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.

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What Do I Actually Believe? Part 2 of 3

A Facebook friend recently posted a link to this article by blogger Tiffany Willis, editor-in-chief of the website liberalamerica.org.

Ms. Willis lists 28 reasons why she’s done talking to most of her conservative friends and family members. Her reasons contain some of the greatest stereotypic misrepresentations of what most conservatives actually believe. Whether Willis is simply ignorant, or whether she’s deliberately creating straw-man arguments, perpetuating such ignorant caricatures is divisive and hateful. Willis comes across as a very angry, very intolerant, and very ignorant person.

As a libertarian-leaning, evangelical conservative, I’d like to go through each point of this rant to explain how what I actually believe is quite different from the caricature Willis paints of conservative views. While the views I express are mine alone, they are reasonably representative of what most of my conservative friends believe. Not every conservative will agree with every point, however. I hope that this will lead to better understanding of what many conservatives actually believe, and can lead to productive dialog rather than ignorant rants.

I addressed reasons 1-10 in a previous blog. In this blog, I will address reasons 11-20, and will cover reasons 21-28 at another time.

Here are the next 10, along with some of her comments, and my responses:

11. The Creation Museum — that is all.

You think this is OK. It’s not. These people just make stuff up. Do you really think kangaroos floated from Africa to Australia on rafts? Why are you condoning this ignorance?

I can only assume that “journalist” Matt Stopera is deliberately misrepresenting the Creation Museum in the article Willis links to as her sole argument against the Creation Museum. If he actually spent three hours reading the material in the exhibits, he knows his mocking comments are absolute gibberish. As a former employee at the Creation Museum, I find his nonsensical comments offensive and hateful. I can only assume Willis is either ignorant or just as hateful as Stopera. It’s ironic and hypocritical that she says, “these people just make stuff up,” when that’s precisely what she and Stopera do.

I also find it ironic and hypocritical that the vast majority of arguments I see from evolutionists against creation are mocking rants like this one, or simply saying, “evolution is fact,” without ever providing any actual scientific facts to support the claim. In most debates/arguments on creation vs. evolution, it’s the creationists that argue from the actual evidence, while evolutionists usually use arbitrary unsubstantiated claims, ad hominem attacks, straw-man arguments, and mocking as the basis of argument, while sidestepping all actual scientific discussion. For myself, it was the evidence-based scientific arguments from the creation side and the lack of any real evidence from the evolution side that convinced me that the Bible’s straight-forward account of origins makes more sense than evolution or some sort of mixture of the two.

I have many questions which the evolutionary doctrine simply cannot answer, but which the young-earth creation model provides very simple answers. Here are three of them:

  1. How did life arise from nonlife? Although this is technically not evolution, per se, but abiogenesis (sometimes chemical evolution), molecules-to-man evolution is dependent on non-living matter somehow becoming alive. Even if all the ingredients for life (DNA, RNA, “left-handed” amino acids, etc.) could somehow arise through non-living natural processes, and assemble themselves into the correct structures (ribosomes, mitochondria, lysosomes, and so forth), how would they become alive? Evolution has no answer.
  2. What about carbon dating? Carbon-14 has a half-life of only 5,730 years. After 5,730 years, 1/2 of the C14Decaycarbon-14 present when the organism was alive would be gone. After 11,460 years, 3/4 would be gone, and after 17,190 years, 7/8 would be gone. After about 50-60,000 years, there should be no detectable carbon-14 left in a fossil. Yet, nearly all fossils, including dinosaurs, contain carbon-14 in significant quantities. Coal and diamonds also contain carbon-14. The amounts of carbon-14 in most fossils date the fossils at only a few thousand years old, not the millions of years required for evolution. How can dinosaurs, coal, and diamonds be millions of years old when they still contain significant amounts of carbon-14? Evolution has no answer.
  3. What about the fossil record? Evolutionists usually portray the supposed common origin of all lifeforms as a sort of branching “tree,” with a single “root” in the ancient past, and “branches” representing different phyla, orders, species, etc.
    evolutiontreeHowever, this is not what the fossil record actually shows. The fossil record only shows the “tips” of the branches, more like a lawn or garden, not a single tree.
    orchard-family-tree
    If all life is descended from a common ancestor, why doesn’t the fossil record support this? Evolutionists have proposed a number of hypotheses, but don’t have any actual evidence to support any of them that I’ve seen.

These are just three of the numerous scientific problems I see with evolution. Again, it was scientific arguments like these that convinced me to abandon evolution in favor of creation.

If Willis wants thinking people to take her seriously, she needs to come up with a better argument than nonsensical misrepresentations of creation, while simultaneously claiming creationists are “ignorant.”

12. You’re liberal in youth, yet grow conservative in age.

I call this the Dead Peter Syndrome in men and/or the Formerly Hot Syndrome in women… many women who embraced the sexual revolution are now taking a stance against women’s rights and suggesting that I’m killing babies with my IUD. You don’t get to live it up as a young person and then try to take a moral high ground when you get old and aren’t interested in living anymore.

Willis actually makes a good point: People generally become more conservative as they get older. Even most of the older liberals I know are less liberal than when they were young.

Why do people become more conservative when they get older? It probably has a lot to do with getting wiser with age. Willis may call it the “Dead Peter Syndrome” or the “Formerly Hot Syndrome.” Conservatives call it “growing up.”

Willis also unintentionally points out another problem in the thinking of many liberals. She complains that it’s wrong to “live it up” when you’re young and liberal, then try to “take the moral high ground” when you’re old and conservative. She’s basically saying, “It’s not fair that you got away with crap when you were young, and now you won’t let others get away with crap.” For many liberals, life is all about “living it up.” “How much can I get away with, morally? Right and wrong are whatever I want them to be.” For conservatives, it’s a lot more about doing right, because it’s right. As people get older, most come to understand that morals exist for a reason. The “if it feels good, do it” philosophy eventually leaves one empty. Most people start to realize this when they get older, abandon relativistic morality, and grow more conservative, although some people never seem to get it. It isn’t that people who have become more conservative as they have gotten older “aren’t interested in living anymore.” It’s that they realize they weren’t really living a worthwhile life in the first place.

In my own case, the transformation from liberal to conservative happened between the ages of 18 and about 22. The change was triggered by my becoming a born-again Christian as a college freshman. At the age of 18, I voted against Reagan in the 1980 Presidential election, because I thought he was an extremist who was going to start WWIII. By the 1984 election (at age 22), I was a die-hard Reagan supporter. So much for growing conservative at an old age.

13. You don’t want people who disagree with you to vote.

Oh, Gerrymandering, you ugly devil, you. But do we question why this is so common and seldom questioned by people on the right? It’s because you, my conservative voter loved ones, agree with it. You think it’s perfectly acceptable (and necessary) to suppress the vote. It’s for the “good of the nation.”

I once heard someone tell his wife to not inform her Democratic friend how and where to vote. “She’ll cancel out your vote.”

The argument that, “I once heard someone say…,” is just plain lame. I “once heard someone say…,” a lot of stupid things. It’s irrelevant.

Gerrymandering is a two-way street. Liberals don’t mind it when they get to redraw the lines. California District 38, for example, was gerrymandered to create a Hispanic majority.

California_District_38_2004

Conservatives are more commonly accused of voter suppression because most want to require voters to have a valid identification to vote. Voter ID has nothing to do with suppressing legal voting; rather, it is to prevent voter fraud. People already need an ID to drive, get a job, get welfare or food stamps, to buy alcohol or cigarettes, and any number of other things. Since any legal voter can get a valid ID with very little cost or effort, claims of “voter suppression” are nothing more than propaganda.

I would generally support bi-partisan boards setting district boundaries, but all that would do is shift the problem from, “who gets to draw the districts?” to, “who gets to appoint the board?”

14. Some of your best friends are black. Or Mexican.

A conservative I know professes that “my best friend is black” and balked when I called him and his wife racist. Why did I call him racist? Because my little girl — at that time about 12 — went to a movie with one of her African American friends and his mother. The conservative and his wife were “very concerned” about me allowing my little girl to consort with “blacks.” But oh, no, they’re not racist, are they?

I don’t care how many black or Hispanic friends you have. If you think that mentality is OK, then yes, you’re racist.

Another, “I once heard someone say…,” argument. This is known as a hasty generalization fallacy or an anecdotal fallacy. It’s an irrelevant argument.

Willis is correct that racism is wrong. She just has an intolerant, ignorant way of expressing the point. No matter whether the racist is conservative or liberal, black or white, Christian or atheist, or anything else, racism is wrong. I’ve discussed my views on racism elsewhere, so I won’t repeat myself here.

15. You scream about undocumented immigrant children at the border, but you hire Mexicans to do your dirty work.

I live in Texas. Duh! Every single upper-middle-class or wealthy person I know has at one time hired cheap labor to do their menial tasks like home repairs, yard work, housekeeping, and childcare. They actually seek out Hispanic people because they know that they do good work and that they’ll work for cheap.

OK, yes, it’s hypocritical to hire illegal aliens while opposing illegal immigration. Both wealthy liberals and wealthy conservatives do it. What does that have to do with the debate over illegal immigration? This is a typical red-herring argument. It’s nothing but a distraction from the actual issue.

Here is my take on illegal immigration:

We already have laws on the books to allow legal immigration. All immigration must follow existing law. Is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

ImmigrationThe concept of “law-abiding, undocumented immigrant” is an oxymoron and misnomer. Immigrants who have entered the country illegally have already broken the law. They should be arrested and deported to their country of origin, because they broke the law. The matter of children born in the United States to illegal immigrants, or children born elsewhere who have lived and grown up in the U.S. since a young age, is problematic. If the parents hadn’t been permitted to enter the country illegally in the first place, in accordance with law, there wouldn’t be any dilemma.

Anyone who knowingly entered the United States illegally should be deported. Those who came here as children and have been here for the majority of their lives should be given temporary visas, and given the opportunity to follow existing law to become permanent residents and citizens. No person who has entered the country illegally should be eligible for public assistance. All income should be taxed the same as anyone else.

The United States needs to secure its borders. An electric fence with high-tech monitoring would help significantly, as would immediate arrest and deportation. Additionally, arresting and/or fining individuals and companies in accordance with the law who hire illegal workers would eliminate the incentive for illegal immigration.

If liberals feel the current laws are unjust and unfair, they need to work to have the law changed. Simply ignoring the law, then granting amnesty, is immoral and unethical. It’s not actually about children, race, or justice – it’s about growing the Democrat voter base. Hypocrites!

16. You insist on calling undocumented immigrants “illegals” and “aliens.”

They are human beings. They are undocumented immigrants. Many of them are children. It reallyyyyy makes me furious to see you deliberately depersonalizing these human beings who are doing nothing but seeking the American Dream that you are so proud of.

And you do this on purpose. You know what you’re doing. You’re proud of your very unethical and un-Christian attitude towards these human beings.

Let’s look at a few definitions, shall we? (all definitions quoted from dictionary.reference.com)

Illegal [ih-lee-guh l] adjective

  1. forbidden by law or statute.
  2. This is NOT what conservatives mean by "illegal alien."

    This is NOT what conservatives mean by “illegal alien,” despite what some liberals claim.

    contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.

alien [eyl-yuh n, ey-lee-uh n] noun

  1. a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization (distinguished from citizen ).
  2. a foreigner.
  3. a person who has been estranged or excluded.
  4. a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial.

undocumented [uhn-dok-yuh-men-tid] adjective

  1. lacking documentation or authentication.
  2. lacking proper immigration or working papers.

Immigrant [im-i-gruh nt] noun

  1. a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence.
  2. an organism found in a new habitat.

These definitions speak volumes.

Conservatives see illegal aliens – people from a foreign country who have entered our country in violation of the law.

Liberals see undocumented immigrants – new, permanent residents who have simply forgotten to get paperwork.

Again, most conservatives have no problem with legal immigration, nor do we oppose changing laws to allow more people to legally immigrate. What we oppose is ignoring the law. The term “illegal alien” is neither dehumanizing nor unethical, any more than calling a person who steals a “thief” or a person who tells falsehood a “liar.” There’s nothing “un-Christian” about calling someone what they are. Jesus called law-breakers, “hypocrites,” “whitewashed tombs,” and “sons of Hell.” Conservatives call people from a foreign country who have entered our country in violation of the law “illegal aliens.”

Calling them “undocumented immigrants” is to devalue the rule of law and justice, which you claim to be so proud of. And you do this on purpose. You know what you’re doing. You’re proud of your very unethical and disdainful attitude towards the law.

17. You don’t mind using force against “lesser” groups to get what you want.

Case in point, protesting outside of abortion clinics.

Or protesting at the funerals of gay people. And yeah, I know that is Westboro Baptist Church and not you, but if you refuse to speak out against them, then you’re a part of the problem.

Frankly, you don’t seem to mind using force against “lesser” groups to get what you want.

Case in point, going inside of abortion clinics and getting abortions.

Or forcing Christian-owned businesses to bake cakes for gay weddings. Or subpoenaing sermons in Houston to intimidate preachers. Or not permitting children to read Bibles in class during “free reading” time. Or boycotting Chic-fil-A for supporting traditional marriage. And yeah, I know that is someone else and not you, but if you refuse to speak out against them, then you’re a part of the problem. By the way, Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church was a life-long Democrat, and many conservatives have spoken out very strongly against him.

Oppression is always wrong. Disagreement and protesting do not equal oppression, however.

18. You love war, death, and destruction.

And why do you love war, death, and destruction? Because ‘Murica. Because you think this somehow makes us superior. We may be militarily superior, but we are ethically inferior.

Even when confronted with the lies, now confirmed officially, that got us into the Iraq war, you don’t care. You like for America to be the world’s largest terrorist organization and the world’s most formidable bully.

The claim, “You love war, death, and destruction,” is a baseless ad hominem attack. It was pretty much the same accusation as in #8, “You get excited about people dying.” The statement is just as stupid, offensive, and hateful when framed either way.

Conservatives abhor war, death, and destruction as much as liberals do. Unfortunately, many of our enemies do not. Terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS truly do love killing people – it’s part of their extremist religion. Unfortunately, the only way to keep them from killing us is to kill them first. Diplomacy and compromise won’t work with them any more than it worked with Nazi Germany.

As for the Iraq war, the following Senate Democrats voted for the Iraq War:

Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Breaux (D-LA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carnahan (D-MO)
Carper (D-DE)
Cleland (D-GA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Daschle (D-SD)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Edwards (D-NC)
Feinstein (D-CA)

Harkin (D-IA)
Hollings (D-SC)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Miller (D-GA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Schumer (D-NY)
Torricelli (D-NJ)

(Obama had not yet been elected to the Senate).

I suppose that means all of these liberals also “love war, death, and destruction?”   And that they “like for America to be the world’s largest terrorist organization and the world’s most formidable bully?”

Willis makes the statement, “We may be militarily superior, but we are ethically inferior.” Many conservatives, myself included, believe the reason our country has become morally bankrupt is because we have rejected Biblical morality and instead adopted relativistic morality. Whatever people think is right is right, and whatever people think is wrong is wrong. There is no longer any objective basis for morality. If ethics and morality are relative, what basis does Willis have for saying one set of ethics is better than another? It’s just her opinion. What objective basis does she have for saying war, death, and destruction are absolutely wrong, if morality is relative? It is only because God established an absolute basis for ethics and morality that there is any objective basis for saying anything is ethical, other than simply expressing an opinion.

The rest of the comments made by Willis in her argument for this point are nothing more than more ad hominem attacks and drivel, and not worth the bandwidth it would take to refute.

19. Speaking of war, you think draft dodging is OK and military service is for the little people.

Why doesn’t it bother you that Dick Cheney et al are draft dodgers? Or that Mitt Romney has an entire baseball team of sons and not one of them served in the military?

Cheney received a legal deferment when he became a father. Federal law exempted a parent from military service due to “extreme hardship on dependents.”

Romney had very high draft number, meaning that although he was eligible for military service, his number was never called. He also received a legal religious deferment during the time he was doing Mormon missionary work.

Receiving a legal deferment and being a “draft dodger” were two entirely different things. One was legal, and the other was illegal. The draft ended In 1973, and the U.S. went to an all-volunteer military. Romney’s sons were never eligible to be drafted.

I’m not sure what “et al” Willis is referring to. Far more liberals supported draft dodging than conservatives did. Far more conservatives serve in the current all-volunteer military than liberals. Since the draft has been out of use for over 40 years, current support for draft dodging is a rather moot point in 2015. Nobody currently supports draft dodging, since there isn’t a draft.

20. You claim to care about the Constitution, but in reality you don’t.

Oh yes, you scream “CONSTITUTION” at the top of your lungs, but when idiotic Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently tried to strip the Constitution of the 5th and 6th Amendments, where were you? Where was your outrage?

You love the parts of the Constitution that please you personally — NOT the entire Constitution.

Yet another, “I once heard someone say…,” argument.

Willis cites one example of one conservative – Ted Cruz – who introduced a bill to revoke the citizenship and passport rights of any United States citizen who commits treason by joining a terrorist organization. You can read the bill here. Willis makes the outlandish claim that Cruz wants to deny Constitutional rights to traitors under the 5th and 6th Amendments. While I would agree that the Expatriate Terrorist Act (Senate Bill 247) needs to be amended to provide due process, to use it to claim that Cruz – and all conservatives – don’t really support the Constitution is ludicrous. To cite one example from one conservative to make a claim about most, if not all, conservatives is just plain stupid.

The Constitution of the United States was established as the foundational law of the land. Conservatives believe it needs to be interpreted as written, and as it was originally intended. Liberals believe it is a “living document” that can be interpreted and reinterpreted to suit their wants and needs. The reason they believe this is because they completely disagree with many of the Constitutions very straight-forward, conservative principles – and want to get rid of them.

Constitution

Items 21-28 of Willis’ list will be addressed in a future blog.

Thoughts on Ferguson

19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20 (NKJV)

I’ve held off on commenting on the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri, because I wanted to listen to what others had to say before I commented. I’ve listened to the comments of blacks and whites, liberals and conservatives, Michael Brown supporters and Darren Wilson supporters. What I’ve found is that very few people actually care about the truth. Whether Brown actually had his hands in the air surrendering, or was attacking Wilson, is a moot point to most. Whether Wilson was really a bad cop acting out of racial hatred, or in actuality a good cop fearing for his life, is irrelevant to most commentators. The truth doesn’t matter; what matters is how the truth can be manipulated to gain points in the ratings, donations to causes, or votes on election day.

I do not know what it is like to be a black man in America. I’ve never been pulled over simply because I am white, or questioned by police because I’m white. I acknowledge that I do benefit from a certain amount of privilege simply because I’m a white male. There isn’t really a question about whether certain people have advantages over others. It’s been a fact of life since Old Testament times. The question is, what if anything can be done about it?

I believe there are systemic issues plaguing black men, as well as other minorities. Racial profiling, job discrimination and abuse of power by whites are the most commonly cited issues, but I would include violence, criminality, and immorality from within the black community itself as systemic. Both conservatives and liberals are constantly playing the “race card,” although each group plays it very differently from the other. Network news reports – both liberal and conservative – claim to be against racism, while at the same time fanning the flames of racial division. Racial hatred, riots, looting, and police brutality all raise TV ratings. Politicians of all persuasions use racism to manipulate voters. Companies routinely reject resumes with names like Jamal, DeShawn, or Tyrone in favor of resumes with names like Scott, Connor, or Bradley. Despite the advances made during and since the Civil Rights Movement, systemic racism is alive in America – less blatant, but still thriving. Such systemic racism and discrimination is clearly immoral, but again, the question is, what if anything can be done about it?

A Biblical Response

The underlying issue that gives rise to racism is sin.

Sin is not just something people do; it’s who we are. People are not inherently good or neutral; people are inherently sinners. As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 5, through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. We are all born with the tendency to reject God and to embrace sin. No matter how hard we try to be moral, ethical people, we all mess up. It’s our very nature to be immoral. The answer to racism isn’t to denounce it, or try to change the system. We need to have our very natures changed. And, Jesus Christ is the only way our natures can be changed. Please understand, I’m not saying religion can change us – it can’t. Religion simply hides our sin, or convinces us that our good outweighs our bad. Religion cannot change our fundamental nature. Only a relationship with Jesus Christ can fundamentally change our nature. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Again, please understand, I’m not in any way claiming that knowing Jesus Christ makes anyone a perfect person, at least not in this life. Knowing Christ begins a process in this life that starts changing us in the here and now, but this process won’t be completed until we arrive in Heaven.

Ultimately, the plague of racism will never be eradicated until Jesus returns. We live in a sinful world, full of sinners. We face an adversary known as Satan who uses our prejudices to divide us and to turn people from the truth. As Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12, ” we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” There is nothing we can do to eliminate sin, including racism, from the world. However, this does not mean we simply quit and give in to racism.

So, what can we do?

First, I believe Christians need to begin by following the principle given in James 1:19-20. We need to shut up, until we’ve taken the time to really listen. Those of us who are white need to listen to what blacks and other minorities are saying about the reality and the pain of racism. Too often, we spout out Biblical platitudes without really understanding what the real problem is, and we often sound like hypocritical idiots.  Listen before speaking.

Second, the answer to racism isn’t to change the system. Jesus never commands us to change the culture; He commands us to preach the Gospel. The system is controlled by the devil, and this will only end after Jesus returns. The answer to racism is to bring people to a relationship with Jesus, because only Jesus can change our fundamentally sinful natures.

Third, we need to examine our own lives to make sure we have dealt with our own prejudices and racism. There is only one race. We are all descendants of Adam through Noah. “…There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” (Colossians 3:11).

I’ll finish this post by quoting Benjamin Watson, a black wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints of the NFL. It’s a rather lengthy quote, but I think he sums it all up rather well:

At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.

-Benjamin Watson

 

Thoughts on the death of Trayvon Martin

A verdict of “Not Guilty” has been rendered in the trial of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin. Some have decried the verdict as a travesty of justice, while others have applauded the verdict as justice prevailing. Here are my thoughts:

What actually happened on February 26, 2012?

While some of the bare facts of the events that led to Martin’s death are known, many crucial facts are unknown. It is unknown whether Martin attacked Zimmerman, or whether Zimmerman attacked Martin. While it is known that Zimmerman lost track of Martin about 3 ½ minutes before the shooting, it is unknown whether Zimmerman found and followed Martin, or whether Martin came back and began following Zimmerman. The only two people who knew what actually happened between 7:09 and 7:18 pm were Zimmerman and Martin. Zimmerman’s version is biased to protect himself; and Martin’s version will never be heard. The truth is, the truth can never be known. There is simply not enough evidence.

Was the shooting racially motivated?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably, at least in part, yes. However, there was probably racism on the parts of both Zimmerman and Martin. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons Zimmerman was suspicious of Martin was because he was an African-American teen in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood. Zimmerman was looking for anyone who did not seem to belong; Martin fit Zimmerman’s profile. However, I also suspect that others would have also aroused Zimmerman’s suspicions. A white teen with drooping pants, a scruffy looking middle-aged white man loitering, or a Goth twenty-something would have also gotten his attention. Zimmerman was a wanna-be cop out looking for anyone he could find to feed his vigilante mentality. Martin, on the other hand, was also probably suspicious of Zimmerman because he is a white male. Many (but certainly not all) African-Americans are taught from a young age not to trust white people, especially males in positions of authority. While I certainly do not claim to know how Trayvon was raised, some of the comments I heard from his parents during the trial revealed their own racial bias. Children tend to pick up on their parents’ attitudes and beliefs, so it’s reasonable to conclude that Trayvon held similar racial biases. Did Martin’s racial views lead him to circle back and attack Zimmerman, as Zimmerman’s supporters have claimed? We’ll never know. So, while I believe racial bias was involved, I also don’t believe it was the only motivation. How much of a role racism played, I don’t know; only Zimmerman knows for sure.

Was Zimmerman justified in shooting Martin?

This is really the crux of the controversy. Unfortunately, the answer depends on facts we can never know, as well as how one defines what justifies the shooting of another human being. Under Florida law, there was not enough evidence to convict Zimmerman of the unjustified shooting of Martin. However, this doesn’t really answer the question. There is a wide spectrum of beliefs as to what justifies the taking of another person’s life. At one extreme end, some argue that taking another life is never justified. At the other extreme, some argue that if a person feels threatened in any way, they should be able to take a life to defend themselves. Between these two extremes lies wide range of views. The problem is that most of the views people hold are entirely subjective reflections of the individual worldviews held by each person. There is no universally accepted standard for determining right and wrong. As our country continues to move further away from the foundation of Biblical truth on which it was founded, our collective standard of right and wrong will continue to become more and more subjective and incongruous. Even if all the facts were known beyond a shadow of doubt, I suspect we would still be divided over the issue of whether Zimmerman was justified in shooting Martin.

The aftermath: Media coverage and politics

For me, the most disturbing aspect of Trayvon Martin’s death is the politicizing of the tragedy by the media and politicians on both sides of the aisle. Both sides have played the so-called “race card,” and there has been deliberate distortion of the facts by both conservatives and liberals to further their agendas. For example, NBC News edited the tape of Zimmerman’s call to police. In the edited tape, aired on the March 27, 2012 broadcast of the “Today” show, Zimmerman is heard to say, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” The actual, unedited phone call:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

Even the photos selected have been blatantly biased. The most widely-distributed photos of Martin show a very young looking boy. Others have used photos of completely different people to try to make Martin look like a muscular thug. Very seldom is the last known photo of Martin shown, taken nine days before his death. Images evoke emotional responses; and, unfortunately, emotions count for more than truth.

Young-looking Trayvon

Young-looking Trayvon

Fake Trayvon Martin photo

Last known photo of Trayvon, 9 days before his death.

The racially charged comments and reporting by both liberals and conservatives has been disgusting, yet not at all surprising. Racism sells newspapers, boosts television ratings, and advances political agendas. There are thousands of senseless murders every year that barely get 20 seconds of attention on the local news, or maybe a paragraph buried someplace in the back pages of the local newspaper. The only reason anyone outside of the Sanford, Florida area ever heard the names of Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman is because the politicians and media decided they could exploit the case to their advantage. The senseless death of Trayvon Martin is tragic; the politicizing and marketing of the case is repulsive. Yet, because our society has lost its foundation in the truth of God’s Word, such ghastly exploitation is the accepted norm. Since racism and divisiveness boost ratings and political donations, politicians and news reporters will continue to abuse the truth to gain selfish advantage. The coverage and political commentary have demonstrated yet again that ethics and truth have become irrelevant in American culture.

Was George Zimmerman a hero defending his neighborhood from a juvenile delinquent thug? Or, was Trayvon Martin the innocent victim of racist vigilantism? Or, is the truth someplace between? The truth no longer matters. The truth now depends entirely on your worldview.

Is Racism Biblical?

Racism is alive and well.  Consider the following:

  • In January, two men were found guilty of the racist murder of a black teenager in London and were sentenced to more than 14 years in prison each.
  • After Jeremy Lin, the NBA’s first U.S.-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, committed several turnovers during a game, ESPN published an article about the game with the headline “Chink In The Armor.” ESPN later issued a formal apology and announced the firing of the editor responsible for the headline.
  • An all-white Appalachian church in rural Kentucky has recently voted to ban interracial couples from joining its flock. The resolution states that the church “does not condone interracial marriage.”

Many atheists claim the Bible promotes racism, citing passages such as Nehemiah 13:23-25:

23 In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people.  25 So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves.

So, what does the Bible actually say about racism?  First, the Bible teaches that there is only ONE race.  In Genesis 2-5, the Bible describes all of humanity as having descended from one literal man and one literal woman – only one race.  In Genesis 8-9, all of humanity, except for Noah’s immediate family, was destroyed in a global flood.  All humans after the flood were closely related – one race.  At the tower of Babel, God confused the languages – not the “races” – and humanity was divided into different people groups or nations – not races.  Acts 17:26 tells us that God “has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…”

What about Bible passages such as Nehemiah 13:23-25?  First, note that the passage mentions different nations, not races.  The issue was not physical characteristics, but spiritual.  The Nehemiah 13 passage continues:

 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. 27 Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?” (emphasis added.)

The issue was that the people of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab were pagans – they worshipped false gods.  The Israelites were to worship only the One True God.  Nowhere in the Bible is Israel told to separate itself from other peoples because of physical traits or race – the issue is always spiritual.

What about Christian churches that claim interracial marriage is unscriptural?  Again, the Bible passages they use to justify such a position are always taken out of context, and usually refer to not marrying someone who is not a Christian (or, in the Old Testament, not Jewish).  To put it bluntly, any church that prohibits so-called interracial marriage is WRONG, since the Bible makes it clear there is only one race.  People can pull passages out of context from the Bible to justify almost anything, and this is just plain wrong.  Rather than starting with our own ideas, then finding something in the Bible to justify our thinking, Christians should start with the straight-forward meaning of the Bible, in context, and adjust our thinking to fit what the Bible actually says.

Galatians 3:28 tells us:

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Christian:  Racism should have no place in your thinking.  Period.

God hates racism.  Racism comes straight from the pit of Hell, in order to divide people and lead them away from God.  From God’s perspective, there is only one race.  God created all people through Adam and Eve, and the entire human race descends from Noah and his sons.  From God’s perspective, there are only two kinds of people:  Sinners who have received forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ, and sinners who have not received forgiveness.   “Race,” culture, skin color, and ethnicity have nothing to do with our standing before God; the only thing that matters is whether we have received the forgiveness and reconciliation with Him available only by trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.