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TownHall.com Op-Ed: Socialism Is Sick, Not Sexy

TownHall.com Op-Ed: Socialism Is Sick, Not Sexy

AS PUBLISHED IN TOWNHALL.COM, February 8, 2019 — Socialism is Sick, Not Sexy. “A communist revolution is underway in America, disguised by the use of the word “socialism,” in the name of “fairness.” It threatens to do more to unravel the fabric of democracy than we can comprehend – because we have become a nation so unfamiliar with history that we are now poised to repeat it. It’s time to fight with fervor against communism as if your life depends upon it. It does.” READ AND COMMENT ON THE OP-ED HERE

Jesus Does, and So Should You (Overcoming Itching Ear Syndrome)

Jesus Does, and So Should You (Overcoming Itching Ear Syndrome)

Jesus does, and so should you. In life, it’s vital to keep the main thing the main thing. The whole point of identifying with Christ as a “Christian,” is to become like him in character. If we miss this point, we miss the whole point. A person who says they are a Christian, but who doesn’t have a commitment to Christ-like character, is like a couch potato identifying as an Olympic athlete.

If Lady Gaga is a “Christian woman,” then I am an eighteen-year-old, Native American female astrophysicist.

Last week, while dressed like a prostitute in the middle of a concert, Lady Gaga stopped mid-song, extended her middle finger, and shouted a four-letter word to the President and Vice President, calling VP Pence the “worst example of a Chrisitian.” The crowd roared in approval. Then, in an amazing instance of the pot calling the kettle black, Gaga identified herself as a “Christian woman.”

VIDEO: Lady Gaga stops a song to shout out a four-letter word, and then calls herself a “Christian woman.”

 

What’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong is that the majority of people don’t understand that being a Christian means being like Jesus Christ. We want six pack abs while gorging ourselves on cheese doodles. 

If Lady Gaga is a “Christian woman,” then I am an eighteen year old, native American female astrophysicist. Does saying so make it so? Hardly.

In today’s politically correct, self-identifying world, it’s easy to self-identify as anything we like — but is that enough when it comes to being a real Christian? Watch it yourself, here. Her claim to be a “Christian woman” is about the 1:05 mark:

Yup, I get it. You may say “nobody is perfect,” and you’re right. Yes, there are conservative Christians who haven’t represented Jesus well. But there are liberal Christians just as guilty. Hypocrisy is hip these days — but that doesn’t make it right.

Using someone else’s failures as an excuse for our own does nothing to shape Christ-like character in us. Poor conduct from others is no excuse to continue as we have been, or for ignoring blatantly bad behavior from hypocrites. We’ve each got to call out bad behavior, starting with ourselves.

It’s one thing to behave badly. But real Christians, when they recognize their bad behavior, apologize, repent, and get back on their horses. If that’s not happening, something is wrong at the most basic level.

A genuine Christ follower has a growing concern for personal purity and Christ-like character. He or she has to exhibit, at some point and in a growing manner, a genuine, obvious commitment to being perfected — to becoming more like Jesus Christ in character. If that’s missing, genuine faith is, too.

 

WHAT YOU’VE HEARD IS WRONG, AND HERE’S WHY

You’ve heard them, I’ve heard them, and you may have even said them. They’re popular pithy phrases people toss out these days, and if you’re not careful you’ll believe what you hear (and perhaps even promote). The only problem is that the phrases are entirely false, and here they are, in all their splendor:

“Don’t judge.”
“Jesus didn’t judge.”

In today’s “I can believe anything I want and still be anything I want to be” world, the above statements seem credible — until we go to the book where we get our concept of the historical Jesus in the first place. There, we find that not only did Jesus judge, and not only is he going to one Day judge again, but that anyone who claims to follow him must do the same. Don’t take my word for it. Take it from the Good Book yourself:

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:1-2, NIV).

Did you notice that Jesus will be judging — and that real Christ followers must do the same? See the words “correct” and “rebuke”? Do we understand what they actually mean? In order to correct, something must be out of whack. In order to rebuke, someone must be off base. These words describe judging people.

Yes, my friend, Christians must judge people. Have the humility and the courage to confront your own sin, and use the same when confronting the sins of others.

Jesus judged people his first time around (remember the cross?) And, Jesus will judge again. There is no escaping it.

2 Timothy 2:3 gives the reason we should judge, especially in today’s politically correct, upside-down, wrong is right world:

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3).

 

ITCHING EAR SYNDROME, AN EPIDEMIC

America has become the land of the free and the home of the brave, to our detriment. We want freedom without restraint, and are brave to our own embarrassment. We are a nation where itching ear syndrome has spread far and wide. Plug your ears and stand your ground, or you will be infected . . .

Jesus judged. If you claim to follow him, you must judge, too. If you reject this, and buy into the “don’t judge. Jesus didn’t judge” nonsense, you don’t have the most basic concept of what it means to really identify with Jesus Christ.

It’s time to stand up, speak out, and be courageous. Judge, because the time has come and itch ears abound. Start with yourself, and it will go a long way in helping you judge with love and compassion, not just the expression of truth.

 

AGREE WITH ME? DISAGREE? EITHER WAY, I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU . . .

 

Socialism  May Be Sexy, But She’s No Savior

Socialism May Be Sexy, But She’s No Savior

Last year she was a bartender. Last week, she defeated the incumbent Democrat and won the primary for New York’s 14 Congressional District with over 57% of the vote. She is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an unapologetic socialist who is 28 years of age, and she wants you to become a socialist too. You know it’s a sign of the times when socialism is sexy in America. People are confused, big-time.

Meet socialism, America’s new savior. At least that’s the poison many are swallowing. The rise of socialism, from Bernie Sanders to Ocasio-Cortez should be alarming to anyone interested in freedoms of speech, religion, and private ownership of just about anything. If you think the government is the solution to our problems, you’ll love socialism. Ronald Reagan rightly observed, “Government isn’t the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”

“If you want to give to the poor and needy, give to the poor and needy. Do it yourself — and in the process you’ll find deep satisfaction and a greater return on your investment. Whenever government gets involved, efficiency decreases.”

Socialism is the precursor to Marxism, which gets its name from Karl Marx, it’s founder. Marx, along with his friend and financial supporter, Frederick Engels, published The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Listen to what J.F. Baldwin, author of The Deadliest Monster (a great world-view primer) observes about socialism and communism:

“Marxist theory is based on economic determinism — a view of history that assumes that a nation’s government and all its societal institutions, and even each citizen’s consciousness, are determined by the economic system of that nation.” Marxists believe that capitalism is woefully inferior to communism, “the only economic system that can create the foundation for paradise. Everyone ‘poisoned’ by the capitalist mentality must submit to (or be destroyed by) the working class, which will establish a socialistic dictatorship that will eventually evolve into communism” (pages 44-45).

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According to Marxism, “Man . . . is a perfectible being who only requires the right economic system to get in touch with his basic goodness. People in capitalistic societies cannot really be blamed for their actions, because their attitudes are tainted by a primitive economic system. Once worldwide communism is achieved, there will be no need for laws and governments, because everyone will freely choose to act properly all the time. At that time, each man will work according to his ability, and receive according to his needs” (p. 44).

Yeah, right. This flies in the face of biblical teaching — and history. And common sense.

Baldwin explains that “Many modern radicals have ‘re-interpreted’ Marxism to suit their own cause. Marx described the oppression of the working class by wealthier classes as the chief evil, but new radicals choose other kinds of ‘oppression’ as the driving force behind their worldview: whites oppressing minorities, men oppressing women, heterosexuals oppressing homosexuals, etc.” (p. 44).

SOCIALISM: A CHRIST-LESS CHRISTIANITY
What does socialism have to do with Christianity? Nothing. Literally. It’s important to understand this, because people in America are angry, disenfranchised, and looking for a way out — a “savior.” Communism and socialism replace Christ and God as the center of every aspect of life with government and institutions. They, not Jesus, become the providers of everything people need — they become the “Lord and Savior” of the people. People are compelled, not encouraged, to surrender rights, possessions and desires to the government and her leaders, all in the name of helping the fellow citizen.

Ironically, socialists in America demonize what they refer to as the “1%” of the population — but all they are doing is attempting to shift control to themselves, where they will be the ones in position, empowered by a socialistic form of government that will enable them to tell the masses what to do and how to do it. It’s a classic form of hypocrisy — but it’s far more than that — and you should be more than concerned. You should resist it at every turn.

IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS. IT’S ENSLAVEMENT.
According to the “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism,” published by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a 2017 poll found that “58 percent of millenials preferred to live in a communist, socialist of fascist nation rather than a capitalistic one” (The Washington Times, November 4, 2017).

Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, said the report “shows millenials are ‘increasingly turning away from capitalism and toward socialism and even communism as a viable alternative. This troubling turn highlights widespread historical illiteracy in American society regarding socialism and the systemic failure of our education system to teach students about the genocide, destruction, and misery caused by communism since the Bolshevik Revolution one hundred years ago.'”

Only 33 percent of millenials in the poll were able to properly define socialism. Only 51 percent were able to correctly define capitalism as the “economic system based on free markets and the rule of law with legal protections for private ownership.”

GIVE . . . FREELY
The Bible teaches that the human heart is “desperately wicked” not good (Jeremiah 17:9). Neither socialism nor capitalism are cures for the condition of the human heart. Only Jesus is. When it comes to socialism and its rise in America, would you rather be forced to give up your possessions, your income and your freedoms of speech and religious expression to a government that will then determine how to use them for their definition of “good”? Do you think the government will get a better return on your dollar than you will? Of course it won’t.

If you want to give to the poor and needy, give to the poor and needy. Do it yourself — and in the process you’ll find deep satisfaction and a greater return on your investment. Whenever government gets involved, efficiency decreases. Whenever government gets involved, efficiency decreases — and so does personal satisfaction.

Socialism is not America’s savior. Ask the people in China, Russia, Cuba and in any other socialist or communist nation. There are good reasons why people want to come to America — because this is the land where people have had, at least until now, the greatest opportunity, comparatively speaking, to be free.

 

NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT AGAINST SOCIALISM. SHE’S A POOR EXCUSE FOR A SAVIOR. DO YOU WANT TO SUBMIT TO LEADERS WHO WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO BE THE CENTER OF YOUR LIFE — AND ALL YOUR DECISIONS? DON’T JUST BE CONCERNED. GET EDUCATED AND START LIVING WITH “COURAGEOUS HUMILITY” THAT PEACEFULLY PUSHES BACK AGAINST THE EVILS OF SOCIALISM.

When Being Nice Is Cowardly: Why You Should Push Back When Pushed

When Being Nice Is Cowardly: Why You Should Push Back When Pushed

Noelle Smith didn’t expect the photo of her daughter, praying with friends at a Longhorn Steakhouse on prom night, would start a firestorm – but it did. She sent the picture, below, to journalist Frank Somerville, with KTVU in Oakland, California, with the following comments:

“I want to share a picture of my daughter and her friends from prom night . . . Now with the stories today about teenagers and tide pods and condoms gathering headlines — this picture speaks for itself.”

Facebook users erupted in typical anti-social media form. An example of the criticisms expressed reads as follows:

“I’m so tired of the arrogance many religious people display and their disdain for non-believers, if you are confidant [sic] in your beliefs then you don’t feel the need to ‘save’ everyone else.”

You know what, #doublestandard Facebook users? A growing number of us Christians are getting a bit tired of your fatigue, reverse intolerance and bigotry against anyone who comes out of the Christian closet. So many people applaud folks when they come out of their closets, but you want us to keep our faith to ourselves. For those on Facebook who are going nuts over the mealtime prayer, it’s time you practice what you preach.

The photo that caused a Facebook Firestorm: Students exercise their God-given right to express their faith to God in public -- and people are angry. Photo courtesy of Noell Smith/Frank Somerville

The photo that caused a Facebook Firestorm: Students on prom night exercise their God-given right to express their faith in public — and people were livid. Photo courtesy of Noell Smith/Frank Somerville

 

STOP SITTING DOWN AND SHUTTING UP
I’m not taking the nonsense sitting down about my faith and my God any more than Daniel did when tossed to the lions, or David when he defied Goliath — and neither should you. We have a God-given right to worship God freely and openly – the same way you have a right to reject or ignore him.

Note that I said this is a God-given right. It’s not given to us by the Constitution. The Constitution simply acknowledges the origin of this right, and protects it. That’s why the Constitution matters, gang.

The Facebook firestorm is a clear example the “reverse intolerance” I discuss in detail in A Call for Courage. Everyone wants to talk about “tolerance” these days – and insists upon it – unless you’re Christian. Tolerance doesn’t apply to us. At least that’s what others want us to think. In reality, it’s nonsense.

 

IT’S TIME TO STAND AND DELIVER
The above kinds of criticism against Christians miss the point — entirely. And it’s time for people of faith to stop apologizing for our beliefs and the free exercise of our religion. Now is not the time to sit down and shut up. Now is the time to stand up and speak out. It’s time to rise and shine.

We live in a nation where the First Amendment is first on purpose. It protects everyone’s right to free speech and the freedom of religious expression – in public.

Yup, more and more people want you and me to sit down and shut up. But should we? If you allow yourself to cower in such docile environments, over something as limp as social media, what will you do when the struggle becomes real, as it has been for decades in closed and communist countries?

All that’s necessary for the freedoms of speech and religion to go the way of the DoDo bird is for people just like you and me to give in to peer pressure. Live for Jesus wherever you are — and don’t apologize for it. Express your faith with humility – but for God’s sake, literally, express it. If not for yourself, do it for future generations who will need (and want) the freedoms of speech and religion we so often take for granted.

 

It’s time to push back, with courageous humility, don’t you think?

When It Comes to Chicken, Don’t Chicken Out: Stand Up and Speak Out When You See Reverse Intolerance

When It Comes to Chicken, Don’t Chicken Out: Stand Up and Speak Out When You See Reverse Intolerance

Dan Piepenbring’s op-Ed for The New Yorker called, “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City,” should concern you. The title says it all. It’s another example of what I call “reverse intolerance” in my book, A Call for Courage. If you’re a Christian, you should do more than be concerned about reverse intolerance. Don’t be a chicken when it comes to chicken. You should stand and deliver. But what, exactly, would that look like?

Let’s peruse at a paragraph from Piepenbring’s piece that summarizes his convictions, then we’ll look at a few practical things you can do as a follower of Jesus, whether you like or loathe chicken. Here’s the paragraph:

“New York has taken to Chick-fil-A. One of the Manhattan locations estimates that it sells a sandwich every six seconds, and the company has announced plans to open as many as a dozen more storefronts in the city. And yet the brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism. Its headquarters, in Atlanta, are adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet. Its stores close on Sundays. Its C.E.O., Dan Cathy, has been accused of bigotry for using the company’s charitable wing to fund anti-gay causes, including groups that oppose same-sex marriage. The company has since reaffirmed its intention to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect,” but it has quietly continued to donate to anti-L.G.B.T. groups.” — Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, April 13, 2018

First, the expansion of a franchise isn’t an “infiltration,” it’s a sign of success. When a business grows, it’s because it is providing quality goods or services. Tell me, Mr Piepenbring, would you write the same kind of thing if the restaurant chain were owned by Muslims? Where is your op-Ed, Mr. Piepenbring, about Islamic Halal food standards being an “infiltration” in New York? Why is it that other religions are welcome to influence the restaurant industry, while not being seen as an “infiltration”– unless they are founded upon Christian principles?

Second, what’s wrong with a business headquarters adorning its walls with Bible verses and imagery of servanthood? Aren’t we all a bit fatigued about the I, me, mine culture of America? Selflessness is exactly what America needs right now.

Third, just because Dan Cathy was accused of bigotry doesn’t mean he was a bigot. A person could accuse you, Mr. Piepenbring, of being unfaithful, dishonest or cruel, but accusations don’t amount to evidence. When it comes to accusations, one must always consider the source. If someone has a problem with people expressing their religious conviction that marriage is between one man and one woman for one lifetime, and doing so respectfully (as Dan Cathy always did), they have a much bigger problem. In fact, their problem is epic. They don’t have a problem with Chick-Fil-A. They have a problem with the Bible and what it teaches about heterosexuality and the very definition of marriage.

“It’s time for a widespread resurgence of truth and love once again — a movement of courageous humility.”

The Amerian motto is e pluribus unum (out of many, one). In America, two people can disagree about sex and sexuality. Diversity of opinions is what our nation is about. But this right to diversity applies to Christians and Christian theology, too, lest we promote something completely antithetical to the motto and spirit of our great nation. We Christians have a right — and an obligation, based on an authority higher than any governement — to embrace and express our views. I’d be damned (no pun intended) if I sacrificed my right and obligation to speak what I believe to be true in the face of opposition.

Disagreeing with someone doesn’t make one a bigot. It simply means there is disagreement — and the ability to disagree agreeably, with tact and mutual respect, is one of the things that makes our nation one of the greatest on earth.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO
First, let what I shared, above, sink in. Use what I wrote as talking points in discussions you have with people who practice reverse intolerance against Christians. Use the phrase “reverse intolerance” when you see it in action, so people begin to stand down when they exercise the exact kind of intolerance they say they dislike. Most people don’t realize their hypocrisy when they practice reverse intolerance. Point it out when you see it.

Second, help people remember that the First Amendment is first on purpose, and it is what defines America more than any other part of our Constitution. It protects the freedoms of religion, speech, the press and assembly for every single American. This includes Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and, you guessed it, Christians.

As a refresher, the First Amendment not only deals with Congress, but with the very concept of America, which everyone should respect and protect:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Third, be patient, kind and loving when you point out instances of reverse intolerance. Remember that your battle is not with people, but with ideologies that people may possess. Love people, don’t hate them.

One of the reasons many Christians have gotten a bad rap is not because people have a problem with Jesus or his teachings, but with our seemingly uptight, angry, unsettled demeanor. We’re responsible for much of our own negative “rebranding.” We’re the religion of truth and love. It’s time for a widespread resurgence of truth and love once again — a movement of courageous humility. If that’s going to happen, we Christians need to go back to what we stand for — and what we stand for is truth and love, not one or the other. After all, Jesus dealt with opposing ideologies all the time — while constantly loving the people who wrongly embraced them. He never compromised the truth, and never missed an opportunity to love. Every Christ-follower is called to follow Jesus’ lead.

Fourth, go patronize Chick-Fil-A today, and show them your support. We need more organizations that operate with the same integrity, humility and courage they demonstrate.

Finally, stop apologizing for being a Christ-follower and embracing historic, Judeo-Christian values. The world needs to see real Christians these days, people who embrace truth and truly love people even when those people embrace lies. Be a real Christian, and you’ll help spark the revolution of courageous humility our nation deeply needs.

 

WHY SHOULDN’T CHRISTIANS HAVE THE SAME FREEDOMS OF SPEECH, RELIGION AND PRESS THAT EVERYONE ELSE IN AMERICA IS GUARANTEED? IT’S TIME FOR CHRISTIANS TO STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT, NOT SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP. IT’S TIME TO STAND AND DELIVER.

MLK JR — Time To Ascend the Mountaintop Again

MLK JR — Time To Ascend the Mountaintop Again

On the evening before he was assasinated, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. uttered the words below in what would be his final speech. It’s referred to as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” and it’s as relevant and inspring today as it was 50 years ago. Wow. I love this man, what he stood for, and how he stood for it. He’s a great example of courageous humility, and many in our country can learn from his example.

As you pause and read through his words, what applies to what’s happening in America, now? How can you become a man or woman characterized by the same kind of humble courage MLK Jr. demonstrated? America needs a revolution of courageous humility, and you and I need to be in on the ground level.

. . . The world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. That’s a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the 20th century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding . . .

And that’s all this whole thing is about. We aren’t engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying — We are saying that we are God’s children. And that we are God’s children, we don’t have to live like we are forced to live . . .

THE NIGHT BEFORE HE PASSED — Martin Luther King Jr. talks about how he had a happy life and he is not afraid of the future. (Bill Peters/Denver Post via Getty Images)

We don’t have to argue with anybody. We don’t have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don’t need any bricks and bottles. We don’t need any Molotov cocktails . . .

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you . . .

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.And I don’t mind . . .

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I’m happy, tonight.

I’m not worried about anything.

I’m not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, “If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy.”

Catch my interview with Alveda King, niece of Dr. MLK Jr.

AMERICA CAN USE ANOTHER MLK, JR. MAYBE SUCH A PERSON CAN BE FOUND IN YOU. WHEREVER YOU ARE, DO ALL YOU CAN TO LIVE WITH HUMBLE COURAGE. THE WORLD NEEDS IT NOW, MORE THAN EVER.