Monday, July 31, 2006

Immigration, Guest Workers, and National Unity

I'm returning back to the immigration debate. Obviously, a successful immigration policy has to include more than a fence on the Southern border. However, before one can deal with the people already here one has to greatly reduce the flow of illegal immigrants across the border. Otherwise, if amnesty were to be offered then that would only encourage more immigrants to come.

In addition to building a fence of some sort I think we should create a national database of everyone who is in America legally, immigrants, visitors, and citizens. This would include biometric information, i.e. fingerprints and retina scans, to verify people's identity. Everyone in the country legally would benefit. That's because their status could be easily confirmed by looking up their name or ID number and doing a biometric scan, thus preventing people from being wrongly thought illegal immigrants. It could make aviation safer if when you fly your status is checked, allowing for people on the no-fly list, and only people on the no-fly list to be identified, whereas now people sharing the same name as people on the list have been stopped in the past. Furthermore, it could potentially be used to reduce identity thief, a growing problem. This database would help prevent people from staying after their visa has expired. In the 9/11 attacks most of the terrorists flew after their visa had expired, and this would have prevented those attacks.

It has been said that America depends upon immigrants to do the jobs Americans won't do. I think this is a worthy argument. At the same time of reducing the tide of illegal immigrants I think we should increase the amount of legal ones. I am for a guest worker program. I came across Senator John McCain on TV last night and I think he had a good idea. After an employer has advertised a job for I believe 60 days and no American takes it he can then hire a guest worker who gets a temporary tamper-proof visa (that could go along with my national database) to come in and work. Guest workers would already have a job secured before coming in, they wouldn't come in and then try to find a job. The advertising ensures that only jobs Americans won't work will be taken by immigrants. If you had too have a tamper-proof visa to be hired then this would discourage people from crossing illegally. But couldn't an employer still hire an illegal without a visa? Well he could, but if he's caught he would be prosecuted.

I had listened to a program on NPR's Talk of the Nation a couple of weeks ago, and it talked about guest worker programs in other countries. ( Apparently, no country, even though countries have intended to do so, have been successful in implementing a guest worker program without a path to permanent residency and citizenship. Guest workers come intending to go back, but many end up settling down and having families, etc. It is very unlikely that America could manage to have a guest worker program without some path to citizenship. I think we should have some path to citizenship available.

Governments have a certain responsibility to create unity among its people, enough so the state doesn't fall apart. I cannot think of one multilingual country that hasn't had problems because of different people speaking different languages. If I were to go live in another country, and certainly if I were to become a citizen there, I would learn their language. Likewise, I expect people coming to the United States to learn English. If were going to permit two national languages, why stop there, why not add to English and Spanish French, German, Italian, Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), Japanese, Arabic, Latin, Greek, and every other dialect on the face of the Earth to the languages officially and commonly spoken in America. If were going to allow more then English then how can we decide which ones we will permit, we would have no choice to permit any other language in. It's just not practical to have everyone speaking different languages in the same location. (Remember the Tower of Babel?) Immigration is a national security issue, and not just because terrorists can sneak across the border. France had riots last fall due to immigration issues. The immigrants were not integrated into society. We don't want to make the same mistake. Integration definitely won't occur without at least speaking to the same tongue, not that that guarantees integration. Reading, writing, and speaking English should be a requirement to become a US citizen.

So what to do about the millions of illegal immigrants already in the country? I think after increasing border security sufficiently, developing a national database to be able to tell who indeed is here legally, and developing a policy for future legal immigration, we should create a path for legal residency then citizenship. It's just impractical to round everyone up and deport them. Some of them have been here for many years and have children and grandchildren who are US citizens. Again, I liked what McCain said, that an illegal immigrant would pay a $2,000 fine, work steadily for 6 years, and then could get a green card and it would be another 5 years before they could become a US citizen. He called it earned citizenship. I would add learning English as a requirement.

Some have said immigrants should not have the same rights as citizens. I would disagree with that. I think that legal immigrants, whom we have allowed to come into the United States, deserve some of the same rights. I think that everyone here legally deserves a fair trial, with a lawyer, etc. Innocent until proven guilty applies to everyone, you can't deport someone because they've been charged with a crime, only if they're convicted of a crime. Everyone in the US is either an immigrant or descended from immigrants. So without immigration no one would be in the US. Those of us who were born as US citizens did nothing to deserve that citizen, that fortune, that blessing. We were lucky, but in no way were we deserving of it and all the rights and privileges and benefits it entails over those who happened not to be born to US citizens or in the United States. One just as easily could have been born in a third-world country with a totalitarian government. Exodus 22:21 says "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt." For this debate natural born US citizens could read it as, Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for your ancestors were aliens and you could have been born one. Leviticus 19:33-34 says "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God." Just because someone is an alien doesn't mean they are any less human. They were born with the same natural rights that the Declaration of Independence talks about, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

the System

I'm quite angry with Cingular Wireless right now. Forgive me for going on a diatribe against them but I cannot help it, and I think you should be aware of their policy change that was implemented quietly and unannounced. I was trying to upgrade my phone online and their website, so I thought, wasn't working, it wouldn't let me. After about two weeks of thinking I was having technical difficulties with my computer or the internet, I called customer service. I was told something about we were using too many minutes from other providers' towers or something.

Now first of all, it would seem that roaming has returned, however they still advertise no roaming. Now if one is going to be held responsible for roaming, one ought to know when one is roaming and so they should put roaming back on phones. I know they can do that since phones used to tell you when you were roaming. They need to let their customers know that roaming too much can hurt you by introducing that you get so many anywhere minutes. Of course they would never do that since that would be bad for business.So be warned, roaming is back at Cingular.

So, wanting to correct this problem of costing Cingular precious money for out of network talking, I went to the store to see about getting a breakdown of calls made and whether they were in or out of network. Since my phone doesn't tell me I'm roaming, the only way to get this would be to figure out where I was making these out of network calls. The person at the store said customer service could get me that information, so I went and called Cingular again.
So I asked for the details about this new policy. What percentage or number of minutes out of network determines if I can upgrade or not? Seems like a reasonable enough question.

However, they couldn't tell me that. The person kept saying it was complicated and based on many factors, of which they couldn't give me the details. Indeed, I've got different answers from different Cingular reps since some said it was the towers used while others said that it was more likely the rate plan. They couldn't tell me for sure why I can't upgrade, much less how to fix the problem. They kept talking about "the system." "The system tells us if you can upgrade or not." "The system cannot be anticipated." They said maybe if we went to a hire rate plan that would change things, but that there was no way of knowing for sure, only the system could say in three months. If only there was a phone number for the system, since apparently that's the only thing that knows anything at Cingular. I should have asked if the system was listening to my call. It sounds like Cingular has become Hegelian with the 'system.' Maybe the system could get back to me next Sunday.

How long before our whole world is replaced by "the system?" Some computer that makes all decisions, that determines everything. The system says you can go to this college but not that. The system says you don't get the job. The system approves you for a loan. All your school work is put in the system, and then the system tells you your grade, no questions asked, for the system cannot be deciphered. Rest assured, in the future, we won't have to worry about everything, for only the system will know anything.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Has Democracy become an Idol?

I wonder if we have too much faith in democracy. We believe if we only democratic the world that it can solve all our problems, usher in a world of peace and prosperity. But the violence in the Middle East is taking place in democracies. Israel is a democracy, Lebanon a democracy, the Palestinian territories democratically elected Hamas, and Iraq for that matter is a democracy. (Hell, North Korea is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.) Democracies aren't supposed to attack fellow democracies! Some body needs to tell them about the Democratic Peace Theory.

So why doesn't democracy work everywhere? Russell Kirk said in his book "The Politics of Prudence," (which I would recommend to conservatives out there) that "A society in which men and women are governed by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society-whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society- no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be." Thus, democracy will only succeed where the people are ready for it. If too many of the people prescibe to radicalism then a "tyranny of the majority," in the words of Tocqueville, will ensue and we'll be no better off. If security is what we wanted in the Middle East, we may have been better of leaving Saddam in power. The United States thrusting democracy onto the whole world or any part thereof when its not ready won't do any good, and indeed do much harm.

It seems that many people put so much trust in democracy because they believe people are ultimately good. I share no such illusions. Man is naturally sinful, and no government can stop this, only restrain it. Just look at the world, its messed up. We seem to think we're progressing and that eventually we will be able to progress into world peace and prosperity. But we still have wars. What we have actually progressed in over the years is in killing more efficiently. Take the Soviet Union, its founding fathers thought mankind could establish a utopia, an Earthly Heaven, but they failed and instead brought about a Terrestrial Hell, the effects of which people are still suffering from. The results for a democratic utopia has no more chance than a communist utopia.

However, I'm not against democracy. It's because of man's sinfulness, not man's goodness, that I would agree with Winston Churchill, that "democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others." Absolute power corrupts absolutely. That's why it is generally better to put that power in the hands of many instead of just one or a handful of people. And that's why it's good to have systems of checks and balances and separation of power. But I'm only for democracy where the soil, the people, will allow a healthy version to take root and grow.

We can idolize just about anything in this world, including democracy.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Part 2: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

This is a continuation of Part 1: Embryonic Stem Cell Research and it is recommend to read the 1st part first.

To summarize, if you believe organ donation is morally right and in vitro fertilization as it is done presently is morally right then you ought to believe embryonic stem cell research can be morally acceptable. That's because organ donation takes advantage of people's deaths which happen regardless, which is comparable to how embryonic stem cell research takes advantage of the destruction of embryos; and in vitro fertilization results in embryos that are going to be destroyed anyways and thus provide a source of embryos.

In August 2001, President Bush stated he would permit federal funding for embryonic stem cell research using lines of stem cells from about 70 embryos left over from in vitro fertilization. Research involving new lines could not receive federal funding. The first thing to address is why this line of about 70 is not enough. Although theoretically the cells could divide ad infinitum, over time defects enter in, which is what happening. So, limiting research to just these 70 is causing problems in carrying out effective research.

Secondly, what did this compromise accomplish. I would say it accomplished nothing, not that in the world of politics things have to make sense to be done. The problem is that these stem cells are coming from destroyed embryos. Now if it alright to use these embryos from before a certain date then there is no reason why embryos couldn't be used from after that date as they are the same thing, embryos. If you can use embryos before date x, then why not day (x +1). And if you can use those from day (x +1), then why not (x+2)... Do moral laws change from day to day? No.

The reasoning behind this 'compromise ' was to ensure that embryos aren't created with the purpose to be destroyed for research. But in vitro fertilization is still going on, so there is still a source of embryos that are going to be destroyed that weren't created for the purpose of being destroyed. I will grant that care must be taken to ensure that the embryos used were created for the legitimate purpose to allow a couple to have children, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

The line Bush drew in the sand was pointless. It neither truly addressed the moral question nor does the scientific one. If the destruction of embryos is wrong then it took advantage of that wrongful act, and if it isn't then it hurt scientific research.

There are adult stem cells, why don't we use those? Basically, they're not as malleable as stem cells from embryos. What about stem cells from umbilical cords? I have to admit, this one perplexes me, since plenty of babies are born each day in the US which come with umbilical cords for free. Why don't we just use these and avoid all the controversy? Could it be all the Democrats who support embryonic stem cell research also abort all their babies and so they never get umbilical cords? Maybe, but probably not. (Yeah, I went there.)

So in conclusion, a belief in the moral rightness of organ donation and in vitro fertilization as done today necessitates a belief in the moral rightness of embryonic stem cell research. Bush's compromise of using a limited number of stem cell lines from before a certain date does nothing. (Actually, I have to take that back. It does appease some of the right wing even though it is illogical.) However, we should make sure the embryos used only were created without he intent to be implanted. But we could avoid controversy by using umbilical cords.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Part 1: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

The Senate voted today to approve funding for embryonic stem cell research. It passed 63 to 37, four votes shy of the two-third majority necessary to override a veto. President Bush is expected to veto it, as he said he would.

Do you believe that organ donation is right or wrong? In such cases, a person dies from some cause, and organs are taken from him or her, transplanted in other people in order to save their lives. The organs would go to waste if they weren't transplanted. The people are not killed for the purpose of providing organs. People are not raised for the purpose to have their organs harvested. That would be wrong.

How is stem cell research necessarily any different? To get the stem cells embryos have to die, but likewise for most organ transplants someone who is undeniably a living, human being has to die to get the organs. Just as it would be wrong to create people to harvest their organs, it would be wrong to create embyros to get stem cells. (It would also be wrong to get stem cells from abortions.) But, just like when a person dies incidentally, its okay to use their organs; it would be okay to use stem cells from embryos that are going to be destroyed anyways.

Where do these embryos come from that are going to be destroyed anyways. Well, they are left over from in vitro fertilization procedures which allow people who can't have children naturally to do so. So the real question you have to ask yourself is whether in vitro fertilization is morally acceptable. (Unless you believe organ donation is wrong, then you don't need to go further. But for everybody else...) I personally, don't have a problem with it, but I do question why to pay lots of money to create a child when you could just adopt. There are plenty of babies around the world, in the US and overseas, who are orphans and could use loving parents.

In in vitro fertilization more eggs are harvested than generally necessary because it is expensive to harvest them. Generally several embryos have to be implanted at a time with the hope that one will become a child, and this may have to be done many times until a child is born. Those embryos not used are frozen, and eventually destroyed. We certainly can't expect that the embryos are going to be kept frozen forever, for thousands upon thousands of years, so at some point they will die.

Another thing to consider is that the embryos from in vitro fertilization absolutely, 100% will never become babies or fetuses, etc., unless implanted. So, the destroying of the frozen embryos is different from abortion since abortion is the killing a fetus that would be born if not stopped. (These frozen embryos for stem cell research are blastocysts, of about 100 cells each.) We are not obligated to maximize the number of children born. Otherwise, every person when they become child bearing age would have to start trying to have children. Just because a woman has an egg in the right state to be fertilized doesn't mean she has to try to get it fertilized. Likewise, just because these embryos have been created with the purpose to become children doesn't mean they all have to be used.

Look for the next part on this controversial topic. In the mean time, consider if you think in vitro fertilization is right or wrong, and for that matter if organ donation is right or wrong. If you believe they're right, logically you would have to support embryonic stem cell research.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Middle East Crisis

Its the top story in the news, so I can't very well pass commenting on this story. I think that first of all Israel is justified in its actions despite the fact that war is a horrible thing. First of all, two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped. Now, when the United States had two soldiers kidnapped in Iraq we went all out trying to find them, so we the United States certainly can't criticize Israel. They were right not to negotiate since otherwise that would encourage more such acts against them.

Secondly, Hezbollah attacked Israel from Lebanon. (If you don't know, Hezbollah is a governmental and militant Islamic Shi'ite group in Lebanon with a military and civilian arm. It has a strong militia, stronger than the Lebanese army; and it has politcal presence with a couple of ministers in the government. Hezbollah forces have been supplied by Syria and Iran. It has social services which the Lebanese government largely fails to do.) It doesn't really matter if they were attacked by a government of a state or by a group located in a state. They have the right to defend themselves. Lebanon should have kept Hezbollah under control, and they did not. In 2004, the UN passed the UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which called for a withdrawal by all remaining foreign forces in Lebanon and for the disbanding of militias, including Hezbollah in Lebanon. Needless to say, Hezbollah continued as a militia. They were suppose to when Israel pulled out of Lebanon to patrol their border with Israel but did not. Instead Hezbollah gained a stronghold there. So, Israel had to attack Hezbollah in response to protect its people.

So what should be done? Israel can't very well stop fighting as long as they're being attacked. So it would seem that Hezbollah has to give up, or be finished up by either Israel unless Lebanon does its job as a sovereign state and stop Hezbollah. Israel has said it is trying to finish off Hezobllah, a coup de grace if you will, because you can't live with a knife at your throat forever. Israel while carrying this out should take measures to avoid civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure. It has done, in part by warning civilians to clear out of various areas which they are going to attack. Although that's complicated by the fact Israel has taken attacked roads, etc., to prevent prevent Hezbollah from being resupplied. It should be pointed out that Hezbollah is attacking civilians in Israel, and is thus a terrorist group. They also need to avoid destabilizing the Lebanese government, otherwise they might end up with a worse government with which to deal. Of course a long term solution probably would have to address Iran and Syria, as they back Hezbollah.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006


(I have to warn you this post is partially serious and partially satirical. I trust you can separate which parts are which. If you can't tell which is which then feel free to ask.)

First of all, sovereign states have not only a right but a duty to protect and control their borders. People ought to enter the United States through the legal channels, and not by sneaking across the border. It would be perfectly acceptable and in the power of the United States to build some sort of fence or wall. I think it would be best if we prevent people from getting into the country illegally to begin with, that way we don't get in the situation of having to deport them, ripping them away from the life they get use to living. It get complicated if they make it here and have children born in the US, since their children will be US citizens legally here but their parents illegal and in danger of being deported. If we build a fence greatly reducincg illegal immirgation we could then have one final wave of amnesty for those already here, some 11 million I believe. But as long as illegal immigration is as strong as it is now we can't just have just one last wave of amnesty for those already here. Each time we offer amnesty we end up encouraging more people to come because they know we'll give amnesty again, sooner or later. We can't quit anytime we want to. Its unfair to those who are trying to do the right thing and enter the country legally if we give amnesty to those who broke the law.

Now before you compare it to the Berlin Wall we must keep in mind that it was a wall to trap people in an opressive state while this would be to keep people not totally out, but rather from sneaking across the border. A fence does not mean immigration stops, it just greatly reduces the illegal immigration, which is of course illegal. A few years ago a fence would not be technologically feasable. But now we could build a fence with cameras and heat sensors, etc. to keep monitor it. Furthermore, we could run fiber optics through fenses or walls so that we can know immediately if and when there is a breech in it and send border patrol to catch the illegal immigrants crossing and fix it so that more won't get through that breach. Ther's even in the works unmanned ATVs with gravity sensors to find undergound tunnels. I don't believe a fence alone prevents people from crossing, but rather allows the authorities to locate those who still try and to slow them down enough to intercept them. If we can build miles upon miles of highways crisscrossing the country north, south, east and west numerous times we can probably build a fence of some sort crossing the southern border east and west once. Some have argued against building fences on the border since they force immigrants to make more dangerous crossings elsewhere on the border. Besides the fact its a choice to enter the US illegally, if a fence is built along the whole souther border then this would no longer be the case.

Now obviously this would not stop all illegal immigrantion. Even if no one can cross the fence, people would still cross on water, which would too hard to stop altogether. But the truth of the matter is that our southern border is where most illegals cross and so where we should focus our resources. We can't be totally secure unless we were to take the technology Bush used to cause Hurricane Katrina and create storms on the east and west coast, preventing people from crossing on water. That combined with annexing Canada, Mexico, and Central America down to the Panama canal would greatly reduce the amount of land bordering other countries we have to secure, allowing America to be the first country in history to have complete control over our borders. We could even go into complete isolationism by putting a one way turn stile down south for people to leave America if they choose, but not get in. Or if we don't want to spend the money on a fence we could set up a mine field on the southern border since we haven't signed the treaty against the use of land mines. Then we could build a second Statue of Liberty down there welcoming in all who survive the border crossing. Paris has the smaller prototype, we can just go to war with France and take their Statue of Liberty, and the Eiffel Tower while we're at it. Perhaps we should just annex the whole world and then we'll have absolutely no borders to secure.

There are several other reasons for building a wall. The Roman empire built walls, e.g. Hadrian's Wall in Great Britain, so if we are to be an American empire we too should have a wall. Furthermore, China, our upcoming rival, has two walls, the Great Wall of China and their firewall. We can not allow ourselves to fall behind in the wall race by permitting a wall gap. We need a Great Wall of America. We could top them by building a southern and northern wall plus setting up our own firewall, giving us three walls and China a meager two.

I had been intending to also talk about legal immigration, guest worker, etc. but I'm afraid this post is getting rather long so I'll save that for another time. There was an interesting show on Talk of the Nation on NPR yesterday about guest worker programs in other countries which you may want to check out. NPR: Talk of the Nation: Immigration and Guest Workers

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Homeland Security

I was watching NBC Nightly News, and they say that since the train bombing in India security has been stepped up here in the United States at train and subway stations. I really don't see the point of that security increase. (not even taking into consideration that it probably wasn't an al-Qaida attack but a local cell) The terrorists must know that after a terrorist attack security is raised for a while, and aren't going to plan a second terrorist attack a little while after one attact. No, if they're going to attack I would think they would attack simultaneously, like on September 11 or the London bombings. Overall we're probably safer after a terrorist attack. Take September 11, all civilian airplanes were grounded for days afterward. (I'm not saying the planes shouldn't have been grounded.) Now I would doubt al-Qaida would have planned another hijacking for September 12. Even if planes were flying passengers wouldn't let another hijacking occur. (Perhaps I overestimate the intelligence of terrorists since terrorism is irrational to begin with.) We improved aviation security neglecting that of trains, which are far more vulnerable. We're always fighting our last battles.

Another story was that Homeland Security had on its list of possible terrorist targets a petting zoo, donut shop, etc. You got to be kidding me. Every place is a possible terrorist target, but we can't physically protect every location all the time, its impossible. There is always going to be risks. We have to prioritize and apparently Homeland Security is having some trouble doing that.

Ultimately we have to face the fact that we're fragile, mortal beings and any day we could die (no matter how much we spend on Homeland Security) and someday we will die. Whether it be from a terrorist attack or car accident tomorrow, or dieing in our sleep 50 years from now, we have to be ready for our eventual death. However, we don't have to live in a perpetual fear of death, as long as things are made right with our creator, God, by repenting of our sins and believing in Jesus as our Lord and savior. Then we can look forward to the time when we are called home to God.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Christianity and Government

I've written on Religion and Government, and now I want to cover Christianity and government. First of all, Christians are under obligation to obey the government when it doesn't stop them from practcing Christianity, e.g. worshipping and studying the Bible. Paul says in Romans 13 that "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities." Jesus himself said "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Matthew 22:21) Now when Paul wrote Romans, there was not a pro-Christian government in place, but rather a hostile government that persecuted Christians, and so clearly Christian obedience of the government is not contingent upon there being a pro-Christian government in place. Even in times of persecution Christians must submit when possible.

Now granted Paul did say "For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. So it is debatable if and when a government ceases to be legitimate and thus when one can disobey and even overthrow the government. However, I do not think that applies because a government is persecuting Christians, but rather when it is a terror to all citizens, both believers and nonbelievers, such as the German government under Hitler.

It's only when a government is democratic and the citizens have both the right and even duty to participate in government by voting, running for office, etc. that Christians can seek to use Christianity as a guiding light in politics, under the protection of freedom of speech, etc. Under such a democratic government, using politics is just another way to practice love and charity.

But one must keep in mind that the church and state are different. Those who belong to the church, or as St. Augustine would put it, the Heavenly City, may also be citizens of a state, or the Earthly city. But certainly not everyone in the state is a member of the church. If one tries to make the state and church one then they will end up with many people claiming to be Christians but not actually saved. Thus, a combined church and state is bad for Christianity and politics. So we must be careful how we go about using Christianity as a guide in politics.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup

I've been watching some of the World Cup because I figure the rest of the world is soccer crazy, so I should check it out. It occurred to me why America in general doesn't like soccer. It's because the clock never stops. America likes games which take a while because the clock is always being stopped, basketball and especially football. For the viewer, there's no time to go get another drink or more food or go to the restroom. If you did, you might miss the one goal of the game. And for the TV networks, they can't show commercials, which is how they make money.

I was kind of disappointed that Germany didn't make the finals. That's because I saw it coming down to this. Germany versus France. During the first few minutes of the game Germany would score. Then France would all but surrender. However, during the second half the United States team would come from no where and save the French. After all, history repeats itself.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Government and Religion

I do not believe a government can exist without some basis of morality. Every government has to have some basis of morality or natural law, etc. for its power and authority that comes from without itself and the people it is governing for that matter, whether that morality be right or wrong. Even the Nazi governemnt had a moral system, wrong yes, but still they claimed some basis for their actions. A couple of day's ago on Independence Day I was reading through the Declaration of Independence and I noticed some probably frequently overloooked parts in the beginning.

"When, in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the spearate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..."
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men..."

The Declaration of Independence mentioning God and the Creator, surely this document is unconstitutional. Although this is not the constitution, the founding father of America wrote and signed off on this. (Granted it was not for the most part the same people signing the Declaration of Independence who signed the Constitution. However, I think most who signed the Constitution agreed that declaration. Furthmore, notables like Washington and Jefferson signed it.) Even they, who were establishing among things a government protecting freedom of religion saw some sort of morality and religion as a necessary basis for government. And additionally, they rightly recognized these self-evident truths as self-evident only because of God having made them. If there are any morals which are true and thus worth holding they have to come from a higher power, God.

As such, it is ludicrous to think that we can have a governemnt making and enforcing laws without morality. Everyone has some sort of morality, even secularists. It may not be in the form of organized religion but is still is morality. If Christian faith can't play a role in politics then neither could the morality of secularists, and we would be at an impasse and no laws could be passed. Government would break down. Why can't secularists be honest and say that they are trying to pass laws according to their own personal morality systems (which they have the right to attempt) just as religious people are trying to do the same? Let us not make the mistake of pretending to be relying on as a basis for laws some common sense, commonly recognized by all, self-evident natural law that is not from God when none exists.

Indeed, in the Constitution there is no mention of "separation of church and state." The 1st amendment does say that "Congress shall make no law respectiong an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof;..." So no, we cannot have a state religion, nor would I ever want one, but this is a far cry from religion being able to play a role in politics and government.

Let me go further, not only without morality, but without God there is no basis for government. If atheists were right, then all morals, both those of the religious and their own, are fictitious, and there is no basis for government. The only rule would be the rule of power by might, the survival of the fittest. So not only is it acceptable for religion to have a role to play in politics, it is all but necessary when possible for faith to play a role in politics. If some moral system has to be used as the basis of governement and laws, then it might as well be that of Christianity as it is the right one over that of atheists whose moral systems if they honestly examined them closely and logically would fall apart. However, I would never go so far as using the government to force Christianity on the populous or establish it as the national religion, and would protect the right of people of other religions or lack their of to provide input into government just as it is the right of Christians in these United States of America.

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The Beginning

I've decided to put my voice out there amid the sea of voices already blogging. After all, it is my first amendment guaranteed right, I ought to exercise it. This will be a mix of politics, religion, and whatever else I feel like posting. I don't know if anyone will be reading this, but I'm giving it a try. If you don't agree, feel free to comment, but I ask that you give a thoughtful, reasoned response. If you do agree, feel free to comment still.