After Giving Comcast 18 Months to Solve the Problem, I’m Done.

After fighting with Comcast for 18 months because their internet service only works 40% of the time, I decided to have a conversation with @ComcastCares on Twitter.  Today, they sent another tech in a long line of techs who are not rated to fix the problem that every one of them has told me exists.  The wire inside my walls is analog, and in order for the internet connectivity to work properly, a digital line must be installed.  I have called AT&T to see if they would like a shot at my money.  Waiting on the 21st for them to give it a try.  Below is the Twitter DM I have had.  After 18 months, I am done.

 

Me:I have 2 ticket # 476238968 and 029997850. There should be a tech scheduled for 7/12 to replace wire in the walls of my home. There should also be an email to financial services requesting some kind of refund/compensation for an issue 18 months long, and multiple techs being sent that cannot do the job. Also multiple reschedules without my knowledge. This is fixed on the 12th and I get a significant refund on service that only works 40% of the time, or I call ATT on the 13th.

Comcast: The current scheduled job is a service call, if there are multiple lines that need to be re ran then we will need to set this up as an install. How many cables need to be replaced and are they ran on the exterior of the home or fished inside the walls? -RTT

Me: I was told that someone replace the line in my home on 7/12. I only have internet through comcast, no other service. One outlet in the living room. Yes, inside the home, as I have already stated.

Comcast: The reason I want to clarify is that most areas do not do wall fishing. Did a field tech tell you that they could do that? -RTT

Me: Multiple techs have said it could be and needed to be done. Do not waste my time by sending another field tech that will tell me the same

Comcast: Ok great, if they have already said they could do it and they set that appointment then you should be good to go. Please let us know how the visit on the 12th goes. -RTT

Me: What is the status of the refund request that should have been submitted? Refund request should be in the notes for ticket #cr476238968

Comcast: That ticket is showing Intermittent Internet issues. What was the amount of the refund being requested? – CR

None was discussed. This has gone on for 18 months. Multiple techs sent that were not Internet works about 40% of the time. What kind of refund do you think is appropriate? I’ll help you out. How about 18 months of free service? CSR I spoke with offered to have it looked into.

Comcast: After looking through everything, I’m not entirely sure the tech scheduled now will be able to do the service. I’ve added an Installation on the account as well for July 14th from 5-7pm just in case – that way you’re not having to wait any longer. If you don’t need that appt, then I can simply cancel it. As for credit, I’ve applied two months worth of credit on your account for a total of $xx. -EM

Me: I was told that the tech coming on the 12th would be able to replace the cable inside the walls of my home. But I have been told that before I have rescheduled my own clients enough that I am no longer willing to do so. All I have available is Sunday. This has gone on long enough. Either the installer does the work on the 12th, or I find a different service. No one will be available on the 14th. I will not readjust my schedule any more to accommodate.

Comcast: And that’s a fair ask. I’m going to escalate it to the local market in your area to be SURE that the tech coming out will be able to resolve your issue once and for all. -EM

Me: Unsurprisingly, the tech certified to replace the wire in the walls of my home was not sent. The tech that was sent was kind, professional and informative. If I could, I would offer him a job in my company. The incompetence of your scheduling and customer service depts. is truly the stuff of legend. Never have I been lied to, and treated so poorly as I have with Comcast. I don’t really know what else to say. I have already posted the problem to my twitter followers and facebook friends. My business clients and contacts will be told over the next month or so. The ones that I have told about the problem have suggested alternatives I have already started looking into. I am also not sure what you can say to me. Responding with an apology and attempts to by sympathetic will be received as scripted corporate speak that was likely cut and pasted from company form responses. I do not believe a thing coming from the CS dept. How could I? Why should I? Finally, the tech you sent out had to be frustrated that he told me everything the previous 5 or 6 techs have told me. Nearly word for word. His time would have been better spent sending to a house with an issue he was actually trained to resolve. You owe him an apology as well as appropriate additional compensation for his time. How incredibly rude and inconsiderate on Comcast part. So, if you want to do something to resolve this that will be meaningful, you can give me 18 months of free internet only service, and get someone in here soon that can replace the old analog cable in the walls of my home, with a digital cable. If I were you, I would also expect communication from the Better Business Bureau as well. Probably should check for posting about this On Yelp in the next few days as well.

Comcast: 🙁 Let me get somebody in your local market to call you. What’s the best number to reach you at? -EM

Me: What would be the point? What has happened in the last 18 months would convince me that anything different would happen?

Comcast: They’re the Escalations Team. It’s the once team that handles issues like this to make it right. -EM

Me: I have been told they will call before, so I am not holding my breath. Best number at the moment is xxx-xxx-xxxx. I am serious about what I said about keeping me. No less than 18 months free internet AND a tech to fish wire from the walls. Anything less is unacceptable. Absolutely no negotiation. Make sure they know that before calling me. I will no longer waste my time. This entire conversation is likely to be posted on my blog and linked on twitter and facebook. Today.

 


 

All is Well

I love Christmas music.  If you were to check my phone playlist, you would find Trans Siberian Orchestra, Peter Kendall Warren or Michael W. Smith Christmas music has probably been recently played.  At any time of the year.

Of all of the Christmas music I own, the one record that I have played more than any other, is Christmas, by Michael W. Smith.  Even at the age of 13, when the record was released, I was captivated.  For those of you who are familiar with producer Greg Nelson, who I have had the good fortune of meeting a couple of times, I have heard him say that this record is one of the finest Christmas records ever produced in Christian Music.  Smith self produced the is record.

I could put the whole record on repeat for hours, something that I tend to do with music I strongly resonate with, but the best song on the record, and my favorite Christmas hymn is “All is Well”.  Give it a listen:

 

Not only does the music grab my attention, but the Gospel astonishment of the lyrics as well.

All is well all is well

Angels and men rejoice

For tonight darkness fell

Into the dawn of love’s light

Sing A-le

Sing Alleluia

There is a fascinating and astonishing claim made in the opening line.  Things were not well at the time of Jesus birth.  Wars, rumors of wars, political unrest, the people of God held captive by the Roman state, poverty, confusion, violence, injustice, crime.  And in 2,000 years, not much has changed.  Yet, in the Gospel accounts and in this song, men and angels are called to rejoice.  On that night, darkness was dealt the first in a long line of fatal blows.

In Genesis 3, after our first parents sinned, God speaks to the serpent (think Satan), “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal.” (v15)  This He God refers to is Jesus, who will crush Satan.  Even in our first parents’ sin, God, in His great love for His people, makes provision for their salvation, and for ours.  The birth of Jesus is God’s opening salvo into His war to see His creation set to rights, and His people redeemed.  Truly a reason to sing Alleluia.

All is well all is well

Let there be peace on earth

Christ is come go and tell

That He is in the manger

Sing A-le

Sing Alleluia

 

Again, the astonishing claim that all is well, now with the invocation of Peace on Earth.  The Old Testament uses the word Shalom.  Shalom is related to the idea of peace, but has a far greater reach.  When I think of peace, many times, I think of the absence of war.  But Shalom is far more than that.  Shalom has far greater implication and reach.  Shalom is about the right ordering of all things.  Not just the absence of war, and the presence of real justice, but the need for war to be at an end.  For all eternity.  Not just an ending of hostilities, but the renewing and restoration of all relationships.  For all things to be as they were created to be.

With the first Advent of Jesus, an old world began to die, and a new one was birthed.  One where peace, no, better than mere peace, but the Shalom of God begins to break through and reign.  A new Kingdom, not of this world, brings light into dark places.  Starting in an animal stall in a little town called Bethlehem.  A Kingdom that advances, not by swords or legislation, not by electing the right people or party, not by doing or not doing a list of things, but by the transformation of hearts and minds in ways that can only happen and be sustained by the work of the Holy Spirit as He brings the Gospel to bear in every corner of creation.

All is well all is well

 

Lift up your voices and sing

Born is now Emmanuel

Born is our Lord and Savior

Sing Alleluia

Sing Alleluia

All is well

As I write this, I have had this song on constant repeat. I have a need to see the redemption of the Gospel. I need to be reminded that not only is the Gospel true, but that it has the power to redeem broken lives, hard situations, and damaged people. I need to see hope. I need to know that all is well, or at least it all will be well. The birth of Emmanuel, God with us, means that the Gospel can, and will comfort. There is a person I can take my sin to, there is One who will forgive, redeem, repurpose and restore.

I find the phrase “Lord and Savior” to also hold such hope and comfort. The One who is Sovereign over all things, that has ordered all things according to His good pleasure, who has the right to meet out judgment perfectly, is also Savior. He rightly judges our sin, and mercifully steps in as our redeemer. Not because we are good enough, or at least we are not as bad as I could be, not because we have anything that we can use to recommend ourselves to God, but because it is His good pleasure to redeem His people. It brings glory and honor to Himself. That’s one of the grand implications of being Sovereign Ruler over all of creation. What else can we do but sing. Alleluia.

 

Dryer Lint Adventures, Part Deaux

This will be short.  Electrician did not think that a permit needed to be obtained from city codes.  But the city codes dept. and the local electric company want a permit pulled and an inspection done by the codes dept.  Hopefully, the electrician will be able to pull the a permit and get an inspection scheduled today.  Please continue to pray for a quick resolution, but not at the expense of our safety.

It Turns Out That Dryer Lint Really is Flammable

After a couple of days of more than usual chaos, I have a bit of time to recount the events of the last few days.  I am going to be a bit brief, leaving out most of the details, and that mostly because I am only a lot tired.  There are some people that we have already told, but this is the easiest way to “inform the masses”.

Several weeks ago, we discovered that there was a leak in a water line behind the washing machine.  I fixed it, well, it was a fix that was ultimately temporary.  While I was out of town, my wife calls and tells me that that fix was, in fact, temporary.  She managed to deal with it.  I got got back home and tried a more permanent fix.  Sometimes, it is best to get the name brand, because sometimes, the name brand is actually better than the off brand. 

That one leak turned into 2 on the same pipe.  Finally, because the project became more time consuming than I could handle, and my wife called her dad.  He come and took on the project.  From this point, I may not have all of the details in, and I may even have a couple of details wrong, much of this stills feels like a blur.

By last Wednesday, we had 3/4 of the back wall of the laundry closet pulled out, and about half of the ceiling out.  We also discovered that the dryer vent pipe had an 8 inch gap.

WP_20140530_002

This is it.  Dryer lint that was suppose to be blowing out through the roof has been blowing into the ceiling above the dryer and inside the walls.  You might call it free insulation.  I did, but I do not recommend it.  This has been, as you see pictured to the left, for at least as long as we have lived there, and probably even before our landlord purchased it several years ago.  Before I go any further, our landlord has been fantastic, and there is no way he could have known about this.

I have a friend who has been in apartment maintenance for 20 years who offered to come over and sweat pipe if we needed it.  I took him up on it.  He came over on Thursday to sweat in hot and cold water valves for the washing machine.  He never got to it.

While he was looking at what he needed to do, and I assume also see what safety measures he would need to take, my father in law was trying to unclog a sink drain upstairs.  IN the process, one part of the drain connected with what we think was a ground wire, and there was an arc.  He flipped the switch a time or two and it arced again, causing a pile of dryer lint to flame up.

My boys are in Scouts.  Boy Scouts are encouraged to have a zip loc bag of dryer lint to help get a campfire started.  There is a reason for this.  Dryer lint is pretty easily flammable.  So, the pile of dryer lint inside the ceiling above the dryer catching fire is not a surprise.  I had a couple of fire extinguishers that I put near the laundry closet in case they were needed.  My wife and I were at work, while my father in law, friend and kids were at home.  The fire was put out.  A short time later they started to smell something funny.  There seemed to be some smoldering, and they were not sure if it was where the original fire was or if it was in the walls somewhere else.  They called the fire dept.  By providential grace, the trucks arrived fairly quickly.  Someone decided to pull the rest of the ceiling in the laundry closet down, and plop, the pile of dryer lint that fell was what was smoldering.  To be clear, no one was harmed, nor is there any property damage from the fire.

Given the situation, the electric company was called in and they pulled the meter box.  And that left our home without power.  We can get the meter box back after we have an electrical inspection.

We had an inspection today (Monday) of sorts.  The fire investigators said that an electrician could pull power into a house and do an inspection even if the meter was gone.  The electrician today apparently could not do that.  He did inspect the localized area, and will be getting a report to us that we can hopefully take to the electric company to get our meter box back in.  At that point a more thorough inspection can take place and issues addressed.

We spent the Thursday and Friday nights with some friends that introduced us to our landlord.  They had room and graciously let us invade their otherwise quiet home.  We are currently house sitting for friends who are out of town, and need their dogs looked after while they are away.  We can go back to the first house if we need to, so we have a roof over our heads.  As of this writing on Monday night, we are waiting for the report to come in.

A few people have made various offers of help, and those are greatly appreciated.  We are writing this for a couple of reasons:

1)There are several friends and family members who do not know and as was stated earlier, this is the easiest way to inform the masses.

2) We would like you to pray.  Pray for our nerves, as they can be shot when you are displaced in the best of circumstances.  Pray that this is completely resolved quickly, but more important, rightly.  We want all of the issues we don’t know about found and dealt with.  If that takes a little longer, that is fine with us.  Pray for our landlord.  He has made an investment in a property that has some problems that must be addressed.  Pray that these are not expensive.  He may or may not be financially better off than we are, either way, I do not believe this was something any of us could have known about.  He is being inconvenienced just in different ways than we are.

At this point, prayer is the immediate need.  As things change in the next day or so, we will post updates at the top of this post. 

Freedom Matters – The Constitution – Part 10 –Amendments 21 – 27

This is the last post on the Constitution and the Amendments.

Amendment 21

1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

3. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Amendment 22

1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

This should be done for the House and Senate as well.  If we need to “grandfather” in those who are currently serving, fine.  But the House and Senate need term limits yesterday.

Amendment 23

1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 24

1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

Another amendment that is worthy of consideration is one that would untie the Republican and Democrat parties from a place of special privilege in the election process.  Let political parties exist, but give them no government support whatsoever.  Let the parties win, loose, rise and fall on their own merits, or lack thereof.  Also, do do away with the ridiculous hoops that 3rd parties must jump through to get on the ballot, while the donkey’s and elephants do not have to jump those same hoops.  What is required of one party, should be required of all.  What privileges one party enjoys, all parties should enjoy.

Amendment 25

1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Amendment 26

1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 27

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Another amendment that should be passed.  Stop paying Congressmen and Senators from the federal treasury.  Let them be compensated by those that sent them to DC.  In the House, let each district set the compensation for the people they elect to the House.  And it should be on the ballot every election.

For Senators, they should be appointed to the Senate by the state legislatures.  Let the state legislature set the Senators compensation when they select their Senators.

These changes should put the representatives much closer to the ones that they have been elected to represent.  The special interest then become the people that put them in office.

Freedom Matters – The Constitution – Part 9 –Amendments 11 – 20

Amendment 11 –

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Amendment 12 –

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Amendment 13

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 14

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of theUnited States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against theUnited States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Amendment 15

1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

Amendment 16

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Given the classism used to get the 16 Amendment passed, it should be repealed.  This was the first time that the argument “The rich should pay their fair share” was successful in the US.  The 156 Amendment is immoral as it punishes achievement.  Along with the Federal Reserve Act, have created more financial problems for the United States than they have solved.

 

Amendment 17

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

This is another amendment that needs repealed.  The states themselves have no representation in Washington, so Congress can do what it wants to the states, and the states have no recourse.

While the Constitutional method of state legislatures has its difficulty, the people directly electing Senators is an even less ideal method.  The Senate is suppose to be a bit more removed, and a deliberative.  The choosing of Senators by the state legislatures makes that possible.  Direct election of Senators by the people puts the Senate at the whim of the electorate.  That is already the case in the House, and it should be.  But the Senate must be more removed.

Amendment 18

1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

This amendment was, thankfully, abolished.  It was out of step with the tone of the Constitution as a whole, which severely restricts the power of the federal government, and maximizes the freedom of the people.  This amendment does the exact opposite. 

Additionally, the theological framework that was used my the prohibitionist/ temperance movement is unbiblical.  There is no place in Scripture where total, and full abstaining from alcoholic beverages is commanded.  No where.  It does not exist.  There are specific instances that abstaining from alcohol is commanded, but never a general, blanket prohibition.  I have spent a great deal of time looking and it just isn’t there.  In short, the problem is not the consumption of a substance, it is the sin in the heart of man that turns a substance into an idol, and thus the substance is abused.

Finally, the prohibition of alcohol did not stop the consumption of it.  Production and distribution went underground.  And tax revenue was lost.  Once repealed, a whole new set of problems were created.  Access was artificially limited to age, which is part of the reason we have such an underage drinking problem today.  Had the government let the people deal with the consequences of their actions, I contend that the alcoholism of the time would have eventually reduced.  We would not have an artificial rite of passage around a substance.  The church and the government has handled this poorly, and we still suffer from bad theology, exegesis, and law. 

Amendment 19

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment 20

1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

Freedom Matters–The Constitution–Part 6-Article 4–The States

Section 1 – Each State to Honor all Others

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

With the recent debates over marriage, it will be interesting to see what challenges to this section of the 4th amendment will be considered. My own view is that marriage is first a theological notion, and thus a matter for the church, not the state.  Based on the 10th Amendment. it is a matter for individuals, or the states, not the federal government.

Section 2 – State Citizens, Extradition

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

(No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.) (This clause in parentheses is superseded by the 13th Amendment.)

Section 3 – New States

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Section 4 – Republican Government

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Freedom Matters–The Constitution–Part 5–Article 3 The Judicial Branch

Section 1 – Judicial Powers

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section 2 – Trial by Jury, Original Jurisdiction, Jury Trials

(The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.) (This section in parentheses is modified by the 11th Amendment.)

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have originalJurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section 3 – Treason

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treasonunless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Gay Marriage is Not the Point, Free Speech Is.

Here is the timeline of events:

On July 16, 2012 the Baptist Press posted an interview with Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-Fil-A.  Make sure you read the entire interview.

Then on July 20, Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston MA, makes some strong comments about how he feels about Dan Cathy’s answer to a question.

Later that day, a letter from the mayor to Dan Cathy is released, and goes viral.

Since then, all kinds of comments have gone back and forth over the issue of gay marriage, and Chick-Fil-A.  Mike Huckabee started up a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” page on Facebook.  Blogs have been written.  The following I found interesting:

  1. Why I’m Not Eating At Chick-Fil-A Today
  2. Some words for Christians on both sides of the Chick-fil-A war
  3. Chick-fil-A Draws Crowds (Not Just for the Waffle Fries)
  4. Farewell Chick-fil-A
  5. Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day: A bold mistake

Please read all of them so that you have the full context that my comments are made in.

All 5 of these articles are wrong.  All of them.  Some of them spectacularly so.  All of them miss the point, unintentionally or otherwise. 

The point is not gay marriage.  That being said, I hold to a traditional view of marriage, but that is a topic we can debate in another post.  FYI, please feel free to use the comments section below this post, but anything said about gay marriage I will not respond to here, I want to keep this on point, because everywhere else we are getting distracted by what I believe is the real issue, free speech.

The real problem in all of this is the right of a business owner to answer a question that was asked of him without fear of reprisal or intimidation by a politician acting like a bully and a thug.  The mayor of Boston was spectacularly out of line, and way overstepping his authority as mayor to threaten to make the approval process for any business difficult because the owner of that business has different political and religious views than the mayor.  It is beyond his authority, and an abuse of his office.  No one, gay, straight, pro traditional marriage, pro gay marriage, should tolerate such abuse.   

For a politician to be so abusive of his office demands that his continued holding of that office be questioned.  His other decisions should be looked at very carefully and the people he claims to represent should very seriously consider removing him from office.  We live in a time where politicians no longer care about the rule of law, but are more concerned with staying in power.  Every decision is calculated, many focus grouped, and held against the consideration of what groups they will isolate, and if they can make up those losses by playing to one segment of the population.

At the end of the day, this Chick-Fil-A thing is a distraction.  It is about fueling up 2 sides that will never agree on an issue, and adding a match to the fuel, while other issues can fly under the radar.  Don’t play the game.  Ignore the distraction.

If it helps any, marriage is first a theological notion, with civil implications, not a civil notion.  That being said, the government should not have anything to do with marriage.  It is completely an issue for the church, or religious organizations.  The whole marriage license that you get from your local government, guess what?  It’s a tax scam.  Take the government out of it, and you take away a political issue, and politicians will have to find another issue to hold people hostage so that the politician can stay in power.

Can we actually have a rational discussion about gay marriage?  I think we can.  Will the 2 sides ever agree?  No, I don’t think so.  But that is not a bad thing.  There are some things we will not completely agree on, and some of those issues will require we walk somewhat separate paths.  We can do that without hating each other.  Specifically to the church, Kevin DeYoung has some incredibly wise words for every denomination struggling with this issue.

I want to end this post with a few comments to a few groups of people affected by this media driven hype.

1) To those who, like me, subscribe to the traditional view of marriage, this is not about gay marriage.  Please don’t shove your chicken sandwich in the faces of those who disagree with you on the issue.  Remember that this is about the ability of a private citizen to express an opinion without the fear or reprisal or intimidation by a politician.  Be nice to those who disagree with you on gay marriage.  They are human beings created in God’s image, just as broken and sinful as you are.

2) To those who do agree with gay marriage, this is not about gay marriage. When you protest Dan Cathy’s position, please remember that he has the same right to state his opinion as you do.

I actually went to Chick-Fil-A tonight.  Like all 1600 other CFA’s in the nation, it took forever to get in.  There were 6 guys standing right next to the building holding home made protest signs for everyone in drive thru and everyone walking into the restaurant to see.  They were protesting Dan Cathy’s statement ON CHICK-FIL-A PROPERTY.  The First Amendment grants the right of protest but not on someone else’s property.  Believe it or not, the property that CFA is on is not public.  It’s private.  The CFA operators allowed these guys to protest when they did not have to allow it.  They even offered the guys dinner on the house. 

I mention this to say that Chick-Fil-A does not hate the gay community.  Neither does the company refuse to hire or serve someone based on who they are or are not sleeping with, and to say otherwise is uninformed slander.

3) To the gay community.  The church has failed you.  We have not loved you well.  We have preached against sin without repenting of our own and expecting you to understand what we are talking about.  We have poorly made our case.  Many of us are repenting of our failure.  Please be patient with us.  We may never change our view on marriage, but we can hold the view without malice or hatred.  We are not all Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church.

4) To the media, and the politicians that would pit one group against another.  More and more people are realizing what you are up to.  We can clearly see that you stir the pot to keep yourselves in power.  Your days of starting this nonsense are coming to an end.

Finally, remember, this is not about gay marriage.  This is about media and politicians stirring up trouble, distracting everyone from other issues that are flying under radar, all to keep them in power.  It is also about the right of you and I to have opinions that we will never agree on, and our right to state those opinions, without fear of reprisal or intimidation by political bully or thug.