Religion

by Reid Fitzsimons

Several years back there was a mediocre/better than most crime drama called Cold Case, i.e. the crack detectives solved murders committed in the past but shelved away at the time. One episode involved the murder of a young woman/mother who had been the victim of domestic abuse. In one flashback scene the scummy abusive husband, who didn’t prove to be the killer, was sitting at the kitchen table angrily contemplating the bowl of cereal his wife placed in front of him. She was busy trying to get herself off to work and their child off to school when he erupted, “I don’t want my breakfast to come from no g*ddamn box!!” As she meekly tried to apologize and quickly fix him a more substantial meal, he reached his limit of tolerance and began smacking her around. This guy had it all: poor hygiene, no job, wearing one of those sleeveless T-shirts sometimes referred to as a “wife beater,” etc, seamlessly fitting our stereotype of domestic abuser.

As Americans rarely are we more content than when holding on to our narratives. It makes us comfortable in our confusing and meaningless world of excessive wealth and materialism, and substantiates our sense of righteousness. Our stereotypes are frequently confirmed via popular entertainment, the news media, and the like, and the circle is unbroken. Indeed law and policy are often based on popular stereotypes of the moment, and large sums of money and resources expended in our quest for feelings to trump thoughtfulness. Of course there is a downside to embracing stereotypes, as evidenced by Ku Klux Klanners and their cousins the Black Lives Matter activists. This is not to say that stereotypes are innately incorrect- many likely have some basis in reality. Recollecting the movie White Men Can’t Jump and observing that 23% of NBA players are white, the stereotype suggested by the title has a statistical rationale.

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rep-danny-davis

by Reid Fitzsimons

On Nov. 18, 2016 a black youth, 15 year-old Javon Wilson, was shot to death in his home in Chicago. The suspects/culprits were inside the house when apparently an argument over a pair of shoes ensued, and 17 year-old Dijae T. Banks (a female) handed a pistol to 16 year-old Tariq M. Harris (a male) who then shot Wilson. News accounts summed up his short life with a depressing “he liked basketball and rap music.”

His death was not particularly out of the ordinary, sadly. In the progressive world we’ve created, life, per se, is not of inherent or specific value, lest we sound like Pro-Life nut jobs talking about the “sanctity of life.” This especially holds true with black people, where there exists no innate value, but rather the meaning and matter of life is largely determined by the manner of death, with a few exceptions such as black sports and music figures, celebrities in general, and inaptly described civil rights leaders. Had young Javon Wilson been shot by the police his life would had found great significance and been marked by ecstatic outrage, marches, riots, and perhaps other murders.   Typically, however, a black person murdered by another black person rates at best a candle light vigil, a makeshift monument of teddy bears, and a few pro-forma words from a local politician of how we have to stop the violence.

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mainline church abortion

by Reid Fitzsimons (note: other names used in letter replaced with XXX)

Greetings Pastor XXX:

This is Reid Fitzsimons writing. I am the husband of XXX, who was to an extent raised at St. John’s Church in the 1950s and 1960s. We attended your service on July 10, 2016 while visiting the area. You kindly invited me to partake in Communion but I mentioned I am not a Christian and felt it disrespectful of the Communion tradition and intent for a non-Christian to participate.

I am writing to offer some observations and thoughts of your service and sermon, but please bear with me for a moment to describe my relation with Christianity. I was not raised in any religion and was quite atheistic when I was younger. In my early 40’s I quit gainful employment to do volunteer work in Guatemala, Kenya, and later Honduras. In doing so I encountered many Christians and came to believe that the basic tenets of Christianity, especially Do Unto Others and Love Thy Neighbor, are the best prescription for any society regardless of religiosity, but at the time I was quite ignorant of the most elementary theology.

In July 2008 (a month after XXX’s mother died) we moved to Southern Alabama and divided our time between Alabama and running our charity in Honduras. While in Alabama XXX asked if I would help her find then attend church with her. We decided on a Presbyterian church (PCA, not PCUSA) and soon became fairly close to the pastor, a very gracious and learned person who actually went to seminary in France, in French. He invited me to attend a multi-denominational men’s Bible Study despite knowing unequivocally I was not a Christian. This stimulated an interest in theology, which continues to the present. As an aside, this study group, located in what is derisively called the Bible Belt, not only tolerated an agnostic Yankee who was not reluctant to bring controversy into the study, but kindly accepted me into their fellowship. I continue to attend church with regularity, mostly a small Regular Baptist Church since we moved to Pennsylvania, and continue to study theology on my own.

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obama islam

by Reid Fitzsimons (note that this is written the day following the terrorist attack in Nice, France)

Reasonable people, not just provincial redneck hicks, can divine a correlation between Islam and these rather persistent terrorist attacks, the toll of which is not insignificant. The perpetrators are running pretty much at 100% in the yelling Allahu Akbar thing, and they aren’t, to the chagrin of progressives, declaring themselves to be conservative Christians slaughtering in the name of Jesus. The Ivy League educated powers that lead us are quite vehement in instructing the ignorant masses there is no association between terrorism and Islam, with the caveat that there would be no benefit in stating such if it was true, which makes us conclude they suffer from the Islamic Culpability Denial Syndrome, or ICDS.

Characteristics of ICDS include ignoring that the perpetrators of terror unequivocally state they are Muslim and are acting on behalf of Islam, that they have historically received material and philosophical support from “legitimate” Islamic oriented governments (including our new BFF Iran), and the brutal and perpetual Islam on Islam violence. Combined with the paltry denunciations of violence done in the name of Islam by people who might reasonably be considered Islamic leaders both internationally and in the US, in both political and religious realms, ICDS is baffling. ...continue reading

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transgender

by Reid Fitzsimons

The Target Corporation, which describes itself as “an upscale discount retailer” and operates almost 1,800 stores, has recently emphasized its commitment to transgender activism, specifically where it pertains the to use of its bathrooms. Brian Cornell has been at the helm as the CEO since August 2014 (total compensation since his affiliation $28,164,024) and recently made a statement, largely in Q&A format, to address any concerns his bathroom policy has engendered.

His preamble reiterated Target’s diversity philosophy: "individuality may include a wide spectrum of attributes such as personal style, age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, language, physical ability, religion, family, citizenship status, socio-economic circumstances, education, and life experiences." He added the following: “We live in exciting times, from not only a corporate/business perspective but from a cultural one. We at Target believe the greatest human endeavor is to facilitate people in finding personal fulfillment and satisfaction in life. We are proud to be at the forefront in advocating for people too long marginalized by society simply because of the manner in which they gender identify. We believe the greatest gift we can give our valued customers is a shopping experience where all feel welcome, accepted, and embraced regardless of such factors as sexual orientation or gender identity.” He then answered questions asked by customers about Target’s bathroom policy:

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obama-muslim quote

by Reid Fitzsimons

Barak Obama is a liar, which is not a preposterous thing to say. Bad people lie and good people lie. Sometimes lies are told out of cowardice, other times to help a person through a troubled period, sometimes to facilitate a seemingly greater good, and other times to facilitate a selfishly desired goal. At times people lie to themselves, at times to others, and sometimes to both. Politicians are probably more accomplished liars than average though some are notoriously unskilled and hence entertaining, Richard Nixon, Gary Hart, and John Edwards being examples. The Clintons are not particularly adept at lying in that the truth eventually reveals itself. Their success is based more on the concept found in the lyrics of Are You Lonesome Tonight- “I'd rather go on hearing your lies than to go on living without you.” As difficult as it may be for a rational person to accept, just as there are people who actually watch and receive pleasure from morning network news programs and reality shows, there are masses totally enamored with Bill and Hillary. The Clintons may not be particularly adept liars but they know their intended audience, and this has served them well for many years.

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islam peace

by Reid Fitzsimons

The neighbor up the road, a guy also born in 1958, stopped by while walking his dog the other week. We stood outside for quite a while discussing things big and small, personal and global. When the subject became ISIS, the San Bernardino shootings, etc he related a disquieting anecdote from the late 1970s. He was working at a gas station and engaged a customer in conversation, this being a time when intelligent young people were curious about the world and didn’t just accept the ramblings of their sociology professor as incontrovertible truth. Our neighbor recounted saying something such as humans cause so much conflict and war, shouldn’t religion serve as a way to counteract violent instincts. This customer turned out to be a Muslim of South-Eastern European origin, I think he said Albanian, and agreed that religion should be a means to achieve peace. He then added, in a conversational tone, once all non-believers were eradicated and only Muslims populated the earth, there would finally be peace. Not unexpectedly, this sentiment impressed our neighbor.

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immigration article foto

by Reid Fitzsimons

Note: the following article began as a brief e-mail to my brother (explaining some of the syntax), which somehow grew into 5 pages. Despite being too long and somewhat rambling, it makes points and arguments rarely, if ever, seen elsewhere.

I was going to add a few comments in regards to our discussion/argument about what you called immigration reform, though I think you were being a bit disingenuous and really meant support of an open border type policy (in theory Donald Trump rounding up anyone with a Hispanic sounding name and placing them in Mexico-bound boxcars could be deemed immigration reform). However this touches on a related topic of interest to me- the significant similarities between progressive liberals and Evangelical Christians, so I’m going to go ahead and write an excruciatingly long article for posting on an internet blog. I hope you are inclined to read what follows, which includes some outside the lines ideas in regards to immigration reform.

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dont

by Barry King, 28 November 2015

After the recent terror attacks in France, the instinctive response of people of faith all over the world was to pray for Paris, and to encourage others to do so. For others, who consider religious faith problematic, the response was different: “Don’t pray for Paris”. The subtext to those opinions was clearly: religion is part of the problem, so it can’t be part of the solution.

The first of those responses (prayer) has deep historical roots. Thoughtful people will wonder about the second: is it a new idea, or has it been tried before? If it has been tried before, what were the results of the earlier trials? Hearing news of the Paris attacks, many of us remembered John Lennon, who wrote 40 years ago: “Imagine…no hell below us, above us only sky.” John identified the objective of that dream as “..all the people living life in peace.” Clearly, if John were still among us, he would have been among those saying, “Don’t Pray for Paris”.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfbph4VCVtk

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by Barry King

I have Mennonite relatives who travel all over North America without paying for hotel rooms, by staying in the homes of a network of relatives of relatives or friends of friends. In so doing, they fail to support the hotel industry and perhaps contribute to slow job growth in that sector. I have Amish relatives who, when they suffer fire damage to a barn, will accept the volunteer help of neighbors for rebuilding, instead of hiring unionized construction workers for that job. In so doing, they take jobs away from those unionized workers. Further: the working conditions at the Amish Barn raising might possibly be OSHA-non-compliant. The Amish also plow their fields with mule teams instead of tractors, and drive horse-drawn carriages on the roads, instead of cars.

It wonders me (that’s a Pennsylvania Dutch phrase) how I should understand Anabaptist attitudes toward innovation. Anabaptists until very recently have been counter-cultural in a variety of ways, which is kind of innovative, but on the other hand, plowing with a mule team in the 21st century seems old-fashioned. Now comes another data point: modern internet-based ride sharing via Uber looks a lot like “Mennonite-Your-Way” travel arrangements and like the Amish approach to barn-raising, and the Uber economic model is considered innovative rather than reactionary, whereas, the growing backlash against it looks pretty darn reactionary. Sixty years after Bill Buckley coined the phrase, who is it now who is standing athwart history and yelling “Stop!”? (Hint: read Hillary’s recent speech in which she scolded Uber, without mentioning it by name. If the guy in Seinfeld who withheld soup was a “Soup Nazi”, does that mean Hillary is now an “Uber Nazi”? Just wondering...) Bill Clinton wanted to build a bridge to the 21st century, which at the time was a forward-looking idea. Now here we are, and Hillary apparently wants to build the same bridge, but she plans on using it to go the other way.

So why exactly is Hillary staking out a position as an Uber Nazi? Well, she counts on union support, and the unions hate Uber, and she likes tax revenues and regulation, while Uber drivers and customers tend to dislike those things. How much do unions and government regulators hate the Uber-style economy? In France, Hillary’s fellow travelers (mobs of taxi drivers) “went full Luddite”, destroying Uber cars, and the French government joined them by arresting Uber managers.

Bottom line: the fundamental difference between the Amish, the Mennonites, and the Uber drivers on the one hand, v. the Uber Nazis on the other is this: the former are content to do their economics via free contracts voluntarily entered, while leaving the rest of the world also free to do whatever they want, whereas, the Uber Nazis want to impose their preferred models on other people by means of government coercion or violence.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421134/hillary-uber-economy-speech-sharing-economy-2016