Posts Tagged ‘mentors’

Identity matters.  Knowing whose we are and how to live accordingly makes a difference not just for us, but for those around us.

This in mind, I’m concerned that Barack Obama may be struggling with his identity.

Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum.  He is a specialist on Islam.  In recent commentaries, he writes that President Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, has stated: “My whole family was Muslim.”  Pipes continues with a quote from Barack’s half-brother George Hussein Onyango Obama to an interviewer in March 2009.  George said, “He may be behaving differently due to the position he is in, but on the inside, Barack Obama is Muslim.”

Pipes also quotes from the American Muslim writer Asma Gull Hasan.  In My Muslim President Obama, Ms. Hasan writes, “. . . In a very unscientific oral poll, ranging from family  members to  Muslim acquaintances, many of us feel . . . that we have our first American Muslim president in Barack Hussein Obama . . . ”

“If Muslims get these vibes,” writes Pipes, “not surprisingly, so does the American public.  Pipes notes “an even split between those who say Mr. Obama is a Christian and those who do not.”

Openness and honesty is important for any candidate running for office.  But, writes Pipes, “Mr. Obama remains the mystery candidate with an autobiography full of gaps and even fabrications.” Pipes cites several examples.  “Mr. Obama claimed that he ‘was born in Kenya.’  He lied about never having been a member and candidate of the 1990s Chicago socialist New Party.  When Stanley Kurtz produced evidence to establish that he was a member, Mr. Obama’s flacks smeared and dismissed Mr. Kurtz.”  Pipes references many inaccuracies and falsehoods in Obama’s 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father.  But, what about Obama’s faith?

Here’s the account according to Pipes.  In March 2004, Obama was asked, “Have you always been a Christian?”  Obama replied, “I was raised more by my mother and my mother was a Christian.”  In December 2007, Obama gave a different answer.  “My mother was a Christian from Kansas. . . . I was raised by my mother.  So, I’ve always been a Christian.”  In February 2009, he offered, notes Pipes, a completely different answer: “I was not raised in a particularly religious household.  I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion.  I didn’t become a Christian until . . . I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college.”

When someone asks me, “Have you always been a Christian?,” my answer is consistently the same.  “Yes, I became a child of God through Christ at my Baptism.”

But, for some reason, our current President has difficulty sticking to the same story.  Pipes is curious.  “Mr. Obama appears to be hiding something.  Was he the religious child of irreligious parents?  Or was he always a Christian?  A Muslim?  Or was he, in fact, something of his own creation — a Christian Muslim?”

A person who sees himself capable of being my President should have nothing to hide.  Answers to questions — “From where do you come?  What do you believe?  Who are your mentors?  In what direction do you want to move this country? — should be consistent.  If he subscribes to a particular faith — be it Christianity or Islam or Mormonism or theism or atheism — he should claim it with confidence and be able to give reason why.

Obama, writes Pipes, says that he affirmed his “Christian faith” by answering an altar call at Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago.  But, explains Pipes, when his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was asked by author Edward Klein in his book The Amateur (p. 40), “Did you convert Obama from Islam to Christianity?” Mr. Wright replied, “That’s hard to tell.”  Hard to tell?

Sure and certain identity matters.  It matters because knowing who we are affects what we do.

Quotes from Daniel Pipes: “Muslims believe Obama is one of them”
and “Despite his denials, the evidence is compelling,”
The Washington Times, Monday, Sept 17, 2012

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There’s a soft spot in my heart for boys.  Not surprising considering that I’m mom to two sons and grandma to four grandsons.  This means I’ve been very attentive to the way America treats boys and men.  I do not exaggerate.  The culture is beating up on our boys.

Dr. James Dobson recognized it years ago.  It’s why he wrote Bringing Up Boys before he wrote his book on girls.  It’s why Christina Hoff Sommers wrote The War Against Boys.  But, the war on boys puts girls at greater risk, too.

“If just one sex wins, both sexes lose.”  These words were spoken at a recent event sponsored by the Boys Initiative in Washington.  The group believes that we need to start a national conversation aimed at improving the outcomes for American boys and men in school, work, health, and marriage.

“. . . [W]e have a national crisis, a national security issue, a state-of-emergency issue and a nation at risk,” stated Willie Iles, national director of government relations for Boy Scouts of America and board member of the Boys Initiative.  “If anybody cannot understand that, as we talk about investments and the return on those investments, which are our boys, then it is very clear we are going in the wrong direction.”

Cheryl Wetzstein, a columnist for The Washington Times, notes startling statistics.  “Compared to girls, boys are less educated and more medicated.  One in five men of prime working age is not working.  Men have a life expectancy five years shorter than women.  Male suicide rates start out equal to females, but steadily rise over the lifespan.

America is failing its sons.  Is this not shameful?

There is no time to wallow in despair.  There is work to be done.  It begins with respect and appreciation for boys and girls: equal, but different.  Let’s get over the foolishness that boys and girls are the same.  Each brings to society something good and necessary.  Rather than putting them into competition, let’s help them develop their complementary skills with confidence.    Let’s help them communicate and problem-solve, not in sexuality class, but by teaching skills for life and how to relate.

To my gender, specifically, I say: Let’s boycott women’s study classes at the university, stop laughing at “men are idiots” commercials, and walk away from conversations that put boys and men down.  As mothers of sons, let’s praise the faithfulness of husbands and, when they are unfaithful or uninvolved, point sons to the Perfect Man, Jesus Christ.  Let’s help our sons treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, in all purity.  Let’s explain why we value brave men who protect us from wolves at the door.

Let’s give our boys (and girls) the far-reaching benefits of marriage, home and family.  It is folly for our nation and suicide for our boys to set fire to traditional and real marriage.  A male father and female mother model roles vital to their son’s social survival.    Together, dads and moms help boys channel natural aggressiveness into someday providing for their own families.  For goodness sake, let’s help our boys think and give them work to do.

President Obama has launched a national Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative.  I’ll be honest.  Our boys and men — and, therefore, we girls and women, too — would benefit far more from the mentoring of a caring Christian community.  A community of older men and women who pass on the wisdom of experience, the practice of self-control, and the promise of identity in Jesus Christ.  A community that says, “No thanks” to federal grants or incentives with strings attached.

This momma bear perseveres in defense of America’s sons.  I do this best by assisting those who make the greater difference in the lives of  boys becoming men.  They are the weathered warriors who grip the Sword of Truth.  They are the men who learned their lessons well.  Who fell on humbled knees, then rose to re-engage.  These older men are “sober minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.”   I’ve seen these models of integrity.  I’ve heard their speech and witnessed behaviors that cannot be condemned,  rather put opponents to shame (Titus 2).

For seasoned and honorable men, I am grateful.  Under their tutelage, boys mature in wisdom.  Strength.  Service.

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Early in June, the White House spent two days addressing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) topics.  The first-ever federal LGBT youth summit is one of Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jenning’s last acts before he leaves his position next month.

“How interesting,” notes Candi Cushman (CitizenLink, 6-7-11), “that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) chose this particular moment to release an important study that tells us a lot about what’s really safe for youth — that is, if one looks at the objective facts, rather than view them through a political filter.”

The CDC reports that gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are at a greater risk for unhealthy and unsafe behaviors.  Students who identify themselves this way are significantly more likely than heterosexual students to engage in high-risk behaviors such as drug and alcohol use, actions that lead to violence, suicidal behavior, and sexual experimentation that can expose them to diseases.  [1]

Focus on the Family, CitizenLink, and others have been pointing to such well-documented facts for some time.  [2]

Why does the Obama administration seem to be ignoring those facts and, instead, recommending more homosexual advocacy for children in public schools?  Does this have anything to do with the influence of Kevin Jennings?  (Remember, he’s the one who founded GLSEN, one of the nation’s largest homosexual activist groups.)  The CDC, for example, wants to help establish more gay straight alliance clubs in schools.  Such alliances were founded by GLSEN.   GLSEN encourages students to lobby for gender-diversity materials in schools and events such as a “queer-friendly prom.”  [3]

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius promoted GLSEN as a national model for schools, reports Cushman in CitizenLink.  Sebelius said that “we know” the risky behaviors warned about in the study actually “are a result of the discrimination.”  A CDC review of its own study cited “stigma, discrimination, family disapproval and social rejection.”  Cushman notes a problem.  “It’s a mystery how they [the CDC] reached those conclusions — because the study itself does not address or measure the causes of risky behavior.”

Children should be protected from harm.  Parents are the ones entrusted by God to do that.  Cushman also notes that “fact-based studies should not be allowed to be twisted into furthering a political agenda at the expense of our  nation’s children.”

Parents need to be aware.  They need to work closely with teachers who really want to teach students not one-sided messages from sexual advocacy groups, but math, science, English, and history.  Parents who present factual medical and health information to teachers and administrators need to be heard and respected.

Parents need to be heard because they — not the school and not the government — are ultimately responsible for their sons and daughters.

[1] news release
[2] truetolerance.org
[3] to reduce health risks

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