Sunday, May 21, 2017

Observations of a conservative pastor’s view of immigration in the US…

Dr. David Jeremiah, the lead pastor of a mega-church near San Diego, CA,  published a book titled “Is This the End – Signs of God’s Providence in a Disturbing New World”.

My observations for the purpose of this blog are focused on Chapter 2 of this book on the topic of immigration.

To Dr. Jeremiah’s credit, he revealed his mission and biases.  His mission is to represent the Christian Church, and more specifically, the teachings of the Bible.  His biases include the promotion of his many ministries to immigrants, both legal and illegal, in the greater San Diego area.  Some might call his teachings concerning immigration based either on a conflict of interest or well-informed because of these ministries.

Nonetheless, he strives to give a balanced view of the current pros and cons of immigration in the US, both from a practical economic and social perspective as well as from a Biblical perspective.  Whether he succeeds with that “balance” greatly depends on two things:  1)  The experiences, knowledge and perspective of the reader concerning immigration and immigrants; and 2)  The portions of Scripture and Christian doctrine one wishes to emphasize or minimize.

For example, he suggests “openness to outsiders” as a great Christian quality which indeed it is.  But he fails to distinguish this quality applied to national immigration policy as distinct from personal relationships. It is one thing for an individual Christian be open and kind to everyone he meets.  It is quite another thing for our national government to roll out the red carpet and accommodate anyone who crosses our borders.

There are a couple of trite examples he used as advantages of immigration:  One was our love of Mexican and Italian food.  This is a great hook for those who think with their stomachs instead of the brain or heart.

Another was of an immigrant (he didn’t say “legal” or “illegal” because that distinction does not matter to him as he stated) in his church who worshipped the Lord enthusiastically, who gave his whole “body, soul, and spirit” in his worship.  Well, many Muslims do the same thing, even to the point of their suicide bombings – Christians don’t match THAT level of enthusiasm.  So I didn't quite understand the relevance of that example to the current topic.

Dr. Jeremiah did lay out his presentation in a good, logical order, discussing both the benefits and the problems of immigration.

Regarding the problems, he thoughtfully considered the problems of both legal and illegal immigration -  all standard stuff most of us understand.

One of the problems he noted for both legal and illegal immigration was the failure of various groups to assimilate.  At the same time, in giving an example of the great numbers of immigrants he ministers to he pointed out that all the street signs in a number of neighborhoods in the region of his church are in Arabic.  Assimilation, anyone?  Apparently not.  That is the fault of government being hell-bent on accommodation rather than assimilation.

The meat of the subject was titled “The Past of Immigration” based on verses he selected from Bible texts.

There were two primary focus points:

1)  From Genesis 11, he pointed out that it is God’s will that there not be a one-world government with everyone communicating in one language to effectively compete with God.  He reminded us that God dispersed the people, confused their ability to effectively communicate, and created numerous nations complete with borders to defend.  From that, the essence is God is not a Globalist; God set the boundaries of every nation.  We need to maintain these boundaries because they are of God.

2) We, as Christians, must assist the “strangers” and the “sojourners.”  But he does explain, “not unconditionally.”  Strangers and sojourners have a responsibility to obey the culture and laws of the land.  They should not believe they have a right to cling to the old laws, beliefs and customs of their homeland, its religion or political ideology.

This is all good stuff up to this point.Image result for Ignoring biblical authority

Two significant points are mostly ignored:

1)  Which portions of Scripture are interpreted in a manner that give one portion precedence over another in the context of the national/political/religious environment of the day?  Does the personal one on one example of Jesus befriending the harlot supersede Paul’s admonition to obey the laws of the land?  These are two entirely different circumstances:  one personal, the other political/national. 

2)  This brings up the bigger problem concerning immigration:  The role of government compared to the role of the individual Christian.  The individual Christian can and should maintain the Biblical standard of how we treat immigrants, legal and illegal.  But we have to ask:  Is the Biblical standard the same for both the legal and illegal immigrant?  The Bible DOES make the distinction if we don’t ignore Romans and other sections.

Here are two significant Biblical concepts that were not mentioned:

  • Immigration of foreigners was used as a curse or punishment upon Israel. II Chronicles 36 describes the use of foreigners to exact judgment upon a disobedient Israel.
  • The rising status of immigrants to a superior status was a curse upon Israel according to Deuteronomy 28: 43-44; 43 The foreign resident among you will rise higher and higher above you, while you sink lower and lower. 44 He will lend to you, but you won't lend to him. He will be the head, and you will be the tail.

Is it possible the same is happening in the US?  I and many others think so.  This is what happens when we jettison and ignore our religion and values.

Dr. Jeremiah chooses to ignore Romans in agreeing with Samuel Rodriguez that “a human being cannot be illegal.”  Really?

His justification?  Conversion to Christianity.  The hope of conversion justifies the illegal immigrant.  But without repentance how can there be conversion?  This smacks of Democrats desiring to ignore our immigration laws so there can be more Democrat voters keeping them in power.

What about all the hundreds of sermons we’ve heard that talk about repentance – turning away from sin, lawbreaking?  Are we to ignore the lack of repentance of the illegal immigrant who chooses to remain “illegal?”  Dr. Jeremiah believes there is no such thing as an “illegal” human.  Are we to ignore the Biblical concept of repentance?  How can an ongoing transgression be ignored?  Or are we to ignore the Biblical principle of obeying the laws of the land.  Apparently Dr. Jeremiah has.

And finally concerning the role of government, our nation has become so diverse, so tolerant of everything (except Christianity) that it is not possible anymore to have a Biblical standard applied to government policy, even if there was a “meeting of the minds” of the correct Biblical interpretation.  We might continue to blow in the wind and pretend to influence government policy.  But it all boils down to what we do have control over:  How we treat individuals we meet, and the standards we apply in condoning or admonishing their behavior. Image result for Ignoring biblical authority

Modern Church doctrine appears to be progressing toward ignoring all sin, whether sexual behavior or breaking the laws of the land.  It is now in vogue to ignore violations of God’s word.  Tolerate everything.  The mainline churches already accept, condone, and defend same sex marriage and gay clergy.  Scratch that rather large chunk of orthodox Biblical doctrine.  Now Dr. Jeremiah wishes to erase a chunk of Paul’s teaching.  Sweet.  One begins to wonder what’s next – Jesus didn’t really resurrect?  No one is really saved?  It’s all a myth?  This is not faith-building stuff.

Trumps’ speech to Muslims: A schmoozfest full of false moral equivalence…

OK, so most critiques of Trumps’ speech to the House of Saud were favorable.  He is cited for being firmly against terror and the Islamic doctrines that are interpreted and used to promote terror.

That is fine.  But here are his speech’s glaring shortcomings.

1)  He appears to ignore and excuse Islam’s and Saudi Arabia’s human rights shortcomings:  All things Islamic, including intolerance of other faiths, an apartheid nation – both gender and religious, Saudi funding of Middle East Studies in US Universities that promote Sharia and Islamic supremacism, and Saudi support of Wahhabi Islam – or should I just say “orthodox Islam” with all its inherent violent history and doctrine.

2)  His assumption that Saudi/Islamic morality is similar to the Judeo-Christian morality of the West.  He hopes that Muslim nations will condemn the doctrines of Islam that promote violence and terror because “with God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed.”  He’s talking about an integral part of Islamic doctrine, folks.  The violent parts of Islam, of which there are many, are an integral part of Islam and will not change.  The “vile creed” he speaks of is as much a part of Islam as “grace” and “forgiveness” are a part of Christianity.  Trump and/or his ill-informed advisors are applying Western/Christianized Image result for Saudi Arabia head of radical Islammorality to Islamic nations who do not share our values.

Doing these things, Trump is doing very little differently than Obama did.  He ignores the endemic nature of Islam in favor of the great schmooze – offering up platitudes toward Saudi Arabia’s and Islam’s glaring shortcomings while pretending a moral equivalency of both with Christian values.

All of this is being done while the leaders of Saudi Arabia lie about their tolerance and their role is spreading the radicalism of Islam though our universities and other nations.

Let us only hope that this is just a royal schmooze to facilitate the role of Saudi Arabia as being a “friend” in the sense of “an enemy of my enemy is my friend”.  Saudi Arabia is no “friend.”  Islam is not a religion to be viewed as a means of solving world problems.  Islam is a world problem.  And Saudi Arabia is at the heart of this Islamic world problem.

Much more could be said about this speech.  An excellent dissection of it from the perspective of those well-informed about Islam is found HERE, at Pam Geller’s website.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The myth that technology steals jobs…

There is a myth among those suspicious of technology that technology steals jobs.  On top of that, they believe that businesses that desire to survive government-mandated higher wages by creatively applying technology and automation are evil enterprises.

Those who express these concerns were absent during Economics 101, took the course from a rabidly socialist professor,  or weren’t paying attention.

First of all, government-forced wages, no matter how noble they may appear, grossly distort the labor market.  This is little different than price controls on goods or services or housing.  Such futile exercises also distort the market, reduce supplies, bring about shortages, and ultimately end poorly with a result opposite the desired outcome.Image result for workers replaced by technology

A business is in business to survive and make a living for the owners, stockholders and employees of that business.   When the cost of labor is forced to increase by government dictate, the business is obligated to look at alternatives to the unsustainable labor costs. 

Labor costs may increase so much that one of two things will occur:

1)  There will be less demand for the higher priced product which reduces the customer base and the amount of product or service purchased.  This in turn damages the economy of scale and the optimal level of production of the company.  One might suggest that all restaurants will be impacted the same, so it all evens out.  Wrong.  Consumers will be forced to consider between eating out and eating at home.  Grocery stores are not part of the restaurant labor equation unless an “all-knowing” socialist government inserts itself in dozens of other business that are affected by restaurant-worker minimum wages.  So what’s the next step?  Government dictating the price differences farmer get for product sold to restaurants versus products sold to grocery stores?  Or taxing food at grocery stores more?  This is a slippery slope.

2) The company will seek ways to maintain the competitive price of his product.  If the cost of human labor becomes excessive due to government-dictated wages, the prudent business will find more economical ways of performing the services performed by humans.  Technology and automation is an obvious alternative.  This is prudent and wise.

Technology and automation have advanced the level of production and standard of living throughout the last two centuries.  Farming is one example.  Production per acre has multiplied many-fold due to technology and automation of farm labor.  The automobile industry, in fact all manufacturing businesses, have substantially increased productivity through automation and technology.

Instead of lamenting the loss of jobs worth $8.00 an hour for which the government mandates an unsustainable $15.00 and hour, how about looking at more positive potentials?

Every piece of automated equipment that allegedly takes away jobs  requires several interactions of additional workers at wages higher than that of the jobs they replaced.

Technology and automation require systems experts to help designers and engineers to create the appropriate technology and automation for the appropriate tasks.  Then there are the additional manufacturing jobs required to build the automation equipment.  On top of that are the installers.  And then the ongoing work of maintaining, servicing and repairing the equipment.  And finally is required personnel to train others in the use and operation of the equipment.

All of these jobs are higher paying than the jobs the technology and automation replaced.  Costs to the business will be held in check, at least below the cost mandated by the arbitrary minimum wage that bore no relationship to the supply, demand, and productivity of the labor market.

Yes, technology and automation take away the lowest paying jobs that can be accomplished more efficiently and for less cost than human labor.  The benefit is not only higher productivity but the creation of more jobs that are higher paying for more workers.

The answer to the alleged problem of technology and automation is re-training, technical education, and developing a worker mindset that rewords change, challenge and adaption to changing work conditions and requirements.

Businesses must adapt to the needs of their customers more than feeling obliged to passively suck up and endure government meddling in unrealistic wages they must pay while they go broke.  The most successful employees, even low wage employees, are the ones who understand and buy into serving the business’s customer more than serving themselves.  That is, unless one believes it should be the role of government to dictate wages across all types of businesses and industry.  That, folks, is socialism verging on communism.

The inadvertent good that may come of inappropriate government meddling with minimum wage requirements my very well be the automation of tasks currently performed by overpaid and less efficient minimum-wage workers.

The anti-technology attitude of some reminds me of the demise of the Swiss watch industry several decades ago.  The special interests of the Swiss watch makers influenced their government to subsidize their mechanical watch industry in the face of the burgeoning electronic watch technology coming out of Asian nations.  Instead of adapting, the mechanical Swiss watch industry all but died.  Should the world be angry at the technologically savvy businesses that took away the watch business from the Swiss? 

Hardly.  Virtually all business and economic texts fault the Swiss for their failure to adapt to changing technology – a literal textbook example.

Today’s restaurant workers, and other low-wage employees and related businesses need to likewise remain vigilant to similar changes in their industries or else the same demise may befall them.

Bemoaning technology and automation is not the answer.  Keeping government out of wage controls is my first choice.  And if that won’t happen, then the next best alternative is businesses adaption to automation to optimize their productivity so they can at least exist as places that more productive people can work.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Repeal first…and other issues to avoid becoming even more socialist…

Obamacare is on the verge of becoming RINOcare, a legacy Trump did not propose and likely does not want.

The platform was repeal and replace.  Repeal first.  Replace second.  They need to be separate bills.  It is human nature to build on the work of others such as keeping much of Obamacare and just tweaking it.  That is NOT what was promised the American voter.  But that is what will happen if Obamacare is not repealed in its entirety first.

Hey, Republicans!  Stick to the plan:  Include pre-existing conditions; allow plans to cross state borders; allow choice of plans;  allow people who don’t want insurance to opt out without penalty but pay a hefty surcharge if they decide to come in later when they’re sick.  Don’t penalize so-called “Cadillac” plans with taxes.  Let the market determine fair costs.

We are reminded that this healthcare bill is likely to be the largest government funded entitlement program in the nation’s history, exceeding the cost of the Social Security program.  Do Republicans want that legacy?  Many do.  The RINOs do.

Trump’s budget proposes substantial cuts in federal expenditures.  Large cuts are proposed in funding to the “finance your enemies organization”, aka the United Nations (long overdue), pay for no work programs, aka social welfare, the one-world advocacy group, aka the State Department and hopefully planned killers united, aka Planned Parenthood, the national endowment for porn, aka National Endowment for the Arts, and national public propaganda, aka National Public Radio.

These cuts will be just the beginning, a small fraction of what needs to be done to pare back the huge excess of government spending.

These actions, along with privatizing healthcare, cutting regulations and reducing taxes will go a long way to steer us away from socialism that 8 years of Obama and decades of his predecessors have led us toward.

Monday, February 06, 2017

The difference between bleeding-heartism and prudence…

Do you really think liberals like Chuck Schumer are taking the moral high road on immigration?  Do you really believe the engraved adage “give me your tired, your poor your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” applies to virtually every situation this nation  ever will encountered?

Emma Lazarus penned those words in 1883.  These words are now used as if they have universal, perpetual, and infinite applicability.  The reality is they don’t.  Accepting immigrants back then meant accepting those from nations and civilizations who shared the values of this nation, who look forward to the promises of the freedoms this new land offered.

While Emma Lazarus was the liberal Chuck Schumer of her day she made sense – back then.

Today, she would be Chuck Schumer, a man who argues for a national policy that is both out of touch and dangerous given the nature of the ideology, culture and behaviors of the immigrants who pose a great risk to our nation.

Schumer and the other tear-jerk liberals would be more up front with the rest of us if they changed Emma’s poem to this:

Give me your crime, your malcontents,

your befuddled Muslims, yearning for Sharia,

The Islamic jihadi who hopes to vent.

Send these, who will make our land as tempest-tossed as theirs is:

I lift my blind eye to the ones who evil sent. 

No, Chuckie, these are not the same innocent, tempest-tossed folk of the 1800’s yearning to breathe free.

Those who our much more prudent government intend to keep out are nothing like the immigrants who shared our values.  Those from Muslim nations do not.  Quite the opposite.   The great majority want nothing to do with our values except the freebies that enable them to impose their own sick, perverse version of civilization on the rest of us.

As a reminder for those who haven’t been paying attention:  The so-called Islamic “religion” is much more a political and military ideology intending to subvert all those of other belief systems to their own or face the consequences that are clearly spelled out in their holy books, traditions, and interpretations by the great majority of their Muslim leaders.  There is no “yearning to breathe free” except using our freedoms to impose Islamic Sharia which bears no relationship to “freedom.”

The Trump administration is doing absolutely the right thing.  We must defend against those who have a clear record of doing us harm.  The evidence is in their culture, their beliefs, and their actions.  It is insanity, Chuckie, to do otherwise.