If you are new to this blog, Welcome. You may want to start reading the series of articles at the beginning, or pick an article from the Table of Contents.
When we say nothing about the things going on in our country (or even the world) that bother us and grate against our values, we are quietly accepting those things. I know it is difficult to speak out. Protests often seem to do no good. We may be ridiculed, or even shunned, by others as our reward for expressing our beliefs. However, when things go beyond what we can tolerate, we should speak out. In doing so, we may give courage to others who feel the same way. They will find out that they are not alone. I’ll continue this series by discussing a few more of the issues that bother me.
Black Lives Matter First off, black lives should not (and do not, in my opinion) matter any more, nor any less, than anybody else’s life. Yes, this country has had a problem with racial discrimination in the way that some police departments have operated. We should strive to fix that. We should oppose that kind of discrimination wherever we find it. We should not be overreacting to the extent that the police can’t even do their jobs. People of all races should be treated equally under the law. ALL lives Matter!
Lack of respect for the Police. Just about all police officers are in that profession because they want to help people. They are not our enemies. Sure, there are a very few bad ones, but the vast majority are trying to do a good job through their shift, and want to go home to their families at the end of the day. Their job is difficult, at times dangerous, and too often thankless. We need the police to keep order and to protect us from the evil elements of society.
Looting and Vandalism as a Form of Protest. Really? These are acts of out-of-control hooligans. Stealing a flat-screen TV has absolutely nothing to do with making a political point. Breaking shop windows and setting cars on fire is nothing but criminal vandalism. The perpetrators ought to be arrested and prosecuted, no matter what their race or their politics.
Divisive Politics In today’s political environment, it’s very easy to get sucked so far into one side or the other of our national divide that you lose all respect for the other side. I should know. I’m a Conservative, and proud of it! However, we all need to tone down our rhetoric and show a little respect to those who are well-meaning, but hold a different opinion than we do. The two sides have drifted so far apart that we each believe a different set of “truths” and we accuse the other side of lying. This divide is not helped by the fact that there are lies propagated by both sides.
Unfortunately, not all of those in politics are well-meaning. There are too many who knowingly promote lies and distort the truth, in order to advance their agenda. Honest and unbiased journalism seems to be a thing of the past. Polls, survey and research are rigged and faked to support preconceived conclusions. The laws of our country are selectively enforced, or ignored, in favor of the political stance of our leaders. Even science is distorted and misrepresented to promote political ends.
I am trying to avoid my own political opinions and biases in this article. (Perhaps in another post someday, I’ll say what I really feel.) For now, I’ll just say that we, the people, and especially we Christians , need to hold our politicians, and our elected officials, accountable to be honest and to represent the best interests of the people they are supposed to represent. We need to hold our news media accountable to be fair, honest and unbiased. We have a long, long way to go if we are going to restore our politicians and our news media to where they should be. Just because it seems impossible doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make our voices heard.
Now, I come to an item on my list that has rapidly become a taboo subject in recent times – the Redefinition of Marriage. A great many of us Christians spoke out and voted on this one. Let’s face it, we lost, in the referenda, and in the courtrooms of this country. Before this change, two persons of the same sex could make a home together as Civil Partners in Maine, and many other places in the country, and have essentially all of the same rights and protections that a traditional married couple does. However, they felt they needed the named status of “married” and the recognition that goes with it. Now, that they have it, the term means something different than it used to.
Regardless of what our government has done, I believe it is still OK for us to believe that real marriage is the union of one man and one woman. I also believe that a business person who provides some kind of services, and who holds this belief, should not be forced to provide their services for same-sex weddings. If they refuse to bake the cake or take photographs, etc., on the basis of their beliefs, the same-sex couple should merely take their business elsewhere. That should be the end of the problem.
The real haters are those who brand someone a “hater” or a “bigot” simply because they are standing up for their beliefs, based on their religious or community traditions.
Some of my comments in the previous two articles in this series, as well as this one, speak to what I call a General Moral Decay in our country. The popular culture no longer honors morality the way it did years ago. In fact, it often honors immorality. The popular culture is more self-oriented than ever. Christ’s two commandments are neither taught to, nor followed by, a growing percentage of the population. (If you don’t know what the two commandments are, read Matthew 22:36-40. Don’t have a Bible? No problem – just Google it on your computer or smartphone.)
Among our population, there is an alarming number of Amoral People. These folks have no moral values at all. One notorious case is Charles Manson. Another is Dylann Roof, the kid that shot up the church in Charleston, SC, in June of 2015. There are many more that have not received the news media’s attention. I believe that Satan has not only deceived, but has possessed the worst of these.
Another example of Satan’s influence is Terrorism. No legitimate religion would condone nor encourage the kind of random bombings and killings that are now happening around the world. These acts are not simply caused by groups of devout muslims who are trying to avenge their people for wrongs committed by Christians and the Western culture hundreds of years ago. There is something darker going on. I have no doubt that Satan has deceived large numbers of radical muslims, as well as most, if not all, of the “lone wolf” terrorists.
Most people of my generation, who hold beliefs and values similar to mine, have been passive and relatively silent while the world changes around us. We have let the louder voices, even when they are in a numerical minority, carry the day on all too many issues. Our silence has indicated acceptance of what the louder voices have forced upon us.
I would not be surprised if all of these issues and problems are part of what sets up the conditions that will let the End Times prophecies in the Bible come true. More on that next time.