The Illinois State Lottery Pick-3 numbers for November 5, 2008 (the day after the election) were—drumroll, please—666.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks. 🙂

This was written in response to a blog from a friend who voted for Obama and is now calling for America to not be a nation of blue or red states, but a nation of purple states.  I have added some extra thoughts at the end of it as well.

I agree that it is just a fact that we have a new president and need to deal with it. It just is easier said than done. I’ve spent most of the day thinking this over, and yes, I do respect the office of President, so yes, I will, to the best of my ability, try to respect the man who holds the office. He is, after all, my president now. He deserves my support (particularly when our country is dealing with any enemies that might want to bring us harm) and my prayers, and this is what he will receive.

But when I disagree with the man, which is sure to be often, I will be loud, and I will be vocal. There is nothing fair about people receiving aid from forced taxation on a particular segment of the population, regardless of how much money they make. In this country, we are promised life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The “pursuit” of happiness. Not guaranteed happiness. We are free to pursue, to chase after, success and well-being and financial peace, but none of that is promised to us. Maybe many people believe it should be, and that is why we are seeing a trend towards socialism and Marxism, but I still believe in a free, capitalistic, democratic republic. That is how our country was founded, and that, I believe, is how our country should remain. Karl Marx said, “Democracy is the road to socialism,” and it makes perfect sense to me that it will go that way, but I will disagree with it until the day I die. And I hope that people will continue to fight against it. Obama’s tax cuts may benefit me and others like me, but I am not poor, and I certainly do not deserve any money from others just because they make more than I do. You don’t either, and neither does anyone else who will be on the receiving end of the redistribution of wealth that is sure to come. I am never going to feel differently about this.

I also will never feel differently about the fact that abortion is murder and that by passing the Freedom of Choice Act (if Obama keeps his promise to Planned Parenthood), Obama will undo one of the very best things President Bush did during his time in office (with the partial-birth abortion ban). It saddens me beyond belief to think that we are just one or two Supreme Court justices away from being able to do something about Roe v. Wade and will maybe have that chance taken away if any conservative justices die or retire during Obama’s term, but it saddens me to a much greater extent to know that we live in a country that will not, as a whole, come together to protect the most helpless and most vulnerable beings among us. Maybe that is because many (or most?) people do not view the unborn as living human beings, but as it is my belief that life begins at conception, I hope you can understand my point of view on this. Each year, many more Americans are killed through abortion than through starvation due to not being able to afford food. People may be in hard times, and I do believe we should help them (Jesus commanded this), but I believe preserving life, as that was one of the things promised to us in the beginning of this country (as it is a gift from our Creator), should take precedence over any other issue or effort.

I hope, to some extent we can again become purple states. I really do. But it is a little hard to hear that right now from someone who wanted Obama to win so badly … particularly since pretty much everyone who wanted Obama to win so badly could not bring themselves to help us be purple states prior to this. The “come together” message, if meant, should have been something people were urging because they feel it is the right thing to do, regardless of who is in office … not because their party has finally taken control of the country.

If unity is to occur, I think, at this point, the initiative is going to have to come from the conservatives of this country. Any calls for unity from those who have done nothing but deride and lambaste our President for the last eight years is going to sound like nails on a chalkboard to conservatives for now. I have not always agreed with the man, and he has not been nearly as conservative as I would have liked him to be (regarding size of government and government staying out of our affairs), but Bush was OUR President too, whether we always agreed with him or not. And, regardless of what the majority believes, he has done a lot of good things for our nation as well.  Please understand that unity may not come quickly or as fully as you would like, but that I, for one, will try to do this. We are all Americans … just like we were all Americans right after September 11th. I wish we could have stayed that way then, but maybe, somehow, we can find that kind of unity again (though that’s not to say we will necessarily ever be accepting of ideas with which we don’t agree). In addition to praying for President-Elect Obama, this is also something for which I will be praying.

And I will also be praying for our nation to turn to God again.  Unity at the expense of righteousness will never succeed.  And please understand that I do not mean that our country has instantly turned away from God BECAUSE we elected Obama.  But I do believe that for many years now—decades, even—our country has been turning further and further from God, even as more and more people claim to be Christians.  And I think, as a nation, we’ve been collectively seeing the effect of God withdrawing His hand from us.  This is the pattern seen all throughtout the Bible.  As the nation of Israel turned away from God, He withdrew His blessings from them and even let them suffer.  When they turned to God, His blessings returned.  That is not to say we can manipulate God’s blessings, but it is to say that He blesses those whom He chooses to bless, and the Bible makes it pretty clear that, in most cases, He blesses those who seek Him and follow His ways.  This is all kind of an aside note because I do not believe God supports Republicans or Democrats or Libertarians or any other party, but I do believe that God cares about our direction as a nation, particularly since we still flippantly refer to ourselves as a “nation under God.”  Under God’s omniscient eye, yes.  But under God’s blessing for our nation, as a whole?  I don’t think we’ve completely lost it, but I think we’re headed that way.

Since just last night, I have been in a number of conversations regarding the election with people, but, more specifically, these conversations have centered around whether or not a Christian should feel obligated to vote for a candidate who is pro-life.  I, personally, believe that a Christian should feel this obligation because, as I’ve mentioned in other blog entries, we are talking about the sanctity of life.  And the government was set up to protect people from domestic violence, including murder.  And if you believe that life begins at conception, that is what this is.

Many Christians have voted for Obama because they believe he will help the poor and the downtrodden.  They believe in social justice.  Well, I also believe that is what we, as Christians, are called to do.  We ARE told to help the poor and the hungry.  But we are never told to do this through the government.

Here’s the difference, as I see it.  Christians, without any government involvement, can go out and help poor and hungry and homeless people.  And they SHOULD be doing so.  Christians cannot, however, do anything to prevent abortions from taking place if the government says they are legal.  We have our limitations.  And this is one limitation that has disastrous results.

How many Americans die of starvation each year?  Is that number greater than the more than two million babies that are murdered each year through abortion?  I’m not saying to not care for the poor.  I’m saying that when you’re talking about voting, vote for the candidate who wants to preserve life.

The poor will always be among us.  Jesus said so.  And we are to help the poor.  Jesus said this, as well.  But what about the babies who never had a chance to be among us?  Should we just not care about them?  If you believe that life begins at conception or at any point that a baby is in the womb, how can you even consider voting for a man who with his first act upon taking office will get an act passed that will lift any and all restrictions on abortions, including partial-birth abortions?

What will he do to actually help the poor?  What has government ever done except enable poor people by not requiring them to do anything for themselves?  Regardless of what Obama does, the poor will always be among us.  But, because of Obama, if he gets elected today, many more human beings will never get a chance to experience life outside of the womb.  And our tax money will be used to help pay for those murders through Planned Parenthood and other organizations like them.

That’s just sick and wrong.

This is NOT an either/or issue for Christians.  It’s not “Should we help save babies from being aborted, or should we help the poor.”  We need to do BOTH.  Christians who vote for pro-life candidates don’t hate the poor.  And I don’t think that Christians who vote for pro-choice candidates hate babies, but I do think they are misguided by not giving the sanctity of life issue precedence over all other issues.  Like I already said, we can help the poor without the government, but we can’t do anything to prevent government-sanctioned murders (except fight to get a Sanctity of Life Amendment put into our Constitution—like Ron Paul tried to do in Congress—or vote for those who would nominate pro-life judges to the Supreme Court or keep, at the very least, partial-birth abortions illegal).

Please vote for life.

Before I begin, I want to be up front about the fact that I did not come up with this comparison on my own, but I want to try to share it with you in my own words.

First, a few questions:

  1. Do you believe that slavery is OK?
  2. Would you ever consider voting for a candidate who did believe that slavery was OK, whether or not he or she could actually bring it back as a source of labor in this country, if that candidate also proposed and could provide  an amazing healthcare plan, an amazing tax plan, or an abundance of new jobs?  Why or why not?
  3. Would you be willing to have a better health plan, pay lower taxes, or have a better job if it meant that certain other people would have to become slaves?
  4. Do you believe that life begins at conception?
  5. Do you believe that abortion is OK?
  6. Would you ever consider voting for a candidate who did believe that abortion was OK, knowing that he or she could definitely eliminate all restrictions on abortions, if that candidate also proposed and could provide an amazing healthcare plan, an amazing tax plan, or an abundance of new jobs?  Why or why not?
  7. Would you be willing to have a better health plan, pay lower taxes, or have a better job if it meant that even more babies were going to be exposed to abortion procedures, including now-forbidden partial birth abortions?

Now, I don’t know for sure how you answered these questions, but my guess is that MOST people would absolutely be appalled at the idea of any candidate who approves of slavery and would want to bring it back.  Well, there are plenty of people out there (and you might be one of them) who believe that abortion is wrong but are willing to vote for a candidate proposing to overturn all restrictions on abortion because they have decided they will not be one-issue voters.  They generally approve of his stance on the other issues and are willing to overlook the abortion issue.

If you believe that life begins at conception, there can be no greater issue for you.  We are talking about human life here … more specifically, the termination of human life on a grand scale.  Murder, to put it more bluntly.  At least that’s what it is if you really believe life begins at conception.

I used to be one of those voters who decided that if the abortion issue was the only problem I had with a candidate, maybe I wasn’t being fair by not considering all of the other issues at hand in the election.

I can’t view it like that any longer.  I could never approve of slavery, and I, most certainly, could never approve of abortion.  And Barack Obama has said that the very first thing he’ll do upon taking office is to pass the Freedom of Choice Act.  This would effectively remove all restrictions on abortions … even the graphically violent partial-birth abortions.

Now, I’m not going to pretend that I think Obama’s ideas on the rest of the issues are correct.  I don’t think they are, and I think he is wrong on just about everything.  But I know many of you do believe he is right on many things.  That is fair.  But I REALLY want you to consider this ONE issue—the issue of life—and I want you to consider whether you can vote for a person whose moral conscience does not tell him that abortion is wrong … that the taking of a human life is wrong.

Please.  Consider it.

Tuesday night, I went and stood outside of the Curb Event Center at Belmont University to see if I could catch a glimpse of John McCain, Barack Obama, or anyone else with some degree of fame who might be attending the debate.  Upon my arrival on the scene, I was dismayed by the overwhelming number of Obama supporters marching around with their T-shirts, signs, stickers,  and baked goods (being sold with profits going toward Obama’s campaign).  There were also at least three different booths set up in very close proximity to one another, and while I expected at least one of them to be selling McCain T-shirts and other paraphernalia, that wasn’t the case.  They were all for Obama as well.  And that’s OK, albeit a bit disappointing.  I mean, the enthusiasm for Obama seemed a little maniacal at times (it kind of reminded me of the scene from the movie Independence Day where all of the new age zealots gather in the desert to await the arrival of the aliens like it is some kind of second coming—Obamessiah, anyone?), but I guess some of that is to be expected at times.  For the most part, though excited and sometimes boisterous, the people were respectful and did not do anything that might mar Obama’s image.

Excepting myself and my significant other, I saw maybe about ten to twelve people who seemed to be for McCain.  The McCain supporters were rather subdued and probably just felt a little overwhelmed in that sea of Obama supporters.

Then came those in favor of third parties the crazies.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m in favor of people considering third parties.  I, myself, am very interested in the campaign for Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party (though I still haven’t made up my mind how I will vote on November 4th), but being for a third party candidate does not mean you have to act like a lunatic.  Now, it is anyone’s right to act like a lunatic and say whatever he / she wants to say, but I just don’t think doing so accomplishes very much in the way of winning people to a certain cause.  If anything, I think it turns people off.

The Green Party people came along dressed in green hardhats and various other kinds of green attire.  Many wore green T-shirts, but at least one or two guys were shirtless and with only a green cape flowing behind them.  They also had various accessories with them, such as pots and pans, but I do not really know the purpose for these items as I didn’t really see them getting used very much.  The greenies marched around back and forth behind us, chanting and yelling out various slogans, sometimes all of them in unison in a militant kind of way.  Looked a little crazy, but they were relatively tame.  Still, appearing crazy usually isn’t a great way to win people to one’s cause.

A little while after the Green Party entered the scene, a group, seemingly formed in support of all third-party candidates, came marching onto the scene.  They weren’t wearing any kind of a uniform like the Green Party people, but they were much louder, more rambunctious, and on the scene in much larger numbers.  The ringleader pulled out a megaphone and for the next hour and a half or so, he proceeded to very loudly denounce the two-party system and to rail against both of the candidates involved in it.  In a different setting, with people willing to listen to his points, such a thing might not be so bad as there is no harm in trying to change people’s minds.  But the sheer mania and obnoxious tone behind his ranting could not have been anything but a major annoyance to everyone who could hear him.  I am in favor of considering third-party candidates, but I could not not help but wish that the police (who were on the scene en masse at times) would either come and haul him off or at least shoot a little tear gas into the crowd (yes, I would have been hit too, but for the sake of shutting that loudmouth on the megaphone down, I think I would have been willing to take one for the team).

To make matters worse, this group wasn’t just promoting third-party candidates.  In addition to ineffectively promoting the third-party candidates and denouncing the two-party system, a number of the people in this group were also yelling about how our government was directly responsible for causing the 9/11 attacks.  It was at this point that I lost any respect I may have had left for what these people were trying to accomplish.  People are free to believe what they want to believe, but conspiracy theorism usually just makes them look crazy to the general public.  I’ve seen the videos telling about how 9/11 was an inside job, and while they are put together to weave a convincing tale that would make Michael Moore proud, I just don’t buy it.  I don’t believe most Americans buy it.  The people that do believe this almost always are the one who think President Bush is an imbecile, and yet they also believe that he was the mastermind behind the worst attack on the U.S. mainland in our nation’s history.  And of all of the many people who would have to be involved in such a conspiracy, I don’t believe it could be kept a secret for very long.

Then, from this same group, there were the chants of, “ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR—WE DON’T NEED YOUR F%#%ING WAR!”  It continued on to a “FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT” section, but I can’t remember how that one went.  They repeated it over and over again, and when a couple of people asked them to tone it down because they had their kids with them, the group just decided to yell even louder—to the point that you could hear the rasping strain in some of their voices as they were actually yelling as loudly as they could.

Maybe this approach actually works on some people, but I really do not believe it works on the vast majority of people.  At this particular gathering, it really just seemed like virtually all of the people in the crowd to whom they were preaching were completely annoyed by them.  One young Obama supporter couldn’t help but yell back at them about the greatness of Obama every time they would make some kind of a claim about how the two-party system is running our country into the ground, but for the most part the group was not directly confronted.

The third-party movement is a good thing, but radicalism is not the way to move it forward.  While he was still contending for the Republican nomination during the primary process, Ron Paul pleaded with his supporters to be respectful and not do anything that would make him or the cause which he represents to look bad.  Unfortunately, I’m guessing the same people that disregarded his call for respectful representation of the Ron Paul Revolution are the ones now drawing attention to their radical displays of anger toward and rebellion against the two-party system.

It is OK to be angry.  It is OK to stand up against the establishment.  But acting out in a radical fashion in the middle of a public gathering likely isn’t going to do anything but get a crowd riled up, unless those in that crowd are of the same belief as you.  And even then, the radicalism itself could be a turn off (as it was for me).

As Susan Powter used to always say, “STOP THE INSANITY!”

Talk to people.  Don’t yell at them and act crazy.

All in all, as ridiculous and nettlesome as all of it was at times, it was definitely an experience, and one in which I’m glad I was able to participate.  It’s not every day that a presidential debate takes place in one’s city of residence (well, at least, not in mine), so to witness much of what goes along with such an event was definitely interesting.

Oh, and I never did see McCain or Obama.  They must have gone in another entrance (can’t imagine why, what with the crowd’s behavior—I’m still surprised we didn’t get teargassed).  We did catch a glimpse of Nashville’s mayor Karl Dean, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill rolling up for the event, however.

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