Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Early Republic and the American Civil War


Note:  The following was one of my tasks for my U.S. history course.  I received an excellence award for the paper.  
     
Task 2 – The Early Republic and the American Civil War
Tara Lang-Jackson
Western Governors University
      


A.   Following the American Revolution, the founders all held a great vision for the future, but differing views as to how that vision should be seen were expressed (“Partisan Politics,” 2016).  Though the founders opposed political parties, so many conflicts occurred that political parties eventually developed and lingered (“First Party System,” 2016). 
The conflict started with the adopting of the Constitution.  First, the leaders could not agree on how representatives to Congress were to be elected, even though they did agree on a bicameral legislature (Norton, 2015).  They finally agreed that three-fifths of the slaves, which made up a great population in the South, would be counted in population totals for representation (Norton, 2015).  They agreed on separation of powers with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches with federalism, a division of federal and state power.  They set up checks and balances with features such as presidential veto, veto overthrow with two-thirds’ majority vote in Congress, and three-fourths’ support in the states (Norton, 2015). 
 Some, who called themselves Federalists, pressed for adopting the Constitution, while others, the Antifederalists, feared the lack of protection against a tyrannical government and excessive taxing of land (Norton, 2015).  Nearly everyone agreed that national government needed power over taxation and commerce, but plenty of the citizens were hesitant to agree on the terms of the Constitution (Norton, 2015).  The Antifederalists pressed for the Constitution to include inherent rights, and the Federalists got their way in getting the states to ratify the Constitution after adding the Bill of Rights to appease the Antifederalists (Norton, 2015).
The conflicts continued up until the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and thereafter, and they have not ended.  The Annapolis Convention met to discuss trade policy and caused states to be taxed, which led to protests and Shay’s Rebellion during which an armory was attacked and people were killed (Norton, 2015).  Many landowning farmers would have had to sell their land in order to comply with the tax burden (Norton, 2015).  Afterward, the government reduced the tax burden on landowners and instead increased import duties in order to pay for war debt (Norton, 2015). 
Major players in the disagreements between Federalists and Antifederalists were Alexander Hamilton, a Federalist, and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who were both Antifederalists, later known as Democratic Republicans (Norton, 2015). 
According to Norton (2015), Hamilton was born somewhere in the Caribbean and was very loyal to the nation as a whole.  He favored a centralized government and believed people to be motivated by personal monetary gain, rather than sacrificing for others so that all benefit better.  He proposed helping industry take off with “limited use of protective tariffs” and pushing for a whiskey tax to boost the federal government’s income, preferring to tax the few western farmers over the merchants who supported him.  This led to the Whiskey Rebellion.
Jefferson and Madison opposed Hamilton’s respect to wealthy merchants at the expense of farmers; they viewed Hamilton as an opposer of republican principles (Norton, 2015).  They supported the French Revolution, thinking it good that French citizens loose themselves of an absolute authority, but Hamilton thought France was perverting republicanism (Norton, 2015).  Republican sympathizers for the French were called traitors by the Federalists (Norton, 2015).
Republicans were optimistic in their view of the future and supported western expansion.  Federalists wanted tiered order and obedience to hierarchy.  Although President George Washington called for an end to partisan politics in his farewell address, it appeared to the populace that he was openly opposing Republicans and wanted everyone to unite as Federalists (Norton, 2015). 
      Under President John Adams, the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed, which targeted immigrants who sympathized with Republicans, required immigrants to register with the federal government and caused them a longer residency period before citizenship, and made conspiracies to prevent federal law enforcement and printing or saying defamatory things about the president or government punishable crimes (Norton, 2015).  Jefferson and Madison worked through state legislatures to attempt to overturn the acts, causing people to question how much power states possessed in opposing the national government (Norton, 2015). 
Even after Jefferson became the third elected president with a Congress dominated by Democratic Republicans and gave an inaugural address with words of unity for Federalists and Republicans, the two parties did not see eye to eye on the way society was organized and the way government should be run (Norton, 2015).  When Jefferson spoke of the first amendment supporting a “wall of separation between church and state,” the Federalists called him an atheist.  Pamphlets and newspapers became very popular modes of expressing partisan views during this time (Norton, 2015).  Conflicts only grew, like a blaze across droughted forests.  Political parties were here to stay.
B.1.  The first party system of the early U.S. republic fell away to the second party system after the election of 1824, during which time the Democrats and Republicans split, the former supporting Andrew Jackson, and the latter supporting new president John Quincy Adams (Norton, 2015).  The Republicans and the short-lived Antimason Party eventually became known as Whigs (Norton, 2015).
            The Democrats preferred small government and condemned the government’s favoring the rich, and thought the wealthy were so from receiving special favors.  For this reason, they also reviled the central bank, corporate charters, and paper currency (Norton, 2015). They supported an agrarian society and agricultural growth in the West (Norton, 2015).  They held the opinion that Whigs opposed the people’s will and that the nation was divided between those who possessed things and those who didn’t (Norton, 2015). 
2.         Leaders of the Democratic party included President Andrew Jackson, who supported the spoils system of sharing victory with his supporters’ loyalty rather than competency, who abused veto power to “limit government” as he saw good in his eyes; Martin Van Buren, during whose presidency a banking crisis occurred; and President James Polk, a slave-owning cotton planter from Tennessee who, through deception, had the nation go to war with Mexico (Norton, 2015).  Democratic constituents consisted of non-evangelical Christians and those of other religious groups, landowning farmers, wage earners, frontier slave owners, and immigrants (Norton, 2015).
            The Whigs, in contrast to the Democrats, believed in an active federal government to boost economic growth, supported commercial growth in the East with the central bank, “high protective tariffs,” corporate charters, and paper currency, opposed western expansion, supported progressive social reforms, such as public schools and bettering prisons and asylums, claimed to support bettering society as a whole, and preferred top-down rule and put forth the idea of free labor and that the wealthy had risen from hard work (Norton, 2015).  President William Henry Harrison was a Whig who went straight to work in starting up a new national bank and other Whig-supported activities but died of pneumonia a month after his inauguration.  His vice president, Tyler, became a president who exhibited a mix of Democratic and Whig policies (Norton, 2015).  Whig constituents were made up of mostly evangelical Protestants and groups who were opposed to western expansion (Norton, 2015). 
            Both parties agreed from time to time, including supporting the interest-free loans to the states with excess federal income after the nation’s money was divided among state-chartered banks, Congressman and other leaders avoiding talking about slavery and not wanting to annex the Lone Star Republic (Texas) for this reason (Norton, 2015).  Supporters of both parties engaged in riots and voter intimidation (Norton, 2015). 
3.         The Second Party System caused many disagreements among the people of the United States to come to light.  It continued the ongoing debate concerning liberty and who had it and who didn’t.  According to M.B. Norton, in A People and a Nation (2015), some thought the national government wielded too much power.  Others thought the states kept too much power from the federal government.  Some argued that slavery was necessary and that many slaves would rather stay with their owners in the South than to go free in the North and starve. 
Voting rights was a hotly debated topic, and black men and women alike became more outspoken about their belief that they should have the right to vote.  Native American rights and western expansion was debated, as were the several aforementioned policies such as the need for a central bank or not.  People wanted to be heard more than ever.  Those running for office needed a way to appeal to voters and so would campaign to get votes.  Political talk became very popular during the Second Party System, and the popularity of newspapers and pamphlets continued to grow (Norton, 2015).
C.1.      During the U.S. Civil War’s antebellum period, the people were divided in their beliefs concerning slavery, which mainly occurred in the South.  Some were very much proslavery, while others held economical/political and/or moral /religious views against it, causing them to be referred to as abolitionists, due to their desire for the nation to abolish slavery as a practice (Norton, 2015).
            Those who argued for slavery from an economical or political perspective did so mainly because it was profitable, for the more land and slaves a slaveowner possessed, the more wealth he would build (Norton, 2015).  Even merchants and bankers in the North were worried about slavery being abolished, since cotton made up two-fifths of New York’s exports, and the huge cotton market relied on slavery (Norton, 2015).  Some claimed slavery was absolutely necessary and that it fell under property rights protected by the Constitution (Norton, 2015).  On the other side of the debate, poor white men suffered financially with slavery’s existence, because they could not work their way up working hard, because they could not compete well with slave labor (Norton, 2015).
            Economics didn’t play into other citizens’ views on slavery so much as morality did.  Many thought it was evil.  Since most believed in the biblical god, those from both the proslavery and the antislavery sides used the bible to back their case.  Among those who wanted to see slavery abolished, Quakers pointed to the scriptures saying that all are equal in God’s eyes and that Jesus taught for people to do unto others as they’d have done unto them (Norton, 2015).  Evangelicals asserted that slavery kept the enslaved from being free moral agents that would allow them to freely choose what was good and what was evil; evangelicals thought this would also delay Jesus’ second coming, because they thought he would not come back until everyone chose freely to do what is good (Norton, 2015).  The bible, however, was also used to back slavery.  People holding to this viewpoint referenced the biblical scriptures supporting the owning of slaves and claimed that biblical hierarchy was desired by God (Norton, 2015).  Many said slavery was moral because it followed the natural law in that humans are not naturally equal (Norton, 2015).  Furthermore, a popular idea in society was that slave owners were paternal caretakers of their slaves, that it was their duty to keep and take care of them (Norton, 2015).
            Even among abolitionists, most did not believe that African Americans, slave or free, should possess all the rights that white citizens, especially white men, did.  This weighed in favor of the proslavery side, as the idea was put forth that whites are more intellectual, while blacks were much like monkeys and more physical and so “destined” for labor (Norton, 2015).  It ended up taking a war to decide slavery’s fate.
2.         During the late 1840s and through the 1850s, the nation became a lot more divided, not simply by location, North and South, but by thought process, all due to slavery, racism, and westward expansion.  The North was generally antislavery, while the South was generally proslavery, the North having free states and the South slave states (Norton, 2015).  Southerners generally desired westward expansion more so than Northerners.  When those in Missouri territory wanted to be annexed as a state, a debate brewed.  If Missouri became a free state, the South would be angry that the free states would have more total senators representing their interests, but if Missouri allowed slavery in their constitution, Northerners would be outnumbered by southern proslavery senators (Norton, 2015).  In the end, House Speaker Henry Clay suggested a compromise, and the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was passed, which admitted Maine into the union as a free state and Missouri as a slave state (Norton, 2015).
            Feathers were ruffled once more when Texas was to become annexed, which it did on March 1, 1845, with a constitution permitting slavery.  In 1846, Polk urged Texans to seize land to the Rio Grande, though Mexico was insistent the national border be the Nueces River.  He had his general, Zachary Taylor, provoke the Mexicans, and once Mexican militants killed a few American soldiers, Polk deceptively announced that Mexico sought war with the U.S (Norton, 2015). At the same time, Polk wanted the Oregon Territory but did not want to war with Great Britain.  The U.S. was able to get the land through diplomacy, and the Oregon Treaty was signed in 1846 (Norton, 2015). 
            Norton (2015) wrote about this era of time, “Racism fueled the expansionist spirit.”  He quoted a newspaper editor of the time calling Mexicans “reptiles in the path of progressive democracy.”  He showed that some stood on the other side of thought, such as one abolitionist referring to the expansion as a “national crime” that benefitted the practice of slavery.  Abolitionists and antislavery Whigs said the war was a plot to extend slavery, and abolitionists had long feared an upcoming slaveholding oligarchy. Even some proslavery people saw problems with the expansion (Norton, 2015). 
            In February 1848, the U.S. and Mexico signed a treaty in which the U.S. gained California and New Mexico with the Rio Grande designated as Texas’ southern border (Norton, 2015).  Not everyone was happy with this.  Many whites in both the North and the South worried about all the Mexicans this may have brought into the United States, and they didn’t want any non-whites who were not slaves (Norton, 2015).   Most northerners, even though generally antislavery, wanted to keep blacks away as much as they wanted to prevent slavery from expanding to the West and causing free men to lose work (Norton, 2015).
            Sectionalism and debates over expanding and annexing continued on when California wanted to enter as a free state.  Southerners wanted it to be a slave state or for the Missouri Compromise to be extended to the Pacific territories (Norton, 2015).  It was finally decided that California would enter as a free state and that the other territories could choose for themselves, but even that kept the debate brewing, especially when Kansas and Nebraska wanted to annex, since their being able to choose contradicted the agreement in the Missouri Compromise that should keep everything north from the south Missouri line up to Canada as free (Norton, 2015).  As the sectionalism debate heated up, the Whig Party was eventually all but destroyed by 1952, and the formation of the Republican Party, for the purpose of going against slavery, was, and is, the quickest reorganization of party allegiance in American history (Norton, 2015). 
            White Americans, especially those in the South, felt superior over other races.  They had already taken over most Native American lands and moved most of the remaining natives into Oklahoma during the “Trail of Tears” in the early 1830s, believing it was their duty to civilize them (Norton, 2015).  They didn’t care whether Mexico had settled what is now the western United States.  They didn’t care whether African Americans were fairly treated or whether they were enslaved.  They believed it was their “manifest destiny” to rule over the other “races” and to expand across the continent (Norton, 2015).  Westward expansion truly did seem to have racism and greed as its motivators, and Americans were very divided, mainly by North and South, causing sectionalism, as to who was on the right moral and political/economical side of the debate.
3.         Many events led up to the Civil War, but the three major events I believe did the most to lead to eventual warfare are the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, and the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln and the subsequent secession of the South. 
            The nation’s people were divided on whether California, upon admittance to the union, and the territories of New Mexico and Utah, should be allowed to become a slave state or should remain free (Norton, 2015).  A compromise was made, and the Compromise of 1850 became law.  It stated that California was to be a free state, that Texas boundaries were set at what they are today and that Texas was to be paid compensation for losing New Mexico territory, that New Mexico and Utah territories received popular sovereignty (allowing them to choose for themselves whether slavery was permitted), that the fugitive slave law was to be strengthened in a number of ways, and that slave trade would be abolished in D.C. (Norton, 2015).  During this time period, the Republican Party was born, after the Whig Party nearly extinguished after splitting in North and South sects (Norton, 2015).  The Republican Party received most of the votes the Whig Party would have formerly (Norton, 2015). The new party was made up of former antislavery Whigs and Democrats, Free-Soilers, and reformers in the Northwest (Norton, 2015).  The party won a “stunning victory,” in the 1854 elections, filling most of the North’s House seats (Norton, 2015).  The party was morally repulsed by slavery, hailed free labor and hated slavery’s threat to such, thought the slave-blanketed, low industrious South was the antithesis of progress, and resented the South’s “Slave Power” political power.  Abraham Lincoln was a symbol for the party (Norton, 2015).  During 1855-1859, the opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act grew. Several Northern free states passed personal liberty laws, which provided counsel for fugitives and required jury trials, since the strengthening of the law had caused so much controversy and conflict, even leading to free blacks in the North to flee to Canada (Norton, 2015). The Northerner’s new liberty laws greatly angered Southerners (Norton, 2015).
            The Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed in 1854, ruling in favor of popular sovereignty for the Kansas and Nebraska territories, so they could decide whether or not they wanted to permit slavery (Norton, 2015).  It conflicted with the Missouri Compromise and effectively made it null; whereas slavery had been banned for thirty-four years from the southern Missouri border up to Canada, the Kansas-Nebraska Act now allowed for it (Norton, 2015).  This law wrecked political parties.  Worst of all, it led to what became known as “Bleeding Kansas,” terrible and violent conflicts between slaveholders and abolitionists and anti-slavery settlers (Norton, 2015).  It was more or less a war zone.  The LeCompton Constitution was written, making Kansas proslavery, demonstrating Slave Power working in the government, overriding the majority of Kansas’ antislavery population (Norton, 2015). 
            Southerners started thinking slavery would only be protected in a separate nation (Norton, 2015).
            During the 1860 election, Republican Abraham Lincoln won the presidency by electoral college vote, though he won only forty percent of the popular vote, with the remainder divided between three other candidates (Norton, 2015).  South Carolina seceded from the U.S. on December 20, 1860.  By February 1861, the states of South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas had all seceded and formed a new government, which they named the Confederate States of America, and had elected Jefferson Davis as their president (Norton, 2015).  After the war started a couple months later, the states of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas joined.  Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware, though slave states, stayed loyal to the U.S. (Norton, 2015).  Lincoln was inaugurated as president in March 1861 and indicated the nation must maintain power over the forts while trying to convince the other states to rejoin the union (Norton, 2015).  When food supplies ran low at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, in April, Lincoln sent a ship, but Confederate forces attacked and overcame U.S. forces but allowed them to sail away after surrender (Norton, 2015).  The Civil War had begun.


D.        References
Norton, M.B. (2015). A people & a nation. Retrieved from https://lrps.wgu.edu/provision/53540310
WGU (2016) "First Party System." [Video] Retrieved from https://wgu.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2ffee8e8-0522-4053-af44-ba8922ef25f4
WGU (2016) "Partisan Politics." [Video] Retrieved from https://wgu.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=b91759fe-67fe-468d-8c43-15eacbf1874d
           
           
             

     

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Love

“I loved you for the good I saw in you, for the good you gave others, whether smiles or laughs (both given and received), helping hands or monetary assistance, or kind or appreciative words about others.  I never loved you based on how the world saw you and for your excessive desire to be accepted and worshiped.  I didn’t love for the same reasons that you thought you needed to possess to receive that ‘love’ and acceptance from others.  I loved you, because I loved you.  The more I loved, the more I loved.  Love is habitual. 

Hate is habitual, too.  If hate is practiced, it will breed hate.  The more one hates, the more they hate. 

Action begets feeling, and feeling thereafter begets more action, and the cycle continues.

To birth a world of love, one must practice love, even in a world of hate.  A world of hate will birth a World of Hate.  A world of love will birth a World of Love. 

I believe in the possibility of a world of love.  I believe all can be Love or all can be Hate.  I also believe in the possibility of everything in the middle.  It only takes one seed to bring about a change in either direction.  All seeds, good and bad, die, and death is the constant reminder of love, because if there is love, it lives on beyond the deceased.  Those genes—that spirit—live on. 

We ARE the gods of this earth, and we hold the ultimate power in whether we love or hate, whether we beget more love or beget more hate.  What we reap, we sow.  What we beget, we bring forth.”

~Tara Nicole Lang Chapman~

Saturday, June 10, 2017

If I Was God...#6



If I was God, I would never let an evil man like Joshua be a spokesman for me.  This man dared command in God's name that a child be murdered and laid at the foundation of Jericho after Israel had laid it to waste.

Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. “At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates" (Joshua 6:26).

Yeah, well if you're not understanding how I'm getting a murder and body-laying at the foundation of Jericho from that, I understand.  I'd read the book of Joshua at least a couple times through before, and I'd never realized what this meant.  Let's skip to the future during which time Jericho is rebuilt.  Ahab, king of Judah, was reigning. 

In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun (I Kings 16:34).

If you're still lost, all you need to do is look into history to learn about something called foundation sacrifice.   It was common in ancient times for peoples to sacrifice individuals and lay them at a city's foundations and/or gates.  They believed it would bring good fortune.  Archaeologists have unearthed remains of bodies that were laid in the walls of cities. 

The god Joshua served who called Joshua a good and faithful servant was a god who apparently spoke through Joshua his demands that human sacrifices were to be carried out if Jericho was to be built again.

Are you appalled yet?

This has been "If I Was God...#6."



Sunday, April 23, 2017

If I Was God...#5



If I was God I would never have allowed Sodom to become wicked and would never have considered Lot to be righteous when he was willing to allow his virgin daughters to be gang-raped.  No decent person would want to deliver their guests out to be sexually assaulted, but they sure would not send out their innocent daughters to instead be raped. 

Seriously, you mean to tell me that Lot was the last righteous man to live in Sodom?  What would any of you wives reading this think of your husband if he answered the door to face the rowdy neighbors, and he sent out your teen daughters for the neighbors to do with them sexually as they please?  What would you think if your father did that to you or your sister?  What if your husband worshiped the god of Abraham and did these things?  What if other worshipers of this god agreed that your husband was a very upright, righteous man?  Would you love such a god?  Would you love your husband or your father, if he was such a man? 

Lot’s wife is the one who was turned into a pillar of salt during the family’s evacuation of the city.  They were all instructed by one of God’s agents not to look back, but Lot’s wife did.  She was punished for looking back at the city, because temptation got the best of her.  Yet Lot was delivered from the city after having offered his daughters to his horny neighbors.  Nearly all of us have seen movies that depict natural disasters or horrible invasions that force people to flee from their city of residence.  We’ve all seen people stop and look back in shock and horror.  We’ve all thought or shouted aloud, “Go!!!  Just go!!!”  It’s not because we think their looking back is immoral, but we want them to make it out alive.  Maybe Lot’s wife missed her home and her possessions that she’d put so much labor and time into producing—blankets, clothing, eating and drinking vessels and utensils, etc.  Maybe she was experiencing grief over lady-friends she had in the city.  Maybe her lady friends were decent characters and would never want their daughters gang-raped.  Maybe they just happened to not worship a god who approves of men who do their daughters that way. 

Then what does Lot do after he and his daughters hole up in a cave for the rest of their days?  He lets his daughters get him drunk, then he has sex with one daughter one night, which results in an incestous son.  If anyone of any decency ended up doing something that horrible, they sure as hell wouldn’t let it happen again.  Yet the very next night, that sorry motherfucker—no, wait, make that daughterfucker—lets his other daughter screw his drunken ass.  Lot was a sick daughterfucker.  It really does seem that his daughters would have been better off partying with the rowdy neighbors.

Now, it’s a common misconception that Sodom’s sin was that they loved to engage in anal sex.  That is where our modern word sodomy originated. However, both the biblical book of Ezekiel and the extrabiblical book of Jasher states the reason Sodom was viewed as wicked was their lack of generosity and their downright horrendous treatment of non-resident foreigners.  Jasher goes into great detail, although it’s been over a decade since I’ve read it, so I won’t detail anything here now. 

Lot showed hospitality to his guests.  I guess it didn’t matter to God that he let his daughters get fucked all night long by whomever wanted a round with them, just so long as he didn’t let that befall his guests. That wouldn’t be showing good hospitality, would it now?  I suppose, too, it was very generous of Lot to let his daughters screw him so that they could bear sons. 

I just happen to not subscribe to the same definition of righteousness as Abraham and Lot’s god. 

This has been #5 in the "If I Was God..." series.

Friday, December 9, 2016

If I Was God...#4



If I was God, I would be present on the earth and lovingly guide and spend time with my creation.  This would especially be the case with humanity.

We all probably have heard of instances in which a parent or parents kicked out a child from their home after the child committed some offense that was abhorrent to the parent(s).  Most of us are appalled when we hear such stories.  We ask ourselves, as we wonder in astonishment, "What loving parent would do such a thing?  That is way too excessive!  That is poor parenting."  

Yes, indeed it is, but isn't it the very thing that the bible God(s) did to Adam and Eve?  He lost control and angrily threw them out of the pleasant garden that was their home that provided all their needs.  All the blame goes on Adam and Eve, and they were thrown out into the cold and harsh wilderness.  Not at any point have we ever asked ourselves what blame God should bear for this unruly behavior.  

Not only was God unforgiving of Adam and Eve's supposed transgression, but where the hell was he to begin with?  Why the hell did he fail to do a better job of preventing Adam and Eve finding trouble in the first place?  Why, he's the one who set up the trap!  And then he kicked them out.  

Thereafter he continued to stay away.  He continued in his hard-heartedness, never softening and deciding to forgive, never tracking Adam and Eve down and inviting them back, never apologizing for such excessive punitive behavior and neglectfulness.  He has continued to be the absent parent and to allow chaos to run rampant.  He's left it up to the very species with which he found fault in the first place to pass on supposed guidance as how to live and has left it up to them to convince fellow species members to believe it all.  He won't bother to come down here himself and lovingly straighten it all out, forgive, and go about things a better way.  Maybe he's in his abode, drinking himself into a stupor.

Bravo!

This has been #4 in the "If I Was God..." series.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

America the Great and the Widow's Mites

I posted back in February an article in which I shared research I'd compiled regarding how "great" or not-so-great the United States of America ranks in various categories.   The positive thing that America ranks #1 in is generosity, but how generous is it, really?

I started thinking about this.  Are we not the richest nation, or at least live the most richly?  One of the only other two things I successfully found that ranked us at #1 was gross domestic product (GDP).

So it follows that the richest nation damn well ought to be the most generous.  It's got far more ability to do so.  It's much easier to give and to want (or not mind, at the very least) to give to help others when one is able.  Many nations' people cannot afford to do so.

This reminds me of the Jewish prophet Jesus' parable of the widow and the two copper mites (See Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:3-4 in the Christian New Testament).

She would have been cast in the lot with the "least generous" if ranked by how much she gave. But she had given all that she had.  The rich men gave what appeared to be much, but really it was little if seen in accordance with the status of wealth.

How would our great nation of the United States of America rank if generosity was calculated Jesus-style?

How would the rich nation with the #1 world ranking of GDP who boasts about its "most generous" ranking face under Jesus' judgement, if he was elected a judge?  Hmm... What was that saying that Jesus is well-known for saying?  Something about how hard it is for a rich man to do something...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why Do Atheists Insist That the God of the Bible Be Bound to the Same Moral Code?

I just answered the following question on Quora:

Why do many atheists insist that the God of the Bible must be bound to the same moral obligations which He places on His creations?

Well, I don't insist such as an atheist, as I don't believe there is a god. I did, however, insist that when I was a Christian. It's the same principle of parents living the proper example for their children or a law enforcement officer setting the precedent for fellow citizens. As a child of God—as I believed I was—I fully expected God to be better than I was, to set the right example, to certainly not ever sin. If he was to sin, to break his own law, and I supposedly deserve to die and stay dead for breaking any statute of any commandment of that law, then he surely deserved to die, too.
During my last two years as a commandment-keeping Christian, I started seriously questioning, if I knew I felt guilty after yelling at my kids when I'd lost my temper, because it was wrong of me to act that way, then why was it ok for God to feel remorseful and repent of his wrathful and destructive outbursts against his children (including murdering large numbers of them and worse) yet not deserve to die forever without forgiveness? And who must forgive him? I puzzled so much over all the passages of the Hebrew God feeling guilty and repenting each time of the evil he had done. I knew it was not ok that he could get away with it but that we all deserved to die for much, much less (most of us don't send enemies to rape and kill our own children and destroy all they have).
No one should be above the law, and that most certainly includes any God that has the audacity to create us and expect us to follow a law of his/her/its own making.
That is why I also seriously started questioning the supposed rebellion of angels. Rebellions are often waged by the righteous against tyrants.
If there really was a god, no one should want to bow to tyranny and condone tyranny. Of course, we only need to look back through human history and our present to recognize only tyrants demand worship—strict honor and obedience from their subjects. A righteous leader serves his or her people more than they serve him or her. Jesus even taught this wonderful truth. If you scrutinize the best parents and the worst parents, you'll notice the best parents serve their children far more than the children serve them (which does not mean always doing everything for them, as the best parents train their children to become capable adults). The worst authoritarian parents will sin left and right without consequence but expect perfect obedience from their children; the worst permissive parents will neglect proper care and training of their children. The same goes with the best and worst governments. Governments should be made up of model public servants to serve the citizenry.
Tyrants never bother to apply the law to themselves, but they carry out the most severe punishments to those they force into subjection who break the statutes.
I implore you never to find yourself excusing a tyrant from keeping his own law that he forces upon his subjects.