Monthly Archives: March 2006

Americanism absent in illegal immigration protesters

Illegal Immigrate:

You want to be an American do you?

Then why put the Mexican flag above an upside down American flag?

Have the respect and decency to learn US flag etiquette first before you convince me you would love and honor America above your native country.

I see no pride in Americanism by your disrespectful display of our country's emblem, only contempt.

Given such contempt for American, why on earth would you want to be an American?

TITLE 4–FLAG AND SEAL, SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE STATES

http://www.cfif.org/htdocs/freedomline/cartoon-corner/index.htm

Federal law stipulates many aspects of flag etiquette. The section of law dealing with American Flag etiquette is generally referred to as the Flag Code. Some general guidelines from the Flag Code answer many of the most common questions:

  • The flag should be lighted at all times, either by sunlight or by an appropriate light source.
  • The flag should be flown in fair weather, unless the flag is designed for inclement weather use.
  • The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
  • The flag should not be used for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
  • The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.
  • The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
  • The flag should never have any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind placed on it, or attached to it.
  • The flag should never be used for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
  • When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
  • The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
  • When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner. Source

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Announcing the Claremont Institute’s “Becoming Americans” Essay Series

E-mail I got today from the Claremont Institute:

Announcing the Claremont Institute's "Becoming Americans" Essay Series

Posted March 30, 2006

California and the nation are now fiercely debating immigration, American culture and principles, and the nature of citizenship-matters about which the Claremont Institute has much to say. As part of its contribution to this crucial discussion, we're reprinting three classic essays by Claremont scholars: Christopher Flannery on multiculturalism and educating Americans, Edward J. Erler on immigration, and Thomas L. Krannawitter on the rights and conditions of citizenship.

Today we've begun our "Becoming American" essay series with Christopher Flannery's remarkable "Educating Citizens," in which he explains, with characteristic wit and clarity, the tragedy of prevailing multiculturalism-and which principles should, in fact, constitute the education of an American citizen.

We invite you to read the essay here.

Having read the essay "Becoming Americans" I hardily recommend it. Excerpts:

Educating Citizens

First in the "Becoming Americans" Essay Series

By Christopher Flannery
Posted March 30, 2006

Editor's note: California and the nation are now fiercely debating immigration, American culture and principles, and the nature of citizenship. As part of its contribution to this important discussion, the Claremont Institute is reprinting three classic essays by Claremont scholars: Christopher Flannery on multiculturalism and educating Americans, Edward J. Erler on immigration, and Thomas L. Krannawitter on the rights and conditions of citizenship.

Democracy requires more of its citizens than any other form of government. It depends on the capacity of the citizens to govern themselves. But the habits and dispositions of self government are difficult to acquire and to sustain. They are rooted in moral and political principles in which each new generation must be educated. It is no accident that history provides so few examples of successful and enduring democracies. In the American democracy today, we have largely lost sight of those moral and political principles which provide the common ground of American political community and inform the civic character required of American citizens. There is widespread recognition of the necessity to restore that private morality which is the source of the public good and to strengthen the common bonds of civility among the diverse citizens of America. Educating citizens in the principles, rights, duties, and capacities of citizenship is the primary purpose of public education in America, and our institutions of higher learning play a critical part in making our public schools capable or incapable of fulfilling their purpose. That America is failing miserably in accomplishing this purpose is apparent to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

There are, of course, other failings in American education about which we may read almost daily, such as declines in SAT scores and in the basic skills needed for a competitive workforce. These failings are connected with but subordinate to the failure to educate good citizens. The causes of these failures are many and various. Even when we can agree on the cause, it is not always possible to agree upon or even to envision a solution. To the extent that a single cause may be identified as the primary source of our failure at the task of educating citizens, it can be summed up simply: bad ideas.

Education in America today, at every level, is dominated by doctrines that openly repudiate the principles on which America is founded; indeed, they deny the very capacity of men to distinguish freedom from tyranny, justice from injustice, right from wrong. These doctrines have wholly discredited the perspective of the democratic citizen: they have made self government itself unintelligible as a political phenomenon. So pervasive has been the influence of these doctrines that the teaching of American citizens from the earliest elementary levels to the graduate schools takes place almost wholly within their horizons. The consequence has been a corruption of the political language through which the nation conducts its public deliberations, a citizenry increasingly confused or uncertain about the ground and substance of its rights and duties, and political and educational leaders capable for the most part only of deepening the crisis. These bad ideas are rooted in a profound assault upon human reason and human nature as grounds of human morality, an assault waged over the past two centuries culminating in explicit and assertive nihilism. The popular expressions of these ideas in our time take a wide variety of forms. But as they are professed and practiced in the world of American education today, they converge most faddishly under the banners of "Multiculturalism" and "Diversity."

The multicultural movement and the diversity movement are distinct political and intellectual movements which frequently overlap and reinforce one another. Their stronghold is in the academies of higher learning, whence they have sallied forth into practically every nook and cranny of American life. Anyone who reads a daily paper or a national news magazine has read about them over the past several years. These movements are "multi"-dimensional or "diverse" as one might expect, but it is possible to identify their most common ideas and predilections. For convenience' sake, I will refer to the diverse phenomena as multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism

The foremost idea of multiculturalism is the equal value of all cultures, or cultural relativism. This is an idea that has made it impossible for a generation of American students to make the perfectly rational moral distinction between a "culture" that puts Jews in the ovens and one that grants them freedom of worship and all rights of citizenship. (Under the heading of "diversity," this is also why public schools must not teach that monogamous heterosexual marriage is morally preferable to homosexual promiscuity. All "lifestyles," like all cultures, are created equal.) …

We Hold These Truths

Intelligent liberal critics of such multiculturalism see the problem more or less clearly. As the respected historian of education Diane Ravitch says, American schools should say to students from other cultures "that wherever they have come from, wherever their parents have come from, they are now preparing to be American citizens… They must learn about American history, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, because this is now part of their precious heritage as American citizens."17 So far so good. But in inviting students from other cultures to become American, Ravitch would have them understand that "the unique feature of the United States is that its common culture has been formed by the interaction of its subsidiary cultures… Paradoxical as it may seem, the United States has a common culture that is multicultural." "Our story is one of diverse peoples meeting, mingling, and changing each other."18 It is hardly unique for a "common culture" to be formed from "subsidiary cultures." Nor is America's uniqueness to be found in diverse people mingling with and changing one another. Lawrence Auster, a respectful critic of Ravitch's position, points out that her view "turns out to be virtually identical in key respects" with the multiculturalism she criticizes.19 But, typical of the conservative response to multiculturalism, Auster offers as a remedy the affirmation of America's "Anglo-Saxon" roots.20 Alex Haley for the WASPs?

UPDATE: Question: do you agree with the authors definition of Multiculturalism?

I do because my first qualifier of intelligence is the ability to tell right from wrong, to be able to reason the difference between good and evil.

Multiculturalism from the authors point of view is all about cultural relativism, which is a threat to rational reasoning needed to be able to know the difference between right v. wrong, good v. evil.

quote:


The foremost idea of multiculturalism is the equal value of all cultures, or cultural relativism. This is an idea that has made it impossible for a generation of American students to make the perfectly rational moral distinction between a "culture" that puts Jews in the ovens and one that grants them freedom of worship and all rights of citizenship. (Under the heading of "diversity," this is also why public schools must not teach that monogamous heterosexual marriage is morally preferable to homosexual promiscuity. All "lifestyles," like all cultures, are created equal.)

 

 

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More “Mormon” in the news 03/30/06

Replicas of Original Book of Mormon Printing Now Available
ABC 4 – Salt Lake City,USA
As LDS General Conference weekend approaches, there’s a buzz about a new set of limited edition reprints of the Book of Mormon.

Twice-yearly Mormon conference is major production on every level
San Diego Union Tribune – United States
But Smith could not have anticipated that one day sharing the Mormon message would include nine satellites, the translation of speeches into 86 languages and

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AFA Online Poll on Illegal Immigration

Follow the link below to take action on this important issue. Go to http://www.afa.net/petitions/immigration/takesurvey.asp

Poll intro

AFA Online Poll on Illegal Immigration

Should Sealing Our Borders Be The First Step In Stopping Illegal Immigration?

Reports say that there are now between 11 million and 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. It is estimated that at the present rate that number will increase by 20 million within the next 8 to 10 years.

Thus far our government has done very little to address this problem. Many believe that the most important first step in dealing with this problem is to seal our borders to stop any additional illegal immigrants from coming into the country.

Results will be sent to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and President George Bush.

Cast your vote below. A non-running summary of the vote, updated regularly, can be found at http://www.afa.net.

Our system allows only one vote per person. Additional votes will be deleted.

Follow the link below to take action on this important issue. Go to http://www.afa.net/petitions/immigration/takesurvey.asp

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Attention Bloggers: coComment tracks blogging discussions

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What’s New on the FAIR Website

FAIR Website

1. Evolution and Latter-day Saint Theology: The Tree of Life and DNA. (28 February 2006)
Trent D. Stephens addressed issues relating to evolution, Adam and Eve, and the Garden of Eden in his 2003 FAIR Conference presentation.

2. Autobiographical Notes on My Testimony. (28 February 2006)

In his 2004 FAIR Conference presentation, Daniel C. Peterson discusses how he came to be involved in apologetics and why the Gospel is so important.

3. Behind the Mask, Behind the Curtain: Uncovering the Illusion. (2 February 2006)

Brant Gardner's excellent review of the anti-Mormon video The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon from Living Hope Ministries.

4. The Book of Mormon vs. the Critics: Nit-Picking for Fun and Profit. (31 January 2006)

Don Neighbors looks at attacks against the Book of Mormon based on language, grammar, and corrections to the translated text.

5. George Q. Cannon and the Apostates. (31 December 2005)

Davis Bitton summarizes President George Q. Cannon's statements on why people apostatize and how apostates should be viewed.

6. Shining New Light on the Mountain Meadows Massacre. (31 December 2005)

In his 2003 FAIR Conference presentation, Gene Sessions discussed the Mountain Meadows Massacre and how the story of the horrific event is often distorted by anti-Mormon authors.

7. Polygamy, Prophets, and Prevarication: Frequently and Rarely Asked Questions about the Initiation, Practice, and Cessation of Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (30 November 2005)

Gregory Smith takes a thorough look at many of the issues relating to polygamy that are used by anti-Mormon critics.

8. Education, Scholarship, and Mormonism. (30 November 2005)

Scott Gordon examines various statistics relating to how educational level relates to Church activity and belief.

9. The Children of Lehi: DNA and the Book of Mormon. (30 November 2005)

D. Jeffrey Meldrum addresses many of the issues relating to the recent DNA controversy about the Book of Mormon in this presentation at the 2003 FAIR Conference.

10. Anti-Mormon protesters at the October 2005 LDS General Conference. (31 October 2005)

See the most recent photo essay of anti-Mormon protesters at General Conference.

11. Archaeological Evidence and the Book of Mormon. (31 October 2005)

Michael Ash examines the anti-Mormon criticism about the availability of archaeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon.

12. Do We Have the Potential to become Like God? (30 September 2005)

Michael Fordham identifies Biblical evidence that supports the LDS view of deification.

13. Historic Archaeology and the Geographic Imperative. (30 September 2005)

John Tvedtnes examines the role of geography in Biblical archaeology and discusses its importance for Book of Mormon archaeology.

14. As Things Stand at the Moment: Responding to Martha Beck's Leaving the Saints. (30 September 2005)

Boyd Petersen gave the 2005 FAIR Conference attendees an update on some issues surrounding Beck's book.

15. What I Learned about Life, the Church, and the Cosmos from Hugh Nibley. (31 August 2005)

Boyd Petersen shares life's lessons learned through the life of Hugh Nibley, from the 2005 FAIR Conference.

16. Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism. (31 August 2005)

Daniel Peterson's 2005 FAIR Conference presentation looks at the new wave of anti-Mormonism that is currently most popular with antagonistic critics.

17. 'Believest thou…?': Faith, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Psychology of Religious Experience. (31 August 2005)

Wendy Ulrich presents a profound look at how we use our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual experiences to build our faith in God. (From the 2005 FAIR Conference.)

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“Mormon” in the news 03/30/06

E-mail campaign under way against HBO polygamy drama
KVOA.com – Tucson,AZ,USA
complaints since the e-mail began circulating. But the network insists the show does not demean or misrepresent the Mormon church.

Family members’ funeral set for Utah
Rocky Mountain News Mar 30 2006 11:19AM GMT

Consider both sides of issue
Hartwell Sun Mar 30 2006 9:13AM GMT

Gala masks for hospice unmasked
Denver Post Mar 30 2006 9:10AM GMT

Activism just got sexy
First Post Mar 30 2006 9:09AM GMT

Nation founded on immigration
Herald Journal Mar 30 2006 8:55AM GMT

Book of Mormon stories of sisterhood
San Pete Messenger Mar 30 2006 3:55AM GMT

Walk Like an Ape?
Accuracy in Media Mar 30 2006 3:36AM GMT

No love for ‘Big Love’ in e-mail campaign
Salt Lake Tribune Mar 30 2006 3:08AM GMT

Religious Freedom at Bay State
National Review Mar 30 2006 1:40AM GMT

Kink Crusader
Salt Lake City Weekly Mar 30 2006 12:11AM GMT

Street to narrow for 2 weeks
Press-Citizen Mar 30 2006 12:09AM GMT

Wet storm swamps foothills
Union Democrat Mar 30 2006 12:06AM GMT

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Dysfunctional U.S. Government root cause of immigration chaos

Using the family as an analogy to all things related to immigration is useful in that it takes a logical, reasonable approach as opposed to the emotional hysteria so commonly found in the dialogue today.

When there is dysfunctional parenting in the home there will be chaos as children run their own programs and run amok. When this happens it’s not about fixing the kids it’s about fixing the parents and the environment, it’s about breaking the chains of dysfunctional parenting. When you do that, guess what, the kids are fixed too!

Likewise, a dysfunctional executive branch, whose constitutional responsibility it is to enforce the laws of the country, and a dysfunctional legislative branch, whose laws are outdated, are the reason we are in a state of chaos. The blame needs to be placed squarely upon the shoulders of the U.S. Government et al, not the corporations who take advantage of cheap labor, nor the illegals who take advantage of all the America has to offer. Fix the Government (parent) first, then the chaos (children’s behavior) will cease.

The Government et al is the parent in this analogy and the children are all others effected by immigration policies, e.g., illegals, the employers, U.S. citizens, etc. Any discussion which blames the illegals or employers is addressing the symptom only, not the root cause. Fix and blame the U.S. Government et al first, then the chaos will subside. Try to fix and blame the illegals or the employers first and chaos will continue and progress.

What is Amnesty? What is Punishment?

Posted By Bobby Eberle On March 29, 2006 at 7:50 am

Imagine just a few short years ago if you were to talk to the average grassroots conservative and ask him or her what the chances are for having a national debate on immigration reform. After the surprised look disappeared, the person would probably say there was no chance of it occurring in a million years. My how times have changed! Now, the debate is in full swing, and it is important to address the heart of the debate and the sticking point: What is amnesty, and what is punishment?

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“Mormon” in the news 03/29/06

Provo art company restores cemetery’s statue of Christ
MICHAEL RIGERT – Daily Herald

Just weeks before Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of their namesake, a twice-vandalized statue of Jesus Christ, which serves as the centerpiece of an Orem cemetery, is again whole. Father-and-son team Steve and Matt Glenn of Mormon Art and Bronze labored

New York Doll DVD
Aversion – USA
Whiteley follows Kane from his humble routine as a devout Mormon in Los Angeles to a stage in London, capturing enough candid comments, utterly depressing

Las Vegas water agency to use Mormon church water rights
Las Vegas Sun – Las Vegas,NV,USA
deputy Southern Nevada Water Authority general manager, called the agreement the first the water agency has reached to procure water from the Mormon church

Mormon church provides good sources for genealogists
Gateway Newspapers – USA
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, perform posthumous ordinances for their ancestors as part of a

NYT hosts a polygamist luncheon
Jossip – New York,NY,USA
Riding in on the wings of controversy, HBO’s newest series, Big Love, has caused more than a stir in the Mormon community. In fun

Vegas to use Mormon water
San Diego Daily Transcript (subscription) – San Diego,CA,USA
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Southern Nevada Water Authority has struck a $7.2 million deal with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to use church water

Las Vegas to Use LDS Church Water Rights
The Southern Nevada Water Authority has struck a $7.2 million deal with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to use church water rights to help slake the thirst of the Las Vegas area, an official …

Mormon Church; Church of Latter Day Saints at Odds with Mormon Polygamists
March 22 /MNA PRESS/ — Expert on the Church of Latter Day Saints and the “Book of Mormon,” Art Vanick, is available for comment on the new HBO that explores Mormon polygamy in the pay-TV series, “Big Love.” …

No love for ‘Big Love’ in e-mail campaign
Salt Lake Tribune – United States
HBO spokeswoman Nancy Lesser. But the network insists the show does not demean or misrepresent the Mormon church. “The show in no

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Star Wars to be a TV series

Cool! Star Wars will be a TV series in 2008.

Star Wars series to run and run

The TV series spin-off of the Stars Wars film franchise will run to at least 100 episodes, according to producer Rick McCallum.

He told BBC Radio 1 the writing team would soon be meeting to start on the project, which would begin filming in 2008 and be ready the same year.

“Hopefully if we can make it work and everybody’s excited and watches it we will keep on going,” said McCallum.

The series will be set between episodes three and four of the film saga.

It would cover the 20 years in the life of Luke Skywalker growing up that remains a mystery to most film-goers.

McCallum said there would be “a whole bunch of new characters” and the series would be “much more dramatic and darker”. Story from BBC NEWS

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Hundreds join free speech rally

I like the way organiser Peter Risdon put it: “We are in favour of free speech and not against Muslims. They are our neighbours and our friends.”

Hundreds of people have peacefully demonstrated in London’s Trafalgar Square to stand up for free speech, rally organisers have said.

The protest was in response to the uproar over cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, which appeared in some European newspapers.

Organisers said it was not anti-Muslim and warned the British National Party to stay away.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Action Committee staged a counter-protest in Birmingham. Story from BBC NEWS`

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Russia deal ‘off Iran’s agenda’

If, as Iran claims, it’s nuclear energy is to be used only for peaceful means, then why must they insists that nuclear fuel research happen on its own soil, rejecting Russia’s invitation to host the research on Russian soil?

As the article points out, “Last month, Iran agreed in principle on a joint venture with Russia to enrich uranium.”

Iran is no more interested in peace that it is interested in officially recognizing Israel’s statehood and Israel’s right to exist.

Iran says Moscow’s compromise proposal on its nuclear programme is “off the agenda”, after the Islamic Republic was reported to the UN Security Council.

Russia has sought to persuade Iran to move its enrichment programme to Russian territory, which would allow closer international monitoring…”The Russian proposal is not on our agenda any more,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters…Mr Asefi said his country was still open to negotiations with Russia, as long as Iran’s right to conduct nuclear fuel research on its own soil was recognised…Last chance?…The Russian proposal had been seen by many as a last chance for Iran to compromise with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Last month, Iran agreed in principle on a joint venture with Russia to enrich uranium, but said further talks were needed.The IAEA report said the Iranians had begun feeding uranium gas into centrifuges, a first step in a process that can produce fuel for nuclear reactors or bomb material..IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei said in the report that he was unable to confirm that Iran was not seeking nuclear weapons. Story from BBC NEWS

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Islamic compulsion of religion v. Latter-day Saint freedom of religion

After reading this BBC article, “Afghan convert ‘may be released’ Afghan President Hamid Karzai is leading efforts to resolve the issue of a man possibly facing execution for converting to Christianity,” I felt the desire to contrast the articles reporting of Islamic Sharia laws of compulsion of worship with the Latter-day Saints principles of freedom of worship.

The World would be a different place, past, present and future, if nations and peoples adopted the Latter-day Saint’s 11th Article of faith, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

A core foundational principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the doctrine of freedom of worship. It is the first priority of any religion or government to establishing its importance, preeminence and superiority, giving it the highest ranking of principles subordinate to none, upon which to build a religion or a nation upon.

Religious freedom is good; compulsion in religion is evil. Lovers of freedom of worship not only choose to enjoy that supreme principle, but also choose and pledge themselves to defend others rights to so like enjoy freedom of worship.

There have been many excuses invented by man to persecute those not of ones faith. History is replete with examples where hatred is fostered and ill will inflamed, resulting in the deaths of countless millions.

When compulsion or force is used to impose a way of worship or some system of belief, we must be bold in denouncing it for what it is, evil. It is incumbent upon American to advocate, support, uphold and sustain freedom of worship for all men. No political system, sect, government, church, group or religion has the right to deny man freedom to worship, which is to allow all men to worship “how, where, or what they may.”

Apostle of the LDS Church, Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “Knowing what Satan sought to do in preexistence, and knowing that freedom of choice and worship is essential to salvation, shall we not affirm that the union of church and state, the use of force in maintaining a self-chosen orthodoxy, and the civil punishment of supposed heresy are not of God, and that they are the proof positive of the universal apostasy promised in the prophetic word.”

In America-Freedom of Worship Is Born, Bruce R. McConkie, wrote, “Freedom of worship was conceived in

during the Renaissance; it gestated inand Western Europe during the Protestant Reformation; but it was born inafter the Constitution of thebecame the supreme law of the land. This establishment of freedom of worship in theheaps no credit upon the original colonizers. They neither wanted it nor sought it. Rather, it was forced upon them by political necessity. Political necessity? Nay, by a divine providence, all in preparation for the restoration of the gospel in the dispensation of the fulness of times. Jesus told the Nephites that the Lord would set up in”a free people by the power of the Father.” ( 3 Nephi 21:4 .)

“Coming to

to escape religious persecution, the original colonists-retaining their various religious persuasions-immediately set up their own separate systems of worship and reached out to condemn and persecute all others. Witches were burned and heretics persecuted as in the. The American colonists had simply transported the traditions of a false and decadent Christendom to new shores. But the Revolutionary War and the need for national survival brought forth the Constitution with this provision: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Thus, religious freedom was almost thrust upon them by a power beyond their control and the union of church and state was forever banned in the.

“That the Lord’s hand was in all this is axiomatic. “I established the Constitution of this land,” he tells us, “by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” Why? That laws might be established and “maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; that every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.” ( D&C 101:77-80 .) We repeat: There can be no salvation without freedom of worship. To be accountable for their own sins, men must be free to act as they choose. And this is not limited to people in the

alone. “That principle of freedom” the Lord says, which maintains “rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.” All men are entitled to the same guarantees of freedom as those found in. “And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil.” The union of church and state is not of God. “I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.” ( D&C 98:5-8 .)

“As devout and devoted believers in freedom of worship and the entire separation of church and state, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes the following propositions in its declaration of belief regarding governments and laws in general:

“”We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life. . . .

“”We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul. . . .

“”We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy. . . .

“”We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.

“”We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship.”” ( D&C 134:2-10 .) A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , p. 678-680

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USJFCOM Iraqi Perspectives Project & Saddam’s Delusions

What does the report of the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) Iraqi Perspectives Project (full report in .pdf) tell us about Iraq WMD’s, Saddam’s complacency, Saddamn’s primary concerns, insurgency, and his thoughts on how the war was going?

Here is the skinny:

  • Saddam cried wolf long and loud that he had WMD. Therefore, it should come as no surprise his own leaders and the world in general did not believe him when he tried to convince everyone he did not have WMD. After all, it is well proven Saddam is a chronic, habitual liar. It was Saddam’s responsibility to convince the world he did not have WMD; he failed to do so, too little too late.
  • Because Saddam was corrupt to the core, he fully expected France and Russia would watch his back and keep him safe. After all, Saddam bribed France and Russia with billions to use their veto powers to safe his neck. An independent commission (IIC), chaired by Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, issued its fifth and final report on the United Nations’ controversial oil-for-food program. The new report says 2,200 companies were involved paying kickbacks and bribes to the Iraqi government when Saddam Hussein was president. The fraud totaled $1.8 billion dollars. IIC Documents & Reports
  • Saddam’s first and primary paranoia was staying in power via coup suppression; effectively it required his full and complete attention all the time. After all, Saddam came to power via a coup, murder, fear, etc., so he would naturally expect like corruption and plotting from the next aspiring dictator.
  • Saddam has nothing to do with the current insurgency. After all, he never believed for one second the US would take the war all the way to Baghdad.
  • Saddam up to the last minute thought the war was going smoothly and successfully in his favor, actually believing his own propaganda. After all, anyone who reported the truth (read bad news) to Saddam would most likely to be executed on the spot; death is a major disincentive to truthful reporting.

Saddam’s Delusions

March 13, 2006

– PRESS RELEASE –

An exclusive report in the May/June Foreign Affairs by the key authors of the Pentagon’s secret study of Saddam Hussein’s regime, based on captured Iraqi documents and prisoner interviews.

The fall of Baghdad in April 2003 opened one of the most secretive and brutal governments in history to outside scrutiny for the first time. Seizing a unique opportunity, the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) commissioned a secret comprehensive study of the inner workings and behavior of Saddam Hussein’s regime based on previously inaccessible primary sources. Two years in the making, the report of the “Iraqi Perspectives Project” draws on interviews with dozens of captured senior Iraqi military and political leaders and hundreds of thousands of official Iraqi documents from all levels of the regime, and is destined to rewrite the history of the war from the ground up. Excerpts from the report itself are presented exclusively in a special double-length article in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs.

“Saddam’s Delusions: The View From the Inside,” by Kevin Woods, James Lacey, and Williamson Murray — the key authors of the USJFCOM study — shows that even as coalition forces massed on Iraq’s borders in early 2003, Saddam remained convinced there would be no invasion — or that even if there were, he and his regime would survive. Saddam believed that the United States was a paper tiger and that France and Russia would protect him; his foremost concerns remained, as always, preventing a coup and keeping his police state in good working order. Ignorant of military history, logistics, and technology, Saddam lived in a bubble due to the atmosphere of fear he had had instilled throughout his civil and military bureaucracies. Because of the characteristics of the Iraqi regime, in short, once the war actually began its ultimate result was a foregone conclusion. Some of the topics the Foreign Affairs article addresses:

  • Did Iraq have WMD? No — but Saddam wanted others, particular in the region, to think he did, so he maintained a calculated ambiguity on the question. In the last months before the war he realized that it was too dangerous to continue playing this double game and finally decided to cooperate fully with international inspectors. But at that point his track record of repeatedly lying meant that no one believed him:
  • When it came to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Saddam attempted to convince one audience that they were gone while simultaneously convincing another that Iraq still had them. . . . According to Chemical Ali [Ali Hassan al-Majid], Saddam was asked about the weapons during a meeting with members of the Revolutionary Command Council. He replied that Iraq did not have WMD but flatly rejected a suggestion that the regime remove all doubts to the contrary, going on to explain that such a declaration it might encourage the Israelis to attack.
  • By late 2002, Saddam finally tilted toward trying to persuade the international community that Iraq was cooperating with UN inspectors and that it no longer had WMD programs. As 2002 drew to a close, his regime worked hard to counter anything that might be seen as supporting the coalition’s assertion that WMD still remained in Iraq. Saddam was insistent that Iraq would give full access to UN inspectors “in order not to give President Bush any excuses to start a war.” But after years of purposeful obfuscation, it was difficult to convince anyone that Iraq was not once again being economical with the truth.
  • What made Saddam so complacent? His belief that the United States did not have the will to take casualties in a serious war and that if necessary France and Russia would keep him safe:
  • According to [Tariq] Aziz, Saddam’s confidence was firmly rooted in his belief in the nexus between the economic interests of France and Russia and his own strategic goals: “France and Russia each secured millions of dollars worth of trade and service contracts in Iraq, with the implied understanding that their political posture with regard to sanctions on Iraq would be pro-Iraqi. . . . Moreover, [the French] wanted to prove their importance in the world as members of the Security Council — that they could use their veto to show they still had power.”
  • What did Saddam care about? First and foremost, preventing a coup. His entire regime was set up to prevent the emergence of any alternate centers of power that could threaten his position. He created an astonishing array of different military and paramilitary forces to maintain domestic control, but made sure to stock them with lackeys and cronies, have them check and balance each other, and have everybody watched carefully at all times. This allowed him to stay in power, but it meant that his armed forces were almost completely ineffective at dealing with actual military operations against a competent foreign enemy:
  • Before the war, coalition planners generally assumed that the quality of Iraqi military officers improved as one moved up the military hierarchy from the militias to the regular army, to the Republican Guard, and then to the Special Republican Guard. It stood to reason that the commander of the Special Republican Guard — Iraq’s most elite fighting force — would be highly competent. . . . In fact, after the war [Major General Barzan Abdel Ghafur’s] peers and colleagues were all openly derisive of his abilities. Saddam had selected Barzan, one general noted, because Barzan had several qualities that Saddam held dear. “He was Saddam’s cousin, but he had two other important qualities which made him the best man for the job,” this general noted. “First, he was not intelligent enough to represent a threat to the regime, and second, he was not brave enough to participate in anyone else’s plots.” . . . [Barzan], the man who was to command the last stand of Saddam’s most impressive military forces, spent most of the war hiding.
  • Every senior commander interviewed after the start of hostilities emphasized the psychological costs of being forced to constantly look over his shoulder. At any one time, each of these commanders had to contend with at least five major [internal] security organizations . . . . The Second Republican Guard Corps commander described the influence of the internal security environment on a typical corps-level staff meeting: “[all the appropriate military] participants would assemble at the corps headquarters. The corps commander had to ensure then that all the spies were in the room before the meeting began so that there would not be any suspicions in Baghdad as to my purpose . . . .I spent considerable time finding clever ways to invite even the spies I was not supposed to know about.”
  • Did Saddam plan the current insurgency? No. He thought the United States would never attack, and was confident that even if it did, the resulting war would follow essentially the same script as the first Gulf War in 1991, without a full-scale invasion all the way to Baghdad. He did preposition a lot of military materiel around the country before the war started, but only to disperse it and keep it safe, so that it would be available either in the later stages of a long and drawn-out campaign against the coalition, or to reestablish control at home afterwards (as he did in 1991, when the Kurds and Shia revolted):
  • As far as can be determined from the interviews and records reviewed so far, there were no national plans to embark on a guerrilla war in the event of military defeat. Nor did the regime appear to cobble together such plans as its world crumbled around it . . . . [T]he regime ordered the [prewar] distribution of ammunition [around the country] in order to preserve it for a prolonged war with coalition forces.
  • How did Saddam think the war was going? Swimmingly. Because everyone knew that Saddam severely punished anybody who told him unpleasant truths, the entire regime was built on lies. During wartime, this meant that junior officers told senior officers that everything was going well, they reported it up the chain of command, and Saddam himself remained a prisoner of his delusions:
  • As late as the end of March 2003, Saddam apparently still believed the war to be going the way he had expected. If Iraq was not actually winning it, neither was it losing — or at least so it seemed to the dictator. Americans may have listened with amusement to the seemingly obvious fabrications of [“Baghdad Bob”]. But the evidence now clearly shows that Saddam and those around him believed virtually every word issued by their own propaganda machine . . . . [On March 30] Saddam’s principal secretary directed the Iraqi foreign minister to tell the French and Russian governments that Baghdad would accept only an “unconditional withdrawal” of U.S. forces because “Iraq is now winning and . . . the United States has sunk in the mud of defeat.” At that moment, U.S. tanks were a hundred miles south of Baghdad, refueling and rearming for the final push. Summary text of “Saddam’s Delusions” Full text of “Saddam’s Delusions” Foreignaffairs.org home page

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Time for homeschooling in Iraq

Knowing children are being kidnapped daily, what parent would send their kids to school un-escorted, or school at all? Why not homeschool the children?

As I father of four I could not conceive sending my kids to school. If I did, I imagine I’d have to say something to my kids each morning along the lines of, “Bye! Have a great day. Hope to see you tonight.”

No, I don’t think so. While I’m no fan of homeschooling, in that situation it would be a matter of course.

Between 10 and 40 Iraqis are kidnapped every day – often children snatched on their way to school and held for a ransom of between £3,000 and £30,000. Source

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Pacifist hostage ungrateful after rescue

Kember does not believe “that a lasting peace is achieved by armed force.”

Are still at war with

GermanyandJapan, Kember (…and the list goes on…)?

Is Kember annoyed he was rescued?

Was his contempt for “armed force” the reason he failed to thank his “armed” rescuers?

Freed hostage Norman Kember thanked the soldiers who rescued him from kidnappers in Iraq as he arrived home.

But, in a statement released as he was reunited with wife Pat at Heathrow airport, he said he did not believe armed force achieved lasting peace.

He had faced criticism after apparently failing to thank the men who freed him.

Mr Kember, 74, a peace campaigner from Pinner, London, was kidnapped in Iraq last November. He and two Canadian hostages were rescued on Thursday.

Tribute paid

Head of the British Army, Gen Sir Mike Jackson, had said he was “saddened” there did not seem to be any gratitude after the rescue of Mr Kember, James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32.

But on Saturday, Mr Kember said: “I do not believe that a lasting peace is achieved by armed force, but I pay tribute to their courage and thank those who played a part in my rescue.”

Prime Minister Tony Blair has paid tribute to the soldiers involved in the rescue while Foreign Secretary Jack Straw urged people planning to undertake humanitarian work in Iraq to think again. Source

Reality in Iraq: Ingraham speaks out againts media’s Iraqi coverage

Political pundit Laura Ingraham sparked quite a bit of discussion throughout the media world with her comments on the Today show. Ingraham charged that the media accentuate the negative in their Iraqi coverage.

Video Clip: Hugh Hewitt and Michael Yon on CNN

Huge Applause for Wife’s Anti-Media Blast

NRO article, Role Reversal

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White House Nonchalance

Posted by permission from Dr. Daniel Pipes. Its appearance is independent of this blog, and should not be construed to either agree or disagree with the opinions expressed on this blog, or on any other website.

White House Nonchalance

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
March 21, 2006

[NY Sun title: “Clues To Reading Bush’s Mind”]

Expect the Bush administration to continue to make the Middle East the center of American foreign policy. Also expect its strategies to remain basically unchanged – despite their mixed record so far.

That’s the message in a major foreign policy document issued last week by the White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. Mandated by law to appear every four years, the NSS, 49 pages long, was written by the national security advisor, Stephen Hadley and his team.

The Middle East’s outsized role comes across in various ways. In a cover letter, President Bush opens the report by stating “America is at war” and describing the enemy as “terrorism fueled by an aggressive ideology of hatred and murder, fully revealed to the American people on September 11, 2001.” The report singles out the Middle East as the region that “continues to command the world’s attention” because for too long, many of its countries “have suffered from a freedom deficit. Repression has fostered corruption, imbalanced or stagnant economies, political resentments, regional conflicts, and religious extremism.”

Other indications point to the centrality of the Middle East. and Gulf states. Iraq is mentioned by name 57 times, while China is named just 28 times and Russia 17 The most dangerous state? “We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran,” asserts the report. And the Syrian regime, which “has chosen to be an enemy of freedom, justice, and peace,” will be held to account.

This focus on the Middle East makes sense, given the region’s many urgent threats to America Unfortunately, the NSS then insists on a rosy-tinted outlook, either understating the region’s problems or approaching them too optimistically.

Circumstances in Iraq are presented as a mere challenge to be overcome. “We will work with the freely elected, democratic government of Iraq – our new partner in the War on Terror – to consolidate and expand freedom, and to build security and lasting stability” – as though the specter of civil war were not looming.

That “every time an American goes to a gas station,” as Gal Luft puts it,” he is sending money to America’s enemies,” is a rude problem absent from the NSS, other than a vague acknowledgment that “oil revenues fund activities that destabilize [the producers’] regions or advance violent ideologies.”

The report minimizes the threat of radical Islam via the fiction that a “proud religion” has been “twisted and made to serve an evil.” Not so: Islamism is a deeply grounded and widely popular version of Islam, as shown by election results from Afghanistan to Algeria. Reliable opinion polls are lacking from majority-Muslim countries but repeated surveys in Britain give some idea of the harrowingly extremist attitudes of its Muslim population: 5 % of them support the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks in London and say more such attacks are justified; 20% have sympathy with the feelings and motives of the July 7 attackers and believe that suicide attacks against the military in Britain can be justified. These results are probably typical of Muslim populations globally, as recent polls of Indonesians and Palestinian Arabs confirms.

The NSS omits any mention of Turkey and Bangladesh and it refers to Saudi Arabia only in passing, suggesting that the Islamist leadership in these states poses no particular concern. The administration’s grievous error in helping a terrorist organization, Hamas, reach power in January 2006 is glossed over with soothing words (“The opportunity for peace and statehood … is open if Hamas will abandon its terrorist roots and change its relationship with Israel”).

Thus does the NSS accurately reflect the yin and yang of the Bush administration’s Middle East policy: a much-needed, relentless focus on the region’s sick political culture and the threats it poses to Americans, mixed with an insouciance that current policies are just fine, thank you, everything is on track, and problems – Iraq, terrorism, and the Arab-Israeli conflict in particular – will soon enough be resolved.

Significantly, only the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons does not inspire that glow of confidence. Here, the administration is frankly worried ( “if confrontation is to be avoided,” states the NSS, diplomatic efforts must succeed in convincing Tehran to restrict its nuclear program to peaceful purposes). This observer wishes that comparable doubts accompanied other American policies in the region.

From www.danielpipes.org | Original article available at: www.danielpipes.org/article/3466

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‘Big Love’ = big fiction

As good as any repudiation I’ve read that ‘Big Love’ has anything to do with Mormons.

The Spectrum, St. George – www.thespectrum.com -:

So let’s set the record straight. The Henricksons are not Mormons. The Henricksons are not fundamental polygamists. They are a fictional modern-day family who practice the belief that plural marriage is a religious vocation conjured up merely for entertainment purposes. It is not educational or enlightening, nor is it a reflection of Utahns or the bordering polygamous communities of Hildale and Colorado City. In fact, it is no more authentic than the animated movie, “Finding Nemo,” with talking fish and reformed carnivorous sharks.

Take it for what it is – a television show trying to get ratings. Along those same lines, you’ve got the power to work your remote control. Turn it on if you want to tune in, change the channel if you don’t.

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‘Big Love’ = big fiction

As good as any repudiation I’ve read that ‘Big Love’ has anything to do with Mormons.

The Spectrum, St. George – www.thespectrum.com -:

So let’s set the record straight. The Henricksons are not Mormons. The Henricksons are not fundamental polygamists. They are a fictional modern-day family who practice the belief that plural marriage is a religious vocation conjured up merely for entertainment purposes. It is not educational or enlightening, nor is it a reflection of Utahns or the bordering polygamous communities of Hildale and Colorado City. In fact, it is no more authentic than the animated movie, “Finding Nemo,” with talking fish and reformed carnivorous sharks.

Take it for what it is – a television show trying to get ratings. Along those same lines, you’ve got the power to work your remote control. Turn it on if you want to tune in, change the channel if you don’t.

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Founding Fathers Covenanted With God

Interesting letter to the Auburn Journal. I don’t agree with it, but thought it well written.

The writer is wrong to think Americans are only accountable to themselves and the laws of this country.

The Founding Fathers knew they were entering America into a covenant relationship with God when they forged by inspiration our countries founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

If, as the writer claims, these founding documents are merely laws, he would have a point. But they are greater than just laws; there are divine principles within these inspired documents that without America simply would never have been created (listed below)

Further, if these founding documents are the backbone to our countries laws, then the scriptures are its soul. For America cannot be sustained as originally intended by the Fathers and God without the scriptures. So you cannot understand the Constitution without also understanding the scriptures. For in the scriptures are the key to understanding and knowing the greatness that is the American experiment.
_
Discover the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Founding Fathers which they said must be understood and perpetuated by every people who desired peace, prosperity, and freedom.

    These beliefs have made possible more progress in 200 years than was made previously in over 5,000 years.

The following is a brief overview of the principles found in The Five Thousand Year Leap, and one chapter is devotes to each of these 28 principles.

Principle 1 The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.

    Natural law is God’s law. There are certain laws which govern the entire universe, and just as Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, there are laws which govern in the affairs of men which are “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

Principle 2 A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

    “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” – Benjamin Franklin

Principle 3 The most promising method of securing a virtuous people is to elect virtuous leaders.

    “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who … will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.” – Samuel Adams

Principle 4 Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.” – George Washington

Principle 5 All things were created by God, therefore upon him all mankind are equally dependent, and to him they are equally responsible .

    The American Founding Fathers considered the existence of the Creator as the most fundamental premise underlying all self-evident truth. They felt a person who boasted he or she was an atheist had just simply failed to apply his or her divine capacity for reason and observation. Read the rest of this entry

Mormons planning to build new chapel

Excellent article, worthy read.

My favorite part is: ‘When you do a church, you’re dealing with people’s spiritual well-being,” he said. And since Mormon churches are financed by tithings, ”It’s not like a shopping center where someone has borrowed money from the bank to build and is going to flip it,” he added. “It’s a lot more rewarding.”

Mormons planning to build new chapel:

Mormons planning to build new chapel The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans to build a new chapel in Richmond Heights to ease overcrowding in Homestead.

As hundreds of Mormons flock to South Miami-Dade and even more residents convert to the faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is set to accommodate swelling congregations by building a new chapel in Richmond Heights.

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Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder

Gosh! Jon isn’t a one hit wonder afterall, sweet, he isn’t an idiot!

Jon has six more films coming to the screen soon.

Working on His Movie Star Badge

Jon on Saturday Night Live set

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Guilty until proven innocent

Mr. Kennedy is a former Mormon bishop and mission president who defended himself for 5 years againts the S.E.C. which had pursued a securities fraud case against him. The S.E.C. recently decided to drop the charges.

What bothers me greatly is how his reputation was seriously tarnished to the point he states he felt he was abandoned by many friends, business associates and members of the Mormon community.

The Mormon community offered little support. “The vast majority thought that I did it,” he said.

Innocent until proven guilty is something we all ought to remember.

Sameer Shalaby, a TenFold founder who has since left the company and founded Paladyne Systems, a software company, unreservedly supported Mr. Kennedy. “Businesses succeed or fail, challenges come along, but this had nothing to do with fraud” he said. “This was a major business challenge. There was no lying or cheating or stealing.”

“I’ve never been able to get through to people, it’s not about calculating the best outcome,” Mr. Kennedy said. “It’s about right and wrong.” Source

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Romney invited to the Vatican

Given Romney’s public and legislative support of the Catholic Charites position of wanting to prevent gays from adopting children, it is little wonder the Vatican has an interest in Romney.

PlanetOut News: Gov. Romney invited to the Vatican:

SUMMARY: Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, has received a special invitation from the Vatican…to attend the elevation of Boston Archbishop Sean O’Malley to cardinal at the Vatican.

“This is extraordinary, and particularly for someone of my faith,” said Romney, a Mormon, before he spoke at a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in New Hampshire, an early presidential state. “I don’t know that there’s ever been a Mormon guy that’s been to the Vatican for a Mass held by the pope, so it’s a personal honor.”

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Novak on Romney

Novak is one of my favorite political pundits. He may very well be the most neutral nationally syndicated columnist there is, the epitome of fair and balanced.

And Novak’s got it right in regards to Romney’s presidential aspirations, “Can a Mormon be elected president of the United States?…but that potential bias is his one great liability.”

It would be unfair, prejudice, warped if Romney’s religion was the key factor in his losing the presidential nomination. But it may very well be as I’ve posted herein several times.

Such jaundiced views of the LDS faith are unwarranted. In fact, if the biased against his religion actually understood Romney’s religion, they would move heaven and earth to support him. Why?

Because Romney does believe in the proper role of separation of church and state, and is a strong advocate of protecting everyone’s freedoms as founded in the US Constitution.

Romney absolutely can be trusted to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of [his] Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

And that is why I’d vote for him, because he is honest, wise, and morally upright, not because he is Mormon.

But an honest, wise, morally upright individual may be undesirable for many who have come to expect dishonesty, corruption, and scandal as matter of course in a US President.

It would be a sad commentary on how far the citizens of this county have moved away from the key and vital principle of freedom of religion and perverted into freedom from religion if rejecting Romney’s presidential candidacy was based upon the fact he is a faithful, active Mormon.

Romney prepares for ’08

PONTIAC, Michigan (Creators Syndicate) — Any real doubt that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination should have been resolved by his performance Monday in suburban Oakland County, Michigan.

Behind the scenes, Republican politicians ask each other the same question that went unanswered when George Romney sought the 1968 nomination: Can a Mormon be elected president of the United States?

Nobody talks about it, as Mitt Romney meticulously prepares the field for 2008, but that potential bias is his one great liability as a presidential candidate.

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Romney Propose Law Protecting Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom means the freedom to practices ones religion. Sounds simple in principle, but every day it’s gettting more and more difficult for Churches and their adherents to actual practice what they preach.

Take for example Catholic Charities, an adoption service responsible for placing 720 children in homes since 1977, which may be forced to allow gays to adopt children, something againts their faith.

Make no mistake about it, this is not a correct application of the principle of separation of church and state, because it is the state telling the church how to practice it’s religion. The church may have to do something againts it’s faith because the state may mandate it. But those groups whose mantra is “keep religion out of the government” will have no problem with allowing “goverment in religion.”

Controversy over gay adoptions in Boston deepens

BOSTON (Reuters) – Boston’s leading Catholic charity, abiding by Vatican teachings that describe same-sex adoptions as “gravely immoral,” said on Friday it would halt adoption services, raising the stakes in a dispute over a state law allowing gays and lesbians to adopt children.

Massachusetts’ Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon who may run for the White House in 2008, said he would propose a law to make the Catholic Church and other religious institutions exempt from the state’s nondiscrimination act.

“I find the current state of the law deeply disturbing and a threat to religious freedom,” Romney said in a statement issued within minutes of the adoption announcement. Several political analysts expected Romney’s proposal to be easily defeated in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature.

Since it entered into a contract to provide special needs adoption services with the state in 1977, Catholic Charities has placed 720 children in permanent homes through adoption. Of those, 13 children were placed with same-sex families.

The Vatican has campaigned against gay marriage for several years, issuing a stern document condemning gay adoption in 2003 that said allowing children to be adopted by same-sex couples “would actually mean doing violence to these children” and was “gravely immoral”.

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“South Park” Chef Bigotry Nerve Finally Stimulated

I never watched South Park, and I never will. Yet this article captured my interest and does a fair job outlining Hayes beef with South Park which is that the show does “ridicule…religious communities.”

I think it interesting to note that Hayes never had a problem with South Parks treatment of relgions, which is irreverent defamation cloaked as satire, until his own religion was targeted. That is to say, his “bigotry” nerve was only stimulated when his religion was misrepresented and ridiculed by Sourth Park.

Good for Hayes! Better late than never.

“South Park” Chef Loses Voice on Yahoo! News:

  • “South Park” Chef Loses Voice Isaac Hayes
  • Isaac Hayes…issued a statement Monday indicating that he has requested to be released from his contract due to what he called the show’s “inappropriate ridicule of religious communities.”
  • Hayes continued, “There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” the soul legend said. “Religious beliefs are sacred to people and at all times should be respected and honored. As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices.”
  • Stone told the Associated Press. “He has no problem–and he’s cashed plenty of checks–with our show making fun of Christians.”
  • Past episodes of South Park have skewered Catholics, Jews and Mormons, among others. Source

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Political Labels: Up or Down v. Right or Left

I don’t view political parties by the standard labels of “right” or “left”, “conservative” or “liberal.” These tired, old, wornout terms are loaded with biases, prejudices, preconceptions and baggage, with all good, bad and ugly that implies. Each passing day these labels become less and less meaningful, serving as a pejorative to hurl at ones opposition more than a anything else. So I’ve drawn up a different map to reference and created a different compass that I use to navigate the political battlefield and its minefields.

I vision a flagpole on which Old Glory is raised. The flag symbolizes to me the ideals and principles of liberty contained within the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the gospel, the ideal balance between government and religion. Thus, I view political parties, platforms, policies, etc., as either moving Up towards the ideal or moving Down away from the ideal.

I apply the idiom “run (something) up the flagpole” to test the idea, measure, party, policy, etc., and create my response or opinion from a principle based standard as opposed to a party line. Using that metaphor I can more easily judge all political matters from a non-partisan vantage point & analysis, and decide whether it’s moving us either Up the flagpole towards the ideal or Down the flagpole away from the ideal.

Using the 80/20 rule, I believe the Republican party is Up 80% of the time, whereas the Democrat party is Down 80% of the time.

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Two Kindoms Of God

Duane S Crowther’s book “Prophecy”, first published in 1962 has a very interesting chapter entitled “The Establishment of the God.”

Summary

When law, order, and government collapse in the Untied States, the Church will be compelled to establish a government to preserve peace in the in the Western United States.

This government will be known as the The Kingdom of God. A problem in terminology arises because of this political organization will be called the Kingdom of God. The early Church leaders taught that the government the Saints was to establish was to be apart from the Church.

That is to say, there are two Kingdoms of God. The first kingdom of God is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is Christ’s church on earth, often referred to as the kingdom of God on earth. And the second kingdom of God is the yet to be created and organized political Kingdom of God, which is not the LDS Church, rather, a new political party, an independent party which shall be officially called the Kingdom of God; a new government which will be base upon the US Constitution. This new US Constitution has already been written by Joseph Smith and is in the position of the Church.

Crowther outlines the chapter The Establishment of the Kingdom of God.

History

  1. The (political kingdom yet to be organized) was first organized by Joseph Smith shortly before his death.
  2. It was to be governed by a “General Council” which was also called the “Council of Fifty.”
  3. This organization played an important part in the Westward exodus of the Church, but became a source of antagonism to the non-members in the West and so it was discontinued by the Church.

Characteristics (When it is organized in the future.)

  1. The Kingdom of God will be led by a Council of Fifty. Some of them might not be Latter-day Saints.
  2. It will uphold the rights of men of all creeds and will be dedicated to rule justly.
  3. The Kingdom will be a theocracy.
  4. It will uphold the principles of the United States Constitution and be somewhat similar in method of operation to the present United States Government.
  5. In the Kingdom will be include people of all nations.

Future (The future will progress through three stages of growth.)

  1. The beginning stage-The Saints will be in the West (Utah). Here the influence of the Kingdom will be relatively limited and unknown.
  2. The growth stage-During this period many of the Saints will journey from the West to establish the New Jerusalem. There the Kingdom of God will rise in power, not by waging war on other nations, but by being a standard of peace and lawfulness while other governments collapse through corruption and war.
  3. The world-ruling stage-This period will commence with the second coming of Christ and will take place during the Millennium.

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