Tag Archives: donald trump

Silenced Press Equals Fractured Freedom

25 Feb

mouth-taped-shut_zps3c79xljq

“I’m not teaching you what to think; I’m teaching you how to think,” emphatically stated my professor in class after class. We got it—not what to think, how to think. His assignments—papers mostly—asked us to draw deep from the well of knowledge we gained and discover our own conclusions.

In retrospect, it was one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned—teach people how to think, not what to think.

It carried over into my years of ministry. By teaching the Bible, I asked open-ended questions, presented historical data, and put some “what if’s” into the mix. God offered humanity free will—to choose or not to choose a relationship with Him. He gave us all the information, though we may not understand it, but didn’t force us to believe it.

As I survey the political landscape, I see our right to freely think being slowly taken away. See, it’s not that we can’t think what we want; it’s just that we’re are being told WHAT to think, not HOW to think.

Whenever someone disagrees with our new volatile President Trump, they are called out by the biggest bully in the world. For example, CNN has been repeatedly called “fake news” and The New York Times as “failing” on the Twitter account of the President of the United States. As a former middle school youth leader, I can honestly say I’ve seen more mature language on Instagram between feuding middle school girls.

Most recently, on February 24, “Fake News” and “Failing” along with other media outlets including Politico and BuzzFeed were excluded from Sean Spicer’s press gaggle, while other right wing news outlets were allowed to attend. When I was a college journalism student, CNN and The New York Times were THE STANDARD for televised and print media, yet now they are demonized for printing so-called lies and “making up sources.”

Trump’s repeated criticism of the media sets up a dangerous platform for him to become a dictator-in-chief. One of the first tactics used by dictators is to discredit and silence the opposition. The most troubling part is that many believe Trump as he tells people what to think, not how to think. If someone disagrees with Trump, they are removed or “reassigned” from his staff for “not supporting his agenda.”

But what if CNN, the NY Times, Politico, Fox News, and all the rest of the media are telling the truth? What if we do have a compromised relationship with Russia? What if things are chaotic in the White House? What is there’s a bigger problem in America that Trump just doesn’t what us to see? Smoke and mirrors work just as well for politicians are they do for magicians.

As you read my thoughts, I’m not telling you what to think, I’m asking you to just think. Look at the facts from all the different news organizations, the headlines and stories vary, but the news isn’t all that different. Trump’s Tweets are out there. Read them and think about them. I hear his supporters say that he just tells it like it is. I appreciate honesty, but I also value words and language. They can pull us up or drag us down.

Let me ask you—are Trump’s words elevating our nation or dragging us into civil chaos? Moreover, is Trump telling us what to think by silencing and discrediting the media or is he allowing us to look all all the sources and decide for ourselves?

A nation that cannot think for itself, where free press and free thought are stomped upon, is a nation that is not truly free. It’s a nation of fractured liberty where liberty and justice for all is a slogan of the past, not a right for the future.

Why Christians Can “Celebrate” Osama’s Death

2 May

“Death of OBL reflects the world’s universal longing for justice. We want a God of love, but we also want a God of justice.”

–Dan Darling via Twitter (@dandarling)

Since the news broke last night about the death of Osama Bin Laden, there has been a flurry of reaction—some patriotic, some celebratory, some hilarious, some warning, and of course, some articulating the “Christian” response to Osama’s death.  According to some individuals (who I don’t want to call out and “flame” on this blog post), because Osama Bin Laden was a human being created in the image of God (a fact I don’t dispute), Christians should not be celebrating his death.  He was, after all, a human being.  In fact, the only “Christian” responses I’ve read on the blogosphere are ones condemning Christians for being happy because, they claim, Jesus would not celebrate Osama’s death.

Honestly, I don’t know what Jesus would have done.  While I can’t envision Him dancing around with a flag and a tacky patriotic T-shirt (His allegiance was to God after all, though He did render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s), I also cannot say that Jesus would not approve of Osama’s death.  Since there is no actual depiction of Jesus and the death of a human terrorist in the Bible, I guess we’ll just have to divvy up the Bible verses between this side and that and try to make sense of this whole thing.

And that’s the funny part—I’ve got my verses talking about how God hates  injustice, my Old Testament stories about how God smite “mighty” tyrants (like how Pharaoh’s heart was hardened against God, which I would argue, is probably also the condition of Osama’s heart), and a slew of other Scripture to back up my position.  The other side has verses about how Jesus calls us to love our enemy and do good to those who mistreat us, but then again, aren’t we talking about interpersonal conflicts?  Jesus also said there would be wars and rumors of war…and He didn’t usher in the peace that everyone was calling for.  In fact, He brought a “sword.”

Therefore, I don’t think either side can really lay claim to the biblical position because I’ll match you Bible verse for Bible verse.  We can argue this thing all day and all night.  So I’m not going to do that.  In fact, I’m not even interested in debate.  I merely want to say this—to those of you who, like me, are tired of other Christians trying to make you feel guilty for being happy about a very bad man being killed, you are not alone.  In fact, you may find much justification for your feelings in Psalms and the Old Testament (which some have conveniently thrust aside).

My breakthrough came from a high school girl named Janette, who tweeted this: “’When the wicked perish there are shouts of joy’ Proverbs 11:10.”  She told me that she felt bad about celebrating until she found this verse.  Interestingly enough, Janette’s older brother is in the Air Force and has served overseas fighting in the war on terror (or whatever we’re calling it these days.)  Despite her family allegiance, she sought a higher allegiance—one to her God.

I am not saying that Janette’s verse or conclusion settles the argument—that would be oversimplifying the whole debate.  I am merely pointing out that there is another side to the “Christian” response—one that understands that to bring justice, social or otherwise, evil must be destroyed.  Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we know that evil will be destroyed once and for all, but until then, we simply do our best to understand how to live in light of what Scripture and God reveal to us.  Unfortunately, we all seem to have varying opinions on what that is. And my opinion is that we Christians can celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden, for it is a picture of when our Warrior God will destroy Satan and his legions.  One day we Christians will be at a miraculous party, a wedding feast, for the royal union of Christ and His Church—after He vanquishes the villains.  Now that’s something worth celebrating.

________

Here’s a post my grad school professor, Dr. Phil Monroe (call him “Dr. Phil”) wrote titled, “What is the proper response to Bin Laden’s death?”  I believe that Dr. Phil and I are saying the same thing, but being as he’s highly intelligent and much more eloquent, so he says it minus my tongue-in-cheek.

________


On a completely different note…I can’t help but sharing some of the funny (and touching) Tweets I’ve read about the death of OBL in the same post.  I don’t want to overplay the “Osama is dead” thing, so you get a mixture of both sides of my personality in one bite.

In no particular order, here we go:

@Reuters: U.S. official says loss of OBL puts al Qaeda on path of decline that will be difficult to reverse.

@jaykrul: The joy is not that he is in hell but that he can’t destroy other peoples’ lives.

@jimmyfallon: Got Bin Laden AND interrupted Celebrity Apprentice? Win for Obama all around.

While waiting for the President to officially announce OBL’s death @jenbjones said “News folks are now reading tweets to stall for time. All they had to do was ask me to sing. I have numbers ready just for times like this…”  To which I asked what number she had prepared.  Jenny’s response, “I’d do my Born in the USA/Material Girl mash-up. It’s only half relevant, but the costume is very sparkly.” (Read her blog at JennyBJones.com.  She’s a laugh riot!)

@amysondova I might just unfollow the next person who tries to make me feel guilty for being happy about the death of a VERY BAD man. (That’s me and I think I’m funny because a lot of people RT’d this!)

@KatDuncanPhoto: Obama didn’t address speculation that bin Laden was killed by a blue bird that turned into 3 blue birds just before hitting the compound. (Angry Birds game referece)

@AmandaStratton: The girl married her Prince. The bad guy is dead. It’s a real Disney weekend here on Earth.

@ArizonaNewsnet: Historical note: Hitler death announcement also came on May 1 (1945).

@nimprojects: Is Obama also going to announce who got fired on Celebrity Apprentice?

I can’t find the Tweet, but Harry Potter nerds all over the place will appreciate this one (paraphrased): “Apparently Obama’s birth certificate was Obama Bin Laden’s final horcrux.”

Tweeted on Monday afternoon–@owlcity: Wait, what? Did you guys hear what happened to #Osama???????

So, what’s your response to Osama’s death (without getting too heady)?  What’s your favorite Tweet or something funny you heard?  And what do you think about the U.S. burying OBL at sea at 2 AM Monday morning–does that scream conspiracy theory to you?

We Love Paul

21 Mar


Paul McCartney from the Robert Freeman Gallery

If the last two weeks of “American Idol” proved anything, it’s this–American still loves the Beatles. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison are household names, even though the band officially split in 1970 (and die-hard fans still blame Yoko Ono for that). Lennon and Harrison are now deceased, but the public is still fiercely interested in the lives of Starr and McCartney. While Starr is a bit reclusive, McCartney’s divorce from Heather Mills has been very public.

The only reason anyone cares about this divorce is because it involves Paul, the cute Beatle. I secretly think middle-aged women still hope for a chance at Paul’s heart. Anyway, she tried to win America’s love by appearing on “Dancing with the Stars” last season, and now Donald Trump’s picked her as a judge for the Miss USA Pageant. I love this quote from the New York Post article, “Trump yesterday shrugged off Mills’ reputation as one of the world’s most disliked media personalities. ‘So is Omarosa,” he joked. “And look how well we’ve done with her.'” (If you don’t know who Omarosa is, you clearly haven’t been watching “The Apprentice”.)


I love this horribly unflattering picture of former supermodel Heather Mills from the New York Post.

Unfortunately for Heather Mills, Americans will never embrace her because she had the nerve to go after Paul McCartney demanding $50 million from him for only a few years of marriage. For all her charitable work, she’s sure demanding (read what she needs for her living expenses). Now she’s threatening to sue the press because after all the hubbub she wants to move on with her life (full story). Interestingly enough, she went on a 11 minute tirade in front of the press after the judge issued his ruling which was favorable towards Paul. The judge is obviously a Beatles fan, too. (Read funny extracts from the ruling here.)

After the shenanigans she’s pulled, I doubt that anyone on either side of the pond likes her.  Heather Mills has become one of the most hated celebrities in the world–largely due to her divorce from Paul McCartney. That’s because we will always love the Beatles and we will always love Paul. We all wanna hold his hand (even if he’s 64).

%d bloggers like this: