Church and State

I find it strange that a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 would lead to the establishment clause, or the Separation of Church and State.  It was not an official document, it was a letter.  Much like the poem on the Statue of Liberty, somehow this became secular dogma.

Jefferson believed that our nation, unlike almost every other nation on earth, should not have an official church.  His intention was to assure the Baptists that as the Constitution states, they have freedom OF religion.  The government should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

To state that somehow Jefferson believed that faith was to be divorced from the person, or that public appeals to God were to be banished, is a gross misrepresentation.  He used an appeal to our common faith in the Declaration of Independence, a document which, unlike his letter, is a foundational document agreed upon by the Continental Congress.

The battle over the concept of Freedom OF Religion vs. Freedom FROM Religion rages today.  Does faith hold a place in public life?  If faith is real, it is part of who they are on every level.

A person can separate their civic duties from their religious convictions.  Any assumption otherwise, especially as people of faith and various denominations have demonstrated their civic convictions and abilities, reflects a tremendous bigotry.

It is these same bigots that scream the loudest about the separation of Church and State, who fight to remove God and faith from all public display.  They are the same who applaud loudest when Obama moved to directly attack the faith of Roman Catholics with the weight of Federal mandate.  The hypocrisy is glaringly clear.

Rick Santorum or any political figure can’t speak to his fellow believers on matters of a common faith without raising a red flag.  He can’t hold personal religious convictions without having his faith ridiculed and being declared unfit, not because of his political stances, but because of his faith.

However, Obama can sit in a church with a black Father Flannery and misquote Jesus’ teachings on gifts to make a case for taxes, and there is no issue.  He can directly attack fundamental beliefs of the largest religious denomination in the world, clearly violating the First Amendment and the separation of Church and State.

Hypocrisy!

Our government bends over backward to apologize to Muslims, the same who are now killing our soldiers, but attacking the faith of most Americans is a non-issue.  We can’t have the Ten Commandments displayed, or prayer in school, but we will consider Sharia Law, or allow Muslim prayer areas in public schools and universities.

Our media thinks twice before ridiculing Islam but regularly mocks Christianity.

83% of Americans identify themselves as Christian, but they are to have no rights and be pushed out of the public arena?  Their psychology is to be questioned or their loyalty to our nation doubted.

We are told we are in the post-Christian era, that we are not a Christian nation.

I wonder what letter Jefferson would say today.  I’m sure this was not his intent.

 

A Question of Time

I hold a great passion for history.  I have held a passion for history since I was a child.  It has never been about dry facts and dates, but the real experiences of people who lived before us.  I find it inspiring, and at times heartbreaking.  I’d rather sit down to a good history book than a novel.  I like to see how the pieces all link together, and imagine what I would have done in those times.  Our history is the roadmap of how we came to today.

I recognize that a lot of people don’t share that passion, and that history as a subject for American students is woefully lacking.  While I respect that it is not everyone’s passion, we do a tremendous disservice to our youth by neglecting such an important area.

There has always been the issue of history being dry facts and dates, but history is anything but.  If that is what the student has received it is because the teacher has failed to make it come alive.  The textbooks don’t help either.

I have five children, all still in school, and I was shocked when I went through their history books with them.  The presentation is disjointed and makes huge leaps while presenting an overly simplified version of American history.  It is overtly hostile to the American people and leaders, while whitewashing all others, except maybe universal bad guy Adolf Hitler.  It is more concerned with propaganda than history, which is never so black and white as they might say.

I do enjoy going over the history lessons with them, but if the little bit of history that is taught is unbalanced and hyper critical of the United States, where is the benefit?  If we to raise a generation to believe that their country is evil should we marvel if they fail to believe in it?  How are we to join as one nation united under certain ideals if none of that is taught?

The United States has done some great things, and yes, some evil things.  It is in the balanced presentation that we can correctly understand our past and move forward to make the corrections that will bring us closer to the ideals upon which our nation was founded.

As history has become politicized, the truth has largely become hidden under false emotion by those who are more concerned with their agenda than reality. To stand up in front of a classroom and condemn George Washington while wearing a Che t-shirt hardly reflects balance or academic responsibility.

The only motive in presenting our past as a cartoon loosely based on reality is to subvert any pride in America with the intention of removing it far from it’s foundation.  There are those who want that in America today.  These are the same people who denounce John Wayne movies and the like as American propaganda, but what is presented in those movies, biased as it is, is far more balanced than what is presented in classrooms across the United States.

To these people, American can have no heroes, because they are flawed people.  The reality is everyone no one is perfect, but that does not take away from their heroism, or the value of their ideals.

When U.S. college students don’t know our history, what hope do we have of preserving our nation?  What hope does the concepts of liberty and freedom have against the teacher in the Che shirt?  Will the sacrifices made for freedom hold any meaning to those who can identify Cesar Chavez, but not Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln?  To those students, the United States is nothing to be proud of.

If only they knew…

Catholic Crisis


I am angry.

The rightful defense of our First Amendment rights has been spun into a battle over birth control. It is not. I refuse to let the spin doctors redefine the issue.

The Roman Catholic Church is guaranteed freedom of religion. The government has no business ordering them or any church to give birth control or abortions. I don’t care if there are Catholics who ignore the church’s teachings. I don’t care if Pelosi appoints herself Pope. This is not only wrong, it is evil.

If a Catholic woman, employed by the church, wishes to receive birth control or even an abortion, there are plenty of avenues by which that can happen. Even if there were no avenues, it is a direct violation of our rights for the government to dictate that the Catholic Church throw out their beliefs to comply with a liberal agenda. Funny how they say Christians are out to cram their beliefs down everyone’s throats. They are the ones doing that.

They would never order a Muslim organization to serve bacon, even government supplied bacon, to whomever might want it. A huge number of Americans like bacon. Bacon is easy to get. Shouldn’t Muslims be allowed access to bacon? So because Muslims have the right to not serve bacon does it follow that somehow their resistance to bacon will result in bacon being outlawed?

Absolute stupidity!

Enter into this, courtesy of the DNC who clearly went to the Michael Moore school of propaganda, “The GOP is out to take away birth control!”.

Rick Santorum said he opposes birth control as a matter of faith, but has voted in support of birth control. The man can separate his personal convictions from his role as Senator or President, but because of his beliefs somehow birth control is supposed to be outlawed. Absolute rubbish! Is Jeremiah White making policy in the White House? Did we become a papal state under Kennedy? Will Romney surrender our nation to the LDS prophet?

As we have surrendered the Bible in favor of “The Prince”, it is no surprise we find ourselves in this Machiavellian nightmare. As Judeo-Christian ethics are pushed aside in favor of the new ethos we will move deeper and deeper into this crisis of tyranny. We traded steak for cardboard burgers, and ridicule the steak eaters. We have lost far more than we have gained.

Here we stand, with the First Amendment directly under attack. If the argument is redefined we lose. The Constitution is the protector of the people against tyranny. It is only as strong as our willingness to defend it. Given the ease with which the issues are redefined by sleight of hand I suspect that our willingness is lost. The blue pill is easier, but that doesn’t make it right.

Demand more! Expect more!

And as someone once said, “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.” (Thomas Jefferson)

Quoting the Founding Fathers

Some people quote the Founding Fathers as if they were quoting the Bible.  There were differences in viewpoint between the Founding Fathers, but you can get a sense of the intention they had in founding the Republic, and the values they desired our nation to show.  Some today believe those values outdated, while others wish to see them restored.

The value in any quote is that it speaks to you personally.  With that said, here are ten Founding Fathers quotes that speak to us today.

“When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” -Thomas Jefferson

“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.” -Ben Franklin

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master.” -George Washington

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” -Thomas Jefferson

“A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.” -Alexander Hamilton

“Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honor, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions.” -John Adams

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” -George Washington

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined, nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants. They serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides from an unarmed man, may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”  -Thomas Paine

“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”  -Samuel Adams

“But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm… But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity.” -James Madison

An Open Letter

There are those who look to government to dictate a utopian society through laws, regulations, bureaucracy, government intervention, oversight, and funding.  I don’t believe that those who feel this way are evil in their intentions at all.  I think they honestly do wish to see a better world, where people are cared for, and all have an equal opportunity to find happiness.  It is difficult to find fault in the intention.  It is the means that I find most troubling, and where much of the division lies among Americans today.  Whereas one group looks to the heavy hand of government to force an ideal society, the other group finds much to fear in that, for government is far too often owned and controlled by a powerful minority that cares little for those over whom they govern.

George Washington once said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

My ancestry, like that of many Americans, experienced first hand the wisdom of Washington’s words.  By and large, they fled to America to find a place where they could be free from the heavy hand of government, free to pursue life, love, and happiness.  My ancestors were Huguenot, French Protestants driven out of their country upon pain of death for their faith.  They were Germans from Russia, a people forced into Russia under Catherine the Great, and hated for generations until Stalin saw fit to destroy the bulk of them who remained in Russia.  They were Cherokee, forced out of their lands on the Trail of Tears.  They were Confederates, who saw a savage and brutal war waged against them, and in their surrender, a harsh military occupation and the loss of their voice.  These people all saw their homes, their peace, their happiness shattered by the brutal hand of government which sought to destroy them and to demonize them to create their own utopian vision.

I have inherited a healthy distrust for government.

I believe in people, and I believe that people will generally do what is right.  Where they do not, a free society generally does a pretty good job of taking care of those issues.  People will rise up to right injustices through various means, and when they do they are very effective.  People will and do take care of each other with a compassion that no government agent could ever hold.  I have far greater faith in my family, my neighbor, my community, than I could ever hold in an entity which draws power not from compassion, love, or community, but rather from the end of a gun.  That gun should exist to protect the people and our freedoms.

Therein lies the cunundrum.  There are problems that we collectively face, but while one sees the hand of government as the best solution, the other sees a more Orwellian view of such efforts.  As Thomas Jefferson said, “A government big enough to supply you with everything you need is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”  I would rather place my faith in those things which are deserving of such a trust.

Do not mistake my distrust of power as racist, or uncaring, or any of the other words that political diatribe in this nation has eroded to.  I’m sure this election will further erode the bonds that bind us, but it is my sincere hope that we can heal the rift, and understand not only the fundamental differences in our world views, but that each wishes a better life for all.