Wednesday, December 31, 2008

'Disproportionate' Response II

What is 'Disproportionate' is the News Coverage

"Undoubtedly, a powerful impression has been created by large Western newspaper headlines that describe massive Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, without any up-front explanation for their cause." -- Dore Gold

If you watched the evening news last night, you got the distinct impression that big bad Israel is using bear mace on a mosquito again while it goes after pesky old Hamas. Those of us who know of the Seven Year Siege of Sderot can only wish for 'fair and balanced.' This is a nasty war and about 4000 missles have been fired at Israeli population centers from Gaza. Somehow the major news outlets don't find that newsworthy.

Read This Piece by Dore Gold before you cast any judgement in this situation. Like most situations in the Middle-East you need to do your homework before you can even hope to understand.

Dr. Dore Gold was Israel's ambassador
to the United Nations from 1997 to 1999.
He is the Author of 'Hatred's Kingdom'
which describes Saudi Arabia's ties to
global terrorism.


Here's a Reality Check from Joel Rosenberg

A really good graphic map of the Gaza missle threat is included in Joel Rosenberg's report.

Breaking Point -- The Real Story of Israel's Gaza Operation

Here is a Site where the people of Sderot tell their story. You can send them a word of encouragement. I did.

Sderot Children
Sderot children have fifteen seconds to reach this pipe when the missles start coming in. Photo courtesy of

In Sderot, they protect their children by providing these concrete 'caterpillars' in the playground. When the siren sounds the children know they have fifteen seconds to take cover.

Sadly Hamas Has Used Children as Human Shields to deter attacks on missle assembly plants. Any clear thinking Middle-East policy should demand that children's lives be respected.

"Hamas's brazen use of human shields is directly facilitated by the international community's reluctance to address the issue and denounce the premeditated endangerment of ordinary people. According to all rules of warfare, including the Geneva Convention, this is nothing short of a war crime. When the crimes of Gaza's terrorists against their own people are consistently overlooked around the world, it can only encourage the Islamists' immorality."--The Jerusalem Post

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'Disproportionate' Response

When meeting that enemy, be proportionate

Many years ago the Western cities of Virginia had good reason to fear an attack from West Virginia. The American Civil War had some ugly chapters where seige warfare became 'modernized' and that should be interpreted as shelling the cities [as was done along the Mississippi] into submission. No reasonable historian would fault the defenders of Vicksburg, Memphis, or the brave men who built Fort Johnson on the Western border of Augusta County to protect the towns of the Valley of Virginia.

If we could but remember the threat of close destruction, we would not fault the defenders of Sderot either. In fact, we would likely agree with Jonathan Mark's Observation that Israel's Response is Disproportionate. Put yourself in their shoes and you will see the problem in a different light.

A child's drawing from Sderot shows
the horror of war.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

'Reason' for the Season

The Christmas Story is Worth Serious Investigation


The original list below came from an article by Chuck Norris and I've added a few more of my own. What's noteable is that some of these apologists for the Christian faith began as skeptics seeking to discredit it. Their honest investigation led them to the conclusion they had never sought to reach -- that the birth of Christ is solidly rooted in History and that Christianity itself has had a profound effect on the lives of men and women through the ages.

History has a remarkable way of connecting its own dots, so to speak. Remember the Wise Men? They came from the East. Wasn't the prophet Daniel carried off to Persia during the captivity? Didn't he become one of the wise men of Darius? Daniel predicted the return to Jerusalem and also pointed to the coming Messiah. It is quite likely that the wise men [or Magi, if you prefer] were familiar with Daniel's prophecies. I don't think I'd undertake such a long journey as these men did on a whim.

So here is Chuck's list [with some additions]. If you are brave enough to underrtake this journey, you may find that real Treasure awaits you:

N.T. Wright's "Who Was Jesus?"

F.F. Bruce's "The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?"

Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ"

Lee Strobel's Website:

Ravi Zacharias' "Jesus Among Other Gods."

Josh McDowell's "Evidence that Demands a Verdict"

C. S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity."

"And, of course, the Bible."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

A Season Worth Celebrating

Dickens Village
This little ceramic village celebrates the time of Charles Dickens.

Most of us remember the little story 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens. What we forget is that it was written in a time of great social upheaval during the Industrial Revolution. Then, as now, the spectre of want and fear cast shadows on the human condition. Dickens wrote his little story in part to address such things.

Here is a Radio Drama Presentation of A Christmas Carol by Focus on the Family. The presentation begins with some really good historical background.

The Treasure of Our Heritage

Our Ancestors Faced Amazing Difficulties with Amazing Courage

It may seem strange to tell a Civil War story at Christmas, but I suppose the greatest gift we have been given by our parents is the wealth of our ancestors' life experiences. Such reservoirs will refresh us as we face many a difficult day. It was Christmas of 1776 when George Washington took his men across the Delaware. In many people's minds the revolution was all but lost. Washington's army was ragged and undersupplied. The odds were against any hope of succeeding. Still these men crossed the river, won the battle and the tide turned. The rest is, well, history.

Most of us have some amazing stories that come from our own ancestors. They are, I am convinced, signposts for our own journey. We need to tell them, especially at holidays.

My Great Grandfather Tolbert Saunders Dalton was born in Robertson County, Tennessee, close to Nashville. He was seventeen When the War between the States started. He joined the 49th Regiment of Tennessee Volunteers and had a long and distinguished career as a soldier. He saw many battles, some of them quite fierce, and the sight and sound of men dying around him led him to preach the Gospel. By the light of many a campfire, my Great Grandfather shared the simple message of redemption in Christ.

He served under General Nathan B. Forrest and saw action in some of the battles for control of the Mississippi. When Union troops advanced on Memphis, preparing to attack at dawn the next day, General Forrest was outnumbered ten to one. He did not have the artillery to protect the city, but he did have at his disposal a fair number of farm wagons and many willing workers like young Dalton. All night long, the boys hollowed out the ends of tree trunks and blacked them to look like cannon. Then each ‘cannon’ was positioned on a set of wagon wheels. The faux cannon were positioned for maximum effect along the banks of the river and then General Forrest demanded surrender! In a dangerous bluff Forrest’s 300 men captured 3,000 would-be attackers.

Tolbert Dalton was later assigned to spy duty. He once carried a message to General Forrest through enemy lines by pretending to be a deaf and dumb farm boy. Seeing an unexpected checkpoint, he quickly stuffed the message in his mouth and made signs to the soldiers. He was quick-minded enough to sign for clarification when one of the soldiers said “go ahead.”

Wounded in action, Dalton spent several months out of action and then joined the Seventh Kentucky Volunteers. In one battle the flag was shot down and young Tolbert rose to replant it in the breastworks. When it was shot down again, Dalton rallied the troops by standing to hold the flag in place. Enemy fire ripped his shirt but miraculously he was unscathed. His courage under fire earned him the rank of Major. The experience affirmed G-d’s calling in the young soldier’s heart.When the war was over, Dalton went to Medical School and became a doctor but the needs of mens’ souls called him to the work that had begun around the campfires of his regiment. Preaching became Dalton’s sole vocation and he eventually settled in the town of Stanley in Page County, Virginia. One of my most treasured possessions is a copy of Wilmore’s New Analytical Reference Bible that my Grandfather once used.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Time to Bury 'Fossle Fuel?'

It's Time for a Hydrogen 'Model T'

It was a hundred years ago when Henry Ford introduced his Model T automobile. Ford did not invent the automobile but he made it universally available. His manufacturing method was what put cars on the streets of Middle America. Now it is time for a similar revolution. This Piece on Hydrogen Cars shows hydrogen technology to be in a prototype stage similar to that of the automobile before 1908.

Remember your history and old movies. Cars were a novelty [for rich people]and scared the horses. Then Ford built the assembly line and the American transportation system of today was born. Ford also created a market for his cars by paying his workers a wage that allowed them to become car buyers.

If indeed there is a viable hydrogen car that can be built for the cost of a suburban house, then all that remains is for it to be refined and mass produced. As the large automobile manufacturers come to the American people for another operating loan, its time to ask them to create a revolution.

An energy independent United States has to be a national security priority. This is true from both a defense and economic perspective. We can't wait ten years to implement this technology.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstice Sunset

Solstice Sunset
The Sun sets on the Winter Solstice marking the beginning of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Short Film Captures the Personal Implications of Imagio Dei


Here is a Film that you must see! It is just fifteen minutes in length but I saw it at Randy Alcorn's Blog and it was pretty powerful. Recently an editor at one of our local weeklies editorialized that Abortion is Not Murder because kids from 'religious' homes are having them and abortion foes are not resisting as they would if someone were gunning down a busload of elementary school children. His argument fails to see that throughout history other great evils have been accepted by even good people in a society.

Just because a course of action is popularly accepted and most follow it does not make it less of an evil. Many Christians owned slaves and I'm sure there were fine principled people serving in the German government. Can we legitimately argue that the holocaust was not murder because church members were working in the camps? Volition does a great job of showing how the right choice has often been the road less travelled in historical perspective.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Forgotten Family

Our Brothers and Sisters Forgotten by Our Media

"Unremarked upon by the Western media, a systematic campaign of persecution is taking place in the Gaza Strip, and to a lesser extent in the West Bank. the general silence surrounding this campaign aids its perpetrators. The victims are Palestinian Christians, in particular the small Christian community of Gaza." -- The Jerusalem Post

The prevailing perscription for peace in the Middle East seems to be that the Palestinians will be good citizens of the world once we just give them a homeland of their own. Unfortunately they show their hand too visibly in their treatment of their own Christian minority. This Article at Voice of the Martyrs shows how badly Christians are treated in Palestinian controlled areas.

Our Next President should demand no less than the fair and humane treatment of these Palestinian Christians as a precondition for negotiations. We need to make it clear that we consider them family.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Science's Lesson

What Do We Really Learn from Observing the Cosmos?

"In its purest form, the human spirit of inquiry is a holy thing. According to the renowned 12th century Jewish thinker Maimonides, nothing less than the Biblical commandment to love G-d is fulfilled when a person investigates nature and, struck by its intricacy and beauty, is filled with awe and gratitude to the Divine."

Saturn's Rings
The rings of Saturn.

Photographs of galaxies and microscopic worlds have always fascinated me. There is sublime order in the extreme places of our investigation. Here is an Article About a Supercollider by Rabbi Avi Shafran in Jewish World Review. He calls the project an $8 Billion, Modern Day Tower of Babel."

If you remember the Bible story, the Tower of Babel represents mankind trying to assert their independence from the Divine. It ended in a confusion of tongues. You'd think we would learn. I remember when John Lennon proclaimed the Beatles "Bigger than Jesus" -- right before the group dissolved! A similar attitude seems to have gripped some scientists hoping to find a "G-d Particle" and thus reducing the cosmos to naturally explainable.

When the Cosmic Background Explorer read the background spectrum of the universe, scientists were looking for the bang in the "Big Bang." The clear spectrum they found was not exactly what they expected. It doesn't exactly negate the possibility of a moment of Creation. In fact, those who seek to do so may find G-d very difficult to dethrone.

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" -- Romans 1:20

Friday, December 12, 2008

Faith Triumphs Over Persecution

Christianity's Greatest Growth Has Often Been in the Face of Opposition

This Article in New American underscores many of Alvin Schmidt's observations. It goes on to show that much of its great influence came into being as the decadent Roman Empire attempted to snuff it out.

"It is of course true that an observer today looking at lands where Christianity is persecuted could conclude that the persecutions are diminishing if not destroying Christianity because of the small numbers of Christians in many of those lands. But history teaches us otherwise. As already mentioned, an observer of the persecution of Christians under the Roman Empire during the third century A.D. would likely have concluded that Christianity would have been stamped out. Yet a few years later a Roman emperor converted to Christianity. Throughout 20 centuries, the faith of Christians has proven to be unconquerable, and there is no telling the extent to which today's Islamic lands might someday be fully open to the spreading of Christianity."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Resisting the Influence

Christianity's Persecution in So Many Places Tells You Something

Alvin Schmidt's book Under the Influence lays out historic evidence that Christianity changes individual hearts first but then has the power to remake whole portions of society. Rome considered Christians dangerous to their status quo and fought the early Church hoping to diminish its influence; But it grew.

Today the Church is growing with amazing vigor in areas where it is supressed. Voice of the Martyrs is telling the stories of great faith in the face of persecution. These stories will make you consider how precious real hope and changed lives really are.

The heroes of Faith today are people like Coptic Priest, Zakaria Botros, who uses the internet and a 90 minute television show to reach millions in Muslim countries with a message of hope. Millions are listening and many are responding. There are constant threats on the life of this gentle man and many more, less visible representatives of the Christian faith. Randy Alcorn tells the story of such people in his novel Safely Home. Using fictional characters, the novel tells the all-too real story of the church in China. Real men and women are risking everything to live as disciples of their Lord.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Under the Influence

How Christianity Changed the World

Originally published as:
Under the Influence,
Alvin J. Schmidt
Zondervan, 2001

Here is a book that really ought to be on your Christmas reading list. As we prepare to celebrate the wonder of Emmanuel -- "G-d With Us," it would be interesting to consider the historical influence of the Christian faith in out civilization. Obviously many modern writers consider it not all that great, or even destructive. They point to such events as the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition and conclude that religion is not such a great influence on society. An atheist group in England is buying bus ads that say "why believe in G-d, Just be good for goodness' sake." Just in time for Christmas, no less, and using red and green lettering.

But such thinking ignores a vast body of history where men and women, inspired by their faith, abolished slavery, instituted humane treatment of the poor and mentally ill and generally lifted the situation of their fellow citizens. What good is "good for goodness sake" if good is not defined from a higher source. Indeed one can then make the conclusion that it is 'good' to kill six million members of another race. It happened in Twentieth Century Germany. Hitler may have appealed to Christianity in his speeches, but his actions go against the clearly understood teachings of the Faith. Study the life and death of Deitrich Bonhoffer and you will understand where the principles of his beliefs led one citizen to actively oppose the policies of Hitler.

It is a mistake to assume that Western Civilization is automatically 'Christian.' Schmidt looks back to the days of the Roman Empire, when Christians were the ones who rescued unwanted children from destruction and the Middle Ages, when Christians cared for the victims of plague that most simply shunned. Time and time again, Christianity is seen leading men and women to challenge the default direction of Western civilization.

We will read Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol' this season, but will we stop to think of how Charles Dickens was addressing social issues of his day. And what of William Wilberforce, the British parliamentarian who, moved by his faith, labored half a century to abolish slavery in the British possessions? When Dorethea Dix and Florence Nightengale improved healthcare methods, it was their faith that moved them.

Schmidt provides a great body of scholarly research to bring this forgotten history to light again. One point I take from his writing is that Christianity is at its best when it speaks into culture. It has been rendered less effective by its present 'mainstream' status [as when it is seen as a branch of the Republican Party]. It is all too easy to hijack the language of faith without embracing its life-changing path of discipleship.

Theodore Dalrymple writes in City Journal: "What the New Atheists are Missing." Himself a non-believer, he points to a time when a teacher's hypocrasy led him to question. Dalrymple does not, however, reject the realm of faith as a force in creating and ordering societies. He see's naturalistic explainations and philosophies quite insufficient for dealing with all of human existence. Richard Dawkins' assertions that religious education is tantamount to child abuse, for example seem to Dalrymple no more than the rebellious ranting of a child who's just learned that his parents are not perfect. All of us have experienced some sort of disillusionment in our youth. I remember a time when a nun of the 'Sisters of Mercy' punished me for some infraction I had not [at least in my recollection] committed. I too questioned a lot of things. The Cuban missle crisis fueled more unanswered anxiety as I careened into adolescence.

But something happened in my teenaged years that is etched firmly in my memory. It was a dark and stressful winter day when I decided to walk in the woods near Triadelphia Reservoir. Something spoke to me that afternoon that was more eloquent than the ranting of hormones and the perceived unfairness of life. The buds of the trees were growing fat. here was the hope of spring and new life. Clearly spring would come. The buds gave evidence of an event hoped for. They were indeed the substance of something yet unseen!

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" -- Romans1:20 KJV

Holy writ makes the point that the order and beauty of the creation speaks eloquently of the creator. Thus Intelligent Design, though it merely points out the complex mechanisms of nature, leads one to seek the source of such wisdom. I look to that time in the trees as an affirmation of personal faith in a creator. Though at that point it was pretty detatched and intellectual at best.

"...for he that cometh to G-d must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligenly seek him." Hebrews 11:6b KJV

As a young adult I embraced faith in Christ as redeemer and rewarder. The journey of faith had begun with the fat buds years before though.Therefore I must conlude that those who consider the design of the universe dangerous information have good reason if they fear that others may follow the path I have walked. Dawkins would prefer me to credit space aliens with seeding life to this planet and thus push the hard questions of origin to another world. Darwinism, in its purest form, rejects the idea that this world is some sort of intentional creation. Of course this leads to the rejection of theism and ultimately the rejection of certain absolutes. The film 'Expelled' takes a good look at 'eugenics' and how it is supported by a darwinian world view. In the first half of the Twentieth Century certain proponents of eugenics sought to speed evolution along by eliminating the reproduction of certain undesirable types of persons. The results were forced sterilization of the mentally ill and the holecaust. Contrast that movement with Dorethea Dix and others who, motivated by Christian faith, improved conditions for the mentally ill.

Alvin Schmidt makes a good case in his book 'Under the Influence' that faith is a builder of society rather than a force to destroy it. Dalrymple the non-believer would concur. Thus the danger of Christian principles such as 'intelligent design' leading to dangerous conclusions is much inflated. One might even conclude that the free discussion of order and design,wherever it is found, is wholesome. Certainly there is no basis for its exclusion from the academy.The argument will no doubt be made: "what about the crusades, what about jihad, religion is dangerous?" Yes, it is certainly something that may be missused, but that must be countered with an honest look at how the so-called "good" science of evolution was the foundation of eugenics. Millions of people were killed in this misguided attempt to improve humanity. Ironically, such brilliant men as Albert Einstein met the criteria for elimination. We reduce the world to only naturalistic explainations at our own peril. The argument for open inquiry, with men and women of Faith seated at the table, stands.

New Maple

"When through the woods,and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down,from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze"
-- "How Great Thou Art" Verse 2

Friday, December 5, 2008

Watching History Repeat Itself

Some Frightening Observations

Jeff Jacoby Makes this Observation of the UN Denouncement of a Certain Country. No, it is not Darfur or some other country with major human rights abuses.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Civilization Under Fire II

Some Quotes from the Founding Fathers

Washington Praying
Washington Praying at Valley Forge

The Famiy Foundation Blog has pointed out some wonderful Quotes from America's Founding Fathers and Leaders that I'll just bet you won't find in the National Capitol Visitor's Center. Clearly Faith was not to be excluded from the public square, but their intent was that there be no state church.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Civilization Under Fire

Mumbai's Brutal Wake Up Call

This Piece by Melanie Phillips is a Brutally Honest Assessment of the war [yes, I said war] being waged against Western civilization right now. Guy Sorman Has this Report in City Journal. Steven Emerson Has This to Say.

Mark Steyn Offers this Analysis of the so-called 'analysis' being offered by the talking heads. Hopefully we will get the message sooner than later that appeasement doesn't work with this crowd. If 9/11 wasn't our generation's Pearl Harbor, Mumbai ought to be.

We are engaged in conflict with this enemy in the Middle East, our troops are securing the situation in Iraq. Still, the so-called 'Mainstream' Media who were so eager to report our casualties when it was going badly have No Desire to Report Our Success.

'We Have Met the Enemy and They are Us'

Pogo Possum's famous quote describes precisely the reaction of our news media and intellectuals. We can't say 'Islamic Terrorists' anymore but we are free to disparage Western civilization all we desire. Michael Medved's Ten Lies are standard fare on CNN and any college campus. Even Kathleen Parker is Buying Into this Myth. The Capitol Visitor's Center opened yesterday and the small reference it makes to the faith in our country's foundation is only thanks to a few clear voices who spoke up against such outright untruths as this: Our Nation's National Motto is 'E Pluribus Unum' according to the Center. It is actually 'In G-d We Trust,' but the curators needed to be reminded of that fact by concerned citizens before they would correct their display.

Alvin Schmidt's book Under the Influence paints a much different picture of Western Civilization. Much of what makes us able to abolish slavery and extend compassion is a direct result of faith in action in our public life. We need to remember our roots as we enter this battle.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ten Big Lies About America

Michael Medved Tells the Truth

Here is a Straightforward Discussion of America's roots by Michael Medved. In a new book the popular author and commentator debunks many of the modern myths that seem so prevelant in our 'politically correct' era.

Among the great lies, the notion that the founders of this Nation envisioned a totally secular country. In fact, early writings of the founders are overflowing with reference to the Almighty and His Providence in the formation of this government. The wisdom of the founders was in avoiding the intermingling of church government with the government of the state. That is where the separation was actually defined. There would be no 'Church of the United States' as there was a 'Church of England.' Interestingly enough, the government did not prohibit the individual states from acknowledging specific churches. The 'free exercise clause' of the First Amendment clearly protects minority religious groups from supression.

A tour of Washington DC quickly reveals a wealth of Biblical references in carved inscriptions on public buildings. The writings and speeches of earlier times are also rich with such wisdom. If America was meant to be free of the influences of faith, you wouldn't know it from studying its beginnings.

Laus Deo
'Laus Deo' is inscribed on the capstone of the Washington Monument.

The National Capitol Visitors Center is scheduled to open tomorrow. This Report from Family Foundation Blog is worth noting. The center's original exibit design ignores the inspiration of faith so evident if you simply walk through the Capitol unguided. This would seem to be an accepted official policy when you consider this: A recently created replica of the Washington Monument Capstone for the National Park Service simply omitted the inscription: 'Laus Deo' that is prominent on the original. Simple accuracy would require otherwise.

Here's a Story by Michelle Malkin about more modern-day censorship. The reader is wise to connect the dots. Why is certain factual reporting supressed?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving for the Gift of Initiative

G-d Has Placed Our Best Gifts in Our Human Hearts

It's what my Milestone Monday feature celebrates. It is that part of the human spirit that makes it exciting to get up and go to work each day. This Article by Michelle Malkin puts a face to that wonderful characteristic of human initiative. There are people who don't sit around waiting for 'the government' to do it for them. When they see a need they creatively seek solutions.

Indeed, their pursued vision through the ages has created the bounty we thanked the Master for yesterday. I really write Milestone Monday to remind myself that there is so much more to being human -- created in the image of the Most Creative: Immagio Deo, than we can ever imagine. For that I am truely grateful to the Almighty!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The 'Common Course and Condition'

America's First Experiment with Socialism

When the Pilgrims first set up their economic system in Plymouth they opted for a system where all the results of their labor were held in common. All of the colonists then drew from the common store what they lived on. The Common Course and Condition, as this system was called, resulted in some bad feelings on the part of those who produced effectively and some lack of initiative on the part of those who were happy to have the food without the work.

The system produced constant shortages and a man who rose early and worked diligently came quite naturally to resent his neighbor who slept in and contributed less effort. Friction was high among the colonists and in 1623 Governor William Bradford declared the common course a failure.

The colonists were next assigned plots by families. Larger families were given larger plots. Everyone was responsible for the production of his own land and growing food for his own family. The results were noteable. Far more crops were planted and tended. There was plenty instead of shortage and all in response to this new sense of ownership.


A Native American's Amazing Story

" ... a special instrument sent by God for their good beyond their expectations ..." -- William Bradford

Today millions of Americans will dine on turkey and celebrate Thanksgiving. Most people will realize that it has some connection to the Pilgrims in Massachussetts, but the story of G-d's provision and the reason for the celebration seem to have faded in our collective memories.

The Pilgrims came to the New World for their kids. They were a Christian group who sought to live for G-d rather than be seduced by the culture around them. They lived in Holland for a while but they saw their children falling away from the faith.

So they moved. They sought passage on a ship bound for Virginia. The ship went off course and they landed in Massachussetts instead. They had a rough time of it their first winter and almost half of them died. Still, when offered the chance to return to Europe, they declined. Then one of the indigenous people walked into camp and spoke to them in English!

The man's name was Samoset, and he introduced the Pilgrims to Squanto, who taught the Pilgrims many things to help them survive in the new world. Squanto spoke even better English than Samoset. His story is amazing.

Squanto had first met Europeans around 1605 when Captain John Smith made his famous voyage. He travelled to England with him but when he returned to America he was captured into slavery and returned to Europe. Spanish monks bought his freedom and sent him to England where he found passage back to America. Sadly, his village was now gone, the people wiped out by disease. He found people nearby to live with but one day heard that a new group of people were living where his old village had stood. What's more, they spoke that funny new language that he had learned.

Samoset made the introduction and the rest, you might say, is history. Thanks to Squanto the Pilgrims survived and began to do quite well in the new world. Their relations with the Native people were quite good and their Thanksgiving was for the amazing provision they found in Squanto, of whom it was said:

" ... He desired honor, which he loved as his life and preferred before his peace ..."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The First Amendment Under Fire

Recent Attacks on Basic Rights Suggest Where the Battle Will Take Us

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

When James Dobson and the American Civil Liberties Union agree that a piece of legislation is dangerous, take note! Such was the case with Senate Bill 1, Section 220 as it was introduced in 2007 after Democrats regained control of Congress. The legislation, basically lobbying reform, strayed from the path when it laid out clear provisions for criminalizing 'grassroots' lobbying. It would have required grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress, as lobbyists must do. Substantial penalties were perscribed for non-compliance. The bill was amended January 9th, creating criminal penalties, including prison sentences, for someone who "knowingly and willingly fails to file or report."

The Bill Put Undue Burden on 'Grassroots' Lobbying Efforts while exempting larger entities such as Unions, Corporations and Entities with Large Memberships.

2009 may well see an attempt to reinstate the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine' in broadcasting. It was done away with in the 1980's and that led to a whole plethora of programs devoted to discussion of issues. Most notable was the Rush Limbaugh Show, where an alternative viewpoint actually was offered to the so-called 'mainstream media.' The demise of the 'Fairness' Doctrine actually led to more and varied program formats. I was riding in a cab in Seattle when the driver clicked on a rather left-leaning program, obviously an attempt to provide a Limbaugh-like forum for the more liberal perspective. Clearly neither program would have happened under the old 'Fairness' Doctrine. The fact that both exist proves the legislation is unnecessary.

No doubt, the reinstatement of the 'Fairness' Doctrine would push talk shows and their listeners to the internet. An even more chilling effect of this legislation is the very real possibility that Religious stations would be forced to air "opposing views." I'll leave the full scope of what that could mean to your imagination, but the recent ruling reqiuring Christian dating site: E Harmony to provide Gay matchmaking services should serve as some indication. The same judges might decide what "opposing views" should consist of, effectively eliminating Faith-based media. That tramples on two clauses of the First Amendment as I read it.

The protection of basic liberties will require some heroic effort in the days ahead.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Real Heartbeat of America

Pundits Do Well to Step Back and See the Big Picture

There has been much ink spent over what the 2008 election results mean. This Column by Robert Robb is one of the most thoughtful.

Most Americans don't read publications like City Journal and Jewish World Review, so I suspect they have little more framework to go by than "things are working," or "things aren't working."

Going into the 2008 election, scenario #2 was in play. Thus it was easy to run against the 'status quo' -- that's Latin for 'the mess we're in.' The ecomomy had to be the biggest factor.

Without the Fannie/Freddie/Financial meltdown the War was actually being won, the surge was working. Governor Palin actually was invigorationg moral conservatives and limited government folks as well. The only independents she turned off were probably voting for Senator Obama anyway.

The most important point Robb makes is that the American people probably don't think in complex absolutes. Their intentions are good but they don't have well framed, worldview driven principles to guide them in the complexities of the process. Here I'll blame the so-called 'mainstream media.' Good analysis is hard to find between the soap opra discussion of wardrobe budgets. Now the same people who brought us 'closetgate' are going to tell the Republican Party how to revitalize itself? Hopefully those who create policy will consider the source and ignore it.

'Tolerance' vs Respect

Wacky 'Virtue' in a Relativist World

I've always been skeptical of the whole concept of 'tolerance.' I 'tolerate' mosquitoes in order to enjoy the woods, likewise black flies at the beach. But I have no RESPECT for the critters!

The latest 'victory' for the purveyors of 'toloerance:' This Lawsuit of E Harmony. Michelle Malkin reports that the whole issue was basically to force the gay agenda down E Harmony's throat. What happened to the concept of 'Live and Let Live.' Obviously a relative society still makes value judgements about one group over another.

If you are not familiar with E Harmony, it's a Christian matchmaking website. Our Vet found her husband on it and it does a wonderful service by introducing people with shared values to each other. There are many other sites that do this, Jewish, secular and even by shared recreational pursuits. Gay people have their own sites. There is no dearth of dating sites requiring the forced reworking of E Harmony.

That is why I love the concept of RESPECT. I disagree with you, but we disagree in a climate of RESPECT. You have the right to operate your business as you see fit within a very basic framework of law. If I want a specific variant of your service, it may already exist [as it does in this case], or I am free to start one. My 'civil rights' are not compromised. It bears no resemblence to racial discrimination.

Consider this: when the conservatives again are in power, we do not want thought police from that side overreaching either. Thus a society should promote respect and healthy discussion by limiting the use of law to impose selective agendas.

Respecting Conscience

Our Country has enjoyed a long history of respecting matters of conscience. Mennonites and members of the Society of Friends are exemted from military service for this reason and they are considered no less good citizens. Recent rulings such as the one against E Harmony pose a serious threat to this noble tradition. Consider the Case of Catholic Adoption Agencies in Massachussetts. A similar court ruling required Catholic Adoption Services to give children to same-sex couples. Conscience demanded that the adoption agency shut down rather than violate its beliefs. Thus such 'judicial tyranny' actually kills diversity by making it impossible for good people to continue operating in violation of their own principles.

Pharmacists also face similar pressure. The development of abortion by drugs created a situation where pro-life pharmacists would violate their beliefs if they dispensed these drugs. It seems that common sense would dictate that those objecting pharmacists would be respected. There are alternative sources of these abortion drugs, but the intent is clearly not diversity but the imposition of a new civil morality that overrides Judeo-Christian principles.

Thus the new'tolerance' flies in the face of the basic guarantees of the First Amendment. The so-called 'alternatives' they seek to promote already exist in our pluralistic society. Such judicial initiatives only serve to silence opposition.

This 70 Million Dollar Lawsuit Against Thomas Nelson Publishers and Zondervan is further evidence of how the 'gay agenda' is working through the courts. The specifics of this case are important to consider. The two publishers are being sued for 'publishing Bibles containing passages condemning homosexuality.' That's a Catch-22 for any publisher who seeks to provide unaltered original text to their customers.

There are plenty of 'politically correct' translations available to those who want them. When Thomas Jefferson found parts of the Bible objectionable, he published his own severely edited version. He did not seek to supress the publication of the original texts but offered his own alternative reading. Today you can find gender-neutral translations if that is what you prefer and versions that skip over the parts of Leviticus that bother some activists. Once again: "...the intent is clearly not diversity but the imposition of a new civil morality that overrides Judeo-Christian principles."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin

She Gave a Voice to Many in this Election

Governor Sarah Palin
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

You would think that with the election over, the Neanderthal sport of Palin bashing would cease. Obviously she is still threatening in the minds of her foes or they would quietly forget her. If you've been under a rock for the past few months, may I remind you that Governor Palin came from nowhere to energize a particularly deflated campaign and drew large crowds, not so much because she is a woman, but because of what she believes.

Her honeymoon with the press was the shortest ever for a vice presidential candidate. Charlie Gibson was unable to curb his bias and the editors cut her remarks mercilessly in the hopes of snuffing out the resonance of her message. If you could find an uncut Palin interview it was refreshing to listen to. She is what Jefferson envisioned as a citizen-legislator, one of us who's gone to Washington. Groups like The Our Country Deserves Better Committee are working to make sure this truth is not lost.

It's a hard fight. Sarah For America, a true Palin supporting website reports that Anti-Sarah Websites Get Better Rankings. Is Google showing bias? Read Her Analysis Here and you will stop believing in 'complicated algorithms' as an explaination. Google founder Eric Schmidt is on Obama's advisory board. The news media have obsessed about things like Palin's wardrobe expenses, a fraction of what it costs to outfit a female anchor on any network, while giving no perspective to the President-elect's statements supporting Cap and Trade -- a policy that would bankrupt sectors of the energy industry! Is it any wonder slogans like 'hope and change' work without specific explaination. We're not being taught to ask the hard questions.

Governor Palin deserves a lot of respect for interjecting the ideals many of us still believe in into our National dialogue. She stepped up to an impossible task with enthusiasm and did a wonderful job with it. She has my heartfelt thanks!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another American Milestone

The Land of Opportunity

The First Family
The First African American First Family.

I can't wait until Monday to congratulate Senator Obama. History has been made with his electon. Although we disagree on many issues, I pray and believe that he and I share the desire to give a good Country to our chidren.

Tuesday I was working at the polls for my candidates and had an interesting conversation with Hal, my Democrat counterpart. Hal expressed a desire that political debate would become civil again. I bit my lip, thinking of the unfair treatment of Sarah Palin and her family by so-called 'compassionate' people, and instead expressed agreement. But I went on to say that there were some issues that I could not 'compromise' in the name of politeness. I'm pro-life, I said and that one is non-negotiable.

I opined that we could argue strong positions and when it was over shake hands and have lunch together, but the discussion of issues was essential to the process.

So today's Milestone Monday will take us back in time to one person who had a vision, long before Martin Luther King had a dream. It is this vision that has come to reality.

Meta Warrick Fuller
Sculptor and Visionary

Meta Warrick Fuller envisioned a better world for African-Americans.

The year was 1907. The place was Jamestown, Virginia. Virginia's first [and only] World's Fair took place and featured a pavilion dedicated to the African-American people. Meta Fuller was a sculptor who had studied in Philadelphia and Paris. She created a series of dioramas for the pavilion that examined the past and held out hope for the future.

Beginning with a depiction of the first twenty-four slaves arriving in Jamestown in 1619, Fuller depicted other history such as a fugitive slave's journey.

But then Fuller looked into the future. She envisioned a future where education and literacy created opportunity and her final diorama showed the modern black family enjoying the fruits of literacy and labor.

The World's Fair Pavilion, complete with classical columns!

The new President-elect will ride down Pennsylvania Avenue, laid out by Benjamin Banneker, a free black man who learned surveying in the employment of the Ellicott Brothers. Yes, I know Pierre Charles L'Enfant laid it out based on the hunting gardens at Versailles, but Banneker's photographic memory and design skills were put to the test when the tempermental L'Enfant rolled up his drawings and walked off the job.

The inauguration will celebrate the vision of many heroes, some well known and some obscure, who worked to bring this moment to be. How many people remember when In 1952 Billy Graham Desegregated All His Crusades?

Some Sobering Thoughts
We Forget History at Our Own Peril

"I would be willing to speculate that a person who feels the need to write an autobiography in their mid-thirties might be entertaining an exaggerated sense of self-importance." -- Matthew Edward Roberts

Mr Roberts Gives an Interesting Analysis in this Article. Thanks again to Sarah for America. If you could get your hands on a football team's playbook, the final sections discussing other team's play is sometimes called "Tendencies." Some of us 'back of the book' readers have been somewhat concerned with recent developments. Unfortunately Mr. Roberts thinks there is reason for our concern -- and he's not focusing his analysis on US!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less...

"For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is G-d."

Last night our small group Bible study was discussing the wonderful promise found in Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21 and 22. It is the promise of a renewed Heaven and Earth where G-d is the light that illuminates human activity. This morning I read from Hebrews 11 and 12. As much as we labor to build human institutions and invest in their success, they are bound to fall short of our hopes for them. History tells us so.

Here is a promise that will carry the believer through the most difficult and uncertain times. Here is the passion to carry on:

Hebrews 11

1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

7By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. 24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

31By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. 32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. 34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 12

1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

16Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. 18For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

20(For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

25See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29For our God is a consuming fire.

[King James Version]

Monday, November 3, 2008

William H. Howland

The Mayor Who Made a Difference

An Article for the June 1996 Deep Cove Crier
by Reverend Ed Hird, Rector,
St. Simon’s Anglican Church, Used with his permission.

So often, Toronto functions as the city that other Canadians feel the most ambivalent about. The proverbial expression "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" readily comes to my mind as I think of Toronto. And yet ironically, the nickname "Toronto The Good" points to a side of Toronto that has largely been forgotten in the Canadian amnesia about our own heritage and roots. I was talking recently to Phyllis Beck, the Deep Cove Crier Seniors Columnist, about Toronto roots, only to discover that her daughter-in-law, Barbara Hall, is the current Mayor of Toronto. I commented to Phyllis about the recent discovery that my Great-great-grandfather, Thomas Allen, was a senior Alderman in Toronto during a period of 19 years. When I was in Toronto a few months back, getting a first-hand glimpse of the "Toronto Blessing", I kept driving back and forth past Allen Road. My ignorance about this road named after my Torontonian ancestor reminded me afresh of our Canadian forgetfulness about some of our own heros.

William H. Howland

One such hero was Mayor William Howland of Toronto, a public servant who was so dedicated to helping the disadvantaged that he gave away most of his wealth. Son of the Honorable W.P. Howland, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, William was possessed with a bubbly enthusiasm and phenomenal capacity for hard work. By the age he was 25, William was president, vice-president, or a director of more than a dozen companies in the fields of insurance and finance, electrical services, and paint manufacturing. When he became president of the Queen City Fire Insurance Company in 1871, he was the youngest insurance company president in Canada. As well, Howland was President of three influential organizations: the Toronto Board of Trade, the Dominion Board of Trade, and the Manufacturer’s Association of Ontario. Out of his love for his country, he served as Chairman of the Canada First movement, personally financing its weekly newspaper "The Nation".

At age 32, Howland was led to Christ by his priest, Dr. W.S. Rainsford of St. James Anglican Cathedral. His life-changing experience gave him a new passion for helping the poor. He became involved helping with the Hillcrest Convalescent Hospital, the YMCA, the Haven Home for Unwed Mothers, the Prisoner’s Aid Association, the Central Prison Mission School, and the Toronto General Hospital. Night after night, Howland visited the slums, going from house-to-house, and reaching out to the poor, the sick, and the alcoholic. He also purchased 50 acres to start an Industrial School in order to steer youth away from the life of crime. Other initiatives were his building an alternative school for drop-outs, and a Home for the Aged and Homeless Poor. When he began to teach an interdenominational bible study for 100 young men, his new priest J.P. Lewis objected to Howland’s involvement with non-Anglicans. Out of this rejection, he began the interdenominational Toronto Mission Union, which operated seniors’ homes, convalescent homes, and Toronto’s first-ever home nursing service.

Because of his great compassion for the poor, he was elected as Mayor of Toronto in 1885, with a strong mandate to clean up the city. Howland signaled his arrival in the mayor’s office by installing a twelve-foot banner on the wall, reading, "Except the Lord Build the City, the Watchman Wakes but in Vain". Despite fierce opposition, Howland was so successful, that Toronto became nicknamed "Toronto the Good". As champion of the poor, Howland and his Alliance friend, Rev. John Salmon, would tramp the lanes and alleys, feeding the poor, praying over the sick, and comforting the sad. With a population of just 104,000, Toronto had over 800 licensed and unlicensed saloons. Over half of all criminal offenses recorded in 1885 were related to drunkenness.

Howland is described in Desmond Morton’s book "Mayor Howland: the Citizen’s Candidate" as the first reform mayor in Toronto’s history. Due to bureaucratic corruption, municipal garbage collection was all but non-existent. Even City Hall’s own garbage was rarely picked up. Rotting garbage fouled the alleyways, yards, and streets, giving Toronto a reputation for flies, stench, and disease. With no general sewage system, Toronto lived on the verge of a typhoid epidemic. Children swam in the same Toronto harbour area into which raw sewage was flowing from the ditches. Toronto’s fresh water supply was sucked through leaking and rotting wooden pipes, half buried in the sewage and sludge of the Toronto harbour.

Howland believed that we didn’t usually need more laws; we just needed to enforce the ones that already existed. He shocked the city bureaucrats by enforcing the already existing bylaw which forbid the depositing of garbage within the city limits. After he threatened to send the city commissioner to jail for breaking this bylaw, garbage miraculously began to be collected! Howland also worked hard in the construction of a trunk sewer system, to redirect the sewage away from the Toronto Harbour. He had such a dramatic impact in reducing the crime rate that other mayors began visiting Toronto, hoping to imitate Howland’s miracle.

During his re-election campaign in 1887, all the taxi cabs were paid off by Howland’s opponent so that they would refuse to take Howland’s supporters to the polling stations. Women however (2,000 widows and single women with property) had just been given the vote. So they held up their long Victorian dresses, and trucked through the snow to give Howland the moral reformer a second term. When Howland was re-elected by a landslide, over 3,000 of his supporters at the YMCA hall spontaneously burst into singing "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow.".

After he unexpectedly stepped down as Mayor after two terms, Howland became the founding President of the Christian Alliance (which later took the name C&MA: Christian and Missionary Alliance). The unique interdenominational nature of the early C&MA allowed Howland to be its president, while still remaining an Anglican. When he died unexpectedly at age 49, his funeral involved Anglican, Alliance, and Presbyterian clergy. With more than a thousand mourners on foot from all social classes, it was the largest funeral procession that had ever been held in Toronto. A poem published in the Toronto Globe said of Howland: "And not Toronto mourns alone; All Canada his fame had heard; His name is dear, a household word, And far and wide, his worth was known". May William H. Howland continue to be a living symbol of the difference that just one Canadian can make.

Reverend Ed Hird, Rector,
St. Simon’s Anglican Church

Toronto in the late Nineteenth Century.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'Of the People"

Public Servants Should Remember Who They Serve

I grew up with Davy Crockett as a hero. I still remember the part where he rode through the night to defeat the Indian Bill, a bad piece of legislation that cost him his congressional career for opposing it. Davy Crockett was one of us! There was no question.

Fast forward to 2008 and you have two 'public servants' who let their hair down with their elite buddies and say things like: "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. … And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Or consider this quote: "One of the things you are going to see is a coalition that is just about completely taken over the Republican Party in this state and if they have their way it’s going to take over state government. It is made up of the Christian Coalition, but not just them. It is made up of the right-to-lifers, but not just them. It’s made up of the NRA, but not just them. It is made up of the home-schoolers, but not just them. It’s made up of a whole coalition of people that have all sorts of differing views that I think most of us in this room would find threatening to what it means to be an American."

You can hear them for yourself Here at the Family Foundation Blog.

Scary stuff! The man responsible for the second quote is running for Senate from the State of Virginia. He's also running spots saying that Senator Obama respects your Second Amendment rights!

Home schoolers, dangerous?, I've had home schoolers work in our model shop and I can tell from the above quote that Mark Warner has far less experience with home schoolers than I do. I've seen fifteen year old kids who've developed professional proficiency and have pretty good heads on their shoulders to boot! I think I'll send Governor Warner a copy of Alvin Schmidt's book Under the Influence. I think there are many spiritual underpinnings to what it means to be an American. I don't think Governor Warner's coctail crowd should be so afraid of us.

In the early Nineteenth Century, Crockett's Tennessee was the Alaska of its day, sitting on the frontier with hostile forces beyond. I'll bet you their were no teenagers working out their angst either. Young people were working the farms and defending them.

So, once again in troubled times, should we look to the frontier for leadership? "You Betcha!"

Model by Kirchman Associates
A fifteen year old home schooler
helped me landscape this model.


You Can See Here How "Bad" America has Been to Reverend Jeremiah Wright

And What of Tony Rezko, Who Put Senator Obama in His Hyde Park Mansion?

The Christian Case Against Barack Obama

Why Isn't Rashid Khalidi Newsworthy?
The Video the LA Times Won't Release

Binyamin Jolkovsky Offers Reward for Release of LA Times Rashid Khalidi Video
At least the folks at Jewish World Review are Curious

Governor Palin Weighs in on Rashid Khalidi Tapes

The Better Health Care Reform Plan

Reality Check from Randy Alcorn

I guess we must now conclude that Home Schoolers are dangerous and Rashid Khalidi isn't!

Thanks to Sarah For America.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gianna Jessen

A Voice for Those Who Cannot Speak

Gianna Jessen survived an abortion. Now she speaks for the unborn.

Gianna Jessen was on Dr. Dobson's show today. Since the unborn cannot speak for themselves it is a powerful thing to hear from someone who wasn't supposed to live.

Randy Alcorn Has Featured Her Story and it is one we all need to hear. When politicans vote against legislation such as the Born Alive Protection Act, it's important to remember who we're denying protection to.


Senator Obama has promised that the 'first thing he would do as president' would be to sign into law the 'Freedom of Choice act.' Here is A good Discussion of FOCA by Randy Alcorn.
and More Good Discussion from Randy Alcorn. If you are an 'undecided' voter I hope you will take the time to read Randy's thoughts. They are very similar to mine.

Here is a Video by Eduardo Verástegui who starred in Bella.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thoughts as We Approach the Election

Great Insight!

Randy Alcorn Has These Observations and I share many of the same concerns and desires.

Two Irreconcilable Americas

Once Again, Dennis Prager Nails It!

Two Americas
"Right and the left do not want the same America."

Politicians of all persuasions express a desire to bring Americans together bound by a common vision for the common good. Dennis Prager Points Out the Fallicy of this Reasoning today in Jewish World Review. Really, it's time to admit that there are two different ideologies out there and they are in fierce competition for the heart and soul of the Nation. Without this basic understanding of the conflict it is impossible to understand why it must be debated. Indeed the political manifestation of this conflict is merely the tip of a cultural rift caused by very different world views.

Our founders looked to the order of Judeo-Christian principles as they framed a government based on a balance of tensions that would reign in human tendencies in order to create an orderly society. Individual liberties and individual responsibilities played a large part and government was purposely limited to avoid tyranny. Certain Truths were held to be self-evident. Man was seen as a special creation who bore the mark of his Creator, yet was fallen in nature--often acting along the lines of these baser inclinations. Thus government sought at once to reign the base and give liberty and expression to the higher aspirations of mankind.

The secular humanism that has come to replace a sense of Divine order has given rise to a new paradigm where government, individual liberties and individual responsibilities are re-prioritized. Thus we no longer see the Divine stamp, Imagio Deo, on humanity. On one hand we have created arguments that if man is all there is [no G-d], then man's self-actualization is the main thing. A sense of greater purpose such as that that drove the American Revolution is impossible but we can grab for the highest experiences to justify ourselves. On the other hand, if man is the end of things, then what's so special. The extinction of some rare snail can be elevated above the plight of starving children in Africa. Indeed some radical environmental groups are making that exact argument.

The American left is actually a coalition of many of these often contradictory conclusions and yet they are strongly united in the desire to cast off the "old" constricting beliefs of our forefathers. That is why you will see those who promote the value of free speech in most areas suddenly veer into an irrational supression of religious speech in the public square. The state is now asked to take an even greater role in promoting the well-being of its citizens. The answer must for them be secular, not spiritual. If there is no higher authority it is left to us to pragmatically define and enforce 'virtue.' How else can you explain the fact that after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed from reasons stemming from corruption in government oversight, the answer can only be more government oversight.

Update: One Nation--Invisible,
With Liberty and Justice for All!

The press prematurely calls elections at their own peril.

Monica Crowley Has This Wisdom as we approach the election. The talking heads have already proclaimed a winner--well, they are pretty close to calling it. Ms. Crowley reminds us that they are forgetting someone.

"But there is another group of Americans out there who are quieter, more reserved, but no less proud of THEIR candidate. They are the great SILENT majority. They are Joe the Plumber. They are us." We don't hear from them until November 4th!

Governor Palin Speaks with Dr. Dobson

Update: Train of Thought II

Opposition Means You are Making Progress

Another Cheap Shot at Governor Pain
(thanks to

Here is more evidence that Governor Palin is actually very effective in bringing home a message that some people find distasteful. Nehemiah was distained by his enemies Sanballat, Tobias and Geshem as well.

But in the end, had there been no Nehemiah, there would have been no rebuilt Jerusalem. In fact, Larry Elder, who marches out of step with the popular mindset gives this bit of wisdom:

You have no enemies, you say?
Alas, my friend, the boast is poor;
He who has mingled in the fray
Of duty, that the brave endure,
Must have made foes! If you have none,
Small is the work that you have done.
You've hit no traitor on the hip,
You've dashed no cup from perjured lip,
You've never turned the wrong to right,
You've been a coward in the fight.

— Charles MacKay (1814-1889)

Here are two thought provoking articles by Mr. Elder:

Part 1, Part 2 that everyone should read before the election. Look at a person's record to see if they have what it takes to rebuild anything, or if they are allies with those who seek to tear down!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Great Debate

Dinesh D'Sousa and Christopher Hitchens

Tonight Randy Alcorn had The Debate on his blog [between D'Sousa and Hitchens]. I found it very interesting.

America at Work

The 1904 Saint Louis World's Fair and American Superiority

This Article by Guy Sorman in City Journal caught my eye. In 1904 the robust American economy was recognized as a world leader, but Sorman quotes a study showing the American economy coming into its own by 1820! He goes on to point out how egalitarian American ideals actually created the first mass market. Joseph Schumpeter's “creative destruction” is also mentioned as a reason for economic prosperity as the new constantly replaces the old and the market reallocates resources accordingly.

That translates into new innovative technology and methods. Eventually we'll be driving hydrogen cars and seeing advances in healthcare delivery. Government mandates won't accomplish this, changing economies, innovation and market demand will.

I once did a reconstruction of the Nineteenth Century town of Ellicott's Mills, first terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad outside of Baltimore. The Ellicott Brothers had migrated from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and settled on the banks of the Patapsco River. There they convinced Charles Carroll [the signer of the Declaration of Independence] to diversify his plantation agriculture. They intruduced wheat, flour mills, limestone mining and many other innovations and that is a model of what happened throughout the young Republic.

Our real cultural diversity as a 'Nation of Nations' fuels discovery and innovation. In spite of the professed loathing of so many world rulers for our Nation, the best and brightest still want to come here.

Ellicott's Mills
Ellicott's Mills is typical of many American communities in the Nineteenth Century. Model by Mr. Kirchman.

Sorman points out that the U.S. economy and its spirit of enterprise still set the pace for the rest of the world. We must not invoke change that diminishes that.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Climb Every Mountain

Is it Time to Sing 'Edelweiss' and Head for the Border?

Whe my daughter was growing up we must have watched The Sound of Music a hundred times. I always got a little choked up when Captain Von Trapp sang Edelweiss as a love song to his beloved Austria, knowing he would soon have to flee her. But now I can imagine singing "Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain" with the same sentiment. Consider the following:

The rise of the 'community organizer' from Chicago eerily parallells that of a man who rose in the 1930's to lead the German speaking peoples. You laugh at this, but City Journal speaks of the Obama Shamen phenomenom. Now a video is circulating of school children singing Praises to Obama. Starting to sound eery yet? The video keeps getting taken off of 'You Tube' but the 'Hitler Youth' parallel example can still be found. Scary stuff! Can you blame me for getting nervous as The Reverend Jackson declare that an Obama administration would rid the United States of "Zionist control." Is it wrong to wonder what exactly he means by that? There's no 'flag with the spider on it' but the ubiquitous ''zero' logo that 'reinvents' the American Flag is doing the same thing for me.

Seen at

Lost in the 'Obamamania' is the honest discussion about the role of government. The young senator's voting record clearly favors a more socialist agenda and yet our media assumes at the beginning of the story that this is a good thing Never mind the facts of Frank Raines and the cooked books at Fannie Mae. The 'evil' John McCain tried to stop this trainwreck in 2005 but that is not worth mentioning. After taking ninety million dollars in falsified profits, Raines became an advisor to the Obama campaign. Interestingly enough, the inability to oversee quasi-public corporations means nothing and we want the government to extend its oversight to the private sector without any questions being asked.

While our media eagerly seek s out Todd Palin's driving record they are strangely disinterested in Senator Obama's ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn. Sen. Obama's first campaign for the Illinois Senate began in Mr. Ayers' living room but we're supposed to believe he's 'just a guy in the neigborhood.' Yeah, Right! Those days serving on the Annenberg Challenge together don't count for a thing. Michael Barone Comments Further Here.

Then there is Reverend Jeremiah Wright. His Black Liberation Theology as advanced by James Cone is not exactly the kind of thing that will bring all Americans together. Yet, here again, a twenty year relationship can be denied and the press doesn't bother to go there.

And what of ACORN. It's now coming out that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now is perhaps engaged in voter registration fraud in eleven states! In my young liberal days we prided ourselves in being a just cause. Now it's just a cause, to be advanced by the worst kind of pragmatism. Finally, CNN is mentioning the voter fraud, but it may be too little, too late. Update: Here is More on ACORN from Pajamas Media and you won't find it on CNN. Hat tips to Here is an Emergency Petition to Congress demanding that voters be required to show identification in order to vote. Be sure to add your name to it. Here, again thanks to Sarah for America: Ties to Kenyan Opposition Leader Raila Odinga. [Must See]!

Finally, there is in Senator Obama's voting record the clear indication that he will advance the agenda of those who would redefine basic social institutions such as marriage and family. He voted against the Infant Born Alive Protection Act. Nat Hentoff, pro-life and disabilities advocate, and First Amendment scholar, is rightfully leery of the 'change' that is being advanced here. Narrowly defining those who are worthy of living is a scary thing to see. Still, in spite of the voting record, there are those who would paint hin as Pro-Life! See This Piece by Dennis Prager for perspective.

As a G-d fearing Christian, pro-life, classic liberal person who loves America, I'm concerned. So I leave you with a love song--and a prayer:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good
With brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul
In self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success
In nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good
With brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

America the Beautiful
Words By: Katherine Lee Bates, Music By: Samuel A. Ward

Beautiful Spacious Skies