Category Archives: God

What Divides Our Nation?

July 1, 2010

Is God merely being used for convenience or religion being as an excuse for intolerance?

More and more it seems God and religion are being pushed away but just as much the Bible is being used to back up laws and arguments but yet it is thrown out when it goes against a bill, group or even a campaign effort that is no longer desired. The same people that are standing up and using the Word of God as an argument are acting out in hatred toward anyone that does not act or live according to their beliefs which goes contrary to what the Bible, they claim to live by, teaches.

Before I decided to write this blog, I looked up different articles, news stories, blogs, past and present references and there were plenty of instances that are not only proof of this but also speak on just this subject. So, I find that I am not alone in how I feel. This blog is not something that I am going to back up with a lot of facts or dates in history. There will obviously be some but this is something I have wanted to touch on and write for quite some time.

If you watch the news, go to church, work alongside people of faith or of no faith, or if you go to school, the facts are alongside you every day. Most of the people around you are willing to tell you how they feel, what they think, what they “know”, etc. People will give you statistics, historical data, books to read, quote Bible verses, even bring you things they have printed out to make sure you see their reasoning is factual, at least that it makes more sense than the “other side”. But why is it always more necessary to prove the other side wrong? If things make so much sense, can they not speak for themselves? Why does everyone feel the need to be so “in your face”, “100% right”, “my way or no way” all the time?

Like I said, this is going to be an opinion blog by me. So, for that reason I am sticking to what I have been confronted with and how I feel. I urge you to comment and share your thoughts or what you have been confronted with and how you feel. You may or may not feel comfortable with that but, feel free.

First of all, let me put out some facts. I am a Christian. I am a registered Republican. This is the first time I voted for the Democratic Candidate. I am very much someone who follows the campaigns, the debates, the town hall meetings, does my research on the voting history, etc. I am not a person that gets caught up in all the forwarded emails, the negative publicity that goes around or the fact of which candidate is running under which party. I don’t vote for a party, I vote for a President. IF my candidate of choice doesn’t win (which has happened in the past), I support the elected President and I do as I would if the Candidate I chose had won, I keep our President and our Country in continued prayer. I am not someone that is only concerned about our country during the Presidential elections, I always keep up with what is going on. That is how I feel it should be. Know the facts. Know the person. Know the laws. But, never think you know it all. You can’t.

Yes, I keep the Country, our President, our troops, our world and a lot of things in daily prayer. I believe in prayer. I don’t just believe in prayer when I need something. I also believe in prayer for giving thanks as well. If you know anything about me, I have had many things to pray for in times of need but also many times to give thanks.

This takes me to one of my points, something continuously brought up and often times I wonder if people realize the history behind the words on our money. The words, “In God We Trust” first appeared on our paper currency after being passed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 30, 1956. He declared In God We Trust the national motto of the United States. Congress had required, in the previous year that the words appear on all currency, as a Cold War measure: “In these days when imperialistic and materialistic Communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, it is proper” to “remind all of us of this self-evident truth” that “as long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail.”

The words “IN GOD WE TRUST” did not come lightly. There is quite a history behind those words and our Country. The law Dwight D. Eisenhower signed in July of 1956 was done so after 90 years of inscribing “In God We Trust” on our coins a centuries old heritage of recognizing God’s sovereignty in our Nation’s affairs. It was the establishment of our Nation.

The next two points I am going to put together although they are really big points depending on who is looking at them. Depending on your age, you may or may not remember when it was okay for schools to have prayers said or passages from the Bible read in school. Whether or not you or your parents were religious or not, it was something that was okay to do. Now the fact that it could happen seems almost like an atrocity to some people. How dare they violate mine or someone else’s rights? Well, mind you just like they took that out of schools they have also taken a long list of books out of schools. Enough complaints come in, things go out. Either it can be in the name of religion or in the name of someone’s “rights”, one way or the other, things get done. It just depends what side of the aisle you are on as to whether or not you agree with it. When it comes to prayer in school, as far as I am concerned, I find it comforting at times. Let’s say a classmate has gone missing in the community (that has happened with me) or a classmate has suddenly died tragically (that has happened to me). Let’s say that missing student is found dead or let’s say that the school had one or more of its students come in and go crazy with guns?? What if a suicide happens on the school campus? What is appropriate then? Who makes the rules for times like those? Do we wait until it happens enough times for there to be statistics to go by or a congressional hearing to make a decision for us? Everything is not always cut and dry, black and white. Every community is different. Every school is different. Every situation is different.

In 1963 school prayer was the focus of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, a militant left wing atheist with close ties to the American Communist Party, when she filed a lawsuit against the school board of Baltimore. The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court where the Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of abolishing school prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. Justice Tom Clark wrote, “Religious freedom, it has long been recognized that government must be neutral and, while protecting all, must prefer none and disparage none.”

I am a very tolerant person to another one’s rights and beliefs. I don’t believe in pushing anything on anyone. I think exclusions should be made for those that do not want to participate. I know as I was growing up in school (during the 70’s and 80’s), nobody was forced to participate in the Pledge or the National Anthem. Although when I was younger, I didn’t understand why they didn’t want to, it wasn’t pushed and I didn’t bug about it. Now I understand their reasoning. That doesn’t mean though that you just stop doing the Pledge or the National Anthem though. You can find a way to work around things. Everyone has to learn tolerance. This is the United States of America. UNITED!

The Pledge of Allegiance:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

There is a history behind those words. At one time, the part, “Under God” was not in there. Louis A. Bowman was the first to initiate the additional words, “under God” into the pledge. He said they came from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. On February 12, 1948, he led a meeting as the Chaplain of the Chicago area Sons of the American Revolution and recited the Pledge of Allegiance with the words added, “under God.”

The phrase “under God” was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance June 14, 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

So what is the problem? Is it the problem with a large amount of people not wanting to say, “under God”? Well, if they don’t want to say it but allow others to go ahead, then that isn’t the problem. The problem lies in the part just after. “Indivisible” or undivided. That is where the biggest problem lies with so many things these days.

Our Country, the UNITED States of America is so divided. Our Nation is divided. Our government is divided. Our schools are divided. Our workplaces are divided. Our streets are divided. Our families are divided. And over what? What divides us? What drives a wedge between us? Why did it take so long for congress to pass a HEALTHcare Act? Why is it so difficult to see where the problems are with our financial system in our country? Where is our focus? Why is it that elected officials are dragging out jobs while plenty of them are doing things that have nothing to do with what they were hired to do? Where are churches right now?

For a Country that was built on freedom, rights and limiting of the federal government (I am taking this from the US Constitution’s 1st, 6th and 10th Amendments) it appears that people want all of those things but don’t want others to have the same things. One group wants their religious freedoms by taking away another’s religious freedoms. There are huge groups that want to limit the power of the Federal Government but want them there and ready to make laws available to protect any right they come up with or knock down the ability for another’s rights. No secret here… I am talking about the Tea Party Movement. If the Tea Party Movement originally set out to do something positive, make a difference and stand up for something they believe in, it has not come across that way. Maybe to their own group they present themselves in an educated fashion and hold some type of overall point that has yet to be shown. To me and a large group of those on Twitter and Facebook as well as across the Internet, the Tea Party Movement is an unorganized group of people protesting a large number of things but not making any point or any sense for that matter. It was pretty clear where they were headed (or not headed) when they chose Sarah Palin to be their Featured Speaker at their first National Convention in Nashville Tennessee on February 4, 2010.

A good number of Christians have backed up Sarah Palin and what she stands for and many Christians are part of the Tea Party Movement, I stress this though, NOT ALL.

Do you watch Glenn Beck? Have you heard of the 9-12 Project? For a long time Glenn Beck was another one that it seemed so many Christians were following. Again, let me remind you, I am a Christian. I am not a Christian that just blindly follows anyone though. I am not saying if you watch Glenn Beck you are blindly following but I hope you are really paying attention to him, taking a second look at what he is really saying.

The 9-12 Project

9 Principles 12 Values

9 PRINCIPLES

1. America is good.

2. I believe in God and He is the center of my life.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

12 VALUES

Honesty

Reverence

Hope

Thrift

Humility

Charity

Sincerity

Moderation

Hard Work

Courage

Personal Responsibility

Gratitude

Did you read those? Just in reading them I realized they don’t even go together. It seems that when one is uneasy about being “forced” to be charitable, they seem to not have a charitable heart at all. I think that is more being concerned about being taxed but he just didn’t want to say that and sound like a regular GOPer. Better to sound more honest and wholesome. But then he has charity in the values section along with sincerity. Overall the system is anti-government. It doesn’t even go with smaller government, it is anti-government and anti-authority. What is confusing is #1. America is good. If America is good then why is its government bad? Why is its charity bad? And #7 makes Glenn Beck sound like a selfish kid that doesn’t want to share his toys. What about #9, the point of the government working for us and we don’t answer to them? Well, the government does work for the people but since it works for everyone also means that it is there to protect others (i.e. the police department, the courts) so at some point, there could be a time you may be answering to them, literally. Also, there is the I.R.S., the D.M.V., Homeland Security, just to name a few. As much as you want to kick the government away, you also rely on them for your safety and well-being. When 9/11 happened, I didn’t see Glenn Beck pack up to go to war but he loves to insult our Commanders-in-Chief.

It takes a government to run a country. It doesn’t help anything for a bunch of anti-government people to rally around with signs or to go to meetings and stand up shouting and interrupting. It certainly hasn’t made our country any better to have a person getting paid to speak at conventions and meetings where she really has no idea of a set plan other than to go against the current administration and in the meantime make as much money she can wasting legitimate time from what could be, possibly a chance for the GOP party to find a legitimate person to come up with some new ideas.

If they want to complain about our current administration, find someone worthwhile to run. Stop playing games and just cutting down everything in the House and the Senate that is trying to be passed for our Country. This isn’t a game we are playing. It isn’t who has the most points or who is the most popular. It isn’t about poll numbers or who has the lead story in the news. This isn’t about who can kick out the other’s religion or get the other’s rights get taken away.

As I highlighted earlier, this is the UNITED States of America.

United: formed by or resulting from the union of two or more person or things

We are so much different than any other country. That should make us special. As I see it, we should take advantage of a wonderful situation we have been granted. We have the union of many cultures. We have combined influences. We have the combined efforts of many lands, beliefs, roots, educations, backgrounds, and customs. We have people that have been through foreign wars, triumphs, defeats and due to this have come out changed people with either a higher level of tolerance and yes, in some cases a higher level of intolerance. But, with all of this we should build knowledge, bridges and understandings. We should create our own ties and levels of understanding. Of course we should always protect ourselves and the best beginning to protecting ourselves is by being united but that doesn’t mean by cutting off the outside world. Remember, we were the outside world. Our strength comes from who we were and who we are. Our future comes from who we can be and the acknowledgement this requires growth and change from everyone. None of us can say we know it all, we have it all or we have done it all. None of us is better than anyone else. To say that means someone can say that about you. And to believe you don’t have anything left to learn or anything to give is ignorant. We all must learn and we all must give.

As people go around protesting and fighting against those that are different from them or over laws they haven’t even taken the time to read, nothing is getting done. Nothing is moving forward. To say you don’t like our current administration but you have no reliable source to send of your own and your own party can’t get organized to get anything done within the House or the Senate says they are only out to fight and not resolve. If you have a problem, come with a solution.

I asked earlier, where are the churches in all of this?

When I was growing up, churches used to go out on visitations, door to door. Not much of them do that anymore. I think I can guess a few reasons why. Partially, it may be because people are busier now. It may be more difficult to get people that are willing to go out and knock on a door. Fear as to what people may say or do when they answer.

I have seen the way radical Christians have been yelling and screaming at different anti-abortion rallies, tea party rallies, anti-Obama rallies, anti-Health Care rallies and Town hall meetings, etc. The way they were presenting themselves were giving Christians a bad name. People don’t look at Christians in different groups. They don’t see Radical or non-radical Christians. They see Christians yelling and screaming holding up signs and acting like a bunch of judgmental and hateful people. I personally don’t want to fall into that group. I don’t use God’s name or being a Christian as an excuse to throw away tolerance but instead I believe in being kind and respectful of others. That doesn’t mean I must toss my morals and beliefs out the window and just join everyone either. I find a medium ground without losing my morals or demeaning them or being rude and disrespectful.

Acting out that way doesn’t seem very Christian like. If a Christian wants to share Christ with someone, the best way to do that is through their actions. This is one of the biggest moments I can think of where actions definitely speak louder than words. Being a Christian is to be an example of Christ.

As much as America was built on religious freedoms, more and more people want freedom from religion. It is as though God is there for a need-to-use basis. An example of this was on 9/11. When that horrible act of terrorism happened, churches were filled. I mean think about it. Everything that people held sacred had been stripped away in a single moment. People didn’t think that could happen. There are going to be people that say they knew it was coming but overall the majority of people felt stripped that day and the place many sought refuge was church and each other.

When bad things happen, people turn to God. Some people hate God when something bad happens or a loved one is lost but still, they turn to God.

How sacred does this Country really hold God? How important are certain words? I mean is it the words or is it the sentiment? Is it the fact of who says it or is it something else? Is God merely being used?

I know where I stand. I am not here to judge anyone personally. But I am talking about in our Country, our Government, in our Political Parties? How far has it gone?

I will leave it with this.

What would happen if President Obama had a meeting with a group of 5th graders and the beginning of their meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance. I mean, he is the President of the United States of America, the Commander in Chief of U.S. Military. So it goes like this, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

No “under God.”

Think people have a problem with President Obama now? What then?

Or, what would happen if Congress put forward a Bill to remove those words from the Pledge of Allegiance? Then, where would people stand? Would it make a difference if Congress was pushing this instead of our President leaving out the words?

Is it the words being left out, the person who is leaving out the words, or a law that would be removing the words permanently?

Or is it God? Would it be different to know that our Country, our Nation is deliberately and decisively choosing to leave God out?

21 Days Makes a Habit

I used to hear that all the time growing up. If you really want to change the way you get your homework done, study for a spelling test, brush your teeth every night (really, what was so difficult about that task?), then just do the right thing for 21 days and it will stick with you.

Okay, so most people make big New Year’s Resolutions and I am not sure what is going on January 21st but maybe they are still going strong or maybe they are loosening up on the idea of what was started.

I do better with small goals or major goals. For instance, I don’t ever see myself in a marathon but possibly making posters for a marathon. I do see myself setting a goal to do 30 minutes a day on the treadmill for maybe 2 weeks, then set a goal for month, you get the picture.

So, do you remember the “Pay it Forward” Film that came out around 2000? The film had come from a book that had been written by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It was about a little boy that worked on a school project that in effect touched many people’s lives one by one while in return it was also bettering the world around them. If each person decided to do one deed, small or large, whether it seemed significant to us or not but useful to the person we were helping, it would most certainly make our world much more productive, hopeful, creative, tolerant, and a place of unity. The book and film caught very quickly. Viewers and readers both were doing activities and were paying it forward. I see people doing it in different areas I follow online. A foundation was started, http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/ to get young people in schools involved and different communities involved both nationally and internationally. When a good thing is happening, it is best to continue the movement.

How easy is it to remember something negative we see or hear? I love to hear good things and I think we all do. The fact is though is it takes us making things happen to get them done sometimes.

Some things we may not realize we do make a huge difference in the lives of others. I am going to use some personal examples there. This is about improving lives today.

Here is a few organizations/ideas that I stand behind 100%

When someone is sick and not feeling well, someone reaching out to them with a card or a letter just shows that someone that time to show love. If you know someone, it is a great expression. You can also go through your local church, assisted living facility, or if you want to make some children smile, visit http://www.makeachildsmile.org/ or http://www.hugsandhope.org/. Both are great and have many kids who can use some happy mail!

Visiting someone in the hospital can be a huge pick-me-up or bringing someone coffee while they are at the ER due to an emergency of a family member.

Sending someone snail mail! Remember that? It can come in with the only other snail mail these days, (bills).

When it comes to the saying at the top of the page, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”, I think of people that struggle through many injuries, diseases and tragedies and I am in awe of how much they pull through and each day have a smile on their face instead of bitterness.

Another major way of helping is through Blood Product Donation at your local blood bank. Having a daughter who is a cancer survivor and has been through a stem cell transplant, I am a huge advocate for educating others on the need for regular blood donation and registering as a bone marrow/stem cell donor. You can learn more about this via http://www.marrow.org/ or http://www.katiasolomonfoundation.org/

These sound easy but are often the hardest. The magic words we learned as kids. “Please” and “Thank you”. Oh, I am so bad at these!! I should make this my 21 day quest but honestly, the thought that just crossed my mind was that I would fail… positive thinking I know. They seriously make people happy and in return would improve your own day.

Lastly, I have given up on this until people agree to wear name tags, is calling people by name. I am pretty surprised but happy when people use my name but my first thought is usually, “Oh man, what is her/his name?” But it is such a nice gesture and feeling when someone knows a person’s name.

All in all, it is just a lot about showing those around us that we are thinking about them, looking out for others and making a point to put ourselves down on the list. Not that we shouldn’t look out for ourselves. But, the way things are going right now in our community, in our nation, in our world, is it really making us happy or stressed? Life isn’t about just getting through it or getting by. Life is about living and living with a purpose. Life is about being able to look back, not just at the end but during the weekends and think of moments during our week that made us smile or laugh. Some of the best ways to make ourselves happy is to make others happy. Focusing on the positives in our lives and the blessings in our lives and giving thanks for what we have been given.

When things seem so heated up around me, I remember that 10%/90% and I always try to remember to breathe. In today’s world everything goes at a high speed and it seems we must answer everything now or yesterday and our answers are being watched by everyone and must match up or we are going to be kicked out by some hall monitor or something.

I have one person I must answer to and that is God. I look around me and see that God has given me many blessings and throughout many trials in my life, He has always been there for me and I have never felt alone. I have a very personal relationship with Christ and in my 40 years, He has never failed me. So, with all of the news and debates and things that may cause confusion, with time and faith and knowing not only that God has given me the ability to have good common sense as well as the ability to pray for clarity in any decision making, I really try (and I stress the word try) to stay away from arguing. However, I never mind sharing my opinions when asked. And of course, if there is a C-Span debate going on or something, I do have red blood in my veins so yeh, I get caught up in some things but my point is watching how a person reacts. We all will never see eye to eye. Hollywood could come up with a really creepy movie about everyone in the U.S. seeing eye to eye…