Wednesday, January 4, 2012 -- the first issue of our 10th year of publication
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A thought as we begin this new year - and for the new years yet to come:
"If this is to be a Happy New Year, a year of usefulness, a year in
which we shall live to make this earth better, it is because
God will direct our pathway. How important then,
to feel our dependence upon Him!"
19th Century American Episcopal Bishop
Close, personal and trusted friend of President Lincoln
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AS WE ENTER INTO A NEW YEAR, SOME THOUGHTS ON WHAT
IT MEANS FOR US, AS CHRISTIANS AND AS AMERICANS,
AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR OUR WORLD
To begin talking about or commenting on a new year, one has to pause and look
back on the old year . . . and on Dec. 31, the opening line on the front page of the
San Diego Union Tribune, our local newspaper, summarized 2011 in these words:
"It was a year of triumph and continued malaise. A year of disaster,
misconduct and celebration." Brief and to the point; we couldn't say it better.
But now here we are, already half a week into 2012. It is the one time in each year
when we look back at the year just past, and reflect on our failures and successes,
but more importantly, look forward to the opportunities and challenges which the
new year will offer. This two-directional look doubtless comes from the concept of
the ancient Roman god, Janus, who is portrayed as two-faced, looking both to the
past and to the future. More and more we have become accustomed to dismissing
the past as dead and buried, and directing our attention to the future.
From a Christian standpoint, the Bible has little to say about facing a new year.
Probably one of the best and most applicable portions of Scripture is Psalm 31:15,
"Thou art my God; my times are in thy hand."
The image of a "clean slate" upon which to write the happenings of the new year has
become almost a rule. Wayne Dyer, a self-help advocate put it this way: "A New
Year brings with it a clean, unwritten slate, ready to be written on." Or Debra
Bruce, a legal profession development coach, says, "It's a clean slate, unwritten
upon. Don't drag your old baggage into the new year." But probably the most
quoted is the English born poet, Edith Lovejoy Pierce: "We will open the book. Its
pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is
called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."
And along with all those prospects come the traditional "New Year's Resolutions" --
quit smoking ... quit drinking ... lose weight .. learn to control my temper ... read a
new book every month ... read through the Bible this year ... etc.
But for 2012, more important resolutions are needed. In last week's issue we
spoke of 2012 as "The most important year in American history." The quote
from our local paper, as cited above, summarizes our present national condition;
morally, economically, politically, diplomatically or by any other standard, we are
in a colossal mess. Never before in our nation's history of more than two centuries
have we begun a new year in worse shape than we find ourselves today. It has
become a widely accepted conclusion that in the upcoming election, Nov. 6, if we
are going to restore America to the nation our Founding Fathers intended it to be,
we are going to have to replace Barack Hussein Obama as president. Here at
ANC we are solidly pro-Christian, pro-American and pro-Conservative. Given
his record of 3 years as president, we have to conclude that Mr. Obama fails to
meet any of those standards. We have not -- nor will we -- endorse a particular
candidate to oppose the president, but we have, and will continue to stress the
importance of prayer for God's guidance on Election Day, 2012. That is what we
see as the most important responsibility before us as American Christians.
And that brings us to our "Prayer Count-down" to Election Day, 2012.
As of today, there are 307 days till Election Day ... 307 days to pray for our
nation, for wisdom to be given to our leaders, and for Go's direction as we go
to the polling places and vote to restore our country to being the nation our
Founding Fathers intended it to be. And let us not fail to pray for our fellow
believers all over the world as they face persecution because of their faith ...
and we must never forget Israel, and the new threat of the Muslim Brotherhood
which is gradually taking control of Egypt. This week their Deputy Leader, Rashaf
Bayoumi said: "Whatever the circumstances, we do not recognize Israel at all.
It's [Israel] an occupying criminal enemy.”
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has recently released a report
on the size and distribution of the world's Christian population. The report provides
some interesting, and perhaps surprising, facts about Christianity, worldwide. In
1910, 66.3% of the world's Christians lived in Europe. In 2010, that number had
dropped to 25.9%. But the surprising fact is that in Sub-Saharan Africa and the
Asia-Pacific regions, the 5.9% of the world's Christians in 1910 has grown to
36.7% in 2010. For example, 5 of the 10 largest churches in the world are in
South Korea. It is estimated that worldwide, 76,000 persons become Christians
every day, but only 6,000 of them are in Europe and North America, combined.
By contrast, Brazil has twice as many Roman Catholics as Italy, while Nigeria has
twice as many Protestants as Germany. But despite the geographic shifts in the
world's Christian population, Christianity remains the dominant world religion,
with 2.2 billion followers. Islam is the world's second largest religion, with 1.6
billion followers. And that is where we begin a new year of fulfilling the charge of
Jesus Christ that we are to be both light and salt in this world.
For President Barack Obama, 2011 began with a bang, and with a bold
pronouncement that his green dream for America would bring forth an explosion
in jobs, and a new economy fueled by alternative energy.... Unfortunately, what
the President predicted is much different than what the rest of the country has
experienced in the ensuing year. The jobs that the President promised didn't
materialize, and his green energy investments are careening into the ground...
That news was affirmed in the Washington Post during the holidays by a story
in which The Post reported that politics, has been largely behind the president's
green jobs program: "Meant to create jobs and cut reliance on foreign oil,
Obama's green-technology program was infused with politics at every level...
Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors,
Energy Department bureaucrats and White House officials."
And how has this development -- with others -- figured in the public's perception
of Mr. Obama's performance? The Rasmussen Report's "Daily Presidential
Approval Index" provides a day-to-day updating on that perception. On Jan. 22,
2009 -- the day after his inauguration, Mr. Obama's approval index score was
+30. Within weeks it began to decline, and in June, 2009 it dropped into negative
range and has never since achieved a positive rating. Since Feb., 2011 that rating
has never moved out of a double digit negative range, and closed the year 2011
at -17. On an overall basis, at year end, Dec. 31, the public's approval of his
performance stood at 46%, with 52% registering disapproval. And that is where
he starts 2012 -- the year in which he will be campaigning for re-election.
In our usual selection of "What Others Are Saying" we found thoughtful
views on current events which you will not find in the Main Stream Media
Ben Crystal (writing in Personal Living Digest ): "What a gaffe machine
Biden has turned out to be... Biden appears incapable of leaving his office
without tripping over his own tongue... However, none of his previous
rhetorical missteps could have prepared us for last week’s gallop to
goofy-town. Speaking to the liberal glossy Newsweek, Biden blurted out this
blooper: 'Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical…There
is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our
policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy.'"
Robert Ringer: "Many argue that having the lives of thousands of young
adults destroyed - or lost - is the price of preserving our freedom... But in
today's corrupt, semi-socialist America, the biggest threat to our freedom
comes not from abroad, but from the criminal class in Washington - and,
unfortunately, no one is talking about invading the nation's capital."
Jack Marshall (writing in Ethics Alarms): "How can journalists decry
the influence of Super-PACs and big money in elections when the news
media, the most powerful communications factor of all (because it has--still
--the remains of a reputation for being objective, fair and accurate) is
consistently biased? Not only is that a bigger problem, it is one journalists
themselves have the power to fix...if they wanted to, if they cared."
Barry Rubin (writing in The Lid): "It has often been remarked that Obama
is a narcissist, but what we see here is even worse, a man so closed and
arrogant that he cannot take criticism into account. Any democratic
leader needs to heed criticism and adjust policies based on experience,
the weaknesses pointed out by others, and changing conditions. Obama
is incapable of doing so."
Jim Denison (writing in The Denison Forum): "As a result of the Arab
Spring, Islamic political parties are gaining strength across the region. The
Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party led all groups in Egypt's
elections... The future of democracy in Egypt is uncertain. Meanwhile, no
one seems to know who's running Libya, or on whose behalf. And in Iraq,
with U.S. troops gone, the nation could descend into a Sunni-Shia civil war,
as recent attacks demonstrate... How will Christians fare in this new era?...
In the first 19 centuries of Christian history, 25 million believers died for
their faith. In the 20th century, 45 million Christians were killed for
following Jesus. Some 300 million Christians around the world are either
threatened with violence or legally discriminated against because of their
faith. Radical Muslims are convinced that the Qur'an requires such attacks
Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI): "The election is a referendum on the American
idea, not on Barack Obama and his handling of the economy. It is, 'Do you
want to reclaim the founding principles that made us exceptional and
great? Or do you want the cradle-to-grave welfare state?... It's really a
choice of two futures...This is the most important election in our lifetime,
no matter what generation you come from."
Mat Staver (Liberty Counsel): "All across our nation there have been
waves of intolerance directed at Christians because of their faith...Is this
really America? This is a world unimaginable to our Founders. The very
words they wrote to protect us from religious persecution are being twisted
into condemnation against our religious expression."
John Ransom (finance editor, Townhall Finance): "Do you feel much
safer now that the US doesn’t have 250,000 troops stationed in Iraq, just
a few hours from the Iranian and Syrian border? You shouldn’t. And if you
thought war was expensive, wait until you’re asked to foot the bill for the
Brian Darling (at The Heritage Foundation): on Obama's request for an extra
$1.2 trillion spending allowance --"Washington can't control spending. When we
have $15.1 trillion in national debt that we've racked up over the years, it's
pretty clear that the president's intending on spending us into the poor house."
Ryan Mauro (National Security Analyst): "The year ahead seems to have
greater risks than others in the past few years, and certain areas are so
volatile they could erupt and eclipse all worries about the economy...Voters
must remember that national security can claim the top spot in one instant."
And, not unexpectedly, we came across a few interesting "One Liners" . . .
"Barack Obama brings added definition to the word disaster, as his presidency
has overseen more people trapped below the poverty line than ever in modern
history." -- Jason Mattera, in Daily Events
"I'm amazed at the stubborn persistence of the chroniclers of Barack Obama's
presidency, who blindly state: "See no scandal, hear no scandal, speak no
scandal." -- Michelle Malkin, in One News Now
"Obama is politically desperate and historically illiterate." -- Ben Johnson,
writing in The White House Watch
And for a touch of humor; from John Ransom's predictions for 2012: "Obama
and the GOP nominee for president will hold an historic first-ever summit to
craft a compromise on healthcare reform. It will be the first time a sitting
African American, Left-Handed president and a standing Right-Handed
Mormon GOP presidential nominee will meet face-to-face at halftime in the
bathroom of an NCAA basketball tournament game ... both candidates will
agree to refer to healthcare reform as Obamneycare- or alternately, at their
option, Robamneycare- from now on."
And to wrap up this New Year Commentary, just a few "Afterthoughts."
First: be prepared for some new laws. David Martosko, Executive Editor of
The Daily Call, reminds us that as we begin 2012, there are some 40,000 new
laws taking effect this year . . . which works out to one new law every 13 minutes.
And he quotes Tacitus, a first century Roman historian and Senator, as writing:
“Corruptisima republica plurimae leges.” (The more corrupt the state, the
more plentiful its laws.) Amazing foresight, 2,000 years into the future!
A few "Imponderables" from our research this week: First, from Rasmussen
Reports: "Most voters don't believe government spending will go down if
Republicans control both the White House and Congress, and they're sure
spending will go up if Democrats are in charge of both branches of
government." And there is always this oft repeated one: "All Muslims may not
be terrorists, but every terrorist attack on America has been by Muslims."
And a puzzling one: whatever happened to the "Governator," Arnold Swarzenegger.
One moment he is constantly in the news . . . then it is disclosed he fathered a child
with their housekeeper . . . he and his wife, Maria Shriver, divorced, and since then:
nothing. And there is one more "Whatever happened to ..." with respect to the
Obamas and the $4 million vacation in Hawaii we gave them. We never heard
from them. Seems like they could have at least sent the traditional vacation post
card message: "Having a great time ... wish you were here."
Be ready for some more "End of the world" predictions. Remember last
year, when Harold Camping went all out in support of his perceived day for
Christ's return, May 21, 2011? Well, now Tom Horn, supposedly a Bible
believing Christian, has authored a book in which he goes back to an ancient
Mayan calendar, and brings in also prognostications from Jewish mystics, as well
as the ancient Hindus, Cherokee Indians, Aztecs and even the Chinese book of
I-Ching -- all of which find the world ceasing to exist as of Dec. 21, 2012 -- but
not just ending, rather stopping and starting over. We shall doubtless learn more
about that December date -- 4 or 5 other recent books hold similar viewpoints.
And in Afghanistan, where we have invested so much, in money, materiel and
lives of our military, the Afghan government has signed its first oil deal -- but with
China. Just last week the China National Petroleum Corp. won the first oil deal in
Afghanistan earlier this week, signing a contract with the Afghan government to
develop an oil field in the northern part of the country. Maybe he shouldn't have
gone on that golfing vacation in Hawaii.
And finally, in Gallup's "Most Admired" survey, when asked which man
living in the world today they admire most, 32 % of Americans surveyed this month
could not name anyone, thus falling into a category that Gallup describes as "None/
No opinion." President Obama came in second to "None/No opinion" with 17 %
of respondents saying he was their choice for their most admired man. Similarly,
29 % of Americans did not name anyone when asked their choice for their most
admired woman. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came in second to "None/No
opinion" with 17 % saying she was their most admired woman.
We can always learn something from the words of our Founding Fathers,
and it is well worth the time it takes to read them; here are a few . . .
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759
"The pyramid of government-and a republican government may well receive
that beautiful and solid form-should be raised to a dignified altitude: but its
foundations must, of consequence, be broad, and strong, and deep. The
authority, the interests, and the affections of the people at large are the only
foundation, on which a superstructure proposed to be at once durable and
magnificent, can be rationally erected." --James Wilson, 1804
"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first
and only legitimate object of good government." --Thomas Jefferson, 1809
And that is the first issue of our 10th year of publication. As we indicated
last week, we hoped and planned to complete this issue. And as we also indicated
last week, our future publication is up to you. We need your help if we are to
continue. Please click HERE to open the "Support" page, and send your donation,
by credit card or by mailing a check. We haven't asked for large gifts, but have
suggested a modest amount of $12. Thanks, in advance, for what you are going to do.