Sunday, February 28, 2010


I just finished watching a show on the History Channel called "Valkyrie: The plot to kill Hitler". You may recall that a movie was recently released starring Tom Cruise about this event. To refresh your memory a group of German officers decided to assassinate Hitler because they believed that would be the best thing for Germany. They also believed that Hitler was probably insane at best but more probably just evil. The plot ultimately failed and some seven hundred conspirators were rounded up and over two hundred were executed. Just a few months later Hitler took himself out. Being the coward that he was, he couldn't face the wrath of the world. World War II was Germany's second attempt at world domination and her second total failure.

There were other messages in the television show that came through clearly. The first thing that was discussed was the rise of Adolph Hitler. He was a relative unknown who came out of no where with a great oratorical ability and apparently nothing more. He gave rousing speeches promising all things to those who had previously been denied. Jobs, health care, and prosperity. All the German people had to do was pledge total allegiance to him and he would provide. Does any of this sound vaguely familiar?

Of course you know the rest of the story. World War II and Hitler ultimately cost the world fifty million lives. Countries were devastated. Billions were spent to conduct a war that basically was started by one individual. Hitler was responsible to be sure, but what about the German people? Did they have a role? In the end, Germany was also devastated. She was split into four different sectors, basically divided up by her victors. It has taken decades for Germany to return to prosperity and sanity.

In the late 1950s I was in Germany and I tried to communicate with some Germans in an attempt to try and understand what happened and how. I spoke with many citizens who were adults during Hitler's rise and his fall. To a man they all said it wasn't their fault. They were not political. It was those dirty Nazis. They were just trying to survive. They believed it was unfair to hold them accountable for the actions of their elected leader.

In the world today similar things are going on. Iran is an example where the leadership is apparently at odds with its citizens. To hear them talk, it is those dirty religious zealots who run the show who are to blame. It's not the citizens' fault. This thing is certain however, unless someone decides to change the regime in Iran and soon, millions of lives will be at stake. The world is not going to allow Iran to have nuclear capabilities.

There are other examples other than Iran where this is going on as well. So who is at fault? Who should be held responsible for a country's atrocities and war crimes? Are the citizens accountable? When a dictator commits genocide against citizens of their own country or any country because of some perceived difference, are all the citizens responsible for the crime?

My answer is yes. If my President acts with my tacit approval to commit crimes, I am also responsible. Why? Because it would be my duty to stop him. It would be the duty of all the citizens to stop him. We are not allowed the luxury of living our private lives, unaffected, while our government commits genocide, nor is any other country or people.

At the end of World War II then General Dwight D Eisenhower, upon discovering a Nazi death camp and crematorium, required at gun point the citizens of the nearest town to come to the camp, witness the atrocity, and bury the victims. He held that there was no way they could not have known what was going on. They were also guilty of atrocity by their silence. They were guilty because they didn't do anything to try to stop it.

This couldn't happen again, could it? We, as Americans, wouldn't just stand by and let our government do what Hitler did, would we? Would we have the courage to correct the situation? All I can say is God, I hope so.

Ron Scarbro February 28, 2010


Saturday, February 6, 2010


(The following was published in the Newsleader on January 29, 2010)

Regular readers of this column may recall that a little over a year ago I reported to you that my son-in-law had suffered total kidney failure. As I write this piece I am in South Carolina visiting Erik and our daughter and grandchildren. He is doing very well considering his circumstance and has learned to deal with dialysis. In fact he is now able to do it at home by himself. Being a relatively young father with two little ones, the hope is that he can soon be a candidate for a kidney transplant. In fact he has an appointment next month for his first consultation for that transplant. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

My purpose in writing today is an unabashed pitch for organ donation. I just looked at my driver's license and confirmed that I am a donor. If you are not, I would like to challenge you to consider it.

Many years ago I remember attending a funeral and looking into the coffin at a dead person. I don't remember who it was, but they were lying peaceably as if they were asleep. Back then we didn't know they were wasting perfectly good organs that could have saved lives. That technology had not been perfected yet. Today it is a different story. Advancements have been and are regularly being made to improve the technology. I recently learned that there are tests being conducted that allow for the transplant of one's organs and at the same time their stem cells, which so far has allowed the recipients not to have to take anti-rejection drugs. The future of organ transplant is bright indeed.

There is one problem however. Every day thousands of otherwise healthy people die without making their wish to donate their organs known. Tens of thousands of otherwise healthy organs are buried with them. What a waste.

Ask yourself this question. When I die, what good are my organs to me? Where you will be in the after-life won't require them. Doesn't it just make good sense to allow for the donation of those organs and the subsequent life that could be saved? Can you imagine a more perfect gift? You no longer need them and at the same time some young father or mother might find new life. Some child, who might otherwise have no future, could be re-born with prospects of a long and healthy life. We all have heard and read stories of family members who were involved in the donation of a loved one's organs. The stories are uplifting and heart warming to say the least. Can you imagine the feeling a loved one might experience when, at the time of their great loss, their gift of life could make someone else whole? To me there is no greater gift. To me there is no greater love.

Would you consider this today? Look at your driver's license and see if you are a donor. If you aren't, go today and say yes. Yes, I'll give the gift of life. Yes, I'll be an organ donor. The lives that follow you will forever be grateful and the peace that will descend upon your loved ones will be overwhelming. Your own eternal rest will have a peace that could never be known in life. Please do it today.

Ron Scarbro January 20, 2010


(The following was published in the Newsleader on January 22, 2010)

I have had a tradition of watching the Rose Parade for many years. It seems to get better each time I watch. This year was exceptional however. The floats seemed to be more elaborate than ever. The flowers were more beautiful and the artistic use of all things natural was unbelievable. I loved the bands playing the traditional marching music that we all cherish. Even as a child I watched with amazement the pageantry and pomp. I was raised in East Tennessee and the weather was usually cold on January first, not as cold as Minnesota to be sure, but cold none the less. I was always thrilled to see the sunshine in Pasadena, California and how the parade marchers were not bundled up. I hope you got to watch the parade this year.

This column is not necessarily about roses however. No, I want to ask some questions that occurred to me as I watched the spectacle and tradition of the Rose Parade. I was struck by a thought as I watched. I remembered the young terrorist who tried to blow up the airplane over Detroit. Here is a young man with a very privileged upbringing. He was educated in the finest schools in the world. He has been allowed by his wealth to travel. He has seen the best the world has to offer and I suspect he has also seen the poverty as well. And yet with all his privilege, he has become a terrorist killer. What, I asked, caused this kid to suddenly make the decisions he made? What so overwhelmed him that he chose to not only try to kill thousands of innocent people but to kill himself as well? Was it arrogance? Was it religion? Was his life so bereft of simple goodness and compassion that he lost all feeling for humanity?

Here are some thoughts that may explain some of this nonsense. I believe that he and people of his ilk have no concept of life. They could never appreciate the simple beauty of a parade. They could never understand music or poetry. They could never grasp the concept of art. They are so involved with themselves that they cannot understand that other people and their views have just as much right to life as they. The radical blood thirsty killers who have chosen to be our enemies are living in a fantasy world that will soon come crashing down all around them. Individually their miserable little lives will end in horrible fashion. Whether they kill themselves or whether we kill them, they will die in devastating ways. Eventually this whole radical Middle Eastern problem will end and it will not end as the leaders of that movement see it. No it will end in the total destruction of their way of life and thousands of otherwise innocent people will die with them. It is sad but also I believe inevitable.

So how does this all pertain to the Rose Parade? Americans and other free peoples have traditions of life. Our country was shaped by our willingness to appreciate and accept differences in people and in thought. The Rose Parade is made up of many cultures and diverse people sharing their concept of music and beauty with the rest of the world. The result is a thing of beauty. By contrast, the radicals who choose to be our enemy have a tradition of death and despair. They have no tolerance for any view except their own. Their result will be their annihilation. Given the choice, I prefer our way.

Ron Scarbro January 15, 2010


(The following was published in the Newsleader on January 8, 2010)

We just finished our first decade of the twenty-first century. That has caused me to wonder about the meaning of time. What is time? A friend once told me, "Time ain't nothing to a hog eating corn." As a matter of fact, time means nothing to any animal except a human. Measuring time is a human invention. It is, at first consideration, both a brilliant invention as well as one of the more stupid accomplishments of humans. If there was no measurement of time you wouldn't know whether you were twenty-one years old or eighty- one years old and you probably wouldn't care. To the natural world there is day and night. That's all. Sure there are seasons but still there is just night and day. There is no time to go to bed or a time to get up. There are no meal times. If you are sleepy, you go to bed. If you are hungry, you eat. If you get cold, you seek warmth and if you are hot, you seek coolness.

Humans, however, are way too sophisticated for this simplicity. Humans have to have seconds, minutes and hours. They must have days, weeks, months, and years. They must have meal times and bed times. Think about this. What if you didn't have a way of telling time for an extended period? Let's just say that you found yourself in the mountains without electricity, no radio or television, and no means of communication with the outside world. How long do you suppose it would take before you found that you didn't need to measure time? It would soon become a matter of day and night and that's all. If you got thirsty, you would drink. When you got hungry, you would eat and when you got tired, you would rest. It really wouldn't matter whether it was one o'clock in the morning or one o'clock in the afternoon. Besides, you wouldn't know.
If the weather got cold, you would look for a way of getting warm. It the weather got hot, you would look for shade. If someone asked you your age, you wouldn't know because you would have no way of measuring it.

In the natural world every thing is controlled by the amount of daylight and darkness. That determines the flowering of plants as well as when they go to seed. It decides when geese fly south and then return to the north. The amount of daylight and darkness alerts animals and plants when to reproduce. Are we any better off identifying these periods by an artificial measurement? Could humans exist without time measurement? How would life be different?

One of the great things about writing essays and columns is that I don't have to have any answers, only questions. Look at your normal existence. How much of your life is consumed and controlled by time? Is it time to eat, to go to work, to go to bed, to get up? Are you of legal age? Are you old enough to retire? If there was no official time measurement, how would you know any of these things? Most of us are slaves to time. Time controls our entire lives. Those lives incidentally are also measured by time.

We all know of people who died young and those who have lived long lives. I don't know about you but when I look at the obituaries, I automatically look to see their age. I don't know why I do, I just do. I guess there is some standard that we impose and when that standard is exceeded either way, we need to know. It must be a part of that slavery I spoke of earlier.

Personally I don't know if we would be better off without the invention of time measurement. We have a certain order that this measurement brings us but I have found the older I get, the less I am concerned about time. Maybe that is good. Maybe as I see time fleeting I am better off not paying much attention to it.

Ron Scarbro January 4, 2010 Somewhere in time.


The mayor of Lancaster, California has been sued by a Muslim group for claiming that his community was a growing Christian Community. The Muslim group apparently believes that such a proclamation somehow excludes them from participation in that community. In other words, they were offended. Well I've got some bad news for this group and for all the others who take offense at the activities of Christian Americans who are guilty of nothing more that professing their faith. This is a Christian country. We were founded by men who themselves were practicing Christians. Our laws and policies are based on Judeo/Christian ethic. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights were authored by Christian men.

From the very beginning America has been tolerant of other religions and practices. We have opened the doors of this great nation and welcomed all the huddled masses and those who yearn to be free. We have accepted religions and tenets that are strange to us. Ours has been the destination of refugees and others who have tried to escape the torture and subjugation of dictators and oppressive governments. Christianity is inclusive, not exclusive. Our Christian Nation has opened wide her doors and her arms to millions. Today America is one of the most diverse countries in the world. We are the destination of freedom because we are America. We will never, however, allow this country to become the cesspool that refugees have been escaping from. We will continue to be a Christian Nation.

No country on earth has been more accepting and welcoming to the world than America. All we ask is that you come here legally and that you obey and respect our laws when you come. Don't bring a different law with you. We already have law and we don't want or need ancient laws designed to create subordinate classes. We don't need or want laws that place women at a level no higher that farm animals. We will never accept a religion that purports to allow the murder of one's own children for perceived actions of disrespect. In America murder is against the law and is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

America doesn't need or want enclaves of immigrants who come here but don't wish to become Americans. If you are one who does not wish to assimilate, perhaps you are in the wrong country. If you do not wish to speak the language of this country, perhaps you are in the wrong country. America has a great tradition and history of Christianity, so remember, you came to our country, we didn't go to yours.

Here's the deal then. Christian America welcomes you. We welcome your diverse opinions. We even welcome your diverse culture. Wear your costumes and prepare your food. Play your music and do your dances. But, this isn't Poland or Sudan or Mexico or Iraq or any of those countries. You have chosen to come to America so act like it. We ask of you that you be as tolerant of us as you ask us to be of you. All we ask of Wiccans, Muslims, Atheists, or any other religion is that you be as accepting of us as we have been of you. Learn to speak our language. Don't expect us to change our culture so that you are more comfortable. Quit taking offense at every act of this free people. Here's the rest of the deal. America's great doors opened wide to invite you here. They swing both ways however. If this country is too difficult for you, check out the nearest exit. Our tolerance and our welcome have their limits.

Ron Scarbro February 6, 2010