Freedom of Thought

I read a lot of articles about freedom.  Most people think about freedom as free from the restraints and coercion of government.  While governments do their best to take our freedom, we limit our own freedom in many ways.  Debt can be extremely limiting to your freedom.

Let us consider the freedom of thought.  Do you feel free to think about issues your way?  Will you allow yourself to read the arguments of those with opposing views?   Are you free to question what you have always been taught?  Do you challenge the status quo?  Remember, errors continue when they are not challenged.  Answer these questions honestly.  If you answered “No.” to any one of these then you are not free in your mind.  Mental shackles usually hold us longer than physical ones.

Let me give you a little of my background.  I was raised in an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church.  IFB churches are notorious for forcing you to see life through their tainted lenses.  You are expected to accept whatever the pastor teaches without question.  If you do question anything, you are considered “backslidden” or  rebellious.  For many years I went along to get along.  I had questions, but I pushed them to the back of my mind. I convinced myself the “devil” was making me doubt.  I surrendered to preach, and even attended bible college for two years.

Through a long process of events (that I will not go into now), the questions came back and accompanied by more.  I continued to put on a front and preach anyway.  Finally I realized that I was nothing more than an impostor.  I was basically an actor that would put on a performance and repeat rehearsed lines.  I was doing this to maintain an image for others.  Recently I have gotten to the point that I cannot put on the show anymore.  I am no longer preaching and have no desire to be in full-time ministry.  I am no longer associated with the IFB and actively expose it as often as possible.  This may shock some of you or some may have expected it.  I have to be true to myself and my family.

Now, I have such freedom of thought.  I ask questions that aren’t supposed to be asked.  I challenge premises.  I read as much as I can.  I do not feel bound to believe things because I am told it is true.  I am not ashamed to say I do not have all the answers.  I can say, “I don’t know.”

I challenge you to “think outside the box” (if I can use a cliche’).  Question everything.  Do not let a man behind a pulpit tell you what to think!   Allow logic and reason to guide you.  Cast off the chains within your mind and enjoy freedom!

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Hypocrisy in the Homeland

DroneOn Monday April 15, 2013 the Boston Marathon was rocked by explosions at the finish line.  At least three died and hundreds of others were injured.  Throughout this week everyone had lots of questions.  Who did it?  Why did they do it?  Are there plans for more attacks?  Immediately, Police began trying to figure out who was responsible.  Two suspects were developed from video surveillance footage.  Through process of time, the suspects (brothers) were seen and they engaged in a shootout with the Police.  One brother was killed and at least two Police Officers.  The second brother flees the scene and dumps the car a couple blocks away.  Then a massive man hunt begins.  Ultimately the second suspect was found hiding in a boat and after another shootout he was taken into custody.

That was a very brief recap of the events.  I know many details were left out.  There is a question I want to pose….Once the second suspect was located in a boat…why didn’t the President authorize the CIA to use a Predator Drone to send down a missile and kill him?  He does meet all the criteria.  He is a suspected “terrorist” or at least an “enemy combatant” (whatever that means).  I mean the Feds didn’t waste any time declaring him an “enemy combatant” in order to strip him of his fifth and sixth amendment protections to due process.  He was an imminent threat to American citizens.

“Well…” you say, “We couldn’t use a drone missile to kill him.  That would probably kill innocent people.  We can’t do that!”  I agree completely!  “If he is captured alive and questioned then he could be a good source for intelligence.”  I agree completely!  Now, this leads me to some more questions…Why doesn’t the same logic apply to a “terrorist” 10,000 miles away from the US?  Why is it okay to kill innocent people as long as it is in a foreign land?  Are the lives of American citizens more valuable than those of Iraq, Pakistan, or Afghanistan?  Most Americans wouldn’t admit it, but they feel superior to people born in other countries.  There is great hypocrisy on this issue.  This hypocrisy is exhibited by Americans who do not apply the same standards to the government and military as they do everyone else.  If this is not true…then where is the outrage for the thousand of innocent Iraqi’s killed during the American invasion and occupation of that country?  A country that had not attacked the US and did not pose a threat.  A war started based on fabricated intelligence, lies, and utter propaganda!  George W Bush and his cronies should be sitting in Guantanamo Bay for their crimes!  Where is the outrage for the at least 176 children killed by American drone strikes?  I guess those children do not matter because they happened to be born across the world!

I am outraged, disgusted, and saddened by the tragedy that occurred in Boston.  I am equally outraged, disgusted, and saddened by the tragedies that occur in Pakistan, Yeaman,  Afghanistan, and other countries at the hand of our government and president.  It is time for American citizens to realize that we are no more valuable because we were born (something we didn’t have control over) between certain arbitrary lines known as borders.  It is time for Obama to end the drone war and bring all the troops home!  Let us pursue a foreign policy of peace.  However, I am afraid that the event in Boston is going to lead to another US intervention and more death and destruction.

Freedom to Parent

http://www.examiner.com/article/u-s-attorney-general-says-homeschooling-is-not-a-fundamental-right

In the above article is the story of the Romeike family.  This family is originally from Germany.  They came under persecution by the German government because they were educating their children themselves at home.  Homeschooling is illegal in Germany.  So, the Romeike’s were facing expensive fines and the threat of having their children taken away.  In 2008 they fled to the United States seeking refuge from this persecution.  In 2010 the Romeike’s were granted political asylum and began their new life here in the “land of the free”.

Well, it looks like America may not be as free as they thought.  The family now faces deportation.  The deportation effort is being led by Attorney General Eric Holder.  It is reported that Holder has said homeschooling is not a fundamental human right.  This statement has stirred up a lot of anger from the homeschooling community.

It may surprise you to know I agree with Holder’s claim, but I think the premise being considered is wrong.  Instead of asking, “Is homeschooling a fundamental human right?” let’s consider, “Does an individual or a group of individuals (i.e. government) have the right to dictate what another individual can peacefully do on his own property?”

First, we must get an understanding of the meaning of a right.  This word is used so often that it doesn’t mean much any more.  Many essays, books, and articles have been written about “rights” by far smarter men than I.  This will be basic.  All rights are property rights.  This starts with the realization that you own yourself and you own your justly acquired property (goods).  Since, I do not own you or your property I have no “right” over them.

The reason I say that asking “Is homeschooling a fundamental human right?” is the wrong premise is because it is essentially the same as asking, “Is playing baseball a fundamental human right?”  Should I have to ask my neighbor whether I can play baseball on my property with my children?  That would be absurd!  Playing baseball is not a “right” and neither is homeschooling.  Now with that being stated, I do not have the right to come onto your property and play baseball against your will nor stop you from playing baseball.

I do not have the right to force you to homeschool your children and I do not have the right to prevent you from homeschooling.  The freedom to homeschool your child is really just the freedom to parent.

Freedom of Association

     There are few topics that can divide people as quickly as the issue of marriage or same sex marriage in particular. Individuals on both sides have strong feelings on the issue whether because of religious beliefs, political beliefs, equality, or values.
     This topic has been at the forefront of discussion this week. This is due to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) hearing oral arguments in two cases regarding same sex marriage. I will not go into detail about the cases themselves, but want to convey thoughts about the issue of marriage and how it relates to freedom and a free society.
     Most of the debate centers around the question, “Is homosexuality right or wrong?”. Each individual has to come to his or her own conclusion to that question. I do not think this is the right question to ask. The more fundamental question is, “Should the government restrict an individual’s right to freely associate with another individual(s)?”
Each and every individual possesses a natural right to associate with whomever he or she chooses. Likewise he or she has the right to disassociate with whomever he or she chooses. If three or four people voluntarily join together for whatever reason, they should be free to do so. They should be able to call their association a group, club, team, lodge, or whatever they choose. The same is true if two people of the same or opposite sex have a ceremony, say some vows, and call it a marriage, civil union, or partnership. As long as the relationship is voluntarily chosen by all persons, they should be free to associate with each other. A person should also be free to live as a hermit on the side of a mountain without associating with anybody if that is what he or she chooses.
     The government should not be in the marriage business at all! There should not be a Constitutional amendment supporting or preventing homosexual marriage or heterosexual marriage. Pastors should be allowed to preach against homosexuality without penalty or punishment. Pastors should be allowed to refuse to perform homosexual marriage. Pastors who want to perform same sex marriage should have that freedom. I am not saying that I agree with same sex marriage, but I don’t think it should be illegal.
     Lastly, “legalizing” same sex marriage will not change anything. There are gay and lesbian couples living together as married in states that do not allow same sex marriage. Making it legal just allows them to have a piece of paper with the government’s permission on it. It will not impact your life unless you are a same sex couple. So, in conclusion this article was not in defense of same sex marriage, but rather a defense of the freedom of association.

Victor Nischick and Jack Hyles Interview

Listen to a former deacon of FBC tell the story of how Hyles used mind control to banish him to the basement.  At 6:22 in the video, notice that Hyles says the only woman he has been with is the “mother of my children”.  This is how he always refers to Beverly.  Am I the only person who thinks it’s strange to refer to your wife as the mother of your children?

Purpose for this blog

     Recently, I have become interested in writing.  I have not taken any courses and have no experience, but I do like to write about things that interest me.  This desire has led to the  start of this blog.  The topics will be primarily about the following things:

1.  Expressing and explaining ideas of personal liberty and freedom in relation to current events.

2.  Exposing the dangerous culture within the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) movement.

3.  Lastly, I will express thoughts about what is happening in my personal life.

     Many of the posts will be controversial.  I want to present new ideas and ways of thinking to you.  I don’t expect anyone to agree with everything I shall post, but I hope that it can spur conversation.  I will try to post at least once a week or more often if possible.

Thanks,

RM