Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why I am conservative part 3

I am firm believer in the Bill of Rights. If you know your history the Bill of Rights was added to the original Constitution after fears from local state governments. During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the American Revolution. They demanded a "bill of rights" that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.
Here are the Bill of Rights

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Yet these cornerstones of liberty that have inspired and spawned freedom movements across the globe are under constant attack here at home. While both sides of the political aisle have sought to undermine these guaranteed freedoms and have sought to centralize power in Washington DC, far away from the people, this has been the hallmark of progressive idealogy.
The Fairness Doctrine would seek to limit or abolish free speech. The freedom to express religious thought in the public square is more limited here that in Russia or most Communist states. Eminent domain laws have been abused and people in many cases have not received just compensation for personal property. Excessive fines imposed? What a joke! Sorry I cant even abide with warrantless wiretaps on US citizens, (no problem on others for me). The right to keep and bear arms continues to be under attack. The right to peaceably assemble? How many laws have been passed trying to make peaceful demonstrations illegal? A speedy trial, yeah right. How about Amendment X. This amendment once caused a civil war in our country. The Republican party was right on this issue, the states have no right to secede. Since then though the rise of power in the Federal Government and the seizure of power by the Feds from the people on a local level has gone unchecked.
As a conservative I know that sometimes freedom brings with it danger, discomfort and even the loss of services (gasp!), but freedom is too sweet to give up.
"Live Free or Die" is the official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, adopted by the state in 1945. It is possibly the best-known of all state mottos, partly because it speaks to an assertive independence historically found in American political philosophy, my philosophy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why I am a conservative part 2

Notice I say a conservative, not a Republican. There are many Republicans who do not hold to a conservative worldview. Also the term conservative is not a term I am big on. Conservative conveys clinging to the status quo. Progressive conveys new and creative. Two hundred years ago it was considered radical. In many other countries and civilizations this world view is considered new and creative. Also progressive thought has been around for just as long (if not longer) than the conservative view. Enough with the labels.

My worldview holds that a big part of the role of government is to protect the innocent and the weak, defending those who cannot defend themselves. Through our history the party of the conservatives have done a much better job at this than those on the progressive sides. All political parties have had corrupt elements that have taken advantage of the helpless though. Here are the five people groups that I see in our current culture (referring to the US, not the entire world) that need our help.
1. The pre-born. They have no voice, but they do have a soul. They cannot fight back but they can feel pain. The do no vote but they do count. Who is taking up the cause for the single most oppressed group in history. This is genocide at its worst.

2. Children. Every politician and any other kind of leader says they support children and they even pass supposed laws to help them. Once again many of these policies hurt them. In areas that are ruled by long term progressives, children linger in the foster care system for years. Families are penalized by taxes for staying married, having a parent stay home, trying to choose a school for their child that is safe and thriving or any other host of burden s thrust on parents by the government. Have you ever read Animal Farm by George Orwell? You may remember what the pigs did with the puppies? Governments always drift to the position that they can better train and rear children than parents can. My worldview sees the government as a terrible guardian for children.

3. Elderly. If you ever sit and listen to those in power positions in any organization, the elderly are always marginalized and their opinion counts for nothing. The prevailing thought is the elderly need to give their money and be quiet. “Your time has past.” We could learn something from Oriental culture on this matter.

4. Small businesses. Unfortunately neither party on the national level looks out for this group. Progressives tax and regulate business so much that no one could start a business under such a burden. Republicans (in general) give such breaks to the big corporations that enables them to squash smaller competition. The recent Health bill just gave a bunch of power to the big insurance companies while making it next to impossible for smaller companies to survive. With smaller businesses and entrepreneurs, and society will eventually crumble in on itself and decay.

5. Victims of crime. So often our society is so concerned with the criminal and the environment he or she grew up in and the roadblocks they faced that they legitimize their crimes against innocent people (often children and the elderly) who may have faced the very same roadblocks. I am also interested in protecting potential victim of crimes by being tough on true offenders. Now we want to let them vote? Yes I believe in eternal and personal forgiveness, but not societal forgiveness. It is simply not Biblical or moral or practical. I am also for the humane treatment of all humans. The original conservatives wrote it into the constitution!

So, to use a current buzz word, I am all about “social justice” when it comes to these harassed and forgotten people groups. Regardless of their race, sex or religion, they face discrimination and unfair practices at every turn. Now I am not for taking from innocent people, or even guilty people, to repair damages for these groups. I am for government protecting them from crimes, getting out of their way in their pursuit of happiness and guaranteeing their basic rights to life and liberty!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why I am a conservative part 1

It seems to me that the modern Christian movement (or post-modern “whatever”) has recently been using the conservative philosophy as a punching bag. What used to be the dominant worldview in not only churches but our country has now been vilified and shunned in a few dramatic years. So now I am a conservative in exile, but a conservative nonetheless.
You see I never adopted this world view because it is prominent. In fact in my relatively short lifespan the predominant world view has shifted back and forth but has been steadily shifting to the left or the progressive worldview. I am much better at writing than I am at debating (my ADHD kicks in and my mind goes two thousand directions and then has a meltdown). So I thought I would blog a series on why I hold this worldview.
For my first entry I hold this worldview because it is the one that has worked. Everyone gets so upset that the US has so much. This is most likely going to change very soon. But the reason the US has so much is that the concept of the USA has worked so well. That concept is that every person has the right and ability to work as hard as they see fit to succeed at what they have in their hearts and the government needs to do as little as possible to stand in their way. The government’s role is to help the citizen succeed by providing an climate in which hard work and honesty and compassion are rewarded, and laziness, dishonesty and greed are punished. Greed, as defined as not working hard but rather taking from others, is not an American value, or at least it wasn’t.
Yes the US has had its problems, but is one of the few systems where those problems have worked themselves out because the people put enough pressure on the government and their fellow citizens to make those changes. Our system is one of the few that has given equal protection to everyone. This is was a hallmark of the progressive worldview, yet so many with this mindset can acknowledge that the system our founders put in place is one of the few that has produced so much freedom for so many!
The conservative view also sees reliance for any person on government programs as soul snatching and dignity stealing. A hand-up makes a person grateful and feel part of the human race. A hand-out lulls a person into a pit of indentured servitude. Now many of my progressive friends would disagree with me here, but this is my firm belief. God created us to be creative, to work for something and not receive something for nothing over a lifetime.
Here is something that we as Christians do not want to admit. All the social programs, soup kitchens, food banks and even the work of the Salvation Army has never solved poverty. It has been nothing but a drug to ease the pain. Poverty has only been solved in a person’s life when they have been challenged and encouraged to lift themselves from that poverty. In fact sometimes our good intentions have done more long-term harm than they have good. In the west we have the life-long poor who in many cases struggle with obesity. A little different than in a third world country. In other words, they do not need to work, so why bother? If you are honest you know why. Their souls have been robbed from them.

If we do not add value through our efforts to society we become shells of who God created us to be. Our founders knew this. They knew that government should empower the people by rewarding hard work, not the lack thereof.
So the conservative in me sees a food bank and says, where are the money management classes and the job training seminars to help people never have to return here. A hand-up is a thousand times more valuable than a hand-out. This has been the American way and this view has helped even the least talented among our citizens such as myself live a prosperous life!

"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." – Samuel Adams

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause." - Padme Amidala
No more to comment on!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Home is where the heart is

For the last 10 months we have rented a farm house from some people at church. It looks as if it has finally sold (they have been trying for almost three years to sell it), so we are moving into town. We have loved living on the farm and we thank God for such a amazing opportunity to live there. The horses, the llama, the barn, the 3,000+ square feet of living space, and the quiet of the country.
Our new home, at least for the next 6 months, is about half the size and is a townhome, sharing one side of the home with neighbors.

On the plus side it is super close to work and a newer home. We also welcome back with open arms a dishwasher, which we have lived without for the last 10 months. This will make house number seven since Patsy and I have been married. We celebrate 15 years together this August. This from a man who lived in the same house throughout childhood.

While we have lived in seven houses now, we have but one home. When you have moved around like we have, the saying home is where the heart is becomes an axiom to live by. For us our home is where our family is. As long as we are together, we are at home! As long as Christ is the center of our home, then we are truly grounded in love! It bring s new meaning to the saying "Home Sweet Home" for us!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Pats!!

Gotcha Day

Friday, March 12th, our family celebrated our first ever Gotcha Day. A year ago we officially adopted David and Chase. Even though they had been with us for two years prior to that day, we purposed in our hearts that March 12th was going to be a very special day in the Martin home. We have come to the conclusion that adoption is something to celebrate and not hide!

So first thing in the morning I ran to the hollowed Canadian chain, Tim Hortons, and bought some donuts! After breakfast we all sat down at the computer and looked at some photos of David and Chase when they were babies, with their biological mother and of the adoption day back in Roanoke. Then, after some school in the morning our entire family went to the most American of restaurants, Chuck E Cheese for lunch (homeschooling rocks!). I am happy to report that with a lot of of Parmesan and peppercorn, the pizza was passable!

Then we stopped by and elderly couple's house. Frank and Ruth Lawrence are from our church. they have been married over 60 years. Frank has been building a model railroad set-up in his basement for years and it is quite a display. He mentioned it to me and I asked him if I could bring my boys over to see it. They all loved it and were amazed by it's sheer size!

At the end of the day we had family video night and cuddled up the couch. What a great Gotcha Day we had.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New blog

I have started a new blog to support a book I am working on. More information ot follow. Anyways check out the blog here -

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Friday, March 05, 2010

The sound of the vacuum cleaner....

Another post on family life by Patsy

There is something slightly comforting about the sound of the vacuum cleaner running. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s constant humming drowns out the sounds of the ringing telephone, the way too loud Sponge Bob episode on TV, or the screams from children fighting over the same toy. Anyway, I find it somehow soothing. It can be pleasant to lose yourself in the relative peace of the soft pings and tinks as the vacuum picks up the occasional stray object. One can revel in the knowledge that not only are you grabbing a few quiet moments, but you are also keeping your home “Good Housekeeping” clean. I never mind vacuuming….at least I didn’t…until we became dogless.
I sense confusion, dear reader. Can it be that you do not comprehend the connection between the family dog and the peace of the gentle vacuum sounds? Allow me to enlighten you. You see, while we had a dog, I could vacuum the entire house listening to the gentle sounds of the carpets being cleaned. However, the first time I vacuumed under our dining room table after our dog was gone, I was forced to face a very grim reality. The soft pings and tinks of the vacuum doing it’s job suddenly became loud and continuous thunks and rattles. There was debris in mass quantity under my table! In short, there was enough food under there to feed a third world country! While our dog Tucker was alive, I was happy living in total denial believing that my children were at least eating some of the healthy foods that were placed before them. Now, I was being forced to look at my sons in a very different light. Those little stinkers had been passing their unwanted food to the dog for years!
Believe me, I have been the recipient of whinning and complaining comments about my food for years. I am under no delusion as to my children’s abhorance of healthy green vegetables and low fat meats. I am also completely comfortable in my ability to cook good tasting food. My skills are not in question. It is their taste buds that are to blame. No, it is not the shock of finding they had not wanted their food that caught me by surprise. It was the knowledge that they had somehow gotten the food from their plates to the floor without being caught that really caused me some trepidation. Were my children really this good at deception? I didn’t know whether to applaud their slight of hand, or discipline their unethical disposal of perfectly good food.
I am no stranger to the picky-eater. I had a very good friend whose son would only eat yogurt and cheese sticks. He might occasionally eat a few potato chips dipped in ketchup, but that was it. And definitely no peanut butter! I once tricked him into tasting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich by telling him it was a PBJ. He took a bite, swallowed and said, “Not too bad”. That was until his older brother explained to him that PBJ stood for peanut butter and jelly. He proceeded to throw up. That was the day I learned a very valuable lesson…..always work alone. Of course the whole situation was a little more comical because the boy’s mother was a nutritionalist.
At that time, my first son was just a toddler and I had no real idea of the problems that awaited me. He became a picky-eater the day he started to actually chew food. OK, that does sound a little strange, but he really wouldn’t eat anything that took too long to chew. That pretty much narrowed down the meat choices for him. Hotdogs were OK, hamburger was not. In fact, we have been known to ask for a cheeseburger without the meat at fast food restaurants. (It’s funny…they never believe you the first time you ask for that, and they always give you a slight smile as they repeat your order back.) Of course, as he grew, he learned to eat a wider variety of meats. He now eats cheeseburgers with the meat, but not much else.
One of my adopted sons had a hard time eating any vegetable and could not stand the idea of someone else holding a spoon anywhere near his mouth. The first night we put our “foot down” and actually required him to eat his vegetables is now known in our family as the “green bean incident of 2007”. He was amazing in his perserverance. The child actually held one green bean in his mouth for 45 minutes without chewing or swallowing. I’m not really sure if we can completely claim victory in the green bean showdown, because he never actually “ate” the thing. He just held it in his mouth until a little trickle of green drool started running down the side of his mouth. Finally, I think it just mixed with his saliva and he swallowed it accidentally. It’s a sweet little family memory that we will always cherish.
I have a son that will eat mostly meat, but not much dairy; a son that will eat all dairy and bread, but not much meat; sons that eat a huge breakfast of any kind, but not much supper; and one who can’t seem to find a food he doesn’t like. As long as it is well known that I am not a short-order cook, and everyone must eat their vegetables, I can live happily in total oblivion. But now, I have come to the realization that my “happy place” of ignorance is being threatened. I can see that I have only two options open to me…either get another dog, or stop vacuuming under the dining room table. I wonder how long it takes for food to bi-degrade on it’s own……