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Gaslight – a rant

Gaslighting is when a person or organization makes their victim question reality in order to gain a power stance over them. It is a common tactic of dictators, abusers, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is typically done over a longer period of time, so the victim doesn’t realize they are being gaslighted.

In this current societal era that we are in, gaslight is all the rage!

The phrase was actually created in a 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton titled “Gaslight” in which a husband carefully, gradually, and diabolically manipulates his wife into thinking that she has lost her mind. The play was then made into a film and starred Ingrid Bergman.

But the corporate version of gaslighting remains the same. Carefully, gradually and diabolically manipulating people to be brainwashed into whatever you want them to believe.

In psychological terms, it almost always happens the same way. It starts with the victim questioning the small things, such as whether they heard a detail incorrectly. Then it moves to bigger things such as whether what they heard or saw really happened. Over time, it breaks down the confidence of the person until they have lost all touch with reality.

And I believe, America, that we are being gaslit (gaslighted?) today.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite topic, the COVID (said just like a typical old person).

Everyone should be confused by the mixed messages of public health experts right now. That isn’t gaslighting. That is simply the public health experts going through something they have never gone through before and learning along the way.

But when we see from our own government, who is the one who is filtering the information we receive, a constant stream of gaslighting, then we know that we are in perilous times. It starts with everyone’s favorite target, the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

Actually, it doesn’t start there. It starts with all the lobbyists on both sides of the political spectrum. You see, just like all of us, Trump is a pawn. He would never agree that he is simply a pawn, but he is. He needs to listen, not to his advisors, but to the millions of people in the country who are his supporters if he plans to get his way in office.

The public health experts have been telling us what would happen if we didn’t follow their suggestions of social distancing, wearing masks, and shutting everything down completely for a short time.

But unfortunately, the lobbyists won out. The people with the true money won out.

It started great. Let’s shut everything down for a time.

BUT….

Home Depot, you can stay open because people are going to need something to do while they are stuck at home. Oh, and grocery stores, you can stay open because no one can go out and get 2 weeks-worth of rations, you need to stay open in case some family just can’t live without their filet mignon for the next couple weeks. Restaurants, you can stay open too, but you can only do outside seating and curbside pickup.

SIDE STORY: When all this hit, I ran to one of our grocery stores and started to purchase some food with my dad. I kid you not, as we walked by the seafood counter, there was a woman purchasing 6 live lobsters from the tank and she wanted to pick each one out individually so that she got the best ones.

Anyway, once the lobbyists heard that some stores would remain open, then everyone lobbied to stay open.

Let me give you an example. I live in Maryland. Governor Hogan, who I think started by trying to do the right thing, ended up allowing himself to be gaslit.

Let’s start with March 5. He puts out a press release about the first 3 positive cases of COVID in Maryland. He said not to panic but to stay informed with him at his press conference that night.

That same night, he declared a state of emergency. Basically that is a gaslight phrase in and of itself which says (according to Governor Hogan’s own site): “A state of emergency is a good indicator that residents should remain alert and follow officials’ orders and news stations in order to be informed of the situation.”

The state of emergency allowed the governor to begin the discussions with all the organizations throughout the state about getting plans in place for a larger issue.

On March 6, he gave updates as to the 3 patients and tell everyone that COVID testing will be free as insurers waive the costs of it.

On March 8, he announced 2 more cases.

By the 9th of March, he created a COVID Response Team of medical experts around the state. It was during this time that each person who contracted the virus was news in and of itself.

On March 10, he met with his first lobbyist group, the group who lobby for the long-term care facilities. They came up with an entire list of things to keep the older residents safe. He also met with the lobbyist group for colleges and universities. They came up with a 2-week plan to close campuses during spring break timeframe.

By March 11, he had met with several other concerned groups, mostly state government, to come up with plans for them. The MVA was going to appointments only, the prisons were not allowing visits, the veteran’s affairs were not allowing people in.

Then March 12th happened. This is where Hogan decided to take action. He started by activating the National Guard. He then banned groups of 250 or more as well as closing all senior centers around the state. He closed all schools in the state until March 27th. He also rolled out a lot more restrictions on people coming in from international travel and cruises and locked down the medical system even more.

These are good things. They are a process of learning for someone who has never been through this before. I applauded Hogan for the steps he was taking and the speed at which he did it. (For those of you who want to use this as a soundbite in the future, please don’t, this is not going to end in a flattering way for Hogan).

This where the plan starts to buckle.

On March 14th, he decided to expand the childcare programs in Maryland so that they would stay open. He was starting to hear from the lobbyists that their group of people still had to go to work and needed to have childcare in order for them to continue.

While I don’t envy the decision he had to make, it was a mistake. And it was the first of many that he would make along the way.

On March 15th he closed down casinos. On March 16th he closed down theatres, fitness centers, spas, bars and restaurants. BUT, in order to allow them to keep income flowing, he allowed restaurants to have carry-out, drive-thu, and delivery services. That’s a little crazy. There were absolutely no directives to restaurants and bars about employees, only how to keep them open.

Also, on March 16th, he prohibited groups larger than 50 people. It is at this point that the religious community got involved. But not all religious communities were vocal about it. Keep in mind that ALL retail was still open at this time except fitness, theatres, spas, and indoor only restaurants.

March 17th he must have been getting calls because he put out what he calls “interpretive guidance.” Now food courts inside of malls are still ok to keep open, so are food trucks. Barber shops and hairstylists are ok to keep open, but not spas.

Wow.

On March 18 we had our first COVID death in the state. On the 19th, Hogan “tightened” things down more. This is where he starts listening to the lobbyists more than fearing the virus.

On the 19th, he prohibited gatherings of larger than 10 people. He again closed all restaurants, unless they are able to do carry-out, drive-thru, or delivery (just to be clear, he didn’t do anything different to them). He closed malls. He didn’t close any other retail establishments, but he closed malls. And he closed down any amusement-type business. He also required all state colleges and universities to finish the spring semester online at this time.

This is where the true mistake was made. He, on the 19th, allowed delivery and carry-out of alcohol. How, on any earth, is that essential?!?!  He has immediately turned from someone I had respect for to someone who is now starting to gaslight for the purpose of keeping the lobbyists happy.

Also on the 19th, more interpretive guidance came out that said that convenience stores can remain open, as well as grocery stores.

March 23rd is the next mistake in a line of many. He closed all non-essential businesses. But he tried to keep all parties happy by telling everyone that this is “not a shelter-in-place” order.

But let’s look at those non-essential businesses:

  • All the former businesses he already closed
    • But restaurants and bars can still delivery food/alcohol and have carry-out and drive-thru
    • And retail establishments that have their own door to the outside can continue operations.
  • He added golf courses and social clubs now to the list.
  • He listed a website of cisa.gov and when you get in there, it is one of the biggest, most confusing, websites I have ever tried to navigate to find information easily. Here is what the interpretive guidance on the Hogan website says can remain open:
    • Manufacturing
    • Lodging
    • Laundry services
    • Construction
    • The media can remain open (that is interesting)
    • Defense contractors
    • Law/Rescue services
    • Energy services
    • All financial services
    • Grocery stores
    • Convenience stores
    • Farmer’s Markets (???)
    • Alcoholic distributors
    • Farms
    • Pet supply stores
    • Vets
    • Lawyers
    • All healthcare
    • IT services
    • All forms of transportation (although he said in the same order that Marylanders were not to leave the state)
    • Wastewater
    • Staffing services
    • Door to door salespeople (he discouraged it, but didn’t discontinue it)

That is a long list. But that isn’t it. I guess he got a lot of calls from people wondering if their business was on the list. So there is more interpretive guidance that came out on the same day on who could remain open.

  • Car dealerships
  • Bike shops
  • Moving companies (but I thought we couldn’t move anywhere out of state and were suggested to stay indoors)
  • Tool rental companies
  • Party rental companies
  • All retail except indoor malls

But wait…there’s more! On the 24th he came out with more interpretive guidance on what can remain open:

  • Greenhouses
  • Trash pickup
  • Residential cleaning services

And now we get to even MORE ridiculousness. If you deem your organization as essential, you should give all your employees a letter that says why they are essential in case it is challenged. Oh, and slipped into this latest order is that clergy is deemed non-essential. But we are allowed to have a skeleton crew that can keep the day to day operations of the facility going.

Isn’t that most churches? Most are just 1 or 2 people trying to get everything done.

But I guess the churches were starting to chomp at the bit a little. So on April 1, Governor Hogan put out directives to churches:

  • You are allowed to have a drive-in religious service
  • You may have indoor services if:
    • They are under 10 people
    • There is no physical interaction
    • Everyone 6 feet apart and wearing masks
    • A 4 hour gap in between services (and, yet, Home Depot or Safeway can allow in unlimited people all day long with no gap in between, interesting)

Effective April 18, everyone must wear face masks and socially distance themselves. The face mask MUST cover both mouth and nose. Under age of 2 doesn’t have to wear one. Between 2-9 the parent is supposed to do everything they can to get their child to wear one. Age 9 and above is required.

By April 20th, we now close down all barber shops and hairstylists.

By May 13th, the guidance came out that the following could reopen:

  • Pet shelters
  • Art galleries
  • Bookstores
  • Car washes
  • Florists
  • Pawn shops
  • Tobacco and vape stores

By May 13th we enter phase 1, which allowed all those businesses above to reopen.

Why do I write all of this?

It is to show that even Governor Hogan, a highly respected state official, can become the victim of gaslighting. He was led astray by his advisers and lobbyists. When all it would have taken was closing the state down completely for a matter of time, now we have a long, drawn-out problem that is resurging again.

Remember I mentioned Trump above? Well, he has his own gaslighting moments, but so do all the other organizations that are trying to gain all the power.

So when you are listening to all the pundits and the voices and the media, ask yourself these few simple questions to determine if they are gaslighting you:

  • Are they trivializing how you feel about the situation?
  • Are they saying that your thoughts are not valid?
  • Are they saying things that they later deny they said?
  • Basically, are they in it for the power or are they in it to effectively take care of the people they serve? This is a good question to ask whether it is politics, relationships, church, work, or whatever.

So there you have it. We are being gaslighted (gaslit?). So now it is time to do something about it. Educate yourself so you know the signs.

 

 

 

Immigration Policy and the Effect on Missionaries Worldwide: Part 1, Policy

Leviticus 19:33-34 – “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

This post will kick off a series of posts about immigration reform and the affect it has on missionaries since the founding of our country. This first one is going to be a little tough to digest. It was for me. This is going to lay out the actual immigration policies since 1790.

Almost 52 years ago the United States enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act which replaced the previous immigration program that we had which favored Europeans. The policy put in place 52 years ago opened visas to people from other countries and gave increased priority to people with relatives who are American citizens.

Prior to that, over 65% of the visas allowed in America were given to only 3 countries: Ireland, Germany, and the UK. Today, only 10% of the visas approved come from those 3 countries and the majority of them come from countries in Asia or Latin America.

All the way back to 1790 we have documentation of immigration policies. The Naturalization Policy of 1790 excluded anyone who was non-white from being a naturalized citizen. In order to be naturalized, you must have 2 years of residency, “good moral character,” and be a “free white person.” In 1795 it was extended to 5 years of residency, in 1798 it was extended to 14 years. BY 1802 it dropped back down to 5 years.

In 1798, the president was given the ability to deport or imprison anyone who was deemed dangerous to the United States. It was the first act to authorize deportation of immigrants.  Another 1798 policy, which is still alive today in modified form, was the Alien Enemies Act. It allows the deportation of men (aged 14 and older) from a hostile country during times of war. This was used widely during World War II and, even though modified, currently permits the president to detain, relocate, or deport aliens during war times.

Fast forward to 1864. An Immigration Department is formed under the Secretary of State and the “Act to Encourage Immigration” was enacted. Because of the labor shortages after the Civil War, this act allowed for the government to create contracts with other countries to provide immigrant labor.

By 1870, naturalization was given to those of African nativity or descent. By this time, our immigrant population was at its highest since the inception of the country at 14.4%.

In 1875, the country released its first restrictive immigration legislation with the Page Law, also known as the Asian Exclusion Act.  This prohibited the immigration of criminals into the country and also made it a felony to contract with forced Asian laborers.  By 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act banned Chinese laborers from immigrating for the next 10 years and authorized deportation of unauthorized Chinese immigrants. Anyone of Chinese descent who immigrated prior to 1880 was given amnesty, but could not naturalize. By 1892 the amount of time Chinese could not immigrate to the USA was increased to 20 years and they must show documentation and proof of identity.

The 1891 Immigration Act was pretty large. It increased the list of people banned from immigrating to include polygamists and those with a contagious disease. It also permitted deportation of ANY unauthorized immigrants and it made it a federal misdemeanor to illegally immigrate.

1903 brought about a policy that barred people from immigrating because of their political beliefs. This act prevented anarchists, beggars, and importers of prostitutes from immigrating to the country.

By 1916 we start seeing more exclusions. Almost every Asian country was now excluded from being able to immigrate to the United States and any immigrant over the age of 16 must be able to demonstrate basic reading ability.

In 1921 the Emergency Quota Act was passed. It created numerical quotas for immigration based on nationality. Quotas were to be 3% of the foreign born population of that nationality in the 1910 census. Asian countries were still barred from immigrating. Also, the total amount of people allowed to immigrate to America was capped at 350,000.

1924 saw the creation of U.S. Border Patrol. Also in 1924, the immigration cap was decreased from 350,000 to 165,000. The quotas were also changed. The quota change favored countries that had a longer immigration record with the United States than those with shorter. It also denied entry to the United States of anyone who was ineligible to become a citizen. This meant that only whites and people of African descent were allowed entry.

In 1942 the Bracero Agreement allowed temporary visas to Mexican nationals for the purpose of working in the agricultural fields. This agreement stayed in effect until 1962.

In 1943, the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed and they were added to the quotas. Also with this, Chinese people were able to naturalize in the United States.

In 1952, the McCarren-Walter Act formally removed race as an exclusion for immigration and naturalization. Also under this law, political views, ideology, mental health, and other criteria were used a basis for exclusion and deportation. It also created priority immigration status for those who were skilled workers and those who were immigrating to reunite with their families.

In 1953, the Refugee Relief Act authorized special visas for 200,000 refugees and allowed these immigrants to become permanent residents.

President Kennedy, in 1961, provided medical care, financial aid, assistance with resettlement, and child welfare services for Cuban refugees. The Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 assisted individuals in the Western Hemisphere fleeing from “persecution or fear of persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion.”

In 1965, the antiquated quota system was removed and replaced with a preference system that included standards such as family reunification and skilled immigrants. The visa cap was also removed for the Western Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere was given a 120,000 cap on visas.

President Ford, in 1975, approved the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act. This gave 130,000 Vietnamese funds for relocation and resettlement. This was due to the the fact that South Vietnam would fall to the communist north.

Then in 1976, the visa caps went back into play when Mexico was given a cap of 20,000 visas annually and the entire world was given 290,000. Prior to this, Mexican immigration was at its highest.

The Refugee Act of 1980 adopted the UN’s definition of refugee admission standards. It also included deportation relief and admission based on region or nationality. This means it paved the way for emergency immigration relief for the persecuted and unprotected around the world. A short time later in 1986, the Simpson-Mazzoli Act gave permanent residency to illegal immigrants who lived in the US and worked certain agricultural jobs. This provided amnesty to over 2.7 million illegals. Reagan added to that the minor children and spouses of those who became legal under the 1986 law.

In 1990 the cap was briefly increased to 700,000 and then reduced to 675,000 on the number of visas granted. Of that, 480,000 must be family-sponsored visas, 140,000 are employment visas, and 55,000 are what are known as “diversity immigrant” visas. These are for people who come from countries with low immigration to America.

1996 brought about more protections. President Clinton approved the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This increased enforcement at the borders and allowed the building of fences and walls at the highest points of entry in the United States. It tightened workforce enforcement, removing criminal and deportable aliens from the country. It also increased the restrictions on aid that immigrants can receive, especially illegal immigrants.

By 2002 we digitized the admissions and removal of immigrants and the visa program. Also, in the wake of 9/11, the Homeland Security Act transfers almost all of the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) to DHS (Department of Homeland Security).

In 2006, Bush 43 got the Secure Fence Act passed. Due to the failure of immigration reform, the law mandates a 700-mile double-layered fence to be constructed on America’s southwest border. It also beefed up staffing of border security there as well.

In 2012, President Obama, through executive action, signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act. This law affected illegal immigrants between the ages of 15-30 who were brought to America illegally as children to apply for temporary deportation relief and a 2-year work visa. Over 750,000 people applied for that relief.

In 2014, a second executive order allowed illegal immigrant parents who have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years and have children during that time who are U.S. citizens to apply for deportation relief and a 3-year work visa.

This year, so far, President Trump put through executive action to change immigration policies. These policies will affect 4 distinct groups of people:

  • Criminals who are immigrants. Trump has promised that he will remove 2-3 million criminal immigrants. He has taken a broad stroke on the definition of “criminal” as most partisan and non-partisan groups place that number significantly lower at under 1 million.
  • Immigrants who arrived as children. Over 750,000 qualified for the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act. While Trump pledged to remove DACA, he has since softened his stance saying that he is willing to work with those who qualified for it. If it was rescinded, those people would face unemployment, the inability to attend college, and possible deportation. There is currently legislation in the Senate that would provide this group “provisional protected presence” but no path to citizenship.
  • Immigrant parents of American citizens. About 4 million people qualified for the 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. Again, Trump wanted to immediately rescind both DAPA and DACA, and he may still do so. But they will likely be a low enforcement priority.
  • Workers and recent arrivals. While they may remain low on the immigration totem pole, if Trump decides to follow Bush 43’s lead, there could be an increase in workplace raids. Many recent arrivals were already targeted for prioritized deportation under Obama, such as children from Central America fleeing violence. Trump has considered maintaining their deportation priority.

Trump also recently put a temporary ban on entrance from 7 Muslim-majority nations and an indefinite ban on entrance from Syria. So far this has led to only 109 people being detained nationally. according to his numbers. According to the lawsuit put forward by the states, that number is over 100,000. This isn’t new. Obama did a very similar action in his second term. Unfortunately, whether it is 100,000, 109, or even 1, with a president as polarizing as Trump, the media will be in a firestorm, which will embolden other countries to stand up to Americans.

Beginning next week, I want to look at the potential effect of Americans abroad, especially missionaries, when countries lash out against America for current legislation.

Exodus 22:21 – “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

I Can Stay Silent No Longer

I am not one who looks to judge the world. That is not my place. That is God’s place. I am to judge good and evil and decide whether myself, as a Christian, should accept it into my life, my family’s life, and my church’s life.

Romans 12:2 is the Christian’s lead in this, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed to the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern the will of God, what is good, acceptable and perfect.”

If you are reading this and do not know Christ, I am not going to be one to tell you how to live. It will fall on deaf ears. Here are a couple Bible verses that prove my point:

Proverbs 18:2 – A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, only in expressing his own opinion.

Psalm 14:1 – The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Proverbs 23:9 – Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.

If you are reading this and do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, then I will ask that you stop reading now until you know the saving grace of Christ Jesus. This post is for Christians. If you don’t know Him personally then you will project your views on my words, which will color them in a different way than I would like them perceived.

I write this post from someone who is faithfully and dearly in love with Christ.

So, Christian, who are you voting for in the election?

Loaded question, most certainly.

There is one thing I have heard over and over and over again from people calling themselves Christians who are going to vote for either Hilary or Trump. I hear Christians say, “Well, he/she is the lesser of two evils.”

Many other writers have written much better posts about how the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil, but I am going to share yet another, from my viewpoint. But let me start with some proofs from the Bible.

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14
    1. Do not bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
  • 1 Corinthians 10:21
    1. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
  • Proverbs 22:8
    1. He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish.
  • Proverbs 1:29-31
    1. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. “They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So the shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices.”
  • The ENTIRE book of Habakkuk

And then there is this:

“When God wants to judge a nation, He gives them wicked rulers.” – John Calvin

Christian, I am pleading with you, DO NOT vote based on the lesser of two evils mentality. You will still be choosing evil, thus heaping the coals of sin upon your own head!

1 Thessalonians 5:22 tells us, as Christians, to “abstain from every form of evil.” This includes the lesser of two evils.

Finally, choosing a lesser of two evils shows the world that you are willing to compromise your own beliefs in order to get what you want. What kind of testimony do you think that gives Christ?

I will leave you with one final Bible verse:

James 4:17 – So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

 

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