Memorial Day

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Tom’s father had died a couple of years earlier in an accident, leaving a wife and four children. It was the middle of the depression and times were tough. Tom, being the oldest, worked while finishing High School, to help make ends meet. After he graduated, he joined the military, and after training was sent to Nicholas Army Air Field in the Philippines. There he did what most military people do: perform their normal jobs while periodically being interrupted by various drills.

Uncle Tom in the Philippines

Tom could see the approaching storm that would become WWII and mentioned this in his letters home. He wrote of how they had received a shipment of fighters, but that they were in crates and needed to be assembled. They were still assembling them when the war started on December 7,1941. The Japanese invaded the Philippines the next day. Tom and the rest of the troops, along with their Filipino allies, fought valiantly. With their base destroyed they, retreated to Bataan.

Roosevelt promised reinforcements, so they struggled to hold out till they arrived. In March Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to leave and go to Australia. Tom and the rest of those left behind continued to fight on, till they could be reinforced. But in the end, there was no way to win. The promised reinforcements were never sent; food and ammunition ran out; and the Japanese force was too strong. Yet still they fought to hold out. Then their positions were overrun, and on April 10, 1942, exhausted, starving, wounded and sick (most had malaria and/or dysentery), they surrendered.

But as horrible as their ordeal had been, the worst was yet to come. The Japanese commander had ordered provisions be set aside for the expected 25,000 prisoners. But he was unaware that the real number of captured Americans and Filipinos was more than 75,000. Nor was he aware of just how bad their condition was. They had held out as long as possible and so when they did surrender they were in very bad shape. In short, the provisions he ordered to be set aside were nowhere near what was needed, and the Japanese army command structure did not allow for questioning orders, even to correct mistakes in information.

To make matters worse the Japanese viewed surrender, whatever the circumstances, as a dishonor. Thus it did not matter how valiantly they fought, how long they had held out, or how low they had been on food and ammunition, they had surrendered and did not deserve to be treated honorably. Since there were not enough trucks to transport all the them, what came to be called the Bataan Death March began.

Tom was not one of the lucky few whose guards, realizing how inhumane the situation was, just let their captives go. Even though he was sick, he was forced to march the 30 miles in the blazing hot sun to the rail center. Most had no food or water for the march. There was no stopping, and many were beaten. Many just died on the road; others were shot if they did not keep up. If Tom was fortunate, he would have still had shoes. Many didn’t and their feet burned as they walked on the hot asphalt as it baked under the sun.

At the rail head in San Fernando Tom and other prisoners were pushed into rail cars. Because of the large numbers of prisoners, they were packed in as tightly as possible and in the hot sun, the metal walls of the cars burned unprotected skin. Many lost consciousness from the sweltering heat of the boxcars. Others suffocated in the cramped space. Yet they were packed in so tightly, the unconscious and the dead remained standing until the cars were unloaded at Capas.

Tom survived the trip to Capas. From there Tom was once again forced to march the last eight miles to Camp O’Donnell. Suffering from sickness, starvation, and exhaustion, Tom only lasted five days in Camp O’Donnell, dying on May 18th, 1942. He was 22 years old. Later Private Thomas A. Hushbeck would be posthumously awarded a Purple Heart.

Grave in the Philippines

When people ask me what Memorial Day means to me, I think of my Uncle Tom, even though he died thirteen years before I was born. For me it is his holiday, but not his alone. There were the eight who died on Lexington Green in that first engagement of the Revolutionary war, and all the others who came after them to secure our independence, along with those who gave their lives in the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, The Vietnam War, Gulf War I and now the war on Terrorism in Iraq, and which continues in Afghanistan, and that is just to name the major conflicts.

Whenever there was a need, Americans like my uncle Tom have step forward, knowing what may happen. Like my Uncle Tom, many have paid the ultimate price so that we can live in freedom. Many may consider “Freedom is not Free” a cliché, just another slogan for a bumper sticker, but the cost of our freedom was paid by my Uncle Tom, and all the others who have in the past, or will in the future give their lives in defense of this country. It is for them that we fly the flag on this day. It is because of them we can enjoy the time off and relax on this day. They have given all that they had, and suffered in ways we can never imagine so that we might live in freedom. So while I enjoy the day, I will remember them. For they deserved to be honored and remembered.

May 30th, 2016

Global Christian Perspectives

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Global Christian Perspectives is a new weekly show on Google Hangouts discussing world events from a broad Christian perspective. It will be hosted by Chris Eyre from England who is more to the left politically, and myself an America who is more on the right. So while we are both Christians, there is very likely to be large areas of disagreements.

Each week we will be joined by one or two guests so there should be no shortage of differing perspectives as we discuss the issues in the news. In addition we will have an in-depth section to get behind the current event and explore some of the factors that leads us to reach such different conclusions, and there will be an opportunity to ask questions.

While subject to change, currently we are planning to discuss

News Segment:

Greece: What should we do?

The Pope’s Encyclical: Are Climate Change and Capitalism really the most pressing problems facing Christians today?

In-Depth Segment:

Is there such a thing as a Christian economics?

We are looking to have a good, and lively discussion. So be sure to join us Fridays at 2:00 ET

 

Jul 9th, 2015

Might Makes Right

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

 

While many are heralding the Supreme Court’s ruling forcing Same-Sex Marriage as a victory for liberty, it is in fact the exact opposite. The simple fact is that same-sex couples already could marry in the most important sense of marriage, in the sense of a commitment between two people. In fact since the 1970’s there have been churches that would perform same-sex marriages. This ruling does not change that.

What has changed is the governmental, i.e. societal, implications of marriage. It is not so much a new freedom for same-sex couples, but a mandate on those who would disagree with the perceived wisdom of the Court. As the most fundamental institution of society, while the court’s ruling will have little if any impact on individual couples, even same-sex couples, it will have a significant, far reaching, and sadly little understood impact on society.

Since marriage has historically been the fundamental basis for society, ultimately this will force a major redefinition of society. The basis for government’s interest in marriage in the first place was the belief that the best way to raise children was in a two parent family with a man and a woman. Such a society is going to be a different society than one where there is no difference between men and women and thus the combination does not matter. (Quick question, how many mothers believe that as a woman they bring nothing unique to raising of their children and two fathers would work just as well?)

The simple history of this has been pretty clear. When this became an issue the vast majority of the people strongly opposed it. When they were asked to vote on it, they rejected it. It was finally imposed by a few state courts demanding that laws be changed, and until yesterday in all but a couple of states this has been mandated by courts over the direct opposition of the people. Now the Supreme Court has mandated it on the entire country, not because the Constitution demanded it, but because five Judges were in a position to impose their personal beliefs on the country.

And that’s what they were: personal beliefs. This is a radical experiment in human history. The verdict of history is clear, despite other alternatives being tried, traditional marriage has been found to be the best way to raise children. This is not just a religious belief but is the near unanimous consensus view from all cultures and periods of history. Anyone who claims “the science says” on either side is either vastly misinformed or lying. Same-sex marriage is simply too new to make any assessment scientifically. The current push for same-sex marriage is based not on history or science but ideology; the premise that gender is irrelevant. But if science has anything to say on this subject it is that this premise is false.

While a popular belief in the 1960s and 70s, there is now little doubt that as shocking at it may seem to some, men and women are different. They think differently, they react differently, their brains work differently. Now perhaps this does not matter, but perhaps it does. The problem is that the court has through its power settled this question before it was really even asked.

What was ultimately clear in this decision is that we have lost the key foundational principle for the country, i.e., that people have the right to govern themselves. This is not an expansion of liberty, but a massive loss of liberty. It is unclear exactly how this will work itself out, but this is part of the problem. These five judges have removed this discussion from the political process. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the abortion debate but only magnified it into political cancer that has corrupted the political culture, so will this decision. Given the importance of marriage, probably even more so.

Rather than work towards a political consensus that rests on the majority of the governed for its authority, Same-Sex marriage now rests only on the power of the Supreme Court. Yet in making this decision, once again the Court demonstrated that it long ago cut itself off from the Constitutional basis of its own authority. Now, rather than the Constitution, the authority of the court rests on habit, tradition, but mainly on the power of the government. Rather than the right of self-government, which was the foundation for the formation of this country, we have returned to might-makes-right authority of a monarchy, a monarchy now dressed up in the black robes of a majority of the Supreme Court.

The people celebrating this ruling, are merely celebrating that the monarch has agree with them, and it is always easy to support the king, when the king make rulings you like.

The worst aspect is that this is not the end, but just the beginning of the battles that will now flow from the implications of this decision being forced into the political system. Churches are threatened and religious freedom is already under attack and will now be more so. Schools will certainly become battle grounds as textbooks are rewritten to promote and push the new definition of family, pushing even more children into private and home schooling, which will undoubtedly also come under assault.

In the normal democratic process it is often possible through give and take to form a consensus, but Court mandates do not permit consensus since by their very nature they are mandates. Court mandates allow the extremists to dominate, which is rarely a good thing. But that is where we are.

Jun 26th, 2015

The Constitution is Dead, So Now What?

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

The Supreme Court’s decision to ignore “the most natural reading” of the law, so that it could rewrite it to be what they want it to be, is only the latest in a very long series of cases that gut the law and even the Constitution to achieve the goals desired by the current majority of the Court.

The increasing pattern is that government is ever more distant from the people, ruling in its own interest rather than that of the people. Whatever promises are made by politicians when running for office are quickly ignored once in office.

Government does what it wants. Even the Constitution is no longer a safeguard. If you want to predict how the court will rule, look to what the ruling class wants, or even better, what empowers government. That is a much better indicator, than the will of the people, what the law actually says, or the Constitution in determining how the court will rule. We have a government of the governing class, by the governing class, and for the governing class.

The passage at issue in this case was written as a club to force the states into creating exchanges. However it backfired because the states rebelled. But once again the court comes to the rescues to force upon the people a law that has never had majority support of the people and in fact has been strongly opposed. But every effort of the people to oppose the law has been stymied.

They vote for politicians who promise to oppose it, but once elected have nothing but excuses. They look to the courts, but the courts provide all sorts of inconsistent rulings (ruling a provision a fee and not tax in one place, and then a tax and not a fee in others as the need arises) in order to uphold the law. Now they ignore what the law says. In short they do whatever is needed to support the government over the people.

Nor should this be any surprise. Obama gives waivers to his friends, while punishing his enemies. It no longer matters what the people want, what the law is or even what the Constitution says. The only thing that matters is what the ruling class wants. Nor is this limited to Obamacare. There are a whole range of issues where polls consistently show a vast difference between what the people want and what the government does. Thus the Rule of Law is gone. What is left is the Rule of Power. What matters is who has the power to impose their will.

When a government acts more in its own interest than that of the people, you have a tyranny. To be sure currently we have a soft tyranny, but it is a tyranny none the less, and one that is increasingly seeking to punish any who would oppose it.

So what are the people to do? When the government abandons the Constitution that created it, can it still be considered legitimate? As the Declaration of Independence states,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Perhaps those in Washington should dust off the Declaration and remind themselves why and how the country got started.

 

Jun 25th, 2015

Social Justice Good Or Bad? – Rescheduled

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Last month’s Energion Hangout debate on Social Justice was off to an energetic start when audio problems prevented us for continuing. So we will be going to try again. So be sure to join us this Tuesday June 9th at 7:00 PM when I will again be debating the question Social Justice Good Or Bad? I will be arguing that it is harmful, while Steve Kindle, author of Stewardship: God’s Way of Recreating the World, will be defending it. Steve and I agree on many biblical principles, but our application of those principles to our daily lives is vastly different. If last month’s start is any indication it will be lively and interesting discussion.

Jun 8th, 2015

Memorial Day

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Tom’s father had died a couple of years earlier in an accident, leaving a wife and four children. It was the middle of the depression and times were tough. Tom, being the oldest, worked while finishing High School, to help make ends meet. After he graduated, he joined the military, and after training was sent to Nicholas Army Air Field in the Philippines. There he did what most military people do: perform their normal jobs while periodically being interrupted by various drills.

Uncle Tom in the Philippines

Tom could see the approaching storm that would become WWII and mentioned this in his letters home. He wrote of how they had received a shipment of fighters, but that they were in crates and needed to be assembled. They were still assembling them when the war started on December 7,1941. The Japanese invaded the Philippines the next day. Tom and the rest of the troops, along with their Filipino allies, fought valiantly. With their base destroyed they, retreated to Bataan.

Roosevelt promised reinforcements, so they struggled to hold out till they arrived. In March Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to leave and go to Australia. Tom and the rest of those left behind continued to fight on, till they could be reinforced. But in the end, there was no way to win. The promised reinforcements were never sent; food and ammunition ran out; and the Japanese force was too strong. Yet still they fought to hold out. Then their positions were overrun, and on April 10, 1942, exhausted, starving, wounded and sick (most had malaria and/or dysentery), they surrendered.

But as horrible as their ordeal had been, the worst was yet to come. The Japanese commander had ordered provisions be set aside for the expected 25,000 prisoners. But he was unaware that the real number of captured Americans and Filipinos was more than 75,000. Nor was he aware of just how bad their condition was. They had held out as long as possible and so when they did surrender they were in very bad shape. In short, the provisions he ordered to be set aside were nowhere near what was needed, and the Japanese army command structure did not allow for questioning orders, even to correct mistakes in information.

To make matters worse the Japanese viewed surrender, whatever the circumstances, as a dishonor. Thus it did not matter how valiantly they fought, how long they had held out, or how low they had been on food and ammunition, they had surrendered and did not deserve to be treated honorably. Since there were not enough trucks to transport all the them, what came to be called the Bataan Death March began.

Tom was not one of the lucky few whose guards, realizing how inhumane the situation was, just let their captives go. Even though he was sick, he was forced to march the 30 miles in the blazing hot sun to the rail center. Most had no food or water for the march. There was no stopping, and many were beaten. Many just died on the road; others were shot if they did not keep up. If Tom was fortunate, he would have still had shoes. Many didn’t and their feet burned as they walked on the hot asphalt as it baked under the sun.

At the rail head in San Fernando Tom and other prisoners were pushed into rail cars. Because of the large numbers of prisoners, they were packed in as tightly as possible and in the hot sun, the metal walls of the cars burned unprotected skin. Many lost consciousness from the sweltering heat of the boxcars. Others suffocated in the cramped space. Yet they were packed in so tightly, the unconscious and the dead remained standing until the cars were unloaded at Capas.

Tom survived the trip to Capas. From there Tom was once again forced to march the last eight miles to Camp O’Donnell. Suffering from sickness, starvation, and exhaustion, Tom only lasted five days in Camp O’Donnell, dying on May 18th, 1942. He was 22 years old. Later Private Thomas A. Hushbeck would be posthumously awarded a Purple Heart.

Grave in the Philippines

When people ask me what Memorial Day means to me, I think of my Uncle Tom, even though he died thirteen years before I was born. For me it is his holiday, but not his alone. There were the eight who died on Lexington Green in that first engagement of the Revolutionary war, and all the others who came after them to secure our independence, along with those who gave their lives in the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, The Vietnam War, Gulf War I and now the war on Terrorism in Iraq, and which continues in Afghanistan, and that is just to name the major conflicts.

Whenever there was a need, Americans like my uncle Tom have step forward, knowing what may happen. Like my Uncle Tom, many have paid the ultimate price so that we can live in freedom. Many may consider “Freedom is not Free” a cliché, just another slogan for a bumper sticker, but the cost of our freedom was paid by my Uncle Tom, and all the others who have in the past, or will in the future give their lives in defense of this country. It is for them that we fly the flag on this day. It is because of them we can enjoy the time off and relax on this day. They have given all that they had, and suffered in ways we can never imagine so that we might live in freedom. So while I enjoy the day, I will remember them. For they deserved to be honored and remembered.

May 25th, 2015

Social Justice Good Or Bad?

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Join us for the next Energion Hangout on Tuesday May 12 at 7:00 PM when I will be debating the question Social Justice Good Or Bad? I will be arguing that it harmful, while Steve Kindle, author of Stewardship: God’s Way of Recreating the World, will be defending it. Steve and I agree on many biblical principles, but our application of those principles to our daily lives are vastly different, so it should make for a lively and interesting discussion.

May 10th, 2015

“White Christians” and Baltimore

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

In his article “Why White Christians Need to Listen to Amos and Isaiah” Rev Morgan Guyton, the director of the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University, asks “I wonder what Amos and Isaiah would say about the self-satisfied scorn that so many white Christians have been spewing out into social media in response to the rage in Baltimore?” Given the question sets up a straw man, it answers itself. God is never pleased with “self-satisfied scorn.” While it fails as an indictment of “white Christians” in general, Rev Guyton’s article is, I think, a clear example of the problems with the attitudes of social justice.

At the risk of falling into “self-satisfied scorn,” I think that Rev Guyton’s claim that “the collective rage that has exploded into violence is an expression of God’s wrath” is absurd. Still it goes to the heart of my problems with his article, and with social justice in general.

For me it is easy to condemn the rioting. It brings nothing good and I agree with President Obama that those who participated in it are thugs. I am mad at the police so I am going to burn down an innocent person’s store? I am mad at the police so I am going to steal a TV? Just how does that make sense? The destruction of the community they brought about, not only caused a great deal of innocent suffering during the riots, but if history is any guide, it will cause problems and suffering for years, if not decades to come.

As for the “collective rage” that Rev Guyton claims is behind them, I would ask, rage about what? This question is asked in all seriousness as we still do not know who or what caused the injuries that lead to Freddie Gray’s death. So how do we do know what is behind the rage? This is the problem with Social Justice. It is the agenda that is important. The facts really don’t matter.

To see this one only needs to consider the events in Ferguson Missouri. Like Baltimore, riots occurred long before the facts were known. When they were known, it became clear that the whole, “hands up don’t shoot” meme was false, and that Officer Wilson was justified in shooting Brown.

For some, the idea that Brown was unarmed is all the evidence they need to convict Wilson, but to see the absurdity of that claim one only need consider the case of Officer David Smith who just a few months before the events in Ferguson responded to a report of a disturbance and was attacked by an unarmed man before he could even get out of his car, very similar to Ferguson. Unlike Ferguson, the unarmed man was able to grab Officer Smith’s weapon and then proceeded to shoot him to death.

Given the numerous split second decisions, and numerous mitigating factors in such a violent confrontation, it is not at all difficult to image that Brown had been able to get Officer Wilson’s gun and Officer Wilson would have shared the fate of Officer Smith, dead and largely unnoticed, like the other 127 officers who died in the line of Duty in 2014,

To put this number in perspective, something Social Justice advocates virtually never do, this is a number roughly equal to the number of black men killed by police each year. The difference being that almost all of the police shootings are justified, the killing of police officers are not. Also given the relatively small number of police officers compared to the black population they encounter, in the police face a greater risk of death. One could also compare this to thousands of black men murdered each year, mostly by other black men, don’t those black lives matter? The problem is that those deaths don’t fit the agenda of Social Justice.

In the end, the Justice of any given situation cannot be determined statistically. It depends on the actions of individuals, not groups. In this case it depends on what actually happened that led to Freddie Gray’s death. It will depend on the truth.

But for many advocates of Social Justice the truth does not matter. Only the cause matters. Thus you continue to hear Ferguson included in the list of alleged outrages, many of which are equally false, which led up to what Rev Guyton calls an explosion of “collective rage” Baltimore.

The other really troubling aspect about Rev Guyton’s charge is its stark racial foundation in that it is directed against “While Christians.” While troubling on many levels, it is very characteristic of Social Justice, which divides people into groups and then pits them against each other. It seeks division, not harmony.

The injection of race into the situation in Baltimore is especially awkward and difficult given that the city is 60% black, most of its elected officials are black and 3 of the six officer charged are black. Given this why does Guyton single out “white Christians” for his condemnation? These are the absurdities that come from abandoning true Justice for the false idol of Social Justice.

God is truth, and whenever we put our agenda ahead of the truth, we put ourselves ahead of God. This is never a good place to be. I, for one, am quite content to wait until I know what happened before I presume to know what would be Just. A rush to judgment rarely results in Justice. Neither does mob justice, whether by a lynch mob, or by a prosecutor who puts appeasing the mob head of seeking Justice.

 

May 8th, 2015

On The Chosen Generation Show

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

I will be on the Chosen Generation show with Pastor Gregory Young, Thursday March 26, from 10:00 -10:30 to discuss how the Social Justice movement continues to be negative force in society. The show will be streamed live here. If you miss the show, it will be posted here.

Mar 25th, 2015

Consider Christianity Week – Unity

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Just an announcement that tonight, as part of Consider Christianity Week I will be discussing Christian Unity with Joel Watts. Joel and I do not agree on a lot, but we both seek unity so it should be an interesting discussion. It starts at 7:00 PM Central Time and you can post questions for us.

Mar 25th, 2015
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