May All of Your Wishes. . . .

The three cars ahead of me were stopped for no apparent reason, and I was in a hurry to get to work. Then I saw the deer. Four deer had crossed, and one was gingerly picking her way across the asphalt. Once she got to the side of the road, she ran. The drivers, congratulating themselves on their kindness no doubt, then proceeded. “Idiots,” I said out loud. In Teller County, we have lots of deer and few predators. Deer sleep in my yard, eat my garden, and fertilize the street. They are ubiquitous, and cars are the only real way to cull the herd. I drive to Colorado Springs every day, and every week I see 1-2 deer killed by the side of the road. In spring and fall (the time change really seems to mess with the deer), it’s sometimes 1-2 a day. I blame the courteous drivers. They teach the deer that cars and asphalt aren’t dangerous. I like deer too. That’s why I honk my horn and use my car to encourage them to get the hell off of the road. Yes, I slow down; but I refuse to stop. I want them to be scared of my car. I’m trying to teach them how to survive in a human environment.

My wife thinks I’m mean, but I think I am practical. That’s why I applaud the efforts of Mayor Jack Seller of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to get rid of the homeless. Exhibit A, in what is a trend by cities across the Sunbelt, is the arrest of Pastors Dwayne Black, Mark Sims and retired chef Arnold Abbott. These men were arrested and ticketed for feeding the homeless. Mayor Jack understands that feeding the homeless just encourages them to stay on the streets instead of finding a minimum wage job so they can afford a refrigerator box to live in. He understands that the taxpayers and tourists do not want to be confronted with the sight and smell of homeless people when they go to a public park or beach. What drunken college student wants to be interrupted in mid puke by a homeless vet trying to keep his sleeping bag clean? The fact that the homeless pay taxes too, and at a much higher percentage than most people, is of little importance. It takes a serious tax base to afford to support a city government in prime Florida real estate.

If anything, the Ft. Lauderdale city government needs to get tougher. Chef Arnold was arrested a second time. He said he refuses to stop. The $2,000 fine didn’t change his behavior, and with his age of ninety, as well as how long the appeals process is, there’s a good chance he will never see the inside of a jail cell where he belongs. The city needs tougher laws. It’s just this kind of civil disobedience that our own forward thinking Jefferson County School Board is trying to discourage here in Colorado. Worse yet, Mr. Abbott insists on making gourmet meals for the homeless as though they deserve that kind of treatment. How are you going to get them to eat convenience store pizza again after they have had real food? Once the homeless edition of the Michelin Guide is published, bums from all over the country will flock to Ft. Lauderdale.

I admit that the idea of throwing ministers in jail for doing what they claim is Bible-directed, God approved ministry is a little troubling. After all, isn’t that why so many Christians voted to turn the Senate Republican in the last election? From pulpits and on talk radio, the air was filled with admonitions about how Obama and the Democrats were trying to destroy Christianity, and only a Republican victory could save it. I am sure that Republican city governments in Houston (where they briefly tried to subpoena sermons from the mega churches) and Ft. Lauderdale thoroughly understand the importance of keeping out of church business. And who can take all of that “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers. . . .” and “It’s easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle. . . .” seriously? Isn’t the purpose of church to associate with others who are guaranteed to go to heaven? Isn’t church a place to thank God for all of the blessings he has bestowed upon you as proof of his love? The poor are that way because they are lazy, drunks or addicts, and God wants them to suffer. The homeless aren’t really a problem for most Christians to concern themselves with. Right?

I once read somewhere that it was a curse instead of a blessing to wish that all of someone’s wishes would come true. There are several folk tales and fables to that effect. The Midas Touch for example. The wish to get rid of abortion prompted many Christians to switch their political identities from Democrat to Republican. With that support, Republicans have taken control of many of the local, state, and federal governments. And they have done their best to grant the Christian wish for an end to abortion.  But at what cost? When morality is determined by a voting majority rather than by personal conviction, whose beliefs are safe?

For a while, the Christian vote might continue to be fooled by a political party bought and paid for by the Koch brothers, Wall Street, and Corporate America. A party that believes that unrestricted capitalism is the cure for all of our important problems is by its very nature anti-Christian. Eventually, though, Christians will notice that electing people who believe that government knows what’s best for a person is problematic. And if it’s okay to strip some people of their rights when the majority approves, what protection will they have from government over reach? It doesn’t matter which party is in office. Republicans as well as Democrats chip away at our personal and public freedom in the name of the greater good as defined by the rich and powerful. The elect few are fine with all of this. God has guaranteed their place in heaven. But the rest of us are all screwed. Wishes be damned.