Regardless of the election results, honor the emperor

Tomorrow, the United States of America will finally have an election in what has to have been the nastiest, most vilifying campaign ever.

Come January, we’ll likely install as our chief executive a criminally dishonest woman who basically leads the death cult known as the pro-abortion movement, would throw us into a pointless war with Russia and helped her husband turn the White House into a brothel.

hillary-clinton-laughing

Or we’ll swear in an unrepentant serial adulterer who can’t keep a promise to a wife, a man who brags about sexual assault, who says he’d force the military to commit war crimes, makes fun of disabled people, might be pro-life or pro-choice (literally depending on what hour it is), and would engage in economic protectionism that would result in almost everything costing more. Whoever is elected is sure to implement liberty destroying authoritarian policies that will likely leave the United States in a worse place than before.

nbc-fires-donald-trump-after-he-calls-mexicans-rapists-and-drug-runners

So what should Christians do about it?

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” – Romans 13:1

But Hillary murders babies, and Trump is practically Hitler.

“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” – 1 Peter 2:17

Over and over again, the Bible tells us to basically not freak out over earthly governments. People are depraved. Governments are comprised of people. Therefore, governments will be corrupt. At the same time, God uses governments to render punishment for evil in the world, to promote good and to accomplish his own purposes. Keep in mind that that these biblical passages were written while nearly every Christian was under the subjugation of the Roman empire, and Rome wasn’t always so nice to the church.

They had a bad time.
They had a bad time.

That doesn’t mean that biblical writers never have criticisms of those in authorities. Jesus called the Pharisees snakes and sons of the devil. Paul called the Pharisees a bunch of “whitewashed walls.” Depending on your eschatology, John may have called Nero “the Great Beast.” So, yes, there’s a time for blunt truth.

At the same time, 1 Peter 3 tells us to make our defense of the Gospel “with gentleness and respect,” and Colossians 4 says our words should “always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” 2 Timothy 2 commands us to not be quarrelsome, and 2 Thessalonians 2 tells us not to be easily alarmed. I have absolutely failed at living up to those commands.

But commands with no root are ultimately self-help with a little Jesus added. The foundation of all these is the Gospel itself. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul is adamant about his rights (which, yes, we have as Christians) but that giving up those rights in order to save some to the Gospel is far more important. Paul invoked his rights as a Roman citizen when necessary and used his Jewish heritage as an example, but his focus wasn’t to Make Jerusalem Great Again or to change the empire through political means. Check out how respectful he was in Acts 26. He knew that the only meaningful change in the world is when hearts are changed via the Gospel. When we call out national sin or governmental corruption, we should do so with their salvific interests in mind. It’s not so much about us being awesome and them being wrong and fixing it but about seeking their repentance and ultimate faith in God.

Before Jesus left the earth, he told his disciples that all authority had been given to him. I don’t know about your exegetical methods, but I’m fairly sure that “all” there means “all.” As in, Jesus is sovereign over this election. Jesus is sovereign over whether or not you’ll make it to the polls safely tomorrow. Jesus is sovereign over those some who would be saved that Paul was talking about. Jesus is so sovereign that he shuts up those who criticize him and that every knee will bow at the simple mention of his name.

It doesn’t stop there, however, because when God adopted us into his family, we became heirs with Jesus, so the universe is already ours through Christ anyway. Why would we freak out over four piddly years worth of rule in a temporary nation, when our citizenship isn’t ultimately of this world in the first place?

Sure, vote tomorrow based on your conscience. Someone will win, and I have strong negative feelings about both likely candidates, but don’t put your faith in the office of the presidency or in power of the United States of America or in the very existence of the United States of America. Put your faith in Jesus, because he’s in control of the whole thing anyway.

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A brief thought experiment for Donald Trump supporters

At this point in the election cycle, I’m operating under the assumption that Donald Trump will end up as President of the United States. I’ve made my resistance to that pretty well known on other outlets (and probably this one, but I’m too lazy to check), but I’d like to offer a thought experiment for Trump supporters, to see if they’ll reason with me.

I give it a solid "maybe."
I give it a solid “maybe.”

The vast majority of Trump supporters I’ve come across are quick to make the claim that, “America is the greatest country in the world.” Other than the fact that you can’t actually prove such a statement, that’s fine to have your opinion.

However, Trump’s entire campaign slogan is, “Make America great again.”

Visual proof.
Visual proof.

According to Trump, America is not currently great at all, so how can one claim that America is the greatest in the world when there currently isn’t any greatness? That would, by default, mean that another country is the greatest, assuming there’s enough greatness to go around or that a country not called the United States is allowed to be great.

I believe that illustrates the cognitive dissonance pretty well. Correct me if I’m wrong.

No, I’m not moving from Rand Paul to Ted Cruz

Rand Paul’s announcement regarding his freshly dead presidential bid officially killed any shred of liberty within the major two parties. Many have assumed and encouraged me to jump ship to Ted Cruz. While he’s more stomach-able than the likes of Marco Rubio, Donald Trump or Ben Carson, that will not happen.

Yes, Cruz is better than all three, but here are just some reasons I can’t justify a vote for Cruz, other than that he looks like Kevin Malone from The Office.

It can't be unseen.
It can’t be unseen.

Military – I don’t care if it was a joke, anyone who jests about bombing any area so much that the sand will glow in the dark has no business command our nation’s armed forces. We’ve spent over a decade building failed nations, meddling in affairs we don’t understand and intervening in civil wars.

And what do we have to show for it?

Benghazi’s attacks were the result of arms running to ISIS, and the reason that power vacuum happened was because we illegally intervened to remove Muammar Gaddafi. ISIS came to power partially because of the power vacuum in Iraq and partially because we armed the “Syrian rebels” (I’ll give Cruz for voting against arming the rebels, but his rhetoric doesn’t lend itself to explaining the root cause of the problem). Both of those were specifically United States actions.

So now, we’re supposed to throw more of our soldiers into the Middle East as cannon fodder because we can’t figure out not to get in the middle of civil unrest? I don’t think so. He hasn’t even mentioned anything regarding the fact that constitutionally, only the Congress can declare a war, which hasn’t happened since World War II.

On top of that, Cruz and every other Republican wants to increase military spend when we’re already trillions in the hole and we have a bigger military than the next 10 countries combined and we have 662 foreign military bases in 38 countries. We already can’t nationally pay our bills; it’s irresponsible to increase the biggest part of our budget when it’s already bigger than we need for it to do its real job – national defense.

#SorryNotSorry

Fourth Amendment – Yes, Cruz kinda came out against the PATRIOT Act, as he should have, and he called for NSA reform.

What he didn’t tell you at first was that when he voted for the USA Freedom Act, it actually gave the NSA more power to collect your phone records.

Now, to Cruz’s credit, he at least opposes the indefinite detention clause in the National Defense Authorization Act, but that’s what overreaching surveillance gets you. If you want to send me to war, get a congressional declaration; if you want to search me in any way, get a warrant.

Auditing the Fed – Cruz proved himself unreliable by missing the Audit the Fed vote – which he had previously said he supported – claiming he had a campaign event in New Hampshire scheduled at the same time as the vote. Of course, his wife works for Goldman Sachs, so we couldn’t have that, right?

War on Drugs/Criminal Justice Reform – Cruz currently says marijuana is a state issue, but there’s no telling what he’ll say tomorrow. At the same time, he’s on record for saying the War on Drugs, which has led to Merica having the largest prison population in the world, is the “law of the land” and just needs happen. He also seems to be cool with the militarization of police and won’t really address the whole police brutality thing. That’s kind of become a big deal lately.

Problematic theology – Look, I get that we’re kinda international buddies with Israel, but they’re far from perfect and do some jacked up things sometimes. That didn’t stop Cruz from extolling Israel’s virtues at a conference that was supposed to be aiding Iraqi Christians in their plight with ISIS, as he started ripping on Hamas because we Americans LOVE ripping Bible verses out of context. Cruz has even said that placing an embassy in Cuba as part of our re-engagement with our neighbors to the south was a “slap in the face to Israel,” because we won’t move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I mean, at least we didn’t have a trade embargo with Israel for over half a century.

Sorry, Cuba.
Sorry, Cuba.

In short, I don’t trust Ted Cruz to support the entire Bill of Rights, nor do I trust that he won’t get us entangled in yet another asinine, pointless armed conflict, nor do I trust how he views the role of government in economics or its role in his theology.

Am I off base here? Let me know in the comments.

Replace the Confederate flag in SC with real heritage and culture

It’s official. South Carolina is removing the Confederate Battle Flag from the State House grounds.

I know it’s been pretty contentious, but I think I found an alternative symbol of even deeper Southern heritage and culture.

Union Jack

 

It’s the only thing that makes sense. The original 1606 Union Jack, still in use at the the time of the Revolutionary War, would be perfect if we’re using the same logic.

“What’s the logic?” you ask. It’s painstaking, I know, but I figured the original colonizers, from whom we got our language, and who also lost a war to control this land and who also owned slaves, just like the Confederate States of America, should be honored. After all, not even half of Americans even supported the Revolution in the first place.

Surely, this would be a better move than to keep a flag up that was only put there out of resistance to the Civil Rights movement. We’d hate to make black people think we don’t like them.

AlexStephens
“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”

Join me in changing your profile pictures to support our real heritage.

The Indiana “religious freedom” law is bad, but not for the reason you think

Everyone is flipping out today over the new religious freedom act signed into law in Indiana by Governor Mike Pence. Literally everyone of those people is missing the point. Everyone.

Everyone.

Truly, the left’s panning of this law is both comical and hypocritical. For the people who claim to be all about tolerance, they’re advocating forcing people to do things against their religious beliefs. The obvious cause of this is things like Christian bakers not wanting to endorse a gay marriage, Christian lodge owners being screwed by the government for turning down a gay wedding ceremony, or any combination of the florists, bridal shops, photographers, or T-shirt makers who have been legally boned for not wanting to celebrate homosexuality.

What the left is calling the “victims” in these case is missing is Freedom of Association and Freedom of Religion, also known in the United States as the First Amendment. If I sell a guitar on Craigslist, I can sell it to whoever I want. If a potential buyer says they’ll just destroy the guitar or kill someone with it or use it in an explicitly Satanic band and I decide that makes me uncomfortable, I can refuse to sell him my goods and/or services. That’s okay; he can go elsewhere.

The same applies with a cake. As a Christian who has actually read the Bible, I believe it would be wrong for me to endorse a gay marriage by supplying much of anything for the celebration. I would not sell them the cake, because it would violate my convictions. Likewise, a gay baker shouldn’t be forced to sell a cake to anyone, just like anybody can refuse service to anyone for any reason.

Immediately, people will scream how it’s not fair. Get over yourself and let the free market sort out your offense. If it’s truly an egregious offense, people will care and boycott a business. If not, then whatever. Go somewhere else or learn how to make it yourself.

swanson

Here’s an example that literally no one can say is wrong. A vegan cake shop would never, ever bake a cake for someone with bacon on it, no matter how hard they protested. Why? Because they’re vegan. And while they’re missing out on the best food on earth, that’s their right as a business owner. Bacon makes him uncomfortable, so he declines the business. End of story.

The basic premise of this bill is that you need to stop using the government to regulate others’ actions when you don’t get your way. If someone declines you service, nut up and move on. Don’t pitch a tantrum like a toddler.

Stop it.

 

But after 450 words, I digress. This new law is still garbage for one reason. I’ll copy and paste from Indiana’s own summary:

“Prohibits a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the governmental entity can demonstrate that the burden: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides a procedure for remedying a violation.”

For something touted so much by conservatives, this actually increases government. They can still tell you what to do whenever they feel like it.

So we’re no better off.

Everyone in the Bundy Ranch dilemma is wrong

Everyone in the country got all riled up last week over Clive Bundy, a Nevada cattle rancher who was being “pushed around” by the Bureau of Land Management until an armed militia group showed up and caused the BLM to leave.

What nobody tells you is that literally everyone in the situation is wrong. Let me explain.

For one, the BLM’s story at first was that they were charging Bundy a fee to use federally owned land. That’s fine. It’s their land. The stupidity over the land lies in that the Center for Biological Diversity is suing to protect an endangered tortoise.

“It’s cool. I wear all the protection I need.”

The other nugget of douchery by the government is that Harry Reid is partnering with a Chinese corporation in an attempt to takeover the land and use it for a solar farm. It’s also rife with reports of nepotism.

The government has also used a lot of intimidation and such, which isn’t exactly nice.

But Bundy has been a total asshole.

Reports are that Bundy stopped paying his range fees in 1993, citing that his family had been using that land for over 100 years, so he shouldn’t have to pay like everyone else. It should be an easy process.

Of course, it’s not that simple for Bundy, who comes from a long line of Mormons. Mormons are kind of notorious for basically saying they can do anything and the government can’t do anything about it. They’re actually kind of famous for being involved in scandals and for having some seriously jacked up theology (hint: They’re not Christians.).

Seriously. THEY HAVE MAGIC UNDERWEAR.

Here’s the issue: It’s not Bundy’s family’s land.

If someone owns land, they can do whatever they want with it. The government apparently owns this land, so they can charge people to use it. If you don’t pay, then you don’t get to use it.

This is perfectly analogous to me trying to live in a house and not trying to pay rent, because my family used to live in the house and didn’t pay rent. It’s not my house, so the landlord can rightfully kick me out.

But Bundy’s a Mormon, who also happens to be on Social Security and Medicare, so all you taxpayers can figure out where to stick it.

Immigration doesn’t have a binary solution

The illegal immigration has pretty much gone like this.

“MAKE EVERYONE WHO HOPPED THE BORDER A CITIZEN.”

“NO. DEPORT EVERYONE.”

Honestly, the Democrats really just want to do this because they know the majority of the 11 million illegals in the country would vote for them.

But, also honestly, the Republicans (intelligently, for once) recognize that illegal immigrants are illegal for a reason. If someone hops the fence to my yard, starts eating my food and using my toilet, that doesn’t give him a right to be in my family. I’d actually call the cops and have him removed. That is, if I didn’t shoot him first.

What if, however, he was there for a while because I was too big of a puss to say anything? What if I said that he couldn’t be in my family but that he could pay rent and stay as long as he wanted?

Doesn’t this sound more reasonable? Deporting 11 million people would cost more than the problem already costs us, but making them citizens just rewards bad behavior. Make no mistake, hopping the border illegally is… well… illegal. That means they broke a law.

I propose we instead set up a permanent alien resident program specifically for illegal immigrants. It would strip them of any chance to become a United States citizen as punishment, but it would set them up to pay taxes (like I do) and actually be documented. There’s no reason people who are trespassing in our country should get a better deal than the people already living in said country.

We also need to close the border and overhaul the expensive, tedious, bureaucratic process that immigration is now.

Then we can tell the Mexicans to get off our lawn and not feel bad about it.