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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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What Keeps Us Honest?

The Supreme Court and lesser federal courts have ruled that plaques bearing the Ten Commandments must be taken down from courthouses and other judicial buildings because they allegedly violate the First Amendment’s so-called Establishment Clause.

But if psychologist Dan Ariely is right about how to cure dishonesty, then we should be putting the Ten Commandments up on every street corner, as well as every courthouse.

Read this interesting article by Dr. Benjamin Wiker at tothesource.

“Seven In Heaven Way”

Seven firefighters who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 recently had a street named in their honor near their fire station in a Brooklyn neighborhood. The street was named “Seven in Heaven Way”.

Now, a group called “New York City Atheists” is insisting that the street sign is offensive to their beliefs and violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. The group’s president says the public domain is no place for signs or displays that incorporate religious belief. He feels the word “Heaven” on the street sign  is insulting because atheists don’t believe in heaven or hell.

Well, it’s too bad his feelings are hurt, but his thinking concerning the Constitution and the First Amendment is totally imaginary! Secular progressives would have us believe that the First Amendment implies freedom from religion; not freedom of religion. The First Amendment promotes religious freedom in all areas of public life.

The bus signs that deny God and promote atheism during the Christmas Holidays (which are funded by atheist groups) are very offensive to me. Yet, the First Amendment protects the beliefs of an atheist – just as it protects my Christian beliefs. Perhaps the NYC Atheists are just put out by no one naming a street “The Atheist Way”.

In 1820 James Madison wrote in a letter to Jacob de la Motta:

“Among the features peculiar to the political system of the United States, is the perfect equality of rights which it secures to every religious sect.” (Our Sacred Honor, Bennett, p. 333)

The First Amendment

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

But the government violates the right to free speech on a weekly basis, just ask your local church.

As author Frank Miniter reveals in Saving the Bill of Rights, the government violates your priest’s, pastor’s, or preacher’s right to free speech every Sunday.

Historically church leaders have spoken their minds to the American public, but today’s church leaders are afraid to speak out against the progressive agenda that dominates our political system.

Why? Because many churches are nonprofit organizations and if your priest, pastor, or preacher talks about politics from the pulpit, the government can punish him by taking away your church’s tax exempt status.

Legislative Protection For Religious Institutions

Oliver Ellsworth (Connecticut)

Chief-Justice Oliver Ellsworth

Quoting Oliver Ellsworth (Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court):

[T]he primary objects of government are the peace, order, and prosperity of society. . . . To the promotion of these objects, particularly in a republican government, good morals are essential. Institutions for the promotion of good morals are therefore objects of legislative provision and support: and among these . . . religious institutions are eminently useful and important. . . . [T]he legislature, charged with the great interests of the community, may, and ought to countenance, aid and protect religious institutions—institutions wisely calculated to direct men to the performance of all the duties arising from their connection with each other, and to prevent or repress those evils which flow from unrestrained passion. (Source: Connecticut Courant, June 7, 1802, p. 3, Oliver Ellsworth, to the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut)

Liberty Depends On. . . .

Oil on canvas painting of Fisher Ames; size wi...

Fisher Ames

Quoting Fisher Ames (Framer of the First Amendment):

Our liberty depends on our education, our laws, and habits . . . it is founded on morals and religion, whose authority reigns in the heart, and on the influence all these produce on public opinion before that opinion governs rulers. (Source: Fisher Ames, An Oration on the Sublime Virtues of General George Washington (Boston: Young & Minns, 1800), p. 23)

Playing The “Hate Card”

There are people in this country who advocate silencing traditional and conservative views in the public square. In doing this they are attacking a key right the First Amendment was designed to protect. The free debate of controversial ideas is a right, as well as a tradition, in the US. The strategy being used to shut down free speech may be described as “Playing the Hate Card”. Rebecca Hagelin provides us with an interesting example:

[Recently], the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a long-standing civil rights group, added more than a dozen new organizations to their list of hate-mongering groups. Neo-Nazis? KKK-spin-offs? Muslim or Jew-haters? No. The new “haters,” in this era of sexual license, are those who maintain that marriage has an intrinsic meaning–the union of man and woman–that simply cannot be extended to homosexual couplings. Crying “hate speech,” the SPLC denounced “anti-gay” groups for spreading “falsehoods” that say children do best when raised by a mom and a dad, as opposed to two dads or two moms. “Falsehoods” that support traditional marriage are now “hate speech,” thrown into the same filthy bucket as KKK and Neo-Nazi ideology.

The view that marriage means one man and one woman and that children flourish when raised by a married mother and father is rooted not only in biblical teachings but also in common sense; it’s a truth proven by science as well as centuries of lived experience. But children know that “hate” is a bad thing, and no one wants to be labeled a “hater.” It’s not hard to imagine the pressure tactics that our children soon will face: keep silent or risk being slapped with the label–“hater”–that will define them socially for years.

The label of “Hater” quickly shuts down reasonable discussion or open disagreement. And that’s the real point: to intimidate proponents of traditional morality into keeping silent. Put differently, it’s to lock traditional morality in the closet so social engineers can be free to redefine marriage as they wish.

Maggie Gallagher, an articulate defender of marriage, warns that by playing the “hate” card, the homosexual lobby wants to “’shut down the scientific debate’ on statements of fact” about homosexuality and to “control what ordinary people can say and think” about marriage, sex, and morality.

Read more here. . . .

Feds Force Bank To Take Down Christmas Symbols And Bible Verses

Here is another Christmas/Christian incident where the Feds recklessly violate the 1st Amendment to our constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Congress (our government) is not empowered by the Constitution to make laws or rules concerning the free exercise of religious practices (In the context of the original discussion they were talking about differences in Christian Denominations.). This, of course, has benefited other religions that have come to our country. The church must obey fire codes, zoning laws, etc. These things do not interfere with the free expression of your religious beliefs and worship. What if a religious belief requires a human sacrifice? There are laws against murder which require the government to protect the lives of its citizens. The right to life, which is a fundamental moral principle of Western Civilization, therefore takes precedence over the practice of human sacrifice. The Feds, however, are prohibited by the First Amendment from interfering with the free speech of religious expression, which includes signs, buttons, internet Bible verses on a web site, nor individual or group decisions on how to express their faith during Christmas by the above means.  In other words, the First Amendment was adopted to protect religion from the government, not the government from religion. We have more of this story from Tim Wildmon:

According to Oklahoma City television station KOCO, the Federal Reserve has ordered a small-town bank in Oklahoma to remove religious signs and symbols on display.

Federal Reserve examiners come every four years to make sure banks are complying with a long list of regulations. The examiners came to Payne County Bank last week.

And the team from Kansas City deemed a Bible verse of the day, crosses on the teller’s counter and buttons that say “Merry Christmas, God With Us” were inappropriate. The Bible verse of the day on the bank’s Internet site also had to be taken down, along with Thomas Kinkade paintings hanging in the bank’s lobby.

You can help by immediately sending an email to Kansas City Federal Reserve president Thomas Hoenig and other key executives, asking them to repudiate the order to remove religious signs and symbols from the Payne County Bank.

Read the entire article here. . . .

The First Amendment

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and press – not freedom of flag burning or freedom of pornography.


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