WE ARE ALL PILGRIMS

William Blake: Christian Reading in His Book (Plate 2, 1824–27) (from here)
William Blake: Christian Reading in His Book (Plate 2, 1824–27) (from here)
pilgrim (n.)
c. 1200, pilegrim, from Old French pelerin, peregrin “pilgrim, crusader; foreigner, stranger” (11c., Modern French pèlerin), from Late Latin pelegrinus, dissimilated from Latin peregrinus “foreigner” (source of Italian pellegrino, Spanish peregrino), from peregre (adv.) “from abroad,” from per- “beyond” + agri, locative case of ager “country” (see acre).

Change of first -r- to -l- in most Romance languages by dissimilation; the -m appears to be a Germanic modification. Pilgrim Fathers “English Puritans who founded Plymouth colony” is first found 1799 (they called themselves Pilgrims from c. 1630, in reference to Hebrew xi:13).

I have a difficult and stubborn commenter,Arkenaten, who is perfectly willing to allow his comments to go into moderation. I guess he knows I will read them.

Since I used his “name” on the THE GIFT OF LOVE, I posted one of his comments (from here) with my reply.

Arkenaten

(Arkenaten) likes to amuse him by trying to torment Christian bloggers with questions to which we have no answers. (author’s note: Here Arkenaten quotes a portion of what I said in my post.)

I believe this sentence tells the reader everything they might wish to know about Christianity.
A real gem, this. A keeper in fact.

Citizen Tom

Since I mentioned your name, one comment.

Here is my reply.

We all have questions.

Why am I here?
What is right and wrong?
What brings me meaning
What happens to a human being when I die?

Can we learn the answer to those questions? Yes.

Check out => http://josephelonlillie.com/2016/01/25/road-through-romans-seek-and-find/

Here is how he replied.

Arkenaten

We know what happens to humans when they die. They decompose.
Why do you have a problem with this?

Why did I bother? That’s a topic in the comment thread that follows WHEN LOVE BECOMES AN EXCUSE FOR TYRANNY. For example, this comment.

Necessary and Proper

@Tom and Keith,

Tom’s question to Keith (“That is, how do we persuade people to properly amend the Constitution?”) brought me full circle back to the first interchange I ever had with Keith. It was when you reblogged my first Due Process of Law article on May 25th last year, called “Can a Law Be Unlawful.” I was trying to start a train of thought that would illuminate the fact that, no matter how all the detailed x’s and o’s tactics play out in the daily political arena, the BIGGER picture is that the whole legislative and executive world is now operating in an “extra-Constitutional” manner. An alarming percentage of the federal statutes on the books, and many of the federal government’s overt actions are simply devoid of any Constitutional basis — which I asserted makes them philosophically/morally unlawful. As we’ve gotten to know each other, Keith and I have found we’re both enthusiastic advocates for an Article V Convention to amend our Constitution back towards its original intent.

I would like to reprint a comment I made back then:

[[Keith, I would also observe that it’s clear your (and Citizen Tom’s) greater interest is in “What do we do about it?”, and you’re not necessarily as interested in hearing the case for why it’s morally wrong for the government to pass bad, unconstitutional, improper, wrong, inappropriate, laws. But there are a LOT of people who would never stop to question the behavior of lawmakers like I am doing here. It’s them I am primarily addressing, not you. Why? Because I believe that educating them to question their government’s actions is THE BEST thing within my control to help “do something about it.” Clearly, the impeachment avenue that was provided by the Constitution will never seriously be used, because there’s too much political posturing and media subterfuge in the modern political arena for impeachment to be practical. So influencing moderates, independents, and new voters in their teens and twenties that they should be careful and effective with their voting power is what I’m all about….especially in this series. I’m trying to fight against the spread of moral relativism.]]

– Jeff

Jeff wrote a very thoughtful comment. Nevertheless, he is addressing Keith and myself.

When I started blogging, I focused more on politics than religion. Then I realized that our political system is collapsing because our people no longer uphold an ethical system capable of supporting a constitutional republic. So now I focus far more on the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

When I blog, like Jeff I hope that I will reach some people who have not given either Christianity or politics much thought. However, I don’t seriously expect many of those people to stop by and read my blog. Yet that is most of the electorate.

What has happened? Why is a nation that once seemed so interested in Christianity now so ignorant of it? I think the answer is our education system. We have allowed the public school system to indoctrinate successive generations of children, and that school system has left a void in the hearts of our people. Think of the idiocy. Almost no one trusts politicians, but we have put them in charge of so much that we value, including the indoctrination of our children.

With respect to Christianity, our education system has left the impression that these questions have no serious answers.

Why am I here?
What is right and wrong?
What brings me meaning
What happens to a human being when I die?

Ravi Zacharias (an expert in Christian apologetics) says there are Four Questions To Answer In Life.

Our schools avoid the Bible. When they speak of religion, they speak of religion as a source of controversy and war. Seriously, does anyone truly believe American politicians think of Islam as the religion of peace. Don’t we know that what politicians who call Islam the religion of peace think is that all religions are worthless except their own idols, power and money.

With respect to our duty to be good citizens, our education system has left the impression that all we have to do is listen to the evening news and then vote for the best man.  In fact, for the most part people do nothing. Because they never learn what to do — how they can make a difference — they do what seems easiest and leave it to “the experts.” That is exactly what most corrupt politicians would prefer they do.

So why do I blog? It is my pilgrimage. Putting my thoughts on paper and reading what others have written helps me to better understand the Bible and politics. That’s the primary reason.

For the time being, blogging also seems to be my calling. There are new Conservatives with a poor understanding of Conservatism and new Christians who need to be encouraged to read the Bible. With the help of other Christians and Conservative bloggers, those are the people I hope to reach, and those are the people I hope will talk to their friends and neighbors. If God answers our prayers, those are the people God will call upon to revive His Spirit within our nation. These people will bring the Gospel of Christ to those with ears to hear, and the Holy Spirit — if God so wills — will soften our hearts so that we can each perceive the message of Jesus Christ.

DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!

Don't feed the trolls sign, near Fløyen, Bergen, Norway.
Don’t feed the trolls sign, near Fløyen, Bergen, Norway. (from here)

This post is a sequel to CHRISTMAS AND THE GIFT OF A CIVIL SOCIETY and another post I wrote years ago, THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY. Actually, James Madison wrote most of THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY. That is, I quoted him. And the best material in CHRISTMAS AND THE GIFT OF A CIVIL SOCIETY came from the Bible. So you could say that to find my best material I troll the writings of others. However, that is not the kind of trolling we will talk about here.

The Problem With Trolls

“Don’t feed the trolls.” Don’t we all know what that means? Isn’t it a cute expression? It makes us think about feeding the wildlife, and until the wildlife starts biting and clawing, that’s fun.

Here is an example. I once had a friend with a cat who liked being petted. That sounds innocuous, and until I decided to withdraw my hand, the cat was quite friendly. Then the cat made it known that she was not yet done with being petted. My friend should have had that savage little beast declawed.

We are all like that cat. We are all trolls. We are all part of the wildlife, and we can all turn vicious. We don’t even have to be fed. We just have to be petted.

A Proper Troll? (from here)
A Proper Troll? (from here)

How does that relate to a republic? To maintain a republic, we must maintain a civil society. Can you imagine a civil troll? Therein lies the problem with a republic.

To have a civil society, we must obey the Golden Rule. On our own we cannot do that. Being what we are, we cannot even be honest about the meaning of the Golden Rule. We will bend it to suit the occasion. Somehow, someway we will make doing unto others all about what we want to do unto others, not treating others the way we want to be treated. We will hunt for nuances, craft exceptions, and most “useful” of all, use the ends to justify the means. We will lie to ourselves and to others and do what we want.

It is not that we do not know better. We create laws. We write them down. We try to fix their meaning, but laws are just words on paper. Because we lack integrity with a bit of sophistry we can make our laws say whatever we want them to say. We don’t even have to amend what is written on paper. That is why few nations have ever come close to achieving a civil society, and that is why few republics have lasted very long. Sigh.

So What Is The Point Of A Republic?

In a nation with millions of trolls, no troll by himself or herself can be a grave danger to the peace of the nation. As James Madison observed in The Federalist, Paper # 10, (see THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY) the problem resides in our ability to form gangs of trolls, that is, factions. Hence, as Madison observed, we have a choice.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests. (from here)

Since Madison could envision no method of curing the mischiefs of faction that were not worst than the disease, he argued for controlling its effects. Madison advocated a constitutional republic, a limited government designed with checks and balances to check the passions we associate with factional politics.

Even so, we remain trolls. Of what use is a constitution for trolls? Unless we each have the personal integrity to obey a law as those who wrote it meant it to be obeyed, how can the rule of law provide a solid foundation for our government? Is it not like building a house upon shifting sand?

Because most men cannot control their trollish character, most societies opt to control the passions of factions by using tyrannical force to stamp it out. To maintain their own power — their own faction — powerful, tyrannical leaders insist that every citizen voice the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

Because we are what we are, we have no personal integrity of our own. So what else can we do? How can we avoid joining a faction and abusing the rights of our neighbors? How can we avoid the necessity of condemning our family, friends and neighbors to an ironfisted tyranny? Where can we each find a rock upon which to build a foundation for our character? A proper foundation for our government?

Long ago Jesus spoke to us, and the fathers and the mothers of this nation listened.

Matthew 7:24-27 English Standard Version (ESV)

Build Your House on the Rock

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Jesus is the rock upon which they built.

Why I’m Supporting Ted Cruz for President… and Why You Should Too

Whilst the last members were signing it Doctor Franklin looking towards the President's Chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. “I have,” said he, “often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.” -- Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the United States Constitution, Journal of the Constitutional Convention (17 September 1787) (from here) (picture from here)
Whilst the last members were signing it Doctor Franklin looking towards the President’s Chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. “I have,” said he, “often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.” — Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the United States Constitution, Journal of the Constitutional Convention (17 September 1787) (from here) (picture from here)

Yesterday I got an email from Ken Cuccinelli. He has endorsed Senator Ted Cruz for President. I have been considering the Republican field, and I had decided to support either Cruz or Ben Carson. I have been surprised by Donald Trump‘s performance. He has turned out to be a far stronger candidate than anyone expected. However, of the three, only Cruz is a life-long committed Conservative. Only Cruz has record that says he will fight and knows how to fight for Conservative political values. So I had planned to write a post extolling Cruz’s virtues. However, since Cuccinelli writes better than I do……

Cuccinelli CompassMy Fellow Virginians,

I am one of countless Republicans exasperated with how the Washington Republican “leadership” has failed to even try to advance our basic principles, to say nothing how they continue to violate their own campaign promises.  Like many others, I believe Washington is a politically incestuous den of crony government – and that’s bi-partisan.  We have many challenges as a country, but we will never confront most of those challenges unless we elect a President who is willing to swim against the current of corruption of Washington.

While many Presidential candidates are trying to make the case that they won’t be captured by Washington, only Senator Ted Cruz has the consistent track record to prove it.  Does that make him appear to not get along with the Washington leadership?  Yes.  Does the leadership dislike him?  Yes.  In the mainstream media, this conflict is portrayed as a bad thing.  I think it’s a good thing.  The folks that don’t like Senator Cruz in Washington don’t like him because he’s an unapologetic Constitutional Conservative that doesn’t back down.  I can live with that… in fact, I can get pretty excited about that!

The intensity of the Republican grassroots’ anger at the GOP leadership is THE major reason that Donald Trump continues to perform well in polling.  It was also part of the successful launch of Dr. Ben Carson.  That anger isn’t just a reaction to President Obama’s destructive policies; it is a reaction to the Republican leadership’s unwillingness to lead like Republicans.  While I respect Donald Trump and Ben Carson, only Ted Cruz has had a consistent record (after getting elected) of challenging the Republican leadership and President Obama’s disastrous policies.  Lots of people talk about fighting Washington, Senator Cruz has done it.

On foreign policy, the GOP seems to have three groups: the “neocons” on one end, the “Paulites” on the other end, and then a group in the middle.  Most of the GOP candidates are neocons.  I used to be a neocon too… until I figured out that neocon polices don’t work and cost far too much in lives and treasure.  I would also note that the neocons are the most willing to “conveniently” read the constitution in ways that dramatically tip the balance between liberty and security…away from liberty.  This tendency is particularly true with regard to their willingness to trample the Fourth Amendment (requiring government to get a warrant based on probable cause to search or seize your property).

I have come to believe that we cannot have a knee-jerk reaction to enter every armed conflict, but should preserve our strength and political capital to be aggressive where it matters most to American interests.  Examples poor foreign policy actions include working to remove Muammar Gaddafi in Libya (in 2011) and Bashar Assad in Syria (which has not yet occurred).  Although they may be loathsome human beings, our efforts to remove national leaders we don’t like in the Middle East often brings much more catastrophic circumstances with regard to America’s security, as we have seen in Libya where ISIS and Al Qaeda have greatly grown in strength since 2011.

Over the last 15 years, America has spent trillions of dollars that we don’t have on foreign policy ventures, most of which have proven bad investments.  We need a President frugal enough to actually count the monetary cost our foreign policy.  Ted Cruz is in the middle group of Republicans on foreign policy issues.  While it may be rousing to hear emotional, warlike rhetoric from some candidates, I believe such strategies are proven failures and I want my next President to break the cycle of foreign policy failures of the current and past Presidents.

One of the reasons the GOP establishment and big corporate interests dislike Ted Cruz is because he has fought amnesty in immigration.  The threat of terrorism and the debilitating drain on our resources from unfettered immigration show clearly that we must have a President who will stand strong for American sovereignty on immigration and against the big corporate interests that control the congressional leadership of both parties.

Ted Cruz’s consistent resistance to the growth of Washington power has also extended to the budget.  The Fed just raised interest rates ¼ of 1%.  That equates to almost $50 billion more dollars of interest payments on our national debt every year.  And the Fed has signaled that it expects a full 1% increase through 2016.  That means that our nearly $20 trillion national debt will squeeze out almost $200 billion of money from our national budget in 2017 just to pay interest on the debt!  Wow, that’s a big number!

Obama has already eviscerated our military.  The increased debt payments will make it much, much harder to find the money we need to repair Obama’s damage to our military.  Among the top Presidential candidates, only Ted Cruz has shown the commitment to cutting the federal budget in the aggressive way necessary to attack our federal debt.  That debt is one of the greatest threats to our children’s future that the next President will face.

One way Ted Cruz has demonstrated his commitment to conservative principles is by the type of people he has hired in his Senate office.  He believes ‘personnel is policy.’ Many of the people Senator Cruz hired for his Senate office came out of former Senator Jim DeMint’s staff.  Compare his hiring history to others in the top tier of the nomination contest and it’s no contest.  This is part of Cruz’s consistent, conservative track record.  He will bring in to his administration dedicated, patriotic conservatives to help shrink the power of government in our lives and in our economy.

And while I could go on to other reasons why Ted Cruz should be our next President, I will end with this:  Ted Cruz has shown – starting long before he ever ran for the U.S. Senate – that he is committed to the first principles of this country.  He is a full spectrum conservative who knows and has fought to protect our Constitution.  He doesn’t protect the parts of the Constitution he likes, and he doesn’t protect the Constitution only when it’s convenient.  Ted Cruz fights for our whole Constitution – all the time.  This commitment to our Constitution will be reflected in how he uses the executive power of the President and the judges he nominates.

Ted Cruz has been a consistent, full-spectrum conservative who has a strong track record of fighting for -and bleeding for – our first principles.  Many candidates “talk conservative” during campaigns, but their actions don’t match their campaign rhetoric.  No other candidate can match Senator Ted Cruz’s strong conservative track record.

America is at a tipping point.  It is not enough for us to get a Republican President in 2016 – someone who will simply preside over the decline of America.  We need a Republican President who will undo the damage done by President Obama and who will take on his own party leadership to finally reign in the power and reckless spending of Washington.

That candidate is Senator Ted Cruz.

For liberty,

Ken Cuccinelli, II

Here is the same endorsement on Cuccinelli’s facebook page => https://www.facebook.com/KenCuccinelli/posts/10153494942398692. If you are on facebook and want to indicate your approval, please do so.

Note: If we Conservatives want a Conservative in the White House, we have to get out and support our guy. Cruz is that guy.

Note: If we Conservatives want an effective Conservative in the White, we have to do something about the Liberal Democrats and the Big Spending RINOs in Congress. We must run candidates against them, and we must relentlessly replace any of our candidates who fail to deliver on their promises. In particular, we must insist that they cut Federal spending.

Note: If we Conservatives want to save our republic — to save our country for the sake of our children and grandchildren — we cannot give up. Failure is not an acceptable option.

We must constantly keep in our minds what Ronald Reagan once said.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. — Ronald Reagan (from here)

Too few of us have fought for our freedom. With no effort on our part, we gained our freedom from our parents just as they gained it from their parents. Too few of us have protected our freedom. Instead, we have protected our “rights,” and too few of us have yet to discern the difference between our rights and our privileges.

What is the difference between a right and a privilege? Too few of us care. Perhaps that is why too few of us have handed onto our children the true meaning of freedom. Perhaps that is why we now risk spending our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR THE SPECIAL INTERESTS

Something for everyone? (from here)
Something for everyone. (from here)

It seems that every year now the our politicians scheme to work while the rest of celebrate our joy in the birth of Jesus Christ. Here is how CNN,  the first of the blatantly Liberal Democrat cable news networks, puts it.

Mimicking college students everywhere, Congress is waiting until the end of the term to get things done.

Lawmakers have crammed a year’s worth into two massive tax and spending bills they are expected — but not guaranteed — to pass later this week. Released in the middle of the night Tuesday, the measures detail how the federal government will spend $1.1 trillion on everything from national parks to NASA to veterans’ health. They also dictate new policy for cybersecurity, oil exports and suspend some Obamacare taxes. (continued here)

In fact, the going has been so smooth for our new Speaker that he is getting his bills passed with so little opposition he is having trouble delaying them to a time when almost no one is noticing.

Democratic leaders are unanimous in declaring a complete victory over House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his close allies, who wrote the $1.1 trillion omnibus budget without asking House conservatives for any input — or even for some public objections to help their closed-door negotiations.

The Democrats’ victory, and Republican Ryan’s defeat, was garishly displayed when his omnibus got more Democratic votes in the House and in the Senate than it got Republican votes.

“I said I would not accept a lot of [conservative] ideological riders that were attached to a big budget deal,” President Barack Obama said Friday, at his end-of-year press conference. “And because of some terrific negotiations by the Democrats up on Capitol Hill and I think some pretty good work by our legislative staff here… it was a good win,” he said. “We met our goals,” he said. (continued here)

Think about the sheer stupidity this headline describes: Congress Votes To Fund Nearly 300,000 Visas For Muslim Migrants In One Year. Will you find anything in the Liberal news media about this provision in that 2,000 page bill that Congress  presented to us at the last minute? Yet it is there. Even though we are heading for an obvious crash, our glorious leaders still have us on auto pilot. Spending is through the roof. Our foreign policy is a wreck. We don’t even protect our borders. Even with a majority in both houses, we have too many RINOs in the Republican Party, too many RINOs who care more about pleasing fat cat donors than they do about the welfare of our country.

Is the Virginia Commonwealth different? Time will tell. Consider this email I got from Delegate Rob Bell.

ROB BELLDear friend:

Just in time for Christmas, Governor McAuliffe announced his $109 billion budget, which includes a wish list of $3 billion in new initiatives. Some of his proposals, like cuts in the corporate tax rate, are clearly intended to win conservative support.

But look deeper and McAuliffe’s real plan becomes clear. To pay for these proposals, McAuliffe endorses the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and imposes new taxes on hospitals (that would ultimately be passed on to patients).

This is fiscally reckless. Since 1985, Medicaid spending has increased by 2068% and has grown from 5% of the general fund (state) budget to more than 22%. (See the full chart, here.) Just since 2004, state Medicaid spending has grown from $1.8 billion to a projected $4.46 billion in 2018. This growth is clearly unsustainable, and McAuliffe’s proposed expansion would add hundreds of thousands more Virginians to the Medicaid rolls. Such expansion will only make it that much harder to address Medicaid’s runaway growth.

McAuliffe has stated that the only way to pay for his budget is to expand Medicaid. The House has repeatedly rejected this approach. As the budget process moves forward, I hope you will support a more fiscally responsible budget that addresses Virginia’s true needs without raising taxes or mortgaging our future.

If you would like to share your thoughts with the Governor, you can contact him here. Please also e-mail me any thoughts you have.

Sincerely,

Rob Bell
Delegate, 58th District

Autopilot is not good enough. We have to replace the RINOs.