Free Speech And The Chicks

The Dixie Chicks spoke out critically of President Bush on the event of Operation Free Iraq. They followed it with the yo-yo statement regarding opposing the war and supporting the troops. What? That is like saying you support the means but not the end.

Supporters of the Chicks parrot their right to freedom of speech. That is not a question much less the question. They absolutely have the right to freedom of speech. In part, for that reason our military personnel were in Iraq.

Meanwhile a Congressman made comments regarding certain sexual behavior of which he disapproved. There have been demands for his resignation from committee posts and even from congress. While not agreeing with his statement can one defend his freedom of speech without being consider personally un-PC?

Freedom of speech is a wonderful distinctive birthed by our forefathers. It is a right to be cherished. However, there is a closely associated factor. That is, responsible speech. Say what ever you want but don’t cry and complain when others exercise their freedom of speech to express disapproval. Those disapproving are under no obligation to vote for or buy the CDs of those with whom they disagree.

If a person is going to make a statement they should be willing to defend it or apologize for it. In either case they should accept the consequences.

It is said that many people spend 90% of their time looking for someone to blame. It is such a chronic trait that it has spawned a book entitled, “I’m Not My Fault.”
The Chicks offered as a feeble excuse that they were in a foreign country. That is all the more reason the statement was out of line. The foreign country was England where their Prime Minister was under heavy criticism for aligning with President Bush in the war effort. It was an indirect criticism of Tony Blair. They got two birds with one stone.

Linked with freedom and responsibility is the consequence. There is a price to be paid for free speech. Showing the courage of convictions can be exacting. Our founding fathers were free to speak out against oppression. Having done so they showed the courage to stand by their convictions. It cost most of them dearly. The congressman and the Chicks having exercised their free speech should expect response.

This once more illustrates there is a difference in talent and wisdom. The Chicks by today’s standards are considered musically talented. That does not make them all knowing or all wise. It does make then all the more accountable because of the scope of their influence. To spin off an old axiom: “If you can’t stand the feedback stay away from the microphone.”

Freedom of speech is having the right to speak. Wisdom is knowing the right thing about which to speak, where, and when.

There is also a line in our law which says, “You have the right to remain silent….” That too is a freedom. It is at times a responsibility.

Scripture says, “Speak the truth in love.” There are times love prompts silence. The Chicks didn’t show our President any love or respect. Neither did they show our troops any support.

Faith In The Face Of Terrorism

“The city was under siege. As when a house is on fire, the inhabitants wanted to flee. The populace seemed eager to save themselves, even if naked and ashamed. Others heard of the calamity and received the exiles. Tales of the horrors which had befallen the city were widespread; stories of tortured souls shook the city. Shaking of foundations was a well-known cause of alarm.

Now every heart quivered. All saw death daily before their eyes. Terror was constant. Many were shut up within the walls of their own houses. The enemy was encamped around. There were those who roamed the streets seeking the guilty as well as the innocent. Formerly free persons sat shackled, anxiously inquiring of those they felt safe to ask, “Who today has been seized, carried off, or punished? How did it happen? How did they fall?’ The people lived a life more dreadful than death.

This calamity is an enigma, isn’t it? In this scene there is flight without an enemy. Inhabitants are expelled without a battle. There is captivity without capture. No fires of barbarians are visible. No faces of the enemy are seen.”

Those are the opening paragraphs of my book entitled “Farewell to Fear.” The story is a parody. The city is “you” and the enemy attacking the city is “fear.” Fear attacks us as an army lays siege to a city. Now read those paragraphs again.

Here is another line from the book, “No emotion so completely robs the mind of all its powers of reason and action as fear.”

Tension and stress caused by the uncertainty of potential terrorist activity has everyone a bit edgy. Y2K was only a primer compared to this. The terrorists have already accomplished part of their goal, that is, the disrupting of daily life and raising the fear factor. How can we respond most properly?

A young pilot returning from flying an unarmed reconnaissance flight over Iraq wrote to tell me of his fear. He had just been reading my book and he wrote, “I remembered the line from your book, “The God who conquered Canna said, “Fear not’ and in that I found consolation.'”

My working title for the book was “Fear Nots Untie Fear Knots.” I still think that was a good title.

This conflict has religious roots. The counter point personal remedy is a spiritual one. Use your spiritual resources and if you don’t have any make establishing them a priority. One of the most useful spiritual weapons is prayer. Prayer is not just telling God what He already knows – it is meditating and giving Him time to tell you what you don’t know. Commit Scripture to memory. Here is a starter: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand” (Philippians 4:6,7 NLT).

If you have your spiritual priorities in order you live in a no lose position. It is time to reassess what really is of value. With our value system properly ordered life takes on new meaning. That helps relieve tension and stress.

Evolution: Fact Or Theory

Attending a state university and having a major in biology I learned what is required for a matter to be considered a scientific fact. It must pass three tests.

1. Is or was it observable?
2. Is it demonstrable?
3. Is it repeatable?

In light of that three fold test consider whether evolution Is a scientific fact. Religion is not in that equation.

If it is not a scientific fact what is it? It is a theory. It is undeniable that there has been change. There is no evidence however that the species line has been crossed.

Reference is often made to “the missing link.” Link? Links. There are numerous reputable scientists with prestigious degrees who acknowledge it.

Consider point number one. Was anyone there to observe the first amoeba crawl out of the primordial swamp and become another higher creature?

Point three: Is there anywhere an ape in the process of becoming a Homo Sapien? Careful how you answer that one.

It is said most people believe in evolution. Not so. Studies show the opposite. Still most people who believe in evolution believe in it because they believe most people believe in evolution.

Why are some people so passionate about the issue? Some conscientiously believe it is a science. They have been taught only principles supporting the idea. They have never challenged their belief by reading such works as “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution” by Dr. Michael J. Behe or “The Design Inference” by Dr. William A. Dembski or “Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record” by Dr. Duane T. Gish. These are scientists highly regarded by their peers. A reading of some challenging articles can be readily accessed on the web at “Behe, Michael J. – On-line Articles.”

A good way to confirm your beliefs is to challenge them. I established my beliefs in college by being required to read material supporting evolution. In a secular classroom I saw enough flaws in the theory to at least evaluate alternatives. Though not required to do so why not read scientific works that challenge the theory of evolution? You might come out believing in it even more. You might not.

Don’t be like the Paduanesian theologians who refused to look through Galileo’s telescope for fear they would see something they could not believe. By giving concepts other than evolution a quality study you might see something you didn’t know and come to believe it. Explore! After all, isn’t that what science is all about?

Bottom line: creation or evolution, which ever you believe you will have to do it on the basis of faith. For proof of this review the three points above.

You don’t know what you don’t know —- you know.

The Emergence Of Evil

Evil is a word that has almost been lost from our language. President Reagan called Russia the “Evil Empire” and was criticized.

The word has had a second coming lately. President Bush has referred to the terrorist actions as “evil deeds.” To use language of our youth: “Right on Mr. President.” There is no other word for these terrorists actions.

However, that is the same word used by zealots who oppose America. In every religions there are extremist who exploit their faith and dishonor their founder. There are many Moslems who disagree with actions of Moslem extremist. This is especially true of American Moslems. It would be encouraging to hear more of them being more vocal in opposition to the evil being done under the guise of Islam.

There are twenty military conflicts going on in the world right at this time. Eighteen of them involve Islamic societies. Not all is peaceful in that world. American’s have shed blood in defense of Islamic governments, such as, in Somalia and Bosnia. We get no credit in the Moslem world for these actions favoring them.

Members of the Islamic community must concede there is a significant extremists element exploiting their faith as a shield for their evil deeds.

Osama bin Laden said it is his religious duty to seek weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam Hussein said he has given his life to serve Allah. Over the past months he has donated more than 50 pints of blood. It is not for use of the needy in his country. It has been given to be mixed with an ink base and used to write the Koran. Under the umbrella of his faith he continues to develop weapons of mass destruction to ultimately be used in initiating further evil deeds.

Now comes the appeal for us to halt military action during Ramadan. Iran and Iraq fought through several periods of Ramadan. Mohammed even fought through it. He raided caravans around Medina to start his movement and stopped for nothing. It has not been uncommon for Moslems to fight during the holiday season.

Our president is right, this is not a fight with Islam or the Moslem people. Unfortunately those against which this war is waged are hiding behind that shield. Therefore, it is being sold to the Moslem world as America opposing Islam. Or as Mohammed called Christians and Jews, “People of the Book,” fighting Islam.

Evil is a word used in the Moslem world for America. Our movies, music, manner of dress, and entertainment are thought to be evil. Elements of each are. In general what we call progress is undesired by Islamic extremists. They have been taught to do everything as Mohammed did. That even includes what fingernail to cut first and how. Their traditions are very defined. Western civilization is thought to be alien to such a life style and therefore evil. These extremists (note I didn’t say all Moslems) hate Western society because they believe it is evil. That very hatred is the evil resulting in terrorist activities.

Don’t Be A Goose

While playing cowboy on a ranch in Montana I observed the behavior of two animals that illustrate human conduct. When I thought of writing on this topic I thought it mirrors teens and it does. However, it also typifies some adult behavior.

One was a goose named “Goose.” The ranch foreman, Lyle, rescued Goose the day he hatched. A predator killed his mom and siblings. Goose manifested a trait of geese. They imprint with whatever they are around during their earliest days. Goose happened to be around Lyle and his dog Pinkie. Therefore Goose thought he was a dog or human. He walked around following Pink Dog because Pink Dog followed Lyle. When Pinkie wasn’t around he followed Lyle. If Lyle wasn’t around he walked around following the nearest human. He walked rather than fly.

He ate dog food and slept in the dog house. When Pinkie would bark Goose would squawk. He delighted to pick at shoe laces and if a person crossed him he would attack with wings flapping.

Wild geese would fly up and down the Big Hole River honking but Goose paid them no attention.

Goose will never know the exhilaration of flying the North American flyway. He will never develop his full potential as a Canadian Goose. He practiced one dog trait too many. He chased Lyle’s car one time too many without Lyle knowing it. Goose was run over without ever knowing his true identity. He never lived up to his potential.

The other animal was actually several horses. There were seven in the corral and pasture when a new one was introduced. The seven bonded together to exclude the new guy, Tug. They would graze together and if the new horse came too close they would run him away snipping at his flank and trying to run along beside and kick at him. Day after day the seven smoozed together. The new boy on the block was forced to stay out of their grouping.

One of the quarter horses was a beautiful paint. He seemed to know he was good looking and was dominant in keeping the intruder from getting involved. Not only would the paint, Scout, drive the loner away he would even walk away and lead the others to follow leaving Tug alone. It was class discrimination at its best. It was a click horse style.

It is one thing for horses to be antisocial but for human beings to practice this behavior is ridiculous. Tug did nothing other than be new to the society of horses. That alone caused the petty group to ostracize him. I didn’t know horses could be so insecure. Humans do the same thing to one another and the primary reason is their insecurity. There was nothing wrong with Tug. There was something very wrong with the horsing around of the group.

The same scenario will be acted out on campuses early this fall. The basic conduct will be applied in adult social circles.

The moral of these stories! Be all you were created to be and help others be all they can become. Don’t rob the world of the original you by imprinting with an unbecoming person or philosophy. Open yourself and emotionally embrace those around you.