Friday, November 27, 2020

Exactly What Isn't Working in Mitigating Covid-19?

Good health involves eating right, exercising, and avoiding addictive behaviors. Though individual good health betters society in general, the government cannot mandate citizens to follow good health rules.  Ask New York. Six years ago, New York politicians attempted to ban Big Gulp soda drinks "for the good of the people," but they found their laws were struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. People in New York still drink Big Gulp soda drinks.

Good hygiene is similar to good health. Wash your hands, isolate from other people when sick " (e.g. 'dis-ease' means 'not at ease'), practice good hygiene, and trust God.  Those are the rules. The government mandating laws to force people into good hygiene is unconstitutional, just like the government mandating laws to force people into good health.

Some vocal administrators and doctors in Enid's medical establishment (not all), as well as some Garfield County public health department leaders, have convinced Enid's mayor and city council leaders to place a "mask mandate" (law) on the agenda for Enid's City Council meeting this Tuesday night, December 1, 2020, the third time some have attempted to pass a mask mandate in Enid. The first two attempts failed. Medical personnel should not be allowed to run the city government. 

A well-run city must think of private businesses, personal freedoms, and a host of other practical considerations that keep a city running smoothly. 

For example, Enid is hosting Enid Lights Up the Plains tonight, November 27, 2020, with an estimated 10,000 people coming downtown. The mayor and city council are all for the event, sponsored by Mainstreet Enid and the city of Enid. The editorial in today's city newspaper encouraged people to wear a mask and to socially distance. This is the same paper that has been pushing for a mask mandate for months. I'm all for attempting to persuade people to wear masks for their good health.  Some people are absolutely convinced wearing a mask is not good for their health.  They should be free to make an individual hygiene choice like they are free to make an individual health choice (e.g., drinking a Big Gulp soda). Unenforceable and unconstitutional municipal laws do much damage to the citizenry. The civic government should encourage and persuade citizens to practice good hygiene, never mandate it.

If it seems ironic that Enid city officials (the mayor and city council) will allow 10,000 people downtown three days before considering for the third time a mask mandate, it is. There are other considerations for city officials, as there should be. Tonight,  restaurants will be full, tax revenues will be collected, and the people of Enid will enjoy a Christmas celebration three days before the city council considers mandating masks. If persuading people to wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash one's hands is good enough for Enid Lights Up the Plains, then it should be good enough for the remainder of the year.

A leading Garfield Public Health official advocating city officials to force wearing masks by legal mandate is personally practicing persuasion at the businesses she and her husband own, not mandates. If persuasion is good enough for a private business owner who happens to be Enid's leading public health official, then it ought to be good enough for the entire city. 

But those who are vocally advocating laws mandating masks and cynical toward those who choose not to force others into personal hygiene practices, usually take the approach of a well-intentioned but logically absurd letter-to-the-editor in today's Enid paper.
"It has become obvious by the ever-increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Enid and Garfield County that a voluntary mask recommendation is not working. To our mayor and city council: Please fulfill your duties to protect the citizens of Enid and vote for a mandate now."
The government can't be in the business of forcing people not to drink Big Gulps and to wear masks. It's unconstitutional. Persuade the people on the merits. Trust the people with the measures. 

Cities and states with the strictest lock-down laws and mask mandates in place since the spring are seeing their Covid-19 cases increase as well. Michigan, a state with stringent laws mandating personal hygiene, sees a rate case increase 30 times higher than Oklahoma, which has no state mask mandate.

If it is said, "But our hospitals are full." Yes, they are. It's a tough time right now for hospitals, and it's going to get tougher. The cities with mask mandates and lockdowns have full hospitals too. How do you think people in nursing homes get Covid-19? How do you think people who check into hospitals without Covid-19 get Covid-19 while in the hospital?  You can't stop its spread. Attempting to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 is a great idea. Mitigating it isn't as simple as you'd like to make it. Locking down cities and encroaching on citizens does more harm than good. If we are rightly concerned for hospitals at this time, set some revenue aside for nurses who are overworked and pay them public health bonuses, continue to persuade citizens to practice good hygiene, and tell the truth that hundreds of thousands of people are going to get sick, but 99.6 percent will recover after being knocked for a loop physically. And consider giving some good, cheap drugs to treat Covid-19 instead of banning them, hoping for a vaccine. Masks are not a magic potion creating more hospital space. 

Finally, some say, "But if you refuse to mandate masks, you'll kill people! How heartless! How tragic! More people are going to die because you don't force everyone to wear a mask."

Those statements are not even close to the truth.

The prestigious Johns Hopkins Medical Center recently released a study that showed some startling facts (read it for yourself). Listen to the leading conclusion of these scientists, epidemiologists, and public health experts, a conclusion based upon their exhaustive research: 
"These data analyses suggest that in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, Covid-19 has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States."

Before you state categorically, "more people will die without a mask mandate," you better do your research.  

Enid, Oklahoma, is an exceptional place to live. I want to encourage people to practice good health and good hygiene. But I want our government to never allow public health officials, hospitalists, or others in the medical profession to make decisions for private businesses, public corporations, non-profits,  and individual citizens. 

There's a great deal at stake next Tuesday night, and the people of Enid, Oklahoma, will take seriously the hypocrisy of city leaders and public health officials, the unconstitutional attempt to mandate individual hygiene, and the often-stated "trust the medical experts" mantra when even the medical experts don't agree among themselves. Persuade the people and trust the people. Or else be recalled by the people. 

If you allow an unconstitutional mandate for a mask, the government will pass an unconstitutional law mandating a vaccine. 

If you allow an unconstitutional mandate for a vaccine, the government will then pass an unconstitutional law forbidding travel without a vaccine.

If you allow an unconstitutional law forbidding travel, then the government will pass a law tracking citizens for "the good of public health."

If you allow an unconstitutional law tracking U.S. citizens, then you are no longer free.

It all begins next Tuesday night. 

Let your city leaders know you wish them to persuade you and trust you, not mandate you and control you.

For the good of Enid, America. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Growing Hostility Toward Christianity in the USA: Tell Your Kids of Thanksgiving Before It's Too Late

Archbishop Bashar Warda, a Chaldean Catholic bishop living in Erbil, Iraq, delivered a chilling message this week to the fifth annual New York-based conference on international religious liberty sponsored by the Anglosphere Society.

Bishop Warda's warning came in his talk entitled Act in Time: Protecting Imperiled Christians in Ancient and Other Lands. He told the assembly of his fear as he watches the growing hostility toward the Christian religion - in the United States. Here is a man living in an area squeezed by radical Muslims and his greatest fear is for the people of the United States.

It's time for us to do something about the persecution of Christianity in our own country before it's too late.  

Let's start with the United States holiday called Thanksgiving.

400 years ago, in September 1620, the Pilgrims came to America. Next year (2021) will be the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving Day celebration in America.

The Pilgrims were Christian people. After purchasing land from the Native Americans and building friendships with them, the Pilgrims welcomed their new friends to a banquet in November 1621 where they gave thanks to Jesus Christ for His provision and protection. 

The Pilgrims undoubtedly prayed at the 1621 harvest feast, now called the First Thanksgiving. However, their Thanksgiving prayers were spontaneous and the exact words were not recorded. A typical prayer might be:
"O Lord our God and heavenly Father, which of Thy unspeakable mercy towards us, hast provided meate and drinke for the nourishment of our weake bodies. Grant us peace to use them reverently, as from Thy hands, with thankful hearts: let Thy blessing rest upon these Thy good creatures, to our comfort and sustentation: and grant we humbly beseech Thee, good Lord, that as we doe hunger and thirst for this food of our bodies, so our soules may earnestly long after the food of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.
During the Revolutionary War, in tribute to those first Pilgrims, Samuel Adams and the Continental Congress voted into law the following one-sentence, 360-word Thanksgiving proclamation, expressing the sentiments of an entire nation:
“Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received…together with penitent confession of their sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor; and their humble and earnest supplications that it may please God through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance…it is therefore recommended…to set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feeling of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor…acknowledging with gratitude their obligations to Him for benefits received….To prosper the means of religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth ‘in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost’.”
The Continental Congress law passed the above mandate exactly 183 years after the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving Day. Our Founding Fathers officially recognized the day by proclamation of the Constitutional government. 

Thanksgiving Day became a national November holiday during the height of the Civil War in the year 1863. President Abraham Lincoln asked in November 1863 that Americans pray to God and request Him to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” President Lincoln signed a bill proclaiming Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday to be celebrated the last Thursday of November.

Americans have celebrated this special Christian holiday in November ever since, except for a brief two-year interlude when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving  Day up a week in 1939 in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. There's always trouble in a culture when a desire for money supersedes moral principles. Americans derided Roosevelt for moving America's sacred holiday by calling it Franksgiving, so in 1941 President Roosevelt reluctantly signed a bill making permanent the Thanksgiving Day holiday the fourth Thursday in November.

Now there are members of the United States Congress, including Minnesota's Muslim US Representative Ilhan Omar and New York's Marxist US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who wish to do away with Thanksgiving and punish anyone who dares to honor the Judeo-Christian heritage of America. 

These people are not American patriots, and they wish to destroy our country by canceling culture. lhan Omar, a devout Muslim, recently mocked  Arkansas U.S. Senator Tom Cotton. Senator Cotton gave an incredible speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, paying respect and honor to the 400th Anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in America and to America's Thanksgiving Holiday, and to the Christian faith. 

Muslim Representative Ilhan Omar went public in her criticism of Senator Cotton's moving tribute to Christianity's roots in America by tweeting this:

The persecution of Christianity is coming from positions of power in government. It's time citizens of the United States intervene before it is too late. 

I will be doing my part throughout the next year to cause Americans to realize that American exceptionalism is due to the Judeo-Christian heritage that some wish to erase.

We do not want to be the generation that American history books later record as the generation that lost the Republic to socialism, marxism, and humanism because we refused to heed Bishop Warda's warning of protecting the Christian faith from those who seek to destroy it. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Facts Have No Feelings and Government Isn't God

The survival rate of Covid-19 is extraordinarily high. The Center for Disease Control states that if you are 70 years of age or younger, your chance of surviving after contracting Covid-19 is over 99%. If you are over 70 years of age, your chance of survival after contracting Covid-19 is over 95%. 

Those are some high rates of survival. 

Compare Covid-19 to the survival rates of various kinds of cancer

The cancers with the lowest survival estimates are mesothelioma (6.5%), pancreatic cancer (7.3%), and brain cancer (12.2%). The highest survival estimates can be seen in patients with testicular cancer (95.3%), melanoma of skin (91.3%), and thyroid cancer (87.4%). 

Let's talk about the percentage growth of deaths annually in the United States. It certainly feels as if many more people have died in the United States during 2020, especially if you listen to the evening news. However, the annual death rate in terms of percentage growth is actually less in 2020 than in the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The death rate has the same percentage growth in 2020 as in the year 2019, and only the year in the past eight years that has a lower death rate percentage increase than the year 2020 is the year 2013. 

I recently wrote about what a local funeral homeowner told me about Covid-19 deaths during the year 2020. He said: 
"We've set an all-time record in 2020 for the number of people who have died from alcohol poisoning or from damage to the liver by alcohol. Those deaths number as many as Covid-19 in 2020."

Garfield County and Enid, Oklahoma (where I live) have taken one of the least oppressive approaches to confront the Covid-19 virus in the United States. If alcohol-related deaths have set a record in our county, imagine what it must be like in other counties and states where schools are closed, businesses are shuttered, and families have lost one or both income streams. 

Michigan, which has had some of the most severe lockdown requirements in the nation, mandating masks since last spring, had the highest number of cases reported this past Thursday, 30 TIMES higher than Oklahoma which has no state-wide mandate for masks

But some cities and counties in Oklahoma do have mask mandates. Let's examine them and compare them to Enid, Oklahoma.

The Enid city council voted down mask mandates twice during the summer of 2020.  However, on July 8, Norman, Oklahoma, kicked off a series of cities in Oklahoma that imposed mask mandates. Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Altus, Anadarko, and Lawton quickly followed Norman in implementing mask mandates. Now let's look at how those cities and counties are doing compared to Enid, Oklahoma, and Garfield County. (Source: November 19, 2020, Oklahoma State Health Department Color Coded Map - see comparisons below the map)

Enid and Garfield County have 72.5 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people. The cities and (counties) that have had mask mandates since July 2020 have the following rates per 100,000.

Lawton (Comanche County) - 77.00 cases per 100,000 (higher than Enid and Garfield County).
Anadarko (Caddo County) - 95.4 cases per 100,000 (much higher than Enid and Garfield County).
Oklahoma City (Oklahoma County) - 73.1 cases per 100,000 (higher than Enid and Garfield County).
Altus (Jackson County) - 134.5 cases per 100,000 (nearly 100% higher than Garfield County).
Stillwater (Payne County) - 66.0 cases per 100,000 (nearly the same as Garfield County).
Norman (Cleveland County) - 53.00 cases per 100,000 (still in the orange classification of cases).
Tulsa (Tulsa County) - 60.5 cases per 100,000 (a significantly higher number due to Tulsa's population).

The bottom line is that Enid, Oklahoma, and Garfield County are doing either comparable or BETTER than counties with mask mandates in place. Yes, cases are increases, but...

Covid-19 is spreading everywhere! There is no disputing that fact. What Oklahomans need to realize is that Covid-19 spreads equally in cities and counties that have mask mandates compared to those that don't. The statistics prove it. 

Let's look at the spike of Covid-19 cases throughout the entire nation. It will show that the "flare-ups" and "spike" in cases of Covid-19 increases do not differentiate mask-mandate and government lockdown states (like California, New York, and Michigan) compared to those states that are less oppressive and do not mandate masks or lockdowns (like Oklahoma). The source of the following information is John Hopkins University. Following the "squiggly black line" as it SPIKES - in every single state, regardless of lockdowns or mask mandates. Covid spreads uniformly across the states regardless of mandates.


But what about hospitals and hospital capacities?

Yes, hospitals are full and will continue to be full. We are in a pandemic. People are going to get sick. Some are going to die. Pray for our hospital personnel. Pray for administrators of Nursing Homes. They are on the front lines. They are worn out and tired. 

But they would be that way regardless of mandates, lockdowns, and government control. Pandemics have occurred throughout human history. We are in the middle of one.

"So what's your point, Pastor Wade?"

A recent editorial in our local paper asked the question:

"If Christ walked into a packed sanctuary on Sunday morning, with nary a mask to be seen, in the middle of a deadly pandemic — what would Christ have to say to that pastor? What would Christ have to say about the Church’s silence — or worse, its complicity — in the face of a government that allows so many to needlessly die?"

 Here's what I (Wade Burleson) believe Christ would say to me:

  • Keep on pointing people to Me, the Author of life, and the One who holds "the keys of life and death."
  • Keep on encouraging people to get on with their lives and to break free from the bondage of fearing death.  
  • Keep on reminding people that I, the LORD, will sometimes use a pandemic to humble proud nations.
  • Keep on speaking the truth that to know Me makes the "day of death better than the day of birth" (Ecclesiastes 7:1)
  • Keep on delivering food to the sick, housing the homeless, providing refuge for the abused, and doing your part to be a good neighbor, but do nothing to enable people to trust in themselves or in government more than they do me. 
  • Keep on making worship of Me central to life. 
  • Keep on loving Me and what I say more than you love the praise of man.

Keep on.

Enid, Oklahoma, is a great place to live. Our tax revenue is up compared to other cities. We have new businesses opening. Our Mayor and City Council have given the freedom to individuals to make personal choices about their health and the prevention of disease that they deem best.

Enid's a great place to live during a pandemic because of our old-fashioned values of faith in God, respect for human life, love for individual liberty, and the freedom to pursue the course of living that we believe best leads to our happiness.

Let's keep it that way. Practice personal hygiene. Get some exercise. Always have respect for another person's personal space. Wear a mask if you desire. Stay home if you are sick or susceptible to disease.

But trust the people around you to make the best choices for their health, and most of all, trust God for the ultimate care of your soul, body, and business.

We'll get through this together without government mandates.

Persuade people of what you believe to be true. Respect those who disagree. But if you give in to government mandates on masks, you'll soon be asked to give in to government mandates in vaccinations. And once you give in to government mandates on vaccinations, you'll have to give in to government mandates for health verification via electronic control of driver's licenses and passports ("Do you have your vaccination?).

As President Ronald Reagan once said, "In this present crisis, the government is not the solution to our problem, for government IS the problem. It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so.”

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Scientific Red Badge of Courage Is to Resist Mask Conformity and Respect Individual Liberty

I lost a friend to death last night. He died with Covid-19.

He'd been careful. His health had been compromised by cancer. He wore a mask, he washed his hands, he kept his social distance. Yet he caught Covid-19. My friend died while on a vent fighting the disease. 

I have two close family members who have been very sick with Covid-19, two people for whom I care a great deal. I check on them almost every day because they are more vulnerable to this disease than most. 

I've had Covid-19. My wife has had Covid-19. A couple of my kids have had Covid-19. I most likely know more people who have died from Covid-19 than you. I officiate funerals. I visit the sick and the vulnerable. 

I do not dispute that Covid-19 is more contagious and spreads easier than the flu. If I go into a hospital or nursing home to see people who are sick or vulnerable, I will always wear a mask, without fail, out of respect for that establishment's policies. 

But I do not wear a mask any other time or in any other place for scientific reasons.

If I go into a store to purchase items and discover that the store mandates a mask, I will respectfully and quietly leave. If I choose to eat in a restaurant that mandates a mask as I walk to the table, I will politely turn around and walk out. Politeness, courtesy, friendliness, and respect is never an option for me. It's part of my Christian character.

But I refuse to submit to any mask mandate because I agree with the science and the randomized scientific studies that say mask mandates are ineffective. Even if the majority of Americans disagree with me, I will follow my rational, logical, and scientific conclusions that lead me to oppose mask mandates. In America, we cherish and thrive on individual liberty and resist the tyranny of the majority.

But forget liberty for a moment and focus with me on the science

The Annals of Internal Medicine published this week the only Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Mandate to Other Public +Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2. 

Read it for yourself. This scientific study, the only randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of mask mandates in the world, concluded:
(A) recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, incident SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with no mask recommendation.

I believe this scientific study. I don't demand that you agree with it, nor do I disrespect you for disagreeing with it. 

I'm just politely informing you that I can think, act, and choose for myself. 

When I am forced to believe in something that I don't believe in, or when I am mandated to do something I don't think I ought to do, or when I am compelled by force to act in a manner that violates my conscience, then I am living in Nineteen Eighty-Four and not 2020. 

I visited with a young lady this morning over the phone who told me she did not think highly of me or the church where I serve because I do not demand or force people to wear masks when they come to worship services and I have publicly said I never will. She told me "I'm hesitant to tell you this and so I'm asking for grace from you, but I don't like you being vocal about your belief that mask mandates are not effective." 

I was extremely polite, thanked the woman for her courage to speak her convictions to me, and then showed her as much grace as God has shown me. I explained that I am convinced by the science that mask mandates are not effective, irrespective of anyone's emotions. Facts have no feelings for me. People will get Covid-19, even those who wear masks all the time, because the disease spreads so easily, even through the eyes. 

However, I respect other people so much that if they reach a different conclusion than I on the science of mask mandates, I will never reach out and force them to remove their mask. 

And if they wish to keep their distance from me, I will never forcibly violate their boundaries and embrace them.

More importantly, if they own or operate a restaurant or business where they demand behavioral conformity from me on their beliefs, I will respect them so much that I will politely and graciously leave without spending any money or I will put a mask on and shop! 

Freedom. Respect. Love. That's how I roll.

Earlier this fall, two leading scientists behind the Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Mandate to Other Public +Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 were asked by a reporter why the results of this unique and significant study were taking so long to be published. The statistical analysis of the effectiveness of mask mandates had been completed by the summer of 2020. Dr. Christian Torp-Pedersen confirmed what his fellow scientist told the reporter:
"The results will be published as soon as a journal is brave enough."
It takes courage to believe in science that says something different than what the majority believe. But I will follow the science, and if the science ever convinces me differently, I will change my behavior voluntarily. 

It seems to me mask mandates are about social conformity more than scientific clarity. 

So I will put a mask on my face when convinced by scientific reasons, not your emotional discomfort, for it is my face and not yours. If you tell me that I'm putting your life in danger, I will politely tell you that I don't agree with the science behind your statement and bow out of our conversation, with the utmost respect.

Respectful persuasion and voluntary behavior is the American way. That's the definition of liberty. Social conformity via big brother tyranny is the essence of socialism, an "ism" I want no part of in my life. 

I close with something a good friend of mine told me this past Sunday. He owns a funeral home. I inquired about Covid-19 deaths in our county. "Are you overwhelmed?" I asked. 

He told me that his funeral home was busy but then he gave me this startling fact:
"We've set an all-time record in 2020 for the number of people who have died from alcohol poisoning or from damage to the liver by alcohol. Those deaths number as many as Covid-19 in 2020."

I would encourage everyone to enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends. Take your precautions. Wear a mask if you feel led by science to do so. Wash your hands. Isolate yourself if sick.

My heart goes out to all those sick with Covid-19, including my family members. 

But don't confuse a pandemic with panic, don't cease living because of your fear of dying, and most of all, display some courage in the face of those who demand conformity. 

"Who Am I To Judge?" Must Be Fully Answered Before We Prevent Horrible Abuses In This World

 A man raped four women in a prison for women, all because people refused to make a judgment about this man's claim that he was a woman. 

Last fall, another so-called transgendered man, obviously male to anyone who sees him, was allowed to enter the women's sleeping section of a homeless shelter. He later bragged about sexually violating multiple women over several nights at the shelter. These horrible abuses occurred because the shelter directors refused to judge the man's claims that he was a woman

Last week, the Roman Catholic Church defrocked and excommunicated a Catholic priest named Theodore McCarrick. Mr. McCarrick was an openly gay priest of whom the Pope France once said, "Who am I to judge?" in defense of McCarrick's position  of service as Bishop of Washington, an appointment that violated historic Roman Catholic practice and doctrine. Sadly, had the Pope made a judgment about Theodore McCarrick's sexual proclivities, hundreds of little boys would have not been abused during his tenure. 

Yesterday, Dr. Al Mohler, wrote a brilliant piece entitled An Insidious Threat to Religious Institutions of Higher Learning: The Human Rights Campaign Gives Its List of Demands for a Biden Administration. The Biden administration has avowed to promote LGBQT rights, and Dr. Mohler writes:
There is now an open demand for the Biden administration to deny accreditation, or at least to facilitate the denial of accreditation, to Christian institutions, Christian colleges and universities, but also beyond Christian, other religious institutions and schools to deny accreditation if those schools do not meet the non-discrimination demands of the LGBTQ community. 

That means any Christian university making moral judgments that lesbianism, homosexuality, bi-sexuality, transgenderism, or queerness are transgressions against God will lose its accreditation if the LGBTQ community gets its way in a Biden administration. Dr. Mohler calls this "the greatest threat against religious liberty in the history of America."

Think with me for a moment. 

Those who wish to censor a person for making a moral judgment about someone else is actually making a moral judgment about the person they wish to censor?

Do you see the irony?

I believe people should be free to make a moral judgments about me. They should be free to say I'm prejudiced, or that I'm homophobic, or that I'm a religious nut. That's their right, and I will fight for their freedom to make that judgment.

Just don't tell Christians to be quiet or attempt to forbid us by law from making moral judgments about others. The prophets of ancient Israel were stoned for the words they spoke because the people didn't wish to hear them. I will keep speaking about America's sins against God, even while the stones are being thrown. You may hate and despise what you hear. You may not like that I believe God gives to each of us a moral code, a code written in our hearts and expressed in His Word,  and that those apart from Christ will one day answer to God for the lack of obedience to His moral law.  But I will fight for the freedom of your expression, the freedom of practicing your non-religion, the freedom of your speech, and for your freedom to disagree.

That said, any demand you make of me or other Christians through the "Don't you dare judge!" movement represents the real danger we face in America.  It is the freedom and ability to make moral judgments and to direct proper behavior that makes this country such a great place to live.  

"Who am I to judge?"

I'll tell you. 

I'm a person created in the image of God and I've been called to maintain an awareness that my Creator requires me to make moral judgments every day. If we don't involve ourselves in making moral judgments, we turn this world over to human abuses.

Everyone makes judgments. Everyone judges. Everyone.

The proper question is, "What's the standard?"

At least in America, it's the Judeo-Christian standard of morality, and the people better rise up and resist the tyranny of conformity demanded by the immoral and the godless.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Lift Your Eyes to the LORD from Where Your Help Comes and Don't Trust in Politics or the President

I believe in American exceptionalism. I believe in it because American immigrants tell me it is real. People from all over the world will do everything in their power to come to America. 

Our nation represents liberty in a world of tyranny, the bright light of free capitalism among governments sustained by forced collectivism, and the ability for every individual - no matter his background - to make dreams a reality.

Yes, I believe in the American dream. America is the land of opportunity. Our nation shines for freedom in a world built on bondage. I am proud of American history and will always participate in America's political processes.

But my trust is in the LORD. 

I have been shocked at the number of my politically conservative Christian friends who are beyond distraught over a potential change coming in the White House. It's almost as shocking as my liberal political Christian friends during the past four years ending long-lasting Christian friendships because they didn't affirm the sitting President or wish to associate with those who did.

If our trust is in President Donald Trump or in President Joe Biden to the neglect of trust in the LORD, then it could be that the LORD Himself is destroying American exceptionalism. 

What do I mean? 

I mean that the LORD may make your American supermarkets be empty one day, no longer having aisles stocked with 17 different varieties of cheeses, but having government cheese delivered to your porch. I mean that you may wake up one day and all your savings accounts are digitally empty because the government has collected them in order to re-issue another form of currency. I mean that you may find your hospital unable to care for sick people because there are not enough doctors and nurses to care for the sick. I mean that the United States' economy may be in such a Great Depression during the 2020s that the 1930s Great Depression looks like an economic boom. I mean that you may lose your house, your cars, your job, your security.

For people who don't read their Bible, it may come as a shock that the LORD is the One who brings down nations that are filled with people who trust in themselves or their governments and not in Him.

Nations rise and fall, but the Kingdom of the LORD reigns forever

Read Psalm 118.

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in humans.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes (e.g. politics).

14 The Lord is my strength and my song.
He has become my salvation.

17 I will not die but live, 
 and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

has become the cornerstone (of my life);

26 Blessed is he trusts in the name of the LORD.

Do yourself a favor. Participate in American politics, but don't trust in American politics. 

"Lift your eyes to the hills from where your help comes; your help comes from the LORD." (Psalm 121:1-2)

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Source of Social Decay Is Personal Preferences (No Morals) Becoming Cultural Customs (Mores)

The word "moral" and the word "mores" both come from the same Latin root word "mos"

The Latin word mos means "the behavior, principles, or character expressed by a person."

Morals are the principles of an individual person that either restrict or permit certain behaviors. 

A man or woman without morals (principles) will do as he or she prefers or pleases.

When a group of individuals in specific societies lack morals, then the cultural mores will reflect the individual preferences of people. The English word mores means "the customs, characteristics, or essential conduct of a community." The phrase "social norms" would be a synonym for mores.

American culture has changed its "social norms" during the past 40 years.

Prior to 1980, homosexual or lesbian sexual activity was outlawed by almost every state in the union. As recently as 1986, the United States Supreme Court upheld state sodomy laws. In Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), the United States Supreme Court ruled that Georgia's law against sodomy, even if the sexual act of sodomy occurred in the privacy of one's home, was a just moral code for American society. 

Michael Hardwick, the young man caught in the act of sodomy by the Georgia police officer, asserted to the Court that a law must have a rational basis for its existence and that there is none for the Georgia statute against sodomy except for "the public’s view that homosexuality is immoral and unacceptable." He asked that the court give him "Due Process" and protect him from the sodomy law that has no rational basis.

The Supreme Court disagreed with Michael Hardwick. In their 1986 ruling, the Supreme Court stated “The law…is constantly based on notions of morality, and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidated under the Due Process Clause, the courts will be very busy indeed."

The Supreme Court basically told Michael Hardwick that the law he violated by performing the act of sodomy was a law based on "a notion of morality" that cannot be invalidated by one's personal preferences.

In other words, sodomy violated the moral code of Nature and Nature's God. Moral principles by definition come from a Source outside of one's individual preferences. The Supreme Court understood t
that the individual is obligated to submit to a moral principle from a Source higher than self.

My, how times have changed.

Forty years ago the American culture, courts, and churches all believed that God established the proper boundaries for human behavior, and all human beings stand obligated to live their lives in accordance with His commands. 

Not anymore. 

It is now possible in the United States to call a man a woman and a woman a man. It is now possible in the United States for two men to marry or two women to marry. It is now possible in the United States to steal from others because you've been victimized by an oppressive moral code and deserve to take from those who've oppressed you.

The culture has changed because individuals are lost and the church is more interested in tickling listening ears than teaching living Truth.

The only thing that will save America is a revival - a true revival - of repentance toward God and away from self-absorption. It will require a Great Awakening in our society and a Great Revival in our churches. 

I don't fault society for the crisis we are now facing in America. 

I fault the churches. We've stopped teaching the Scriptures. We've stopped preparing our young people to answer the agnostics and atheists who believe in no moral code and mock those who do. We've paid more attention to our comforts at home than our commission to go into the world to make disciples of Christ in every nation. 

God seems to be bringing down the tall tree called "proud" America. The good news is that the God of all the nations always brings hope after despair, restoration after destruction, exaltation after humbling. 

The answer to the problem in America isn't politics. 

The answer is returning to the principles of God's Word as the basis for our social norms. 

And God can (and will) bring this about, but it will involve a great deal of pain before it occurs. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

The Worst Kind of Slavery Is the Fear of Death

"Jesus died that He those who all their lives have been 
held in slavery by their fear of death." Hebrews 2:14-15.

2020 has brought to the surface of our culture the greatest kind of slavery mankind faces.

It is the fear of dying. 

It used to be that Americans shared a common consensus about Divine things. We uniformly believed in a personal God who created the universe. We believed that this Creator gave life to us and that after we died, each of us would return to our Creator where we would give an account for our lives. 

Belief in God and the afterlife was something held in common by all Americans. 

But no longer is there any consensus. 

Americans find nothing odd about being at a dinner where table guests are just as likely to be atheists or agnostics as they are believers in God. Some might claim belief in eastern mystic gods or New Age principles that exalt man as god. But for sure, there is no common consensus about God.

There's an old saying that goes like this:
"In essential things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity."
If there is no unity in culture over the essentials of the faith, then there is essential disunity in culture over the fear of dying. 

America is in national enslavement to the fear of death. THIS life becomes all-encompassing to Americans, with little or no thought of the next life. Enslavement to the fear of death is felt in the heart of individuals but noticed in the practices of our culture.

For example,  "the fear of death" means...

1. You worship youthfulness or looking young.
2. You obsess over technology to conquer time and speed through tasks.
3. You have anxiety over your personal health.
4. You blame other people for your health or lack of it.
5. You esteem men and women in white coats (science or medicine). 
6. You fear growing old and dying. 
7. You seek escapism from having to contemplate the reality of dying.

But when Jesus frees you from the fear of death things begin to change.

1. You embrace and esteem old age and the wisdom of life's experiences that come with it.
2. You are able to "unplug" from technology and engage with others, being present with them.
3. You are not anxious about your health or impending death but you enjoy today's small moments of life. 
4. You take ownership of your health and refuse to blame others if it fails.
5. You respect science and medicine, but they don't rule over you because you take ownership of the way you live and die and science and medicine serve you and not the other way around.
6. You have no fear of growing old or dying.
7. You contemplate and meditate daily on your mortality and the eternality of your existence.

Remember this truth when it comes to surrendering your life to Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior:
It is difficult to fear death if you are a Christian.  However,  it is difficult not to worship health if you fear death. 
Since America as a whole seems enslaved to the fear of death, then national health to live this life without dying becomes our national god. 

As Austrian philosopher  Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote in the 1970s:
"It is difficult to enforce general health without large-scale state intervention and it is equally difficult to imagine increased state intervention without a loss of liberties."                   (Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Menace of the Herd or Procrustes at Large. Kindle Edition).

God gives us life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness.  We will return to Him to give an account of how we lived this life.  If you don't believe in God, then you can't believe that other people have inalienable rights, and so you can expect they do what you demand to help keep you alive. 

America needs a revival of faith in God before the worship of science destroys the lives we are living through our enslavement to the fear of dying.