Friday, May 26, 2006

Sweet Home...

From National Review Online...

You could also argue that Idol has given Alabama an unexpected superiority in the union—Hicks hails from the state, as does Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard and Season 4 runner-up Bo Bice. So this begs the question: Does Alabama have a good GOP presidential candidate to offer? And can he or she carry a tune?

Condi is from the Heart of Dixie!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Local Paper is Desperate to Fill Space

The following is in today's paper...

Cruel Compassion for Illegals

Of all the discussions surrounding the immigration issue regarding illegals there is one question I have heard no one ask. Of course, the reason for this could be it is not a very important question to ask. Some questions may be very interesting and entertaining to mull and chew on and yet be no more important than questions that are never really asked. So at the risk of sounding preposterous allow me to ask what I suppose is an unasked question.

What makes anyone think that amnesty (or not prosecuting illegals) is compassionate?

You see, there is a lot of talk about our need to be compassionate toward those who have entered our land illegally. And since I desire to be compassionate as most do, I of course admit that those who exhort us to such behavior are to be agreed with. However it is here where I must part ways with most people. I would, in fact, call it patent cruelty to grant amnesty to these who have turned their noses up at the laws of our land.

Now I do realize that this is the direct antithesis of all the theses given. This is true for those who argue for amnesty and those who argue against it. Those who argue for amnesty do so because of their assumption that it is the most compassionate position to take. Those who argue against anything that smells like amnesty assume that compassion is either not part of the equation or is reserved for citizens who are hurt by lax immigration policies. I agree with the first who believes we should show compassion to the illegals but I disagree with the policy of amnesty. I agree with the second who wants to prosecute the illegals and send them packing but I disagree with the notion of compassion not being a necessary factor in our decision making.

In other words, I believe the most compassionate action our country could undertake is to punish those who have broken our laws and send them to the very end of the line.

Parents will understand this instinctively. For if a child is not punished for bad behavior, the very lack of punishment will redound to more poor behavior. Indeed, if the child is rewarded for his bad behavior a parent can only expect more of the same. The correction of a child by a parent is intrinsically a kind thing. Consequently, the worst a parent can do is to not punish their children. A parent does punish lying simply because they lied but also with the hope they will see the inherent wrongness of lying and will not do the same in the future. Punishment proves compassion.

It should be no wonder that punishing criminals in our country is a kindness to them. Punishment and prosecution that follow a blatant disregard for our laws naturally exhibit the very worth of the law or laws which were broken. It is gift to those who have never seen what is good to see clearly what is bad. Only those with no remorse disagree.

To my chagrin, this tack would never be ventured by the politicians of our day. For we have bought into a worldview which assumes the most compassionate thing we can do is let people get away with criminal behavior. This may affect us little, but I can only guess that it will be to the detriment of our country and its youngest inhabitants: legal and illegal.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Classical Christian School in Greenwood

On Tuesday May 9th my wife and I met with two other couples to begin praying towards the formation of a Classical Christian School. The time was fruitful and full of constructive dreaming and praying. We will continue to meet and pray every 10 days to 2 weeks for a couple more months. From the beginning we have decided this is not to be a venture founded upon or characterized by negative polemics regarding other schooling options. This is simply the kind of schooling we want for our children and for the community for Greenwood. Also we being very up front about this dream of ours. We want no impressions of secrecy. This has been fruitful so far. A few very encouraging things have happened since we prayed that first night.

1. We have been encouraged by others who seek another option for educating their children toward a biblical worldview.

2. We let the elders of our church know of our dream and plans so they would not be blindsided by such information.

3. I told my youth about the dream and got nothing but positive feedback from them. This was very surprising as they all attend the same private school in the area. They thought it sounded "neat" and another option in our community is needed.

Our next meeting is Tuesday the 23rd of May

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Evangelical Compassion and Immigration

Having read two articles on the virtual silence of Evangelicals on the immigration issue, I thought I would weigh in. The silence is said to be because of the tension between respect for the laws of the land and the desire to show compassion. However, I would and will argue that the two are not in tension in the immigration debate. In fact the converse is true. The rule of law and compassion are intrinsically harmonious.

As an evangelical whose conservative ideology is driven by his theology I cannot agree with the President (which grieves me) on this issue. My worldview will not allow it.

The following are a few of the reasons why.

1. In the OT Scriptures it was very hard for a person to become a proselyte/citizen of Israel. There is a reason why grown men wince at the mention of circumcision. And the dietary laws were no picnic either. The rule of law dictated the conditions by which a person would be able to claim citizenship in Israel. However, whenever ana alien(immigrant) is discussed in the OT law he or she is expected to keep the Law and the Jews are expected to love them (Lev. 18 and 19).

2. In the NT Scriptures such ideas of citizenship were not even on the table. Jesus spoke of the stranger/alien among the Israelites as one born under the Old Covenant. Also, he and the rest of Israel lived and did any ruling at all under the thumb of Rome. They were not a Sovereign nation as the USA is. Of course, they were to show kindness/compassion...they had no other option according to the principles of their faith and the dictates of Rome.

3. It is no act of compassion towards the illegal alien to reward him or her for willingly and unnecessarily breaking the laws of this land. For under our President's plan we not only forgive past sins, we reward the law-breakers for their productivity and ingenuity at breaking the law. Since when is it compassionate or kind to reward people for breaking the law? Every parent and teacher understands the consequences of rewarding bad behavior. It begets bad behavior.

4. It is hard for me to believe that injustice is not being done when we forgive the illegal acts of some and prosecute and punish the same acts by others. But this is what is being done. Those who have committed identity fraud and social security fraud will be not only forgiven they will credited with s.s. benefits based on work they did previous to becoming legal. This betrays a radical disregrad for the rule of law and an affection for political posturing. This is the height of injustice as it not only excuses wrong behavior but calls it right behavior.

5. Also, if laws are passed that in effect show compassion to the illegal immigrant through amnesty, this is no kindness for everyone else. It is an insult to the law-abiding citizen/taxpayer who is expected to submit to the laws of the land and hand over a significant portion of his wages. It is an affront to those who will invariably miss out on job opportunities because they are legal and must be paid at least minimum wage and for that reason are passed over. And it does injury to those who have waited and will continue to wait to enter this country legally.

6. The Republicans of Congress were rightly aghast at how President Clinton and his administration thumbed their noses at the rule of law by lying to a Grand Jury and then caring not a whit for the implications. Is it not the same when our Commander in Chief refuses to enforce the laws already on the books regarding illegal immigrants and those who hire and abet them?

7. "But Matt, where is your sense of love and grace and mercy?" The Bible, which gives meaning to these terms, clearly outlines the role of goevernmental authority in regard to illegal activity. Paul in Romans 13 speaks of the purpose of the "governing authorities" and how they were put there by God for our good. Whose good? Those who have "good conduct." "For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good and you will recieve his approval" (v. 3). You see, the rule of law and its enforcement is a good gift given by God for those who do not resist it. "But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain" (v.4). The most compassionate thing the President and our leaders in Washington can do is not bear the "sword in vain."

To argue for Christian compassion and tolerance and and then put no meat on the bones of such terms is dangerous. We end up wishing for and arguing for the very things we are against. There is no tension between the rule of law and compassion. I would argue that to selectively ignore the rule of law is to show a tragic lack of compassion