IT WAS NO ACCIDENT THAT OUR ISSUE LAST
WEEK WAS SO FAR OUT IN FRONT WITH
RESPECT TO FUTURE TERRORISM
No, it was not "accidental." We do hours of research before
typing the first words of any issue. It seemed reasonable
to us from everything we read and heard that terrorism
was "alive and well," and that further attacks might well
be expected. We reasoned that the real dangers went well
past the "gut feeling" which the Secretary of Homeland
Security shared with his fellow Americans.
On last Wednesday, concurrent with the release of our
issue on the subject, the likelihood of terrorist attacks
in the not-too-distant future was widely discussed in just
about every news media as a reasonable expectation.
From a Christian viewpoint, and that is a major factor
in all of our reports, there is more to be considered than
the evil of terrorism or the rise or fall of one of the nation’s
financial score boards or the cruel hobby of one of the
country’s multi-million dollar athletes or the potential
jailing of one of Hollywood’s "celebrities"of the moment.
The following comment is from one of our readers:
"Who would have thought 50 years ago what America
was on the verge of becoming now!!!"
It is indeed a sobering thought.
It merits an organized response, and in more detail than
the restraints of time and space permit here. But certain
clear and unavoidable facts can be briefly presented with
respect to our reader’s concerned comment.
First, considered historically – and we must never in
any "rush to judgment" ignore or brush aside as having
no meaning the facts of history. A review of such facts
discloses that without question America was intended to be,
was formed to be, and did in fact begin as a Christian nation.
Under the nation’s first President, and Commander in Chief
of our armed forces, military officers were required to attend
church regularly, an indication of Washington’s own personal
views of the Christian faith. In taking the oath of office as the
first president, he voluntarily added, "So help me, God."
On various occasions during those early years these quotes
from President Washington are preserved, "It is impossible
to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
"What students should learn in American schools above all
is the religion of Jesus Christ." "To the distinguished character
of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more
distinguished character of Christian."
The nation’s second president, John Adams, was equally firm
in his expression of his Christian beliefs: "We recognize no
Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus." "The general
principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence
were the general principles of Christianity." Patrick Henry,
known as the "Orator of the Revolution," said, "It cannot be
emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was
founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion,
but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
Helping to establish that non-debatable fact is this quote from
Governor Morris of Pennsylvania, known in history as the
man who actually "wrote" the Constitution: "Religion is the
only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should
teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward
God." And in 1780, Noah Webster, often called "America’s
Schoolmaster" for his efforts in establishing sound education
in America, wrote: "In my view the Christian religion is the
most important and one of the first things which all children,
under a free government, ought to be instructed."
That is the America our founding fathers intended
this nation to be. And that is the America this nation was,
for more than a century and a half. But our reader asked
concerning the America of 50 years ago – or 1957.
Interestingly enough, it was in April of 1957 that a major
religious conference was held in Nashville, TN on the theme,
"The Role of the Church in Facing the Nation’s Chief Moral
Dilemma." In a broad survey, it was agreed that tremendous
progress had been made in many areas. The conferees said
that scientific and technological advances astound us and
stagger the imagination. Skyscrapers reach ever higher into
the sky . . . while space exploration goes beyond all earthly
bounds . . . the airplane has shrunk time and distance from
days or weeks into hours . . . diseases once totally fatal are
being treated with benign results . . . and with all of these
advances have come unprecedented achievements in our
economic growth as we developed the greatest production
system the world had ever known. As the unquestioned No.
1 military power in the world America was respected and
admired for our willingness to lead the world to victory in
two World Wars. The ill effects of the generally unpopular
Korean conflict of 1950 - 1953 (labeled by President Truman
as a "police action") were only starting to be felt. Despite
almost the sole exception of the still lingering effects of
racial discrimination, the portrait of this nation developed
just 50 years ago was an extremely favorable one.
But our reader’s question included the word "now."
The situation has changed dramatically since that
generally favorable evaluation in 1957 – just 50 years ago.
In 1947, just 10 years earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court made
a decision, erroneously (in many people’s minds) which
established a "separation of church and state," based upon
the First Amendment’s so-called "establishment clause."
From that one decision, a list of other decisions based upon
it leads directly into the unfavorable situation in which our
nation finds itself today. Without listing all, or even most,
of those decisions, these few may be noted: in 1948 all
religious instruction in public schools was banned; in
1962 any form of prayer in schools was banned; in 1973
abortion was legalized, with the result that since that
date more than 50 million children have been killed; in
1976 any mention of God in writings by school board
members was banned; in 1980 posting of the Ten
Commandments on school properties was forbidden; in
1987 teaching of creation science was banned; in 1992
no clergy were allowed to pray at any school event.
And that is only a partial list of the fall-out resulting
from the Court’s 1947 decision on the separation of
church and state.
The former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court,
William Rehnquist, in 1985 said of that decision: "There
is simply no historical foundation for the proposition
that the Framers intended to build the ‘wall of separation’
that was constitutionalized ... The ‘wall of separation
between church and state’ is a metaphor based on bad
history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide
to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned."
Thus there are several steps in the response to the
concern our reader expressed. Historically, America
began as a nation based on traditional Judeo/Christian
principles. For a century and a half those founding
principles made America strong and successful. By 1957,
right in the midst of what had been hoped to be the time
of "America’s mid-century revival," things began to fall
apart, with an organized rejection and turning away from
God and Christianity, led by the liberals, atheists and
homosexuals and organizations like the ACLU. In 2004
Massachusetts became the first state to make homosexual
marriage legal, a major advance in the destruction of the
traditional American family life. This is not the America
our founding fathers intended, but it may be the America
we are going to get by default. Read on . . .
The Barna Group (Ventura CA) regularly conducts surveys
on the American way of life, with all of its ramifications.
One of the most recent (July, 2007) disclosed that most
Americans (75%) are "very open" to alternative moral
views, but a huge majority (92%) support the traditional
family values . . . and this results in another huge majority
(86%) who are concerned about the moral health of the
nation. Encouraging? Yes . . . but here is the "default"
possibility mentioned above: only one out of four adults
(25%) is concerned enough to try to convince other
people to change their views. Now that’s scary!
And now arises the familiar question: "What can
I, as just one Christian, do?" In all candor, the answer to
that question does not change from week to week. From
a personal standpoint, as a Christian, you have a directive
from Jesus Christ to go and preach the gospel – share
your faith with everyone. You know that directive as the
"Great Commission." It is found in the last few verses
of the last chapter in the books of Matthew and Mark.
And from a national standpoint, as an American, you
have an opportunity that people all over the world
would give their life to have: you can vote freely and
without fear to choose the kind of government under
which you want to live, and the kind of people you want
to run that government.
A thought for today: and as always, a good one from
Gary Bauer in his "End of Day" column: "Sadly, we live
in a time when our military is at war, but the American
people are not. While our best and brightest literally put
life and limb on the line fighting the jihadists, too many
of the rest of us are more concerned with the latest
Hollywood loser in the headlines, fattening our bank
accounts, and avoiding sacrifice or inconvenience of
Afterthoughts . . .
$11 billion annually, that’s what Americans spend for
bottled water. But now Pepsi, the distributor of Aquafina,
one of the more popular brands, has disclosed that what
the people are buying is really "tap water" – or as the
label now explains, it is from a "public source." Bottled
water averages out at a cost of $6.40 per gallon (and
you thought gasoline was expensive!) while tap water
from your kitchen sink costs about $.01 per gallon. Oh
yes – Pepsi isn’t the only company selling tap water
in bottles. Read the labels. And you might even think
of a better way to spend those billions each year.
And speaking of liquids, in the state of Utah, an auto
owner paid for the so-called "vanity" license plates for
his maroon colored car (OK – it is wine red) bearing the
letters MERLOT. The state is forcing him to remove the
plate on the grounds that it advertises or promotes the
sale of intoxicants. The car’s owner insists it refers to
the color of his car. Here in our city, a glance at the
local telephone directory discloses that Merlot is a
family name, and that there are several families with
the names Beer and Wine. You have to wonder how
a state can rule a person’s surname is objectionable.
Another unique achievement for San Francisco.
As if being represented in Congress by Nancy Pelosi,
the first female Speaker of the House, were not enough,
as of May 9 of this year the President of the San Francisco
Police Commission is Theresa Sparks, a trans-gender
person who was formerly a man. Before becoming a
female, he/she was married and fathered three children.
When not involved in Police Commission duties, Theresa
operate a sex toy business. Catering to people who – well,
catering to people who like sex toys.
An upcoming potential affront to the "Christian
Right." It is reported that CNN is planning to release a
three part documentary series totaling 6 hours on 3
successive nights, in August. Hosted by Christianne
Amanpour, the series will be titled "God’s Warriors"
and will apparently discuss the "impact of religious
fundamentalism as a powerful political force around
the world." Bob Knight, director of the Media Research
Center’s Cultural and Media Institute fears it will be an
effort to equate evangelical Christians with Muslim
fanatics. Fortunately we can always move to another
and if enough other people do so . . .
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MICHAEL CHERTOFF’S "GUT FEELING"
REMARK MAY HAVE AMUSED SOME
BUT HAS ALSO CAUSED CONCERN
A timely comment: "These are the times that try men’s
souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will,
in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country;
but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks
of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily
conquered, yet we have this consolation with us, that the
harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." From
President George Bush? No. Senator John McCain or Joe
Lieberman? No. Secretary of State Condi Rice? No. This
comment is from Thomas Paine’s "Crisis," December 1776.
It could have been made by any one of our present
day politicians, or by their colleagues. These are indeed
times that try men’s souls, and like Thomas Paine, we have
many "sunshine patriots" who wave American flags and
affirm glibly their support for our troops who are engaged
in the conflict of war.
And how do we prepare to deal with the problems
which confront us? Our Secretary of Homeland Security,
Michael Chertoff, a member of the president’s cabinet,
announced to an audience in Chicago that he had a "gut
feeling" that the terrorists would attack us this Summer.
The reaction to this sort of an evaluation by our highest
homeland security official has been as might be expected.
Arnaud de Borchgrave, speaking for the Center for Strategic
and International Studies, made this comment: "I don’t think
you can assess the current terrorist threat by inflicting a
case of gastric distress on the country. .. This is not a very
serious way of handling the problem of terrorism."
In similar vein, Paul Williams, a former FBI terrorism
consultant, commented, "What a jerk. He better have more
in the pit of his stomach, so we can react according to reason
and not feeling. The American people right now don’t need
the feeling of anybody. They need the sound judgment of
And FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed to NewsMax
that al Qaeda intends to detonate a nuclear device that
would kill millions of Americans. He said the threat is so
real that he lies awake at night thinking about the effects
of such an attack.
Our highest intelligence official, Mike McConnell,
Director of National Intelligence, released unclassified
sections of the National Intelligence Estimate, stating that
"the U.S. Homeland will face a persistent and evolving
terrorist threat over the next three years." The report
included this comment, "the main threat comes from
Islamic terrorist groups and cells, especially al Qaeda,
driven by their undiminished intent to attack the homeland ..."
The situation was ably summed-up by – who else – Ann
Coulter, "For six years the Bush administration has kept
America safe from another terrorist attack, allowing the
Democrats to claim that the war on terrorism is a fraud,
a "bumper sticker," a sneaky ploy by a power-mad
president to create an apocryphal enemy so he could spy
on innocent librarians in Wisconsin... But now with the
U.S. Government – as well as the British and German
governments – warning of major terrorist attacks this
summer, the Treason Lobby is facing the possibility that
the ‘bumper sticker’ could blow up in their faces."
And it was summed-up more succinctly by the former
Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who opined: "Our
political system is broken. Our government doesn’t work."
It can be assumed, and probably correctly, that
Mr. Chertoff meant well and simply used a poor choice of
words. We can, at least, lament the deterioration in our
use of the English language since those days when our
founding fathers expressed themselves in the centuries
enduring brilliance of the Declaration of Independence.
One cannot conceive of those patriots attributing to a "gut
feeling" the fact that the colonies were being maltreated
by a corrupt monarch thousands of miles away. They
perceived their intent to establish a new nation based on
Judeo/Christian principles as under attack, and took every
means at their disposal to fight back in defense of a nation
which existed only in words on a sheet of parchment, and
a conviction which existed in their hearts and minds.
We who have inherited that nation and that concept
these 231 years later can do no less than to take that same
stand. If a Christian America was worth their pledge of their
lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in 1776, surely it
is worth the same today.
You may ask: "What can I, as an individual Christian, do?"
You have at your disposal the most powerful privilege ever
accorded to any person – the right to vote. In the upcoming
national election next year – don’t be a no-show. Register and
vote . . . and persuade your Christian friends to join you. Vote
to bring America back to the nation we once knew, and stop
the liberals, atheists and homosexuals from further attacks
on the basic principles upon which this nation was founded.
A timeless quote for today: "In a society under the
forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite
and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be
said to reign as in a state of nature." – James Madison,
Afterthoughts . . .
A word of correction is in order. Last week we
referred to President Bush’s favorable public reaction
as 33%, and the public’s favorable opinion of the
Congress as 24%. Both of those numbers should be
corrected. The public’s favorable opinion of President
Bush’s performance is more recently 34% – still not
a rating to brag about – while the favorable opinion
of the Congress is now at an all-time low of 14%.
"It’s the economy, Stupid." That was a sign put
up in the Clinton headquarters by Jim Carville during
the 2000 presidential campaign. It was Mr. Carville’s
opinion that the public’s understanding of the nation’s
economy was very important. Perhaps that same sign
should be posted in Republican campaign offices. At
this time we have just seen the Dow Jones Industrial
Average on the NY Stock Exchange hit an all-time high
of 14,000, having bested a previous all-time high of
13,000 just a short time ago. This at a time when
more than 60% of Americans hold shares of stocks.
Inflation is at a very comfortable rate of 2.69%. Claims
for unemployment benefits dropped last week by
8,000 from the previous week for a total of 301,000,
with the rate of unemployment holding steady at 4.5%
Right, Mr. Carville: "It’s the economy!"
We ignore, at our peril, the Muslims among us.
There is an old Arab saying, "Don’t allow the camel to
put his nose under the flap of your tent." There is a
more recent saying, American in origin, to the effect
that "All Muslims are not terrorists" ... its corollary
is "Up till now all terrorists have been Muslims."
America’s first Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison
(D, MN) after stirring up a minor note of controversy
about taking his oath of office on the Koran, has now
made modest headlines by apparently comparing
George W. Bush to Adolph Hitler, by likening the
events of 9/11 to the destruction of the Reichstag by
fire so as to put the leader of that country (Hitler) "in a
position where he could basically have the authority to
do whatever he wanted." Mr. Ellison was addressing a
meeting of atheists in Minnesota, and promised them,
"You’ll always find this Muslim standing up for your
right to be atheists all you want." Even a casual student
of Islam would conclude from that statement that Mr.
Ellison isn’t even a very good Muslim.
And to be perfectly fair with the Congressman, he
did not omit Vice President Cheney from his references
to the Nazis – he said Mr. Cheney’s refusal to answer
some questions from Congress was "the very definition
of totalitarianism, authoritarianism and dictatorship."
The average length of those three words is 14.33 letters.
Who is to say that time spent in reading a dictionary of
the English language doesn’t pay off?
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PAUSE AND THINK BEFORE YOU GET TOO
UPSET BY THE POPE FOR HIS FALLACIOUS
ATTACKS ON OTHER CHRISTIAN CHURCHES
Pope Benedict XVI, like those of his predecessors, lives,
works and speaks in an ambiance of inherited attributes
which would affect the life, labors and opinions of any
man – and that is exactly what he is; a man elected to
the highest office of one of the branches of the Christian
church by a majority vote of his peers.
Included in that atmosphere is a sense almost of
eternalness – if we assume that the Roman Catholic
church was always there from the moment when Jesus,
in Matthew 16:18 said that He would build His church
upon the principle of faith expressed by Peter, that He
was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And yet it was not until the 4th century, in AD 313 under
Emperor Constantine I, that the Catholic church was
formally established, and not until AD 380 under
Emperor Theodosius I, that the Catholic church was
made the official church of the Roman Empire.
So while not as old a religious entity as the Church
which Jesus said He would build, and which grew and
flourished during the first century, but a couple of
centuries older than the religion of Islam, which dates
from the 6th century, the Roman Catholic church’s
claim of age is only modestly impressive.
Then there is the distinctive concept of "papal
infallibility" – the power assigned to each Pope that
he is absolutely right, beyond any possibility of error
in issuing dogmatic teachings on subjects of faith
and morals. But this is a relatively recent aspect
of Papal authority, dating only from the Vatican
Council I, in 1870, and an authority which has only
been used once, in 1950.
So the effectiveness and authority of Papal views
are not particularly strengthened by these two
elements of the Roman Catholic position with
respect to the Christian faith. But just these two
instances provide a basis to evaluate the present
opinion of the leader of this branch of Christendom.
The present Pope – the 265th man to hold this
position – was elected to head the Roman Catholic
church in April 2005 on the third ballot by 115 of
his fellow Cardinals, each of which was himself a
potential candidate for the office, and together they
constituted the entire pool of voters. Upon election,
the new Pope changed his name from Joseph
Ratzinger to Benedict XVI.
This present pronouncement, issued by the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – which
the present Pope formerly headed – is essentially
a restatement of a similar edict issued by then
Cardinal Ratzinger in 2000, and titled "Dominus
Jesus," and carries the full authority of the Pope.
The document uses very clear language to make the
point that "churches" outside the Roman Catholic
church "are not churches in the proper sense of the
word," but are rather "ecclesiastical communities,"
and as such, do not have the "means of salvation"
and that only the Roman Catholic church "has the
fullness of the means of salvation." Concerning
other branches of Christendom the document
concludes, "it is nevertheless difficult to see how the
title of ‘Church’ could possibly be attributed to them."
This present statement of Roman Catholic doctrine
ventures into the theological concept of Ecclesiology,
the study of the Church. Without attempting to
confuse the issue, let it simply be said that according
to the Scriptures, which, as the revelation of God carry
far more weight than traditions of the church upon
which the Roman Catholic church relies so heavily,
the provision of salvation is the gift of God to man as
stated by Jesus in the very familiar John 3:16, and is
not the prerogative of any one church over another.
Thus this present document can best be considered
the opinion of one man, the head of one division of
the organized Christian church, and is clearly without
Scriptural authority. The Scripture verse referred to
above is in the Gospel of John, the Disciple who is
referred to always as the Disciple whom Jesus loved.
The message is very familiar, "For God so loved the
world – all mankind, not just the Roman Catholic
church – that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him – not just members of
a Roman Catholic church – should not perish but
have everlasting life." Those are the words of Jesus
Christ, the Son of God, and not the opinion of one
man who was elected to his term in office by his
peers, and not on the first ballot, we might note.
Across this country and around the world,
there are literally millions of individuals (including
this writer) who have received salvation and eternal
life through their belief in Jesus Christ as offered
and promised and provided by God. The opinion of
Joseph Ratzinger or Benedict XVI can do nothing
to change those facts.
And the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, His
directive to all believers, instructs us to go into all
the world and preach this gospel to everyone.
The message of the first century church:
"And he fell down before Paul and Silas, and said,
Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said,
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt
be saved ..." (Acts 16:29-31)
Afterthoughts . . .
As evidence that you can’t believe everything
you read, Cindy Sheehan, who promised she was
stepping out of the anti-war spotlight, stepped right
back in, and is journeying across the country, with
scheduled arrival in Washington in 5 days or on July
23. If by that date House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has
not begun impeachment proceedings against President
Bush, Cindy will seek Nancy’s seat in the 2008 election.
Apparently Cindy took the adulation of the anti-war
crowd seriously, and thinks she has a constituency.
Is either threat to be taken seriously? Doubtful, but
one never knows what fanatics will do.
That Senate opening prayer by a Hindu. As
promised, a Hindu, Rajan Zed, sponsored by Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid, opened the Senate with
prayer to some Hindu deity. The chamber was almost
empty, except for a few Senators, during the prayer
and Pledge of Allegiance. Thinking back to the early
days of the Congress, one can only imagine the strong
objections that such an affront to the then largely
Christian membership would have provoked.
Who needs intelligence services? Not Cabinet
Secretary Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security.
Chertoff told the Chicago Tribune editorial board last
week that he had a "gut feeling" about more terrorist
attacks on America this Summer. He stated that there
is an assessment, "not of a specific threat, but of
increased vulnerability." Recalling the failure of our
intelligence services prior to the Iraq war, one can only
hope that we are justified in placing more confidence
in Mr. Chertoff’s "gut feeling."
It may be "back to the drawing board" for Al
Gore’s plotters and planners who came up with the
idea of musical concerts all over the world to gain
support for Mr. Gore’s latest invention (after the
Internet) -- the theory of "Global Warming." The
ratings which have been made public are "not good"
which is a restrained description. Here in America,
on NBC it faired worse than usual programming
for that time period, which was normally re-runs
and NHL hockey, never a winner. The Gore special
finished in last place. In Great Britain, apparently
only 2 million watched, as opposed to 10 million
for the "Live 8" concerts. But remember that the
Hollywood Academy Award crowd loved his film!
Not that it really matters much, but the many
attacks on President Bush from members of the
Congress, House and Senate, are coming from an
organization for whom the public confidence rating
is 24%, and declining recently, whereas President
Bush’s approval rating remains steady at 33% – not
something to brag about, except by comparing it to
Congress. Even so, Senator Barbara Boxer (yes, from
California) declared last week that the present Bush
administration is the nearest we have ever come to a
dictatorship, and insists that impeachment must
remain on the table. And in charge of that table is
Nancy Pelosi (yes, also from California) who is being
similarly nudged by Cindy Sheehan (yes, she’s also
from California). Should be interesting.
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OK – WE CELEBRATED INDEPENDENCE
DAY, 2007. WHAT DID WE LEARN -- OR
WHAT SHOULD WE HAVE LEARNED?
George Santayana, a Spanish-born American author in
the early 20th century wrote, "Those who cannot remember
the past are condemned to repeat it."
Two questions immediately arise: (1) Is he correct – is his
premise justified? And assuming that he is right – the
facts of history and experience indicate that he is – (2)
What aspects of life can we expect to repeat?
This isn’t pleasant reading. It isn’t so much that we can’t
remember what has happened – it’s more that we tend to
ignore what has happened . . . we dismiss it from our mind
as non-events clothed in the camouflage of "progress" or
"political correctness." But if for whatever reason –
voluntary or involuntary – we forget the past, we will be
almost certainly doomed, as Santayana said, to repeat it.
Coming directly after the national observance of the 4th of
July – "Independence Day’ – in America, we have had
before us restatements of the convictions, beliefs and
intentions of the founding fathers who established this
nation 231 years ago. We can – some of us – remember
the mid-1940's when those founding principles which had
been in effect for about 170 years, were beginning to be
overturned and replaced by newly legalized affronts to the
American way of life; concepts like: Abortion . . Sodomy
. . . bans on any mention of God, bible or prayer in
our schools . . . Homosexual marriage . . . the weird
concept of Separation of Church and State . . . etc.
We watched judges in our court system being led by
liberals, atheists, homosexuals and anti-religious forces
down the path into violations of the founding principles
of our nation’s Judeo/Christian heritage until we find
ourselves today in a national spiritual quagmire where
pagan religions from overseas are showing dramatic
growth while long established Christian churches are
dwindling in size and influence. We are watching a
generation of young people who have been denied any
expression of the Christian faith in our schools. We are
watching the time honored institution of marriage and
the family being abandoned in favor of an arrangement
called "same sex marriage." And we have tried in vain to
grasp the consequences of a U.S. Supreme Court decision
n 1973 to legalize abortion, leading to approximately 50
million babies killed in less than 35 years.
But all that is past. It has happened, right here in America
And if we fail to acknowledge and remember it – and do
something about it – we are, in the words of George
Santayana " ... condemned to repeat it."
There is increasing evidence that American Christians
are refocusing on the still unfulfilled "Great Commission"
of Jesus Christ. One of our readers wrote to us this past
week, "I take the ‘Great Commission’ as an order from
my Commander in Chief, and I expect to win the battles
Christ has given me." That directive from our Lord is
recorded in the Gospels through Mark and Matthew, "Go
ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every
creature ... and teach all nations , baptizing them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Ghost." (Mark 16:15, Matt. 28:19)
Afterthoughts . . .
A surprise, perhaps – the American people have more
confidence in the church and religion than in the Congress.
A recent Gallup poll discloses that 46% of Americans have
a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the church/
organized religion. That is almost the lowest level of such
confidence in the more than 30 year history of the poll.
However, those results must ‘be weighed against American
voters confidence in Congress, which is currently at 14%
according to the most recent polls.
Even if voters have very low confidence in them,
members of Congress like themselves enough to vote for
a pay increase of $4,400 last week. The vote slipped
through in the House while public attention was focused
on the problem the Senate had with the immigration
bill. For the record, the total vote in favor of the increase
was 244 - 181, with Democrats voting for the increase
145- 83, while Republicans split on the vote, 99 - 98. After
reviewing their failures to do much by way of legislation,
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi conceded, "I’m not
happy with Congress." Apparently her unhappiness was
not enough to preclude a reward of $4,400. What is that
old French saying: "Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme
chose." (Translation: The more things change, the more
they are the same.)
At risk of bringing up an overworked subject, here
is a revaluation of Paris Hilton’s recent court assigned
punishment for her traffic violation, or whatever: the Los
Angeles Times has done a survey of jail sentences for the
same offense – driving with a suspended license after
being arrested for drunk driving. The majority served 4
days in jail, exactly what Paris did before being returned
to finish her full 23 day term. That imprisonment left
her with serving more time than 80% of the people
arrested for the same offense. Just a statement of fact;
apply whatever meaning to it you choose.
And he’s still in the U.S. Senate – and not only that,
he continues to seek the Democrat Presidential nomination.
He’s Joe Biden, Democrat Senator from Delaware, who
during a campaign speech in Des Moines on July 4 –
Independence Day – he said of President Bush: "This guy
is brain dead." On a day when we Americans show
respect for our nation and our armed forces, speaking so
scurrilously about our Commander in Chief comes awfully
close to offering aid and comfort to our enemies in time of
war. In the early days of this nation, that sort of thing used
to be called treason.
It seems to hinge on what you mean by "religion."
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court made its erroneous
interpretation of the First Amendment, "religion" has
been banned in our public schools. No mention of God,
no Bible, no Christmas carols, no Easter observance, etc.
But the Carver Elementary School in the Oak Park suburb
of San Diego, has been allowing Muslim students a 15
minute period every afternoon for them to pray, and a
school aide has reportedly led the students in prayer.
Such a thing is absolutely forbidden by the ACLU with
respect to the Christian faith, but apparently it is OK
in public schools for Muslims.
After 110 years - well worth remembering: in
1897 Rudyard Kipling, British-born world traveler,
author, poet, and scholar, wrote probably his most
famous poem: "Recessional." Although originally
focused on the world situation at the time, it is as
timeless and as applicable today as it was more than
a century ago. It deserves to be read again. . . slowly
and thoughtfully . . .
God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!
Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!
A memorable thought for today. "With
malice toward none, with charity for all, with
firmness in the right as God gives us to see the
right, let us strive on to finish the work we are
in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for
him who shall have borne the battle, and for
his widow and his orphan, to do all which may
achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace
among ourselves and with all nations."
–Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural Address,
March 4, 1865
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WHAT IS IT WE ARE CELEBRATING TODAY --
INDEPENDENCE OR THE DECLARATION
OF INDEPENDENCE, OR BOTH?
The EPOCH Commentary
Evangelical Perspectives On Current Happenings
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Vol. 9, No. 1 July 4, 2007 © 2007, Evangelical Viewpoint
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WHAT IS IT WE ARE CELEBRATING TODAY --
INDEPENDENCE OR THE DECLARATION
OF INDEPENDENCE, OR BOTH?
It’s an old holiday, the "4th," as old as this nation, dating
from the year 1776. John Adams, the second president of
the United States expressed his feelings about the event,
in a letter dated July 3, 1776, "I am apt to believe that it
will be celebrated by succeeding Generations, as the
great anniversary festival ...It ought to be solemnized
with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports,
Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one end of
this Continent to the other, from this time forward,
John Adams was right about a nationwide observance, but
he was referring to the date of July 2 rather than July 4. It
was on July 2, 1776 that the Continental Congress finalized
the decision to sever the colonies’ ties with Great Britain,
thus establishing the independence of this new nation. It
was on July 4, 1776 that the Declaration of Independence
was signed as the formal documentation of the decision of
The first July 4 celebration was in Philadelphia a
year later, in 1777. In 1791 the July 4 observance was officially
named "Independence Day," and in 1870 the Congress made
July 4 a national holiday called Independence Day. Today as
it has in every year since 1777, John Adams’ prediction has
come true, pretty much as he envisioned it.
So, in the terminology of the heading above, we are on this
"Independence Day, 2007" celebrating "both" – our nation’s
Independence from Great Britain, and the formal statement
of that change of affiliation which is America’s first national
historical document: the Declaration of Independence.
This document, often referred to as our "most cherished
national treasure," was drafted by Thomas Jefferson, with the
enthusiastic support of John Adams who was responsible for some
of the emphases of the finished document. The final version of the
manuscript was presented to the Continental Congress on July 4,
and with only New York temporarily abstaining, the other 12
colonies agreed, and that very evening John Hancock, the
President of the Congress, signed it in a flamboyant manner,
saying of the British reward offered for his capture, "The British
ministry can read that name without spectacles; let them double
There were 56 signers of the Declaration. In affixing their
names to the document, they did so with this affirmation, "And
for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of Divine Providence , we mutually pledge to each
other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." The
strong influence of the Christian faith upon the instrument of
separation from Great Britain was evident from the opening
portion of the Declaration, which referred to"the Laws of Nature
and of Nature’s God," and in the very familiar phrase, "We hold
these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
The signers were recognized as being intelligent, religious, and
well experienced in dealing with the governmental aspects of the
colonies. In addition to four of the signers being clergymen, other
professions among the group included lawyers, doctors, educators
and merchants. It has been noted that for the most part, the signers
were active church-goers,and some served as lay leaders. Their church
affiliations are interesting;reports vary, but here is a fairly accurate summary:
Episcopal/Anglican: 26 or 46.4%;
Congregationalist: 13 or 23.2%;
Presbyterian: 12 or 21.4%;
Quaker: 2 or 3.6%;
2 or 3.6%;
Catholic: 1 or 1.8%
By contrast, today’s largest Protestant denomination - Baptist -
is not represented among the signers, and the largest representation
was (as would be expected) from the Episcopal/Anglican communion.
Here in America today that group is relatively small, and is currently
split over homosexual positions contrary to the Word of God. The
smallest representation was for the Catholic church, which is the
largest church denomination in America today.
On this 230th anniversary observance of the 4th of July –
Independence Day – we here in America have so much for which to
be grateful. Those acknowledgments that all men are created equal,
and are endowed by God, their Creator with the unalienable rights
of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, have been basic to this
nation from those earliest days. Despite changes to those found -
ational principles in the name of of "progress," America has
persevered and remained the strong and independent world leader
among all nations. That statement, defining our independence, was
written just over 150 years after the pioneers settlers wrote the
Mayflower Compact as they arrived in New England to accomplish
what they saw as God’s will to bring the Christian gospel to this new
land. In that century and a half those original intents and purposes
had been strengthened and with confidence in God’s continued leading,
these men in the year 1776were prepared to embark upon a further
voyage toward freedom and liberty.
Now 230 years later we are confronted by equally
daunting challenges, but it seems that as many are from
within as from without.
So desirable is America as a place to live that between 12 and 20
million immigrants now live here illegally, and are exacting a heavy
toll on our taxpayer-paid benefits, and the cost of their criminal
activities. Yet our Congress is unwilling to take any action to shut
off this influx of illegal aliens, and secure our borders, even as the
federal administration fails to act according to laws which are in
force. The American people want this situation stopped, but their
voices are ignored. Similarly, the American people do not want
the institutions of marriage and the family discarded in favor of
homosexual unions, yet our courts and our state legislatures are
failing the nation in this regard. It is difficult to conceive of what
those men who signed the Declaration of Independence would
have thought of 50 million babies killed in just a few years of
Our school system which was established under historic Judeo/
Christian principles, has banned all mention of God and the Bible
and prayer, with the predictable result that a pagan nation lies
just ahead as today’s young people move into positions of leader -
ship with no knowledge or respect for their Creator and Lord.
Already we are faced with the fact that more people vote in an
amateur talent contest called "American Idol" than vote in our
As we watch the parades and fireworks displays, as we enjoy
the picnics and the band concerts, and as we lay floral remem -
brances on the graves of our military who have given their lives
to preserve and protect this nation, let us pause and resolve to
take back America for God . . . let us fulfill the heritage granted
to us by those men who pledged their lives and their sacred
honor to establish this nation’s independence.
Afterthoughts . . .
We (American Christians) aren’t completely silent; when it
was necessary to speak up and tell our Senators how we, the American
people, feel about the sorry immigration/amnesty bill, we got results.
Of course, our results were so definite that "Majority Leader" Harry
Reid gave up and has now decided to allow the status quo to prevail
until 2009, and watch hundreds of thousands more illegal aliens
slip through our porous borders and further deplete our taxpayer paid
benefits – welfare, education, heath care, legal violations, etc. If there
were some astute leadership in Washington, existing immigration laws
could be enforced, a border fence could be built (as provided by law),
and the tide of illegals slowed to a trickle. But instead, a new meaning
of the descriptive term, a "Do nothing Congress" has been created.
History (of a sort) is about to be made. It has been announced that
on July 12 the U.S. Senate will be opened with a Hindu prayer. Rajan Zed,
a Hindu from Nevada (Harry Reid’s home state) has called this event "an
illustrious day for all Americans." Reviewing the Christian religious
affiliations of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the founders
of America, "illustrious" hardly seems an appropriate term for this event.
The world-wide conflicts are seen in an anti-Christian context.
We are all aware that the elite media – most of the US press and most
of the US broadcast facilities -- see religion, more specifically Christianity,
as being at the heart of the conflicts raging around the world. From the
"vast right wing conspiracy" created by Hillary Clinton when her husband,
the President of the United States, was involved in perverted sexual acts
with a young female employee, to the more recent attack by Democrat
Presidential candidate Barack Obama who charged, "Faith got highjacked
because of the so-called leaders of the Christian right ..." it is clear that
Christian attitudes and beliefs are being blamed for much of the problems
of the world. The international scholar, and best-selling author, Mike Evans,
in his latest book "The Final Move Beyond Iraq" describes the tremendous
threat America is facing from the Islamofascists, but among his critics, "RDS"
offers this familiar attack, describing Evans’ relying on Biblical prophecy as
"classic Bible-thumping stupid – these are the people who do not read
anything other than the Bible ..." But face it . . . that’s the way it is. We’re
not understood. We are, in words from the Bible, "a peculiar people."
Small problems, left unsolved, grow into large ones. It seems like
almost every product we purchase today bears those three familiar words:
"Made in China." In recent months we have experienced a poisoning of
domestic pets through pet foods containing ingredients imported from
China. With that specific problem solved – or assumed so – concern has
now shifted to foods for human consumption which are similarly adulterated
by ingredients originating in Chinese factories and processing plants.
Expressions of concern by American officials have produced assurances
of closer control by Chinese authorities – a most difficult task given the rural
nature of so many of the food processing facilities in that vast country. In
2000 under the Clinton administration, the Permanent Normal Trade
Relations act (PNTR) went into effect with assurances of increased exports
of American food products to China. Actually those exports have declined,
while Chinese food exports to America have increased to $2.1 billion, which
represents 13% of food consumed by Americans. Today only 1.3% of
Chinese food imports are examined by American authorities, which leaves
98.7% of those imports unexamined. According to "Time to Stand Up for
America" (June 2007), "We can’t count the cost merely in dollars and in
bushels. China simply doesn’t have health, sanitary or safety standards
that Americans expect for our food supply." Hello Congress - could it be
time to reconsider PNTR?
Quote for this day and every day: "Liberty is to the collective body,
what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can
be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society."
– Thomas Jefferson
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