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Are We Being Propagandized?

Several decades ago, I did a stint teaching freshman composition at a community college. The unit on persuasive writing included a section on techniques of propaganda. The hope was that students would use well-researched facts and good logic in making their arguments, while learning to recognize propaganda in advertising or political campaigns.

Though the following list is very incomplete, see how many of these techniques you recognize in speeches and news reports in the current political campaigns.

  • Red Herring – using data or issues that are irrelevant to the discussion or question at hand, then claiming they validate the argument
  • Ad hominem – attacking an opponent’s character, as opposed to attacking his or her argument
  • Ad nauseam – Using tireless repetition of an idea, that when repeated many times, may be taken as truth
  • Bandwagon – Attempting to persuade the target audience to take the course of action everyone else is taking
  • Name-calling – inciting fears and arousing prejudices to cause hearers to think negatively of an opponent
  • Scapegoating – assigning blame to an individual or group to distract attention from the need to fix the problem for which blame is assigned
  • Testimonials – using famous or beautiful people to deliver the message

The issues that this country faces call for a serious discussion of the issues. I hope that you will join me in requiring that those seeking election speak their positions honestly and clearly so that we can make informed decisions when we vote.

What Are “Reproductive Rights”?

From the lowly one-celled amoeba to the amazingly complex human being, each species has been given a means to reproduce itself, thereby perpetuating its kind. God’s directive to Adam was to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” The Declaration of Independence stated that our rights are given to us by nature and nature’s God. There should be no question that every American has the right to reproduce.

Today, however,  the term “reproductive rights” refers to the process meant to halt the reproductive process before its fruition, abortion. That’s the nature of the deceiver, who comes disguised as the father of lies. Somehow, the use of the word “rights” gives false legitimacy to the practice. The only reproductive rights being violated by abortion are the rights of the unborn child. Even more importantly, the child is losing his/her God-given right to life.

Of course, the other euphemism for abortion, “pro choice”, is deceptive as well. The argument that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body causes no disagreement with most freedom-loving Americans as long as she doesn’t violate the rights of another. However, her choice to engage in sexual activity may result in an unwanted pregnancy. In that case, she will have another opportunity to exercise her pro-choice position. Will she choose marriage, adoption, single parenthood or abortion?

With the preponderance of sex education from kindergarten through high school, every woman of child bearing age should be fully aware of the activities that result in pregnancy. She should also be familar with ways to prevent it. But once conceived, the unborn baby is an individual with different DNA than either the mother or father. He/she is dependent on the mother for sustenance and protection, but that is true for all infants. Sonograms have shown babies inside the womb trying to avoid the abortionist’s instruments, which seems to imply that the natural inclination of the baby is to choose life.

Please hear this: If you’ve had an abortion, God will forgive you if you just ask Him. Get counseling if you need to. Abortion is a dangerous medical procedure, but it affects women psychologically as well. An internet search of “abortion and suicide” revealed studies that all support the claim that the abortion rate among women and girls who had an abortion was significantly greater than those who chose to have the baby. In fact, having someone to live for decreased the suicidal tendencies in that population.

If you believe that abortion is a good thing, say, “I’m for abortion,” and let’s have the debate. If you must subvert the language to make it sound like something it’s not, you must know deep inside that something is wrong with the practice. In the United States, we are aborting over a million babies a year. Is this really what  the majority of Americans want?

What’s the Beef?

The lie cannot defeat the truth; evil cannot overcome good; and dark cannot cover light. Since the tower of Babel, Satan has attempted to use man to reach God. But he will never succeed, because God has built into every one of us. And so it is now. Our country was God’s idea, not man’s, and He has woven liberty into the fiber of our being. Evil may attempt to enslave us, but as Churchill said, “Americans will always do the right thing…after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”

Good is waking up in our land and evil is being exposed for what it is. The most recent evidence is the Chick-fil-A episode. Dan Cathey, owner of the restaurant chain, voiced his opinion that marriage is between one man and one woman. Oh, horrors! What he said has been a tenet of our American society and the foundation of our culture since the beginning. Note that he did not attack individual homosexuals or their rights under the law. The fact is heterosexuals are not legally allowed to marry someone of the same sex either. Cathey merely stated his belief in the traditional definition of marriage.

The homosexual crowd immediately planned to protest the chain nationwide, while mayors threatened to ban the establishment from their cities. Chicago’s Rahm Emmanuel said that Chick-fil-A did not stand for the values of his city. That may be true. We all know that Chicago is the nation’s bastion of honesty in government. I’m sure he’s never heard of the Constitutional right of free speech, much less the first amendment’s guarantee to free exercise of religion.

Chick-fil-A is a class act. They have close on Sundays out of respect for the Sabbath, willing to sacrifice profits for their beliefs. Shouldn’t that the anti-business crowd happy? In support of the chain, Mike Huckabee suggested a Chick-fil-A Appreciation day for those who were like-minded. The response was enormous as crowds lined up and waited patiently for service all over the nation. I experienced first-hand the American spirit that inhabited the Americans in those lines. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell and others in my city suggested that their customers eat at Chick-fil-A that day. Not only did Chick-fil-A set company records, but we saw that good is alive in our nation.

Americans who believe in freedom and in America’s core values far outnumber those who do not. Christians, especially, have been branded as racist, homophobic, hate-filled war-mongers. They are not. Realizing the absurdity of the lies, they have gone their merry ways, working, raising children, paying taxes and living life. But when a lie is told long enough, people begin to believe it. When someone stands as Dan Cathey, the true hate-mongers can’t wait to attack, and those with traditional beliefs have stood down, not wanting to be labeled in negative ways..

Americans are waking up now, rising in love, not in hate. We will never be able to argue with evil, but we can defeat evil with love, lies with the truth, and darkness with the light. We may disagree in our individual beliefs. Free individuals do. But remember our motto, y pluribus unum, “out of many, one.” God is arising in America once again.

Deliver Us From Evil

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 Waking up to the news of the horrendous shooting in Aurora, Colorado this morning has led me to think and pray about evil. How can a human being walk into a crowded theater and take innocent lives? For most of my life psychologists and others, including myself, have attempted to explain actions such as these by blaming them on failures of others in their lives to meet their human needs. Others blame bad things on God and turn from Him. But it’s time that we call it what it is,– evil.

God gave Adam and Eve only one commandment,–not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity [AMP], because if they did, they would surely die. Ultimately, their choice was life or death. It wasn’t God’s will for them to choose death, but out of love, He gave them free will, knowing that only by choice can an individual truly love another, even God. Since Adam and Eve chose to listen to Satan’s cunning deception instead of God’s warning, shame, blame and guilt entered Eden, and we now inhabit a fallen world.

God is good and everything that is good comes from God. This may sound extreme, but it’s not: evil is everything that is not of God. That includes things that are worthless, wretched, flawed, wrong or wicked, as well as adversity, distress and grief. When things like the senseless death of an innocent child occur, many among us first blame God, because we think deep inside that things should turn out good, since God is in charge. But that in itself points to our desire for God and His goodness and righteousness to reign in the world. We wrongly blame God for Satan’s work. Why? Because Satan is the father of lies, disguised as an angel of light.

What I do know is that God loves each one of us, and desires for us to come to Him. He made that possible by choosing to die for us on a cross. In Christ, death has been overcome. God wants each of us to be overcomers, not victims, choosing to trust Him to be victorious over whatever we encounter in this sin-filled world. He has empowered us to be victors over sin and death by His Holy Spirit living in us, thereby, overcoming evil with good. When we choose God, we choose life, light and love. Any other choice leads to death, darkness and self.

God’s ways are higher than our ways, so it’s beyond our understanding to explain why God sometimes intervenes in tragic situations, and sometimes He doesn’t. But by all rights, in Aurora, Colorado, the tragedy should have been much worse. Thank you, God, that it wasn’t.

Have We Been Deluded?

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I’m going to quit talking about this soon (maybe!), but I recently heard a news personality say the first amendment was “freedom from religion.” See what I mean from my last post? We must get back to what the founders meant, not what the court’s have changed the Constitution to mean. One more time, the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is not freedom from religion, but freedom from Congress’s establishing a religion or interfering with individual religious exercises. How much clearer can this be? How do we expect justices to correctly interpret a 2000 page bill if they can’t get this one right?

The Bible says Satan “deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” [2 Thess 2:9-12]

Have we been deluded? Consider the following:
  • The Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock with little more than their Geneva Bibles and their Calvinistic teachings that church and civil government should be separate and that man can serve God in any area of life. They knew first-hand the tyrrany and persecution of a state run religion, and they realized the importance of education in achieving their goal. Toward that end, they passed the Old Deluder Act in 1647, recognizing “the chief project of that old deluder, Satan” was to keep people from learning the true meaning of the original Scriptures.
  • The New England Primer, published by Benjamin Harris in 1690, was used by students into the 19th century. The Primer used the Bible to teach reading. Note the content of the 1877 edition, especially the questions at the end.
  • Upon completion of the Constitution, the Second Continental Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance off 1787 to determine how new states should be added to the union. One of the its stated purposes was to “extend the principles of civil and religious liberty.” [Section 13]. “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” [Section 14, Article 3]. The Congress saw the need for schools to teach children religion, morality and knowledge, in that order. They knew that citizens educated in Biblical principles were necessary for good government. “When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice, but when the wicked are in power, they groan.” [Prov 29:2]

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion…and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.”

Have we been deluded? Have we listened to the lie long enough to believe it? What do you think?

While We Were Sleeping

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So how did we get from being a Christian nation to whatever we are now? How did the First Amendment change from being a protection of our religious liberties to one that disavows them? When did a phrase written in a letter from Thomas Jefferson come to mean that prayer, Bible reading or any other religious activity establish a religious denomination? After all, Jefferson used the phrase to  insure the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut that the First Amendment erected a wall of “separation of church and state” so that all religious practices would be protected from intrusion by the state, unless they “worked ill to their neighbor.”   And when did the public come to believe that this phrase written twelve years after the First Amendment was in the Constitution, and in fact, was the meaning of the First Amendment?

To find out, we must follow the trail of the phrase “the separation of church and state through the Supreme Court.

  • Reynolds v. United States (1878): The court used Jefferson’s letter in context to determine that individuals could not use their religious rights to violate civil laws, thus, defining the roles of religious and civil jurisdiction. In this case, Mr. Reynolds could not use his Mormon religion as a reason to violate the law against bygamy. Other possible violations might be polygamy, human sacrifice, infanticide, and, now, honor killings.
  • Everson v. Board of Education (1947): The opinion of the court surgically excised the phrase “the separation of church and state” from the context of Jefferson’s letter and added ” which must be kept high and impregnable”.  But they ruled that using the establishment clause of the First Amendment in this case would violate the free exercise rights of the defendants.
  • McCollum v. Board of Education (1948): The court ruled that the school’s provision of 30 or 45 minutes of voluntary, religious instruction was not allowed because the founders wanted children to learn Bible precepts, not a particular denomination. So the opinion distinguished between Biblical Christianity which was Constitutional and denominational Christianity which was not.
  • Engels v. Vitale (1962)The court disallowed the following, generic prayer to be said at the start of a school day: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen.” Since the prayer was non-sectarian, any religious activity was now seen as the establishment of a religion.
  • Abington v Schempp (1963): was joined by Murray v. Curl: This is the famous Madelyn Murray O’Hair case in which the the Court ruled that Bible reading in school violated the establishment clause. This is said to be the case that kicked God out of our schools.

Several atheist plaintiffs and nine justices on the  Supreme Court had finally succeeded in breaking down the “wall of separation of church and state” and did it by using Jefferson’s phrase against us. Now, most Americans believe that the First Amendment of the Constitution is “separation of church and state” which means that God is not welcome in our schools or government. As a result, He’s not in our culture either.

Thomas Jefferson warned in his letter to Judge Spencer Roane, Nov, 1819:

If the judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the government, …then the Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they may please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law …

Is America a Christian Nation?

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Did you know that in 1892 in the case, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, the Supreme Court affirmed that yes, indeed, the United States is a Christian nation. The Circuit Court in New York had decided that the church’s hiring of a rector from England was illegal under the law forbidding corporations to import foreigners as a source of cheap labor. It’s a long, but interesting decision, especially in light of some of the issues we face today.

The opinion of the court, penned by Mr. Justice Brewer, concluded that applying that law to a situation involving a church rector violated the spirit of the law. In so doing, he wrote “we are a Christian nation”. The decision cited many supporting precedents, including the following:

  • Commission to Christopher Columbus from Ferdinand and Isabella
  • First colonial grant to Sir Walter Raleigh from Elizabeth
  • Charters of Virginia in 1606, 1609 and 1611
  • Mayflower Compact
  • Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
  • Pennsylvania Charter
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Constitutions of the various states

He concluded with the following:

There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning. They affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons. They are organic utterances. They speak the voice of the entire people. While, because of a general recognition of this truth, the question has seldom been presented to the courts, yet we find that in Updegraph v. Commonwealth, 11 S. & R. 394, 400, it was decided that

“Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania; . . . not Christianity with an established church and tithes and spiritual courts, but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men.”

It’s important to note the distinction between “Christianity with an established church and tithes and spiritual courts” and “Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men.” True Christianity resides in the heart, not in a set of legalistic rules.No one can force Christianity on another, although many have rejected the faith because of attempts to do so. All, no matter their belief systems, are able to live freely in this nation as long as they abide by the rule of law and do no harm to any other in their religious expression. Those freedoms are available precisely because we are a Christian nation.

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