Random Thoughts on Social Issues

There was another mass shooting recently, and following a well established pattern, pundits started debated gun control issues. Here are my thoughts:

  • The solution to gun violence is not more unenforceable gun control regulations. If we can’t enforce the regulations we already have, what makes us thing we can enforce more regulations?
  • But neither is the solution to gun violence more guns on the streets and in our neighborhoods. Somehow we have to change our attitudes about guns, violence, and the sanctity of all human life.
  • Speaking of gun control advocates, it troubles me deeply that some of the biggest supporters of more guns, and some of the biggest purchasers of guns and ammo, are Christians who claim to believe in a sovereign God and a God of grace and mercy. And for clarification, by “guns” I do not mean guns for hunting, but guns for protection. I don’t know what the stats are, but I think it would be surprising how many NRA members are bible loving, Jesus serving, evangelical Christians.
  • The only thing that troubles more (in this issue) is when I see pictures of the American flag, guns, and a Bible all wrapped up together. In my opinion, this is very scary.

There was another terrorist attack. This time at a mall in Kenya, and it is being reported that some of the terrorist were Americans. All were radical muslims.

  • While I personally believe the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, and despise this type of violence, I do wish they would be more vocal in their opposition. Unfortunately, Islam is being defined by the violent minority.
  • The main target of this attack were Christians and non-Muslims.
  • Christians are being persecuted at an alarming rate around the world.

More aspects of the Affordable Care Act are set to begin October 1st. The Republican party wants to defund Obamacare. Thus, we are a week away from a potential government shutdown.

  • It is my understanding if the government did shut down, it would not affect the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
  • In other words, all a shut-down will do is hurt the middle class and working class of our country. It will not hurt our representatives in Congress because they will continue to get their paychecks, and it will not stop the implementation of Obamacare.
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Obamacare is not going anywhere. It is the law of the land. The Republicans need to get over it and figure out a way to make it better.

The House recently voted to cut back on the SNAP (food stamp) program.

  • Fortunately it only represents about a 5% cut.
  • I wish the Republicans would have just as eagerly try to 5% across the board. But as usual, the first place to make cuts is against the most vulnerable. The main reason for this is that the vulnerable do not represent a voting block and so cutting back on them does not affect elections. This is sad.
  • Thankfully, the Senate will not pass these cuts, and or the attempt to defund Obamacare. It is all political theater.
  • Meanwhile, our economy is suffering.

Racial reconciliation in our country has gone backwards since the election of Pres. Obama. This has been my hunch, but I had lunch today with a black pastor that has been on the front lines of civil rights for 32 years. Our conversation confirmed my hunch. I am committed to spending my life fighting all forms of racism in our country.

What are your thoughts on all these issues?

An Iraqi’s Perspective (Part Two)

A guest post by Dr. Marwan Odeesh. Dr. Odeesh was born, raised, and educated in Baghdad, Iraq. This post is his perspective on the situation in Iraq, and the United States’ involvement. Please read carefully and reflectively.

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Thank you Dr. Riggs. I am honored to know you. Regarding my belief: I was born into Catholic Christian family, from a long Catholic–Chaldean ancestry, who has kept their Christianity viable for a long time.

I must admit that our Christianity is different from the Christianity I found in the States. Our Christianity is more ritualistic than intellectual, and it is more traditional than revolutionary and life changing. The one thing we do have in common with the West, and the only unifying factor between the Far East and the Wild West, is the Person of Jesus Christ.

The reason for our traditional Christianity, in my opinion, is due to the continual and successive invasions on Iraq in the classical antiquity counted in AD which is my main concern: Achaemenid and Seleucid rule, Parthian and Roman rule, Sassanid Empire, Arab conquest and Abbasid Caliphate, Mongol conquest, Ottoman Turkey and Mamluk rule, up to the British mandate in the 20th century. Iraqi Chaldean and Assyrian Christians have dealt with their Christianity as a treasure to conceal other than a faith to live out on a daily basis and that has made our Christianity a tradition more than a true faith message to live and outreach.

Despite great historic Christian theologians such as St.John of Dalyatha, and St Aphram the Syrian, Christian martyrdom in ancient Iraq, in my opinion, has been the result of our obedience to the engraved teachings of Jesus Christ, rather than a living faith; and being an interactive living body of Jesus Christ, and this is related to the toughened structural composition of the Iraqi personality over time. Maybe because of this, the Iraqi Christians have also had favor in the Lord’s eye to testify of their faith as martyrs. Continue reading