What could Hillary have been thinking?
The story has apparently been around a few days but I just saw it this morning, then checked it at the Washington Post website for verification. This week Hillary Clinton claimed that back in 1996 when, as First Lady, she flew into Bosnia, they were under hostile fire and the welcoming ceremony had to be called off. Everyone was told to put their heads down and run for the cars. However, Sunday morning’s Fox News with Chris Wallace re-played Hillary’s claims at the same time they ran the actual video from that 1996 event. The video showed a crowd was gathered to welcome her, little children were presenting her with flowers, everything was all peace and joy. People along on that trip have spoken out this week, remembering that it was nothing like what Hillary now says. The reality was as far from what she is now claiming as it’s possible to get.
I suppose she’s trying to show how she functions well under fire. Maybe trying to contrast her “courage under fire” toughness with Barack Obama’s lack of military experience. If that was her aim, she might want to back off, because if she wins the Democratic nomination, she’ll then have to try to match the record of American hero John McCain and that ain’t gonna happen.
You would think that by now she and her advisors would know that every public moment of her life has been caught on camera somewhere and it’s hazardous to claim anything they’re not sure she did.
Is there a sermon in here or what!
What if we all had to endure this kind of scrutiny and public airing of our “misspeakings.” Some newspapers–the Washington Post among them–have “fact checkers” on their websites. It’s a great help to the average citizen who listens to politicians and have no idea to what extent they’re being conned.
Back in 1976 when Jimmy Carter was running for president, he promised he would never lie to us. He said this country was looking for a president who was an honest as our people. And he said it with a straight face. Coming after Watergate and the lies of Nixon, the message resonated with the country and he was elected—but for a single term. It turns out that it’s almost impossible to keep that promise in politics.
What was it Churchill said, something to the effect that in wartime, truth is so precious it must be protected by a bodyguard of lies. Not that this is what Hillary was doing this week.
In fact, Hillary may wish she was in New Orleans yesterday.
Saturday, March 29, 2008, was Expungement Day in the Crescent City. The event, sponsored by the Orleans Parish public defender’s office and held at the Treme Community Center, drew some 400 people eager to get their criminal records cleaned up. You have some old charge still on your record, but it’s false or has been dealt with and should not be left on the records, you brought your evidence and made your case.
Consuello Anderson, 41, knows how important this can be. According to the Sunday, March 30, 2008, Times-Picayune, this resident of our city had a good job as a personal care attendant in which she cared for the elderly and sickly. “I love doing it,” she said. Then, a background check revealed a quarter-century old charge against her for theft and she was fired. The fact that the thief was actually her baby did not matter.
On Expungement Day, Consuello presented her evidence and told her story. Back in 1984, as she was leaving her pediatrician’s office with her 14 month old son, the child grabbed an otoscope, the lamp used to examine children’s ears, and carried it with him. She was holding him in one arm and the baby bag in the other as they were rushing to get into the elevator at Charity Hospital. She was late for work and sprinted down the sidewalk, just making her bus. She noticed her son was carrying the otoscope–“he was at that age where they pick everything up”–and she meant to return it.
The next she thought about it was when the police knocked at her door. She was 17 years old. She gave the scope back, but the cops arrested her. She says she didn’t get the best legal help and was convicted of theft. It was a minor rap, she said Saturday, but getting fired recently “made me feel like I got a lifetime sentence without parole.” A lawyer helped her file for expungement.
It’s a two-step process. You file a motion in Criminal District Court. If the judge okays it, an order is filed with all area law enforcement groups. It’s not cheap: $325 per charge. The sponsoring groups are hoping the courts will waive the fees for the Treme Center applicants.
Some of the people in line told the T-P reporter they were there for old crimes of drug addiction, abetting in a crime, and such. They are now leading reputable lives but the old charges hold back their opportunities for jobs and career advancement.
Good for you, District Attorney Keva Landrum-Johnson and the public defenders office.
Bible students remember the practices in Israel from Old Testament days. Annual Days of Atonement, the seventh year release, and the Year of Jubilee (every 50th year) were all means God established to allow people who had done wrong or fallen onto hard times to get back up and start afresh.
When the Lord Jesus showed up in Galilee and began preaching, He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has appointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” He was reading from Isaiah, chapter 61. As He closed the scroll, He handed it to the synagogue official, took His seat, looked at the congregation before Him and said, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4)
The Day of Expungement for all who come to Jesus Christ is still in effect.
Those old sins, crimes, rebellions, neglect, and hurts can weigh you down and hinder your freedom. But there is one who can loose you and let you go free. His name is Jesus, and there is no one else like Him.
This is not because God is being nice for a brief season either. It’s because–and this is a key point–your sins, crimes, rebellions, neglect, and hurts have been paid for. They were dealt with by Jesus’ death on Calvary and His resurrection a few days later, and you should not carry their burden any longer.
One caution: you have to ask. God will not force the expungement on you. In fact, Jesus puts it this way: “I stand at your door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in….” (Revelation 3:20)
He does everything but force it on you, friend. Brings it right up to your front door and knocks. No wonder we call this “Good News.”
The ball’s in your court. What do you want–to go on the way you have or to start anew?
This morning at one of our local churches….
As I walked into the sanctuary, I was handed a church bulletin by an usher. Nearby, a woman was walking up and down the aisles handing out a paper that was obviously important for the service today. I took one and sat down in a pew. It turned out to be an e-mail message. Here it is, verbatim:
“Saw a billboard that read: ‘Need help? Call Jesus.’ 1-800-005-3787. Out of curiosity I did. A Mexican showed up with a tow truck.”
I mentioned that to the pastor–it’s a funny piece–and he rolled his eyes.
As the director of missions for all the Southern Baptist churches in metro New Orleans (from the tip of the Mississippi River northward through the city and west to LaPlace), I’m in and out of a lot of our churches and always have my antenna out for signs of health in our congregations. Today, the spirited singing and joyous fellowship spoke well of this church. The sermon was excellent and the invitation time saw a lot of people “down front,” praying at the altar or praying with one of three ministers. One lady was introduced as joining the church today. I don’t blame her. Anyone would love to be a member of Riverside Church in River Ridge where Jim Caldwell is pastor.
Jim says they baptized on Easter Sunday and have several more to baptize next week. More signs of health.
The lady sitting in front of me said she and her husband moved here from Georgia recently, and that they found this church just by driving Jefferson Highway. They spotted it and liked what they saw. Pastor Jim and his wife Susan have visited in their home, and she sounds like they have found their church. I could tell she loved to sing and suggested she join the choir. After the service, I was pleased to see her chatting with the church pianist Rebecca Hughes.
We sang a chorus I’ve heard in a lot of churches, so evidently it’s pretty popular. “I am a friend of God,” the line goes, over and over. “He calls me His friend.” In every church where they sing it, those lines are repeated some 15 or 20 times. Today, something jumped out at me that someone ought to add to that song. In John 15:14, Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
I expect a lot of people sing that song and comfort themselves with its assurances who have no intention of obeying the Savior. As with many of our songs, they’re sung by everyone but their blessing is meant only for the faithful.
“You are my friends if you do what I command you.” If that were spoken by anyone other than by the loving, gentle Lord Jesus Christ who always has our best interests at heart, we would have cause to hold back and say, “Hey, wait a minute.”
We have sometimes teased my oldest brother Ron–who is invited to defend himself below–for the manipulative ways he dominated his five younger siblings when we were children at home. I recall him saying to Charlie, the baby of the group–Ron might have been 16 and Charlie 7 at the time–“Charlie, are you my buddy?” The little boy, wise beyond his years in assessing big brothers, groaned, “What do you want me to do?”
I would have been 11 then, and remember it like it happened last week. I laughed out loud and said, “Ha! He’s got you figured out, Ronnie!”
I’m sure there is a sermon there, too, but I’ll let you work it out.