Tag Archives: good v. evil

Women and Hotel Security, Part 2

“Rape Victim in ZA” by Julian Trinidad Gardea a/k/a Julian Scorpio (2016) (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

There are larger issues than crime raised, in the context of hotel security.

Why are women so often victimized by men, both in hotels and elsewhere?  Why does God allow rape and other acts of violence against women?  What are rape victims to make of God’s promises of security?  Has He abandoned them?

A.  Violence Against Women

The relationship between men and women is complex and culturally varied.  It has though been impacted by sin the world over.

While there are countless good men, who would never think of harming a woman, there are rapists, murderers, and others who take pleasure in doing just that.  Men who vent their frustrations on women, who bully and berate women, who use and desert even the mothers of their children.

B.  Gender Inequality

Many such men do not recognize their actions as evil.  They define women – all women, including their own mothers – as less worthy than men.  In effect, less human than men.

This inequality is re-enforced to varying degrees by restrictions on the activities women may undertake outside the home, diminished opportunities for women regarding education and advancement in a given society, the treatment of women by the courts, and the stigma imposed by varying religions on women who violate such norms [1][2].

But the inequality between men and women is not of God’s making. Continue reading

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The Side of the Angels

“Archangel Michael Tramples Satan” by Guido Reni (c. 1630), Santa Maria della Concezione, Rome, Author Andrew Graham Dixon for Yorck Project (PD-Art l Old-100)

“In the absence of light, darkness prevails”

-Motto of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, “Hellboy” (Dark Horse Comics)

Heart wrenching tales of abuse could easily fill these pages.  Generally, I try to stay away from stories of that kind.  Too often, they leave us feeling helpless and hopeless.

When I do write about lost lives, the words are my poor attempt to honor those lives and bear witness to the loss.

It may be some small consolation that such children have gone home to God.  Their pain is over.  That should not, however, diminish our outrage.

There are, of course, countless unreported cases of abuse.  Names we will never know, though God is familiar with them all.

While those victims are gone, their struggle ended, our obligation is to fight on.  It is a way of fighting darkness and death, fighting evil.  We may not have been in a position to save the lives of those children.  But we can try to save our own.

Our struggle with darkness is not insignificant.  We may feel isolated, may feel that our scars are overwhelming.  And, in truth, those scars may last a lifetime.  Which makes our struggle all the more heroic.

If the lost children could speak, they would applaud our efforts.  They would wish us Godspeed.  They were not able to live in this sad world any longer.  But we may yet triumph for their sake.

In fighting the scars, the darkness, we are on the side of the angels.

“Praise the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word.  Praise the Lord, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will…Praise the Lord, my soul” (Ps. 103: 20-22 NIV).

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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Everyday Evil

Internet user on a cell phone, Author Raidarmax (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A young teacher traveling on Southwest Airlines caught sight of disturbing texts by the passenger seated ahead of her on the plane.  Michael Kellar was casually planning with Gail Burnworth to molest two children [1].

Thinking quickly, the unnamed teacher took cell phone photos of the texts.  She then informed the flight crew.

Kellar was arrested in San Jose, CA after the plane touched down; Burnworth was later arrested in Tacoma, WA.  Kellar maintained that he had merely been fantasizing.  His texts, however, revealed the truth.

Kellar is 56 y.o. and Burnworth 50 y.o.  The children they were planning to molest are 5 y.o. and 7 y.o.  Both children were rescued by law enforcement.  Evidently, Burnworth had been babysitting them.

“Folks that are doing these sort of things are literally all around us.  We don’t know who they are…They need to be punished and they need to be kept away from kids.”

-San Jose Police Sgt. Brian Spears, Q13 Fox TV [2]

Evil can be found everywhere.  Many make it part of their everyday lives.  We must remain alert to its presence, and protect ourselves against evil, without surrendering our peace of mind.

That is a difficult task.  We can easily feel overwhelmed, and certainly discouraged.  It often appears that evil is winning the day.

But God will not allow that.  He remains in charge, even when all hope is lost.  The battle between good and evil rages.  However, the war has been won.  It was won for us by Jesus Christ on the cross.

Be sure of this:  the wicked will not go unpunished, but those that are righteous will go free (Prov. 11: 21).

[1]  ABC News, “Man arrested after Southwest passenger says she saw him texting ‘molesting children’ police say” by Julia Jacobo and Alex Stone, 8/3/17, http://abcnews.go.com/US/man-arrested-southwest-passenger-texting-molesting-children-police/story?id=49020167.

[2]  Washington Post, “An alert airline passenger exposed a suspected child predator after glancing at his texts” by Kyle Swenson, 8/4/17, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/04/an-alert-airline-passenger-exposed-a-suspected-child-sex-predator-after-glancing-at-his-text-messages/.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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Sparrows

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A 7 year old in Pennsylvania shared with her school bus driver that she had been unable to wake her parents [1].  Christopher Dilly and Jessica Lally were discovered to have overdosed.  The child’s younger siblings – ages 3 months, 3 and 5 years old – were found in the home.

Ashley Hutt and Mac Leroy McKiver, a pair of addicts in Washington, have been charged with repeatedly injecting their young children – ages 2, 4, and 6 years old – with street heroin to keep them quiet [2].  The children were living in squalid rat-infested conditions, their home littered with drug paraphernalia.

All seven children have been placed in protective custody.

Where was God in all this?  Could He not have intervened?  Such evil is staggering.  Confronted by it, we cannot help but cry out.

God is not immune to our pain.  Nor is He indifferent.  He suffered for us on the cross, and continues to suffer with us.  We are His children.  Would you not suffer for yours?  Surely, you feel their pain when a young wing is broken or a young dream falters.

This is a fallen world — home both to incalculable evil and amazing good.  We get to choose sides.  That privilege comes at great cost.  But those choosing evil should make no mistake.  God’s eye is on the sparrow…on all the defenseless little sparrows.  And there will be a reckoning.

” ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows‘ ” (Luke 12: 6-7).


[1]  Washington Post, “A 7-year-old told her bus driver she couldn’t wake her parents. Police found them dead at home.” by Cleve Wootson, 10/5/16, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/10/05/a-7-year-old-told-her-bus-driver-she-couldnt-wake-her-parents-police-found-them-dead-at-home/?tid=a_inl.

[2]  Washington Post, “Parents injected children with heroin as ‘feel good medicine,’ police say” by Lindsey Bever, 11/1/16, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/11/01/parents-injected-children-with-heroin-as-feel-good-medicine-police-say/.

Original version posted 10/27/13

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Tears in Heaven

Street art by Nitzan Mintz, Jerusalem, Israel, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/zeevveez/8765164478/, Author zeevveez https://www.flickr.com/people/29001414@N00 (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

I curled up on the couch a few nights ago, expecting to watch a good old-fashioned whodunit on television.

Unfortunately, I discovered too late that the corpse in the story belonged to a child molester. A woman sexually abused as a girl had killed him, in her effort to protect another child from abuse.

Suddenly the program was deadly serious — raising all too familiar issues of credibility, deception, violence, guilt, and justification.

The Lens of Abuse

Though this blog regularly deals with the topic of abuse, victims must strive not to view the world through that lens only.

There are countless good things — and good people — in the world. Victims deserve better than to be robbed of those, in addition to having been battered and violated.

A Happy Face

There is a deep and pervasive sadness associated with abuse.  Our childhoods were stolen from us, our lives shattered.  We cannot pretend our abuse never occurred; cannot just wish our depression or PTSD away, and put on a happy face.

The Apostle Paul encouraged believers this way:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Php. 4: 8).

So  we have every right to incorporate good people and good things into our lives. They are a reflection of God’s own love.

The problem is that we cannot do this by act of will alone. The victims of sexual abuse  cannot simply choose to “think less about sex” [1]. If our abuse was sexual, everything has become sexualized, whether we want it to be or not [2].

Tears in Heaven

“Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?”

Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton

How will heaven handle these issues?

Will we forget all the painful events in our lives, and the people who caused us that pain?  What if those events were formative, shaped our character and aspirations?  What if the very people who caused our pain were, also, our loved ones? Continue reading

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Spring

Cherry blossom, Author Maksym Kozlenko (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and…all the trees of the forest sing for joy” (Ps. 96: 11-12 NIV).

Spring, the season of hope and new life, is here again.  The trees are in bloom, the first tender shoots pushing their way out of the soil, and the children decked out in their Easter finery.

Greeting cards may giddily proclaim the equinox, as if God had not ordained it.  But Spring is more than just our chance to air out the house, lay down mulch, and pull the patio furniture from storage.  It the season that points us toward resurrection, the victory of life over death.

That has special meaning for abuse victims.  We are all too familiar with death and darkness.  The battle with evil is fought (or re-fought) everyday.  It has been part and parcel of our lives for as long as we can remember.  If the abuse has passed, we continue to wrestle with its scars.

Which is why we are astonished by the beauty of daffodils.  Light and life may be foreign to us, but we long for them the way a seed buried in the ground longs for the sun it has not seen.

“ ‘He is not here; for He is risen, as He said’ ” (Matt. 28: 6).

Only one Man in history conquered sin and death.  But He conquered them – absolutely and irrevocably – for the rest of us, even the abuse victims.  Most especially the abuse victims, the outcast, the downtrodden, the poor, the abandoned and forgotten.

We commemorate Jesus Christ’s victory over sin and death at Easter.  There is no celebration more profound.  Christ arose from the tomb – once and for all time – to offer us hope and life eternal.

Little wonder that the earth, itself, sings for joy!

Happy Easter!

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Innocents – Lost Along the Way

So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, ‘Every [Hebrew] son who is born you shall cast into the river…’ ” (Ex. 1: 22).

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under…” (Matt. 2: 16).

Nearly four thousand years ago, a pharaoh ordered all male infants born to an ethnic minority drowned. Seventeen hundred years later, a king ordered all male children aged two and under slaughtered.

Innocents are still being slaughtered. Some die quickly by sword or gunshot, some die slowly by disease and starvation.  And some die at the hands of those who should love them.

A powerful ruler attempted to exterminate an ethnic minority. But God brought forth a deliverer, Moses, and the nation Israel was born. A cruel king attempted to defend his throne against a babe born in a manger. But God brought forth Jesus Christ, the Redeemer for all nations and all peoples on the earth.

In the end, good triumphs.  There are all too many casualties lost along the way.  But good triumphs.  That is worth holding onto.

Have a Merry Christmas!

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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All the Jenises

The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1: 7).

A little girl named Jenise died this week [1]. Just six years old, Jenise was raped and murdered by a seventeen year old neighbor in the Washington trailer park where she lived. The teen accused of the crime has been arrested.

But Jenise was not the only child in jeopardy in recent weeks. Around the globe, children’s lives have been at risk from factors equally beyond their control.

  • Shrapnel-torn corpses rained from the sky, after Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by separatists in the Ukraine [2]. The belongings of children were randomly scattered across the debris field.
  • Children in Gaza are dying as a by-product of Israel’s ground war there [3]. Both sides have blood on their hands. The practice by Hamas of shielding military operations by civilian targets has contributed to the death toll. Misdirected fire by Hamas has, also, resulted in the death and injury of children. As of this writing, the rocket bombardment by Hamas which initiated the conflict continues.
  • In Iraq, some quarter million refugees have fled in advance of the Islamic militant group ISIS [4]. Some 40,000 of these (including 25,000 children) from a Kurdish religious sect that predates Islam have been under siege on Mt. Sinjar without supplies. The United States is now providing aid and cover on a limited basis.
  • The world’s worst Ebola outbreak is raging in West Africa, with fears it will spread [5]. The disease has a fatality rate as high as 90%. Over 900 deaths have occurred to this point. Children who have not themselves contracted the disease may still lose one or both parents to it.

Few things drive home our crushing limitations more so than the death of children does. War, crime, and illness pull back the curtain on a painful reality, and we see clearly how little control we have over our lives. That information can rock us to our core.

We may never understand, on an emotional level, why God allowed Jenise’s suffering. We can be sure, however, her suffering pained Him, more even than it does us.

God hears the cries from Gaza and Mt. Sinjar, as He does those from Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. He knows all the Jenises.

At a time like this – when lights seem to be going out across the world – it is more urgent than ever we keep faith and bear witness to the truth. God is not impotent. Nor has He abandoned us. To the contrary, He gave His life for ours.

Men and women of goodwill play a vital role in sharing the love of God with the world, and spreading the Good News of Salvation. We must not permit what appears the increasing presence of evil to undermine our resolve. Continue reading

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Depravity

“ ‘…[W]e will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it’ ” (Genesis 19: 13).

The Bible story of Lot is a difficult one.  The issue of whether Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned for homosexual behavior has been the subject of intense debate [1].

Some have argued that the sin which brought destruction down on the cities of the plain was a lack of hospitality toward strangers – intolerable in desert regions, as it would have placed lives at risk.  Others have been outraged by the treatment of Lot’s virgin daughters, offered to the crowd in place of the strangers under Lot’s protection.  They maintain, therefore, that the sin was rape.

Whichever interpretation we believe is correct, we should be able to agree that the story indicates there is a tipping point, a level of depravity a just God will not tolerate.

Consider these recent news stories, and what they reflect about our own society:

• In Spain, a soccer coach was arrested after a burglar broke into his home. Searching for valuables, the thief uncovered video of child sexual abuse he then turned over to police. The coach had used his status to gain access to vulnerable victims. One girl had been molested for six years, from the age of 10 onward.

• A former emergency room physician, Ali Salim, pled guilty in Ohio to involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of a 23 y.o. expectant mother and her unborn child.  Salim, also, pled no contest to a charge of rape. The woman had turned to prostitution after a divorce, when unable to support her two young children.  The prosecution alleged that Salim administered a fatal overdose of heroin to her, then failed to provide medical assistance.  Salim had a history of supplying drugs to sex partners – often addicted prostitutes – obtained on Craigslist. Graphic video exists of Salim engaged in acts so obscene the video will be disposed of once the criminal and civil cases against Salim have been concluded.

• The World Privacy Forum has uncovered a practice by consumer data companies of collecting highly sensitive information, then selling it to marketers with little or no regard for the consequences. Lists are known to have been compiled of AIDs patients, dementia patients, rape victims, and police officers with their home addresses [2]. All this for the sake of profit.

Surely, this is depravity. Men and women of conscience cannot help but be appalled. And these are not isolated incidents. Which begs the question: What are we to do in the face of evil?

British philosopher, Edmund Burke, warned that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” [3]. We must stand up and be counted. We must speak up for what we believe is right…even when to do so is uncomfortable and unpopular.

Even a burglar knew that.

[1] The story of Lot is not a justification for anti-LGBT violence, under any interpretation.

[2] At present, consumer information is only shielded from disclosure if it is used for employment, credit, housing, or insurance purposes. Data brokers, for instance, can readily access details such as the over-the-counter drugs purchased by consumers.

[3] There is some dispute as to the precise origin of this phrase.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Sparrows

A Colombian mother is reported to have prostituted 12 of her daughters, charging between $160 and $212 for the young girls’ virginity.  The abuse was brought to the attention of authorities by a victim who gave birth at age 14.

Where was God in all this?  Could He not have intervened?  Such evil is staggering.  Confronted by it, we cannot help but cry out.

God is not immune to our pain.  Nor is He indifferent.  He suffered for us on the cross, and continues to suffer with us.  We are His children.  Would you not suffer for yours?  Surely, you feel their pain when a young wing is broken or a young dream falters.

This is a fallen world — home both to incalculable evil and amazing good.  We get to choose sides.  That privilege comes at great cost.  But those choosing evil should make no mistake.  God’s eye is on the sparrow…on all the defenseless little sparrows.  And there will be a reckoning.

” ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows‘ ” (Luke 12: 6-7).

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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