The Liberty AmendmentsI just finished reading Mark Levin‘s latest book, The Liberty Amendments. It is a good book. I don’t agree with all his amendments (like about 8 of the 10), but I think the general approach is sound. I am also afraid it is too little too late. Within the next four or five years, I expect we will be fighting a major war. Then we will not have the energy to divert into a Constitutional Convention. Nonetheless, we have to try something to save our republic, and Levin’s proposal provides a framework for action.

What do we need to do? We need to read Levin’s book and call our state legislators. We also need to study The Federalist Papers and other such books. We need to refine Levin’s ideas and identify the amendments we must pass. Then we need to advocate those amendments.

What is the big problem with a Constitutional Convention? What has always frightened Conservatives is that Socialist Democrats would high-jack the convention for their own foolish ends. Hence when I received this ad in an email from a friend I cringed.

Wolf PAC

John –

Lawrence Lessig once again earns the title as the godfather of the movement to get money out of politics with his newest TED Talk. Telling the story of how he became so invested in the fight for free and fair elections, this talk gets a little personal.

Click here to watch.

wolf PAC

Lawrence Lessig makes the case for why every citizen should be doing something about the corruption in Washington, while reminding us to never give up hope… in what might just be his best TED Talk yet.

For democracy,

Salim, Wolf-PAC

PS. If you liked this video, imagine how your friends and family who are not so familiar with Lawrence Lessig or Wolf-PAC will feel about it. Let’s spread the word.

What is this email about? Wolf PAC advocates a Constitutional Convention for campaign finance reform. Of course, instead of thoughtfully advocating reform, “Professor” Lawrence Lessig makes a highly emotional appeal.

Unfortunately Lessig’s appeal to emotion works with a lot of people. When someone speaks calmly and confidently, we have a tendency to assume that person knows what they are about. Doesn’t that describe the success of the current occupant of the White House, but isn’t our experience showing that man is either dangerously incompetent, dangerously evil or just plain dangerous to trust with any kind of responsibility?

Yet why are appeals to emotion so successful? When a calm, confident and able speaker says something stupid or lies, we have a tendency to look past their mistakes and lies, particularly when other people (the corporate news media) applaud them. When it comes to politics, we should never set aside our skepticism.  Look again at Wolf PAC. Isn’t Wolf PAC a Political Action Committee (asking for your money to spend on politics) complaining about the influence of money in politics? Shouldn’t that strike us as ridiculous?

Money in politics equates to free speech. The reason the founders did not prohibit money in politics is that they equated that with limiting free speech.  Word of mouth is okay, but it still costs money to get people talking.

As a practical matter, unless we prohibit freedom of the press, we cannot stop folks with lots of money from spreading propaganda.  Consider how many big corporations own news organizations. That’s just one of the ways they buy influence with the electorate and the folks running our government. With their advertisements and what they spend on movies, books, music and so forth, large corporations have countless ways to influence our beliefs and behavior. Nonetheless, it is government educates us and indoctrinates us as children. Thus, government is the true threat.

When people complain about money in politics, what they want to do is stop the other guy from getting out his message. That’s particularly true of career politicians. Do these ever reduce their own spending? In fact, that idea never seems to occur to them. Too often their solution is bigger government. Now, whether we agree with a politician or not, they want to force us spend our money on his political campaign. That’s wrong!

To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.  — Thomas Jefferson

If we really want to limit the amount of money in politics, then we must fight tooth and nail for a smaller government. What politicians spend to buy our votes with “other people’s money” dwarves what our nation spends on politics. The Federal Budget is around 4 trillion and state and local governments spend about 2 trillion. In addition, there are reams of costly regulations and tax laws that mangle our economy.

Instead of worrying about getting money out of politics, we must repent of the stupidity of letting politicians buy our votes with “other people’s money” and calling it charity, education spending, or an entitlement.

How can we fight? We can start by electing leaders with a record of fighting government spending. That includes men and women we can trust to do the right thing at a Constitutional Convention.

We win struggles for freedom by battling and overcoming would-be tyrants. That can involve great risks. If nothing else we must risk time, money, and energy, but if we are too afraid to take the fight to the opposition, there is no way we can win and remain free. When this struggle is over whether our children and grandchildren will be free, isn’t it time we made the choice to fight.

Posted in 2014 Election, Constitution, Information Warfare, Philosophy, Tea Party | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Easter Week Devotion

settledinheaven.wordpressA couple of thousand years ago, Christ Jesus paid the price for our sins. Because we find it so hard to believe that anyone would die to save a sinner from Hell, we find the story of Jesus difficult to believe. Hence while some people go to church on Easter to commemorate the occasion of Jesus’ death and resurrection, others ignore Easter.

Ignoring Easter is foolishness. Even if you think it superstition, you should know about Jesus. Whether Jesus suffered, died on a cross, and rose from the dead is profoundly important, of course. Yet so is the the fact that Jesus is the most important man who ever lived. Christianity has had more effect upon our globe than any other belief. The culture it engendered made modern civilization possible.

Want a quick introduction to Jesus? Then study these four posts, an Easter Week Devotion, at SettledInHeaven.

The Sufferings Of Christ



The Importance Of The Resurrection



The Resurrection Of Christ



The Sayings Of Christ On The Cross



Posted in Culture War, Philosophy, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


In Part 2 of this series (ADDING A BIT OF PERSPECTIVE:  ARE ROMAN CATHOLICS JESUS’ SKEPTICS?), we considered the advisability of giving Roman Catholics a bunch of grief. That’s because many Catholic teachings seem to rely more upon tradition than they do the Bible. Because Catholic teachings defer to the Bible on core issues, I tend to take the view that with respect to Catholics it is better to focus on teaching what the Bible says. For example, although the Bible teaches us that Jesus’ mother, Mary, was extraordinarily obedient to God, nowhere does Bible say Mary was free of original sin (Here is an explanation of the position of the Roman Catholic Church.). Therefore, as far as we know Mary was an ordinary young woman.

What is important about this subject? Is it what Philippians 2:5-11 attests? Did Christ Jesus, the Son of God, empty himself by taking the form of a servant, a mere man? Why would God, the Creator of the Universe, the maker of stars and galaxies, become one of us? Does He love us that much? The Bible says He does. 

Yet because they directly deny the truth of the Gospel, there are some people Christians must confront with the Word of God. These we call apostates.


What Is An Apostate? 

Some people, even though they have had ample opportunity to study the Bible and learn about Jesus, vociferously reject Christianity. These we call apostates.

Apostates say that Jesus is not the Messiah.   To “disprove” the Bible these unbelievers will even lie (2 Peter 2:1-3 and 1 John 2:22-23).

John MacArthur offers this definition of an apostate.

The word “apostasy” comes from the Greek apostasia, which is translated “falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The word is closely related to the Greek word for “divorce.”

Apostates are those who fall away from the true faith, abandoning what they formerly professed to believe. The term describes those whose beliefs are so deficient as to place them outside the pale of true Christianity. For example, a liberal denomination that denies the authority of Scripture or the deity of Christ is an apostate denomination.

True Christians do not apostatize. Those who fall away into apostasy demonstrate that their faith was never real to begin with (1 John 2:19). (from here)

Here are some key passages.

  • 1 John 4:2-3: This passage explains how we are to test those who would teach us. “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.
  • Hebrews 10:26-31: The author of Hebrews says that those who continue to worship idols, “sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth,” will be punished. 
  • Jude 1:  In his short little epistle, Jude focused on God’s judgement on false teachers. He observed that false teachers have  crept in unnoticed and pervert the grace of our God into sensuality. They deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 8 and 1 Corinthians 10:23-33: Here the Apostle Paul uses the example of food sacrificed to idols to illustrate a principle. When the Bible is not altogether clear, we don’t cause another to do something they think might be wrong. In a spirit of love and concern, we respect the beliefs of others.

An Example Of An Apostate

When people misrepresent the Bible, the Bible is quite capable of defending itself, but we must challenge apostates. We must explain that the Bible does not say what the apostates say it says. We must encourage people to see for themselves. In Part 1 of this series we considered God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question by Bart D. Ehrman.  Ehrman is a former pastor. As a theologian, Ehrman has made a name for himself by criticizing the Bible. As Ravi Zacharias observes in Why Jesus?, criticizing the Bible is relatively easy.

This is what I believe it boils down to: If you are determined to find flaws in the Bible, you will find them, especially in a book that has been around for so many centuries, was written by such diverse authors over a great period of time, and has been translated into so many versions and languages. So it is with the texts on almost any subject. It can be done. Ideas  are easy to quibble over, debate, dissect, and reject. One has to start by looking at the big picture, at the overall truth that is being asserted. Then one puts the main ideas of the argument to the tests that I mentioned earlier, and sees how they have been borne out in life, in history, and in personal application. (chapter 14, pg 261)

What tests? Here are what Zacharias calls three all-important questions. (from chapter 14, pg 252)

All worldviews and religions need to take a hard look at themselves and at how they answer three inescapable questions.

  1. How do they answer the question of exclusivity as it relates to their own belief?
  2. What is the source of their authority?
  3. How relevant is what they believe to the common experience, what difference does it really make?

How Is An Apostate Such As Bart Ehrman Countered?

Does Ehrman have critics? Yes, and Zacharius points to the work of Ben Witherington and N. T. Wright.  Here is a video and some links.

Posted in Book Review, Culture War, Information Warfare, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


We all belong to some sort of political group or faction. Some of us affiliate with divisive groups. Others work for the betterment of the entire country. Some of us see the gain of others as a good thing. Others see the gain of anyone else as their lost. Thus, we have many world views, and we each display our world view in our choices as we interact with other people.

  • Attitude. We can be optimistic, pessimistic, apathetic, or so forth.
  • Standards. We can take pride in our work, making others work, avoiding work, begging or some other scheme for providing for our material needs.
  • Morality. We can base our behavior on Christian love, free love, the situation, societal expectations, our wants, or something else.
  • Political parties. We can actively support the Democratic, the Constitution, the Green, the Libertarian, the Republican, the Tea Party, some other party, or no party at all.

We can work to make our country better, get all we can out of our country, cheer on others as they work for our country, or curse the darkness.  Whatever we do or don’t do is a choice. Doing nothing is a choice.

Would you like to get involved? Would you like to do something for your country? Then perhaps you would like a suggestion.  Here is one from E. W. Jackson.


E W Jackson endorses bob marshall

After considerable prayer and deliberation, I am enthusiastically endorsing Bob Marshall for the Republican nomination for Congress from the Tenth Congressional District.  I appeal to every one of you who believes as I do in our Constitution and what Virginia represents to the history of our nation, to do everything in your power to get him nominated on April 26th!

I am well aware that Republicans of the Tenth District have an array of good candidates to choose from, but I am firm in my conviction that Bob best personifies our values.  His 23 year legislative record in the House of Delegates serves as the most reliable predictor that the promises he makes in his campaign will be kept when he gets to Congress.  We can rest assured that Delegate Marshall will adhere to his core principles no matter the opposition because he has a record of courage and unwavering faithfulness.

Friends and foes alike agree that Bob Marshall will be a refreshing change from the political powerbrokers and dealmakers in Washington.  He is exactly the person we need standing up for us in Congress at this critical time! Congress needs a conscience and Bob Marshall will provide it, even to Republican leaders when necessary.  We know that Delegate Marshall will never trade away his conscience.

Please know that I am not making this endorsement lightly. For the most part, I am remaining neutral in nomination contests. However, I endorse Bob Marshall because he is that rare bird in the aviary of politics who is dependable and predictable on the full gamut of issues important to conservatives: adherence to the Constitution, protection of religious liberties, keeping taxes low and government limited, preserving the traditional family in society, upholding the sanctity of life and maintaining fiscal responsibility and accountability.  Bob is without peer in the record he has established over many years.

Please join with me in supporting Bob, and if you reside in the Tenth District, be sure to make plans now to vote in the Firehouse Primary which takes place for five hours only (from 10am to 3pm) on Saturday, April 26th.  For most folks the polling place will be at a different location from the one where they usually vote. Details on polling locations are available on Bob’s website at Please email Bob and let him know after you’ve voted. We want to recognize and thank those who take the time to fulfill their civic duty in this pivotal election. Finally, whether or not you live in the Tenth District, I appeal to you to give generously of your time and treasure to help achieve this critically important nomination of Bob Marshall for Congress!

For God and Country,

E.W. Jackson

Because we have not been paying enough attention, we have not picked good people to represent us Washington D.C. Those people are doing a bad job, and we need to send them home.  Nonetheless, we cannot vote for perfect human beings to replace them. There are no perfect human beings. Yet we must vote for someone. Standing by and not supporting anyone is not a better choice. It’s apathy. So if you cannot support Bob Marshall – if you live in another congressional district – find someone you can support and do your civic duty.

Posted in 2014 Election, candidate support, Culture War, Delegate Bob Marshall, E.W. Jackson, Philosophy, Prolife, Republican Party | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Lee with stars and bars

A Book Review

I just finished reading A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman. The book ended up being far more fascinating than I anticipated. I read it, and then I immediately read it again.

Why was Foreman’s book so interesting?

  • I saw that the problems that Britain encountered during the American Civil War remain relevant to America today. As a great power, Britain confronted and stumbled over the same problems this country now faces. Whenever people start fighting thousands of miles away, both the combatants and many Americans often insist that America must take sides. Yet, like us, when they tried to figure out what the fight was about, the Brits encountered real difficulties. And, just like ours, their news media was too biased to be of much help.
  • I learned, perhaps even things she had not intended, more about the history of the war. Conventional wisdom says the South had the better generals. Yet I saw that when the South chose to attack the North, the South lost. Generally, Southern generals had the advantage of fighting a defensive war. In addition to the ability to being able to fight from prepared positions, the defense has more subtle advantages. Because defenders are on their home turf, they know the territory, they can gain better intelligence from the locals, and they can rouse the ferocity that comes from defending ones homeland.
  • What made General Ulysses S. Grant successful? He did not attack tentatively. His predecessors had seen the huge causalities and grown fearful. Is that not what any ordinary man would do? Yet the sooner a war ends the sooner people stop dying. Therefore, even though he grew somber and sad because so many died, Abraham Lincoln had to find generals who could withstand watching thousands die frightful deaths and still order their armies to attack without relenting.
  • After so many years we forget the implications of Americans fighting Americans, but Abraham Lincoln understood. His wife, Mary, had a several half-brothers who served in the Confederate Army, and these were killed in action.  Another brother served the Confederacy as a surgeon, and that must have been nightmarish.
  • I swiftly grew interested in the characters Foreman describes in her book. Through the lives of many people, Foreman describes the diplomacy, the South’s struggles for supplies, and the battle scenes in sufficient detail that we can begin to appreciate how even those on the other side of an ocean could be so affected by that great war.
  • With an extraordinarily long (and interesting) epilogue, Foreman continues the story, describing how America and Britain finally resolved the conflicts between them stirred up by the war. In addition, she describes what each of the characters she mentions in her book did after the war.

So why did the Brits choose to stay out of the American Civil War. The British decision to stay out of the war hinged on the moral issue of slavery. Even though they desperately wanted the South’s cotton for their textile mills, the Brits condemned slavery. Therefore, because the Brits could easily have broken the North’s embargo of the South, it may not be an overstatement to say that the United States owes it present unity to William Wilberforce, the man who led the battle to end the slave trade.

So what do the word “gay” and the Rebel Flag have in common with heresy?  Let’s consider one thing at a time.

That New Meaning For The Word “gay”

For the sake of propaganda, homosexual “rights” activists have succeeded in replacing the word “homosexual” with the term “gay” (See the etymology here.). Yet few seem to appreciate just how inappropriate this word swap has been. I suspect those most aware this problem have the word “Gay” as their surname (see here and here).

Think about that. How would you like to be called Gay?

The Distorted Meaning Of The Rebel Flag

When I reblogged Southern History Month 2014, I did not anticipate a positive response. In their unending effort to peddle political correctness, race baiters have transformed the once proud Confederate battle flag into a symbol of racism.

Was the Civil War ultimately about slavery? Yes. Without the issue of slavery, the United States may still have had a Civil War, but then the country would have divided along entirely different lines and for entirely different reasons.

Look at the picture above, at the beginning of this post. In the version of PowerPoint I use, Microsoft did not provide a picture of the “Rebel Flag.”  However, they did provide a picture of the Stars and Bars. Look it up if you must (here), but that is a picture of what actually was the Confederate Flag. What we call the Rebel Flag is shown in the picture below.



The painting above depicts the remains of Army of Northern Virginia as it surrendered at Appomattox Court House. And yes, that picture shows what we now call the Rebel Flag. That flag was actually Army of Northern Virginia battle flag.

What the picture shows is the Union troops honoring the Confederate troops as they surrendered their arms and their battle flags. Whatever we may think of that flag now, the men who fought the Confederate soldiers respected them and their flag as one soldier honors another.

The South paid a frightful price for the Civil War. The Union troops at Appomattox Court House saw that price. They saw the thousands of hatless, shoeless, famishing Confederate soldiers before them, and they knew those Confederate soldiers had surrendered only because they had no other choice. Under the flag they carried, those Union soldiers had killed a quarter of Southern manhood, burned and pillaged the South, and left those who survived half starved. Such is war.

Because the Confederate Army had fought bravely and honorably, the Union troops answered honor with honor.   That’s what that picture shows.


Just as we have twisted the meaning of the word “gay” and rendered a once proud battleflag into a symbol of racism, we have turned heresy into something almost opposite, something to be proud of.

Consider how G. K. Chesterton began his book, Heretics.

Nothing more strangely indicates an enormous and silent evil of modern society than the extraordinary use which is made nowadays of the word “orthodox.” In former days the heretic was proud of not being a heretic. It was the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who were heretics. He was orthodox. He had no pride in having rebelled against them; they had rebelled against him. The armies with their cruel security, the kings with their cold faces, the decorous processes of State, the reasonable processes of law—all these like sheep had gone astray. The man was proud of being orthodox, was proud of being right. If he stood alone in a howling wilderness he was more than a man; he was a church. He was the centre of the universe; it was round him that the stars swung. All the tortures torn out of forgotten hells could not make him admit that he was heretical. But a few modern phrases have made him boast of it. He says, with a conscious laugh, “I suppose I am very heretical,” and looks round for applause. The word “heresy” not only means no longer being wrong; it practically means being clear-headed and courageous. The word “orthodoxy” not only no longer means being right; it practically means being wrong. All this can mean one thing, and one thing only. It means that people care less for whether they are philosophically right. For obviously a man ought to confess himself crazy before he confesses himself heretical. The Bohemian, with a red tie, ought to pique himself on his orthodoxy. The dynamiter, laying a bomb, ought to feel that, whatever else he is, at least he is orthodox. (from here)

Civil War References

Posted in Book Review, Culture War, history, Information Warfare, news media bias, Philosophy, unraveling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments