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, May 31, 2019

Too Many Divorces

            Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when adults understand that divorce is bad for families. Divorce is a serious problem no matter how many there are. Even though the overall divorce rate in the United States is declining, the number of marriages that will eventually end by divorce stands at 45 percent or higher. In addition, the divorce rate for older Americans continues to rise.

            Dr. David J. Ayers is the Interim Provost at Grove City College and Fellow for Marriage and Family with the Institute for Faith and Freedom. He recently published a book titled, Christian Marriage: A Comprehensive Introduction. He says that every “married couple faces severe challenges in their relationship” and that “some marriages are too damaged and toxic to succeed.” He adds, “However, most divorces can be prevented, and doing so leaves a lot more people a lot better off.” He proceeds to give several reasons to call time out for marital troubles.

First, the vast majority of marriages that end in divorce are not characterized by high levels of conflict such as violence, vicious quarrels, or profound disagreement…. The common notion that divorce typically ends a marriage riddled by severe conflict is false.

Second, marital unhappiness is normally one-sided… about three of every four spouses who said their marriages were “unhappy” had a spouse who was happy with the union. Meanwhile, the post-divorce period is often marked by terrible and destructive quarreling, not an end to conflict…. Some divorces ended conflict, but most did not, or even increased strife.

Next, divorce does not usually lead to a happier subsequent marriage. Statistically, second marriages are not happier than first ones. Remarriages are not only statistically more likely to end in divorce but re often preceded by one or more cohabiting relationships. That kind of instability is not ideal, especially for children.

            So, if divorce is not the answer for so-called unhappy marriages, what is the solution? Ayers says that part of the solution is to have a positive attitude about marriage and a negative attitude about divorce, with friends who share the same values. He also says that “securing professional counseling that is positively committed to saving marriage” is “crucial.”

Practically, dealing with life issues that are undermining marriages, such as substance abuse or pornography, or money issues, are vital and can be helped by good counselors. Seeking and granting forgiveness and having the courage and transparency to engage in those transactions is essential to marital health. And often, just seeing where marriage problems are rooted in stressors outside the relationship, such as lousy bosses or caring for sick parents, can help. This too shall pass.

            Most problems in marriage do not have to become fatal problems. Numerous couples have gone through what you are now facing and successfully moved beyond the problem. Many marriages are stronger for having faced a serious problem and worked through it together. Not every marriage can be saved, but those marriages that are saved will bring greater strength to the families, communities, and nations of those involved.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Freedom from Democrat Hypocrisy

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the hypocrisy of the Democrats about the crisis on the southern border. Democrats are doing everything they can to stop President Donald Trump from securing the border. The Democrats in Congress withhold funds. Democrats in the courts issue orders to stop the transfer of money within the Department of Defense. Meanwhile, Americans are suffering tremendously because all illegal immigrants are not the sweet, innocent people that the Democrats describe.

            One illegal alien impregnated an11-year-old girl. Supposedly, the 20-year-old had an on-going relationship with the young girl. At least, he allegedly admitted the relationship in a note and even said that he did not care if he went to jail for it. The mother said that she reported the migrant to the people several times, but the police did not do anything about it. The mother reported that she heard the migrant talking about his relationship with an 11-year-old and worrying that she was pregnant. The mother took her daughter to a local hospital where a pregnancy test confirmed that the child is expecting a baby. If he had not been in the nation, the young girl would not be pregnant!

            Democrats have been saying for years that the illegal migrants are good people who are seeking a better life in the United States. There are most likely some illegal immigrants for whom this statement is true. However, there are a lot of criminals among them who are committing crimes here in the U.S. Victor Skinner at The American Mirror reported on the annual report of federal crime data for 2018 recently released by the United States Sentencing Commission. Skinner included this interesting information from the report about illegal aliens. 

In fiscal year 2018, the courts reported 69,425 felony and Class A misdemeanor cases to the Commission. This represents an increase of 2,552 cases from the prior fiscal year, and the first increase since fiscal year 2011.

The race of federal offenders remained largely unchanged from prior years. In fiscal year 2018, 54.3 percent of all offenders were Hispanic, 21.2 percent were White, 20.6 percent were Black, and 3.8 percent were of another race. Non-U.S. Citizens accounted for 42.7 percent of all federal offenders.

Immigration cases accounted for the largest single group of offenses in fiscal year 2018, comprising 34.4 percent of all reported cases. Cases involving drugs, firearms, and fraud were the next most common types of offenses after immigration cases. Together these four types of offenses accounted for 82.9 percent of all cases reported to the Commission in fiscal year 2018.

            Statistics do not lie. People who are not U.S. citizens are committing almost half of the crimes committed in our nation. Our crime statistics would go way down if we could stop the illegal immigration!

            Then there are the animals that beg,borrow, rent, or steal children to claim as their own in order to get into the United States. Democrats condemn the Trump administration for breaking up families, but a recent pilot program testing the DNA of people claiming to be families shows what is really happening. One-third of the immigrants tested had children with them who were not their own. They were not stepfathers or adopted fathers. They were evil men exploiting children in order to get into the United States. There are even claims that the children are recycled, or sent back to Mexico in order for someone else’s ticket into the U.S. 

            It is obvious that not all of the people crossing our borders illegally are good people. It is time for Democrats to stop being hypocrites and help the President to secure the border. I hope that good-hearted Americans will remember the hypocrisy of the Democrats and vote them out of office in 2020!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Jussie Smollett

            Jessie Smollett, former actor in “Empire” may be in hot water again. A few months ago
he reported that he was the victim of a “homophobic and racially motivated assault.” After an extensive investigation of the alleged hate crime, Chicago police found that his details did not hold up. They eventually came to the conclusion that Smollett hired two associates to stage the alleged attack. In March he was charged with 16 felony accounts after allegedly lying to police.

            A couple of weeks later the police were informed that the prosecutor had dropped all 16 charges and sealed the Smollett case file. It looked like Smollett was going to walk away as a free man even though he did forfeit his $10,000 bond.

            Needless to say, the police union was upset to discover that their personnel had been involved in a long investigation and were left holding the bags for the costs of it. Several media outlets did not like the idea of the case file being sealed and demanded that the records be unsealed. The arguments went back and forth, but the records remained sealed – until today.    
            Today Cook County Circuit Court Judge Steven G. Watkins ordered the Smollett file to “be unsealed and the details of his case made available to the public.” Smollett, of course, fought the unsealing, but the judge seems adamant.

“To be sure, it is easily conceivable that a defendant whose case was dismissed would wish to maintain his sense of privacy, even if, perhaps especially if, the media covered the case,” Watkins wrote in his ruling. “However, that isn’t [the] case.”

“While the court appreciates that the defendant was in the public eye before the events that precipitated this case, it was not necessary for him to address this so publicly and to such an extent. By doing so, the court cannot credit his privacy interest as good cause to keep the case records sealed,” Watkins added.

“These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply to be let alone,” Watkins wrote, referring to the multiple media appearances and interviews given by Smollett and his attorneys, according to the Chicago Tribune, which was one of the outlets represented in the suit.

At another point in the 10-page decision, Watkins wrote in reference to Smollett’s search for publicity as opposed to his claim of wanting privacy: “[Smollett] voluntarily stood in front of cameras from numerous news organizations in the courthouse lobby and spoke about the case.”

            It appears that Smollett just could not help himself and had to tell the world. However, his blabbing is causing problems for other people. State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who dropped the charges, “is facing problems of her own with regard to the Smollett case, which most likely won’t be helped one bit by the unsealing of his case file.”  However, there is someone else involved in the case who is running from a subpoena.

            Chicago lawyer Tina Tchen, former chief of staff for Michelle Obama, refused to accept a subpoena from another judge. Former Illinois Appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien sent a subpoena to Tchen with an order to appear in court on May 31. This judge is investigating Tchen’s communications with Kim Foxx regarding the Smollett case. The judge wants “any and all documents, notes, phone records, texts, tape recordings made or received at any time, concerning [Tchen’s] conversations with Kim Foxx in re: Jussie Smollett.” 

            Monica Showalter wants to know why Tchen is so nervous about the Smollett case and why she would not accept the subpoena. 

Slink, slink, hide, hide, gotta get away from those process servers, who are staking themselves out behind every bush like repo men. I know what this is like from the process server end: in San Francisco in the 1980s, I actually used to be a process server. People like Tchen to us, were colloquially known as “dirtbags” because they wouldn’t take their papers, but they never did get away with not eventually getting their papers. They just wasted our time.  

            The whole case seems so suspicious – from the fake crime to the dropping of the charges to the sealing of the case file. Something is wrong, and at least two judges are noticing. I wonder what sort of garbage will come out now. How far up the Democrat line will the problem go? With Tchen being the former chief of staff for Michelle Obama, is Obama involved also?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Need More Federal Judges

            Liberal judges continue to throw roadblocks in the path of President Donald Trump’s agenda to make America great again (MAGA). In a recent speech to the American Law Institute, Attorney General went after federal judges who issue nationwide injunctions against the administration. He said that there have been more than 37 such injunctions issued during the Trump administration, a number that is greater than for the entire 20th century. In his speech Barr focused attention on “improper use of nationwide injunctions against policies of all stripes” and added that such injunctions that block administrative policy gives the district courts “unprecedented power.” 

One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of the pen. No official in the United States government can exercise that kind of nationwide power, with the sole exception of the President. And the Constitution subjects him to nationwide election, among other constitutional checks, as a prerequisite to wielding that power.

            Barr cited legal battles over immigration, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This program was instituted by Barack Obama to offer protection to individuals who were brought illegally into the United States when they were children. With this kind of power in the district courts, is it any wonder that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to get more conservative judges in the various courts across the land?

            Millions of people, this writer included, voted for Donald Trump in order to gain control of the courts. President Trump nominated, and the Senate sustained two justices to the Supreme Court. When Trump was elected there were more than 100 vacancies for federal judges. The President nominated judges as fast as he could, but Democrats in the Senate slowed the confirmation as much as they could. However, McConnell came up with a new plan.

            Under the old rule the minority could debate a nomination for 30 hours. McConnell recently scaled back the power of the minority and changed the rule to two hours of debate. The new rule was approved by a 51 to 48 vote. The new rule applies to district court judges and low-level administration appointees. With the new rule several appointees can be debated and voted on in one day. McConnell is a big help to President Trump in putting conservative judges on the benches of America. Maybe there will soon be enough conservative judges to stop the power grabs of the liberal ones. We can only hope so! 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Dr. Ben Carson

            I chose Dr. Ben Carson as my VIP for this week because I like what I am hearing about him. He has taken some powerful actions as the Secretary for the Housing and Urban Development (HUD). His most recent action has Democrats upset. You see, he proposed a rule change that would put Americans before illegal immigrants.

            Carson was recently interviewed by Tucker Carlson about the proposed rule change and gave the following explanation. 

Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act “states that the secretary of HUD is prohibited from providing housing assistance to people who are in the country illegally. And what people sometimes don’t understand is that we have millions of legal Americans in line waiting for these very scarce resources,” he said.

            Democrats in the House grilled Carson about the policy that first became law in 1980. The policy “states that most noncitizens are prohibited from apply for and obtaining federal financial housing assistance.”  While he was talking with Carlson, Carson defended the policy.

So, you know, for them to suggest that I should break the law, what is the real implication? That we can just pick and choose the laws we want to enforce and embrace? Of course, we feel sympathy for people. Of course, we don’t want anybody out on the streets. But the real thing that is hurting people is our failure to address this immigration system. The rules that are drawing people here and keeping them here and [are] unfair to American citizens paying taxes and working here.

            Like others in the Trump Administration, Carson says that the immigration system in America is broken. “It can’t work … when we have perverse incentives drawing people here.”

            According to Michelle Malkin, this rule change could open up “32,000 public housing slots” for the 1.6 million applicants nationwide” who are waiting to be considered for the housing. 

            Democrats in Congress are not doing their job. They are so angry at Donald Trump for winning the 2016 election that they apparently cannot control themselves. They are so consumed with hate for the President that they will let the entire country be destroyed rather than help him to secure the nation. I am grateful for public servants like Dr. Carson who are willing to put Americans ahead of people who come to our nation illegally. It is too bad that Democrats do not feel the same way about Americans.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Old Guard

            Tomorrow is Memorial Day, so it is only fitting to use this Constitution Monday to remember and honor the people who have gone before us. This is particularly true for the men and women who gave their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy in our nation. I want to honor those men and women by sharing part of a speech given by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) about Arlington National Cemetery and The Old Guard. It just seems to be the right thing to do. 

            Cotton began his talk by discussing what it was like to walk about the graves of the nation’s heroes – including President John F. Kennedy and military men and women of all ranks from numerous wars. He explained that the Thursday before Memorial Day is the “Flags in” day, or the day when a flag of the United States is placed at each grave site.

            The instructions are to place the flags “vertical and perpendicular to the headstone.” Each row is completed by one soldier because “different boot sizes might disrupt the perfect symmetry of the headstones and flags.” Cotton includes a lot of interesting information in his talk, but the story he told about The Old Guard was most fascinating to me.

… The soldiers who place the flags belong to the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment, better known as The Old Guard. My turn at Flags In came in 2007, when I served with The Old Guard between my tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Old Guard is literally the old guard, the oldest active-duty infantry regiment in the Army, dating back to 1784, three years older even than our Constitution. The regiment got its nickname in 1847 from Winfield Scott, the longest-serving general in American history. Scott gave the regiment the honor of leading the victory march into Mexico City, where he directed his staff to “take your hats off to The Old Guard of the Army.” Perhaps Scott felt an old kinship with the 3rd Infantry, because he had fought the British alongside them outside Niagara Falls during the War of 1812.

Among the few regiments to participate in both of the major campaigns of the Mexican War – Monterrey in 1846 and Mexico City in 1847 – The Old Guard made history alongside American military legends. A young lieutenant later wrote that “the loss of the 3rd Infantry in commissioned officers was especially severe” in the brutal street-to-street fighting in Monterrey. That lieutenant’s name was Ulysses S. Grant.

The 3rd Infantry was part of the main effort again the next year at the Battle of Cerro Gordo, the last stand on the road to Mexico City by Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The Mexicans had a numerically superior force on the high ground on both sides of the only passable road to the capital. But Santa Anna underestimated the Americans’ ingenuity and audacity. With a young captain of engineers blazing the path, the 3rd Infantry hacked through the jungle and crossed ravines to attack the Mexicans from their rear, finishing them off with a bayonet charge. That captain’s name was Robert E. Lee. And to this day, The Old Guard remains the only unit in the Army authorized to march with bayonets fixed to their rifles in honor of their forerunners’ bravery at Cerro Gordo.

The Old Guard returned to the battlefield in the Civil War, fighting with other “regulars” – the career professional soldiers of the federal government, as opposed to the volunteer soldiers of the state regiments. The Old Guard fought in every major battle in the eastern theater from the First Battle of Bull Run to Gettysburg, where they helped hold off Confederate charges against the weakened salient in Union lines at the Wheatfield. Watching from the nearby Round Top Hills, a state militiaman later wrote, “For two years, the regulars taught us how to fight like soldiers. At the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, they taught us how to die like soldiers.” Though out of the fight, the regiment later served in Grant’s headquarters at Appomattox Court House as he accepted the surrender of their old pathfinder from Cerro Gordo.

The Old Guard then went west following the American frontier, and ultimately to the Philippines at the turn of the century, fighting under General John “Black Jack” Pershing against Muslim radicals in Jolo and Mindanao – the very places where al Qaeda and the Islamic State have franchises today. They guarded our southern border with Mexico against Pancho Villa during World War I, and they trained the vast army of new recruits for World War II before deploying to Europe in the final months of the war.

It was after World War II that the Army assigned its oldest unit to its most sacred ground: Arlington National Cemetery, whose seal calls it “Our Nation’s Most Sacred Shrine,” and with good reason. To borrow from Tocqueville in a different context, those rolling hills seem “called by some secret design of Providence” to become our national cemetery.

            Cotton continued his talk by giving a lengthy history lesson about Arlington National Cemetery and the part that The Old Guard plays today. The Old Guard is now “the Army’s ceremonial unit and official escort to the president.” It marches in inaugural parades, performs ceremonies at the White House and the Pentagon, and provides “color guards and a drill team for events around the capital.”

            The most sacred duty for The Old Guard is providing “military-honor funerals in Arlington National Cemetery.” No matter what else is happening, the “funerals always come first, and they are a no-fail, zero-defect mission.” The Old Guard practices the ceremony several times each day because it has to be completed perfectly for the fallen soldiers. For the state funeral of President George H. W. Bush, hundreds of members of The Old Guard practiced for six days to be ready. Cotton was told, “Our standards remain the same, whether it’s President Bush or a private first-class.”   Indeed, the funerals of the regular soldiers continue no matter what else is happening – not the funeral of a President or the 9/11 attack on our nation.

On that beautiful morning, the 9 o’clock funerals were underway when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon, blasting debris across Washington Boulevard into the cemetery’s southeastern corner. The Old Guard’s Medical Platoon rushed to the scene, becoming the first soldiers to deploy to a battlefield in the War on Terror. Yet those funerals continued. So did the 10 o’clock funerals. And the 11 o’clock funerals. Over the next month, even as hundreds of Old Guard soldiers pulled guard duty at the Pentagon and carried remains from the crash site, funerals never stopped in Arlington.

            A foreign military leader made a poignant statement as he was escorted through Arlington National Cemetery in order to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He was given an explanation of what The Old Guard does, and he saw all the headstones out the window of the car. He paused for a long time and then said, “Now I know why your soldiers fight so hard. You take better care of your dead than we do our living.”

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Personal Answers from God

            Prayer and personal revelation are both part of the communication process between Heavenly Father and His children here on earth. Prayer takes place when we speak to Heavenly Father, and He speaks to us through personal revelation.

            The interesting thing about the way that Heavenly Father speaks to His children is that He personalizes its communication. He speaks to His children through the power of the Holy Ghost in a way that they can each understand. I have received unsolicited information from the Spirit in dreams. I was told in dreams when each of my parents was dying. I did not recognize the prompting about my mother, but sixteen years later I clearly knew by a dream that my father was dying. In the period of time between the dream and the telephone call confirming it, I did laundry and made preparations to get on an airplane. I was ready to leave within twelve hours of the phone call because I recognized the prompting.

            I have received unsolicited information in other ways. This information often comes early in the morning just as I am awaking. Early one morning I awoke with this message, “The Holy Ghost loves you.” This was new information to me because I had never considered whether He loves me or not. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each of us, and now I know that the Holy Ghost also loves us. It was important for me to have that information on that particular day because I was teaching a lesson about the Holy Ghost to my Primary class of five-year-old children. I could testify to them that the Holy Ghost loves them. I did, and I was pleasantly surprised to know that they already knew that He loves them.

            There are times when I go to Heavenly Father with a problem and ask for help. At times He gives me a direct answer to my question. Other times, He requires me to do some homework first. Lord gives instructions on how to gain personal revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Yea, behold I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2).

Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; …” (Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-9).

            I have received personal revelation without asking for it, and I have pleaded for answers for long times before receiving answers. I have found it helpful to ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” I have asked questions, such as the following: “Should I take a class this semester?” and “Am I living the way Thou would have me live?” I usually get an answer fairly quickly with this time of question. However, an answer does not come quickly – or at all – when I asked questions, such as this one: “What would Thou have me do to solve this problem?”

            Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that personal revelation can come suddenly – like flipping a light switch in a dark room, or gradually – like the rising sun. 

Revelations are conveyed in a variety of ways, including, for example, dreams, visions, conversations with heavenly messengers, and inspiration. Some revelations are received immediately and intensely; some are recognized gradually and subtly. The two experiences with light I described help us to better understand these two basic patterns of revelation.

A light turned on in a dark room is like receiving a message from God quickly, completely, and all at once. Many of us have experienced this pattern of revelation as we have been given answers to sincere prayers or been provided with needed direction or protection, according to God’s will and timing. Descriptions of such immediate and intense manifestations are found in the scriptures, recounted in Church history, and evidenced in our own lives. Indeed, these mighty miracles do occur. However, this pattern of revelation tends to be more rare than common.

The gradual increase of light radiating from the rising sun is like receiving a message from God “line upon line, precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30). More frequently, revelation comes in small increments over time and is granted according to our desire, worthiness, and preparation. Such communications from Heavenly Father gradually and gently “distil upon [our souls] as the dews from heaven” (D&C 121:45). This pattern of revelation tends to be more common than rare and is evident in the experiences of Nephi as he tried several different approaches before successfully obtaining the plates of brass from Laban (see 1 Nephi 3-4). Ultimately, he was led by the Spirit to Jerusalem, “not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do” (1 Nephi 4:6). And he did not learn how to build a ship of curious workmanship all at one time; rather, Nephi was shown by the Lord “from time to time after what manner [he] should work the timbers of the ship” (1 Nephi 18:1).

            I know Elder Bednar’s words to be true. I have received personal revelation so suddenly and without warning that it was as though a light switch had been flipped. I have also received personal revelation that came over a period of time. I feel certain that I have missed many loving messages from Heavenly Father because I was not paying enough attention or was unprepared in other ways.

            President Russell M. Nelson taught that we can develop the ability to receive revelation, or “grow into the principle of revelation.” As he taught this principle he included a short quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith to prove the point. 

Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses – yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation” [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 132].

            I am grateful for the opportunity to kneel in prayer – or be in any other position – and speak with Heavenly Father. I am grateful for my testimony that He hears each prayer and answers it in the best way for us. Maybe the answer is “yes,” maybe it is “no,” and maybe it is “not yet.” Whatever the answer, I know that it is for my benefit.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Both Feet In

            A new report indicates that marriages and families are stronger and can strengthen their communities and nations if spouses have both feet into their chosen lifestyle. The authors of the report – W. Bradford Wilcox, Jason S. Carroll and Laurie DeRose – shared some of the information from their report in an article at The New York Times. 

            The report is titled “The Ties That Bind: Is Faith a Global Force for Good or Ill in the Family?” and is provided by the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution. The report looks at the quality of relationships for heterosexual women in the United States and ten other countries. The authors say that a “key conclusion” from their report is that “feminism and faith both have high expectations of husbands and fathers.” These expectations come for “different ideological reasons”, but they “result in higher-quality marriages for women.”

In studying women who report above-average satisfaction, commitment, closeness and stability in their relationships, we find that women at both ends of the ideological spectrum enjoy comparatively high-quality marriages, compared with women in the religious and ideological middle, as well as secular women who lean right culturally. Data from the Global Family and Gender Survey (which Mr. Wilcox helped conduct) indicate that 55 percent of secular progressive wives in the United States — who embrace egalitarian family values and do not attend religious services — report such high-quality marriages.

By contrast, fewer than 46 percent of wives in the religious middle — who attend only infrequently or don’t share regular religious attendance with their husbands — and only 33 percent of secular conservative wives — who think men should take the lead on bread-winning and women on child-rearing but don’t attend church — have such marriages.

            Even though women at both ends of the spectrum have “higher-quality marriages,” the authors say that religious conservative wives are the “happiest of all wives in America” and the next happiest are the religious progressive wives. “Fully 73 percent of wives who hold conservative gender values and attend religious services regularly with their husbands have high-quality marriages.”

            It appears from this study that egalitarian marriages can bring happiness into a marriage, but religion is even more important to the happiness of wives. This study shows that spouses must have both feet into their chosen lifestyle to be happy, but greater happiness comes from having both feet into a conservative, religious life. Highly religious couples can strengthen their families, communities, and nations.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Religious Freedom

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns freedom of religion. A symposium on religion and inclusion was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 14, 2019. Tim Schultz delivered the keynote address.

            Schultz said that both Republicans and Democrats “fail religious freedom” in different ways. According to Kelsey Dallas at Deseret News, Schultz said that the “political rights is often guilty of ignoring the needs of religious minorities, while the political left can act as if Muslims, Sikhs, Jews and Hindus are the only people of faith who need to be protected.” 

Schultz began his remarks by looking to the recent past, when religious freedom was much less controversial.

In 1993, LGBTQ rights and religious freedom advocates, Republicans and Democrats, joined together to pass new federal protections for faith groups. As recently as 2013, similar measures passed state legislatures with strong bipartisan support.

In the last five years, that "kumbaya" spirit turned into "kumba-nah," he said, noting "there's a great deal of suspicion and animosity around religious freedom."

"Now it's scare-quoted in headlines and referred to as 'so-called religious freedom,'" Schultz said…..

Schultz remains focused on the political sphere, and thinks both Republicans and Democrats should reform their ways. The political left needs to recognize the value faith groups bring to society, while the political right needs to show that religious freedom is about more than side-stepping LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws.

            There is no reason why Americans of all faiths or no faith cannot learn to get along. We need to be tolerant of other people and their beliefs, but we must understand that tolerance should go both ways. No one should be denied a job or housing because of religious belief or sexual orientation just as they should not be denied because of race or age. On the other hand, religious people should not be forced to use their creative abilities – baking, photography, floral arrangements, artwork, etc. – to do anything that goes against their conscience. I am grateful to know that groups of people, such as those attending this symposium, are attempting to solve the problems concerning religious freedom.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Abortion Dilemma

            When the U.S. Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade and made abortion on demand legal, they lit a fire until the right-to-life supporters. They also made a ruling that they had no right to decide. The U.S. Constitution outlines what the federal government can do, and the Bill of Rights lists the rights of Americans that the government cannot infringe. In order that there be no confusion, the Founders added Amendment 9 and Amendment 10.

            Amendment 9 states: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This amendment says that there are other rights that might not listed, but they cannot be violated even though they are not listed.

            Amendment 10 states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This amendment basically means that any power not specifically given to the federal government remains with the people or the states.

            These two amendments taken together cause the conundrum with abortion. Abortion is not mentioned at all in the Constitution or in the Bill of Rights. Therefore, the federal government has no authority to rule on abortion. If there was a “right to abortion” or “right to kill my baby,” the authority to make laws concerning abortion would rest with the states. Since there is no right for a woman to kill her baby – or any other human being – there is no right to have an abortion.

            Various states have passed bills in case Roe v. Wade is ever overturned. New York State recently passed a law stating that a baby can be aborted anytime up until birth. Virginia passed – or at least considered – a law that would allow a baby that survived an abortion attempt to die. Other states have passed or considered similar laws.

            On the opposite end of the spectrum is Alabama where a bill was recently passed and signed into law making all abortion illegals and abortion doctors guilty of murder. Other states are considering/passing similar laws.

            The fact that states are passing laws that are totally opposed to each other means that the issue of abortion will sooner or later be back on the Supreme Court docket. In fact, the sponsor for the law in Alabama says that the law was written as it was to force the Supreme Court to take a case.

            William Sullivan posted an interesting article about the abortion dilemma. He quotes none other than Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as saying, “Court ventured too far in the change it ordered and presented an incomplete justification for its action.” Any honest person who knows anything about the Constitution can see that Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. Sullivan concludes his article with these paragraphs. 

In short, the Constitution gave us a formula to navigate this issue, and it is best handled state-to-state rather than being “irrevocably fixed” by the Supreme Court.  If the federal government is to allow or forbid abortion, it must be allowed to do so only by Constitutional Amendment.  Insofar as the states comprising these United States cannot agree to do one or the other at the Congressional level, that Amendment is not in the foreseeable future, and therefore, it is still best left to the states to decide.

Two things are certain.  First, the national debate over abortion will continue, whatever the result of the coming Supreme Court decision on any new abortion legislation like Alabama’s.  Secondly, what is best for every citizen of every state is not best decided by the nine judges of the Supreme Court, whoever they may be.  So, even though “we disagree” with the decision in Roe v. Wade, we must “do what we can” to have the Court overrule that terrible mistake that has left more 60 million legally killed unborn babies in its horrifying wake.

            Abortion is an issue that should be left to the states. Sullivan explains that the people in Alabama do not want a law like that of New York – and vice versa. Therefore, the only way for the people in both Alabama and New York to accept the issue is for each state to be allowed to make their own abortion laws. It is time to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow each state to do what is best for its own people.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Building Wall Is Top Priority

            Donald Trump campaigned on the promise to build a wall along the southern border in the 2016 presidential election. Reports are that some sections of the wall have been built and/or repaired. According to a recent poll Republican voters are not satisfied with the amount of wall that has been completed.

            According to the latest Harvard/Harris Poll, “building a wall at the southern border and reducing all immigration” is at the top of the list of issues for Republican voters. The poll says that “22 to 25 percent of these voters said building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border should be the president’s number one goal today.” 

            The second priority according to the poll is “Reducing all immigration – both illegal and legal.” “Between 19 and 20 percent of these voters said reducing the inflow of immigrants should be Trump’s second top priority.”

            Republicans are not the only people wanting a wall built. “Even among all U.S. voters, building a border wall and reducing all immigration to the country ranks as the fourth top priority. For swing voters, building a border wall and reducing all immigration are the third and fourth top priorities, following stimulating jobs and passing an infrastructure bill.”

            Other polls are reporting similar results among Republicans and conservative voters for reducing immigration. “In a Reuters/Ipsos Poll last month, GOP voters called immigration the ‘most important problem’ facing the nation and a Harvard Institute of Politics poll found that young GOP voters were the most skeptical of immigration. Similarly, a recent Fox News poll revealed that a plurality of 43 percent of Republican voters said immigration hurts the U.S.”

            I do not believe that immigration per se hurts the United States. Immigration is good for America when it is done the right way. For example, immigrants and their posterity are keeping the United States above the 2.1 replacement fertility rate. However, American is a sovereign nation and has the right and the authority to decide which immigrants to allow into the country.

            It appears that more and more Americans are seeing the dangers of allowing hordes --hundreds of thousands -- of poor, unskilled immigrants to flood into the nation. Some of the dangers being brought by the migrants are diseases, crime, and drugs. When I and millions of other Americans cannot get on an airplane to fly to another state without our bodies and luggage being searched, why should we allow just anyone to cross the border? We need a barrier to keep all unwanted and uninvited migrants from entering our nation.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Trey Gowdy

            Former Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is my VIP for this week. I was sad when I heard that he was not going to seek reelection. I was happy to hear that he was a contributor at Fox News and would still be giving input on national events.

            Gowdy was the chair of the House Intelligence Committee before he retired, and he had the opportunity and the responsibility to see much of the information contained in the investigation of Donald Trump. He revealed on Sunday that there are some unreleased transcripts of conversations between former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and an informant for the FBI. He says that those transcripts have the “potential to be a game-changer.” 

            According to Gowdy government officials may be guilty of wrongdoing by withholding the information from the judges on the FISA Court. He said that whenever law enforcement officers present information to judges for warrants that they are required to present exculpatory evidence, or evidence showing that the suspect is or could be innocent. This evidence is in the unreleased transcripts but was not given to the judges.

            The situation may be what Attorney General William Barr was considering when he said that he is investigating whether government officials “put their thumb on the scale” during the Russia collusion investigation.

            Gowdy outed the information on nationwide television. It is now all over the Internet. Will this outing cause any problems in the Barr investigation, or will it cause the information to be released quicker to the public? The rats involved in this bogus investigation are being illuminated, and there is nothing like shining the light on rats to make them scamper.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sacred Documents

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the fact that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are both spiritual documents. They were written by God-fearing men for people who believe in God and are totally inadequate for governing any other people.

            John Adams, the second President of the United States, clearly saw the Constitution as a sacred document written for God-fearing people. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” 

            Adams is not the only leader of this nation to consider the founding documents to be sacred. Bill Federer posted an interesting article about how President Calvin Coolidge foresaw the possibility of the Deep State crisis that our nation is reeling from today. The entire article is interesting, but I will only share what Coolidge said about the Declaration of Independence. 

Calvin Coolidge gave insight into America’s success at maintaining order in his address at the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, July 5, 1926: “The principles … which went into the Declaration of Independence … are found in … the sermons … of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live. They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the divine image. … Placing every man on a plane where he acknowledged no superiors, where no one possessed any right to rule over him, he must inevitably choose his own rulers through a system of self-government. … In order that they might have freedom to express these thoughts and opportunity to put them into action, whole congregations with their pastors migrated to the colonies. …”

            Coolidge concluded: “The Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. … Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man – these are … ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We cannot continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.”

            The progressive movement started about the time that Coolidge was the President. He recognized the evil ideas and plans of the progressives and tried to warn Americans. Now we are reaping the results brought by the progressives and their Communist/Socialist allies into our national government. There are secret combinations trying to destroy our constitutional way of life. The silent coup of the Deep State was an attempt to hide their evil actions.

            The Constitution will not fail, but it is in danger. Americans may be forced to go through another Civil War to preserve it, but it will stand. I am grateful for Americans, such as Donald Trump and Bill Barr, who are willing to stand up to the bullying progressives. I hope and pray that they will be able to preserve our Republic without the need for bloodshed.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Come, Follow Me

            My thoughts this week have been on the next life and eternity because I learned that a beloved sister-in-law passed away a week or so ago. I suppose that my brother was there to escort her into the next life, but I do not know. They married “until death do us part” instead of “for time and all eternity.” Therefore, their marriage ended when he died sixteen years ago because they had not been sealed as husband and wife for eternity. I do not know what authority he could use to claim her except his love for her. Is love enough? I do not know!

            The Lord has made it plainly known that marriage can be for eternity, but the marriage must be performed here on earth by proper priesthood authority and in a House of the Lord, otherwise known as a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Russell M. Nelson, sustained as prophet, seer, and revelator by more than 16 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ, spoke on this topic in the April 2019 General Conference of the Church. He first spoke about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and how it affects you and me. 

The Spirit in each of us naturally yearns for family love to last forever. Love songs perpetuate a false hope that love is all you need if you want to be together forever. And some erroneously believe that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ provides a promise that all people will be with their loved ones after death.

In truth, the Savior Himself has made it abundantly clear that while His Resurrection assures that every person who ever lived will indeed be resurrected and live forever, much more is required if we want to have the high privilege of exaltation. Salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter.

            When Jesus Christ was resurrected He overcame the power of death for Himself and all mankind. We can all be resurrected because He overcame death and was the first to be resurrected. When we are resurrected, our body and spirit will be reunited and will never separate again. We will be immortal because we will never die. This is known as salvation, or living for all eternity. President Nelson said that we work out our salvation individually and exaltation as a family and then continues with these words.

Listen to these words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ to His prophet: “All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise … are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:7).

So, what is required for a family to be exalted forever? We qualify for that privilege by making covenants with God, keeping those covenants, and receiving essential ordinances.

This has been true since the beginning of time. Adam and Eve, Noah and his wife, Abraham and Sarah, Lehi and Sariah, and all other devoted disciples of Jesus Christ – since the world was created – have made the same covenants with God. They have received the same ordinances that we as members of the Lord’s restored Church today have made: those covenants that we receive at baptism and in the temple.

The Savior invites all to follow Him into the waters of baptism and, in time, to make additional covenants with God in the temple and receive and be faithful to those further essential ordinances. All these are required if we want to be exalted with our families and with God forever….

My dear brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ invites us to take the covenant path back home to our Heavenly Parents and be with those we love. He invites us to “come, follow me.”

            My beloved brother and his wife did not follow Jesus Christ enough to go to the temple to be married for time and eternity. They were married for time only, and their marriage ended at death. Is there any hope that they can be together for eternity? Yes, there is, but it will take time. A year from now their children can take the names of their parents to the temple and perform the necessary ordinances by proxy for their parents. Then, the marriage for eternity will be in force if the parents choose to accept the ordinances.

            I feel that my brother has been studying and learning for the past sixteen years and is now prepared to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to his wife. If she listens and accepts the gospel and its conditions, she will be prepared for the day when the children, acting as proxies for their parents, have the eternal marriage performed. Then the children can be sealed to their parents and become a family unit sealed together for eternity.

            The Lord desires that all of us follow the covenant path and are sealed into the eternal family of Adam and Eve. However, he leaves that choice to each of us. When we choose to marry for eternity, we can enjoy some of the blessings of eternity right here in this life. If we choose to not perform the ceremony for ourselves, we lose blessings here and risk losing blessings for eternity. Jesus said, “Come, follow me,” and He meant for us to follow Him along the covenant path until we are back into the presence our Heavenly Parents to live with them for all eternity.