If History Should Happen to Repeat Itself

Right now I’m about a third of the way through a novel by my friend Ann Tatlock. ALL THE WAY HOME is a historical novel, and the fact that I’m reading it says a lot about Ann’s writing; I ordinarily avoid historical novels at any cost. But this one sparked my interest in a special way.

This novel is about a young girl, Augie, whose home situation is so undesirable that she hangs out as much as she can with Sunny, a schoolmate she became friends with at the park. Over time, Augie becomes more and more a part of Sunny’s family. Sunny’s parents do  everything short of legally adopting Augie.

An interesting story? Of course it is.

But when you put the story in its historical context, it becomes more than simply interesting. Sunny and her parents are Japanese-American. Genuine flag-waving American  citizens.

And the setting makes this story even more intriguing. It starts prior to the beginning of Word War II, when Augie thinks the Japanese are the greatest people on the face of the earth. She thinks of herself as Japanese and wishes she was Japanese, too.

But then the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and the United States enters the war against Japan, and Augie and Sunny can’t really understand why things are the way they are. Especially the fact that seemingly all non-Japanese-Americans turn their backs in fear on their Japanese fellow citizens and make hatred the byword of the day. Sunny’s family sees the possibility of being moved to an internment camp as a real possibility.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten. I foresee Augie’s Japanese family being sent to an internment camp and Augie wishing she could go, too. Perhaps she even tries to. I don’t know.

Because I’ve gotten so caught up in loving and sympathizing with those two girls and Sunny’s Japanese family, it’s hard for me to keep reading. I’m not sure I want to see what they must go through.

Looking back on that period in American history, I’ll bet most people today would insist that the internment camps of yesteryear wouldn’t happen today. I hope they’re right.

But we’re facing a similar situation regarding Islam. Because of the Muslims who are unquestionably our enemies, some people are tempted to view all Muslims the same way.

Can you blame them? How many of the Islamic terrorists who’ve wrought havoc in America were described by former neighbors as kind, friendly people? How can we tell who’s dangerous and who’s not? How many criminals look like criminals, anyhow?

I’m on President Trump’s side in restricting immigration from Islamic countries, at least for a while. I think liberals who claim that Muslims are being discriminated against because of their religion are forgetting one thing: those potential immigrants are not U.S. citizens; does the Constitution actually give them the rights citizens should have? And those same liberals appear to have no objections to discriminating against American citizens who are Christians.

Even if President Trump can keep potential terrorists out of the country, that doesn’t change the fact that we already have a number of terrorists living here, just waiting for the right chance to strike.

What I’m afraid of is that genuinely peace-loving Muslims who’ve already become American citizens and have begun making a positive contribution to their new country’s welfare may have to pay the price for the Muslims who believe in jihad.

The relatively small acts of terrorism we’ve seen since 9/11 have been bad enough, but what will Americans’ attitudes be if the jihadists carry out another 9/11 attack–or something even worse? In our fear and our inability to tell who’s who, will we treat all Muslims the way Americans’ treated Japanese-American citizens during Word War II?

I pray that we don’t. And that we won’t separate two cute little girlfriends–one Christian, the other Muslim–because of our fear and resentment.

I’d appreciate your comments on this post.

 


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Best regards,
Roger

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Fear and Uncertainty

A 2010 survey of American ministers ranked Andy Stanley as the 10th most influential living pastor. I doubt seriously that his ratings have fallen any. He’s an incredible preacher.

Our Wednesday night Bible study uses videos by various teachers and preachers, and I doubt whether any of our group would fail to put Andy at the top of our list of favorites. He speaks to us, even as he speaks to his own  congregation.

Last week we started watching a new series of Andy’s–new for us, anyhow. It’s called Tough As Nails. That first sermon was a knockout.

I don’t have to tell you that the world is full of uncertainty. I suppose it always has been, but things have gotten far worse than any of us could have imagined. And they’ll probably keep getting worse. How can they fail to with all the evil in the world and the world itself constantly growing smaller through the Internet and other forms of telecommunications?

None of us can be certain we’ll be alive tomorrow, much less next near. Any of us could fall victim to a crazed killer with a gun or a terrorist with a bomb or a machete. Or an equally crazed world leader with his finger on the trigger of a nuclear bomb that’s aimed in our direction. Or someone who’ll poison our water supply or take down our power grids.

Not to mention the threat of another megalomaniac president who’ll take away even more of our freedoms, including the ability to defend ourselves.

Over the years, I’ve been satisfied with wondering whether whether I’ll end up in a nursing home, perhaps for a prolonged period of time. Or die of cancer, a heart attack, or maybe be killed in an auto accident. Normal uncertainties I have no way of predicting the outcome of. Anymore than I can predict whether any of those more drastic concerns will ever affect me or us.

I’ll be honest. By nature, I tend to be a worrier. Or at least a fretter. (Not talking about my guitar playing.) But the older I’ve grown, the more I’ve learned to depend on God. As the old spiritual says, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” I’ve reached the point I’d go crazy if I weren’t able to put as much faith as possible into that belief.

In that first Andy Stanley video, he introduced a short–but very appropriate–statement: Uncertainty is unavoidable; fear is optional.

Cool, huh?

I don’t think many of us would argue that uncertainty is here to stay. Especially as the possibilities we’re uncertain about  grow more and more drastic.

Christians don’t need to fear the things we feel uncertain about, though. Andy Stanley reminded us of this advice Jesus gave His disciples:

Stop being afraid of those who kill the body but can’t kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell.  (Matthew 10:28, NIV)

With the prospect of eternity in Heaven, what difference does uncertainty about our earthly future make? When I think about that, my former fears tend to melt away. I feel much braver. Yes, braver. And much more capable of facing uncertainty with confidence.

Yes, someone can kill my body, but that doesn’t destroy my faith in the One who’s the keeper of my soul.

Andy Stanley is right. Fear is optional, and my choice is to put my hand in God’s and put fear further and further behind me.

What about you? Do you worry about the uncertainties of life? How about sharing a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Best regards,
Roger

Freedom, Rights, Comfort, and Privacy

privacy

I’ll never forget a statement I heard in a high school civics class: “I am free to do anything I want, but my rights end where the next person’s rights begin.”

So it’s okay to crank up the stereo just as loud as I want–until it’s loud enough to bother my next-door neighbors. And I can mow the lawn any time that pleases me–unless it’s at a time of day or night when other people are reasonably expected to be asleep. And the garbage collectors can empty the bin at the Arby’s behind us whenever they like…as long as they don’t wake us up doing it.

So it would appear that there’s no such thing as absolute freedom. Except maybe for the only resident of an otherwise deserted area.

But even that person isn’t free to start a reckless fire that might spread outside his privacy zone. Or launch missiles at aircraft passing overhead. Hmm. Looks like even his freedom is limited.

Something else I was taught in high school is that no one is free unless everyone is free. The rights of minorities must be protected in order to protect the rights of everyone else.

But minorities’ rights have restrictions, too. If the majority isn’t free to harm a minority, neither does a minority have the right to harm the majority.

Looking back on the issue of prayer in public schools, I find it interesting that my conservative Christian parents weren’t overly upset when prayer was first banned. By their reasoning, banning Christian prayers also meant banning satanic prayers, Muslim prayers, and no telling how many other kinds. So what the Christian majority thought of as a loss was actually protection from practices by various minority groups.

And those groups would’ve insisted on expressing their rights sooner or later–and they have. For Christians to be free, they must tolerate minorities they might actually despise–tolerate and honor the rights of.

All of this seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

The problem is that lines must still be drawn. Protecting minorities is no more important than protecting the majority. Not if we are all to be free.

But the whole thing seems to have gotten out of kilter, largely because of political correctness. I expressed my opinion of that in a previous post, so I won’t go there again right now.

However…

Transgenderism confuses and disturbs me. Not because I think ill of anyone who genuinely thinks he or she was born the wrong gender,  but because of the push to allow those individuals to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms of their choice. If they don’t feel “comfortable” in the facilities that correspond to their birth genders, they’re being deprived of their rights.

Hmm. I’m thinking about junior high phys. ed. at the moment. And having to shower and change among guys in various stages of pubescence. (I’ll bet the girls experienced the same problems.) I dare say a number of us felt uncomfortable doing that. But did we feel that our rights were being denied?

Nope. The right to feel comfortable? Where’s that in the Constitution, anyhow? But neither did most of us feel afraid.

I don’t believe the public outcry–in general–is directed against the transgendered themselves, but against the perverts who would do some unspeakably awful things to women and children while pretending to be transgendered and using restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms that don’t match their genders.

The boycott against Target is but one example of America’s decision to stand up for the rights of those who may not be physically able to protect themselves. Women and children who have the right to PRIVACY.

Perverts’ rights end where other people’s rights begin. Privacy–and the freedom from fear–is one of the rights that needs to be protected.

In no way do I condone anyone who picks on or purposely treats a transgendered individual improperly. But if transgendered individuals must suffer some discomfort to protect the rights of others, I’m afraid that’s just the way it has to be.

What are your feelings on this subject? Please leave a comment.

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Best regards,
Roger