Sunday, May 31, 2009

Atrocities of Statism

Statism produces another atrocity besides torture.

Willful Ignorance.

Statism is the worship of the State -- complete obedience in return for the State's promise of holistic salvation.

Writing in "The 'Water Cure' for Mancow Disease," William Norman Grigg observes,

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side," observed Orwell, "but he has the remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them." In some cases, like the one presently under examination, the nationalist is vividly aware of atrocities only when they are committed by the "other side," and is hopelessly blind to them when they are carried out by the government he worships.

Obama not only will not release torture photos that are acknowledged to exist, but won't acknowledge others, such as the ones Scott Horton knows to exist.

Ignorance is bliss.

We hope.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

John Calvin

John Calvin died on this date in 1564. The 500th anniversary of his birth will be celebrated in some circles this coming July 10.

America was not just a Christian nation, but a Calvinist nation, and not a "Judeo-Christian" nation. Calvin and Calvinists produced the American ideas of resistance to tyranny and representative democracy.

Princeton Calvinist B. B. Warfield defined calvinism this way:

He who believes in God without reserve, and is determined that God shall be God to him in all his thinking, feeling, willing—in the entire compass of his life-activities, intellectual, moral, spiritual, throughout all his individual, social, religious relations—is, by the force of that strictest of all logic which presides over the outworking of principles into thought and life, by the very necessity of the case, a Calvinist.
New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. II: Basilica - Chambers

Abraham Kuyper, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, presented his lectures on Calvinism at Princeton, and summed up the Calvinist worldview:

In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, 'That is mine!'

Calvin was certainly not an anarcho-capitalist. But that is because, while Christianity had made a lot of progress in creating Western Civlization, it had not yet progressed that far, and Calvin, though revolutionary, was still necessarily a man of his time. His views on usury may have led, unintentionally and indirectly, to the Bush-Obama bailouts. Logically, however, Calvin's ideas lead to anarcho-capitalism:

Outline: Calvinist Defense of Anarcho-Capitalism

Defining "The State"

Calvin has been called the "Theologian of the Holy Spirit." That logically leads away from dependence on the State: Statism vs. Calvinism

Why Calvinism for Anarchists

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Would Jesus Celebrate Memorial Day 2009?

It appears that this is my 4th Memorial Day post on this blog.

They Died in Vain (2006)

Would Jesus Celebrate Memorial Day? (2007)

They Died In Vain: Memorial Day 2008

The change in Presidents does not change my assessment of the issue: Should we honor those who choose to fight?

The United States has three holidays which honor those who chose war over peace: Veterans' Day (those who fought and lived); Memorial Day (those who fought and died) and Independence Day (those who took up arms to abolish their government). ("Armed Forces Day" is a distant fourth.)

Shouldn't a Christian nation like America have a day to honor those who withstood the temptation to violence and vengeance and chose peace instead?

If you disagree with the answer implied in my questions, join me at the Ozarks Virtual Town Hall, Saturday morning at 10:30 am Central time.


Type in your comment or question in the box or phone in and talk live.

Imagine: a holiday to honor conscientious objectors.

It would ruin everything for the State.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Biohackers

Imagine your 10-year-old kid comes home from school with a hamster that glows in the dark. He says the older brother of one of his friends a few doors down the street grows glow-in-the-dark animals in his basement.

He also makes genetically modified E. coli in a closet and sells it to labs doing cancer research. He uses a DNA "thermocycler" bought on eBay for $59.

Should the government make all this illegal? After all, this bio-tinkering could "theoretically lead to the creation of harmful viruses like Ebola or smallpox, since their genomes are available online."

Although glow-in-the-dark hamsters are a couple of years away, creating glow-in-the-dark bacteria is already "a popular trick among biohackers," according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal:

In Attics and Closets, 'Biohackers' Discover Their Inner Frankenstein - WSJ.com

Without going into an AP biology class on this blog, here's the relevance of this for a Congressional campaign:

434 members of Congress are too clueless to draft legislation relating to this issue. Even the geekiest of them couldn't keep up with these biohackers. The other member of Congress knows there's no need to, even if it were Constitutional to do so. Which it's not.

Would the Framers of the Constitution agree with modern legal scholars that the Constitution must be "a living constitution" to address utterly unanticipated crimes like "biohacking" and "the threat to national security" it poses?

No. And double no. (And it's not [yet] a crime.)

Having people doing research for cancer in their basement is a good thing. The ability of train engineers and trolley conductors to use a cell phone in an emergency is also a good thing. The fact that a handful of people misuse cell phones and synthetic DNA is not a good reason to ban both for everyone.

America's Founding Fathers were passionate about having a limited government, with liberty for the People. Thy understood that this required public schools that taught Christian morality. Only when society at large wasn't stealing from each other and killing each other could we have liberty and limited government. Citizens of a Christian nation can be trusted with "affordable molecular biology equipment" and genetic databases, and will also promote Christian morality around the world. Then, rather than drafting sweeping laws, they will dwell safely with "a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Warriors and Peacemakers

"War will exist until the distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today."
-- John F. Kennedy

The calculated indifference of the [Clinton] administration to national defense has forced thousands of our most experienced and patriotic warriors to leave the military. We [Republicans] will once again make wearing the uniform the object of national pride.
-- Republican National Platform, 2000

It takes more courage
-- to pray -- unarmed -- for an armed attacker
-- than to kill -- armed with superior firepower -- an attacker.
It takes more courage
-- to follow the Prince of Peace
-- than to vote for war.
It takes more courage
-- to follow the Prince of Peace when all your friends call you names ("Coward!" "Traitor!")
-- than it does to obey the government's order to kill the innocent when all your friends obey too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Liberal Democracy" in American and Iraq

America was not created as a "Democracy." Proof. But some political scientists speak of America as a "liberal democracy," by which they intend a contrast with totalitarian centrally-planned governments like the "former" Soviet Union and China.

Duke University Divinity professor Stanley Hauerwas questions the ability of "liberal democracy" to be planted by governments after their military overthrows a totalitarian regime. Excerpts from a "Memorial Day" interview by Paul O'Donnell:

BeliefNet: Bonhoeffer wrote during the war that he thought Germany should not attempt to return to a liberal democracy if the Nazis were defeated.
Hauerwas: Bonhoeffer believed that Germany had not developed the ethos that, say, England had to support liberal democracy. Germany had been turned into a nation-state by Bismarck in the middle of the 19th century, and as a nation came very late to liberal democracy. The German version of liberal democracy, the Weimar Republic, had barely begun before the Nazis took over, whereas England had formed a liberal ethos over centuries.

B: But his beef with liberal democracy seems more philosophical and thoroughgoing. He says that the language of rights and liberties, as you write in your book, "cannot help but lead to godlessness and the subsequent deification of man, which is the proclamation of nihilism."
H: That's right, and in noting that, I hoped some people would see a parallel to the present day in this country.

B: The other place it seems this has application is in the current situation in Iraq. Many argue that the proper ethos is not present there either for liberal democracy.
H: To try to turn Iraq into a liberal democracy is absolutely crazy. Islam has no understanding of the separation between church and state because they don't understand Islam to be a church. The very idea that you could have separation between mosque and state from Islam's perspective is the imposition on them of Christian practice. Islam doesn't really have a place for state. They are a universalistic faith like Christianity, but they think there is no country that bounds Islam.


Hauerwas is right about Memorial Day, but wrong about "the separation of church and state." The "ethos" of a "liberal democracy" is Christian morality. The ethos of totalitarianism is the false religion of statism, rooted in envy. The modern myth of "separation of church and state" really means "freedom from" Christian morality. This destroys any hope for "liberal democracy."

What made America great was the idea of "Liberty Under God." Not the "separation of church and state," but the progressive elimination of church and state. Not the elimination of Christian morality, but the elimination of the idea that religious rituals practiced on Sunday can substitute for the practice of Christian morality the other six days of the week. And not the elimination of "government," but the elimination of "the government," the institution that wars against self-government and the practice of Christian morality in schools and businesses -- and especially in Washington D.C.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"America's Spiritual Heritage"

Bold, but still fearful.

Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia has introduced House Resolution 397 which would, if passed, designate the first week in May as "America's Spiritual Heritage Week." The introduction was timed to coincide with this year's National Day of Prayer on May 7.

"Bold" because it has less of a chance to be passed by a Democrat Congress than a similar version offered in 2007.

But why not call it "America's CHRISTIAN Heritage Week?" The stated purpose of the resolution is to affirm "the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation’s founding and subsequent history...." The Indians were very "spiritual and religious." Aztecs engaged in human sacrifice were very "spiritual and religious." "Primitive" superstitious voodoo cultures are very "spiritual and religious."

Satan himself is a completely "spiritual" being.

But "Christian" is the most politically-incorrect word in America. Singling out "Christianity" would be considered "anti-semitic" by some. But as you read the text of the resolution, it's clear that no other religion is being lauded.

From:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=hr111-397

Congress > Legislation > 2009-2010 (111th Congress) > H. Res. 397
Text of H. Res. 397: Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent...

This version: Introduced in House. This is the original text of the bill as it was written by its sponsor and submitted to the House for consideration. This is the latest version of the bill available on this website.

HRES 397 IH
111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. RES. 397

Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation’s founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as ‘America’s Spiritual Heritage Week’ for the appreciation of and education on America’s history of religious faith.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 4, 2009

Mr. FORBES (for himself, Mr. MCINTYRE, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. MCCOTTER, Mr. NEUGEBAUER, Mr. AKIN, Mr. LATTA, Mr. JORDAN of Ohio, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. WILSON of South Carolina, Mrs. BLACKBURN, Ms. FOXX, Mr. GINGREY of Georgia, Mr. JONES, Mr. WOLF, Mr. TURNER, Mr. ADERHOLT, Mr. CONAWAY, Mr. SMITH of Texas, Mr. HOEKSTRA, Mr. YOUNG of Florida, Mr. WAMP, Mr. KLINE of Minnesota, Mr. DAVIS of Tennessee, and Mr. BISHOP of Utah) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

--------------------------------------------------

RESOLUTION

Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation’s founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as ‘America’s Spiritual Heritage Week’ for the appreciation of and education on America’s history of religious faith.

Whereas religious faith was not only important in official American life during the periods of discovery, exploration, colonization, and growth but has also been acknowledged and incorporated into all 3 branches of the Federal Government from their very beginning;

Whereas the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed this self-evident fact in a unanimous ruling declaring ‘This is a religious people . . . From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation’;

Whereas political scientists have documented that the most frequently cited source in the political period known as The Founding Era was the Bible;

Whereas the first act of America’s first Congress in 1774 was to ask a minister to open with prayer and to lead Congress in the reading of 4 chapters of the Bible;

Whereas Congress regularly attended church and Divine service together en masse;

Whereas throughout the American Founding, Congress frequently appropriated money for missionaries and for religious instruction, a practice that Congress repeated for decades after the passage of the Constitution and the First Amendment;

Whereas in 1776, Congress approved the Declaration of Independence with its 4 direct religious acknowledgments referring to God as the Creator (‘All people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’), the Lawgiver (‘the laws of nature and nature’s God’), the Judge (‘appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world’), and the Protector (‘with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence’);

Whereas upon approving the Declaration of Independence, John Adams declared that the Fourth of July ‘ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty’;

Whereas 4 days after approving the Declaration, the Liberty Bell was rung;

Whereas the Liberty Bell was named for the Biblical inscription from Leviticus 25:10 emblazoned around it: ‘Proclaim liberty throughout the land, to all the inhabitants thereof’;

Whereas in 1777, Congress, facing a National shortage of ‘Bibles for our schools, and families, and for the public worship of God in our churches,’ announced that they ‘desired to have a Bible printed under their care & by their encouragement’ and therefore ordered 20,000 copies of the Bible to be imported ‘into the different ports of the States of the Union’;

Whereas in 1782, Congress pursued a plan to print a Bible that would be ‘a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools’ and therefore approved the production of the first English language Bible printed in America that contained the congressional endorsement that ‘the United States in Congress assembled . . . recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States’;

Whereas in 1782, Congress adopted (and has reaffirmed on numerous subsequent occasions) the National Seal with its Latin motto ‘Annuit Coeptis,’ meaning ‘God has favored our undertakings,’ along with the eye of Providence in a triangle over a pyramid, the eye and the motto ‘allude to the many signal interpositions of Providence in favor of the American cause’;

Whereas the 1783 Treaty of Paris that officially endied the Revolution and established America as an independent begins with the appellation ‘In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity’;

Whereas in 1787, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin declared, ‘God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? . . . Without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel’;

Whereas the delegates to the Constitutional Convention concluded their work by in effect placing a religious punctuation mark at the end of the Constitution in the Attestation Clause, noting not only that they had completed the work with ‘the unanimous consent of the States present’ but they had done so ‘in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven’;

Whereas James Madison declared that he saw the finished Constitution as a product of ‘the finger of that Almighty Hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the Revolution,’ and George Washington viewed it as ‘little short of a miracle,’ and Benjamin Franklin believed that its writing had been ‘influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler, in Whom all inferior spirits live, and move, and have their being’;

Whereas, from 1787 to 1788, State conventions to ratify the United States Constitution not only began with prayer but even met in church buildings;

Whereas in 1795, during construction of the Capitol, a practice was instituted whereby ‘public worship is now regularly administered at the Capitol, every Sunday morning, at 11 o’clock’;

Whereas in 1789, the first Federal Congress, the Congress that framed the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, appropriated Federal funds to pay chaplains to pray at the opening of all sessions, a practice that has continued to this day, with Congress not only funding its congressional chaplains but also the salaries and operations of more than 4,500 military chaplains;

Whereas in 1789, Congress, in the midst of framing the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment, passed the first Federal law touching education, declaring that ‘Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged’;

Whereas in 1789, on the same day that Congress finished drafting the First Amendment, it requested President Washington to declare a National day of prayer and thanksgiving, resulting in the first Federal official Thanksgiving proclamation that declared ‘it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor’;

Whereas in 1800, Congress enacted naval regulations requiring that Divine service be performed twice every day aboard ‘all ships and vessels in the navy,’ with a sermon preached each Sunday;

Whereas in 1800, Congress approved the use of the just-completed Capitol structure as a church building, with Divine services to be held each Sunday in the Hall of the House, alternately administered by the House and Senate chaplains;

Whereas in 1853, Congress declared that congressional chaplains have a ‘duty . . . to conduct religious services weekly in the Hall of the House of Representatives’;

Whereas by 1867, the church at the Capitol was the largest church in Washington, DC, with up to 2,000 people a week attending Sunday service in the Hall of the House;

Whereas by 1815, over 2,000 official governmental calls to prayer had been issued at both the State and the Federal levels, with thousands more issued since 1815;

Whereas in 1853, the United States Senate declared that the Founding Fathers ‘had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people . . . they did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy’;

Whereas in 1854, the United States House of Representatives declared ‘It [religion] must be considered as the foundation on which the whole structure rests . . . Christianity; in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free institutions’;

Whereas in 1864, by law Congress added ‘In God We Trust’ to American coinage;

Whereas in 1864, Congress passed an act authorizing each State to display statues of 2 of its heroes in the United States Capitol, resulting in numerous statues of noted Christian clergymen and leaders at the Capitol, including Gospel ministers such as the Revs. James A. Garfield, John Peter Muhlenberg, Jonathan Trumbull, Roger Williams, Jason Lee, Marcus Whitman, and Martin Luther King Jr., Gospel theologians such as Roger Sherman, Catholic priests such as Father Damien, Jacques Marquette, Eusebio Kino, and Junipero Serra, Catholic nuns such as Mother Joseph, and numerous other religious leaders;

Whereas in 1870, the Federal Government made Christmas (a recognition of the birth of Christ, an event described by the U.S. Supreme Court as ‘acknowledged in the Western World for 20 centuries, and in this country by the people, the Executive Branch, Congress, and the courts for 2 centuries’) and Thanksgiving as official holidays;

Whereas, beginning in 1904 and continuing for the next half-century, the Federal Gvernment printed and distributed The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth for the use of Members of Congress because of the important teachings it contained;

Whereas in 1931, Congress by law adopted the Star-Spangled Banner as the official National Anthem, with its phrases such as ‘may the Heav’n-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation,’ and ‘this be our motto, ‘In God is our trust!’;

Whereas in 1954, Congress by law added the phrase ‘one nation under God’ to the Pledge of Allegiance;

Whereas in 1954, a special Congressional Prayer Room was added to the Capitol with a kneeling bench, an altar, an open Bible, an inspiring stained-glass window with George Washington kneeling in prayer, the declaration of Psalm 16:1: ‘Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust,’ and the phrase ‘This Nation Under God’ displayed above the kneeling, prayerful Washington;

Whereas in 1956, Congress by law made ‘In God We Trust’ the National Motto, and added the phrase to American currency;

Whereas the constitutions of each of the 50 States, either in the preamble or body, explicitly recognize or express gratitude to God;

Whereas America’s first Presidential Inauguration incorporated 7 specific religious activities, including--

(1) the use of the Bible to administer the oath;

(2) affirming the religious nature of the oath by the adding the prayer ‘So help me God!’ to the oath;

(3) inaugural prayers offered by the President;

(4) religious content in the inaugural address;

(5) civil leaders calling the people to prayer or acknowledgment of God;

(6) inaugural worship services attended en masse by Congress as an official part of congressional activities; and

(7) clergy-led inaugural prayers, activities which have been replicated in whole or part by every subsequent President;

Whereas President George Washington declared ‘Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports’;

Whereas President John Adams, one of only 2 signers of the Bill of Rights and First Amendment, declared ‘As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him’;

Whereas President Jefferson not only attended Divine services at the Capitol throughout his presidency and had the Marine Band play at the services, but during his administration church services were also begun in the War Department and the Treasury Department, thus allowing worshippers on any given Sunday the choice to attend church at either the United States Capitol, the War Department, or the Treasury Department if they so desired;

Whereas Thomas Jefferson urged local governments to make land available specifically for Christian purposes, provided Federal funding for missionary work among Indian tribes, and declared that religious schools would receive ‘the patronage of the government’;

Whereas President Andrew Jackson declared that the Bible ‘is the rock on which our Republic rests’;

Whereas President Abraham Lincoln declared that the Bible ‘is the best gift God has given to men . . . But for it, we could not know right from wrong’

Whereas President William McKinley declared that ‘Our faith teaches us that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers, Who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial and Who will not forsake us so long as we obey His commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps’;

Whereas President Teddy Roosevelt declared ‘The Decalogue and the Golden Rule must stand as the foundation of every successful effort to better either our social or our political life’;

Whereas President Woodrow Wilson declared that ‘America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture’;

Whereas President Herbert Hoover declared that ‘American life is builded, and can alone survive, upon . . . [the] fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior nineteen centuries ago’;

Whereas President Franklin D. Roosevelt not only led the Nation in a 6 minute prayer during D-Day on June 6, 1944, but he also declared that ‘If we will not prepare to give all that we have and all that we are to preserve Christian civilization in our land, we shall go to destruction’;

Whereas President Harry S. Truman declared that ‘The fundamental basis of this Nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul’;

Whereas President Harry S. Truman told a group touring Washington, DC, that ‘You will see, as you make your rounds, that this Nation was established by men who believed in God. . . . You will see the evidence of this deep religious faith on every hand’;

Whereas President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared that ‘Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic, expression of Americanism. Thus, the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be’ in a declaration later repeated with approval by President Gerald Ford;

Whereas President John F. Kennedy declared that ‘The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God’;

Whereas President Ronald Reagan, after noting ‘The Congress of the United States, in recognition of the unique contribution of the Bible in shaping the history and character of this Nation and so many of its citizens, has . . . requested the President to designate the year 1983 as the ‘Year of the Bible’, officially declared 1983 as ‘The Year of the Bible’;

Whereas every other President has similarly recognized the role of God and religious faith in the public life of America;

Whereas all sessions of the United States Supreme Court begin with the Court’s Marshal announcing, ‘God save the United States and this honorable court’;

Whereas a regular and integral part of official activities in the Federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, was the inclusion of prayer by a minister of the Gospel;

Whereas the United States Supreme Court has declared throughout the course of our Nation’s history that the United States is ‘a Christian country’, ‘a Christian nation’, ‘a Christian people’, ‘a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being’, and that ‘we cannot read into the Bill of Rights a philosophy of hostility to religion’;

Whereas Justice John Jay, an author of the Federalist Papers and original Justice of the United States Supreme Court, urged ‘The most effectual means of securing the continuance of our civil and religious liberties is always to remember with reverence and gratitude the Source from which they flow’;

Whereas Justice James Wilson, a signer of the Constitution, declared that ‘Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine . . . Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants’;

Whereas Justice William Paterson, a signer of the Constitution, declared that ‘Religion and morality . . . [are] necessary to good government, good order, and good laws’;

Whereas President George Washington, who passed into law the first legal acts organizing the Federal judiciary, asked, ‘where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths in the courts of justice?’;

Whereas some of the most important monuments, buildings, and landmarks in Washington, DC, include religious words, symbols, and imagery;

Whereas in the United States Capitol the declaration ‘In God We Trust’ is prominently displayed in both the United States House and Senate Chambers;

Whereas around the top of the walls in the House Chamber appear images of 23 great lawgivers from across the centuries, but Moses (the lawgiver, who--according to the Bible--originally received the law from God,) is the only lawgiver honored with a full face view, looking down on the proceedings of the House;

Whereas religious artwork is found throughout the United States Capitol, including in the Rotunda where the prayer service of Christopher Columbus, the Baptism of Pocahontas, and the prayer and Bible study of the Pilgrims are all prominently displayed; in the Cox Corridor of the Capitol where the words ‘America! God shed His grace on thee’ are inscribed; at the east Senate entrance with the words ‘Annuit Coeptis’ which is Latin for ‘God has favored our undertakings’; and in numerous other locations;

Whereas images of the Ten Commandments are found in many Federal buildings across Washington, DC, including in bronze in the floor of the National Archives; in a bronze statue of Moses in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress; in numerous locations at the U.S. Supreme Court, including in the frieze above the Justices, the oak door at the rear of the Chamber, the gable apex, and in dozens of locations on the bronze latticework surrounding the Supreme Court Bar seating;

Whereas in the Washington Monument not only are numerous Bible verses and religious acknowledgments carved on memorial blocks in the walls, including the phrases: ‘Holiness to the Lord’ (Exodus 28:26, 30:30, Isaiah 23:18, Zechariah 14:20), ‘Search the Scriptures’ (John 5:39), ‘The memory of the just is blessed’ (Proverbs 10:7), ‘May Heaven to this Union continue its beneficence’, and ‘In God We Trust’, but the Latin inscription Laus Deo meaning ‘Praise be to God’ is engraved on the monument’s capstone;

Whereas of the 5 areas inside the Jefferson Memorial into which Jefferson’s words have been carved, 4 are God-centered, including Jefferson’s declaration that ‘God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever’;

Whereas the Lincoln Memorial contains numerous acknowledgments of God and citations of Bible verses, including the declarations that ‘we here highly resolve that . . . this nation under God . . . shall not perish from the earth’; ‘The Almighty has His own purposes. ‘Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh’ (Matthew 18:7), ‘as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether’ (Psalms 19:9), ‘one day every valley shall be exalted and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh see it together’ (Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech, based on Isaiah 40:4-5);

Whereas in the Library of Congress, The Giant Bible of Mainz, and The Gutenberg Bible are on prominent permanent display and etched on the walls are Bible verses, including: ‘The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not’ (John 1:5), ‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom and with all thy getting, get understanding’ (Proverbs 4:7), ‘What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God’ (Micah 6:8), and ‘The heavens declare the Glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork’ (Psalm 19:1);

Whereas numerous other of the most important American government leaders, institutions, monuments, buildings, and landmarks both openly acknowledge and incorporate religious words, symbols, and imagery into official venues;

Whereas such acknowledgments are even more frequent at the State and local level than at the Federal level, where thousands of such acknowledgments exist, and

Whereas the first week in May each year would be an appropriate week to designate as ‘America’s Spiritual Heritage Week’: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the United States House of Representatives--

(1) affirms the rich spiritual and diverse religious history of our Nation’s founding and subsequent history, including up to the current day;

(2) recognizes that the religious foundations of faith on which America was built are critical underpinnings of our Nation’s most valuable institutions and form the inseparable foundation for America’s representative processes, legal systems, and societal structures;

(3) rejects, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove, obscure, or purposely omit such history from our Nation’s public buildings and educational resources; and

(4) expresses support for designation of a ‘America’s Spiritual Heritage Week’ every year for the appreciation of and education on America’s history of religious faith.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Taking Christianity Seriously

I've been having an extended conversation with an intelligent student about, well, everything.

But especially the Christian world view.

He's a self-admitted narcissist. He's into literature and "absurdist theatre." He isn't persuaded by my well-researched, compellingly logical, even self-evident arguments for Christianity. His life is completely subsidized, and he's on a self-indulgent vacation. I guess if the world economy holds up, and the entire human race is not plunged into depression -- or nuclear war -- he will live out his life in the elite world of the secular University as a "Professor of Literature" and mocker of the "Protestant Work Ethic."

He's returning home, back east, and I doubt he'll ever want to be in Southwest Missouri again.

So in the hopes that someday he might take human existence seriously, I've created a website to which he can return to our conversation.

www.TakingChristianitySeriously.com

Nothing is there yet; I'll add to it in the coming days.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Genocide, then Reconciliation

"You killed my wife and my children. I forgive you."


Does Neo-Conservatism, the Theory of Evolution, or the New Deal bring about reconciliation like this?

Bishop John Rucyahana from Wilberforce Project on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Disarmament Day

That's what "Mother's Day" might be called if Julia Ward Howe had her way.

Howe (1819-1910) is best known for her "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which seems to stand in favor of everything King Lincoln did to destroy America. She was part of the wealthy New England elite.

She also was the first to issue a "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870.

The first part sounds useful for advancing the original "American Dream" of the Prophet Micah's "Vine & Fig Tree" Vision:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

But the last part sounds like a plea for the United Nations:

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

I have doubts about the ability of any "Congress" to disarm the "powers that be."



Gloria Steinhem never embodied "motherhood" for me.

For that I turn to Proverbs 31:

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Mothers like this
working in the home
are more likely to bring about peace
than mothers like Julia Ward Howe will
working in
the House.

Micah's Prophecy


And it will come about in the last days
That the
mountain of the House of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains
And it will be raised above the
hills

And the peoples will stream to it.
And many
nations will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the
mountain of the LORD
And to the
House of the God of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His
ways
And that we may walk in His
paths."

For from
Zion will go forth the Law
Even
the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

And He will
judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.

Then they will hammer their
swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up
sword against nation
And never again will they
train for war.

And each of them will sit under his
Vine and under
his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid.
For the LORD of hosts has spoken.


Though all the peoples walk
Each in the name of his god,
As for us,
we will walk
In
the Name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.

In that day, saith the LORD,

will I assemble her that halteth,
and I will gather her that
is driven out,
and her that
I have afflicted;
And I will make her that halted
a remnant,
and her that was cast far off
a strong nation:
and the LORD shall reign over them in
mount Zion
from henceforth,
even for ever.

Join us Saturday morning at 10:30 am Central time for a discussion of Mother's Day at the Ozarks Virtual Town Hall.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer will be ignored by the Obama Administration -- at least compared to the treatment given the Day by the Bush Administration.

Obama ends Bush-era National Prayer Day service at White House Los Angeles Times
Obama breaks from Bush on prayer day Boston Globe
Obama boycotts National Day of Prayer Kansas City Star

On can argue that Bush hypocritically and insincerely used the National Day of Prayer for political purposes.

One certainly cannot accuse Obama the same way.

If one assumes that Bush was sincere in his promotion of the National Day of Prayer, and that at least some of the members of the Bush White House had a sincere reverence for prayer, one can also assume that prayer is not held with reverent esteem by the Obama Administration.

Here's how the subject of the National Day of Prayer was treated at a Briefing by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 4/27/09:

Q Looking ahead, the first Thursday in May is the National Day of Prayer. For the last eight years, on that day, there's been a prayer service in the East Room of the White House. So that would be not this Thursday, but May 7th. Can you tell us what the plans --

MR. GIBBS: I need it now. (Laughter.)

Q Can you tell us what the plans are for this year's National Day of Prayer?

MR. GIBBS: Well, most of these guys will tell you, I'm so bad at the week ahead that two weeks ahead might be a challenge even I can't begin to overcome.

Q There's concern among evangelicals that there will be nothing held at the White House this year. Is that true -- nothing in the White House?

MR. GIBBS: I can't imagine that that would the case. I will check with scheduling and those in the faith office that would have a better idea. The President is somebody who prays each and every day and -- whether it's national prayer day or not.


Here's the conversation at a May 5, 2009 Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:

Q Robert, can I ask about Thursday? The National Day of Prayer -- the President, as I understand it, is going to sign a proclamation but there's not going to be a public ceremony, as the Bush administration did. Why the difference in approach? Does the President have a different feeling about this event than his predecessor?

MR. GIBBS: No, I mentioned, I think when I was asked about this last week, that prayer is something that the President does every day. I think, given some of the issues that you all have denoted today, it might be a healthy thing. But we're doing a proclamation, which I know that many administrations in the past have done.

Q The previous administration had a ceremony with prayers and speeches and such. Does he think -- the current President think that that was politicized in some fashion?

MR. GIBBS: No, I'm not going to get into that. Again, I think the President understands, in his own life and in his family's life, the role that prayer plays. And I would denote that administrations prior to the past one did proclamations. That's the way the President will publicly observe National Prayer Day. But as I said, privately he'll pray as he does every day.

Q Is he going to pray at the church that he calls his own?

MR. GIBBS: I'm sorry --

Q Will he soon pray in a church that he calls his own?

MR. GIBBS: He may. Amen. (Laughter.)


The "laughter" at both events may be a nervous laughter, or laughing at what the Obama Administration perceives as the buffoons in the Religious Right. But it does not appear that the White House takes prayer as seriously as the organizers of the National Day of Prayer.

No mention of the National Day of Prayer can be found on the White House Blog. If one searches the White House website (http://www.whitehouse.gov/) for "National Day of Prayer," one is asked:

Did you mean?
national day off prayer
Search was unable to find any results for national day of prayer, you may have typed your word incorrectly, have entered an empty phrase or are being too specific.

The National Day of Prayer is half over, and no proclamation appears on the White House website. It's effectively being ignored.

To see how seriously America's Founding Fathers took prayer, consider the following:

During the Convention that hammered out the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin underscored the importance of prayer.

After the Constitution was complete, Congress declared that God should be thanked for answering America's prayers.

Madison said that the completion of the Constitution under such difficult circumstances showed evidence of God's intervention:

Would it be wonderful if, under the pressure of all these difficulties, the [Constitutional] convention should have been forced into some deviations from that artificial structure and regular symmetry which an abstract view of the subject might lead an ingenious theorist to bestow on a Constitution planned in his closet or in his imagination? The real wonder is that so many difficulties should have been surmounted, and surmounted with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected. It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.
Federalist #37

During his administration, Madison noted the importance of prayer for God's supernatural intervention. Example. Had it been George Bush, the ACLU would have screamed about violations of "the separation of church and state."

President John Adams proclaimed national days of prayer, inluding this one in 1798 and this one in 1799. They were Trinitarian.

Days of Prayer were also frequent in the States, which is where Jefferson said such proclamations should be made.

Nobody agrees with Jefferson's anti-federalism any more; this is a theological issue. Obama isn't concerned about the Constitution; he believes the federal government is God, not the God of the Bible.