Tag Archives: Memorial Day

Memorial Day and the National Anthem: Some Recent Conclusions

The ‘National Anthem’ and This Past Week’s Football Owners Meeting: Why I’ll Be Taking a Knee With “Kap” This Coming Football Season

by Pastor Paul J. Bern

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The United States of America hasn’t been winning very many popularity contests overseas as of late. The last two presidents – particularly Donald Trump – have stepped up military drone strikes against Islamic extremists, but also those countries that have numerous oil fields who are working to undermine the US dollar. Countries such as Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria are currently in negotiations to collaborate using an alternative currency to the US dollar, such as the Euro, the Chinese Yuan or the Russian ruble, but these oil-producing countries are also using gold as a form of currency. Resorting to such tactics by any of the above countries constitutes a direct threat to US interests, which has provoked the strong military response we are seeing in today’s headlines.

 

 

Here on the home front, our cities are deteriorating due to a glut of boarded up houses, long-dormant industrial sites and abandoned shopping centers. Much the same has happened to many small rural towns for the same reasons. The least common denominator to why this is occurring is the lack of jobs that pay a fair minimum wage of, say, $15.00 an hour. And then there’s our police forces, who are supposed to be protecting and serving the public. Instead, they have mutated into a paramilitary apparatus equipped with military-grade weapons they don’t need, and many if not most of those police are a lot more trigger-happy than they would care to admit. As of this writing, the FBI, BATFE, NSA, DEA and the DHS have ordered a total of over 3.5 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition. That’s enough to kill everyone in America 10 times over. So why did law enforcement purchase such an enormous amount of ammunition knowing that it was more than they would ever use? The purpose is evidently to deny American gun owners access to ammunition by buying up the entire supply. This enormous amount of ammunition has been purchased for the same reason the police departments are acquiring military grade assault weapons and armored vehicles. They are preparing for a mass assault on the American people as an anticipated reaction to the protests and possible rioting over food and fuel shortages that will occur when martial law is declared. This could even mushroom into another US civil war if things get out of hand.

 

It has been my observation that there are far more clandestine reasons that are carefully hidden underneath the surface for these things to be occurring. The forces and enforcers of the status quo are the same individuals who stand to lose everything when the US dollar inevitably crashes and the Western world’s capitalist debt-based economic bubble finally bursts for good, as it eventually must. For those who don’t already know, this may occur even sooner than expected. But it was Jesus who said. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where it will rust or be eaten by moths, or that thieves break in and steal. But instead, store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moths don’t eat up your clothes, where nothing ever rusts, and where thievery is nonexistent.” (Matthew 6: 19-21) When that collapse finally does occur, it will bring the American, Canadian, European, Japanese and Russian economies down along with it. Even China’s booming economy would come to a screeching halt in such a case as that!

 

Here in the USA, there are presently numerous individuals or entire families who are engaged in activities known as “prepping”. Prepping can generally be defined as making advance preparations for an expected disaster, or for the declaration of martial law. I have begun to do this very thing myself, mainly by storing plenty of nonperishable food and lots of extra 1-gallon milk jugs of water. In a worst-case scenario, I got a passport last winter, and it’s good for 10 years. What does this say about our country and the state of its people? It looks to me like there are many saying, “We’ve had enough of all this crap. The entire American political and economic systems are a disaster area, and the government is also broken beyond repair. So it’s up to us to fix it ourselves.”

 

For a long time now I have maintained that we need to reinvent government as we know it. One replacement idea would be a Web-based paperless government. Thanks to the global proliferation of the Internet, hierarchical governments and other similar organizations ruled from the top down will soon find themselves replaced with a Web-based democracy featuring a horizontally administered command and organizational structure. In effect, it would be a kind of laterally managed organization that runs peer-to-peer, similar to a beehive, or maybe like an ant colony, as the Bible describes it: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Proverbs 6: 6-8). The main thing will be organizing the peer-to-peer economic system that would accompany such a lateral management structure. But this would not be difficult to achieve due to the decentralized nature of lateral management systems.

 

One thing is certain; America is a hollowed out shell of what it used to be. The job market is absolutely decimated – never mind all of the propaganda that comes from the mainstream media about gaining 200,000 new jobs every month. They are almost entirely part time jobs everywhere I look. It makes me glad I had to retire from the work force, and even grateful for my small disability check. At first when I became disabled I complained about how small my monthly check was. But, having the time to sit back and watch the implosion of the American job market from 2011 up until now, I stopped complaining a long time ago. In fact, it was sinful of me to have done that, and so I confessed that sin to the Lord and begged His forgiveness and he fully restored me (hallelujah!). He wants to restore us all, so confess your sins and Jesus will forgive you too. It doesn’t matter how bad you have been, or what you did and when,or what your past has been like. The blood of Jesus washes it all away.

 

This past week, the 32 billionaire owners, or their designated representatives, met right here in Atlanta to discuss what to do about players who ‘take a knee’ when the National Anthem is played just before games begin. Sports Illustrated had this to say about the meeting:

ATLANTA — The owners had been locked in discussion for almost three hours, and momentum was starting to build toward a resolution to be voted on. This, in certain circumstances, would be when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would take command of the room. But not this time. The national anthem has been the most sensitive issue the league has dealt with over the past two years; so instead, Goodell stopped the open forum and called for the owners to go around the room and, one by one, make their points. This is where the league’s anthem policy was born, amid two common themes consistent among the 32 takes.

1) The NFL needed an enforceable policy on the anthem.

2) The NFL needed to respect players who weren’t comfortable standing for it.

Everything would have to fall around those two things, as the owners saw it. And as that consensus became clear, NFL EVP Jeff Pash was scribbling out a five-point plan, which Goodell read to the room after the “All 32” exercise was complete to cap the meeting. Another privileged session (primary owners and family only….)” You can read the entire article here.

 

Everyone knows by now the source of this entire controversy. Depending on who you believe, it was started by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kapernick as a public statement against police violence, or by law enforcement due to their seemingly indiscriminate killing of unarmed Black men. As could be expected, this form of public dissent has been met with a mix of confusion, consternation and contempt. Wasn’t this just another example of our traditional values being trampled by the unrelenting march of political correctness? What sort of ingrates object to our nation’s anthem, anyway? Fluffy-headed campus philosophers? Lazy latte-sipping liberals? It also caused widespread concern and confusion among the supporters and, yes, donors – many of whom felt like playing the anthem compromised Christian values.

 

Instead of compromising their core convictions about racism and violence at the hands of the police, I foresee hundreds or even thousands of conscientious men and women this coming football season who will choose to adhere to their conscience. Moreover, I have resolved to join “Kap” and other like-minded individuals, even though we may find ourselves mocked by ‘friends’ and neighbors, beaten down by angry mobs or waterboarded by rednecks. It is also entirely possible that all the high school kids who are fed up with gun violence will join Colin Kapernick and his contemporaries in ‘taking a knee’ this football season. Although there certainly are diverse viewpoints among equally diverse individuals today, all continue to advocate for an end to gun violence. That’s because we recognize only one nation that is bound together by a living Constitution and a faith in a living Savior rather than by man-made, blood-soaked prejudices of the past.

 

 

Jesus called his disciples to love their enemies and he loved his enemies all the way to the cross and beyond. Following Jesus and the martyrs before us, we testify with our lives that freedom is not a right that is granted or defended with rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air. True freedom is given by God, and it is indeed not free. It comes with a cost, and that cost looks just like a cross, not a flag. How do we plug ourselves into the unlimited power of the cross of Calvary? First, it is imperative that we all believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. For me at least, this is non-negotiable. Next, we must all repent of our evil ways and dispense with our bad habits, for the world cannot know of its brokenness and hopelessness without a Savior to show them a superlative way of life. There needs to be more people practicing the ways of peace while putting away their childish arguments. The world cannot know that there is an alternative to violence and war without a people of peace making peace. The world cannot know that the weak and the vulnerable are cared for by God without a people practicing an economy centered on sharing and mutual aid, not individual gain. Let us ask ourselves this basic question – if I die in my sleep tonight, what kind of legacy will I leave? However you ask yourself this question, let’s all make sure the answer will be a thoughtful one. The only way to peace is to worship the Prince of Peace.

 

The world cannot know the immeasurable worth of a human life without a people who consistently work to protect it – in the unborn, in the convict, in the immigrant, in the homeless, in the soldier, in the retirement homes, in the mental hospitals, and on the streets of America. These protests against police violence do not reflect ingratitude or hatred for our country, or toward those who enforce its laws. Rather, they reflect a deep love for justice and peace. After all, it is written: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the Sons of God.” I love my country, but I sing my loyalty and pledge my allegiance to the Prince of Peace and him alone. This is because our souls and our Savior are all that’s going to be left.

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Thoughts on Memorial Day

The Last Memorial Day

by Rev. Paul J. Bern

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This weekend we are all celebrating the 2016 Memorial Day holiday. Unlike Veterans Day in November, which celebrates the end of World War One, Memorial Day celebrates those who gave their all during World War Two. This got me to thinking about what the name would be for the day that commemorates all who will be killed in World War Three. One possibility would be “Destruction Day”, the “Doomsday Grand Memorial” could be another. This, of course, is assuming there will be anyone around to name this hypothetical holiday at all. One thing is certain – the 3rd world war, and it appears there is going to be one as I write this, will be a nuclear conflict with casualties in the hundreds of millions, or even billions, of people. This war, which will actually be two wars to be fought in rapid succession, is foretold in the Bible in Revelation chapter six, verse 8: “I looked, and before me was a pale horse! It’s rider was named ‘death’, and Hades followed close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.”

Then a second war is prophesied to take place after that, as the Bible recounts just three chapters later: “The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from one of the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates’. And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.” [Revelation 9: 13-16, NIV] Neither of these wars has occurred as of this writing, but they can both be found in the Old Testament as well as the new. The first war in Revelation chapter six can be found in Psalm 83, and the later one can be found in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 (I encourage everyone reading this to read those three chapters; it takes less than 10 minutes combined, and it will give everyone a better perspective of what I’m writing about). There are currently 7.4 billion people living on the face of the earth, so if the Revelation Six war kills one fourth of humankind, that would come to 1.85 billion people. The second war in Revelation nine will kill fully one third of the people who are lucky enough to survive the first war, or an additional 1.85 billion more (I think it’s more than a coincidence that the two figures for the two wars are exactly the same). So it is safe to say that these two wars combined will kill half of humankind, and possibly even more.

Will a ‘memorial day’ be created for these wars too? The meme for that last one in particular, the one that kills a third of mankind, could be “the war where we went insane”. Another possibility could be “The War That Made No Sense”. My country, the USA, has been at war in Iraq twice in the last 26 years for oil, a substance that should have been rendered obsolete as far as fuels are concerned after the Arab oil embargo of 1973. And yet, here we are in 2016 still using gasoline for a fuel while we asphyxiate our planet – and ourselves – one tankful at a time. Had America switched to, say, cleaner-burning natural gas back in the 1970’s when we should have, our air would be proportionately cleaner and the planet that much better off as well. That’s exactly why the American incursions in Iraq should never have occurred in the first place! Moreover, had the American military not gone in there then, we wouldn’t be having the difficulties with Middle Eastern terrorism that we have been having since September of 2001!!

Albert Einstein once famously said, “I don’t know what kind of weapons World War Three will be fought with, but if there’s a fourth world war it will be fought with sticks and stones”. Einstein probably didn’t realize at the time what a prophetic statement that truly was. With humankind possessing enough nuclear weapons to fry the entire planet hundreds of times over (something Albert Einstein probably never imagined considering that he died in 1955), a nuclear war would render nearly every living thing extinct, especially ourselves. I see no point in World War Three being fought for oil and other natural resources when, once victory is obtained, there is no one left to sell all that oil to! This is completely insane! The US military-industrial complex must stop in the name of God immediately! There are 7.4 billion lives at stake, and mine is one of them! End the insanity! Stop this madness of war for profit or we, the American people, will be compelled to force you to stop!! Moreover, if the US government had done its job by legislating an accelerated national program to replace fossil fuels back in the 1970’s when the handwriting against fossil fuels first appeared on the proverbial wall, we would all be driving electric cars now and there would be few gas stations left, with all of them having gone the way of Route 66.

Let’s not have to come up with yet another day of commemoration for all those who gave their lives in yet another pointless war. This has gone far enough, too far in my humble opinion. Moreover, Memorial Day commemorates only the soldiers who gave their lives, while ignoring all the untold hundreds of millions of innocent civilians who died in the crossfire. This is not to detract from the extreme importance we attach to those we commemorate this weekend – far from it! May God bless and remain with our fighting men and women, but all I’m saying is, let’s make sure we don’t ever have to set aside still another holiday like this one. We have Veterans Day and Memorial Day, plus the annual Confederate holiday here in Georgia where I live. Although I personally do not celebrate Confederate Memorial Day because I grew up in Cincinnati (just across the Mason-Dixon line), I respect those who do even if I don’t think the same way as my Southern brothers and sisters do). But my point is, three Memorial Days are more than enough. Please, everyone, let’s not ever have to create yet another holiday to honor the dead from yet another war. To quote Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Better still, to quote Jesus Christ, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called ‘sons of the living God’” (Matthew 5: 9).

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