US Constitution Series 6: Law, Liberty, and Socialism

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

All Men are Created Equal

key The Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible. They recognized that society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

decofindependence1The Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that some truths are self-evident, and one of these is the fact that all men are created equal. Yet everyone knows that no two human beings are exactly alike in any respect. They are different when they are born. They vary in physical strength, mental capacity, emotional stability, inherited social status, in their opportunities for self-fulfillment, and in scores of other ways. Then how can they be equal?

The answer is that everyone’s individual differences should be accepted, but be treated as equals as human beings. Constitutional writer Clarence Carson describes two ways all persons should have their equality guaranteed:

1) Equality before the law. this means that every man’s case is tried by the same law governing any particular case. Practically, it means that there are no different laws for different classes and orders of men [as there were in ancient times]. The definition of premeditated murder is the same for the millionaire as for the tramp. A corollary of this is that no classes are created or recognized by law.

2) Each man has an equal title to God-given liberties along with every other.

Rousseau’s Error

johnadams2John Adams was in France when Jean Jacques Rousseau was teaching that all men were designed to be equal in every way. Adams wrote:

That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has …But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people as ever was practiced by monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, …or by the self-styled philosophers of the French Revolution.

Minorities: Crossing the Culture Gap

Being a minority, even in the United States, is painful because acceptance depends on “crossing the culture gap.” This means learning the English language; attaining the general norm of education—which in America is fairly high; becoming economically independent—which often means getting out of the ghetto; and bedoming recognized as a social asset to the community—which always takes time. (Skousen, p. 106)

There is not a single ethnic group in the United States but what has been treated at one time or another as a minority, or less than first-class citizens. The story of minorities in the United States is a fascinating tale. Beginning with the French in the 1500s and the English in the 1600s (and Dutch, Germans, Swedes, Scots, and Irish in between),it was one grand conglomerate of tension, discrimination, malice, and sometimes outright persecution. But the miracle of it all is the fact that they fought side by side for freedom in the Revolutionary War. So all of this became America—a nation of minorities. (Skousen p.107)

The Black Minority

Providing equality for the blacks has never been approached with any degree of consensus. Some felt that with education and job opportunities the blacks could leap the culture gap just as other minorities had done. Others felt they should be made the beneficiaries of substantial government gratuities. Experience soon demonstrated, however, that government gratuities are as corrupting and debilitating to blacks as they are to the Indians [Native Americans] or any other minorities. The blacks themselves asked for equal opportunity at the hiring hall.

Violence Proves Counter-Productive

In the mid 1960s there were groups of Marxist agitators who move in among the blacks to promote direct action by violence. One of these was Eldridge Cleaver, who had been trained in Marxist philosophy and tactics. He became a leader for the Black Panthers. Cleaver describes the rationale behind their philosophy of violence. It was to destroy the whole economic and social structure of the United States so that blacks could enjoy equal right under an American Communist regime. (Skousen p.109)

The crescendo of violence increased year after year. During the summer of 1968 over a hundred American cities were burning. But the burning was always in black ghettos. But the burning and fire-bombing backfired. The black population began to realize it was only the homes of the blacks that were being burned. Other than police, it was primarily blacks that were being hurt in the melee of the riots. In the shoot-outs with the police, nineteen of the Black Panther leaders were killed. Eldridge Cleaver was wounded. He and his wife later fled to Cuba and then to other Communist countries.

The whole scenario of violence had proved tragically counter-productive. It temporarily jolted out of joint a broad spectrum of reforms which the blacks were really seeking and the rest of the nation was trying to provide.

Eldridge Cleaver Returns

Eldridge_Cleaver_1968After nearly eight years as an exile in Communist and Socialist countries, Eldridge Cleaver asked to be allowed to return to the United States and pay whatever penalty was due on charges pending against him. He and his wife were no longer atheists. They were no longer Communists. Those bitter years behind the iron and bamboo curtains had dispelled all the propaganda concerning “equality” and “justice” under Communism. Cleaver told the press: “I would rather be in jail in America than free anywhere else.” He then went on to say:

“I was wrong and the Black Panthers were wrong …We [black Americans] are inside the system and I feel that the number one objective for Black America is to recognize that they have the same equal rights under the Constitution as Ford or Rockefeller, even if we have no blue-chip stocks. But our membership in the United States is the supreme blue-chip stock and one we have to exercise.”

By 1981 Eldridge Cleaver had paid his final debt to society. soon after that he began accepting speaking engagements before schools, churches, community gatherings, and even prison groups to describe his new and yet profound appreciation for America.

He described the despondency which came over him when he found what a betrayal of human rights and human dignity Communism turned out to be. He described the long and strenuous intellectual struggle with his Marxist atheism before he recognized its fraudulent fallacies.

He frankly and patiently dialogued with university students still struggling with similar philosophical problems. He assured them, as Locke had done, that a persistent pursuit of the truth would bring them to the threshold of reality, where the Creator could be recognized and thereafter have a place in their lives. (Skousen, pp. 110-111)

Declaration_independenceThe Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible. They recognized that society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

Next—

Principle 7: The proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not Provide Equal Things

US Constitution Series 5: Trust in God

 

US Constitution Series 5: Trust in God

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

Principle # 5

keyoldIn the Anglo-Saxon language, the word for supreme or ultimate good is “God.” (Skousen p. 96)

creationhandsAll things were created by God, therefore upon Him all mankind are equally dependent, and to Him they are equally responsible

The Founders vigorously affirm throughout their writings that the foundation of all reality is the existence of the Creator, who is the designer of all things in nature and the promulgator of all the laws which govern nature.

The Founders were in harmony with the thinking of John Locke as expressed in his famous Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In it Locke pointed out that it defies the most elementary aspects of reason and experience to presuppose that everything in existence developed as a result of fortuitous circumstance. The mind, for example, will not accept the proposition that the forces of nature, churning about among themselves, would ever produce a watch, or even a lead pencil, let alone the marvelous intricacies of the human eye, the ear, or even the simplest of the organisms found in nature. All these are the product of intelligent design and high precision engineering. (Skousen, pp.95-96)

How Can One Know There Is a God?

In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke insisted that everyone can know there is a divine Creator. It is simply a case of thinking about it. To begin with, each person knows that he exists.

Furthermore, each person knows that he is something. He also knows that a something could not be produced by a nothing. Therefore, whatever brought man and everything else into existence also had to be something.

This something would therefore have to be superior to e everything which had resulted from this effort. This element of superiority makes this something the ultimate “good” for all that has been organized and arranged. In the Anglo-Saxon language, the word for supreme or ultimate good is “God.” (Skousen p. 96)

So, as John Locke says, there are many things man can know about God. And because any thoughtful person can gain an appreciation and conviction of these many attributes of the Creator, Locke felt that an atheist has failed to apply his divine capacity for reason and observation.

The American Founding Fathers agreed with Locke. They considered the existence of the Creator as the most fundamental premise underlying ALL self-evident truth. It will be noted as we proceed through this study that every single self-evident truth enunciated by the Founders is rooted in the presupposition of a divine Creator. (Skousen pp. 97-98)

Concerning God’s Revealed Law Distinguishing Right from Wrong

The Founders considered the whole foundation of a just society to be structured on the basis of God’s revealed law. These laws constituted a moral code clearly distinguishing right from wrong.

William Blackstone, widely read authority on this subject in the Founders era, expounded it in his Commentaries on the Laws of England.

He said the 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)

[T]he attitude of the Founders toward God’s law (both natural and revealed) gave early Americans a very high regard for the “law” as a social institution. They respected the sanctity of the law in the same way that it was honored among the Anglo-Saxons and by ancient Israel. (Skousen pp.98-99)

The Nearness of God

Days of fasting and prayer were commonplace in early America. most of the Founders continually petitioned God in fervent prayers, both public and private, and looked upon his divine intervention in their daily lives as a singular blessing. They were continually expressing gratitude to God as the nation survived one major crisis after another.

George Washington

George Washington was typical of the Founders in this respect. Charles Bracelen Flood discovered in his research that during the Revolutionary War there were at least sixty-seven desperate moments when Washington acknowledged that he would have suffered disaster had not the hand of God intervened in behalf of the struggle for independence. (Skousen p.99)

trust“In God We Trust”

From all of this it will be seen that the Founders were not indulging in any idle gesture when they adopted the motto, “In God we trust.” Neither was it a matter of superfluous formality when they required that all witnesses who testify in the courts or before Congressional hearings must take an oath and swear or affirm before God that they will tell the truth. As Washington pointed out in his Farewell Address: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?” (Skousen, p.100)

See how you can draw your family closer to God in these troubled times

US Constitution Series 3: Benjamin Franklin on the Good Leader

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

Western Culture Newsletter: Nuclear Family

Western Culture Dinner Topics Theme: Nuclear Family

May 2017 Newsletter

Culture-Wars

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Western Culture Dinner Topics!

                LIFE IS FRAGILE. HANDLE WITH PRAYER. Also fragile is the nuclear or traditional family. More than thirty years ago, Christian leaders warned us: Satan has declared war on the family. As I have endeavored to defend the traditional family over the years, I have found this to be true, first hand.

Popular among the many chants of today’s chorus of moral equivalence is: “all variations of the family are essentially equivalent, so why does Western society agonize over the collapse of the family? What’s the big deal? After all, we know this from decades of experimentation.”

Decades, hmm? Really?

                “The bottom line is that not all family structures are equal, and not all variations are compatible with basic social and human needs,” William J. Bennett, eminent author and champion of moral values reminds us. This he concludes after a profound study of the history of the nuclear family—not of mere decades or scarcely a generation—but of millennia, about three thousand years. Which study is more credible—the one based on whims of instant gratification, or the one with a foundation of time-tested human experience?

“Why? What is the big deal?”

                In their mad scramble for self-fulfillment, comfort, and convenience, adults overlook the greatest victims of their selfishness: children.

                Which family structure best meets the needs of children? “We desperately need to reestablish marriage as an exclusive arrangement between a man and a woman,” Bennett continues. “Marriage, monogamous and freely chosen, must be the institution through which children are conceived and born, loved and disciplined, nurtured and raised. And marital permanence must once again become the ideal to which individuals commit themselves and which they strive to maintain.”

Truths restored from ancient history remain unchanged.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.[1]

           Someone wisely said we study history to “know who we are.” As Paul told the Romans, “we are children of God.” Knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sent His Son to rescue us from the misery of sin, we can safely conclude that God approves of the family unit, and that “happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”[2]

The nuclear family is not the result of mere happenstance. “Shaped as we are by long human experience, we must be all the more careful not to lose what has required so much time and so much effort to accomplish. The modern nuclear family is a rare construct; we tamper with its essentials at our peril. As the long record of human experimentation attests, civilizations, even great civilizations, are more fragile and perishable than we think.” (Bennett, The Broken Hearth, 67, 70)

Thanks for visiting. Come often; Stay Late,

To forever families,

Christine Davidson

Teach your family the Key to Survival in a Difficult World

So from now on, we are sharpening the focus of Western Culture Dinner Topics on what matters most— to continually define and defend Judeo-Christian values, more about Israel, our spiritual  brother in the house of Israel,  and to know our enemy, so as not to be deceived.

As Joshua Benamoz  taught us,

Battered but not beaten, Western Culture wins the day!

Stronger than ever, Western Culture’s here to stay!

Highlights

 

 

You might also like: Excerpt from new novel by C.A. Davidson, Birthright:

Why the Bible Matters

More about Birthright

News and Updates:

Now Available in digital and print at Amazon.

A  novel by C.A. Davidson—Christian fiction on Cultural Heritage. A historical novel so relevant it pops like today’s news! A wholesome classic to share with your children and grandchildren.

Click Here for More  Information and link to Amazon

 

New Parenting Resource!

Life Lessons from Biblical Big Picture

Critical thinking skills are taught in very few public schools anymore. Some of the best resources for character education and critical thinking are found in literary fiction. Using the historical novel, Birthright, by C.A. Davidson, as a platform, parents can teach their families vital critical thinking skills and Life Lessons from the Biblical big picture.

Topics include:

  • Truth–
    • How to Know What is True
    • Discerning Right and Wrong
  • Scientific Method (Empiricism) and Academic Freedom
  • Life Lessons from Historical patterns and literary symbolism

To learn more and obtain your copy, please visit our Birthright Site.

As you read Birthright with your family, you can use its engaging narrative to apply to current events in real life while teaching character education. The Table of Contents in Birthright gives page numbers for each chapter, so you can refer to the text when you converse about the topics.

NEW PAGE!

300-year-old Ceiba tree

Western Culture Center:

Under the Ceiba tree, come meet the memorable characters of Birthright characters, join the Crusaders’ Council, with our motto—

Battered but not beaten, Western Culture wins the day!

Stronger than ever, Western Culture’s here to stay!

 

 Knowing that truth matters and ideas have consequences, come meet with us in the arena of ideas at Nobles’ Western Culture Center as we work together to restore Judeo-Christian values to their rightful place in our society.

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

 

 

Stress Relief Tip: The Secret to Peace for your Children

Isaiah 54:13

Theme Quotes for May: Nuclear Family

“You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

We are created in God’s image and need to mirror Him. My role as a wife must be of more importance than my role as a mother because we are training disciples, not making friends with our children. The payoff will be great in the years ahead because then we will enjoy friendships with our children in a new and special way. ~Esther Saunders

No success can compensate for failure in the home. ~David O. McKay

A man should never neglect his family for business. ~Walt Disney

‘The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home.’ ~Harold B. Lee

Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

 

How to help strengthen the faith of the rising generation

It is so obvious that 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. 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. ~Gordon B. Hinckley

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. ~The Family Proclamation

We need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance of homes as sacred places—even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting, or no longer relevant. ~Bonnie L. Oscarson

“First because thou lovest God; and, secondly, because that thou lovest me.” Margaret Winthrop stating reasons she loved her husband John.

Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? ~Ronald Reagan

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. ~Gordon B. Hinckley, Family Proclamation to the World

See how you can draw your family closer to God in these troubled times

The family is the most important organization in time or in eternity. The Lord instituted the family to endure eternally. ~Joseph Fielding Smith

Nuclear Family: As the forces of evil attack the individual by tearing away at his family roots, it becomes critical for …parents to maintain and strengthen the family. There are certain old truths which will be truths as long as the world endures, and which no amount of progress can change. 1) One of these is that the family (the organization consisting of father, mother, and children) is the foundation of all things in the Church; 2) another, that sins against pure and healthy family life are those which, of all others, are sure in the end to be visited most heavily upon the nations in which they take place. ~Joseph Fielding Smith

The thought of a nation without the family unit as its fundamental foundation, where all the citizens are comparatively strangers to each other and where natural affection is not found; where no family ties bind the groups together, is one of horror. Such a condition could lead to but one end—anarchy and dissolution. ~Joseph Fielding Smith

The gospel of Jesus Christ is family centered; it must be lived in the family. It is here we receive our greatest and most important training as we seek to create for ourselves eternal family units patterned after the family of God our Father. ~Joseph Fielding Smith

The family is both the fundamental unit of society as well as the root of culture. It … is a perpetual source of encouragement, advocacy, assurance, and emotional refueling that empowers a child to venture with confidence into the greater world and to become all that he can be.

MARIANNE E. NEIFERT, Dr. Mom’s Parenting Guide

Plague of Permissiveness

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Alexander Pope

May Preview

The Western Culture Dinner Topic Theme for May: Nuclear Family

What is the key to your family’s future? Find it here.

praying handsFeatured Topics

The Parenting Value for this month: Kindness

Defining Moment: The Nuclear Family—a History Timeline

Famous Birthdays: Johannes Brahms, Friederich Hayek, Florence Nightingale, Richard Wagner, Carl Bloch, Albrecht Durer, Isaac Albeñiz

  • Art: The touching story of Albrecht Durer
    • The influential art of Carl Bloch
  • Culture Wars: Un-brainwash your kids
    • A Plea to Women—Learn to discern the different forms of deception
    • Deadly ideology promoted via a fairy tale
    • Hollywood Actor defends American values
    • Christianity vs. humanism, part 1
  • Faith: It will all work out
  • Family: Raising a sin-resistant Generation
    • A Parable for Mothers
  • Founding American Principles 5: Trust in God
  • History: Timeline of the Nuclear Family
    • Honoring Our Vets

Moral Solutions—always looking for reasons for optimism:

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

Please Vote for our Site and help us reach more readers. Do you enjoy this web site? If you do, please consider voting at the link in the right-hand sidebar beneath the Follow button. If we can be listed in the Top Sites at “Christians Unite!”—we can reach more people who think like you do. You can vote more than once—any time you appreciate a post with Christian content. This keeps us up toward the top 10 so we get referrals.

Thank you for your support.

 PLEASE VOTE FOR EPICWORLD DINNER TOPICS.

Ongoing

1. Let Us Educate Ourselves:

New Resource: Take this online course from Hillsdale College!

History 102: American Heritage, From Colonial Settlement to the Reagan Revolution

Recommended Readings

The U.S. Constitution is the key to securing liberty for all Americans — yet very few know exactly what it says, and what freedoms it protects. Hillsdale College is dedicating this year to educating millions of Americans about this critical document. That’s why the College is offering its most popular course, American Heritage,  for free, when you sign up now, and receive first lesson by email. 

2. Home Education—Let’s Teach our Children!

 “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”–Ronald Reagan

Pass on Judeo-Christian values to your children with this engaging and wholesome classic

Seeing the widespread injury done in any given week, (many incidents go unreported), stay aware of important news and insights at Western Culture Dinner Topics.

Traditional Bible-believing parents may have to consider withdrawing their children from public schools to protect your family spiritually and financially from the rising tide of persecution and ruinous lawsuits by anti-Christian fascists.

If it is not possible for you to home school, try to teach your children Judeo-Christian values at home. The easiest way to do this is to tell stories and discuss principles at the family dinner table. I hope these dinner topics help you with this vital effort. Just don’t give up! Our precious children are worth fighting for!

Learn the Key to Survival in a Difficult World

3. Study the U.S. Constitution!

It is the last remaining safeguard of our precious freedoms! A good way to do this is to study the monthly Constitution series from The 5,000 Year Leap. To access this series of posts, type US Constitution Series in this site’s search bar. Also, look for posts that refer to the Constitution in current events. This month Constitution series #5: Trust in God

[1] Family Proclamation, 1995

[2] Ibid

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