Wednesday, August 23, 2006
God, guns and guts
The entire family went shooting today. My Mom and Dad came along as well. For my Mom, wife and oldest son this was the first time they had ever fired a gun (my wife fired one shot with her Grandpa's gun as a kid, but can remember nothing about it, other than it happened). Mom did pretty good, all things considered. She didn't fire more than 20 shots the whole time, but she showed that with some practice and familiarization she'll do quite well.

My wife and son surprised me. My wife not only did well, and showed a very proper respect for the weapons, she's a natural. While everyone but Dad and I fired slow, carefully aimed shots (the right way for first-timers), some folks still aren't that great with a gun when they take their time. My wife not only put most of her shots where she aimed them, she placed them close together as well. In gun parlance, she fired some tight groups. She was only intimidated before firing off the first round of .38 Special. After that she was fine, including when firing magnum rounds.

My oldest son, who is only 8, was also only intimidated before firing his first round of .38 Special. Both he and my wife had started with a BB rifle (for learning sight alignment), then a single shot .22 rifle, then a .22 revolver and then my S&W Model 19-4 .357 Magnum. My son only shot .38 Special rounds with it and my wife graduated to magnums and also tried out my department-issued 9mm. Not only did my son do well each step of the way, he was also pretty doggone accurate too. I was truly surprised, impressed and proud of both of them. My youngest, who is 4, ended up getting to plink out about 10 shots with the BB rifle and was thrilled about it.

This country was founded upon a healthy respect (and worship) for God Almighty. That explains, in large part, our providence and blessed existence. Throughout our history we have always maintained a continuous possession and use of firearms as well. Ask the military leaders of any nation who ever considered invading us if the fact that so many of our civilians own firearms caused them to shudder, even just a little bit. I'll bet the answer was "yes". This country has also been made great in part by the courage of our people. This courage is displayed not only in the bravery and sacrifice of our soldiers, but also by men women, even children sometimes, who have stood for what is right along the way, despite the risk or actual instances of them losing their lives or their livelihoods for what they did. Men like Martin Luther King Jr., and women like Rosa Parks. Abraham Lincoln expressed tremendous personal courage, as did Sam Houston. The various men and women, a great many policemen and firefighters, in New York during and following September 11, 2001 also displayed amazing and admirable courage.

God, guns and guts made this country great. What a sad thing it is that today there are so many who would have all three replaced by humanism, pacifism and submission to others. One day Jesus will rule the earth and we will pound our swords into plowshares, as there will no longer be any war (until a sizable segment of the human population turns on the most perfect leader mankind will ever see--they will be wiped out, in case you are wondering). As much as I enjoy and appreciate guns and shooting them, I'll enjoy so much more the reign of Christ, which will be free of weapons of war and harm. Until then I will protect my family and household with a firearm and will enjoy shooting them with my family. I have to say, and the NRA has emphasized things such as what my family did today for years now, this was one of the most enjoyable times we've spent as a family.

We would all do well to realize what has not only made this nation great, but to understand that it was those most noble to helped bring it about. While God is ultimately responsible for it, and to Him be the glory, it wasn't self-absorbed humanists, anti-social pacifists and "nothing but diplomacy until we bow before our enemy" liberals/Socialists/Communists who contributed positively to this nation.
 
posted by Joab at 8:49 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
Monday, August 14, 2006
Why do we view Israel as the "good guys"?
The inspiration for this post is a story in The Independent, a British rag. An excerpt:
On the Arab American side, many have expressed reluctance to stand up and be counted among the protesters for fear of being tinged by association with Hizbollah, which is on the United States' list of terrorist organisations. (As a result, the voices heard during the protests tend to be the more extreme ones.)

Whoa! What?!? Please cite your sources for this bit of data...Arab-Americans would protest against Israel and/or the U.S. if it were not for fear of being nudged up against Hizbollah? Goodness knows that hasn't stopped many Arab-Americans (I'm looking at you, Dearborn, Michigan--home of pro-Hizbollah Arab-Americans who demonstrated openly) from protesting. Another excerpt:
They are even afraid to donate money to help the civilian victims of the war in Lebanon because of the intense scrutiny Islamic and Arab charities have been subjected to since the 9/11 attacks.

Oh, really? Again, where did this data come from? Hizbollah? And this comes on the heels of the disrupted terrorist plans to blow up multiple commercial airline flights eminating from England...with media reports suggesting that the plan was funded in part by donations made to Arab groups that were meant to aid the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan!! Good grief, did George Galloway write this?
The media, more generally, has left little doubt in the minds of a majority of American news consumers that the Israelis are the good guys, the aggrieved victims, while Hizbollah is an incarnation of the same evil responsible for bringing down the World Trade Centre, a heartless and faceless organisation whose destruction is so important it can justify all the damage Israel is inflicting on Lebanon and its civilians.

Oh boy...I need to make a list.
  1. Israel, since its founding as a nation, has always maintained very good diplomatic ties with the U.S. Doubtless, Israel is aware of the key players involved in it regaining the land God gave to the nation.
  2. We are not now, nor have we ever been, at war with Israel. While we are not at war with Hizbollah specifically, we are at war with Islamic terrorists. That's plenty close enough to being at war with Hizbollah. I would not be surprised if Hizbollah members have gained experience in Iraq during our war there. Further, Hizbollah hates the U.S. almost as much as it does Israel. Ditto most of the surrounding nations. There is no real difference between those who made the 9/11 attacks possible, the insurgents in Iraq and Hizbollah.
  3. Israel has a democratic government, as opposed to a theocracy, autocratic monarchy, other oppressive government or a puppet regime.
  4. At one time or another, ALL of Israel's neighbors (and extended neighbors) have expressed a desire to wipe it from the map. Some have even tried to do just that. America has traditionally cheered the underdog.
  5. Israel and the Palestinian Authority both receive U.S. aid. Yes, we supply/sell weapons to Israel. We do so to other countries as well, including some who are Islamic. We have sold F-15 jets to Saudi Arabia, for example. Apart from military matters, and more importantly, compare what Israel has done with aid money versus the Palestinian Authority. Or Lebanon.
Israel has built hospitals, schools, spent on agriculture and constructed magnificent cities. They have spent wisely. And what has the Palestinian Authority done with its aid money? Well, it's spent a lot of it on weapons and such so it can exercise its extreme hatred on Israel. Its leaders have pocketed the rest, and yet the Palestinians love their leaders. Lebanon has allowed itself to be bullied by Syria and Hizbollah (Iran too). Yes, Lebanon desired democracy last year, and its citizens turned out in record numbers to protest. Still, this is a country that was embroiled in a civil war for years and years. The reason it is so weak is because its citizens have chosen religious civil war and disputes over progress. This is a theme found throughout Islamic nations in the Middle East: Shiites versus Sunnis. When they have no common enemy to fight they turn on each other. And what do they have to show for it? Were it not for oil most of the Middle East would find itself in an even more lowly state.

Israel is a model nation. It has become a modern, mature state in only 60 years. The other Middle Eastern nations have existed (in one form or another) for so much longer--20+ times longer in some cases--and are still living in the Stone Age. Why? Because they have chosen to. You can find modern-looking Islamic cities, but none of them have an entire country that compares to Israel. The nation of Israel is a success story; it is what we hope for the entire Middle East to become. And for that we are hated along with our Israeli friends.
The point is not that this viewpoint is necessarily wrong. The point - and this is what distinguishes the US from every other Western country in its attitude to the conflict - is that it is presented as a foregone conclusion. Not only is there next to no debate, but debate itself is considered unnecessary and suspect.

Yes, but there is nothing to debate. The position is necessarily RIGHT. So why would anyone argue against the obvious? As I've illustrated above, the decision is plain. And it is not just George Bush and his army of neo-cons who view Israel as the "good guys". Many Christians do for religious reasons (they being God's chosen people and all). Even the liberal/Socialist left in the U.S. Congress sides with Israel.
Often, the coverage has been hysterical and distasteful. In the days following the Israeli bombing of Qana, several pro-Israeli bloggers started spreading a hoax story that Hizbollah had engineered the event, or stage-managed it by placing dead babies in the rubble for the purpose of misleading reporters.

Oh baby...now The Independent has stepped from mere stupidity into manic idiocy. What about this, this, this and this? And, of course, the Reuter's photos that were purposely altered. The so-called "radical" part of Islam has been using civilians as props for years, and indoctrinating their youth to hate all things not Islamic for just as long. Is it inherently bad to question an Islamic hate group, like Hizbollah, regarding their claims? Especially when their credibility is atrocious? And if there is evidence that such claims might be inaccurate, is it wrong to form opinions...like those formed by The Independent? Evidence such as this, this and this, among others.

I take no enjoyment in bringing forth the sinful, pre-salvation life I led, but here we go...The Independent has its panties in a bunch. Why? 'Cause pimpin' (for Islamic fascism) ain't easy!
 
posted by Joab at 9:42 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
The fruit of Islam
No, not Farrakhan's bunch (the Nation of Islam's "bodyguards" are called The Fruit of Islam). I'm speaking of the results of Islamic belief.
16"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?

17"So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

18"A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

19"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

20"So then, you will know them by their fruits. {Matthew 7:16-20}

While Jesus was speaking more specifically of false prophets (v.15) He makes a larger point about the fruit we bear. A bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Islam is a bad tree.

Riehl World View has a post of some Islamic street justice. Warning: the images are disturbing. The gist of the story is that two members of Islamic Jihad pronounce a 22-year old Palestinian man guilty of aiding Israel and gun him down in the street. They then kick his corpse and allow bystanders to move in close. These bystanders are not innocents but filthy vultures, who jockey for position to take pictures of the dead man with camera phones. Then they let the mother of a dead Islamic Jihad member, whose death the man they just gunned down is blamed for (in part), to come forward. What does Mama do? She stomps on the corpse too. How very uncivilized, barbaric and, well, unfruitful. The Islamic sect of the world would have us believe they are persecuted at every turn, yet this is but one result of the fruit of Islam. Women are repressed and demeaned, "justice" means losing a hand for minor thefts or, worse, being gunned down in the street without a trial. Moreover, while many within and outside of Islam would have us believe it is a religion of peace, hijacked by radicals, a study of Islamic beliefs shows that the radicals are more perfect practitioners of this religion than are the moderate/liberal members. We shall know them by their fruits, and we see the fruits of Islam in Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, suicide bombers, the use of human shields, speeches and sermons filled with hateful, caustic remarks and so on. In fact, they are so unfruitful that they even war within themselves (Sunni vs. Shiite).

I'm done listening to those who practice Islam and would tell me that it is unfair to view their so-called religion of peace harshly, and to view all terrorists as the face of Islam. Truth be told, it appears that the terrorists are the soul of Islam, and all these moderates who complain about how we view Islam are making little to no effort to confront the evil within their midst. Perhaps that is because they know better than others how they will be dealt with. But until they are willing to term evil as evil, and do something about it I do not wish to listen to their rhetoric which states Islam is good and I am wrong to view it otherwise.

We shall know them by their fruits. What fruits of Islam do you see displayed to the world?
 
posted by Joab at 8:10 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Yes, and this is why I do not trust the MSM
The MSM...mainstream media. Our vanguard against governmental tyranny and exposer of truth. When the government has the nerve to lie or hide scandal, the MSM is there to keep us abreast of the real truth. Watergate? Check. Mi Lai? Check. The NSA "scandal"? Check. Oh, no, wait. Uncheck.
The New York Times' public editor, Byron Calame, publishes a startling admision from Bill Keller regarding the publication delay of the most explosive story in his short reign as managing editor. Earlier, when Keller told people that the NSA surveillance story got delayed from December 2004 based on requests from the White House, speculation circulated that the story had actually gotten shelved before the presidential election. Now Calame confirms that Keller lied about the publication history of the Lichtblau/Risen effort

That would be the same Bill Keller who has denied that the NYT has had any ulterior motives politically, is a bastian of journalistic purity and which only releases such stories (particularly the SWIFT story) after much careful consideration, hand-wringing and wrenching of the gut. Turns out Mr. Keller has a credibility problem, though that's not surprising to those of us who are wary of the MSM. The Times is a liberal publication, read and supported by liberal readers. It is also sinking fast, with subscriptions dropping rapidly. And, somehow, it continues to maintain its standing (at least among other journalistic outlets) as the "paper of record" and the fulcrum of the news. As for me, I've little use for the Times, or CNN, or the networks, or Fox. They simply are not trustworthy.
 
posted by Joab at 10:01 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
My faith and my politics
This should probably have been my first post, but here it is anyway. I am a Christian who attends a Baptist Church. I do not identify myself as a Baptist, but as a Christian. Linking yourself to a denomination, in my opinion, leads to sectarianism and other problems. This tends to lead to disputes with other professing Christians in doctrinal matters; disputes that are largely wastes of time. I tend to read the Bible literally and I am what is commonly known as a Calvinist. I fit well the general definition of "fundamentalist Christian", but if you try to shove me into a pre-conceived understanding of where I stand you will be surprised to find yourself in error.

For instance, I am a law enforcement officer professionally, yet I would not oppose the decriminalization of marijuana. Why? Because the people who want to smoke weed already do so, even though it is illegal, and in almost 20 years of work I cannot recall a single instance of someone smoking pot and then doing something wrong. However, I regularly encounter people who drink legal alcoholic products and do plenty wrong. I don't advocate smoking pot, but I fail to see the harm done by it from a secular perspective. It might be a sin to smoke weed (it's not something specifically addressed in the Bible), but my own opinion is that it's less harmful to society than alcohol. I do not advocate making any other street drugs legal, in case you were wondering.

I am politically libertarian. My view is that the government should be small and that it should keep its nose out of my business and out of my wallet. As much as possible that is. "But," many Christians would ask, "if you don't have laws governing behavior we would have a society of brutes, rogues and wanton sinners!" Actually, no. Those people are that way irrespective of existing laws and customs. It is their nature, plain and simple. The truth be told, the death penalty is NOT a deterrent. No one whose passions are inflamed to the point of murder suddenly stops what they are about to do, or are already doing, because they realize the state they are in has the death penalty.

I believe that, as much as I'd like the U.S. to be a truly Christian nation, you cannot legislate morality. For starters, people who have differing views will always resist legislated morality. Dissent does not make for a peaceful society. Secondly, if we allowed any religion to impose its morality upon the masses we would find ourselves governed by a theocracy. While an Islamic theocracy is obviously bad let me assure you that a Christian one would almost certainly be as bad--possibly worse. Why? Well, have you ever heard the saying, "The problem with capitalism is the capitalists"? It is true that capitalism, in a sterile form unsullied by human influence, is a great economic model. However, in practice capitalism is sullied by human influence, and so too would be a Christian theocracy. While those who are saved through faith in Christ are reborn, they remain sinners, subject to the wiles of both Satan and the bad influence of themselves and others. As but one example of why a Christian theocracy would be bad I offer you the crusades, which came under a time of incredible power exercised by the Roman Catholic empire.

I try to walk a balance between my faith and my politics. It's not as hard as one might think. To be frank, the biggest conflict I have is with other Christians who fail to see things the way I do. These folks, for instance, want a Constitutional amendment which bans gay marriage. Me? I say keep your hands off the Constitution and let it be a matter decided by the states. Oddly enough, my position has the backing of the Constitution, while theirs does not. That, in a somewhat large nutshell, is how I balance faith and politics.
 
posted by Joab at 6:48 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Friday, August 11, 2006
Homosexuality and Islam
I am quite weary of persons in the United States, particularly celebrities who have ready access to media, who complain about the conditions found in this nation. I speak of the liberal-minded. They vent their venom toward George Bush, the Republican Party and "right-wing" (i.e. conservative, or fundamental) Christianity most frequently. One of the gripes these people have is with homosexuals and homosexuality, and how our society deals with it.

For the record, the Bible clearly pronounces homosexuality to be sin. In fact, it is termed an "abomination", which spells out God's view on the matter plainly. If God opposes it then I cannot be in favor of it, lest I separate myself from Him. However, the Bible also clearly pronounces sex outside of marriage as sin, be it pre-marital sex or adultery. Further, God does not state that one of these sins is more horrible than the others. They are all filthy sin. Period. I thought I should mention that as part of this post.

Now, let us examine the state of homosexuals in the U.S. to their state within Islam. While the U.S. is said to be a primarily Christian nation (I would argue that it is not, but that's off topic) we find in today's world a host of other nations which are ruled or populated primarily by Islamists. In point of fact, Islam is not just a religion, it's a way of life; a societal norm and precedent. In fact, I defy the reader to name one nation that is populated predominantly with Islamic people and which is tolerant of homosexuality (by "tolerant" I mean that gays and lesbians can be so openly, without having to live in constant fear of reprisal). No such nation exists. It's one thing for men to secretly, shamefully engage in sex, quite another for such men to publicly identify themselves as homosexuals. So, let's begin with how Islam views homosexuality.

The Qua'ran verses that address homosexuality essentially view it as a type of adultery. There is a punishment for it, but repenting brings about a release from that punishment. However, within Islam there is not only the Qua'ran, but also The Hadith, which are supposed sayings of their prophet Muhammad. Here you find a more harsh view, and one more closely followed in many Islamic nations. This site states that some Hadiths call for men engaging in homosexuality to be killed (the one doing it, and the one it is done too). Lesbianism is pronounced as illegitimate. In some Islamic schools of thought homosexuals who engage in sex are either beaten or killed, depending on whether they are married.

This site states, concerning homosexuality and Islam:
Islam is probably the most rigidly and inhumanly anti-homosexual in its practices of all the world religions. The verses from the Koran condemning homosexuality are much clearer than those that the Christians use. In all Muslim countries and all areas where the Islamic Sharia law is enforced homosexuality is strictly illegal. All of Islam fits within the area of Christianity that we call "fundamentalist" with regards to sexuality. The debates in Islam about homosexuality are not about whether it is acceptable, but merely about how severe the punishment should be. So although there are liberal and strict elements within Islam with concern to homosexuality even the liberal opinion is the lesser of two evils.

I would opine that much of the Islamic world is becoming, or has already become, more "fundamental" in their views. Thus, there is seemingly less liberal/moderate Islamists out there, and even if they are great in number (which I highly doubt) their voice is simply not heard--or not offered. There is also the Wikipedia entry on this topic, which I choose not to quote from as it's somewhat graphic. Ultimately, one can judge that Islam has some major hang-ups about all manner of sex, which obviously would include homosexual sexual relations. All in all, I believe it is quite accurate to say that if you live in a nation where Islamists are the majority populace, or where an Islamic government rules, you are "up against it" if you are a homosexual. Not only do you risk being beaten or killed for engaging in the sex you (the homosexual) desire, but you are not welcome socially. You are a pariah. In short, there are no gay pride parades in Islamic nations.

Compare this to the United States, where being openly gay is not dealt with as it is within Islam. While it is true that homosexuals in the U.S. can encounter some who are intolerant of them, and in rare cases violent toward them, it is quite acceptable to be an openly practicing homosexual. In fact, the U.S. has laws which protect homosexuals from being discriminated against, solely because they are homosexuals. While the Bush administration, the GOP and fundamental Christians all resist giving homosexuals certain privileges (there is a difference between a privilege and an inherent right), homosexuals can be "out" in the U.S. and not have to worry about being beaten or killed, with rare exception. Some might even argue that being gay has certain advantages in some circles.

I would sum up this post by pointing out to the liberals amongst us that they can bellyache all they want about a perceived lack of gay "rights" in the United States, but before they go so far as to condemn this country as being intolerant and hateful they ought to look at how this matter is viewed and addressed within Islam before they break out the crying towel. While I am not supportive of all things homosexual I would never recommend or engage in the behaviors that would and do occur within Islam and Islamic countries. So, you're gay? That's between you and God. I won't support you being able to marry, receive marital benefits or adopt children. I will also never lift a hand in anger toward you, nor will I ever agree with any punishment toward you based in religion. In fact, I know of no true Christian who would. And please don't lump Fred Phelps and his brood in with me either. Phelps and his flock are hatemongers and I want nothing to do with them. Do not claim that because Fred Phelps pastors a church with "Baptist" in its name that he (and his church) therefore represent fundamental Christianity, let alone Christianity as a whole. You do not want me to paint with so broad a brush, so please do not commit the same bigotry yourself.
 
posted by Joab at 10:14 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Welcome. I'll have this baby up and running soon.
 
posted by Joab at 8:05 PM | Permalink | 1 comments