The 14th Amendment . . . Who Exactly is a Citizen?

I recently wrote a blog on citizenship and what a hot tamale it has become in the past couple of years. I observed a lot of trash on Facebook with folks complaining about “anchor babies” . . . which is a term I just despise. The simple truth is, these are just babies . . . and, frankly, have no knowledge of their parent’s citizenship status. They are just precious little babies, who cry out for a bottle, or to announce the diaper needs attention.

I clearly understand and agree with the frustration over illegals entering the country and living on public assistance. That is wrong on many different levels, and it is something that I understand better than most. I have operated affordable apartment complexes in Eagle Pass, Texas. They happen to be some of the southernmost assisted complexes in the continental USA, and sit just a couple football-lengths off the Rio Grande River . . . the international boundary between the U.S. and Mexico.

The area is hot and humid, and is a difficult place to keep qualified maintenance employees. Most USA citizens are in the dark, but regulations on specific affordable housing programs prohibit any requirements of citizenship in eligibility criteria. Therefore, there are illegals occupying such housing. It is especially a trying situation when such an illegal sits on the front porch drinking beer watching a legal citizen mow his yard and then heckles him with, “I am not even a citizen and I get free rent, food stamps, an unemployment check, and do better than you do working like a slave.” That is just wrong!! I resent it . . . I especially resent that his claim is accurate.

Yet, as frustrating as that is, I do not allow it to blind me to the rights and wrongs of the bigger picture. Since Billionaire Donald Trump made his famous statements relative to illegal aliens, there has been much said, written, and read about anchor babies. Most of what is said and written is ignorant, shallow, bigoted, and mean. The simple truth is that our Nation has addressed this issue a long time back. It is called the 14th-Amendment of the Constitution. It is one of the “Reconstruction Amendments” and reflects the nature of a Christian nation. The Amendment was ratified on 7/9/1868, and grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the US” which included former slaves, who had just been recently freed. That was also an era in which there were strong racial tensions in this nation of immigrants.

The 14th-Amendment settled this issue of the legal status of one born on this soil. It was an Amendment that also afforded equal protection, and limited State’s rights and action on the issue, as well as those of local officials.

The greater truth is that ANY and ALL people born in the US are legal citizens – regardless of where or how one’s parents got here! We are all US citizens simply on the basis of our birth on this soil, and our parent’s legal status never entered into the equation. In fact, the only ones who are original citizens are the American Indians, and their parent’s absolute legal status only served to get them all dispatched to a reservation and a life in abject poverty, being lied to, cheated, abused, and forsaken, while they watched others squander what was naturally theirs.

In fact, such behavior and thinking became increasing easy, and as a nation, we adopted a mindset which would actually be given a name, “The Monroe Doctrine,” under which we marched across the world taking pretty much what we wanted, when we wanted, with little to no regard for how our behavior hurt and damaged others. We did it all under the belief of magnificent destiny, fully believing we were privileged and God actually wanted us taking things as we wished!

That was foolish and wicked thinking then. Denying a newborn his rightful status as a US citizen because of the sins of his or her parents is wrong-headed, mean, ignorant, and against human decency!

Those sweet little babies are Americans, just as our sweet little babies are!

Amendment XIV

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

Section 3.

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

The Cycle of Life . . .

In June my sweet mother went to live with Jesus. Her birthday was September 13. I thought about her quite a bit that day . . . but then, I think about her quite a bit every day. She had a powerful influence in and on my life. She was a most remarkable woman! She had a deep, abiding faith that served her well through some difficult times and experiences.

She was raised by a father of some means. It was just her and her little brother, and her dad owned a substantial amount of land in Burnet County. She grew up during the great Depression era, as did my dad, but to hear her speak of it was nothing like hearing my dad’s experience. My dad was one on 13 children of a family that owned very little and pretty much just worked for wages. They chopped a lot of cedar – hot, dirty, and hard work that paid very poorly.

My folks had nine children, of which eight lived. One of the things that always amazed me about my mom was that no matter how poor we were, she always had a certain reserve, perhaps an air of well-being as though she was anything but poor. It was as if she was . . . simply above all of that. That simply amazed me . . . and frankly I have known few people who possessed such a sense of calm and security. It flowed through every area of her life. She was always a lady.

He name was Stella Mae (Cargill) Melton. My dad named their second daughter in her honor, and his mom’s middle name . . . she is Stella Caroline.

Wednesday evening, as Sandy and I was finishing up dinner, we both received a text message from my precious little sister, Dorothy, announcing the birth of her second granddaughter . . . Stella Claire Swope. Dorothy’s son, Cody, and his lovely wife, Deanna, are the proud parents of this delightful little angel. Grayson is her big brother.

I love Cody and Deanna, and I love and appreciate their graciousness in naming this sweet baby after our matriarch. My mom had slipped some mentally before she passed, but she knew they were planning on naming the baby in her honor. That delighted her, but she was sometimes confused about some of the details and was a little comical as she tried to discuss it. I know she is delighted today . . . and absolutely I believe the Saints in Heaven are aware of us and what transpires here. You want a Bible reference? The Apostle Paul spoke of a celestial crowd that cheers us on . . . and my interpretation of that passage is that they see . . . and they care!

Thank you Cody! Thank you Deanna! You have done a beautiful thing by bringing this beautiful baby girl into our family. You honor us by naming her after our Darling! I promise you that name will do her proud! She is well named.

As I have pondered this delightful news this evening, my heart and mind just repeat the wonderful verse of Scripture, “May the God of hope fill you all with joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

My cup runneth over . . . I am a happy man! The cycle of life is a beautiful thing. It is the gift of God! Our precious little ABI is an absolute look-alike of pictures of my Mom when she was three, now she has a delightful namesake.



Her Name is Abi . . . short for Abigayle Grace Melton

She is my granddaughter . . . and she will turn 3 years of old tomorrow. This little imp has stolen my heart! I think about her more than I can say. I just find myself thinking of her and her big sister, Ali, all of the time . . . wondering where they are, how they are doing, do they need anything, is everyone treating them well, are they being good girls or are they stepping over the line? I simply am unable to pray, to even thank God for the day that I fail to put their names before His throne and remind Him that I love them and plead for His watch care over them, and blessings upon them.

This photo is of her dressed for her ballet class. It is her first year, but I bet she will be a standout. That gal has some moves and she was blessed with rhythm! But then, I think she will do everything well. Did I mention how bright she is?

My sweet mom went to live with Jesus back in June, and I miss her terribly. Sandy, Courtney, Dorothy, and I were recently looking at a photo of my mom when she was about Abi’s age today (taken almost 85 years ago), and we were all amazed at the striking resemblance between the two. If ABI turns out to be like her great-grandmother Melton, she will be something special.

I love ABI. Sandy and I will be at her birthday party on Saturday. We are excited to see ABI and Ali both!! For Christmas last year, they gave me a phone-case which has a photo of them. It has an inscription that say, “Pappy’s Girls.” That is how I think of them . . . Pappy’s Girls!

Abi’s 1st birthday

 Abi’s 2nd birthday

Genesis . . .

Where did man come from? How did he get here? And where is he going?

Each is a question that has long puzzled the human mind;
And there seems no shortage of world views that keep flowing,
Many of which are from the spiritually blind.

Some insist that man evolved from something in the slime
And then grew into something else that moved about on all-four,
And all of this is reported to have taken a large block of time
And refuses to acknowledge any Devine creative power.

It seems that I have read and heard them all at one time or another,
And it also seems many folks do not need for the answers offered to make any sense;
One answer seems as good as the other,
Regardless of how peculiar it may be . . . or how dense.

It seems to me . . . that a generation taught that it does not know from whence it came,
Nor to where it is bound,
Will simply view life as some pointless game
In which no meaning is to be found.

It seems the end result will be a world torn apart
By people with conflicting desires, philosophies, and ambitions
Likely to be led by the stronger, even if they are not very smart
And great damage will occur as each generation makes a transition.

The Bible offers the most believable explanation for our existence,
And, unlike opposing views, it even explains why we were made;
But that wonderful and beautiful account is met with hostile resistance,
By those who deny that life’s very foundation by a single great Creator was first laid.

Prisons are filled to the max, homes are broken apart, and children are abandoned,
Families are in crisis, schools in disarray and confusion,
As man struggles with sin and lives as though he is a phantom,
And acts as if life will continue without amend.

Wake up . . . the time is urgent and seems it is short,
Judgment is approaching at an alarming pace,
It is on that day, the Creator . . . His creation will sort,
As He judges the human race.

Don’t get caught asleep at the wheel,
Confused and uncertain about life and who you are;
Turn to your Maker, and before Him, humbly kneel,
And by His love be cleansed of sin’s ugly scar.

Never be confused, you were created by God
Just as was everything else in this grand universe
And as He looked upon you as an infant, He gave His approving nod,
And today with you He stands ready to converse.


It all Began in 1977 . . .

It all began in 1977,
A new cleric in Iran declared a new route to Heaven,
All of the world looked on in dismay,
Totally amazed at what happened day by day.

This madman energized the nation’s youth,
Who had always been seemingly aloof.
They marched up and down the street,
and did the madman’s commands in a heartbeat.

Soon, marching in protest and burning our flag,
Became something of a drag,
The mob needed and demanded something large,
So upon the USA embassy they did barge

The foreign service staff tried to abandon post;
But, found themselves captives of an evil host.
We elected a new Prez by the name of Carter,
And he said, “With them I will barter.”

Everything failed, and our folks were on ice;
finally, he would try to use our military and roll the dice.
But we discovered we had foolishly let our war machine turn to rust,
so our proposed attack became an embarrassing bust.

This tragedy went on for 444 days,
and there was no solution, as Carter exhausted all of his ways,
Then, we elected a man named Reagan to lead,
and that is just what he did and soon got inside their head.

He led the way to overhaul our military force,
and used every available resource.
Once again our Nation was noble and proud,
Mr. Reagan made short work of that Iranian crowd.
He brought the hostages back home at last,
and announced to the world all of that was in the past.

We have been at war with Iran for 36 years;
we have watched them march and heard their chants that caused Israeli mother’s many tears.
“Death to Israel, death to the great Satan, the USA”
But they were small, weak, and backward, and seemingly unable to hurt us in any way.

However, they recently began to work on a nuke,
but Obama said, no way,” and sent Hillary to be a spook.
Of course, to that evil, backward lot, a woman is joke,
so Obama sent Kerry, a questionable bloke.

In what is certainly the great mystery of time,
that small, wicked nation beat us on every front and didn’t spend a dime!
They get to move ahead on their bomb, and just need to deny that they are,
and we gave them the means to prevent any inspectors from going very far!

Iran gets millions of dollars, a completely free hand,
To hide these bombs all over their land,
and our Moron in Chief, pounds his chest and says, “I b da man!”

But, it ain’t over; no, not by a long shot,
No sir, it is not, because there is a strong, bold leader who has become very hot.
This man is a strong Prime Minister,
who will defend his nation from this thing that is so sinister.

Don’t be deceived, Obama and Kerry are not the final word on this matter . . .
Bibi will have the final word regardless of these idiot’s meaningless chatter.
Did these clowns forget that Israel has a nuke?
Did they forget, that isn’t a fluke?
Did they forget that Israel will always defend itself?
Did they forget that Israel is the last nation on the planet to try to force into a corner?
I am certain they ignored God’s unwavering pledge to Israel,
“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you!”
BiBi hasn’t forgotten. Israel hasn’t forgotten. God hasn’t forgotten!

The Grocery Store Check-out Line

A friend in Burnet had an interesting post on Facebook. It concerned an experience she and her son had at the supermarket. It touched my heart.

April said as she and Jonathan waited in line to check out, she observed the man in line ahead of her; he had several children with him. The goods in his basket were few: a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly, roman noodles, tuna fish, and such. She said she immediately recognized it all as staples that folks purchase when trying to take a little and stretch it over a long time. She recognized it from her own experience, and she then told some about her impoverished childhood as her family depended upon government commodities. She said the cashier swiped the man’s card and then told the man that the card was declined (I am thinking it was some sort of government-issued card like WIC, as opposed to a bank credit card). In any event, my friend slipped money to the cashier to pay the fellow’s tab. The man said a shy, “Thank you,” and my friend smiled at him and politely whispered to him, “Been there myself.”

Have you been there? On either end of that experience? I am thinking that scenes such as this play out across the world many times each day. I also think that such opportunities present an opportunity for each party . . . on each end of the thing!

I have spent the majority of my adult life working in affordable-housing and directly with folks who struggle with finances and simply need some help financially, and turn to the government for help with housing, food for their families, medical assistance/health care, utility expenses, and such. I delight in being able to help struggling families; I grew up in a struggling family much like that.

Over the years, I have come to realize that there are two basic mindsets or attitudes toward such a family. One mindset/attitude says, “They ought to do something about their situation – get a job and pull themselves up.” That person often tells his or her own story of how they have personally taken charge of their own life and paid their own way. Their own personal good fortune has caused them to become a bit calloused, critical, and even judgmental. They often complain about government entitlement programs and complain about such assistance.

Then there are those like my friend who remembers, and without any judging, simply acts out of a kind and generous heart. I think that such a heart and action actually delights God as He looks on. I know it delights my heart when I see or hear about it. It also delights my heart when the Lord permits me to be the first person on the scene and presents me with the opportunity to put my faith in action and lend a helping hand.

Personally, I believe that Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. As we advance through the life experience, the Lord provides us many opportunities to grow and develop and reflect His love and light into this dark and troubled world. One of my favorite illustrations to use with a group is to take a 25′ length of small, thin rope, paint a 12″ section at the end with red paint. Then I fling the rope out full-length and tell the group that the rope represents the total of the length of life and the section of red represents our life spent on earth. Then I talk a bit about how long eternity will be, and by contrast how short life on earth will be. Then I talk some about how our attention, focus, effort, and concern are upon the small red section, to the neglect of the longer section which, of course, represents eternity. Then I remind the group that Jesus encouraged us to lay up treasure in Heaven . . . that sure makes sense to me and I think such encounters at the check-out stand are a terrific place to do that very thing!

A question I try to ask of folks who tend to be critical and judgmental in such situations is, “How can you know what has happened in that person’s life that put him or her there?” Perhaps someone has a terminal illness, has lost a job, has been the victim of some other form of tragedy, perhaps abandoned, betrayed, or has simply been beaten by life. Those are all things that happen and very well could, in fact, happen to any of us. Those are things that can certainly take the wind out of one’s sail!

I recall when I was a kid, my dad was seriously injured in an oil-field accident. He was smashed by a piece of heavy equipment and had his pelvis bone crushed. He spent about a year incapacitated –unable to walk or work. He had a wife and seven small children, and times got pretty tough for us. I recall the cheerleaders from the high school brought us a Thanksgiving basket (we lived in an old rented house across the street from the school). I was both happy for the help, and embarrassed about our situation. I have never forgotten that experience. I recall it vividly every Thanksgiving, and have a private way of putting something back and saying, “Thank you, Lord!”

What do you do when you encounter this situation at the check-out counter? I encourage you to think about it and strive to develop a sensitivity to the Lord’s activity . . . so that you can be alert for such opportunities as they present themselves! This a terrific way to lend a hand in a life struggling . . . to please the Lord and lay up treasure where it will be safe for a long, long time! If you hang onto that few bucks, they will soon be gone and a month later you won’t remember what you even spent the on, but if you step forward, let them go, and lend a helping hand, you will remember it for a long time. The person helped will remember it for a long time . . . and I am confident the Lord will also remember it for a long time!

It Seems to me . . . this is a subject worthy of some thought!! Good job, April and Jonathan!!

A New Home . . .

Pretty much everyone who is getting a new home is excited;

But, then, perhaps that actually is not always true,
There is the exception of a child being removed from his parent’s home not being
Because in such situations, when not allowed to live with his family, he becomes blue.

I have been reading in Revelation 21, wherein God explains the Believer’s future,
And it contains wonderful information about this grand new place in which we will dwell,
It announces it is there where God will wipe away every tear, and our souls He will nurture,
And it provides the city’s dimensions, shape, and space; and of its great beauty it does tell.

What it describes is this grand new place, identified as the New Jerusalem,
A glorious, newly-rebuilt city, filled with God’s glory, and light-reflecting precious stones,
A lovely, grand dwelling place in which there is not ever a hint of a problem,
And God is worshiped and praised in and with marvelous sounds and tones.

The city is large, and is said to measure about 1500 miles in length and breadth,
It is the same in height, and seems to be in the shape of a cube; it totally reflects light
It is the place where there will never be a second death,
And there is no longer a time separation of day and night.

Measuring by our standards, it will stretch from the Canadian border to the bottom of Florida,
And from the Eastern seaboard, across to Colorado,
Of course, those borders are determined by using a basic human mathematics formula,
Together with the measurements provided therein, it is rather easy to follow.

It also seems to be 1500 miles high,
And there are 12 city gates that will never be closed.
The ocean and sea as we know them no longer exist; and seem to become dry.
There will never be danger to which we will ever again be exposed.

Life there will continue for ever and ever, as we cannot truly fathom eternity,
It is very large and it is grand, and there is room for everyone throughout human history,
And all who will dwell there will be in a fraternity,
But you must understand a reservation is required, and that certainly is no mystery.