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.

The World Says We Are All Victims!

I sometimes get my inspiration from something in the morning paper. This morning it was one of those advice columnists.

A mother writes in that her teenage son had been molested by a cousin years ago and the mother is frantic. Should she sue? How does she get her son into therapy? Can she have the molester arrested?

Look, molestation of children is a horrible thing and I have no pity or patience with someone molesting a child, or an adult, for that matter. Taking advantage of someone else, whether it be physically, emotionally, or financially, is a sin. God tells us, over and over, to watch out for and protect the widow and the orphan. I believe this is more than just telling us to provide for women who have lost a husband or children without parents: the widow and orphan represent the weak and helpless people in the world, those with no one to provide for them and no one to turn to.

That being said (if you didn’t catch it, that was my disclaimer- here comes the reason for it), what is molestation? If I am 12 or 13 and I “cop a feel” from someone around my age, during a quiet moment together, is that really molestation? Or is it the normal experimentation that pre-pubescent children experience as they learn about their bodies? If I am 32 and I do the same to a niece or nephew who is only 12 or 13, that’s a totally different thing. That’s not what I am talking about.

I remember being in a friends closet in his suburban house with another friend’s younger sister. I was about 15 and she was about 13, built like she was 22. We groped and kissed; we were both experimenting. Is that molestation? Did I destroy her ability to have proper social relationships? Did she ruin my appreciation for women? I am still friends with her brother and a few years ago, nearly half a century later, she and I met when we were at a reunion. This subject came up, and we laughed about how we were so unsure of what we were doing, and she thanked me for teaching her how to “French” kiss.

Today, if something like this happened, I can see the mother and father of the girl trying to get her into therapy, accusing me of rape, and all sorts of nasty accusations going back and forth that will detrimentally affect both of us for the rest of our lives.

We are too sensitive. Dr. Spock turned parents into best friends, Sesame Street taught kids how to concentrate for 5 minutes at a time, and no longer, and today’s cartoon characters are disrespectful to parents, schools, and other authority figures. The result? Today we have a generation totally self-absorbed, with no work ethic, no ambition, no sense of fair play and no communication skills.

We are just so fast to feel wounded and abused. When I grew up I was taught, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Today it’s more like, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words are a felony.” We immediately scream, “I’m a victim!” If you tell a joke with a bad word you are a sexaul abuser. If someone hears from someone else that you told a joke with a bad word, or was racist, or was “inappropriate” in any way, you are in trouble. It’s not gossip or hearsay anymore- it’s acceptable fact. If you so much as compliment a fellow worker, doesn’t matter which gender, you could be in the HR Director’s office being condemned, without ever even knowing who complained, what the complaint was (so you can’t figure out who the abused person is), and you are guilty without even so much as being given a chance to explain. And Lord forbid if anyone should put the two of you together with a mediator to work it out!

The Bible says when someone feels that they have been sinned against, in any form (the Bible says that even having uneven weights is a sin against the Lord), the person who is sinned against should go to the sinner and tell them. This way the sinner has a chance to apologize, ask forgiveness, and make themselves right before the Lord. If they refuse to repent, go back with witnesses (give them a second chance.) Biblically speaking, to be sinned against doesn’t focus on your rights alone. You are to give the sinner his/her right to the opportunity to make atonement to you and to the Lord. As David said, all sins are first and foremost against the Lord, so if someone sins against us our first obligation is to the Lord, to try to let that sinner atone and be right before the Lord. It’s really less about us and more about making all of it right before the Lord.

The world, however, doesn’t want to “work it out”. The world wants to expose the sin and the sinner (leaving the sinned-against totally in secret), and the corporate world is the worst offender of this. In the corporate world, if you want to “get back” at someone, all you have to do is spread a rumor that the person did something sexually inappropriate. You don’t need facts, or proof- just a story. In many cases you don’t even need to make a statement, and you will never have to face the person. If you tell someone in HR that so-and-so keeps telling dirty jokes, or bumps into you now and then in a way that you feel is sexually improper, that is all you need to do to ruin their reputation, and maybe get them fired.

If the world did as the Bible says we should do when someone wrongs another person, in any way, there would be less strife and “disturbed” people in the world. Anger management would be reduced because people would be able to work things out. Personally, if I wrong someone, I am totally willing to apologize. That’s not the world in me, that is the Ruach HaKodesh in me. And if I can apologize, if I can appease the wronged person, explain that I didn’t mean to upset or hurt them, and if that person is one who is willing to forgive and wants to have normal relationships, whether personal or corporate, then we can actually take a sinful episode and turn it around to one where we can build a new friendship.

When people want to work out their differences, they will; when people want to have enmity and strife, they will.

The Bible tells us to work it out, to forgive and to ask for forgiveness, and to try to get along with each other. The world (especially the corporate world- do you sense my indignation at it?) does everything it can to create anxiety, strife and to separate people instead of bringing them together. This is the kind of work that honors and glorifies the Enemy because God is all about truth, and the Enemy is all about lies. The world wants to lie- it wants to say that I am a victim, that you are a victim, that we should get together and accuse someone or some corporation of wrong-doing. And why? So that we feel better about ourselves! So that we can get “justice” for the terrible and outrageous thing done against us. HaSatan means The Accuser. The Enemy accuses God of lying. He told Eve that she wouldn’t die (God lied when He said she would), he accused Job of being worshipful and righteous only because he had worldly goods, and he accused God of failing to protect Yeshua if he would only step off the roof of the Temple.

The Enemy is a liar, and when we lie we honor the Enemy. When people try to make us feel like we are victims, even if we have been taken advantage of, the way that God says to handle it is to go to the sinner, tell them what they did, and give them a chance to repent. God’s focus is on helping the sinner to repent, not helping ourselves to revenge against the person. That’s what it comes down to- the world says you are a victim and entitled to get justice. Sounds good, doesn’t it? What it translates to, in spiritual form, is taking revenge and preventing the sinner from having the chance to repent. Think about it: does the corporate policy where you work give you the opportunity to save the sinner’s soul? No, it doesn’t. However, it allows you to send that sinner to hell in a handbasket; all you need do is accuse them and stand back to watch that person suffer and possibly even get fired. That way not only does this horrible person suffer, but his or her family gets to suffer, also.

Does that really make you feel right with God? You have not only accused someone without giving them a chance to repent, but you have returned evil for evil (Proverbs says that is wrong) and you have taken the place of God by being vengeful (again, a wrongful thing according to Proverbs.) More than just that, you also have refused to give yourself a chance to forgive, as God has commanded us we should. So we sin against God, against the other person, and even against ourselves by exercising our worldly “rights” as a victim.

Let me repeat myself: forcibly touching someone else is wrong, sexually explicit actions or jokes, racist comments or jokes, and anything having to do with private and personal matters are inappropriate in a social or business environment. In fact, anything said or done that someone says they are uncomfortable with should be stopped. You should apologize and ask forgiveness. And they should accept your apology and forgive, completely. If you are unaware of your sinning against someone, they should (according to God) tell you about it. Nicely, maturely, and without anger. They should allow you the chance to save yourself from further sin, separating yourself from God, by telling you so you can make it right with God, and with them.

God wants everyone who sins to atone for that sin so they can be one with Him. The Enemy wants everyone to sin so they will be separated from God.

When we are too afraid or too shy or just too “uncomfortable” to speak up and let someone know they have sinned against us, we are working for the Enemy. That’s why the world wants you to be a victim, so you will want to  seek “justice” (which, from a Biblical perspective, is really vengeance) and to make that sinner suffer for the wrongs done to you. And therapy, oh, yes;! How can we forget therapy? You need therapy to be better. You need someone who worships the Psychology Holy Trinity (Freud, Jung, and Maslow) to tell you how to feel, how to cope, and how to get over this great emotional trauma. Oy! What ever happened to prayer? What ever happened to forgiveness, which is the only way to get over the pain! 

The Enemy wants us to die in our sin, and to make sure the other people do, also. God wants us to repent and to be one with Him, forever. That’s why God tells us how to handle being a “victim”:

1. you bring the wrong done to the attention of the one who did so;

2. you give that person the chance to repent so that they can save their life.

3. If they repent, you forgive them and move on. If they don’t repent, you forgive them and move on. Either way, you are to forgive them whether they ask for it or not, and move on.

That’s God’s way.  Which way are you going to go?