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Culture and Religion

Rights vs. obligations

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It seems that we, as a nation have become confused as to the meaning of what a “right” is and is not. People are running around with their hair on fire screaming that they have the “right” to use violence to oppose speech which they find objectionable. They march in protests for the “right” to indiscriminately murder the unborn. Folks are claiming it is their “right” to be taken care of by the government for anything and everything from healthcare to education.

We have an obligation to ourselves and our posterity and to the future of our place in the world. We are better people than pink hats, and foul language. We are more honorable than white sheets and raised fists.

Let’s be clear:

Rights

Definition: (from Merriam-Webster)

1 :qualities (such as adherence to duty or obedience to lawful authority) that together constitute the ideal of moral propriety or merit moral approval

2 :something to which one has a just claim: such as

a :the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled•voting rights
•his right to decide

Rights, as they pertain to American citizenry, are encapsulated in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That’s it. Pretty simple…or one would think. How then, did things become so muddled? How did the simplicity of basic human rights become so bastardized that we become embroiled in the idiocy of whether a football player must stand for a National Anthem or not?

Because, freedom of speech. Which is a right. What a concept. For the sake of clarity, let’s make a simple list. These are a few rights which we, as Americans, enjoy and should comprehend as part of the freedoms we enjoy.

  • You have the right to say, think, write or film whatever is on your mind.
  • You have the right to peaceably protest anyone or anything with which you disagree.
  • You have the right to lawfully purchase and protect personal property.
  • You have the right to marry whomever you wish.
  • You have the right to lawfully keep and bear arms.
  • You have the right to worship how when and where you wish.
  • You have the right to vote for the person of your choice in any election for which you are legally registered.
  • You have the right to choose where you wish to live, which school you wish you or your children will attend, which trade or career you will pursue, and how you manage your health choices.
  • You have the right to use the legal system to seek remedies for wrongful actions under the law.
  • You have the right seek assistance from the government.
  • You have the right to be active and seek change in your community.
  • You have the right to seek happiness in whatever form is lawful.
  • You have the right to be a horrible, terrible, angry, miserable, obstructive, whining bigot. (this is not recommended pursuant to the immediately preceding goal of happiness, however.

This list is not exhaustive and certainly only scratches the very veneer of the many rights we enjoy. Seems straightforward enough, correct? Well……nope.

You see, there are caveats. These are called obligations.

Obligations

Definition (again from Merriam-Webster)

1 :the action of obligating oneself to a course of action (as by a promise or vow)

2 a :something (such as a formal contract, a promise, or the demands of conscience or custom) that obligates one to a course of action•made an obligation to pay their children’s college expenses

b :a debt security (such as a mortgage or corporate bond)

c :a commitment (as by a government) to pay a particular sum of money; also :an amount owed under such an obligation•Unable to meet its obligations, the company went into bankruptcy.

3 a :a condition or feeling of being obligated•felt an obligation to vote

b :a debt of gratitude•returned the favor as an obligation

4 :something one is bound to do :duty, responsibility•countries in which military service is an obligation
•fulfilled their familial obligations

We have all heard the phrase, “freedom isn’t free” or, if you prefer, the scripture, Luke 12:48 “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

Rights in America are like that. Because we enjoy more rights in the civilized world than any other nation, we are obligated to temper those rights with responsibility. Let’s take another stab at our list…tempered with its corresponding obligations.

  • You have the right to say, think, write or film whatever is on your mind, providing it does not infringe upon another’s right to live without threat of violence to life or pursuit of livelihood. In this category are harmful practices like KKK cross-burning, child pornography, ISIS propaganda etc.
  • You have the right to peaceably protest anyone or anything with which you disagree, but do not have the right to commit violent acts or destruction of property in the name of protest.
  • You have the right to lawfully purchase and protect personal property but do not have the right to commit felonious acts upon said property.
  • You have the right to marry whomever you wish in accordance with state and federal laws.
  • You have the right to lawfully keep and bear arms. Note the keyword here is “lawfully” and that under no circumstances is anyone guaranteed the right to own and use a weapon solely for the use of violence against another.
  • You have the right to worship how when and where you wish, but religious beliefs may not take precedence over what is lawful and in accordance with city, state and federal laws. Tenets which advocate violence are in strict violation of American law.
  • You have the right to vote for the person of your choice in any election for which you are legally registered. Again, note the word, “legally” as it is the only means by which true and fair elections can be certified.
  • You have the right to choose where you wish to live, which school you wish you or your children will attend, which trade or career you will pursue, and how you manage your health choices. In no way is the government either responsible for these choices or at fault for them if an individual makes a poor decision regarding them. This is a true right and the crux of freedom.
  • You have the right to use the legal system to seek remedies for wrongful actions under the law but, are obligated to understand the law and its confines. The law is not an absolute remedy for every situation. Understanding our government, its branches, its authority and its limits is a huge obligation of every citizen.
  • You have the right seek assistance from the government. This assumes that every citizen has done the best he or she can for themselves and has used whatever personal resources available. The government is not a bottomless well from which an individual is entitled to dip from in perpetuity. This has never been it’s intent.
  • You have the right to be active and seek change in your community, but DO NOT have an explicit right to force upon others your personal beliefs, ideaology, morals, or judgement thereby infringing upon their own rights.
  • You have the right to seek happiness in whatever form is lawful. If breaking the law and encroaching upon the rights of others is what makes you happy, you have the right to seek professional help 🙂
  • You have the right to be a horrible, terrible, angry, miserable, obstructive, whining bigot. (this is not recommended pursuant to the immediately preceding goal of happiness, however.) If this is how one intends to exercise their rights, please do so elsewhere. Thanks!

What has been tragically forgotten in the chaos of America in the last couple of years is the beautiful and pure gift of true rights. They have been horrifically abused and assumed as entitlements and grievances and excuses.

Does a football player have a right to kneel for the anthem? Yes. Does a fan have the right to boycott the NFL because of it? Yes. However, the football player also has an obligation to his team and owners and fans to represent his uniform in a positive way. And a fan has an obligation to supporting his team and the traditions of American football. But, really, this is trivial stuff. There is a bigger picture when we are discussing rights vs. obligations.

In an election, voters have the right to vote. They also have the obligation to know the candidate and take that vote seriously. In a protest, the protesters have the right to protest what they believe is an injustice. They also have the obligation to understand the law and the justice system and to respect the rule of law. In a Constitutional Republic such as ours, we all have the right to be involved in our governmental processes, to effect change, to challenge injustice, to bring awareness to wrongdoing. We also have an enormous obligation to do so without further damage and or destruction to the very fabric of our nation.

We have an obligation to ourselves and our posterity and to the future of our place in the world. We are better people than pink hats, and foul language. We are more honorable than white sheets and raised fists. We are wiser than Twitter and Facebook and more loyal than Bradley Manning or Beau Bergdahl. We are not so fragile that a few statues or memorials will intimidate or the need for safe spaces and therapy will prevent us from pursuing and protecting the real rights which our men and women in uniform fight for. Quite simply, the greatest right we hold, is the right to be called “An American” and that is the one which needs to be valued and defined more than ever now.

Colorado mom, wife and grandma. Wanting a better America for the next generation. Just a regular girl...with opinions.

Culture and Religion

Is Mike Pence too political for church?

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There have been a lot of talk lately about Mike Pence speaking at the SBC. Many complained claiming it was divisive and political. Jonathan Leeman wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition criticizing the very idea of Mike Pence speaking. I will address this article in greater detail on the points that I agree and disagree with. But first, let me answer the very question I posed: Pence isn’t too political to address a congregation, but his speech was.

In short, Mike Pence’s address offered zero substantive theological content. It was merely about his privilege as serving as Vice President. While acknowledging this privilege merited a short section in the beginning, it needed no more continuation. Instead, Mike Pence droned on and on about his experiences and the administration’s accomplishments.

I think there’s only one way you can sum up this administration: It’s been 500 days of action, 500 days of accomplishment. It’s been 500 days of promises made and promises kept. 

Pence’s address followed a pattern of praising Trump with loosely intertwined references to God and praising his hosts as guest speakers often do. The intertwined religious language while praising the accomplishments, not of God, but of the President is the briefest summation of Pence’s speech to the SBC that can be offered. The only biblical passage cited was Psalm 126 in reference to a story that served as praise to the Trump administration. God wasn’t working though Trump in Pence’s speech. Instead, Trump was working. At the end of his speech, Pence did offer a superficial message about praying for America with a quoting scripture.

Mike Pence had an opportunity to address the leaders of many churches. He blew it. But would all politicians do the same?

Politicians Should Be in the Pew, Not the Pulpit?

Jonathan Leeman’s article for The Gospel Coalition draws this conclusion. He has five reasons for not allowing politicians to address a church event.

  1. No reason to give attention to a politician’s words over a plumber’s or an accountant’s, at least not in our assemblies or associations.
  2. Having a political leader address our churches or associations of churches tempts us to misconstrue our mission.
  3. Undermines our evangelistic and prophetic witness.
  4. Hurts the unity of Christ’s body

Reason one is most certainly true. However, I believe we ought to separate the person from the profession. On the basis of spiritual maturity and calling should a politician or any notable guest address an assembly. This first reason is the one I believe to have the most merit in regards to the situation at hand. Inviting a politician to address a Congregation is wrong if the only reason is that they are a politician. However, if the politician is a member of the church, what is wrong with having a fellow member speak?

Reasons two and three are certainly tied together in there logic. I believe these reasons hold merit for Pence’s sacrelidgious speech but are not inherently true of all politicians who accept such similar offers. Reasons two and three open a multitude of separate issues both independent and dependent on the circumstances. Meaning, yes this could happen, but the degree in which we can mitigate the temptation are limited for Satan is the tempter. In the case of Pence, reason three was definitely true. Many would see that the SBC tied itself to Trump. But that is not the fault of the SBC per se. But that is Pence’s fault for giving a campaign rally speech instead of a message. If Pence gave a theologically sound speech there should be little temptation to misconstrue the mission. The third reason is inevitable. Since the beginning, Christians witness has been undermined by the lies of Satan. The original Christians were thought to be cannibal and even atheists. We can’t always prevent these lies, but it would be good not to validate them which Pence did.

Now hurting the unity of the body of Christ is a weak point. Leeman’s fourth point is basically saying that Pence is too polarizing, because Trump is… Trump, on a National level to address a church. Pence is polarizing, but he was polarizing before Trump. The polarizing premise is true but, assuming Pence is indeed a follower off Christ, this would be the result of living a Christian life. Here’s another polarizing figure: Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop. Would polarity disqualify him from speaking? If we are to apply national likability to our church speakers, we’re going to end up with a lot of TV personalities who don’t comprehend dyophysitism.

Like Jack Philips, Pence has taken a lot of flak for being a devout Christian. Isn’t this the kind of person who may have a good message to the assembly? Seemingly so. Again Pence under-delivered. To be fair, Leeman clearly states he doesn’t blanket outlaw politicians from speaking.

I can envision a few circumstances where there is some measure of mission overlap that could justify it. Maybe a group of Christian college presidents asks the secretary of education to address them. Or a Christian conference on work asks a Christian congressman to talk about working as a Christian on the Hill, so that attendees can apply the principles to their own settings.

But while it’s not an outlaw, such an unwritten policy places constraints on the church that are not inherently necessary. Leeman supposes some similar justification was used when The Gospel Coalition had Ben Sasse speak. In 2017, Ben Sasse addressed The Gospel Coalition and gave a theological speech. He was noted for sounding more like a pastor than a politician.

To me only two things matter:

  1. Theological substance
  2. Correct theological substance

On these two requirements I think the body of Christ would remain unified with a clear picture of its mission.

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Culture and Religion

Video Double play: Busting the gun grabber’s musket myth.

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Gun confiscation bingo

Two videos that eviscerate the Liberty Grabbers ‘One shot’ musket myth.

It is a bedrock principle (if they have any) of the Liberty grabber Left that back during the ratification of the US Constitution the only weapons in existence were flintlock musket that took 5 minute to reload. Thus there wasn’t any school violence because it would have taken too long for the perpetrator to kill anyone.

As it typical of the lore of the national socialist Left, this is a lie of the first order. A previous video celebrated the “Assault Weapon” tricentennial, which was bit of the tongue in cheek variety since there were other repeating “Military Style” weapons in existence before this time period. These will be detailed in future articles. Meanwhile we present two videos that also bust the ‘Musket Myth’, one a short presentation from the Royal Armouries on the Jover and Belton “Flintlock breech-loading superimposed military musket”

Royal Armouries
Published on Aug 30, 2017
Curator of Firearms, Jonathan Ferguson, gives us a peek at the Flintlock breech-loading superimposed military musket, by Jover and Belton (1786)

This is a very relevant piece since the inventor Joseph Belton corresponded with the Continental Congress in 1777:

May it Please your Honours,
I would just informe this Honourable Assembly, that I have discover’d an improvement, in the use of Small Armes, wherein a common small arm, may be maid to discharge eight balls one after another, in eight, five or three seconds of time, & each one to do execution five & twenty, or thirty yards, and after so discharg’d, to be loaded and fire’d with cartridge as usual.

“It was demonstrated before noted scientists and military officers (including well known scientist David Rittenhouse and General Horatio Gates)”

This destroys the mythology that the founders had no knowledge of this type of repeating firearm technology that existed already.

The second is a humours dissertation on the subject from video raconteur Steven Crowder https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/

from a few years ago that also eviscerates this bit of Leftist mythology.

Published on Feb 10, 2015
People have been telling us for years that the 2nd amendment was written in a time of Muskets, and that it doesn’t apply to the evolved weapons of today. Is it true?

So why is this important?

Two primary reasons. One that these factual examples demonstrate that the founding fathers knew of these technological advances. Therefore, they destroy any Leftist pretences that the 2nd amendment be confined to muskets. Second that, school violence is something other than an issue of guns.

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Culture and Religion

Gay Americans speak out in support of Christian Baker, against the gay lobby

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The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.

-Patrick Henry

As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Now, however, after years of radical LGBT activist domination over the nation’s dialogue surrounding civil rights, liberty-loving gay Americans are pushing back.

All wheels have begun to squeak.

Masterpiece Cakeshop V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled (7-2) in favor of Jack Phillips, a devout Christian and confectionary artist. In 2012, after declining to lend his artistry skills toward the custom adornment of a cake intended for the celebration of a same-sex wedding, Phillips was sued for discrimination and was later found guilty by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Although the Commission had deemed Phillips’s art – confectionary art is a subset of sugar art – as expression under the First Amendment, his religious views were publicly attacked by commissioners. It was this blatant governmental bias which persuaded the Supreme Court to reverse all previous rulings against Mr. Phillips.

Despite of the Supreme Court ruling’s narrow scope, by mid-day on Monday, freedom-loving gay Americans had begun to speak out in support of Jack Phillips’s Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech, and celebrate the Supreme Court ruling in Mr. Phillips’s favor.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must… undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

-Thomas Paine

Pushing Back: Live on the Radio

Speaking with Rush Limbaugh on Monday, a Seattle woman who identified herself, saying, “I’m gay, I’m Hispanic, I’m female, I’m middle-aged, and I’m conservative,” stated:

I wanted to comment on the cake thing, on the Supreme Court judgment ruling on the cake matter. I wanted to say that I am so pleased to hear that, because I just don’t understand how people in this country can keep fighting against having their negative rights, against having what makes this country great, and against that which are the people that came to this country and come to this country, come here for. I just don’t get it… we are the country on this planet that stands for everyone to come and have liberty.

…[P]eople want to have freedom. But what they don’t understand is that freedom never needs to be defended. It’s liberty that needs to be defended. God gives us our freedom. God gives us the right to be free. We have to defend our liberty.

Another Limbaugh caller who identified himself as a wedded gay man, expressed disdain for the radical LGBT activists, describing them as “militant,” asserting:

…[I]t does not make our situation any easier when these militants are on the news because they do not represent me.

His {the husband’s] family didn’t show up at our wedding because they believe a marriage is between one man and one woman. And I don’t want to brand them a bigot or a homophobe for the rest of their lives when I could have an opportunity to have a relationship with them. I’d rather understand where they’re coming from and try to build off of what we have in common than brand them over a decision like a cake and then not have a relationship with the man I love’s family.

The caller continued his frank criticism, stating:

I think these militants make it worse, not better, and they don’t have me — in mind when they’re out there doing it… I just think they’re really loud and obnoxious, and so they get on the news.

They went on TV, and they said what their case was. They said it was never about the cake; it was about making them do what they wanted them to do. 

And I would rather go get a cake from somewhere else and not be on the news and have a chance at understanding where other people are coming from than force my will on them any more than I want them to force their will on me. I know a lot of people don’t accept gay marriage. However, it’s a lifestyle choice I made. They choose not to bake me a cake. I’ll get one somewhere else.

My sexuality makes up so small of who I am as a person; it really shouldn’t matter.

Pushing Back: Speaking Out on Twitter

Other non-totalitarian, liberty-loving gay Americans chose to push back by making their voices heard via social media.

Pushing Back: The New Squeaky Wheels

The phenomenon of gay Americans, fellow freedom-fighters, pushing back against the radical LGBT lobby isn’t unique to the Masterpiece Cakeshop court case. Since 2013, Chad Felix Greene- a wedded gay man – has “been writing in favor of religious freedom for those asked to participate in gay weddings.”

After Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, Mr. Greene stated:

LGBT’s hysterical denunciations and hair-on-fire rhetoric has not changed. Fortunately the argument has. We must continue fighting the rhetoric.

This case is not over.

Back in December of 2017, a gay duo – T.J. and Matt – made headlines for their open support of Jack Phillips and all who wish to exercise religious liberty and freedom of speech.  In a video for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the pair, standing outside the front entrance of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, explained:

We’re here to buy stuff from him and support him, because we don’t think any artist should be forced to create for something that violates their beliefs.

On Monday, echoing the same sentiment, Mr. Greene explained to his followers on Twitter:

The LGBT movement needs to understand that tolerance goes both ways. They have been behaving as though they are entitled to special treatment from everyone under the guise of ‘equality.’

We have equality. But we don’t have the right to demand others violate their beliefs for us.

The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages is what every part is entitled to and ought to enjoy.

-Benjamin Franklin

Reason to Hope

The trappings of authoritarian identify politics are being rejected and the walls are beginning to crumble. Liberty-loving Americans representing a plurality of circumstance and lifestyle, often hidden from the limelight of the media, are joining together in good will.

As a Christian and an artist, I count the mounting acts of ideological divergence – examples of bravery – from those in the gay community, as true blessings!

Alas! The Lord works in mysterious ways.

 

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