Wednesday, July 30, 2014

THYME Magazine: Seeking Solutions

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue V

An American Story

Dinesh D’Souza, In his film America, addresses the so-called 'historian,' Howard Zinn. Zinn is required reading on the university campuses but his 'history,' while it is quick to point out the very real sins of American history, is all to quick to omit the essential core of the American narrative, that of Redemption! This omission leads the uninformed consumer of Zinn to regard America as just the ultimate manifestation of conquering Colonialism, but the entire narrative tells a different story altogether. In the midst of human weakness, a nation crafted looking to G-d for guidance, was to be the stage for triumph over evil.

Slavery was indeed a vile evil. William Wilberforce fought to eliminate it in England, but the institution stubbornly remained in America until the middle of the Nineteenth Century. The seeds of its distruction, it must be noted, had already been planted in the Declaration of Inalienable Rights first drafted by the Patriots. The departure from John Locke's original "Life, Liberty and Property" was not accidental. It marks a moment of Divine inspiration. That inspiration would see its fruition only after the country's bloodiest war, fought within our own borders.

Zinn and his disciples omit the stories of triumph, such as that of C. J. Walker, because they do not bear out the oppressor/victim narrative at all. The sad truth is that many young people are not being told the wonderful stories that might inspire them. THYME would like to change that.

A Distinctly American Story

She was born Sarah Breedlove, on December 23, 1867, on a cotton plantation near Delta, Louisiana. She was the fifth child of Owen and Minerva, who had been slaves up to the Emancipation. She was orphaned at age seven and went to live with her sister, Louvinia, and her brother-in-law in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Sarah likely picked cotton and did other manual labor but when she was fourteen, she married Moses McWilliams. On June 6, 1885, their daughter A'Leila was born. Two years later, Sarah became a widow. She and A'Lelia moved to St. Louis, where Sarah's brothers were barbers. Working as a laundress, Sarah made enough money to send her daughter to the city school. She herself attended public night school whenever she was able to. It was in St. Louis that Sarah Breedlove met her second husband Charles J. Walker. He worked in advertising and would later become the promoter of her hair care business.

When Sarah Breedlove developed a scalp disorder that resulted in the loss of most of her hair, she experimented with home remedies and patent medicines in an effort to cure it. In 1905, she became a salesperson for Annie Turnbo Malone in Denver, who had developed a line of hair care products for African-American women. By 1907 she had developed her own line of products. Opening her first factory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1908, she also opened a beauty school to train her "Walker Agents," who instructed local operators in the best use of her products. She saw her mission as more than producing products. She saw her beauty care products as a means of elevating the status of Black women and became active in philanthropic work as well. The whole operation was later moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where the business continued to grow.

C. J. Walker them moved to Harlem in New York City. She and her daughter A'Lelia became an important part of the 'Harlem Renaissance.' She died on May 25, 1919. She was but 51 years old, yet her personal journey had taken her to such heights that she remains an inspiration to all who know her story.

A child plays in the rubble of Yarmouk. Photo by Jonathan Messing.

Children in a World of Troubles

Yarmouk was home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in the country before the conflict began. 180,000 Palestinian civilians called it home. Now only 20,000 remain. Food and medical supplies are routinely denied entry and starvation is one of the three main causes of death. Recently, in the Jarabulus area, 22 people were killed and thrown into the streets to instill fear in the population. Some of them were children." -- Jonathan Messing

Massacre at Yarmouk [click to read]

I was informed last Friday that there were Unaccompanied Child Immigrants (UCI) at the Shenandoah Juvenile Detention Center in Verona. Like most others, I had read the newspapers and heard the news reports about these children, but now they were here in my district. I called the detention center and set up an appointment to meet some of these children.

I arrived at the Juvenile Detention Center Monday morning at 8 am. I had the opportunity to meet five illegal immigrant children, look into their welfare, and hear their stories. It was a heart-breaking experience." -- David Karaffa

Illegal Immigrant Children in Verona [click to read].

The Islamic State last week issued an ultimatum to the Christians in the town of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, ordering them to convert to Islam, pay a religious tax or face death. The statement by the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, warned that the Christians had until Saturday to “leave the borders of the Islamic Caliphate.” He added that, “After this date, there is nothing between us and them but the sword.” Messages warning Christians about the ultimatum were announced through loudspeakers on the city’s mosques. Church leaders advised the few families who wanted to negotiate with terrorist that they should also flee for their own safety. The exodus went on in Mosul throughout Friday, with all the Christians abandoning the town by the end of the day. “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians,” said one man. "We have lived in this city and we have had a civilization for thousands of years - and suddenly some strangers came and expelled us from our homes," a woman in her 60s told media sources. “Hundreds were walking on foot,” said a bishop in the neighboring city of Tel Keif. He said many of them were bereft of all money or possessions - and that ISIS had robbed them of all of their belongings before setting off for refugee camps. (Israel National News/Reuters) Where is the outcry from the Christian world about what's happening to the Christians in Iraq? Where is the UN? Where are the evangelicals? Where are the Jews and the protesters who so quickly come against Israel!" -- JNN News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

THYME Magazine: Seeking Solutions

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue IV

Let's Try Solving REAL Problems

This is an open letter to everyone who aspires to leadership in the political process. Let's talk about America's REAL problems for a change. It is time to face real issues with real resolve and restore the very REAL promise of this great land. Let me explain. The last political cycle began with the proclamation of one party that the other party was guilty of waging a so-called "war on women." Never mind that women in America enjoy far more opportunity and freedoms than their sisters in places like Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, there's a "war on women," and we'd better make it a priority to fight it. Most telling was the poster child of this so-called "war," a Georgetown University law student who claimed she was having an undue hardship placed upon her because her school, run by the Jesuits, wouldn't pay for her recreational contraceptives!

Come on! This woman will make more money in a year, upon graduation, than I make in several. Seriously? She can't afford nine dollars a month at Wal Mart? Ahh, such must be the burden of student debt. That a national party would have her as a featured speaker at their national convention makes my point: We are being manipulated to respond to manufactured crises while true dangers lie neglected. The true crisis is the very real fact that structural flaws in our economic situation remain unaddressed while people likely to vote for the party "get their goodies." This cannot go on. It is the road to Greece, economically speaking and we're careening down it at a dangerously fast clip! Politicians are notorious for telling us: "You don't understand it. We HAVE to do something and you have to trust that we know how to do it best."

That was essentially the argument used to force the 2000+ page so-called: "Affordable Care Act" down our throats. The grain of truth is that healthcare spending and insurance premium costs ARE a very real problem. Pre-existing conditions do not fit the definition of "insurance," yet a compassionate society needs to find a way to provide care for these individuals. In many cases market forces could lower costs and make healthcare more affordable. Tort reform and other legislative means could as well. But rather than openly address these individual issues, Congress was pressed to ram through the bill that: "we had to pass so we can see what's in it," per Nancy Pelosi. Altough we were promised by the President himself that: "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan!," the results of this legislation to date have actually been quite disruptive.

Included in the legislation was the creation of staggering new bureaucracies, a 600 MILLION dollar "Marketplace" website that didn't work, contracted to an old school chum of Mrs. Obama! and the very real cancellation of thousands of plans that didn't meet the "standards" of Obamacare. Rather than promote "Choice and Competition," the new law actually regulated minutia about what an "acceptable" plan would cover. Fortunately for some people, older individial plans that were "grandfathered" in were not affected. But the legislation ran afoul of the Constitution when it REQUIRED employer provided plans to cover abortion inducing drugs. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Products sucessfully mounted a challenge that was decided by a narrow margin in the Supreme Court.

While the law MANDATES coverage of contraceptives and a number of issues considered important to young voters, it provides for bureaucracies making decisions about when to end care for older people. It empowers the IRS to 'fine' people for not having insurance. Many analysts see it as simply a preliminary framework for a future single-payer system like they have in Great Britain or Canada. It has already had the very real effect of ELIMINATING coverage for many responsible people who kept their insurance and needed it to pay for cancer treatment or heart problems. Sure, a few individuals have been able to obtain subsidized policies (with much regulated coverage and fewer options than what they replaced), but that begs the question: "Couldn't that have been accomplished with tax credits without taking apart the whole system?"

In fact, we SHOULD have been having a discussion of high deductable policies, medical savings accounts, tax credits, competition and true portability all along. Each of these issues, coupled with an understanding of how insurance companies negotiate discounts with hospitals and doctors, could STILL give us the means to give Americans access to the best health care system in the world. We NEED to repeal Obamacare, but we need to REPLACE it with a system that utilizes TRUE market forces to provide for most people while providing real protection for those who fall through the cracks. We've done this as a society before, and if we will place the discussion of PROBLEMS over POLEMICS, we will do so again. Make no mistake, Obamacare is not "too big to fail," it is too cumbersome to work. There needs to be a trustworthy replacement crafted in the open by honest statesmen.

We need to limit the size and scope of government to its Constitutionally mandated functions and allow for economic opportunity if we are to survive. We need to exploit our own energy resources as a part of a strategy to maintain our national security in a very volatile world. We need to secure our borders and maintain an orderly immigration policy that favors those seeking the freedom and opportunity of this great land. We do not need to use illegals to dilute the vote of the people who have built this country!

We need to stop legislating away "being offended." If you don't like the fact that there are Christians and Jews openly living in the dictates of their Faith in the public square (alongside Sikhs, Hindus Muslims and people who have no faith), you have options. If you desire to be bound by Sharia Law, there are options. If you want to live in a totally secular state, simply migrate to Europe and choose the degree. We began this nation with "An Appeal to Heaven."[1.] The First Amendment was crafted in light of that freedom. We cannot create a state church, but we cannot stop our citizens from BEING the Church. We, as a nation, have always respected CONSCIENCE. That overrides your "offense" at some baker or photographer refusing the job of your wedding!

We face some very real problems. We need to become energy independent and produce our own goods again. We need to strengthen our dollar with real value. We need to train our own replacements and render obsolete a University system that tears down the fabric of our culture. We need to protect the environment from REAL threats and produce good food. We need to pass along to our children and grandchildren the great nation that was given to us.

The Middle East Problem

Dennis Prager Explains the Region's History

The Biggest Obstacle to Peace

In The Nakba Obsession [click to read] Sol Stern in City Journal presents a clear-headed analysis of the Palestinian problem and why it needs to be better understood.

"There is only one just compensation for the long history of suffering, say the Palestinians and their allies: turning the clock back to 1948. This would entail ending the “Zionist hegemony” and replacing it with a single, secular, democratic state shared by Arabs and Jews. All Palestinian refugees—not just those still alive of the hundreds of thousands who fled in 1948, but their millions of descendants as well—would be allowed to return to Jaffa, Haifa, the Galilee, and all the villages that Palestinian Arabs once occupied.

Such a step would mean suicide for Israel as a Jewish state, which is why Israel would never countenance it. At the very least, then, the Nakba narrative precludes Middle East peace. But it’s also, as it happens, a myth—a radical distortion of history." --Sol Stern

Read More [click to read]

Apollo 11: The Untold Story

Forty-five years ago men landed on the moon. Neill Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins faced a few unforseen challenges in their mission. Aldrin, at one point, used a ball point pen to repair a broken fuse on the Lunar Excursion Module. Without that inventive repair, the crew might not have been able to leave the lunar surface to return home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

THYME Magazine: What Makes a Nation Great?

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue III

What Makes a Nation Great? II

In the end, the state of the Union comes down to the character of the people. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there. In the fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there. In her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits, aflame with righteousness, did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
-- Attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, though it is not a direct quote from his work: Democracy in America.

In the quest to restore and revitalize our great land, one often hears great solutions proposed but often very little in the way of addressing the real problem. We can create all the great economic models we want to, but if we allow greed and self-serving policies to prevail, we will see ever more of the type of destruction we saw in the mortgage crisis. If we attempt to spend our way out of our problems by creating more money, we will end up as a vassal to China. We need Revival! THYME has looked at the problem of Restoring the American Dream [click to read] before. Whether or not we can definitively find the quote in de Tocqueville's writings, the work of Alvin Schmidt [1.] and others documents well the evidence for Faith as a force in making better the human condition.

That is not to say that we don't need to seek and consider better ways to conduct our affairs. There is a practical side to problem solving that cannot be ignored. Consider how George Müller changed the lives of thousands of orphans in Bristol, England. First let us set the stage. The elimination of the slave trade by William Wilberforce in the Nineteenth Century destroyed not only a vile institution, but as an unintended consequence the city of Bristol, a major slave port, was thrown into decline. G-d had two chosen instruments to revitalize Bristol. There was Isambard Kingdom Brunel, [2.] who built bridges, railroads and great steamships to link Bristol to the world! But Bristol needed more than just economic development!

The city's decline had led to thousands of children either losing their parents or being put out on the streets by their desperate parents. George Müller was G-d's next instrument in the revitalization of Bristol. Young Müller came to the city as a minister of the Gospel. As he sought to minister to the soul of a great city, the plight of her orphans tugged at his heart. He, depending on G-d alone, was able to provide five large houses for these unwanted children. He apprenticed all the boys in various trades but took great pains to educate the young women as office workers, nurses, teachers and housekeepers. They stayed at the homes until they were seventeen. This was a practical policy that kept them from being exploited by those engaged in viler trades.

Those who seek to revitalize our own nation would do well to do no less. We must first address the poverty of our national soul before we set into the very necessary business of restoring her fortunes!

A Case for Faith 

On page 563 of his latest biography — John Quincy Adams: American Visionary — author Fred Kaplan (biographer of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Gore Vidal among others) cites this insight of the sixth president:

Christianity had, all in all, he believed, been a civilizing force, “checking and controlling the anti-social passions of man.”

That insight is pretty much all an American needs to know in order to understand why the American Founders considered religion — specifically ethical monotheism rooted in the Hebrew Bible — indispensable to the American experiment; and why the America we have known since 1776 is in jeopardy." -- Dennis Prager.

In an article entitled: America Won't be Good without G-d [click to read] Prager lays out a pretty compelling argument. He writes:

"It is easy to respect secular Americans who hold fast to the Constitution and to American values generally. And any one of us who believes in God can understand why some people, given all the unjust suffering in the world, just cannot believe that there is a Providential Being.

But one cannot respect the view that America can survive without the religious beliefs and values that shaped it. The argument that there are moral secularists and moral atheists is a non sequitur. Of course there are moral Americans devoid of religion. So what? There were moral people who believed in Jove. But an America governed by Roman religion would not be the America that has been the beacon of freedom and the greatest force for good in the world."

Here Dennis Prager is spot-on in his analysis of the nature of man. The academy may tell us that we can effectively control the passions that drive us, but history, honestly pursued, tells us otherwise. Prager points out that: "Our prisons are filled with people whose consciences are quite at peace with their criminal behavior. As for reason, they used it well — to figure out how to get away with everything from murder to white-collar crime.

But our prisons are not filled with religious Jewish and Christian murderers. On the contrary, if all Americans attended church weekly, we would need far fewer prisons; and the ones we needed would have very few murderers in them."

Prager goes on to describe the wreckage of the great socialist experiments of the Twentieth Century, and the wreckage of "anything goes" philosophies that encourage casual sex and tell us that fathers are "unnecessary!" Indeed, if the academy would produce more honest studies of the results of the philosopies they have espoused, they might recoil at the burden they have placed on society.

Prager concludes with this sobering thought: "For proof of the moral and intellectual consequences of the secularization of America, look at what has happened to the least religious institution in America, the university. Is that the future we want for the whole country?"

The film: 'Expelled' is a pretty powerful documentary. G-d is getting some pretty bad press these days from esteemed writers such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. The Intelligent Design movement, though it is not specifically theistic, is uniformly vilified in the academy. Why is an inquiry into the observable order of the universe so dangerous, especially when open inquiry is such a cherished part of scientific investigation? Perhaps such 'open inquiry' inevitably leads to the 'wrong' conclusions.

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. '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 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 misused, 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 stands.

Autumn Leaves. Photo by Bob Kirchman

"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

A Case for Summer Vacation
By Bob Kirchman

How does one nurture the creative genius of a Brunel, or the vision of a Wilberforce or a Müller? I would suggest that men and women of that ilk are often found walking on the "road less traveled!" Walking home alone from a prayer meeting along a quiet street, the great designer, R. G. LeTourneau says he was inspired with the design for a rather complex machine that had stymied his most brilliant designers for weeks. Could it be true that not only should we hold off on 'formal' education a bit, but we should make sure children are not scheduled to the point of losing free, creative time.

If indeed the creative muse shows up in the quiet times, if problems are indeed solved through the exploration of play, wouldn't it make sense for us to esteem these times in the sense their descriptive originally suggests: re-creation?! The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] once argued that Summer Vacation is over romanticized and merely stands in the way of the kids retaining all that book-learning they'll need so they can work for the Chinese some day. OK, I'll give you the point that a certain amount of knowledge is 'lost' as kids pursue other activities... but as one who's life and career was shaped by Summers of 'other activities' I'll raise a clear protest: "Not so fast!"

I spent my Summers drawing, building things, going to camp and playing for hours in the woods. I was Lewis and Clark when I set off to explore the woods surrounding Triadelphia Reservoir... with no Sacajawea to help with directions. Mom got a big bell to ring when it was time to come in for dinner. Sometimes I actually heard it. More often than not my appetite finally brought me back to a plate of cold food. Now I loved my groceries as much as any young boy, but didn't Simon Kenton eat cold biscuits while he was exporing the Ohio Valley?

When my younger siblings were old enough, Dad loaded us in Mom's VW Microbus [Mom was there first when it came to the minivan] and we took road trips. Man, I loved road trips. We'd go to places like Gettysburg and crawl into sniper's nests. We'd imagine what it must have been like rushing up the hill in Pickett's Charge. Then we'd go to Antietem and wonder some more. When I turned sixteen, Dad actually let me drive on the trips. Oh the white-knuckle thrill of the Capital Beltway! The endless perspective of NC Route 12 heading to Hatteras and the rollercoaster ride down US 29 to Grandma's. Life was good in the Summer. I hired myself out to the local farmers to bale hay and other jobs. Hot, nasty work is good for the teenaged soul.

One farmer had a wife who'd make us grape juice and lemonade. I've never found sweeter refreshment in all my life.

One Summer Dad decided I needed to build a greenhouse. He let me draw up the plans and he took them to the county... I was thirteen at the time. He gave me a budget and set me loose. I learned to lay block, build walls, buy old storm windows and pretty much whatever it took. The guys at Talbott's Lumber Yard in Ellicott City gave me lots of free advice. They pretty much convinced me I could do it. I wonder how much Dad was paying them?

I was not a licensed electrician... that presented a problem for hooking up the power. Dad said it wasn't a problem. He had a buddy who was licensed and came out and did the whole job in exchange for a bottle of Jack Daniels [Black Label] that Dad cheerfully 'donated' to the building fund. In addition to the electric heater, we got the brilliant idea that it would benefit the plants with both heat and moisture if we ran the dryer vent in there.

What to do about lint? Well, here's where it got really interesting. When we discovered that a discarded nylon stocking fit over the vent and caught the lint while allowing air to flow, we had our problem solved. Dad enjoyed the 'conversation piece' that resulted too.

The greenhouse, built of redwood, served our family for many years. Finally it succumbed to termites after I was gone and married. It's lessons are still with me today.

Cover Photo: Dark Hollow Falls Rainbow by Bob Kirchman.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

THYME Magazine: What Makes a Nation Great?

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue II

What Makes a Nation Great?

The 'other' Weekly News Magazine [click to read] once asked: "What makes a school great?" THYME asks: "Why stop there, what makes a NATION great?" As we seek to teach our children the foundations of our Nation, we can agree with the 'other' magazine that it takes great teachers.

No doubt, some will insist that it is a simple matter of perfecting institutions. Some will venture so far as to address the character of man himself, but it is quite evident that those who crafted the original documents our nation is founded on saw a need for a hand greater than their own to guide them. Their own writings give us a clear indication that they did,  so here are some thoughts from our Founding Fathers:

John Adams and John Hancock:
We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! [April 18, 1775]

John Adams:
“ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of G-d.”
“[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
–John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." --October 11, 1798

"I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen." December 25, 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson

"Without Religion this World would be Something not fit to be mentioned in polite Company, I mean Hell." [John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1817]

Samuel Adams: 
He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all… Our forefathers opened the Bible to all.” [ "American Independence," August 1, 1776. Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia]

“ Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity… and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” [October 4, 1790]

John Quincy Adams:
“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?" “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity"?
--1837, at the age of 69, when he delivered a Fourth of July speech at Newburyport, Massachusetts.

“The Law given from Sinai [The Ten Commandments] was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code.”
John Quincy Adams. Letters to his son. p. 61

Elias Boudinot:
“Be religiously careful in our choice of all public officers . . . and judge of the tree by its fruits.”

Charles Carroll - signer of the Declaration of Independence
" Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure...are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments." [Source: To James McHenry on November 4, 1800.]

Benjamin Franklin:
“ G-d governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” –Constitutional Convention of 1787 original manuscript of this speech

“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered… do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?” [Constitutional Convention, Thursday June 28, 1787]

In Benjamin Franklin's 1749 plan of education for public schools in Pennsylvania, he insisted that schools teach "the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern."

In 1787 when Franklin helped found Benjamin Franklin University, it was dedicated as "a nursery of religion and learning, built on Christ, the Cornerstone."

Alexander Hamilton:
Hamilton began work with the Rev. James Bayard to form the Christian Constitutional Society to help spread over the world the two things which Hamilton said made America great:
(1) Christianity
(2) a Constitution formed under Christianity.
“The Christian Constitutional Society, its object is first: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States.”

On July 12, 1804 at his death, Hamilton said, “I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me.”

"For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of G-d, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests." [1787 after the Constitutional Convention]

"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man."

John Hancock:
“In circumstances as dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments, …at the same time all confidence must be withheld from the means we use; and reposed only on that God rules in the armies of Heaven, and without His whole blessing, the best human counsels are but foolishness… Resolved; …Thursday the 11th of May…to humble themselves before God under the heavy judgments felt and feared, to confess the sins that have deserved them, to implore the Forgiveness of all our transgressions, and a spirit of repentance and reformation …and a Blessing on the … Union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights [for which hitherto we desire to thank Almighty God]…That the people of Great Britain and their rulers may have their eyes opened to discern the things that shall make for the peace of the nation…for the redress of America’s many grievances, the restoration of all her invaded liberties, and their security to the latest generations.
"A Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, with a total abstinence from labor and recreation. Proclamation on April 15, 1775"

Patrick Henry:
"Orator of the Revolution."

This is all the inheritance I can give my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.”
—The Last Will and Testament of Patrick Henry

“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” [May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]

“The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.”

John Jay:
“ Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Source: October 12, 1816. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed., (New York: Burt Franklin, 1970), Vol. IV, p. 393.

“Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab ["Shouldest thou help the ung-dly and love them that hate the Lord?" 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.” [The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1794-1826, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1893), Vol. IV, p.365]

Thomas Jefferson:
“ The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to all the happiness of man.”

“Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus.”

"I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” (excerpts are inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in the nations capital) [Source: Merrill . D. Peterson, ed., Jefferson Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), Vol. IV, p. 289. From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781.]

Samuel Johnston:
“It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans (Muslims), pagans, etc., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, [unless] first the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves.
[Elliot’s Debates, Vol. IV, pp 198-199, Governor Samuel Johnston, July 30, 1788 at the North Carolina Ratifying Convention]

James Madison:
“ We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all of our heart.”

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of G-d.” [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]

• I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare the unsatisfactoriness [of temportal enjoyments] by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way.
Letter by Madison to William Bradford (September 25, 1773)

• In 1812, President Madison signed a federal bill which economically aided the Bible Society of Philadelphia in its goal of the mass distribution of the Bible
“ An Act for the relief of the Bible Society of Philadelphia” Approved February 2, 1813 by Congress

“It is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.”

• A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven. [Letter by Madison to William Bradford [urging him to make sure of his own salvation] November 9, 1772]

At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James Madison proposed the plan to divide the central government into three branches. He discovered this model of government from the Perfect Governor, as he read Isaiah 33:22;
“For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver,
the LORD is our king;
He will save us.”
[Baron Charles Montesquieu, wrote in 1748; “Nor is there liberty if the power of judging is not separated from legislative power and from executive power. If it [the power of judging] were joined to legislative power, the power over life and liberty of the citizens would be arbitrary, for the judge would be the legislature if it were joined to the executive power, the judge could have the force of an oppressor. All would be lost if the same … body of principal men … exercised these three powers." Madison claimed Isaiah 33:22 as the source of division of power in government
See also: pp.241-242 in Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: The Principle approach by Rosalie Slater]

James McHenry – Signer of the Constitution:
Public utility pleads most forcibly for the general distribution of the Holy Scriptures. The doctrine they preach, the obligations they impose, the punishment they threaten, the rewards they promise, the stamp and image of divinity they bear, which produces a conviction of their truths, can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses, and at the same time enjoy quiet conscience.

Jedediah Morse:
"To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. . . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them."

John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg:
In a sermon delivered to his Virginia congregation on Jan. 21, 1776, he preached from Ecclesiastes 3.

Arriving at verse 8, which declares that there is a time of war and a time of peace, Muhlenberg noted that this surely was not the time of peace; this was the time of war. Concluding with a prayer, and while standing in full view of the congregation, he removed his clerical robes to reveal that beneath them he was wearing the uniform of an officer in the Continental army! He marched to the back of the church; ordered the drum to beat for recruits and over three hundred men joined him, becoming the Eighth Virginia Brigade. John Peter Muhlenberg finished the Revolution as a Major-General, having been at Valley Forge and having participated in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, Stonypoint, and Yorktown.

Thomas Paine:
“ It has been the error of the schools to teach astronomy, and all the other sciences, and subjects of natural philosophy, as accomplishments only; whereas they should be taught theologically, or with reference to the Being who is the author of them: for all the principles of science are of divine origin. Man cannot make, or invent, or contrive principles: he can only discover them; and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author.”
“ The evil that has resulted from the error of the schools, in teaching natural philosophy as an accomplishment only, has been that of generating in the pupils a species of atheism. Instead of looking through the works of creation to the Creator himself, they stop short, and employ the knowledge they acquire to create doubts of his existence. They labour with studied ingenuity to ascribe every thing they behold to innate properties of matter, and jump over all the rest by saying, that matter is eternal.” “The Existence of God--1810”

Benjamin Rush:
• “I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them…we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this Divine Book, above all others, constitutes the soul of republicanism.” “By withholding the knowledge of [the Scriptures] from children, we deprive ourselves of the best means of awakening moral sensibility in their minds.” [Letter written (1790’s) in Defense of the Bible in all schools in America]
• “Christianity is the only true and perfect religion.”
• “If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into our world would have been unnecessary.”

"Let the children who are sent to those schools be taught to read and write and above all, let both sexes be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education”
Letters of Benjamin Rush, "To the citizens of Philadelphia: A Plan for Free Schools", March 28, 1787

Justice Joseph Story:
“ I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.”
[Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States p. 593]
“ Infidels and pagans were banished from the halls of justice as unworthy of credit.” [Life and letters of Joseph Story, Vol. II 1851, pp. 8-9.]
“ At the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration [i.e., the First Amendment], the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship.”
[Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States p. 593]

Noah Webster:
“ The duties of men are summarily comprised in the Ten Commandments, consisting of two tables; one comprehending the duties which we owe immediately to G-d-the other, the duties we owe to our fellow men.”

“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed...No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
[Source: 1828, in the preface to his American Dictionary of the English Language]

Let it be impressed on your mind that G-d commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God [Exodus 18:21]. . . . If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted . . . If our government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. [Noah Webster, The History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie and Peck, 1832), pp. 336-337, 49]

“All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” [Noah Webster. History. p. 339]

“The Bible was America’s basic textbook
in all fields.” [Noah Webster. Our Christian Heritage p.5]

“Education is useless without the Bible” [Noah Webster. Our Christian Heritage p.5 ]

George Washington:
Farewell Address: The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion" ...and later: "...reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle..."

“ It is impossible to rightly govern the world without G-d and Bible.”

“What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” [speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs May 12, 1779]

"To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian" [May 2, 1778, at Valley Forge]

During his inauguration, Washington took the oath as prescribed by the Constitution but added several religious components to that official ceremony. Before taking his oath of office, he summoned a Bible on which to take the oath, added the words “So help me G-d!” to the end of the oath, then leaned over and kissed the Bible.

Nelly Custis-Lewis (Washington’s adopted daughter):
Is it necessary that any one should [ask], “Did General Washington avow himself to be a believer in Christianity?" As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic devotion to his country. His mottos were, "Deeds, not Words"; and, "For G-d and my Country."

“ O Most Glorious G-d, in Jesus Christ, my merciful and loving Father; I acknowledge and confess my guilt in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of my sins, but so coldly and carelessly that my prayers are become my sin, and they stand in need of pardon.”
“ I have sinned against heaven and before Thee in thought, word, and deed. I have contemned Thy majesty and holy laws. I have likewise sinned by omitting what I ought to have done and committing what I ought not. I have rebelled against the light, despising Thy mercies and judgment, and broken my vows and promise. I have neglected the better things. My iniquities are multiplied and my sins are very great. I confess them, O Lord, with shame and sorrow, detestation and loathing and desire to be vile in my own eyes as I have rendered myself vile in Thine. I humbly beseech Thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins for the sake of Thy dear Son and only Savior Jesus Christ who came to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me.”
[George Washington; from a 24 page authentic handwritten manuscript book dated April 21-23, 1752
William J. Johnson George Washington, the Christian (New York: The Abingdon Press, New York & Cincinnati, 1919), pp. 24-35.]

"Although guided by our excellent Constitution in the discharge of official duties, and actuated, through the whole course of my public life, solely by a wish to promote the best interests of our country; yet, without the beneficial interposition of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, we could not have reached the distinguished situation which we have attained with such unprecedented rapidity. To HIM, therefore, should we bow with gratitude and reverence, and endeavor to merit a continuance of HIS special favors". [1797 letter to John Adams]

James Wilson:
Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
Supreme Court Justice appointed by George Washington
Spoke 168 times during the Constitutional Convention

"Christianity is part of the common law"
[Sources: James Wilson, Course of Lectures [vol 3, p.122]; and quoted in Updegraph v. The Commonwealth, 11 Serg, & R. 393, 403 (1824).]

Source: Quotes of the Founding Fathers.

Photo by Nick Page.

School Starting Age: The Evidence
by David Whitebread

Earlier this month the "Too Much, Too Soon" campaign made headlines with a letter calling for a change to the start age for formal learning in schools. Here, one of the signatories, Cambridge researcher David Whitebread, from the Faculty of Education, explains why children may need more time to develop before their formal education begins in earnest.

"In the interests of children’s academic achievements and their emotional well-being, the UK government should take this evidence seriously" -- David Whitebread

In England children now start formal schooling, and the formal teaching of literacy and numeracy at the age of four. A recent letter signed by around 130 early childhood education experts, including myself, published in the Daily Telegraph (11 Sept 2013) advocated an extension of informal, play-based pre-school provision and a delay to the start of formal ‘schooling’ in England from the current effective start until the age of seven (in line with a number of other European countries who currently have higher levels of academic achievement and child well-being).

This is a brief review of the relevant research evidence [1.] which overwhelmingly supports a later start to formal education. This evidence relates to the contribution of playful experiences [2.] to children’s development as learners, and the consequences of starting formal learning at the age of four to five years of age

There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. These arise from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies. Anthropological studies of children’s play in extant hunter-gatherer societies, and evolutionary psychology studies of play in the young of other mammalian species, have identified play as an adaptation which evolved in early human social groups. It enabled humans to become powerful learners and problem-solvers. Neuroscientific studies have shown that playful activity leads to synaptic growth, particularly in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for all the uniquely human higher mental functions.

In my own area of experimental and developmental psychology, studies have also consistently demonstrated the superior learning and motivation arising from playful, as opposed to instructional, approaches to learning in children. Pretence play supports children’s early development of symbolic representational skills, including those of literacy, more powerfully than direct instruction. Physical, constructional and social play supports children in developing their skills of intellectual and emotional ‘self-regulation’, skills which have been shown to be crucial in early learning and development. Perhaps most worrying, a number of studies have documented the loss of play opportunities for children over the second half of the 20th century and demonstrated a clear link with increased indicators of stress and mental health problems.

Within educational research, a number of longitudinal studies have demonstrated superior academic, motivational and well-being outcomes for children who had attended child-initiated, play-based pre-school programmes. One particular study of 3,000 children across England, funded by the Department for Education themselves, showed that an extended period of high quality, play-based pre-school education was of particular advantage to children from disadvantaged households.

Studies have compared groups of children in New Zealand who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7. Their results show that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later. In a separate study of reading achievement in 15 year olds across 55 countries, researchers showed that there was no significant association between reading achievement and school entry age.

This body of evidence raises important and serious questions concerning the direction of travel of early childhood education policy currently in England. In the interests of children’s academic achievements and their emotional well-being, the UK government should take this evidence seriously.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. [1.] The original article appears Here [click to read].

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

THYME Magazine: Independence Day Issue

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume VIII, Issue I

Reverend Richard's Prayer
From Homer Hickam's Book: 'Sky of Stone'

I was reading Homer Hickam's book: Sky of Stone when this passage riveted me with its profound wisdom, succinctly stated. Hickam describes a 4th of July celebration in Coalwood where the Reverend gave this invocation: [1.]

"Dear Lord, we are gathered here to celebrate not just the independence of our great land, but also the document on which it stands. There is much to admire in that document but what we best remember is this: We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

To prepare for this invocation today, I have pondered long and hard these words. Most of you know that I rarely go anywhere without my Bible. It is an old Bible. It belonged to my grandfather. What you don't know is that inside this book, I have always kept a copy of the Declaration of Independence. It also belonged to my grandfather. He believed it to be as Holy as his Bible.

When I was a boy, somebody once asked me if my grandfather had been a slave. I couldn't imagine that could be true so I went to him and asked him: Grandfather, were you a slave? He said, Child, a man called me that but I was never a slave and you know why? Because I could read. My mama, she taught me when that man wasn't looking, just as her mama taught her.

When he became officially a free man, my grandfather purchased this Bible and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. He kept them both until the day he died. He left them to me.

I have come to understand my grandfather was right. No man or woman can be a slave if they can read. Especially if they can read the Bible and the American Declaration of Independence.

But that means there are still slaves in this land. There are slaves who do not know that they have inalienable rights given to them by God, and that they also have, by the grace of the Lord, life, liberty, and the right to pursue their happiness and the happiness of their families.

They are slaves to their own ignorance. Ignorance is the ultimate slave owner.

So on this 4th of July, I pray a special prayer.I pray for the day when the tyranny of ignorance will be banished all across this great land and every man, woman, and child can read and understand what they read.

I pray for that day.I pray every day for that day."

The good Reverend had planted in me a renewed vision of the mission before us. That is the mission of educating ourselves and our children.

The U.S. Capitol.

A Victory for Religious Freedom

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that certain "closely held" for-profit businesses can cite religious objections in order to opt out of a requirement in the so-called "Affordable Care Act" to provide free contraceptive coverage for their employees. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion of the 5-4 decision that the contraceptive mandate was unlawful. The big winners, besides Amendment One, are Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Products. Obamacare exemptions have already been negotiated for a number of religious institutions.

Although White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday afternoon that the decision: "jeopardizes the health of women who are employed by these companies," it is clear that all that is decided by this ruling is that companies run by people of Faith don't have to pay for abortificants. It does not stop employees from obtaining them on their own. There was a fair amount of "discussion" about the "problems" this legislation could cause, like a company run by Jehovah's Witnesses might not want to pay for blood transfusions. Mrs. Clinton said she found the ruling: "Deeply disturbing!"

Most of the scenarios presented fail to acknowledge the long tradition of religious tolerance this country has practiced. Horse drawn buggies with reflective triangles operate safely on modern highways to accommodate the needs of the Amish and Old Order Mennonites. Religious accommodation is actually something we as a people are quite good at.

Mr. Earnest and Mrs. Clinton would do well to address the very real plight of thousands of women who's health is truly jeopardized because they can no longer receive life-saving cancer treatments or heart procedures. The reason, loss of coverage as a result of implementation of the so-called: "Affordable Care Act!"

A growing culture of respect for life in the womb is taking place in America today. Clearly those of us who see the sanctity of unborn lives will see this as a victory for an even more fundamental right... that of life itself!