Jesus and the President Caught In Adultery

Then the liberals and Democrats brought to Jesus a President caught in adultery. And when they had set him in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this President was caught in adultery, in the very act. We can’t stand him, and we think he should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, hoping that they might have something they could twist to accuse the President. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger:  Al Franken.  Bill Clinton.  Barney Frank.  John Edwards.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at him first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground:  Gary Condit.  Anthony Wiener.  Gary Hart.

Then those who heard it, ignoring their conscience, said, “Shut up, Jesus.  Stone him!  Stone him!”  And they began to hurl rocks at both the President and Jesus.

Then Jesus turned to the President and said, “I do not condemn you; go and sin no more.”

And the President said to Jesus, “Whatever.  My lawyer paid her to be quiet.  She should have been quiet.”

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.  You all, on the other hand, are condemning yourselves to Hell by ignoring Me, by choosing to walk in darkness.  I’m out of here.  When you’re ready to listen, let me know.“

Then Jesus shook the dust from His sandals and left that region.

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It’s Wrong.

Intolerance, in the form of bigotry, hatred, and violence, is wrong.

 

It’s wrong coming from neo-Nazis.

It’s wrong coming from Islamic terrorists.

It’s wrong coming from the Alt-Left.

It’s wrong coming from the Alt-Right.

It’s wrong coming from Whites.

It’s wrong coming from Blacks.

It’s wrong coming from Middle-Easterners.

It’s wrong coming from other ethnic minorities.

It’s wrong coming from NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, or CBS.

It’s wrong coming from FOX News.

It’s wrong coming from Muslims.

It’s wrong coming from Christians.

It’s wrong coming from atheists.

It’s wrong coming from the President.

It’s wrong coming from ex-Presidents.

It’s wrong coming from Republicans.

It’s wrong coming from Democrats.

It’s wrong coming from the rich.

It’s wrong coming from the middle-class.

It’s wrong coming from the poor.

It’s wrong coming from you.

It’s wrong coming from me.

 

Intolerance, bigotry, hatred, and violence are wrong.  Period.


Note:  I apologize if there are any groups I left out. Intolerance, bigotry, hatred, and violence are wrong coming from them, too.

Move the Dakota Access Pipeline!

It’s rare that I agree with liberals on anything.  I’m a conservative Christian with libertarian leanings.  On environmental issues, I rarely agree with the left-wing environmental whackos who believe humans are an invasive species and are causing global warming.  I believe our natural resources should be used in a responsible manner.  Take care of the environment, but develop our natural resources for the benefit of all.  However, there is an environmental issue that’s been under the radar of the mainstream media where I’m finding myself on the opposite side of the fence from where I usually stand.

Near the small town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, activists have been protesting the construction of a crude oil pipeline which they say threatens the water supply of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and others downstream.  The protests, which began with a few members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe back in April, has grown to an estimated 2000+ people from dozens of tribes across the nation as well as non-Native supporters.  The occupation and protests have been extremely peaceful, with only a handful of arrests for minor incidents.  The rhetoric on social media from non-Native people has been extremely vulgar and racist, and the mainstream media has either demonized the protestors or ignored the protests completely.  The state of North Dakota has blocked off access to the protestor’s camp and removed water tanks.

What’s the Dakota Access Pipeline?

pipeline mapThe Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a new approximately 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline currently under construction which would carry crude oil from production areas in northwestern North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, where it would connect with existing pipelines to carry the oil to the Gulf Coast refineries.  The pipeline is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, L.P., a Texas-based company.

Why Are People Protesting?

There are a number of reasons why protestors are fighting construction of the DAPL:

  • The proposed pipeline crosses under the Missouri River just a few hundred yards upstream from the Standing Rock Reservation, and a leak would potentially destroy the main water source for the Reservation.
  • A leak would also affect the water supply of millions of people further downstream.
  • The pipeline would disturb ancestral sites that the Sioux hold sacred.
  • The pipeline would violate provisions of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.
  • They believe the Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Historic Preservation Act when it approved the project.

Historical Context

By Kmusser - self-made, using National Atlas data and original treaty descriptions.

Map by Kmusser from Wikipedia

In 1868, the Treaty of Fort Laramie established the Great Sioux Reservation, which covered the western half of South Dakota and parts of North Dakota and Nebraska.  This treaty was almost immediately broken by the United States Government.  The United States has subsequently used legislation and force to steal the majority of the land, leaving the various Sioux tribes with ever shrinking reservations.  The Sioux were stripped of their culture, their lands, and their language.  Their children were forced to attend government and church run boarding schools, often hundreds of miles from their families, where they were further stripped of their customs, language, and religion.

Conditions today on the Sioux Reservations are deplorable.  Reservations in North and South Dakota are among the poorest places in the United States.  The Standing Rock Reservation has an unemployment rate of over 80%.  Alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide are rampant.  Most housing is extremely substandard and would be condemned anywhere else.  Only about a third of students graduate from high school.  The tribe lacks basic medical care, infrastructure, and economic development.  There are very few resources to change any of these conditions.

In this context, for the United States government to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline along a route that threatens the primary water source for the Standing Rock Reservation is reprehensible.  The government has already stripped them of almost everything they had, and now threatens to destroy what little they have left.  This is morally unacceptable!

The Solution?  Move the Pipeline!

While many of the protestors want to do away with the pipeline altogether, the best solution I see is to move the pipeline further east to avoid having to cross the Missouri River.  The pipeline could be routed along the boundary between the Missouri River and James River watersheds, minimizing dangers to water supplies and avoiding culturally sensitive areas.  Another option would be to route the pipeline east to the existing Keystone Pipeline, either connecting with the existing pipeline, or building a new pipeline parallel with it.  Both of these two options would cost the developers more than the current proposed route, but would reduce the potential environmental impact and avoid the ancestral sites the Sioux hold sacred.  The oil companies would get their pipeline, and the Sioux would have their clean water source.

Litigation

The Standing Rock Tribe has sued developers over the DAPL, and developers have counter-sued the tribe.  A federal judge is expected to rule by September 9.

How Can I Support the Protestors?

Contact your representatives in Congress.

The protestor’s camp has a gofundme page:  https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp

Legal defense fund:  https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf

 

Obama Has Lost Touch With Reality

President Obama is delusional.

“The world has never been less violent, healthier, better educated, more tolerant, with more opportunity for more people, and more connected than it is today,”

~ President Obama, during a speech at the White House Summit on Global Development, July 20, 2016.

“…less violent…”  Nice, Munich, Dallas, Paris, Baton Rouge, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray, Syria, Orlando, Baghdad.

“…healthier…”   Obesity, zika, AIDS, heart disease, cancer, measles, malaria, MRSA, skyrocketing insurance costs.

“…better educated…” Declining test scores, declining job skills, declining STEM education, failing schools.

“…more tolerant…” BLM, Donald Trump, ISIS, Westboro “Baptist,” anti-Christian, anti- LGBTQ, anti-Muslim, Al Sharpton.

“…more opportunity…” Declining wages, rising food stamp participation, declining household incomes, increased poverty, recent college grads can’t find jobs, declining home ownership.

Social Media Fallacies, Part 1

A trend I consistently see on social media sites it the use of illogical arguments to try to make a point.  It seems that the more emotional the discussion, the more ridiculous the arguments.  The irksome thing to me is that most of the people making these arguments have no idea just how irrational they are.

The current discussion of the Paris terrorist attacks and debate over President Obama’s push to bring Syrian refugees to the United States is a case in point.   I took a random sampling from my Facebook newsfeed, and found numerous quotes and memes that are utter nonsense.  Here are a sampling of them:

The M&M Argument

M&Ms

This is an example of a weak analogy.  The argument is that since you would reject all of the M&Ms rather than risk eating a poison one, we should reject all Syrian refugees because there may be some terrorists embedded.

The analogy breaks down for a couple of reasons.  First, M&Ms aren’t people.  Throwing away M&Ms isn’t a moral issue.  Whether or not we help refugees is a moral issue.  Second, the analogy implies that it’s impossible to determine whether any of the M&Ms are poison – they are all identical.  Refugees aren’t identical.  Some – small children, for example – can be fairly easily determined to not be terrorists.  Unlike the M&Ms, there are vetting procedures in place that can reliably identify some people as terrorists, and some people as non-threats.  Granted, these protocols aren’t foolproof, and extreme caution should be taken.  Still, unlike the M&Ms, it’s not random chance.

The Problem is Religion

The Problem Is ReligionThis one is an example of the fallacy of prejudicial conjecture.  An emotional, arbitrary, and ill-informed opinion is substituted for an accurate and factual assessment of the issue.  There is no factual basis for this argument.

It’s also an example of wishful thinking and manipulative propaganda.  Just because someone has an anti-religious beliefs doesn’t make religion bad.  Propaganda is defined by Webster as “the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.”  This argument is really nothing more than a weak attempt to exploit the legitimate issue of terrorism in order to discredit God.

It’s also an example of a red herring argument.  It’s an attempt to distract from the actual issue being debated or discussed.

The entire argument is shown as preposterous when one uses the same form to argue against other issues:

FOOD poisoning

Homeless Before Refugees

Here are a couple that are very similar:

Homeless

There are a couple of logical fallacies embedded in these memes.

First, like many memes, the pictures are selected for their appeal to emotion.  Look at that poor little child!  Look at those homeless veterans!  How could you be so cruel as to ignore them and help refugees?  Tugging on people’s emotions is not a rational argument.

A second fallacy is the either – or fallacy, also known as bifurcation or a false dilemma.  These memes present us with a choice:  Either you support the American homeless, or you can support refugees.  It’s one or the other.  We can’t do both.  The fallacy is that in reality, we do not have to choose one or the other – we can do both.  In a bifurcated argument, the possibility of alternative solutions is ignored.

You’re an Idiot!  Look – a Squirrel!

obama-manilaIllogical arguments aren’t limited to social media memes.  There was a link on my newsfeed to a news report of President Obama making the following statement in regards to those who oppose Syrian refugee immigration:  “Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America.”

This is a typical ad hominem attack.  An ad hominem attack is simply an insult or name-calling.  It’s not a rational argument; it’s attacking the person, rather than their argument.  It’s typically used when the person making the attack has run out of valid arguments, and so they resort to name-calling.

It’s also a classic strawman argument.  A strawman argument first distorts the opponent’s actual position, making it easier to argue against.  Almost nobody is claiming that Syrian widow and orphan refugees pose a threat; it’s mostly the males of military service age that people have expressed concern over.  However, by falsely implying that those who oppose Syrian refugee immigration are against widows and orphans, it’s much easier to argue against than their actual position.

Not So Scary

Refugees in Cincinnati

This photo was posted by several people, and was accompanied by this text:

I saw a friend of a friend post this picture and felt I needed to share it. It is a picture of the first refugee family from Syria to be settled in Cincinnati, Ohio after they arrived yesterday.

A big faceless unknown is scary, I know, but when you put a face to it and see exactly who these refugees are, I believe that’s where we can all start seeing the truth behind this crisis and exactly who is being effected by this.

When we understand something, it’s a lot less scary and a whole lot easier to be compassionate towards others. This is something I feel relates to almost all aspects of life, not just this single issue.

Again, the photo is an appeal to emotion.  Look at those faces.  They’re not so scary, are they?

The language is also an appeal to emotion, not a rational argument.  A friend posted this.  The unknown is scary.  We need compassion.  This is nothing but playing on people’s emotions, and is not a rational basis for determining public policy.

This also falls under the fallacy of a biased sample.  The argument is that these people are representative of all of the 30,000 refugees we plan to bring in to the United States.  Just because someone posts one photo of one refugee family, it doesn’t mean all refugees are the same.  There are also photos of scary-looking male refugees floating around the Internet – which are just as biased.

Don’t be a Hypocrite!

Let’s look at one more:

Hypocrite!

This is a Tu Quoque argument.  Tu Quoque, or the appeal to hypocrisy, is a fallacy in which one attempts to defend oneself from criticism by turning the critique back against the accuser.  It basically says, since you don’t live up to your own position, your position is invalid.  This is a form of red herring argument – an argument designed to distract from the real issue.  It’s just creating a diversion, and it’s not a rational argument.

Conclusions

My point with all of this isn’t to argue for or against Syrian immigration, but rather, to point out how silly and misleading many of the arguments are.  It’s also to point out just how gullible people are, since they see these silly arguments, but have no idea they’re nonsense.

This isn’t to say that illogical arguments can’t be effective.  We all use common fallacies when trying to persuade others, and these arguments can often drive a point home.  The problem is, these arguments are misleading and often play on emotions rather than reality.

Fallacious arguments aren’t limited to social media or to political discussion.  They’re found in science textbooks, legal cases, and the network news; they are used in discussions involving religion, politics, sports, and just about every other topic, especially when attempted persuasion is involved.  We all must be discerning and learn to spot faulty logic in order to not be persuaded by ignorance.


Republicans, Democrats, and Kim Davis

Kim Davis

Thoughts on the Supreme Court ruling on Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage BarsThis past Friday, the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of legalizing gay marriage nationwide. Time will tell, but I believe that this ruling, along with Roe v. Wade, and a few others, will lead to the eventual downfall of the United States. Judgement Day is coming, and I believe God’s judgement has already begun.

How should Bible-believing Christians respond?

First, Christians must reject hatred of homosexuals and their supporters. We must hate sin, but show the love of Christ to sinners. It’s easy to forget that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We need to understand that not all who claim to be Christian are actually born-again followers of Jesus Christ, and that many saved Christians are spiritually immature, and are easily deceived by Satan’s lies. We need to remember that we, too, still sin, and we, too, need to seek forgiveness daily from our Lord and Savior for the sins we still commit. We need to “remove the plank” from our own eyes before we try to “remove the speck” from someone else’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5). The Bible 070812_0138_pushingpeop1clearly teaches homosexual activity as sin, describing it as an abomination. Followers of Christ must not compromise this truth. However, we must also not compromise Christ’s love. Christ-followers need to speak the truth, in love. We can use the issue as a means to open discussion to share the Gospel with the lost.

I’ve been a bit dismayed by the number of self-professing Christians who have come out on social media as supporting gay marriage. Dismayed, but generally not surprised, although some of the individuals have been a bit surprising. There are many people who profess Christianity, but who don’t actually know Jesus, and the issue of gay marriage seems to be rooting a lot of them out. This is not to say that someone who supports gay marriage is necessarily unsaved, but it certainly has brought a lot of the pretenders out into the open, and shown the spiritual immaturity and confusion of many who profess to follow Christ.

What is Marriage?

Perhaps Christ-followers need to understand how marriage is actually defined. There are two kinds:

  1. Biblical Marriage: Christian marriage was created by God, and is described in Genesis 1 and 2, and affirmed elsewhere in the Bible. Biblical marriage is between one man and one women – both being believers – and lasts a lifetime. Each leaves father and mother, and cleaves to the other. The purpose of a Biblical covenant marriage is to imitate redemptive covenant between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-33). This definition has been ordained by God since the beginning of creation, and will never change.
  2. State Marriage: This form of marriage is a contractual status given by secular governing bodies for legal purposes. The definition of what constitutes state marriage will change as the culture changes, and legal challenges force it to change.

The first kind of marriage is a covenant between Believers, approved by God. The second is a secular legal status.

weddingThe difference between these two kinds of marriage illustrates how, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are no longer part of this world. We are no longer to define ourselves and our beliefs according to the opinions of men, but according to the Word of God.

Those who have never placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ cannot understand the things of God. They cannot comprehend their own sin. They do not have the Holy Spirit in their lives to guide them. We cannot expect them to act in a godly manner, because the truth is not in them (John 8:31-32). We should not be shocked or surprised that gay marriage is apparently now the law of the land; it’s completely consistent for lost people to embrace all sorts of sin.

A Question Regarding Bible-Believing Pastors

Is it time for Bible-believing pastors to give up their state approved licenses to marry?

I’m not really sure what the answer is to this question.

One of the biggest legal challenges for pastors and churches that will probably come out of the Supreme Court decision will be the legal status of churches that refuse to perform homosexual marriages. One possible solution would be for pastors to voluntarily give up their licensure to perform legally recognized weddings.

Do we really need the secular state to recognize a practice in the church that it can never understand?

Biblical marriage is from God, not from the state. Back in the day, churches performed weddings and recognized marriages long before governments issued legal documents and recognized status. This wouldn’t stop Christians from registering with the government later to get legal status and tax benefits. Biblical marriage is like baptism or ordination. A baptism does not need to be recognized or registered with the secular government, nor does ordination. Most ordained pastors do register in order to gain certain legal benefits, but it’s not required. Why should Christians be required to register marriages? And, why should pastors be required to be licensed by the government to perform a Biblical practice?

I wholeheartedly agree that it is sin for people to live together and have sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage. But, which definition of marriage applies? For the follower of Jesus Christ, it’s only God’s definition that matters, not the secular definition.

Something to think about. Comments are welcome, as long as they are kept civil.

 

Thanks to Steve Ham for the Facebook post that inspired this post!