Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Nate talks about the new proposed Farm Bill which was recently rejected in the House. Nate looks at the atrocities committed by the government and big corporations which for all practical purposes practice slavery in the United States.

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Can you be pro-life and pro-choice? Maybe not, although the definition is not always black and white. At The Backyard Preacher Ministries, we are pro-choice, but in every way possible our pro-choice stance could be looked upon as pro-life. I took it upon myself to clarify my stance and write about the abortion from a progressive Christian perspective. I find it particularly ripe to bring about this topic once again as here in the state of Iowa the powers that be, governor Kim Reynolds took it upon herself to sign into law a very quickly pushed law spear headed by religious zealots without consideration of the ramifications. My friend Jon Alexander of the Quad City Times writes a more in-depth editorial here.
My purpose is to enlighten and explain the matter of life from a Christian perspective. A rational Christian perspective, which has long since been abandoned by Evangelicals in the United States. Do I like abortion? No, I do not like the act of abortion. After talking to several women and listening to views from both sides of the debate women do not like abortion either. I will also not overstep my bounds as a man and claim to know what is best. As a Christian do I believe that abortion is murder? Truthfully, I do not know. There is something called the transmigration of souls, this is a belief which the early church and religious scholars such as myself have wrestled with. When does the soul of a person enter the fetus? Many Evangelicals would say that life starts at conception. While biologically this is true life does start at conception; that is cells are alive. The question that more Evangelicals should ask is when do those cells become a human, and when does the spirit of a person, “their true self” enter into a fetus? No one knows, and when you do not know something, it is wise not to demand. While I do not support abortion, I would prefer that women choose life, but I am not walking in their shoes, I do not know their situation and will not speak for them. There are many complications that will come about from the new Iowa law. Alexander speaks to the financial, I am speaking more to the social. Will this result in women going out of state to have abortions? Will women have “back alley” abortions? Will women carry the baby even when they cannot afford another child pushing women and the new child into a greater cycle of poverty? I do not know, but these are things to think about.
As I said I am pro-life, in every sense. I am against the death penalty, against war, I support strong gun control. I desire for people to prosper and live life to the fullest. It amazes me that Evangelicals who have pushed the abortion law in Iowa have no problem sending young people to die in senseless wars, strap people into death chambers, and arm themselves with weapons of war which are responsible for children killing children in public schools. I want to remind my Evangelical friends that we do not know when the spirit enters the fetus, we do however know that existing people are alive in every way. There is also the cycle of poverty which is prevalent within the United States. The church conducts overseas mission’s trips but often neglects the people who live within their own borders. In the wealthiest country in the world many condemn the poor as weak and lazy, yet do nothing for them but call them murderers and fornicators. Women have abortions which more than likely would be prevented if she was financially capable of raising the child. The whole situation is sad. I preach life, a life in which all people have choice. I nor any other Christian knows when the spirit of a person enters a fetus. I nor any other Christian can walk in another’s shoes. The new abortion bill makes abortion essentially illegal before most women even know they are pregnant. Let me let you chew on these concluding thoughts.
Evangelicals stop worrying what a small percentage of women do with their bodies. If you want to stop abortion push laws that will lift people out of poverty. Pass laws providing affordable education, so people can find jobs which will pay for a family. Let us start teaching sex education not only in school but in our churches. Thinking that our kids are not having sex before marriage is absurd and not teaching about safe sex practices leads to possible abortions. Pass laws restricting weapons of war in the hands of citizens, I do not think that it is responsible to be able to possess the same weapons I used in the military, which only purpose was to kill another human. Speaking of the military let us stop getting into senseless conflicts and supporting the death of our children. I know that this message may not be popular with my Evangelical friends, yet it is a message which I felt compelled to bring as I have observed the recent cries of the people on both sides of this debate. Can we be both pro-life, and pro-choice? Maybe? I do not know but what I do know is it is more important to protect the lives of the already born, this includes the women who choose abortion.

 

Picture Credit: Nick Anderson

As Christians where is the country? Are we a bunch of closed minded dominionist? People who have it my way or the highway? Absolutist who do not think for themselves? Nate does not have the answers but I do know how to talk about some possibilities. My only hope is that Christians in America are not so willing to sell their souls for political power.

Jesus denied Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of the world.  Jesus reminded Satan he was to only worship God, he denied the world to eventually save it.
Later Jesus once again alludes to this. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
I know as a Christian I have been tough on my fellow believers especially due to the political climate.  I feel based on observation many evangelicals and I count myself a modified version of one. That they are willing to give up Christian values for power.
Many have looked the other way despite Trump’s unrepentant actions, are supporting a very questionable candidate for Senate Roy Moore, even here in Iowa we have a Representative Mr. King who openly states “Diversity is a bad idea.”  The bottom line is many Christians especially those of the dominionist and absolute theological positions seem to say yes to corrupt power and deny the Kingdom, the people of Jesus.
Jesus did not come to create an earthly Kingdom. Not a Kingdom of earthly power at all cost.

Many of the enemies of Christ, in fact the very ones who nailed him to the cross claimed to be moved by the laws of God.  They were the religious leaders.  Today many Christians support very questionable people only because they pray and mention God.
Let us not find ourselves giving into Satan’s temptation of gaining the world only to lose our souls.

Watching Breaking The Cycle on Netflix and how differently we treat inmates in the United States versus that of Norway as well as a prison in North Dakota which is working on changing their policies on how inmates are treated.
What struck me the most is inmates in Norway are treated like human beings. They did not have cells with bars but private bathrooms and refrigerators in their rooms. This was maximum security by the way.
Why do we handle inmates like animals only for the inmate now to respond like animals in return?  We Americans live in a society of revenge.
Of course if someone does something terrible to you or your family you would not be happy the offender was living in a comfortable, positive, and real rehabilitative environment.  Yes, we should be mad if that is the case.  Yet as one warden said “we are in the business of correction and rehabilitation, not revenge.”
Most inmates in America will be released, they will be your neighbors. Do you want an inmate who is oppressed and treated like an animal? Or do you want a rehabilitated member of society who has the ability to give back?
I think if we want to become a better society, a safe society, and one who cares about people we can start by looking how we treat inmates.
I believe most offenders given the right opportunities will become better people.  The warden from the United States also made good points, he was very sympathetic to the views of the warden from Norway. He stated many inmates return to society with no homes, no jobs, and little hope.
In the United States we create felons for life. Employers do not rush to hire felons many large corporations have strict guidelines against it. Instead the felon is stuck doing menial work, or they go back to crime.  What a waste of talent.
I say this all because it is near to my heart I am a felon. I never have been in prison, but I do face the stigma of being labeled. While it has been over 7 years of trying to develop myself and give back to society I have had to work very hard.  At first no one would hire me. I am thankful I am a veteran and had thousands of dollars for school. I earned a Bachelors, Masters and next year will be working on a Doctorate.  I also have had an amazing support system. My family has been amazing. I have had a powerful drive to get ahead and make a difference in the world. In some ways for me being a felon has created a better me.
This is not the case for most returning inmates. We need to do so much more as a society.  Hopefully I will be in a position to do more myself.

In America it is popular to say we “earned” something. Yes, 99% of the country are earning at the same time getting ripped off. 
Do you ever get that feeling driving home from work that you should be getting paid more? That you agreed to work for what you did because you really were not given much of a choice? You should, and probably did. 
The thing is you are not going to get paid equal to what you produce. You will always be paid less than your worth in order for the employer to take the rest. So yes, you earned your portion. Yet did the employer earn the extra money you created for him? No, it was collectively earned by the workers for the owner. 
In a capitalist society generally you must either inherit, or be an entrepreneur to become very wealthy. Most people do not inherit, and most do not manage to create something like “Facebook” for example. Most of us are workers. 
What I am suggesting is a complete restructuring of society. One in which the money and power is centralized in the people. 
At this moment a new tax bill is soon to sit on the Presidents desk.  This bill will only help the rich get richer. The 1% of Americans will only help themselves, while their misguided followers believe that the 1% will actually “trickle down” the wealth. 
This brings me to my final thought. Growing up as a conservative Christian I was led to believe that Capitalism was created by Jesus and socialism or communism was created in the heart of hell.  This is in part due to social programming by the United States government.  But, what if any system would Jesus follow?  One which enslaves, or one that shares?  Why is it that so many evengelical Christians love capitalism and were so ready to elect a billionare Donald Trump and disregard Bernie Sanders?  
I do not dislike capitalism the drive for profit has created a remarkable world. I do not dislike socialism it is a system of the people. There is good and bad in both. Can we have the best of both worlds?
Maybe we should start by simply treating people better, paying people closer to what they are worth, and truly care about them. A little bit more always goes along way.

Nate talks about the huge increase in pay that corporations in America will receive if all goes as planned for the Republican party, in their efforts to pass a new tax bill.  The old trickle down scam!  Do you really think that corporations are going to increase your wage?

Would Jesus take a knee?  That is the question I propose.  Players taking a knee in the NFL has been a highly controversial topic that has continued to divide an already divided country.  In this episode Nate talks about an event in the life of Jesus in which he did not just take a knee he went above and beyond anything that the players in the NFL are currently doing.

In the wake of the Charlottesville, VA tragedy Nate takes a look at the hate behind why white people do what they do in this country.

Today many Evangelical churches have turned into a constant Trump rally.  We are on the verge of war and many leaders such as pastor Robert Jeffress who is encouraging the president to go to war a Old Testament warrior for God.  These churches as Isaiah puts it have become worthless assemblies whos worship is detestable to God.  Instead what does God tell Isaiah?  He tells the people to seek justice, to stop doing wrong, to defend the oppressed not to blow them up! to look after the widows and children.  Basically to be like Jesus!