Wednesday, January 26, 2011

GA Churches are Still Gun Free

Believe it or not, but a "Gun Advocacy Group" (AKA Some Serious Nut Jobs) challenged the State of GA's ban on firearms in any house of worship. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution the group called GeorgiaCarry, along with (not joking here) a Baptist church and the church's pastor, said the restriction infringed on their free exercise of religion, their ability to conduct worship services, as well as their right to self defense under the 2nd Amendment.

The judge said they were wrong.

Thank God.

Can you imagine being in a church (where emotions are already running on high octane) and people there are 100% certain of God's Will, and they get into a fight over the budget? I've seen fist fights over the Evangelism budget. I've known of churches where the police had to be called to intervene over an argument about Vacation Bible School refreshments. And these people want to have members carrying weapons in the building?

Somehow I don't think the Prince of Peace would be happy with his disciples arming themselves as if they were about to kill someone. The Sword of the Lord doesn't come in a 9mm.

What was that Jesus told Peter about putting away the sword? And what was that verse about seeking peace and beating swords in plowshares? Hmmm.

Here is the link to the legal ramblings of

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

About Those Ten Commandment Displays ...

The Religious Right is a reminder as to why we have the 1st Amendment --- people can't resist forcing their religious interpretations onto others if others won't willingly acquiesce.

Example of the Day - The School Board in Giles County VA

For the last 10 years, a copy of the Ten Commandments has been displayed beside a copy of the US Constitution in the district's five schools. These were no small displays, either. These were 4 foot tall monsters. Huge. Impressive. Dominating. Forceful. These carried a message with size alone..

In December 2010, there was a complaint by the Freedom from Religion Foundation along with an opinion by the school board's attorney that the display were unConstitutional. Duh. Really. Double Duh. So the Ten Commandments were replaced with the Declaration of Independence.

The AP reports that eight parents and pastors, supported by a fighting-mad mob of Christian soldiers, marched on the January 2011 meeting and insisted the schools had a moral obligation to reinforce God's teachings. 

The next day, the Ten Commandment displays were back in the schools.

Now let's see ... how about if we change the story a bit ... after removing the Half Moon and Crescent, along with many verses of the Koran that teaches Allah should be praised in all the student's lives, eight parents and Imams, supported by a fighting-mad mob of Islamic soldiers, marched on the January 2011 meeting and insisted the schools had a moral obligation to reinforce Allah's teachings. 

What, pray tell, is the difference? Hint: None. If we don't insist the government show no favoritism to our own faith, we lose the moral right to speak out against another faith that gets the government's Most Favored Status.

Doesn't anyone actually read the Constitution any more or believe that the Golden Rule is more than something we talk about on Sunday mornings between 11AM and noon? 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hawaii Realizes They are about Governing and not Prayer

Hawaii Senate ends daily chamber prayers

I am always leery of politicians anyway, but when politicians start talking about matters of faith, I start sweating. It is never good when politicians start playing on people's emotions. The end result is manipulation of the faithful and an endangerment to the liberties of all.

Hawaii has done something that has totally amazed me - the right thing.

In the summer of 2010, a citizen of Hawaii complained about the legislature there opening its sessions with overt prayer, prayers that often directly mentioned Jesus.

Now understand that I am all for prayer. I pray. I like people to pray. I think God likes prayer. But when politicians want to make prayer into a political football, someone needs to throw the Challenge Flag.

One citizen complained. Thank God for that one citizen. No, that is not a play on words because somehow I don't think God is too happy with his Faithful and his Name being used as a means to garner votes for Corruptible Caesar.

So this one, lone, brave citizen complained to the only group with the intestinal fortitude to take on such a challenge: the ACLU. With the gauntlet being cast, the ACLU wrote a letter to Hawaii's state senate about the political prayer play. That's when Hawaii's attorney general agreed with the ACLU and I'm sure all hell is going to break loose in the other 49 states when they learn that one state is actually following the Constitution and keep the separation of church and state.

Of course the Alliance Defense Fund wants to argue that since the Hawaii Senate has always prayed, they should keep doing it. Yes. By all means let's keep doing what we've always done and just ignore the Constitution.

I don't know who that one person in Hawaii is, but she deserves a pat on the back. Thank you. Thank you for speaking up and making sure that even my faith is not given preferential treatment. If government can acknowledge my faith today, it can give that same nod to another religion tomorrow. We elect our leaders to govern the secular, not act as agents of God. We elect politicians, not pastors. We expect them to govern all people, not marginalize minority faiths.

Again,  thank you, whomever you are.

And to the other 49 states, you need to listen up.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Political Civility in a Climate of Anger

I heard when I was a kid that people never really grow up but for the most part they learn how to act in public. The more I see of politics, the less I believe that.

Actually, I'm pretty disgusted at the current political climate. Yes, I know the elections of the 18th and 19th century made our politics look like a spirited game of Candy Land, but we are more civilized now - or should be.

The rhetoric and vitriol hurled at political opponents is beyond poor taste; far past disagreement; well nigh dangerous.

One only has to look at the senseless shooting of Congresswoman Giffords. The lady was a Democrat in a largely Republican district. She was the "target" of the Tea Party's aim for defeat (she was also literally "targeted" by Sarah Palin's crosshair map). The worst part is that Gifford even warned of such irresponsible words and her office was attacked before.

I don't think anyone will lay the blame on Sarah Palin or anyone on the right for this senseless act of an unstable person. Cause, no. Didn't help, absolutely. In fact, I have not read anyone saying Sarah is the cause, though I'm sure someone out there has already said it, for political purposes, of course. However, I've seen much defensiveness by those on the Right trying to circle the wagons and deflect any criticism for Palin's actions (or anyone else on the Right for similar stuff).

It does no one any good to compare a rifle scope targeting districts and "reload" as a mantra, to that of a long bow target. Come on. The comparison is not even in the same ballpark. Get real.

To be fair, the Left has to stop it's rhetoric that does the same thing, has the same effect, and will eventually see the criticism turned to them. Let's not be hypocritical.

It's a problem when the political rhetoric applies imagry that is dangerous. After all, it doesn't take much to put a Crazy over the edge.

So the politicians say things to stir the emotionals of their base in order to garner support. Mike Castle (R-DE) in an exit interview said:  "We'll have our leadership stand up and they'll tell you how important it is to beat the hell out of the other side, to make them look bad," he said. "They are preaching adversity; they're preaching a pure ideology, if you will. For those of us in the middle, that becomes very difficult."

As Chet Edwards (D-TX) said in the same exit interview: "What I see in the press is a tendency of FOX News and MSNBC, or cable shows on television, and radio talk shows to want the outrageous to speak."

The media then takes that and, in order to get more money from advertisers by increasing their ratings, exploits it. People hear that imagery. It affects them. They begin to think, talk, eat, sleep and live that rhetoric that was intentionally put out there by the politician to get that emotional response, and by the media to get those ratings. The electorate - all in a frenzy - means more votes to the political party. And it means more money to the media as the people clamor for more because it is what they want to hear

We are in a time when rhetoric is no longer civil.

And it is dangerous.

It is time our politicians and the media took responsibility for their part in this climate of anger. Fear mongering that marginalizes the "other side" may be good politics, but it can be the very word that pushes the next person over the edge.

Then I think about the result of this sort of post - on a blog that really has nothing to do with influencing anyone. However, I've already seen the Need for Civility used as a baseball bat to club the other side, the political enemy. 

Even when talking about being civil, the politicians can't; the media plays it up; and the cycle starts all over again.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Civil War and Baptists

Bruce Gourley has published a new site with more information than imaginable dealing with Baptists and the Civil War. This is a must bookmark for any historian or researcher.

Or if you just have a few minutes to browse and learn a few tidbits, this is the site.

Also, his dissertation is due to be published Spring 2011 by Mercer Univerisity Press, entitled, Diverging Loyalties: Baptists in Middle Georgia During the American Civil War. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Manhattan Mosque

Park51 is the name of the mosque project being built near ground zero. Naturally it has garnered much opposition. Just do a Google search for Ground Zero Mosque and you'll see the vast number of anti-mosque news pieces and blog entries.

Of course, the argument is that the Muslims are proclaiming their victory by building a worship center at the site of their accomplishment (never mind there was a mosque there prior to 9/11 and it was destroyed in the attack).

I had this thought yesterday: For those who oppose a religious group re-opening their community center, do you also oppose Christian organizations opening churches in Iraq or Afghanistan? 

Let's be consistent. If we don't want the Muslims to build a community center at the site of their supposed "victory," why do we support building churches in those two nations we invaded and conquered?

Treat others the way you want to be treated. Somehow, I think Jesus' words shouldn't just apply to Sunday morning.