Bible Stories: Character Education and Self-Government

Dinner Topics for Monday

Bible Stories: Character Education and Self-Government

Samson and Delilah—

Internal Government

*Teaching about the Fall

keySociety cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. ~Edmund Burke

samson-delilahSamson was raised from infancy, prepared by diligent parents to fulfill a mission of liberating Israel from the Philistines. Instead, he is known in scriptural record as the epic hero who never was. On the surface, the Biblical account of Samson looks rather amusing. That Samson’s remarkable physical prowess was connected to the length of his hair reads almost like one of Grimms’ fairy tales. The fact is, the length of Samson’s hair was only one outward manifestation of the Nazarite vows he had taken. The immense strength was a spiritual gift, contingent on his faithfulness to the Nazarite discipline.

Samson failed to develop the necessary self-discipline to merit the spiritual gifts he had been blessed with. As he became boastful, and trusted in his own strength rather than giving glory to God, Samson one by one broke all his vows. He indulged his selfish passions and appetites, including marrying out of the covenant with an immoral Philistine woman. He did not think anything through; his behavior was driven by his feelings.

When he trivialized the source of his strength by playing games with the Philistine Delilah, this represented the final breakdown of his discipleship to God.

She pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death. (Judges 16:16)

mockingpeopleAt some point, most of us can probably relate to having experienced this kind of pressure from someone else. Samson’s failure came first from dallying so much with sin and temptation. He constantly surrounded himself with it. Is it any wonder that he finally broke when he was pestered long enough?

Samson’s lack of internal government caused his personal downfall and deprived his nation of liberating leadership.

One may also be pressured when trying to do something right. Even then, it is easy to react in anger, fear, or foolishness.

The “wise man who builds his house upon a rock” knows that true freedom comes from acting by choice rather than being acted upon.

buildingonrock“Discipline” is defined as “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.” Simple, brute-strength “will power” is not mentioned. Because the natural man rarely has sufficient “will power,” the “wise man” trains, molds, and corrects himself on a daily basis. It is a building process— on rock. No shortcuts.

The wise man looks ahead, constructing his house to stand independently of forces that tear down and undo his work. Day by day, a step at a time, he schools his feelings, delays gratification, and subordinates foolish impulses to the larger character he is capable of. The less he indulges himself, the more substance he has, and the less room in his life for that which would cause irreparable downfall.

The builder’s to-do list might include practicing courteous actions rather than angry reactions. Discussing and using peaceful resolutions to conflict and misunderstanding. Using moderation in appetites and showing appreciation for the gifts and services of others. Teaching wisdom and order. All these seemingly small things make up the firm inner structure that can withstand incessant adverse elements and bring enduring peace of mind.

Character Education Concepts

gavarret-follow-christFor the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19 )

  1. Why is daily discipline in small choices more effective than “will power” in times of crisis?
  2. The three areas of temptation are: 1) appetites and passions 2)vanity 3)greed and power. How can this knowledge help us prepare to resist temptation?
  3. How can we avoid dallying with sin in the following areas? Movies and TV. Music. Reading material. Internet. Dating.
  4. What does “temperance” mean? Compare dedication and fanaticism.
  5. Choose five or more epic heroes from scripture and outline their ministries. How did they exemplify Christian discipleship?
  6. How does the Savior help us overcome our weaknesses through the atonement?

christs-outstreched-hand-lindsleyAnd if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.(Ether 12:27)

 

 

Copyright 2010 © by Christine A. Davidson

 

The Parable of the Empty House

As a Man Thinketh

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. (Prov. 23:7)

golden-calfAfter God had delivered them from bondage, the children of Israel began their epic journey to the promised land. Freedom, however, was not what they expected. Food was plentiful — indeed, bread from heaven rained down upon them daily. Yet they were not accustomed to the simplicity of the Lord’s way of life. Gone were the heathen groves wherein one could indulge in sensual pleasures. The flashy graven images were missing. Their new wilderness home was free of Egypt’s distractions. Now they could concentrate on building new lives for themselves, replacing the taint of idolatry with an eye single to the glory of God. They had but to look to God and live. Simple. They brought no Egyptian idols with them. Even so, they turned to idolatry, for in their minds, they were still in bondage.

The Savior gave a parable about this condition.

empty-house-2When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished, for the good spirit leaveth him unto himself.

Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. (Matt. 12:43-45)

 

empty-houseThis oft overlooked parable of the empty house might speak of a man who leaves his old life behind, accepts the gospel and embarks upon the strait and narrow path of Christian discipleship. On that path the first obstacle is in the form of habits from his past. The iron rod [word of God] is steady and secure, but plain. It does not glitter and allure. In vain he searches for something on the road to heaven that will give him the same thrills and carnal satisfaction that his pre-conversion world held. He finds none.

Still, his soul has been cleansed, released from the chains of past wickedness. Agency has been extended to him anew. He has arrived at the pivotal point of his life, the brink of glorious opportunity.   However, if a traumatic experience in his previous life robbed him of spiritual roots, that opportunity could have a dangerous edge. His mind might be a spiritual vacuum. With what will he fill his mind? The choice is his, and his alone. Will he lay hold upon every good gift, or will he touch the unclean thing?

apathydudeThe trials and adversities of life are painful. Seeking comfort, the man turns, not to God, but to his old habits. He goes to Church every Sunday, but during the week, the old ways take over. Instead of looking to God to heal his pain, he numbs it with worldly distractions, which God calls idols. Seemingly innocuous habits move in and make themselves comfortable, and make him comfortable. Upon arising, the man turns to phone and social media. This programming is the first thing that enters his mind in the morning. What can be wrong with that? During lunch, social media. After work, TV. After dinner, games, social media. Before bed, social media, video games. After Church, electronic media, video games.

On Sunday, the man dutifully dusts off his scriptures and hauls them to Church. But they don’t mean anything. He doesn’t understand them. After years of worshiping images, he can no longer recognize the real thing. He has succeeded in numbing his pain. In fact, now he is “past feeling,” just like the idols which have received his unwavering attention for so long.

Moses was faced with the monumental task of sanctifying his people— removing the ungodly habits from their lives and filling their minds and hearts with the word of God. Most importantly, he had to keep the children from being sullied by the unholy baggage their parents had brought out from Egypt.

So he taught them,

family5prayingdinnerAnd these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deut. 6:6,7)

“Holy habits and righteous routines,”[1] when practiced daily, are part of holding to the iron rod [word of God], and will steady us on our path back to Heavenly Father.

Dinner Topic Questions

Dinner Talk Topic: Our conversation, use of leisure time, and choice of entertainment are a reflection of what is in our minds. *Controlling our thoughts

  1. How are our conversation, use of leisure time, and choice of entertainment a reflection of what is in our mind? When you are alone, what kind of background do you like to “keep you company? Is there a better companionship to seek?
  2. What do you dwell on when you have nothing specific to think about? If you look around, can you see someone who is worse off than you are? How does it make you feel?
  3. Are you alone in your circumstances? Why not?
  4. Can a self-absorbed person be truly happy?
  5. Can you recognize the presence of the Spirit? How?
  6. In what conditions will the Spirit withdraw?
  7. What seemingly small things can offend the Spirit?
  8. How can continual exposure to the sensationalism of electronic media cause a person to be “past feeling”? (1Nephi 17:45)
  9. What must we do to be worthy of having the continual companionship of the Holy Spirit?
  10. In what ways can games and social media dull our senses? How can reading scriptures or a good book, or listening to classical music,  be active rather than passive? Can we go through the motions and not understand the life lessons God is trying to teach us?
  11. How can failing to actively nourish our minds with spiritual food create a spiritual vacuum, and what are the dangers of such a vacuum?
  12. A “graven image” is a tangible object a person might worship instead of God. Also, spending time and money on things that distract someone from God might also be considered as idolatry. How can we avoid this problem in our lives?
  13. Look up “idolatry” in the dictionary. Is idolatry only an ancient evil? How can idolatry affect our lives today? Why do you think their idols caused the children of Israel to be immoral? Do cold, lifeless idols, or even movie idols, hold their worshipers accountable? What happens when there is no accountability?
  14. James 1:8. “ A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” What must we do to stay out of spiritual Babylon?
  15. Isaiah 7:15 “Refuse the evil, and choose the good.” Is it possible to “touch the unclean thing” without letting go of the word of God?

 

Copyright 2010 © by Christine A. Davidson

 

            [1] Elaine Dalton, “Look toward Eternity!”. Ensign, November 2006, p.32

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Critical Thinking: Media Bias, Identity Politics, Mob Rule vs. Democracy Facts, Constitutional Republic

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Critical Thinking: Media Bias, Identity Politics, Mob Rule vs. Democracy Facts, Constitutional Republic Rush Limbaugh Media Bias against the Constitutional Republic “The subversion of democracy was the explicit intent of the framers.” Wait. What? “The subversion of democracy was the … Continue reading

Critical Thinking: Character Values vs. Political Correctness, Leftist Views, and Self Esteem

Critical Thinking:

Character Values vs. Political Correctness, Leftist Views, and Self Esteem

 

“Does it Do Good?” vs. “Does it Feel Good?”

Why socialist policies are so popular—but so harmful

 

keyThese [leftists] are using a technique that is as old as the human race,—a fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery, and then enslave them. ~ David O. McKay

 

Dennis Prager

A fundamental difference between the left and right concerns how each assesses public policies. The right asks, “Does it do good?” The left asks a different question, [as shown in the following examples].

1) Minimum Wage

1987

The New York Times editorialized against any minimum wage. The title of the editorial said it all –“The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00”

redistsocialismillustrated              There’s a virtual consensus among economists,” wrote the Times editorial, “that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market. …More important, it would increase unemployment … The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable—and fundamentally flawed.”

Why did the New York Times editorialize against the minimum wage? Because it asked the conservative question: “Does it do good?”

27 years later

The New York Times editorial page wrote the very opposite of what it had written in 1987, and called for a major increase in the minimum wage. In that time, the page had moved further left and was now preoccupied not with what does good—but with income inequality, which feels bad. It lamented the fact that a low hourly minimum wage had not “softened the hearts of its opponents”—Republicans and their supporters.

 

2) Affirmative Action

Study after study—and, even more important, common sense and facts—have shown the deleterious effects that race-based affirmative action have had on black students. Lowering college admissions standards for black applicants has ensured at least two awful results.

One is that more black students fail to graduate college—because they have too often been admitted to a college that demands more academic rigor than they were prepared for. Rather than attend a school that matches their skills, a school where they might thrive, they fail at a school where they are over-matched.

The other result is that many, if not most, black students feel a dark cloud hanging over them. They suspect that other students wonder whether they, the black students, were admitted into the college on merit or because standards were lowered.

It would seem that the last question supporters of race-based affirmative action ask is, “Does it do good?”

 

3) Pacifism

reagan-peace-strengthThe left has a soft spot for pacifism—the belief that killing another human being is always immoral [unless it is killing unborn babies]. Not all leftists are pacifists, but pacifism emanates from the left, and just about all leftists support “peace activism,” … and whatever else contains the word “peace.”

The right, on the other hand, while just as desirous of peace as the left—what conservative parent wants their child to die in battle?—knows that pacifism and most “peace activists” increase the chances of war, not peace.

Nothing guarantees the triumph of evil like refusing to fight it. Great evil is therefore never defeated by peace activists, but by superior military might. The Allied victory in World War II is an obvious example. American military might likewise contained and ultimately ended Soviet communism.

reagan-quote-appeasement               Supporters of pacifism, peace studies, American nuclear disarmament, American military withdrawal form countries ins which it has fought—Iraq is the most recent example—do not ask, “Does it do good?”

Did the withdrawal of America from Iraq do good? Of course not. It only led to the rise of Islamic State with its mass murder and torture.

 

                So, then, if in assessing what public policies to pursue, conservatives ask “Does it do good?” what question do liberals ask? The answer is, “Does it make people—including myself—feel good?”

Why do liberals support a higher minimum wage if doesn’t do good? Because intakes the recipients of the higher wage feel good (even if other workers lose their jobs when restaurants and other businesses that cannot afford the higher wage close down) and it makes liberals feel good about themselves: “We liberals, unlike conservatives, have soft hearts.”

Why do liberals support race-based affirmative action? For the same reasons. It makes the recipients feel good when they are admitted to more prestigious colleges. And it makes liberals feel good about themselves for appearing to right the wrongs of historical racism.

The same holds true for left-wing peace activism: Supporting “peace” rather than the military makes liberals feel good about themselves.

narcissismThe Folly of the Self-Esteem Movement

Perhaps the best example is the self-esteem movement. It has had an almost wholly negative effect on a generation of Americans raised to have high self-esteem without having earned it. They then suffer from narcissism and an incapacity to deal with life’s inevitable setbacks. But self-esteem feels good.

And feelings—not reason—is what liberalism is largely about. Reason asks: “Does it do good?” Liberalism asks, “Does it feel good?”

 

YouTube Video: Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

YouTube Video: Milton Freedman, Capitalism and Freedom

From Rush Limbaugh Radio

miltonfriedman2One sound bite is two minutes of Milton Friedman schooling Phil Donahue and his audience in greed and capitalism and virtue.

RUSH:  [Obama] was quoting Reverend Wright, and he said that’s for me, man, I love that.  White folks’ greed runs a world in need.  So let’s go to 1979, ancient times for many of you.  We may as well be going back to the Roman Coliseum for this.  Nineteen seventy nine, I was 28.  Ancient times for many of you.  Phil Donahue interviewing Milton Friedman, and they had this exchange.  And Donahue starts off wanting to know about greed and capitalism.  Here it is.  And listen to this.

DONAHUE:  When you see around the globe the maldistribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries, when you see so few haves and so many have-nots, when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed’s a good idea to run on?

Greed Definition

FRIEDMAN:  Well, first of all, tell me, is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed?  You think Russia doesn’t run on greed?  You think China doesn’t run on greed?  What is greed?  Of course none of us are greedy. It’s only the other fellow who’s greedy.

The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests.  The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus.  Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat.  Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way.  In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade.  If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that.

So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.

DONAHUE:  But it seems to reward not virtue as much as ability to manipulate the system.

Virtue Definition

FRIEDMAN:  And what does reward virtue?  Do you think the communist commissar rewards virtue?  Do you think Hitler rewards virtue?  Do you think American presidents reward virtue?  Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout?  Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?  You know, I think you’re taking a lot of things for granted.  Just tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us.

DONAHUE:  Well —

FRIEDMAN:  I don’t even trust you to do that.

RUSH:  Milton Friedman back in 1979 schooling Phil Donahue, and everybody else who heard that on the notions of virtue and greed and just basically upsetting Phil’s applecart.  Phil wasn’t smart enough to know it was happening. He’s still running around lamenting the accident of birth. If he’d been 30 miles south he would have grown up in poverty.  Anyway, we wanted to play that for you and recognize Milton Friedman.

miltonfriedmanMilton Friedman:  “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there will be a shortage of sand.” 

 Milton Friedman:  “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” 

Another Milton Friedman quote:  “Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government.”  

Boy, isn’t that true? Pass another law.  Government comes along and creates a program.  The program is an absolute disaster.  Government says, “That’s gotta get fixed.”  Government says, “Okay, we’ll fix it.”  And it compounds itself, one error atop another. (Rush)

Another Milton Friedman quote:  “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”  

I’ll tell you, the guy was great.  He was a genius.  He lived into his late eighties.  He would have been a hundred years old this week. (Rush)

Dinner Talk

1. Who does Mr. Friedman say is greedy?

2. Do you think political self-interest is better than economic self-interest? Why or why not?

3. According to Mr. Friedman, which system fosters a stronger economy— management by government bureaucracies (socialism), or free enterprise? Why?

Critical Thinking: Freedom of Conscience Definition Changes Affect First Amendment Rights—History Timeline

Critical Thinking

History Timeline

Freedom of Conscience Definition—Changes Affect First Amendment Rights

We do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men. . .the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience. We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others. ~D&C 134:4

Update: Winning—SCOTUS ruled in favor of Freedom of Conscience in  case of Christian baker

David Barton

If Americans want to see a return to the historical understanding of the rights of conscience, it will begin with disciplined study and learning. That learning must then be applied and exercised. Those applications and exercises will have to be defended. And when this generation has done all this, they will have to teach the next generation to study, exercise, and defend their right to conscience anew.  

 

Alert! History Timeline shows how Changes Affect First Amendment Rights

Note the narrowed definition, and consequently the assumed narrowed protection of our liberty. ~C.D.

“We have to be careful to define terms here, and unpopular isn’t the best word. Freedom of conscience is not the idea that it is the government’s responsibility to protect minority dissenting ideas from the majority.” ~David Barton

 

  • “In the 1700-1800s, we never talked about freedom of religion,” Barton said. “We always talked about freedom of conscience.”
  • In the 1900s and 2000s, the language changed to freedom of religion.
  • In the 21st century, we are changing it to freedom of worship.

“Each one of these is a smaller subset of the bigger one. Freedom of conscience is the biggest one of all and that is what the First Amendment protects.”

 

Heart of Liberty Is Freedom of Conscience

Teddy James

Report with quotes by David Barton

The first step to restoring freedom of conscience in America is to learn about it. ~Teddy James

“We have to be careful to define terms here, and unpopular isn’t the best word. Freedom of conscience is not the idea that it is the government’s responsibility to protect minority dissenting ideas from the majority.” ~David Barton

 

A critical difference in Understanding Freedom of Conscience Definition

 

Many mistakenly believe freedom of conscience primarily exists to protect people with unpopular beliefs. David Barton said this understanding can be dangerous and lead to harmful court rulings and public policies.

Barton said to look no further than Engle v. Vitale, the 1962 case that removed prayer from school. It was believed the 3% of Americans who were atheists needed to be protected from the 96% who held to praying faiths. That is not to mention the 30 states with laws protecting traditional marriage being overruled by the Supreme Court due to 2.6% of the population being homosexual.

“You have to be careful where you draw the line,” Barton said. “Freedom of conscience is not about unpopular belief, but solely about beliefs that are not to be limited by civil government.”

Even though the government has crept across its jurisdictional lines for generations, hope is far from lost.

The first step to restoring freedom of conscience in America is to learn about it.

“Knowing what the rights of conscience are will affect what you do and what types of policies you tolerate,” Barton said. “When you know the rights of conscience, what they encompass and what they don’t, you are prepared not only to defend them, but also practice and assert them.”

How to teach Freedom of Conscience and Impart Biblical Values to Youth

To learn about the rights of conscience, Barton said, “The old history books are exceptionally good. They describe the purpose and application of those rights with clarity and approachability.” (See below.)

Reading the old books is important. Modern books focus on freedom of religion instead of freedom of conscience. While it seems subtle, there are real differences. 

”The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth” by Currier and Ives

July 2018 – In recent decades, religious liberty has captured headlines on every Christian and conservative platform. Governments of all levels have ignored their God-ordained jurisdictions to bombard America with anti-Christian rulings – all in the name of equality, tolerance, and freedom.

Ironically, a battle over religious liberty would have been foreign to American colonists and the Founding Fathers. Their battles were over the broader category of freedom of conscience.

History of freedom of conscience

America did not plant the tree of the freedom of conscience. However, America is one of the earliest and largest fruits from that tree.

“To understand freedom of conscience, we have to go back a lot further than America,” David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, told AFA Journal. “We must look to John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and the like. But to understand them, we have to go back to 391 AD.”

The setting is Rome, and Emperor Theodosius is ruling over a unified eastern and western Roman Empire. He would be the last to do so.

Theodosius, a Christian, declares everyone under his domain would either be Christian or be executed.

Even though the Roman Empire split after his reign, the unified church and state continued.

“For the next one thousand years, governments told people what doctrines they could believe and practice,” Barton said. “One emperor went so far as to create a crown that would fit over the clerical hat of the era. He literally wore both hats at the same time.”

Fast-forward to 1517 and a group of Christians began challenging the status quo. Historians would call this the Protestant Reformation.

“During the Reformation,” Barton said, “leaders advocated that the state and the church should be two entities. Dividing the two, it was argued, would restore the rights of conscience and rebuild the voluntarism of Christianity.”

The Protestant Reformation reached England when King Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife and the Pope wouldn’t allow it. Henry split from Rome and established the Church of England with himself as its supreme leader. Pilgrims and Puritans objected to this power grab on theological grounds, stating Jesus Christ is the only leader of the church.

The result was the crown persecuting the dissenters, leaving them no choice but to find new homelands.

 

Jurisdictions of freedom of conscience


On the shores of the New World, freedom was strengthened, but still faced obstacles.

“The Pilgrims and Puritans held separate elections for civil and religious offices, recognizing the separation of church and state,” Barton said. “But there were Puritan colonies that did not honor the freedom of conscience.”

Massachusetts, a Puritan colony, required members to believe and practice Puritan doctrines. If a person believed differently, he was free to do so, but must live somewhere else.

Roger Williams, a Puritan minister, did believe differently and was forced to leave the colony. Subsequently, he founded Rhode Island.

“But Roger Williams is just one chapter in a very long book,” Barton said. “In America alone, it includes the establishment of Maryland, New Hampshire, and parts of Connecticut.”

These colonies held to the idea that government existed to protect the rights and liberty of its people, not to guide their religious beliefs and practices. That was the distinct and special role of churches.

“Nothing is secular,” Barton said, “but there are [secular and religious] jurisdictions. The temple is not to run the sword because God gave the sword of justice to government.”

That is not to say someone should get away with just any outrageous thing and claim freedom of conscience.

“Every colony had a provision in regards to rights of conscience. Individuals could not use rights of conscience for licentiousness,” Barton said.

 “In other words, people did not have the right to have fourteen wives, physically harm others, or undermine the morals of the state.”

The divide between church and state was strong and stable; they had a symbiotic relationship. The modern era has seen a shrinking of that divide and a weakening of the relationship.

 

Assault on Freedom of Conscience


Update: Winning—SCOTUS ruled in favor of Freedom of Conscience on this case

“Right now the American government is crossing jurisdictional lines across the country,” Barton said. “It is crossing into territory God ordained for the church, claiming it is within its jurisdiction to tell Christians what they must believe and do. Bakers must bake cakes for ceremonies that would violate their consciences. The same goes for photographers’ and florists’ [services].”

 

 

Culture Wars: Jesus, Charity Organizations, and Role of Government

Culture Wars—

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Jesus, Charity Organizations, and Role of Government

My Questions on Jesus and Charity

Rush Limbaugh

Jesus-question-charityRUSH:  Ladies and gentlemen, I have a question, maybe a couple of questions here, and I ask these questions simply because I would like the answers.  And these questions derive from what I have heard on television today during our obscene profit time-outs here. I very rarely do this, but I turned the audio up, I actually listened, and I’ve caught a couple of guests on Fox and they’ve been asked, “Are you aware that people like Rush Limbaugh are calling the pope Marxist?”

“Oh, yeah, yeah, we’re aware of that, and the pope is clearly aware of it, too, but like the pope said on the plane yesterday, he’s not a leftist.  It’s just a misinterpretation.”  And this one guest said, “There’s nothing liberal about the pope. He’s just a good Catholic.” He started rattling off charity and concern and all these other things that define Christianity and said that’s all the pope is.

Okay, so I have a question, because this seems to be a major point of contention.  I have long maintained that whenever it happened in our welfare state, and we could probably find this with enough deep research.  When welfare became or started to become categorized as charity is when liberalism began to be attractive to churches.  Churches quite naturally are big on charity both as recipients for distribution and donors.  They do both sides.

So along comes this pope now and his not apologists, but the people translating for him or explaining, interpreting, “Oh, no, no, no, this ideological, pope is not liberal, no, no, no, no, no.  Don’t be so silly.  Don’t be so foolish.  Don’t be so small-minded.  He’s simply a Catholic, simply Christian, this is what Christians and Catholics do.”  And then, “It’s what Jesus did, simply what Jesus did.”  So my question is this.  I need some legitimate help on this.  I know that Jesus preached charity.  Did Jesus tell people to give their money to the Romans so that the Romans could then distribute it?

In other words, did Jesus tell people to give their money to whatever governing entity there was, or entities there were at the time, or did he preach charity as an individual thing?  In other words, was Jesus a big-government charitable advocate?  It seems to me that it might have been the opposite, that Jesus had some problems with governments.

These are just open-ended questions to which I’m asking if people have the answer.

These are not rhetorical questions.

welfare-government-charity-madisonWell, I don’t think there’s anything offensive about these questions.  One, I’m trying to understand, because it’s come up today.  One of the undeniable truths in our culture is that the modern day Democrat Party does not like religion.  They don’t like Christianity.  That’s not even arguable.  (interruption)  Well, certain big government didn’t like Jesus, but my point is when it comes to chair, the pope seems to be advocating that governments need to do all of these big things, and our interpreters on TV are saying, “Yep, that’s what Jesus did.”

Is that right?  I am not a theologian.  I have never used this program to preach or proselytize.  As you well know, I don’t go into any of these arguments. Faith is a deeply personal, private thing. That’s why I don’t even condone arguments about it on this program, so I’m just asking here.  (interruption)  No, I’m not asking if… (interruption)  When Jesus told people to be charitable, was he telling them to pay higher taxes and let the Romans take care of it?  (interruption)  He wasn’t, right?  The Romans ran the show. 

I mean, the Romans were the government then.  They were the federal government.  There might have been some local pretenders and so forth, but that’s all I’m asking.  He said render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but he also then had a qualifier after that which made it clear that Caesar was not entitled to everything.  I mean, you can interpret it, “Yeah, pay your fair tax and get the hell out of Dodge.”  But this is why I’m asking the question, because it’s being interpreted today.  The left — I find this fascinating.  The left, which does not hold any really great love for the Catholic Church or organized religion at all is now all of a sudden trying to portray themselves as Christ-like. 

And it’s all in the name of big government, all in the name of trying to portray now what the Democrat Party’s doing, the American left is doing as Christ-like, taking advantage of the visit of the pope in order to create that impression with people.

Culture Wars: Socialism Kills Life Itself

Culture Wars:

Socialism Kills Life Itself

Rush Limbaugh

Thanks to A.F. Branco at Comically Incorrect  for his great cartoons

We keep hearing that the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh at the Supreme Court’s gonna result in people dying. Terry McAuliffe yesterday, governor of Virginia, said “millions will die.” Nancy Pelosi said it is “the end of civilization as we know it.” I asked Vice President Pence yesterday… He was on in the second segment, the first hour.

I said, “What is your timeline for ending civilization, and just how many millions of deaths are you calculating and what’s your timeline for that?” He, of course, chuckled, knowing the absolute stupidity and deranged, delusional nature of such comments — and yet the left keeps making these comments. “People are gonna die! Millions of people are gonna die! We’re gonna have massive civilizational collapse because…” They’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I’ll tell you what’s happening. It’s starting to fall on deaf ears.

You can’t tell people for 30 years that conservatives rising to power is going to end life on earth and be believed if life continues on earth. They have been shouting these dire warnings for 30 years, and they never happen, and I think people have become immune. But let me address this directly. Leftists say that people are gonna die because of Kavanaugh.

How many have died because of Republican Policies?

  • How many have died because of Neil Gorsuch being confirmed to be on the Supreme Court and now having decided some cases? Has anybody seen any reports of death attributable to Neil Gorsuch being on the Supreme Court?
  • How many people have died since tax reform was signed into law? How many people have perished and on the death certificate it says, “Killed Due to Trump Tax Reform Act”? How many people have died since we repealed the Obamacare personal mandate? They told us people were gonna die if we did away with the mandate, the mandate requiring people to have health insurance. How many people have died because of that?

None.

  • How many people have died since net neutrality was erased?How many people have died since net neutrality was ended?

Answer: zero.

  • How many people have died since Donald Trump called out North Korea? How many people have died since Donald Trump had the summit with Kim Jong-un in North Korea?

 Zip, zero, nada.

How many people have died from Trump being tough on the G7 or any other globalist organization and meeting? How many deaths, how many people have died since Kavanaugh was nominated a couple days ago? How many injuries? How many deaths?

This is what they’re claiming is gonna happen. Meanwhile, while there are no deaths associated with conservative policies such as nominating and confirming Gorsuch, passing tax reform, getting rid of the Obamacare mandate, wiping out net neutrality, having an arrangement with North Korea… There aren’t any deaths associated with any of those policies.

However, how many deaths are associated every year with abortion? (Gasp!) Sorry. How many deaths are associated every year with women’s reproductive freedom?

The answer: 1.3 million.

It’s 1.3 million.

People die, literally die when liberal policies are implemented and maintained.

Illegal immigration.

How many innocent people have died at the hands of criminal illegal immigrants wandering free in our country? The best number we have is 4,380 Americans murdered annually by illegal aliens.

Roughly 22,000 Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens since September 11th, 2011.

How many people have died from leftist immigration policies, open borders? In 2016, more than 63,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States. How many of those deaths due to Democrat open-border policies — and, I should say, Republican.

Socialism Kills

There are many mainstream Republicans who favor open borders as well. So the point is, liberalism kills. Socialism kills. How many people are dying in Venezuela? How many people are dying in Cuba? How many people are dying in North Vietnam? How many people are dying in ChiCom China?

Wherever you find liberalism, socialism, communism, death is a common occurrence.

 

It’s not a common occurrence with conservatism or Republican policy, and yet look at the campaign to defeat Kavanaugh.

“Millions of people will die!”

“Civilization will end as we know it!”

US Constitution Series 7: Free Enterprise vs. Free Stuff

Dinner Topics for Thursday

US Constitution Series 7:

Free Enterprise vs. Free Stuff

From The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

keyThe utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of the wealth], and a community of goods [central ownership of all the means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional. ~Samuel Adams (p.119)

 The Proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not provide Equal Things

Equal Opportunity, Liberty of Enterprise, NOT Equal Income, NOT Free Stuff

redistsocialismillustratedIn Europe, during the days of the Founders, a popular idea was that government should take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots” so that all might be truly “equal.” However, the American Founders believed that this idea contained a huge fallacy.

Suppose a kind-hearted man saw that one of his neighbors had two cars while another neighbor had none. What would happen if, in a spirit of benevolence, the kind man went over and took one of the cars from his prosperous neighbor and generously gave it to the neighbor in need? Obviously, he would be arrested for car theft. No matter how kind his intentions, he is guilty of flagrantly violating the natural rights of his prosperous neighbor, who is entitled to be protected in his property.

What if the “kind-hearted” man got the government to force the prosperous car-owner to give a car to his pedestrian neighbor?

A Lesson from Communism

hammerandsickleWhen the communists seized power in Hungary, the peasants were delighted with the “justice” of having the large farms confiscated from their owners and given to the peasants. Later the Communist leaders seized three-fourths of the peasant land and took it back to set up government communal farms. Immediately the peasants howled in protest about their property “rights.”

Those who protested too loudly or too long soon found that they not only lost their land, but also their liberty. If they continued to protest, they lost their lives.

Equal Rights Doctrine Protects the Freedom to Prosper

The policy of the American Founders was to guarantee the equal protection of all the people’s rights and thus insure that all would have the freedom to prosper. There was to be no special penalty for getting rich. (pp. 115-117)

 

Making the Whole Nation Prosperous

wealthspreadworkethicThe Founders felt that America would become a nation dominated by a prosperous middle class with a few people becoming rich. As for the poor, the important thing was to insure the freedom to prosper so that no one would be locked into the poverty level the way people have been in all other parts of the world.

Some would prosper more than others. Some would prosper because of talent, some because of good fortune, some because of an inheritance, but most would prosper because of hard work.

Where people suffered the loss of their crops or became unemployed, the more fortunate were to help. And those who were enjoying “good times” were encouraged to save up in store for the misfortunes which seem to come to everybody someday. Hard work, frugality, thrift, and compassion became the key words in the American ethic. (p. 118)

Why the Founders Made European Theories Unconstitutional

America soon became the most prosperous and best-educated people on earth. The key was using the government to protect equal rights, not to provide equal things. Samuel Adams said the ideas of a welfare state were made unconstitutional:

The utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of the wealth], and a community of goods [central ownership of all the means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional. ~Samuel Adams (p.119)

Founders’ Formula for Compassion

Benjamin Franklin wrote:

wealthredistribute1To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike; but, if we provide encouragement for laziness, and supports for folly, may we not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishments for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance? Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need to be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good. (Smyth, Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 3:135)

Highlights from the writings of the Founders suggest the following:

1. Do not help the needy completely. Merely help them to help themselves.

2. Give the poor the satisfaction of “earned achievement” instead of rewarding them without achievement.

3. Allow the poor to climb the “appreciation ladder”—from tents to cabins, cabins to cottages, cottages to comfortable houses.

4. Where emergency help is provided, do not prolong it to the point where it becomes habitual.

5. Strictly enforce the scale of “fixed responsibility.” The first and foremost level of responsibility is with the individual himself; the second level is the family; then the church; next the community; finally the county, and, in a disaster or emergency, the state. Under no circumstances is the federal government to become involved in public welfare.

wealthprivatesectorThe Founders felt it would corrupt the government and also the poor. No Constitutional authority exists for the federal government to participate in charity or welfare.

(pp.120-121)

US Constitution Series 6: All Men are Created Equal—Law, Liberty, and Socialism

Next Principle 8: Men are Endowed by their Creator with Certain Unalienable Rights

Defining Moment: American Covenant with God

Defining Moment:

American Covenant with God

keyThe fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. . . Let us therefore relay upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is.”~ George Washington [3]

covenant2Sometimes denotes an agreement between persons or nations; more often between God and man; but in this latter case it is important to notice that the two parties to the agreement do not stand in the relation of independent and equal contractors. God in his good pleasure fixes the terms, which man accepts. The same word is sometimes rendered “testament.”

The gospel is so arranged that principles and ordinances are received by covenant placing the recipient under strong obligation and responsibility to honor the commitment. Thurs the severe consequences to Ananias and Sapphira, who deliberately broke their covenant and lied unto God. (Acts 5:1-11)[1]

Prayer-at-Valley-forge-500George Washington, the Covenant Leader

“We have nothing, my Dear Sir to depend upon, but the protection of a kind Providence.” (Washington in a letter to John Adams)

When Washington and his troops were trapped at Brooklyn Heights, he called for his men to repent and be righteous, to do those things which would bring the blessings of heaven. This was in the pattern of a covenant relationship.

GENERAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, MAY 15, 1776:

Friday [May] 17th, Instant to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please him to pardon all our manifold sins and transgressions, and to prosper the Arms of the United Colonies, and finally establish the peace and freedom of America, upon  a solid and lasting foundation.[2]

 

The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. . . Let us therefore relay upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is.”[3]

Washington understood the power of the Declaration of Independence. On July 9, 1776, he had the Declaration read to his men.

Const-signers-AmericansWhoRiskedAllThe commitment and dedication of the signers is revealed in the covenantal concluding statement:

“With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

After the reading, he reminded his men:

“The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger–The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.” [4]

 

[1] Bible Dictionary, 651

[2] Bennett, The Spirit of America, 393

[3] Novak, Michael and Jana, Washington’s God: Religion, Liberty, and the Father of our Country, 71

[4] Bennett, The Spirit of America, 390

Critical Thinking Skills: Parable shows Unseen Realities of Bad Economic Policy

Dinner Topics

Moral Character Education

Critical Thinking Skills:

Parable shows Unseen Realities of Bad Economic Policy

Frederic Bastiat and Legalized Plunder, or Socialism Failure

Frederic Bastiat: The Law

keyNote: I found the Parable of the Broken Window when I clicked on just one more link. Parents, teach your children to pursue topics they are interested in. Your young people will excel in their education when they educate themselves, and they acquire a thirst for learning. You will not find any teachings of Frederic Bastiat in typical public schools. And look what they are missing!

The Law, by Frederic Bastiat. This is a short little book written in the nineteenth century. It really nails the notion of governments who think they can plunder the citizenry, just because they are the government and “above the law.” This is classic literature that you will want in your library, and which teens and young adults will find thought-provoking. It is well known by reliable historians, and should be easily available to purchase online. I highly recommend this little book to read aloud and discuss together. It will give you a clear understanding of how economics should be. ~C.A. Davidson

 

The Parable of the Broken Window

Bastiat’s original parable or story of the broken window from Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (1850):

brokenwindowHave you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation-“It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade—that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs—I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.[1][2]

Bastiat’s argument

Austrian theorists, and Bastiat himself, apply the parable of the broken window in a different way. Suppose it was discovered that the little boy was actually hired by the glazier, and paid a franc for every window he broke. Suddenly the same act would be regarded as theft: the glazier was breaking windows in order to force people to hire his services. Yet the facts observed by the onlookers remain true: the glazier benefits from the business at the expense of the baker, the tailor, and so on.

Bastiat argues that people actually do endorse activities which are morally equivalent to the glazier hiring a boy to break windows for him:

Whence we arrive at this unexpected conclusion: “Society loses the value of things which are uselessly destroyed;” and we must assent to a maxim which will make the hair of protectionists stand on end—To  break, to spoil, to waste, is not to encourage national labour; or, more briefly, “destruction is not profit.”

What will you say, Moniteur Industriel[3]-what will you say, disciples of good M. F. Chamans, who has calculated with so much precision how much trade would gain by the burning of Paris, from the number of houses it would be necessary to rebuild?[1][2]

Bastiat is not addressing production – he is addressing the stock of wealth. In other words, Bastiat does not merely look at the immediate but at the longer effects of breaking the window. Moreover, Bastiat does not only take into account the consequences of breaking the window for one group but for all groups, for society as a whole.[4]

Complete article from Wikipedia

Biography

BastiatBastiat was born in Bayonne, Aquitaine, a port town in the south of France on the Bay of Biscay, on 29 June 1801. His father, Pierre Bastiat, was a prominent businessman in the town. His mother died in 1808 when Frédéric was seven years old.[2] His father moved inland to the town of Mugron with Frédéric following soon after. The Bastiat estate in Mugron had been acquired during the French Revolution and had previously belonged to the Marquis of Poyanne. Pierre Bastiat died in 1810, leaving Frédéric an orphan. He was taken in by his paternal grandfather and his maiden aunt, Justine Bastiat.[2] He attended a school in Bayonne, but his aunt thought poorly of it and so enrolled him in Saint-Sever. At 17, he left school at Sorèze to work for his uncle in his family’s export business. It was the same firm where his father had been a partner. Economist Thomas DiLorenzo suggests that this experience was crucial to Bastiat’s later work since it allowed young Frédéric to acquire first-hand knowledge of how regulation can affect markets.[3] Sheldon Richman notes that “he came of age during the Napoleonic wars, with their extensive government intervention in economic affairs.”[4]

Bastiat began to develop an intellectual interest. He no longer wished to work with his uncle and dreamed of going to Paris for formal studies. This dream never came true as his grandfather was in poor health and wished to go to the Mugron estate. Bastiat accompanied him and took care of him. The next year, when Bastiat was 24, his grandfather died, leaving the young man the family estate, thereby providing him with the means to further his theoretical inquiries.[2] Bastiat developed intellectual interests in several areas including “philosophy, history, politics, religion, travel, poetry, political economy and biography.”[3] “After the middle-class Revolution of 1830, Bastiat became politically active and was elected justice of the peace of Mugron in 1831 and to the Council General (county-level assembly) of Landes in 1832. He was elected to the national legislative assembly after the French Revolution of 1848.”[1]

His public career as an economist began only in 1844 when his first article was published in the Journal des economistes in October of that year. It was cut short by his untimely death in 1850. Bastiat had contracted tuberculosis, probably during his tours throughout France to promote his ideas, and that illness eventually prevented him from making further speeches (particularly at the legislative assembly to which he was elected in 1848 and 1849) and took his life. In the fall of 1850, he was sent to Italy by his doctors. He first traveled Pisa, then onto Rome. On 24 December 1850, Bastiat called those with him to approach his bed. He murmured twice the words “The truth” then passed away.[2]

Bastiat’s most famous work, however, is undoubtedly The Law, originally published as a pamphlet in 1850. It defines, through development, a just system of laws and then demonstrates how such law facilitates a free society.

 

manwbagBastiat asserted that the sole purpose of government is to defend and protect the right of an individual to life, liberty, and property. From this definition, Bastiat concluded that the law cannot defend life, liberty, and property if it promotes socialist policies, which are inherently opposed to these very things. In this way, he says, the law is perverted and turned against the only things (life, liberty, and property) it is supposed to defend.[12]

He was also a strong supporter of free trade. He “was inspired by and routinely corresponded with Richard Cobden and the English Anti-Corn Law League and worked with free-trade associations in France.”[1]

In The Law, Bastiat explains that, if the privileged classes use the government for “legalized plunder”, this will encourage the lower classes to revolt or use socialist “legalized plunder” and that the correct response to both the socialists and the corporatists [crony capitalism and corporate socialism are the same] is to cease all “legalized plunder”. Bastiat also explains why his position is that the law cannot defend life, liberty, and property if it promotes socialist policies. When used to obtain “legalized plunder” for any group, he says, the law is perverted and turned against the thing it is supposed to defend.[12]

 

Dinner Talk

1. What do you learn from the Parable of the Broken Window? Why do Progressives and Socialists use the broken economy to make people dependent on them? (Hint: They get more power and votes.)

2. Bastiat writes of “legalized plunder.” In ancient American history, there was a group called Gadiantons who took over the free government and engaged in plunder. How is this a type of what governments do today? What recent examples can you give of our government engaging in “legalized plunder?”