Tag Archives: crime

Picture Christmas

A picture can speak a thousand words. This picture proclaims the complete meaning of Christmas. It is God’s message through the baby born in a manager. That manager was located in the city of King David, Bethlehem, Israel.

The wise men saw the star prophesied by Balaam. It was an astronomical star within a nearby constellation. This particular constellation and its brightest star represented the coming messiah, who would rule the world. As God revealed it to Balaam:

"I see him, but not now;
 I behold, but not near;
 A star shall forth from Jacob,
 A scepter shall rise from Israel."

Those wise men followed the brilliant star that symbolized God’s new born king who would reign forever. That is why they brought him presents of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Those were gifts only given by ambassadors of other countries to honor kings and other royalty. According to one scholar, the wise men were well known ambassadors from Rome’s rival empire Parthia, which was east of Israel.

What did they do when they found the baby who had been born in the manger and wrapped in an old wick from Israel’s national menorah. That menorah was so big that when it was lite its light illuminated all of Jerusalem and beyond. Those men with their military entourage bowed down to honor the king-messiah who was the light of the world. In his light all humanity would be blessed with the knowledge of God and with eternal life.

Before this could become reality, the cute baby would have to grow up and live a sinless life. He would have to fulfill God word and will without compromise. And in the end, Jesus would have to suffer consequences of humanity’s breaking God law. Those consequences include pain, injustice, hate, mockery, betrayal, and death. The wages of sin is death. Just consider the world around us. Consider the reason for divorce, abandonment, alienation, isolation, lying, and division … anything but unity, peace and good. And, notice what was not mentioned: sickness and physical death. Death is more than a biological end. It continues beyond the grave.

Furthermore, let’s consider the kind of death new born king would suffer for humanity. Those who committed crimes against the Roman Empire ruled by Caesar were severely punished. Individuals, groups, even village and cities who rebelled against the Roman rule were either killed or enslaved. Leaders of insurrections were usually crucified. Because Jesus was accused of insurrection by Jewish officials and because they demanded the death penalty, Pilate had him crucified. What was his crime according to Rome’s local overlord, Pilate: He was king of the Jews. 

God brought Jesus into the world to be sacrificed for the sins of all people. He suffered every form of punishment for every human being. All have sinned, and deserve punishment. Whether for a little lie or a habit of lying, for stealing a toy or robbing a bank, for immorality of every kind, for lying in wait to seduce someone or lying in wait harm, for killing an animal for fun or murdering a fellow human, Jesus suffered the slow death by execution on a cross for all crimes of all people for all time.

The good news is Jesus conquered death in all of its forms. God raised him from the dead. Just as those who saw the empty tomb, ate with him and received his instructions after rising from the dead, and who saw him ascend into heaven, we can know the son of God who lives forever more. Because he lives, we too can know God, experience His love, His forgiveness, and His life. To have a relationship with God is eternal life. That life begins now.

by Daniel Downs

The Problem of Global Persecution

By Daniel Downs

In the previous post, Raymond Ibrahim revealed the extent of persecutions of Christians for the month of January throughout the Muslim Middle East. Syrian Christians are concerned about similar persecution, if not genocide, if Al-Assad falls to Islamic fundamentalists, according to a recent article published in The New American.

They are concerned for good reason: homes, businesses, churches, and many persons have been attacked and destroyed by angry Muslims in Iraq and Egypt.

Why are Muslim persecuting Christians? For the same reasons Americans attacked American Arabs and those who liked Arabs, their homes and business after 9-11. (see UMC’s article Post 9/11 Hate Crimes)

Persecution of Jews also has a long history. Jews have been impoverished, abused, and killed by Arabs, Europeans, and even Americans. Hitler may killed more Jews in a shorter period of time than other Europeans but the German Nazis were not the only Europeans to do so. When the Christian church ruled the empire, Jews and rebellious Christians were killed as well.

Regarding anti-anti-Semitism, Americans also have been guilty of persecuting the Jews. I remember stories about Americans harassing Jews while sleeping in their home in the middle of the night. That was during the 1960s fascists and communist movements in Europe and America. More recently, a rabbi was attacked and beaten while traveling near his synagogue in New Jersey, the homes of several others rabbis were fire bombed, and anti-Semitic graffiti was painted on several local synagogues.

While Americans persecute Jews, Muslims and others, Israeli orthodox Jews are persecuting Messianic Jews. According to the Caspari Media Review, local residents in Arad Israel report Orthodox Jews (haeridi) harassing Messianic neighbors and disturbing the peace in their local neighborhood.

Why? For the same reason others of various ideologies and religions persecuted them.

A complex linkage of perceived differences contribute a sense of enmity towards those previously mentioned. Among those factors are contradictory religious or secular beliefs, the legitimation of those beliefs by the state, and current and historical events all of which culminate into a perception that persons of the “other” group are somehow a dire threat or complicit in an evil act. For example, all Arabs are regarded as evil as those involved in the 9-11 terrorism. All Christians deserve punishment because one or a few blasphemed Mohammed or Allah. All Jews are evil because of some injustice perpetrated by some other Jews.

The underlying problem is the propensity of people to violate the laws of God; that is what sin and evil is. It is the opinion of this blogger that America’s founding generation advanced the solution to this problem. They believed that a universal law–the law of God–was already evident in human nature and society, and it was at least possible for human to identify what those laws are. However, the human problem colors and corrupts that human ability, which is why revealed law was deemed necessary. Because all human beings have violated God’s laws, human reason alone cannot be trusted. Moreover, it was understood that most major religions and the societies influenced and shaped by them possessed at least some part of the revealed laws of God. Like the Hebrew prophets and Mohammed as well, the founders of all major religions experienced the moral reforming presence of God. It was in that experience that the laws of God were perceived and the need for their people to conform to the right way of living realized.

The issue is not that all religions are equal or irrelevant as many secularists believe. As a Christian, this blogger believes God’s holiness requires the fulfillment of absolute justice. The just dessert for sin is death. However, the perpetual love of His holiness toward people created in His own likeness drove God to remedy human sin. That remedy is the death of the sinless for all other sinners. Only one man was sinless–Jesus of Nazareth. God offered His only sinless son for all of humanity. Those who reject God’s provision cannot be forgiven for their sin. Even though humanity consistently lives according to the laws of God, past sin or one present sin render him or her worthy of sin’s just dessert. Just as human justice merely forgives a murder who one act was followed with exemplary good citizenship, so too a sinner cannot be merely forgiven for good behavior. Of course, I could be wrong, but those who have experienced life-after-death suggest otherwise.

Another reason for doctrinal differences of various religions is the institutionalization of their original experiences of God and their interpretations and applications of them.

Still another reason for doctrinal differences is simply survival. Both Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others developed different doctrines as a result of challenges and threats posed by problems within their own societies including problems of moral decline and threats of other religious and secular authorities. Thus, the distinctive doctrinal beliefs have been means to protect the religious institution and the followers from external threats. This does not mean all doctrines are either mere human concoctions nor all are divine revelations. It means the real problem is not merely religious dogma but rather keeping God law and applying its principles to social relationships in a mutually beneficial environment of His redemptive love and grace.

If all religious people took God up on his challenge to come and reason with Him about these matters (Isaiah 1:11-20; 55:1-11), could there still exist enduring conflict and injustice? Would the differences matter as much as living in accordance with God’s actual law? The result would be a greater measure of peace than now exists, would it not?

Are municipalities that fluoridate water perpetrating a crime?

Xenia City officials have attempted several times to pass an ordinance allowing the water department to fluoridate the water supply. Each time voters have voted against it. If voters had passed it, would it still be a crime for city officials to medicate our drinking water with tooth decay fighting fluoride?

Yesterday, Mike Adams raised this issue in an article published in Natural News. In it, he argues dripping fluoride into public water supplies in order to reduce cavities among citizens is practicing medicine without a license. Doctors including dentists are not permitted to prescribe medications without first determining that a legitimate illness exists and requires drug treatment. Yet, this is exactly what cities and towns across the nation are doing. Adam concludes his argument with the following statement:

“Every city and town in America currently engaged in fluoridation of the water supply is committing felony crimes. Town leaders who approve of water fluoridation are criminals operating in clear violation of FDA regulations, state medical laws and federal laws.”

Adams does not take into account the fact that many cities and towns received voter approval to madicate their water supplies. Citizens must have believed it would a health benefit. They probably were not made aware of the considered harm fluoridating has caused to many persons.

With the above in mind, my original question maybe restated this way: Does voter approval make it legal for city officials to prescribe the medication “fluoride” to fight the presumed epidemic of tooth decay without medical license?

Here is a reference for the next time city officials attempt to get Xenia citizens to accept mass medicating in order to save a few bucks. Reading the article by Adams would also prove helpful seeing he suggests ways to fight against it. You can read “Why the fluoridation of public water supplies is illegal” by clicking on the highlighted text.

What the School Bond Issue 28 Teaches Xenia Children

By Daniel Downs

One question rarely asked during elections is what children learn. Having spent a lot of time studying education, this is probably the most neglected issue about election campaigns. That is why this article addresses what children will likely learn from one particular campaign: the campaign to pass a 2.7 mill bond issue and 0.5 mill levy for rebuilding five elementary schools in Xenia.

After comparing the text of the bond issue with advertisements and statements made by school officials and supporters, I have come to the conclusion that one thing children may learn is that dishonesty pays. The text of Bond Issue 28 repeatedly states $34.57 million is for “renovating, improving, and constructing additions to existing facilities.” Yet, school officials, the Xenia Education Association, and supporters claim the state will only fund 5 new schools. If state rules prohibits the use of its money for renovations our schools, the state would not have approved the text of Issue 28.

So what buildings do school official plan to repair or renovate? The central office building? Warner Middle School? Xenia High School?

One thing is certain, Spring Hill Elementary will not be one of them. School officials claim state geologists tested the land on which Spring and found springs of water underground. Those springs are the reasons for flooding in the school’s basement. Therefore, the state determined the current site is unfit for building a new school.

School officials expect voters to believe soil sampling was neither performed 50 years ago nor were officials aware of those springs back then. Because they say so, voters are also to believe underground water seeping through unrepaired cracks in the basement makes the site unfit to build a new school. Didn’t anyone suggest building a new school without a basement. Buildings are probably built over supposed high water tables and springs often.

Another thing Issue 28 will likely teach children is government extortion is okay. Extortion is defined as obtaining money by using force, threats, or some other unacceptable means.” Isn’t getting taxpayers hard earn income by deceitful means unacceptable? So was the means states employed to get $200 billion from tobacco companies, of which Ohio got $10 billion.

According to the Cato Institute, tobacco companies were not held responsible for tobacco-related illnesses for over 40 years. In 1994, states began suing tobacco companies to recover medical expenses due to smoking. In the meantime, states changed laws making it possible to win their law suits based on charges that the companies were violating racketeering law. Congress helped the state by crafting master settlement legislation that forced tobacco companies to pay the states for tobacco-related medical expenses indefinitely. Yet, everyone knows smokers choose to smoke knowing the health risks. The money extorted by the governments was to fund medical costs, programs to reduce youth smoking, and programs to prevent tobacco related disease.

How then does building schools help youth quit smoking or prevent cancer?

I image some children will catch the message that government extortion is regarded by many as a good thing. So why we not regard cheating on tests, theft at work, and a host of similar behaviors as good too?

Issue 28 is an object lesson of how the rule of law has been made a bad joke. Rule of law is not whatever politicians say is law. It is not whether a majority agree with an idea, a plan, a party platform, or legislation that violates just laws. The rule of law is the supreme law. It is above all and is applicable to all, even elected and unelected politicians. Federal and state constitutions are the supreme law, not unjust legislation.

Just as states extorting money from tobacco companies violates the rule of law, so does Issue 28. The consolidation of elementary schools and the future middle schools violates the Ohio Revised Code. As I wrote in previous articles, Ohio law requires the building of small schools. I also referred to studies that proved the optimal size of an elementary school less than 350 students. Yet, school officials claim the Ohio School Facilities Commission refuses to fund construction of schools with less than 350 students. Either OSFC does not know Ohio law or doesn’t care. The consolidation plan further demonstrates that the rule of law is a huge farce.

The unlawful and unethical practices of public officials demonstrate that schooling has become the justification for all kinds of vices, corrupt, and illegal practices. Our children are nothing more than pawns in their political strategies.

And what Bond Issue 28 teaches the children of Xenia is that dishonesty and law breaking pays.

Previous posts on the proposed bond issue:

Xenia Community Schools Rebuilding Plan : What I Learned at the Forum, October 21, 2008

Xenia Community Schools Rebuilding Plan : Why Small Schools are Best, October 22, 2009

Xenia Community Schools Rebuilding Plan : Its All About the Money, October 23, 2008

Xenia Deserves Better Schools Than Proposed by Issue 20, November 3, 2008

Comparing City and School Revenues and Their Respective Tax Issues, January 31, 2009

May 5 Xenia Community Schools Bond Issue Text, April 30, 2009

Maintaining the Status Quo in Education, August 13, 2009

An official led prison break in Ohio

Just as they favor giving convicted criminals stereos, digital cable TV, and free clothes and meals, liberals now support unmerited freedom of the duly incarcerated.

According to the Lancaster Eagle Gazette, leading the charge to release Ohio’s prisoners is Gov. Strickland. Throwing prisons out of their cells and into Ohio communities was supposed to take place
May 4. I guess Gov. Strickland chose Sunday to give his conservative and religious critics something to pray about.

That is how I read the Eagle Gazette’s special report.

With a near-record 50,919 inmates behind bars this month, as of May 4 Gov. Ted Strickland said he has no choice but to start releasing people because the state just can’t afford otherwise. His proposal is more than scare-tactic rhetoric. Ohio State lawmakers are considering sweeping prison reform in which prisoners will be sent to live in halfway houses in communities.”

A halfway house has no barred doors and windows. Consequently, the bad guys could leave and do more crime in our communities.

Why, then, our lawmakers bent on endangering Ohio communities. There are two reasons: (1) Prisons are overcrowded, and (2) the state says it can’t afford to our communities or provide for the welfare of so many criminals.

As an example, the Eagle Gazette claims that their own prison, the Lancaster’s Southeastern Correctional Institution, “houses 1,628 inmates when it is meant for 1,385.”

“Strickland predicts his proposed changes could reduce the prison population by 6,736 indefinitely and save state taxpayers nearly $28 million a year.”

The Eagle Gazette, however, refutes his claim. The report states that cost are about the same. But even if it did save the state $28 million, it would only reduce total costs by about 1.5 percent of it total prison budget.

What the Eagle Gazette didn’t mention was the underlying problem of state lawmakers criminalizing non-crimes. Not all crimes were crimes in the past and some laws that regulated moral corruption and crime have been repealed. There are crimes in which community rehabilitation would have been more effective and may have not only reduced future crime but also reduced the total costs.

The attitude of some goes something like this: It’s better to keep deadbeats and criminals off the street. Helping them find their place among the prison population makes the economy look better. High employment and growing GDP statistics attracts investors. Besides, it’s probably cheaper to imprison deadbeats than keep them on the more respectable welfare programs.

Source: Lancaster Eagle Gazette, May 9, 2009.