Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Times, They Are a Changin'

More victories for the public display of the Ten Commandments: Federal judges in Oklahoma and Kentucky have recently ruled that displays in those two states can stay. And, in Idaho, the state supreme court affirmed citizens have the right to decide whether they will return a previously removed Ten Commandments display to a public park. It’s too early to claim total victories given the histories of appeals in these situations; still, these recent developments may indicate a change is in the air.

One thing I must keep reminding myself of is the humanity of federal judges. Yes, they are human! I’ve gotten to know a few and they are every bit as human as you and I. That means they too are affected by the zeitgeist (for good or bad). And the zeitgeist has changed dramatically over the last several years. The ACLU’s reign of terror went on unchallenged for half a century, but not any more! Americans are rising up and facing down this out-of-control bully. We as a people don’t like unaccountable ideological groups to have unfettered power. Americans know instinctively that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Americans are sending a strong message to the federal (and more and more state) courts: Interpret the law as the people have passed it—not as the ACLU would have it!

There’s also more information available to the public on the whole question of the so-called “separation of church and state.” A bolder generation is taking on the elitist orthodoxy that has mesmerized academics and terrified local school officials. The new thinkers are constructively critical of old assumptions built on a great deal of pure propaganda.

A few months ago Faith and Action sponsored the Reese Roundtable on Capitol Hill, a “new forum for promoting the timeless principles that informed our American founders.” Members of congress, their senior staff and public interest advocates listened to inaugural guest lecturer Dr. James Hutson, head of the archives division at the Library of Congress and premiere historian on Thomas Jefferson’s infamous 1802 letter to the Danbury Association of Baptists, from which the US Supreme Court would mine the phrase, “wall of separation between church and state.” Dr. Hutson demolished the fictions created in part by the High Court, and later by anti-religious forces. He demonstrated from Jefferson’s own previously illegible margin notes in the drafts of the letters, and from Jefferson’s actions following his dispatch of the missive, that neither he nor our other founders ever meant to purge religion, religious institutions or religious people from the public square. Quite to the contrary, the Founders looked to religion to do what government could not—most significantly, govern the conscience and thus, behavior.

All this to say we seem to finally be righting the ship of state after it has listed dangerously left for 50 years on the question of faith in the public square. But, I dare not simply credit the dissemination of information for this significant change. There is no doubt God is hearing and answering the prayers of His people. He promised to do so, and—much to the chagrin of the ACLU crowd—He fulfills His promises!

On to the next public display of God’s Word! The more the Word is seen and read, the more these changes will come! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Big victory in Boise, Idaho: State Supreme Court ruled to allow Boise citizens to vote on returning the Ten Commandments to the public square! This is just what the doctor ordered. (The Great Physician, that is!) Our own Rev. Pat Mahoney had a big hand in this development.

Is this a turning of the tide? Coming right on the heals of our own Ten Commandments victory, it just might be.

We'll now work with Rev. Mahoney's Christian Defense Coalition in a state-by-state strategy to use public referendums to bring back the Commandments! More about that later. For now . . .

. . . speaking of the Commandments (and the one on the Sabbath in particular), I am officially on vacation . . . finally!

I'll be back to the keyboard September 4. Look forward to being with you then!


Friday, August 04, 2006

Something New

If you read our website (www.faithandaction.org, you probably know David New, who is a regular columnist. David is a dear friend, brother in Christ and fellow minister of the Gospel. He is also an outstanding constitutional attorney.

This past week, David called Mr. Lars Etzkorn, the Government of the District of Columbia official who notified us of the reversal on their order to remove the Ten Commandments monument in our front garden. By way of David's call, we were seeking a more complete explanation of 1) What went on in the time leading up to their initial decision to cite us for not having the proper permits, 2) What led them to make their initial decision, and 3) What led to their decision to rescind their initial order.

Predictably, the officials David spoke to referred back to their second letter rescinding the order and basically said it speaks for itself. (You can read the letter on our website.) What else would you expect from government officials? The only new information David learned is that the Government took into consideration the totality of the case. In other words, they didn't simply stick to the letter of the law (at least in their application of it), but took all the attendant circumstances and claims into the process. That's interesting. It may mean had we not had petitions, a national network of good people, the interest of the media--and the possible scrutiny of a now more conservative Supreme Court--we would be racking up draconian fines by now.

It's disturbing to think that we get to enjoy our First Amendment rights ONLY because we fought back. Not everyone is in a position to do so. I only pray that our boldness in standing for our God-given, constitutionally protected rights will help ensure them for others.

One thing we did learn this past week (and not from David's conversation), is that the Washington, DC chapter of "American Atheists" met with D.C. government officials at some point in the process. We believe it was BEFORE the order to remove the monument. If you put that together with the above, you get: D.C. gives in to whoever pushes harder. That shouldn't give anyone much confidence in the government that runs our U.S. Capital!

Final word: The head of the local chapter of the American Atheists told a reporter he believes the government was intimidated by me, and that's why they changed their order.

I don't know what to make of that . . .