Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Religious Freedom or Discrimination?

April 23, 2015

Things change.

Not that many years ago, homosexual sex was against the law.  It was listed as a mental illness.  It was a sin.  Gay marriage was unthinkable.

Now, those laws have been either rescinded or forgotten.  They certainly are not enforced.  It has been taken off the list of mental illnesses.  Some churches have embraced it as an alternative lifestyle.  Many states have legalized marriage of same sex couples.

There are still a few holdouts.

Some people of religious faith continue to hold to their view that it is a sin, that gay marriage is a sin.  They want no part of it.  They base their beliefs on a few scriptures.

Leviticus 18:22

 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Leviticus 20:13

 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

I Corinthians 6:9-10

 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

I Timothy 1:8-11

But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

Romans 1:18-32

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

There are actually still quite a few people who believe that homosexual activity is sinful.  Some of these people are in business.  They believe that it is wrong for them to support a gay marriage by providing services such as photography, baking, or catering.

Is the refusal of these services criminal discrimination, or an exercise in religious freedom?  Should the people newly in power force compliance upon those who have been slow to change?  Or who will not change?

Recently Indiana had a law passed that was meant to protect people of conservative religious views.  It was poorly written, being far too broad in scope. There was an uproar of protest.  The law was quickly changed.  I would like to suggest something more specific to be considered.  Something like:

“Business people who have strong religious convictions against gay marriage will not be forced to provide services to support a gay marriage ceremony so long as those services are available by another business within a fifty mile radius.” 

This type of law would protect the right of the individual’s religious conviction while still allowing the desired services to be obtained.

Of course, maybe we have become a society that will not tolerate disagreement or noncompliance.

 

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Minimum Wage

February 19, 2015

People like to suggest that raising the minimum wage is in response to inflation.  I would suggest that raising the minimum wage causes inflation.

If a gallon of milk cost one dollar ten years ago, and today a gallon of milk costs four dollars we recognize that the gallon of milk has not changed.  Rather, we look at it as inflation and consider it to be a bad thing.

When minimum wage changes, the product itself, a basic hour of low-skill work hasn’t changed.  The cost has been inflated.

Another way of looking at it is to say that what two dollars used to purchase, now requires seven dollars to purchase.  The thing being purchased hasn’t changed.  The value of the dollar, what the dollar will buy, has changed.

When we increase the minimum wage, we devalue the dollar.

I am not an economist and I am not going to go back over the last fifty years and see the precise changes in minimum wage and the effect on the economy.  I have, however, been living through the last fifty years, and in my observation, raising the minimum wage causes economic turmoil.

The minimum wage is meant to be a starting point for employment.  As workers develop skills and demonstrate a solid work ethic, they may be rewarded with higher paying jobs.  New workers entering the job market take their place and the process moves onward.

When the minimum wage is raised it has an affect on what other employees are paid as well.  People often view their pay in relationship to the minimum wage so to keep employees, wages across the board need to go up.  Higher wages means higher operating costs.  These costs are passed on to the consumer, resulting in inflation.

Currently, people who make minimum wage may be eligible for a variety of assistance programs from the government.  These include food stamps, rent assistance, utilities assistance and other programs.  These programs help people to live a better life while making minimum wage. Perhaps we could add an option of financial training.  We should help to teach people how to live on their income, rather than beyond their income.

People should look to better themselves by finding better jobs, not by trying to force employers to pay more for an hour of basic labor.

Raising the minimum wage is a bad idea.

Syrian Involvement

August 29, 2013

I am gravely concerned about the action that our country may take in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  Earlier this year, I read a newspaper report that Russia believed, as a result of the chemical analysis of the earlier attack, that the rebels had used gas in an attempt to provoke the US into joining the fight.  They had reached this conclusion because the analysis showed that the chemicals used were of an inferior quality than what the Syrian’s have in their arsenal.    I consider this to be a very real possibility.  The rebels have much to gain by American involvement.  There may be someone among the rebels who has the capability to manufacture and to use gas, and who could justify this action to their own satisfaction.

I am very concerned that military action on our part will have grave consequences for us.   I am concerned that it is a cost that we cannot afford.  I am concerned that we may find ourselves backing a group that we will later regret backing.  I am concerned about what response Russia, and the Muslim community,  will make to our involvement.

This is not our fight.  It is a civil war.  It does not involve us.  Neither party is innocent.  I believe that we should stay out of this conflict.  I do not believe that we should be supporting either side in any way.

Big Brother?

June 13, 2013

Apparently we are being watched.  Well, not all the time, but our online visits and our phone calls are being monitored.  By this, I do not mean that they are actually listening in to our phone calls, or reading our emails, but rather they are tracking what sites we visit, and where we  place our calls.This has upset a lot of people.  It is considered by many to be an invasion of privacy, an act of spying on the American people.

For whatever reason, this particular action by our government does not bother me.  Certainly our government does other things that bother me, and maybe this action should, but it just doesn’t.  I have always known that our internet servers, and our phone companies have had this information in their records, so I have never considered it to be truly private.  You know, just a secret between me and whoever-it-is at the corporation.  You can’t lose what you never had.

I also understand that it can be beneficial.  That it is one more tool in the war against terror.  It is an act of diligence.

Of course it could be misused.  Instead of seeking out terrorists, it could be turned against any interest group.

Like any other weapon in our arsenal, or tool in our tool bag; it needs to be used wisely, carefully, and with supervision.

 

Grassroots Politics

March 20, 2012

I am in my fifties.  This is the first year that I have participated in the local political caucus.  I also had the opportunity to participate in the county convention.  What this experience has shown me is that there is an avenue for the average person to be involved in politics.  If you feel strongly about issues, you can bring like-minded people with you to these events and it is possible to have an impact.  You simply need to be willing to invest some of your time, energy, and a little money and you can be a part of the democratic process.

It was also surprising to me the range of opinions that were represented.  I certainly did not agree with all of them, but I recognize that everyone has a right to their opinion, and a right to be heard.  It is my hope and prayer that, in the end, right decisions will be made for our country.  It was fun to be a part of the process.  Why did I wait so many years to get involved?

Yield!

February 28, 2012

When the light is green it is your right to drive through the intersection.

Way back in high school, I was driving home after class, when I had an interesting event.  I had stopped at a red light, a block away from my house.  When the light turned green I started to accelerate, but I noticed a truck coming out of the corner of my eye.  He wasn’t slowing down.  I stepped back on the brake and watched him sail through the intersection directly in front of me.  I can still see the look on his face as he realized, too late, that the light was red.  My friend who was riding with me, said “Wow!  I’m glad you were driving!  Greg or John would have accelerated right into the path of that truck.”

I learned an important lesson that day.  I had the right to drive through the intersection, but to avoid a collision, I needed to yield.  That lesson has served me well through decades of driving both automobiles and motorcycles.   You may have the right-of-way, but sometimes it is right to yield for the sake of safety.

Knowing when to yield is important in many other parts of life.  There are many situations where we can either stand firm, or “yield” the right of way.  This is true in family matters, work issues, neighbors, politics, and so on.  The first step is to recognize that things do not have to always go our way.  The second step is even harder.  That is being able to recognize when to stand firm, and when to yield.

Traffic Cameras

February 23, 2012

Here in Iowa there are a number of cities that utilize cameras for both speeding and red-light violations.  The Iowa congress is debating banning the use of cameras for traffic law enforcement purposes.

I fully support the use of cameras,  for the following reasons.

Speeding and running red lights increase the risk of accidents.

People are less likely to speed or run a red light if they know they will get a ticket.

There will likely be fewer accidents in areas that utilize cameras.

People who are ticketed shouldn’t have been breaking the law.

People should not expect privacy on public streets.

Criminals do not deserve privacy so that they can break the law.

The income from fines can be put to good use.

Owners are responsible for their vehicles.  If a car is loaned to someone other than the registered owner, the owner should recoup their costs from the person to whom they loaned the vehicle.   If that is a problem, then people will be more judicious about whom they let use their vehicle.

I suspect that the only people who really oppose traffic cameras are people who habitually disregard traffic laws.

Oh…

Many people do habitually disregard traffic laws.

No wonder there is such a fuss.

In God We Trust

September 29, 2011

I appreciate that we still have the saying “In God We Trust” on our money.  These days it seems even more important to realize that our ultimate trust is placed, not in our government, nor our own resources, but in God.

As the fiscal year for our country comes to an end, we have serious problems  facing our country.  I regularly pray that our leaders will make good choices and good decisions, that God will give them the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength and courage to do what is right.

I think I need to pray harder…perhaps you will join me.

Perhaps we can hold meaningful discussions of possible solutions, rather than shouting matches of entrenched ideology.  Perhaps if we worked together, we would collectively find the wisdom and strength that we need to build a stronger country.

May God help us.

Stalemate

May 17, 2011

Our politicians need to find a way to move forward.  We have a House controlled by republicans and the Senate is controlled by democrats.  They need to work together to get any legislation passed.  It is time to get creative.  It is time to look for common ground and a new approach.  It is time to work together.  We are currently at stalemate and with a stalemate, nobody wins.

The Egg and Political Reformation

April 26, 2011

When the time is approaching for a chick to break out of its shell it needs to be left alone.  If someone standing by were to decide that they wanted to help the chick, by helping to break it out of its shell, that bird would certainly die.  It is necessary for the chick to remain in the shell until it has sufficiently developed and is able to break out on its own.

There are countries throughout the Arab world experiencing political turmoil.  It is hard to passively watch as these countries are in the throes of breaking free, but we are doing them no favor when we interfere with the natural process of political reformation.  When outside forces assist, the developmental process is hindered and a weakened, dependent, political agency is the result.  That is not good for the nation’s sovereignty.

We should let a countries internal conflicts be resolved by the people of that country.  The social contract will be worked out in time.