Thursday, March 20, 2008

Barack Obama's Judgment

Over the past week, there has been plenty said about the United Trinity Church and in particular, Reverend Jeremiah Wright who is Senator Barack Obama’s minister in the Trinity Church. There are so many levels to this story it’s nearly impossible to break them all down and those are just the ones we’re all familiar with.

Barack Obama began attending Trinity Church nearly twenty years ago. Reverend Wright was the minister chosen by the Obama’s to marry them. He baptized their children. Why did Obama choose this church?

It’s speculated that he chose the church due to the size of the church, the networking that could be done through the members of the church and the future those people who attended the church could provide him.

I think back through my own church selections over the years, and it’s so completely different from what seems to be Obama’s reasons. My parents raised me as a Methodist. When I was very young, we attended church that was a block from where I lived. I don’t remember my parents joining to try improve their jobs. What I remember is that they chose based on how they were raised, and wanting to provide a moral compass for themselves and their children. Learning about God, and the lessons that are taught in the bible.

When I was older, I met someone that asked me to attend their church. In this church, they taught from the bible, again, life’s lessons on how to lead your life, treat other people and last but certainly not least, to prepare for life after death through belief in God. I became a Baptist from that experience. When I married, I had the same concerns as my parents for my own children and we attended a Baptist church in the town we lived. Again, life’s instruction through God.

I’ve attended Methodist, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventists, Presbyterian, and Catholic churches. While I didn’t agree with the teachings with some because they didn’t teach from the bible, or their rituals seemed outlandish to me, I didn’t go back, but never did I choose a church based on how the people there would affect my career or make me more popular in my community.

The primary theme in any church attended was God. Not politics, not social activities, and not politics. Comments might be made about politics, but they were made in the context of what the Bible taught and on the issue that was in the news if it was a big enough story. Patriotism is prevalent in church because this country was originally inhabited by people looking for religious freedom and the country was based on a belief in a supreme being. That’s as far as it went. We were thankful for a country that allowed us to worship in the way that we choose.

Sermons were never based on political parties. Never was another race of people put down due to the color of their skin. All men were created equal. Women were to support their men, men were to support their women and families. Not once in my 51 years did any pastor of mine in any church, even the ones that I didn’t agree with, ever say that God should Damn America.

Not once did a preacher ever say that we were held under the thumb of the rich white man, or corporate America. We weren’t told to oppress the black man. We instead were told to love others. We weren’t told that we were better than black people. We were taught that we were all brothers and sisters. Yes, even in the 60’s during the civil rights marches. We heard love thy neighbor. Treat others as you’d want to be treated. Don’t lie, cheat, steal, murder. Honor your mother and father and above all have no other God’s before the one God. We were taught to pray for God’s will and for each other and for others.

These don’t seem to be the teachings of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. He seems more intent on blaming the white man, and this country for any poor treatment or perceived poor treatment of members of “his” race.

Barack Obama first said when asked, that he hadn’t heard this type of sermon from the Reverend Wright. In his speech, however, he said he had heard it and disagreed with it. So which is true? Why would Barack Obama remain in the church if he disagreed with it and thought it divisive? His continuance under the tutelage of Rev. Wright makes me wonder if Obama is running for President of the United States for all of this country’s people or if he’s running for one segment of the country.

Obama is asking the people of this country to consider him based on his judgment. That being the case, I can’t trust the judgment of a man that would choose to sit and listen to this type of speak from the pulpit and subject his children to this type of speak from the pulpit. I can’t trust a man that says he won’t throw overboard the pastor that led him to God. Yet he also let us know that his grandmother was afraid of black men passing her on the street, and used racial or racist terms that made him cringe. He can throw over his grandmother but not his pastor?

He won’t give up on the Reverend that married him but he’s willing to hint that Geraldine Ferraro is a racist. He won’t give up on the Reverend who preaches divisiveness, that baptized his children but he’s anxious to have Bill Clinton’s words in South Carolina igniting race as a topic, chastised.

It appears that Obama is right that we consider him based on his judgment. However, that judgment has proven to be flawed through all of this. His judgment has propelled us back into the sixties. The days of the riots. The days where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. When Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated. How long before we start hearing about the drinking fountains for whites only? How long before we’re thrown back to lunch counter sit ins? How long before we’re bounced back to lynching’s?

Barack Obama is not ready to be President of the United States. He’s still dealing with the injustices put on the black people of this nation. He hasn’t moved on to making it better, he’s still wallowing in the past. His choice to stay in a church that likes to pit the races against each other shows his poor judgment.

At one time, the rich white men did hold back the black people of this country. However, those rich white men also worked to free the slaves from the very beginning. When laws were passed making black people 3/5 of a voter it wasn’t to say that the black man was less than a white man. This is a myth. The fact is that our founding fathers passed that law to help the black man and to lead to an end to slavery. The southern colonies wouldn’t join in making one nation without slavery. With the slaves mainly in the south, counting them for representation would ensure that the south would have higher representation. By listing a black man as only 3/5 of a vote they cut down the representation and made it possible for the slave debate to continue and eventually bring it to an end. This isn’t even taught in schools, so you can be certain that it’s not taught in churches.

Barack Obama’s speech was not a great speech. It was instead, an indication of his poor judgment which is exactly the reason he’s asking for the vote of the American people.

Obama seems to have two things to draw from. Obama said that he was raised by a white grandmother. Most children are influenced by those that raise them. Should we be concerned that Obama has admitted that his grandmother was a bigot?

He’s admitted he can’t just dismiss Rev. Wright because he’s like family, brought him to God, married him, baptized his children. Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been exposed as a bigot.

What seems to be the two most important people in his life; the one that raised him and the one that ministered to him, both are bigots. One we’ve seen on the news for a week and the other he’s told us about. The first, he didn’t choose. His grandmother raising him was not his choice. She was responsible for molding him into what he became, while being bigotted against black people. What he became was a man that chose a church led by a man that preached bigotry against the white man and blamed his own country for the attacks on this country on September 11, 2001.

Senator Barack Obama’s judgment should be considered when deciding to vote for him or against him just as it should be considered when deciding whether to vote for Hillary Clinton and it should also be considered when deciding to vote for John McCain. That judgment displayed by Barack Obama leads me to believe that Barack Obama is not the right man to lead this country in the future. Knowing what we know now, the people of Illinois should be wondering why they voted for him to enter the United States Senate.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Education in America

Last week an appeals court in California said that Homeschooled children being taught by parents or others that are not certified teachers is illegal. This means that nearly 166,000 homeschooled students in California are in danger of being arrested for truancy, and their parents are subject to the same legal charges for not having their children under the guidance of an accredited teacher.

So how dangerous to society are homeschooling parents? How safe are children in the public education system? How do homeschool, public schools and private schools compare?

Since 1960, homeschooling has increased in tremendous numbers. There has been a growth in the homeschooling community that is unbelievable. The reasons most often given for homeschooling over public schooling is the agenda of the public schools. They have banned God from schools with the exception of the pledge of the allegiance. Public schools are accused of forcing their beliefs, or lack of beliefs on the children they are in charge both political and anti religious. The common thought is they are liberal and anti God.

Since the primary concern for children is their education let’s start with that. Homeschooled students have outperformed public education by a wide margin. They have outperformed private school students by a lower margin, but still outperformed. Colleges and Universities are looking more for homeschooled students and the reason given is their study habits. There are many web sites that will give you this information and you can get to them by googling Homeschool vs public education.

These children are being taught by their parents. Some of those parents are certified teachers. They gave up their teaching careers to teach their own children. The majority of these homeschooling parents are without teaching certificates. Not just in California, but nationwide. Yet, these students are outperforming the public education system. Given this information, can we really say that these parents who choose to educate their children at home are a danger to society and need to be removed and incarcerated?

Then there is the safety factor. We all remember Columbine and the students who died there in the shooting by two students. Since 1996 there have been numerous school shootings. Nearly every week we’re hearing that a school in some part of the country is in lockdown due to someone shooting in a school or someone spotted near a school with a gun. Try as I might, I can only remember one homeschooling situation where kids were in danger and that was the lady in Texas a few years back that drowned her five kids in the bathroom.

In the past three years we’ve heard of no less than 30 teachers sexually abusing their students and these are just the female teachers. How many homeschooled parents have you heard of sexually abusing their children?

Another argument presented by the opponents of homeschooling is the “socialization” factor. They claim that they are not dealing with the real world because they are not around others. They don’t get the activities that public schooled children get and they don’t get the diversity provided in public school.

This argument has been completely debunked in several studies. Homeschooled kids are involved in other activities in their community, and in their churches. They are subjected to a variety of people of all age ranges and it’s been discovered that homeschooled kids are able to converse with a wider age range than those in public education.

Can you name me any profession where you’re put in a group of people that are all the same age? If you work in a factory, there will be people near retirement, others with ten years experience and others that have just begun. In the office, you’ll have a wide range of ages. Even the teachers in public schools have a wide range of age groups. The teacher who taught you are still there teaching your children. The younger teachers your child has may be some day teaching your grandchildren.

Yet, in public schools, all kids are jammed together with other children that are the same age as them. Kindergartners are all five or six years old. First grade is six and seven year olds and so on. If there is an older child in the class, it’s the exception to the rule and it’s because the older child has been held back a grade. So the diversity that public schooled children get is non existant. They are with others their same age.

In the classroom, there isn’t supposed to be any socialization. The socialization the children get is on the playground, where there is virtually no supervision or if there is that supervisor is far outnumbered by the amount of children on the playground. In addition to that, the younger children in lower grades have their lunch recess at a different time than the older children. So they are separated from that diversity by their ages yet again.

However, a homeschooled student will be around more people of various ages. They aren’t all locked up in the house. They are outside playing when the public school kids come home and they play with them. They are using public libraries. They are participating in organized sporting events and many states have homeschooling associations that create sporting teams, science groups and more that compete against the public and private school systems.

Each one of the arguments against homeschooling is refuted. Homeschooling proves that accrediting teachers is not a benefit to teaching children. Public schooling has their problems. They are complaining about the lack of money. They are complaining that children are not learning and t hey spend their time blaming the parents for the children not learning or blaming the children for not having the desire to learn. Homeschooling doesn’t have that problem. In fact, homeschooling parents pay their taxes to the schools and get no benefit from those taxes and they still pay for their children’s curricula in addition to those taxes paid and you just don’t see the news stories saying that parents need more money to educate their children. You don’t see news stories complaining about the lack of education resources or that their children are just not willing to learn.

Finally, you might be interested to know that our founding fathers were homeschooled. Public education didn’t come into being until the 1850’s in Massachusetts. Our founding fathers were taught at home, or were taught by being an apprentice. I don’t think you’d find anyone, even in the public school system, who would say that our founding fathers were not intelligent.

Homeschooling is a success. Public education is becoming more and more the model for failure. Nationwide, we’re falling in math and science behind countries that don’t have indoor plumbing.

By declaring homeschooling illegal, the appeals court is saying, ‘success is not to be harnessed and exploited. It’s more important that our public school system has control over the children’. It is no wonder that public education is becoming more and more recognized as the Government Schools.

Homeschooling is a success. If our government and courts were at all concerned about the children, they would learn from the homeschooling community and try to incorporate what homeschoolers do into the public education system. Alas, with these courts and our government, what we’ll continue to hear is that we need to throw more money at the failed public education system. Homeschooled parents do more successfully with their children in 3-5 hours per day than the public education system is doing in 9 hours per day five days per week. That's a success rate to be admired, not criminalized!