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, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Teaching the Dangers of Pornography

                Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when parents humbly and prayerfully teach their children about the “sacred and human nature of sex, bodies, and procreation.” Most parents and children find the transition period between childhood and adulthood to be challenging. Loving parents want to keep their children safe while at the same time prepare them to go out into the world. Just as most parents do not allow their children to go wandering around in a strange place by themselves, parents must also teach their children about the dangers of pornography and how to have loving and respectful intimate relationships in marriage.

                N. Beth Cavanaugh posted a very helpful and interesting article that should help many parents deal with the growing interest of their child in their physical body and sexual activities. It is titled “The Perfect Thing My Husband Did When He Discovered Pornography on Our Child’s Device.” She discusses how her husband found evidence of interest on their son’s electronic device and how the father, mother, and son handled the situation.

                Cavanaugh lists the steps her husband took in dealing with the problem of their 11-year-old son being interested in pornography. The steps are:  (1) Take time to breathe. Do not re-act to the situation but wait until you are prepared to act properly. (2) Find any humor in the situation that you can and “laugh a little and pray a lot.”
(3) “Shun shame” because no parent wants their child to feel “unlovable or unworthy of redemption.” It also shuts down communication. (4) “Ask questions and listen.” Ask open-ended questions and actively listen to the answers.
(5) “Set boundaries and follow up with trust.” Agree to discuss the problem openly. Institute rules with accountability. Allow the child to have ownership in the rules and consequences. (6) Be sure that your child knows that your goal is to keep him/her happy and protected.

                With pornography so readily available to our children and youth, parents must prepare themselves to act lovingly and prayerfully in teaching the dangers of sit to their children. I know that parents can help their children learn about sex in safe and responsible ways, keep their family relationships strong, and thus strengthen their families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Education and Religion

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the necessity of education and religion working together to preserve and protect the Constitution. Most universities and colleges have curriculums that lead to the destruction of liberty, and some churches lean left.

                I found a very interesting article by Milo Beckman titled “Religion and Education Explain the White Vote.” As Beckman says, most colored people vote for Democrats, but the swing voters are “overwhelmingly white.” This is an open secret, but it may not mean much during this campaign season.

                White people have been assaulted on too many levels for this election to be normal. The “race card” has been played far too many times. White children are being taught that they are terrible simply because they are white. There are open physical attacks on white people, simply because they are white.

                Beckman’s article is an answer to this question: “Which demographic traits affect how white Americans vote?” A detailed poll was conducted during the summer by Five Thirty Eight/Survey Monkey contains a lot of interesting data to answer this question. The poll tracked seven demographic variables.

                The poll discovered that income is “the least predictive of white voter support among the seven demographic variables tracked by the poll.” So if income plays such an insignificant part, what is important in relationship to the white voter?

                Beckman writes, “Instead, the two most predictive variables are religious attendance and education. Crucially, these two variables are still more explanatory when considered together. Roughly speaking, a white voter will lean left if she is `more college than church’ and will lean right if she is `more church than college.’
                “More precisely, we can assign an educational score (no college = 0, some college = 1, college degree = 2) and religious attendance score (never attend = 0, sometimes attend = 1, attend weekly = 2) to each white American. Those with a higher education score are likely to support Clinton, those with a higher religious attendance score are more likely to support Trump, and those with equal scores are more divided….
                “One quick side note: The three groups in the middle, with `equal influence’ from college and church – none/never, some/sometimes and degree/weekly – can be further explained by the third-most predictive variable, urban/suburban/rural residence. Urban voters lean left while suburban and rural voters lean right.”

                I found this article so interesting that I shared it on Facebook. One of the reasons that I found it so interesting is that I know many faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are highly educated. A friend posted that Mormons tend to be “outliers in these sorts of studies” because members of the Church “are highly educated and religious” and “our dedication to religion increases with our educational attainment.”

                My friend’s comments only heightened my interest in this issue, and I asked why Mormons were different than other religions. She answered that Mormons tend to become more religious with age, while members of other religions lose their faith as they age.

                I wanted to know more about this issue and found an article by Michael Lipka at the Pew Research Center titled “U.S. Religious Groups and Their Political Leanings.” His article starts, “Mormons are the most heavily Republican-leaning religious group in the U.S., while a pair of major historically black Protestant denominations – the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and the National Baptist Convention – are two of the most reliably Democratic groups, according to data from Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study.
                “Seven-in-ten U.S. Mormons identify with the Republican Party or say they lean toward the GOP, compared with 19% who identify as or lean Democratic – a difference of 51 percentage points. That’s the biggest gap in favor of the GOP out of 30 religious groups we analyzed, which include Protestant denominations, other religious groups and three categories of people who are religiously unaffiliated.
                “At the other end of the spectrum, an overwhelming majority of members of the AME Church (92%) identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while just 4% say they favor the Republican Party (an 88-point gap). Similarly, 87% of members of the National Baptist Convention and 75% of members of the Church of God in Christ (another historically black denomination) identify as Democrats.” Lipka did not divide the information by race except to say that members of churches that are predominately black vote for Democrats.

                I am still curious about why Mormons are “outliers.” I find my friend’s explanation to be the only plausible one, and now I have more questions. What is it about the Mormon religion that encourages members to become more religious with age? Could it be the actual doctrine? Is it the emphasis on family and self-reliance? Is it something else entirely? I think a study should be done to answer this question!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Voting by Non-American Citizens

                There is no secret about the fact that many people living within the United States are not American citizens. Many Americans are concerned that some of these non-citizens will vote in the presidential election. Fred Lucas at The Daily Signal shares some ideas about the problem of non-Americans voting.

                The right to vote is one of the many benefits of being American citizens, but liberals and progressives are giving that right to non-citizens as quickly and thoroughly as they can. With the Obama administration actively fighting states that try to verifying the citizenship status of registered voters, there seems to be increased chances for voter fraud. Lucas says, “Inquiries into voter fraud are typically met with derision from both government and the media – and in at least one instance with prosecution. Prosecutors don’t prioritize voter fraud, while convictions only garner light sentences.”

                Leftists do not want voter identification and look for ways to get around the voter integrity laws. Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch, explains, “Why on earth would you not want to make sure that only citizens are registered and voting? … That to me shows that the Obama administration and the left generally, which is behind this, want to be able to steal elections if necessary. To me, that’s a crisis.”

                Fitton continues, “The percentages of non-citizens in the United States are approaching nearly 15 percent now…. So it’s a numbers game. A certain number of those citizens – a certain number of those residents, both legally … present and illegally present, are going to register to vote.”

                Leftists continue to argue that voter ID laws limit the voting opportunities for minorities, but actual facts dispute their arguments. In the states that are using voter ID laws, the number of minorities voting has actually increased. It stands to reason that people are more likely to vote if they feel their vote will count. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Essential Lessons

                I happened upon a very interesting and educational article by Jason W. Stevens. His article is titled “5 Essential Political Lessons All Americans Need to Know.” He gives the five essential lessons as well as a story to illustrate each one.            The five essential political lessons that each American should know are: (1) Every person you meet deserves your attention and care, even if it is just a smile and a “hello.” (2) Be kind to others even in difficult situations. 
(3) Always remember those who serve you. (4) Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our situation. (5) Give of yourself when it is needed.

                This is a very simple but powerful article. I encourage you to read it and share it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell

                Two of my favorite authors and speakers are Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. I like them because they are intelligent, wise, and unafraid to speak the truth. I have enjoyed learning from them for many years.
                 I was not searching for it, but I was pleased to find this article written by Williams quoting Sowell.  Williams essentially calls out many members of the media for their “dishonesty, lack of character, and sheer stupidity.” Since “most of them are college graduates, they don’t bear the full blame. They are taught by dishonest and irresponsible academics. Let’s look at it.”
                Williams takes the following quote from “A Clash of Police Policies,” a column written by Sowell: “Homicide rates among black males went down by 18 percent in the 1940s and by 22 percent in the 1950s. It was in the 1960s, when the ideas of Chief Justice [Earl] Warren and others triumphed, that this long decline in homicide rates among black males reversed and skyrocketed by 89 percent, wiping out all the progress of the previous 20 years.”
                Williams then makes this statement: “Academics and the media blame poverty and discrimination for today’s crime. No one bothers to ask why crime was falling in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, when blacks faced far greater poverty and discrimination.

                The article has lots of other interesting data in it about blacks and poverty, education, and unmarried parents. It begs the question: Why are blacks worse off today than they were in earlier years, even after decades of “help” from liberals and progressives?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Conservative or Liberal?

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the fact that there have always been different opinions in America. I do not know that there were “conservatives” and “liberals” among our Founding Fathers, but they definitely had differing opinions about what should be in the Constitution, how it should be written, and how the government should be organized.

                This site states that, “Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems. Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”

                This site gives a little broader definition to both conservative and liberal, but it starts with this statement:  We all want the same things in life. We want freedom; we want the chance for prosperity; we want as few people suffering as possible; we want healthy children; we want to have crime-free streets. The argument is how to achieve them….”

                The site’s definition for liberals is:  “Liberals believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems.”

                The site’s definition for conservatives is: “Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems.”

                Just in case that you are still in doubt about whether you are conservative or liberal, there is more information about specific issues to help you determine your status.

                This site has an interesting and hilarious history of conservatives and liberals. It is apparently a test to determine whether one is a conservative or a liberal. Conservatives will most likely laugh, while liberals will probably get angry. What is your reaction?

                I laughed at the history because it is too silly not to laugh at it. It is very creative and gives us something to enjoy during this presidential election.

                I am definitely conservative, but I have conservatives, moderates, and liberals in my immediate family. I am somewhat grateful for the variety of political views because they help me to stay centered and balanced in my views. I know that we can work together as conservatives, moderates, and liberals to make our nation great. We just have to remember that we have a nation full of good people!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

How to Find Happiness

                Everyone longs to be happy. The ancient prophet Lehi states that “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi 2:25). If we are here on earth to be happy, why are so many people unhappy?

                Elder Brent H. Nielson of the Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seems to have the answer to my question. He discusses happiness in an article titled “Can We Live `after the Manner of happiness’?” (Ensign, September 2016, 64-67). He takes his title from another scripture in the Book of Mormon: “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27).

                Elder Nielson poses the question is, “Is it possible to live `after the manner of happiness’ … when confronted with the challenges of daily life?” His article then proceeds to explain how to do it.
                “In our premortal life the Father explained His plan to us He told us we would come to earth and receive a body. We learned that we would have appetites and passions that would be difficult to control and that we would sin. We also learned that to return to the Father, we had to be clean.
                “We had a serious dilemma: by entering mortality we would certainly sin, but how could we also be clean? The Father promised us He would provide a Savior who would come and atone for our sins. We `shouted for joy’ (Job 38:7).”

                In the rest of His article Elder Nielson explains that the way to happiness is to put both powers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ into our lives. The first power is the power of redemption. Jesus Christ took our sins upon Him in the Garden of Gethsemane and then died on the cross on Calvary to atone for the sins of all those who will repent. He has already borne the penalty for our sins. All He asks of us is that we sincerely repent and turn to Him.
 Many of us repent of our sins but cannot forgive ourselves.

                Elder Nielson explains, “We profess a belief in the Savior and in His Atonement, but we may have doubts that the Atonement will actually work for us. So we carry our own sins. We worry, we doubt, and sometimes we despair. That is not God’s plan for us.
                “From the very beginning, the Father told us the Savior would atone for our sins if we would repent. Let Him do it. There is no reason for you to carry your own sins. If you will allow the Savior to do this, you will be free to act for yourself (see 2 Nephi 2:26; 10:23; Helaman 14:30)."

                The other power of the Atonement is the enabling power. This power enables us to carry the burdens we carry in life and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Nielson explains, “We know that through the infinite Atonement, the Savior has paid for our sins. But we must also know that as we make our way through life, the `enabling power’ of the Savior’s Atonement can make our burdens light and allow us to live `after the manner of happiness.’”

                Elder Nielson then quotes Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:  “Do we also understand that the Atonement is for faithful men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully? I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this strengthening aspect of the Atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe we must carry our load all alone – through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities.” (See Bednar, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” Ensign, May 2014, 90.) 

                Concluding his article, Elder Nielson states, “When you face burdens in life, the key to access the Savior’s enabling power is to submit cheerfully and with patience to the will of the Lord. Allow the enabling power of the Savior to make your burdens light.”

                So, the key to happiness or the ability to live “after the manner of happiness” lies in our capability to apply both powers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives. Each individual commits sins – some large, some small. When we apply the redeeming power of the Atonement in our lives and repent daily, we can become clean. When we apply the enabling power of the Atonement, we gain the ability to carry the various heavy problems that come into our mortal lives. We must let the Lord bear the impediment of our sins and lighten our burdens in order to be truly happy.