WHICH ONES ARE OF MAJOR IMPORTANCE?
between the moral and civic responsibilities which we face as Americans
and as Christians. We often cite statements by our Founding Fathers
as to what they referred to as "national virtue," and the importance
they attached to it in the life of this new nation they had created.
Their Declaration of Independence set new standards for national
governments -- that they should derive their powers "from the
consent of the governed." They established new concepts of civil
rights as being "unalienable," and as being "endowed by their Creator."
The Constitution for their new nation established rules for that new
government, and guaranteed certain "rights" for the "citizens" (no longer
called "subjects") of that new nation. All of the men who signed those
two basic documents were affiliated with a church denomination of the
Christian faith. It may be debatable as to whether they intended for
this new nation to be a "Christian nation," but there is no question that
they intended for the government of this new nation to function under
the Judeo-Christian principles upon which it was founded. And that is
the balance we attempt to maintain -- the enduring preservation of all
of the rights -- civil and moral or religious -- which are based upon
those founding principles.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
IN REVIEWING THE NEWS EVENTS OF THE
THEREFORE MERIT FULL DISCUSSION
But it was an easy decision in our first screening of current events to
eliminate Le Bron James' choice to sign with the Miami Heat instead
of staying with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and also to eliminate Lindsay
Lohan's sentence of 90 days (or some portion thereof) in jail. No,
we will not be discussing those events, although they have received
extensive coverage in the elite main-line media for the past few days.
The two most important current happenings we have selected have
not been getting much attention in that well known main-line media,
but they each have the potential to affect the rights guaranteed to us
under the First Amendment to our Constitution -- a document we
take far more seriously than our present federal administration in its
three divisions: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
The first one has recently been discussed in some depth by Chuck
Colson, for whom we have tremendous respect, in his "Breakpoint"
internet column. In his comments on this subject, he speaks of it as
being "the greatest threat to religious freedom in my lifetime."
That may be an accurate assessment.
Although Mr. Colson first discussed this matter in July, prompted
by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech in the Ukraine on
July 3 when she spoke of the "freedom to worship," actually that
reference was just one more in an ever increasing use of the term
by the Obama administration. From just a hasty research, it
appears that Mr. Obama first used "freedom of worship" in place
of the usual "freedom of religion" when he was speaking about the
murder of Americans by a Muslim officer at Fort Hood, Texas in
November, 2009. Since then, "freedom of worship" has become
by far the standard terminology (probably earning the distinction
of being "politically correct") for the Obama administration.
And here is the serious aspect of what is far more than just the
adoption of new "politically correct" terminology. There is a lot
of difference between "freedom of religion" and "freedom of
worship." Any government - American or foreign - can allow,
control or put up with "freedom of worship," because it embodies
the right to pray, to sing, to discuss your religious thoughts in
private, or within your own home. "Freedom of religion," however,
goes far beyond private worship, and includes assembling, buildings,
public displays, the right to protest or advocate in favor of issues,
and the right to encourage others to unite with you. But "freedom
of worship" appears to be very much part of the Obama agenda
for this country.
Knox Thames, Director of the U.S. Commission on International
Religious Freedom (USCIRF), commented: "Starting during the
President's trip to Asia, he referred to 'freedom of worship' on
several occasions, but never once mentioned 'freedom of religion.'
This trend has continued with Secretary Clinton. In her speech
at Georgetown University and her more recent Internet freedom
speech ... she only referred to 'freedom of worship.'"
Similarly, Nina Shea, Director of the Center for Religious Freedom
(CRF), believes "freedom of worship" is limited to private beliefs
and prayer, but does not involve any public activity; "It excludes
the right to raise your children in your faith, the right to have
religious literature, the right to meet with co-religionists, the
right to raise funds, the right to elect or appoint your religious
leaders, and to carry out charitable activities, to evangelize,
and to have religious education."
Finally, World Magazine concluded: "This is a development to
To "watch warily" is one option open to us, but there is another
option which we absolutely should observe: the privilege (or "right")
to vote on Election Day, Nov 2 . . . now just 111 days away --
when President Obama will not be up for re-election (that will not
happen until 2012), but we will be able to vote on every member
of the House of Representatives, and about one third of the Senate.
Remember: we have it in our power to reshape the
government of the United States for the better!
The other current event for which we have serious concern is
another effort to establish a "one world religion," as an aspect of
the current trends toward establishing a "one world government."
It doesn't take much of a stretch of memory to recall that in
October, 2007, some Islamic scholars addressed a lengthy treatise
to American and international religious leaders titled "A Common
Word Between Us and You." It attempted to develop similarities
between Islam and other of the world's religions, primarily
Christianity. The major response to it was made in mid-November,
2007, by Yale University Divinity School leaders, and made public
in a full page ad in the New York Times, signed by at least 300
representatives of various religions, under the title, "Loving God
and Neighbor Together." Both documents can be realistically said
to be "posturing" -- attempts by both the Islamics and the other
religionists to establish some sort of common ground between them.
Nothing significant has of yet developed over this exchange, now
nearly three years old. This can be said, that some -- only a few --
of the nominal "Evangelicals" who signed the response document
later withdrew their names.
Now a new effort, similar in nature, but obviously more cleverly
planned, was announced a few days ago by former British Prime
Minister, Tony Blair, who has fairly recently converted to Roman
Catholicism. Now no longer particularly popular in his home country,
his activities have recently shifted to America where there seems to
be more interest in religious issues of this sort, and where he seems
to enjoy much greater popular acclaim. He has just announced that
he is preparing to launch a "faith offensive" here in America, under
the auspices of the "Tony Blair Foundation," which is said to have
been the recipient of tens of millions of dollars in gifts from interested
supporters. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, long one of Blair's
friends, was the speaker at the opening of the press conference
where Blair announced his new project. Clinton said that Blair's
faith was "deep" and "genuine." (There are some of us who would
question Mr. Clinton's qualification to judge an individual's faith.)
Among the members of Tony Blair's Advisory Council are Rick
Warren, a mega-church pastor in Southern California (you may
remember -- he pronounced the invocation at Obama's inaugural
ceremony), and was one of the enthusiastic signers of the Yale
response to the Islamic appeal; Ismail Khudr Al Shatti, an advisor
to the Prime Minister of Kuwait; Catholic Cardinal Cormac Murphy
O'Connor of England, and David Coffey, President of the Baptist
World Alliance. Yale University Divinity School is a partner in the
project, and Blair will be teaching there next year -- his subject
being faith and globalization.
Like the first subject we discussed above, this one is also a
development to "watch warily." It has a goal which would attack
and destroy the uniqueness of the Christian faith, and toward
achieving that goal it has the support of prominent personalities,
and adequate funds to advance its efforts. Taken to its successful
conclusion, it would return to America the oppression of a state
church which our Founding Fathers sought to escape -- but even
worse: one without the Christian faith as its basis.
A few examples of "What Others Are Saying"
economy is still in the gravitational pull of the Great Recession.
All the booster rockets for getting us beyond it are failing.
Home sales are down. Retail sales are down. Factory orders
in May suffered their biggest tumble since March of last year.
So what are we doing about it? Less than nothing."
with a large streak of narcissism. But the others had equally
expansive feelings about their country. Obama's modesty
about America would be more understandable if he treated
himself with the same reserve. What is odd is to have a
president so convinced of his own magnificence -- yet not
of his own country's."
concerning Obama involves his intense 'secrecy' -- hidden -
locked up - sealed historical documents and records. Who
is this guy? What does he really believe? What are his
school and college written opinions? Where was he really
born -- if he is an American citizen, why not prove it and
be proud about it as is the case with every USA citizen?"
behavior over the past year, and particularly the last month,
borders on the bizarre. The candidate who promised to bring
people together and move beyond polarization has morphed
into a divisive and defensive president. His sinking approval
numbers underscore the growing public disappointment in the
gap between his campaign rhetoric and his governing style."
sophisticated, intelligent New Yorkers have turned into such
saps. It's not Frank Sinatra's New York anymore. It appears
to be populated by girlie-men and women, more concerned
with political correctness than the potential for having a
thirteen storey terrorist support facility at the heart of the
city, where adherents to a medieval cult slaughtered three
thousand on American soil."
Thomas Sowell: "If you could spend vast amounts of other
people's money just by saying a few magic words, wouldn't
you be tempted to do it? Barack Obama has spent hundreds
of billions of dollars of the taxpayers' money just by using
the magic words: 'stimulus' and 'jobs.'"
war is excusable. Ending one is not." -- Steve Chapman
A new term: "Barackracy." -- From a Blog, no source
Obama's new campaign slogan: "Yes we did." -- From a Blog,
"Maybe we are better off when he is playing golf. When he
is in the White House he gets us in more trouble."
-- From a Blog, no source
And now a few Random Afterthoughts . . .
Wouldn't you think they would learn by observing? The
Presbyterian Church (USA) just concluded this year's General
Assembly in Minneapolis and although the denomination is down
to a total membership of something around 2 million after
experiencing massive membership losses in recent years, the
delegates have adopted some of the same failed positions their
fellow main line denominations have adopted with respect to
homosexual clergy. The Presbyterians lifted the existing ban on
partnered homosexual clergy, but deferred approval of an effort
to broaden the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
And by a narrow margin (373-323) removed any mention of
sexuality from ordination requirements. Now the individual
presbyteries must approve (or disapprove) the decision to allow
homosexuals to serve as Elders, Deacons and Pastors.
It's difficult to manage his appointees' media contacts. At
least that is what President Obama is finding out. There are the
familiar and ongoing verbal slip-ups (the "foot in mouth disease")
by Vice President Biden. Then there was his own choice as the
top General in Afghanistan, Stan McChrystal, sharing the way
things are with Rolling Stone magazine. And now his NASA
Administrator, Charles Bolden, has spoken freely about his
assignment in a TV interview with Al Jazeera, the Arabic
international news agency: "When I became the NASA
Administrator, he charged me with three things. One was he
wanted me to re-inspire children ... he wanted me to expand
our international relationship, and third, and perhaps
foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the
Muslim world and engage more with dominant Muslim
nations ..." The White House is reacting unfavorably to those
remarks . . . Mr. Bolden may be receiving an invitation to a
meeting with Mr. Obama. If so, he might look to Stan McChrystal
for guidance. He's been there.
A word of advice about the forwarded emails you receive.
Here at ANC each week we receive on average, about 2 or 3
"sensational disclosures" in emails forwarded by friends. In every
instance where we have the slightest suspicion that there is
something wrong with the message, we do research on it. Not
every one proves to be false, but the majority certainly do. We
offer this brief word of advice: when you receive a forwarded
message that seems even the least bit off-key, check it out before
you forward it to others.
The Gulf oil disaster. We have not commented very much on
this ongoing disaster largely because the story seems to change on
a daily basis, and very frankly, one doesn't know whom to believe.
But there is this side story about one aspect of the matter which
merits attention -- as an example of how the Obama White House
deals with difficult issues. You will remember that the Department
of the Interior first issued a broad drilling ban in May. It was
challenged by several oil companies, and the ban was struck down
in June by a U.S. District Judge. On appeal, a Federal Appeals
Court upheld the District Judge's decision in striking down Obama's
ban. Then, rather than challenging the appeals process as
constitutionally called for, the president ordered the Secretary of the
Interior to re-impose the ban, but using slightly different language as
a way of getting around the court's decision.
We never cease to respect our Founding Fathers' wisdom.
"All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers around the
external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in
it, beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its power of
promoting human felicity." -- George Washington, 1790
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