Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Go From Us in Peace

(Before we throw you out!)

(Hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

If Terri Schiavo should die today, she will have served a very useful purpose, both for this nation and for God. She will have shown us the extent of the divide between the two camps in this country: those that love God, and those that laugh at those who love God. It's an irreconcilable difference.

Michelle Malkin started me thinking with this piece:

By Michelle Malkin ยท March 28, 2005 03:51 PM

Over the weekend, I wondered why the mainstream media was ignoring some amazing stories of pro-life activists and evangelical disabled advocates who have been peacefully keeping vigil outside Terri Schiavo's hospice.

Read it all now, twice, then come back. It's worth it.

This quote from Michelle Malkin's piece is priceless: comments from Michelle Cottle of The New Republic

COTTLE: "Well, it's not that they get out there and make fun of them. It's just you come with a ready-made kind of visual here. You have people on the streets praying. They're, you have very dramatic and even melodramatic protests and things like this.

These people are very easy to kind of just poke fun at without even saying anything. You just kind of show these people. And the majority of Americans who don't get out there and do this kind of, you know, really dramatic displays feel a little bit uncomfortable on that level."

Who are these "majority of Americans who don't get out there"? I'm sorry, Ms. Cottle, but if there were a way for me to be there, I would be. I, and tens of millions of other Americans pray for Terri Schiavo every night, that she will find peace and security in the arms of a loving God.

An even more disturbing thought is that the majority of Americans, from the inception of this nation until this very day, find nothing laughable about prayer. Why do you? One of the prime reasons this nation was formed, and why we fought for our independence from Britain was to practice our religous beliefs as we chose. George Washington didn't feel uncomfortable about kneeling in the snow at Valley Forge, and praying for his ragtag army. The Continental Congress began and ended each session with prayer for guidance from Divine Providence - a direct reference to God.

The worship of God has been an integral part of the leadership of this nation from its first founding. There is nothing "laughable" about the thoughts and actions of our founding fathers, or of Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan.

The vast majority of the people of this nation profess a belief in God. At least 70 percent say they attend worship services "sometimes", "frequently", or "regularly". It isn't the worshipers who are out of step with mainline America, but the liberal left, who would rather worship themselves than an almighty, all-powerful God, even a forgiving God.

This nation was founded on faith: faith and trust in God. Read the works of the founders, their letters and writings that have been handed down through the last 220 years. The word "God" appears frequently, and always in a reverent way. It's "Secular America" that's out of step - out of step with 220 years of worship, faith, and tradition, and equally out of step with "mainstream" America - not the "Religious Right".

Then there's liberal Jeff Jarvis, at Buzzmachine:

Jumping the shark for Jesus

Many say that the Schiavo episode is splitting the Republican party; others say is it splitting Democrats, too; others say it is dividing America. But I think something more fundamental is happening:

The religious right is separating itself from the rest of America. The theocrats may have finally gone too far too often.

Jeff Jarvis may just be right, but not in the way he believes. I think what is happening is that the Terri Schiavo case, on top of several Supreme Court decisions, lesser-court decisions, and the incessant scream from the far left over the 2004 election, has finally driven the God-worshiping people of this country to say, "ENOUGH!"

Jarvis, like the rest of the liberal left and their secularist self-worshipers, fails to understand that religion is a major factor that most Americans use to define themselves and what they are. This nation was founded on religion, and grew to the premier nation in the world, because of faith. Not only does faith buttress their daily lives, it also buttresses their social and political lives. Most Americans understand - and agree with - the words of John Adams, who said, "our form of government is designed for a religious and moral people; it will not work for any other".

Not only do the majority of Americans understand this, they see it portrayed before them every day. Whether the MSM chooses to report it or not, we see and hear about the infidelities, the graft, the corruption, the cheating, the dishonesty of those "in high places" - in government, in industry, and especially in the "entertainment" world, and are revolted by it. We constantly hear about scandals, from the United Nations "Oil-for-Food" and rape scandals to the scandal of our neighborhood schools' failure to educate and teach our children. We see, and know, that these scandals don't happen in isolation, but in a God-denying, secular setting. Strike one, Jeff.

Here's how badly Jarvis gets it wrong:

They have been aided and abetted --- but ultimately undermined -- by a media that bought their PR and presented the loud voices of a few as the voice of the nation marching to the right and up to the altar. But the overdose of overdoing it that we're seeing on TV these last few weeks may just be the catalyst that causes a backlash, that reminds us that we are a secular nation of churchgoers and that we value separation of church and state over either church or state: That is our mainstream.

No. We are a religous nation that demands that every person be able to worship as they choose. This is why religious freedom was the first part of the First Amendment. We do not wish the State to force any particular faith upon us, but we are NOT a "secular nation". A "secular nation" denies God, as France has done, or as Russia imposed upon its people. The First Amendment was written to ensure that any citizen could worship as they wished, wherever they wished, without fear of reprisals. What is happening in the Schiavo case is the rule of the judiciary and the wishes of one man being imposed upon both church and state. We are seeing the state-ordered execution of a woman incapable of defending herself against it. That is morally and politically repugnant to the majority of the moral people of this nation.

While there are morons who are taking advantage of this situation, the majority of the "religous right" know and understand that they are morons, and that their views represent a tiny fraction of the whole. It's to the credit of our Founding Fathers that even morons can speak freely - and be equally as freely disparaged and ignored. Strike two.

In the case of Terri Schiavo, we have heard angry, even frightening rhetoric from the religious right: people in Florida and in Congress accusing judges of murdering Schiavo; the Schindlers and their advocates, many of them ministers, turning on even their allies (even on Jeb Bush if he doesn't do enough to satisfy them, if he doesn't do the impossible); online advocates saying that the laws and the courts should be damned; and conservatives throwing over their political philosphy opposing federalism and government interference in service of their religous philosophy.

I agree, it IS frightening - if you're an idiot and keep trying to force the will of the minority upon the majority, and if you fear any ideas but your own. Yes, there is excessive rhetoric, on both sides. That's what happens when truly life-altering decisions are being discussed. We're also hearing some astoundingly stupid things from the liberal left, Jeff. Where are your comments about those? Is only one side of the debate worth covering? Is only one idea worth condemning or praising? Strike three.

As for Conservatives "throwing over their political philosphy opposing federalism and government interference in service of their religous philosophy", I think it's been pointed out by enough people with both the information to decide and the background to properly evaluate the situation that the entire effort of Congress was to ensure that Terri Schiavo's personal rights, the very thing our Constitution was developed to protect, were not abridged or subjugated to the will of another. This is the kernal of the debate: are the rights of one person subject to being overthrown by the will of another. If Terri Schiavo were being tried for murder, the court would have thrown out the case in two seconds, on the grounds of insufficient and hearsay evidence. If a far stronger case is necessary to even TRY someone accused of murder, why is it acceptable in this case? Where is the equality under the law? Where is equal justice? Where is "reasonable doubt"? Strike four, five, and six.

Even moreso, where is judicial impartiality? This case has devolved into one judge's personal crusade. There is NO ROOM in our judicial system for such behavior. Yet it's being allowed to happen. It stinks, and most Americans know it stinks. They're holding their nose, and pointing fingers. If you don't see how much it stinks, there's something wrong with you, not those pointing their finger. Strike seven.

It's not just Schiavo.

It's also about the FCC and censorship, where we have a few, a very few religious nannies trying to tell the rest of us what we cannot hear and see. And, again, the religious conservatives throw away their allegiance to small government and their opposition to government interference in citizens' lives in favor of their religous orthodoxy. (And religous Democrats ignore their belief in free speech -- not for religious principle but instead for cynical political gain ... which, I could argue, is worse, for it is unprincipled.)

Excuse me? The majority of us don't want to have porn, hard or soft, shoveled into our living room without our awareness, just so a few can see anything they want. If the people that produce that filth want to market it, there are ways of doing it, but if the rest of us don't want it piped into our house 24/7, we have the right to tell Government to limit the exposure to areas where we have a CHOICE. That's the entire purpose of "premier" channels - to move the less-wholesome, the less appealing shows into a different market, where we can choose to purchase it or not. Since the government controls those airways, they also have the right to respond to their constituents who don't want to be FORCED to endure the filth. That's not censorship - there is still a market for the product. It's just an attempt by ordinary people to hold to standards of decency and common courtesy. Another called strike across the heart of the plate.

As for "the religious conservatives throw away their allegiance to small government and their opposition to government interference in citizens' lives", Thomas Jefferson expressed it most elloquently when he wrote: "That all Men are created Equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the Consent of the governed". Terri Schiavo is being deprived of her life for no crime other than being married to Michael Schiavo. Her rights are being denied. It is the SOLE RESPONSIBILITY of Government to "secure" - I.E., protect - those rights. What could be more fundamental to our Government than that?

Of course, it's about abortion as well: Every time I drive my kids to their orthodontist, I pass what must be a clinic and see protesters standing outside not just protesting but trying to shock with their images and words. They don't appear to be merely protesting or just angry; they look extreme.

And it's about sex: At the same time they oppose abortion, the religious right opposes sex education beyond pushing abstinence with young people; in the age of AIDS, that's doubly dangerous.

Yeah, Jeff, just drag out everything the "religous right" is against. The truth is, the flow of evidence is going against you. More and more Americans are coming to realize the free and unlimited access to abortion is not only wrong, it's socially destructive. This is above those that feel it's religiously wrong to end a life once it's begun. Even "Roe" has changed her mind.

The "sexual revolution" of the Sixties had a huge cost, and the bill is overdue. The majority of sensible people understand the societal and individual costs of sexual "freedom" - "easy" divorce, sexual promiscuity, lack of commitment, denial of personal responsibility, growing numbers of children born out of wedlock, the epidemic spread of sexually transmitted diseases, rising suicide rates, and millions on welfare rolls. TANSTAFL - "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch", perhaps Robert Heinlein's greatest contribution to this world. You, Jeff, want to treat symptoms while keeping the disease. That doesn't work. Strike what?

Finally, it's about attempts to stake claim to the moral high ground. See also David Brooks in The New York Times this weekend trying so very hard to be Mr. Reasonable. But, in the end, by taking what he calls the high moral ground, he accuses those who do not agree with his stand of being ammoral, or at least less moral:
The socially conservative argument has tremendous moral force, but doesn't accord with the reality we see when we walk through a hospice. The socially liberal argument is pragmatic, but lacks moral force.
He is arguing that only one side holds a moral argument. No, both sides have moral arguments but they are different arguments. There is not just one-true-way, or at least there's no way for us to know what it is... yet.

The difference, Jeff, is the morality of the sanctity of life, versus the cult of death. Even a blind, deaf, 10-year-old could figure that one out. Trying to hide from it, trying to muddy the water, trying to obfuscate and deny, just makes it more apparent which side you're on.

It's about some people telling the rest of us how we should live -- and this comes from the people most resent being told how to live. It's self-righteous and shrill. And I'm betting all that is turning off more people than it is converting them. That is jumping the shark culturally.

How blind arrogance can make one. The entire Terri Schiavo case is based upon the right to life, regardless of how miserable an existence it might be. It's complicated by a husband that refuses to allow any physical therapy, any advanced diagnostic testing, any opportunity for his WIFE to be given the best treatment - for her - that might exist. The entire Terri Schiavo incident (and I hate to refer it to something so mundane) is the morality play of what's more important, life for all, or only life for those most able to enjoy it fully. If you can't see that, you are indeed blind.

But it's happening politically, too, as the theocrats stand apart from their own political principles and from the rule of law and the voters who reject their actions.

< --- >

This will have impact on politics: I will not be surprised to see the mainstream of the Republican party disassociate itself from the fringe -- especially if the polls continue to scream that they should and especially if the Democrats stop acting politically fringy and self-righteous themselves and start inviting that mainstream in.

We are indeed at a watershed point for this nation: whether we will continue to be a nation of people who put God before self, and morality above personal pleasure, or a nation of immoral, arrogant, self-centered "it's all about me" secularists. The divide is growing. It may not be possible to continue to maintain one nation, and we must divide. That would be painful, but in the end, may be the only way both sides can survive. It's either that or a second civil war. There is no longer any substantial middle ground for us to meet upon.

Easter is about celebrating a new day.

No, Easter is about redemtion, and the triumph of life over death. I can understand why you belive as you do, if you don't understand that. That one failure says why there is a divide between you and me, and why you're wrong.


Anonymous SlightlyNewerPatriot said...

I guess it all depends on what you mean by life. I felt extremely sorry for Terri and was glad she passed away today. She is in a better place, right, with God?

And why would you force a woman to have a baby? If she doesn't want it, what kind of life will it have? It will be back to the days of garage abortions.

And why should stem cell research be prevented? It is a promising line of science that will result in therapies for now incurrable diseases. Is this killing?

While I support the current admin on the war on terror, I shudder to think what will happen to this country if the repubs get to appoint one or two Supreme Court Justices.

3:10 PM  

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