Target Accommodates Muslims, But Not Christians

Target Accommodates Muslims, But Not Christians

With all of the publicity given to Target lately for their support of men being allowed to go into women’s restrooms and vice versa, and their support for the latest assault upon conservative, Christian values, it would be interesting to delve into what drives a company that is obviously committed to losing millions, if not billions, of dollars of revenue to support their adopted agenda. With a boycott that has gained over 1.2 million adherents now, Target is not going to benefit from their new policy for sure. Certainly if there is that level of commitment to a cause, one would expect some consistency in their policies. Even if one disagrees with a position taken by another, if there is sincerity present, there is still some degree of admiration for being committed to something, although being sincere is not everything because it is very easy to be sincerely wrong.

Target recently issued an April 19, 2016, statement1 to reaffirm their policies: “we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.” According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune2, “Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, said it is not a new policy, but the retailer wanted to clarify its position given questions it has received from both customers and employees amid the national debate. Executives sent an e-mail to store leaders earlier this week to convey the message. ‘It’s a restatement of a policy,’ she said. ‘It’s just us being very overt in stating it.'” They are very committed to what they consider “equality” and “inclusivity”: “Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day.”3

Target is putting forth statements to appear to be so gracious to anyone, no matter what they believe or do; customers of all types should just come in their stores because they just don’t want anyone to feel offended or out of place in their stores. That is how they are trying to publicize their position. Just back in 2007, Target took a position of accommodation when it came to Muslims who work in their stores and do not want to handle pork.4 According to the NBC News article, “The Star Tribune reported this past week that some Muslim cashiers at local Targets had declined to scan pork products such as bacon because doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs. They would ask other cashiers to ring up such purchases, or sometimes customers would scan those items themselves, the newspaper reported. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. has now offered its local Muslim cashiers who object to handling pork the option of wearing gloves while cashiering, shifting to other positions or transferring to other nearby stores. ‘We are confident that this is a reasonable solution for our guests and team members,’ Target spokeswoman Paula Thornton-Greear said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press on Saturday. … Suhara Robla, who works at the SuperTarget in St. Louis Park, told the Star Tribune that more than a dozen Muslim cashiers were asked Thursday to do other jobs.

‘They told all of us who don’t touch pork to go to the sales floor,’ she told the newspaper. ‘They really didn’t say why. They just said it was a new policy.’”

However, that same equality and inclusivity does not seem to apply to anyone who just wants to be able to go to the bathroom or fitting room and not have a male voyeur next to them filming them or worse567. Target is causing much worse inequality and loss of inclusivity with their policies which do nothing more than promote immorality while attempting to shove it down the throats of conservative Christians who they do not mind shutting out of their stores. Target can figure out a way to accommodate Muslims and their faith practices, but according to an August 2014 article from OneNewsNow8, “Target is filing legal briefs in court cases intended to win marriage rights for homosexuals and lesbians.” Target wants to put forth that they just want everyone to feel welcome, but actively are working toward tearing down conservative, Christian values. If Target cares so much, then why not just have a third bathroom for those who want to claim a different gender or don’t care while accommodating the vast majority of people who want to feel safe in a bathroom. They now have policies that make many people feel very unwelcome and if objections are voiced, they just don’t seem to care, unless it is possibly from someone of a different faith other than Christianity.

Mississippi and North Carolina Democracy versus Liberal Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is defined as “a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. Totalitarian regimes stay in political power through an all-encompassing propaganda campaign, which is disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that is often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of speech, mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror” (Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism). This definition actually describes the type of actions desired by those who want to punish Mississippi and North Carolina for wanting to let their citizens be able to decide for themselves what they want to think and do with their own lives. These liberals want a totalitarian government, not a republic, and not a democracy. They seek to force their viewpoint upon everyone any way they can.

Most of these companies who are voicing public objections to the laws passed by states, which want to allow religious freedom, are solely acting to protect their bottom line financially as they see it and will shift their actions to whichever way they think the wind blows if it will make them money. The same activists who threaten Mississippi and North Carolina also threaten these large corporations if they don’t comply with their demands. If it is okay with people to demand adherence in such a totalitarian fashion, then some other questions should also be asked.

Should Teva Pharmaceutical Industries be boycotted and people be asked to do no business with this company because they refuse to allow propofol to be sold for executions? They are discriminating against what their product is used for on the basis of their belief system even though the death penalty and executions are legal. If Christians should be forced to participate in matters that conflict with their belief system and violates their conscience, then how can one argue that these companies should also not be forced to sell their products without “discriminating”? If it is okay to sue Christians who solely don’t want to perform a service out of moral objections based on their faith, then should not the states who cannot get the medications sold to them for legal executions be able to bring lawsuits against these companies and force them to do what the law states is okay?

Should physicians who have moral objections to participating in abortions be forced to perform them since abortion is legal and physicians who refuse are “discriminating”? How about pharmacists who won’t fill a prescription for an abortifacient drug and are “discriminating”? Should all of these physicians and pharmacists be labeled as promoting “hate”, and boycotted for their “discriminatory” practices?

What about the pastors who refuse to participate in a homosexual “wedding”? Should they also be labeled and treated in the same way? Are these pastors to be listed on a “hate group” registry and hounded for just not wanting to participate?

What about Muslims who will not sell pork, or prepare it for sale, to others based upon their religious beliefs? Should all the pork-loving people all get together and bring boycotts and lawsuits to force the discriminatory Muslims to participate in what they deem objectionable based upon their faith practices?

Should Jewish owned businesses who choose to close their doors on Saturday be forced to stay open and not “discriminate” against those who want to shop on Saturday? Is it offensive to those who don’t hold those beliefs and places undue burdens on those who only can shop on Saturdays since it is possibly their only day off from work?

It is not people of faith who are bringing lawsuits and attempting to ruin others through tactics of fear and intimidation. These are the actions of the liberal, totalitarian activists who people of faith need to be protected from. Should peaceful non-participation be now made illegal also? That is also what totalitarian governments do. No dissent is allowed without retribution.

People of all faiths should be allowed to follow their conscience and faith practices as their traditions commonly dictate and not have their belief systems trampled by totalitarian demands. The pharmaceutical companies should be allowed to followed their conscience while the states are free to pursue other options without forcing adherence. Physicians and pharmacists should be free to practice in ways that do not violate their faith while those who want something different are always free to seek to have services they legally want elsewhere. Pastors should continue to be free to choose whom they will agree to marry as they always have. Jewish people should be free to practice all aspects of their faith as there are other options for those who live under different practices. Muslims should be free to practice portions of their faith practice as they desire to do so and people who want something different can do business with others. Those who want to label these laws as hateful only reveal their own heart toward those whom they disagree. For people of faith, it is about protecting their own conscience by not participating and it is not about doing anything to hurt anyone else. It is about having respect for other people’s faith choices in their lives and giving them the freedom to live their lives with having a conscience intact, unlike those within totalitarian regimes who historically could be argued to have lost any conscience they might have had.

NY – Y’all come on down to MS

For those in our country who proudly declare themselves “pro-choice”, there are clear indications as to how truly “anti-life” they really are. When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently stated that “extreme” conservatives “have no place in the state of New York”, he revealed his own lack of tolerance for others while also displaying a lack of consideration of the value of each human being. It should not be surprising for him to say such a disrespectful and demeaning statement. It is the natural result of having an “anti-life” worldview in which not all humans are viewed as equally valuable and worthy of being protected.

Even New York City’s Mayor de Blasio chimed in stating, “I stand by that 100 percent,” to reporters at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Mayor de Blasio then added, “I agree with Governor Cuomo’s remarks. I interpret his remarks to say that an extremist attitude that continues the reality of violence in our communities or an extremist attitude that denies the rights of women does not represent the views of New York State.” The mayor must not have given much thought to his statement regarding “violence in our communities”; there is a lack of logic. What in the world does he think he is approving of happening in his position of violence toward unborn children? What about the right of the unborn children who never live to see the light of day? Has the “anti-life” position become such a protected issue that logic has been thrown out the window? There is no denying the fact that areas with the most “gun control” have the most gun violence; just look at Chicago. The same areas of the country that proclaim they are against violence promote it more by taking guns away from the law-abiding and then allowing a plague of ruthless thugs who also do not value life while robbing and killing others. The “anti-life” folks obviously cannot see the contradictions in their own statements.

For those New Yorkers who feel devalued and unappreciated just because they support the worth of everyone and care enough to speak the truth as they see it, come on down to Mississippi, the most conservative state in the union. Mississippians would be glad to have you just as much as anyone who has enough sense to respect the fact that everyone is valuable and has inherent worth solely because of the fact that they are human. Mississippi has learned from its own jaded past when people were not valued equally and now those with differing opinions generally get along well. Just think about where you hear about all of the racial problems and it isn’t in the state with the largest percentage of African Americans. Mississippians get along better now than at any time in the past because of learning respect for each other which is something lacking in New York’s elected leaders presently.

Not agreeing with someone should not cause one to have such a cowardly position to want to push them out of your way. If your arguments for your own position hold water, they can stand up on their own. People who start feeling threatened and honestly have no true way to defend their positions typically resort to personal attacks and attempts to gag the opposition such as these statements from the New York governor to deflect attention from the fact that they have no facts upon which to base their selfish and disrespectful opinions. If all of the pro-life people left New York to the anti-life people, it would certainly be a state that would slowly die – physically and spiritually. Hopefully, that will not happen if those liberals who usually are ones claiming such tolerance would learn to practice that which they preach.

Being an Abram, or a Lot?

Just as Abram and Lot had to decide where they would live and bring up their families, so it goes with all the families who will have to decide where they will raise their children.  In the years ahead, it will become more and more of a contrast between the states of the United States where homosexual “marriage” is legal or not.  Those states in which it is illegal and not accepted provide a more family friendly environment that honors God through recognition of Biblical marriage.  The states where homosexuals can now “marry” have become places in which marriage has lost its meaning in relation to the Bible. 

God will not bless decisions to dwell where there is an allowance for homosexual “marriage” any more than He did the decision of Lot to dwell in Sodom.  When Lot saw the land of Sodom, he saw a land that is described in Genesis as “well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar” (Genesis 13:10).  The description of the land Lot saw could be used to describe California and many other areas of our beautiful country.  Lot looked only at what he thought would provide him and his family with material abundance and did not consider how living in that land would affect his family spiritually.  Abram walked by faith, while Lot walked by sight.  Lot’s choice revealed his heart was already astray and then he willfully allowed his family to be led astray in a land that refused to honor God.  Now that California is full of many who are celebrating men having sexual relations with men, and women having sexual relations with women, maybe they should change the state’s name to Sodofornia.

In the years ahead, I believe that there will be an exodus of God-honoring families who do not want to raise their families in the lands of Sodom of our day.  The states that choose to honor God’s definition of a family will benefit, while those lands of Sodom will become more wicked as places where one’s family will be more easily led astray into behavior that dishonors God.  Through his faith in God, Abram had enough sense to stay away from the land of Sodom and he was blessed.  The leaders of the families of today have some decisions to make and, hopefully, there will be increasing numbers of people who decide that they will walk by faith and not by sight.

Double Standards for Lying

A 2010 national survey study by Michigan State University asked one thousand American adults to report the number of lies told in a time period of twenty-four hours. According to the survey, “sixty percent of subjects report telling no lies at all, and almost half of all lies are told by only 5% of subjects; thus, prevalence varies widely and most reported lies are told by a few prolific liars.”  Most people tell the fewest of the total lies being told at any given time, while a few people tell most of the lies.  The study also revealed that most of us are not very good about discerning lies from the truth and are better at being able to know something is the truth versus being able to know something is a lie.

There are few people who think positive thoughts when they know they have been told something that is not true.  We all take in a lot of information and if we have a default belief that we are told the truth, life is much more peaceful, but if we have become so jaded that our default belief is that we are told continual lies, we live in a constant state of feeling threatened.  Most people want to believe that the information they receive is the truth.  Given that the great majority of people are generally honest, there occurs a severe break in trust when one is shown to be lying by incontrovertible proof.  In a world of information overload from so many points of view or biases, it is difficult to know fact from fiction.  Due to the confusion, most people will give anyone the benefit of the doubt and their default decision will be to believe the information is truth until it is proven to be false.  Our judicial system is even set up that way.

Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001 makes it a crime to: 1) knowingly and willfully; 2) make any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation; 3) in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the United States.  Most people remember that this law was what allowed for Martha Stewart to be convicted for intentionally misleading FBI and SEC officials who were questioning her about insider trading.  Even if there are no warnings given, no resultant misleading occurred, no financial cheating occurred, and even if what was spoken as a lie was not under oath, it is a crime to lie to the federal government.  Our government has provided great breadth for prevention and treatment of those who lie to them and the general public is not given any leeway when enforcement is desired.  Since the federal government can hold the general public to this standard, the general public should hold the federal government to this same standard. 

Anyone who is in leadership who has a problem with being truthful in all circumstances should not be in leadership.  If the federal government can prosecute any citizen using this law, then the same law should apply to those within the federal government as well.  However, has our culture degraded to the point that we have defaulted to a setting of thinking immediately that our politicians are generally dishonest, so we do not really hold them any longer to the same standard that we are held?  Is it not time to examine ourselves to learn if we have fallen victim to setting double standards of truthfulness among those with whom we personally interact versus those who seem to be more distant from us?  Should not there be the same standard for all?  Do not our children deserve to see leaders with integrity whom they can trust?  Whether we like it or not, our children do emulate who their leaders are.  What kind of example are we setting if we decide it is okay for our leaders to lie to us, but accept laws that they can use against us to hold us to a standard that they refuse to abide by themselves?  Americans need to do some soul searching in the months ahead.  What we tolerate now will become worse in the future.

How Will You Handle The Coming Suffering?

Every person has at some time questioned why we have suffering and disease.  We all struggle at some point with trying to understand in the inevitable attempt at making sense of what happens to ourselves and others.  It’s an old question that not just physicians ponder when faced with illness, accidents, and death.  One way of trying to gain some meaning in midst of suffering is to consider what our lives be like if we had no suffering at all.  We all long for that.  We all want that.  We work for it. We go to doctors. Insurance policies are in place to try to lessen the damages we face.  Most of us, religious or not, have a concept of what we think of as heaven as a place that is perfect.  As Christians, we think of Revelation 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”  In our desire, our longing, for relief from the pain of life, we impatiently want our lives to be like that now.  However, time isn’t spent sometimes in considering what things would be like if we were able to achieve that wish in the present.

What would our lives be like with no suffering?  Since that hasn’t happened to anyone I know, a close comparison would be life experienced by someone for whom all consequences of their actions are allowed to be desirable.  If a child is never allowed to experience any of the results of their decisions and always allowed to do or say whatever they want for fear of them having hurt feelings, there will surely be one spoiled brat.  Therefore, the reasonable among us know that we have to allow for suffering to occur because it is more than just pain; it is molding and shaping us.  How the pain is perceived, in regard to the understanding of the good or evil intentions of the source of it, greatly influences the results of experiencing suffering.  Suffering is guaranteed to occur and it can make us either better, or bitter; the choice is up to us in how we choose to perceive it.

In Romans 5:1-11, we find that Paul wrote that we are to “glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  If we are never allowed to suffer, then we cannot learn to persevere through hardship.  The very nature of persevering produces in us a good character that leads to us having hope.  Look at the lives of those who seem to have everything and want for nothing; many times they do not have the one thing that all of us want – peace.  Those who do not have to suffer lack a hope during this life and also for the afterlife. Too often, we read the tragic stories of early demise of those who seemed to have it all together.  It should make us question what kind of people are going to be the result of a society that thinks it is supposed to remove hardship from everyone’s lives.  The great entitlement society is a clue to this.

I am blessed every time I see certain patients who have such illness, hardship, and suffering in their lives, but possess a peace about them which I do not see in those for whom life has been so easy. They tell me about their struggles and problems while I cannot help but wonder how I would handle the same if it were present in my own life.  It would be prideful to conclude how well I would do.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I have such admiration for those patients who also hold on to a hope that is outside of them, but also within them. I have noticed that those people who have the best character also have suffered a lot.  So, instead of us looking at the suffering that comes our way with a desire to push it so far away, should we not also understand that it might be a blessing in disguise to produce something in us far greater in value than anything money can buy?

The Broken SNAP

Much debate is occurring regarding governmental spending in the United States for a wide array of programs.  There are many solutions being proffered for reducing the overspending and everything must be examined in the process.  Every program in place has objectives that can be measured to see if the specific program is meeting those objectives while also assessing for other effects of the program that may not have been initially anticipated.  Each of us certainly does that in our own households. We look at what we are spending on a particular area and decide if the purpose of it is being fulfilled while also deciding how that expense is affecting otherwise the household.  Then we make changes depending upon what we find when we assess it.  It is certainly beyond the scope of this article to examine the entire topic, so we will have to focus a little more on one major area of expense.  A major expense in most households is that of buying food.

One can spend a lot of money buying food or it can be less of an expense depending upon what is bought. I remember when I was in college and later, during medical school, I had to make the money I had last for quite a while.  Therefore, I had to budget out what I knew I would have for food expenses and I would stay under a certain monthly amount which wasn’t much.  If I bought a more expensive food item, I couldn’t afford to get other needed items.  I never went hungry, but I couldn’t buy everything I wanted by any means either.  There was not much meat bought except canned tuna and getting anything that had a brand name on it was a luxury. When it’s your own money, you examine things more carefully and buy what is truly needed.  This is a lesson that our federal government does not seem to know; leaders in all parties know how to spend more to appease whom they want to vote for them.  There isn’t much thought regarding what is actually being accomplished or effectively examining the other effects of their spending of other people’s money.  Just as much as I would be careful and analyze what I am spending along with assessing the nutritional value of what is in my own food budget, the government should be doing the same thing. However, they aren’t doing this in the manner that they should. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP; used to be called food stamps) is out of control.  The SNAP has broken.

The SNAP program, as reported by the USDA, has expanded from serving 26 million people in 2007 to the current level of almost 45 million people with expenses increasing, respectively, from $3.6 billion per month to $6.2 billion per month. Obesity rates are continuing to climb while the public is asked to believe that the amount spent on SNAP is justified.  In the last week of time, I have heard two different personal testimonies of witnessing SNAP payments being approved for a cake maker who got over $800 for a wedding cake for one recipient while another person buys large quantities of meat with SNAP money and then that meat is sold for cash from an ice chest on the street.  The state of Mississippi recently reported that there were possibly $2.7 million in fraudulent benefits paid with 1,705 people disqualified during the last budget year due to these discovered improper payments.  In 2000, about 10% of the Mississippi population was on the program while now it is 23% of the population.  The statistics regarding fraudulent payments in Mississippi also reflect the same problem on a national scale.

While there is plenty of evidence of trafficking of EBT cards along with other fraud, there is other waste occurring in this program that is supposed to be helping the poor who are truly deprived of the ability to buy food.  I can remember when it was shameful to even have to get something free from the government during the days of “commodities” that certainly were not what we think of today when that term is used.  People were given staple foods that were truly needed and not allowed to choose such extravagant food items that people who earned the money can hardly afford.  If one needs a lesson on this, just visit your grocery store around the first week of the month and notice how the buggy loads of expensive meats are being purchased.  While there are attempts to educate people with regard to what they should be eating and this makes sense that efforts should be made to help people understand what they should eat, many already know this information and still choose to eat in unhealthy ways.  There should be some changes made in regard to how the money given to people on EBT cards is allowed to be spent so that healthy choices are encouraged in a more direct manner.  An $800 wedding cake on an EBT card – give me a break!  At the rate of inflation for groceries, it won’t be long before greater numbers forget trying to get a break – give me a SNAP card!  It appears that there is no shame in taking from others anymore and, for many, it’s not improving their health, but worsening it.