| 2011 articles |
Sunday, 31 July 2011
It was one of the most iconic images that emerged from the smoke and rubble of Ground Zero in New York City after 9/11. Two intersecting steel beams from the once massive World Trade Center structure survived the collapse of the globe's most recognizable towers and rose from the ashes as a fitting symbol not just of lives lost, but of the eternal hope of a better life to come.
So moving was the sight that rescue workers and clean-up crews - men and women of various faiths, religious traditions and backgrounds - left it untouched, quarantining it off and shining spotlights on it through the night as a reminder of the hallowed presence of the Almighty, even there in the valley of the shadow of death.
I remember visiting Ground Zero the first time over a year after the attacks. And amidst the emotions of sorrow and grief that at times seemed overwhelming as I looked at the pictures and tributes left by the family members of victims, that steel cross remained as an inspirational reminder that there is a greater spirit that lives inside the human soul that is unassailable by any act of man, no matter how evil or devastating it is.
Yet what the murderous butchers of 9/11 could not bring down with exploding airliners and crumbling skyscrapers, a rabid group of atheists, bizarrely obsessed with destroying the foundation of the very rights they ceaselessly exploit for the sake of self-aggrandizement, are attempting to bring down with a lawsuit.
The organization American Atheists has filed a legal challenge in state court in New York to halt the permanent display of the World Trade Center cross at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
It's important to note the distinction that exists between the majority of atheists in the United States and the fanatical anti-God extremists that characterize this militant organization. Most atheists express little if any outright hostility to organized religion, particularly Christianity. Indeed they are thankful to live in a civilization founded upon the Western values derived from the Judeo-Christian worldview - values like tolerance, brotherhood, and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. They merely seek to exercise their right of conscience (something that they will acknowledge and admit is the product of the country's Christian foundation) to not believe in a Divine Authority.
But not American Atheists. These are the folks who ignorantly theorize that it is their constitutional right not only to be a non-believer, but to never have to interact with, encounter or be subjected to the beliefs of anyone else. Therefore, they belligerently proselytize their unbelief, assailing Nativity Scenes, the Ten Commandments, candy canes, Christmas carols, public prayers, and now steel beams that form the shape of a cross.
Complaining that "the WTC cross has become a Christian icon," the group's president, Dave Silverman, issued a press release stating that the, "government enshrinement of the cross was an impermissible mingling of church and state," and thus violated the Establishment clause of the First Amendment. Hogwash.
Expounding on the true meaning of that clause in January of 1853, Mr. Badger issued the reported findings of Congressional investigations into the Founders' intent in writing it. The Senate committee found that the authors of the First Amendment, "had no fear or jealously of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people; they did not intend to prohibit a just expression of religious devotion by the legislators of the nation, even in their public character as legislators." Therefore, even if American Atheists could prove their accusation that enshrining the 9/11 cross was an intentional expression of religious devotion by lawmakers, it would not run afoul of the First Amendment.
Interestingly, that Congressional inquiry went on to state that the Founding Fathers, "did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation, the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy." And make no mistake, there are no better words to describe a lawsuit to obliterate the 9/11 cross than "revolting spectacle."
Maybe, in the end, that's the good that will come of this case. Though equally irrational, when American Atheists sues a graduating senior for mentioning Jesus or attempts to disbar a judge for allowing a municipal Nativity Scene display, it flies under the radar of the national conscience. But seeking to dismantle the 9/11 cross is such an egregious overreach of anti-Christian hostility, it offends the entire country's sensibilities.
Perhaps it will prove to be the wake-up call necessary for people with common sense, be they atheist or Christian, to rise up and finally say to the radical extremists determined to eradicate our nation's heritage, "Enough."
This column was first published at The American Thinker.
Saturday, 23 July 2011
Break out the pitchforks and light the torches! The leftist media is in the midst of launching a modern day version of the Salem Witch Trials. Except this time the target isn't those who blaspheme against the Christian religion, but rather those who practice it. The inquisition began almost two weeks ago when Diane Sawyer and her ABC World News Tonight team christened a very provocative and alarming "investigation" into the beliefs of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann.
Leading the charge was correspondent Brian Ross, who ominously set the stage, "Operating out of suburban Minneapolis, Dr. Bachmann runs a Christian counseling firm, co-owned with his wife, that at times, according to former patients, has tried to convert gay men into heterosexuals through prayer." ABC then dug up a disgruntled former patient who confirmed this shocking news by whining, "His path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, and pray to God that I would no longer be gay."
Later that same week, former Clinton aide-turned-CNN contributor Paul Begala appeared on Anderson Cooper's program to crank the hysteria up a notch, demanding, "She should be asked about this theory. She's a candidate for president. One out of 10 Americans is gay. She should be asked if she wants to lead a country where at least 10 percent of us are gay or lesbian, does she believe in this crackpot, bigoted theory that somehow there's something to be repaired in our brothers and sisters and sons and daughters who happen to be born gay?" Begala may not be much of a political mind, but he's got the demagoguery thing down pat.
Besides the junk research that hacks like Begala use to advance their cause (the outrageous 10 percent number has been debunked for decades), there are three important observations for reasoned minds to take from this media-generated scandal. First, the hypocrisy.
Remember, this is the same media that found no interest in investigating the friendly relationship between Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, the man who apparently ghost-wrote his best-selling "autobiography" Dreams from My Father. And for a group seemingly so interested in Bachmann's religious views, these same media sources found the fact that Obama sat in the church pew of a racist, anti-American radical named Jeremiah Wright totally irrelevant.
Along with the hypocrisy comes the blatant inconsistency. Irreligious, or at least humanistic liberals, are always quick to point to the Constitutional ban on "religious tests" for federal office when they are touting one of their godless candidates. While butchering the context within which this Article VI prohibition was written, liberals tell everyone who will listen that a person's religious beliefs (or unbelief) are immaterial in considering their qualifications. But then why does Chris Matthews want Republican candidates grilled over whether they believe in a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account? And why does ABC tout the work of a left-wing group "investigating" the Bachmann family's religious views on homosexuality? Apparently the left believes in selective application of the ban.
Finally, and most importantly, the hate and discrimination these liberal media types are stoking by their actions cannot be excused or overlooked. ABC's investigation implies that there is something scandalous about a Christian clinic that seeks to use prayer and Biblical teaching to turn a person away from what the Bible calls sin. Um...is ABC seriously unaware that this is what Christians do? The real scandal would be if a supposed Christian clinic like Bachmann's didn't offer this kind of hope for those with unwanted same-sex attraction.
Remember that in 1 Corinthians, God's Word instructs, "Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." Notice the operative phrase there: "that is what some of you were." In other words, change from sexual immorality, including homosexuality, is possible through Jesus. Thus, when CNN's Begala makes the barefaced accusation that such a belief is "bigoted," we should be sure to understand that he is demonizing not just Bachmann, but 2,000 years of Christian doctrine, and the inspired text of God Himself. Now, who is the crackpot, Paul?
And don't miss the hostile discrimination this anti-Christian liberal mindset demonstrates against those who have benefited from such redemptive therapy...those who are ex-gay. One such man, Greg Quinlan, recently addressed this media hate by writing, "The ex-gay community includes thousands of former homosexuals like myself who benefited from counseling. We did not choose our homosexual feelings, but we did exercise our right to seek help to change those feelings. As a registered nurse, I saw hundreds of gay men die of AIDS before I finally left the gay lifestyle."
But if the Christophobic bigots at ABC and CNN have their way, men like Quinlan will have a harder time making that change as the loving Christian leaders of such redemptive clinics are burned at the stake by the modern prophets of "tolerance."
This column was first published by The American Thinker.
Sunday, 17 July 2011
As the entire country finds itself mired in the grip of heat patterns associated with a bizarre and unpredictable weather phenomenon known as "summer," the global warming crowd has launched yet another media offensive in its desperate attempt to keep its money-making, power-consolidating scam alive. These neo-Marxists of the so-called climate change movement, while careful to keep their "Green is the New Red" t-shirts hidden in the closet, are unabashedly employing the timeless strategy of all radical revolutionaries to never let a crisis go to waste.
Seizing upon every natural disaster that occurs as proof that their High Priest of Doom, Al Gore, is indeed the oracle that the media has declared him to be, these Warmers shamelessly exploit death and destruction like it's their spiritual gift.
Former Democrat Senator Tim Wirth, now heading up a lovely little left-wing operation started by Ted Turner called the UN Foundation, said, "the flooding and forest fires in the United States this year are evidence of ?the kind of dramatic climate impact' climate change models have predicted." Now, I suppose that would be pretty compelling if it weren't for the fact that those climate change models have been designed to predict any conceivable weather eventuality, thus producing a circular, self-validating illogic that only numbskulls and the petulantly dishonest would tout.
In other words, Tim, when your climate change models predict floods and droughts, aggressive hurricane outbreaks and no hurricanes, tornadic winds and breezeless calm, mild to hot summers and mild to cold winters, you have concocted a phony charade where you can claim you were right regardless of what occurs. That isn't science. It's snake-oil. And it's one of the major reasons why the global warming movement has become such a joke.
Al Gore and his band of merry men, once championed as the clarions of contemporary science, now seem better suited for a cartoonish YouTube video set to Katy Perry's anthem "Hot and Cold." And that reality doesn't seem to be sitting too well with them. Just weeks after avowed Warmer, and Sydney Morning Herald columnist, Richard Glover suggested that conservative climate realists who don't believe in destroying industrial economies simply to benefit Al Gore's retirement fund, "have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies," Wirth went a step further, calling for "an aggressive program to go after those who are among the deniers." Given their increasing hostility and choice to flood their language with Holocaust imagery, how long will it be until one of these eco-fascists proposes a "final solution" to the denier problem?
In their defense, I suppose branding or exterminating climate realists may be the last hope this flailing movement has of holding its membership. After all, their commitment to honest science certainly won't help that cause. It is becoming increasingly wide known that manipulating data to support a political end is a favorite pastime of the Warmers. The most recent example of this unseemly habit surfaced when the University of Colorado's Sea Level Research Group was caught adding .3 millimeters of height to its sea level calculations every year. When called on this flagrant abuse of the data, Steve Nerem (the group's director) explained that they pad the numbers because "land masses, still rebounding from the ice age, are rising and increasing the amount of water that oceans can hold."
But wait a minute...if land masses are rising, why does it matter if the oceans hold more water? Even if it increases their depth, it doesn't bring on the cataclysmic concerns of drowning coastlines, engulfed cities, and receding ocean fronts that the Goreian prophecies entail. That inconvenient truth was noticed by climate scientist John Christy, from the University of Alabama, who commented, "To me.sea level rise is what's measured against the actual coast. That's what tells us the impact of rising oceans."
Growing awareness of these types of manipulations, coupled with the outrageous hypocrisy of the global warming crowd's leading voices, have caused more and more rational minds to understand how little this movement has to do with the environment, and how much it has to do with controlling energy - the key to achieving the Marxist goal of controlling people, businesses, economies, and therefore countries.
For the true eco-warriors (those named Skye or Storm, who live in grass huts, chain themselves to trees and drink only the dew that accumulates in leafy vegetation), the reality that their cause has been hijacked by a bunch of usurping globalists has to be disappointing. But while they can't count on liberals like Al Gore or the New York Times' resident Warmer Tom Friedman to practice what they preach, they can at least count on them coming up with fantastic forecasts of doom that scare the ignorant into submission.
It's oddly humorous that the same radical leftists who mock religious fundamentalists for their prophecies of an impending Armageddon rely on the same tactics to generate their own converts. After all, the line separating Harold Camping's prediction of Jesus' time-zone compliant second coming in May, and Tom Friedman's hysterical hyperbole that, "we never know when the next emitted carbon molecule will tip over some ecosystem and trigger a nonlinear climate event -- like melting the Siberian tundra and releasing all of its methane, or drying up the Amazon or melting all the sea ice in the North Pole in summer," is razor thin.
If one's a nut, so is the other.
This column was first published at The American Thinker.
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Much has been made of the recently released Harvard University study that revealed the celebration of the 4th of July holiday was a boon to Republican Party membership, while doing nothing to stimulate interest in the Democrats.
While sure to stir the self-righteous anger of many on the left, I observed something this 4th of July that makes the reason for this study's results self-evident: Independence Day is a holiday for conservatives, not liberals. Now, before my Democrat friends lose all control of their bodily functions, let me explain my point.
There are many self-described progressives I know who enjoyed the family cookout, the parades, the fireworks and music associated with the 4th. They dusted off an American flag and hung it from their porch for a day, and some even popped in a DVD of Independence Day to watch Bill Pullman and Will Smith save the world from alien invaders. But while this 24 hour surge of patriotic fervor was nice to see from those who find flag-waving too nationalistic and xenophobic the other 364 days of the year, I can't help but note that what they were actually doing was celebrating the pageantry of the day, not its principles. That's a meaningful distinction.
It's the same reality witnessed during holiday seasons like Christmas and Easter. Those who reject the divinity of Christ still celebrate the season with chocolate bunnies, decorative egg hunts, gift-giving rituals and even festive music. But they fail to appreciate the underlying significance of what is being commemorated.
So set aside the trappings of the 4th of July and consider the underpinnings of the document that day honors. When you do, you'll see why I say it's a holiday for conservatives and not liberals. The values espoused in the American Declaration of Independence, while still cherished and revered by the former, are scorned and trampled by the latter:
To which the laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them.
The Declaration's claim that there is a transcendent Moral Authority that exists beyond the realm of mortal man, who has established natural, moral laws that man must obey, is still embraced by the right. Such a concept, however, is now seen as theocratic and arcane by the enlightened left.
We hold these truths to be self-evident.
Self-evident meaning they are true whether you like them, want them, appreciate them, or approve of them. Contrast this concept with the modern left's relativistic vision of self-determined truth and you find a wide chasm separating the two.
They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.
Our Founders taught that the rights of man were based on a higher law given by God himself. That is what made those rights "unalienable." If government gave man his rights, our Founders reasoned that nothing prevented that government from removing those rights at its pleasure. Today, as the modern left wars against the existence and sovereignty of God in public life, they facilitate the very destruction of those unalienable rights that our Founders initiated a revolution to protect.
That among these are life.
While the Declaration teaches, and the right still believes, that every human life is inviolable because it bears the image of its Creator, the left has ushered in a culture of death that measures the value of human life not for what it is, but for what it can do for society. If it's unproductive, unwanted, or inconvenient, it can be legally destroyed. So much for unalienable.
That among these are...liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Our Founders wisely understood that no central planning agency could manipulate people into happiness. They reasoned that the happiest, and therefore most productive society, would be one where men were free to self-govern and use their unique gifts and passions to pursue whatever happiness was for them. They were so convinced of this eternal truth that the majority of their grievances against the King referred to his repeated violations of personal autonomy and individual liberty. It's not too difficult to imagine how the men who rebelled against "swarms of officers" who were "harassing our people" and "taxing us without consent" would feel about the modern left's bloated federal government seeking to increase an already high tax burden in order to fund new central programs that tell people how to live.
Firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.
The least religious of all the Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin, observed that, "God governs in the affairs of men," and that the survival of our republic depended upon His providential aid and assistance. While conservative governors like Rick Perry echo those sentiments, the left sues them.
So while it's nice that American liberals take time once a year to celebrate the pageantry of our nation's Independence Day, we'd be a lot better off as a country if they'd join us conservatives in also celebrating its meaning year around.
This column was first published at The American Thinker.