Monday, July 4, 2022

Gun Control is a Sin (Part II)

In Part I I laid out a brief definition of Justice, and spoke of the two false assumptions used to justify gun controls. I left off with:

And so, even if gun control worked so well that it magically removed all the guns, it would be an injustice against the innocent, and against the physically weaker, or poorer members of society. The strong would prey on the weak with impunity.

But some gun control advocates will say, they don't want to get rid of all guns, just keep guns out of the hands of "bad" people. Let's talk about that. Who are the "bad" people? Apparently they think it is the gun owner, since that's who the law targets. Why do they claim gun owners are bad? Because they own guns. And we're right back to the false notion that guns have no legitimate use.

Conversely, who are the "good" people? Usually mentioned are the government or agents of the government. It is stunningly ignorant to think that a government worker is more moral than the average person. In the last century governments have killed more civilians than any mass murderer could dream of - some 262 million people.

One thing that stuck in my mind, that I learned from a course in the legal use of deadly force. Why do police carry guns? To protect themselves from danger of death or serious bodily harm. They don't carry them to "shoot bad guys" or to "save civilians." In fact, the criteria for a "good" police shoot is the same as that for any citizen defending themselves (at least in theory, we'll get into why they get a pass in another blog post).

And then there's the other class of "good guys" that gun control proponents don't mention: the rich. Of course, the right can have private body guards, and so can you. Wait, you're too poor? Then you don't deserve protection from criminals. Is there anything more unjust? Should we not, as a society, have laws that are preferential to the poor and underserved rather than the rich elites?

Thomas Jefferson is often quoted with the following, which was actually him quoting Cesare Beccaria (“On Crimes and Punishments”):

The laws of [false utility] are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator?

The point is a valid one. Gun control laws will be obeyed by good citizens, but ignored by those wishing to commit crimes. And so such laws disproportionately disarm the law abiding citizen rather than the criminal.

One of the dirty little secrets of gun control is that after such laws are enacted there is an increase in violent crimes. gun control advocates like to point out the difference in criminal statistics between the US and other countries, but they don't look at what happened in those countries when the gun laws were enacted. Nor do they look at the types of crimes. In the US the vast number of robberies are conducted when the home is empty. In the UK, most home robberies occur when the family is home (58%), and can be forced to hand over hidden valuables. This is because the criminal in the US fears the homeowner, whereas in the UK the homeowner is helpless, and a source to be intimidated and or beaten.

Likewise sexual assault and rape. In the UK there are 618,000 sexual assaults or rapes each year. In the US, that number is 735,000 sexual assaults or rapes. Sounds similar until you realize that the population of the UK is around 68 million and the US has 330 million people. So the rate in the UK is over 4 times that of the US.

Then there's the fact that in the US guns are not used in over 91% of violent crimes. So even if we were to disarm all criminals, it would result in a tiny drop in crime (assuming those who would have used a gun don't just use a different weapon). There are much more effective ways to reduce crime than gun control, such as strict enforcement of existing laws, abandoning so-called "bail reform", three strikes laws, etc.

I've rambled a little, but the key points are that:

  • Gun control harms the victim more than the criminal.
  • Gun control hurts the poor more than the rich.
  • Gun control hurt minorities more than whites.
  • Gun control increases crime.
  • Even if it were "perfect" it would not reduce crime significantly.

For these reasons, gun control is a sin against Justice. In future posts, we'll be looking at the racist roots of gun control, and specific gum laws which gravely unjust in other ways. Stay tuned...

Gun Control is a Sin

This is part I of a longer discussion.

Over the course of the last few weeks I've received several notices from the USCCB urging me to support the Democrats' gun control bill. Considering that gun control is a matter of prudential judgement (meaning Catholics in good standing can come to vastly different conclusions), rather than a matter like abortion, which is an inherent evil, and considering how many more statements on gun control I received than on abortion, it got me to thinking and researching the matter more deeply.

I have come to the conclusion that, rather than being a matter of prudential judgement, gun control is actually a sin against Justice. It is also opposed to the pro-life cause. Not only should the bishops not be urging their flocks to support it, they should be advocating the opposite. Let me explain.

What is Justice? Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. We don't often hear of the other three, but there is a lot of talk (mostly complaining about a lack of) justice. Justice is the principle by which we give to each person what is due him.

A St. Pope John Paul II said:

Christ left us the commandment to love our neighbour. In this commandment, everything that concerns justice is also contained. There can be no love without justice. Love “surpasses” justice, but at the same time it finds its verification in justice. Even a father and a mother, loving their own child, must be just in his regard. If justice is uncertain, love, too, runs a risk.

To be just means giving each one what is due to him. This concerns temporal goods, of a material nature. The best example here can be remuneration for work or the so-called right to the fruits of one’s own work or of one’s own land. But to man is due also his good name, respect, consideration, the reputation he has deserved. The more we know a man, the more his personality, his character, his intellect and his heart are revealed to us. And the more we realize—and we must realize!—with what criterion to “measure him” and what it means to be just towards him.

It is necessary, therefore, to deepen our knowledge of justice continually. It is not a theoretical science. It is virtue, it is [a]capacity of the human spirit, of the human will and also of the heart. It is also necessary to pray in order to be just and to know how to be just.

We cannot forget Our Lord’s words: “The measure you give will be the measure you get” (Mt 7:2).

To see why gun control is inherently unjust, first let's talk about what guns are (at least of the purpose of this discussion). Firearms (aka guns) fall into a broader class which we call weapons. A weapon is something which can be used to inflict damage. A weapon can be used for evil (to attack) or good (to discourage an attack, or defend against attack). Therefore weapons are morally neutral (excluding for the moment weapons which have no legitimate defensive use).

The most basic weapon is the human body. Humans instinctively use their hands, feet, knees, etc. to attack or defend. The basic premise is that you put energy into your fist (for example) and that energy is transferred to the object it strikes, causing pain and damage to that object.

The human body has very little range, and so other weapons were designed to increase that range. Contact weapons like knives, swords, clubs, and projectile weapons like rocks, knives, spears, arrows and firearms. A firearm, in principle, is basically rock throwing, only the rock is small and it is thrown very fast.

The thing that makes a firearm different from rock throwing, and fundamentally different from all the other weapons mentioned, is that its effectiveness to attack or defend does not depend on the strength of the user. And that fact is what makes them unique in the sense of Justice, and the reason why gun control is the goal of despots everywhere. As the old adage goes "God made men, Sam Colt made them equal."

Gun control advocates base their arguments on two principles, both of which are false. The first is that the world would be safer and more peaceful without guns. Anyone who has studied history can tell you that the world was objectively more violent and dangerous before the invention of guns. Modern liberals like to think that somehow people today are "more evolved" than those of a few hundred years ago, but even modern history shows that when one group of people has power over another the result is never good. Consider the Armenian Genocide Stalin's Russia, the the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide and abortion.The defenseless are still being killed in great numbers.

The second false principle is that guns have no good use. Again even a brief look at history shows that to be false. Guns have been used to defend against aggressors since they were invented. In the US today, guns are used between 1 million and 3 million times a year to defend against criminals. Those numbers are based on a 2012 report, ordered by president Obama, so you know they are not biased in favor of firearm owners.

To quote civil rights activist Carol Ruth Silver, "Access to firearms gives women, for the first time in history, the capacity to live independently and apart from men in safety and freedom." Consider the case of a 120 pound woman and her 240 pound would-be male attacker. Or an elderly or disabled person. Access to firearms makes them the equal of that attacker. And usually that is enough to dissuade the attacker. In fact, 95% of the time when a firearm is "used" to defend against an attacker, no shot is fired. The mere display of a firearm causes the criminal to rethink whether he wants to go up against even odds of being hurt or killed.

And so, even if gun control worked so well that it magically removed all the guns, it would be an injustice against the innocent, and against the physically weaker, or poorer members of society. The strong would prey on the weak with impunity.

More in Part II...

Thursday, October 28, 2021

What is the Unpardonable Sin?

By AlexanderRahm - Own work, CC BY 3.0
There are a few passages of scripture that I cannot fathom. That's OK, in most cases, as I don't feel that I am capable of understanding everything about God. But there are several in this category I would really like to understand, because they may be relevant to my salvation or that of others.

Matthew 12:31-32 is one such passage. It reads:

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
I recently listened to an episode of "The Road to Emmaus" podcast with Scott Hahn where that was the topic of discussion. It left me with more questions than answers.

Here's what's conventionally said about the unpardonable sin. The context of the two verses above is that Jesus has cured a demoniac and the Pharisees claim Jesus has done so by beelzebul (the devil) rather than by God's power. Jesus rebukes them, then offers those two verses. The footnote in my Bible says "To attribute to the devil the works of the Holy Spirit seems to imply a hardness of heart that precludes repentance."

Somehow this is often equated to the sin of despair (denial that one's sins can be forgiven) or the sin of presumption (the belief that I do not need repentance for the forgiveness of my sins). I'm not sure I follow the leap from attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to the devil to believing that  my sins are forgiven (or not), but there it is.

1864 "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven." There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.
Aquinas describes three different interpretations of the blasphemy agains the Holy Spirit (see highlighted text below):

For the earlier doctors, viz. Athanasius (Super Matth. xii, 32), Hilary (Can. xii in Matth.), Ambrose (Super Luc. xii, 10), Jerome (Super Matth. xii), and Chrysostom (Hom. xli in Matth.), say that the sin against the Holy Ghost is literally to utter a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, whether by Holy Spirit we understand the essential name applicable to the whole Trinity, each Person of which is a Spirit and is holy, or the personal name of one of the Persons of the Trinity, in which sense blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is distinct from the blasphemy against the Son of Man (Matthew 12:32), for Christ did certain things in respect of His human nature, by eating, drinking, and such like actions, while He did others in respect of His Godhead, by casting out devils, raising the dead, and the like: which things He did both by the power of His own Godhead and by the operation of the Holy Ghost, of Whom He was full, according to his human nature. Now the Jews began by speaking blasphemy against the Son of Man, when they said (Matthew 11:19) that He was "a glutton . . . a wine drinker," and a "friend of publicans": but afterwards they blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, when they ascribed to the prince of devils those works which Christ did by the power of His own Divine Nature and by the operation of the Holy Ghost.

Augustine, however (De Verb. Dom., Serm. lxxi), says that blasphemy or the sin against the Holy Ghost, is final impenitence when, namely, a man perseveres in mortal sin until death, and that it is not confined to utterance by word of mouth, but extends to words in thought and deed, not to one word only, but to many. Now this word, in this sense, is said to be uttered against the Holy Ghost, because it is contrary to the remission of sins, which is the work of the Holy Ghost, Who is the charity both of the Father and of the Son. Nor did Our Lord say this to the Jews, as though they had sinned against the Holy Ghost, since they were not yet guilty of final impenitence, but He warned them, lest by similar utterances they should come to sin against the Holy Ghost: and it is in this sense that we are to understand Mark 3:29-30, where after Our Lord had said: "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost," etc. the Evangelist adds, "because they said: He hath an unclean spirit."

But others understand it differently, and say that the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, is a sin committed against that good which is appropriated to the Holy Ghost: because goodness is appropriated to the Holy Ghost, just a power is appropriated to the Father, and wisdom to the Son. Hence they say that when a man sins through weakness, it is a sin "against the Father"; that when he sins through ignorance, it is a sin "against the Son"; and that when he sins through certain malice, i.e. through the very choosing of evil, as explained above (I-II:78:1I-II:78:3), it is a sin "against the Holy Ghost."

But here's my basic problem with all the interpretations above. If you say that this sin is only unpardonable because it is not repented of, then it is no different from any other mortal sin, and yet we don't call every mortal sin unpardonable. Blasphemy agains the Holy Spirit then, is not unpardonable.

Want an example? The mission of the Apostles and the formation of the Church is a work of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul considers this an abomination against the Jewish faith - something of the devil, and so he persecutes the Christians. Yet Paul repents and his sin is (presumably - ha ha) pardoned.

Furthermore Jesus says that whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven. Well, isn't that what the Pharisees did? They said Jesus was in league with beelzebul, they didn't directly mention the Holy Spirit (nor did Paul for that matter).

For that matter it would seem that saying a word against the Son of man will be forgiven if the person repents, just like any other sin. And one could say that claiming Jesus is in league with the devil seems to imply a hardness of heart that precludes repentance of that. And indeed we see that many of the Pharisees (as far as we know) did not repent of their words against Jesus.

St. Augustine (one of my personal faves) has an interpretation that at least is consistent logically, but I don't see how it follows form the text. That is, final impenitence is not mentioned, and indeed if the sin is impenitence then it is not a "sin" per se, but impenitence of sin, that precludes forgiveness. The text seems to imply there is a sin which precludes later forgiveness, not a state you are in later that precludes forgiveness from any sin. I guess one could interpret the text as meaning "whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit until death" but that's not what the text says.

And so the whole thing remains a mystery to me. The common interpretation does not make sense to me because the same logic applies to every other mortal sin, including blasphemy against Jesus, which Jesus explicitly says is not this sin.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Don't. Stop Believing

Every mass, and indeed every time we pray the rosary we recite the Creed. The word comes from Credo, Latin for "I believe" since Catholics have no imagination and name prayers and documents after the first words (e.g. the "Our Father" or "Glory Be"). The text of the prayer is as follows:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen
Here's my problem with that (you knew I'd complain about something). Immediately after praying this we go out into the world and make statements like "Trump is the best (or worst) president EVAH!" We say "masks don't (or do) work!" We say "Climate change is a hoax (or the most important problem of our day)!"

The thing is all of those statements are things we believe, but we don't say "I believe" these things, we state them as matters of fact, because we are so convinced of them that in our minds they surpass belief, and anyone who doesn't see this in the same light is clearly WRONG!

So why is our expression of beliefs on politics, or science, so strong compared to our belief in God? You could say that it's just the way people express themselves today, and that's a fair point, but as we speak so we think (or vice versa). In my reckoning, if our belief in God is absolute (and it should be, as God is evident from reason alone), why not express it that way?
God, the Father Almighty, is the Creator of heaven and earth, and Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. The Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting are all true. Amen

Saturday, December 12, 2020

The False Prophet of the Apocalypse

Of late there has been a spate of Catholics online spreading stories that run along the following lines: Pope Francis is not really the Pope, he the the antichrist, or the beast, or the false prophet. This is backed up by a bunch of "prophecies." One prominent news source and several Catholic "influencers" have posted similar things, and in the groups I manage I have had to "break up" numerous fights between "Catholics." I'm not going to waste your time or give them any extra eyeballs by posting links but you are welcome to google the title of this post if you want to read one of them. After reading this, you may not want to, however. Here are my thoughts.

First off, what is prophecy?

To a Christian, prophecy is not predicting the future, but speaking God’s truth. What is God's truth? Look at the Biblical prophets. With a few rare exceptions, they say nothing about the future world of politics and future events (the only exception I can think of is in Isaiah where he says someone named Cyrus will restore Jerusalem). Instead, they speak of current events (even though those events may have echoes in the future) and the truth that God loves us, will never abandon us, and that we need to repent and turn from false idols. Jonah – Ninevah must repent or be destroyed. Isaiah – God will shepherd His people. Hosea – turn from idols and be faithful to God. Elijah – God is faithful to His chosen people.

On the other hand, to the modern world prophecy is predicting the future through preternatural means. This is a corruption of prophecy and demonic. The Bible and the catechism both expressly forbid as serious sin the desire to know future events through means that are not natural. That’s not to say God does not reveal knowledge of the future to certain people -. Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, for example. But that knowledge was given to them individually, not to the world. To try to predict the dates of the “Great Apostacy” the “Tribulation” and the second coming of Our Lord is sinful. It is not for us to know, as Jesus Himself says in Sacred Scripture.

Regarding all these current trendy Catholic prophecies about saviors and antichrists (usually applied to Trump and Pope Francis respectively), I can make the “savior” ones apply to Trump to Obama or Biden or Pope Francis. On the other hand I can make the antichrist ones apply to Trump, or Pope Francis, or Biden. Most of them can apply to any world figure. All you have to do is first decide that person "X" is the antichrist, then manipulate things until you find some connection to the number 666. For instance, if you take the integer values of the ASCII encoding of the characters "BERGOGLIO" and add them up they equal 666! "Proof" that the Pope is the antichrist! If that hadn't worked, I'm sure there is some combination of characters in some part of his name that will add up if you translate and encode them just right.. Starting with a conclusion and manipulating times, events, names, etc. until you find some connection to something somebody wrote is NOT the way to the truth.

So the methodology is suspect right off the bat. Now let’s consider the sources quoted:

  • Prophecies of St. Francis. This book claims to contain “unknown” writings of St. Francis of Assisi. It has an imprimatur from the bishop. Is this a good source? I don’t know but note that an imprimatur only means that the book does not contain statements that contradict Catholic dogma. It does not mean that the contents are true, or even that the church agrees with the book (see for information on imprimaturs). Also, the book was published in 1882, and St. Francis died in 1181, 700 years earlier. Why is there no record of these writings for 700 years? But let us assume it is accurate – what does the book actually predict? I found it online ( The book notes that the prophecy was fulfilled in 1378 under Pope Urban VI. Does that mean it can’t also apply to today? It could, but 1378 was not the end of the world, so saying that this is THE great Tribulation and the Final end does not follow.
  • Our Lady of Garabandal – this apparition was determined not to be genuine by four successive bishops. Enthusiasts reject the bishop's authority and claim it will be recognized at a later date. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote of it "this Sacred Congregation wishes to assert: that the Holy See has never approved even indirectly the Garabandal movement, that it has never encouraged or blessed Garabandal promoters or centers. Rather the Holy See deplores the fact that certain persons and Institutions persist in formatting the movement in obvious contradiction with the dispositions of ecclesiastical authority and thus disseminate confusion among the people."
  • Our Lady of LaSalette is an approved apparition, BUT as noted above, the recognition of an apparition by the church does not mean it is accurate, only that the message does not contradict Catholic dogma. The apparition took place in 1846 and was approved in 1851. However, the prophecy states that the antichrist will be revealed in 1865. That did not happen. That should be proof that at least the prophecy of the antichrist is false. See for more information.
  • Pope St. Pius X’s prophecy about the next Pope with the same name – assuming this is even true – I can’t find the actual statement by the Pope, only later claims that he said this – is claimed to refer to Pope Benedict XVI. The prophecy speaks of a Pope with the same name who will suffer and flee to hiding, and then the last days of the world will come. Of course the next pope named Pius was Pius XI, who didn't fit the prophecy. Rather than accept that the prophecy was false, enthusiasts looked for ways to twist it to fit the "fact" that these are the last days. What they came up with is that Pope Benedict XVI's given name is Josef, which, when translated from German to Italian, is Giuseppe, which was the given name of Pope St. Pius X. However, if you want to go down that rabbit hole, there are better candidates: Pope Pius XII's given name was Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli – and he also was a pope Piusthat’s a better match for the prophecy than Pope Benedict… or the Pope after that, John XXIII was Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli… if you’re willing to twist things enough you can make the prophecy be about anyone you like.

So, the source material used is garbage.

Next, look at the “fruits” of the prophecies. The one thing that separates Catholics from all other Christians is the Pope. If you look at Martin Luther’s 95 theses, the church has basically adopted all of his reforms except one – that the Pope is not the seat of authority for the church. That is the Protestant heresy. So when I hear Catholics saying that Francis is not the “real” Pope what does that mean? The bishops acknowledge Francis as Pope, so these Catholics have separated themselves from the Magisterium. If they say “Benedict is Pope” – well, Benedict says Francis is Pope, so they are defying the authority of Pope Benedict as well. There is no scenario I see where this leads us to a closer relationship with Christ and His church. On the contrary it seems to me that such people should no longer be called Catholic, but they are now Protestant, since they do not accept the authority of any Pope.

So the fruit of this whole exercise is to cause divisions within the church and cause the faithful to leave the body of Christ. That's not to say that some people won't use these theories to give them resolve to repent, but these theories are not necessary for that, nor is that their goal. Instead they are sensational "click bait."

So my conclusion is that this is demonic because:

  • The "goal" of the prophecies (to predict the second coming of Christ) is sinful, and something Christ warns us against.
  • The methods used to come to the conclusion are deceitful and involve twisting the truth, they are not of God.
  • The sources of the prophecy are false, possibly of demonic origin.
  • The fruits of the prophecies are fear and division, putting our own "knowledge" above the teachings of the church.
Note, I do think Pope Francis is not being a very good Pope, and that we are living in the end times, but you don't need these prophecies to tell you that. Clearly we are in end times - we have been for 2000 years, but playing around with private revelations and false prophets is not something we should be doing.
One finally thought... a lot of the people pushing these theories see themselves as a "faithful remnant" because they are defying the "antichrist/beast." They point to things like the above, and that Pope Francis is bad and is "destroying" the church. But are they the faithful remnant for defying Pope Francis? Is it not them who are destroying the church? Remember in Israel, the son of Solomon, Rehoboam, was so bad that ten of the twelve tribes split off. Yet, the ones who stayed with the bad king were the faithful remnant, not the ones who defied him and set up their own temples.

I'm not suggesting we fall into line with the "new world order" and other ideas the Pope seems to embrace. But I am suggesting when we see things we don't like, we say "yes, he is wrong" and recognize him as Pope anyway. It is time we realize the Pope is not God, but a man.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

God intended it for good

This is probably the worst Thanksgiving my family has had. All the family but my youngest are in other states, and "quarantined." Even my youngest son's girlfriend is quarantined, and so our family celebration consists of three people and a telephone. And yet it may be the best Thanksgiving my family has had. A reminder to be thankful for the blessings that we have, and to hold God above all things in our lives. It has given me an opportunity to reflect more on grace and blessing, and on God's word.

And so here is my Thanksgiving reflection for this year. Recall the story of Joseph in the Bible, in Genesis 37-50. Joseph is sold into slavery by his own brothers, and is taken to a foreign land (Egypt). There he works his way to a position of importance, and eventually is able to save not only Egypt but the lands around, including his own people, from starvation when a famine occurs. The story ends with him being reunited with his brothers and forgiving them, saying (Gen 50:19-20):

“Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” 

Of course, Joseph is a prefigurement of Christ, who "empties Himself, becoming a slave" and through His suffering, many are saved. But that happened 2,000 years ago.

Recall the story of the first Thanksgiving. The Puritans had arrived at Plymouth and nearly half of them had died that first year. They did not know how to handle the unique challenges of the new world. A different climate, soil, wildlife, plants all were different. The only thing that pulled them through was help from the natives, especially Squanto. Squanto was able to help them because he spoke perfect English and understood their needs and culture. How did this come about?

Many years before, Squanto was sold into slavery, and taken to a foreign land (Spain). There his freedom was purchased by Franciscans, who taught him the Catholic faith, into which he was Baptized. They later brought him to England, where he learned the language and customs, and where he worked his way to a position of importance, and eventually bought himself passage back to America. He then became the means by which the Puritan settlers were saved.

Just as in the story of Joseph, and others, Squanto's story shows how God brings good even out of evil, so that many may be saved. I have no doubt that in His wisdom and mercy, God is doing the same for us today.

Thank you, God, for all the blessings you have given me; for family, friends, my health, prosperity, liberty, and most importantly the ability to know You and love You. I do not see the good in all things, and I complain day to day, but I have hope in Your mercy and firm faith that you will use this, as You do all things, for good.

May God bless you all on this unusual and trying Thanksgiving day!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Disproportionately Affected

One thing I hear all the time from my Democratic friends is that a law is unjust because it disproportionately affects minorities. Crime laws are unjust because there is a disproportionately high number of minorities in prison. Drug laws are unjust because they disproportionately incarcerate minorities. And the old saw, voter ID laws are unjust because they disproportionately disenfranchise minorities. But is that true? Out of six studies performed from 2014 to 2018, three found no effect, one found an increase in minority voter participation, and one found a slight decrease. Guess which study gets all the publicity? Now, newer studies have debunked that, finding flaws in the methodology of the study that found a decrease.

I'd like to look at it from the other side, however. I believe voter fraud disproportionately disenfranchises minorities. I was listening to this podcast by Dan Crenshaw and, interestingly, one of the most common kinds of fraud is perpetrated by people who have houses in multiple states, who receive mail in ballots and vote in each state. Now I don't know about you, but I'm guessing you have to have money to own multiple houses, meaning the rich are disenfranchising the poor, and minorities. Another type of fraud is ballot harvesting, which again is likely ti disproportionately affect the poor and minorities, who live in more densely populated areas. Finally, there is the old gray train, going through minority-filled city neighborhoods and offering to "help" people with their votes, often with a promise of a meal or some money. Again, this is disenfranchising minorities.

Even if voter fraud were color blind, it would still disenfranchise minorities more than whites, because there are fewer of them. It's simple mathematics. Let's say there are 100 people voting, and 90 of them are white, 10 are black. It only takes 10% voter fraud by whites to completely eliminate the black vote, even if they all voted in one monolithic block. In a more realistic split, just 1% or 2% voter fraud will nullify any chance minorities have of influencing an election.

So it seems to me that is you really care about minority rights, the thing to do is enact laws to safeguard legal votes and eliminate voter fraud. Ignoring or encouraging fraud is just another racist policy of the racist Democrat party.