Life Adrift

 

Known as the “Weeping Prophet”, Jeremiah witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the magnificent Temple of Solomon. Despite his repeated warnings to the people of Judah to change their ways and return to their foundation, which had built and strengthened their Nation, the people continued in their downward spiral of moral decay. After the death of King Josiah, Jeremiah watched the quick plunge back into paganism of his fellow citizens and foresaw their doom and, despite his many emotional warnings, the nation of Judah stubbornly quickened toward the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecies at the sword of a predatory empire.

Jeremiah’s writings in the Bible hold special significance to the Christian of today. He recounts in Jeremiah 1:4-5 an assurance of his call from God, “Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” This scripture encapsulates to a great degree the view of life that Christians embrace.

It is to the Christian that life is formed by the very hand of God. Our Founders used the word endowed. Life is written into the fabric of our foundational documents, of this there can be no denial.

But the protection of life is not necessarily exclusive to a Christian pursuit or endeavor. Most of the greatest civilizations established traditions to promote life among their civilization to ensure their safe and prosperous propagation. Traditions of birth and marriage were established usually in the context of that civilization’s religion. These formed the foundation on which that civilization was built.

This discussion is basic grade school social studies to many but it is important to reaffirm, in light of our nation’s perilous course, the basics of world history. What destroys a nation? What makes it live?

If we as a people do not protect and cherish life, how can we live? As each civilization grows in power, its fear for survival lessens giving way to a desire for personal gain, pleasure, and indulgence. Life holds inevitable repercussions for personal choices, which the selfish work to circumvent. Wants outweigh what is worthy as the people so stalwart to build now wallow in decadence.

Civilization to civilization, the same weakness persists. We strive to build an empire but have not the moral fortitude to maintain it. The path for national decay is well worn for all have followed it.

The decline that Jeremiah wept against for his nation was not new then and happening before our eyes now. A nation grows strong on its zeal for life and desire to survive against all odds. It succeeds and becomes a power to the world and the envy of all nations. Soon, secure in its power, the people began to flock to pleasure and decadence. The constraints of life, the responsibilities thereof, are tossed aside as obstructions in the path towards a new and better nation. We sacrifice our children like nations of old and destroy the structure which raised them and built our society.

We wonder now at our depravity like there was no herald to warn of us of this demise, forgetting those we mocked and shouted down. The sanctity of life and the tradition of marriage is more than just a Christian tradition. It is the very essence and necessity of a nation’s security and survival.

Still, we will ignore the fate in the ruins of time and mindlessly walk towards our doom. It stands to reason, if we could reason, that the value of life could build a civilization and the devaluing of life destroys a civilization. But some will wonder in the end how we got here?

It’s not that complicated. It’s as simple as common sense. When you cut free of the mooring, you simply keep drifting…

  • Andy Torbett
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Endowed

 

It’s a word that has many different connotations. For the purposes of this article, I would like to explore the denotative meaning in the Declaration of Independence, when our Founding Fathers declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,”. It has been distressing to find how few know the value of this document, its meaning, and the ideal it declared, from which sprang a new Nation.

Often today when we say someone is “endowed”, it is accompanied with a wry grin or a flush of jealousy as we often are referring to certain physical characteristics, often gender specific, that make a individual more attractive in the beholder’s eye than, perhaps, the “average” person. While “the rest of us” struggle with feelings of inadequacy when in the presence of those that are “endowed”, the writers of the Declaration of Independence had a different perspective of the physical endowments of humanity that were inclusive to all humans, yes, even the much less than spectacular such as I. This springs from the words “unalienable rights”, which is directly linked to the word “endowed”.

The writers of our Founding documents also used the term “Natural Born Rights” interchangeably with with the term “unalienable rights” in their conversations concerning the founding documents. So whether you believe in a Creator or that you were simply born, you can be assured that the Founding Fathers were steadfast in their belief that certain truths were “self-evident”, that we are all “created” or born equal, and when formed in the womb we all are created or “endowed” with “certain” Natural Born or “unalienable” rights. These “certain” endowed rights differed from other natural endowments of prowess, intellect or beauty, of which mankind is not created equal, these “certain” endowments were not only endowed or hard wired into our very being, our DNA, but were the same for everyone, “equal”.

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, these endowments are “certain” because they are few, specific, and without question, “self-evident”. The Founders did not write the Founding documents to prescribe or give us these rights; instead, these natural born rights are cited as evidence to the reasoning behind the Declaration of Independence. What was “self-evident” to them was that natural born right for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness has been “endowed” in mankind from the beginning of time and that no ruler or system of governance could or should try to take it away.

This is the great contention of our day! Do our rights come from government or are created in us, natural born? Our Founding Fathers were willing to die for their belief that our rights are natural born not government issued.

But many of the political establishment dating back to Woodrow Wilson have despised the ideal declared in our Founding documents. Progressives have worked tirelessly since the turn of the century to relegate our rights to words on documents rather than the ideals the documents protect. Rights created by documents can be lawyered, wordsmithed, and debated into futility and absurdity, but if “certain rights” are “unalienable”, natural born, they cannot be dissuaded by the rulings of contentious men and women.

“Unalienable” means they cannot be separated, set apart, taken away, or divested from us because they are woven into the very fabric of our life being. Just as your fingerprint makes you unique, our “unalienable rights” unite us all as humankind. In those aspects, we are all the same.

Yes, some civilizations have allowed regimes to suppress their natural born rights, yet, despite the brutality of man, each child born dawns anew the natural born desire for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The gift that we have as Americans is the light of illumination that our Founders shined on the natural born freedoms we possess in the words they wrote in our Founding documents. In light of the confusion that surrounds us in these days, it behooves us as a people, so gifted and Blessed, to revisit the Foundation on which we stand free and learn its meaning.

Silence Beholden

 

One of the greatest misconceptions of Christianity, both within and without the faith, is that peace loving, God-fearing, and the true expression of God’s love is somehow equal to or synonymous with silence. The idea that in order to love one’s fellow man one must live beholden to silence in the face of persecution is simple not true. Christians of today are constantly reminded if they are not placid and pliable they will immediately be affixed with the moniker of hateful and unloving.

Christianity, from its inception during the Roman Empire, has been brutally persecuted down through the centuries and civilizations. It certainly hasn’t been because of their silence and muted beliefs. While scripture is saturated with teachings of love and peace, it also is equally laced with admonitions to maintain and preach a holy life. It is this preaching in the face of overwhelming opposition that cost many a Christian their life.

Once such Christian was Apostle Paul. A gifted teacher and prolific writer, the Apostle was once a zealous persecutor of Christians, most notably overseeing the execution of Stephen, a beloved deacon of the early church. After his conversion, Paul would exhort the Roman Church to “live at peace with all men” with this interesting caveat: “as much it lies within you”. The Apostle would later recount how he himself had been thrown to the lions yet had defeated the lions in the coliseum.

Perhaps Paul was concerned the Christians were meekly walking to the slaughter abdicating their rights as Roman citizens. It should be noted that Paul when imprisoned in Corinth demanded to know why he, a Roman citizen, should be beaten and jailed with out a proper trial. Paul, on several occasions, eloquently and effectively defended his faith in the high courts of the Roman Empire until his strong views on homosexuality proved too much for the government and he was beheaded.

Still, Christianity has also been guilty of persecutions as many of its detractors are quick to point out. While many will use this truth as reason for retaliation against any Christian form of faith, this natural desire for a comeuppance is really the catalyst for the Freedoms we once enjoyed in this Country. The Founders wanted to maintain expression without repression.

Christians began fleeing to the “New World” to escape persecution, ironically, from the Christian church. These believed that a salvation experience was a personal one that did not need to come from the church. The church, now infused with the power of government, dealt harshly with these miscreants with inquisitions and excommunications. Sadly, humanity has the propensity to, once free from persecution, repeat the very same atrocities it most recently was freed from.

Our Founding Fathers were well aware of this tendency in the frailty of human behavior. They crafted a Republic that would break the old world cycle of religious persecutions and strong man politics by protecting the right to express one’s faith or lack thereof and prohibiting the repression of such. While many of the “enlightened” move to disparage the wisdom of our founders, time has only proven them all the wiser.

The idea that the framers of our great Republic never envisioned the madness in which we are embroiled in today is one more fallacy. The liberties we enjoy in principle, though debatable in practicum, serve notice that they were established for such a time as this. They foresaw that should a time come that a corrupt, weak, and feckless government and minority of people emboldened by that government’s cowardice and complicity would work, through repression, to eliminate the citizen’s Freedom to express their faith, the people would have the power to stand and fight for their freedom. Yet in this time of unparalleled freedom in world history, Christians seem strangely quiet to do so.

Never in the history of mankind has a civilization offered to its people such freedom. The blood of the millions of Christians who have given their all under the oppression of regimes cry out in astonishment as Christians in the United States silently abdicate their Freedom spurning the sacrifice not only of the great patriots of this Nation but the souls of so many whose unjust deaths were the impetus for the Freedoms of this great Republic. Are Christians beholden to cower in silence or are they accountable to their God to preserve and protect these great liberties, not just for Christians, but so that all peoples of faith may freely express their faith without fear of reprisal? What do Christians believe?

The Compassionate Tyrant

 

 

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

This blunt and apt description of the “compassionate” tyrant by the great philosopher C.S. Lewis is most fitting for the society in which we live.  We are, if anything, overrun with  “omnipotent moral busybodies” more specifically in our government.  Government is by its very essence the most vulnerable to the congregate of the totalitarian nanny.

As government fawns and mothers over its wayward children, the regulatory apron strings tighten ever closer as government addresses what it deems is in the best interest of its charges.  The lifeblood of freedom constricts.  Its functions are limited.

But still the overbearing matron holds on.  A few more apron strings.  Maybe something baked sweet and comfy, an entitlement if you will, keeps the “dearies” near.  The maternal government can never acknowledge that what her charges desperately need is to be free from her.

They must rise and fall on their own merit without someone hovering near to soften or prevent their fall.  They need the experience of failure not to be shielded from it.  Mistakes are a healthy part of growth and not something to be regulated against.

The ancient proverb that there is “nothing new under the sun” is something our modern society struggles to grasp.  The idea that perhaps we are not so modern, still entirely human, and bound to our repetitive nature is an affront to many.  But our Founding Fathers were not so outdated as many would like to portray them.

They studied the civilizations that had preceded them and realized the horrific tendencies of government.  They came to the conclusion that government, with its proven weakness for control, must be limited.  They drafted a document of, yes, negative liberties; a document intended to say “no” to government.  They decided that people should decide what they needed and did not need, not government.  They knew from studying history what we have ignored and are sadly learning now.  There is nothing more oppressive than a compassionate tyrant.