Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama Is Re-elected. Now What?

One of my brothers sent me an article with some references to some things said by Charles Colson after the first time Barack Obama was elected President.  The article was by Eric Metaxas and can be found at  Basically, Mr Metaxas quoted Charles Colson to support his view that "America is in danger of forgetting God".  I don't think there is much of a danger of that, but Mr Metaxas's other point was that we need to pray for our leaders.  And I heartily agree with that.  The article begins:
Whether you voted for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, whether you’re recovering from your all-night celebration or drying the tears from your pillow, today’s a good day, as Chuck Colson reminded us, to heed these words of the Apostle Paul: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

This is good advice even if America is not in danger of forgetting God.
The problem is, not everyone believes the same way about God.  Some Americans call God Allah or الله.  Some Americans refer to God as Jehovah or יהוה .  Then again some Americans worship a God who is not like Allah or Jehovah at all. 

And this is a problem with the fundamentalist evangelical Christians. 
But… we live in a democracy, not a fundamentalist evangelical Christian theocracy.  And contrary to the belief that is popular among fundamentalist evangelical Christians, this country is not a Christian nation.  It was founded on principles often called "Christian" and they are, but they are not exclusively Christian.  Here's the preamble of the U S Constitution… many of you, I'm sure, have it memorized:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The principles are:
1.     Union.  Community, cooperation, mutual respect.
2.     Justice.  Fairness, equality, no discrimination.
3.     Domestic tranquility.  Deference to the rule of law, work together, "play nice".
4.     Common defense.  Have each other's back, look out for one another.
5.     General Welfare.  Take care of each other.
6.     Blessings of Liberty.  Let us and our kids and their kids, etc, have freedom, safety, enough to eat, a place to live and grow in peace.

These are Christian principles, and they are principles of other religions too.
This is why I don't think the United States of America is in danger of forgetting God.  Maybe the 1% is.  They seem to almost worship money.  But the 99% generally doesn't want to see others banished, treated unfairly, left to die, or made to live without the blessings of liberty.

We should pray for our leaders, and we should also pray for 100% of Americans.  And you know? it wouldn't hurt to pray for 100% of the people of Earth.  God loves the entire world, his entire creation.  We could even pray for the animals, from our pets to the whales, and everything in between.
Another of my brothers said in an email to me that "we have the weapon of prayer".  I really don't think of prayer as a weapon.  I don't see prayer as something to be used against someone.  Even if the someone in question is quite nasty.

Prayer is more of a parachute, a life-saver.  I was trying really hard not to ask God to "let Obama win".  I prayed for his will to be done.  On Earth as it is in Heaven.  And then, I always added, "And if the ice breaks, help us be tall enough to reach the bottom."  Our focus has been on ourselves, and this country, but we need God's blessing as a species.  God bless this planet.  And if the ice melts help us all to be tall enough to reach the bottom. 
I do feel good about us as a species.  We are pretty danged smart, on the whole, and I believe we're going to make it.  I see God holding back a little to see if we can manage it ourselves, like a little 6-year-old on a bicycle for the first time.  As a parent you want to help and protect him, but you gotta let him learn to ride, and he won't if you don't let him fall once or twice.  Then, you run to pick him up, tell him he did good, encourage him to try again.

The dinosaurs didn't make it, and they got wiped out.  If we don't make it, we'll get wiped out too.  But I think we'll be okay.  Maybe bruised some, but okay. 
Okay, we have 4 more years of Obama and the Democrats.  So, are the Republicans going to reach across the aisle?  Are we going to accept the fact that not everyone is an evangelical Christian?  That some Americans are liberal Christians, some are Catholic Christians, some are Mormon Christians, some are Muslims, some are Buddhists, some are Hindus, and some are even atheists.  But we are all Americans.  As the President said on Election Night in his acceptance speech, "Young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled.  Americans sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America."

If you don't believe in abortion, don't have an abortion.  But don't force your beliefs on others.  Some even point out places in the Bible, taken absolutely literally, where it seems to say that a baby doesn't become a living soul until it takes its first breath.  That before that time it is merely living tissue.  (Genesis 2.7, Job 33.4, Ezekiel 37.5, 6.)  I don't believe that myself, but I won't try to stop you from believing it.

If you don't believe in same-sex marriage, don't partake in it.  No one is going to force you to marry someone of your own sex.  Again, some can point out places in the Bible that support the idea that some people are "born that way".  (Matthew 19.12.)

Some say that God will judge us for allowing abortions and gay marriage.  Some even say that Superstorm Sandy was a taste of his judgment.  Mostly those who say that, deny there's such a thing as global warming.

But if Sandy was a judgment from God, why hasn't he judged us in similar ways for allowing slavery for a hundred years, and not allowing the "freed slaves" to vote for another hundred?  Why did he not judge us for allowing child labor?  Why didn't he judge us for subjugating women to the whims of men for so long?  Why hasn't he judged us for murdering millions of American Indians and stealing their land?  Evil is not a new thing to America.  It's been around a long time, and it's not likely to go away soon.

But we can pray.  Let there be peace on Earth.  And let it begin with me.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

My brother sent me some articles he copied out of Decision Magazine. I tried to look them up on the web, but only subscribers can see magazine articles on the Decision website, an organ of the Billly Graham Evangelistic Association.  The articles were "The Road to Destruction" and "Can an Evangelical Christian Vote for a Mormon?" both by Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham, CEO of BGEA), "A Nation Out of Control: An Interview with Cal Thomas" (Moral Majority, Fox News), and "Putting Our Faith on the Line" by Charles Colson (Watergate, Christianity Today columnist).  Here are some thoughts on those articles.  I've been working on this for quite some time. 

This is from a blog by Monte Asbury (Nazarene Pastor, Least First blogger) titled, "A Bible Argument for Government Aid to the Poor."  You can find it at:

"...[T]he poor, sick, and rejected are easily Jesus’ main preoccupation, getting more space than prayer or the new birth or the end times or evangelism or Bible exposition or worship or family or immorality or any of those things men and women in my position have so frequently preached about.  Jesus goes so far as to suggest that caring for the poor -- or neglecting to do so -- is caring for or neglecting him. He plainly suggests that merely ignoring the poor is cause for eternal loss (see stories of sheep and goats [Matthew 25.31-45], and Lazarus and the rich man [Luke 16.19-31]). And brother, that doesn’t fit our theologies!"

Okay, it's clear we need to take care of the poor, but is it our job?  Or the government's job?

The other day I heard an interview with Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus.  She cited some figures.  If churches were to take over the current budget for the programs that help the poor, each congregation in the country would have to come up with another $50,000 above and beyond their current giving budgets.  Clearly, we can't do it.  Government has to, but.... what does the Bible say about that?

Psalm 72.4: "He [the king] will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor." ...
verse 12: "For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help."
verse 13: "He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.
verse 14: "He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.

Then in Isaiah 1:
verse 15: "When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.  Your hands are full of blood!"
verse 16: "Wash and make yourselves clean.  Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong."
verse 17: "Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.  Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."

The evangelicals have the first part right -- we need to stop doing wrong.  But they have failed miserably and disastrously on the second part -- we need to learn to do right!  And what is right?  To take care of the poor.

Franklin Graham, in the article "Can an Evangelical Christian Vote for a Mormon?", says that we God-fearing Americans need to "restore" America.  He states, "We must use our influence to elect those who will govern with respect for the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman; the sanctity of life; and yes, the protection of God's beloved nation Israel."  What happened to Jesus's emphasis on the poor?  Jesus never said anyone would go to Hell for marrying someone of their own sex.  He never said anyone would go to Hell for having an abortion.  But he did say a person who hurt the poor would go to Hell, Matthew 25.31-45 again.  So why don't we put some emphasis on that?

In the Book of Leviticus, God laid out the plans for an economy in the Promised Land.  All the land given to the Israelites was parceled out equally to all the people, so everyone had a chance to take care of their family and grow the economy.  But as happens among humans from time immemorial, once a chicken was put in every pot, it didn't take long before some had two or more chickens, and many had none.

But, and this is a big "but", every 50 years, everything went back to the original owners and everyone had one chicken in their pot again!  See Leviticus 25.10.  So no one got too rich.  And no one remained poor forever.

So did God intend this only for the Israelites?  A theocracy is a government that is based on a theology, a religion.  Saudi Arabia is a theocracy.  All its laws are based on Islam.  So should we in America promote a Christian theocracy?  I don't think so, because our founding fathers were fleeing a theocracy in England, and wanted to make sure that never happened again! 

But God holds even non-Christian and non-Jewish governments accountable for their treatment of the vulnerable.  See Daniel chapter 4:

verse 27: "Therefore, O King [of Babylon], be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed.  It may be then that your prosperity will continue."

And in the New Testament, notice what Paul writes in Romans 13, that all governments are "established by God," and accountable to him to do good and to punish wrong.  Again, the charge to secular government is two-fold.  And remember, in Jesus’ eyes, standing by while the poor suffer is wrong, and he sternly warns the rich that they may be punished for it.

So even if the US government is a secular government, which is fine with God, God still holds us accountable for "doing good" and "punishing wrong".  So we should stop abortion and throw gays in jail, right?  Not according to Jesus.  According to Jesus we should help the poor and throw the rich oppressors in jail ("crush them" -- Psalm 74.4) .  See Matthew 19.21: " Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."  The guy went away upset because he didn't want to give up his many possessions.

Today we justify our marvelous wealth by saying God has blessed us.  But Jesus didn't come down among us as a wealthy man.  He came to the people he identifies with, those he came to help and save, not those who didn't think they needed him.  "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  ... For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9.12, 13.)  The "righteous" wouldn't have listened to him anyway.  They didn't want anyone listening to him.  So they had him killed.  So much for wealth being a blessing from God!

No, hurting the poor is sin.  Wealth is evil unless it results in sacrifice for the poor.  What is Republican or conservative about that?  Nothing.  It's liberal.  It's progressive.  It's radical!  Go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and then BE poor, like Jesus was. Buddhist monks do this.  Buddhists are more Christ-like than Christians.  Remember what the Hindu saint Gandhi said? "I like your Christ.  I don't like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."  The Hindus too are more Christ-like than Christians.

God doesn't care if you were born liking your own sex better than the opposite sex.  He cares if you're taking care of the poor and the vulnerable.  And he expects rulers and government to do that! 

Now on the issue of abortion, my views are the same as Vice President Biden's.  I believe life begins at conception, and I don't believe there should be abortion on demand.  However, I am "pro-choice".  I just think the choice should be made before intercourse.  If the woman who is pregnant had no choice in becoming that way, then she should be allowed to terminate the pregnancy.  If she did chose to have intercourse, then she should be helped to carry the child to term and the child should be cared for after birth by those with the means to do so.  This is something my brother and sister-in-law did for a young lady in their community.  They used their relative wealth to help and protect the mother, the father, and the newborn.  God bless them!

I just have no good-darned stomach for people who have such great respect for the unborn and no respect for people after they're born.

So here's what I say.  When you go to vote this election, ask yourself, What would Jesus do?  Would he vote for the guy who would allow abortion and gay marriage?  Or the guy who would starve the hungry, withhold water from the thirsty, strip the ragged, deport the alien, abandon the sick, and execute the prisoner?  You find all of these in the Republican platform even if you don't find the word "God" in the Democratic platform.  Lip service is one thing.  Show me what you're going to do to see that the "least of these, Jesus's brothers and sisters," are taken care of.

Randy Jones

Friday, October 5, 2012


When you go to vote this election, ask yourself, What would Jesus do? Would he vote for the guy who would allow abortion and gay marriage? Or the guy who would starve the hungry, withhold water from the the thirsty, strip the ragged, deport the stranger, abandon the sick, and execute the prisoner?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The US is not a Christian nation. Sorry.

The Tripoli Treaty, unanimously approved by the Senate and signed into law by President John Adams on June 10, 1797, between the US and the Barbary States, specifically states that the US is NOT a Christian nation. At that time, the US government was still dominated by those who are today referred to as the “Founding Fathers”.  Article 11 of the treaty has been interpreted as an official denial of a Christian basis for the U.S. government.  Article 11 reads:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

John F. Kennedy, on September 12, 1960, addressed the Greater Houston Ministerial Association.  In that address he stated:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute--where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote--where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference--and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
Separation of church and state was enshrined in the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

What the religious radicals don’t tell people, and what, tragically, many Americans apparently don’t know, is that when it comes to determining what the laws of the United States mean, the only document that matters is the Constitution, a completely secular document, that contains no references to God, Jesus or Christianity.
Now we have Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan committed to overturning the Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decisions through a constitutional amendment that defines life as beginning at conception. 
They are allowed to believe that.  YOU are allowed to believe that.  I am allowed to believe that.  But no one is allowed to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of America.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Retirement got moved up!  As of June 1st I'm a retired person.  The reason is, we couldn't put off moving to Colorado Springs any longer, and my company decided not to let me work from home that far away.  So I gave my notice, and in the process saved someone else from getting laid off.  Things are really that bad in the newspaper business!

So Memorial Day weekend, my son and his buddies will load our stuff into a big rental truck and drive it to our new digs in Colorado Springs.  We signed a listing agreement just tonight for the condo.  With the right pricing, we should have it sold before the end of June.  Well, we can hope anyway.  :-)

So keep watching this space for updates.  _\\//  Live long and prosper my friends.