General Commentary (May be military related) email: Kudzuacres1@juno.com

Thursday, January 30, 2003
This is an example of a government employee forcing his religious beliefs on others and using his official position to do so. He will not write a letter of recommendation for a student who professes religious faith, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with "scientific" reasoning and everything to do with his desire to force others to comply with his politics. I believe that evolution occurs. I also believe that God created mankind and everything else. What is contradictory about that?

I am not a Christian blogger in the sense that Mark Byron or Marc Velazquez are. I do occasionally post things that are Christian in nature but I do not make a habit of posting scripture or detailed discussions of religion other than a fairly regular restatement of my belief that a person is not really religious if he believes that there is more than one true religion. As I have said, if there is more than one road to salvation, then the logical thing to do is pick the one that demands the least of you in this life.

That said, the comment I received and posted in my last entry is really bugging me. For the past three years I have taught an older adult Sunday School Class where we study what we refer to as controversial subjects involving the Universal Church. I am a non-mainstream Presbyterian and a member of a congregation that believes that a person's salvation comes not through membership in a particular denomination, but through the loving grace of God. As I said, we have been studying "controversial" subjects for sometime and for the last few months, we have studied Church history starting with the earliest post Pentecost writings both religious and secular.

The things that stand out to me are the persecutions suffered by the early believers at the hands of both religious and secular authorities, the sea change in attitude toward the Church when Constantine rose to power, the advance of Islam around the Mediterranean in both directions and the Churches leadership in stopping its advance and the abuses that led to the Protestant Reformation. There is every reason to think that if the Church had not stopped the advance of Islam in the West at France and in the East at Austria, there would have not been a need for a Reformation as Christianity would have ceased to exist except in isolated pockets. Don’t try to tell me about the Christian enclaves that have co-existed with Islam. Christianity that is not evangelical is not living Christianity. Jesus said to go and make disciples. He didn’t say accommodate his teachings to those of the ruling power. The Christian sects that have managed to co-exist with Islam do so by staying within their own little circles and never antagonizing the authorities. In the sense that I use the term, even the Roman Catholic Church is evangelical. It does not accommodate its beliefs to the ruling power but constantly strives to spread the Gospel.

The image of Jesus that is prevalent in current thinking is of a person who, frankly, is a bit of a weakling. That is far from true. In my mind Jesus was anything but a weakling. He was a carpenter at a time when carpenters did their work by sheer physical strength. He apparently was very familiar with the operations of vineyards and grain farms since he talked a lot about those. He probably learned about those by working long hours in the fields as a boy. And he was well educated in Jewish scripture and the Law which means he spent a lot of time studying at the end of his hard physically demanding days. Further, I doubt that a group of fishermen such as Peter and James would have lain down their nets and followed a weakling.

Neither was Jesus a turn the other cheek kind of guy. He showed his anger more than once and he physically drove the moneychangers from the Temple. The image of the tables flying through the air and the merchants running from the madman does not suggest a Milquetoast kind of guy. Jesus also did not seem to be anti-military as we see in Matthew 8:5-13 when he praises the faith of the Centurion, but note that he did not tell him to leave the Roman Army. There are several references to Roman soldiers becoming Christians but nothing to suggest that they quit being soldiers when they did so.

The crucifixion could suggest a submission to human authority rather than fighting it, but in reality, it was the submission to God’s will not to the Jewish or Roman authorities. Note that Peter apparently carried a sword as part of his regular attire. What did he use it for; peeling apples? A sword would seem to be a bit of overkill as an eating tool.

Christians have a commission to spread the word of Jesus to all the world. We must not surrender to the evils that exist using “love” as an excuse. Those who randomly kill people because of who they are, what they believe or where they happen to live are evil. Christians have a moral obligation to stop evil when we can. Oh, some of us can take the high road and live in the comforts provided by the sacrifices of others, but if we all try to do that, we will quickly find ourselves bereft of those comforts.

I received the following comment about this I posted a few days ago.
5. Those who are not willing to defend themselves, their family,
community and nation are idiots who deserve the death or slavery
that awaits them at the hands of predators."

How is that a Christian statement?

That's the problem with Christianity...you've no doubt figured out how
to forgive yourself for thinking that way. What a shame.

The comment I made is harsh, but note that I said those not willing to defend deserve what befalls them. Note that I said "at the hands of predators" since I believe the world to be full of predators whether it be Enron Executives or Saddam Hussein. Is it wrong for the government to attempt to do violence against Ken Lay? How about Saddam? Does the government not act for me? Am I not responsible for its actions? What about the policeman who arrests the burglar who breaks into my house? Is he not doing violence on my behalf? Should I not press charges since to do so is rendering violence.

For a much better discussion of this subject than I am capable of go here.

More on Catholic Church/Gray Davis issue below. I have an on-going friendly argument with a dear friend over the proper place of religion in politics. He believes it is okay for priests and pastors to push a political agenda from the pulpit. I believe that the proper role of the Church is to equip believers to go into the world and do the right thing. When my children were small, I told them that my job as a parent was to protect them until they were adults and to teach them how to make good decisions.

The Church serves the same role for parishioners. Its role is to equip them to make decisions that are in accord with Church Doctrine. I firmly believe that every Christian should take their religion into the voting booth and into every other aspect of their daily life, but I do not want politics and the world coming into the Church.

If you say you are a Catholic, then act like it in public. If there are Catholic Doctrines you cannot support, keep it between yourself and your Confessor or leave the Church.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003
This item at Possumblog is more accurate than Mr. Solana knows. The "center of gravity" is a Clauswitzean concept whereby you determine what part of the enemy's makeup will result in his defeat if destroyed. It could be his army, capital, industry, transportation network or anything that is part of his strength. For example, Gen. Grant correctly determined that the Confederacy's center of gravity was its army not Richmond.

Mr. Solana seems to be saying the UN is the key to Iraq's strength and thus its defeat.

Somehow I knew that all along.

Calpundit Here talks about a potential backlash against the Catholic Church because of its position that Catholic politicians are obligated to follow Catholic doctrine. An exceprt:

It's hard to criticize the church on practical grounds since it considers this to be a purely moral issue, but it sure seems likely that it's all going to backfire. A majority of American Catholics already reject Vatican teachings on a wide variety of subjects, and even if they didn't church-state separation is a pretty touchy subject here. John F. Kennedy put the "he'll be controlled by the Pope" argument to rest in 1960, and it doesn't really seem like it will do the church any good to have it resurrected. What's more, since it's mostly Democrats who support abortion rights, the church is running the risk of seeming not just political, but of taking domestic political sides as well.

The Bishop did not tell Governor Davis that he had to agree with church doctrine on abortion. He said that failure to be in line with church doctrine makes a Catholic unprepared to take communion. The Catholic Church establishes the circumstances in which an individual can participate in the sacraments. I as a Presbyterian cannot take Communion in a Roman Catholic Church since I am not living in accord with their doctrine.

I do not see that the Bishop had any choice. I have long wondered when the Catholic Church would finally use the tools it has to enforce its doctrine. For those who do not agree with Catholic Doctrine, there is always the Church of England alternative.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003
I just had to link to this. I seldom agree with Mr. Mitchell, but this kind of cartoon is why I continue to look at his work.

Monday, January 27, 2003
I attended a professional society luncheon last week. The speaker spoke about the things that interest the group but he started his speech by talking about his brother-in-law and nephew who have been activated from the Reserves and are now deployed. The inlaw is 58 and a helicopter driver. The nephew is a lawyer. Each of them left a lucrative civilian job to serve their country. Neither was required to remain in the Reserves. It just seemed the right thing to do.

The people attending the luncheon are in the upper income levels, but I know several of them who have volunteered for military service if they are needed. Each week, we have people who demonstrate for peace at one of Huntsville's major intersections. I do not doubt their sincerety, but it seems to me that peace comes to those who are willing to fight for it.

I am comforted seeing the sheriff's deputy drive through my neighberhood. I could argue that since I wish no one harm, I am safe in my community and do not need that deputy. The truth is that he patrols the neighborhood more these days because of number of break-ins and vandalisms.