Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Research Shows Gay Parenting Not Optimal

Gay marriage is legal in Utah of all places. On December 20th, Utah's Amendment 3, which defined marriage to be between one man and one woman and was added to the Utah constitution by 66 percent of the voters, was struck down by Federal judge Robert Shelby who also refused to stay his decision pending appeal. The Supreme Court has since put a hold on further gay marriages pending appeal.

Support for gay marriage is based on feelings with little thought to what it will mean to society, and especially children. To gain support for gay marriage, supporters share stories of women or men who have been together for decades. What they don't focus on is that gay marriage is not a goal for the majority of gays, and that even when their is a marriage, gay values are accepting of infidelity during marriage, which is not acceptable in traditional marriages. Nevertheless, they have a goal of labeling anyone who does not support gay marriage as bigots.

Supporters of traditional family values are not bigots. Rather, they are supporting a position of a family structure of what is best for children.

Supporters of gay marriage would like us to believe that gay couples are equal to straight couples in parenting. They use self-selected, unrepresentative studies to support their claims. These studies lack objectivity and scientific rigor. With society's experiment of gay marriage so new, it is difficult to find good data on it's impact.  Perhaps the best resource we have at this time is Canadian census data.  Same sex marriage has been legal since 2005 in Canada, so we have a large pool of census data we can look at to see what happens when gay marriage is legal. Among the findings so far: Only 45% of girls being raised by two men and only 15% of girls being raised by two women finish high school. That's right, the high school drop out rate for girls with two mommies is 85%. Ouch! (See study here.)

Other studies have found other disturbing results of gay parenting. For example the Family Research Council reported results from a study by sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin. Here is what he found about children (who are now adults) raised by gay parents (men and women couples).

  • Are much more likely to have received welfare
  • Have lower educational attainment
  • Report less safety and security in their family of origin
  • Report more ongoing "negative impact" from their family of origin
  • Are more likely to suffer from depression
  • Have been arrested more often
  • If they are female, have had more sexual partners--both male and female

  • There was additional data for children (now adults) being raised by two women and this showed their children:

  • Are more likely to be currently cohabiting
  • Are almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance
  • Are less likely to be currently employed full-time
  • Are more than 3 times more likely to be unemployed
  • Are nearly 4 times more likely to identify as something other than entirely heterosexual
  • Are 3 times as likely to have had an affair while married or cohabiting
  • Are an astonishing 10 times more likely to have been "touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver."
  • Are nearly 4 times as likely to have been "physically forced" to have sex against their will
  • Are more likely to have "attachment" problems related to the ability to depend on others
  • Use marijuana more frequently
  • Smoke more frequently
  • Watch TV for long periods more frequently
  • Have more often pled guilty to a non-minor offense

  • As you can see, there is strong evidence that same-sex relationships are not as positive as traditional marriage. If the citizens of a state want to make the mistake of legalizing same-sex marriage, they should be able to make such a dumb move. However, if citizens of another state see the wisdom of marriage being for one man and one woman, they should also have the right to make this a state law. To force a state to allow gay marriage against the will of its citizens when the potential for harm to society is so great is folly.  

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    Monday, December 23, 2013

    A Pope Who Leads By Example

    In 1958, the late political scientist and Harvard professor Edward C. Banfield wrote an insightful book called The Moral Basis of a Backward Society. Banfield spent two years during the 1950s living in Montegrano, Italy, a small village of 3,400 poor farmers and laborers. The farmers’ work was seasonal, and although they were very busy during the planting and harvest season, they had a lot of free time during other parts of the year.  Despite this availability of free labor, he noticed that the locals made no effort to help out with the local orphanage or repair a crumbling monastery. The citizens took no action to improve local schools or health care services. Unless someone was family, he or she could expect no help from a neighbor. 

    By comparison, Banfield looked at St. George, Utah, then a small town of 4,500. Compared to the temperate climate in Italy, St. George was not a natural location for growing crops. There were limited natural resources in the area. I guess no one told the residents of St. George that they should wallow in their poverty. Banfield noted that in just one issue of the local paper there was a variety of public-spirited activities. The Red Cross was conducting a membership drive. A local women’s club was raising funds to build another dorm for the local junior college.  A local business had contributed an encyclopedia to the school district. The Chamber of Commerce was working on getting support to build a paved road to two nearby towns. A local church was collecting pennies to support a hospital 350 miles away. Parents participated in local Parent Teacher Association meetings at the schools.

    Banfield concluded that Montegrano remained mired in poverty because its citizens had no concept of giving. Meanwhile, St. George was thriving because its citizens knew that giving was a basic primary value.

    Recently, Pope Francis was selected by Time Magazine as their 2013 Person of the Year. Given Time's leftward leaning, he was not chosen for his stand against abortion or his views on not ordaining women to the priesthood or allowing priests to marry. Rather he was selected because of the great example he has been in looking after the poor and not living an extravagant lifestyle. At this season of the year where much of the focus is on commercialism and spending money on extravagant gifts for people far from need, it is great to see a high profile example of looking after the needs of the less fortunate before the wants of those who live in affluence. 

    When giving is local and personal as opposed to Federal via forced taxes, the results are always better. Thank you Pope Francis for setting a great personal example.

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    Thursday, December 19, 2013

    Quoting the Bible is Hate Speech

    The A&E Network suspended Phil Robertson from future episodes of the popular Duck Dynasty TV show.

    Robertson gets in trouble for saying, "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

    I guess you can't quote the Bible in public anymore.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10
    New International Version (NIV)
    9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men
    10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

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    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    The Best Read Aloud Christmas Book Ever

    There are a lot of great read aloud Christmas stories. Of course none of them would be possible without the original version of the original Christmas story in the New Testament. Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol is a great classic, and Dr. Suess has his The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, which is a favorite of millions of readers. But there is another book that I believe should be acknowledged as the Best Read Aloud Christmas Book - Barbara Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

    Ms. Robinson, who passed away only a few months ago, wrote this book in 1972. What makes it such a great read aloud book is that at 100 pages, it is not that long. With just seven chapters, you can read it in just one week's time if you read one chapter a day, but you might get through it faster since your listeners may demand that you go on and read another chapter.

    But what makes this book the most appealing is that it is laugh out loud funny while at the same time it has a touching message of the meaning of the birth of Christ that will easily bring tears to you and your listeners.

    So do your family a favor and turn off the TV and read this book together. You will not regret it.

    Is there another read aloud Christmas book you would recommend even more?

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    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Fiddlin' - O Crooked Town of Washington

    O Crooked Town of Washington

    sung to the tune of O Little Town of Bethlehem

    O crooked town of Washington, 
    How oft we see thee lie. 
    Above thy full and endless bull, 
    The simple truth goes bye; 
    Yes in thy dark streets lurketh, 
    The everlasting Left. 
    The hopes and fears of all the years, 
    Are left in thee bereft.

    Barack is born of Stanley, 
    His healthcare is all awry. 
    While mortals sleep, NSA keeps, 
    Their watch of prying eyes. 
    The cable shows, together, 
    Proclaim the holy birth, 
    And praises sing, Obama's king, 
    Welfare to men on earth. 
    How silently, how silently, 
    The progressive tax is laid. 
    The rich impart the greater part, 
    So liberals can be paid. 
    No ear may hear his coming; 
    But in this world of spite, 
    Where meek souls will receive him, still, 
    The taxman takes a bite.

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    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Obama, No Nelson Mandela

    Back in 1988, Senator Lloyd Bentson, then the Democrat Vice Presidential candidate ripped his opponent, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle with one of the most famous lines in debate history:

    ¨Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.¨

    For some reason, our current president, Barack Obama, seems to see himself as a protege of the late South African President Nelson Mandela. Well, to paraphrase Senator Bentson, ¨Barack, you're no Nelson Mandela.¨

    First, let's get the superficial similarities out of the way. Yes, they were both the first black presidents of their respective countries. Yes, they were both attracted to socialist/communist teachings in early adulthood. Yes, they both were honored with Nobel Peace prizes (Mandela for his role in the peaceful transition of power in South Africa, Obama for . . . judicious use of Predator drones(?).)

    The differences are far more numerous.

    • Mandela spent the better part of three decades in prison. Obama was a child of privilege, with highly educated parents and grandparents, attending the most exclusive private school in Hawaii and with the help of affirmative action, attending the most prestigious higher education facilities in the nation.

    • Mandela reconciled with the oppressive apartheid government leaders to bring a mostly peaceful transition to black majority. Once president, he included his political enemies in important posts in his government and was seen singing the old apartheid era national anthem. Obama is politically incapable of working with Republicans as seen from his stimulus and Obamacare programs, and failure to tackle needed reforms to Social Security and Medicare.

    • Mandela recognized the positive role of religion. In his autobiography he said, "The Church was as concerned with this world as the next: I saw that virtually all of the achievements of Africans seemed to have come about through the missionary work of the Church." In an unguarded moment, Obama disparaged people for clinging to religion. He has interfered with people's rights to practice their religion in a Supreme Court battle to force religious owners of businesses to provide abortion drugs to employees. His administration has directed the Armed Forces to take steps to reduce the public affirmation of faith by our soldiers, sailors, and particularly airmen.

    • Mandela is mentioned in the same breath as Lincoln, Gandhi, and King with their goal of unity and peace with others that did not share their views. Obama has no interest in taking steps to unity or recognizing others who have different political views. For example, he is making a high profile visit to attend Mandela's funeral and made it a point to shake hands with Cuban dictator Raul Castro. He made no such visit for Margaret Thatcher's funeral.

    • Mandela was a respected world statesman. Obama is an incompetent political hack.

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    Monday, December 9, 2013

    How Muhammad Became a Christian

    If you are familiar with the writing of Jeff Benedict, it is probably from the articles he writes for Sports Illustrated magazine. However, Benedict also writes books, mostly related to sports. Thankfully, he also helps out with memoirs.

    This year he helped Tito Momen write his autobiography, My Name Used to Be Muhammad: The True Story of a Muslim Who Became a ChristianConversions of Muslims to Christianity are so rare that a story like this is newsworthy.  In Momen's case it a journey of extremes. Momen was the Nigerian born son to a Muslim father who held extremist Muslim beliefs that are associated with the radical Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, and Al-Queda. Tito was not Momen's original first name. His father named him Muhammad.

    Momen story is a journey from strict Islam to a doubting follower of Muhammad, to a new Christian convert who was imprisoned 15 years for his religion. He was disowned by his father but had an amazing reconciliation the day his father died.

    Back in 1965, when Momen was 5 years old, his father started him on a course to become a Islamic imam. He gave young Muhammad a copy of the Quran and a bunch of notebooks with instructions to copy the scriptures in full as a method to memorize the book. He was allowed no toys or any forms of entertainment. He was allowed to go to the local school which was 80% Muslim and 20% Christian. One of his teachers gave him a book of African stories to help him learn to read. When he took it home to read to his mother and other children in the area, his father took the book away because he was only allowed to read the Quran to the children. When a teacher noticed he had a talent for drawing, he began practicing at home, but his father put a stop to it, and warned he would be beaten if caught again. He was allowed one hour to play soccer everyday, but after he got in fight with some boys at age 10, his father took his ball away telling Muhammad that he could have it back when he turned 16.

    The strict form of Islam followed by Muhammad's father was very detrimental to women. His father regularly beat his wife for breaking Islamic laws such as failure to properly cover herself. He arranged the marriage of Muhammad's 14 year old sister to a 30 something man she had never met and without telling his wife first.

    Muhammad was a good student and wanted to please his father. He did not always make the choices his father would wish.  Once he went to see a movie which was forbidden by his religion. His father found out and punished him. Muhammad recognized that he was a disciple of a religion of fear, but he knew no other life.

    When he was fourteen he earned a scholarship with some of his neighbor cousins to attend a Muslim college prep program in Damascus, Syria. He thought he was going to continued learning all subjects, but when he got there he discovered the only subject covered was the Islam religion as understood by the radical Muslim Brotherhood. It was mostly just memorizing and rote repetition, which he was good at. Students who did not recite the Quran correctly were beaten.  Once he questioned a verse that said the Prophet Muhammad was told it was sometimes necessary to kill people. Young Momen asked his professor who told this to Muhammad since it was not clear from the scripture. For this he was beaten. He was branded a troublemaker for thinking too much. He really got in trouble when he had his friends got back to school late and because they had not eaten for a whole day, they fixed some food during Ramadan when Muslims are prohibited from cooking and eating. They all ran when discovered and all were initially caught except for Momen. When he turned himself in, he found his friends in the school courtyard in front of all the other students. They had been beaten by the professor. He knew what they had done was wrong but he was very familiar with the Quran and could not understand why his teachers never displayed forgiveness. Seeing his beaten friends, his temper flared and he hit the professor. For this, he and the others kicked out of the school and sent home.

    His father was furious with Momen when he came back. He was banished to a remote village for a year, but because he showed remorse, his father arranged for him to attend college in Cairo. When he graduated he would be qualified to be an Islamic cleric.

    Despite the predominance of Muslims in Cairo, it was a very secular city in the early 1980's. Away from home, Muhammad slowly fell away from his strict upbringing. He took up smoking, drinking, and partying, even getting a part-time job as a DJ. He also started reading banned history books that were critical of The Prophet Muhammad. When he mistakenly showed his notes to his professor, he knew he was doomed and that it would be reported back to his father.  Around this time he met up with a friend to listen to music records. This friend had been a regular smoker and drinker, but he had recently given up these bad habits and converted to Christianity. Intrigued, Momen got a Bible from his friend and read it in just a few days. He found a religion of hope and love, nothing like the religion of fear and oppression he learned from his father.

    Momen took the rare step in Egypt of being baptized a Christian. He changed his name from Muhammad to Tito. When his father found out about it, he held a public funeral for his son. He blamed his wife for his son's betrayal and she committed suicide under the persecution of her husband. Momen had received death threats for his actions, so he knew he had to get out of Egypt to a Western country. A friend got him a false passport that would get him to Canada, but he was caught before he was able to get there. He was put in jail and tortured. He was released on probation but later imprisoned for life on falsified drug possession charges, but he knew the real reason was his new religion.

    For the next 15 years Momen was in prison in terrible living conditions. He developed health problems that almost cost him his life. Although it took years, Christians from Western nations and concerned diplomats worked tirelessly to get him free. He finally, left Egypt and now lives in Ghana.

    One day in his new home he was surprised to see his cousin, one of the boys who he had studied with in Syria. His cousin told him that Momen's father was dying and wanted to see him. He had never heard from his father since he became a Christian. He returned to Nigeria and found his father in the hospital.  His father told Momen, ¨Allah has answered my prayer. I asked Allah that if what you believe in is true, I should see your face before I died. Allah has shown me your face. So I believe in whatever you believe in.¨ Momen told his father that it was not too late for him, ¨Christ died for everyone. Everyone can be redeemed, Father.¨ They visited for two hours and Momen's father died later that day.

    In the book Momen writes, ¨The next time I will see him will be on the other side. I do believe he'll be there. At that point, he won't be a Muslim and I won't be a Christian. We will simply be children of God. . . . My mother will be there, too. I expect her to be at my father's side. She will be proud of me. She will know what I believe. And she will be forever grateful.¨

    Some of the passages of this book are pretty rough, so it might not be a good read for younger teens, but it would be a great read for older teens and adults.

    Many liberals and secularists are quick to criticize Christianity, but blindly overlook the narrow mindedness of Islam as practiced by millions. This book is a great example of how Christianity can bring peace, hope, and love to people. It is unfortunate, but telling, that countries that are predominately Muslim will not allow freedom of religion and the ability of people to choose for themselves what they want to believe.  What are they afraid off? At some level do Muslim leaders know that the message of the New Testament is superior to their message of fear and oppression?

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    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Dead Socialist Pilgrims

    Most Americans know only the basic story of the Pilgrims, mainly how the Indians helped them survive through a rough first year and how they celebrated with the first Thanksgiving. That first Thanksgiving was just a small respite in a terrible first two years of starvation and want. First of all, 45 of the 102 colonists died during the first winter of 1620-21. They were reduced to living on half rations during the winter of 1621-1622. The results of their 1622 farming was not much better and the winter of 1622-23 was another harsh period.

    What was the cause of this agricultural failure?

    The problem was that during the first two years the Pilgrims followed a communal system of farming that would make modern day socialists and share-the-wealthers proud.  There was no wicked one-percenters here; everyone starved equally.

    In April 1623, community leader William Bradford recognized that the communal system of farming was the cause of inadequate food production and made changes to fix things.  Here is how Nathaniel Philbrick describes it in his eminently readable Mayflower:

    The fall of 1623 marked the end of Plymouth's debilitating food shortages. For the last two planting seasons, the Pilgrims had grown crops communally--the approach first used at Jamestown and other English settlements. But as the disastrous harvest of the previous fall had shown, something drastic needed to be done to increase the annual yield.

    In April, Bradford had decided that each household should be assigned its own plot to cultivate, with the understanding that each family kept whatever it grew. The change in attitude was stunning. Families were now willing to work much harder than they had ever worked before. In previous years, the men had tended the fields while the women tended the children at home. ¨The women now went willingly into the field,¨ Bradford wrote, ¨and took their little ones with them to set corn.¨ The Pilgrims had stumbled on the power of capitalism. Although the fortunes of the colony still teetered precariously in the years ahead, the inhabitants never again starved.

    History is a great teacher, and it is disappointing that the too many liberals seem ignorant of the many failures of socialism and continue to take steps to tear down capitalism.

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    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Lewis Remembered. Kennedy, Not So Much.

    Today, most of the media attention is going to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But Kennedy was not the only famous person to die on November 22, 1963. Renowned Christian apologist C.S. Lewis also died on that day.

    I predict that in the long run, C.S. Lewis will be remembered by far more people than President Kennedy. C.S. Lewis's accomplishments were far more consequential than Kennedy's.

    The reason that Kennedy gets so much more attention is due to the violent, tragic nature of his death. Those old enough to remember have had their memory of Kennedy's murder seared by this shocking, evil event. However, dispassionate historians have to admit that Kennedy's achievements as president are hardly as consequential as many of his contemporary presidential peers. He was timid in his legislative agenda, afraid to offend his southern base by strongly supporting civil rights. His actions during the Bay of Pigs fiasco contributed to it's failure. Kennedy increased American involvement in Vietnam, leaving Johnson feeling no choice but to continue on with what Kennedy started. He can be praised for the handling of the Cuban missile crisis, but many historians believed his botched foreign relations with the Soviets earlier in his presidency caused it in the first place. His name is on a best selling book, Profiles of Courage, but it was ghost written by his speechwriter, Ted Sorenson. His reckless serial adultery, often engaged in by abandoning his Secret Service protection, and in at least one case involving Mafia figures, was a huge character flaw.

    Given enough time, Kennedy will become the 20th Century's James Garfield, a 19th Century president who was also killed early in his presidency before he had time to do anything of consequence.

    In comparison, C.S. Lewis is a beloved author whose books remain popular with millions of readers and have reached classic status. His Chronicles of Narnia books are being read by the great grandchildren of his original audience. His many books of Christian apology from The Screw Tape Letters to Surprised by Joy to Mere Christianity will be read for generations. All who read Lewis cannot help but feeling their lives have been made richer and more meaningful.

    Lewis is an icon who is troubling to the secular intelligentsia because, by training, he should be one of them -- an atheist who is governed by reason and logic. How could a brilliant man use reason and logic to abandon atheism and embrace the Christian faith? If he made such a radical change, should they also consider following his example? For most secularists, that is the last thing they want to do; they prefer to wallow in their atheistic superiority.

    I've blogged before about C.S. Lewis, you can read about it at Ayn Rand vs. C. S. Lewis.

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    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    More Frank Capra. Less Ayn Rand.

    Last week, Utah Senator Mike Lee gave a great talk to the Heritage Foundation making a case for the need of the Tea Party to promote a positive, hopeful future.

    His actions received a favorable editorial from the Washington Post's Michael Gerson.

    I was surprised to read Mike Lee's quote, ¨The conservative vision for America is not an Ayn Rand novel. It's a Norman Rockwell painting, or a Frank Capra movie; a nation of plain ordinary kindness, and a litte looking out for the other fellow too.¨

    I am not surprised that Lee would say this, I am surprised that is sounds like a blurb for my book Atlas Shrugged Jesus Wept.  In my book, I tell the Capraesque story {a la It's a Wonderful Life) of an angel trying to turn the characters from Atlas Shrugged from their worship of selfishness.

    I got your back, Senator Lee. This vision for conservative values is already in print!

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    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    The Gettysburg Address for Progressives

    With its graceful language influenced by the King James Bible, recognition that America is a nation under God, and that the soldiers who died were fighting for freedom, it is clear that the Gettysburg Address does not match up very well with modern progressive secularism which denies God, values entitlements more than freedom, and is ashamed of much of America's history.

    Had modern progressive sentiments been in place in the mind of our president in the 1860's, the Gettysburg Address could have been much different:

    Four score and seven 87 years ago our fathers a bunch of rich racist old white guys brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty stolen from the Native Americans, and dedicated to the proposition that all only white men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. the one percent should exploit the 99%. It is altogether unfitting and improper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work of socialism which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom equality -- and that government of the people left, by the people left, for the people left, shall not perish from the earth.

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    Monday, November 18, 2013

    Government Pays For Your Sins

    Recent news related to the roll-out of Obamacare has brought attention to the fact that the new law supports shameful behavior.

    The Atlantic Magazine (The Hidden Marriage Penalty in Obamacare) reported that an unmarried couple with the same income level as a married couple would receive a benefit equal to 10% of their income thanks to Obamacare not available to a married couple. In other words, the government is rewarding couples for not getting married or getting divorced to bring home more money. What could be more idiotic? It is easy to find evidence that unmarried households are a greater drain on government resources than married households. This policy works against encouraging married couples, the strongest family unit with the most benefits in society.

    Even worse, two left-wing nonprofits, ProgesssNow Colorado Education and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative have created an ad campaign to encourage young people to sign up for Obamacare because it will make it easier to binge drink and sleep around.

     With Obamacare go out and get wasted with your bros.

    Or . . .
     With Obamacare get plastered with your girlfriends.

    And how about this . . .

    Go find a man to fool around with.
    Not clear enough for you?
    How about this . . .

    You would almost think that these are parody ads created by The Onion, but no, these are the real deal. For liberals, Obamacare is just a way for government to fund disgraceful behavior.

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    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Good And Evil From The Same Family - What Was the Difference?

    A Light in Dark Places by Jennifer Graves and Emily Clawson is a courageous book. People who live in Utah and Washington may be familiar with the story of Jennifer's sister-in-law Susan Powell who went missing under suspicious circumstances in December of 2009. Her husband, Jennifer's brother, Josh Powell exhibited clear signs that he killed Susan, but not clear enough to be arrested by the police. The story became national news when Josh eventually killed his two young sons and committing suicide.

    My wife knows Jennifer Graves through home schooling activities and Steven Koecher, another missing person that Jennifer's father Stephen Powell tried to implicate in Susan's disappearance, was a neighbor of mine, so I was familiar with the story before I read the book. Nevertheless, the book provides a perspective that only a family member could have. It must have been a trying experience to be raised in such a difficult family environment and equally difficult to write about it.

    The story is a good example of how someones childhood can have an adverse impact under the influence of a bad father, as obviously happened to Josh, but at the same time it shows that under the positive influence of religion, people can make good choices, as obviously happened to Jennifer. Two people, raised in the same environment, end up living very different lives.

    Josh became a selfish, controlling tyrant while Jennifer became a loving wife and home school mom. It should give hope to people growing up in difficult circumstances. When life gives you a hard situation, you can still make good choices and it is made much easier when you have religious faith and understanding.

    As a society we would be better off encouraging greater religiosity instead of greater secularness that accepts pornography and other vices as normal. Such positive actions give us more people like Jennifer Graves and Susan Powell and fewer people like Josh Powell and Stephen Powell.

    So when you say prayers with your children and read scriptures as a family and take them to church each week you are doing the right thing, despite the fact that many in our society will label you as backward and superstitious.

    By their fruits ye shall know them.

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    Monday, November 11, 2013

    11-11 Ponderable: How America Created Hitler

    UPDATED 11-10-2014

    November 11 is the day of the year we rightly honor the veterans of our armed forces. This is a well deserved holiday since the freedoms we enjoy in our country are in no small part due to the actions they took in defending our nation.

    Those of us familiar with the date chosen for this holiday may be surprised to know the majority of the people do not know the significance of November 11. This was the day the fighting stopped to end World War I.

    If you ask people which war had the worst results for America, you would probably hear mentioned the Iraq War or the Vietnam War. While those wars did not end up with the results we had hoped for at the start, I believe that the worst war to involve America was World War I. This is contrary to general perception we have of World War I. We think of songs like ¨Over There¨ and that America was saving Europe from the evil Huns (Germany).

    However, a closer examination of the facts clearly shows that without America's involvement, Germany would not have suffered a humiliating defeat that resulted in the punishing terms in the Treaty of Versailles which in turn created the environment where Hitler and his Nazi goons were able to rise to power and lead Germany into World War II.

    World War I was not a war of good vs. evil as you can easily claim World War II to be. World War I was just another war among European nations that had been going on for centuries. What made this war particularly bloody was the advancement of artillery and the machine gun. While Americans might have felt greater affinity to England due to common ancestry and to France for helping us win the American Revolution, Germany's reasons for entering the war were to honor alliances, not to promote some genocide. The Kaiser and the King of England and the Tsar of Russia were cousins. The Kaiser wanted a quick war to humiliate France like Germany did in 1870s.

    Russia's Nicholas, England's George, and Germany's Wilhelm, all cousins

    Germany came very close to defeating France in first few months of the war, but then the war bogged down into trench warfare for more than three years. Germany's defeat of Russia in 1917 freed up enough troops to give Germany another chance to defeat France and England in 1918.  However, the arrival of American troops tipped the scales in favor of the allies and looming starvation back in Germany forced them to sue for peace. The terms sowed the seeds that reaped Hitler.

    American entry in the war was not a foregone conclusion. There was overwhelming opposition to getting involved in a European war. Woodrow Wilson campaigned for reelection in 1916 with the promise of keeping us out of the war. Germany's clumsy attempt to enlist Mexico into attacking America along with its submarine warfare forced America into war. Had America stayed neutral, Germany may have defeated France and England or at least negotiated better peace terms.  Without the Treaty of Versailles, there would have been no Hitler and no World War II. Perhaps World War I truly would have been the war to end all wars.

    Or at least saved the lives of more than 100,000 American soldiers who died during World War I, including the one now buried at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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    Friday, November 8, 2013

    The New Ten Commandments

    This week the Supreme Court heard a case brought to it by radical secularists complaining of prayers in city council meetings. This is just the latest action of secularists to remove religious speech from the public forum. For example, they have long wanted to eliminate the display of the Ten Commandments from any government property.  I guess the contents of the Ten Commandments are just too horrifying to read outside of a church or one's home.

    So if secularists succeed in getting rid of religion in the public forum, perhaps they will take the next step and start promoting their own version of the Ten Commandments.

    The Ten Commandments for Progressive Secularists

    1 There is no Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no God before you.

    2 Thou shalt worship any graven image that makes you feel good, such as nice cars, clothes, sport teams, celebrities, progressive organizations, etc. Thou shalt bow down to them, and serve them.

    3 Thou shalt take the name of the Lord God in vain; for the Lord is just a made-up fable to suppress a libertine lifestyle and people that don't swear are just goodie-two-shoes.

    4 Forget the sabbath day and keeping it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the day of the NFL thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. And Superbowl Sunday is the nation's high holy day.

    5 Honor thy government and the entitlements that emit therefrom: that thy days may be long upon the dole.

    6 Thou shalt not kill anyone convicted of murder, or animals or anything like unto it. Thou shalt kill unborn babies since they are inconvenient to a modern lifestyle.

    7 Thou shalt commit adultery, fornication, sodomy, or anything else that feels good, as long as you don't hurt anyone.

    8 Thou shalt not steal. Let the government do it for you and then get the money from them.

    9 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, unless it is for the greater good of society in general so there is nothing wrong in saying, ¨“If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.

    10 Thou shalt covet the One-Percent's house, thou shalt covet the One-Percent's wife, and his manservant, and his maidservant, and his ox, and his assets, and any thing that is from a One-Percenter.

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    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Halloween Devil Is Real

    Recently, Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia was mocked by the media for revealing in a New York Magazine interview that he believes in the devil.

    You would have thought he had proclaimed that the world is flat and sun revolves around the earth. In 2013 America the Devil is only real on October 31 when you see him trick or treating through the neighborhood.  The other 364 days of the year he doesn't exist.

    How very convenient.

    In the current public sphere, speaking of God is considered divisive and speaking of the Devil is considered kooky.

    As Judge Scalia said, since Jesus himself believed in the Devil, those of us who believe the Devil is real are in good company.

    For those of you who belief that the Devil is just a made up boogie man, congratulations on falling hook, line, and sinker for a basic deception. It is an easy deception to unmask, but it is much more convenient to go through life pretending the Devil and his opposition to God is not real.

    Determining the Devil is for real is not that hard. I would recommend you read any of the following books to open your eyes.

    The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. A perennial classic, as relevant today as it was in in 1942.

    Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success by Napoleon Hill. Written by the author of the classic best seller Think and Grow Rich, this controversial book went unpublished for more than 70 years.

    Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, by M. Scott Peck, most well known for his book, The Road Less Traveled. Peck waited 25 years to publish this book about his personal experiences with evil spirits.

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    Unwanted Booze Force-Delivered to My Home

    UPDATED 5/27/2016

    I was working on my blog last Saturday when the doorbell rang and I found the mailman bringing an unexpected delivery.

    ¨Here is the liquor and cigarettes for your house,¨ he said, pushing past me with a dolly loaded with boxes of vodka, brandy, whiskey, and cartons of cigarettes.

    ¨Excuse me, I did not order any of this stuff," I said. ¨You can take this all back out.¨

    ¨I'm sorry, I can't do that,¨ the mailman said, unloading the dolly and heading back to the front door.

    ¨There's been a big mistake,¨ I said. ¨I don't drink and I don't smoke. I didn't order this and I'm not paying for it. Take it out.¨

    The mailman smiled, but made no attempt to remove the boxes. ¨If you don't drink or smoke, you don't have to pay for any of this stuff. You only pay for what you use. As you may know, the post office has been losing money on regular mail delivery, so we've teamed up with the alcohol and tobacco industries. They've been losing customers too, so this is a win-win-win-win. The post office makes money, drinkers and smokers get their drinks and smokes delivered to their home, the alcohol and tobacco industries pick up new customers, and if you don't use these products, you don't pay anything.¨

    ¨But I've got kids in the house,¨ I said. ¨I don't want this addictive stuff in my house where my kids can get to it.¨

    ¨Well then you better lock it up.¨

    ¨I don't have a cabinet to lock it up in and I don't want to pay to buy one. But that's besides the point. I want it out of here.¨

    The mailman frowned. ¨Sir, I think you are being unreasonable. The only way to not have this delivered to your home is to cancel your mail service altogether.¨

    Now I was getting mad. ¨You're telling me that unless I allow you to deliver unwanted liquor and cigarettes, you won't bring me mail anymore? This is nuts. Where did you get such a stupid idea and think you could get away with it?¨

    ¨It's not such a stupid idea,¨ the mailman said. ¨We are just using the same business model used by the cable and internet industries. If you order cable, you can't pick and choose which basic channels you get. Do you think MTV would have as many viewers if parents weren't forced to included it with their subscription? And if you could order internet without any porn sites, how would this major segment of the economy reach it's customers? That's just the way it is. Fair is fair. If questionable TV networks and websites are allowed into people's homes even if unwanted, it is only reasonable that questionable products be granted the same access. Goodbye and have a nice day.¨

    I am not advocating censorship or curbing free speech, but I do believe that people should be able to keep out TV channels that are harmful to children (MTV's VMA Miley Cyrus fiasco?). We should be able to have access to the internet without worrying that our children will see porn. People are disgusted and all jump out of the pool when they see a piece of excrement, and rightly so. Shouldn't we react the same when we see garbage in the pool of entertainment?

    Kudos to Utah state senator Todd Weiler for his plans to require people to opt in with their internet service provider if they want access to porn.

    Please forward a link to this blog to your friends and family so more people will learn how to address this destructive situation.  It is issues like this that are perfect for social media. Do your part to eliminate unwanted access to harmful media.

    Follow on Twitter - @fiddlingant

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