Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Time may be running out

Time was when education followed a familiar pattern.  In elementary school, one learned the three basic elements of reading, writing, and arithmetic.  One learned to read so one could read the Bible, but if you could read the Bible, you could read pretty much anything else written.  Of course writing involved more than just the formation of letters, for one had also to learn the proper and logical construction of sentences and paragraphs, and proper grammar.  Arithmetic was essential in every form of commerce and thus would be needed by any student no matter where life would take him.  At the end of a complete elementary education, one found oneself and the beginning of what was termed "the age of reason."  If you continued your education, you would now be schooled in the classics which included great liturature, philosophy, history, and of course was designed to produce a well rounded adult able to take his place in society and to reason and think.  One was expected to continue his education throughout life.

"Education," in the sense of training one to think and to reason is not pursued today.  Today what is done may more accurately be described as vocational training.  I remember a fellow civil engineer complaining about the fact that all he really needed to do his job was mathamatics, science, and then to be shown how to use these tools.  He didn't need all that history, or English.  Thus, what he wanted was a vocational training.  He didn't want to hear how a civil engineer's job impacted the community; how one need to have an understanding of politics, law, sociology, psychology, geology, and economics in order to fully do his job.

I was thinking of this as I read Eileen Toplansky's piece entitled  Authentic Rebellion today at the American Thinker. In an earlier age, perhaps, students at an institution of higher learning at least, would have understood instinctively, and would have been able to reasonably argue against the current calls for a socialist president. Perhaps those with only an elementary education might succumb, but someone with even a rudimentary grasp of history and economics would have to know that socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried, and that the argument that it would work if only we had the right man in charge is refuted by a reading of the Bible.
One cannot enter a classroom of higher learning today without walking into pitched battles and extreme positioning. University students deride the idea of consensus-building and seek to run administrators out of town. Any student daring to express an opinion different from the politically correct one of the day is frightened into mental subservience, so much so that logical argumentation is in tatters. Aristotle's classifications of ethos, pathos, and logos rarely make their way into classroom discussions as shouting matches become the rule of the day.
So much so that in an English composition class, a discussion ensued where a student mentioned an article from Slate entitled "Confused by All the New Facebook Genders." The 56 options of gender self-identifiers were understandably confusing to a number of these 18-year old students. But another student asked "what is wrong with all these designations?" implying that they were quite logical. The teacher responded by stating that "at this time, a man is designated as having an 'x' and a 'y' chromosome while a female has two 'x' chromosomes. The student angrily accused the teacher of "transphobia and of being inhumane and on the wrong side of history."

So the student engaged in an ad hominem attack on the perceived failings of the teacher rather than on the merits of the case based on currently accepted scientific canon. The ever popular straw man fallacy was used where an individual's actual position was either exaggerated or misrepresented. In fact, the teacher never actually took a position; all she did was ask a question of the entire class which was "do you feel it is okay for a man who identifies as a woman to go into a little girl's bathroom?"
Having been the victim of similar circumstances, I can sympathise with the teacher. The student above has closed all doors to reason arguments and ideas, and it is happening more and more as Leftists, sensing blood in the water, grow bolder. The ignorance of Western Civilization, coupled with deceptive sloganeering makes for a people cock sure of the rightness of their ignorance. It is a situation ripe for a full on revolution, with all the horrors and affliction that entails.

God help us!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ted Cruz and the Second Amendment

The rallying cry in the gun press is that we are only one Supreme Court Justice away from having our Second Amendment rights stripped away.  A statement I do not buy into fully, but certainly things would be a lot harder and a lot worse had it not been for Scalia on the Supreme Court.  Our 2nd rights are recognized by the Constitution, but it does not grant them.  Instead, our rights derive from God, and only God has the right to take them away.  But, an administration hell bent on getting rid of guns held by the public would use the lack of a 2nd Amendment to bully the more timid into giving up their guns, leaving the rest of us more vulnerable.

So, it is with those reservations that I read Daniel John Sobieski's article today at the American Thinker entitled How Scalia and Ted Cruz saved the 2nd Amendment. Ted Cruz? Well, yes as it turns out. Alan Gura was the lead attorney, and argued the Heller case before the Supreme Court, but Cruz,,,well, just let Sobieski and Cruz tell it:

What few people know -- and the media won’t remind them -- is that Ted Cruz was a prime mover in getting Heller, in which Scalia wrote the majority opinion, before the Court and decided in favor of gun rights, ruling that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right and that the word “militia”, as the Founders intended, meant the “whole people” of the United States. If Heller had gone the other way, our gun rights would have been thrown on the ash heap of history. In January Cruz told CNN:
I represented 31 states in the Heller case, which upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms. You know what Barack Obama's position is? That there is no individual right to keep and bear arms whatsoever under the Constitution… Hillary Clinton, for example, has said she will put Supreme Court justices on the court who will overturn Heller. And if Heller is overturned… there were four justices who said that there is no individual right to keep and bear arms whatsoever, that it is only a collective right in the militia, which is fancy lawyer talk for a nonexistent right… [If] Hillary Clinton gets one more Supreme Court justice, what it would mean is, the Supreme Court would say you and I and every individual American have no constitutional right under the Second Amendment at all, and either the federal government or a state government could make it a crime to possess a firearm.
I don't blame Cruz for pointing out his role in getting Heller before the Supreme Court, nor in getting a ruling that favors the 3nd Amendment, but we must remember that none of the rights listed in the Bill or Rights is granted by the Constitution.  Instead, they merely recognize rights that already existed.32

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How to spit shine dress shoes

As I predicted, readers really were not interested in Originalism, or Scalia, or the Supremes, though they should be.  Actually, what got the most hits of any post in recent times was the one on polishing shoes.


In that post I covered basic brush shining, which if done on a regular basis, should help to protect your shoes, which in turn, protect your feet.  Additionally, having well polished shoes projects a positive image of the wearer.  I can't tell you how often I encounter men these days who are wearing nice looking suits, but scuffed and broken down shoes.

Today, I want to cover what is referred to as spit shining which gives your shoes that extra bit of luster and sparkle, and, on the right leather, can impart a mirror like finish to your shoes.  Unless you are in the military, I don't recommend you go to those extremes, but if you are going to an interview, some spit and polish on a pair of cap-toed oxfords will give a good first impression.

I mentioned before that I had used Kiwi shoe polish because it is generally available at any drug store or super market you go into.  Kiwi is a decent brand, and will do a decent job, but it does tend to dry out.  It can be revived, but it is not generally worth it.  Griffin does a slightly better job, is softer in the can, but can be hard to find.  However, I recently bought a can of black and one of brown Angelus shoe polish.  Angelus seems to provide a brighter luster to the shoes, and as an added bonus, is made right here in the USA  (Note, I did not receive anything either in kind, or monetary value for this endorsement.  I am just a satisfied customer.  The same goes for  Shoe Shine Express, from which company I purchased Angelus shoe polish.)  Now, shoe polish is made from various hard and soft waxes (carnauba, bees wax, and parafin), oils (such as lanolin), and solvents (often naptha).  But Angelus claims to not include anything that will harm your shoes.  On the other hand, I have never had any other brand harm my shoes either, so take it for what it is worth.

So, let's get down to how to spit shine.  If you have an old and neglected pair of shoes, the first thing is to put several thin coats of brush shine on.  If your shoes are scuffed, you will need to get that repaired as well.  With a new pair, I put a brush shine on, then wear then for a day.  Follow this up with another coat of brush shine, and another wearing.  You want to build a good base of brush coats, though how many depends on the smoothness of the leather.  In between wearings, store the shoes with shoe trees in them to keep them in shape.  Don't neglect to get polish into the seam between the welt and the upper, and don't neglect the sides of the outer sole and heal,

Assuming all of this has been done, take a soft rag like a tee shirt, wrap it tightly around your index finger, and just touch the surface of the polish in the can.  Dip your little finger in water, transfer the water to the shoe, just a drop, and then begin swirling the polish and water on in a small area of the shoe in an ever widening pattern.  You want to feel as if you are pushing the polish around.  Keep the polish and water moving,  You want to create a very thin layer of polish.  Eventually, you have pushed the polish as far as it will go, and you will have a very thin coat spread over an area of the shoe.  You will notice that it is shinier that the adjacent areas.  You can, of course, pursue this by adding more coats until you achieve the mirror like finish of military parade shoes, but I don't recommend it.  One or two coats is usually sufficient.  Note that the less polish you use, the better the results.  A tiny dab of polish will do for the entire toe box, and a similar amount for the heel counter areas.

A coat of spit shine using neutral over your black or brown spit shine will add a bit of luster to the to the shoe, kind of like a clear coat on a car finish.  Unless a shoe is fairly substantial, and made of smooth leather, I generally only apply spit shine to the toe box and hee
l counter of the shoe.  These parts of the shoe are reinforced and do not flex with walking.  I definitely would not apply a spit shine in the area of the crease that forms just behind the toe box over the ball of the foot. The constant working of this area of the shoe would tend to crack a spit shine.

All this sounds like a lot of work, and it is when the shoes are new.  But if you polish after each one or two wearings, and keep up with it, you can do a brush shine, followed by spit shining the heel and toe in about 15 minutes, with the bonus that your shoes are ready to wear whenever you are.

I had the experience last night of being at someone's house, moving a piece of furniture, and scraping to toe of a pair of wing tip shoes.  This morning I looked at the scrap, and despite the fact that it looked bad, a quick brushing brushed right out.  I then proceeded to shine the shoes as normal.  If I had not been doing the routine above, I might have scraped through the finish into the leather.  As it was, I just removed some of the wax, and the damage was easily repaired.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The notion of a "living Constitution should be dead

I realize I may be losing audience members with yet another post on Justice Scalia and his philosophy of Originalism, but I feel it is important.  The idea that the Constitution should be interpreted as written, not read to have it say things it clearly does not, was once the dominant legal theory.  This theory was Originalism before it had a name.  It just was the way it was done.  Then along came the notion of a "living Constitution," arising because Leftists could not get enough people to agree with them to amend the Constitution as the Constitution permits.  If they couldn't amend it in the legitimate way, they would amend it by "interpretations" with each such interpretation building on another, until we get the Obergefell ruling, which is unmoored from any reasonable interpretation of the Constitution, and instead depends on a series of precedents, many of which were questionable to start with.

Lawrence Meyers, writing at Townhall.com explains this very will in How Liberal Philosophy Politicizes the Supreme Court.
When it comes to the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court justices, there is only one type of judge that should ever be considered: an originalist. The late Justice Scalia said it best in March of 2014, now revived in a meme making its way around Facebook: "The Constitution is not a living organism. It's a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn't say what it doesn't say."
Precisely. The idea that the Founders left something out implies a bunch of air headed stoners sitting around a table and as they say, "throwing stuff against the wall to see what would stick." That theory is the "living Constitution." Oh, they dress it up with high sounding words, but in private the believers in a living Constitution talk about "old dead white men," and that the Founders couldn't imagine this or that. Hogwash! In truth, if something was left out of the Constitution, you had better believe it was deliberate, and if something was included, you had better believe it was important. These were men of great education and erudition, who had studied the classics, the Bible, and history. Contrary the the arrogance of today's jurists, people are no smarter today than the were, and most are less educated.
Scalia also said, “You think there ought to be a right to abortion? No problem. The Constitution says nothing about it. Create it the way most rights are created in a democratic society. Pass a law. And that law, unlike a Constitutional right to abortion created by a court can compromise.”
Again, precisely. It should always have been left up to the States. At the time of Roe v Wade there were already 17 States with some sort of abortion allowed in certain circumstances. There was no reason of necessity for a nation wide one size fits all standard.  The court sought to settle the matter once and for all for all 300 million of us, but that has not been the case.  The pro-life are still as staunch in their beliefs as they were then.  The name of the United States has been soiled with the stain of executing our innocent children.  Most of all, we have trampled on yet another Constitutional principle.  We can not deprive someone of life without due process, and yet we allow innocent children to be executed for the convenience of the mother on the mother's say so.  Should not these innocent babies have their day in court?
The late Justice William Rehnquist, in “The Notion of A Living Constitution”, wrote, “A mere change in public opinion since the adoption of the Constitution, unaccompanied by a constitutional amendment, should not change the meaning of the Constitution. A merely temporary majoritarian groundswell should not abrogate some individual liberty truly protected by the Constitution.”
Rehnquist warned of judges overstepping the role that the Constitution set out for them, writing, “[What if] Judges then are no longer the keepers of the covenant; [but] instead they are a small group of fortunately situated people with a roving commission to second-guess Congress, state legislatures, and state and federal administrative officers concerning what is best for the country?”
When a Federal Judge can overturn the votes of 39 million people, as one did in the case of California Proposition 8, it shows in high definition reality what liberal philosophy has gotten us. One Judge's vote outweighs 39 million. The fact that the proposition was supported by 70% of blacks makes it also, by Leftist standards, highly racists. Yet that doesn't seem to matter.Agenda uber alles. We need to get back to Originalism, even if we have to impeach half the Federal Judiciary to do it.  The "living Constitution" has been shown over and over to be folly.  And yet the Left clings to it, because, like a bunch of children, they want what they want and the want it now, everyone else be damned.  There is a way to get what they want, but they are too impatient to go that route.  And so the Supreme Court will remain a political football.  The "living Constitution" is should be dead.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The King is Dead, Long Live the King

A battle royal is raging in Washington, DC, over who will appoint a replacement for Justice Scalia. It has sadly come to this, that one man can change the course of the lives of 320 million individuals. This situation looks a lot more like a tyranny that freedom and liberty.  A system so designed is so unstable, it can not stand.  As Selwyn Duke points out in his latest article over at the American Thinker entitled Did Justice Scalia already give us the solution to filling his seat?, the likelihood of getting another conservative, let alone a conservative lion, are vanishingly small:
Unfortunately, the likelihood of replacing Scalia -- the court’s pre-eminent legal mind -- with even a pale imitation is slim. For it to happen
  •  the Senate will have to exhibit fortitude and delay the nomination of a successor. 
  • a Republican will have to win the presidency.
  •  the GOP will have to retain the Senate, and 24 GOP seats but only 10 Democrat ones are up for grab,
  • the Republican president in office will have to nominate someone not a wolf in constitutionalist’s clothing; the chances of this alone happening are likely less than 50 percent. 
The probability of all four of the above coming to pass isn’t great. And, regardless, while we will fill the great Scalia’s position, we’ll never fill his shoes.

The problem is we have allowed the Supreme Court to have what is called Judicial Supremacy with few exceptions since the 1803 Marvury vs. Madison ruling where the Supreme Court simply declared it. The Supremes, contrary to the Constitution, and popular imaginings, do not have judicial supremacy, and when legislators and the executive bow to an illegal ruling, they are breaking the law, plain and simple. Unfortunately, that has too often been the case during the last century, as the idea of a living constitution has taken hold. Justice Scalia's philosophy, and my own, is that the Constitution was written with ink, on parchment, and what it says stands until it is amended per the Constitution.

The idea that the Constitution is "living" came about because leftists (liberals, socialists, progressives, or communists depending on the era) were unable to get their agenda passed through legitimate means, so turned to the courts. In an attitude of "if we can't beat them, join them," conservatives have come to rely on the courts as well, and we have had limited success, particularly concerning Second Amendment issues. Scalia''s sudden death, however, has made abundantly clear the precarious ground on which we have been standing.  When a single vote by one of nine people, people just like the rest of us with, no more moral authority, can change the "law of the land" as they apparently did in Obergefell, then we are no longer living in a nation of laws, we are ruled instead by nine autocrats seated in Washington.

The Founders would be rolling over in their graves.

But I did mention a solution, did't I.  In Duke's words:

This brings us to Scalia’s comment, made in his dissenting opinion in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges (marriage) ruling. To wit: with “each decision... unabashedly based not on law” the Court moves “one step closer to being reminded of [its] impotence,” he warned his colleagues. To what was he referring?
Obviously, the Court has neither army nor police to enforce its judgments; it is government’s executive branch -- headed by the president on the federal level and governors in the states -- with the constitutional warrant to enforce law. And whatever executive branches don’t enforce doesn’t happen, period, no matter how much black-robed lawyers stamp their feet.
What we need are more courageous conservative politicians to simply ignore uncostitutional rulings, ignore unconstitutional precedents, and begin steering the ship of state back to its moorings. But politicians alone can't do it. No man is an island, and if a politician feels, as he often must, that he is standing on a branch that is about to be sawed off...well, what do you expect?  Conservatives have to take yet another page from the leftists playbook, and become more active in supporting conservative causes, making ourselves heard, making of ourselves an absolute pain in the patuckus.  It is the only way we have been able to fight the gun grabbers to a stand still, and it is what needs to happen to the rest of the conservative causes.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Concealed Carry for Me, but not for Thee

Herschel Smith of the Captain's Journal had this post on Donald Trump and his concealed carry permit.

Here's the thing, as Smith points out, someone like Trump can easily get a New York City concealed carry permit.  Trump can also afford his own body guards and security.  But Trump hasn't done anything to make it possible for the average person who can't afford these things to at least be able to obtain a weapon and protect him or her self.  Trump is a member of the elite class who is more and more "above the law."  Like Hillary, who will never be indicted, like the former Attorney General, who will never be indicted, like Lois Lerner, who will never be indicted, Trump seems to believe that some people should be immune from the laws that govern the "little people."  He seems to view himself much like the nobility in the ancien regime.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

R.I,P, Antonin Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia has been a regular, unwavering expositor of the original interpretation of the Constitution on the Supreme Court since being appointed by President Reagan.  He is now dead, at the age of 79.  In some ways, the timing could not be worse, yet there is a potential for this to turn the Presidential debates into one of determining who will make the next Supreme Court appointment, and will that justice be a Constitutionalist, or a socialist.

Bruce Walker takes us through what is at stake in an article in the American Thinker today entitled Don't Let Obama Fill Scalia's Seat.
Congress has frittered away virtually every constitutional power save one: the power of the Senate to deny presidential appointments to the federal bench. If Senate Republicans expect conservatives to ever trust them on anything, then they must decline to consider Obama's nominee to replace Justice Scalia.
The stakes are monumentally high. Winning the presidency while delivering the Supreme Court to a radical leftist majority means guaranteeing that the drift of our nation into secular humanism and unconstitutional arrogations of power to judges, federal administrators, and others who are immune to our wishes will continue toward a cataclysmic end of the America we have known.
Moreover, this is a battle that we can win, if those Republican leaders who seek our help every election cycle will stand boldly against the left. It has been a long, long time since Republican leaders in Congress have actually given conservatives anything like a political victory. If these Republicans cannot or will not do so now, then it is truly time for conservatives to abandon the Republican Party and form, instead, around a political party and movement that are serious about what happens to our nation.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A lesson in engineering for social engineers

Chet Richards is an engineer, who has penned a great article at American Thinker entitled Lessons of engineering for social engineers. I too can attest the things Mr. Richards says in his article because I was, and still am a Licensed Professional Engineer. I gave up my license in Ohio, but retain my California license. Mr. Richards notes that as a newly minted engineer, he was quite liberal, as were most of his colleagues. But the practice of engineering is one of failure. Most designs fail, and one has to go through cycles of meticulous testing, test failure, and redesign before having a successful product design. Progressives, on the other hand, seem to feel that they can design extremely complex systems that will work as designed right off the bat. But as we have seen, most government programs fail, and fail miserably, but are allowed to continue. Richards writes:
Now, consider American society. America has hundreds of millions of people. Each individual is infinitely complex and unique. Each has desires, intentions and needs that normally are incompatible with any master scheme. And yet, the left has the arrogance to assume that a master planner can engineer a social system that best for all the people -- a “one size fits all” program. There is no way, other than forcing everybody to be identical robots, that centralized social engineering can KISS. This “my way or the highway” hubris is the signal hallmark of today’s progressive busybody bullies.
Within America there exist highly complex and very successful social structures – the community, charitable, and economic structures that comprise civil society. And they have come about independent of government direction. How is this possible? The answer is that successful complex structures grow organically: Start small, and simple. Find out what works. Try adding features. Edit out those elements that don’t work and build on those that do work. But, for the changes made at each stage of increasing complexity, keep it simple! Life evolved its many forms in just such a way. Technology also evolves in this way. Consider computers. Computers today are far different, and vastly more complex, than they were at their beginning. All successful innovations start simple and evolve complexity as discoveries are made about what works and what doesn’t.
On the other hand, we are supposed to believe that complex top-down liberal programs never fail. They reach their goals and then either continue to provide popular benefits or are voluntarily terminated having done their job. Actually not: I’m being sarcastic here. Let’s test that assertion by recalling massive liberal social engineering programs which have been great successes: [crickets]. The usual excuses for these programmatic disappointments, and for the need for them to continue in perpetuity, are: “not enough money has been spent,” or, “it’s someone else’s fault,” or “conservatives are sabotaging the program.”
Richards points out that where the government has had successes is where they have either followed the KISS principle, of where they have kept within the bounds of the Constitution.  Those on the other side often disparage us as being against all government, but that isn't so.  We want a strong Federal government.  But we want it to stay within the Constitution.  The Congress, for instance, should write the laws, oversee the other branches, and the Senate should exercise consent to Federal appointments.  The Congress, by the way, should also exercise control of the currency and set the value thereof.  Its in the Constitution.  Read it.  The Executive and its agencies should execute the laws, but not write them.  The Courts should interpret the law as written, but should not write new laws.  The problem is that everyone keeps running into the kitchen and adding ingredients that the chef doesn't know about.  None of the branches of the Federal government should be involved in social programs.  That should be left to the States, which used to be sovereign in their own right.  In the States, many charities used to handle welfare programs quite nicely, and as the example of Maine has proven, when the States apply the same criteria, low and behold, the numbers of welfare applicants goes way down.

Richards has hit the target right in the center of the bullseye with this piece.  This is what being a Constitutional Conservative looks like, and why.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Praying for the Pro-Abortionists

Not praying for their success, but praying that the Lord will turn their hearts towards him,

There are people who claim to be Christian, but they do not say or do the things Christ would have us do.  It is hard to pray for people who have hurt you, or wounded you, or who want to kill you.  Yet Jesus tells us we must do it.  Michael Brown is one who teaches a true Christian message.  Today he has an article on Townhall.com entitled Pro-Abortion Radicals have Lost their Hearts and Minds. The article concerns "tweets" by both NARAL and Cosmopolitan magazine during the Super Bowl:
Two tweets in the last week, one from Cosmopolitan and one from NARAL, reveal the depravity of these radical pro-abortionists.
Although the tweet has now been removed, Cosmopolitan sent out this message on February 4th: “Texas women are having more babies since Planned Parenthood was defunded,” followed by a sad face. This was linked to a picture featuring the graphic #StandwithPP.
Oh, the tragedy!
Texas women are having more babies.
It is indeed sad that these people are watching an event like the Super Bowl and looking for any little thing to manufacture outrage and hatred over. They have seemingly won. Abortion is the law of the land without a single Congressman, to whom the duty of making laws is assigned, lifting a pen. One wonders why they feel so vulnerable?

But I mentioned that Michael Brown asks us to pray for the enemies of our Lord, and that is in this article too. After exposing some of the tweets, and giving us a overview of the ad, which was intended as a silly sketch advertising for Doritos, he notes that:
It reminds us of how deeply the pro-abortionists need an encounter with the Lord and how deeply this battle is spiritual more than anything.
The reality is that the heartlessness and mindlessness and anger and depravity of their position comes not only from many rebellious hearts. It also comes from many broken hearts, from the hearts of women masking their deep wounds and pain.
And so, as we expose their lies and work to save the lives of the unborn, let’s also pray for a wave of repentance and salvation to sweep through the people of NARAL and Cosmopolitan and Planned Parenthood and their supporters, both female and male.
Jesus died for their redemption too.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Johnny Cash, Disciple of Christ

Matt Barber today has a great post over at Townhall.com entitled Johnny Cash, the Unsung Disciple. Go read the whole thing. I'll wait.

Have you read it?  Good.

The story of Johnny Cash's conversion rings true to me. I too have wandered in such a wilderness, and being the slow learner that I am, it took a long time to cry out to God.  But I did, and He answered. Like Cash, I view the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God.  Note that I did not say literal, for the Bible speaks to us through many modes of human expression, and is not meant to be literal, but it is the Truth.
So was Cash a Christian "fundamentalist"? It would seem so. He once wrote, "Please understand that I believe the Bible, the whole Bible, to be the infallible, indisputable Word of God. I have been careful to take no liberties with the timeless Word."
Also, like Cash, I view myself as a Christian, plain and simple, though I worship with the Lutherans.
In his 2003 book, "The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash," author and music critic Dave Urbanski wrote, "A writer once tried to paint Cash into a corner, baiting him to acknowledge a single denominational persuasion at the center of his heart. Finally, Cash laid down the law: 'I – as a believer that Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, the Christ of the Greeks, was the Anointed One of God (born of the seed of David, upon faith as Abraham has faith, and it was accounted to him for righteousness) – am grafted onto the true vine, and am one of the heirs of God's covenant with Israel.'
"'What?' the writer replied. 
"'I'm a Christian,' Cash shot back. 'Don't put me in another box.'"
Because I view myself as a Christian, I pray each day for the persecuted Christians around the world, and I pray that God will turn the hearts of all Muslims to him, that every knee will bend, and every head will bow. I don't really care which dogma they follow, for dogmas are just ways to capture what we have learned and transmit it on. But God is always bigger than we can imagine.  He can find and heal a sinner like Johnny Cash, and he can find and heal a sinner like me.