syrian-refugeesThere is a lot of discussion and debate occurring right now in the world regarding refugees from Syria. I see a wide range of opinions being portrayed. I see some Christians using scripture to show that we as believers should be welcoming and accepting of refugees. I see Conservatives expressing their concerns over ISIS having infiltrated these refugees. I see Liberals declaring that we must accept these refugees as it is the right thing, expressing that others don’t want to help women and children. The topic is divisive that is for sure. Each ‘side’ makes the situation seem simple, but this truly is a unique situation.

Some facts about this situation:
#1. ISIS has infiltrated these refugees.
#2, Jesus does tell his followers to love their enemies and to help those in need.
#3. ISIS has slaughtered people in Syria and these people need help, a home, and an opportunity to start their life over.
#4. Jesus never told Rome (the Government) what it should do, but did instruct Christians and the Church.

I believe that as a Christian I should help and love any refugees that my Government brings in with open arms. I also believe that far too many Christians are abdicating their responsibility as believers to help those in need by having the Government help those in need while they sit back and live life oblivious to others needs. I don’t believe Christians should be looking to the Government to solve this refugee crisis or use scripture to prove that the Government should be allowing refugees. The United States Government is not Christian, it is secular. Our secular Governments primary responsibility is keep their citizens safe. So, I don’t fault Government leaders who are struggling with figuring out how to help these refugees while protecting their citizens from an enemy that is known to be hiding among those very same refugees.This crisis is unique in this regard since the enemy is using this crisis to get operatives into western nations to do others harm.

A possible solution that seems logical would be to seek for a unified military approach with western nations leading the effort to make a portion of Syria a safe and secure zone. I believe this could be done quickly with a cooperative effort by European nations and the United States. Relocating 4 million people to other nations and other cultures will certainly be difficult, which we are seeing materialize due to the sheer volume of refugees, when it seems more logical to remove the threat that is causing these people to flee their homeland. The idea would then be to relocate the refugees into this safe zone and begin giving them everything they need from building infrastructure to basic needs like food, water and shelter. These people need help. We should help them. And if we can possibly help them by giving them back their homeland while ridding the area of the terrible threat that ISIS poses it would seem like a winning solution for western nations and the Syrian refugees.

That said as a Christian I am more than willing to help a refugee that my country accepts into this nation. This is an opportunity for us as believers to share Christ to people who need salvation. This presents a unique situation where people will be coming from the ends of the earth to our hometowns. We should not ignore this opportunity or live in fear of possible threats within the ranks of those seeking a new home. However, I won’t ignore the reality of this situation and the real threat that could be present among these refugees or disparage anyone who sees alternate ways to assist these individuals. It is time for the Church to step up and help, It should not be the US Government that is providing but the Church itself, the body of Christ showing love and care to those in need. If our Government simply sends these refugees back to Syria to be slaughtered it will be a tragedy, and one that has happened in the past during WWII. We should be praying for wisdom for those who must make these difficult decisions.

Ben Carson

Ben Carson

Image #: 21630241 Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH) REUTERS /JONATHAN ERNST /LANDOV

I am fairly sure I have decided on who will be getting my vote for the GOP primary. Ben Carson. He has proven himself to be very capable at handling a wide range of subjects and there is no question that he is a brilliant individual. He understands that life itself is precious and isn’t afraid to speak clearly on the issue of abortion in this country. When he equated abortionists to Nazi’s this solidified that he has the courage to speak truth among a sea of lies. His demeanor is calm and level headed, which at first was a concern for me. Yet, I realize that to make America a great country once again we need someone who will think through things before taking action. Someone who can hear criticism and see through lies. Our political system is a mess and we need an outsider to begin to correct the ills in Washington. Ben Carson is the type of leader that America needs.

2016 Election

2016 Election

2016 Election GraphicSince the 2008 election, I have become more libertarian in my views. I see the continued failings of over reaching Government into the lives of citizens. In 2012, I was unable to vote for the Republican nominee. I identify more as a conservative and the Republican party seems to have evolved to simply being socialist-lite, rather than being about virtues that have made the United States a great country.

The 2016 election looks interesting. On the liberal side is Bernie Sanders who a lot of people are gravitating to. He has one position I actually like, having businesses not be allowed to donate to political campaigns. Not many people think this should be banned, at least not those who lean conservative or libertarian. In my opinion a business should not be considered a person and should not have the rights of an individual. Big money is ruining or has ruined our political system. Get the big money out and I believe third and fourth party candidates could have a shot. And I believe this would be good for America. However, Bernie wants to give everybody everything on the tax payers dime. One example is he wants to make College ‘free’, which will cost a fortune and devalue the degree itself. The United States is under a pile of debt larger than what anyone can comprehend so we are simply in no position to create more entitlement programs. Bernie will spend and give to get the votes. This is not a solution for America that is sustainable. Hilary Clinton looks like she will be on trial or in jail by the time the election happens so I don’t think she is really a candidate to even be considering at this point. America has surprised me in the past, but I can’t imagine enough people voting for her since everything she has touched seems to be a scandal.

On the GOP side, the side I consider to be a bit closer to my corner of the world view spectrum, there are a number of interesting candidates. Mike Huckabee is running again, whom I rallied for back in 2008. However, I don’t think he has a real chance this go around. If Huckabee were to become the GOP nominee I could certainly vote for him, though I don’t see eye to eye with him on every issue. The big contender right now is Donald Trump. And I have to admit, there is a lot that I like about him and a lot that I don’t like. I really like that he is blunt, to the point, and says whatever he wants. He is no politician. And I along with many others really like that he is no politician. He doesn’t give specifics on most of his policy plans, but at this stage I think that is reasonable. He doesn’t have the right team put together to create those plans now, and can simply share his overall concepts. If Donald Trump becomes the GOP nominee it is likely that I will vote for him. I do think he is arrogant, and holds grudges which is simply childish for a man of his age, and yes I do find these traits to be concerning. But, at the same time I think he could be the right person for the job and I do like a significant number of his positions. We live in a country that is on the verge of collapse due to high debt, jobs are leaving our shores left and right. Donald Trump has a history of getting things done and maybe even the right personality to turn things around and make America Great Again. In an ideal world I would be for completely open borders and complete free trade, but those terms simply don’t exist in this world because other nations introduce tariffs and have controlled borders. It makes it difficult for the United States to compete when people come here not to work and make a life, but to live off of the work of others. It makes it difficult for the United States when countries have taxes on our goods yet we import theirs freely. This simply takes jobs away. So, I see Donald Trump’s policies on immigration and free trade being far from ideal, yet realistic for the real world that we live in.

At this early stage in the election cycle there is truly only one GOP candidate I could not vote for, and that would be Jeb Bush. We are not an oligarchy, so if America elects another Bush or Clinton into office it will be shameful. There are millions of other people who can fill these shoes, and we need to elect someone outside of those two families.

My prediction is that Joe Biden will enter the race soon and become the Democrat nominee, and I am predicting Donald Trump to win the GOP nominee. But, I would prefer to see a Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump race in 2016. Those two candidates are so radically different in policy as in personality that it would make for a very interesting Presidential race.

The Freedom of Choice Act

I have talked to a number of people who are not familiar with the Freedom of Choice Act. This is a bill that if passed by Congress, President-Elect Obama said he will sign into law. This is one of Barrack Obama’s early agenda items once he is sworn in, to pass the ‘Freedom of Choice Act’. For anyone who is pro-life, we need to write to our Senators and Representatives in Washington and let them know what we think of the ‘Freedom of Choice Act’. If Congress does not stop this Bill, then we will see many more children killed by their mothers each year in the United States. Rather than showing a summary of what this Bill involves, I found the actual word for word text of the ‘Freedom of Choice Act’ and have it below. I believe that the language in this Bill is rather clear, and very self explanatory regarding what this bill will accomplish if passed. Please post any comments you may have below…

1st Session
S. 1173
To protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman’s freedom to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

April 19, 2007
Mrs. BOXER (for herself, Mrs. MURRAY, Ms. STABENOW, Mr. BINGAMAN, Mr. MENENDEZ, Mr. LAUTENBERG, Mr. CARDIN, Mr. SCHUMER, Mrs. CLINTON, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, Ms. MIKULSKI, Mr. BAUCUS, and Ms. CANTWELL) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

To protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman’s freedom to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the `Freedom of Choice Act’.

Congress finds the following:

(1) The United States was founded on core principles, such as liberty, personal privacy, and equality, which ensure that individuals are free to make their most intimate decisions without governmental interference and discrimination.

(2) One of the most private and difficult decisions an individual makes is whether to begin, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy. Those reproductive health decisions are best made by women, in consultation with their loved ones and health care providers.

(3) In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479), and in 1973, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113) and Doe v. Bolton (410 U.S. 179), the Supreme Court recognized that the right to privacy protected by the Constitution encompasses the right of every woman to weigh the personal, moral, and religious considerations involved in deciding whether to begin, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy.

(4) The Roe v. Wade decision carefully balances the rights of women to make important reproductive decisions with the State’s interest in potential life. Under Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the right to privacy protects a woman’s decision to choose to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability, with the State permitted to ban abortion after fetal viability except when necessary to protect a woman’s life or health.

(5) These decisions have protected the health and lives of women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions, despite the risk of unsanitary conditions, incompetent treatment, infection, hemorrhage, disfiguration, and death. Before Roe, it is estimated that thousands of women died annually in the United States as a result of illegal abortions.

(6) In countries in which abortion remains illegal, the risk of maternal mortality is high. According to the World Health Organization, of the approximately 600,000 pregnancy-related deaths occurring annually around the world, 80,000 are associated with unsafe abortions.

(7) The Roe v. Wade decision also expanded the opportunities for women to participate equally in society. In 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (505 U.S. 833), the Supreme Court observed that, `[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.’.

(8) Even though the Roe v. Wade decision has stood for more than 34 years, there are increasing threats to reproductive health and freedom emerging from all branches and levels of government. In 2006, South Dakota became the first State in more than 15 years to enact a ban on abortion in nearly all circumstances. Supporters of this ban have admitted it is an attempt to directly challenge Roe in the courts. Other States are considering similar bans.

(9) Further threatening Roe, the Supreme Court recently upheld the first-ever Federal ban on an abortion procedure, which has no exception to protect a woman’s health. The majority decision in Gonzales v. Carhart (05-380, slip op. April 18, 2007) and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America fails to protect a woman’s health, a core tenet of Roe v. Wade. Dissenting in that case, Justice Ginsburg called the majority’s opinion `alarming’, and stated that, `[f]or the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman’s health’. Further, she said, the Federal ban `and the Court’s defense of it cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court’.

(10) Legal and practical barriers to the full range of reproductive services endanger women’s health and lives. Incremental restrictions on the right to choose imposed by Congress and State legislatures have made access to reproductive care extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many women across the country. Currently, 87 percent of the counties in the United States have no abortion provider.

(11) While abortion should remain safe and legal, women should also have more meaningful access to family planning services that prevent unintended pregnancies, thereby reducing the need for abortion.

(12) To guarantee the protections of Roe v. Wade, Federal legislation is necessary.

(13) Although Congress may not create constitutional rights without amending the Constitution, Congress may, where authorized by its enumerated powers and not prohibited by the Constitution, enact legislation to create and secure statutory rights in areas of legitimate national concern.

(14) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of article I of the Constitution and section 5 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution to enact legislation to facilitate interstate commerce and to prevent State interference with interstate commerce, liberty, or equal protection of the laws.

(15) Federal protection of a woman’s right to choose to prevent or terminate a pregnancy falls within this affirmative power of Congress, in part, because–

(A) many women cross State lines to obtain abortions and many more would be forced to do so absent a constitutional right or Federal protection;

(B) reproductive health clinics are commercial actors that regularly purchase medicine, medical equipment, and other necessary supplies from out-of-State suppliers; and

(C) reproductive health clinics employ doctors, nurses, and other personnel who travel across State lines in order to provide reproductive health services to patients.

In this Act:

(1) GOVERNMENT- The term `government’ includes a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official (or other individual acting under color of law) of the United States, a State, or a subdivision of a State.

(2) STATE- The term `State’ means each of the States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each territory or possession of the United States.

(3) VIABILITY- The term `viability’ means that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.

(a) Statement of Policy- It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.

(b) Prohibition of Interference- A government may not–

(1) deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose–

(A) to bear a child;

(B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or

(C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or

(2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.

(c) Civil Action- An individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may obtain appropriate relief (including relief against a government) in a civil action.

If any provision of this Act, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, or the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those as to which the provision is held to be unconstitutional, shall not be affected thereby.

This Act applies to every Federal, State, and local statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action enacted, adopted, or implemented before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

A Moment in History

Last night was a very historic moment for the United States of America. As much as I have disagreed with Obama on policy issues, I am proud to live in an America that has elected an African American President. This is more than just a symbolic moment. This is more than cracks in a glass ceiling. This is real history. Never again should an African American believe anything less than their ability to achieve anything in the United States. This country provides the freedom for anyone to achieve the highest office in the nation. This is inspiring and brings hope to millions of people in this country, and today I am proud of this fact. I am proud at what this nation has overcome over the past 50 years. We have come from a nation so divided that people of different colors drank from different water fountains, to a nation where people of all colors have come together and have chosen an African American to be their national leader.

Below is Obama’s acceptance speech in three parts, and then below that is McCain’s concession speech in two parts.

Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech – Part 1

Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech – Part 2

Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech – Part 3

John McCain’s Concession Speech – Part 1

John McCain’s Concession Speech – Part 2