The West’s Refugee Dilemma


In this moment of history, many of my fellow believers are arguing passionately that the nations of Europe (and the U.S., too) should continue accepting and settling every poor person who makes it to their shores. I’d like to explore that assertion but it will require a couple of long posts to do so. Stay with me. This is important stuff.


Do they make these in nation size?

A nation can choose to be a welfare state. A nation can choose to have open borders. But no nation can choose both. Not for long anyway. So observed famed economist Milton Friedman many years ago.

The validity of Friedman’s assertion is now being tested in Europe before our eyes. Friedman, math and common sense all argue:

As a nation, to provide a social welfare safety net of services for the poor AND welcome the poor of the world to your soil is tantamount to economic and cultural suicide.

As I write, refugees by the hundreds of thousands are pouring across Europe’s largely open borders and into the generous social welfare safety nets those liberal nations provide for their residents.

The British newspaper, The Independent, published the stunning data visualization below to illustrate the scale and scope of what has taken place over the last few months—and very importantly, where they’re coming from. Each moving dot represents 25 individuals.

If image doesn’t load, CLICK HERE.

One of the striking things about this map is WHERE these refugees are coming from. The narrative is the they’re all coming from Syria and Iraq where ISIS’ reign of hell is rampaging. That’s clearly no longer the case.

By October 20, the number of refugees passing through Greece had surpassed 500,000. This literal exodus indeed began as a result of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq and Syria, which in turn is a direct result of President Obama’s foolish, catasrophic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq (as I pointed out in this blog post). But once it became clear that Europe was going to accept refugees, the flood gates opened from all over that half of the world.

Each one of those moving marks represents 25, heartbreaking individual stories. Real people, with real needs, hurts, dreams and aspirations.

However, viewed as a whole, these immigration flows create a self-reinforcing, self-amplifying cycle. Welcoming refugees triggers more and increasing refugee movement. Accept a trickle and invite a flood.

This is precisely what we saw here in the U.S. between 2012 and 2014.. As soon as the Obama Administration made it clear that underage illegals immigrants would be allowed to stay here and helped to establish residency, a tsunami of children and youth began rushing toward the Rio Grande from Central America.

As this PBS report explains, prior to 2012 an average of 8,000 children were intercepted at the border each year. Then word got out that the White House had ordered immigration officials to stop enforcing the laws on the books, especially where minors were concerned.

Many within the American Church—from Unitarians to Southern Baptists—cheered this move as a more compassionate, more humane, more Christian policy.

However, news travels fast. And the law of unintended consequences is merciless.

Minor Migrants 2014

Soon poor mothers across Guatemala, Honduras, and elsewhere were sending their unaccompanied children north, asking them to run a gauntlet of vicious narco traficantes, human traffickers, pedophiles, abusers, jungles and deserts.

We know that in the first half of 2014, roughly 60,000 minors actually made it to U.S. soil. What we will never know is how many did not make it. How many died along the way? How many were pressed into child labor or into the service of the drug cartels?

Accept a trickle and invite a flood.

Here’s a hard truth. Those who, with the best of righteous intentions, advocate for governmental acceptance of the trickle must own their responsibility for the deaths caused by the flood.

Of course, American liberals never, ever take responsibility for the catastrophic unintended consequences of their poorly thought out do-gooding. But my fellow Christians and I should. But back now to Europe . . .

Today many of the same voices of faith are saying the governments of Europe must accept and care for every Middle Eastern and African immigrant that arrives on their shores. They are explicitly claiming that it is the “Christian” thing to do and that governments ought always do the Christian thing.

In other words, many people believe the governments of Europe should put on a giant WWJD bracelet. But is that true?

I believe it is both possible and necessary to distinguish between what an individual Christian should do and what the government of a nation-state should do. Not only is it possible—it’s vital.

I know this sounds heretical, but a government can’t be a good Christian. And I don’t believe it should try.

I’ll explain in my next post.

Pharma Companies are Clearly Out of Ideas for Drug Names


Well, I just saw one of those “ask your doctor about . . .” television spots for a new drug call Farxiga. That’s right FARXIGA. This new diabetes drug from AstraZeneca joins their other pharmaceutical offerings that now include FASLODEX, KOMBIGLYZE XR, LYNPARZA, ONGLYZA, and ZOMIG.

It really does seem like they’re now just grabbing a handful of Scrabble tiles and throwing them on a table and whatever randomly comes up becomes the new drug name. But their Scrabble set must come with lots of extra Xs, Ys and Zs.

XeljanzIt’s not just AstraZeneca. Pfizer is the maker of ELELYSO, FLYGYL, INYLTA, REBIF, SKELAXIN, TRUMENBA, and XELJANZ. Clearly, they long ago ran out of ideas and now they’re just messing with us.

How about these offerings from GlaxoSmithKline: LAMICTAL, TANZEUM, STAXYN, and RAXIBACUMAB.

Should you ask your doctor if RAXIBACUMAB is right for you? Let’s hope he says “no.” It’s a treatment for people who have inhaled anthrax.

Attention, Pharma companies! I hereby offer you my creative services for coming up with names for new drugs. I’ll even give you the first three at no charge.

YRRAL, YLRUC, and EOM*. (You’re welcome.)



*Larry, Curly and Moe






Another Embarassing Series of Date-Setting Failures


The Three Businessmen of the Apocalypse

It’s been a bad couple of months for the date setters.

Several years of Blood Moons hype did more than sell a jillion-teen books and DVDs and provide the premise for countless breathless interviews on Christian television. It worked millions of my fellow believers into a frothy lather of end-time expectation focused on the Jewish holy days in September.

Tens of thousands of man-hours of research went into building elaborate cases for why the rapture of the Church was likely to take place during or around the lunar eclipse of September 28.

For example, here’s an  site aptly titled, “The Coming Blood Moon Rosh Hashanah 2015 Rapture.” And here’s “Blood Moons POINTING to Rosh Hashanah 2015 for the Rapture…?

Back in May, a writer at this site wrote, “I have no doubt that something major is going to happen in September of this year.” There were tens of thousands of others, of course. Most had the usual disclaimers and qualifiers but still went to great lengths to build logical cases utilizing lots of math, scripture and Hebrew word study.

Let me emphasize that most of these cases were indeed logical and, in their own way, biblical, in that they cited a lot of scripture. Most built a highly persuasive argument that something BIG was likely to happen on 9-13 or  9-23 or 9-28-2015.

All were wrong.

Up next was an online group called E-Bible Fellowship. They built an equally elaborate case the world was “in all likelihood” going to end a few weeks ago—specifically on October 7.

Then on October 8 they posted an article titled, “A response to being incorrect with the prediction that, “in all likelihood, the world would end on October 7th.” (At least they owned up to being wrong. Most end-times hypsters don’t do that. They generally just start looking for the next secret biblical code everyone else has missed over the last 2,000 years.)

Once again, an extensive set of facts, calculations and scriptures were marshaled in support of what the folks at E-Bible Fellowship believed was a nearly airtight argument.

LGPEOf course, we’ve seen this kind of thing repeatedly over the last 45 years or so. When I was an impressionable 11-year-old, a well-meaning Sunday School teacher took me and a group of other boys chapter by chapter through Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth.

I came away absolutely, 100% convinced that I would never reach adulthood. Never marry. Never have a career or children.

As you might expect, this didn’t have a particularly positive effect on my study habits or motivations to prepare for grown-up life.

It’s hard enough to get young people to have a future-oriented vision and make  sacrifices for the future without convincing them that the Bible says they’re not actually going have a future—not on earth anyway.

Here’s why I bring all this up. 

There is a fundamental rule of logic . . .

If logical processes consistently lead you to incorrect conclusions, it’s time to reassess the assumptions (a.k.a. premises, presuppositions, givens) upon which your logic is based.

I learned this valuable truth in a college course in Logic. If one or more of your premises is false, it’s very possible to build a sound logical case and reach a false conclusion. For example, it you begin with the premise that the earth is flat, it’s logical to be wary of sailing too far in any one direction lest you fall off the edge.

88 ReasonsAs I’ve noted, all of those who predicted an imminent Second Coming or Rapture through the decades have built their cases logically. Indeed, Edgar C. Whisenant and the World Bible Society gave us all  88 very sound, very compelling reasons why the rapture was going to happen in 1988.

So, I offer this question:

Is it possible that one or more flawed assumptions or premises is lying unexamined beneath the twisted rubble of all these rigorously researched cases and arguments?

Given the decades of predictive carnage, I would hope we would at least be open to examining the biblical validity of the assumptions that underlie these prognostications. This isn’t a hobby horse I’m particularly interested in riding. But I do have a few thoughts along these lines.

In an upcoming post, I’ll drag one of these “givens” into the light so we can all take a good look at it. But for now, it’s . . .




How 9/11 Happened

Fourteen years later, the best guide to understanding how the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. were planned and executed remains Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.



It is a masterwork of research, journalism and storytelling. It is also a powerful inoculation against the brain-warping disease of “9/11 Trutherism.” I use the word “inoculation” with purpose. Apparently once infected, there is no cure. I’ve never encountered a 9/11 Truther who could be persuaded of anything real, rational or logical, no matter how patently obvious. There is no rebuttal to “That’s just what they want you to think.”

Backyard Visitors

Well, five large examples of this have taken up temporary (I think) residence in a large deceased oak tree in our back yard.

Mississippe Kite

A little research reveals that I have a group (flock? gaggle? murder?) of Mississippi Kites. Additional research yields the factoid that their favorite food is dragonfly. And boy have we had a ton of dragonflies zooming around recently–at least we did until these guys showed up.

According to the experts, they will be heading toward South America soon, presumedly to take up residence in some guy’s backyard in Bolivia eating all his dragonflies.

Until then, they’re welcome.

kite 2

The Logic of “Equality”


To achieve equality of outcome among all people (as opposed to equal opportunity) the government must keep us from failing.

To keep us from failing requires preventing us from making bad choices.

To keep us from making bad choices requires eliminating choice.

This is the inescapable logic of egalitarianism and the reason why all socialist projects end in totalitarianism and oppression.


. . . On Donald Trump

Photo Credit: Kenny Bob

Photo Credit: Kenny Bob

I’ve been itching to share a few thoughts about the Trump candidacy and today I finally find myself with an opportunity to scratch.

Trump has been atop the Republican polls and surveys for weeks now, despite the best efforts of the other candidates and Fox News* to erode his support.

Four things to keep in mind here:

  1. Polls at this point are almost completely about name recognition. Hillary and Trump are by far the most well known names for their respective parties so they poll the highest. It’s as simple as that. In fact, Trump is more than well known. He’s a bonafide Celebrity. And we live in a celebrity-worshipping culture. At this point in the election cycle eight years ago, Rudy Giuliani had a big lead over all the other Rs in the polls. Why? Name ID.
  2. The liberal media is conflicted about Trump. In one sense they hate him in the same way they hate all Republicans and conservatives. But they’re obsessed with celebrities and can’t resist providing maximum coverage of every utterance and appearance. As a result, Trump gets more mentions and and more minutes of coverage than the other 157 Republican candidates combined.
  3. Trump is a New York Republican—not a “fly-over country” Republican. Republicans in New York state sit frequently to the left of Democrats in Texas-Oklahoma on the ideological spectrum. They are typically pro-abortion, agnostic on gay marriage, and often quite comfortable with big government and nanny-statism. (See: Bloomberg, Michael) Trump fits comfortably in this mold. He’s even on record as viewing single-payer health care (a.k.a. socialized medicine) favorably. When asked about it in a recent debate, he pointed to Canada and Scotland to defend his views, saying that Single Payer “works incredibly well” in those countries. (Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t.)
  4. Trump has tapped into a deep, powerful current of frustration among regular Americans about illegal immigration. All of Trump’s traction flows from his tough, unapologetic, unvarnished, refreshingly un-PC and quite accurate proclamations about how illegal immigration is killing our country. Huge segments of the tax-paying population have been desperate for a politician with the huevos to speak the unvarnished truth about this slow-motion invasion. It’s not surprising that he’s energizing a lot of people. And as long as he gets to focus solely on that one issue, he will continue to do so. It’s when he has to talk about something else, as with that debate question about health care, that Trump becomes vulnerable.

If you’re a single-issue voter and illegal immigration is that issue, then Donald Trump may very well be your guy. And I get it. Immigration may be the most important issue there is right now, it terms of the survival of our civilization.

But if you also care about a lot of the other ways the Obama presidency has weakened our nation—for example “the weaponization of the federal bureaucracy” which I wrote about in this blog post— you can probably do better than Trump among the large and largely impressive current group of Republican contenders. (I’ll share some thoughts about who I like in a later post.)

The “Big Money” Rs Want Open Borders

The divide over the illegal immigration issue doesn’t break down cleanly between Republicans and Democrats or conservatives and liberals. The fact is, a lot of “country club” Republicans are pro-illegal immigration because it drives down labor prices for  corporations.

And there are some Democrats who haven’t imbibed the multi-culti Kool-Aid so deeply that they’re blind to the fact that open borders and lax enforcement are crushing the working poor. Some labor unions also seem to be aware that importing 50 million individuals willing to work for a lot less and to accept a much lower standard of living isn’t exactly conducive to keeping wages up.

On the traditionally Republican side, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal are both long-time champions of open borders and minimalist enforcement.

Here’s the conundrum for the current crop of Republican contenders . . .

Most of the fat-cat Republican donors are of this WSJ-U.S. Chamber variety—that is, they they stand to be further enriched by lots of importation of cheap labor.

In a field of candidates this large, it’s going to take money to break out of the pack. But any candidate that takes a hard line on illegal immigration isn’t going to attract that money. But that doesn’t matter if you happen to be a celebrity billionaire.

It seems only someone as rich as Donald Trump can afford to be vocal about these things because he doesn’t need their money.

If some other candidate does manage to break out, my hope is that he or she is paying attention to the energy Trump is generating around the illegal immigration issue. Even more, I hope he or she truly recognizes it for civilizational threat that it is and has the courage to stand against the powerful, greed-driven interests that care nothing for our culture or civilization.



* I’m ordinarily a fan and defender of Fox News but the reason the network is anti-Trump is that it is pro-immigration. You’ll almost never hear an anti-illegal immigration voice on FNC other than the occasional Ann Coulter sighting.

The One Key to Understanding Mr. Obama’s Sellout to Iran

Ramirez Iran

Here is the key to understanding recent U.S. policy in the Middle East in general; and the twisted logic behind Mr. Obama’s complete surrender on the recent “deal” over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. An agreement in which Iran got everything it wanted in terms of removal of sanctions and gave away nothing it didn’t want to give. “Such a deal,” as Jewish New Yorkers say.

It’s the Rosetta Stone for deciphering the seemingly indecipherable.

It’s vital to understand one thing. The primary driver of events, tensions and bloodshed in the Middle East is not, as most people believe, the existence of Israel or the situation of the Palestinians. Not even close. It is this . . .

The Middle East is a chess board with Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia as the opposing players. They are playing for strategic dominance in the region and, more importantly, the dominance of their preferred brands of Islam. Both have friendly allies, and surrogates or insurgencies in place everywhere.

Until the wildcard ISIS emerged in Iraq and Syria, the war in Syria is essentially a proxy war between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi.

In the decades since the Iranian hostage crisis in the late ’70s (watch the movie Argo for some liberal-biased context, young people), the United States has tilted toward Saudi Arabia as the least unsavory option among a a number of ugly choices for allies in that region other than Israel.

Some U.S. administrations have tilted farther than others.

Ahem . . .

Ahem . . .

Enter President Obama. From day one he has clearly been bent on moving U.S. favor away from the Saudis and toward the Iranians. So much so that he is happily risking a nuclear arms race in the insane, volatile Middle East just to strengthen Iran economically through the lifting of sanctions. This “deal” is only a fig leaf for getting international sanctions removed.

The more interesting question is “Why?”

My guess is that Mr. Obama—as a bleeding heart, anti-colonialist liberal (see: Dreams from My Father)—has a soft spot for the Shiites, who have historically been the persecuted underdogs and the out-group in the Muslim world. This affinity for the Shia has been flagrantly on display in U.S. policy toward Egypt.

The Obama administration was robustly cheerleading when the notorious Muslim Brotherhood (Shiite) took control of Egypt at the ballot box in 2012 via the election of Mohamed Morsi. Shortly thereafter the churches of Egypt began burning, the Christians started dying, and the Obama Administration started being fresh out of craps to give.

When Egypt’s secular generals saw the country sliding rapidly into an Iranian-style fascist theocracy, they quickly stepped in, threw Morsi out, and took control. The churches stopped burning. The Christians stopped dying. And Team Obama was furious.

Ever since the “coup”  kicked out Morsi, Team Obama has treated Egypt worse than it treats Israel, and that’s obviously saying something. They’ve held up aid and delivery of military hardware. And they’ve sharply criticized the Egyptian government for cracking down on Brotherhood extremists.

So there you have it. It is beyond clear that Obama is rooting for the Shiites agains the Sunnis, which translates into helping the principal promoter and supporter of Shiism in the world—Iran.

Which is how you get here . . .Ramirez Iran 2





Why Saying, “God won’t give you more than you can bear” Is Pretty Much The Worst Comfort Advice Ever

Job and Friends

Job and Comforters

A few days ago I posted a quick, scold-y note on Facebook after reading this heart-felt and transparent piece by ESPN writer/host Jason Wilde.

In it, Wilde opens up about battling darkness and depression after he and his wife lost a baby about halfway through the pregnancy. In it, without anger or bitterness, he mentions how profoundly unhelpful it was to have well-meaning Christians (he is not one) come up to him and try to help by saying things like, “God only gives you as much as you can handle.”

On Facebook, I linked to his essay and wrote:

Fellow Christians of planet earth: Stop trying to comfort the grieving by saying “God only gives you as much as you can handle.” It’s crappy theology. And it’s not comforting. Stop. It.

I meant that. And here’s why.

The advice (falsely) positions God  as the great cosmic dispenser of misery and suffering. What’s worse, it depicts Him as carefully monitoring just how much misery and suffering we each can handle without completely collapsing under the weight, to keep Himself from over-doing it.

It encourages us to imagine Him viewing our misery capacity as some sort of dashed line at the top of a measuring cup. Should our capacity to handle heartache increase a bit . . . well, then God is surely there with an eyedropper of pain ready to add more until we’re topped off, but never to the point that it rises above the line.

Prometheus, Handling Suffering

Prometheus, Handling Suffering

It’s hard to count how many ways this is wrong. But let me hit a few of the highlights.

1. It misidentifies the source of evil and suffering.

We live in a fallen creation filled with fallen humans operating with the gift/power of free will. The flooded home; the miscarried pregnancy; the child lost to the drunk driver, the housewife with the swollen black eye, the stolen iPhone, and the irritable bowel  . . . all of these and an endless list of other heartaches and headaches are a result of either the one (broken creation) or the other (broken people). And of course there’s God’s raging enemy, Satan, who is actively at work in and through both.

2. God is all about healing pain, not causing it. Restoring, not destroying.

Jesus told us that if we’ve seen Him we’ve seen the Father. (Jn. 14:9) He said that He only did the things He saw the Father doing. (Jn 5:19) Thus, it’s revealing that Jesus broke up every funeral he ever came across. Healed every person who requested it. Wherever he encountered human suffering, He relieved it.

He said the thief (Satan) comes only to steal, kill and destroy. But that He had come to provide abundant life. (Jn. 10:10)

 3. It distorts the concept of God’s sovereignty.

The sad young man from ESPN really believes God took the life of his baby. And every would-be comforter who offered up, “This was part of God’s plan,” or “He won’t give you more than you can handle,” seems to agree. “God did this to you,” they’re affirming. “But cheer up. It’s all for the best!”

One of the most common and disastrous theological concepts loose in the world is the child’s cartoon view of God’s sovereignty that suggests that God is getting exactly what He wants every second of every day in every place on planet Earth. Dear friend, He isn’t.

I wish I could link to a 4-part series of blog posts I did several years ago titled, “Tragedy: The Mother of All Bad Theology” because I addressed this topic in quite a bit of detail there. (Alas, it was lost, along with seven full years of blogging output, in a web site corruption.)

I call this a cartoon view of God’s sovereignty because it’s the way God is depicted in cartoons, Hollywood movies and sitcoms. That He is exercising direct causative or allow-ative control of everything, and can therefore justifiably be blamed for everything.

God gets blamed for a ton of horrific stuff He didn’t do. As some have heard me say on numerous occasions, Romans 8:28 does not say, “God causes all things.” It says God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called . . .”

That’s a very different proposition.

A lost, hurting, dying world is understandably reluctant to run to a God whom they believe to be the author of their deepest pain. But that’s simply not an accurate picture of who He is or why they’ve been hurt.

He is good. And He has gone to extraordinary lengths, at unspeakable personal cost, to meet us at the point of our suffering and offer healing and hope.

jesus on the cross


Perhaps the next time an unbeliever has his or her heart shattered by loss, a more comforting  (and more theologically sound) response might be:

“I’m so sorry that happened. How painful that must be. Let me walk through this with you. And please know that you can take that pain to a God who loves you. Because He’s not your problem. He’s your only hope for healing.”