Judeo-Christian Culture: Free Will and Religious Freedom

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Free Will and Religious Freedom

Is religious liberty for everyone?

The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.

Ed Vitagliano

November 2018 – It has been observed that, in the Bill of Rights, religious liberty is literally the “first freedom.” Of the five rights listed in the First Amendment, religious liberty is listed first. The wording is simple, yet sublime: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. …”

With growing controversies over immigrants and refugees entering the U.S., both legally and illegally, Christians have struggled to answer this question: Does this first constitutional freedom apply to religions other than Christianity? There are good reasons to answer yes.

A right to disobey?


Most Christians are probably happy to include religious freedom among the collection of “natural” rights in the Declaration of Independence, rights that are according to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” In one of the most well known sentences in the English language, author Thomas Jefferson famously stated:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Ironically, this creates something of a paradox for the Christian who is loyal to God. On the one hand, the believer sees religious liberty as something that allows the mission of the church to proceed unhindered by government opposition.

On the other hand, it would appear that the Christian is also saying the God of the Bible has granted to every person the “natural right” to worship a false god, a million gods, or even the devil himself.

Religious liberty for all?


However, the answer to the paradox explains why the founders instituted religious liberty in the first place. They understood religious liberty as something congruent to the biblical teaching of “free will.”*

That is to say:

(1) because God has granted people free will, they can decide for themselves what God, god, or gods they will serve;

(2) because they are free before God to worship whomever they choose, our Bill of Rights guarantees freedom safe from government coercion;

(3) because true Christian conversion requires a commitment of faith in Jesus Christ, allowing Christians to proselytize and allowing unbelievers to reject the gospel is actually the most biblical approach to take.

James Madison, one of the most influential Founding Fathers, said in his tract Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (1785):

The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.

The trigger for Madison’s tract was a bill he opposed in the General Assembly of Virginia that would have created from the state treasury a subsidy for Christian preachers. At the time, many were warning that piety and religious observance in Virginia were waning. The solution: government should promote the gospel so the detrimental trends could be arrested.

Not only should government not prefer one religion over another, Madison argued. Religious freedom must be available to everyone. He said:

Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?

It is reasonable to argue that a freedom which one Christian treasures for himself might also be a freedom that another Christian – or even a pagan – might equally treasure.

Coerced to become Christian?
It seems axiomatic for evangelicals today to assert that one can be forced to become a Christian. True, a person can be coerced to confess with his mouth that Jesus is Lord – or to demonstrate any number of outward signs of “conversion.” But Paul makes clear in Romans 10:10 that authentic outward expression must accompany faith in the heart for there to be true salvation.

Madison asserts that this is precisely why religious liberty must be granted to all:

James Madison

Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man. …

Thus, the rebel who rejects the gospel is answerable to God; he is not and should not be answerable to the state for that rejection.

Moreover, the state cannot do what only the church, through Christ, can do – produce true converts. If the state attempts to empower government “magistrates” to coerce Christian conversion, Madison said, it becomes “an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.”

Against the darkness
It’s important to recognize that Madison is not arguing against Christians “voting their values.” Instead, he is declaring that government must not officially – and thus with coercive power – promote one religious view over another.

The Judeo-Christian worldview is part of the foundation of America. We should seek to convince our fellow citizens that the only way for our society to thrive is for Christian principles to be the bedrock of civic and cultural life.

In fact, it is quite biblical for Christians to warn non-believing Americans that God blesses nations for doing right in His sight and judges nations for committing evil (Jeremiah 18:7-10).

Followers of Christ are called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), and it is no exaggeration to state that, without that cultural influence, decay and darkness will ultimately triumph.

Nevertheless, while it is important for Christians to protect and promote religious liberty, both for themselves and for those with whom they disagree, it is equally important to remember that followers of Christ should not help false religions with their work. For example, they should not aid in the construction of Muslim mosques or otherwise contribute to the spread of Islam.

We believe that God has spoken through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2), and those who deny this are of “the spirit of error” and “the spirit of the antichrist” (1 John 4:1-6). New Testament writers were severe when warning against cooperating with false religions. In 2 John 10-11, the apostle emphasizes that false teachers should be neither welcomed nor aided:

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this [gospel] teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

Whether all earthly freedoms are granted to us or are denied, the Christian’s first allegiance is to Christ the King and His kingdom.

*For those who point to Scriptures such as John 3:1-8 and conclude that sinners are free to choose Christ only as the Holy Spirit changes their heart, this substitute might be preferable: For those who are granted the grace to become born again, religious liberty is a blessing that allows men and women to follow that conversion impulse with minimal hindrance from the government.

____________________
For more studies on freedom of religion in the U.S., consider The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty, America’s Providential History, and other books and video resources by Stephen McDowell. Founder of Providence Foundation, McDowell is a highly esteemed historian who chronicles the nation’s Christian roots. Visit providencefoundation.com or call 434-978-4535 for more information.

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Freedom of Religion Theme Quotes

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Freedom of Religion Theme Quotes

“A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins. ~Ben Franklin

Human Liberty is the mainstream of human progress. ~Ezra Taft Benson

Freedom can be killed by neglect as well as by direct attack. ~Ezra Taft Benson

The loss of freedom with the consent of the enslaved, or even at their request, is nonetheless slavery. ~Marion G. Romney

American Covenant with God

by Jon McNaughton

If my people . . . shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

“No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and he never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. . . .He will [always] stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them.” ~George Q. Cannon

This is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ. ~Ether 2:12

God made man free—and then gave him the commandments to keep him free. We cannot break the Ten Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them—or else, by keeping them, rise through them to the fullness of freedom under God. ~Cecil B. De Mille

I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. Doctrine and Covenants 82:10

 

True to the faith that our parents have cherished,

True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,

To God’s command,

Soul, heart, and hand,

Faithful and true we will ever stand.

~Evan Stephens

I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means. ~John Adams

Divine covenants make strong Christians. I urge each one to qualify for and receive all the priesthood ordinances you can and then faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant. In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact. Then you can ask in faith, nothing wavering, according to your need, and God will answer. He will sustain you as you work and watch. In His own time and way He will stretch forth his hand to you, saying, “Here am I.” D. Todd Christofferson

And every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. ~1 Nephi 22:14

Therefore my people are gone into acaptivity, because they have no bknowledge. ~ Isaiah 5:13

 

He that thinks absolute power purifies men’s blood and corrects the baseness of human nature, need only read history to be convinced to the contrary. ~John Locke

“Oh!  What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,” warned Sir Walter Scott.

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

There is a God. Evolution cannot explain Creation. A cat cannot  build a hospital and nver will. Not can a dolphin. Humanity is exceptional. And we each only get one life. Most people take it for granted. What is Life? How does it happen? Where does it come from? The answer is God .~Rush Limbaugh

“History repeats itself. It has to. No one is listening.” ~ Steve Turner, British poet

For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people.

~Alma 8:17

And that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by them that digged it. ~1Nephi 14:3

Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein. ~Proverbs 26:27

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Search for Truth, Plan of Salvation, Cautionary Advice

Judeo-Christian Culture: Search for Truth, Plan of Salvation, Cautionary Advice Truth and the Plan By Dallin H. Oaks   When we seek the truth about religion, we should use spiritual methods appropriate for that search. Modern revelation defines truth as a … Continue reading

Election Day 2018: Issues Facing America—Democratic Party Platform vs. GOP Party Platform

Election Day 2018: Issues Facing America—

Democratic Party Platform vs. GOP Party Platform

 

10 key issues Facing America

November 2018 – HUMAN LIFE
Democratic Party
Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. We believe unequivocally that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion – regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and wellbeing. …We will continue to oppose – and seek to overturn – federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.

Republican Party
The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD
Democratic Party
We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people.

Republican Party
We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide health care.

JUDGES
Democratic Party

We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and see the Constitution as a blueprint for progress.

Republican Party
We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We condemn attempts by activist judges at any level of government to seize the power of the purse from the people’s elected representatives by ordering higher taxes.

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Democratic Party
Democrats know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith in many forms and the countless acts of justice, mercy, and tolerance it inspires. We believe in lifting up and valuing the good work of people of faith and religious organizations and finding ways to support that work where possible.

Republican Party
We value the right of America’s religious leaders to preach, and Americans to speak freely, according to their faith. Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.

EDUCATION/SCHOOL CHOICE
Democratic Party
Democrats are also committed to providing parents with high-quality public school options and expanding these options for low-income youth. We support democratically governed, great neighborhood public schools and high-quality public charter schools, and we will help them disseminate best practices to other school leaders and educators. Democrats oppose for-profit charter schools focused on making a profit off of public resources.

Republican Party
We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools. We especially support the innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits.

SEX EDUCATION
Democratic Party
We recognize that quality, affordable comprehensive health care, evidence-based sex education, and a full range of family planning services help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.

Republican Party
We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.

OBAMACARE
Democratic Party
Thanks to the hard work of President Obama and Democrats in Congress, we took a critically important step towards the goal of universal health care by passing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has offered coverage to 20 million more Americans and ensured millions more will never be denied coverage on account of a pre-existing condition.

Republican Party
Any honest agenda for improving health care must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare. …To simplify the system for both patients and providers, we will reduce mandates and enable insurers and providers of care to increase health care options and contain costs.

MARRIAGE
Democratic Party
Democrats applaud [the 2015] decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people – like every other American – have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much work to be done. … Democrats will fight for the continued development of sex discrimination law to cover LGBT people. We will also fight for comprehensive federal non-discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans … .

Republican Party
We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v Hodges. … In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH
Democratic Party
Democrats believe we must accelerate the pace of medical progress, ensuring that we invest more in our scientists and give them the resources they need to invigorate our fundamental studies in the life sciences in a growing, stable, and predictable way. …We recognize the critical importance of a fully funded National Institutes of Health to accelerate the pace of medical progress.

Republican Party
We call for expanded support for the stem cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions – through adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells – without the destruction of embryonic human life. We urge a ban on human cloning for research or reproduction, and a ban on the creation of, or experimentation on, human embryos for research.

IRAN
Democratic Party
We support the nuclear agreement with Iran because, if vigorously enforced and implemented, it verifiably cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb without resorting to war.

Republican Party
We consider the Administration’s deal with Iran, to lift international sanctions and make hundreds of billions of dollars available to the Mullahs, a personal agreement between the President and his negotiating partners. … Because of it, the defiant and emboldened regime in Tehran continues to sponsor terrorism across the region, develop a nuclear weapon, test-fire ballistic missiles inscribed with “Death to Israel,” and abuse the basic human rights of its citizens. A Republican president will not be bound by it.

*Full text of party platforms available at:
democrats.org/party-platform
gop.com/platform

History Heroes: U.S. Constitution, John Locke, and Founding Fathers

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

keyHe that thinks absolute power purifies men’s blood and corrects the baseness of human nature, need only read history to be convinced to the contrary. ~John Locke

John Locke’s Influence on the U.S. Constitution and Founding Fathers

signers3John Locke 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704), widely known as the Father of Classical Liberalism,[2][3][4] was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work had a great impact upon the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.[5]

Influence on Founding Fathers

The Constitutional Convention began deliberations on May 25, 1787.
Delegates used two streams of intellectual tradition, and any one delegate could be found using both or a mixture depending on the subject under discussion, foreign affairs or the economy, national government or federal relationships among the states. The Virginia Plan recommended a consolidated national government, generally favoring the big population states. It used the philosophy of John Locke to rely on consent of the governed, Montesquieu for divided government, and Edward Coke emphasizing civil liberties. The New Jersey Plan generally favored the small population states, using the philosophy of English Whigs such as Edmund Burke to rely on received procedure, and William Blackstone emphasizing sovereignty of the legislature.
The Convention devolved into a “Committee of the Whole” to consider the fifteen propositions of the Virginia Plan in their numerical order. These discussions continued until June 13, when the Virginia resolutions in amended form were reported out of committee.
All agreed to a republican form of government grounded in representing the people in the states.

Influence

Locke exercised a profound influence on political philosophy, in particular on modern liberalism. Michael Zuckert has argued that Locke launched liberalism by tempering Hobbesian absolutism and clearly separating the realms of Church and State. He had a strong influence on Voltaire who called him “le sage Locke”.

 His arguments concerning liberty and the social contract later influenced the written works of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers of the United States. In fact, one passage from the Second Treatise is reproduced verbatim in the Declaration of Independence, the reference to a “long train of abuses.”

 

Such was Locke’s influence that Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Bacon, Locke and Newton … I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences”.[11][12][13] Today, most contemporary libertarians claim Locke as an influence.
But Locke’s influence may have been even more profound in the realm of epistemology. Locke redefined subjectivity, or self, and intellectual historians such as Charles Taylor and Jerrold Seigel argue that Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) marks the beginning of the modern Western conception of the self.[14]

Theories of religious tolerance

johnlockeLocke, writing his Letters Concerning Toleration (1689–92) in the aftermath of the European wars of religion, formulated a classic reasoning for religious tolerance. Three arguments are central: (1) Earthly judges, the state in particular, and human beings generally, cannot dependably evaluate the truth-claims of competing religious standpoints; (2) Even if they could, enforcing a single “true religion” would not have the desired effect, because belief cannot be compelled by violence; (3) Coercing religious uniformity would lead to more social disorder than allowing diversity.[15]

Locke also advocated governmental separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances. These ideas would come to have profound influence on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

Continued

Dinner Talk: Definition of Classic Liberalism vs. Modern Liberalism

John Locke is called the Father of “Classic Liberalism.” The Founding Fathers were considered liberal at the time of the American Revolution because they were in favor of liberty, and they wanted to change the form of government to allow more liberty.Tories were considered to be conservative, because they wanted to conserve the Britiish monarchy.

Today these definitions have almost reversed. Today’s liberals want to change the U.S. Constitution (or destroy it) to decrease the amount of liberty, give more power to the federal government, and remove responsibility from the individual. Today, the Founding Fathers would be considered to be conservative, because they would want to conserve the U.S. constitution which they created, with limited government, and freedom of the people, balanced with individual responsibility.

Polish History Facts: Polish Kings vs. Islamic Invasion

Polish History Facts:

Polish Kings vs. Islamic Invasion

The Warrior-King Who Saved Europe From Islam

Carrie Gress

We are talking about a struggle that is far from being straightforward and elemental like when two armies are facing each other, which means that the new Sobieskis won’t necessarily be soldiers. They will mainly be cultural warriors and Christian activists willing to put themselves on the front lines of the ideological war against this new incursion. ~ Miltiades Varvounis

Poland’s kings are a fascinating bunch, ranging from great scoundrels like Boleslaw the Bold, who hacked up St. Stanislaw, to larger than life characters like King Kazimierz, who raised 14th century Poland to greatness. Even St. Jadwiga, who founded the Jagiellonian University, was technically “king” because 14th century Polish law did not allow for a queen.

I caught up with Greek-Polish historian Miltiades Varvounis, author of Jan Sobieski: The King Who Saved Europe, to talk about another Polish king—King Jan Sobieski. Considered the greatest warrior king of his time, Sobieski is best known for winning the Battle of Vienna against the Ottoman Empire in 1683, but he his legacy goes well beyond the battlefield.

Gress: Why did you write the book Jan Sobieski: The King Who Saved Europe?

Varvounis: Jan Sobieski was one of the most illustrious rulers ever to command an army. He gained glory and fame in his thirties through his exceptional military skills and he was acknowledged as the greatest warrior-king of his time throughout the rest of his turbulent life. His patriotism, his strong faith and hope in God, his military reputation, his taste for arts and letters, and his talents – all these were legendary in his lifetime.

Tell us a bit about the man Jan Sobieski. What pieces of his life were critical to forming this incredible leader of Poland? 

Sobieski also enjoyed learning and during his studies at Krakow, he was fascinated with the Crusades and the legendary battles of the soldiers of Jesus Christ against the centuries-old Islamic imperialist aggression. Fate had him visiting Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire as a member of a Polish diplomatic mission in the 1650s, where he had a chance to observe and understand better the Islamic world and the Ottoman diplomacy.

Sobieski was aware that his purpose in life was not to rule peacefully or to be a patron of arts, but to defend Christendom during the most difficult moment in its entire history.

Gress: The Battle of Vienna had huge consequences for Poland as well as for the rest of Europe. Tell us about it and how Sobieski won it.

Varvounis: The Battle of Vienna was one of the most dramatic and decisive battles ever fought. It marked the turning point in the 1000 years of relentless struggle between the West and Islam. In fact, the West recovered and struck back, finally ending Ottoman domination in southeastern Europe. In other words, it was an epic battle that ended the expansion of imperialistic

Polish winged hussars vs. Islamic invasion jihad

Islam into the heart of the Western world; never again would the armies of the sultan threaten the gates of Europe. The nightmarish scenario of Europe being divided by the Ottoman and French absolutism was avoided.

Regarding the battle that shaped the modern Western world and has no parallel in history, it lasted for 12 hours and was won thanks to the determined leadership of Sobieski and his “Angels of Death” – winged hussars – the best cavalry of all time.

I want to emphasize the strength of faith in such moments. Many crucial battles which took place in the name of freedom and Jesus Christ were won by Christian armies because faith and hope – both Christian virtues – existed in the hearts of the soldiers. Sometimes tactics and bravery were not enough to prevail in a battle whose outcome was dangling in the air like an aimless sword. Christian faith was the extra piece that could determine an uncertain struggle, and that was also the case in Vienna, where all the Christian soldiers prayed before marching towards the enemy, knowing that the Lord would bless them and give them strength in those critical times.

What do you think King Sobieski’s lasting legacy is?

His legacy includes many cultural developments, artistic achievements, historical monuments and he contributed to the making of scientific discoveries. He won the mother of all battles, which led to significant geopolitical changes, thus shaping the future of the West.

Sobieski’s lasting legacy is most alive in our continuous search for love, freedom, justice, faith, hope, and solidarity. We also have to understand that there are times when the Lord reveals himself to us in someone else’s struggles and victories. The Lord uses such extraordinary people and faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ as Sobieski to enrich our hearts, expand our minds, and empower our bodies. Therefore, Sobieski, who was truly blessed by the Lord, can inspire and motivate people by helping us to dream, believe, take risks for the Kingdom, and to pursue what we otherwise would believe is beyond ourselves.

What parallels, if any, do you see between King Sobieski’s situation and Europe’s current engagement with Islam?

Culture War, not Military. There is an ongoing clash of civilizations between the West and Islam. Today the Islamic peaceful invasion of Europe is of the demographic, not military, sort.

The continent faces an immigration crisis from at least one generation of young Muslims, many of whom are not only zealously unassimilated, but also are influenced by radical imams to wage cultural and physical aggression against their hosts, establishing parallel communities ruled by sharia and “no-go” zones of violence toward Christian and Jewish infidels.

The reader should understand that we are dealing with a large globalized strong community, where many Muslims see themselves as parts of the same social group of shared interests, goals, concerns, achievements and grievances. What is worse, the modern-day Islamic terrorism is mostly linked to Salafist and Wahhabist movements, which are very influential sub-sects of Islam today, encouraging their own variant of Islam as the only solution – the ugly version of jihad. The sad reality is that there are no signs that Islam with its aggressive, supremacist doctrine is going to be radically reformed or that a majority of Muslims will distance themselves from the numerous obsolete and outdated teachings of the Quran.

While the mainstream media and several politicians try to convince us that Islam is the religion of peace, they ignore the fact that the West is facing a resurgent Islam both at home and abroad. And the conflict between the two different and historic civilizations continues today with other terms. We are talking about a struggle that is far from being straightforward and elemental like when two armies are facing each other, which means that the new Sobieskis won’t necessarily be soldiers. They will mainly be cultural warriors and Christian activists willing to put themselves on the front lines of the ideological war against this new incursion. The long-neglected Western value of reasoning (almost destroyed by leftist cultural hegemony) urges us to criticize and understand that Islam – an increasingly organized and powerful civilization – shows little or no tolerance toward the Western society and the values for which we have fought for centuries.

Islam as a 7th century political and religious ideology is a threat to humanity as a whole but the novelty about it is that it is no longer limited to one geographical territory. It no longer respects borders. And the greatest difficulty is that it doesn’t only come from outside, it is already here – in the heart of the West.

It is, however, never too late to wake up from this sleep and to act like Sobieski by showing our enemies that the free world will not give in to violence and oppression.

 

Polish Catholics celebrate Battle of Lepanto, send a clear message to Islamists

by Ann Corcoran

 

World War 2 Heroes: Wallenberg saves Jews during Holocaust

World War 2 Heroes: Wallenberg saves Jews during Holocaust

Raoul Wallenberg

Raoul_WallenbergRaoul Gustaf Wallenberg (4 August 1912 – disappeared 17 January 1945)[1][2][3][4] was a Swedish architect, businessman, diplomat and humanitarian. He is widely celebrated for saving tens of thousands[5] of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust from German Nazis and Hungarian Fascists during the later stages of World War II. While serving as Sweden’s special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory.[5]

On 17 January 1945, during the Siege of Budapest by the Red Army, Wallenberg was detained by Soviet authorities on suspicion of espionage and subsequently disappeared.[6] He was later reported to have died on 17 July 1947 while imprisoned by communist authorities and KGB secret police in the Lubyanka, the KGB headquarters and affiliated prison in Moscow. The motives behind Wallenberg’s arrest and imprisonment by the Soviet government, along with questions surrounding the circumstances of his death and his possible ties to US intelligence, remain mysterious and are the subject of continued speculation.[7]

Due to his courageous actions on behalf of the Hungarian Jews, Raoul Wallenberg has been the subject of numerous humanitarian honors in the decades following his presumed death. In 1981, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, himself one of those saved by Wallenberg, sponsored a bill making Wallenberg an Honorary Citizen of the United States. He is also an honorary citizen of Canada, Hungary, Australia and Israel.[8] Israel has also designated Wallenberg one of the Righteous among the Nations. Monuments have been dedicated to him, and streets have been named after him throughout the world. A Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States was created in 1981 to “perpetuate the humanitarian ideals and the nonviolent courage of Raoul Wallenberg”.[9] It gives the Raoul Wallenberg Award annually to recognize persons who carry out those goals. A postage stamp was issued by the U.S. in his honour in 1997. On 26 July 2012, he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress “in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust.”[10]

More about Wallenberg at Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_Wallenberg

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Religious Freedom Summit: President Donald Trump calls for Religious Freedom Worldwide

Religious Freedom Summit: President Donald Trump calls for Religious Freedom Worldwide Pompeo: Trump Administration Sounding ‘Clarion Call for Religious Freedom Around the World’ By Michael W. Chapman | (CNSNews.com) — In anticipation of next week’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, Secretary … Continue reading

Historical Fiction Book Reviews: They Made American Dream Possible

 Historical Fiction Book Reviews:

They Made American Dream Possible

 

prelude-glory2“THESE ARE THE TIMES THAT TRY MEN’S SOULS,” said Thomas Paine, inspiring Americans to fight for independence from the tyranny of the British Empire. In Prelude to Glory, the amazing series of historical novels on the founding of America, author Ron Carter shows us in heart-breaking, gut-wrenching detail the extent of courage, suffering, and sacrifice endured by the American colonists to give birth to this great free country.

In the series, the American Revolution and founding is portrayed from a Christian point of view. Miracles that saved the Americans time and time again leave no doubt that God’s hand was in the founding of this country. Americans felt the Holy Spirit in their lives. It was the American Dream to enjoy liberty—freedom of religion, speech, and all the unalienable rights we receive only from God.

America is a one-of-a-kind country. In their best-selling book Seven Tipping Points that Saved the World, authors Chris and Ted Stewart point out that the default position of world history is oppression and slavery. Never in any place or at any time in history had a country been able to govern itself successfully. What the Americans were fighting for was only a Dream. The whole world thought it was impossible—some scoffed, others held their breath in hope. But they did win it—against impossible odds.

AFAdiscouragement_home After suffering greatly in recent years, God has given Americans another chance. We are seeing our beloved country return to her former greatness as a leader of the free world.  Even so, today we are again at war—a Culture War. There are some—certainly not a majority, as they would have you believe—who want to destroy the American Dream.

WE WON’T KEEP AMERICA FREE WITHOUT A FIGHT.   I urge you to read the Prelude to Glory series by Ron Carter.  When I read about all that those valiant Americans endured so we could enjoy freedom in our beloved nation, I ask myself, “How dare I roll over, submit, surrender, or quit? How dare I quit, give up and forfeit the hard-won liberty that God, through those noble founders, has bequeathed to us?”

lamour-comstock-lode Louis L’Amour’s Comstock Lode is another powerful story about a man who wouldn’t give up. This memorable hero is named Val Trevallion. Trevallion was a good man who nevertheless had enemies, perhaps because he was good. He and a good friend ended up trapped in a mine, because someone deliberately set off explosives in an attempt to bury them alive, and the truth along with them. Nobody knew they were there, and the situation looked utterly hopeless, with yards of rock to dig through in a short time before they ran out of oxygen. But Val would not give up.

He knew no other way. All his life there had been a battle, and all his life he had worked. He would go down working, go down fighting, go out trying as he had always done. Had he known how, he would have quit, but life had taught him everything but that.[1]

I don’t know about you, but I can relate. Do you feel buried by an avalanche of political correctness, with your freedom of speech stifled, your freedom of religion crushed by explosive, unconstitutional acts? Do you feel smothered by so much vitriolic, in-your-face opposition that you can scarcely breathe?

Well, the rest of the story is that Val had helped countless people everywhere he went. The people in the town missed him, suspected foul play, and started looking for him. They banded together, climbed the mountain to the mine, and helped him and his friend to get out.[2]

As columnist David French noted, “When it comes to the core of their faith, millions of Christians will echo, by word and deed, the words of Martin Luther: HERE WE STAND. WE CAN DO NO OTHER. “

optimismYou and I know that America will not be saved in Washington D.C. by spineless politicians who are betraying us. If we want to rescue our birthright of American liberty and Biblical values, we must start digging out toxic lies around us and putting down grass-roots of truth by teaching our families gospel principles.

At the end of the day, the only thing that will matter in the eyes of God is: whose side are we on? What did we stand for?

Remember that Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” And never forget that truth is our most powerful weapon.

truth1Let us all press on in the work of the Lord,

That when life is o’er we may gain a reward;

In the fight for right let us wield a sword,

The mighty sword of truth.

Fear not, though the enemy deride,

Courage, for the Lord is on our side.

We will heed not what the wicked may say,

But the Lord alone we will obey. ~ Evan Stephens

Don’t give up the American Dream,

Christine Davidson

Imparting Biblical Family Values—Made Easy! Click Here

1) Comstock Lode, by Louis L’Amour

2) Please don’t consider this a spoiler. The whole story is an epic of character builder which is well-worth the read. . .one of the few books I still enjoy more than once.

Thomas Jefferson: Christian Leadership

Dinner Topics for Thursday

The Real Thomas Jefferson, Part 1-3

The Real Thomas Jefferson, by Andrew M. Allison, Part 4-5

keyI hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man.

If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it.

Notes and Quotes on the life of Thomas Jefferson, Part 4 His Presidency

This is a large book, very easy and enjoyable reading, but also packed with valuable information. I will share with you some notes and quotes, a little at a time. But don’t miss reading the entire book with your family. It belongs in every American’s home library.~C.A. Davidson

Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800Jefferson’s Presidency

“Though we differ on many points, he displayed an impartiality and a freedom from prejudice that. . .were unusual. There was a mildness and amenity in his voice and manner that at once softened any of the asperities of party spirit that I felt. . .No man can be personally acquainted with Mr. Jefferson and remain his personal enemy.”  (Justice William Paterson of the Supreme Court, one of Jefferson’s most inveterate political opponents p.219)

The tone of Jefferson’s presidency was low key. Believing that American political leaders were aping European royalty too much, he led with a simple style. He never used public funds for his social gatherings.

“A Noiseless Course”

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.” (p.225)

Slander

James Callender, one of the victims of the Sedition Act who was pardoned by President Jefferson, became embittered when he didn’t receive a government post he wanted. He made up a series of scandalous stories, the ugliest of which accused Jefferson of an illicit relationship with Sally Hemings, a young mulatto slave at Monticello.

Federalists, jealous of Jefferson’s popularity, took up these false accusations, creating a relentless torrent of slander. Jefferson made no public response to these unscrupulous attacks. “I should have fancied myself half guilty,” he said, “had I condescended to put pen to paper in refutation to their falsehoods, or drawn to them respect by any notice from myself.” (p230)

In the face of it all, Jefferson defended the right of his countrymen to free press. He remained silent all during the calumny and instructed his cabinet to do the same.

Under the guise of “modern scholarship”, some recent scholars have “brought forth a rash of sensational and poorly researched publications designed to discredit America’s Founding Fathers.  Many of the ‘facts’ [Callender] dished up are known to be false.” (pp231-232)

Douglass Adair, one of the most highly respected historians of our era, concluded after examining all of the evidence on this matter which has now come to light: “Today, it is possible to prove that Jefferson was innocent of Callender’s charges.”

One of the recently discovered documents to which Adair referred was a letter written by the nineteenth-century biographer Henry Randall, recounting a conversation at Monticello between himself and Jefferson’s oldest grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph. In this conversation Randolph confirmed what others close to the family had already disclosed: that Sally Hemings was actually the mistress of Jefferson’s nephew, Peter Carr, and that “their connection . .  . was perfectly notorious at Monticello.” He also pointed out that “there was not the shadow of suspicion that Mr. Jefferson in this or any other instance had commerce with female slaves.” (from essays by Douglass Adair, cited by Allison on p.233)

It is virtually inconceivable that this fastidious gentleman whose devotion to his dead wife’s memory and to the happiness of his daughters and grandchildren bordered on the excessive could have carried on through a period of years a vulgar liaison which his own family could not have failed dot detect. It would be as absurd as to charge this consistently temperate man with being, through a long period, a secret drunkard. (Professor Dumas Malone, author of Pulitzer-Prize-winning six-volume biography of Jefferson p.234)

Jefferson wrote privately that he “feared no injury which any man could do me;. . .I never had done a single act or been concerned in any transaction which I feared to have fully laid open, or which could do me any hurt if truly stated.” (p234)

First Term

1801-1805—Jefferson sent American naval ships to the Mediterranean area, where they were victorious over the Barbary pirates, freeing up trade.

1802—Napoleon was threatening to establish a French empire in the Louisiana territory. Jefferson sent Robert Livingston to solve the situation diplomatically.

1803—The Louisiana Purchase. Almost one million acres were purchased for 15 million dollars, nearly doubling the physical size of the United States.

1804—Jefferson commissioned Lewis and Clark to explore the Louisiana Territory and reach the west coast

These brilliant public achievements were overshadowed by the personal tragedy of the death of his 26-year-old daughter Mary. He deeply mourned her death, but submitted to the will of God. (He was not an atheist!)  (pp. 240-245)

Second Term

Jefferson was reelected by a large margin.

Native Americans

Jefferson was an enthusiastic student of Indian tribes and sought to provide them with instruction in agricultural and domestic arts. He had good relations with Native Americans. (pp250-253)

Aaron Burr

As Vice President in the first term, Aaron Burr often used his tie-breaking votes to favor Federalists. He was replaced as Vice President by George Clinton.

Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. There were warrants for arrest in New Jersey and New York. He lived out the last few months of his term in disgrace and exile. Burr later became involved in a plot to divide the Union. He was arrested and tried for treason.  (pp255-257)

John Marshall

Chief Justice John Marshall acquitted Burr of treason on technicalities. Federalist judges sought to consolidate all power in hands of the federal government.

Judicial Review (pp259-260)

John Marshall established the concept of “Judicial Review”, enabling the federal courts to void Congressional laws by declaring them unconstitutional.

President Jefferson warned that Judicial Review endangered the separation-of-powers principle.

The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislative and executive also in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.

Jefferson was urged by his friends to run for a third term, but he declined. He recommended an amendment to the Constitution limiting the President to two terms.

Teach your family why Religious Freedom Matters

Dinner Talk Topics

1. If our young adults are to restore the culture of liberty, why is it vital we seek truthful history from reliable sources? Watch out for Wikipedia versions of history. Its articles on Jefferson give credence to the slanderous Sally Hemings story. The Real Thomas Jefferson was recommended by Glenn Beck. You can find many sources of historical truth and helpful analysis at his web site.

2. Do you think  today’s “Judicial Review” threatens our liberty? Why?

The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom

Part 5

Andrew M. Allison

Dear Reader,

This is the final segment of my notes and quotes from this American Classic. The Real Thomas Jefferson, by Andrew M. Allison, is a character education experience that your children must not miss. Truly, Thomas Jefferson was an exemplary epic hero. Not only is this book easy and interesting reading—it is memorable. Bless your children by reading it together with them. You, and they, will be glad you did. And they will never forget it. ~C.A. Davidson

 

Notes and Quotes on the life of Thomas Jefferson, Part 4: Retirement and Closing Years

Character Education, Thomas-Jefferson-style

Teaching Youth their Biblical Heritage  Click Here

Awards for foot races were as follows: three pieces of dried fruit—figs, prunes, or dates—to the victor, two to the second, and one to the lagger who came in last. One of his granddaughters described his method of character education.

He talked with us freely, affectionately, and never lost an opportunity of giving a pleasure or a good lesson. He reproved without wounding us, and commended without making us vain. He took pains to correct our errors and false ideas, checked the bold, encouraged the timid, and tried to teach us to reason soundly and feel rightly. Our smaller follies he treated with good-humored raillery, our graver ones with kind and serious admonition. He was watchful over our manners, and called our attention to every violation of propriety. (Ellen Coolidge, p278-279)

In 1820 he received 1,267 letters. He wrote more letters by his own hand than any other public man that ever lived. An invention  by John Hawkins of Philadelphia called the polygraph preserved 19,000 letters by duplicating them. After 1804 he produced a file copy of almost every letter he wrote. He made several improvements on the polygraph. (p 283)

Dr. Benjamin Rush, a good friend of Jefferson, wrote to both Jefferson and John Adams, urging both men to heal a rift caused by political differences. Both of the former Presidents indicated that they wanted to put aside past disagreements and renew their friendship. Adams said, “I always loved Jefferson, and still love him.” (pp284-285)  The two renewed their friendship and wrote letters for fourteen years.

Monroe Doctrine

monroe-doctrine1823—Jefferson’s successor,  James Monroe, consulted him about European influence in Latin America, which was widely feared. Said Jefferson, “Our first and fundamental maxim should be never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe. Our second, never to suffer Europe to intermeddle with cis-Atlantic affairs. From this emerged the Monroe Doctrine. (p287)

Missouri Question

Jefferson very reluctantly accepted Missouri’s entering the union as a slave state, because they threatened to secede.

“I can say, with conscious truth, that there is a not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach [i.e., slavery]in any practicable way.” He maintained hope to his dying day of emancipating the slaves. (p 289)

Visitors to Monticello

Jefferson was so loved that he had thousands of visitors continually for eight months of the year, from all over the world. Although Jefferson welcomed the visitors cheerfully and graciously, they often proved a burden to him and to his daughter Martha, who served as hostess. She would often have to prepare for as many as fifty overnight guests.

People even invaded the halls of his home just to get a look at him. One woman actually punched through a window with her parasol just to get a better view of him.

People would gaze at him point-blank as at a creature in the zoo. “They wanted to tell their children, and have it told to their grandchildren, that they had seen Thomas Jefferson.” (pp290-291)

The accommodation of these visitors, the social events in Washington that he paid from his own pocket, neglect of his plantations during his forty years of public service; his enormous generosity to his grandchildren, to local beggars, and to various charitable organizations, all mounted the great indebtedness he struggled with. One biographer wrote, “His contributions to religious, educational, and charitable objects through his life would have made his old age opulent!” (p 305)

University of Virginia

Jefferson spent the closing years of his life establishing a state university. “He believed that these two great purposes—‘the freedom and happiness of man’—should serve as the polestars of all educational programs throughout the Republic. (p 296)  The university opened in 1825, one year before his death.

I am a Real Christian

Another project of Jefferson was to compile in several languages all the New Testament passages which he understood to be the actual utterances of Jesus Christ. He titled this little book, “the Philosophy of Jesus.”

A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen. It is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus—very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its Author never said nor saw.(p 299)

Jefferson was reticent on the subject of religion. This caused his political enemies to label him as an atheist. During his presidency, he wrote to Benjamin Rush:

My views of [the Christian religion] are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be—sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others.

I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man. (pp 300-301)

Many Americans in the early nineteenth century shared the hope of a re-establishment of the Christian religion in its “original purity” in the United States.

Anticipation of the Restoration of Pure and Original Christianity

If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it.

Closing scenes of a noble life

Jefferson and his old friend John Adams passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence—that immortal document which he wrote.

He had desired a private interment, but crowds of neighbors and friends waited at the grave to bid farewell and a last tribute of respect and affection.  The “nation’s newspapers and lecture halls overflowed for months with eulogies to honor America’s champion of liberty.  His countrymen of that day seemed to sense, as we do now, that the world is not likely ever to produce another Thomas Jefferson.”

One American declared eloquently, “The grief that such a man is dead may be well assuaged by the proud consolation that such a man has lived.”  (pp 316-318)

Teaching Youth their Biblical Heritage  Click Here

Dinner Talk Topics

1. What comment by Jefferson indicated that he looked forward to a restoration of Christianity in its pure form?

2. Discuss the wisdom of the Monroe Doctrine

3. Together with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson was appointed to draw up a proposal for the Great Seal of the United States. Although Congress later adopted a simpler design, Jefferson took this occasion to emphasize the historical influence of two earlier civilizations on the liberties of his countrymen. One side of his proposed seal depicted the Anglo-Saxon leader Hengist and Horsa, while the other side portrayed the ancient Israelites being led through the wilderness by God’s pillar of fire. (Allison, The Real Thomas Jefferson, pp. 73-74)

List principles and actions by Jefferson which exemplified, supported, and perpetuated the Judeo-Christian culture of liberty.

 

Quotes by Thomas Jefferson

Historical Note about Jefferson’s contributions to the Great Seal of the United States

Together with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson was appointed to draw up a proposal for the Great Seal of the United States. Although Congress later adopted a simpler design, Jefferson took this occasion to emphasize the historical influence of two earlier civilizations on the liberties of his countrymen. One side of his proposed seal depicted the Anglo-Saxon leader Hengist and Horsa, while the other side portrayed the ancient Israelites being led through the wilderness by God’s pillar of fire. (Allison, The Real Thomas Jefferson, pp. 73-74)

Quotations

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.”

We can surely boast of having set the world a beautiful example of a government reformed by reason alone, without bloodshed. . . but the world is too far oppressed to profit by the example.

In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. (Allison, p. 200)

“I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another; for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents. “

“As to the calumny of atheism, I am so broken to calumnies of every kind. . .that I entirely disregard it … It has been so impossible to contradict all their lies that I have determined to contradict none, for while I should be engaged with one they would publish twenty new ones. [My] thirty years of public  life have enabled most of those who read newspapers to judge of one for themselves.”

My views of [the Christian religion] are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be—sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others.

I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man.

If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it.

Teaching Youth their Biblical Heritage  Click Here