Do You Pray?: Politicians Curse Prayer

Most recently, I read a news article on CBN News, written by Will Maule, Faithwire, “’We’re Not Going to Give Thoughts and Prayers’: 2020 Candidate Cory Booker Curses Prayer,” dated May 14, 2019. Maule wrote, “Democratic hopeful Corey Booker has issued some harsh words of criticism to those who vow to send ‘thoughts and prayers’ in the wake of mass shootings.” Maule wrote that other Democratic politicians have called that prayer is basically ineffective and Booker called it “Bulls**t!”

You can read the entire Will Maule article here: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2019/may/lsquo-we-rsquo-re-not-going-to-give-thoughts-and-prayers-rsquo-2020-candidate-cory-booker-curses-prayer

Let’s discuss for a moment the impact of what these politicians are saying. The Bible is very clear concerning the action of praying to God for help. An author by the name of J.C. Ryle wrote in the 1800’s the following, “I have looked carefully at the lives of believers in the Bible. I cannot find a single one (where we know something of their lives) who was not a person of prayer. Quite the opposite. It is often said of the godly that they ‘call on Him as Father’ or ‘call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;’ we are told that the wicked, on the other hand, ‘do not call upon the Lord.’”[1]

Ryle took this statement from the following scriptures: 1 Peter 1:17, “And if you call Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.” 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.” Psalm 14:4, “Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the name of the Lord?”

Anyone who professes to be a Christian and then tells the world that he will not pray and encourages others not to pray does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ or with the Father. This person is separated from God. When one becomes a Christian, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, who in turn teaches the new convert how to pray. Anyone who claims to be a Christian and does not pray has no true relationship with God. Ryle wrote, “The Holy Spirit makes us new creatures and adopts us into God’s family, and He leads us to cry out to Him, ‘Abba Father.’”[2] Let’s look at Luke 18:7, “And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them?” Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba Father.’”

The Bible is full of encouraging promises to those who pray. I will list a few to consider:

Matthew 7:7-8, ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 21:22, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

John 14:13-14, “13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

These were just a few encouraging promises to pray. Now, let us look at what prayer did for those in need and during times of peril.

In the Bible, prayer opened the Red Sea when Pharaoh was chasing the Israelites down after they left Egypt. The Israelites were going towards the Red Sea and they started crying out to God for help.  In Exodus 14:16-17, “Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:21-22, “21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”

Ryle wrote, “Prayer brought water from a rock (cf. Numbers 20:1-13); Bread from heaven (cf. Exodus 16); Prayer made the sun stand still (cf. Joshua 10:1-15); Prayer brought fire from the sky onto Elijah’s sacrifice at Carmel (cf. 1 Kings 18:36); Prayer overthrew armies (cf. 2 Kings 19:20-26); Prayer has healed the sick (cf. Matthew 8:5-17); Prayer has raised the dead (cf. John 11:38-44); He never stopped giving until Abraham stopped praying (cf. Genesis 18:16-33).”[3]

Let us not forget that prayers were answered and Israel won the Six Day War back in June of 1967. God continues to answer prayer today.

For a man or woman that curses prayer and encourages others not to pray, in my opinion, those are not the words of one who has a true relationship with God, with Jesus Christ.  As J.C. Ryle wrote, the wicked does not pray to the Lord.

Folks, we are living in a time where Christianity is on attack. Please join me in prayer to pray for our leaders, that God will change and transform their hearts and that they will come to know the loving and saving grace of Jesus Christ. We are living in a time where spiritual warfare is real and what we fight as Christians are not of this world. See Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

 

References:

CBN News, May 14, 2019, http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2019/may/lsquo-we-rsquo-re-not-going-to-give-thoughts-and-prayers-rsquo-2020-candidate-cory-booker-curses-prayer

[1] J.C.Ryle, Do You Pray? A Question for Everybody (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 2018), 14.

[2] Ryle, Do You Pray?, 13.

[3] J.C. Ryle, Do You Pray?, 26.

Copyright May 19, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Cancer: We had the cure but we killed it!

As I was praying this morning for a friend who is having bladder cancer surgery today, I asked God why hasn’t there been a cure for cancer? With all the bright minds and God given talent and intellect, why hasn’t the cure been found? Then I felt God telling me, “I have given you the cure for cancer as well as cure for all the dreaded diseases! Mankind in their finite wisdom and selfish ways have murdered the ones who had the knowledge and intellect to develop the cure for all the dreaded diseases! Mankind has murdered over 54 million babies through abortion, therefore killing the very people that I gave the gift and talent to end cancer.” This was such an impression in which I felt God was speaking directly to me.

The facts are the over 54 million babies have been brutally torn apart out of the womb because of the belief of “Pro Choice!” The Bible is very clear in God’s Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). We have been a selfish society, who have murdered well over 54 million babies. I can almost imagine hearing the cries of the innocents! Cries of over 54 million children. Some of these children had the knowledge and intellect and the key to the cure of cancer. Many were great leaders who had God given talent of discoveries which would have made the world a better place to live. But mankind killed their own and destroyed most of the God given talent.

We live in such an evil society where many of the leaders in our nation do not “truly” believe in God. Many say that they are “Christians,” but this is only because they want votes from whoever they can please. These leader’s lives and their choice in how they make laws does not match up to the plumb-line of what God has given mankind as a guide to live holy lives. They cater to what their constituents want as opposed to leading in a godly manner. There is no value in Biblical truth since the Ten Commandments or any image thereof has been ordered to be removed because man does not want to be reminded of God’s laws and requirements. The Political Correctness movement has been authored by Satan himself. Followers of Political Correctness assert that pastors who preach and teach against political correctness are inciting hatred. What was considered deviant behavior is now considered normal and what was once considered Holy is now considered hate. We live in a world where mankind has rebelled against God and His ways. The Politically Correct will no longer tolerate God or any of His teaching. The evil one is alive and doing very well in the United States as well as throughout the world. Our politicians are not hearing God but listening to the voice of the prince of this world.

God gave us the cures and the very best talent. Unfortunately for mankind, we killed it through over 54 million abortions. Over 54 MILLION INNOCENTS, destroyed in the most horrific ways imaginable. The promoters of abortion are likened to the NAZI Regime of World War II, where over SIX MILLION Jews were murdered. Since the world found out about this horrific war crime against an entire race of people, they attempted to put an end to genocide. Margaret Sanger was the first woman to start an abortion clinic in the United States. Yes, mankind in their finite wisdom, thinking that abortion and the killing of innocents is their god given right and been misled by the voice of the prince of this world!

We had the cure, but didn’t give it a chance to develop and grow up into the woman and man that God had given us. These babies would have grown up to be the very best leaders, doctors, and researchers. Their lives and talent, lost forever. We had the cure but we killed it!

Copyright © March 15, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Ugliness of Christian Politics

Most recently, our beloved Commonwealth of Virginia has experienced political controversy of our Democratic Governor, Dr. Ralph Northam, who just endorsed the most aggressive late-term abortion bill. This bill was defeated, but the fact that a Pediatric Neurologist, who is also the Governor of Virginia, is not sitting well with Christians on both the Republican and Democratic sides.

Our Governor proclaims to be a man of faith, a Christian, and a member of a Baptist church. It is concerning that man who proclaims to be a Follower of Jesus Christ then endorses an aggressive abortion bill. Most recently, while being interviewed on WTOP, Northam said, “When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physicians, more than one physician, by the way…And it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s non-viable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” This statement enraged both Christian Democrats and Republicans.

Just yesterday, a racist picture, supposedly of him, from his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School Yearbook, showed two people, one in a KKK hood and robe and the other black-faced, standing holding beer cans. The Governor apologized for the racist picture, and then today he is denying that he was in the picture at all. The picture was located on his yearbook page under his name. Then the Governor admitted that same year, he dressed up like Michael Jackson and put black shoe polish on his face for a dance contest in Texas. The Governor was very apologetic, but many Democrat’s and well as Republican’s have asked him to step down. The Governor states that he will not step down. Racism and the Jim Crow era slurs have no place in society. This shows a heart condition that does not match a Christian walk.

Many took to Facebook and Twitter. Professing Christian’s posted slurs towards Democrats like, “DEMONcrats” or “Democrats were acting like Demons.” Hateful, hurting, words appear to roll off many lips and yet there seems to be no remorse for what is said.

We at The Lantern & Shield do not condone abortion or racism. Although we are all conservative in our beliefs and our politics, it is troubling to us to see how professing Christians seem to find it very easy to say hateful and hurting words just to substantiate their positions in politics. We believe that Christians can take a stand for what they believe in but do it with love. Not everyone who states they are Christian are truly Christians. Approximately 79% of American’s identify with Christianity, but that does not make them a true Christian.

Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and to love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than this.”

If you want to make a difference for the gospel and in the name of Jesus, don’t call Democrats Demons and Demon-crats. It really is very offensive and it appears that people who do this have hate in their hearts. We are to love the sinner but hate the sin. How can you expect people to come to Christ when you just basically cursed them by calling them a demon?

The Word of God also says that we are not to judge others. It’s interesting that some people are so politically inclined to crucify another Christian for their difference of opinion than to try to reason with them by having a loving conversation with them. Matthew 7:5 says, “You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

I have many Democrat friends who do not support this bill. They are loving people and would give the coats off their back to help anyone. Not every person who identifies with the Democratic Party are baby killers or racists. I have known Republicans that believe that it’s okay to have an abortion. Don’t assume that just because someone mostly identifies with one party or the other believe in everything their party supports.

My point in this piece is that if you proclaim to be a true Christian, your life will exhibit love and not hate. We should be living our lives in a way that promotes love and the advancement of the gospel to the lost in our communities, state, and nation.

When people attack us, we should respond the way that Paul teaches us in Romans 12:20, “On the contrary, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap hot coals on his head.” Respond in love. They most likely will expect a hateful response, but respond with the love of Christ in your hearts.

We must also pray for our enemies as well as those who come against our faith. We do not like this recent abortion bill, which our Governor has supported and endorsed. But we must as Christian’s pray for Governor Northam, that God will change his heart, and that decisions will be made for the glorification of God’s will.

If you have participated in hateful words against others, God said that you must ask forgiveness and repent. By continuing these types of behaviors, this can separate you in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Sin will separate us from God. John 9:31 says, “We know that God listens to the godly person who does His will.”

Copyright © February 2, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, A Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A Nation in Crisis: Illegal Immigrant Attacks Young Boy on School Bus

I love people and have a heart for ministering to immigrants who are in our nation and trying to make a new life for themselves. As a Christian, my heart goes out to people who are less fortunate than myself. My wife and I have helped people from buying groceries for them to praying and helping them at worksites by handing out water on hot days and giving them Spanish Bibles. We both have a heart to help people. Many of these people are here in the United States legally. From time to time, we cross paths with people here illegally and we encourage them to apply for legal citizenship and do it the right way. I mention all this beforehand so that people will know that we really do love people and want the best for them.

At the same time, we consider ourselves to be good citizens of our local community, state, and nation. We obey the law and we expect others to do the same. I have personally been a victim of a violent crime, so I understand the fear when someone is trying to assault you or kill you! I most recently heard of a young boy right here in Virginia who was bullied on a school bus and was beaten in his face to the point that his nose was broken. The school bus driver did not stop the bus to render assistance. The boy bled profusely from his nose and face until his blue jeans were soaked with so much blood that even his underwear was soaked with blood. The victim had to ride injured on the school bus for over 20 minutes, no assistance given by the bus driver, and no assistance to break up the assault. The bully was a high schooler and he received a ten-day suspension. I found out this evening that the bully was an illegal immigrant who was from Honduras.

This is just one circumstance of many being reported across the nation. I am not releasing the name of the victim to protect him from any retaliation. Any recourse against the perpetrator’s parents are drastically diminished since they are illegals. The school district has allowed these illegal immigrants into the school’s and they cannot even protect our own children. With this migrant caravan approaching, I cannot even fathom what may happen if others who do not have good intentions for Americans are allowed in our communities.

It is my understanding that the immigration laws in the United States must take these people in, but to what expense? Not every immigrant is a bully or a criminal, but how does a nation vet these people? Our nation is changing and quite frankly, becoming a more dangerous place to live. The attack on the young boy that I have written about was in a rural area of Virginia. I am not going to tell people how to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections, but when you cast that vote, think about the safety of your children. If this happened in rural America, it could happen anywhere in the United States.

As a Christian, I will continue to be a good neighbor, help those who are less fortunate than me, love my neighbor as I love myself, and share the gospel to all who will hear. I will also encourage all illegal immigrants that if you want to honor God, then obey the laws of the land. That means that if you are here illegally, then you need to apply for citizenship, even if it means that you go back to your own country and do it the right way. There is no honor or respect in breaking the law. If you want American Citizens to respect you, then obey our laws and come to the United States legally.

This is an opinion story of The Lantern & Shield Times. Copyright © October 24, 2018. The Lantern & Shield Times, a division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Reflections on Virginia Governor’s Race

Prior to moving to Georgia this Spring, I was a Virginia resident for about a half-a-century. I was born at the Medical College of Virginia and other than living several years in Ohio and North Carolina, I lived in Virginia and know its history very well.

The Democratic party was king for over a century, dating back prior to the Civil War. The well-known Byrd Machine was made up of Democrats.

The state flipped red for a few decades after voting for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Linwood Holton was the first Republican Governor elected, which occurred in 1969. In the governor’s race, usually there would a reaction to the President’s party for several decades. After Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976, Governor John Dalton, a Republican, was elected in 1977. When the U. S. would elect a Republican, Virginia would follow with a Democratic Governor in the next year’s election.

In recent years Virginia has been a much bluer state, partly due to the influx of people into Northern Virginia. But in addition to those factors, I think something else was at work in this election. Governor elect Ralph Northam is a real Virginian. His eastern shore accent gives him away.

Northam is not the wild-eyed liberal that is frequently seen today. Northam, according to Huffington Post, voted twice for President George W. Bush.

Northam is a U. S. Army veteran and a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, where Stonewall Jackson taught and Robert E. Lee is buried.

A majority of Virginians want Confederate monuments left in place. Whom would voters trust?

The out-going governor, Terry McAuliffe, was born in New York State. McAuliffe had New York values, not Virginia values. Southerners are cultural conservative. It certainly rubbed Southerners the wrong way when McAuliffe would assert his liberal Northeast values as Virginia values.

The Republican candidate for governor, Ed Gillespie, is a native of New Jersey.  Knowing that, whom would traditional Virginians be more likely to trust. Another Northeasterner, or a true native born Virginian.

Virginia did not go for President Trump in the election last year. The gubernatorial election certainly was not a reaction to that.

Things are not always as they seem. I don’t know how Governor elect Northam will govern. Some liberals may be very disappointed with the man who opposes sanctuary cities. And governors are not as ideological on average as those who are elected to serve in Washington, D. C.

Copyright © June 10, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

Profanity and Foul Language Should Never Be Used

Profanity and foul language should never be used in a public setting whether business or in everyday life. It is offensive to many people. It seems that the liberal left has now become the moral police where they criticize President Donald Trump with using offensive language and yet Trump’s accusers use language that is very similar.

To me, as an American Christian, I find it very offensive to hear people saying my God’s name in vain, GD, Holy S***, MF, Sh**, as well as other foul words. Yet many of those who accuse President Trump has used the very same language. I find it very offensive that any one use that language. If the President did use the language that he was accused of using calling poor countries S*** Holes, then that is unacceptable. That is very offensive!

But folks, here is the problem. When God and prayer have been removed from public schools and the government, and parents are no longer teaching their children the way of the Lord, with Biblical principles, then this is what we can expect. Morals are not being taught because the population does not know what is moral or immoral.

What is really ironic is that the immoral people who may become offended, are being offended by a mirror of themselves. They do not see the huge log in their own eye, only looking at the speck in their offender’s eye. You know, there is a Scripture in the Bible that addresses this, but many may not know the verse because many of the American people have fallen away from God and the Holy way of life. But for those who may want to know, the verse is found in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” What a bunch of hypocrites!

Of course, many say there should be a separation of church and state. But here is the issue for those who use that as there excuse, don’t even open your mouth in accusations until you clean up your own wretched life!

Personally, whenever I hear the President use curse words, I cringe and I do not like it! I cringe whenever I hear profanity used in public and in business. And using it towards employees is a form of abuse and is not acceptable.

Within my own business, if I have a client that uses foul language, I ask them not to use it. If they do not respect me enough to stop, then I do not need them as a client. I don’t want my mind filled with hatred and disgusting thoughts from foul language. Plus, cursing shows the true condition of the heart. For those who love the Old Testament, In Psalm 109:17, a person who delights in cursing will not be blessed. Psalm 10:7, “His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.” Proverbs 15:1, A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

If the President did call poor countries S#@* Holes, then his words did stir up anger. But for all involved who uses foul language, in order to be respected themselves, they need to have a transformation of the heart and come to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. One cannot change their own heart by themselves, it takes a spiritual and supernatural conversion only found through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I know personally because Christ changed my own black and offensive heart, who used to spew out filthy words.

Many state that the President has become a Christian. I am not judging him but wonder if this is actually true? The Bible states that we will know a Christian by their fruits. I would apply the same criteria to the President’s accusers. In Galatians 5:22, it says; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” If one does not have these fruits, I would question whether they have Christ in their heart at all?

We live in a nation where the environment is very volatile and hatred is being spewed from many different fronts. If we are to be united, then I believe that the people need to turn to God and repent of their evil ways. If they don’t, then we will never see peace in our nation. It is like the prince of this world has been released to devour what was once a great nation. This, in my opinion, is why there is so much hatred among the politicians against each other. I have never seen it so ugly in my lifetime. I pray that God will touch the hearts of our leaders and every man, woman, boy, and girl. I pray that people will turn to God. I pray that our nation will be healed.

Joseph T. Lee Copyright © January 17, 2018; The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

 

 

 

 

Where Are the Men of Honor?

Where Are the Men of Honor?

My heart is troubled as I have learned of a good friend whose husband left her. For what reason? Maybe he thought a young lady might be interested in him? Maybe he thought that his wife was not good enough for him anymore? Maybe he is going through some mid-life crisis? He calls himself a Christian and yet he is not acting like a Christian. He claims he loves God and yet he does not love his neighbor, his wife. And yet we see this same type of thing happening across America because Christians are not grounded in the Word of God and are caving into liberal and political correctness. The Bible is not being taught in many churches and our nation is quickly losing pastors with not enough replacements in sight. Welcome to our non-Christian nation thanks to the politically correct and the removal of prayer in our schools. We must get back to sound Biblical teaching in our churches. It’s not okay to just pick up and leave your wife, especially if she did not do anything to warrant such behavior. Where have the true men of honor gone? Where are the men who made a vow like this? To have and to hold from this day forward, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ’till death us do part.

A man that leaves his wife to cleave to another is disgusting! He loved her in the beginning. What changed? Oh, you must have fallen out of love! Oh, that’s a great excuse! Maybe the problem is YOU! Maybe you are NOT a man of HONOR! Maybe you are a VOW breaker! I don’t know, but I do know this. You will have to answer for your sin against your wife! You must answer for your sin against God. I am angry about this because a man who takes a vow to love his wife and then just picks up and leaves is NOT a man of honor!

So, exactly what is love? According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV), “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Also, look at Romans 12:9-13 (ESV), “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”

To say that you love someone means that you want the best for that person. Love is not always a warm, fuzzy, feeling. Love is not sex. Love is wanting the best for someone. It is placing that person before yourself, even if it means that you must make sacrifices for yourself. Love is a commitment! Men, if you are leaving your wives for what you think is better, you are acting like fools! If you think that young woman is really interested in your older version of yourself, you are sadly mistaken. You are throwing away your life and destroying your family while doing it! Those younger women that you are trying to hook up with are not interested in a long-term relationship with an old man like you! Sorry but the deceiver has led you astray! The facts are that if another woman will cause you to break your vow with your wife, she will cause another man to break his vow with his wife. Where are her morals to break up a home? Where are your morals to do the same? It’s not too late. You can turn back and ask forgiveness. You can come back to your wife and ask God to forgive you. Be the man of Honor that we all hope that you will be! Stay with your wife, love your children, and be the man that God has called you to be!

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © January 8, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

Let’s Make Healthcare Great

Shortly before I got married, my mentor, who also happened to be my future wife’s employer, told me that health insurance does not cover child birth until a woman has been on a policy for 10 months. I was well aware that regular human gestation was nine months, and some births are premature. I thought my mentor could keep my wife on her employment policy beyond her employment, but he said he couldn’t.

Being a pastor, I contacted The Southern Baptist Annuity Board, now known as Guidestone, and it was confirmed that childbirth would not be covered within the first 10 months. Lori and I were obedient to God’s teaching about not having premarital sex, but I was very worried about the possibility that she could get pregnant shortly after our marriage, and we would be burdened with expensive bills. I prayed that no child would be born that quickly. God answered that prayer, and even with pleading to have the original request overturned, after 32 and a half years, we still have no child.

Lori was marrying me, so she left her job in Georgia, and we set up household in Virginia, where I served a congregation.

This predicament is just one problem with a healthcare that is primarily employment based. Government indirectly has funded this setup since typically people are not taxed on their health insurance provided by their employers.

But the employment provided healthcare doesn’t work as easily for everyone. I have served as a pastor for over 33 years. I’ve been a Southern Baptist Pastor with health insurance through Guidestone of the Southern Baptist Convention. I retired earlier this year from that. My last payment for Lori and myself was over $1600 per month. That was the cheapest plan I could get, and it included a $10,000 per year deductible.

After leaving the pastorate and moving to Georgia, I have used the Affordable Healthcare Act to get a silver plan, which I’ve paid a little over $500 a month. This plan has a much lower deductible, and my wife and I are very pleased with it. Yes, it’s going up this coming year to $581 a month, but that’s a lot better than the $1600 a month. I am sure the latter policy would have gone up too. Incidentally, anytime in the past when I received a “raise,” the increase in my healthcare more than offset my “raise.”

But this situation is not limited to pastors of autonomous churches. Small business people, who are not a part of large company, must pay rates in the range I was paying.

How many people could start a business that could eventually employ others, hesitate to start that business, because they need the insurance plan they are on with an employer? And wasn’t the Affordable Healthcare idea originally a conservative idea…at least until Obama adopted it?

Republicans profess to support small business, but make it difficult to take that step since people may be afraid to leave the employment of a large company to start that business.

And what about those people who want to work, but can’t find a job? How do they pay for healthcare? Even in the best economy, there are people who are unemployed, or can only find part time work that doesn’t provide healthcare. A lack of healthcare, when a medical emergency arises, can cause financial ruin.

I’ve helped people pay bills as a pastor and personally. I’ve bought food for people. I can easily pick up someone’s tab for lunch. But I cannot personally afford to pay for someone’s healthcare. That requires a lot of people banding together, which should be done through the government.

I’m not going to argue that the constitution requires government to pay for healthcare, other than promoting the general welfare. But the government is indirectly subsidizing healthcare by letting employers provide it without taxing the benefits of employees.

I know plenty of conservatives who look forward to age 65, when they will get Medicare. If you going to oppose government healthcare, then you need to be consistent and oppose Medicare.

I’ve paid taxes for years, writing big quarterly checks to my respective state and to the federal treasury. I don’t begrudge paying for a government that benefits me. But why should I write big checks that benefit others, and I’m not allowed to get a benefit from the government I’ve supported. Yes, taxes would probably go up to pay for government healthcare, but when you consider the value of it, I believe it is well worth it.

If companies didn’t have to subsidize healthcare, they could pay bigger wages to the workers.

And young people should have healthcare. I remember how worried I was about healthcare when I graduated from college and started to work fulltime. I had been on my mother’s policy, and was being picked up by my new employer. I was concerned about any possible gap. What if I had a health emergency as I started work, and something went wrong with the system. I feared being without coverage.

An argument frequently made by conservatives is that no one should be forced to buy it. But medical emergencies do happen, and only the most hardened libertarian would say to a dying young person, “you made your bed, now lie in it.” And when that person is treated, somebody is going to pay for it. Why not just spread the cost across a broad base of people who all paying into the system?

I know that there are Christians who use Christian programs that substitute for insurance. But they don’t have to accept you. A pre-existing condition can keep you out of their fold.

I know we have a culture where people live together outside of matrimony, and at least some companies cover live-in partners. But in such a predicament, you could not only be thrown out the door on a moment’s notice, but you could lose the roof over your head. You could lose your health insurance.

We are blessed with good healthcare. But it’s a blessing everyone should have access to.

The opinions above are not necessarily those of The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

Ashton C. Smith. Copyright © December 18, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC

 

 

Roy Moore

I first heard Roy Moore years ago when he spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention. Listening to him was like stepping back in time, he had long, memorized quotes that he used like speakers in earlier decades.

I thought of that with the recent accusations, looking bad for him since they are multiple, and Moore had a reputation with young teenage women.

As a lover of history, I remember reading that in Colonial Times, some men had a predilection for young girls. My thought would center on how one would have a conversation, since shared experiences from life would be a background for that. Plus, when you’re older “mating” habits of the young can appeal foolish. But in that time, men talked about politics, growing crops, world affairs and business with other men, not with women.

Adding to this predicament is reports and at least one picture of senator Al Franken, democrat of Minnesota, and his escapades. In addition, congresswoman Comstock of Virginia reports on sexual harassment and assaults being widespread on Capital Hill. Her example details a young woman staffer going to a congressman’s home, who exposed himself to her. She quit the next day.

Plus, we learn, it’s a long process to report any type of harassment, taking months and requiring the victim to go through counseling first.

Additionally, liberal democrats seem to get a pass. If you support particular issues, your behavior magically becomes acceptable.

Add to that, victims are paid off. Not by their perpetrators, but by you and me, the taxpayer.

If you’re in Alabama, you’re being lectured on whom to vote for…by people who don’t have the best reputation. That could cause a response that helps Moore more than hurts him. It’s much easier to lecture than to set an example. If you’re being lectured by people you resent, how would you respond? My tendency would be to do the opposite of what I’m being asked to do.

How this Alabama election turns out, remains to be seen. I don’t expect Moore to back down. He hasn’t backed down from anything in his life. Decades ago, you had to be a Democrat to be elected to anything statewide in Alabama. That might happen again. Or, people, fed up with Washington ways, may elect Roy Moore.

Ashton C. Smith © November 19, 2017 The Lantern & Shield Times LLC

Reflections on Virginia Governor’s Race

Prior to moving to Georgia this Spring, I was a Virginia resident for about a half-a-century. I was born at the Medical College of Virginia and other than living several years in Ohio and North Carolina, I lived in Virginia and know its history very well.

The Democratic party was king for over a century, dating back prior to the Civil War. The well-known Byrd Machine was made up of Democrats.

The state flipped red for a few decades after voting for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Linwood Holton was the first Republican Governor elected, which occurred in 1969. In the governor’s race, usually there would a reaction to the President’s party for a number of decades. After Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976, Governor John Dalton, a Republican, was elected in 1977. When the U. S. would elect a Republican, Virginia would follow with a Democratic Governor in the next year’s election.

In recent years Virginia has been a much bluer state, partly due to the influx of people into Northern Virginia. But in addition to those factors, I think something else was at work in this election. Governor elect Ralph Northam is a real Virginian. His eastern shore accent gives him away.

Northam is not the wild-eyed liberal that is frequently seen today. Northam, according to Huffington Post, voted twice for President George W. Bush.

Northam is a U. S. Army veteran and a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, where Stonewall Jackson taught and Robert E. Lee is buried.

A majority of Virginians want Confederate monuments left in place. Whom would voters trust?

The out-going governor, Terry McAuliffe, was born in New York State. McAuliffe had New York values, not Virginia values. Southerners are cultural conservative. It certainly rubbed Southerners the wrong way when McAuliffe would assert his liberal Northeast values as Virginia values.

The Republican candidate for governor, Ed Gillespie, is a native of New Jersey.  Knowing that, whom would traditional Virginians be more likely to trust. Another Northeasterner, or a true native born Virginian.

Virginia did not go for President Trump in the election last year. The gubernatorial election certainly was not a reaction to that.

Things are not always as they seem. I don’t know how Governor elect Northam will govern. Some liberals may be very disappointed with the man who opposes sanctuary cities. And governors are not as ideological on average as those who are elected to serve in Washington, DC.

Dr. Ashton C. Smith, © November 8, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.