Friday, November 30, 2007

Do Women Wait Longer Than Men?

At first I thought it was preposterous. The article from was entitled, "Waiting for Good Joe." Tim Harford's premise is that women are shabbily treated when they go to coffee shops like Starbucks.

I thought to myself, "What in the world is this guy talking about?" I spent all last summer in a Starbucks 6 days a week banging out articles on my laptop while fermenting in Starbucks. I never saw any women being mistreated or handled like a second class customer. In fact, I would go out of my way to give a woman my place or demonstrate any sign of respect and kindness to a woman waiting in line for her java.

Here's what the Slate article puts forth:

American economist Caitlin Knowles Myers, with her students as research assistants, staked out eight coffee shops in the Boston area and watched how long it took men and women to be served. Her conclusion: "Men get their coffee 20 seconds earlier than do women."

Since I am not a woman, I am not sure whether an extra 20 second wait constitutes discrimination or just complaining. If I consistently had to wait an extra 20 seconds because I a man, I might get frustrated. Would I launch a study to figure out why this is taking place? No! I'd complain to the management, call Starbucks corporate and voice my displeasure. Then, to shut me up, they would give me a year's worth of drinks and everyone would be happy.

That's a guy. But for twenty seconds? What's twenty seconds?

One skeptic surmises that women have to wait longer because women order froufrou drinks. The researchers on this study at Middlebury College in the Boston area, report that men order simpler drinks. Since women order more fancy drinks, they are forced to wait longer.

The study debunked this proposition: The delays facing women were larger when the coffee shop staff was all-male and almost vanished when the servers were all-female. Hmmmm! Was it the longer wait due to a male contempt for women or was the all male staff slowing down the pace just for the opportunity to flirt with female customers.

As the study was done in Boston, a Yankee fan's "favorite" town, I looked for the first chance I got to slam Bean Town. I posted a comment on the blog saying, "Guys in California and New York would never treat women like that. Perhaps men in Boston just don't know how to give preference to the fairer sex. That goes for the baristas and customers. But then I concluded I was just being mean and still disgruntled about the Red Sox 3-1 comeback against the Yankees in '04. Darn that Schilling! So I backed off my anti-Boston bias.

I proudly said to myself, "Though I am not a native Californian, I know this would not happen in LA."

So I sauntered into Starbucks at the Glen Center. I was all set for a quick in-and-out. Two women were ahead of me. One ordered a Non-Fat Latte and the other a Carmel Something or Other. I ordered a Grande Green Tea Latte . . . my signature drink. The barista was taking her time prepping the drinks. You will notice I said "Her time."

Perhaps she was new on the job. However . . . the two women and I waited a long time for our orders to filled. It was longer than twenty seconds. The women had a look of exasperation on their faces as they glanced at me. I smiled back knowingly. Their drinks came up on the bar and the two women left. When my Green Tea Soy Latte was up on the bar, the barista apologized to me-not to the women-for taking so long. Then she hands me a card entitling me-a man-to a complimentary Starbucks drink the next time I walk into the store. She didn't offer any complimentary drinks to the women and they waited as long as I did. So maybe there is something to this discrimination in coffee shops against women.

However, the so-called discrimination was aimed at two women by a female barista. So economic students of Middlebury College, you need to come to LA and research the impact of females waiting on other females to determine if females discriminate against each other and favor men.

So now I am on the lookout when I go into a coffee shop. The next time a similar incidents happens when women appear to be mistreated, I will not launch a study but I will open my mouth and draw attention to the fact an extra twenty seconds wait for any gender is intolerable. After all, we all need to get out of this coffee shop and drive to our jobs where we often wait on people all day or cause people to wait on us . . . sometimes even longer than twenty seconds.

Share your comments. I'll be waiting for you . . . but for only so long.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What To Do with Email Overload

Here's a question for you. What percentage of the email you receive is actually important to you? If you're like me, about 20% of my emails are really significant and need to be responded to. Well . . maybe I don't need to respond that day and maybe not 25% . . .

When Wall Street Journal readers were asked "What proportion of the emails you receive at work are actually important to you?" 43% of respondents admitted only 1/4 of their emails at work are important.

What does this say about us? Are we just filling up our email boxes with written distractions?

In a Wall Street Journal article entitled, Email's Friendly Fire," Rebecca Buckman lays out the sad state of cyber mail:

"Email overload is now considered a much bigger workplace problem than traditional email spam. Inboxes are bulging today partly because of what some are calling "colleague spam" -- that is, too many people are indiscriminately hitting the "reply to all" button or copying too many people on trivial messages, like inviting 100 colleagues to partake of brownies in the kitchen. A good chunk of today's emails are also coming from brand new sources, like social- and business-networking sites like Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp., or text messages forwarded from cellphones"

But supposedly there's hope because now we can purchase email software that will help us deal with our email overload:

"Unlike previous email-technology companies that only addressed problems like external email spam or offered narrow products that screened messages for certain content, new companies are now springing up to deal with the email-overload problem and help sort the deluge. Silicon Valley start-ups including ClearContext of San Francisco and Seriosity Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., are specifically tackling the problem of internal email overload. Meanwhile, other start-ups like San Francisco's Xobni Corp., are trying to help people better organize and search the email and personal-contact load they already have."

Our sad state of affairs is expressed in the same WSJ article: "Last year, the average corporate email user received 126 messages a day, up 55% from 2003, according to the Radicati Group, a Palo Alto market research firm. By 2009, workers are expecting to spend 41% of their time just managing emails"

I actually don't want software that will place my emails in separate folders so I don't need to see certain correspondences. Just the fact that I know the folder exists is enough to drive me crazy. What if there are 200 emails in that folder? Am I suppose to feel good about that?

What I do need is a program that will stop unnecessary emails from ever entering my inbox.

Do I really need to receive all those Fw:Fw:Fw's? if we can just get people to stop sending recycled stupid jokes, chain emails and warnings about computer viruses, we might slim down our email intake.

All this emailing, even if it is ever resolved, has got to take a toll on your soul. Do I want to spend 40% of my workday corresponding?

But this email overload carries into our homes and social lives outside of work.
Well-meaning individual depend on emails to make dinner plans and appointments. They assume everyone is glued to their laptop just waiting to clap with glee when an email comes in.

The time spent at home reading emails and responding to them can be put to better use.

But what is the real problem with our e-overload? Too much email dehumanizes us.

Do you know the feeling you get when you call customer service, and you are forced to transverse through an endless menu and you are dying to a hold of a living human? Sometimes in this e- and i-world, it's nice to hear a human voice. I am fearful that all this email is pushing us further away from one another as we speak with virtual beings through the words, "You've Got Mail!"

Yet, I have made a choice to join the e-generation through AOL, Earthlink, Gmail and

I will still check my emails 25 times a day. I will still answer mostly all of my personal emails. However, I have to stop and ask whether I am losing something precious in the process. It's true I write to more people than I ever have in my life. That's a plus. I can shorten business transactions and correspondences because of emails. That's also a plus. So I cannot complain too much.

However, I still want to need the sound of a human voice. But most of all, I want to hear silence. The silence of God's analog voice above the cyber-din. With God I know He'll never resort to email and that He'll never send me a Fw:Fw:Fw of the Book of Jonah. God is our last hope to enjoy the simplicity and beauty of being a human. Only in God's presence can I find the stillness that brings rest of my soul. God's touch in my life is personal and never spammed to a million other people. He knows me and my needs and hurts.

What can we do? Keep it simple.

Take a week off from emailing. Stop filling up each other's inboxes with email "television" . . . . wasting time flipping through silly correspondences that deluge us daily.

You may not be able to control your email activity at work, but at home it's another story.

Keep on reading literature that does not appear on your computer screen. Poetry. Classical lit. Poignant newspaper articles. Keep on enjoying non-computer generated art. Allow yourself to be bathed in the beauty of an afternoon Sunday string quartet concert. Learn a musical instrument. Write. Be creative.

Remember the beauty of life that once existed outside the internet. That world still exists.

Stay alive. Stay human. Keep in touch with your own soul and the beauty of what God has placed within your tired, spammed frame.

BTW: my email address is . . . .

Friday, November 16, 2007

Where Have All Our Heroes Gone?

We are at a loss for true heroes. Our diminishing of heroes is especially prevalent in the sports world. Barry Bonds breaks the all time Home Run record amidst the hovering stench of accusations of steroid usage. Political figures are accused of financial improprieties. Entertainment divas are succumbing to drug and alcohol addictions left and right.

A few years back NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barclay claimed he was not a role model. Does that go for Barry Bonds or Michael Vick or Brittney Spears? Does anybody want to take responsibility for their actions?

In a World Net Daily article Star Parker addressed Barclay’s shrugging off responsibility as a role model: "If Charles Barkley, with all the blessings this country has cast his way, took a humble moment to look at reality, there is no way he could flippantly dismiss his responsibilities as a public figure."

Parker continues, "His {Barclay's] claim that responsibility for children's behavior should reside exclusively within the family shows he hasn't bothered in any way to look at his own black community. Very sadly, in most cases, black children have no intact family toward which to turn. Children will look somewhere for guidance. Where does Charles Barkley think these kids are getting their values – and where does he think they are formulating their views about what life is about?"

So where do we go for values? Where are the heroes of our society?

Let me pick a present day hero for you: Marine Lance Corporal Rogelio A. Ramirez.

When Ramirez was a young man, he became fascinated with the Marines. He saw ads to join the Marines on billboard. He felt a sense of power from the Marines, especially the uniforms with the crossed swords.

Soon after the U.S. went into Iraq he announced to his family he was going to enlist in the Marine Corp. He was only 16. His mother prayed the war would be over before he was old enough. He finally joined the Corp Infantry when he was 19. It was all he thought about. His father, a veteran of a local militia during the Salvadorian civil war, tried to talk him out of it. Young Ramirez felt his father was interfering with his needing to grow up.

After overcoming the protests of his parents, Marine recruiters formed the next obstacle for Rogelio. They told him he needed to pass a GED-general equivalency diploma-exam and complete 15 credits.

His mother felt relieved since she assumed her son would not want to go back to school. Over the next year Rogelio showed the discipline necessary as he had never shown before. He was determined to become a Marine. He went to night school and earned a GED. Then he entered Pasadena City College taking Spanish, Italian and math.

After finishing school and poised to enter the Corp, Ramirez discovered he still owed $1200 in truancy fines from his days of ditching high school. This dampened his chances to enter the Marines since the Corp doesn't take recruits with lending legal problems.

One other obstacle for Rogelio was about to be scaled. He found a night job at McDonald's while attending college during the day. It took a year . . . but he paid off his fines.

One other thing . . . Marines also don't accept recruits with certain tattoos. Ramirez had a tattoo on his left hand which showed he was a member of a gang. He never was a member of a gang but he got the tattoo a number of years before as a prank. With a scissors he painfully removed the tattoo himself.

Ramirez passed the Marine entrance exam and left for induction right before his birthday June 30, 2006. A year later in July he was sent to Iraq. He became a machine gunner on an armored vehicle.

On one occasion, the night of August 25, Ramirez had gone out on patrol. When his convoy was attacked, he was able silence several insurgent machine gun positions, providing cover that allowed Marines to evacuate the wounded. The next day officers asked for volunteers to go out again the night of August 26th. Rogelio volunteered to go out a second night when most soldiers would have passed.

On patrol that night an explosive device hit his vehicle and Marine Lance Corporal Rogelio A. Ramirez was killed instantly.

Ramirez had left behind a child he had with his girlfriend Carla Lopez.

Four days before he left for the war, he had these words by English philosopher John Stuart Mill tattooed on his right side:

War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." That's my hero. A man with purpose. Determination. A role model. Who needs Charles Barclay when we have Marine Lance Corporal Rogelio A. Ramirez.

The heart and sacrifice of this young man demonstrate to me that we still have heroes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Come and Get it or Come and Give It

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Why? No gifts. Little shopping obligations. No holiday cards. No one is offended by how much was spent on a present or what kind of present. Not many Thanksgiving songs constantly playing in the malls. It's an easy holiday.

But I am a guy. So I don't want to discount all the hard work put in by the women, the Moms, the wives, sisters and girlfriends when it comes to preparing the meal. Once in awhile I've purchased the turkey, cleaned out the gizzards and entrails. I've stuffed turkeys and carved them. So I am not a total stranger to the incredible amount of work women do on what is essentially a guy's day off to watch football and wait for the dinner call, "Come and Get It!"

But there's always an emptiness at the Thanksgiving table. yes, there are plenty of compliments about the food, the mashed potatoes, the gravy, the sweet potatoes pie, the cranberry sauce and the pumpkin pie with whipped cream adorning it.

Yet some people manage to complain on Thanksgiving. The turkey's too dry or not cooked enough. The turkey's never as good as it was last year. Someone is bound to throw out, "Did you make this pumpkin pie or buy it at Marie Calendar's?"

Moist turkey or dry . . . something is missing. It's thankfulness.

Does it ultimately matter where the pie comes from or if the stuffing has enough walnuts or too many? When we complain about food, Thanksgiving suddenly takes on the materialistic vibe of Christmas where we find a myriad of things to gripe about. Yes . . . you're right. I am complaining right now. I know it. But then I'd have nothing to write about.

Let me share with you some great reasons to start practicing true thankfulness during this Thanksgiving celebration.

Be thankful for what you have but also be thankful that what you have is more than you'll ever need. For instance, a typical Starbucks' latte is $3.50. 5 cups would be $17.50. That's what I usually spend each week. But $17.50 can also be used to help prevent malaria for an entire family in the Congo.

Be thankful for when you go out for dinner especially with another person. The two of you will rack of a tab of at least $35.00. For $35.00 you could pay for tuition and food for one child in Uganda for an entire month.

Be thankful when you are able to gas up you SUV for $200 a month. That's enough to pay for the education of 100 students in Ethiopia.

Be thankful when you are able to enjoy a plethora of entertainment: $20.00 for a movie; $50 for cable TV pumped into your house; $130 to go to a theme park and $200 to attend a music concert. For $400 four water purifiers can be bought to pump clean water to a village in Thailand.

Be thankful for your wardrobe. Three pairs of pants costs $150; Three shirts would set you back $90.00; three pair of jeans would ring up at $200 and one jacket should cash out at $150. So for a new wardrobe, you are putting $590 on your department store credit card. You might be so blessed you can pay cash. But for $590 you can feed four children in Uganda for life.

Be thankful for all the wealth we have in America. $60,000 in the U.S. buys one month for food for 250 Americans. In the Sudan, $60,000 buys a month worth of food for 4700 Sudanese. I assume that includes the Cool Whip on their pumpkin pie.

Be thankful for the access we have to a cornucopia of clothing stores. $175,000 in the U.S. will buys a year's worth of clothing for 200 children. In Rwanda $175,000 will clothe 19,500 children for a year or more.

A dry or moist turkey seems ludicrous at this juncture. Let's be truly thankful this year. We are rich and we have all we will ever need. If you can't truly say that, I suggest you use your Christmas money and take a trip to the Sudan and get a reality check.

Do want something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Listen to the Psalmist:
The LORD is good to everyone.
He showers compassion on all his creation.
All of your works will thank you, LORD,
and your faithful followers will bless you. (Psalm 145:9-10).

In the midst of the wars, HIV/AIDs, poverty and suffering, be at least thankful you for what you do have. But take it one step further. Start supporting organizations and ministries that reach out to the people in Uganda, Rwanda, Thailand and the Sudan. This year, cut down on the Starbucks, the new wardrobe, your hunger for more and more entertainment, and all the rest. The money you save might save some lives. Then you'll learn the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Does God Ever Step Outside His Will?

I can hear it now. Blasphemy! How can you utter such words? Are you still a Christian, Louis? You've been in the ministry for over three decades. How could you?

Exactly my point. I've been in the ministry for almost half my life and I've seen it all. I've seen the best and I've witnessed the worst.

So once again, we ask, does God ever make mistakes? Are you ever truly disappointed with the way your life turned out . . . even though you believe you are in God's will?

To not admit we toy with this question is dishonest. We dare not tell anyone. We're afraid of what others might say. We fear the wrath of God. Yet deep in the recesses of our souls, my question reverberates with yours. Admit it.

It's a mental game, isn't it? Here are the rules. No matter what God allows in your life . . . no matter how bad your life ends up . . . and no matter how miserable you are, God is always right-His will is perfect-and you're always wrong to question Him.

Read the Word of God. Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Sure, you can play around with the Hebrew and Greek so that they refer to God's completeness. Still . . . He is perfect. His will is always correct. . . right?

So stop thinking. Cease all your questioning and get on with your life. Stop complaining.

I can buy that response if I was an atheist. Ultimately I would be responsible for everything that occurs in my life, right? So who's your Daddy? No one. Not God. It's all me. It's life. It's circumstances. Stuff happens! The universe is indifferent to your happiness.

But I am not an atheist.

Here's our dilemma. We have to live in an imperfect universe; fractured people struggling with illness, undeserved suffering and financial woes surround us. Then I am supposed to say, "God's never wrong." Yet deep in my soul, there's this nagging question: Can I really stand behind God as I watch this mother bury her 14-year-old daughter killed in a senseless car accident?

For Christians it can be a one-way conversation. God allows bad stuff to take place and I cannot question Him. Something is not right with this picture.

I know all the prescriptions Christians write out for my disbelief: God allows suffering to accomplish His will, to mold our spiritual character, because of sin and disobedience, since we live in a cursed world and to ultimately give Himself glory when He delivers us . . . if He does.

I guess you can't do much better than these explanations. If you say all disappointment and suffering is our fault and all the blessings belong to God. That’s a cop out. It's circular reasoning. Here's the argument: God is perfect. Whatever He does is perfect. Imperfection is all around us and impacts our lives. Therefore, anything imperfect cannot be from God.

God is off the hook. We are left alone trying to figure this out. Very alone and scared. Yet I wonder if the problem is not really God but the way Christians represent God.

Christians feel they have to defend God so He always looks righteous and perfect. This is where we get into trouble. Does God need us to defend Him? If He allows cancer into the life of an infant, are you going to try to make up some cockamamie explanation because you must run in and save God from embarrassment? I stopped doing that a long time ago.

I was a pastor for many years. I reached a point where I looked at all the hurt and disappointment and could no longer try to explain God to people. He has to get His own defense attorney . . . Himself. I'd rather live with mysteries in the universe rather than offer someone a cliché about tragedies that come into their lives.

Perhaps the best explanation for those times when we wonder if God has stepped over His own boundary line is, "I really don't know why you're going through this horrific time." Rather than take the risk of saying something stupid and superficial, this is the better approach.

No, I do not believe God makes mistakes. But I don't believe it is up to us to front God with a reason or explanation for our suffering. Regardless of the insights offered to Job by his three friends, it was only when Job himself went toe-to-toe with the Lord that the patriarch received his answer. God's response was not too pretty, but at least it came from the Lord Himself. It's a lot better than a bunch of Biblical speculators starting each sentence with "Maybe God is trying to . . . or Maybe He is teaching you . . . When we remove the "maybes' from our spiritual vocabulary and wait on God to hear His voice, then we're cooking.

It's not that God makes mistakes; it's when we try to explain or defend Him we make Him look like He doesn't know what He's doing.

I would love to hear what you have to say. Maybe . . .

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Moral Enough to Hate

I don't get it. Why do Christians become arrogant about their morality? When you became a follower of Jesus, you sang these words, "I once was lost but now I am found". Somehow along the way, we forget ever being lost; somehow we discovered ourselves to be moral people and are quite proud of it.

Here's the dilemma: Jesus died for our sins, "while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8). On the other hand we read in 1 Timothy 1:15, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst." "Of whom I AM the worst." Do we ever forget who we are? Do we ever leave behind the fact that we are saved by the grace of God and if not for the Lord's mercy, we would still be doing the "mess around?"

Several decades ago God delivered me from a gripping drug addiction. I know deep down I did not deliver myself from these mind-warping drugs. God performed that supernatural blessing. Ever since, I have not touched any psychedelic drugs (I do take Tylenol if that's okay). Praise the Lord. Do I now have the right to be arrogant about my lack of drug addiction? Can I look down on someone still psychologically hooked on pot? Does anyone have the right to be arrogant about their spirituality and resulting morality? I don't think so.

Whatever the sin the Lord delivered you from-sexual immorality, drunkenness, lying, stealing, violence or being an expert con-once you've allowed His grace to touch your life, you give up the right to be prideful, judgmental and boastful about your present moral state.

Don't you love it when Christians become all high and mighty judging the sins of others and naming calling people who commit crimes or rebel against the Lord? After God has worked for years conforming us to the image of His Son, do we now take His supernatural work and make it our own?

We kick God out the picture, beat our chest and cry out, "Look at me! I'm not gay. I never had an abortion. I never committed fornication. I never stole money. I'm perfect and godly and a wonderful Christian. I'm Ned Flanders!"

Baloney! Where is the grace of God in this kind of attitude? Where is a sense of the Lord's mercy on our lives in His forgiveness of us? I pity the people who are fighting a losing battle against certain sins. Is there room for them in a church filled with arrogant moralists? Is there any space for these honest souls who can't seem to find victory over their vices? Instead, they receive condemnation, isolation and turned up noses by other Christians. I'm sorry but that is not Christianity. It's moralism, and I believe some Christians cannot tell the difference.

Jesus did not die to make us moral. God has saved us to be holy like Him through His power. But that fact is to keep up humble not puffed up. A prideful self righteous Christian is a contradiction. A moral Christian who looks down at others has not taken their sins to the cross. They sidestepped the cross, took the moral principles of the New Testament and now are empowered to hate others who cannot conform to the standards.

How do you hate or look with disdain upon anyone committing heinous sins? Are you any better? Yes, you may answer. But why? Who made you better? God did! The Lord changed your heart. You better get on your knees before the Lord and thank Him for your deliverance and get up from your knees in humility not pride. If you are still filled with pride, get back on your knees. You still haven't gotten the message of Christianity.

It's the people who know their sins and are candid enough to admit they need the Lord to make it through every day, who are the honest Christians. The rest of us are hypocrites, still unable to see ourselves as we truly are. Of course, I am a hypocrite for judging people who are hypocrites and critical moralists. At least I know I am still a sinner. Praise be to God.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"Christian Hate Speech" from Anne Coulter

The slinky blonde in the black leather mini-skirt is at it again. This time Anne Coulter has used her Christian perspective to offend Jewish people.

According to NewsMax Coulter, a conservative pundit told CNBC’s Donnie Deutsch: “We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say … Christians believe the Old Testament (Jews) don’t believe our testament.” Asked by Deutsch if she believed everyone should be Christian, Coulter twice replied “Yes.”

Two observations strike me. First, Anne used the term "perfected". I assume she meant converted . . as in converted to Christ. Second, by believing everyone should be a Christian she is mirroring what every other evangelical Christian believes and what the New Testament teaches. In a sermon given to a Jewish audience, Peter said in Acts 4:12, "salvation is found in no one else [Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

Am I coming to Anne's rescue? Of course I am. This time Coulter is not just partially right (pun intended) but completely right (intended once more). I agree with her 100%.

To top it off, Coulter is being charged with uttering "hate speech." Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, condemned her comments, calling them “hate speech” and saying: “How does someone who says that Judaism should be thrown out, that Jews should be ‘perfected’ and that America would be better off were everyone Christian continue to receive a megaphone and platform from the news networks?"

Advocating that Jewish people need to accept Jesus as their Messiah is not hate speech. It's actually love speech. To not tell the people of Israel they need to accept Yeshua as their long awaited Messiah is "hate speech". Here's Paul the Apostle's heart on the Jewish need to embrace Jesus: I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh . . (Romans 9:1-3). To wish someone to accept eternal salvation through the Messiah and offering his own eternal salvation in exchange for theirs is not hate speech but heart speech.

Is it hate speech when Muslims wish Christians and Jews accept Mohammed as the final prophet and Allah as God? Is it hate speech when Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons argue their their literary sources or interpretations are the Word of God and that Jews and Christian are devoid of the truth unless they accept these respective positions?

Personally, I think Mormons and JWs are erroneous in their viewpoints. But I would not accuse them of hate speech.

Here was Coulter's position when she was interviewed on Hannity and Colmes the other night. I paraphrase, " All I am doing is standing up for my Christian convictions. I believe Jesus is the only true way of salvation and I am willing to stand up for my beliefs." Colmes accused her of being arrogant. However, isn't it arrogant when Jewish people declare there is only one true God when they recite the Shema on various religious occasions. The Shema makes no room for Hindus or any other polytheism. Is that hate speech?

Hate speech is now boiling down to one's expression of faith. To demand Christians or Jewish people or any other group refrain from espousing their beliefs because these doctrines go against the grain of other religions is closer to hate speech.

Will Jewish people become eradicated if they are all "perfected" as Ira Forman fears? Not really. The Apostle Paul holds out the hope that "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:26). Then in the next verse he argues that Jewish salvation is a sign of God's faithfulness to Israel when He honors the covenant to remove their sins (Romans 11:27). Israel is not eradicated according to the New Testament but affirmed as God's people through their Messiah Yeshua.

In addition, Revelation 7 and 14 refers to Israel as existing in the future end times and Revelation 11 mentions an existing temple in Jerusalem in the last days. In no way is Jewish identity "eradicated" once a Jewish person or the nation accepts Jesus as their Redeemer.

Of course, pre-millennial Christians believe all the Old Testament prophecies that promise a blessed future for Israel in the Messiah's 1000 year kingdom on earth. That does not sound like eradication to me!

Is it hate speech to say Jewish people need to accept Jesus as Messiah? I'll let Jesus answer this final question: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [including Israel, author's comment], baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).