I’m angry

I’m angry because straight people get to vote on whether or not gay people can get married.
I’m angry because discrimination against the LGBT community is acceptable in our society.
I’m angry because young gay people commit suicide after being bullied by their peers.
I’m angry because I can’t marry my partner of seven years.
I’m angry because so many people are so happy to go down on the wrong side of history.
I’m angry because Obama won’t speak up for what he believes in out of fear he won’t win re-election.
I’m angry because religion creates more conflicts than converts.
I’m angry because for every step forward, we have to take two steps backward.
I’m angry because I work hard, pay taxes, and abide by the law, but I’m treated as a second-class citizen by my government.
I’m angry because it’s 20-freaking-12 and I still have so much to be angry about.

Obama signs NDAA into law

Well, Pres. Obama waited until yesterday to sign NDAA into law. He knew the news outlets would be focused on New Year’s celebrations instead of the fact that he just put his stamp-of-approval on a bill that effectively destroys the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Oh, and did I mention that it also violates international law? America is supposed to set the example for the rest of the world, and we have just drastically lowered the bar.

Also, when you read headlines on the web to the effect of “Obama signs NDAA bill with reservations” make sure you read the fine print. He didn’t have reservations about holding you indefinitely or not respecting the Bill of Rights. Obama is upset because he feels the bill doesn’t give him enough power. Yeah, he wants to be personally able to determine who gets held indefinitely and where.

He did issue a meaningless statement yesterday to appease everyone saying “my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” but what about future administrations? What if, God forbid, someone like Newt Gingrich were to become president? Can you imagine a certified crazy ass like that having virtually unlimited power to arrest American citizens and hold them without trial?

This might be a bit melodramatic, but I think we just doomed ourselves. Barack Obama is an extremely intelligent guy and he knows exactly what he is doing.

Lowered expectations

I hold Christians to a very high standard, mainly because everything they do is a direct reflection on Christ and other people of faith. While it is tempting to lump all of them into one big category, I realize that Christians can be as varied as as the colors in a box of crayons. Some are as conservative as Rush Limbaugh, some are as liberal as Keith Olbermann, and most are somewhere in the middle.

It probably speaks to my own theological leanings that the more conservative members of faith are the ones that irk me the most, but it also seems that they are the least likely to think for themselves – or even think at all.

Honey started substitute teaching this week, so we celebrated his job change by visiting an amazing restaurant to celebrate. The nearby tables were host to a lively bunch that talked rather loudly and didn’t think twice about mixing two topics that are often considered off-limits at the dinner table – politics and religion.

Over and over I heard “Obama this” and “Obama that” and it was always negative. It seems like he is being blamed for everything that is wrong with this country, even though he hasn’t even been in office a full year. The political banter went on for quite some time, but the most ridiculous statement I heard came from an older gentleman who exclaimed that he was racist and becoming more so all the time. He seemed to take real pride in the fact.

Their racist conversation continued unabated for several minutes before the waitress arrived to box up their leftovers. She inquired about where they were from and they announced they were a church group from Tennessee. And for a brief moment, I was actually ashamed to share the same religion as these pathetic excuses for Christians.

The absurdity of it all reminded me of a conversation I read on Facebook recently. One of my friends posted a status update about Obama trying to convince lawmakers to include funding for abortion in his healthcare plan. “What if his mother had aborted him?” she asked. “She’d have done the world a favor” was the tasteless response that preceded a heated discussion that included such pearls of wisdom as “This will give sluts an excuse” and “Christians should stop paying taxes.”

When I explained that abortion is normally covered by health insurance plans, that Obama is pro-choice (not pro-abortion), and that our tax dollars have killed at least 750,000 people worldwide since 2002, I was assured that while abortion qualifies as murder, killing those we are at war with doesn’t. Interesting logic.

Sometimes I wonder if these people even read the Bible. How did they overlook the core tenets of Christianity like loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you?

Jesus said the two most important commandments are to love God and love your neighbor. If we do those two things, everything else will fall into place. When someone takes pride in doing the opposite, they insult the One they claim to follow and they don’t deserve the title “Christian.”

We survived

Can’t say the same thing for our trees, though. Our neighborhood looks like a bomb hit it. I have lots of photos that I’ll post when I have a chance.

We got around two inches of ice over a 24 hour period and lost power early Tuesday afternoon. Limbs were already crashing to the ground at that point and continued doing so for the remainder of the storm. Some trees are so badly damaged that they will have to be cut down completely. Our electric line was completely severed by either falling branches or ice buildup.

The entire county has been without power since Tuesday. The devastation is all across the area, but Western Kentucky and Arkansas have been declared federal disaster areas by Obama after being hit especially hard. We spent the first night at home with no heat, under multiple layers of clothing and blankets. The temperature in the house was 50 degrees the next morning and had dropped into the 40’s by the next evening. We slept on the floor at our neighbor’s house that night because she has a small kerosene heater. There was no running water when we got up the next morning, but not because of frozen pipes. The water systems had failed for large portions of the city and county due to lack of electricity.

The remainder of this week has been spent running all over the place trying to find kerosene so that we could keep warm. We sat in line three hours to purchase gasoline one day and were finally able to secure some furnace fuel today – from an elderly man in town who has some stored in 55 gallon drums.

Thankfully, a nearby city is starting to come back on line and we have been staying at the home of some gracious church friends who have electricity and water. They opened their home to people they know (us and many others) and even people they didn’t know (our neighbor and her son). They define hospitality.

Although it is expected to take weeks to restore power to our rural area, things are beginning to look up. The sun came out and melted most of the ice today. I am able to access the internet via my mobile phone (go, Verizon!) and through a friend’s computer. We have plenty of food, water, and warmth.

And lots and lots of love…

Is being a socialist really so terrible?

Accusations have been flying around over the last few weeks about Obama being a socialist. John McCain repeatedly points out that Obama wants to “spread the wealth around” and take from the rich to give to the poor – more hysterics from a party desperate to win against nearly impossible odds. While I find it hard to believe that Barack Obama will be some modern day reincarnation of Robin Hood, I also don’t see why the American public is so repulsed by the very mention of socialism.

Our way of life is virtually teeming with socialistic programs that we all benefit from. Our much-lampooned tax system provides everything from schools for our children to attend to roads for our vehicles to drive on. Our tax dollars feed hungry children and adults, provide incomes for the elderly and handicapped, and health care for the poor and aged.

A closer look at the New Testament reveals a Christ who might well have been labeled a socialist if he were still on earth today. After all, he admonished the rich to sell their belongings and give the money to the poor. He stated that the poor were blessed and would receive the kingdom of God. He advocated forgiving our debtors and giving to beggars. Try to imagine the political fallout if Mr. Obama were running on such a radical platform!

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

– Matthew 25:34-36

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

– Acts 4:32-35

However wrong or right the socialism accusations against Obama may be, at least he seems to care more about the “least of these” than any other politician in recent memory. It’s hard to find any fault in that.