Applications of the 14th Amendment

This post was originally on Facebook on July 4, 2015.

 

It was explained to me that the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to permit gay marriage nation-wide was because of the 14th Amendment. For those that are not familiar with the 14th Amendment, this is what it says in Section 1:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (Source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv )

Basically, if it’s legal for a citizen in one state, it has to be legal for citizens in *all* states. Okay. That makes sense.

I got to thinking about how that might apply to other facets of life. Consider the following examples:

  • Buying fireworks over the counter
    16 states allow the purchase of fireworks over the counter. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_fireworks)

    Application of the 14th Amendment would therefore allow people in all states to buy fireworks over the counter.

  • Use of radar detectors
    Almost all of the states in the union allow radar detectors for passenger vehicles. (http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/radar-detectors/)

    Application of the 14th Amendment would allow use of radar detectors throughout the nation. (Sorry, D.C. and Virginia.)

Just something to think about.

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Christianity and Finger Pointing

This post was originally put up on Facebook on June 27, 2015.

My mother and grandmother taught me a lot of things when I was growing up. Two things that they said often was “If you don’t have anything good to say, it’s better to say nothing at all” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

There has been a lot of stuff going on in this country over the last couple months and there’s been some finger pointing, some name-calling, and some less-than-optimal reactions from those that are supposed be an example to everyone in our society.

Some people are out on public forums, denouncing churches for showing tolerance instead of condemning the actions of people. This is what I would like to address here.

I’m not going to argue about what is “sin” and what isn’t, because I think the Bible makes it pretty clear. On this point, I generally don’t disagree with those who feel that the Christian churches are not as vocal as they should be. I do disagree, however, with the reaction they want to see, and this is why.

I don’t think there are any serious Christians that will disagree with the idea that there is no better example to follow than that provided by Jesus Christ. “Christian” does, after all, mean “little Christ” or even “Christ-like”. Consider, then, the example that Jesus presented:

  • He went to people where they are. (John 4:3-4)
  • Even though He knew quite well what people had done, he generally
    didn’t berate them, though He would have been uniquely justified
    to do so. (John 4:7-18; John 8:1-11)
  • Jesus showed grace to a sinful world. He did not waste his time
    condemning a world that was condemned already (John 3:17)

Why do people insist on doing otherwise? There isn’t a soul reading this that hasn’t done something “bad” or “sinful” at one point or another in their lives, especially me. Why are people setting boundaries where there should not be one?

I’m NOT talking about accepting sinful behavior- Jesus did not do that. I AM talking about reaching out to people and showing the same grace to them that Jesus showed to those around Him.

I know people who honestly believe that someone that is gay cannot be saved. they point at verses like 1 Corinthians 6:9 (“… Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind …”). I would like to remind those people to not stop there, but read the next two verses (“10/Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11/And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”). This is critical here: “such were some of you”. There were people in the Corinthian church that fit every one of those categories… “but ye are washed”. They were able to be saved.

The fact that Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that they were sanctified tells me that the people that he wrote to had turned away from their sinful behavior. He also indicates that it was “by the Spirit of our God”, not by the actions or words of their peers, by which their sanctification, their being apart from the world, came about.

As a Christian, it is not our job to criticize, mock, or torment people for their behavior. It is our job to show grace to them, explain the Gospel to them, and let the Holy Spirit lead them in the direction they should go. We are not to condone errant behavior, but it doesn’t help matters if we make fun of people or openly hate them for what they may have done.

When a woman was brought before Jesus after having been caught in the act of adultery, what was his recation? Did He call her names or berate her for what she had done? No. He was calm. He chastized the group for their reaction (they had rather conveniently neglected to bring the man with them, if the woman was caught in the act, after all), and when only the accused remained, he told her to go and sin no more. He did not get in her face. She knew what she did and that it was wrong. He simply and calmly gave her a new direction to go.

We can do no less.

Peter asked Jesus about forgiving others – basically showing grace – in Matthew 18 at verse 21. Jesus’ answer is striking (“seventy times seven”, effectively saying more times than you will count). He then gave an example of the importance of forgiving others, from verses 23 to 35.

If we as Christians become legalistic toward others after all we have been forgiven for, what can we expect from God?

Posted in Christianity, General, Politics | Comments Off on Christianity and Finger Pointing

…and we’re back, again.

The server that I’ve had my blog on has been a bit expensive to run.  I really should look into getting a hosted server, but for the time-being, this is being hosted at home.  In theory, I have complete control over my system for now, so I have that going for me…

Work: I’m a Team Lead, and that’s a Good Thing™.  I have my SANS certification for GCUX, also a Good Thing.  I’m currently working on adding ITIL Foundations certifications as well.

Play: I’m back to playing WoW.  I have to say that Blizzard has finally done something good with the Warlords of Draenor expansion.  This seems to have a little of something for everyone.  Wife has her raids, I have other quests that I can do that are different, challenging, and at least a little interesting.  Outside of that, I am also playing Ingress.  I’m on the Enlightened team.  If you want more information than that, you’ll have to PM me.  😉

 

Posted in General, Ingress, WoW | Comments Off on …and we’re back, again.

The more things change…

I’ve been busy on several fronts.

Work:  There were changes in the structure of Teams at work and I was tapped for a promotion.  The dust from that still hasn’t settled, but generally it looks good.  I’ve been asked to get SANS training, so I’ve got course material on the way.  I’ll discuss that more when I’ve passed the exam.

Home: While having a ceiling light replaced, it was discovered that there was a fault in the way it was wired.  This apparently resulted in surges going to another room in the apartment (not a Good Thing), but it was neutralized for the time-being, until such time as it is figured out.  In the mean-time, we’re down one socket in one room and a ceiling light in another.  Inconvenient, but at least it’s not a serious fire hazard now.

Play: I’ve stopped playing WoW and Star Wars for pretty-much the same reason: I got bored of playing alone.  I like questing (when the quests aren’t just re-hashes of the same things over and over) and I tend to read what’s being said by the NPCs.  I don’t like to raid so the more complicated dungeons/flash points are out of the question.  Between my play style and my dislike for raids, that means that my wife doesn’t play those games with me.  It doesn’t help that her computer bought the farm, probably because of the electrical issue mentioned above.  At any rate, I’m down to playing and scripting in Second Life, which is fine with me.  That’s something that is completely doable all by myself, and if I am in the mood to chat, I know places in-game where I can find people to talk to.

All told, things are going well.  I can’t complain.  All I need to do now is figure out how to make time for all the things I like to do.  :)

Posted in Games, General, Second Life, SW:TOR, WoW | Comments Off on The more things change…

….and we’re back.

This summer has been a bit crazy, to put it nicely.  It is done, and I’m happy about that.

The system is back up and has been updated, so the next thing is to see how things go forward from here.

There are a lot of things to write about, I think, but that will come in time.  😀

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on ….and we’re back.

What’s in the queue?

I’ve been working on getting IPv6 working at the ol’ Homestead and I’ve gotten it to work. I’ll be posting about that soon, once I can organize my thoughts into a convenient “howto” for any of you that may be feeling a bit industrious.  (The fact that many corporations and ISPs are actually beginning to support IPv6 this year is a big reason to be thinking about it.)

I’ve been playing Minecraft a lot lately.  If you aren’t familiar with this game, it’s something that might be worth looking into, especially if you like games where you can explore and make things.  Yes, everything is made of blocks.  It’s supposed to be that way.

I’m also working on figuring out why comments are disabled on posts.  That was not my doing, not intentionally anyway, and anything I’ve found as a potential solution thus far has not been a lot of help.  Just know that I’m working on it.

 

[EDIT: Playing Grammar Police on myself, I fixed the second paragraph.]

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Fedora updates

This is a little embarrassing.  I went through all the trouble of updating my server from Fedora 14 to Fedora 16, and I forgot to check to see if the database that this blog depends on was still running.  It wasn’t.  :\

Now I will have to poke around to find out why the init scripts aren’t there anymore, and see what I can do about replacing them.  Hrm.

Posted in Fedora, Linux | Comments Off on Fedora updates

The real heroes

This afternoon, my “baby” sister called to chat. We didn’t talk long, but she felt the need to thank me for having served in our nation’s military. I served four years active duty in the United States Navy and another 12 years in the United States Naval Reserves.

I thought about my experiences in the military, which generally aren’t all that different from those shared by anyone else that has served. I thought about the things I learned and how I grew up in that time.

I appreciate it when people stop to thank me (and anyone else that has served) for my service, but I think that the people that really deserve the “thanks” often go unrecognized.

As a member of the military, one knows that one’s life is on the line almost every day. If one is fortunate one serves in peace-time, when the American military presence is intended to be a deterrent against attacks. There are those whose lives are in danger every single day, simply by virtue of what they do.

Ten years ago, I saw the world as I knew it change. A relatively small group of men commandeered four airliners and set out to show the world that they meant business. I will never really understand what makes terrorists do what they do. To me, they are worse than school bullies that pick on the biggest kid they can, just to prove they’re “tough”. In reality they are self-serving, little dogs who think that they have to resort to violence to make a point. If they kill people in the process, so much the better. This is not about them.

Two of the four jets found their marks in Lower Manhattan, New York City. More than 2,700 people lost their lives when the World Trade Center towers collapsed. A third went to the Pentagon where about 184 were killed, and the fourth was brought down shy of its target in the woods of Shanksville, PA by courageous passengers, where all 40 passengers died. This last flight had either the White House or the US Capitol building as its target.

The heroes I have in mind that deserve more credit than they get are the men and women who serve in Police departments, Fire Departments, and as EMTs. In New York alone, 411 of the casualties were members of the NYPD, Port Authority Police Department, and FDNY or were EMTs. When New York was struck, policemen and firefighters from around the world came to New York to help do what had to be done.

These people risk their lives every day trying to save the lives of other people, and often all they get are relatively meager incomes for their trouble.

When I was in the Navy, I had to learn shipboard firefighting. I learned how to handle different types of fires. I learned the different tools at my disposal. I learned that each person on the team has a purpose, and when that team works together, it goes a long way to making sure everyone is safe. What I learned is but a small part of what your neighborhood firefighter has to know every single day.

Remember your firefighters and police officers. Thank them for what they do. They are the real heroes.

[Edit: corrected typo in paragraph eight.]

Posted in General | Comments Off on The real heroes

A bit of down-time

Some may be wondering why I haven’t posted anything for the last few months.  I can assure you that this blog hasn’t gone anywhere, and it’s not likely to any time soon.

What happened is simple: The server this blog is on was offline due to an electrical storm.  We had a stretch of about three days where they came every night.  Rather than risk losing the hardware to something like that, the system was off.  For various reasons (like being uncertain if the server and the AC would play nice) the system stayed offline.

You may be thinking, “Well, why not have it hosted elsewhere and let them worry about electrical issues?”  Rest assured, I did actually consider it.  I decided against it because of “trust”: I don’t really trust something like this on servers I cannot control.  There have been one too many cases where someone’s blog was taken down because someone else was “offended” or otherwise concerned (usually for reasons of a political nature).  I know that some things I might post may be touchy to some people.  I believe that I am the only one that should be responsible for controlling my thoughts, nobody else.

Normally, I don’t fancy myself much of a “control freak”, but I have to plant my foot down on this one.  I know that what I think is not going to go well with everyone, and that’s okay with me.  I figure what I write here is intended to give readers something to think about, to encourage a civil discourse.  If I’m wrong (and it can happen), a peaceable understanding can be attained.  If I’m correct (and that can happen too), so much the better.  :)

The long and the short of it (the “tldr”, if you will) is that if you are trying to read the blog and cannot get here, then don’t worry about it too much.  The server is probably offline for a little while.  It will be brought up again soon.  If you really need to read what I’ve got here, you probably know how to contact me and you are encouraged to do so.  :)

Posted in General | Comments Off on A bit of down-time

The Cat and his habits

I would expect most animals to have some sort of internal clock to tell them when to do something like feed themselves.  Not our cat.

Our cat, Oscar, has learned that he gets fed about the time the kids are out the door for school and when the kids are put to bed for the night.  The funny (annoying?) thing is that as soon as either of these events happens he’s wrapping himself around our legs as if to remind us that it is time for him to eat…  …and oh, by the way, did I mention it’s time to eat?  Heaven forbid he should have to wait a few minutes because he’d waste away to nothing.

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