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What do you believe?

Deep down, what really do you believe?

And what are you willing to stand by, come what may?

Turbulent times, serious adversity, put us in figurative if not actual foxholes where fake doesn’t cut it.

Trying times are coming. 

But Christians in the Middle East have lived this for centuries. We can learn from them.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

American professional sports are morphing into just another segment from cable news.

If you’re like most people I know, you watch sports for the love of the game, the excitement of competition, the entertainment, and the escape from everyday pressures. Given the increasing politicization of American professional sports, that last one about escaping everyday news is not going to happen, at least not in 2020.

Consider these recent developments so far:

Drew Brees, long-time star quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and reputed all around nice guy, said in an interview that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” then after enormous criticism from other players, Black and White, he apologized profusely for his “insensitive” remarks, as did his wife, repeatedly. 

My point here is not that Brees said what he did, which a majority of Americans agree with, or that some people didn’t like it. My point is that he got ostracized for expressing the “wrong view,” i.e. he made what at one time was considered a patriotic statement and then was blasted for not aligning with the social justice views of multiple other players. Beyond that, he was not accorded his own freedom of speech and he chose to retract his statements, likely so he can play another year in the league. 

Who now, in the NFL or any league, assuming they disagree with the direction the leagues are going, is going to speak up? 

Perhaps it is U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler, part owner of the Atlanta Dream WNBA team, who penned a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert decrying the league's association with the "BLM" movement and suggested wearing American flag jerseys instead. Loeffler later appeared on Fox News to say "Black Lives Matter " is "based on Marxist principles" that could "destroy" the country.

She told ESPN. "I think we all agree the life of every African American is important. There's no room for racism in this country, and we have to root it out where it exists. But there's a political organization called Black Lives Matter that I think is very important to make the distinction between their aim and where we are as a country at this moment. The Black Lives Matter political organization advocates things like defunding and abolishing the police, abolishing our military, emptying our prisons, destroying the nuclear family. It promotes violence and antisemitism. To me, this is not what our league stands for."

Some people question whether Loeffler, who has seemingly evidenced support for progressive causes in the past, may be using this recent sports controversy to prop up her senatorial campaign.

Since this time, several players and others associated with the league or the team have tried to get Loeffler ousted from ownership. Why? For expressing “the wrong views.”

In October 2019, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted on his personal account, "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong. The NBA wants the China market, so when the Chinese government reacted negatively to the tweet a firestorm broke out resulting in Morey apologizing, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver offering a weak recognition of Morey’s free speech rights while all the while condemning the incident, Houston Rocket’s star James Harden apologizing to China, and NBA king LeBron James coming off looking like he endorsed China more than American values. 

Why was this incident such an issue? It was the first national level story featuring personal social media privileges/rights vs corporate interests and accountability, and it involved freedom of speech, international politics, and money. Free speech lost the game. Follow the money.

“In the end, it will be money that dictates the future of political expression in professional sports.”

These are but a few illustrations. The rush-to-political-correctness boulder is rolling down the mountain faster than anyone could have imagined. Major corporations, not least the sports leagues and teams, are turning into pretzels trying to assuage the woke-culture-bully. 

They say this is about racial justice and police brutality, and undoubtedly for some athletes and executives it is just that. They hold sincere concerns, they work in a league comprised of majority Black athletes, they care, and I give them kudos for this.

I also salute and defend any athletes’ right to his or her freedom of speech, to say whatever and to use their sports fame to advance ideas they believe in. Back when, I wrote in support of Colin Kaepernick’s right to his views, even though I thought is method of conveying them by kneeling during the National Anthem was a mistake, and I did not like the imagery. I recognized that for him, this was not about the military or veterans or even the flag per se, yet for millions of others it was and still is, and he and subsequent players know this. Now he is being touted as a hero, yet Drew Brees, a far and away more talented and more important player in the league, is being tossed aside.

What I don’t think is wise, even if legal and within the leagues’ or teams’ rights to freedom of speech, is:

  1. a wholesale embrace of the organization Black Lives Matter, which is about many things other than Black lives, nearly all of them dangerous to the social fabric, including promoting abortion, “queer affirming” lifestyles, destruction of the family structure, dismantling of the current political system, even attacking Christianity. 

The danger for the leagues is viewers who disagree with this ideology may choose to skip television coverage, much less paying exorbitant ticket prices, to see professional sports.

  1. the sudden not-thoroughly-considered groveling to the new woke doctrine that brooks no disagreement, then pushing it on their viewers. There is racism, and there are incidents of police brutality, but the level of purge this movement has attracted is not warranted by reality. Check the evidence. 

Plus, the primary leadership of the movement can in no way be compared to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. That movement sought to achieve liberty and justice for all including Black people. Many within the Black Lives Matter movement today are working to destroy the system, the country, the values that make America and made America a land of opportunity, including for all races and ethnicities.

The danger for the leagues is that viewers will vote with their feet and walk away from the political propaganda.

I hope the politicization of professional sports tops out, but I am not optimistic. Right now, every professional sports league is trying to outdo the other one in its we-are-more-woke-than-thou. So they aren’t selling competition. They’re selling their version of social justice. I can watch that on cable news.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

Supreme Court denies Nevada church's appeal of attendance restriction amid coronavirus pandemic

You can add Nevada alongside California, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, to name a few, as another state discriminating against churches, which is to say religion, in the name of public health. And in this latest instance the Supreme Court of the United States backed Nevada’s constitutionally overreaching state officials.

I’ve been pointing to state government overreach in the name of public health vis-a-vis a percentage of the population at risk short term, i.e., people who contract the coronavirus and need to take precautions.

And I’ve noted a rapidly growing threat to the First Amendment – not just religion but also the suppression of freedom of speech.

This brief “Wall Street Journal” piece, including an excellent short video herein, addresses the onslaught on freedom of speech we’re now seeing nearly every day, often not just from “protesters” but from the lips of foolish opportunistic politicians. 

While the virus is serious and deserves reasonable response—I am not contending otherwise. I just don’t think medical and health evidence indicates the coronavirus pandemic, though clearly a virulent illness, is ultimately any more threatening than the flu or pneumonia. Certainly, it does not justify lockdowns, shuttering businesses and torpedoing economies, creating rampant unemployment and collateral suffering, all while forcing healthy people to quarantine themselves or otherwise live in hysteria.

That said, the demonstrably evident and increasing willingness of state and local political leaders to take actions, i.e. “executive orders,” undermining the first freedoms, including religion, speech, assembly, is a much greater plague that affects not just a portion of the population but 100% of the population now and future. 

This is not a peripheral issue. It is not alarmist. The First Amendment has never been more threatened than it now is. If we lose what the First Amendment protects tyranny wins.

The First Amendment, the foundational and distinctive American ideal for all citizens has never been at greater risk.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Civil liberties are not granted by government but are guarantees against government taking them away.  

The terms civil liberties and civil rights are often used synonymously or interchangeably. Both words are used in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. But they are different. 

Civil liberties are identified in the Bill of the Rights, here called rights. They are similar to what is referred to as human rights or natural rights, those that adhere to human beings as gifts of God or designations of nature. 

They are inviolable or in the words of the Declaration, “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”

Civil liberties “are freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution to protect us from tyranny (think: our freedom of speech), while civil rights are the legal rights that protect individuals from discrimination (think: employment discrimination).” Civil liberties “concern the actual basic freedoms; civil rights concern the treatment of an individual regarding certain rights.”

Civil liberties are protections against government action. Civil liberties restrain governments; they list what governments cannot do. The United States federal, state, or local governments did not give us our civil liberties. They are gifts of God, ours by birthright.

Civil liberties include life, liberty, the freedom of religion, freedom of speech (expanded to expression), freedom of the press, freedom of assembly or to petition the government for redress of grievances, the 14th Amendment’s due process, the 6th Amendment’s right to a fair trial, equal treatment under the law, right to own property. 

Civil rights are actions governments may institute to extend additional protections to citizens. Civil rights list what governments must do and have been expanded over time through “positive actions” of government, for example the 13th Amendment ending slavery in 1865, the 15th Amendment granting male citizens the right to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” the 19thAmendment of the US Constitution in 1920 giving women the right to vote, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, attempts a comprehensive list.

Civil rights include the right to vote, right to public education, or right to use public facilities. More recently, a right to privacy and the legalization of same-sex marriage have been added to American rights.

Consequently, citizens’ civil liberties may never lawfully be abridged without due process of law, while citizens’ civil rights may change over time according to new legislation enacted into law as interpreted by the courts.

In liberal democracies, civil liberties or natural rights predate and are a priori to governments. It is enormously important to recognize and remember this, particularly in this time period when a number of “big government” philosophies are ascendent and people frequently call for government to alter basic liberties according to their proclivities. And it’s also a time in the 2020 pandemic panic in which state governments via overreaching governors have issued “orders” upon orders telling citizens what to do and in a number of cases limiting their civil liberties.

The U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights may not be perfect, but I challenge anyone to cite civil documents creating a governmental system that is more protective and more supportive of individual liberty. This is a precious heritage.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Seems to me, people no longer disagree; they divide. The fancy word is "polarization." Then they go to (cold) war.
 
They call the other, not simply misinformed or wrong, but judgmental or intolerant or offensive, enemy, hater, or bigot. There’s no longer, “The honorable Senator from the great state of…” in Washington, DC, and there’s no such respect on the average street.
 
They do not seek discussion much less debate but to silence others as dangerous. This outrage turns into political correctness and it's killing the free exchange of ideas in public universities.
 
This happens between Parties, as well as Left-Liberal, Conservative-Right. It happens not just on talk radio but among journalists, among academics, and increasingly among religious leaders as well. People assume positions with non-negotiable religious fervor re climate change, masks?, the wall, fracking, ad infinitum.
 
When religion, specifically Christianity, is of no consequence, when American ideals re liberty and order are no longer respected, or when truth is relinquished to moral relativism, all that’s left is power. Might makes right. No common aspirational future. No Unum, just Pluribus.
 
“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” (Prov. 29:18).

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Joe Biden said, you ain’t Black if you vote for Trump. Now Jemelle Hill says you’re racist if you vote for Trump. What you think of the President notwithstanding, isn’t this sort of labeling “racism”?

Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility is, according to John McWhorter, a professor at Columbia University, “one of America’s favorite advice books of the moment is actually a racist tract. Despite the sincere intentions of its author, the book diminishes Black people in the name of dignifying us.” Another critique of this book can be found here.

“Karen” is now being used as a racist slur against white women.

“The white culture, according to the museum, is evidenced by such priorities as the nuclear family, a strong work ethic, rugged individualism, and politeness,” so said the African American Museum in Washington, D.C., until a backlash forced them to remove the chart propounding these ideas. The museum also listed Christianity as a whiteness characteristic; this is a new racism being touted as “anti-racism.”

“Blackness” and “Whiteness” are now finding their way into public school curriculums

Going to National Parks is White, and racist?  According to a segment broadcast on ABC News, Yes.

PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, announced plans to retire Aunt Jemima from packaging on its brand of syrup and pancake mixes because it's "based on a racial stereotype." Owners of Uncle Ben's, Mrs. Butterworth's, and Cream of Wheat also announced their products' packaging would be reviewed. Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream said its Eskimo Pie brand would be renamed. Trader Joe's will remove 'racist packaging' of brands including Trader José's, Trader Ming's.

Two great narratives about Black and White are presently in a Cold War.

If calling someone the “N-word” is a terrible racist slur that should not be used, and it is, why isn’t calling someone a “White supremacist” in the same category?

Describing businesses as “white-owned” or “black-owned” is not now simply descriptive but a way of promoting racial division, or what we used to call “segregation.” Something we worked to set aside in the 1960s is now resurrecting in 2020, in the name of anti-racism no less.

Identity politics in one source of this movement and at its worst identity politics is about class or ethic/racial warfare, which argues for inclusion but by definition is exclusionary, often arguing for silencing other views, rather than about ideals, constitutionally enshrined human rights and civil liberties for all. MLK, Jr worked for the latter and would not recognize much that passes for racial justice today, at least not as promoted by Black Lives Matter the organization.

One authority called racism a “mental illness.” Sorry. Not so. It’s sin. Medicalizing or psychologizing the problem won’t make it go away or make it any easier to understand, and certainly not resolve it.

Racism is wrong no matter who expresses it.  Substituting a new racism for the old is not a solution, nor is re-segregating America.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.