Baking a cake isn’t a sin. If you believe some human behaviors are sinful, demonic or caused by illness then walking away isn’t the answer. As a food vendor you wouldn’t walk away from the hungry. I’m referring to the spate of cases decided recently against Christians arguing they can’t provide services for same-sex unions. The claimants say they can’t in good conscience comply. As a Christian I’m not so sure God would agree. Would you be condemned to the flames of hell for eternity for feeding a party? I don’t think so!
Lest you think this an endorsement of the courts it isn’t. The courts aren’t making decisions based on Judeo-Christian principles. Or at least technically it doesn’t happen. Most western laws bear a direct link to biblical laws. Until the Age of Enlightenment that is, at which time you could really describe it as the Great Schism of the modern world. The American Revolution is a child of that age and celebrates the individual over church and state. Our cultural conflicts today are the results of arguments made 300 to 400 years ago. It’s an unraveling of what was once known as Christendom. The brief history lesson is over. Now let me get to my point.
Our founding fathers did believe in a Creator and He gave you rights and you can refuse to associate with anyone you dislike, disapprove of or find anathema when it comes to your own personal conscience. The refusal of the cake baker isn’t grounded in faith. It’s grounded in the Constitution. Public accommodations laws get this wrong in the rush to enforce politeness. A couple of years ago Rand Paul made this argument and he was excoriated by MSDNC talk show host Chris Matthews. The cafeteria Catholic Matthews wants laws enforcing niceness. He’s also a cafeteria constitutionalist. Paul is simply clarifying the right of association granted by God and not men also allow you to not associate. God as Creator and beyond that the Constitution leaves the choices to you as long as you don’t harm others. Harm being you aren’t maiming, shooting or hanging the person with whom you refuse association. Courts today consider harm to be hurting the feelings of others. Judges are now nothing more than playground monitors and the plaintiff the playground whiner.
I don’t think anyone can argue this was what Madison had in mind. Jesus, yes, but any good liberal will insist we aren’t ruled by the Bible. Or at least until it fits his or her specific need of the moment. The left also argues a business owner must comply with accommodations laws because the government built the roads to the store. The business owner can simply reply he paid for the road. He didn’t pay for a government to trample his conscience and the Constitution protects how he defines his internal moral code. A reporter interviewing Randy Weaver called him a white supremacist. Weaver took offense and explained he saw no man above or beneath him. Instead he defined himself as a “separatist.” Weaver has a right to live alone on a mountaintop.
Where a court may bring pressure on a baker is when it comes to the baker accepting Caesar’s coin. In other words, the baker has a business license, granted by a government. When you enter into a contract with Caesar you’ll find Caesar dictates. You also understand if the baker hangs a shingle and ignores Caesar the emperor’s health department will padlock the door and the Sheriff may haul the baker away. As the baker is compelled to sign the contract as a means of making a living then any sane court with a whit of constitutional sense would err on the side of the baker’s individual conscience. As defined by the business owner! This is why it’s important to elect constitutionalists to courts or to offices charged with appointing justices. The trouble is the free telephone crowd has no ability to understand anything I’ve just said. Government in their minds is the playground monitor, mommy and daddy and Santa Claus all rolled into one. This morning as I was brewing coffee I heard a story on the radio. A judge in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts ruled a pervert can take pictures up a woman’s skirt. The woman in the black robe claims she can’t rule otherwise because the law the photographer is accused of violating isn’t specific. There was a time when a judge understood his or her role was to apply common sense to current community standards. Not anymore because no one any longer has any idea what are community standards. Today it’s whatever direction the wind is blowing. Hold on to your skirt!
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Dave Stevenson is preparing for doomsday. Once an engineer and executive with one of the world’s largest corporations, he talks about energy issues combined with his role with Delaware’s Caesar Rodney Institute. Consider CRI’s work similar to the larger Cato Institute in Washington.
Dave has been a semi-regular guest on my radio program. As the show is on hiatus I can’t bring him back for a very topical conversation about being prepared for disaster. Keep in mind he’s the classic middle-American. And yet he’s preparing for cataclysm. After our show ended last week we had a conversation about the terrorist attack on the California power grid. You’re aware it happened 10 months ago and only recently did the public get notification. Dave explained, after our program, terrorists only need to strike ten key power stations across the country and the United States will be plunged into darkness.
He also tells me there are no spare transformers on shelves. With so little immediate need it doesn’t make economic sense to build spares. Get the picture? Power could be out for months and years. The modern world operates on electricity. Be prepared and have trusted friends, a source of fresh water and a bug-out plan. The unarmed should get acquainted with the armed. Some predict a year without electricity could cut the national population in half. Death, disease and starvation are never far away from the thin veneer of civilization.
From a theological perspective it all makes sense. Suzanne shared with me the following link:
May God bless and keep the light on!
Charlie Bogar owned a shotgun. For all I know he had a closet filled with firearms. It fit his family’s profile. The Bogars were immigrants from Hungary. They settled on a farm in Western New York State. They were very rugged people. Charlie’s nephew, Ron Kratts, was my best friend growing up in small town USA.
When Ron and I were old enough to drink we dropped by a local tavern one night and started sipping beer. We were joined by the Chief of Police. The Chief had grown up as a neighbor of the Bogars. The three of us got to swapping stories about Ron’s uncle. The one at top of memory involves the night Charlie almost blew away some snowmobile drivers. One cold winter a group of sledders had repeatedly trespassed on the Bogar farm. It would disturb the livestock and wake Charlie from bed. Signs didn’t keep them away. They kept coming back night after night until Charlie decided to sacrifice going to bed early. The trespass gang rounded a corner of Charlie’s barn and got quite a fright. He stood there with a shotgun leveled at them. He told them bluntly to get off his property in words that wouldn’t be appropriate for this page.
When he heard the story the Chief of Police roared with laughter.
We lived in a different country just a generation ago. Charlie was experienced with firearms and knew if you picked one up and pointed it at someone you also intended, if necessary, to shoot. Police officers in our rural part of the country would’ve just nodded in the affirmative if the old farmer had ever needed to explain the corpses atop the snowmobiles. “They should’ve known better,” would suffice as a defense and no jury in the hills of Allegany County would ever have convicted a man for defending his livelihood and home from chaff with no respect for neighbors.
Looking ahead 35 years and if Charlie were here today and fired his gun he would be going to prison. TV crews would descend on his small town and ask passersby about Mr. Bogar until someone finally gave the sound bite craved by media; “He mostly kept to himself.” As if dedicating your life to a vocation like farming allows anyone the time to carouse and make merry with neighbors! Charlie would then be paraded past the cameras on his way to arraignment and bubble-headed young reporters would breathlessly tell us there were warning signs ignored.
An old man defends his property and he’s a villain. Young gang-bangers gun down little children in crossfire and they’re victims of an impoverished upbringing.
America’s liberals believe we need to disarm both the former and the latter. They argue criminals won’t get their hands on firearms if we strictly regulate possession and sale. They maintain farmers with intruders can call and let the police settle the dispute. In our younger days we didn’t have much of a police presence. Big police departments are an expensive luxury even today and, yet. They’ve very much grown larger and with no serious uptick in property disputes law enforcement fills its time writing citations to meet quotas.
Today Charlie would look down his road and see the approach of armored vehicles and men in vests and helmets. Never mind many of them would’ve known the man their entire lives. Orders from the top say Charlie is armed and dangerous. Imprisoned Charlie would I surely believe have the respect of the guards. Many of whom I know to be cut from the same cloth. Unfortunately as an older inmate he wouldn’t fare so well with the predators among his new neighbors. His fallow farm would be sold to a developer and the slack in milk production filled by a politically connected corporate farm. A generation later Ron would be the only guy in town remembering his uncle and where once there had been a family farm.
We were a different breed just 35 years ago and yet we were the norm. Like Uncle Charlie we were all survivors. Today we’re all wards-of-the-state. Did you ever believe anyone would long for the Twentieth Century?
I had a sinking and sad feeling Monday morning when I read the story about the snake-handling pastor dying from a rattler bite. I’ve a tremendous admiration for devout people and it breaks my heart when they fall in what seems a senseless display of tempting God. Many of us likely shook our heads and wondered why the man didn’t have more sense. Then I changed my mind while driving home Monday night and while listening of all things to National Public Radio’s Washington affiliate, WAMU. A reporter told me the preacher had been a guest of NPR last fall and explained why he and others in his church still follow a very old and mostly illegal practice. They weren’t tempting God but instead testing a commitment to faith. Then the reporter explained the dead man had survived as many as 8 previous snake bites. Now I was impressed! It radically changed my view as I thought he proved his point and his faith until the 9th time, when apparently it was his time to go to the Lord.
There are a great many practices I consider beyond the pale. Head-hunting comes to mind. Human sacrifice and the torture of animals are all beyond reason. On the other hand I belong to a church where one and one-half billion adherents believe we’re eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Almighty incarnate. When you give it some serious thought the guy handling the snakes doesn’t appear in any way crazy and, yet. In an increasingly faithless culture his death allows for even more scorn of true believers.
Do you read Cal Thomas? I’m a faithful reader of his columns for a quarter century. As a young liberal I would often take a bus to work and read the morning paper to pass the time. The more I read Thomas the less my worldly liberalism appeared to solve the problems of a troubled planet. He helped rekindle what had become a faint internal Christian flame. He wasn’t sorry about being viewed as an anachronism. We shouldn’t have to apologize for believing in something reasonable people have believed for thousands of years. And despite plagues and wars and changing climates the faithful are still here.
A dozen years ago I was assigned a news conference where a woman was announcing her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. Stephanie Aldersley was a Democrat challenging a longtime Republican incumbent named Jim Walsh. The incumbent left an impression on me a decade earlier when I was working at a TV station one Sunday morning and telephoned him for reaction to a story I’d read on the A.P. wire. He explained he was going to church and I suggested we could meet him after the Mass (a priest told me it’s capitalized.) I envisioned the exterior of the church as a good frame for our pictures. Congressman Walsh explained he couldn’t exploit his faith and I ended up meeting him later at his house. I liked him a great deal more after his decision that Sunday.
Aldersley distributed her resume at the news conference. It explained she was a Presbyterian deacon. Carl McCall, a preacher, was running for Governor of New York State and I asked him how his faith informed his political views. He had given a sparkling answer about how it impacted every decision he made in life. Having struck gold with McCall I posed the question with Aldersley. You would’ve thought I hit her with a rock. Stunned she sputtered she wasn’t a religious extremist. This former Democrat voted for Walsh.
My boss chastised me for such questions. He also told me one day he didn’t like his reporters making “political statements.” This happened after I arrived one Wednesday at work with ashes on my forehead. A few months later I left the news business and never had any regrets.
I enjoyed Thomas’ latest column. He spoke with the devout Christian and retiring Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. In the following link she explains the governing class need a Governor:
Bachmann was vilified by America’s mostly leftist media when she was a candidate for President two years ago. She stands a wee bit over 5 feet tall and goes to church every Sunday and somehow the fellow travelers maintain she’s a threat to the Republic. If they believe in God at all it’s a god of convenience and daily invention. Bachmann is a threat because she believes in absolutes while most media, most academia and most in government are proponents of situational ethics.
Today Fox News Radio carried a story about divorce. Some government actuaries claim it benefits the economy. Can any sane human being agree? The children of divorce are greatly troubled and often personally adrift and all previous research shows more susceptible to addictions, bestial behavior and will believe in anything, even a culture of victimhood, entitlement and a cult of personality.
Bachmann and I are both children of divorce. Why don’t we buy the latest fads? T’was faith saved us.
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