Sunday, November 6, 2011

What's God Got To Do With It? Church and State. The Debt Trap. Good and Evil.


What's God Got To Do With It?

"Unemployment is over 9%. Gas is nearly $4 and the value of our homes dropped again. No wonder people are concerned about their future and the future of their children. Some are even getting angry. How will we cope?

A recent Newsweek/Daily Beast poll shows a majority of Americans surveyed are losing their optimism that the economy will  soon turn around. The report says, "three-quarters of our respondents think the country is on the wrong track. A majority say the anxiety wrought by this recession has caused relationship problems and sleep deficiency. Two-thirds even report being angry at God."

People blame the wealthy, government, big corporations and President Obama for the stagnant economy. These are the usual suspects in a bad economy. With an election year approaching we will see the president take more heat for the problem. If the economic figures do not improve Obama could see himself as a one term leader. No president in modern memory has won a second term with unemployment this high. Jimmy Carter lost the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan largely because Americans felt they were worse off financially because of his leadership.

I have to go back to that period thirty years ago to remember a time that was as bad or worse than what we are currently experiencing. America did pull out of that nose dive and go on to experience a period of unprecedented wealth. It is that period that came to a crash three years ago with the near collapse of the financial and housing markets and the subsequent impact on the world economy.

Most Americans under the age of forty do not remember a period of crisis like we now have. They lack a perspective to view today's problems. I see this in conversations with young adults who have real concerns about their future. Many truly understand the future is in their hands–they cannot rely on the government. Hence the anger of many.

What I find most disturbing is the dwindling confidence among many that we can work our way out of this mess, stabilize and experience further growth. When people lose confidence in themselves or their institutions you have a systemic problem that does not go away overnight. Confidence is another word for faith and faith is a spiritual concept rooted firmly in God. Blame God or get angry at Him and you make a big mistake. God is not responsible for America's economic problems. We are responsible as nation and until we accept the duty to change our ways and get back to a fiscal, moral and spiritual path that works we will not see nor come to the solution.

Through the prophet Ezekiel God challenges today's ill-placed anger toward Him. 'Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair." Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies".
(Ezekiel:18:25-26[25]Yet ye say, The way of the LORD is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?[26]When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.)

I make no predictions about how long or how bad this current economic problem will last. But don't blame God and don't lose faith and confidence. Follow the sound fiscal laws laid down in the Bible when it comes to your personal finances. Get out of debt and stay out of debt. Live within your income. Honor God with your money by giving to Him what He claims is His, a tithe of what you earn. (Proverbs:3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:)

Our paper money has always carried the inscription, "In God we trust". Don't lose your trust in Him. God is our sure source of confidence." 

Separation of Church and State?

"The First Amendment went through extensive discussions and nearly a dozen drafts. They show the clear intent of the founding fathers-that they didn't want one Christian denomination running the nation. They did, however, firmly believe Christianity and biblical principles should be a part of American life.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution directs that Congress "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."

The first U.S. Congress adopted the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, in 1791. The First Amendment went through extensive discussions and nearly a dozen drafts. They show the clear intent of the founding fathers-that they didn't want one Christian denomination running the nation. They did, however, firmly believe Christianity and biblical principles should be a part of American life.

The courts recognized this. For example, in a unanimous 1799 decision the Maryland Supreme Court declared: "By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty" (William Federer, America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, 1996, p. 422).

In 1801 a Danbury, Conn., Baptist church wrote to President Thomas Jefferson after hearing a rumor that Congregationalism was to be made the national religion. Jefferson wrote back assuring members of the church that the First Amendment built "a wall of separation between church and state."

For a century and a half the common understanding of the First Amendment was that it prohibited establishing or sanctioning a single national Christian denomination. It was to keep government out of religion, not the other way around. Policies and rulings reflected that understanding.

For example, in 1854 a report of the U.S. House of Representatives' judiciary committee stated: "At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and its amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, but not any one sect [denomination] ... In this age, there is no substitute for Christianity ... That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants" (David Barton, America's Godly Heritage video presentation, 1993).

The same committee later stated that "the great vital and conservative element in our system [the component that conserves and holds the system together] is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" (Barton).

In the 1870s a group lobbied to have specific Christian principles removed from government. The courts cited Jefferson's letter not to support that removal, but to prove that it was permissible to maintain Christian values, practices and principles in official policy. For the next 15 years during that controversy, the courts used Jefferson's letter to insure that Christian principles remained a part of government.

Jefferson's letter was then largely ignored until 1947, when, in the case of Everson vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court quoted it. However, the justices quoted only his phrase about separation of church and state, not the context. They wrote: "The first amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable."

This was a new philosophy for the courts. The phrase began to be used repeatedly as an indication of the wishes and intent of the founding fathers. In 1962 the Supreme Court made its first ruling (Engel vs. Vitale) that completely separated Christian principles from public education when it struck down school prayer. The case was over the use of a voluntary, 22-word nondenominational prayer in public schools. The prayer acknowledged God only once, while the Declaration of Independence acknowledges God four times. But somehow this prayer was unconstitutional.

In the 1962 case the court redefined the meaning and application of the word church. Before 1962 the court had defined a church as being an established denomination.
Observes David Barton: "Now the word was redefined to mean any religious activity performed in public. Now the first amendment would not simply prohibit establishing a federal denomination, it would prohibit religious activities in public settings."

School prayer was the first casualty of the new definition. Engel vs. Vitale was the first case in Supreme Court history to cite no court precedents. Within 12 months, in two more cases, the Supreme Court justices removed Bible classes and religious instruction from public schools. In explaining their reasoning, the majority opinion stated: "If portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be ... psychologically harmful to the child ..." (Barton). This was the second time in a year that the court had issued a ruling without citing a legal precedent for its decision. No precedent could be found.

The courts have continued to expand the "separation" doctrine over the years. In 1967 the Supreme Court even declared a four-line nursery rhyme unconstitutional in a kindergarten class. Why? Because, though the word God was not mentioned, if someone were to hear the rhyme he might think it was talking about God. So out it went.

Subsequent court rulings have gone as far as to declare it unconstitutional for a copy of the Ten Commandments to hang in a school hallway and for teachers to have a Bible visible on their desks. Increasingly, Americans no longer enjoy freedom of religion; we are saddled with freedom from religion.
Prophecy reveals that the consequences of this new direction will be disastrous. God holds not only individuals but nations accountable for their choices." GN

The Debt Trap - Short Version

"Are you worried about your debt?  Where can you turn to get help with your finances?"

The Debt Trap - Long version



The program today:

"Where are the voices crying out against dishonesty, injustice and moral evil? And where are people who will heed the warnings?"

Watch Beyond Today on WGN America on Sundays at 8:30 AM EST. (Find a station in your area - )

On this day:

Abraham Lincoln elected president, Nov 6, 1860

"Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th president of the United States over a deeply divided Democratic Party, becoming the first Republican to win the presidency. Lincoln received only 40 percent of the popular vote but handily defeated the three other candidates.
For preserving the Union and bringing an end to slavery, and for his unique character and powerful oratory, Lincoln is hailed as one of the greatest American presidents."

Texas discovered, November 6, 1528

Shipwrecked Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca becomes the first known European to set foot in Texas.
"Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (1490-1560) was second in command of an expedition led by Pánfilo de Narváez (1478-1528) that left Spain in June 1527 with five ships and 600 men with the mission of establishing a colony in “Florida.” The expedition suffered storms, desertions, disease, and other difficulties in the Caribbean.  80 surviving members of the expedition were shipwrecked on or near Galveston Island, Texas."
"After forty-five days, for it was now November 6, 1528, they were on the coast of Texas, somewhere on the western extremity of Galveston Island, or perhaps on San Luis Peninsula or Bolivar Point, after the most trying and daring voyage ever recorded.
Numbed by the cold, the men feebly crawled up the shore and made their way to some ravines nearby, where they built a fire, parched some maize, and found rain water to quench their thirst."


Ray installed some of the new vinyl strip down the seams of the cargo trailer.

The SPCA foster mom who lives near me picked up the kittens for Adoption Day.   Bobcat and Prime were busy sunning on the screen porch, so I didn't send Prime with her.  She doesn't show well, just sits in the display cage and looks unhappy anyway. 
Claudia invited me for dinner, Jay and their neighbor were there, too.  Misty enjoyed being in a different house for a change, and found out that Jay gives dogs people food from the table.  He already had Maddie and Pepper hovering around him, so she soon caught on.  She might be near-blind, but she's not stupid!

By the time we had eaten, the foster mom was returning my kittens, so I came home very full of salad, smothered beef, green beans, squash casserole and cherry pie.  They throw left-overs away there, and as I can't stand to see food wasted,  I  brought some home, too.

Now I had better get busy, as I am supposed to groom Pepper today.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Sounds like you got a great meal and enough for a few snacks at home.

Sandra said...

My sister throws away leftovers too. Leftovers are best the next day!