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

 

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World War 2 Heroes: Wallenberg honored by Righteous among the Nations for saving Jews during Holocaust

World War 2 Heroes: Wallenberg honored by Righteous among the Nations for saving 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

History Facts, William Blackstone, and Law of God

History Facts, William Blackstone, and Law of God

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

William Blackstone Quotes

keyMan, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator. It is binding over all the globe in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this. ~Blackstone

The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed … tend in all their consequences to man’s felicity [happiness]. (Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England. 1:29-60, 64)

Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as are life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are: neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolable. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture. (Blackstone: Commentaries on the Laws of England)

Laws for human nature had been revealed by God, whereas the laws of the universe (natural law) must be learned through scientific investigation. (Commentaries, p.64) Blackstone stated that “upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws …” (Ibid., p.65)

“Free men have arms; slaves do not.”
William Blackstone

“The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state: but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public: to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity.”
William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume 4: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765-1769

 

William Blackstone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blackstone_from_NPGSir William Blackstone KC SL (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist, judge and Tory politician of the eighteenth century. He is most noted for writing the Commentaries on the Laws of England. Born into a middle-class family in London, Blackstone was educated at Charterhouse School before matriculating at Pembroke College, Oxford in 1738. After switching to and completing a Bachelor of Civil Law degree, he was made a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford on 2 November 1743, admitted to Middle Temple, and called to the Bar there in 1746. Following a slow start to his career as a barrister, Blackstone became heavily involved in university administration, becoming accountant, treasurer and bursar on 28 November 1746 and Senior Bursar in 1750. Blackstone is considered responsible for completing the Codrington Library and Warton Building, and simplifying the complex accounting system used by the college. On 3 July 1753 he formally gave up his practice as a barrister and instead embarked on a series of lectures on English law, the first of their kind. These were massively successful, earning him a total of £60,000 in 2014 terms, and led to the publication of An Analysis of the Laws of England in 1756, which repeatedly sold out and was used to preface his later works.

On 20 October 1758 Blackstone was confirmed as the first Vinerian Professor of English Law, immediately embarking on another series of lectures and publishing a similarly successful second treatise, titled A Discourse on the Study of the Law. With his growing fame, Blackstone successfully returned to the bar and maintained a good practice, also securing election as Tory Member of Parliament for the rotten borough of Hindon on 30 March 1761. In February 1766 he published the first volume of Commentaries on the Laws of England, considered his magnum opus—the completed work earned Blackstone £1,648,000 in 2014 terms. After repeated failures, he successfully gained appointment to the judiciary as a Justice of the Court of King’s Bench on 16 February 1770, leaving to replace Edward Clive as a Justice of the Common Pleas on 25 June. He remained in this position until his death, on 14 February 1780.

Blackstone’s legacy and main work of note is his Commentaries. Designed to provide a complete overview of English law, the four-volume treatise was repeatedly republished in 1770, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1778 and in a posthumous edition in 1783. Reprints of the first edition, intended for practical use rather than antiquary interest, were published until the 1870s in England and Wales, and a working version by Henry John Stephen, first published in 1841, was reprinted until after the Second World War. Legal education in England had stalled; Blackstone’s work gave the law “at least a veneer of scholarly respectability”.[1] William Searle Holdsworth, one of Blackstone’s successors as Vinerian Professor, argued that “If the Commentaries had not been written when they were written, I think it very doubtful that [the United States], and other English speaking countries would have so universally adopted the common law.”[2] In the United States, the Commentaries influenced John Marshall, James Wilson, John Jay, John Adams, James Kent and Abraham Lincoln, and remain frequently cited in Supreme Court decisions.

Read more about William Blackstone

 

YouTube Music: Battle Hymn of the Republic

Dinner Topics for July 4th American Independence Day

YouTube Music: Battle Hymn of the Republic

by Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Lyrics by Julia Ward Howe

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free*,[14]
While God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on.

Book Reviews: Hand of God in American Revolution

Dinner Topics for Independence Day

Book Reviews: Hand of God in American Revolution

key“We have a new land, a new constitution, a new government, and I believe now the fight is going to be to keep it. The fight between good and evil. A shooting war comes and it goes, but the war between the good and the bad—it never ends.” ~Matthew Dunson in A More Perfect Union, p.529

Through the eyes of the heroes in this powerful series, the reader can see the Hand of God in the American Revolution, as He prepared the way for a land of liberty to base operations for the spreading of gospel teachings to all the world. ~C.D.

Prelude to Glory

By Ron Carter

Volume 1

prelude-glory1Our Sacred Honor

Few stories are as compelling as that of the birth of the United States of America. It is a story of courage and sacrifice, of commitment to freedom and faith. Above all, however, the events that marked America’s beginnings were a prelude to the glory that would arise upon the land through the restoration of the gospel.

Those pivotal pre-Restoration events are brought to life in the epic historical fiction series Prelude to Glory. In volume I, Our Sacred Honor, author Ron Carter transports readers to the 1770s to witness key episodes of the Revolutionary War, from the opening encounter at Lexington (where “the shot heard round the world” is fired) to the incredible sea battle off the east coast of England (where the American commander John Paul Jones exclaims, “I have not yet begun to fight!”). But this is much more than a story of kings and generals. Though we certainly get to meet the likes of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Benedict Arnold, the author focuses on the perspective of common people. Thus, through the eyes of the fictional Dunson family of Boston we see what it was like to live in everyday colonial America, to fight among the minutemen, to sail the seas at wartime and to experience love and heartache as America’s destiny unfolds.

The underlying spiritual nature of that destiny is powerfully woven into the fabric of the story. And this spiritual perspective will give readers a better understanding of why the Founding Fathers were moved upon to champion a cause to which they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

Volume 2

prelude-glory2The Times That Try Men’s Souls

By Ron Carter

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” writes journalist Thomas Paine at the end of 1776, a dark time in America’s struggle for freedom. As the dramatic events depicted in volume 2 of the monumental Prelude to Glory series show, the high price of liberty for which colonists fought would include great sacrifice and endurance—even in the face of apparent defeat.

Focusing primarily on events between June and December 1776, this book follows Billy Weems (friend of Matthew Dunson from volume I) tot eh battlefields in the New York area, where General George Washington commands the Continental army. Early on, Billy meets and befriends Eli Stroud, a white man raised by Iroquois Indians, who lends his unusual talents to the Revolutionary cause. But as events unfold, the Americas’ situation looks more and more bleak. A series of engagements with the enemy leaves the colonial soldiers pummeled and staggering, driven to disastrous retreat again and again. By December 1776, the war for independence seems all but lost. Nevertheless, determination and hope remain alive, along with a powerful sense that divine providence is watching over the Americans.

As with the previous volume, author Ron Carter re-creates these historic episodes in such a way as to transport readers back in time. Along with fascinating fictional characters, he provides engaging portraits of such luminaries as George Washington, Nathan Hale (“I regret that I have but one life to give for my country”), and the intrepid John Glover. Through this powerful story, readers will come to appreciate the fortitude it took for Patriots to stand firm and resolute during these times that tried men’s souls.

 

Volume 3

prelude-glory3To Decide Our Destiny

Washington spoke. It seemed his voice was subdued, quiet, yet it reached every man in the Delaware Regiment.

“My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than could be reasonably expected; but your country is at stake, your wives, your houses, and all that you hold dear. You have worn yourselves out with fatigues and hardships, but we know not how to spare you. If you will consent to stay only one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty, and to your country, which you probably never can do under any other circumstances. The present is emphatically the crisis which is to decide our destiny.”

He stopped. He raised a hand as though to speak further, but there were no words he could think of that would add strength to what he had already said. He slowly lowered his hand and reined his horse to the right and raised it to a trot, back towards his officers and Turlock.

Turlock did not know how long he stood without moving, without breathing, aware Washington had been touched by a power not of any man, knowing that at that moment, somehow, the course of the world’s history hung in the balance.

In the frigid winter marking the end of 1776 and the beginning of 1777, the Continental army is faced with the overwhelming truth that they are losing the Revolution. The British have pummeled them with a series of bloody battles that have ripped the Americans to tattered shreds and have driven them to retreat so vast that it crosses two colony lines. The American camp, now crouching on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, is helpless as the British move more than three thousand Hessian soldiers into position. Only the black waters of the Delaware River prevent a total ruin. Only a desperate plan promises a chance of success.

Volume 4

prelude-glory4The Hand of Providence

“Writing home?” Billy asked.

“To Mother. How does this sound? ‘It was a glorious sight to see the haughty Brittons march out and surrender their arms to an army which but a little before they despised and called palltroons.’”

Men slowed and stopped, listening in the firelight as Boardman read on.

“Surely the hand of Providence work’d wonderfully in favour of America.”

More than fifty men had gathered to listen as Boardman concluded

“I hope every heart will be affected by the wonderful goodness of God in delivering so many of our enemy into our hands, with so little loss on our side.”

Boardman raised his eyes back to Billy, and for the first time realized he was surrounded. The men peered down at him, sitting beside his campfire. They wiped at their eyes, then nodded to him as they moved on.

Boardman watched them go, then turned back to Billy. “Was it too much? Did I say it too strong?”

Billy stared at the fire for a moment. “No, it wasn’t too strong. It was fine. It was fitting. The hand of Providence was with us.”

 

Volume 5

prelude-glory5aA Cold, Bleak Hill

December 22, 1777

To the Hnble Henry Laurens, President,

Congress of The United States:

Sir:

It is with infinite pain and concern that I must again dwell on the state of the Commissary’s department. I do not know from what cause this alarming deficiency or rather total failure of supplies arises, but unless more vigorous exertions and better regulations take place, and immediately, this army must dissolve.

Regarding the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council and their declared wish that this army should attack the enemy, I can assure those Gentlemen that it is a much easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances in a comfortable room by a good fireside than to occupy a cold, bleak hill and sleep under frost and snow without clothes or blankets. However, although the Council seems to have little feeling for the naked and distressed soldiers, I feel superabundantly for them, and from my soul pity those miseries they are now suffering, which it is in my power neither to relieve nor prevent.

George Washington

Valley Forge

 

Volume 6

prelude-glory6The World Turned Upside Down

Having underestimated the resolve and strength of the Continental Army in New England, Great retain adopts a new strategy in the war to subdue the American rebels. British general Sir Henry Clinton leads British and German Forces in an invasion of the South, hoping to use success there as a springboard to subdue the Northern colonies.

At first the British Southern campaign seems an unqualified success when in December 1778, American general Benjamin Lincoln surrenders his entire command army at Savannah, Georgia, and a second army at Charleston, South Carolina. But the British are not prepared for the fierce resistance from the common people in the Southern colonies. Famed guerrilla fighters Dan Morgan, Nathanael Greene, and Frances Marion (the Swamp Fox) use frontier skills and tactics learned in Indian warfare to erode the British forces and wear down British resolve.

Meanwhile, Benedict Arnold enters into treasonous negotiations to surrender Fort West Point to the British, thus betraying the American cause and earning for himself the ignominious title of traitor.

Finally, with the French providing much-needed financial, naval, and military aid, General Washington traps the British at Yorktown, where American and French forces mount a prolonged siege and compel the surrender of General Charles Cornwallis. The embittered and once-proud British see the American victory as evidence that the world has truly been “turned upside down.”

In this sixth volume of his acclaimed Prelude to Glory series, author Ron Carter has crafted another compelling chapter in his depiction of the Revolutionary War. Readers will be interested to learn the fates of beloved fictional characters. Through their stories and others, Carter brings to vivid life the legendary places, people, and battles that were part of America’s quest for liberty and independence.

Volume 7

prelude-glory7The Impending Storm

October 19, 1781: The great guns at Yorktown fell silent, British General Cornwallis surrendered, and England conceded the war. For one euphoric moment a shout of jubilation rolled forth in America – and then harsh reality gripped the country. America was thirteen separate countries, each with its own money, political organization, culture, and history. Congress was essentially powerless. Border tariffs sprang up between states, with cannons to enforce them. Quarrels over control of the great rivers brought states to the brink of war. Banks lacked gold and silver to support their paper currency; bankruptcies raged. The military was paid with unenforceable written promises, and destitute soldiers marched on to Philadelphia, demanding their wages. Finally, in 1786, still unpaid, the soldiers revolted, closing down many New England courthouses to stop the bankruptcy courts from seizing their farms. Shooting erupted; Americans killed Americans. The impending storm was threatening to break.

 

Volume 8

prelude-glory8A More Perfect Union

Within minutes each delegate had a copy spread on his desk and was leaned forward, locked in silence, with an intensity seldom seen during the convention, while he slowly, thoughtfully read the document.

The preamble no longer named all thirteen states. Rather, it stated with simple dignity, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

For several minutes a hush held in the East Room. Every man sensed a feeling in his soul that rose in his breast to hold him silent. What had they created? No one had gotten everything he had contended for, but everyone had gotten something. Some were satisfied with it, some disgruntled, a few disappointed. Some reckoned it was the work of fifty-five men who had reached inside themselves for the best they had. Others remembered the words of John Adams: “God is the great legislator of the universe.”

“We have a new land, a new constitution, a new government, and I believe now the fight is going to be to keep it. The fight between good and evil. A shooting war comes and it goes, but the war between the good and the bad—it never ends.” ~Matthew Dunson in A More Perfect Union, p.529

 

Volume 9

prelude-glory9By the Dawn’s Early Light

On the deck of the sloop, soaked to the skin, squinting in the rain, the Americans, Key, Skinner, and Beanes, stood at the rail, transfixed, watching the British warships rain destruction on the fort as never before in history. They saw the yellow fire trails of the rockets and the white bursts of bombs over the fort, and they listened to the continuous roar of the big guns, staring, unable to believe tat Armistead had not surrendered rather than face total destruction.

Key stood frozen to the rail as the dull light strengthened in the rain, and he could see the dim outline of the fort.

Something fluttered above the black outline, and then it took form and shape, and Key gasped when he understood it was the flag! Key’s heart was pounding in his chest. He wiped at his eyes and then reached inside his coat for an envelope and a pencil, and began to write the thoughts that came flooding from deep within.

Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light. . .

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]

 

by Jon McNaughton

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

Western Culture Dinner Topics: American Exceptionalism

Judeo-Christian Worldview

American Exceptionalism

Welcome to Western Culture Dinner Topics! 

TRY TO IMAGINE THE WORLD WITHOUT AMERICA.[1]

I know, a few people with very loud voices, some leading to violent action, continue to hate America and try to destroy her. But while the dogs bark, the wagons roll on. As we have seen in the last election, an overwhelming majority of Americans prefer a patriot at the helm of our government—a patriot who believes in American Exceptionalism.

               No one can deny that America stands out among the nations of the world. But what is the cause of this exceptionalism? That is where the debate arises.

The hate groups claim that America rose to power because of greed and oppression. The truth is, fewer than 5 percent of all people who have ever lived on the earth have lived under conditions that we could consider “free.” [2]

  Only through inspired leadership by men raised up by God for that purpose did America become great. If not for the courage and integrity of the Founding Fathers, would America have been any better than the bloody tyrannies of previous thousands of years of history? But the protecting Hand of God has been over America from the beginning.

               Even in his historic voyage of 1492, despite daunting opposition, Christopher Columbus was driven by a sense of divine purpose. He brought with him a Jewish Rabbi, for he hoped to find the lost tribes of Israel. His writings reveal that he was led by the Holy Spirit. His first action upon arriving on shore was to kneel and thank God, and then claim the land for Jesus Christ.

George Washington and his compatriots felt a strong connection to Biblical Israel. They wove it into the great shield, into the money, into the architecture, and in everything they did.

George Washington consecrated, not only his own life and sacred honor, but he also dedicated his troops and his every action to the cause of liberty. He made a covenant with God. In return, God has blessed this land with liberty, protection, and prosperity, so that the gospel of Jesus Christ could flourish and be sent out to all the world.[3]

So the next time you hear the current smear campaign against America and the good men who have fought and died for the liberty we enjoy, let us remember that without the smile of God’s approval and His protective Hand, we would all be in bondage, just like the rest of the world.   

To preserve our religious liberty, pass on biblical values to the rising generation.

Action Plan—START HERE

For Faith and Freedom,

Christine Davidson

 

July Preview

The Western Culture Dinner Topic Theme for July: American Exceptionalism

Featured Topics

The Parenting Value for this month: Teaching Integrity

Constitution Series 18:

Famous Birthdays: William Blackstone, John Paul Jones, Calvin Coolidge, Alexis De Tocqueville, Milton Freedman

And as always—current events, updates, cultural enrichment, great cartoons, and analysis

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Biblical Parenting: Why Fathers Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Values, is Vital to their Future

Biblical Parenting:

Why Fathers Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Values, is Vital to their Future

 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

gospel-father-mentorHave you ever opened a box of parts, pulled out the assembly instructions, and thought, “This doesn’t make any sense at all”?

Sometimes, despite our best intentions and inner confidence, we pull out a part and ask, “What is that for?” or “How does that fit?”

Our frustration grows as we look at the box and notice a disclaimer that says, “Assembly required—ages 8 and up.” Because we still don’t have a clue, this does not boost our confidence or our self-esteem.

Sometimes we have a similar experience with the gospel. As we look at some part of it, we may scratch our heads and wonder what that part is for. Or as we examine another part, we may realize that even after trying hard to fully understand, we just can’t figure out why that part was included.

Our Heavenly Father Is Our Mentor

Fortunately, our Heavenly Father has given us wonderful instructions for structuring our lives and putting together our best selves. Those instructions work regardless of our age or circumstance. He has given us the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ. He has given us the plan of redemption, the plan of salvation, even the plan of happiness. He has not left us alone with all the uncertainties or challenges of life, saying, “Here you go. Good luck. Figure it out.”

holyspiritgiftIf we will only be patient and look with a humble heart and an open mind, we will find that God has given us many tools to better understand His comprehensive instructions for our happiness in life:

  • He has given us the priceless gift of the Holy Ghost, which has the potential to be our personal, heavenly tutor as we study the word of God and attempt to bring our thoughts and actions into alignment with His word.
  • He has given us 24/7 access to Him through prayers of faith and supplications of real intent.
  • He has given us modern-day apostles and prophets, who reveal the word of God in our day and have the authority to bind or seal on earth and in heaven.
  • He has restored His Church—an organization of believers who work together to help one another as they work out their salvation with fear, trembling, and unparalleled joy.1
  • He has given us the holy scriptures—His written word to us.
  • He has given myriad tools of modern technology to help us in our walk of discipleship. Many of these marvelous instruments can be found at LDS.org.

Why has our Heavenly Father given us so much help? Because He loves us. And because, as He said of Himself, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”2

In other words, Heavenly Father is our God, and God is a mentor to us.

Our Father in Heaven knows His children’s needs better than anyone else. It is His work and glory to help us at every turn, giving us marvelous temporal and spiritual resources to help us on our path to return to Him.

Every Father Is a Mentor

father-teaching-son-mirrorIn some parts of the world, fathers are honored by families and society in the month of June. It is always good to honor and respect our parents. Fathers do many good things for their families and have many admirable attributes. Two of the most important roles fathers have in the lives of their children are those of being a good example and a mentor. Fathers do more than tell their children what is right or wrong; they do much more than toss a manual at them and expect them to figure out life for themselves.

Fathers mentor their precious children and show by their good example the way an honest life is lived. Fathers do not leave their children alone but rush to their aid, helping them to their feet whenever they stumble. And sometimes when wisdom suggests, fathers allow their children to struggle, realizing that this may be the best way for them to learn.

We Are All Mentors

fathermentoringWhile earthly fathers do this for their own children, the spirit of mentoring is something we need to offer all of God’s children, regardless of age, location, or circumstance. Remember, God’s children are our brothers and sisters; we are all of the same eternal family.

In this sense, let us all be mentors—eager to reach out and help one another to become our best selves. Because we are God’s offspring, we do have the potential to become like Him. Loving God and our fellowmen, keeping God’s commandments, and following Christ’s example are the straight, narrow, and joyful path back into the presence of our heavenly parents.

If the God of the universe cares so much about us that He is a mentor to us, perhaps we too can reach out to our fellowmen, regardless of their color, race, socioeconomic circumstances, language, or religion. Let us become inspired mentors and bless the lives of others—not only our own children but also all of God’s children throughout the world.

How you can help with Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Family Values

Judeo-Christian Worldview: Moral Character Education

Judeo-Christian Worldview:

Moral Character Education

Culture Wars

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Western Culture Dinner Topics!

narcissism2                “THE GREAT GOOD AND THE TERRIBLE EVIL IN THE WORLD TODAY ARE THE SWEET AND THE BITTER FRUITS of the rearing of yesterday’s children,” said Gordon B. Hinckley, Christian leader. “As we train a new generation, so will the world be in a few years. If you are worried about the future, then look to the upbringing of your children.”

  Well, the future is here, and many are the bitter fruits.

The most dramatic fruits we see on the scene today are the generation called Millennials, or those who came of age at the turn of the century. They don’t know they are bitter fruits, of course, because they don’t know what they don’t know.

Studies on college campuses show that people of the self-deceived Millennial generation are so self-centered and enslaved to political correctness that they refuse to identify even blatantly wrong behavior. Anyone who points out moral absolutes is considered mean. They also suppress their own moral compass, and refuse to admit that they can do wrong. Since they can do no wrong, it obviously follows that they take no responsibility for their own actions, but have no problem blaming anyone and everyone else.  Everything has to be worded a certain way, or they are offended. They are also used to instant gratification, and have no patience for working through problems that are not solved quickly.

They are educated in public schools, where the plague of moral relativism has infected their minds.  Whatever feels good is ok, and to them, moral absolutes in daily choices are “no big deal.” The Millennial mindset comes of being pampered all their lives, and the chief objective is “self esteem,” whether it is earned or not, and right or wrong is not even factored into it.  As a result of this false self-esteem, their arrogance is astonishing.  Above all, “you must not judge,” or point out if someone is doing wrong. The philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.

greatest-generation3-vs-entitled               How did this happen?

                Let’s go back a little in history. At the close of World War 2, the Greatest Generation had defeated Hitler, but socialism remained at large. Godless socialists launched the greatest culture war of all time.

After the Supreme Court decree of 1963, when God was banished from the schools, the moral absolutes of the Bible disappeared as well. They were replaced by Satan’s deceitful plan of moral relativism, which eliminates right and wrong. Thus anything goes—all are saved in their sins, not from them.

Many parents, caught in this devilish doctrine when raising their children, resorted to what Christian leader Thomas S. Monson calls one of the plagues of our day: permissiveness.

moral-relativism-general            What have we done? When we search for answers, we see a nation once founded on Judeo-Christian moral values, once a beacon of liberty and hope to all the world. Thenceforth we have seen our society regress to immorality, to mass murders, to tyranny, to persecution of Bible believers.

This is what happens when a nation rejects God. With all our so-called education, we have not taught students the one most important truth of all—that God lives, and that He loves us. I feel compassion for our children. We have taken from them the key to happiness—a moral compass. Instead, they are growing up in a society without respect, without common decency—without faith, hope, or love.

quote-look-God-live   Atheism has failed. It produces misery wherever and whenever it is tried. It is time to let go of that failure and return to what works—the Great Plan of Happiness. And where is that plan found? In the Bible.

Our children have been robbed of their birthright of biblical values, cheated out of the plan of happiness, because parents and schools threw away the moral compass vital to God’s children. We owe it to our children to turn away from the philosophy of spiritual death and to once again look to God, and live.

 

Discovering the joys of Moral Character Education,

Christine Davidson

Imparting Biblical Values to Young Adults—Made Easy! Click Here

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Memorial Day History: Honor the Fallen War Heroes

Dinner Topics for Memorial Day

Support, Donate to Paralyzed Veterans

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Memorial Day History: Honor the Fallen War Heroes

Some gave all

keyLord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.

Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget! ~Rudyard Kipling

memorialdaysomegaveallTeddy James, AFA Journal

In Flanders Fields* by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.
*Public domain

To some, it is just a flag, resting in a triangular box on a mantle. To others, it explains why there’s an odd number of place settings at the table, why the opposite side of the bed stays cold, why there’s a vacant seat at graduation, why a bride walks down the aisle alone.

To some, it is just a day, an excuse for a three-day weekend to barbeque and celebrate the beginning of summer. To others, it is a day to be alone, remembering daughters they can’t hug, dads they can’t call, friends they couldn’t save, brothers who saved them with the ultimate sacrifice.

Who we remember

soldierbrave-paulrsmith-medalhonorArmy Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith was part of B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division. On April 4, 2003, Smith participated in building an impromptu prisoner of war holding area in Baghdad, Iraq. During the construction, his unit was attacked by a group of Iraqi fighters. During the battle, an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier was hit, wounding the three soldiers inside. Smith saw to the evacuation of the injured soldiers. There was an aid station directly behind Smith and his team with already over 100 combat casualties. Smith and his team were the only obstacle between Iraqi attackers and the aid station.

Smith climbed into a damaged M113 to man its .50 caliber machine gun and ordered the driver to reposition the vehicle so he could fire on the enemy, leaving himself unprotected and exposed to enemy fire. He went through three boxes of ammunition before his gun fell silent.

Afterward, Smith’s team found him slumped over the machine gun. His armor showed 13 bullet holes. Before he died, he had wiped out over 50 enemy combatants and saved many American lives. SFC Smith was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Smith and countless other heroes who have given their all for America are who Memorial Day is for.

Why we remember

vetsweowethemNo fewer than two dozen cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day. President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Waterloo, New York, the original site in 1966. While the site is disputed, it is clear the tradition started around 1866 as a way to memorialize soldiers who died during the Civil War.

In 1868, General John Legend, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued this proclamation: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

soldiersfallenlestweforget2General Legend chose the date because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle.

In the little town of Columbus, Mississippi, also claiming to be the birthplace of Decoration Day, the tradition began with families entering cemeteries and caring for the graves of Confederate soldiers. It expanded when a group of women noticed local Union soldiers’ graves in disrepair and took it on themselves to correct the situation by pulling weeds, placing flowers, and paying respect.

The sentiment covered the country, and today, Memorial Day pays homage to those who surrendered their lives for a purpose they deemed bigger than their personal safety.

Memorial Day’s storied history continues to live in prose, legend, and lyrics. Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields,” a stirring poem published in 1915. The legend says he was inspired to write it after presiding over the funeral of his friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in World War I.

Inspired by McCrae’s poem, Moina Michael responded with “We Shall Keep the Faith.” She wrote:

soldiersfallenlestweforget1And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Michael decided to wear a red poppy on Memorial Day in honor of all soldiers whose blood was shed not only in Flanders fields, but also everywhere across the globe. Today many veterans’ groups hand out poppies for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

How we remember
libertyMorrill Worcester won a trip to Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery when he was 12. The image of rows and rows of headstones lodged itself in the mind of the preteen. The sight taught him real people gave their lives to pay for the freedom he enjoyed every day. That lesson never left him.

Years later, Worcester founded his successful business, Worcester Wreaths, in Harrington, Maine. One year he had a surplus of Christmas wreaths, and the image of Arlington’s unadorned headstones came back to his mind. With the help of Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME-R) and other volunteers, Worcester placed the wreaths in an older section at Arlington.

Worcester and his team quietly kept the tradition until 2005 when an image of the gravestones, semi-covered in snow and decorated with an evergreen wreath and hand-tied red bow, took the Internet by storm. Support poured in from people wanting to donate money for more wreaths in Arlington; others asked how they could start laying wreaths in national or state cemeteries close to home.

From the outpouring of support, Worcester and a team developed Wreaths Across America, and the movement continues to grow. In 2013, the volunteer wreath brigade laid over 540,000 Remembrance Wreaths at 908 locations. The wreaths are another fitting tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Express your thanks
• Sponsor a wreath now that will be laid on December 13, National Wreaths Across America Day.
• Volunteer to lay wreaths at your local cemetery.
• Start a community fundraiser.
• Make Memorial Day an opportunity to serve those left behind. Spouses and children of deceased soldiers should hold a
special place in the heart of every American. They paid – and are paying – a price too.
• Build a relationship with the family of a fallen soldier. Learn their needs and meet them.
• Make this Memorial Day more than an excuse to barbeque. Let it be the starting point of a lifetime honoring, respecting, and remembering our military heroes.
• Contact U.S. senators or congressmen or local veterans organizations to ask for information on local Memorial Day events or projects.

For more information, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org or call 877-385-9504.

http://www.afajournal.org/recent-issues/2015/may/some-gave-all/