Race Relations, Part 1: The Attack on Statues, Monuments

Having lived on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, and having attended both de-facto segregated schools (grades 4, 7-8.5,10-12) and integrated/de-segregted schools (grades 1-3, 5-6,8.5-9), and having worked in environments that included multicultural settings, I’m going to offer my $0.02 on race relations and confederate statues and monuments.

When I was in 3rd grade, we moved from Dayton, Ohio to Albany, Georgia. That May, we did what we had always done: we took Memorial Day off from school. But at that school, they didn’t take that day off.

Other than the accents, that was the first serious difference I noticed about the South. We hadn’t been taught much about the Civil War at that time, but we would get quite the education in the coming years.

In 7th grade, when we moved to Nashville, I attended a private Christian (fundamentalist) school for the first half, and then transitioned to a public school when we moved to nearby Hendersonville. In the former, we learned Tennessee history, and the coverage was fair. We had not, however, reached the coverage of the Civil War. When I moved, we had just covered Andrew Jackson. At the public school–where I finished 7th grade and the first part of 8th grade–nothing was ever addressed. The Civil War was not covered, pro or con.

However, over the years, we traveled between Ohio and Florida. Oftentimes, we would stop in Lookout Mountain. We got to see different perspectives on the Civil War. It was covered fairly.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of memorials and monuments. Each tells a story. Sometimes those memorials can represent unsavory times in our history; sometimes those memorials celebrate great victories; some of them–Vietnam in particular–represent a painful testament to very bad choices by our leaders.

In America, we have a tendency to memorialize our history for both better and worse. Sometimes we over-romanticize the accounts; other times, we tell the sobering truth. But monuments and memorials provide an opportunity for reflection regarding the person, the event, and the outcomes.

This is why, as much as I HATE the KKK, I have no problem with a statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, perhaps one of the most enigmatic military figures in American history. Yes, he was a founder of the KKK. But you know what? If you study about him, you will find that, near the end of his life, he provided the following remarks in a speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) This day is a day that is proud to me, having occupied the position that I did for the past twelve years, and been misunderstood by your race. This is the first opportunity I have had during that time to say that I am your friend. I am here a representative of the southern people, one more slandered and maligned than any man in the nation.
I will say to you and to the colored race that men who bore arms and followed the flag of the Confederacy are, with very few exceptions, your friends. I have an opportunity of saying what I have always felt – that I am your friend, for my interests are your interests, and your interests are my interests. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, and live in the same land. Why, then, can we not live as brothers? I will say that when the war broke out I felt it my duty to stand by my people. When the time came I did the best I could, and I don’t believe I flickered. I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe that I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to bring about peace. It has always been my motto to elevate every man- to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going.
I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, that you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Use your best judgment in selecting men for office and vote as you think right.
Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. I have been in the heat of battle when colored men, asked me to protect them. I have placed myself between them and the bullets of my men, and told them they should be kept unharmed. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand.

Does a statue tell me all of that? No. But statues often leave me wondering about individuals, and give me a note to look that person up and check out the balance of his or her life. I often do the same thing regarding monuments to battles.

Monuments and memorials represent a story. Sometimes that story is sordid and bitter, as every great nation in history has had sordid and bitter periods in their histories. Sometimes that story is glorious. But those are about who we were and how they have shaped who we are today.

Almost every year, MrsLarijani and I flock to Dayton for the Air Force Marathon, which is held at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB. It was a place I frequented during my grade-school days, it is where I did my first marathon. We always tour the museum the day before.

In that museum are aircraft of all types, going back to attempts at flight before the Wright Brothers. It includes aircraft of all types throughout every era of aviation, including World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cold War, and even the era since the Cold War.

Those aircraft include German WWI aircraft and WWII aircraft, Japanese aircraft from WWII, and even Soviet aircraft from the Cold War era. Among the aircraft on display is a North Korean MiG-15 that was flown by a professor of mine who defected at the end of the Korean War.

The Germans and Japanese–and dare I say the North Koreans in collusion with China and the Soviet Union during the Korean War–killed thousands of Americans. Ditto for North Vietnamese who flew Soviet aircraft.

I have no problem including those in the museum, as they provide a forum that one may learn (a) the history of flight, (b) the history that drove the development of such aircraft, and (c) the state of flight today, for both better and worse, as a result of those factors.

I once believed that the equitable solution here with respect to statues and monuments was to create museums for their inclusion, while opposing their destruction. Having seen what is going on today, however, I am opposed to moving them. Leave the statues and monuments as they are.

Today’s leftist fixation on monuments and memorials is a recent thing and is being driven by mostly Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) who have nothing in common with the movers and shakers of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

I cannot help but question the SJW preoccupation on statues and monuments at this time, given that (a) that war has been over for 150 years and (b) not even the iconoclastic movers and shakers in the Civil Rights movement targeted them. While some could argue that MLK had other irons in the fire at the time, many years have passed between then and now. Race relations had been improving greatly until the push for reparations began circulating in the late 1990s.

The cynic in me suggests that there is a more insidious agenda going on here, and it isn’t simply about race relations, but rather something more totalitarian in nature, with the lure of reparations in the form of “social justice” as bait, as an endgame.

I have some good friends who are totally on-board with removing Confederate statues; at the same time, from what I see from the SJWs, it won’t stop there. In fact, they’re already aiming for statues of our Founders, including Washington, Jefferson, and–ironically enough–even Lincoln.

To that point, those who ask, “When will it end?”, indeed have a legitimate question.

One thing we must remember: SJWs, at their core, are cultural Marxists. The authors of their playbooks are Marx, Mao, and Alinsky, their leanings Communist, and their appeal to the Christian is merely to recruit useful idiots.

And when understanding Communists, we must remember that it is not a political or an economic ideology but rather a militant Atheist religion that seeks to impose itself through political , military, and economic means. They have killed more of their own people in peacetime alone than any system on earth.

There are radical totalitarian groups in the Middle East who are destroying statues and monuments: they are ISIS.

The only difference between ISIS and our SJWs is that the former is motivated by Islam and the latter by communism.

Are SJWs seeking to kill you? I doubt it. They do, however, seek to rule over you and impose their system of law and justice on you. And to do that, they must gaslight you into accepting their narrative about history.

But for that to happen, they must make it more difficult for you to identify with the truth.

What you must remember, however, is this: even if you are a minority, the SJW is not your friend. You are just a means to his end, just as the laborer was to Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution.

Obama is Unhinged

Either President Obama has absolutely no clue how the real world works–and this is possible, as he went from academia to community organizer to politician–or he is trying deliberately to destroy the American health care system.

Fact is, businesses have spent the last three years preparing for the implementation of ObamaCare. That was passed by both houses of Congress, signed into law by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court.

As a result, businesses have made capital planning decisions around their expected costs due to this law. They have laid off workers. They have cut workers from full-time to part-time. They have dropped coverage for certain workers because the coverage did not satisfy the requirements of ObamaCare. That dropped coverage was part of a business decision that was part of a capital plan that was negotiated with investors.

In addition, insurance companies have already made capital decisions regarding the plans that were dropped, and the addition of new, “compliant” plans. Because each state has its own rules for capital requirements, insurance companies must go to great lengths to ensure that they have the necessary reserves to cover the plans that they provide. They dropped the old plans–and added the new plans–with particular capital structures in mind.

As the old plans were dropped–and new plans added–companies made key changes in business rules, some of which are very complex. Those business rules were carried over into their respective IT systems. Developers for those systems have modified their code, made database changes, and have gone through several layers of testing to make sure the new rules are working.

Therefore, to pass a law–or, setting aside the legalities here, issue an executive order–allowing people to keep their old policies, with less than two months remaining in the year and with businesses having already made decisions with respect to capital and operations, does nothing to materially improve the situation, and in fact will only make things worse.

Fact is, even if we repealed ObamaCare today–permanently, effective immediately–a mother lode of damage has already been done. It will take years to recover from this disaster.

I am not defending the Republicans on this, however, as the Establishment has utterly failed to make a coherent case for free markets, and in fact is arguably in bed with the Democrats in their desire for fascism.

Why Zimmerman Case Should be No-Brainer

The tragedy here–other than the unfortunate death of Trayvon Martin–is that George Zimmerman is even on trial for the death.

I have no joy over the demise of the 17-year-old Martin. I do not celebrate the pain of his parents or family.

It is easy to see where one would want someone to pay for this, as everyone wants answers anytime a teen dies the way martin did.

At the same time, the evidence is what it is, and–like it or not–Zimmerman, who is rightly under scrutiny, is entitled to Constitutional protections over which we fought a war to guarantee to the accused.

The evidence favors George Zimmerman. It’s not even close.

The Constitution requires that the prosecution prove that Zimmerman is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The “reasonable doubt” is so long, deep, and wide that I could land a Boeing 777 on it, at San Francisco International Airport, on my first try, without a flight instructor, without damaging the plane.

(1) Zimmerman was within his rights to follow Martin, even though the 911 dispatcher said, “We don’t need you doing that.” He was a neighborhood watch captain, and he was merely doing his job: he was following and watching. There is no law against that.

(2) Zimmerman was within his rights to carry a firearm. Aside from the Second Amendment, he had a valid concealed carry permit.

(3) Zimmerman was within his rights to carry his firearm “hot”: fully-loaded, with a round chambered. If he was concerned that he could be put into a situation where he needed to get a shot off–not having time to rack the slide–his approach was reasonable. That his Kel-Tec 9mm was a double-action pistol provided a modicum of safety.

(4) While it is understandable that Martin could have felt threatened by someone following him, that still would not be cause to escalate a confrontation. If Martin ran, then the evidence does not support Zimmerman–an obese tub of lard–pursuing him.

And that is what it comes down to: WHO escalated the confrontation from verbal to physical?

If Zimmerman did that–and evidence supports it–then he is guilty. Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.

If Martin did that, then he is liable: it means he made a very tragic mistake–picking a fight with a grown adult.

But what does the evidence say about the confrontation?

(1) We cannot establish–from witnesses or video–who started the fight.

The eyewitness accounts–and hard evidence–points to Trayvon Martin being on top when Zimmerman shot him.

The wounds on the back of Zimmerman’s head are consistent with him getting his head bashed into the concrete one or more times.

The wounds on his face indicate that he was punched. There is no evidence that Zimmerman even landed a blow on Martin.

The forensic evidence–from clothing to bullet path–is consistent with Martin having the upper hand at the time the shot was fired.

While none of those things establish who started the fight, they do back up Zimmerman’s account and not the prosecution’s theory.

In the absence of other evidence, this is clearly ADVANTAGE: ZIMMERMAN.

(2) In the absence of other evidence, the prosecution had to be able to make the case that it would have been in Zimmerman’s character to start a fight. They failed.

Zimmerman is about 5-foot-7, overweight, and not athletic whereas Martin was almost 6 feet tall and very athletic.

If Zimmerman started the fight, then that means he initiated a physical confrontation with a man who was almost a half-foot taller than himself, and who had a serious physical advantage.

Is that possible? Yes.
Is that rational? No.

In other words, in order to show–beyond reasonable doubt–that Zimmerman started the fight, they needed to show that (a) Zimmerman was prone to get into fights, and (b) that Zimmerman had a track record of being less than rational.

And yet, the portrait from the prosecution of Zimmerman was that of an otherwise intelligent, rational person who otherwise had no track record of getting into fights. They failed to produce one drop of evidence that showed irrationality. (This hurts their attempts at manslaughter as well as murder 2.)

That this case is even in court is the mother of all travesties.

Who needs to be on trial here: The judge and prosecution. They are in the same league as Mike Nifong.

The Gay “Marriage” Revolution, and the Future of American Christianity

Almost 30 years ago, in 11th grade health class, we all had a very substantial discussion of homosexuality. (The health class included a sex-ed component, and it was in this context that the discussion took place.)

The teacher–RR, who was also my tennis coach–was quite liberal, but, to his credit, was fair in his presentation to the class. He was a secular Jew who, while not Christian, grudgingly appreciated the benefits that Christians brought to the table. Neither myself, nor any other Christians in the class, ever had a problem with him.

In fact, get this, folks: RR referred to anal sex as “sodomy” and, while conceding to conventional wisdom–which, at the time, dictated that one in ten people were gay–he seemed to think of that lifestyle as an aberration. (In fact, most of the teachers–even the most liberal, tolerant folks who were high up in the local teacher union–were of that mindset. While they harbored no hatred of gays, they did not look at the lifestyle as one to be embraced or promoted, either.)

The year was 1983, and the United States was a different country. Reagan was President; the Cold War was hot; the Moral Majority had its high water mark of relevance; and, while Americans were not on board with Jerry Falwell, the American people had no desire to ditch the Christian consensus that made America–and Western Civilization–exceptional. Americans weren’t all Bible-believing Christians; they did, however–sometimes grudgingly–accept that the Christian consensus that informed our understanding of law and justice, even with its faults in execution, was a good thing.

Back then, gay “marriage” was on no one’s radar.

Sadly, the year was 1983, and the decline–while under the radar–was already in progress.

The same decline that has destroyed Europe had not quite come full-circle in the United States. But the wheels were turning.

Abortion had been legal for ten years; the process that led to its legalization had been in play for longer than that. The Kinsey reports of the 1940s were a culmination of the synthesis of Darwinian thought presented as science, Nihilist rejection of objective truth, academic hatred of all things Christian, and outright fraud.

But, over time, Kinsey’s key mantras were absorbed into the mainstream: the academy, the justice system, the news media, the entertainment sector, and–before long–most sectors of government.

Making matters worse, key sectors of the Church were already in the process of succumbing to European skepticism. This process began in Europe with the Enlightenment, then accelerated with the advent of Biblical liberalism, whose adherents promoted “Higher Criticism”. By the mid-1940s, the same Germany and France that gave us Luther and Calvin, and the same England that had given us Wilberforce, Spurgeon, Tyndale, and Edwards, was all but dead.

While the Europeanization of America had been going on since the late 1800s, this process accelerated after World War II. American seminaries welcomed European scholars, and sent their best students to study in European seminaries. Those great students would go on to become pastors, scholars, authors, and professors who would pass on that liberalism to their students and parishioners.

This is why mainline Protestants in the 1960s, sadly, were making “care packages” for Communist soldiers in North Vietnam, all while our men were fighting valiantly–and dying–to liberate people from a brutality that was rooted in the godlessness of Communism.

This is why the Church was caught flat-footed by the onslaught of feminism and the ensuing Sexual Revolution.

This is why the response of the Church has been largely reactionary: opposition to agendas rather than a promotion of a better agenda rooted in Creation and Redemption. If the Church teaches a sexuality that consists of, “Don’t have sex until you get married; it’s better when you wait…” or “If you wait until marriage, you will be a better flower in the garden…” or “The men will appreciate you better if you wait until marriage…”, then that is proof-positive that they are being reactionary.

Otherwise well-intentioned efforts–such as the True Love Waits initiatives–reflect a Church that is in reactionary mode. As a result, the Church is failing in its role of salt and light. They first are caught flat-footed, and their response is proving to be years late and many dollars short.

Hugh Hefner started Playboy in 1953; at the time, he called himself Kinsey’s pamphleteer. This marked the advent of modern pornography, which added rocket fuel to the fire of the Sexual Revolution. A pornography industry that was once constrained to the seedy sectors of American society is now part of our mainstream.

While I have never seen their movies, I know who Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy are. But they wouldn’t be mainstream without Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. (That Bob Woodward would use the title of their signature movie, Deep Throat, as a code name for a Watergate informant speaks volumes to the impact that pornography was already having on our mainstream.)

During this time, the sexual revolution was in full swing, and homosexuals were gaining an unprecedented level of acceptance. The Church’s response: the liberals began the process of blessing homosexuality; the conservative response was mostly reactionary, providing Biblical exposition as to why homosexuality is a sin.

On abortion, the Church was sleeping at the wheel. While the Catholics were fighting it–even as they were decimated by the Griswold v. Connecticut decision–the Protestant world was all over the map, and didn’t have a clue what they were up against. When Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton came down in 1973, even the Southern Baptist Convention was ambivalent if not supportive of it. In fact, it would not be until after 1993 that The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary would bring in an ethics professor who opposed abortion.

During that time, conservatives embarked on campaigns against gay rights. In spite of these efforts, court decisions and corporate-political-academic tides have not only ramrodded homosexuality down our throats, they have managed to capture public opinion by pointing to social and economic inequities–that our liberal establishment has spent decades creating–in order to promote the cause of gay “marriage”.

On pornography, the reaction was similar: the Church mounted spirited campaigns against pornography. The Supreme Court punted on the issue of obscenity and established a “community standard”. That led to a plethora of anti-porn efforts in local circles. All of that was rendered moot with the advent of the World Wide Web.

When public schools began promoting promiscuity-based sex education, the reaction of conservatives was to bring in abstinence-based sex education. (Again, reactionary.)

While I have no qualms with the conservative viewpoints regarding pornography, homosexuality, and abortion–I oppose abortion, sodomy, and pornography–the problem is not the viewpoints, but rather the reactionary presentation of sexuality as a whole. (On sex education, I oppose all government involvement in this. That is the responsibility of parents.)

What Christians have failed to grasp is that the Sexual Revolution is not simply about sex. If it were just that, the “revolution” would have been over as soon as AIDS came to fruition in the 1980s. Roe v. Wade would have fallen during the Reagan years.

No, the Sexual Revolution was–and still is–merely one front in the larger attack against God’s created order. It is rooted in a denial of a God who Created everything; it is rooted in the denial of the primacy of Man over other created things; it is rooted in the denial of Man’s fallenness; it is rooted in the denial of Man’s need for a Messiah.

While Jerry Falwell was absolutely correct about the sinfulness of homosexuality, I think he missed it when he categorized it as one of our great “National Sins”. Ditto for pornography.

While we must rightly call homosexuality for what it is–just as we must call adultery for what it is, just as we must call lustful intent for what it is, just as we must rightly call covetousness for what it is–the societal recognition of these things is not the problem; it is a symptom.

Rejection of God’s Natural Law–and the implications of that–has led us to where we are today.

From here, it will get worse before it gets better. The Christian consensus that made America exceptional is eroding, and that erosion has accelerated from a slow, arduous process to a very rapid process.

Will we go the way of Europe, or will we experience a reclamation? Will we face the hard truths about our failings and act diligently on that truth, or will we continue to live in denial, providing–at best–reactionary answers to problems that require addressing the ugly roots?

I am not hopeful for the short-term. I believe we will probably see at least one post-Christian generation, during which we will witness an era of barbarism that would make the worst of our atrocities against the Indians pale in comparison. Legalized abortion is the tip of the iceberg, and that is fomenting a culture of death that has yet to come to full fruition. But it will, and the results will be ugly.

In the long-term, I am hopeful. Jesus said that not even the gates of Hell would prevail against the Church. Not even all the blunders of the Vatican of old could extinguish the Gospel; God raised up reformers like Luther, Calvin, and their contemporaries. Fallen men they were, but they were instruments of deliverance nonetheless.

Every dog has its day, and that is true of the godless. They will revel in their short-term victories, just as their predecessors–from Nero to Stalin–did.

And yet the Church–bloodied as She may be–is still in the fight. And while Her enemy will make that path ugly and nasty and dark, Her light will overcome that darkness.

But just as Jesus–when confronted by the Pharisees on various matters–responded by pointing to the roots (in some cases Natural Law), the Church must be forceful in doing this.

Whether you are a young earth Creationist or someone who accepts that the earth and universe could be much older, Creation is a big deal. Connecting sexuality with marriage, rooted in Creation–as Scripture does–is a big deal.

That’s because it never was “all about sex,” but rather about a God who makes and keeps His promises.

Boehner, Ryan, Obama, and The Never-Ending Fiscal Cliff Charade

Conservatives had better wake up, smell the napalm, and identify the real enemy to their lives and livelihoods.

It isn’t President Obama. Sure, he is no hero to the Constitution. Sure, he cares not about personal liberties or free markets. Sure, he opposes gun rights, supports abortion (even at taxpayer expense) and gay “marriage”. But let’s be honest here: he’s not selling anyone out. In fact, Obama is promoting the very agenda he has promised from day one.

Nor is it Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is recovering from a plane crash in Iranbout with the stomach flu that resulted in a concussion. Sure, she’s a socialist liberal repackaged as a moderate. But…seriously? She is the Left’s version of Pat Buchanan, only not as skilled a wordsmith. Every time she gives a speech, she pisses off more people than she inspires. This is why she couldn’t beat a one-term Senator for the nomination of her own Party in 2008.

Nor is it Sen. Dianne Feinstein (R-CA) or her ilk. Sure, she’d ban–and confiscate–every firearm in America if she could get away with it. But–seriously–if any such gun ban gets passed, it will take far more than her to get it done.

That leads me to the very enemy of the American people: the political leaders who will sell everyone down the river, as they speak of their great accomplishments. They will piss on your back, and tell you it’s raining.

I’m talking about those who claim to be on your side. Like Rep. John “Sobbing Johnny” Boehner (R-OH). Like Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). These are the “conservatives” who gave us TARP. They are the “conservatives” who gave us the bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, General Motors, and Chrysler. They are the “conservatives” who gave us Medicare Part D under Bush, and lifted nary a finger when Bush expanded government beyond all recognition.

My point here is that your real enemies are not your enemies; they are your “friends”.

Sadly, there are very few friends of the Constitution in either House of Congress. Of those–such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)–few have made a forceful case for immediate, drastic spending cuts and a fundamental reduction in the size and scope of government. Even Sen. Paul has spoken in terms of balancing the budget slowly, when in fact the problems are so severe that major cuts must be made now. (Note: Rand Paul needs to make his case now. If he walks the straight and narrow, he will be the best anti-establishment chance since Reagan.)

If The Fiscal Cliff Charade–which gives us over $600 billion in taxes but only $15 billion in spending cuts–is a portrait of things to come, things are not looking good.

The President wants to take up gun control as soon as this Cliffhanger has passed.

If the GOP response here is any indicator of how they will handle the Second Amendment, I’d say we need to get ready for our “friends” to roll over on us.