Some Christians lament that they are being persecuted against, as though somebody wants to see Christianity undermined, even destroyed in America. What rubbish! Some Christians are simply not willing to recognize that we are a multicultural, multilingual, nonsectarian nation.

During our formative years, we did not hesitate to bring people from other nationalities and cultures to do work that we fair-skinned Anglo-Saxons were unwilling to do for ourselves. African Americans were brought to maintain large plantations. The Chinese did the manual labor in building transcontinental railroads. Italians were brought to dig tunnels through the West Virginia hills. Today, Hispanics do the manual labor of raising and harvesting crops and other labor-intensive, dangerous jobs.

People of every tribe and nation also have come willingly to America to make a better life for themselves and their families. They have brought with them their ethnic beliefs and practices. America is a better place for all of us because of all of them.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” This means the government cannot favor one religious belief or practice over another.

This, I’m afraid, is the crux of the complaint. Because the Supreme Law of the Land protects the fiee exercise of all religious faiths and practices, it stands to reason that the government can not permit Christianity to be favored. Therefore, if a local government allows the construction of a creche on the courthouse lawn at Christmas, is it not also legally bound to allow other religions to display their symbols on their special days?

Bible reading in public schools can only be allowed if the sacred texts of other religions are permitted as well. This is right and fair.

I am also inclined to believe that a fair-sized segment of the Christian population would gladly have the First Amendment repealed. They would have us become, contrary to the intent of the Founding Fathers, a theocracy or a “Christian” nation.

When I travel through the small towns of the area, I observe that Christian churches are plentiful on our main streets. I see few synagogues and no mosques or temples. I have not heard of anyone, recently, planning a bonfire for Bibles! I have not seen any concerted effort to prevent Christians from gathering in the places of worship. I have heard loud criticism of only one fundamentalist “church” whose members choose to disrupt funerals with disgusting homophobic signs.

If Christians feel persecuted because all folks don’t favor what they believe is, “the way, the truth, and the life,” then perhaps they ought to study the Golden Rule more carefully. It says, “As ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so likewise unto them.” If they want respect, they must respect others!

You can learn more about the work of Dr. Hankins by going to: His book "A Sensible Theology for Thinking People" is available on and can be ordered from your local bookshop.


I am a younger bee keeper, as in I have had bees for only about six years and just two hives. I have heard a lot about bee problems and have had my own issues to work through with my hives. I have some thoughts of my own and am happy to contribute. Just keep in mind that I am not a scientist with years of research under 173472349my belt. I’m just a plain ‘ol farmer trying to earn my keep!

My first thought is this: Honey bees are not native to North America. Anything forced to live in an ecosystem to which they are not native, even if it has been tens to hundreds of years, will face many difficulties. The hive, as we know it today, is not natural to them and not conducive to their well-being. It is designed to make it easier on the beekeeper for extracting the honey. So, in short, we have taken honey bees out of their native environments, put them in boxes for our own convenience and think the bees should be happy, healthy and thankful for all we have done for them.

Second is, yes, pesticides: There are many different type and applications, most of which are deadly to not only the honey bees, but native pollinators and predatory bugs, amphibians, reptiles, and birds that naturally feed on the “bad bugs”. The most prevalent killer is the 7-dust and similar products. These dusts are easily collected as bees fly through the plants and work the flowers. It gets mixed up in the pollen and taken back to the hive where it poisons and kills the bees.

The second, and by far most dangerous in my own opinion, are root and seed- treating pesticides. These poisons are put on seeds and roots of plants. They are then absorbed into every part of the plant. Its design is simply anything that eats any part of the plant will ingest the poison and die. (Now, I wonder if you could tell me which plants or seeds you have bought and planted recently that have been treated with these kinds of poisons. You know, without good research about the suppliers I wouldn’t know either. They are invisible!) Bees gather up the nectar and pollen from these plants, take them back to the hive, turn them into honey they eat and surprise, surprise–the hive dies. I wonder what would happen to anyone who would go ahead and gather the left over honey and eat it? I am not a fan of any type of poison in the garden.

BUT, for those who are too lazy or too busy to fight the good fight, my thought is simply this: Use a water-based spray pesticide. Wait until the plant has finished blooming to lessen the chance of harming the bees, and spray it on in the evening. By the time the sun is up and the bees are out, the spray will be dried and less likely to be collected by bees. I personally do not and will not use them, period! That is my recommendation.

Third is over management: The number one money-maker with honey bees is not the honey. It’s pollination. It’s too easy and cheap to get sugar-based syrups from overseas and unregulated farms call it “honey.” They sell theirs cheaper than small-timers like me can price the real thing. Farmers will pay bee keepers to pollinate their crops. This symbiotic relationship is wonderful, in my book, except when it becomes migration pollination. As poetic as it sounds, it is, in my opinion, a death sentence to the bees. A honey bee’s life is only months. They actually work themselves to death. (Warning to those who faint at the thought of a thirty- to forty- hour work week!) I can’t see any positive aspects to loading thousands of honey bee hives onto a tractor tailor and driving them all over the country. Honey bees are not natural road-trippers. They only fly up to three miles away from the hive in search of nectar and pollen. So they are stay-at-homers. And, interestingly, they don’t fly back to a physical location. When I work my hives and have to separate them to fix a problem or replace something, the bees become confused. Even though the hive body may be just a foot away from where it always sits, the bees that are coming home with their pollen and nectar fly right to where the hive is supposed to be and seem to hover in bewilderment. They fly to a navigational point–not a physical address. So, when you move the bees around, they get disoriented and many will never make it back to their hives.

A bee keeper told me once, “Ask ten bee keepers the same question and you will get fifteen different answers.” So, I leave you with my thoughts. I have read many articles and have talked to many people and can say that my three points are merely a scratch on the issue about what’s causing today’s bee problems. The best advice I can give is simply this: We need more people having just one or two bee hives, more people using less poisons in their gardens and supporting those who are!



milt(ams)The Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University supported a study which was written up by Charlotte Greenfield for Atlantic magazine. The title of the study was “Should We ‘Fix’ Intersex Children.”

I was not shocked by the information in the article, because I have long been aware that the sexuality of some children cannot be determined at birth; that is, they have both male and female genitalia. Shocking, perhaps, to less informed or aware readers. What was outrageous to me was the number of children and adults affected by this condition and the extreme measures often taken to resolve it.

First, I suspect most would prefer, considering the number of occurrences, to deny the condition and declare that it does not exist — “that the sexuality of some children cannot be determined at birth;” however, it is an undeniable, biological, and medical reality. According to the referenced article, the “best guess by researchers is that intersex conditions affect one in 2,000 children.” That is an astonishing figure! It is not derived from the common argument between nature and nurture, at all. One in every 2,000 children, statistically, is born with a DSD, or, a disorder of sex development, and most people cannot even conceive of such a thing. In this sense, this article is educational.

Second, there seems to be a “vacuum of reliable data tracking the number of surgeries performed on intersex children.” The few existing figures reinforce the medical literature describing the surgeries as routinely continuing. Obviously, and this is a very important consideration, it should alarm us that medical doctors (presumably obstetricians or pediatricians) are making “god-like” determinations about the sexuality which will be assigned to these children. I say this because I am also presuming that most parents would have no idea about how to confront these anomalies and would most likely take the advice of attending physicians.

Without going into detail, Dr. Ian Aaronson and two other doctors (whose identities appear in the published article), from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) performed an assignment surgery on a 16-month-old patient, designated as “M,” deemphasizing the existing male genitalia and redesigning other parts of the male into female anatomy. How often does this happen?

Many other cases were described in the research, but I am not interested in garish details. What I am interested in is how the determination was made to transform this 16-month-old child, who was apparently “a male,” from the information given, into a female? And what may happen when said youngster reaches puberty or adolescence and perhaps declares that “she” is a “he?”

Understand I am not suggesting a connection; but, at this time in our socio-cultural history with its egregious treatment of LGBTs and what rights they are entitled to, it strikes me from the aforementioned cases (who knows how many as reassignments were almost never dealt with surgically before the 1950s) that long ago we might have anticipated a large community of persons who are ambivalent about their sexually.

[For information about L. Milton "Milt" Hankins visit my author's website:]