August 18, 2002
Peekaboo, I see you

There are some discussions taking place around the web about conspiracy theories and the latest kidnapping news.
Some sites that I have visited, actually think that the recent media coverage of child kidnappings, is a diversion, a distraction for the masses. To keep our minds off of the war on terrorism and Bush's mistakes and forget about Enron and the terrible economy.
They think that the media and the government, are in cahoots together to stop us from thinking about other things.
If the masses are so worried about kidnappings, they don't have/want to pay attention to what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And then there are some other groups, who think that child safety is going to come back and bite us in the ass someday.
What I'm talking about is when the police offer free child safety kits. They take your child's picture and fingerprints in the event that your child gets kidnapped or lost, they have current info on them.
These groups think that the police are tricking parents into fingerprinting their kids and the real truth is, they want EVERYONES fingerprints in order to keep track of all American citizens in th future.
Maybe I'm just not that paranoid yet.
Maybe I'd like to think that the government isn't doing this.
Maybe I like to live in ignorance and not know that our police and government and media is just pulling the wool over our eyes.

Posted by at 07:50 AM
August 01, 2002
Constitutional Amendment to Protect Pledge Officially Under Way.

As is par for the course for the folks writing our nation's laws in Washington, several Congressmen are pushing forward with their initial knee-jerk reaction to the Pledge ruling by proposing a stunningly idiotic new Amendment to the Constitution.

A major effort is under way to protect the Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto through a proposed new Constitutional amendment. The effort was announced yesterday on Capitol Hill by Congressman Chip Pickering of Mississippi.

"How fortunate we are," Pickering said, "to stand together as we begin a national campaign to protect and promote the Pledge to the Flag and our national motto -- 'In God We Trust' -- and to protect it by a Constitutional amendment."

Pat Trueman, a spokesperson for the American Family Association in the nation's capitol, spoke of the need for such an amendment. He said AFA knows that there are millions of Americans throughout this country who want to protect the religious heritage of this country and that "want God -- Almighty God -- to still reign sovereign over our land and to protect us and we want to honor Him."

AFA's www.WePledge.com web site is receiving thousands upon thousands of online registrants to the "We Pledge" campaign calling for the Constitutional amendment. It has quickly become one of the most effective ways for citizens to voice their concern to Congress on this important issue.

If the original ruling was silly and unimportant in the face of larger issues, as was argued by Jill here on this site, then surely this amendment proposal is an even more useless pursuit. Amending the Constitution is not something that should be entered into lightly and we already have a shining example of how even a very noble amendment can end up doing more harm than good in the from of Prohibition. But then bad ideas being bad has never stopped Congress from enacting them with all the gusto it can muster.

Posted by at 06:26 PM
Notes on the Founding Fathers and the Separation of Church and State.

The above is the title for a rather interesting essay I came across on that topic in a most unlikely place. The essay is hosted at the Quartz Hill School of Theology which would incline one to think it would be arguing that this country was founded as a Christian nation. You can imagine my surprise when I read the piece and found that it puts forth a rather well argued explanation as to why this country was not founded on Christian belief. A small excerpt from the introduction sets the tone quite nicely:

Many well-meaning Christians argue that the United States was founded by Christian men on Christian principles. Although well-intentioned, such sentiment is unfounded. The men who lead the United States in its revolution against England, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and put together the Constitution were not Christians by any stretch of the imagination.

Why do some Christians imagine these men are Christians? Besides a desperate desire that it should be so, in a selective examination of their writings, one can discover positive statements about God and/or Christianity. However, merely believing in God does not make a person a Christian. The Bible says that "the fool says in his heart, there is no God." Our founding fathers were not fools. But the Bible also says "You say you believe in God. Good. The demons also believe and tremble."

Merely believing in God is insufficient evidence for demonstrating either Christian principles or that a person is a Christian.

Perhaps, to start, it might be beneficial to remind ourselves of what a Christian might be: it is a person who has acknowledged his or her sinfulness, responded in faith to the person of Jesus Christ as the only one who can redeem him, and by so doing been given the Holy Spirit.

The early church summarized the Christian message in six points:

1. Jesus came from God.
2. You killed him.
3. He rose again on the third day.
4. He sent the Holy Spirit
5. Repent and be baptized.
6. He's coming back.

An individual who would not acknowledge this much of the Christian message could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called a Christian. The founding fathers of this country did not acknowledge this message. In fact, they denied it.

The essay then goes on to look at some of the men involved in the creation of our country whom many Christian apologetics often like to claim as one of their own including Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. I particularly like this passage:

Why do Christians want the founding fathers to be Christians?

Is it because they wish the best for these people?

Hardly.

It is because they hope that by demonstrating they were Christians, they can justify their political agenda. Rather than wanting something new (the injection of Christianity into government) they seek to restore something they imagine has been lost.

Reality: nothing has been lost. It wasn't there to start with. Therefore the whole concept of "taking back America" is a lie. America was never Christian.

The essay continues on to blast several recent myths with regards to the Separation of Church and State including the popular notion that the concept as it's currently interpreted by the Supreme Court came about in the late '50s and early '60s. An argument I hadn't heard used before involved the idea that the American revolution was, in and of itself, unscriptural:

At its foundation, our American revolution was unscriptural. Therefore I have a hard time seeing how our government could have been founded on Christian principles, when its very founding violated one:
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. (1 Peter 2:13-14)

No matter how you cut it, the founding fathers were revolting against the King of England. It should be remembered that Peter wrote these words while Israel was suffering under the domination of government far more oppressive than England ever was. In fact, compared to current taxes, our forefathers had nothing to complain about.

What Peter wrote seems perfectly clear and unambiguous; furthermore, it is consistent with what Jesus said about his kingdom not being a part of this world (John 18:23 and 36).

As a Christian, it would be very difficult to justify armed revolt against any ruler. Passive resistance to injustice and evil, as embodied in the concept of civil disobedience, however, does have Scriptural precedent (as for instance in the case of the early Christians described in Acts 5:28-29:

"We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood."

Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!" (see also Acts 4:18-20)

Civil disobedience means obeying a higher, moral law, but willingly suffering the consequences of your actions and submitting to the authority of those in power to arrest or even kill you for your disobedience. Peter and the others were arrested, and many of them were ultimately martyred. But they never participated in violent protest, nor did they resist those in authority by violence.

I must say that the whole essay is a worthy read for anyone with the misguided notion that America was founded as a Christian nation.

Posted by at 06:03 PM