Search This Blog

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

For all you Christians, please take some time to remember the meaning of the holiday and be grateful for all that Christ has done and continues to do for us. His grace is sufficient for all.

Friday, March 29, 2013

What scientists don't know

Ah, they're admitting it at last. Climate scientists have no idea why global warming trends abruptly stopped a while back.

Now, I'm a scientist. Not a climate scientist, yet scientist enough to know that there is very little that humans understand about the workings of the earth, and less still about human impact on the earth. A brief study of the Middle Ages ought to reassure everyone that the earth can survive warming periods such as when citrus grew in the UK, and that warming is not necessarily irreversible! Nor would cooling spell ultimate doom, though it would certainly limit crop growth more than warming would. Ice ages are periodic on this planet.

In conclusion, the earth's climate changes as it always has and most likely always will and we can stop preaching paranoia, right? Media, I'm talking to you and the people who issue government grants to people studying PC things that aid government in raising taxes!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hope to repeal?

Apparently the GOP goal of getting rid of Obamacare is not quite dead. I sure hope that it happens. From National Journal:
Sitting at his desk a stone’s throw from the Senate chamber, McConnell turned to the aide and, with characteristic directness, said: “This decision is too cute. But I think we got something with this tax issue.”
He was referring to the court’s ruling that the heart of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the so-called individual mandate that requires everyone in the country to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, was a tax. And while McConnell thought calling the mandate a tax was “a rather creative way” to uphold the law, it also opened a new front in his battle to repeal it.
McConnell, a master of byzantine Senate procedure, immediately realized that, as a tax, the individual mandate would be subject to the budget reconciliation process, which exempted it from the filibuster. In other words, McConnell had just struck upon how to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority vote.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Obamacare Costs

This is hilarious. Or maybe just ludicrous. The Obamacare costs on society have been long noted and feared and announced - particularly by conservative groups not in the mood to shield anything to do with Obama and liberalism from criticism - yet until now the Obama administration has persisted in their lies that this program will cut costs. As if!

It raises premiums, thus increasing the burden on both families and businesses. It requires additional expenses for businesses and insurers. It taxes medical supplies. It taxes people who choose not to be insured - and it's far cheaper to pay that hefty fine over get individual insurance in most cases. Longtime readers of my blog already know that Obamacare does nothing to address the real cost drivers in medicine: malpractice (tort reform) and large greedy hospital groups (not the doctors; the administrators). What changes Obamacare makes to the world of healthcare adds insult to injury, making the system far, far worse. Is it any wonder that Obamacare is less popular today than when it was passed against popular support?

Our government is NOT listening to the people. This is wrong. We live in a democracy, and we need to hold our elected representatives accountable for their actions in office. To do this, we need to teach the low-information voters just what is at stake: our freedom. Obamacare, in addition to creating unnecessary burdens on Americans, skyrockets an already exponentially exploding deficit. Debt - and most of the deficit is publicly held debt - is the antithesis of freedom.

Not even the Republican Congressional leaders are listening, or they would long ago have defunded Obamacare. Time to turn the heat up!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Energy

You won't find an informative article in standard media about modern drilling practices because it would show that liberals and progressive are against clean, cheap responsible energy, but you may find an interesting explanation here at Redstate.

Friday, March 22, 2013

So much to say, so little time

So, for the sake of time, I will not write in detail about Rush Limbaugh's thoughts about Dr. Ben Carson and his current acceptance by the liberal media while espousing conservative ideas, nor the infection of crony capitalism running amok through both parties in Congress or even the revolving lobbyist/politician door, but instead tell you to visit the Drudge Report today. Foreign policy stuff, domestic policy stuff, things that all Americans should be aware of but won't if they rely on traditional media.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Coulter is right again

Ann Coulter is understandably frustrated by the idiotic Republican Party. Her article this week makes some terrific points. I think she understands better than most in the GOP (excepting Rush Limbaugh but most definitely not excepting Redstate's Erick Erickson) what is wrong within it. She says:
Show me one example in the last decade where the Democrats allowed an election to be stolen from under their noses (Al Franken, 2008), nominated a narcissistic moron (Todd Akin, etc., etc., etc.) or allowed campaign consultants to fleece a zillionaire, rather than run a candidate who could actually win (Linda McMahon, 2010 and 2012; and John Raese, 1984, 2006, 2010 and 2012)?

Have Democrats ever run a losing candidate for the exact same office FOUR TIMES? I hope Raese's campaign consultants made a lot of money.

The last time Democrats gave up a winnable seat was in 1980 when Jimmy Carter conceded the presidential election before the polls had closed out West, sacrificing a few congressional elections in California and costing Frank Church of Idaho his Senate seat.

If Republicans hadn't blown those 11 winnable races, Republicans would hold a 56-43 majority in the Senate today. Think of how different the country would look! Those 11 seats were gifts to the Democrats; their Senate majority does not reflect any particular strength of theirs.

We don't need to jettison our principles; we just need to stop screwing up.

Getting rich is great. Not stealing elections is great. Passion is great. Forgiveness is great. But what Democrats realize and Republicans don't, is that in politics, all that matters is scoring. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Privacy?

I haven't been subjected to this survey personally, but apparently the probing census questions we experience every ten years have become annual.
“We ask these questions to get key statistics used to determine poverty levels, measure economic well-being, and gauge the need for economic assistance,” the bureau explains. 
In other words, they need the information to determine the winners and losers so that government bureaucrats thousands of miles away can pick new winners and losers. 
After staging a rare, genuine filibuster on the Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, last week introduced Senate Bill 530 to remove the criminal penalty for those who refuse to take part in this annual federal creep-fest that is not even required by the Constitution. You can add this legislation to the growing nationwide mantra of “Stand with Rand.”
Anyone else bothered by this close scrutiny of our government supposed to be for the people and of the people as opposed to for themselves?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Glory killers

Now that the Newtown shooter's computer's spreadsheet of hundreds of mass murderers has been found, and that he "scored" the killers according to their success in killing, it seems that he really was living in his own video game based world. It's very sad.

Again, we need to look closer at what we can do better in getting mental health care to those who need it for our own safety. It is quite apparent with that spreadsheet that he chose the location he did precisely because he could inflict more casualties in a gun free defenseless school than probably anywhere else. Read the story if you like. Prepare to be disturbed if you do.

I will not rehash what I've covered previously about specific inadequacies in mental health care. Since I've only got an iPad to work with the next several days it will be easier for you with computers to search out previous posts than me!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pew study on bias in media

Have you heard about this? Not likely if you rely on traditional liberal media. As much as they blame Foxnews of being biased, the case is a clear one of the pot calling the kettle black. From breitbart.com: 
What Pew found is that the outlier is MSNBC: 85% opinion, 15% reporting. Fox News, however, is much closer to CNN. Whereas CNN spends 54% of the time reporting and 46% on commentary, Fox News spends 55% on commentary and 45% reporting.
By tomorrow, though, these findings will be forgotten and the media will go right back to lying with comparisons of Fox and MSNBC.
Yup. Same old. There is nothing new under the sun. (That's Shakespeare if I remember correctly.) As usual, I remind you to read or listen to both sides because both sides leave stuff out.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mormons in China

Check this out! I lived in China for a semester and the rules regarding worship and the restriction on proselytizing were much the same over ten years ago.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Conservative CPAC?


"The CPAC 2013 Straw Poll contains several policy questions that are phrased in such a way that discourages voters from expressing a preference for a strong national defense."  (Lee Stranahan)


"Breitbart News will host "The Uninvited" panel  on Saturday at CPAC from 1 p.m to 3 p.m (National Harbor Room 4) and continue its tradition of leading conversations on issues the Republican establishment and the mainstream media refuse to address. These issues topics crony capitalism, illegal immigration, global jihad and radical Islam, the persecution of Christians across the globe, and the gutting of the American military." (Tony Lee)





I haven't been following CPAC enough to know how conservative its leaders are or aren't. I know the Establishment blue blood types are unpopular there. I think if anything that we conservatives are distrustful of any and all political entities and person to keep their words or act in the best interest of conservatives even when they claim to be one of us. Keep your eyes on this...


Friday, March 15, 2013

Romney at CPAC

I still love and respect this man and regret that my countrymen didn't see that we don't need a campaigner-in-cheif, but a real leader who can solve real problems and better conditions selflessly. Be that as it may, you can find some of his optimistic words here.

Out of office reply

Not really. But we're traveling. Expect to see less than usual here through the first week in April.

Meanwhile, check out the Drudge headlines from CPAC - I like the look of these.
PERRY ROCKS THE HOUSE...

RAND PAUL: 'GOP of Old Grown Stale and Moss-Covered'...

RUBIO: 'We don't need new idea. The idea is America, and it still works'...

CPAC UPDATE...




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

The following headline emphasizes the biggest problem in our country precisely.

Proposed Dem Budget Increases Spending 62% Over Next Decade


The title should say enough. But in case it doesn't, you must first understand that all federal budgets automatically increase annually by as much as 10%. Any talk of lowering this growth to something more reasonable and manageable for the taxpayer has Democrats crying "Draconian cuts" and "GOP killing babies and elderly" etc. even though more is spent than the year previous. What's wrong with federal agencies submitting budget proposals for what they really need? Or for increasing them in pace with inflation? Or for combining overlapping programs to save money? Or for reforming entitlements so that they'll actually last more than five or ten more years? Huh?

Unhealthy deficit growth will bite the US in the butt soon enough. Why not prepare, I ask you? Plan ahead? Avert the catastrophe for something less painful in the long run by cutting spending? Hmmm?

Politics is the answer - but Americans should play a part there too by contacting their representatives and electing fiscal responsible leaders. Pass it on.


Defunding Obamacare


I know this is hard to read, but a subtitle for this chart is "The Real ObamaCare Tax Burden Vs The Promised One."  Note the visible change in number of digits between when Obamacare was passed and more recently. The chart is from  The TaxProfBlog and I found it at RedState.

There's more to this story. Not only will Obamacare cost more to implement than projected (which is NO surprise given the history of any program implemented by the federal government as opposed to the private sector which knows it operates with a limited amount of capital), Obamacare is relatively easy to defund after all - yet the House Republicans have failed to do so. There were big hopes that Boehner would make a move when he assumed leadership in 2010 but he never did. He's playing politics in a different way than Obama and the Democrats and he's losing. Meaning all Americans are losing. We're not reigning in spending, we're not balancing the budget, we're not overturning Obamacare, we're not getting a more responsible (with our money) government. He could have done a lot had he acted more like Gingrich, but he didn't.

Meanwhile Obama has declared that he has no intention to balance the federal budget - like he doesn't see the need, that this debt bubble is no problem, that he doesn't need to stop or slow his spending habits with taxpayer dollars. No wonder he's already racked up more deficit than Bush did in eight years!

We'll have to work with the Republicans because the Democrats for the most part are not interested in voting against the party line. Government spending and Obamacare both continue to be unpopular with American taxpayers and it's high time our leadership took us seriously. It's time to put some pressure on Boehner and the other House Republicans - pressure to join Ted Cruz in defunding an entitlement we can't afford. See the details here for defunding Obamacare and contact your Republican representatives in both the Senate and the House today.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Evidence

I've long accused Obama of acting only out of political motivations from start to finish, whether the issue be lying to the public (saying one thing and doing another) or his energy policy or foreign policy or Obamacare or Fast and Furious or Libya. He doesn't care if it hurts the people he's "trying" to help or is unpopular: he furthers the liberal agenda. Period.

Now former aides are writing about this Obama, whose character has been long shielded from Americans by the loyal liberal media.
...it is President Obama's turn to watch as former aides and journalists rush into print -- with a warp speed that eluded the insider memoirists of the 1970s -- their detailed and dishy accounts of the first Obama term.
...
Perhaps most arresting, however, is Nasr's portrayal of President Obama. The commander-in-chief is depicted here as "dithering" on key Afghan war decisions, tasking national security aides with the same questions, rephrased in minor ways, over and over. Nasr also casts Obama as quick to abandon foreign policy promises made on the campaign trail and too reliant on individuals unqualified to weigh in on foreign policy.
"The president had a truly disturbing habit," Nasr writes, "of funneling major foreign-policy decisions through a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisors whose turf was strictly politics. ... His actions from start to finish were guided by politics. ... It was no surprise that our AfPak policy took one step forward and two steps back."

As I said all along. Not that I'm a politician or political adviser - but really, the only way to explain Obama's positions and actions past and present is politics. Plain old ugly self-serving politics.


Monday, March 11, 2013

What is North Korea up to?

I know little enough of foreign policy not to hazard a guess on my own about their recent animosity and threats of nuclear war.

What I know about North Korea I know from documentaries. The people there are starving, stunted, malnourished, die young, risk immediate retribution upon their families if they escape and death themselves if they are caught (and China sends refugees back to North Korea though not South Korea, and I'm not sure about Russia). They have little fuel or clothing or food or electricity- all shipments from the capital for their supposed "socialism" ended decades ago. The military raids the already destitute country for supplies since they are inadequately supplied themselves. Military service is expected for young adults and most people want to because they eat better when they serve.

North Korea has concentration camps for people who offend the regime in some way - anything from escaped family to saying something less than praise of the regime. People in these camps work to provide the few exports of the country and try to catch rats and mice to avoid starving to death on their meager rations.

North Korea have annual ceremonies involving many children of the capital working together in concert - think of Beijing's Olympics Opening Ceremonies and you'll have the idea, but with all children. Everyone has a picture of the Dear Leader, and everyone in the capital is assigned an apartment which may have electricity and running water, but not usually television or adequate medical care. They do all have speakers in their apartments broadcasting state-run media which is impossible to turn off or even turn down. Even in the capital people don't have much in the way of luxuries except for those close to the Leader. Yet they all love their Leader with a fierce loyalty. No doubt they are either brainwashed or smart enough to pretend to be. Such movies as exist in North Korea are always about its supremacy and superiority over other countries and how the people are better off and happier there than anywhere else in the world.

For foreigners visiting, they may expect to be chaperoned by specific guides who make sure that they only see approved places and do not take pictures. Any foreign aid granted has traditionally used to supply the elite and not the poor starving masses. What little we know about North Korea's interior is from brave medical missions who secretly filmed conditions in the country without detection, and from a few North Korean people who have successfully escaped to South Korea.

It is rare that documentaries can move me to tears, but I have felt a deep and powerless desperation for the people trapped in North Korea - nothing, I'm sure to their own desperation for those aware of their plight. If there is ever evidence that life isn't fair, this is it!

What can be done about North Korea is either very little or very ineffective. Humanitarian aid doesn't reach those who need it. The UN does nothing about it, essentially. North Korea does what it feels like doing. Sanctions haven't been particularly effective until now, possibly.

Back to my title question. American Spectator has answered it for me.
Bellicose rhetoric and actions from North Korea are as unusual as the sunrise. The pattern has been consistent. The Norks would resort to threats of war and weapons tests whenever their elites felt threatened either in their security or their lifestyles.
Violation of past agreements has resulted only in more threats of “isolation” and successive economic sanctions that haven’t done anything to slow or stop their development of nuclear weapons and missiles. But in the past they have waited for one dose to settle before launching another. Now, they’re in some sort of rush that is uncharacteristic and, for that reason, more dangerous.
The frantic pace at which the latest Kim is peddling their bellicosity is something new. It probably indicates that the generals behind Kim are concluding that their warlike rhetoric and nuclear and missile tests aren’t working any longer. Their confidence that they can continue to push us around may be eroding. 
But their bluster hasn’t relieved them of the economic sanctions that have affected the standard of living of their elites. The more they see themselves on the losing end, the more they take truly threatening actions such as the November 2009 missile test that resulted in an ICBM passing over Japan.
For further information and predictions and even explanations of Obama's disastrous foreign policy, please use the link.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

LDS position on immigration

I was unaware that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had issued a formal statement about immigration, but I found a reference to it yesterday at Deseret News.
In 2011, the LDS Church issued an official policystatement on immigration, in which it was noted that “this issue is one that must ultimately be resolved by the federal government.”
“As a matter of policy,” the statement said, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourages its members from entering any country without legal documentation,” and it “supports a balanced and civil approach to a challenging problem, fully consistent with its tradition of compassion, its reverence for family and its commitment to law.”
For the LDS Church, the statement underscored, “the bedrock moral issue … is how we treat each other as children of God.”

The article refers to this because of an LDS Church leader's meeting with President Obama and leaders from other churches to discuss immigration policy.



Could be a good thing


SENATE BILL WOULD TAKE GUNS FROM MENTALLY ILL 

The NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013  would apply to individuals considered by an adjuctive body, such as a federal court, to be: 
  •          An imminent danger to themselves or others
  •          Found guilty but mentally ill in a criminal case
  •          Found not guilty in a criminal case by reason of insanity or mental disease or defect
  •          Found incompetent to stand trial in a criminal case
  •          Found not guilty only by reason of lack of mental responsibility under the Uniform Code of Military Justice
  •          Required involuntary inpatient treatment by a psychiatric hospital
  •          Required involuntary outpatient treatment by a psychiatric hospital based on a finding that the person is an imminent danger to himself or to others
  •          Required involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital for any reason including drug use

This is a great and necessary step since mental illness is the common denominator in mass murders (always stopped by another gun - don't take guns away from the nonviolent!). The one concern I've heard raised is that the mentally ill might try to blame things on their psychiatrists and even put psychiatrists in danger.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Significant

This morning, what do I find but an article, "My filibuster was just the beginning," by Senator Rand Paul - not in the Washington Times- a conservative outlet- but in the Washington Post! This is less surprising than it looks at the outset and I'll tell you why: Rand Paul rattled progressives by asking the questions they're used to the Democrats asking Republicans - questions like what limits the use of drones against American citizens. Basically, who gave you the right to determine who to kill, Obama?

Paul says:
The Senate has the power to restrain the executive branch — and my filibuster was the beginning of the fight to restore a healthy balance of powers. The president still needs to definitively say that the United States will not kill American noncombatants. The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment applies to all Americans; there are no exceptions.
The outpouring of support for my filibuster has been overwhelming and heartening. My office has fielded thousands of calls. Millions have followed this debate on TV, Twitter and Facebook. On Thursday, the White House produced another letter explaining its position on drone strikes. But the administration took too long, and parsed too many words and phrases, to instill confidence in its willingness or ability to protect our liberty.
I hope my efforts help spur a national debate about the limits of executive power and the scope of every American’s natural right to be free. “Due process” is not just a phrase that can be ignored at the whim of the president; it is a right that belongs to every citizen in this great nation.
I believe the support I received this past week shows that Americans are looking for someone to really stand up and fight for them. And I’m prepared to do just that. 
Thank you, Rand Paul.

And thank you Washington Post, for being less anti-Republican than usual. Partisanship is blind no matter who practices it, and the media isn't supposed to shield Democrats and attack Republicans without turning the tables the other way around half the time. Not that any of them practice that. Hence the arise of new conservative media. Read both for balance!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Obamacare Taxes

There's far more than we knew. I found them listed over at Americans for Tax Reform.
On Wednesday, March 5, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George tesified before the House Appropriations Committee. As part of his exchange with lawmakers, Mr. George was asked about the tax implications of Obamacare.
As reported by POLITICO's Rachael Bade:
“It is unprecedented in recent history, the amount of responsibility the IRS is being given in an area that most people don’t think of as an IRS function,” George said. Americans, he added, will have more questions about their taxes because of health care penalties or credits, flooding already busy call-in and walk-in tax help centers. “This is going to lead to problems, sir.”
And these resource issues are bound to spill over into tax fraud enforcement, where the IRS will have to do a cost-benefit analysis when determining which tax fraudsters to chase.
“They have to determine what enforcement mechanisms they’ll employ … how they go about determining who to audit and who not to,” George said.
You might already know about the twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare.  What you might not know is that the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the IRS has 47 new taxes and regulations to administer in overseeing Obamacare. 
The IRS is not capable of doing all this, as the quotation above confirms. 

To see the full list of taxes/fines/penalties/whatever you want to call them, please use the link at top.

Also note that Senator Cruz (R, Texas) wants to defund Obamacare by introducing a bill, Restore Growth First, requiring that the American economy be in a more robust growth period before the implementation of a behemoth such as Obamacare which is already negatively impacting the economy before it's even fully implemented.

On a related note, did you see how the very same week of the sequester (which government wanted to be a horrible experience for Americans - I mean tax payers) the unemployment rate dropped a little? That is NOT what Obama wants to see. He wants cuts in government spending (which aren't even real - just cuts on spending growth rather than principal) to be painful. As admitted in private. Also, the government has more tax revenue than ever before, yet it is still nothing to the amount spent - which is continually escalating. The sequester is not even a drop in the bucket in terms of slowing spending.

However, no, Obama, cutting government spending is NOT painful in the long term.

Yes, the impact in taking millions of dollars out of the economy has a short term negative affect proportional to the amount of money not spent that was formerly spent, but consider first that the government is spending only OUR money and borrowed money. The less government spends of both, the better off we'll be. The private sector feeds the public sector and you can't have a parasitic government and have a healthy host. As we Americans have all experienced for the past five years now.

This is precisely why Americans take issue with the $6T in added deficit under Obama and why Americans take issue with the Democrat's refusal to reform entitlement programs and make them more financially sustainable for the future. This is not all about votes, people.

This is about making our country work for its citizens. Something our politicians have lost sight of, as evidenced by the very passage of Obamacare in late 2009 against popular support which continues against it to this day with no effort to defund it beyond that of Senator Ted Cruz, despite Republican control of the House since 2010.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Psychotic

Liberals (with the help of the media) are happy to punish law abiding citizens and prevent them from defending themselves, partly in the name of not "stigmatizing" the mentally ill - which is all a crock because the stigma that exists is that we can't talk about mental illness even though it would greatly help people to understand and sympathize with those who suffer from it, as well as learn what few kinds of mental illnesses pose a threat to the public and which do not. I am so pleased that Ann Coulter isn't letting the subject die.
After the slaughters at Virginia Tech, Aurora, Colo., Tucson, Ariz., and Newtown, Conn., every sentient person knows we need to do something about institutionalizing the mentally ill and -- at the very least -- keeping guns out of their hands. 

That happens to be impossible right now. Involuntary commitments even for the severely psychotic went the way of vagrancy laws. Although federal law technically requires background checks to include records of mental illness, the states and mental health industry refuse to provide that information. 

Of course, the vast majority of mentally disturbed individuals are not dangerous. But looking at it from the other end, more than half of all mass murder is committed by the mentally ill. Gun ownership doesn't lead to random murder rampages; mental illness does. 
Excellent article with excellent points. Use the link above to read it in entirety. To see references to her previous articles on the subject, search for "mental illness" on this blog or search her page.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Explanation

Do you ever have times when you can't keep up with everything? We're experiencing one of those times in our home right now. We are all sick except for the littlest. That, combined with some major deadlines and preparations and then travel are going to keep me from posting regularly. Fear not! I will be back and I'm sure I'll still post at least intermittently.

Meanwhile, I challenge you to a headline comparison game. Look at the headlines on conservative news sites and compare them with traditional media headlines at the same time. Conservative news sites' links you can find on the side bar, and I imagine you'll have no problem finding CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Washington Post, the New York Times and the like for the other end. What do you notice?


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Re-Post: LDS Women

From December 15th:


I am an LDS woman. I feel equal to the men in the LDS Church. I understand, deeply, that men and women have different divine gifts and roles and that this is a good thing because we balance each other out in church just as we do in families. We have our own women's organization called Relief Society, just as the men are organized in priesthood quorums.

(See also The Family: A Proclamation to the World. First revealed to the women in the LDS in 1995 at a women's General Relief Society meeting by President Gordon B. Hinckley, the prophet at the time, and then reiterated at the subsequent General Conference of the LDS Church with full membership participating.)

The LDS Church will not be giving women the priesthood because it is a role for men, from the foundation of the world. It was designed by God to be as it is. Priesthood is the authority of God given to men to act for Him. Priesthood service teaches men, among other things, to think of others before themselves - to love as Christ loves, something that comes much more naturally to women, just by virtue of the God-given gifts of nurturing and loving given to women at birth. Watch little girls, and you will see them practice these traits instinctively.

The blessings of the priesthood as opposed to the priesthood itself, however, are available to each and every member of the Church. There is no discrimination. Blessings of the priesthood include baptism, marriage and eternal families, partaking of the sacrament, etc.

Tomorrow, some LDS women will wear pants to church in protest of women's inequality in the LDS Church. This pants issue has nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ and everything to do with Mormon culture, and their own misperceptions of the differences inherent between men's and women's God-given roles.  

I have attended the LDS Church in many different kinds of places in many congregations large and small. How I was raised and with the various places I've lived or visited, I wouldn't look twice or hardly notice if another woman wore pants to church. I don't care. It's none of my business. It doesn't matter. We go to church to worship God and renew the sacred covenants we made with Him, not to judge each other. I have never felt second place as a woman in the LDS Church, but rather respected and listened to and valued.

The deeper reason behind the pants "protest" is that some women feel unequal. This is a real, and sad, problem. This is a problem in their understanding, and perhaps their experiences in their congregations have lent them these misunderstandings between gospel and culture. Not every congregation is as loving and respectful towards women as it should be if fully living and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm guessing that at times the leadership in those congregations are ignorantly rather than deliberately slighting women, if they even are at all. As in anything else, many offenses are perceived, rather than rooted in reality.

As much as these feminist LDS women are acting in solidarity to show their numbers, this act doesn't solve anything. Better for them to talk to their local church leadership about their concerns. Better for them to talk with them about ways that they can both understand and appreciate each other better. Understanding, like tolerance, is a two-way street.

I hope these women will learn that they are valued and indeed that they are valued within their particular LDS congregations, but that it doesn't matter what they wear or what responsibilities they hold in the Church. Their value is separate from those things. 

They are daughters of God. God created all things. His last creation - the most special - was a woman.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Romney in public

Mitt and Ann Romney came out of hiding, so to speak, with an appearance on Fox News Sunday to be aired this coming Sunday.
Ann Romney described the "adjustment" she and her husband made -- going from being surrounding by crowds and Secret Service agents to, after Mitt Romney's loss in November, being by themselves again. She likened it to serving in different positions in their church.  
"In our church, we're used to serving and you know, you can be in a very high position, but you recognize you're serving. And now all of a sudden, you're released and you're nobody," she said. "And we're used to that. It's like we came and stepped forward to serve. And you know, the other part of it was an amazing thing, and it was really quite a lot of energy and a lot of passion and a lot of -- a lot of people around us and all of a sudden, it was nothing." 
I want to clarify her comment for people who don't know much about how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates. Generally speaking, there are no paid positions within the Church, and everything done at a local level is done by a lay clergy comprising the members of the Church in that area. A stake is comprised of about 10 congregations called wards, each led by a stake president who oversees the ten bishops leading those congregations. Stake leadership is called by the General Authorities of the LDS Church, and stake leaders call the bishops of wards with the approval of the General Authorities (such as the Prophet and Apostles).

Here is an excerpt on the topic from Mormonnewsroom.org:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints functions in large measure because of the unpaid volunteer ministry of its members. In fact, this lay ministry is one of the Church’s most defining characteristics. In thousands of local congregations or “wards” around the world, members voluntarily participate in “callings” or assignments that provide meaningful opportunities to serve one another. It is common for Church members to spend 5-10 hours a week serving in their callings. Some callings, such as a bishop, women’s Relief Society president, or stake president may require 15-30 hours per week.
As you may recall, Mitt Romney served as both a bishop and later a stake president in the Boston area. However, callings do not generally come as a ranking within the Church.
Callings in the Church are not sought after or campaigned for. Members are simply asked to be willing to accept assignments that come to them through Church leaders. These leaders seek inspiration through prayer about whom to call. Church members, for the most part, are willing to accept these callings.
For example, a member may serve as the leader of several congregations totaling thousands of Church members for a period of time, and, after concluding that service, he may be asked to teach a youth Sunday school class for a few 15-year-olds in a local congregation. Service, in whatever capacity, is viewed as contributing to the well-being of fellow congregants and the broader community. 
Yup. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have callings which teach them to love and serve each other as they follow Jesus Christ. You are welcome to see this in action for yourselves and meet your Mormon neighbors by attending your local LDS meetinghouse (church).