"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

President Andrew Jackson’s Conversion to Christ

Andrew Jackson is my favorite President of all United States Presidents.

Jackson eclipses Lincoln, Washington, and Reagan in my opinion, not so much due to his policies, but more for his life. In Jackson’s own words, “I was created for a storm. Calm does not suit me.” 

Americans today only hear the rightful criticisms of Jackson's Indian Removal Act and his lack of opposition to slavery, while never hearing the monumental things this founder of the Democrat Party accomplished on behalf of our nation.

Forgetting to appraise people according to their culture and times will sometimes lead us to mistakenly dismiss the worthy. Caution is in order before condemning ancestors, recognizing the general darkness of former days often tainted one's personal behaviors.

Enid, Oklahoma has some very strong connections to the life story of Andrew Jackson. A 1910 graduate of Enid High School, Marquis James, wrote an award-winning biography of our nation's 7th President. James' two volumes on the life of Andrew Jackson - Volume 1 The Border Captain (1933) and Volume 2 Portrait of a President (1937) - were combined into the 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Life of Andrew Jackson. To this day, it remains the most colorful and interesting biography of President Jackson.

When President Jackson pushed for the Indian Removal act in 1830, the greatest opponent to the President's ambition of moving all Indians to "Indian Territory" (Oklahoma), was the erudite Cherokee Chief, a man named John Ross. Chief Ross's great-great-granddaughter is an across-the-street neighbor and member of the church I pastor. Her family's story of how the Cherokees (and other tribes) were forcibly moved to Indian Territory is not one of the brighter chapters in American history, but any Oklahoman with a mixture of Indian blood is most likely directly connected with President Jackson through the land you now call home (Oklahoma).

The reason I feel a strong affinity for Andrew Jackson is the dramatic story of his conversion to faith in Jesus Christ during the latter years of his life. Though raised by a mother who desired him to be a Presbyterian minister and married to a woman devout in her Christian faith, both of these women died very early in their lives, leaving Jackson to serve as President of the United States (1829-1837) without their influence. Though known to defend the Christian faith as President, Andrew Jackson had no personal experience with it until he reached the age of 75.

The Scar of Abuse

Born on the Ides of March (March 15), 1767, Andrew Jackson came into this world just three weeks after his father died from injuries sustained attempting to move a log on their land near Waxhaw, North Carolina. Both North Carolina and South Carolina claim Jackson as a native son, but Marquis James says Mrs. Jackson gave birth to Andrew while staying in her brother's home in South Carolina, not far from Waxhaw, North Carolina.

Andrew's devout Christian mother taught him to read at an early age, and when The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, it was nine-year-old Andrew who stood on a chair and read the Philadelphia newspaper's account as the "town crier" to the inhabitants of Waxhaw. The Declaration of Independence meant war with the British.

An expert horseman,  young Andrew Jackson eventually became a messenger boy for the Revolutionary soldiers.  When Andrew was only 13 years old, he was captured by the British and imprisoned in Camden, South Carolina. While in prison, Andrew contracted smallpox. and he would have died had it not been for his mother coming to Camden to successfully negotiate her son's release. She nursed Andy back to health back, but a year later, Andy's mother would leave for Charles Town to assist in the care of other wounded Revolutionary War soldiers. While ministering to the wounded in Charleston, South Carolina, Andy's mom contracted cholera and died, leaving the future President of the United States orphaned at the age of 14.

But the event that kept Andrew Jackson from "following Christ" occurred on the day he was captured by the British soldiers. It filled his heart with hate.

Marquis James recounts the event:
The British officer in command "in a very imperious tone" directed Andy to clean his boots. 
"This order he very promptly and positively refused, alleging that he expected such treatment as a prisoner of war had a right to look for."
The officer lifted his sword and aimed a violent blow. The boy threw up his left hand. It was cut to the bone, and a gash on his head left a white scar that Andrew Jackson carried through a long life that profited little to England or any Englishman." 
Biographer Marquis James is known as "the unqualified master of understated metaphors."  The phrase "the white scar...profited little to England or any other Englishman" is an understated way of saying Andrew hated the English people and England in general. The scar on his cheek, which turned whiter as the years progressed, served as a visible reminder of this hatred.

Jackson was fueled by this hatred in his amazing defeat of the British in New Orleans to end The War of 1812. He would often skip British protocol with diplomats while President because he despised courtesy to the British. Andrew Jackson's abuse as a boy at the hands of a British officer kept him in a state of perpetual resentment towards all things British.

Until his conversion.

The Conversion of Andrew Jackson

Jackson came to faith in Christ in 1842 at the Hermitage. He had invited  Rev. John Todd Edgar, the renowned pastor of First Presbyterian Nashville to lead a week-long series of meetings on the Hermitage property. Henry Clay, the man Abraham Lincoln once called 'my ideal of a great man,' once said of the Nashville pastor: "If you want to hear eloquence, go hear John T. Edgar preach." 

The Hermitage outside Nashville
During the last of the revival meetings, on a Saturday, the guest preacher noticed the former President was paying particularly close attention to the message. Dr. Edgar, on the spur of the moment, decided to give a very personal illustration of God's providence. 

The preacher sketched the life and career of a Tennessee pioneer who had "escaped the perils of the wilderness, the wiles of the Indian. the dangers of war, the conflicts of politics,  and the attempts of the assassin." This was Andrew Jackson's life.

Then the preacher asked, "How can such a man pass through such scenes as these unharmed and not see in it an Omnipotent Hand?

At the close of the service, the former President asked the preacher for a personal visit. However, Dr. Edgar could not do so until Sunday morning. 

The former President spent the greater part of Saturday night reading the Bible and in prayer. When the preacher came to the Hermitage the next morning, Andrew Jackson announced to the preacher that he had given his life to Christ and would like to "join the church." Dr. Edgar asked Jackson a series of questions about his faith, and the conversation concluded with the following dialogue.
General there is one more question which it is my duty to ask you. 'Can you forgive all your enemies?' 
Jackson was silent for a good while. At length he said, "My political enemies I can freely forgive, but as for those who abused me when I was serving my country in the field, and those who attacked me for serving my country doctor that is a different case.
Dr. Edgar, however, insisted that the forgiveness must be entire and embrace the whole family of man.
After a considerable pause the candidate got so far as to say that he thought he could forgive even the men who had made his defense of his native land a pretext for assailing him.
The scene in the little church that morning was never forgotten by any who witnessed it.
Besides being crowded to the very uttermost the windows were darkened by as many black faces as could get near enough. At length the former President and his daughter stood up to make the usual public profession.
He leaned heavily upon his walking stick with both hands and his face was wet with tears. When finally he was pronounced a member of the church, the feelings of the congregation, which had been restrained during the ceremonial, burst forth in sobs and cries, and the clergyman himself was unable to speak. Some one started a familiar hymn, and in singing this the feelings of the excited company at last found both expression and relief. (General Jackson: Hero of New Orleans by Oliver Dyer, pp. 361-363).
In Andrew Jackson's conversion, I am reminded that the mark of genuine Christianity is the ability to forgive even one's enemies. 

Yes, it may take time. Yes, it isn't always easy. Forgiveness requires the power of God.

But the evidence of God’s presence in your life is the ability to give the same grace to others that God has given to you. (Adapted from my original article on President Jackson's conversion, written in 2016). 

Rachelle and I at Jackson's Hermitage Home (Nashville), June 17, 2021


President Andrew Jackson's bedroom where he died Sunday, June 8, 1845, at 6:00 pm




How a Generation Z'er Named David Bumgardner Illustrated the Prerequisites for Real SBC Revival

The 2021 SBC Convention in Nashville will be remembered for a large number of messengers, messes, and motions.

And not surprisingly, there were the obligatory calls for "revival in the SBC." 

I hear calls for "revival" every year, but the SBC seems to be in a perpetual decline. What does it take to bring about genuine revival? 

A young messenger named David Bumgardner deftly illustrated today what it takes to unite a Convention in mission and purpose. David works at Cornerstone, my friend Dwight McKissic's church in Arlington, Texas. David had applied to be an intern at Emmanuel Enid, Oklahoma, a couple of summers ago, but our positions were filled. I imagine this is David's first Southern Baptist Convention. Listen to David address the SBC. 


Notice the situation that illustrates the FOUR STEPS TO REAL REVIVAL:

1. Thousands of people were in unilateral misery and they knew it.
2. An unknown stranger persisted in providing everyone a message of mercy.
3. This messenger identified with those around him, not as one above them.
4. Those with the keys to bringing coolness to the room responded to the pleas.

I am convinced that the reason revival has not yet occurred in the churches and in America is because we are not yet in real, heartfelt misery. 

As Joan Rivers used to say, "Why would I want to go to heaven when I live in the Hamptons?"

I think misery and pain are coming soon to America and the Southern Baptist Convention. All of us will experience it. We must be ready with a message of mercy and hope in Christ Jesus and be persistent and creative in our cries for His mercy on our souls. The LORD will bring revival to the hearts of thousands when thousands plea (pray) for the movement of His Spirit in our midst.

So thank you, David Bumgardner, for illustrating the prerequisites for real revival. Revival IS coming. I can FEEL it in my bones.

Misery is right around the corner.

A Nation Collapses by First Removing Belief in God

People ask me often, "Why are you a Baptist?" My short answer surprises most. "I believe in the separation of church and state." But you must be careful to understand what I'm saying.

A nation must have citizens with primary allegiance to God or that nation will lose its merit. 

Our Founding Fathers believed that the best American citizens, institutions, and leaders were only those who believe and teach that every individual is ultimately accountable to God.

When I say "separation of church and state," I mean that we must keep the government out of religion, but religion must be in our government or America will collapse (as I'll show below).

"But," you may ask, "what about the First Amendment?"

Wake Up! Critical Race Theory, a Tool of Marxism

Xi Van Fleet Speaks to Virginia School Board
A Chinese mother,  Xi Van Fleet, who endured Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution before immigrating to the U.S., and whose children attend a Virginia public school, ripped her children's Virginia school board at a public meeting Tuesday, June 8, 2021, over its stubborn support of the controversial critical race theory.

"I’ve been very alarmed by what’s going on in our schools,"
Xi Van Fleet told the Loudoun County School Board members. "You are now teaching, training our children to be social justice warriors and to loathe our country and our history."

She likened CRT, which critics deride as a form of "neo-racism," to China’s Cultural Revolution, a Mao-led purge that left between 500,000 and 20 million people dead from 1966 to 1976. 

Let that sink in.  Critical Race Theory as implemented in China during the Mao-Zedong Revolution led to the deaths of nearly 20 million people. CRT is racism in reverse. 

You may not believe me when I tell you that CRT is a death-rot for the United States of America, but I hope you will at least believe Xi Van Fleet who lived under a CRT purge in China during Mao Zedong. 

Rachelle and I are heading to the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Critical Race Theory will be an issue at this Convention. I will oppose ANY and ALL support of CRT. Several of my black friends have said they will "leave the SBC if a resolution against CRT is passed."  I want my friends to know in advance, I am not voting for the purging of all things CRT-related because I am a racist. No! I am voting against CRT being taught in our schools, supported in our churches, and ingrained in our children because I AM NOT RACIST, and my understanding of history leads me to believe that CRT is the Trojan Horse within the United States to bring about the downfall of the greatest nation in the history of the world.

I am opposing CRT precisely because I believe racism is a sin and supporting CRT is a racist means through which the United States of America will be demolished. 

Listen to Xi Van Fleet (transcript): 
"I've been very alarmed about what's going on in our school, you are now teaching, training our children to be social justice warriors and to love our country and our history growing up in China all this same very familiar. 

They are a communist regime, used the same Critical Theory to DIVIDE people. The only difference is they used class instead of race during the Cultural Revolution. 

I witnessed students and teachers can turn against each other. We changed school names to be politically correct. We were taught to denounce our heritage.

The Red Guards destroy anything that is not communist statues, books, and anything else. And we were also encouraged to report on each other, just like the Student Equity Ambassador Program and the Biased Reporting System. 
This is indeed the American version of Chinese communism, the Chinese Cultural Revolution. 

The critical race theory has its roots in cultural Marxism. 

It should have no place in our schools.

Amen, Xi Van Fleet. 

Amen.  

The video of Xi Van Fleet speaking is below:

Hope in the LORD and Soar on High Like a Vulture

"Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall
run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
                                                               Isaiah 40:39


A Griffin vulture in Israel
The Hebrew word is רֶ שֶׁנ - nesher  - and it is usually translated “eagle” in most English Bible translations, but it is a word that most often refers to a vulture in Hebrew cultures. 

I think the typical Christian would prefer to be compared to an eagle rather than an ugly vulture.

However, there are three facts about Israel's largest bird, the Griffin vulture, that properly describe the life and work of those who trust in Christ. 

Isaiah compares those who "wait" (hope) in the LORD to a Griffin vulture. What does that mean?

First, Griffin vultures must wait before they work. 

The Griffin vulture flies higher than any other bird on earth. The vulture doesn't flap its wings to get so high. Rather, the vulture waits for the warm thermal air that rises up from the earth as the sun heats the ground. The Griffin vulture is the king of soaring on the thermals. It waits, and then at the appropriate time, it spreads its massive wings and rides the air. Most birds fly below 200 feet. But the Griffin vulture can glide effortlessly above 5,000 feet. In fact, in 1973, a griffon vulture collided with a commercial airliner over Africa as the plane flew at 37,900 feet. That is the highest altitude ever recorded for a bird. From a perspective in the highest of the heavens, the Griffin vulture can see farther and clearer than any others. If we desire to fly high, we must learn to wait on the Spirit of God to move before we work. Religion has a lot of people flapping their wings to get things done. The Kingdom of Christ must have people who wait on the LORD and glide effortlessly as they move to do amazing things for Christ. 

Second, Griffin vultures are bold more than they are beautiful. 

Vultures’ heads are often disproportionately small compared to their bodies. They sit hunched up with their heads sunk between their shoulders. Compared to an eagle, there's not much beauty in a vulture. Isaiah 53 tells us that our Kinsman-Redeemer "had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." The Apostle Paul tells us that "not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God" (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). 

Third, Griffin vultures enter the realm of death and it disappears. 

Vultures gather around death and make it disappear. Most creatures have to kill to eat, but not vultures. With rare exceptions, their food has either died by natural causes or been killed by some other creature. So, the vultures’ job is to act as nature's vacuum cleaners. They clean up and cleanse the mess of the natural world. They are nature’s death eaters. They rid the earth of the toxicity. I wonder whether that isn’t an appropriate metaphor for God too. When John saw Jesus walking towards him he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). So too, when Christians do their work, spiritual decay and death disappear. 

It might not be the image you prefer, but you and I are like Griffin vultures of Israel. 


This Memorial Day and Vance Air Force Base, Enid

Someone once said that "If you can pick up a book and read it thank a teacher. If you can read the book in English thank a soldier.

Today, Memorial Day 2021,  I would like to thank the two men to the left for helping me read in English and not German. My paternal grandfather Reed Burleson fought at the Battle of the Bulge and received multiple medals, including the Purple Heart. My maternal grandfather Fred Cherry also fought on the battlefields of Europe, riding in his jeep that he nicknamed "John 3:16." Thanks to my mom, Mary Burleson, for the photographs. I pause to remember my grandfathers for their service to our country.

But I would like to also honor another man, a contemporary of both my grandfathers, a native of Enid, Oklahoma, and a graduate of Enid High School.

Rachelle at the American Cemetery, Normandy

His name is Leon Robert "Bob" Vance, the man for whom Vance Air Force Base is named. 

Bob, as he was known by his family and friends, is prominently featured at the American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France. Rachelle and I have been to Normandy to visit the American War Memorial on two separate occasions. We have spent time at Omaha Beach and toured the American Cemetery where over 10,000 Americans are buried in France's soil. 

Upon exiting the American Memorial Museum, Bob Vance's compelling story is told via a holographic image in the museum's lobby.

Most Oklahomans do not know Bob Vance's heroic actions at Normandy, and that includes most people who live in Enid, Oklahoma, Bob's hometown. 

Everyone knows about Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma, but few know the reason why the former Enid Army Air Corp base is named after Leon Vance. This Memorial Day of 2021, I post Leon Vance's story to honor all those American soldiers who gave their lives on the battlefield.

Col. Bob Vance from Enid, Oklahoma
Leon Robert (Bob) Vance, Jr. was born in Enid, Oklahoma, on August 11, 1916. His father was the principal at Enid's Longfellow Middle School, and his mother was an Enid educator as well. Bob graduated from Enid High School in 1933.

He had been an exceptional athlete and an honors student in high school, and after graduation, Bob entered the University of Oklahoma and the ROTC program at OU. Bob attended the university for his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to the West Point Military Academy in 1935. Bob would spend four additional years at the Academy, graduating from West Point in 1939, part of the class that Newsweek magazine called in 1999 The Warrior Class because the graduates would go on to fight in WW II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. 

Bob was training to become a pilot for the Army Air Corp (now called the Air Force). While at West Point he met a native New Yorker, Georgette Brown, and the day after his West Point graduation, Bob and Georgette were married at the Academy's chapel.

For the next five years Lieutenant Robert Vance would first be trained, and then train, Army Air Force pilots at various Air Force bases around the United States. He would sometimes wonder if the war would be over before he actually saw combat, but his expertise as a pilot trainer was both needed and rewarded. By 1944 he had become a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Air Force. 

One of Bob's best friends in the Army Air Corps,  having met him early in his pilot training at San Angelo, Texas,  was Lieutenant Horace S. Carswell. Carswell was a native Texan who had earned his wings in November 1938 and was subsequently assigned as an instructor in the Air Corp, just like Lieutenant Vance.  The Vance and Carswell couples became fast friends. Both Vance and Carswell would eventually leave the Air Corp training program to fly combat in B-24 bombers. 

Both would arrive in different theaters of combat in April of 1944. Both would earn the Medal of Honor within six months of each other. Both would have Air Force bases named after them - Vance Air Force Base and Carswell Air Force Base.

Bob Vance's Actions at Normandy which Led to His Medal of Honor

Lieutenant Colonel Bob Vance kissed his wife and two-year-old daughter Sharon goodbye and left for England in April of 1944. For two months he trained with other men in a B-24 bomber, preparing for D-Day and the invasion of Europe.

Vance's combat mission would be to fly with a crew in a bomber named the Missouri Sue and drop bombs on the German lines located on the shores of France twenty-four hours before the invasion, softening the beach for the infantry landings that would arrive a few hours later. Early on June 5, 1944, the Missouri Sue took off from England for the bombing mission.

The bombs failed to release on the first run over the target, so Lieutenant Colonel Vance ordered a 360-degree turn for a second pass. Somewhere in the process of the second bomb run Missouri Sue was repeatedly hit by German flak, killing the pilot, wounding several members of the crew, and nearly severing Bob Vance's right foot, pinning him to the floor of the plane. 

The crew fought to complete the mission and then turned the plane toward home. Three of the bomber's engines eventually shut down and the fourth had to be shut down to prevent a stall. The damaged plane showered gasoline throughout the trip back across the channel to England. The bomb bay doors remained open with an armed 500-pound bomb dangling precariously. 

Vance was the command pilot of the craft, and as the plane continued its forced descent from 10,000 feet, he ordered that all the crew parachute to safety. Unwilling to have the plane crash into the English landscape, particularly with a 500-pound bomb dangling from the bomb bay, Vance, still pinned to the floor with his severed foot, piloted the gliding plane back into the English channel where it crashed into the water. The force of the crash propelled Bob Vance from the plane and knocked him unconscious. Somehow he managed to float to the surface where he was eventually rescued. Unfortunately, Bob's career as a pilot was over. His right foot had been severed.  The surviving ten men credited the actions of Bob Vance for their safe parachute landing on English land.

Vance's Recuperation and Tragic Death


Vance recuperated in England from his injuries for the next eight weeks. He wrote letters home describing to his wife and family the injuries he sustained, urging them not to worry, and that as soon as he was able, he would be on a medical flight home. His letters were initially filled with excitement and enthusiasm for Operation Overlord (the invasion of Europe), and he expressed pride for what his bombing crew had done in preparation for the landing.

His spirits lowered, however, when he left the hospital for the first time, hobbling on his crutches in the streets of London, and was met by a small boy who looked him over, saw his missing foot, and said, "Don't worry Yank, you won't miss it!" The emotional impact of realizing he would never fly again was enormous, and his depression increased when word came that his father had been killed in an aircraft accident.

The only thing that kept him going during his eight weeks of recovery was the knowledge that he would soon see his wife and small child. He made plans to leave England on a medical evacuation plane. Just before he left he discovered he had been nominated for the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. On July 26, 1944, Vance joined other wounded soldiers as they boarded a transport plane for the trip back to America. His wife Georgette and Sharon both anxiously anticipated their loved one's arrival. Sharon, just over two years old, didn't understand much, but she could say, "Daddy's coming home!"

Bob Vance never made it. Somewhere between Newfoundland and Iceland, the plane went down. The plane has never been discovered, nor has Bob Vance's body ever been recovered. Georgette received this telegram, informing her that her husband was missing in action. The family was stricken with grief. Just weeks later, the government told Georgette that her husband had been bestowed the Medal of Honor. She requested that the official ceremony be delayed until her daughter, Sharon, was old enough to comprehend what her father had done.

Two years later, in 1946, Sharon Vance, Bob's four-year-old daughter, officially received on behalf of the Vance family the Medal of Honor which the U.S. government had bestowed upon her father, the highest recognition given American soldiers. Later, the Army Air Base in Enid would be renamed Vance Air Force Base.

On this Memorial Day, 2021, we all say "Thank You" to Bob Vance of Enid, Oklahoma, and other men and women who gave their lives that we might read books in English.

"Divide and Conquer" Is the Tactic of Marxist China

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
In early 2020, I posted that the SARS-COV-2 (Covid-19) virus came from a Chinese military biomedical laboratory in WUHAN, CHINA. I explained why this should be concerning to all Americans regardless of whether the Chinese military released the virus accidentally or intentionally. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had long studied how to weaponize coronaviruses against humans in their military biomedical research lab in WUHAN. Leading Chinese scientists from that Chinese laboratory have been missing since 2019. Even their families have no idea what has happened to them.

The Chinese government shut down domestic travel in China in late 2019 but allowed international flights from WUHAN to other countries into 2020. Soon after Covid-19 reached America (Seattle and the West Coast), the American media went into overdrive telling the American public that the virus "jumped" from the animal kingdom to humans in a "meat market" in WUHAN. Anybody who believed differently was called "a conspiracist." The media went hysterical when the President of the United States called SARS-COV-2 the China Virus.

The Chinese government has stated its desire to rule the world by 2049 (look up "Silk Road") To rule the world means that the CCP desires to govern the world's media, the world's Internet, the world's currency, the world's religion (mandated atheism and a mandated "trust in science and government"), and the world's travel over the oceans and in the skies ("you can only go where the government approves you to travel").

Today, President Biden and congressional leaders said that there is a strong possibility that the virus came from a laboratory in WUHAN, CHINA, and not a local Wuhan meat market. I would politely ask that those who discounted what I've written this past year take a moment and reflect on why you found it difficult to accept anything other than the "official line."

Think...for...yourself.

Karl Marx, the founder of Marxism, wrote that Marxism can eventually rule the world without firing a shot by "dividing and conquering" the people within other countries. If you can turn the American people against themselves - by race or by class - then you can create an American culture where people hate one another because of differences. Every soldier in the Chinese military and every politburo member in the Chinese government is a Marxist. They can't wait to control Americans by the principle of "divide and conquer."

Ten years ago nobody talked about race in the United States and the President of the United States was black. Since Covid-19, Americans have turned on one another, even attacking people and burning down cities. It is no accident. Millennials, it's time to face the facts. The United States is a great nation. Yes, we have our problems, but we have progressed. We are known around the world for our individual freedoms and liberty. Don't give those freedoms and liberties away as easily as you seem to give them away. Other countries build walls to keep their citizens in. The U.S. must build walls to keep people out. Liberty is the reason.

If we allow the principles of Marxism to continue to spread via the angry charges of "racism" and "privilege" on our campuses and in our culture, we'll soon find ourselves walled in by totalitarian governmental leaders who dictate everything about our lives- our health, our finances, our religion, our futures. That's Marxism.

If you didn't believe me about WUHAN last year, maybe you'll pause before you post a comment disbelieving what I'm saying this year. I love the Chinese people. I have many friends who are Chinese.

I hate Marxism.

Today in China, Muslims, Christians, and Falun Gong are dying by the hundreds of thousands. Marxist leaders are forcing them into concentration camps, torturing and killing them because they refuse to believe in Marxist principles or obey Marxist leaders. It's time Americans wake up to what is happening to our great country.

It's no accident you think another American is your enemy. Turning one another against each other via race or class is the tactic of Marxism. "Black Swan" events, national calamities, government control, and the intentional removal of individual freedom and liberty become the gateways for Marxism unless we begin to think for ourselves.

"Show Me Your Papers" Is Now The State's Control

Zeigen Sie mir Ihre Papiere!
Zeigen Sie mir Ihre Papiere!

The German words "Show me your papers!" sent chills up the spine of every German-born Jew in 1938-39. German society had been programmed to believe that Jews were vermin, disease carriers that disrupted the clean culture of German society. National Public Radio - not your average American conservative radio network - outlines in an article how the German Nazis used the word rats to describe the Jews, and justified their extermination because they were unclean disease carriers. 

On Friday, May 21, 2021, Oregon, became the first state in the USA to require that people in workplaces, businesses, and churches show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to be allowed maskless entry to the facilities.

Zeigen Sie mir Ihre Papiere!

Businesses, employers and faith institutions now have the option to adjust their masking guidance to allow fully vaccinated individuals to no longer wear a mask in their establishments.

Businesses, employers and faith institutions doing so must have a policy in place to check the vaccination status of all individuals before they enter their establishment.
Businesses, employers and faith institutions who do not create such policies will maintain the same masking guidance listed below, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.

 Zeigen Sie mir Ihre Papiere!

You rats that trust natural immunity are not welcome.

You rats that trust God over government scientists are not welcome.

You rats that aren't scared of a disease that has a 99.6 survival rate are not welcome. 

You rats that don't do what government officials demand you do are not welcome.

Zeigen Sie mir Ihre Papiere!

I met a couple this past Sunday who moved to Enid, Oklahoma. Guess what. He's a full-time student at the University of Oregon, but he's had enough. He is finishing his education online while both transplanted to Enid. 

Oklahoma, thank God, is not socialist Oregon. 

I won't be visiting Oregon anytime soon. 

This rat enjoys his freedom from government oppression and socialist fascist government leaders who play god. 

The Roots of Israel's Conflict with the Palestinians

If you are a person bewildered by the animosity between Arabs and Jews, and if you scratch your head trying to understand the centuries-long conflict between Palestinians and Israelis – a bitter fight over a claim both make on a piece of land called Israel (if you are an Israeli) and Palestine (if you are an Arab), then I would encourage you to read this short summary of the Arab/Israeli conflict. 

The next few minutes of reading might save you from a lifetime of confusion.

In 2000 B.C., a young man named Abram was “called by God” out of the land of Ur (Babylon) to a land that God promised to give “to your descendants, from Egypt to the Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18-21). This land, called the Promised Land, was already inhabited by the Canaanite people, but God promised Abraham that He would give him this land. Over 500 years later, under Joshua's leadership, the descendants of Abraham drove the Canaanites from their land and established the new nation called Israel.

What Happened to the Canaanites?

The Canaanites got into ships and left the land of Israel. The evidence is clear that the Canaanites left Israel for North Africa.  

Close to the Pillars of Hercules (e.g., Gibraltar), on the south side or African side of the Mediterranean, the vanquished Canaanite refugees built two cities:

"They [the Canaanites] built THE CITY OF TINGE AND TANGER IN NUMIDIA, where were two pillars of white stone, placed near to a great fountain, in which, in the Phoenician tongue, was engraved: WE ARE CANAANITES, WHOM JOSHUA THE THIEF CHASED AWAY" (Relations of the World and the Religions Observed in All Ages, Samuel Purchas, Book I, Chapter XVIII, p.85)

In The Complete Works of Josephus, translated by William Whiston, there is a footnote on page 110 that corroborates the Canaanites went to North Africa:
Moses Chorenensis sets down the FAMOUS INSCRIPTION AT TANGIER [TANGER] concerning the old CANAANITES driven out of Canaan by Joshua thus:
"We are those exiles that were governors of the Canaanites, but have been driven away by Joshua the robber, AND ARE COME TO INHABIT HERE'." (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids. 1988)
In time these inhabitants of Northern Africa became known as Berbers and Moors.

From the city of Numidia, the Canaanites eventually made it across the Straits of Gibraltar and reached as far north as Scandinavia and the British Isles. In these countries, and in Europe in general, the Canaanites have left evidence of their existence over large land areas. They are known to anthropologists as the "Beaker People."

Meanwhile, Back in Israel

After 400 years, the nation of Israel united under kings. First Saul, then David, then Solomon.

The nation of Israel split in 931 B.C. over a dispute concerning taxes. As a result, 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel composed “the northern Kingdom of Israel” with their capital in Samaria. Only two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) made up “the southern Kingdom called Judah.”

In 722 B.C., the northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians, whose capital was Ninevah. The wicked Assyrians took captive the men of the 10 tribes of the north (after that known as “The 10 Lost Tribes”) and forced pagans to move to northern Israel and intermarry with the remaining Israeli women.
The “half-breed’ descendants of Israeli women and pagan men came to be known as “The Samaritans.”

The southern kingdom of Judah had help from God and successfully resisted the Assyrians. Therefore, it is only AFTER 722 B.C. that the name “Jew” comes into existence, an abbreviation of “Judah” or “Judeans” (e.g., people from Judah). Also, since the northern kingdom of Israel was wiped out after the Assyrian invasion, after 722 B.C., the kingdom of Judah would often go by the ancient name Israel.

The Jews stayed in the land God had given them until 586 B.C., when a new world empire – Babylon – conquered the Jews and took them into Babylonian captivity. Then, when the Persian Empire defeated the Babylonians and conquered the city of Babylon in 539 B.C., the Jews were allowed to return to their land of Israel.

The Jews rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, the Temple and re-instituted the sacrificial system. During their Babylonian captivity, they learned how to build synagogues since they had no access to the Temple. In addition, they had learned Aramaic, the business language of the known world. For the next five centuries, until the coming of Jesus Christ, the Jews remained in their land, building a nation and seeing the rise of various Jewish religious sects, including the Pharisees and the Sadducees. These years are the years “between the Testaments” (e.g., between the Old Testament and the New Testament). During this time, Persia was conquered by the Grecian Empire, and then the Greeks were conquered by the Roman empire.

Rome Rules the World

Around the time Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago, Rome ruled the world. The Romans began having trouble with that portion of the empire called Israel. The natives of Israel, called “Jews” (e.g., short for “Judeans” or people who descended from the family or tribe of Judah), were expecting a coming Messiah who would lead their little country to global prominence. The Jews were often resisted Roman rule, and they were in the habit of assembling unlawfully, protesting regularly, and arguing forcefully against Roman rule.
  
The Roman emperor raised a wary eye against the Jews and their seditious ways. However, knowing that Rome was threatened by any claim of a Jewish Messiah, Jewish religious leaders used Rome’s fears for their own advantage to thwart the influence of a young Jewish carpenter from Nazareth. Jewish religious leaders brought Jesus before the Roman governor Pilate and claimed that “This man says he is the Messiah, the King of the Jews!” Pilate acquiesced to the Jewish demand that Rome crucify him who dared to claim himself “King of the Jews.”

Around four decades after Jesus of Nazareth died on a cross, a new Roman emperor could no longer ignore the ever-increasing Jewish rebellion against Rome. More Roman soldiers were tied up in Israel fighting sedition than anywhere else in the world, and the Roman emperor’s patience ran out. He needed his troops elsewhere, so he decided to handle the Jews once and for all. Nobody knows why the Roman emperor didn’t just kill the Jews, possibly because he was too superstitious to utterly obliterate them, fearing an offense against the gods.

Instead of killing the Jews, the Roman emperor decided to forcibly remove the Jews from their land using Roman legionnaires and relocating them to the far-flung corners of the Roman empire. In America during the 1820s, the American empire did the same thing to the native Americans, in a forced relocation to “Indian Land” (Oklahoma) that we call “The Trail of Tears.” The Romans forcibly relocated the Jews in a long, sad journey that Jewish history calls the diaspora. The word diaspora comes from Greek and means “scattering.” We get our English word dispersion from this Greek word. The diaspora begins in A.D. 70.

Judea Becomes Philistia (Palestine)

Judea (Iudaea) was the Roman name for the Land of Israel during the heyday of the Roman Empire. This meant not only the area called Judea in Israel today (the West Bank), it also included the whole area ruled and/or chiefly inhabited by Jews. We can see this in Latin and Greek writes of that period like Pliny, Suetonius, Tacitus in Latin, Plutarch, and the geographers Strabo and Ptolemy in Greek. Judea stretched along both sides of the Jordan and included, besides Judea proper, most of the coastal plain, Samaria, most of the Galilee, the Golan Heights of today, and considerable land to the east of there. The Romans called this land Iudaea, a translation of the Hebrew Judah.  

However, to spite the Jews, after the Diaspora, the Romans changed the land of the Jews Palestinia (Palestine) in honor of the Philistia people (Canaanites) that were the mortal enemies of the Jews before Abraham. Thus, Palestine was a word Romans used to spite the Jews.

In the Jews’ absence from their former homeland beginning in A.D. 70, a now-empty patch of beachfront real estate on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea begins to fill up with people from Arabia. The Arabs migrate slowly to the former land called Israel. It was never their land in the beginning.  And there is no such thing as Palestinian people. It’s Arab people in the land of Israel, a land that the Romans began calling Palestine.

After the diaspora in A.D. 70, the Jews lived in little communities worldwide, but especially in Europe. This is because the Romans had scattered these Jewish people all over the Roman empire, and Europe is where most of the Roman Empire was located at the beginning of the diaspora.

Rather than Jewish culture and religion coming to an end through the diaspora, this forced exile from their homeland became a defining event in Jewish history

The diaspora became a crucial part of the Jewish heritage and tradition, a permanent fixture of their rituals. It soon became prominent within their holy commentary on Scriptures, a book called the Talmud. For the past two thousand years, in thousands of little communities worldwide, Jewish fathers have passed to their sons,  and rabbis have passed to their synagogue congregations, the importance of remembering the diaspora.

There is no better example of the permanence of Israel culture than the contemporary existence of the Hebrew language, the same language Moses, David, Solomon, and all the Jewish people have spoken for over 5,000 years. Latin, the language of the Romans, is the basis for French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. But nobody speaks Latin anymore. Only the Roman Catholic Church uses it in church services. People don’t speak it. Groups of medical students worldwide study it for their medical classes, but Latin is not a language of conversation.

Language Represents a Culture.

After being scattered by the Romans, the Jews learned the local languages and became a part of the local population. However, the rabbis kept the Hebrew language alive, and the Jews used the language in their worship. Just as Christian monks kept knowledge and literacy alive through the Dark Ages, the rabbis used Hebrew in synagogue services. They required all Jews to learn at least enough to actively participate in worship.

From the mid-1500s until well into the current century, the dominant pattern in the world was European colonialism. First, the Spanish, then Dutch, and finally the British were the preeminent powers in the world -- challenged with varying degrees of success by the French, Germans, and Italians. The Jews stayed in the background, minding their own business.

No matter where the Jews settled, they were seen as just a little bit on the outside by their different religion, their "secret" language of Hebrew, and even their ethnicity.

Since the Jews were mostly prevented from holding public office, becoming military leaders, or even entering institutions of higher learning. As a result, they'd entered the only field left open to them: business.

As it turned out, they'd seemed to have a knack for it, too: by the late nineteenth century, Jews in Europe were widely perceived as rich, mostly because many of them had entered jewelry and banking, being forced out of politics and government.

About this time, a pro-Jewish political movement called Zionism arose in Europe. Its purpose was "to return the Jews to their rightful historical homeland.”

Here’s Where It Gets Complicated

For the past two thousand years, over 75 generations of Arabs have lived and died on that Eastern Mediterranean soil that the Arabs now called Palestine. So naturally, these Arabs figured that they had a bit more right to determine who was going to live on what was now their homeland than a bunch of European nations, which had still been a bunch of wild barbarian tribes when the Romans had booted the Jews out in the first place (the following is an excellent summary from an anonymous writer at http://www.wwco.com/religion/israel.php).

Why the Arabs Hate the Jews

One of those wild barbarian tribes, now calling itself the British, was perhaps a bit influenced in its thinking by Zionist arguments and the idea that European Jewry was a rich and influential group one would do well to have one's side. Besides, the British Empire was at the height of its power and glory: India was the jewel in its crown about which books by Rudyard Kipling were being written, Sherlock Holmes was stalking the streets of London, Stanley and Livingston were making their way around Africa, and Queen Victoria was on the throne.

The sun never set upon the British Empire, she had the largest and most influential navy in the world, and by George, she'd do whatever the heck she bloody wanted to -- and without any guff from any bleeding Arab beggars! Besides, the whole point was academic: Palestine had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire (Turkish Muslims) for centuries, so the Arabs living along the Eastern Mediterranean had no say about anything anyway.

What harm would it do, then, to issue a meaningless policy statement to win the favor, support, and financial attention of the European Jews? So it was that British Foreign Minister Lord Balfour issued the appropriately-named Balfour Declaration in support of an independent Jewish homeland located in Palestine.

The Jews loved it, of course, but it remained just that -- a meaningless policy statement. It was certainly forgotten a couple of decades later, in 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by an anarchist in Sarajevo. The French, Germans, and Russians mobilized their troops and, before anyone knew what had happened, a million mothers' sons were charging out of their trenches only to cough their lungs up from the mustard gas or be mown down by machine-gun fire. The Great War, the War to End All Wars, had begun.

Trench warfare held the war at a stalemate in Europe for the better part of four years. In charge of the "Southern Front," British General George Allenby was under pressure from his superiors at the War Office in London for some progress against the Ottoman Empire, a British enemy in the war and the power that controlled the Middle East as it had for centuries. By manipulating Arab tribesmen into fighting the Turks in exchange for tentative implications of Arab independence, Allenby ensured that the Middle East was British-held territory by the end of the war.

The League of Nations

Immediately after the war, the newly-created League of Nations, really just an old boys club of the same old European colonialist powers, legitimized continued occupation of territory captured by the victors in the war by ceding areas to their victorious occupying forces as "mandates." The idea was that the "big brother" nation would prepare the mandated area for eventual independence. However, in practice, it was colonialism by any other name... which still smelled just as bad.

Britain got the League of Nations mandate for the Middle East, which included Palestine. Zionist groups and Jews worldwide immediately began pressuring the British to live up to the promises they'd made decades earlier in the Balfour Declaration. If they did nothing, the Jews would accuse them of going back on their word, but if they started airlifting massive numbers of Jews into Palestine, the local Arabs would riot. So they tried to go to the middle ground and brought in a slow trickle by sea.

This went on for nearly thirty years while the British controlled the area, and the Arabs certainly did riot more than a few times. But, nevertheless, the population of Jewish immigrants slowly swelled, living in an uneasy peace with the Arabs. Then one day, a man with a severe little mustache started raving about how the Jews had ruined his country, the rest of Europe, and the world besides. The joke was on him, of course; Adolf didn't realize that he himself had Jewish blood, but his countrymen bought it hook, line and sinker, and the Second World War was on.

During the war, Palestine remained under British control, never seriously threatened by the massive tank battles in the North African desert between British General Bernard Montgomery and German Field Marshal Erwin 'The Desert Fox' Rommel. At war's end, though, the world was a very different place. All the great powers of Europe were totally tapped out, shattered, and economically devastated. Even England, which had resisted the invasion, had taken a beating from German bombs.

Suddenly only one country had a healthy economy. Suddenly only one country had no domestic damage at all from the war. Suddenly only one country had the largest and most powerful navy globally, and it wasn't England anymore. Suddenly only one country had the atomic bomb. Suddenly only one country had the undivided attention of every other country in the world, was calling the shots, could do whatever it wanted to, and had the force to back up its foreign policy initiatives.

The United States started pressuring all former colonial powers to grant independence to their colonies. Her moral high ground for doing this was that she herself had been a colony and had had to fight for her independence, so she sympathized with other colonies that wanted independence. 

A more likely reason for doing this is that since colonies trade exclusively with their host countries, excluding other nations, the U.S. wanted to get those host countries out of those colonies as quickly as possible so that she could get access and start selling Coca-Cola and other fine American products.

They grumbled, but Britain and the other former colonial powers of Europe started vacating their colonies rapidly, not only because the United States was pressuring them to but also because they could no longer spare the troops, funds, or resources to maintain those colonies when so much reconstruction needed to take place back in their home countries. Amongst others, Britain was making plans to vacate its League of Nations mandates in the Middle East -- including Palestine.

Modern Zionism

The world had been shocked, sickened, and horrified beyond description when it had seen photographs and newsreels of the ghastly 'final solution' of the NazisConcentration camps liberated by the Americans had yielded mass gravespoison-gas showersnon-stop crematoria, and living skeletons with haunted eyes. The carnage was so far beyond anything ever seen before that even conventional language did not have a word for it. So then, finally, a new word was created to describe it: genocide.

No one could conceive of anything that anyone could ever have done to deserve such a fate. The hearts of everyone on Earth went out to the Jews. Everyone felt guilty for not having stopped Hitler sooner before six million Jews had gone to their deaths. Filled with shock, compassion, guilt, shame, remorse, and regret, the world of 1945 could deny the Jews nothing.

The British were rapidly vacating the land of Palestine, the Jewish homeland of two thousand years ago. Many Jews had emigrated there during the last thirty years. Many European Jews were wandering around the continent as "Displaced Persons," sole survivors of their families or villages with nowhere to go. The world felt shamed and wanted to "do something for the Jews" to "make up" for what had happened. Some Jews themselves and other Zionists were clamoring about the Balfour Declaration, made by the British in a very different world over fifty years and two world wars ago.

Almost before the British were out of Palestine, the United States stepped in and declared that the area would again be the Jewish homeland. The Americans were trying not only to make up for the Second World War but also to correct an ancient historical wrong. As a result, huge waves of Jewish immigrants flocked to their ancient ancestral homeland.

As these European "displaced persons" found a home once again, they created a whole new flood of "displaced persons" -- Arabs whose umpteenth great-grandfather had farmed the same land 75 generations ago, forced to leave because a newly-arrived European Jew had become the new owner. These Arabs, today called the Palestinians, left in droves.

It took two years from the war's end for the British to finish vacating and for the brief period of American assistance with Jewish immigration to conclude. Jews worldwide had been delighted with the idea; those who didn't emigrate to live there were quite generous financially. The United States gave much financial and military assistance so that in 1947 the area known as Palestine for two thousand years declared itself the state of Israel.

The brand-new state was promptly attacked at the same time by several of its outraged Arab neighbors. They themselves had been under the boot of the Ottomans for centuries, then had had to endure the British, but now that the entire Middle East had looked as though it were finally going to be free and self-determining, here had come the meddling Americans to eject the Palestinians —brother Arabs— and move Jews in their place!

Aside from this strange and offensive new outpost, there were no Jews for thousands of miles around — only Arabs. For the Arabs, it was like surgically transplanting a tuft of blond hair onto a head full of black. They saw these Jews sitting proudly on land that had been Arab land for two thousand years, while the 'rightful' Palestinian-Arab owners sat shivering in refugee camps just outside the borders of the new state. Outraged and offended, they attacked with their combined military force.

Unfortunately for the Arab states that attacked in 1947, U.S. weapons and training provided to the Israeli military allowed Israel to trounce them. In other Arab-Israeli conflicts (1956, 1967, and 1973), almost always started by the Arabs, the same has been the result: one was called the Six-Day War because that's all the time it took the Israelis to win, while another was called the Yom Kippur War because the Arabs tried to win by surprise-attacking on the holiest Jewish day.

The previous Palestinian inhabitants haven't been sitting idly in their refugee camps on Israel's borders for fifty years, while fellow Arabs from other Arab countries have been fighting and dying in attempts to win back their land for them. So the Palestinians formed the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), a terrorist group that has been bombing Israel and conducting other terrorist raids on her for decades.

For many years now, Yasser Arafat has been the leader of the PLO, and thus Public Enemy Number One of the Israeli state. He was controversial in the 1980s for once wearing his customary pistol on a visit to the Pope and because the United States didn't want to grant him a visa to enter the U.S. so he could speak at the United Nations.

The first real progress in the Arab-Israeli situation was President Carter, who got Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to sign a peace treaty. We later found out what ordinary Arabs thought of when some of Sadat's own people assassinated him as he stood on the reviewing stand during a parade.

The fact that Israel recently allowed the Gaza Strip to become an 'autonomous Arab zone' with its own police force and Yasser Arafat (Israel's Public Enemy Number One), of all people, as its leader, is probably the most encouraging move towards peace since the Americans started the whole mess in the 1940s. But, of course, we found out what ordinary Israelis thought of that when a former member of his own security forces assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the guy who made the Gaza Strip thing possible, as he moved through a crowded public square a few months ago.

The Oslo Agreement

Since historic agreements signed in Oslo, Norway, in September of 1993 between the Israelis and the PLO set the Gaza Strip aside for the Palestinians, the PLO and its leader have been kept busy with the headaches of self-rule. Those Palestinians and other Arabs who felt that this arrangement was not good enough and still more for which Israel must answer felt that the PLO had gone soft and sold out; they became dissatisfied with the PLO as the representative of their interests.

Extreme anti-Israelis formed a group called Hezbollah, a fundamentalist Islamic force composed of Palestinians and other sympathetic Arabs. Backed by the sympathetic Islamic countries of Iran and Syria, since the 1993 Oslo accords, Hezbollah has set up shop in Israel's chaotic bordering neighbor to the North, Lebanon, which has been paralyzed for decades by civil war.

The situation in Lebanon is so fractious and its government so weak that Hezbollah has actually taken over the running of schools and hospitals in some areas, gaining its popular support amongst some Lebanese. Its primary purpose for existence being to inflict harm upon Israel; however, in April 1996, Hezbollah began raining fire down upon its hated enemy in the form of Katoushka rockets.

Surrounded as it is by hostile neighbors who would prefer to see the blood of all its citizens running through the sands, Israel has perhaps understandably developed a 'massive retaliation policy over the years. In addition, to guerrilla attacks by the Egyptian-backed Palestinian terrorist group fedayeen ("self-sacrificers," the predecessor of the PLO and Hezbollah) in the 1950s, Israel invaded Egyptian army posts in the dead of night, shooting hundreds of Egyptian troops as they slept and on 29 October 1956 actually invaded Egypt herself, taking the entire Sinai Peninsula from her.

In Israel's belief that she must show a tough face to deter aggression, she has not hesitated even to operate far outside her home region. On 3 July 1976, she reacted to the hijacking of an airplane containing her Olympic team by storming the plane with a massive assault force as it sat on an airport runway in Entebbe, Uganda, a country well into Africa and decidedly not in Israel's home region, the Middle East. Israel had refused to negotiate or even talk to the hijackers, it attacked without regard to casualties, and it took no prisoners. The message was clear: don't mess with us.

When terrorists attacked Israel from bases in Southern Lebanon in March of 1978, Israel responded by invading Lebanon. Likewise, when Mossad, Israel's secret intelligence service, learned in 1981 that its neighboring country of Iraq (with its new leader Saddam Hussein) had an atomic reactor near its capital city of Baghdad that would enable it to manufacture nuclear weapons, Israeli jets invaded Iraqi airspace, flew on over to Baghdad one fine day and blew the atomic reactor to Kingdom Come.

When Israel's ambassador to Great Britain was wounded in a PLO terrorist attack on the streets of London —just one man, mind you— Israel responded by launching a massive, all-out, coordinated land, sea, and air attack against PLO bases in Lebanon on 6 June 1982. By 14 June, they had the PLO trapped and surrounded in Lebanon's capital city of Beirut and were pummeling them into oblivion with the round-the-clock bombing.

If Ronnie Ray-gun hadn't yanked on the leash of his Israeli pit bull and forced him to wait while the United States Navy evacuated what was left of the PLO from Beirut, the Israelis almost certainly would've done there and then to the Palestinians what the Romans hadn't done to the Jews almost two thousand years earlier. In any case, the message "don't mess with us" was once again clear.

Israel's Right to Exist

With the election of Yitzhak Rabin as Israeli prime minister in 1992 on a campaign of peace and reconciliation with Israel's Arab neighbors, it looked as though perhaps such stiff reprisals might no longer be necessary. In the historic Oslo accords of 1993, the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist, and Israel acknowledged the PLO as the representative of the Palestinians. The Gaza Strip and the West bank of the Jordan River were designated as Palestinian homelands, and Israel and Jordan (the country) signed a treaty ending their 46-year state of war in 1994. Things were really looking up.

A few months ago, however, we found out what at least some ordinary Israelis thought of all this 'peace with the Arabs' stuff when a former member of his own security forces assassinated Rabin as he moved through a crowded public square. Shimon Peres became Israel's new prime minister and tried to continue as best he could his predecessor's policies of peace and reconciliation with Arabs.

When the extreme Palestinian-Arab Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group Hezbollah started firing salvos of deadly Katoushka rockets at Israel from its guerrilla bases in Lebanon in April of 1996, frightened, disappointed Israelis began to cry loudly to their government that perhaps those ingrate Arabs would only take advantage of peace and reconciliation, would only understand the language of force. Perhaps, some said, the only sure policy for security was the old 'massive retaliation.'

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, facing an upcoming election and terrorist rockets raining fire down on those who would be deciding whether or not to vote him into office again, didn't take long to decide. On Thursday, 11 April 1996, Israeli ground-based planes and helicopter gunships operating from navy vessels in the Mediterranean launched a massive, non-stop bombing assault on Lebanon.

On Wednesday, 24 April 1996, the Israeli bombing is still going full-force, but Hezbollah's rocket attacks from Israel against Lebanon remain unabated. The Israelis, who have code-named their bombing campaign "Operation Grapes of Wrath," pledge to continue it until Hezbollah's rocket attacks cease. In years to come, it may be Israel who will taste the sour grapes, since its military offensive in the first six short days already produced 800,000 homeless refugees in Lebanon -- many of whom will probably become embittered towards Israel and provide excellent new recruits for Hezbollah.

On Monday, 15 April 1996, the United Nations Security Council in New York spent the entire day debating the situation but, in the end, could reach no decisions. Finally, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Madeline Albright made it clear that the U.S. position was that Israel's actions were appropriate and justifiable and implied rather obviously that the U.S. would use its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block any punitive measures the council might attempt.

The reactions of Syria and Iran, the two Islamic Arab countries which helped establish Hezbollah in the first place and continue to fund and supply her, have been no surprise: they have loudly decried that Israel is committing a monstrous crime against humanity and must be stopped. Israel, for its part, has pointed out that both Hitler and Hezbollah launched attacks trying to kill Jews and reminds the international community what the countries of the world felt was necessary to do about Hitler. Yet, with all this rhetoric, the average confused bystander surely must be wondering what to believe.

Summary

Two thousand years ago, the Romans committed a great wrong against the Jewish people. One hundred years ago, the British made a promise that that wrong would be made right. Fifty years ago, after the Germans committed another great wrong against the Jewish people, the Americans tried to make up for it by honoring England's promise. But, unfortunately, in the process, they committed a great wrong against the Palestinians, who even today still sit shivering in their refugee camps.

The Palestinian Arabs hate the Jews for taking away their homes. The rest of the Arabs hate the Jews for taking away the homes of their brethren. Finally, all the Arabs hate the Americans for what they did to the Palestinians. So now today, in a region consisting of dozens of Muslim countries twice as wide as the United States, stretching from Morocco on the West coast of North Africa to Pakistan on the Indian Subcontinent, everyone speaks a form of Arabic, obeys Islamic law, and worships a single god most recently revealed to him by Muhammad the last Prophet...

...everyone, that is, except for those living on one tiny little strip of land, forty-seven miles long. For two thousand years, the people there also spoke Arabic, obeyed Islamic law, and worshipped the god most recently revealed by Muhammad. However, those people are shivering in camps on the borders of what used to be their land. Today the people on that strip of the land speak Hebrew, follow the Talmudic law, and worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, Rebecca, and Sarah.

It has been suggested that there are historical parallels between the Arab-Israeli situation and the plight of the native inhabitants of North America (Native Americans / American Indians). However, very few people suggest that everyone whose ancestors came to North America after A.D. 1500 should go back where they came from so that the Native Americans can have their lands back. 

Why, then, was Palestine "returned" to the Jews? 

We were all taught as children that two wrongs don't make a right, so why did the U.S. try to right a two-thousand-year-old historical wrong by wronging the Palestinians?

Such speculation, however, is merely crying over historically spilled milk: wouldn't removing the Israelis yet again, or blasting them out of existence as the Arabs tried so many times to do, simply be more of the same? 

Viewing the Middle East as it is today, should we not seek to learn from past mistakes? 

Shouldn't we seek to learn not only from the mistakes of the Romans and the Nazis but also from the mistakes we as Americans made a mere half-century ago when we sought to offer a quick fix to someone else's problems? 

Good intentions are not enough; surely only listening to and understanding the problems of those who must LIVE there and then giving help if requested will finally bring peace.