Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cecil vs. Cecile: Dead Lions vs. Dead Babies

On my Quotable Quotes page, I have the "Rules for Self Discovery" by noted author, pastor, and magazine editor A.W. Tozer. They are:
  1. What we want most
  2. What we think about most
  3. How we use our money
  4. What we do with our leisure time
  5. The company we enjoy
  6. Who and what we admire
  7. What we laugh at.
Some time back, I added a number 8: "What offends us." Current events perfectly illustrate the reasons behind my addition. The headlines recently have been filled with news of the death of Cecil the lion. (With multiple links, the news of Cecil's death has been featured at the top of the Drudge Report the last couple of days.) 

The evidence so far seems to make it clear that the lion was illegally and brutishly killed by American, Dr. Walter J. Palmer. Palmer has been labeled a "coward and a killer." PETA said that Palmer should "hang for killing Cecil." Palmer has had protesters swamp his home and his office. (Palmer's a dentist.) Some protesters dressed as "dentist hunters." Echoing much of the media's shock and outrage over this incident Jimmy Kimmel choked up on-air as he described Palmer's actions. Death threats have sent Palmer into hiding. 

Contrast our culture's response to Cecil the lion with the response to the organization ran by Cecile Richards. The gruesome videos--which, again, should surprise no one--that recently shed more light into the nasty business of Planned Parenthood--killing children in the womb--have not garnered nearly the outrage as has the death of a lion. 

As Rush Limbough asked today, "[H]ow in the world can you get teary-eyed and misty-eyed and sad over Cecil and, at the same time, participate in burying what's happening at Planned Parenthood (PP)?" As a piece I will have out shortly notes, the indifference that many have shown PP reveal how devoted so many Americans are to the perverse sexual agenda of today's left. 

Additionally, in a lame attempt to link the death of Cecil the lion to conservatives and republicans, a headline at The today declares, "Cecil the lion's killer donated to Romney." The piece is very short and reveals nothing not already known about the incident other than the fact that Dr. Palmer donated $5,000 to Mitt Romney in 2012, and $250 to GOP representative Jim Ramstad in 1990 and 1992. 

PP, the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal tax-payer funds, has donated tens-of-millions of dollars to political campaigns, almost all of which goes to democrats (and I would argue, 100% has gone to liberals). For example, in 2014 PP donated $588,918 to a PAC for federal candidates. $586,095 went to democrats. $2,823 went to republicans. That's 99.52% for democrats and 0.48% for republicans. Have you heard any of this in the media? 

What does it say about us and the media that a single dead lion generates so much sadness and anger, yet so many of us seemingly couldn't care less about the death of tens-of-millions of children in the womb? So tell me (in the comments below), by what are you more offended?

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Saturday, July 25, 2015

His Eye is On You, Little Bird

One of my new favorite songs (I just discovered it yesterday while mowing the lawn.):

The lyrics:

Verse 1:
Little girl, little girl with the big round eyes
Little bird, little bird, one day you’ll fly
A breathtaking flight of life you’ll fly
Then little bird, little bird, you will die

Because life, life is a vapor
But the brevity is what makes it a treasure
So feel it all like a love letter
To the One you will live with forever
His eye is on the sparrow
His eye is on you

Verse 2:
What then, what then when it’s all over?
Little bones, little bones the dust will cover
Little spirit, little spirit you’ll live on
With the soul of the bird that goes on and on
Then little bones, little bones
You will rise and little, little girl
You will fly

The artist singing is Misty Edwards. She was home-schooled. Her mother was a music teacher and her father a pastor.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Dreadful Duty of Forgiveness

One of the most unpopular and difficult virtues of Christianity is forgiveness. As C.S. Lewis put it, “Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” Sadly, our personal lives recently have been an exercise in forgiving the unforgivable.

On May 4 of this year, while cycling near his home, my father-in-law David was struck and killed by an impaired (alcohol and drugs) hit-and-run motorist. David was a beloved man. He was a husband, a father of four, and a grandfather of 11. He was also a kind and caring brother to four siblings, and a loving son to his parents, all of whom survive him. David was lovingly and intimately involved in each of these lives. He was also a pastor, counselor, and middle school teacher at a Christian academy. He was 64 years old and in very good health (which cycling helped him maintain.)

David was especially involved in our lives. For over 14 years, we’ve attended the church where he pastored. Our four children attend the Christian homeschool academy where he taught. My oldest son Caleb (13 years old), David’s oldest grandchild, was in his Papa’s class. Thus, David was Caleb’s teacher, his pastor, and his Papa. My wife Michelle is the administrator at the same homeschool academy. Including church on Sundays, she spent at least four days a week with her dad.

I spoke at David’s funeral. Much of what I said about his amazing life is here. A wonderful video testimony is here. Michelle wrote a blog post about her dad here.

As I said at the funeral, “Sometimes death does not surprise us. Sometimes it is even welcome. Of course, David’s death does not feel that way at all. Don’t we feel robbed right now? It’s as if something precious to us was taken by a thief in the night. Is that not how death often comes? All those ways that God used David to enrich our lives have so rudely been taken from us.”

Such a loss can certainly leave one angry. This is especially the case when the death occurs at the hands of a remorseless criminal during the commission of a crime. Our ability to forgive has been tested like never before.

We understand well what the families of those slain in Charleston, the family of New Orleans police officer Gary Flot, the families of those slaughtered by ISIS, and the like are going through. The sad truth is, if we live long enough, each of us will have dire things to forgive. What’s more, live just a few short years in this fallen world, and we will all do plenty that will require the forgiveness of others.

As Lewis implied in Mere Christianity, the notion of forgiveness is about as popular as the Christian teaching on sexual morality. In fact, if a man was on trial for his Christian faith (an event that many alive today may get to witness), his thoughts on forgiveness would certainly be a line of questioning the prosecutor would pursue.

Such thinking has long been a part of evangelical America. During the first “Great Awakening,” which occurred during the early to middle part of the 18th century, powerful Spirit-inspired preaching by men like Jonathan Edwards, Gilbert Tennent, and George Whitefield produced a tremendous evangelical harvest in Colonial America.

As noted in A Wonderful Work of God: Puritanism and the Great Awakening, in order to distinguish between the counterfeit works of Satan and the authentic works of the Holy Spirit, one of the “marks” that was considered a “major test” was “the capacity to forgive one’s enemies.”

The recent events in Charleston offer a great example of how followers of Jesus are different from those still lost in the darkness of this world. After Dylann Roof’s heinous act of violence took the lives of nine Christians at a Bible study in Charleston, and after his capture the morning after the attack, the next event that garnered the most attention happened two days after the murders. At Roof’s bond hearing, one-by-one, the friends and family of Roof’s victims were given the chance to speak. For the most part, the media was aghast, for each of these followers of Christ did the unthinkable for those who are guided by a liberal worldview: they offered forgiveness to Dylann Roof.

“We already forgive him for what he’s done, and there’s nothing but love from our side of the family,” said Chris, the teenage son of victim Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. Anthony Thompson, the grandson of victim Myra Thompson, told Roof, “I forgive you, my family forgives you.” The daughter of Ethel Lance said, “I will never talk to her ever again. I will never hold her ever again. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. But God forgives you. I forgive you.”

On forgiveness, Lewis also noted, “to mention the subject at all is to be greeted with howls of anger. It is not that people think this too high and difficult a virtue: it is that they think it hateful and contemptible. ‘That sort of talk makes them sick,’ they say.” After the terrible events in Charleston, several pundits corrupted by liberalism proved Lewis correct.

“Black America should stop forgiving white racists,” was the title of a piece by Stacey Patton in the Washington Post. Patton declared that such forgiveness was “disconcerting.” Seeking to keep the fires of racism stoked, she added, “The almost reflexive demand for forgiveness, especially for those dealing with death by racism, is about protecting whiteness, and America as a whole.”

“I do not forgive Dylann Roof,” began Roxane Gay in The New York Times. She later added, “I do not foresee ever forgiving his crimes, and I am wholly at ease with that choice… My lack of forgiveness serves as a reminder that there are some acts that are so terrible that we should recognize them as such. We should recognize them as beyond forgiving.”

Gay’s refusal to forgive is also tied to her desire to perpetuate the racism meme so loved by today’s liberals. She wrote, “The call for forgiveness is a painfully familiar refrain when black people suffer. White people embrace narratives about forgiveness so they can pretend the world is a fairer place than it actually is, and that racism is merely a vestige of a painful past instead of this indelible part of our present.”

An L.A. Times op-ed says that we should put conditions on forgiveness. Edward E. Baptist writes, “It's one thing for a survivor of trauma to tell a handcuffed and doomed perpetrator that you forgive him. It's another thing to forgive those who can still harm you. You don't do that without a good reason to believe that the person who harmed you has changed into someone who will not do so again.”

Of course, this is not what Jesus taught. When Peter famously asked Jesus if we should forgive up to seven times, Jesus replied “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” In other words, as often as is necessary. One of the last lessons Jesus taught us was on forgiveness. In agony, as He was mercilessly and unjustly dying on the cross, Jesus asked His heavenly Father to forgive his executioners.

In February 1944, because they were hiding Jews from the Nazis, the ten Boom home was raided by German police. Corrie, along with her father, brother, two sisters, and several other family members were arrested. Shortly after the arrest, all of the family was released except Corrie, her father Casper, and her sister Betsie. Casper got sick and died within ten days of arrest. Corrie and Betsie remained in prison and were later transferred to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp in Germany. Betsie would die there, while Corrie was accidently released.

The ten Booms were devoted Christians who believed what the Bible taught, not only about the Jewish people, but also about forgiveness. Corrie had a long career after WWII, ministering to the mentally disabled, foster children, and the like, along with speaking and writing on the Christian faith. She was especially noted for her forgiveness of the Nazis who imprisoned her and her family.

On forgiveness, ten Boom wrote, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” In other words, like we have been taught about love, forgiveness does not depend on how we feel about any particular person or situation.

Therefore, and thankfully, we do not have to have pleasant feelings about those who have wronged us. Neither must we “think them nice.” We are simply to do and say the things that forgiveness requires. We are also not to reduce by even the slightest measure our contempt for wicked things such as murder, racism, lust, greed, and the like. And we must hate such things in ourselves as much as we hate them in others.

Lastly, and “one step further,” showing true love and forgiveness does not mean that we can’t punish—even unto death—those who have done wrong. Christianity teaches that we all live forever (somewhere), thus if justice requires death in this life, so be it. What ultimately matters most is that the condemned be presented with the opportunity to accept the final forgiveness and atonement offered by the final Judge that we all will face and that we all have offended.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Planned Parenthood is Selling Baby Parts? What Else is New?

At Cosmopolitan, abortion apologist Robin Marty said that after reading the emails, watching the video, scanning the press releases, and poking around the primary sources of the latest scandal involving America’s number one killer of children in the womb, all she could do was yawn. Sadly, my reaction was very similar.

No one should be surprised that Planned Parenthood (PP) is in the organ trafficking business. And what if they are not? What if this is—as some Planned Parenthood puppets have claimed—much ado about nothing? Does that really change anything about how we feel about an organization so devoted to death (which gets over half-a-billion dollars in tax-payer funds)?

And so what, if in order to harvest intact organs, the abortionist decides that “I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact?” (The exact words, as caught on tape, used by Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Deborah Nucatola.) Does it really matter where the baby is “crushed?” Either way, a child is dead.

In other words, whether or not PP is hocking the organs of babies, they’re still the same butcherous bunch they've always been. Again, no one should be surprised by this—not in the least.

PP has been caught instructing minors to lie about their age, targeting minorities, misleading teenagers about the dangers of promiscuity, and encouraging customers to cover up rape. Planned Parenthood lobbied passionately in favor of the Partial Birth Abortion (PBA) procedure where a “doctor” (their term, I wouldn’t honor them with such a title) “delivers a living child until its legs and torso are hanging outside the mother and then pierces the child’s skull with a sharp instrument and vacuums out its brains.”

Of course, PP was not alone in lobbying for such savagery. Many democrats partnered with them. Yes, this barbaric procedure was outlawed, but then presidential candidate Barack Obama himself said that he would not have supported such a law, and Americans elected him President—twice. Obama was not only against the ban on PBA, but, as I’ve noted more than once, Obama also lobbied against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA). In other words, before he was elected U.S. President—twice—then state senator Obama spoke out in favor of what could only be described as infanticide.

And PP continues to roll on. Liberals are even pointing out that “the transfer of human fetal tissue is not illegal in the United States. Women undergoing abortions sometimes choose to donate fetal tissue for scientific research and abortion providers do not facilitate these donations without their explicit consent.” Nice.

Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for PP, says that “In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases. (Because, you know, it’s important for those who have just killed a child in the womb to be able to help save a life.) Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different. At several of our health centers (A nice name for a place where so many lives come to an end.), we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider (Yes, because so many “high-quality health care providers” are devoted to death.) does—with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards.” (It takes high ethical standards to suck out a child’s brains with a stiff upper lip.)

Forgive me if I think this will really change things. I’m not very encouraged that, in spite of all the evidence we already have pointing to the truth of abortion and abortion providers, Americans are suddenly going to turn on PP because of the harvesting and marketing of baby organs. Additionally, can I really trust a nation who routinely elects rabid abortion apologists like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, to all of a sudden have a conscience when it comes to the unborn?

Please, surprise me America.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Obergefell: The Dred Scott of Our Time

In 1854, around one single issue—opposition to slavery—the Republican Party was formed. As historian David Barton notes, “The Republican agenda was clear, for every platform since its inception had boldly denounced slavery. In fact, when the U. S. Supreme Court delivered the 1857 Dred Scott ruling protecting slavery and declaring that Congress could not prohibit it even in federal territories, the Republican platform strongly condemned that ruling and reaffirmed the right of Congress to ban slavery in the territories. But setting forth an opposite view, the Democrat platform praised the Dred Scott ruling, and the continuation of slavery, and also loudly denounced all anti-slavery and abolition efforts.”

As I noted after Obergefell v. Hodges—or the modern day Dred Scott—where the perversion that is same-sex “marriage” was legalized across the U.S., there is plenty for Christians and other like-minded conservatives to do. Of course, this means action by elected conservatives. Today’s republicans can learn a great lesson from their political ancestors.

Over a century-and-a-half ago, the immorality of slavery was clear to those who supported (and wrote) the Republican platform. Likewise, today's republicans should have the same moral clarity when it comes to the perverse sexual agenda of today's left. Whether abortion, same-sex "marriage," gender distortions, and so on, the Democrat Party has sold itself out to the "Do as thou wilt" philosophy of modern liberalism. This wicked Godlessness must be opposed at every turn.

From now until the Obergefell ruling is reversed (and perhaps marriage is properly defined in the U.S. Constitution) the Republican platform should, in the strongest terms--as it did in the Dred Scott case--condemn the ruling, and contain the proper definition of marriage. Whether by Constitutional amendment or judicial reversal, every effort to return our legal code back to supporting the laws of the Law Giver must be made.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Liberal Lessons on the Redskins (and the Like)

Well, what do you know? Again ignoring long-standing history, scientific data, and plain common sense, American liberals got a federal judge to help them further their totalitarian agenda.

Yesterday, a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia upheld the ruling of an administrative appeal board and ordered the Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the registration of the trademark of “the NFL team located in Washington, D.C.” (Get used to such a phrase, as liberals will now be even more emboldened to ignore what has been for nearly a century. Of course, as we saw on marriage, liberals are quite adept at ignoring what has existed for centuries.) Until the appeals are exhausted, the Redskins can continue to use and protect their decades-old trademark.

Conservatives across America could learn something from liberals in this battle. First of all, many liberals, especially those in the media and politics (All 50 U.S. Senators who signed the letter sent to The New York Times—which, of course, got it first—and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, urging a change in the team’s name, were democrats.), continue to oppose fervently the “Redskins” name in spite of its overwhelming popularity.

There’s almost nothing in America as popular as the name “Redskins.” Hillary would probably rename her first grandchild “Monica” if she could only poll as popular as “Redskins.” As I noted on this same nonsense last year, when it comes to public opinion on this issue, virtually every poll ever taken shows overwhelming support for the Redskins name. Even in the most liberal place in the country, Washington D.C.—which happens to be the home city for the team—two-thirds polled say the team’s name should not change.

What’s more, a huge majority of Native Americans also supports the name. In late 2013, CBS Sports in D.C. reported on a poll that revealed 90% support for the Redskins name among Native Americans. In addition, dozens of American high schools use “Redskins” as their mascot. Most telling is the fact that, in almost all of these high schools, the majority of the students are Native American.

Nevertheless, the media and liberal politicians are undeterred and continue with the “change the Redskins” meme. We see the same thing on global warming. As a political issue, global warming—or climate change, or whatever the latest liberal spin is—has long been at or near the bottom of nearly any list of political issues put before Americans. This year’s Pew Public Policy Priorities Poll (say that five times fast!) has global warming second from the bottom.

In spite of this, liberals continue to wage war on fossil fuels and attempt to make (and sometimes succeed at making) public policy and pass legislation rooted in the myth that mankind is warming the planet. They make movies, documentaries, and television commercials that paint myth as fact. Billions and billions of dollars are spent, and billions more remain on the line.

You have to hand it to liberals. Whatever perverse morality seems to guide them at the moment (it often changes), as long as there’s not much of a political price to pay (which the media almost always helps in that way), they stick to their guns—well, they stick to their pet political issues.

If only republicans in Washington would show the same kind of fight on immigration, marriage, and the like. If the judge had ruled in favor of the Redskins, do you think liberals would have ceased their campaign in the matter? What did the marriage debate teach us? For years the conservative position was the popular one, and it showed in the polling and at the ballot box. Did this stop liberals?

As I’ve also noted before, because their moral demands are few, and because for decades now they’ve had a media and an education system that supports them at nearly every turn, politics is much easier for liberals. Thus, conservatives must always out-work liberals in the political realm. Whether we seem to be working with the lead, or from behind, conservatives must stick to our principles and fight. Whether at home, at school, at church, in the media, in the boardroom, in the courtroom, in the legislature, and so on, uncompromising (hear me, Chris Christy) conservatives are needed.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Friday, July 3, 2015

God's "Invisible Hand" at The Battle of Long Island (an excerpt from my upcoming book)

In his inaugural address to Congress President Washington said,

“It would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplication to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States…No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency…We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Led by General Washington, time and again the rag-tag American forces went up against the world’s most elite army and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. From Trenton to Princeton, Saratoga, Valley Forge, and on and on until Yorktown, American forces defied the odds, and the “invisible hand” to which Washington referred was always there.

There were far too many “coincidences” that benefited the Colonial Army—at least for those who experienced or witnessed such events—for things to be written off simply as good fortune. Of course, that is exactly what many modern historians do. Thus, for example, most Americans have never heard "the rest of the story” when it comes to the largest battle of the entire Revolutionary War.

The Battle of Long Island, the first major battle after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was a victory for the British. However, the escape by the Americans was one of the most significant military achievements by the Colonial Army. It is also one of the greatest examples of divine intervention in American history.

Just prior to the American Declaration of Independence, in early June of 1776, the British began sending troop ships down from Canada with intention of taking New York. The British ships dropped anchor just off Staten Island. Over the period of the next several weeks and months the British had amassed a force of nearly 32,000 troops on Staten Island.

With a force of about 19,000, Washington was unsure whether the British would invade at Long Island or Manhattan. Thus, he chose to divide his forces.

Beginning early in the morning on August 22, 1776, thousands of British troops launched from Staten Island and in the matter of a few hours landed on Long Island. Though Colonials were stationed on the shore, the British landing went unopposed. The Colonial forces, consisting of Colonel Edward Hand’s Pennsylvanian Riflemen, retreated and by noon there were about 15,000 Red Coats on the shores of Long Island.

Three days later the Red Coats were reinforced by nearly 5,000 Hessians. Being misinformed of the British numbers, and thinking that perhaps the Long Island landing by the British was a ruse, Washington left his forces divided between Manhattan and Long Island. When the fighting on Long Island commenced on August 27, the Colonial forces numbered only about half the British and Hessian force that totaled nearly 20,000.

The fighting raged throughout the day, and soon the American forces were surrounded or overwhelmed. Two American regiments led by General William Alexander—known as Lord Stirling because of his Scottish ancestry—consisting of the 1st Delaware and the 1st Maryland Infantry, became cut off and trapped. Stirling ordered his forces to retreat behind the fortified American position on Brooklyn Heights.

A contingent of several hundred Maryland troops, known today as the Maryland 400 (which may have been only about 250), remained behind to protect the retreat. They battled British forces that were 10 times their number. Led by Stirling and a young major named Mordecai Gist, they fought ferociously and heroically. Several times (maybe as many as six), the Maryland 400 charged the British lines. They held the British off long enough for their comrades to reach safety. All but a handful would be killed or captured. Washington, observing the battle, remarked, “Good God, what brave fellows I must this day lose!” If not for such bravery, Washington would have lost his army that day.

Surrounded, hopelessly outnumbered, and with the East River behind them, Washington and his army waited for what was surely to be the final British assault that would finish off the trapped Americans. All afternoon of the 27th they waited. Dusk turned to dark and inexplicably the British forces, led by General William Howe, a distinguished and capable commander, defied all military logic and held their ground.

By the morning of the 28th, overcast skies moved in. By the late afternoon, rain began to fall. The British were settling in, digging trenches, and hoping for an American surrender. In addition to severely outnumbering the Americans, a significant contingent of the Royal Navy, led by General Howe’s brother, Admiral Richard Howe, waited at the mouth of the East river ready to sail in and rain cannon fire upon the trapped colonials.

However, the winds accompanying the storm that moved in kept the British ships safely away. As the night of the 28th came, General Howe continued to wait. All the waiting gave Washington time to develop a plan. It was desperate, and it was not popular among his senior officers. Washington had decided to evacuate his entire force of nearly 9,000 using small boats that he obtained from General William Heath who was stationed between Manhattan and what is now the Bronx.

The task was enormous and fraught with peril. At their current position, the East River was a mile wide. To be successful, the Americans needed stealth, time, deception, and wind to keep the Royal Navy away. By “chance” the last troops to reinforce Washington’s position were Colonel John Glover’s “Marvelous Men from Marblehead.” This company of 1,200 men was disciplined and well trained. They were also mostly seamen and fishermen. This meant that they were expert oarsmen and well capable of quietly rowing the necessary distance across the East River.

During the night, the storm moved out and there was no rain to help drown out the noise of the withdrawal. Silence was ordered. Additionally, some forces had to remain in place to keep the British deceived. One unit of such men, led by Colonel Edward Hand, mistakenly received orders to head for the shore. This left a gap in the American line that the British could have easily exploited. However, it went unnoticed by the Red Coats and, catching the error, Washington sent Hand’s men back into place.

As dawn was breaking, the evacuation was far from over. Major Ben Tallmadge, who would later become Washington’s chief intelligence officer (and who is a significantly portrayed in AMC’s Turn, the TV series detailing what is hailed as “America’s first spy ring”), and who was part of the rear guard protecting the retreat, noted

“As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us who remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety, and when the dawn appeared there were several regiments still on duty. At this time a very dense fog began to rise [out of the ground and off the river], and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this peculiar providential occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards distance…we tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog remained as dense as ever.”

The fog remained until the last Colonial left Long Island. It then lifted and the stunned British rushed to the river and began firing at the fleeing Americans, but it was too late. They were out of range and safely away. Virtually all Colonials who kept a diary of those events noted the fog and, like Tallmadge, gave credit where it was due. Nearly 9,000 Americans were evacuated with no loss of life or limb. According to witnesses, Washington was the last man to leave Brooklyn.

Had Washington and the large American contingent on Long Island been captured, it likely would have ended the war. However, "providential aid" prevailed.

The miraculous fog, the dawdling and seemingly blind British, the timely arrival of skilled oarsmen, and a helpful northeast wind that kept British ships out of the East River—these were too many “coincidences” to give credit to mere chance. Though technically the British were the victors in the Battle of Long Island—when the news reached London there was tremendous celebration—the Americans could not deny that the “invisible hand” of the “Almighty Being” was clearly present on Long Island and had delivered them from what looked like certain defeat.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Monday, June 29, 2015

Marriage: Where Do We Go From Here?

With a liberal court, we get the rulings we deserve. Or, in other words, elections have consequences. It's safe to say that without the election of Barack Obama, we would not have had to endure liberal Supreme Court justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor sitting in judgement of marriage. (Both appointed by Obama in his first term, and both voting to legally redefine marriage.) Of course, the election of a republican, especially the likes of John McCain, gives no guarantee of conservative appointments to the Supreme Court. However, justices Roberts and Alito, appointed by George W. Bush, both voted against this sweeping perverse ruling on marriage. All of those who voted for Obama have their fingerprints on the tyrannical judicial travesty that resulted in the legal redefinition of marriage.

As many, including the President of the United States, taunt the truth and celebrate sin, there is still much to be done for those who are determined to stand for marriage as our Creator gave it to us. After the ruling, as Rush Limbaugh discussed on his program on the day of the ruling, many conservative minded Americans were discouraged and upset. Many Americans are now wondering what to do.

First of all, in a time where, as even Rush noted, “there is a spiritual war going on where truth is no longer truth,” we are to be bold and faithful witnesses to the truth on marriage and sexuality. For Christians, as we live our lives as followers of Jesus, and as we examine the world around us and the areas where we have influence, we should always be on the lookout for our opportunities to shine light into darkness. Thus, as a witness for the truth, one thing we should always be asking ourselves is, “What are the sins with which we are most struggling?”

Likewise, pastors, as they prepare their sermons, should always be asking, “Where is the enemy at work in attempting to deceive my congregation?” Or, as another pastor has put it, “What are your people’s idols?” Of course, this should lead us to ask where the enemy is at work in the culture at large. As has been clear for decades now, within the moral realm in our culture, the conflict is almost exclusively about sex.

As I noted on the day of the infamous ruling, we cannot blame this entirely on liberals and liberalism. Sadly, the U.S. Supreme Court giving legal status to same sex “marriage” also reflects a tragic failing of the church. We have ignored the fundamental truths on marriage, sexuality, and the family for too long. Homosexuality has a long way to go before it can inflict the damage done by promiscuity, pornography, adultery, abortion, fornication, and divorce.

And we can’t simply point out the sexual immorality of others. We must also be quick to discuss our own struggles with sin, especially those in the sexual realm, as situations call for it. Additionally, filled with peace, love, joy, and the like, we must live out what is right and true.

As Rick Warren put it late last year, celebrate healthy marriages (especially in churches). Don’t simply be an opponent of what’s wrong, be a proponent of what’s right. Our lives, whether single or married, should be an example of what a walk with Christ looks like so others are drawn to Him whether they hear us say anything about Him or not.

Specifically, on marriage and sexuality, if you are married, commit as husband and wife to remain faithful in all that the Bible reveals on the holy covenant of marriage. Namely, commit to remain faithful to one another and keep the marriage bed pure. Commit to remain married until your earthly union is dissolved by death. Furthermore, as a union of one man and one woman, commit to allow God to use your union as He sees fit to build His Kingdom.

Also, commit to model and to teach others the truth on marriage and sexuality. Namely, that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life and that the only rightful place for sex is within marriage.

Likewise, if you are single, commit to remain faithful to all that the Bible reveals on the holy covenant of marriage. Namely, while unmarried, commit to keep yourself sexually pure and model and teach this behavior to those in your circle of influence. Furthermore, commit to allow God to use you as a single person as He sees fit to build His Kingdom, and commit to model and to teach others the truth on marriage and sexuality. Namely, that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life and that the only rightful place for sex is within marriage. (All of this is in the “Marriage Commitment Challenge.”)

Second, those with a higher profile in the culture, those in leadership or who have a wide circle of influence, have a greater responsibility in this matter and all such matters. To whom much is given, much is required. Of course this means pastors, but also politicians, pundits, business leaders, famous athletes, musicians, producers, actors, authors, bloggers, educators, and so on. In other words, we need Christians in the culture at large to tell and model amazing stories on marriage and sexuality. As Rick Warren said, “Whichever side tells the best stories wins.”

There can be little doubt that to a great extent, the deception on homosexuality, marriage, and gender has occurred because of the efforts of liberals in politics, the media, and so on. Not only that, but as most of us well know, the traditional family has been mercilessly attacked in the media. As American Thinker noted recently, this is especially the case with fathers. As Rick Moran put it, “Hollywood has made a deliberate effort to undermine the patriarchy by savaging fatherhood.” This has been the case for decades now.

Christian conservatives, and our like-minded friends, have not done enough to counter this. For example, recently my wife and I, along with our four kids, attended a Christian concert. Several popular contemporary Christian artists performed. There was a lot of great (but too loud!) music that focused our hearts and minds on God. However, there was nothing said or sung that focused on marriage and family.

Similarly, there is more than one Christian radio station in our area (northeast Georgia) to which we frequently listen. I hear almost nothing from the hosts, guests, artists, and so on, when it comes to marriage and the family. Surely they are not shying away from the truth out of fear of “offending” their sponsors or audience. Similarly, famous athletes and other entertainers who believe what the Bible teaches on marriage and sexuality need to exercise their First Amendment rights (while they remain!) on these matters. (Like the NFL’s Ben Watson.)

Third, if you are a Christian parent, when it comes to your witness to the truth, you have no greater responsibility on this earth than your children. In other words, every parent is in youth ministry. There’s a reason millennials are the group most likely to support a perverse redefinition of marriage. Decades of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have led to tens-of-millions of U.S. children growing up in homes without both parents. Thus we now have millions of young Americans whose notion of marriage and family has been tragically distorted. This trend must be reversed.

Fourth, we need to be ready to minister to those who suffer from the sin of homosexuality. As the decades have passed since the U.S. Supreme Court foolishly attempted to redefine life in Roe v. Wade, science, technology, and human experience have revealed what sound morality has always taught: life in the womb is just that. Just a few weeks after conception, we can now literally witness, through sight and sound, the miracle of life in the womb.

The horrible images (warning: graphic) of post-abortive children have been seared into the consciences of tens-of millions. The testimony of regret of millions of women who were deceived by the abortion industry has helped shine light into a deep and ugly darkness. Yes, abortion remains legal and as brutal as ever, but restrictions abound and are growing. Crisis pregnancy centers have ministered to tens-of-millions and saved the lives of millions.

There is no getting around it: the wages of sin is death. If we linger in sin, we are going to reap suffering. This is certainly true with sexual immorality. Disease and death literally await those enslaved in the homosexual lifestyle. And how can we measure the broken hearts of those who have departed from their Creator’s plan on marriage and sexuality? As has happened in the pro-life movement, the Christian community must equip ourselves like never before to minister to those who are broken by the sin of homosexuality.

Last, conservative politicians need to act. We need a constitutional amendment that properly defines, or allows states to properly define, marriage. Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has been at, or very near, the top of my list of 2016 presidential candidates. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to redefine marriage, again justifying my high opinion of him, Walker issued a statement declaring, “Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges ‘has been with us for millennia.’”

He added that, “the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.” As Rush noted, whether it’s Obamacare, marriage, spending, and so on, far too often conservative politicians make no efforts “whatsoever to deal with the assaults and the attacks that are relentless and daily from the left.”

If your congressional representatives at the state and federal level can’t stand up for marriage, they do not deserve your vote. However, a constitutional amendment isn’t the “only alternative left” when it comes to marriage. As implied at the beginning of this piece, Americans need to elect a conservative to the office of U.S. President. If liberal justices can be replaced by conservative ones, the Supreme Court can reverse itself.

Again, marriage is the oldest institution in the history of humanity--older than God's covenant with the nation of Israel, older than The Law, older than the church. Marriage is one of the earliest truths revealed by God. If ANYTHING is true, marriage as the union of one man and one woman is true. On this, there can NEVER be compromise.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Friday, June 26, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court Abandons the Eternal Truth of Marriage

Of course, I will have more to say on this later, but as I have often done before, and as I will do until I die, let me once again defend the biblical view of marriage and sexuality. (More here, here, here, here, here, and here.) (Yes, that’s 27 links. I dare you to read them all.)
In case you need a reminder, this is what a family is supposed to look like.
Whatever the Supreme Court of the United States is, it is NOT (PRAISE GOD!!!) the final arbiter of eternal truth. However, make no mistake about it, the SCOTUS's ruling today that makes same-sex "marriage" the law of the land across the U.S. is a powerfully historic and tragic moment in American history. With the vote of five foolish Justices deceived by a foul wickedness, we have now officially gone the way of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

Of course, as many have noted in recent days, all is not lost. This just means that we--the church, the hands and feet of Jesus--have even more work to do. Sadly, today's ruling also reflects a tragic failing of the church. We have ignored the fundamental truths on marriage, sexuality, and the family for too long. However, this doesn't mean that we are to tuck our tails and accept defeat. Our witness to these eternal truths is more important now than ever. (See: The Marriage Commitment Challenge.) Again, on marriage, we can NEVER give in!

Sadly, obedience to the eternal truths of God may mean that we now run afoul of the civil laws of our land. Many Americans are going to have to make hard choices about whom they are going to obey. It will cost some of us our jobs, and for others, the loss of a job may be only the beginning of the suffering that results from standing for the truth on marriage. As a public school teacher in the state of Georgia, let me say right now: I will NEVER affirm homosexual relationships as normal and healthy, and I will continue to take all opportunities to live and tell the truth on marriage and sexuality.

I'll again close with this: Marriage is the oldest institution in the history of humanity--older than God's covenant with the nation of Israel, older than The Law, older than the church. Marriage is one of the earliest truths revealed by God. If ANYTHING is true, marriage as the union of one man and one woman is true. On this, there can NEVER be compromise.

P.S. With a liberal court, we get the rulings we deserve. Or, in other words, elections have consequences. It's safe to say that, without the election of Barack Obama, we would not have to endure liberal Supreme Court justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor sitting in judgement of marriage. (Both appointed by Obama in his first term, and both voting to legally redefine marriage.) Of course, the election of a republican, especially the likes of John McCain, gives no guarantee of conservative appointments to the Supreme Court. However, justices Roberts and Alito, appointed by George W. Bush, both voted against this sweeping perverse ruling on marriage. All of those who voted for Obama have their fingerprints on today's judicial travesty.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Confederate Flag and the Liberal Mob

I’ve lived in northeast Georgia all of my life. My congressional district is the Georgia ninth. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, my district is the third most conservative in the nation. I’m nearly 46 years-old, and the northeast part of Georgia has been very conservative for a long time. Of course, I would have it no other way.

That being said, I’ve never been much of a fan of the Confederate battle flag. I’ve never purchased an item—t-shirt, bumper sticker, car tag, and so on—emblazoned with the Confederate battle flag. And as far as I can remember, I’ve never displayed it at any time or at any place on my personal property.

I recall once during my later teenage years, or perhaps my early twenties, while an undergraduate student, and while working on the landscaping crew at an upscale area golf course, I vocally expressed my disdain for the Confederate battle flag. It was not unusual to see pickup trucks around my small town cruising around with the Confederate battle flag proudly—and oftentimes largely—displayed. I saw such actions as rather foolishly “redneckish” and said so. From that day on, my fellow landscapers affectionately dubbed me as “Reb.”

Though I’ve grown to embrace much of my “redneck” heritage, the Confederate battle flag is a symbol that I still largely reject. It doesn’t offend me when I see it, and I don’t immediately label those who choose to display it as “racists.” However, I know enough history, and I’ve seen enough real racism to understand what the Confederate battle flag means to those who see it as a symbol of such.

Make no mistake about it, as author and Christian apologist Jim Denison recently pointed out, “It is a fact of Civil War history that the flag was originally associated with the institution of chattel slavery. And it is a fact of recent history that the flag continues to signify racism for many.” Denison cites James M. Coski, the historian at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia and an author of a “definitive work on the Confederate flag.”

As Denison’s piece notes, “According to Coski, ‘African-American slavery was inextricably intertwined with white southerners’ defense of their own constitutional liberties and with nearly every other facet of southern life.’ He concludes: ‘Descendants of the Confederates are not wrong to believe that the flag symbolized defense of constitutional liberties and resistance to invasion by military forces determined to crush an experiment in nationhood. But they are wrong to believe that this interpretation of the flag's meaning can be separated from the defense of slavery.’”

And as historian David Barton notes, it is revisionist history to conclude that the South did not go to war over slavery. He concludes that, “the South’s desire to preserve slavery was indisputably the driving reason for the formation of the Confederacy.” (The link is well worth the read.)

Nevertheless, as Selwyn Duke has already deftly informed us, Dylann Roof’s wicked acts should have nothing to do with whether or not an individual, a business, or a municipality decides to display, peddle, or hoist the Confederate battle flag. The reasons for making such a decision have been around for decades. To suddenly decide now to cast the Confederate battle flag upon the trash heap of history is to submit to the liberal mob. And submitting to a liberal mob only creates more incentive for the next mob action.

As Ann Coulter has gone into great detail about, whether Myth-making (“this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries”), contradictory thinking (“Muslims don’t need to apologize for the Tsarnaevs.” – “White America must answer for the Charleston church massacre.”) creating messiahs, turning those who disagree with you into opponents, simple-mindedness, inability to grasp logic, or speaking in slogans (“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!”), the liberal mob is always on the look-out for the next opportunity to further its agenda.

Because liberalism generally rejects the notion of absolute truth, and because with liberalism it’s always about “the narrative,” the next opportunity could be almost anything: the ten-dollar bill, the Jefferson memorial, the use of “boys and girls”, the use of “wife”, and so on. Who knows where it will stop? Will we get another redefinition of marriage? Another redefinition of gender (along with another letter in the absurd LGBTQQIAP lexicon)? Will the American flag soon be a target?

As I’ve noted before, because their moral bar is so low and easily adjusted to whatever is politically popular, liberals today generally have an easier time “playing politics” than conservatives—especially Christian conservatives. In the not so distant past, many liberals had little problem embracing the Confederacy, along with its symbols, as long as it was a useful means to a political end. As has been well documented now, the Confederate battle flag is the legacy of democrats, not republicans.

This is not about democrats and republicans. This is about what is right and wrong. And relativists who operate by mob rule simply cannot be trusted with such.

(See this piece on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World