Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Character matters. #Election2016


Character Matters.

America. I love this nation more than I could possibly have the words to express. Our flag sweeps waves of emotion across my heart every time I see the wind caressing her high overhead. Our valiant soldiers who voluntarily step forward to serve each of us and to protect our Constitution with pay that in no way compensates for the high cost of their call. I hold firmly to the belief that America is still the “shining city” on the hill that Reagan believed it was. I believe that because of our founders’ vision, our Constitution, the history we have of self-correcting our own faults, and how we’ve served to bring and secure freedom for millions upon millions over the course of our brief history on this planet, that this is still the greatest nation on Earth.

It is out of this deep, heartfelt love and respect that I make a hard and carefully thought out decision. During this post-primary election season, I have prayed and wrestled over what I am to do with whatever sphere of influence God has allowed me to have. I have longed to be able to express my support for a candidate I can fight for, one I can argue and push for. A candidate I believed in and one I know for a fact would, indeed, be the best choice for our nation and for the party I love—a party that I still hold to be the best in this nation as far as the ideals that are ingrained into its platform.

Hillary Clinton is the worst candidate that has ever taken the stage of American politics to my knowledge. She is a liar, she is corrupt, she is grossly inept, and that is the most positive way that I can possibly express my feelings on her as a person and a candidate. She would be the absolute worst President in American history, and given the abject failure that Obama has been and Carter was, that is saying a lot.

However, I also strongly believe that a person’s character is key to how they make decisions. Because of this conviction, I do not believe Donald Trump has the ability to be a good President. We see this in his willingness to encourage violent responses to those who disagree with him at his rallies, his inexcusable comments that go far, far beyond “Locker Room Talk,” and how he actually boasts about sexually assaulting women. I know that there are people I respect who say “he’s changed,” and I so desperately want to believe that, but his actions do not demonstrate that he has. He is petty and vindictive toward anyone who disagrees with him. Many bring up the SCOTUS appointees, but Mr. Trump himself has stated that he is not beholden to the initial list he released and may do as he sees fit regardless of what he has pledged, which is another character point which concerns me.

You see, character matters. Character is the place a leader makes decisions from when things get difficult. The scripture says in Psalms 15:4 that those who fear the Lord keep their word even when it hurts and does not change their mind. And on this point, both major candidates for President have not convinced me that they possess this ability. In fact, exactly the opposite. They have both shown that neither of them possess anything but poor character. I do not care what other respected leaders say one way or the other; people’s actions and responses are what I look to when choosing a leader.

I have tried, struggled, and longed to support Donald Trump for President, but through his own actions he has made that impossible for me.

I know that this announcement will inevitably upset and anger some, please know that is neither my intent nor my heart. I understand why some will still decide to vote for Trump, and I will not discourage you from doing so. I also understand all the arguments that will be levied against me for doing what I am doing, but at the end of the day I must heed to what I feel God is leading me to do and, regardless of others opinions or arguments, I must hold true to that and that alone

Do I worry about Hillary Clinton becoming President? Yes, more than I can say, yes. But I have chosen to cease operating out of fear; instead, I am choosing to listen to what I know and what the Scriptures point toward. The spirit of the Lord does not operate in the realm of fear; it operates in a place of knowing that obedience to God is far more important than political expediency.

Based upon this conviction and after much prayer and weighty thought, I am announcing my endorsement for Evan McMullen for President of the United States.

Evan McMullin is a conservative leader who has experience in fighting the war on terror and keeping us safe. 1. He is a strong supporter of pro-life initiatives and agendas; he will defend the most innocent and vulnerable among us. 2. He believes in limited government and our Constitution and will work to eliminate wasteful government agencies and spending. 3. He supports freedom of religion and its expression. 4. He is a strong supporter of our Second Amendment and will defend our right to self-defense. 5. He is for a strong military that will continue to keep us safe thru strength. He is a true conservative and the only principled and character-driven candidate left in the race for OUR White House.

My Grandfather once told me, “It’s better to vote for the right [person] and lose, than the wrong [person] and win.”

Evan McMullen is a political long shot; however, I firmly believe that it is more important to do the right thing than the easy thing.

If you feel as I do—that character does indeed matter—then I ask you to join me in supporting the true conservative in the race for President, Evan McMullin.

You can join the Revolution here: www.evanmcmullin.com

Monday, July 11, 2016

Announcing my candidacy for Policy Director for TYRF.

Today I am proud to announce my candidacy for Policy Director for the Texas Young Republican Federation at this year’s state convention in Austin this August. For the last several years, I’ve been an active member of the Young Republicans as founder and president of the North East Tarrant YRs, as a precinct chair in the Tarrant County GOP, and as a block walker and volunteer for many of our elected officials in the state legislature.

We are living in an intensely political time where response and tone are more important than ever in advancing our Republican values. We have many amazing opportunities before us that can be used to help get our message out to many groups and areas that would normally be closed off to us simply because of the name, “Republican.” By banning ridesharing companies such as Uber/Lyft in Austin, those who wish to restrict free markets have created an opportunity for us with the younger voting population in a normally hostile environment. This is the time to strike on these issues in these areas and proactively grow our voter base.

As a member of the 2016 RPT Platform Committee, I worked to build coalitions to help reflect our TYRF platform. I worked with like-minded members of the platform committee to cut 14 pages from our state platform and remove divisive wording, redundant planks and argue the necessity for a strong brief platform, without compromising on the conservative, free market principles that unite our party. This experience has allowed me to be intimately acquainted with not only our TYRF platform, but the current RPT platform as well.

As Policy Director, I will work consistently to promote our legislative priorities and make our concerns known to our elected officials during this upcoming legislative session. I already have a strong relationship with a large number of elected officials, and will utilize those relationships with leadership to advance our YR positions.

I will work to be out front and proactive in representing Young Republicans when issues arise that affect our interests.

I firmly believe that one of the most important things a Policy Director needs to understand is that it is rarely what is said, but the tone and method in which it’s conveyed that can win or lose hearts, support and votes. I believe I am uniquely qualified in this aspect and will convey our message in a way that will gain respect in the field of public opinion and grow not only the Young Republican base, but respect for our organization.

I am not interested in running merely to run, nor do titles intrigue me. I care deeply about policy, I care about our organization and our image, and I’ve proven my ability to be an effective advocate for TYRF during my time on the RPT Platform Committee, and that is why I am asking for your support and your vote in Austin this August as Policy Director.

Sincerely,
Jonathan Gaspard
Chair, Northeast Tarrant County Young Republicans
I am honored to have the support of these amazing leaders listed below, and I would be humbled to count you among them:

Young Republicans:
-Chris Bingham, Collin YR Chair, TYRF Marketing Director
-Richard Morgan, TYRF Chair-emeritus
-Sarah Nguyen, TYRF Communications, Northeast Tarrant YR Public Relations Dir.
-Casey Bingham, Current TYRF Policy Director
-H. Scott Apley, Galveston YR Chair, East TX Regional Director TYRF (2016 RPT Platform Committee)
-Ashley McDaniel, Southeast Texas YR Chair
-Nathan Bassetto, Tarrant YR Chair 
-Mark Brown, Former Chair  TYRF


Elected Officials:
-Rep. Giovanni Capriglione
-Rep. Matt Krause
-Sen. Kelly Hancock
- Bill Waybourn, Tarrant County Sheriff-elect
- Tim O’hare, TCGOP Chairman
- Morgan Graham, Cameron County Chair -(2016 RPT Platform Committee)
-David Halvorson, SREC – SD12 Committeeman

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Open letter to my fellow Platform Committee members

Dear Fellow Platform Committee Members,
I would like to first say I am honored to have the opportunity to serve with each of you. I look forward to the flow of ideas that will occur through healthy debate as we collaborate together to make our party stronger, keep Texas red, and present to our fellow Republicans a platform we can all be proud of.
In order to not be self-contradictory, let me state the purpose of this email: I want to put forward a defense of the “Brief Platform.” I trust you will allow me to make my case to you before we meet so as to promote the premise in a way that is not tainted by either side, and to promote honest and healthy discussion and thought.
I’m sure we are all aware of the debate on the length of the current 2014 platform. Regardless of your position, I ask you take a moment and consider the argument I will attempt to lay out here. I am also attaching the version of the brief platform that passed with a large majority in the Tarrant SD12 convention. I know a version of this platform has passed in a multiplicity of other conventions. I believe this particular version to be a very strong starting point. I want to emphasize the “starting point,” because I do not want there to be any confusion in thinking that I propose this particular version to be the final one we submit to the body to be voted on. However, I believe it to be a strong and robust starting point to begin with, and then we can weigh the planks that will be proposed in our hearings and amend them to this starting point.
A party platform is defined as:
A list of the values and actions which are supported by a political party, in order to appeal to the general public, for the ultimate purpose of garnering the general public’s support and votes about complicated topics or issues.
Several of the observations I have made in presenting the shorter platform are listed below and I would like to attempt to address what I truly believe to be the honest and heartfelt concerns by my fellow Republicans:
• The current platform should be the starting point to build on.
• Our current platform has “teeth,” meaning it allows us to keep elected officials in line and accountable.
• Without a detailed platform that dives deep into the issues, we will be left vulnerable to our elected officials who we inherently do not trust and have habitually broken trust with us.
First, I would like to address the “teeth” concern. I submit to you the question: Which is a stronger and more timeless document? The U.S. Constitution or the Texas Constitution? The U.S. Constitution would typically be the answer of a strong majority of our fellow conservatives, and Texans per se. Why? There are several reasons: With only 4,400 words, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world. Alternatively, the Texas Constitution has 93,000 words and has been amended almost 500 times. In addition, the difference between the two documents is clear: one focuses on core values and principles, while the other delves into details and minutia that has resulted in a document that is difficult to enforce, much less read with full comprehension.
Now, I ask you, which document is easier to enforce? Which one has more teeth? If forced to choose between the two documents, which would you opt to live under? One you can read with full comprehension and therefore enforce what it says. The other is highly complex and the length of a long novel. These comparative principles also apply to our state party platform. Brevity lends itself to enforcement. It reminds me of the wise words of King Solomon: “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable” (Proverbs 10:19, CSB).
Secondly, the current platform can be construed as inconsistent in various parts. This adds to the difficulty of holding elected officials to it. (e.g., The platform urges that the Republican Party’s primary goal is limiting government power, then goes on to include dozens of planks that call for more laws and an increase of that very same government power over the lives of Texans.)
Please also note the historical precedents and people whom we, as conservatives, hold dear and oft quote. Our founders believed in the power of brevity as exemplified in the United States Constitution and in our founding documents. I doubt there would be many who would argue with their wisdom and, I believe, divine guidance in assembling these powerful and timeless documents.
I believe we, in turn, would be wise to follow these strong historical proven leaders and work toward a platform that encompasses our values, our beliefs—our core, our heart. The current platform can appear to operate out of fear. Fear of our elected officials; fear of liberal slants; fear of our faith being stripped from the public square; fear that immoral behavior is ever encroaching into our society.
As a believer, I believe the presence of fear is the absence of something greater. Our party has stronger ideas, stronger voices, and the luxury of standing with truth. These are places of strength. Let us choose not to operate out of fear, rather let us stand and boldly declare our core beliefs with clarity and conviction. Let us stand and advance our principles, not cower behind a document that can no more protect us than the paper it is printed on.
In the Bible, Jesus simplified the entire Old Testament law into eight truths—or for our purposes, “planks”—in the Sermon on the Mount. He then further simplified the entirety of the law into two simple planks: Love God. Love your neighbor. I highly doubt that many, if any, would say Jesus was foolish, didn’t know what he was doing, or that he was attempting to “weaken” scripture. We operate our spiritual lives under these principles. We should not live in fear of operating our political lives in the same way. To our very core, we are all conservatives because of our principles. Shouldn’t we then use those basic principles as our statement of belief to the world?
I ask you to stand with me to support the brief and concise platform.
The Brief Platform as passed in SD12 (Tarrant):
Resolved, we, the delegates of this convention believe that the Republican Party
of Texas platform should be brief and concise clearly stating our core
principles and beliefs. We believe the example attached to be reflective of these
principles and to be considered for the permanent party platform.
Whereas, we believe that the essential tenets of republicanism are simple and few
Whereas, we believe that the Platform of the Republican Party should simply communicate those basic ideas;
Whereas, we believe that a platform should serve as tool to share our message with others, not as a tool to divide and exclude;
Whereas, we believe that the Republican Party of Texas’s official 2014 Platform deviates from those basic principles.
"PREAMBLE
We, the Republican Party of the Great State of Texas, affirm our belief in God and declare our support for government based upon a moral and
spiritual foundation. We affirm freedom for every individual as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution.
We believe that citizens' needs are best met through free enterprise, private initiative, and volunteerism. We support the “Rule of Law” and believe
in upholding the law of the land.
THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
We believe government properly exists by the consent of the governed and must be restrained from intruding into the freedoms of its citizens. The
function of government is not to grant rights, but to protect the unalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
PRIVATE PROPERTY
We recognize the right of the individual to own property. We resist any effort by government to take private property without a demonstrable public
need. We strongly oppose civil forfeiture of private property absent the conviction of its owners for a crime involving its use.
REAFFIRMATION OF STATES' RIGHTS
We oppose congressional, judicial, and executive abrogation of the principle that the powers not delegated to the Federal Government by the
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. We oppose unreasonable and intrusive
federal mandates.
Article V
Article V Convention- Under no circumstances shall the Bill of Rights, the first 10 constitutional amendments, be changed in any manner. We urge
the Texas State Legislators to take the lead in calling for an Article V Amending Convention of States, for the specific purpose of reigning in the
power of the federal government. Any proposed amendments must be ratified by ¾ of the states to take effect.
ETHICS AND STANDARDS
We demand honesty, integrity, and accountability of our public officials. We will work to expose and stop corruption. We reject the buying and
selling of endorsements in all elections.
NATIONAL SECURITY AND PUBLIC PROTECTION
We support a military force of sufficient strength and readiness to deter any threat to our national sovereignty or to the safety and freedom of our
citizens. We support the Constitutional mandate to protect and secure our national borders. We oppose placement of United States troops under the
command of the United Nations. We support lawful efforts of local law enforcement agencies to protect citizens in their homes and in their
communities. We urge reform of the legal system to accomplish a swift and balanced administration of justice, including consideration of rights of
the victim.
SELF DEFENSE
We support the constitutionally protected, natural right of the people to keep and bear arms, which shall not be infringed.
FREEDOM OF RELIGION
We uphold freedom of religion for every citizen and expect the protection of government in securing to us this unalienable right. We affirm the right
to religious expression, including prayer, in both private and public.
FAMILY VALUES
We recognize the family as the fundamental unit of society. We recognize the family unit as being one man and one woman. We affirm that parents
have the fundamental right and primary responsibility to direct the upbringing of their children and to provide nurturing care, discipline and
training in moral values.
RIGHT TO LIFE
We believe all human life is sacred and should be protected from conception to natural death.
HUMAN SERVICES
We support requiring welfare recipients to work towards self-sufficiency. We reject the notion that the federal government may mandate the
purchase of any insurance product or penalize the failure to do so.
MEDICAL RIGHTS
Texas citizens should have the right to take their own health care decisions, both in the type of provider they choose and how they pay for their care,
without discrimination or interference from government
EDUCATION
We believe that all children should have access to quality education. Parents have the primary right and responsibility to educate their children, and
we support their right to choose public, private, charter, or home education. We support the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they
follow the student to any school, whether public, private, charter or home school through means of tax exemptions or write offs. We reject federal
imposition of educational standards and the tying of federal education funding to adopting federally mandated standards.
TAXATION AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
We encourage further simplification of tax systems, the elimination of the estate tax, and broad-based rate reduction where possible. We reject the
imposition of a state income tax and support a meaningful reduction and eventual elimination of property taxes. We urge increased fiscal
responsibility in all aspects of government.
REGULATION
Regulatory power now exercised by the federal government must be reduced. Regulatory responsibility is best exercised at the lowest feasible level
of state and local government.
IMMIGRATION
We support legal immigration. The immigration process must become more effective to reduce the desire to immigrate illegally. We oppose
granting government benefits to those illegally present in the US. We believe current laws against employing or harboring illegal immigrants
should be vigorously enforced. We support strong punishments for those engaging in human trafficking. We call on the US Federal government to
secure the boarder. If the Federal government fails in this effort the State of Texas has the right to protect its citizens, businesses and ranches if the
federal government fails to enforce its applicable laws.
TEXAS STATE SOVEREIGNTY
It is the sacred responsibility of the States as creators of the Federal Government to keep the federal powers within the limits set by the Constitution.
We recognize that any usurpation of State Sovereign Powers by the Federal Government should be corrected by the State Legislature and enforced
by the Governor’s office, thus protecting Texas State Sovereignty.
ADVANCED DIRECTIVE
We support the written and expressed wishes laid out by legal advanced directives and/or wills and/or the immediate living
family.
RULE OF LAW
We believe in strict US Constitutionally based rule of law. We support the principle of judicial restraint, which requires judges
to interpret and apply, rather than rewrite or ignore the law. We support judges who strictly interpret the law based on its
original intent. We oppose judges who assume for themselves legislative powers.
FOREIGN POLICY
We support the spread of representative forms of government, free market enterprise, private humanitarian aid to developing
countries, continued favorable treatment of proven allies, censure of adversarial entities that seek destruction of other countries
and strong policies on confronting terrorists. We oppose United States aid to any foreign entity that consistently votes against
our interests or is openly hostile to our nation. We oppose foreign aid, except in cases of national defense or catastrophic
disasters, with Congressional approval.
ISRAEL
We believe that the United States and Israel share a special long-standing relationship based on shared values, a mutual
commitment to a republican form of government, and a strategic alliance that benefits both nations. Our foreign policy with
Israel should reflect the right of sovereign nations to govern themselves and have self-determination. In our diplomatic dealings
with Israel, we encourage the continuation of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but oppose pressuring Israel to
compromise their sovereignty or security."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cults & Dictatorships


In recent years, I have witnessed the inception and growth of various conservative
political groups. 

These groups were born out of passion. They were born out of the American people’s disappointment with politicians repeatedly saying one thing while running for office and then governing in a completely different fashion once elected. They were born out of an intense concern for our current state as a nation and the sense that enough is enough.

I fully understand and empathize with all those reasons and feelings! And I also believe these groups have an important and necessary role in keeping our elected officials accountable while raising up new conservative voices to run for political office.

However, I am deeply saddened when I see the good intentions of groups such as the Tea Party hampered by some in the local leadership who oppose strong conservative elected officials and candidates who do not perfectly align with the public stances of the party leadership. And in some cases, their opposition is beyond disconcerting.

Take the last race for Speaker of the Texas House. There were a number of very good, strong and principled elected officials who cast their vote for and endorsed the candidate that many, if not all, of the local Tea Party groups opposed. Personally, I am not a fan of Speaker Joe Straus, and I understand the reasoning held by some conservative groups who wished to oust him as Speaker. However, I also do not believe Scott Turner was a good candidate for the position, and there wasn’t a viable third option. But because of the local Tea Party’s unwillingness to stand behind a candidate they didn’t agree with 100%, it led to unnecessary drama surrounding the race.

This was especially evident in the case of Rep. Giovanni Capriglione:
  • Rep. Capriglione had a 94.4 score on the Fiscal Responsibility index from Empower Texans (2013).
  • He had a 100% on CWA’s 83rd legislative session score card.
  • He also scored 100% on the Young Conservatives of Texas House Budget score card for 2015.
  • Texas Right to Life also scored him at 100% for 2015.
  • He won "Courageous Conservative" award from Texas Conservative Coalition (2013)
  • 95% rating from Texas Eagle Forum (2013)
  • "Fighter for Free Enterprise" from Texas Association of Business (2013)
  • This past session he passed conservative legislation such as: Ethics Reform, Gold Bill, Stopping 10 fingerprint scans by DPS, allowing the use of CHL wherever DL's are used.
  • ...you get the point.
Needless to say, Rep. Capriglione is a strong and consistent conservative vote in Austin, and as one of his constituents, I know I can confidently count on him to represent me. But despite his outstanding record and consistent conservative stances, he was immediately demonized by his local Tea Party leadership when it came out that he was voting for Straus for Speaker. I was completely unprepared for and shocked by the level of vitriol spewed at Rep. Capriglione. He was vilified as a turncoat, a traitor, and even worse.

Why on earth was there such a visceral backlash? Not only is it disappointing, it is also self destructive for the future of the party. We need to all heed the advice of Ronald Reagan who once said, “My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy.” -my own paraphrase 

I admit that I was initially a Turner supporter. Because of that, I asked to speak with my representative in Austin to discuss his vote for Straus. Without hesitation, Rep. Capriglione immediately agreed to meet with me over coffee. When I broached the subject of the Speaker’s race, he sat back in his seat and said I was the first person to allow him the opportunity to discuss and defend his vote.

Needless to say, his response took me aback quite a bit considering the immense amount of character assassination I had seen take place on social media at that point. It upset me that not a single one of the leaders sending out their attack dogs on Rep. Capriglione had even once had the tact to sit down and discuss the vote before attempting to lynch him in their meetings and via social media. 

Zero. Zilch. Nada. No one had bothered to act with class and dignity. 

In the end, here is my point: The demand for complete submission and acquiescence of personal conscience in legislative decisions, thereby leaving no room for honest disagreements, smacks of dangerous precedents set in organizational structures antithetical to the American principles of freedom. In fact, this type of behavior is far more in keeping with two other types of organizations—cults and dictatorships.

I am still a strong supporter of Tea Party principles on paper. I, however, am no longer  able to support groups whose leaders are starting to resemble the tyrannical and manipulative government structure they were set up to oppose. I urge you, my fellow conservatives, to challenge any organization or leader demanding this type of compliance in order to maintain relationship or support.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Words Matter

Words Matter

 “Zeal: a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something”

 “Wisdom: knowledge of what is proper or reasonable : good sense or judgment"

      If you’ve been around me recently and engaged in any sort of deep conversation you probably have heard me use the term, “Zeal without wisdom,” when referring to certain political groups or people. The reason I’ve been using this term is because it is something I have felt that I have needed tempered in my own life and so I feel particularly sensitive to the phenomenon when I see it in play around me, and lately I’ve see it a lot.

      Before I start I realize there may be readers who don’t know me so let me preface this blog with a few disclaimers:

1. I’m a Christian conservative

2. I believe in traditional marriage…strongly

      Now onto the subject matter that has been bothering me for the last week since my participation with the Texas Republican Convention and the platform that was just adopted.

     Where to start?

      I remember in 2012 being blown away at the discovery of some Christians, and some that I even respect in leadership, deciding to just not vote in the Presidential election because they, “…couldn’t vote for a Mormon (Romney).” Thereby giving their vote, by abdicating their responsibility, to a man who has since spit upon our faith, our Constitution and our founding (Obama).

 —Zeal without wisdom.

      What they, and others, couldn’t seem to understand is that we were not hiring a pastor, we weren’t electing someone to the board of a seminary, we were not deciding on a head of a religious organization. We were electing the President of the United States of America. The Commander in Chief of our armed forces and the leader of our “executive” branch of our equally distributed branches of government. I focus on “executive” because ones theological leanings should not necessarily be a disqualifying factor for the position. And, I’d like to take a moment to point out, the Mormon faith is a lot more in line with mainline Christianity, as far as the conduct of ones character, than what we see in the White House now, this is a perfect example of well meaning people cutting off their nose to spite their face.

       Unfortunately, I experienced this same “zeal without wisdom” this past weekend when first reading the horrendously worded portions of our temporary, and what would become our permanent, platform.

       After a conversation last night with a fellow leader in the Young Republicans over the language of the document I felt a tearing in my heart because I could see why the words were chosen, and I could also see how they should never, ever have been included in our platform.

       I know that many who read this will disagree with me if you are upset with the platform, but I’m going to ask you for a moment to put aside your frustration as I will ask the same of the other side here in a little while.

       This is the exact language that was adopted into the platform:

       “Reparative Therapy - We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.” 

        I know that the words concerning homosexuality were chosen out of a place of love and not necessarily of judgement, specifically “healing” and “wholeness.” If you truly believe that someone is leading a life that is harmful to themselves and others, I ask you, what is the most loving thing you could do for that person? You call them out and let them know that you think their lifestyle is harmful and you want to help them, wouldn’t you? Would it not be cruel to do otherwise?

       Ok, that being said, they should have never, ever, ever been allowed into the platform. Other that the last sentence underlined, everything else was unnecessary and hurtful to the entire party and could, in the long term, hurt the very goal of this amendment. The Republican Party platform is not a place to disseminate specific personal ideological agendas. It is not a mission statement for a religious entity or a pulpit for dogma. For example: I found it repulsive that the Log Cabin Republicans were not allowed a table at the convention. You want to talk about behavior that is antithetical to Christ? I say, it is the alienation of an entire group of those who you say need Christ, while using the platform to preach to them about their lifestyle. I’d rather the authors of these amendments try doing that face to face, but they are probably too “busy.”

        By denying them their ability to be heard at the convention, and then decrying their lifestyle to the nation we have become no better than the atheistic demigogs who are trying to forcefully wear away the Christian foundation of our country. WE have become the thought police we say we so despise.

       There is a huge difference between strongly coming out in support of “reparative therapy” and its validity as an option to those who are seeking it, I support that 100%, and outright endorsement, that I can’t support. The amendment should have started and ended, with a statement strongly opposing government infringement upon the private decision of an individual to choose or not choose the treatment(s) they so desire. To come out strongly in support of traditional marriage would have been great, but to bloviate on as if the platform was a blog upon which you could merely give your own opinion was unnecessary, and I’ll go as far as foolish. This was not the time nor the place to discuss the morality of a lifestyle and the intricacies of whether or not it is a chosen lifestyle or not.

 Here is the amendment on homosexuality:

        “Homosexuality - Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that have been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nations founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include the creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.” 

        I mean, in all seriousness, this is as bloated as the federal government. All we needed to say was we support traditional marriage and oppose the persecution of those who hold traditional values, both personally and professionally. But instead we have become the very demon we are trying to fight. We must stop demonizing every left wing group that demands synchronicity of thought or destruction if we are going to do the same.

        I do not support the end goals of the LGBT movement, I do not. But this is not the way to a stronger party, this is the way of destroying our party. And if our party goes, our country goes with it. 

Zeal: a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something”

without:

Wisdom: knowledge of what is proper or reasonable : good sense or judgment

       In other words, foolishly flailing about. We will draw attention to ourselves by doing it, but I doubt it is the attention we want.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Haiti Relief Trip day 7

Had the day off today. Woke up, had breakfast and headed to the mountains to one of the church plants that IMO has to attend church, that was an experience. The ride up there took us through Petionville which is where the orphanage is that I had stayed at 8 years ago on my previous visit. On the way up the mountain we passed by Fort Jacques and the Baptist overlook, also places that I had visited last time I was here. The road to the Robin church was about as narrow and crazy as you could imagine, there are pics on facebook showing it. Straight down drops with no shoulders or forgiving edges for slips, a driver has to stay on his toes.

After church we drove back down the mountain to have lunch for the last time with the West Virginia crew before they flew back to the States this afternoon. After seeing them off we headed downtown to see the damage to the government sector and grab a few souvenirs from the market. The downtown area of Port-au-Prince is pure devastation like nothing we've seen anywhere else on the island! I mean, it is beyond comprehension. They lost their entire government and legal sectors, there's nothing left. I mean, literally, there's nothing left but rubble. Their equivalent to our Supreme Court building was 4 stories tall and is now barely 6-8' of rubble with a 100% mortality rate within the building and the bodies within have yet to be claimed, it remains a tomb. The Presidential Palace looks like a bomb went off within it, every entrance is collapsed on itself. The Records building is gone, the prison is half gone but a total loss. The saddest part was when we drove up to the ruins of a large Catholic church, the first church ever in Haiti. What was its roof is now its floor, only the walls remain, and barely at that.

We got out at a side market and decided to cross the street to one of the larger "Tent Cities" that we had seen and just walk through it, I was amazed by its relative cleanliness considering its context, put it this way - New Orleans should be ashamed of itself. To draw a comparison of the disasters and its peoples reactions to them is to shame the city of New Orleans and it's people...and that's coming from someone who is from there. I wish I could get the aid that the spoiled, bratty, government subsidized babies of New Orleans whined about to these people who would actually cry with appreciation instead of spitting hate and spitefulness, its embarrassing for me. Rant done...

Well, we get to go home tomorrow and I'm happy and sad as I usually am. I do hope to come back and help more...I'd blog more, but I'm tired...

I may regret the emotional opine about N.O....so if you come back later and find that gone you'll know why...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Haiti Relief Trip day 6



Today was our last work day, our extra mile since it was originally going to be our day off, by we’re all happy that we went and finished the project for the Hanson’s.
Got an estimate on the homeless around Haiti from the earthquake, it’s 1.2 million! Not sure how to wrap my head around that number. One of the men who work here at IMO is living in a single room that’s left from his house. His testimony is that when the quake started he huddled his family into that room and started praying and the entire house fell around them except for the room the were in, they were kept safe, wow…
I asked John if the stories that we had heard were true, that the earthquake was causing people to turn from Voodoo and other religions and towards Christianity? He said in ways that we wouldn’t believe. The weekend following the quake they had over 500 salvations and hundreds since then. Another interesting fact is that people are starting to turn to Christianity because the Voodoo priests and temples are doing nothing to help the people while the Christian ministries are spearheading the distribution of aid and helping the communities get back on their feet. At times the Voodoo priests are actually hindering people by telling them not to return to undamaged homes because they are “cursed.” How they come to the conclusion that a home is “cursed” because it is undamaged is a bit daft to me, and I think the people are seeing that contrasted with the faith in action through the incredible ministries here and drawing the same conclusion.
Today we finished early because we had some extra help. We finished around 2pm. We basically did the same thing we did yesterday on the other side of the same building, but this side was a little worse. We had to knock down three more walls whose integrity was compromised through the quake and clean those up as well. We finished three buildings and made them ready for whatever IMO needs to start setting them up to do. John has a vision for the property that he believes God gave him a few years ago even before the land was miraculously given to him. He wants to start a youth outreach program, a facility where he can host youth camps and retreats as well as outreaches focused on the youth of Haiti. It’s a very aggressive vision and it’s a great perfect place to set it up. It already has basketball courts and hundreds of thousands of dollars of buildings on it that have either remained undamaged or merely has cosmetic damaged to interior walls, but the integrity of the building has remained intact.
As I was walking around the building today I saw a paper heart from the school that we had cleaned out laying on the ground among the rocks. It had scotch tape around the edges that had aged to a milky white and faded crayon coloring scribbled on it. It looked so haggard just lying there on the ground, and yet it hinted at it’s original intent: a heart. I thought of Haiti. I took a pic of it and I think it’s one of my fave’s of the week so far.
On the way home we pulled over next the U.S. Military encampment and threw two footballs over the barbed wire to some servicemen that were playing volleyball on a crudely constructed net, they were super stoked when the saw us offering them the footballs! So, we got out of the truck and asked if we could grab some pics of them, they said OK. When we hopped out of the truck we started chatting with them, Andrew pointed out that they seemed starved for interaction with other Americans, I tend to agree with him, they were very eager to just shoot the breeze with us and talk about their deployment. I thought my heart would burst with pride just being that close to them, they are without a doubt the heroes around the globe and I could never express my gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifice they make everyday…thank you, thank you, thank you!
Today we had a moving moment with Frank, our contact, which I won’t share here because it was too sweet a moment to share outside and intimate conversational setting. Needless to say, it was very moving. I only mention it so to remember it when I read this in the future.
The weird thing about reflecting on the past week is that I’m not filled with foreboding or anxiousness at the future of the Haitian people, but rather with hopeful anticipation that this is the beginning of a new day after a very long night.

Until tomorrow…