Remembering Pearl Harbor and Raising The “Greatest Generation” [Video]

Pearl Harbor, Greatest Generation

December 7, 2019, was the 78th anniversary of the attack by Imperial Japan on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In 1941, it was a typical early Sunday morning an entire lifetime ago.

Families were getting ready to head to worship services all over the Hawaiian islands. Others were enjoying the blessing of another day of beautiful weather in Hawaii. That included the Naval personnel not on duty at Pearl Harbor.

It began like any typical Sunday, with no one believing that only a few hours later, 2,400 of them would be dead. That only a few hours after sunrise on December 7, 1941, the world would change forever, putting a terrible lie to the phrase, a ‘typical’ Sunday.

The Children of the Great Depression Go to War

The Greatest GenerationThe Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was one that America didn’t see coming and we weren’t adequately prepared for it at the time. The nation was shocked and sorrowful and roused to righteous anger as America plunged into World War II.

The young Americans who fought and died in that war have been called the “greatest generation.” However, before they were the “greatest generation,” they were children in the Great Depression, which the country was still mired in more than a decade after it began when Japanese bombers and fighters ravaged the American naval base at Pearl Harbor.

It is no overstatement to say that these young warriors from America literally saved the world those many decades ago. Yet, many of World War II’s first American victims at Pearl Harbor lived their formative years steeped in poverty and desperation.

What made these children into men and women strong and courageous enough to overcome the fearsome enemies that threatened the freedom of the entire globe? There are many factors that affect the formation of any person, but arguably the most important of these is the family environment.

Therefore, a key to understanding the “greatest generation” is to understand something of what their families were like when they were children. What was family life like in America during the Great Depression and how did that shape those who would later be thrown into the greatest and most devastating war in history?

Family Life in the Great Depression

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A rare color photo of a Depression-era family

The family unit was strained and though divorce rates plummeted during the Depression, more men, in particular, were abandoning families than in the past. Yet, compared to such statistics today, the family was a far more stable unit during the 1930s.

Of course, survival in such tough times had a significant impact upon keeping many families together, as one would expect. Family life necessarily varied depending upon what part of the country a family occupied.

In both rural and urban areas, the hardships forced families and communities to become innovators at being co-operatively frugal. One such example was the creation of community “thrift gardens” in many urban areas which helped serve the needs of multitudes of people.

Many families strived for self-sufficiency by keeping small kitchen gardens with vegetables and herbs. Some towns and cities allowed for the conversion of vacant lots to community “thrift gardens” where residents could grow food. Between 1931 and 1932, Detroit’s thrift garden program provided food for about 20,000 people. Experienced gardeners could be seen helping former office workers—still dressed in white button-down shirts and slacks—to cultivate their plots.

Many rural families had to contend with the father leaving for extended periods to find work. Other families moved to the cities in search of better fortunes and small towns got smaller and the residents more tightly-knit together for mutual survival.

However, none of these facts and statistics can adequately tell the story of how the “greatest generation” was raised. It is the family stories alone that can provide better insight into what it was like to be a child in a Depression-era family.

“The Walton’s”, a True-to-life Family Story Amidst the Depression

December 19, 1971, a new Christmas movie entitled “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story” aired on television and the world was introduced to the “Walton” family. The movie was characterized as the “pilot” episode of a new TV series which began a nine-year run with weekly episodes from 1972-1981.

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The original family house of Earl Hamner Jr., creator of “The Waltons”

The series was a fictionalized account based on the real-life of its creator, Earl Hamner Jr., who also narrated each episode. It became enormously popular especially in America and allowed viewers a glimpse into the life of a rural family through the Great Depression and World War II.

The role of John Walton Jr., aka “John-boy”, played by Richard Thomas, was modeled after Hamner himself, and the series revolved around his life in rural Virginia during the 1930s and 40s. This remarkable program showed many millions a family unlike the ‘modern’ family of the 70s and 80s, and totally alien to what are called “families” today.

For instance, three generations of Waltons lived under the same roof of a two-story country home in Virginia. Grandparents, parents, and children, 12 people in all, lived in the Walton/Hamner home.

Family life under the best of circumstances was a constant battle with soul-crushing poverty, and viewers of “The Waltons” observed the manifestation of an adopted motto from the Depression,

 “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.”

One of the most profound parts of the Hamner’s personal, and the fictional “Waltons” family was the place of faith in the household. In this short video clip, that is reflected via a conversation between ‘John-boy’ and ‘Grandpa’ Walton about God at a moment of decision for the Walton family’s eldest child.

Were ‘The Waltons’ a perfect family? Far from it. Their weaknesses and setbacks were displayed many times during the series.

However, the portrait of a family such as the Waltons reveals that before the “greatest generation” went to war, they were molded in the toughest of times with fierce family loyalty and respect for God, country, and family values.

Life is far different nowadays, and of course, there is no going back in time no matter how much we may long to do so. What can be done is to bring the unchanging truths from the past into our individual lives and families first.

Relearn the truth that faith and patriotism must go hand-in-hand at the basic level of the family. This can be promoted even today if we start with one person, one family, and one community at a time.

Will there be loud opposition to those attempting to live with respect for God and dedication to a renewal of family values in the land? You can count on it.

But will it be any worse than the struggles of the Depression-era family in America? I think not, and moreover, whatever obstacles are placed before us should first drive us to our knees calling upon the God of the universe for strength and wisdom.

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Psalm 105:4 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Daly Sorvongsavanh’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Robert Huffstutter’s  Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Evan Bench’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Kipp Teague’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

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The First Promise of Advent

The First Promise of AdventThe four Sundays prior to Christmas are traditionally known as “Advent,” within most Christian churches. It is a time of both anticipation and preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth into our world more than two millennia ago.

December 1, 2019, is the first Sunday of Advent on the church calendar. Many churches feature special events prior to or even as a part of congregational worship gatherings. These usually include the introduction of Christmas “hymns” or special music selections familiar to most of the people who will attend.

Since Christmas is a time that many people visit churches who don’t regularly attend, Advent is also a time when additional presentations are held such as dramas and musical performances. These special services are often prepared months in advance with the help of numerous volunteers who strive to make the season more meaningful for those who attend.

There are some potential problems with the tradition of Advent that can go largely unaddressed because they are unrecognized. One problem fits the old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt,” in that the more practice one has over many years participating in Advent, the more one can overlook the meaning of doing it at all by simply taking Advent for granted.

Another significant problem involves those who are among casual church-goers whose main motivation may be to observe children or other relatives participating in Christmas plays or in a special choir performance. Instead of taking Advent for granted, these people can easily just dismiss it altogether as one more “event” to attend around the ‘holiday’ season.

In short, this epitomizes the difficulty every church and every pastor has in preparation for this time of year. How can the marvelous message of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, bring born as a human being to bring His creation the good news of God’s love and grace, be meaningful and impactful for everyone?

The First “Advent” Promise, the Proto-Evangelium

Advent wreathThe four Sundays of Advent also feature an activity only engaged in during this time of year, the lighting of the Advent candles. A different candle is lit each week symbolizing the qualities of hope, faith, joy, and peace given to humanity by the coming of Jesus.

The candles are most often arranged in a circular pattern within an Advent “wreath.” In the center of the wreath, a larger white candle is usually placed to symbolize the birth of Christ, and is thus known as the “Christ candle.” Usually, a short ceremony/teaching accompanies the lighting of each candle to help express the meaning behind the concepts.

I will not delve into the history of how the idea of an Advent season came about and how it has developed until today. Rather, I propose to present a biblical case that the true meaning of Advent is contained and expressed within the Word of God.

I have always believed that the true meaning of anything is inextricably tied to its origin. Therefore, the meaning of Advent as a concept [rather than the meaning of the term itself] can be found in the origin of the concept in the Bible.

Advent originates in the Bible where the writing begins, in the book of Genesis. It is first presented by the words of God in the Garden of Eden in the aftermath of Adam and Eve’s first disobedience of God.

God spoke to Satan who had taken the form of a serpent,

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15 [ESV]

This verse is known by biblical students and scholars as the proto-Evangelium, or “first gospel” message ever presented.  In the midst of pronouncing the punishment for the original sin of humanity, the LORD drops a nugget of golden “good news” to look forward to in the future.

Gabriel, Mary, AdventSpecifically, God promised that sometime in the future, the offspring of the woman would fight against and triumph over the offspring of the ‘serpent’. It is a unique promise because it identifies the one who will come as the “her” offspring, rather than a descendant from both Adam and Eve.

There are other instances in prophecy when God specifies that the promised One is going to be born of a woman alone. The most familiar of these comes from chapter one of Luke’s gospel as announced to Mary by the angel Gabriel.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. Luke 1:30-35 [ESV]

The first promise of Advent is that Christ is coming to fulfill the plan of salvation set in motion way back in Genesis. Moreover, the promise was also that He is coming in a miraculous manner that God alone could accomplish, being born of a virgin!

Advent helps us recall the hope of this promise, and look toward God to fulfill it on our behalf, even at great cost to Himself. Realizing and accepting that promise in each heart brings the ultimate hope for our eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

Take time this Advent season to grab onto the promise of God for yourself through faith in Christ. It will be the best Christmas gift anyone could ever acquire.

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Reel Ministry’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Christine Macintosh’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Percy Sledge Agbunag Carballo’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published at TIL Journal

 

A Post-Mortem for Mainstream Media Journalism [Video]

Mainstream media, Fake newsWatching the performance “journalism” of the supposed ‘Mainstream’ media during Trump’s presidency often evokes reactions from laughter to rage among supporters of the President. However, this is a significant moment in the history of journalism itself, for we are witnessing the death knell of the MSM, and are on the precipice of an entirely new era of media journalism which is rising to fill the void.

The fall of MSM journalism began in earnest a little more than a half-century ago during the turbulent decade of the 1960s. The event that became the impetus for journalism’s wholesale embrace of Leftist activism was the Vietnam War.

Leftist Journalism and The War in Vietnam

Photo shows soldier lying down in high grass during patrol on Jan. 10, 1966 in Vietnam, soldier is unidentified. (AP Photo)

The Vietnam War was unique in the annals of journalism in that it was the first time journalists could cover a war in close to real-time and deliver that coverage to the entirety of America via video reports on television. Prior to this, most news was disseminated via the newspaper and on the radio or in short news clips that preceded a movie showing at the theater.

This meant that the destruction and horror of war were starting to be beamed into living rooms across the nation and the globe on an almost daily basis. Moreover, the analysis and commentary of media stars such as Walter Cronkite began charting a leftward media course that was instrumental in ignominiously ending the Vietnam War.

The February 1968 assessment by Walter Cronkite, the anchor of the CBS Evening News (known as “the most trusted man in America”), that the conflict was “mired in stalemate” was seen by many as the signal of a sea change in reporting about Vietnam, and it is said to have inspired Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson to state, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”

The influence of network journalists on the “big three” alphabet stations, CBS, ABC, and NBC continued to grow and continued to inch ever-leftward through the 1970s. The Watergate hearings in 1974 seemed to permanently place MSM journalism as the news authority and raised the Washington Post to greater fame than ever after reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke the story wide open with information obtained by a secret informant known then as ‘Deep Throat.’

However, that dominance was soon to become threatened by the advent of cable television, and the innovative and determined mind of a media mogul named Ted Turner. His creation of a 24-hour news channel was a brand new invention that changed the journalistic landscape forever.

The Emergence of Cable News and the Case of Richard Jewell

The original Cable News Network, CNN, was the brainchild of Ted Turner and came meekly onto the media scene in 1980.

CNN was created by maverick broadcasting executive Ted Turner as part of his Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), allegedly because industry professionals had told him it could not be done. After four years in development, CNN signed on the air June 1, 1980, with a news telecast anchored by the husband-and-wife team of Dave Walker and Lois Hart.

Ted Turner was enamored of Leftist causes throughout his career, most notably as a champion of ‘environmentalism.’ Early hints of other left-wing views like globalism emerged right from the beginning of CNN’s existence.

Endeavouring to accommodate its worldwide audience, CNN adopted a policy of banning such exclusionary words and phrases as “foreign” and “here at home” from its newscasts.

The fledgling news network struggled to gain much of an audience for the first few years after its premiere. CNN began to climb in the ratings when it scooped the networks on the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster in 1986, and especially with its in-country coverage of the Gulf War in the early 1990s.

Richard Jewell, Mainstream mediaThe world got a glimpse of the power of the leftist MSM and how that power can be abused on July 27, 1996, with the bombing at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. A man by the name of Richard Jewell discovered the bomb, notified law enforcement and helped clear the area before the bomb detonated.

However, within two days Jewell went from hero to prime suspect of the FBI, which was reported first in headlines from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 30. The networks and print media began to descend upon Jewell like a pack of ravenous wolves, beginning with Atlanta-based CNN.

For the next few months, Jewell was hounded by reporters from all three national networks as well as CNN and vilified in national newspapers as the likely bomber. In one particularly egregious case of journalistic overreach, an August 1, 1996 column by David Kindred of the AJC linked Jewell to a convicted murderer.

Once upon a terrible time, federal agents came to this town to deal with another suspect who lived with his mother. Like this one, that suspect was drawn to the blue lights and sirens of police work. Like this one, he became famous in the aftermath of murder. His name was Wayne Williams. This one is Richard Jewell. …Richard Jewell sits in the shadows today. Wayne Williams sits in prison forever.

It wasn’t until October 26 that Jewell was officially cleared. Years later the actual bomber was arrested and convicted of the Olympic bombing as well as several other bombings in the area.

The Rise of Social Media

During this same period, another technological breakthrough took place which would change the media universe and bring a host of other players outside the normal circle of journalism into play. That was the ascendance of the internet and the subsequent explosion of ‘social media’ onto the scene.

The development of the internet began in the 1960s as an American military effort to link computers together in the event that a nuclear attack destroyed the telephone-based communications of the time. However, the internet as we know it today came about in 1991.

That year, a computer programmer in Switzerland named Tim Berners-Lee introduced the World Wide Web: an internet that was not simply a way to send files from one place to another but was itself a “web” of information that anyone on the Internet could retrieve. Berners-Lee created the Internet that we know today.

Six years later the first ‘social media’ network was launched. It was known as “Six Degrees.”

It was officially launched in 1997, and it lasted until about 2001. It’s number of users peaked at around 3.5  million. It was bought out by YouthStream Media Networks in 1999 for $125 million, but it shut down just one year later.

The next social media platform came out in 2002 and was called “Friendster.” It became the first such site to claim over 100 million users but eventually went bust in 2015.

Social media influenceThen the floodgates began to open. In 2003 it was “MySpace,” followed by “Facebook” in 2004 which grew to the largest social media platform ever with 2.45 billion active monthly users so far in 2019.  “Twitter” came along in 2006 and has now grown to 330 million monthly active users according to figures from the first quarter of 2019.

This explosive growth did more than simply make people like Mark Zuckerburg and Jim Dorsey extremely wealthy. It opened up a brand new media arena for journalism in the digital age and the Leftmedia quickly took full advantage of that.

The fact that the heads of the social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter were also of Leftist persuasions tended to favor a Leftmedia slant toward what has been allowed and what has not on both these platforms. This slant remained relatively unnoticed until the 2016 election of Donald Trump.

The 2016 Election, the Birth of ‘Fake News’, and TDS

Donald Trump became the GOP nominee for President in July of 2016, and the Leftmedia hasn’t stopped howling about him ever since. However, since most of the “experts” gave Trump no chance to defeat Hillary Clinton, that howling was a mere murmur compared to what was to come.

Since the election of Donald Trump, the Leftmedia has earned the label of “fake news” that the President employs with such success. However, the term was not one he invented.

Fake news, Mainstream mediaIn the 2016 campaign for President, the term “fake news” was first used by the Clinton camp speaking about the Wikileaks release of emails from Hillary’s campaign manager John Podesta. They claimed these released emails were not authentic and called them “fake news.”

President Trump masterfully appropriated and used this term to reveal bit-by-bit the duplicity of the Leftmedia as a whole for the last three years. Moreover, it likely contributed to the creation and spread of another term used to describe the anti-Trump crowd in society as suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome or TDS.

I have written about the realitydanger, and spread of TDS on several occasions in this journal. Though this pernicious disease is not limited to Leftmedia ‘journalism’, TDS is expressed there more starkly and in more abundance than anywhere else.

The relationship between TDS and “fake news” as one of its symptoms can be demonstrated through a “thread” which I found while sifting through the muck on my Twitter feed. A “thread” is a series of posts from one user concerning the same subject.

Since Twitter has a strict limit on how many characters a person is allowed to put into one post, a “thread” is a way to write a longer story with a series of shorter ‘chapters’, so to speak. These are employed by most who use Twitter, however, this “thread” was unusual for both its length and content.

It consisted of over 100 postings and the content was mainly side-by-side screenshots of headlines from both digital and print Leftmedia ‘news’ stories highlighting the hypocrisy and deception employed by their ilk.

Here is how this posting by user “Incarcerated_ET” begins:

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Anons present to you:
THE FAKE NEWS
-their duplicity
-their hypocrisy
-their agenda
-their coordinated efforts
-and out right lies
>>side by side for easy dissemination
>>just like Q asked

A thread!

View image on Twitter

 

This example is a mild introduction beginning with the obvious TDS of Ms. Wellington gushing over the “dream come true” of HRC in a plain white pantsuit and then declaring that Melania’s white dress was equivalent to the GOP being for whites only!

These instructive comparisons continue on and reveal many which seem petty, like the one above, and others that are outright furious and hostile towards the President or anything associated with him.

Here is one item in the same stream from the Leftist site “Slate,” on why the electoral college is a great idea, and then why it is not only terrible but was a racist idea from the beginning.

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Note how Slate’s opinion changed dramatically when it was Obama winning in 2012 versus when Trump won in 2016. Here is another example of the 100+ samples in the thread from dear old reliable CNN.

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CNN begins with the assertion that “paid family leave” is a wonderful concept which should be embraced by everyone. But then, Trump agrees and places it in his budget and viola, “paid family leave” is suddenly a bad thing!

Here is the last piece I will share from the thread demonstrating both TDS and “fake news” on the very same page.

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The “fake news” was the large headline printed directly under the actual truth about the President’s statement which did condemn “white supremacists” and everyone else involved in the violent protests at Charlottesville. Guess which one of these assertions is still being used as ammunition against President Trump even today.

TDS and “fake news” have been the SOP of the Left from the very start of Trump’s presidency, including the failed “Mueller Report,” and has continued into the current phony “impeachment inquiry” in the House of Representatives. Here is a brief video ensemble showing why this is simply another dose of “fake news” and TDS by the Leftmedia.

Erick Erickson

@EWErickson

Dear members of the media, if you want to understand why no one cares about impeachment and minds are not being changed, watch this and understand.

Embedded video

The narrative of the Leftmedia is crumbling under the onslaught brought about by those
who actually pay attention to the Leftist’s diatribes on social media. Moreover, that
number of people is growing by the day and portends the death of Leftmedia
“journalism.

What is also being slowly realized by those same people is that the “media” is no longer what is spoon-fed to us by the elites in the mainstream. We will explore the recent declaration of this new phenomenon by the phrase, “We are the media now,” in part two of this series.

“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:13-18 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Jose Martins’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of manhhai’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Abbott’s Patch Collection’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Paul Inkles’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Christoph Scholz’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

 

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

A Perpetual Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving , prayerThanksgiving as a holiday is a day traditionally set aside in America to reflect upon and “give thanks” for the multitude of blessings we enjoy as Americans. Most businesses are closed, at least for the morning and afternoon hours, before plunging us all into the mayhem of the Yuletide season.

For most, a large part of such reflection involves family, feasting, and football. For many, that often means enjoying our abundance of these items as a prelude to the Christmas holiday.

However, Thanksgiving can suffer from a familiar ailment of such days of celebration. It is the ailment of the holiday aftermath.

The Advent of Thanksgiving Day

Replica of the Mayflower in Plymouth Massachusetts

The Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower and landed at what they would call “New Plymouth” in 1620 suffered through a terrible winter with the result being that almost half of their number died. The reaction of these remarkable people was to bind closer to each other and together come closer to God. In order to assess the significance of Thanksgiving Day as a modern holiday, we should take a glance at generations past. The origin of this holiday is recorded and fairly well known.

Their diligence, faith, and trust in the LORD were rewarded the next spring when in March when one solitary Indian walked boldly into the Pilgrims camp and entered the “common house” before the startled men could react. What happened next would bring untold good fortune to the besieged settlement.

Welcome!” he suddenly boomed, in a deep, resonant voice. The Pilgrims were too startled to speak. At length, they replied …”Welcome.” Their visitor fixed them with a piercing stare. “Have you got any beer?” he asked them in flawless English. …The Pilgrims looked at one another, then turned back to him. “Our beer is gone. Would you like …some brandy?”

The mysterious visitor accepted the offer of brandy and the subsequent offer of food as well. While he ate and drank, the Pilgrims began to pepper him with questions particularly how he was able to speak their native tongue, but he refused to answer until he finished his meal.

When he did finish and answered their questions, they learned that he was a leader of the Algonquins in what is present-day Maine whose name was Samoset. He had learned English over many years of speaking with English fishing captains along the coast of Maine.

It was Samoset who would introduce the Pilgrims to another Indian that would prove the greatest human benefactor for the ultimate survival of the new settlement. That was a man named Squanto, who would literally teach these colonists everything they would need to do in order to survive, and pave the way for the first celebration of Thanksgiving.

Squanto taught them how to plant and fertilize corn with fish, as well as how to catch the fish in the best manner.

Squanto helped in a thousand similar ways, teaching them how to stalk deer, plant pumpkins among the corn, refine maple syrup from maple trees, discern which herbs were good to eat and good for medicine, and find the best berries.

3063466292_0c67673fc0_wWhen Governor William Bradford a day of public Thanksgiving to God, the tribe which was known as the Wampanoags, among whom Squanto and Samoset, though of different tribes, lived, was invited to participate, and the rest, as they say, is history.  The “day” stretched into a three-day celebration of mutual feasting and fun.

Between meals, the Pilgrims and Indians happily competed in shooting contests with gun and bow. The Indians were especially delighted that John Alden and some of the younger men… were eager to join them in foot races and wrestling. There were even military drills staged by Captain Standish.

The reason for the Thanksgiving celebration was the Pilgrim’s faith that God had brought all these unlikely circumstances together and blessed them beyond any expectations. Thus the moment which was most important for them was the start of the festivities with a prayer by their pastor William Brewster thanking God for their provisions.

Thanksgiving’s Aftermath

This first feast of Thanksgiving forms the backdrop to the day we designate in America as “Thanksgiving Day.” What happened in the aftermath should serve as a warning to the nation as we leave the orbit of Thanksgiving for another year.

Through a series of unfortunate events, the winter after the first festival of thanks proved to be exceedingly harsh for the Pilgrims of Plymouth.

Thus they did enter their own starving time that winter of 1621-22 (with… extra people to feed and shelter), and were ultimately reduced to a daily ration of five kernels of corn apiece. (Five kernels of corn – it is almost inconceivable how life could be supported on this.) But as always, they had a choice: either give in to bitterness and despair or go deeper into Christ. They chose Christ. And in contrast to what happened at Jamestown, not one of them died of starvation.

Thanksgiving prayerThat ordeal would linger on the hearts of the Pilgrims through further hardships such as a severe drought that threatened to wipe out their crops the next planting season. The reaction of these stalwarts was to declare a day of fasting and prayer to seek the LORD.

These and other considerations moved not only every good man privately to enter into examination with his own estates between God and his conscience, and so to humiliation before Him, but also to humble ourselves together before the Lord by fasting and prayer.

The result of this was two weeks of unseasonably gentle rain that revived their crops and insured a bountiful harvest that fall. The aftermath of their first Thanksgiving began with more adversity and it seemed God had abandoned them.

For these remarkable people of faith, all that meant was they needed to trust God even more and depend upon His provision. Which brings me to the larger point of recounting this history that great blessing is often followed by great testing and that both are meant to drive us closer to Christ.

I and my family have also experienced this. My stories are of little import beyond my environment for I know other pastors, missionaries and evangelists who have welcomed great favor from the LORD and endured far greater hardship than I.

We in America are living through a time of great blessing mixed with great opposition to the blessings He has granted us through the presidency of Donald J. Trump. The challenge presented to us by the Pilgrims of the past is that we must live as they did, in a state of perpetual thanksgiving to God, repentance, and prayer for His guidance and aid to face the trials and testings yet to come. 

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” Psalm 50:23 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

The Light and The Glory, Peter Marshall and David Manuel, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1977

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Harley Pebley’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of denisbin’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Mike Licht’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Hope Media Stock Photo’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

The Evil Insanity of Gender Identity, Part Three: Legitimizing Lunacy and Dissolving Sexuality

LGBT, Gender Identity

In part one of this series, we explored how the children who are pushed into ‘transitioning’ from one sex to another are exploited and victimized. Part two was a glimpse at the damage done to society overall by the ‘trans-rights’ movement.

As this aberrant movement has grown in influence in society, the push to legitimize ‘trans-rights’ has rapidly moved beyond cultural acceptance and now reaches to acquire the federal status of law. As noted in this journal, the first stage of the process is already finished with the passage of HR-5 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill was sent on to the Senate in May of this year, where it now sits in the Judiciary Committee and no further action has been taken. No hearings or debates or votes have yet taken place.

Making Lunacy a Legitimate “Right”

Inset.1.11.17.2019The goal of the ‘trans-rights’ community is not the social acceptance of their cause. As important as this is, it is merely one step toward the goal.

The real goal is to make the cause socially ascendant so that ‘transgenderism’s’  claim as some sort of ‘civil right’ is both culturally and legally established. For the Left, whether that conforms to scientific or moral norms is irrelevant to accomplishing that end.

In the previous parts of this series, we have observed how ‘trans-rights’ advocacy and claims have asserted themselves in the areas of family court, women’s sports, and public education. Regulations and the law have been used to promote ‘transgenderism’ as a civil right in each of these areas.

However, since this movement isn’t scientifically or morally correct, the Left’s favorite new social activists, ‘trans-rights’ proponents, began their legal maneuvering by taking aim at the language. Thus was born the epic redefinition of gender as expressed in pronouns.

The Left decided that no longer should anyone be allowed to use the designation “he” or “she” to speak to or about someone who claimed they were ‘transitioning’ from one sex to another. This materialized at a national level in Canada in 2016.

One of the most infamous defiers of this Canadian law is Dr. Jordan Peterson. He has decided that he will not comply with a law that requires him to state what is untrue as if it were true.

In an article about Canada’s Federal Bill C16, Peterson writes that as a part of a video series,

I also indicated my refusal to apply what are now known as “preferred” pronouns to people who do not fit easily into traditional gender categories (although I am willing to call someone “he” or “she” in accordance with their manner of self-presentation).

Inset.2.11.17.2019He also goes on to point out in 2016, that such legal lunacy was already beginning a legislative creep into America.

If you are wondering, reasonably, why any of this might be relevant to Americans, you might note that legislation very similar to Bill C-16 has already been passed in New York City.  Authorities there now fine citizens up to $250,000 for the novel crime of “mis-gendering” — referring to people by any words other than their pronouns of choice (including newly constructed words such as zie/hir, ey/em/eir and co).

Other cities and states have been following suit with enacting ‘misgendering’ legislation. In one example from October of 2017, the California legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law,

SB 219 …was introduced by state senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California. It penalizes senior healthcare workers who “misgender” any patients identifying as transgender by failing to address the patient by their preferred gender pronouns. Any employees who “willfully or repeatedly violate” SB 219 could be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to punishment of a $1000 fine, or even up to one year in jail.

The battlefront of labor law has not been neglected by ‘trans-rights’ advocates in America. Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided to embrace the ‘gender identity’ movement.

the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) interpreted Title VII Sex Discrimination to include the transgender population, and this radically changes employment. …the EEOC believes that a transgender woman should be allowed to use the common women’s restroom, and when not allowed, this is considered disparate treatment. Intentional misgendering or misuse of a transgender employee’s new pronoun or name could also be considered sex discrimination.

Since the language has to change on the pronoun level, it follows that public facilities must also change their designations, i.e. ‘men’s’ or ‘women’s’ restrooms or locker rooms, to reflect the official policy of lunacy in action. It is ironic that should these efforts prove successful, the end result will be the insane dissolution of human sexual nature forever.

Human Sexual Identity Is Dissolved by Gender ‘Fluidity’

30224839423_cf6a9317cd_w

Gender Identity Map with over 100 different divisions

The main premise of the Left’s ‘trans-rights’ crowd is the notion that gender is twofold. First, gender is not a biological designation, it is merely a “social construct” that can and should be ignored.

Second is the belief that gender is somehow ‘fluid’ in nature. That is, gender is not simply male or female but rather exists in a range between these two and can move like a fluid from one pole to another, or settle anywhere in between.

Therefore, when a person is born, their sexual identity is not identified, it is “assigned” and need not be that person’s ‘actual’ identity. In fact, that is what motivates other legislation such as Oregon’s law that one’s designation on a driver’s license or state identification or birth certificate can be marked “x” in place of “m” or “f”.

This legal option is not limited to Oregon alone. Other states with similar laws include California, Washington, Maine, Minnesota, Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, and Massachusetts, with New Hampshire, Hawaii and, Pennsylvania set to enact such measures in 2020.

What seems to go unrecognized is the logical implication of accepting the ‘trans-rights’ claim upon the people that designate themselves as LGBT rights proponents. For if the ‘gender is fluid’ thesis is accepted, all of human sexuality is called into question.

The ‘binary’ nature of human sexual identity is antithetical to transgenderism, as has already been noted. That being so, any claim that only males are gay, or that only a female could be a lesbian, or even that anyone could be bisexual is rendered null and void.

The claim of the ‘transgendered’ person that gender is fluid means that one might claim they are a gay man today, but tomorrow claim that they are instead a “male lesbian.” In other words, if gender fluidity is real it must always be fluid which means that gender identity can never be settled.

Inset.4.11.17.2019Incidentally, the concept of someone being a “male lesbian” is a real thing and was written about a long time ago in psychology circles. A Montana State University professor who is now retired defined a “male lesbian” in 1987 as,

a heterosexual man who wishes that he had been born a woman, but who (even if he had been a woman) could only make love to another woman and never to a man. Unlike the transsexual, the “male lesbian” does not feel himself to be “a woman trapped inside the body of a man”.

It cannot be that gender fluidity is a temporary reality for anyone if the ‘trans-rights’ advocates are correct. That would mean that ‘gender identity’ is a choice, or a preference, rather than a fact of existence.

This also contradicts the long-held claim by gay-rights activists that homosexuality is not a preference but an inherent condition and thus not able to be changed. If transgender ideas are accepted, one could be a lesbian, a gay male, and perhaps even bisexual within mere moments depending on one’s mindset at the time.

The absurdity of this concept should be apparent but is it less absurd than the idea that “male lesbians” are a real thing? The evil of the ‘gender identity’ offensive is the attempt to force insanity upon everyone who doesn’t believe the lunacy.

‘Gender fluidity’ only dissolves all other categories of gender to create a chaotic mass of madness. That is the logical result of allowing disturbed and irrational minds to determine truth and reality, and it must be shown for the danger that it poses to our children, our society, and to our freedom to speak out and oppose its destructive delusion.

You felt secure in your wickedness; you said, “No one sees me”; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.” But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing. Isaiah 47:10-11 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Mike’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Christopher Sessums’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Ant Smith’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Heather’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

The Evil Insanity of Gender Identity, Part Two: Societal Madness [Video]

Gender Identity, transgenderism

The first part of this series examined the horrible sacrifice of very young children and their futures that are a tragic consequence of the newly ascendant ‘trans-rights’ movement as a so-called civil rights cause. There are other, widely-spread societal consequences which threaten to remake western culture wholesale and send us careening toward oblivion.

There are three primary areas of concern within our society that are negatively affected by ‘trans-rights’ advocates in our time. These areas are all forms of the Leftmedia, the world of competitive sports, and the monolith of both primary and secondary public education.

Transgender Propaganda Reigns in Leftmedia

The gaggle of networks and media outlets which I have chosen to call the “Leftmedia,” has been aggressively promoting the ‘trans-rights’ social program as something good or, at the worst, simply benign. In order to accomplish their goals, the Leftmedia must engage in blatant propaganda hoping that what thinking people might still exist on the Left won’t notice or if they do notice won’t care.

The following video by Steve Crowder and company highlights the false narrative coming from the Left on this issue. Maher’s attempt to feign ignorance about the facts that Dennis Prager presents seems very weak at best.

Two critical facts were presented in the video are indisputable. One is that the newest claim by the transgender community that ‘men can have periods too’ is far from a fringe view in the Leftmedia!

Crowder names media outlets such as MTV, HuffPo, The London Telegraph, and even People magazine that have featured headlines claiming that ‘men get periods too!’ In fact, as he notes, the campaign of propaganda has been so influential that the “woke” among the retail sales crowd have been actively promoting the sales of tampons and feminine pads to ‘transitioning’ persons.

However, there is a bit of sleight-of-hand involved in all of this. The advertisement for the international tampon company in the video employs this tactic by featuring a woman who is trying to change into a man and her statement that for a time during her attempts to reverse nature, she was still menstruating as a woman does.

The trickery is twofold. First of all, she was a biologically normal woman who was experiencing normal cycles that apply only to the female of the species before she began the process.

Therefore, this does not apply to the case of the opposite, a man attempting to change into a woman. They didn’t have periods before they ‘identified’ as a woman, and they won’t have periods even after hormones and surgery.

However, and this is the second part of the deceptive propaganda, the advertisement carefully arranges the video sequence to conflate both types of ‘gender identity’ claims as basically the same. Moreover, this falsehood is enforced throughout various social media avenues such as Twitter or Facebook.

Transgenderism Is Destroying Women’s Sports

transgenderismThe transgender ‘athlete’ has made a definite impact on women’s sports in recent years. Men ‘identifying’ as women have been routinely dominating women’s competitions at the state, national, and international levels. As an article in “Human Events” online states,

The victory of New Zealander Laurel Hubbard is just the latest in a growing line of instances in which transgender women are claiming the top spot in women’s sporting events. The 41-year-old dominated the Pacific Games weightlifting competition this week, winning a gold medal for her efforts – and breaking women’s records in the process.

Despite the politically correct pronoun usage, the article argues against the practice of allowing biological males to compete against females if they ‘identify’ as a female. They note that recent scientific research supports the author’s arguments.

In a paper published in the BMJ Journal of Medical Ethics, researcher Lynley Anderson and her associates Alison Heather and Taryn Knox argued that capping testosterone levels, which has been proposed as a solution to maintaining a level playing field, just won’t cut it. …The researchers also argue that the advantages transgender women have over biologically female counterparts extends well beyond testosterone levels. Namely, they have denser and larger muscles, better muscle distribution, and higher lung capacities. Males even have an advantage when it comes to the amount of oxygen they can accumulate. All this lends to greater strength, agility, dexterity, stamina, and endurance.

A prime example of this is seen in a viral YouTube video with former Olympic women’s gymnastics champions Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson reacting to men doing women’s gymnastics.

In 2017, the state of Connecticut modified the rules of high school competition to allow biological males who ‘identify’ as females to compete in women’s athletics with no other requirements. Here is one result of the new policy that should convince any rational person this is not a good idea.

Connecticut’s 2017 rule change that allowed students to compete based on gender identity has terribly harmed women’s sports. A single male transgender student now holds 10 state records which previously belonged to 10 different girls.

What is worse, female athletes who rightly object to this practice are vilified and punished by ‘trans-rights’ activists. Tennis great Martina Navratilova, a fierce defender of LGBT rights was no exception to this.

In December, Navratilova tweeted: “You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.” McKinnon was not pleased by this and began a tirade against Navratilova. In her Sunday Times essay, Navratilova describes this behavior as bullyish and argues that, while she feels able to take a stand, she worries that other women will be “cowed into silence or submission.”

McKinnon refers to Rachel Mckinnon, a “transgendered woman,” who recently won the Gold Medal at the World Indoor Women’s Cycling Championship. McKinnon had competed in cycling as a male until the age of 29.

In reward for her stand, Navratilova was thrown off the board of the LGBT advocacy group Athlete Ally. So much for tolerance and free speech by ‘trans-rights’ activists on the Left.

Transgender Dominance in Public Education is Dangerous

Inset.2.11.13.2019This is the most serious area of all for both the present and future of American and western society for as one goes, so goes the other. The forced progression of ‘trans-rights’ advocacy in public education is appalling and cause for grave concern.

This insidious movement is requiring access to K-12 public students to present a biologically false and unhealthy premise as a required part of the curriculum. Children as young as five years old are to be indoctrinated into advocacy for transgenderism and, as noted in part one of this series, potentially turned into sacrifices for mentally disturbed adults.

Moreover, these policies in public education force young children and teens of different biological sexes together in potentially hazardous situations, especially for young girls. One prominent example of such forcing comes from the Fairfax, County, Virginia school district, just south of Washington D.C.

The new policy holds that boys who self-identify as female can use the girls’ shower facilities, locker rooms, and bathrooms, and it was voted in without any time for public debate and adopted within weeks.

The article is from 2018 and the author notes the policy passed in 2015 and faced harsh criticism from parents when it was announced. The policy was apparently put on indefinite hold as the action to draft regulations for it has been tabled until further notice.

One of the obvious factors the Leftist advocates don’t want to mention is that this is far more than simply teaching something in a classroom. It has dangerous real-life effects on children at vulnerable stages of their sexual development and could be traumatized or worse by seeing a male ‘identifying’ as a female in the locker room environment, as evidenced by a recent incident in Pennsylvania.

Attorneys for a female Pennsylvania high school student filed a federal complaint last week alleging her privacy was violated and that she was subjected to sexual harassment when a transgender student was using the same locker room, WNEP-TV reported. …Lawyers for the student posted a video online describing what they say happened. The unnamed female student appears in the clip and said “while I was putting on my pants I heard a man’s voice, so I turned around, and he’s standing there on the opposite aisle looking at me. I glanced down and could tell that he was wearing women’s underwear and what was underneath it.” She added: “When I knew that a man was looking at me, I felt very violated and very scared — especially looking at me while I’m getting dressed.”

The school district stood behind its policy but did not offer any further comments. However, some of the criticism this young lady received on social media was disgustingly brutal.

Some observers commenting on the Facebook page for the Law Office of Andrew H. Shaw, which is handling the case, also sided with the complaining female student, others were decidedly against her and her attorneys:

…“Sounds like your client is the one who is guilty of voyeurism. WTF is she doing checking out other people’s genitals? Shameful ambulance chasers.”                            …“The student called the trans student a ‘man.’ I think we all know where this hate is coming from. From her parents. Using ‘man’ is scary! Transphobia is bigotry.”    …“F*** you transphobes.”

transphobia, gender identityAs nasty and idiotic as these statements may be, they manifest and reveal much about the attitudes from Leftist ‘trans-rights’ activists. For instance, the second comment says that the girl’s reactions are full of “hate,” and accuses her of being “transphobic” and therefore bigoted.

A phobia is an irrational fear. This student had a perfectly reasonable trepidation about a man being in the women’s locker room while she is dressing. Moreover, who is actually phobic when they state that “using [the word] ‘man’ is scary!”?

As far as being hateful goes, the third comment should dispel any illusions as to which side of this argument is projecting hate. Another reminder that the Left is always projecting their behavior to accuse their adversaries.

These things are the result of faculty lounge nonsense in higher education swiftly becoming mainstream. “Gender Study” departments in universities across the land have been teaching ‘Gender Identity’ theory as gospel for years especially since 2013 when the DSM-V changed the designation of people suffering from this mental illness from Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Dysphoria.

This movement was also given support by former President Barack Obama in 2016, through addition to current Title IX anti-discrimination law. This served to give a Presidential ‘seal of approval’ to ‘trans-rights’ advocacy and education in public schools across the land.

The Obama administration is sending out an edict today [5/13/2016] to every school district in the country, insisting they open bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers to all children, regardless of sex, or risk federal discrimination lawsuits and yanked federal funds. Schools must treat children as transgender and thus entitled to open facilities access as soon as parents say they are, not after a medical diagnosis or birth certificate change.

The goal of such an accelerated pace to inject ‘gender identity’ teaching is apparent. The Left’s ‘trans-rights’ advocates wish to normalize their disturbing practice by “reproducing” the only way they can, through recruiting children to expand their population.

The many risks to society posed by the ‘trans-rights’ movement threaten the basic fabric of civilization. Moreover, the battleground of this gender ‘identity’ war includes even more intrusive edicts than Obama’s 2016 pronouncement from various legal venues in America today.

Part three of this series will examine that phenomenon of the incremental establishment of legal status upon the transgender ‘community,’ at local, state and national levels in America, as well as why the “T” should be dropped from the LGBT acronym.

Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah Psalm 52:1-3 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Penn State’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Sangudo’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of torbakhopper’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of melissa.meister’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

How the World Changed 30 Years Ago [Video]

How The World Changed 30 years Ago

Celebration of Fall of Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, 2014

Saturday, November 9, 2019, was the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the day the world changed forever in a way unimaginable for the seven decades preceding that historic event. It was also the first world-changing event I was aware of as an adult and the most significant until 9/11 in my lifetime.

Therefore, it is prudent that time is remembered and the events reviewed as we look back 30 years at what the world was like when the Berlin Wall still existed, and how that day was the death knell for the first and most powerful communist nation to have ever existed.

The Nuclear Threat Was Dangerous and MAD in 1989

It is difficult to realize what the fall of that infamous Wall signified at the time if one was not raised in school doing the ‘civil defense’ drills in class, as I did in grade school. We were instructed to lay underneath our desks with hands covering our heads when a civil defense alert sounded in the school.

Inset.1.11.10.2019That was the best method of survival we had if we weren’t close to a civil defense shelter in the event of a nuclear blast. After all, not every public school had a shelter that would serve to even minimally protect against a nuclear attack.

The USSR also had the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons which has ever existed. At the high point of its production, in 1985, the communist behemoth held a stockpile of over 39,000 nuclear weapons.

America’s nuclear weapons cache was the second largest, and at its peak in 1965 held just over 31,000 weapons. In 1985, though America remained the second largest nuclear power, a steady reduction of the size of our arsenal left a total of slightly more than 21,000.

Moreover, by 1985 five other nations had obtained nuclear weapons; the United Kingdom, France, Israel, China, and India. By 1989, the world was just preparing for North Korea to enter the realm of a nuclear threat.

The strategy developed to deal with the increasing danger posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons was deemed the M.A.D. or Mutually Assured Destruction theory.

The theory is based on the fact that nuclear weaponry is so devastating that no government wants to use them. Neither side will attack the other with their nuclear weapons because both sides are guaranteed to be totally destroyed in the conflict.

This strategy was thought necessary to maintain a nuclear ‘balance of power’ between the Soviets and Americans. That strategy was developed during the Cold War era of the 1980s with the idea that as long as neither nation was capable of launching a rapid and overwhelming first strike, the ‘balance of power,’ would stand and an uneasy safety would result.

Inset.2.11.10.2019The M.A.D. strategy that began in earnest during the 1980s also met the instrument of its demise in the 1980s, with the American most credited with winning the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan. He began a change in the American stance with a now-infamous proposal for a Strategic Defense Initiative, which was labeled “Star Wars” by the Left.

Reagan declared his S.D.I. proposal in a March 1983, address known as his “Star Wars” speech. The initiative was a plan to build a nuclear missile defense network of satellites that would stop ballistic missile attacks on the United States primarily those that might come from the Soviet Union.

Reagan announced, “I call upon the scientific community who gave us nuclear weapons to turn their great talents to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”

Earlier that same month, President Reagan coined one of his most famous phrases for the Soviet state by calling it an “evil empire.” Unfortunately,  the S.D.I. program was opposed from the start by the Leftist Democrats in Congress, and eventually was scrapped citing “budget concerns.”

The USSR Was the “Evil Empire”

Soviet Russia was unabashedly a communist nation. However, it is especially noteworthy that the name of the nation in 1989 was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR.

The Soviet Union was the prime example of the fact that Socialism is a kinder face to present to the world than Communism. In truth, they were simply two sides of the same blood-stained coin then, and that remains the case today.

The USSR was a conglomeration of 15 ‘states’ to form the largest nation by landmass the world has ever seen. Two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the former Marxist goliath was fractured and two of their former states, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, had ‘inherited’ large amounts of nuclear weapons.

The prospect of worldwide nuclear destruction was regarded with fear both among Americans and around the globe. However, President Reagan changed that prevailing attitude with a phrase he used in a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983.

When Reagan labeled the USSR “an evil empire,” he galvanized support for an active response to Soviet totalitarianism. That began the road leading to the destruction of the Berlin Wall six years later.

The inevitability of the fall of that wall was hammered home in another speech in June of 1987 at the front of the infamous “Brandenburg Gate” section of the Berlin Wall dividing West Berlin from communist East Berlin. It was there he publically challenged Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Two years and five months later, the wall was declared null and void by the East German authorities. What happened next made the history we remember today.

The Berlin Wall stood until November 9, 1989, when the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the GDR could cross the border whenever they pleased. That night, ecstatic crowds swarmed the wall. Some crossed freely into West Berlin, while others brought hammers and picks and began to chip away at the wall itself.

The Berlin Wall was a very unique structure because it divided a city which lay well within the borders of communist East Germany. East Germany was one of a number of eastern European countries under the control of the Soviets when the continent was divided by what became known as the “Iron Curtain” after World War II.

Inset.3.11.10.2019All of that was changed because of that fateful day 30 years ago. When the final collapse of the USSR came in 1991, the map of Europe was radically rearranged.

Germany was one nation again after being divided since 1945. Others, such as Hungary, Poland and, Romania were freed from Soviet tyranny and became independent nations that remain so today.

Most importantly, millions of human beings were liberated from slavery under a regime and system as brutal and horrible and even more lethal than even Nazi Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall deserves recognition as one of the monumental historical events in the 20th century.

A Cold War Ally from the Polish Shipyards

It would be remiss to not mention that President Reagan was allied with other opponents of the “evil empire,” who aided tremendously in the Cold War struggle. These included the formidable Britsh Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (the best PM since Churchill), Pope John Paul II, and an obscure Polish Union leader, Lech Walesa.

It would require a longer series of articles to give due credit to these three. However, I would like to highlight Walesa at the close of this piece for he represents the ordinary citizen under Communist oppression during the Cold War era.

Walesa began the first independent labor union under the Soviet rule of Poland which was later named, Solidarność, or Solidarity, in August of 1980. It started in a protest that issued a number of bold demands to the communists.

On August 14, 1980, during protests at the Lenin Shipyard caused by an increase in food prices, Wałęsa climbed over the shipyard fence and joined the workers inside, who elected him head of a strike committee to negotiate with management. Three days later the strikers’ demands were conceded, but when strikers in other Gdańsk enterprises asked Wałęsa to continue his strike out of solidarity, he immediately agreed. Wałęsa took charge of an Interfactory Strike Committee that united the enterprises of the Gdańsk-SopotGdynia area. This committee issued a set of bold political demands, including the right to strike and form free trade unions, and it proclaimed a general strike. Fearing a national revolt, the communist authorities yielded to the workers’ principal demands

Inset.4.11.10.2019“Solidarity” was born after that agreement and millions of other Polish workers joined or formed independent unions on their own. Eventually, the government recognized the new movement which steadily and carefully pushed forward the cause of liberty against the ever-present threat of Soviet intervention.

Walesa went on to become the President of Poland from 1990-95 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for his efforts.

The awarding of the Nobel Prize for Peace to Wałęsa in 1983 was criticized by the Polish government. Fearing involuntary exile, he remained in Poland while his wife, Danuta, traveled to Oslo, Norway, to accept the prize on his behalf.

The beginning of the end of the Cold War was announced by the destruction of the Berlin Wall. However, it took the efforts of national patriots like Walesa to begin the march toward freedom from the evils of communist rule in Europe.

It also took the prayers of millions more to produce leaders of courage from Walesa to Reagan who would take on the monstrous “evil empire.” Those kinds of prayer warriors are needed even more today if the accomplishment of destroying one communist wall is not going to be revoked by allowing the specter of socialist enslavement to be raised up from within.

The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Glyn Lowe PhotoWorks’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Roadsidepictures’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Burnt Pineapple Productions’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Gary Todd’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Mpls55408’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

The Evil Insanity of Gender Identity, Part One: Transgenderism and Child Sacrifice [Video]

Transgenderism, children

The recent case of one James Younger has once again brought critical attention to the so-called ‘transgender rights’ movement madness which has gripped society with astonishing speed. Perhaps some of you haven’t heard about James, a 7-year-old boy embroiled existentially against his will in a divorce settlement with some very unusual details.

This case takes place in Dallas, Texas with James’ biological father, Jeffrey Younger who is trying to keep his soon-to-be ex-wife from forcing young James to “transition” to becoming a “girl.” In a Dallas family court, it was ruled by a jury on October 21, 2019, that sole custody of James should go to the wife, Dr. Anne Georgulas, which would make her the sole authority over medical decisions for her son.

The following video gives the father’s reaction to that jury verdict.

Fortunately, the judge in the case, Kim Cooks ruled on October 24, that both parents would have joint custody including both having a say in medical decisions. However, there were some other ‘requirements’ of the jury decision placed upon Mr. Younger and it is unclear whether any or all of these have been removed.

Court Mandated Madness

The reason some other legal restrictions may or may not remain in place against Mr. Younger is that Judge Cooks also placed a gag order on all the parties involved so that no information is disclosed to the press until after the proceedings have concluded. However, there are some details of the original jury decision from October 21 which are known.

Buck Sexton, who read the original court order, said during his podcast of October 22, 2019,

The court has enjoined this father, Jeffery Younger, that he is not allowed to dress his son in boys’ clothing… that he’s not allowed to try and convince his son that he is, in fact, a boy and will be a normal boy… not allowed to have the son around anybody…friend or family member who might [do the same]. [He also] has to use female or gender-neutral pronouns in public [and] is not allowed to call him James, he has to call him ‘Luna.’

Transgenderism, insanity“Luna” is the name James’ mother branded him as when she decided that James was indeed a ‘transgender’ person years ago. Dr. Georgulas made this life-changing decision based on a then 3-year-old infatuation with a female Disney character.

The process of ‘transitioning’ would begin with James receiving puberty-blocking drugs as early as 10 years old. These would be followed by administering cross-sex hormones, testosterone for women and estrogen for men.

Little is known about the effects of such a regimen on children. What is known is not good news for the child.

This is far from benign, since taking puberty blockers at age 12 or younger, followed by cross- sex hormones, sterilizes a child.

What studies there are have necessarily focused on the side effects of cross-sex hormones on adults who have ‘transitioned.’ Children’s bodies are less stable than adults, and these and other harmful effects are likely to be magnified greatly with the application of such ‘treatments.’

From studies of adults we know that the risks of cross-sex hormones include, but are not limited to, cardiac disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, diabetes, and cancers.

Once the hormone therapies have been applied the next step is surgery. Girls who persist in insisting they are really boys would undergo a double-mastectomy as early as 16 years of age, followed later by altering their female “bottom parts” to appear as male parts.

Boys would wait a year or two longer, by current practices, before having their genitals sliced off and beginning the process of altering the appearance of that area to resemble female genitalia.

These new physical accouterments will not function as they would if that person was naturally male or female. In other words, men ‘transitioning to women’ do not menstruate, even after surgery, regardless of the political correctness of a particular sanitary napkin retailer, or social media outlets’ insistence otherwise.

Transgenderism, child abuseThis is what the child of seven, James Younger, still may have to look forward to in the near future. His hormone ‘treatments’ aren’t supposed to start until he’s about 10, and who knows what may happen in the courts before then.

The Younger case is but one of a multitude of attacks against biological reality by advocates of a fantasy world where delusional nightmares are promoted as normal expressions of family life. Moreover, James Younger is not the only or even the youngest victim of disturbed adults who seemingly look forward to poisoning and mutilating their toddlers and teens.

Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians. …“…first began hearing from distraught parents in this situation in 2016 and in 2017, I heard from seven families in as many different states in this situation. In all but one case the child was a 15 year-old girl who never had any sexual identity confusion prior to her parent’s divorce,” Cretella said. “The other case involved 4-year-old triplet boys whose mother desperately wanted a girl. The mother was a psychologist herself and had cross-dressed one of the boys for two years, insisting that it was his idea. In each of the seven cases the guardian ad litems and judges removed the right to medical consent and/or custody from the parent who objected to transition with puberty blockers and hormones.”

Child Sacrifice to Satisfy Insanity 

There is a very disturbing factor lurking within this increasing trend to subject very young children to a tortuous ‘transitioning’ process. It is the strong tendency, if not 100% fact, that whenever these incidents of pushing the youngsters into transgenderism and likely physical harm, we also see that one or both of the parents are either ‘trans’ themselves or ‘trans-rights’ activists.

These ‘parents’ have the right to their own notions of how they act out their bogus assertions of gender for themselves. They are adults living in a mostly free society, and in America, everyone has the right to their own opinion.

TransgenderismHowever, that right also comes with a bucketload of responsibilities crucial for any free society to exist. Prime among them is the obligation any person has to consider whether or not their exercise of a particular right can damage another person’s individual rights.

It is obvious that the parents have little regard for the physical and psychological damage they are doing to the child when they advocate ‘transitioning’ to the opposite gender. The immediate question is “Why?”

There are three basic answers to that question. One: They don’t know or understand the dangers of ‘transitioning treatment,’ to the child.

That answer would be a bit disingenuous since the methods of such treatment are well-known in the ‘trans rights’ community. Two: The parents are deluded into denial of these hazards and believe they are helping the child.

This response indicates that the parent(s) are mentally disturbed themselves, and unfit to make such serious decisions for their child. Three: They are aware of the dangers yet insist on putting their child at risk believing the ‘benefits’ for the child are worth it.

That possibility is perhaps the most disturbing of all because, in reality, the mental health benefits are basically zero, and the physical damage is truly incalculable. It indicates a personality so desperate for self-affirmation that it demands the child be not simply in agreement with their ‘gender identity’ parent(s), but the child must be biologically transformed to the same physical state as the disturbed adults around him or her.

The child’s health is every area is thus sacrificed for the uses of the ones who should be their protectors. Thus the little boy or girl has their childhood and future destroyed on the altar of transgenderism.

The fruits of this evil insanity are also manifested beyond the individual sacrifice of children. In part two of this series the impact on wider society with the rapid growth of the ‘trans rights’ movement in recent years.

As Jesus Himself notes,

But from the beginning of creation ‘God made them male and female’  Mark 10:6 ESV

That is the only ordering of creation that is right and proper and blessed by God. America, yea even the world, attempts to change that fact at our own peril.

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of T-K-D’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of torbakhopper’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Jonathan Oakley’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Justin Norman’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text 

Originally published in TIL Journal

 

The Left’s Illegal, Immoral, and Idiotic Pseudo-Impeachment [Video]

Trump, Impeachment

Photo from a February 2017 demonstration

In the past few weeks, the world has witnessed a series of historically unique political events courtesy of the Leftists occupying the United States Congress. All of these events are honed in on their last-ditch, desperation shot to stop the juggernaut that is President Donald J. Trump.

It is evident that the Left realizes the truth of the situation heading into a presidential election year in 2020. Each day Trump succeeds in any area, whether a speech electrifying mammoth crowds or his foreign policy victories, hammers home the understanding within the progressive psyche that no Democrat can defeat the President in this election.

This has whittled the choices of the Left down to three measures. Their chances of succeeding with these are slim and none and, as the saying goes, ‘slim just left town.’

The choices are first, that the Left can somehow engage in enough widespread voter fraud to snatch a phony ‘victory’ from the jaws of defeat. That possibility should not be taken lightly and measures such as a mandatory voter-ID law should be passed to help prevent this.

However, this avenue of attack is almost certain to fail should the forces on the Left attempt it. The 2020 elections will likely be the most scrutinized in history, and conservatives in all arenas have become much more aware of potential voter fraud since 2016.

Second, the Left can put its full efforts into influencing the vote through social media manipulation, however, this is also a vain effort 2020. The recent testimony of Dr. Robert Epstein revealed that millions of votes had been influenced toward Hillary Clinton through the machinations of the giant internet platform in 2016.

Of course, that hidden effort did not result in Hillary winning the presidency. Now that this information is public going into 2020, it is highly unlikely that another such attempt would be successful in defeating the President.

This leaves choice number three, which is the course the Left is currently embarking upon, to attempt to impeach President Trump. In their view, if somehow they can get rid of Trump in this manner, then the election will be theirs by default.

I’m not one to rain on the Left’s parade, well actually I am, but this effort is also doomed to failure for three big reasons. It is a pseudo-Impeachment that is illegal, immoral, and idiotic.

It Is Illegal

Inset.1.10.26.2019The U.S. Constitution gives the Impeachment power to the House of Representatives with but one statement within Clause 5, Section 2 of Article 1;

The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3 of Article 1 deals with the functions of the Senate. The Impeachment process is explained in more detail concerning the role of the Senate in Clause 6 and 7.

The Senate shall have the sole power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be under Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishment, according to the law.

Article 2 of the Constitution establishes the working rules of the Executive Branch of the Federal government. Section 4 of Article 2 provides the conditions under which a President could be impeached and removed.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Inset.2.10.26.2019The current ‘Impeachment’ inquiry by the House Intelligence Committee violates the Constitution with its limited and secretive procedures and is thus fundamentally illegal. The legal requirement is that the House, not a committee in the House, has Impeachment power.

Rep. Adam Schiff [D-CA], the Committee Chair invoked rules keeping testimony ‘secret’ and not allowing subpoenas or ‘witnesses’ other than from Democratic sources. This is an unprecedented procedure by the House when dealing with the Impeachment of the President.

In prior Impeachment proceedings of any sort, nothing was conducted in secret and advocates for the President were allowed to participate. That was rightly the case because of the unique importance and seriousness of Impeachment.

Impeachment is arguably the most important criminal procedure in the nation for it seeks to remove the choice of the people who voted. Thus every part of the procedure should be open to public observance and legal participation by both sides of the argument which has been the case until now.

Moreover, the failure to even name a potential charge for any particular crime and keep the proceedings cloaked from view is more reminiscent of secret courts in tyrannical regimes throughout history.

Schiff and his allies have attempted to justify the secrecy by likening the Committee’s sessions to Grand Jury indictment proceedings. These are secret and designed to indict and move forward with criminal prosecution.

However, Impeachment functions more as a pre-trial hearing then as a Grand Jury indictment. When actual Impeachment happens, the real trial begins in the Senate, and both procedures are rightly public with representation for both accused and accuser.

To deny all of this is to foist an illegal pseudo-Impeachment upon the people of the United States. The determination of the Left to do so regardless of this and other destructive consequences renders the effort immoral as well.

It Is Immoral

ImpeachmentThe intent of the Left is simply to gain unassailable political power over America and its citizenry. Much like the Borg of Star Trek fame, they possess a hive mentality toward that end such that any means, moral or immoral to accomplish its goal is justified for the Left.

The pseudo-Impeachment attempt is one of those immoral means employed by the Left against America. It is immoral because it is aimed at forcing the removal of a duly elected President illegally without due cause and thus usurping the will of the people of the nation.

The accusation against President Trump is both ludicrous and fallacious. He is accused of pressuring the Ukrainian President Kesleyev to investigate a political rival for corruption in order to gain a political advantage in the 2020 election in a phone conversation in July of this year.

We know this accusation is bogus because President Trump provided the actual transcript of the phone call to the public, including the members of the House of Representatives. The transcript reveals that nothing resembling the Left’s preposterous claims is true.

At this point, some readers might ask, “What about the ‘whistleblower’ complaint?” First of all, the ‘whistleblower’s’ complaint which began this newest fiasco is a moot point since we have the transcript of the call.

In fact, the so-called ‘whistleblower’ is now so clearly irrelevant that Chairman Schiff has decided he or she might not need to testify at all.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sunday said that testimony from the intelligence community whistleblower at the center of the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump may no longer be necessary. “Given that we already have the call record, we don’t need the whistleblower who wasn’t on the call to tell us what took place during the call,” he told Margaret Brennan during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

It is telling that this pseudo-Impeachment is the culmination of the TDS infected Left’s efforts since before Donald Trump became the President. This was evidenced by a ‘celebrity’ video attempt in December of 2016 to convince the electors to change their pledged votes and go against Donald Trump.

The celebrity video was accompanied by numerous street protests demanding electors not support the then President-elect, against the voters of their respective states. As seen in the video, electors received a lot of pressure from Leftists in the form of calls, letters, emails to abandon their trust regardless of their promises.

The first national public official to call for impeachment was Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]. In a recent interview with ESSENCE online, Waters stated,

I have been calling for and talking about the impeachment of this president since his inauguration.

When that statement is considered closely, it actually means that Waters believed it was a right or moral action to impeach a President who had literally not done anything in the office of the President! She would have been deliriously happy if formal Impeachment hearings would have begun on January 20, 2017, immediately after Trump took the oath of office.

Moreover, as can be seen from the top photograph, public demonstrations pushing for Trump’s Impeachment began a month after his inauguration.

Essentially for the Left, the entirety of Trump’s presidency has been an Impeachment investigation searching for a crime. Any possible crime, even with invented evidence, is tossed to the salivating Leftmedia and they invariably use it to excoriate the President and his supporters, while calling for Trump’s destruction.

It is immoral to visit political and personal destruction upon this President as the Left is doing with their pseudo-Impeachment. It has been so since the calls for Impeachment began.

It Is Idiotic 

Inset.4.10.26.2019The Left’s illegal, immoral, pseudo-Impeachment is also an idiotic political move. Moreover, there is already evidence that simply efforts at an ‘Inquiry’ concerning Impeachment have backfired with increasing support for President Trump.

For instance, since the rhetoric of Impeachment became incessant, Trump’s re-election campaign coffers grew by 125 million dollars last quarter, which is a record and many times the DNC’s fundraising efforts.

“President Trump has built a juggernaut of a campaign, raising record amounts of money at a record pace,” said Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.  RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel credited Democratic attacks on Trump for motivating supporters to donate in record numbers.

This surge was a reflection of over 300,000 new donors added to the RNC in the third quarter as well.

President Trump’s 2020 re-election effort raised $45 million online in the third quarter on a surge of small-dollar donations driven by 313,000 first-time donors, campaign officials said. The money, which the campaign raised jointly with the Republican National Committee, was part of the $125 million overall raised in the quarter. The online amount wasn’t previously disclosed and represents a 29% increase over the second quarter.

 

The reality is that going through with this pseudo-Impeachment only ends badly for the Democratic party. If they manage to actually vote to ‘Impeach’ and can’t get the votes, they look petty and Trump wins 2020 in a landslide.

If they vote for Impeachment’ it is dead on arrival in the Senate, and Trump remains in office. The Democrats look foolish and petty and Trump destroys them in 2020.

The President is already packing out stadiums and campaigning at a furious pace. The Left’s ‘Impeachment’ furor is only serving to create a backlash that increases his support.

However, the political Left may now be cornered by reality. They cannot beat Trump at the ballot box, so they hope against hope to damage him with a pseudo-Impeachment.

The attempt will be futile, but that fact won’t stop the attempt from being made. Moreover, it is what the Left may try after failing with pseudo-Impeachment that is perhaps more concerning, but that is another article.

Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. Psalm 52:1-2 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Elvert Barnes Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of The COM Library’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Brookings Institution’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Gerard Girbes Berges’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

 

 

A Case Against Tax-exemption for Churches

Tax exemption, churches

Recently the increasingly desperate Democratic presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke lashed out at Christian churches and some other non-profit organizations who oppose same-sex ‘marriage.’ While appearing on CNN’s ‘town hall’ about LBGTQ+ ‘rights,’ on October 10, 2019,

O’Rourke was asked, “Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, and charities should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?”

“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break, for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” the former Texas 16th district congressman replied. “So as president, we’re going to make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.”

His statements have received significant pushback and O’Rouke will ultimately regret his response, if he isn’t doing so already. The majority of his critics have honed in on this as an attack against religious freedom.

I do not believe this is properly characterized as a threat to religious liberty. The question asked was too narrow in scope and O’Rourke’s response was far too broad for such to be the case.

A Threat to Christian Churches, Colleges, and Charities

Inset.1.10.17.2019It is noteworthy that the question put to O’Rourke focused on removing the tax-exempt status of “religious institutions like colleges, churches, and charities…if they oppose same-sex marriage,” without including other institutions such as mosques, synagogues, and non-religious colleges that also receive tax breaks and exemptions. O’Rourke decided that his response shouldn’t name those institutions, so he simply included “anyone…any institution…any organization…” that “are infringing upon the rights of our fellow Americans.”

However, the context of the question shows that O’Rourke was leveling his threat in the church’s direction, in agreement with the questioner. He enlarges the spectrum to provide political cover if he needs to adjust his views later to answer other questions.

The general response from the conservative community was in agreement that O’Rourke launched an attack on religious liberty.

Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, a religious liberty law firm, called it “blatantly unconstitutional,” adding “it’s also foolish because those groups provide billions of dollars in essential social services to their communities. Churches and ministries should be allowed to hold centuries-old beliefs without fear of government retribution.”

However, I submit that this is not the case. The threat to deny tax-exempt status is not a threat to religious liberty, but it is a test of the integrity of the Christian church in America.

What the State Gives…

Religious liberty is recognized as an inherent individual right by the U.S. Constitution, not a right which is granted by the state, aka the government. Thus, religious liberty can’t be legally taken away from any American by the state.

However, the same is not true of tax-exempt status. It is established with legislation passed by Congress and signed into law, beginning with the Tariff Act in 1894, and can be repealed by legislation as well.

There have been 17 ‘updates’ to this legislation since 1894. Since this was in place before the IRS came into being, the benefit of deducting charitable donations from one’s income tax was one of those changes. More about that later.

Inset.2.10.17.2019

In other words, what the state gives, the state can take away and tax-exempt status for churches is not exempted from that rule. Churches who accept it from the state must also accept whatever restrictions the state may require to keep such status.

Christian churches, like most other 501(c)(3) non-profits, generally apply with the IRS to be initially recognized as having tax-exempt status. Usually, this is done whenever a new church incorporates as an official organization recognized by the government.

However, churches are not required to do this. If they do not apply, they are automatically considered as tax-exempt and remain so unless they violate certain requirements mandated by the state.

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organizationi.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

Churches must also file some variant of IRS form 990 each year which asks detailed questions about the activities of the organization to confirm it complies with the requirements of tax-exempt status. If the church fails to do this, steps will be taken to rescind the government tax breaks for that church.

The Anti-Christian Left Use Tax-exemption as a Weapon Against Churches

During my time as a pastor, there were amazingly blessed days of service to God’s people, contrasted with other sad and frustrating days trying to be faithful to the calling. The Christmas and Easter seasons always brought a mix of both kinds of days.

Those were very important times for the church congregants and I with a wonderful host of volunteers strove to make them exceptional and special. It was an annual set of opportunities to reach people with the gospel who only went to church during those seasons.

However, those annual celebrations also brought forth the ire of anti-Christian groups against anything resembling a public display of Christian faith, even as is true today. Organizations such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation, or FFRF, and the ACLU lead the way in Nativity Scene display battles each yuletide season.

 

Unabashed AtheistThe threat that a church might lose tax-exempt status is used to dampen the potential for expression and outreach at those times. This threat is more direct in election years, and letters are sent to churches from non-religious groups like FFRF warning against any political activity lest they lose tax-exemption.

What many may not realize is that these kinds of warnings also come from religious organizations against churches of the same denominational affiliation! A group which is known as the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty takes it upon themselves to caution certain Baptist denominations against politically offensive conduct during election years using the tax-exempt status as a cudgel to attempt beating the church into silence.

Moreover, in many cases, pastors are under pressure to preserve the tax-exemption from within their own congregations. There are members who give significant amounts to a church budget who stridently object to removing the tax deduction for charitable giving which would ensue if tax-exempt status were revoked.

Tax-exempt Status Is a Road “Paved with Good Intentions”

There is a very old saying; “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The idea of allowing tax breaks for churches and charities was to accomplish the ‘good intention’ of encouraging giving to institutions that worked toward individual and societal good.

However, as is often the case with good intentions, they fail because of reliance upon human wisdom instead of Divine counsel. Human wisdom is far too frail to avoid foolishness and sin without the power and righteous wisdom of God to direct it.

The founders of America realized this early on. They knew that the American experiment into self-government would never work without individuals who could exercise self-control of the kind which only results from submission to God’s rule.

As John Adams noted,

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

When the people of America began to forget this truth, the potential harm of such things as a tax-exempt status for churches became more of a reality than ever. The solution to this problem is quite simple, but it is definitely not easy to accomplish.

The simple part is determining what to do in the face of ever-increasing threats to revoke tax-exemption. The solution is for the church(es) to refuse a 501 (c)(3) designation by public declaration.

Inset.4.10.17.2019That would, of course, mean the church would have to pay taxes on items it purchases, as well as requiring donors to forego the tax deduction for their contributions. This is the ‘hard’ part of such action because it would require significant sacrifices from churches and their congregants.

However, I submit the sacrifice would be worth it, even if tax-exempt status was not being weaponized against Christian groups. The fact is that as long as this carrot is held up by the state, and as long as churches chase it, the likelihood is that the churches will grow dependent upon tax breaks.

When that happens, then the church will begin to slough off its mission to preach the gospel and teach the whole Word of God to enable discipleship for fear of losing the state’s favor when it demands, as it will surely do sooner or later, that the church restricts its activities in the public square until it essentially becomes the slave of the state.

The biblical injunction to the church can never include total obedience to anyone or anything in place of the LORD Jesus Christ Himself. If any Christian group desires to remain free in America to follow Christ alone, they should consider dropping the non-profit 501(c)(3) designation and accepting the financial loss from the state.

Today’s restrictions on churches with tax-exempt status are relatively light, and much can be legally done in the political arena under them. However, the relative freedom Christian organizations experience today is still freedom with conditions imposed by man and not by God.

saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:28-29 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Min Lee’s Flicker page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of DonkeyHotey’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Uwe Schroder’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Wil C. Fry’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Simon Cunningham’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal