Christianity: Doctrine and Ethics

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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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Christians and Poverty

Being Biblically Wise When It comes to Poverty

Christians rightly want to be caring people. They are aware that the Word of God speaks in many places about God’s love for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. We are not to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the weight of true poverty under which some languish. God calls us to be compassionate and not to withhold true help and aid when it is within our power to give it.

For the longest time, it has been believed that those who are either Presbyterian or Reformed are so busy arguing the finer points of theology that they have little or no time for those who are in need. It is believed that these folks only have time for philosophical and theological hairsplitting and care little, if anything, about the destitute. For those jaded folks—and the not-so-jaded as well—I want to direct your attention to a web site that Dr. E. Calvin Beisner began ( that is doing something very practical about the poor and the environment. You will want to go to this site and take your time looking at the resources that are there. I urge you to sign up as well. This is a very worthwhile and long overdue endeavor.

I’m thrilled to see that efforts are being put forward to provide biblical answers and solutions to the ethical situations surrounding the poor and the environment. Dr. Beisner has already provided us with an excellent book that is a very worthwhile read: Prosperity and Poverty.[1] Beisner offers sound biblical exegesis for his positions, which is a breath of fresh air if you’ve endured the tendentious eisegesis of Jim “The Prophet Amos Despised Dick Cheney” Wallis or Brian “Never Met a Text I Didn’t Like to Distort” McLaren. Both of these men are tedious to a fault and pretend they have no agenda when in reality they both are about as far left as you can get.

Both of them tell us that they care about the poor and poverty. McLaren devotes quite a bit of ink to these issues in his book,[2] as does Wallis.[3] What neither McLaren nor Wallis take the time to do is to describe carefully what poverty actually is. Why is that necessary? You might ask. Don’t we all know what poverty is and what is looks like? In some of the extreme cases, yes we do, but we also suffer from the stereotype of certain images that are etched in our minds and we superimpose those images onto what we perceive to be reality. Therefore, I’ve decided to aid us in our quest to approximate more accurately what poverty is by providing us with some facts to go along with our stereotypic thinking.

These images that we carry around with us are bolstered by the media with their advertisements and 15-second video clips, not to mention the way our illustrious politicians throw the word “poverty” or its synonyms around. Do you recall that then Vice-President for the Democrat Party, John Edwards, reminded us that there are two Americas? He declared that there is one America that does the work and another America that reaps the reward. Then Democrat Party presidential hopeful, John “Reporting for Duty” Kerry unequivocally stated that George Bush’s failed economic plan gave us another year of lower incomes and higher poverty rates. Is that true? Many didn’t pause long enough to answer that question, but it really is one that demands an answer if we are to deal with truth and not merely truth claims.

The media wants to give the impression that the poor in our country suffer in worse than Dickensian destitution. One “info babe” for CBS Evening News, Cynthia Bowers, reported in 2003 that each year an estimated 30 million Americans go hungry. 60 Minutes reporter, Scott Pelley, said that one out of six children in America—and that works out to about 12 million—faces hunger. These numbers are staggering, if they are true, but even if they’re inflated, that does not minimize our need as Christians to care for the poor. But in our compassion, we must not throw reason and caution to the wind. We should be prepared to dig a little deeper to insure that these numbers correspond with reality.

We know, for example, that the major health problem in a number of Third World countries is malnutrition. And even though the U.S. has thrown millions upon millions of dollars into international health care and food for the hungry, the problem perpetuates itself for a variety of reasons. How does this relate to America? It is a study in contrasts. The primary medical problem in poor foreign countries does not mean that we have the same problem on our shores. In fact, the major health problem in America is not malnutrition, but—ironically—obesity. In the words of Ben Stein, “Never before have so many people who can’t afford enough to eat been so overweight.”[4]

So what are the “stats” on poverty in our country? We all know that they vary from reporting bureau to reporting bureau, but according to the Department of Agriculture (2002) a whopping 97% of our citizens live in families that reported they had “enough to eat.” Here’s the shocker: “half of one percent said that they ‘often’ didn’t have enough to eat due to lack of funds.”[5] Half of one percent!

This type of factual data provided a lot of grist for the mill when, in 2004, Robert Rector and Kirk Johnson wrote their article “Understanding Poverty in America.” Their opening sentence is enlightening: “If poverty means lacking nutritious food, adequate warm housing, and clothing for a family, relatively few of the 35 million people identified as being ‘in poverty’ by the Census Bureau could be characterized as poor.”[6] They immediately added, “While material hardship does exist in the United States, it is quite restricted in scope and severity.”[7]

Quite concretely and specifically, this means that most of us have a distorted view of what truly constitutes poverty in America. Or, “The average ‘poor’ person, as defined by the government, has a living standard far higher than the public imagines.”[8] Ah, the government! Always there to lend a helping hand—at a cost, tax, or fee, of course. Here are just a few of Rector’s and Johnson’s findings about the poor in America. First, 46% of all poor households actually own their own homes.[9] Given our current housing crisis, that number might be somewhat lower now, but still a percentage in the high 30s or low 40s ought to surprise us.

Second, 76% of poor households have air conditioning.[10] When I was growing up only around 30% of the more opulent households had air conditioning, but now 76% of those considered poor have it.

Third, only 6% of poor households are overcrowded. More than 66% have more than two rooms per person.[11]

Fourth, the typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe and the rest of the world.[12]

Fifth, almost 75% of poor households in America own a car; 30% own two or more cars.[13]

Sixth, 97% of poor households have a color TV; over 50% own two or more color TVs.[14]

Seventh, 78% of poor Americans own a VCR or DVD player; 62% have cable or satellite reception.

Finally, 73% own microwaves, more than 50% have some kind of stereo or iPod, and 33% have automatic dishwashers.[15]

I would add to this list: the Lord only knows how many poor Americans have a cell phone, X-box, smoke, drink, and eat out in restaurants regularly.

The authors summarize their findings in this way:

Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs. While this individual’s life is not opulent, it is equally far from the popular images of dire poverty conveyed by the press, liberal activists, and politicians.[16]

Thanks to Medicaid, poor Americans receive free (it’s really not “free,” but that’s what we’ve accepted calling it) medical care. And what they receive is not the bare bones (no pun intended), cheap-o stuff either. Medicaid covers “biofeedback, impotence treatment, sex-change operations, computerized tomography,[17] and even obesity treatment.”[18] Take the time to go to Medicaid web site and you can find a list of all the goodies covered (Go to “Medicaid Coverage—What’s New.”) Some of these procedures cost quite a bit of money, but are available for recipients.

Add to this growing list the fact that the “poor” currently receive free (it really isn’t…well, you know) elementary and high school education. After that, there are still abundant opportunities provided by the state. For example, in the 2000-2001 school year, $3.5 billion in “need-based” scholarships were granted by state universities.

The upshot of this is that poverty really isn’t what it used to be, but that does not negate the fact that Christians should be engaged in aiding those who are truly poor. We simply need to designate those who qualify and then not merely throw money at their problems, but come alongside them and present the Good News of Jesus Christ to them. The government has thrown money at poverty—real and perceived—for decades and there has been no improvement. For our purposes, I want to focus only on domestic poverty and leave the international scene out of the discussion for the time being.

Certain areas can easily pinpoint a number of poor folks who need our assistance, but other areas will have a little more difficulty. For instance, my home church is located in Orange County, California, which is an affluent area of our country. You see the odd homeless person at the end of a freeway off ramp, but we do not often encounter those types of people face to face, but it does happen. Therefore, our task is a bit more complex, but with the help of the city and county, we can find families who are in need. Another possibility for those living near military installations is to help low-income non-commissioned officer families. I’m not certain what the pay is for a Private First Class, but if he’s married and has a family, he is probably struggling to make ends meet. A local church could be of immense help to such a family.

What should this help look like? Maybe it would be easier to say what it would not look like. For the longest time, many congregations have sufficed with handing out food boxes and bags, which certainly has its place. What has been missing often is having the recipient perform some tasks around the church in order to earn the food. This would be easy to put into practice. The Elders and Deacons could set certain standards in terms of hours worked for food given. If we “give,” say, twenty-five dollars worth of food to the poor is it unreasonable to expect them to perform vacuuming and cleaning tasks to receive it? Is it unreasonable to expect for them to sit through a presentation of the gospel and an invitation for them to come back and worship?

In our next installment, we will take a look at the Consumer Price Index, by which the poverty rate in our country is calculated annually. There are a number of sound economists who believe that the CPI overstates inflation by about one percentage point per year! Think of the overall effects this would have in the long run; say, over a period of thirty years. Improper adjustment means artificially categorizing people as “poor,” who aren’t. In addition, we will want to investigate poverty as a temporary condition for many and an intractable problem for only about 1-4% of Americans.

[1] E. Calvin Beisner, Prosperity and Poverty, The Compassionate use of Resources in a World of Scarcity, (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2001).

[2] See, for example, “Capitalism as God,” “Obligations to Nonexistent Future People,” & “Collaboration for Co-liberation” in his latest book, Everything Must Change.

[3] See Part IV (When Did Jesus Become Pro-Rich? [pp. 209-296]) in God’s Politics.

[4] Ben Stein & Phil DeMuth, Can America Survive? (Carlsbad, CA: New Beginnings Press, 2004), p. 3.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Robert E. Rector & Kirk A. Johnson, “Understanding Poverty in America,” in Executive Summary Backgrounder (Heritage Foundation), no. 1713, (January 5, 2004), p. 1.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid. The authors add, “These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.”

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] This is a method of radiography displaying details in a selected plane within the body—RG.

[18] Stein, CAS, 5.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Saving the Planet One Left Wing Position at a Time (XIV)

Jesus, Polar Bears, & a Revolution of Worn-Out Liberalism

It’s been a while (May of this year to be exact) since we’ve had anything to say about old Bri and his merry band of emergents, but it’s time we got back to the left-wing, unbiblical views that characterize and typify most of his writings. I’m really not trying to pick on him because for those who follow this silly movement we all know that there are others in the mix like Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Rob Bell, Tony Campolo, and Leonard Sweet. In the background lurk Karl Barth, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jürgen Moltmann, Gustavo Gutierrez and Liberation Theology (which, by the way, isn’t), John Franke, and Scot McKnight, just to mention a few.

As a member of the Presbyterian Church in America I wonder why we have not spoken out and condemned this movement as aberrant and as striking at the vitals of the Christian faith. The truth is—and it’s a sad commentary—a PCA magazine that I hope and pray is defunct by now, byFaith, only had favorable articles on the Emergent church movement. Why? One can only wonder. It’s probably the same type of thinking that only publishes the views of those pastors in favor of illegal immigration. I’ve read two quite outspoken pieces on why illegal immigration is an excellent opportunity for us to witness to them, although we would probably be hard pressed to find a PCA pastor that has witnessed to a MS-13 gang member.

It’s precisely this type of leniency that now has three members of the Bologna family dead in San Francisco at the hands of a MS-13 thug, who is barely in his twenties. Why are they dead? Mr. Ramos shot and killed them as they were on their way home from a family picnic because they didn’t move their car out of the way fast enough. Mr. Ramos was in a hurry and Mr. Bologna was too slow in backing his car up, so Mr. Ramos murdered him and his two sons. But, I’m just being too hard on Mr. Ramos, I’m sure. Illegal immigration is really good for America, just ask Mr. Obama who wants to give them universal health care.

But back to Bri and the boys (and some very influential professional women—no, we’re not talking street walkers here) and their desire to save the planet. Their concern is overwhelming, especially given the fact that they’ve spent most of their ink and energy explaining that we really cannot know much of anything—if anything—for certain. Oddly, whenever these folks get ready to summarize their positions, they are in the possession of extraordinary quantities of certitude.

While eschewing propositional truth in the Bible, whenever they defend their positions, it suddenly appears on the radar. Follow us! This is the right way! Excuse me. Can this really be coming from those who have argued extensively that we’re all just on a journey that excludes certainty? Yep. It’s the same crowd. In case you’re confused, it’s called hypocrisy.

In his latest unscriptural thriller, Everything Must Change, ole Bri asks this key ethical question: Why is Jesus important?[1] Many non-thoughtful people like you and me who drink beer and eat nachos, don’t wear Birkenstocks, and don’t drink fashionable pumpkin seed lattes constitute what generous Bri snidely calls “the conventional view.” Our standard, pat, talking points-esque answer is: “Jesus came to solve the problem of ‘original sin,’ meaning that he helps qualified individuals not to be sent to hell for their sin or imperfection. In a sense, Jesus saves these people from God, or more specifically, from the righteous wrath of God, which sinful human beings deserve because they have not perfectly fulfilled God’s just expectations, expressed in God’s moral laws.”[2]

Now I want to pose these serious questions to Christians; those within the Emergent church movement camp and the rest of us conventional bigots: How can you take this man seriously? How can you not question why he places the words “original sin” in quotation marks? How can you excuse an admitted lousy theologian like McLaren when he says that Jesus saves people from God? How can you find that, in any sense, acceptable? That’s not even remotely funny or cute—in any sense. In short, my question to all Christians, the PCA, and byFaith is how can you find any of this amusing? Competent? Thought provoking? Theologically correct? God honoring? God glorifying? It is sheer drivel and a very unloving slam at fellow-Christians who actually believe that the fall of Adam and Eve, as our federal heads, affected all of us—even Bri.

What is the “enlightened” view, i.e., Bri’s and the Emergent church movement’s view? Well, here it is: “Jesus came to become the Savior of the world, meaning he came to save the earth and all it contains from its ongoing destruction because of human evil…. All who find in Jesus God’s hope and truth discover the privilege of participating in his ongoing work of personal and global transformation and liberation from evil and injustice.”[3] I’ve mentioned what I’m about to say before, but for emphasis let me say it again: Bri has a horrible aversion to the “s” word, sin. In this book that is ostensibly on ethics, you’re about 200 pages into the book before he actually uses it and almost gags and is ever so apologetic when he does.

Beer drinkers, war mongers, litterers, those who don’t care about global warming (er, climate change. Sorry), and those who hold to their guns and religion—where did I hear that?—ask silly questions like Savior of the world for what purpose? Savior from what? If Jesus is the Savior, why do we specifically need salvation? Why does Bri use the word “evil” and not sin? David Wells makes the excellent point that the two words are not synonymous. He writes, “The biblical understanding of sin is far deeper and far worse than our contemporary understanding of evil.”[4] He pinpoints McLaren’s brand of postmodernism when he explains that “when we do not live within a moral world—and most Americans do not in their minds—the language of evil has no referent. Evil in relation to what standard, we must ask?”[5]

In this long, long, and tedious emergent “conversation” none of the non-leader leaders have told us what their standard is. Please spare me and don’t say that they all hold to the Bible. No they don’t! They haven’t from the beginning and they do not to this day. Oh, they might talk a good game, but when push comes to shove they are—to a man and woman—crass theological liberals. Besides, standards are messy things when you’re trying to take a journey. Since we cannot know with certainty, if ole Bri and the boys and girls want us to believe that saving the planet is why Jesus came, are we allowed to ask them how they know that? Did they derive that from Scripture? What a minute! I didn’t think you could glean that kind of stuff from the Bible. What assurance does Bri give you and me that his “intel” is correct? Is it absolutely correct, only relatively correct, up for grabs, or not correct at all?

When he gives us the emergent view of why Jesus is important, whose truth is that? Who holds it as a standard? Bri? Pagitt? Bell? Why do they matter? How do they know? Why was their standard established? Who established it? Wells hits the nail on the head when he says, “That something could be so inherently wrong as to be called evil, not simply because we see it as evil but because it is evil in itself, makes no sense anymore. It withers under the (post)modern sun. It dies in the face of a thousand qualifications and a thousand cultural suspicions.”[6] In Bri’s explanation of the enlightened, Chardonnay and brie cheese group, “Evil is simply badness.”[7] It’s simply his unsubstantiated opinion. Most of his books are virtually bereft of Scripture and when he or his cohorts like Jim Wallis use it, it’s to excruciatingly painfully rip a text from its redemptive-historical context to use it as a slam against Bush or Halliburton.

Here’s what sin is and why Bri refuses to use it: “Sin…is altogether more serious because it sets up human badness in relation to God.”[8] As I mentioned back in 2005—and this will probably stand as my biggest “I told you so” to date—the main problem with the Emergent church movement is their low view of Scripture. Remember the words of Rob Bell and his wife Kristen, that the Bible is still in the center for them, but it’s just a “different kind of center.” (That’s about as intelligible as the sound of one hand clapping). The Bell pair went on to state that they have no idea anymore what most of the Bible means. That’s encouraging to hear from a pastor and his wife. The upshot of their musings is that they feel like life is big again. Or, you know, dude, it’s like life used to be black and white, and now it’s, you know, like, in color. Whatever. Where did the Bells come up with such astute observations? They credit ole Bri with redirecting, reimagining their thinking on scriptural authority. Oh.

In their latest fun book, Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck ask these questions that require us to answer. “Is the Bible the final word in matters of faith and practice? Can it be trusted in all that it affirms? Is it intelligible and knowable? Is it from God? What is its practical authority in the believer’s life? Is it ever mistaken? What can we say about the Bible that we cannot say about any other book?”[9]

For those who have taken a look at the Emergent church movement, we know their answers. How can we as individuals or the PCA—or any other church for that matter—still find this acceptable and not spiritually detrimental to one’s spiritual health and growth?

[1] Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), p. 79.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., 79-80.

[4] David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), p. 100.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 101.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Kevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck, Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be), (Chicago: Moody Press, 2008), p. 78.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

When Will We Get Back to the Constitution? (II)

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined.

What Ever Happened to the Tenth Amendment?

There are few people today who pound the drum about the Tenth Amendment and still fewer who have any idea what is says. In fact, in general few Americans get exercised about our Constitution at all. Precious few have read it and politicians increasingly avoid it like the plague. With all the excitement that TV offers these days, who has the time or inclination to read the Constitution or The Federalist Papers. We are an uninformed nation and most of that is our fault.

Quite a while back the late Francis Schaeffer made the point that Americans need two things to keep them placated: personal peace and affluence. Schaeffer hit a home run (back, back, back, back, and gone!) with that observation. In our individualism we believe that as long as things are relatively peaceful we’re good to go, especially if we have the requisite affluence to carry us along.

Of course, lately Americans have learned that they are bearing the burdens of bad ideas. We haven’t built an oil refinery on U.S. soil in thirty years. The politically correct social engineers bullied us into keeping our mouths shut (after all, who wants to destroy the planet?) about drilling in ANWR, Utah/Colorado, and offshore on the East and Left coasts and we let them. Neither “we the people” nor our elected representatives had the requisite manhood to stand up to the iron fist in the velvet glove.

But now Americans are disturbed about the affluence part of the equation. Some on radio and TV broadcasts are preaching doom and gloom, which just shows that they don’t know the first thing about economics and capitalism. There are a number of sure fire ways to mess up a personal, state, and federal budget. All you have to do is raise taxes (which never produces higher revenues, and even if it did, the liberals would spend it on junk), blame the rich, promise universal health care, and promise that you’re from the government and you’ve arrived on the scene to help those who are incapable of helping themselves.

Just as an aside, did you ever turn off Oprah, Dr. Phil, The Gilmore Girls, and the WWF long enough to ask yourself how people survived before the government became the “womb to tomb” Santa Claus? All kinds of weird things happened like families pitching in to help those in need, churches coming to the aid of those in trouble, and charitable organizations also helping because none of these entities were taxed to the bicuspids. All told, the government (at all levels) is currently hitting up the American taxpayer for approximately 40% of his or her hard earned income every year. This is absurd, but we cave on this one too.

By the way, for those goody-goody emerging social gospel advocates (Gushee, McLaren, Wallis, and all their devotees) here’s a news flash for you: When you give government a place in the welfare process you need to inform the American public that 70% of what is allocated in the federal welfare budget goes to “administrative costs.” From an economic viewpoint that is highly effective, isn’t it? There is a 70% waste factor. Private enterprise could do it much better with substantially lower admin costs. The 70% is the poster child for government efficiency.

If you ask the garden variety man or woman on the street if we’re in a recession, they’ll answer “Yes, of course!” If that is your answer, put on the dunce cap. Our economy is not in a recession. What is the textbook description of a recession? It is two successive quarters of negative growth in the economy. We are not there; it has not happened. Might it happen? Sure, but if you understand anything about the free market and capitalism, then you’ll understand that a recession is an occurrence that brings us back to reality. We like the affluence thing and when the economy is good we like to think that it is great. The Bible warns us about greed and how it affects others as well as us (cf. Ezek. 16:27; Hab. 2:5; Matt. 23:25; Luke 11:39; 1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Pet. 2:3, 14). Ironically, greed and affluence can make us very sloppy, lulling us into the belief that our house of cards will never come crashing down. Can you say “sub-prime”? How many of the houses that are in foreclosure today were really out of the financial reach of the consumer, who threw caution and prudence to the wind?

Now what do those people want? They want government to bail them out. In other words, they want to act foolishly and irresponsibly and then to ask the American taxpayer to rescue them from their frivolity. This is analogous to people out here in Southern California who buy million dollar houses in either Laguna Beach or Malibu in very high risk areas where fires and mud slides are a common occurrence and when the inevitable happens they want us to fork over our money because their dream house was destroyed. Wherever we turn, we claim to be free, but want government to come to our aid. It’s just now coming to light how many billions of dollars have been wasted or is unaccounted for in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

This was not what the Founding Fathers envisioned folks. James Madison, the fourth president of the United States wrote this in The Federalist (no. 45): “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace negotiation, and foreign commerce…. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state.” (Emphasis added.)

Does this sound like the America you live in or does it rather sound like the exact opposite of what this country is like now? In 1803, Chief Justice John Marshall (Marbury v. Madison) wrote, “The powers of the (national) legislature are defined, and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the constitution is written.” The Founders were wary of centralized government and as I mentioned last time, included numerous verbal negatives about the government and its power. The Federalist No. 33 explains that a congressional act beyond its enumerated powers is “merely an act of usurpation” that “deserves to be treated as such.” That should get the government’s attention, but the Constitution has been so long forgotten and almost never read that our elected officials need not fear of Americans bringing this to their attention.

But why shouldn’t we? As Walter Williams recently wrote, ‘Both parties and all branches of the federal government have made a mockery of the checks and balances, separation of powers and the republican form of government envisioned by the founders.”[1] Indeed, but we have sat by and done nothing. Personal peace and affluence trumps almost everything. Oklahoma State Representative Charles Key (Rep.) has introduced House Joint Resolution 1089 into Oklahoma’s state assembly. It fell like a bomb in the playground of elected officials. The good news is that Key’s resolution passed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives 92-3. This is encouraging news, even though the Oklahoma Senate sat on it until adjournment. Keys was neither dissuaded nor discouraged and plans to reintroduce the bill when our politicians manage to roll back to their jobs in their black limousines.

The crux of Key’s bill is the resolution “by the Houses of Representatives and the Senate of the 2nd session of the 51st Oklahoma Legislature: that the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. That this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.”[2]

Have you heard about this on the news? Has either candidate made mention of how this is such a good resolution because it points us in the right direction regarding getting the government out of our lives? No and no. Other than Ron Paul, Grover Norquist,[3] and Walter Williams, few seem concerned at all. Even Newt Gingrich, who called Norquist’s book a brilliant introduction to the coming revolution in American government, makes scant mention of the Constitution in a book that purports to bring about Real Change in America.[4]

How Low Can You Go?

I hear that President Bush’s approval ratings are in the toilet; under 30% of Americans think he’s doing and excellent job. There is certainly justification for those ratings. His spending policies are comparable—if not worse—to those of the Democrats. He made a debacle of No Child Left Behind, costing the taxpayers inordinate amounts of money and his overtures to the likes of Ted Kennedy ended in disaster. When it comes to securing our border to Mexico, the President seems totally clueless and unwilling to listen to the will of the American people. It was only when it was painfully and evidently plain that immigration reform was going to cause a revolution, he backed off pushing through ridiculous legislation. For once in a long while, the President and Congress actually listened to “We the people…” The American people got angry, said enough was enough, and were mobilized to get something accomplished. That is a rare commodity these days.

I mention the anger and Bush’s approval ratings to make another point, however. The latest Rasmussen Report states that just 9% of Americans say Congress is doing a good or excellent job. 9%! If Bush’s ratings are bad—and they are—what should be said about Congress? Ever since the Rasmussen boys have been doing their reports and polls, this is the first single-digit approval rating on record. How can Pelosi, Reid, and the rest of that crowd that promised us so much throw stones at Bush’s house when they’re 21 percentage points below him? Scott Rasmussen and his merry band go on to say that just 12% of voters think Congress has passed any legislation to improve life in this country over the past six months. The highest percentile for Congress in this category for all of 2008—up to and including now—is 13%.

So what are they doing with our tax dollars? Can you name one thing that Pelosi and the Democrat majority Congress has done? Are you pleased with the gasoline prices? Have you taken the time to write or call your Senators and Representatives to tell them you want them to stop the ban on offshore drilling and in ANWR? If you’re dissatisfied, why do we keep electing the same people every time? Are you aware that the Constitution says that every state only really needs one representative, two Senators, and representation in the Electoral College. In fact, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North and South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming has precisely that arrangement.

Here’s the point: It is “We the People” that are granted rights and we delegate power to the government. The government, however, acts as if the truth is precisely the other way around. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled at what’s going on with our government today and they would be disappointed at men and women like you and me for being so apathetic that we did and said nothing. Take some time today and read the Tenth Amendment and do a gut check on whether you are an active, participating citizen in the process or whether you’re satisfied with personal peace and affluence. If it is the latter, don’t expect anyone to come to your rescue and make things right. If you don’t care about your individual rights, why should someone else care about them for you?

[1] Walter Williams, “Oklahoma Rebellion) (, Wed., July 16, 2008), p. 1.

[2] Ibid.

[3] See his book: Leave Us Alone, Getting the Government’s Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives, (NY: William Morrow, 2008).

[4] Newt Gingrich, Real Change, (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2008).


Thursday, July 10, 2008

When Will We Get Back to the Constitution?

You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.

What Do We Need to Hear?

Now that the presidential race is heating up, we hear accusations flying back and forth between the candidates. You need a calculator to add up all the times that one accuses the other of “flip-flopping” on a major issue ranging from the war to drilling for oil. We are regaled with verbiage about health care, global warming (the new phrase is “climate control”), Supreme Court justices, foreign policy, welfare, and the economy. The issues and topics are almost limitless, but there is one topic about which both candidates have been strangely silent. In fact, with the exception of Ron Paul, there has been no candidate who has been willing to mention the subject. And yet, in a very real sense it is the most important subject in the upcoming race. I’m talking about the place of the U.S. Constitution in the minds of each candidate. Do they have an eye for the opening words, “We the People of the United States…,” or do they ignore not only those words, but the content of the founding documents as well?

Christian citizens are to obey those that the Lord has placed in authority over them (cf. Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). We also understand that wherever we live, God has providentially placed us there for a reason. Our task is to be salt and light to the world around, although let me quickly add that this mandate does not entail Christian parents sending their children to government schools to be salt and light. That is a cop out to someone’s conscience. Christian children are getting 14,000 seat hours (not to mention propaganda through homework) in government schools. Besides, how many 6 or 8-year-old missionaries do you know? But I digress. Our task is to bring to bear on culture a Christian life and worldview about God, man, society, truth, knowledge, and ethics that is foreign to a fallen world.

Andreas Köstenberger opines that our current cultural crisis “is merely symptomatic of a deep-seated spiritual crisis that continues to gnaw at the foundations of our once-shared societal values.”[1] With the almost unrelenting talk among evangelicals today about “engaging culture,” David Wells has argued convincingly that “A serious engagement with culture…is not what most evangelicals are about.”[2] Moreover, “They have no interest at all in what lies beneath the trends, none on how our modernized culture in the West shapes personal horizons, produces appetites, and provides us ways of processing the meaning of life.”[3]

But what are or what should evangelicals think about being involved in political matters? Some evangelicals would claim that Christians should not be involved in politics at all because that is not the purpose of the gospel. In the last few years, a number of liberal theologians (David Gushee, Brian McLaren, and Jim Wallis) have written what are ostensibly objective accounts of what evangelicals ought to believe vis-à-vis politics. Don’t let them fool you, folks. All three of these men are very liberal in their views and in the cases of both McLaren and Wallis it’s a joke to call them evangelicals. Gushee is possibly an evangelical, but just barely.[4]

Gushee, for example, has written a book entitled The Future of Faith in American Politics, The Public Witness of the Evangelical Center. He walks us through what he considers the hot ticket items on the evangelical right’s agenda and is quite critical of it. He then presents the evangelical left’s agenda and doesn’t seem too concerned that people believe you can be a Bible-believing evangelical and still vote for a party that embraces the sacred cow of abortion on demand (abortus provocatus) and same-sex marriages. Gushee doesn’t explain that—because he can’t—but points out that according to the left there is a certain ambivalence that permeates the position. Citing Brian McLaren as one of the left’s spokesmen, Gushee writes, “He acknowledges the importance of issues of sexuality (among which McLaren includes abortion and homosexuality), but he sees other ‘nonsexual’ issues as more pressing.”[5]

What Gushee considers the “evangelical center” is, by any stretch of the imagination the “evangelical left of center.” But even a man of Gushee’s stature makes no mention of how evangelicals on the right, left, or in the mythical center think, speak, and act about the fact that our elected officials have all but completely neglected the important place the U.S. Constitution ought to take in daily life. Here’s the deal: “Much of what federal, state, and local governments do today far exceeds constitutional authority and any reasonable definition of moral government.”[6] Let me give you just one case in point. Those who home school their children here in California where I live are going to be facing some very tough choices before the summer is over. It is written into the state of California’s education code that every teacher must be certified by the state, i.e., they must attend Mickey Mouse “educational” courses in order to get the state’s Good Housekeeping seal of approval. These courses involve neo-pagan, neo-barbarian worldviews that are one-hundred-and-eighty degrees out of phase with the Christian worldview. Moreover, there is nothing—zip, zero, zilch, nada—in the U.S. Constitution about the feds and education, but we have a department of health, education, and welfare.

Many economists have rightly observed that the essence of government is coercion and that by and large coercion is evil. Now that California somehow finagled this law onto its books, they can now act as if our children are theirs. In other words, they can dictate to free men and women when, where, and how our children will be educated by them. This is, as my old First Sergeant Charlie Green used to say, as wrong as two left overshoes. But Californians have allowed this to happen and when the opportunity arose to raise voices of dissent because of what the Constitution says—and more importantly what the Bible says—they were strangely silent. This is known as reaping the whirlwind.

I’m not singling out Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama on the issue of the centrality of the Constitution, because it’s a problem that crosses party lines and has been in existence for a while, the U.S. citizens being complicit in the problem. Let me give you a couple examples of what I mean. We’ll begin with the creeping tax problem, because it’s a prime indicator of how neglect and inattention to these matters works. In 1787, federal spending hovered around $3 million per year, or an annual tax of $1 per capita. By 1910, the feds were charging American taxpayers $6.75 annually. By 1929, spending topped $3 billion, bumping the annual tax rate up to $29 a person. What is the rate of government spending today? On a good day in 1994, a little over $4 billion a day was spent working out to approximately $6,000 a year per capita in taxes for the U.S. citizen. For those that can still do basic math, this works out to a 9,000% increase in taxation from 1929-1994!

To put matters in sharper perspective, “The colonists, who were paying about 67 cents a year in taxes, went to war with Great Britain claiming, ‘Taxation without representation is tyranny.’”[7] For this very reason, the framers manifested a general distrust of Congress, which is one of the reasons that they included phrases such as “shall not disparage,” “shall not infringe,” and “shall not be taken,” just to mention a few. Yet, even though Ms. Clinton promised the largest tax hike in the history of the United States, many mind-numbed robots raised no objections. In light of what Mr. Obama has been promising and touting, the U.S. citizen is going to have to pony up a boatload of new taxes. But this has not merely been a problem of the Democratic Party. Mr. Bush has managed to out spend his Democratic predecessors in spades, and, it must be added, hardly anything, if anything, was authorized by the U.S. Constitution. And that is the crux of our problem today.

The average family pays more in taxes than for food and clothing combined. In terms we all can understand, “More than 40 percent of the nation’s annual income is spent by politicians rather than by the people who earned it.”[8] But that is our problem in microcosm. Unless you have a CPA or “tax guy,” as a taxpayer you are required to keep records, decipher obscure tax codes, and find legal ways to reduce the already onerous tax burden. Philosopher David Hume said that it is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.” It is a gradual, almost imperceptible process and one of the best ways for this to occur in the U.S.—and it’s already had great success—is for the American citizen to be ignorant of the Constitution and to be apathetic.

In this day and age, you can Google “U.S. Constitution” and download the document, or you can go to and they’ll send you our founding documents for free. This would be a great first step in becoming aware of what the contents of our founding documents are. Once you’ve accomplished that, then you would want to begin to contact your local, state, and federal representatives. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 that written constitutions “furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally and recall the people.” More recently, Ron Paul said this, “In early American history the Constitution figured heavily in political debate. People want to know, and politicians needed to justify, where the various schemes they debated in Congress were authorized in the Constitution.”[9] Today, the Constitution is like the elephant in the room that neither politicians nor citizens want to notice.

For years Americans have delegated more and more authority to the government, expecting it to care for them from the womb to the tomb. Once you expect the government to do for you what you can actually do for yourself, you have opened the floodgates and as Stanford economist Thomas Sowell once said, “Once you open the floodgates, you cannot tell the water where to go.” Something I’ve noticed in the last week or so is that some Americans are getting to the point where they’re saying, “Enough is enough!” It’s possible that they’re just irritated about the high gasoline prices, but I think it’s more than that. I believe that some are just fed up with the politically correct nonsense that has all but paralyzed this country for far too long. Many hard-working tax payers are wondering why we have not been allowed to drill in ANWR, off the coasts, and in Utah/Colorado.

Citizens are angry because the District of Columbia has wrongfully denied law-abiding citizens the right to defend themselves and their loved ones. In fact, that happens far too often in many states that virtually ignore the content of the Second Amendment. Our elected officials act as if they are doing us a favor if they grant us a concealed carry permit instead of admitting that it is our Second Amendment right to keep and to bear arms.

They act as if they are doing us a favor if they let us keep 60% of what we’ve worked long and hard to earn. Why is 40% their share? Why do they think our children are theirs? It’s these “why” questions that Americans need to be asking on a daily basis. Washington, D.C. v. Heller passed by the narrowest of margins (5-4). If only one more liberal justice was seated on the court, Washington, D.C. would still be denying fundamental rights to its citizens; in essence, encouraging criminals and criminal activity and penalizing law-abiding citizens. The time to act is now. The Revolutionary War was fought over far less than what we’re experiencing today and it’s high time we remind our elected officials that they serve at our pleasure and not for their pocketbook. Having said that, we must possess the resolve to act and do everything within our power to remove those from office who have no respect for the Constitution—no matter which party they’re in.

[1] Andreas Köstenberger, God, Marriage, and Family, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004), p. 25.

[2] David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), p. 3.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Evangelicalism is such an elastic term that even open theists like Olsen and Pinnock can still be called evangelicals.

[5] David Gushee, The Future of Faith in American Politics, (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2008), pp. 71-72.

[6] Walter Williams, Do the Right Thing, (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1995), p. 39.

[7] Ibid., 41.

[8] Ibid., 64.

[9] Ron Paul, The Revolution, (NY: Grand Central Publishing, 2008), p. 41.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

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

An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject

Some Further Reflections

Tomorrow, Lord willing, the United States will once again celebrate the 4th of July. Traditionally, this was a celebration of freedom and independence from tyranny. In anno 2008 I’m sometimes flummoxed to hear people saying that dissent is fine because that’s what America was founded on. I agree that we are granted the right to dissent. It is a precious right granted by our founding documents. It’s a little shortsighted and one dimensional, however, to leave dissent hanging out in the breeze, without defining precisely what the new country was dissenting about back in the day. In a word, they were dissenting against tyranny. Today, many dissent against the very freedoms that our forebears fought and died for. Ironic.

It is noteworthy that a landmark case was just brought before the Supreme Court. Equally noteworthy was the fact that four of the Supreme Court justices seem to have difficulty reading the simple language of the Second Amendment. Their four dissenting votes are nothing short of trying to legislate their worldview from the bench. Mark Levine is correct when he writes, “The Supreme Court is abusing and subverting its constitutional role. It has chosen to become the unelected, unassailable social engineer of American society.”[1] We have come to expect that activist judges will incorporate their worldview into their decision rather than giving us a faithful rendering of the intent of our founding documents. In other words, “Too many judges consider the Constitution a document of broad principles and concepts, one that empowers them to substitute their personal beliefs, values, and policies for those enumerated in the Constitution. They see their role limited only by the boundaries of their imaginations. These judges are activists or non-originalists.”[2]

In Washington, D.C. v. Heller we came perilously close to having a fundamental right ripped away from us by four liberal ideologues. I believe the Revolutionary War was fought over less than what Americans are dealing with today. Thankfully, wiser, more originalist heads prevailed—this time. What Washington, D.C. had done to its citizens was unconscionable. It had denied them the basic right of self-defense. We saw from Exodus 22:2 that God ordained for men to defend themselves and their loved ones. Over at emergent church advocate, Scot McKnight’s blog (Jesus Creed), a whole gaggle of Christian liberals opined how living in Canada and being defenseless was what Jesus would want us to do. Apparently, Jesus wants us to be cold socialists. One poor, misguided, and clueless woman wrote these words on that blog: “As a Christian, I understand that I might die or my children might die because I won’t carry a gun. But that is a price of my faith. We have to stand up for breaking the cycle of violence, even if it means dying.”

Honestly, it’s a little unclear to me how the “cycle of violence” is broken if I allowed an intruder to murder my family and me. This woman’s piece of illogical advice sounds pious, but it is far from that. As I mentioned before, Exodus 22:2 doesn’t take that tack. Her rendering of the text would go something like this: “If a thief is found breaking in, remember that every true Israelite is a pacifist. Don’t bother to defend yourself for that would be unworthy of a true Jew. Sorry, but that’s just the price tag of your faith. Besides, by succumbing to a thug’s desire to murder you, your non-resistance will break the vicious cycle of violence.”

For whatever reason some Christians today believe that acting like a coward is a badge of honor in the Christian faith. This also seems to be a cultural phenomenon as both Ann Douglas[3] and E. Anthony Rotundo[4] chronicled. I’m willing to wager that if the woman on the Jesus Creed blog was actually in a life-or-death situation regarding herself and children that she would do anything and everything within her power to survive and to protect her children as well. Piety grows exponentially on the Internet and in theoretical discussions. The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), Lord’s Day 40, Q/A 105 reminds Christians that they are not to harm or recklessly endanger themselves (cf. Matt. 4:7). In Q/A 107 we are admonished to protect our neighbor from harm as much as we can. By extrapolation, wouldn’t this, shouldn’t this apply to our immediate family as well? What the woman—and others like her—forget is that while we might think of murder as “bad,” God hates it (cf. Q/A 106). Not to attempt to prevent it is to allow something that the Lord God Almighty reveals that he hates. If he hates it, then I, as a Christian, am to hate it too. I am to think his thoughts after him.

What Does the Second Amendment Teach?

In the District of Columbia (et al.) v. Heller it was held by the Supreme Court majority opinion that “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home” (Emphasis added). The Court further held that “The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of ‘arms’ that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense of self, family, and property is must acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional” (Italics mine).

Unfortunately, there are four justices who cannot see the light of day. Rock star, Ted Nugent said it well: “I snicker and shake my head in disbelief that there are four ‘justices’ on the ‘supreme’ court that do not believe Americans have individual rights.”[5] Oddly, these same justices do not believe that we need to get a government permit and undergo a background check to choose our religion or lack thereof or that we need a ten-day waiting period to express our First Amendment right of free speech.

Some Americans are so naïve that they actually believe a sign declaring “gun free zone” will deter criminals and “bad guys.” Again Nugent: “Everybody knows that it is in these anti-American, anti-constitutional ‘gun free zones’ where innocent people are forced into unarmed helplessness and where the highest body count of innocents is stacked up by evil perpetrators celebrating the condition of helpless sheep to slaughter.”[6]

This means that in essence the District of Columbia has willingly and knowingly acted in an unconstitutional fashion towards its citizens, not caring for their life or well-being. In fact, it must be argued that they intentionally jeopardized their citizens, allowing thugs and criminals to know that they had free rein because the citizenry had been effectively disarmed by those elected to defend their rights. It is time we took the gloves off and stopped sugarcoating the truth. D.C.’s insane gun ban has been a violent criminal’s playground, where they are assured no resistance from a forcibly unarmed citizenry. “That is a bizarre, immoral condition and a direct result of the cult of feel-good liberals who could care less about dead good people as they wring their hands worrying about the rights of the most evil amongst us.”[7]

Who is responsible, humanly speaking, for my personal defense and that of my family? Is it Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein, Schwarzenegger, Obama, Hillary, or McCain? Is it the police? Is calling 911 my ultimate and best shot at preserving my life? If that’s the case, then all I can really expect is for the CSI team to sift through the aftermath of the criminal activity. Those who are in law enforcement are, by and large, my heroes, just like our military personnel, but I cannot depend upon them to be my personal defense. Whose responsibility is it to tell free men and women, when, how, and where they may defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones against criminal activity? People like Rosie O’Donnell disgust me for a number of reasons, not least of which is that she wants American citizens to be disarmed while she has an armed guard with her at all times.

Banning guns hasn’t worked to deter crime or make communities safer. In fact, just the opposite is the case. All gun bans have ever accomplished is the creation of guaranteed victims. D.C. has been “a cesspool of crime for years. This ruling confirms the rights of good people the ability to defend themselves against bad people. Who could possibly find fault with that supreme dose of common sense?”[8] Oh, Ted, common sense exited stage right a long time ago, but we can be overjoyed that Heller won his case.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Joe Friday got it right on the old black and white TV series Dragnet. We are all served well by facts. John Adams once told a jury, “Facts are stubborn things and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”[9] But just what are the facts about guns? If you talk to the man or woman on the street about these matters, if you aware of the truth, you will be astounded at how ignorant and misinformed they are. As far as the gun propaganda goes, these folks have imbibed of industrial strength doses of the Kool-Aid. We don’t have the time to arm you with all the facts—no pun intended—but to let you see that law-abiding citizens carrying guns, either concealed or open, is not a threat to society and society’s safety but rather a strong deterrent to crime.[10]

First fact: guns are used about 2.5 million times a year in self-defense. That averages out to about 6,850 times a day! According to the stats provided by the National Safety Council, this means that firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives. Moreover, in those 2.5 million times less than 8% of the time, a citizen will kill or wound his or her attacker. In addition, as many as 200,000 women use a gun every year to defend themselves against sexual abuse.

Second fact: according to Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, armed citizens kill more criminals than do the police (1,527 to 606).[11]

Third fact: concealed carry laws actually help in reducing crime. A comprehensive national study done in 1996 revealed that states that made it legal to carry concealed firearms saw a drop in violent crime rates.[12]

Fourth fact: Vermont—of all places!—permits its citizens to carry a firearm without getting permission, without paying a fee to the government, or without going through any kind of government-imposed waiting period. The FBI background check is done on computer at the time of purchase. For ten years in a row, Vermont has remained one of the top five safest states—unless you’re a child getting molested by a child predator who is then let off by some leftwing ideologue activist judge in a black robe.

Fifth fact: approximately fifteen years ago, the state of Florida passed a concealed carry law. Since 1987, somewhere in the neighborhood of 800,000 carry permits were issued to the citizens. According to conventional wisdom, Florida should have become a rogue state meting out vigilante justice. This simply points out how uninformed those who depend on conventional wisdom sometimes are. FBI reports demonstrate that the homicide rate in Florida, which, by the way, was above the national average in 1987, fell a precipitous 52% during that fifteen year period.

Sixth fact: in 1982, Kennesaw, GA passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in the house. The result was an eye-popping 89% drop in the household burglary rate, compared to a 10.4% drop in the state of Georgia over all.

Seventh fact: worldwide, in those countries that have effectually disarmed their citizens (Great Britain, Canada, and Holland) more than 45% of the time homeowners are occupying their homes when they are burglarized. Think about that. Those countries—like Washington, D.C.—had given the advantage to the criminal in every case. But the caveat is that if you take guns away—like Hitler and Stalin did—people will find other weapons to use in crimes, although there still doesn’t seem to be any shortage of firearms for criminals to purchase illegally. In those three countries crimes are committed with guns, butcher knives, and the messy way: large mechanic’s screwdrivers.

Eighth fact: there is also a correlation between decrease in rape rates when it is known or suspected that the rape victim might be armed. For example, in Orlando, FL in 1966-1967 the media publicized a safety course that taught Orlando women how to use guns. The rape rate dropped 88%, which is more than significant. During that same period, the rape rate remained constant in the rest of Florida and the U.S.

Ninth fact: back in the halcyon days of Peanut Jim Carter, the Justice Department found that of more than 32,000 attempted rapes, 32% were actually committed. However, when a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3% of the attempted rapes were actually successful.

Tenth fact: 60% of felons polled—who does that?—agreed that a criminal is not going to mess with a victim that he knows is armed with a gun. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Why do you think criminals only rarely attack law enforcement officers? The simple answer is: it is because they know they are armed. Their being armed is an enormous deterrent to cowards who want to prey on the weak and unarmed. In a related fact, 74% of felons polled agreed that one reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is because they fear that the occupants might be armed.

There’s a lot more to say, but I hope this has given you something to think about. Have a great 4th of July!

[1] Mark Levine, Men in Black, (Washington, D.C., Regnery, 2005), p. 195.

[2] Ibid. 13.

[3] Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture, (NY: The Noonday Press, 1977).

[4] E. Anthony Rotundo, American Manhood, Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era, (NY: Basic Books, 1993).

[5] Ted Nugent, “D.C. Gun Ban Blown Away,” Human Events, Vol. 64, No. 23 (June 30, 2008), p. 1.

[6] Ibid., 8.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] David McCullough, John Adams, (NY: Touchstone Books, 2001), p. 68.

[10] I am greatly indebted to Larry Pratt at for this material.

[11] Kleck & Gertz, Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, 111-116, 148.

[12] John R. Lott, Jr., More Guns Less Crime, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 20002).