Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Some Observations on Biblical Interpretation and Slavery
by Michael Marlowe
“When you buy a Hebrew slave, six years shall he serve; and in the seventh shall he go out free, for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and the children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. And if the slave shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: then his master shall bring him unto God, and he shall bring him to the door or unto the door-post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.”
“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
If there is anything in the Bible that makes modern people nervous, it is its treatment of slavery. Slavery is humanely regulated in the legal portions of the Old Testament, and in the epistles of the New Testament slaveholders are exhorted to show kindness to slaves, but nowhere in the Bible is there anything which can be interpreted as a disapproval of the institution as such. People of our generation, Christians included, tend to have a very hard time with this, because it seems to amount to a tacit approval of the institution, and we balk at the idea that God did not consider the institution itself to be immoral.
Part of the problem is that we have false ideas about what slavery was really like. The life of a slave was not easy, but we get an exaggerated idea of the hardships of slavery from watching movies or reading historical material that is written on a popular level. Here the purpose is usually to dramatize the plight of slaves or to make some point about the evils of slavery in general, (1) but the historical reality was less dramatic. In most cases the life of a slave was not much different from the life of any lower-class worker. Those who have been in the military have experienced something like it — being legally bound to an employer and to a job that one cannot simply "quit" at will, not free to leave without permission, subject to discipline if one disobeys or is grossly negligent — all of this is familiar enough to those of us who have served in the military. And yet we know that the daily life of a good soldier is not especially hard. This is what it was like to be a slave.
Another problem is, when thinking about slavery we tend to have in mind the recent slavery of the black race in America, and so the whole subject of slavery gets mixed up with the issue of racism. But in ancient times, slavery was not associated with any particular race. By condoning slavery the Bible does not approve of racism.
A third reason why modern people have a hard time understanding the Bible's treatment of slavery is that we often now tend to confuse morality with political values. The modern tendency is to politicize everything, including even the Christian gospel. Moral philosophy or ethics has become so politicized that it seems to be almost a sub-department of political science now, which is why we have seen the rise of an elaborate political correctness in our public life. "Racism," "sexism," "homophobia," and so on, are the really serious sins under this new morality. Although we all know that people are not really equal, the egalitarian ideology of our time is considered to be of such overriding importance that any slight affront to it is considered sinful, while the principles of ordinary old-fashioned morality are downplayed and even denied. This political correctness is not merely a fad, it is the logical and inevitable result of the politicization of morality, the elaboration of an entirely new morality based upon political ideas of right and wrong.
In recent years the principle of equality has been raised to the status of a theological axiom in liberal churches. This is illustrated by the remarks made by an Episcopal bishop in an interview following his church's decision to appoint a homosexual bishop in the Summer of 2003. The "Right Reverend" John Bryson Chane appealed to the egalitarian principle in this manner:
When I look at where gay, lesbian, and transgender persons are, they have been excluded from the full sacramental life of the Episcopal Church in the United States — and, in fact, excluded from the full sacramental life pretty much within the Anglican Communion. What I have to say to that is if, in fact, we believe theologically that God created human beings in the good image of God as creator, and if we, in fact, believe that everybody is equal in God's eyes, then how in God's name can we say that we don't have enough theology to work this issue through? And how can we say that a person's sexuality does not allow them to enter into the full life of this communion? (2)
"Everybody is equal in God's eyes" is the premise, taken utterly for granted here, and in a rather sweeping way that includes not only spiritual matters but also matters of church government. But the authors of the Bible knew nothing of such modern egalitarian notions. Morality in the Bible is set forth as a personal matter, not a political matter, and it is certainly not based upon any idea that all people are of equal worth in God's eyes. Salvation in the Bible is no "equal opportunity" proposition either. As for the political and social order, the Bible does not direct us to anything beyond the hierarchical principles of order which pertained to the ancient world of kings and patriarchs, promising only that in due time a righteous Kingdom will come. This must be understood by anyone who wants to get a clear idea of what the Bible is all about. A sensible and honest reading of the Bible cannot be possible for those who would read into it the politicized egalitarian morality of our age. Even the most cherished idea of modern civil philosophy — that "all men are created equal," and "endowed with certain inalienable rights," as the American Declaration of Independance puts it — must be left behind by the student who would fully enter into the world of the Bible.
This is denied by many liberal scholars (e.g. John Dominic Crossan, Gerd Theissen, and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza), who, trying to put a 'biblical' coloring on their politicized version of Christianity, have argued that the New Testament contains some evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was a social revolutionary who founded a short-lived 'egalitarian' community based upon a 'discipleship of equals.' These scholars maintain that by the end of the first century the egalitarian program of Jesus was abandoned by his followers, who suppressed the egalitarianism of the early Church when they wrote or edited the New Testament documents. In two recent articles (3) John H. Elliott has reviewed these unconvincing efforts to find an egalitarian 'historical Jesus,' and in conclusion he finds it necessary to restate the obvious:
This concept that all persons are equal in respect to economic, social, legal, and political domains is of modern, Enlightenment origin and has been shaped by momentous economic, social, and political changes dramatically distancing our modern world from that of the biblical writers. The equality celebrated in the American and French revolutions, has little, if anything, in common with the comparatively rarely discussed concept of equality (more frequently "equity" or proportional equality) in the ancient world. Accordingly, searching for instances of egalitarianism in the New Testament communities, indeed in the ancient world on the whole, is as pointless as hunting for modern needles in ancient haystacks. (4)
As hard as this may be, it is only by prescinding from such modern cultural presuppositions and by adopting instead the presuppositions of the Bible's authors, that one can even begin to understand and respect its teachings as the word of God. As D.E. Nineham puts it:
If God has condescended to address men in the full particularity of their peculiar historical and cultured environments, then we have got to immerse ourselves fully and sympathetically in those environments, with their customs and values, ways of thinking and patterns of imagery, before we can understand either his demand or their response. (5)
Unfortunately, it is not only liberal scholars who refuse to immerse themselves sypathetically in the Bible, but also many 'evangelical' scholars. We are not always well served by our own conservative commentators and translators in this matter. There seems to be an apologetic motive at work here — the Bible is domesticated in order to avoid scandalizing those who would be shocked to discover how utterly foreign it is to modern values. (6) This tendency appears in many forms. Regarding slavery, some of our English translations remove the offense by using the word "servants" instead of "slaves," (7) and many evangelical expositors have tried to distract attention from the foreignness of the Bible's teaching on slavery by dwelling upon things in the Bible which they allege to be part of some latent egalitarian "trajectory." Usually reference is made to something or other in Paul's Epistle to Philemon, which is construed as if the whole point of the letter was to urge Philemon to free his slave Onesimus. But this attempt to discover and highlight some hidden egalitarian agenda in the Bible is all the more difficult for evangelicals because they cannot simply dismiss most of the New Testament by calling it "secondary," as do the liberals. And it not only fails to convince, but it is a serious misdirection, because it prevents people from coming to terms with the world-view of the Biblical authors.
However much we may want to find a Biblical case for the abolition of slavery, it is simply not there, not even in the Epistle to Philemon. (8) As George Elden Ladd puts it:
Paul has no word of criticism for the institution as such. In this sense, he was unconcerned about "social ethics" — the impact of the gospel on social structures. In fact, he admonishes slaves to be indifferent to their social status (1 Cor. 7:21), because a human slave is really a freedman of the Lord. (9)
1 Corinthians 7:21
Ladd mentions the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:21, which we will examine now in some detail, because some recent Bible versions have paraphrased the verse in such a way that it appears to be telling slaves that they should seek emancipation. But this interpretation is anachronistic and does violence to the context. In fact the meaning is quite the opposite. It is an instruction to slaves that they should care so little for worldly freedom that they should not even take notice of any opportunities to become free, as in the following modern versions:
New English Bible (margin). Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let that trouble you; but even if a chance of liberty should come, choose rather to make good use of your servitude.
Revised English Bible (margin). Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let that trouble you; but even if a chance of freedom should come, choose rather to make good use of your servitude.
Today's English Version (margin). Were you a slave when God called you? Well, never mind; but even if you have a chance to become a free man, choose rather to make the best of your condition as a slave.
New American Bible. Were you a slave when your call came? Give it no thought. Even supposing you could go free, you would be better off making the most of your slavery.
American Standard Version. Wast thou called being a bond-servant? care not for it: nay, even if thou canst become free, use it rather.
Revised Standard Version (margin). Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition instead.
New Revised Standard Version. Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever.
The Church Fathers (early writers of the Church) favored this interpretation. See, for example, the commentaries of Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophlact. Here are Chrysostom's words on the verse:
"Let each man abide in that calling wherein he was called. Hast thou been called, having an unbelieving wife? Continue to have her. Cast not out thy wife for the faith's sake. Hast thou been called, being a slave? Care not for it. Continue to be a slave. Hast thou been called, being in uncircumcision? Remain uncircumcised. Being circumcised, didst thou become a believer? Continue circumcised. For this is the meaning of, "As God hath distributed unto each man." For these are no hindrances to piety. Thou art called, being a slave; another, with an unbelieving wife; another, being circumcised.
Astonishing! where has he put slavery? As circumcision profits not, and uncircumcision does no harm, so neither doth slavery, nor yet liberty. And that he might point out this with surpassing clearness, he says, "But even (All eikai dunasai) if thou canst become free, use it rather:" that is, rather continue a slave. Now upon what possible ground does he tell the person who might be set free to remain a slave? He means to point out that slavery is no harm but rather an advantage.
Now we are not ignorant that some say the words, "use it rather," are spoken with regard to liberty: interpreting it, "if thou canst become free, become free." But the expression would be very contrary to Paul's manner if he intended this. For he would not, when consoling the slave and signifying that he was in no respect injured, have told him to get free. Since perhaps someone might say, "What then, if I am not able? I am an injured and degraded person." This then is not what he says: but as I said, meaning to point out that a man gets nothing by being made free, he says, "Though thou hast it in thy power to be made free, remain rather in slavery."
Next he adds also the cause; "For he that was called in the Lord being a bondservant, is the Lord's free man: likewise he that was called, being free, is Christ's bondservant." "For," saith he, "in the things that relate to Christ, both are equal: and like as thou art the slave of Christ, so also is thy master. How then is the slave a free man? Because He has freed thee not only from sin, but also from outward slavery while continuing a slave. For he suffers not the slave to be a slave, not even though he be a man abiding in slavery: and this is the great wonder.
But how is the slave a free man while continuing a slave? When he is freed from passions and the diseases of the mind: when he looks down upon riches and wrath and all other the like passions.
Ver. 23. "Ye were bought with a price: become not bondservants of men." This saying is addressed not to slaves only but also to free men. For it is possible for one who is a slave not to be a slave; and for one who is a freeman to be a slave. "And how can one be a slave and not a slave?" When he doeth all for God: when he feigns nothing, and doeth nothing out of eye-service towards men: that is how one that is a slave to men can be free. Or again, how doth one that is free become a slave? When he serves men in any evil service, either for gluttony or desire of wealth or for office's sake. For such an one, though he be free, is more of a slave than any man. (10)
Early modern interpreters which follow this line include Camerarius, Estius, Wolf, Bengel, and many others. In the nineteenth century, de Wette, Osiander, Maier, Ewald, Baur, Vaihinger, Weiss, and Meyer. In recent years it generally prevails among scholarly commentators, as for example in C.K. Barrett's commentary:
"Were you a slave when you were called? See i.26 for the low social standing of many Corinthian Christians. Let not that trouble you, but even though you should be able to become free (emancipation could take place in a variety of ways, and was not infrequent) put up rather with your present status. A number of grammarians (e.g. Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, i. 247; ii. 165; Moule, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, pp. 21, 167; M.E. Thrall, Greek Particles in the New Testament (1962), pp. 78-82), and many commentators, prefer to render, If you actually (ei kai) have an opportunity of becoming free, by all means (mallon, elative) seize it. This finds some support in the aorist tense of the imperative (crhsai), but does not make sense in the context; see especially the discussion, with references, in J.N. Sevenster, Paul and Seneca, pp. 189 f. (and the same context for a discussion of the Pauline and Stoic attitudes to slavery). Particularly important is the for (gar) with which the next verse begins: You need not hesitate to put up with your servile condition, for the slave who has been called in the Lord (that is, to be a Christian, one who is in Christ) is the Lord's freedman; and similarly the free man who has been called is Christ's slave." (11)
1 Timothy 1:10
Sometimes 1 Timothy 1:10 is mentioned as one verse which might indicate that the Bible considers slavery to be sinful. This misinterpretation was often put forth in abolitionist writings of the Civil-War Era. For example, in 1836 Angelina Grimke (a feminist abolitionist who was neither a scholar nor a believer in the Bible) wrote, "how can it be said Paul sanctioned slavery, when, as though to put this matter beyond all doubt, in that black catalogue of sins enumerated in his first epistle to Timothy, he mentions 'menstealers,' which word may be translated 'slavedealers'?" (12) The verse lists andrapodistaiV "menstealers" along with other ungodly and sinful persons (murderers, fornicators, sodomites, liars, etc.), and indeed this word is translated "slave traders" in the New International Version and in the New Living Translation. The New International Reader's Version (a revision of the NIV for children) even interprets it as, "people who buy and sell slaves." This is in keeping with Grimke's interpretation. But this is certainly not the meaning of the word. Thayer's Lexicon explains that the word means "one who steals the slaves of others and sells them" or "one who unjustly reduces free men to slavery." This crime was often committed in ancient times. Penalties for it are specified in the Mosaic Law (see Exodus 21:16 and Deuteronomy 24:7), and it is frequently mentioned by Greek writers as the crime of andrapodon. In the ancient Roman code known as the Lex Fabia (third-second century B.C.) these slave-snatchers were called plagiarii, and so the word is translated thus in the Vulgate. (13) So andrapodistaiV in 1 Timothy 1:10 does not refer to all slave traders, any more than the word pornoiV "whoremongers, fornicators" in the same verse could refer all men who have sexual relations with a woman. It refers to those who engage in an illegal activity, kidnapping of slaves, and not the legal slave-trade itself. For this reason, most Bible versions translate the word "kidnappers."
Why have the translators of the NIV and the NLT used the words "slave traders" here, without even indicating the correct interpretation in a footnote? One might expect the NIV Study Bible, at least, to indicate the meaning, but even in that copiously annotated edition of the NIV there is no explanatory note here. We also observe that the recently-published English Standard Version has "enslavers" here, which is somewhat better than "slave-traders," and it also has a note stating that the word means "those who take someone captive in order to sell him into slavery." But this translation and this note are also incorrect for two reasons: In ancient times those who were taken captive in war were often kept or sold as slaves, unless they were redeemed by the payment of a ransom, and this military custom was not considered to be andrapodon. It was considered to be a merciful alternative to the massacre of defeated enemies. (14) Also, the crime of andrapodon often involved the kidnapping of one who was already a slave, not the enslavement of one who had been free. If the translators were not satisfied with "kidnappers" because this word does not indicate the connection with the illegal slave trade, they might have rendered it "slave-kidnappers," but "enslavers" is not the meaning of this word.
We suspect an apologetic purpose for these mistranslations. All of these versions were sponsored by evangelical publishers, and many evangelical apologists have used isolated misinterpretations of 1 Timothy 1:10 in support of their contention that the Bible does not really condone slavery after all. But however well-meaning this may be, and however expedient it may be for apologists, it prevents people from really coming to terms with the world-view of the Biblical authors—a world-view which is very remote from modern egalitarian values and agendas.
None of this is to suggest that slavery is a good idea in the modern world. But it is a requirement of scholarly integrity, and of any true understanding of the Bible, that we should refrain from importing our own modern political and social values into the text.
1. For example, Schaff's History of the Christian Church (vol 1, chap. 8, § 48) hyperbolically states that at times there were perhaps twice as many slaves as freemen in the Roman empire, and that, while the treatment of slaves "depended on the character of the master," "as a rule it was harsh and cruel." Indeed, life was harsh for all working-class people in ancient Rome by modern standards. But it strains credulity when we are asked to believe (without any evidence presented for the sweeping assertion) that "the character of the master" was "as a rule ... cruel." Such characterizations belong more to the realm of melodrama than to history.
2. Radio interview with the Right Rev. John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington, DC, broadcast by National Public Radio on August 1, 2003 and subsequently published in the Public Broadcasting Corporation's Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. We note the irony of this appeal to the egalitarian principle in the context of the Episcopal Church's decision, which concerned the appointment of a homosexual to a prestigious and decidedly hierarchical office, with an honorific title and a pompous costume. Such ecclesiastical personages bear little resemblance to the "bishops" or overseers mentioned in the Bible.
3. John H. Elliott, "Jesus Was Not an Egalitarian. A Critique of an Anachronistic and Idealist Theory," Biblical Theology Bulletin 32/3 (2002). pp. 75-91; "The Jesus Movement Was Not Egalitarian but Family-oriented," Biblical Interpretation 11/2 (April 2003), pp. 173-210.
4. John H. Elliott, "The Jesus Movement Was Not Egalitarian," p. 174.
5. D.E. Nineham, The Church's Use of the Bible Past and Present (London: SPCK, 1963), p. 161.
6. This is not mere speculation. Douglas Groothuis, professor of apologetics at Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, has published on the internet a surprisingly frank article — "Apologetics: The Egalitarian Imperative" (dated June 04, 2002) — in which he argues that "biblical egalitarianism" is an "apologetic imperative" because "unbelievers recoil in horror, and reject the gospel without further thought" after hearing "pronouncements about female submission."
7. For example, the Revised Standard Version uses the word "servant" in Romans 1:1, where Paul really calls himself a "slave of Christ." It seems that the RSV editors were not entirely comfortable with this manner of speaking. One recent version, the Holman Christian Standard Bible, reluctantly uses the word "slave" with a bullet pointing to an editorial note in the appendix: "The strong Greek word doulos cannot be accurately translated in English by 'servant' or 'bond servant'; the HCSB translates this word as 'slave,' not out of insensitivity to the legitimate concerns of modern English speakers, but out of a commitment to accurately convey the brutal reality of the Roman Empire's inhumane institution as well as the ownership called for by Christ." It seems that the editors could not bring themselves to use the word "slave" without a note denouncing slavery as an inhumane and brutal institution. But we observe that Paul and the other biblical authors were not moved to make any such apology for their use of the word doulos. Rather, as the HCSB note mentions, they used the word as a very apt one to express the 'ownership called for by Christ.' But would they have done this if the reality of slavery in ancient Rome was as brutal and inhumane as the writer of this note seems to think? Wayne Grudem, one of the translators of the English Standard Version, maintains that "the word 'slave' is probably not the best translation of the Greek word doulos" because in ancient times slavery "was an institution far different from the horrible abuses of slavery in the 18th and 19th century in North America" (Interview with Adrian Warnock, 8 Dec. 2006).
8. The apologists for slavery in the Confederate States of America produced some writings on this subject which are today usually dismissed as mere special-pleading, and perhaps rightly so. But whatever one may think of their motives, it should be recognized that their opponents were much more guilty of special-pleading when they tried to use the Bible in support of the abolitionist cause. The truth is, the Bible gives no deliberate support to either side of this political question, because the Bible was not written for political purposes. For an interesting critique of the abolitionist use of Scripture see the discussion in chapter 3 of Albert Taylor Bledsoe's An Essay on Liberty and Slavery (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & co., 1856).
9. George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), p. 529.
10. Homily XIX on 1 Corinthians. English translation from Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. American edition. Series I, Vol. XII (New York, 1889).
11. C.K. Barrett, A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), p. 170f.
12. Angelina Grimke, "Appeal to the Christian women of the South," in The Anti-Slavery Examiner 1/2 (New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1836)
13. For details on the Roman law see the article "Plagium" by George Long in A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, ed. William Smith (London: John Murray, 1875).
14. It is not at all clear how this ancient practice can be called less humane than the modern practice of deliberately and wantonly destroying civilian populations by aerial bombardment, as was done by Allied forces during the Second World War. This policy of "total war" against the population of a foreign country, which is even now the plan of the American military in the event of nuclear war, can hardly be called more humane than slavery.
David Barton - 09/2002
In recent days, Michael Newdow - infamous for his successful initiation of the ruling striking down "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance - has broadened his efforts and has filed suit against the use of chaplains in the U. S. House and Senate. In his public appearances defending this newest pursuit, Newdow cites James Madison's quotes from his "Detached Memoranda" as his authority in opposing chaplains. Did Madison actually oppose chaplains in Congress? Yes, and no.
Madison's religious views and activities are numerous, as are his writings on religion. They are at times self-contradictory, and his statements about religion are such that opposing positions can each invoke Madison as its authority. An understanding of Madison's religious views is complicated by the fact that his early actions were at direct variance with his later opinions. Consider six examples of his early actions.
First, Madison was publicly outspoken about his personal Christian beliefs and convictions. For example, he encouraged his friend, William Bradford (who served as Attorney General under President Washington), to make sure of his own spiritual salvation:
[A] watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.
Madison even desired that all public officials - including Bradford - would declare openly and publicly their Christian beliefs and testimony:
I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way. 
Second, Madison was a member of the committee that authored the 1776 Virginia Bill of Rights and approved of its clause declaring that:
It is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.  (emphasis added)
Third, Madison's proposed wording for the First Amendment demonstrates that he opposed only the establishment of a federal denomination, not public religious activities. His proposal declared:
The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established.  (emphasis added)
(Madison reemphasized that position throughout the debates. )
Fourth, in 1789, Madison served on the Congressional committee which authorized, approved, and selected paid Congressional chaplains. 
Fifth, in 1812, President Madison signed a federal bill which economically aided a Bible Society in its goal of the mass distribution of the Bible. 
Sixth, throughout his Presidency (1809-1816), Madison endorsed public and official religious expressions by issuing several proclamations for national days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. 
These were the early actions of Madison. In later life Madison retreated from many of these positions, even declaring in his "Detached Memoranda" his belief that having paid chaplains and issuing presidential prayer proclamations were unconstitutional. Recent Courts have made a point of citing Madison's "Detached Memoranda" in arguing against public religious expressions. 
Significantly, the "Detached Memoranda" was "discovered" in 1946 in the papers of Madison biographer William Cabell Rives and was first published more than a century after Madison's death by Elizabeth Fleet in the October 1946 William & Mary Quarterly. In that work, Madison expressed his opposition to many of his own earlier beliefs and practices and set forth a new set of beliefs formerly unknown even to his closest friends. Since Madison never made public or shared with his peers his sentiments found in the "Detached Memoranda," and since his own public actions were at direct variance with this later writing, it is difficult to argue that it reflects the Founders' intent toward religion.
There were fifty-five individuals directly involved in framing the Constitution at the Constitutional Convention, and an additional ninety in the first federal Congress that framed the First Amendment and Bill of Rights. Allowing for the overlap of nineteen individuals who were both at the Constitutional Convention and a part of the first Congress,  there were one hundred and twenty-six individual participants in the framing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The records of the Constitutional Convention demonstrate that James Madison was often out of step with these Founders. The other delegates rejected Madison's Virginia plan in preference for Roger Sherman's Connecticut plan and voted down 40 of Madison's 71 proposals (60 percent).  Nevertheless, today Madison is cited as if he is the only authority among the Founding Fathers and the only expert on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights.
Was Madison responsible for the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights? Definitely not. In fact, during the Constitutional Convention, it was Virginian George Mason that advocated that a Bill of Rights be added to the Constitution,  but the other Virginians at the Convention - including James Madison - opposed any Bill of Rights and their position prevailed.  Consequently, George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, Edmund Randolph, and others at the Convention refused to sign the new Constitution because of their fear of insufficiently bridled federal power. 
Mason and the others returned to their home States to lobby against the ratification of the Constitution until a Bill of Rights was added. As a result of their voices (and numerous others who agreed with them), the ratification of the Constitution almost failed in Virginia,  Massachusetts,  New Hampshire,  and New York.  Rhode Island flatly refused to ratify it,  and North Carolina refused to do so until limitations were placed upon the federal government.  Although the Constitution was eventually ratified, a clear message had been delivered: there was strong sentiment demanding the inclusion of a Bill of Rights.
When the Constitution was considered for ratification, the reports from June 2 through June 25, 1788, make clear that in Virginia, Patrick Henry, George Mason, and Edmund Randolph led the fight for the Bill of Rights, again over James Madison's opposition.  Henry's passionate speeches of June 5 and June 7 resulted in Virginia's motion that a Bill of Rights be added to the federal Constitution; and on June 25, the Virginia Convention selected George Mason to chair a committee to prepare a proposed Bill of Rights,  with Patrick Henry and John Randolph as members.  Mason incorporated Henry's arguments as the basis of Virginia's proposal on religious liberty. 
Although Madison had opposed a Bill of Rights, he understood the grim political reality that without one, it was unlikely the new Constitution would receive widespread public acceptance.  Consequently, he withdrew his opposition, and in the federal House of Representatives he introduced his own versions of the amendments offered by his State.
Very little of Madison's proposed religious wording made it into the final version of the First Amendment; and even a cursory examination of the Annals of Congress surrounding the formation of that Amendment quickly reveals the influence of Fisher Ames and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, Samuel Livermore of New Hampshire, John Vining of Delaware, Daniel Carroll and Charles Carroll of Maryland, Benjamin Huntington, Roger Sherman, and Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut, William Paterson of New Jersey, and others on that Amendment. 
The failure to rely on Founders other than Madison seems to imply that no other Founders were qualified to address First Amendment issues or that there exists no pertinent recorded statements from the other Founders. Both implications are wrong: numerous Founders played pivotal roles; and thousands of their writings do exist.
However, if critics of public religious expression believe that only a Virginian may speak for the nation on the issue of religion (they usually cite either Madison or Jefferson), then why not George Mason, the "Father of the Bill of Rights"? Or Richard Henry Lee who not only framed Virginia's proposals but who also was a Member of the first federal Congress where he helped frame the Bill of Rights? Or why not George Washington? Perhaps the reason that these other Virginians are ignored (as are most of the other Framers) is because both their words and actions unequivocally contradict the image portrayed by the one-sided picture of Madison given by those who cite only his "Detached Memoranda."
George Washington provides a succinct illustration. During his inauguration, Washington took the oath as prescribed by the Constitution but added several religious components to that official ceremony. Before taking his oath of office, he summoned a Bible on which to take the oath, added the words "So help me God!" to the end of the oath, then leaned over and kissed the Bible.  His "Inaugural Address" was filled with numerous religious references,  and following that address, he and the Congress "proceeded to St. Paul's Chapel, where Divine service was performed." 
Only weeks later, Washington signed his first major federal bill  - the Northwest Ordinance, drafted concurrently with the creation of the First Amendment.  That act stipulated that for a territory to become a State, the "schools and the means of education" in that territory must encourage the "religion, morality, and knowledge" that was "necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind."  Conforming to this requirement, numerous subsequent State constitutions included that clause,  and it still appears in State constitutions today.  Furthermore, that law is listed in the current federal code, along with the Constitution, the Declaration, and the Articles of Confederation, as one of America's four "organic" or foundational laws. 
Finally, in his "Farewell Address," Washington reminded the nation:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness. . . . The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. 
Washington - indisputably a constitutional expert - declared that religion and morality were inseparable from government, and that no true patriot, whether politician or clergyman, would attempt to weaken the relationship between government and the influence of religion and morality.
Or why not cite the actions of the entire body of Founding Fathers? For example, in 1800, when Washington, D. C., became the national capital and the President moved into the White House and Congress into the Capitol, Congress approved the use of the Capitol building as a church building for Christian worship services.  In fact, Christian worship services on Sunday were also started at the Treasury Building and at the War Office. 
John Quincy Adams, a U. S. Senator, made frequent references to these services. Typical of his almost weekly entries are these:
[R]eligious service is usually performed on Sundays at the Treasury office and at the Capitol. I went both forenoon and afternoon to the Treasury. October 23, 1803. 
Attended public service at the Capitol, where Mr. Ratoon, an Episcopalian clergyman from Baltimore, preached a sermon. October 30, 1803. 
The Rev. Mannasseh Cutler, a U. S. Congressman (as well as a chaplain in the Revolution and a physician and scientist) similarly recorded in 1804:
December 23, Sunday. Attended worship at the Treasury. Mr. [James] Laurie [pastor of the Presbyterian Church] alone [preached]. Sacrament [communion]. Full assembly. Three tables; service very solemn; nearly four hours. Cold day. 
By1867, the church in the Capitol had become the largest church in Washington, and the largest Protestant church in America. 
There are numerous other public religious activities by the Founding Fathers that might be cited, and Madison participated and facilitated many of them. Yet Madison later privately renounced his own practices, thus distancing himself from his own beliefs and practices as well as those of the other Founders. Therefore, to use Madison's "Detached Memoranda" as authoritative is a flagrant abuse of historical records, choosing a long unknown ex post facto document in preference to those concurrent with the framing and implementation of the First Amendment.
Newdow's use of James Madison is typical of most revisionists: it gives only the part of the story with which he agrees and omits the part with which he disagrees. If Newdow wants to take the position that the "Founding Fathers" (plural) opposed the use of chaplains, then he must provide evidence from more than one Founder; he must show that the majority of the Founders opposed chaplains - something that he cannot do.
WallBuilders has a resource that provides comprehensive information on the Founders views on the Constitution (see Original Intent).
 Letter of Madison to William Bradford (November 9, 1772), in 1 James Madison, The Letters and Other Writings of James Madison 5-6 (New York: R. Worthington 1884).
 Letter of Madison to William Bradford (September 25, 1773), in 1 James Madison, The Papers of James Madison 66 (William T. Hutchinson ed., Illinois: University of Chicago Press 1962).
 The Proceedings of the Convention of Delegates, Held at the Capitol in the City of Williamsburg, in the Colony of Virginia, on Monday the 6th of May, 1776, 103 (Williamsburg: Alexander Purdie 1776) (Madison on the Committee on May 16, 1776; the "Declaration of Rights" passed June 12, 1776).
 1 The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States 451, 1st Cong., 1st Sess. (Washington, D. C.: Gales & Seaton 1834) (June 8, 1789).
 1 Debates and Proceedings 758-759 (1834 ed.) (August 15, 1789).
 1 Debates and Proceedings 109 (1834 ed.) (April 9, 1789).
 Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States 1325, 12th Cong., 2nd Sess. (Washington: Gales & Seaton 1853) ("An Act for the relief of the Bible Society of Philadelphia. Be it enacted, &c., That the duties arising and due to the United States upon certain stereotype plates, imported during the last year into the port of Philadelphia, on board the ship Brilliant, by the Bible Society of Philadelphia, for the purpose of printing editions of the Holy Bible, be and the same are hereby remitted, on behalf of the United States, to the said society: and any bond or security given for the securing of the payment of the said duties shall be cancelled. Approved February 2, 1813.")
 1 James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897, 513 (Published by Authority of Congress 1899) (July 9, 1812), 532-533 (July 23, 1813), 558 (November 16, 1814), and 560-561 (March 4, 1815).
 See, for example, Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, 617 (1992); Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783, 791 (1983); ACLU v. Capitol Square Review, 243 F.3d 289 (6th Cir. 2001); Sherman v. Cmty. Consol. Dist. 21, 980 F.2d 437 (7th Cir. 1992); American Jewish Congress v. City of Chicago, 827 F.2d 120 (7th Cir. 1787), and others.
 Ten members of the Constitutional Convention also served in the first federal Senate (William Few, Richard Bassett, George Read, Pierce Butler, William Paterson, Robert Morris, Oliver Ellsworth, William Samuel Johnson, Caleb Strong, and John Langdon) and nine members of the Convention served in the first federal House (Abraham Baldwin, James Madison, Hugh Williamson, Daniel Carroll, George Clymer, Thomas Fitzsimons, Roger Sherman, Elbridge Gerry, and Nicholas Gilman).
 Forrest McDonald, Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution 208-209 (Lawrence, Kansas, 1985), compiled from The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 (Max Farrand, ed., New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. I, 216, 373, and Vol. II, 45, 306, 324-325, 345, 440, 500, and 617.
 3 James Madison, The Papers of James Madison 1566 (Henry D. Gilpin, ed., Washington: Langress and O'Sullivan, 1840) (Wednesday, September 12, 1787); see also 2 George Bancroft, Bancroft's History of the Formation of the Constitution 209-210 (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1882), and 2 Farrand's Records of The Federal Convention 588 (September 12, 1787) and 637 (September 15, 1787).
 1 Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution 306 (Jonathan Elliot, ed., Washington, 1836) (September 12, 1787).
 Dictionary of American Biography, s.v., "George Mason," "Edmund Randolph," "Elbridge Gerry."
 Elliot's Debates, Vol. III, 652-655, Virginia Ratification Debates, June 25, 1788.
 Elliot's Debates, Vol. II, 176-181, Massachusetts Ratification Debates, February 6, 1788.
 Joseph B. Walker, A History of the New Hampshire Convention (Boston: Cupples & Hurd, 1888), 41-43, June 21, 1788.
 Elliot's Debates, Vol. II, 413, New York Ratification Debates, July 26, 1788.
 Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Providence: Knowles and Vose, 1843), Vol. V, 320-321, March 24, 1788.
 Elliot's Debates, Vol. IV, 242-251, North Carolina Ratification Debates, August 1-2, 1788.
 Elliot's Debates, Vol. III, 616-622, James Madison, Virginia Ratification Debates, June 24, 1788.
 Rowland, Life of George Mason, Vol. I, 244.
 Elliot's Debates, Vol. III, 655-656, Virginia Ratification Debates, June 25, 1788.
 Patrick Henry, Life, Correspondence and Speeches, William Wirt Henry (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1891), Vol. I, 430-431; see also Rowland, Life of George Mason, Vol. I, 244; see also Elliot's Debates, Vol. III, 659, Virginia Ratification Debates, June 27, 1788.
 1 Debates and Proceedings 448-450 (1st Cong., 1st Sess) (June 8, 1789); see also Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U. S. 38, 93-99 (1985) (Rehnquist, J., dissenting).
 See 1 Debates and Proceedings 440-948 (1st Cong., 1st Sess.) (June 8- September 24, 1789, for the records chronicling the debates surrounding the framing of the First Amendment).
 4 Washington Irving, Life of George Washington 475 (New York: G. P. Putnam & Co., 1857); Mrs. C. M Kirkland, Memoirs of Washington 438 (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1870); Charles Carleton Coffin, Building the Nation 26 (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1882); etc.
 1 Richardson, Messages and Papers 51-54 (April 30, 1789).
 1 Annals of Congress 29 (April 30, 1789).
 Acts Passed at a Congress of the United States of America Begun and Held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the Fourth of March, in the Year 1789, 104 (Hartford: Hudson & Goodwin, 1791) (August 7, 1789).
 1 Debates and Proceedings 685 (1st Cong., 1st Sess.) (July 21, 1789, passage by the House), and 1 Debates and Proceedings 57 (August 4, 1789, passage by the Senate).
 Constitutions (1813) 364 ("An Ordinance of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio," Article III).
 For example, State constitutions across the decades reflecting this requirement include the 1803 Ohio Constitution (Constitutions (1813), 334, Ohio, 1802, Article 8, Section 3); the 1817 Mississippi Constitution (The Constitutions of All the United States According to the Latest Amendments (Lexington, KY: Thomas T. Skillman, 1817), 389, Mississippi, 1817, Article 9, Section 16); the 1858 Kansas Constitution (House of Representatives, Mis. Doc. No. 44, 35th Cong., 2nd Sess., February 2, 1859, 3-4, Article 1, Section 7, of the Kansas Constitution); the 1875 Nebraska Constitution (M. B. C. True, A Manual of the History and Civil Government of the State of Nebraska (Omaha: Gibson, Miller, & Richardson, 1885), 34, Nebraska, 1875, Article 1, Section 4); etc.
 See The Constitution of North Carolina 42 (Raleigh: Rufus L. Edmisten, Secretary of State, 1989) (Article 9, Section 1); Constitution of the State of Nebraska 1-2 (Lincoln: Allen J. Beermann, Secretary of State, 1992) (Article 1, Section 4); Page's Ohio Revised Code Annotated 24 (Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Co., 1994) (Article 1, Section 7).
 United States Code Annotated 1 (St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1987) ("The Organic Laws of the United States of America").
 George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States . . . Preparatory to His Declination 22-23 (Baltimore: George and Henry S. Keatinge, 1796).
 1 Debates and Proceedings 797 (6th Cong., 2nd Sess.) (December 4, 1800).
 Hutson 89; see also 1 John Quincy Adams, Memoirs of John Quincy Adams 265 (Charles Francis Adams ed., Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1874) (October 23, 1803).
 1 John Quincy Adams, Memoirs 265 (October 23, 1803).
 1 John Quincy Adams, Memoirs 268 (October 30, 1803).
 2 William Parker Cutler & Julia Perkins Cutler, Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, LL.D. 174 (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. 1888).
 James Hutson, Chief of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic 91 (Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress 1998).
Monday, December 29, 2008
Good ol' givem' Hell Harry also knew about given' Heaven too! Woodrow Wilson, also said,
"A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.... America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the tenets of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture." Those who would like to dispute the obvious, for one simple reason: because it does not allow for the justification of immoral laws, such as abortion and homosexual marriage.
Some of the anti Christian nation crew will make reference to first sentence of Article 11 of the Tripoli Treaty of 1797.
http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/politics/pg0040.html The opponents of this view, however, point to the first sentence of Article 11 of the obscure Tripoli Treaty of 1797 as seeming conclusive proof that America was never a Christian nation. Before discussing that critical sentence, the treaty itself should be read in context with all of the Barbary treaties
The Barbary States on the coast of North Africa, comprising the Moslem States of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, attacked ships in their coastal waters which would not pay tribute, and held captives for ransom. The European nations had treaties with those states, under which, in exchange for tribute, shipping was protected. After the Revolutionary War, our new nation followed the lead of those European nations and entered into similar treaties. Breach of those treaties by the Barbary nations led to the Barbary wars in 1801.
The first treaty was with Morocco in 1786, negotiated by Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin. It was written in Arabic with an English translation. The treaty language assumes that the world was divided between Christians and Moors (Moslems), e.g. "If we shall be at war with any Christian Power ... .", "... no Vessel whatever belonging either to Moorish or Christian Powers with whom the United States may be at War ... .", "...be their enemies Moors or Christians." These along with numerous references to God, e.g., "In the name of Almighty God,", "... trusting in God ...", "Grace to the only God", "...the servant of God ...", "... whom God preserve ...". are the only references to religion in this treaty of Peace and Friendship.
The next was the Treaty of Peace and Amity with Algiers in 1795,written in Turkish. The only reference to religion was in Article 17 which gave the Consul of the United States "... Liberty to Exercise his Religion in his own House [and] all Slaves of the Same Religion shall not be impeded in going to Said Consul's house at hours of prayer... ." The Consul's house was to function in lieu of a Christian church.
The Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation with Tunis in 1797 was in Turkish with a French translation. It begins "God is infinite.", and refers to the Ottoman Emperor "whose realm may God prosper", and to the President of the United States "... the most distinguished among those who profess the religion of the Messiah, ...." Other than a reference to "the Christian year", there is no further mention of religion.
The Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Tripoli was signed in 1796 in Arabic, and was later translated into English by Joel Barlow, United States Consul General at Algiers. Except for the typical phrases "Praise be to God" and "whom God Exalt", there is no reference to religion other than the aforesaid remarkable Article 11, which reads,
"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, — and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan (sic) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
The treaty, with this language, was submitted to the Senate by President Adams, and was ratified. Thus, opponents of the 'Christian nation' concept point to this seemingly official repudiation of the very idea. Yet the language is less a repudiation of the role of Christianity in the nation's heritage than a reminder that there was no national established church in the United States as there was in the European states with which Tripoli had previously dealt. This provided reassurance to the Moslem Bey and his religious establishment that religion, in of itself, would not be a basis of hostility between the two nations. None of the other similar treaties with the Barbary states, before or after this treaty, including the replacement treaties signed in 1804 after the Barbary Wars, have any language remotely similar.
And there is a deeper mystery: As noted in a footnote at page 1070 of the authoritative treatise by Bevans, Treaties and other International Agreements of the United States of America, citing treaty scholar Hunter Miller.
"While the Barlow translation quoted above has been printed in all official and unofficial treaty collections since 1797, most extraordinary (and wholly unexplained) is the fact that Article 11 of the Barlow translation, with its famous phrase 'the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.' does not exist at all. There is no Article 11. The Arabic text which is between Articles 10 and 12 is in form a letter, crude and flamboyant and withal quite unimportant, from the Dey of Algiers to the Pasha of Tripoli. How that script came to be written and to be regarded, as in the Barlow translation, as Article 11 of the treaty as there written, is a mystery and seemingly must remain so. Nothing in the diplomatic correspondence of the time throws any light whatever on the point" (Emphasis added)
In sum, the phrase was no doubt an invention of Mr. Barlow, who inserted it on his own for his own, unknown, purposes. It was duly ratified without question by the United States Senate, which would no doubt be hesitant to object to any phraseology which was represented as desired by the Bey of Tripoli, with whom the United States wanted peaceful relations. It remains a mystery.
So it appears that those who want to believe that the good ol' USofA was not founded on Jedeo/Christian beliefs will continue to do so for the reason I have stated often. Our rights are either entirely given to us by God or they were not. It is not a buffet. I will leave off with a response given to a radio host by Dr. Alan Keyes. A true Christian man who brings out the worst, or for a liberal, their best character.
We have got to restore our respect for Declaration principles by defending life, and making it clear that life begins at conception and must be respected, from that moment, as the will of the Creator, because that’s what the Declaration establishes as our principle, and what the Constitution says we owe to our “posterity.”
The restoration of our allegiance to and respect for God’s authority, especially when it comes to clear moral decisions like marriage, where we need to restore the sense that the God-given family is an unalienable right.
And finally, I would be trying to restore the moral character and sense of our commitment to our basic moral values, starting in the area of national sovereignty, both in terms of our security from terrorism, and especially the security of our borders, and our assertion of the sovereignty of the American people, which our elites have been betraying.
Source: Radio interview on “Janet Parshall’s America” Sep 14, 2007
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
It was cold and wet but I had said a quick prayer thanking God for allowing me to have the ability to play. I had made some poor shots and was being harsh on myself, when I stopped and said,"John, just be happy you have the physical ability to even be on the course. I am sure it was the Holy Spirit getting involved here, but it was a great thought to remember for me. I see people who are unable, for divers reasons, that are unable to do many things. I am able to go to the gym and train any way I like, thanks to God allowing me to have the physical ability; I can train to power lift, body build, or strengthen cardio. I can do anything physicaly I choose too, the same or better at 43 than at 23, not because of me, but because of the gifts God has given to me.
He has also given all of us the Ultimate Gift; His Son, through whose Blood our sins were forgiven. So, I guess the next 43 years I will have to work on the mental gift that He has given me. Something I have not trained or developed or used at times all that well!
Again, thanks City of Modesto.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I know death is a part of life. I understand the cycle of life. But it does not change the fact that even with the passage of time, some memories and feelings do not fade. I trust in God completely, and that is the most important thing in life. I believe, and often remind myself; It is not about me.
Merry Christmas dad!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I guess there will always be a part, maybe a larger part of me that will always be age 7-16! And I would not have it any other way. Merry Christmas to all.......And especially to you dad. Not since 2006 but some day again!
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
I will be headed to So Cal this Friday for my businesses international convention. ACN rocks and is giving us the opportunity to work from home and earn an income that will allow many of us to care for our families and bless us with loads of "no" work time! Click on the ACN link and check it out. This opportunity is a true blessing!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Even if one disagrees with these ideas, it would sure be nice to hear something besides "raise taxes" or "BOND" coming out of Sacremento. So who wants to be my fund raiser!
Friday, November 07, 2008
Well, that would be all it would have taken even though I have a lot more I would do. I would pull our troops out of Iraq after I established a base in the southern part of Iraq. Same for Afghanistan. As for my VP? Does not matter, I would have won on my own, but I would have asked Alan Keyes!
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Obama-Farrakhan Ties Are Close, Ex-Farrakhan Aide Says
Saturday, November 1, 2008 2:59 PM
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
A former top deputy to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan tells Newsmax that Barack Obama’s ties to the black nationalist movement in Chicago run deep, and that for many years the two men have had “an open line between them” to discuss policy and strategy, either directly or through intermediaries.
“Remember that for years, if you were a politician in Chicago, you had to have some type of relationship with Louis Farrakhan. You had to. If you didn’t, you would be ostracized out of black Chicago,” said Dr. Vibert White Jr., who spent most of his adult life as a member and ultimately top officer of the Nation of Islam.
White broke with the group in 1995 and is now a professor of African-American history at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
White said Obama was “part of the Chicago scene” where Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and radicals would go to each other’s events and support each other’s causes.
“Even though Chicago is the third-largest city in the country, within the black community, the political and militant nationalist community is very small. So it wouldn’t be uncommon for [Obama and Farrakhan] to show up at events together, or at least be there and communicate with each other,” White told Newsmax.
The Anti-Defamation League has denounced Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam as a “hate group.”
Farrakhan has called Jews “bloodsuckers,” “satanic” and accused them of running the slave trade. He has labeled gays as “degenerates.” In a 2006 speech, the ADL again condemned Farrakhan when he said: “These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength. … It's the wicked Jews the false Jews that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It's wicked Jews, false Jews that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!"
Obama was careful to “denounce” Farrakhan’s comments – but not the man -- during the Democratic primary season earlier this year, but only after Hillary Clinton called him out for benefiting from Farrakhan’s support.
Farrakhan endorsed Obama in a videotaped speech to his followers at Mosque Miryam in Chicago in February. “You are the instruments that God is gonna use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth,” Farrakhan said.
He told the crowd that Obama was the new “messiah.” See Video: Farrakhan Endorses Obama, Calls Him Messiah.
Once the news media and the Clinton campaign got hold of those comments from Farrakhan, demands mounted from all sides that Obama “renounce” Farrakhan.
But as he has done repeatedly throughout this campaign, Obama was careful to parse his words.
“You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments,” he said during one appearance on “Meet the Press.” “I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible.”
Obama hastened to point out that Farrakhan had been praising him as “an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we’re not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.”
But Obama, once again, was less than candid.
In 1995, according to a profile of Obama that appeared in the Chicago Reader newspaper, Obama “took time off from attending campaign coffees to attend October’s Million Man March in Washington, D.C.”
At the time, Obama was running for the Illinois Senate from Chicago’s South Side, a seat he won after getting surrogates to challenge the signatures on nominating petitions for his chief rival, the incumbent Alice Palmer.
The march, which fell far short of attracting the million men it advertised, was organized by Farrakhan and by Obama’s then-pastor, the anti-white black nationalist Wright.
Obama spoke at length with the Chicago Reader upon his return from the Million Man March. “What I saw was a powerful demonstration of an impulse and need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our rightful place in the society," he said.
“These are mean, cruel times, exemplified by a ‘lock ’em up, take no prisoners’ mentality that dominates the Republican-led Congress,” Obama said.
“Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn't care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing."
“Black nationalism” is a current of thought and political action in the African-American community that has been championed by the likes of Farrakhan, Wright, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and Khalid al-Mansour. Obama discussed his attraction to black nationalism at length in his 1995 memoir “Dreams of My Father.”
Obama further parsed his words in a Feb. 25, 2008, presentation to a Jewish community meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, where he insisted that Wright “does not have a close relationship with Louis Farrakhan.”
And yet, just months earlier, Wright’s Trumpet magazine gave Farrakhan its Lifetime Achievement Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award, saying that Farrakhan “truly epitomized greatness.”
That award was the fruit of a long and deep relationship between the two men, White told Newsmax. In 1984, Wright accompanied Farrakhan on his much-criticized trip to meet Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, at a time when Gadhafi was considered an enemy of the United States.
Wright also accompanied Farrakhan and Jackson to Syria in 1986, where they successfully negotiated with Syrian strongman for the release of downed American pilot Robert O. Goodman.
Obama’s Speaking Style
In addition to the ideological affinity Obama expressed for the black nationalist movement, White believes that Obama owes much of his success as a public orator to speaking techniques that Farrakhan developed over the years, and exploited for years to great success.
“If you listen to the rhetoric and you take away Obama’s political jargon, you hear a religious tenor to it that is very much Nation of Islam-like. I don’t know if anyone has ever touched on it, but Obama’s speaking style is very Malcolm-like, very Farrakhan-like,” White said.
Any American who has listened to early radio or television interviews of Obama can hear how dramatically Obama’s speaking style has changed since he became a United States senator.
In clips dating from 2001 and even early 2004, Obama speaks haltingly and in long, rambling sentences packed with legalese and dense pseudo-academic rhetoric. But not today.
“As a former minister of the Nation of Islam, I know how they speak,” White told Newsmax. “I don’t know who was training Obama. But that style is not a ministerial style like in the Christian church. It’s a Nation of Islam style.”
White began in the late 1970s as a foot soldier in the Fruit of Islam, the military branch of Farrakhan’s Black Muslim group, then rose to become a minister of the Nation of Islam and a top deputy to Farrakhan himself.
Known initially as Brother Vibert L.X., and later as Minister V.L. Muhammad, he parted ways with Farrakhan not long after the Million Man March, after nearly 25 years within the organization.
White’s 2002 book “Inside the Nation of Islam” prompted death threats by Farrakhan loyalists, so he left Illinois and moved to Florida to teach at the University of Central Florida.
He told Newsmax that Obama’s remarkable speaking style, even his manner of standing at a podium to appear larger than life, is directly copied from Farrakhan.
“If the Nation of Islam can’t do anything else, it can train people how to speak. And nobody can outspeak a Muslim minister,” he said.
Earlier this year, a pro-Clinton blog run by former CIA officer Larry Johnson unearthed a 2004 photograph showing Michelle Obama and Farrakahn’s wife, Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, at an event hosted by Jackson’s Citizenship Education Foundation.
Newsmax queried Obama’s U.S. Senate office, his Chicago office and his campaign press office about his ties to Farrakhan, but did not receive a reply.
Ever since he appeared before the annual policy conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in June, Obama has attempted to convince the Jewish community that he is pro-Israel.
But his longstanding ties to Farrakhan, Wright and Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi, among others, have disturbed many Jewish community leaders.
Sen. John McCain publicly chastised The Los Angeles Times on Thursday for not releasing a videotape the newspaper said it possessed of a 2003 dinner for Khalidi, where Obama reportedly accused Israel of carrying out a “genocide” against the Palestinians.
© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
KISUMU, Kenya -- Believers across Kenya are praying for Barack Obama -- literally. They're making sacrificial offerings to help ensure his victory in a nation where the Illinois senator is considered a native son.
Minibuses festooned with Obama's image ply Kenya's roads, and his portrait is a fast-seller in marketplaces. But one prominent preacher is taking his fervor further, saying his church is engaged in "spiritual warfare" to ensure Obama is victorious.
Bishop Washington Ogonyo Ngede met Obama during the senator's high-profile 2006 visit to his father's village, Kogelo. Ngede, a Pentecostal leader, said a prayer in the village before Obama spoke and "laid hands upon" the Hawaii-born senator, who he believes is anointed by God for electoral victory.
Friday, October 24, 2008
The unexpected hero of the 2008 election — “Joe the plumber” — recently talked about Alan Keyes in an interview with Associated Press.
In the interview, Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio — who became an instant household name during the third presidential debate — told an AP film crew that “There’s a gentleman named Alan Keyes. . . . I have no doubt he’d probably fix this country in two years.”
Click here to see the video of Joe’s entire remarks. And be sure to visit AmericasRevival.com for any additional developments in the final days before the election
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The issue of homosexual behavior has had a lot of publicity of late. Homosexuals say that the slaves have been freed and women have been liberated, so gay rights are long overdue. Society does seem to be moving in that direction. Many homosexuals are "coming out" and openly declaring their homosexuality. In many parts of the western world, homosexual couples receive the same recognition as heterosexual couples with regard to social security benefits. Some church leaders are giving their blessing to homosexual relationships, homosexual church members and even homosexual ministers.
Many homosexuals' claim that...
They are made that way.
Homosexuality is of no harm to the participants or to anyone else.
If it feels right to those involved, it is nobody else's business.
Homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships are equally valid. (Some even claim that the Bible condones homosexual relationships.)
Made that way?
Since other groups who have been discriminated against (such as women, blacks and the disabled) have been given equal opportunity, homosexuals claim that they, too, should be liberated. However, as one Christian expert has said...
"Gender, race and impairment all relate to what a person is, whereas homosexuality relates to what a person does."1
In contrast, homosexuals claim that scientific studies have shown that there is a biological basis for homosexuality.
Three main studies are cited by "gay rights" activists in support of their argument2—Hamer's X-chromosome research,3 LeVay's study of the hypothalamus,4 and Bailey and Pillard's study of identical twins who were homosexuals.5
In all three cases, the researchers had a vested interest in obtaining a certain outcome because they were homosexuals themselves. More importantly, their studies did not stand up to scientific scrutiny by other researchers. Also, "the media typically do not explain the methodological flaws in these studies, and they typically oversimplify the results".6 There is no reliable evidence to date that homosexual behavior is determined by a person's genes.
To the extent that biological or social factors may contribute to a person's bent toward homosexual behavior, this does not excuse it. Some people have a strong bent towards stealing or abuse of alcohol, but they still choose to engage or not engage in this behavior—the law rightly holds them accountable.
The final report of the Baptist Union of Western Australia (BUWA) Task Force on Human Sexuality states 'that a person becomes a homosexual ultimately by choosing to be involved in same-sex activity... This is in contrast to innate characteristics such as gender and ethnicity.'7 The report affirms that 'the Bible is clear that sin involves choice, and it unequivocally condemns homosexual behavior as sin'.7
The foundational teaching on marriage and sexual issues is found in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. When Jesus was questioned about marriage, He referred to these 2 chapters (Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12). Genesis teaches us that 'male and female He created them' (Genesis 1:27). We were created to a plan—male and female complementing each other. That is, God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, nor Madam and Eve.
Genesis also teaches that God instituted and designed marriage between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18-25). There are a number of reasons why He did so.
The complementary structure of the male and female anatomy is obviously designed for the normal husband-wife relationships. Clearly, design in human biology supports heterosexuality and contradicts homosexuality.
The combination of male and female enables man (and the animals) to produce and nurture offspring as commanded in Genesis 1:28—'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth'. This command is repeated to Noah after the Flood (Genesis 8:15-17). But procreation is not the only reason God made humans as sexual beings. The BUWA report affirms 'that sexual intimacy between husband and wife is good, and is intended by God for bonding, pleasure and procreation.'7
Thirdly, God gave man and woman complementary roles in order to strengthen the family unit. Woman was to be the helper that man needed (Genesis 2:18). However, the woman's role as the helpmate is certainly not an inferior one. The enterprising God-fearing woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 is an inspiring role model.
Andrew Lansdown points out that 'homosexual activity is notoriously disease-prone. In addition to diseases associated with heterosexual promiscuity, homosexual actions facilitate the transmission of anal herpes, hepatitis B, intestinal parasites, Kaposi's Sarcoma and AIDS.'1 Research on the life expectancy of a group of homosexual men in Canada in the early 1990s indicated that they could expect 8-21 years less lifespan than other men.8
Effect on others
Secular psychologists assure us that 'children raised in lesbian and gay households are similar to children raised in heterosexual households on characteristics such as intelligence, development, moral judgments, self-concepts, social competence and gender identity'.6 The humanists have, however, forgotten one important ingredient.
'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it' (Proverbs 22:6).
You cannot faithfully teach God's Word to your children while living a lifestyle specifically condemned by God's Word. All Christians are sinners forgiven by God's grace, but living in a homosexual relationship constitutes habitual, unrepented sin.
Nobody else's business?
Gay activists claim that homosexual activity is nobody's business other than those involved in the relationship. However, this is not true. God, our Designer and Creator, has authority over all aspects of our lives. He makes the rules, and He quite specifically forbids homosexual behavior.
'You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination' (Leviticus 18:22; see also Leviticus 20:13).
Disobedience of such a clear command indicates rejection of God's authority.
Some people argue that the Old Testament law (including Leviticus 18 and 20) was superseded with the coming of Christ. However, we should at least consider as binding those aspects of the law that are renewed in the New Testament. The teaching of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 was certainly reaffirmed in the New Testament.
Some people claim that homosexual behavior was only condemned in the Bible because it was associated with idolatry (e.g. 1 Kings 14:24). However, it is clearly condemned apart from idolatry as well (e.g. Leviticus 18:22). It is described in Scripture as an unnatural, immoral perversion.
'For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another...' (Romans 1:26-27).
The Greek word arsenokoitai used in 1 Timothy 1:10 literally means 'men who sleep with men'. It is the same Greek word used for 'homosexual offender' in 1 Corinthians 6:9, variously translated as 'abusers of themselves with mankind' (KJV), homosexuals (NASB) or homosexual offender (NIV).
Some people claim that the sin involved in Sodom was rejecting hospitality customs or selfishness rather than homosexual behaviour. Certainly, the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was great and their reported sin was grievous to God (Genesis 18:20). God sent angels to Sodom and...
'Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have sex with them”' (Genesis 19:4-5).
"While it is true that the Hebrew word yadha does not necessarily mean 'to have sex with,' nonetheless in the context of Sodom and Gommorah, it clearly had this meaning. ...It means 'to know sexually' in this very chapter when Lot refers to his two daughters not having 'known' a man (19:8)."9 You would not offer virgins to appease a mob if their sin was lack of hospitality, but only if their desire was sexual.
Although Ezekiel 16:49 condemns Sodom for its selfishness with regard to poverty etc., this does not contradict its condemnation for homosexual practices. "The very next verse of Ezekiel (v. 50) calls their sin an "abomination". This is the same Hebrew word used to describe homosexual sins in Leviticus 18:22."10
It is also used in Scripture to describe such things like the practice of offering children to Moloch, but never such things as mere selfishness or lack of hospitality. Even in legal parlance, the word used to refer to one aspect of homosexual practice is 'sodomy'.
Another argument is that Jonathon and David were homosexuals as 'Jonathan “loved” David (1 Sam. 18:3), that Jonathan stripped in David's presence (18:4), [and] that they kissed each other (20:41)'.11
However, 'David's “love” for Jonathan was not sexual (erotic) but a friendship (philic) love. And Jonathan did not strip himself of all his clothes, but only of his armor and royal robe (1 Sam. 18:4).'12 Also, a kiss was a normal greeting in that day, such as when Judas kissed Jesus. In several cultures today, men normally greet each other with a kiss, too. Further, David's love for his wives, especially Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), clearly reveals his heterosexual orientation.
Isaiah 56:3 states that eunuchs will not be excluded from God's presence ('my temple'), but practising homosexuals are not eunuchs. Eunuchs have no sexual relations at all.
Other scriptural arguments for homosexuality can similarly be easily refuted. It is clear that heterosexual marriage is the only form of marriage sanctioned in the Bible and that homosexual practice is always condemned.
The Bible not only describes homosexual behavior as detestable, but it also calls for the punishment of those involved (Leviticus 20:13). Their unrepentant attitude caused God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25).
Just as homosexual conduct has been punished in the past, so it will also be punished by God in the future.
"...Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
However, there is hope for the homosexual. God forgives and cleanses a person who repents and turns from their sin, including the sin of homosexual behavior (1 Corinthians 6:11). As well as forgiveness, God's grace brings with it the power to live a life that is pleasing to God (Romans 6:6-7). If repentance and reform are genuine, prior homosexual actions should not be a bar to church membership or ministry, as all Christians are reformed sinners.
'Liberal' churches espouse tolerance of homosexual behavior in the name of 'love'. They plug for the acceptance of homosexual conduct as normal, 'because they can't help it'. They are not only wrong about the latter, but they are actually not being at all loving towards homosexuals, because, contrary to the Bible, they reduce the homosexual person to the level of an animal, driven by instinct. In removing moral responsibility from the person, they dehumanize them, whereas the Bible says we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), with the power of moral choice.
Furthermore, the gospel proclaims liberation from the bondage of sin, including homosexual sin, whereas the 'liberals' tell the homosexual that they cannot help it, and they can't help them either, so they will accept them as they are! However, many a person has been gloriously rescued from the bondage of homosexual sin (and other sin) by the power of the Holy Spirit, but only Bible-believing Christians can offer such hope.13
As with all moral issues, our beliefs about our origin determine our attitude. If we believe that we arose from slime by a combination of random chance events and the struggle for survival, it is understandable to say that there is no higher authority, and we can make our own rules. However, if there is a loving God who planned us and gave commands for us to follow, then we must do so. God has set forth His standards in the Bible, beginning with the foundational teaching in the book of Genesis.
Tue, 2008-10-21 23:49 That's....
better. Just had to get the one tick out of the blood stream! Kinda tough though when The Bee is giving special treatment to such insects. Maybe The Hive's caretakers need to state why the appear to not regulate The Hive's comments and then with an e-mail and a false charge posts are removed.
Just make it easy on yourselves guys......remove the ability to post comments. Should have seen this coming after the Barry Hussein endorsement.
Monday, October 20, 2008
So some think Barryhood's idea of taking money from the highly motivated working people and giving it some who are not quite as efficient in earning a living is going to make the US a better place. Not a chance. Here is a good peice on this topic.
By John W. Lillpop
Those who applaud Barack Obama's "spread the wealth" communist blatherings ignore the fact that pity pot communists in Washington, D.C., caused the economic meltdown which has terrorized America and the entire world for several weeks....
Don't have good credit? Again, good credit is vastly overrated, especially when it comes to minorities and low-income folks. Good grief, if government would only force employers to pay more money, everyone could pay their bills on time.
Don't have stable employment? So what else is new? That is a given for minorities in racist America, especially in the disastrous Bush economy! We understand!
Don't have enough income to qualify for a loan? Again, racism takes a nasty toll. Once again, it is your Democrat Nanny who will force those evil lenders (mostly white Republicans!) to "expand" debt-to-income ratios, AND make your application a "stated income loan" so that all families can partake of the American Dream.
Mon, 2008-10-20 20:03 Didn't someone just write a begging letter
to a Mortgage company saying"please reduce my payments they're going to be to high and I won't be able to pay them, I know I agreed to make them but..."? Would that be included in the bail out? But I guess thats completely different.
Mon, 2008-10-20 20:19 It's okay truth-
things that are of a completely different matter are where people who think like this blogger take comfort; it's all they have.
This blogger is a socialist and doesn't even know it... and therein lies the beautiful irony of it all. Every time he drives on public roads, every school he's ever attended, every police officer who patrols his streets, every fire fighter that would come to a screeching halt if he dialed "9-1-1..." it's all paid for by your taxes, my taxes- his taxes. This idea of taking a portion of earned income to provide for the better good, well, in America- it's called socialism. I guess he could choose not to participate, and then be a sessionist like Sarah Palin's husband, but somehow... I doubt that.
So he needs fear to write and fear to think and fear to retort; it's all he's got. I know I don't like paying taxes- who does? But then, how many people do you see walking on a dirt path to go to work because they'd rather do that than use the roads socialism has paved?
Socialism... ooh, evil! Now I know what to dress up for Halloween- my pay stub! Now that's scary!
"Man's capacity for evil makes democracy necessary and man's capacity for good makes democracy possible." -Reinhold Niebuhr
Mon, 2008-10-20 20:27 Another great post jerseygirl!
truthseekers Tex Says:
As some like to say...SPOT ON...you go girl!
Mon, 2008-10-20 20:33 Nice....
that the pack runs together. Yes Grandpa Truf, I negotiated without any help from the government a new loan agreement. No government nanny needed. It is called self reliance. And local fire and police service ain't "socialism." But people like you two don't care. You, grampa Tex from Modesto, enjoys reading Magaret Sanger bedtime stories to the wee ones; which is a generic term for the young and ignorant of mind. Guess you missed that dumas!
As for whatever you are writing about JG....who knows. You are so full of hate for Bush, and probably either all men and yourself, you do nothing but vomit the looney left's propaganda and play it off as if you are some sort of heroine with a pen. So you two should skip on back to you litter box and leave the heavy thinking to the qualified.
"I care not of what others think I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do. That is character!" Teddy Roosevelt
Monday, October 13, 2008
Posted: October 13, 2008
1:00 am Eastern
The emergence of a previously unseen writing sample proves all but conclusively that Barack Obama did not in any meaningful way write "Dreams from My Father," the book Time Magazine has called "the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician."
The emergence of a second writing sample, this one by a legitimate author, provides convincing evidence as to who did.
In 1990, the University of Illinois at Springfield published a collection of essays called "After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois." Obama contributed a chapter, titled: "Why Organize? Problems and Promise in the Inner City."
The year 1990, by the way, was when Obama, the newly elected president of the Harvard Law Review, received a six-figure advance from Simon & Schuster to write what would become "Dreams from My Father."
The publishers must not have read "Why Organize?" Although the essay covers many of the issues raised in "Dreams" and uses some of the memoir's techniques, it does so without a hint of style, sophistication or promise.
Indeed, the essay is clunky, pedestrian and wonkish – a B- paper in a freshman comp class. The following two excerpts capture Obama's range, or lack thereof:
Moreover, such approaches can and have become thinly veiled excuses for cutting back on social programs, which are anathema to a conservative agenda.
But organizing the black community faces enormous problems as well … and the urban landscape is littered with the skeletons of previous efforts.
These cliché-choked sentences go beyond the merely unpromising to the fully ungrammatical. "Organizing" does not "face." "Efforts" do not leave "skeletons." "Agendas" do not have "anathemas."
In "Why Organize?" Obama makes use of the fully recreated conversation, a technique used to somewhat better effect in "Dreams." Here, his ungainly conjuring of black speech makes one cringe:
"I just cannot understand why a bright young man like you would go to college, get that degree and become a community organizer."
"'Cause the pay is low, the hours is long, and don't nobody appreciate you."
Obama asks us to believe that five years later, without any additional training, he was capable of writing passages like the following from "Dreams":
Winter came and the city turned monochrome-black trees against gray sky above white earth. Night now fell in midafternoon, especially when the snowstorms rolled in, boundless prairie storms that set the sky close to the ground, the city lights reflected against the clouds.
To read "Why Organize?" in its entirety is to understand the fraud that is Obama, the literary genius. As the reader will see, one does not need forensic software to sense the limits of Obama's skills.