Saturday, July 9, 2016

"The Spirit of Violence"

The other morning I woke up and thought to myself on what a different world we live in today.  For those under the age of 30, maybe many of the things occurring in our world just seem normal, as that’s all you’ve ever known. For me, at the age of 61, this world today is vastly different. Sure, back in the 1960’s there was violence and protest.  Some of the protests were over the conflict in Vietnam, and yes, there were serious injuries and even deaths. There was a period of time when there were riots based on race, particularly in a number of inner city regions that had the distinction of urban decay and increasing poverty.  The most deadly riots were in Detroit, MI (1967), Los Angeles, CA (1965), and Newark, NJ (1967).

However, as we got into the 1970’s the number of violent and angry protests began to abate. In recent years a new “spirit of violence” has descended upon our land. From School shootings to drive-by-shootings it would seem we have become a bitter and angry nation.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the tragedy in Orlando, FL were 49 people were shot dead and over 50 people seriously injured by Omar Mateen. Now, this past week (July 7, 2016) police officers were gunned down in Dallas, Texas at a “Black Lives Matter” protest. In the Texas incident the ambush started with gunshots that killed five officers and sent screaming crowds scrambling for cover. It ended when a Dallas police bomb squad robot killed a gunman after negotiations failed.

 The increasing frequency of these stories should be a concern to all of us; however, to hear the Mainstream Media’s account, you would think that all this violence is caused by uncontrolled police brutality. President John Adams once said “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”  Those that seek to polarize and divide our nation have done an outstanding job of using “facts” to make their case.  The truth is the facts they often cite can be very misleading.  There was an interesting news story in the Washington Post that contained some astonishing facts that rarely make the mainstream media narrative because these facts don’t fit the current political narrative.   Here are just a few examples from that story:

Did you know that police officers take longer before firing their weapon on a black suspect than a white suspect?  Did you know that “officers are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects”? Did you know that you’re far more likely to be shot and killed by police if you’re white than if you’re black? If you watch NBC, ABC, CBS or CNN, these facts would be foreign to you.

Despite making up just 13% of the population, black criminals carried out 38% of murders, compared to 31.1% for whites, despite the fact that there are five times more white people in the U.S. than blacks. Recent FBI crime statistics reveal blacks commit eight times more crimes against whites than vice-versa, according to . A black male is 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse.

While these types of statistics contradict political correctness and certain political ideals, they are “stubborn facts,” none the less.

As of this writing there have been 566 people killed by police nationwide. Of those, 136 were black.

Now, let’s look at the killing rate for just one American city, Chicago, Ill.  To date, as of the time of this writing, the total shot & killed is 311. The total shot and wounded is 1779.  The total number of homicides by all causes is 346.  To date only 4 people have lost their lives in Chicago in police related shootings.

The real problem is not a “gun problem,” but rather a “heart problem.”  As our nation’s moral fiber has been torn asunder and our collective conscience neutralized by political correctness and mindless entertainment, these problems continue to breed unabated.  Like a cancer it invades the "body collective" and leaves destruction and death in its wake, the same type of destruction and death that is glorified by the music and movie industry.

This “spirit of violence,” which has descended upon our land, will never be solved by politicians or programs, but only by a change of heart, and that change of heart begins with bringing God back into our culture, and is complete when we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando Shooting. Time to Pause.

I think we need to put the politics on "pause," as we sort out what took place in Orlando, FL this past Sunday. Whatever your background, this act of "hate raged" violence should be condemned for precisely what it is; premeditated murder.  In virtually every civilized culture in the world, and illuminated in the 10 commandments themselves, the act of Murder, the premeditated taking of an innocent life, is absolutely forbidden.  The poor rendering of the Hebrew verb רצח as "kill" in some English scripture misses the true understanding of the 6th commandment. This Hebrew word has a wider range of meanings, generally describing a destructive activity, including "to break, to dash to pieces" as well as "to slay, kill, murder".  This word "רצח" used in the 6th commandment is NEVER used in the context of a justified war, self protection from harm or even for dealing with what we call "capital offenses."

For several years I worked in emergency management for a law enforcement agency in South Carolina.  In that capacity I went through extensive training in understanding mass shooting and mass casualty events. Most people cannot even begin to fathom all that is taking place in the background, as the crime scene is analyzed, motives researched, and families notified.  I can only imagine the eerie scene inside of the Pulse Club in Orlando as investigators, medical examiners and other public safety personnel sort through and document the scene.   In such a tragedy as this protocol would require that the bodies remain in place during this important phase of the investigation.  If you've never experienced the "smell of death" it's impossible to describe, but trust me, it is horrific and unforgettable.  There, in a night club that hours before was alive with loud music, strobe lights and party goers has now become dead silent, with that silence only broken by the heartbreaking sound of ringing cell phones on those bodies, with calls from loved ones, family and friends hoping those individuals are okay.  Sadly, those calls will never be answered.  I can only imagine the psychological trauma many of those workers will endure, maybe even for a lifetime.   For some of those investigators, their lives might be forever changed and negatively impacted.

 Investigators at the scene of the mass shooting in Orlando

In the immediate hours after this Satanic attack, and yes it is satanic--regardless of who you perceive the victims to be, politicians and activist groups ran to the TV cameras to "cash in" on this crisis. Guests on many of the media outlets grasped at straws offering only pure (and inaccurate) speculation.   One Network had a guest claiming the perpetrator(s) had to be some type of "White Supremacist group, and/or Homophobic Trump supporter(s)."  Obviously that was not the case. Others tried to use this event to judge homosexual activity by making stupid statements like "they got what's coming to them."  I've got news for you, intoxicated homosexuals dancing at a bar in Orlando are just as much "sinners" in the eyes of an almighty God as a group of bickering and dysfunctional church people complaining about how people dress, noisy children in church, the Pastor's sermon or engaging in gossip.   

Others groups "seized the moment" by using it for a gun control platform, when the reality is this individual had high security clearances where virtually all the laws proposed by gun control advocates would not have made a difference.   I'm sure other groups will also "sleaze the moment" in the days ahead for their pet cause.

The truth is there are many dynamics and details yet to emerge.   Increasingly there is a potential link to middle east fostered terrorism, and a possible failure of government authorities to use existing laws and policies in vetting out such a potential threat.  If it is radical (which some call "pure") Islam, then we are facing the same scourge the caused the events of 9/11/2001.  Having worked for several years in Public Safety I can assure you (regardless of what some might say) that this is still a very real and present threat, far greater than most Americans will ever believe.

For now, let the investigators and public safety personnel do their beleaguered, difficult and unappreciated tasks, and sincerely pray for those workers.  If you have never been in their shoes, you cannot even begin to comprehend what they are now going though right now.  

Avoid every new whim of speculation, and wait until the families have had time to at least bury their dead, and don't be an armchair quarterback on how investigators are doing their work.  We have seen enough misinformation and politics in just the first hours to last a lifetime.  Don't believe everything you see on Facebook™ or see on the 24/7 news channels.  For now, instead of being "reactive," be "proactive" and be patient for God's wisdom in this situation.  Perhaps start with this prayer:

O GOD, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; Graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant us thy help in this our time of need.  For God, You are the fountain of all wisdom, who knows our necessities before we ask, and our ignorance in asking; We beseech thee to have compassion upon our infirmities; and those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask, vouchsafe to give us, for the worthiness of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Rt. Rev. Robert S. Biermann

I almost find it hard to believe, but just over 72 years ago during the Second World War (June 6, 1944) brave allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in France.  This unprecedented military armada was the beginning of the liberation of western Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany just under a year later.

Shortly after the invasion, President Franklin D. Roosevelt led the nation in prayer.  You can hear his prayer and radio address to the nation  by clicking here.

There was a time that our nation was very public in our Christian heritage.  There was a time, regardless of your political persuasion, God was highly honored in our lives, our schools, our communities and in ALL levels of Government.  How times have changed in a generation.

The 10 Commandments on the United States Supreme Court Building

I firmly believe that BOTH major political parties have mocked and/or misused God.  The Republicans have used those of faith by making promises they never intended to keep, and the Democrats (the party of FDR that openly prayed to God) has seemingly have gone out of their way to push God from the public square.  Leaders of BOTH parties have willfully violated the 8th Commandment in not telling the truth among others.

I remember during my studies for the ministry trying to fully comprehend St. Paul's letter to Timothy where he states:  "A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear."  (2nd Timothy 4:3 GOD'S WORD® Translation)

In my lifetime I have witnessed how once faithful church bodies have turned their backs on God, distorted His Word and now celebrates and enshrines that which God clearly forbids. Almost 2000 years of consistent teaching has been jettisoned for the sake of political expediency and personal indulgence.

The truth is your politics and your faith are NOT mutually exclusive.  I have been criticized for often pointing out what God's Word has to say on a particular matter, regardless of the cultural or partisan backlash.  Even those I consider friends (who claimed to be followers of Christ) will put their politics over what God's Word clearly says.  

It is amazing, when someone is confronted with what God says (to which they disagree) they become very defensive  and attempt to shut down the discussion and become CLOSED minded to God's absolute and UNCHANGING Word and Truth. They want all the benefits without the obedience.  the In the United States we have the freedom to believe or not believe. Our faith (currently) costs us nothing.  In many parts of the world that is not the case. 

While there are many things on which Christians can "agree to disagree" without betraying the absolutes of the faith, God's Word is absolutely clear on a number of social and moral issues where there is NO room for debate.  On a number of critical issues facing our nation our opinions and votes do NOT control or bind an almighty God.  

"Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked.  Whatever a man sows he will reap in return. The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."  (Galatians 6:7-8) 

To mock God is to disrespect, dishonor, or ignore Him. It is a serious offense committed by those who have no fear of God or who deny His existence. The most easily recognized form of mockery is disrespect typified by verbal insults or other acts of disdain. It is associated with ridicule, scoffing, and defiance. Mockery is a dishonoring attitude that shows low estimation, contempt, or even open hostility.

But the most subtle mockery of God, and the most dangerous, comes from those who claim to be followers of Christ.  These are those that will behave with an outward show of spirituality or godliness without an inward engagement or change of heart. 

Charles G. Finney, a preacher in the 1800's, wrote about the effects of mocking God: "To mock God is to pretend to love and serve him when we do not; to act in a false manner, to be insincere and hypocritical in our professions, pretending to obey him, love, serve, and worship him, when we do not. . . . Mocking God grieves the Holy Spirit, and sears the conscience; and thus the bands of sin become stronger and stronger. The heart becomes gradually hardened by such a process." The bible adds that we ultimately deceive ourselves.

The truth is you can turn your back on the messenger and message. You can criticizes what I and others say from God's Word all day long, but God's Word NEVER changes.  What does Jesus Himself have to say?  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ " (Matthew 7:21-23 New King James Version)

So what will it be?  In Psalm 146: 3-5 we read: "Do not put your trust in princes, (I.E Government)  in human beings, who cannot save.  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.  Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God."