Wednesday, December 30, 2020

A Year Like No Other

 


As divided as we are, we should all be able to agree on one thing.
The year 2020 is a year like no other.
A sitting President is impeached.
The Senate acquits him.
A primary of a vastly overcrowded Democratic field ends.
Voters of South Carolina revive the primary of a Democrat who ends up becoming the Nominee.
A global pandemic finds its way on American shores.
We see mass gatherings abruptly stop.
Businesses shut down.
Sports events are cancelled.
Many schools are closed.
Health care workers become widely hailed as heroes.
Essential workers. Social distancing. Heroes. Frontline workers. Normalized terms.
Police kill a few back men and the media give the tragedies much publicity
Protesters take to the streets every time.
"I can't breathe! I can't breathe!"
"Say her name! Say her name! Breonna Taylor!"
"Get your knees off our necks!"
The streets come to look like images out of the Middle East.
Yes, black lives matter but why do some not seem to agree?






Wearing face coverings becomes normalized.
Dr. Anthony Fauci becomes a household name.
Doctors replace lawyers as regular TV contributors.
"My body! My right!" protesters scream in response to government pandemic restrictions.
Objectors mount lawsuits right and left.
TV personalities appear out of their homes rather than studios.
Politicians' campaigns go virtual.
Politicians and operatives hold their conventions virtually.
Millions lose their jobs and incomes.
Many Republicans endorse the Democratic Presidential Candidate.
Officials make absentee ballots widely available to voters.
People turn out to vote in the general election on a scale not equaled in U.S. history.
A 70 year plus old man defeats another 70 year plus old man. 
A President refuses to concede the results of the election.
He fights what many call democracy in action.
He cries "Election fraud! Election fraud!" in the absence of evidence.
A party refuses to accept a President-Elect as the rightful winner.
Close to half a country refuses to acknowledge an election victory.



A pandemic splits people in half according to political ideology.
One half of us see a genuine public health crisis and the need to prioritize the collective good.
The other half sees a hoax and the violation of individual rights.
Wearing a mask becomes a controversy and a political statement.
Relationships sour and even end. 
Family members stop speaking to each other and people end friendships.
Many who claim Christ see a government plot to shut down free speech and reshape society.
Many others who also claim Christ see a public health crisis and God's call to love and protect our more vulnerable neighbors.
Thousands of American die every day.
America leads all other country in this death toll.
For months, millions of Americans have been waiting in food lines for hours.
This happens in all the states.
Even after many months, one party refuses to work with the other in delivering a relief/stimulus bill for Americans.
The richest country in the world comes to function like a Third World country.
Over the biggest holiday of the year, the President refuses to sign a "compromise" emergency relief bill because it is a "disgrace.
A day after the biggest holiday of the year, millions of people's unemployment benefits from the first relief/stimulus package expire.
Finally, the President signs the bill.
One party seeks to increase the relief/stimulus check size.
The other party fights it vigorously.
Getting a a shot in your arm is seen as a privilege or as salvation.
And still we cannot get it going....
A President keeps playing golf, tweeting, and trying to overturn an election after weeks.
Goodbye, 2020!









Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Pro-Life Democrat Reviews TWO FROM GALILEE by Marjorie Holmes


This is a work of biblical fiction that is based on Scripture's account on Mary's and Joseph's story of Mary's and Joseph's romance, Mary's pregnancy and the birth of Jesus as a man. Available in multiple formats, today the book sells as a mass market paperback released as a reprint of the original hardback of this novel.. In the mass market paperback format, TWO FROM GALIEE begins with the Author's Introduction that she has tailored to this Edition of her book. Holmes spreads her actual content throughout 18 chapters and ends with an Author Bio. She has written a sequel to this novel called THREE FROM GALILEE and then THE MESSIAH. She has written other books like I'VE GOT TO TALK TO SOMEBODY, GOD and LOVE AND LAUGHTER. She has traveled widely in order to do research for her novels. 

This is one book I have read multiple times. I own both two used hardbacks and a well-read mass market paperback copy of TWO FROM GALIEEE. I read it every Christmas season. Currently, I am reading out of both and at different places in each copy. This book is NOT the Bible and the author does not want readers to treat it as such. TWO FROM GALIEE is a biblical novel; the author bases it on all available if limited information in the Scriptures. She brings each of the characters to life. The author brings out Mary's humanity as well as her devotion to her God. I find myself sympathizing with Mary's mother, Hannah, and her struggles in accepting the extraordinary, totally unique circumstances of her daughter's pregnancy. I identify less with the father, whom the author portrays as being closer to their daughter; he struggles with accepting his daughter's pregnancy, but not as much as the mother. I like how the author also uses vivid descriptions the bring to life the environment and culture under which all these events happened. TWO FROM GALIEE uses euphemisms for highly personal events like puberty and menstruation as well as pregnancy. So it is suitable for anyone of any age. 

This biblical novel has multiple themes. Pregnancy, specifically teen pregnancy, is central. Handling it with courage and grace is also central. This novel, as based on Scripture, highlights the themes of choosing life even in the most challenging of circumstances. It highlights the benefits and complexities of adoption. It must be remembered that, according to tradition, that Mary was a teenager at the time. She was facing a teen pregnancy. By any standards, it would be considered a crisis pregnancy. In her culture, she could face social ostracism, public humiliation, stoning, and death. She conceived via Divine Intervention, a totally unique situation that posed immense challenges to this teen mom. However, choosing life is a central theme, as Mary responded to the angelic announcement by willingly agreeing to her Divine assignment of bearing the Son of God, and then raising Him, readily. Yes,  abortion as we know of it was not available at the time. But even if it were, one cannot conceive that Mary would ever consider it. True to Scripture, Holmes portrays Mary as committed to following God regardless of the cost to herself and even to those closest to her.

As mentioned, adoption is a major theme. We must bear in mind that Joseph faced choices as difficult as Mary's, but in a far different way. Joseph did NOT father Jesus. As a man, Jesus had no human father. The author does not sugarcoat the immense struggles that this young man no doubt faced when he learned that his fiancee was facing a teen pregnancy. He faced a tough moral quandary: He loved his fiancee dearly, but he was wracked with warring emotions because of Mary's unique announcement. Joseph and Mary were committed to chastity; sex before marriage carried far more stigma in that culture. So when Mary told Joseph she was pregnancy with a baby via Divine intervention, Joseph struggled mightily. However, when God appeared to him in a dream to reassure him, Joseph accepted the explosive news. He willingly marries Mary and embraces Jesus as His own, even before birth. There is no formal adoption ceremony, but clearly, Joseph accepts and receives Jesus as His own. As with Mary, one does not envision that Joseph would try to coerce Mary into abortion, even if it had been available as an option at the time.

I recommend this book for people of all ages. Though this novel is about two young people in an adult situation, it is written in such a way that young people can safely read it. This book brings the original Christmas story to life. The author has written it in such a way that Christians can use the story as a springboard to affirm and share their faith. And she has written it in such a way that non-Christians should be able to read it without feeling that she is trying to convert them. 

This book review was done using the mass market paperback copy of TWO FROM GALILEE.


 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Joe Biden, Where is Our Seat at the Table?

 


A new President is going to take the reigns of power on January 20. Whatever your feelings about that, it will happen.
That President-Elect has begun to name nominees for his staff and his Cabinet.
People generally have taken to most of the nominees without controversy. However, some have stood out.
One has stood out for "mean Tweets" about Senators of a political party and the current President.
Another has generated controversy for supposed corruption.
Most of all, one nominee has garnered pro-life ire and concern because of what many declare to be radical abortion extremism. He is being asked to lead a key department.
Why is only one party leading in opposing this man's nomination?

Xavier Becerra's qualifications cannot be questioned. He has been serving as California's Attorney General for years. I have used his CA AG website for years when I ran my MISSINGADULTSKIDS.COM website. According to his WIKIPEDIA profile, Becerra's extensive experience is legal and legislative rather than health-related. Also, reports state that Biden is considering Xavier Becerra for both Attorney General as well as for Secretary for Health and Human Services. From the perspective of those concerned about appropriate experience, considering Xavier for Secretary of Health and Human Services may present a problem. But from this perspective, his consideration position of Attorney General presents fewer issues. From the perspective of those who care about the lives of unborn human beings, considering Becerra for either Attorney General, Secretary of Health and Human Services, or for any other key position, presents many issues. Biden is considering Becerra for two key positions that would influence public policy strongly. If he were being considered for a Cabinet position like Transportation Secretary (already apparently taken), his being under consideration would not present as much concern.

Xavier Becerra's service record shows that he does not have a consistent life ethic. He has fought for legislation on behalf of immigrants, women's rights, and protection of Social Security and Medicare. This is wonderful and shows that Becerra stands on the side of marginalized groups. But who is even more vulnerable than these groups? It is unborn children who are totally dependent on their mom's for their fetal development. Sadly, Becerra's record shows that he has not only disregarded the lives of unborn human beings throughout his career, but has taken legal action against their advocates. He has voted in favor of partial-birth abortion. Planned Parenthood and NARAL have given him a 100 percent rating (WIKIPEDIA). My Twitter feed has shown how multiple pro-life advocates have shown grave concern, even outrage, about Becerra as a nominee. "This just proves how totally committed Joe Biden is to the pro-abortion lobby and to radical abortion extremism," according to multiple pro-life tweets. "So much for uniting the country!" Someone sarcastically tweeted.

I have been disappointed with some of Joe Biden's Cabinet picks and with those whom he is reportedly considering. Virtually all appear to be highly qualified for the positions Biden is considering or nominating them for. Most seem to be Democrats and people whose ideologies more or less resemble those of Joe Biden. However, I see little evidence that Biden is considering or nominating any qualified pro-life Democrats or any qualified conservative picks who could make it easier for people to accept Biden as their President. And surely there are qualified former Trump officials who can fill positions? Rumor has had it that Biden may be considering former Ohio Governor, John Kasich, for a Cabinet position. I have seen nothing to confirm that. Placing mostly Democrats and liberals in Cabinet positions, no matter how qualified they art, seems insufficient to heal the country or make it easier for Trump voters to accept Biden. And placing no qualified pro-life people in the Biden Administration, even among Democrats, would not help our nation heal. It just tells those who oppose abortion that there is no "seat at the table" for us.

America suffers from deep, gaping, ugly wounds. President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris have assured us that they would work to heal these wounds. Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic tops the list. I have no doubt that when making that pledge, Biden and Harris had that topmost in mind when they made that promise. But we know that our bitter national divide is also a major problem. Choosing qualified people who, for the most part, have liberal, pro-choice worldviews will make it harder for Biden to keep his promises to heal and unite the country. I know that he is currently facing intense pressures from multiple left-leaning special interest groups, to choose people for top-level Cabinet positions, that represent them. Civil rights groups, Latino groups, Asian-American groups, and other special interest groups, are applying intense pressure on Biden. I get this. Everyone wants a seat at the table. We all want to be represented, to have our voices heard, and to be included. However, in all the discussions and news coverage, I have taken note of those who have found very little representation, so far, in the upcoming Biden staff and Cabinet.

Guess who seem absent from any naming for positions, even for consideration? I am hearing precious little about any nominees known for pro-life ideologies, who oppose abortion. Surely there are qualified pro-life candidates, including from the Democratic party. Yes, as some have pointed out, Joe Biden is inheriting a crisis on multiple levels. And so he needs to select staff and Cabinet nominees who do not need much vetting, who already have pre-vetted experience.  Still, are there no pro-life people, including pro-life Democrats, who fit these qualifications? Multiple pro-life advocates are, to put it mildly, alarmed by Joe Biden's pick of Xavier Becerra for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Yes, Becerra has fought to protect worker's rights and the Affordable Care Act, among other human right BUT his past record shows no regard for the unborn or religious liberty rights. If Joe Biden is serious about healing America's deep wounds and becoming more acceptable to Trump voters, he would be well-served to do one simple if difficult thing. He should take Becerra out of consideration for Attorney General or for Secretary of Health and Human Services, and replace him with an equally qualified nominee who shows a consistent life ethic. I boldly suggest someone like Sen. Katrina Jackson, a pro-life Democrat with a solid legal background, for Attorney General. As for Secretary for Health and Human Services, please find an equally qualified candidate who is more moderate on abortion!

Joe Biden, you talk so much about not leaving anyone out and being inclusive. Is there anyone you are leaving out? Are you doing everything needed to reach out to those who voted against you because of their pro-life stance on abortion?


 This is a WIKIPEDIA profile of Xavier Becerra. Read article.

Joe Biden chose Xavier Becerra to be his Secretary of Health of Human Services because of his vast experience. Read article.

This article provides all info on each Cabinet position as well as who currently as on the shortlist to be picked. Read article.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Help Find Iyana Michelle Sawyer, Cold Case Missing Pregnant Teenager

 


  •   Missing Person: Iyana Michelle Sawyer
  •   Missing Since  12/19/2018
  •   Missing From  Jacksonville, Florida
  •   Classification  Endangered Missing
  •   Sex  Female
  •   Race  Black
  •   Date of Birth  09/06/2002 (18)
  •   Age  16 years old
  •   Height and Weight  5'8, 120 pounds
  •   Clothing/Jewelry Description  A white hooded sweatshirt that says "PINK", light blue jeans and black and white Adidas          shoes. Carrying two bags.
  •   Medical Conditions  Iyana was five months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.
  •   Distinguishing Characteristics  African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Iyana's ears are pierced.


  DETAILS:

Iyana was last seen at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville, Florida on December 19, 2018. She left campus at lunchtime, never returned to school and has never been heard from again.

Her uncle, Johnathan Joyco Quiles, is believed to have been the father of her unborn child. A photo of him is posted with this case summary. Iyana and other relatives had stayed at his home, for weeks at a time. After she went missing, he was charged with sexual battery against another girl, also a relative.

According to court documents, the offense occurred when the fourteen-year-old alleged victim was at Quiles's home babysitting his daughter. The offense happened in mid-December 2017. The victim told her mother about a year later, after Iyana went missing, and they reported it to the police.

While Quiles was in jail on this charge in January 2019, he reportedly told an inmate he may have gotten Iyana pregnant. Police also found a four-page love letter on Iyana's computer, which they believe was about her uncle. The letter said she wanted to run away with him.

Later that month, Quiles was named as a suspect in Iyana's disappearance. In August, he was charged with two counts of murder and one count of sexual battery in her case. According to the indictment, the murder may have been committed with a firearm.

Investigators believe Quiles killed Iyana at the ACE Pick-A-Part on Main Street where he worked. They think the motive was that he didn't want anyone to find out he was the father of her baby. He confessed to the murder in police interviews, reportedly admitting he had choked Iyana because she "wasn't dying right" and he didn't want to look at her.

Police searched a landfill on Otis Road for weeks, looking for her body. They didn't find it, but did find textbooks from Terry Parker High School.

At the time of her disappearance, Iyana was a straight-A student; she was on track to graduate high school early and had already won multiple scholarships. Her family had accepted her pregnancy and never believed she would have run away from home. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Jacksonville Sheriff's Office 904-630-0500

  This is a CRIMEWATCHERS forum has been set up for Iyana Michelle Sawyer. Read article.

  The suspect molested both Sawyer and another niece. Read article.

  The uncle of the missing pregnant teen confessed to his crimes against her. Read article.

  This article gives the basics of the case of this missing pregnant teen. Read article.

  This article discusses a police article with the suspect in Sawyer's case. Read article.

  TRUE CASE FILES gives a timeline of the disappearance of Iyana Michelle Sawyer. Read Article.

  A grand jury indicted Sawyer's uncle in the presumed murder of the pregnant teen. Read article.

  A trove of photos have been released in the investigation of Sawyer's disappearance and presumed   murder. Read Article.

  The above in formation about Iyana Michelle Sawyer is found on the Charley Project. I have adapted   and remixed it. It is licensed under a Attribution Noncommercial 2.0 Generic license.

  The above photo is courtesy of the MISSING PERSONS SUPPORT CENTER via their Facebook   page.

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