Archive for April 2014

-Prosecutor Nullification vs. Jury Nullification   Leave a comment

The next time someone speaks up against jury nullification, ask their position on the FAR MORE COMMON prosecutor nullification.

via -Prosecutor Nullification vs. Jury Nullification.

The prosecutor is employed by the state. In Alaska, the judge is an appointed official subject to decadal voter retention — employed by the state. In many cases, the attorney is a public defender — employed by the state. In a trial, the only people who are not taking a paycheck from the same outfit that is prosecuted the defendant is the jury.

But the fact that most cases go to sentencing without ever being heard by a jury should concern us even more than that. An entire system conspires against the accused. We may think the public wants these laws that make certain activities criminal because our elected representatives enact the legislation, but that is not necessarily the case. If they knew that some of these laws would put their kids in jail for simple things like — for example — deciding to sleep in their car rather than drive home drunk — would they be that in favor of the law? But there’s no way to say it’s a bad law. Once it’s been enacted, good luck changing it, even if you know about it — until you get to the jury room and then you hold the power to nullify the law … assuming the case ever got to you.

‘The gas line is coming’   Leave a comment

‘The gas line is coming’: Leaders have touted it before, but Alaskans need to remain optimistic about a project – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Editorials.

Is it?

It’s been 40 years and we’re still waiting and this is not on the best alignment. It’s “carrying water to the wetlands” rather than to the desert. Anchorage doesn’t need the gas, so what the heck are we doing routed the gas to Anchorage? Fairbanks, Glennallen, Ft. Wainwright and Eielson need the gas and there is a dock in Valdez that could begin exporting as soon as we get federal okay to do so.

But, maybe we’re closer than we’ve ever been to a gasline, even thought this may not provide affordable heating to the Interior, which should be of much greater importance to our legislature than making Anchorage feel like it’s the center of the Alaskan universe.

Forward we go … let’s hope it works out.

Posted April 25, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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Treadwell for Senate – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor   Leave a comment

Treadwell for Senate – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor.

Posted April 25, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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Pipeline work began 40 years ago: Born out of an energy crisis, the monumental project reshaped Alaska – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Editorials   Leave a comment

Pipeline work began 40 years ago: Born out of an energy crisis, the monumental project reshaped Alaska – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Editorials.

Posted April 25, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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Peril of Living in Alaska   Leave a comment

Skagway ferry dock sinks – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska News.

The people of Skagway are fine. It’s a grand adventure. Like Valdez last winter, they have other ways to get where they need to go and the local community will band together to make sure everybody  is okay.

Posted April 25, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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Modern Idolatry   55 comments

There are many idols in this world. We don’t tend to think of idol-worship in our modern society. We are so sophisticated that we don’t make graven images to bow before. That doesn’t mean we don’t have idols. Any time a Christian puts anything higher than God, it becomes an idol. Even our government can become an idol if we put obeying it above our obligation to obey God.

Here in the United States, many Christians insist that we must support our government and obey it, even as it does things that are cruel, greedy, murderous and godless. If you point out where the US government has gone astray, they will cite Romans 13 and a handful of other passages to assert that Christians must never, ever disobey the government because that is tantamount to disobeying God.

So they plunk down their tax money and they send their sons and daughters off to war, to pay for and participate in assassinations, unjust wars, taxpayer-funded abortion, drone strikes, and attacks on American citizens (such as Ruby Ridge). They don’t complain and often they cheer.

When President Obama authorized a drone strike murder on American citizen Anwar al-Alwaki I objected on two grounds — one that he was an American citizen and therefore supposed to be protected by the Constitution and two that our government should not be using drones to kill anyone. If we are a nation founded on the rule of law, then simply sneaking up on someone we suspect of terrorism is not good enough. Innocent until proven guilty, right to a fair trial, right to face your accusers … and all that. Yet, many of my fellow Christians informed me that I didn’t have a right to judge the government as abusive and out of control because of … Romans 13.

It goes further than that, however. God gave us the right of liberty (1 Peter 4:15), which our Constitution acknowledges, but the American government tells us what we must do, own, buy, sell, and consume. Our Constitution sets forth protections for criminal and civil procedings in a way reminiscent of the cities of refuge and the trial in the gate system of Israel, yet our government recently has given itself the power to arrest and incarcerate without evidence or trial. God gave us the right of property (Exodus 20:15), which is recognized in the Founding documents, but the American government imposes coercive taxes, confiscates possessions, and tells us what we can and cannot own. God gave us the right of privacy (1 Peter 4:15), acknowledged by the 4th amendment, but the American government gave itself license to spy on us through our computers, telephones, and records and by means of cameras, drones and even our neighbors.

If God granted these rights and safeguards them through His divine law, then it reasonably follows that man has no authority to take them away. That used to be understood in the United States and was enshrined in our constitution, but in recent times we have given ourselves the right (through the government) to define and even take away the rights of other men, thus attempting to dethrone God and replace Him with the government.

Does that seem like an overblown statement?

In a society that is supposedly founded on self-government, when the government steals, coerces or murders, it does it in your name. Christians are called in the Bible to refrain from such activities, but when our government engages in them, it does so on our behalf … though increasingly against us.

To obey a government without question because you believe God has required you to obey it even as it violates His commands is as much idolatry as Caesar declaring himself God!

On Biblical Liberty   Leave a comment

It’s always a good idea to keep in mind that the letters and histories of the New Testament were written in a particular order. Scholars have pretty much teased out the time line. James wrote his letter to the Christian diaspora (an overwhelmingly Jewish Christian population) sometime before the Jerusalem Council in AD 49. Not long afterward, Paul wrote two letters to the brand-new church at Thessalonica and almost immediately wrote to the churches in Galatia. Although the books of the New Testament are not organized in that manner, this chronology is important because it explains certain emphases in the subject of each letter.

Even in AD 49, a mere 14 years after Christ’s death, the Christian churches had some concept that the gospel gave liberty — James 1:25 says to keep their attention on the “law of liberty” and James 2:12 warns them to conduct their lives as people who are judged under liberty. In other words, they could sin and not be condemned, but they shouldn’t because they loved God. Jesus had said believers would know the truth and the truth would set them free. Free from what? Free from the authority of “words on stone tablets” (2 Corinthians 3:7). Believers would be free to worship God not in a place, under a specific authority, but in their spirit, wherever they went. This did not mean they were free of God’s authority, but that they were free of man-made religious authority.

Paul would expand upon this concept of liberty, in Galatians 5 (which was one of Paul’s earliest letters written not long after the Jerusalem Council) and then later in both letters of the Corinthian church. There is no question that the early church believed they’d been set free of the authority of Judaism. The entire letter to the Galatians represents Paul’s attempt to teach Gentile Christians that they did not need to be Jews to be good Christians. They had been taught to this erroneous belief by false teachers who had failed (or rejected) the teaching that the truth would set them free … not free to sin, but free to worship God within a cultural concept that is in line with God’s will.

And, then came the letter to the Romans.  Before we get to Romans 13, it benefits us to look at Romans 8:18-21: “For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility – not willingly but because of God who subjected it – in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children.”

There’s no question that the New Testament Christians believed they lived in God’s liberty. They were directly under the authority of God, not any man-made institutions.

So, once again, why did Paul write Romans 13 and what did he mean by the words he penned?

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