Sunday, October 21, 2007

A plug, a plug

A plug, a plug: although Mama Liberty ( ) just published the article last week about JPFO’s “Goody Guns” I had already ordered several sets, some to use and some for gifts (great Thanksgiving or Christmas gifts).

A pair came in on Friday, and the first batch of cookies baked Saturday (using JPFO’s kosher recipe) went over very well, especially among the younger set) at the monthly congregational pot-luck this (Sunday) afternoon. We didn’t bring any home, and the recipe was almost shortbread tasting, in the thicker version we used. (Too thin breaks such large cookies too easily.) Debby and I intend to use them as one of the “standard” refreshments for training classes that we do, and for meetings of such things as Character Council, Local Emergency Planning Committees, and such. And I’m waiting for the revolver version. We are looking at making Jello (TM) versions, also.

Whatever we make from them, the purpose shouldn't be forgotten: to make sure that people understand that guns are an important part of American life, not something evil as airports, schools, and courthouses want to make them out to be. Goody guns are perfect for teaching children safe gunhandling (my sons were doing that to the kids at the pot-luck) but they also are great conversation starters: especially if you are wearing an empty or full holster.

Which brings me to my second plug of the week: Starting today, Sunday, 21 OCT 2007, a lot of folks are participating in "Empty Holster Week" on college campuses around the US, reminding people that tragedies like the Virginia Tech killings aren't caused by a lack of laws prohibiting guns on campuses, or trying to make sure that mentally ill people can't buy or steal guns; they are caused by a lack of people able to defend themselves and their classmates, students, friends, and even neighbors in "gun-free zones" like so many college campuses are today.

I personally don't expect to be on a college campus this week but am going to wear an empty holster, anyway, to support those students and teachers and staff who ARE on college campuses doing this. I hope that you will join me. It is an important cause. I am, of course, going to continue to carry: I normally carry concealed, but for those who openly carry - this week, wear an extra holster, okay? And it is a great opportunity to spread the messages:

1. A free society is an armed society.
2. An armed society is a polite society.
3. Being armed to defend yourself and others against aggression is living the Golden Rule.
4. Not all people that carry guns are either police OR evil-doers.

And many more.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mark Twain's War Prayer (1898)

I first read this many years ago, in an old collection of Twain's writings, and later saw it as a small book, published during the era of the Vietnam war. Written as a criticism of American aggression against Spain in 1898 (the Spanish-American War), this poem still stands as an excellent condemnation of militarism. It should serve as a warning to christian and non-christian alike, but especially to those who know that prayer is indeed answered by God.

The War Prayer

by Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms,
the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the
drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched
firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding
and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags
flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue
gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters
and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they
swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot
oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they
interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears
running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached
devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His
aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every

It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that
ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness
straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal
sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came - next day the battalions would leave for the front;
the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with
material dreams-visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the
rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult,
the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! - then home
from the war, bronzed heros, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas
of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and
envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send
forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die
the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from
the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed
by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house
rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous
invocation - "God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy
clarion and lightning thy sword!"

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for
passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its
supplication was that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all
would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage
them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand,
make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them
to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable
honor and glory.

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the
main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in
a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending
in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale,
pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he
made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side
and stood there, waiting.

With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his
moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent
appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and
Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside - which the
startled minister did - and took his place. During some moments he
surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an
uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne - bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words
smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no
attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant
it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained
to you its import - that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto
many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it
is aware of - except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken
thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two - one uttered, the other not.
Both have reached the ear of Him Who hearth all supplications, the spoken
and the unspoken. Ponder this - keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing
upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a
neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your
crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon
some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer - the uttered part of it. I am
commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it - that part
which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently.
And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard
these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient.
The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words.
Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you
have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory - must
follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God
the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me
to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth
to battle - be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth
from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord
our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells;
help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their
patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks
of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble
homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their
unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out
roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of
their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun
flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn
with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it
- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their
lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water
their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their
wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source
of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore
beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause)

"Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak!
The messenger of the Most High waits."

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic,
because there was no sense in what he said.