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by: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND

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The Patriot Act
By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jonathan
To: Thomas
Sent: Friday, December 10, 2004 9:28 AM
Subject: Multnomah County Board Challenges USA Patriot Act

Dear Jonathan,

Of course the Multnomah County Board of Supervisors, except for Lonnie Roberts who is a Republican, would oppose the Patriot Act. The Democratic Party has elevated resistance to the Patriot Act to the level of a battle cry. The Benjamin Franklin quote "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" has been elevated to Highest Principle status, along with Equality, Tolerance, and Choice. But Privacy, Liberty, and Peace are not the highest principles of the social order. Without Survival/Life, there is no platform from which to exercise these lofty principles. When an enemy is operating with stealth and intent to wreck havoc on the internal structure of a society, the society has no choice but to use stealth and surveillance to counter this threat.

If you do not believe we face an enemy willing to attack us with stealth, then you would consider that such measures are unwarranted. If no threat exists, then the entire Iraq and Afghanistan war, 9/11 incidents, and the Militant Islamic connection must have been entirely fabricated. The foundation of your condemnation of the Patriot Act rests fully on doubts about the reality of a threat to America. Thus, our nation’s leaders pursuing a non-existent threat must be explained using plausible motivations, which in turn are the fodder for accusations of Republican scandal, impropriety, and misjudgment that are used as validations for “regime change”. Thus, the Democratic Establishment must continue with its drumbeat ruse of conspiracy and ulterior motive to justify its anti-War and anti-Patriot Act platform.

But, responding against those threats with appropriate defensive measures seems reasonable, for those of us who believe that 19 or more Militant Islamists operated in stealth, and took down a giant economic edifice, with a great  loss of life.  And that it is reasonable to defend against those who desire to perpetrate even more damage.  It would be foolish to lay down all arms, and reject gathering intelligence. Given the division of labor in modern society, we have dedicate the provision for our common defense to the central government to protect against such threats.  

But, such logic is berated as simplistic and naïve by those who can believe in the vast stream of a gigantic conspiratorial network of Republican Industrialists who have duped the mindless mass of unthinking Christians with rhetoric so they could retain office and manipulate the economy and law for the benefit of their industrial benefactors. For those who believe the government was in collusion, directly or indirectly, with those who did us harm, then the Patriot Act and its associated surveillance provisions was the desired end by the cabal of Government-Industry megalomaniacs who wish to exert an even greater economic, political-social control over the American populace.

I for one have not been given sufficient credible evidence to adopt the belief that our Republican leaders have uniformly stooped to this level of traitorous Big Brother, Industry-Governmental alliance (nor that the Democratic wing of government has uniformly opposite intents with regard to controlling the populace for the benefit of profit and power). At this time, it appears to me that those who wish to assume the control of the nation, the losing party in 2004, are using these issues, the paranoia of the people, a twisted view of current events, and the knee-jerk slogans such as "Protecting Privacy", "Peace", and "Defense of Freedom" as their seducing mantras.

In the current world situation, we do not sacrifice our Liberties for "Temporary Security". Rather, we sacrifice our liberty against a threat that is permanent. Militant Islam has a 1000+ year history of a crusade against the West -- the threat of Militant Islam will never end; that is, it will not end until their hearts are won over by the love and Truth of the God of the Universe. Their vision of a world under the sword of Allah is a dream conceived in Hell and given nurturance in the fertile minds of those who have no opportunity to make a reasoned choice of philosophical systems. Once under the stabilizing influence of a system that desires to impose itself on all humanity, prevents exposure to other religions, and prohibits conversion, the spreading tyranny of such a religion becomes a universal threat to liberty. Such a virulent philosophical system can safely coexist with the family of man only when it is strongly contained. In a strange paradox, we must sacrifice a small amount of liberty to protect us from a great loss of liberty. Such compromises are uniformly noted in a world infected with evil. War must be fought against an imposing evil empire in order to restore peace. Intolerance of unGodliness, and those who would impose an unrighteous belief system upon us all, must be exercised so that we may all live in a society where we can be free to tolerate Godly diversity.

As long as we choose to pretend that Militant Islam is simply a tool of the CIA, State Department, or a Republican President that has used the pretense of attack to engage in war create a pipeline through Pakistan, get oil to control the economic growth of China, or some other equally conspiratorial interpretation of current events, then we will be lulled into a sense of safety by these adult fantasies.

Militant Islam is a real phenomenon, a true Satanic religion, and regardless of the lack of organizational cohesion between the disparate Islamic nations and sects, it is only necessary for a small band of committed unholy warriors bent on destroying America to do vast damage given the level of destructive power now available in modern weaponry. The followers of this religion have shown themselves to be immune from the normal humanizing influence of cherishing personal survival. Their religious principles, and the surrounding support structures of the Islamic culture, have given its followers the philosophical validation necessary to justify giving their lives in trivial gestures against their purported spiritual enemies -- e.g. blowing up a car full of explosives next to a bus-full of infidels. It is blind to imagine that such zealots for their cause/faith will not covet the goal of disrupting the entire economic infrastructure of America and killing millions of the enemy as a service to their god. They have consistently demonstrated their willingness to offer their final service to insignificant contributions in the face of major sacrifice. Such chauvinists cannot be allowed to roam unrestricted in a society that values life, liberty, and property.

We can only hope our elected officials are men of great integrity who will use this strong power of covert surveillance for our benefit and protection, and not our enslavement. Our best insurance is to install men who bow before the Throne of Heaven, recognizing that their soul will one day be accountable. Those who wish to take God from the public lexicon, and replace Him with a trust in the goodness of Man, or the Democratic ideals of liberalism/humanism, will find the god of man’s creation a cruel taskmaster.

Let us simply pray for Godly leaders who listen to the voice of the Lord, humble themselves in His service, and let us unite as a people against this common threat. Let us each share the love and hope of the Gospel of Christ with our neighbor by our everyday words and actions. A Godly nation, a people who actually bend the knee and heart before Him in a righteous daily walk provides any people with the best Homeland Defense.

Jonathan: So basically we have to trust them and hope for the best?

Thomas: I think changing the hearts and minds of the people in our own sphere towards our best concept of righteousness is the only truly proactive approach to life that is effective. It's not a big intervention, but it’s really all we can do. If the Multnomah Board wants to protest the Patriot Act, that would fall under the category of taking action in their own sphere. We are all responsible for doing what we judge to be right. If political action, writing, or speaking persuasively is your calling, then do it. If sharing with a friend about your convictions and faith is the size and scope of your mission field, then don’t shirk from the duty to express yourself when the spirit moves you. Each of us must be true to our own sense of Truth. We will each be held accountable.

Jonathan: Here is the point of the article: The "Patriot Act" gives the government increased powers to invade your personal life without very much oversight. For example, the article stated that "No Fly" lists have been created: 1) Without any objective criteria to determine whether or not that person should be on a list. 2) Without any means of challenging the list if you get on it.

This has already happened to some very prominent political people. Isn't there something wrong with that?

The article didn't go into this, but there have been over 5000 detentions by the Justice Department without a single conviction. Isn't there something wrong with that?

However, there has been a long history of government abusing their authority to counter political opponents i.e. FBI - Cointelpro, Watergate, etc.

So, what proof is there that the "Patriot Act" would work and not be abused? What proof is there that it would have protected us on 9/11? What proof is there that anyone has even read it? The Act is over 600 pages. Unfortunately, the Democrats do support it. Isn't there something wrong with that?

Why even name it the "Patriot Act" unless your intention is to label dissenters unpatriotic? By the way, GESTAPO is the German acronym for Homeland Security. Some of my family escaped the Nazis, some didn't. I find the word "Homeland" extremely repellent. It sounds like the Communist Motherland or the Fatherland of the Nazis. It's also unnecessary unless you want to brainwash people with some kind of nationalist spirit.

More importantly, why would you blindly trust these people? Tom Delay already used the Homeland security apparatus to track down Democrats that refused to vote on redistricting in Texas.

Furthermore, George W. Bush received a CIA warning on August 6th, 2001 that Bin Laden would attack and did nothing until the attacks were over. Bush didn't need the Patriot Act to know about the attack on 9/11. Then he fought an investigation and refused to testify publicly under oath. Honestly, is that the proper behavior for a public servant? Isn't there something wrong with that?

If you are against the Patriot Act of the Bush administration does that mean you are a bad Christian or support Islam?

Really Tom, wake up!

Thomas: First, I must say that I am unconvinced by the examples of abuse you presented. I stand by my original statement about the article and my considerations about the need for the Patriot Act.

My argument is based on what I believe to be true, that we face an actual threat to our survival that merits surveillance of those who have already penetrated our borders. Without monitoring, they will be totally free to act without restraint, against our populace, industry, and government. Our borders should be strongly monitored for entrance, exit, and location of all immigrants and visitors. We want to have a totally open society that embraces all people and allows them to mingle freely and enjoy our liberty. But, those who behave badly and violate our space do not deserve the privilege of such an open an trusting reception. As usual, the few who violate cause all who obey the unwritten rules of right action to be subject to the ensuing explicit laws that restrict behavior. Those who criticize the restrictions placed on freedom and access should place responsibility on those who have violated our peace. I believe this criticism of the Patriot Act, and its provisions for monitoring the movements of suspicious person do so for the purpose of impugning the character and intent of the Republicans and Bush in an effort to paint a picture of abuse and tyrannical addiction to power.

A first strike proactive attack against those who intend harm falls under the category of “Preserving the domestic tranquility." It does not prove the Administration was conducting a war to satisfy a tyranny hunger. Again, the Left's attack slanders the Right, impugns motive and character for the purpose of gaining political advantage and turning the popular antipathy against the Conservative Right, the Administration, and the Republican control of Congress.

The doctrine of attacking only those who attack first is of course an excellent concept provided the enemy has only made hollow threats to strike first. But, a first strike war can be morally justified when national survival appears credibly threatened. Likewise, aggressive action can be justified to support the liberation of a people from a tyrant. The justification for the invasion is not diminished by mistakes of history. If past leaders installed a tyrant for political expediency, business advantage, or out of moral corruption, none of these past errors of judgment or character trump a current righteous cause.

Liberation of all the oppressed throughout the world is a desirable goal. But, we do not have the resources, nor the desire, to install a military based pax Americana throughout the globe. The American way should be to first send forward the missionaries carrying the cross of Christ. Force should be used as a tool of liberation when the oppression reaches a level of intolerable proportions. We are not, nor should we be, an imperial power for the sake of land, power, or resources. We should treat the nation-states of the world as children or peers, depending on their stage of maturity. And as with all parenting, discipline, reward, and teaching are phases each child will need as they pass through the stages of maturity on the path to proper and righteous self-governance.