Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Patterns on the Yellow Brick Road - 2 Parties at War?

The contention between our two major political parties is gnawing at the nation's nerves. Politics doesn't have to get ugly and political parties need not become enemies. Unfortunately, they usually do. That's one of life's mean little tricks.

The Founders intended that there be no political parties to create mischief and mayhem on the national scene. The electoral college was to save us from that. Selected individuals from each state searched the country for people they deemed to be presidential material. If their combined efforts produced a majority candidate, the search was over. If not, the Senate and House voted on the spot to fill the two executive slots from the list of nominees. That was it--no campaigning, vitriolic verbiage, roadside signs, or flagrant finances.

Though innovative and practical, it lasted but a political heartbeat on the national scene, thanks to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These devoted patriots each feared a different Apocalypse on the distant scene. Adams wanted a strong federal government to restrain unruly states who could swallow the federal government. Jefferson wanted strong states so a voracious national government could not render states helpless. Either could have been right, but not both. History went with Jefferson. In the aftermath, the electoral college waned, political parties drew breath, and here we are.
President Washington warned us. This great man, who could have made himself king or stayed on as president forever, left office after two terms to set a pattern for those who followed. He steered the country through its tumultuous original era and knew, better than anyone alive, the potential for power grabs inherent in a constitutional republic. He cautioned, "Let me ... warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. They serve to ... put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party (rather than) ... consistent and wholesome plans ...(for) mutual interests." This, then is the great folly of parties: they come to care more for their own power than for the wellbeing of the citizens.

What a travesty! Our Founders had given their lives, liberties and fortunes for American preeminence. When Gouvernor Morris of Pennsylvania inked the notes of the 1787 Constitutional Convention into a workable document, he penned these words, "We the People .. in order to form a more perfect Union ... insure domestic Tranquility ... (and) promote the general Welfare."
Look at our national political scene. Does anyone see domestic tranquility? How about general welfare, or a more perfect union? All three are Missing In Action in the current political wars. Parties fight each other and dissenters within their ranks. The war is about which party wins, not about giving the American people what they inherited, what they want, and what they repeatedly ask for. The whole political scene is a battleground.
The nation could take a page from the handbook of Utah's non-partisan local politics. Skip the Republican/Democrat thing; local politicians say there's a better way. Gary Garrett, of the Provo City Council, says the workability of the political atmosphere is enjoyable; that it fosters a greater spirit of cooperation to benefit the people of his city. Sharon Price Anderson, candidate for Orem City Council, believes divisions in local politics are more a matter of mindset than political persuasion. While most in Utah are Republicans by registration, there's diversity in the philosophy and practice of government. That variety gives choices. It's not Shangri-la, but politics works better at the local level.
We can see the problems at the national level and appreciate the pattern of more peaceful self-governance set locally. The quandary is this: how do we bridge the gap between local and national? It's not a waltz down the yellow brick road, but the pattern of local Utah politics is a start.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Vices, Crimes and Protecting Parenthood

Last week’s Red and Blue column in the Daily Herald asked, “Is parenting being criminalized in America?”
It is.

The right of parents to determine the best interests of their children increasingly is being questioned by the courts and the police. Utah’s family-first philosophy, strong religious base and higher that average birth rate make us particularly vulnerable to parent/child issues.
Vice and crime figure into the question raised above. Nineteenth century writer Lysander Spooner defined vices that affect you and your property only, and crimes, which affect the property and person of others.
Children are not property or self, but are created by us and are an inherent stewardship. External sources increasingly view them as wards of the state.
Spooner, facing the godlessness, government-by-whim and might-makes-right of Marx and Engel’s humanism, believed morality underscores liberty and self-government.
Our Founders agreed. He said vices can often be mistakes made in the learning process. If they are punished, we criminalize our growth. Because we all have vices, whose would we punish?
In addition, virtues and vices are similar — the one based in moderation, the other in excess. Spooner’s solution was to not punish the learning mistakes of vices. Otherwise, freedom is impossible. This concept provides a thoughtful yardstick to measure any action.
This old-become-new issue increasingly applies to the authority of parents over their children. With greater frequency, government prosecutes or takes children from parents who make mistakes. It’s a chilling prospect—a single mistake could cost parents their children, especially when all of us make innocent or uneducated mistakes occasionally. All parents have vices because all are learning.
Utah has been host to notorious cases where parenting judgments or mistakes became crimes. In 2003, Parker Jensen was diagnosed with cancer by one doctor, though several other doctors found none. The parents refused the diagnosis. Utah, under then Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, moved to take custody of Parker, and his parents fled the state. The parents were right; Parker proved the cancer diagnosis false and is healthy today.
Shurtleff claimed authority over Parker, voiding the parents’ legal, moral, biological and God-given responsibilities. Compounding the unfairness, the Utah Supreme Court, in 2013, denied the Jensen’s lawsuit to gain justice: "...when a child's life or health is endangered by…parents' decisions regarding the child's medical care, the state may…intervene”. The only problem: the doctor and the state were wrong; Parker didn’t have cancer. The message: “Parents are not allowed mistakes, but the errors of doctors and state authorities will be overlooked.”
Utah’s second headliner involved a parental mistake that cost a child’s life. Gage Wayment froze to death in 2002 when he climbed from his car seat and pickup truck during his father’s unintentionally negligent absence. Paul Wayment was crucified by the media, convicted, and took his life the night before his jail sentence was to begin. The law did not require that he be charged and the judge was not required to sentence Paul. Both felt the state needed to send a message. That message was likely not what authorities intended: “We, the all-powerful, all-knowing government, will punish you, a good parent, for one mistake even though you will punish yourself forever.”
More recent incidents follow. Justina Pelletier’s parents lost custody of her for 16 months in 2013 in a Massachusetts medical dispute where there were no charges of parental neglect. Debra Harrell, of South Carolina, let her 9-year-old daughter play in the park while she worked at the nearby McDonald’s and, consequently, has recently been charged with a felony.
Scotland’s new law assigns a government agent to each child from birth to age 18 as an advocate. This fulfills Scotland’s take on the new United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, coming soon to an America near you. Apparently the God-given advocate for each child, called a parent, is insufficient.
Intervention is sometimes necessary to protect a child from gross or deliberate abuse, and these incidents have increased as our moral character degenerates. This issue, however, illustrates the slippery slope of bureaucratic intrusion. Once you insert government, where do you stop it? Like a wagon picking up speed as it coasts downhill, interference from state and federal authorities becomes more pervasive with time, eventually spiraling out of control.
Our caretaker government increasingly says parenting mistakes are crimes and wants to protect your children from you. Every parent has made frightening mistakes that endanger children. To charge them and take their children is wrong. Setting aside serious neglect, parents care far better for children than an orphanage, a foster family, or the authorities. Most parents are wise, dedicated and watchful.
Their occasional mistakes are not deliberate vices, nor are they crimes — grounds for state or federal overreach. In Utah, we must protect the rights of parents to keep their children.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Executive Orders and Your Safety

There’s an email circulating with false information about number of executive orders President Obama is credited with writing. The problem isn’t how many, it’s what they are about. Most presidents have used them lawfully; this president uses them to sidestep or destroy existing laws and rights.

According to Snopes, quoting the American Presidency Project (University of Southern California), the correct information about claims made in the email and presidential executive orders is given below. The figures include only Obama’s first term, but the second term has followed suit. Obama is not a major violator by the number of executive orders.

Number claimed:
Actual number:
Theodore Roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight Eisenhower
John Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George H.W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

The problem with President Obama is that he is using executive orders to unconstitutionally create law—to avoid public debate and opposition as public policy is set. Yet debate is what public policy is about, and opposition defines the boundaries of the debate. We must have debate and opposition.

No president should make laws; that’s for Congress, alone, but they do, nonetheless. The sitting Congress should have squelched this when it happened the first time a century ago. Now we have a deep layer of unlawful executive orders and Congress has accepted this encroachment on its power. An executive order, according to USA.gov, the federal government’s official website, has basically the same force as a federal law. Congress can overrule it with a new law, but it would be subject to a presidential veto and require a 2/3 majority vote of both houses of Congress to override the president’s veto. Or, the Supreme Court can overturn it as unconstitutional.
President Obama said in his last two State of the Union addresses that he would use executive orders to meet policy goals if Congress didn’t act: “America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do”. Translate that: “I am God, and I am a dictator.” This is blackmail and it kills our democratic republic. President Obama is using executive orders on such important matters as immigration and second amendment protection—23 orders on this topic, alone.
Other presidents have done dramatic things, good and bad, with executive orders. President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War and emancipated the slaves. FDR put the Japanese in internment camps during World War II and created the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a massive federal welfare project with a bad precedent. Truman tried to federalize steel mills during a strike, but the Supreme Court struck the action down in 1952. The court said: “The President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker.” That’s very instructive. Does the court still think that?

There are executive orders in place that can strip us of most of our rights as Americans. Many were put in place for protection in emergencies but with their use the government can relocate us, shut down our communication pathways and take our transportation and property.
The real issue with executive orders, now that we have them, is this: What is the character of the man in office who could execute them? Is he a man of integrity and honor who would never callously use these orders against his own people?

On March 16, 2012, Obama issued the National Defense Resources Preparedness EO, which allows the federal government to confiscate your property without due process under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Other “Alternative Sexual Behaviors” Are On the Way

The Supreme Court has refused to hear the cases brought by five states—Utah, Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin—concerning federal judges who have annulled their traditional marriage laws. This opens the door to the practice nationwide and strips states of their constitutional right of choice on this matter.

One objection to legalizing same sex unions has been that it would open the door to other “alternate sexualities.” Proponents of gay marriage said this fear was irrational and we are imagining things.
Imagine no more; the proof is here. The drive to legalize polygamy and multiple-partner marriages is in full swing, and the opening salvo to embrace pedophilia has been sounded. See the details below.

Multiple partner marriages
A throuple is a marriage between any combination of genders and any number of partners. The practice initially began with three but is being expanded to embrace more than three partners.

In an April 25, 2014 online article at www.firstthings.com titled “So you believe in marriage equality? Why Not for Throuples?”, author Robert P. George quotes a news story of three lesbians in a throuple relationship in Massachusetts. He says the following: “…ideas have consequences. Once one has abandoned belief in marriage as a conjugal bond…in favor of…“marriage” as a form of sexual-romantic companionship or domestic partnership…what possible principle could be identified for…restricting marriage to two-person partnerships? In short, accept same sex marriage and you must accept throuples.

The 2006 lesbian manifesto, Beyond Same-Sex Marriage, signed by more than 300 activists and officials, pushes for throuples in its call for “diverse partnerships”..

In an August, 2014 ruling, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that Utah’s polygamy restrictions are unconstitutional. (Note that Judge Waddoups is a federal judge and marriage is a state issue, meaning that he broke the law and violated his oath with that ruling.) Now that polygamy, which technically refers to members of either gender marrying more than one spouse, is legal in one state, it will spread to others.

In a recent op-ed published by The New York Times, Margo Kaplan, an assistant law professor at Rutgers University and former ACLU attorney, says the nation’s tough anti-pedophilia laws are unfair to pedophiles. “Tragically, the roughly 1 percent of people [who are sexually attracted to children] must hide their disorder from everyone they know — or risk losing educational and job opportunities, and face the prospect of harassment and even violence.”. Kaplan says “pedophilia is not a choice”; individuals are born that way, or it’s a disease. Should the law accept these definitions, it would be very difficult to keep pedophiles from children.

Those making online comments brought up interesting points. Said one, “I’m beginning to wonder if there is a…movement to normalize adult sexual contact with children”. Another added, “When you…say it is not a crime, when you start to sympathize with people because they can’t control perverse desires, you give them an excuse to justify their behavior.” Well said.

We remember how this goes—we’ve seen it before. The justification for pedophilia mimics what was said about homosexuality a decade ago. You were born that way so it’s discrimination to void your actions. You are ill, we must not blame you.

Remember the saying, “First we abhor, then we tolerate, then we embrace”? Brace yourself; sexual diversity is on its way.   
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Utah Needs a Strong Governor

Yesterday’s announcement that the Supreme Court will not hear Utah’s case concerning same-sex unions does not make these unions mandatory. The issue still falls within the reach of Governor Gary Herbert. Despite Judge Shelby’s ruling of December, 2013, marriage is a state matter, not a federal one. Utah spoke on the issue with Amendment Three to the Utah State Constitution, passed in 2004, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and our Constitution is not subject to federal judges. We can say “No!”

The federal government has no authority to dictate this matter to us. Judge Shelby broke the law with his ruling in a classic example of illegal legislation from the bench. No judge should be allowed to break the law he took an oath to uphold. He, and other judges doing the same, should be removed from the bench.
We fought this issue by taking it to the highest court, asking that it intervene. They have refused. Now comes the hard part: We must tell the federal court system to “take a hike.” This is our business, not theirs. We could have said so at the time Judge Shelby ruled and then put muscle behind our position. Now we have to.
This issue goes back to the basics: who’s in charge? If the contract Americans signed with government 225 years ago puts the federal government in charge of marriage, Judge Shelby was within his duties. He’s a federal judge; he rules on federal matters.
What rights did we give the federal government? Article 1 of the Constitution spells them out. Minus the details, these are the duties we gave Congress: it is to collect taxes, pay our debts and defense costs, and borrow money. It must regulate immigration, bankruptcies and some commerce. It is to coin money and punish counterfeiters, standardize weights and measures, give us a postal system and grant copyrights. It is responsible for laws and crimes on the high seas, raising a navy and armies, and calling out the militia. It must pass laws to accomplish the above and is in charge of its home, the District of Columbia. In addition, it must establish a federal court system to rule on issues, but only those for which the federal government has authority.
Note that defining marriage was not on the list. Nor is it on the president’s short list: Chief Executive over the people and his branch of government, commander of the military, maker of treaties, chief diplomat for foreign countries, grantor of pardons and one who recommends (but does not lobby for) legislation.
By default, then, the states define marriage. Like a computer system, there’s a default setting in the national Constitution for anything new or unforeseen — the 10th Amendment. It gives any other responsibility to the states.
We’ve ignored this default setting for a century or more, allowing it to be repeatedly overridden. Past politicians and governors knew this would become a serious problem, but ran from their duties to protect a state’s right to make decisions. Now there’s a precedent established: states bellyache, roar, and capitulate. Many, both lawmakers and citizens, no longer realize the power a state has to set its course.
The federal government is daily taking on rights it does not have and authority it does not possess. Their refusal to back Utah’s Amendment Three gives a wink and a nod to judges in other states to follow suit. At some point, the states must stand against this encroachment or we will lose every right we have in local decision-making. It is the nature of power to increase itself until some force stops its momentum. The longer we wait to put the brakes on power grabs, the more force it takes to stop the runaway. We’ve waited too long, already.
Gov. Herbert is not alone in facing this issue. Several other states: Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin, share our plight and their governors have the same dilemma. Each must decide what to do. If we don’t stand fast on this issue, our grandchildren lose both the right of every child to a father and mother but also their right to be governed by the rule of law. America stands on majority rule and the majority of Utahns want traditional marriage upheld. If the majority yields to the minority we change our system of government. Rule by the minority always produces tyranny.
As Utahns and citizens of America, we have duties to our government and ourselves. Nothing in life is free — there is a payment due for everything we get. This includes freedom; it isn’t free. Freedom’s duty is to insist on obedience to law and then put power behind our word. To do otherwise gives permission to ignore the law. If we allow federal judges to strike down our Constitution in this matter, what will they strike down next?
It’s a very hard thing for a governor to stand up to the federal establishment. It takes a strong man and he needs the people to stand behind him. The activists destroying the law will be vocal on this, and unless those who want us to be governed by laws we choose speak out, Governor Herbert will think we don’t care.
It’s time to call the governor. Tell him to stand firm for Utah’s constitutional right to draft its laws on marriage and the family. His number is (801) 538-1000; his email is garyherbert@utah.gov. Speak now or you may have to forever hold your peace.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Traditional Marriage Can Save the Nation

The banter and jostling of a happy family around the dinner table does more than create well-adjusted people, it can lift a slumping nation. The power of traditional, intact families to strengthen the country is often overlooked.
Stable homes with traditional marriages of father, mother and children are powerful tonics for what ails any culture. When the family worships together often, the tonic improves. Dr. Patrick Fagan of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute has the data to prove it. He is an internationally acclaimed expert on this topic and shared his hefty research at the Stand for the Family Conference in Provo Sept. 19. (Find his data at www. Marri. us; go to the power point tab.) Fagan digests social science research on the family and marriage and he is emphatic about the weighty contributions traditional nuclear families make to society.
Unfortunately, these intact families are on the wane. Only 46 percent of today’s teens live in intact homes where both father and mother reside in the home and are married to each other, and the nation is suffering, as a result. In these homes, parents teach healthy male and female roles. Children learn their own and opposite roles from both parents — girls learn how women behave from their mothers and boys learn how to treat females with respect; boys learn male patterns from their fathers and girls learn how the males in their lives should treat them.
The research consistently shows that children in any other family structure — divorce, step-parent or single parent homes, co-habitating homes where adults live together without marriage, or same-sex homes — are less likely to adjust to society’s healthy expectations. A culture of alienation and anger more frequently emerges from broken homes. Robust families — “the larger the better,” says Fagan — are the mainstay of a strong society.

Fagan reviews the history of militant feminists and homosexuals who decades ago declared their goal to transform America by deconstructing the traditional family. According to Education Portal online university, radical feminists suggest eliminating gender completely and rejecting the nuclear family structure altogether. The efforts of these and other dissidents, amassed over time, have upended society. Fagan’s statistics show that we have too often bought into this hype against the family.
The list of advantages families bring to society is long and eye-opening. As a sampling, children in an intact family typically have higher GPA scores. They get in less trouble with the police, run away less often and are jailed less often. Coming from a broken home, a youth is 2.5 times more likely to have multiple sex partners and “do drugs,” and is twice as likely to have mental health problems or be expelled from school. The heart-wrenching term “throwaway children” stems from broken homes. Violence is dramatically lower in intact families; for instance, physical abuse of children in co-habitating relationships is 10 times higher and sexual abuse is 20 times higher.
Traditional marriage improves the economy and helps eliminate poverty. The productivity of married men is higher than unmarried men, whether single or divorced: for every dollar a single man earns, a married father earns $1.27. With a family to support, he works more productively. Fagan reports that divorce has slowed the economy every year for the last 20 years. U.S. poverty rates among children living with single mothers are five times higher than those of children living with married parents says the Family Research Council, and children from intact families are likely to have higher-paying jobs as adults. The facts say that when the family dissolves, the economy suffers.
Religious worship matters, as well, and the more the family worships together the better the children fare on a wide range of social measurements. Statistics on the MARRI website are compiled by frequency of worship — from never to weekly. It’s obvious that children thrive with religious worship and the family that worships together much more often stays together.
Children have five tasks they must master as they mature if they are to flourish. All are best learned in intact families, and a responsible society offers an environment that encourages these tasks. A child must learn about the family — the next generation. He must learn religion — the existence of a moral universe, and the learning process that is fostered in school. He must learn that benevolent government will protect him and that the marketplace will protect property and provide an opportunity to earn an income.
Simple math shows that we could dramatically reduce the trauma to children and the financial drain for social services by returning religious worship to the culture, putting two opposite gender parents back into the home, and supporting the traditional nuclear family.
The core weakness in society is broken families that do not worship together. Fagan adds that any government that doesn’t protect that base in society “is intent on suicide.” There are exceptions, of course — traditional families flounder and divided homes can and do produce healthy children, but it’s smart to draft laws and policies based on the norm, not the exceptions. Traditional families are more likely to generate healthy youth. We can teach young people the importance of family, children, and religious worship, and we must direct our public policies toward their protection and support.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Father of a Nation

George Washington, the Father of our Country, set us on a path of prosperity through his integrity. Just as a family needs a father, a nation does as well. We see him as a general and president, but Washington, the man, was equally remarkable. His patriot friend, Benjamin Rush, said of him, "Washington ... [is] one of those illustrious heroes whom Providence raises up once in three of four hundred years to save a nation ..." Authors Parry and Allison, in "The Real George Washington," show us his moral disposition.

He was described as "a young man of extraordinary ... character ... destined to make no inconsiderable figure in our country." He was large-boned and strong, mature for his age and modest. He was also an excellent horseman, which was important in his day, and a good student. He was naturally deliberate and sober, and others said his mind "reached just conclusions." He demanded discipline — from himself and those he led.
Washington was a family man, though the eight difficult revolutionary war years took him from home. He and Martha never had children, but he loved her son and daughter from a previous marriage and made them his own. He remodeled Mount Vernon, his Virginia home, for his new family, and designed the broad two-story porch with columns that later graced Southern plantations in the Scarlett O’Hara years.
He "was not much of a talker" and did poorly speaking before groups. When honored by the Virginia House of Representatives, he fumbled his thanks. The Speaker eased his embarrassment, saying, "your modesty is equal to your valor, and that surpasses the power of any language that I possess."
The unfortunate were helped by his generosity. His overseer said: "I had orders from General Washington to fill a corn house every year for the sole use of the poor ... [saving] poor women and children from extreme want."
He kept one of his best fishing stations on the Potomac outfitted with fishing gear for use by the poor, supported many nieces and nephews through college and contributed generously, and anonymously, to charities.
He was a God-fearing man; he called Him by the name of Providence. He was sometimes seen in private prayer, where he often retired to a grove of trees. He believed God presided over America, guiding events for the ultimate good of the Union. Two days before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the general told his troops: "Let us therefore rely upon ... the Supreme Being in whose hand victory is." During the war, he wrote a colleague, saying, "If I shall be able to rise superior to ... these difficulties ... I shall most religiously believe that the finger of Providence is in it."
Washington could have been King of America. When soldiers' pay was delayed after the war, some rebelled and wanted to put him on a throne. He was horrified. He wrote the perpetrators: "If you have any ... regard for me ... banish these thoughts." During the two years needed to ratify the Constitution, he saw with concern the growing sentiment to press the presidency on him. He didn’t want the honor. "May Heaven assist me ... my refusal might induce a belief that I preferred ... my own private ease to the good of my country." At 56, he wanted only family and Mount Vernon, where he often stripped off his coat and worked alongside his men.
George Washington and Lafayette
Integrity guided his life. As he gave a heartfelt farewell to his troops at the end of the war, he counseled them to "prove themselves [as] virtuous and useful as citizens" as they had been "persevering and victorious as soldiers." He stressed the "virtues of economy, prudence and industry" and reminded them that, under Divine guidance, they had "secured innumerable blessing for others." He refused an ample salary for his eight years of war service and later said the "affection of a free people ... will be a full compensation for all my toils and sufferings in the long and painful contest."
Washington’s integrity was soul-satisfying, and his character fed America on greatness as well. Early America was prosperous and strong — this has been our legacy. We owe that, in part, to the extraordinary man we call the Father of our Country.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Crooks and Cowards

“Congress is full of crooks because the pulpits are full of cowards.”

So read a sign in a Montana town on Sept. 3, 2013, as reported by Peter Brown of WesternJournalism.com. The language is harsh but the message is clear: religious leaders need to speak up about morality in government and obedience to constitutional law. As keepers of the nation’s moral lighthouse, they can spotlight the rocky shoals of disobedience to divinely established civil principles. Their collective voice is needed, wanted and missed. While their role to foster moral strength is widely understood, their opportunity to teach civic strength is all but forgotten.
It was not always so. During the Revolutionary War, pastors led the fight for freedom and lent their pulpits to liberty’s song. Patriotic ministers knew religious freedom hinged on political freedom. Without God’s help, they had little chance for either. They preached independence from the pulpit and repentance as a war strategy. The colonists contributed their Widow’s Mite and God answered with miracles such as the fortifications of Dorchester Hill in the Battle of Boston, the miraculous fogs of the battle for Long Island, and the successful surprise attack on Trenton.
Some colonial ministers joined the war effort and took their followers into battle. One, Peter Muhlenberg of Virginia preached his last Sunday sermon, cast off his clerical robes to reveal his colonel’s uniform beneath, and thundered: “Now is the time to fight!” The three hundred men who followed him became the famed 8th Virginia Regiment. Muhlenberg became a brigadier general and ultimately led Washington’s light infantry brigade.
Just as colonial ministers plied their craft for freedom, we need such ministers today. We have the modern example of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, who led from the pulpit to win equality for African Americans in America. Current religious leaders, fearful of losing their tax-exempt status, have been hushed. The fury of special interest groups, bent on success through bullying, has pounded silence into those who occupy modern pulpits. Fear of a government that holds religious protections in contempt has further stolen their voices. Political correctness also mutes the preacher’s sermon—it’s difficult to teach right and wrong if one cannot risk offending the transgressors. As one sage described it, “In today’s world, to sin is not a sin, and not to sin is a sin.”

Some churches have embraced the secular humanism of social justice as their doctrine, with its emphasis on rights-for-me, rather than the Christian focus on responsibilities. Morality, or virtue, and its freedom cannot be found through “selfies”. Christianity’s hymn is peace and prosperity for all through civic and religious responsibility, not through the demand for rights.
Many have bought into the myth of separation of church and state. That concept is not in the Constitution; rather, its opposite is. Our charter says, ”Congress shall make no law respecting...religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The Founders’ intent was to prevent one state sponsored church, and to keep government out of religion, not religion out of government. By law, the federal government must stand aside in religious matters. Government intervention in religious rights succeeds because we have allowed it; because we have buckled before the bullies.
The attorneys of www.projectfairplay.org, say the IRS code, which controls tax-exempt status, prohibits a church from endorsing candidates, but does not prohibit endorsing issues. Religious leaders can and should discuss civic issues that address right and wrong, as they have done historically. Mat Staver of Liberty Council, former pastor, current constitutional attorney and law school dean, offers help for pastors of all denominations at 1-800-671-1776 or www.LC.org.
We need our religious leaders to speak up about the blessings, responsibilities, and endangered status of our liberties. Freedom and morality are inseparable and intertwined; “twin sisters”, as Founding Father James Wilson called them. Without freedom, we cannot choose virtue; without virtue, we reject the standards of right and wrong and disqualify ourselves for self-rule.
Discuss this with your congregation’s religious leaders. Give them your support and ask what you can do to help. Respect their necessary limitations and encourage them to teach constitutional freedom and patriotic responsibility as much as possible within those boundaries. Right now, America needs all the help she can get.