Friday, December 30, 2011

Incandescent Light Bulbs, and What Went Before

Why do incandescent light bulbs matter so much?  There are many reasons our government should never ever have ventured to ban these miraculous Edisonian inventions, not least of which is that they embody, in the history of their invention, in the way they changed our world, all that is best about the modern, industrial, fossil-fueled, coal-powered, broad-shouldered, optimistic, brightly-lit, global Age of Western Civilization.

Rita, who lived in my house during WWII, in the 1940's, told me it was the first house her family had ever lived in that had electricity. They had always lived on a farm, and the rural electrification project still had a long way to go before completion. She said her mother hurried to get it connected. When her father came home from work the first day, he took a match to light the kerosene lamp that sat in the center of the table in the kitchen. But her mother said "Wait. Look." and reached up, and pulled the chain that turned on the bare bulb that hung from the ceiling. An incandescent bulb, that lit the entire kitchen. Compared to the old kerosene lamp, it looked like the sun.

If you ever wondered what people did at night before electricity, what it was like to eat supper by lamplight, to study by an oil lamp, these photos were taken by the Works Project Administration (WPA) in about 1939, in Oklahoma, in a setting and house very similar to what our little "Cottage at Pecan Corner" was like at the time.

This is what the world was like before the incandescent light bulb. And what it will be like again without oil, coal, incandescent bulbs, and working power plants.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fear Not! For Unto You is Born in Bethlehem A Savior, Which is Christ the Lord

Luke 2:10-20 (KJV)

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Endorsements For Rick Perry

One of my favorite bloggers, Pat Austin of "And So it Goes in Shreveport" (or "SIGIS" for short), has endorsed my presidential candidate: Rick Perry. She also has a round up post, "Rick Perry For President: A SIGIS Endorsement" of other blogs that have endorsed the staunchly pro-life, pro-jobs, conservative (both social and fiscal) Texan's candidacy. Go see her whole post to access links to the others.

I've posted before about Perry (even long before he was considering entering this race). A primary reason that I feel so strongly about him at this stage in our national life is that he provides consistent governance - not the foolish hobgoblin type, but the kind of consistency that happens when ones' convictions run so deep they are simply a part of life. The kind of consistency that drives heroes to choose the right instincts to follow. The kind of consistency that understands the difference between "innocent" and "not guilty". The kind of consistency that leads him to promote each state's right to determination even in those issues where he might have personal feelings. The kind of consistency that leads him to accept the will of the people.

Within that consistency is his comprehension that liberty means we should have the right to make our own decisions about things like a jar of Plum Jelly or a loaf of bread. It also means Perry agrees that we ought to have a right to make our own jobs if we want, instead of sitting back and waiting for the unemployment dole.

Among the legislation Rick Perry signed this past session was a small bill that hasn't gotten much attention, but it is the kind of thing that is a good example of how Texas, and Rick Perry, promote individual liberty and individual initiative: The Texas Cottage Food Law.

This bill, sponsored by a Democrat and championed by both parties in both the House and the Senate, allows people to sell baked goods and jellies directly from their home. This means I can have a home bakery business with no need for a commercial kitchen, no inspections or licenses required.

The Cottage Food Law means I can start a bread business just like Mrs Baird did in the 1900s, just like so many of our historic companies got their start.  Or I could make wedding cakes, or sell my famous pear preserves or peach marmalade or fresh tortillas.

And the government won't come arrest me for selling my baked goods. (of course we choose not to live where a homeowner's association can have power over us, but those who do have voluntarily surrendered their liberty - that's a post for another day).

This is the kind of common sense lawmaking and proper bi-partisan effort that we have come to expect from Rick Perry to free us all from government overreach, and Americans can expect him to bring this same kind of wisdom to Washington.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

No Taxes Required: Ramp Building and Fundraising the Old Fashioned, Genuine Grassroots Way

I wrote most of this post a couple of months ago, and fiddled around and never posted it. But Dr. Mabuse has a post up on Kraalspace that needs to be seen, about helping our neighbors ourselves, instead of relying on the government. It's a chilling reminder of how learned helplessness can become the order of the day, one tiny relinquishment at a time. Of how well-meaning committees inevitably engineer inescapable tyranny in reality. Of the good intentions that pave the road to hell.

In Dr Mabuse's post "Government Goliath, Local Davids", a man who went to hospital, had a leg amputated, and couldn't come home because his house didn't have a ramp, and the government agency tasked with paying for building ramps kept turning him down. So like Charlie on the MTA, he had to live at the hospital while waiting for Uncle Sugar to build his ramp. Until some good citizens got word of his plight, and in one weekend, built a ramp for his house.

A similar, but different thing happened two years ago in my little town.
A family man (with a child still in high school) lost his leg to complications of diabetes. Here's where his story differs from the one Doc shares: as soon as the surgery was scheduled, the Baptist Church sent out a flyer that the men of our town would meet at his house the next Saturday morning to build him a ramp.

And you know who built that ramp? The OLD MEN. Our young men are busy - they serve as our Volunteer firemen, coach little league, sit on the school board, and a host of other things. But our 70 and 80 year olds don't let any grass grow under their feet either. By the end of the day, the ramp was completed, and a good time was had by all. Just because it needed to be done.

It's just sad that the man Dr Mabuse writes about didn't have neighbors or a church to jump in and help him sooner, but ultimately it was people in his local community who took care of meeting his need. And that is how it should be.

From the post I started earlier, here are some more examples of how people take care of each other, and meet local needs, without government involvement or permission.

We went to a lot of fun local events this fall. Some were fairs where we were able to support local crafters, some were organizations doing fundraising, and  a couple were pure benefits for local individuals.

The town birthday celebration in October was a hoot. It started with a pancake breakfast to pay for new pew cushions in the Methodist church (they raised enough to "cover" the cost and then some).

The tractor show hinted at a distinct preference for "poppin' johnnies" all in their original John Deere green. I guess Farmall must not have been big around here.

We bought several pounds of stone-ground corn meal from this vendor with his old timey mill. The power source was simple and ingenous: a series of car batteries along the front side of the wagon.

We bought things from vendors who had booths set up: crafts, food, pretties.
We visited with neighbors, stuck money in the Volunteer Fire Department's "boot" (again), introduced our bunch and met new people.

The next weekend, we went to our church's Fall Festival & Car Show.   We ate barbeque, bought an amazing wall cross from a local man who makes things out of discarded tools, and picked out our favorite vintage jitneys.

Here, a home-made Carnival benefits a Christian K-12 school (and a winning 6-man football team).

This "Rattlesnake Roundup" game is perfect for Texas.

First the girl would toss the rubber snakes into the bag, then use the special snake-catching tool to grab them & take them out of the sack! It would be a more difficult game (and more realistic) if you had to use the "snake tongs" to throw them in, too.

Speaking of snakes, we saw this non-poisonous one playing dead and looking all dehydrated on Main Street outside the Lions Club BBQ Dinner & Auction. He stayed very still until he thought we weren't looking any more, then he took a deep breath and slithered away.

The dinner was great - it raised money toward the scholarships this group gives to local students each year, toward eye exams & new glasses and for Christmas food boxes for people whose hard work doesn't stretch far enough.
The auction raised a similar amount to directly help a local family that's in need right now.

We wrapped up a week or two later with a fish fry to benefit a hardworking young family in our midst. The father has cancer, and he's unable to work right now. This will help tide them over. They are good people and their neighbors love them - even the ones who don't know them.

Who benefited from all these things? Everyone. Everyone's kids or grandkids are eligible for those scholarships. Our VFD is here and prepared when we need them. Everyone will gather in the church on Christmas Eve. Everyone knows we could count on this community if we needed them: nobody who's done their part when they were able would be forgotten.

All in all, lives will be better for this community's generous heart.

And it was all done in fun and love. With no mandates, and no taxes, and no demands, and no protests. And no fraud, and no graft, and no entitlements.

Because that's how life works in a stable, healthy, Christian, traditional, American community.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mincemeat Cake: Can You Believe You'll Want Seconds?

Even the last gasp of mincemeat – mince pies – are going out of fashion. What a shame we have lost touch with this old standby that dates back to the Roman Empire at the time of Christ, once packed in gallon-size wooden firkins by companies that specialized solely in making mincemeat.  True mincemeat originally contained beef as well as fruits, nuts and spices (Borden's Nonesuch Brand still does). It was a high protein preserved food.

The tradition of mince pies at Christmas goes way back, and they were once made in the shape of a manger. Given that the recipe continued to be used from Biblical times until now, it's a good food to put on your list for "foods of the Bible" - even if it wasn't mentioned in the bible, the Apostle Paul certainly could have eaten mincemeat while he was in Rome.  And incredibly, mincemeat even played a part in America's battle for freedom of religion, being banned (along with Christmas) by Oliver Cromwell in England and some Puritans in the Colonies as "too Catholic".  Just like the traditional American foods of Thanksgiving  really mean something important to America's way of life and freedom to worship, so, too, does eating mincemeat  at Christmas time. 

I miss mince meat pies at Christmas time. My dad's father, "Pawpaw", used to make them. He had been a cook for the Santa Fe Railroad track crews, and his pies were top notch.  The trouble is, every mincemeat pie I've tasted in my adulthood was like fruitcake: one piece is all I can enjoy. The flavor is overpowering.

But now I've found a solution. This Mincemeat Mayonnaise Cake is perfect. It uses one cup of mincemeat, so the flavor blends gently throughout the cake. With a thin cream cheese, frosting, it delights the tastebuds - and our taste for nostalgia!

It's an easy cake to make, but it takes a long time: it must bake for two hours! So start it when you have the evening at home. It is moist and dense, so it also keeps very well. You can make it days in advance and refrigerate it, icing on the day you plan to serve it.

Mincemeat Mayonnaise Cake

3 cups flour
1½ cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1½ cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
2 T orange marmalade or 1 T grated orange rind
1 T rum flavoring
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mincemeat, reconstituted according to package directions (or half a jar if you are using Borden's Nonesuch brand in the jar)
1 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together. Blend buttermilk and mayonnaise and gradually add flour mixture, stirring well. Mix in marmalade, vanilla and rum flavoring, then add mincemeat and walnuts.

Grease a 9” tube pan and line with greased parchment or waxed paper. If using a 2-part pan, set it on a sheet pan to catch oil that may will seep out through the bottom seam as the mixture heats up and drip onto the oven.  Bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours.  Turn out onto a plate and allow to cool.

A rather thin cream cheese frosting is good on this, or you could spread slices with cream cheese for a lovely breakfast treat.   

Here's my recipe for the frosting:
½ bag of powdered sugar
3 ounces (1/2 a carton) of cream cheese
½ cup whipping cream or milk
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

The one pictured is the one I made last night for our Christmas. I'll carry it up to Irving and ice it when we get there.  It will be fun to tell the grandkids they are eating cake with beef in it! LOL!
Wishing a Merry and Blessed Christmas to you and yours.  Thank you for reading my blog, and for spending your precious time here at Pecan Corner. May 2012 be a very good year for us all! :-)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

British PM David Cameron : "We are a Christian country. If We Don't Stand For Something, We Can't Stand Against Anything.

Courtesy of Richard Fernandez' Belmont Club article "David Casts His Stone",  here are portions of the transcript of David Cameron's speech on the King James Bible, in which he takes to task all the Sunday Christians in the United Kingdom, including the Archmage Archbishop of Canterbury, for their denial of Christ through denying His Church, which is the body of believers throughout the world and all of history.

Read, and rejoice:

"But I am proud to stand here and celebrate the achievements of the King James Bible.
Not as some great Christian on a mission to convert the world.
But because, as Prime Minister, it is right to recognise the impact of a translation that is, I believe, one of this country's greatest achievements.
The Bible is a book that has not just shaped our country, but shaped the world.
And with 3 Bibles sold or given away every second...
...a book that is not just important in understanding our past, but which will continue to have a profound impact in shaping our collective future.
[I ]am a committed - but I have to say vaguely practising - Church of England Christian, who will stand up for the values and principles of my faith...
...but who is full of doubts and, like many, constantly grappling with the difficult questions when it comes to some of the big theological issues.
But what I do believe is this.
The King James Bible is as relevant today as at any point in its 400 year history.
And none of us should be frightened of recognising this."

Praise God. But wait, Mr. Cameron is not finished yet:

"...just as our language and culture is steeped in the Bible, so too is our politics.
From human rights and equality to our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy...
...from the role of the church in the first forms of welfare provision, to the many modern day faith-led social action projects...
...the Bible has been a spur to action for people of faith throughout history, and it remains so today.
Third, we are a Christian country.
And we should not be afraid to say so.
...[ I ]am also incredibly proud that Britain is home to many different faith communities, who do so much to make our country stronger.But what I am saying is that the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today.
Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend.
The alternative of moral neutrality should not be an option.
You can't fight something with nothing.
Because if we don't stand for something, we can't stand against anything."

This is the kind of truth we must demand from our leaders in the USA, as well.  At Christmas time, he points to Christianity as the fundamental cause of the birth of human liberty, equality and freedom in the world:

"The Bible runs through our political history in a way that is often not properly recognised....
Jesus said: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
And yet at the same time, the Judeo-Christian roots of the Bible also provide the foundations for protest and for the evolution of our freedom and democracy.
The Torah placed the first limits on Royal Power.
And the knowledge that God created man in his own image was, if you like, a game changer for the cause of human dignity and equality.
In the ancient world this equity was inconceivable.
...[A]nd when every human being is of equal and infinite importance, created in the very image of God...
...we get the irrepressible foundation for equality and human rights...
...a foundation that has seen the Bible at the forefront of the emergence of democracy, the abolition of slavery...
...and the emancipation of [women]....
[T]he Putney debates in the Church of St Mary the Virgin in 1647 saw the first call for One Man, One vote...
...and the demand that authority be invested in the House of Commons rather than the King.
[T]he Bible provides a defining influence on the formation of the first welfare state.In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus says that whatever people have done "unto one of the least of these my brethren"...
... they have done unto him.
Just as in the past it was the influence of the church that enabled hospitals to be built, charities created, the hungry fed, the sick nursed and the poor given shelter... today faith based groups are at the heart of modern social action."

And finally:

"The Bible has helped to shape the values which define our country.
Indeed, as Margaret Thatcher once said, "we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible."
Responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, love...
...pride in working for the common good and honouring the social obligations we have to one another, to our families and our communities...
...these are the values we treasure.
Yes, they are Christian values.
And we should not be afraid to acknowledge that.

First, those who say being a Christian country is doing down other faiths...
...simply don't understand that it is easier for people to believe and practise other faiths when Britain has confidence in its Christian identity.
Many people tell me it is much easier to be Jewish or Muslim here in Britain than it is in a secular country like France.
[B]ecause the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths too.
...[S]hying away from speaking the truth about behaviour, about morality...
...has actually helped to cause some of the social problems that lie at the heart of the lawlessness we saw with the riots.
The absence of any real accountability, or moral code...
...allowed some bankers and politicians to behave with scant regard for the rest of society.
And when it comes to fighting violent extremism, the almost fearful passive tolerance of religious extremism that has allowed segregated communities to behave in ways that run completely counter to our values...
... has not contained that extremism but allowed it to grow and prosper...

"Put simply, for too long we have been unwilling to distinguish right from wrong.
"Live and let live" has too often become "do what you please".
Bad choices have too often been defended as just different lifestyles.
To be confident in saying something is wrong... not a sign of weakness, it's a strength.
But we can't fight something with nothing.
As I've said if we don't stand for something, we can't stand against anything."
Be sure and read the entire speech at It is wonderful.

Mr Cameron and Rick Perry will certainly find plenty to talk about during their respective State visits, after Governor Perry moves into the White House.

And I bet the two of them will find it easy to restore the special friendship between our two countries who share our history, our culture, and our religion.

Monday, December 12, 2011

On Prayer: Two New Helps

I subscribe to daily emailed devotionals from David Wilkerson Today, and also link to the ministry from my sidebar. Pastor Wilkerson died following a car accident earlier this year, but his messages continue to inspire through ongoing ministry in his footsteps.  The one for today tells us about the "spirit of prayer". Here's a portion:

 "God is showing me that even the desire and inclination to pray must come from the Holy Spirit. Now my dilemma is this: God has promised to pour out a Spirit of supplication on His church, and I want to be a part of the genuine move of God. So, how can I make sure I receive this outpouring?

The answer is in Zechariah 10:1: “Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone” (Zechariah 10:1).

We must ask the Lord for this Spirit of supplication! The flashing clouds in this verse speak of "lightning, thunderstorms." God has promised to give us showers! He is telling us in Zechariah, "Ask and I will give you this burden from heaven. But you must seek it from Me!" It is time we started asking the Lord, "O God, pour your Holy Spirit on me that I may learn to pray! Open up the fountain. Let me be a part of Your final harvest!"

Once His Spirit of supplication showers down upon you, you will find yourself praying for holiness, godliness, purity. You will intercede for your lost loved ones and weep over this dying world. But you have to ask the Holy Spirit to do it in you—and then trust Him!"
Also, Pastor Duane Sheriff of Duane Sheriff Ministries is preaching an excellent new series on prayer, with instruction that may be helpful to learn more about kinds of prayer and methods. To find it, go to the home page (also linked from my sidebar) and scroll down to links to Audio, MP4 Video, and Text Notes versions. Here are the audio links:

Lord Teach Us To Pray II - 1, "Different Kinds of Prayer"
Lord Teach Us To Pray II - 2, "Prayer of Faith"
Lord Teach Us to Pray II - 3, "Prayer of Dedication"

It will eventually be a 6-part series.

For those who struggle with talking to our Father, this kind of practical material can help us find our own voice for crying Holy to our Lord.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

When They Call Fox America's News HQ....

They aren't kidding:

The big flat-screen television in this busy Mexican restaurant in Central Texas is prominently visible from every table, has closed captioning turned on in English, and is always turned on to Fox News (well, except when there's a Cowboys game on!). It's the same in hundreds of other places all across this great state. Come have a bowl of menudo  - or a burger with "Freedom Fries" - some Saturday, or any other day, and you'll find the place full of pro-life, Christian, conservatives of all kinds of backgrounds, many of whom think our governor is going to be the kind of president we need to haul our country back from the abyss that ancient Rome fell into.

And that Mexican flag on the wall, on the other side of the American flag? Doesn't mean what liberals have co-opted it to mean. It means people are proud of who they are and love their country: the United States of America. Where-ever our parents or grandparents came from, all Americans are alike in this respect: the US flag comes FIRST. Is it only Texans who understand this? It has never been a question here.

Medal of Honor Heroes Speak Up About Their Candidate: Rick Perry

There's a full 7 minute version, including these heroes' stories, at Rick Perry for President.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Update: Walter Reed Military Hospital's Religion Policy

Whoever is leading Walter Reed's PR team in handling communication for this issue deserves praise. Placing regular up-front full-text updates about it on the WRNMMC home page is a wise and unusual move. Here's the latest such announcement:

We are in the process of rewriting our policy and would like to offer the following statement:

Bibles and other religious materials have always been and will remain available for patient use at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The visitation policy as written was incorrect and should have been more thoroughly reviewed before its release. It has been rescinded. We apologize for any confusion the policy may have caused.

Please know that at admission, all patients are asked for their religious preference and a chaplain associated with their preference visits them regularly to provide spiritual services. In addition, their families may also bring religious material and we will not refuse any religious group entrance.

WRNMMC provides multiple venues at WRMNMC for religious expression and worship. There is daily Catholic Mass as well as Protestant, Hindu, and Muslim services. Eucharist is also available at the bedside. There are weekly Torah studies, multiple weekly Christian bible studies, as well as weekly Qur'an study. Furthermore, chaplains coordinate spiritual needs for those whose faith groups are not represented by staff chaplains (such as Latter-Day Saints, Buddhist, and Christian Scientist).

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center remains committed to supporting the religious preferences of all our patients and we will continue to ensure their spiritual needs are met

So far, so good. Much better than how this disaster started out.  

BTW, trivia I meant to include in yesterday's post: it is no accident that the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is located in a town named Bethesda, Maryland. Bethesda is a Biblical word translating as "House of Mercy", and was the name of a healing pool located in Jerusalem where Jesus performed one of His miracles, healing a man who had been crippled for 38 years. The pool, and the event, was described in the book of John 5:2-16.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

UPDATE to US Military Bans Bibles and Christianity. Again.

Following the public revelation on the floor of the House of Representatives that Chief of Staff Callahan of Bethesda, Maryland's National Military Medical Center had issued a memo that banned Bibles along with homemade cookies: "No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.",  the PR folks went to work quickly to announce they would make the policy "crystal clear".  Uh huh.

Today, the following partial statement is appearing on the home page of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center website:

    Thank you for your interest in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
    We apologize for any confusion that resulted from our policy. In no way was the instruction meant to prohibit family members from providing religious items to their love ones. The intent of the instruction was to respect the religious and cultural practices of all of our patients. We are drafting a new instruction that will clearly articulate our respect for religious and cultural practices of all of our patients and families.

    Again, we regret any confusion that this might have caused and we thank you for your support of our Warriors and their families.

    On behalf of the Command...

 The statement is unlinked,  and unattributed, and I am unable to find a copy of the full statement on the website.It just trails off with "On behalf of the Command...". So no one has yet to take any personal responsibility for either the policy or the apology.

I find this statement is disingenuous, considering the explicit detail, definitrion, and citation of rationale for every other item in the policy memo, including stating why homemade apple pies can't be brought in. What I suspect happened is that after the memo had been written and vetted through most of the normal process, someone angry over some single event somewhere stuck this in as an afterthought and didn't want to mess with sending it back through the chain of approvals so proceeded as though it had been part of the document all along.

Just for the sake of the record, here's an abbreviated version of the memo. Go here for the full PDF.

Ref: (a) NAVMED Policy Memo 10-015

1. Purpose. To provide guidelines with respect to the presence and participation of families and other partners in care. This document replaces the hospital's previous visitation policies for...[active duty patients].

4. Policy. ...[F]amilies are considered partners within the health care team ...

6. ...[V]isits include the following partners in care:
a. Family
b. Leadership of Title 36 congressionally chartered Organizations
c. Members of the: [government]
e. Celebrities and sports personnel vetted through the Staff Judge Advocate
f. Members of the press vetted through the Public Affairs office
g. Other partners in care who represent....the [VFW], American Legion, Fleet Reserve Association, Marine Corps League, Army League, and other similar organizations...
h. Leadership of the Military Coalition and National Military Veterans Alliance.
i. Out of town visitors...
j. Partners in care representing verifiable 501(c)(3) benevolent organizations wishing to interact...or provide goods or services... [These] will not be allowed unfettered access to the inpatient environment for the purposes of information gathering, solicitation, or donation delivery. (1) All donations...[require] approved processes, vetting methods, accountability...

7. Exceptions. [Patients may refuse visitors at any time.

8. Partners in Care Guidelines
a. All non-family visits must be scheduled five days in advance.
b. Group size will not exceed five.
c. All partners in care, under the age of 8, must be accompanied by an adult.
d. Photographs may not be taken...without express permission and signed Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act documentation... signed by the patient or PNOK [Primary Next Of Kin] if patient is incapacitated....
e. Due to dietary restrictions and infectious disease protocols, the distribution of home produced baked goods to the patients, families, or staff members is prohibited.
f. No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.

9. Release of Patient Information. All patient information will be released in accordance with reference (a).

C.W. Callahan
Chief of Staff

Distribution: WRNMMC Intranet

The original policy actually does make "crystal clear" that families are numbered among "partners in care", that patients can refuse visits at any time, that all non-famliy visitors have to be approved in advance - and their gifts have to be approved in advance too. So why the need to call out the Bible specifically, without mentioning the Book of Mormon, or the koran, or the Bhagavad-Gita? Why call out the Bible and related items without specifying WHY or offering alternatives, as every other matter itemized in the policy does? As I said above, I think this was a last minute addition to the policy by someone with an agenda.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Persecution in America: US Bureaucrats Ban Christianity. Again. And Get Away With It. Again.

Christianity is not a "faith tradition", it is a religion: the largest, most widespread religion in the world, and globally, it is growing. It is growing through conversion by freedom of choice because Christ offers hope and freedom to everyone: true liberty that fuels joy, peace, democracy, science, abundance, compassion.

Christianity is the only religion of truth and life. There is no other. To believe Jesus is the Son of God, who was born, was crucified, died, who rose to real, physical life again: to believe this requires following His final directive, the only commandment He gave after His resurrection: to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature."

Preaching the Gospel is the central action of our faith, no matter what our denomination,and was commanded by Jesus. The word "proselytizing" is an inappropriate negative, and is not descriptive of or a synonym for,

Jesus does not attempt to force anyone to believe in Him and neither do Christians. But to follow Jesus means that we speak the Truth, that we ask our Father God to bless those who do not believe, that we tell them the Good News, so they have the opportunity to make their choice.

Recently, the Navy, following the US Army's lead in banning Bibles and forbidding Christian practice and faith by our soldiers, and following up the VA's ban on praying to God and Jesus at the Houston National Cemetery of this summer, decided to push the envelope further and ban Bibles and anything related to Christianity from being read to, used or given to wounded veterans in Walter Reed hospital. Here's a PDF of the original memo from C.W. Callahan, Chief of Staff. The ban is hidden at the very end, right after a ban on homemade cookies: "No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit."

It is persecution to compel a Christian to forego mentioning our faith in ANY task we do, whether we are at work or play, on the street or in a public building, an employee or a volunteer or a client.

Unelected bureaucrats are violating the LAW and the Constitution of the United States of America if they  try to forbid, limit, or control Christian expressions or statements of faith, worship, or study are forbidden. The courts have consistently upheld our right to not only believe but to teach our beliefs.

And those of us who do what we are told, and obey such directives, are denying our Lord Jesus Christ, as surely as Peter did, out of fear.

I am guilty. I have had opportunities - in the recent as well as distant past - to stand up quietly for Christianity's place in the workplace, and I didn't. I've had chances to witness that I didn't take because I was afraid of being embarrassed or of being chastised.

I am a "by the book" kind of person, and I follow rules. Like other civilized people all over the world, I tend to do what I am told by people in authority. Fundamental Christian tenets ask us to love others in truth, to be gentle and compassionate in how we talk about our faith, how we share the Gospel.  But I have used that respect for others and my need to be liked and to "be nice" as an excuse for conforming to the world instead of conforming to God.

There was a time when we could get by on just being nice, because we could trust our elected representatives, our bosses and the people who work in government to uphold our rights as Christians to believe and express our faith. But no more. More and more, we see that many of those in positions of authority are abusing their positions and giving orders that mistreat Christians, acting at the behest of the intolerant shrill to give priority to novelty cults and abusive cultures, and are trying to force Christians into the closet.

I keep a Bible at work. I always have. It isn't there for preaching, but for me to read - especially for comfort when I am anxious. There's always something in the workplace to be anxious about, no matter what our job, and reading, remembering, the Word of the Lord can help so much.

I don't know how I might react if I were ordered to remove the Bible from my desk at work.  I am afraid I might meekly comply: taking my Bible home and living with greater anxiety, justifying my inaction by the perceived need to keep my job and pay my bills, and forgetting that God has promised to take care of me and all my needs, and that He always has.

I pray and hope that faith could overcome fear.

Please Father God, give me strength to put You first: to obey all laws but those that deny You. Please give me courage to be faithful in these little things. Grant that my daily life can help proclaim the Gospel of Your Son Jesus, the Christ, that others may meet Him and that Your Will be done on earth just as it is in Heaven.

UPDATE Tuesday, Dec 6th: Please see the updated post  for latest information on this matter. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Code of Ethics for Government Service

Code of Ethics for Government Service

House Document 103, 86th Congress, 1st Session - Passed by the Congress of the United States on July 11, 1958.


I. Put loyalty to the highest moral principles above loyalty to persons, party, or Government department.

II. Uphold the Constitution, laws, and legal regulations of the United States and of all governments therein and never be a party to their evasion.

III. Give a full day's labor for a full day's pay; giving to the performance of his duties his earnest effort and best thought.

IV. Seek to find and employ more efficient and economical ways of getting tasks accomplished.

V. Never discriminate unfairly by the dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone, whether for remuneration or not; and never accept, for himself or his family, favors or benefits under circumstances which might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of his governmental duties.

VI. Make no private promises of any kind binding upon the duties of office, since the Government employee has no private word which can be binding on public duty.

VII. Engage in no business with the Government, either directly or indirectly, which is inconsistent with the conscientious performance of his governmental duties.

VIII. Never use any information coming to him confidentially in the performance of governmental duties as a means for making private profit.

IX. Expose corruption wherever discovered.

X. Uphold these principles, ever conscious that public office is a public trust.


Public Law 96-303
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 34, Volume 1]
[Revised as of January 1, 2008]




Appendix to Part 73--Code of Ethics for Government Service

Any person in Government service should:

~ Put loyalty to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to persons, party, or Government department.

~ Uphold the Constitution, laws, and regulations of the United States and of all governments therein and never be a party to their evasion.

~ Give a full day's labor for a full day's pay; giving earnest effort and best thought to the performance of duties.

~ Seek to find and employ more efficient and economical ways of getting tasks accomplished.

~ Never discriminate unfairly by the dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone, whether for remuneration or not; and never accept, for himself or herself or for family members, favors or benefits under circumstances which might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of governmental duties.

~ Make no private promises of any kind binding upon the duties of office, since a Government employee has no private word which can be binding on public duty.

~ Engage in no business with the Government, either directly or indirectly, which is inconsistent with the conscientious performance of governmental duties.

~ Never use any information gained confidentially in the performance of governmental duties as a means of making private profit.

~ Expose corruption wherever discovered.

~ Uphold these principles, ever conscious that public office is a public trust.

(This Code of Ethics was unanimously passed by the United States
Congress on June 27, 1980, and signed into law as Public Law 96-303 by
the President on July 3, 1980.)


There followed years of squabbling over the requirement to actually display this code of ethics in public buildings. Those who didn't want to meet these expectations finally won out when the display requirement was summarily repealed in 1996.

But as far as I can tell, the code itself remains a part of the Law of the Land. Perhaps it is time that both houses of Congress pass it unanimously again, and renew the display requirement.


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