God didn’t promise Christians a thorn-less rose garden. American Christians have somewhat forgotten that because we’ve been a couple of centuries without overt persecution. That’s the exception rather than the rule world-wide. In most societies, Biblically-faithful Christians are very much marginalized if not outright persecuted.
Society has cycles and the wheel is turning. Here in the US, our society doesn’t like to think of itself as a bunch of tyrannical persecutors. It prefers to think of itself as fair and welcoming, inclusive.
Yeah!!! Dream on, people!
Masterpiece Cake Shop, Gortz Haus, Hands-On Originals, Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts, Liberty Ridge Farm, and Elane Photography (now out of business) are just a few examples of Christian businesses who politely refused to provide services for gay weddings and subsequently found themselves being ordered to reeducation classes, paying thousands of dollars in fines and in several cases closing their doors.
Let’s be very clear about this. If you actually research these cases, you will find that in no case did these business refuse services to homosexuals because they were homosexuals. Nobody screamed “Get away from me, you have kooties.” What these Christians did was refuse to provide wedding-related services that sanctify what the Bible defines as sexual immorality.
In other words, they refused to participate in someone else’s sin, to have their name associated with that sin and to appear to be encouraging that sin. They stood firm on what they believe the Bible teaches about sexual immorality and for that, they will lose their businesses, be fined into bankruptcy and in some cases do jail time.
I don’t agree with Indiana’s religious freedom law because I don’t think it should be necessary. “Congress shall make no law … restricting the free exercise of religion.” That should be clear enough. If a neighbor asks me to participate in sin, I have the right to peacefully refuse. Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin would have agreed with me on that. “Whatever does not pick my pocket or break my leg is no concern of mine,” Jefferson wrote.
None of the gay couples in these cases were harmed in any way. Someone doesn’t agree with their lifestyle and won’t encourage them in it How does that harm them other than to perhaps hurt their feelings?
Yet, the bigoted anti-Christian crowd in this country is using it as an excuse to very much pick the pockets and break the legs of Christian businesspeople who have the audacity to live their faith.
We all know where this is headed. In a decade, possibly less, pastors will be required to perform gay ceremonies and churches will be required to host them. Why? Because this is not about the “rights” of homosexuals to be full members of society. This is about forcing an anti-Biblical agenda upon Christian churches and coercing Christians into participating in sin. Only by our seeming to approve of their behavior can they feel that they’ve finally arrived in the world.
Pay no attention to the metaphorical gun pointed at the heads of the baker, florist, musician, pastor, and venue manager. We’re happy, God damn it, and you must be happy with us.
I used God’s name technically in vain for a reason. What homosexuals do in their bedrooms is their own business, but when they require that I attend their commitment ceremony, they make it mine. God very much does damn sexual immorality and Christians who participate in it, even when required by our government, will have to explain their participation to God. If you’re not a Christian, you may think that’s no big deal, but for all of us familiar with Acts — we’re being called now to stand with Peter and John and say “We will obey the Lord” and accept the consequences.
But, hey, American society — you’re shredding the 1st Amendment. Are you sure you want to go there? What happens when society decides YOUR beliefs are the incorrect ones? What happens when society decides YOUR opinion must be silenced?
You see, that wheel — turns. When you base law upon the flavor the decade zeitgeist, you end up on top some decades and crushed under the wheel in others. The secret to America has always been that the law of liberty remained steady. We could disagree, but it didn’t matter because we didn’t have the power to control one another.
But, of course, that’s no longer the case. Are you sure you want it that way?
Last week, I responded to Thom’s Stark’s assertion that the United States is in deep trouble with regards to debt. I agreed with him, though we probably don’t agree on the reasons. I then forgot to send him a link to the article, so he hasn’t responded to me. Oops. So, I had more to say, right? This week, I’m going to address why Interventionism makes the world a more unstable place.
Thom said “I think it’s important to note that isolationism was a bad idea then – and would be a disastrous one now. Geopolitics, like the atmosphere, abhors a vacuum. Were we to withdraw militarily from Europe and Asia, that action would destabilize those regions sufficiently to practically guarantee a third world war – and this one would be fought by multiple state actors who possess nuclear weapons. Consider Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its ongoing attempt to wrest away control of Western Ukraine. Likewise, think about China’s ongoing confrontation with Japan over control of islands in the South China Sea. It’s pretty easy to see that our withdrawal of forces from Europe would constitute an open invitation to Vladimir Putin to try to grab back the Eastern European states who (like Poland, for instance) historically constituted buffer zones between Europe and Russia. Similarly, China would be encouraged to go on an acquisition spree were we to withdraw our forces from Japan, Thailand, and South Korea.
Oh, and North Korea – a rogue state which not only possesses nuclear weapons, but has been actively engaged in exporting nuclear weapons technology to the Islamic world – would undoubtedly launch an attack on South Korea. Again, treaty obligations would force the Chinese to intervene on North Korea’s behalf.
Once again, the result would be world war – only with nukes all around.
That is why we literally have no choice but to maintain our worldwide military empire, despite its enormous expense: because the alternative is a global war into which we could not help but be drawn, even were we to adopt an official policy of non-alignment. (Which we could not do, because of – yes, that again – existing treaty obligations. And a country can’t unilaterally abandon its treaty obligations without ensuring that no nation would ever again be willing to sign a treaty with that nation.)
LELA – Eventually, Thom, we’ll have to abandon those treaty obligations. We’ve run out of money and creditors who will carry our debts are growing restless. Our failure to address our long-term spending addiction will eventually lead to a permanent economic decline. Watching the economy struggle under a fantasy recovery since 2009 makes me suspicious that we’ve already entered that phase of our existence. Can renegging on our treaty obligations be far behind?
But I want to address the question of interventionism. I use that word instead of isolationism because they are very different from one another. As I showed last week, the United States was far from isolated and neutral before World Wars 1 and 2. We took sides economically, our soldiers joined the British military and we armed England. Those were not isolationist activities. They were direct contributors to the wars that we eventually entered. While the people didn’t generally want to engage in war, our government officials did. Had we remained true to the Founders’ non-interventionist foreign policy, we would have actually not taken sides and Europe would have been forced into a negotiated treaty whereby all nations conceded a little bit for overall peace. Germany would not have been saddled with the harsh Versailles Treaty, the affects of which led directly to Hitler and Nazism.
But it goes deeper than that. None other than Winston Churchill told the New York Inquirer:
America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War. If you hadn’t entered the war, the Allies would have made peace with Germany in the Spring of 1917 … there’d have been no collapse of Russia followed by Communism, no breakdown in Italy followed by Fascism, and Germany would not have signed the Versailles Treaty, which has enthroned Nazism in Germany. If American had stayed out of the war, all these ‘isms wouldn’t today be sweeping the continent of Europe and breaking down parliamentary government.” (1936)
Imagine that. Churchill conspired to get us into World War 1, then in peacetime acknowledged we should have stayed out of it, only to later conspire with Franklin Roosevelt to get us into World War 2. The fact is that World War 1 would not have happened at all if not for entangling alliances and World War 2 was really just a continuation of World War 1 after a 20-year cease-fire.
And since World War 2, the United States has acted as the world’s police force, insisting our intervention is necessary to maintain world stability. Yet, that sought-for stability has not occurred. In many ways, we’ve set up the conditions for another widespread war.
You might remember that the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 because our government claimed Saddam Hussein was a sponsor of terrorism. We were at war with Al-Qaida, so we needed to get rid of anyone who might support terrorists and so Saddam had to go. He was a bad man, I totally agree, but al-Qaida wasn’t in Iraq when we invaded and now it controls one-third of that very unstable country.
In 2010, President Obama decided he no longer liked America’s favorite Middle East dictator, Hosni Mubaruk, president of Egypt. So our agents fomented revolution in the streets while Obama openly suggested it was time for Mubaruk to retire. Slap me silly, the promised free elections resulted in the election of that avowed enemy of the West and Islamic fanatic Mohammed Morsi as the first popularly elected president in Egyptian history. Well, we didn’t like him, so the Obama administration encouraged (and probably funded) a military coup. The result is a military dictatorship far more odious than Mubarek’s rule.
In 2004, the Bush administration fomented the so-called Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Our diplomats encouraged it and our intelligent operators agitated demonstrators and liberally distributed American dollars to them. A free election, which resulted in subsequent free elections, produced a president who was an ex-communist more drawn to Russian than to the US or Europe. When the Ukrainian government needed cash and Russia offered a better deal than the European Union, the US fomented another revolution that resulted in Viktor Yanukovich, the popularly and lawfully elected president, being toppled and a new apppointed president being supported by American recognition and help.
I don’t care for Vladimir Putin, probably because the first time I heard his name, he was asserting a claim to Alaska, but he is the popularly elected president of Russia. A former KGB agent, torturer, murderer, and tyrant, he has designs on reconstituting the old Soviet Union. Ukraine was part of that union. In fact, it was the most economically productive part of that union and today it enjoys a mostly free market and is highly entrepreneurial (though it is partly a welfare state). Roughly two-thirds of Ukrainians identify as European and the other third identifies as Russian.
Asked by the democratically elected president for help, Putin sent 16,000 Russian troops over the border to occupy Crimea, a province of Ukraine which had been part of Russia under the Soviet Union until 1954. Putin’s invasion was very illegal. In fact, it could be viewed as an act of war against Ukraine, but let’s be realistic here — most residents of Crimea are Russian speaking and actually welcomed their invaders. Think about that.
Consider this. What would the US do if the Chinese fomented a revolution in Mexico, ousted the democratically elected president of Mexico, and installed an unelected Chinese-friendly government there that solicited Chinese loans and invited the Chinese to help govern? Would the US protect English-speaking Americans along the Texas-Mexico border? Of course we would. Russia has a vital interest in protecting its ice-free port on the Black Sea and in keeping Ukraine out of NATO. From Putin’s perspective, we took advantage of the dissolution of the USSR to move NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltic republics. We (the United States and western Europe) are the aggressors, from his point of view. Viewed in that light, their actions are understandable.
Americans don’t actually know what the Ukranian people want for themselves. I asked a friend from Ukraine and her answer sort of surprised me. “Which Ukrainians are we discussing?” Mila is a Ukrainian who grew up speaking Ukrainian. Her husband Alex is the child of Russians who immigrated to Ukraine in the 1950s and his family spoke Russian. Mila’s family are western-leaning and want no part of Russia because her grandparents barely survived Soviet occupation. Alex’ family, who live east of the Dnieper River, are Russian-friendly and feel it would be best to have a close relationship with “the mother country.” Mila suggested the country might be best allowed to split along ethnic lines rather than dissolve into what she sees as an impending civil war, which she believes will result in Russian reoccupation.
Which brings me around to the big question. What is so wrong with allowing people self-determination? Yes, yes, I know — nuclear weapons — but why do we assume that a state with nuclear weapons would feel compelled to use them just because they had them? The Soviets used to believe that about us — and maybe with good reason since we’re the only country to have ever used nukes against an enemy — but reasonable people know that if they radiate their neighbors, it’s going to affect them. Vladmir Putin isn’t a nice man and he’s a loud-mouth, but he doesn’t appear to be insane to me. Why do we assume that if the US minded its own business, he would be more likely to fry some portion of humanity than he would be now? Kim Jong-il appears to be somewhat imbalanced, but is it possible our government, which invented propaganda in the 1910s, has just played up his eccentricities? Is it not also equally possible that the people of North Korea might not allow their government to nuke South Korea since it most certainly would contaminate their own country and, well, not to point out the obvious, but many South Koreans have beloved relatives in the North, so I would assume that many North Koreans have equally warm feelings toward family members in the South? Is it not possible that our aggression on the dividing line is partially responsible for the continuing hostilities between the two countries? Since we caused the Korean conflict in the first place, it seems reasonable to suggest it’s a contributing factor. Remember, Korea was partitioned by the US and the USSR in 1945 without Korean consent and it was the US installed dictator of South Korea who fomented the war with the North.
The United States and Europe like to decide who is a “good guy” and who is a “bad guy” and then decide for other people which side they must be on. How do we know we’re right? We have a dismal history of destabilizing countries, supposedly to install “better” governments, but it doesn’t often work out that way. Iran — we removed a popular leader to install the Shah, then withdrew our support from the Shah and were “surprised by the rise of an Islamic state. Iraq is what it is because of our meddling. Check out the history of Colombia in the 20th century and you see American interventionism all over. That’s just a partial list of the countries US covert operations have destabilized in the interest of putting more American-friendly government in place only to have the situation spin out of control and result in some madman or terrorist organization taking over.
What would happen if we stopped interfering in the decisions of other countries? The fearmongers say the world would spin out of control and we would all hit the red button on the nuclear bombs, but why would that necessarily happen. I think that’s propaganda talking and that if we announced a gradual removal of our forces from around the world, we’d see some conventional shooting wars and some successful secessionist movements and then people would pretty much get on with the business of living. There may be a few madmen out there in control of countries who don’t realize that nuking their neighbors is the same as nuking themselves, but I don’t really know who those folks might be. And, there would still be a United Nations to interfere in countries if the international community really felt it still needed to do that.
Why does the world require a bully to maintain peace and, if it doesn’t, than why are we playing the part and funding that aggression by stealing the wealth and savings of our citizens?
Thom Stark is the author American Sulla, an apocalyptic thriller series. Lela Markham is the author of Transformation Project, an apocalyptic dystopian series. Both these series look at America following nuclear terrorism.
So, I’m submitting the second half of the response today and we’ll see what Thom wants to pursue next week. Look for the article later today.
Send the link, send the link, send the link ….