Minority Rules in America

I live in Melbourne, Florida, which is located in Brevard County in East Central Florida. In Brevard County we have Atheist groups that have not been asked or allowed to give the invocation at the beginning of a government or organization meeting. Consequently, one of the Atheist groups, calling itself the Central Florida Freethought Community, filed a lawsuit (they had other atheistic groups join) to force the county government to allow them to give an invocation at it’s meetings. The judge ruled that refusing them was a violation of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and ordered them to be allowed to give the invocation.

I agree with the judge- the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, and the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all citizens equal protection under the law, which means that the Atheists should be allowed to have their freedom of speech. What I don’t agree with is that they have to be allowed to give an invocation: if I want to ask for God’s blessing on a meeting, then I should also have the same 1st and 14th amendment rights to do so, but apparently it doesn’t go both ways in America. The minority rights win out over the majority rights.

Let’s not forget the blatant hypocrisy of this entire lawsuit: an invocation, according to Webster’s Dictionary (1993) is:

  A appeal to a deity or other agent for inspiration, witness, or help; a prayer which is used at the opening of a ceremony or service.

So, if I do not believe in God or a superior being, who am I going to invoke for help? Who am I  praying to if I do not believe that there is anyone up there? Do you see the hypocrisy, or more accurately, the ridiculousness of this claim? They are an organization which says it doesn’t believe in God, a superior entity or prayer demanding that they be allowed to perform a prayer to a superior entity! Huh??

But this is America- the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the judicial system that doesn’t want God involved in anything it does. We did when we started, and we were blessed. Just look at the wonderful things we did when we were a young country: we defeated the greatest military and sea power in the world (twice!); we had some of the greatest leaders the world has ever known; we formed a government that was the first truly representative government and has outlasted nearly every other government that has existed; we were THE world super-power. All of that shows God’s blessing on us. But today? Today we  have kicked God out of our schools, our courtrooms and our government. And what do we have to show for it? Our system of education is much lower than the other developed countries, our economy is weakened, our government is  laughing stock (and not just the current administration), our media lies and misleads the country worse than the town gossip, and the most important things for our youth today are their cell phones and violent video games. We are no longer the leader of the world, in terms of the rest of the world looking up to us- we are a fat, sloppy and lazy giant that once was feared and admired, but now we are the world’s laughing stock. I served this country in the Marine Corps and still love it- it is still one of the best formed governments in the world and we are a sleeping giant- if we ever get our heads back in the game, no other country has a chance against us.

But our heads aren’t in the game, their up our…well, they’re somewhere else. This court case demonstrates absolutely that today the minority does rule in America. The case where the baker refused to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage is at the Supreme Court level- how stupid is that? What?- there isn’t any other bakery around they could get their cake? Will the government force a business to have clients that the business doesn’t want to have? Since when does the right of a business owner to run his or her business the way they want to take second place to someone who wants to force them to accept their business? If I went to a business and they didn’t want to serve me, why would I force them to? What in the world could ever make me think I would get good service from someone who is forced to do something against their personal, religious and/or business ethics?

And if I do not believe in a spiritual entity or prayer, why would I force some organization to allow me to give their invocation? There is only one answer- I want to do it not because I have something to offer, but simply because you said I couldn’t. Oh, yes- I forget to mention that the organizer and leader of the Freethought Community added that he would prefer prayer be completely done away with, but he is willing to accept that his group be allowed to give an invocation. In other words, these “free thinkers” are suing for the government to force others to stop thinking freely.

Oy! And the government agreed, and I understand why. What I don’t understand is how this even got to a courtroom. The judge should have thrown it out as frivolous and unfounded. We all have the right to free speech and to practice our religion (or lack of same) as we choose, so long as we don’t infringe on the rights of others. Well, if I don’t believe in prayer or God and demand that you do not prayer or even mention God, then aren’t I infringing on your rights?

The enemy is at the bottom of this, and he is influencing the government, which he will eventually be in charge of. That is why although I can’t stand to see our government and court system so brutally and obviously manipulated, it is what will be happening more and more, here in America and all around the world, until Yeshua returns and we get things back on line.

Parashah Shoftim (Judges) Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9

“Justice, Justice shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

These are the words found in this Shabbat Parashah (16:20) and the rest of this parashah discusses how that justice is to be rendered. Not only to men, but to women, children, widows, orphans, even to the trees.

When we are told not to respect anyone, that means not to give special treatment. Don’t overly accommodate the rich and don’t be extra merciful to the poor. Everyone is equal in the eyes of justice, that is, in God’s justice.

The trees, oh yes, the trees: in Chapter 20, verses 19-20 we are told not to destroy fruit trees when besieging a city because those trees provide food. Trees that do not provide food for anyone can be cut down. I guess if you were an olive tree you’d find that commandment extremely just, right?

There are other rules about fair treatment of people, and some of these rules seem totally unfair, such as completely destroying the 6 nations mentioned in 20:17. With regards to those people, everything that breathed, to include animals, was to be totally destroyed. The reason for this harsh genocide is because those nations had refused to accept peace and conversion. Their religious and social culture was an abomination: sodomy, human sacrifice, incest, prostitution, idolatry,…you name it, they did it! Their perversions were so much a part of their daily lives that there is no way having them in the presence of the people of Israel would not influence and pervert the people from God’s pure ways.

Look at it this way: if you work in a fish market, walking among the fish, working with the fish, handling them, being in the midst of fish all day long- what do you think you will smell like when you get home?

Yet, even with these abominable nations which defiled themselves and the land, the rule was still to be just and fair with them. Every single nation, town, city and village that the Israelites were to conquer was first given the option of making peace. The Chumash tells us that even these nations that were ordered to be totally destroyed were first offered peace, the difference being that the nations far away were offered peace and allowed to continue their lives as tributaries to Israel, whereas these 6 nations were required not just to accepted subjugation, but they had to convert from their religious and social practices to those of the Israelites. Their regular lives had to be completely left behind so that none of their abominable practices would be able to infest Israel. These nations were offered peace, but (obviously) they chose to make war, instead.

Bad choice on their part.

Throughout history we see that nations are formed not by finding open and unoccupied lands which they settle, but by finding settled lands that are desirable, then overcoming and destroying the people there. The ones who are able to stay are the ones that are stronger than the surrounding peoples. In other words, the strongest get to live where they want to, and the weaker get to be slaves or dead. That doesn’t sound very fair at all, except maybe to the ones who are the strongest.

The situation we have in America today which I see as being against God’s idea of “just” is this: God says to treat everyone the same, whether poor or rich, even whether Israelite or foreigner. Yet, in America- a land founded on Godly principles- we have abandoned the idea of justice for what we consider to be merciful and sympathetic treatment of the “less fortunate.”

I don’t really have to list any examples, do I? Don’t we all know of law cases that have been unfair to the large corporations (not that I am all for what large corporations do) simply because they “have the money to pay?” The best known case, I think, is the one about the lady who burned herself opening hot coffee in her lap while in the car. Do you think the settlement for that lady was a just and fair judgment? The civil court awarded her nearly $3 Million dollars; it finally settled in an appeal out of court for less than $600,000. Figure this being  a torts case, the lawyers got at least 1/3 of the settlement (standard personal injury settlement fee), plus whatever additional fees they may have charged, including everything from phone calls to making copies (at dollars per copy, although it costs them cents), which really adds up when a law case can go on for months or even years.

Bottom line: we do not dispense justice the way God says to dispense it. If this case came before a Judge in ancient Israel, he would have thrown it out for being frivolous and unsubstantiated because the lady spilled her coffee on herself. The cup didn’t fail to hold the coffee, the coffee was as hot as any other place would sell it; the reason she burned herself was because she placed it right in her lap instead of somewhere safer. The dashboard, the floor, since the car wasn’t moving at the time she could have gotten out and placed it on the roof- anyplace other than her lap would have been more reasonable.

I don’t really want to get in a discussion about this case, but I do want to point out that justice is supposed to be equally dispensed, and America has lost sight of that. The old adage that the squeaky wheel gets all the grease is more like the rule of thumb in our justice system, today. We are all victims, it is “their” fault that this happened, and I deserve to be compensated way beyond reasonable limits because “they” have the money to pay for it.

In the Torah we are told that the compensation for theft and destruction of someone’s ox is to be 5 oxen, whereas stealing and killing someone’s sheep was to be repaid back with 4 sheep (Ex. 22:1); in cases of robbery the least amount to be restored was the value of the property plus 1/5 more (Lev. 6:2-5). These are God’s commands for justice and His standards. Applying that to the case discussed above, the settlement to the lady should have been around $25,000 to cover expenses ($20,000 plus 1/5). The real money came from punitive damages which were based on MacDonald’s having been negligent, which reinforces what I said about people being victims- she opened the hot coffee in her lap but the resulting burn was MacDonald’s fault.

Maybe part of the reason is that the lawyers need to make sure they get their money’s worth out of it, and that’s fair, really- the worker deserves his wages (Luke 10:7; 1 Timothy 5:18) so they have to figure that in when they are asking for a settlement, but , well….I am going on and on about something that is taking us away from the real message.

We need to dispense justice, God’s justice, to everyone; we shouldn’t be overly sympathetic or overly accommodating just because someone is rich or poor. We are to treat all people with justice based on God’s word, ask for and award fair compensation, and to offer peaceful solution to conflicts of interest.

Ya know what? Maybe the reason Lady Justice is wearing that blindfold is because she doesn’t want to see how we have perverted it?

Everything about God’s way is simple, fair and righteous. We may not understand everything He asks us to do, but since He is God there really shouldn’t be any concern about why. Like I said- He’s God, so when He says “do this”, we need to do that; and, when he says “don’t do this”, we better not do that.

We all grew up with our parents saying, in one way or another, “So long as you live under my roof you will do as I say” and we didn’t always like it, but we understood what it meant. It’s like that with God, only with a small twist:

“So long as you live under my sky you will do as I say.”

Until you can find some sky you can call your own, you best do as Father says.

Freedom Costs Lives

The traditional belief is that after the Fall in the garden of Eden, God sacrificed animals to atone for the sin of Adam and Eve, and that is where He got the animal skins from which He made their clothes. The bible is clear, God is clear- the only way to atone for sin is by the blood of an innocent. The cost of the freedom from sin is an innocent life.

The cost of political freedom is high, too. We who have served in the military, whether in a war zone or not, know that our lives are on the line, every day, because you never know when you will be called. It’s sort of like being a Believer, never knowing when Yeshua (Jesus) will come back. Or, in a more “day-to-day” setting, never knowing when you might be called to serve God’s purpose. It may be to help someone find his or her Messiah, it may be to help an old person carry groceries, it may be to feed a homeless and hungry person.

It may be to give your life for a friend- Yeshua said that there is no greater love than that. It may also be to stand for what is right and Godly in a world that is wrong and satanic.

God has blessed Donna and I very much. Although there is Tsouris in our lives, and we have things go wrong, we are truly blessed. We own our home, we have no debt, and when I can get SSI next year we can afford to let me retire at 62. God willing that things in the world don’t get worse.

Frankly, as much as I appreciate what God has done, and all the wonderful things we plan, I am prepared to live in poverty and distress as the times of the Tribulation grow closer. I am certain that we are close, and although the part of me that always sees the other side says that for thousands of years people have felt this way, I still look forward to the return of Messiah, even though what it means is nearly the total destruction of everything I hold dear and everything I have now. Remember, He isn’t coming back when the trouble starts. It won’t be until it all seems lost, which means that we will all be at the end of our ropes- no money, no homes, destitute, under persecution. It won’t be like sitting in the green room with tea and scones waiting to be called on stage.

The freedom to live under the rule of Messiah will first cost us many lives. Many of those lives will be of Believers who stood fast in the path of evil, who refused to be moved, to take the mark, and who will be killed for their faithfulness.

It’s happening already in many third world countries.

Most everyone accepts that the freedom to live in a free country, like America, costs the lives of some of it’s inhabitants. I think most people know enough about the bible to know that the cost of freedom from sin is innocent blood, but that is of animals, right? Sheep, goats, bulls, cows….right? God created those animals, separated them (in Leviticus 11) as clean and therefore, eligible for sacrifice. Maybe that’s why the bible also tells us to care for our animals and treat them well- after all, if they aren’t perfect specimens they can’t be used as a sacrifice, and that is not good for the sinner.

Believers have accepted that the sacrifice Yeshua made is the one last and ultimate sacrifice for sin, but you still have to be nice to animals, even if you don’t need their innocent blood anymore.

I was talking about the sacrificial system to someone the other day, and simplifying the process to when someone does a bad thing, to be forgiven an innocent life must be sacrificed so the bad person can now be a good person. That does over-simplify the process, but the one I was talking with said, “That doesn’t seem right.” And you know what? I agree. It doesn’t seem right: if I kill someone why should I get away with it, so to speak, if I kill an innocent animal and sacrifice it to God? If I kill an animal for my own needs, isn’t that just as much murdering as killing a human who got me angry?  Animals aren’t human, but isn’t killing bad, at any time? Of any living thing?

Here’s the difference: the atonement for sin that an innocent’s blood makes for us isn’t in this life, but in the afterlife. So far as this plane of existence goes, if we do something sinful and wrong, we will suffer for it. Sooner or later, we will. And the bible stipulates the punishment for sinfulness while in this world.

The sad truth is that the sin we commit usually is also felt by others, by innocents, who suffer from our sinfulness. Just as innocent blood is needed to atone for sin on the spiritual level, there is a lot of innocent blood being spilt in the real world, today, as a result of sin. And much of it isn’t a sacrifice for the sinner. It’s just a waste of innocent blood.

Martyrs pay for their faithfulness with their lives, many other faithful Believers pay for the freedom to worship God as He says to with their their jobs, their friends, even their family. Freedom, whether political or spiritual, costs lives.

I am saying this, which is probably pretty obvious to most of you already, to remind you that when you read about or know of someone who is an innocent that has suffered from the sin of another, don’t blame God or think they weren’t so innocent (like Job’s friends),  and accept that this is how it works. We don’t understand why, and we don’t have to- it’s just the way it works.

And sometimes bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. We can’t understand it, and we don’t need to. We need to keep focused on what we do in service to God.

This life is short and meant for only one thing- to prepare us for eternity.  We never know when we will leave this existence: no one knows when they will die, so we have to be prepared. And no one knows when the Messiah will return, but the signs are pretty clear lately, so if you have been on the fence about really getting to know God, about finally coming to a decision about will you do as the bible says or as your religion has told you, don’t wait anymore. And know that what you decide will be what you will be judged on.

And we will all face the Judge. The only thing that stands between you and eternal suffering is how good your lawyer is.

As for me, well….I have the best lawyer there is: Yeshua. And what’s even better?- he’s a Jewish lawyer.

Who is your lawyer?

Parashah Shofetim (Judges) Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9

The laws covered in this portion of the Torah refer to the appointment of judges at all the gates of the cities, with admonitions against judging unfairly, for any reason. Warnings, again, against idolatry, rules for a king, should they choose to ask God to appoint one, rulings about the Levites, their lack of inheritance and proper due from the sacrifices, regulations and warnings about prophets, both true and false, criminal laws and rules of engagement for battle. It ends with instructions regarding cleansing the town of blood guilt when there is an unsolved murder committed there.

What I want us to discuss today is about what God tells us a king should be. The king must, first and foremost, be a native, be chosen by God, and be benevolent. He must not gather up riches (for himself), multiply horses (to make war) or have many wives who may turn his heart away from following the Lord.

Most important, I believe, was the regulation that the king had to have a copy of the Torah (arguably, some say just the book of Deuteronomy) that he must read daily and keep with him, literally next to him, always.

David did that, Solomon did that, most of his rule, but he did multiply wives that turned him from the law. The kings of the Northern tribes, Shomron, never really kept to this commandment about the kings keeping the Torah laws, and we know what happened to them. The kings of the Southern tribes, in Judah, usually kept to the Torah but in the end they fell away, especially after Manasseh, and they were destroyed, too.

Today, our king, the President, along with our judges, the Supreme Court, have all fallen away from the law. They have kicked God out of the courts and out of the government. They have multiplied horses with wars in the Middle East, Asia and South America. They are amassing riches by playing with tax laws, screwing up health reforms and the country, itself, is so litigious that we are destroying our ability to afford insurance because the courts appoint ridiculous awards to stupid people for hurting themselves, then blaming the manufacturer for not warning them against being idiots.

We have disobeyed God in the way He said the government should be run. This is what we saw in First Century Judea- the king (Herod) was not a native and most certainly didn’t study or care about Torah (although he did let Yochanan the Immerser set him straight on things, now and then), the judges weren’t always Levites, many being appointees of Herod, and I don’t think anyone can argue that Herod’s wife did not turn his heart to ungodliness.

I love this country, I served in the Marine Corps, and still believe it is one of the most righteous and fair-minded countries in the world. The government we have is still, despite it’s failings, one of the most successful, non-monarchical governments in history.  Yet, I am almost ready to divorce it because it is becoming a godless (even god-hating) rule by sin instead of rule by God. As I said, the Supreme Court has ruled God has no place in our justice system. The Ten Commandments must not even be seen anywhere near a courtroom. Did you know that when you take an oath in a courtroom you do not have to swear on the Bible? You can simply affirm that you will tell the truth. I guess that makes sense, doesn’t it? When the government (king and judges) doesn’t respect or honor God, why bother expecting it’s citizens to do so? And throughout history governments that reject God have suffered and been destroyed, haven’t they?

I am an American, and for better or worse, I am still an American. But I am ashamed of my country, and I know from reading God’s Word that this country will fall, as did Shomron, as did Judah, as have Rome, Babylon, and Greece. Just as all the major kingdoms of the Earth that have rejected God have fallen, my country, which I love, will fall, too.

We live in the End Days- the people are being regathered to Israel and the judgement of the Nations is coming. America will be judged for her godlessness and disobedience. It is sad, it is more than sad, it is terrible! It is terrible that we were once a nation formed by those seeking to worship God, and we have ended up as a nation which rejects God in everything we do.

God told Jeremiah when the kingdom of Judah was about to be destroyed for it’s disobedience, do not pray for it. I think that we should follow that advice and not pray for America. It is too late, we are already done for, the judgement is coming and we who know God’s word should know this, yet the country will not listen and they, frankly, do not care. All that is left now for Believers to do is try to turn as many individuals back to God as we can before the ax falls.

It’s sad and I sound pessimistic, but I am really being optimistic. The worse it gets in the world, the closer we come to the return of Messiah Yeshua, His millennial rule, and the new creation where we spend eternity in the glorious presence of the Holy of Holy’s.

Many of us are going to get dirty when this all happens, but God is waiting at the other end with a hot shower, plenty of soap and a brand new body. Just stay on course, friends, just stay on course.