Saturday, December 20, 2008

. . . or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .



"We are now entering a period of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: we shall see in our time a maximum if indirect effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism that uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of Western civilization to shrink freedom even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage.

M. J. Sobran wrote recently:

The Framers of the Constitution . . . forbade the Congress to make any law "respecting" the establishment of religion, thus leaving the states free to do so (as several of them did); and they explicitly forbade the Congress to abridge "the free exercise" of religion, thus giving actual religious observance a rhetorical emphasis that fully accords with the special concern we know they had for religion. It takes a special ingenuity to wring out of this a governmental indifference to religion, let alone an aggressive secularism. Yet there are those who insist that the First Amendment actually proscribes governmental partiality not only to any single religion, but to religion as such; so that tax exemption for churches is now thought to be unconstitutional. It is startling [she continues] to consider that a clause clearly protecting religion can be construed as requiring that it be denied a status routinely granted to educational and charitable enterprises, which have no overt constitutional protection. Far from equalizing unbelief, secularism has succeeded in virtually establishing it.

[She continues:] What the secularists are increasingly demanding, in their disingenuous way, is that religious people, when they act politically, act only on secularist grounds. They are trying to equate acting on religion with establishing religion. And--I repeat--the consequence of such logic is really to establish secularism. It is in fact, to force the religious to internalize the major premise of secularism: that religion has no proper bearing on public affairs. [Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 51–52, 60–61]

Brothers and sisters, irreligion as the state religion would be the worst of all combinations. Its orthodoxy would be insistent and its inquisitors inevitable. Its paid ministry would be numerous beyond belief. Its Caesars would be insufferably condescending. Its majorities--when faced with clear alternatives--would make the Barabbas choice, as did a mob centuries ago when Pilate confronted them with the need to decide.

Your discipleship may see the time come when religious convictions are heavily discounted. M. J. Sobran also observed, "A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it" (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, p. 58). This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people's opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.

In its mildest form, irreligion will merely be condescending toward those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values. In its more harsh forms, as is always the case with those whose dogmatism is blinding, the secular church will do what it can to reduce the influence of those who still worry over standards such as those in the Ten Commandments. It is always such an easy step from dogmatism to unfair play--especially so when the dogmatists believe themselves to be dealing with primitive people who do not know what is best for them."

Neal A. Maxwell, Meeting the Challenges of Today

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Protests at LDS Temples

I guess I shouldn't see it as surprising, but I read today that opponents of Proposition 8 were gathered in protest in front of the Los Angeles Temple. To see what exactly the Church thought about what was going on, I visited the Newsroom on lds.org. There was an article posted there written by a Catholic Bishop in Sacramento. I think he put it best when he said:

“I call upon the supporters of same-sex marriage to live by their own words — and to refrain from discrimination against religion and to exercise tolerance for those who differ from them. I call upon them to accept the will of the people of California in the passage of Proposition 8.”

Too true! It does seem as if there is a sense of hypocrisy in the way they're acting out about the passing of Prop 8. All too often I hear supporters of same-sex marriage declare that they are discriminated against and that all that see from a different point of view are bigots. They're pretty liberal in their usage of those words (bigot, intolerant, etc.). Those who once felt hated now become the haters. Interesting turn of events.

Further, in all my discussion with those who admit to same-sex attraction, they insist that there is no "gay agenda". But to see the way they immediately organize to remove tax-exempt status from the Church clearly shows that there is order and organization and motive to what seems as a very clear agenda (perhaps even a contingency plan should Prop 8 pass?).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A few words for election day . . .



Again, today I heard another unfortunate instance of someone expressing their distaste in the behavior of the Church in getting involved in political affairs. This person went on to say that because of the Church's activism in favor of Proposition 8, he felt that he had to disassociate himself from the Church.

If you'll follow me for a moment I'll return to the subject momentarily.

My job is extremely tedious. I needed some form of entertainment while I worked. I didn't want to have music blaring in my ears the whole time, so I took to putting general conference talks and BYU devotional speeches on my Palm and listened as I worked. Today's playlist was particularly enlightening. Neal A. Maxwell controlled most of the playtime. (Enter initial topic of discussion)

I was intrigued by some of his words in his talk, "Meeting the Challenges of Today", given 10 October 1978.



"Discipleship includes good citizenship; and in this connection, if you are careful students of the statements of the modern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions--especially when the First Presidency has spoken out--the concerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between political parties. The declarations are about principles, not people, and causes, not candidates. On occasions, at other levels in the Church, a few have not been so discreet, so wise, or so inspired.

"But make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kings 18:21).

"President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had "never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life" (CR, April 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. "

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Clint Eastwood just can't go Hmong...

In case you couldn't tell, that was supposed to be a play on words. I did pulled a funny which would make a lot more sense if any of you knew Bruce Hunt (which I imagine one or two out of my three or four readers do). He would say things like, "Two Hmongs don't make a White", and other horrible puns like that. So, sorry.

Anyway, on to the topic. Thanks to a text I received from a mission buddy last night, I discovered that Clint Eastwood directed and starred in a movie in which the plot centers around his interactions with a Hmong gang in his neighborhood. It looks crazy intense. See for yourself:

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Appalling Proposition

I honestly do not understand what some people are thinking! This morning I grabbed a Daily Universe (BYU's Newspaper) and flipped to the Readers' Forum (the section that accepts letters from students) which is usually my favorite section of the paper. Some letters are funny, because the issue they discuss is ridiculous, and others are absolutely horrifying. This was one such letter:

"I am appalled at the number of BYU students campaigning for the California initiative. The onslaught of flyers has left my stomach churning. I wish these students could see how voting for Proposition 8 simply hurts the Church. It hurts those men and women withinn the Church who struggle with same-sex attraction. It hurts our image. It turns people against the Church. Joseph Smith once said he teaches his people correct principles and allows them to govern themselves. We have been taught the correct principle regarding same-sex attraction and acting on those tendencies. Now let's try out a little agency and govern ourselves while allowing others to make their own decisions without government interference."

That made me sick. I couldn't believe that some people, BYU students nonetheless, could believe that we (the Church, actually) should just roll over and allow the world to run its own course without any correction! That is ridiculous! And so, I immediately send a reply letter to the Universe:

"The letter entitled 'Proposition 8' last Friday was from a student declaring that she was 'appalled' at the campaigning of BYU students encouraging California citizens to vote in favor of Proposition 8. She argued that such campaigning, encouraged by the First Presidency mind you, hurts the image of the Church and those that struggle with same-sex attraction. She concluded by saying, 'Let's try out a little agency and govern ourselves while allowing others to make their own decisions without government interference.' I'm continually fascinated and horrified that so many Latter-day Saints do not understand the gravity of this issue and the consequences that will ensue if we '[allow] others to make their own decisions without government interference.'
"Perhaps this student does not understand the role that a prophet plays. God sends prophets to declare His will to mankind. The Proclamation to the World ends with a warning: 'Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.'
"By fighting to pass Proposition 8, the Church is showing and proving to the world that we are the Church of Jesus Christ and will not allow something 'ordained of God' to be twisted and perverted to whatever society wants."

Unfortunately for me, fortunately for this poor, misinformed student, I had to send a reply with fewer than 250 words. How is this possible?! How can people honestly think that we should allow this to go uncontested?

In Elder Russell M. Nelson's most recent talk in the October 2008 General Conference, he said, concerning marriage, eternal and secular, between a man and a woman, "These truths are absolute. Members of this Church invite all people to learn them and to qualify for eternal life." There you have it. No matter what your opinion is in marriage, we need to keep in mind that there is absolute truth. There is a right answer and there is a wrong answer. There is no gray area in this issue.

Elder Nelson continued, "God’s plan of happiness allows us to choose for ourselves. As with the patterns of the shopper, we may choose celestial marriage or lesser alternatives. Some marital options are cheap, some are costly, and some are cunningly crafted by the adversary. Beware of his options; they always breed misery! The best choice is a celestial marriage. Thankfully, if a lesser choice has previously been made, a choice can now be made to upgrade it to the best choice. That requires a mighty change of heart and a permanent personal upgrade. Blessings so derived are worth all efforts made. The full realization of the blessings of a temple marriage is almost beyond our mortal comprehension. Such a marriage will continue to grow in the celestial realm. There we can become perfected. As Jesus ultimately received the fulness of the glory of the Father, so we may 'come unto the Father . . . and in due time receive of his fulness.'"

Contrary to what this student believes, by avidly fighting against Proposition 8, the Church is not "[hurting] those men and women within the Church who struggle with same-sex attraction", but rather are showing them that there is a better, celestial, true way.

We need to disabuse the public mind and reverse whatever indoctrination has been prevailing so that we can uphold the Lord's institution.

Monday, October 6, 2008

And it's been a while...

Truly it has. And the masses have been literally CLAMORING for me to write another post. Well, rest assured, one is on it's way. Fear not, my flock. The dawn will come. Just endure the dark night a little longer.

The night is always darkest just before the dawn.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Really? Are we really discussing this?

Alright, this clip irked me a little bit. But not for the same reason that it perturbed this attorney.



Like the news reporter said, it's just a late night skit. I don't get why this is even an issue. I don't remember anybody freaking out when Will Ferrell played Janet Reno. I mean, come on, he was a man dressed as a woman. Why are we worried about this Obama skit?

Besides, he's just as white as he is black, right? That's what happens when you get half of your chromosomes from a Caucasian and the other half from an African-American. So, this white person portraying Obama is just as politically correct as if one of SNL's black actors did the impersonation.

And why is the attorney worried about "darkening" the actor? What about requiring an actor to go tanning before they play a role? What about makeup? It's to make it appear as if the actor doesn't look pale in the lights. Isn't that "darkening"? I just don't get the difference.

Seriously, all of this political correctness is getting out of hand.

Rough night.

Last night. Allow me to paint the picture. I've got a lot of homework before classes on Monday. Needed something to keep me up. Just down the road exists a Maverik gas station. Fountain drink. Two months since I last had a Coke. Gotta stay awake to finish. Midnight comes and goes. Buy a nice big 44 oz Coke. It does the job. Staying awake, alert, all is well. Homework gets finished, looks up an article or few on BYU and the Packers. 3:30 rolls around and I'm still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Why not try a few games of chess on the computer? I lose. Finally get slightly tired around 4:30. Wake up around 6:30.

Rough night.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Money cannot buy happiness?


Okay, after my many years of trying to manage my finances, I'm afraid I've bitten off more than I can chew. I just don't think that I'm made for counting beans. I tried accounting once, and had to take it again to repair the damage done. Why is this so difficult for me?

There's a particular account of mine that enjoys heaping on all sorts of fees and I feel as if there's a hole in my pocket out of which money continually falls. It's slipping through my hands like sand.

Sure, money doesn't buy happiness, but it does tend to alleviate a lot of stress, yeah?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Recently, I've been following the blog of a dear friend of mine. I admire his bravery in standing up against people and ideas that challenge his beliefs and life experience. Because of the sensitive subjects discussed, I imagine that many people frequent his blog, and there are the usuals that reply to his posts. However, there has been a person/persons that have felt it necessary to reply anonymously, as blogger.com obviously allows. It is the notion of anonymous posting that I would like to discuss.

For many reasons, someone may feel the urge to post anonymously. For one, Anonymous may be a close relative/friend/acquaintance to the blogger. He or she would read the blogger's post and feel as if he or she must reply negatively (considering the vast majority of anonymous posts connote an unfriendly tone). Naturally, opposing a relative/friend/acquaintance's ideas would be destructive to the relationship! Right? The last thing Anonymous wants is to be found out for who he or she really is.

I think this concept transfers over to chat rooms and/or pornography in a way. Anonymous feels the need to post/chat/watch in order to gratify themselves, but entirely escaping all accountability in the process. Indeed, as my friend mentioned, it is cowardly. For what would happen if Anonymous were caught posting/chatting/watching?

Without a doubt, anonymous posting is cowardice and a desperate plea to gratify one's pride and escaping any accountability and repercussion which may (or may not) follow.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The times, they are a-changin'...

Let me break it down for you. I was a crappy blogger. There were probably about three people that knew about my blog and even fewer that could read it, so I had little motivation to keep it going. But alas, the times, they are a changin'.

I feel like I want to start saying words on a subject or two, especially considering all the false ideas and arguments that have been floating around lately. Thus, Chiv Keeb Txoj Lus makes its debut.

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

-Bob Dylan

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Twb txog sijhawm lauj!

Kuv sau li no vim tias muaj peb qhov uas muaj tshwm sim rau kuv.

Qhov thib ib:
Kuv rov sau ib zaj hauv kuv qhov ploj. Ntev no kuv tsis sau abtsi. Thov txim ntau. Kuv ua tub nkeeg thiaj tsis qhia kuv cov phooj ywg (nej sawvdaws) abtsi li txog kuv lub neej.

Qhov thib ob:
Kuv tsim ib qho Phau Ntsej Muag. Kuab Ci, Lace Face, thiab Ashley ntxias kuv tsim. Kuv muaj siab mos siab muag vim tias kuv yeej hais rau txhua leej txhia tus hais tias, "Phau Ntsej Muag ruam ua luaj li, tsis muaj nuj nqis dabtsi! Txhob siv! Sau tsab ntawv faib fab los yog hu xov tooj xwb!" Qhov tu siab mas, kuv tab tom tso kuv txhais ko taw hauv qhov ncauj noj. Tsis qab.

Qhov thib peb:
Nov yog qhov tseem ceeb tshaj plaws! Kuv tus hluas nkauj los tsev hnub Wednesday no xwb!! Twb txog sijhawm lauj!! Kuv caij nyuj hoom mus ntsib nws hnub tim nees nkaum yim. Kuv tos tsis tau!! Tej zaum nej paub lawm, wb mam sib yuav lub yim hli ntuj, hnub tim yim. Kuv zoo siab heev, thiab paub tias nws yog ib tug pojniam tshwj xeeb. Vajtswv pom zoo. Ntev no wb tsis tau sib pom, tiamsis hauv kuv lub siab kuv paub hais tias txoj kev sib yuav no yog txoj kev yog.

Zoo siab kawg!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kuv ntxiv xi-ne-mas nawj!

Siab seb!! Yus saib tau mu-vis thaum yus nyeem txog kuv tej kev ua dog ua dig. Kuv nyiam tej mu-vis no heev.

Cia li saib. Cia li zoo siab.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kuv zoo nkauj heev, puas yog?

Hnub no, kuv xaiv ib daim duab kom sawvdaws paub kuv yog leejtwg. Txhob ntshai. Kuv tsis tau ib puas nees nkaum xyoo lawm. Tab sis mas, kuv hlub cov pog Hmoob heev. Thiab hauv kuv lub siab, kuv yog Hmoob tiag. Kuv nco Nplog Teb, ib qhov chaw tshwj xeeb heev uas peb cov poj koob yawm txwv ua liaj ua teb, khws noj khws haus, thiab ua neej nyob. Thaum kuv pom tus pog no, nws ua rau kuv nyob kaj siab lug thiab nco ntsoov puag thaum uas peb nyob tid.

Hmoob Teb, tsis ntev peb mam rov qab mus tau koj dua.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tau haujlwm tshiab lawm. Thiaj li kawm tej lo lus Hmoob tshiab

Nyob zoo, sawvdaws.

Ob peb hnub tas los no, kuv tau ib txoj haujlwm tshiab. Hnub no yog thawj hnub kuv ua. Kuv teb xov tooj thaum neeg muaj teeb meem nrog lawv lub tshuab pov hawm tsev thiab nws khiav tsis zoo. Txoj haujlwm no tsis hnyav, tsis ntev saum no kuv yuav keej pab, tiamsis hnub no kuv kawm pab xwb. Kuv muaj sijhawm ua dog ua dig, kuv txawm siv internet nrhiav ub nrhiav no khoom Hmoob nyeem. Kuv nrhiav tau tej lo lus tshiab uas kuv tsis tau paub lawm. Kuv sau, nej thiaj li yuav paub. Peb sib to taub, puas yog?

thwvcib - brick
tuas - session
lub rheb - bus
ncav sijhawm - to be punctual
sib nug xov - to keep in touch
qhaj tsis tau - can't afford to miss it
daim ntawv ncig tebchaws - passport
qiv - to borrow

Tas li ntawd xwb.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thaum chiv keeb . . .

Qhov pib. Ib yam li qhov nploj no lub npe hais, kuv tsim qhov nploj no kom qhia txog kuv tej kev ua dog ua dig. Kuv tsis tshua muaj ntau hais. Yog koj tuaj tshawb nrhiav tej yam ua muaj nuj nqis, thov txim. Koj nrhiav tsis tau ntawm no. Tsis tas li ntawd xwb. Yog tias koj xav nyeem kuv tej kev ua dog dig koj yuav tsum txawj ntawv Hmoob. Yog tsis txawj, ces kuv hais rau koj tias, thov mus saib luag tej qhov nploj. Txhob xav li cas. Kawm ntawv Hmoob kom txawj tso, koj mam li rov qab tuaj nyeem thiaj to taub nawb.

Ua tsaug rau nej sawvdaws uas txawj ntawv Hmoob lawm. Rau siab kawm. Txhob poob lus Hmoob. Kuv mam sim ua tib yam. Qhov nploj no pab kuv ceev kuv tej kev txawj ntse.

Kev hlub.