Another New Update: Obama, Clinton, and Benghazi…

Barry and Hillary photoBehind the Curtain of Political Rhetoric

Obama, Clinton, Syria, Iraq, and Benghazi

Compiled and Edited by Peter C. Coker

To some, this may seem to be a small and insignificant matter. But sometimes small things reveal the true nature and essence of a larger narrative. And, when lives are at stake, those things are certainly not small and insignificant to the families and friends of the deceased. Further, as we shall see, sometimes small matters left unchecked can turn into big problems with huge ramifications for the future.anti liberty

As we have already learned and now know through the partial release of Department of Defense (DOD) documents that the Obama administration and (former) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew almost from the outset that the attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, was coordinated and pre-planned. Further, the DOD documents also provide confirmation that the Obama Administration was well aware that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria.

washington dcDuring the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by the downfall of the Qaddafi regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo. The level of detail presented in the documents suggests that the Obama administration, (at the very least) was in a position to stop any of these military weapon transfers.

Through more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State, reveals that the DOD almost immediately reported the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was committed by al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance.

These DOD documents were not released voluntarily, but were forced out of the “secretive” Obama Administration, thanks to a court order that followed a May 15, 2014 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against both DOD and State asking for communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.” These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has been in motion for years and is only now beginning to unravel. However, the State Department has so far (as of May 2015), only released some of Hillary Clinton’s secretly held emails concerning this matter.

The documents provide us with the first official confirmation that the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria. The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria. It is not clear however, from the first partial release, if the information was ever shared with Congress.

A Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.” This document was sent to Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The “report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).”The group subscribes to “AQ [al Qaeda] ideologies:” The Defense Department reported that the group maintained written documents that contain information on all of the “al Qaeda” activity in Libya.”

The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately September 1, 2012. The intention was to not only to attack the consulate [and]; (1) kill as many Americans as possible, but to (2) seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye (ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and (3) as a memorial to the September, 11 2001 attacks on the American World Trade Center buildings.

“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, and “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset Azuz; AZUZ was sent by ZAWARI to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.” The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim Brotherhood.” “They have large caches of weapons and some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock. They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.” It should also be noted that Azuz is blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.

So, what’s the big deal, why should the weapons transfer from Benghazi to Syria be such an important issue? Because, the whole “Libya fiasco” was allowing weapons to move into a jihadist madhouse in the Syria-Iraq region! And that, as we have seen has had huge consequences in Iraq.

In another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), it said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and al Qaeda Iraq are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS: The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows: (1) This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and (2) will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. (3) ISIS could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, (4) which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory. So, President Obama was forewarned about the dire consequences of the situation and made the decision to allow it to proceed.

Some of the “dire consequences” are blacked-out in the report, but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.” As it turned out, the DIA warnings were right on the nose as Isis terrorists are now on the march in Iraq. And now the murderous Islamic radicals, with volunteers courtesy of Obama’s Libya creation, have embarrassed America and taken many American military assets that we gave to the Iraqi military! Obama has essentially handed Iraq over to “radical Islamic extremists” and thrown away its previous liberation! This is Obama’s big “F–U” to the American soldiers who fought to free Iraq, to the once liberated Iraqi people, and to the former President George Bush administration. President Obama’s policies have increasingly destabilized the entire region and expanded the influence of radical extremists.

Presently — for corrupt and incompetent politicians like President Obama and Hillary Clinton, “process” happens to be in their favor.  Acquiring the necessary records and sludging through the judicial process is slow-going at best. (Not to mention the politically inspired stalling tactics of the Obama Administration in conjunction with Hillary Clinton). This slow-going process essentially provides cover for their cover-up. The strategy and hope for them is that the public will forget or dismiss what really happened in Benghazi, Libya. But, as we are clearly finding out; they lied, they mocked, and they covered-up (more than was suspected).  And, remember what Hillary Clinton said at the time; “what difference at this point does it make.” Hillary’s words attempted to minimize the importance of her neglect, incompetence and suppression of evidence. In other words, in Hillary’s view, yesterday’s lies don’t matter, (because) I’m compassionate, my intentions are good, and besides, I need to get to work for the American people; blah, blah, blah.

But, as government records are revealing, the “difference” at this point has been devastating for the war on worldwide terrorism. And truly “caring” people are asking, “why are we allowing worldwide terrorism to continue?”

***

In a follow-up, covering November and December 2015, from politico.com comes this:

State Department belatedly finds 1,300 emails on Anwar Al-Awlaki

By JOSH GERSTEIN

in a flashLast month (Dec. 2015), the State Department belatedly discovered about 1,300 emails relating to deceased Islamic cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki in official accounts belonging to top aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, more than four years after a legal watchdog  group requested all such records, a new court filing reports.

At a federal court hearing in Washington, Justice Department attorneys assigned to the case brought by Judicial Watch told a federal judge that State‘s “executive secretariat” — the repository of records for the secretary’s office — was searched in response to the initial Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch.

In the new filing the lawyers representing the State Department said the records of Clinton’s former office were searched initially. The filing is vague about whether any responsive records were found at that time. However, it says a batch of emails about Al-Awlaki — who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011 — turned up only during the follow-up search.

“Upon review of the initial search of S/ES, State determined to conduct targeted supplemental searches,” Justice Department attorney Stephen Elliott wrote. “Accordingly, State conducted searches of the state.gov email accounts of six individuals, including Ms. [Huma] Abedin, Ms. [Cheryl] Mills, and Mr. [Jake] Sullivan.

In total, State’s searches of the state.gov email accounts for the six individuals identified 1,317 potentially responsive records, many of which are multiple-page documents.”

Previously, at the Nov. 20 hearing, Elliott said State had located a modest total of 127 Al-Awlaki-related emails in messages that former State officials Abedin, Mills and Sullivan had turned over to the agency from their private accounts at State’s request earlier this year. The new filing makes clear the 1,317 messages are from official accounts, not the trove of messages State received in recent months.

State’s recent discovery of the Al-Awlaki-related emails appears to be similar to the belated discovery of roughly 81,000 emails former Clinton aide Philippe Reines exchanged with journalists on his official account during his tenure at State. Gawker requested those messages under FOIA and was initially told that “no responsive records” could be located. The 81,000 messages appear to have turned-up only after the website filed suit in March of this year, following the disclosure that Hillary Clinton exclusively used a private email account and server for official business while serving as Secretary of State.

At a recent hearing in the Gawker case, Elliott declined to concede that the initial search which discovered no records was inadequate. A State spokesman had no comment beyond confirming the statements in the court filing. However, former State officials have said it is possible initial FOIA searches found no messages because the employees in question had left the agency several months before the searches began. If so, their accounts would likely have been empty. However, a more diligent effort could have retrieved the messages in some instances because some employees regularly moved their entire mailboxes to shared servers because of limits on State’s email boxes, the former officials said.

Those archived mailboxes would likely survive an employee’s departure, although current staff might not immediately know where to look. In addition, disaster recovery backup systems might contain some records, though those systems aren’t routinely searched for FOIA requests. Subpoenas from the House Benghazi Committee and a flurry of FOIA lawsuits that followed Clinton’s revelation in March may have prompted State to conduct more aggressive searches, the ex-officials said.

Born in New Mexico and serving as imam at a Falls Church, Virginia, mosque at the time of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Al-Awlaki became the focus of intense FBI surveillance and eventually left the U.S. for England and, later, Yemen. There, he became a fiery preacher of anti-American sermons on the Internet. Fingered by U.S. officials as a leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al-Awlaki was killed by an unmanned U.S. drone in September 2011. The move was controversial and raised novel legal questions because Al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen and was not on a conventional military battlefield when he was targeted.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Friday that his group does not think State ever searched Clinton’s office for records when the request was filed. “To put it directly, we don’t believe they searched Secretary Clinton’s office in 2012” he said. His group filed requests with State and the FBI on the same day Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 and filed suit in June 2012 after not receiving any records. A large trove of FBI records on its surveillance was later made public as were a smaller number of State records.

It is unclear how many of the newly discovered Al-Awlaki-related messages are substantive and how many are news reports forwarded by State officials. The new filing says “a number” of the messages in the new batch consist of “news clipping[s,] but is not more specific.

*Oops! But wait, there’s more…check this out:

Here’s an interesting (Benghazi) tidbit from Judicial Watch on Christian Dominionists:

in a flashAlso of interest is an email from former Ambassador Joe Wilson to Hillary Clinton concerning the Benghazi attack, in which he suggests the military is being compromised by “Christian Dominionists” in the U.S. military:

From: Joe Wilson
Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2012 10:27 AM
To: H
Subject: From Joe Wilson

Dear Hillary,

Glen Doherty [CIA contractor killed in the Benghazi attack] was a fellow member of the Military Religious Freedom Advisory Board, which fights to ensure that our military is not further compromised by the Christian Dominionists who seek to turn it into an instrument of their religious zealotry, an army for Christ rather than for the defense of our nation. He was invaluable in helping us uncover several cases where religious indoctrination was taking place under the guise of military training….

Why would Wilson send such a vicious attack on our military to Hillary Clinton unless he believed it would be welcomed?

***

Update: January 7, 2016

in a flash(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding the report released today by the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) regarding the Hillary Clinton email scandal and the mishandling of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department:

The Clinton email scandal is worsening.  Today’s State OIG report confirms what we’ve been saying all along – that Hillary Clinton and the Obama State Department thwarted specific Judicial Watch FOIA requests by lying about her email system with “inaccurate” and “incomplete” responses.  The State Department OIG report is half-baked but nonetheless devastating in laying out the violations of law and regulations by Hillary Clinton and her then-Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.  Judicial Watch plans to share this report with several federal courts considering our requests for discovery about the Clinton email issue.  The OIG admits it still doesn’t know the extent of the inaccuracies and other violations of FOIA and correctly suggests that officials could be held in contempt of court for FOIA fraud.  This is exactly why Judicial Watch is asking the courts for discovery, which could include putting current and former Obama administration officials under oath.  Judicial Watch wants to know the facts behind Hillary Clinton’s and the Obama State Department’s purposeful thwarting of FOIA so we can be sure that all of the emails from her illicit email system are reviewed and released to the public as the law requires.

***

Update: January 11, 2016

in a flash(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Obama State Department recently found “thousands” of new records from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.  According to information provided to Judicial Watch by various Justice Department attorneys, the new documents appear be “working” records in electronic format located on both “shared” and “individual” drives accessible to or used by persons identified as being relevant to Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits on the Benghazi scandal and controversies from Clinton’s term at State.  The State Department confirmed the new find in a court filing late this past Friday in a FOIA lawsuit concerning records about Clinton aide Huma Abedin:

After State filed its motion for summary judgment in this case [on November 11, 2015], State located additional sources of documents that originated within the Office of the Secretary that are reasonably likely to contain records responsive to Plaintiff’s request. State has informed Plaintiff that it intends to search these locations, produce non-exempt portions of any responsive records, and file a supplemental declaration in support of its motion for summary judgment (which is presently stayed).

The State Department seeks at least until February 1 to provide additional information about these new records.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement in response to the new disclosures:

This latest find of Clinton records, at this late date, is astonishing. The State Department waited to last possible moment, as it did with the Clinton emails, to tell Judicial Watch and the federal courts about thousands of records that haven’t been searched, as the law requires. Who knew what – and when did they know it – about these new Clinton documents?

These newly recovered Clinton records are a potential game changer – and will be of interest to the courts, Congress, and the FBI’s criminal investigation.  It sure looks like more of the same in terms of Obama administration officials’ obstructing our FOIA requests, obstructing the courts, obstructing Congress, and obstructing justice.

Judicial Watch exposed this new cover up on the heels of a finding by State Department’s Inspector General that Hillary Clinton and the Obama State Department thwarted specific Judicial Watch FOIA requests by lying about her email system with “inaccurate” and “incomplete” responses.

***

Here we go again! Another Update – Another Cover-Up exposed…

Update: April 26, 2016

Email Info Could Have Exposed Clinton Server in 2014

in a flash(Washington, DC) – The Obama State Department last week admitted it withheld a key Benghazi email of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Judicial Watch since at least September 2014.  If the State Department disclosed the email when first supposedly found, Clinton’s email server and her hidden emails would have been disclosed nearly two years ago, before Clinton authorized the alleged deletion of tens of thousands of emails.

The developments come in a July 2014 Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit seeking records related to the drafting and use of the Benghazi talking points (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)).  The lawsuit, which forced the disclosure of the Clinton email records, seeks records specifically from Clinton and her top State Department staff:

Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.

Contradicting an earlier statement to the court, an April 18, 2016, State Department letter admits that it found the email at issue in 2014 but was held back in its entirety:

Also, upon further review, the Department has determined that one document previously withheld in full in our letter dated November 12, 2014 may now be released in part.

The referenced November 12, 2014, letter does not reference any withheld emails.  A search declaration suggests the hidden email was found in September 2014 as a result of a search in response to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit.

The September 29, 2012, email to Clinton from then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan concerns talking points for Clinton calls with senators about the Benghazi attack.  The email contains Clinton’s non-state.gov address.

It is in this litigation that U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted “limited discovery” to Judicial Watch into Clinton’s and her aides’ email practices.  Judge Lamberth ruled that “where there is evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith, as here, limited discovery is appropriate, even though it is exceedingly rare in FOIA cases.”  (U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan also granted Judicial Watch discovery into the Clinton email matter.  The discovery planagreed to by the State Department, is awaiting Judge Sullivan’s approval.)

Last week’s document production also includes material from a records cache of thousands of new Clinton State Department records supposedly only discovered in December 2015.  The new material shows the State Department compiled extensive Libya/Benghazi-related dossiers on Republican and Democrat senators.

“Now we know the Obama administration consciously refused to give up key information about Hillary Clinton’s email in 2014.  It covered up this email both from the court and Judicial Watch,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “Judge Lamberth was right when he suggested that Obama’s State Department acted in bad faith.  This cover-up provided Hillary Clinton enough time to hide potentially thousands of government records.  One aim of our court-order discovery will be to get to the bottom of this cover-up.”

To be continued…?

*****

A note to “the people:” pay no attention to the denials of the men or women ‘behind the bureaucratic curtain.’ Pay attention to what they actually do and how transparent they are overall.

Note: This article and updates are basically taken from news reports, e-mail briefings from Judicial Watch, and an article from politico.com; which I compiled, edited and added some of my own snarky comments. – P.C. Coker

 

 

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The Classroom: A History of Fear Mongering?

32736-scarecrowThe Fright Peddlers

By Rev. R.J. Rushdoony

I read something last night which took me back to my school days, to the earlier years of elementary school, but not very pleasantly. It was a statement by a prominent “authority” that we have only enough coal, oil, and gas in the world’s reserves to last another twenty years (This was in 1976!). I recall hearing that statement fifty years ago (That would have been homer_endabout 1926!) in a classroom! I was also told that the new weapons of warfare would lead to the obliteration of the human race if a second world war began, and that man’s hope was in something called, I think, the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact, which almost all nations signed, promising to end all wars, and in the League of Nations. In fact, I heard quite a few horror stories in school about what was going to happen to the human race unless something or other was done.1 Since then, the world has gone from bad to worse, sometimes because of some of the answers then proposed!

expressionismBut our children and grandchildren still get the same horror stories, and college classrooms are full of them. We are running out of gas and oil (although some good “authorities” less publicized say we have enough for at least 2000 years); we are running out of air, space, and everything, or so it is claimed. All of this, besides being false, breeds fear and hopelessness. It exalts some scientific planners as the only ones with the answers, and it makes the rest of us a herd of cattle headed for the stockyards, unless we listen to them.skulls-khmer rouge

Above all else, it exalts the power of man to destroy, and it produces the fear of man. And this is sinful. God demands of us, “[W]ho art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the LORD thy maker…?” (Isa. 51:12–13).

earthThe creation of the world and its government is the work of the Lord, and it is not in His declared plan that man will destroy it. The fright peddlers (fear-mongers) are giving too much power to man. It is God’s power they need to recognize, not man’s. If man is the basic power, then the answers must come from man, but if God is the sovereign power, then the answers must come from God, and none other. God has provided the answers, and they are in His Word. Our problem is that men pay no attention to them.

*****

  1. I post this article remembering that in my own high school years (1968 – 1970); teachers then taught that scientists were warning of a new “Ice Age” in the near future. Today it is global warming or Climate Change that is (supposedly) going to doom mankind. Unfortunately some clergymen fall for the doom and gloom narrative, especially in the premillennial and dispensational camps; it fits right in with their “end times-last days” propaganda. (Gospelbbq)

Article from www.chalcedon.edu.

Previously published in the California Farmer 245:1 (July 10, 1976), p. 31.

 

 

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A Journey from Communism to Christ

Surprised by Freedom

Liberal godsA Journey from Communism to Christcross

By Marvin Olasky

Interview with Ismael Hernandez

MO (Marvin Olasky) — You grew-up in Puerto Rico under your father’s indoctrination.

IH (Ismael Hernandez) — He was a founding member of the Puerto Rico Communist Party. He consistently talked about revolution and made us listen to Fidel Castro’s never-ending speeches –seven hours speaking.

(MO) You had to listen to all seven hours?gallery3[1]

(IH) Yes, required listening. I grew-up hating the United States, hating capitalism, and blaming capitalism and America for the poverty we saw around us. And I hated America for the bad marriage that my mom  and my dad had, because my father was only interested in revolution.

(MO) But you admired him and wanted to be like him.

(IH) I would go with him to Communist cell meetings. Our lives were all around socialism and how to defeat the United States. When my mother cried because my father told her he would give the lives of the four children we had at home, for revolution, I consoled her but in the back of my mind agreed with my father. I wanted that kind of steel, that kind of commitment for a cause, and I eventually joined the party with him.

(MO) Sometimes you went to church with your mother?EmilyCarr-Indian-Church-1929

(IH) She would sneak us to go to Mass with friends without my father knowing about it. I began to have a double-consciousness: On the one side, revolution and socialism; on the other side, this idea about God.

(MO) “Liberation Theology” was popular at that time throughout Latin America, so becoming a Jesuit priest would allow you to satisfy both sides.

(IH) Exactly. The Jesuits were Marxists. I looked forward to studying liberation theology with them at a university on the border between Nicaragua and El Salvador; but when seven Jesuits were murdered there, they decided not to send me. I was frustrated and quit seminary. I decided to come to America, to the guts of “the monster,” as we called the United States. I had a friend who had gone to the University of Southern Mississippi. He told me it was very inexpensive, so I said, why not?

(MO) What happened there?University5

(IH) Hating America, still as a Communist, in the South, as a black Puerto Rican, you can imagine what kind of shock it was. But, because I had good grades in the first semester, they called me one day to the dean’s office and offered me full assistance to pay for all my studies. I hated their guts and they were rewarding me. This was not supposed to happen. For me, America was hell for the workers, but I started to question my assumptions.

(MO) They did not demand that you stick to a particular political line and do propaganda? You were free to explore, to read,to think?

(IH) Absolutely. I had good grades, and they rewarded that. I began to understand that America was more about the individual person, and that accomplishment brought reward.

(MO) You also met your wife-to-be.

(IH) She was starting a major in family therapy. At the beginning she thought I was a spy, but we bonded and became husband and wife. As a socialist I believed my only value was to be a faithful soldier of revolution, a drop in the water. If I do my duty, my life has value. If I don’t, my life doesn’t matter. What matters is the collective, the group; but America tells me no, you have value as a person. That was discovery, and I also discovered that what Americans call poverty is a joke compared to what we call poverty in any other context in the world. That was another problem for me, because this was not the America that socialism told me existed.

(MO) Sometimes students born in the 50 United States grit their teeth and make their way through core documents such as The Federalist Papers, but you found them exciting.great plains 1

(IH) They were ideas I had never explored that contradicted my safe assumptions and what I knew as a socialist – and at the same time they aligned with the experience I was having. That is radically important to me – before it became an intellectual quest, it became an experience. When I came to America, my lungs filled with the breath of freedom. I didn’t know it was happening, but it was. At the same time I was losing my father because he could not reconcile the most radical of his sons now becoming part of the enemy.

(MO) Thomas Sowell’s great book The Vision of the Anointed, which I recommend to all the Patrick Henry College students here, also helped?

(IH) It explained so well what is behind our assumptions about life. And also, as an African-American himself, he questioned my assumptions about race. Before I read Sowell, I would say, “Our problems as black people – you white people are our! You fix yourselves and we will be whole.” I assumed that for us to advance, whites had to change, but Sowell helped me realize that if my life and my success depend on you and not on myself, I am still a slave. If I choose not to change, I have two alternatives – whine and feel sorry for myself, or put my fist in your face. But that’s not a way to live! There is a third alternative.

(MO) With a wife, a changed worldview, and a master’s degree in political science you move to Florida and work at a poverty-fighting organization.

(IH) I was giving people stuff and more stuff, and paying their bills. Over ten years I made many changes, but I was beginning to see, coming for food, the children of those to whom I had been giving food for a long time. That was a sign of defeat. I was part of the cycle of dependency, so one day I quit: Did not have a dime, did not have a job, but I had the idea that we needed an organization that teaches principles.

(MO) You started the Freedom & Virtue Institute.

(IH) The next great phase of the civil rights movement is an uncompromising individual responsibility movement. W.E.B. Du Bois said the problem was racism. Booker T. Washington said, “I agree, the problem is racism, but also black underdevelopment.” We need to fight oppression, but we need to develop ourselves. We meet with people in churches and have training in effective compassion.

(MO) Instead of diversity training you do “commonality training” that respects individuality?

(IH) We do not appreciate people by learning how many things make my group different from other groups. The universal commonality of human dignity motivates us to learn more about each other. If I appreciate you as a human being and as a friend, then I want to know what makes you unique. America has taught me that I am an individual person made in the image and likeness of God. I have rationality and will. I am my own man. We should put race aside and look at the person.

*****

Article from World magazine (WNG), April 2, 2016 issue. This is an edited version of a longer interview.

You can view the entire interview online at www.WNG.org

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Psalm 110 and “End Times” Prophecy

homer_endThe Importance of Psalm 110

by Dr. Joel McDurmon

The New Testament quotes from Psalm 110 more than from any other Old Testament passage. This apostolic emphasis deserves more attention than it has so far received. In the New Testament references to this passage we find the determinant keys to Eschatology, or the doctrine of the future.expressionism The resulting ideas we glean from how Peter, Paul, and others apply Psalm 110 overturn much of the popular understanding of prophecy and “end times” teaching. A more consistent understanding will help modern Christians see through popular doom and gloom, through maniacal apocalyptic hysteria, and instead apprehend an optimism and goal-oriented Christian life many have not even yet considered.

olivet discoursePsalm 110, simply, teaches that the Lord (Adonai) shall sit at the right hand of the Almighty (Yaweh), and while the Lord holds that enthroned position, the Almighty shall vanquish all His enemies (v. 1). This vanquishing occurs through the power of the Lord’s strength applied in the midst his enemies (in other words, the enthronement of the Lord does not mean that He sits aloft and disconnected from worldly affairs, but just the opposite) (v.2) This point receivesearth clarification and re-emphasis in v. 5. During the time of this enthroned rule, God’s people shall willingly rally to join and serve him (v. 3). The Lord does not rule as any ordinary ruler, but as an eternal priest-King like Melchizedek (Melchi-Zedek is Hebrew for “My King is Righteous”)—a point strongly emphasized of Christ in the book of Hebrews (v. 4). The Lord-Priest-King engages in the subduing of his enemies from his enthroned seat, and thus jointly with the Almighty (v. 5). His rule extends over unbelieving nations and over the heads of nations; He is truly a King of kings (v. 6). He shall not stop to rest or turn aside from the way of battle, signifying his dedication to constancy of his mission until the completion and of the task (v. 7). This is the simple reading of the text.

The New Testament writers picked up and applied this simple message as Christ Jesus fulfilled it. Peter announces that this mission—this enthronement—began when Christ ascended to the father (Acts. 2:31–36). Thus, Christ sits on that throne now; the kingdom of God awaits no future “coming” or “appearance” in order to inaugurate its leader: He has taken his throne once and for all. Christ clearly had this passage in mind for Himself: He referred to its divine nature in order to confute the Pharisees (Mt. 22:41–45), and to His immediate session at God’s right hand in order to announce the coming judgment on the Jerusalem leaders (Mt. 26:64). These two passages (among many) suffice to show how Christ fulfilled the enthronement prophecy at His ascension and session. (The writer of Hebrews makes this clear also—Heb. 1:1–313).

We must, then, expect the rest of the prophecy to flow out from Christ’s very present rule as logically and consistently as the Almighty says in the Psalm. We in fact do find this as taught by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. In discussing the reality and implication of Christ’s victorious resurrection, Paul says the following:

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death (1 Cor. 15:22–25).

From this we learn that Christ, in His present reign, will continue His conquest until He completely abolishes all opposition to His rule. At this point—after He has abolished all rule and all authority, and not one moment before—He will come and resurrect His people from the last enemy, death. The writer of Hebrews seconds this idea that Christ currently reigns, expecting his enemies to be made his footstool (Heb. 10:12–13).

I find this series of Old Testament prophecy as interpreted and applied by the New Testament authors to present a simple and yet challenging view of eschatology. It is simple in how clearly the apostles lay it out: Christ fulfilled Ps. 110:1, and we currently live in the time of the historical outworking of the waging of war (Ps. 110:2–7). We should expect—as Christ currently is expecting (Heb. 10:13)—to experience a gradual and progressive subduing of His enemies in history. This process shall continue until He has utterly abolished all opposition. Then, and only then, shall He come again to resurrect those saints who have died in the interim.

Compare this very simple, obvious, and consistent understanding with the “dispensational” and “premillennial” views popularized by C. I. Scofield in The Scofield Reference Bible. In his notes on Psalm 110, “Dr.” Scofield makes a few fundamental errors, and also skips over the most important aspects. I will quote his relevant exegetical notes together first, and then deal with his comments individually. He writes,

The importance of Psalm 110 is attested by the remarkable prominence given to it in the New Testament. (1) It affirms the deity of Jesus, thus answering those who deny the full divine meaning of his N.T. title “Lord” (v. 1; Matt. 2241–45Mk. 1235–37Lk. 2041–44Acts 23435Heb. 113;101213). (2) This Psalm announces the eternal priesthood of the Messiah—one of the most important statements of Scripture (v. 4; Gen 1418note; 7. 1–28; 1 Tim. 256John 146). (3) Historically, the Psalm begins with the ascension of Christ (v. 1; John 2017Acts 756Rev. 321). (4) Prophetically, the Psalm looks on (a) to the time when Christ will appear as the Rod of Jehovah’s strength, the Deliverer out of Zion (Rom. 1125–27), and the conversion of Israel (v. 3; Joel 227;Zech 139; See Deut. 301–9note); and (b) to the judgment upon the Gentile powers which precedes the setting up of the kingdom (vs. 5, 6Joel 39–17Zech. 141–4Rev. 1911–21). [1]

On points (1) and (2) I substantially agree. I, in fact, agree with point (3) as well—that this Scripture began to find fulfillment historically with the ascension of Christ—which makes for an interesting acknowledgement on Scofield’s part. He should, however, have included Acts 2:34–35 as a proof text here instead of under his point (2) only. In Acts 2:32–36, Peter definitively teaches that Psalm 110:1 found its fulfillment in the ascension and session of Jesus Christ.

Most problematically under points (3) and (4), his arbitrary and artificial distinction between “historically” and “prophetically” begs the question of interpretation. From the Psalmist’s perspective (from which Scofield should have been commenting at this point), the whole Psalm remained “prophetical,” if we take this term in the sense of “future.” Even the session of Christ at the Father’s right hand remained far distant future for him. The arbitrariness appears in where Scofield determines to draw the line. He accepts Christ’s ascension as fulfilling only verse 1 of the Psalm, and then leaves the rest of the subduing of the kingdoms as an ethnic-Israel-centered “prophecy” pertaining only to the distant future. This, of course, typifies the traditional dispensational system in general. But it hardly does justice to the Psalm itself, let alone the apostolic writers’ interpretation of it. The more modern “progressive” dispensationalists have acknowledged the unity of the prophecy in Psalm 110:

Ephesians 1:20–22 and Colossians 3:1 also see Christ seated at the right hand of God, with the latter passage stressing the fact that all things are presently in subjection to Him.… Peter joins Paul in stressing the present subjugation of authorities and powers to Him [1 Pet. 3:22].… Some dispensationalists have argued that the enthronement of Psalm 110:1 took place at the Ascension, but that the rule of Psalm 110:2 will not take place until a future time.… This interpretation ignores both the literary context of the remark in the Psalms and the way in which the entire text is applied to Jesus in the New Testament. [2]

Scofield’s arbitrary line leads (or allows?) him to misapply the rest of the Psalm to some future, physical, Israeli rulership of the world. He thus, in his point (4), separates Christ’s current enthronement from “the rod of thy strength out of Zion… in the midst of thine enemies.” He takes this material from Psalm 110:2 to apply only after Christ’s physical return to earth and not to a present subjugation of His enemies. This flatly contradicts the apostles (Eph. 1:20–221 Pet. 3:22).

Further, Scofield reduces “Thy people” in Psalm 110:3 to mean only the Jewish people. This contradicts the New Testament, which routinely teaches us that God’s people include both Jew and Gentile (Rom. 2:26–29Gal. 3:26–29Eph. 2:13–22), and that these New Testament people are the inheritors of the Priest-King’s chosen, willing people (1 Pet. 2:9–10Rev. 1:5–6). Scofield awaits a “conversion of the Jews” before Christ can execute his conquest upon earth. Meanwhile, Christ has made “spiritual Jews,” “kings and priests” out of His people worldwide, and expands His dominion through their faith.

Further following his false division, Scofield lastly sees a future judgment of the Gentile powers which must occur before the “setting up of the kingdom.” What I have said so far has already dispelled these notions; Christ has already taken His throne, established His kingdom, and presently, currently, progressively, judges those “Gentile powers.”

This simple Psalm and the clear interpretation given to it by the apostles must serve as a turning point for modern Christians. We do not await a future kingdom. We do not await a completely future conquest by Christ. Rather, Christ has established His kingdom. He has all power in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). We stand in the midst of the conquest. Some of it awaits completion, but it is initiated and ongoing right now.

An often overlooked and somewhat obscure reference appears in the last verse of Psalm 110. Verse 7 says of our conquering Priest-King, He will drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head. The Geneva Bible comments, “Under this similitude of a captain that is so greedy to destroy his enemies, that he will not scarce drink by the way, he showeth how God will destroy his enemies.” In other words, this warring, conquering King will not leave the path of his battle even to refresh himself. He will drink in the very way, and not leave to go by the way. He will not let up one moment in His mission, nor turn aside until He has accomplished it.

Following this example of our Messiah, Christians should not let anything distract them from the progressing kingdom of God. Our conquering King rules now and subdues more according to His will and power daily. We should not let false divisions and interpretations of Scripture distract us from His way; so many have left the way in order to drink from the brooks of ‘Scofield and his followers.’ We must return to the battle as Christ has enjoined it, as the apostles understood it, and as the people of God have progressively expanded so far.

*****

Endnotes
[1] C. I. Scofield, The Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1945), 645–5n1.
[2] Craig Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism (BridgePoint, 1993), 178, 312n7.
Article originally posted at www.americanvision.org June 19, 2009.

 

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America’s Non-Profit Sector and the Spirit of Volunteerism

OCharitable Giving and the Fabric of America

By Karl Zinsmeister
The Philanthropy Roundtable

Private philanthropy is crucial in making America the unusual country that it is. Let’s start with some numbers. Our nonprofit sector now comprises eleven percent of the total United States workforce. It will contribute around six percent of gross domestic product this year. To put this in perspective, the charitable sector passed the national defense sector in size in 1993, and it continues to grow. And these numbers don’t take volunteering into account: charitableA volunteers make up the equivalent—depending on how you count—of –between four and ten million full-time employees. So philanthropy is clearly a huge force in our society.

To begin to understand this crucial part of America, it is useful—and also inspiring—to consider some of America’s great philanthropists.

Ned McIlhenny, born and raised in a Louisiana bayou, had a day job in addition to being a philanthropist: manufacturing and selling the hot pepper condiment invented by his family, McIlhenny Tabasco. There is big money in helping people burn their tongues, and McIlhenny used his resulting fortune for an array of good works. I’ll give you just one example. When he was young, hats with egret plumes were all the rage for ladies—like Coach handbags today—with the effect that the snowy egret, a magnificent creature native to Louisiana’s bayous, had become nearly extinct. In response, McIlhenny beat the bushes to find eight baby egrets on a private island his family owned. By 1911, he built up a population of 100,000 egrets on the island. At the same time, he convinced John D. Rockefeller and other philanthropists to help him purchase some swampy land to use as a winter refuge for egrets and other birds.

Another American philanthropist was Alfred Loomis. Passionate about science frombiology early boyhood, he entered law school when his father died in order to be able to support the family. Hating the study of law and wishing to return to science, he went to work on Wall Street, and by the early 1930s he had become one of the richest men in America. Retiring from finance, he set up one of the world’s great experimental labs in a mansion across the street from his home north of New York City.

In 1938, Loomis visited Berlin and was struck by two things: Hitler’s popularity and the brilliance of German scientists. He returned home convinced that war was brewing and that science would have a lot to do with who won. He poured himself and his fortune into a promising new field that had defense applications—a way to use radio waves to detect moving objects—and his lab very quickly became the national leader in what we now call radar. Thousands of radar sets created under Loomis’s supervision did much to turn the tide of World War II.

Even more than his money, Loomis’s methods account for his remarkable success. Appalled by the bureaucracy and sluggishness of government research programs, he took a radically different approach in his lab. When it became apparent how successful his approach had been in producing radar, the Department of Defense copied it directly for the Manhattan Project, even hiring many of the scientists from Loomis’s radar lab. President Roosevelt later said that there was no civilian who did more to win World War II than Alfred Loomis.

Another philanthropist was Kodak founder George Eastman, who popularized photography in the early 1900s. When he began his business, photography was all art and guesswork, and very little science. He hired chemists from an obscure school called Boston Tech, and out of gratitude for what they did for his company he later provided most of the money that transformed Boston Tech into the powerhouse MIT. And he did so anonymously—for years and years, the donor behind MIT was referred to as “Mr. Smith.” Eastman also had a passion for music, so he methodically created and built to world prominence the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. The Eastman School played an important role in popularizing classical music in America, and it remains today one of our top cultural institutions.

Another great American donor was Milton Hershey, who transformed chocolate from anchocolates expensive indulgence of the wealthy into an affordable treat for all. More importantly, he was responsible, with his wife, for the creation of a school for orphans. Hershey’s father had been a drinker and a neglectful family man, and he had known great hardship during his childhood. To relieve other children of hardship, he built a ring of houses encircling his home in Pennsylvania, installing in each a married couple to live with a group of orphans. He also built a school to provide the children a sound education and training in industrial crafts. Eventually he announced plans “to make the orphan boys of the United States my heirs,” and he endowed the Milton Hershey School with the equivalent of $11 billion in today’s dollars.

But philanthropy in the United States is not just a story—or even primarily a story—about wealthy people or big foundations. Only 14 percent of charitable giving in our country comes from foundations, and only five percent from corporations. The rest comes from individuals, and the bulk of it comes from small givers at an average rate of about $2,500 per household per year.

Anne Scheiber was a shy auditor who retired in 1944 with $5,000 in the bank. Through frugal living and inspired stock investment, she managed to turn this into $22 million by the time she died in 1995 at the age of 101. She left it to Yeshiva University so that bright but needy girls could attend college and medical school.

Elinor Sauerwein painted her own home, mowed her own lawn, and kept a vegetable garden in Modesto, California, until she was in her 90s. She avoided cable TV and almost never ate out. Her financial advisor reported that her goal was to amass as much wealth as she could for the Salvation Army—to which, when she died in 2011, she left $1.7 million.

Albert Lexie has shined shoes in Pittsburgh for over 40 years. He decided years ago to donate his tips to the Free Care Fund of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Since 1981, Lexie has donated over $200,000 to the fund, about a third of his total earnings.

Oseola McCarty of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, dropped out of school in sixth grade to support the woman who raised her, going to work as a washerwoman. She preferred using boiling pots, a scrub board, and 100 feet of open-air clothesline to an automatic washer and dryer, which she said didn’t meet her standards. When she retired in 1995, she had $280,000 in the bank. She set aside what she needed to live on and donated $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi, about two miles from where she lived, to fund scholarships for needy students to receive the education she never had. When news of her gift got out, citizens of Hattiesburg made donations that more than tripled her initial endowment. Today, several full tuition McCarty scholarships are awarded each year.

Many remarkable things have come about in America through the aggregation of dispersed giving. Historian Daniel Boorstin has noted that in 1880, the state of Ohio had only three million inhabitants but 37 colleges. That same year, England had 23 million inhabitants but only four colleges. The difference was small-scale philanthropy directed towards education. Western Reserve College, launched in 1826, was made possible by the giving of thousands of Ohioans, mostly frontier farmers. One supporter spent a whole winter hauling building supplies to the school from a quarry about ten miles away. Another family pledged a fraction of its egg and milk sales over a number of years. Of course you at Hillsdale College know this story well, sharing exactly the same sort of beginning.poverty 2

There are activists today who argue that only money given to the poor should be counted as charitable. Is that a humane argument? It strikes me as astoundingly short-sighted. Most of the philanthropy that has resulted in a reduction of poverty over the years has nothing to do with alms. Consider donors who give to charter schools today. These charter schools are doing more to break the cycles of poverty and human failure than welfare transfers ever could.

Knowledge of our history is an essential element of American citizenship. Did you know that George Washington’s Mount Vernon was saved from ruin by thousands of small donors from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, under whose protection it continues to operate today? Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello has been protected for more than a century by a private foundation that receives no public funding. The same is true for Montpelier, the home of James Madison, and for the summer cottage where Abraham Lincoln spent a quarter of his presidency and made some of his most momentous decisions—the latter was just restored by private donors and opened to the public in 2008.

America’s great cathedrals are also products of private giving. The building of Saint John the Divine was begun in New York City with a gift from J.P. Morgan, and was completed over a period of decades with the help of thousands of small donations. The National Cathedral in Washington, probably the last pure Gothic cathedral that will ever be constructed, was built with small donations over a period of 97 years.

Public libraries too. John Jacob Astor, James Lennox, and Samuel Tilden gave millions of dollars to create the New York Public Library. In Baltimore, Enoch Pratt provided both money and planning for a multi-branch public library. Andrew Carnegie created more than 2,500 libraries in towns and cities across the country.

Science in America is deeply entwined with philanthropy. Take the high-end telescopes that allow astronomers to make important discoveries about the universe. The Lick, Yerkes, Mount Wilson, Mount Palomar, and Keck telescopes were filled with light by private money, and the two massive telescopes being built today—the Magellan and Thirty-Meter telescopes—are relying on private donations as well. The Guggenheim family, which we associate with museums, created nearly all of the aeronautical engineering departments that initially propelled us into space, and was the sole funder of the career of Robert Goddard, the genius most responsible for American leadership in space flight.

John D. Rockefeller’s funding for medical research started around 1901. Forty-seven Nobel Prize winners in science received significant financial support from Rockefeller before they earned their awards, and another 14 were supported at some point by Rockefeller money. The breakthroughs by these men and women include advances in blood typing and genetic research, penicillin, the yellow fever vaccine, and kidney transplants. The John Hartford Foundation funded some of the earliest kidney transplants, created the professional societies where kidney experts share information, and made kidney dialysis practical for the first time.

The topic of medical research brings to mind the question of how private philanthropy compares to government funding. The former is superior in its ability to be individualized and pluralistic. What do I mean by this? Many of the most successful causes in the charitable world—causes like micro lending, Alcoholics Anonymous, mentoring programs, and college dropout programs—rely heavily on one-to-one accountability, taking advantage of the information available when you know who you’re working with. By creating personal transactions, they use the power of relationships to change behavior. As Mother Teresa used to say, “I never think in terms of a crowd, but of individual persons.”

[Contrarily] Government programs, by necessity, focus on the crowd. Far from having different approaches and rules for different kinds of people, they are about being strictly the same for all participants. They are praised for being consistent, but one-size-fits-all standardization is not really how humans thrive. Individualized services, hard to come by in government programs, are a hallmark of philanthropic work.

Which leads to a fancy word that every American ought to know: polyarchy;  referring to a society in which there are many independent sources of power (the opposite of monarchy). The United States has a notably polyarchic culture, and independent philanthropy is a big part of this. As Yale Law Professor Stephen Carter points out, different people measure community needs with “different calipers,” and millions of individual philanthropic decisions lead to more variety in giving, and more protection for non-mainstream points of view, than government programs.

Still, partly because so much of private charity takes place out of the public eye—on the local level, private, often anonymous—many grossly underestimate its power and insist that major concerns can only be addressed through government action. They seem to have three major criticisms of private philanthropy: (one), it’s a drop in the bucket; (two), it’s amateurish, chaotic, and lacks expert coordination; and (three), private donors act from impure motives.

Drop in the bucket? The Gates Foundation alone distributes more overseas assistance than the entire Italian government. Over its first two decades, its overseas vaccine program is projected to save the lives of almost eight million children. And the Gates Foundation represents only a tiny sliver of American philanthropy directed overseas. Members of American churches and synagogues send four-and-a-half times as much to foreigners in need each year as Gates does, and total private American philanthropic aid sent overseas substantially exceeds the foreign aid budget of the U.S. government. The latest totals are about $39 billion and $31 billion, respectively.

What about the charge that private philanthropy is amateurish and lacks expert coordination?

Consider Lizzie Kander, who ran a settlement house in the early 1900s that assimilated Russian Jewish immigrants. She used funds donated by Milwaukee businessmen to teach the immigrants nutrition, sanitation, child development, and employable skills. Needing additional money, she compiled a cookbook and housekeeping guide to sell as a fundraiser, covering the cost of production by selling ads. It was titled The Settlement Cook Book—with the politically incorrect subtitle, The Way to a Man’s Heart—and eventually sold two million copies. The revenue stream from this effort benefited Jewish immigrants in the Upper Midwest for 75 years, in addition to other charitable projects.

I worked for three years in the West Wing of the White House, and I can tell you that so-called expert coordination isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The healthiest forms of societal improvement result from lots of little experiments. Some will fail, but others will succeed and be copied. This is the method by which private philanthropy proceeds.

Think about what happens every autumn weekend at hundreds of stadiums around our country. What is involved when you move a crowd of 50,000 from the stadium to their cars to their homes? If you tried to plan or direct that from a central perch, it would be a mess. There are too many variables. The average fan may not realize that he’s exhibiting what scientists call large-scale adaptive intelligence in the absence of central direction, but that’s what he’s doing. There are lots of less trivial examples of this. Essential human tasks like food distribution are managed without any central organization. There’s no agency in charge of making sure that Fort Worth doesn’t run out of milk, but it never does. That’s what happens in a free society. Lack of uniformity and coordination is more often than not, a blessing.

What of the third alleged weakness of private charity—the idea that private donors have impure motives? Although typical donors are not more interested in getting a tax break or their name on a building than in altruism, it’s true that philanthropists are not always angels. But is this a persuasive argument against private charitable giving?

J. Paul Getty was a cheapskate who made visitors to his estate use a pay phone, even though he was one of the richest men in the world. When his grandson was kidnapped in Italy and held for a $17 million ransom, he dickered over the amount until the kidnappers mailed him his grandson’s ear. Even then, Getty was only willing to lend the ransom to his son at a rate of four percent interest. Yet J. Paul Getty also bequeathed to us one of the most sublime collections of Greek and Roman art, a gift that will elevate souls for centuries to come.

Russell Sage, a notorious miser and a convicted usurer, cheated his wife’s father when they were in business together. When a mad extortionist blew up his Wall Street office with dynamite, Sage used one of his clerks as a human shield and then refused to pay compensation for the man’s injuries. Yet Sage’s fortunes eventually created one of the most influential early charitable foundations in the country.

There are foolish givers and dumb projects. But charitable programs that don’t produce results soon die or are remade into something different.

The genius of the philanthropic mechanism is that it is able to take people just as they are, imperfections and all, and help them do wondrously useful things. Adam Smith noted that freely conducted commerce can turn normal human behaviors, including mercenary ones, into something valuable. This is as true in the world of philanthropy as it is in business.

Part of the magic of America’s charitable structure is that it is able to convert commonplace private impulses into tremendous uplift for all of society.

We humans are social animals, and we naturally become disturbed and want to help when we see fellow creatures in trouble. Early on, Americans discovered that voluntary action to lift others up is not only possible, it is superior to the kind of state paternalism that diminishes freedom. Private charitable giving and the spirit of volunteerism have been essential bulwarks of the American character, and they remain indispensable to our national success.

*****

This article is adapted from a talk delivered on January 29, 2016, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

Karl Zinsmeister is vice president for publications at the Philanthropy Roundtable. A graduate of Yale University, he also studied at Trinity College Dublin. For almost 13 years he was editor-in-chief of The American Enterprise, and from 2006 to 2009 he served as chief domestic policy advisor to the president and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. He has written for several newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and The Atlantic, and he is the author or co-author of eleven books, including The Almanac of American Philanthropy.

Article from  imprimis.hillsdale.edu/charitable-giving-and-the-fabric-of-america/

 

 

 

 

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Reviewing A Brief Overview of Our Christian Heritage

michael paul millerOur Christian Heritage

By Dr. Peter Hammond

The Accusation…EmilyCarr-Indian-Church-1929

When it comes to Christian faithfulness in witnessing and work, it is often a case of — if you’re not being criticized then you’re not doing your job! Those who steadfastly seek to promote Biblical principles will inevitably find themselves accused of being “intolerant,” “bigoted,” “narrow-minded,” “hypocritical,” and of “seeking to force your own views upon others”! Zambia in particular has come under severe criticism for committing itself to being a Christian nation.

Are we being “intolerant”? No, it is the secular humanists who are intolerant of Christians. The real bigots are those atheists who are seeking to infringe on the religious liberties of Christians. We are not picasso anti fascism“narrow-minded”; we stand for freedom of religion. It is the proponents of the secular state who are restricting all public views — including the schools — to the narrow humanistic view. We believe in God’s creation encompassing far more than we can ever see, understand and touch. It is the atheist who refuses to believe in anything other than what his narrow materialistic perspective can see, handle, or understand.

Christians are not being “hypocritical” when we stand up for our sincerely held beliefs and seek to be consistent with the Biblical injunction to love our neighbors and protectpagan power their lives, liberties and property. Rather, it is those secular humanists, who claim to be democratic, who are being hypocritical by ignoring the clear opposition of the majority of citizens to abortion, pornography and the secular state.

marti grasAre we seeking to “force our views on others”? No, we believe that God has entrusted man with personal responsibility. We will never seek to force anyone to become a Christian. We use evangelism and education — not force. What we want is for the Christian convictions of the citizens of Zambia to be respected and recognized. It was a very small percentage of atheists who imposed their will on the rest of the nation during the decades of dictatorship.Travel Trend Myanmar Tourism

Time and again we have heard the accusation that a state which recognizes Christian principles would result in “oppression.” Some have tried to suggest that “more evil has been done in the name of religion.” This accusation is completely unjustified by the record of history! The church has never been perfect, but its track record in history should be remembered for its achievements as well as its failures. The sins of the church should not be taken out of context, blown out of proportion and remembered forevermore as if this has been the only activity of the church. People have always done evil, and this has included many who have claimed to be Christians. However, such evil has never been done because of the Christian Faith, but in spite of it — in violation of God’s Holy Laws.

The Pagan Record

Before the advent of Christianity almost every culture and religion practiced slavery and human sacrifice — even the highly esteemed Greek and Roman civilizations.

In the great Roman Empire, abortion was rampant and abandonment of unwanted babies was commonplace. In ancient Rome, unwanted infants were (legally) abandoned outside the city walls to die of starvation, exposure, or from wild animals. Infanticide was not only legal; it was applauded. A father had the legal right to kill his children, to marry them to whomsoever he pleased or to sell them as slaves. The Greek philosophers Plato, Aristotle and Socrates lived in and accepted a culture which practiced slavery and human sacrifice and glorified paedophilia (sexual abuse of children).

When missionaries went to nineteenth century China they discovered that baby girls were routinely disposed of by being put out as food for wild dogs and wolves. “Baby towers” were common, where unwanted babies were left out to die of exposure and starvation, or to be eaten alive by birds of prey. Some towns had “baby ponds” where unfortunate infants were thrown. Tragically this pagan practice of infanticide has made a comeback under Communism. In China today every family is restricted to one child. Abortions have been forced on women after they conceived any children after their quota of one. China also has had a record number of stillbirths. Often baby girls have been drowned in a bucket of water or strangled at birth by parents who would have preferred to have had a son.

Child sacrifice was common amongst the pagan religions. Fertility cults, such as those who worshipped Baal and Asherah, the Ammonites who worshipped Molech and the Phoenicians who worshipped Kronos all practiced child sacrifice.

The Aztec Empire in Mexico and the Inca Empire in Peru engaged in slavery, ritual rapes and mass sacrifice. Slaves were marched up the stairs of the pyramid-type Inca temples in the Aztec Empire. At the top a priest would rip out the beating hearts — one by one.

[In recent years] One writer from an unexpected quarter has expressed appreciation for the positive impact of the Judeo-Christian emphasis on the sanctity of life. Jerry Adler of Newsweek (November 6, 1995) wrote: “The Gods Must Be Hungry” in response to the uncovering by archaeologists of a 12-year-old girl sacrificed by the Incas five hundred years ago. He expressed outrage at the tendency among anthropologists to justify barbaric practices such as the ripping out of beating hearts from human offerings by Aztec priests. He quoted the following example of intellectual detachment: “A Tulane University anthropologist has written about ritual killings: Adler went on to note: “`The Highest Altar’ writer Patrick Tierney documented the prevalence of human sacrifice in cultures from almost every part of the world.” Adler’s article concluded: “The religious tradition of the West begins with a great renunciation of blood offering, when Abraham put down the knife and unbound Isaac. And it proceeds through the glorious sacrifice on Calvary, when God himself offered up His Son to redeem the world. Modern people know better than to think that the sun needs a fresh heart to rise each day, or that natural disasters can be brought off with corpses. Funny, though, we keep on killing one another.”

“Suttee” — the burning of widows on the funeral pyre of their husbands — was common when missionary William Carey arrived in India. Yet within a few years he had succeeded in India’s outlawing that vile practice. It was the tireless work of Christian missionaries like Anna Bowden, Nan Mullins, Mary Slessor and Amy Carmichael which saved tens of thousands of abandoned children. They raised them in their own homes or in orphanages. And it was the persistent work of Christians which outlawed abortion, abandonment and infanticide, first in the Roman Empire, then throughout Europe and America.

Similarly, slavery was eradicated as a result of the tireless efforts of Christians such as William Wilberforce, David Livingstone and General Charles Gordon. Respect for life and liberty is a fruit of Christianity. Those promoting abortion, euthanasia and pornography are not offering us progress but only a return to pre-Christian paganism.

The Christian Record

olivet discourseMost in our society do not seem to realize how much we owe to the Advent of Jesus Christ. Hospitals as we know them were an innovation of Christianity (hence the universal healing symbol of a cross to represent hospitals). The nursing profession was founded by Florence Nightingale out of devotion for Christ. One of history’s greatest humanitarian movements, the International Red Cross, was founded by Christians in response to the Scriptural injunction to care for the sick and suffering. Christians, such as Dr. Louis Pasteur, have fueled some of the greatest practical advances in medicine. More hospitals and schools have been founded by Christians than by all other religions combined. The Christian church has been the supreme (and often the only) force restraining man’s inhumanity towards man.Sailing - JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race - Cowes

The whole concept of charity was a Christian innovation. The church of Christ has done more than any other institution in history to alleviate poverty and suffering. Before Christ, benevolence to strangers was unknown. Where the Bible became known, compassionate and unselfish sacrifice flourished. Dr. James Kennedy’s book What if Jesus Had Never Been Born? documents a wide range of the unparalleled contributions of the Christian church.

Some time ago I led a march of over 20,000 South African Christians to the gates of our Parliament in Cape Town to protest the legalization of abortion and pornography and the establishment of a “secular state.” I was invited to articulate our concerns before a select committee of our Constitutional Assembly and to answer their questions. Their main argument for the legalization of abortion seemed to be the street children. “Who will look after these unwanted street children?” they demanded.

To this I responded that every day and night some Christian is picking up the casualties of society and giving them a bath, a meal or a bed for the night. Christians have always been in the very forefront of relief aid, caring for widows, orphans and refugees.

“Sir,” I declared “I have spent many accumulated months ministering on the streets to the victims of the laws you pass — those impoverished by gambling, alcoholism, drug addiction and prostitution. When Crossroads (a squatter camp) was burning, we were there the very next day with soup kitchens and blankets. When the refugees were fleeing from Marxist Mozambique, we took food, clothing and blankets to them. I’ve had drunkards vomit down my back while I carried them from the gutter to a place of shelter and a bath. I know that humanist politicians and socialists like to talk about caring for the poor — but it is we Christians who actually do the work. What I would like to know is this: What have any of you ladies and gentlemen ever done — personally — for the poor and needy?”

Even as I boldly challenged them, my heart leapt a beat and I felt that I had overstated my case. Surely one or two of them must have actually been involved in works of mercy? However, I was astounded that all 50 Members of Parliament present averted their eyes, looked down and started scratching the back of their head, shuffling the papers in front of them or squirming in their seats with discomfort. Not one answered my question!

evening crossThe Christian church has made more positive changes on earth than any other force or movement in history. Most of the languages of the world were first codified and put into writing by Christian missionaries. More schools and universities have been started by Christians than by any other group. The elevation of women (from the second-class status they were kept in by other religions) was a Christian achievement, as was the abolition of slavery, cannibalism, child sacrifice and widow burning. Almost every civilization and culture practiced slavery and human sacrifice before Christian influence. Those countries which enjoy the most civil liberties are generally those lands where the Gospel of Christ has penetrated the most.

As Noah Webster, the statesman, educator and author of Webster’s Dictionary, wrote: “The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil, in human society, the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men, and the only book that can serve as an infallible guide . . . The principles of genuine liberty and of wise laws and administrations are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man, therefore, who [undermines] the divine authority of that Book may be accessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer.”

Conclusion

Christianity gave birth to liberty. Constitutional republics, the separation of powers, limited government and freedom of conscience are a result of the Reformation.

It is the secular humanists who have a heritage of oppression. The 44 secular or atheistic states have caused the deaths of over 160 million people in the 20th century alone. The abuse of human rights, atrocities and massacres in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Red China, North Korea, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique and Cuba were an inevitable result of rejecting God’s Law. Either men will be governed by God’s Law or they will be ruled by tyrants.

“All the miseries and evils which men suffer from — vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war — proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible” (Webster).

We could also recount the unparalleled contributions made by Christians in the fields of science, art, education, economics, civil and human rights and in works of compassion and mercy. Only those ignorant of history could fail to acknowledge that Christianity has made more positive changes on earth than any other force or movement. The teachings and example of Jesus Christ have inspired the greatest acts of generosity, hospitality, self-sacrifice and service for the sick, poor and needy.

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Editor’s Note: This message was delivered at the Chalcedon Conference for Christian Culture in Lusaka, Zambia, June 28, 1997.

Dr. Peter Hammond is a missionary who has pioneered evangelistic outreaches in the war zones of Angola, Mozambique and Sudan. Peter is the Founder and Director of Frontline Fellowship and the Director of United Christian Action. He has authored numerous publications, in particular he has written Holocaust in Rwanda, Faith Under Fire in Sudan, In the Killing Fields of Mozambique, Putting Feet to Your Faith and Renaissance or Reformation. He is the editor of both Frontline Fellowship News and UCANEWS. Peter is married to Lenora and they have been blessed with four children: Andrea, Daniela, Christopher, and Calvin.

 

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Reviving Secular Blind Faith for the 21st Century?

how to thinkBlind Faith

By Rev. R.J. Rushdoony

I was in the eighth grade when I read Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. I read it at first receptively and then with shock. It was difficult reading because it demonstrated nothing, but was written as an act of faith, a colossal and blind faith. It was widely accepted when first published in 1859 and the first printing sold out in two days. As George Bernard Shaw, who accepted Darwin, observed, the book was seen as man’s liberation from the God of Christianity.Mad Mag

Today, this false liberation continues to dominate civilization. Men want freedom from Christ, not truth. They will not consider alternatives to their blind faith in Darwinism. We live therefore in a culture based on this. Many civilizations have done this before us, and their end has been death. Since roughly 1660, humanism has dominated the Western World, and now most other areas. Since the rise of public education, it has been extended to all classes and is now dominant in virtually all major churches.

expressionismDespite high hopes for the twenty-first century, its prospects are very bad unless it returns to Christ. The twentieth century has been called by able scholars the bloodiest and most evil of all centuries. Without a return to the Faith, the twenty-first century will become even worse.simon says

A common view in many churches is that the Christian gospel is comprehended by being born again. This, however, is the beginning, not the end, of faith. When ‘being born again’ becomes the totality of the Faith, it is a departure from Christ. Its goal is then self-centered and wrong.

sunset churchThe Triune God redeems us to fulfill Adam’s calling to exercise dominion, and if we fail to do so, we leave all things under the dominion of the Fall. Our faith becomes a man-centered one, and we sin against our Lord. Time will tell what direction the church will take in this century?

A Thought from Random Notes

The ancient Stoic view of the good life was life in accordance with nature. For Christians, because nature has fallen, the virtuous life is in accordance with Jesus Christ and God’s law-word. Charles Darwin, in The Descent of Man, held that “the standard of morality [is] the general good or welfare of the community.” He saw the good of evolution as the rearing and pressuring of healthy and vigorous individuals. In other words, morality is an evolutionary product! Nietzsche took Darwin’s premise to mean that evolution would lead to “a transvaluation of all values.” This meant for him the radical abandonment of all Biblical standards. This is what is happening today in our courts, legislatures, and, too often, in our churches.(1)

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  1. From Random Notes73 by R.J. Rushdoony.

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916-2001) was the founder of Chalcedon and a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical Law to society.

Article from www.chalcedon.edu

 

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