A SENSIBLE LOOK AT THE SECOND AMENDMENT by Richard Moberly

A SENSIBLE LOOK AT THE SECOND AMENDMENT by Richard Moberly

or, The Wisdom of our Founding Fathers

When I hear people arguing that the U.S. Constitution is carved in stone and the original writings should not be changed or altered, I stand there in awe of their short-sighted position.  Really?  The Constitution was drafted over several years in the late 1700’s.  That is over 200 years ago!  Do you think the country and society are the same now as it was then?  I think not, and truly believe that no one today would want to time travel back over 200 years and join that society in their living conditions.  It would truly be interesting to be able to return for an hour or two in order to meet and chat with Thomas Jefferson over a cup of tea, however.

This is a quote from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.:

THOMAS JEFFERSON

THOMAS JEFFERSON

“I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” - Jefferson to H. Tompkinson (AKA Samuel Kercheval), July 12, 1816[10]

This quote from Jefferson demonstrates to me that the Founding Fathers recognized that society would grow and change which may require that the Constitution may need to be changed as well.  Amendments have been added over the span of time in order to update the Constitution to include more current issues.  Adding the Amendments is a difficult process and requires the people to vote with three fourths of the individual States voting in agreement.  It was outlined as an arduous process by the founding Fathers to allow for necessary updates, but assure that the general populace is truly in agreement before any major change/addition could be made.

The most contentious current debate involves the legendary Second Amendment—the Right to bear arms.  It reads:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”constitution-1486010_1280 (1)

Let us examine this within the bounds of the late 1700’s.  We had just completed the Revolutionary War against the British in which thousands of men were killed.  Most of the “militia” at that time consisted of common men in their States who could be called upon as necessary to defend their territory.  The States could not afford to maintain a standing militia and the Federal troops were limited in size and scope.  “The right of the People to keep and bear arms” was necessary to fulfill the defense needs of the colonies due to a lack of standing armies.

Compare that to our country today.  We have the largest standing military force in the world with a Federal budget many times more than any other country and in reality larger than a grouping of the next largest expenditures in those countries.  “The People” living in the States and Cities are no longer called upon to defend the Country, because we have sufficient standing military and reserves components. 

The intention of the Second Amendment is no longer appropriate or needed within our current society.

Gun rights advocates have expanded the intention of the Second Amendment to include their personal defense of their home and life from any intrusion and not just an attempted invasion of the homeland.  If you ask one of those advocates, it also includes protection from their own government!

This expansion is the biggest miscarriage of the Constitution and the biggest scam perpetrated against the American public in history.  The result:  tens of thousands of citizens are gunned down on the streets every year.gun-728958_1280  The single shot musket has been replaced by semi-automatic rifles that can deliver hundreds of bullets in a matter of a minute instead of just one lead ball in a minute, if the militia man was most adept at reloading.

Much of the justification for this expansion is based in a very long, well devised scheme of doing whatever was needed in order to instill fear in the minds of the general public.  The fear of invasion from evil foreign countries, the fear of the Federal government to take away civil rights, the fear of our neighbors who will attempt to steal from us, and the fear of people who may want to do us harm for a myriad of reasons.

An existence based on fear is not healthy and not sustainable for a long period of time without potentially severe consequences.  I purposely use the term “existence” and not “life”.  Living in constant fear is not a healthy life.  It maintains the body in a state of “fight or flight” with the body releasing stress hormones and other chemicals into the systems which over time can be detrimental, let alone interfere with rational cognitive function.

It is not a realistic goal to ever think that America will become a gun-free society.  It is, however, reasonable to believe that there can be law changes to wield in the uncontrolled expansion of gun sales in this country and gain a more reality based philosophy on what is actually necessary for “personal defense”.  It will take the same resolve that each of the colonist’s held in the 1700’s to establish a free society where every person is created equal and shares the same equal rights.  They each came to this country with the same mindset which created a strong will within the society.  It will take tens of millions of citizens willing to stand up, with one voice and say to the elected officials of this country that we will no longer live in fear and shut down the out of control gun lobby.

TRUMP:  “LAZINESS IS A TRAIT IN BLACKS…I BELIEVE THAT” by Mark Sumner

TRUMP: “LAZINESS IS A TRAIT IN BLACKS…I BELIEVE THAT” by Mark Sumner

Sponsored by: Daily Kos

Republicans are very frustrated because the media just keeps making it seem like both the party and their candidate are racist.

Twelve years ago, the GOP seemed on its way toward broadening its base, boasting 167 black delegates at its convention. That year, President George W. Bush drew 16 percent of the black vote here in Ohio, unusually high for a Republican, to help secure his reelection, as well as 11 percent nationally, and party leaders had hoped to increase minority engagement in 2016.

This year, the number of black delegates is 18. Out of 2,472. But that can’t be because of anything Trump has said! After all …

DONALD TRUMP

DONALD TRUMP

Trump has vowed that he would unify the races as president.

“I am not a racist,” he told The Washington Post in an interview earlier this year. “I’m the least racist person that you’ve ever interviewed.”

That’s right. Trump will unify the races around statements like this:

“I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is; I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”

The “laziness” statement came after Donald Trump started having financial difficulties at his casinos in Atlantic City. Trump’s response? He had black accountants. And he managed to squeeze two forms of racism into a single statement.

John O’Donnell, who was president of the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino and later wrote a memoir about his experience, said Trump blamed financial difficulties partly on African American accountants.

“I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and at Trump Plaza — black guys counting my money!” O’Donnell’s book quoted Trump as saying. “I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. Those are the kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else. . . . Besides that, I’ve got to tell you something else. I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is; I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”

Of course, Trump hasn’t read O’Donnell’s book, because Donald Trump doesn’t read.​ But he did give an interview.

Trump told Playboy magazine that O’Donnell’s memoir was “probably true.”

For those who believe that racism isn’t inherent, but has to be taught. Trump apparently had plenty of opportunities to learn—going back at least to when he was working with his father in the 1970s.donald-trump-1276068_1280

When a black woman asked to rent an apartment in a Brooklyn complex managed by Donald Trump’s real estate company, she said she was told that nothing was available. A short time later, a white woman who made the same request was invited to choose between two available apartments. …

In October 1973, the Justice Department filed a civil rights case that accused the Trump firm, whose complexes contained 14,000 apartments, of violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The Trumps hired Roy Cohn—yes, that Roy Cohn—to defend them in the case, They did what the Trumps always do, countersued for $100 million and made claims that the government was trying to force them to “rent to people on welfare.” Cohn also helped them concoct a series of claims that the Justice Department was employing “Gestapo tactics.” Cohn’s antics were thrown out. The Trumps settled the case.

But Trump already had a plan to keep from having to deal with that sort of problem again.

At the time the suit was filed, Trump had been thinking about veering away from his father’s ­focus on providing housing for ­lower- and middle-income residents of Brooklyn and Queens, and envisioning his future as a developer of luxury buildings for the rich in Manhattan.

The rest is history.

But Donald Trump’s attitude about race? That’s still very much the present.

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THE PROPHET by David C. Williams

THE PROPHET by David C. Williams

face-772720_1280

            As the old man was walking along the railroad track one evening he heard noises coming from a stand of trees. Approaching the area he found a group of men around a large tree felled by storm. The tree had fallen across a well-worn path into the woods. Women and children were watching the men chop through the heavy trunk of the tree.

            The old man joined them and when it came his turn with the ax he flailed away mightily but could not hit in the same place twice. He only dented the trunk; no chips flew. He kept thinking he would improve, but he did not. As his aim improved his arms began to tire; he made little progress.

            Next in line behind him was a large Negro who took the ax and dislodged thick chips where the old man only scored the trunk. When his turn came once again, he took up the ax but only to occupy time while the other men rested. The sun had gone down when the job was finally finished. The women and children had gone home to prepare supper.lumberjack-199693_1280 (1)

            The men gathered up their hats, coats and tools and silently walked away towards the houses. Each half of the tree had been rolled aside, clearing the path into the woods. The old man sat exhausted on one end of the tree for the next hour. He did not know exactly where he was or which way to go. When he arose he was dizzy and lightheaded. He slowly got up and walked down the trail towards the lake.

            Suddenly, brilliant memories flashed through his mind one after the other. They were bright, vivid memories of events…events that had happened to him in his childhood years ago. They were all racing through his mind in rapid succession. They were not connected events, but distinct, absolutely clear, vivid memories; pictures of past events that had taken place years ago. There might have been a dozen memories, all distinct and all different. Perhaps this spell lasted only 10 or 15 seconds.postcard-1242616_1280books-1099672_1280 (1) When the memories passed his mind was clear, but he could not remember a single one! He knew he had experienced these events and that they were true to his life, but he could not recall a single picture. He decided he had experienced a replay of pictures of past experiences of his life. Due to the physical exertion, something in his mind had short-circuited and these ancient memories were retrieved and flashed serially through his mind. They then completely departed; they were now totally gone. The old man did not know where he was–either in time or space.

            He walked slowly down the path toward the lake, sat down on a rock and watched the stars come out. He might have dozed. When he opened his eyes, it was springtime, and he was sitting in tall grass with flowers, bees, birds and greening trees. Children were playing. He dozed. When he awoke again it was winter.winter-196339_1280 Snow was knee-deep; trees were bare, icicles hanging from stark black branches. The sky was gray and featureless. It was quiet, everything was motionless. When he looked down from the sky he saw a lonely, snow-covered Prophet solemnly sitting opposite him on the log.

            The old man nodded to him and asked, “Where are we?

            “I don’t know.”

            “How long have we been here?”

            “I don’t know.”

            “Why are we here?”

            “We must be somewhere; so we are here. Perhaps we’ve been here forever. My dog has been here always.”

            “What is it all about?”

            “I don’t know. Why do you ask?”

            “I am trying to find the secret of life. I thought you might know.”

man-103041_1280            “I know nothing. I am seeking just like you. Sometimes I think I have found the answer, but then it slips away, like a goldfish, from my hand. It is gone and my hand is empty.” The prophet arose, brushed the snow from his shoulders, and then sat down again.

            “When did it all begin?”

            “It began when fishes crawled up from the sea onto the sandy shore, and developed legs. They stood up and walked into the forest. They lived in the trees and were afraid. One day they came down, walked on the ground. Some planted corn; some lived in caves and under hedges. They were all afraid–afraid of lightning, winds, storms and fire.”

            “How did they overcome their fear?”

            “Wise men amongst them invented God’s who were the creatures made from the Bones of their Fears and the Flesh of their Ignorance. These gods could be called upon to protect them from their fears.”lightening-1185742_1280

            “That doesn’t make any sense!”

            “No, it does not.”

            “What happened to these gods?”

            “They were explained away. They were never really there.”

            “What took their place?”

            “Other gods…gods that have not yet been explained away.

            “What good are they?”

            “They are not good for anything, but are essential to man’s peace of mind because of his fears. Man loves to listen to stories…stories of gods, gods greater than himself. Gods who can answer all of his questions.”

            “Are there such a gods?”chile-1361912_1280

            “No!”

            “Have these gods ever answered any questions”

            “No! Man has answered some of his own questions but not many.”

            “How many of these gods are there?”shiva-the-hindu-god-1165592_1280

            “Many. The first one who did not arise from natural events such as lightning, thunder and fire was a tribal God. This God had a chosen group of people. His name was Jehovah. He told them to kill other tribes and take their land. He was a harsh, vengeful God. He saved Noah and the animals on the ark, but drowned everyone else on earth. He is still up there for his people. They are the Jews.     

            “From these stories a later God was developed by Prophet Jesus. He said he had a father named God in heaven, with a spirit god in between called the Holy Ghost. This group was like an egg with two yolks. God was one, Jesus was the other and the Holy Ghost was the transparent part of the egg.

            “Sometime later another God named Allah was invented. He recognized the other gods but said he was superior to them. The gods are not all bad, but there are books written about them which are thought to be sacred. They inspire men to fight amongst themselves to prove whose god is the greatest.”

            “Perhaps there should just be one god and not any books!” The Prophet’s dog got up and walked through the snow down towards the lake. The Prophet slowly got up, brushed the snow off his shoulders, and followed the dog.

            The old man rolled over on his back, looked up at the sky and went to sleep.fairy-tale-1081151_1280

IF OUR FOUNDING FATHERS WERE ALL CHRISTIANS, WHY DID THEY SAY THIS? by Tolerant Libertarian

IF OUR FOUNDING FATHERS WERE ALL CHRISTIANS, WHY DID THEY SAY THIS? by Tolerant Libertarian

Nobody can deny the fact that Christianity has played a huge role in our history. From the first Thanksgiving to the ideas of Jesus Christ that are embroidered in our culture today, Christianity and the Bible is responsible a big part of our heritage. constitution-1486010_1280 (1) However, many conservatives will take this fact way out of context. They’ll think that you have to be a Christian to be patriotic, which is simply not true. Following the more secular teachings of Jesus Christ (being charitable, loving one another, treating strangers with kindness) is what the men who founded this country were for.

I don’t want to waste my time listing all these obscurant far-right arguments, so instead I’ll list the facts straight from our forefathers:

“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” - George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia (1789)

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr (1787)

“In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.” — Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)

“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.” — Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791)

“Congress has no power to make any religious establishments.” – Roger Sherman, Congress (1789)

“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” – Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack (1758)benjamin-franklin-62846_1280

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people build a wall of separation between Church & State.” - Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)

“To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis No. V (1776) (Note: You can read Paine’s whole pamphlet, where he expresses his atheistic beliefs, here.)thomas-881249_1280

“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” - Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)

“Christian establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.” - James Madison, letter to William Bradford, Jr. (1774)

philadelphia-79773_1280“There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” - George Washington, address to Congress (1790)

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” - James Madison, General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia (1785)

BEWARE THOSE WHO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT RELIGION by L. Milton Hankins

BEWARE THOSE WHO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT RELIGION by L. Milton Hankins

2007_1210Milt0003The American author and poet Archibald MacLeish said, “Religion is at its best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves. It is at its worst when it deludes us into thinking we have all the answers for everybody else.”

It intrigues me that MacLeish focused on these aspects of religion.  I believe religion is not only “at its best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves,” I believe religion compels us to spend intellectual and emotional energy to investigating what is worth believing, when it comes to faith and reason.  Unfortunately, far too many people, from infancy onward, have swallowed hook, line and sinker every word from the pulpit as though it was uttered directly from God.

I have always been amazed by the number of preachers who swear by the King James Version of the Bible, who never had a day in a formal religion classroom; and who are unable to translate Shakespearean English. Both, incidentally, emanated from the same time period. William Shakespeare

Reading the Bible

OLD TESTAMENT TIMES

OLD TESTAMENT TIMES

 William Shakespeare died in 1616.  The King James Version of the Bible, translated at the behest of King James I of England, was started in 1604 and completed in 1611.

So, if you believe the King James Version of the Bible was “the Bible Jesus used,” you are seriously deluded, mistaken and flat-out wrong!  Don’t take my word for it; I beg you, read the introductory material from the particular edition you use.

Recently, I was pleasantly taken to task when I wrote there was no Bible during the time of Jesus.  A Jewish friend wrote to me to inform me that the Torah, the Jewish scriptures, was readily accessible and read every Sabbath in the synagogues during the time of Jesus. She is, of course, absolutely right.

This brings me to the second half of MacLeish’s observation.  Religion is truly “at its worst when it deludes us into thinking we have all the answers for everybody else.”  I can’t tell you the number of times I have to remind myself the more I study about God and religion the more I realize how little I know.  On the other hand, I am seriously put off by people who are convinced they know all there is to know about God and religion, and if you don’t agree with them you are simply deluded, mistaken and flat-out wrong!

Not long ago I completed a layman’s commentary, what I called, a rambling journey through the ancient stories of Genesis.  I called it “In the Beginning.”  I published the series, which ran fifteen segments, on my web magazine, columnistwithaview.com.  The same Jewish lady who fixed my mistake by failing to take the Torah into account, wrote to me and said, “…the Book of Genesis is full of lying and deceit.”  It is!…as any careful reading will show.

sensibleMy life and work has been so rich and rewarding because I’ve neither taken my religion nor my beliefs to be the “be all and end all.” Nobody has all the truth!