Friday, February 19, 2010

What is Happening?

I read the news about the psycho pilot and got sick to my stomach. Then I read his "suicide note" and got frustrated. If that wasn't enough, today a significant number of Americans are praising him as a hero. I remember when Timothy McVeigh pulled a similar stunt in Oklahoma. The motive behind both of these attacks were identical. Try and guess who said which:

Taxes are a joke. Regardless of what a political candidate "promises," they will increase. More taxes are always the answer to government mismanagement. They mess up. We suffer. Taxes are reaching cataclysmic levels, with no slowdown in sight... Is a Civil War Imminent? Do we have to shed blood to reform the current system? I hope it doesn't come to that. But it might.

Isn't it ironic how far we've come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem;they just steal from the middle class (who doesn't have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it's "business as usual."

The actions of these people make me sick. The support that either one of them could ever be considered a hero makes me sick. It's funny how the same rhetoric just keeps popping up. Actually, it really makes me wonder why the same rhetoric keeps popping up, and where it is coming from. Is there truth in it?

I guess the only way I know how to answer that is from the old scriptural adage from Mathew:

16 Ye shall aknow them by their bfruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth agood bfruit; but a ccorrupt tree bringeth forth devil

Protest itself is not inherently evil. Some of the greatest progress comes from protest. For example, watch this video and pay attention to what the man says.

I hear peace and long-suffering. I hear hope and love. Most importantly I hear a trust in God. This from a people that had been lied to and cheated by the government.

Another group makes the same claim.

Here I hear contempt and anger. I hear fear and hatred. There is no godliness in this demonstration. Perhaps the intentions of these people started out as something good. In my opinion, it seems that somewhere along the path they started listening to the wrong voices.

In this life their are a multitude of voices competing for our attention, and competing against the voice of the spirit. From a talk by James E. Faust, "The adversary tries to smother this voice with a multitude of loud, persistent, persuasive, and appealing voices:

• Murmuring voices that conjure up perceived injustices.
• Whining voices that abhor challenge and work.
• Seductive voices that offer sensual enticements.
• Soothing voices that lull us into carnal security.
• Intellectual voices that profess sophistication and superiority.
• Proud voices that rely on the arm of flesh.
• Flattering voices that puff us up with pride.
• Cynical voices that destroy hope.
• Entertaining voices that promote pleasure seeking.
• Commercial voices that tempt us to “spend money for that which is of no worth, [and our] labor for that which cannot satisfy.”"

That's exactly how a feel about Tea Parties. It's how I feel about Glenn Beck, et al. Cynical voices that destroy hope. Murmuring voices that conjure up perceived injustices. Protest and demonstration has its place, and is an extremely powerful tool - one which can be used to prop up, or bring down governments. Heeding radical, godless voices lead us away from hope and peace, and lead us to taking up arms against our brothers. It leads us to blow up federal buildings, to crash planes into IRS buildings and into towers.

"Said Isaiah, “The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”"


GreatWhiteHope said...

Finally a well thought, well spoken post by a mormon leftist. As conservative as I am I agree wholeheartedly with your post here. Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of hope and a positive attitude through hardship more than anyone I know. And it's funny that you put a video of Martin Luther King Jr. on here because I think he would be disappointed with Obama and his election based because it was spurred by a motive based on the color of his skin rather than the content of his character. I did a write in vote for Alan Keyes. He happened to match most closely to what I was looking for in a political candidate. He happens to be black. The problem with the political atmosphere in America is that the majority of the population is indifferent, and both sides stir up hatred for the other as well as promises to be "saviors" from all your life's problems. We need as a country to stop looking to politicians to solve problems and look to ourselves. We should ask ourselves what can I do to help my neighbor? And try to live the golden rule. That's what I mean when I say we need conservativism - a return to the principles that made this country great; Faith in God and Family. The polarizing sides of both parties are tearing this country apart. Obama is a leftist, about as far as they've come in this country. Mcveigh etc. are rightists and both extremes damage the nation. I know some of you will have qualms over me essentially equating Obama to Timothy McVeigh. Step back though, and look at the people he has surrounded himself with.... Geithner? Rahm Emanual? People with questionable integrity and backgrounds. What about outside the political arena.... Reverend Wright? Or have you forgotten about him? Bill Ayers? Van Jones?

Jacob S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GreatWhiteHope said...

To go along with your reference from Isaiah here are a couple of references I think are pertinent -

D&C 123: 12
12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—

JS-M 1: 5-6
5 And Jesus answered, and said unto them: Take heed that no man deceive you;
6 For many shall come in my name, saying—I am Christ—and shall deceive many;

It's funny I think that as Obama was referenced as a Messiah that he didn't openly state that that was unnecessarily flattering... as I recall he just soaked it all in.
There were references throughout the campaign to him being Messianic; one specifically I recall where I believe it was Biden paralleling Obama and Christ both being community organizers.
2 Ne. 28: 21
21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

We are living another one of the infamous pride cycles and our nation will not correct course until as a nation we repent and humble ourselves. This would include the prioritization of Faith in God.

Shawn O. said...

There are things that I agree with "We need as a country to stop looking to politicians to solve problems and look to ourselves." I back this up 100% I feel that the majority of politicians were never trained to even identify a problem, let alone solve it. Political rhetoric leads to the worst kind of stalemate. I would prefer a room full of individuals with a background/training in problem solving - completely objective in both approach and solution. Maybe scientists ;)

Now, GWH, comparing Obama to McVeigh is pretty obtuse. McVeigh was personally responsible for the death of nearly 200 innocent people, including babies! Obama hasn't bombed anybody. No matter what you might think of him, he is NOT a terrorist. I wouldn't even compare Bush with McVeigh, and he started a freaking war.

I agree that Obama has associated with some questionable people, among them Reverend Wright. Thank goodness R. Wright is not the president, or vice president. It might actually be worse than having Cheney back.

As for Obama being a Messiah, I think you need to look at this carefully. Obama himself has never said "I'm Christ incarnate" and neither has anybody else. I adamantly disagree with any direct comparison stating that Obama is THE Messiah. However, pointing out Christ-like attributes in someone is common practice (including in our faith). Joe Biden's rubbish about being a good community organizer is just inane, but if someone where to say that Obama, or any other president, had a desire for a better country, was long-suffering, or even charitable, I don't think I would have many qualms. Now, for the term Messianic, this could potentially be applied (albeit often grandiose) to any individual that is hoped/expected/prayed to lead a people to a better situation. Moses was certainly Messianic, but so were the founding fathers, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. To me calling a person a Messiah is sacrilegious, but it isn't such a big deal that we need to call Obama a false-Christ. If you can find a non-narcissistic politician, I'd like to meet them. But ego does not equate a son of perdition, so reign it in a bit.

I agree we need to prioritize a faith in God, and a re-emphasis on family values. We must also never forget that some people don't practice the same religion (or any religion) and we should fight as hard for their rights to "worship how, where, and what they may" as for our own.

Jacob S. said...

Shawn, you've made me think about the way I've been approaching politics and this blog recently. I've been as guilty as anyone getting caught up in the politics, the Democrats v. Republicans, "us" v. "them". Sometimes what I forget is that the very most important things are God and family. Not only are they the most important, they are lightyears beyond everything else. Sometimes I get so involved in my political thoughts that they start to take on a more substantial role in who I am than they should.

I think this is what is happening with the "Tea Party" movement, as well. They've gotten their priorities all mixed up. Politics and governing are important, but they aren't so important that we need to start comparing our president to terrorists and murderers, that we need to judge a person's righteousness or worthiness based on their political opinions.

As Shawn said, political protests are good and democratic, but they need to be proportional to the perceived threat. We live in a country that is safe and our freedoms are intact. It seems, however, that our emotions are getting the best of us right now and we are losing all perspective. Whether or not health care reform passes or we balance the budget again are important, but not so important that we should create permanent divisions among ourselves where we otherwise have an enormous amount in common.

GreatWhiteHope said...

Honestly, I anticipated a much sharper backlash from all of you. I'm glad we all can agree to disagree on some things and agree to agree on others. That said, it's funny that you mentioned McVeigh specifically killing babies. Did you know no political candidate in this country has more adamately supported legislation for abortion than Obama? Did you know he supported it so resolutely that he included provisions allowing infanticide in the state of Illinois? Infanticide is a practice of terminating the life of a child after birth due to a botched abortion. Pretty grisly. That is one reason among many that Obama and his motives are very questionable to me. I don't understand how any practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can support a party who supports abortion as part of its political platform. Granted there are situations ie. incest, rape, etc. where the exception may be rationalized and justified, but the majority of abortions are performed as a means of birth control. Furthermore, I don't understand how being LDS you can support a party that promotes "alternative lifestyles" and sexual immoralities as "civil rights". You're leftist and you're mormon, I get it you want to be different. You don't want to be mainstream. Maybe you all live in Utah, in which case I have even more understanding in not wanting to appear assimilated by the Borg. Either way, maybe you all can shed some light on how you rectify these issues in your minds? I sincerely am interested, and open minded enough to be willing to change my perspective if you can present a convincing enough argument.

Shawn O. said...

If you are interested in our opinion on homosexuality vis-a-vis the Mormon church, I would start with this post from Jacob S.

Neither of us have ever condoned homosexual behavior. Nevertheless, I have to ask myself how I feel about giving a "sinner" the same rights that I have. For me, the one thing I want most is the freedom to live my life the way I want. The catch is that I have to support for others that which I want most for myself. If a heterosexual couple is living in sin their civil rights? For me, and I think I can speak for Jacob on this one, the main focus is on the individual, not the sin. I want peace and equality.

As for abortion, start here:

While I do affiliate myself with the Democratic Party for the most part, that does not mean I have to accept everything they do or say verbatim. I don't know many people that subscribe to one party and agrees 100% with every action or ideology of that party. If there is such a person, they are either not asking enough questions, or are a complete fool.

Finally, the idea that we are liberal because we just want to be different is a bit offensive. Yeah, our punk-rock roots taught us a lot about questioning everything. Or is it that questioning everything led us to our punk-rock roots? The point is, Jacob S. and I aren't worried about "assimilation", and we are both much too comfortable with our own opinions to worry whether or not we fit in. I would actually argue that many Mormons outside of Utah are more "liberal" than those inside Utah. As such, we might actually be part of a majority, and therefore not different at all.

GreatWhiteHope said...

There is one premise that must be understood when it comes to homosexuality, and that is;

Gen. 1: 27
27 God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

First let me distinguish between homosexuality the "urge" and homosexuality the "act". I accept as fact that some people are born with homosexual tendencies. Others are born with strong heterosexual tendencies. Societally adultery is wrong and unacceptable. It is the act of infidelity that is wrong and society does not condone it. How is that any different from society not finding the act of homosexuality acceptable? By urging society to accept sin results in a permissive society which results ultimately in societal degradation. I worked for an airline, an industry known for employing many homosexuals. I had some great coworkers/friends who were gay. We had an understanding that we can still have "peace" between us without my condoning of their behavior. I would expect them to hold me to the same standard if they suspected me of cheating on my wife. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. Life is about self mastery. Controlling heterosexual urges is as vital to my progression as it is the role of others to control their homosexual urges. That is how we progress - overcoming weaknesses.

Jacob S. said...

I'm glad you brought up adultery because it is the perfect example of what we are talking about. We agree that adultery is a sin and should not be condoned. As members of the church we do not practice adultery and we discipline adulterers. But we do not call for making it illegal. We use our loving influence as a church to teach right from wrong on this issue and leave the criminal law out of the equation. Just because we, as a church, do not call for making adultery illegal does not mean we condone it or are hastening the decline of our society.

Same with homosexuality. We don't condone homosexual acts, but that is our religion. There is no need for us to legislate our religious beliefs. We can use our influence as a church to teach right from wrong, but we can leave the criminal law out of the equation. They are not mutually exclusive positions to hold.

That said, we've made all these positions known ad naseum on this site and we feel no need to rehash them all here. If you want to peruse what we've written, feel free. We've also made the conscious decision not to bite and react "sharply" when someone comes trolling. It's simply not how we want this site to be run.

GreatWhiteHope said...

Then you are more libertarian than liberal. I consider myself a conservative libertarian. I don't buy into all of it because here's the thing - we have to work within the existing system until we can get to a point where we can transition into full fledged libertarianism. I agree with you in that people should have the freedom to act how they want to act without the government getting involved except to protect the infringement of that right for another. However, since government has already established its influence in marriage (via marraige licenses etc.) by extending that influence to include homosexuals for no other reason than to extend the actual terminology of "marriage" (because civil unions accomplish all that a marriage would and I'm not against that) then society would then condone homosexuality and the sacred meaning of the term marraige would be degraded. Do you guys believe in a prophet of God? Do you believe in modern revelation? Because the proclamation states that marriage is defined between a man and a woman.

Dallin said...

I agree with a lot of what you've said here. Certainly there is danger in the extremes. Certainly men that turn to destruction to vent anger are listening to the wrong voices. Certainly Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck do some serious damage through their sensationalized rhetoric. Certainly all of that.

It should be clear that this goes both ways, though. Certainly socialism is at least equally as soul destroying as anarchy, for example. And while I do not condone the actions of men that fly planes into buildings, there is some truth in their statements about taxes and government mismanagement. Civil war is doubtful, but people are tired of paying for indoor rainforests in Iowa, bridges to nowhere and $80 toilet seats.

It is okay that people are dissatisfied with a long history of mismanagement (which spans both democratic and republican administrations). The trouble is that many of us don't know how to express feelings, few of us are very good at compromise and most of us are becoming increasingly rigid and extreme in our thinking.

So now what?

Jacob S. said...

I think you are pretty much right on, Dallin, and we all agree that extremism from both sides is a threat to our nation. I've always thought, and I think some of prophecies from the early church leaders confirm, that our biggest threat as a nation is internal. I honestly believe that even though we are a tiny minority in the country, our good examples as members of the church carry disproportional weight. All we can do be open about our beliefs, respectful of others, and hopefully avoid the extreme actions and rhetoric of both sides.