Monday, April 23, 2018

CA Gives Sanctuary to Illegals and Scrutiny to Homeschoolers

In recent years, much has been made about people leaving California over the high cost of living, its liberal leanings, and its giving ‘sanctuary’ to illegal immigrants.  These are the obvious and widely known reasons for the exodus.  But one organization believes that it may get worse if a bill involving homeschooling is passed.

Following the arrest of homeschooling parents David and Louise Turpin in Riverside County, CA, on January 17th, state lawmakers have been discussing legislation they say would not only check on the health and safety of homeschool students in CA, but ensure that they are getting what lawmakers feel is a good education.  The Turpins were charged with felony child abuse, false imprisonment and torture.

Recently, state lawmaker Susan Talamantes Eggman introduced Assembly Bill 2926 – legislation that Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) contends is a very dangerous piece of legislation.  “And it’s going to be a precursor to more direct legislation,” Dacus pointed out last week on American Family Radio’s (AFR) Janet Mefferd Live radio program.  “The initial language was going to allow the fire departments to randomly invade homes of homeschoolers without a warrant at least twice a year just to make sure that they’re healthy and safe.  That was taken out, but what’s in the legislation right now is the formation of a committee, and this committee would investigate to determine what needs to be regulated, in terms of homeschooling,” says Dacus.

According to the attorney, the areas to be scrutinized would be: (1) health and safety, (2) whether or not the instructors are credentialed teachers, and (3) curriculum.  The legal expert feels that all three are illegitimate justifications.  “California law requires that homeschoolers file a private school affidavit, and it’s a real basic criteria to satisfy,” Dacus informed.  “You file the affidavit, you have to keep a record of the attendance of your child in that private school, what days are they doing schoolwork, are they actually there or somewhere else – but that’s just to make sure that parents aren’t just doing nothing.”

PJI encourages parents to keep a folder on their child.  “It’s to show that, ‘No, we are a bonafide homeschooling entity and here’s all the work the child has done,’” Dacus explained.  “We actually had a victory in appellate court where the judge ruled in favor of our client – homeschoolers – and declared that homeschoolers do not have to have a teaching credential in order to homeschool.  So, we have tremendous freedom in California, but this bill is going to be a precursor to heavy regulations that will undoubtedly result in many homeschoolers leaving the state of California.”

Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has voiced similar concerns about AB 2926.

Public schools, teachers unions and politicians have all waged stiff opposition to homeschooling over the years, not wanting to give up their states’ unbridled control of education, and they stand strongly behind the new piece of legislation.

“The teachers union is number one – as far as pushing it,” Dacus continued.  “They hate homeschoolers for purposes of power and more.  The more people that homeschool, the less that are in public schools, the less teachers, the less union dues, and the less control they have of the legislature.”

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Friday, April 20, 2018

Bibles Banned in China

Chinese Holy Bibles are no longer available for sale online, as demanded by the Chinese government.  Not a single Bible can be found amongst Chinese online stores … including Amazon.  Customers who had added a Bible to their shopping cart the day before are no longer able to complete their purchase.  Only various “Bible stories” are still available for purchase.

The distribution of the Bible has always been restricted in China.  Unlike the Quran and Buddhist Sutras, which are permitted to be freely sold both online and in brick-and-mortar bookstores, the Chinese Holy Bible is restricted to distribution solely by government-held churches.  The Bible cannot be obtained through public channels, such as bookstores.

Moreover, only one printing company — the Jiangsu Amity Printing Company — is authorized to print the Bible, and the total number of Bibles printed each year is also severely restricted.  

Since 1987, the Episcopal Church of America has donated the royalties, paper, and printing machines necessary for making the Bible affordable for Chinese citizens.  The standard Bible is less than $1 and is lightweight with excellent quality paper, printing, and binding.

As online shopping has become more and more accessible to distant cities over the past 5-years, some Christians started purchasing Bibles from government-held churches and selling them through online platforms.  These online sales have made the Bible more accessible for those in rural areas without access to government-held churches, as well as curious non-Christians who do not know where to purchase one.  The government has never restricted the online sale of the Bibles until now.

Currently, one can still access electronic Bibles through certain apps.  WeDevoteBible, a popular Bible app equivalent to YouVersion, provides the same design and format as the printed Bible, and supplements it with commentaries.  This app provides even greater access to the Bible for Chinese citizens.  Many Chinese Christians are concerned that WeDevoteBible will also soon be shut down.

The proclamation which banned the online sale of Bibles gave no indication of the reason behind this restrictive measure against the distribution of the Bible.  Some Chinese web users speculate that it is part of the movement intending to incorporate Chinese characteristics into Christianity.  The tightened restriction of the Bible distribution, some suspect, is to provide room for the government to “fix” the current translation of the Bible, the Chinese Union Version translated in 1919, in order to incorporate traditional Chinese cultural and socialist core values into the Bible.

More than likely, this change is related to the implementation of the newly revised Regulation on Religious Affairs and Cyber Security Law.  These regulations led to a nationwide crackdown on Chinese Christians and stronger control over Christian activities on the Internet.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Artists Await SCOTUS Baker Decision

While the nation awaits a landmark U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling on a Colorado baker, two Arizona artists are also waiting to learn the future of their 1st Amendment rights.  The ordinance they’re fighting, meanwhile, can literally land them both in a jail cell.

The Arizona case involves Brush & Nib Studio (located in Phoenix), where owners Joana Duka and Breana Koski create hand-drawn invitations, paintings, and signs for weddings, businesses and everyday moments.  What’s the problem?  Phoenix has an ordinance that states Duka and Koski have to provide the same artwork for same-sex weddings, which the owners say violates their religious beliefs about marriage. 

If the ordinance is enforced by the City of Phoenix, the artists could be sentenced to jail for failing to comply, says Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Jonathan Scruggs.  “It’s a criminal law,” he explains.  “So if you’re found in violation of the law, penalties are $2,500 in fines, up to six months in jail and three years of probation, for every day you don’t comply.”

The artists filed suit in 2016, citing a violation of the Arizona Constitution and the state’s Arizona Free Exercise of Religion Act, and their case is currently before the appellate court after losing in a lower court.

“And we are optimistic,” says Scruggs, “the court will vindicate the right of these two young artists, who just want to operate their business in accordance with their beliefs.”

SCOTUS heard oral arguments in December 2017 over the Masterpiece Cake Shop, where business owner Jack Phillips was fined by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for turning down an order to design a same-sex wedding cake.  A decision on that case is expected in June 2018, which is expected to impact not just Brush and Nib but also others business owners such as Phillips who have fought - and lost - anti-discrimination laws in the courts.

“No one should be compelled to convey messages they disagree with,” Scruggs argues, “and that’s something that should really be a basic principle that Phoenix yet is still violating.”

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Monday, April 16, 2018

Target Continues to Miss the Target *

Will Target ever get smart?  Another danger has occurred in another Target store, this time in Chicago.  Police say a man exposed himself to a little girl in the women’s restroom on March 31st, when he entered a stall and told her to leave.  A spokesman for Target said the man, who has not been identified, was intoxicated.

Target’s corporate headquarters has been in a 2-year battle with the Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA) after Target publicized its “inclusive” pro-transgender policy that allows men who identify as women to use the women-only facilities in stores.

Already known for its public support of progressive liberal causes, including homosexual activism, Target executives publicized the store policy when the issue of transgenders and restrooms was making national headlines.  AFA warned Target at the time, however, that straight men could use the liberal policy to prey on unsuspecting female customers, and to date such incidents have been documented by local media at Target stores in Texas, Oregon, Tennessee, Idaho, New Jersey, California, and other states.  AFA also launched a boycott of Target stores that topped a million online signatures in under a week. 

In a news story about the Target store incident, NBC News Chicago said police warned the public that parents should always be cautious of their surroundings, including in public restrooms.  AFA spokesman Walker Wildmon questions why such a warning would be made, when Target has publicly stated that it is not monitoring who enters the women’s restrooms.  “According to Target’s policy, if the mother or daughter had objected to this man entering the women’s restroom, they couldn’t have,” he points out.  “They would have no standing, because according to Target’s policy, men can access women’s restrooms and changing rooms.”  Until that policy changes, he adds, every female customer is vulnerable to sexual predators.

The news story also included public reaction to the incident including one person who called the incident “evil” and another who said the man was wrong for entering the women’s restroom.  “It’s sad,” said another customer, “that we have to be fearful for our children to go to the women’s restroom.”

“If you were to poll the American public, nearly everyone would say, men need to go to men’s rooms, women need to go to women’s rooms,” says Wildmon.  “That’s basic common sense and Target is defying common sense.”

*The New Testament Greek word for “sin” means “missing the mark” or “off the mark.”

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Friday, April 13, 2018

CA Politicians Deem Redemption a Fraud

The newest pro-LGBT bill in California is being challenged for its Orwellian attempt to stifle the gospel message of deliverance and redemption under the guise of consumer safety.

The controversial measure in question, Assembly Bill 2943, mirrors attempts in other states to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for homosexuals.  But it also carries those successful laws to the next logical steps: the pulpit of the church, the offices of a counselor, and the pages of a book.

A law is already on the books in California banning counseling for people under 18 with unwanted same-sex attractions, says attorney Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI).  “Now the state of California is even more emboldened,” he warned recently on the ‘Sandy Rios in the Morning’ show, “as this bill applies to everyone – all licensed counselors, and even people selling books on therapy.”

AB 2943, described by proponents as consumer fraud legislation, is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection.  Citing the language of the bill, Dacus said a Christian conference that includes former homosexuals would be considered an illegal activity, hence their claims - Christian testimonies - would be considered false and misleading under California law.

There is no question the new bill uses consumer fraud to stop free speech, including religious beliefs about sex and marriage that are considered ‘hate speech’ by some California legislators.

“The California Assembly is considering a bill that would classify conversion therapy as fraud,” begins a story by the left-wing Media Matters, which goes on to rattle off the ‘hate groups’ opposing AB 2943 including: PJI, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Family Research Council.

OneNewsNow reported in 2016 that a state senator reluctantly withdrew a bill that would have forced the state’s private religious colleges and universities to allow open homosexuals or lose financial aid.  Only when minority students publicly protested the loss of Cal Grant money did Sen. Ricardo Lara withdraw the bill … vowing to bring it back at a later date to punish religious schools for their “appalling” discrimination.

In a PJI press release describing this legal fight, Dacus recalls that PJI challenged a similar bill, SB 1172.  That law was upheld by a federal appeals court that claimed it was limited to minors and a licensed professional.

California legislators have been warned by licensed professionals that victims of sexual abuse would be barred from undergoing counseling sessions … citing the testimony of a licensed psychologist, reported in a mid-March update on AB 2943.  If the law passes, victims of sexual abuse can seek counseling if their abuser is the opposite sex but not the same sex, the testimony pointed out.  “It is very disturbing,” Dacus said of this new legislation.  “It’s controlling the dialogue and the messaging, not just in the public schools, but the public square in a very alarming way.” 

Dacus went on to warn people outside California that the homosexual activists won’t stop with left-wing legislators in the Golden State.  “If it’s not stopped in California,” he said, “it’s coming to a state near you.”

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

ACLJ Victory for Student’s 1st Amendment Rights

The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) recently secured an important victory on behalf of a student attending a community college in Oregon when the school rightly recognized his 1st Amendment right to address curricular assignments from a religious viewpoint.

The situation arose when, after multiple back-and-forth communications involving faith, the professor read the student’s latest assignment, an essay on friendship, in which the student alluded to the intimately close friendship one might have as a Christian with Jesus.  The professor voluntarily injected her own personal beliefs into the conversation by noting on the assignment paper that not everyone believed in God.  When the student responded by expressing his concerns for the professor, based on his faith, the professor asked the student to refrain from further discussing religion with her.  The student respectfully explained that the reason he discusses religion with others, including her, is because he believes, based on his reading of the Bible, Christians have a responsibility to share their faith.  In the same response, however, the student expressly wrote that he would honor the professor’s request and cease personal religious discussions.

Despite this acknowledgment and agreement to her request, the professor complained to the college that the student was harassing her, prompting a meeting with a college official responsible for addressing student conduct issues.  While the student maintained his agreement not to address matters of religion with the professor on a personal level, the conduct officer’s instructions went further, restricting the student from addressing matters of religion in any way in this professor’s class, including when appropriately responding to curricular assignments.

With the assistance of ACLJ, the student notified the conduct officer that he could not agree to such terms, as they would operate in direct violation of his right to the freedom of speech.  The conduct officer, however, was undeterred and maintained the position that the student must treat this particular professor’s class as effectively a religion-free zone.  ACLJ immediately issued a letter to the college’s administration explaining that students have a constitutional right to speak from a religious viewpoint, and, as courts have repeatedly recognized, such speech, when germane to the subject matter of an assignment, rather than constituting harassment, is in fact fully protected.  ACLJ’s letter demanded that the college retract the instructions given by the conduct officer and formally acknowledge the student’s right to respond to curricular assignments from a religious perspective.  The college was quick to respond and rightly agreed that the student would be permitted, without further negative consequences, to respond to curricular assignments from a religious point of view.  

Thus, when the student was recently assigned an essay discussing holidays that are important to him, and the reasons therefor, he was able to write about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, including the explanation that for him, as a Christian, Easter is important because Jesus’ resurrection provided the opportunity for eternal life.

Thank God for such legal organizations as ACLJ who defend the right of students to engage in religious expression free from the result of government-imposed penalties … even when it may be deemed offensive to some.  ACLJ will continue to remind government entities that religious speech is constitutionally protected and, despite the objections of those who find such speech controversial, it may not, for that reason, be silenced.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Monday, April 9, 2018

This is a HUGE Win for Religious Freedom

In a major victory for the 1st Amendment right to religious freedom, a federal judge has ruled in favor of Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) members, issuing declaratory relief and a permanent injunction against the Obamacare CASC (contraception, abortifacient, sterilization, and related counseling) Mandate.  The ruling also eliminates $6.9 billion in fines that have accumulated against CBA members.

The judgment means that the government cannot force Catholic employers who are members of the CBA to provide the mandate CASC coverage.  The decision also declares the CASC Mandate is illegal as applied to CBA members.

While an injunction stops the federal government from enforcing the CASC Mandate against CBA members, the declaratory judgment speaks directly to the illegality of what the federal government has been trying to do to CBA members for years.  The court stated that the federal government “violated RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act)” by trying to coerce members into providing CASC services.

Four years ago, the CBA challenged the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate (HHS mandate) in the district court claiming that the mandates were in direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Two federal lawsuits were filed in 2014 by the CBA who represents over 1,000 Catholic employers.  The goal was to protect Catholic employers from federal government mandates that sought to force Catholic employers to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs – a goal that was achieved with this recent ruling.

U.S. District Court Judge David Russell ruled that his decision is permanent.  The court’s injunction binds not only the current administration but future administrations, protecting CBA members from any other regulation in the future that tries to use the “women’s preventive services mandate” to force CBA members to violate their conscience.

“This is the tremendous win,” said Douglas G. Wilson, the CBA’s Chief Executive Officer. “The first freedom in the Bill of Rights is the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The court has rightly ruled that employers should not be forced to violate their beliefs and cover morally problematic elective and often low-cost choices that individuals may wish to make.”

My guess is: You didn’t hear or read about this ruling in your mainstream media outlets.  Wonder why?

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Friday, April 6, 2018

When Speculative Smears are Treated as Truths

When the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program asked why President Trump had congratulated Russian president Vladimir Putin on being reelected, former CIA director John Brennan pulled no punches.  In answering the question that implied Trump may be afraid of Putin, Brennan said, “The Russians may have something on him personally.”  The Russians, he said, “have had long experience of Mr. Trump, and may have things they could expose.”

If it were anyone else we would dismiss it as a partisan cheap shot; but coming as it did from a career intelligence officer who served for 4-years as the head of the American intelligence establishment, this had to be more than a baseless conjecture.

By the end of the day, Brennan admitted his wild charge was not based on any actual information or intelligence revealed to him during the course of his duties but just a willingness to assume the worst about Trump.  In a written response to questions from the New York Times, he said, “I do not know if the Russians have something on Donald Trump that they could use as blackmail.”

In a world in which journalists treated unfounded assumptions as just that, rather than headline news, Brennan’s charges would have been dismissed.  But though the Times knew the accusation was baseless by the time it published its article on the subject, the paper buried the lead.  The headline on the story was “Ex-Chief of the C.I.A. Suggests Putin May Have Compromising Information on Trump.”  Brennan’s walking back of his charge didn’t appear until the eleventh paragraph of the story.

This encapsulates most of the media’s coverage of the entire Russian-collusion investigation over the last year, in which speculation about Trump’s guilt is always assumed to be true even if proof is never forthcoming.

The case of the Brennan smear is, however, instructive in that it shows how coverage of Trump and Russia works.  When Brennan spoke of the Russians’ having something on Trump, not one member of the panel asked the former Obama staffer whether his opinion was rooted in actual knowledge rather than pure speculation.  Nor did many others ask that question over the course of a day in which Brennan’s comment was among the most discussed stories.  That fits a pattern that applies to every stage of the Russian-collusion investigation.

More than a year into the Trump presidency and the appointment of Robert Mueller to lead a special investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, information about the subject is still scarce.  Speculation about the dearth of knowledge regarding what happened or what exactly Mueller has discovered is understandable.  But in most of the media, that lack of information hasn’t stopped both reporters and commentators from jumping to conclusions about Trump’s being in big trouble every time even the smallest tidbit about the probe is aired.  Until Mueller finishes his work and issues a report, we won’t know what he has found.

What we do know is that President Trump does appear to have a soft spot for the Putin regime and seems unwilling to listen to the counsel of those who urge him to be more guarded in his statements about the subject.  Is that enough, as Brennan seems to think, to fuel a charge that he might be under some sort of pressure from Russia?  The obvious answer is no.  Trump has been consistent throughout his campaign about believing in better relations with Russia and for his lack of outrage about its foreign mischief making.

Yet you don’t have to be a Russian agent of influence to back policies or gestures that are favorable to Putin.  After all, President Obama made the same foolish gesture for which Trump has been lambasted: calling to congratulate the authoritarian leader after winning a rigged election in which his victory was foreordained.  Obama began his first term with a comical effort to “reset” relations and continued to defend Russia.  Obama mocked Mitt Romney for declaring Russia to be America’s prime geostrategic foe in their 2012 foreign-policy debate.  Don’t forget the infamous hot-mic moment, when Obama told Putin’s puppet Dmitry Medvedev to tell “Vladimir” that he [Obama] could be more “flexible” in bowing to Russian demands after he was reelected.

None of that constituted proof that Obama was in thrall to Putin.  His belief in showing weakness to Russia was sincere.  But Trump’s sporadic continuation of this imprudent policy — for which Brennan was at least partially responsible — is assumed without proof as being prima facie evidence of treason, even though Trump has also done some things, such as his arming of Ukraine, to offend Putin.

Theoretically, Brennan could be right; but to assume without proof that the only possible motive for a policy choice is a criminal connection isn’t journalism.  At best, it’s a highly partisan talking point.  At worst, it’s a smear.

It used to be that partisan assumptions fueled by pure speculation and unaccompanied by proof didn’t pass the ‘smell test’ at any major network or newspaper.  The fact that political smears of this sort have now become not only possible but also normal says a lot about the way animus for the Trump Administration has distorted much of the media’s judgment and coverage.

If liberals want to know why conservatives no longer trust the mainstream media about Trump even when the facts are on their side, they need look no further than the way the media covered Brennan’s unfounded accusation.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

POTUS Orders Ban on Transgender Troops

Last week, President (POTUS) Donald Trump issued a new executive order barring most transgender individuals from serving in the military.

Late last July 2017, Trump announced he would direct the military to stop allowing transgender individuals “to serve in any capacity.”  He cited the need for military policy to focus on effectiveness, which the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of accommodating transgender troops would derail.  He gave the military 6-months to prepare for the policy change.

The latest memorandum says that the policy will disqualify from service “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” specifically those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” except in “certain limited circumstances.”  The POTUS finalized the policy in consultation with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.  In a statement, the White House said that “extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans,” informed Mattis’ recommendation, which was that troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria presented “considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”

A memo from Mattis further notes that the Obama Administration justified permitting transgender service by citing a RAND National Defense Research Institute study with “significant shortcomings.”  The RAND study, he said, “referred to limited and heavily caveated data to support its conclusions, glossed over the impacts of healthcare costs, readiness, and unit cohesion, and erroneously relied on the selective experiences of foreign militaries with different operational requirements than our own.”  Mattis’ memo also detailed exceptions to the policy.  Those with a diagnosis can still serve if they “have been stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession,” if they can meet deployability and retention standards without changing genders, and if they are already-serving soldiers diagnosed prior to the new policy’s implementation.  Transgender soldiers without a gender dysphoria diagnosis may also continue to serve, although they will be expected to do so in their biological sex.

“The armed forces are not a petri dish for social experimentation, nor is military service a guaranteed right,” Heritage Foundation defense expert and retired Lieutenant General Tom Spoehr said in response to the news.  Rather, “our military is the first line of defense for America’s own unique experiment in liberty.”  He added that the Pentagon should be able to make case-by-case exceptions for already-serving soldiers.

As expected, the new policy was promptly assailed by congressional Democrats, civil rights groups, and the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed the ban’s purpose was to “humiliate our brave transgender members of the military.”  Matt Thorn, president of pro-LGBT military group OutServe-SLDN, claimed it was “riddled with blatant animus, bigotry, and ignorance.”

However, when Trump originally announced the change, former Army drill instructor John Burk defended it in a viral video.  Burk noted that depression, anxiety, color-blindness, and a “whole slew” of other conditions also render people ineligible for military service without claims of discrimination.  He also pointed out that transgender individuals suffer higher suicide rates and that the American Psychological Association recognizes gender dysphoria as a psychological disorder.  “The military is not a social experiment for a very small demographic of people that want to enlist,” Burk said. “You cannot change the course of how the entire organization works.”

The RAND study criticized by Mattis claims as many as 6,630 out of 1.3 million active-duty troops may be transgendered, but a defense official told ABC News in July the actual number of troops identified as such is in the “low hundreds.”

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, says while the Trump Administration has taken a big step to eliminate political correctness in the military, more steps still need to be taken.  “The federal judges still are running the military – and you can see the difficulties here because of the court orders.  It’s almost a bifurcated policy now,” she explains.

It is not yet known when the new policy will take effect.  The Los Angeles Times notes that four federal district judges have issued orders blocking implementation of the ban.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Monday, April 2, 2018

Student Hype for School Shootings is Statistical Senseless

Question: How many people have been killed in school shootings in the United States since 1900?
Answer: 552 … according to a comprehensive list compiled by Wikipedia.  Assuming this isn’t wildly inaccurate, 4.7-people have been killed in school shootings per year in modern American history.

Question: Do you know how unlikely it is that you’ll be killed in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil? 
Answer: If you don’t count 9/11 (which killed 2,996 people), the odds that you are going to die in an Islamic terrorist attack are extremely low at 6-people killed per year.

Since March of 1998, there have been 298-people killed in school shootings in the U.S., or 14.9-deaths a year.  Put another way, in a typical year in the U.S. in the past 2-decades, 35-states would not even have a single school shooting death, while the other 15-states would have only one.

Of course, one is too many; but this is hardly the national epidemic of school-related violence that the 2nd Amendment-hating Left and partisan Hollywood celebrity supporters would make it out to be.

The young people of the “March for Our Lives” claimed that “they are going to be the kids you read about in the history books” because they are going to end gun violence in schools.  But how, exactly, are they going to do that?  To physically keep guns out of schools would require that schools lock all first-floor windows (at all times) and have metal detectors at all entrances (during school hours).  We could do that, but it would be an incredible inconvenience in order to prevent against the extremely unlikely.  

A cost-benefit analysis would reveal its impracticality.  Given that over the past 118-years, 4.7-people per year have died at the hands of school shootings, and 14.9-deaths per year over the past 20-years, perhaps there are more serious issues that they should worry about.

What are the biggest killers in the U.S., and to what degree are these deaths preventable?  
Heart disease kills an estimated 614,348-people per year.  
Cancer comes in second at 591,699-deaths per year.  
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (including emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma) are third, at 147,101-people a year.  
Accidents kill about 136,000-people per year.  
Strokes kill 133,033-people. 
Needless to say, these figures vastly exceed the death toll from school shootings, mass shootings, and gun violence in general.  

A typical year in the U.S. usually records 33,000 gun-related deaths – two-thirds of which are suicides.  The 12,000 gun-related homicides a year are, unsurprisingly, heavily concentrated in inner-city neighborhoods afflicted by drugs, gangs, and crime.

What is tragic is that these health-related scourges on society can often be prevented and avoided through personal responsibility and changes in behavior.  Their prevalence is statistically correlated with a whole host of lifestyle factors: a poor diet, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, fast food, processed foods, lack of exercise, excessive television watching.

So, yes, angry young men who shoot up schools are a serious problem; yet, the idea that they pose the gravest clear and present danger to the safety of America is preposterous. The American public should really be directing its attention to ensuring that we live healthier lives; not worrying about the astronomical odds of being involved in a school shooting.  When it comes to tragically preventable deaths, one can make a compelling case that smoking, soft drinks, refined sugars, fast food, processed food, office work, and Netflix are far more dangerous to our well-being than guns or school shooters.  

Our public policy should be driven by data and facts, not opinions and hysteria.

The next argument that liberals love to make: School shootings only happen in the U.S. That’s nonsense.  Even the most cursory examination of the data shows that it is a global problem, including in countries with stricter gun control laws.  This is a classic example of an attempt to base public policy on hysteria-driven sensationalized media coverage.

Listen liberals: If it is wrong for Trump supporters to call for sweeping anti-Muslim public policy every time a Muslim commits a terrorist attack, it is equally wrong to blame the right to keep and bear arms, and those who peacefully exercise it, for school shootings.

Another important point, if we’re going to talk about history’s greatest killers, they have been tyrannical governments (mostly Communist ones).  

The students involved in the “March for Our Lives” may have spoken from the heart; but they also appear to have no understanding of how private gun ownership has played a pivotal role in securing personal liberty in the face of government tyranny.  Don't expect, however, the mainstream media to challenge the narrative of these kids standing up to the NRA.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Friday, March 30, 2018

Pro-Life Legislation in IN

Indiana’s Republican Governor Eric Holcomb recently signed legislation empowering prosecutors to recognize pre-born babies as second victims in the murder of their mothers.  He also signed legislation strengthening scrutiny of abortion facilities.

Senate Enrolled Act 203 (SEA 203) gives prosecutors the discretion to charge individuals with murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter against a pre-born baby if they did so in the course of committing the same crime against a pregnant woman.  The law applies to babies “in any stage of development,” and it does not require the offender to have known the victim was pregnant or to have specifically intended the baby’s death. The second homicide can add anywhere from 6-20-years’ to a convict’s prison sentence.  However, the law includes language clarifying that it does not apply to legal abortions, or to women who induce their own abortions.

Republican State Senators Aaron Freeman (Indianapolis) and Jean Leising (Oldenburg) wrote SEA 203.  In January, Freeman replied to pro-abortion critics of the bill by downplaying any connection between it and the broader abortion debate.  “I want to make it very clear that this is not an abortion bill,” Freeman said, according to the Indianapolis Star.  “I am just trying to give the prosecutors another avenue to prosecute folks […] There’s nothing else being intended here.”

Meanwhile, Senate Enrolled Act 340 (SEA 340) requires that all doctors in the state annually report any treatment of 26-different conditions known to be potential abortion complications.  These conditions include perforation of the uterus or cervix, infections, hemorrhaging, blood clots, cardiac or respiratory arrest, and emotional or psychological conditions.  SEA 340 also mandates annual inspections of abortion facilities, requires that those applying for abortion facility licenses disclose any prior history of medical or legal problems at past abortion facilities, and authorizes fire departments to act as “safe havens” where mothers can anonymously give their babies up for adoption.  “The only way that truly informed consent is possible is if we know accurate complication rates of the procedures and medications that we’re recommending,” American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists president Dr. Christina Francis said January in support of the law.  “In order to allow women to make a truly informed choice, we must have accurate information to give them.”

In 2016, Gov. Holcomb won the governorship as a pro-life candidate to succeed Vice President Mike Pence.  Last April, Holcomb also signed legislation strengthening Indiana’s parental consent requirements for minors seeking abortions.

Both bills will begin taking effect on July 1st.

Those of us who are pro-life, let us rejoice in ‘Godly’ government when it takes a stand for life!

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Techniques Liberals Use to Silence Conservatives

Free speech has become a conservative idea (by default) because liberals don’t believe in it any more.  Liberals have given up on the idea of coming up with the best argument and now work tirelessly to silence their opposition so they can win the argument by default.  Liberals need to do this because their ideas don’t work very well in the real world; and if their ideas are tested and evaluated logically, they will be rejected by most people.  So, how do they get around that?  John Hawkins of offers this explanation:

1) Libsplaining: For every guy out there mansplaining, there are probably 500 liberals libsplaining what some conservative supposedly ‘really meant’ at exactly the same time. If you’re conservative, pretty much anything you say will be reinterpreted by liberals to mean something totally different.  If you are against welfare … because you think it encourages people not to work … you must hate black people.  If you think we need to cut wasteful government programs … you despise poor people.  If you weren’t in love with Trump, but really didn’t like Hillary, so you voted for him … you obviously want to turn America into Nazi Germany and you hate women.  None of this would be more than an annoyance except for the fact that liberals then take their completely nonsensical interpretation of what conservatives say and present it to the world as reality.  Liberals seem to be practically incapable of taking common conservative beliefs at face value because that could lead them to intellectually engage in a debate about the best way to handle a problem … which could lead them away from liberal doctrine.

2) Violence: Why are the liberal fascists in ANTIFA violently protesting?  They’re violently protesting that people they disagree with are allowed to speak at all.  Incidentally, “people they disagree with” runs the gamut from Nazis to mainstream conservatives.  Ultimately, the liberals who send death and rape threats to conservative women like Dana Loesch and Michelle Malkin have the same goal as ANTIFA – They want to use the threat of violence to convince them to quit and to intimidate other women who agree with them.  The limits on it are determined in large part by what they believe they can escape punishment for doing.  Not every liberal will get violent, but violent groups like ANTIFA would be nothing without friendly police departments and college campuses that turn a blind eye to their activities.  When they think they can get away with it, liberals are perfectly comfortable with using violence to silence their political opponents.  Keep that in mind when they demand that you give up your guns.

3) De-Platforming: If a conservative puts his opinion out there, but no one is allowed to hear it, does it really matter?  Liberals have worked hard to take over newspapers, Hollywood and the schools … not just to indoctrinate people with their views … but to make sure conservative views can’t get out.  You’re now starting to see that same philosophy become more public at Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube (Owned by Google) as those social media giants become increasingly unfriendly ground for conservatives.  If liberals can control whom you’re allowed to hear, they can control your thinking.

4) Political Correctness / Safe Spaces / Microaggressions: Safe spaces and microaggressions are the little sisters of political correctness; but they all serve the same purpose.  They’re designed to silence people who say things liberals don’t like … because – “Shut up, that’s why!”  You saw a great example of this with James Damore at Google who used an open forum there to make scientifically supported arguments that liberals didn’t like about women in STEM and then was fired for it.  That’s the perfect world for liberals.  They win by default without having to defend their arguments at all because the other side isn’t allowed to say anything except liberal-approved talking points.

5) Liberal Fakes: Besides Fox News and a few conservative newspapers and radio stations, it’s rare to see a genuine conservative presence in the mainstream media.  The vast majority of people who bring you the “conservative” point of view in the MSM are weak-kneed moderates at best and liberals at worst.  The role of these conservatives, who seldom have any real support on the Right, is to agree with liberals about how terrible Republicans are while occasionally making watered-down arguments about issues that won’t offend the Left too much.

6) False Labeling: In America, there are certain groups that the vast majority of us simply ignore.  We don’t pay any attention to their arguments because nobody much cares what an actual white supremacist, Nazi, Fascist or racist has to say.  So naturally, if you listen to liberals, other than them, pretty much everyone is a white supremacist, Nazi, fascist or racist.  They go on about it so much that you’d think we were simultaneously in the pre-Civil War Years, Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy … all at the same time.  Typically, the evidence for this Nazi renaissance in America is little more than the fact that there are people who disagree with liberal policies along with comments that would be shrugged off or ignored if a liberal had said them.

7) The Ventriloquist Dummy: Liberals love to find someone you’re not supposed to criticize to stick up front when there’s a hot political issue.  The latest ones are David Hogg and the other Parkland kids they’re putting on TV as much as possible to push for gun control.  They make their arguments and … you’re not supposed to respond because other kids who may not have agreed with them at all, were killed.  Meanwhile, David Hogg and company are paraded on TV and repeat the same boring talking points every other liberal does.  Despite the fact he was President, liberals even tried to do this with Barack Obama.  Conservatives are opposing Obama’s gun control?  Well, what do you expect since it was proposed by a black man?  Obama shouldn’t let ISIS run wild in Iraq.  Of course you’re saying that since Obama is a black man.  Liberals treat being black like a get-out-of-criticism free card unless the black American in question is conservative.  Then, the liberal knives come out.  Otherwise, it’s shut up, shut up, shut up.

Thank you, John Hawkins, for freely speaking your observations.  I couldn’t have said it better!

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel