December’s Edge (2010)

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R.D. Ackerman (2010)

Luring ‘Consenting’ Children into Sex: 1st Amendment Right ?

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Amazon.com has apparently gotten in their minds that the chasing of profits includes the ready availability of books on how to lure children into sexual relationships !!!  Instead of distancing themselves from this perversion, Amazon.com thinks it takes the high road by protecting the right of any consumer to fill his/her mind with the idea of sexualizing a child.  Best yet, as long as there is a profit to be made in the interest of free consumerism, all is well in the minds of the PR team at Amazon.com.

Call me conservative, but this is a no-brainer.  There is no duty to have a private book company protect the First Amendment rights of those who seek to normalize sex with children.  There is absolutely no historical analyses which would support the conclusion that our Founders contemplated that a private commercial enterprise would find itself compelled to protect this sickness.

Protecting from prosecution against seditious libel is a far cry from creating an intellectual playground for anyone tempted by or engaging in pedophilia.  Only a state actor can violate one’s civil rights.  There is no violation where purely private conduct is afoot. (42 U.S.C. 1983 – Civil Rights Actions).  Amazon.com need not worry about being liable for refusing to do business with anyone.  I also do not think that they are ‘discriminating’ against anyone, in the sense of the law, because being a pedophile is hardly a protected status under the law like race, sex, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, or religion (recognized classes of persons protected from unlawful discrimination in commercial contexts — often referred to as the Title VII classes of persons). When pedophiles become a protected class of persons for purposes of affirmative action, it will certainly be time to check out from ‘Hotel Satan.’

While there is a national uproar about the Amazon.com issue now, this is one that has been simmering for some time (See, Forbes.com article).  These folks need to be shut down sooner than later.  This is just completely unacceptable.

As stated above, I do not believe that our Founders thought that the First Amendment would cover this, notwithstanding the fact that no private business is under a compunction to sell pedophile advocacy books.  Unfortunately, if this were a public library, they’d at least have an argument with the help of the American Library Association or the ACLU.  These two organizations are quite adept at protecting pornography, true sedition, and other forms of distorted writings and thinking. But, even these folks would likely stay clear of somehow requiring Amazon.com to sell pedophile books if Amazon.com doesn’t want to.

Should someone be inclined to argue that the author of the challenged book really doesn’t mean to traffic in how to do this with children, see his attributed comments at:  http://community.babycenter.com/post/a25054937/amazon_sells_pedophile_how-to_book..?cpg=13&csi=2240265672&pd=12 .

This is an issue that we tried to address in 2002.  It looked like we had made some progress at the time.  Apparently not.  Amazon.com took it off the shelves for a while and apparently decided to quietly restock with a variety of these books.  Worse yet, they say that they have no interest in supporting illegal activity, but that they feel like they cannot prevent others from promoting whatever they want to.  Freedom without responsibility is simply not a good policy. No one is ‘forced’ to profit from things that are not right, even by the loosest moral standards of the adult population.  See, http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.vie w&pageId=15333 and http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=20484

Please write or e-mail them at ir@amazon.com and let them know this is unacceptable.

PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW THINGS TO GET WORSE THAN THEY ALREADY ARE. THERE IS AN OUNCE OF TRUTH IN WHAT THE AUTHOR HAS TO SAY ABOUT HIS CRITICS AND SOCIETY IN GENERAL.  IF CHILDREN KNOW ABOUT SEX, ARE NOT AFRAID OF IT, AND CAN HAVE THE FREEDOM TO CONSENT, THEN ONE OUGHT TO WONDER ABOUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR SOCIETY MORE THAN IT OUGHT TO EVEN PERHAPS WORRY ABOUT SOMEONE LIKE THIS.  THE ARGUMENTS OF THE AUTHOR AND AMAZON.COM’s PR TEAM ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN MANY OF THE SAME TYPES OF ARGUMENTS MADE BY PLANNED PARENTHOOD IN ITS LECTURES ABOUT ‘SAFE SEX,’ ‘CHOICE,’ and FREEDOM TO ASSOCIATE WITH OTHERS (including those much older).  FYI – THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD PROGRAM IS KNOWN AS THE “UNEQUAL PARTNERS” PROGRAM FOR USE IN SCHOOLS FOR CHILDREN 10 AND ABOVE.

See more of our efforts at www.ProFamilyLegalCenter.com .  Thank you for taking a few minutes to read about these issues.  They are difficult and I can understand why anyone would want to avoid them altogether.  However, ignorance leads to complacency and, in turn, complacency leads to defeat of our most basic principles as a society.

Feed the Homeless: Face the Judge ???

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http://www.profamilylegalcenter.com/news/newsletter/

I’ve had a tough time myself over the last year and a half or so, and then I am reminded of the basic things in life. All struggles are temporary, but we should not interfere with the goodness that comes into our own lives or those of others. Some people might call my client a guardian angel, some might say he brings good karma to others, or some might just say that he’s a good guy.

Please pass on some positive prayers and thoughts of support for my client Mr. John Atkins.  John has been trying to help the homeless for many years now.  He picks up a few loaves of bread or other food and shares with a few people at a park near his home in Corona.  We had to ask the City of Corona to lay off a couple of years ago and it looked like they were going to leave the issue alone.  Not so.

I have linked a copy of the letter I had to send along with a copy of the citation issued to John.  He’s an older gentleman and this is causing him a lot of stress and he has had very serious heart problems in the past.  He does not want to stop helping those in need and I can’t really find it in myself to tell him to stop.  The story from some time ago can be found at http://www.pe.com/localnews/rivcounty/stories/PE_News_Local_W_ticket06.229f9da.html .  The government has threatened to impound his vehicle and to actually jail him. The statutes being relied on have nothing to do with providing a small amount of food to others, even on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, John has been charged with a misdemeanor for “operating a food facility” without a permit.  (Letter to County and Copy of Citations).  He has been charged by both the County of Riverside and the City of Corona, who were waiting for him a couple of Sundays ago.  He showed up with a few pieces of chicken to share with those he cares about.  The reality is that anyone of us taking a BBQ meal to the park for a birthday party could be cited for this same alleged violation.

I am hoping to resolve this peacefully, but likely have to file a lawsuit so that John can exercise his basic right to associate with those he cares about and for his right to help others.  While this might seem basic, that’s just the point.  Anyway, John’s criminal appearance in Court is set for October 21, 2010.  I would like to file a motion to dismiss the case and do what I can to protect his rights so that this does not happen again in the future.

I would ask that you take a few minutes to uplift John and his faithful adherence to Matthew 25 (should this be something that appeals to you personally).  John is not a self-professing Christian or loud mouth — in fact, he just lives out what he believes (caring for the homeless and bringing happiness to those he may not even know).  I think this is something we can all appreciate. We need to enable the good will that he demonstrates.

We will have to raise a little money for his case in order to pay for court costs and related items.  Any help would be appreciated as well.  If you can help, please feel free to send a few bucks to www.profamilylegalcenter.com for the John Atkins case.  Any help is tax-deductible.  If we are able to resolve his case, then any help will be used for similar cases in which I serve as counsel. This one just really bugs me.

No matter what, just your thoughts, moral support, and prayers for him are greatly appreciated. Thanks for the time you took to think about the homeless and those who help them through things none of us would want to imagine going through.

Lamentations

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Lamentations should not be perceived as the loss of a soul. Rather, Lamentations reflect the deeper search for the light of the soul. Be not afraid in your pleas for understanding, mercy, and love. You cannot feel the hand of God until you walk in complete darkness and realize what you have walked into.

Wash Up and Get on Your Knees

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Wash Up and Get on Your Knees:
Thoughts About Daily Purification and Humility

A few weeks ago, I deeply enjoyed a sermon put on by Victor Marx, a local Calvary Church minister. Victor also happens to be a person for whom I have the deepest respect and admiration. He did a great job of exploring what it meant to wake up each day with a view toward living a holy life and a life which is acutely focused on God. He even talked about how waking up each day leads to the basic meals that we enjoy and the feast of the day known as supper.

However, I doubt that he was thinking that he was making a great argument for the importance of the daily Catholic Mass, but I’m going to run with the thought anyway and admonish that any differences in the practice of theology are just that – differences only. Without a doubt, I consider Victor to be a Brother in Christ and a Messenger of Truth.

Victor very simply described the process of waking up each morning – with a view toward having God as the focus our day, having God help us stumble out of bed, immersing ourselves in the Word, and the individual importance of simply having our coffee and a good shower. He quickly drew the metaphor to the truth of the Scripture found at Ephesians 6:13-20, which states:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints —

While at first this all seemed to be rather simplistic, in a good way, in the coming weeks I have had the realization that what Victor was describing is exceedingly profound with deep theological underpinnings. He laid out the steps that I personally try to take each day I am able to get my lazy self out of bed and make my way to the local Catholic Church for daily Mass.

In thinking about the spiritual metaphors for daily cleansing and purification, the idea of taking a daily shower becomes a perfect metaphor for the spiritual cleansing which should take place on a daily basis. However, it also goes without saying that each of us even bathe differently on a daily basis, even though the outcome is much the same.

For example, one of us might use Irish Spring soap, another glycerin soap, or just about any other kind of soap. Nor do we all use the same brands of shampoo and conditioner. We don’t all use the same type of towel. Some like cold showers versus hot showers. Some shower in the morning — others at night. Some need bathrobes. Others need to just get dressed right away. Some get dressed in a closet and some folks just troop around in their birthday suits for a while. While this all seems mundane, the metaphor is powerful.

With respect to spiritual cleansing on a daily basis, some need to cleanse through a particular core theology which differs from yours. Perhaps, a physical reminder of our cleansing is needed through sacramentals such as holy water. Some of us feel a deeper need to dress up for Church than others. I, for one, enjoy getting up early and catching a time of reflection as the sun is just coming up. Some of us need to acknowledge our sins daily in a forum of admitted/fellow sinners. Indeed, some of us find deep benefit from art and imagery reflecting the bridge between our humanity and the spiritual world. For some, the power behind prayer, said in daily unison among believers, is remarkably powerful and unforgettable.

Indeed, some of us need to spend more time focusing on one area of our lives for cleansing and purification, just as one might use a specific type or brand of soap for one’s specific skin/hair condition. In the end, the basic purification process is accomplished. Although it may very well be true that a person forgets to wash his/her hair or forgets to wash some particular body part. Or it may be that the soap we’ve chose is simply insufficient for cleansing us of some disease or bacteria. This said, it’s probably also worth noting that most of us would not judge/condemn another for the type of cleaning product used. But, we might guide them to a way of doing things that helps their immunity from disease and ability to enjoy life. And, of course, we would acknowledge that taking a shower is a deeply personal issue which should be kept that way. Most of us are happy just knowing that others take the time to clean themselves. Why must it be so different in the case of religion and spirituality?

Before launching into the more controversial theme of this article, I must state that I absolutely agree with the premise that we ought to avoid dissension, theological fights, and any diversion away from our Christian purpose which has been described over several thousand years (i.e., Loving God with all of one’s heart and tending to the needs of the helpless). Isaiah 58:1-9; Romans 16:17-20; 1 Corinthians 1:10.

Nevertheless one should not be afraid to express personal views of what it means to be faithful and the practices by which one is able to fully realize the daily glorification of God such that we might better the plight of those we come in contact with and such that our souls may be amply purified for entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 22:34-40; 25:31-46. This is the daily testimony that we should share with each other so that we might each come into a relationship with Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. John 21:15-19 [a directive given by Christ after what sounds like a good breakfast with his disciples].

Unfortunately, judgment of one religious view, or practice, over another has caused way too much division, but yet allows for the possibility that all Truth will be reduced by the failure to focus on reunifying and absolute truths. 1 Corinthians 1-15. Many would say that there are no absolute truths, but relativism is just one form of intellectual and spiritual anarchy. The Story of Christ is consistent, filled with unity of purpose and philosophy, and does indeed lay down a set of principles by which all Christians are to live by. See; https://richackerman.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/we-should-know-what-we-believe-in-not-just-believe-in/

For me, the best way of getting ready for the day is the regular attendance of daily Mass. It assists in providing a spiritual cleansing, it provides a sense of an integral part of the larger universe, it gives cause for introspection, provides cause for acknowledgment of my imperfect state, gives me a chance to clean up my imperfections, offers a daily “altar-call,” and ensures daily reaffirmation of the Redemptive Story as it plays out in/around me.

One is also provided with the daily opportunity to know that the Word of God is being spoken in a literally universal sense. There truly is a communion of the faithful on Earth and in Heaven. At any given time, there are countless faithful who are hearing and bathing in the same Word each day for 24 hours a day. With the right purpose and heart, it is done only for the glorification of He who is in Heaven and acknowledges our worship of Him. See; U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lectionary for Mass (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. 2002). I am humbled to join in the ranks of those who choose to collectively and literally kneel before the Throne of God on a regular basis.

With the thought that I can only describe what works for me in terms of daily preparation for life, this article is not intended to be an argument, but rather a heartfelt apologetic for what works for my spirit. I assume, because of your common humanity with me, that we might both better understand each other in what I have to say and your reaction to it.

For those not familiar with the Daily Mass and its Order, it goes something like this (with some variance according to day or purpose):

1st Most congregants will enter the Sanctuary and acknowledge their need to begin fresh by symbolically washing their head, heart, and body with holy water. Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:21. An introductory song is sung along with the entry of the priest responsible for leading the mass. Most Catholic hymns are taken directly from Scripture and put to music. Each day is a little bit different in terms of what theme the Mass might take with the music and Scripture to be read. Spiritually, this is the time when the congregants wake up and get out of bed – so to speak. We assess the availability of our spiritual armor and go through the process of putting it on for the travails of the day. It is a time to prepare for the spiritual cleansing and journey for the day. It is a time to fit our armor. Conceptually, it’s even good for those who like to wake up with a music alarm.

2nd Much in the same way a family member might greet us as we are waking up and beginning to mosey about, the Priest opens with a greeting and calls into focus the source of our power for the day. 2 Corinthians 13:14. Specifically, we are reminded that what we do is through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We physically reflect on our inner thoughts and sincere intentions by doing the ‘sign of the cross’ at this time. From this point, we ask for the blessings of God and prepare ourselves for the penitential reminder we need each day. Matthew 15:22. We acknowledge the marks upon our soul and ask for the cleansing that can only come through God’s Almighty Grace. We gird ourselves with the Truth of His Redemptive Purpose for us.

3rd We confess our sins to Almighty God and to our brothers and sisters. We acknowledge that we sin in not only what we do, but what we fail to do. We ask for prayer and forgiveness. Simply put, we recognize that we have made ourselves unclean by our acts and failures and that we wish for ourselves to be cleaned and to be provided the water and soap necessary to do that. I personally think that we even ought to recognize that there are fellow humans in the world who have neither water or soap. The same goes spiritually. It is difficult to think about putting on a protective breastplate or to shod one’s feet for the day when one does not so much as have a drop of water nor the ability to fight off disease and famine. We, who do have these things, must share of our wealth so that we might all be cleansed and ready for the pouring out of God’s Holy Rain upon our spiritual lives. Isaiah 58:1-9.

4th After taking confidence in our awesome blessings, through Faith & Grace, we can enjoy everlasting life, we thank God for his ability to cleanse us and the unique source and demonstration of His Power. Isaiah 6:3; Revelations 4:8; Psalms 188:26; Mark 11:10. This is done in the form of the Gloria, where we acknowledge the need for peace, we give thanks, we acknowledge that His cleansing takes away the sins of the world (not just us), and that He alone (in triune communion with Christ and the Holy Ghost), holds the power to cleanse us of our iniquities. We take on the helmet of Salvation and prepare to take up the sword of His Word only after thanking God for the strength and Grace to do so.

5th Next, the congregants take time to hear Scripture from the Old Testament, a Psalm (song), celebrate our participation in truth with a solid Alleluia (what is supposed to be “a superlative expression of thanksgiving, joy, and triumph”), and immerse ourselves in the Gospels. Psalms 146-150; Revelations 19:1-6. After each reading, we thank God for giving us His daily directions in the form of the Word. In this we have truly begun to bathe ourselves in Truth and prepare ourselves for acknowledging Christ in our lives in a most literal way each day. We think of the work that is required in our lives to fulfill the holy destiny that God has for each of us and how we will apply/work our lives in that direction through the thoughtful control of our freewill and the protective Grace of God.

6th We enjoy the interactive process of having a human representative of the Church (as a body of believers) share the practical meaning, history of, and interpretation of Scripture. As a representative father, he instructs on what we are to do with our day and the importance of staying clean for purposes of avoiding illness and in being able to commune with others. We acknowledge that the messenger is not perfect, but that the Message is perfect.

7th We collectively acknowledge the foundations of our faith by making a formal profession of our faith (particularly on Sunday). This is much in the same way that a family might sit down for breakfast and share in the value of their communal experience and daily purpose as a family. It can be as simple as enjoying a common last name. The processes of the father providing for his family and the mother providing the daily nurture for His Little Ones are put into motion. It is amazing to me how much the method of worship serves as a tight spiritual bridge to the natural order of our lives. Indeed, it should be no shock that the Mass bears spiritual truth in its representation of what it means to be human – even in some of its most simplistic aspects.

8th The purpose of our day is put before us in the form of gifts before the altar of Christ. This is much in the same way that a parent lays out breakfast on the table so that the members of the family might have energy for the day ahead. As so too does the priest accept the necessary gifts and make them ready for consumption. We take thanks that these nourishments are suitable to our spiritual bodies (i.e., our souls) and make ready our hunger for what is good and nourishing to our human be-ings. Before taking part in our spiritual meal, we acknowledge the purposes of our doing so and thank God that we have been provided with an Earth capable of producing what we need – for we have not so created that which we need for life.

9th We pray as Christ asked us to and acknowledge the simplicity of His purposes and provision. Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4. We make peace with those around us and acknowledge their humanity by shaking a hand and sharing a smile. John 14:27; 16:33; 20:19-20; 20:26.

10th Once we are at peace, we acknowledge that we, in our human states, are not worthy to receive Christ, but that he alone has the ability to heal us so that we might be able to make use of the Spiritual Nourishment we are about to receive. John 1:29-36; Revelations 5:6-13, 22:1-3; Luke 7:1-10.

11th We enter into the ultimate purpose of our day – to meet Christ literally and figuratively in our past, present, and future. We do so by acknowledging our sinful history, becoming clean again in Communion with Christ and his Church, and looking forward to the power of the meal we have taken up for the spiritual energy we need to sustain life into the future day.

12th After coming into full Communion and enjoying the Holy Meal put before us, we take a few moments to relax and contemplate the blessings we receive by and through He who provides for us. We prepare for dessert, which is the success, travails, sharing in the Redemptive Story, and hopes of a new day. Because we are not greedy or selfish, we look forward to sharing in our new found hope with others such that we might be a humble beacon of life to those around us. What a joyful way to start the day. We are clean and ready to go out into the world.

13th After having girded up for the day, His representative leads us in a request that we have a good day through God’s blessings and that we go out into the world in peace. So too is it in the case of parents sending their children off to school and taking upon themselves the duties of providing for those in need (i.e., their children who could not otherwise take care of themselves but must grow up to be responsible in their provision and sustenance from God). Genesis 28:3; Deuteronomy 14:29; Numbers 6:23-27; Psalms 29:11.

While I know that Victor wasn’t headed in this direction when he spoke of the value in starting one’s day right, I must say that his sermon had a very powerful effect on my faith and the faith that I try to live by. I honestly don’t expect everyone to use the same spiritual soap that I do, and I have no problem acknowledging that we each prepare ourselves for the coming day in different ways.

What I can say for certain is that Truth often speaks through the most simple aspects of our lives (like eating, bathing, creating and maintaining a family, etc.). These things don’t take great brain power, come naturally, and are the bare essence of what it means to be human. For me, anyway, I choose a spiritual discipline which most reflects this same essence. Oddly enough, the Sacraments also each mirror the basic necessities of human survival (birth, necessary food, health, procreation, adulthood, commitment/service/purpose, death).

Much of the totality of human life, when looked at from afar, appears complicated and unresolved. Yet, on the most basic level, when all humans come to have the basic ability to bathe, learn, and eat, we will truly be at peace. Only by acknowledging that we must do this with a common purpose (Love of something much higher than ourselves – the highest source of our Being) and with a love of our fellow humans (Love of one another), do we ever have the possibility of achieving ultimate peace and prosperity.

We should each wash up and get on our knees.

Richard D. Ackerman (2/20/2010)

Let Your Whisper Be Heard Eternally

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Though a single voice may not be so much as an unheard whisper in the Universe, your voice has the capacity to bring about eternal change in one to whom you speak in compassion and love.

Higher Being through Humility

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People always say that, “You have to believe in yourself.” This is not true. You have to believe in something higher than yourself so that you have something to strive for. When you only think of yourself, that’s about all you get.

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