Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Thankful and Thoughtful Memorial Day

This post is made with my sincere thanks to those who have given their lives in the service of freedom.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and all the others in which We the People have been privileged to engage over the last 200+ years. All these freedoms, which are dependent on the character of a responsible and informed public to maintain. Freedoms, maintained by a (mostly) volunteer military force. This voluntary service is, in many ways. the essence of a free republic.

The freedom to bear arms is nothing more than a reassurance to our military and our countrymen that, should it be necessary, the citizenry can and will take up arms to defend our nation when and where the military may not be enough. It is to our credit that the armed services of this nation have proved more than adequate to meet the military needs of the United States to this point in history.

May we, as a nation, on this Memorial Day, rededicate ourselves to the maintenance of the freedoms so many have died to preserve. May we bestir ourselves to study our founding documents and light anew the brush fires of freedom in the hearts of men and women across this nation. And may we recognize that if we do not preserve our freedom here, it will not be found elsewhere.

Let us recognize that freedom includes the freedom to fail and to fail spectacularly.

Let us remember that silence is cowardice where speech is stifled.

Let us remember that responsibility is the shared duty of the people of a free republic.

And let us remember that Freedom is never free and that this day is for the remembrance of those who paid for these freedoms of ours in blood.

"They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. Winston Churchill said that "the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."~Ronald Reagan

"Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. "~ Psalm 90:15

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell vote scheduled as early as this week

Ethical = morally correct and honorable.

The Congress is once again up to sneaky tricks. They are planning to vote on the repeal of the the military personnel eligibility act of 1993. Knowing that this legislation should be subjected to a full debate where it would be unlikely to pass, they have instead chosen to attach this legislation as an amendment to a Defense Authorization Bill in an attempt to sneak it under the noses of the American people. It is my understanding that a vote on the legislation to repeal the prohibition against allowing homosexuals to serve in the military could take place as soon as this Thursday or Friday. (Not DADT [Don't Ask, Don't Tell], although that is what it is commonly called. DADT is catchier than the military personnel eligibility act of 1993.)

In my opinion, it is unethical to require people who have volunteered to give their lives to defend this country to have be changing clothes, showering and/or sleeping in the same accommodations with someone who views them as a potential sexual partner. The stress of combat is no place to add that sort of uncertainty and pressure into an already volatile mix.

The military personnel eligibility act of 1993 was passed unanimously by the Congress in 1993 because they recognized, as did the American people, the real and ethical implications of allowing that situation to occur. (Would it be acceptable to put men and women together in showers and barracks? No. Common sense dictates that such a situation would create unacceptable levels of risk for all involved even without the added pressures of combat stressors. Then why should it be acceptable to do this?) They also recognized that many of those currently serving(by some surveys up to 40%) would refuse to continue to serve under such conditions and many would opt not to enter military service at all who otherwise would have.

The members of the population who choose that lifestyle and also wish to serve in the military are simply demonstrating that they do not understand the meaning of the word "sacrifice" by pushing this agenda through. And I don't think that the numbers that choose that lifestyle and wish to serve in the military will make up for the numbers of active duty soldiers who have said they would not re-enlist if this law is changed.

That Congress has chosen to attach this measure to a military funding bill, rather than vote on it as a separate measure is a show of cowardice. Our military personnel deserve better. Let's give them better in November. But until then, call your Congressmen in Washington and let them know what YOU think. The number is: 202-224-3121

"For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed. "~ Isaiah 9:16

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Mosque in the Town of Wilson

I attended the meeting of the Town of Wilson Board on Monday. I spoke at that meeting as well, even though I knew what would happen. I knew, going in that this was simply going to be a vote on whether or not the building that is to be used as a mosque was up to code according to town ordinances. The board graciously allowed everyone to speak, who had signed in to do so, even though the majority, myself included, were not town residents.

Of the 6 residents who spoke, 4 were in favor and 2 were opposed. Of the 19 non-residents who signed in to speak, approximately 12 were opposed and 5 were in favor. (I say approximately because I honestly could not decipher what two of the speakers were saying. Sometimes this was because of their presentation, or a poor quality microphone(or perhaps timidity at speaking to a group) and sometimes it was due to accents. We have an increasingly diverse population and sometimes a heavy accent make it a bit difficult to understand a speaker.

The problem is that none of the speakers were addressing Town of Wilson ordinances. (Except one older gentleman whom the board corrected as his understanding of the ordinances was in error.) My own 3 minutes, was attempting to address the sovereignty issue that I have written about on this blog before. I believe that, by allowing this mosque to come into existence without giving a proper respect to the governing aspect of the religion of Islam, the board is, in effect, ceding United States sovereignty over that piece of property in perpetuity. This may seem like an absurd position to some, but I hope to explain it in another post. (I also intend to address it in my blogtalkradio show: Irate, Tireless Minority. It's 30 minutes on Wednesdays at 1:30pm.

As is so often the case, when a community becomes concerned enough about an issue to speak up and make a difference, it is too late to participate in the political processes concerning that issue. People go to a town board meeting, which is disconcerting for the board members because the meetings are usually deserted, get up and speak to an issue in a way that can have no affect on the outcome of that issue, because the board must deal with only the limited bit of the issue that they have any say over, in this case, building ordinances. The board is not allowed to take most of the speakers views into consideration, and this board commented to that effect, saying the use of this building as a mosque was approved months ago, you should have spoken then. Unfortunately, the word didn't go out into the community until long after that decision was approved.

So, having brought along his lawyers to assure the board that the building either was, or soon would be, in compliance with all Town of Wilson ordinances concerning a public building, the good doctor (who will, as a matter of course, be donating the land this mosque occupies to Allah in perpetuity to be used as a mosque,) was to have his permit granted. The board voted unanimously to approve the conditional use permit. The people who came to speak, one way or another all went home dissatisfied with the government process and feeling like they had been made fools of(even those who spoke in favor, because it was clear that their speeches were not to the issue at hand either) and that their government officials are corrupt or hold the people in disdain or are simply ignoring them.

I don't think they are/do. I think they are doing a job by the rules laid out for them, but that those rules are so alien to most people that the ordinary citizen becomes disenfranchised by their use. Surely there must be a better way to get some citizen input on issues like this which become volatile after it is too late to address the core issue. I don't know what that would be. Perhaps the media needs to get better at doing their jobs and actually inform people before it's too late for the community to have an informed debate on controversial issues. The media was present in droves. I counted 8 cameras. Most of them stayed only long enough to get the sound bites they needed for their story and then left before the vote. Why would they stay? They know what is going to happen, they've been to enough of these types of meetings before.

There must be a better way to bring controversial issues like this before the people without making everyone involved look like fools. What could have been a respectful dialogue resulting in a productive solution, now ends with resentment and bitterness all around. The doctor who purchased the land to be used as a mosque was upset. He said "why is it that when you want me to be your doctor, I am a good guy, but when I want to put up a mosque, I am a terrorist?" Those who support the mosque will feel out of sorts with their neighbors who do not. Those who opposed the mosque will feel that their government has turned against them by allowing such a threat into the community. Those who attend the mosque will feel threatened, leading, no doubt to the very behaviors that concern those who opposed the mosque. The United States loses theological (Theological de jure and possibly real sovereignty de facto)sovereignty over yet another parcel of real estate to Allah in perpetuity and everybody goes home unhappy. It's a sad day in America, when the community cannot come together and put off or re-visit the vote on such a divisive issue until an understanding is reached that allows everyone to be able to live with the results of such a vote.

For those who would tell me that a mosque is not a threat to any community, I will say that you need to study more. I will not say that there aren't things which could be agreed to by the Islamic community to mitigate that threat in a way that would satisfy most communities, as I believe that there are. I will not say that Islam is not a threat to it's neighbors, by it's very nature, because there are simply too many examples world wide that it is. I will not condemn individuals, but there is enough evidence to make the claim that "Islam is a religion of peace" ridiculous on it's face. Unless, of course, you are using the Islamic definition of "peace" which is "submission to Allah". For those who assured the group, particularly the members of Christian clergy, that "we are all worshipping the same God". No. We are not, and if you think we are, then I suggest that you have not done your homework.

This could have been handled differently and it should have been. I think there is a way to move forward that would both meet the community's need to feel safe and the Muslim community's wish for a place of worship. Although, I must concede that I doubt the Muslim community would even consider my suggestion, since they don't have to and the United States is pleased to continue in it's ignorance regarding the dictates of the theological government of the "citizens of Islam".

" Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

I and my Father are one.
"~John 10:24-30