Separation Anxiety

Have you ever had separation anxiety? Most likely you have, especially if you were ever a child (I’m pretty sure most of us were at some point…). Being a Sunday School teacher, I see this nearly every Sunday when some proud parent comes into my Pre-K room to drop off their child. The child may begin to cry, yell, or cling to the parent in a child-leg death grip. Sometimes they even run screaming for the door in a vain attempt at reaching it before it shuts them in. The child eventually gets over their fear of being without their parents for a time and begins to play quietly by themselves or join in with other children in whatever game is going on at the time. Such is the issue of the separation of church and state, with one big exception…Most of us continue to act as if the parent really never is coming back. The anxiety is real and there appears to be no solution to the problem other than to scream louder and longer.

My opinion on this subject is simply this: government should NEVER endorse one particular religion or denomination nor should it EVER exclude them. It’s fairly evident, in my opinion, when studying the founding fathers that they didn’t intend for religion to play no purpose at all. Coming from Great Britian where there was an official state religion and the problems that caused in that country at the time, they wanted the U.S. government to be different and show no deference to a single religion/denomination.

There are some extreme right-wing groups who, in all honesty, want to enact a defacto theocracy. When Jesus returns that point will be moot. However, living in a fallen, sinful world where men screw up consistently, I’m certain that we shouldn’t be turning our government over to the theological ideas of anyone, regardless of if I may agree with them or not.

On the other hand, there are those who believe religion or religious ideals should play no part whatsoever in determining public policy. This is not only a naive position, it’s entirely impossible to achieve. Whether they realize it or not, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., and even atheists ALL bring their beliefs to the table with them when determining what policies or laws they support. It’s an inherent part of their being that cannot simply be separated from their political self.

It is possible to affirm and practice belief in God while simultaneously practicing a rigorous separation of church and state. We can embrace and encourage the role of religion in public life while ensuring that the state remains religiously neutral. One’s faith is a matter of conscience, not a matter of law. One can believe in the separation of church and state without believing in the separation of religious activities and public policy. ” – Richard Land, from The Christian Post.

Let’s not act like that anxious child who can’t be without their parent. We’re better than that and ALL are welcome at the table.

The Rock and Roll Comeback

AC/DC ~ Black Ice (2008)

AC/DC ~ Black Ice (2008)

For someone who’s grown up loving music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the 90s were a huge letdown. Nirvana basically changed the popular music scene overnight. Short but shaggy hair, goatees, poor guitar playing, and monotone lead singers were suddenly all the rage. Guitar solos bit the dust and mainstream instrumental virtuosity in general bit the dust. It goes without saying that I was not and still am not a big fan of the alternative/grunge era.

Enter the late 90s to early 2000s…Classic rock and hair bands started touring again, raking in big money even though the mainstream music scene barely took notice. Regardless, acts like Journey (my personal favorite), Boston, Poison, etc., made pretty good money on the road.

Then in 2007 things started changing just a bit…The new album “Snakes & Arrows” by Rush, another one of my favorite bands, peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 chart. Then, in November, The Eagles’ first studio album in nearly thirty years debuted at #1 on the charts. This year, Journey’s newest studio release, “Revelation”, debuted in the top five, was certified Gold and is likely to be certified Platinum before long.

Biggest of all, though, is the newest and probably final studio album from AC/DC, “Black Ice”. It has just debuted in the #1 slot and is estimated to have sold over 700,000 copies in its first week. Now I’m no AC/DC fanatic, but I have to admit to being a little happy that a classic, straight-ahead hard rock act is tearing up the charts. Good for them!

Tolerance Is the Cry

I guess I’m a hatemonger…If you happen to be conservative and against the legalization of gay marriage, that is what you’re labeled as. You’re immediately painted with a broad brushstroke that few in that group actually deserve. Add to that mix that you’re a Christian and, all of a sudden, that label becomes not just “hatemonger” but “religious zealot hatemonger”. You’re then lumped in with the homophobic crowd and, even worse, with the likes of the GodHatesFags group (see one of my previous blog entries for information on them).

My views on the topic of homosexuality, gay marriage, etc., are simply this…As a Christian, I believe the Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin. There are a plethora of scripture references I could pull out of the hat to support this but I think most of you readers (if there are any…) are intelligent enough to find them or have heard them many times before. That’s as far as it goes for me. I don’t fear homosexuals. I don’t hate homosexuals. I do not cross to the opposite side of the street if someone I think is a homosexual happens to be approaching me on the sidewalk. I don’t treat homosexuals any different than I do any other person. That’s part of my calling as a Christian, to enact the Golden Rule in my own life. I’m not going to tell a gay person to their face that they are a sinner. That’s not the way Jesus would do it and part of my calling is to emulate Jesus as much as possible, of which I often fall far short in some areas of my own life.

Tolerance is the cry. If you don’t support gay marriage, it’s because you’re not tolerant. If you think homosexual behavior is a sin, then you’re intolerant. It’s an easily applied yet hard-to-shake label. My question is, why do those who so often cry “Tolerance!” have so little of it for those who respectfully and intellectually disagree? There is room for disagreement on this topic and a whole range of other issues without resorting to the last, and shortest, straw called “tolerance”.

Power and Corruption

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

If you follow politics very much at all, the above quote, famously uttered by Lord Acton, applies to many and seemingly most politicians these days. It seems as though there is some new scandal on an almost weekly basis of some member of Congress getting themselves in trouble in some form or fashion.

I believe many of these politicians head off to Washington, freshly after being elected, with the noblest of intentions. Many of them are upset with the establishment of whichever party is in charge at the time and vow to fight against it, even within their own party. It seems, though, that few of them live up to that ideal and, sadly, end up participating in that very thing that motivated them to seek office in the first place.

When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, many a rallying cry was heard that things would be different this time around. Republicans had abused their power both figuratively and literally, sending some to a taxpayer-funded vacation in jail and others to defeat at the hands of their opponent in the election of that year. However, since then, we’ve seen the same old games and corrupting power of fame and fortune take over with the Democrats being involved in the same kinds of dirty games that they were decrying just before they took power.

Let me categorically state that I am a staunch conservative. However, I long ago shed the Republican label when I realized these clowns in the Republican party no longer stood for the same beliefs and values that I’ve come to hold dear. They, along with President Bush and the Democrats, have trampled the Constitution, stumbled over ethics issues, and left good judgment and character in the dust.

Where are the principled, strong leaders that both parties used to have? Sadly, I don’t see them in either party, including the leading contenders for President that we’ll be voting for in just a couple of weeks.