Politics and Religion

Seems like politics is full of hot button issues these days that are considered ‘moral’ issues. Abortion, gay marriage, pornography, drinking age, etc..

Sometimes I catch some heat from friends and family members for not being more fanatical about these issues. This quote neatly sums up exactly what I think about any nanny law that attempts to address these laws.

Every man must give account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free.
John Leland – Right of Conscience Inalienable.

Why we have Separation of Church and State

There is constantly a huge discussion about the Separation of Church and State here in the US. This discussion resolves around many issues ranging from major items like the removal of state sanctioned prayer by students in public schools, Roe v. Wade and the teaching of evolution in public schools to stupid issues like removal of the Ten Commandments in public buildings, removal of the cross on Mount Soledad and restricting Christmas decorations on public property.

The more devout among us seem to regard the idea of Separation of Church and State as an affront to our Creator. They consider a godless government as a sure-fire path to destruction. While that stance may have some validity, an article on the front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal really struck a chord – reminding me why the Freedom of Religion is a good thing.

Russian President Vladmir Putin, by all accounts, is a downright scary man. Some would consider him borderline evil. He has brought stability to a Russia that has been in chaos since the end of the cold war – but at what price. Putin has little regard for civil liberties, been accused of orchestrating assasinations on foriegn soil and is oddly remeniscent of his bolshevik predecessors.

Putin and Alexei

One thing Putin knows, that escaped the Communists, was the power of the Church. Putin has embraced the Russian Orthodox Church with open arms, even receiving a public blessing for his heir-appearant First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Using one’s personal religious beliefs to bolster public support (a tactic President Bush has been accused of using), while suspect, is fairly common and accepted. Using the head of a country’s largest religous institution, in this case Patriarch Alexy II f the Russian Orthodox Church, to receive an endorsement from God himself is a step beyond.

Separation of Church and State may not be a perfect policy when it comes to the public morality, but it is much preferred to the alternative. Any time the heads of the Church and the heads of Government begin to collude and abuse their power over the public we are reminded of how great the American Constitution is. We may constantly fight over these issues… but at least we are free to fight.

The Myth of Steroid Abuse

Just saw this video today. It’s from a November 16, 2006 episode of HBO’s Real Sports.

Isn’t it amazing how a handful of wacky politicians, news people and doctors can create such a false stigma that is so widely believed.

The media position against steroids is so strong, my mother actually commented last week that she didn’t want to give her dog steriods due to the potential damage. The only reason I can think she would equate steroids with damage is the news stories about Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. Although there can be side effects from long term use of steriods in pets, I’m guessing she was basing her comments on her exposure to news stories about illegal anabolic steroids.

Internet Porn

Kelly over at A Yoga Coffee Outlook posted a comment about an initiative to ask Adult websites to require a password-protected login before allowing even free access to explicit adult content.

Kelly's response is quite insightful and an opinion that I agree with completely. To expound on her point of view, to address some misconceptions about the Internet and generally express my personal irritation with using the “what about the children?” argument to intrude on our constitutional rights, there some points I would like to make.

Internet regulation is extremely difficult and expensive to enforce.

The Internet is a global phenomenon. Many sites are run from outside the United States. Laws regulating content not only violate 1st Amendment free speech rights of US citizens, but also require cooperation from other governments if the violating sites are run from severs on foriegn soil. Efforts such as these (or other regulations on things like file shareing and online gambling), if put into law, are phenomenally difficult to enforce and defend in the courts.

Porn is an economic driver of technology.

Since the inception of the Internet, adult sites have been one of the primary ways to monetize the technology. Online Pornography, like it or not, is a very lucrative business. If their current practice of allowing free viewing is a effective marketing technique (which we must assume it is) there is no motivation for the sites to voluntarily require passwords to view free content. This being the case any initiative is doomed to failure.

There is no central authorizing body.

There is no central repository of personal information that can be accessed to verify a person's age. As such there is no way for any site to verify that a visitor is over the age of 18 and eligible to view free content. Most sites with adult content make an effort to validate their viewer's age, but without making the visitor jump through hoops (which again, the industry is not motivated to do) and collecting credit card or other information, there is no easy way to confirm the visitor is of legal age. If 'password protection' was enabled it would probably be extremely easy to circumvent, especially for a teenager that has grown up in the current technological environment.

The burden of responsibilty for protecting children must rest squarely on a parent's shoulders, not on the benevolence of an adult website provider or on the government.

Santa’s Butt

Santa's Butt Beer

Massachusets beer importer, Shelton Brothers, is getting heat for importing Santa's Butt beer from England. The Blue State liberals in Maine have banned the holiday brew because “The label with Santa might appeal to children”.

Shelton Brothers have a great blog with several very interesting posts about the violations of their 1st Amendment rights and their reasons for fighting the ban.

The thing that just floors me about this issue is the groups who are fighting the ban. These aren't fundamental Christians from the Bible Belt fighting the exploitation of Christmas. No, this stems for the liberal New Englanders who constantly deride the conservatives in this country for their 'think of the children' approach to politics. Turns out the liberals are no better than the conservatives – everyone wants to trample the 1st Amendment at the earliest possible opportunity.

What is with this country? Seems like every time you turn around somebody is banning something – next thing you know we'll be having book burnings in the town square.


As a Christian myself it is often very bothersome to me when other fundamentalist Christians go off on completely un-christianlike tangents. One of these tangents is the attack on how people celebrate holidays like Halloween or Christmas.

I've been meaning to write something in my own words that disucsses this, but I received an email recently that explains my feelings on Christmas extremely well.

Dear children,

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth just, GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Now, having said that let Me go on.

If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can and may remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgot that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8. If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it.

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a assisted living home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile it could make the difference. Also, you might consider supporting the local Hot-Line: they talk with people like that every day.

7 Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas” that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.

8 If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary, especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name. You may already know someone like that.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no “Christmas” tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them (and I suspect you don't) buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Marines, the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

P.S ~ Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember.