We have gotten better in many ways. Lynching is not a routine aspect of life in the south. We have outlawed many forms of discrimination. There’s much less institutional injustice than there was 50-60 years ago. You seem to totally disregard that improvement.

  • gimpi1

    Ahh, the scent of trolling in the morning…

  • While I agree with you, one quibble: lynching isn’t routine any more, but it’s been replaced by police killing unarmed black youth at quite nearly the same rate. One could argue that the lynchings have just gotten a makeover.

  • I think the trick is (as I’m sure Ben agrees) we have to live by the Old Testament as informed by the New. When Jesus says that the greatest commandment is love, and not only that but that all other commandments hang upon that same command to love, that means that we need to read all of the other commandments with that in mind. Which probably means that all of the “killing as a punishment” is out.

  • gimpi1

    Sadly, you’re correct. The numbers I can find don’t support the idea that the rate is as high as it was in the days of Jim Crow, but the police-shooting of unarmed black youths is appalling, and has some of the overtones of earlier lynchings.

    A makeover of lynchings… perhaps we need some industrial-strength make-up remover?

  • “Another thing I would like to point out, I’m legally insane as well and I can tell you he would have had the mental capibitlies.”

    If I may, since you yourself have been declared “legally insane” I’m sure you’re aware that there’s quite a wide range in that legal status. Schizophrenia, DID, ASPD, Autism, ICD, etc. – they’re all incredibly different, and where one might have the mental capabilities to commit and understand a crime, another might not.

  • Your argument reveals a very common disconnect. Individuals and the Church are to forgive without limit, but the legal authorities must mete out consequences for people’s actions. This is the very definition of order.

  • It’s a hard pill to swallow, no doubt about it. We have minds that work well enough that we rely on them. Yours is a superior one. But if you’re waiting for faith to somehow process through your intellectual understanding, you will wait forever. Look at the beauty and intricacy of the natural world. The complex order could not have occurred by chance. Whoever made all this is so great that we are like bugs by comparison. Just ask yourself if you have any right or standing to sit in judgment on God. I understand the urge to rail against God for permitting evil and calamity. We have all been hurt badly and seen awful things. None of it makes sense to us. However, as preposterous as it may seem, trust is the only prescription.

  • I’ve heard conflicting numbers, ranging from fewer than lynchings at their height (but still sickeningly high) to far greater in frequency than lynchings ever reached. I’m honestly not sure which numbers to believe, but ultimately it probably doesn’t matter, because the point is still the same, that this is incredibly vile and needs to be stopped.

  • gimpi1

    On that, we absolutely agree.

  • “[S]ocial welfare, justice, equality, and similar issues of benefit to the masses.” According to whose definition? That’s the problem with not having a higher standard than public consensus. Worse, oligarchies allow a few people to run things for maximum benefit to ingroups (the wealthy and powerful), which is where we are now. Ask yourself if things are better now that we’ve thrown away our Judeo-Christian values.

  • Trev

    The school of thought in Pharisee commentary on the Torah is to put a fence around the Law which 1) makes the Law harder to follow but 2) easier to ensure you are not breaking it.

    The shock Christ gave those following the Pharisees was that he made the Law even harder to follow. If we even lustfully desire another person, we are guilty of adultery. It could be extrapolated that, therefore if we even become angry, we are guilty of murder. Christ offers us an alternative to “eye for an eye”, fulfilling the Law. The Hebrews were allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts, but as Tradition interpreted the New Testament, divorce is impossible.

    If we are to apply the punishments of the Old Testament, we must follow the Law Christ gives.

  • “If we are to apply the punishments of the Old Testament, we must follow the Law Christ gives.” Exactly so; and so as you say, if we want to continue upholding death as the punishment for murder, then by the Law which Christ gives us, we need to be upholding death as the punishment for anger. Though I’d say that’s not an extrapolation, but rather a faithful interpretation of Christ’s words regarding anger in Matthew 5.

  • Grotoff

    You think oligarchic domination of America is some kind of new phenomenon? Seriously? Have even opened a history book before? The wealthy and powerful have ALWAYS run America for their benefit. Thankfully they aren’t a cohesive group, and their rivalries can occasionally help the rest of us.

  • Trev

    [derailment]
    Not to be a language nitpicker, but extrapolation simply refers to taking data and applying a conclusion to it. This is an extrapolation, a faithful extrapolation, but an extrapolation nonetheless. Eisegesis is the practise of reading one’s own beliefs into a text (e.g. the Bible forbidding all alcohol, any of the “historical Jesus” projects). In Catholic examination of consciences, anger is usually listed under the 5th Commandment.

    [/derailment]

  • Jeff

    Public consensus isn’t the standard, public welfare is. And even then, I’ll take public consensus over the dictates of the christian tyrant god any day. God’s idea of justice is that there is exactly one punishment (eternal torture) that fits every crime, and “crime” is nothing more than the stuff he doesn’t like.

  • Ron McPherson

    Beautifully stated!

  • Great article in Slate.com today about this. I was horrified to read of all the times and ways Texas failed this man, right up to not notifying his attorneys that the execution date had been set – they read about it in the newspaper two weeks after the hearing.

    Remember that this is a state that executed a man whose state-appointed attorney slept through the trial (it was ruled that “he didn’t miss crucial testimony”), and executed a man who was most certainly innocent (Cameron Todd Willingham) based on a provably shoddy fire investigation.

    There is no such thing as “justice” in Texas.

  • Don Lowery

    As a Follower of Christ…an Anabaptist and one who has actually studied American government in the past during my college years…there is no place in government for organized Christianity or any other type of religion. This being the case…you and others want religion in government…we let EVERY religion in…no matter what it is.

  • Perhaps a lot of people are misinterpreting what the Bible says about hell. You are angry, but, I believe, misinformed on the subject. Still, the question remains: who is to decide the best way of working toward “public welfare”? We’re doing a pretty crappy job at the moment.

  • Jeff

    I’d like to think that the *public* would be a good group to consult about what constitutes the public welfare.

    And if I or anyone else is misinformed about what the bible says, the author should clarify.

  • Trev

    [derailment]
    1) it is a moot point to state that the world i overpopulated since there is disagreement and no consensus in the scientific community. The amount of food wasted in Western Cultures, as well as water resources going into producing it is astronomical and changing habits and expectations with policy change for food assistance could really help those suffering malnutrition. Another important factor is the corrupt regimes restricting access to food aid.
    2) the support of the Anglican Church gave to contraception in some circumstances (and then other Protestants following across the board) and its widespread use has lead to eugenic-type sterilization programs that are continuing today in Africa, and India.
    3) The Venerable Fulton Sheen once said (to paraphrase) that of the millions in America who hate the Catholic Church, only a hundred or so hate it for what it teaches, the rest hate it for what they think it does. I really suggest reading Humanae Vitae by Bl. Pope Paul VI.
    [/derailment]

    Sorry Mr Corey. I will end my derailments here. Herm, I’d love to continue discussing elsewhere if possible.

  • You are mistaken. The people once had much better representation in America than we do now. OF COURSE the wealthy and powerful have always been unjust. That’s what “checks and balances” were for — the separation of powers and Constitutional rule of law (imperfect but once largely effective). Those protections have been overtaken by corruption now. If you see no difference between America a hundred years ago and now, you aren’t reading the same history books as I am.

  • Herm

    Oh, Gimpi1 I love you!

    Have you read anything about the Fertile Crescent? I would suggest you read, perhaps you already have, the entire Ishmael trilogy by Daniel Quinn. You, who is so desperate for Truth that you would risk to hang with us children, will love this suggestion coming from a convicted student of Jesus the Christ especially when you read the final conversation in the last book, “The Story of B”. Know, although, that I expect this world to eventually pass away if for no other reason than the greatest of all truths to me is that the reality of time, with no beginning and no end is the only possible truth, as well as life is clearly to me an infinite possibility in scope and all that is possible just cannot be contained in this finite world. The Ishmael trilogy does in truth although point out what poor stewards of this Earth we have been once given free choice, in God’s image, to reign over it as our domain. It, also, brings into relationship the reality of good and honest inspired physical science to the good and honest inspired spiritual fireside story that evolved to be penned as Genesis.

    Read “The Sparrow” and its sequel, “Children of God” by Mary Doria Russell to get a great glimpse at how really different cognizant others might be struggling with Truth spiritually and physically.

    Read “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis, who was even much more resolutely and astutely an atheist in search of the Truth than either of us. Read all of C.S. Lewis if you can. I’m only saying this based on your writing, “I’m not at all sure there is a divine force” when I’m now, but wasn’t always, so absolutely sure there is an active divine force. I’m living with One.

    If I left these few suggestions here I would trust you and Them of one heart and one mind to shortly walk and talk together until your relationship budded into a full fledged romance and you knew then you were finally and eternally married to the Truth. You see I feel that I would be blaspheming the Holy Spirit if I left these suggestions to you as coming at all from my pitiable brilliance. The Light you seek is available in abundance equally to all who sincerely do as you are doing; ask, seek and knock. I can only testify this is so in my life which is sincerely committed to the search of Truth, which I now know can potentially take an entire eternity of relationship to fully realize. I can only hope that from this you find continued reason to challenge all sources you can that an eternal life actually becomes desirable and makes sense.

    Read the entire Bible from the inspired perspective that it was meant to be understood according to the only Way with the Guide. Relate to all that Jesus is directly quoted to have said from the perspective of the evangelists in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as well as in the books of Acts and Revelations. Rate everything according to how it relates to Luke 10:25-37.

    I am inspired by your honesty in professing, “I’m attracted to Christianity mostly because the things that annoy me appeared to annoy Jesus.” Woe be to those scribes, Pharisees and teachers of the law who aren’t attracted to Christianity for that very reason. A beautifully alive Jesus is available according to John 14:15-21 when we as children love the Lord our God with all our spiritual self (heart, soul, strength and mind) and our merciful neighbors (male, female, gay, cross dressers, intersexed, Black, White, Red, Yellow, Albino, stupid, smart, plain, beautiful, ugly, Samaritans, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists alike plus many more) as ourselves as we honor the Decalogue and sum it all up by doing to all others (throughout the entire spectrum of what the word “others” might suggest without exception) as we would have them do to us.

    That last run on sentence is so beautiful to me because it encapsulates the hope, peace and joy I seek in the struggle and journey toward truth and gives me a Way and a reason to continue to live on until the end of eternity. You see, when I was younger I grew to where I could care less about Heaven or Hell because I knew each was way beyond my experience level and refused to be intimidated and manipulated by those falsely claiming they knew better than me. I still don’t give a damn about Heaven if it is an eternity of singing praises to God in a prostrate position of worship or especially Hell if God is so uncaring that in all this starting life from the total ignorance and stupidity I was born with I’m now to be consigned to gnashing my teeth forever for some pretty bad choices mostly from the, again, intimidation and manipulation of my peers (lots of them differing Christian ministers all claiming authority). The initially peaceful sitting on a cloud strumming on my assigned harp from here to eternity would be even less inviting for me than the hell and damnation picture.

    Now that I am past the necessary focus of my learning and earning years on Earth I have experienced and tested sufficiently to be sure the only hope mankind has for continued life lies within the actual simple commands of Jesus the real living Messiah.

    My vocation is to share the most spiritual and physical truth in reality that I humanly can (question, teach and learn with all others who are receptive) and my occupation that God gave me to learn and share the truth through was as a Computer Engineer; planting, nourishing and harvesting the largest computer system customers in the world in my day. My higher than high school education’s major was psychology and minor was religion.

    As a high school age child of mankind I became skilled at debating the Bible, using only the Bible, taking any side and winning according to those I debated against. But when I know I actually saw the hand of God balancing my community (subtly intervening as I later did often without my children noticing) so that we stood a chance to survive another day I could no longer play as though there was no truth to divine intervention. I found that no one of mankind on Earth is equipped to debate, fight for or argue God as reality but nearly all of mankind can see no lasting reason why the divine just cannot exist … but where to look?

    Gimpi1 you are well along your journey and you’re looking (from my experience) in all the right places. Give the most credence, as you seem to have begun to do, to what your heart and mind are telling you is true and follow their lead. There are too many books and discussions available to us now through the Internet to digest all of what would most nourish our journey toward Truth, in fact too many would poison our efforts. We all need a trusted Guide to show us what we can derive strength from and what we must reject to remain healthy. To think at all that in 120 years maximum of carnal life we can possibly be smart enough to finish this journey to truth without any help is at best a grandiose delusion. The more I learn the more I realize how little I know.

    Jesus teaches about the joys and security of family. He teaches that we of mankind must each repent from our delusional pride of carnal adult righteousness to be able to accept the most humble rank of an inept but adorable child in His family under just the authority of the Father. I am honestly relieved that such a childhood is even remotely possible because from the experience gleaned from my carnal childhood (in God’s image) an immediately available spiritual childhood is welcome for it gives all responsibility for my provisioning and safe boundaries entirely up to my Father in Heaven and I’m free to play once again with the Family and Friends I love and who love me. I’m a child and I’m not expected to earn anything but I am expected to mind my manners in love.

    I wish we could share our journeys all day every day for an eternity but each small step must be regulated by patience, tolerance, mercy and love to be able to endure an eternity. My life in God’s Family is so good and fulfilling today that I could die right now to know nothing,to be forever forgotten, and still be eternally grateful for this ever so fleeting opportunity to live in the image of God. Jesus our Lord, our Brother, the Christ, the Messiah and our only true Priest overcomes the lies of intimidation and manipulation by Christians, Jews, Muslims (all children of Abraham), Atheists and all other spiritual abusers that espouse and encourage a spirit of us versus them. Jesus seeks to unite ALL cognizant life with choice in the image of God to be of one heart and one mind as is shared with He, the Father and the Holy Spirit. Trust me, please, as one who claims to know that such is possible that you seek the only possible Way that such a divine unity bound eternally in love can happen and that Way is with the Holy Spirit residing in permanent relationship with your beloved heart and mind. Coming from that direction I can share substantiating scripture quoted as from the mouth of Jesus should you ask so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to continue your journey.

    Please forgive me for going on and on and on but know that just the search for Truth can be satisfyingly eternal when we savor each step shared as never having to end … we can take our time.

    Love you and love your quest!

  • Herm

    I trust our Lord to make it possible! Love you!

  • gimpi1

    My reading-list is getting longer and longer, but that’s fine. As you say, there’s no rush. I have read C. S. Lewis, but when I was in college, mumble…years ago. At my current mid-50’s it might have a bit more resonance.

    Thanks for the suggestions. Enjoy your own quest.

  • Sherlang

    You bring up several good questions, questions I admit I wrestle with and struggle with answering. First off, yes, I see the difference between the two, my point was more both involve the taking of life. As to your other point, I am not theologically strong enough to quite answer. How can you rationalize the fact that Jesus preaches non violence but God wipes out cities or even the earth? I would imagine it would have to be something to do with the differences between God in the OT and in the NT and how Jesus made the difference. Do I have all the answers? Heck no. I just know I am called to a radical love, a love so radical I struggle living it out on a day to day basis.

  • paganheart

    I have relatives in the Texas Panhandle region, which has been decimated by drought in recent years. They’re fundie types, and every week they go to church and pray for rain and ask God’s forgiveness, because their pastor tells them that God is “punishing” Texas because “we have turned away from God and embraced homosexuality, abortion and the scourge of liberalism.” Seems to me that Texas, if anything, has been doing the exact opposite for quite a while now (except maybe in Austin…love that place.) Rick Perry seems to be going out of his way to destroy the environment in Texas and make life miserable for prisoners,the poor, women, non-whites, and pretty much anyone who wants a good education or a decent wage. Maybe God is smiting Texas…but not for the reasons the fundies think he is.

  • The traditional view of hell simply doesn’t line up with the character of God presented in the Bible. I’m pasting in a link to another article from this blog, which lays out a more sensible view better than I could. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/5-reasons-why-more-christians-are-rejecting-the-traditional-view-of-hell/

  • Not religion in government, per se. The Judeo-Christian moral code was basic to the ideas and structure of the Constitution and state laws. I’m sure you’re going to howl about slavery, chauvenism, racism, privilege, etc. but please understand, with all it’s imperfections, what we started out with was about as good a system of government as the world as ever seen. The men who put it together were Christians and didn’t think for a moment that the First Amendment would later be reinterpreted to mean, “no whiff of Christianity anywhere.” We have made a huge blunder by trying to eliminate from public life everything resembling Christianity. We are ruled by pagans today.

  • Texas_lib

    I don’t disagree with you. My response was intended for the person trying to antagonize me. I am opposed however to the death penalty. It is an injudicious use of state power inflicted disproportionately upon the poor, the mental deficient and minorities. Legal authorities should not abuse the power given to them.

  • Texas_lib

    What happens when the rulers do bear the sword for no reason. In that case wouldn’t you agree they have failed to be God’s servants and therefore must surrender their authority to judge and punish?

  • Texas_lib

    Who has the right to judge evil? Isn’t that rather a relative thing? We are all evil to one extent or another. We are not to judge one another. Perhaps that’s why we leave it to the legal authorities who are evil as well. I don’t think there is a proper answer this side of Heaven.

  • Agreed across the board!

  • Don Lowery

    Too bad you have never read the real history of the United States. While some of the ideas in the Constitution were adopted from Christianity…almost all of the Founding Fathers and the writers of the Constitution were not anything close to being Christians as you seem to interpret that term through the modern evangelical lens…which is vastly different from the actual truth. The Fathers who were Christian would today be attending the Episcopal Church…while the rest of them were known as Deists. Deists would today be known as Universalists/Unitarians. So…your vastly distorted view of history from David Barton and others with a fundamentalist/evangelical/dominionist viewpoint of their losing power struggle/culture war for the sake of money and power…NOT Jesus Christ…is wrong. We have always been ruled by a pagan government and will continue to be so. The reason…we live in a fallen world ruled by Satan and this government and those who choose it to be part of it are for the most part pagan…no matter whatever term they will use to make themselves feel better for using the tools of Satan to fool themselves of what they are actually doing.

  • Grotoff

    Then you aren’t reading history books, you’re reading fairy tales. A hundred years ago? Do you have any idea what America was like? Americans were struggling subsistence farmers oppressed by bankers, or viciously exploited factory workers forced into company towns, or a part of the urban slums of New York/Chicago/etc. that make modern Calcutta look like Beverly Hills. Corruption was endemic at every level, and America was reaching the nadir of race relations. Birth of Nation would soon revive the Klan as a serious force, and we would get crazy shit like the Tulsa massacre.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsa_race_riot

    Seriously, you are powerfully ignorant. There is no halcyon era to hearken back to.

  • If by implying that America used to be a “Christian nation” you thought I meant that every single person in America was a Christian, you were mistaken, and I would recommend reading things more carefully. What I did imply (not say, but I am saying it now) was that America was predominantly Christian, and that our predominant faith influenced our laws, our culture and our jurisprudence. At the time of the Revolutionary War, 98% of Americans were Christians. All of the Founding Fathers were Christians except for Jefferson and Franklin, who were deists.

    The question of America’s religious identity was raised in a late 1800s court case, Holy Trinity Church vs. the United States. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which investigated the case for 10 years, studying the charters, the Mayflower Compact, American letters, formal organizations, culture and history. The high court’s unanimous decision was that America was a Christian nation — in the words of Justice David Brewer, “…Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or that people are in any matter compelled to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Neither is it Christian in the sense that all of its citizens are either in fact or name Christian. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within our borders.”
    [But in terms of the decision rendered,] “This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation… These are not the sayings, declarations of private persons; these are organic utterances; they speak the
    voice of the entire people…that this is a Christian nation.” See http://thewordonpolitics.com/america-a-christian-nation-part-2/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Trinity_v._United_States#Christian_nation and

  • We have every right to judge evil (not evil people, but evil acts). Otherwise, how would we protect ourselves? How would we discern good from evil for the sake of our own lives, those of our children, the health of our communities? Our imperfection is no excuse for not making an honest effort to discern good from evil. “Thou shalt not judge” is the most misinterpreted scripture in the Bible, and it has become the favorite mantra of dishonest, manipulative people. They say, “Do not judge,” but what they mean is, “Leave me alone, so I can do whatever I want.”

  • Your insults indicate that you either have no substantive argument or no debate skills. Whichever the case, I’m not inclined to fill you in on the erosion of our Constitutional rights. You come across as a person who has been educated by sound bites and talk radio.

  • And I suppose God told you which history was the “real history of the United States”? Otherwise, do tell how you have obtained such extraordinary enlightenment. We just happen to be living in the age of perhaps the greatest rewriting of history that has ever taken place — all done for political reasons, not out of any passionate pursuit of truth. I know about the deists among the FF. What I doubt you can even conceive is that as imperfect as the FF were, they had a sense of honor, duty, conscience and faith in God. Otherwise, they could never have conceived, let alone agreed one, our genius Constitution. These were real men, the likes of which haven’t been seen for a long, long time. George Washington, as a Revolutionary War hero and our first president, voluntarily stepped down after two terms in office to set a precedent for the benefit of the country. He could have ridden the presidency to his grave and lived high on the hog. Whatever you’ve been reading is unbalanced, I assure you.

  • Grotoff

    I see that all you can do is whine like a child about “insults”. You clearly have no grounding in even the basic outlines of history or histiography. You sound like you “studied” history under clowns like Barton or Glenn Beck. Tell the Alien and Sedition Acts about how well protected Constitutional rights were. Stop fetishizing the past.

  • Don Lowery

    You mentioned Enlightenment. That’s where the main ideas for the Constitution came from and their ideas of what they conceived of God and what he wanted. For instance…Jefferson revised the New Testament to remove any mention of Jesus’ miracles. Then you head to 1797 with the Treaty of Tripoli which said, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense,
    founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from
    religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

    In terms of revisionist history…my historical education came before the age of the Religious Wrong doing their best to rewrite the history in the image of their idolatry of American Screw-ism for anyone who’s not a fundamentalist and not exactly like them. Feel free to read Noam Chomsky/Michael Parrenti/Howard Zinn to understand that the Founding Fathers were more concerned with keeping the status quo with them on top…rather than creating real change. Then coming up to today…you have knucleheaded/mouthbreathers like Ted Cruz who claim the name of Christ…but their actions are anything but.

  • gimpi1

    I’m sorry, but Grotoff is right, insulting or no. Facts trump hurt feelings, in my book. During most of the history of this nation, the constitutional protections you are concerned about didn’t apply to the vast majority of people. They mostly do, now. That’s an improvement, no matter how you slice it.

    Perhaps because you’re a Christian white man, you aren’t as aware of this as others might be? (That’s not an insult, it’s a question)

    What rights do you see eroding?

  • Douglas, brother, you complain of insults and demand evidence while hurling insults, ignoring evidence, and making unfounded assertions. Not just with Grotoff, but with others as well. Just some food for thought.

  • “In terms of revisionist history…”

    Just want to add my two cents real quick – it seems that the “scholars” who most complain about “revisionist history” tend to be the same ones who are rewriting history to suit their purposes. It’s remarkable how scholars who are sourcing primary documents written by the founding fathers themselves could be accused of rewriting history by “popular” authors whose only sources are one another.

  • Daryl Budd

    You’ve just contradicted yourself. Above, you stated “Public consensus isn’t the standard, public welfare is.” Now you’re saying that the “public” gets to decide what the public welfare is. Classic example of circular reasoning.

  • Jeff

    Good point, that’s entirely fair. I’ll adjust my answer:

    *Reality* is a good thing to consult about what constitutes public welfare. Better?

  • I didn’t say my feelings were hurt. And please don’t make reference to my ethnicity or religion, which is irrelevant. The “white privilege” argument is as tired as can be. Did it exist? Yes. Every society everywhere in every period of human civilization has favored one group or another. As to our loss of rights, I’m going to give you some examples of recent events. You may well argue with my interpretation of these events, but that is your right. The Second Amendment (http://www.infowars.com/surrender-your-firearms-connecticut-tells-unregistered-gun-owners/). The Fourth Amendment (The Patriot Act), the First Amendment (http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/10/15/why-is-houston-mayor-annise-parker-subpoenaing-pastors-for-sermons-that-are-already-publicly-available/). In the last example, Houston Mayor Annise Parker withdrew her attack on Christian churches, but the fact that it happened in the first place shows a remarkable shift. No one would have even considered doing this for a second even 20 years ago. There are scores of other examples, but I don’t have unlimited time to convince you. All I can do is to urge you to refamiliarize yourself with the Bill of Rights and watch as they are increasingly violated.

  • Please read my other posts. I have supported my assertions, not in every case (I have a full-time job), but often. It would seem I have the burden of proof. Take your comment just now: you just made several assertions but didn’t support one of them. Is that because the burden of proof is on the traditionalist? Food for thought…

  • According to Wikipedia, “In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.” I have done none of these things. All I have done is calmly and respectfully disagreed with many of the liberal viewpoints expressed here. Your anger is telling.

  • I am no Tea Partier. You make far too many assumptions about people who disagree with your views.

  • Anyone can say anything by selectively choosing certain sources (I’m sure you know this). Put another way, given today’s cultural climate (liberal), there are many liberally-minded authors who are hailed as brilliant and spot-on. But is that the culture talking? The only thing is to have an open mind and calmly look at all viewpoints before drawing conclusions. I have made strong efforts to learn exactly this way. I have simply come away with different conclusions than you have.

  • gimpi1

    We’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

    I don’t say it’s not happening, I say it’s not new, and it’s not increasing. The Mormon Church was essentially outlawed in Illinois in the 1800’s. The Ghost Dance religious ritual was used as an excuse for a massacre of natives in the 1800 as well. We turned away a boat loaded with Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust. Laws permitting discrimination of all kinds were common through the 1960’s. Hell, the KKK ran many police-departments in the south. Do you honestly dispute any of this?

    The difference I see is that abuses are less common, but may hit Christians rather than Jews or people who practice Native beliefs. And perhaps that can be an education. I mentioned your apparent race, religion and gender because sometimes people honestly don’t realize what kinds of abuse other have been enduring.

    I agree there are abuses. They are not more frequent. They are not more severe. They have always gone on. We can correct them when they occur, just as we have in the past. They are just hitting people you know. You aren’t being picked on. You’re just in the same boat the rest of us have always been in. Welcome aboard.

  • On the contrary, I did indeed support them, by referencing your other posts here. But in any case, I wasn’t making a formal argument, merely encouraging you to consider your complaints in light of your actions. Nothing more. If you choose to ignore my encouragement, that’s your choice.

  • Have you ever noticed how governments, nations, leaders and empires come and go? There is a constant rotation. God makes and destroys kings all the time. They grow corrupt and then have to pass the scepter on. The fact that it doesn’t happen quickly enough to suit us doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about what is happening down here. I can’t remember a single instance when a ruler has voluntarily abdicated his position. Leaders usually have to be forced out, which happens in part because of people like us making noise about injustice. I am afraid, however, that we are coming into a time when justice will become rarer and rarer. This world as we know it is going to come to an end. But something much better is on the horizon!

  • No, there are new things happening. For instance, http://christiannews.net/2014/11/21/student-sues-school-after-being-suspended-over-sharing-christ-with-classmates/ Can you honestly tell me that this kind of thing has been going on all along? The First Amendment was one of our strongest protections through most of the country’s history. The Mormons got run out of the East because their practices were against the law (polygamy).

    And the Patriot Act, which affects all of us, permits the government to conduct unconstitutional wiretapping and substandard searches. It surprises me that someone as intelligent as you are would be unaware that the Patriot Act was a huge blow to the Constitution. 9-11 was our price for giving up our freedom.

  • White privilege still exists, but it’s like fish not being aware of the water they’re swimming in. Try hanging out with some minorities, listening to their stories, their struggles etc.

  • Now we’re getting somewhere. How does one go about identifying reality? We humans have a positive genius for seeing what we want to see instead of reality. I think we’ve agreed that public consensus is out, and science has not provided answers for humanity’s most serious problems (suicide, drug abuse, greed, corruption, madness). That is why some of us seek a higher source of wisdom. Please don’t think I’m going to proselytize here. If you want examples as to how science has failed us, read Destructive Trends in Mental Health or watch the film Expelled. The book was written by secular researchers and mental health practitioners, so you’re not going to get the “Christian” perspective shoved down your throat.

  • I don’t discount their struggles. However, there are bigger problems that threaten all of us.

  • I’m sorry for being short with you. I’m starting to feel like a Chinaman in Bel Air here. I guess I brought it on myself by getting involved in this discussion. :-) At any rate, I would be glad to answer any objections you have if only you would mention something specific?

  • I agree there are big problems, but “bigger” is relative. Again, you don’t know the struggles that minorities or families like mine face, so it is insulting that from your position of white privilege you would simply dismiss it. Perhaps if racism was a daily reality for you, you’d feel differently. It is certainly one of those issues where it would be much better for you to just humble yourself and be silent since you don’t seem to have experienced it.

  • Name calling doesn’t further the discussion.

  • …a “Chinaman in Bel Air”? I don’t understand. What does that mean? How is a “Chinaman” supposed to feel when he is in Bel Air?

  • Come on, dude — different from the crowd. Was that so obscure, or did you reflexively interpret what I said as racist? Don’t tell me they got to your mind too. Please, tell me they haven’t…

  • Guy Norred

    I have been in Bel Air with a Chinese woman and she seemed to be OK. Maybe it is a gender thing?

  • My response was “I don’t understand what that means,” and your gut reaction was “I’m not a racist, don’t tell me they’ve gotten to you too.” I find that to be even more interesting than your obscure (yes, it was indeed “so obscure”) choice of metaphor.

  • Before Douglas came back to explain (and reflexively defend himself against an attack that didn’t exist), I seriously had no idea what the metaphor was supposed to mean. I had a guess, based on context clues, but after Douglas’ explanation, I can say that my guess was pretty far from how he intended it.

  • Point taken, and I apologize for making an assumption based on the clues. I thought about how my comment might be perceived after I posted it. I see hyper-sensitivity to racism ALL the time these days. If you went by the number of accusations, you would think the earth is covered with racists. Now let me ask you what exactly you mean by, “I find that to be even more interesting than your obscure (yes, it was indeed “so obscure”) choice of metaphor.”

    Anyway, I didn’t think my metaphor was so obscure. There aren’t that many Chinamen in Bel Air, and there aren’t many conservatives who comment on this blog.

  • What I meant by it was this:
    (1) that you assumed I was calling you racist when I said nothing about racism meant that you saw how your metaphor could be construed as racist and chose to use it anyways (or, as I’d failed to consider at the time, that as you say here you realized how it might be perceived after posting it);
    (2) that you complained of “them getting to me” shows that you think you are being oppressed for being made to think about what you’re saying;
    (3) that you complained about “them getting to me” suggests that you don’t think there’s the possibility that a person could be neutral in the conflict that you believe is occurring – and that you thought that I had been on your side, but had defected.

    I find those three things, and what they suggest about how you choose to interact with others, to be more interesting than a metaphor that I didn’t understand, since I don’t think about the racial make-up of a community three thousand miles away.

    I’m fascinated by conflict, or more accurately by how people behave during a conflict. I think how a person approaches conflict reveals something fundamental about that person. Do they get defensive? If so, how quickly? Do they badly misinterpret what others are saying? Does the misinterpretation seem intentional or not? Do they admit when they’ve been proven wrong? Do they seek to understand why the other person believes/argues as they do?

    That’s what I meant by it.

  • …a kid is suing his school because they punished him for interrupting a school-sponsored event to start preaching, and that’s a sign that the First Amendment is being infringed upon? (a) We’ve only got his perspective (and I even went searching for a more reliable source and came up with nothing), and (b) the court case hasn’t even started yet. But sure, go ahead and use it to show that the whole country’s gone to Hell in a handbasket.

    And your Mormon history is a bit out of order. They didn’t start practicing polygamy until after they reached Utah. They were driven out of Missouri after non-Mormon Missouri residents got angry at them and attacked them, burned their homes, etc. Their only crime was “being Mormon,” though the “Extermination Order” made a laughable claim about the Mormons making war “upon the people of this state.” No stand-your-ground defense for the Missouri Mormons!

    And I’d like to go back to your previous comment, where you cite as an example the mayor of Houston subpoenaing pastors’ sermons. Do you know why the mayor subpoenaed those sermons? Because those pastors were suing the city. The mayor felt that those sermons were relevant to the case that those pastors were making against the city and so subpoenaed to have them admitted as evidence. This is normal legal practice. Had it been a businessperson bringing suit, nobody would find this unusual in the slightest.

  • Yup– the kid was obviously preaching to a “captive audience” which the law says you can’t do (like preaching to folks in line at the dmv) since they are being forced to listen to to it. Much different than on a sidewalk where people can walk away.

  • …dude, that’s a pretty disrespectful comment to address towards the person who writes and maintains this blog. I’m hoping you didn’t mean it to be disrespectful, but it certainly came across that way.

  • Did you read the article? He handed out tracts, which the other kids could have just thrown in the garbage. Then he spoke at a “bonfire bash,” which wasn’t compulsory for them. In other words, anyone who objected could simply have gotten up and left. This is not a captive audience. On the other hand, if we’re talking about Islam, which is everybody’s favorite “stop picking on minorities” cause du jour, THAT religion can actually be taught in school without so much as a phone call from the ACLU. http://ktla.com/2014/10/31/parents-upset-that-children-are-being-taught-about-islam-at-huntington-beach-school/

  • I can see why you might believe these things. But don’t mistake defensiveness for impatience.

    Let’s say I went to a school where it was known to be offensive to post things on the bulletin board that were printed on green paper. The faculty and students are so opposed to people doing this that, in their vigor, they sometimes call out others for posting things printed on turquoise and other similar shades. Now, I agree that the color green is ugly and harmful and never use it. However, I do like other colors that can sometimes be mistaken for green. I have an objection to being questioned for using the other colors just because people are overzealous. And, in fact, I find that sort of conformism harmful and ugly as well. As a result, I don’t make a habit of refraining from using turquoise just because I know people will object.

    I post something on the board one day (printed on turquoise paper), and someone says to me, “Hey, what was that thing you posted on the board?” Have I done anything sketch by jumping to a conclusion (“Oh, it’s that turquoise thing again”)? If I hear hoofbeats in the distance, I don’t assume I’m hearing zebras; I assume I’m hearing horses. These are called “heuristics.” We all use them, but they can get us into trouble sometimes. For instance, contrary to your speculations, 1) I wasn’t being defensive, though I was guilty of a little snideness, 2) I had already thought about what I was saying, as you pointed out in your point #1, so I didn’t “think [I was] being oppressed for being made to think about what [I was] saying. So this thing works both ways, doesn’t it?

  • Hmm… claiming you don’t tolerate holier-than-thou people, as you dehumanize someone you disagree with via name calling… which makes you one of the “holier-than-thou” people you claim to dislike. Ironic. Perhaps you should move along somewhere else; I’m trying to host honest discussion here where folks can disagree without dehumanizing each other.

  • If we were to define “captive audience” as unable to leave, then technically the only way to have a captive audience would be if the audience was physically restrained. But that’s not how the law defines “captive audience.” For example, if one were subjected to hate speech while at home, that person could “simply get up and leave,” yet the courts have consistently considered that to be a case of a captive audience. Another place consistently considered by the courts to constitute a captive audience? School functions. Especially since even “non-compulsory” events are effectively compulsory for certain students; nobody’s required to go to the football games, unless they’re on the football team, or the cheerleading squad, or the marching band, and etc.

    I’m not in a position to watch a video right now, but it’s really weird that there’s no transcript of the report, and that the only sites that have actual written text about this are explicitly Conservative Christian sites.

  • There have been a hundred cases like it in the news. At any rate, please check out the link I provided in my last comment. Can you imagine the uproar if a school started teaching Christianity? There would be hordes of lawyers and ACLU reps descending on that school. Not to mention no public school would ever do it anymore. But Islam? Whole different story. There’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye.

  • gimpi1

    The mormon church wasn’t attacked for polygamy. They tended to vote in a block, which upset the power-structure. They were perceived as “different” and people were afraid that they would “take over” so they threw the 1st amendment in the trash, and outlawed a religion, making it legal to attack them and steal their goods. The state decided that the constitution didn’t apply to them.

    Native religious belief wasn’t even regarded as a religion by most white Christians. Because the natives didn’t practice a western, monotheistic religion, they were literally murdered for their beliefs. No one thought the constitution applied to them.

    The KKK, which was profoundly anti-semitic as well as racist, ran the South for 50-60 years, engaging in profoundly unconstitutional acts. They burned black Christian churches, attacked Jews and Catholics and lynched people. It went unnoticed by most white Christians. White Christian juries would refuse to convict, on the rare occasions that these crimes came to the attention of the law. You often couldn’t stand for office or work for the police without being a member of the KKK. No one cared if the constitutional rights of black, Catholic or Jewish people were violated. The constitution wasn’t considered to apply to them.

    For some reason you don’t appear to be willing to acknowledge that racial and religious minorities have been subject to unconstitutional persecution. It happened. What’s new is that, first of all, there’s much less of it around, and secondly, it occasionally hurts white Protestant Christians. Perhaps that’s necessary.

    You see, you simply won’t acknowledge the profound unconstitutional abuse that went on in the past. People were murdered. Whole towns were burned. For some reason, if white Christians aren’t affected, many of them won’t take notice.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t unconstitutional abuses now. There are. I agree with you about the Patriot Act. The thing is, I understand it’s always been this way. The people in Illinois were afraid of what looked to them like a Mormon political power-house, so, in fear, they tossed the 1st amendment on the scrap-heap. The settlers were afraid of the natives, so they declared them not really people, and tried to wipe them out. White people were afraid of slave-uprisings before the civil war, and peon-uprisings afterwards, so they passed poll-taxes, reading-tests, gun-laws and curfew laws to unconstitutionally restrict black people. Protestants in large cities were afraid of Irish and Polish immigrants, so groups like the “know-nothings” formed to attack Catholics. We were afraid of communists after WWII, so we allowed unconstitutional political persecutions. We were afraid after 9-11 so we passed an unconstitutional “protection” act. You have Christian leaders trying to argue, apparently with a straight face, that Islam isn’t a religion, and shouldn’t be protected by the constitution. The common factor is fear.

    You can’t fix a problem unless you understand the cause. The problem isn’t modern times. It isn’t “abandoning our Christian roots.” It’s fear. Fear of the “other.” Fear that, if someone gains rights, you must lose them. Fear of want. Fear of attack. Fear of change. It’s always been with us. We can’t hope to make things better if we don’t understand that. Do you?

  • Shiphrah99

    YES, it IS obscure.

  • Shiphrah99

    Excuse me??? “There aren’t that many Chinamen in Bel Air…”??? Really? How do you know? And do you have the slightest clue that “Chinamen” if not explicitly racist, is in fact racialist (yeah, semantics, I know). And it’s also just a profoundly weird turn of phrase. But other than that….

  • Leyla1001nights

    We need to add Missouri to this list too. :(

  • Joel Kessler

    Texan “justice” is a mentally sick cowboy. We need a sane person to step in for mercy on his behalf who leave their cowboy boots at home and bring a heart of love for people. Killing this person won’t bring back the people he killed. There are other ways to ensure a safe society, like medication and institutionalization.

  • Realist1234

    Why arent US police routinely given taser devices? Then if they have to ‘subdue’ someone who clearly does not have a gun, they can use that first.

  • Realist1234

    Im not sure if God no longer smites places or people. Jesus is the God of both Old and New Testaments and covenants. He clearly ‘smited’ numerous people a few thousand years ago. He also ‘smited’ Ananias and Sapphiras due to deception over money. And that was in the New Testament era. You only have to read his words to the churchs in Revelation to see He is not only the ‘meek and mild’ of old hymns. We should not assume His actions taken against sin are only spiritual.

  • That’s a fantastic question, and I wish I had a decent answer. The best I can do is guess, and my guess is some combination of people thinking it’s too expensive and some nonsense about “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The latter is of course completely irrelevant to your question, since you’re specifically talking about subduing someone who has no gun, but somehow that doesn’t stop people from using it.

  • Snooterpoot

    Which Judeo-Christian values? Please do elaborate.

  • Snooterpoot

    A hundred cases? Really? Got a link to back up that assertion?

  • Snooterpoot

    You are right; you do have the burden of proof. When someone makes an assertion as fact, and they are asked for proof, they are obligated to either provide that proof or admit they posed opinion as fact. It is not the questioner’s responsibility to support your assertion; it is yours.

  • Snooterpoot

    Respectfully, Mr. Abbott, I disagree. I think the popularity of the death penalty is about revenge. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Stevie D

    Herm you are very patient