Sunday, September 28, 2008

Middle Eastern Ironies

The current president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has stated that he wants to "wipe Israel off the map." I find this historically ironic because 2,500 years the Persians had their chance to do just that. Instead, Artaxerxes allowed the Jewish exiles (exiled by the Babylonians) to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple of Solomon. The very people who allowed Israel to restore their cultural wants to erase them from the atlas. Ahmadinejad always calls upon the greatness of Persia's history to re-affirm Iran's place in the world. He obviously was sleeping during this particular lesson in his World History class.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lifestyles of the Rich and Subsidized.

Alaska has been in the news a lot lately. Now I knew that every Alaskan resident receives a dividend from the state's oil enriched budget surplus. But some of the facts are staggering...

EVERY one of the residents of Alaska receives $3269.00 a year...simply for living in Alaska.
The state has over $5 billion in savings and a permanent fund now worth $35 billion.

When you consider that dozens of states (including the one in which I reside...Texas...and the two others I grew up in...Kansas and Oklahoma) have been facing serious budget crunches, the fact that Alaska has so much in reserve is sickening. When states across the nation cannot properly fund their education systems and pay their teacher's a decent salary due to serious fiscal problems...Alaska's billions cause me to take a second look.

Yet the federal government continues to subsidize Alaska's existence. Why? Why do American taxpayers still pay a dime to help Alaska? Why does Alaska (including Sarah Palin) continue to beg the American people for federal earmarks? No Child Left Behind has yet to be funded and I have received one 3% raise in four years as a teacher in Texas...yet my tax dollars continue to help Alaska enrich itself. Why is Juneau asking for anything when they have billions in the bank? They may have quashed the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere" but they still kept the $247 million. If they have so much in savings...then why am I paying Alaska a dime of my hard-earned money?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Does God Put Country First?

Both political parties are trying to position themselves as the "patriotic" party. As a Christian I was disturbed by such rhetoric at both conventions. Obama said we must put our country first. McCain's new campaign signs say "country first." As a Christian I completely reject this notion of putting country before God. Jim Wallis gently chides both parties with the following observations with which I wholeheartedly agree...

"But one other thing bothered me last night, and it did also at the Democratic Convention. It was all those signs that read "Country First" and all those chants of "USA, USA, USA!!" The high-powered and, frankly, militaristic rhetoric kept telling us that "country" should be put above everything else -- including family and friendship. But what about faith? Should country be put ahead of faith, too? I kept wanting to yell back at the people yelling at me about putting the country first and say, "No, not me, I'm a Christian." Because we as Christians simply can't put our country first, ahead of God, ahead of Jesus Christ, ahead of the body of Christ (remember the worldwide body of Christ), and even family and friendship. Especially when our country is wrong, and when most of the rest of the body of Christ around the world thinks so.

"Country First" was the theme of John McCain's speech and night, and he asked us to "fight with him." Barack Obama also said in Denver that all Americans must put country first -- to counter the Republican exclusive claim on patriotism. Well, again, not all of us. I suppose people running for president have to say that, but Christian voters shouldn't go along with that. Can anybody imagine Jesus leading cheers shouting "USA!"?"

The rest of Wallis's (who once wrote a book subtitled "God is not a Republican or a Democrat") blog can be found here....

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Another Obama Endorsement

I promise you...we did not put our 20 month old son up to this. We're not into brainwashing. He's just heard this name a lot on the radio and in discussion. Obama is easier to say than McCain. Anyway, another endorsement for Barack Obama...