Archive for June, 2009

Forgiveness

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Ok I have to weigh in on this Sarah Palin/Dave Letterman controversy.

The only reason why is that it appears to be over, so I wanted to go through a little “lessons learned”.

The first lesson is a question. Do any of you think that this was an accident? Those of you who think it was an accident can stop reading because you are also likely to learn that there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny.

This was a manufactured crisis which served the purposes of both people.

It served Letterman’s purpose because his main ratings competitor, The Tonight Show, was changing hosts. There was an opportunity to steal the spotlight and some ratings points. It worked.

It served Palin’s purpose because she had just come off a badly fumbled Republican speaking engagement. This is the one where she was invited to speak, declined because the group was unwilling to make concessions, then when Newt Gingrich agreed to speak in her place, decided to show up after all and make an awkward cameo appearance. It put her back in the limelight in the role of an outraged mother fiercely defending her child in particular and women young and old in general. It worked.

When both parties determined that they had squeezed about as much publicity out of the stunt as they could, they both agreed to end it.

The second lesson is a little more subtle. It was a litmus test of political correctness on the right and left. What it proved is that when the right feels as though one of its own have been the victim of “hate speech”, they fall right in line saying all of the same things as the left does when it feels that one of its own has been treated unfairly. So at the end of the day, you have the curious juxtaposition of Fox News commending Sarah Palin for her gracious acceptance of David Letterman’s apology for “inciting men to rape underage girls”, while at the same time defending itself for inciting murder by calling Dr. Tiller a “baby killer”.

The last lesson is a word to the wise. The human can only aspire to the divine, it can never duplicate it. As a result, nothing is completely black or white. Those who describe it as such have another purpose for doing so. They have another agenda that you may or may not be aware of. You have passed the first test for wisdom when you hold your favorite sources of information up to the same scrutiny that they bring to bear on the those they disagree with.

Healthcare

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

“Physician health thyself” Luke 4:23

For all of those out there who have cried socialism at the prospect of healthcare reform, here’s a little more information on how the current free market system is serving Americans.

The American Journal of Medicine recently published a study which documents that 62% of ALL the bankruptcies in 2007 were attributed to medical problems. Not job loss. Not home foreclosure. Not irresponsible speculation or drug addiction. These were people who got sick, needed care, in most cases had insurance, and still couldn’t pay the bills.

Also the rate of bankruptcies due to medical costs rose 50% during the Bush administration.

This is all the more disturbing because the data came from a period before the current financial collapse.

This wasn’t just poor people either. These were middle class families who exhausted their life savings trying to pay their bills.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a system where hard working people can’t afford to fall ill.

That’s why the government has to step in to provide at least some baseline level of affordable coverage which doesn’t bankrupt individuals or businesses. You can call it whatever you want, but it is clear that those countries who are making this investment have lower healthcare costs per citizen, healthier populations, more financially secure citizens, and more profitable businesses.

As we’ve seen with the recent financial collapse, the free market system is not the answer in all circumstances. Healthcare is just another example. Kudos to the Obama adminstration for recognizing that the key to our recovery is dramatic change in the way healthcare is delivered in this country.

Winning

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

How do you win the war on terror?

If we are talking about military steps, in the modern era we say it is over and go home.

The Obama administration is already taking those steps in Iraq and making the investments to get Afghanistan to the point where we can do that too.

In a more profound way, though, the way we win the war on terror is to eliminate enemy.

If there is no enemy, there is no terror.

If there is no enemy, there is no war.

The Bush administration wanted us to believe that we could kill all our enemies because we were so much more powerful than they were.

The reality is that we can’t kill them all, and our efforts to do so only made them stronger because two rose up to take the place of every one that we killed.

Instead President Obama is going to unmask our enemy and reveal that they are more like us and we are more like them than either of us would like to admit.

He is doing that by reaching out to the Muslim world to change their perception of the United States. What better person to do that than a brown skinned man with a muslim-sounding name.

The Muslim world won’t trust the United States overnight. They will want to see tangible evidence that the United States is serious about peace in the Middle East and in Iraq.

Obama is, however, laying the groundwork. He intends to treat the Muslim world with the same sort of respect that we would like to see from them. He will follow that with a diplomatic plan to address the issues that represent barriers to peace.

Ultimately, he will succeed and win the war on terror by turning our enemies into our friends.

Some who read this are going to immediately assume that it is naive to assume that one man could have that effect. One group, however, is taking Mr. Obama’s initiative very seriously. That group is Al Qaeda. If their actions are any indication, they are afraid of him. If President Bush was their greatest recruiting tool, President Obama may be their greatest enemy. I believe he is their greatest enemy because he knows he can win this war.

Human Will

Monday, June 1st, 2009

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30

The culture wars have claimed another victim.

I find it very difficult to understand how someone can call themselves a Christian and use that position to justify murder. It is hard enough for me to understand how nations that call themselves Christian can start wars. When an individual takes a gun, points it at another human being, and pulls the trigger, they are not doing God’s will.

It does not matter what the circumstances are.

It does not matter what the person has done.

There are no exception clauses to “thou shalt not kill”.

The nonviolence of the early Christian Church was legendary and ultimately so impressed the Romans that they stopped killing Christians and converted to Christianity themselves.

Jesus came to earth to share a new gospel of love. He came to deepen the understanding of those who saw God as capricious and vengeful. Jesus told us that God is a tender Father, a shepherd, and our guardian.

Those who seek to violently act in His name, are taking His name in vain. They are underestimating God’s power and completely missing His message. They are assuming that because they see sin in the world, that somehow God needs their help.

God doesn’t need their help.

God not only doesn’t ask us to be executioners, He doesn’t even want us to be judges.

He asks us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. He asks us to be peacemakers. He asks us to turn the other cheek and walk with those with whom we disagree until at least we understand them.

Those who demonize their opposition suffer from self-righteousness. They will find out soon enough that God loves everyone, and the simple sinner who humbly repents will find himself closer to God than the righteous man who condemns the unrighteous.

God reserves judgment to Himself and those who seek to usurp that role will discover soon enough how wrong they were.