Seniors in poverty

17 Best Homeless Quotes on Pinterest | Helping others quotes, Homeless housing and Poverty quotes

Stealing and petty offenses are a no-no.  It’s the same, whether it’s here in Canada, the U.S. or in Japan.   In Japan, they are experiencing an increase in older people committing offences. It’s an elderly crime wave by grandpas and grandmas.  It is sad.

Here’s the irony.  These seniors want to go to jail. The reason: they are reaching pensionable age and running out of money. They are choosing to live in jail because it’s free. Free food. Free housing.

A rational senior might easily think: “Well, why not?  Better to live in the comforts of a jail than starve on the streets.” Sounds rational to me too.

One senior said, “I reached pension age and then I ran out of money. So it occurred to me – perhaps I could live for free if I lived in jail,” he says….”So I took a bicycle and rode it to the police station and told the guy there: ‘Look, I took this.’

This is sad. In traditional Asian-Japanese culture, the children will take care of the parents. They are three or even four generation households.  But when there is a break-down in families and in society, people get left behind.

Seniors behind bars in Japan

These seniors committing small petty offences do not intend to do any physical harm.  This BBC article: “Why Some Japanese pensioners want to go to jail” interviewed some seniors:

“Small, slender, and with a tendency to giggle, Toshio looks nothing like a habitual criminal, much less someone who’d threaten women with knives. But after he was released from his first sentence, that’s exactly what he did.

“I went to a park and just threatened them. I wasn’t intending to do any harm. I just showed the knife to them hoping one of them would call the police. One did.”

Altogether, Toshio has spent half of the last eight years in jail.

I ask him if he likes being in prison, and he points out an additional financial upside – his pension continues to be paid even while he’s inside.

“It’s not that I like it but I can stay there for free,” he says. “And when I get out I have saved some money. So it is not that painful.”

Japan is a law-abiding society.  Crime happens rarely in this Confucion-oriented country.  You can leave a phone or a wallet on a subway and likely, no one will steal it. They will return it to someone at the office for lost & found.  The BBC article stated:

“In 1997 this age group accounted for about one in 20 convictions but 20 years later the figure had grown to more than one in five – a rate that far outstrips the growth of the over-65s as a proportion of the population (though they now make up more than a quarter of the total).”

A confucianist culture like Japan would not dream of levying harsh punish upon their elders for this kind of crime.  Confucian stated:

The Duke of Sheh told Confucius: In my land, there are just men.

If a father steals a sheep, the son will testify against him.

Confucius said: The just men in my land are different from this.

The father conceals the wrongs of his son, and the son conceals the wrongs of his father.  This is justice.

https://quakergirl.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/jesus_helping_the_poor_jpg-magnum.jpgIn this Asian shame-based culture, the punishment for such a crime will not be huge.  The bigger shame in this for Japanese people will be the inability to support their own senior citizens.

The birthrate in Japan has declined such that the younger generation will not be able to support the public pension plans of the older generations.

It is already happening in South Korea. China will be in a similar situation in the very near future.  There is a shameful thing going on with Bucchus ladies (granny prostitution) in Asia and South Korea.  It is invisible and can exists in cultures where younger generations are supposed to take care of the older generations (read article here).

North America and Europe will also come to similar predicament. Is there anything else we can do to support our senior’s public pension plans?  Increase taxes? Not without a lot of push-back from our hard working tax-paying citizens.

homeless couple struggling with help signs, poverty sucks for street people in NYC, slow motion ...

If our birthrates do not increase, do we increase our immigration rates in order to sustain a steady base of tax contributors?  Here in Canada, we are already doing this.  Many countries are also doing the same.

Compassion and capitalism must go hand-in-hand in order for society to function well.  This is where the Church and Christians can make a difference.  We need not turn to socialism, as I said in my previous post on socialism.  It must not be an option.  As a society, we must take action to take care of our seniors, our mentally ill, and our vulnerable who need our care.

Sex Abuse in Southern Baptist Churches

No one likes airing one’s own dirty laundry.  There is plenty of dirty laundry to be aired.  A scandal ising erupt in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Sexual abuse is currently being reported by the Houston Chronicle, a 3-part series titled Abuse of Faith (February 2019) (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

It’s no longer just the Roman Catholic Church taking the brunt of the criticisms.  Southern Baptist congregations are also guilty of sexual abuse of children and youth. Some of the names involve prominent SBC leaders, pastors, and involve some lay-leaders, volunteers, and deacons.

There is no stopping at just youth pastors and deacons and volunteer laypersons. This report reveals seminary presidents and SBC leaders, and pastors of large congregations who are guilty.

Houston Chronicle SBC.jpg

This article reveals hideous sins within the SBC churches that will undoubtedly heap shame and guilt upon Southern Baptists. Baptists and evangelicals pride themselves on holiness and piety. We think of ourselves as living out the Christian lifestyle.  Underneath the veneer of Church-ianity, there is still sin that is common to all human beings. I hope all baptists can realize our own hypocrisy and confess our sins.

In May of last year, Patterson was ousted as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth after he said he wanted to meet alone with a female student who said she was raped so he could “break her down,” according to a statement from seminary trustees.

But his handling of sexual abuse dates back decades. Several women have said that Patterson ignored their claims that his ex-protégé, Darrell Gilyard, assaulted them at Texas churches in the 1980s; some of those allegations were detailed in a 1991 Dallas Morning News article.

The Gilyard case bothered Debbie Vasquez. She feared other victims had been ignored or left to handle their trauma alone.

When Vasquez became pregnant, she said, leaders of her church forced her to stand in front of the congregation and ask for forgiveness without saying who had fathered the child.

She said church members were generally supportive but were never told the child was their pastor’s. Church leadership shunned her, asked her to get an abortion and, when she said no, threatened her and her child, she said. She moved abroad soon after.

Pastors can be abused by the congregations. Yes. But church members can also be abused by pastors, deacons, elders and lay-leader/volunteers.  Every person in church leadership need to be held accountable.  Background police checks probably don’t catch every sex offender.  These checks only catch registered sex offenders but those who have never been caught will slip through the cracks undetected.

Harvey Rosenstock, a psychiatrist in Houston worked for decades with victims and perpetrators of clergy sexual abuse. He describes how clergy use their power to abuse children and youth:

“If someone is identified as a man of God, then there are no holds barred,” he said. “Your defense system is completely paralyzed. This man is speaking with the voice of God. … So a person who is not only an authority figure, but God’s servant, is telling you this is between us, this is a special relationship, this has been sanctioned by the Lord. That allows a young victim to have almost zero defenses. Totally vulnerable.”

As clergy, we have influence that causes a power imbalance, especially with the vulnerable.  Young children, youth and young people are susceptible to being taken advantage of by people in authority.  Women can also hold a power imbalance too so we must not take our positions for granted.  I hope our churches becomes more self-aware and corrects this imbalance through a system of checks and balances.

Legalizing abortion after-birth: Infanticide?

Murder of live baby. Murder or abortion?

Professor Gene Veith posted on the Cranach blog about a recent abortion bill in Virginia.

Governor Northam (D-VA) expressed his opinion on whether a baby who is born (already out of the womb) would get to live or die.

“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” [Virginia governor Ralph] Northam said, alluding to the physician and mother discussing whether the born infant should live or die.” (video here).

This is so clearly murder and NOT abortion. Once a life is already outside of the woman’s womb, even a pro-choice advocate would consider that a life independent of the mother.

I echo Veith’s sentiment exactly: “There is no limit to what pro-abortionists would do to an unwanted child. No limit.”

Another blogger, Mary Pezzulo at the Steel Magnificat blog blogged a well thought out post of great examples that distinguish life and death situations in the context of abortion. It’s definitely worth the read.

This issue is going way too far. Liberals have been pushing further and further on abortion. They’ve gone well beyond what most people would feel comfortable with. To even consider this issue is so far away from common sense.

Those who may be pro-choice could shy away from this opinion.

Pro-abortion activists already have their way and they want more. This bill already written will likely not pass a Republican majority in the house.

Having a woman make a decision on what to do with her body is one thing, but once a baby is outside of the womb, that life is the life beyond the mother.

The baby that is living and breathing on its own clearly has a life of its own. Ending that baby’s life would be killing and murder. Period.

Is one life more valuable than the other? Is one life worth less than the other? How would the intentional ending of the life not be considered murder?

There is a case in Ontario, Canada where a nurse was tried and convicted of murder in a senior’s retirement home. She will be going to jail. Note: killing without their consent. The killing of a senior citizen is clearly murder. Seems to be no denial by liberals yet anyway.

What is the difference between a 100-year-old man or woman and a newborn baby? Additional consideration: both have deformities. Thrown in one more consideration. In both cases, the two lives are “Unviable” and would not live longer than 1-3 years.

In my humble opinion, there is no difference. Life is life–no matter one’s age.

This can be a very slippery slope. The factor comes down to timing. Yes, timing.

Consider this. To allow that same baby to live a little longer into infancy or toddlerhood, it becomes a case of murder.

In this case, moral judgment in the killing of a baby (already born / out of the womb) has become blurred in the minds of some liberals. Where is their moral compass?

How far can we let this nonsense go? I am so glad the March for Life 2019 (DC) (blogged here) was so well attended. As a society, we need to take a stand and not be afraid to take a clear stand on these moral issues.

Trump, Pence, Shapiro speak at March for Life

Yesterday was the 45th March for Life in Washington DC.  Amazing to see so many people who love life walking together in peace to declare and support that God-given life from the womb is precious and ought to be protected.  Very encouraging to pro-life Americans (and non-Americans) today.

Estimates of numbers who marched range from many tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. Very possible given the crowd size.  The pro-life movement is gaining ground.

President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence were forthright in their support of life.

Conservative commentator, Ben Shapiro, opened the gathering in speaking first.

“America was founded on the promise of God-given rights, chief among them the rights to life and liberty,” Shapiro said. But while once America’s children were her most prized group,” then something happened. We decided to erase them […] we lied to ourselves, and then we built walls around that lie.” 

“We pretended these were not human lives at all, but disposable balls of meat,” he continued, after detailing multiple scientific truths of fetal development denied by the abortion lobby. “We told ourselves we were virtuous for our lie. We reversed good and evil.”

Shapiro then cited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comment this week that pro-lifers are “not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society.”  “Maybe they’re right. Maybe we today here are not in line with the rest of society,” Shapiro said. “To which I say, good. So were the abolitionists. So were the civil rights marchers. So were the martyrs in Rome and the Jews in Egypt. Righteousness doesn’t have to be popular; it just has to be righteous.”  (Read further at LifeSite here.)

[added: Interesting how young pro-lifers are not necessarily religious. Pro-life just makes common sense. Life is not just based on morality, but is also science-based too. ]

The ethics and morality of a border wall

great wall of china
The Great Wall of China.  Built to keep China safe from marauding invaders from the north.

Before doing a bit research on migration into the U.S.A., I had no idea about the numbers of unlawful entries into the U.S.A every year.  I am astounded by some of what I learned.

If someone were to tell you that annually there is somewhere between 250,000 to 360,000 unlawful migrants who cross the Mexican border into the United States EVERY year, what might most people think?  Would it be considered a national emergency?  There are already 12 million unlawful residents in the United States today so you can do your calculations for estimated annual illegal entry [added: “including an estimated 42%, or 5 million, who overstay their visas. This “42%” people are using is from a old Pew Research report.” ].

This figure would be much higher if it weren’t for almost 400,000 who were apprehended in 2018.  These are facts and I’m not making these up (Click: stats from stats U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE).  In previous years (1995-2000), the numbers used to hover around 1.4 – 1.6 million annually who were apprehended (Click: FactCheck.org).

Over six decades ago, my parents immigrated legally to Canada (a nation that I love and live in today).  My grandfather and great-grandfather (Sam) had lived and worked in Canada (e.g., the building of the nationwide railway) but decided to return to their homeland of China.

spiderman wallAs a child of an immigrant, I appreciate immigration and defend legal immigration.  Without immigrants, our two countries of Canada and the U.S.A., or any other western nation would not be what they are today–enriched by their diversity of culture and ethnicities.

However, I hope you can allow me to speak honestly.  Any country in the world ought to take migration or immigration seriously; otherwise, why even have borders?

Illegal entry into any country in the world can, and ought to have some consequences.  Someone I know very well have daily dealings with migrants who are apprehended by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Let me share with you a story.  I remember many years ago when I was still a university student in Virginia. During the summer months, our family intended to bring an aunt over to cross the U.S.-Canada border.  We would go across to do some cross-border shopping about 2-3 times per year.  Some go as often as twice per month as a family outing.  It was an ordinary thing for people to do on a weekend, and it still is.  I don’t know why but either I had forgotten, or just out of plain ignorance, failed to pick up a day-visa at the border for my aunt because she was a Chinese citizen visiting us in Canada for a month.

The result.  My poor aunt was apprehended and my father’s vehicle was almost impounded by U.S. Customs.  I was also the driver.  I learned my lesson: Be careful and honest and direct with customs agents.  The penalty could be serious and it could have been more serious for me because I might not have been able to return to finish my last semester of studies.

Now back to my question and this is where it gets dicey:  If illegal migration is an ethical issue, then why is building a wall, in order to prevent illegal migration, not an ethical issue?  And I know the left might feel a little bit squeemish thinking about an honest answer but just leave our political leanings aside for a moment.

First, allow me to put this so-called wall in another context.  Let’s think of other countries that have, or have had, a wall or fence:

unlawful border crossing
The U.S.-Mexico border wall experienced an average of 400,000 migrants who were apprehended in 2018.

-East and West Berlin;
-India and Pakistan;
-North Korea and South Korea;
-India and Bangladesh;
-European Union;
-Gaza Strip and Israel;
-Egypt and Gaza Strip;
-Israel and West Bank;
-Hadrian Wall in northern England; and
-ancient China and Mongolia (Great Wall of China).

I’ve never been to the Great Wall of China but I am amazed at the immensity of its height and width. It was a massive labor-intensive undertaking in order to keep out the marauding Mongol tribes, and to keep the Chinese nation safe. I’d say that was an ethical and moral thing.  It prevented war and potential violence, theft, rape, and other forms of violence from Mongolia and Manchuria.

I am not necessarily left or right on the political spectrum on the wall issue.  Let’s  analyze the ethics of having a barrier of some sort at national borders.

I will affirm my belief that a barrier between any two countries could be considered an ethical and moral matter.

Let’s also set aside what I would consider non-sense from the left that those who accuse Trump as being racist because he is proposing building a wall.  Are other nations like Germany, Israel, Korea, India and Pakistan racist because they’ve built walls to protect their people?

If migrants pour into any country without legal documents or fail to apply for a visa, it ought to become an ethical issue.  You might be reading this from South Korea, Germany, the U.S. or India. Walls have been a normalized if your people have felt threatened by illegal border crossings.

I remember years ago when I was able to cross the U.S.-Canadian border with just a driver’s licence or health card. After 9-11, it all changed. Today, I need to show a passport.

If an outsider attempts to intrude into a high-security office building, ought this be considered an ethical issue? Of course it is. If someone breaks in, is killed or robbed, it also becomes a moral issue.  An ethical and moral thing to do would be to increase the building’s security to protect sensitive information, or important people or property.

The bible speaks of an example of Jerusalem’s wall being re-built due to decay through decades and centuries of neglect. Ezra 4:12-13 states:

“The king should know that the people who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are restoring the walls and repairing the foundations.  Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built and its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty will be paid, and eventually the royal revenues will suffer.”

If ancient Jerusalem failed to protect its own people from invaders who would rob, kill, torture and forcibly exile its people, might that be considered an ethical and moral issue?

Does a nation have a duty to protect its own people and provide them physical and even economic security?  You better believe it!  If our nation failed to provide us with national security, we would be up in arms.

Today, the U.S. might be in a similar situation. Drugs, gangs and violence are not the only issues.  Immigration is very much tied to the economy.  How about protecting the economy and jobs of American citizens? Does a nation not have a right to economic self-determination?  Every other country on earth seems to have the right to secure their own and borders.  Why not the U.S.A.?

With many nations around the world watching from the comforts of their own television sets, it’s rather easy to accuse Trump of being racist, but if unlawful entry into your own country was happening and it affected YOUR job and YOUR family’s security, you would do something about it, wouldn’t you?

MeToo Movement and Peter’s advice for men

Today’s MeToo movement feels bigger than just a movement; it’s like an explosion. Women, inspired with hope and increasingly courageous are finally coming out to report their experience of abuse. It’s a time and place in society where a firestorm of justice is being unleashed.  This moral and ethical change is very much needed in Hollywood, in politics, at work, and the sports world.

Over 100 American gymnasts have come forward to testify of sexual abuse.

CEOs, sports coaches, Hollywood stars, and politicians left and right are being accused of sexual impropriety, and are falling.  We saw this in the church, now it’s happening in the secular world.  I live in Canada and the same thing is going on  here. It has the potential to effect change around the world.  For too long, sexual assault around the world have gone unspoken.  This has been happening so fast that many of us haven’t had a chance to stop and reflect why.  There is a reason.  Peter wrote about a similar evil in his days (2 Peter 2:13-14, Holy Bible).

One of over 100 from Hollywood have spoken of being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein.

Just as we can only tolerate dirt up to a certain point before a good bathing is desperately needed, today, we also need genuine repentance, a baptism or washing; now is a time of cleansing. Society is in a moral-ethcial cleansing mode where we must come clean. After generations of Hollywood’s filth and grime, and the dark world of sexual scandals in the workplace, God’s word still says that this is wrong and has to stop. This is still sound advice for us to take today.

The Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 2:11-12,

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

By living ethically and morally, we can all avoid a lot of heartache and turmoil in our lives. Men, let’s just live right today so we can enjoy tomorrow with less regret.  As Peter alluded to that not only is God glorified but others in this world will notice and we will all be blessed by living in a better world.

 

 

The glory of God in creation… or modified creation?

crops_fieldPsalm 19:1 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

Thomas Merton, a Catholic contemplative said:

“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree.  For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him.  It “consents,” so to speak, to His creative love.  It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore imitates God by being a tree.  The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him.  If it tries to be like something else which it was never intended to be, it would be less like God and therefore it would give Him less glory.”  Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (1961), ch.5.

In our new age of science and genetic re-engineering of GMO foods, chimera and cyborg technologies, there is always the possibility that these bio-technologies can go sideways.  If human beings try to re-create something into what it was never intended to be,  I wonder if it would then be glorifying to God?

It used to be that chimeras (part human–part animal) and cyborgs (part human–part machine) were a thing only from science fiction movies, comic books, and fantasy animations, but these are now a reality today.  Many of the products we eat today have been genetically modified. They’re able to implant animal DNA into the foods we eat in order to allow it to grow faster and be less prone to disease.  If you knew what science and technology can do, you may never look at your food the same way again. Science today can manipulate genes in plants, animals and human beings that might shock people to their core.

This week, our family was eating seedless watermelon and grapes; and homemade popcorn, possibly from GMO kernals.  Many people buy foods from the grocery stores, eat it, and never consider how it’s already been genetically modified.  Many might even be dangerous to human health.  Did God ever create edible fruits without seeds?  No, I doubt it was ever God’s intention.  According to the book of Genesis, you would think that God intended for all living things to reproduce itself and multiply.  Is this type of human re-creation (or manipulation) glorifying to God or distorting God’s creation?

•    Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
•    Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
•    More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
•    Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
•    By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
•    Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
•    Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
•    Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
•    The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
•    Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc. (Source: website here; see here)

We like to play God, and as a result, we do things that God likely never intended.  Some things may bring better health and advancement to society, but some things can just be plain frightening.  No wonder why cancer and autism rates have skyrocketed and infertility has increased.  What’s been killing the bee and butterfly populations around the world?  The end of the birds and the bees may spell an end to the human race as we know it.  We might never fully know the harms done to us as human beings until 50 years down the road when it’s all too late…and it’s irreversibly damaged our health and human genetics.

If we move into an age of Iron Man and Planet of the Apes, we will need strong morals and ethics to keep us from re-creating some really weird things before they’re introduced into our world.