Why Everyone Should be Against the HHS Mandate…

When the government agrees with you, it’s easy to allow them to take power over what seems innocent, just, and right.  When they don’t, it’s easy to cry tyranny.  Perhaps a better way to be is to allow the government none of the power to overshadow our lives, be it something that is agreeable or not.  Obviously there should be punishments for blatant, outward sins against another.  If someone is murdered, if someone steals, if someone spreads a horrid rumor in order to harm another, of course there should be ruling authorities to punish and stop wrong doers.  But what if it is something not so obvious?  Birth control itself has many controversy on whether or not it causes abortions.  It’s not just about how some believe life begins at conception either.  Does birth control prevent ovulation therefore no baby can be aborted due to the thinning of the lining of the uterus?  Some would argue yes, others no.  The point is, it is an ambiguous point.  Therefore, as free American citizens, we should be free to choose for ourselves what this means.  There are devout Christians who use birth control with no problems of the conscience.  There are those, however, who would have a great crisis of conscience if they were to use birth control.  The ultimate choice shouldn’t lie with government enforcement of one side of the debate over the other.  The government should be neutral, not looking to benefit from the majority, but to help protect all from unnecessary and burdensome rules that would keep freedom at bay.

To illustrate, what would happen if the HHS mandate stated that all homosexuals must be reformed to the heterosexual way of living, be actively involved in heterosexual dating or long-term relationships, and that the taxes paid by the homosexuals and everyone else would go to programs reforming homosexuals to make them conform with the majority of society, as this is the right thing to do for all Americans.  There would be an outcry from the Democrats and the liberals alike.  It is not the government’s place to decide what is best for the individual.  Even now with the gay marriage lobby it is heard time and time again that the government should stay out of the bedrooms in America.  But what is the difference between the chants of those who wish to have same-sex marriage, that they should be free to choose who they will spend the rest of their lives with, and those who say that they should be free to choose where their money is being spent and they find it morally objectionable to fund abortions, abortion causing drugs, sterilization, and birth control?

This isn’t just about the government deciding that these drugs and procedures in the HHS mandate are morally correct and right, this is about forcing those who would comply and go against conscience or defy and be penalized by the government losing their freedom to live as they wish.  America is not a democracy, it is a republic, which is designed to protect the individual from the masses.  Perhaps there are those in our government who have forgotten that.  It isn’t about regulating people with overreaching laws but about allowing people to live without having a government regulate and legislate their lives.  For those who agree with it, the HHS mandate is wonderful and forces those stuck up, uptight, religious wackos to pay for things that the rest of “normal” society wants.  Truthfully, however, if the pendulum sings the other way and the people in power forcing the decisions now are replaced by those of another persuasion, what power have they now been given?  Who is to say they won’t ban the HHS mandate and even ban all birth control, sterilizing medications, and abortion?  This isn’t just about “getting one side’s way”, this is about giving the government way too much power over what should be individual’s decisions.  These are not the marks of a free society.  These are the marks headed towards a dictatorship.  Comply or face the penalty wasn’t the battle cry of the Revolutionary War.  It was give me liberty or give me death!

Liberty is not about the majority getting its way.  It is about allowing the individual the freedom to live their lives without overreaching, burdening government control.

Don't Tread on Me

Ever Wonder?

Back a couple of years ago, my husband, sitting in his collar, was complaining to me that his job was worthless, no one appreciated him, and that he was a poor pastor.  After everything we had endured with him being forced to resign and not being called to a new congregation, he was, to say the least, depressed.  We walked into Qdoba to talk it over.  After hearing his many complaints, frustrations, and problems over dinner, we began to clean up our table when a young man walked over.  He wasn’t a member of a church that my husband had filled in for that we could tell.  The young man was just a “joe” on the street, but he came over anyway, shook my husbands hand, and thanked him for all the hard work that he does in the church.  Though it might be hard at times and things may look grim, he appreciated the pastor and his role as the bringer of the Gospel, and he wanted to make sure my husband knew that.

Ever wonder if God really pays attention to the conversations you have every day?  That day, both my husband and I were sure!  It’s easy to forget that God is involved in our every day lives as well as the things we do every day to remember that He is is present, prayer, devotions, going to church, Bible study, and the like.  Talk about feeling self-conscious!  It’s easy to go about live and compartmentalize God to just the activities that involve Him.  But He cares for us enough to not just be involved when we choose to involve Him.  He’s there for the complaints we tell our friends, the laughter of a stupid joke that makes us have tears in our eyes even if it wasn’t that funny, the long conversations that happen in a car on a road trip that might be about cows, deer, and the crazy driver who just passed us.

As if we needed more of a reminder, before working out at the gym this past week, I was explaining to my husband the need to feel loved and wanted at home because I don’t get that type of support anywhere else.  I complained that at work I meant nothing and that I really wasn’t all that important.  After working out, there was a woman who recognized me as “her” pharmacy technician.  I had taken care of her earlier and she was very appreciative of the service and the fact that I didn’t just take care of her, I seemed to truly care about her well-being.  It brought a smile to my face knowing that I had helped at least one person and that is exactly what I thought as we walked to my car.  My husband and I were decided to go to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things, and again, I was met with another patient who wondered when the next time I was working was, as “I was the best tech there” according to her.  We chatted for a bit and and then my husband and I went on our way.  My husband wondered if we could go anywhere where in town where I wouldn’t be recognized as somebody’s pharmacy tech.  I laughed but inwardly mused again that God was walking right beside me even as I walked through the Wal-Mart, worked out at the gym, and went about the rest of my life.  I mentioned this to my husband a little while later and he laughed so hard.  He thought it was funny that God did the same thing to me as He did to him.  Turnabout is fair play.

Now, this isn’t to say that this is how God promises to interact with His creation.  God promises to be found in Word (the Scriptures) and Sacrament (Baptism, Holy Communion).  If one is to look for God, don’t look for God in signs and wonders, or even through a patient appreciating hard work after a complaint session on how insignificant one is.  It is important to note that if one is looking for God, he need look no further than the Christian Church down the street, who brings God to the people every Sunday in the Divine Service, or in the Scriptures that is the Word of God themselves.  But, it’s also not unheard of for God to step outside these means to remind His children that He is there and listening, watching, and taking care of His precious little ones.  Not expecting it from Him, it is important to acknowledge He can work that way.  In a way that built both His precious prince, my husband, and His precious princess, me, He reminded us that we are not alone.  God is with us.

In Defense of Marriage

I’ll make myself clear right now, marriage is between one man and one woman.  Period.  That’s how God set it up.  That’s how the Bible has it.  That’s how God describes the relationship that He has with His creation, Christ and His Bride, the Church.  There is no way around it.

I am, however, fascinated by the craziness surrounding the “Defense of Marriage Act”.  Here’s why: If I don’t need legislation for Baptism, Confirmation, First Communion, Funeral Rites, and the like, why do I need legislation on marriage?  Personally, I am starting to think that I would like the government to get out of the marriage business altogether.  Going against the 6th Commandment is for the Church to discipline, not the state.  After all, when was the last time someone was arrested for having an affair?  Living together outside of wedlock?  How about the “hook ups” that are reported to happen on Spring Break?  Let’s be honest here, it’s a little hypocritical to state that marriage is between one man and one woman but then “shack up” with whoever you are with personally.  If we are to follow this as the Bible commands, as so many cry and scream for when something like the Defense of Marriage Act comes up, we are to follow it fully.  “Thou shalt not commit adultery” goes for homosexual acts, living together, “hook ups”, casual sex, and the like.  We need to really legislate against all of it if we are going to do put some force behind using the Scriptures to defend marriage.  Which leads me to my original thought: Should we not allow the Church to take care of marriage and let the rest of the world decide what it wants to do?

Before that statement is misinterpreted to think that I am *advocating* sin, I will point out that any transgression against the 6th Commandment is exactly that.  Sin.  It shouldn’t be done.  For a Christian, it is “illegal”, not against the State, but against God and His Word.  So it not going to church (think 3rd Commandment) and taking an office pen for personal use (7th Commandment).  It is impossible in a free society to legislate entirely from a Christian standpoint.  Laws on the books that require one to go to church would undoubtedly cause unrest and anger towards the government and the Church.  It’s important that the government not govern our personal lives directly, as much as it is to allow us to live our lives as we wish.

This means that if the State wants to allow two men to marry, two women to marry, two men and a woman to marry, etc, it should be allowed, however, it shouldn’t be called marriage.  Marriage is given by God.  It’s a church thing.  I pledged my love, obedience, and faithfulness to my husband on May 20, 2006, in front of God and a gaggle of pastors, my family, and friends.  Those vows have nothing to do with the State.  The State could care less if I cheated.  God, on the other hand, will care.  That is a sin against Him (as well as my husband).  Instead, call it a business contract, call it whatever you wish, really, except marriage.  Marriage is something given by God in a religious context.  When it comes to separation of church and state, this is one place where the liberals will demand that religion enter into the government, but instead of putting God as the creator of marriage, it puts the government in place of God, thereby making an idol.

I believe that when the government entered the marriage business, even when it was just about one man and one woman, we were already headed for the “slippery slope” of today.  It was already problematic because you can’t legislate morals, ethics, or beliefs.  That’s church territory.  The government has taken on a lot of “church territory”, from charity and the care taking of the poor, needy, homeless, and infirm, to legislating how and when one can witness their faith, things that are not for a government to decide if it is built on liberty.

The thing about liberty is, sometimes people will use it in ways we disagree with.  They will use it to get into same sex relationships and even bigamy.  The answer isn’t to turn to the government to decide what is morally right and wrong.  The answer is to understand what liberty means; the freedom to express oneself without trampling on another person’s rights within reason.  The Second Tablet of the Law must be followed.  The answer is to remember that to limit someone elses liberty is to limit our own.  This may mean that we congregate with like minded people.  The Lutherans will rally around the Lutherans; the gay and lesbian groups will rally around themselves.  However, this doesn’t necessarily mean intolerance as this is happening already.  It means we respect each other’s differences, and we are willing to co-exist peacefully though we do not agree.  I would much rather have this set up than to be subjected to the whims of society as it is decided what is right and wrong for that age and then applied to all.  I would rather have the freedom to live as a Christian than the persecution of a martyr because the times changed and I am now being forced to do what someone else thinks is right.

So where am I on the Defense of Marriage Act and the recent Supreme Court rulings?  I don’t know.  The cat’s already out of the bag.  The government is already in the marriage business.  To that end, I agree wholly that marriage is between one man and one woman.  But is there a better way in our society to regain the liberties we had when the country was still being formed?  I still wonder if everything shouldn’t be contractual and leave the marriage business to the church.  For me, this is still open for debate on what is best.

What do you think?

It’s Alive!

One of the reasons why I push to get healthy is because I do want to get pregnant.  It’s important that body, mind, and soul are healthy to carry a baby successfully.  Getting my weight under control and my eating healthier than it has been is an important step to make sure that my baby’s first home- me- is healthy and a good environment to grow and develop.  Taking good care of me means that I will be taking good care of a life that I am responsible for (hopefully) in the near future.  Just as much as protecting baby from harm after s/he is born, I must protect baby from harm inside of me.  Toxins of unhealthy eating will effect baby, probably more than I realize.  Having a healthy weight, good cholesterol, low blood pressure, and no diabetic tendencies are important precautions just like making sure to use a safety seat in the car is, locking the door after coming in the house, and making sure that the plugs have covers on them to avoid mishaps.  Baby’s environment shapes who s/he becomes both in the moment and later in life.

So if baby isn’t alive until after s/he is born, why bother with prenatal care at all?  Why bother getting healthy if the first environment baby is in is out of the womb?  It really shouldn’t matter what I eat, how much I exercise, or even if I drink or smoke, if the baby isn’t alive until birth.  So why is it that certain products (alcohol, cigarettes, certain medications) and certain activities (roller coasters and other amusement park rides, even hot tubs)  have warnings on them cautioning women who may be pregnant that this could be hazardous to the unborn?  Logically, this makes no sense.  Why should it matter if the baby isn’t alive until birth?

The same scientists who claim that they can prove using evolution and natural processes that God doesn’t exist will argue on whether the lump of cells made of two different individual’s DNA to form a completely new DNA structure is a baby or a tumor.  Isn’t disproving God infinitely more complex than deciding if a lump of cells is cancer or a baby?  I had a tumor removed from my hip about a year ago.  I can tell you now it didn’t have arms, legs, eyes, ears, and a nose.  It truly was a lump of fatty tissue that needed to come out.  How can we scientifically not see the difference between that and a baby?  Logically, this makes no sense.

So, if the baby is only a baby if it is wanted, how does that effect the rest of life?  Are my parents only my parents (and by that I mean the physical DNA that my parents gave to me to make me who I am) if I want them to be.  If I decide I don’t want them, will my DNA change to who I want my parents to be.  If I have a cancerous tumor, and I choose not to have a cancerous tumor, will it change and become something less malignant?  I can hate my eye color, but the only way that I can change it is by covering it up and pretending that it is something it’s not.  I can’t change it to what I want simply by making up my mind that my eye color is something different than what it actually is.  So why is it that a baby is only a baby if we want it?  Logically, this makes no sense.

So if scientifically it’s a baby, and from the physical laws of our reality we can’t change it by wishing for something different, then what does happen when an abortion occurs?  Removing an organism from the environment that it is nourished, grows, and develops will kill the organism.  So, abortion kills the organism, the baby.  Why?  Is it inconvenience?  Fear?  Perhaps a hardened heart?  Whatever the reason, it’s not based on science, logic, or reason.  Neither is murder based on science, logic, or reason.  So if we legalize abortion, why not legalize murder?  Each murderer has an emotional reason why the person they killed needed to die.  So does the woman who has an abortion.

But murder is outlawed, based on the 5th Commandment, the laws of the land, and the natural law written on our hearts.  So why isn’t abortion?

Time to be Responsible…

We live in a world of disposable, well, everything.  If it’s gross, disgusting, unpleasant, bothersome, infringing on our happiness, irritating, or even angering, it can be easily thrown out and replaced instead of working on the issue to mend it.  After all, isn’t easier to start over than it is to repair something broken?  I mean, with the fresh and the new there is a new start, a beginning that has the promise of wonderful things to come, a way to become something that isn’t constricted by the old.  For some things, the new truly is better.  Toilet paper, for example, has had its usefulness spent after a one time use and should be disposed of else the members of the family will be sick.  Most of the time wrapping paper is the same way.  Ruined after one use and beyond repair to use again.  Some things in life should just remain disposable.  However, I think in turning into a disposable society, we have forgotten the value of what is old, tried and true, cherished and loved.

I have held the locket that belonged to my great great grandmother.  Within that locket are pictures dear and treasured.  Once she was gone, I suppose that someone could have thrown it away, gotten rid of it and the memories it symbolized, but I am so glad they didn’t.  It’s my link to her from somewhere in the past.  It’s a clue as to who she is and what was important to her in her life.

But it’s not just the stuff that we seem to think is disposable.  If a relationship doesn’t work, we throw it out.  This is seen in the divorce rate in our society alone.  My thoughts are something completely different.  Call it old fashioned, call it backwater hicksville thinking if you will, but it’s tried and true, and it works.  If it’s broke, fix it.  Spend time working on it until it’s better.  Yes, I do understand that there are sometimes when it is safest for all involved to walk away, but that’s not every time.  In fact, the odds are that the people who are calling it quits are already looking for the new, polished, and shiny relationship because they don’t want to work on what’s broken with the relationship they have.  Well, nothing that is worth keeping happens without work.  A great garden will grow only when it is tended to.  A great relationship will only flourish with the same attention.

I believe that this same attitude is permeating our society.  Nothing is worth keeping any more.  Everything is subject to discard.  I think that this is part of the greater issues that are hurting our American culture.  What do you think?

Working on Me…

I was never the athletic one growing up.  My younger brother could play basketball like no one else.  But me?  Naw, find me in front of the TV, on the computer (like now!) or something else that really didn’t involve an active life where I would make sure my body was in good shape.  My family was heavyset, and in reality, I guess I always thought that there was no beating your genes.  No matter what I did, I would be heavy.

Little did I know my weight is directly related to my mental health.  When I work out, eat right, and take care of myself, I am usually in a great mental state as well.  Letting my weight go did much more than hurt my looks or my cholesterol count.  It would be detrimental to my mental health as well.  My anxiety goes up, my depression increases.  All in all, its a bad situation.  When I joined Nutrisystem, when I joined the gym, I did a lot more than just improve my looks and my physical health, I improved all of me.  Now I can knock down 10 -11 miles at the gym every other day using a stationary bike, a treadmill, and an elliptical, something that I thought my genes would keep me from doing.  I’m not model thin, I still have pounds to shed, but I am darn proud of myself for being able to accomplish what I told myself I could never do from an early age.

Genetics aren’t everything.  If you want to become, you have to work on it.  You have to believe you can do it.  Since my heaviest point at 230lbs, I have lost almost 70 lbs.  That’s not genetics, that’s determination.  Praise be to God that He has given me the motivation to do what needed to be done.

Family Values: What are we teaching?

I love learning about my ancestry.  I love to learn about what makes me who I am.  For example, on my dad’s side of the family, the handwriting I have seen my dad use seems to go in the family.  It is amazing to see writing from the past that could be my dad’s easily.  The facial features of his side of the family must be a dominant gene, as there is a picture of my great great grandmother who looks like my dad with a wig on!  On my mother’s side of the family, there are parts of my family that dates back to the early colonial settlers in the 1600s.  There are men who served in the Revolutionary War, one of whom I think I might have found his burial site.

My great grandma and great grandpa were strong Lutherans.  They instilled this faith in my grandmother, who in turn taught my father, who taught my entire family, including me.  These values haven’t changed with time.  I have held my great great grandfather’s Lutheran hymnal.  Many of the hymns I sing, though it is translated into English from German, that he sang from that hymnal.  What we teach our young, what we do today, effects not just us but many generations of our descendents, perhaps even more than we realize.

So what are we teaching with this immigration bill?  What lasting effects will it have beyond this generation?  I have to wonder.  What is the cost of teaching so many generations that it is okay to violate the laws of a land and then demand amnesty that not only requires freedom from prosecution under the law, but all the rights and privileges of a victimized class of people who need reparations for being treated as second class citizens.  What does this say about the law of the land?  What does this teach about the authority of those who are put over us by God to govern and rule us according to His good purpose?  In effect, what is the bigger picture beyond those who are here illegally, what the bill will grant them now, and what will be the lasting effects of what we teach for generations to come, both the children who are alive now and those who are not even a twinkle in their father’s eye?

Is it okay to break the law, work, live, and thrive in a country that states there are certain rules that must be followed before you may live, work, and make a life here?  And if we teach our youth that breaking the law is okay if it is for the benefit of those who break the law, what happens when this shakes down to other laws such as theft?  Murder?  We all want to be the exception to the rule and not follow the rules ourselves.  But the truth is, rules aren’t made to be broken, they’re made to be followed and there is a reason why they are there.  There are plenty of people who have been doing as they ought, following the rules, immigrating the right way.  What does it say to them when there is an alternate path that mocks the hard work done to come into this country?  What does this say to them, to their children, about following the rules of this land God has granted us?

America, this isn’t just about granting amnesty, this is about being a country of principles, of doing what we say we will do.  Think before you act, here.  Are we a nation who follows the law?  Or are we a nation who thinks that everyone is the exception to the rule and the laws apply to none?