Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Would it rock your boat too much to vote?
Nov07

Would it rock your boat too much to vote?

Political efficacy. It’s a fancy term political scientists use to refer to the idea of people’s participation in government affecting outcomes.   In a democratic republic of more than 300 million people, it’s tempting for some to throw their hands up in desperation, thinking that their votes won’t make a difference.   This is an unfortunate misnomer. Nancy Neuman, former president of the League of Women Voters said it this way:   “Lower voter participation is a silent threat to our democracy…. It under-represents young people, the poor, the disabled, those with little education, minorities and you and me.”   While one individual vote may not seem like a lot, if entire blocks of people stay home from the polls, a sizable portion of the population’s decision making power is wasted.   According to polling data from the 2012 presidential election, only 59.3 percent of the eligible population voted. Slightly more than half of the people in the United States tend to make national decisions.   It is sad that in America, arguably the freest country in the world, so few people exercise the rights they were born with.   Why would citizens not vote when they have the opportunity to express support for interests they care about, while watching a peaceful, non-violent transfer of power ­— a concept many countries in the world are only now barely beginning to discover?   A democracy is only as functional as the people are active. A lack of voter participation underscores a culture of hypocrisy.   People complain about almost everything when it comes to government but seldom lift a finger to change anything even if they do vote.   For instance, according to statistics, people in the U.S. generally dislike Congress, but they continue to elect the same representatives term after term. A cause of this phenomena could be political laziness.   Many times, non-voters and voters alike are uninformed of the issues that matter to them. There’s definitely no lack of opinions.   It’s simply a lack of knowledge — the force that spurs people to action. This causes non-voters to continue their pattern of inactivity and voters to continue selecting the same names on the ballot they always have.   Further, it’s your duty to vote. Brave men and women die and are seriously wounded both physically and emotionally for your right to choose between political activity or laziness. The least one could do is participate in the free form of government their sacrifices make...

Read More
I roll my own dice
Nov07

I roll my own dice

I’m what some call a “leaner” — a freethinking citizen who regularly votes with the Republican Party.   Why? Well, it’s the party that aligns most closely to my mostly conservative beliefs. But, I reserve the right to vote my way rather than be swayed by the allure of partisanship.   I vote for who’s best for America; I define myself as the way I’m registered: “Independent.”   One definition of that word is: “free from outside control; not depending on another’s [save one’s] authority.”   I am accountable to none but God and voting based on issues is most important.   I am pro-life. That’s why I detest abortion, which a majority of democrats advocate as choice and the death penalty, which many republicans view as justice.   It’s a common misconception that Independents are centrists. According to Linda Killian, author of The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents, several independent camps exist.   1) Millennials who lean toward libertarian ideals on economic and social issues 2) Conservative Tea-partiers 3) America First democrats, formerly known as Reagan democrats 4) Swing vote suburbanites and more.   What makes independents strong is their ability to compromise. It’s important to remember compromise and conviction hold different denotations and connotations.   Democratic societies function optimally when two or more reach agreements. Continue to fight for what you believe, work toward that end goal, but at the same time, realize government is a man-made, flawed invention that will never achieve perfection or complete morality.   It’s of great benefit to realize both parties have contributed positively to our nation. When was the last time you heard Bill O’ Reilly applaud a democrat or Wolf Blitzer applaud a republican?   It’s been that way for a while now. Partisanship has turned politics into sport.   If you were a liberal democrat in the 1980s, you would’ve sworn on your deathbed that inflation rose under President Reagan. It appreciably fell.   Republicans are no better. In 1996, most Republicans would have shot you for saying something like “Man, President Clinton really is rounding up that deficit. It’s been shrinking steadily.” True statement but they’d have none of that.   Independents are a force to be reckoned with. It’s time we all look to compromise, vote for whom and what we know is right and not let special interest money bind our...

Read More
Americans: Virus victims or victors
Oct23

Americans: Virus victims or victors

Thomas Eric Duncan’s heart rate plummeted into the 40s. Time of death: 7:51 a.m. He was the first Ebola victim on U.S. soil.   Within a week, two Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurses, two of about 70 caring for Duncan during his time there, were confirmed to have the virus.   The fight is on. Is America ready?   President Barack Obama said Sept. 16 that the chances of Ebola reaching the U.S. were “extremely low.”   Wrong.   There’s no full-proof plan to combat Ebola.   America is unprepared, not only for Ebola, but other viruses as well.   The 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak proves poor anticipation by our nation’s public health officials. Press reports of Mexico’s “late flu season,” should have sounded an alarm. Yet, H1N1 had already crossed our borders before action was taken.   There’s also enterovirus D68. Medical professionals deem it a medical mystery. EV-D68 has spread across 46 states and the District of Colombia. It has affected nearly 700 people and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed EV-D68 has claimed five lives so far. Some believe the virus causes paralysis, but the CDC has found no evidence to prove this theory. EV-D68 has affected more Americans than Ebola, and we are still scratching our heads over this once ‘rare’ virus.   The United States isn’t only to blame. The World Health Organization shows itself as more interested in politics than aid. Just last month, the group failed to recognize Ebola’s death agenda. Their major health concern: electronic cigarettes.   For America to emerge victorious in the fight against pandemics, we must look inward. Why have we not developed a vaccine to counter Ebola in humans when the National Institutes of Health announced the development of a vaccine proven to prevent the virus’ infection in monkeys in the year 2000?   Arthur L. Caplan, head of the Division of Bioethics at New York University Lagone Medical Center, wrote in an opinion for NBC news that “if you live in … any developed country you do not have to worry about Ebola.”   He went on to write: “Medical authorities know that it is very hard to transmit Ebola, that those most at risk live in nations that lack gloves and moon suits and quarantine facilities and that it is the brave doctors and nurses who treat patients with Ebola in resource-poor conditions that are at the greater risk.”   Then why did the two nurses contract the virus? Will an investigation show breaches in CDC protocols?   What if she complied with all protocol and used her “resources” correctly?   The United...

Read More
Anti-abortion: life for all
Oct23

Anti-abortion: life for all

Recently, I was reading in the Huffington Post’s religion section, and the Sept. 11 edition had an article I just had to read.   Rabbi Aaron Alexander, a frequent writer for this section, released an article titled, “Stop Calling it a Anti-abortion Movement or Become One.” You can go read the article if you wish, but in short, Alexander calls out the anti-abortion movement and he states some issues he has.   Among other suggestions, Alexander says that the anti-abortion movement should actually work with organizations like Planned Parenthood. Near the end of his article, Alexander says that we, as a group, should be willing to compromise with other abortion clinics.   This made me stop for a second. For the past six years, I have been adamantly anti-abortion. I have worked for the cause and done all I can do to spread the message of sanctity of life. Now, Alexander calls into question the anti-abortion cause and the values behind our ideals.   Alexander, in his article, does what many prominent pro-choice people often do when he uses and abuses the logical fallacy of red herrings when he says the anti-abortion movement needs to focus on issues outside of what the group is about.   Is the idea of loving people and doing everything we can to help people who are poor or hurting important? Absolutely. Anyone who identifies himself with the anti-abortion movement would easily say that he also wants to love people and help people.   This is a common misconception about the group today; people think anti-abortioners don’t care about people once they are born, they only care about the baby and making sure it isn’t aborted.   While fighting against abortion is easily the most commonly discussed section of the anti-abortion movement, it isn’t the only one, and I would argue that it isn’t the most important. I would argue that there isn’t a most important part of the movement.   We do believe that life is sacred from the point of conception to natural death. Why would one part of life be more important than any other part? It isn’t. That is what we are about.   Because the awareness for the sanctity of life is more prevalent, adversaries are more prevalent as well.   We need to know how to recognize and debunk arguments such as the ones Alexander is making. We need to realize that there is no room to compromise when it comes to the sanctity of life and finally get up and take a...

Read More
Houston, we have a problem
Oct23

Houston, we have a problem

Houston. That humid, traffic-ridden landmass that swallows up a great portion of Southeast Texas. The country’s fourth largest city is home to more than two million people and a controversy called the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, also known as HERO.   A nickname is the “Bathroom Bill.” It reinforces the idea that no one should be discriminated against on basis of race, religion or sexual orientation. Pretty routine, right? Until the reader learns that the city’s bathrooms are now non-discriminatory.   Over the summer, a group of pastors who take objection to their lesbian mayor’s bold move passed around a petition, which gained more than the minimum number of signatures to have the ordinance reviewed.   The city found that a large number of the signatures were “ineligible” and refuses to discuss how it came to that conclusion. Those pastors are now in a legal battle with the city, which took an unexpected turn when the city called for their sermons to be brought before the court.   “Mayor Parker agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department’s subpoenas for pastor’s sermons….,” Chief Policy Officer Janice Evans told The Bells. “Neither the mayor nor city attorney … were aware the subpoenas had been issued…. Both agree the original documents were overly broad.”   After that, news reports surfaced about a tweet from Parker’s Twitter account that contradicted this statement saying, “If the five pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game. Were instructions given on filling out anti-HERO petition?”   So, which is it? Does Parker “agree with those who are concerned” about a breach of First Amendment rights, or does she in fact see the subpoena of sermons as an aid in her legal case?   When Evans was confronted with the contradiction, she responded saying, “We believe the petition process used by the HERO opponents, including the pastors, did not meet the requirements…. That information would be very helpful in proving our case.”   After a similar sentiment was expressed in a news conference, the city did some major backtracking in response to national news coverage and condemnation from politicians.   “The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Christiana Holcomb, the attorney representing the ministers, said.       “Political and social commentary is not a crime; it is protected by the First Amendment.”   In keeping with her theme of non-discrimination, Parker should subpoena an Imam’s sermon. Quranic passages say homosexuals should be killed. Why pick on...

Read More
#UMHBRO14
Oct16

#UMHBRO14

A frigid wind dragged along the steps of Luther Memorial Saturday morning, October 4th, yet still, more than 300 students showed up to serve at Reaching Out 2014.   Lord knows it was a miracle I was one of em’. Saturday mornings, I’m usually in a state of comatose only the rapture can lift me out of. But my girlfriend, junior education major Savannah Davis wasn’t having any of that. My phone bu-zzzzzzzzzz-ed. It was time to go [insert sound of whip cracking here].   7:30 a.m. We just had to get a T-shirt. Savvy and I stood at the back while dedicated students materialized in front of Luther.   My roommate, senior physcology major Alex Aleman, stepped up to the microphone to lead us in prayer.   “We wanted students to have a direct impact on the community this year in a way they could see it,” he said. “It’s great that we got to work in Belton because this is our town.”   Aleman is the Director of Spiritual Life for Student Government Association, and “me and the chaplains are in charge of preparing the sites, finding a speaker and finding people to lead worship,” he said.   Senior Biblical Studies major Matt Boden, and fellow teammate of the acclaimed co-rec intramural football team known as “Jesus Jukes,” joined junior exercise science major Alexa Billington in leading worship.   Boden said leading worship at Reaching Out is unique.   “First,” he said, “It is so dang early. But the people who show up usually want to be there. That’s a breath of fresh air for someone in ministry to see.”   Students all around joined in a chorus of praise.   “Singing is just a very powerful form of worship,” Billington said, “and I know, for me, it’s what makes me feel like I’m connecting with God the most.”   “It’s just a beautiful thing to be able to sing to The Lord before the sun even comes out …” Boden added.   The only thing missing from Reaching Out’s pregame experience was Shawn Shannon’s “Big Watermelon!” warm-up. She was sick and dearly missed. But either way, it was time to serve. Savvy and I headed out to help clean up Nolan Creek.   We were joined on the trail by senior education major Kristen Cain, who also served at the Harris Community Center.   “We picked up large sticks and branches that were along the trail to clean up from the big storm Thursday night,” she said.   Our work replenished the creek’s appearance.   “God has shown me easy ways to serve in my community...

Read More
Page 18 of 64« First...10...1617181920...304050...Last »