Casting Out Devils

Speaking Conservative Truth to Evil-Doers

Why Certain People Hate Ted Cruz, Conservatives, Christians — and Me

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  • Small-minded people lack moral fiber and higher principles.
  • They are pleasure- and emotions-based, and narcissistic.
  • Small people have vices and are paranoid that principled people will take them away.
  • Small-minded people are lemming-like followers after self-interest.
  • Small people resent people with higher principles than their own, and accuse them of hypocrisy.
  • Principled people make small people feel guilty (because they are).
  • Acknowledging the legitimacy of people bigger than themselves would make small people feel that much smaller.

Why Certain People Hate Ted Cruz

© 2016 Paul A. Hughes

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Written by biblequestion

April 4, 2016 at 5:33 PM

Posted in Liberalism, Politics

Whose ‘Monuments’ Survive?

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Despots throughout history have “won” history by destroying the history of others and inserting their own version (i.e., revisionism).  As noted in the movie, “Monuments Men,” based on a true story, this is exactly what Adolf Hitler intended to do with the history of the French, English, and many other peoples, meanwhile looting for himself and his “Thousand-Year Reich” the fruits of others’ accomplishments.  As the main character in the movie explains,

“They would tell us, with this many people dying, who cares about art?  But they’re wrong, because that’s exactly what we’re fighting for, for our culture and for our way of life.  You can wipe out a generation of people, you can burn their homes to the ground, but somehow they’ll still come back.  But if you destroy their achievements, and the history, then it’s like they never existed — just ash, floating.  That’s what Hitler wants, and it’s the one thing we simply can’t allow.”

There are sinister forces at work in America today seeking likewise to “win” history by quashing anybody’s history and accomplishments that do not fit their politically-correct, Totalitarian narrative, deriding and attacking not only the Confederacy and its flag, but the Founding Fathers of America, the Ten Commandments, and any other ideas that oppose them, in hopes of erasing them altogether from the public consciousness.

BUT — “this is one thing we simply can’t allow!”

Monuments Men Compared to Confederate Flag & Heroes

Monuments Men Compared to Confederate Flag & Heroes

Copyright © 2015 Paul A. Hughes

Written by biblequestion

July 29, 2015 at 9:04 PM

Why the Confederacy Still Matters

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The Big Picture:  Federalism vs. Centralization

Texas Flags

by Paul A. Hughes

The path to the Confederacy, bred of republican Federalism, passed through Mexico to Texas, where the future of Federalism might still lie.

On September 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla stood on the steps of his church in Dolores, Mexico, and uttered the “Grito” (“cry”) of independence from colonial Spain.  Hidalgo was a Francophile, steeped in the same ideals of democratic freedom that helped inspire the American Revolution.  For too long, he had watched his native and mestizo parishioners neglected and abused by a far-off, centralized government that did not represent them or their interests.  Rather, the Spaniards and native-born criollos in central Mexico maintained the masses as a permanent under-class to serve their own interests.  A revolutionary army formed almost instantly behind Hidalgo which soon threatened Mexico City, but which was ultimately defeated by government troops in a series of setbacks and betrayals.  Hidalgo’s head and those of leaders Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, and José Mariano Jiménez were displayed in cages hanging from the corners of a public building in Guanajuato for ten years, a reminder to passersby of the fruits of revolution.  Hidalgo’s cry is still echoed throughout Mexico each Independence Day.

El Grito de Independencia en 1810

El Grito de Independencia en 1810

Independence from Spain would not be realized until 1821.  Threatened by Napoleon, Spain had enacted a new, liberal Constitution in 1812 which granted New Spain (Mexico) seven representatives in government, plus Freedom of the Press and revocation of special privileges for Catholic clergy and the military.  However, the new Constitution was almost immediately set aside by the Spanish viceroy, Francisco Javier Venegas, on the premise that Hidalgo’s insurgency, which was being continued by José María Morelos, justified emergency measures.  Fernando VII of Spain, released from Napoleon’s custody in 1814, abolished the Spanish Constitution and enacted policies which caused such widespread reaction that he began to entertain forsaking Spain for a new empire in Mexico.  An apparent resurgence of liberalism in Spain encouraged conservative Centralists in Mexico to now consider the advantages of independence.  If they remained loyal to Fernando and the Church, they reasoned, there was no treason.  (Still Fernando never arrived.)  At this fortuitous juncture, Agustín de Iturbide, an ambitious army officer who had defeated Morelos, conspired with Vicente Guerrero, another of Hidalgo’s successors, in a coup d’état against the viceroy.  Supported by 6,000 troops under Gen. Anastasio Bustamante, Iturbide and Guerrero laid out the Iguala Plan, which led to the de facto independence of Mexico.

Unfortunately, Iturbide followed Napoleon’s example and set himself up to be Emperor; but soon he exhausted his personal capital with both government officials and the army, who were not getting paid.  Seizing this opportunity, Iturbide’s former protégé, Antonio López de Santa Anna, joined with yet another Hidalgo successor, Guadalupe Victoria, in a counter-coup, leading to Iturbide’s abdication and Santa Anna’s aggrandizement.

By 1823, sentiments of the upper classes swayed again toward republicanism.  The new government enacted the democratic Constitution of 1824, based largely on the principles of the U.S. Constitution.  It set up a federal system in which power was shared with 19 states and four territories.  The document, written by Don Miguel Ramos Arizpe, reflected his strong Federalist, self-rule sentiments and those of the northern states, including Texas.

Shortly before this time, Mexico’s northeastern frontier known as Texas remained an untamed wilderness, populated by Karankawa, Tonkawa, Attacapa, and Hasinai tribes near the coast, Caddos and Comanches inland, and Apaches in the Hill Country.  French traders, Spanish missionaries, and a few shipwrecked sailors had been the main points of contact by Europeans with these tribes (some rumored to be cannibals).  Spain had long sought to establish the region as a buffer zone between itself and French Louisiana, and later with the United States.  They had imported Canary Islanders into San Antonio, but were never truly successful at settling the region.

Spanish North America Map

Spanish North America

This void presented a window of opportunity, especially after Mexican independence.  Parts of the Alabama and Coushatta tribes from the east established themselves on the lower Trinity River, and by 1819 Virginia native Aaron Cherry had claimed land nearby for a plantation.  A contingent of Cherokee settled further north.  In 1821, Stephen F. Austin was granted an empresario contract to establish 300 farming families west of present-day Houston.  Irish immigrants, preferred by Mexico because they were also Catholic, established coastal colonies in San Patricio and the vicinity of Aransas Pass, while other colonies were placed further inland.  The Imperial colonization Act of 1823, enacted under Iturbide, granted 4,428 acres each to immigrant families with livestock, for a nominal fee.  Later, the National Colonization Act of 1827 continued these liberal policies but prohibited colonization within a buffer zone of 20 leagues (52 miles) of the U.S. border.  Soon plantations were staked out and land placed under cultivation all along the lower Trinity (known as the Atascosito administrative district, from the name of an early Spanish outpost near present-day Liberty).

American immigrants took great pains to present themselves as loyal citizens of Mexico.  They formally converted to Catholicism, as required, and kept the peace.  In 1826, citizens of Austin’s colony and settlers from Atascosito escorted Mexican political chief, Col. Mateo Ahumada, under arms, to put down the abortive Fredonian Rebellion in Nacogdoches.

However, settlers in Atascosito began to realize their need for organization in order to enforce the peace within their district.  Moreover, their land grants had yet to be confirmed by the Mexican government, as did the contracts of some empresarios down the coast.  According to law, settlers were entitled to have their land surveyed by the Mexican land commissioner, their titles confirmed, and a township established as their seat of government (ayuntamiento).  Juan Antonio Padilla, the secretary of state, was appointed general land commissioner for Texas.  He had just begun his work when he was accused of embezzlement and murder, and arrested (later exonerated), probably out of political retribution.  Padilla was replaced by José Francisco Madero (great-grandfather of future president Francisco Madero).

Military authorities, as an arm of the Centralist power structure, had become suspicious of Norteamericanos, and began to interfere with Federalist state authorities.  In 1828, Gen. Manuel de Mier y Terán was commissioned to assess the situation in Texas, and was alarmed by the vitality of the Anglo-Saxon settlers, the sajones, who had cultivated more land than Hispanic settlers, then numbering a scant three to four thousand, had in 300 years.  In 1829, then president Guerrero, himself part African, tried to discourage new settlement by outlawing slavery.  Gen. Bustamante seized the presidency in 1829 and enacted a strict new colonization law the next year, sending Gen. Terán with troops to enforce it.  Madero and his surveyor, José María Jesús Carbajal, were arrested by John Davis Bradburn.  The latter had been newly dispatched by Gen. Terán to establish a fort and garrison at Anahuac on Trinity Bay, and another at Velasco on the Brazos.  An Irishman born in Kentucky, Bradburn nevertheless served the interests of the Centralist military and president.

Map of Liberty County, 1895

Map of Liberty County, 1895

Interpreting Terán’s orders and the new law, Bradburn insisted that the citizens, and Madero, were in violation of the law, which prohibited new American settlement and gave all authority to act on land titles to himself.  Madero maintained that the new law did not apply to land or persons settled under previous laws.  An order to release the men was issued by the political chief at San Antonio, Antonio Elosúa.  Thereafter, Madero proceeded, during a brief period in 1831, to confirm up to 60 land titles and establish a town site straddling the Trinity River, near the crossroads at the old Atascosito outpost.  He named it, “Villa de la Santissima Trinidad de la Libertad.”  Madero laid out its streets and named them after heroes of democracy, including Socrates, Demosthenes, Cicero, and Cincinnatus, current Hispanic liberator Simón Bolívar, and recent revolutionary martyrs including Hidalgo, Morelos, Allende, and Jiménez.  (Now known simply as Liberty, the town later renamed many of its streets after heroes of the Texas Revolution, even including Santa Anna and his brother-in-law, Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos.  Liberty proudly remarked its streets with their original names for the Sesquicentennial of Texas Independence in 1986, which markers remain to this day.)

Liberty Street Markers, Sinsinato and Hidalgo

Liberty Street Markers, Sinsinato and Hidalgo

Gen. Terán ordered Bradburn to demolish the town, such as it was, though apparently this was never attempted.  The new law further placed high tariffs on imported goods.  A customs house was established on Galveston.  Authorities attempted to assess tariffs on ships already arrived within Brazos River ports, and captains complained bitterly about ex post facto laws.  Citizens were accused of smuggling.  Worse, citizens of various locales organized militias, prohibited under Mexican law, which were claimed by some to be meant merely to guard against Indian raids.  Bradburn arrested Patrick C. Jack and his law partner, William Barret Travis, Jack having been chosen captain of the Anahuac militia.  Militia groups from as far away as San Augustine and Austin’s colony mobilized to march upon the fort.  A group of militia from Austin’s colony, joined by several ready men from Liberty, purportedly numbering at least 130, made camp north of Anahuac, near Turtle Bayou.  Encountering cavalry dispatched by Bradburn as a show of force, they managed to capture and hold hostage all 19 troopers.  This action led to skirmishes at Anahuac and at Velasco, both Anglo victories.  At Velasco the first blood of what became the Texas Revolution was shed.

Meanwhile, a committee drafted a list of grievances, which reads like the Declaration of Independence and became known as the Turtle Bayou Resolutions.  These were further presented, in true Hispanic style, as a pronunciamento denouncing President Bustamante and declaring for the Constitution of 1824 and Santa Anna, who at that time was known as a liberator and Bustamante’s rival.  “This had the effect of taking their actions out of the realm of rebellion,” wrote one historian, “and placing themselves in the main stream of revolutionary activities going on throughout all of Mexico.”*  It was a master stroke.  An agreement was reached with Bradburn’s superior, Col. José de las Piedras, prisoners were released, and the settlers returned home in peace.  Gen. Terán, however, wrote to Lucas Alamán, “How could we expect to hold Texas when we do not even agree among ourselves?”  He concluded, “The revolution is about to break forth and Texas is lost.”  To add to his troubles, Mexican Federalists dealt a defeat to government forces in Matamoros.  Ill and despondent, on July 3, 1832, Terán donned his dress uniform, entered the church in Padilla, Tamaulipas, and fell on his sword.

Representatives from the various colonies and districts convened in October 1832, and again in January 1833, to discuss grievances and reforms.  The 1833 convention commissioned Stephen Austin to carry their proposals to the government in Mexico City.  Most objectionable to the Centralists was the proposal to separate Texas from Coahuila and form its own state government, which had heretofore been combined under the Constitution of 1824 (with Texas as a subordinate Department).  Unable to get results, Austin presently wrote a letter instructing local officials back home to go ahead and form a government.  This was intercepted, and Austin arrested.  He languished in a prison of the Inquisition for 18 months, without trial, before being released in a general amnesty, upon the ascension of Santa Anna to the presidency.  Austin’s health was never the same.

Stephen F. Austin with Dog

Stephen F. Austin with Dog

Soon Santa Anna issued his Plan of Cuernavaca, which repealed liberal reforms and enforced a Centralist government.  In April, 1835, a faction of the Coahuila government declared against the Plan.  Newly-elected governor, Agustín Viesca, called out the militia, intent on removing the capital to San Antonio.  Efforts to do so were hindered by troops under Gen. Cos, and Viesca was arrested.  Thus Federalism in Coahuila was stymied.

Events in Texas moved quickly.  In July 1834, Capt. Manuel Sabriego was dispatched from the old stone fort at Goliad to the town of Refugio, in the Aransas colony, with orders to displace settlers from the old Spanish mission and convert it to military barracks.  June 1835, Anahuac merchant Andrew Briscoe was arrested for violating tariff laws by bartering, prompting William Barret Travis to raise 25 volunteers and take the fort there, site of his previous confinement.  Its garrison was forced to agree to evacuate Texas.  Santa Anna sent Gen. Cos with several hundred troops to investigate, which landed on the coast south of Goliad in September.  Santa Anna’s brother-in-law had orders to arrest Travis and other instigators and discourage any settlers who arrived after the 1830 colonization law.  First stationing troops at San Antonio, Cos sent a detachment of cavalry to Gonzales, the most northwesterly Anglo settlement, to retrieve a small cannon previously granted to them for defense.  Indeed, the cannon was once used to frighten off a Comanche raiding party.  October 2, displaying a flag emblazoned with a cannon and the words, “Come and Take It,” the citizens of Gonzales forced the troopers to back down.  October 9, colonists from Matagorda and Victoria mobilized, along with 30 mounted rancheros, and captured the fort at Goliad by subterfuge.  November 4, colonists took Fort Lipantitlán, southwest of Goliad, inflicting 28 casualties without a loss of their own, and but one injury.  John Linn recognized a friend among the wounded, Lt. Marcelino Garcia, who denounced Santa Anna before he died.  The next morning, the same colonists encountered deposed governor Viesca, who had escaped confinement, headed to Goliad with an armed escort.

Meanwhile, Texans convened a Consultation at Columbia, many delegates still hoping to resolve differences with Mexico City.  Yet on November 7, the Consultation voted 33 to 14 to organize a government, under the stipulations of the Constitution of 1824.  At the same time, they declared Santa Anna to have already alienated any allegiance owed to him.

The Alamo in 1854

The Alamo in 1854

Several hundred Texan volunteers proceeded to San Antonio.  Their first skirmish took place at nearby Misión Concepción, in which the same Andrew Briscoe previously jailed in Anahuac, and freed by Travis, led a detachment of Liberty volunteers.  The Texans besieged Cos’s superior force for some weeks, finally fighting from house to house to capture the town, ultimately forcing the capitulation of the old mission known as San Antonio de Valero de los Alamos, the Alamo, on December 9.  From Gen. Cos was exacted the promise to march his remaining forces out of Texas, permanently.

By February 1836, Santa Anna crossed into Texas with his army.  He had come by way of Zacatecas, where he had defeated a well-armed Federalist militia of 3,000 and allowed his army to sack the town, raping and murdering, causing the deaths of 2,000 non-combatants.  A second army under Gen. José de Urrea, numbering 1,100, came by the coastal route, heading for Goliad by way of the Anglo settlements at San Patricio and Refugio.  The rest of the story is better known.  Santa Anna had learned from Bustamante the doctrine that all prisoners should be shot, and all combatants at the Alamo were slaughtered.  Santa Anna ordered Urrea to do the same with about 400 rebel prisoners at Goliad.  Afterward, Santa Anna led a “flying” force after Sam Houston’s army, to meet its fate at San Jacinto, while Urrea continued up the coast as far as Brazoria.

Goliad Fort and Chapel

Goliad Fort and Chapel

The public in the United States watched these events with increasing interest and enthusiasm.  The citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio, donated two matching cannon, dubbed thereafter the “Twin Sisters,” which were the two cannon used by Texans in their victory at San Jacinto on April 21.  One manufacturer of weapons, which produced a short model fighting sword for the U.S. military, provided a Texas version.  One of these was reported found on the San Jacinto battleground by a construction worker about 1936, and was more recently featured on the PBS program, “Antiques Roadshow.”

Historians and pundits have since speculated that some later-arriving settlers, namely Sam Houston, had come on a mission to steal Texas from Mexico and hand it over to the United States, perhaps on President Jackson’s secret orders.  Certainly there were those Anglos who longed for incorporation into their native country, if only for preservation of their accustomed rights as free citizens.  (Americans maintained a concept of basic citizenship rights, as had the American Founding Fathers, which harked back to 17th-Century England, see “Politics and Religious Liberty in 17th-Century England.”)  Certainly such desire to associate themselves with the United States seems to be reflected in the design of the flag of the Republic, adopted at the end of 1838, displaying one five-pointed star and one each of red and white stripes.  As we have seen, however, the evolution towards an independent Texas goes back to at least 1810 (some might point back further to Aaron Burr’s conspiracy), yet did not immediately presume U.S. statehood.

Texas was a republic for nearly ten years, then a U.S. state for barely 15 years when Secession took place.  Other causes of Secession are well-known and much-debated, but without doubt the independent, Federalist example of Texas was still fresh in the public consciousness.  The Southern states were not traitors against America, but states populated by Americans who wished to escape what they saw as the tyranny of an unresponsive and no longer representative, Centralist government and continue as American states under self-rule.  Unlike the North, the South did not raise an army to invade others’ territory with an eye to subjugating it.  The South raised an army in order to tell other states and the Centralist government to leave them alone.

There is to this day no stipulation in the U.S. Constitution that forbids states, once joined, to thereafter secede.  The matter was never settled by law, but by sheer force of arms and economic weight.  The Spanish forces opposing Hidalgo, and the armies that Santa Anna took to Texas, had done or attempted to do the same.  Same also were the palpable as well as existential violations of the inalienable rights of free and law-abiding citizens.

The same principle of Centralization is at work today, “in spades,” as special interests, a bureaucratic mentality, and socialistic, dictatorial politicians and legal activists attempt to force laws, speech, thought, and behaviors upon states (which the Constitution declares to be sovereign) and their citizens against their will—except today’s Liberals are the Centralists and Statists, and Conservative Southerners are those who wish to remain free to live as they choose, much as they have always lived, meaning no harm, but brooking little interference.  It remains to be seen when the “tipping point” will be reached, with what substantial reaction, and what form that reaction might take.

God bless you Texas! And keep you brave and strong,
That you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.
”   Listen

Surrender of Santa Anna by William Huddle, 1886

Surrender of Santa Anna by William Huddle, 1886

Note

*Miriam Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County, and the Atascosito District (Austin, TX: The Pemberton Press, 1974), p. 89.

Sources

Copyright © 2015 Paul A. Hughes

Written by biblequestion

July 17, 2015 at 6:26 AM

Scriptures to Vote by: Voting Christian in a Secular World

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civil040A

Compiled by Paul A. Hughes, M.Div

Note: This collection of scriptures was first published during the 1992 presidential election.  A few additions have been made.  If only these warnings from Scripture had been more heeded back then, and since, by Christians of all types who decided to vote their own preference instead of God’s!  Think, in particular, what better appointments would have been made to the Supreme Court, had truly Christian presidents and other leaders been elected.

As another crucial election approaches, it is important to emphasize the need for Christians to vote according to their Christian convictions.

Some Christians think it is somehow “unspiritual” to participate in molding and influencing our nation through politics.  Others have bought the secular line that Christians should keep their religion separate from their politics.

However, it is not only the right but the solemn responsibility of all Christians to exploit every means to influence the world, including electing men of truth, justice, and character to their government, calling all their leaders to accountability, and punishing those who violate the public trust.

Now I cannot tell anyone else for whom to vote [though perhaps I ought to have done so, in retrospect], but I would like to offer a selection of scriptures we should all ponder before we vote.  These scriptures speak for themselves [or so I had hoped].

Seek the Nation’s Welfare

“Seek the peace of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in its peace shall ye have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7).

“Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way” (1 Samuel 12:23).

“I exhort, therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Seek Freedom of Worship

“Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will entreat the LORD. . . but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD” (Exodus 8:29).

“For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem” (Ezra 9:9).

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you; and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds” (Colossians 4:3).

The World is Ignorant of God’s Truth

“The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Choose God, Not Self-Interest

“No man can serve two masters . . . . Ye cannot serve God and mammon (i.e., money)” (Matthew 6:24).

“If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served . . . or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

“See I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil. . . . I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19).

“Seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Luke 12:29-31).

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).

Declare a Public Testimony

“Ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:18).

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

“For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:28).

“For a long time, then, they abode there, speaking boldly in the Lord, who gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3).

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).

“And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word . . . And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29, 31).

“And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region” (Acts 13:49).

Do Not Aid Sinners in Their Cause

“Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them who hate the Lord? Therefore, there is wrath upon thee from before the Lord” (2 Chronicles 19:2).

“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 1:10-11).

“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

“He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23).

Stand Against Evil

“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).

“Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear” (1 Timothy 5:20).

“This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13).

“These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:15).

Beware of Deceivers

“Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6, see also 4:14).

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mark 13:22).

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Distrust Human Counsel

“For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly toward you” (2 Corinthians 1:12).

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

“My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the lord, who take counsel, but not of me; and who cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin” (Isaiah 30:1).

“We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold, trouble!” (Jeremiah 8:15).

“They say still unto those who despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you” (Jeremiah 23:17, see also Ezekiel 13:10, 16).

Seek God for Guidance

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk in it, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16).

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

©2015 Paul A. Hughes

Written by biblequestion

June 27, 2015 at 6:14 PM

Panentheism: Nexus of One World (Heretical) Religion

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Einstein Panentheism

Panentheism is not new, stemming as it does from Neoplatonism; and not rare, being widespread, in various forms and to various extents amongst the intelligentsia; yet is an unfamiliar term, even to most people who have encountered it in some form.  It is a man-made, philosophical religion which denies the authority of Scripture and brings together many threads of philosophy and speculation, including Neoplatonic Mysticism, speculative philosophy and theology, select elements of Christianity and other religions, speculative science (purporting legitimacy), in particular Evolution, and Environmentalism, with special appeal to Liberal Christians, New Age believers, semi-atheistic intellectuals, Social Gospel practitioners, Social Justice agitators, self-opinionated armchair theologians, “tree-huggers,” narcissistic “do-gooders,” and political Progressives of various other types.

In reality, Panentheism is Humanism in theistic garb, patently not Christianity, appealing to the selfish desire for apotheosis or self-deification, i.e., not to God but to self.  Observing the worldwide apostasy of this Age, and the “signs of the times,” there is good reason to associate Panentheism with the One-World Religion, the Religion of Man, which Bible-believers  anticipate will evolve into the religion of the Beast of John’s Revelation, otherwise known as the Antichrist.

Whether one believes this assertion or not, I encourage the reader to “save” the following basic description, in either text or the graphic form below, and from this time forward examine the theological claims and content of religionists, even one’s own church pastor, in its light, to see how he or she stacks up.

Panentheism

A Linchpin of Liberal One-World Religion

  • Increasingly a favored interpretation of Christianity amongst intellectuals.
  • Not to be confused with Pantheism (“all is God”).
  • Means “all is in God,” which includes evil.  Incorporates evil and redefines Redemption through its principle of Dialectic.
  • Influenced by Neoplatonist Metaphysics and Hegelian philosophy.
  • Related to the Process Theology of Whitehead and the New Theology of Karl Rahner.
  • Emphasizes unity of the Trinity (Perichoresis) in love and relationship.  Sees love, unity, Pacifism, science, and Environmentalism as the evolutionary path to unity with the Trinity and the universe by reflecting attributes of the Trinity (suggesting apotheosis).
  • Portrays God as continuously created and creating, not complete, evolving along with the universe, and influenced by Man.
  • Presumes truth about God discoverable in (theoretical) Quantum Physics.
  • Bypasses the Biblical Gospel and salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, who becomes at best ancillary.  Does not require Bible-based Christianity.
  • Influences Liberation Theology such as that of Jurgen Moltmann and Gustavo Gutiérrez.
  • Expressed by John A. T. Robinson in his concept of the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God evolving through love and unity, but foresees no literal Second Coming (Parousia) of Christ.

Copyright © 2015 Paul A. Hughes

Social Gospel 101 - Panentheism

Panentheism

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Written by biblequestion

May 31, 2015 at 9:06 PM

Noam Chomsky’s Flat Earth Figment

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Mercator World Map Projection, 1569, Public Domain

Mercator World Map Projection, 1569, Public Domain

Elite Personalities Show Ignorance of Maps and Geography

Noam Chomsky showed up on the Tavis Smiley PBS interview show on March 15, 2015 to talk about so-called “White Supremacy.”  Chomsky, the son of Ashkenazi Jews, is himself an Atheist, though he reportedly will not admit it outright, and a radical Socialist, officially billed as an Anarcho-Syndicalist.

Smiley, who is himself race-obsessive and Left-Wing politically activist, began with a clip from the Left-Wing political TV drama, “The West Wing.”  Characters are discussing the 1569 advent of a world map created by German cartographer Gerardus Mercator to facilitate navigation.  They ooh and ah over revelations that the continents and nations on the map are not drawn to scale.  The implication is that either some supremacist prejudice is involved in the drawing of the map, or has afterward been inferred from it.

Chomsky goes on to talk about a related prejudice that North inherently has against South, seeing South as inferior and thereby justifying its exploitation.  There is no consideration of the idea of developed countries bringing civilization to then-primitive peoples, along with medical science and other modern notions such as refraining from cannibalism and human sacrifice, all of them leading toward higher life expectancies, decreased child mortality, and freedom from the yoke of superstition and subservience to local warlords and shamans.  Judging from Left-Wing rhetoric, primitive existence was idyllic and democratic, albeit short.

In their implications regarding the drawing of maps, Smiley and Chomsky reveal either their own rank ignorance of the nature of map-making, or a disingenuous use of the certain map-making phenomena simply to fool people and score political points.  Look at a globe of the world, and observe that the lines of longitude, which run north and south, get closer together toward the poles, and are farthest apart at the equator.  Herein lies the heart of the problem:  to convert a globe into a flat map, those lines of longitude must be spread out.  As is well-known, making the lines of longitude straight serves to stretch out the image, which makes images closer to the poles appear larger than those nearer the equator.  Hence Greenland looks about the size of South America and Alaska looks as big or bigger than the contiguous United States.

Observe the phenomenon of map-flattening here:

http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/investigations/es0301/es0301page03.cfm

and here:  http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/investigations/es0301/es0301page04.cfm

Further, read about Map Projection here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projection

and here:  https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog160/node/1918

Still, Chomsky describes the phenomenon as a manifestation of an elite attitude of “White Supremacy”:

What’s to be gained by that is a graphic representation of the fact that we are more important and better than them.  We’re the north, they’re the south.  We dominate because of our essential superiority of character, qualities, righteousness and so on.

It’s a graphic manifestation of the we are better than them conception that, as I said, is unfortunately pretty natural and is greatly enhanced by when it’s associated with power.  So when you actually dominate others, that enhances the natural we are better than them conceptions.  (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/mit-professor-noam-chomsky/)

Video of the interview is available at the following Web sites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rGHpWST7l9I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGHpWST7l9I

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/mit-professor-noam-chomsky/

Copyright ©2015 by Paul A. Hughes

Written by biblequestion

April 19, 2015 at 6:17 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

On Health Insurance, Non-Profit Hospitals, Cabbages, and Kings

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The Walrus and the Carpenter

The Walrus and the Carpenter (Public Domain)

Update 2/12/15:  Coincidentally, Memorial-Hermann’s billing department called to offer me a 50% discount off the total hospital bill for self-pay.  This is probably not a result of seeing this article, which was only published one day previous.  I am gratified to have received this fair offer, however belated.  ~Author

Allow me to relate, for the public record, my experience, from a financial standpoint, as a person with no health insurance receiving emergency medical care in the Texas Medical Center, Houston. On July 21, 2014, I entered the emergency room in the small town of Liberty, Texas, experiencing what was determined to be hypotension (low blood pressure) and bradycardia (low pulse rate). For several days, I had been unable to walk at a normal pace or otherwise exert myself without getting dizzy and beginning to black out. I was transported by county ambulance to the Memorial-Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute in the Medical Center. I spent, to my recollection, 3 days in the ICU, under observation, and afterwards was transferred to an identical room, but one not classified as Intensive Care. My treatment culminated in the placement of a heart pacemaker. I was finally released from the hospital on the evening of July 26.

On July 22 of my stay, I was visited in ICU by a Financial Counselor employed by the hospital, who helped me to fill out a Financial Assistance Screening Form. He further instructed me to send in my previous year’s IRS Tax Return as proof of financial need. I mailed this proof the weekend of August 2, but shortly thereafter received a letter from the Financial Counselor, dated August 6, denying financial assistance on the basis of failing to provide proof of income. This was obviously sent before receipt of my letter containing proof, and a scant 11 days after my release from the hospital.

As I began to receive bills from the various medical providers involved in my care, my research revealed that medical providers routinely allow for a discount of 40 to 50 percent to insurance companies. Moreover a self-pay patient is well within his or her rights to request an equivalent discount for cash payment up-front. I therefore began to request a self-pay discount from all providers, the results of which are shown in the table below. For the most part, the providers were not surprised at the request, and readily offered a substantial discount off the billed price in return for prompt payment.

The major exceptions to this accommodation were those submitting the two largest bills, UT Physicians and Memorial-Hermann Hospital. After months of wrangling and sending certified letters, including an offer to pay 60% of the bill promptly, UT Physicians finally sent a bill, dated January 24, 2015, reflecting a 34% discount.

Provider

Billed

Paid

Discount

Balance

UT Physicians

4,420.00

2,909.00

34%

0.00

Texas Heart Rhythm

1,260.00

1,008.00

20%

0.00

Texas Heart Rhythm (follow-up)

250.00

250.00

0%

0.00

Liberty County EMS (A/R Concepts, Inc.)

2,880.00

1,000.00

65%

0.00

Liberty-Dayton Reg. Med. (emergency room)

1,840.46

1,104.28

40%

0.00

Houston Cardiovascular Associates (follow-up)

505.50

404.40

20%

0.00

Physicians Billing Service

1,013.00

709.10

30%

0.00

Memorial Pathology Consultants

1,102.00

551.00

50%

0.00

Milwaukee Radiologists

66.00

66.00

0%

0.00

Memorial-Hermann Hospital

76,660.84

4,000

0%

72,660.84

 

Memorial-Hermann Hospital, on the other hand, has consistently demanded payment in full within a short payment period, an utter impossibility under my present circumstances. Their billing department has discouraged partial payment (though they took the $4,000 paid to date), failed to offer any kind of payment plan, and refused to negotiate any kind of a discount. Their billing officials, those authorized to discuss and negotiate arrangement, remain bastioned and anonymous behind an opaque automated phone system.

It would appear that M-H has every intention of holding out for payment of the full, unmitigated amount they have assessed, and proceding toward a collections lawsuit. Attorney Robert Painter of Houston recounts the case of Ignacio Alaniz, a low-income worker injured in a car crash and life-flighted to Memorial-Hermann. Painter remarked, “We believe that Memorial Hermann’s billing practices regarding the uninsured are unconscionable and violate the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Why should a hospital try to collect from someone without insurance double or more what an insured patient would pay for the exact same care?”

See http://www.painterfirm.com/a/138/Memorial-Hermann-sues-uninsured-patient-for-double-the-fees-it-would-charge-someone-with-insurance

Dianna Wray, in a Houston Press article, also reported on this case:

http://www.houstonpress.com/2013-07-25/news/memorial-hermann/full/

Attorney J. Thomas Black notes that hundreds of patients are sued by tax-exempt Memorial-Hermann every year. “They are the only hospital that I can recall that actively sues for unpaid hospital bills,” he wrote. According to Black, filing for personal bankruptcy might be the only recourse for low-income patients unable to pay up-front.

See http://www.jthomasblack.com/library/served-with-a-lawsuit-by-memorial-hermann-hospital–quite-a-few-people-are–getting-stuck–per-a.cfm

The hospital’s own billing documents state:

Memorial Hermann Health System recognizes there may be times when patients will have difficulty paying for the services provided. The Hospital provides a discount to qualified patients with limited income who have no insurance or who have used all of their health insurance benefits. Payment from all possible sources must be exhausted before a patient can qualify for financial assistance. We can help you apply for free or low-cost insurance, if you qualify.

To find out if you qualify for partial or fully discounted medically-necessary hospital services, you must apply for financial assistance and provide supporting documentation.

To date, however, M-H has offered none of these allowances, apparently based on the Financial Counselor’s initial denial of assistance.

According to reporter Wray,

Memorial Hermann is a nonprofit, but the hospital system’s annual revenue in fiscal year 2010, according to the most recent annual report filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was more than $2.9 billion. Expenses came in at under $2.7 billion, leaving more than $228 million in revenue on the table, according to the report. Even after subtracting the $582 million Memorial Hermann donated in care — the bulk of it made up of unreimbursed medical expenses from Medicaid patients — the nonprofit still recorded a profit of more than $200 million and an endowment of more than $3.8 million. Memorial Hermann President and CEO Daniel Wolterman was paid a salary of close to $2.2 million that year.

Further in Wray’s article, legal aid attorney Tariq Gladney described M-H lawyers being “like cowboys in an Old West shootout, unwilling to back down and acknowledge that they wouldn’t be collecting the debts. Memorial Hermann dropped the cases in every instance, but Gladney is still mystified as to why the hospital’s lawyers pursued these suits in the first place.”

“I have yet to see another hospital do this,” Gladney is quoted. “It doesn’t make much financial sense. Most of my clients are judgment-proof.”

Paul Kiel of ProPublica writes that the same thing is happening in Alabama:

See http://www.propublica.org/article/in-alabama-a-public-hospital-serves-the-poor-with-lawsuits

http://www.propublica.org/article/how-nonprofit-hospitals-are-seizing-patients-wages

Kiel concludes that these aggressive actions by tax-exempt hospitals are the result of weaknesses and loopholes in state laws, yet there is some promise of future relief when pending laws come into effect:

http://www.propublica.org/article/old-debts-fresh-pain-weak-laws-offer-debtors-little-protection

http://www.propublica.org/article/for-nonprofit-hospitals-who-sue-patients-new-rules

Senator Charles Grassley, who has helped investigate the tax-exempt status of non-profit hospitals in the past, was shocked that hospitals were still aggressively pursuing patients who could not afford to pay. In particular he cites Mosaic Life Care, which in various cases “failed to identify patients who would qualify for financial assistance and who have since been subject to abusive billing and collection practices,” as Kiel quotes him. “The practices appear to be extremely punitive and unfair to both low income patients and taxpayers who subsidize charitable hospitals’ tax breaks.”

See http://www.propublica.org/article/senator-to-hospitals-stop-suing-poor-patients

In my case, I am perfectly willing to pay, as I am able, reasonable remuneration for services rendered.  I consider my self-pay status to warrant the offering of a substantial discount, commensurate with that offered to insurance payers; and as a matter of necessity, moreover, require the extension of a reasonable payment plan.  Keep in mind that as an emergency patient, I had no opportunity to shop around for healthcare, and was helpless except to accept M-H’s aid and recommendations.  Further, as a low-income ordained minister, I remain unable to afford conventional health insurance.  The present state of affairs could hardly be solved short of filing for personal bankruptcy, in which case M-H would receive nothing more than the growing ill-will of the public.

© 2015 Paul A. Hughes

Written by biblequestion

February 11, 2015 at 7:38 PM