US Constitution Series 4: Church, State, and Religion in American Life

Dinner Topics for Thursday

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

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

By W. Cleon Skousen

US Constitution Series 4: Church, State, and Religion in American Life

Principle #4

christianchurchWithout religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.

Many Americans fail to realize that the Founders felt the role of religion would be as important in our own day as it was in theirs. In 1787, the very year the Constitution was written and approved by Congress, that same Congress passed the famous Northwest Ordinance. In it they emphasized the essential need to teach religion and morality in the schools. (Skousen, p. 75)

In it, they stated that formal education was to include among its responsibilities the teaching of three important subjects:

1. Religion, which might be defined as a “fundamental system of beliefs concerning man’s origin and relationship to the cosmic universe as well as his relationship with his fellowmen.”

2. Morality, which may be described as “a standard of behavior distinguishing right from wrong.”

3. Knowledge, which is “an intellectual awareness and understanding of established facts relating to any field of human experience or inquiry (i.e., history, geography, science, etc.).”

How to Teach your family about Church and State

George Washington

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion …Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, relgion and morality are indispensable supports …Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”

Washington issued this solemn warning because in Franc, shortly before he wrote his Farewell Address (1796), the promoters of atheism and amorality had seized control and turned the French Revolution into a shocking blood bath of wild excesses and violence. Washington obviously never wanted anything like that to happen in the United States. Therefore he had said: “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness [religion and morality].” (Skousen, p.79)

225px-BenFranklin2Benjamin Franklin

Here is my creed: I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other  children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion.

The “Fundamental Points” to Be Taught in the Schools

The five points of fundamental religious belief expressed or implied in Franklin’s statement are these:

1. There exists a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him.

2. The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living shich distinguishes right from wrong.

3. The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other.

4. All mankind live beyond this life.

5. In the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one.

All five of these tenets run through practically all of the Founders’ writings. These are the beliefs which the Founders sometimes referred to as the “religion of America,” and they felt these fundamentals were so important in providing “good government and the happiness of mankind” that they wanted them taught in the public schools along with morality and knowledge. (Skousen, p.78)

In fact, the Founders had taken the five truths we have already identified as ”religion” and had built the whole Constitutional framework on top of them. (Skousen, p.92)

Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800Thomas Jefferson

Special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”, thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press, insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others; and that libels, falsehood, and defamation, equally with heresy and false religions, are withheld from the cognizance of federal tribunals.

The Federal “Wall” Between Church and State

In a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association dated January 1, 1802, [Jefferson] explained his position and said the Constitution had created “a wall of separation between church and state.”

In recent years the Supreme Court has undertaken to use this metaphor as an excuse for meddling in the religious issues arising within the various states. It has not only presumed to take jurisdiction in these disputes, but has actually forced the states to take the same hands-off position toward religious matters even thought his restriction originally applied only to the federal government.

justice gavelNOTE: In its 1963 ruling, the Supreme Court in actuality did not take a hands-off position. Instead, it established atheism as the national religion. (Atheism, as a system of beliefs, qualifies as a religion.) Today, the preferred religion in schools is Islam, while Christianity continues to be banned, even persecuted. The Supreme Court violated the clause in the US Constitution which forbids the federal government from both “establishing” religion and “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Because of this national decree by the Supreme Court, the states are failing to protect religious freedom on the state level. Hence, the rampant atheist and Islamic indoctrination in the state schools. ~C.A. Davidson

This obvious distortion of the original intent of Jefferson (when he used the metaphor of a “wall” separating church and state) becomes entirely apparent when the statements and actions of Jefferson are examined in their historical context. (Skousen, p.89-90)

Jefferson and Madison were anxious that the states intervene in religious matters so as to provide for equality among all religions, and that all churches or religions assigned preferential treatment should be disestablished from such preferment. They further joined with the other Founders in expressing an anxiety that ALL religions be encouraged in order to promote the moral fiber and religious tone of the people. This, of course, would be impossible if there were an impenetrable “wall” between church and state on the state level.

Jefferson’s “wall” was obviously intended only for the federal government, and the Supreme Court application of this metaphor to the states has come under severe criticism. (Dallin Oaks, ed., The Wall Between Church and State, 1963, 99.2-3)

Alexis de Tocqueville

He emphasized the fact that this religious undergirding of the political structure was a common denominator of moral teachings in different denominations and not the political pressure of some national church hierarchy.

                De Tocqueville Describes the Role of Religion in the Schools

De Tocqueville found that the schools, especially in New England, incorporated the basic tenets of religion right along with history and political science in order to prepare the student for adult life.

                De Tocqueville Describes the Role of the American Clergy

After noting that all the clergy seemed anxious to maintain “separation of church and state,” he nevertheless observed that collectively they had a great influence on the morals and customs of public life.

In America, he noted, the clergy remained politically separated from the government but nevertheless provided a moral stability among the people which permitted the government to prosper. In other words, there was separation of church and state but no separation of state and religion. (Skousen, p. 82-83)

Why the Founders Wanted the Federal Government Excluded from All Problems Relating to Religion and Churches

The Supreme Court has stated on numerous occasions that to most people freedom of religion is the most precious of all the unalienable rights next to life itself. When the United States was founded, there were many Americans who were not enjoying freedom of religion to the fullest possible extent. At least seven of the states had officially established religions or denominations at the time the Constitution was adopted.

Under these circumstances the Founders felt it would have been catastrophic …if the federal government had tried to establish a national policy on religion or disestablish the denominations which the states had adopted. Nevertheless, the Founders who were examining this problem were anxious to eventually see complete freedom of all faiths and an equality of all relations, both Christian and non-Christian. (Skousen, p.86)

Read more about Church, State, and the Court Decision to Ban the Bible

Principle 3: Virtuous and Moral Leaders

Principle 5: The Role of the Creator

 

U.S. Constitution, James Madison, and Founding Fathers

Dinner Topics for Thursday

James Madison

from Wikipedia

madisontyrannydefineJames Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 (O.S. March 5)  – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman and political theorist, the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817). He is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the United States Bill of Rights.[1] He served as a politician much of his adult life.

After the constitution had been drafted, Madison became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify it. His collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay produced the Federalist Papers (1788). Circulated only in New York at the time, they would later be considered among the most important polemics in support of the Constitution. He was also a delegate to the Virginia constitutional ratifying convention, and was instrumental to the successful ratification effort in Virginia. Like most of his contemporaries, Madison changed his political views during his life. During the drafting and ratification of the constitution, he favored a strong national government, though later he grew to favor stronger state governments, before settling between the two extremes late in his life.

In 1789, Madison became a leader in the new House of Representatives, drafting many basic laws. He is notable for drafting the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and thus is known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights“.[4] Madison worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Hamilton and what became the Federalist Party in 1791, Madison and Thomas Jefferson organized what they called the Republican Party (later called by historians the Democratic-Republican Party)

As Jefferson’s Secretary of State (1801–1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the nation’s size. After his election to the presidency, he presided over renewed prosperity for several years. As president (1809–17), after the failure of diplomatic protests and a trade embargo against Great Britain, he led the nation into the War of 1812. He was responding to British encroachments on American honor and rights; in addition, he wanted to end the influence of the British among their Indian allies, whose resistance blocked United States settlement in the Midwest around the Great Lakes. Madison found the war to be an administrative nightmare, as the United States had neither a strong army nor financial system; as a result, he afterward supported a stronger national government and a strong military, as well as the national bank, which he had long opposed.

Father of the Constitution

constitution2The Articles of Confederation established the United States as a confederation of sovereign states with a weak central government. This arrangement did not work particularly well, and after the war was over, it was even less successful. Congress had no power to tax, and as a result was not paying the debts left over from the Revolution. Madison and other nationalists, such as Washington and Alexander Hamilton, were very concerned about this. They feared a break-up of the union and national bankruptcy.[20] The historian Gordon S. Wood has noted that many leaders such as Madison and Washington, feared more that the revolution had not fixed the social problems that had triggered it, and the excesses ascribed to the King were being seen in the state legislatures. Shays’ Rebellion is often cited as the event that forced the issue; Wood argues that many at the time saw it as only the most extreme example of democratic excess. They believed the constitution would need to do more than fix the Articles of Confederation. Like the revolution, it would need to rewrite the social compact and redefine the relationship among the states, the national government, and the people.[19]

As Madison wrote, “a crisis had arrived which was to decide whether the American experiment was to be a blessing to the world, or to blast for ever the hopes which the republican cause had inspired.”[21] Partly at Madison’s instigation, a national convention was called in 1787. Madison was crucial in persuading George Washington to attend the convention, since he knew how important the popular general would be to the adoption of a constitution. As one of the first delegates to arrive, while waiting for the convention to begin, Madison wrote what became known as the Virginia Plan. The Virginia Plan was submitted at the opening of the convention, and the work of the convention quickly became to amend the Virginia Plan and to fill in the gaps.[22][23] Though the Virginia Plan was an outline rather than a draft of a possible constitution, and though it was extensively changed during the debate (especially by John Rutledge and James Wilson in the Committee of Detail), its use at the convention led many to call Madison the “Father of the Constitution”.[24] He was only 36 years old.

During the course of the Convention, Madison spoke over two hundred times, and his fellow delegates rated him highly. For example, William Pierce wrote that “…every Person seems to acknowledge his greatness. In the management of every great question he evidently took the lead in the Convention… he always comes forward as the best informed Man of any point in debate.” Madison recorded the unofficial minutes of the convention, and these have become the only comprehensive record of what occurred. The historian Clinton Rossiter regarded Madison’s performance as “a combination of learning, experience, purpose, and imagination that not even Adams or Jefferson could have equaled.”[25] Years earlier he had pored over crates of books that Jefferson sent him from France on various forms of government. The historian Douglas Adair called Madison’s work “probably the most fruitful piece of scholarly research ever carried out by an American.”[26] Many have argued that this study helped prepare him for the convention.

Federalist Papers and ratification debates

The Constitutionsigners3 developed by the convention in Philadelphia had to be ratified. This would be done by special conventions called in each state to decide that sole question of ratification.[29] Madison was a leader in the ratification effort. He, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers, a series of 85 newspaper articles published in New York to explain how the proposed Constitution would work, mainly by responding to criticisms from anti-federalists. They were also published in book form and became a virtual debater’s handbook for the supporters of the Constitution in the ratifying conventions.[30] The historian Clinton Rossiter called the Federalist Papers “the most important work in political science that ever has been written, or is likely ever to be written, in the United States.”[31] They were not scholarly arguments or impartial justifications for the constitution, but political polemics intended to assist the federalists in New York, which was the only state to have a coordinated anti-federalist movement. Madison was involved in the project mainly because he was a delegate to the lame duck Confederation Congress, which was meeting in New York.

If Virginia, the most populous state at the time, did not ratify the Constitution, the new national government would likely not succeed. When the Virginia convention began, the constitution had not yet been ratified by the required nine states. New York, the second largest state and a bastion of anti-federalism, would likely not ratify it if Virginia rejected the constitution, and Virginia’s exclusion from the new government would disqualify George Washington from being the first president.[32] Virginia delegates believed that Washington’s election as the first president was an implicit condition for their acceptance of the new constitution and the new government. Without Virginia, a new convention might have been held and a new constitution written in a much more polarized atmosphere, since the constitution did not specify what would happen if it was only partially ratified. The states might have joined in regional confederacies or allied with Spain, France or Britain, which still had North American colonies.[33] Arguably the most prominent anti-federalist, the powerful orator Patrick Henry was a delegate and had a following second only to Washington (who was not a delegate). Most delegates believed that most Virginians opposed the constitution.[32] Initially Madison did not want to stand for election to the Virginia ratifying convention, but was persuaded to do so because the situation looked so bad. His role at the convention was likely critical to Virginia’s ratification, and thus to the success of the constitution generally.[32]

Father of the Bill of Rights

Though the idea for a bill of rights had been suggested at the end of the constitutional convention, the delegates wanted to go home and thought the suggestion unnecessary. The omission of a bill of rights became the main argument of the anti-federalists against the constitution. Though no state conditioned ratification of the constitution on a bill of rights, several states came close, and the issue almost prevented the constitution from being ratified. Some anti-federalists continued to fight the issue after the constitution had been ratified, and threatened the entire nation with another constitutional convention. This would likely be far more partisan than the first had been. Madison objected to a specific bill of rights[41] for several reasons: he thought it was unnecessary, since it purported to protect against powers that the federal government had not been granted; that it was dangerous, since enumeration of some rights might be taken to imply the absence of other rights; and that at the state level, bills of rights had proven to be useless paper barriers against government powers.[4]

Read more about James Madison

US Constitution Series 3 Quotes: Benjamin Franklin on the Good Leader

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

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

By W. Cleon Skousen

Declaration_independenceUS Constitution Series 3: Quotes from Founding Fathers on Good Leadership

NOTE: The following quotations show how the Founding Fathers knew by personal experience, as well as the study of history, how human nature defaults to tyranny, corruption, and plunder in government if leadership is devoid of virtue. Today we are seeing the fulfillment of their sad predictions.

Principle #3

The most promising method of securing a virtuous and morally stable people is to elect virtuous leaders

“…thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness [unjust gain]; and place such over them, to be rulers …” ~Exodus 18:21

A favorite scripture of the day was Proverbs 29:2, which says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Samuel Adams

But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.

Thomas Jefferson

It would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society.

John Adams

johnadams2Politics are the divine science, after all. How is it possible that any man should ever think of making it subservient to his own little passions and mean private interests? Ye baseborn sons of fallen Adam, is the end of politics a fortune, a family, a gilded coach, a train of horses, and a troop of livery servants, balls at Court, splendid dinners and suppers? Yet the divine science of politics is at length in Europe reduced to a mechanical system composed of these materials.

I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

Making Public Office an Honor Rather than a Position of Profit

As Benjamin Franklin traveled in Europe, he noted that there was a violent struggle for appointments to public office because they paid so well. He felt this was a serious mistake.

In the early history of the United States, community offices were looked upon as stations of honor granted to the recipients by an admiring community, state, or nation. These offices were therefore often filled by those who performed their services with little or no compensation. Even when an annual salary of $25,000 was provided in the Constitution for President Washington, he determined to somehow manage without it. He did the same thing while serving as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces during the Revolutionary War. Not all could afford to do this, but it was considered the proper procedure when circumstances permitted it. (Skousen, pp. 64-65)

Franklin’s Address to the Constitutional Convention

225px-BenFranklin2Franklin fervently hoped this policy could be perpetuated in America from generation to generation. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he gave a discourse on the need to fix the course of American public service so that it would always attract men of public virtue and repel scoundrels scrambling for a soft job. He said:

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effect. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it.

Haggling for High-Salaried Public Offices Was Repugnant to the Founders

Franklin had seen enough of the world to make a general observation to the Constitutional Convention which the members could not help but hear with deep respect. The men at the Convention were there at great personal sacrifice; some, like Madison, on borrowed money. Franklin warned that high salaries for government offices are the best way to attract scoundrels and drive from the halls of public office those men who possess true merit and virtue. (Skousen, p.66)

Benjamin Franklin

And what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will NOT be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation; for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.

Benjamin Franklin’s Prophecy: the road to Government Plunder

 

Sir, though we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations [increases]; and there will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them.

Hence, as history informs us, there has been in every state and kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing and the governed, the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning princes or enslaving of the people.

Generally, indeed, the ruling power carries its point, and we see the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure.

Principle 2: Virtuous and Moral People

Principle 4: The Role of Religion

George Washington Facts, Quotations

Dinner Topics for Monday

Heritage Foundation:

George Washington Deserves His Own Day, Not Presidents Day

georgewashingtonQuotations

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.
~George Washington

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. ~George Washington

Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected. ~George Washington

2nd Amendment

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.

~George Washington

The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good. ~George Washington

Morality

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason

and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. ~George Washington

The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.

~George Washington

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.

~George Washington

Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession. ~George Washington

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments. ~George Washington

Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light. ~George Washington

I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man. ~George Washington


US Constitution Series 2: Quotations from Founding Fathers on Virtue

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

5000leapThe Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

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

By W. Cleon Skousen

key“Virtue is not hereditary.” ~Thomas Jefferson

 

 US Constitution Series 2: Quotations from Founding Fathers on Virtue

Principle # 2

A free people cannot survive under a republican Constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. (Smyth, Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 9:569)

What is “Public Virtue”?

Morality is identified with the Ten Commandments and obedience to the Creator’s mandate for “right conduct,” but the early Americans identified “public virtue” as a very special quality of human maturity in character and service akin to the Golden Rule. (Skousen, 5,000 Year Leap, p.50)

Summary: Americans of that time had doubts about their ability to be good enough to govern themselves. That’s how important they considered public virtue to be. This prevailing attitude caused a widespread movement of reform and revival of moral virtue.

The Moral Reform Accelerated the Revolution

Many Americans became so impressed the improvement in the quality of life as a result of the reform movement that they were afraid they might lose it If they did not hurriedly separate from the corrupting influence of British manners. They attributed this corruption to the monarchial aristocracy of England. (Ibid, p.52)

James Madison:

Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.

ThomasJefferson“Virtue is not hereditary.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Virtue has to be earned and it has to be learned. Neither is virtue a permanent quality in human nature. It has to be cultivated continually and exercised from hour to hour and from day to day. The Founders looked to the home, the school, and the churches to fuel the fires of virtue from generation to generation. (Ibid, p.54)

George WashingtonGeorge Washington:

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education …reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

225px-BenFranklin2Benjamin Franklin:

I think also, that general virtue is more probably to be expected and obtained from the education of youth, than from the exhortations of adult persons; bad habits and vices of the mind being, like diseases of the body, more easily prevented [in youth] than cured [in adults].

Warning from the Founders

Richard Henry Lee:

I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will. It depends on her virtue.

John Adams:

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Samuel Adams:

The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While, on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves.

 Principle #3: What is the Key to Preserving a Virtuous Nation?

Principle #1: Natural Law

 

Lincoln: Champion of American Liberty

Book Review: The Lincoln Hypothesis

Timothy Ballard

Truth-Detectors

keyLiberty is your Birthright! ~Abraham Lincoln to Americans of all colors, races, and creeds

 

Lincoln_HypothesisIt was a dark time in the history of America. The covenant land had fallen into sin, perpetrating or at least condoning the evils of slavery and the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities. But there was an answer to the country’s woes, and two great leaders both knew it. Those leaders were Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln.

Joseph Smith was killed for his attempts to bring the nation to repentance; Abraham Lincoln lived long enough to play a crucial role in returning the country to its covenant relationship with God. In this fascinating account, author Timothy Ballard shows how that role developed and how Lincoln came to consider himself “a humble instrument in the hands of God.”

“As you read,” Ballard writes, “you will, like a prosecutor reviewing a case, or like a jury determining a verdict, identify valuable pieces of evidence that can be fully substantiated. You will also identify pieces of evidence that cannot. I ask you to consider all the evidence and weigh it all accordingly. Through this study, many questions regarding the interplay between the restored gospel and the Civil War will be answered. New questions may emerge that will not be so easily answered. Either way, in the end you will find yourself on a most exhilarating investigative journey.”

 

Civil War history facts

mcclellans-1864-electionContrary to current opinion, it was the Democrat party that favored slavery. The Republican party was anti-slavery. In election campaign of 1864, Lincoln had already issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and Douglas opposed him on the Democrat ticket with a platform favoring slavery.

Although at first the Civil War was about preserving the Union, the North came to accept that the war was punishment by God for the sin of slavery. The resulting 13th and 14th amendments adjusted the Constitution so that the evils of slavery and the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities by individual states were done away.

 

Are we seeing a current breach of the American Covenant?

constitution2“For a good while, there has been going on in this nation a process that I have termed the secularization of America . . .We as a nation are forsaking the Almighty, and I fear that He will begin to forsake us. We are shutting the door against the God whose sons and daughters we are . . . .

“Future blessings will come only as we deserve them. Can we expect peace and prosperity, harmony and goodwill, when we turn our backs on the Source of our strength? If we are to continue to have the freedoms that evolved within the structure that was the inspiration of the Almighty to our Founding Fathers, we must return to the God who is their true Author . . . .

“God bless America, for it is His creation.” ~Gordon B. Hinckley

 

The Lincoln Hypothesis–Book Review

By Marie Leslie

Much has been written about Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, but The Lincoln Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard is an account unlike any other.

It is not a biography, it is not a political history, and it is not a religious history.

It falls somewhere in between all three.

Timothy Ballard, the author, calls this book in his preface an “investigative journey—an exploration.” While there are certainly many historical facts in this book, and much historical context, it also explores Mr. Ballard’s “unsubstantiated, yet compelling ideas that [he believes] are also worthy of serious consideration.”

I believe reading the preface and introduction are really essential to understanding the book and the theories he presents.  In short summary, the book jacket offers this: “A modern-day abolitionist investigates the possible connection between Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Abraham Lincoln.”

Mr. Ballard researches and gathers evidence throughout the book to support his hypothesis that Abraham Lincoln may have read the Book of Mormon and that his understanding of it may have influenced the decisions he made during his presidency—and during the Civil War.

It is an interesting book, though I will admit to reading it with some degree of frustration. Like a good investigator, the author takes us through his investigation step-by-step. Sometimes the steps move a little too slowly and a little too repetitively for my impatient mind (I’m really kind of a let’s-get-to-the-point gal). It reminded me a bit of my college thesis-writing class: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Parts of the story for me kept feeling like “tell them what you’re going to tell them” over and over.

Once I got used to the writing style, I did find the subject matter interesting and learned quite a bit about Lincoln and his presidency that I did not know before. I have read many books about Lincoln and the Civil War over the years and I have never failed to be impressed by the enormity of the trials he faced, the decisions he made and the way in which he conducted his life.

Did Lincoln read the Book of Mormon? We’ll probably never know for sure—at least not in this life. But it would not surprise me. More importantly, the evidence presented in this book at least for me overwhelmingly points to a man of great faith who had a sincere desire to do what he felt was right before God. Now it’s up to you to read it and see what conclusions you draw from the evidence.

The Lincoln Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard is available in hardcover and eBook formats through Deseret Book by clicking here.

Champion of Liberty: Charles Montesquieu

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

key“Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”~ William Penn

Charles Montesquieu

Famous for his theory of Separation of Powers

montesquieuCharles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (/ˈmɒntɨskjuː/;[1] French: [mɔ̃tɛskjø]; 18 January 1689 – 10 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French lawyer, man of letters, and political philosopher who lived during the Age of Enlightenment. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He did more than any other author to secure the place of the word despotism in the political lexicon,[2] and may have been partly responsible for the popularization of the terms feudalism and Byzantine Empire.[citation needed]

Montesquieu’s early life occurred at a time of significant governmental change. England had declared itself a constitutional monarchy in the wake of its Glorious Revolution (1688–89), and had joined with Scotland in the Union of 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. In France the long-reigning Louis XIV died in 1715 and was succeeded by the five-year-old Louis XV. These national transformations had a great impact on Montesquieu; he would refer to them repeatedly in his work.

Montesquieu withdrew from the practice of law to devote himself to study and writing. He achieved literary success with the publication of his Lettres persanes (Persian Letters, 1721), a satire representing society as seen through the eyes of two imaginary Persian visitors to Paris and Europe, cleverly criticizing the absurdities of contemporary French society. He next published Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence (Considerations on the Causes of the Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans, 1734), considered by some scholars, among his three best known books, as a transition from The Persian Letters to his master work. De l’Esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Laws) was originally published anonymously in 1748. The book quickly rose to influence political thought profoundly in Europe and America. In France, the book met with an unfriendly reception from both supporters and opponents of the regime. The Catholic Church banned l’Esprit – along with many of Montesquieu’s other works – in 1751 and included it on the Index of Prohibited Books. It received the highest praise from the rest of Europe, especially Britain.

Montesquieu was also highly regarded in the British colonies in North America as a champion of liberty (though not of American independence). Political scientist Donald Lutz found that Montesquieu was the most frequently quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America, cited more by the American founders than any source except for the Bible.[9] Following the American revolution, Montesquieu’s work remained a powerful influence on many of the American founders, most notably James Madison of Virginia, the “Father of the Constitution“. Montesquieu’s philosophy that “government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another”[10] reminded Madison and others that a free and stable foundation for their new national government required a clearly defined and balanced separation of powers.

Besides composing additional works on society and politics, Montesquieu traveled for a number of years through Europe including Austria and Hungary, spending a year in Italy and 18 months in England where he became a freemason, admitted to the Horn Tavern Lodge in Westminster,[11] before resettling in France. He was troubled by poor eyesight, and was completely blind by the time he died from a high fever in 1755. He was buried in the Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris.

Read more about Charles Montesquieu

 

 

Champion of Liberty: Alexander Hamilton

Champion of Liberty: Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton Quotes

keyFor it is a truth, which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those [toward] whom they entertain the least suspicion. (Federalist Papers, No. 25, p.164)

Every unconstitutional action has usually been justified because it was for a “good cause.” Every illegal transfer of power from one department to another has been excused as “necessary.”

There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.
Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.

A promise must never be broken.

It’s not tyranny we desire; it’s a just, limited, federal government.
Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.
alexanderhamiltonAlexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was a founding father of the United States, chief staff aide to General George Washington, one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the U.S. Constitution, the founder of the nation’s financial system, and the founder of the first political party.

As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington administration, especially the funding of the states’ debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. He became the leader of the Federalist Party, created largely in support of his views; he was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Hamilton played a major role in the American Revolutionary War. At the start of the war in 1775, he organized an artillery company and was chosen as its captain. He later became the senior aide to General Washington, the American forces’ commander-in-chief. Washington sent him on numerous important missions to tell generals what Washington wanted. In 1798-99, Hamilton called for mobilization against France after the XYZ Affair and secured an appointment from President John Adams as commander of a new army, which he readied for war. However, the Quasi-War, while hard-fought at sea, was never officially declared and did not involve army action. In the end, Adams found a diplomatic solution which avoided a land war.

Born out of wedlock to a Scottish-French mother and raised in the West Indies, Hamilton was orphaned at about age 11. Recognized for his abilities and talent, he was sponsored by people from his community to go to North America for his education. He attended King’s College (now Columbia University), in colonial New York.[1] After the war, Hamilton was elected to the Congress of the Confederation from New York. He resigned, to practice law, and founded the Bank of New York.

Hamilton was among those dissatisfied with the Articles of Confederation—the first attempt at a national governing document—because it lacked an executive, courts, and taxing powers. He led the Annapolis Convention, which successfully influenced Congress to issue a call for the Philadelphia Convention, in order to create a new constitution. He was an active participant at Philadelphia; and he helped achieve ratification by the thirteen states, by writing 51 of the 85 installments of the The Federalist Papers, which supported the new constitution. To this day, The Federalist Papers are the single most important reference for Constitutional interpretation.[2]

In the new government under President George Washington, Hamilton was appointed the Secretary of the Treasury. An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton was a nationalist, who emphasized strong central government and successfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution provided the legal authority to fund the national debt, assume states’ debts, and create the government-owned Bank of the United States. These programs were funded primarily by a tariff on imports, and later also by a highly controversial excise tax on whiskey.

Embarrassed when an extra-marital affair became public, Hamilton resigned his Cabinet position in 1795 and returned to the practice of law in New York. He kept his hand in politics and was a powerful influence on the Cabinet of President Adams (1797–1801). Hamilton’s opposition to Adams’ re-election helped cause his defeat in the 1800 election. When in the same contest, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for the presidency in the electoral college, Hamilton helped defeat Burr, whom he found unprincipled, and to elect Jefferson despite philosophical differences.

After failing to support Adams, the Federalist Party candidate, Hamilton lost some of his national prominence within the party. Vice President Burr later ran for governor in New York state, but Hamilton’s influence in his home state was strong enough to again prevent a Burr victory. Taking offense at some of Hamilton’s comments, Burr challenged him to a duel and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died the next day.

Constitution and The Federalist Papers

In 1787, Hamilton served as assemblyman from New York County in the New York State Legislature and was the first delegate chosen to the Constitutional Convention. Even though Hamilton had been a leader in calling for a new Constitutional Convention, his direct influence at the Convention itself was quite limited. Governor George Clinton‘s faction in the New York legislature had chosen New York’s other two delegates, John Lansing and Robert Yates, and both of them opposed Hamilton’s goal of a strong national government. Thus, whenever the other two members of the New York delegation were present, they decided New York’s vote; and when they left the convention in protest, Hamilton remained but with no vote, since two representatives were required for any state to cast a vote.

Alexander Hamilton

Legacy

Hamilton’s interpretations of the Constitution set forth in the Federalist Papers remain highly influential, as seen in scholarly studies and court decisions.[144]

From his first days as a cabinet member Hamilton set a precedent by formulating federal programs, writing them as reports, pushing for their approval by arguing for them in person on the floor of the United States Congress, and then implementing them. Hamilton and the other Cabinet members were vital to Washington, as there was no executive branch under the Articles of Confederation, and the Cabinet itself is unmentioned in the Constitution that succeeded it.

Read more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Hamilton

U.S. Constitution Series 1: Founding Fathers and Cicero

U.S. Constitution Series 1:

Founding Fathers and Cicero

Cicero was born January 3, 106 B.C.

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

keyWorldly philosophies endeavor to blur the distinction between good and evil and eliminate accountability. However, the foundation of Natural Law (the law of the Creator) is the reality of good and evil. The U.S. Constitution was successful in creating a free and prosperous society because its foundation of Natural Law is based on moral accountability to a just God. ~C.A. Davidson

5000leapFrom The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

1. First Principle: the Genius of Natural Law

(Notes from pp. 37-47)

What is Natural Law?

The Creator’s order of things is called Natural Law.

The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.

Cicero

Cicero cut through the political and philosophical errors of both Plato and Aristotle to discover the touchstone of good laws, sound government, and the long-range formula for happy human relations. (p.37) He was the only Roman political writer who has exercised enduring influence throughout the ages. He studied law in Rome and philosophy in Athens.

Cicero’s compelling honesty led him to conclude that once the reality of the Creator is clearly identified in the mind, the only intelligent approach to government, justice, and human relations is in terms of the laws which the Supreme Creator has already established.

In the Declaration of Independence Jefferson referred to the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

In Natural Law we are dealing with factors of absolute reality.

Since the Biblical God is the author of Natural Law, the first two great commandments indicated by Jesus Christ provide the standard for government and human relations.

Internal and External Government

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

1. The first great commandment is to love and honor God (the God of Israel).  The simplest way to honor God is to abide by the Ten Commandments. These provide moral absolutes, which if obeyed, build in us a strong internal government, or good moral character.

2. The second great commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” This commandment is based on love. When we serve our fellow man, we are serving God. Jesus taught that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. If we have strong internal government, (we discipline ourselves and do no harm to others, by our own choice), then there is little need for much external government, which forces people to obey the rules of civilization.  Internal government is based on love of God, ourselves, and our neighbors. External force is not based on love.

Legislation in Violation of God’s Natural Law is a Scourge to Humanity

All Law Should Be Measured against God’s Law

ciceroCicero set forth the means by which people may discern between good and evil laws. All laws must be measured by God’s Law, which he described as follows:

Therefore Law [of the Creator] is the distinction between things just and unjust, made in agreement with that primal and most ancient of all things, Nature; and in conformity to Nature’s standard are framed those human laws which inflict punishment upon the wicked and protect the good. (Dr. William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers, p. 135)

It was clear to Cicero as he came toward the close of his life that men must eliminate the depravity that had lodged itself in society. He felt they must return to the high road of Natural Law. They must pledge obedience to the mandates of a loving and concerned Creator. (Skousen, pp. 45-46)

The Following are Examples of concepts based on Natural Law

  • Unalienable rights
  • Unalienable duties
  • Habeas Corpus
  • Limited government
  • Separation of powers
  • Checks and balances to correct abuses by peaceful means
  • Right of contract
  • Laws protecting the family and the institution of marriage
  • Justice by reparation or paying for damages
  • Right to bear arms
  • No taxation without representation

Principle # 2:  Moral and Virtuous Leaders

National Security Facts: Sharia Law not compatible with U.S. Constitution

National Security Facts:

Sharia Law is NOT compatible with U.S. Constitution

keyIt is vitally important that Americans understand that Shariah law is not just some cultural statement. It is a tyrannical political law that is diabolically opposed to the U.S. Constitution, with the goal of enslaving and destroying America. In contrast, our Constitution is the charter of liberty for the entire world. We must preserve it, or lose our freedom, and all that we hold sacred. ~C.D.

sharia-no-americaTrump: Shariah law and Constitution don’t mix

Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Muslim Brotherhood to be declared a Terrorist Organization

President-elect Donald Trump is about to send a message loud and clear that Islam’s “Shariah [law is] incompatible with [the United States] Constitution” as he prepares to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

“The Muslim Brotherhood’s days of influencing the United States government may be coming to an end, and those who are expert in the field of Islamist activism and the threat of terror are pleased,” WND reports. “President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly preparing to jumpstart a bill in Congress that would ban the Muslim Brotherhood by declaring it a terrorist organization.”

Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Walid Phares, is confident that Trump will follow through by calling a spade a spade and formally recognize the controversial group as a militant Islamic terrorist organization. He announced Trump’s plan to the Egyptian news outlet, Youm7, and explained that a bill exists in Congress to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, but noted that the Obama administration has refused to pass the bill due to the president’s support of the Brotherhood – with whom he want to stay on friendly terms.

It’s about time …

book-obama-cover-upAs a founding member of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Philip Haney is excited about a revitalized eagerness (by Trump) to bring the government agency back to what it was created to do.

This is why the Department of Homeland Security was created

“This is what the Department of Homeland Security was created for in the first place – to protect the American people from the threat of terrorism both foreign and domestic – so all he’s doing is following the policies of the original purpose of DHS,” Haney, who authored See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad,  told WND. “This is what we were actually supposed to do clear back in 2003, when the agency was formed.”

American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) President Pamela Geller, who wrote the book Stop the Islamization of America,  also welcomed the news of Trump’s plans with open arms.

“It’s long overdue and much needed,” Geller insisted, according to WND. “We can only hope that it will stop Muslim Brotherhood infiltration into the U.S. government.”

Protecting Americans, not terrorists …

obama-muslim-brotherhood-infiltrateThe bill to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group was introduced a year ago this month by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who was tired of the Obama administration skirting the issue and continuing to keep Americans in danger by defending jihadists.

“We have to stop pretending that the Brotherhood are not responsible for the terrorism they advocate and finance,” Cruz told the Washington Free Beacon in November 2015. “We have to see it for what it is: a key international organization dedicated to waging violent jihad.”

It is also maintained that the Islamic terrorist organization secretly works with other Muslim American groups to spread jihad across the U.S.

The bill examines the Muslim Brotherhood’s history of terrorism and shows how it is linked to three prominent American Muslim organizations: the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT),” WND’s Paul Bremmer informed. “The legislation was approved by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year and referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has not taken action on it.”

Trump will be joining Russia, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to make the U.S. become the seventh nation to officially declare the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

Bold Stance against Shariah and Jihad

By making the designation, Haney says the U.S. will be making a bold statement to militant Muslims worldwide who have taken advantage of America’s weakness and unwillingness to fight jihad head-on.

MuslimWarrior“It’ll send a signal to the entire Salafi, pro-Shariah, pro-jihad Islamic world that we’re serious again about protecting our borders, and that we will do it without firing a single shot or dropping a single bomb anywhere,” Haney stressed. “And that’s very significant. We talk about peace through strength and walking softly and carrying a big stick – well, this is a good example of it.”

Using Islam’s own mottos to prove his point, Haney shared the religion’s beliefs to show that the very tenets of Islam run contrary to religious liberty in America.

“Allah is our objective; the Quran is the Constitution; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our wish,” Haney said, reciting popular Islamic chants.

Haney stressed that there are some things the American government must get straight if it does not want to succumb to Islamic terrorism.

“The Muslim Brotherhood has quite plainly stated what their intentions are, so we should simply take them at their word and by designating them as a terrorist organization,

Shariah Law is not compatible with the U.S. Constitution

we’re saying that Shariah law is not compatible with the U.S. Constitution, and that might be the most important part,” he continued.

Staying on course…

consitution-bill-rightsEven though some are wary that Trump will not hold to his plan to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, Geller is confident that he will do all he can to eradicate the influence of Islamic militants from the government.

“So far, he has stuck to his guns through a presidential campaign – during which he was subjected to vicious and relentless attacks for those positions,” Geller contended. “That gives me hope that he will follow through.”

Not quite as confident that Trump will stick to his resolve to declare the Brotherhood a terrorist organization, Haney is still cautiously optimistic.

“He thinks a terrorist designation of the Muslim Brotherhood could set the stage for a follow-up to the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, in which various charities and leaders affiliated with the Brotherhood were found to have been funding Hamas terrorists,” Haney asserted. “But he sees it as even more important than a second trial.”

The national security expert is adamant that such a designation is imperative if the U.S. is to take the reins and win the war on terror – and no longer take a vacation from the conflict, as it has done over the past eight years with the Obama administration.

“If you designate the Muslim Brotherhood organization, not only does it provide incentive for the Holy Land trial part two, but it also puts the people that are in the Muslim Brotherhood that are having any kind of influence in the U.S. government on notice that they will no longer be given access to positions of influence and authority within the social arena, political arena and law enforcement arena, which are the three areas they’ve been operating almost unhindered for the last eight years, if not longer,” Haney concluded.