WITHOUT HONOR THERE CAN BE NO PEACE

preamble to the constitutionThere are two ways of looking at honor with respect to peace.  Pride drives us to say no peace without honor.  In other words, unless our opponent offers conditions that guarantee our self-respect, we won’t quite fighting.  That’s a frivolous way of looking at honor.

The second way of looking at honor with respect to peace has to do with honor as a virtue. How is honor a virtue? Well, there is some ambiguity in that matter.

Dr. Samuel Johnson, in his A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), defined honour as having several senses, the first of which was “nobility of soul, magnanimity, and a scorn of meanness.” This sort of honour derives from the perceived virtuous conduct and personal integrity of the person endowed with it. On the other hand, Johnson also defined honour in relationship to “reputation” and “fame”; to “privileges of rank or birth”, and as “respect” of the kind which “places an individual socially and determines his right to precedence.” This sort of honour is not so much a function of moral or ethical excellence, as it is a consequence of power. Finally, with respect to sexuality, honour has traditionally been associated with (or identical to) “chastity” or “virginity”, or in case of married men and women, “fidelity”. Some have argued that honour should be seen more as a rhetoric, or set of possible actions, than as a code. (from here)

In our society rank still exists. So people with power, because of their pride, still demand honor. For the most part, however, we expect people to earn honor by gaining a reputation for virtuous conduct and personal integrity. At least, that’s the theory. Nevertheless, we still honor the powerful. Why? Some among us do fear the powerful, but the more serious issue is that we no longer share a common code of honor. Instead of honoring virtuous conduct and integrity, many of us will just as happily honor power, wealth, and fame.

Western Civilization once shared a common ethical system based upon the Bible. Most people of European descent understood the Bible to be literally true, and they believed all of the Bible was the word of God. During the Protestant Reformation, if anything, such sentiments about the Bible grew even stronger.  However, the Protestant Reformation also set in motion an opposite trend. Instead of the Roman Catholic clergy being the sole interpreters of the faith, Protestantism made it possible for anyone to decide for themselves the meaning of Bible. In fact, these days we can decide what the Bible means without having ever read it. Hence, Western Civilization’s shared code of honor (or ethics) is slowly dissolving into gibberish.

Consider an obvious controversy.  The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality as a sin. Nevertheless, many mainstream Christian churches don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage. Is there any practical way to condone homosexuality based upon what the Bible actually says? No, but once we decide feelings matter more than the truth what the Bible actually says does not matter. We can be a Christian and even say the Bible says homosexuality is okay.

How does this sort of integrity relate to peace? Virtuous conduct, especially as it relates to integrity, requires an unwavering respect for the truth. Otherwise, peace is logically impossible because we cannot work out and maintain the compromises that make peace possible.

Consider what a compromise involves. People meet. They discuss their objectives and their differences. Then they reach an agreement that sorts out their objectives and their differences so that each party to the agreement gets most of what wants at the cost of some objectives it cedes to the other parties.

What is the key to a successful compromise? Well, good negotiators help, but the main ingredient is usually honor (that is, a high degree of integrity). Each of the parties to a compromise has to be willing to honor the agreement as written.

The Constitution, for example, is a compromise. Because of the compromises it contains, the Constitution allowed the 13 original colonies, each a small country with its own interests, to come together as a federation.  The Constitution worked because most of the citizens of each of the colonies fully expected their leaders to abide by the document as written.

Unfortunately, the integrity of our people is not exactly what it use to be. Now many of our leaders regard the Constitution as a Living Constitution.

In United States constitutional interpretation, the Living Constitution (or loose constructionism) is the claim that the Constitution has a dynamic meaning or that it has the properties of an animate being in the sense that it changes. The idea is associated with views that contemporaneous society should be taken into account when interpreting key constitutional phrases. (from here)

What is the problem with a Living Constitution? If the compromises in the Constitution are “living compromises”, then what are the compromises? Why would anyone want to be party to a compromise that can be arbitrarily changed by the “other side”? What good does it even do to put agreement on paper if after a period of time the agreement can be arbitrarily changed by unelected judges?

We can discuss how we think the Constitution has changed, but all we can know is what something in the Constitution meant the last time the Supreme Court issued a ruling. Tomorrow? Who knows? Yesterday? Well, it seems history is just so beyond us. Only highfalutin experts can rightfully have an opinion, but consider these examples. Before the Supreme Court’s decisions related Social Security, Obamacare, or to same sex “marriage”, would any of those things have been legal? Were they legal in the several decades before each suddenly became legal? Was the Constitution actually changed to make them legal?

Let me close this post with one last observation. In a very real sense, our Constitution is a peace treaty. Search The Federalist Papers for the word “peace” and you will get 175 hits. Sometimes the writers spoke of the need for a Constitution to maintain peace with other nations. Each colony on its own was too weak to easily defend itself. Often, however, the writers also worried the colonies would fight among themselves, and they were right. Because they could not agree about the issue of slavery, in spite of the Constitution there was war between the states.

What we honor matters.

2016 POST ELECTION STRATEGY AND TACTICS – PART 1

ChristianknightAfter President Barrack Hussein Obama’s second election as our president, I wrote a series that starts here: FINDING PEACE IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE 2012 ELECTION — PART 1. That was a frankly Christian and Conservative perspective on what I considered a devastating defeat, that is, devastating from a human perspective. I was not alone. With others I went through the stages of grief. Then we started planning for the future.

Victory, such as it is, presents similar issues. It seems our Lord has a sense of humor. Four years ago nobody anticipated the election of President Donald J. Trump. We would have found the idea laughable, and most people still don’t know what to make of it.

Just as we are not altogether in our defeats, we are not unified in victory. We are always too busy scratching our heads, wondering. How did the *&%$#@! did that happen? Whether we have victory or defeat, it seems events drive us accept the fact that God is in charge.

So can we do? We can serve as our Lord’s hands and feet. In His Name, we can each can make a personal commitment to change the world for the better. Make of it what you will, but here is mine.

What Is A Commitment?

When we make a commitment, we need to define three things.

  • A Goal. To make a meaningful commitment, we have to commit ourselves to a defined purpose, an achievable goal.
  • A Strategy. To pursue a goal effectively, we must have a strategy. To achieve a goal, we have to enumerate the factors that must come together that make goal fulfillment a possibility.
  • Tactics. Every great undertaking is accomplished through the dedicated efforts of so-called little people. In a war, we call the little people soldiers. In war groups of soldiers work in unison by implementing squad, battalion, divisional,… tactics. In politics, we call the little people citizens. What citizens do to implement the overall strategy and achieve the goal we call political activism.

The Goal

Defining my goal begins with how I identify myself.

  • Why am I a Christian? I believe Jesus is who He said He is. I believe He died for our sins and that He rose from the dead.  I believe Jesus is God. I believe God is three in One: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe that through Jesus God gave us an example. Therefore, I strive to be a worthy disciple of Christ.
  • Why am I a Conservative? I believe God is God. I don’t believe any of us is God. I don’t believe any of us are wise enough or good enough to rule the rest of humanity as an all-powerful monarch.  Jesus will do so, but not one of us. Therefore, instead of trying to run other people’s lives, I work to protect the God-given rights of my family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen.

To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to fulfill The Great Commission Jesus gave us, we need a stable and efficient government.  To protect our God-given rights, including our right to hear and live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need a government designed to protect those rights. Therefore, as my goal I seek to protect the constitutional republic given to us by the founders of this nation.

To Be Continued

In Part 2 we will enumerate the factors that must come together that make goal fulfillment a possibility, and we will examine why each of those factors is necessary for the fulfillment of the goal.

ESTABLISHING A TRAJECTORY INTO ETERNITY

voteSince I am into politics, I get emails from the local Republican politicians and Donald Trump’s campaign. They are all screaming vote at the top of their lungs, and they each giving different reasons. Their reason are generally about the here and now, not the hereafter.

After we die, what difference does it make? Remember how Hillary Clinton asked that question.

Of course, H. Clinton wanted to get as far away from that video that she and President Obama used to explain the terrorist attack. And yet there were funerals.

So is this sort of lying why we should not vote for H. Clinton, that we should vote for Donald Trump instead? No.

Why does government exist? Why do each of us exist? We all have our own beliefs, but most of us believe that after this life somehow we will continue on into eternity. Therefore, when we vote we should be considering how our vote helps us and those we love prepare for eternity.

To prepare for eternity, what kind of government do we need? What does our Lord in heaven think about government? The Bible comes at that subject basically from two different directions (Here is a good reference for finding various verses). As this article points out, What does the Bible say about government?, we are to be obedient to the governing authorities, but obedience to God comes first. As 1 Samuel 8, illustrates quite clearly, we also have some responsibility for the type of government we choose to live under. We never want to idolize our government. We always want to put our Lord in Heaven at the forefront of our existence.

We the People empower our leaders. That’s why we get the leadership we deserve. When we choose the wrong kind of leaders, we allow the wrong kind of leaders to help us establish our trajectory into eternity.

If we want the kind of leadership that will help us, our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our countrymen reach heaven in glory, then we need to choose modest and honest men and women to lead us. Big government programs won’t get us to heaven. Absurdly rosy promises from politicians won’t get anyone into heaven. What will get us into heaven is reading and studying our Bibles and practicing what it teaches. Therefore, what need from our government is a government that protects our right to live a good Christian life. What we need from our government is leadership that does not get in the way and block us when we try obey our Lord’s command to spread His Gospel.

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.

The reason we should not vote for Hillary Clinton is that we cannot count upon her to defend our right to freedom of religion.

As the last article indicates, who we elect to be our president will not solve the problem of religious freedom. If we want to be a free people, we each have to be committed to protecting the God-given rights of our family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen. We also have to pray. Jesus is our Shepherd. Without His help, we are lost.

Nevertheless, Jesus acts through us. We are His hands and feet. So make certain you pray and do your best to vote wisely.

PRESIDENTIAL PROS AND CONS: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Here is the second installment in a series.  The first was this => PRESIDENTIAL PROS AND CONS: IDENTITY POLITICS

The subject here is freedom of religion.

Hillary Clinton

Some people have taken an extract of the video above to demonstrate that H. Clinton is an enemy of religious freedom. Here is an example.

The video clip raised the ire of Snopes.com, of course. So their post, Twist of Faith, rated clips of this sort as “False”, claiming they were taken out of context.  Is Snopes.com correct? No. TheDailyCaller.com provides a counterpoint here, Hillary Lets The Veil Slip: Religion Is A Problem To Be Disposed Of.

Think about H. Clinton means when she says this.

And deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.

Doesn’t H. Clinton mean she is going to use the force of government to shove her beliefs upon the rest of us? Where is there any indication in H. Clinton’s career that she would let the Constitution stand in her way?

  • Watch the top video carefully. What H. Clinton preaches to her fellow women is that government is their messiah. Instead of asking women to put their faith in God, she offers herself as the deliverer of government handouts. Of course, she makes it sounds like the ladies deserve all the goodies she offers, but they don’t. Nobody does. Besides being too costly, H. Clinton’s Utopia just won’t work. What has proven to work perfectly? Nothing in this life. However, where people honor a Christian code of ethics — revere their relationships with God, their spouses, their children, and their friends and neighbors — they live blessed communities. It is much more efficient for us to rely on each other than it is to rely on government handouts.
  • The first video includes a reference by H. Clinton to the Hobby Lobby case. H. Clinton stated she did not like the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The judges decided that Hobby Lobby did not have to provide a health insurance plan for its employees that included four potentially life-terminating drugs and devices. Since the law violated the religious convictions of the owners of Hobby Lobby, the judges decided the government had no right to force them to pay severe fines.
  • H. Clinton is a huge advocate for so-called homosexual rights. See her own web page => LGBT rights and equality. When there were none to be found, judges found homosexual rights in our Federal and in many state constitutions. Is there any doubt H. Clinton would appoint more such judges? Do we really want H. Clinton, a so-called women’s rights advocate, to force us to allow transgender men into the ladies room? What kind of government would even want to do that?
  • H. Clinton is The Teacher’s Candidate (Slate), that is, teachers unions. School choice is a religious issue, and the teachers unions hate it. Many parents see what is happening in the public schools, and they do not want to expose their children to the values being taught there.  Check out Hillary Clinton’s web site. She will enlarge the role of the Federal Government in education, from early childhood through K-12 and college. If you think the indoctrination is bad now…..
National Review is no fan of Donald Trump, but they choked at the thought of H. Clinton as a fan of religious freedom => The Hillary Clinton Is No Champion of Religious Freedom. Conservative Review considered her record as Secretary of State => Hillary Clinton is a great defender of religious freedom … for Islamic Supremacists.

Donald Trump

What pops up when we search the Internet on “Donald Trump” and “religious freedom”? One of the search engines will spew out a series of articles from National Review. That’s a Conservative publication that does not much like Trump. Therefore, we see articles like these.

Did this article, Senator Lee Introduces a Bill to Protect Religious Liberty, represent a change of heart National Review? Whose got time to figure that out?

On his website Trump does not feature religious freedom as a big issue. Instead, he has Constitution and Second Amendment web page. Here is how that begins.

DONALD J. TRUMP’S VISION

Constitution

Appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court who will uphold our laws and our Constitution. The replacement for Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views and principles who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

  • Defend the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States. Nobody is above the law.
  • Uphold our freedoms, constitutional values and principles that our country was founded on.
  • Protect our Constitutional liberties.
  • Protect and defend the bill of rights, including the freedom of religion, speech, press and right to bear arms.

View Donald J. Trump’s list of Supreme Court Justice Picks, here

(continued here)

Trump rightly views his judicial picks as a freedom of religion issue, and that is most certainly true. He has given us a list of judges. He has offered us a bargain. We vote for him we get his judges. We vote for H. Clinton we get her judges, and we don’t have to be told what that means.

Here are a couple other interesting items from Trump’s website.

Trump has made no secret of the fact he wants the vote of Conservative Christians. He has asked for it, and has offered us a prized plum, Conservative judges on the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, Trump will work to repeal the Johnson amendment, Donald Trump’s push to repeal Johnson Amendment buoys religious freedom advocates. That is, Trump will fight to revoke legislation that prevents churches from participating in the political process.

LifeNews.com seems relatively happy with Trump.

The basic trouble with Trump is that he is hardly what anyone would call a model Christian. However, as some have observed he seems to realize that.

Mr. Trump frequently touts his support from evangelicals but jokes that he might not be the ideal model of piety. In his RNC speech, he said he is not sure he totally deserves the support he has received from the community. (from here)

Who would have thought that running for president just might — might — teach Donald Trump a little humility?

With respect to freedom of religion, what is the biggest complaint about Donald Trump? Here is an example:  Trump’s Attack on Freedom of Religion. Trump is suspicious of radical Islamic terrorists. The obvious fact that they kill people bothers him. So he does not want to allow immigrants into our country from nations with lots of Islamic terrorists.

Look into our history. When we established freedom of religion in the United States, what were people worried about? They did not want the national government to establish an official church of the United States, like England had done. The framers of the Constitution were worried about rivalry between different Christian denominations. They had no notion whatsoever of inviting hundreds of thousands of Muslims into our country, and they gave Congress the power to absolutely control who is allowed to immigrate to this country. If Congress wants to prohibit the immigration of Muslims, the Constitution says they can.

The Democrats invented the crazy notion of open borders so they could get more cheap labor for their rich donors and register more reliably Democrat voters. What the Democrats are doing is an attack on religious freedom. What about the Americans already here? How does it benefit us to invites hordes of people into our country who don’t want to assimilate our culture? Why would we risk the chaos of bringing terrorists of any kind into our country, particularly terrorists who kill Christians? If we know that the majority of terrorists these days claim to be followers of Islam, that just makes it a little easier to identify them. Only dummies throw away clues like that.