Simple Bounty

Finding Beauty, Grace and Sanity in a Busy World

Sappy, Nationalistic Tripe December 4, 2009

Filed under: Politics — katieosborne @ 2:35 pm

How’s that for a title?

Yesterday, I saw a portrait of a woman dressed in uniform, holding her two year old son in her lap, and smiling gently off into the side lighting. The caption read, “ I may have to give my life for my country, but you will always hold my heart.”

Are you kidding me?

Now, most of you know that I am adamantly opposed to our country’s current wars, but that aside, I think I still would have been hit with the same revulsion. Call me old fashioned, but when a woman has children, she does not have the right to travel far away from them and put herself in perilous situations. Her duty is to those children, not to the State. Would any woman honestly believe that her kids would be okay with her being gone for months or years at a time, and maybe not coming home at all, instead of fulfilling her obligation to nurture and teach them?

War is a destroyer of families. I don’t understand why any mother (or father with young children) would put themselves in such a position.


The Israeli Palestinian Conflict January 6, 2009

Filed under: Current Events — katieosborne @ 1:50 am
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Anyone who knows me or has read my blog on a semi-regular basis knows that I am extremely concerned about what is happening in the Middle East and concerned about the propaganda and misinformation U.S citizens are constantly fed about Middle East events. I am frustrated by the way the current conflict in Gaza is portrayed in such a cut and dry manner. I am frustrated by so many people I know who see Israel’s relationship with the rest of the Middle East in black and white when it appears to me as anything but. On the extreme are some of my family members who believe Israel can do no wrong and the U.S. must support them at all costs – no matter what immoral thing that may cause our country to do – or face the wrath of God.

I think sometimes it is hard for Christians, especially dispensationalists (which I’m not), to know exactly how our nation should rightly relate to Israel. The dispensationalists’ view is clouded by their eschatological beliefs, and they see all that is happening in the Middle East as the necessary movement toward Christ’s return. And indeed, they often try to do all that they can to “help” God bring about the end. They support Israel without question because the Jews are God’s chosen people, and because of this, for some reason, they believe that everything Israel does is right and just. At least this is what I have gathered from discussions with such people.  They believe God will reestablish many of the Old Testament functions of the nation of Israel and that the Temple will be rebuilt and the sacrificial system will once again be in place. Therefore, in their eyes, modern day Israel must maintain a firm grasp of their region and regain all the land they were originally given by God. The dispenationalists, as well as many other Christians, do not distinguish between the political State of Israel and God’s people Israel, and this is where I believe much of the trouble lies. In addition to this view, I know there are many who will argue that we must support Israel because they are a democracy, and this argument is one that I hope to address when I have more time.

I think that I have a rather rational outlook on this situation based on what I do know, but I’m willing to admit that I am still learning and thinking this all over. I don’t think that it is appropriate to take the position that we must support Israel at all costs and neglect to question any of their actions.  I would love to hear other Christians’, particularly reformed Christians, perspective on how we are to view the policies and actions of the modern day state of Israel in relation to God’s biblical commands, and what kind of involvement the U.S. should have with Israel.

I have been trying to keep my eye on what is currently happening in Gaza, but I admit, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to become informed on the details of what is taking place, and like most Americans, my knowledge of the details of the history of the strife between Israel and the Palestinians is woefully lacking. But, I am trying to educate myself.

There are very basic untruths regarding this situation that should be common knowledge, but because of media misinformation, are widely unknown. For instance, the Palestinians are being blamed for breaking the cease fire, when it was actually Israel who originally broke the truce on November 4th 2008 by performing a raid that killed five people. Another fact that is essential in forming a clear and educated position on what is taking place is that Israel is illegally occupying the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and the Palestinians there are ill treated and starving as they live under Israeli military rule. This occupation is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is only common sense that an occupied and abused people will rise up and do what little they can against the powerful force that dominates them, is it not? Yet, the U.S. media portrays the actions of Hamas as terrorism against Israel, completely neglecting the terror Israel has wrought on the Palestinians. The acceptable position is that Israel is protecting itself. They are not aggressors. End of story.

Here are some pictures of the death and destruction in Gaza, juxtaposed with the meager damage that Hamas has done with their homemade rockets in Israel. The woman who put these photos together collected the pictures of Israel from Zionist sources, so she can’t validate the accuracy of them. It is possible that they are merely fabricated by the Israelis, and damage is even less extensive than shown in the photos. At any rate, I did an image search for pictures that show damage to Israel, and I couldn’t come up with much that looked different from those in the link above.

I am not trying to suggest that Hamas is innocent. What I am trying to communicate is that contrary to most media reporting, Israel is not innocent either. This is a complex issue, and I think it’s really important that we understand that instead of treating it as a black/white, good/evil issue as many are prone to do. It’s a lot easier to do that. It takes a lot less effort and care. But it’s wrong, and it’s unfair.

I found this video to be thought provoking. It is a few years old, from what I can tell, but completely relevant to what is going on now.

I hope to write more on this situation as I learn and think more on it.


Being Pro-Life November 4, 2008

Filed under: Politics — katieosborne @ 8:41 pm
Tags: ,

The rights of the unborn is a big issue among Christians and many other conservative minded people. In an election year, it is common for Christians to point to this issue as one of the main reasons for supporting the Republican candidate. Unfortunately, I believe that the pro-life issue is often used merely to garner Christian votes. Has any real effort been made by the Republicans to change the course of abortion in our country? The answer is no.

Just take the last eight years as an example. We’ve had a Republican president in office. For six of these years, the same party also controlled congress. If Republican politicians really cared about the issue of abortion, they could have easily taken action to change things during this time. So, what’s the deal, Republicans? What about all those murdered babies you’ve convinced us you care so much about?

And how come President Bush, who calls himself pro-life continues to fund Planned Parenthood, an organization responsible for about a quarter of a million abortions each year? Why has he in fact increased tax money each year to fund them?

Why does Ron Paul, year after year present his Sanctity of Life Act to congress only to have it swept under the rug by Democrats and Republicans alike? I hate to break it to you all, but the majority of Washington does not care about the rights of the unborn.

In addition, I believe there is also a great inconsistency regarding what life Republicans believe is worth protecting. Can an individual truly call themselves pro-life if they support the maiming and killing of women, children and other innocents in foreign lands? It doesn’t seem possible. Yet, many who are rightly passionate about protecting the innocent unborn, seem shockingly apathetic to the gruesome fate of so many in the Middle East who are victims of our reckless foreign policy. Somehow, we’ve been convinced that collateral damage is merely an unfortunate but necessary by-product of war. If our conscience begins to prick us, and we give thought to these unfortunate individuals at all, we convince ourselves that it is for the greater good, desperate to avoid dealing with the real implications of our country’s actions.

Where was the outrage among pro-life advocates when Madeleine Albright declared that the killing of a half million Iraqi children, due to our sanctions during the Clinton Administration, was “worth it”? A half a million children. Hey, that’s politics, right?

And we wonder why they hate us.

Why are we not crying out in grief over the innocent victims we so carelessly kill, dropping bombs from above? Reliable sources estimate that there have been over a half a million civilian deaths in Iraq since the start of the war. Some reports say over a million.  That doesn’t even take into account those who have survived, being horribly burned, shot, etc.

Our government is responsible for this and innumerable other casualties like it. Tell me how this is okay. Tell me you’d be okay if that was your child’s fate. Explain to me how collateral damage is no big deal in the scheme of things.

What, it‘s okay because they’re different than us?  Because we don’t understand their culture? Because they’re halfway across the world, and we don’t have to look them in the eye as they’re dying? Because that’s just how war is? Tell me why it’s okay.

Do you realize that it is common practice for convoys to run down civilians, including children, if they are in the way, so the soldiers don’t have to stop and chance being victims of an IED? Do you realize that civilians are often fired upon at checkpoints, due largely to fear or communication problems? Do you realize that home raids often end in tragedy? Do you realize how many “mistakes” our military makes? I urge you to read the book Collateral Damage, an account of the atrocities of war in Iraq from the mouths of many soldiers who have been there.

I think that we who call ourselves pro-life need to examine all aspects of the preservation of life, and not just that of the unborn baby. We need to cry out against the injustices wrought on innocents all over this world and not just within to wombs of American women.

And while it is good to support politicians who will take a stand for the life of the unborn, ultimately, we cannot rely on government to solve the issue of abortion. Government is inefficient, and legislating morality just doesn’t work. This is an issue of the heart, and until people’s minds and hearts are changed, it doesn’t really matter whether abortion is legal or illegal. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t fight for the overturning of Roe v. Wade – by all means fight for it. It is an unconstitutional law, as abortion is not a federal issue. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t be so naive as to think that we need the government to save the lives of the unborn. It needs to start with us. It starts with compassion and a heart for the lost and hurting. It starts with personally giving of yourself; giving of your time and your emotions to reach out to those who need help. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and becoming vulnerable yourself, in hopes of touching someone else’s soul. It means loving rather than judging. It means understanding rather than writing someone off. It means seeing every single person as precious. It starts with valuing life in all it’s forms and living that out by example. It means doing more than just paying lip service to this very important issue. That’s how we start to change our country’s attitude toward the unborn.


American Christians And The War June 12, 2008

Filed under: Christianity,Politics — katieosborne @ 7:31 pm

I actually started a post on this subject a couple months ago, but due to the nature of the topic, I never had adequate time to set my thoughts down. I still don’t, but I read a speech today that so thoroughly states my feelings on the subject that I wanted to highlight it. It is something that has weighed heavily on my mind for some time, and I won’t make any apologies to family and friends, though I’m sure some will be offended. I don’t pretend to know it all, but this is something I am so sure about: Though many people I deeply respect support the war, I say with complete confidence that they are misled, and as Christians, we all need to examine how our view of our country and this war squares with scripture.

I am simply astounded by mainstream Christians’ support for the war and the president. Have we been so thoroughly brainwashed by the propaganda of the State that we cannot see the truth of what our country has become? We can’t see how immoral this war is? I don’t understand how so many Christians can be so blind to the evils of our government and it’s military. How is the war justified in their minds when they look at Christ’s commands in Scripture? Do they just cover their eyes to the truth?

To many, government has become a god, or is at least seen as God’s agent for good. Somehow Christianity and neo-conservative thought have become so intertwined for so many, it’s as though it is, in some strange way, now a part of Christian doctrine, despite the fact that so much of it is at odds with The Bible.

I want to highlight a few passages of Lawrence M. Vance’s speech, given recently at a Future of Freedom Foundation conference. It is a long document, but well worth the read. Here are just a few paragraphs I thought were particularly important.

Christians who are otherwise good, godly, disciples of Christ often turn into babbling idiots when it comes to the subjects of war, the military, and killing for the state. There is an unholy desire on the part of a great many Christians to legitimize killing in war. There persists the idea among too many Christians that mass killing in war is acceptable, but the killing of one’s neighbor violates the sixth commandment’s prohibition against killing. Christians who wouldn’t think of using the Lord’s name in vain blaspheme God when they make ridiculous statements like “God is pro-war.” Christians who try never to lie do so with boldness when they claim they are pro-life, but refuse to extend their pro-life sentiments to foreigners already out of the womb. Christians who abhor idols are guilty of idolatry when they say that we should follow the latest dictates of the state because we should always “obey the powers that be.” Christians who venerate the Bible handle the word of God deceitfully when they quote Scripture to justify U.S. government wars. Christians who claim to have the mind of Christ show that they have lost their mind when they want the full force of government to protect a stem cell, but have no conscience about U.S. soldiers killing for the government.

If there is any group within Christianity that should be the most consistent, the most vocal, the most persistent, and the most scriptural in its opposition to war and the warfare state, it is conservative Christians who look to the Bible as their sole authority. Yet, never at any time in history have so many of these Christians held such unholy opinions. The adoration they have toward President Bush is unholy. The association they have with the Republican Party is unholy. The admiration they have for the military is unholy. The thirst they have for war is unholy. The callous attitude they have toward killing foreigners is unholy. The idolatry they manifest toward the state is unholy.

If you doubt the truth of what I am saying about the sad state of Christianity, then look no further than the support that a theocratic warmonger like Mike Huckabee received in primary elections earlier this year held all over the South in the so-called Bible Belt. A church in my hometown of Pensacola, Florida, even had Huckabee in to preach on a Sunday evening during primary season. And this time the primaries down South weren’t the usual case of Christians holding their noses and voting for what they perceived to be the lesser of two or more evils, for there was actually a principled conservative Christian on the ballot – Ron Paul. Much of the Christian antagonism toward Dr. Paul was on account of his opposition to the war in Iraq and the larger war on terror. Yet, Christians who chose Huckabee over Paul chose the greater evil that they hoped to avoid. They themselves are evil, not because they rejected Ron Paul, but because they love war, the military, and the warfare state. Huckabee not only supported the sending of more troops to their death in Iraq, he actually maintained that we should not withdraw from Iraq because “we are winning.” If we are winning in Iraq when four thousand American soldiers are dead, thousands of physically and/or mentally disabled soldiers need a lifetime of care, a trillion dollars has already been spent, the morale and readiness of the military is at historic lows, the Guard and Reserve forces are decimated, military hardware and equipment are worn out, the reputation of America in the eyes of the world is at rock bottom, and new terrorists are being created faster than we can kill them, I hate to see what kind of condition we would be in if we started losing.

Christians have bought into a variety of American nationalism that has been called the myth of American exceptionalism. This is the idea that the government of the United States is morally and politically superior to all other governments; that America is a city on a hill – the redeemer nation, the Messiah nation, Rome on the Potomac, the “hope of all mankind,” as President Bush termed it; that American values are the only true values; that the United States is the indispensable nation responsible for the peace and prosperity of the world; that the motives of the United States are always benevolent and paternalistic; that to accept American values is to be on the side of God, but to resist them is to oppose God; that other governments must conform to the policies of the U.S. government; that other nations are potential enemies that threaten U.S. safety and security; and that the United States is morally justified in imposing sanctions or launching military attacks against any of our enemies that refuse to conform to our dictates.

This is why U.S. foreign policy is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling. This is why U.S. foreign policy results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the United States. This is why U.S. foreign policy excuses the mass murder of civilians in the Philippines, Germany, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Iraq as for the greater good. This is why the fruits of U.S. foreign policy are the destabilization and overthrow of governments, the assassination of leaders, the destruction of industry and infrastructure, the backing of military coups, death squads, and drug traffickers, imperialism under the guise of humanitarianism, support for corrupt and tyrannical governments, brutal sanctions and embargoes, and the United States bribing and bullying itself around the world as the world’s policeman, fireman, social worker, and busybody. And because Americans are preoccupied with reconciling religious faith with national pride, they care little about the consequences of American foreign policy, preferring instead to view the world in Manichean terms of good (us) and evil (them).

The early Christians were not warmongers like so many Christians today. They did not idolize the Caesars like some Christians idolize President Bush. They did not make apologies for the Roman Empire like many Christians do for the U.S. Empire. They did not venerate the institution of the military like most Christians do today. They did not participate in the state’s wars like too many Christians do today. If there was anything at all advocated by the early Christians it was peace. After all, they had some New Testament admonitions to go by:

  • Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)
  • Live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18 )
  • Follow peace with all men (Hebrews 12:14)

Aggression, violence, and bloodshed are contrary to the very nature of Christianity. True, the Bible on several occasions likens a Christian to a soldier. As soldiers, Christians are admonished to “put on the whole armor of God.” The Apostle Paul, who himself said: “I have fought a good fight,” told a young minister to “war a good warfare.” But the Christian soldier in the Bible fights against sin, the world, the flesh, and the devil. He wears “the breastplate of righteousness” and “the helmet of salvation.” The weapons of the Christian are not carnal: his shield is “the shield of faith” and his sword is “the word of God.” The New Testament admonishes Christians to not avenge themselves, to do good to all men, and to not render evil for evil. There is nothing in the New Testament from which to draw the conclusion that killing is somehow sanctified if it is done in the name of the state.

What is the purpose of the military? I think it is beyond dispute that the purpose of any country having a military is defense of the country against attack or invasion, not to “rid the world of evil,” as Bush proclaimed from the pulpit of the National Cathedral a few days after the 9/11 attacks.

The U.S. military should be engaged exclusively in defending the United States, not defending other countries, and certainly not attacking them. It is U.S. borders that should be secured. It is U.S. shores that should be guarded. It is U.S. coasts that should be patrolled. It is U.S. skies where no-fly zones should be enforced.

But because U.S. foreign policy is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling; because it has a history of hegemony, nation building, regime change, and jingoism; because it is the story of interventionism, imperialism, and empire; because it results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the United States: the U.S. military – the enforcer of U.S. foreign policy – is a force for evil in the world. Because America’s military heritage is not one of how our troops have repelled invaders, kept us safe from attack, or defended our freedoms, it is not honorable to serve in the military. This is a bitter pill to swallow, especially for soldiers who fought for a lie and the families of soldiers who died for a lie. America’s military heritage is unfortunately one of bombs and bullets, death and destruction, intervention and invasion, and occupation and oppression. The purpose of the military has been perverted beyond all recognition. The military spreads democracy by bombs, bayonets, and bullets. The military garrisons the planet with troops and bases. The military is responsible for the network of brothels around the world to service U.S. troops who have no business being away from home. Military personnel serve simultaneously as policemen, firemen, scientists, social workers, and bullies with the world as their precinct, forest, laboratory, client, and playground.

The problem with the U.S. military is, of course, U.S. foreign policy. U.S. foreign policy is not only aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling, it is also extremely arrogant. The United States would never tolerate another country engaging in an American-style foreign policy. Now, I think I loathe President Bush as much as any man in this room, and perhaps even more so because, as a Bible-believing Christian, I oppose his faith-based socialism, his misuse of Scripture and religion, and his doctrinal deviations from orthodox Christianity, but what if another country said that the U.S. government was corrupt and oppressive and needed a regime change and then came over here and overthrew our government? I would be outraged, as would every American. The United States has troops in about 150 countries. Would it be okay if each of these countries sent troops to the United States? If not, then why not? Would it be okay if each of the countries the United States has a military base in decided to build a base in the United States? Why not? Why the double standard? It is the height of arrogance to insist that the United States alone has the right to garrison the planet with bases, station troops wherever it wants, police the world, and intervene in the affairs of other countries.

It is high time for Christians who still defend the state, its leaders, its military, and its wars to wake up and open their eyes and recognize some cold, hard facts:

  • The United States has become a rogue state, a pariah nation, an evil empire.
  • The United States’ military is the greatest force for evil in the world.
  • The United States is the arms dealer to the world.
  • The United States is not the world’s policeman.
  • The United States cannot redeem the world through violence.
  • The United States is not the God-anointed protector of Israel that enjoys a special relationship with God.
  • The United States government is the greatest threat to American life, liberty, and property – not the leaders or the military or the people of Iraq, Iran, Syria, China, Russia, or Venezuela.

Our republic is crumbling. It is imperative that we return to the noninterventionist foreign policy of the Founders. Christians, of all people, should be leading the way.


America Loves War February 7, 2008

Filed under: Politics — katieosborne @ 12:06 am
Tags: , ,

Pardon the vent, but seriously, what is WRONG with people?  I just don’t understand. John McCain?

Supposedly, the American people are fed up with the war, yet they’re voting for the biggest warmonger of the bunch. Everything else aside, why anyone would vote for a guy who is happy to be in Iraq another 100 years and says that there are more wars coming, is completely beyond me. Even more baffling, some apparently believe that he is an anti-war candidate, and that is why they are voting for him. Huh? Ben says this is because he’s against torture (one of the only positive things about him), and people confuse that with being against the war. Good grief.

If people are dim enough to vote for this guy, I guess our country deserves him.

It’s all pretty depressing.

On a side note, the TV is on and World News Tonight has a segment on Super Tuesday, and Ron Paul is mysteriously MIA. Not a mention of his name; not a glimpse of his face. They talk about every other candidate who is still running, giving a fair amount of time to each. It really is dirty what the media is doing to him. Thanks Charlie Gibson for enlightening us all. What a joke this all is.