Posts Tagged ‘Civics’
For several years I have heard people speak about Eldridge Cleaver’s awesome speech at a BYU Freedom Festival from years ago. I’ve searched for the text or audio of his speech or anything about it that could allow me to see it but always came up short. Recently, I was copied on an email from Fred Willoughby who mentioned having the speech on DVD. Fred is the president of the Proper Role of Government seminars. I contacted Fred and was excited to learn that he did indeed have Eldridge’s speech on DVD, but not only that, he was able to obtain permission from the distributor of the DVD to allow me to post it online and share with you.
Fred was with the LAPD in the 60′s and nobody was more surprised than Fred that Eldridge made the incredible change that he did. After converting to Christianity, Eldridge joined the LDS church and Fred used to shuttle him around California acting as his bodyguard while Eldridge spoke at firesides. Here is a short introduction by Fred.
Eldridge Cleaver’s Speech
In 1981, Eldridge Cleaver spoke at the BYU Freedom Festival about his conversion from being the Marxist, atheist, spokesman for the Black Panther’s party, to being a Christian, freedom loving, Founding Father appreciating, patriotic American. It’s an amazing journey Eldridge took and an important one for us to learn from. Eldridge was involved in criminal activity and through an odd opportunity to escape justice on one particular occasion, he traveled the world from one Communist country to another, being celebrated in those countries as one of America’s communist heroes. What he saw changed him. This video should be seen by everyone to understand what we’ve really got here in America.
One warning, the intro by Elwood Peterson lasts to about the 7:30 mark. It’s fairly interesting, but just don’t give up hope that you’re not going to hear from Eldridge. Total running time is 1 hour 24 minutes.
“So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat…” (Joshua 6:20)
I started writing this post months ago but set it aside as other things became more pressing. With the recent 4th Circuit ruling upholding a terrible lower court ruling that saying “Jesus” during a public prayer is unconstitutional, I thought it was time to finish this post off. If you were unaware of the ruling, please read Ken Klukowski’s piece in his blog at the Washington Examiner where he concludes:
“As I explain in my law review article, “In Whose Name We Pray,” published by Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, not only does Marsh v. Chambers allow “sectarian” prayers (i.e. mentioning Jesus), it would violate the Establishment Clause for any government official—including any federal judge—to censor the content of anyone’s prayers.
Under our Constitution, every American can pray in accordance with the dictates of his conscience, and government never has a right to interfere with religious beliefs.
This is the latest in a string of disappointing lower court decisions on public prayer. It’s time for the Supreme Court to revisit this issue.”
I agree. Further, lets examine what Jefferson meant when he wrote his oft-quoted letter to the Baptists in Connecticut.
In October 1801, President Thomas Jefferson received a letter from a committee of individuals at the head of the Danbury Baptist Association in Danbury, Connecticut, including the minister who was a friend of Jefferson’s, on the subject of religious liberty. Both their letter and Jefferson’s reply can be read on this page:
David Barton has written a wonderful article analyzing this church and state issue which I highly recommend.
I will quote from it and then share some other thoughts:
“Therefore, if Jefferson’s letter is to be used today, let its context be clearly given – as in previous years. Furthermore, earlier Courts had always viewed Jefferson’s Danbury letter for just what it was: a personal, private letter to a specific group. There is probably no other instance in America’s history where words spoken by a single individual in a private letter – words clearly divorced from their context – have become the sole authorization for a national policy. Finally, Jefferson’s Danbury letter should never be invoked as a stand-alone document. A proper analysis of Jefferson’s views must include his numerous other statements on the First Amendment.
For example, in addition to his other statements previously noted, Jefferson also declared that the “power to prescribe any religious exercise. . . . must rest with the States” (emphasis added). Nevertheless, the federal courts ignore this succinct declaration and choose rather to misuse his separation phrase to strike down scores of State laws which encourage or facilitate public religious expressions. Such rulings against State laws are a direct violation of the words and intent of the very one from whom the courts claim to derive their policy.”
The truly amazing thing that nobody seems to talk about is that when Jefferson wrote his letter, 2 states HAD STATE RELIGIONS. Both Massachusetts and Connecticut had written into their constitutions establishments of religious practices. They did away with them in 1833 and 1818 respectively. When I heard David Barton mention this on Glenn Beck’s TV show a year or so ago, I had to go look it up myself to make sure.
In 1639, Connecticut created its Fundamental Orders, which were the first written constitution in this country (causing Connecticut to nickname themselves the “constitution state”). In this document they established themselves as a Christian state in these words:
“…do, for ourselves and our Successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation to gather, to maintain and pressure the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said gospel is now practised amongst vs;…”
In 1662, the Connecticut Colony Charter was granted by Charles the 2nd which continued this belief in this language:
“And for the directing, ruleing and disposing of all other matters and things whereby our said people, Inhabitants there, may bee soe religiously, peaceably and civilly Governed as their good life and orderly Conversacon may wynn and invite the Natives of the Country to the knowledge and obedience of the onely true God and Saviour of mankind, and the Christian faith, which in our Royall intencons and the Adventurers free profession is the onely and principall end of this Plantacon; WILLING, Commanding and requireing, and by these presents, for vs, our heires and Successors, Ordaineing and appointeing.”
Clearly, Connecticut was a Christian state dedicated to being based upon the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Massachusetts on the other hand, went much further. Drafted in 1779 by John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin, and ratified in 1780, this document contained several provisions that clearly establish the Christian religion.
In the first part of the constitution declaring the rights of the people, the 2nd and 3rd articles read (emphasis added):
“Article II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe…”
“Article III. As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of the public instructions in piety, religion, and morality: Therefore, To promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic or religious societies to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.
And the people of this commonwealth have also a right to, and do, invest their legislature with authority to enjoin upon all the subject an attendance upon the instructions of the public teachers aforesaid, at stated times and seasons, if there be any on whose instructions they can conscientiously and conveniently attend.
Provided, notwithstanding, That the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic, or religious societies, shall at all times have the exclusive right and electing their public teachers and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance.
And all moneys paid by the subject to the support of public worship and of public teachers aforesaid shall, if he require it, be uniformly applied to the support of the public teacher or teachers of his own religious sect or denomination, provided there be any on whose instructions he attends; otherwise it may be paid toward the support of the teacher or teachers of the parish or precinct in which the said moneys are raised.
And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.”
This is nothing short of stunning! At the time Jefferson wrote his private letter to the Danbury Baptists, Massachusetts was forcing the citizens to pay taxes to support churches whether or not those citizens attended a church. Jefferson never said a thing about this practice! There was no cry from him of a problem in Massachusetts but he was most certainly aware of this practice which had been codified into supreme law by John Adams, Sam Adams, and James Bowdoin.
Before moving onto the next part of their constitution I must point out article 4 which follows.
“Article IV. The people of this commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign, and independent state; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, or may not hereafter, be by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in Congress assembled.”
This will be taken into account below, but it’s clearly an indication that Massachusetts was identifying itself an independent state and upon joining the federal body would only delegate certain powers to the federal body.
In Massachusett’s “Part the Second: The Frame of Government” we see how they would elect officers also took into account an establishment of the Christian religion.
“Art. II. The governor shall be chosen annually; and no person shall be eligible to this office, unless, at the time of his election, he shall have been an inhabitant of this commonwealth for seven years next preceding; and unless he shall, at the same time, be seized, in his own right, of a freehold, within the commonwealth, of the value of one thousand pounds; and unless he shall declare himself to be of the Christian religion.”
They further required anyone taking office to make this oath:
Article I. Any person chosen governor, lieutenant-governor, councillor, senator, or representative, and accepting the trust, shall, before he proceed to execute the duties of his place or office, make and subscribe the following declaration, viz:
“I, A.B., do declare that I believe the Christian religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth; and that I am seized and possessed, in my own right, of the property required by the constitution, as one qualification for the office or place to which I am elected.”
They even openly declare in chapter 5 of the constitution that Harvard university was established for the “advantage of the Christian religion.” I wonder how they might feel about Harvard fulfilling that mission today?
Clearly Massachusetts had established a religion and even required its office holders to declare a firm belief in Christianity.
So what did Jefferson mean in his famous letter to the Danbury Baptists? Clearly it wasn’t to prevent a church from influencing government, or to prevent invoking the name of “Jesus” in a public prayer. Jefferson understood 3 things very clearly as they were written into the U.S. constitution.
1) Article VI: “[legislators and officers must support this constitution]… but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
2) Amendment I: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”
3) Amendment X: “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.”
The first, Article VI, was clearly written in response to the Framer’s distaste for the Church of England’s influence to prescribe the beliefs of an individual before allowing them to hold national public office. (The difference in MA was they did not hold people to a specific sect but just mandated they must be Christian. Another factor is MA is not the United States as specified in this article.)
The second specifically forbids the federal government from medling with religion or interfering in the free speech of anyone else.
Neither of these items forbids religious leaders from making statements regarding politics, but they prevent the establishment of a national religion or any kind of litmus test to hold office. The religious pastors of the Revolutionary era stirred the souls of the people to rise up and cast off England and nobody condemned them in those actions (except perhaps the pro-England factions). It was clearly within the freedom of speech rights of religious leaders to participate in civic affairs, but not vice-versa for the federal government to meddle in religious sects.
The third element, the 10th Amendment, Jefferson clearly understood when as governor of Virginia, he called for a day of thanksgiving and prayer, but as president of the United States, he was hesitant to do so because he recognized the differing roles of state versus federal involvement.
Said Jefferson to the Reverent Samuel Miller on Miller’s recommendation for a national day of fasting and prayer:
“I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises…Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. …But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting and prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises, which the Constitution has directly precluded them from…civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.”
So Jefferson signed the state level observance, but felt he didn’t have the right or ability to do it at the federal level because it was reserved to the states through the Constitution.
Dallin Oaks, a well respected judge for many years and now a General Authority in the LDS church, recently said this at a speech he gave at Chapman University:
“The prohibition against “an establishment of religion” was intended to separate churches and government, to forbid a national church of the kind found in Europe. In the interest of time I will say no more about the establishment of religion, but only concentrate on the First Amendment’s direction that the United States shall have “no law [prohibiting] the free exercise [of religion].” For almost a century this guarantee of religious freedom has been understood as a limitation on state as well as federal power.”
As he notes, for the first century or more of our nation’s history, states had the power and authority to establish religious tests and even force citizens through taxation to support Christianity, deeming it in the public good and for the benefit of morality and even the preservation of the civil government. It was only after progressive elements came into power in the courts that these views were overturned and stripped from the states.
Now before someone jumps on me and says “Oak wants to establish the LDS faith as the Utah state religion” lets just put that to rest. My purpose in writing this post is to point out the fallacy of the “church and state” argument that is created by those that uphold a single quote from Jefferson’s private letter, and then ignore all his other writings which would clearly explain what he was talking about.
Religious leaders should have every right to speak out on any political matter without fear of losing their tax-exempt status. People can pray and speak in public and public schools and invoke the name of Jesus in the course of doing so. These are first amendment rights. It is a violation of the constitution for anyone, especially a national official, legislator, or judges to proscribe people in those practices, or to establish a particular sect to the exclusion of others (ex. The Church of England).
This nation was founded upon the principles of Christianity and ensuring people had the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. Today’s vocal minority is stripping that right from those that worship God with the blessing and collusion of the federal government to establish their religion, secular humanism, and in the process, laying flat Jefferson’s wall of separation they claim as their ensign.
I was invited to present on the topic of Republic vs. Democracy at Patriot Camp last week and it was a lot of fun. There were 6 groups of children moving through the camp and on my day we started with those going into 6th grade in my first session down to those going into 1st grade in the last. The children were great and seemed to have a good time and actually learn something.
The funniest line of the day was when I announced the topic, a little boy of perhaps 9 years old muttered, “I haaaaate that word” (democracy). Another funny line from a child was when at the end of each session we were choosing to elect 2 representatives. One had a platform of giving everyone free ice cream and the other says I’ll let you keep your money and buy your own ice cream. I asked the children, “what would be a good question to ask the candidates.” The older children came up with the right question very quickly, “how are you going to pay for the ice cream?” But in one younger group, when I asked the question, one child said, “is your ice cream organic?”
We were all pleasantly surprised that even the children going into 1st grade were able to figure out which candidate to vote for. They all wanted free ice cream until they figured out the candidate would tax them to give them the ice cream. This showed that children are quite capable of learning basic principles and making decisions even at a really young age.
At tonight’s Alpine School District board meeting, a volunteer read the following statement to the school board.
I have volunteered to read this statement from the Utah’s Republic dot org organization.
To the Alpine School District School Board:
Recently, there has been a disappointing set of events that has caused the public to question the district. Last month, hundreds of parents brought you their concerns about the motto, mission statement, and direction of this district in educating our children. Instead of researching the problems to make corrections, you accused parents of “misrepresenting” yours and the district’s positions.
What specific misrepresentation occurred? It is a fact that someone in the district wanted to provide a link to support the district position that we are a democracy. Someone at the district researched and found William Meyers’ site with a page calling our Founding Fathers “predatory elitists.” That person felt it represented the district position correctly, got it approved, and posted the link on the district’s website. Someone approved your mission statement explanation that used the term “democracy” 13 times and the words “academics” or “republic” not even once. Parents then found the source of the “enculturating” phrase coming from John Goodlad, a humanist educator with very socialistic views on politics and family rights. When all these stars aligned, parents decided to present the facts to the public.
In essence, we were doing your job. You swore an oath to protect the constitution from “domestic enemies.” In your stewardship that is to protect our school system from false educational ideas that would weaken the constitution and our families.
We are here tonight to present you with 3 questions and ask that you, our elected officials, provide answers at the next board meeting on April 20th. We are giving these questions to the press as well so you know that we do take your positions seriously.
Our questions are:
1-Who exactly was misrepresented and what misrepresentations and falsehoods are you referring to in your statements to the public and to school district faculty?
2- You admitted at the last board meeting that “Enculturating the Young into a Social and a Political Democracy” is not user friendly and you will revisit the use of this term. In the meantime, will you direct the immediate removal of all instances of the “Enculturating” sign and the “Democracy” motto in all district buildings and schools until you have developed a new motto which is absent of politics? If not, why?
3 -What policies have you now implemented as a result of this recent controversy to ensure false educational ideas do not further creep into our children’s classrooms (ex. sponsoring constitution classes for teachers during teacher development time; reconsidering the sources of your material such as the PSP/NNER/CITES connections to Goodlad’s teachings, etc…)?
We ask that you, the board, our elected officials, specifically answer these questions so that you are responsible for the answers.
Thank you for your time and consideration. The public looks forward to hearing your answers to these 3 questions at your next board meeting on April 20th.
Susan Schnell 3/9/10
Let me introduce myself. My name is Susan Schnell and I wrote the email that is circulating around the district. You might wonder why your motto, “Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy” is important enough to draw so much attention. Perhaps I can shed some light.
I am the daughter of an immigrant who was forced to flee her country when the Soviet Union under Stalin seized Ukraine and brought it under communist rule. The Soviets collectivized farms, burned down churches, took away their religion, their traditions and their heritage and then murdered many millions of Ukrainians. Just before they escaped, my mother overheard her parents say that the “Soviets are stealing away our children.” She understood well that this meant from the age of 3, the children would be sent to public schools where they would completely indoctrinate them into a new culture. The Ukrainian children were to “unlearn” everything their families taught them about their religion, history, culture, heritage and even their native language. The Soviets knew that to succeed, they had to control the minds of the children. As Vladimir Lenin said,
“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted. Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”
So my grandparents sacrificed everything they had, even their lives to come to America where their family would be free from oppression and their children free from indoctrination, or should I say “enculturation.” Because of this heritage, I have been warned my entire life to watch for warning signs of socialism. Freedom and education came at a very high price for my family.
I received my teaching degree from California State University in Sacramento. I am now painfully aware of why they named my major Liberal Studies instead of Elementary Education. I ended up receiving 4 years of liberal indoctrination instead of how to succeed as a teacher, so I am well aware of the training teachers receive before they go into the classroom.
We are seeing our great nation collapse because of socialistic ideas which are seeping into our government. Our Constitution is hanging by a thread, no doubt. But recently it has come to our attention that even our children right here in Alpine School District are being uninformed and misinformed of our great American heritage. We have been naïve, too trusting, and too busy to notice the awful situation that is now upon us. We put our trust in our government leaders, including this school board, and they have let us down. We think America is always going to be great just because it is America and we don’t have to do anything to stand up for it. Well, we have awakened! We now have a generation of millions of school children across the nation who are either going to save this nation or help to destroy it and it all rests in the hands of their parents and teachers. We know that in every state, children are being indoctrinated in schools because conspiring men know as Adolf Hitler said “He alone who owns the youth, gains the future.” There is a war going on to transform our nation and we are seeing it right in front of our eyes. Socialist educators like John Dewey, John Goodlad and Bill Ayers have been feeding the socialist agenda for years in many universities around the nation and yes, unfortunately, that includes universities here in Utah.
Right now in Texas, school book publishers are trying to change history by leaving out some of our Founding Fathers and the great men who fought for this country. These books will be distributed throughout the whole country. They are taking out patriots such as Ben Franklin, Davy Crocket, and Daniel Boone. In CA schools, my children learned that Christopher Columbus was a horrible man and that Abraham Lincoln was gay. In the high school, they were taught that parents and religion were old-fashioned and they should question the belief system they learned at home. This was fed to them everyday at school with posters, plays, rallies and school assignments.
I testified in front of the CA State Senate against a bill that would completely re-write our American history in school textbooks. I thought a school field trip with my 4th grader to the State Capitol Building in Sacramento would be a wonderful patriotic experience for the children. Instead, they were told that the Constitution was not inspired, but just an incomplete, living, breathing document with many errors that needed to be fixed or thrown out. They were shown Japanese internment camp displays for an hour while listening to speakers tell them how evil America is. They went away ashamed of America, not proud of their heritage. I believe Vladimir Lenin when he said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Adolf Hitler echoed, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” After putting up with so much indoctrination I finally took my children out of school to home school them so we could bring God and truth back into their daily academic lessons.
We moved from California to Utah a year and a half ago because we had hoped that this was a more conservative, religious environment to raise our children. I told my children they would be safe to go to school here because we didn’t have to fear indoctrination. Well I was wrong. Not only are they not being challenged academically but now we are finding out that the district is involved in pushing this dangerous progressive agenda whether they realize it or not. Through your motto, you are telling parents that their family’s culture isn’t good enough, so it is the school’s job now to enculturate the children into believing in a new culture, one of social and political democracy. From everything that I’ve studied, that means socialism or the next step towards it. Lenin said “Democracy is indispensable to socialism.” Karl Marx is quoted as saying “Democracy is the road to socialism.” Who are we following? Who are we using as our Founding Fathers? George Washington and James Madison, or Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and John Goodlad?
My father served in the United States military for decades defending this Republic. My mother sacrificed everything to come to this country of liberty and escape from communism. I have been taught my entire life to respect this country, to be thankful for the freedom I have and to fight any evil that seeks to destroy my liberties. I will not sit idly by as my children and the other children of this district are taught false statements about this country. If this nation does become “fundamentally transformed” like so many of our progressive government leaders are trying so hard to accomplish, I do not want to look my children in the eye and tell them I did nothing to save it. Correct education starts at home first. The schools should be an extension of those teachings, not an enculturation factory which undermines the family. We need a strong generation of educated and civic minded children. If our beloved Constitution is to be hanging by a thread, I want this generation of children to know how to restore it back to the original form the Founding Fathers intended it to be when they were inspired by God to write it. I ask you, please concentrate on academics, and when you do teach civics, be careful to follow the Founding Fathers who wrote our inspired Constitution and not the educated elite who follow a Socialist agenda.
OK, you’ve learned a bit about Republics and Democracies on this site. Now test your overall knowledge and see what score you get with this online civics test. The average citizen scores a 49% and college educators 55%, according to the website.