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No peace for the wicked!

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Isaiah 48:22 “There is no peace for the wicked.”

      Our world is in constant turmoil.  There is no lasting peace for many.   This is not of God’s choosing.  Mankind prefers to go his own way.  Matthew Henry writes about those of Isaiah’s day; “God did not afflict them willingly. If their sins had not turned them away, their peace should have been always flowing and abundant. Spiritual enjoyments are ever joined with holiness of life and regard to God’s will. It will make the misery of the disobedient the more painful, to think how happy they might have been.”

   Sadly, misery loves company.  Living in the world of the miserable can take it’s toll on Christians.  Paul wrote with great encouragement when he described the resilience of God’s people; “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed . . . .” (2 Corinthians 4:8)  Following Jesus isn’t a guarantee of an easy life but rather a life of overcoming; “. . . in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

     God provides and protects his people in the face of even the gravest threats of harm.  This doesn’t mean that we have false confidence that the worst won’t happen to us.  Our confidence is on God’s power and agency in the world.  Like Daniel’s friends when they faced their own terrible destruction in a fiery furnace there is peace in taking a stand;  “. . . our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17,18)

     When God is with us and we believe it with no doubt or hesitancy, we stand with Him no matter what the personal cost.  For followers of Jesus that means death and the cross in thousands of small daily ways and eventually crossing over to our true home.  In all cases dying means living; “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)

     The misery of this wicked world is living without meaning and purpose.  Living only to grow softer, more indolent and pampered in the sure and certain knowledge that sickness and death will eventually take everything and leave you with nothing. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, in his book – The Brothers Karamazov wrote; “The world says: ‘You have needs — satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.’ This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.”  How true!

     Living in the Light of faith, even if our candle is small, broken and dirty, the flame that doesn’t come from us, gives our life meaning and purpose.  The warmth and light from the Holy fire God kindles in even the most timid heart burns bright and drives back the cold.  The apostle Paul reminds us that God’s love extends to the farthest reaches; “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)

     Jesus is that light; “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)  In Him we have peace!

     Come Lord Jesus!

Free speech isn’t freedom to harm!

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Free speech is one of the ‘freedoms’ we hold very precious in our society.

 The Constitution of Canada incorporates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 2 of the Charter grants to everyone, among other things, freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media. Section 1 restricts the granted freedoms by making them subject “only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. (Wikipedia)

We say that everyone should have a right to have and express their opinions and we also wisely put  ‘limits’ on this freedom with laws covering ‘hate speech’.

 The Criminal Code prohibits “hate propaganda.” The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on various grounds, and forbids the posting of hateful or contemptuous messages on the Internet. . . . . These laws are considered controversial by many commentators because of the perceived threat they pose to rights.  (Hate speech laws in Canada – Wikipedia)

You can’t say anything that you want if it is hateful or contemptuous towards others or identifiable groups.   Sometimes free speech with no limit serves an agenda that is far from good.  History shows us examples of how people have twisted free speech for evil ends;

 Europeans remember a time when free speech didn’t produce a happy ending. . . . . They do “take free speech seriously,” and in fact many of them think their system of free speech is freer than ours. Their view of human rights was forged immediately after World War II, and one lesson they took from it was that democratic institutions can be destroyed from within by forces like the Nazis who use mass communication to dehumanize whole races and religions, preparing the population to accept exclusion and even extermination. For that reason, some major human-rights instruments state that “incitement” to racial hatred, and “propaganda for war,” not only may but must be forbidden. The same treaties strongly protect freedom of expression and opinion, but they set a boundary at what we call “hate speech.”  (Free Speech Isn’t Free – The Atlantic, Garrett Epps Feb. 2014)

Free speech isn’t a Biblical ideal.  Rather, the Bible warns Christians about being too ‘free’ with our tongues.

The Bible tells us that  what comes out of our mouth can cause a lot of trouble; “. . . the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”  (James 3:5,6)

We have a responsibility to control what comes out of our mouth; “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)

Jesus tells us that ‘free speech’ can be very unclean; “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”  (Matthew 15:11)  According to Jesus our words let other’s know what our hearts are like; “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”  (Luke 6:45)

Christians are called to speak God’s Word into a hurting confused and often childish world.  This calling is not to condemn or condone. Rather we are called to a maturity that is tempered with compassion; “we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,  but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14,15)

In a world hostile to God’s truth and those who speak it, this is not free speech – It costs.

Here’s what’s next!

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Religious freedom is a nice idea as long as people aren’t afraid.  Fear breeds suspicion and suspicion breeds distrust and eventually hate.   LIke any fire, hate devours everything in its path.  This is also a great danger to democracy and a free society. Terrorism kindles a kind of reactionary terrorism of it’s own that does a lot of damage to the freedoms we hold dear in a democratic country.  You can’t fight terrorism with terrorism and hope to get any different results than fighting fire with fire. Yet some want to try.

Our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees religious freedom:

Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.

Our collective rights as Canadians are coming under attack not from ‘terrorists’ but from politicians in Quebec.  Fear and suspicion is the motivator.  Graeme Hamilton of the National Post reports:

 Up until last week, everything seemed to be proceeding smoothly for the Muslim Cultural Centre slated to open in a Shawinigan, Que. industrial park. The deadline for requesting a referendum on the necessary zoning change had passed without a single opponent coming forward, and city council was set to approve the change. The days of travelling the half-hour to Trois-Rivières for prayers were about to end for Shawinigan’s 20 Muslim families.

Then council abruptly changed course. The local newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported that there were cries of “Yes!” from members of the public when the council rejected the zoning change Feb. 10. Proponents of the mosque project who expressed their disappointment at the meeting were greeted with insults, and Mayor Michel Angers had to ask people to leave if they could not remain civil, the newspaper reported.

There was no evidence the planned centre had any link to extremists. Mr. Angers later acknowledged that the refusal to allow the zoning change was a reaction to a flood of last-minute complaints — from within Shawinigan and beyond — expressing “irrational fears” about Islamic extremism.

Graeme Hamilton: Quebec politicians playing to ‘irrational fears’ about Islamic extremism, Graeme Hamilton, February 18, 2015

The fundamental rights of Canadians are being denied on the basis of ‘no evidence’ and  ‘irrational fears’.   A decline of civility and the hurling of insults at people who have not broken any laws or disturbed the peace is the dry kindling of a a reactionary terror that is no less ugly than any other form of domestic terrorism.

The fear and suspicion will not stop at one group of people. It never does. This has not escaped the Premier of Quebec,  Graeme Hamilton continues;

Mr. Couillard has criticized Mr. Legault’s [the leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec] proposal to clamp down on speech that runs counter to Quebec values. In the National Assembly Wednesday, Mr. Couillard said Mr. Legault’s plan would affect not just mosques but churches and synagogues. “There exists in Quebec a church that does not allow women to be celebrants,” he said. “There exists in Quebec another church that says women and men must be separated in religious buildings.” He said the CAQ “really likes to talk about Muslims, but religion is a much more complex phenomenon than that.”

Graeme Hamilton concludes;

 If there is a segment of the population with reason to fear, it is the Muslims who are being told the mere act of worshipping is cause for suspicion. Instead of denouncing the insults thrown at Shawinigan Muslims last week, Mr. Legault sought to score political points by feeding the prejudice.

There have been widespread demands that Muslims and their Imams denounce the acts of terrorism that have been perpetrated on innocent people.  We should all denounce those terrible evil acts. We should also denounce all acts of terrorism including reactionary terrorism that is spawned out of people’s fears and political opportunism.

History repeats itself for those who neglect its lessons or cannot remember them.  In the past a form of domestic terrorism raged across Europe that was fed by fear and political opportunism.  Martin Niemöller famous words warn us of what may be coming;

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 The most terrible blow that terrorism can inflict upon its victims is to warp their minds to believe that some people are more human than others and some are less human than others.  If we let fear and suspicion warp our minds to the point that  we start blaming and hurling insults at people who have done nothing wrong we dehumanize them and ourselves. When this happens the victim becomes  the tormentor and the fire of hate burns on.

Science as wishful thinking

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Science is seen as the ultimate arbiter of truth by many today.  According to the popular view, any statement if it is said to be ‘scientific’ or a product of ‘research’ it is automatically held to be true.  A scientific statement trumps any other kind of contrary statement about the real world.

Bill Gates summarizes the modern mindset very well:

 I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm – not all – that religion used to fill.

Science is ‘smarter’ than religion.  Sadly, this is more of a fashion statement than anything else.  Many make the claim so they can coat-tail on the smartness of science in order to legitimize their own prejudices and lifestyle choices.

Scientists are not gods and the product of their ‘scientific’ labour is not reality or even truth about reality.  Tom Spears tells us that even the great Sir Isaac Newton injected ‘wishful’ thinking into his science about rainbows;

 At Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany, psychologist Roland Fleming studies how we see objects around us.

“The only reason Newton came up with ‘indigo’ is because for occult reasons he believed there must be seven basic colours that come together to make white. It certainly has little to do with physics and a lot more to do with the relationship between perception and language,” Fleming said.

Why the colour indigo is disappearing from Sir Isaac Newton’s ‘occult’ rainbow, Tom Spears, Postmedia News, February 16, 2015

Spears goes on to point out that these kinds of scientific prejudices can be ‘edited out’ of cultural thinking not by science correcting itself  but by a kind of blind luck;

 Then a funny thing happened. Modern portrayals of the rainbow have reduced the number of colours to six.

The multicoloured banner seen at Gay Pride events is a rainbow of sorts. But if you look closely, you’ll see it’s missing a Newtonian colour. Indigo has vanished, leaving three primary and three secondary colours.

The Gay Pride flag eschews indigo in its representation of the rainbow. Just an accident, perhaps. Someone forgot to check a physics textbook before sewing a flag, which isn’t exactly a shocker.

A quick review of Wikipedia on the subject of origin of the ‘Rainbow’ flag of Gay Pride indicates that its inspiration had little to do with the colours of the spectrum.  Which begs the question – what other claims made by the flag bearers of Gay Pride have no real basis in science.

Yet someone might be tempted to triumphantly proclaim; ‘The Rainbow Flag’ is ‘smarter than science’ and ‘science is smarter than religion’, so lets march under this banner finally knowing the real ‘truth’.  Sadly, like Isaac Newton,  we all can get tripped up by our ‘wishful thinking’ .

The real journey to truth is the individual path that every human being must travel through – the terrain of our own minds. Navigating the mire of our wishful thinking, the deep ravines of our fears and phobia’s as well as  the high towers of our prejudices.  Wisdom comes out of this kind of journey; “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:26,27)

Many never bother with this journey.  They prance along a broad and easy road with many companions.  It’s a pleasant journey, very popular with lots of stuff and lots of great banners and flags.  Yet even that road in the end brings your gasping, wrinkled failing body to the threshold of your inner self.

There are no flags waving there. But there is truth.  Truth about life and death.

Pity the person who comes to it without spiritual wisdom.

Cause and effect

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Isaiah 32:17 “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”

     In physics, energy is often described as the ‘ability to do work’.   Work is defined as the application of a force on a body that moves it in a particular direction.  Reality always mirrors the great spiritual principles by which God governs the universe.  The greater spiritual law that Isaiah describes in this verse is about the direction towards good that righteousness always moves a man or a nation.
   

Jesus gave us a good practical rule by which we could  identify people and their work by their ‘effects’; “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-18)

     Scripture renders this spiritual principle in these general terms; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22,23)  The agency operating is the Holy Spirit. His  effect or the absence of His effect is clear in us and in our nation.

     Why then do our politicians, social scientists and other great thinkers become so perplexed by the dismal state of affairs in our world?  They are at a loss to explain it!  There seems to be as many conflicting explanations for the mayhem as there are conflicts in the world.  A few are now beginning to admit the world we live in is broken and fallen.

      Matt K. Lewis writing for the National Post admits; “We live in a fallen world. We can try our best to manage wars, to be smart, to minimize them. This is our duty, our responsibility. But the notion of a world that is entirely peaceful seems increasingly utopian. And the idea that we can find a foreign policy template that always works is, itself, a dangerous concept, tantamount to flying too close to the sun.”  (National Post – Monday. Oct. 13, 2014)  Hubris is the effect of the spirit of pride in self that is deeply embedded into mankind.  A dark and evil force is also at work in the world. Some are blinded and undone by it.

     Few will speak of the underlying spiritual causes of the terrible situation the world is in. Why? The world is against God’s righteousness. It always has been; “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’” (Psalm 2:1-3) The world of man is in rebellion and will not follow God; “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint….” (Proverbs 29:18)

     What do we see at work in the world – what effects are evident on the world stage?  Mayhem – the opposite of peace and assurance.  Scripture tells us why; “. . . the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)  We, were part of it but not any more; “. . . in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:2)  That’s why no one in worldly authority confesses to the true underlying causes of our sad state of affairs.  Today, the devil hides in plain sight and few will admit to seeing his work.  Many are blinded to it.

       World leaders have summits looking for ways to make peace.  Even, some religious leaders will tell you that with good will, work and effort mankind can establish peace in this world.  All to no avail and the misleading of many.  This is the time of great deception  Jesus warns us; “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24)

     What will be the end of history?  Certainly not what Francis Fukuyama predicted about twenty five years ago: “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”  What pride and hubris.

     Jesus through His Word tells us the truth; “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:6,7,8)  Scripture tells us how it will all end; “. . .at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10,11)  This is the final work of righteousness in the world.

     The work of His Spirit brings peace – one person at a time and not in the top-down heavy-handed way of the world.   Jesus told us that His eternal work of righteousness is here and now and for all time; “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)  Through Him we overcome all the trouble; “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

     Come Lord Jesus!

   

This is the way, walk in it!

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Isaiah 30:20,21 “And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it, . . . ‘”
 

 Isaiah tells us that tough times come to all.  Because God is all powerful and all knowing we tend to blame our hardships on Him.  Why would God allow us to have ‘bad times’?  We quickly forget that as He fed us in the  good times’ He’s there in the bad times feeding us too.  We see that in good times or bad, God provides our sustenance.  The hard lessons are the ones that shape and sharpen us the most.   We tend to associate hard times and adversity as something that happens to us when we are bad.  In reality, bad times happen, good times happen and God is with you in all of them.   Jesus told us plainly; “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

     When I’m going through adversity and affliction, where do I go for nourishment and strength? God’s Word and  my prayers that arise out of the hope of His promises always provide strength!  The Bible is the only source of direct encouragement and guidance that I have and ever need.  I’ve read a lot of books over the years, only His rings true and provides real help.  If you’re like me, and I’m just an ordinary guy, then you have been in tough spots and desperately wondered if you would ever get through them.  God’s Word tells us the way – ‘this is the way, walk in it!’

     Oh, lots of people will tell you otherwise.  They’ll say there are plenty of different ways to get real help and support in times of trouble.  They’ll sound so spiritual and caring.  They’ll have all the answers.  These ‘teachers’ are always around you in the good times – whispering and tickling your ears with good time advice, easy wisdom and cheap grace. But when the times turn hard and the storm clouds bring darkness into your life, these easy friends fall silent and leave. The party is over!  You’re left to eat alone and you’re not hungry for the sugary ‘carbs’ of good times. You need something more filling for tough, hard and empty times.

     You need the ‘bread of adversity’ and the ‘water of affliction’. What is that?  Who would want it? God’s word is this bread.  In adversity, believers want it and everyone needs it.  Because His Word is hope.  Matthew Henry tells us; “. . . by the counsels of a faithful minister or friend, or the checks of conscience, and the strivings of God the Spirit, we are set right . . . the effect of this should be comfort and joy to the people of God. Light, that is, knowledge, shall increase. This is the light which the gospel brought into the world, and which proclaims healing to the broken-hearted.”

     Linda Jeffrey writes; “This is an immutable principle of scripture: the greater the affliction, the greater the grace and glory. Affliction is the medicine that cures your meaningless chasing after the wind. James [4] describes the sad me who is settled into the comforts of life having turned my brain off, and allowing the world to dictate my priorities. I become full of pride, not knowing my own need, cherishing my pseudo-independence, and neglecting my salvation. It is a path of destruction.” It’s in life’s tough times when our vision is cleared by tears that we see our true teacher – His Holy Spirit, always watching, always there, wanting to help, comfort and guide.

     When life has beaten you down to the ground and your spirit is gasping with your body.  Cry out! You will hear ‘a voice behind you’.  When you think you’re so alone and without help, God is there.  He’s got your back!  He was always there in good times as well as now in the bad times.  But, like me, you weren’t always listening because you were too distracted.  In the gloomy lonely silence of grief, hardship or misfortune, Jesus touches your shoulder and says; “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

     Find a Bible, there’s plenty secondhand shops that practically give them away or maybe you’ve got one just sitting in some corner of your home; open it up to the middle, you’ll be in or near the book of Psalms.  Go to Psalm 119 and find the 105th verse.  It says : “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  Start reading the Psalms and you’ll find solace, help and encouragement.  You’ll find bread of adversity and water of affliction to get you through the tough times.

    When Jesus was in the desert going through a terrible tough time, He said; “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
   
     Come Lord Jesus!

A bad law is no law at all

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We think legislators make laws for the common good of all citizens.  Sometimes they don’t.  When ‘bad’ laws are made legislators can tear down a lot of good that their predecessors have built up over time.  Edmund Burke said; “Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.”  He also said that if people are crushed by  a law they will become antagonistic to not only the law but society as well;

People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous.

What is a bad law?

Making feeding the homeless illegal is a bad law!

What kind of world would it be if kindness to strangers was outlawed?  What possible reason would there be for making  feeding or helping the homeless illegal?  Who would make laws like that?

Norway is considering it;

Anyone offering a homeless person a cup of coffee or a sandwich on the streets in Norway could soon risk six months to a year in jail under a proposed new law.

The Norwegian government wants to introduce a national ban on organized begging, which will criminalize not only beggars, but also those deemed to have helped them in any way.

City authorities in Oslo are in uproar at the proposed law, which they say the government is trying to rush through without proper debate, with only three weeks allowed for consultation.

The government says the new law is needed to combat an influx of organized begging gangs in recent years, which it says are a public nuisance and have brought a rise in crime.

 Norwegians could face jail for giving homeless people food or money if new law passes, critics say,  Justin Huggler, The Telegraph, February 4, 2015

Is this just some crazy Norwegian idea (my heritage is Scandinavian so I can ask the question)?

Jonathan Turley  reports  it’s happening in America as well;

Did you know that somewhere in America, it is illegal to feed the homeless in public? It can’t be true can it? It is true in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after the recent passage of an ordinance by the city council. The real scary part of that news is that Fort Lauderdale is not alone in taking this anti-compassionate stance!

“Over 30 cities across the nation have outlawed or are considering criminalizing the provision of food to homeless people. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, over 20 cities have devised laws against giving food to homeless people since January 2013.” Nation of Change  (submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty -Weekend Contributor)

Why?

‘It’s a pubic safety issue. It’s a public health issue,’ Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler rationalized. ‘The experts have all said that if you’re going to feed them to get them from breakfast to lunch to dinner, all you’re doing is enabling that cycle of homelessness.’ (Lawrence E. Rafferty)

Could this happen in Canada – would we adopt such laws?  Perhaps, we already chase the homeless away with spikes!  Matthew Coutts reports:

Canada may not do enough to help its homeless community, but at least we’ve never lumped them in with pests and vermin the way a London, England apartment complex did when it installed metal spikes on the ground near its entrance.

Except, apparently we have. According to a Canadian homeless advocacy group, anti-homeless spikes are relatively common and have even made occasional appearances in Canada.

“I’ve seen them around, I’ve seen them here in Calgary and I’ve seen them in other cities around Canada,” Tim Richter, head of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, told Yahoo Canada News.

London criticized for anti-homeless spikes, but Canada is little better, By Matthew Coutts,  Daily Brew – Mon, 9 Jun, 2014

Any law that dehumanizes people is a bad law.  Any law that takes away the innate right a human being has to receive help and give help to another is just plain wrong.  When legislators who make our laws listen more to ‘experts’ rather than their constituents bad laws are made. Bad laws make criminals of good people as well as people ‘down on their luck’.      Marianne Borgen of Norway makes the point:

“The way I read the proposed law is that if you give a hungry person something to eat or drink, or offer them somewhere to sleep, then you are helping begging and you will be liable to imprisonment or a fine,” Marianne Borgen, an Oslo city councillor, said.

“We should all be able to show our humanity and help individuals. Of course the government didn’t mean to criminalize you or me if we give someone a cup of coffee, but under the proposed law we would be liable to prosecution.”  (Justin Huggler of The Telegraph,  Norwegians could face jail . . . )

How do we solve the problem of homelessness?  Even Canada has tried some very nasty  approaches,  Coutts continues;

 Last year, Abbotsford, B.C., incited outrage when it spread chicken manure across an area that had become a prevalent homeless encampment. The outrage led city officials to apologize and remove the manure, and prompted a lawsuit led by a homeless advocacy group.

“It is a pretty typical pattern of responses to homelessness and rough sleeping in most communities. They want to deal with the symptoms of the problem and not the problem itself,” Richter [head of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness] said.

“Whether you are putting these spikes in place or spreading manure on homeless camps, or your police officers and bylaw officers are issuing fines to homeless people, really you are pushing the problem around. You’re not solving it.  (London criticized for anti-homeless spikes, but Canada is little better)

There are some problems legislation can’t solve.  Some problems have far deeper roots than social, economic or political causes.  Few wish to admit this.  Compassionate people know in their hearts that homelessness can’t be solved by making it illegal to help.  Instinctively they provide the only ‘reasonable’ response – love in the simple action of responding to a need.

The Bible tells us how we will be judged by Jesus in the end;

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  (Matthew 25:34-40)

What legislative body has the authority to outlaw helping hands?  What kind of laws jail compassion?    What court holds final authority over you?

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