rag·a·muf·fin     raɡəˌməfən/

a person, typically a child, in ragged, dirty clothes

raggamuffinAren’t we ever ragged? Prodigal sons whose very birth was a mess only to be followed by mess after mess and mistake after mistake.

It is tempting to assume that since society “loves us” that we are above average, maybe even exceptional. What if we always pay our bills on time? What if we earn tons of money and regularly donate to charity? No matter how upstanding a citizen we are, we are lacking. In fact, the more upstanding we are perhaps the more lacking as well.

Matthew 23:23 says: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Dill and cumin huh? Impressive? In that society it was. Everyone could see them doing what society admired. Today Jesus may have said something more like this: “Woe to you, progressives and liberals, you hypocrites! You have a pink ribbon bumper sticker and donate to Hillary’s campaign. But you have neglected the real matters that please me–justice, mercy (especially to babies) and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, and not invented the former.”

Society’s standards are subjective morality. They are humanistic inventions that change with the times. Pink ribbons represent “a cure for cancer” that has yet to be discovered. Ironic isn’t it? That society is looking for healing and celebrates the fact that they haven’t found it? Isn’t it incredible these days that for a large portion of society if you do not agree that a woman should be allowed to murder her own child then you are a “bad person”? Let’s face it, even being a foster parent doesn’t have much to do with “widows & orphans” or even Jesus for that matter. Instead, it’s more about allowing oneself to be a tool for “society” (code for a few elites who think they know what’s best for everyone else).

If you aren’t convinced yet that society’s standards are corrupt, then just consider recent actions that our “omniscient” government has undertaken in the last month:

1.  Determined that no crime is committed when the IRS director directs the IRS to antagonize and criminally pursue any organization that she is ideologically opposed to.

2. US aircraft bomb Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan.

3. Sign an illegal agreement with Iran to allow them to again be enriched by international trade despite their leadership proclaiming: “Death to America.”

I could keep going, but you get the point. Society’s idea of “morality” is not moral at all. Instead it is selfish “thank you for loving me and always making me feel good about myself” stuff. Absolutely secular humanism. Love is NOT about making me feel good about the things I do that harm myself and others. Yet to society it is.

Therefore, I again contend that we are ALL raggamuffins. Especially those of us that don’t feel like raggamuffins.

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” – Isaiah 64:6

Until we understand this we cannot ever approach God in a way that we’ll be able to hear Him. Even once redeemed, even as beloved children, we still must always recognize grace. Without that our egos are not kept in check and pride makes us deaf to the Holy Spirit.

Our realization that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” makes us raggamuffins. We are simply not good nor capable – apart from God – of any good. I’m not saying that we should be timid about truth. Abortion is murder. Homosexuality is sin. Nothing about grace should ever water down truth. In fact, our recognition of our own shortcomings is more truth.

What is happening in society is that truth is becoming unpopular. Not only does society prefer to “feel good about myself” but society is at war with truth. It won’t even want you to look in the mirror and see the raggamuffin. Instead society will flatter you and tell you how “important” you are, how “valuable” you are and so long as you deny truth and believe their flattery they’ll treat you that way too. They’ll feel terrible and may even call in an intervention if you dare to accept Isaiah 64:6 or the Gospel of Christ as truth. They’ll do it out of their version of “love” which again really amounts to selfish flattery.

Don’t buy the lie, even if it comes from the pulpit at a church somewhere. All of those selfish things we do daily. Those lies we tell, those sinful thoughts. They are evil. That evil still sways us and because of that we are unworthy of our status of “child of God”. We are unworthy, we are unholy. Christ is worthy, Christ is Holy. When we boast let it be in Christ alone. Only then will we completely rid ourselves of the idolatry of social morality. Only then will we be salt and light in this dark and bland world.

God bless you Raggamuffin!

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Hope & Disappointment


I’ve had many reasons lately to consider carefully my motives and behavior. I have been diagnosed as suffering from an anxiety disorder. While several traumatic events have contributed to this, and exacerbated it, I’ve only recently accepted that it’s been there all along.

That being said, and with full appreciation of the science that goes into defining these “disorders” I’d like to take it apart from a practical and then spiritual perspective. In short, I’ll stick with the anecdotal.

Symptom Set 1: Physical hot flashes, racing pulse, unclear thoughts.

Symptom Set 2: Hopeless dread. An expectation and imagination of the worst-case-scenario.

Symptom Set 3: Rambling speech, incoherent thoughts, and over-reaction.

The first set is relatively scary, especially when it appears to control me. However, after a few misfires in otherwise trivial scenarios it can actually be quite entertaining. “What’s this? A hot-flash and tingling lips because Google sent me 1 minute off course on a day that I’m in absolutely no hurry? Now that’s funny. What? A half tank of gas isn’t enough to backtrack 1 minute? Oh silly skin, don’t you have other things to do?”

On the spiritual side this is the “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” from 1 Peter 5:8. It goes on to say: “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” It’s times like this that the full profoundness of the Bible truly resonates. “same kind of sufferings” – isn’t that just what you’re led to reject? That somehow you’re alone in this and “strange”? It’s as simple as that, resist him just like the rest of the believers do.

The second one is what keeps tripping me up, and that is the point that would nearly keep me from writing this. It’s tough to keep moving forward when I don’t really have an answer. Yet here I go anyway, using my same advice from the previous paragraph and resisting the urge to quit (this time).

For me there’s a fine line between “hopeless dread” and “plan for the worst and hope for the best”. In fact, I have a certain “edge” that has always kept me recognized as very good at my occupation. I’m notorious for being tenacious. Further evidence of an uncommon “edge”. I do things that other people can’t. You see where I’m going here? My identity is tied up with my anxiety. Who would I be if I weren’t already mitigating the result of carelessness on the part of others? Well for starters, I’d probably be happier!

I manage to make a lot of enemies by not being willing to quit or “let something go” after someone else has already decided to. Again, career-wise, this has always worked out for me. Even a broken clock is right twice a day and I’m right much more often than that. However, especially in the I.T. world, there’s no shortage of shirked responsibilities. Much of what we do is redundant by design. Computer hardware can be unpredictable and can fail at the worst moments costing organizations tons in lost productivity. In my current field, lost productivity is a gray area that isn’t tracked as carefully as it could be, so many opt to take the easy route of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Then deal with the failures as they arise. The lost productivity is written off as “plausibly deniable”. Yet I seldom find deniability “plausible”. If you’re down to your last lug nut on your wheel can you really be “innocent” of the damage done when the tire comes off?

Tires coming off – So herein lies the real laugh of all of my “hopeless dread”. Believe it or not my 11 year old daughter DID have the tire come off of her ATV. Why? Because the lugs had fallen off! Whose responsibility was it? MINE!!! Thank God she wasn’t hurt.

Yet see what happened here? I’m so frustrated with battling those that won’t listen that I failed in my only jurisdiction to protect those relying on me. I never even looked at those wheels. I just let her ride off.

Expecting the worst can get really out of hand. Especially when ones mind is so consumed with it that they can’t keep up with all of the possibilities. Suddenly we find ourselves more negligent than those that frustrated us so. I suspect that I would have fit well on a team of engineers designing deep space probes. Once launched those things are what they are. Failure to tighten all of those lugs will cost the mission! Yet what about home life? Have any of them managed to separate the two? Or are they doomed to torture everyone around them like Sheldon Cooper?

Torture everyone around you?

There really is a fine line between “dread” and “vigilance”; there’s also a fine line between “hope” and “hopelessness”. For both the border is faith. For the non-believer and believer alike faith in other people, for the believer, it’s ultimately faith in God. This is where the sharp claws of cynicism can really cause harm. They slash away hope under the guise of “lessons learned”. It goes something like this: “I’ve been burned by other people far too many times to trust them this time.” And therein “hope for the best” becomes “hope-less-ness”.
The spiritual dimension of this one is very challenging. At some point you may even hear something like this: “Didn’t God say it was bad to put your trust in other people? Then don’t go disappointing God and being all ‘hopeful’. In fact, maybe cynicism should be a fruit of the Spirit!” Well, Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us that “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” So that’s a lie, God isn’t cynical and we shouldn’t be either, even if we still have trouble believing it.

That last one – incoherence – isn’t really a problem at all right? I mean of course I sound incoherent to someone less acquainted with the details of this situation. Of course it sounds like “rambling” when the other person doesn’t recognized the seriousness of the situation?!?!

Well whatever it “sounds like” there’s an old saying – or maybe I’m just rambling – that perception is 9/10ths of reality. So frankly it doesn’t really matter how relevant some information is. If the recipient is not willing or able to hear and recognize that connection, then for them it does not exist. Once they write you off as “incoherent” and “rambling” then your only choice is silence. If they are determined enough to work out the scenario then they’ll ask questions and we need to be careful to slow down the flow of information to a pace that does not seem so “incoherent”. The fact is, some degree of coherence is a subjective thing. My computer techno-babble could be rightly considered incoherent to non-techies. However the fallacious rants of a progressive defending the murder of babies for the good of society should rightly be considered universally incoherent.

The spiritual dynamic of this sets people in opposition to each other. Sure, sometimes they should be in opposition, as is the case with baby humans and the abortion issue. At other times the confusion is meant to harm. While I’m wrestling to get someone’s brain to fathom whatever concept I’m trying to convey I’m wrestling with the wrong thing:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:12

Perhaps the fact is that God has given us a talent, maybe it’s discernment, maybe it’s outright prophesy. Maybe we’re doomed to be hated and contended with:

“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” – Luke 16:31

Or maybe we’re just wrong? Whatever the case there comes a time when one should just “shake off the dust”:

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” – Matthew 10:14

Otherwise we may find ourselves suffering unnecessarily from “kicking against the goads”:

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” – Acts 26:14

So to sum up, consider that last point. “Goads” are spiked sticks used to guide livestock. Consider this to be similar to a Shepherd’s staff, but with a point on it. If the animal kicks against it, then it will cause more pain than intended by the Shepherd. Or in this case God Himself.

For all of the symptoms listed above, there are vices and virtues. I cannot tell you what God expects from you. People cannot either, because as we know:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” – John 15:18

Our motivating principle cannot be fellowship with the world (James 4:4), but that being said we should face our battles with prayer. God does sometimes call us to move on, to “give up” (for lack of a better word). Being overly assertive can become an attempt to do things in our own power and an act of pride.

So my anti-anxiety solution? Faith and wisdom. The faith to trust God with the things we cannot control, and the wisdom to know that we are imperfect and will fail on our own. Allowing Him to teach us with His “goad” instead of stubbornly marching forward on our own accord. There’s no sure thing here, no formula, but rest assured God will make Himself heard when we are careful enough to listen.

wisdom to know the difference

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Witchcraft in the 21st Century

Everyone is religiousThe dark side of religion is that everyone is religious. Especially those that claim not to be.

The Salem witch trials of the late 1600s have become allegorous to primitive ignorance and religious dogma and to some degree rightfully so. Yet do you realize the last of the blatant witch trials happened little more than a century ago? I mean a downright “casting spells that hurt me” kind of criminal trial. Unless you were born pretty recently you’ve probably known someone that was alive then. Though they are all certainly gone now, since as Genesis 6:1 amazingly notes: “their days will be a hundred and twenty years”.  More on that in a moment, but the generally recognized “last witch trial” occured in 1878, and of course in Salem and of course in Massachusetts. Much later than I bet most of you would have guessed. Knowing what I do about history and the propensity for it to represent dogma itself, you can bet that in some other place besides Salem the practice of labeling religious adherents as criminals has continued far beyond that date.

In my previous post I pointed out that anti-creationist views are in high demand. Society gobbles them up like iPhones. Yet in the process of denying any religious affiliation they all become affiliated with each other with religious fervor. A prominent cultural historian recently pointed out that Apple is “obviously a cult“. I wouldn’t go so far as to point to one specific company or product, but I’ll suggest that he is on the right track. The proudly “irreligious” among us can be some of the most fervently sacramental of all.

Herein lies the 21st century  witchcraft, which really isn’t much different than the 20th century witchcraft, or the 1st century for that matter:

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” – 1 John 4:4-6

You see, there really is only “one” on each side of this equation. There’s God and then there is Satan. People worship one or the other. There is no “neither”, there is no middle-ground. In fact many believe they can do both, but Jesus warned:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. ” – Matthew 7:21

So how does this modern day witchcraft work? Just like ancient witchcraft I suspect there are many different spells, incantations, formulas, and concoctions. Here are two:

1. Character = Ideology:

Almost 20 years ago, in my first post-graduate job, my Christian boss told me something that sounded very wise. He said: “I don’t need to worry about skills. You give me someone with character, and I’ll give them the skills.”

For years I believed that. Then as I grew into the talents that God had given me I tried to apply it. I tried and tried to give my skills to colleagues and subordinates – especially the ones I liked – usually with little success. To some degree I still believe what he said is true, but now I see what it is code for. It is code for religious discrimination, being Christian = character, therefore I won’t hire you if you’re not Christian. Which in some cases may be important. You can’t exactly maintain a Christian organization under the leadership of a bunch of professing Atheists can you? Catholic Charities tries to, take a look at how that is working out. Yet what happens in a non-Christian organization that applies this principle? Then it is applied using their own religion (ideology).

It is also code for: “God doesn’t dole out talents, I do.” The religion of secular humanism. The original sin of Cain that I mentioned in my previous post. What is it really code for? It is code for: “I am the only god”.

In this religion character is interchangeable with ideology. Some actual thoughts may go like this: “I don’t care if you answer math questions correctly, you agree that babies should not be protected from murder, so congratulations you’re our new accountant!” Or perhaps worse: “I don’t care that you have cheated on your different wives, embezzled money, and are addicted to pornography. You’ll let me put my words in your mouth, congratulations you’re our new pastor!”

As you might imagine, in an environment as corrupt as this, from time-to-time the question of capability may still arise. The snake-oil salesmen, witches, and warlocks have to demonstrate their power on occasion after all. That’s when they begin the religious activity of “speaking in tongues”. Everyone is in on the charade. So when they fail to raise the dead, or heal the blind (see previous post) then the power of their religion gets the world to listen to them as described above in 1 John 4. “So what if my nephew can’t actually perform a successful separation of co-joined twins. Could you?” Well, no, but an actual surgeon could. Just as an actual follower of Christ does “bear good fruit”. The coven of the corrupt bear bad fruit, and they do so because they are corrupt. Much like Cain, they refuse to use the talents God actually gave them to do what God asks them. Instead they expend themselves in deceiving the world with fake “signs and wonders” and usually make a pretty good living doing it.

2. Ideology = Character:

So once we have invented our own “creation” where we are gods and our words become truth simply because we have spoken them, then we can criminalize anyone that does not ascribe to our new religion. After all, every society requires some sort of morality, and for the secular humanist to convince others to worship them they must be offering something. So they offer things like: “vote for me and I’ll help the poor so you don’t have to feel bad about not helping them.” Or: “vote for me and I’ll give you ‘income equality’ because unlike the real world, in my world the talents God gave you have nothing to do with what you should be doing with your life.”

As this ideology expands it becomes the definition of character and, if allowed to, it will ultimately outlaw any expression of faith in objective morality, especially very accurate and powerful morality such as that which Jesus taught. It has to, because the existence of objective morality trumps subjective morality and therefore is the greatest threat to it. Just like the existence of actual competence and capability is the greatest threat to the assigned and artificial capability that the warlocks and witches of the coven of socialism must be able to dole out at their discretion (as atheist Ayn Rand points out).  For them, they must take the place of God for all of this to work. For them, God is their biggest enemy, and if God is their enemy which side would you choose?

We see this everywhere now. The definition of the scientific method has now devolved into a popularity contest where members of an aristocracy cast their votes on which theories (or more often, which individuals) they want society to believe. Their very membership in the aforementioned aristocracy is based on their allegiance to the ideologies it now entails. Again, the greatest enemy? God. Our own Creator and Father is their greatest enemy and because their “science” is based on lies, their prophecies seldom if ever come true. They are false prophets, they are a coven of witches and warlocks.

So the two issues above are one-and-the-same. In fact, all aspects of this are one-and-the-same. They are humanism, they are witchcraft, they are satanism. The main difference between socialism and communism is forced atheism. The rest is trivial. Once Government becomes a god to society (socialism), then it is powerful enough to make itself the only god (communism).  As we’ve seen historically, government is no god that nature recognizes, nor genetics, nor the Holy Spirit. Hence for all its arrogance (the root of all sin) it is doomed to fail miserably.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post Genesis 6. Well let’s look at more of that, here:

“Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”” – Genesis 6:3

Wouldn’t you say that contending with the Spirit of God is exactly what we do? Especially as a society? That same chapter goes on to say: “…that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”  Isn’t that telling? If society naturally “contends”, if every thought of the human heart is “evil all the time”, then how can such a society not attempt to rewrite morality to fit its own whims? How can society not attempt to become gods and then-after the only god? (read Revelation 13 in this context) Rest assured, many today are already defining character as ideology and prefer the ideology of Antichrist. Therefore to be like Christ must and is being criminalized in new ways daily. Especially by the coven of 21st Century Witchcraft.

If you aren’t exhausted by the above, in his latest post Matt Walsh takes on attempts to rewrite Christ’s moral code here: http://themattwalshblog.com/2015/10/15/no-christianity-should-not-be-inclusive-of-your-sinful-lifestyle/

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“…to run for president and believe in creationism … is kinda weird.”

Geraldo Rivera laid out his qualifications for the President of the United States, and among them: you cannot believe in God. This is where we are today. He knows that statement will make him popular with many Americans, maybe even most Americans. It’s no longer that people are free to have different opinions on this topic. It has come to where if you are a believer, you are “weird”.

A few weeks ago I had the severely disturbing and disappointing trauma of hearing a keynote speaker at a healthcare conference announce that family values and patriotism are outdated and stand in the way of progress. He went on to explain that as we progress, with great thanks to the Occupy Movement, we’ll see employers stop hiring for skills and focus more on hiring for ideology. Ability will become a bad word because ability is God given and cannot be controlled the way propaganda can. Those who are “Able” are about to be hunted down and destroyed by those who are “Cain”.

Atheist Ayn Rand predicted this outcome of government in her 1950s epic novel “Atlas Shrugged”. Within 1000+ humanistic pages that never so much as hint at anything concerning faith in the supernatural, she presents the same inevitability with venomous contempt. The inevitability that when people set out to control others they must discredit those ideologically opposed to them, especially if those people are smarter and better than the ones trying to control them.

I bring attention to Ayn Rand’s atheism because my position will fallaciously be written off as “religious dogma”, so it must be balanced out. Trying to accuse Ayn Rand of “religious dogma” would be like accusing a woman of being misogynistic. Though propagandists will anyway.

One of the deep and convincing aspects of the gospel story of Jesus Christ is the accurate portrayal of how society responded to Him. If He could raise people from the dead, cause the blind to see, and forgive the sins of the world, then the political goons simply had no choice, either control his ideology, or kill Him off. They weren’t as smart as Him, they weren’t as wise as Him, and they were nowhere near as powerful as Him. So just like Satan, they had to contend with Him because they were/are evil.

In Ayn Rand’s revelation, society reaches a “progressive apex” wherein they’ve determined that human brilliance is no different than any other commodity. That it doesn’t belong to the individual, but to all of society (code for the few that decide what’s “best” for the many), and therefore the much-less-than-brilliant that wish to rule should have more say in the use of other people’s minds than they do. The contemptuous term “looters” is used throughout the story to describe them. Almost like the “copper tops” of the excellent story conveyed in “The Matrix” everyone that submits to the collective becomes inextricably guilty of the worst of that collective’s crimes. In Rand’s world, even if you weren’t born with intelligence or strength that allowed you to excel beyond your peers, you still could participate with them so long as you did not support the “looting” of their minds. Otherwise, you were as guilty as the rest.

In modern times much of the world despises America. Just recently a hospital in Afghanistan was bombed by American forces (yes, despite the photo-ops and deceptive claims, we’re still operating there many years after our esteemed leader won his Nobel Prize). Are we part of that? Unfortunately, we are. All of us. When a child that is orphaned by such an attack, the child of a doctor volunteering with Doctors Without Borders, grows to hate Americans, America, and everything we represent, ask yourself what would you do? With our leadership running all over the nation taking photo-ops to push domestic policy priorities. After silently allowing them to fire off anyone that was ideologically opposed to them so that they can go on operating with irrational and arrogant self-interests. We become no different than the people doomed in the Winston Tunnel by one bloviating politician:

“The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 1, was a professor of sociology who taught that individual ability is of no consequence…

The man in Roomette 7, Car No. 2, was a journalist who wrote that it is proper and moral to use compulsion ‘for a good cause’ who believed that he had the right to unleash physical force upon others – to wreck lives, throttle ambitions, strangle desires, violate convictions, to imprison, to despoil, to murder – for the sake of whatever he chose to consider as his own idea of ‘a good cause’…

The woman in Roomette 10, Car No.3, was an elderly schoolteacher who had spent her life turning class after class of helpless children into miserable cowards, by teaching them that the will of the majority is the only standard of good and evil…

The man in Drawing Room B, Car No. 4, was a newspaper publisher who believed that men are evil by nature and unfit for freedom…” (and the list goes on…)

Each of those are shortened, and I encourage you to find the uncut version of this. She may not have believed in God, but she sure believed in intellectual honesty, and her work is full of just that. I do hope that at some point in her life she discovered that God exists far beyond our intellect and that her intellect hadn’t dis-proven God, quite to the contrary, she only managed to demonstrate how much higher and how much greater He is than we are. She proved the existence of evil, and of Satan himself. The same snake that temped Eve, and Cain, can be seen in the actions of Wesley Mouch as he turns his every ability to trying to seize everyone else’s.

I believe in God. I believe He is the source of our “talents” and He does not delegate this to power lusting politicians. I believe what we are witnessing now was concisely demonstrated when Cain killed Abel. It’s even ironic that “Able” was Abel’s name. The “able” among us are allocated our talents to serve God. Those who – like Cain – reject God will and do become our mortal enemies. There are many that are not “able” or worse, twist the talents they were given into tools for subjugation. As they focus their efforts on discrediting the able and willing among us, any good they could have done dwindles to nothing and soon becomes outright havoc.

We are seeing the beginnings of persecution of Christians like we’ve never imagined. The gunman in Oregon that inspired Geraldo’s position against Dr. Ben Carson was lining up people and asking them if they were Christian, and killing them if they said they were. That disturbing reality was not as newsworthy for our leadership as the opportunity to disarm citizens. So ironically Mr. Rivera goes on to declare that creationists are “weird” almost encouraging more “culling” of the “backward” Christian population that stands between him and his Utopian dream. It is this kind of contempt that encourages me to affirm my support of Dr. Ben Carson for President of the United States and to leave you with these words from Christ Himself:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:11

Random kudos to Matt Walsh for this article: http://themattwalshblog.com/2015/10/14/democrats-are-godless-heathen-tyrant-maniacs-because-thats-what-voters-want/

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