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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A couple of thoughts today!

Home Again

The CDT (Covenant Discipleship Training) team is back from Gary, Indiana. I’m humbled at how much I have in comparison to those faithful in Gary—and really all over the world. God revealed to me how spoiled I am.

Vic and Faith Davis

Vic leads a group of only about 30-40 people. Yet--they have a school serving students pre-K to 6th grade, a Tech center with oh, about 40 computers, and a half-way house for men transitioning from drug rehab or prison. They are also involved with CityBuilders, and are rebuilding Gary literally one block at a time. Some would look at Gary and think there is no way that Gary will ever shine. There is no way that it will ever recover (Gary propsered for years as a steel town) and have Kingdom order. But there are some faithful servants in Gary who God has charged with bring the Kindgom, not because of what they see in the natural, but because of spiritual revelation.

That’s my heart for the Missouri political system—Kingdom order. I pray, Father, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven...

Voting with a Kingdom vision

I often grow weary of those who believe that voting for a candidate that isn’t a Republican or a Democrat is a waste of a vote. If you do not vote for a Christian with a vision of restoration, that is a waste of a vote.

The Minutemen organization, a group taking action to protect our borders by monitoring the southern borders, encourages voters to not vote for a party but for candidates that are tough on illegal aliens. In a past election, Minutemen supported a candidate that was neither Democrat nor Republican, and he got 25% of the vote.

If Christians would just vote consistently with their theology, we could get godly men in office. But some Christians just don’t have the faith, vision, or the patience. :( And on that thought, its probably better Christians didn’t vote their theology...but that’s a whole post in itself.

A mistake

The voter ID bill did have enough votes to make it to the House for further debate.

Sex Education

Why are school teachers showing kids how to put on condoms? A State Rep. from St. Charles County was dismayed when her son participated in such a lesson. Rep. Davis then sponsored a bill not to end Sex Ed in schools...but to limit it. Hmmm. Well you can read about it in the KC Star, STL Post, and Missourian (Columbia).

What do you think a Christian response to Sex Education in public schools should be?? What does the Bible say?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Right or Duty?

How does one determine if his or her rights are being violated by the government? When does the government become a tyrant?

The framers crafted the US Constitution and wrote volumes to address the problems of despotic government, and there was never perfect agreement on where to draw the line is between tyranny and liberty. Federalist James Madison wrote that “[i]n framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” (No. 51). “Brutus,” one voice out of many opposed to a centralized federal government, wrote that “[t]he design of civil government is to protect the rights and promote the happiness of the people….Hence we find, that all the state constitutions, contain either formal bills of rights, which set bounds to the power of the legislature…” (New York Journal, January 17, 1788).

Both Madison and Brutus agreed that the government should be limited; however neither agreed on the definition of “limited” nor on how to achieve such limitations. The same discussion occurs session after session in the Missouri Legislature. Today, the government is a tyrant unless it pays for the privileges that many American citizens consider rights, as specific enumerated rights are confused with our duty as citizens.

Case in point:

Currently, there are two bills in the Senate that have clauses that would require Missouri voters to present a photo ID at the polls before they can vote.

Senate Bill 1014 would not only require voters to have a photo ID, but also states that:

The state of Missouri shall pay all the legally required fees for applicants for non-driver's licenses. Persons residing in convalescent, nursing, and boarding homes shall be issued a non-driver's license through a mobile processing system operated by the department of revenue at no cost.

Ten of thirty-three Senators did not vote for this bill, as those opposed to the measure cited the unintended consequences on the poor and elderly who cannot afford such IDs. The aim of the Senate bill is to reduce voter fraud. It needs one more vote to move to the House.

SB 1250, which includes a section requiring a photo ID for Missouri voters, aims to decrease the ability of illegal aliens to illegally vote.

There is opposition to both bills because of the burden on voters to obtain and pay for a photo ID. Can someone please help me understand how reducing voter fraud makes the government a tyrant? While I must recognize that such a measure isn't convenient for some voters, such an inconvenience—as some have given their lives to protect the reliability of our electoral system--is our duty.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Public vs. Private Schools

What would you think if someone claimed that public schools out performed private schools, specifically Christian private schools? A study performed by the US Dept. of Education through U of I Champagne supports such a claim. What's more, a writer for Washington Monthly claims that Pres. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act was "a long-term plan to erode the public faith in public schools," which would create a legitimate reason for parents to support vouchers or take their children out of school.

Oh, if only President Bush really would devise such a well-thought out plan to put an end to the State's monopoly on education.

John Stossel criticized the public schools' performance in January on 20/20 in a episode called "Stupid in America." Stossel's piece focused on how a lack of competition allows schools to perform poorly without consequence. Lee Duigon of Chalcedon has started a series of essays on the public schools' effort to remain America's premier education resource. He points out what Stossel leaves out: the cultural and political agendas transferred from the teachers to the students.

What do you think: can state schools be improved? Can the state provide a "neutral" education? Do parents have a right to choose between public and private schools for their children since it is their tax money?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Gary, Indiana!

CDT is visiting the congregation led by Vic Davis up in Gary, Indiana to do some service and evangelism for a couple of days. We walked in the meeting room last night to see a banner hanging over the stage declaring: “Ask…for the nations Ps. 2”. We then participated in a prayer meeting where we asked God to stir the Church to action and to rise up righteous leaders in our society and all over the world. Oh! It was a good time of fellowship.

My host family is probably typical of Gary, Indiana. God’s made them a new creation, but they live amidst the consequences of not only their sin, but of the sin of their community. Gary is comparable to East St. Louis; it lacks economic development and is full of poverty. I’m only reminded of the miraculous work God accomplishes in making us new, but of how blessed and spoiled I am. I have it all! I have the love of God and he provides for all my needs.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Immigration Legislation in Missouri

I sat in a MO Senate Judiciary committee last night that reviewed SB 1250 sponsored by Bill Alter from the St. Louis County area. The bill is a move in the right direction by Missouri lawmakers in state that is not along the border, but none the less affected by illegal aliens. (I cannot help but use this term, as the terms keep shifting in the media: illegal alien to illegal immigrant to undocumented worker.)

The bill has 3 sections. The first section would give Missouri police officers the authority to take custody of illegal aliens and begin investigations. Currently only Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents have that authority. This measure would give (some or all) Missouri officers the ability to get around all the bureaucracy.

The second section makes Missouri law compliant with Federal law, as it prohibits illegal aliens from receiving state welfare benefits, in-state tuition at state universities, and other state benefits. The third section requires photo identification at the polls to prohibit illegal from voting. Interestingly enough, the AARP, the League of Women’s Voters, the Secretary of States office, the Whole Person (a group representing people with physical disabilities), and the ACLU all had representatives present to testify against the 3rd section because it would make it hard for the elderly and the disabled to vote because they often do not have photo ids.

A Hispanic American, who works as a hospital interpreter, testified in favor of the bill. He commented after the hearing that to vote in Mexico you need a photo id that has personal info on the front, and a thumb print and magnetic id chip on the back. He also commented that the 2000 that participated in the protests in Kansas City on Sunday was poor turnout for a city with thousands of illegal aliens.

The Kansas City Star reported on the KC protest and concluded with some comments from a tax-preparer who participated in the protest. She stated“We are not criminals” and “We just come here to work like every group that comes here for the American dream.”

The US is a country that is ruled by law. While I do not agree with every US law, that does not mean I break those that I feel deprive me of the “American Dream.” I have compassion on those who are just trying to survive, but steeling from the “rich” to give to the “poor” is not legitimate option. If US lawmakers let millions of people break the law, what keeps the rest of the citizens from doing the same?

Friday, April 07, 2006

What are “guest workers”?

Thomas Sowell articulates a rare and refreshing perspective on immigration reform in his article Guests or Gate Crashers?” Sowell asks, “What is a guest?” Well, a guest is “someone you have invited.” He continues by stating that “[p]eople who force their way into your home without your permission” are anything but guests.

Sowell also points out the weak arguments given to justify ignoring that millions of people have broken the law with apparently no recourse from our government. It makes me wonder, are we nation founded on the rule of law or the whims of popular opinion? Why are politicians courting people who are ready to ignore the existing immigration laws?

Christ Simcox, co-founder of the Minutemen, comments: “[o]ur Homeland Security is a farce now. They do noting to secure our borders. They say they are fighting a war on terror, but they are leaving our country’s back doors wide open.” Minutemen is a organization, similar to a neighborhood watch group, that is comprised of about 4200 volunteers. They watch the borders and call the border patrol when they spot people attempting crossing the border.

What would you propose to as a solution to the growing illegal immigrant population in the US?