Monday, August 30, 2010

Keeping Government Out of Schools

Seen at Breakpoint:

Eric Buehrer, author of Keeping the Faith in Public Schools: How to help your children graduate with their faith and values intact, advises parents how to take a successful approach to talking to a teacher about a concern.

He points out that when it comes to addressing a concern in your school, you can either be a lamp or a blow torch. To be a lamp, Buehrer recommends what he calls the “Help Me Understand” approach.

First, start the conversation by using the phrase “Help me understand. . .” For example, if you are concerned about a particular reading assignment, you might start by saying, “Help me understand why you chose this book for the students to read.” . . .

The next step Buehrer recommends might, at first, sound unnecessary, but it’s important: Affirm, in general, what the teacher is trying to do. . .

Finally, if the teacher agrees with you, ask her advice about what might be a good alternative for the class. Of course, the teacher may ask you for your ideas, so be sure you’ve done your homework! Have some alternatives you can present her if she’s open.

Now, if the teacher doesn’t agree to change what the class will be learning, ask for an alternative assignment for your own child.

Kent comments:

This is very good advice for engaging in friendly negotiations about almost anything.  My question is:  Why should anyone have to use it in regard to schooling?

If Food Mart (I’m making up names here) sells the kind of milk you want, and Food Place does not, do you hone your persuasive skills to try to convince Food Place to carry the milk you want to buy?  Probably not.  Instead, you just take your business down to Food Mart.  No need to debate or dispute anything.  No need to convince anyone.  And you get the milk you want.

As a matter of fact, if enough people do this, Food Mart will probably get the message.  It is likely that they will start to sell your favorite kind of milk.

None of this scenario surprises us very much, except when it comes to schools.  While there are a few private providers of schooling, governments attempt to dictate the content of many of these, and governments force everyone to pay for the government brand of schooling.  We should ask ourselves:  Why?

Even if you think the government should help those who cannot afford schooling buy it, there is no reason for the government to own any provider of schooling.  When the government wants to help people buy food, the government does not start government-owned farms and grocery stores.  Instead, the government gives people credit cards that can be used to buy food at private stores.

This means that even the poor people to whom the government gives food can buy the particular kind of food they want.  We think that is a good thing for food.  Why would it not be a good thing for schooling?

There is an answer to this, which I will not explore in detail here.  In essence, governments do not want simply to provide schooling for children.  Governments want to determine what children will think, do, and be.  It is long past time to take this sensitive task completely out of the hands of governments, and return it to parents, where it belongs.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Parental Rights End at the School Door

from the newsletter of

If your children attend public school, you are among those parents whose rights will end the moment your child enters the school. That’s because in 2005 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found in Fields v. Palmdale School District “that the Meyer-Pierce right [of parents to direct the upbringing of their children] does not exist beyond the threshold of the school door.”

You read that right. Parental Rights “[do] not exist beyond the threshold of the school door.”

“We conclude that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on the subject [of sexuality] to their students in any forum or manner they select” (emphasis added).

Of course, most parents contend they don’t have a choice in where their children are schooled. Either economic constraints or personal circumstances leave them with no practical alternative to the local public school. And that leaves no parental rights at all.

Kent comments:

This illustrates, once again, the insidious nature of governments doing things that governments are not competent to do.

“Public schools” are a fraud beginning with the very name.  They are government schools.  In the government’s schools the public – in this case parents – have no rights.  No matter how long the history of this institution might be, we should have known that it would eventually come to this.  Sooner or later, it always does with governments.

It sounds so noble to provide every child an education.  But when we allow governments to do this, they do it the way governments do everything they do – by force and coercion, and without regard to what anyone wants except those who run governments.

We thought we were helping children when we bought into the idea of governments “providing” schools for everyone.  But now, to borrow a phrase from B. H. Obama’s minister, our “public school chickens have come home to roost.”

Now, people are forced to pay exorbitant extortion money (sometimes called “property taxes”) to be allowed to live in their houses, drive their cars, or buy almost anything.  This extortion money is delivered to education bureaucrats and teacher’s unions to create institutions that purposely exclude parents.  Sounds fair, doesn’t it?

As much as the education establishment would like us to think, it is not “society’s” responsibility to educate your children.  That is your responsibility.  But the whole concept of “public education” is bases on the idea that parents are not responsible for their own children’s education.  So why should it surprise us when high courts hold that parental rights end at the school door?

“Public schools” are now an irredeemable and unreformable mess.  It is long past time to stop trying to “fix” them and work to do away with them.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Slinking Toward Slavery

Aug. 19 marked "Cost of Government Day" as measured by Americans for Tax Reform. ATR defines it as "the day on which the average American has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state, and local levels." It took 231 days this year to pay for the cost of government -- an extra month more than in 2008 before Obama took office. According to ATR, "In other words, in 2010 the cost of government consumes 63.41 percent of national income."

Kent comments:

You have to wonder:  how much will be too much?  These “burdens” imposed by governments are, by their very nature, the removal of freedom.  This means we are approaching an average slavery level of two-thirds.  Two-thirds of of freedom gone, and one third left to go.  Then we will be full-fledged slaves.

So why doesn’t the 13th Amendment apply here?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Too Much “Worship”


Check Your Worship Time

In his book Making a Good Church Great (Regal), Steve Sjogren warns about letting worship music run too long: "We were, at one time, a 'high worship' church. That is, we would sing worship choruses for up to 45 minutes. However, the long worship time made our church 'seeker hostile.' Our attitude was, 'If those new people can't handle the presence of God in large doses, well, that's their problem!' The long worship worked fine for us, but for those who hadn't developed a taste for worship, it was far too long.

"As more and more newcomers found their way into our midst, I began to feel that we were overdoing our worship time--that perhaps we had created an insiders-only club. So I began to do some research. I stood off to the side of church sanctuaries across America and observed how long the worship endurance of congregations was.

"I found the same result in almost every congregation, regardless of denominational background, tradition or stated values. People are capable of being engaged in worship for a maximum of about 22 minutes. After 22 minutes, most worshipers' attention span drops significantly. Needless to say, we made a shift to a 22-minute worship set, though it caused some consternation for a time among people who love to worship. Now participation in worship is on a significantly higher level than it was before we shortened worship."

Ken comments:

There is a multitude of problems with what is said here.  No, that is not quite the whole truth.  There is a multitude of stupidities here.  I will mention only a few.  (It reminds me a little of the time Barney Fife ran for sheriff in Mayberry.  He claimed to have documented seventy-six cases of malfeasance in the sheriff’s office.  But for the sake of time, he mentioned only three.)

First, I must ask a question, and knowing the nature of many “worship choruses” it is a necessary question:  how many “worship choruses, as they are usually sung, does it take to fill forty-five minutes?  (Is this akin to “how many Methodists does it take to change a light bulb??)

My best guess is:  three.  I thought about saying “seventy-six” just because of the Barney Fife allusion, but I think it is probably closer to three.  After all, they only had forty-five minutes.

But now, back to the problems, that is stupidities, found in the little report above . . .

Worship” DOES NOT equal “singing at church.”  It does not.  Were it not for the “thou shall not murder” commandment, I would be in favor of the summary execution of the next person who says, writes, or even thinks that worship is to be equated with singing songs at church.

This means that the phrase “worship set” must be eradicated from the face of the earth, because it is talking about a list of songs.  Again, in case you missed this, songs are not to be equated with worship.

Got that all you dimwitted “churchologists” out there?  Singing songs at church does not equal “worship.”  It simply does not, not now, not then, not ever.  Stop saying it.  Stop it.  Stop it now.

However, I do understand that people can become tired of singing at church.  I have become tired of singing at some churches after the first forty-five seconds, let along forty-five minutes.  Often, that is because the things we sing at church are both musically and poetically pieces of cow manure.  (Jesus talked about dung heaps, so I can talk about cow manure.  By the way, cow manure is wonderful, when properly aged, for the garden.  But in most metaphors, as here, it is a very bad thing – very bad.)

Also, other than the requirement of being done in a language that is understandable to those present, there is NOTHING in the Bible that even remotely suggests that the church should design her meetings to attract people outside the church.  Again, were it not for the commandment mentioned above, I would be in favor of summary execution for anyone who puts the words “seeker” and “friendly” together when talking about the church.

Churches should be odd, strange, and weird societies in the eyes of those from our culture.  We ought to think weird things and do weird things, all for weird reasons.  Without becoming too theological here, that is the church at her best.  It will not be a place those immersed in our culture could ever feel at home.

A small point:  stop doing pseudo-empirical “studies” of things within the church.  The church is not about what “is” or what people like.  It is about what ought to be, what is supposed to be, and what is going to be.  It doesn’t matter what someone “standing off to the side” of church gatherings thinks he has discovered using his stopwatch.

Many people do not like to pray, study, help, or many other things.  But these little supposed “studies” of such things are simply irrelevant.

Finally, if you see some guy “standing off to the side” of your church meeting with a notebook and a stopwatch (or any other such instrument), you might want to give him the “left foot of disfellowship.”  (In case you are wondering, that means “boot him out the door.”)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

ADA vs. ‘Do unto others’

from:  The Real Meaning of the ADA [Breakpoint]

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act—and it’s worth celebrating.

Twenty years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. For at least one person who attended the signing, that Act was something much greater than just one more law coming out of D.C. It was a demonstration of what Christian worldview can look like in practice.

Joni Eareckson Tada, a Christian author, artist, and activist, was in the audience that day. As you probably know, a diving accident back in 1967 tragically left Joni a quadriplegic. Since then she’s been a tireless advocate for disabled people around the world. . . .

Kent comments:

Joni (worthy as much of what she does is) not withstanding, the ADA most definitely does NOT demonstrate “what Christian worldview can look like in practice.”  And it is more than disappointing that such an outrageous claim would show up on “Breakpoint.”

First and most generally, it is not compatible with a Christian worldview to use the power of government – which is ultimately the threat of death – to engineer social issues such as how people view and treat those with disabilities.  By what twisting of the Christian faith can anyone think that we should threaten to kill those who don’t treat disabled persons in the manner you prefer?

You might think the phrase “threaten to kill” just preceding is an overstatement.  But what happens if you are unable to build, for example, a certain kind of access ramp to your business?  The sanctions of the ADA kick in.  If you resist those sanctions, there will come a point at which you will be killed, if necessary.  The ultimate threat of government is always death.

But if you are not convinced about that, you will surely admit that if you can’t build that ramp, your business will be shut down by the government.  That amounts to theft.  And it is just as certainly NOT compatible with the Christian faith to steal from those who don’t treat the disabled in the way you prefer.

This does not mean there is no way we should prefer to treat the disabled, or anyone else, for that matter.  But in matters beyond murder, theft, and a few related categories, this is not something the Christian worldviews requires, or even permits, us to make a prerogative of the state.

Several years ago I was involved in a home school support group.  It was a large, but informal, group of parents who helped one another learn more about and practice home schooling.  One afternoon, just before our monthly meeting, I received a call via a teletype operator for the deaf from a deaf lady who wanted to attend our meeting.

We welcomed anyone, so I was glad to hear from her.  She asked a few questions about the time and place and what we did.  Then she asked me if we had someone who could interpret into sign language for her.  I told her to give me a few minutes to make some calls to find out about that.

I called several people I knew in the group, but to no avail.  The meeting was only a couple of hours away, so I called the deaf lady back to tell her our situation and asked if she knew anyone who could interpret who could come with her.  She said she did not, but then informed me that our group would need to provide someone.  I said we had no one for that evening.  She told me the ADA required that we hire someone!  (There wasn’t even time to hire someone, had we wanted to do so.)

It turns out that this lady was wrong.  Because our group was private and informal, we did not fall under the provisions of the ADA.  But consider what the effect of the ADA is on the businesses and other organizations to which it does apply.

It is, in essence, another example of coercive collectivism enshrined into law.  Some people want the disabled to have certain services provided them.  Instead of these people getting together and providing such services, they instead employ the power of the state to foist the cost of that provision off onto others.  It is a blatant violation of the letter and spirit of “do unto others” – certainly NOT something compatible with the Christian worldview.

And the people at “Breakpoint” should know better. 

Total Revenue

found at:  Why Women Want Moore

Living Proof Ministries [Beth Moore] is relatively small compared with the ministries of women of similar notoriety. Its total revenue in 2008, $3.8 million, is dwarfed by Joyce Meyer Ministries' ($112 million) and Kay Arthur's Precept Ministries' ($12.9 million) in the same year. (Meyer's ministry says its top priorities are evangelism and social outreach; Arthur's ministry mainly supplies resources for women to study the Bible inductively on their own; Moore's ministry is grounded in her unique gift of teaching.) Living Proof employs only 16 people, including Moore's two daughters and son-in-law.

Kent comments:

I am not opposed to people who teach the Bible making their livings from that work.  (Note:  some of the things I have heard from some of those listed above might not qualify as “teaching the Bible.”)

And yet, I can’t help wondering.  What was Jesus’ “total revenue”?  What was Peter’s total revenue?  Paul traveled the world preaching the word.  He sometimes took along a helper or two on these trips.  Were these helpers “employed” by Paul?  What was his total revenue?  Timothy did a lot of teaching, it seems.  I wonder what was his total revenue?  I wonder if any of these individuals even thought about such things as “total revenue.”

Recently, a big “ministry” devoted to what appears to be holding revivals for high school students sent a representative to speak at a church I attend.  They made a point of the fact that they accept credit cards for donations.  I suppose that would help their “total revenue.”

I become a little uneasy when ministry becomes a big business, or perhaps even a “business” at all.  There is nothing wrong with “business” as we use the word in our culture.

But when “ministries” become multi-million dollar “total revenue” enterprises, I have to wonder – just wonder.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Where Are the Sons of Liberty?

During a recent town hall meeting in Hayward, California, a constituent asked of ObamaCare, "If this legislation is constitutional, what limitations are there on the federal government's ability to tell us how to run our private lives?" California Democrat Congressman Pete Stark's answer was disturbing -- "I think that there are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from rules that could affect your private life."

The questioner responded by asking even more emphatically about the individual mandate to buy insurance and the "right" to health care, "If [Congress] can do this, what can't they?" Stark's answer sums up a fundamental view of government that is squarely opposed to that of our Founders: "The federal government, uh, yes, can do most anything in this country."

Kent comments:

Which is a perfect example of what is signified by the words totalitarianism and tyranny.

And this causes me to ask the question, “Where are the Sons of Liberty?”

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Republican Weenies


Hatch Frustrated Over Obama’s Recess Appointment of Medicare Chief, But Not Ready to Filibuster to Force Hearing
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) (Congressional photo)

( – Blocking all legislation to force a hearing on Dr. Donald Berwick, the controversial nominee President Barack Obama recess-appointed to run Medicare and Medicaid, would not be the best course, according to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

“Some people think if we did that, it just lends credibility that we’re filibustering everything and we’re the party of no,” Hatch told on Monday during a conference call.

Kent comments:

Here is a good example why some of us who might like to be Republicans cannot do so in good faith:  too many Republicans are weenies.  Republican weenies are always constrained in the their pursuit of liberty by the fear that someone might not vote for them.  In the report above, Orrin Hatch wears his weenieness as though it is something to be proud of.

When those who hate liberty want to do bad things, and you are afraid to say “No!” – then you just might be a Republican weenie.  If you are worried about filibustering everything when everything is a step toward tyranny – then you just might be a Republican weenie.

Not all Republicans are weenies, but far too many of them are.  I am unsure of the feasibility of starting a new political party, but something is needed.  (I want to remind those who worry about starting a new party that in the mid-19th century, the Republican Party was brand new.  So apparently, it can be done.)

I despise Republican weenies.  They are in some ways worse than most Democrats, because at least Democrats usually announce in some form or other their desire to take away your liberty.  Weenie Republicans claim to love liberty, but the moment they get the idea that it sounds bad in the press, looks bad to anyone, or might hurt their re-election chances, they become timid, worthless weenies.

If you pretend to love liberty but you are more worried about being re-elected that defending liberty, then you just might be a Republican weenie.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Christianity According to Anne

The Huffington Post reports that bestselling novelist and Christian Anne Rice made a surprising announcing on Facebook Wednesday, renouncing institutional Christianity. Rice, who authored the bestseller "Interview with the Vampire" before coming to faith, often talked about her Roman Catholic faith online. The author has also recently launched a new series of novels about angels, which debuted in October 2009 with "Angel Time." On Wednesday, Rice said she is still "an outsider" in the Christian community. She wrote, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life." She later said she "remain[s] committed to Christ as always."

Kent comments:

Amusing, isn’t it, how a good writer can cast a position in negative terms by stating it as “anti-“ something.  I’m not a good writer like the Interview with the Vampire author here.  (Is anyone else yet sick of all this never-ending ‘vampire’ garbage?)  But let me try it with some of the list above, but with a different slant:

I refuse to be anti-life.  I refuse to be anti-family.  I refuse to be anti-liberty.  I refuse to be anti-religion.  I refuse to be anti-creation.

Well, at least Anne Rice remains “committed to Christ.”  Remember Him?  He wasn’t “anti” anything, of course.  Oh, wait – perhaps we need to read those gospels again.

But sometimes is it important to be “anti” some things.  For example, don’t you feel a little better in the company of people who are anti-Nazi?  How about anti-murder?  Doesn’t anti-theft sound nice to you?

Of course, if you are a famous writer, you are allowed simply to envision Christianity to be whatever you want it to be, and then claim to be part of it no matter what you believe or how you behave.  Heaven forbid that anyone, especially famous people, would need to repent.

Cal Thomas had an excellent comment on this whole matter:

As for "leaving Christianity," one should be reminded that no individual gets to make the rules, anymore than he (or she) can decide gravity is a bad idea that can't be lived with. God made the world and He made us. He gets to set the boundaries for human behavior, not because He wants to deny us pleasure, but because He is holy and desires us to be holy, as well. It is in sensing God's pleasure with us that we achieve the highest state of contentment (as opposed to happiness which is like a sugar rush and never lasts). Furthermore, God knows what is best for us. Using our bodies to please ourselves is a form of idolatry and a sign of rebellion against the creator of our bodies.

True enough, Cal – unless you are a famous writer.  Then, like one of your vampire novels, you can re-write Christianity in any way you please.  At least that’s what Anne Rice seems to think.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Malts In the Cafeteria

Good enough that you need to read it:

Scorpion on a stick, anyone?


Insects could be the key to meeting food needs of growing global population

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation is taking seriously the farming of creepy-crawlies as nutritious food

Damian Carrington
The Observer, Sunday 1 August 2010

A Chinese woman selling scorpions on stick

[In the photo above:  A Chinese woman selling scorpions on stick waits for customers at a stall in Beijing, where the delicacy is fried in cooking oil. Photograph: Claro Cortes/Reuters]

Saving the planet one plateful at a time does not mean cutting back on meat, according to new research: the trick may be to switch our diet to insects and other creepy-crawlies.

The raising of livestock such as cows, pigs and sheep occupies two-thirds of the world's farmland and generates 20% of all the greenhouse gases driving global warming. As a result, the United Nations and senior figures want to reduce the amount of meat we eat and the search is on for alternatives.

A policy paper on the eating of insects is being formally considered by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. The FAO held a meeting on the theme in Thailand in 2008 and there are plans for a world congress in 2013.

Kent comments:

If you needed (another) reason to think that ‘global-warming’ loonies and United Nations nitwits need to immigrate to Mars, here it is.

If you would like to eat insects, have at it.  Please don’t make me watch.  And to forget not to bite directly into the business end of that scorpion!

But if you cannot see that the words “United Nations and senior figures want to reduce the amount of meat we eat” are an unmistakable description of a bit of tyranny, then you just aren’t paying attention.

Just a bit of reminder, because the constant propaganda war tends to make us forget:

Our climate today is actually a warm interval between these many periods of glaciation.”

Warmer is better – it makes things grow better, things we like to eat, for example.  Over 31,000 scientists agree that:

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

Remember those “boxes” we are supposed to “think outside of”?  The great global warming hoax is a prime example of one of those, and not just because it might convince some to go for scorpions on stick!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Science Optional

New York Times
July 29, 2010
Getting Into Med School Without Hard Sciences

For generations of pre-med students, three things have been as certain as death and taxes: organic chemistry, physics and the Medical College Admission Test, known by its dread-inducing acronym, the MCAT. . . .

For decades, the medical profession has debated whether pre-med courses and admission tests produce doctors who know their alkyl halides but lack the sense of mission and interpersonal skills to become well-rounded, caring, inquisitive healers.

“There’s no question,” Dr. Kase said. “The default pathway is: Well, how did they do on the MCAT? How did they do on organic chemistry? What was their grade-point average?”

“That excludes a lot of kids,” said Dr. Kase, who founded the Mount Sinai program in 1987 when he was dean of the medical school . . . “But it also diminishes; it makes science into an obstacle rather than something that is an insight into the biology of human disease.” . . .

. . . the humanities students made more sensitive doctors: they were more than twice as likely to train as psychiatrists (14 percent compared with 5.6 percent of their classmates) . . .

Kent comments:

Heaven forbid that we “exclude” anyone from medical school.  Who cares if your doctor knows anything about organic chemistry, or even biology, just so anyone who wants can get into medical school.

I would hate for science to be an “obstacle.”  But wouldn’t it be a lack of knowledge about science that would be the “obstacle”?  Well, let’s not quibble.

Who cares if your doctor knows how your body works so he can fix problems – just so he is “well-rounded, caring, and inquisitive.”  And don’t forget “sensitive.”  I am especially concerned that my doctor be more “likely to train as” a psychiatrist.

It appears to me that the medical field is just now catching up with the church, where anyone who wants should be a leader.  Never mind knowing about the Bible and theology, just so you are well-rounded.  The main point – what seems to be the ultimate value of society today – is to ensure that no one is excluded.

I suppose that if Barack Hussein Obama is allowed to be President, almost anyone – science impaired or not - should be allowed to be a doctor.