Category Archives: Political

Items of a political nature

BSA Continues Down The Road

 

The headline of the article says it all, “Boy Scouts president calls for end of ban on gay adults. . .” It is a journey that began, for many, long ago. A journey that was presented to the eyes of the rest of the world in 2013 when a vote was taken at the BSA National Conference to allow boys, under 18, who identify at gay to be members. It was a first major step down the road. Last week, BSA President, Robert Gates, spoke to those assembled at the 2015 BSA National Conference. In his address he proposed that the time is at hand to take the next step down the road.

I would be lying if I said I did not see this coming. In fact when the vote was taken in 2013 I gave it five years, at most, until the ban on gay leaders  was lifted. Now I am not saying that I had some great insight, I am sure there were many others who made similar predictions. My point is that the first step taken down that road two years ago should have been obvious and here we are about to take another step down this road. But in the end, I am afraid that it is not the road to the glorious destination it is trumpeted to be.  It is rather, a road that leads away from the foundations upon which scouting was built, and the values I hold as a bible believing Christian.

Now I could go down the road that argument leads to and find myself going back and forth with those who disagree with my position, those who feel this decision is the greatest things to ever come out of scouting. But experience has taught me that such arguments accomplish very little. If people do not come from a common starting place, then the ends seldom converge. Instead, I choose to state my position by addressing three quotes from Dr. Gates speech.

The first quote has to do with how we respond to the society in which we live. Dr. Gates says that as a result of “the social, political and judicial changes taking place in our country . . . the status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.” In other words, our society has changed so much that we are out of step with it and need to change if we want to continue to exist. Now this is a response to challenges, but is it a good response.  What this is telling me is that if things get hard, then you just give in.  Is this really the lesson we want to teach out children? That when things get tough you just give up. If this is really a justification for suggesting the change I find it cowardly and shameful.  For an organization that holds honor at such a high level, what honor is there is just giving up? What strength is found in going with the crowd? What virtue is found in trading in long held values?

True honor would be found in standing strong in the beliefs held from the beginning, beliefs that have guided the BSA for over 100 years.  I find far greater respect for those who will stand firm for their beliefs and values in the face of ridicule and hardship, even if it means the eventual demise of the organization, than I do in those who change their foundational beliefs simply to survive.

I’m going to be honest, there comes a time when all social movements (when it boils down to it the BSA is a social movement, that is to say it is intended to build up society) reach a point when they must decide, are they going to be true to their foundations even if everything says it will lead to its demise or compromise simply to survive. It is the far more noble action to stand for your values in the face of opposition than to surrender your beliefs to appease others.

The second quote concerns the position BSA policy puts boys into relating to their church. Dr. Gates says, “As a movement, we find ourselves with a policy more than a few of our church sponsors reject, thus placing Scouting between a boy and his church.” This argument is fallacious in that the exact same argument can be given from the other perspective. By changing the policy to allow for homosexual involvement we embrace a policy that more than a few of our church sponsors reject, thus placing Scouting between a boy and his church.  Based on the poor logic of this statement, I will forego any further discussion of it.

It is the third statement that concerns me most, as a Bible believing, evangelical Christian.  Dr. Gates states, “Our oath calls upon us to do our duty to God and our country. The country is changing. . .” Yes, he is correct. You would have to blind to not realize this fact.  But change is not always a good things or for the better. Worse yet, change simply for the sake of change can often be worse than maintaining the status quo. But this is a different discussion.

There is something for more significant about this statement that struck me the moment I heard it. “Our oath calls upon us to do our duty to God and our country. The country is changing. . .” I had no more that heard this quote when without thinking, I finished it by saying “but God doesn’t.” God does not change. Any person who calls themselves a Christian must accept this fact, God does not change. Why not? Because a god who changes is not a god in whom faith can be placed. If you do not know that tomorrow God will be the same as he is today, then how can you trust that his salvation will last.

But I can remain confident that God does not change.  In Malachi 3:6  God declares, “I the LORD do not change.” James 1:17 tells us that He is “the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Psalm 33:11 tells us, “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” And Hebrews 13:8 tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” No, God does not change! 

Because He does not change, I can place my faith in Him. This is why Psalm 18:2 declares, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Because He does not change, I can be confident in His word. A word that tells me that a homosexual life style is contrary to God’s teaching.

God’s teachings are repeated over and over through the Bible. In Leviticus 18:22 God told the nation of Israel, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” In I Corinthians 6:9 – 10 homosexuality is grouped with  other sins like, “idolaters, adulterers, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers.” And Romans 1:26 – 27 clearly presents it as unnatural.  Now again, we can get caught up in the discussion of how these are to be understood, but I believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God and that God’s Word is true. In light of this, I can stand strong in the values presented in the long held BSA policy with confidence because, God does not change.

This same God, whom many of us have followed in the BSA for over 100 years, does not change. Therefore, to change our position based on an ever fluctuating societal view versus the position of an unchanging God, is at best foolishness and at worst, a direct a affront to the righteousness of God Himself.

Please understand the point I am trying to communicate. My opposition is not out of hatred, for this same God has taught me the need to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. (Mark 12:31) It is not out of fear that our children will be “preyed” upon, such thinking is unfounded and ludicrous. It is out of my commitment to the first point of the scout law, duty to God.

As I consider the implications of this address, I am left to wonder the true motive behind Dr. Gates’ remarks. If it is out of compassion for those who feel excluded, I share his heart, but must remain faithful to my duty to God. If it is out of fear of loosing membership from being out of step with society, I understand, but must remain faithful to my duty to God. If it is for any other reason, I must still remain faithful to my duty to God.

And so, as the BSA continues its journey, step by step, down the road they have chosen, I see it as only a matter of time until their path and the path of many more will go their separate ways.

 

 

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It’s Not Just a Right, It’s Not Just a Privilege, It’s a Responsibility – Voting

On this election day, I decided to re-post a blog I originally wrote prior to the 2008 election.

Brian Olson - Christian Speaker, Bible Teacher and Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

There are many traditions and rules around elections that most of us do not understand. Did you know that the Democratic donkey was originally used as an attack on Andrew Jackson, the Democratic candidate in the 1828 election. Did you know that the Republican elephant was taken from a passing reference in an 1874 cartoon in Harper’s Weekly. Did you know that the elections were set in November because this allowed the harvest to be completed, freeing the mostly agrarian society to vote. Did you know that Tuesday was chosen because Monday was not considered reasonable since it would require many people to begin travel on Sunday, conflicting with Sunday worship. Did you know that the first Tuesday, after the first Monday was chosen to avoid November 1 because 1) it was All Saints Day and 2) many business owners did their books on the fist of the month.

These…

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Bobby Jindal Sues U.S. Dept. of Education Over Common Core

The Common Core State Standard for our schools is here.  While on the surface a minimum standard that a students should seem to be able to live up to seems like a good idea, there is a deeper problem when you look more closely.  The following blog comes from caffeinatedthoughts.com where much more information can be found on the subject.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Dept. of Education for pushing the Common Core State Standards and assessments on states.

via Bobby Jindal Sues U.S. Dept. of Education Over Common Core.

Marriage – Reclaiming A Forgotten Truth

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As of this week Illinois has lost one of the few thing it held over my beloved home state of Iowa.  On Wednesday Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the legalization of same-sex marriage making Illinois the 16th state to do so.  (Iowa was 3rd, although it was done by the courts who forgot their job was not to legislate but to determine if the laws are consistent with the constitution, but I digress.)

The state of Illinois has officially legalized gay marriage.  My first thought was, “what a sad day.” But the more I thought about it I realized it was inevitable.
Now your probably thinking, “What on earth is he talking about?”  Allow me to attempt to explain.

For many of us, marriage is an institution ordained by God. Genesis 2:24 (NASB) tells us “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”  In short, marriage is a “religious” thing.  A position held not just by Christians, but Jews, Muslims and many others.  In addition to this, it is historically a position held by the people of this nation and many others throughout history.  (Thus the old expression, “married in the eyes of God.”)  That being said, it is a position that was forfeited long ago.

“How so?” you ask.  Let me start by pointing out what this issue was not about.  Contrary to what every media source, pundit and activist would have you believe, the battle was not about equal rights.  You see, the state of Illinois already had legal civil unions guaranteeing that the union of a homosexual couple had the same legal rights as a legally married heterosexual couple.  What they did not have was the word “marriage.”  That’s right, this battle was not about a truth, but about a word.  A word which as I stated earlier was a “religious” thing.

Okay, but how does this make the point that the religious meaning of marriage had been forfeited.    Simply put, we stopped viewing marriage as a religious thing a long time ago.  We removed God from the institution of marriage a long time ago when it became acceptable practice for two people to “marry” before a government official.  (And in turn our pastors began to serve as government officials signing off on a government sanctioned union.)  We removed God when the marriage ceremony itself became more important than the meaning.  (After all, how many little girls have grown up dreaming of a big church wedding.)  We removed God when two people with no belief in God, let alone a commitment, were joined together in a church.  (Some churches rent out their facilities to anyone who will pay.)  We removed God when marriage became something to be embraced only as long as the good feelings lasted. (It is then tossed away when things got difficult.)

Now you may be thinking, “It’s always been that way and it’s that way everywhere.”  Like I said, we forfeited it a long time ago and we probably don’t remember anything different.

No ,”marriage” ceased to be seen as a religious thing by most people a long time ago and slowly over time it has become one of those things most people do simply because society says it is the norm.  So marriage became simply a “legal” thing.  From this point on everything begins to make sense. An institution ordained by God between a man and woman became a legal contract issued by the government. And ‘I fear this is not the end, but only one more step down a road that leads away from God.

Yes, I am sorry the decision was made because I do not agree with it, but the fact is I’m more sad that we gave up marriage so long ago without even knowing it.   So how do we respond to the situation? We need to realize there is a greater issue that needs to be done. The hearts and souls of our nation need to be drawn to God. Only then can we begin to grasp the true meaning of marriage and what we have really given up.

An Open Letter to the Boy Scouts of America

A Scout is ReverentAllow me to express the support of me and my entire family in maintaining the Boy Scouts of America’s current policy of a ban on gay scouts and scouters. I believe that the BSA has served for over a century as a great force for character development of young men. The foundational key of this character is Duty to God. Now I realize that some religious organization do embrace homosexuals, but these do not represent all religious beliefs. To ask a person who sees homosexuality as contrary to God’s law to maintain their duty to God while being part of an organization which embraces homosexuals is to put their entire beliefs at odds with their commitment to the organization.

Further, to simply push the policy off on the individual Charter Organization creates a new set of problems. First, the individual Charter Organizations do not have the resources to fight the legal battles, that will come, that the BSA as a national organization does. Second, this will not satisfy those who seek to overturn this policy. They will simply continue the battle until the BSA openly accepts gay scouts and scouters as national policy. Finally, the only clear result of such a move will be the eventual schism between those who accept the new policy and those who choose to maintain the current policy based on their religious convictions.

I have always been proud to be affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. I currently serve as an Assistant Scoutmaster, and previously served on the committee as the Troop Chaplain. My oldest son is beginning to plan his Eagle project and my youngest son looks forward to someday doing the same. I believe in the commitment of Lord Baden-Powell to develop men for the future and his belief that “No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws.” (Lord Baden-Powell, Scouting For Boys,1908) As one who clearly believes that Homosexuality is contrary to God’s law, I find myself torn between my love of scouting and my love of God. But in the end, there is no question. love of God does and must always win.

I ask you, on behalf of myself, my family and all those who share my belief in God’s law, please maintain the long held policy of a ban on gay scouts and scouters.

Yours in Scouting,

Brian Olson

__________

Send the BSA your thoughts.

A special number to express your views on the change of policy has been set up by the Boy Scouts of America.  Send your thoughts to:  nationalsupportcenter@scouting.org or call:  972 580 2330.

It’s Not Just a Right, It’s Not Just a Privilege, It’s a Responsibility – Voting

There are many traditions and rules around elections that most of us do not understand. Did you know that the Democratic donkey was originally used as an attack on Andrew Jackson, the Democratic candidate in the 1828 election. Did you know that the Republican elephant was taken from a passing reference in an 1874 cartoon in Harper’s Weekly. Did you know that the elections were set in November because this allowed the harvest to be completed, freeing the mostly agrarian society to vote. Did you know that Tuesday was chosen because Monday was not considered reasonable since it would require many people to begin travel on Sunday, conflicting with Sunday worship. Did you know that the first Tuesday, after the first Monday was chosen to avoid November 1 because 1) it was All Saints Day and 2) many business owners did their books on the fist of the month.

These are all interesting and perhaps even fascinating facts. But on a more serious note, American Citizens have been granted an amazing privilege that is not found everywhere in the world. That privilege is the right to have a voice in deciding our leaders. Historically, however, Americans have not met this challenge as they should. According to the Federal Election Commission, voter turnout for the presidential election years between 1960 & 2004 ranged from 49.1% – 63.1%. This means that two-fifth to one-half of the eligible voters failed to accept this responsibility. Voting is not just a right, it is not just a privilege, it is a responsibility.

“Taken as individuals, we are merely citizens like any other. Taken together as part of the body of the people, we are God’s anointed in this land. The people of this country are chosen out like David was chosen, like Solomon was chosen, to shape the destiny, by God’s providence, of this land. And as they stood before God to answer for their responsibility, so we stand before Him to answer for ours.” Alan Keyes, March 2000

Election Day is November 4. Please take the time to exercise your right and accept the responsibility that you have been given.

VOTE!

God, Give Us Men!

Recently I have been contemplating the poem “God, give us men!” by Josiah Gilbert Holland.

GOD, give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

It is election year, and that means everywhere you turn there are people telling you what this country needs and who is the person to give it. The “who” I will not say at this time. The what is leadership. The what is a servants heart. The what is “Men.”

What do I mean by “Men.” I intend no sexist implications in the use of my words. Rather I use the term “men” as juxtaposed to mice. These truths apply to all human kind. So what are “Men?” They are those who will stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone. They are those who are not for sale or out for their own gain. They are those who possess their own convictions and are not swayed by public opinion. They are those who place the needs of others ahead of their own. They are those of integrity, who live their life the same in the public eye and their private refuge.

It is a sorry thing, when we look at the world around us and question if such men exist. But before we look to the world, we need to look in the mirror. How do we live our lives? Are we seeking our own, or are we standing for what is right? Do we go with the crowd, or do we follow our convictions? Are we the same when we are alone as we are when with others? How can we expect to find what we are looking for in the world, when we cannot find it in ourselves? Where do we find these “men”? They must come from us.

But we human beings are a selfish lot. It is our nature to seek our own. It is our nature to follow the easy path and simply fit in. If this is the case, then how do we find the “men” our country needs. How do we find the “men” that Holland calls for?

Holland has said it from the very beginning: “GOD, give us men!” It is God alone who can raise up men from such selfish, lazy people. Alone, we are lost, but with God, as the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:13, we can say “I can do all things through Him who give me strength.”

Who are these “men?” They are men of God. A fact not lost on the founding fathers. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” It is through God alone that we can set ourselves to the side and seek what is best for others.

I must agree with the words of John Adams, and have often said that the entire success of a democratic republic is based on Philippians 2:4 ” Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Only when people place others before themselves can democracy work. When “men” begin to look first to themselves, if not only to thenselves, democracy will fail.

So in my prayer that I cry out is for God to raise up “men”. Men of God, who seek not their own interest, but the interest others. Men whose strength is found in God alone. Men who humbly follow God wherever He may lead.

GOD, give us men!