Monday, August 16, 2010

The Footpath Chapter 5

Her pain was intense. She opened her eyes expecting to be lying in the half plowed field. But that’s not where she was. Confusion clouded her mind. Where was she and how did she get here. Everything was cloudy and out of focus. There was someone in the room. She knew by the form she saw – although who it was remained a mystery. She could see no details. It was like she was living in a world of sketches with no substance. She was lying down – that she knew for sure. Beyond that fact everything else was mystery. How she longed to go back to sleep.

Sleep wasn’t an option. Extreme, agonizing pain tore at her mind. As near as she could tell the pain was coming from her hip or her leg. Her mind was having trouble recognizing the exact source of the pain. She concluded right now it didn’t make that much difference. She needed to deal with the pain not examine it. It occurred to her as long as she was feeling pain her body was still working like it should. For her, at this particular time, pain was a good thing.

“Funny how perspectives change with a change in circumstances,” she thought. She would have never welcomed pain before. But now it seemed like a friend (albeit an ornery one!)

The events leading up to this pain began to replay themselves in her mind. It was almost like she was on auto pilot. Her mind had a mind of its own, if that made any sense at all. She remembered waking up that morning (or was it yesterday morning, doesn’t matter) excited about being with her dad. She was going to spend hours with him plowing the field.

She remembered having breakfast with him. It was a big farmer’s breakfast – eggs, home fries with mom’s wonderful gravy and pancakes drizzled with their own maple syrup. They needed a good breakfast because they would be spending hours preparing the field for planting. How she had enjoyed that breakfast. Mom cooked such good meals.

Before going out into the field they had to feed the chickens, gather the eggs, milk the small herd of Holsteins and lead them out to pasture. She remembered thinking “no wonder dad gets up at 5:00 a.m. By the time he eats breakfast and gets the chores done its 6:30 a.m. and dad always wanted to avoid the heat of the day when plowing the fields.” He wasn’t always successful. He knew farming was the one occupation where “make hay while the sun shines” was literally true.

When she got to the barn her dad was busy attaching the plow to the tractor. After dad checked the oil and filled the gas tank he walked to the front of the tractor and with one crank of the engine the tractor leaped to life. Dad climbed aboard first then helped Arlene to a spot near his seat. He pushed the clutch, shifted into second gear and they were on their way to the field.

She remembered getting to the field but nothing after that.

Out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of movement. The figure she had seen near the corner of the room was slowly moving toward her. How she wished she could see more clearly. Was the figure someone she knew or an apparition? If it was an apparition was it good or bad? If it was good, like the angel of death, or something, was she near death? It seemed a thousand questions ran through her hurting head. This was the first time she noticed it. Her head was throbbing. Now she had something else to worry about - did she have brain damage? The fact that she was asking herself this question gave her a sense of comfort. Would someone who had brain damage ask themselves this question? But if she did have some kind of internal brain injury then perhaps the figure she had seen wasn’t real. It did look other-worldly.

She glanced toward the place where she had first seen the figure. A twinge of fear released itself through her body. The figure was gone! How could that possibly have happened unless she really did have a concussion or worse? But didn’t concussions make a person feel sick? She didn’t feel sick. That was a good thing, wasn’t it? At that moment she realized she didn’t feel hunger either. What was going on?

Again she glanced toward the corner where the figure had been. More fear surged! Now there were two figures. It looked like they were talking to each other. What kind of plans could they be making? Were they talking about her? Both figures began moving toward her. For the first time she felt intense dread.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Footpath - chapter four

After the mines closed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula employment opportunities plummeted. Many people who had called the U.P. their home left for greener pastures. Those who stayed remained because of their love for the land. There was no possibility of abundant living. Of course there were those flatlanders who vacationed in the peninsula and the money they spent was welcomed. But when the snow came and ice closed the channel all grew still and quiet except for their stomachs. Living off the land was not as easy as some made it sound. There had been those who wove romantic tales of self-sufficiency. There were others who believed the tales. But those who lived there knew self-sufficiency really meant being satisfied with less “sufficiency” than before. When the going really got tough one small meal a day would suffice.

David’s father loved the land and loved the small farm he had worked for nearly twenty years. He found pleasure in studying trends of crops. Which crop would bring the most money per bushel next year? His choice of which crop to plant was a vital part of farming to him. The more years he worked the farm the more accurate his predictions had become. There seemed to be a correlation between experience and correct choices.

His dad had taken every opportunity to teach David about life and living it well. The farm provided a perfect backdrop for life’s object lessons. While sitting on the porch one warm summer evening sipping cold, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and swaying back and forth in the porch swing the conversation began.

“You know how much I love this farm, don’tcha Dave?

A strange way to begin a conversation, David thought, then answered ”course I do.” He glanced down at his dust covered sneakers and once again his attention was focused on his aching feet. It had been a long hard day. Every muscle screamed for rest. Yet, the day had been wonderful. And the lemonade? The lemonade was oh so good.

“Do you know why I love this farm?”

“Yea, ‘cause you spent a lot of your life here.”

Dad chuckled. “Of course, that’s part of it but there’s another reason.”

David wondered what other reason there could be. Maybe the refreshing lemonade at day’s end was a reason. Or perhaps the breaks they were able to take during the day spending their time sitting in the shade and fishing in the creek.

“The real reason I love this farm is ‘cause it has been the best teacher I have ever had in my life.”

David thought of his teachers at school. There weren’t too many teachers he would put into the category of best. He really didn’t like school all that much. When someone asked him what part of school he liked his standard answer was “the part where I get to leave.” He didn’t like any of his teachers this year. Of course next year he might have Mrs. Brown…

His thoughts were interrupted by his dad’s bass voice.

“Look around, Dave, what do you see?”

“I see work,” he quipped

“Look closer.”

“I see hay fields and corn fields, animals that need to be fed and milked, a dog, three cats and a dead mouse.”

“Let me tell you what I see. I see progress. When we first moved to this farm the fields had been left alone for a while. They were overgrown with multi-flora rose, queen ann’s lace, poison ivy and poison oak with a little sumac thrown in for good measure. Each day would be another challenge. I wanted to quit or take a few days off but I couldn’t. The farm depended on me. One day off would lead to another and another and the fields would start being overgrown with weeds again. I just couldn’t let that happen.”

His pause let Dave know this was an important subject. He needed time to process and remember what was being said. When his dad was convinced the pause had done its job he continued.

“So I got in the habit of doing certain things at certain times. I learned what to do to accomplish as much as I could in each season of the year. In the winter when snow covers the fields I make repairs on the machinery. Plow points need to be replaced, several bearings in the bailer need to be replaced, the corn planter needs welding and the plates may need to be replaced. I want to have all of this kind of stuff done before we need to use them again. In the spring the fields have to inspected, larger rocks removed, plowed, disked and planted. The summer and fall are harvest time. Nature never hurries anything so we have to learn to work with the seasons not against them.”

“Okay, dad, can I go play now. My lemonade’s gone.”

“I know you don’t understand all of this yet but one day what I am telling you will all make sense. I am leading up to something you need to remember.”

“It must be really important.”

“”It is.”

“Can I get another lemonade then?”

“Sure, go ahead and fill my glass while you’re at it. I’ll wait but don’t be gone too long.”

When David returned his father had a faraway look in his eyes. “What could be so important,” he wondered. He didn’t ask knowing his dad would eventually tell him if he needed to know. He sat on the porch swing again and handed the lemonade to his dad.

His dad picked up the conversation where he left off.

“Those fields I was talkin’ about and the seasons are lessons we need for livin’ our life.”

“Really? I thought they were just dirt and warm and cold.”

“Nope, they’re far more than that.”

David thought “Dad has been in the field way too long. Maybe the sun finally fried his brain.” He thought it best to keep his thoughts to himself. His dad looked like he was thinking hard too.

“What I’ve discovered in my years of farmin’ is what life’s all about. See, the field is like a person’s life. A field can’t give back more than it has in it. There are things called “nutrients” in the soil. It’s the stuff that makes crops grow big. Of course what the plants take out of the soil has to be put back. In the early spring I have to add fertilizer to the soil in order for us to get good crops. It’s a lot like life. Can’t get any more out of our life than what we’ve put in. Ever wonder why some people have so many problems?”

“Well, now that you mention it I do. I’ve noticed one of my friends seems to lie a lot. Another one of my friends steals things from people’s yards but he calls in borrowing.”

“Without the good stuff going in to a life no good stuff can come out just like a field.”

“What good stuff?”

“Oh, you know, stuff like truth, nobility, what is right, pure, lovely honorable and honest – these kinds of things.”

“Dad, you can’t just go out and buy these like fertilizer.”

“No you can’t. These things are free but most don’t know where to find them. And even if they did they don’t just grow wild in the soil we call our life. Just like I prepare the field for planting our life has to be prepared for planting too. In life, like farming, the soil is important but so are the seeds. Even after I have done everything I can to guarantee a good crop – there is never a guarantee. There are certain things only God can do. Rain and thunderstorms and sunshine, well, He’s in charge of these.”

“Why are you tellin’ me all this, dad?”

“Mostly ‘cause you are growin’ up an’ I want to make sure you are doing it right. But there’s something else botherin’ me some.”

“What is botherin’ you, dad?”

“You know how hard its been the last few years, right. Been hard to pull ahead money wise with the price fluctuations for crops lately. I have done all I can do but I think God is preparing the field of my life for another crop.”

“Is this a riddle, ‘cause I don’t understand what you are sayin.’”

“I am trying to tell you I don’t think I can keep the farm…”

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Footpath - chapter three

It was cold, bitterly cold. The wind drove the cold through his wool coat and into his bones. He had heard stories of people who froze to death in the bitter temperatures of Upper Michigan. Was he the next victim? It didn’t seem so. People who died of hypothermia gradually fell asleep. He was waking up. How could the winter have arrived so soon? He craved warmth – somewhere – anywhere, but there was only the bone jarring frigidness of an uncontrolled Michigan winter.

David was born and raised in Manistique, Michigan, a larger city in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula situated on the north shore of Lake Michigan about 75 miles from the Mackinaw Bridge. Of course, during his early years there was no bridge. Anyone who wanted to visit the flatlanders would take a ferry across the chasm of water separating Upper and Lower Michigan. This worked fine for the months when the water flowed freely. But when the ice formed the two pieces of land were separated for a few months – almost half a year would be more truthful. There were those people who would journey onto the ice and walk across. Some of the u-pers owned dog teams or snow machines and would venture across the ice to visit family and friends on the other side. Some came back; many didn’t. David often wondered what happened to those who failed to return. Sometimes he would make up stories to explain their disappearance. Perhaps they were traveling on a sun bright day and suffered snow blindness. Perhaps they were a little too sure of themselves and unaware of the thinning ice pack until it was too late. Perhaps they simply found life below easier or more interesting than life in the U.P. He wondered did they find a good reason to stay or did they just never make it to the other side? No one knew for sure. The uncertainty was reason enough for David to stay where he was. He had no desire to tempt fate. At least not this early in his life.

No wonder he was cold. He was helping his dad tend a winter trapline. It was exhausting work. It seemed he had broken six or eight miles of trail. He probably hadn’t because dad was the one who normally broke trail. But if being tired and hungry was any indication he had broken trail for hours. It was tough going in the winter but made more so by the snowshoes he was wearing. His snowshoes were smaller than his dad’s. They were called bear paw’s although they were much larger than the pas of even the biggest black bear. His dad was wearing his beavertail snowshoes. They had been given this name because they were shaped like a beaver with a protruding tail of the wood frame extending behind the webbing. They were also called Michigan snowshoes presumably because they had been invented in Michigan.

They had made water sets for mink – but any muskrat and martin they trapped were welcome too. Of course the prices were not high and it seemed to David the work of skinning, scraping and stretching was worth far more than what was being paid for the fur. But the days were tough. His dad was never able to land a high paying job. He did what he could to keep food on the table and clothes on the backs of his wife and five children. Dad had learned something no one could learn except through deprivation. David could see it in his eyes. He knew one day he would have the courage to ask his dad why he still had a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step. Now was not the right time.

He had learned to hunt, trap and fish for survival and enjoyment at an early age. In fact, if David wasn’t doing chores on the family farm he could be found in the woods or along one of his favorite streams. He was captivated by nature. Every day, if he was observant enough, he would uncover a new secret in nature’s abundant array of solutions. His world was fascinating.

The extreme cold of today left little time for exploration and discovery. Dad and he were checking traps as fast as possible removing any animals who had stepped into the trap and resetting the trap for another catch in the next couple of days. Because of the cold weather not many animals had ventured out. Their catch so far was sparse. It had been a nice walk except for the shivering.

“Hey, dad, you getting’ cold?”

“I’m a little cool but this isn’t too bad. The temp is still above zero. It’s quite a pleasant winter’s day, if I do say so myself.”

“Are you sure you’re only a little cool? I think my fingers are frostbit.”

“Just keep moving them. We’ll be home soon.”

Those words, “home soon” were music to his ears. He liked being outside but like dad always said when he wanted to quit what he was doing “too much of a good thing isn’t good.” He almost stopped in the middle of the trail to dream about home – being in the cabin once again enjoying the family. Of course being in the cabin would take him out of the cold too.

“C’mon son, stopped lollygagging. We have to keep moving if we are going to get home in time for supper.”

“Dad, why do you enjoy trapping?”

“Well, not sure enjoyment is a word I would use. It’s more of a necessity for us. I have learned necessities are easier if you discover something enjoyable in them. I enjoy being outside in the winter. Some folks want to stay in and when the time for spring planting comes they are almost too weak to work. I don’t ever want to be like that. I could be, I know. So trapping is an excuse for me to get outside and enjoy God’s frosting on His cake.”

“Frozen cake you mean! Everything is so lifeless and dead”

“Even in the cold life doesn’t stop. Oh, it may take a nap but life is still here. The birds still flit about. The rabbits still explore. The foxes still run after the rabbits. The squirrels still scamper trying to remember where they put that lost nut. The deer still walk about munching on cedar trees. And the coyotes and timber wolves still prowl. There’s a lot of life to be seen in the winter.”

“Well, I’m not feeling much life in my fingers. My fingertips have stopped hurting and have turned into icicles.”

“Remember what I told you earlier – keep movin’ ‘em. You need to help the blood get all the way to the fingertips. When you give up in cold weather you begin to die – sometimes one finger at a time.”

“I know but they hurt when I move ‘em.”

“They wouldn’t hurt if movin’ ‘em wasn’t helpin’.”

“Okay, I’ll keep ‘em movin’. Is there anything else you like about trappin’?”

“Well I’ve discovered a lot about the devil from my trapline.”

“You’re kiddin’, right?”

“No, I’m serious. Of course it will take some time for me to share what I’ve learned and I would rather do that after you have discovered some ways trappin’ and the devil are alilke. Besides we are not so far from home right now. Let’s get this mink out of the trap and check the last two fox sets before it gets any darker. The cabin is only a half mile from here. You know what’s there?”

“A warm fire and a hot meal?”

“Exactly!” Dad said, with a smile. His smile always brought a feeling of warmth and security to David.

He imagined the warmth of the fire and the great meal he would have. He hadn’t noticed how hungry he was. A sandwich and a cup of tea at noon had helped but that was six hours ago. His hunger crowded out his thoughts of cold.

Shortly, however, his thoughts of hunger would be replaced by panic. The stillness of the dark evening was suddenly interrupted with a flash of bright light and an ear piercing explosion…

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Footpath - chapter two

Arlene was lost in her own little world – a world of tranquility and sunshine. Reminiscing about her childhood as she drove she relived her carefree days on the farm. She had to get up at sunrise and would put in a full day’s work but the satisfaction of accomplishment at day’s end was immensely gratifying. In her mind she was much closer to God on the farm than she was in the suburbs. Was she closer to Him because she depended upon Him more or was it because she didn’t have as many responsibilities? Perhaps, she thought, responsibilities steal our dependence on God.

She remembered the first time she was allowed to ride on the tractor with her dad. She felt so grown up, even though she was only seven years old. It was a bumpy, jostling ride to the field. When they arrived her dad had stopped the tractor giving her time to take in the beauty of everything around them. She had never seen a field like this one. It seemed to stretch into the horizon.

“Whatcha thinkin’ ‘bout?” her dad had asked.

“Dad, it’s beautiful” she replied. “I love the flowers growing here.” “Did you plant them?”

“Nope they’re just flowers that come up wild.” “But take a good look ‘cause they won’t be here for long.”

“Why do you say that?”

“This field needs to be plowed. It means the flowers will be destroyed by the plow. We hafta git this field ready for plantin’. When you plant a new crop everythin’ in the field has to go. You ready?”

“I guess so.” She wasn’t really sure what was going to happen but she was with her dad and that seemed to make everything okay.

The plow was lowered and the tractor began groaning as it pulled its weight through stubborn soil. She thought about his words every time new furrows were plowed. “When you plant a new crop everythin’ in the field has to go.” Her dad was right. Everything did have to go. The plow had no mercy on the field. She glanced across the field. The plow had done its job. The wild flowers were gone. All that was left was freshly turned earth. She like the smell but felt sad for the flowers.

They were a church going family and her dad took opportunities like this to help his children become better acquainted with the Bible. Her dad kept one eye on the plow as he shared what he called ‘God things.”

“Did you know the Bible has a lot to say ‘bout farmin’?” he asked. He didn’t wait for an answer. “Everthin’ you see out here was started by God. Fact is, God loves farmin’ so much He started His work right on a farm. It’s a fact!”

Arlene’s eyes grew wide. She had never heard anything like this before. She felt an out of the ordinary excitement and curiosity. She waited with anticipation for the next revelation from her dad.

“The Bible tells us God made man from the dust of the ground then put the breath of life in him. While Adam watched, God planted a garden with trees of ev’ry kind an’ put a river right through it’s middle and then put Adam there – tol’ him to take care of th’ land.”

She could hear the pleasure increasing in his voice. Dad loved talking about the Bible with his kids.

The words were scarcely out of his mouth when the tractor suddenly lurched as the plow jumped out of the ground. Arlene, who had been sitting on the rear fender was thrown from the tractor and slammed to the ground. Everything went black…

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Footpath - chapter one

“Finally here!” That was the thought in their minds when they awakened. They hoped the weatherman’s prediction was accurate – sunny and warm with a 10% chance of precipitation. What a beautiful day to begin their journey.

They had packed the night before in order to get an early start in the morning. The alarm had gone off at precisely 5:30 a.m. Breakfast was hurried because of the mounting excitement. They were out the door by 6:30 a.m. traveling by car to their drop off point. This was going to be the trip of a lifetime.

“They” were a father and two sons. The father, David, was an experienced hiker. Of the two sons, Josh was the oldest and Edward the youngest. This would be their first long hike together and they looked forward to the adventure.

David’s wife, Arlene, had grudgingly agreed to drop her “three boys” off. She was not an early riser and couldn’t understand their excitement. “It must be one of those weird male things,” she thought to herself. She wondered why they could be so eager to get up at 5:30 a.m. to take a long walk and be so unenthusiastic when it came to cleaning the basement.

The car left the highway and began its meandering journey down a country road. The speed of the car now greatly reduced only caused the anxiety of the three males to build. They began to complain about her lack of speed when suddenly a speeding pickup truck rounded a blind corner nearly colliding with their vehicle. Arlene was quite shaken by the near collision and had to stop the car and take a couple of minutes to put herself back together. “I never have liked these dirt roads,” she spouted. “You can’t see far enough ahead to avoid what’s hurtling toward you.”

The speed of their travel slowed significantly but no one complained. That was one near miss which was too close for comfort. Besides the slow speed gave David and his two sons a chance to begin noticing some of the peculiar beauty of the open fields and wooded acreage they would soon call home. Their excitement had dropped to a manageable level which seemed to bring peace to Arlene.

Arlene had not liked the idea of this trip from the beginning. What she had experienced early in her life had continued to haunt her to this very day. Dave didn’t bring it up very often because it always seemed to upset her. Josh and Edward didn’t even know about it. When David had first talked with her about this trip she was absolute in her stance – David would never take her sons on this kind of trip. David’s argument had been this kind of trip would give Josh and Edward a life experience which would help them to more fully understand and appreciate what Jesus had said so many years ago. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) The words “narrow” and “small” had a disturbing impact in her life. She was sure these words disturbed other people too. Would she ever be free of the feelings which wouldn’t die?

Her thoughts retraced those terrible days she had experienced years ago. Why couldn’t she let them go? What gave them so much power over her? She was so overcome by these thoughts she never heard David’s warning…

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Ethics of Big Business

I have a friend who attended a recent auto union gathering.  The members were assembled to vote on a new agreement with General Motors (actually Big Government Motors).  There were concessions they would have to make if they were going to keep their jobs.  I understand voting to lose benefits for yourself.  Jobs are scarce and everyone has to make adjustments.  What I don't understand or agree with is Joe Union Worker voting to eliminate the benefits of workers who have retired.  Retired workers were promised certain benefits.  Now they no longer exist.  I guess union workers really don't care about former union people.  The attitude seems to be "kick 'em to the curb."

What I am really miffed about is healthy workers eliminating court ordered payments from GM to workers who were injured on the job.  Because of the lackadaisical attitude of management and a failure to follow safety procedures my friend was hit by a forktruck.  GM was declared to be at fault by a judge and ordered to pay $$$$ every month to this injured worker.  The responsibility of GM to continue to pay workers injured on their watch has been overturned by a union vote.  My anger is boiling because at the urging of union leadership fellow union members have voted to override a judgement in a court of law.  How can this be legal?  In fact, how can this be moral or ethical?  When will we begin to look at things from the other person's point of view as well as our own BEFORE we make a final decision?  One day those who made this awful decision will likely be "kicked to the curb" by others.  After all some principles never die.  Among those is this one "we reap what we sow."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Unite - Are You Kidding?

This is not original with me.  I received it in an e-mail.  The author is not identified.  I share the ideas presented here and wanted to share it with you.

I have noted that many elected officials, both Democrats and  Republicans, called upon America to unite behind Obama.  Well, I want to  make it clear to all who will listen that I AM NOT uniting behind Obama! 

I will always respect the Office which he holds, and I will acknowledge his developing abilities as an orator and wordsmith, But that is it. 

I have begun today to see what I can do to make sure that he is a one-term President! 

Why am I doing this? 

It is because I do not share Obama's vision for America;

I do not share his Abortion beliefs;

I do not  share his radical Marxist's concept of re-distributing wealth;

I do not  share his stated views on raising taxes on those who make $150,000+ (the  ceiling has been changed three times since August...I think it started at $250,000); 

I do not share his view that the military should be reduced by 25%; 

I do not share his views on homosexuality and his definition of marriage;

I do not share his spiritual beliefs (at least the ones he has made public);

I do not share his beliefs on how to re-work the healthcare system in America;

I do not share his Strategic views of the Middle East, and certainly do not share his plan to sit down with terrorist regimes such as Iran. 

Bottom line, my America is vastly different from Obama's, and I have a higher obligation to my Country and my God to do what is Right! 

For eight (8) years, the Liberals in our Society, led by numerous entertainers who would have no platform and no real credibility but for their celebrity status, have attacked President Bush, his family, and his spiritual beliefs! 

They have not moved toward the center in their beliefs or their philosophies, and they never came together nor compromised their personal beliefs for the betterment of our Country! 

They have portrayed my America as a land where everything is tolerated except being intolerant! 

They have been a vocal and irreverent minority for years; they have mocked and attacked the very core values so important to the founding and growth of our Country! 

They have made every effort to remove the name of God or Jesus Christ from our Society! 

 They have challenged capital punishment, the right to bear firearms, and the most basic principles of our criminal code; they have attacked one of the most fundamental of all Freedoms, the right of  free speech! 

Unite behind Obama? 

Not today. 

I am sure many of you who read this think that I am going overboard, but I refuse to retreat one more inch in favor of those whom I believe are sheep being led to slaughter, or at least to the kool-aid fountain!   

PRESIDENT BUSH made many mistakes during his Presidency and I am not sure how history will judge him. 

However, I believe that he weighed his decisions in light of the long established Judeo-Christian principles of our Founding Fathers!!! 

Majority rules in America , and I will honor the concept; however, I will fight to be a voice in opposition to Obama and "his goals for America ." 

I am going to be a thorn in the side of those  who, if left unchecked, will destroy our Country!!  Any more compromise is  more defeat! 

I pray that the results of this election will wake up many who have sat on the sidelines and allowed the Socialist-Marxist, anti-God crowd to slowly change so much of what has been good in America ! 

"Error of Opinion may be tolerated where Reason is left free 
to combat it."  (Thomas Jefferson) 

God bless you and God bless our Country!!!