Tepid tea party

Finally, a Tea Party held on a day–Thursday, April 15–other than a biblical feast day so I could attend. Unfortunately, I also left in disgust.

I’m good with Tea Partiers on most issues: less government, less taxes, balanced budgets, individual liberty. What I heard at the Peoria riverfront for an hour or so didn’t surprise me, but didn’t really enlighten me, either. It was pretty routine stuff. Just good, I thought, to be together and let the Powers know that some people do care about these things and are willing to take time out of their day to make that statement. Plus, I hadn’t been to a protest since I was in college, and it was a gorgeous day.

Things were OK, kind of boring, until one of the emcees spiced things up by announcing that some people shouldn’t have so many children. At that point, I left.

The discussion between the male emcee and whoever the woman was up there with him had devolved to our tax money going to support those in need. The woman said we did need to help women with children, and we do. There are ministries in Peoria that do that well, and there is need for more. Churches and other charities need to do a better job. But then the emcee jumped in with something along the lines that “some people” shouldn’t have children, or so many children. I can’t remember the exact quote.

And that’s the problem with movements like this. Even leaders at events like today’s buy into an anti-life line. “If you can’t afford kids, don’t have them.” Well, yeah, I guess. I do agree that couples need to be responsible: Have kids if you’re married and if you can afford them. If you can’t, then wait. Maybe. I believe God will provide no matter what, and that it’s the extended family’s job first and the church’s job second to help with that. Problem is, many of these women who would take the emcee’s advice would either be aborting them or using abortive contraception. For him to throw something like that out lends credence to the claims that the Tea Party movement is racist, since many racists complain about blacks having a lot of children. It certainly doesn’t paint a family-friendly picture. It’s reactionary garbage, is what it is, with no thought behind it. It was an ugly moment at an otherwise boring event.

Public schools peeking in on students

A public school district has sent laptops home with students that have cameras that can be remotely activated by the schools.

Yet another reason for Christian ministries to support the public school system!

Thanks WCIC!

The holidays– oops, sorry … Christmastime is here

It must be getting close to Christmas: The strains of Liberty Counsel griping about alleged anti-Christmas bias in cultural and commercial venues through the use of “happy holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” can be heard. The Christian legal organization has posted its annual “Naughty & Nice List,” with the added phrase “Friend or Foe 2009.” 

We’re going to draw a line in the sand over a holiday greeting?

This complaining started a few years back when LC’s Mat Staver and several other  Christian cultural watchdogs determined that merely wishing people “Happy holidays” in December was an affront to those who celebrate Christmas.

Now, as a messianic believer in Jesus, I don’t celebrate Christmas, for reasons which I hope to get into in another post this year. I suppose that would put me in the “Foe” category. Technically, though, I wouldn’t even make it to the “Naughty” side of the list, because I don’t wish anybody “Happy holidays” either, figuring it would be hypocritical. I don’t think it’s right for Christians to celebrate Christmas, so why would I wish them “Happy holidays”?

All that taken into consideration, though, I have never understood what was so offensive about “Happy holidays.”

When I was growing up, back in the 1960s and ’70s, the expression was very common and made sense. To me, it always was shorthand for “Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.” Later on, when I learned about Hanukkah, I figured it also incorporated that in a happy pappy multicultural way. (A few years ago, “Happy holidays” hit the jackpot when Ramadan and the holidays following the Islamic fast also fell in December.)

Watch TV during that time period, expecially close to the Dec. 25-Jan. 1 axis, and “Happy Holidays” was a common message during station-break voiceovers and could usually be seen superimposed over screens that showed football or basketball game scores.

And there was the song “Happy Holiday” (even more insulting since it uses the singular and doesn’t even try to hide it’s about Christmas?), made popular by Andy Williams (sung below by the Williams Brothers and Osmond Brothers, including a very young Donnie Osmond):

When that song was all over the airwaves (and it may be still, though not on the airwaves I frequent), and when the expression was all over TV and even uttered by ardent practitioners of Christmas, I never heard a single protest.

Now, all of a sudden, it’s a war, according to Staver in this news release.

The war against Christmas is nothing new. Repressive forces have always had the same goal – to first secularize and then to eliminate Christmas.

Actually, the secularization of Christmas has been going on for quite some time in America, where it has happily co-existed with the religious celebration of Christmas (another sign that Christmas may not be a good holiday for Christians to celebrate, but that’s a topic for that other post).

But in his statement, Staver equates clerks at Banana Republic saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” with Communist/Marxist secularization of the holiday as a way to oppress Christianity.

Huh. Funny. Here I thought it was free speech. And, in fact, an exercise of the free market. Maybe these businesses are trying to include everyone, Jewish, Christian or whatever, so as not to offend anyone and hurt their business. Maybe they figure if they say “Merry Christmas” to everyone, they’ll offend someone and lose business. I’d love to see what Staver would have to say about Wal-Mart employees saying, during Dec. 11-19 of this year, “Happy Hanukkah” to all their customers instead of “Merry Christmas.” Or what about businesses that wish people a “Happy Passover” during the Easter season? How about “Happy New Year” at Rosh Hashanah?

And what about the fact that just about every business in the country, not to mention the entire government, shuts down on Christmas Day, and sometimes on Christmas Eve? Is that not enough of an acknowledgment of Christmas? Does Staver want to control every facet of how they conduct their business?

Actually, now that I think about it, “holiday” means “holy day,” doesn’t it? So people wishing others “Happy holidays” are actually wishing them “Happy holy days,” which in a way is a complete capitulation to the claim that Christmas is a holy day. So taking Liberty Counsel’s approach actually could be considered counterproductive.

Ultimately, the whole “Happy holiday” to-do comes across to me as another excuse for American Christians to gripe about something, in this case, something not really all that important. No, I’m not saying the incarnation of Christ is not important; I tend to focus on it during the Feast of Tabernacles, which is about God dwelling with man. I’m saying a manufactured holiday isn’t all that important. And, even if it you have given it a high importance in good faith, choosing to get bent out of shape by something like “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” to the extent of creating an enemies list like Staver has done is a huge overreaction. Especially when you consider such challenges as a 75 percent departure rate of young people from the Christian faith, an average of 3,500 abortions performed daily, and believers imprisoned around the world for their faith.

I’m not saying that we don’t live in a society or culture or even nation hostile to the Gospel. We do. There are many things to be concerned about in this country due to its departure from godly laws and behavior. The United States and Western civilization as a whole is going down the crapper.

Instead of addressing these issues, though, many U.S. Christians have chosen to don the victim robe–which they are usually quick to criticize others for doing. It must be an equality thing: We want to feel slighted like everyone else does.

One problem, though. God has called Christians to not be like everyone else (Lev. 20:7, 1 Peter 1:14-15). He has called us to be “separate,” or holy.

So, happy holy days.

Um, biblically speaking, that is.

Why we need missionaries to the U.S.

With a Focus on the Family official announcing that he has no problem with a judicial appointment also being homosexual, it becomes apparent why Africa or other developing nations have to send missionaries to the U.S. — because the church here has lost its moorings.

Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend boldly confronted FOTF spokesman Bruce Hausknecht over a statement he made that one’s sexual orientation shouldn’t matter when appointing a judge. FOTF has traditionally been at the forefront of calling for application of biblical values to public life.

Here’s part of Howse’s reaction:

There is no hope of reclaiming America if we cannot reclaim the church. We cannot reclaim the country if Christian leaders and organizations do not embrace sound public policy based on a Biblical and Constitutional worldview.  Sadly however, the criticism will not go to FOTF in large numbers as it should, but it will come to me. Why? Because the majority of Christians in America are an inch deep and a mile wide because theology, doctrine, reason and logic no longer matter to a post-modern church that is intoxicated with feelings, emotions, non-judgementalism and Christian celebrities. Thus, whenever any member of the remnant dare question any “popular” author, personality or organization, the fur flies. [Emphasis mine.]

This devotion to feelings and emotions over truth so easily found in the American church is exactly what we’re dealing with when confronting President Obama’s policy regarding court appointees. He wants them to have empathy — feeling. Never mind competence or a thorough understanding of constitutional law.

Involuntary channel surfing

I enjoy the Super Bowl ads, but also tire of having to constantly be ready to change channels. While most of Super Bowl XLIII’s ads were family friendly, many of them were inappropriate. Late in the game, it became apparent that the better policy was to just switch to “Masterpiece Theatre” at commercial breaks. True, Jane Austen offends as well, but it’s just because her stories are so boring.

The worst commercials in terms of content were ads for some upcoming movies and for NBC programs. Maybe it’s just because we don’t watch commercial network television, except for sporting events, that we were shocked by the graphic nature of some of the ads.

I just don’t understand why the networks think it’s OK to show these types of commercials during sports programming, when they have to know children will be watching.

Or maybe it’s just the lowered standards of the media and of parents.

It’s a miracle!

The “In Step With …” feature on musician Melissa Etheridge in the 11/9/08 Parade magazine featured this bit of information:

Melissa’s new love is actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, and the two women had their first children, twins, two years ago. “My wife works harder than anyone else,” said Melissa of Tammy, “with the children and around the house. I make the money, sure, but she does everything else. And the older children love Tammy. She’s a great stepmother.”

Wow!! “The two women had … twins”!! But … but … how?

I know: It’s a miracle!

Or, well, did there have to be a man involved somewhere? Because as far as I know, that’s still a requirement.

The question is, how did interviewer James Brady not bust out in laughter at the idea that the women “had” their own babies? No, instead, he did a straight piece, apparently with a straight face, on Etheridge, who also has two children from an, ahem, previous relationship.

At least, judging from Etheridge’s reference to her partner as “my wife,” we know who wears the pants in the family.

The fact that someone in the media can report on this as if it has any semblance of normalcy is stunning.