Chaplain's Corner

Welcome to the Chaplain's Corner!
We set aside this space to share with you some of the words our Camp Chaplain has penned. We pray you take some time to read over these posts and take them to heart in your daily lives.

Our Camp Chaplain is Pastor Mark Girten of the Crooked Creek Baptist Church in Crittenden County Kentucky. Pastor Girten has had many of his writings published in local newspapers.

Present Times Look a Lot Like 1984

posted Jun 1, 2017, 7:07 AM by Edward Georgen   [ updated Jun 1, 2017, 7:07 AM ]

Remember the classic novel, 1984, written by George Orwell? I read it in high school. It was about a totalitarian government that went so far as to monitor every move of its citizens, force them to profess things they knew weren't true, and in general, worship and serve the government and its party line. Sound familiar? Today we call it political correctness, but there really is nothing correct about it, nor American about it. It's straight out of the Marxist socialist play book, and yet many citizens of this country have embraced it. As the old saying goes, “I never thought I'd see the day.” Are we living in the U.S.A. Or revived U.S.S.R.? The Beatles may have sang lovingly of it in their song, “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, but I see nothing to love about such tyranny.

We hear a lot about rights these days, but our true God-given rights talked about in our Declaration of Independence and supposedly guaranteed in our Constitution's Bill of Rights, are being ignored and contradicted by those with ignorant or evil motives.

It is no accident or coincidence that the very first constitutional amendment in our Bill of Rights guarantees religious freedom and freedom of speech. These are mentioned first because they are foundational to all the rest of our freedoms. And then comes our right to bear arms in the second amendment. The founding fathers very wisely realized these rights were all necessary to our protection against a tyrannical government like the one written about in the novel, 1984, and the one we see developing before our eyes today.

These foundational rights in the Bill of Rights--freedom of religion, speech, and the right to bear arms in defense of our liberty –are the very ones most under attack today. The attack is very cleverly coming under the guise of “fairness” and “civil rights”, but it is really plain old politically-correct mind control. God-haters, government officials, and tyrants are attempting to force many of us to accept their line of thinking, even though it goes against our religious beliefs and conscience, or else. This is about as far as you can get from truly American behavior.

Even many large corporate businesses are playing tyrant. Safety of Americans, particularly children, has been trumped by politically-correct bathroom and fitting room etiquette. Corporate America and businesses are to sell products to the public. Not be our conscience and tell us what to believe. I think God and His word have that covered. 

That which is morally wrong should never become a political right. The God of the Bible, our Creator and Redeemer, is the only One who has the right to define morality, and He has!

Why are so many people listening to lies? One of these lies is that homosexuals are born that way. I've yet to see any scientific proof from studies in genetics, yet many people believe this lie simply because it has been repeated and they want to believe it. The God of the Bible is a good and loving God, but how could that be so if He made homosexuals that way and then condemned them for it? How absurd! Homosexuality is a behavior, not an identity. At one time, both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association considered homosexuality as something to be treated, according to their manuals. Then along came political correctness, and that changed. Sometimes, science, even soft science, is politicized. 

I hear a lot these days about homosexual rights, and its couched in terms of civil rights. The homosexual movement has painted homosexuals as victims who are being persecuted. This is laughable. Studies have shown that they earn more money per capita than heterosexuals and they have greater political clout for their numbers. They are anything but victims. When was the last time you watched a television program that doesn't show homosexuality as something we all should support? Victims? I think not, but I can tell you who have become the victims. We whose religious beliefs and conscience are being trampled in the politically-correct dust. We who are being vilified as bigots because we disagree with the party line. Big Brother is alive and well! The politically-correct homosexual propaganda being peddled on practically every episode of every television program is nothing more than mind control, or what was once called “brain-washing”. The only thing is, you can't wash something with filthy water.

I do not discriminate against people who indulge in homosexual behavior, but that hardly means I'm obligated to put my stamp of approval on their behavior at the expense of my conscience and religious beliefs. My right to the free exercise of my religious belief as I see fit is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Other's right to force me to believe what they think I should believe is not. It's time to take a stand, as the government of North Carolina did, against the federal government's “thought police”. Tell Big Brother and his friends to go jump in the lake, preferably in another country. This is the U.S.A. , not the U.S.S.R. Revived. Nor is it 1984.

Pride and Prejudice

posted May 15, 2017, 3:26 PM by Edward Georgen   [ updated May 15, 2017, 3:26 PM ]

I recently picked up a copy of the “Early Bird” paper and saw an article on the front page that at first warmed my heart.....until I began to read it. It concerned the recent decision by our state government to keep Jefferson Davis's statue in the Kentucky capital building. So far, so good. Then I read the details. It's said that the Devil's in the details, and I believe it.

I read that the statue is staying for now, but that decision may be revisited later. I thought “we the people,” myself being one of those, had spoken. Apparently not. Petitions have been signed, phone calls made, a board has sat, and yet, it seems we may have to fight the good fight again later. Do you ever get the feeling that your government officials are representing someone besides yourself?

The article also informed me that plans were in the works that some sort of notice be posted by the statue to give context. What concerns me about that is that it will possibly be of the politically correct variety rather that the historically correct variety.

I thought we already had some pretty good historical context on the statue's pedestal. It lists Jefferson Davis's many accomplishments in the U.S. Government as well as the Kentucky legislature. He had commissioned surveys for the transcontinental railroad and served in the U.S. Military as a West Point graduate in at least two wars prior to the Civil War. He was a statesman, something many of the politicians today know little about. In short, he was a good and honorable man, a true son of Kentucky that we should be proud to honor.

So why is Jefferson Davis so vilified by some? I think the answer is ignorance of historical facts, and a tendency of some to jump on a self-righteous, politically correct bandwagon to feel morally superior. The key word is “feel.”

Informed opinion should be based in facts, not feelings. It comes down to the prejudice of those who think they are fighting prejudice. How ironic! The word “prejudice” means to “pre-judge, to judge before the facts are known.” Prejudice comes from ignorance, which is defined as a lack of knowledge. Too many Americans don't know their history, and it's killing our country.

If you asked Americans why the Civil War was fought, many would say slavery was the cause, and they'd be wrong. Slavery was certainly an important part, particularly here in Kentucky, but there was a bigger issue at stake.

The Civil War happened because part of the nation believed in the primacy of local state government, and part of the nation believed in the primacy of a distant, out-of -touch, centralized federal government. There were two very different cultures in this nation at that time, trying to figure out how to peacefully co-exist. One was a well-mannered, slow-paced, heritage-based, agricultural society. The other was, in contrast, a somewhat impersonal, fast-paced, industrial-driven society. The two cultures failed to compromise and clashed in a bloody civil war that cost more American lives (600,000) than any other war we fought.

Today, we also have two very different cultures clashing. We, too, have some who think distant, out-of-touch, centralized federal government is the answer. They have basically made government their god and savior. I'm reminded of an old Steppenwolf song from the late 60's that spoke of big government as a “monster on the loose that's put our heads into the noose” and called “America, we need you now; we can't fight alone against a monster.” But sadly some don't see it for what it really is. Ronald Reagan did; He said, “A government big enough to give you everything is a government big enough to take it away.”

Then there is the culture that recognizes smaller, more localized, accountable, limited, servile government. Our nation started with that ideal, and it served us well...... until the monster grew out of control. Do you ever get the impression that you're here to serve the government rather than the government being here to serve the people?

So, will history repeat itself? Will it come to bloodshed and disaster one day? Not if the pride of an historically-informed opinion rises above the prejudice of ill-informed political correctness. My prayer is that America will not need to fight that same culture war again. I hope that is your prayer as well. 

Open Letter to Dr. Moore and Southern Baptists

posted May 12, 2017, 10:12 AM by Edward Georgen   [ updated May 12, 2017, 10:13 AM ]

“Open Letter to Dr. Moore and Southern Baptists”

As a Southern Baptist pastor, graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity degree), proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (Jim Pearce Camp of Princeton, KY), and a lover and student of first-source-based complete history of this nation, I was saddened to the point of disgust by the anti-confederate flag resolution produced by the SBC.

I must take issue with some of the ideas expressed in Russell Moore's article appearing in the June 22nd issue of The Times Leader. I was disappointed at how such highly educated men, though well-meaning, could so misrepresent the true meaning behind the Confederate Battle Flag and turn it into a scapegoat for racism.

In his article, Russell Moore said, “...we cannot dismiss this as just about symbols. Symbols matter.” I couldn't agree with that statement more, and the ones who rightly chose and defined these symbols are the ones who used them to create the Confederate Battle Flag.

This flag, which Russell Moore called ”one lingering divisive symbol,“ actually contains both patriotic and Christian symbolism. That “X” on which 13 stars are fixed represents the Cross of St. Andrew, a Christian symbol. Those 13 stars are reminiscent of our original 13 colonies, and represented the 11 Confederate states plus the exiled Confederate governments of Missouri and Kentucky.

We are mistakenly told that the flag represents racism and hatred and that Confederate soldiers died for the cause of slavery under this flag. Actually, these states lawfully seceded from the Union when the U.S. Government failed to listen to them and truly represent their interests. This was no different from what the 13 colonies did with Great Britten. Seventy-five percent of Confederate soldiers, who proudly fought under the Confederate Battle Flag, didn't own any slaves. 

Obviously, they were not fighting under a flag representing slavery or racism.

Russell Moore said, “ The Convention recognized what the flag represents, and what it says to our African-American brothers and sisters in Christ.” Did it really? I think they got it exactly wrong.

According to Moore, “The flag hearkens back to a day when in order to justify idolatrous mammonism (worshiping wealth), Southern religion wove a counter- biblical folk theology that stood on the other side of Jesus.” Southern religion? What of Northern religion? Slaves came to this nation on ships flying the Stars and Stripes, not the Confederate flag. The two largest slave markets/ports were Boston and New York City. If you want to talk about a, “ counter-biblical folk theology that stood on the other side of Jesus” the North had its fair share. Both the North and the South are responsible for the evil of slavery, but we all, as right-thinking Americans, need to disabuse ourselves of this untrue notion of the North as good and noble when it came to the issue of slavery, and the South as evil.

The Confederate Battle flag stood for the values this nation was founded upon. Thus we have that very accurate name for the War between the States: The War of Southern Independence.” It was Lincoln who, for political advantage, attempted to turn the war into a slavery issue midway through the war. Apparently, Honest Abe wasn't always so honest.

And along those lines, I question the fairness of Moore's statement that “the flag also points to years and years of domestic terrorism against African-Americans, often with threats of physical violence.” It's not the Confederate flag that is guilty, but those groups like the KKK that have hijacked and misused that flag that are guilty: By the way, the KKK has also marched with the Stars and Stripes. If it's simply guilt by association, I'm waiting for that SBC resolution censoring Old Glory. Let's be consistent.

Your article's headline did say that the cross is more important than a flag. While I agree with that statement, I don't see that the two are mutually exclusive. It might interest you to know that one of the Confederate Battle Flag's nicknames is quite appropriately “the Southern Cross.” It also might interest you to know that the Confederate Battle Flag is considered by many nations around the world to be a symbol of freedom. It was flown over the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and many Eastern Bloc nations flew it upon regaining their independence from communist oppression.

Dr. Moore, you claim that “the cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire.” I beg to differ. It was under that flag that tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers turned to Christ or rededicated themselves to Him in a great revival during the war. That is historic fact. American Indians were persecuted and killed under the U.S. Flag. Perhaps we need yet another SBC resolution.

Under the Confederate Battle Flag, tens of thousands of American Indians served, including one Indian general, Standie Wattie. And with them served tens of thousands of Orientals, Hispanics, and African-Americans. You might say that this flag that you have maligned and slandered is a multicultural banner. Those are historic facts. I believe you chose the wrong flag to blame for irresponsible racism.

Allow me to share a personal story. A few weeks ago, our church hosted an African-American guest speaker. He's a deacon in his church in Atlanta, GA and an evangelist. I hosted him in my home and we had a great time of fellowship. We fly the Confederate Flag in our front yard. He had no problem with that flag because he knows what it truly stands for.

Blaming a flag for racism out of ignorance is much like blaming a gun for criminal behavior. Will be be doing yet another resolution to not own guns? You have painted the Confederate flag , “the Southern Cross”, as a stumbling block to the Gospel. I guess that's appropriate in a way. Didn't the Apostle Paul call the cross of Christ a stumbling block for some? But it still is true and honorable. I wish I could say the same for that SBC resolution. As I said earlier, I would expect better from highly-educated men and spiritual leaders. In the name of fighting prejudice and discrimination for the Gospels sake, you have pre-judged out of ignorance and discriminated. I would not call this the SBC's finest hour, nor does it make me proud to be a Southern Baptist. I will continue to hold up the cross of Christ even as I fly “the Southern Cross,” that flag with the Cross of St. Andrew and those 13 stars. The same Jesus who said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” also said “the truth shall make you free.” Those who have brought that resolution on the confederate flag and voted for it have played fast and loose with the truth. Following the news of that resolution brought tears to my eyes, too, but for different reasons.

It was not the confederate flag that caused people to act criminally in Ferguson, MO, nor was it the Confederate flag that caused a deranged gunman to kill African-American church members in Charleston, S.C. Nor is it the Confederate flag that's responsible for the death of countless African-Americans each year by abortion. It is people's sin and failure to take responsibility for their sin. Our current president and many others have taken every opportunity to support this sort of bad behavior. Are Southern Baptists now going to do the same? Let's place blame where it belongs. The church does a disservice when it tries to fight racism and irresponsible behavior by making excuses for it. Considering the state of our churches and the multitude of sinful behavior in this world we as pastors need not jump on the politically correct bandwagon but get back to teaching the Gospel, which includes repentance from sin.

Bro. Mark Girten
Pastor, Crooked Creek Baptist Church
Marion, KY

Let Your Watchword be “Heritage, not Hate!”

posted May 11, 2017, 11:36 AM by Edward Georgen

Heritage, not hate! Most of us have seen the bumper sticker. The battle for America's soul boiled down to three words and an explanation mark.

Heritage has always been very important to me. I am a proud American; I served my country as an active duty U.S. Marine, honorably discharged in 1978. 

I am a proud Kentuckian; born in Morganfield, descended from blue collar Salt- of-the-earth types (farmers, coal miners, construction workers, etc.). I am a proud former resident of Texas, a state known for its proud spirit of freedom and independence. (and, yes, big egos). These are the places and the cultures that have contributed to who I am. I guess that's why I value heritage so much. 

One of the definitions of heritage is “relating to things of historic or cultural value that are worthy of being preserved.” Note especially the words “historic” and “cultural.”

I have had a love of history since I first studied American history in the fourth grade. As a recruit in Marine boot camp at Parris Island, SC, I was introduced to the colorful and proud history of the Corps, and lovingly embraced it. 

In fact, it was more than just history, as important as that is. The Marine Corps instilled a culture in its recruits, one of honor, devotion, and pride.

This culture was captured in a book written by Captain Marion F. Sturkey, a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam, entitled Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines. 

Concerning my Kentucky heritage and history, I drew from Daniel Boone a love of the land and freedom, and from Jefferson Davis a love of noble character and service to my God and fellow man. 

Concerning my Texas residency of over three decades, and its culture and history, I can say the same. It epitomizes the spirit of freedom and independence under God. 

There is another influence in my life that I've yet to mention that represents who I am. In importance, it follows only my relationship with Jesus Christ, His Church, and my wife and family. It's a non-racial, non-sectarian, non-profit veteran's educational organization known as Sons of Confederate Veterans. 

I know that for many Americans today, there is unfortunately a knee-jerk reaction to anything Confederate, due to ignorance of historical fact. Long-standing myth concerning the War for Southern independence (erroneously referred to as a civil war) has for too long replaced historical fact. The definition of “myth” that applies here is “a widely held but false belief.” 

Some of these widely held but false beliefs are that race relations were better in the North than in the South, that cruel treatment of slaves was the norm, that the South was fighting for the cause of slavery, and that the plight of most former slaves was better after the war. None of these things is true, yet many Americans have been taught to believe these things. 

What is the solution? In one word, read! And not just anything. Read first-hand accounts written at the time or shortly after by the people who lived it. You would be amazed at how the truth is far different from what is generally accepted and taught. 

One book you might start with is The Slave Narratives, an official United States document put together during the Great Depression using testimonies from some of the last surviving slaves of the Old South. There is also a book called Official Record: War of the Rebellion, another official report of the United States concerning the War for Southern independence.

Contrary to popular belief, you will find more than seventy percent of these accounts giving a positive view of the relationship between slaves and masters as close and respectful. Not quite the view you get from Uncle Tom's Cabin, a fictional work. 

Just for the record, I am not advocating slavery. What I am advocating is that accurate and fair and complete historical fact be communicated and taught.

We just came out of April, which is, among other things, Confederate History Month. I bet you didn't hear about that on your local or national newscast! Nor did you probably hear about the historical significance of it in school. 

We are now in May, a month in which we celebrate both Armed Forces Day (May 20th) and Memorial Day (May 29th). Did you know that Confederate Veterans have been recognized by The United States government as equivalents to Union Veterans by law, the most recent being U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 approved 23rd May, 1958?

I'm a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans because I consider it an honor and a privilege and important, to educate my fellow Americans, Kentuckians, Texans and Veterans as to who these brave and noble Confederate soldiers were and what they stood for. 

They loved and sacrificed for God, home, family, self-determined government, and freedom. To smear their good name, and spit out the name Confederate as if it's a curse word and the epitome of evil, is a disgrace and the greatest of injustices. It's high time the true account of history is told. The truth will set you free!

I want to ask you this, as we come upon Memorial Day and the tradition of honoring servicemen at Arlington National Cemetery, do you realize that the sacred ground there was property of General Robert E. Lee, unlawfully seized by the federal government during the War for Southern independence? There are those today in New Orleans and other places who in the name of diversity or political correctness would eliminate any and all trace of part of history. Diversity as I understand it is giving a wide view of all cultural beliefs. Picking and choosing is called bigotry or racism.

Seek the complete and accurate history. Don't settle for and spread myths of so-called history. Heritage, not hate!  

1-4 of 4