Tag Archives: freedom

The Gift of Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Time off from school or work. Time with family and friends. Inspiring music fills the air and soul with joy. Dramatic plays direct our minds to real meaning of this holiday.

The history of Christmas go back beyond the man named Saint Nicolas, who went around giving gifts to make people merry. He is as real today as in medieval times. A number of years ago he was seen driving a red and white Cadillac and visiting hospitals and orphanages throughout the United States. Yes, his white hair, beard and mustache are not fake, neither is his fat belly or name: Saint Nicholas. Santa Clause must be a modern make-over for commercial reasons. How St. Nick got the name Kris Kringle is anyone’s guess. What we do know is history leads us back to ancient times when Christmas actual began.

It was around 4 BC, when angels appeared to a group of shepherds, most likely on their way to the annual Jewish Festival of Booths, announcing the birth of the long awaited messiah. During this festival, people of Israel celebrated their freedom that began with the Exodus experienced by their ancestors. Around the same time, Parthia’s ambassadors, also called Magi, came to Jerusalem accompanied by a military escort, looking for the newly born Messiah-king of Israel. Along with indigenous Jews, they too came to celebrate the prospect of liberty from Rome’s imperial influence. The disturbing problem for King Herod and Caesar by the magi’s visit was the fact that Parthia was an independent kingdom with whom Rome has a military truce based on formal treaties. What could they do about representatives of a foreign power creating expectations of a new messianic era of independence?

The expectations and hope spread by the magi, shepherds, and even priests were not to be fulfilled. The boy conceived during the Festival of Lights–a celebration of freedom and salvation–and born during the festival of the an even more ancient experience of God’s salvation and independence from dehumanizing bondage—was destined to save the world from an even more ancient evil: bondage to sin. It is this power over human thought and behavior that Jesus was sent by God to destroy, and not the empire of Rome. This would come in God’s predetermined time.

The power of sin is the prevailing source of all the human atrocities, wars, moral crimes, envy, jealousy, pride and greed that motivate violence and murder, resulting in poverty, social disintegration, distrust, alienation, divorce, and the like. In infant innocence, Jesus came via the manager to deliver humanity from the power and consequences of sin.

The real difference between Exodus and “the Cross” is this: Exodus liberated socially, politically and economically; it changed social status, resulted in a new political amenability, created greater potential for economic independence, and was intended to produce a new social morality reflecting God’s nature. Jesus’s birth, death and resurrection accomplishes the same but by changing human nature, which is accomplished by the overmastering power of God’s spirit. This is the Spirit who created the first sinless human, and recreated a second sinless human to redeem the progeny of the first, which includes us. If this babe who came via Bethlehem’s manger is taken seriously as God’s light and covenant, then God is free to accomplish his redemptive goal in and through our lives, society and world. For the life of baby Jesus is a model of the God who delivers from every form of bondage and the power behind it. Amenable to his word and rule, liberty and prosperity of soul and society produce peace, joy and good will. As God leads the way through adversity and opposition, Christ empowers loyal believers to a good and eternal life in God’s kingdom.

Why not accept God’s Christmas gift.

Memorial Day Remembrance

In a recent Forbes article, Marianne Bickle reminds us of the true meaning of Memorial Day. She wrote,

Memorial Day started as a holiday to remember the fallen during the Civil War. It was enacted as an honorable day of remembrance; time Civil War was the bloodiest and most deadly war experienced on our soil. Our new and fragile country was at war with itself.

Actually, America was not new. A little under 100 years old America was more like a squabbling child among the nations. Other nations probably saw Americans as a bunch of warring siblings in need of providential correction.

Americans are still divided and warring against itself. On one side are those who for the most part seek to live by the rules and on the other side are those who make up their own rule as the game of life is played out. Yes, those brats seem to be winning. The hand of Providence, however, always gets around to spankling the little darlings. (Oops! I didn’t mean that Providence actually stoops to violent acts like spanking; what I meant to say was meaningful discipline. Surely, God does spare the rod always preferring to lovingly negotiate.)

Anyway, Bickle continued by reminding us that Memorial about honoring the fallen soldiers of all wars including the cultural war, the continuing struggle for human rights, and the daily sacrifice of those who protect society.

Expanding the definition of Memorial Day, think about the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country. George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were considered traitors by some. Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman put their lives on the line to make advancements for human rights. Everyday fire fighters, police and military protect our country’s freedom and the safety of its citizens, never knowing if danger is a moment away.

There are many unsung heros whose fight for our moral freedoms and security go unnoticed. Many of them faithful serve the needy society, teach us the way of right living, counsel peace, facilitate honest prosperity, advocate true justice, stand against corruption, deception and oppression. These often nameless people have or do suffered loss, slander and persecution for their service. For example, leaders who oppose gay marriage, abortion, or the advancement of Islamic law. Some have been killed for their service. Church workers killed by drug lords in the Bronx for helping children and others overcome the problems of poverity, fear, and addictions. The sacrifice and service of these Americans deserve our remembrance as well.

Source: “The Meaning of Memorial Day,” Forbes, May 21, 2012.

Good Friday 2012: When the Line Is Crossed

By Daniel Downs

An excellent editorial was published in yesterday’s edition of the Guardian, a U.K. newspaper. The editor shows how the short story Christ in Concrete relates the Good Friday story to past and present sacrifice of individuals that altered human history. The story was a thinly veiled account of the life and death of Italian-American writer Pietro di Danato’s father Geremio, who was an underpaid brick layer. Peitro likened his father life and work-related death on Good Friday to the Via Delarosa of Christ and his selfless suffering as a result of mindless capitalism. Christ in Concrete shifted the American mood, and Geremio’s death counts among those that have, to one extent or another, altered history.

The editor also mentioned the Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc who burned himself to death protesting against the South Vietnamese government’s terrible treatment of fellow Buddhists. His death sparked a movement among the South Vietnamese people that resulted in the fall of the Ngo Dinh Diem’s government.

The editor is right the sacrifices of those men and of men like Jan Palach in Czechoslovokia in 1969 or Mohamed Bouazizzi in Tunisia in 2010 cannot be compared to the sacrifices of lives in Jihad.

They cannot even be compared to the sacrifices farmers, parents, spouses who sacrificed their lives so that their loved ones would survive the end of their life of farming. In the 1980s, Federal Reserve induced inflation caused many rural bank defaults and interest rates of agricultural loans to skyrocket. Farm loans encouraged by rural farm lenders has to be called in. Of course, most farmers couldn’t pay, resulting in bankruptcy. What urban bankers, investors and politicians didn’t realize was that farming is life to generational farm families. The end of farming meant the end of life. As a result, many unusual accidents occurred killing the head of the bankrupt farms. The benefit was the large insurance claims were be paid to their surviving spouses and children.

“The insecure economic world in which Geremio lived – and died – is back with us again, after a half century during which we thought we had made its return impossible. Our leaders, and those who influence them, are not malign. But they are inept, and they seem often to be uncaring.”

What the editor failed to mentioned is that Jesus Christ lived in a world dominated by the same kind of leaders who produced economic conditions that impoverished masses in Israel, Asia, Europe, and the rest of the world they controlled. The difference between Jesus’ death and those mentioned in the editorial is this: The sacrifice of the lives mentioned in editorial produced freedom and justice in their nations for a season, but Jesus’ sacrifice secured life for all people in all nations forever. The death and resurrection of Christ is source of the freedom enjoyed by West still today.

We fail to return to the source of our freedom at our own peril.

(The eidtorial can be read at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/06/good-friday-when-line-is-crossed.

Passover – An Inalienable American Value

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

Passover, and especially the legacy of Moses and the Exodus, has been part of the American story since the seventeenth century, inspiring the American pursuit of liberty, justice and morality.

The special role played by Passover – and the Bible – in shaping the American state of mind constitutes the foundation of the unique relations between the American People and the Jewish State. As important as are the current mutual threats and interests between the US and Israel, the bedrock of the unbreakable US-Israel alliance are permanent values, principles and legacies, such as Passover.

In 1620 and 1630, William Bradford and John Winthrop delivered sermons on the “Mayflower” and “Arbella,” referring to the deliverance from “modern day Egypt and Pharaoh,” to “the crossing of the modern day Red Sea” and to New Zion/Canaan as the destination of the Pilgrims on board.

In 1776, Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense (which cemented public support for the revolution), referred to King George as the “hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh.” Upon declaration of independence, Benjamin Franklin, the most secular Founding Father, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second third American Presidents, proposed a Passover theme for the official US seal: the Pillar of Fire leading Moses and the Israelites through the Red Sea, while Pharaoh’s chariots drown in the Sea. The inscription on the seal was supposed to be: “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” framing the rebellion against the British monarchy as principle-driven. The lessons of the Jewish deliverance from Egyptian bondage reverberated thunderously among the Rebels, who considered the thirteen colonies to be “the modern day Twelve Tribes.”

The 19th century Abolitionists, and the Civil Rights movement from the 1940s to the 1970s, were inspired by the ethos of the Exodus and by the Bible’s opposition to slavery. In the 1830s, the Liberty Bell, an icon of American independence, was adopted by the Abolitionists, due to its Exodus-inspired inscription: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10). Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), and her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe (“The Little Rabbi”) were scholars of the Bible and the Exodus. Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery in 1849 and freed Black slaves on the Underground Railroad, earned the name “Moses.” The 1879/80 Black slaves who ran away to Kansas were called “the Exodusters.” The most famous spiritual, “Go Down, Moses” was considered the National Anthem of Black slaves.

In 1865, following the murder of President Lincoln, most eulogies compared him to Moses. Just like Moses, Lincoln liberated slaves, but was stopped short of the Promised Land. France paid tribute to the martyred Lincoln by erecting the Statue of Liberty, featuring rays of sun and a tablet, just like the glaring Moses descending from Mount Sinai with the Two Tablets of the Ten Commandments.

In 1954, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. compared the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools to the parting of the Red Sea. In 1964, upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King proclaimed: “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. The Bible tells the thrilling story of how Moses stood in Pharaoh’s court centuries ago and cried, ‘Let my people go.’”

President Reagan mentioned (Reagan at Westminster, 2010) Exodus as the first incident in a long line of Western resistance to tyranny: “Since the exodus from Egypt, historians have written of those who sacrificed and struggled for freedom – the stand at Thermopylae, the revolt of Spartacus, the storming of the Bastille, the Warsaw uprising in World War II.”

In July, 2003, President Bush stated, in Senegal, that “in America, enslaved Africans learned the story of the exodus from Egypt, and set their own hearts on a promised land of freedom.”

In March, 2007, President Obama said in Selma, Alabama that the civil rights pioneers were the “Moses generation” and he was part of the “Joshua generation” that would “find our way across the river.”

In 2012, the statue of Moses stares at the Speaker of the House, another statue of Moses towers above the seats of the Supreme Court Justices, a Ten Commandment monument sits on the ground of the Texas State Capitol and a similar monument will be shortly erected on the ground of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

In 2012, the leader of the Free World and its sole soul ally in the Middle East, Israel, are facing the most lethal threat to liberty since 1945 – conventional and non-conventional Islamic terrorism. Adherence to the legacy of Passover, marshaling the conviction-driven leadership of Moses, and demonstrating the Joshua and Caleb courage and defiance of odds, will once again facilitate the victory of liberty over tyranny.

Yoram Ettinmger was Israeli Ambassador to U.S. state governments. He is current the executive director of a U.S-Israel Initiative called Second Thoughts. This article was originally published in the Israeli newletter Hayom Israel on March 30, 2012.

Lives Saved, Reports In From Around the World

By Daniel Downs

Lives saved from certain death continue coming in at the 40 Days for Life headquarters in Virginia. The latest count is 688 unborn children were spared death by abortion. Men and women, young and old, hit took their message to the streets throughout nations like Australia, Poland, Spain, Ireland, and even England.

Birminham England

Literally, people paraded through the streets of Birmingham protesting against abortion. In London, they held vigils near abortion clinics and government offices. Night and day, campaigners prayed for government officials, abortion clinic workers, and especially for mothers considering abortion. Besides oppostion by media and clinics, campaigners got to explain to women contemplating abortion and to others their biblical view about life and abortion. For 40 days, they exercised the religious freedom long fought for and won by the heirs of the Reformation, which freedom includes freedom of speech and assembly. Even in cold Montreal Quebec weather, people spoke out in public for the right to life of the unborn.

Modesto California

The same is true of Americans. Across the United States, Americans also exercised their liberty to speak out for the the lives of the unborn. In Modesto California, campaigners showed a father and daughter what a fetus looked like 12 and 16 week. When two came out of the clinic, they told the Modesto group they had changed their minds. Over 688 women made the same decision during the 40 Days for Life.

Students for Life of America recently reported 3 babies were saved from abortion as a result of their college campus based campaigns. Three different local campus groups reported mothers changing their minds about abortion and choosing life for their unborn children. In each case, members of the local SFLA organizations were given the opportunity to continue working with each mother in dealing with their concerns and issues.

With the approach of Easter, what better way to celebrate the resurrection of life than by the deliverance of innocent lives from the modern version of ancient Egypt’s infanticide, which was an effort to destroy the promise of God. Easter extends the promise of a life of freedom to life eternal with God.

PFOX Celebrates Day of Silence

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is urging students, parents, and educators to distribute ex-gay flyers on April 20 to their schools with Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) or other gay-themed student clubs.

April 20 is the annual “day of silence” when student and teacher members of homosexual clubs in schools across the country remain silent for the school day in order to bring attention to intolerance against homosexuals.

“Since members of these gay affirming clubs agree to remain silent for the day, April 20 is the time to distribute ex-gay information without interference or harassment from any gay activist faculty or GSA clubs,” said Greg Quinlan, President of PFOX.

“PFOX is calling on students to distribute flyers promoting acceptance of ex-gays. Former homosexuals and their supporters are ridiculed and forced to live in silence. Our nation’s schools deny students with unwanted same-sex attractions any support or fact-based information that feelings can and do change.”

“PFOX has distributed informative flyers in some of the largest school districts in the country,” said Quinlan. “PFOX’s one-page flyer gives students more complete information on sexual orientation and urges tolerance for all. Yet many GSA clubs have opposed our flyers even though they demand equality for gays. Equality exists when both gay and ex-gay organizations have equal access to students on the issue of sexual orientation. Gay groups should not be the only ones to have access to students on the issue of sexual orientation.”

PFOX’s flyer can be downloaded for free at http://pfox.org/school_resources_handout.pdf

“We encourage everyone to print these flyers and distribute them at their schools on April 20 and whenever a gay event is featured in order to promote diversity and safety,” said Quinlan. “Our children deserve no less.”

Since many students are now encouraged to identify as ‘gay’ at an early age, the flyer explains that children do not have to prematurely label their entire future lives as “gay.” The flyer also discourages bullying, name calling, discrimination, and intolerance.

Various PFOX brochures and handouts about sexual orientation, gender identity, bullying, tolerance, and more can also be found at http://pfox.org/bookstore.html for downloading, printing and distribution.

[Passover-Easter points toward the historical realization that freedom from political oppression, addiction, immorality, sexual, and every other form of bondage is possible. The continued existence of Jews and Judaism as as well as Christians and Christianity testifies to its present reality. And, PFOX’s existence is another contemporary example of liberty celebrated in-process.]

What We Can Learn from Slavery, Person or Property?

Dr. Patrick Johnson, Personhood Ohio

The history of our nation is rich with the tradition of states nullifying tyrannical law. When federal power violates the Constitution or violates God’s law, states have successfully resisted.

For example, when the Supreme Court in 1857 ruled that runaway slave Dred Scott was “property” not a “person”, and when the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act demanded that runaway slaves be turned over to their masters, did you know that many states resisted and freed slaves?

In 1851, a U.S. Senator, a former New York governor, and 24 New Yorkers were arrested for hiding runaway slave William Henry. Under their direction, he finally made it to Canada to freedom. A jury practically “nullified” federal law by refusing to convict all but one of the 26 citizens who helped William Henry.

Wisconsin went even further and in 1854 officially declared the Fugitive Slave Act to be unconstitutional. Within five years, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, and Kansas followed Wisconsin’s lead and passed legislation to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act.

The rescue of the slave Joshua Glover is one of the most inspiring examples of the people nullifying immoral federal law. Glover escaped his Missouri master and, with the help of the Underground Railroad, made his way north to Wisconsin. Unfortunately, his master, B.S. Garland, eventually caught up with him.

With the help of two U.S. Marshals and a bloody wooden club, they arrested Glover and threw him in a Milwaukee jail. About 100 men who opposed slavery landed by boat in Milwaukee, furious. Their crowd grew dramatically in size as they marched toward the jail. The men convinced a local judge that the runaway slave was entitled to at least two things: a writ of habeas corpus and a trial by jury. The judge delivered the writ to the U.S. Marshals at the jail.

Not surprisingly, the federal officers rejected the validity of the writ.

However, the citizens of Wisconsin did not respect this “mischief framed by a law.” In courageous defiance, they broke down the doors of the jail and freed Joshua Glover! Then the sheriff arrested Glover’s former slave master and the two U.S. Marshals, charging them with assault! Take that, tyrants! In the meantime, the Underground Railroad assisted Joshua Glover as he crossed the border into Canada to freedom.

Ohio soon joined the ranks of northern states who refused to bow to the federal judiciary when the judges violated the Constitution and God’s law. Did you know that approximately half of the activists in the Underground Railroad were Ohioans? Ohio has a strong tradition of “nullifying” tyrannical federal law, and never has it been more necessary than now, when the federal government’s gavel results in the slaughter of 25,000 innocent preborn Ohioans every year.

The Emancipation Proclamation is credited with ending slavery, but godly Americans and sovereign states were ending slavery long before Lincoln ever thought of it. When the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, was asked who ended slavery, she answered, “John Rankin and his sons.”

Who is John Rankin? A pastor in Ripley, Ohio, who defied federal tyranny and hid runaway slaves from the federal government. Was he a hero or a villain? Of course, a hero.

We will never have a Lincoln until we have a hundred Rankins. Ohio desperately needs more men and women like Reverend Rankin, who will love these children as they love themselves, who will work to pass state laws to protect these innocent babies from the federal government’s bloody gavel. Will you be one?

Has the First Amendment Become an Exercise in Futility

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ-m2-b-9Po&w=560&h=315]

Freedom From Religion Foundation Continues the War on Christmas

If Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sounds familiar to you, it’s likely because they are the same atheist group currently behind the attacks on the Tenth Mountain Division’s Big Mountain Jesus statue in Whitefish, Montana, the veterans memorial, that Liberty Institute is defending. It seems FFRF is also investing much of their energy into waging war on Christmas, with the latest attacks taking place in Santa Monica, California, South Jersey and Henderson County, Texas.

In Henderson County, FFRF sent a demand letter to county officials demanding that they remove a nativity scence from the courthouse square. The County correctly responded to FFRF that the nativity scene was constitutional under established U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

In Santa Monica, Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wise men have been booted from their long-held nativity displays and replaced by non-religious symbols, such as quotes like “Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies. — Thomas Jefferson”, and a display showcasing King Neptune, Jesus, Santa and Satan reads, “Millions of Americans know MYTHS when they see them. What myths do you see? American Atheists.”

For nearly 60-years there has been little to no competition for the designated spaces assigned to groups for Christmas displays in Santa Monica. This year, however, City Hall utilized a random lottery to determine which groups would be able to attain the spaces for displays. Damon Vix is behind the lottery effort being used to assign spaces and he helps groups like FFRF and American Atheists, Inc. acquire these plots of land.

Meanwhile, some anonymous residents from Pitman, NJ, contacted Wisconsin-based FFRF because they want a sign put up by the Catholic Knights of Columbus that reads, “Keep Christ in Christmas”, taken down, claiming it violates the Constitution. While the sign is placed over a county road, it is attached to privately held property. The town’s mayor, Michael Batten, said “I think it’s a sad state of affairs that in our country, we kowtow to the minority and not the majority of people who like that sort of thing to stay.” FFRF is now determined to hang their own sign, which says: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

FFRF is not focusing their attacks solely on the coasts of our country, however. The group is also waging a battle against Henderson County, Texas. FFRF sent a threatening letter asking that the county remove the nativity display from the square in Athens, Texas. The group also made known their plans to post a sign reading “At this Season of the Winter Solstice, LET REASON PREVAIL.” The banner goes on to state that religion is a “myth and superstition.” Fortunately, local pastors and Christians are taking a stand against the false claims by FFRF and will be holding a rally at the courthouse this Saturday, December 17, 2011.

Source: Liberty Watch, December 14, 2011.

Issue 3, Why Vote Yes?

Issue 3 seeks to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and types of coverage by an amendment to our state Constitution. Issue 3 aims at preventing the democratic party’s socialist version of health care reform from being forced on the citizens of Ohio. As proven in Europe and Canada, compulsory health care increases the overall cost of health care while reducing the quality of care. Those costs have contributed to the severity of the economic turmoil in the Europe.

The compelling case argued for the Obamacare is its claim that no one with an existing medical condition can be denied coverage and that the millions of poor Americans and their children will gain access to adequate health care. Those are two benefits touted by the media and all other proponents of Obamacare.

Obamacare law is supposed to prevention bankruptcy due to catastrophic illness and it will help small business provide health insurance to its employees.

It is also true that Obamacare will cost business more money to implement Obamacare. It will penalize individuals for not signing up for health care and small businesses for meeting the laws imposed of them. Physicians and other health care professionals support Issue 3 for similar reason–it will cost them too much financially and professionally. It will benefit insurance companies by increasing revenues to compensate for insuring people with preexisting illnesses. However, wealthier Americans will pay more for health care in order to compensate for the higher costs incurred by doctors, other health practitioners, and by government. Government-run health care will require more people and resources to run completely socialist health care system. Consequently, Obamacare will require more taxpayers funding. As Obama and his party associates in Congress have made clear, the wealthy are the taxpayers of choice.

Because of bureaucratic inefficiencies, corruption, high costs, fewer quality health professionals and the like, waiting long periods for treatment is common. That is why similar health care system in Canada and Europe are known for “rationing” services to the elderly and disabled. The same is expected under Obamacare, or rationed care.

On principles of inherent human rights alone, a Yes vote is necessary to preserve the enjoyment of what freedom we have left. With regard to efficiency and economy, a Yes vote will ensure government bureaucracy doesn’t destroy the quality of health care we already have.

Health care certainly needs improved, but Obama’s version will not provide it.