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.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

What Is Behind Biden’s Choices for Nominees for Federal Positions?

            President Joe Biden chooses nominees for various positions in the federal government without considering bias towards the specific topic. The latest nominee put forth by Biden is Atul Gawande to lead global health development at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The reason that Gawande is a poor choice for this position because of his past comments about gruesome partial-birth abortion techniques. According to Mary Margaret Olohan, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) delayed a committee vote on this nominee and gave the following explanation for his decision. 

“Atul Gawande’s defense of infanticide is disqualifying,” the Florida Republican said in a statement. “Infanticide should be condemned, not celebrated, but Gawande’s radical, anti-life views are becoming mainstream in today’s Democratic Party.”

“President Biden should withdraw Gawande’s nomination and replace him with someone who is committed to upholding the agency’s mission of saving lives,” Rubio, a senior Republican on the Senate Committee for Foreign Relations, added.

            Olohan continued her article at The Daily Signal with an explanation that “Partial-birth abortions have been banned in the United States since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act passed Congress in 2003. This act was signed into law by President George W. Bush and was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in 2007.

According to the legislation, a partial-birth abortion is one in which an abortion doctor delivers a living baby until the baby’s head is outside the mother’s body, then punctures the back of the baby’s head, “removing the baby’s brains.”

            Gawande is a doctor of endocrinology and a professor at Harvard Medical School. In his 1998 Slate op-ed, Gawande “suggested that critics should not vilify partial-birth abortion over other abortion procedures merely because it is gruesome: ‘Grossness is not a good objection. Lots of operations are gross – leg amputation, burn surgery, removal of facial tumors, etc. But that does not make them wrong.’” Gawande did acknowledge that “partial-birth abortions are ‘disturbing’ since the baby being aborted is ‘big now – like a fully formed child.’” He then described the abortion “procedure in gruesome detail,” while “comparing partial-birth abortions to dilation and evacuation procedures (abortion in which the abortion doctor vacuums the baby out of the mother’s womb).”

“Partial-birth abortion is, if anything less grotesque,” he wrote. “The fetus is delivered feet first. To get the large head out, the doctor cuts open a hole at the base of the fetus’s skull and inserts tubing to suck out the brain, which collapses the skull.”

            Gawande said that “dilation and evacuation abortions may also be too gruesome to be permitted” if “partial-birth abortions are ‘too gruesome to allow.’” I agree with him that they are too gruesome, and they should be “the inevitable next target for pro-life advocates.”

            Abortion of any kind is too gruesome, and American tax dollars should not be used to pay for them. Gawande does not sound like a man who should be trusted with protecting the lives and health of people receiving American aid – including unborn babies.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

What Policies Are In the “Build Back Better” Plan?

            The massive $3.5 trillion social-welfare spending bill being pushed by Democrats contains more problems than the cost of it. Two Democrat Senators – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – are opposing the bill because of the cost. Their opposition caused the bill to stall in Congress.

The cost is too high, but the policies in the bill have the potential to change America as we know it. The agenda of the bill is to shift more power and control to the federal government and away from the states and individuals. Nina Owcharenko Schaefer is a senior fellow in health policy at The Heritage Foundation, and she sees problems in the bill regarding health care. 

The so-called Build Back Better plan, moving its way through the Democrat-led Congress, is jammed full of policy changes that drive the country closer to a government takeover of health care than ever before.

Trying to slim down the cost or water down the proposals will not resolve those fundamental policy concerns.

            Schaefer listed seven ways that the bill will make it more difficult for individuals to keep their health plans, while also making it “more likely you’d get the subpar benefits” of government-run health care. Here is her list.

1) Creates a New, Government-Run Health Plan

Part of the legislative package would put in place a new federal health care program. The program would be modeled after Medicaid, a joint federal-state program to provide medical services to certain low-income Americans, and would be made available to those individuals in states that did not adopt the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

While seemingly narrow and targeted, the proposal could easily be scaled up and expanded to new groups. Under such an arrangement, the government would set regulatory rules in favor of the government plan, drive out private competition, compel participation, consolidate enrollment, and shift costs on to health care providers and taxpayers….

2) Expands Government Subsidies to Insurance Giants, the Rich

The proposal would make existing Obamacare subsidies more generous and make them available to more people, regardless of income.

Specifically, individuals with income between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty line would no longer have to contribute to the cost of their Obamacare premiums…

Since the subsidies are tethered to Obamacare, these changes are intended to drive more people to the government-run Obamacare exchanges, including some of whom would have otherwise had insurance.

The more people enrolled in Obamacare, the more the government controls the delivery of care and benefits. Moreover, these changes attempt to cover up the fact that Obamacare is driving up – not down – the cost of coverage….

3) Undercuts Private, Employer-Based Coverage

The bill changes the requirements for those with access to employer-based coverage to qualify for Obamacare subsidies.

Under current law, individuals with access to employer-based coverage are not eligible for Obamacare subsidies unless their share of the premium costs exceed 9.2%. The bill would lower that threshold to 8.5%.

The private, employer-based market is where the majority of Americans still get their health care and remains a critical obstacle to a full-blown government-run health care plan. Lowering the threshold is a small, but significant, shift in the opposite direction….

4) Undermines Non-Obamacare Options

The proposal blocks access to information about non-Obamacare coverage options. The bill would prohibit federal funds from being used to “promote non-[Affordable Care Act] compliant health insurance coverage” and explicitly defines short-during and association health plans as such options….

5) Expands Size, Scope of Medicaid

The legislation assumes a larger role for the federal government in Medicaid. The proposal would create a new grant program within Medicaid that would add $190 billion for home and community-based services.

The proposal would also impose new federal requirements on state Medicaid programs and would weaken oversight and accountability through various policy changes….

6) Puts New Obligations on Outdated Medicare Program

The legislation proposes adding dental, hearing, and vision to the traditional Medicare program. To avoid an even bigger price tag, the benefits would be phased-in over time. Seniors would still be responsible for a portion of costs, but taxpayers would be responsible for the rest….

7) Sets Government Controls on Prescription Drugs

Under the bill, the federal government would set prices for certain prescription drugs in the Medicare program, based on prices paid in other countries….

Government control over the price of pharmaceuticals means government control over access to pharmaceuticals. Like residents in those selected other countries, seniors would face less access and fewer choices under this model….

            Government should not be involved in the health care business. Schaefer points out that Canada and the United Kingdom are good examples that show “the impact such controls have on access to care, where wait lists are common and expected, and where access to treatments are limited or denied.”  

Schaefer summarized her article by explaining that there is “a common health care thread running throughout the ‘Build Back Better’ plan.” That thread is the desire to remove “private coverage alternatives and consolidate enrollment in the government-run plans.” The government would then control the dollars and the decisions.

This post discusses only the affects that would take place in the health care arena. The “Build Back Better” plan has an agenda to take over the lives of Americans. That is the reason the policies contained in the proposal are just as bad or worse than the price tag.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Why Has Biden Killed the Economy?

            One would think that a robust economy would be difficult to kill – unless it was done on purpose. The economic policies of President Joe Biden are just as bad or worse than his immigration policies and foreign policy. It seems that every single thing that he touches is damaged or destroyed.

            Elizabeth Hanke stated that Biden’s “Economic mismanagement has turned the labor market into mayhem with consequences far worse than what many Americans imagined.” Biden’s “greater government-imposed regulatory burdens and barriers to employment” are creating havoc with businesses. The companies cannot protect “workers from the impact of increased government presence,” and this condition leads to “worker frustrations.” 

The recent upsurge in union strikes and workers seeking unionization is problematic, but might be just a natural response to worker scarcity, lack of employment stability, and Biden’s overall mishandling of the economy.

The current state of the economy has made businesses vulnerable, forcing them to rely on – and expect more from – employees.

Worker organizing efforts generally indicate poor working conditions, issues with management, or the perception that workers are not adequately valued. The recent wave of union strikes over the past several weeks might be indicative of overall difficult working conditions in the U.S. economy and not necessarily attributable to management issues at individual firms.

            Problems exist in many parts of the economy, and most of them were caused by poor economic policy and mismanagement of the economy. The problems are in the form of “sharp increases in consumer prices, supply disruptions, and labor shortages that resulted in longer working hours.” All these problems lead to employee dissatisfaction, and worker dissatisfaction causes employees to look to unions for protection. Even private firms have limited “ability to provide stable working conditions and competitive salaries for their employees.”

            All these conditions are the result of incompetence in the Biden administration. The economy was recovering nicely from the problems of the pandemic until Biden started signed executive orders shutting down oil pipelines and other energy functions. Now Biden is mandating COVID-19 vaccinations that further hinder businesses. “Biden was ‘successful’ by implementing policies that reduce market freedom, reignite inflation, and threaten American workers.”

            If Biden would release the government stranglehold that it has on the free market and let it work as it should, workers would feel no need to strike or unionize. Biden’s has made the economy a disaster just as he has done in every other area of the nation.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Who Is Colin Powell?

            My VIP for this week is Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He passed away this morning at age 84 from complications from COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated. He had several other health problems that complicated his case: multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells that suppress the immune system) and Parkinson’s Disease. 

            Powell was a professional soldier who was a distinguished trailblazer. He served in combat duty in Vietnam, he was the first Black national security adviser for President Ronald Reagan, and he was the youngest and first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for President George H.W. Bush.

            According to President George W. Bush, Powell was “a great public servant” who was “such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend.”

            In their announcement of his death, Powell’s family stated: “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”

            Powell was a great American who served his nation well. He was an honorable leader who blessed America and who will be missed. I hope that Congress allows his body to rest in honor in the Capitol Building.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Will the Supreme Court Overturn Roe v. Wade?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the right to life named in the Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the Constitution. In 1973, the Supreme Court made its Roe v. Wade decision to allow abortion for any reason and at any time. The court made the decision without the medical advances of our day.

            The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This case is based on a 2018 law passed in Mississippi called Gestational Age Act. According to Melanie Israel, this law “prohibits abortions after 15 weeks with exceptions for a medical emergency or a severe fetal abnormality.” The question before the court in this case is “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional” or should Americans allow babies to be killed simply because they have not yet been born? Israel continued with her argument for end Roe v. Wade. 

A baby is considered full term at 40 weeks’ gestation, but viability occurs earlier in pregnancy. In 1973, viability was considered to be approximately 28 weeks’ gestation. Today, 24 weeks is widely accepted, and babies are surviving even earlier—some as early as 21 weeks, such as Micah Pickering.

In an amicus brief submitted to the court by a group of medical professionals, it points out that since Roe, the “supposed viability line has now moved at least a month and a half earlier than was contemplated in Roe.”

What scientific developments will the next 50 years bring? The “viability standard” imposed by the Supreme Court is ultimately an arbitrary line made without scientific analysis or justification and has prevented much state policymaking on abortion to bring the law in line with the science.

In 1973, ultrasound technology wasn’t widely available and accessible. Today, ultrasound is widely available and a routine practice as part of a woman’s prenatal care. The images are far more clear than they were nearly 50 years ago.

            Science made lots of advancements in the past fifty years, and one of those developments is the ultrasound. “As science and technology advances, the field of perinatal medicine has exploded with options to diagnose, plan for, and treat various conditions – including surgery while children are still in the womb.”

Likewise, knowledge about fetal pain—and how it may be felt as early as at 12 weeks, far earlier than previously thought—has changed the standard of care for surgical procedures in utero, palliative care for babies born too early to survive, and more.

Despite the numerous ways scientific knowledge and technology have advanced since 1973, the Supreme Court—through Roe v. Wade and later decisions, such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey—has prohibited states from enacting laws that are grounded in modern science.

Mississippi compellingly argues that it’s time for the high court to finally change course: Nothing in the Constitution’s text, structure, history, or tradition supports a constitutional right to abortion, and Mississippi has just as much authority to legislate on abortion as it does on other subjects, including legislation addressing abortion before viability.

The so-called viability standard is arbitrary and ultimately unworkable, and until it is rejected, it will remain a barrier to states such as Mississippi being able to enact laws that reflect current—not outdated—science.

            The bottom line is that the Supreme Court may follow the modern science developments that clearly show human life. It is time for the Supreme Court to make a course correction on abortion because science has shown “the humanity of children in the womb.” It is time for Americans to stop killing babies for convenience.


Saturday, October 16, 2021

How Does the Law of Tithing Work?

             For my Come, Follow Me lesson this week, I studied Doctrine and Covenants 115-120. The Saints had been driven from Independence, Missouri, which was the appointed place of Zion, and no one knew when they would be allowed to return. In addition, the Saints living in Kirtland, Ohio, were forced to flee from enemies outside the Church and prominent members who turned against Joseph Smith.

The governor of Missouri designated two counties in northern Missouri for the Saints, and the Saints were quickly gathering to the area. The new gathering place was Far West, Missouri with Adam-ondi-Ahman being a short distance north of the city. The Saints began creating a new holy place with plans to build another temple in Far West.

Shortly after moving to Far West, the Prophet Joseph Smith received Doctrine and Covenants 115 on April 26, 1838, instructing the Saints to build another temple. He received Doctrine and Covenants 116 a couple of weeks later on May 19, 1838. This revelation identified Spring Hill, Missouri, as Adam-ondi-Ahman – the place where Adam lived. On July 8, 1838, the Prophet received four revelations now recorded as Doctrine and Covenants 117-120.

In the revelations now designated as Doctrine and Covenants 119-120, the Lord addressed the significant financial problems of the Church when He gave instructions about the law of tithing and the distribution of tithing funds. The Lord explained that the Saints should tithe “one-tenth of all their interest annually” and that the law of tithing “shall be a standing law unto them forever” (verse 4). He said that the people were to prove their worthiness by paying tithing (verse 5) and that the land of Zion would be sanctified by this law (verse 6). Tithing is paid to the local bishop, and the bishop transfers the money to Church headquarters.

In Doctrine and Covenants 120, the Lord gave instructions for how to distribute tithing funds, saying that “it shall be disposed of by a council, composed of the First Presidency of my Church, and of the bishop and his council, and by my high council; and by mine own voice unto them….”

The “bishop and his council” is the Presiding Bishopric of the Church, and “my high council” is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Thus, the council known as the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes is comprised of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Presiding Bishopric of the Church. The late-Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following about the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes.

It is remarkable to witness this council heed the Lord’s voice. Each member is aware of and participates in all the council’s decisions. No decision is made until the council is unanimous. All tithing funds are spent for the purposes of the Church, including welfare – care for the poor and needy – temples, buildings and upkeep of meetinghouses, education, curriculum – in short, the work of the Lord….

To Church members and others throughout the world, I bear my testimony of the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes. I have sat on this council for 17 years, as the Presiding Bishop of the Church and now as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Without exception, the tithing funds of this Church have been used for His purposes (“Tithing: A Test of Faith with Eternal Blessings,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 28).

            I was reared with a testimony of tithing. My parents married on October 2, 1929, a few weeks before the stock market crashed and the beginning of the Great Depression. They survived their first year of marriage on love, homemade bread, and bottled peaches. Sometime in the early years of their marriage, they made a difficult decision. They had $10 to their name, and they owed $10 in tithing. Should they pay tithing and try the Lord, or should they purchase food to keep them alive? They chose to pay tithing. A day or so later, a man came to purchase a load of hay, and they had money to buy food.

My husband and I have always paid tithing, and we have always had enough and to share. I know that obedience to the law of tithing brings blessings because I have seen them in my life. I encourage you to try the Lord and put the law of tithing to a test. I know that you will be blessed for doing so. I know that the Lord can bless you to do more with ninety percent of your money than you could do with one hundred percent of it. I know that paying ten percent to the Lord will open the windows of heaven in your behalf.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Will the Grinch Steal Christmas This Year?

            Parents can ensure that their family has a happy Christmas by planning ahead. With stores unable to obtain supplies, the toy shelves may be emptier than usual this Christmas season. In addition, inflation is rapidly increasing prices for the gifts that are available. Parents may be caught in a difficult situation in providing gifts for their children this year.

            Everyone from government officials to store managers are encouraging parents to shop early because there is no guarantee that products will be available in the weeks prior to Christmas. If there are specific items that teens and children desire, parents would be wise to get them now.

            Parents should also plan how to make Christmas happy in case of an emergency. What if they are not able to find or afford the selected items – or any related items? What will the parents do? This may be the year for parents to have an old-fashioned or homegrown Christmas. It will certainly be an enjoyable time for teaching children and teens about the birth of Jesus Christ, the reason for celebrating the Christmas season. At any rate, parents should have ideas about what they will do for plan A as well as have a plan B and a plan C.

            Christmas will come whether parents are prepared for it or not, and children will be excited to see their gifts. Children and teens have been through tough times over the past two years, and many of them are dealing with mental issues. Even though parents have also endured stress, they must step up to the duty of making Christmas memorable for their children and do so for all the right reasons. Parents who plan ahead for Christmas can strengthen their families as well as their communities and nations.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Is Another American Civil War Likely?

             The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns unity – United We Stand and Divided We May Self-Destruct. The people of the United States are more divided now than they have been since the Civil War. The Civil War raged from April 12, 1861, to May 9, 1865, and cost the lives of more than 620,000 American soldiers. It also “bankrupted much of the South, left its roads, farms, and factories in ruins, and all but wiped out an entire generation of men who wore the blue and the gray.” 

            The Civil War erupted after decades of simmering over slavery and central power. Congress tried several times to steer the nation away from war by passing the “Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and many others.” In the end, eleven states – South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee – left the United States of America and formed the Confederate States of America. Four long, dark, and painful years of war were followed by the surrender of the Confederate armies to the United States in April 1865 at Appomattox Court House and Bennett Place.

            There are forces in the United States who are still trying to use race to divide Americans, and the chasm growing wider and deeper as time passes. Victor Davis Hanson wonders if the United States is traveling down the same road of the Roman Empire. The huge empire split in half in A.D. 286 under the direction of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The split was “administratively – and peacefully” made and involved the control of two emperors. 

A Western empire included much of modern-day Western Europe and northwest Africa. The Eastern half controlled Eastern Europe and parts of Asia and northeastern Africa.

By 330, the Emperor Constantine institutionalized that split by moving the empire’s capital from Rome to his new imperial city of Constantinople, founded on the site of the old Greek polis of Byzantium.

The two administrative halves of the once huge empire continued to drift apart. Soon there arose two increasingly different, though still kindred versions, of a once unified Romanity.

The Western empire eventually collapsed into chaos by the latter fifth century A.D.

Yet the Roman eastern half survived for nearly 1,000 years. It was soon known as the Byzantine Empire, until overwhelmed by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 A.D.

Historians still disagree over why the East endured while the West crumbled. And they cite the various roles of differing geography, border challenges, tribal enemies, and internal challenges.

            Hanson wrote much more about the divided Roman Empire and why one half thrived much longer than the other. The “Greek-speaking, Orthodox Christian and older civilization [was] in the East, and a “more or less polyglot and often fractious Christianity [was] in the Latin West.” The Byzantium empire “held firm against ancient neighboring Persian, Middle Eastern, and Egyptian rivals. But the West disintegrated into a tribal amalgam of its own former peoples.”

            In the United States we have the divide between Red States and Blue States and even talk of another civil war. Americans who have the means, move from conservative states to liberal states and vice versa.

More conservative traditionalists head for the interior between the coast, where there is usually smaller government, fewer taxes, more religiosity, and unapologetic traditionalists.

These modern Byzantines are more apt to define their patriotism by honoring ancient customs and rituals – standing for the national anthem, attending church services on Sundays, demonstrating reverence for American history and its heroes, and emphasizing the nuclear family.

Immigration in fly-over country is still defined as melting pot assimilation and integration of new arrivals into the body politic of a hallowed and enduring America.

While red states welcome change, they believe America never had to be perfect to be good. It will always survive, but only if it sticks to its 234-year-old Constitution, stays united by the English language, and assimilates newcomers into an enduring and exceptional American culture.

            On the other hand, “the more liberal blue states” are on the East Coast and the West Coast. They benefit from globalist wealth gained from trade with Asia on the West Coast and the European Union on the East Coast. “The great research universities of the Ivy League” are located in the blue states. “Just as Rome was once the iconic center of the entire Roman project, so blue Washington, D.C., is the nerve center for big-government America.”

            Unlike the red states, immigrants moving into the blue states “retain and reboot their former cultural identities.” Religion is different – less orthodox with more agnosticism and atheism. The blue states on the coasts are home to “most of the recent social movements of American feminism, transgenderism, and critical race theory.”

Foreigners see blue coastal Americans as the more vibrant, sophisticated, cosmopolitan – and reckless – culture, its vast wealth predicated on technology, information, communications, finance, media, education, and entertainment.

In turn, they concede that the vast red interior – with about the same population as blue America but with vastly greater area – is the more pragmatic, predictable, and home to the food, fuels, ores, and material production of America.

Our Byzantine interior and Roman coasts are quite differently interpreting their shred American heritage as they increasingly plot radically divergent courses to survive in scary times.

But as in the past, it is far more likely that one state model will prove unsustainable and collapse than it is that either region would ever start a civil war.

            Unlike the Roman Empire, the government of the United States of America was founded on a divinely inspired document known as the Constitution. President Dallin H.Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke about the importance of “Defending Our Divinely Inspired Constitution” in the April 2021 General Conference of the Church. He outlined the principles that he considers to be divinely inspired before stating the following: 

Despite the divinely inspired principles of the United States Constitution, when exercised by imperfect mortals their intended effects have not always been achieved. Important subjects of lawmaking, such as some laws governing family relationships, have been taken from the states by the federal government. The First Amendment guarantee of free speech has sometimes been diluted by suppression of unpopular speech. The principle of separation of powers has always been under pressure with the ebb and flow of one branch of government exercising or inhibiting the powers delegated to another.

There are other threats that undermine the inspired principles of the United States Constitution. The stature of the Constitution is diminished by efforts to substitute current societal trends as the reason for its founding, instead of liberty and self-government. The authority of the Constitution is trivialized when candidates or officials ignore its principles. The dignity and force of the Constitution is reduced by those who refer to it like a loyalty test or a political slogan, instead of its lofty status as a source of authorization for and limits on government authority.

            President Oaks then explained that Latter-day Saints [and all Americans] have a “responsibility to uphold and defend the United States Constitution and principles of constitutionalism wherever we live.” He then made an important statement: “We should trust in the Lord and be positive about this nation’s future.”

            Latter-day Saints believe that Christopher Columbus was divinely guided to discover the Americas and the people who were living here. We believe that God helped the American colonists to win the Revolutionary War and inspired the Founders in writing the Constitution. Many of the writers in the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ – testified that America is a land of liberty (2 Nephi 10:11) and a “land which is choice above all other lands” (Ether 1:42; 10:28; 13:2; Doctrine and Covenants 38:20).

            The scriptures testify that America is a promised land unto those people who worship the God of the land who is Jesus Christ. God helped to establish the United States of America with its guaranty of religious liberty, and then He established His Church upon the land. He will not allow the United States of America to be destroyed even though terrible things may happen. America will most likely pass through some dark days, but I believe that its future will be glorious and bright.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Is Racial Justice Concerned with Equality or Equity?

             The cause of “racial justice” continues to gain popularity, and its most vocal advocates at the current time are progressives. However, the progressives do not seem to know the history of the movement, or even what the fight is about.

            Robert L. Woodson Sr. is the founder and president of the Woodson Center, formerly known as the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. He has long been a warrior for racial justice, and he is calling the progressives out for their lack of knowledge. 

At the beginning of the civil rights movement, we fought to open doors that had been closed to us by law. We wanted to end the systematic legal and political restrictions on black opportunity; we wanted black people to be evaluated for our character and capability, not our skin color or assumptions people made about us because of it.

Somewhere along the way, our vision for racial justice got hijacked by bureaucrats, academics, and activists who understood civil rights to mean something entirely different.

For these interlopers, racial justice didn’t mean equality of opportunity; it meant the fantasy of equality of outcomes. And racial justice advocates now insist on redefining the black American struggle as a quest to trust our lives to elites who promise to make sure we all get the same amount of stuff. What began as a grassroots movement for equality has become an elitist project, one that’s more about power than it is about real justice.

            Woodson condemned the “elitist condescension toward black Americans” and the idea that black people are “problems to be solved, rips in the social fabric that need to be mended by well-meaning, though often seriously misguided, public policy interventions.” He continued, “Now, we’re often viewed as nothing more than helpless victims awaiting rescue from our privileged white oppressors.” [This is the very thing that proponents of critical race theory (CRT) want to teach in our K-12 schools. They want to teach little white children that they are oppressors and little black children that they are victims – neither of which is true.]

            Woodson acknowledge that there are problems in the black community. However, “the majority of black people are doing just fine: We are middle class or wealthy, and our educational attainment continues to increase.”

The problems facing lower-income black people are the same problems facing low-income residents of any race or ethnicity: problems such as a lack of access to good schools, broken families, and a dearth of economic opportunities. Instead of targeting these problems, today’s elitist racial justice advocacy focuses on devising new ways to give black people handouts arbitrarily.

This approach not only pathologizes black people, but it also directs our attention and energy away from initiatives that could actually work to improve life for low-income people of all races….

            Poverty happens in all races, and it should not be a cause to divide the nation. Money given by corporations to help poor people never gets to the people that need it because there are too many people making a living off exploiting the poor and using the race card.

            One of the latest ideas is to change the fight from equality to equity. Equality means to level the playing field for people of all races and give them equality of opportunity. Equity is to give equality of outcomes, which can never happen because people are different. We do not all want the same thing, and we do not all have the same talents or desire to work hard. However, we can give equal opportunities.

            One place that can be equal is equality in educational opportunities. No child should be forced to attend a school where they are not taught the skills necessary to improve their lives. If teachers are not qualified to teach, they should be forced to find another occupation. All schools should be of equal quality no matter where they are located. Every child deserves the chance to learn and to develop their potential, and every adult deserves the opportunity to gainful employment.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Do Concerned Parents Deserve to Be Called Domestic Terrorists?

             Last week Attorney General Merrick Garland called on the FBI to address “violent threats against school officials and teachers.” He was referring to parents who oppose the woke ideology and critical race theory being taught in schools across the nation. Apparently, a letter from the national school board organization prompted the move.

            Luke Rosiak at The Daily Wire revealed that Scott Smith was arrested on June 22, 2021, at a Loudoun County, Virginia, school board meeting. Many people attending the meeting “vocally opposed a policy on transgender students,” and the meeting was determined to be an “unlawful assembly” because of the opposition. 

            Rosiak called Smith “the poster child” for the call by the National School Boards Association to equate parents with domestic terrorists. Smith was upset at the board meeting because his daughter was sexually assaulted during school, and the board was covering up the assault. He says that “a boy allegedly wearing a skirt entered a girls’ bathroom at nearby Stone Bridge High School, where he sexually assaulted Smith’s ninth-grade daughter.”

Yet, minutes prior to Smith’s arrest, the superintendent of the Loudoun County Public Schools “lectured the public that concerns about the transgender policy were misplaced because the school system had no record of any assault occurring in any school bathroom.”

Smith’s attorney, Elizabeth Lancaster, told The Daily Wire that “a boy was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of anal sodomy, and one count of forcible fellatio, related to an incident that day at that school.”

Rep. Christ Stewart (R-Utah) discussed the incident with Glenn Beck. He said that sixty lawmakers sent a letter to Garland “demanding answers for why the FBI is targeting parents.” 

“We want to know … what kind of coordination took place between the White House, activist groups and teachers’ unions, and the Department of Justice,” Stewart told Glenn. “Because we have evidence that there was [coordination] and, in fact, that the White House are the ones who initiated this. They asked for these activist groups to write this inflammatory letter to the Department of Justice saying they were ‘intimidated’ and that they ‘felt threatened,’ giving the Department of Justice Attorney General Garland, the excuse to say, ‘Okay, well, we have to respond’.”

Stewart went on to say he believes the federal government would only involve the FBI in such an issue if its purpose is to silence and intimidate parents concerned about the “poison” being taught to their kids in school. So, what can he and the other representatives who disagree with the Biden administration’s overreach of power do to stop it?

            It gets worse. It appears that Garland has a personal interest in this issue and is “facing fresh scrutiny for his ties to a company that promotes the type of content parents are opposing in their ongoing battle with local school boards….” It seems that Garland’s “daughter is married to the cofounder of @PanoramaEd which is under fire for its multimillion [dollar] contracts with school boards.” Panorama also has ties to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his problems. 

            It appears that someone at the high levels of our government is seeking to silence parents. They are using threats from the FBI to intimidate anyone who dares to speak out against the woke agenda.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Who Is the Real Christopher Columbus?

             My VIP for this week is the real Christopher Columbus and not the “counterfeit Columbus” manufactured by “revisionist historians. Much of this essay will come from an article posted by Tad R. Callister. My purpose – like Callister’s – is to reveal the real Columbus. Callister wrote the following about the motive of Columbus to find the New World. 

For many years Columbus sought financing for his desired voyage. Finally, Queen Isabella of Spain gave her approval. Even though the voyage would have profound financial benefits for Spain, Columbus was under no misapprehension about its purpose; he knew it was much more than a secular quest. He knew it was an integral part of God’s divine master plan. He was not alone in this understanding. Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, Spain’s royal historian, referred to the king and queen’s “faithful service to Jesus Christ and their fervent desire for the spread of His holy faith.” He then added, “It was for this purpose that the Lord brought Christopher Columbus to their notice.”

While fame and fortune may have contributed to Columbus’s interest in exploration, his main motivation, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Samuel Eliot Morison, was his believe that he was an instrument in God’s hands: “There can be no doubt that the faith of Columbus was genuine and sincere, and that his frequent communion with forces unseen was a vital element in his achievement. … This conviction that God destined him to be an instrument for spreading the faith was far more potent that the desire to win glory, wealth and worldly honors, to which he was certainly far from indifferent.”

Not only did Columbus desire to spread Christianity among the natives whom he encountered, but he also sought gold and wealth for a very specific purpose – to finance a crusade that would conquer Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. In his own words, Columbus said: “I urged your Highnesses to spend all the profits of this my enterprise on the conquest of Jerusalem.” Being a devoutly religious man, Columbus believed this conquest and the rebuilding of the temple was necessary in order to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ. Delno C. West and August Kling, scholars on the life of Columbus, wrote: “We cannot deny that the Admiral wanted a comfortable income for himself and his heirs, but the primary motivation in his quest for gold was spiritual. On many occasions, he clearly stated that any gold found should be used first and foremost to propagate the faith and to launch the final crusade to Jerusalem.” Why is it that we seldom, if ever, hear of these sentiments from the revisionist historians?

            At this point in his article, Callister asked a “key historical question: ‘Was Columbus divinely inspired or were his voyages nothing more than secular quests?’” Callister reminded his readers that God does not have any perfect mortals to do His work. He always used imperfect men with weaknesses and makes them equal to advancing His work.

The critic sees only warts and blemishes; God sees the beauty and strengths, and then uses such attributes to further His cause. And so it was with Columbus. To deny his God-inspired role in events which ultimately made possible the birth and founding of the United States of America is to suffer from a severe case of historical myopia.

            Callister explained that he used the term “revisionist historian” to describe “those historians who would rather promote their own prejudices and perspective of history than actual facts as reflected in primary sources (meaning original sources created during the historical time under discussion). Some “primary sources” are the journal and letters of Columbus, “a biography by his son Ferdinand Columbus, contemporary historians such as Peter Martyr of Angleria, Bartolome de las Casas, and Andrés Bernáldez, and Columbus’s bitter enemy and rival – Francisco de Bobadilla.” Callister then expressed his surprise and disappointment at the revisionist history that is being pedaled by dishonest historians.

As I read about the life of Columbus, I was surprised and disappointed at the many times revisionists quoted passages out of context, cited other revisionists without reference to primary sources, or simply failed to quote primary sources that disproved or weakened their position. Lest there be any question, a partial truth presented as the whole truth is an untruth, and there is no doubt but that many revisionists have engaged in partial truths….”

            Biased historians are teaching half-truths about Columbus. Callister shares examples of the partial truths of revisionists and shares the truth as follow.

Columbus did send some slaves to Spain but his motive was not nefarious.

It is true that Columbus did send some slaves to Spain but one needs to understand the context in which Columbus did so. For example, King Guacanagari was a native chief who sought the help of Columbus to defeat an enemy tribe of cannibals who were destroying his own tribe. Columbus did assist in this request and sent the captured cannibals as slaves to Spain….

… Likewise, it is important to understand that Columbus, who the revisionists accuse as a slave trader, never personally owned a slave. In other words, any natives sent to Spain were not for the personal benefit of Columbus, but for what he thought might be the ultimate education and conversion of these natives to Christianity.

Columbus wanted to make friends, not enemies of the natives.

It is true that Columbus did kill some natives, but this was largely in response to the death of 39 Spaniards (killed by these same natives) that Columbus had left behind to govern the island of Hispaniola. As to this event Las Casas, a contemporary of Columbus and historian, wrote: “Truly, I would not dare blame the admiral’s intention, for I knew him well and all I know his intentions were good.” … [Callister and Carol Delaney came to the same conclusion after reading original sources.]

Columbus brought the natives a much better way of life.

Some revisionists would have us believe that the natives with whom Columbus interacted were all peace-loving, free of all major diseases, and living in a Garden of Eden state before Columbus “destroyed” it all. The facts reveal, however, that many tribes were continually at war. Furthermore, the facts reveal that some of these natives were cannibals, some ate their own children, some were subject to major diseases, some possessed slaves, some used captured women as sex slaves, some were addicted to cocaine, some performed human sacrifices, the vast majority were uneducated, and some practiced witchcraft, among other atrocities. To suggest that Columbus destroyed their peaceful, civilized, and harmonious societies is pure, absolute fiction.

To the contrary, Columbus brought them a much better way of life— Christianity. That is why the Americas today are filled with Christian nations where cannibalism has been eradicated, slavery abolished, human sacrifices done away, major diseases minimized, women treated with greater respect, life expectancies extended, poverty reduced, and education made available to most. That is the true legacy of Columbus.

            Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the Holy Ghost inspired Columbus as he discovered America. The histories referred to by Callister agree with this belief. “Historical references to Columbus as an instrument in God’s hands are numerous” even though revisionist historians minimize those references.    

            In the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, a prophet named “Nephi

prophesied that a man would be wrought upon by the Spirit of God and cross the many waters unto the seed of his brethren (see 1 Nephi 13:12).” A latter-day prophet, even President Gordon B. Hinckley, observed, “We interpret [1 Nephi 13:12] to refer to Columbus.”

This could be the reason that Wilford Woodruff completed the temple work for Columbus when he did the work of the Founding Fathers in the St. George Temple. Callister wrote that Wilford Woodruff recorded that “Columbus was one of four men ordained [as] a high priest – certainly an indication of his worthiness.” Callister concluded with the following statement.

Columbus was an instrument in God’s hands to discover the New World and bring Christianity to its shores. In accordance with actual, not revisionist history, Columbus had the courage to follow God’s promptings, the daring to cross the seemingly impassible ocean, and the righteous desire to share Christianity with the natives. His discoveries led to a people that eventually abandoned slavery, cannibalism, and human sacrifices, and instead replaced it with religion, education, and a more refined civilization. What a colossal contribution to society and ultimately, the restoration of Christ’s gospel! It is now time for the real Columbus to stand up and be recognized and honored for who he really was.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Why Is America Powerful?

             The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns what causes constitutional systems and citizenship to perish. According to Victor Davis Hanson, “more than half of the current world’s 7 billion people are citizens of fully consensual governments.” This means that “50% alone enjoys constitutionally protected freedoms.” The lucky people who enjoy such freedoms usually live in Western nations or in “Westernized” nations. 

Migrants – regardless of their race, religion, or gender – almost always head for a Western nation. And most often their destination remains the United States. The more it is now fashionable for Americans to take for granted or even to ridicule the idea of their own country, the more the non-American global poor risk their lives to crash America’s borders.

Constitutional systems easily perish because they ask a lot of their citizens – to vote, to be informed about civic and political issues, and to hold elected officials accountable. That responsibility is perhaps why, of the world’s true republics and democracies, only about 22 have been in existence for a half-century or more.

            With the knowledge that constitutional systems are fragile, why has the United States of America been in existence for more than 235 years? Where does America get her ability to survive and prosper? Many Americans do not realize that “America is a rare, precious, and perhaps even fragile idea, both in the past and in the present.”

            Hanson discusses ways that Americans are different that citizens of other nations. The first reason is that American citizens are not like peasants who lived “under the control of the rich.” Instead, America has “a broad, autonomous middle class” that has neither “the dependence of the poor” or “the insider influences of the elite.” “Suffocate the middle, and we know that a binary feudalism will soon replace it. We are seeing just that medievalization in contemporary California.”

            Hanson’s second reason is that Americans are not “mere migratory residents who drift across nonexistent borders in expectation of receiving more rights than meeting responsibilities.” “Forfeit a sacred national space – a place where common customs, language, and traditions can shelter and thrive – and a unique America disappears into a precivilizational migratory void like the fluid vastness of late imperial Rome.”

            Hanson’s third reason is that “Americans are quite different from tribal peoples whose first loyalties” are to “appearance or innate blood ties.” He stated that if America goes back to precivilizational tribalism, Americans face a future similar to former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq, or other such countries.

            Even though Americans are not yet “premodern peasants, mere residents, and squabbling tribes,” we are “equally suspicious and rightfully distrustful of the top-down subversion of citizenship by postmodern elites and the privileged.” The COVID-19 pandemic brought out politicians and experts who are anxious to take away God-given freedoms of Americans in return for promised safety. Hanson compared it to “the Chinese model” – much different than “the vision of our Founders.”

Citizens object to “evolving” a 245-year-old republic into a radical socialist ochlocracy without checks and balances. That rebooting would mean scrapping ancient laws, long-held customs, and hallowed traditions – from the Electoral College and a nine-person Supreme Court to the Senate filibuster and 50-state union.

Consensual societies usually implode when desperate factions resort to subverting hallowed rules for short-term partisan gain.

            Americans are joining the movement to save America in increasing numbers because we recognize the totalitarian overreaches of Leftists and Democrat politicians. We are not interested in living in a communist country or being “citizens of the world.” According to Hanson, Americans – with our privileges, affluence, and leisure – “must always ask ourselves whether as citizens we have earned what those who died at Gettysburg or on Omaha Beach bequeathed at such costs.”

            We must not allow violation of our customs and traditions “as by breaking laws.” “Freedom requires constant reinvestment in and replenishment of a nation’s traditions and ideals.” Americans can protect and preserve our nation by understanding “that an innately self-correcting United States does not have to be perfect to be good – and especially when, in a world of innately flawed humans and failed states, it remains far better than any of the alternative abroad.”

Anyone who questions the goodness and blessings of America need only look to the masses of people who are moving to the United States. If America were as bad as the naysayers claim, people would be leaving our shores, not coming in the hundreds of thousands each month. America became the most powerful nation in the world because of its goodness, not because it is perfect. America will remain powerful as long as it maintains and preserves its constitutional way of life – not becoming a socialist/communist country.