Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

The True History and Real Meaning of Thanksgiving

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It is a sad travesty that we are losing our true historical understanding and heritage of our national traditions. They are RICH with incredible meaning, purpose and understanding of our many national blessings that we take for granted.

When you understand our true history – the appreciation we should have for our Patriarchs and their relationship with God should serve as a model that we should once again emulate in terms of how grateful we need to be as a People before God.

The following is an essay from my mentor and friend, the late Peter Marshall, who understood our true religious history better than anyone I have ever had the pleasure of reading, hearing or studying under.

The First Thanksgiving

Why should we celebrate Thanksgiving? Is this holiday just the annual American fall holiday that President Abraham Lincoln put on the calendar during the Civil War, or does it have a special significance for us above and beyond its tradition?
For most of us, Thanksgiving is about family, feasting, and football—approximately in that order. If we think about God at all, it usually involves saying a few simple pre-turkey-carving prayers of thanksgiving for His blessings during the year which is now fast ebbing away.

But, had it not been for the hand of God watching over that hardy little band of Pilgrims that found themselves thrown up on the shores of Massachusetts in 1620, there would have been no first New England thanksgiving. And quite probably, no modern holiday to celebrate.

What keeps modern Americans from properly understanding who the Pilgrims were, and the pivotally important role they played in our history? That we are not taught the whole truth about why they came to America. Every school child has been told for decades upon decades that the Pilgrims came to America for religious liberty, or religious freedom. Not quite right. Shallow history teaching.

In reality they were missionaries, coming to the New World to plant the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the wilderness. As their great governor and chronicler, William Bradford, wrote: “They had a great hope and inward zeal of laying some good foundation…for the propagating and advancing the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping-stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.” Obviously, they had a strong sense of call and mission.

What is special about the Pilgrims is that these English evangelical Christian exiles actually layed the moral, spiritual, and governmental foundations of America at Plymouth (see our book The Light and the Glory, and my DVD “Pilgrims, Puritans, and Patriots,” and the DVD teaching seminar “Restoring America” — all available on my website). But it was only by God’s repeated intervention that they survived to accomplish their calling.

With other Puritans, they had endured vicious religious persecution in England, having been arrested often by the King’s soldiers and imprisoned by sheriffs. Finally, fleeing for their lives to Holland, they settled in the town of Leyden. There they enjoyed religious freedom for 12 years. But, toward the end of this time, it became increasing clear to them that God was calling them to leave Holland and come to America.

Consider the fact that, if their motivation had been primarily about religious liberty, they could have stayed where they were. They already had it. But what compelled them was much deeper than that. They were missionaries. They weren’t running away from anything when they came to America — they were obeying the call of Christ on their lives!

Leaving Leyden in mid-summer, they traveled in barges to Delfthaven, and boarded the small ship Speedwell for the short trip to Southampton, England. There they met the Mayflower, the larger merchant vessel they had leased for the occasion, and additional English passengers whom these “saints,” as they called themselves, quickly dubbed “the strangers.” Delayed by leakage problems with the Speedwell, they finally had to abandon her in Plymouth, England, and there all who remained committed to the expedition were crowded on the Mayflower. It was early September as the last glimpses of England faded from view and the Mayflower gamely launched out into the vast North Atlantic ocean.

The first few weeks at sea proved to be balmy sailing weather, but then the voyage turned nasty. Their delays had put them squarely into the fall storm season. The old freighter soon found herself battered by fierce gales and towering waves of sea-green water. While the crew tied themselves with ropes to the masts and rigging to stay on board the tossing ship, their captain, Master Jones, had ordered below the 102 men, women, and children passengers. They were confined in the “tween-decks,” the cargo area of the old ship — about 90 feet long, and 25 feet wide, with only 5.5 feet of head room. In these storms, with people being simultaneously thrown from side to side and violently pitched up and down; with children crying and adults throwing up; with the stench of vomit, animals, and unwashed bodies; and with the sea water leaking through the deck above, the conditions must have been almost unbearable. The passengers tried to cope with their fears as best they could by chanting Psalms from the Bible, which welded saints and strangers alike into a praying congregation of desperate Pilgrims.

They had good cause to be afraid. In the midst of one terrible storm, there was suddenly a loud crack! One of the large beams that held the mainmast in place had snapped, and now was dangerously sagging. Should that beam give way, the mast would fall and the ship would surely founder, with the loss of all passengers and crew. By the grace of God, the Pilgrims had brought with them a large iron screw, which was found and quickly hoisted into place under the beam. Buttressed with other pieces by the ship’s carpenter, young John Alden, the beam thankfully held.

In the midst of yet another storm, John Howland, a young twenty-something indentured servant of the Pilgrims’ first governor, John Carver, found himself unable to take the confinement any longer. He lifted the hatch and stepped out on deck. In seconds the next huge wave washed him overboard, and Howland found himself in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Only minutes away from freezing to death, as he was going under the waves, one of the ropes from the ship’s rigging just “happened” to snake across his wrist. Instinctively, his hand closed on it, and the crew managed to haul him back on board.

Just luck or a coincidence? I don’t think so, and neither did the Pilgrims. God’s hand had intervened once again, and John Howland knew it. He became one of the leading elders in the Plymouth colony.

After enduring storms for 44 days out of their 66 day voyage, the weakened and sick passengers at last sighted land on November 9th, 1620. It was Cape Cod. Turning south, toward their original destination in the northern part of the Virginia Colony (today’s New Jersey shore), the ship soon got caught in the shoals off the bottom elbow of the Cape. After fighting through this for a day and getting nowhere, the Pilgrim leadership prayed and decided that God wanted them to stay there and start a separate colony. Master Jones sailed north and anchored the Mayflower in the lee curl of Cape Cod’s tip, in what is today Provincetown harbor.

There they re-assembled the one-masted sailboat they had brought in pieces on the ship, and prayerfully launched a hand-picked crew to sail around the inside perimeter of Cape Cod Bay and search for the right location for their colony. Providentially, in the midst of a blinding December snowstorm, they were blown into Plymouth harbor. After spending a cold and miserable night on a small island, and resting the next day on the Sabbath, they came ashore at Plymouth to find the ground cleared and recently cultivated, but no Indians anywhere to be seen. Strangely, the area was littered with human bones.

Concluding that God had prepared this place for the colony, they sailed back across the bay to fetch the Mayflower. After anchoring the ship in Plymouth harbor, they commuted from ship to shore in the ship’s boat, and began construction on a common house. There they could sleep and store supplies until they were able to start building their houses.

But, with no shelter, and immune systems weakened by the rough voyage, they began to get sick. Colds became bronchitis, and pneumonia set in. The dreaded killer of ship’s passengers—scurvy—and other “wasting sicknesses” ravaged their number. With no effective medicines, they began to die. In January and February the deaths sometimes reached two and three a day; 17 dying in February alone. At one point, there were only five people well enough to be on their feet, caring for the rest. Toward the end of March, when the worst was over, they had lost 47 of their number. Of the 18 wives who had come, 13 had died. Only three families remained unbroken. They were in real trouble, for the food they had brought on the Mayflower was virtually gone, and they were facing an unhospitable wilderness.

But God’s greatest miracle for them was on its way! On March 16th, 1621, a lone Indian, clad only in a loincloth, walked boldly up to them and said: “Welcome, Englishmen!” After the Pilgrims had recovered from this surprise, they had found out that his name was Samoset, and that he had come from Massasoit, a regional Indian chief who lived about 40 miles to the southwest. The following week he appeared again, this time bringing with him a Patuxet Indian by the name of Squanto, who as William Bradford would write, was “a special instrument sent of God for their good, beyond their expectation.” That was understating it a bit.

Squanto offered them his services, and they were invaluable. He taught them how to trap eels in the mud flats of the bay, what berries were edible, what herbs were good for medicine, and how to trap beaver, which would later become a source of income for the Pilgrims. Most important of all, he taught them how to plant corn, and plant it the Indian way — by burying dead fish with the seed, to fertilize the seedlings as they grew. He was God’s instrument for their salvation.

As Squanto’s story came out, the Pilgrims learned that his tribe, the Patuxets, had lived at Plymouth. But, in 1617, a plague, probably brought by French fur-trappers from the north, had killed every member of the tribe. That explained why they had found the ground covered with human bones, and evidence of previous cultivation. The plague had raced through the tribe so quickly that they had not even had time to bury all their dead!

Sqanto had escaped because he had not been there. They learned that he had been kidnapped in 1605 by an English fishing expedition and taken to England, where he had lived for nine years in the home of an merchant named John Slanie. He had learned to speak English well, and became accustomed to English foods and ways. In 1614, he had been brought back across the Atlantic on another fishing expedition, under the command of John Smith, of Jamestown, Virginia fame, who had gone into the fishing business. Squanto had enjoyed being home while the English filled up their ships with the plentiful cod in the bay. But, when it came time for them to depart, Smith had ordered one of his captains,Thomas Hunt, to stay behind and trade for beaver pelt. After Smith and the others left, Hunt got rid of the fish, but he had another cargo in mind. Tricking on board 20 young Patuxet braves, Squanto among them, he took them prisoner and sailed across the bay, stopping briefly to pick up 7 Nauset men. He set course for Malaga, a slave-trading port on the south coast of Spain. There, these American Indians were auctioned off as slaves!

When it became Squanto’s turn to be sold, a monk from a nearby monastery just “happened” to pass by at that moment. Looking at this forlorn Indian, he took pity on him, bought him, and took him to the monastery. Squanto lived with the monks for about a year, after which he obtained his freedom and worked his way up through Spain and France until he could cross the English channel and get back to England. He stayed with the English until 1619, when a Captain Dermer brought him back home on a fishing expedition to the New England coast in exchange for his services as a pilot in American waters. Dermer dropped him off on the tip of Cape Cod, but when Squanto got back to his village site at Plymouth, he received the worst shock of his life. All of his people were dead, killed by the plague that had struck two years earlier.

Heartbroken, he wandered among the ruins and the bones, and then walked the 40 miles southwest to the tribal seat of the Wampanoag and Chief Massasoit, who took him in. He stayed with them until March of 1621, when Samoset had returned from his village site to tell him that some English had settled there. Squanto suddenly had a new reason to live! He would go help these white people. And so he did.

In October, when the 20 acres of corn the Pilgrims had planted under Squanto’s tutelage had been harvested, they wanted to hold a celebration festival. They invited Massasoit and the Wampanoag, and of course Samoset and Squanto as well, to come and celebrate with them. Massasoit came a day early, with 90 braves, plus women and children. The Pilgrim women’s hearts must have sunk, because they were going to have to use the corn stored up for the winter to feed this crowd of Indians. But Massasoit had thought of that, and had ordered some of his men to hunt for the occasion. They brought with them five deer strong up on poles, and wild turkeys. There were fish from the bay, berries and other fruits, roasted corn, and the Pilgrim women supplied vegetables from their gardens. The festival lasted three days, complete with bow and arrow shooting contests, foot races, and relay races. It was a good and peaceful time for whites and Indians together.

I suspect that many times during those festivities the Pilgrims stopped to thank the Lord for His miraculous provision of Squanto. Had it not been for him, there would have been no cause for celebration and thanksgiving. God had sent this American Indian, who spoke English fluently, ate English foods, understood English customs and ways, and knew about the Christian faith because of his time with the Spanish monks: the right man, in the right place, at the right time. Only God can do something like that.

My friends, that is the true story of the first New England Thanksgiving; the real reason this holiday should be special in Americans’ hearts!

Copyright, 2007, 20011, Peter J. Marshall. All rights reserved.

More links to historical proclamations and declarations of America’s early history.

May all of you have a happy, joyous and THANKFUL Thanksgiving Day.

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Obama’s Godless America

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Singing Hymns to Ourselves

 

 

By Tom Hoefling 

No holiday in the world compares to Thanksgiving. Material traditions aside, this important day gives us cause to unite not just as families but as a nation, bowed humbly in gratitude to God for His abundant mercy and bounteous grace to our people.

President Abraham Lincoln, on October 3, 1863, formalized this blessed holiday in the midst of Civil War, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” The great purpose of this day was, Lincoln intended, a call for “humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.” We were then a nation that had been tolerant of a great iniquity: deniers of equal protection to an entire class of human beings in their God-given, unalienable rights to the Blessings of Liberty. And, Lincoln deeply believed, for that iniquity America was being brought low. As Lincoln succinctly stated in his last inaugural address on March 4, 1865, when he made direct reference to the ninth verse of the 19th Psalm:

“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by another drawn by the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said: ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'” 

Now, fast-forward to November 27, 2008, and Barack Obama’s “Thanksgiving Address.” Perhaps it would be more apt to call it Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Godless Pomposity Address,” in light of the fact that George W. Bush is still the President of the United States, that the Electoral College has not yet met and elected Obama, and that doubts still swirl around whether he can even produce the proof that he meets the absolute constitutional requirement that a President be a natural born citizen. Every American should consider it an affront that this “address” was even delivered, but more importantly, they should rail at its morally vacant content.

While Barack Obama had the gall to partially, and therefore dishonestly and cynically, quote Lincoln, NO TRACE of any reference to Almighty God, our utter dependence on Him, or the pressing need for national repentance for our national sins were included. Instead, all thanks, all possibility of hope for the future, is to be directed toward Obama himself. Not “humble penitence” towards the One Who made us, but boundless faith in Barack Obama: a man who supports infanticide, holds a Marxist view of government, and has no regard for America’s founding principles. 

On “Super Tuesday,” February 5, 2008, Barack Obama gave a speech in Chicago, in which he repeatedly uttered the sophomoric line, “Yes, we can!” This silly humanistic slogan, which became his political mantra, is the polar opposite of Lincoln’s attitude and understanding. Lincoln, like the founding generation before him, knew that apart from God we, individually and as a nation, have nothing. No freedom. No security. No material prosperity. Nothing. “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

Obama spoke in high-flown tones, saying, “We are the hope of the future … we know what we have seen and what we believe – that what began as a whisper has now swelled to a chorus that cannot be ignored; that will not be deterred; that will ring out across this land as a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, and make this time different than all the rest – Yes. We. Can.”

Barack Obama intends that America be reduced to SINGING HYMNS TO OURSELVES.

On the night of November 4th, on election night, he summed up his vacuous campaign by claiming that the phrase “Yes we can” is a “timeless creed,” one “that sums up the spirit” of the American people. But, it is not. It is the attitudinal starting-place of those who arrogantly believe that might makes right, whose ultimate impulse is always to rule over others by force. Without allegiance to the true and living God, there is no restraint.

Barack Obama’s narcissistic and humanistic ideology is akin to the godless doctrines of the regimes that destroyed hundreds of millions of lives over the last century, but it bears no resemblance to the true American creed, as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence:

“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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”

It’s hard to see how he could be more wrong about what America is, and what it must be if it is to survive in liberty, security and prosperity.

As a nation countenancing a new and even more heinous evil than Abraham Lincoln confronted—abortion—how can we possibly avoid an even more severe punishment than Lincoln’s generation suffered? How will we as a people survive under a leadership that not only turns away from acknowledging God, but stiffens its neck and refuses to obey Him in the simplest ways, most particularly in how we treat the weakest and most helpless among us?

The days ahead will be dangerous and trying ones. But in the end, it is God Himself, not Barack Obama, who will be the determinant of our nation’s fate, based on the attitude and the actions of the people as a whole. What role will you as an individual play in determining that fate? 

No hope is to be found in Barack Obama, bereft as he is of the knowledge of God or of our nation’s true heritage, history, and principles. But don’t ever forget that there is great hope in the LORD, and in the American people as a whole, when we get our hearts right and our minds set on those things which truly endure. When the American people stand up united in a truly righteous cause, with God’s blessing upon them, there is no mightier force on earth. 

If we will simply find the courage to do what God requires, we will once again have reason to offer up much Thanksgiving. And then our children and grandchildren will thank us too, just as we are grateful to our forebears who trusted God and paid the price of self-sacrifice for liberty.

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Giving Thanks in An Unthankful World

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This week, Americans hopefully will give sincere thanks for this nation and the blessings we have taken for granted over the last 50 plus years of relative peace and plenty on our shores. In fact, when you consider the beastly empires of men for the nearly 6,000 years of recorded human history – America is an anomoly in the course of world empires and cultures.

As the world grows darker, and our own economic, cultural and moral problems threaten the stability of the only way of life we have ever known – it is good to give Almighty God our sincerest thanks for our abundant blessings while He may be found – for the world seriously wishes to return to the normal that America has disrupted by our existence.

It would be good for the world to give thanks for America. I know the current self-loathing of the Democrat Left and Blame America Firsters like Ron Paul, poop on such an idea. They are more comfortable with justifying the world’s hatred of us and trying to convince the rest of America how much of a bane we are to the globe. But before we let the Anti-war/Global Warming preachers fire another salvo to diminish our resolve and national self esteem, take a moment to read this essay from Mark Steyn:

The World should give thanks for America

MARK STEYN
Syndicated columnist

Speaking as a misfit unassimilated foreigner, I think of Thanksgiving as the most American of holidays.

Christmas is celebrated elsewhere, even if there are significant local variations: In Continental Europe, naughty children get left rods to be flayed with and lumps of coal; in Britain, Christmas lasts from Dec. 22 to mid-January and celebrates the ancient cultural traditions of massive alcohol intake and watching the telly till you pass out in a pool of your own vomit. All part of the rich diversity of our world.

But Thanksgiving (excepting the premature and somewhat undernourished Canadian version) is unique to America. “What’s it about?” an Irish visitor asked me a couple of years back. “Everyone sits around giving thanks all day? Thanks for what? George bloody Bush?”

Well, Americans have a lot to be thankful for.

Europeans think of this country as “the New World” in part because it has an eternal newness, which is noisy and distracting. Who would ever have thought you could have ready-to-eat pizza faxed directly from your iPod?

And just when you think you’re on top of the general trend of novelty, it veers off in an entirely different direction: Continentals who grew up on Hollywood movies where the guy tells the waitress “Gimme a cuppa joe” and slides over a nickel return to New York a year or two later and find the coffee now costs $5.75, takes 25 minutes and requires an agonizing choice between the cinnamon-gingerbread-persimmon latte with coxcomb sprinkles and the decaf venti pepperoni-Eurasian-milfoil macchiato.

Who would have foreseen that the nation that inflicted fast food and drive-thru restaurants on the planet would then take the fastest menu item of all and turn it into a Kabuki-paced performance art? What mad genius!

But Americans aren’t novelty junkies on the important things. The New World is one of the oldest settled constitutional democracies on Earth, to a degree the Old World can barely comprehend. Where it counts, Americans are traditionalists.

We know Eastern Europe was a totalitarian prison until the Nineties, but we forget that Mediterranean Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal) has democratic roots going all the way back until, oh, the mid-Seventies; France and Germany’s constitutions date back barely half a century, Italy’s only to the 1940s, and Belgium’s goes back about 20 minutes, and currently it’s not clear whether even that latest rewrite remains operative. The U.S. Constitution is not only older than France’s, Germany’s, Italy’s or Spain’s constitution, it’s older than all of them put together.

Americans think of Europe as Goethe and Mozart and 12th century castles and 6th century churches, but the Continent’s governing mechanisms are no more ancient than the Partridge Family. Aside from the Anglophone democracies, most of the nation-states in the West have been conspicuous failures at sustaining peaceful political evolution from one generation to the next, which is why they’re so susceptible to the siren song of Big Ideas – communism, fascism, European Union.

If you’re going to be novelty-crazed, better the zebra-mussel cappuccino than the Third Reich.

Even in a supposedly 50/50 nation, you’re struck by the assumed stability underpinning even fundamental disputes. If you go into a bookstore, the display shelves offer a smorgasbord of leftist anti-Bush tracts claiming that he and Cheney have trashed, mangled, gutted, raped and tortured, sliced ‘n’ diced the Constitution, put it in a cement overcoat and lowered it into the East River. Yet even this argument presupposes a shared veneration for tradition unknown to most Western political cultures: When Tony Blair wanted to abolish, in effect, the upper house of the national legislature, he just got on and did it.

I don’t believe the U.S. Constitution includes a right to abortion or gay marriage or a zillion other things the Left claims to detect emanating from the penumbra, but I find it sweetly touching that in America even political radicalism has to be framed as an appeal to constitutional tradition from the powdered-wig era.

In Europe, by contrast, one reason why there’s no politically significant pro-life movement is because, in a world where constitutions have the life expectancy of an Oldsmobile, great questions are just seen as part of the general tide, the way things are going, no sense trying to fight it. And, by the time you realize you have to, the tide’s usually up to your neck.

So Americans should be thankful they have one of the last functioning nation-states. Europeans, because they’ve been so inept at exercising it, no longer believe in national sovereignty, whereas it would never occur to Americans not to. This profoundly different attitude to the nation-state underpins, in turn, Euro-American attitudes to transnational institutions such as the United Nations.

But on this Thanksgiving the rest of the world ought to give thanks to American national sovereignty, too. When something terrible and destructive happens – a tsunami hits Indonesia, an earthquake devastates Pakistan – the United States can project itself anywhere on the planet within hours and start saving lives, setting up hospitals and restoring the water supply.

Aside from Britain and France, the Europeans cannot project power in any meaningful way anywhere. When they sign on to an enterprise they claim to believe in – shoring up Afghanistan’s fledgling post-Taliban democracy – most of them send token forces under constrained rules of engagement that prevent them doing anything more than manning the photocopier back at the base.

If America were to follow the Europeans and maintain only shriveled attenuated residual military capacity, the world would very quickly be nastier and bloodier, and far more unstable. It’s not just Americans and Iraqis and Afghans who owe a debt of thanks to the U.S. soldier but all the Europeans grown plump and prosperous in a globalized economy guaranteed by the most benign hegemon in history.
That said, Thanksgiving isn’t about the big geopolitical picture, but about the blessings closer to home. Last week, the state of Oklahoma celebrated its centennial, accompanied by rousing performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s eponymous anthem:

“We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!”
Which isn’t a bad theme song for the first Thanksgiving, either.

Three hundred and 14 years ago, the Pilgrims thanked God because there was a place for them in this land, and it was indeed grand. The land is grander today, and that, too, is remarkable: France has lurched from Second Empires to Fifth Republics struggling to devise a lasting constitutional settlement for the same smallish chunk of real estate, but the principles that united a baker’s dozen of East Coast colonies were resilient enough to expand across a continent and halfway around the globe to Hawaii.
Americans should, as always, be thankful this Thanksgiving, but they should also understand just how rare in human history their blessings are.

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Jefferson’s Wall of Separation Is Not What The Secularists Say It Is

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In fighting to restore our religious heritage, the battle with Secularists and Atheists almost always ends up having Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802 tossed up in my face as the end-all proof that America was meant to be religion-free.

In studying the reasons and intents of why Jefferson penned that letter – it is interesting to discover that in uncovering the redacted portions of the original draft along with the historical political situation Jefferson was facing at the time – helps shed even greater understanding behind the reasons for the letter, and how it’s application by Secularists and Atheists today to strip America of any public acknowlegement of God is totally false.

The “Wall of Separation” Exhibits and Facts

Secrets of Jefferson’s Danbury Letter

Thomas Jefferson’s reply on Jan. 1, 1802, to an address from the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, congratulating him upon his election as president, contains a phrase that is as familiar in today’s political and judicial circles as the lyrics of a hit tune: “a wall of separation between church and state.” This phrase has become well known because it is considered to explain (many would say, distort) the “religion clause” of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …,” a clause whose meaning has been the subject of passionate dispute for the past 50 years.

….The high court …asserting in…McCollum v. Board of Education, that, “in the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and state.'” Since McCollum forbade religious instruction in public schools, it appeared that the court had used Jefferson’s “wall” metaphor as a sword to sever religion from public life…

Some Supreme Court justices did not like what their colleagues had done. In 1962, Justice Potter Stewart complained that jurisprudence was not “aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the ‘wall of separation,’ a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution.”

In uncovering the redacted original draft of Jefferson’s letter – and reviewing that with the political situation at the time – one comes to a better understanding of why Jefferson even wrote the letter in the first place:

The edited draft of the letter reveals that, far from being dashed off as a “short note of courtesy,” as some have called it, Jefferson labored over its composition. For reasons unknown, the address of the Danbury Baptists, dated Oct. 7, 1801, did not reach Jefferson until Dec. 30, 1801. Jefferson drafted his response forthwith and submitted it to the two New England Republican politicians in his Cabinet, Postmaster General Gideon Granger of Connecticut and Attorney General Levi Lincoln of Massachusetts. Granger responded to Jefferson on Dec. 31.

The next day, New Year’s Day, was a busy one for the president, who received and entertained various groups of well-wishers, but so eager was he to complete his answer to the Danbury Baptists that, amid the hubbub, he sent his draft to Lincoln with a cover note explaining his reasons for writing it. Lincoln responded immediately; just as quickly, Jefferson edited the draft to conform to Lincoln’s suggestions, signed the letter and released it, all on New Year’s Day, 1802.

That Jefferson consulted two New England politicians about his messages indicated that he regarded his reply to the Danbury Baptists as a political letter, not as a dispassionate theoretical pronouncement on the relations between government and religion. His letter, he told Lincoln in his New Year’s Day note, was meant to gratify public opinion in Republican strongholds like Virginia, “being seasoned to the Southern taste only.”

In his New Year’s note to Lincoln, Jefferson revealed that he hoped to accomplish two things by replying to the Danbury Baptists. One was to issue a “condemnation of the alliance between church and state.” This he accomplished in the first, printed, part of the draft. Jefferson’s strictures on church-state entanglement were little more than rewarmed phrases and ideas from his Statute Establishing Religious Freedom (1786) and from other, similar statements. To needle his political opponents, Jefferson paraphrased a passage, that “the legitimate powers of government extend to … acts only” and not to opinions, from the Notes on the State of Virginia, which the Federalists had shamelessly distorted in the election of 1800 in an effort to stigmatize him as an atheist. So politicized had church-state issues become by 1802 that Jefferson told Lincoln that he considered the articulation of his views on the subject, in messages like the Danbury Baptist letter, as ways to fix his supporters’ “political tenets.”

Airing the Republican position on church-state relations was not, however, Jefferson’s principal reason for writing the Danbury Baptist letter. He was looking, he told Lincoln, for an opportunity for “saying why I do not proclaim fastings & thanksgivings, as my predecessors did” and latched onto the Danbury address as the best way to broadcast his views on the subject. Although using the Danbury address was “awkward” — it did not mention fasts and thanksgivings — Jefferson pressed it into service to counter what he saw as an emerging Federalist plan to exploit the thanksgiving day issue to smear him, once again, as an infidel.

During the presidential campaign of 1800, Jefferson had suffered in silence the relentless and deeply offensive Federalist charges that he was an atheist. Now he decided to strike back, using the most serviceable weapon at hand, the address of the Danbury Baptists.

Jefferson’s counterattack is contained in the circled section of his draft and in the inked-out lines. He declared that he had “refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion,” i.e., thanksgivings and fasts, because they were “religious exercises.” …he asserted that the proclamations of thanksgivings and fasts were “practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church,” i.e., by George III, King of England. By identifying the proclamation of thanksgivings and fasts as “British,” Jefferson damned them, for in the Republican lexicon British was a dirty word, a synonym for “Anglomane,” “Monocrat,” “Tory,” terms with which the Republicans had demonized the Federalists for a decade for their alleged plans to reverse the Revolution by reimposing a British-style monarchy on the United States.

Do we understand this? Jefferson’s impetus was to counter the what he saw as a subtle encroachment towards reverting America back to popery: where the opposition to the British system whereby declarations were absolute because they were assigned as proclomations and decrees by a pope. Jefferson saw Religious proclomations as a throwback to British Monarchism – and he sought to end that trend, along with silencing his political opponents for declaring him an Atheist – which he was not.

The unedited draft of the Danbury Baptist letter makes it clear why Jefferson drafted it: He wanted his political partisans to know that he opposed proclaiming fasts and thanksgivings, not because he was irreligious, but because he refused to continue a British practice that was an offense to republicanism. To emphasize his resolve in this matter, Jefferson inserted two phrases with a clenched-teeth, defiant ring: “wall of eternal separation between church and state” and “the duties of my station, which are merely temporal.” These last words — “merely temporal” — revealed Jefferson’s preoccupation with British practice. Temporal, a strong word meaning secular, was a British appellation for the lay members of the House of Lords, the Lords Temporal, as opposed to the ecclesiastical members, the Lords Spiritual. “Eternal separation” and “merely temporal” — here was language as plain as Jefferson could make it to assure the Republican faithful that their “religious rights shall never be infringed by any act of mine.”

…One of the nation’s best known advocates of religious liberty, [John] Leland had accepted an invitation to preach in the House of Representatives on Sunday, Jan. 3, and Jefferson evidently concluded that, if Leland found nothing objectionable about officiating at worship on public property, he could not be criticized for attending a service at which his friend was preaching. Consequently, “contrary to all former practice,” Jefferson appeared at church services in the House on Sunday, Jan. 3, two days after recommending in his reply to the Danbury Baptists “a wall of separation between church and state”; during the remainder of his two administrations he attended these services “constantly.”

Jefferson’s participation in House church services and his granting of permission to various denominations to worship in executive office buildings, where four-hour communion services were held…What can be said is that going to church solved Jefferson’s public relations problems, for he correctly anticipated that his participation in public worship would be reported in newspapers throughout the country. A Philadelphia newspaper, for example, informed its readers on Jan. 23, 1802, that “Mr. Jefferson has been seen at church, and has assisted in singing the hundredth psalm.” In presenting Jefferson to the nation as a churchgoer, this publicity offset whatever negative impressions might be created by his refusal to proclaim thanksgiving and fasts and prevented the erosion of his political base in God-fearing areas like New England.

Jefferson’s public support for religion appears, however, to have been more than a cynical political gesture. Scholars have recently argued that in the 1790s Jefferson developed a more favorable view of Christianity that led him to endorse the position of his fellow Founders that religion was necessary for the welfare of a republican government, that it was, as Washington proclaimed in his Farewell Address, indispensable for the happiness and prosperity of the people. Jefferson had, in fact, said as much in his First Inaugural Address. His attendance at church services in the House was, then, his way of offering symbolic support for religious faith and for its beneficent role in republican government.

Read more at the links. It is indeed, an education – and once again pours water all over the arguments that Jefferson wanted religion separated from the culture.

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The Politics of National Destruction

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The essays and posts I’ve made in the last few weeks about the fight to preserve our right of free religious exercise over the banning of God in public spaces – brought to mind an essay I read roughly a year or so ago by Ronald L Dart, who wrote of an uneasy Thanksgiving he was sitting down to in light of last year’s election results.

On going to his website at Born To Win, I discovered – perhaps by Providence Himself, that the essay I sought was again featured on the home page. This essay by Mr. Dart is a MUST READ for all American Christians at this time of year, and the points he makes are things we as Americans and Chrsitians need to ponder, meditate upon and consider as the days and months unfold ahead of us now.

The 2008 political campaigns are entering what used to be the official kickoff month, but the quest for power overrides tradition – and today’s politicos are determined to capture it at all costs; tradition, liberty and national interests be damned. – The key subjects being ranted about as the cornerstones of progress and change in America are frightening when one considers how detrimental they are to liberty, prosperity and security. The spate of debates and political garbage already tossed around out there has me more worried than I was last year about the fate of this republic. Mr. Dart’s essay points are more applicable now than they were even last year, and I’d like to call out some of those thoughts and examine them in the context of what we are already seeing.

His essay is entitled: An Uneasy Thanksgiving and he begins by recognizing who the REAL ENEMY is that we fight against in this present evil world – not one of flesh – but of spirit. A spirit that seeks seats of power in government – for more leverage to wreak havoc among men and destroy our relationship with God.

In a culture that is witnessing more depraved acts of evil, and men are asking how such things can happen in the world under the watchful gaze of a loving God..How could things like murdering women to cut their babies from their wombs; events like 9-11 and so on – I cannot help but notice the symmetry of our national woes are on par with how fast we are divorcing ourselves as a culture from God.

What I want to focus on, is the mechanisms and tools that historically have engineered disaster and slavery for a people who forget history. History repeats itself when a people forget. Mr. Dart makes these observations after reading a book by Ron Rosenbaum “Explaining Hitler”. He notes:

The book turned out to be not so much about Hitler as it was about the people who have tried to explain Hitler. I have only gotten a quarter of the way through the book, but I am already deeply disturbed by what I am reading. The world has moved on and has mostly forgotten Hitler. But historians are still struggling with him. They have tried to find a cause for the man and the great evil that he wrought in the last century, but with mixed success. Some of the explanations are laughable, and troubling at the same time. They are troubling in that they try to see Hitler himself as a victim. Some event in his life, perhaps a disease brought all this to pass. Some mental pathology.

We have a penchant in a society that sees morality as an evil judgment to equate acts of evil as results of victimizaton or mental disorders. We refuse to call sin and evil what they are – for fear of offense and accusations of judgmentality. The fact that Hitler is seen in today’s emoting non-judgmental culture as an errant anomoly or victim is not surprising when this culture excuses Jihadists beheading Americans and blowing up their children to kill others as the fault of America – and specifically Christian Americans.

But did [Hitler/Nazi Genocide] come to pass without warning? Did no one know it was coming? Hardly. One man in England, Winston Churchill, saw it coming as clear as day. He warned anyone who would listen and nearly destroyed his political career in the process. But I got an answer from Rosenbaum to a question I have been asking for years. Where were the news media when this man was coming to power? Did no one see? Did no one report?
And the answer is that yes, they did see, and they did report. They were the men of the newspaper Hitler called “The Poison Kitchen.” The one newspaper Hitler hated above all the rest. It was a liberal paper, anti-communist and anti-Nazi, the Munich Post.

This principle of asking where was the media in the face of Hitler’s rise is as applicable to America today as it was when the Brownshirts were tearing up streets in Berlin. The mainstream press in America is become nothing but a propaganda arm for the neoLeft/Socialist/Democrat cabal, and their assorted doctrines and causes of everything from Global warming to Free Government Healthcare. They apologize for the Politically-correct Brownshirts and give cover to their power-mad candidates in order to promote the political agenda that takes precedence over all things.

Rosenbaum tells us that the Munich Post journalists were the first to focus sustained critical attention on Hitler from the first moment he came out of the beer halls and into the streets. You never hear about them, “because it is more comforting to think that no one really knew who Hitler was and what he was all about until it was too late, until after 1933, until he had too much power to resist.”
But that is simply not true. The Munich Post writers and editors knew and engaged Hitler in mortal combat for 12 years. The Munich paper had been so much on Hitler’s case, that he dispatched a gang of his “bodyguard,” to vandalize the offices of the Munich post . . . in 1923. Ten years before Hitler finally got the power to destroy them.

Today’s equivalent of the Munich Post is Conservative Talk Radio and blogs like this one. Their efforts to battle the political Left are become a lone voice since the Republican party has long since abandoned it’s stance as a party of loyal opposition to the efforts the Left wishes to instill on the country. The efforts to silence radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin by our own government really ratcheted up in the last few months, and some tried to re-impose the Fairness Doctrine to silence them by law. At the moment it appears that the efforts have failed – but rest assured – like Hitler, they will succeed one day – and possibly by violent use of force if history is any indicator.

The men of the Munich Post saw Hitler as a “political criminal.” Rosenbaum is at pains to draw the distinction between a criminal politician and a political criminal: “Hitler’s evil” he concluded. “was not generated from some ideology that descended into criminality and murder to achieve its aims. Rather his evil arose from his criminality and only garbed itself in ideological belief.”

Given the behavior of the political Left from the Clintons, to Pelosi, Murtha, Durbin, Schumer and the host of the Democrat Left – the ideal is that the end desires justifies any means to acquire their goals. Whether they sabotage our war efforts to secure defeat for political points towards outright threats and investigations by the IRS and front groups like George Soros’ Media Matters, the Political Left – like the Nazis are playing for keeps. The nature of tyrants is to cover their own wrongdoing by wrapping themselves up in the cloaks of ‘serving the downtrodden’, which is really nothing but a pandering ploy to the masses to achieve power for themselves, and sadly – it appears they may get what they desire given the duped masses rallying to the calls for government mandated healthcare and punishing business for ‘having too much”.

But what Mr. Dart notes next is the most important thing I want us to consider and meditate on, comparing it to the political landscape we currently see in America today:

Think carefully about this. The political structure of the time lent itself to adapting one’s programs, chameleon like, to the needs and wants of the people. The political promises made did not arise from real conviction, but from a drive to power. When politicians change their beliefs and positions to get elected, they are doing the same thing Hitler did. Except that Hitler did not sacrifice principles to get into power. He had no principles to sacrifice. But when a modern politician changes positions to get elected, he is playing the same game Hitler played. Perhaps with less malice for now, but the same game.

Watching the debates this past week, I could not help but recall this passage as I watched Tim Russert and even John Edwards note that Hillary Clinton changed her position in the space of two minutes time. It is self evident that Hillary will say and do anything and everything to get into the White House. Sadly none of the Democrats are exempt from that observation, and neither are most of the Republican Candidates. The difference being the drive for power, and absolute power that the stated agendas seek should send shivers down the spine of any American who understands true liberty. Unfortunately, it is looking like the emoting gimme-gimme masses are outnumbering those who should be frightened by what is being campaigned on.

Remember, it was not merely Hitler. What the Munich Post saw was a homicidal criminal enterprise that grew up around Hitler as the center. Rosenbaum saw in the yellowing pages of the Munich Post the signature crimes of Hitler and the Hitler party: Blackmailing and counterfeiting (not just money, but history itself). The stories of political blackmail outlined in the Munich Post were an absolute snake pit. They blackmailed their enemies, they blackmailed one another, they blackmailed other countries.
And it was right here that I saw a terrible convergence starting to take place. For the signature crimes of the devil are blackmail and counterfeiting.
The investigative work of the Munich Post reporters is staggering. They had copies of documents, blackmail letters, threats, extortion letters. They published it all. Over twelve years, they cataloged every crime of the Hitler party for the German public. They maintained a daily log of murders. Cumulatively, what one saw in the pages of the Munich Post was the extermination of the best and bravest people in Germany. Hitler succeeded, according to Rosenbaum, by killing off his most capable opponents and by blackmailing the rest. When his two best generals would not go along with him, he blackmailed them out of the military and replaced them with men more pliant.

Everything gravitates towards those in power – and loyalty, patriotism and righteousness will take a back seat to those who seek to share in power. This applies to industry as well as those in any career that seeks preservation and advancement, be they civilian or military.

One of the saddest pages of this story is the fact that Hitler went from a politician on the wane, who had suffered an electoral setback, to the chancellorship of Germany in just a few short weeks. Many historians believe he blackmailed his way into the chancellorship. After one week of Hitler in power, the Post published their regular murder count. There were 18 dead, 34 wounded in that one week alone. In a matter of days, the Munich Post was stormed by the SA, trashed, the editors and reporters arrested, most finally killed. Two made it to France and lived to tell the story.
Nearly every crime of the Hitler Party was chronicled in the pages of the Munich Post in the twelve years leading up to Hitler’s final power grab. But the public in Germany were never impressed by any of this, and this may be the most astonishing thing of all. I can only conclude that they did not want to see. Other papers published some, not all, of this material.
What happened? The Hitler propaganda machine denied everything. They lied in their teeth and the people chose to believe it.

I cannot help but note the similarities of that observation and those of our current American culture.

When I post news about religious exercise being banned, I get blank stares and suggestions that I’m a conspiratorial loony bin. When we see story after story promulgating the absurd myths of man-made global warming in the effort to redistribute our wealth – I cannot help but see that people will choose to believe the lie in order to go with the herd in what they are being led to do.

Ultimately, such herding is always to the slaughterhouse, but a people who forget history – will not understand that – and will refuse to believe it when urged to see this truth.

The struggle taking place in the next year for this country’s highest office will be assisted by the efforts of great spiritual evil, using men and women and their zeal for power like marionettes. They will pander to the base desires of selfish greed and vice. If this nation enters economic hardship and financial collapse as the credit and derrivative banking crisis deepens, the parallels to the Weimar Republic that gave birth to Adolph Hitler may become more than ironic – but a living nightmare. Couple that with another Jihadist attack and everything we know will be turned upside down. A people in hardship with no self reliance or responsiblity will gladly surrender whatever Liberty they have for a promise of bread and sustenance. Hillary Clinton and the host of Democrats have already watered and fertilized that soil. A rudderless Republican party following the plows of the DNC in nearly similar efforts of expanding the state to heights unseen does not give me much hope the future will be any different – except for how fast we hit the brick wall. Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath was nothing but a foretaste of a dependent people fettering blame and positioning themselves for greater power.

The zetigeist of Politial correctness is an agenda steeped in hatred of God and morality. The foundations of liberty in America are built on God and morality – and once those seeking power acquire it – the elimination of our Godly foundation will really begin in earnest. Those in talk radio, the Conservative blogosphere and anyone speaking out in defense of our God-ordained rights and freedoms will be targeted, just like those in the Munich Post.

We have been warned.

History is screaming at us, right now.

The parallels are frightening.

Yet onward we march to the gates of a new Auschwitz.

As you watch what looks to become a Soviet-style propaganda circus for Hillary Clinton or whomever ends up being the nominee – recall this essay by Ron Dart, and remember that the warnings have been made loud and clear.

Warnings like this one: Hillary’s Ruthless and Bloodless Revolution

With all these trumpets sounding to alarm us, liberty’s blood will be on our own heads – and not the watchmen who are crying aloud the warnings.

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