Monday, September 24, 2012

The Culture of Idolatry

Tragedy seems to follow celebrities.  A few names quickly come to mind: Elvis, Marilyn, Michael, Diana and Whitney.  They all have something in common other than their gift for performance or persona. They were all worshipped by their fans.
Today, we can witness the paparazzi madness around Kim Kardashian, Brittney Spears, Madonna, and Justin Bieber to name a few current idols.  Here is the problem.  We’ve gone from appreciating a talent to worshiping flesh.  That’s fatal for the worshiper and the person being worshiped.
The Bible only offers scenarios where man worships God. (See John 4:24).  On the other hand, the Bible is replete with God’s anger when the people of God worshiped idols.  In most cases the people of God, usually an entire nation (Israel) or community, were destroyed or befell great tragedy for their practice.
Displaced idolatry destroys the thing being worshiped because flesh is not made to be idolized.  Elvis, Marilyn, Michael and Whitney medicated themselves to cope with their circumstance. I believe they took their fame to heart; they believed it. They could not handle the fame and they weren’t made to. Diana was chased to her death because the culture needs its fix of a candid picture of the current god of the day.  It’s madness.
Displaced idolatry also destroys the worshiper because it incurs God’s wrath.
Starting with the next generation, lets teach our children that we were made to worship God alone; let’s appreciate a talent for what it is and leave it right there.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nanny Bloomberg

New York’s perpetual billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg serving his third and final term is out of control. He gets the support of the NY Board of Health to ban large size sodas over 16 ounces and other sugar drinks that contain more than 50 calories sold in various venues in an effort to fight obesity.  Businesses who fail to downsize the drinks would face stiff fines.
This is a perfect example of a politician who thinks he knows best and should tell his electorate what to do and even how to eat.  This is scary stuff that no sane person would believe.
News flash.  Government regulation is soaring to new heights.  Every product in the refrigerator has a government mandated warning or some stamp of approval.  When elected officials start telling us what size portions to eat, it’s time to say ENOUGH. Enough.
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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Teachers' Union Strikes Back

Matt Patterson & Crissy Brown

A short time ago, in a city not so very far away, an insidious organization hijacked an entire school system, putting the education of hundreds of thousands of children at risk and demanding a king's ransom that would destroy the city's budget as surely as any Death Star super-ray.

The galaxy: Chicago. The Empire: The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). The Emperor: CTU president Karen Lewis.

Yes, it all sounds like harmless science fiction, but you really couldn't make this stuff up. On Monday September 10, the unionized teachers of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) -- 26,000 strong -- walked off the job en masse, leaving more than 350,000 children without instructors just as the school year was getting started.

Of course, if the new school year is anything like the previous school years, there's not going to be a lot to celebrate come summer. Of all the 4th grade students being "educated" in CPS, only a shocking 15 percent are proficient in reading. Merely 20 percent of the school system's 8th graders are proficient in math, well below both state and national levels.

Most depressing, as Reuters reports, barely 60 percent of the public school's students graduate high school "compared with 75 percent nationwide." Whew. With those kinds of results, one can hardly blame the teachers for quitting -- maybe they headed for the bar.

But wait -- they didn't resign out of shame for their miserable failure to educate. They want to continue to fail: they just want to get paid more for doing it.

The unions demanded a 30 percent pay increase (they later came down to 19) for teachers who already average $74,000 annually, according to the latest CPS data. That's $28,000 more than the average Chicago family earned in 2009. The city offered them an overly generous 16 percent.

CTU also rebelled against new rules that would hold teachers accountable through students' test scores, as well as any increase in their out-of-pocket benefit costs. Oh, and they asked for air conditioning. (Although Mayor Rahm Emanuel was suspicious; "It's 71 degrees outside," he snorted, "we don't go on strike for air conditioning.")

Control over teacher hiring was another barrier to peace in the galaxy. CPS feels that principals should have the autonomy to choose their staff at will, as they are directly responsible for the teachers' actions. CTU feels that power should rest with the unions, who have proven they will fill the schools with union members; regardless of talent, motivation, or lack thereof.

Emanuel seemed sincere in his desire to reunite the students with their course-work.  At a late night press conference on the eve of the strike he appeared to some observers to be close to tears as he stated that the strike "is totally unnecessary, this is avoidable, and our kids do not deserve this."

The Mayor may have been crying for more than the children. The teachers' unions are greedy and pernicious, but they aren't stupid; they know Emanuel can least afford this confrontation now -- he remains one of President Obama's key advisors, and the White House will not want to alienate unions  a key portion of its base -- less than two months before the election. No small wonder that Lewis on September 11 vowed the union is in this fight for the long haul: "The revolution will not be standardized. The assault on public education started here. It needs to end here."

How ironic that, so loathsome and naked is the Chicago union's power grab, they make even a hardened, cynical pol like Rahm Emanuel seem imbued with Luke Skywalker-esque purity.

Welcome to the Light Side, Mr. Mayor.

Matt Patterson is a DC-based columnist and commentator; Crissy Brown the Director of Outreach for Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Alabama.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The DNC Convention: A Major Win for Obama

The DNC Convention was a major win for Obama, at least that’s what the DNC and the Obama campaign machine wants you to believe.  Let’s take a look at just a few of the highlights.
Michelle Obama was and is stunning.  Since toning down her anger from the 2008 election cycle, she is poised, appears to be a loving mom, and a devoted wife.  Who can criticize that?  Three cheers for Mrs. Obama, her nanny state dietary plans for the country notwithstanding.
On the other hand, Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student and poster child for forcing religious institutions to cover birth control in their health plans against the tenets of their faith, was a star of the show.  Does any thinking person actually believe Ms. Fluke’s stance is not an attack on religious freedom, but is instead an assault on women’s reproductive rights with Planned Parenthood doling out low dosage birth control pills and condoms by the truck loads on many corners across this country?  Really?
We should thank Ms. Fluke.  But for her war with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, the Catholic Church may still be asleep during this election cycle but that is not the case.  The Church is on fire and they are not taking the Obama assault on religious freedom lying down.  The evangelical community will not let the Catholics stand alone, I assure you.  Take a look at “Test of Fire: Election 2012” on YouTube.
Another highlight was President William Jefferson Clinton, the silver-tongued president with a trail of accusations and settlements from Monica Lewinsky the White House intern who accused the president of sexual contact while in the Oval Office, Kathleen Willey a White House volunteer aid who accused the president of raping her in his first term as president, to Paula Jones an Arkansas state employee who sued Clinton for sexual harassment and received nearly a $1 million settlement and which case ultimately led to his impeachment, does what he does best-he lies.  “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.  I never lied, I never told anyone else to lie, never.” 
But we learned he in fact did lie while under oath in the investigation.  Now we are asked to forget all that and believe the finer points of his speech and believe him when he says that even he could not have turned this economy around in four years.  Well, if true, he should have counseled Mr. Obama before he boldly proclaimed “if I don’t turn the economy around in three years, I’ll be a one term president.”  We should ask him to keep his word and resign.
Finally, the world watched as Los Angeles Mayor and DNC Convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa attempted to reinsert God into the party platform after the word was stripped away just days before. Also at vote was reinserting the reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Amending the platform required a two-thirds vote of the delegates taken audibly.  Not once, not twice, but three times he failed to get the two-thirds needed as measured by the noise of delegates who booed the vote.  That’s right – they booed not once, not twice, but three times and loudly.  Oh, did I mention that the chair amended the platform over the objection of the booing delegates.  Seems like a flagrant denial of democracy for the whole world to see. I’m just saying.
The Democratic National Convention was a big win for Obama that is if you too believe God has no place in the party platform and the embarrassment of such an effort before the entire world was no big deal. Republicans don’t have a monopoly on God but where else can He go?  Way to go DNC.  That was the best convention ever.
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Are you a Priest?

These days, being a godly husband is not taught, but it is the one ingredient necessary to sustain a healthy marriage.

Husbands are mandated to love their wives as Christ loves the Church.  This is a priestly calling.  A priest goes to God on behalf of the people he serves; he also pastors or teaches those given to him.  This is the God-given call for every husband.

I have been married for 18 years and have not always been a priest in my home.  After years of my wife yearning for a priest, I gave in and asked God to show me what it looked like to love my wife the way He loves the Church.  I saw a very simple picture between husband and wife.

A sun and a flower.  A very bright sun and a closed tulip (not sure why it wasn’t a rose but that’s what I saw).  As the sun began to shine brighter, the flower blossomed.  It opened wide.  As the sun shined, the flower blossomed. As the flower blossomed, the sun shined even brighter.  It was an exchange back and forth.  Shining and blossoming; blossoming and shining.  I was the sun and my wife the flower.

Being a priest in your home means you, husband, have to shine; since the flower only responds to the brightness of the sun, the onus is then on the husband to begin the cycle.  It depends on you.

Being a priest now includes regular prayer together, studying the word together, participating in ministry in the community, and sharing in our philanthropy. Get your own model and shine the way God intended you to shine – in your home.