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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gun Control is Not about Guns, but about Control (III)

“A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone”

Some Biblical Texts to Think About

In our last installment, I promised that we would take a look at some biblical texts that address the issue of citizens being armed. Of course, this will not be an exercise where we look in 2 Hesitations 5 under “Gun Control” and find a pat answer. My Presbyterian tradition does, however, offer this explanation of how we should view Scripture: “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture…” (Westminster Confession of Faith 1.6. Emphasis added).

Are there, then, lessons we can learn from the Word of God that might help us to decide as Christians whether it is biblical to carry a weapon or to defend oneself and loved ones? In other words, must “Pacifism” be the default setting for everyone who is a Christian? There are those such as Herman Hoyt, Myron Augsburger, David Gushee, Glen Stassen, John Yoder, and Jim Wallis—just to mention a few—who believe that being a pacifist is what Christians must be. Others, including me, are not convinced that this is the case.

As I unfold why I hold to my position, I will have recourse to both the Old and New Testaments, based on what I cited from the Westminster Standards above. In addition, when the apostle Paul wrote to his young friend Timothy that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…,” he was, of course, referring to the Old Testament and the extant New Testament writings that were then available. Since approximately 10% of the New Testament is comprised of quotations from or allusions to the Old Testament, it should be patently clear that the Dispensationalists are simply dead wrong.

Naturally there are differences between the testaments, but that is not to say that the entire Old Testament has been abrogated. A detailed lesson in hermeneutics is for another time, but it is safe to say that some things in the Old Testament have been clearly abrogated (i.e., the dietary laws, animal sacrifices, etc.), some have been altered (Passover and the Lord’s Supper; circumcision and Baptism; no theocracy, the state wielding the sword and the Church exercising admonition and excommunication), and many texts left unaltered. With that as a brief background, let’s proceed.

We’ll begin by taking a look at two Old Testament texts. They will be treated separately, but we need to keep in mind that they belong together. The first is found in a portion of what is known as “The Book of the Covenant.” (Ex. 21-23.) In Exodus 22:2 we read, “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him.” The clear indication is that the man of the house is expected to protect his family. He must provide spiritual guidance and leadership, love, and, when and if necessary, protection. In fact, this Old Testament text goes so far to say even if the thief broke in with no intention of murdering or raping (how can you possibly know the intentions of an intruder in the middle of the night?) if you kill him, it is not murder. He had no business in your home uninvited and God grants you the right to defend yourself and loved ones.

A negative twist on this concept is found in Jeremiah 2:34-35a. God is upbraiding his people for insensitivity to the “guiltless poor” and he tears a strip off of them by saying, “Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the guiltless poor; you did not find them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things you say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’” Ostensibly, if the poor had broken into an Israelite home and attempted to burglarize it, the occupant would have been justified in killing him. As it stands, Israel was guilty of another kind of killing of the poor that was not lawful.

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah have always been fascinating to me. God continues his line of covenant faithfulness and trustworthiness for his people. They are allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall and repair the city. They meet resistance and obstacle after obstacle. In Nehemiah 4:14, the nobles are addressed in this manner: “And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.’” (Emphasis added.) Apart from the clear and obvious redemptive-historical work that God was doing with his people, there is the command not to be a pacifist. This is not a new development in Israel’s history, since they had been required to fight before. In fact, as we shall see later, it was not uncommon for the Israelites to have swords in their tents, but that’s for later.

Israel under Oppression

One of the most chilling verses in Scripture is found in Judges 2:10: “And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.” You really do have to ask: How did that happen? When you reflect, however, it becomes clear that the spiritual ruin presaged political and cultural collapse as well. Abandoning God, the Israelites were oppressed horribly every time Israel forsook the ways of the Lord God Almighty. In Judges 5:8, we read the following: “When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates. Was shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel?”

The choice of new or strange gods ultimately meant a kind of war was raging, but it is also instructive that Israel had been disarmed. The mentioning of the paucity of weapons shows that Israel normally possessed them, but their occupiers confiscated Israel’s arms for all the obvious reasons. Another example of this is found in 1 Samuel 13:19-23.[1] In this text it is clear that not only did the Philistines confiscate Israel’s weapons to defend themselves, but certain trades were also forbidden as a result of the oppression. The Philistines took their weapons and then told them what they could and could not do. It was easy, of course, because the Israelites were disarmed. That was not normal for Israel.

In fact, Larry Pratt has argued that the Israelite army was a militia army that came to battle with each man bearing his own weapon.[2] When armed men were needed, there was no scarcity in the Israelite camp (cf. Num. 31:3). When King David needed 400 armed men, we are told that they simply strapped on their swords and left 200 others to guard the baggage (cf. 1 Sam. 25:13). There is no hint of pacifism here nor is there any inclination that the government was in favor of more “sword control” laws. Realistically, sinners will always cause problems. In the account of Cain murdering Abel, we do not find God passing rock or club control, whatever Cain used to commit his crime. Rather, the Lord provided a means by which murderers were to be dealt with in a God-prescribed manner (cf. Gen. 9:5-6). This truth has evidently been lost on many in America today. They somehow foolishly believe that the more guns are controlled and the more difficult it is to own one, the safer we’ll all be.

Nothing could be farther from the truth! The unvarnished facts are that the more our illustrious elected officials want to restrict law-abiding citizens from owning guns, the more dangerous our neighborhoods and freeways become. A person who wants a “Saturday night special” will find one. Gangs seem to have an almost unlimited supply of weapons at cheap prices. Why should a citizen, who undergoes a FBI background check via computer at the gun shop not be able to walk out of the store with the gun if he or she passes the check? Why do I need Pelosi, Boxer, Biden, or Obama to tell me—a free man—if, when, and how I may defend myself? I am granted the right by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms.

You see a major part of the problem in the United States is that we want to make it next to impossible for law-abiding citizens to arm themselves and we are soft on criminals. Today with the Supreme Court ruling about guns, the media will be up in arms. We’ll hear about Columbine, Virginia Tech, and how horrible it is for law-abiding citizens to have guns. The Second Amendment was granted by the Founding Fathers to protect the citizens. Many today still have not learned that lesson. The misinformation about guns is about as thorough as any other piece of propaganda I know. In the articles that follow, I’d like to try to rid the world of some of the false notions that are alive and kicking in the United States today and to attempt to bring some sanity and rationality to the discussion.


[1] Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, ‘Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.’ But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle, and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

[2] Larry Pratt, “The Bible and Gun Control,” (http://www.gunowners.org/sk0801.htm [2003]), p. 8.


Labels:

58 Comments:

Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Part III?

Did I miss part II, or is this another one of your renumbering tricks?

12:56 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

My secretary is partially to blame. I wrote a separate piece a while back and she insisted that I name it GC.01. Since she wrote the book on efficiency I graciously complied. Who said women have no power?
Will Albert's second hand smoke be bad for my health?

7:20 PM  
Blogger tgoerz said...

Right on, Ron.

Despite the majority opinion in favor of the 2nd amendment and it's guarenteed protections for the private citizens right to keep and bear arms, I found it chilling that 4 justices were perfectly willing to rescind this constitutional amendment. If the US goes the way of Britain and Australia it won't be by congressional legislation, it will be by fiat of the folks in black robes.

Musing....wonder what color the skirts are under Breyers, Stevens and Kennedy's robes, probably more like garter belt and stockings.

Top

6:10 AM  
Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Dr. Gleason, you will likely get cancer just from looking at the picture. It probably contributes to global warming, too.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Pastor St. John said...

Good start, Ron. I'll be looking for MORE! I was disturbed, as another commenter was, that it was only a 5/4 victory. And it didn't go far enough. In DC, you must still go to the local constable and beg for a license and registration to have a firearm in your home.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

In D.C. hundreds of kids are killing one another each year. Period.

If we believe that the Ten Commandments are more than mere suggestions, it seems that we would be a people who would try to discourage murder.

Murder is particularly hard to discourage since we are depraved people. Ron suggests that 'law abiding citizens' won't kill people. Well. Depraved people kill. Good people do stupid things. All people do stupid things. Good fathers, good mothers, good brothers and sisters find themselves filled with rage.

One gun. One bullet. One more murder.

Here is what is disturbing. Our 'conservative' justices were more concerned about being allowed the ability to have access to handguns than about kids being murdered on our streets.

While an armed society doesn't necessarily lead to more deaths, our own country has exponentially more handgun deaths each year than any other country in the world. Those deaths are not the result of people protecting themselves. They are primarily the result of intentional murder and accidents.... all by 'good' people.

When good people sin, they murder and cheat and lie. Placing handguns in our homes won't mean less sin. Only Christians redeeming culture will do this.

Supporting handguns as "God's desire for our lives" over and against finding less young bodies on our streets is appalling. Life within the kingdom of God suggests no such thing.

A new heaven and earth will not have guns tucked under our shirts and coats and car seats. IF we are to be people who live into the kingdom of God, we may find it necessary to have arms. Yet, we shouldn't be making biblical arguments that this is God's best way for his people to live.

Furthermore, it's ironic that Jesus never uses his power to protect himself. In fact, he tells Peter to put away the sword even when he will be unjustly tried and ultimately unjustly killed. Why did he not call down the wrath of the heavens?

Perhaps the life and death of Jesus is the example for us to follow.

While the Old & New Testaments both carry weight for good theology, it is necessary to give primacy to the New Testament when Jesus says such things as, "You have heard it said, but I say..."

The disciples followed Jesus to the cross. They took the gospel to the ends of the earth. They lived into the kingdom of God. They were faithful.

They also died living into the kingdom. And yet we have no accounts of them raising up armies to protect justice. We have only stories of disciples dieing as a result of injustices.

If the exegesis of Ron is correct, why do we have no N.T. nor extra-biblical accounts of the disciples taking up arms?

We have one account, when Peter pulls out his sword, and Jesus rebukes Peter.

Was Jesus simply ignoring his call to bear arms, or was Jesus claiming that the ways of the kingdom call for a different kind of ethic?

You simply can't have it both ways. You can't claim that the biblical text demands us to bear arms AND follow Jesus Christ.

We may be allowed to bear arms, but it wasn't of primacy to the disciples. If it were, we would find some sort of evidence somewhere. Let’s be faithful to the kingdom in which we live.

There is only faithfulness to the Constitution in Ron’s argument – nothing more.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Luke 22:36

He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.

Jesus recognized that even his own disciples needed to defend themselves.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Randy wrote:

"Furthermore, it's ironic that Jesus never uses his power to protect himself. In fact, he tells Peter to put away the sword even when he will be unjustly tried and ultimately unjustly killed. Why did he not call down the wrath of the heavens?"

The Gospel accounts make it clear that Jesus was protected until the foreordained time of his crucifixion from the Pharisees, brutal mobs, the Romans, and even the forces of nature itself (remember the storm on the Sea of Galilee?). That was by the power of God and not by coincidence.

Let's be glad that Christ did not prevent his crucifixion since that is the reason he came - to provide an atonement for sin that no one else could.

2:19 AM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Randy wrote:

"While an armed society doesn't necessarily lead to more deaths, our own country has exponentially more handgun deaths each year than any other country in the world. Those deaths are not the result of people protecting themselves. They are primarily the result of intentional murder and accidents...."

Not true. According to the CDC, gun accidents account for roughly 2.6% of all gun-related deaths between 1999-2005. According to the Bureau of Justice (USDOJ), suicides account for 56.5% of all gun-related deaths.

Gun-related accidents are miniscule and presumably, anyone willing to take their own life would not be stopped by a gun ban. You would be better off banning cars, anything poisonous, or even falls from high places since incidents related to those things kill more people than guns.

2:22 AM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Randy wrote:

"IF we are to be people who live into the kingdom of God, we may find it necessary to have arms. Yet, we shouldn't be making biblical arguments that this is God's best way for his people to live."

I think that all that anybody is saying is that it is necessary to have arms. It sounds like you actually agree that it is a good thing that our rights are being protected in that regard.

Show me where Ron or anyone else said or insinuated that the Bible makes an argument that it's "God's best way for his people to live". That's just more of your uncharitable and exaggerated editorializing.

2:37 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
I'm not letting you off the hook. I want an answer to my question about Ex. 20:13. What does it say in the Hebrew?
This is your usual "modus operandi." You pay little or no attention to what is said and you launch into a diatribe. Focus!
"In D.C. hundreds of kids are killing one another each year. Period." Which kids? Certainly not law abiding kids because D.C. has had a handgun ban for the longest time. Who, then, are these kids that are killing/murdering (is there a difference? Ex. 20:13 seems to say so)each other? Period.
"One gun. One bullet. One more murder." This is so ludicrous it deserves no comment. I'll repeat what I wrote: Yesterday approximately 67,000,000 gun owners killed (or is it murdered, Randy?) no one. 67 million guns. At least 67 million bullets. No one murdered.
"Here is what is disturbing. Our 'conservative' justices were more concerned about being allowed the ability to have access to handguns than about kids being murdered on our streets." Here is what is totally lost on you: 5 justices chose to uphold the Second Amendment. Why do you have a problem with that. Moreover, 5 "liberal" justices just the day before chose to remove the death penalty from child rape. This based on a 300-lb. man who raped a 8-year-old girl, but nothing from your sanctimonious lips about that. Why not?
Explain to us how Christians redeem culture, but only after you've explained the significance of Ex. 20:13.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Ron, here is a rendering of your Exodus passage that I believe is helpful. These are not my words, but I agree with them.

The classical translation of Exodus 20:13, and the one used in many versions of the Bible, reads: “Thou shalt not kill.” This rendering is most familiar, and leads many to believe that Exodus 20:13 prohibits all killing.

A clarification of this alleged discrepancy lies in a proper understanding of the Hebrew word rendered “kill” in Exodus 20:13—ratsach. It is used forty-three times in the Old Testament (Wigram, 2001, p. 1190), and often is translated as “murder.” Koehler and Baumgartner defined ratsach as “kill,” “murder,” or “slay” in the verbal forms, and as “manslayer” in the participle form. In the participle, there appears to be no difference between intentional and accidental killing (Holladay, 1988, p. 346). Brown, Driver, and Briggs defined ratsach as “murder, slay,” and noted also that the distinction between unintentional and intentional killing does not seem to be carried by this word (2001, p. 953). Domeris spoke of the use of ratsach in Exodus 20:13:

As it stands, it is a blanket prohibition against the taking of a person’s life by an individual or by a mob, who target an individual, with all the attendant savagery. In the wider context of the OT, the prohibition may be defined more narrowly as the taking of a life outside of the parameters (as in the case of war or capital punishment), laid down by God… (1997, 3:1188-1189, parenthetical item in orig.).
The lexicons give the meaning of ratsach as killing someone outside of the grounds set by God, which included warfare and executions.

However, it appears that another nuance of the word could be killing by striking a blow. In the passages concerning the cities of refuge, the definition of ratsach is narrowed to one who strikes a death blow against another person, usually motivated by feelings of anger or hatred:

But if he strikes him with an iron implement, so that he dies, he is a murderer [participle of ratsach, “one who murders”]; the murderer shall surely be put to death. And if he strikes him with a stone in the hand, buy which one could die, and he does die, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he strikes him with a wooden hand weapon, by which one could die, and he does die, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. The avenger of blood himself shall put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. If he pushes him out of hatred or, while lying in wait, hurls something at him so that he dies, or in enmity he strikes him with his hand so that he dies, the one who struck him shall surely be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him (Numbers 35:16-21, emp. added).

But if anyone hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises against him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die (Deuteronomy 19:11-12, emp. added). [NOTE: Ratsach does not appear in verses 11-12, but is used earlier in the context.]

One also may ratsach without intent or hatred:

However, if he pushes him suddenly without enmity, or throws anything at him without lying in wait, or uses a stone by which a man could die, throwing it at him without seeing him, so that he dies, while he was not his enemy or seeking his harm, then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood according to these judgments (Numbers 35:22-24).

And this is the case of the manslayer [participle of ratsach] who flees there, that he may live: whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, not having hated him in time past—as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies—he shall flee to one of these cities and live; lest the avenger of blood, while his anger is hot, pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and kill him, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated the victim in time past (Deuteronomy 19:4-6).

Therefore, it appears that the proper translation and understanding of ratsach would be: “to kill by striking or pushing, usually in malice, but sometimes unintentionally.”

10:42 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Ron - It's your blog; so you are allowed diatribes. I think my posted exegesis should answer your question regarding Exodus.

Without cutting and pasting, you are correct that not all the kids being killed are law abiding kids. Still, we have responsibilty toward them. They are our neighbors. In addition, stray bullets kill good people time after time. So, should good people forsake their neighborhoods in favor of safer places to live?

Those sort of decisions fly straight in the face of kingdom living. Making our streets safer should be paramount to our Supreme Court justices. The decision to again open the handgun capital of the world to everyone will result in more deaths. By supporting the decision of the Supreme Court, we do partake in those future deaths. These people are our neighbors regardless if they live in the kingdom or regardless of their crimes.

I have a problem with the Justices interpretation of the 2nd Commandment -- ooops -- second ammendment when it creates tension with the kingdom. I believe it often causes tension. Furthermore, it has no biblical basis other than our need to protect our families. Gernades would also be helpful for protecting my family as would a pit bill in my front yard. But, the govt. has already determined that I am not allowed gernades. Goodness - I not even allowed fireworks. What's up with that?

As for the rape case, I believe this court finally made a good decision. I'm not a liberal. I simply think that you are in trouble when capital punishment moves toward rape... and then what?

Yet, we have no problem telling mighty Exxon that raping God's earth for profit is entirely fine?

Those are not two different things. We are commanded to take care of all creation from this earth to our kids and our communities using all God redeemed means.

This leads to Christians reclaiming culture: I don't believe we can create a heaven here on earth, but. But being a reformed Christian means that I believe that Revelation is both a current reality as well as an eschatalogical realtiy yet to be fully known.

When we live as resurrection communities, we proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We set ourselves apart in such a way that people do see us as different. While we create enemies, others hear the call to partake.

Everyone is welcome to the feast. There is still room for murderers and rapists and drunk crude oil ship captains.

Forgiveness and redemption is still a realtiy that people created in the image of God desire. We can only proclaim and hope that our lives breathe kingdom life. We wait and call upon the Spirit of God to move among us and those who have yet to be called into kingdom life.

This is why I believe issues of guns are so important. We shouldn't simply proclaim our second ammendment freedoms.

We should be able to proclaim our commitment to life -- to all of life -- because we follow the Creator who has created all living things.

When our neighbors don't matter to us, when our own lives and our owns safety are always more important than those who are not 'so good,' then we fail to live into the second commandment.

I believe the character of our faith communities is central to our ability to heal a hurting and broken world.

Paul writes, "Follow me as I follow Christ." Those were daring words.

When we tout the second ammendment over the second commandment, we show our alliegences. It's that simple.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Randy wrote:
"When we tout the second ammendment over the second commandment, we show our alliegences. It's that simple."

Your emergent monologue is becoming more and more convoluted.

How again is the second amendment being elevated over commandment against worshiping idols?

Christ explicitly instructed his disciples to keep and bear arms in Luke 22:36. Clearly Christ is not opposed to keeping and bearing arms in principle. Why are you so opposed to Christ's instructions here?

Don't ignore that question, but here's another one:

If someone came into your home with an intent to harm your family, would you defend your self in accordance with Christ's counsel to his disciples or would you attempt to "redeem" him in some vague way?

1:17 PM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Randy wrote:
"As for the rape case, I believe this court finally made a good decision. I'm not a liberal. I simply think that you are in trouble when capital punishment moves toward rape... and then what?

That's the Bible's penalty for rape, why isn't it good enough for you?

Randy wrote:
"Yet, we have no problem telling mighty Exxon that raping God's earth for profit is entirely fine?"

That is the textbook fallacy of equivocation - and as if human beings made in the image of God and creation were equal things. Should I not step on the grass either Randy? By that illogic I guess I wouldn't since I wouldn't step on you.

This is a prime example of how arbitrary and subjective you are in what you choose to argue about and how you argue it. After reading statements like this it makes me wonder how you even have enough confidence in words and grammar to string together your non-sequiturs.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Pastor St. John said...

Randy, you surely realize that very many of our great heros of the faith were men at arms, who killed a lot of people: Abraham rescuing Lot, Moses and Joshua, King David, Samson, etc. etc. In Esther we read how the Jews defended themselves with arms, and killed many of their enemies. These were men of God. They worshipped Jehovah, and Jehovah was pleased with them. Self-defense is a God-given responsibility. No one need fear an upright Christian man with a gun except a criminal.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Pastor St. John,

Our heros of the O.T. were bearers of arms, but this is not the case of the N.T.

A good God-fearing man named Bush happened to be part of decisions that have killed thousands of Christians in Iraq over the past six years.

Good 'God-fearing' people still create crimes. We are all capable of crimes. The idea that guns can eradicate evil is as crazy as a 'war against terrorism.'

Theologically it makes no sense -- and especially from a reformed Calvinist. Thus, my issues with Ron's arguement.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

St. Matt j!

What if we spent time caring for our neighors rather than debating the merits of gun control?

What if a measure of a man wasn't his strength but his weakness?

What if the biblical text is actually correct. What if we found the strength of God in our weakness (do I need to proof text?) rather than in our rally cries behind the second commandment?

What if we had poured a trillion dollars into caring for our nation's own people rather than killing 100,000 Iraqis so that we could rid the world of one bad man?

What about if we really took the second commandment seriously?

And for idol worship --- either you claim Jesus Christ as Lord or you pledge your faith in our country?

"Jesus as Lord" screamed straight into the face of Ceaser who had coins printed which read "Ceasar is Lord."

3:03 PM  
Blogger Pastor St. John said...

Randy said: "The idea that guns can eradicate evil is as crazy as a 'war against terrorism.'"

Wow, Randy! You must have forgotten WW2. I'd say the guns of the free world did a whole lot of good, wouldn't you?!

When the bad guy is breaking into your home to steal, rape and murder, you will wish you had a gun.

Repeat: Self-defense is your responsibility to yourself, your family and your community. Having a gun can enable a weak 60 year old guy to defend his family against strong 20 year old punks.

As a Reformed Calvinist I agree with the Westminster Larger Catechism Question #135 "What are the duties required in the sixth commandment," which says that the "just defense against violence" is required of me by God's Law. A gun is just a tool to help me do that.

Guns in the hands of bad men are bad. Guns in the hands of good men are good.

I'm not for vigilanteism, either. Romans 13 says that the civil authority has a sword, and he does not carry it for show. On the other hand, the old saying is true: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

But my point is: Jesus said to buy a sword. God's Word also says that it is my DUTY to defend myself, my family and my neighbor to the best of my ability, and as opportunity arises.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Randy wrote:
"Our heros of the O.T. were bearers of arms, but this is not the case of the N.T. "

Wrong. The apostles were bearers of arms under Christ's instruction (Luke 22:36). Even if it were true, how does that amount to the Bible teaching an explicit doctrine of pacifism as you think it does?

3:21 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

What if you spent your time "caring for your neighbors" rather than being a nuisance on Ron's blog?

You are one of the most inane commenters I've encountered in the blogosphere. Nothing shakes your self-assurance that you are the pinnacle of Christ-following. Although you'll spout piously about how you haven't got it all wrapped up, what you're about more than anything else is making sure no one else thinks they've got it wrapped up, either. And in that sense you are the pinnacle, because you, at least, realize that nobody's got it all wrapped up.

You've got all the false humility and false piety of the Pharisees, but in a leaner, greener package.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Matt J. said...

Randy wrote:
"What if we spent time caring for our neighors rather than debating the merits of gun control?"

What if you stopped changing the subject?

Randy wrote:
"What if the biblical text is actually correct. What if we found the strength of God in our weakness (do I need to proof text?)"

That is correct but not in the way that you are attempting to use it (even proof-texting would have made your meaning more clear here). You're interpretation would have had Jesus jumping off the Temple Mount since surely his angels would come to his aid. When you ignore the wisdom of all of scripture (by picking and choosing what parts have authority in your life and what parts don't) you put the Lord to the test. In the example of the man who enters your house with the intent to harm your family, you would end up a chalk outline before you could even utter the first words of your emergent conversation.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy, I am sorry to say, is not really here for the purpose of actually engaging the subject in a logical, coherent fashion with a total absence of non sequiturs. He's here to spew at Ron, because for some reason Ron rankles Randy. Alliteration intended.

And spew he does. If the day ever comes when he actually does engage in straight on fashion instead of his sidewinder, helter-skelter, near stream-of-consciousness manner of communicating, I'll be totally shocked.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Would you explain to us why the ESV, NIV, NASB, and NKJV all chose "murder" instead of "kill" for Ex. 20:13? Do you know something those translators don't know?
Moreover, explain to us your plan to stop the gangs from murdering each other? Do we talk to them? Negotiate? I'm certain law enforcement would be very interested in talking to you about your plan. You do have a rather detailed plan to resolve this problem don't you?

5:49 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

IF we are capable of creating democracy in Babylon, then we should be capable of containing gang violence?

There is no real will because these people lack power. They are poor and the 'least of these' within our society. Thus, we don't really care. Plus, we're scared.

If you don't believe that our churches, our local leaders, our federal govt., and our military are capable of doing something about gang violence, we have no chance of winning a 'war on terrorism.'

Furthermore, I do get rankled by Ron because he continues to use the biblical text as a means of supporting all things that belong to conservative America rather than supporting things that belong to the kingdom.

The biblical text wasn't written to support our lifestyle. Jesus spoke of a different kind of kingdom.

Why have we come to believe that the ways of God and the ways of conservative (& liberal) America are not in agreement?

6:29 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Stop stalling and answer my question about the translation of murder. I'm really weary of your tactics. Answer the question.
Would you have us believe that you don't have an ideology? Would you have us believe that you're a purist, unaffected by things in life? If that's the case, why in the world are you a Democrat?
How would you suggest going about getting the gangs to love one another and put down their weapons? How did we get Hitler to do that? Did we negotiate?
You might not like my use of Scripture, but you do like McLaren's, Yoder's, and Wallis'. You might not like my use of Scripture but I like mine a lot better than I like yours, which is virtually non-existent.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Ronald,

The hebrew word used in Exodus generally refers to 'murder' but it can also refer to such things as manslaughter.

Regardless, I am pro-life. I am not only anti-abortion. I believe all of life needs to be protected. We should protect unborn babies, embryos, old people, good people, bad people, people who follow Jesus, and people who do not follow Jesus.

Your theology supports your views of a conservative America as God's best plan for our planet. I know you have not said such a thing, but your theology rarely contradicts conservative America.

I'm glad you like your theology though. :) I simply believe our public witness demands something different than trying to make a biblical case for gun posession.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

Did you ever stop to think that many of what you call "conservative" principles have their roots in Judeo-Christian ethics derived from Scripture? Chew on that one a while.

I (nor Ron for that matter) have ever said that GOP stands for "God's Own Party." I have several disagreements with Republicans these days, largely because they've abandoned these principles in favor of numbers and political expediency.

My "conservatism," as you call it, is not based on party allegiance. I could just as easily say left-wing politics has distorted your view of everything, including biblical interpretation. Conservatives can line their view of Scripture up against a liberal view of Scripture and win every time, because we happen to have facts, history, biblical history and hermeneutics to back it up.

I think you've now gone way beyond digging a hole and getting your tires stuck in it. You're buried down to the engine block now and taking on ground water.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
You still have not explained why the scholars of 4 major translations used "murder" instead of "kill." Your silliness might work with your pomo liberal friends, but it doesn't cut it here. We want valid reasons. Why did virtually everyone in the Reformed tradition--that you claim to uphold--translate "murder" instead of "kill" for Ex. 20:13?

"Regardless, I am pro-life. I am not only anti-abortion. I believe all of life needs to be protected. We should protect unborn babies, embryos, old people, good people, bad people, people who follow Jesus, and people who do not follow Jesus." This is one of the dumbest statements I've read in a while. If you are anti-abortion, why do you choose to vote for the party of death: the Democrats? They are the staunchest defenders of the sacred calf of abortion on demand. Doesn't it protect people if you execute convicted murderer? After all, Randy, these murderers have usually savagely and brutally taken the life of someone created in the image of God, or does that even matter to you? Didn't God say that when that happened their life was to be taken as well (cf. Gen. 9:6).

"Your theology supports your views of a conservative America as God's best plan for our planet. I know you have not said such a thing, but your theology rarely contradicts conservative America." Wrong Randy. I believe we should aid and abet our enemies, just like God told the Israelites to do. I think we ought to encourage same-sex marriages, just like God said in the Bible. Somewhere in Scripture--there's a justification in Koehler somewhere--God tells us that abortion on demand is legit--at least some obscure lexicons provide that translation, which is helpful when you're grasping for straws. I've torn Ex. 22:2 out of my Bible because a non-follower of Jesus might break into my home and rape and kill my wife and children, but I just need to call 9-1-1 and pray. Oh, and if a 200-lb. man rapes my 4-year-old daughter I certainly wouldn't want the death penalty for him even though the Bible says that's proper. I guess God was just having a bad day.

You and your pomo friends may believe your drivel, but for reasonable Christians your statements are ridiculous. Oh, btw, Randy, your theology fits with what you envision for America too, raising the taxes of the rich and all. Stop with the pompous, pietistic nonsense.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

You are right Ron. I get the impression that you believe that you are always right.

My grandmother usually read from the Psalms and Proverbs around the dinner table after the nightly family meal.

I believe a huge lack of humility is exactly why neo-conservative Calvinists find emergent people so hard to take. Because being right is on the top of the priority list.

Yet, being right wasn't really on Jesus radar. Being faithful is where I will plant my tree.

As for the democrats being a party of death, I don't agree with abortion. Neither do I agree with the 100,000 people killed by our nation during the Bush years... nor do I believe medical care should be reserved for the wealthy... nor do I believe we should give up on the inner cities struggling with gang violence.

I believe we need to care for the least of these. I believe we should take the life and example of Jesus Christ seriously. I believe the poor really matter to God, and I believe my tax dollars can be used in good ways.

If you don't like taxes, leave our country please. We've spent a trillion dollars fighting your two wars. We'll be paying for these wars for a century.

AND -- raising taxes on the wealthy will cost me a lot of money. I don't believe that my money belongs to me. It's just money, and it fully belongs to God.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy: I believe a huge lack of humility is exactly why neo-conservative Calvinists find emergent people so hard to take. Because being right is on the top of the priority list.

This statement alone demonstrates that you really don't get it at all, or don't want to get it. First, you falsely charge a lack of humility because preachers and teachers of God's Word choose to teach with authority and certainty. And not blindly.

Second, you disdain the notion of "being right," as if the desire to be right was somehow one and the same with pride and arrogance. All of us who claim to love the Lord should desire to "be right" with all of our hearts. Not to win an argument or to put someone else down, but to be in agreement with the Lord Himself as revealed in His Word.

It seems to me that the ones yelling the loudest about humility these days actually have some of the rankest pride out there. The Emergent Church drips with it.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

I believe a huge lack of humility is exactly why neo-conservative Calvinists find emergent people so hard to take. Because being right is on the top of the priority list.

What makes "emergent people" hard to take is that they do nothing but spout the same liberal trash over and over again, the same warmed over fecal matter that infested the church at the turn of the 20th Century in the Social Gospel, and they refuse to engage in any discussion where they don't make sure to set themselves up as the better "followers of Jesus" because they are humble enough to know that they aren't always right, unlike us nasty theological & political conservatives.

All we want is for you to take ALL of Scripture seriously. But all you ever do is deliver platitudes about God and the poor. Why don't you take your own words seriously, ignore Ron's blog, and spend your time helping the poor & encouraging socialism & pacifism?

You're a nuisance, Randy.

10:35 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Hey Randy,

Sounds like you would be perfectly happy here in Canada. Lots of taxes, social medicine (of course if you want prompt care for your cancer, you'll have to go to the States), and so much tolerance that when you read your Bible on the bus, you get verbally ridiculed by those around you. In fact we had a gay pride parade here in Toronto this past Sunday that completely flaunts a lifestyle that is abhorrent to God. However, you should not say that is wrong. In fact, if children's aid finds out that you teach your children that is wrong, watch out...

You're thinking of a utopia that cannot and will not exist because of man's sinful nature. Man's best only thinks about man. God's best thinks about God and it's found in His revelation in the Bible. Nothing wrong with pointing out truth from that book.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

icedawg,

Man's best thinks of things close to God. The Apostle Paul stated that he was filled with the Spirit of God. Moreover, he called his followers to follow him as he followed Christ.

And maybe Canada does have a few things in order... like a budget that is more balanced and health care and better schools and starting less wars.

Taxes --- shut up about paying taxes. We all get plenty for the price. Freedom does have a price -- taxes. So, deal with it. And stop thinking that your money belongs to you. It doesn't.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

A 'right' way of following Jesus doesn't mean that you have the only thing... You are living among one people group at one time and one place in all of human history.

There are so many issues more important to other followers of Jesus around the world than things that matter to US Christians in 2008.

This doens't make our concerns un-right. It only means that our concerns are important to the here and now. They are not issues in Africa nor should they be.

Humility doesnt' mean that you can't hold truth. It means that you hold it knowing that there may be much more to truth than the fullness which you know.

You simply don't know it all, and emergent types are quite sure of that one.

So, unless you have seen the face of God -- perhaps you should shut up about knowing the fullness of God. Perhaps none of us know the entire mind of God nor should we act as if we do.

Younger generations in America are looking at Christians such as Calvinists, and saying -- how the hell do they think they know everything?

Those generations are also walking out of churches as we continue to spout that we know all things...

We may know a lot about God, but why do we insist that we are beyond knowing learning more? Why do we care more about being right than about those on the margins?

Perhaps we just want to be safe?

1:02 PM  
Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Ah, the ultimate liberal rebuttal: Shut up! You're not allowed to say that!

Our money doesn't belong to us, but we are the appointed stewards -- not other men, and not the government. Therefore, as it applies to human relationships, it is quite proper to speak of it as ours. You know what we mean, so don't equivocate (that means, don't change the intended meaning of words mid-conversation -- in other words, don't play juvenile word games). You go ahead and spend your money as your conscience dictates, and I'll do the same. I won't try to spend the money God has given you -- I promise. However, since you're so fond of having others make those decisions for you, feel free to send me any extra cash you've got laying around. You trust politicians with it, so I see no reason why you shouldn't trust me.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

Once again, nothing you said has anything at all to do with the issue at hand. None of it. Ron's post dealt with a specific subject with specific supporting material, and here you are going on and on about Africa and Canadian socialized medicine. Are you taking Quaaludes? Are you even really reading what is written here? Talk about disassociation.

By the way, no one claims omniscience. Another response yet again and again to another canard that keeps being thrown up by Emergents again and again. It's an idiotic charge. It's a false charge. Please stop it.

For your information, however, we do know what God has revealed, and have a responsibility to know -- and act -- on what He has revealed. Your problem is that you don't like a significant portion of what He has revealed because it doesn't jive with your desired worldview.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

One more request. Please stop swearing.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

We may know a lot about God, but why do we insist that we are beyond knowing learning more? Why do we care more about being right than about those on the margins?

Why do you care more about snarking away on Ron's blog than about getting your hands dirty actually doing what you say everyone should be doing? Do everyone a favor: Shut down that computer & take some soup to the poor.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
I agree with what the others said. As usual, you are down a 100 rabbit trails.
I also agree that the foul language needs to cease NOW. No one thinks you're mature or cool when you use profanity.
Finally, Collin Hansen has written a very interesting book entitled "Young, Restless, Reformed" (Crossway, 2008). Tolle lege.

3:46 PM  
Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Great suggestion, Ron. In fact, I have a spare copy I would gladly share, pro bono, if Randy wants it. All I need is an address.

See, I give freely, independent of government programs.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

You know Ron. You should do some historical study on 'bad words' in the English language.

'Watch your mouth' -- You've got to be kidding that 'shut up' offensive to God? I would think that calling federal judges 'stupid' would qualify more quickly.

Thanks for the offer on the book, but I suspect that I would read it with the wrong attitude and miss most everything good... just as you do with most of my friends.

6:42 PM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Hi Randy,

I would agree with you that it is good for a government to have a balanced budget. No arguments there. They do other things well too. However, the Michael Moore view of the Canadian health care system is not accurate. It is no joke that Canadians who want immediate care regularly travel to the States to get their health care. That is because it is illegal to have private clinics here. If you want immediate care, you have to go State-side.

Canada's public schools teach all sorts of anti-christian moral and intellectual propaganda, so I'm not sure they're that great either. Academically they teach irresponsibility with teachers forbidden to deduct any marks for assignments handed in late. You hear children saying stuff like "Most Canadians cannot be trusted to manage their own money. The government needs to do that for them." You need to stop believing the "goodness" of social engineering.

Shut up about taxes? Wow, that's convincing (and unnecessary). I have never said that my money belongs to me. You keep saying that, and I keep re-iterating the opposite. I thank God each day for what he provides. I trust I hold it with an open hand. However, I do know that God has given it to me to take care of. When my government wants to use it for all sorts of immoral programs (abortion, just to mention one) I think I'm responsible before God to want those programs stopped. The way to stop them is by cutting out the taxes that are raised to support them.

Man's best is always away from God. Scripturally that is pretty clear (Romans 3:9-10). Once we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are able to serve him. Before then, it is only about man and as far away from God as we can get. Your failure to recognize this truth has been the subject of previous interaction.

One last note. Did you know that Canada wants to give the pioneer of abortion the Order of Canada. The Canadian government may have gotten the balanced budget right, but their heroes are people who make the murder of millions a reality. The country is morally bankrupt.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Randy,

Just how does one read heretical books with the "right" attitude?

Just asking.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Thanks for the tip about word studies. While you find calling (liberal) federal judges "stupid" offensive, stupid is precisely the word that Scripture uses at least 12 times in the OT to describe those who do not know how to act in a morally upright fashion (see Job 11:12; 18:3; Ps. 49:10; 92:6; Prov. 12:1; 30:2; Isa. 19:11; Jer. 4:22; 10:8, 14, 21; 51:17).
If you are referring to the recent decision by the federal judges no longer to treat child rape as punishable by death, then, yes, the five that voted in favor of letting some thug go who did that are stupid--biblically and otherwise.
Once again, however, you have managed totally to miss the point and go off on some tangent.
It's not true that I don't have anything nice to say about those at whose feet you blindly grovel. For example, McLaren's latest book has a nice cover.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

It's amazing how one fox in the coop --- o.k., it is a bad analogy --- creates so much havoc.

It's been fun for a while; it makes be think. It reassures me that I am following the living God. Perhaps the same is true for all of u too...

But enough for now... enjoy hanging together as I do the same with Doug & Tony & Mark when they come to town next month.

Later.

2:07 PM  
Blogger sister said...

Dr Gleason,

I've just finished reading your posts from the last couple of weeks and I'm intrigued by the discussion. Since the issues you've been addressing are separate but correlated, and though I find myself in varying degrees of agreement, I'm going to try to keep my comments and questions brief and in the most recent thread.

1) I'm entirely convinced on the issue of gun ownership and the necessity of defending the individual's right to keep and bear arms. However, I'm not so sure that your position on acceptable use of weapons has been proven by your argument, or by the biblical evidence presented. I'm reserving judgement, and I'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment (I'm not patronizing... I'm sincerely looking for guidance on this one.)

2) A question on capital punishment: If we sanction the death penalty, and an innocent person is put to death for a crime he hasn't committed, are we complicit in his murder? (again, I don't have an answer for this one, and I'm looking for insight)

1:41 AM  
Blogger Solameanie said...

Sister,

True, it was icedawg that brought up socialized medicine. You are correct. However, there is more history to my irritation with Randy than this particular post alone. You'd have to be familiar with that history to understand it. The best way I can sum it up is that, in general, talking with him is like trying to nail jello to the wall. He is indeed a true postmodern.

As for Kyle, he might well have taken his shot at Randy, but the same question can be asked of Randy. Why does he post here other than to needle Ron?

At least you contribute to the discussion with some substance. I can't say that for Randy.

7:56 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Hi sister,

Absolutely "mea culpa" (is that the right spelling?) on the diversion in the Canadian medicine. Your chastisement is well deserved. In my own feeble defense, the point I was trying to make was nothing more than that no system is perfect. I know all about paying for healthcare in the States, since I'm about to go that route. I don't mind doing it because I don't see why someone else should pay for mine. Before you get all exercised, just know that I'm aware that exceptions do occur and that some folks truly need help here. Suffice it to say that I left out lots of positive things that happen in Canadian medicine. Your point is acknowledged.

As for my non-attendance of a public school, does that rule out knowing anything about them? My brother-in-law went to a public school and I know what he learned and I watched how it changed the way he thought. The information about not being allowed to deduct marks for late assignments was given to me by a friend of mine who is a public school teacher. I couldn't believe it, but I confirmed it with a friend of mine who is a principal at a public school. Now I'm not sure about all the differences and similarities between public school and TDCH (because I never went to public school), but I think those are some pretty reliable sources no? I feel confident it is not a misrepresentation anyway.

My apologies if my statement of the country being morally corrupt are too broad. Of course I don't mean that every single person in Canada is morally bankrupt. I do mean that the folks who hold the steering wheel, in most cases, are.

Glad to see you back from your medical engagements. I pray your health is good or at least improving.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Sister,
No, we are not complicit if we have followed the biblical injunctions. God set the death penalty for a number of crimes and abominations. In Deut. 17:8-13 we are given an outline as to how cases are to be adjudicated. These guidelines do not require infallibility, but rather careful study. The verdict is then handed down.
The "innocent party" argument is used often, but in our day and age of DNA the error factor is quite small. Rather than wringing our hands about innocent parties, why don't we execute the ones on death row that we know are murderers?
Finally, since you claim to know me so well, it seems that you really don't know me much at all. I have not forgotten my requirement of you to be on this blog. I'll give you until Monday to email me and then everything you've written comes down. It's really a simple request and it is non-negotiable.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
If you happen to drop back by after hanging out with your emergent friends please note that in both your foul language and sarcasm you failed to interact at anything that resembled a biblically mature fashion. This is not surprising, of course, since it is your usual way of operating. When you cannot answer the questions, you leave in a huff. For a seminary graduate, you are one of the most childish, hypocritical, and uninformed people I've met in a long time.

11:17 AM  
Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

The "innocent party" argument against capital punishment does concern me; I hate to think of an innocent individual being punished in any way. However, is that possibility an excuse to overrule God's institution?

As I always ask objectors, have you thought of something that God overlooked when he instituted the death penalty? Is it more difficult to collect, examine, and analyse evidence now than it was then? As Ron implied, it's really much easier to avoid errors now.

When God has given us a responsibility, it is not adequate or acceptable to back away and say, "No, that's too difficult."

If God has commanded capital punishment, it certainly is possible to carry out properly, and it is absolutely not optional. If you want to do away with the death penalty, you will have to show that it is not God's command, not that it is too difficult to administer rightly.

11:46 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Hi all,

I know this is still off topic, but I'd like to make a comment in my own defense on my views of the Canadian Health Care system. I'm referring to a July 5 story in The Toronto Star where an Ontario resident lost his court case with OHIP. He was forced to go to the UK to get a liver transplant required by his cancer. It seems that the Canadian medical system, in its wisdom, deemed this man to far gone to warrant such an operation. He instead sought help at a private clinic in the UK, racking up bills of $450,000 from his own pocket, and has been cancer free for the last 8 years. OHIP refuses to this day to pay the bill. Now he and his wife, both retired teachers, are paying off their debt with their pensions. Again, knowing that good things do happen in Canada, this is not reflective of the utopia Michael Moore, Sister and Randy think of socialized medicine.

One more thing, in the last few years OHIP delisted optometric and chiropractic care for adults. During the same time they added sex-change operations as part of their coverage. Great system. Very neutral and not at all morally bankrupt.

I'm racking my brain for some neat segue into gun control. No luck.

11:05 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Hi Sister,

Thanks for your response to my off-topic post. Our readings of the article definitely differ. People can read it for themselves here.

The article states "The advanced nature of the disease also meant he didn't qualify for a transplant in Ontario." That, combined with the fact that his brother was the donor does not make availability of the organ an issue at all. OHIP rejected this man's procedure because of a diagnosis and gave the man at best 8 months to live (that was in 1999). The reason I bring it up is to counter your assertion that I "fail to mention that most of the people who are going to the states for prompt care have their bills paid by their provincial health care plans." That article makes it clear that is not necessarily so.

Anyway, I don't want to get lost on this point as I don't think it is central to what I was trying to point out to Randy. I personally have never had difficulty is having my health-care covered here in Canada. My point is simply that it is not always wine and roses here either.

I think the big-government model does not work and is not the utopia people, like yourself, Randy or Michael Moore, claim it to be. That is not because I am averse to paying taxes perse (although I don't really enjoy it). The issue for me becomes more one of decision making. Now I have a group of people using my tax dollars to fund sex change operations and abortions, and there is nothing I can do in the immediate to stop it. That is where my dislike of the "big government" game starts.

As for your statements about US Healthcare, you should be careful about that 47 million number. I quote from John Stossel of ABC "...the 45 million figure is misleading. Thirty-seven percent of that group live in households making more than $50,000 a year, says the U.S. Census Bureau. Nineteen percent are in households making more than $75,000 a year; 20 percent are not citizens, and 33 percent are eligible for existing government programs but are not enrolled." If I'm not mistaken the group of illegal aliens living in the States is also included in that number. I don't have a source for that, but I think I remember reading that. Like you always encourage me to do (which I sincerely appreciate), make sure you report all the facts in your numbers...

Having said that, I'm not trying to say the US health care system is great. What I do like is that I have control over making sure that no part of my money is used to pay for someone else's murder or immorality.

As for the typing on the Blackberry, I'm impressed. I don't think I would have the patience to write as much and as well as you do on that little keypad. I think I would resort to monosyllabic, point form postings... Chin up, and all that.

Geoff

5:34 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Hey Sister,

Like I said, I'll grant the case in the article is the exception and I know you don't think Canadian health care is the Utopia. I don't know about specific costs for for different treatments in the States, but I know for a fact (from checking quotes for my own family) that folks who make over $50,000 can easily afford some kind of health care coverage.

Perhaps they decide they don't want any. However, the choice is rarely "healthcare or eating". I think you should also acknowledge that as an exception. A broken arm may cost $15,000 to set, but a monthly insurance premium costs much less and is, in general, affordable for most Americans, especially for those making more than $50,000. I know because I have gathered quotes and for my rather extensive family it is affordable (not cheap), even with one income only.

It may mean folks need to give up some of their expensive habits/activities, but in many cases it is a matter of their own choice. At least in that kind of environment you have some open market freedom as to where you want your dollars to go. In that sense, I think the American system in better. You still are not addressing the real thrust of what I'm getting at. I am perfectly willing to pay my own way for health care if that means that abortions stop being funded with my tax dollar. Are you? Would you not rather pay a little bit more (if in fact that is the case) to secure the lives of so many?

As for The Star being my source, I was amused myself. I do try to keep abreast of a variety of positions, but mostly I found the article because The Star keeps getting dropped on my driveway every Saturday morning for free. Otherwise I would likely not read it. However much I might end up wanting to vote for Jack Layton after reading the Star, I can't. I'm not permitted to vote in this fine country as I'm not a citizen. Long live the NDP!

I notice and acknowledge your repeated statement that Canada is no utopia. Let me re-iterate now that I don't think the US is necessarily the cat's meow when it comes to providing health care. I do prefer having the choice to decide what kinds of programs my health care dollars will support. The moral compromises that Canadians are faced with in their publicly funded health care far outweigh the benefits of being able to walk into your emergency room to have your broken arm set "for free".

9:23 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Hey Sister,

The FBI file is rife with inaccuracies ;-) I have never held Dutch or Canadian citizenship. I agree that your choice at the ballot box is of utmost importance.

At the same time, as long as the money is being dispensed by me for health care is in my account it still is my choice. I'm glad the governments of those states have taken that stand about abortion and insurance, but even if they had not, I would still be able to refuse to participate in any program that would make abortion or immorality easy/possible.

10:43 AM  
Blogger sister said...

Well, snake...

I guess you changed your mind about "hammering a few things out by email" (like you said we needed to do) because I provided an email address and I haven't heard a peep from you.

Put together with the fact that you deleted my questions instead of answering them, I'm left to assume that it's because you don't know how to answer them. I guess because you can't twist the scripture to support your political agenda in this case anymore? I mean, one day you're talking about stupid judges with IQs in single digits, and the next you're saying that they should be responsible for deciding capital cases without question. Well, which one is it?

If you want to make people believe that you're not extenuating scripture to support your argument, you should try to remember which interpretaion you endorsed yesterday...

Your hypocrisy, truly, knows no bounds.

12:31 PM  

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