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Clearing the air over mask wearing
I believe it is necessary to clear the air regarding mask wearing in the church assembly. I do not intend to break fellowship with any of you over this state mandate, I love you unconditionally. I do not want the Governor of Virginia or the President of the United States to have anything to do with my friendships and fellowship with any person; and they shouldn’t.
But this virus has many good people afraid, especially those with personal experience in health care, and those who have experienced COVID-19. The elderly in our church as well as any local church setting will suffer the most should they experience this virus. As pastors, we have a heightened sense of responsibility to the Lord, as His under-shepherds, to look out for the most vulnerable in the flock charged to our care.
I respect every one’s beliefs regarding their take on the whole government approach to this pandemic and I will be the first to admit I have a skeptical confidence in the methods and the motives of many of our national and state leaders at times, but we all know it is God who ordained human government for our welfare, though leaders do overstep in their duties at times and for that we are to be alert. This is why I stress so often as a pastor the need for believers in Christ to get in and stay in the word of God. We need His help and we need to be focused on His plans above any plans of mankind, or our own. I am aware that some in history have used their power to divide their people by isolating them from one another. That would make us a weaker nation rather than a stronger nation, to which we must resist, but where we can come together I believe it is important to do so, wisely.
However, we should not think it is a lack of faith in God to use precaution to prevent the spread of an unusual and deadly virus. Ben Carson, M.D., HUD Secretary, said his bout with COVID-19 was almost more than he could take, but he pulled through, though he said he is still very weak. This virus affects the elderly and sickly more adversely than any other group in the world, but what if it were a virus that affected healthy people more adversely than any group in the world? What if it had visited you or your family and your work place, not the nursing homes, where almost 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths were experienced?
Is it not faith and common sense that we put on a warm coat and a warm head covering when the air outside is cold and bitter? Do we say I have enough faith that I can handle the cold without any ill-effects from the weather and go out without a warm coat and head covering into the snow and rain and wind, just to prove our faith? We don’t do that because we don’t want to get sick, we dress for the occasion because it’s sensible and when a deadly virus is among us shouldn’t we use precaution?
I think God gives us the instinct to know that it is better to error on the side of caution than to throw caution to the wind. Even Jesus Christ withdrew Himself from a rowdy crowd of haters from time to time, (John 7:1, 8:59, 10:38, and 11:43-44). By using His wisdom He kept Himself safe and ready for the plan of God, which was to go to Calvary when the time was right. His strategy was to always honor the Father’s commandments. Are we saying Jesus Christ lacked faith in the Father? I think not. I believe God wants us to come together around the word of God in as many ways as we can to grow our faith to be more like Jesus Christ. No one showed more compassion to the most vulnerable in society than He did.
Compassion requires self-sacrifice and health care workers during this pandemic have sacrificed much more than have the rest of us. I hope we have not become such a nation that compassion for the least among us is lost on our own interest, whatever it may be? I pray that we have not become such a nation of believers in Christ that our pride might be unknowingly disguised as faith in God?
My prayer and hope is that we will be objective and patient as we wait on the vaccine and, more importantly, that we are patient with each other; help those we can help and pray for the rest. I am praying, as I am sure you are, that it is God’s will that we will get through this and that we come out better as a people on the other side.
John Reynolds, Pastor
Faith Baptist Church
America’s election system is a mess – clean it up
It is manifestly true that peaceful people will tolerate increasing levels of crime and corruption until one day they rise up against it. United States citizens are rapidly reaching that point.
The notion defies reason, that a majority of otherwise intelligent voters would willingly forsake their personal and public interests and elevate to the highest post in the land a sullied, lack-luster career politician who could not attract followers if he was fleeing from a burning building.
Nevertheless, media pundits wasted no time anointing Joe Biden as president-elect, but saying a thing does not make it so. If anything remains of honor and integrity in America, the November election will be exposed as the most spectacular fraud scheme in U.S. history – not because President Trump prevails, but because truth is vindicated and the Republic remains intact.
History demonstrates that in peacetime or war, voting patterns do not make wild, unexplainable swings from one election cycle to the next. Even the most aggressive voter registration campaigns cannot account for double-digit gains nationally. Therefore, the absurd claim that 20 million more people voted for Joe Biden in 2020 than voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 does not pass a sniff test.
According to former CIA analyst Mathew Billings, President Trump won Virginia, Maine, and Rhode Island, as well as all of the contested battleground states before questionable late-night practices altered the polling data. Statistical irregularities such as vote-counting pauses and tally reversals, combined with witness testimony and allegations of ballot dumping are being thoroughly investigated. Video evidence of lax security practices and damning evidence of outright fraud in Georgia and elsewhere have deprived the American people of the assurance that our elections are free, fair and honest.
In this age of sophisticated cyber-attacks, Dominion voting machines are inherently insecure. No computer system that is connected to a network and thereby subject to outside data manipulation during an election, as Dominion systems routinely are, is safe or secure. Concurrent with challenges to the presidential election, disturbing problems are being discovered in Virginia.
The Committee for Election Integrity (C.E.I.) is a group of dedicated professionals who have volunteered to take on the task of discovery of illegal vote-altering, systematic ballot fraud, and blatant election law violations. The C.E.I. is working with the Virginia Voters Alliance (V.V.A.) to close security gaps and establish public trust in state-run elections.
Any law is only as good as the people who are charged to follow it. And it is becoming apparent that Virginia needs transparency in the voting process and strict adherence to established security protocols. Among other problems, election officials failed to maintain the required chain-of-custody for voting machines. Ballots were accepted that were not signature-verified. Fraudulent ballots were printed. Votes were shifted across precincts and non-citizens were registered and voted in Virginia.
With so much at stake in our elections, a robust security philosophy must be applied that is appropriate to the risk. That begins with the precept that accuracy and integrity must be preeminent over accelerated returns and the right of media outlets (and even the public) to obtain real-time results.
Suspicions are not proof of a crime and it will take time and tedious labor to gather and present the evidence of the multiple methods of election tampering employed. Some evidence will be lost as surely as Hillary Clinton’s emails, cell-phone, and Blackberry. But the corpses left behind during the theft of a national election cannot be buried deeply enough to prevent detection. Determined investigators are already compiling the forensic proof that will unravel the coup attempt perpetrated against the American people.
The legal and political processes will run their course. There will be wins and losses on both sides. We may learn that Senator Mark Warner did not win reelection after all. If so, many will be confused and dismayed. Some may turn violent. But if people hold out for verifiable facts instead of accepting media misinformation – if we insist upon hard truth rather than settle for a soft swift lie, then the future will be peaceful, prosperous and stable for all Virginia citizens.
Inasmuch as Virginia was the home of many great patriots from whom we inherited this great land, we owe nothing less to their honor, to ourselves, and to one another, than to preserve it.
Timothy P. Buchanan
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.