Compromising God’s Word in Deference to the Traditions of Man

by Charles Henderson

Recently, one of my extended family members became angry with me, because I would not accept that in her church they had what I regarded a liberalized view of  God’s Scripture, adjusted to accommodate today’s accepted social values.

She took offense at me insisting that women serving in the pulpit and in other similar leadership capacities, such as deacons, in any church, was contrary to Scripture.

In our conversation, she asked me, “Don’t you believe that there are women perfectly capable of leading a church?”

I replied that it did not matter what I thought, or what she thought. The Bible tells us that women cannot lead a church. It says so in several verses of Scripture, but most clearly in 1 Timothy 2:12.

We had a few other differences of opinion and faith, which did not help. She is a mainstream Protestant, going to a church that reads prayers from a book, sprinkles babies for baptism, and has no Invitation in their services. I am an evangelical Christian. We do not baptize babies. Baptism follows a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance of all sin of the former life, and commitment to a new life in Christ, striving to follow His righteousness–Born Again, per John 3:3, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Baptism for my faith is full emersion in the water, just as Christ was baptized, representing the death of the old life and resurrection of new life in Christ. We adhere to the Bible, chapter and verse. For me, the Bible is God’s Word. Written by 40 different authors over 1,500 years time, each of them directly inspired by God, the Bible is without contradiction. It has no flaw, no error nor any conflict or contradictions because it is from a single source–God. His Word is Holy, and no part of it can be added to or taken away.

More moderate faiths allow for adjustments of the Bible, and they regard the Bible as an historical book of laws, prophesies and histories, but not living. In my faith, I believe that as I read the Bible, I am indwelt with the Holy Spirit–God–who speaks to me as I read His Word.

I am heartsick because this family member won’t talk to me. I have begged her forgiveness for hurting her feelings. I certainly did not intend to insult her faith, and I am sorry for hurting her. However, I cannot compromise what I believe, and what God’s Scriptures say.

When Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:12, that women should not teach or have authority over men, he was writing what God instructed him. Today, such a statement is strong kindling. But it is Scripture.

Like I said, I am evangelical Christian. I stand firm in my faith. It comes straight from the Bible, not from some adjusted doctrines softened by mankind to conform to our social traditions.

Sunday, at my church, I heard a sermon that underscored my position. Our associate pastor preached about Standing the Line for Christ. As a Marine, I know what Standing the Line means. We do not compromise our faith. We adhere to God’s Word and His commands. The sermon came in part from the Book of Isaiah, chapter five.

Isaiah 5:20-24 (HCSB)

20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own opinion and clever in their own sight.
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, who are fearless at mixing beer,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deprive the innocent of justice.
24 Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes straw and as dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will become like something rotten and their blossoms will blow away like dust, for they have rejected the instruction of the LORD of Hosts, and they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Our associate pastor posed us a question: How do you respond when a person asks you about your opinion of gay marriage? It is a controversial topic today. While most Christians do not support it, society pressures us to compromise.

Quite simply, my opinion of marriage has to do with my Christian faith, and I believe quite strongly that no government has any business dictating laws that address these matters of faith. Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman before God, a pledge made to each other and to God. I think government has no business even defining marriage at all. My definition of marriage comes from my faith in God and His definition of it in the Bible.

I will also reassure the person who asks me about my view of gay marriage and homosexuality that God loves all people, including gay people. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are human, born into sin and we sin almost every day of our lives. If we are saved, born again in Christ, we strive to live in His righteousness.

I live according to my faith in Christ. Far from perfect, I strive to live righteously in God’s eyes. I still sin and fall short of His glory, but I try my best to serve Him and live in His way. Gay marriage, homosexuality, just as it is with adultery or lying, or coveting are not in keeping with living righteously in God’s way, therefore, I cannot support it.

But there are churches that now support homosexuality, gay marriage and other popular political and social trends. They have gay clergy. They perform gay marriage. They also have women church leaders. This stands in direct contradiction with God’s Word. Churches are compromising their doctrines of faith to accommodate the traditions of society–striving to please the politically correct rather than complying with the commands of God.

In the Book of Matthew, we see Jesus confront the scribes and Pharisees, who had accosted Jesus and His disciples for defiling their traditions by not washing their hands before eating. Jesus was quite blunt with them for breaking God’s commands in favor of their manmade traditions.

Matthew 15:1-9 (HCSB)

1 Then Pharisees and scribes came from Jerusalem to Jesus and asked,
2 “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they don’t wash their hands when they eat!”
3 He answered them, “And why do you break God’s commandment because of your tradition?
4 For God said: Honor your father and your mother; and, The one who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.
5 But you say, ‘Whoever tells his father or mother, “Whatever benefit you might have received from me is a gift  committed to the temple “—
6 he does not have to honor his father.’ In this way, you have revoked God’s word because of your tradition.
7 Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said:
8 These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
9 They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.”

Compromising our faith today, in favor of political correctness is no different.

When I object to a woman serving as pastor or “bishop” of my church, or a woman serving as a deacon, the stand I take is not one of  bias against anyone, but of recognition of Scripture and living in faith with God’s Word. In 1 Timothy 2, verses 8 through 15, Scripture is unambiguous and very clear.

1 Timothy 2:8-15 (HCSB)

8 Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.
9 Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel,
10 but with good works, as is proper for women who affirm that they worship God.
11 A woman should learn in silence with full submission.
12 I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent.
13 For Adam was created first, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.
15 But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith, love, and holiness, with good judgment.

Then in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 we read the qualifications of church leaders. The “overseer,” or the pastor, is to be the “husband of one wife.” Deacons should likewise be “husbands of one wife.”

1 Timothy 3:1-13 (HCSB)

1 This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.”
2 An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher,
3 not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy— 4 one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity.
5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?)
6 He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil.
7 Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.
8 Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money,
9 holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 And they must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons.
11 Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.
12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently.
13 For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

To cite 1 Timothy 2:12 today calls for arguments from many people. It will draw strong reactions from the politically correct.

Yet, the two books of Timothy are as much of the New Testament Scripture as Matthew or John, or any of the other epistles of Paul. Do we discount what Paul wrote to Timothy because we disagree, and believe that women can be pastors and deacons? God’s Word says, no.

Likewise, 1 Peter 3 addresses how husbands and wives should live. And tells wives to submit to their husbands, and that husbands should live with their wives with understanding and honor as coheirs of the grace of life. Is that wrong today too? A wife submitting to her husband is not popular in many marriages today.

I subscribe to following God’s Holy Scripture, period. If people disagree with me, so be it. I am assured of my belief with what Peter wrote of being an eyewitness of Christ. Peter knew Jesus, walked on the water with Jesus, and saw Jesus die on the cross and then live again. Jesus forgave Peter for his denying Christ three times during the trial of Jesus. He charged Peter, in John 21:15-19 to shepherd and feed His sheep, and to “Follow Me.” Peter saw Christ ascend into heaven, and heard the two angels say (Acts 1:11), “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven,” assuring us of Christ’s return in this same way. Thus I have no doubts, and I stubbornly adhere to the path of Christ shown to me by Scripture.

2 Peter 1:16-21 (HCSB)

16 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!
18 And we heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 So we have the prophetic word strongly confirmed. You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
20 First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation,
21 because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

If we compromise our churches to accommodate the traditions of our society, are we now bowing to the false prophets and evil teachers that Peter warns us about in 2 Peter 2?

2 Peter 2:1-22 (HCSB)

1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves.
2 Many will follow their unrestrained ways, and the way of truth will be blasphemed because of them.
3 They will exploit you in their greed with deceptive words. Their condemnation,  pronounced  long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.
4 For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but threw them down into Tartarus and delivered them to be kept in chains of darkness until judgment;
5 and  if  He didn’t spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly;
6 and  if  He reduced the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes and condemned them to ruin, making them an example to those who were going to be ungodly;
7 and  if  He rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the unrestrained behavior of the immoral
8 (for as he lived among them, that righteous man tormented himself day by day with the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—
9 then  the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
10 especially those who follow the polluting desires of the flesh and despise authority. Bold, arrogant people! They do not tremble when they blaspheme the glorious ones;
11 however, angels, who are greater in might and power, do not bring a slanderous charge against them before the Lord.
12 But these people, like irrational animals—creatures of instinct born to be caught and destroyed—speak blasphemies about things they don’t understand, and in their destruction they too will be destroyed,
13 suffering harm as the payment for unrighteousness. They consider it a pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, delighting in their deceptions as they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery and are always looking for sin. They seduce unstable people and have hearts trained in greed. Children under a curse!
15 They have gone astray by abandoning the straight path and have followed the path of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness
16 but received a rebuke for his transgression: A donkey that could not talk spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s irrationality.
17 These people are springs without water, mists driven by a whirlwind. The gloom of darkness has been reserved for them.
18 For by uttering boastful, empty words, they seduce, with fleshly desires and debauchery, people who have barely escaped from those who live in error.
19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.
20 For if, having escaped the world’s impurity through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in these things and defeated, the last state is worse for them than the first.
21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them.
22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, and, “a sow, after washing itself, wallows in the mud.”

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus speaks to us, assuring us of His promise. We must be watchful of the dogs who invade our churches, and must adhere to God’s own Scripture as our lamp. Hear the words of our Lord Jesus, and follow Him.

Revelation 22:12-17 (HCSB)

12 “Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.
15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star.”
17 Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.

 ©Copyright 2013 Charles W. Henderson 

Why the West Bank remains part of Israel

Map of the Land of Israel as defined in Number...

Map of the Land of Israel as defined in Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Charles Henderson

Had President Barak Obama, who professes himself a Christian, spent more time in Sunday School and Bible Study, rather than showing up in church for a little face time and ticket punching, he would understand what most Christians and Jews have long known about Israel, and that nation’s position on the disputed territories along the “West Bank” of the Jordan River, which are largely populated by Palestinians. As the very gifted foreign affairs scholar and newsman Arnaud de Borchgrave points out in his latest commentary posted at, “Obama’s Gordian Knot,”  President Obama’s proposal would work if Israel was Belgium and the West Bank was Luxembourg.

Israel’s position in the matter—a dispute with the nation of Jordan, and the Palestinian people, over territory rather than an occupation of conquered lands from the 1969 Six Day War—is drawn from the Tanakh (or Tanach) the Jewish Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Law, written more than three-thousand years ago, and promises made more than five thousand years ago.

The Israeli claims of the West Bank lands, and other adjoining territories, come directly from the Torah, the five books of Moses, and several of the books contained in the Books of the Prophets, Navi or Nevi’im: Yehoshua (Joshua), Shoftim (Judges), Shmuel I and II (I and II Samuel), Melachim I and II (I and II Kings), Yeshayahu (Isaiah), Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah), Yechezkel (Ezekiel) and Zechariah. These are the lands given to Israel by God, for eternity. A claim of land rights that date back more than five-thousand years, when God made His covenant with Abraham, repeated with Isaac and Jacob, and again three thousand years ago when Yehoshua (Joshua) led God’s People across the Jordan into the Promised Land. Among those lands were Canaan, Judea and Samaria—the West Bank territories. A brief description comes in the last book of the Torah, Book of Devarim or D’varim, which is called Deuteronomy in the Christian Bible.

Deuteronomy 1:6-8 (HCSB)

6  ”The LORD our God spoke to us at Horeb: ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. 7  Resume your journey and go to the hill country of the Amorites and their neighbors in the Arabah, the hill country, the Judean foothills, the Negev and the sea coast—to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon as far as the Euphrates River. 8  See, I have set the land before you. Enter and take possession of the land the LORD swore to give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their future descendants.’

In Chapter 15 of the Book of Bereshit (Genesis), God first made His covenant with Abraham, whose descendants grew into the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.

Abraham had two sons, Ishmael, by his wife, Sarah’s servant, Hagar, and Isaac, by his wife, Sarah. Before Ishmael was born, God had told Hagar:

Genesis 16:12 (HCSB)

12  This man will be like  a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will live at odds with all his brothers.

God instructed Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness to live, where Ishmael became a hunter and great archer. Ishmael had twelve sons that became twelve tribes in the Arabian lands, and gave birth to Islam.

Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob, twins. Esau emerged from Rebekah first, followed by Jacob, who held onto Esau’s heel. Although born second, Jacob won Isaac’s inheritance by scheming and manipulation of a near-blind father and help of a doting mother, Rebekah. But Jacob was chosen by God to be His Nation, and thus God re-named Jacob, Israel. Jacob had twelve sons by three wives, among whom was Joseph, one of two sons born of Rachael, the other being Benjamin. Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, yet rose to great power. Famine brought Israel (Jacob) and his sons and their families to Egypt, where they lived among the House of Joseph in the land of Goshen.

According to the Book of Shemot (Exodus, Chapter 1), with the death of the King of Egypt, the Pharaoh who knew and held high regard for Joseph, the new King took the Children of Israel and placed them into forced labor. For more than four hundred years, the Children of Israel (the families and descendants of Jacob’s twelve sons—The Twelve Tribes of Israel) suffered under abject poverty and slavery in Egypt.

Moses was a descendent of Jacob, born in the House of Levi, a Hebrew. At the time of Moses’ birth, Pharaoh had decreed that all male children born to Hebrew mothers should be thrown into the Nile, and only the daughters of Hebrews would live. Moses’ mother hid him for three months, but keeping him hidden became impossible, so she made a reed basket, coated it with tar, and set it at the edge of the Nile water. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby, saw he was beautiful, and sent her slave to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby. They found Moses’ mother, and she raised Moses to a weaning age, then he was given to Pharaoh’s daughter as her son. She named him Moses—from the water—because she drew him out of the water.

Moses grew to manhood, and did not like seeing the oppression of the Hebrew people. One day he killed an Egyptian taskmaster. This angered Pharaoh, and he sought to kill Moses. So Moses fled to Midian where he became a shepherd, married and had a son, Gershom. God called Moses from the “burning bush,” and instructed Moses to return to Pharaoh and lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt, to a land that God would give His chosen people, Israel, for the rest of time.

Exodus 6:2-11 (HCSB)

2  Then God spoke to Moses, telling him, “I am Yahweh. 3  I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but I did not reveal My name Yahweh to them. 4  I also established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land they lived in as foreigners. 5  Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are forcing to work as slaves, and I have remembered My covenant. 6  ”Therefore tell the Israelites: I am Yahweh, and I will deliver you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and free you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment. 7  I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am Yahweh your God, who delivered you from the forced labor of the Egyptians. 8  I will bring you to the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am Yahweh.” 9  Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor. 10  Then the LORD spoke to Moses, 11  ”Go and tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go from his land.”

Moses led God’s people, the Children of Jacob, who He had named, Israel, out of Egypt to Mount Sinai, where God gave Moses the Law, and instructed Moses on how to build God’s Tabernacle and the Arc of the Covenant. After years of wandering, and forty years of waiting, Yehoshua (Joshua) led the Children of Israel into their Promised Land.

Included in this land was the east bank of the Jordan, which the children of Benjamin occupied, and all of the lands to the west as far as they could see, including Judea and Samaria, which is the West Bank: The lands Israel holds under dispute with the Palestinian state and the King of Jordan.

After World War II, the Jewish people returned to the lands of their birthrights. The lands promised to them by God, promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all their decedents for all of time. What the Children of Israel received was a small fraction of that land, and only a partial stake in the Holy City of Jerusalem, the most sacred place on earth for all Christians and Jews.

Thus when Mr. Borchgrave writes in his commentary: “Ending its colonization and military occupation of the West Bank to make room for an independent Palestinian state is anathema to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his new coalition government.” That is no understatement. For Israel, this is the land of Judea and Samaria, given to them by God. And only God can take this land from them.

Today, more and more world powers call for Israel to surrender the West Bank, to give the Palestinian people a homeland there. Within that land is Jerusalem, Zion, the home of David, the Temple to God built by Solomon, the place where Jesus Christ was crucified, and the tomb from where He arose. It is the city that the people of Israel call their capitol. It is within Jerusalem that the very soul of Israel resides. Bethlehem, the place of Christ’s birth, also lies in this disputed land.

For people of Faith in God and in Jesus Christ to surrender this land, given to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for all time, a Covenant that dates back five-thousand years, is no less than if the nation of Italy decided to kick the Pope out of Vatican City, take it over, and use it for a housing development for Muslims.

Simply put, the West Bank of the Jordan is not an option for a separate nation for the Palestinian people. A less important land, perhaps on the east side of the Jordan River, would do much better.

 ©Copyright 2013 Charles W. Henderson 

Murder by Gun: An analysis of the numbers

by Charles Henderson

It is interesting to consider that Hawaii has the fewest murders of any state in the USA, with 7 murders in 2011, of which one murder was committed with a firearm, a rifle, and the six remaining were committed with knives or other odd weapons or no weapons at all. Yet ask the average American who watches TV and Hawaii Five-0, one of televisions more popular shows, and they will consider that Hawaii is right up there with plenty of gun violence. They do sling a lot of lead on Hawaii Five-0. The point is that much of America’s hand-wringing over violent crime is media driven.

Comparing states and their murder numbers, weapons used, and population is also interesting. Iowa compares closely with Colorado and Oklahoma with unrestrictive gun laws. The three states have low population density given area of land and are fairly comparable in total population, Iowa 3.1 million, Oklahoma 3.8 million and Colorado 5.2 million people. Interestingly, Oklahoma leads with homicides at 204, firearms accounting for 131 of those murders. Colorado is next with 147 homicides, of which firearms accounted for 73 of the murders. Then comes the state of Iowa with only 44 murders, of which 19 were committed with firearms.

All three states are consistent with the national average of 67 percent of homicides committed with firearms. Yet Colorado, with the greatest population, nearly two-million more people than Oklahoma, has fewer murders than Oklahoma. Iowa with a near comparable population to Oklahoma has a fraction of the number of homicides, only 44 committed in the year 2011.

Gun laws in Iowa are less restrictive than most states, and compare well with Colorado and Oklahoma. So, why is gun violence so much less in Iowa than Oklahoma and Colorado, and much less than the national averages? The US Census Bureau may hold some answers.

Average annual median household income for Colorado is $49,863.00 per year. Median household income in Iowa is $50,451.00. Oklahoma median household income is significantly less with $44,287.00. Both Iowa and Colorado have comparable median household income, but Oklahoma is more than $5-thousand dollars a year less. This might be a clue to the significantly greater percentage of murders in Oklahoma. And, as I said, gun laws of the three states are much the same, unrestrictive with no registration required anywhere.

In Iowa, 85 percent of the people have lived in the same household for more than one year, and 90.3 percent of the population graduated high school, with 25 percent graduating college. Iowa’s population is 93 percent “white” with 3 percent “black” and 5 percent “Latino.” More than 73 percent of people in Iowa own their own homes.

In Colorado, 81 percent of the people have lived in the same household for more than one year, and 89.7 percent of the population graduated high school, with 36 percent graduating college. Colorado’s population is 88 percent “white” with 4.3 percent “black” and 21 percent “Latino.” Nearly 69 percent of people in Colorado own their own homes.

In Oklahoma, 81 percent of the people have lived in the same household for more than one year, and 85.9 percent of the population graduated high school, with 23 percent graduating college. Oklahoma’s population is 75.8 percent “white” with 7.7 percent “black” and 9.2 percent “Latino.”Nearly 68 percent of people in Oklahoma own their own homes. Nearly 9 percent of Oklahoma’s population reports that they are “American Indian.” Iowa has only one-half of one percent, and Colorado has 1.6 percent.

The telling difference between Oklahoma, Iowa and Colorado is the median household income, with Oklahomans earning more than $5-thousand dollars a year less than Colorado or Iowa, and nearly $8-thousand dollars a year less than the US national average. Does this equate to more murders?

West Virginia is $5-thousand dollars a year less than Oklahoma’s median household income, with $39,550.00 per household, but only 74 murders took place in West Virginia in 2011, of which 43 involved firearms. Education wise, West Virginia falls behind Oklahoma, Colorado and Iowa, but in racial demographics compares with Iowa. Population of West Virginia is just less than 2 million people.

What the US Census Bureau and FBI do not tell us is which states have strong family values. Which states have the most people going to church on Sunday? Perhaps that may have more bearing on commissions of violent crime and murder than anything else.

But in the end, murder by firearm for most states is a small number compared to greater population. Is gun control really a priority, or is it a political hot topic and high agenda item for greater, other objectives that have nothing at all to do with violent crime by guns?

 ©Copyright 2013 Charles W. Henderson 

What Scares Old People

Sam Sr. and Marguerite Henderson Family 1994

I know a man here in Colorado who used to have a good life. Then as he aged past sixty, and like the rest of us past sixty, became a little forgetful. Especially at the end of the day. But only once in awhile. He got confused about people’s names when he was tired, could not remember names right off. Had to stop and think a minute. Very frustrating. The bumbling cost him. He lost his freedom. Not overnight, but bit by bit.

Living at high altitude and having an aging brain is no fun. I know. I am over sixty and live at seven-thousand three-hundred feet. I have to stop and think to remember, and sometimes can’t. Lack of sufficient oxygen at high altitude causes the brain to not function as quickly and sharply as it does at sea level, where the oxygen is ample. In my Marine Corps days, I went through high altitude training, spent time in a hypobaric chamber experiencing the effects of hypoxia. Even an in-shape Marine starts forgetting and getting confused. So an old brain at seven-thousand plus feet altitude at the end of the day is not real sharp. And that is normal. Doesn’t make us crazy or inept, or require us to have the State of Colorado declare us diminished and take all we own and put us in a home. But that is what happens to some of us, if we don’t keep our guards up.

This fellow I mention who lost his freedom, and is today fighting for it back, made a few other mistakes. Just dumb decisions. He met a younger woman and had a baby with her, and then gave her about $70-thousand dollars. I would think that a man taking responsibility for a baby is the right thing to do, but that act was a strike against him. Next mistake: he filed his own taxes. He owned a lot of rental properties and other real estate investments, and his taxes were a complex issue. I file my own taxes too, but mine are much simpler. Yet, even the simple matter of filing a 1040 with Schedule C and Schedule F is really not recommended for the unschooled and inexperienced. I am pretty savvy of tax laws and processes, and still, I hire a CPA to review everything, just to keep me out of the jug. Audits are no problem for me, and I have solid, easy to follow records. However, this man I know did not. The Internal Revenue Service audited him and discovered a chain of mistakes that cost a good deal of money in back taxes owed, and penalties. IRS penalties are horrible, but what can you do?

The money to the girlfriend with the baby and the tax mistakes, nothing criminal just honest errors, were strike two and strike three.

Because this fellow had a now shaky hand when he signed a check, and because he forgot names or confused people’s names, and because of the girlfriend with the baby and the tax errors, the man’s family went to the Department of Human Services and told the Adult Abuse and Neglect case workers that this fellow over sixty was not capable any longer of taking care of himself, and needed an Elder Guardian assigned to him. For his own good.

Now, I have talked to this man, and I know him. He is about as sharp as I am, and on par with all my friends who are older than sixty years of age too.

So, the El Paso County Department of Human Services steps in and takes over the man’s life. They assign the man’s sibling as his guardian. This sibling has money, but no rich person ever has enough. Right? They close all of his rental properties and put them on the market for sale. They sell the properties at bargain prices, well under fair market value. They need to unload, and the Elder Care Unit of DHS does not have time to pussyfoot around. They even put the man’s own home on the market.

This fellow tries to fight back. He hires a lawyer, but cannot pay him. All his money has dried up and has been taken from him by DHS and the family.

They run him through the DHS Family Court, a judge that sits on all the DHS elder welfare cases and knows the case workers by first name. Very casual, and I regard very problematic. The fox is in the hen house, and nobody is really on the old guy’s side, except for a lawyer who isn’t getting paid unless he wins back the man’s freedom and rights to own and control his own life.

What is this old guy’s future? At best case, Assisted Living, paid for by his Social Security benefits and the proceeds of what he has built for himself in his lifetime. When that is used up, then he gets what the state will give him based on what Social Security benefits he warrants. Freedom lost.

So, what has happened to this man’s Constitutional Freedom? Well, he’s old. Due process of law and all the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Rights we as citizens are guaranteed by the US Constitution do not matter. He’s old. Declared by a Kangaroo Judge working in the DHS wing that he is not able to care for himself.

What scares me and should scare every person over sixty years of age is this: Some bureaucrat working in the Department of Human Services can one day simply decide that I am too feeble and too mentally unstable to be on my own. The state takes all that I own, sells it and puts me in a home. Incarcerates me against my will, defies my Rights to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. And my Crime is that I am old.

Due process is shot out the window because I have had all my money taken from me, and I cannot pay a lawyer. I am at the will of a judge that works for DHS full time. Yes, one sided.

This scares me to no end.

Several years ago, I sat with my brother at my mother’s doctor’s office, sitting at a conference table. They had ushered my mother to the waiting room, because this was a matter in which she had no say. The doctor meant well, he had his Elder Care nurse and a psychologist there. Also sitting at the table was the Case Worker from the El Paso County Department of Human Services. What they told my brother and me was that we had no choice. My mother had to go live, against her will, in an Assisted Living group home. In their opinions she required full time professional watching, because my brother and I nor any of our siblings were, in their opinions, capable of taking care of her.

My mother was old. She had no say in it.

Yes, she needed care and assistance. But that choice should have been her choice, not mine or my brother’s. Certainly not the State’s choice. However, it did not matter what I or my brother wanted, and certainly not what my mother wanted. The State made its decision and took over my mother’s life.

When my mother died, I stood at the foot of her bed. She struggled to breathe, and the doctor sedated her heavily. We watched her finally die, taking that last gasp. She was finally free. Able to be with my dad and my sister and others of our family. Her soul was now with God.

I thought of the several years she lived in that “home.” How she hated it. How she missed being surrounded by her family. We stood in prayer around her, and I thanked God for finally letting her again be free.

I told the attending physician that I would not die like that. No hoses or tubes or hospital incarceration for me. No sir! I told him that I intended to finish my life like Moses. I would take a walk with God, over the mountain, into a valley and God could take me home. I want to end my life standing up. Walking under my own power!

I got a warning about talking like that. The State, the El Paso County Department of Human Services would send an Elder Care case worker to get me. They just might decide that with me saying that I will end my life my own way, walking over the mountain with the Holy Spirit by my side, demonstrated that I suffered diminished capacity and required a guardian. To ensure I do not hurt myself, or take any walks over a cliff. After all, I am over sixty years of age, and today that is a crime.

I spent much of my adulthood putting my life at risk for America, supporting and defending the US Constitution against all enemies. The whole underpinning of the US Constitution is Freedom. Liberty!

Yet today, if you are old, you just may not have a say about your freedom. Your liberty is in the hands of a welfare case worker and his pal, the DHS judge.

Yes, that does scare me. That’s why I pack heat.

Oh, I probably should not have said that last part. Packing a gun and being old is definitely something that can get me locked up. Just for being over sixty and wanting to live on my own, a free man.

 ©Copyright 2012 Charles W. Henderson 

Killing Our Horses and Ourselves

I was lamenting the high cost of feeding and keeping horses this morning. Looking to sell some mares. Bring down my hay bill. With no rain for so long here in eastern El Paso County, Colorado, the pastures all but went dead. Might as well be the middle of winter. Nothing green. Everything dry and brick hard. Ugly. Then after half the world burned down in Colorado Springs, and all the land here turned brown and yellow, we finally have some rain. The rain may or may not bring back grass this summer. We wil keep praying.

So with hay here on the Colorado Front Range now at $0.18 cents a pound and rising, despite the harvest of new grass now coming in, (yes that is $360.00 per ton for hay that should be $90.00 per ton, or less than a nickel a pound), we have to cut the herd. We already cut our own groceries to allow for money to buy hay. We cannot live on air, and neither can the horses.

I called Doug Johnson, the man who trains, rides and competes in the PRCA on my AQHA registered tie-down calf roping stallion, Explosive Doc King, talking to him about selling some of these horses, and giving him first bid on the best ones. And that’s when Doug told me something that made me choke up and fill my eyes with tears. My heart is still aching. I know exactly how this man feels. I know his anguish. I know his love for his horses. I know his desperation too.

Here in El Paso County Colorado, the sheriff’s department cruises around the places where people own horses and look for thin and underfed horses. When they find some showing ribs, they warn the owners that they will be fined if they do not fatten up the horses. That’s why we, like many other horse ranchers, feed our horses while we, ourselves, will go hungry to do it.

A horse rancher, a good, God-fearing man and his wife, have done all they can to survive nearly 10 years of severe depression in the horse business. It used to be a good business, raising and selling high quality horses. But today, you can’t give away a lot of horses. In fact, my pastor, Dave Shumpert, at Cowboy Church of Peyton, had a man stop him in Falcon, while fueling the church carry-all van, and ask if he knew anyone who wanted horses, for free. The man was trying to give his herd away, and had no luck even giving away good horses.

So, this rancher and his wife are hanging on by their fingernails, unable to pay the astronomically high hay and feed prices, and are literally stuck with about 30 head of hungry horses to keep fed. Hay prices went up with the drouths, and the high cost of diesel, and the sale of hay and small grains to China, and the government dictating ethanol as a fuel. High prices for feed and hay are here to stay. With the bad economy, most people who used to buy horses quit buying them. Restrictive federal and state laws then drove the final nails in the coffin of the horse industry. So, today, only rich people and fools have horses. I’m a fool, hardly rich. And times have got awfully hard with a feed bill well over $1,000.00 per month.

This horse rancher I’m telling about has three times more horses than I do, so his feed bill is at least $3,000.00 per month. That’s just feed, not veterinary costs or the other expenses that also make keeping horses foolishly high.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy in this horse rancher’s corner of eastern El Paso County stopped by their place and warned them that their horses are too thin. If they didn’t get the horses fattened up they will have to start paying fines. They could even be criminally charged for animal abuse. People who live in Colorado Springs and drive in the country now and then are upset at seeing a thin horse on a barren pasture. With no rain, pastures are barren and horses are thin. But that does not register. What does register in the well-meaning minds of the city people is that what they see appears to be animal abuse. They want that bum who committed this crime put in jail.

This horse rancher and his wife had raised most of their herd of thirty-odd horses from babies, born on their ranch. They hand raised the colts and trained them to ride. It used to be a good business until the federal laws were passed that killed the horse business in the USA. Now, horse ranchers struggle to survive. You can’t feed them and you can’t sell them unless you spend $2,000.00 training the horse that you end up selling for $750.00 to $1,000.00, if it is a good one. Many ranchers like this man have gone under.

This rancher and his wife, like most people who raise horses, love them a little too much. Horses have strong personalities, much like a pet dog, and are very smart animals, aware of who they are and who the people are. And like an elephant, a horse never forgets. They are very easy to love. And that is a problem.

That’s why this story is so heartbreaking. Unable to sell any horses, and unable to feed their horses because of high hay prices and no pastures because of the severe lack of rain we have had: Horses that they raised from babies. Horses that they fed what they could afford, and the people themselves did without food on their own table. Horses that these people sacrificed for, raised and loved. And facing fines and possible criminal charges. And they can’t even give away the horses. The man and his wife were left with only one option. They had to put down these animals that they love. At this point of final desperation, they have to kill their horses.

The rancher called Doug and asked him to dig a couple of trenches, deep enough to bury the horses. Doug took his heavy earth-moving equipment over to the man’s ranch and dug the long pits. Then while the good rancher went to work, Doug had to turn his back to it. He couldn’t watch. Nobody could. It’s just too hard to see.

First day the man managed to kill nine of his herd. Shot them in the head and Doug buried them. Next day, the man had eleven more lined up, ready to shoot between the eyes, one at a time. He shot the mother mare first. Then he shot the filly standing by her. Next, the three year old gelding that he had raised on a bottle and trained by hand. That’s when the man fell to his knees, unable to continue. Emotionally crushed. He could not do any more. The heartbreak was just too much.

Anyone who has horses should feel like crying too. It breaks my heart to think of it. It breaks my heart for the man and his wife.

People who live in the city and pass judgment on the horse world, making their couch-side demands while watching the PETA stories on TV, need to know the reality that today overwhelms most of us who raise and keep horses.

We who love and breed and raise and keep and train horses, hoping to sell some good ones for at least a reasonable price, maybe come close to break-even, regard these animals as among the most noble of all of God’s creatures. In the Book of Revelation in The New Testament of the Holy Bible, the Apostile John describes Jesus mounted on a white horse, and His Angels mounted on horses too. Yes, according to the Holy Bible, God’s Holy Word, horses are in Heaven.

Horses deserve our best. They give us their best. It is a terrible sin to mistreat them, or abuse them. Thus, in keeping with God’s ethic of the Good Shepherd, we give our horses our best. And sometimes it’s just not enough. So we are forced to do the most horrible thing we can imagine, and we kill our horses. Because we love them, and the laws and unknowing people who live in the city have no mercy for us.

Also deserving our best are the poor struggling horse ranchers who love their horses and find themselves forced into shooting them in the head. These people who love their horses also deserve our love too. They need our help! They do not want to kill the horses, but what else can they do? The law is the law, and people watching the TV news must feel satisfied. Meantime, the emotional damage the horse ranchers suffer from it will scar their souls for the rest of their lives.

We all love horses, but we also need to love the people tied to them too.

 ©Copyright 2012 Charles W. Henderson 

“One Tough Motherfucker”

I have two German Shepherd dogs, Paddy and Smoochie. They live here in our household with a Jack Russell Terrier named Kipling and one worthless, cross-bred something-or-other bitch dog we call Krinkle. Also a couple of old tomcats named Black Bart and Sweet Basil, and two new additions that I found on a road, little yellow tom-kittens, mother’s milk still fresh in their whiskers, too young to ween, but now a full seven months old with extra-large gonads that need to soon come off, Russell and Rockie. Together we are quite the family. They keep the house looking like, well… Crap.

We also have a graveyard full of dead pets, all loved deeply too. That’s for another time.

I have long been a fan of Charles Bukowski, the trash-mouthed poet and author. Gutters suited him well, and he had an honest heart. He cashed in his chips in 1994, but in his poems and stories he still lives today,  his soiled and beautiful honesty, full of smoke and booze, all intact. Very much alive. Bukowski was the real-life Hank Moody.

Hank and Charlie, Dylan Thomas and Jack Kerouac all share common ground with me. We writers have our demons. Curses from self-made Hell. We’re tormented, prone to lapses in dark depression, and cling to life by what we write. Buk embraced his demons and danced a jig amidst his ruins.

This morning seemed more Bukowski than Kerouac, so I did some snooping for an inspiring verse to read from the dirty old man’s library, and found this one: The History of One Tough Motherfucker. Just the brutal bluntness of that title gets me going. I had read this one before Bukowski died, but not since, and took it out again. It’s a true tale of Bukowski and his cat. But says much more, if you listen. I relate.

All of my dogs and cats are foundlings. Thrown-away pets, dumped on my lap in one form or other, and I’ve never had the heart to say no. Not to what God made so well, and only want our love. So my household is filled with foundlings. Except for Kipling, and I bought him for $500 dollars.

Charlie Bukowski had a similar kindness of soul. He cared deeply about life’s plight, and stayed pissed off about all the thrown away souls he encountered. He reached out, saved those he could, and took in the stray cat.

I relate to his History of One Tough Motherfucker every time I take Smoochie for his “walk.” If you can call it a “walk.” Smoochie, you see, loved to chase my horses, and sometimes he got too close. Got his front teeth kicked out by a horse one day. Then another day Smoochie got trampled. Bad.

I saw Smoochie come dragging himself to the house from the pasture, pulling with his front paws. My heart broke. I rushed him to the vet, and nursed him back to life. My own brand of physical therapy, using horse tack for leg straps to help Smoochie learn to walk again. That was six years ago. To this day, he can hardly keep the back legs going. When he walks on his own, it’s like a drunk. He drags his butt in the house instead of walking. Slick floors, he can’t get up. Even outside Smoochie cannot easily stand up on his own.  So I have to lift him to his feet, and then hold-on by his tail as he wobbles and walks, so he can do his business and get exercise. But he does it, and he loves living life, even with a couple of bad wheels.

The neighbor’s dogs tore off the top half of Smoochie’s left ear last year. Now he looks like a real horse fighter. One tough motherfucker, I would say.

Now, if that’s not enough, that worthless hose-bag Krinkle is an even tougher motherfucker. If you can call a bitch a motherfucker. But she is. Krinkle defines the word, “Bitch.” But I love her. And I have taken her through a lost count of tragic events that should have killed her multiple times over.

She was mauled and left for dead by a bobcat, as a puppy. Run over too, and covered with ticks. That’s when I found her. I heard a whimper by the gate post as I was about to ride a horse out to gather cattle. Kept hearing a weak puppy’s yelp. I couldn’t ride off, so I searched and finally found her in the weeds. Her right hip was demolished and swollen big as she was with infection. Her hide was torn where the bobcat tried to kill her. Ticks covered her whole body. And she looked at me for help. Stubbornly alive. One Tough Motherfucker.

I put up the horse, and took Krinkle to town. My vet friend, Larry Chambers of Lawton, Oklahoma, made me a deal. He donated the labor if I paid for the parts. Larry loves lost souls too. He’s a Bukowski kind of vet. Larry took blood from his Labrador Retriever and transfused it into Krinkle, cleaned off the ticks, shot her full of drugs and saved the mutt’s life.

She grew up and took over Dog World, at least on our little spread. Never minding. Never coming when you call her. A total bitch. And she got run over twice again too, by the same neighbor. Survived both of those kill shots. Then by the barn one day, I ran over her a third time. Did not see her lying on a bed of old manure. The manure probably saved her life.

Lately, Krinkle, now 16-years old, has gone deaf, lost her bowel control (or her desire to control it) and suffers chronic urinary infections. I give her horse pills, and she pulls past the stop signs again and again. And as if to show the world her defiant middle finger, Krinkle drops her shit where she decides to drop it. No squat or sniff. Just raises her tail and lets it fall. I think she saw the horses doing it that way and liked it.

But back to Charlie Bukowski and his fine poem, The History of One Tough Motherfucker. As I said, I relate.

I love Bukowski for his heart. Not so much his words, where he never capitalizes or conforms to any form, but Charlie Bukowski’s heart. Its expression and its life. A wonderful heart that cares deeply. I know that God had to have taken Bukowski to Heaven when he died, despite his filthy lifestyle. I know God would never toss out such a thunderous soul so filled with Love.

So, here for your pleasure is that tale that Charlie Bukowski tells so well:

The History Of One Tough Motherfucker

by Charles Bukowski

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
a white cross-eyed tailless cat
I took him in and fed him and he stayed
grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
and ran him over
I took what was left to a vet who said, “not much
chance…give him these pills…his backbone
is crushed, but it was crushed before and somehow
mended, if he lives he’ll never walk, look at
these x-rays, he’s been shot, look here, the pellets
are still there…also, he once had a tail, somebody
cut it off…”
I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn’t eat, he
wouldn’t touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn’t go any-
where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
him and gently touched him and he looked back at
me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
by he made his first move
dragging himself forward by his front legs
(the rear ones wouldn’t work)
he made it to the litter box
crawled over and in,
it was like the trumpet of possible victory
blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
related to that cat-I’d had it bad, not that
bad but bad enough
one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
just looked at me.
“you can make it,” I said to him.
he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally
he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
rear legs just didn’t want to do it and he fell again, rested,
then got up.
you know the rest: now he’s better than ever, cross-eyed
almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
his eyes never left…
and now sometimes I’m interviewed, they want to hear about
life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say, “look, look
at this!”
but they don’t understand, they say something like, “you
say you’ve been influenced by Celine?”
“no,” I hold the cat up, “by what happens, by
things like this, by this, by this!”
I shake the cat, hold him up in
the smoky and drunken light, he’s relaxed he knows…
it’s then that the interviews end
although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
graphed together.
he too knows it’s bullshit but that somehow it all helps.

 ©Copyright 2011 Charles W. Henderson