IS THIS AMERICA? Part 2
By Mary Ann Collins
September 2, 2007
Lafayette Park is across the street from the White House. It is beautiful, with statues, shrubbery, flowers, and benches to sit on. Back in the 1960s, I was in Lafayette Park when some civil rights activists held a demonstration. They marched peacefully in a circle, holding signs that made clear, reasonable statements.
Evidently the American Nazi Party knew about the demonstration before it happened, because some of their members arrived soon after the civil rights activists. The Nazis held signs with offensive statements, and they shouted offensive things at the civil rights activists. But the civil rights demonstrators refused to be lured into a confrontation. They kept peacefully going around in a circle, holding their signs.
A crowd gathered, and people started yelling at the Nazis. Then the police came. They did not prevent anybody from saying anything. They were just there to be sure that the situation didn't escalate into violence, and that nobody got hurt.
I was so proud of America! This was freedom of speech in action. And the behavior of the civil rights demonstrators showed how the best response to offensive behavior and offensive language is to learn how to keep it from bothering you. Learning how to deal peacefully with offensive behavior is a sign of maturity.
What the Nazis were saying was obvious hate speech. And the way that the civil rights activists and the police responded back then is in stark contrast to America today, where speaking out about a controversial issue can result in criminal prosecution. Even if the intention is love, and not to offend anyone.
Following is an example of it. Note that speech by itself was condemned as a hate crime. And this was just under a state law. Having a Federal Hate Crimes law would have made the situation far worse.
COMPULSORY "RE-EDUCATION" IN AMERICA
David Ott used to be gay, until he converted to Christianity. While at a gas station in Madison, Wisconsin, he shared his testimony with another man. The other man charged Ott with a "hate crime" because of what he had said.
David Ott was convicted and sentenced to a $10,000 fine and one year in prison. After an expensive legal battle over his sentence, he was ordered to attend "re-education classes" (presumably as an alternative to spending a year in prison). The "re-education" class is at the University of Wisconsin, and is taught by a lesbian.1
(It was fortunate for David Ott that the Federal Hate Crimes bill had not been passed. Otherwise he would have been charged with hate crimes under both the Wisconsin state law and the Federal law. That would probably have resulted in a much longer prison sentence.)
Note that David Ott did not commit any "crime" in the normal meaning of the word. He did not assault the man, or steal from him, or threaten him with a weapon. All he did was to talk with him. The "crime" consists of saying something. So whatever happened to free speech?
The intent of the "re-education" was to get David Ott to think the way that he used to think before he became a Christian and changed his life style. So whatever happened to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience? For Evangelicals, evangelizing is part of their religion, and it includes sharing their testimony.
This particular case happens to involve sexual orientation. However, it could easily have involved other things that are included in the Federal Hate Crimes bill, and in many state hate crimes laws.
For example, the Hate Crimes bill includes religion. If someone converted to Christianity from Islam, and shared their testimony with an old friend who is still a practicing Muslim, could they be charged with a "hate crime" for saying that Christianity is preferable to Islam? Could they be required to take a "re-education" class, taught by a Muslim, with the intent (or requirement) of having them renounce their Christian faith and go back to their old Muslim beliefs?
I used Islam as an example, but the same principle would apply to any other religion. That includes humanism, because legally humanism is a religion.2
It also includes witchcraft, because Wicca is a religion based on witchcraft, nature worship, and goddess worship. If a youth pastor told his youth group not to practice witchcraft, could he be accused of the "hate crime" of speaking against the Wiccan religion?
The Federal Hate Crimes bill also includes race. People could claim that Mexicans constitute a race. Could someone who promotes amnesty for illegal Mexican aliens claim that anybody who objects to it is showing hatred for the Mexican race? Under such circumstances, would it be possible for Congress to have a meaningful debate about the issue?
"Re-education" and Thought Police belong in police states -- not in America.
PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL ABUSE of AMERICAN CITIZENS by the MILITARY
Donald Vance is an American Navy veteran. He got a job in Iraq, working for an Iraqi-owned company, and found out that they were illegally selling weapons. He and his colleague, Nathan Ertel, gathered evidence showing that the Iraqi firm they worked for was illegally selling guns, land mines, and rocket-launchers to anybody who would pay cash for them. Buyers included Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, and State Department workers. Vance gave photos and documents and other information to an FBI agent in Chicago (Vance's home town), because he didn't know who he could trust in Iraq.
The American government responded by putting Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel in Camp Cropper, a high-security American military prison near Baghdad. Vance and Ertel were interrogated in ways that are "reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants." However, they obviously were not terrorists or enemies. They were American whistle blowers.3
These men were obviously not terrorists. They were not a danger to Americans. They were not hiding information that could save American lives. On the contrary, they had gone to a lot of trouble to expose information that would help America. They were patriotic whistle blowers. And they were subjected to treatment that was harsh and unwarranted.
For over three months, Donald Vance was in prison. He was huddled on the floor, in solitary confinement, while "head-banging music" blared all day long, and interrogators kept yelling the same questions over and over. Vance said that his interrogations seemed to be focused on why he gave his information to somebody who was outside Iraq.
Nathan Ertel was in that prison for a month. He suffered less than Donald Vance, but he never should have been there in the first place.
Nobody needed to get any information from Vance and Ertel. It had already been given to the FBI agent in Chicago, over a period of six months. The military could have gotten that information from the FBI agent. Their abusive interrogation did not provide any useful information.
What did this do to Vance and Ertel? Especially Vance. Being a Navy veteran, he had respect for and loyalty to the U.S. military. And here we have the U.S. military subjecting him to mental, emotional and physical abuse.
Also, what did it do to the American military personnel who had the job of physically, emotionally, and mentally abusing these men? What kind of husbands, or wives, or parents, will those military personnel be after having been trained to abuse people like that?
Some people buy baby alligators as pets, thinking that they are cute. But when the alligators get large enough to really bite, then some people turn them loose. If the alligators survive, they become dangerous.4 They can eat children and seriously injure adults.
The things that I have described in this article, and in the previous one, are not yet full-grown alligators. They are the kind of thing that you find in police states, but they are not yet fully developed. They show where we are heading, unless we do something to reverse the trend.
Because they are not yet resulting in frequent, horrible, public things, many people may not notice them. Or if they do, they may not take them seriously.
But remember the baby alligators. They keep on getting bigger and bigger. So does abuse of power. So does the erosion of our precious freedoms. So does the undermining of our national sovereignty. (See Part 1 for information about that.)
Wise people take baby alligators seriously, because they see ahead, and they know that the babies will grow larger and larger, and become more and more dangerous.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." (Proverbs 9:10) And the fear of the Lord is sadly lacking in our nation these days. As a result, wisdom is also lacking.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
First and foremost, we need to trust the Lord. Either He will keep us out of the fiery furnace, or else He will be in there with us. (See Daniel 3:8-27.)
We need to strengthen our faith by reading Scripture and praying. Other things can also be helpful, such as good Christian music, and inspiring biographies of strong Christians.
We need to pray for our nation and for our leaders (both secular leaders and Church leaders).
We also need to do anything that we can do in practical ways. For example, I give information to my pastor, write letters to the editor, write to Senators and Congressmen, sign petitions, try to vote intelligently, etc. Some people are in positions where they can do far more than that.
Jesus told us, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44) Therefore, we need to develop our "forgiveness muscles" and learn how to love unlovable people.
Jesus told us to forgive, and to love even our enemies. When we run across difficult people, we can see it as being an opportunity to become more loving and forgiving. If things in the United States deteriorate, then we may have serious things to forgive, and real enemies to love. Let's prepare by practicing on smaller, easier cases now.
In Philippians 3:10, the Apostle Paul says, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." Jesus suffered more injustice than we can comprehend. When we have been wronged and need to forgive people, we are sharing in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. It gives us a greater appreciation of what Jesus went through for us. As a result, we know Him better, and we love Him more. It's worth the price. What it costs us to forgive is a small thing compared to the revelation that it gives us of Jesus' love for us.
We need to remember Romans 8:28. No matter what happens, God will make it work out for our good if we love Him. And He will make it work out for the good of our family and friends, if they love Him.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)
"Be careful [anxious] for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
See also Is this America? Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4
The emerging New World Order
Barbed Wire Camps for American Citizens | Real Conspiracies
1. "Speech and 'Thought Crimes' Plan," EdWatch (7/17/2007) http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/edwatch/7-17-speech-thought-crime.htm
2. "The Courts Define Humanism as a Religion" (1998, 2006) http://www.arthurmjackson.com/rootsf.html
3. "Whistleblowers on Fraud Facing Penalties," Deborah Hastings, Associated Press (8/24/2007) http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/08/24/ap4052736.html
4. "When They Eat Your Dog, They're Not So Cute" (5/30/2002) http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002/05/29/gators-usat.htm