Faith Amidst a Viral Fever

Faith, corona virusNow that most of the world appears to be in lockdown mode over fears of spreading the CCP virus, aka the Coronavirus, COVID-19, or Wuhan Flu, etc., it seems prudent to use this global “time-out” and assess, or re-assess as the case may be, our standing with God. For one of the things which scream out at humanity at this moment is that we have taken ourselves far too seriously and taken God far too lightly for far too long.

For the curious, I am adopting the name ‘CCP virus’ after the manner I recently saw used by the excellent newspaper, The Epoch Times. They explain the reason for this designation,

…because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

I agree completely with that sentiment and so I am calling it the CCP virus as well. Though it is not a strict medical designation, it is more accurate than simply the “coronavirus,” and historically indicts the people most responsible for the pandemic.

However, it is the reaction of the populace to the CCP virus that is perhaps more critical to successfully combatting this pestilence than the physical precautions. Hyper-inflating public fear for political points, as the Leftmedia is doing, only serves to promote needless panic that is foolish and potentially more dangerous than the disease itself.

Faith Cures the Fever of Fear

Inset.1.3.19.2020One of the symptoms of the CCP virus infection is a fever of varying severity in the infected person. Fear about the pandemic is capable of producing a fever effect within the human psyche as well.

Faith is the cure for the ‘fear fever.’ One reason for this is that we all operate in life through faith, in fact, no one can live any other way.

All people, regardless of viewpoint or belief or lack of such in God live by faith in someone or something. That is, all of us must trust in something or someone, and usually both, just to live our everyday lives.

For example, very few of us outside of trained technicians and the like understand how electric power works in our homes, we simply trust that the flip of a switch or press of a button will produce waves of photons dispersed as white light! The technological advances of modern times are literally impossible without the magic of electric power in all its multitude of forms today and without an almost fundamental trust in this, modern society could not function.

There is, of course, a definitive difference between faith in what man has provided and faith in God. Faith in man’s provision is always faith in a limited provision, while faith in God is faith in an unlimited provision for every situation.

Faith in God is faith that can cure fear at the heart and soul level because faith is believing at the soul level. It is the certainty of the heart that God is real and His love and power are available for all and fear has no chance against that.

Faith Is God’s Perscription for the Fever of Fear

16361200694_f51ebc396e_wThe definitive biblical passage concerning faith is found in the 11th chapter of the New Testament book of Hebrews. It begins,

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:1-3 [ESV]

Paul goes on to give numerous examples of faith demonstrated throughout history from the Old Testament all the way back to Cain and Abel. In the middle of that, as if interrupting himself, Paul writes in verse six,

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. [ESV]

The most often used phrase in the Bible is “Fear not.” When this phrase is used it is invariably connected with some statement of assurance that God is present to handle whatever is causing such fear.

Perhaps the most iconic words exhibiting this are found in the 23rd Psalm when David writes in verse 4 that,

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. [ESV]

David is stating that it doesn’t matter even if death seems to threaten all around him, he knows that he knows the LORD is with him. His faith is not shaken because he trusts not only in the existence of God but in God’s provision of comfort, encouragement, strength, and love to see him through the darkest of times.

The brilliant Christian writer C.S. Lewis once wrote that,

Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

Much the same can be said about fear especially when it concerns something that is out of human control like the current struggle with the CCP virus. Fear, like pain, can function to draw us near to God, or we can choose to give in to the ‘fear fever’ and move in panic away from God.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fear

49203379398_b3a2ba72ca_wThere are two different types of fear, one type that is unhealthy and another type that is healthy. The type of fear being expressed in hoarding and panic buying is the unhealthy type that I have been addressing until now.

There is also a healthy type of fear that cautions most people against attempting truly dangerous activities. However, there are those few that do, and indeed feel they must act contrary to such caution and risk even their very lives for a moral and righteous end.

This is seen most often on the battlefield and in places where law enforcement and first responders rush into danger to protect and defend others. In those instances, it could be contended that is is the ‘righteous’ fear for others that overcomes the fear of harm to self.

We have a name for that phenomenon called courage. You see, courage is not the absence of fear, it is rather acting ‘righteously’ in spite of the presence of fear for a good and noble result.

Nowhere is that better exemplified than in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross to pay for humanity’s sin. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, knew that He would suffer and die before He left heaven but also knew that humanity had no chance against the greatest of all maladies, sin, without His sacrifice.

Jesus demonstrated an act of almost unfathomable courage in the face of incredibly fearful circumstances bourne of His unlimited love for humanity. The greatest infection of all is the sinfulness in the human heart.

Sin has a 100% infection rate and left untreated will result in a fate worse than death with 100% certainty. The sole remedy for this is faith in Jesus and His complete atonement for sin.

Jesus put it this way,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 [ESV]

During this period when things are in discord I would urge people to do two things. One, follow the precautions recommended such as ‘social distancing’ and others even if you are in a low-risk group for contracting or dying from CCP virus for the sake of others who might be at risk.

Secondly, and most important is this advice. Take this time of relative isolation to contemplate your life and relationship with the One who gave His life for you.

Take this time to choose to live with faith instead of living in the grip of fear and panic. If you know the LORD Jesus as Savior, choose to live for Him and show others His love. If you don’t know Him, come near in faith for He is waiting with open arms for you.

D.T. Osborn

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

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Jerry Worster’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Hernan Pinera’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Kevin Shorter’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Lluis Ribes Mateu’s Flicker page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

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The Leftist War Against Children Part 1, Abortion on Demand [Video]

abortion, leftismThe 2020 election season in America has thus far demonstrated that not only is there a radical divide between Leftists and conservatives in politics but there exists such a divide in culture as well. Nowhere is that divide more exhibited, nor the contrast so stark as between the Leftist and conservative camps’ views of families and especially their views concerning children.

In the next few articles, we will explore how the Leftist treatment of children is not only the opposite of the conservative view but amounts to an attack on many fronts to the child’s life, identity, and necessary place within a family. The Left is ruthlessly waging war on children in America, and around the globe.

The single most incriminating evidence of this is found in the vast gulf between each camp’s views and actions concerning legalized abortion. A piece of this evidence was on display on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building on March 4, 2020.

Leftist Protest for More Abortion No Matter What 

Inset.1.3.8.2020There is a case currently before the SCOTUS concerning a Louisiana law that requires abortion clinics and personnel to operate with the same standards as other health clinics in the state. This would mean that many abortion clinics would close because neither the clinic conditions or the abortion “doctors” can meet those requirements.

A lively protest by the pro-abortion crowd at the Supreme Court last week was demanding the Court rule this law unconstitutional under Roe v Wade. There was a time not that many years ago when the plea from the “pro-choice” crowd was that abortion should be ” safe, legal, and rare.”

With this protest, the Left has publicly announced that the only part of that three-word phrase remaining is that abortion should be “legal.” ‘Safe’ and ‘rare’ are now less desired than legality when it comes to abortion according to the Left.

Leftist pro-aborts have demonstrated that this is the case with increasing fervor in the last few years. These so-called ‘feminists’ have been arguing in recent times that abortion is not really a necessary evil but is, in fact, a positive moral good!

This argument goes beyond words mouthed by extremist advocates of abortion on demand. Witness the case of abortionist Kermit Gosnell just last year, who before being finally brought to justice was allowed to operate with impunity for decades even though his clinic, his personnel, and his practice was manifestly harmful and even deadly for many women.

What enabled such a predator as Kermit Gosnell to remain in practice for more than 20 years prior to 2010? It was the complicity of left-leaning bureaucrats and elected officials who believe abortion is so sacrosanct that death, injury or sterilization of women is just the cost of defending the ‘right to choose.’ Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder on May 12, 2013, for killing babies, “who authorities say were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his grimy clinic,” He was sentenced the next day to two life terms in prison. He avoided the death penalty by agreeing not to appeal his conviction.

This reveals the Leftist belief that legalized abortion under any conditions no matter how horrible is to be encouraged at all costs. It also means that the humanity of the unborn child is not even to be considered by the “woke” protestors favoring a woman’s so-called “right to choose.”

The devaluation of the child’s life in the abortion procedure is now second-nature among Leftists. In fact, in most cases when one hears the pro-abortion rhetoric tossed out by Leftists today the fact that a human child lives within the womb at whatever stage of gestation is simply ignored.

The Academy and Political Arenas Are Relentlessly Pro-Abortion

11965180126_c8c0a50901_wThere are those in high standing within the academic establishment who will claim that even if the child in the womb is a living human being, he or she can and should be killed if the mother wishes it to be so. Moreover, this is still considered an ethical action if the child happens to survive the abortion attempt and is alive after exiting the womb!

Here is part of an account given by a student at Harvard University in 2010.

I walked into my “Ethics” class the next morning prepared to have my comment on the case be this: “There is no ethical dilemma here.  Dr. Chin did exactly what his professional ethics (not to mention his humanity!) would require him to do—save the baby.  The nurse called him in to be a physician to the new-born child—not because the mother needed care.  He had been summoned for the baby and thus was professionally obligated to help the child.  He did.” …I was stunned by the responses that followed, the essences of which were “HOW DARE the physican treat that baby!” He mentions that during an hour-long discussion there were only three others beside himself who thought it was right to save the baby. 92% of students in an ethics course at the most prestigious University in the nation, perhaps in the world believed the baby should have been left to die. Those students weren’t taught that at Harvard, they already believed it when they got there. They brought those beliefs into the first day of class. The professor himself was with the 92% opinion. He justified letting the child perish, by saying:  “The only thing that matters here is:   Who are the decision makers? …Can the fetus make a decision?”

This horrid philosophy is being manifested at the political level, as was demonstrated by the governor of the state of Virginia just over a year ago. Governor Ralph Northam is the most notorious figure in this matter.

His clear admission that the new bill proposed in his state would allow the killing of a child already born has shocked many. However, that shock wasn’t found within his own party. Truly the unthinkable of past times is being boldly proclaimed as a righteous defense “of women’s rights.” That is how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo characterizes his state’s new abortion till birth law.

Governors are not the sole proponents of such evil. The aforementioned protest in front of the Supreme Court building on March 4th was joined by a very prominent Democrat U.S. Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer who said the following,

Here is an example of a Leftist Democratic politician jumping into the war against children with the intention of visiting death upon them at the start of their lives, and harboring no qualms about announcing his intentions, even going so far as to threaten SCOTUS justices by name. It is evident that Leftism as a whole, culturally, politically, and in practice regard pre-born and even some already-born children as enemies and the more of their blood spilled the better as far as they are concerned.

Yet the battlefield doesn’t stop at the Planned Parenthood clinic doors or the Supreme Court steps. The Leftist war against children is waged on those who survive the abortionist’s knife further into the childhood years as will be discussed in part two.

Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, but the upright are concerned for his life. Proverbs 29:10 [NASB]

Sources: The New American Standard Bible, The Lockman Foundation,1995

Featured and Top image courtesy of Debra Sweet’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of jbdodane’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of GUE/NGL’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

2020 Election Will Feature a Democratic Candidate Who Is Socialist Even if it Isn’t Sanders [Video]

Bernie Sanders, 2020 U.S. Presidential elections

The 2020 American national presidential primary season is in full swing and will continue until the respective political party’s national conventions this summer. The nominee of the GOP is going to be President Trump.

The Democratic nominee is not yet certain, though “Democratic Socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders, a registered Independent from Vermont, is leading at present. However, if he somehow doesn’t get the nomination, the contest will still feature a Socialist, no matter who is chosen to oppose the most successful President in decades and likely fall in ignominious defeat.

Sanders Is the Openly Socialist Candidate 

There is no question that Senator Sanders is openly Socialist, though he thinks to call it “Democratic” somehow conceals his love of the heinous doctrine. He is certainly not shy in his admiration for Communist dictators from his youth to the present day.

Sanders’ well-documented honeymoon in Moscow is just the beginning of many times when he has not simply defended but praised the murderous regimes of Castro, the Soviets, and other tyrannical Socialist regimes. He is at the forefront of the new Democratic party which is now under Socialist control.

The ideas embraced by Sanders are blatantly Socialist and align with the rather radical wing of the Democratic party led by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez [D. NY]. He favors the “Green New Deal,” and his pet programs are “Medicare for All,” and tuition-free college for everyone, and universal government child care, and a guaranteed minimum wage of at least $15.00 an hour, any one of which are astronomically expensive by themselves if implemented. 

Altogether this massive government expansion would transform America into a fiscal wasteland of forced compliance to an increasingly authoritarian regime. However, Sanders is only unique among the Democrats in two ways.

One is that he is openly proposing Socialism. Two is that his proposals are all-encompassing for American society.

Sanders would make the state the provider for all individuals from cradle to grave. President Sanders (shudder the thought) would do as Marxist-Socialists have always done, put all control into the hands of a central government that can then determine virtually everything about your life.

Yet, make no mistake, none of the other Democratic candidates are free from the Socialist virus, and whatever veneer covers their intentions, it will morph into Socialism sooner or later should any of Sanders opponents overtake him for the nomination. The only significant difference between Sanders and any other Democrat contender is whether Socialism comes all at once or somewhat incrementally to become dominant in America if they have their way.

Sanders Is Not the Lone Socialist on the Stage

Democratic Socialism, 2020 electionsMoreover, all of the other Democratic candidates advocate Socialism in some manifestation and any one of those forms would destroy freedom and prosperity in America. The most immediately dangerous of these is the unanimous proclamation of strict gun control even to the extent of disarming the populace.

Everyone in the Democratic debates has proposed violations of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Calling those violations ‘red flag laws,’ and ‘buybacks by the government,’ doesn’t change the fact that they are violations of sacred human rights.

Some might question whether ‘gun control’ is a Socialist policy, but when the history is examined there is no question. Every truly Socialist government has implemented some kind of disarmament of the people, and those that exist today follow that policy as well.

The same is true about the socialization of the American healthcare system. All the Democrats favor some form of nationalized healthcare, even the supposedly ‘Capitalist’ Mike Bloomberg.

Along with the impossible expense of a fully Nationalized healthcare system comes an inevitable reduction of liberty for families and individuals. Bloomberg himself showed this in microcosm with his infamous “soda ban” while he was mayor of New York City.

Not content with the impossibility of providing cradle-to-grave government provision to Americans, all of the Democratic candidates support expanding that to cover all illegal aliens in the country now and allowing virtual open borders to boot. That is one position Sanders himself has radically changed to cater to the new Socialists in charge of the Democrat party.

Socialism in any manner is opposed to anything but the state having the ultimate authority over individuals. Thus its proponents attempt to replace God as provider, as the Democrats are doing and their candidates are proposing, and sooner or later, this will result in severe limitations on religious freedom.

This is true in any system which tries to shoehorn God into His place within the rule of the government. God is sovereign over all, and attempts to displace Him to a subordinate role under the false pretenses of biblical ‘interpretation,’ are evil and will always fail.

All of the Democrats Embrace the Socialist Anti-Life Doctrine 

Inset.2.2.28.2020The most pernicious factor in Socialism is its inherent devaluation of human life while claiming this is necessary because the government wants to preserve life. Total state provision for any life will always mean state control of the existence and length of that life.

This is most evident in the area of ‘healthcare’ advocated by Planned Parenthood, legalized abortion. It is no accident that Planned Parenthood has historically craved government support, especially considering the philosophy of their founder, Margaret Sanger.

Sanger was a proponent of eugenics, a philosophy that places the value of human life according to its usefulness, rather than life having inherent value as sacred to God. Such a philosophy is tailor-made for a socialistic government, and Ms. Sanger, being a racist, favored the NAZI brand of Socialism.

Sanger promoted the goals of eugenics throughout her life, and it led her to associate with truly evil movements such as National Socialism, otherwise known as the Nazi Party. Author George Grant writes,  “Because of her [Sanger’s] Malthusian and Eugenic connections, she had become closely associated with the scientists and theorists who put together Nazi Germany’s ‘race purification’ program. She had openly endorsed the euthanasia, sterilization, abortion, and infanticide programs of the early Reich.

There is one question that will not be asked in any of the Presidential debates by any of the moderators, yet there is no doubt as to what the answer would be from all of the Democrats. If asked whether or not they thought Margaret Sanger was a great woman with great ideas, all of them would say “Yes!”

The more any nation implements socialistic programs, the more individual rights are reigned in until the sovereignty of the state is unquestioned and brutally enforced. This inevitably will envelop the God-given right to life and eliminate that very right.

Whoever the Democratic nominee will be, Socialist policies will be proposed under his or her banner. Should that nominee gain an improbable victory, America’s future will move toward tyranny at an astonishing rate and we will all suffer as a result.

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” Mark 7:8,9 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

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

George Grant – “Grand Illusions, The Legacy of Planned Parenthood,” Wolgemuth and Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1988.

Featured and Top Image courtesy of DonkeyHotey’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Mark’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of American Life League’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

Late Reflections of President’s Day: Rating the Five Worst American Presidents

Presidents DayMost of the reflection done on Presidents’ Day in the United States [not that there is an overabundance of reflection about it] is reserved for contemplating who should be named among the greatest Presidents in our history. Around the 2019 President’s Day holiday, I did that in this journal with my “top ten” greatest Presidents.

Before moving on to the somewhat different presidential category that is the subject of this article, I want to reiterate that the current President, Donald John Trump, is not eligible for inclusion in any ranking at present simply because current office-holders are ineligible. It is better to include the entirety of presidential tenure before making any decision about that person’s performance as President.

It is also prudent to wait a substantial amount of time after a former President is out of the office to render an informed opinion from a historical perspective. Thus, former President Obama is not in consideration for this list, just as he was not considered for my list last year.

This election year of 2020 also brought to mind that very few people give indications of who should be considered among the worst of all the American Presidents. It is impossible to make any judgments that are devoid of emotion and at least partial subjectivity.

However, to lessen the effects of such subjective judgments, there are some rules that need to be set forth to determine how a President arrives at the ranking of one of the worst. Here are some criteria that should apply for consideration as a terrible Chief Executive.

What Makes a Horrible President?

There have been 45 U.S. Presidents in history. Most of those have performed at acceptable levels and haven’t been very bad or exceptionally good.

However, in some ways picking the worst Presidents is much more difficult than choosing the greatest ones. The question is how many Presidents have damaged the nation significantly enough to warrant inclusion as one of the worst ever.

I decided to use the same qualifications as were used for determining presidential greatness in last year’s article with the emphasis upon how these individuals failed to meet those standards. These are the inability to meet a national challenge, their incompetence as President, and/or their infidelity to the Constitution.

It should be noted that these are not meant to measure any level of scandal in a particular administration, as some kind of scandal can be attributed to almost every President who has ever occupied the White House. Scandals exist in many ways solely in the eye of the beholder, and the presence of one or two, while not desirable, should not brand someone as a horrible Commander in Chief.

Rather, it should be their actual accomplishments, for good or ill, that determine presidential rankings. Therefore, for your consideration here is a list of who I believe are the five worst Presidents of the “land of the free and the home of the brave” in history.

5. Millard Fillmore – 13th President, 1850-1853

President's DayIt is rare that a President is so bad that the party which selected him perishes shortly afterward. Fillmore was the last President affiliated with the Whig Party and that political group disbanded largely as a result of Fillmore’s support and signing of the “Compromise of 1850,” which strengthened the old “Fugitive Slave Act.”

The demand from the South for more effective legislation resulted in enactment of a second Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. Under this law fugitives could not testify on their own behalf, nor were they permitted a trial by jury. …Attempts to carry into effect the law of 1850 aroused much bitterness and probably had as much to do with inciting sectional hostility as did the controversy over slavery in the territories.

Though this action stalled the start of the Civil War for over a decade, it also served to increase the tensions between the Northern and Southern states and began a course that ensured armed conflict would be the only remaining solution to the slavery question. The hope that the Founding Fathers held onto that slavery would peacefully fade away as the nation matured was lost for good because of the “Compromise of 1850,” and that marks the Fillmore presidency as the fifth-worst in American history.

4. Andrew Johnson – 17th President, 1865-1868

President's Day 2020America was reminded of the most familiar and infamous fact about President Andrew Johnson after enduring the sham impeachment effort aimed at current President Trump. Johnson became the first Chief Executive to be impeached by the House of Representatives and missed being removed by one vote in the Senate.

Whether or not the impeachment was warranted, Johnson was certainly a very ineffective President because he tried to please everyone on both sides of the issue of slavery immediately after the Civil War. For example, while in Congress,

Johnson supported the Fugitive Slave Act and the right to own slaves. However, when states started to secede from the Union in 1861, Johnson was the only southern senator who did not agree.

Johnson became President upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and carried his politics into the Reconstruction era with terrible results. This places Andrew Johnson at the fourth-worst President in our history.

3. Lyndon B. Johnson – 36th President, 1963-1968

President's Day 2020I am courting some opposition with the choice of Lyndon B. Johnson as one of our worst Presidents ever. The reason this choice is controversial is that LBJ, as he was popularly known, racked up a list of accomplishments that many would see as very positive for America.

After all, LBJ signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that recognized the legal rights of blacks and other minorities. However, it wasn’t LBJ who originally pushed for these, and actions he did take through the rest of his presidency erased much of the good that resulted from the Civil Rights victories.

For one thing, LBJ seriously mishandled the Vietnam War and allowed the press and the protesters at home to determine policies for the battlefield. However, it was his “Great Society” program used to conduct a self-declared “war on poverty” that has caused incredible carnage in America for the last half-century.

The efforts championed by LBJ essentially subsidized poverty by creating a welfare state, as well as the gigantic entitlements of Medicare and Medicaid, and as basic economics tells us, anything which is subsidized grows larger. The welfare state mentality has crippled large urban areas in America for over 50 years and mired minorities in high unemployment and terrible poverty because of the results of LBJ’s efforts.

The situation with federal and state government entitlements is the single most significant and ignored portion of our astounding amount of national debt. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are the three largest portions of the unfunded liabilities of the government, and those three together total more than 50 trillion dollars and make the true total of our national debt, almost 130 trillion dollars, all begun with LBJ’s actions earning him the title of third-worst President.

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt – 32nd President, 1932-1945

President's DayIf choosing LBJ as one of the worst Presidents was controversial, choosing FDR as the second-worst is going about as far out on a limb as one could go. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is as close to a Leftist deity as can be imagined, and he is the GOAT [Greatest Of All Time] of the Democratic Party rivaled perhaps only by another three-letter Dem, JFK.

It has been said that his policies successfully led America through two great crises of the time, the Great Depression and World War II. However, there are others who would rightfully contend that what FDR’s actions really did was make these crises worse than they should have been all along.

His “New Deal” programs actually lengthened the Great Depression and it wasn’t until World War II that the nation began to recover economically.

As the state sector drained the private sector, controlling it in alarming detail, the economy continued to wallow in depression. The combined impact of Herbert Hoover’s and Roosevelt’s interventions meant that the market was never allowed to correct itself. Far from having gotten us out of the Depression, FDR prolonged and deepened it, and brought unnecessary suffering to millions.

During World War II, the domestic policy of FDR was nothing short of heinous. The infamous Japanese Internment camps created by FDR’s executive order forcibly “relocated” people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were born in America, into government camps farther inland and in remote areas.

One of the most stunning ironies in this episode of American civil liberties was articulated by an internee who, when told that the Japanese were put in those camps for their own protection, countered “If we were put there for our protection, why were the guns at the guard towers pointed inward, instead of outward?”

The final rather dubious accomplishment of FDR’s reign was the creation of the United Nations after WWII. The legacy of this Leftist dream is the epitome of the old saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” and has been covered by this journal in more detail in a three-part series from 2017.

This leads us to the President who was essentially FDR’s unseen mentor and began the efforts to steer America toward Socialism, Woodrow Wilson.

1. Woodrow Wilson – 28th President, 1913-1921

President's Day 2020During the eight years of the presidency of Thomas Woodrow Wilson, he accomplished an amazing amount of changes in the American landscape, and the vast majority of it was detrimental and produced negative consequences we are still wrestling with today, a century later.

The two most influential and destructive domestic economic programs Wilson was involved with were the creation of the Federal Reserve and the IRS. The Federal Reserve was created essentially to serve as a nationalized Bank of the United States and has dramatically changed our economics in an unstable direction as a result.

The single most destructive measure during Wilson’s tenure was his implementation of the progressive income tax system in America. This created the Internal Revenue Service that has fed the insatiable maw of federal government spending that has brought America to the atrocious and dangerous levels we see today.

It is even more troubling that the IRS was granted a power that no other government agency enjoyed up till then in that its regulations were given the force of federal law to be used against the taxpayers of America. This means that the IRS is empowered to enforce its rules as if they were laws, even though these are not technically laws under the Constitution.

That power has been used to severely limit constitutional freedoms, greatly assist in the destruction of the American family, assert the authority of the government over individual liberty, and provide unprecedented enablement of government corruption since its inception. This renders the progressive income tax system in America antithetical to the Constitutional premise of no taxation without representation and amounts to legalized theft.

Wilson was also a noted racist who enforced his wishes by resegregating the U.S. military and the federal government. Though he has been a darling of Leftists for his progressive policies, his racism has also been rebuked by others of a leftist bent.

Wilson was a bigot who sanctioned official segregation in Washington, D.C., say critics on the left. He used America’s entry into World War I as a rationale for crushing civil liberties. He was autocratic.

His sanction of bigotry and enforcement of blatant racist policies at the federal level set race relations back decades at a time when Americans were beginning to come together in all areas of society without regard for race. He essentially put his stamp of approval on the “Jim Crow” laws throughout the South and emboldened groups like the Klu Klux Klan to perpetuate racism.

What made Wilson more sinister than other Presidents was his open disdain of the Constitution and the form of government enshrined in America. He believed that America had essentially out-grown the Constitution and a much more centralized government system was necessary for the 20th century.

Wilson contended that a system of government established in the late 1700s for a smaller, sparsely populated country had become inadequate in a world of industrialization, immigration, international tensions and other developments the founders couldn’t have foreseen. Government therefore had to adapt. …He deplored the way the branches of government checkmated each other to stall progress—or what he saw as progress…

Woodrow Wilson set America on the road toward today’s ‘Democratic Socialists’ who are democratic in name only, and believe the American political system should be overturned and a Socialist system should be established. He has certainly earned the ranking of America’s worst President ever.

Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute? Psalm 94:20 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

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

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Robert Couse Baker’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Tina Saey’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Opus Penguin’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of David’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of FDR Presidential Library’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 5 courtesy of Jared Enos’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

Socialism Has Been and Will Always Be an Evil Failure [Video]

Socialism Has Been and Will Always Be an Evil Failure [Video]There is an incorrect assumption fervently adhered to by the Socialist Left idealists of the world. Simply stated, they believe that the principles of Socialism would work, regardless of the historical record, if only the right people of principle would implement it.

However disillusioning this may be to such idealists, that is false. Socialism has never succeeded and will never succeed as a form of governance because the system itself is evil and fatally flawed.

Socialism is Fatally Flawed by False Promises

Socialism, CapitalismThere are two fundamental promises of Socialism that are demonstrably false. They form the premises of a pro-socialist argument.

A lesson from rational thought that when the premise of an argument is false, the argument itself is invalid and false.

To clarify any misunderstanding, I use the word “argument” meaning the reasonable appeal someone would make for accepting their claims as true. It doesn’t refer to an argument as in a hostile and angry exchange.

The first false promise is that through Socialism the government will make all things in life free and make all people economically equally well off. Fulfilling that promise is not within the realm of possibility.

There is an old wise epithet that rebukes this promise of Socialism, ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch.’ Socialism promises the government will provide whatever is needed or desired for the lives of everyone at no cost.

It has always failed to do that because the promise itself is not humanly possible to fulfill. The effort required to achieve the ‘ideal’ Socialist society is beyond our powers.

To understand why, we need to examine the meaning of Socialism apart from the emotional appeals made to a false “fairness and equality,” idealism. It must be examined as it is defined in as plain and rational a manner as possible.

The multiple definitions of Socialism in various dictionaries do not equally apply to Socialism on a governmental scale. According to Merriam-Webster online, Socialism means,

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

This is an excellent and comprehensive definition of Socialism as separate systems, each of which are represented in modern society. The shortest definition listed is the one favored by advocates of Socialism within the ‘Christian’ community.

The Leftward Church and their Justification for Socialism

There are those within the ‘Christian’ churches who latch onto Socialism because they latch onto definition number “2a,” which bears a resemblance to the early Church described at the conclusion of Acts chapter 2.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 [ESV]

Socialism, Bernie SandersThis journal has delved into the influence of the Left upon the modern mainstream churches in greater detail in previous articles. Leftism today, inside or outside of those churches, has lost any veneer they once had to disguise their blatant Socialism.

As with Socialism in any human incarnation, the Leftward Church picks and chooses the truth to suit their evil end goal. This is what happens when the Word of God is used to justify their phony claims, as is done with this passage in Acts.

However, that interpretive game doesn’t work in this case either, because the Leftist apologists conveniently ignore the context of the passage. The first and most obvious context is that this was a case of God’s intervention directly through the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Outside of an explicitly Spirit immersed Christian fellowship, this is impossible to accomplish in human society, even with a relatively small group of people. Which brings to mind the second contextual parameter, the method necessary to distribute the proceeds of all the donations was a central body of individuals, in this case, the Apostles.

This factor limits the growth of any Socialist group to a small number of people, and this was demonstrated later in Acts when the group grew past 5,000 men and their families. Following the martyrdom of Stephen in chapter 7, the persecution against the first Church increased beginning in chapter 8.

And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.  Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Acts 8:1-3 [ESV]

Saul later became the great evangelist Apostle Paul, who helped bring Christianity to the ends of the Roman Empire, and wrote more than half of the New Testament. The church in Jerusalem had grown to the point that a Socialist system, even with the administration of the Apostles, would inevitably invite greed and sloth and a sense of self-sufficiency that would work against the spread of the gospel to the world.

Incidentally, this factor also mitigates against the mega-church sizes of today, but that is a different article. Suffice it to say that even a heavenly-influenced fellowship needs to realize that utopian visions of society are reserved by God for the fellowship in heaven and the New Earth to come, and were never meant to exist upon this earth.

However, the Socialist Left today is not interested in religion except as it might serve their malevolent interests in the system. They are far more concerned with the aspect of implementing central government control of individual lives.

Unfortunately for their argument, this method exacts a larger cost than any other at the scale of a national government. It cannot take care of anyone without exerting fascistic control over their individual lives, and the provision even in those conditions is pitiful.

Socialism Is Not Free in Any Way

Socialism, Bernie SandersThe second false premise of Socialism is that the government can provide for all and do so with no real “cost.” That is not true economically, experientially or spiritually.

The economic costs of a Socialist society obliterate whatever perceived benefits provided in such a society. The lone economic benefit of Socialism is thought to be that the costs of providing equally for the needs of a society are also shared by everyone in society.

However, that so-called benefit is subject to the control of the central government in Socialism for every individual’s income is determined by the state for distribution by the state. In a truly Socialist society, everyone works for the central government, and each person must adapt to a certain level of income and position as doled out by the government.

Economically, this system is unsatisfying to the workers, and never provides enough revenue to cover the normal expenses incurred within the nation’s society. It is also detrimental to life experientially for everyone except the ruling authorities.

Total control of economic production also makes the control of individual lives necessary. Rationing of goods and services will eventually be practiced anytime a fully Socialist model is in place.

For example, universal ‘free’ health care suffers from this inevitable circumstance because the government pays the care providers a basic stipend to cover salary and supplies. This means care is rationed out according to government priorities including the physician’s time and the treatments available.

The results of rationing mean waiting times for serious treatments become longer and longer, as has been seen with the American health care system under the Veterans Administration. The new changes from President Trump have helped alleviate this by allowing physicians outside of the VA to be chosen by veterans if needed.

The final way that Socialism fails is in the provision of the human soul and spirit. Socialism fails here, and in reality in every way, for one very large reason that most critics of the system fail to recognize; the fact that Socialism claims territory reserved for God in human affairs.

To illustrate this, take the example of present-day China and how that Communist nation handles the religious needs of its people. A “Christian” religion of sorts is permitted in China, but with very serious restrictions added so that the attendees are continually reminded that ultimate loyalty goes to the state and not to God.

This is true in any system which tries to shoehorn God into His place within the rule of the government. God is sovereign over all, and attempts to displace Him to a subordinate role under the false pretenses of biblical ‘interpretation,’ are evil and will always fail.

President Trump has noted this particular aspect of human nature that has been incorporated into America’s national heart from the very beginning. He has said on several occasions that,

…in America we don’t worship government, we worship God.

This is the primary cause of the rise of various “underground church” movements within places like China growing in tremendous numbers despite all efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to stamp them out. Socialism can never provide for anything other than a poor and bleak existence for the “masses” in society.

Socialism Cannot Escape the Verdict of History

Former President Obama meets with former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez in 2009

The third very significant false promise of Socialism is the promise that this time, it will be immune from its history. It is hoped that if the right people are implementing it, Socialism will work regardless of its 100% rate of historic failures wherever it has been ‘tried.’

Incidentally, the use of the words Socialism and Communism as basically interchangeable terms is not accidental or inaccurate. I agree with the late Vladimir Lenin when he said,

The goal of socialism is communism.

Therefore, any system which names Socialism as a part of the system is doomed to eventually become Communist in operation if not in name. The most recent example of a nation falling apart under Socialism is the case of Venezuela.

Venezuela was once the envy of South America and the wealthiest nation on that continent. The wealth was amassed because of the gargantuan oil reserves within Venezuela and made the nation a powerful and prosperous country in the later years of the 20th century.

This level of prosperity was erased in just over two decades and Venezuela was plunged into a hell on earth for its citizens while making the late dictator Hugo Chavez and his family incredibly rich at the same time. In fact, as the following video notes, the daughter of the dictator left the country with a personal worth of 4 billion dollars, while the people succumbed to the fatal infection of Socialism!

Chavez has passed on but his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, is every bit the tyrannical Socialist dictator Chavez had been. Moreover, that is the historical pattern of all nations that have gone all-in for Socialism as their method of governance.

The historical record of truly Socialist countries is one of death, deprivation, and tyranny.

Together with Germany’s National Socialism, the Communist Socialists such as the old USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and Communist China have racked up a body count of over 150 million people!

But …What About Sweden?

One of the modern objections to this is to cite the record of pseudo-socialist countries in Scandinavia, such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. This is one of the favorite talking points of the Left, and especially from the self-declared “Democratic Socialist” presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders [I-VT].

Since these nations seem to be doing well while providing things such as a Socialist model for health care, something along the lines of Sanders’ proposed “Medicare for all” plan should do fine in America. However, a closer examination of the facts puts that lie to rest.

How do these nations pay for the government services they provide, and how good are those services? First, the tax rates and structure are far different than those in America.

The various Scandinavian countries tax individuals at very high rates which are also flat rates. Thus in Sweden, the marginal income tax and payroll tax rates are 56.9% for everyone earning 1.5 times the national average of income.

Contrast that with America where we have a ‘progressive’ income tax which increases as income levels rise. The top marginal income tax rate is now 37% but doesn’t kick in until someone is making 8.5 times the national income average.

Socialism, Bernie Sanders, Capitalism, President TrumpMoreover, Scandinavian systems also charge a tax that is non-existent in America, a VAT, or Value Added Tax, on its businesses that is passed down to the consumer. A VAT is a system that taxes businesses at various stages of production which they must add in as a part of the product cost to the consumer.

This is a very efficient way to raise revenue quickly for the government, however, it has a serious drawback.

many …see VATs as a regressive tax because they fall more on those that spend a larger share of their income, mainly the poor.

These are various Socialist tactics that increase the economic burden of individuals. Conversely, at least until recently, the corporate tax rates and structure have been lower in Scandinavian countries than in the United States, thus favoring a Capitalist model.

In 2015, the highest corporate tax rate among Scandinavian nations was found in Norway, who taxed businesses at 27% of income. At that time the United States had a 39.1% corporate tax rate, which made Norway a far more attractive place to do business and made its policies more Capitalist than Socialist.

The only way for a Socialist model to survive is with very high individual taxes and a stream of income brought in from outside of the system. That is what is happening in Scandinavia, along with the fact that these nations use little or none of their budgets for defense spending.

Thanks to the tax cuts under President Trump, America has lowered its corporate tax rates below the levels of any Scandinavian country. In fact, we have gone from the third-highest corporate tax rate in the world to the 83rd-highest rate, and among the very lowest of large industrialized nations worldwide.

The results of those very Capitalist policies in America have proven wildly successful as the business arena has seen outstanding growth reflected by record levels of unemployment in every area. As has been seen in this brief review, Socialism can only boast of failure and will never be anything but evil and a failed government system with ruinous results for the citizens under its sway.

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

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

Featured and Top Image courtesy of James Mitchell’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Ivy Dawned’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of katerkate’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Joe Wolf’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of vaXzine’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 5 courtesy of Charles Fettinger’s  Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

The Best State of The Union Speech Ever Given [Video]

47843103822_e9a7043063_kOn February 4, 2020, I listened to the best State of the Union address ever given by a President of the United States of America. It was so exceptional that I did something I never do; I listened to the speech again.

The speech itself began with a notable moment of enthusiasm from the Republican contingent in the House chamber who chanted “Four more years,” for about 30 seconds before the President even began speaking. One might have thought this would be a rare highlight during a speech that is traditionally lengthy and boring.

However, as President Trump began speaking it soon became clear that there were many more significant highlights to follow. The theme of his speech was “the great American comeback,” and he provided more than enough substance to justify adopting this theme.

America’s Comeback to Greatness and More

President Trump’s introduction was a sweeping view of all that has been accomplished for the betterment of America under his leadership, beginning with the economic boom resulting from his policies, the rebuilding of America’s military, and the successful efforts to secure our borders. He then pronounced that the “State of our union is stronger than ever before.”

Trump, State of the UnionThere are those among Americans who may have assumed that the President was engaging in hyperbole with that statement. However, any fair-minded individual, friend or foe of the President, was going to be treated to a solid and enthusiastic defense of his characterization of the state of America’s union.

President Trump moved seamlessly from one topic to another in a tour-de-force of American optimism backed by actual results in measurable terms that came because of specific policies he enacted as the Chief Executive. In terms of economics, he cited the results of job growth that hasn’t been seen in over 50 years, as well as historic lows in the unemployment rate in every category!

He tied those gains directly to the massive tax-cuts and the unprecedented de-regulation of his administration with surgical precision and pride in American accomplishment. The pattern was repeated with every subject from the rebuilding of the military through a historic investment, which enabled the destruction of ISIS and removal from the earth the two terrorists Al Baghdadi and Soleimani, to the measurable improvements in health care and the new price transparency laws for the medical industry.

There wasn’t a single arena of important public policy that the President didn’t address in the speech. Immigration, education, religious freedom, foreign policy, trade, the 2nd Amendment, and more were all addressed from a common-sense, results-based Conservative philosophy.

Moreover, the President showed that by fulfilling the promises he made in the campaign on these kinds of issues, there has been a large measurable improvement in every area. His resume is impeccable, and he made a dynamic case for re-election in November.

However, that wasn’t what vaulted this speech to the best SOTU I’ve ever heard. It was rather the extraordinary personal stories attached to the achievements so effectively throughout Trump’s address that convinced me in the end.

The Personal, Life-Changing Stories Moved the Heart

Throughout the speech, the President presented special guests whose personal stories reflected the success of his vision for making and keeping America a great, no, the greatest of nations. For instance, President Trump honored exceptional service and patriotism with two military and one civilian who were his guests.

Tuskegee Airmen, State of the UnionThe youngest of this trio was Army veteran Tony Rankins, who was the beneficiary of economic “opportunity zones” provided by Trump’s policies in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was formerly living a life of drug addiction, losing his family and homelessness, but through found a construction company investing in “opportunity zones,” and is now a tradesman with that firm, drug-free and reunited with his family.

Later the President introduced Iain Lamphier, a young man who is the top graduate of the Aerospace Career Education Program and desires to one-day attend the U.S. Air Force Academy and become of member of the newest outgrowth of the Air Force, the “Space Force,” created by Trump.

Then he introduced the lad’s great grandfather who is 100 years old, a World War II veteran, and former member of the famed Tuskegee Airman, a historic all-black squadron of pilots during the war. To further honor Charles McGee, already the recipient of multiple military honors, the President announced that he had earlier promoted McGee to Brigadier General and he has now retired as General McGee.

The third special honoree of President Trump was a civilian who was completely surprised by being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the speech. It is the highest civilian award given in America and the man who received it has been most responsible for the entire resurrection of the conservative movement in our time, beginning as a lone voice 32 years ago.

Rush Limbaugh is the greatest pioneer in modern radio broadcasting and has been the most influential spokesman for liberty and conservative thought for more than three decades. In this brief video clip, the President makes the announcement of this award, and why he is doing the presentation at that time.

While watching this presentation, I was genuinely touched because of the influence of Rush upon me since I first heard him. I began listening to this man shortly after he was syndicated on national radio and I was instantly hooked by his wisdom and humor, as were millions of others, and conservative talk radio was reborn.

Rush’s reaction was one of genuine shock melting into humble gratitude and joy for being so honored. He had announced being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer the day before on his program and now received both an honor and a great encouragement from the President. It was one of a series of wonderful moments featured in Trump’s address.

In addition, the President showed support for the struggle against tyranny in Venezuela by featuring the newly-elected President in exile, Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition to Socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro. He touted his pro-life stance by introducing a woman and her daughter who was born pre-mature at an almost unheard of 21 weeks and is now a healthy two-year-old child and announcing a grant of 50 million dollars for advanced neo-natal research on her behalf.

President Trump highlighted his policy of expanded school choice in education with the story of a young woman who would now be allowed to attend the school of her choice due to an “opportunity scholarship,” provided by his program. And in another especially touching moment, he reunited a soldier who had been deployed to Afghanistan four times with his wife and children who were special guests of the President.

The Speech Effectively Showed Failures of the Political Left and Highlighted the Solutions

The President effectively showed the policy failures of the Democrats and contrasted them with his successful solutions throughout the speech. One of the most effective demonstrations pointed out that the drop of over 75% in illegal border crossings since May of 2019 was partly due to the bravery and service of the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE officers.

Sanctuary cities, State of the UnionHe went on to show that with the old “catch and release” policies of the Obama administration, which he ended, and the current policies of “sanctuary cities” and even “sanctuary states,” criminals pose real threats and cause real harm to American citizens. The President told the story of one criminal illegal alien who was detained by California sheriffs and then released per the state’s sanctuary laws in December of 2018.

This criminal went on a crime spree a couple of days later in which three people were shot, and one died as a result with the criminal firing eight bullets into his body. President Trump featured one of the grieving brothers, Jody Jones, as his guest and had him stand to lengthy applause.

President Trump then mentioned that Senator Thom Tillis [R-NC] who had just introduced legislation that would allow individuals and families such as the Jones family to sue sanctuary cities and states for losses if family members are hurt or killed as a result of those policies.

In much the same manner, when introducing the mother whose child had survived premature birth at 21 weeks, the President took the Democrats to task for their support of abortion until the point of birth, and in some cases beyond the time of birth.

On issue after issue, it became clear throughout the SOTU presentation that the Trump presidency was delivering sensational results, and that the policies advocated by the Left had failed before and promised only failure in the future.

President Trump Cast a Strong Vision for a Stronger America Going Forward

President Trump isn’t one to rest in his past accomplishments, and in this speech laid out concrete actions that are already ongoing or proposed to make an even stronger America possible in the future. For example, he is laboring to put into place a revamped system of immigration based on merit so that America will be attracting those persons who can contribute to the benefit of the nation and not become a perpetual burden on the taxpayer.

Inset.4.2.7.2020On the front of judicial court appointments, the President highlighted the incredible success already achieved by confirming almost 200 judges to the federal bench, including two Supreme Court Justices that are constitutionalists. His goal is to continue that trend and return the courts to their Constitutional roots insuring a stronger republic in the future.

At another point in the address, President Trump asked Congress to support a new program called “Artemis” and put America at the forefront of new space exploration. He called it “America’s manifest destiny in the stars,” and plans are to put the first woman on the moon and become the first nation to plant our flag on Mars!

Moreover, the President did not mention something almost everyone thought he would mention, the sham impeachment process. On the eve of a vote in the Senate to possibly remove him from office, President Trump ignored the failed sham and exuded stern confidence that was its own rebuke of the phony process born of the Left’s vindictive heart.

Finally, I must mention that the President touted new efforts in his administration to protect religious liberty in public education. Trump announced the plan in January of this year.

The White House said the plan is to “help safeguard students’ rights by giving education providers and students the most current information concerning prayer in public schools.” …The Education Department also will update 2003 guidance regarding prayer in public schools and streamline a federal complaint process for students alleging discrimination by authorities. …Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for First Liberty, was at the White House for the announcement along with clients Hannah Allen and former football coach Joe Kennedy. “We commend President Trump for his strong efforts to protect America’s first freedom – religious freedom,” he said. “These revisions to the Guidelines on Prayer and Religious Expression ensure that the religious liberty of students in public schools is protected.”

This effort has the potential to shape a new generation in faith and morality and produce results that tend toward a more civil and righteous society in America. That is a future that can only enhance America’s greatness as a people by elevating our goodness as a people.

Much more was packed into this ‘triumph deluxe’ than I can relate in this writing. However, the future under a renewed President Trump and a second term promise to unleash the almost unlimited potential for an even greater and stronger America going forward.

Any American with a heart to see the nation stronger and more prosperous could not help but be encouraged by the speech. The President’s address was a spectacular reminder of what our nation has already accomplished under his leadership, with God’s help, how the future is bright and beckoning us to new heights of greatness as the world’s firebrand of freedom.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

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

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Brian Copeland’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Gilbert Mercier’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of sea turtle’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Steve Rhodes‘ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Mike Lawrence’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

Time for Roe v Wade to Go Away [Video]

Abortion, Roe v WadeJanuary 22, 2020, was the 47th anniversary of the infamous United States Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision which granted the federal government’s imprimatur to abortion on demand as a newly ‘created right’ suddenly discovered hidden within the U.S. Constitution.

Since that horrible decision, over 60 million babies have been aborted in America. The devastation extends to the millions of mothers who are damaged physically and emotionally, many of whom die themselves as a result of abortion.

Friday, January 24, 2020, was the annual National March for Life in Washington DC. President Donald J Trump made history at that event by becoming the first president to address the March in person.

The March for Life began in response to the demonic debacle of Roe v Wade one year after the SCOTUS decision. 46 years later, the 45th President of the United States cements himself firmly as the most pro-life president since one became needed in January of 1973.

It All Began with “Penumbras” and “Emanations”

Roe v Wade began in Texas when a woman under the pseudonym ‘Jane Roe’ brought suit against Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade challenging legal restrictions on abortion as a violation of her constitutional rights. The final decision in favor of Roe was by a 7 to 2 vote of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The decision itself was based in a right to ‘privacy’ which was magically discovered in the U.S. Constitution after almost 200 years of looking for it to appear. In a previous case, Griswold v Connecticut the precedent of the privacy ‘right’ was established in 1965.

The legal precedent for the decision was rooted in the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, which established the right to privacy involving medical procedures.

Supreme Court, Roe v WadeThe justification for the Griswold decision, which created a new ‘right’ for artificial contraception [read, birth control pills] was also used in deciding Roe. One must bear in mind that the Supreme Court at that time was dominated by ‘progressive’ justices who favored treating the Constitution as something ‘living’ which must change to suit the times, rather than a constitutional originalist who believes the court should make judgments based on the actual text of the Constitution.

The whole thing was based on the “right to privacy,” which is not spelled out in the Constitution. Instead, it comes from Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which stated: “…specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. …

Examine for a moment the definitions of these two critical words, “penumbras” and “emanations.” “Penumbra” is first defined by dictionary.com as a term used in Astronomy.

“the partial or imperfect shadow outside the complete shadow of an opaque body, as a planet” or “the grayish marginal portion of a sunspot.”

A second common meaning for penumbra is also provided on the site.

a shadowy, indefinite, or marginal area.

The word “emanation” is defined as something that “emanates,” so to understand the term we must look at the word “emanate.” “Emanate” is a verb which means;

to flow out, issue, or proceed, as from a source or origin; come forth; originate.

What the SCOTUS claimed in the Roe decision was that some shadowy or indefinite area somehow arises from the text of the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments that automatically grants a previously unknown human ‘right’ to end the life of a newly formed human being while still in the womb of the mother. In fact, some political leaders have suggested this killing time extend to after the child is out of the womb, as Virginia governor Ralph Northam did last year.

What the SCOTUS actually did with this terrible decision was to judicially amend or change the Constitution, which is on its face an unconstitutional act! The sole method for changing the Constitution is provided in the document itself through the passing of Amendments by very specific means that do not include changes by the courts.

And they did this on the basis of an indefinite and shadowy message invisibly rising from the Constitution? That is some seriously horrible judgment from the highest “Justices” in the land in 1973.

Roe v Wade is Horribly Bad ‘Law’

Roe v WadeI am far from a legal expert, as I have stated on many occasions. However, I am also not alone in my opinion of Roe among some others who are exceptional legal experts, including other Supreme Court Justices.

Among the legal scholars who have roundly criticized the Court’s ruling in Roe as not being grounded in the U.S. Constitution are the following:
Six justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, unfortunately not simultaneously seated – White, Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy3 and O’Connor4;

  • Virtually every recognized constitutional scholar who has published a book or article on Roe – including many, like Harvard’s Laurence Tribe, who support Roe’s outcome on other grounds (although he’s switched grounds over the years).5 Yale Law School professor John Hart Ely spoke for many when he stated: Roe v. Wade “is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be”;6

Perhaps the most forceful and persuasive legal objections to the Roe decision came from an interesting, and somewhat conflicted source, a man named Edward Lazarus. He was the law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun who wrote the decision. He states,

What, exactly, is the problem with Roe? The problem, I believe, is that it has little connection to the Constitutional right it purportedly interpreted. A constitutional right to privacy broad enough to include abortion has no meaningful foundation in constitutional text, history, or precedent. …The proof of Roe’s failings comes not from the writings of those unsympathetic to women’s rights, but from the decision itself and the friends who have tried to sustain it. Justice Blackmun’s opinion provides essentially no reasoning in support of its holding. And in the almost 30 years since Roe’s announcement, no one has produced a convincing defense of Roe on its own terms.7

When your own law clerk, who admits he thought of Blackmun as “a grandfather,” says stridently and clearly that the triumph of your career was a legal fantasy, it is indeed a savage critique. However, it gets even worse when the fact that Roe was based on a series of lies is considered.

The case was put forth as a lie from the very start, which facilitated other lies in order for Roe to be compelling enough to succeed.

The main lie was that an abortion was needed for Roe (whom we later learned was Norma McCorvey) because she was supposedly gang-raped. But that was not true. McCorvey just wanted an abortion, and her attorney falsely promised to help her get one, knowing full well it could not happen in time (since cases that go up to the Supreme Court take time to adjudicate). Another lie was the number of women who supposedly died in America because of illegal abortions. Abortionist Bernard Nathanson told the media that each year about 10,000 women died from illegal abortions. He later admitted that he made the number up from thin air, but a willing media reported it as if it were gospel truth. In 1972, the last year before Roe, the CDC reports that 39 women died from illegal abortions in America. That may be 39 too many, but it’s a far cry from 10,000. Thankfully, both McCorvey and Nathanson became pro-life Christians and came to strongly oppose abortion.

The trouble with such unprecedented tampering with the Constitution motivated by ideology and empowered by lies is the fact that the consequences in society are bound to render unprecedented destruction as well. Roe v Wade has reeked monumentally unprecedented and staggering societal damage in America and beyond since its inception.

The Staggering Societal Devastation of Roe v Wade

Roe v WadeThe first and most obvious devastation as a result of Roe is evidenced by the enormous body count left in its wake. Over 60 million human beings have been slaughtered in America’s abortion mills in 47 years.

The total deaths resulting from Roe dwarf all the deaths of Americans in every war in our history, which amounts to just over 1.3 million who have lost their lives in our nation’s wars and military conflicts. However, this story goes beyond the body count of babies destroyed as a consequence of Roe.

The fact is that Roe did not legalize abortion without restriction past the first three months of pregnancy. States were allowed to place some restrictions on abortion after that first trimester period.

The restrictions were allowed in cases of ‘extreme’ circumstances, such as a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or that continuing the pregnancy would pose a threat to the life or health of the mother. These were impotent to stop the flood of abortions which came about in the wake of the SCOTUS decision principally because of the open-ended interpretation of what constituted a threat to the life or health of the mother.

There are not one but two victims of the legalized abortion Roe provides. The second victim is the mother who is most often coerced into their abortions by those closest to her, such as boyfriends, parents and even clergy in some cases.

Moreover, there are some horror stories told by women who were physically forced into an abortion after expressing doubts about going through with the procedure.

Muriel Ramos moved in 1980 to Florida, where she met her future fiancé. When they moved in together, she became pregnant even though she was on the pill. When she went back to the clinic that gave her the pill, employees told her “Oh, you need to have an abortion because your baby’s going to be deformed, you were taking the pill.” Both she and her fiancé were scared, she remembered, and he “dropped me off one day to have the abortion.” She went into the waiting room and recalled the other women who tried to reassure her. “One said to me, ‘Oh, don’t worry, this is my second time. Don’t be afraid.’ Another said, ‘It’s my third time,’” she said. “All of a sudden it hit me what I was doing, and I went to the receptionist and asked to use the phone” to call her fiancé to go home. When she revealed she had changed her mind, the receptionist “got mad,” moved her into another room, and advised that “everybody has their doubts.” After Ramos protested again, a woman put an IV in her arm and the doctor entered the room. “By this time I was crying,” she remembered, but still the “doctor ignored my pleas” and instead  “nodded to the lady that had put the IV in, like, ‘up it.’” “The next thing I knew, it was over and I had woken up,” she said. Afterwards, that same lady appeared saying, “It’s time for juice and cookies. Now you can get on with your life.” Ramos said she got an infection from the abortion and suffered from an autoimmune disease as well as fertility problems. She also had five miscarriages.

The evil results of Roe run deeper than even these kinds of stories, of which there are thousands of examples that represent a far larger amount of women devastated by abortion. There are many stunning examples of demonic depravity afoot within the world of legalized abortion in America demonstrated by people such as Kermit Gosnell,

Perhaps most revealing about the real attitude of the Left concerning women’s health is this description of Gosnell’s abortion clinic when it was raided in 2010,

“Instruments were not sterile. Equipment was outdated and rusty. Women recovering from their abortions sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets that employees said they “tried” to have cleaned weekly.”

Gosnell was a sick abortion “doctor” responsible for thousands of babies’ deaths and the deaths of many mothers as well. He was eventually convicted on three counts of murder for killing babies,

who authorities say were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his grimy clinic,

Gosnell was sentenced to two life terms in 2013 and only avoided the death penalty by agreeing to not appeal his conviction. Roe is the principal enabler of monsters like Gosnell, and those like him who operate with almost virtual impunity because of the pro-choice evils legitimized by Roe.

Roe v WadeHowever, the worst consequence of the Roe v Wade decision is the empowering of Planned Parenthood in America and around the globe. The power and influence of this malevolent organization cannot be overstated, nor can its destructive results be truly calculated.

Planned Parenthood has a far longer and more sinister history than Roe, as this journal has chronicled in greater detail in previous articles, and that will not be repeated here. However, it is no stretch to state that Roe empowered Planned Parenthood as nothing else ever has and the outreach of this death-dealing organization was only expanded to a global arena after Roe.

Thus a decision of the United States Supreme Court has facilitated the exportation of abortion to most of the rest of the world! The abortion body count worldwide is staggering.

According to the website numberofabortions.com, since 1980, 7 years after Roe, worldwide is over 1.5 billion souls! This number is larger than all deaths by war, famine, and disease in recorded history!

Roe v Wade Has Damaged the Soul of America

The manifested evils of this SCOTUS decision are more than apparent now and have been so since this travesty of Roe v Wade began. However, the most damaging aspect of Roe has been the harm inflicted upon the soul of the nation.

It is the quality of a human soul to value human life, their own and others, and it is a quality I believe that each person has from the moment any conscious thought comes into the human psyche. That is what inspired Thomas Jefferson to pen the words in the Declaration of Independence,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

The affirmation of a fantasy ‘right’ in Roe pulls against what is self-evident in the very soul of each human being. It is such an egregious violation of what we all know that our ordinary speech to one another refutes the conclusion of Roe and every ‘pro-choice’ advocate alive.

Test this for yourself the next time you have an opportunity to speak to a woman who is pregnant. No one I know of will ask that woman when her fetus is due because we instinctively know a human child is present in the mother’s womb.

Yet the pro-choice crowd will either deny the humanity of that unborn child, or they will assign the child to a lesser category of humanity in order to justify killing him or her in an abortion. That can only be done when the value of human life has been judged to be assigned according to the whims of godless people who deny the Creator and the inestimable value He has vested in each human life, so much so that His own Son suffered and died a horrific death on our behalf.

It is long past time for Roe v Wade to be consigned to the ash heap among the worst ideas ever to become ‘law’ anywhere in the world. May God grant the removal of this stain upon history sooner rather than later or we may pay an enormous price for the blood which has been spilled.

Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways.  Isaiah 59:7 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

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

Featured and Top image courtesy of American Life League’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Matt Wade’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of S Jagadish’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Thomas Hawk’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of American Life League’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

 

Why The Pseudo Impeachment Trial Must End Now [Video]

Impeachment trialAmerica is currently buried knee-deep in the muck of the ‘Impeachment’ trial on the floor of the U.S. Senate. The next item of business after President Trump’s defense team makes their case will be debate and a consideration of whether or not to allow witnesses.

The inevitable and tedious demands of the Democrats for witnesses should be rejected outright by the Republican majority. Moreover, they shouldn’t even consider continuing after that point.

The First Article Doesn’t Meet the Constitutional Burden for Impeachment

Impeachment trialThis is the most relevant portion of this political performance-art fraudulently labeled ‘impeachment’ process. This factor alone should have resulted in the immediate motion to dismiss the farce.

The Constitutional requirements for using impeachment are that the President must have committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Neither of the two House Articles fits any part of those designations because neither Article is a crime.

Some have tried to argue that it doesn’t have to be a crime to be an impeachable offense. The plain language of the Constitution tells us they are incorrect.

It is obvious that treason and bribery are crimes, and the very words “high crimes” tell us they are criminal acts. Misdemeanors are crimes as well, not “high” crimes, but considered criminal nonetheless.

The two Articles of Impeachment are charging “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” on part of the President. Neither of these is a crime as they are described in the charges.

The particular incident the Democrats cite as President Trump’s “abuse of power” is his supposed pressuring of the President of Ukraine to investigate the son of a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The alleged pressure was a threat to withhold military aid unless an investigation was publicly announced.

The problem is, no announcement was ever made and the aid was not withheld. The military aid was delayed while the President had corruption within Ukraine examined and then the aid was delivered.

There was no crime here. President Trump executed the legal delivery of aid while looking out for the interests of the taxpayer’s money. He didn’t want the aid possibly being swallowed into a known environment of corrupt behavior, such as that found in its largest energy company, Burisma, who employed the son of the former Vice President for an exorbitant amount of money while Biden was in office and serving as the Obama administration’s ‘point man’ on Ukraine.

As for the phone call with the President of Ukraine that the phony “whistle-blower” said showed that President Trump was pressuring Ukraine, that narrative was blown to smithereens when the transcript of that call was declassified and revealed by President Trump himself. In fact, the President was actually working within the legal constraints of a treaty agreement for cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine on criminal investigations which was approved during the Clinton administration.

Moreover, on several occasions, President Zelensky of Ukraine denied any pressure from America to open any investigations contingent upon the delivery of military aid. So much for any “abuse of power” charge.

What this charge boils down to is a political policy disagreement by the Democrats with a president they hate and fear. He is hated because he beat their darling and latest criminal nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, in 2016.

He is feared because any further investigation in Ukraine will expose the deep corruption of much of the Democratic elite connected with Ukraine, including Clinton herself, and the family of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as others. The public information we already have seems to strongly implicate them in nefarious activities with Ukraine.

The Democrats are attempting to impeach the President for what James Madison, the founder most influential to creating the Constitution, objected to as “impeachment for maladministration.” He rightly feared that this would make impeachment a political cudgel and risk using impeachment on every president in the future.

Madison laid out his case against the proposal put forth by fellow founder George Mason.

Madison’s response to Mason’s proposal mattered. He told the delegates that “so vague a term” as maladministration “will be equivalent to tenure during pleasure of the Senate.” That was apparently enough to persuade Mason to back down. …Why did Madison’s intervention work? The answer lies in its observation that the vagueness of “maladministration” would normalize impeachment, and thus effectively give the Senate the power to recall a president.

The Second Article Is More Deficient than the First Article

The second “Article of Impeachment” is so deficient that the House had to invent a new term, “Obstruction of Congress” as its label. Yet that term itself is absurd on its face for the House is only half of Congress. 

Impeachment trialThe Senate makes up the other half of Congress, and no one there suggests they were ‘obstructed’ in any way. The specific reason for this ‘charge’ from the House is the potential use of the president’s constitutional power to exert “executive privilege” to prevent his close advisors from testifying in the House.

Of course, this would mean, as it has in the past, that any congressional challenge to using “executive privilege” would wind up in the federal courts. The House didn’t want to wait for judicial review, which is the legal mandate, so they withdrew their threat to subpoena those who had worked with the President closely in foreign policy, such as former advisor John Bolton.

Their stated reason for haste was the absolute urgency to impeach President Trump as he was causing a “constitutional crisis.” However, that reasoning falls apart when considering that after such haste, it took over a month for the Articles to be delivered to the Senate for trial.

The real reason for the haste was twofold. One was to scar President Trump with the label “impeached” so as to damage his chances for re-election later this year.

The second reason for the delay was that the House knew they would lose badly in a court challenge to “executive privilege.” They would have to claim that it was unconstitutional to use the constitutional avenue of the courts in asserting a constitutional right on behalf of the president.

Yet, they put forth the mythical “obstruction of Congress” tale as if “executive privilege” doesn’t protect classified and privileged communication between the President and his advisors as well as classified communications between him and other world leaders. “Executive privilege” has a long history of legal precedent and has been used by many presidents in American history, including former President Obama who used it to stop congressional action against former Attorney General Eric Holder in the “Fast and Furious” scandal.

There are those who attempt to argue that President Trump should waive executive privilege and allow any witness the House wants to call to testify. The rote reply to justify this is “If he doesn’t have anything to hide, what harm can having witnesses who knew about this come and testify?”

There are two very good reasons for asserting executive privilege here. The first is that President Trump has already given the House millions of documents, and taken the unprecedented step of declassifying not one but two phone conversations with another world leader, and allowed hours of grueling testimony for the Mueller probe including 30 hours given by his own son, Donald Trump Jr.

In other words, President Trump had already provided far more transparency in his dealings than was necessary, and I believe he has decided that enough is enough! No longer was he going to weaken the Executive branch of the American government to kowtow to half of the Legislative branch as if one branch was answerable to another when carrying out its constitutional duty.

Impeachment trialThe Constitution brilliantly designs our governing powers to be balanced between three separate but equal branches that each have distinct functions and powers granted to enable those functions. Impeachment is only to be used as a last resort, not as a way of firing a duly elected president for a policy difference.

This is why witnesses should not be allowed in the Senate trial. Neither Article of Impeachment can justify more witnesses to try and drag out this farcical procedure.

Allowing witnesses at this point would only justify the House’s actions rather than rebuke them, and cause untold damage to the delicate balance of power between governmental branches. The best answer to such a demand by the House managers should be a symbolic ‘talk to the hand’ and refuse to admit witnesses, and either move to dismiss the Articles or simply acquit the President.

For those on the conservative side who desire that witnesses should be allowed so as to reveal the extent of the corruption by Democratic officials, I would say this. There has already been enough damage done to the process and the nation as a result of this immoral ‘impeachment.’

The investigation of the criminal involvement of Democratic operatives in Ukraine can be resolved in a separate legal action by the Senate alone, or by such action as the Department of Justice may deem necessary. While I would strongly urge such an investigation to take place, it is extremely unwise to drag the impeachment trial into these waters and perhaps plunge us into Constitutional anarchy as a result.

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; Proverbs 2:6-9 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

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

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Ben Taylor’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Lisa’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Kurt Bauschardt’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Smabs Sputzer (1956-2017) Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in the TIL Journal

What Happened to the Dream of MLK Jr.? [Video]

Martin Luther King Jr.January 20, 2020, was the official recognition holiday of the life of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is intended to be a time of remembrance and celebration of a life courageously given to make a simple but monumentally profound dream into a reality.

However, MLK Day should not stop with a moment or two of reflection, though the reflection is appropriate. As noted in this journal previously, King was a childhood idol of mine, and I was crushed when he was assassinated in 1968, less than five years after he gave voice to his righteous dream in the nation’s capital.

Rev. King’s most famous speech is known as the “I have a dream” address on August 28, 1963, in front of 250,000 people in Washington D.C. at the official end of the “March on Washington.” His most famous quote is from that speech,

I have a dream that one day my four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character I have a dream today.

His dream was a powerful and iconic ideal set before a people who were languishing in the evil of racial oppression and sensed the winds of history were poised to sweep away the injustice of racism. A dream of such potency that it could not be ignored, especially when spoken with the force and elegance only Dr. King could invoke as the man God chose for that time.

Identifying the Dream of Liberty

There remains no better person to articulate and identify the noble dream of Dr. King than King himself. Here is a video capturing the entire address on the mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial to the quarter-million listeners in D.C. and the millions watching on television, who hung on every word.

If you have never heard this astonishing address in its entirety I would urge you to view and listen to it carefully. It has the additional grace that most great speeches throughout history in that King’s words are inspired but brief at just over 17 minutes in length.

In my time as a pastor, I preached over a thousand sermons both inside and outside of a church sanctuary. There were two comments I would invariably hear spoken to me after almost every one of those messages, and I wager that many of the readers could easily guess the content of those comments.

I would hear, sometimes from the same person, the words, “Good sermon,” and “You really stepped on my toes today.” Sometimes, in my efforts to be cordial, I would thank the person and I always tried to make sure I verbally gave all the glory to God, where it rightly belonged.

However, many times I would be dismayed by those comments and would often reply, “If I stepped on your toes I missed my target because I was aiming for your heart.” Dr. King presented a sermon before his audience that hot August day in 1963 and did what I often longed to do, hit the target at which God was aiming, the human heart.

The ideal, the dream set forth before the world by Dr. King carried the power of profundity with the force of the Divinity straight to the hearts of his listeners. Moreover, even today, over 46 years after the profession of his dream and through the filter of technology, the power of King’s dream can still grip our souls anew, if we will but listen anew.

As Dr. King set forth God’s message, he built an eloquent case for the righteousness of the dream that people would be regarded as equally human by each other just as they were so regarded by the LORD. Though he targeted the condition of America specifically, his speech was a worthy ideal for all the world to emulate.

Pursuing the Dream

Martin Luther King Jr.It is one thing to identify and masterfully present an idealistic goal to any audience. It is another matter entirely to actively pursue that goal with sincerity and integrity.

The biggest reason Dr. King drew such crowds in 1963 was that he went far beyond just talking about it. He pursued it with deeds that risked his alienation and much worse from his opponents.

He had built support starting with his first noteworthy act of civil disobedience, the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott of 1955-56. He helped organize the boycott through his organization the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which virtually shut down the city busing industry there.

The boycott took place from December 5, 1955, to December 20, 1956, and is regarded as the first large-scale U.S. demonstration against segregation. Four days before the boycott began, Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested and fined for refusing to yield her bus seat to a white man. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ordered Montgomery to integrate its bus system, and one of the leaders of the boycott, a young pastor named Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged as a prominent leader of the American civil rights movement.

Dr. King suffered for his actions as did many of those who were his supporters. On one such occasion, he was arrested and thrown into a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama for organizing demonstrations against the racial injustice of that city in 1963.

Dr. King had read of a public statement “of concern and caution” about the demonstrations released by eight white religious leaders in the South shortly before his arrest and he wrote a lengthy response, Letter from a Birmingham Jail. The letter was a brilliant defense of non-violent action aimed at the religious leaders’ objections as well as educating all who read it about the specific goals and methods of their actions.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices are alive, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action. We have gone through all of these steps in Birmingham. There can be no
gainsaying of the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community.

Dr. King then continues to specifically list the problems and steps that had already been taken to address the racial injustice.

Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of police brutality is known in every section of this country. Its unjust treatment of Negroes in the courts is a notorious reality. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in this nation. These are the hard, brutal, and unbelievable facts. On the basis of them, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the political leaders consistently refused to engage in good-faith negotiation.

When negotiations with the city failed, King and his followers went to step three, the step he called “self-purification.” King described what that process entailed as a prerequisite to demonstrations.

We started having workshops on nonviolence and repeatedly asked ourselves the questions, “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” and “Are you able to endure the ordeals of jail?”

The careful preparations of both body and spirit were necessary for what those who followed Dr. King to fully participate in non-violent civil protest without reservation. As King realized, his was not the only movement against the oppression of blacks which garnered significant support.

Opposing and Reviving the Dream

Louis Farrakhan, the current leader of the Nation of Islam

Dr. King was virulently opposed by racists from groups like the KKK, and worse by black groups who advocated violence such as the original Black Panthers and the Black Muslims, aka the ‘Nation of Islam’ under Elijah Muhammed. Contrary to the urgings of King and others, black leaders on the other side demanded that civil rights be fought for “by any means necessary,” in the words of Malcolm X.

The great civil rights leader rightly feared the probable outcome of violent demonstrations against forced segregation and ‘Jim Crow’ laws that kept black people disadvantaged. Dr. King wrote that the groups advocating violence were,

…made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incurable devil. … There is a more excellent way, of love and nonviolent protest. I’m grateful to God that, through the Negro church, the dimension of nonviolence entered our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, I am convinced that by now many streets of the South would be flowing with floods of blood.

Today most of us rightly give respect to the accomplishments of Dr. King who gained more for the rights of black Americans than all the calls to “Black Power” and violence have ever done. Yet the minions of those who call for violence today, such as the group “Black Lives Matter,” and the so-called ‘woke’ groups of “Antifa” insist that non-violence is impotent in present-day America.

Tragically, both the violent means and the societal goal are directly in opposition to the principles embraced by Dr. King a half-century ago. In an excellent piece by Dr. Eric Wallace of the “Freedom’s Journal Institute,” he compares the stance of BLM versus that of Dr. King’s strident non-violence, specifically the dream of being judged not by color but character.

But with what measure are we to be judged today? How are the demands of today’s “Woke” culture or the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement representative of a people who continue to thrive in the face of injustice? Needless to say, neither of these movements proclaim a biblical foundation or Christian roots.[1] In fact, one could argue that these contemporary movements demand the opposite of what Dr. King stood for and fought to accomplish. Many in these groups are quick to judge White people by the color of their skin while insisting they have “white privilege,” which automatically makes them guilty of racial injustice simply because they are White. This reasoning turns Dr. King’s words on their heads. Thinking that one is guilty simply because he or she is White or another is oppressed simply because he or she is not is the opposite of what King preached.

The lifelong quest of Dr. King for racial justice and equality through non-violence has been largely spurned by those who claim to speak on behalf of the black population in America today. It is past time for that righteous dream to be revived if we are going to continue moving toward a more just society instead of careening down a steep slope toward racial anarchy and destruction.

Fortunately, King’s dream is still alive and growing though it has taken President Trump’s administration to move it off of life support. Ironically, it is a person the Left constantly berates and accuses of being the biggest racist in world history who has brought more opportunity and prosperity to minorities than any administration in our history.

Those among the minority population, other than the mind-controlled minions of the MSM, have seen these results from the Trump administration and are leaving the Leftist Democratic [but I repeat myself] plantation in droves. The support for President Trump has risen to unprecedented levels among blacks in America as evidenced by a number of recent polls and is consistently above 30% today.

While 30% is far from a majority, consider that President Trump won in 2016 with just 8% of the black vote. As noted in a recent piece at Real Clear Politics,

Even 20 percent African-American support for Trump would all but dismantle Democratic Party presidential hopes for 2020.

This is truly good news for the promise of the profound dream of Dr. King. I hope and pray that the re-election of President Trump will take place and move America closer to the point of true racial justice and harmony.

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:24 [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 Mike Licht’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Public.Resource.Org’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

 

Tehran and Havana, Models of Tyranny, Destruction, and Revolution

The current conflict between America and Iran is the rightful spotlight and concern in global news. The hope and prayers of the sensible among us are that this can be resolved peacefully, though the methods recommended by the Left and conservatives to accomplish peace are polar opposites.

While pondering what the future might hold, it occurred to me that I was aged enough to remember when America was an ally of Iran. I can recall a time when Iran was a modern western nation and former Presidents JFK, Nixon and even Jimmy Carter met with the Shah of Iran regularly.

It also occurred to me that Iran’s transition from western to a tyrannical Islamic theocracy was reminiscent of the earlier transition of Cuba from a Capitalist ally to its current Communist wasteland. For the curious, I was alive when that happened as well, but have no memory of those years concerning Cuba except the Cuban missile crisis, which captured even my childhood attention, and was all the adults around me talked about for weeks.

Havana and Tehran Before the ‘Revolutions’

Before Communism captured Cuba and prior to Islamofascism conquering Iran, Havana and Tehran were remarkably similar. Both were the leading cities of countries that flourished with free trade and generally Capitalist economies.

Both cities enjoyed an international reputation as glamorous travel destinations of the ‘rich and famous’ for exotic vacations. The hotels and other amenities were ranked as among the best in the world in their day.

One of the more fascinating ways to compare life in Havana and Tehran before their respective ‘revolutions’ comes via old photographs of people and events of those eras. Both are examples of western cultural influence within each country at the time.

Here is a photograph that was taken at a casino in Havana circa 1958. One could scarcely tell the difference between Havana and Las Vegas here.

A Havana casino. 1958.

About 20 years later, here is a photo of a group of students outside of Tehran University. If one didn’t know better, this could easily depict students at most American colleges in the 1970s.

Sporting mullet haircuts and flares, a group of friends at Tehran university pose together in the 1970s

The natural question that arises here is, “If things were so good in Cuba and Iran, why did the people revolt and overthrow their governments?” The numerous reasons one could cite can effectively be reduced to three.

One: Things were not so good for everyone during those times. There were some serious economic and social inequities between rich and poor people in both Cuba and Iran.

Two: The leadership of both nations was corrupt and had too much authority. For example, in Cuba when Fulgencio Batista, who had gained control of the Cuban Army in the 1930s, organized a military takeover in 1934 and installed Col. Carlos Mendieta as president with Batista as his chief of staff.

Batista effectively operated a military dictatorship behind the scenes for the next twenty years, and while trying to line his own pockets, also manipulated the government to check his opposition through such things as suspending constitutions and shutting down the National Congress.

The same corruption and repression were evident in the later years of the reign of the Shah of Iran.

In addition to mounting economic difficulties, sociopolitical repression by the shah’s regime increased in the 1970s… Social and political protest was often met with censorship, surveillance, or harassment, and illegal detention and torture were common.

The third main reason for both revolutions was the influence of a third party, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR. That nation is now known as Russia.

Revolution and Russians in Cuba and Iran

USSR, Tehran, HavanaBoth Cuba and Iran gained the favor of the USSR along the way to their revolutions. For Cuba, the alliance began during World War II when Batista brought the nation into the war on the side of the Allied forces.

In 1940, Batista, then a colonel, undertook his own candidacy and defeated Grau San Martín. During his presidential term, 1940–44, Cuba entered World War II on the side of the Allies and established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

The establishment of relations with the Soviets by Batista was, ironically, used to help orchestrate his removal as head of the government. When Fidel Castro and his compatriot Ernesto “Che” Guevara overthrew the Batista government in 1959, they had already acquired the aid of Communist groups that would later prove a bridge to an alliance with the Soviet Union.

Upon the ascension of Castro as the new despot,

Indiscriminate arrests, acts of torture, and executions began almost at once throughout Cuba. By May 15, 1959, some 600 people linked to the Batista government had been put to death by revolutionary courts. …Guevara would spend the following months presiding over military prisons, directing courts-martial, and making extensive tours of AsiaNorth Africa, and the Soviet Union.

In Cuba, the revolution ended up replacing a corrupt ruler who had extensive ties to organized crime in America, with an even worse Communist despot. A similar revolution took place in Iran 20 years later.

Iran’s government under the Shah was also repressive and corrupt to a large degree throughout the 1970s.

Outlets for political participation were minimal, and opposition parties such as the National Front (a loose coalition of nationalists, clerics, and noncommunist left-wing parties) and the pro-Soviet Tūdeh (“Masses”) Party were marginalized or outlawed.

That repression fueled opposition to the Shah who favored a secular western-style government, just under his own corrupt rules. As a result, some who opposed the Shah but also had favored a secular government were exiled.

Ayatollah Khomeini, IranAs the Shah’s behavior became more severe toward his opponents, the various opposition groups began to unite under the increasingly popular Ayatollah Khomeini who favored the idea of an Islamic theocracy. Among that group were the pro-Soviets of the aforementioned Tudeh Party.

Once the Ayatollah and his allies overthrew the Shah, the new Islamic Republic began to exercise harsh methods to stamp out any remaining opposition, just as Castro had done before in Cuba.

Elements within the clergy promptly moved to exclude their former left-wing, nationalist, and intellectual allies from any positions of power in the new regime, and a return to conservative social values was enforced. The Family Protection Act… which provided further guarantees and rights to women in marriage, was declared void, and mosque-based revolutionary bands known as komītehs (Persian: “committees”) patrolled the streets enforcing Islamic codes of dress and behavior and dispatching impromptu justice to perceived enemies of the revolution. …The violence and brutality often exceeded that which had taken place under the shah.

The USSR had been involved with Iran since before World War II and during that war along with England and the U.S., occupied Iran to keep the Germans at bay, even though officially Iran was a neutral nation at the time. The Brits and Americans withdrew from Iran in 1945, per agreement with Iran.

The Soviets were supposed to leave but decided to stay a few more years in order to get political guarantees for the exploitation of oil in northern Iran. The relationship between the two nations was rocky, especially during the 1950s when the Shah was courting closer relations with America as well as the USSR.

When the Shah was forced into exile and ended up in America in 1979, this led the Khomeini government to capture and hold American hostages in the embassy in Tehran. It also led to a new era of cooperation with the Soviets, who took full advantage of their prior connections with Iran as well as the pro-Soviet revolutionary groups in Iran.

The plenary session of the Tudeh Party’s (or PPI, People’s Party of Iran) Central Committee, which took place in East Berlin in late February 1979, declared its full support for the idea of creating an Islamic Republic in Iran. The Soviet leadership was likewise attracted by the anti-American mood of the new authorities… it was the USSR ambassador who was the first foreign envoy to be received by Ayatollah Khomeini (Ḵomeyni) after the Islamic Revolution.

Cuba and Iran Today

1971: Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro speaking at a press conference. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Things in both Cuba and Iran have gone from bad to worse in the years since their revolutions. Both nations have grown less free, poorer, and now suffer under new generations of the Castros and the Ayatollahs.

Both nations are also still close and connected with Russia, and receive support from them including military support. Most are well aware by now that a Russian-made missile recently shot down a Ukrainian airliner over Iran, however, the military support for Cuba by Russia is ongoing if less publicized.

One example comes from an announcement made in 2017.

Anatoly Punchuk, deputy director of the Federal Technical Cooperation Service of Russia, announced that Russia is aiding its longtime ally with the “modernization of the defense industry of Cuba.” …According to the information offered by Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian-Cuban military cooperation program, Dmitri Rogozin, the agreement runs the gamut “from civilian technologies to military, from high technologies to simple things.”

Russia is still heavily invested in Cuba for many reasons and still views American proximity to the island as a hostile presence. Moreover, in that same year of 2017, high-level Russian officials were advocating reopening a Russian military and spy facility in Havana that has been converted into part of a college campus.

“Our base on Cuba, naval and aviation, should exist. It’s a key issue,” demanded Frants Klintsevich, deputy head of the Russian senate’s defence and security committee, according to Interfax news agency. Russia should decisively react to the placing of US missile defence systems around its borders, he claimed.

Russia’s ties with Iran continue to grow closer, especially since President Trump took the U.S. out of the so-called ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’ brokered by the Obama administration. As noted in the New Yorker online in 2018,

The Trump Administration’s decision to challenge the 2015 Iran nuclear deal now carries a broad geostrategic price. The relationship between Moscow and Tehran—once tactical militarily, coldly calculating diplomatically, and practical economically—has been converted into a growing strategic partnership. Vladimir Putin’s relentless quest to make Russia a superpower again is part of it; Iran’s goal is just to be a player again. Since President Trump took office, in 2017, Moscow and Tehran have shared increasingly common bonds: growing tensions with Washington and a quest to expand spheres of influence in the Middle East.

This brief survey of the historical similarities between the situations in Cuba and Iran is meant to hopefully teach us some lessons about the fate of nations. For, as has been famously noted, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

What Is to Be Learned?

Inset.4.1.13.2020History can be either a kind or cruel teacher. The fortunes of the people in Cuba and Iran today are a result of many factors, but perhaps the most important is the failure to learn from the mistakes of their own history.

Neither nation has yet learned a way to escape the cycle of tyranny breeding revolution that results in even more tyranny and will inevitably foster more revolution. Why not? Because after each revolution virtually unchecked power is given to a handful of leaders while the population remains essentially powerless against their whims.

In every historical case of this in Cuba and Iran, their leaders never give up their power voluntarily even if the overwhelming majority of the masses are suffering and pleading and even demanding that they step down. Moreover, real opposition to tyrannical leaders is met with violent and bloody measures against which the populace is helpless.

A more specific lesson to be learned is simple; don’t let the Russians get involved! As has been noted, Russia has been instrumental in both nations’ revolutions as well as aiding in crushing the opposition to either the Castros or the Ayatollahs.

Moreover, as an aside, particularly in the case of these particular countries, the actions of President Trump, especially in recent days but actually throughout his term of office so far should forever put to rest the ludicrous claim that he is ‘Putin’s puppet.’ Every diplomatic and military move by this president has been detrimental to the aims of Vladimir Putin and Russia.

These last several days have seen some rather remarkable historical events take place in Iran. The latest of these is the enormous protests renewed in Iran against their supreme leader and the Islamofascistic government in response to the missile strike on the civilian Ukrainian airliner.

The courage of the protesters in Iran is astounding in the wake of 1500 protesters who were slaughtered by the IRGC just two months ago. As has been the case recently in Hong Kong, these ordinary Iranian people are risking life and limb for a chance at liberty and a slice of self-determination.

Inset.5.1.13.2020Thus in both Hong Kong and Iran, protesters are symbolically embracing symbols of freedom such as the American flag in their quests. The same thing is true in a different manner with the resistance movement in Cuba, which has resurfaced during the era of President Trump.

Cubans who have rejected Castro’s dictatorship have coalesced their efforts as exiles from the island who reside primarily in Florida. Their determination for freedom was well expressed last September in an article by a spokesman for the Cuban Democratic Directorate.

The rejection of the Castro regime is deep and resolute for a majority of the Cuban population inside and outside the island. Above all, it is a serious political error to underestimate the level of conviction of the Cuban diaspora. It constitutes an intergenerational commitment imbricated with the community’s very identity. It will neither wither nor dilute while the repressive conditions that caused the separation of thousands of Cuban families from their homeland remain.

Indeed, the longing for freedom is embedded within the human soul. Humanity was created in God’s image by God who cherishes the value of liberty and grants free will to us as a result.

Thus the question is how can the struggle for such freedom achieve lasting success in these and other repressive nations around the world. The solutions are straightforward but hardly easy because they involve a wholesale change in the approach of those who struggle against tyranny after they have won.

For one thing, the pre-revolution despots cannot be replaced by despots who happen to also be part of the revolt. This just starts the destructive cycle all over again.

Secondly, the formation of a new government must put the law above the whims of any official, even the darlings of the revolution. The key is to give that idea some teeth by giving the common people the equivalent of the Second Amendment guaranteeing the right of the people to bear arms, as America’s founders realized in the wake of the Revolutionary War.

Finally, the people of those nations must acknowledge the presence and power of God Almighty and undergird every effort by calling upon Him in prayer. Acquiring physical liberty will never satisfy unless liberty for the soul is also present, and that only comes through embracing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and placing Him in charge of the heart.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, Luke 4:18 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

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

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Jonas Forth’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Alexsey Fyodoroff’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of babeltravel’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Periodico ahora!’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Charles Fettinger’sFlickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 5 courtesy of Scio Central School Website’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal