I just happened to be born and live in Indiana. I also just happen to be gay.
I just happened to have started school in Burdette, Arkansas. I just happened to have grown up partially in a number of other Arkansas towns.
My grandparents, Dad and aunt just happened to have lived for a large number of years in Arkansas.
Yes, and during my years in Arkansas, I just happened to be gay.
Personally if those protesting the loudest about the recently passed religious freedom laws in Indiana and Arkansas are not from or living in Indiana or Arkansas, I wish they would shut up and let us citizens deal with stupid.
We really don't need the help - thank you, very much.
Politicians are playing games, but we, the voters, are not as ignorant as they think and will remember come 2016 if our pols continue to cast our states in a bad and unfavorable light making the citizens in other states think we support stupid.
Oh yeah, I just happen to be a moderate, independent voter too.
The Apostle Paul warned Christians that Lucifer - Satan - the Devil - at times appears as an angel of light. Often when this happens the father of lies does not reveal himself and his purpose until too late and a trusting soul is sucked into a black hole consuming all light.
In our own anecdotal lives we often find beauty and attractive looks conceal an ugliness. We have all been taught how the shiniest fruit, looking so delicious, may be rotten to the core when we take a bite.
Thus is the case with legislation signed into law last week by Indiana Governor Mike Pence here in the Cornfield. Using the appealing justification of protecting religious freedom, the new law, which takes effect in July, has the effect of codifying discrimination.
While the media and opponents of the law are focusing on what is perceived as a right to bar service to gays and lesbians if a business owner holds a "deeply held religious belief" that condemns homosexuality as sin. While this does appear to be the case, the law is more harmful than what meets the eyes.
Indiana is one of the most conservative states in the nation. Though a part of the North and having fought with the Union in the Civil War, the state has a sordid past when it comes to civil rights.
Once the Cornfield was a bastion of the Klu Klux Klan with tentacles strretching into the governor's mansion and throughout the General Assembly. Once the state, which also was part of the Underground Railroad prior to the War Between the States, saw its share of unjustified, hate-driven hangings and abuse of those of color.
This latest law does nothing to enhance the state as it prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary of statehood. Rather this law throws Indiana back into the dark days of yore when hatred and evil reigned.
Not only does this law allow for justified and legal discrimination against the GLBT, the law could conceivably be used for Jewish businesses to refuse service to Muslims and Christians. Hindus could bar Bhuddists. Protestants and Catholics could shun each other. Mainline church members could say, "No" to evangelicals.
The law opens the door for bias and discrimination at its worst pitting one group against another - all under the noble ideal of relgious freedom.
This is not right.
This nation, this state, was founded on the principle of freedom of and freedom from religion as well as the ideals in the Declaration of Independence of "unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". While those rights have limits where one's exercise infringes on the rights of others, this is what America is all about.
This law, though sounding high and noble, is a mere camoflage of the real purpose which is to legalize discrimination. No matter how the Governor attempts to continue the ruse, the mask is off, the nature is revealed.
In the time of Jesus walking on the Earth, there were civic and religious leaders who tried the same tactics. They were known as Pharisees. Jesus had no use for them and saw them as making their faith publicly known only to set themselves up above others with a guise of being more "holy".
Jesus preached against being like the Pharisees. Jesus taught us to keep our faith between us and God. Jesus taught to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's."
One of my concerns when Pence ran for office was that he would pull such a move once elected. It is one reason I supported his opponent with my vote. Pence, spoken of as a possible presidential contender, served as a voice of social conservatives while a member of the US House of Representatives. At times his positions found him out of step with more establishment and moderate Republicans.
The signature of Pence on this legislation does not make the quest for the White House any easier. This position pits Pence in the same camp, seeking the same small number of voters which Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee are hoping to win over. None of these, in my opinion, have a chance in winning the national vote.
This law not only makes Indiana look bad, it makes the Republican Party dancing without rhythm and out of step with most voters. If the GOP continues on this walk, the White House will remain in the hands of Democrats.
I take no issue with those, who genuinely do not want my business or my money on relgious grounds. There are plenty of other business owners eager to take my hard-earned and few dollars.
I do, however, believe any business which is licensed by the state to do business with the public must do so without discrimination of any kind. Open to the public means open to the public, which is everyone.
Can Hoosiers redeem themselves in time before the damage becomes life-threatening or at least economically putting the state, which boasts a surplus, on budgetary life-support?
This law is not good for the Cornfield.
This law is not good for Hoosiers.
This law is not good for religious freedom.
This law is not good, no matter the intention.
From the Cornfield, Governor Pence, all the mincing words in the world will not calm the uproar. As Oliver Hardy was fond of saying to Stanley Laurel, "What a fine mess you've gotten us into".
Returning to Mark's Den in the Cornfield after feasting in honor of Saint Patrick at Ryan's Buffet prior to the 5 p.m. rush hour I came upon a collision on US 41 south of Terre Haute and a short distance north of the partially completed 641 bypass and Ivy Tech Community College. Two vehicles had a nasty accident crumpling both vehicles' frontends.
Not sure of what injuries may have resulted. The Indiana State Police and Vigo County Sheriff's deputies were on the scene. Emergency medical technicians were working with drivers and/or passengers from the vehicles. Personnel with the Honeycreek Townshp Fire Department were assisting with clean-up.
Hoping no one was critically harmed.
From the Cornfield, wishing each of you a safe and joyous Saint Patick's Day!
Shortly after the first of the new year, CNN rolled out a new web site design. The site is still rife with a variety of issues. The changes have me wondering if newsy, social networking part of CNN's online presence which invites every day people to contribute images, videos, articles and opinions is being phased out.
In other words, is iReport still viable with the upcoming 2016 presidential election and primaries in the offing or is the news network signalling the demise of the experiment in citizen journalism?
Is iReport's future vibrant or terminal?
The iReport Team was updating and featuring various iReporters on a weekly basis. Those featured have been there since before the start of 2015 without change.
At one time there were weekly, then monthly round tables where the Team would share and gather input from members of the community. Those round tables disappeared over a year ago.
Where once a link to iReport was prominently featured at the top of the page, now one must hunt to find the link. Only members, former members or those who were regular viewers of the inuput from John and Jane from down the street know how to find iReport recently.
Instead of entreating people to upload their photos, videos and reports to iReport, now CNN is asking people to submit with Twitter, Instagram or a particular show's, reporter's or anchor's Facebook page. On occasion, as if an afterthought, uploading to iReport is thrown into the mix, but not always.
All of this has me wondering about the prognosis for iReport.
What do you think?
1. Is iReport being phased out?
2. Is there still a reason to use iReport?
3. Does iReport have a future with CNN?
4. Is iReport being abandoned?
6. Is the only purpose of iReport is to keep traffic visitng the site inflated?
From the Cornfield, my interest is waning in iReport although I have been an active contributor since September of 2011.
Then again with all my health issues, I am having trouble with focus and interest with my daily blog, Inside My Mind, which is no longer daily. I cannot muster the energy to do a daily recap of headlines and current events for Kernels From the Cornfield. I find it difficult to offer up political commentary here at From the Cornfield.
With the lack of attention to the community from the iReport Team, I am beginning to feel as if those who participate and contribute to iReport have been taken out into the country, dropped off and left to figure a way back home.
Even if we manage to get home, will we find that the family has packed up and moved away without a clue as to where they have gone?
Should my interest be rekindled as the presidential primary season starts in earnest, will there be an iReport to share my thoughts From the Cornfield?
In the lead up to Tuesday night's State of the Union Address to a joint-session of Congress, the White House was playing up the speech as being one where President Barack Obama would be declaring the page turned from a bleaker, dismal yesterday for the US of A to a better and brighter future ahead.
While high on hubris, the reality of what the President had to talk about was less than a page turner and more of a wish it so if the facts didn't get in the way speech.
True the President could rightly talk about an upturn in the economic aura that has been pervasively weaker than expected and this far since the recession officially ended. But more jobs were created last year than any time since long before the housing market went belly up in 2008. Granted those jobs are not the full-time, good paying jobs of yesterday, but they are jobs. Those jobs happen to be mostly part-time and closer to the bottom pay rate.
Will admit the stock market is soaring. However, the market is artificially inflated by actions of the Federal Reserve more than by real market forces being allowed to operate. Same with the much lower cost at the pump when filling up the tank in the family car. Those prices are lower as a result of Saudi Arabia keeping a glut on crude oil more than US policy.
The President did rightly call for authorization to use force from Congress to combat the forces of the Islamic State. At the same time, the President continued to assert that terrorism is on the run and not winning. The President claimed his policies are working in staving off the global threat and keeping Russia's march toward reclaiming its former glory in check.
Nothing can be farther from the reality on the ground.
The President did set out an agenda. It is an agenda for his party, the Democratic Party, to pursue as it tries to hold on to the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2016. It is an agenda that has little chance of fruition over the next two years as Republicans hold the reins in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Already proclaiming veto threat after veto threat, the President continued his threats twice during last night's speech. He smugly claimed that he had no more elections to face, because he had won both of his in 2008 and 2012. He ignored that voters put checks on his policies in 2010 and 2014 by putting Congress into the hands of Republicans.
Newly elected Joni Ernst, Senator from Iowa, gave the GOP response and committed no gaffes or flubs. She did her job. She did note that Republicans had heard voters about finding a way to govern together with the White House. But that's about it.
There were some, admittedly, items that may find compromise - free trade agreements and some tax reform. But not much else.
It is going to be a long two years.
From the Cornfield, the President appears to be in LaLa Land with his "victory lap" proclaimed last night staring in the face of what is happening on the ground all around the world.
Republicans must find a way to overcome the divisiveness and govern or face another humiliating loss in 2016.
Who will blink?
Who will do right by America?
Although a CNN/ORC poll revealed that a vast majority of Americans think the President pointed the country in the right direction last night, will either the President or the Republican-controlled Capital be able to map out a path in the right direction?
Will we see more detours, more road blocks and a continued disillusionment and hiding eyes from the reality not just in the US of A, but around the world?
The White House is refusing to call the Muslim radical jihadists what they are: Islamic terrorists. The terrorists are corrupting the Muslim faith to justify their murderous ways.
The White House claims it is not accurate to refer to the terrorists as Islamic or Muslim - even if that is what they are. The White House asserts it is not those adhering to "radical Islam", but "radical extremism".
The White House also asserts that since the massacre at Charlie Hebdo last week was condemned by Muslim leaders, it is inappropriate to refer to the terrorists as being Muslim or Islamic.
The issue is not with the moderate followers of Islam. But the reality is those committing atrocities around the world, including last week's massacre in France, call themselves Muslim.
In the US of A we have such corrupters of Christianity who are anything, but Christ-like, such as: the Westboro Baptist Church, various white supremacy groups and others. They attempt to justify their hatred, take advantage of our First Amendment to spew vindictive and blatantly evil rhetoric, while clinging to the Christian banner, which they tread under foot.
What is is.
These terrorists are in jihad, holy war for Islam in their perversion of the religion - no matter what the White House says.
Then again, the White House deemed the terrorist rampage of murder and mayhem by Army Major Nidal Hasan as "workplace violence" rather than upset or offend the sensibilities of adherents of Islam.
It was the terrorist act of a Muslim who had corrupted Islam and pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda over his pledge to the US of A and the US Army.
None of this is to be construed that I blame Islam any more than I blame Christianity for the Westboro Baptist Church, who are hate-mongers and far from what Christ taught or white supremacist with a Bible in one hand and treachery in the other.
From the Cornfield, it is time President Barack Obama and his Administration call it like it is.
We have already seen how appeasement worked back in the late 1930s when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain followed a similar course as the White House is following today with terrorists.
Yes, I must admit that I am a disciple of Jesus the Christ. It is my prayer there is enough evidence to convict me of being one of His followers.
I strive to follow closely the two Great Commandments:
Love the Lord God with all my heart, soul and body;
Love my neighbor as myself.
Jesus taught that all would know we are His disciples if we have love one for another.
The Apostle Paul wrote that without love nothing else matters.
The writer of the Acts of the Apostles relates that those of the Jewish sect began by the Carpenter from Nazareth were first "called" Christians in Antioch. These followers of the Rabbi Jesus did not label themselves, but it was there neighbors, their enemies, those not subscribing to the teachings of Jesus who called them Christian. They saw Jesus in the lives of His followers.
Through the years and even now, there are those who have attempted to justify their actions, their evil in the guise of Christianity. There are those who have corrupted the teachings of Christ to love for their own purposes.
All of these I reject and pray God have mercy on their souls.
Should the day ever come that I am hauled into a court of law, hopefully I will be convicted beyond a shadow of doubt of being a Christian.