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Some Things Said… (September 06)

Eastman and Meese Team with Hadley Arkes on Partial Birth Abortion Brief

CCJ Director John Eastman and CCJ Board of Advisor Chairman Edwin Meese III teamed up with Professor Hadley Arkes to file an important amicus curiae brief in the partial birth abortion case, currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Filed on Thursday, Aug. 3, the brief challenges the notion that the Supreme Court has the authority to create new substantive rights and then claim a monopoly on the inherently legislative power of defining the scope of the right and balancing it against other rights of at least equal importance, such as the right to life recognized as “unalienable” in the Declaration of Independence.

“This may be the most important abortion case in a generation,” noted Eastman, “and we’re delighted that Professor Arkes has joined us in this effort, aimed at reminding the Court of the important first principles at stake…” –from an article by Hadley Arkes and John C. Eastman on the Claremont Institute website at 08.10.06

Atheist Group Forms at Air Force Academy

“Freethinkers” hope to counterbalance Christian groups.
In the aftermath of military chaplains being reprimanded for proselytizing, and atheists alleging religious discrimination and suing, the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., is permitting some cadets to start an atheist group on campus.

After-class, student-led ministries have been part of life at the academy for years. Gary Betchan with the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs told Family News in Focus that he’s pleased his group is now included.

“We want to try to introduce ideas about church-state separation,” he said, “the rational nature of modern society, some religious criticism and comparative religion kinds of stuff.”

AFA Cadet Wing Chaplain Phil Guin said several cadets requested the group’s presence on campus and by allowing it, it protects the right of religious groups to have a presence.

“We want to provide a balanced religious program on a federal institution,” he said. “If we are going to provide religious expression for one group of individuals, let’s say, for example, protestant Christians, then we are going to try to provide religious expression for any cadet group that wants to meet here.”

Retired Army Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis, a military analyst, said about 80 religious groups are permitted to share their ideas with cadets. He said he isn’t too worried about the Free Thinkers’ agenda.

“It’s a cornucopia of ideas that are vying for individual attention,” he said. “Ultimately, the individuals are only going to go to the things that they are interested in.” –from a staff article at Focus on the Family’s website, 09.07.06, submitted by Mark Zaveson

How little things change

Half a century ago the imperial German Government, prompted by such hellish intent and desire of worldwide power, started out to subject the peoples of this earth. Have you ever studied their tactics along this line? They first undertook to get rid of the book of God, and by legislative enactment drove it out at the backdoor of the schoolroom and said: “We will train a generation of boys and girls, not under the influence of the God of the Bible, but under the influence of the god of war.” And let me say to you that but for the fact that the power of the Bible was driven out and eliminated, the black crimes and the atrocious deeds that characterize historic pages could never have been possible. When I say to you that their propaganda started forty years ago, that it spread through their government, and its influences reached the proud land of America, I but state that which all of us have come to recognize as fact. –N. B. Hardeman (March 28, 1922).

‘Abstain From Evil’ Was Once a Lesson in Pupils’ Textbooks

In early American public schools, there was no separation between church and state. Tenets of Christianity were embedded in almost every lesson and book, including spelling, reading, history, grammar, arithmetic and science.

A was for Adam, B was for the Bible and C was for Christ. In arithmetic, “How many days is it since the birth of Our Savior?” In geography, “Christianity is the prevailing religion of the leading nations of the world.” In science, “All parts of the solar system are framed and adjusted to answer exactly the purpose intended by the Creator.” In nature, “The more we examine the insect world, the more sensible do we become of the mighty power and goodness of God.”

The schoolbooks used by early Americans were supposed to teach literacy and knowledge, but they also had a broader purpose: to create a national character, instilling children with a belief in God and a moral code appropriate to the pious citizens of a new republic. While learning to read, students also had to absorb messages about religion, patriotism and other virtues, such as thrift, diligence and honesty.

“A sense of God permeates all [early school books] as surely as a sense of nationalism,” wrote Ruth Miller Elson in “Guardians of Tradition” (1964). “The books devote the greater part of their space to the subject of God’s relationship to the universe, to man and to the child himself.”

As late as 1880, Noah Webster’s popular spelling book included practice sentences such as, “God created heaven and earth in six days” and “The devil is the great adversary of man.”

The first textbooks in American schools — primers and spellers — came from England. They usually included lessons in several subjects in a single volume, guiding the poorly trained teachers as much as their students. But American educators wanted a homegrown curriculum, emphasizing what they saw as uniquely American values. “Unlike aristocratic and monarchical Europe, America was free, young and vigorous,” wrote Michael V. Belok in “Forming the American Minds,” his 1973 book. “And Americans were convinced that the hand of God played an active part in their affairs…” –excerpted from Cynthia Crossen’s column Déjà vu in The Wall Street Journal 08.28.06 URL for this article: here

Family

What lies ‘beyond babies’? That’s the question Newsweek raises in its latest cover story on the looming depopulation crisis in Europe and Asia. But Newsweek (I kid you not) says it means ‘good things for restaurants and real estate’: ‘Powerful social and religious taboos (in Greece) labeled childless women as barren spinsters, and cast suspicion on the sexual preferences of single, middle-aged men. No longer. In the space of a generation, that tight social corset has largely vanished, thanks to an array of factors, including better education and job options for women and Greece’s entry into the cultural mainstream of the European Union. The result: a marriage rate below the EU average, and a birthrate among the world’s lowest, at 1.3 per woman.’ So Newsweek tries to stuff perhaps the biggest story of our time–the sudden collapse of childbearing to below-replacement levels in virtually every free, democratic and affluent nation on this Earth–into a happy tale of a new generation’s lifestyle liberation from that old ugly ‘social corset’ of marriage and family… What lies beyond babies? Death. Death of the individual, and of his or her family. Death of the nation, tribe or culture that adopts a set of beliefs, practices and institutional arrangements that fail to respect and support generativity.” –Maggie Gallagher, from The Patriot Post, as submitted by Mark Zaveson