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Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Second President of the United States
[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.
(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 401, to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776.)
[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)
The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.
(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), Vol. VI, p. 9.)
by Paul Craig Roberts
Christmas is a time of traditions. If you have found time in the rush before Christmas to decorate a tree, you are sharing in a relatively new tradition. Although the Christmas tree has ancient roots, at the beginning of the 20th century only 1 in 5 American families put up a tree. It was 1920 before the Christmas tree became the hallmark of the season. Calvin Coolidge was the first President to light a national Christmas tree on the White House lawn.
Gifts are another shared custom. This tradition comes from the wise men or three kings who brought gifts to baby Jesus. When I was a kid, gifts were more modest than they are now, but even then people were complaining about the commercialization of Christmas. We have grown accustomed to the commercialization. Christmas sales are the backbone of many businesses. Gift giving causes us to remember others and to take time from our harried lives to give them thought.
The decorations and gifts of Christmas are one of our connections to a Christian culture that has held Western civilization together for 2,000 years.
In our culture the individual counts. This permits an individual person to put his or her foot down, to take a stand on principle, to become a reformer and to take on injustice.
This empowerment of the individual is unique to Western civilization. It has made the individual a citizen equal in rights to all other citizens, protected from tyrannical government by the rule of law and free speech. These achievements are the products of centuries of struggle, but they all flow from the teaching that God so values the individual’s soul that he sent his son to die so we might live. By so elevating the individual, Christianity gave him a voice.
By Ray McGovern
Well, well. The New York Times has finally put a story together on the key role played by two faux psychologists in helping the Bush administration devise ways to torture people. We should, I suppose, be thankful for small favors.
Apparently, a NY Times exposé requires a 21-month gestation period. The substance of the Wednesday’s lead story on torture had already appeared in an article in the July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair.
Katherine Eban, a Brooklyn-based journalist who writes about public health, authored that article and titled it “Rorschach and Awe.” It was the result of a careful effort to understand the role of psychologists in the torture of detainees in Guantanamo.
She identified the two psychologists as James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who she reported were inexperienced in interrogations and “had no proof of their tactics’ effectiveness” but nevertheless sold the Bush administration on a plan to subject detainees to “psychic demolition”—essentially severing them from their personalities and scaring them “almost to death.”
“The aim of torture is to destroy a person as a human being, to destroy their identity and soul. It is more evil than murder… ”
– Inge Genefke – (1938-) Danish Doctor & Human Rights Activist
In Wednesday’s Times, reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti plow much of the same ground. Please don’t misunderstand. They deserve considerable praise for finally pushing their article past the Times’ timorous censors, but let’s not pretend the startling revelations are new.
The Times ought to allow the likes of Shane and Mazzetti to publish these stories when they are fresh. Alternatively, the once-known-as “newspaper of record” might at least report the findings of the likes of Eban, rather than ignoring them for nearly two years.
It’s pretty much all out there now, isn’t it? Not only the Times’ better-late-than-never exposé, but also:
* The (leaked) text of the report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the torture of “high-value” detainees;
* The too-slick-by-half “legal opinions” under Department of Justice letterhead;
* The findings of the 18-month investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee highlighting that it was President George W. Bush’s dismissal of Geneva (in his executive order of February 7, 2002) that “opened the door” to abuse of detainees.
The media and others have for years undertaken a concentrated effort to misinform the American public by rewriting America’s Judeo-Christian history. The motto at the heart of the American experiment “in God we trust” has been exchanged for “in Man we trust.”
America’s Godly Heritage Rewriting History
The last three generations of Americans simply have not been told the truth about American history as its Christian heritage has been disparaged.
For example, ask most Americans if the “separation of church and state” is in our Constitution, and they will answer yes. You can scour the Constitution of the United States, and you will NOT find the phrase, “separation of church and state” or anything close to it.
In the Constitution of the Soviet Union, however, the doctrine of the separation of Church and State is found: “In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the State, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of anti-religious propaganda is recognized for all citizens” (Article 124). Article Twelve of the 1918 Soviet Constitution decrees that no church or religious organization “shall enjoy the rights of judicial person.” Instruction of children under age 18 in religious matters, whether in public or private, is against the law.
The concept of separation of church and state might be implied by the First Amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” It says nothing about the “separation of church and state.” And, even if you accept the principle of the separation of church and state being implied by the First Amendment, it’s implication is not there to protect Americans from religion, it is there to protect religious Americans from the government.
Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa’s biggest problem – the crushing passivity of the people’s mindset
Hat tip: The Times On-line
Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it’s Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.
It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.
Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.
Hat tip: e-mail from a friend
A man was being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.
As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer.
As I see it, the beginning of the United States of America was the most dramatic and significant episode in a long pilgrimage — the pilgrimage of the Christian idea of law, liberty, and self-government. Christianity is the master principle of our organic documents of government — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Neither Paul nor any of the other early Christians had any particular interest in social reform or political revolution. Their dedication was spiritual; yet,
at the core of Christian faith is the most revolutionary idea ever conceived: that individual man is infinitely important. Individual man is imperfect, yet God so loved him that He sent His only begotten Son to save him from sin.
After that basic Christian idea had worked for centuries in the finite minds of men, it led to an obvious conclusion: Individual man, the object of such infinite grace and mercy, is the most important creature on earth. This is the origin of the basic American political ideal: that man gets all his rights and powers from God, the Creator; that government is weaker and less important than man, because government was created by man.
Americans are a gullible and naive people. They have been complicit for 60 years in crimes that in Arnold Toynbee’s words “are comparable in quality” to the crimes of the Nazis. As Toynbee was writing decades ago, the accumulated Israeli crimes might now be comparable also in quantity.
The US routinely vetoes United Nations condemnations of Israel for its brutal crimes against the Palestinians. Insouciant American taxpayers have been bled for a half century to provide the Israelis with superior military weapons with which Israelis assault their neighbors, all the while convincing America—essentially a captive nation—that Israel is the victim.