YET ANOTHER THANKSGIVING POST.

campaign.pngWhen I left what follows as part of a comment here, I decided to make a post of it. The comment was about our biased news media and the disgust we have with it.

Over the years I have written numerous posts encouraging — pleading with — Christians to participate in politics. Why? We must do so because we love our God, our children, and our neighbors.

God gave us The Great Commission. Without a relatively peaceful country which permits religious freedom, we will have no place from which to spread the Gospel. If the world is full of turmoil, we will always be waiting for God’s hand to aid us. He will, but would we not be more content with the knowledge that we had done all we could to obey Him before before asking for a miracle?

The Bible calls upon us to instruct our children in the Word. We can do that better if our own government is not opposed. We can instruct our children better if our entire society does not rabidly obstruct us.

Have you read the story of the Mayflower? To escape the influences of the continent of Europe, the Pilgrims boarded a wooden ship (a boat by our standards) and crossed a great ocean. They had only a vague notion of their destination. In fact, they set up their colony hundreds of miles from where they had intended. And how they suffered! Nevertheless, they found a place where they could bring up their children as Christians. Are we willing to pay such a price? Where would we go?

As Christians, God calls upon us to love our neighbor and to look out for his welfare. Because our government now saps huge resources from our economy, we cannot ignore its role in either harming or helping our neighbor. In fact, because our government does act in our name, if our government does wrong and we do nothing about it, we become complicit.

So what about the poor quality of the news media? How can we act without good information? We shop. We look for the best sources and we compare what they say. We do the best we can.

Meanwhile, we share the Gospel. Our nation has a heart problem, and the Gospel provides the only means to heal our hearts.

Without really intending to do so, I wrote a post about the Pilgrims and why they came here. When the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving, what did they thank God for? Part of it was just having enough to eat, but part of it was also having a safe place from which to worship God. It was for that that they had risked their lives.

What about those other posts? Here are some of them.

34 thoughts on “YET ANOTHER THANKSGIVING POST.

  1. There was a time when American politics followed the model set forth by Aristotle.
    At the heart of this model is the pursuit of happiness, cited as a basic human right in the Declaration of Independence.

    Aristotle also stated another self-evident truth: that all our actions has some good as their end, or objective.

    Thus, we have the American Republic founded on virtue, that is the pursuit of what is good.

    However, during the Progressive era which began a little over a century ago, the ethics of politics changed from that of Aristotle to that of Renaissance political philosopher, Niccolò Machiavelli.

    Machiavelli set forth a blue print for modern power politics in which to gain power, the end justified any means whatsoever.

    Machiavelli redefined “good” as meaning the acquisition, maintenance and florid growth of one’s own political power. Consequently, modern politics is not centered around the public good, but around the good of those in government, those pursuing power.

    Machiavelli also stated a self-evident principle which tells why Christian politicians will fail miserably at politics:

    The politician who is good and moral and ethical will be mercilessly destroyed by those who pursue power by any means. For the good, moral and ethical politician has no defense against a campaign of lies, personal destruction, back stabbing and dirty tricks engaged in by the ruthless power seeker.

    In short, the American Republic is over. It has been for a long time.

    Nevertheless, the pursuit of evil necessarily leads to self-destruction.

    So Christians need to continue manifesting their God-given charisms (gifts like preaching, teaching, music, and yes public service in politics), but with an eye on building a whole new civilization, not trying to save the present one, which is in a state of irreversible collapse.

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    1. @silenceofmind

      I cannot say I disagree with the history you provided. Nor do I disagree with most of your comments about Aristotle and Machiavelli. I just do not think it self-evident Christian politicians will fail miserably at politics. I just think that without a moral people the type of government that America once had must fail.

      Was Machiavelli truly so clever? Is it that difficult to tell the difference between an honorable person and a dishonorable person? I don’t think so. What is difficult is to put our nation’s interests ahead of our own. What is difficult is to be honorable ourselves.

      For successive generations, Americans have failed to pass on their Christian beliefs to their children. Thus, we now see the fruit of our neglect. Our nation’s slowly unfolding chaos is a warning to us. If we care about our own souls and the souls of our children, our friends, and our neighbors, we will heed that warning. We will repent and turn to the Bible. In the process, we may restore our nation, or we may not. What matters is that God will keep us as one of His own.

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        1. @silenceofmind

          Christians created our nation. Then they succeeded. But Christians failed to teach their children to become Christian. Hence, people who are not Christians are failing in politics. They are failing to elect the right people.

          Therefore, politics is not where American Christians failed. Where we failed is in the education of our children. God help us for we have no excuse.

          Think about The Great Commission.

          Matthew 28:18-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

          18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

          We failed to disciple our own children. Hence most of our people are now ignorant of the Bible and Christian teachings and thought. These people are too ignorant even to realize we were once Christian nation.

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        2. The majority of people in America has always been Christian.

          The real problem is that Christians parents educated their children to be Christians but they did not teach them the political science nor the natural law theory necessary to maintain the American Republic.

          America died the day a woman’s right to chose prenatal genocide became the law of the land.

          That was over 40 years ago.

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        3. @silenceofmind

          It is one thing for people to call themselves Christian, but it take more than a mere assertion to be Christian.

          I know of too many “educated” people who have never read the Bible. If Christian parents actually educated their children to be Christians, would that be so? I do not believe so. In fact, if someone claims to be a Christian yet they have never bothered to read the Bible, what good is their claim?

          What is the problem? We depend upon the public school system to educate our nation’s children, but these truly are not our nation’s children. They are merely children our politicians have appropriated to their own purposes, children they use as an excuse to pay off supporters. These children are their parents responsibility, but the parents want someone else to educate their children, politicians nobody trusts. That is sick.

          In addition to failing to teach children the political science and the natural law theory necessary to maintain the American Republic, the public school system fails to instruct children about the Bible. Why not the Bible? Don’t we know our politicians cannot be trusted with such a thing, but is not the same also true with respect to political science, natural law, reading, writing, arithmetic, and so forth? What sneaky politician doesn’t want gullible constituents?

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  2. Excellent post Tom and I could not agree more with the sentiment. I would only add that non Christians who are also appalled by what’s happening in our country need to get involved too. I know so many disgusted folks who either think things are too corrupt and feel hopeless being able to effect change and so don’t participate or who are just too darn busy with life. Whatever you’re religion, it’s way past time to get involved.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Tricia

      Thank you.

      I know a non-Christian or two who has much to add to the political discourse. I appreciate their involvement, but what saddens me is when Christians stand aloof. That is wrong, and we should know it. There is nothing in the Bible that justifies such behavior. In fact, the Bible emphasizes the importance of government, and it does not hold leaders solely responsible for the state of a nation’s government.

      We elected the people who run this nation. When their behavior shames us, we have an obligation to do something about it.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tom,

    Nobody is obstructing you from teach YOUR children anything about your religion. Now when you get interested in MY children, we may want to step in and have a say in the matter.

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    1. Hello Eric

      An obstruction is something that gets in the way. In our society, we require money to get anything done. When the government take large sums out of pockets and spends our money for us, offering us a “free” public education, that’s a considerable obstruction. To pretend otherwise is just to pretend otherwise.

      Your second observation is not germane.

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      1. Tom why does it take large amounts of money to teach your children your religion? I taught CCD for many years for free.

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        1. That’s a revealing question in a couple of ways. The first pertains to the question itself.

          1. If we take a casual approach to religion, then proper indoctrination is no big matter. We just provide the kiddies a couple hours of instruction once a week. All religions are the same anyway, right? On the other hand, if we are serious, we make the kiddies read the Bible, and we test their understanding. We also make certain that they are educated in a Christian school with proper role models. Since Christianity has eternal implications, I advocate the more serious approach.

          2. The second is that you did not not challenge my observation that government take large sums out of pockets and spends our money for us, but that is sort obvious. We you did instead is put me in the position that I have to show that there is something wrong with the government doing that. Actually, when the government takes our money and spends it for it, the onus is upon the people who insist that the government take our money and spend it for us.

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        2. “We also make certain that they are educated in a Christian school with proper role models. Since Christianity has eternal implications, I advocate the more serious approach.”

          Christian schooling is available for anyone who wishes to partake as is homeschooling. I believe most every Christian school I have ever heard of provides tuition assistance for those truly in need. Again, no one is stopping you from teaching your children your religion.

          As to your point number two, I don’t think there is any onus on either of us. I understand that you would like to not pay taxes for public schooling. I would like to not pay taxes for corporate subsidies or for nuclear weapons. However, just because we pay large amounts of money to specific items we do not want to pay for does not mean that others are infringing on our freedom of religion or any other freedom for that matter.

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        3. Christian schools are already available? Wow! Who could have imagined such a thing? I wonder why people pay taxes for public schools and still choose to send their children to private schools.

          And you say we are paying taxes for corporate subsidies or for nuclear weapons. Really? Well then, since it quite obvious that two wrongs make a right…..

          Since you are being disingenuous, there isn’t any point in providing a more serious response. You don’t care about the ethics? You just want to get what you want. Well, might makes right is an old, well established ethical system, but…………..

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        4. “And you say we are paying taxes for corporate subsidies or for nuclear weapons. Really? Well then, since it quite obvious that two wrongs make a right…..”

          Tom, it is not wrong that I have to pay taxes for things I don’t personally want to have my money spent on. It is our system of government which is right and far better than any alternative. We can not ever have an ala carte system of representative government. I wish we could.

          “Since you are being disingenuous…”

          Huh? I am not being disingenuous, I assure you.

          “You don’t care about the ethics? You just want to get what you want.”

          I do not consider the funding of public schooling to be unethical in the least. And as to your ascribing motivations to me without knowing me, I no longer have children in public school so if that were true, I would no longer support the institution because I already got what I wanted (supposedly).

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  4. “Christians created our nation.”

    “Even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”

    – Ben Franklin

    Seems the Christians of today are not nearly a confident in their faith as the Founding Fathers were.

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    1. @Eric

      Yes. The Americans of Franklin’s day were tolerant, and quite a few loved Jesus.

      Christianity is about Jesus. Should we have less confidence or faith in Him? No.

      The problem is man. John 3:16 speaks of the sacrifice God made for us because we are sinners.

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  5. Tom – I’ve been overseas for a couple of weeks and am catching up. I see that you and Eric are having a conversation reminiscent of many of the chats that you and I have had on the same subject. Eric and I simply don’t observe in the real world in America any inhibition on parents’ teaching religion to their children. I certainly have done it without let or hindrance from any quarter. I think you have created a bit of a bogeyman with this idea that the existence of public schools is somehow an “obstruction” to your teaching ethics, theology, or anything else to your children. I have a lot of problems with the quality of education in America, and it is quite a variable commodity from locality to locality. I haven’t always felt that my tax dollars are well spent. But I and every other citizen gets benefits from a populace educated to some basic level of competence. I don’t have any confidence that we could approach that basic level (leaving to one side for the moment whether we are even achieving it uniformly across the Nation), without public education. I suspect that the absence of public school systems would lead to extraordinarily inconsistent levels of education and enormous geographies of ignorance quite more troubling for civilized society than those that we face now. The tax arguments strike me as specious in that all tax collections definitionally take money that the taxpayer would rather use for something else (I’ve recently had to forego a quite spiffy Italian bicycle that I think would definitely improve my quality of life – the amount of local property taxes that I pay for sidewalk improvements would probably cover it. Nonetheless, the neighborhood needs sidewalks, and my desire not to have money go in that direction doesn’t really have any legitimate influence on the debate about sidewalks).

    As I have suggested before, the beauty of living in a democratic Republic is that, if you can get enough people who share your views on this to abolish public education in your locality, go for it. We can observe the results over a period of time and decide whether your notions provide a useful exemplar for the rest of the Nation. My guess, however, is that if the issue were put to an up or down vote, you wouldn’t command a very large bloc of votes in favor of abolition, even in Gainesville. The reasons for opposition would vary considerably (some would be philosophical or ideological and some might just be financial self-interest along the lines of worrying about effects on property values of a city or county that didn’t have public schools), but this just indicates that there probably is a pervasive view among the citizenry that people would rather have public education than not have it.

    Scout

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    1. No one here has suggested abolishing taxes, *scout.

      No one here has suggested that the payment of taxes should be based on personal preferences, *scout.

      No one here has suggested abolishing public education, *scout.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Keith. That’s very reassuring. However, my comment was based on Tom’s recurring complaints about public schools (or government schools). I have been following this theme for some time (it was what first caught my attention at this site, I think, although memory dims). A review of the considerable archive at this site on the multitudinous times this subject has arisen might be instructive for all of us.

        As I understand Tom’s complaint, the country is at great risk because of public schools, institutions that Tom describes as places where politicians inculcate false values in our children. I also have interpreted Tom’s various posts and comments to state that the existence of public education is a threat or in some way detracts from the ability of parents to teach religious values to their children. When naifs like Eric and I have questioned how is it possible that parents are in any way inhibited in this country from teaching religious values, Tom has elaborated on his theme at some length by arguing that tax monies are taken from parents to apply to funding public education, that this is some kind of wrong, and that the loss of those funds are an element of why parents cannot effectively teach religious values to their children. So perhaps you can understand why I have walked away with the misimpression that Tom would prefer that we not have public schools (or, alternatively, that we have public schools that teach his particular brand of theology and religious instruction, although I suspect that he would be very concerned if they taught the dozens of other religious views held by citizens of this country) and that part of his objection to public education is that tax monies are expended on this aspect of American (and every other country in the world, as far as I can determine) public infrastructure. This impression is fortified by his calling my suggestion that he mount a campaign to abolish them “an excellent idea” in the comment below. Tom and I apparently both consider my application of his ideas to be logically consistent with his views. HIs reservations appear to be purely pragmatic – a point that I also agreed with in my previous comment – that he would have trouble mustering the high level of public support that would be required to effectuate an abolition of public education.

        I am pleased to hear from you that I have misunderstood Tom, that he does not have any desire to terminate public education in Gainesville or anywhere else, or that he be able to withhold taxes for public education (although receiving vouchers back for religious instruction is a kind of accounting version of the same thing). I do not think my gaining that impression from his writings is irrational, given the words he has deployed on the subject, but sometimes it happens that your version of what Tom says strikes me as less dramatic than Tom’s version and he an I both are the beneficiaries of your translations.

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        1. The point has been made many times by Citizen Tom and others here: The federal government has no remit in the Constitution for commandeering funds for and controlling the delivery of public education. It is a matter left for local control.

          Citizen Tom has made the point multiple times, including in this thread, that he is not for “abolishing” public education, but for allowing the use of vouchers giving parents a choice. He just reinforced that point today, but it has been his consistent position, one which I share.

          You simply set up a more extreme-sounding strawman, and then you attacked that instead.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Vouchers will tend to make public schools (ideally, funded and directed at local levels) more responsive to their customers and more competitive. They have to deliver, or they will lose business. Of course leftists don’t like that, hence the prohibitions against the voucher/charter school approach in many jurisdictions.

          I have written charter school plans, bylaws, and helped develop other supporting material, and was involved in an extended battle to get a school approved that made national news but ultimately was defeated by local authorities. (I’ve had an interesting life so far.) Not all charter schools are good ones — but the concept allows parents to make a choice.

          In another decade or so, this would be (but for federal intervention) a non-issue. Educational materials are so readily available online that homeschooling is becoming more and more viable even for parents not skilled enough to develop a proper curriculum. The federal government has certainly demonstrated that it does not have that skill.

          The federal government Leviathan fights to maintain control, for reasons ranging from political to ideological to the natural self-preservation, budget-coveting, and turf-war tendencies of bureaucracies.

          Limited-government conservatives oppose such federal control. Of course this is not opposing education, or even public funding of it. Some schools are religious in orientation, others are not; even as a non-theist I would note that religious schools have generally done a quite credible job of education.

          Clearly, the public secular schools have failed. This is not because they are secular, but because they are insulated from the free market and the results of their own failure.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        3. @Keith

          It is a sign have how far things have deteriorated. Our modern day Liberals (like scout) think the absence of government involvement in education is an extreme position. Yet are Liberal politicians in it for the children? Not really. What they want is control of the money and control of the educational content.

          I have discovered that any time I have pressed the issue with a Liberal they absolutely ignore the obvious. If the government made everyone pay double the real price for a cheap auto and then gave them that auto for “free,” does anyone believe the market for privately produced autos would not drastically shrink? Does anyone think the enviro-nuts would not like to force us all to buy electric cars? For similar reasons our educational system is crap, especially in the inner-city portion of large metropolitan areas. Put politicians in charge, and the political objectives far outweigh the wants and needs of the true customer.

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    2. @novascout

      Would I support getting government completely out of the education business? Given the propensity of politicians to screw up and gradually make worse everything they touch? Strangely, the answer is no. You have suggested an excellent idea, unfortunately Americans have too much forgotten how to organize and get things done without Uncle Sam, his 50 state minions, and his numerous local minions babysitting them. Therefore, I prefer a halfway measure, educational vouchers.

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  6. Keith, Tom’s fairly voluminous writings on this subject have not rigorously distinguished between federal and local expenditures on public education. I understand that he has objections to both, for different reasons.

    As for educational vouchers, I have no problem with the concept, short of the point at which they are used to fund religious instruction. I would take that to be a direct violation of the First Amendment. Unfortunately, I think that Tom’s view is that voucher should be available to finance religious instruction.

    If not, I am, once more today, reassured. If so, it increases my occasional suspicions that Tom is a some sort of radial liberal anti-constitutionalist who has little regard for the protections afforded religious citizens by the First Amendment.

    Like

    1. @novascout

      Have you ever considered the possibility?
      1. It would puzzle me if you understood me. Since you obviously don’t seem to want to understand my Conservative positions, if you did understand me, it could only be God has granted me newfound powers. I am not sure I am prepared to be a prophet on the scale of Mose or Elijah. If Keith gets it, and you don’t, that I can handle with breaking out into a sweat.
      2. The last thing that would offend me is the possibility you might think that I am some sort of radial liberal anti-constitutionalist who has little regard for the protections afforded religious citizens by the First Amendment. I just have to consider the source.

      Anyway, some states have a constitutional requirement (state constitution) to ensure that all children receive an education. That includes Virginia. The Federal Constitution, on the other hand, does not authorize Congress to do anything with respect to a broad, public education program. DC. The military. That’s about it.

      That’s why I support local control and fight the Federal Government’s effort to take over our public education system. Since I think competition important, I think local control means parental control. Therefore, I support educational vouchers.

      Like

    2. BTW – The courts have already decided that parents have the right to use vouchers to choose schools that provide religious instruction.

      You realize and I realize that choosing a secular education for a child is a religious choice. You just won’t admit it.

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  7. Since I have chosen a religious school for one of my children and a secular “government school” for the other, I can offer, Tom, the observation that the difference in the two choices was not “a religious choice.” I think you would find, if you explored the subject objectively, that school choice is based on a number of factors and, while for some parents in some instances, it may be a religious choice, it is not always so, and certainly was not in my case. It was more based on the differing personalities, needs, and potentials of my two children. That I chose a government school for my younger child was a choice devoid of religious content.

    By the way (although it is a bit beside the point), I was very fortunate in that my choices for my children both worked out well. Each of them got a very good education that suited each of their particular needs and abilities.

    Scout

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