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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Remembering to Thank God

Sir Walter Raleigh’s first attempts at settling the New World were disastrous. Much of this was the result of refusing to put God and His will first. The English, who were at that time trying to gain a foothold on the New World, were succumbing to the same greed that had earlier blinded the Spaniards. Starvation, disease, hostile Indians, and other hardships, including a whole colony lost (the Lost Colony of Roanoke), led to dampened enthusiasm for New World expeditions.

It would be nearly 20 years after Raleigh’s initial ventures before enough English interest could again be sparked for more New World adventure. In 1602, one of Raleigh’s captains, Bartholomew Gosnold, sailed to what is now Maine with 32 men. Fearing the natives, disease, and the coming winter, they returned to England less than four months after leaving.

Undeterred, Gosnold obtained an exclusive charter from King James I to form The Virginia Company with the purpose of establishing permanent settlements in North America. He and his fellow adventurers on December 16, 1606 again sailed for North America.

Despite recruiting “sermons” that contained messages of evangelical outreach, and the preamble of the Company’s charter, written by King James I, which contained the words, “…propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God, and may in time bring the infidels and savages, living in these parts, to human civility and to a settled and quiet government,” the lust for gold was, again, what drove the men of this expedition.

Evidence of this fact was that this first expedition sent by The Virginia Company contained exclusively men, 144 of them. Among them were no women or families, nor were these men heads of households going to prepare a homestead. Also, among these 144 was only one minister. In the words of David Marshall and Peter Manuel, these 144 men “were interested in one thing: getting their gold chamber pots and returning to England as soon as possible.”

On May 14, 1607, headed by a seven-man council, which included John Smith, these 144 men settled Jamestown. Because of their misguided efforts it was a disaster from the beginning. These men battled the elements, disease (including malaria), Indians, starvation, and one another. The lone minister on the adventure, Robert Hunt, did his best to keep the others focused on God. His sermons went mostly unheeded; however, he persevered. By February of 1608 only 38 of the 144 remained alive.

News of what was really happening in Virginia began to get back to England. To counteract this news The Virginia Company increased its propaganda campaign. They were successful for a while, and therefore investors continued to invest and settlers continued to settle. According to Marshall and Manuel, “The death rate in Virginia that second year was—incredibly—even higher than the first: out of every ten people that embarked for theNew World, nine would die!”

The death rate did not abate with time. Marshall and Manuel add, “For example, of the 1,200 people who went out to Virginia in 1619, only 200 were left alive by 1620. Why this horrible continuing death rate? There is no logical explanation, except one: year after year they steadfastly refused to trust God—or indeed to include Him in any of their deliberations.”

The next settlers to cross the Atlantic were not coming seeking wealth and prosperity, but were seeking a new home. They believed that America was their destiny. The Pilgrims, and the Puritans who followed them, are the people most responsible for the foundation of America as a Christian nation, and they knew better than to undertake anything without God.

On November 11, 1620, after dropping anchor in Cape Cod, the Pilgrims drafted a compact that would embody the same principles of government upon which American Democracy would rest. It read, “In the name of God, amen. We whose names are under-written…Having undertaken, for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and honor of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic…constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony…the 11th of November…Anno Domini 1620.”

On November 29, 1623, two years after the first Thanksgiving, Governor William Bradford made an official proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving. In it Governor Bradford thanked God for their abundant harvest, bountiful game, protection from “the ravages of savages…and disease,” and for the “freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.”

The Pilgrims had the proper perspective. As Bradford would so discernibly note, “As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shown unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation…We have noted these things so that you might see their worth and not negligently lose what your fathers have obtained with so much hardship.”

May we never forget the harsh lessons that many who attempted to settle this precious land had to learn due to turning away from their Creator and Provider. May we never forget all the struggles and hardships that those who founded our great nation had to endure. Last, may we never forget those godly principles and truths upon which our great nation was founded and thank Him who is the giver of all good things.

Copyright 2008, 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
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama Helps Pass Prop 8

Oh, the irony. With Barack Obama on the ballot, liberals thought they couldn’t lose. However, in California things did not go as planned. Much of the country was watching as Californians had on their ballot Proposition 8, which, if passed, would amend their state constitution to read, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The measure passed 52% to 48%.

The thick irony here is that, according to Colby Cash on nationalpost.com, “traditionalist churches needed help to pass Proposition 8—and that help came from black voters brought to the polls by Barack Obama. The measure lost outright among white and Asian voters; it won by more than two to one among blacks, who mostly belong to deeply conservative evangelical churches and who turned out on Nov. 4 in unprecedented numbers.” The measure was also supported by a majority (53%) of Hispanic voters.

I seriously question how “conservative” and “evangelical” any voting group is that overwhelmingly supports the ultra-liberal Barack Obama, especially given his abortion record. Further irony in this vote is that Obama himself came out against Proposition 8. In July of this year, in a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, Obama wrote that he supports extending “fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law…And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”

The California vote just goes to show how unacceptable to Americans in general that gay marriage is. If it cannot pass in California it is unlikely to pass in any other U.S. State. The only way for the gay-marriage lobby to get its way is through judicial activism, with the state of Connecticut as the most recent example. With a 4 to 3 ruling on October 10 of this year, the Connecticut Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples have a right to wed rather than engage in “civil unions.”

The gay-marriage lobby is now zero-for-thirty in their attempts to stop the citizens in U.S. states from passing constitutional amendments strictly defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Arizona andFlorida also passed similar measures in this election. A thirty-game losing streak is a pretty abysmal record, but gay marriage supporters are not giving up. True to their form, they are suing to block the amendment passed inCalifornia.

Proposition 8 was in response to the 4 to 3 decision by the California Supreme Court ruling in May of this year that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In 2000, 61% of California voters passed the ban (Proposition 22) which said, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.” Sadly, it must have been lost on most California voters, as well as voters across the country, that Obama would most likely appoint judges to the federal courts who see things much as the California and Connecticut courts did.

One thing that now must be decided is what to do about the 17,000 or so homosexual “marriages” that took place in between the California Supreme Court ruling and the passing of Proposition 8. Whether these “marriages” will be invalidated remains to be seen. Several states (at least 10) were leery of this scenario and cautioned the California court to delay finalizing its ruling until after the vote on Proposition 8. Of course, the California court in its “enlightened” wisdom refused to do so and now they have a legal mess on their hands, which they richly deserve.

Citizens across the country must keep a wary eye on the judiciary at the local, state, and federal levels. We must never forget that all branches of our wonderful government are ultimately accountable to “we the people.” However, foolish overreaching and “interpreting” by the courts can take years, even decades, to undo. Americans must understand the process by which judges make it to the bench and always keep this in mind as we elect our leaders.

Copyright 2008, 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
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Greatest Civil Rights Battle of All Time

In their desire to wash their hands of President George W. Bush, Americans handed the keys of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Barak Obama. In addition, many Americans, in their lust to cross a great racial and civil rights hurdle, voted into the White House a politician with one of the vilest voting records towards the unborn ever seen in American politics. How ironic that so many talking heads are trumpeting Barak Obama’s victory as an unmatched milestone for civil rights, while the most discriminated against humans ever, the unborn, continue their plight.

At its despicable peak, the African slave population reached about four million in 1860. Between the years 1880 and 1951 the Tuskegee Institute reports that 3,437 African-Americans were lynched in the United States. Approximately 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust during World War II. A total of about 1.3 million American soldiers have died in all U.S. military conflicts. Each of these figures represents events that are uniquely tragic. However, they pale in comparison to the over 48 million Americans who have died in the womb since 1973.

Male and female; black, white, brown; children of every people group imaginable have suffered. Barak Obama has shown at best indifference and at worst unusual hostility towards the most defenseless amongst us. He is on record as saying that one of his first acts as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act which would supersede any laws that restrict any abortion. Yet his election to the highest office in the land is being hailed by many as a victory for the downtrodden and the oppressed.

With Obama taking office and with liberals now firmly in charge of both houses of Congress it is more important than ever that pro-life Americans let their voices be heard. Obviously many Americans were more concerned with their pocketbooks than with the plight of the unborn in this latest election.

All of us are selfish by nature and so it is not surprising that most Americans voted with their wallet in mind instead of the womb. America needs to be continually reminded of the legal “lynching’s” that take place inside women’s wombs to the tune of over 1 million per year.

Our Declaration of Independence states that, “all men are created equal,” and to many in our nation the election of a black man as our President has never made these words seem truer. However, immediately following that phrase our Declaration declares that we are endowed by our Creator “with certain unalienable rights,” and, of course, the first of these “rights” is the right to life.

Slavery nearly tore our nation in two, and hundreds of thousands of died to bring it to an end. After the calamity of the Civil War, it still took over a century later for America to finally properly recognize the equal rights and protections that were due a certain group of its citizens. It is time for similar actions to take place for those still in the womb.

It is beyond comprehension how any person can consider themselves a champion of civil rights and ignore the unborn. Liberals in America must shed their blatant hypocrisy and, not only enlist in the greatest civil rights battle of all time, but also help bring to an end the greatest holocaust the world has ever known.

Copyright 2008, 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
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Christian Response to Whoever Wins the Presidency

Writing in The Light and the Glory, Peter Marshall and David Manuel note that in hoping for America to be on the right path many Christians have “hoped that electing a Christian President would do the job. But as Dwight Eisenhower once said, ‘Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.’”

Marshall and Manuel continue, “It is the most dangerous kind of corporate self-delusion to think that a President, regardless of how much he heeds God, can reverse the bent of the national will, once it is set in a certain direction…which seems to put the responsibility directly upon each of us who has a personal relationship with our Savior—much as we might like to blame the immorality of others for the precipitous rate of decline. But the responsibility is ours, and it always has been.”

Make no mistake; I believe that a liberal President with a liberal Congress could pose very dire consequences for our nation. As Thomas Sowell recently put it, “Add to Obama and Biden House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and you have all the ingredients for a historic meltdown.”

There is the old saying, “We get the government we deserve.” Those occupying the White House and the halls of Congress are, usually, a reflection of the electorate in general. If we want leaders who value life and liberty, who believe in the sanctity of biblical marriage and a limited role of government; if we want leaders who believe in a strong military and understand the role of commander-in-chief, then America needs the heart of the people to reflect these things.

When the nation of Israel insisted on a king, the prophet Samuel inquired of the Lord. Scripture reveals that the Lord told Samuel to give the Israelites what they asked for. The Lord added that, “It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me…” Samuel tried to warn Israel of the consequences of having a king to lead them. They would not hear of it. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations…”

During his farewell speech, after anointing Saul as Israel’s first king, Samuel told the people, “Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for.” So the Israelites got what they wanted, but after Samuel’s speech they realized their sin, saying, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”

Samuel told them not to be afraid, even though they had done this evil. “Do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart,” Samuel said. He later added, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you…but be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart…yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will be swept away.”

As Christians I believe that our response to this current election should be similar to Samuel’s response to the people of Israel. Whether or not we think the right man is elected President, or the right people occupy Congress, far be it from us to cease praying for our nation and our nation’s political leaders. Our duty is to follow God and his ways, whoever occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

God will not be surprised by the outcome of this election, and He has good plans for His people whatever the outcome. However, there almost certainly will be negative consequences for choosing the wrong political leaders. I don’t know perfectly whom God would rather see win elections, and no matter who wins, His number one desire is to have the heart of the people reflect His heart. I would also add that, no matter who wins on November 4, He is still on His throne and will be always.

Copyright 2008, 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
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com