Sunday, August 30, 2009

Of God, Grace, and Government...

So earlier today, a cousin of mine made a very interesting statement via that wonderful abomination of the web known as "Facebook". I found it interesting because I wasn't exactly sure what she meant by "Legalism = the absence of Grace".

I wasn't confused by the words themselves, but rather, the manner in which they were used.

"Legalism" is defined as a strict adherence to the letter of the law, as opposed to the actual spirit of the law.

"Grace", when used in a religious context (I assumed, of course, that it was used in a religious context), is defined as "in the favor of God".

When I expressed my confusion about this, I was told that adherence to the letter of the law is an expectation of failure. I know this is going to come as a huge shock to all, but I couldn't agree more.

My confusion did not stem from the wording, but rather the fact that she was referring to God's law (as opposed to the law of man). Some may wonder what difference this would make, but it's really quite simple. The law of God is quite simple, and doesn't take a huge amount of intellect to understand the basic ideas behind His principles. The laws of man, on the other hand, are a vast maze of complicated edicts requiring extensive study before one can even get a mediocre grasp on them. For instance, the Texas Transportation Code has several hundred chapters...and that's not even getting into areas of public health regulations, penal codes, insurance codes, et cetera. The laws of God, by comparison, are extremely simple.

Speaking strictly of the laws of God, it is very possible to live ones' life according to the letter of the law...and still be in violation of the intent of the law. When one violates the spirit of the law, he has no judge but God Himself.

This concept, when applied to the laws of man, bring us to a bit of an issue. Man is a fallible creature, as evidenced by Romans 3:23. Romans 13:1-7 (the one that my dear cousin Billiam likes to throw out there, presumably due to his handcuff fetish and his knowledge that I have no respect for officers of the law that don't follow the law) tells us that we should submit ourselves to "governing authorities".

In a court of law, it is no defense to claim that you have followed the "spirit of the law", as opposed to following the law itself. Doing so may very well land you in prison, depending upon the circumstances. As such, we as citizens have but two our lives according to the spirit of the law and risk imprisonment, or live our lives according to the letter of the law ("legalism") and continue to live on the outside of prison walls.

An interjection of God's law into the laws of man creates a very problematic situation in and of itself. Even though the basic laws of God are fairly simple, there are plenty of people who have their own take on their precise meaning. If you need an example of this, look no further than to the fact that there are more separate denominations of "Christianity" than you can count on your fingers. Man is not God, pure and simple. Unless the Holy Spirit of the Lord himself starts chiseling traffic code and criminal law onto stone tablets, I think we need to be following the letter of the law...which, thank God, includes the 1st Amendment of the constitution that prohibits laws based solely upon religion.

Furthermore, we must look to the fact that a faith and following of God is expected, by God Himself, to be voluntary. It should never be forced upon someone, as this is not faith but spiritual slavery. If God wanted us to be forced to live according to His law, I have every firm belief that He has every ability to prevent us from doing otherwise...which leads me to believe that He OBVIOUSLY wants us to make the choice to follow Him according to our own volition.

Having had similar discussions with several people in the past, the most common retort has been the "Ten Commandments" rationale, stating that several of God's laws are already a part of man's law. Yes, we have laws against killing, raping, stealing, robbing, et cetera. However, we must also realize that while they are a part of God's law, they are a part of man's law because they deal with the violation of the rights of others. Other parts of God's law, such as the commandment against having masters other than Him, are specifically EXCLUDED from the laws of this land because they violate the right of a man to make his own choices.

So we're still left with the fact that "legalism", in the context of man's law, is an expectation of failure. Again, I couldn't agree with this more, but I do not feel that we should deny the need to follow the law as written. I feel we should, instead, work to repeal every unnecessary law we currently have on the books today, and leave only those which relate to the violation of the rights of our fellow human beings.

It's really quite simple, and essentially boils down to "Do Not Steal." If you murder, you have stolen someone's life. If you rape, you have stolen a person's physical affection. If you kidnap, you have stolen a person's liberty. I could go on, but you get the idea. The idea of "Thou Shalt Not Steal" is a fairly universal concept. It's present in the laws of both God and man.

No human being has a full understanding of God, and any attempt to interject His wisdom into our laws will result in a mockery of Him. If you need any real-world proof of this, look to the various theocracies of the world, where the "Word of God" is the basis of man's court system.

For the sole reason of man's imperfections, we as a society must strive to keep our laws to a bare minimum. Keep the Bible in your heart, your mind, and your actions. Keep it out of the legislation, lest you attempt to become the master over another in His name, for you are not God.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pay close attention to Luke 22:36...

And while you're at it, pay close attention to this...

Now that you've seen that, let's have a bit of a history lesson.

In 1945, Germany unilaterally and unconditionally surrendered to end WWII...and trials went underway in Nuremberg for several of the Nazi higher-ups, as they were indicted as defendants charged with up to four separate crimes related to the armed aggression that started WWII, as well as the "crimes against humanity" relating to the enslavement and murder of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, cripples, and others.

Nuremberg was chosen as the site of the first International Military Tribunal for two reasons. First, it was in the heart of Germany and was one of the few cities that weren't bombed beyond oblivion. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it was symbolic in the fact that Nuremberg was where the majority of the Reich's decrees were issued.

How is this relevant to a speech given by the President of the United States, 70 years after Nazi Germany's "Enabling Laws" went into effect? It's quite simple, really. In the course of WWII, at least 50 million lives were lost. It is estimated that more than between ten and twelve million civilians of Germany and its occupied territories through starvation, strenuous slave labor, and outright premeditated murder. At least six million of these people were murdered strictly for no other reason than being of a different religion. The rest of them were merely "enemies of the Reich"...homosexuals, gypsies, cripples, political dissidents, and various other random people.

But still, you does this pertain to a speech about detaining terrorists without charges? Well, first and foremost, it is currently ILLEGAL under domestic and international law to do so, and has been since back when the Bush II administration was doing it. Second, the "legally defensible" system advocated by Obama is the VERY SAME METHOD used by the Third Reich in Nazi Germany. You see, EVERY PERSON MURDERED OR ENSLAVED BY THE NAZI PARTY was "legal", according to laws written and passed by the Nazis themselves.

They issued decrees, they passed them through the legislature, and then used these laws to justify the enslavement and murder of millions of innocent people.

Some claim that what is currently happening in our nation is merely biblical prophecy fulfilling itself, as it is written in The Book. Unfortunately, the Bible is rather vague on such things, and we will never know for certain until the rapture comes. For this reason, I refuse to sit back and watch these things unfold in my back yard, while merely chalking it up to "The End Times".

I spoke out against Bush when he tortured 15 year old cab drivers at Gitmo. I spoke out when he argued that even American citizens can be labeled "unlawful combatants", and be held without trial or even charges. I spoke out when Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel wanted to say that any American citizen on a "watch list" would have their 2nd Amendment rights "canceled". I spoke out when I heard that the Army National Guard was advertising for openings for "Internment and Detention Specialists".

Well, ladies and gentlemen, NOW HEAR THIS. If this occurs on US soil, by agents of the US government acting under the auspices of US law, to US citizens, it's open season on all participants. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

When you have taken away the liberties of a person based upon what you fear they MIGHT do, as opposed to something you have proven that they have done, you have effectively taken that person's life. That person may be technically "alive", but living in prison is no life worth having. This goes far beyond the constitution, this is a basic principle of civilized humanity.

It is said that this will apply only to "suspected terrorist enemies" captured on the battlefield, but the Bush administration has already proven that American citizens may at times be denied a trial before a jury of their peers. God help us all if American citizens are ever arrested on US soil and detained indefinitely without the right of formal charges, a bail hearing, or a speedy trial by a jury of ones' peers.

For those who would actively and knowingly participate in these crimes against humanity, I have but one thing to say to you. May our Almighty God have mercy upon you, because I'm not absolutely certain that several million honest Americans will. God willing, justice will eventually prevail in this nation again. Will you be in the witness box, or will you be waiting in line for your turn at the gallows? As always, the choice is yours...but also remember the words of Christ when you see me:

"I tell you the truth. Whatever you did for the least of my brethren, you did also for me."

Monday, August 24, 2009

What worries me about secession...

So it looks like people in the state of Texas are finally starting to grow a pair, and the "Texas Nationalist" movement is gaining a bit of momentum that goes beyond just seven rednecks getting slammed on Lone Star Light at deer camp. It has become a very serious Tenth Amendment issue, and our current state of affairs in this nation is leading many Texans to want to just say "Screw it, I'm out."

As bad as I think our federal government is doing us dirty and dry at every opportunity, I'm afraid of what would happen when document known as our "Bill of Rights" no longer applies to Texans because Texans are no longer citizens of the United States.

Don't get me wrong, I love the freedoms that this state actually allows me to enjoy. Unfortunately, Texans seem to have the same problem that many other people in this nation have...if you get more than ten of them in the same room and bring up the subjects of either "God" or "public safety", all respect for the rights of an individual (as well as good old sanity, apparently) go flying out the window.

The reason I bring this up stems from a discussion I had with a webfriend the other day, regarding his disapproval of the legalization of homosexual marriage.

Before I go any further, I'd like to point out several important facts.
A) I'm not gay, nor do I have any desire to ever get married again, so it really doesn't directly affect me in any way, shape, or form.
B) Marriage in the state of Texas, according to the law, IS NOT a "religious" institution. It is a legally-binding contractual relationship between two consenting adults and concerns property rights and certain privileges.
C) Procreation is not required for marriage, nor is marriage a requirement for procreation. The number of childless married couples and unwed mothers in this state are proof positive of this fact.

As such, there is ABSOLUTELY ZERO reasoning behind a prohibition of homosexual marriage in this state (or any other state in the union, for that matter) OTHER THAN RELIGIOUS REASONS...which goes directly against the First Amendment.

The queers living next door to you ARE NOT going to harm you, your children, your dog, or your property value by cementing their relationship via a legally-binding contract. If they're already living next door, what difference does it make if he introduces Twinkle-toes as "my husband" instead of "my life partner"?

You claim that it is an abomination before God, it goes against nature, et cetera. Well, the same set of rules that claim homosexuality is an "abomination" also say it's wrong to get a tattoo. I personally have a pair of tattoos and a brand on my chest. Somehow, I really don't think God loves me any less for it.

You claim it goes against nature. At what point did you decide you were straight? Oh, you didn't just wake up and decide that you like boobies? Funny, I didn't either. It's just something I knew...just like every homosexual will tell you, they just "knew".

So that gets back to my original point. We all know that the overwhelming majority of our founding fathers were Christians. Duh. This should be common knowledge. However, God also gave them the foresight to understand that God and government should never intermingle, as fallible men run our government. That's why we have those first ten words of our First Amendment, which state very clearly, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion".

This state, as sad as it may be, is run by a bunch of uber-zealot hypocrites that love to have their dirty little noses in the business of everyone. We already have so many criminal statutes persecuting people for victimless crimes that it's not even funny. Before a couple of homos had to take their sodomy arrest to the supreme court (they were arrested after a drug raid found nothing but a couple of homos getting jiggy on the couch), it was ILLEGAL IN THE STATE OF TEXAS to get a blowjob. Yes, even if you were getting said blowjob from a FEMALE. If there were any such thing as "victimless crime", I think getting a hummer from your girlfriend would fit the bill...but sadly, this state keeps criminalizing acts that have no victim. They all seem to have one of two things in common...either it's "going against God", or it's "a detriment to public safety".

For instance, let's take a good look at one of our newest "public safety" regulations. If a particular jurisdiction erects the proper signage, it becomes a CRIMINAL OFFENSE to speak on a cell phone while driving through a school zone. Why would we have a law like this? Because it's "for the safety of the children"!

Unfortunately, this is nothing more than a selectively-enforced revenue generator that does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to protect the welfare of our children. Do you honestly think that someone with so little concern for the safety of others that they'd worry about a legal restriction? Furthermore, when are we going to ban the application of makeup behind the wheel? Turning around to scream at your kids? Changing the radio station?

Our nanny state is the product of a bunch of pandering politicians who have sold (read: WHORED) themselves out to the highest bidder, and they like to keep coming up with random new shit to keep you a slave to the system. How do they get into such positions of power?

Sadly, IT'S BECAUSE WE KEEP LETTING THEM. You want to live free? Then you'd better start getting off your dead ass and doing something about it. What's sad is the fact that most of these dirtbags aren't even breaking the law when they come up with this trite crap. They're doing what their constituents have elected them to do.

Lest we forget, democracy is nothing but tyranny of the majority. If the MAJORITY of people say it's okay to kill and eat people if they have red hair, does that make it okay? On the same note, if the MAJORITY of the people say it's okay to deny a person the right to enter into a legally-binding contract that centers mostly around property rights, with another consenting adult, does that make it okay?

Remember the words of my nigga Ben Franklin...
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."

My biggest fear regarding secession is that our essential freedoms will be lost, merely because they aren't to be found in our state constitution. Many of our most basic freedoms have already been cast by the wayside in this state, and I fear that far too many more of them will disappear if this nation secedes from the Union...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A good day to be alive (sorry, no politics tonight!)

So my friend K decided to post some pictures of her young'un, as he was sporting his first 'hawk. I don't know what it is about seeing my friends' kids, but it makes this bitter cynic's heart just melt. This past Saturday afternoon, I was at a gathering in honor of my friend C and his wife J, to celebrate C's graduation from college and give them a send-off as they moved out of town so he could start his new job. While there, I realized that as we started to slowly drift away from each other, we've also missed out on seeing each other's kids grow up.

As recent as five years ago, we were still the tight-knit crew that considered each other "family". We still had time to answer each others' phone calls. If we knew it was going to be "one of those nights", someone would find you a place to crash on the floor.

Now, as was the case with C's youngest, we've drifted so far apart that sometimes we don't even know they've had another kid until a year or so after the fact.

It's really sad to think that I've lost touch with my friends in such a manner, I think it's just beautiful that we as a generation are making positive contributions to society by providing this world with wonderful children...especially when we, as a generation (at least in my crew), have learned from the mistakes of their parents and attempt to right those wrongs.

But enough of that sappy shit. I saw that photo of little Brody this evening, sporting his 'hawk, and I just got a hard-on for life. It's been far too long since I've been this happy. I can already see that look in his eye. He's gonna be a complete handful for his parents, his teachers, and anyone else that thinks they can keep control!

For that reason, I hope his mother introduces him to some good quality punk rock music at an early age, so he doesn't have to find its' glory fifteen years down the road. It's just awesome, and should be available to everyone, as there's always something to fit every mood and emotion. Happiness, confusion, anger, heartache, the loss of a loved one, apathy, and a general desire to set shit on fire.

Here's some stuff that compliments a good mood...

Here's some stuff for when you're feeling a bit confused...

And now, here's the soundtrack to a pissed-off mood...

Here's a tune for your broken heart...

And when you lose someone close to you (helped me a bit, screaming along to this at the top of my lungs in my garage, when I lost my brother)...

For when you're feeling a bit apathetic, there's always this...

And when it gets too much to handle, and you just gotta burn that mother to the ground...

And there you have it, son. Set the world on fire in your own little way. Hopefully, when you're old enough to understand all of this, we'll both still be around to sit down and discuss it over a cold beer or seven...

And for K(B)C...when he starts lashing out, and recognizing who he is, at least attempt to understand the nature of the beast. Do that one little favor for Uncle Barry, m'kay?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

On the subject of God and Government...

Ultimate authority in this nation, whereas the law is concerned, lies neither with those who enforce the law, nor with those who it is enforced upon, but rather by those our society has elected and/or appointed to interpret and rule upon the law as written.

What can this possibly mean? Am I going to allow a small group of idiots in black robes to determine my way of life? Absolutely not!

This stems, of course, from my general disdain of law enforcement officers as a matter of principle. I, like many other people who feel this way, have actually met a "good cop" or three in the course of my life, and I count these people in the "friend" column. The majority of the law enforcers I have come across in my day shall never be counted as such, and with good reason. They receive their paycheck from the tax coffers as compensation for performing the task of enforcing the laws as written in a manner according to the laws as written, and have as a general rule in my own personal experiences failed miserably to do this...and, as if this wasn't enough, they like to make excuses as to why they can't, won't, or shouldn't have to because us peons "don't know what it's like".

And then we have a certain person who chose to question my relationship with The Almighty, and did so using Romans 13:1-7 as their reasoning for this. While it certainly took a great deal of testicular fortitude for him to make this claim, he seems to lack either the knowledge or the memory of the fact that I do not live in Red China or Berlin circa 1939. I live in the United States of America, and have for the entirety of my life, having never once left this nation for any purpose whatsoever.

In these United States, we have this nifty little document called the Constitution. In it, it clearly spells out the lawful authorities of all three branches of government, and is universally considered by everyone in America as the ultimate law of this nation. It was written by those appointed by the people, and ratified by those appointed by the people.

In this document, it specifically states that this nation is to be governed by three distinct branches of government...the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The legislature's authority, as far as the law is concerned, is merely to enact legislation in accordance with its duties and restrictions put forth in the United States Constitution. The executive branch, also where the law is concerned, is tasked merely with enforcing the laws as written in accordance with the United States Constitution and any other legal restrictions they may be bound by in their respective jurisdictions. Obviously, our legislative branch's dealings with the law effectively end as soon as a law is passed or shot down on the congressional floor, so we'll focus on the executive and judicial branches.

When a bill passes, and is signed by the president of these United States, it is the executive branch under direct control of the president that is tasked with enforcing them. The same holds true in the individual states, with minor differences that vary from state to state. Even at the state level, however, the Constitution of these United States is still the ultimate law of the land. As such, all legislation enacted into law must pass muster of our Constitution.

While the states are given great constitutional leeway as to what may or may not be enacted into law, there are still certain conditions that must be met. In addition to our obvious Bill of Rights, there are other restrictions upon the states found within the actual original body of our Constitution. Anything beyond these restrictions is considered "fair game".

Now, let's talk about our wonderful judiciary system. In the design of our constitution, our supreme court is not directly involved with writing the laws, nor is it involved with their enforcement, with two major exceptions. These exceptions, of course, are not even brought into play until the court is petitioned.

With the writing and enacting of a law, our legislature is forced to be aware of the manner in which its laws are written, because one of the Supreme Court's major functions is to determine whether a law enacted by our legislature passes muster of the constitution.

Likewise, our government's executive branch is forced to be aware of its limitations found within the constitution, because the Supreme Court's primary role in dealing with cases of a criminal nature is to determine whether the enforcement of a constitutionally sound law was conducted using constitutionally sound means.

Our executive branch is given a great deal of autonomy with regard to how these laws may be enforced, so long as their methods do not violate the laws of the Constitution, the prior rulings of the Supreme Court and other courts, and the laws of their respective jurisdictions.

Because of this, the ultimate authority concerning the laws passed (and the enforcement of said laws) in this land is NOT the legislative branch who authors and passes our laws, nor is it those who are tasked with enforcing our laws, but rather those people we as a society appoint and/or elect to determine whether these laws and their respective enforcements are just and constitutionally sound. On this front, there is no higher authority but my Almighty God himself. Since I've never heard God speak out about our Constitution, I'm forced to leave this authority in the hands of our courts where the rule of law reigns supreme.

The ultimate authority over my life is, and shall always be, my Creator. The Almighty One True God of Abraham, the Father of Christ. The disciple Paul, speaking on behalf of the Son in Romans 13, states that we should submit to the "governing authorities", as there is no authority but that established by God.

When a man in a position of power acts beyond the boundaries of the law, what authority does he possess? Not only is this my moral obligation to object to, resist, and emphatically reject such actions for the protection of the liberties belonging to myself, my family, my friends, and my fellow countrymen, but it is also fully justified and reconcilable in the eyes of both the law AND my Almighty God.