America needs to learn from Detriot's huge mistakes

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A federal judge recently approved Detroit’s request to file for bankruptcy, one more step in the downfall of a great American city.

This 2012 photo shows an empty field north of Detroit's downtown. Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
This 2012 photo shows an empty field north of Detroit's downtown. Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history.

Once proud and thriving, Detroit’s industry powered America’s industrial age, and its cars were the symbols of America’s strength and prosperity. Detroit has a superb art museum, a proud professional sports legacy, the fame of Motown music, and easy access to Michigan’s varied outdoor recreation.

It was America’s fourth-largest city in the decades of the 1920s through ’40s; it now ranks 18th.

The saga of Detroit’s downfall is tragic. How did this happen, and what is the lesson for the rest of America?

The reasons are not that complicated.

THE AUTO INDUSTRY became complacent, and as Asian and European cars improved their designs and reliability, Detroit’s products became less competitive. Unions overreached, negotiating expensive labor contracts with compliant management. Assembly plants and suppliers moved out of Detroit, largely to right-to-work Southern states and overseas.

Detroit became the sick center of the Midwest’s rust belt.

But it wasn’t just industry and labor that became complacent. The city did not balance revenues and expenses, and Detroit’s deficits grew. Politicians negotiated unaffordable salaries and benefits for city employees. Municipal labor unions repaid politicians by keeping them in office. Middle-class whites and blacks left for the suburbs, eroding the tax base.

The city borrowed to cover operating expenses. Politicians did not look beyond the next election, and the bills were left for succeeding generations to pay.

America is not Detroit. America has a diverse economy not dependent solely on manufacturing; our technology leads the world, and our financial markets are the world’s strongest.

Nonetheless, there are frightening similarities between Detroit’s bankruptcy and America’s fiscal policies.

With eyes only on winning the next election, national politicians are playing a shell game, borrowing to cover operating expenses. They have allowed the federal debt to grow to incomprehensible levels.

But where Detroit’s problems resulted largely from Democratic and labor union politics, America’s fiscal peril results from the failures of both political parties. Democrats’ intransigence on reducing spending and Republicans’ refusal to consider revenue increases have combined to create our enormous $17 trillion debt.

NONPARTISAN STUDIES of America’s debt have unanimously concluded that the solution requires a combination of revenue increases and spending cuts. American citizens cannot expect our deficits to be fixed if we routinely re-elect the politicians who deny this truth.

Here is a novel concept: Why don’t we vote against politicians who do deny reality?

What would happen if Democrats and independents refused to vote for a Democrat who will not cut entitlements and reduce discretionary spending? What if Republicans and independents would not vote for any Republican who will not increase revenue?

This would cause a tectonic shift in Washington.

A new Congress of Democrats and Republicans would actually compromise, cut spending and increase revenue. Budgets that are both mathematically sound and politically achievable would emerge. Congress would go from being the least-productive in history to one of the most courageous.

But it would require that voters recognize that we are complicit in America’s great Ponzi scheme. We would have to acknowledge that the simplistic fiscal approaches from both political parties are wrong. We would have to stop demanding that future generations finance today’s government.

In a detailed examination of their city’s financial collapse, the Detroit Free Press summarized that “elected officials and others charged with managing Detroit’s finances repeatedly failed – or refused – to make the tough economic and political decisions that might have saved the city from financial ruin.”

This is exactly what is happening in Washington.

Citizens must demand that America learn from, and not repeat, Detroit’s appalling mistakes.

(The writer is a retired U.S. Navy officer. He lives and writes in Savannah.)

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Gary Ross
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Gary Ross 12/15/13 - 08:17 am
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Great letter!

The first thing that needs to be fixed is voter fraud, and that should be looked at NOW! Second is a level of moral values and accountability (stop lying to us!). Those two things form the basis of greedy self-serving politicians staying in office. I can feel America waking up to these problems, and next year's elections will illustrate that the silent majority of "We The People" have had enough.

carcraft
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carcraft 12/15/13 - 08:42 am
8
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Gary I could not agree more.

Gary I could not agree more. The taint of corruption is perfumed away by the media if it is a liberal and the hint of corruption is magnified if it is a conservative!

myfather15
53400
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myfather15 12/15/13 - 09:38 am
9
1
Yet, the politicians in

Yet, the politicians in Detroit continue doing the same things and remain on the same track!! What's the definition of insanity?

So, the politicians are insane, because they continue doing the same thing, over and over and expect different results. The voter's (If elections are honest, which I highly doubt) are electing the same politicians, over and over and expecting better results, so by definition, voter's are insane as well.

So, we have a Nation of insane politicians and insane voters; does that sound like a recipe for success?

With the decisions polticians make today, you could honestly believe that CHILDREN had made them. That's about how much sense they make.

Please, Please, Please read Isaiah Chapter 1 and probably continue on through the first 4 chapters. These chapters describe EXACTLY what is going on in this Country!!

God tells us that our leaders are SICK, from the sole of the foot to the head. Meaning from the lowest persons (maybe County commissioners or city counselmen) to the Head, (Federal representatives). He says they are like "babes" and He will allow our Princes (leaders) to be children and babes.

Isaiah 3:4 "And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them."

Honest to goodness, does this not make sense? Children could make better decisions than our politicians today!!

RMSHEFF
15392
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RMSHEFF 12/15/13 - 09:23 am
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The people of Detroit

The people of Detroit continued to vote themselves gifts from a empty treasury. Promises were made to the citizens which could not be kept and the politicians were re-elected based on these promises. The big difference is Detroit could not print money like the Federal government. America is Detroit with a printing press. Great will be the fall of it !

myfather15
53400
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myfather15 12/15/13 - 09:25 am
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I tell you now, the dreams of

I tell you now, the dreams of Mr. Conant will never be realized!! The Country is too far divided, with the left wing media completely covering for their party!! The right wing is divided amoung themselves and can't even get together on a single issue or vote! Corruption is rampant in Washington and at the voting booth!!

I'm not advocating for or against War, but I will say that deep insidee me, I believe there is only two things which can fix this Country. One, and the best option is Jesus Christ!! The second is WAR!!

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."-Thomas Jefferson

I want to make it clear that I believe the Savior is going to SAVE!! In Mark 13, the disciples are asking Christ what will be the signs of His return. He answers and tells them;

7:"And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.

8: For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows."

Now, many people will tell you there has ALWAYS been "nation against nation" and "kingdom against kingdom". There have always been earthquakes, famines and troubles. Guess what? They are absolutely CORRECT!!

But there is ONE major difference in THEN and NOW!! TELEVISION!! Probably the most important WORD in that scripture is the word "hear".

100 or 1000 years ago, nations WERE against nations, kingdom against kingdoms! Earthquakes, famines and MANY troubles. But the common factor is, you wouldn't hear about it for months, or years, if EVER!!! People just didn't know what was going on around the globe!!

Today, if Israel launches missles at Iran, we would HEAR about it, before the first missle struck the ground!!! Today, we are constantly HEARING about the division in the Country and around the WORLD!! We are constantly HEARING about sexual predators raping, molesting and killing women and children!! We are constantly HEARING of shootings and MASS shootings. Sound like "troubles"?

How is it that we HEAR about all these things? Through technology!! Technology has advanced so much that if ANYONE doesn't HEAR about these things, it's because they don't WANT TO!! We are supposed to be "Watchmen" by Christ's order!! How is it and WHAT are we supposed to watch? Well, television and internet is a good thing to WATCH AND LEARN. That doesn't mean to watch Wife Swap, Jersey Shore, Kardashians or Real housewives!!

Technology can be used to be USEFUL to God, or be worthless!! It's YOUR choice how you use technology!!

In that same chapter in Mark, Christ tells them to learn the parable of the Fig Tree. He didn't say maybe, or if you get the time. He said NOW LEARN!!

28: "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:"

Summer is harvest time, that this is when Christ shall return to havest the wheat (His people) and the tares shall be burned in the fire (Matt 13).

He also said "This generation shall not pass away, until all these things be done."

To make this very long post a little shorter, the parable of the Fig Tree was about Israel becoming a Country again, for the first time since Biblical days!! That happened in the year of our Lord, 1948. It happened as He said it would happen in Jeremiah 24.

The generation of people of 1948 shall NOT pass away, until all this be done!! We ARE living in the end times. Freedom has fled and fled from oppression and NOW, there is no new land to flee too. We KNOW this because of TECHNOLOGY!! We have a Savior and we need Him now, MORE than ever!!!

If you're interested, and want to quickly look up any of those scriptures, here is a good link.

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/

Sorry for the long post, but I felt I needed to post it.

ymnbde
9535
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ymnbde 12/15/13 - 10:18 am
6
2
compromise? can't be done

between these opposing views
Detroit had opposing views. Guess which one won?
the side that wants to make government actually work
has reasonable boundaries that define the power that should
be given to government, a mathematical limit, a reality shown over and over again by history
and that ideal government would reach a mathematical convergence
with an optimal rate of taxation that results in the most revenue
with the least harm to the economy... the graph of tax rate to revenue ratio isn't a smooth curve constantly rising, it reaches an apex, then curves downward
and the side that wants total government power
is unlimited in the amount of debt they can create
no upper boundary is realized, no reality is acknowledged
until the economy is ruined
plus, it's journalistic malpractice to not even mention
the racial components of the failure of Detroit
and the racial components are exacerbated by bad schools
and the author did not mention Detroit's public schools
a well functioning education system, away from government control, would fix everything, even Detroit

deestafford
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deestafford 12/15/13 - 10:43 am
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This is one of his better columns.

This is one of his better columns.

Detroit is a basket case because when the left gets control over a city it implements its far left agenda and some have the attitude of "It's now our time to get ours." Tell me a city that is run by a liberal black that is not in trouble and those in trouble not run by a black liberal is run by a white liberal.

New York City is in for a rude, and well deserved by the way, awakening for electing a far left communist sympathizer as mayor and did so by a wide margin. Whatever befalls them they deserve.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/15/13 - 10:50 am
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Do NOT Raise Taxes

About increasing revenue, that means increasing taxes and I’m not for it. Obama was asked directly if he could be shown that decreasing taxes would actually result in more revenue coming to the government, would he agree to lower taxes? He replied he wouldn’t because it was not fair for some to keep so much. That’s the Detroit Ford Edsel problem here. It’s a democratic-union goal to make income redistribution a reality in spite of the facts and results.

myfather15
53400
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myfather15 12/15/13 - 10:53 am
7
2
The Bible is actually a lesson of History and Prophecy;

As many people know, history ALWAYS repeats itself!!

Many people ask, "Why is there not more books of the Bible? Why didn't they continue on through our times?"

The answer is, because all that NEEDED to be written, was written. Then God said to seal up the book, until the right time. Why is it that all that was needed was written? Because After the greatest prophecy came true (Christ walking the earth) and the disciples teaching of Him, nothing more need be said. Now, it's simply History, repeating itself, over and over. After Christ, nothing really new was going to happen, just History repeating itself. If you want to learn for the future, look to the past!! Learn from the past!! If you do, you won't NEED any new books!!

The history is that God's people have fled, over and over again to new lands. God told them He will deliver them into new lands and He did so, over and over. Then history kept repeating itself. God's people would ALLOW strangers and unbelievers to devour and take over their land. Instead of standing strong and stopping this, they would flee to new lands!! God's said if YOU won't stand up against this, I will allow it!! He would therefore lead them into new lands and history would repeat itself once again. He chastised them, telling them to turn their hearts back towards him!! Some would, but most wouldn't, history repeating itself AGAIN!! Through immigration over the centuries, God's people of Israel have landed right here in America. He guided them here!! Many places in the Bible, where He is talking to JerUSAlem, He is speaking to the people of the USA!!!

I believe a great man once said "Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."

This Country has failed to learn from History!! So we are DOOMED to repeat all the mistakes our forefathers, long before the "founding fathers" made.

The only difference is, that our forefathers always found new land to flee to and start over. Like Ronald Reagon said, and I repeated above "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth."

We KNOW this is a FACT. With technology, we know the location of every island in the world!! There is NO new land, period!! So basically, it boils down to this. We will make our final stand HERE, or we will need our Savior!!

carcraft
25088
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carcraft 12/15/13 - 11:32 am
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My father we need our Savior

My father we need our Savior to make our stand. We fight not against physical forces but spiritual forces of darkness that deceive even the elect if possible. Ministers stand in pulpits and proclaim communism instead of Christ. Bishops celebrate and ask God to bless that which has been called an abomination. Envy and coveting are political tools and not sin. People are blind to their own waste and slothfulness and think they can pass the burden of their responsibility on to others because they have a "right " to reach into other peoples pockets to pay for their "right " to health care, food, housing, and a "living "wage, as well as having the government raise the span of their sin!

soapy_725
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soapy_725 12/15/13 - 11:52 am
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soapy_725
43672
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soapy_725 12/15/13 - 11:55 am
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Welfare centers like Detroit cannibalize themselves. They are
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Democratic, Socialist and Culturally Demographic wastelands.

soapy_725
43672
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soapy_725 12/15/13 - 11:56 am
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Socialism seeks only two classes. Slaves and dictators. The
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working middle class has not place. Kill it.

dahreese
4703
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dahreese 12/15/13 - 12:52 pm
2
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Mr. Conant mentions
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Mr. Conant mentions "politicians negotiated unaffordable salaries and benefits for city employees."

Yet we have conservatives on these discussions, especially some who are small, independent business owners pointing their fingers at retired government employees (at whatever level) sucking at the government teat.

And they might wonder just how much Mr. Conant is willing to cut his own retirement benefit.

"America’s fiscal peril results from the failure of both political parties. Democrats’ intransigence on reducing spending and Republicans’ refusal to consider revenue increases have combined to create our enormous $17 trillion debt."

Of course, this is fact.

In 1944, Charles E, Wilson proposed that we have a "Permanent war economy" in the postwar world. (Seems he got his wish).

We have a military that spends ten times the amount of money of all other nations combined on war.

AND ONE WAY OR ANOTHER WE ALWAYS MANAGE TO BE IN A WAR, SOMEWHERE !!!

And, it's always the other guy's fault....

Some folks are 'weakly' calling for 'term limits' in Washington.

That is not the answer.

What we really need is limited political contributions from donors.

If a politician is offered ten dollars by one contributor and three other contributors don't have ten dollars between them, guess who the politician is going to listen to if he wants to get or remain elected?
-------------------------------------------------------------
Now that I have said my piece, let's hear it from the usual whiney crowd about cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Public Assistance programs, etc., etc., etc. - who would be danged glad to get it if they needed it.

harley_52
22834
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harley_52 12/15/13 - 02:23 pm
6
1
Detroit Is The Tip Of The Iceberg....

I agree with most of Mr. Conant's assessment, for once.

I would only point out that Detroit is like the canary in the mine shaft. It has been obvious for years that Detroit was going Tango Uniform, but most people ignored it. We continue to ignore the impending crises throughout the Country and they will soon hit us in a flood of failures and (probably) bail outs from the federal government.

What many people don't seem to realize (or admit) is that these failures are neither coincidental, nor accidental. They are part of a scripted, planned, and orchestrated strategy. They are designed and implemented for a purpose. Actions to "solve" the problems are intentionally NOT taken because the ultimate results of the behavior while revolting to some, are desired outcomes to others.

The simple fact of the matter is this.....there are people who want to see our Constitutional government and our Capitalistic Economic system FAIL. They are intentionally promoting programs (of lack of same) that will expedite those failures and, ultimately, bring us down.

teaparty
11313
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teaparty 12/15/13 - 03:23 pm
5
1
"What we really need is
Unpublished

"What we really need is limited political contributions from donors."
dahreese, while you liberals would like to believe we are, we conservatives are not stupid. We know why liberals want to limit political contributions. The reason is simple the left has many organizations, many funded by George Soros, that would continue to spend millions on campaign ads. Most on the left believe the end justifies the means and will DO ANYTHING TO achieve their goal. That is the reason the left is against voter photo ID because it would prevent much of the voter fraud by the left.

carcraft
25088
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carcraft 12/15/13 - 03:49 pm
7
1
Teaparty, you are correct the

Teaparty, you are correct the President lied repeatly from his dead mother's health insurance to people being able to keep their doctors and insurance. Obama doesn't seem even to care. Then Obama tried to lie about his lying. No shame Obama won and who cares about it?

myfather15
53400
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myfather15 12/15/13 - 04:07 pm
7
1
Carcraft

Unfortunately, I'm convinced that you are correct with your 10:32am post!! The Strong men and women LEADERS, with honor and integrity are long gone!! Yes, there are people like that today, but they aren't in leadership positions. We have no "soundness" within us. We now have the 3rd, 4th and 5th generation "leaders". Most of them fed with a golden spoon their whole lives.

The pastors and teachers of God's word have NO SPINE anymore, to teach the TRUTH, no matter how harsh it may seem. They teach a watered down VERSION of God's Word, mostly teaching MILK and not the meat!! Milk is for babes, but strong meat is for the mature!!

I could go on, but I've already posted enough, so I'll end by saying again that you are right. We NEED our Savior!! I DO NOT believe we can win without Him. He will NOT let us down!! We must be STRONG and patient!! Pray for strength and patience to endure the things we must see and HEAR!!

InChristLove
22454
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InChristLove 12/15/13 - 05:05 pm
4
1
Myfather15, I've heard you

Myfather15, I've heard you say this many times " I DO NOT believe we can win without Him." and I keep coming up with the same thought.....He has already WON. I don't know what battle you are referring to that we have to win but this battle is not ours and it has already been won. All we are suppose to do is keep our eyes fixed on the Father, spread the gospel, and keep ourselves prepared until His return. We do not belong to this world, it is not our home. We may have to live in this world and there are a lot of stuff that is against His teachings but our focus shouldn't be on changing the world, that is His job. We are to live according to His will, spread the Word, and pray until His return. Am I misunderstanding you? It just seems like you are always on the war path worried about being strong when we aren't the ones fighting this battle.

deestafford
25583
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deestafford 12/15/13 - 05:54 pm
3
1
Detroit is a perfect example of....

Detroit is a perfect example of the Cloward-Pivin stategy at work. Have a welfare system collapse under its own weight and the anarchy will come about and everyone will be equal.

myfather15
53400
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myfather15 12/15/13 - 06:41 pm
5
2
ICL

"We may have to live in this world and there are a lot of stuff that is against His teachings but our focus shouldn't be on changing the world, that is His job."

"It just seems like you are always on the war path worried about being strong when we aren't the ones fighting this battle."

So God doesn't expect us to take any action? He doesn't expect us to be strong men and women of faith? He doesn't expect us to stand up for ourselves during this dispensation of time?

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Many Christians believe they don't NEED to do anything in this world. THAT is why the liberals are running over top of us!! Because MANY Christians, do NOTHING but sit around waiting!!

YOU and noone else looks forward to the return of Christ more than I do!! But between now and then, there is WORK to be done. Much of the work is witnessing and teaching, yes. But that work does NOT including sitting around being a doormat for liberals to wipe their feet on. We ARE suppose to stand up for Him!! Don't tell me He doesn't need us to, I know that. But there is a difference in NEEDING us to and expecting us too.

When I say "I do not believe we can win without Him" I am only pointing out that the PEOPLE of this Country have lost their spine!! In the days of the founding of this Country, if people acted like they do today, we would ALREADY be at War!!! But people don't have the spine to STAND that strong anymore. People just keep going, either oblivious to what's going on around them or just not caring!!

Don't get me wrong, I've read the end of the Book as you have. I know as well as you that we DO have the victory in the end!! I KNOW who is going to win and it is HIM!! The only difference is, I believe if we stood STRONG now, we wouldn't have to put up with the non-sense we do!! THAT, is on us and us alone!! I believe the lessons of the Old testament, teach us this. History repeating itself. God's people allowing strangers and unbelievers to devour our land. He was not happy about it then, and He isn't happy about it now. I DO believe He wants us to stand strong during this time. I don't believe He wants us to allow them to take the Ten Commandments out of all public buildings. I don't believe He wants us to allow them to ban prayer in school. I don't believe He wants us to ALLOW the murder of unborn babies.

Don't worry, I have no thoughts of them having the ultimate victory. I just get tired of being their doormats during THIS time and I do NOT believe it MUST be like that. We COULD stand strong!! Yes, His Word tells us it will be like this and that is what strengthens me. But it is prophecy, because He knew it would turn this way. So, does it have to be this way? Or is it this way because God knew WE would allow it?

Now, this is my last comment of the day. Got many things to do this evening. But I'll check back tommorow.

InChristLove
22454
Points
InChristLove 12/16/13 - 06:28 am
4
0
Well Myfather15, First let me

Well Myfather15, First let me say, no I don’t think God expects us to sit idly by and do nothing. I don’t believe we are to be a door mat either. I believe we are to be a witness, a personal testimony, pray and lead souls to the cross. People in this country have not lost their spine and there are still good teachers and ministers who are teaching the Word of God. Not everyone who calls Him Lord is his child and therefore we have a number of individuals who are professing to be Christians but are still lead by the prince of this world. People go about oblivious of things around them because this is their world, not ours. They do not see because their eyes are still blind.

Yes we have a right to want the Ten Commandments in public buildings and prayer in school and ending abortion. I have no issue with taking a stand for these, but while we are fighting with liberals (some who may actually be Christians themselves) souls are dying and going to hell because we are concentrating on winning a battle instead of winning souls.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, “

Sounds to me the weapon we need most is prayer and letting God work through His people in His time, in His way to change the things of this world that do not follow His teachings. We are so busy taking a stand to fight the battle when we actually need to be on our knees.
But this is just my opinion and you are entitled to yours. Just trying to understand your thoughts. Thank you.

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 12/16/13 - 10:15 am
1
0
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