Archive for April, 2010

Thomas Jefferson Plus God

Thomas Jefferson, the “Sage of Monticello,” was a complex and sagacious man; wise and farsighted. He was a Deist very familiar with the Bible. He believed in the morals and ethics of Christianity but not in Christ as divine. Much of what he and others of his ilk espoused has been written out of textbooks. As a reminder to some and as news to others following are extracts from the latitudinarian Jefferson that are pertinent for today.
“Indeed, I tremble for my county when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
“It is incumbent upon every generation to pay its own debt as it goes. A principle which acted on would save one-half of the wars of the world.”
“I predict happiness for Americans if they can prevent government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
“A wise and frugal Government … shall leave them [citizens] otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement andnot take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned — this is a sum of good government.”
“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for propagation of opinions he disbelieves or abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
“Educate and inform the masses of people. They are the only reliance for the preservation of liberty.”
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use or arms.”
On the principle of separation of church and state his reference to a “wall of separation” can be better understood by other comments he made on the subject.
In what is known as the “Kentucky Resolution of 1798,” Jefferson wrote: “No power over the freedom of religion…[is] delegated to the United States by the Constitution.”
In his Second Inaugural Address, 1805, he said, “In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General [federal] Government.”
In a letter to Samuel Miller, 1808, he wrote of the “free exercise of religion,” as stated in the First Amendment.
As President in 1787, Jefferson recommended special lands “for the sole use of Christian Indians” and reserved lands for the Moravian Brethren “for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity.”Congress extended the act three times and Jefferson signed it each time. They were not prohibiting religious activity they were actually evangelizing.
Our liberties are eroding more rapidly than we realize. It is actually being accomplished not only speedily but easily. Could it be because we have failed to do what Jefferson enjoined us to do: “Educate and inform the masses of people. They are the only reliance for the preservation of liberty.”
People of good conscience dare not remain silent.

George Washington Plus God

Each year in America we celebrate our independence which but for a change in the wind and an eerie fog we might still be a colony.
In the summer of 1776, the Continental Congress commissioned General George Washington to serve as commander-in-chief of the greatly out manned and out gunned American forces. Washington’s 9,000 men were poised on Brooklyn Heights. Their purpose was to try to stop British General William Howe from moving up the Hudson River Valley and dividing the colonies enabling a total British victory.
They watched as the British fleet which was described as looking like London afloat had delivered over 32,000 well equipped British and German soldiers. In a previous encounter between the two armies Washington had suffered over 1,000 casualties. Howe was now poised to deliver the final defeating blow but for some reason paused intending the next day to annihilate the American forces.
Washington’s position was an impossible one. The superior British force of 20,000 regulars was at his front and the nearly mile wide Hudson River at his rear. Howe paused to allow the vast British fleet to sail up the river and be in position the next morning to attack from Washington’s rear as he assaulted the front. No army had ever been in a more defenseless position.
In the late evening a strong breeze began to blow prohibiting the fleet to sail up the river. This fortuitous change in the wind foreshadowed a change in battle strategy.
Washington proposed a retreat by crossing the wind swept river at night. The officer in charge of the maneuver, General Alexander McDougall, informed Washington that crossing the wind stirred river was impossible. One chronicler wrote, “about eleven o’clock when, as if by design, the northeast wind died down. Then the wind shifted to the southwest….” This shift in the wind enabled John Glover’s Massachusetts sailors and fishermen to begin crossing the river in an attempt to evacuate as many of Washington’s men as possible. These oarsmen knew how to stealthy maneuver their crafts with a minimum of noise.Employing anything that would float the evacuation began and moved slowly. Most of the boats were so overloaded water came within inches of the gunwales. It became apparent the night would not be long enough to facilitate the strategic withdrawal. Again the weather intervened. A pea-soup fog so thick persons could not see six feet moved in just before dawn. This cover allowed the last of Washington’ forces to ship out by 7:00 A.M. Just beyond the range of British guns they looked back and saw the British forces already on the shore they had just evacuated.
This allowed the American forces opportunity to regroup and eventually win the war for independence.
Call it what you will: luck, happenstance, or blind fate, but those there wrote of if as “a peculiar providential occurrence,” “manifestly providential,” and “very favorably to the design.”
In our current culture God is often denied. However, today as in that day a remnant of spiritually inclined believers still pray thanking Him for His grace and asking for His blessings. As America faces an uncertain future that cadre has cause to do so again as we celebrate our independence made possible by Him.

Our Constitution Today

Thinking of the future of America we tend to conceive of it in light of the past. Today that is impossible to do in that fundamentals are missing. In our past our nation was guided and governed according to our Constitution. Today that vital document is being ignored or circumvented. Our Federal government is engaging in activities never authorized by our Constitution. Some are even in conflict with our Constitution.
President John Quincy Adams delivered an address entitled “The Jubilee of the Constitution: A Discourse.” The occasion was the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington, April 30, 1839. Therein Adams spoke of the condition of the country which in ways mirrors our’s today and the intended purpose of the Constitution:
“The nation fell into an atrophy. The Union languished to the point of death. A torpid numbness seized upon all its faculties. A chilling cold indifference crept from its extremities to the center. The system was about to dissolve in its own imbecility – impotence in negotiation abroad – domestic insurrection at home, were on the point of bearing to a dishonorable grave the proclamation of a government founded on the rights of man, when a convention of delegates from eleven of the thirteen states, with George Washington at their head, sent forth to the people, an act to be made their own, speaking in their name and in the first person, thus: ‘We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.’”
Regarding the emergence of the Union Adams spoke of the people appealing to “the omnipotence of the God of battles.”
That is another variable making foreseeing what is ahead for America more difficult. Adams like presidents before him and the populace in general had a God orientation. They were not all Christians by any means but with rare exception they had a biblical world view. Today even the phrase “the God of Nature and (of) Nature’s God” is railed against.
John Adams, Washington’s successor wrote, “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the governing of any other.”
There is another variable. By no means can the moral climate of America be described as “a moral and religious people.”
John Adams was a man of faith who strongly considered becoming a minister. He devoted time four days a week to the study of Scripture. He was more than a tinkling symbol when he wrote Thomas Jefferson on October 7, 1818, a warning that needs to be heeded today: “Have you ever found in history, one single example of a Nation thoroughly corrupted that was afterwards restored to virtue?And without virtue, there can be no political liberty.”
Virtue has been vanquished and political expediency enthroned. Not by all but obviously by the majority.
The variables noted here are: a change of regard for Constitutional government, change in regard to a God orientation,
our general classification can no longer be considered as a moral and religious people, and a diminution of virtue.
These changes in our culture make it impossible to predict our future based on our past.
Or as a frightful afterthought perhaps they can.

Moral Law: Part II

Something systemically is wrong in our society. We have become a lawless society. That is not simply a reference to civil and criminal law. However, considering our prison population and court documents they provide evidence of lawlessness. Rampant immorality is destroying home life in America.
The problem is a vast majority of the population doesn’t even know of the law being contravened.
Our ignorance of the Moral Law being violated is as extreme as this ignorance.
David E. Cole, Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, tells of being visited by young inexperienced government representatives with no automotive background. Cole, an engineer, has worked in the industry for 40 years. Cole said they evidently had read a bit on the internet about electric liquid natural gas cars. Their demand was for a car that would go well over 500 miles without refueling.
He explained how laws of physics made such a car an impossibility. He noted such a car would have to have a trunk full of batteries and a tank as big as the car. The laws of physics simply would not allow what they were demanding.
Incensed at his response they demanded to know “These laws of physics. Whose rules are those? We have the congress and administration. We can repeal that law, amend it, or use an executive order to get rid of that problem. That’s why we are here to fix these sorts of issues.”
Our society has used laws of physics, math, chemistry, and biology in many commendable ways. However, working within the laws of chemistry and biology we threaten to perform what Winston Churchill referred to as “the lights of perverted science.”
We have violated virtually every law of economics and expect to get positive results. Greed does not produce long term good. The best way out of debt is not to spend more. That is a pretzel concept, if folds back on itself.
We have become adapt at using biased scientific “evidence” regarding ecology in order to promote a biased agenda. We reach a conclusion and then look for only those conditions that support the preconceived idea and neglect contradictory evidence.
It is because we have drifted into and become comfortableviolating the mother of all laws — Moral Law.
An agenda driven curriculum has virtually taken over our academic institutions. Those in Washington and around the country pushing for ideals that never have worked don’t know they won’t work. They have been indoctrinated in socialistic dogma in an academic atmosphere creating a spiritual stupor.
The Author of Moral Law has been excluded from the public forum by a perverted concept of separation of church and state. Without a core of morality we are nearing the state of ancient Israel of which it was every man did that which was right in his own sight. It was one of the darkest eras in the history of that great culture.
That leads to civil disobedience and ultimately anarchy.
That does not need to happen in America. It is a grievous thought that it will if we continue on our present course. The Moral Law Giver awaits our willingness to accept His aid.

The Moral Law: Part I

Michael Moore asked Sean Hannity if he loved his enemies like Jesus said His followers are to do the same. When Hannity said yes Moore said, “Well then you love Al-Qaeda!”
This “gotcha” question is supposed to put a person in a no win position regardless of the answer.
The proper answer is yes according to the way the Bible uses the word. It means to desire what is best for our enemy. The objectives our national enemy, Al-Qaeda has in mind aren’t what is best for them and definitely not for us. What would be best for such enemies would be the renunciation of their evil intent and the embracing of the universal Moral Law.
The Moral Law is basically what is referred to in our Declaration of Independence as the “laws of nature and (of) nature’s God.” This expression was a term used in historical legal parlance by such as Hugo Grotius, Burlamaqui, Blackstone, and others. These are laws that transcend time and cultures.
In 1931, writing from the jail in Birmingham Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.”
Cicero noting this law is universal and applies to all people wrote, “This true law diffused among all men, is immutable and eternal. To replace it with a contrary law is a sacrilege.”
Thomas Jefferson’s God was the source of moral values. In a letter to his nephew Peter Carr, he wrote, “He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler, if He had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science. Rather, God made man with a sense of right or wrong.”
Jesus gave these illustrations of moral law in response to a young man’s question, “Do not kill (murder), do not commit adultery, do not lie, do not steal. Honor your father and mother.”
Here is another aspect of loving our enemies. We can lovepeople and not like what they do. It is reasonable for an American to detest what Al-Qaeda stands for and does. Such conduct is reprehensible, egregious, insufferable, and besides it is wrong.
Many people unable to differentiate between loving a person and not liking what they do end up with a guilt complex. This is true of children especially. They instinctively want to love their parents and are told to do so. Yet, they see and hear their parents do things they intuitively know are wrong. Unable to discern between loving the person and not liking what the person does causes emotional conflict.
There is a reason some people don’t like the concept of a Moral Law. It is based on the fact that where there is a law there is a law giver. State and local laws exist because at some point lawmakers made the laws. To say where there is a moral law there is a moral law give is logical. At this point God steps on stage. Some people are offended at His presence.
Grotius, a Dutchman, was among the first westerners to write about God and government. He believed the only relation between the two was for government to acknowledge there is a God. Many in modern America assert that just the acknowledgment there is a God is a violation of church and state. Most of our founding fathers were deists not Christians but they readily acknowledged God.
An element in our nation today does not want government to acknowledge there is a God. For their sake they better be right.
Jefferson wrote, “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”