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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Stop Mistaking Evil for Mental Illness


I know almost nothing of the mental condition of confessed mass murderer Nikolas Cruz, and almost certainly, neither do you. There are few, if any, who can give a reliable opinion of the young man’s psychiatric state as he walked into Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and killed 17. Nevertheless, after his killing spree on Ash Wednesday, many in the media, along with the public at large, were willing at least to imply, if not directly describe, Mr. Cruz as someone who was “mentally disturbed,” “mentally ill,” “crazy,” a “nut-job,” a “psycho,” someone dealing with “mental health issues,” and so on.

Those with a wide array of varying political and spiritual worldviews were willing to paint Mr. Cruz as a mental defect. In his Tweet about the shooting, even President Trump noted that there were “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed…” In his official statement the day after the horrific incident, the President declared that he wanted to work with state and local officials to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”

As our culture grows more and more secularized, it has become a very common practice to describe those who commit widespread acts of violence—especially if such violence involves the death of multiple human beings—as “crazy.” Some of this is tongue-in-cheek, but much of it is sincere. I believe this is the direct result of the psychiatric community attempting to redefine what is moral.

For decades we have witnessed the psychiatric community take acts that were long considered evil, or at least immoral and illegal, and deem them a “psychological disorder” that needs to be cured. It’s just good for business, I suppose.

However, it’s a disaster for the culture. As C.S. Lewis lamented in his essay, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment, when it comes to crime and punishment, we too often are facing off with those who believe “that all crime is more or less pathological.” Thus, instead of the criminal “getting what he deserves”—what used to be called “justice”—we must heal or cure him, and, as Lewis puts it, “punishment becomes therapeutic.”

This “humanitarian” approach removes from punishment the concept of “Desert.” As Lewis puts it:
[The] concept of Desert is the only connecting link between punishment and justice. It is only as deserved or undeserved that a sentence can be just or unjust…Thus when we cease to consider what the criminal deserves and consider only what will cure him or deter others, we have tacitly removed him from the sphere of justice altogether; instead of a person, a subject of rights, we now have a mere object, a patient, a ‘case’.
And when a wicked government has in its hands such a view of crime and punishment, they will possess a “finer instrument of tyranny than wickedness ever had before. For if crime and disease are to be regarded as the same thing, it follows that any state of mind which masters choose to call ‘disease’ can be treated as crime; and compulsory cured.” As Lewis adds,
We know that one school of psychology already regards religion as a neurosis. When this particular neurosis becomes inconvenient to government, what is to hinder government from proceeding to ‘cure’ it?
Joy Behar—and a host of others, I imagine—would not be disappointed with such a government.

What’s more, when certain behaviors go from crimes to be punished to diseases to be cured, we remove the power of sentencing from jurists and place it in the hands of “doctors,” who often know little of truth and justice. Lacking in such critical knowledge, left to their own “wisdom,” it would not be far-fetched to see these “doctors” decide that some diseases—that were once considered crimes—are no longer crimes or diseases. Are we not now witnessing this, especially when it comes to things in the sexual realm?

For example, as I noted several years ago, in spite of the long history of treating “transsexuality” as a disorder that needed to be cured, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (the DSM 5) that was released in early 2013 removed “gender identity disorder” from its list of disorders. It was removed because, as the Associated Press recently put it, “a growing faction of medical experts who no longer see this as something to be fixed.”

In other words, with no real science to support its conclusions, by mere decision by its board of trustees, the American Psychiatric Association (APA)—who owns and publishes the DSM—decided that “gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder.” In other words, our so-called best psychological experts have now decided that there’s nothing wrong with men who wish to pretend they are women, and vice-versa.

I’ve spent many columns detailing the disasters that have resulted from such perverse thinking, but as time moves on and such perversion continues to prevail, the list of disastrous consequences grows. Recent reports reveal that Juvenile Court Judge Sylvia Hendon has permanently removed an Ohio teenager from her parents’ home because of the parents’ refusal to support their daughter’s decision to identify as a boy. In particular, they refused to permit their daughter to receive dangerous hormone therapy to aid in her gender “transition.”

Tony Perkins also notes,
What’s especially alarming is that a lawyer representing the child – as well as Donald Clancy of the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office – cited the parents’ religious beliefs as an argument for robbing them of their rights! The mom and dad are being criticized for seeking out a Christian therapist for their daughter and for daring to send her to Catholic school.
And thus the wicked cycle is complete: what was once considered evil and/or criminal, or at least bad behavior, is now considered sickness; what once was considered sickness is now considered normal and healthy; and what was once considered normal, wise, or moral behavior is now punished by our “enlightened” law.

We were warned of such folly by no less than those within the psychiatric community. Doctor Allen Frances, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University, who chaired the task force that produced the DSM 4, called the release of the “deeply flawed” DSM 5 “the saddest moment in my 45 year career of studying, practicing, and teaching psychiatry.”

In addition to other concerns, Dr. Frances lamented the addition of such “disorders” as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation which, according to Frances, “will turn temper tantrums into a mental disorder.” Also, “Normal grief will become Major Depressive Disorder” and the DSM 5 “will likely trigger a fad of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder [you've probably seen the commercials] leading to widespread misuse of stimulant drugs for performance enhancement and recreation.”

Frances should not be surprised. Practicing psychotherapist Gary Greenburg says that not one of the disorders in the DSM is real. Greenburg claims that the DSM is nothing more than an exercise in rhetoric; an attempt to legitimize the practice of psychiatry. “Can you define mental illness?” The Atlantic asked Greenburg. “No. Nobody can,” he replied.

In a culture that is increasingly more hesitant to use the word “evil,” Greenburg concludes that having the APA classify certain behaviors as “disorders” is a way to remove the moral aspect behind certain behaviors.

After all, if someone is sick, then he or she is not responsible for his or her behavior. (What’s more, he can then be treated—with expensive drugs and therapy, of course.) And if someone’s “sickness” is suddenly no longer a sickness, and if it is no longer immoral, then we can celebrate and welcome him into our ever more tolerant society.

Such thinking has had a devastating effect on parenting. Instead of dealing with their child’s bad behavior as something that required good moral discipline, many parents—who have become increasingly ignorant of what is moral behavior—are simply looking to provide their misbehaving children with medication or therapy. Thus, millions of U.S. children are now on powerful psychotic drugs.

One of the least-reported aspects of these mass-murderers like Nikolas Cruz is how many of them were on psychiatric medications. This isn’t to imply that drugs or mental illness are to blame for their horrific behavior but rather to note that likely instead of a proper moral upbringing, these killers were given drugs and therapy.

A culture that confuses evil for sickness and refuses to see evil for what it is and deal with it accordingly does no favors for those guilty of evil, their victims, the culture at large, or those who are truly mentally ill.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, February 17, 2018

It’s the Worldview, Stupid (Redux)

If we want to defeat or change those who are wickedly determined to take the lives of other human beings unjustly, it should go without saying that we must look far beyond the killers’ chosen instrument of death. This is why the pro-life community doesn’t put any effort into attempting to ban suction curettes or forceps—which have killed far more people in the U.S. than have guns.

Nevertheless—and seemingly inevitably—whenever a mass murderer goes on a killing spree in the U.S., those who are terrified of the notion of absolute truth (who are determined to rule their own world)—and especially terrified of the Author of truth—ignore the real problems with homicidal deviants and almost always ignorantly insist that the solution is “gun-control.”

This ignorance is particularly—and dangerously—telling when, as FBI stats reveal, over 98% of mass shootings occur in so-called “gun-free zones.” Thus, restricting access to guns has done nothing in America except make certain areas—such as schools—even more dangerous. Yet liberals are unwavering in their desire to restrict Americans’ access to weapons.

This is the case even if the weapon is a truck, but especially if the weapon is a gun. True to their “never let a crisis go to waste” mantra, after Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 individuals at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL on Ash Wednesday, democrats wasted little time attempting to make political hay from Cruz’s evil act. The usual script was followed: multiple calls for gun-control legislation and frequent pointing of the finger at republicans.

Again, Satan laughs. Tragically, with those corrupted by liberalism, we see this time and again. Whether the problem is poverty, hunger, bad schools, gun violence, crime in general, or even the spread of disease, the liberal answer is always the same: more government. Because most of them have made a god of government, liberals are almost always looking for a political solution to whatever ails us.

Thus, virtually everything in our culture is politicized, and the public at large is subjected to never-ending campaigns. For liberals, nearly any solution to our cultural tribulations that will drive people to vote for democrats is most preferable. Sadly, far too many people are willing to cast their votes for those who promise to “protect” them—from the climate, from corporations, criminals, Christians, disease, pregnancy, and especially from the consequences of their own bad decisions. “Pajama Boy” and “Julia” are the poster children here.

In other words—whether through legislation, executive orders, or rulings from the bench—to cure society’s ills, liberals insist that we heed the words of “enlightened” man instead of the Word of the eternal God. This is why, after a mass shooting with multiple deaths, the idea of prayer is so offensive to liberals. Even the benign “moment of silence” or “thoughts and prayers” (you can keep your thoughts, but I’ll take your prayers!) are now so often derided, mocked, and ignored.

However, in spite of liberal trepidations, prayer brings us to the heart of the matter when dealing with the likes of Nikolas Cruz, Sayfullo Saipov, Devin Kelley, Omar Mateen, Dylan Roof, and so on. As C.S. Lewis taught us, prayer reveals our “bankruptcy,” or, put another way, our powerlessness. Prayer helps us understand who we really are and who God really is. (Note how the Lord’s Prayer begins: “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name…”) And when necessary, prayer leads us up to the vital moment at which we “turn to God and say, ‘You must do this. I can’t.’”

Only the power of God can change the heart of a human. Good government should always remind us of and be rooted in the truth, but we will never be able to legislate away evil. Men like Nikolas Cruz, Sayfullo Saipov, and Devin Kelley did what they did because they ignored God and decided truth for themselves.

Such a self-centered attitude is at the heart of liberalism. This is another reason why liberals want to focus on guns instead of what motivates men to do evil. The perverse worldview of angry atheists, murderous Islamists, and evil secularists shares much in common with the godless worldview of modern liberalism. Again, the most common shared element is a rabid disdain for all things Christian.

When dealing with the immorality that is destroying our nation, good government must recognize what it takes truly to change bad behavior—something that “gets to the heart” of individuals—and, at best, partner with such efforts, or at least, do nothing to hinder them.

In other words, we shouldn’t have a government that seeks to stop mass murderers merely with “gun control.” We shouldn’t have a government that encourages sexual immorality and the destruction of the family—whether through taxpayer funded abortions, promiscuous sexual education, or the promotion of homosexuality—and then wants to pay for the consequences of such immorality with billions in tax-payer funded welfare.

We shouldn’t have a government that seeks to cure poverty or violence with a godless secular education system. We shouldn’t have a government, as Grover Cleveland put it, that “encourages the expectation of paternal care” while weakening “the sturdiness of our national character.”

In other words, we don’t need a government that thinks that it can, through mere secular means, cure all that ails our culture. We need a government (of course that means elected officials) that understands that truly to change someone, truly to change behavior, requires getting to the heart of individuals. And of course, this requires spiritual efforts, and we all know where that leads.

The problems of this nation, of every nation, of every individual who has ever lived are always and ultimately spiritual, and thus require spiritual solutions. Of course, such thinking stands in stark contrast to those who have put their hope in the things and the people of this world. Virtually every dictator to rise to power has done so by promising some version of a leftist utopia. They hailed and promoted “the power of the human spirit”—or some similar bunk—and then millions were murdered. The last two centuries are replete with such tragic examples.

Nevertheless, the worldview of the American left continues to demand that America can become righteous through mere political means. As long as such thinking prevails, students will continue to die, and Americans of every stripe will continue to suffer.

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day! And Now, “The Most Excellent Way”

I’ve often said that after our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is that between a husband and his wife. Whether or not you are married, when you were a child, the most important people on earth were your mother and father (or, it should have been this way). Thus, after our love for God, the most important love in the world is the love between a husband and wife.

About a year ago our family said goodbye (for now) to my wife’s beloved grandfather, Horace Fitzpatrick—known to all of the family as simply “Pa.” Nearly three years ago, Pa’s oldest son—my wife’s father—David was tragically killed by a drunk driver while bicycling near his home. When I spoke at David’s funeral, I made note of David’s loving devotion to his wife:
After his relationship with his creator and Savior, David was most devoted to his wife Margie. This was clear to all of us who knew him best. This is perhaps his greatest witness. Of course, David witnessed this devotion in the life of his own father. Thank you for that, Pa.
Pa’s funeral was the best “end-of-life celebration” that I’ve ever witnessed. His generous and loving life made for a powerful end. (We were especially close to “Granny and Pa,” as they played an important role in the debt-free manner in which we built our home.) Four men spoke at the funeral, including Pa’s son Roger. Roger made special note of Pa’s love for his “Beautiful, Sweet, Toony.” Horace and Bertie-Mae were married for 67 years. My wife’s parents, David and Margie (Papa and Mimi) had been married for nearly 46 years when David was killed in 2015. My own parents, Edsel and Carolyn Thomas (Poppy and Nonny), have been married for 49 years.

In other words, I’ve had many excellent examples of what true and lasting love looks like. In today’s sex-crazed, fornicating, adulterating, divorcing culture, such examples were (and still are) immeasurably impactful. With 20 years of marriage already under my belt, I certainly hope to continue such a tradition.

I say all of this with Valentine’s Day in mind. Several years ago, I wrote the following to help paint a picture of “the most excellent way.” I provide it again to remind all of us what it really means to love. (Thank you to all of my family and friends—but especially Granny and Pa, Nonny and Poppy, Mimi and Papa, and Michelle, Caleb, Jesse, Caroline, and Noah—for all the love you’ve given me.)


The Will to Love

I believe that the one most revealing, the most essential characteristic of our Creator is love. By His love He made us, and because of His love He redeemed us. We are closest to His nature and what He created us to be when we are living our lives according to His idea of love.

He also told us that His entire law can be summed up with one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What does that mean? What does it mean to love your neighbor as you love yourself?

First of all, who is our “neighbor?” Most of us have heard of “The Good Samaritan.” Through this parable, Christ taught us that our neighbor means more than those who live near us, or those within our circle of family and friends. In effect, what He was saying was that loving our neighbor also means loving our enemies.

Secondly, how do we “love” ourselves? If we are honest, we should all admit that there are times when none of us is particularly loveable. In fact, most of us have probably been pretty disappointed in and disgusted by our own behavior, and thus, in ourselves. We may even have seen ourselves as downright nasty.

Therefore, loving our neighbor does not mean always having pleasant feelings about him or being happy with everything she does. As C.S. Lewis put it, it does not mean “thinking them nice either.” In fact, love in the Christian sense isn’t a feeling at all. It is a matter of the will.

As Lewis put it, “It is a state not of the feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we naturally have about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people.” In other words, do not bother so much about how you feel towards someone; act like you love them. In other words, do and say the things that true love requires. Feelings and emotions come and go, but our will can be forever unwavering.

Consider 1 Corinthians chapter 13, where the Apostle Paul reveals to us what true love is.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Patience, kindness, a lack of envy or boasting; humility, politeness, and controlling your temper; keeping no record of wrongs, and so on—these all are matters of the will. As soon as you do these things, Lewis notes, “we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”

Jesus said that the greatest act of love is to lay down one’s life for another. What is that if not an act of the will? No one “feels” like doing such a thing. Jesus even prayed that His act of sacrifice, if possible, would pass from Him, but His will was surrendered: “Not My will, but Yours be done.”

Of course, romantic love can generate a torrent of emotions within us. Almost all of us have been tied in knots over one person or another in our lives. But, even in the strongest of relationships, these feelings don’t last—and thank goodness! How would we function day to day and year to year with such emotions?!

Yet popular culture has chosen to highlight this brief and passing aspect of love and held it up as the ideal. Of course, popular culture has also made love synonymous with sex. This is especially true with our youth. They enter relationships—even marriage—with their hearts and minds full of the wrong ideas about love.

Thus, the most important relationship on the earth—that between a husband and a wife—often rests upon a very shaky foundation. If a marriage rests upon this feeling of “being in love” alone, it almost certainly will fail. Couples need to understand that when this feeling subsides, it does not mean that we should stop loving. Love in this deeper sense is about a promise or vow that nearly every couple makes upon marrying. And keeping this promise is a matter of the will.  

However, Christians know that, left to ourselves, our own will is not enough. On our own we cannot love as we should. The selflessness that true love requires runs very contrary to our born nature. That is why, in order to love truly, we must look to the One who is love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Christianity was (and is) Right about Sex and Marriage

On January 31, 2018, my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. At the end of this year, in mid-December, my wonderful parents will celebrate their 50th. Before my beloved father-in-law was criminally taken from us by a drunk driver in 2015, he and my sweet mother-in-law were married for almost 46 years. Taken together, those are rare numbers these days in our slow-to-marry, quick-to-divorce, sex-crazed, hook-up culture.

Like every other marriage in human history, none of the unions mentioned above were, or are, perfect. Each of us has certainly seen our fair share of tough times, but, as far as I know, there has never been even a hint of adultery, and “divorce” has never even been whispered. Of course, if any of us decided to abandon what God has revealed and go our own way when it comes to sex and marriage, disaster would result.

If you are similarly blessed in marriage within your own family, then almost certainly you or your spouse, parents, siblings, in-laws, and the like, subscribe to—or at least are heavily influenced by—Christian teaching on marriage, sex, and the family. Tragically, that is fewer and fewer Americans.

As we broadly examine the condition of and attitudes toward sex, marriage, and the family across the U.S., “disaster” would be a fair description of what exists. U.S. marriage rates continue to remain at record lows, while out-of-wedlock births remain at record highs. Again, the results of these trends are particularly devastating for children. The breakdown of the family is the single greatest cause of poverty in the U.S. As Robert Rector pointed out years ago, “Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 80 percent.”

In order to further their big government agenda, modern liberals often point to education as the answer to poverty in America. However, marriage is a far better weapon against poverty than is education. Again, as Rector points out, “being married has the same effect in reducing poverty that adding five to six years to a parent’s level of education has.” In addition, a child in a single-parent home where the parent is a college graduate is nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as a child living with his or her married parents whose highest level of education is completing high school.

Along with poverty, children brought up outside of a marriage relationship (with their biological mom and dad) face a significantly greater danger of experiencing physical and sexual abuse. As Marripedia points out:
  • The rate of physical abuse is 3 times higher in the single parent family. 
  • The rate of physical abuse is 4 times higher if mother is cohabiting with the child’s biological father (unmarried). 
  • The rate of physical abuse is 5 times higher if the child is living in a married step family. 
  • The rate of physical abuse is 10 times higher if the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend. 
The rates for sexual abuse are even worse than physical abuse:
  • The rate of sexual abuse is 5 times higher in the single parent family and when both biological parents are cohabiting (i.e. unmarried). 
  • The rate of sexual abuse is 8.6 times higher if the child is living in a married step family. 
  • The rate of sexual abuse is 20 times higher if the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend. 
As both of the last bullet points above imply, one of the most dangerous places for a child in America is with mom and her live-in boyfriend. However, because modern liberalism teaches that we have the “right” to do whatever we wish in the sexual realm, without any consequences, the most dangerous place for a child in America is in the womb. This is particularly tragic considering that a mother’s womb should be one of the safest places in the universe.

In a wicked attempt to justify the killing of the most helpless and innocent among us, aided and abetted by Hollywood and the Democrat Party, for decades the left in America has de-humanized the unborn. In other words, ignoring what Christianity has long revealed about human life, tens of millions of unborn children have suffered death because liberals in the United States have rejected basic science and morality.

After a half century of denying the irrefutable science of life in the womb, liberals have become quite adept at denial of almost any truth. Thus, we now must debate who is a man and who is a woman—along with pretending that there is all sorts of in-between nonsense along the mythical “gender spectrum.”

As long as American liberals hold any significant amount of political or judicial power—especially within or over the federal courts—don’t be surprised to see the gender debate go the way of the marriage debate. Ignoring the laws of the Law Giver, ruling in favor of the “right” to kill children in the womb (Planned Parenthood v. Casey), the perpetually deceived Anthony Kennedy declared a quarter of a century ago, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Of course, Kennedy reinforced this ignorant thinking with his perverse decision on marriage. Because such folly is almost standard today among the left, it wouldn’t be surprising to read a ruling from a federal judge that declares a man has a “right” to live his life as a woman, because “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence…”

And, if Justice Anthony Kennedy has such a say in the matter, given his previous decisions on abortion and marriage, don’t be surprised to see Hollywood attempt to lionize his life through film. Of course, such a film will likely be at least R-rated, filled with lots of graphic sex—especially homosexual sex. Remember, Kennedy also voted in favor of, and wrote the opinion for, Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned all U.S. laws against sodomy.

Depictions of graphic sex have become the sine qua non of Hollywood productions and have given rise to the massive and deadly porn industry. As U.S. marriage rates plummet and out-of-wedlock births skyrocket, porn use and STD rates are at astronomical levels.

In 2015, viewers watched a shocking 4,392,486,580 hours—equal to over 500,000 years—of porn on PornHub. As millions of Americans have replaced healthy human relationships with porn addiction, no doubt this obsession with fake sex has played a role in the declining rate of marriage in the U.S.

Additionally, and equally shocking, according to The New York Times, 110 million Americans—over one-third of our population—are now saddled with a sexually transmitted disease. Thus, when they’re not watching porn, many Americans are headed to a bar, a club, a house party, a frat party, and the like, looking for their next “hook-up,” and many are paying a steep physical—along with emotional—price.

Because those who rebel in the sexual realm are prone to rebel as it pleases them, individuals steeped in the hook-up culture are prone to a whole host of risky behaviors. As a 2016 study of American high school students published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals, teens who engage in dangerous (and sinful) sexual activity—such as homosexuality or heterosexual promiscuity—were much more likely also to engage in other unhealthy activities.

Teenagers least likely to put their health and lives in danger (along with the health and lives of others) are those who are choosing to follow the moral precepts of their Creator by refraining from sex until they are married. We didn’t used to need a “study” to know such was the case, because waiting for sex until marriage is exactly what Christianity teaches.

If much of America continues to embrace the lies of Hollywood—and the rest of the perverse modern left—on sex and the like, the next study, the next set of data, along with many personal anecdotes more and more of us will witness, will continue to paint a bleak picture for our nation. May those of us who’ve seen the light never stop working to help turn this tide and reverse the damage as we have opportunities, and where we have influence.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Godlessness, Leftism, and the World’s Crapholes

One of the least known but most influential characters of early American history is the industrialist Samuel Slater. My book, The Miracle and Magnificence of America, details some of Slater’s industrial exploits. One of my significant resources on Slater’s life and work came from author George S. White who, in 1836, published his book, Memoir of Samuel Slater: The Father of American Manufactures. I found White’s book to be a fascinating account of early industrial America.

In the introduction to Slater’s memoir, while singing the praises of the industrious Slater—he’s known today as the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution,”—Mr. White also speaks against the “Occupy” fools of the early 19th century:
We envy not those self-styled patriots, whose thirst for office and distinction allows them to deceive and cajole their fellow citizens, by prejudicing them against the talented and enterprising part of society. Thus teaching them discontent, and prejudicing them against the necessary arrangements to promote the general welfare, making them the tools of their sordid selfish policy…
Likewise, and no-doubt aware of the “bickering caudillos” (military dictators) who plagued 19th century South America, White contrasts life in the United States with that of South America:
A state of society, not founded the principles of honest industry, must be degraded and low; and like the inhabitants of South America must be wretched miserable. Mankind must be usefully and honourably employed, in order to be virtuous and happy. In proof of this position, compare the condition of South America with the United States, and more especially with that part of the United States manufacturing establishments have come into being and risen eminence. The mighty contrast in the condition and character of the people, is altogether greater than that formed by the hand of nature in the two countries themselves. South America, particularly that part in the neighbourhood of the La Plata, in the hands of New Englanders, would at once become the paradise of world, did they retain their moral and intellectual habits… 
With governments in distraction, and so enfeebled as to exert no force except by the sword and bayonet, vice, disorder, and confusion everywhere prevail. The finest fields in the world for agriculture are suffered to remain barren and desolate, or to be traveled by wandering herds. Indolence and enfeeble the hands and put out the eyes of the inhabitants. Roaming in poverty, filth, and pollution, they are totally blind to their advantages and privileges: they are tossed about by wind of prejudice and passion. Trained to view labour as a degradation, while trampling the most prolific fields and possessing everything requisite, and of the first qualities, for food and clothing, they would be obliged to go naked and starve, were it not for the industry of other nations. As it now is, robbers and assassins fill their streets, and thousands are disappearing by the only species of industry for which they have an adaptation, that of destroying each other.
Sounds like much of South America today! Or, if you prefer, and as President Trump allegedly put it, a “shi*hole” (or “shi*house”). In other words, what makes a society a literal and living craphole hasn’t changed much in nearly two centuries. If you want to find the crapholes of the world, one need look no further than where godlessness or leftism—often found together—dominate.

Of course, the world’s crapholes are often riddled with poverty. According to Business Insider—and as I alluded to years ago—most of the world’s poorest nations are “under authoritarian regimes where corruption is rampant.” Few things are more synonymous with modern leftism than corruption and authoritarianism.

Note as well how many of the poorest and most authoritarian nations are run by Islamists. As I’ve often noted, the godless false religion of Islam is an enforced religion with a violent founder, a violent founding, and a very violent past and present. Islam is generally repressive to women and to those of other faiths. Islam is typically financially devastating and technologically backward, and thus, has produced many of the world’s crapholes.

Naturally, the world’s crapholes are filled with filth. Along with garbage, human waste, and nasty water, and no matter what list you use, the world’s dirtiest cities are typically also filled with some form of leftism and spiritual darkness. The same goes for the world’s most dangerous countries. And note again that those plagued by Islam dominate the list.

Often accompanying danger and filth is death. Unsurprisingly, the nations with the lowest life expectancy are the same ones showing up on the other craphole lists.

Two craphole-producing products of leftist ideology that, in spite of numerous and horrific failures, still plague the world today are socialism and communism. No matter the specifics of the “ism” or the frequency or the scale of the devastation, modern leftists continue to seek to put so much power in the hands of so few.

If you think I’m being unfair to the rest of the world, fret not. Tragically amazing—given our vast amount of rich natural and human resources—the United States has more than its fair share of crapholes. Almost always these are municipalities where democrats have ruled for decades and where godlessness—typically accompanied by a good dose of hedonism—and leftism—usually called “liberalism” in America—dominate the landscape.

Of course, it’s not the skin color of the people but rather rotten political and religious ideologies that produce toilet-like living conditions. Also, the vast majority of people living in the crapholes of the world are there through little to no fault of their own (except for those who continue to elect democrats) and, in most cases, need the help of others to escape or improve their conditions. The United States can’t import all of those suffering in the world’s crapholes, but we can certainly play a role in exporting what they really need.

The surest way to keep people from living in a craphole is to provide them with liberty, but not liberty alone. As the great Edmund Burke put it when observing the French revolution, “The effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please: We ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.” Liberty should always be accompanied by the “moral chains” provided by Christianity; otherwise you end up with Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, or Baltimore.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, January 18, 2018

If You're Warming Up Your Car, You Might be Breaking the Law

As we again break records for cold in the southern U.S., while sitting indoors trying to keep warm (and schooling my wife and kids in Trivial Pursuit), I stumbled across this on the AJC.com:

Warm up your car this morning? That could be illegal where you live.

According to the article, 31 states have laws against "idling." Some of these laws are rooted in some measure of common sense--to deter theft and the like--but many are the sad result of governments buying into the myth of man-made global warming. As the author of the AJC piece puts it,
Of course, there's logic behind putting such laws on the books. With scientists around the world regularly warning humanity about the dire and ballooning effects of climate change, cutting down on vehicle emissions is an important, albeit seemingly small, step to address the issue.
Heh: "logic." Actually the earth-worshipping warmists would prefer that you not drive at all. The AJC author continues:
Just last months (sic), a new scientific study revealed that the worst-case predictions regarding climate change are likely the most accurate. The results followed the November publication of an open letter to humanity from more than 15,000 international scientists urging society to address major environmental concerns before it's "too late."
Just "last months"--December 4, 2017 to be precise--an AJC headline read "Snow flurries possible this weekend after cool down." The piece included the following graphic:


December 4, 2017 was a Monday. The winter weather moved in Friday, December 8, during the afternoon. This was the final result:


So what just days earlier was predicted to be from "flurries" with "no accumulation" up to only a couple of inches of snow, turned into one of the largest snowfalls ever seen in Georgia. Several areas got more than 10 inches, including areas very near Atlanta. As it was a wet, heavy snow, hundreds of thousands lost power. It was perhaps the largest ever fall snowfall in Georgia's recorded history--certainly the case in my lifetime (48+ years). And only days earlier the forecast for this "weather event" was woefully inaccurate. 

The inaccuracy in the weather forecast is not what's troubling here. It happens all of the time. In other words, it is a difficult science to predict the weather only days in advance, yet we're supposed to believe climate forecasts that are a century out. As the study from the "15,000 international scientists" puts it, 
Our study indicates that if emissions follow a commonly used business-as-usual scenario, there is a 93 per cent chance that global warming will exceed 4°C by the end of this century.
Sadly, this type of forecast is typical as well. How many times has the man-made global movement predicted such? It's as if every six months or so they feel that the world must be reminded of how bad it's going to get unless we put them in charge. And remember when President Trump tweeted concerning the brutal cold along the eastern U.S. just after Christmas?

Of course, the warmists were totally triggered. Many of them took to reminding us of the difference between climate and weather, specifically how much more complicated is climate than "mere" weather. Given such, these earth-worshippers should be reminded: if a "simple" 5-day weather forecast is often wrong, then a 100-year climate forecast is almost certainly wrong.

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Speech Oprah Should’ve Given

Since Oprah Winfrey’s recent speech at the 2018 Golden Globes, giddy liberals have bombarded her with calls of “Run, Oprah, Run!” It seems that all democrats have to do is hear a decent speech from a like-minded liberal and they’re lining up their Superdelegates and their billionaire donors. Remember, Barack Obama’s path to the presidency began with his 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention.

In spite of how well her Globes speech was received, as others have noted, Oprah didn’t quite paint the proper picture when it comes to Hollywood, women, and the truth. I’m here to help. This is the speech Oprah should’ve given:

It is an honor to be here tonight as the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award. As surely almost everyone here well knows, DeMille’s last—and his most successful—film was The Ten Commandments. This 1956 epic is a motion picture classic and one of the most popular films of all time. In the “opening card,” the words of DeMille himself read, 
“Our modern world defined God as a 'religious complex' and laughed at the Ten Commandments as OLD FASHIONED. Then, through the laughter, came the shattering thunder of the World War. And now a blood drenched, bitter world – no longer laughing – cries for a way out. There is but one way out. It existed before it was engraven upon Tablets of Stone. It will exist when stone has crumbled. The Ten Commandments are not rules to obey as a personal favor to God. They are fundamental principles without which mankind cannot live together.” 
Though they have never been more needed, tragically, such opinions—and certainly the values that such a statement reflects—have all but disappeared in today’s Hollywood. As with the “blood drenched,” war-ravaged world of which Mr. DeMille spoke, there is but one way out of the craven, perverse, sex-obsessed, bitter world that now exists in Hollywood. The Ten Commandments help point us to that way. 
In these dark and complicated times, the truth is the most powerful weapon we have. Sadly, we can no longer rely on the media—neither the entertainment media that we represent, nor the news media—to present us with the truth. Like the lies that so permeate the stories that we tell, in order to further a worldview bereft of the notion of absolute truth, the news media rarely hesitates to mislead the public at large. 
Thus, it should come as little surprise that, in a world so steeped in deception, many women in the entertainment and news media have become targets of powerful and brutal men. Abandoning the God of the Commandments, and instead making a god of personal pleasure, has led to decades of sexual abuse and assault against countless women in the entertainment industry. Also, with perhaps the most guarded tenet of our worldview being the idea that people should be able to do whatever they wish in the sexual realm, few should be surprised that there are so many Harvey Weinsteins among us. 
What modern action, dramatic, or comedic film or television series is devoid of depicting—as C.S. Lewis bemoaned—“four bare legs in a bed?” These days, bare legs alarm almost no one. Many supposed “mainstream” Hollywood productions are now filled with graphic nudity and sex—what used to be called “pornography.” Adultery, fornication, pornography, prostitution, homosexuality, and virtually every other sexual immorality imaginable has long been promoted and celebrated by our industry. This must stop. 
Taking their cues from Hollywood—revealing the awesome power and responsibility of those who make a career of entertainment—almost every institution in the United States has been infected with those who see other human beings—especially women—as objects to satisfy their lust. Thus, women across America, whether in homes or on farms, in factories, restaurants, academia, engineering, medicine, science, politics, business, and so on, have suffered and continue to suffer. 
What’s more, it makes me very sad to say, many women like myself have been part of the problem. Instead of standing up to the sex-crazed entertainment industry, we have enabled it to continue, and even thrive. Using our bodies to titillate the minds of generations of boys and men, we have debased ourselves and been willing participants in contradicting what God has revealed on sex and marriage. 
In both my personal and professional life I have failed to promote the proper view on sex, gender, marriage, and the family. Foolishly ignoring the heart of the message of our Creator, repeating what is perhaps the most frequent lie in the history of humanity, I have told others to “Live life on your own terms.” After all, “Everybody Wants to Rule Their World.” 
For far too long, those telling the truth on sex, gender, marriage, and the family have not been heard. For far too long, the powerful in media have lied or suppressed the truth on these grave matters. I wish I could say a new day is on the horizon, but all indications are that Hollywood has yet to see the light. 
When that day finally dawns—and I want everyone watching to know, that day is inevitable—it will be because the truth has finally won. Then, referencing the work of the first black man to win this award, I will quote from Sidney Poitier’s performance in "Lilies of the Field," ''Amen, amen. Amen, amen."

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, January 6, 2018

How do Liberals Flunk Science? Let Us Count the Ways.

With most of the U.S. currently in the grip of significant cold, and given the proper goading from President Trump, liberals again felt led to lecture us on the difference between weather and climate. Of course, it’s lost on most leftists how they so often fail to apply the same standards to themselves. Whether blizzards, hurricanes, wild fires, tornadoes, record heat, record cold, and so on, with religious-like devotion, liberals almost never fail to link dramatic weather events to their apocalyptic climate narrative.

One of the easiest jobs in the world has to be that of climate doomsayer. No matter the weather, the climate kooks can scream “man-made global warming!” and the faithful will follow with a hearty, “AMEN!” In spite of the folly and the pseudo science behind the man-made global warming movement, time and again the modern left insists that it is conservatives—especially Christian conservatives—who have abandoned science and reason.

Last year, The New York Times went as far as to blame evangelicals for our “post-truth society.” The New York Times lamenting a “post-truth society” is like Satan complaining about sin. In other words, few organizations or individuals in the history of humanity have waged a more enthusiastic war on the truth than has “the newspaper of record.”

Because all sound science—yes, there are plenty of scientific charlatans—always points one to the truth, it is little surprise that those so often opposed to the truth frequently find themselves at odds with what sound science reveals. For those unsure of where they stand on the spectrum of understanding what real science and scientists have revealed, let me take a moment to chronicle some actual “settled science.”

First of all—back when Adam took his first homeschool anatomy course—science long ago revealed there are only two sexes—male and female. There is no such thing as a “gender spectrum.” Any sentient adult telling you that such nonsense exists should have his or her grown-up card revoked and be required to repeat kindergarten at an approved location. What’s more, contrary to LGBT propaganda, basic biology is not “transphobic.

Unlike the modern left’s practice of using a fake problem—man-made climate change—to explain real weather-related catastrophes, tolerating the very real transgender madness of the modern left has led to all sorts of very real human-related catastrophes. Men using women’s restrooms and locker rooms, men competing against (and taking trophies from) women, women occupying the front lines of our military, and so on, are all the direct result of the fake science preached and produced by liberalism.

Just as settled as is the science of who is a male and who is a female is the science of life in the womb. Life in the womb for a child is as well documented as anything in science. With ultrasound and Doppler machines, as well as other technology, one can monitor the life of a baby in the womb from very near the beginning until birth.

Moments after conception (hardly a serious biologist in the world would argue that life does not begin at conception), the resulting single cell contains all 46 chromosomes necessary to grow into an adult human being. Within 48 hours of conception, the mother’s body starts producing a hormone to let her know that she is pregnant. In the beginning of the third week, the baby’s heart begins to beat with a blood type that is often different from its mother’s.

During week five, eyes, legs, and hands have begun to develop. By week six, brain waves are detectable. Week eight has every organ in place, bones begin to replace cartilage, and the baby can begin to hear. By week 12, the baby is nearing the end of the first trimester. She has all the necessary parts to experience pain, including her nerves, spinal cord, and thalamus. She can grasp objects placed in her hand and has fingerprints, a skeletal structure, and circulation.

By week 15, she has an adult’s taste buds. Week 20, the earliest stage at which liberals used to conduct partial-birth abortions, the child can recognize her mother’s voice. She is within one or two weeks of the stage where babies can routinely be saved outside the womb. In spite of all of this, to justify the slaughter of tens of millions of unborn children, abortion apologists have regularly ignored the indisputable science of life in the womb.

Recently, liberals have gone so far as to launch a massive billboard campaign that refers to abortion as “sacred,” “a blessing,” and even “life-saving.” Abortion is so far from the concept of “life-saving” that it’s not too difficult—especially among the government educated—to find individuals who advocate infanticide. We shouldn’t be surprised by this when the last U.S. President—elected twice—basically advocated the same.

And why the devotion to killing the most innocent and defenseless among us? The will to do whatever one wants sexually without the consequences is a powerful force, and those corrupted by liberalism will go to almost any length—including fake science—in order to keep abortion popular and legal.

Speaking of a liberal’s libido, real science does no favors for the homosexual agenda either. As Obama's Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett learned in 2010, even well-established liberals can draw the ire of the homosexual community by simply implying that homosexuality is not innate (meaning genetic), but is rather a “lifestyle choice.” (Of course, Jarrett quickly back-tracked and apologized.) We’ve been told for decades now that homosexuality is a genetic and unchangeable behavior—that people are “born gay.”

In 1993, when the journal Science published a study by Dean Hamer (et al) which strongly suggested there was a gene for homosexuality, an eager and complicit media celebrated. National Public Radio trumpeted the findings. Newsweek’s cover asked, “Gay Gene?” The Wall Street Journal announced, “Research Points Toward a Gay Gene…” The New York Times noted, “Report Suggests Homosexuality Is Linked to Genes.”

However, noted psychiatrist, physicist, and author (Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth) Jeffrey Satinover concluded that “the Hamer study is seriously flawed.” Many genetic researchers also quickly took issue with Hamer’s study. However, the myth grew. Today, it is commonplace for liberals in the media, Hollywood, and like-minded politicians again to ignore the real science and continue to perpetuate the falsehood that homosexuality is strictly genetic.

Dr. Satinover notes that, “The notion that ‘homosexuals’ are in effect a ‘different species’ (different genes) is ludicrous beyond belief. There is not the slightest evidence for that as anyone who actually reads the studies (not reports on the studies) knows.” What science does reveal is that homosexuality is a rather unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle.

And much to the dismay of many on the modern left, homosexual sex doesn’t produce babies—because, you know, science. Thus, we now have fools declaring same-sex couples “infertile” and demanding that health insurance companies foot the bill to remedy this. So along with paying for abortions and “gender reassignment” surgery, liberals want us to foot the bill so that two men can have a baby.

As they foolishly declare their “belief in science,” liberals such as Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren remind us that what liberals are devoted to is not science but scientism. And because of this, their policies will always, ultimately, fail.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2017, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, December 25, 2017

“The Rightful King Has Landed”

We must never forget that at this time of year, we celebrate much more than a birthday. As the great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis put it, Christmas is the story of how “the rightful King has landed.” When Jesus stood before the Roman governor Pilate, just prior to going to His execution, Pilate asked Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” After some discussion Pilate concluded to Jesus, “You are a king, then!” Jesus answered him, saying, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world…”

Of course, Jesus was not just any king; He was a king with a holy mission. He was a king who was born to die. “Amazing love, how can it be, that you my king would die for me.” Jesus was, and is, our Savior King. As author Charles Sell put it,
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.
The “good news of great joy” that no less than the angel of the Lord reported to the shepherds was that, “today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you…” The late-great Charles Schultz was right. The heart and soul of the Christmas story is, as Linus perfectly recited, “[B]ehold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

Of course, as did the CBS executives during Schultz’s time, those fearful of the true meaning of Christmas go to great lengths to hide the truth. Today children (and adults) are bombarded with deceptive (but alluring) messages about “Christmas Spirit” and how Christmas is about “spreading joy throughout the world” and “a time for warmth and brotherly love” (as a recent TV cartoon declared). Even Dickens’ iconic A Christmas Carol is bereft of the complete message of Christmas.

One author I encountered a few years ago foolishly described the “hidden meaning” of Christmas as a:
festival of the human heart. It is a time of year when all the universe conspires to raise the vibratory level of consciousness on earth to one of peace and love toward ourselves and one another. This season resonates to the sweet, childlike innocence that resides in all of us; A time when the heavenly forces inspire us to shift our focus away from fear and toward one of joy, and healing.
Of course, peace, brotherly love, and spreading joy are not bad things, but they are far from the “heart and soul” of Christmas. “Hark! The herald angels sing; glory to the newborn King!” So Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior King. This is the reason for the conflict and contention that we sometimes encounter at Christmas time. This is why so many fear a Nativity scene, a Christmas tree, or even a meek “Merry Christmas.”

Who wants to be confronted with the idea that maybe they are ignoring the most significant event in human history? Who wants to be reminded that perhaps Jesus Christ really was (and is) our Savior King? Of course, God sending His Son as a Savior implies that we need “saving.” The most quoted verse in the Bible, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Less well known, but just as important, is the very next verse. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” This begs the question, “From what or whom do we need to be saved?”

In John chapter 8, Jesus says, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” What does it mean to “die in your sins?” Romans chapter 6 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In other words, we need to be “saved” from the eternal consequences of our sin. There is eternal life with Jesus, and apart from Him, death and eternal separation from God.

This is why so many Christians are so celebratory at Christmas time. Yes, there are presents and parties and time off from work, but for Christians who truly understand what was done for them on that first Christmas day, nothing compares to the gift of eternal life through Jesus. Christmas is a celebration of God’s greatest gift meeting humanity’s most desperate need. Those who reject the need for salvation, or reject the miracle of Jesus, or reject their sin for what it really is, are “offended” by Christmas.

Such people don’t want to hear that Jesus came to die for their sins. They don’t want to hear of the many miracles that surround the birth of the Savior. They don’t want to hear that their greed, lust, or pride is sin. They want to go their own way; thus, they display perverse “Festivus Poles.” And again, we’ve all been there. May God empower those of us who see Christmas for what it truly is, who see Jesus for who He really is, to spread His message of hope, love, peace, and salvation to all we encounter, all year-round. Merry Christmas!

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2017, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Why the God-Haters Hate Israel

(See also: Why is Israel so Hated?)

One of the greatest evidences that there is a God—to whom we owe our very lives, and whose Word we are to follow—is the mere existence of a nation called Israel. Thus the rampant hatred for the children of Abraham. Nevertheless, science again makes clear what Scripture long ago revealed.

A 60 Minutes episode from the year 2000 —of which I have a transcript—reported on a genetics study that revealed a “priestly Y-chromosome” among the general Jewish population. In other words, all those who claimed to be Jewish priests (only males) shared a common male ancestor. As Lesley Stahl then reported, “The results proved that Jewish priests from all around the world are, in fact, descended from one single man, a common paternal ancestor somewhere back in time.”

To tease her listening audience, Stahl asked, “How long ago did this great, great, great-grandfather live?” The scientist she was interviewing provided the answer: 3,000 years ago. In other words, right in line with the time-line presented by the Bible for when Moses’ brother Aaron—the patriarch of the Jewish priesthood—lived.

Likewise, in the year 2000, a study widely reported on revealed that the Jews and the Arabs shared a common genetic heritage. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at the Y-chromosome—which is passed directly and unaltered from father to son—of male Jews and Arabs and found that they shared “a common set of genetic signatures.”

This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows—and believes—Scripture. The first two sons of Abraham were Ishmael—the son of Hagar and the patriarch of the Arabs—and Isaac, the son of Sarah and the patriarch of the Jews. Thus the “common genetic signature” is the result of both Jews and Arabs being descendants of Abraham.

Most everyone with at least a spotty Sunday school background knows something of the biblical account of “Father Abraham.” If nothing else, we can probably recall the ancient trilogy of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob—later named Israel—fathered twelve sons who would become the “twelve tribes of Israel” and would inherit the Promised Land. The Bible first mentions Abraham—initially named “Abram,” a decedent of Noah’s son, Shem—in the chronology given in Genesis chapter 11. Genesis chapter 12 begins with the telling “Call of Abram.” It reads,

The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’

Note that the nation born of Abraham will be “a blessing” to the whole world. Scripture is replete with this theme. Genesis alone has several references. In addition to the above, there are Genesis 18:18, 22:18, 26:4, and 28:14. Without using the word “blessing,” Scripture makes it clear that Israel is the vehicle through which God—in multiple ways—will bless the earth.

Scripture also makes it clear that Israel was not chosen because it was the largest and most powerful nation (Deut. 7:7), or because of her righteousness (Deut. 9:5). In other words, Israel was not chosen for the glory of (or to glorify) Israel, but to glorify the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In other words, God chose the weak—Israel was in slavery when it became a nation—so that the world would know that the God of Israel was the one true God. (Egypt was the first to get a dramatic lesson.)

The idea that Israel was “set apart” as a “witness to the nations” is also a common thought throughout Judaism and Christianity—especially evangelical Christianity. Exodus 19:6 declares, “[Y]ou will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Isaiah 43:12 reads, “‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘that I am God.’” One of the ways Israel was (and is) a blessing to the earth is the testimony of the Jews to the very existence of God. In the late nineteenth century, England’s Queen Victoria reportedly asked her Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, “Mr. Prime Minister, what evidence can you give me of the existence of God?” After thinking for a moment, Disraeli replied, “The Jew, your majesty.”

A significant manner in which the Jews were a blessing to all of humanity, and another means through which they were a witness to all the earth, was through the written word of God. The Jews were God’s scribes, recording His words and deeds so that people might hear (or read) and believe. As the Apostle Paul, at the beginning of Romans chapter 3 notes, “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew…Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” The oral, and eventually, the written Word of God is an amazing testimony of God’s existence, His presence, and His power.

And last, Christianity teaches that the redemption of all mankind came through the Jews. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was a descendant of Abraham, born out of the tribe of Judah. As Paul also reveals in Romans, “the Jews and the Gentiles alike are all under sin” and in need of salvation. Of course, the message of Paul was the message of Jesus: whether Jew or Gentile, salvation is through Christ alone. Writing to the church in Rome, Paul concludes, “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly…No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.” (Rom. 2:28-29a)

As I noted in The Miracle and Magnificence of America, long before the Pilgrims departed Europe for a new home, the spiritual heritage of America has been linked with Jerusalem and Israel. Because of events such as the Great Plague, during the fifteenth century there was widespread belief that the end of time was near. Many Christians of this time also believed that before Christ would return, Jerusalem had to be in the hands of Christians. As the result of his study of Scripture, along with his study of the works of first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and noted theologian and philosopher Saint Augustine, Christopher Columbus believed the same. Thus Columbus literally saw himself as an agent of the apocalypse.

As life in Europe became increasingly difficult for the Pilgrims, in spite of what they were hearing concerning the death and destruction at Jamestown, more and more, God’s plan seemed to point to America as their home. The pastor of young William Bradford’s congregation at the time was John Robinson. During this time, Pastor Robinson revealed that he believed God was calling them to a New Jerusalem—in America. Robinson wrote,

Now as the people of God in old time were called out of Babylon civil, the place of their bodily bondage, and were to come to Jerusalem, and there to build the Lord’s temple…so are the people of God now to go out of Babylon spiritual to Jerusalem…and build themselves as lively stones into a spiritual house, or temple, for the Lord to dwell in…for we are the sons and daughters of Abraham by faith.

The God who spoke to Abraham and Moses is the same God who inspired the Pilgrims and the Puritans—the people who are most responsible for the founding of the United States. Though Christianity teaches that we are all under a new covenant with our Creator, the nation of Israel still stands as a testimony to the Truth. Thus any move that further legitimizes Israel—such as official recognition by the United States of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and placing our embassy there—will be strongly opposed by those who hate the Truth.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2017, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com