STOP the War on Children

July 4, 2011

Christian Faith: America’s “Particular Strength”

By Dr. Karen Gushta

 

Christian faith equals liberty. That’s not how some see it today, but Frenchman Alexis de
Tocqueville said the two were closely linked. “The Americans combine the notions of
religion and liberty so intimately in their minds,” he wrote, “that it is impossible to make
them conceive of one without the other.”

De Tocqueville made this observation in his classic Democracy in America published in
two volumes in 1835 and 1840 after he toured America, hoping to see just “what a great
republic is.” De Tocqueville saw from afar that America had achieved what the French
revolution had failed to do—a society of “almost complete equality of social conditions.”
So he decided to take a closer look.

In the course of his nine-month itinerary, de Tocqueville visited every major region of
America east of the Mississippi.  He traveled the eastern seaboard, saw the then “frontier”
in Michigan and Wisconsin, visited the thriving mid-western river city of Cincinnati, and
toured through the south stopping at Nashville and Memphis on his way to the deep-south
port of New Orleans at the mouth of North America’s largest river.

De Tocqueville experienced adventure that foreign to his aristocratic upbringing. While
on the frontier he stayed in the rough accommodations of a log cabin, and one of the
steamboats he was on sank. Yet, he also had the opportunity to converse with America’s
best thinkers including John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster. He met President
Andrew Jackson and interviewed future president of the Republic of Texas and governor
of the state of Texas, Sam Houston. Houston was living at the time among the Cherokee
in the Arkansas Territory and operating a trading post on the Arkansas River. De
Tocqueville also had the opportunity to meet the last living signer of the Declaration of
Independence, the wealthy Maryland landowner Charles Carroll of Carrollton, just before
he died in 1832 at age 95.

Democracy in America is a rich portrait of a nation that had not yet celebrated the fiftieth
anniversary of the writing of its constitution. A nation bursting with energy and strength,
fueled by faith—faith in itself and its own exceptionalism, and faith in the God who was
recognized by its founders to have played a divine role in its founding.

Yet de Tocqueville wondered whether America could escape the inexorable drive of the
democratic spirit—the spirit of liberté, égalité, fraternité, which fueled the French
revolution. When the French cast off the restraints of Christian religion by crushing the
church, killing its leaders, and declaring worship of the “goddess of Reason,” that
democratic spirit led to tyranny and despotism.

The revolution in France ended in 1799 and by the time de Tocqueville visited America
30 years later, his country had gone through three different systems of government: the
Consulate, the Napoleonic Empire, and the Bourbon Restoration of King Charles X.
Then, in 1830, just prior to de Tocqueville’s arrival in America in 1831, Charles X was
overthrown by a populist backed coup d’état and Louis-Philippe I, a member of the
Orleans branch of the House of Bourbon, was placed on the throne under a constitutional
monarchy.

Louis-Philippe started well, reportedly having said, “We will attempt to remain in a juste
milieu (the just middle), in an equal distance from the excesses of popular power and the
abuses of royal power.” By 1848 Louis-Philippe had lost “the middle” and his abuse of
royal power led to his forced abdication and exile to England and the French established
the Second Republic with a nephew of Napoleon I as president.

De Tocqueville’s trip to America was financed by the monarchy with the charge to study
America’s penal system and penitentiaries. Soon after his return, de Tocqueville dutifully
wrote a report on the American system and its “Applications to France.” But his primary
interest in visiting America, as evidenced by the massive two-volume Democracy in
America, was to study the question that was clearly eluding the French, for all their
revolutionary fervor and “liberalism.”

How does a democratic government avoid descent into a tyranny of the masses? To
escape that tyranny the French first accepted Napoleon as emperor and then Charles X as
king.

De Tocqueville came to America to see democracy in action. He had recently been
elected to represent his home department (state) of Manche to the Chamber of Deputies
in the French parliament. But his focus was not on the unique system of representation
embodied in the American Constitution. Rather de Tocqueville looked intently at the
effects of the equality of conditions that he saw everywhere in America.

Being an astute student of history, de Tocqueville understood that giving citizens the
ability to own land, transfer wealth, and engage in commerce, introduces elements of
equality into society. “From that moment on, all processes discovered, all needs that
arise, all desires that demand satisfaction bring progress toward universal leveling,” he
wrote. Furthermore, America provided unique conditions for a level society, since
“America, once discovered, presents a thousand new routes to fortune and delivers wealth
and power to the obscure adventurer.”

In spite of the set-backs in the drive toward an “equality of conditions” in France, de
Tocqueville was optimistic it would continue. His goal in coming to America was “to
find lessons there from which we could profit.” “I confess that in America I saw more
than America,” he wrote in his introduction. “I sought there an image of democracy itself,
of its penchants, its character, its prejudices, it passions; I wanted to become acquainted
with it if only to know at least what we ought to hope or fear from it.”

So what did he find and is it still the same today? Democracy in America remains popular
with both conservatives and liberals today because of the profound and seemingly
prescient insights that de Tocqueville inscribed in it.

What were the principle causes that tended to maintain a democratic republic in the
United States, he inquired. One of those he found was religion, and specifically
Christianity. “America is … still the place in the world where the Christian religion has
most preserved genuine powers over souls; and nothing shows better how useful and
natural to man it is in our day, since the country in which it exercises the greatest empire
is at the same time the most enlightened and most free.”

“It is religion that gave birth to the Anglo-American societies: one must never forget
this,” wrote de Tocqueville, who was not very religious himself. “In the United States
religion is therefore intermingled with all national habits and all the sentiments to which a
native country gives birth.” It is this fact “that gives it a particular strength.”

What could erode this strength? As a careful student of democracy, de Tocqueville saw
two things inherent in democracy itself. The first was “equality of conditions.” Such
equality “makes men conceive a sort of instinctive incredulity about the supernatural and
a very high and often much exaggerated idea of human reason.”

The second tendency de Tocqueville saw was that “Democracy favors the taste for
material enjoyments.” “This taste, if it becomes excessive, soon disposes men to believe
that all is nothing but matter; and materialism in its turn serves to carry them toward these enjoyments with an insane ardor.”

The antidote to these inherent tendencies in democracies is religion, for it is a “general,
simple, and practical means of teaching men the immortality of the soul”—a guard
against materialism and a protection against inflated human reason.

This July 4th, pray for our nation. Pray that the indispensable pillars of “religion and
morality,” as George Washington called them, will continue to stand strong. For if they
crumble, America’s “particular strength” will too.

February 17, 2010

21st Educational Policy Conference Quotes

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Below is a list of the speakers at the 21st Educational Policy Conference, sponsored by the Constitutional Coalition http://www.constitutionalcoalition.org/ and held in St. Louis, MO, Feb. 4-6, 2010.

What follows are some gleanings from the notes I took on each speaker. Each one was highly informative and I was honored to be among them. The EPC is unique in its focus. If you have a concern for the way America’s educational system is impacting our nation’s children, you should consider attending next year, when EPC22 will held the last weekend in January in St. Louis.

Michael Medved:  “Lies About America that Must Stop”

“Our country is moving toward the right because in general conservatives are happier!”

Phyllis Schlafly: “Child Abuse in the Classroom”

“Public schools are the biggest cultural influence in our country today.”

Ted Baehr: “Faulty Reasoning, Film, Michael Moore and Economics”

“The more intelligent a child is, the more they pick up on what the media is teaching.”

Startling stat: the percentage of children abandoning their parents’ values is 90%

Ann McElhinny: producer of “Not Evil, Just Wrong”

“Liberalism is a default position for ‘nice people.’”

“Public schools are teaching a ‘green’ religion.”

Sen. Jane Cunningham:  “Bullying Gone too Far”

Classroom abuse has expanded from indoctrination to sexual abuse. An AP study found sexual abuse in the classroom is 6 times more prevalent than in the priesthood.

Emily Landis: “PC on Campus”

“Once you’ve justified appeasing your professor for the sake of a grade, it’s easier to compromise in other situations.”

“Over 70% of campuses have policies that infringe on students rights,” according to FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education).

David Horowitz: “Teaching Revolution on College Campus”

“Leftists, (contrary to Ann McElhinny) mean and nasty people and environmentalism is evil!”

“Every school system is controlled by liberal progressives in major cities. They are destroying the lives of children.”

In the war for our civilization there are three battlefront: Terrorist armies, our borders, and the schools, and we’re losing the latter.

Dr. Robert Littlejohn: “Teaching not WHAT but HOW to think!”

Effective education includes: didactic instruction, coaching (coming alongside), and Socratic dialogue.

90% of what’s happening in our schools is enculturation, not education.

Hon. Debi Demein: “Federal vs. State School Boards”

The Federal Government is “nudging” states into making educational decisions by using regulations and incentives. They are not passing legislation—that’s too difficult and time-consuming.

Dr. Miriam Grossman: “You are Teaching My Children WHAT?”

There is a sex ed industry in the U.S. SIECUS and Planned Parenthood are promoting behaviors that lead to sexual disease. Their priority is sexual freedom. Sex ed is a social movement. It is based in a dream of a society without sexual taboos that is free of Judeo-Christian morality.

Karen England: “California’s Mandated Sexual Diversity”

California now has mandatory K-5 diversity curriculum under the guise that it’s anti-bullying and promoting “safe schools.” There is no opt-out provision for parents; they are considered the problem, because they are bigoted. “They can have that viewpoint (opposing homosexuality), but they have to leave it at home,” said one school official.

Dr. Patrick Fagan: “What Research Shows About Sexual Diversity and Marriage”

What we are engaged in is more than a “culture war.” It’s a war of civilizations. Western civilization is premised on monogamy. Monogamy is under attack by those advocating “polyandry.”

Those who want to eliminate every obstacle to a socialist state are trying to get adolescents sexually active—doing so destroys both the family and church, which Engels saw as the primary obstacles to a socialist state.

Dr. Karen Gushta: “Stopping the War on Children: Moral Education to Build a Moral Nation

To be virtuous, a nation must have virtuous leaders. If we are to have virtuous leaders, we must teach them to value sanctity of life. Parents must shape their children’s moral consciences. Our nation must recognize God’s covenant relationship with His creation and with His people—which was the foundation for the freedoms established by our Founders.

Sherrie Drury: “How and Why Biblical Sexuality”

Sex foreshadows the intimacy we will have with Jesus in heaven. We’ve gotten away from God’s good plan for sex in marriage. Women are trying to conform to cultural values, resulting in eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression.

Glenn Beck:  “Empowering the Individual, Reconnecting with America”

“We’ve been endowed with rights. We’ve been granted these rights. We’re the protectors of these rights, and if we lose them, there will be eternal consequences.”

“Each of us has a role to play. You must find your role. You’ve been born at this time in this country.”

“Are we a nation of people, who, as George Washington said, ‘respect the law?’ We are a nation of laws, not men.”

“Don’t take away my right to give until it hurts, and not give because it hurts.”

“This land is meant for something special—I don’t know what for, but God protected this land for a very long time until the Pilgrims came.”

“In 1821 Jefferson and Adams knew they had failed to put enough of Deuteronomy into the Constitution, but they thought we would get it right.”

“America is at a crossroads.”

“God is a good God—He loves us and wants us to be free. He is not going to trap us.”

Michele Bachman: “Fundamentals of a Good Education that Will Keep Us Free and Strong.”

“Now we have gangster government… This is dispiriting Americans…The soft glow of change is wearing off.”

“Now in Washington, D.C., the constitution is considered optional. We need to restore our fundamentals.” “I believe we are on the road to reclaim our liberties.”

Dr. Brad Watson: “Darwin and the Progressive Assault on the Rule of Law.”

As social Darwinians began to dominate American political thinking at the end of the 19th century, the view that the Constitution is “constantly changing” and is a “living document” began to prevail. In the early 20th century the language of naturalism prevailed. Progressivism is the politicization of these doctrines.

Matthew Spaulding: “An Orderly Society: We Still Hold These Truth. . .”

“We have to capture the moment with the story of America. America’s story is unique in its founding.” Everyone came to America for a set of principles. Previously all foundings were based on will. “The principles of our founding are not forgotten, they are under attack. ‘There is a new wave of progressives who want to transform America.”

We have the choice to decline like Europe, or to rediscover our founding principles through a great renewal.

Dr. Jerry Newcombe: “Endowed by Our Creator: The Role of God in America”

“You cannot understand America without God.”

“If you remove God from the story of American history, the story makes no sense.”

“Religion was the biggest single motive to getting people to hazard all.”

Brigitte Gabriel: “One Law for One People: Textbooks, Shariah and the U.S. Constitution.”

“I speak on college campuses. . . they are occupied territories.”

There is a cultural invasion of America going on now. Unless we wake up, it will be too late.

“We pump the gas, they pump poison into hearts and minds of future generations.”

“Brainwashing is happening in universities.”

Her website: www.ActforAmerica.org

State Sen. Jim Lemke: “Sovereignty: The State and Unconstitutional Federal Dictates”

“The people created the states. The states created the federal government.”

“There has to be a paradigm shift back to the states.”

“This is our time. This may be our last chance.”

Dr. Jay Richards: “Economics: Understanding Money, Greed, and God”

Socialism appeals to legitimate moral intuitions we have; i.e., I am responsible for my fellow human beings in certain ways.

There is “socialist chic,” but you can defend free market as the best system.

In the 20th century capitalism won, but kids in colleges are still being taught socialism. The arguments have to be made anew.”

He outlines eight myths or misconceptions about economics in his book, Money, Greed, and God.

Joseph Farah: “Free Ideas: America’s Unique Freedom of the Press”

“Press and media is a vital institution if we are to achieve and grow and preserve our freedom in this country.”

The central role of the free press is to serve as a watch dog on government. Most in the press have ceased to be watch dogs and are not just lap-dogs, they see themselves as John the Baptists for big government.

The Tea Party movement is the most potent political movement he’s seen in America.

Sen. Jim Talent: “Security: The Constitutional and Moral Underpinnings of National Defense”

Go back to first principles—look at the mandatory clauses in the Preamble. “When government fails to exercise national defense, it is failing to carry out its primary task.”

“There is no parallel in the history of mankind where two generations gave their lives to preserve their freedom and the hope of freedom for others.”

America is in greater danger than in any other time in his lifetime. Sources of danger are: terrorists, rogue states, and regional superpowers.

See his article, “Sowing Wind” at www.freedomsolutions.org

Jim Cuffia: “Freedom: The Essential Liberty Project”

“Freedom without personal responsibility is anarchy; personal responsibility without freedom is tyranny.”

“Law and liberty cannot become objects of our love if they are not first objects of our knowledge.”

See the Essential Liberty Project http://essentialliberty.us/

Mark Hamby: “Literature to Create Moral Leaders”

“Moral leaders are readers. Moral readers are leaders.”

“If only 5% of N. American’s are readers, we’re entering a dark age.”

“We can’t boycott the culture. We have to make it better.”

See: Lamplighter Publishing

http://www.lamplighterpublishing.com/

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