Archive for October, 2009

Indecision Kills

I can’t imagine. Being a volunteer soldier shipped to a far and barren land to fight a largely faceless enemy, an enemy that breeds merciless hate and destruction in the name of religion.

And then to have my on-the-ground commander request reinforcements from headquarters, only to get a “we’ll think about it” in return.

Installed in May by President Obama to lead international forces in Afghanistan, four-star General Stanley McChrystal requested 40,000 additional troops on Aug. 30. It is now Oct. 30 and he has received no new troops.

He did get an answer of sorts after speaking to the Institute of International and Strategic Studies in London last month: “Keep your mouth shut.” (So much for open and honest debate!)

Besides that rebuke, Commander-in-Chief Obama has only organized committees and studied the issue from comfy confines far from Kabul. Not a surprising response from a former community organizer, but a frustrating one nevertheless.

That’s because 65,000 of our men and women in uniform currently in Afghanistan have endured the deadliest month of the war. Fifty-five of their comrades have fallen in October alone.

All the while, Commander Obama studies and stalls and depletes the confidence of our military that its country will supply what it needs to succeed.

I think, though I do not know, that adding troops in Afghanistan is the correct action. Leaving troop levels unchanged, after the theater’s top general requests a substantial increase, is not.

President Obama needs either to get in or get out. Sitting on the fence merely demoralizes, not to mention endangers, the people he leads.

If he’s a pacifist, let him be a bold and decisive one. Not a pacifist masquerading as a semi-hawk when a critical mission and American lives are on the line. For, as an ROTC-trained fraternity brother of mine once put it, indecision kills.

While in Florida fund-raising for Democrats this week, President Obama didn’t pass up a chance to pontificate to Navy service personnel in Jacksonville: “I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm’s way. I won’t risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary.’’

He could have added, “I also won’t rush to send you backup if your general says you need it.”

Through the years, Democrats have had a near-monopoly on the slogan, “Help is on the way.” They offer it to the poor, the sick, the jobless “ whomever holds the short end of whichever proverbial stick.

They apply it to virtually anyone in need; that is, unless you’re a struggling soldier risking your life for your country on the other side of the globe. Then, you get to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Instinctively Indefensible

Former Arkansas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee came to Boerne Wednesday to help christen the completion of the new Hill Country Pregnancy Care Center.

He presented a convincing case of why, if we lose the battle over the value of human life, we lose everything for which this nation has stood for more than two centuries.

Planned Parenthood may ask, “Which human life was he talking about valuing?” The parents’? Whose lives will be disrupted and inconvenienced physically, financially, socially and emotionally by an unplanned pregnancy?

Well, no. He was talking about valuing the child whose life would be eliminated before her 46 chromosomes get the chance to develop into all their uniqueness and beauty. In truth, the lives of both parents and child are equally valuable. And both are profoundly affected by the abortive process.

Democrats want abortion to be “safe, legal and rare.” How oxymoronic! That’s like saying taxes should be high, low and fair. Democrats acknowledge the truth of the issue in their nuance. With such an inconsistent stance, they tip their hand that abortion is instinctively indefensible.

Abortion is not about personal liberty. It’s about catering to a culture that’s out of control, a people that wants its cake and to eat it, too.

Life is arranged so that the results of out-of-control, un-thought-out behaviors redirect us toward self-control, reality and maturity.

If those consequences are short-circuited, people don’t grow up. They remain self-indulged. Pseudo-rights like abortion only perpetuate careless behavior, not true freedom.

The irony of the liberal position on abortion is that it doesn’t provide true freedom for the parents. Rather, it saddles mother and father with guilt, shame and selfishness that deter long-term joyful freedom. This is precisely why the original Jane Roe now speaks against the procedure her court case legalized.

Any genuinely happy person will tell you that authentic fulfillment comes from investing in someone else. Only in giving oneself away does one ultimately get a full life.

Abortion is often the culmination of self-full choices. In contrast, giving oneself up in service to one’s child or giving one’s child up for another, more equipped family to raise … these are selfless acts that bring unmistakable joy.

I toured the Pregnancy Care Center’s new facility on Tuesday. It’s a gracious, life-giving place staffed with angels on a mission. Its front lobby furniture had not yet arrived, but the lobby already had a trophy of the center’s success: a six-week old baby girl cradled in her mother’s arms.

I hope you’ll see for yourself the first-class facility our generous community has ushered into reality. It’s up off Fabra Lane right next to the Boerne City Cemetery, a gentle reminder to those who grace the center’s doorsteps of the grave decisions they have been called to make.


Politicizing the Weather

Who knew the weather could be a political lightning rod? Just when you thought it was safe to small talk about the heat or the drought or the rain – BAM! Out pops a closet climatologist.

Rush Limbaugh reports the record lows. Al Gore laments the record highs. Americans lose a once uncontroversial conversation topic.

Never one to stick my head in the clouds, I endured Big Al’s “Inconvenient Truth.” I didn’t think it worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, but that was before President Obama won his. Comparatively speaking, Gore’s documentary looks like an Earth-shattering achievement.

The problem with data and statistics is that anyone can make them say anything these days. Projections backward or forward only make matters worse. With climate issues, recorded history is so infinitesimally brief vis a vis planetary history that even the best supported theory on global health but scratches the Earth’s surface.

For every well-reasoned theory to curtail modern manufacturing and energy consumption, another pops up to support it. For example, geologist Leighton Steward’s proposition that plant life actually benefits from greater carbon dioxide emissions. Plant and trees grow larger, he says, spread over the Earth more quickly, bear bigger and more fruit, etc. the more CO2 is in the atmosphere. (For more, see www.PlantsNeedCO2.org or attend the KCRC meeting Tuesday night – details below.)

Since we don’t know for certain what causes snapshot trends, balance and restraint are key. Unfortunately, President Obama’s cap and trade energy legislation is neither.

It’s actually environmental overkill that will penalize American companies for doing the very thing Obama and his protectionist liberal friends purportedly advocate: keeping jobs here at home. (Do they actually aim to hamstring private industry?)

Cap and trade is another misguided move by a man who believes backtracking, apologizing, demilitarizing and under-producing are appropriate penance for America’s far too fruitful past.

As a conservative conservationist, I hate any negative effects humankind has on God’s natural environment. Abandoned strip mines, deforestation and air pollution are often repugnant signs of humankind living in ignorance or carelessness or both. But I also believe that like the Sabbath, Earth was made for man, not man for Earth. While we are called to steward, we are also empowered to subdue, progress and co-create.

The Earth’s land mass is roughly 60 million square miles (oceans cover about 140 million more). For every human populated square mile, there are hundreds of thousands of unpopulated ones. One airplane flight from any A to any B proves this point.

Repeated mediated images of smokestacks in urban jungles create an appearance of impending disaster. The Earth’s seemingly limitless cleansing capabilities never get equal coverage. They are far less sensational and sell far fewer ads.

In conclusion, let’s take a break from climate change, decap cap and trade, and return to the American people their inalienable right to talk fearlessly about the weather.


What Would Satan Do?

Two weeks ago, my counterpart to the left asked what Jesus would do in the health care debate. Her simplistic answer: endorse the public option. Her reasoning: Jesus healed people.

(Does she not know that GOP stands for God’s Own Party? Just kidding. I don’t really believe that…on most days anyway.)

I agree that Jesus healed people and empowered his disciples to heal people. At the same time, he also rejected some of those very same disciples’ urgings to take political control of Israel.

Common knowledge in ancient Judaism held that the messiah would be a military leader. He would root out the Roman occupation and establish his earthly throne with all of its political trimmings.

That’s likely what Peter had in mind when he confessed Jesus the Christ in Mark 8. So, he must have been confused by Jesus’ response to him: Don’t tell anyone.

Peter was clearly perplexed when Jesus then disclosed that the messiah would be killed, so much so that he took Jesus out back for a talkin’ to. At the woodshed, Peter’s Christ ended up giving out more than he received: “Get behind me, Satan. You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Jesus healed people for spiritual, not political, purposes. He was most concerned about eternal life spans, not earthly ones. He said the physically poor (and sick) would always be among us. But would they be spiritually rich (and healthy)? That’s what kept him up at night.

Jesus said in John 10 that Satan’s mission is to kill and destroy. As such, Satan would have us seek life in substances other than God. Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, shotgun sex, fast and fatty “comfort” food. Any medical provider worth her white coat will tell you that dependence on any of these destroys health.

Satan would also have us so discontent in our own skin that we stressfully strive for more stuff. Without regard for balance or boundaries, he would have us spend our health to obtain wealth only to then spend our wealth to get it back. By then, it’s usually too little, too late. Stress has taken its toll.

Satan would fracture families, leaving the world’s best recorders and worst interpreters (children), skeptical that stability, wholeness and health actually exist. He would leave relationships so shattered that adult children have no motivation to care for aging parents. It’s the ultimate payback.

Satan would render impotent people of faith. Through division or self-preoccupation or other “things of men,” he would keep God’s people isolated from the isolation that leads wanderers to unhealthy choices. With no knowledge of redemption, they dull their pain with a Big Mac, a one-night stand, a dose of heroin.

Oh, yes. And Satan would do all this while making us think he doesn’t even exist.

So, what would Jesus do in the health care debate? Be concerned with what Satan would do to people’s spiritual (and thereby physical) health.


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