Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Way To Go Arizona!

There's been a lot of hoopla over this new Arizona immigration law that will take effect later this summer. The violence and hate that is normally said to be a trait of the Tea Party protesters (falsely) has been common in the protests of those who oppose this legislation. Critics have been taking pot shots at it such as Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor who said that the law sends "a clear message that Arizona is unfriendly to undocumented aliens." So? How is that a bad thing? I mean, being unfriendly is rarely cool, but to be unfriendly to those who willfully break the law? That's supposed to be something for which anyone should be ashamed? What the hell has happened in this country?

Michael Medved, if I'm understanding him correctly, thinks this law, if supported by conservatives, will drive Hispanic support more in the direction of the Democratic party. I don't get that. Conservatives will lose support (or rather, not increase support) of the Hispanic community because they stand for the rule of law? Is that it? So are we supposed to be like the left who, rather than insist on proper behavior will alter the understanding of right vs wrong so as not to lose votes? I'd rather the country comes crashing down around us rather than to "compromise" on righteousness like that.

Medved thinks that because even legal residents of Hispanic background might know someone who is here illegally, perhaps even a relation, that they cannot be reasoned with regarding the need to follow proper procedures for entering this country and availing one's self of its bounty.

So what's so bad about this bill, anyway? I've looked it over and haven't found anything over which anyone should be alarmed. It basically says that henceforth, Arizona law enforcement will enforce the law. That's it. It states that cops can, with reasonable suspicion, insist that a person provides proof that he is here legally. That's already required, but what has been happening is that cops around the nation are being prevented from making such inquiries.

Indeed, Obama is said to have called for a cut in border enforcement, a stop in ICE raids and is planning to propose what's sure to be, another amnesty bill dressed up as immigration reform. And how's that fence coming along?

Here's the deal: We have laws for entering this country. They need to be obeyed. Period. Those who don't obey them, never mind just how hard working they are or how much they wish to provide for their families, should be deported. If they came through proper channels, then they wouldn't be deported. It's that simple. No. I'm not saying the immigration rules provide a simple means of entry. I'm saying that doing things by the way the law is structured will prevent deportation.

Here's more of the deal: We have every right and duty to regulate who enters our nation. It does not serve us to have open borders where there is no oversight as to who is or isn't here and why they came, what their intentions are, etc. If there happens to be more people wishing entry than our system is set up to allow in a given year, that's just too damned bad. They have to wait or prove they are more worthy than the next immigrant.

The Arizona law also prohibits other laws that might interfere with the ability of law enforcement to enforce the immigration laws. This is a good thing as it prevents any Arizona municipality from becoming a "sanctuary city". Some lefty mayor looking for more votes won't be able to game the system in order to win election.

Some, like Medved, wonder what will happen once this law is in effect. Will profiling take place? I hope so. But not only of the racial variety, but of the linguistic variety. Anyone who can't speak English should be under suspicion of being illegal. It's only logical. Are Hispanics now expected to carry papers, like the Jews in 1930's Germany? Not exactly. But aren't we all required to carry identification when we drive or seek to do various business? And if we are arrested for any reason, aren't we expected to identify ourselves with our legal names, and legal places of residence? I can easily provide a birth certificate if one is requested, as it has been for the last dozen or so jobs for which I applied. Why should it be any different for someone suspected of being here illegally, whether that person is Hispanic or not? And look, like most terrorists are youngish Arabs, most illegals are Hispanic looking/sounding. No, not all, but the Polish illegals will get theirs eventually as well.

What will we do with them? Are we to round them all up, and if so, where do we put them and how do we transport them? Stupid question. Who says that we have to get them all right away? Who says that once we show we are no longer going to protect illegals, but follow the law, that many of them won't start leaving of their own accord just to prevent the major hassle? And really, as far as transporting them, how did they get here in the first place? So they ride a crowded bus. Big deal. Many rode in the back of a trailer sitting on the floor. Some merely walked across. We can round them up, lock them up until we can transport them all on our own terms and timetables. If our facilities get crowded with illegals awaiting deportation, we'll just back off on the round ups until the facilities are emptied.

What of the children? Some are born here and are Americans! Assuming there are no legal Americans willing to take them in, they simply go back to their parent's country of origin with their parents.

This new Arizona law, for all intents and purposes, only does what existing laws are supposed to be doing. Enforcement. I applaud the Arizona governor for signing this bill. I hope more states adopt the law as well. The reform of our immigration policy must begin with enforcement of existing laws. It must begin with strengthening and securing our borders. All illegals must be deported and made to stand in line behind all those who are seeking entry in the legal manner, if any still exist.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What God Hath Joined...

I saw a bumper sticker today. It looked something like this:

What God has joined together
I support gay marriage
Well...I couldn't get the fonts and sizes to work the way I wanted them to, but you get the idea. I thought whoever created the sticker, as well as those who paste it to their bumpers, assume a lot considering they have no Biblical justification to believe that God would have anything to do with the joining of two people of the same sex. It assumes they know His mind in a way for which I am often chastised. Of course when I state something I believe God would do, think, say or whatever, I at least can back it up Scripturally. I guess it's OK if someone wants to proclaim that they support what the Bible would indicate is totally out of the question. But to suggest that God would take part in such a thing is really assuming a bit much. In fact, it's quite absurd based on all the Bible says about the subject of marriage and sexuality. But it's the world in which we live and for those who are determined to do whatever they want, it is necessary to get as many people believing as they do as to whether or not a behavior is right or wrong. Even if it means rewriting the Bible.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Northern Wisdom

I saw these articles over at Wintery Knight's blog. He always has such good material and is worth a gander with regularity. These Canadian articles were so good that I had to link to them here. Read them. They're excellent.

The first is an article by a guy named Rex Murphy and is an article explaining to the Canadians who Sarah Palin is. I put it here because he understands far better than do so many of her fellow Americans and quasi-Americans.

The second is also a Rex Murphy piece and it speaks to a different matter altogether. In this one, he reports on the state of human rights in Canada. It's an important piece because of what it portends for us if we continue to adopt the same inane attitudes regarding what does or does not constitute "human rights". It's important to remember such as this:

"The core concept of human rights is the protection of the irreducible safety and dignity of the individual from the massive and arbitrary power of the state. Not, the state wandering in, with its apparatus and procedures, its boards and tribunals into the doings, or speech, of the individual."

This is not merely a Canadian concept here, but something that is very American in understanding the place of the state versus the value of the individual. Murphy speaks of two specific cases of politically correct insanity (both involving "different" people) that cannot help but be in our own future should the wrong people (read=Obama &Co) be in charge for too long. He then asks,

"For this, did the great armies of the West storm the beaches of Normandy? For this, did Solzhenitsyn and Sharansky endure their endless nights of hell in the gulag?"

Indeed. What passes for rights these days would make many of bygone days roll over in their graves.

Finally, Howard Levitt followed up the above Murphy column with one of his own regarding employment. This, too, has implications for our country as this administration plays footsy with the unions. What results is a confusion over rights. Namely, who has them?

To say that we are headed in the direction the second and third articles describe is hardly a point of debate. We see it all the time in the constant whining for "gay" rights and the debate over Card Check and investigations into SEIU. We're only six and one half months away from correcting the drastic mistake of the electorate in November of 2008. Only 6.5 months to hold off this administration from further damaging our nation. And this administration will continue to berate those who see things clearly and speak with logic and common sense. People like Sarah Palin for example who, like Murphy understands all to well, is far more intelligent than the Obamaniacs have the courage to admit.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Born On The Side Of A Hill?

I brought this up once before, either here at Marshall Art's or on someone else's blog. I don't remember which and after several glasses of wine and a fine repast I'm not up for searching it out (not that I'd be up for it in any case). But the topic here is proper attire for church.

Call it a pet peave, but there's just something about jeans and t-shirts that seems something less than reverent in the setting of a Sunday service. The usual defense of this practice is that God loves us just the way we are, or some such nonsense. First of all, I don't believe that for a second. He loves us, that's for sure, but not necessarily the way we are. I mean, what's so good about any one of us that any one of us should take that attitude? Seems kinda prideful to me and that's not a good thing, either.

A variation of that is that as long as we go to church, that's the main thing. I don't buy that either. The Parable of the Wedding Banquet ends with the king in the story throwing out the guy not wearing wedding garments. Now despite the spiritual moral of the story, all the parables of Christ dealt with real world situations and applications. None of the parables involved things that did not also have practical "real world" value. This parable speaks of the man entering the wedding on his own terms which was insulting to the king. Seems to me that it is insulting to wear less than one's best to attend a worship service.

That is, insulting to God. Imagine actually going to a wedding wearing whatever you pulled out of the hamper. Would that not be insulting? Did not the bride and groom (whichever invited you) simply want you to attend? You went, that's the main thing, right? Of course not. Few would dare attend a wedding dressed in everyday clothes (unless one's everyday required a suit). How does anyone figure a jealous God would be cool with that same person then showing up on Sunday like he's off to clean the stables?

The whole thing here, is not really even a matter of what God might think of dressing down for service. My concern is in the thinking of the person that thinks shorts and sandles is appropriate for attending a worship service for the Supreme Being in Who's hands resides that person's eternity. Is He not important enough that looking one's best is worth the trouble? "Ah, it's only God. He loves me no matter what!" We know that God loves each and every one of us. That love, however, isn't a free pass. How much does one really love and revere the Lord if one can't muster up the effort to put on a tie, or, for women, to wear a dress?

There is one person I know who dresses very casually every Sunday. One Sunday was an exception. This person was dressed more formally than usual and my first impression was that something awaits this person after service that the person felt required the better clothes. Sure enough, I heard someone ask this person about the sartorial upgrade and the answer given was as I anticipated. I wanted to ask this person why this event after service was more deserving than service of such fine attire. I wish I had the courage to ask that question. But I didn't. (Such courage if fodder for another article.)

For my own part, I only recently resumed wearing a suit and tie. During my layoff I was unable to maintain my wardrobe as I preferred it to be. The last interview for which I needed a suit was January of '09 and I wasn't happy with the fit. In addition, that was the last shirt that I could button at the neck and it was quite snug. I hoped that the interviewers weren't scrutinizing my clothes too closely. As I moved into the trucking field, suits for interviews were actually discouraged. I was told to dress like a trucker. But I didn't dress like a trucker for church. I wore slacks, dress shoes and the best shirt I had in the closet. And that's the point. For God I wore the best I had.

Now, I've been able to get my suits re-tailored and I have a few shirts that fit, so I'm back to my preferred Sharp Dressed Man status. A more handsome man would be hard to find. (A quick hint to those whiners who think neckties are uncomfortable: buy a shirt that fits. If the shirt fits around the neck, you shouldn't even notice the tie until you look down or in the mirror, at which point you'll say to yourself, "You look marvelous!")

I am not worthy to be in God's presence. I'm not worthy to be in His house. That I am invited does not change that. The only thing that makes me worthy is me and how I relate to my God. There is nothing I can do (beyond accepting Christ) to win His favor, but that doesn't mean I need do nothing. He is deserving of my best and that includes how I dress. I do it to glorify Him. I do it because He's worth it. I do it because I care about how I present myself to Him for worship.

Happy Easter!!!

In a recent long running discussion, the subject of Easter services came up and what is appropriate for teaching during such a service. It was my contention that Easter, being the single most pivotal event in the history of mankind, deserves to have the events of that day, indeed the events of that weekend memorialized every year at this time to the exclusion of all else. Without the Easter weekend event, there is no Christianity. It's that simple. The events of the Crucifixion through the Resurrection are essential events without which we are still bound by the law of Moses (if we gentiles even get to be considered). The whole weekend 2000 or so years ago took place to allow us the means by which we are forgiven and that physical death will not be the end for us. Now that Jesus died and rose we have the ultimate "in" regarding access to Heaven and God's presence.

So what was the services like at my church? That was a question posed to me after I critiqued the services of another. I begin with Thursday, Maundy Thursday and our Tennebrae service. In this service, the pastor begins by welcoming everyone and then speaks a bit about the service and what the point is. We look at this day as the day of the Last Supper and the events that surrounding it, such as Gethsemane, etc. So the choir, of which I am a part singing tenor, begins the Shadows of the Cross contada with a member of the elders doing readings in between hymns. The readings are simply a retelling of the events up to the Resurrection, and throughout, candles specially set up are extinguished as the readings and hymn singing go on. We then partake of communion, followed by another hymn.

Friday and Saturday, my wife and I were in Galena, IL celebrating our 20th anniversary, and she couldn't be happier.

Sunday, today, my wife attended the early service so as to give her time to prepare for the family coming over for Easter dinner and the daughter and I attended service at the usual time. A regulary feature of our Sunday service includes time for joys and concerns, wherein congregants express things in their lives that have brought them joy or given them cause for concern for which we can all pray together as a community or extended family. Both my wife and I each voiced our joy for our anniversary. Isn't that just too sweet? (Say "Awwww!" here.)

As the service progressed, all hymns were Resurrection related as were the readings from Scripture. Then came the sermon. The pastor, Pastor Pete, began to speak about "Dancing With The Stars" for the purpose of bringing up Buzz Aldren, who, I guess, is a contestant. He brought up Buzz because he landed on the moon and supposedly once there, asked Houston for a moment or two wherein he served up the Eucharist to the rest of the crew. I'd never heard that story before and I found it quite cool, but the point of bringing it up was that there were and are some who think the moon landing never happened. They think it was a hoax. Buzz doesn't care what they think because he was there and knows what is or isn't true about it.

Then Pastor Pete spoke of the Holocaust and how there exists those who think that didn't happen, but that there are still Jews alive with tattoos on their forearms who know if it did or didn't. From there, he spoke of the Resurrection and how some believe that never happened and have been such people since the time it did happen. And he spoke about belief in the Resurrection as an essential belief of the Christian faith. He spoke about whether or not there would be a Christian faith had not the Resurrection occurred.

So Pastor Pete spoke about, not flowers and clean water, but the Resurrection. He didn't really get too much into why it is important, but he didn't speak about some nonsense regarding politics in Roman occupied Jerusalem of the first century. No. He spoke about Easter. He spoke about the Resurrection and how it is an essential of our faith. And despite my serious reservations regarding the heretical teachings of the denomination in which my congregation is a part, I am pleased to know that at least in my church, we know what Easter is all about.