Month Archives: February 2012

Mount Rushmore II

by Robert Morrison

February 20, 2012

A British reviewer of a history book I researched fairly sneered at my authors admiration for past American presidents. Just go to Mount Rushmore, he mocked, and youll save the effort of reading it.

Challenge accepted! South Dakotas Mount Rushmore is a tribute to four outstanding American leaders: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. These were four distinguished Americans whom our Great Republic (Churchills description of us) chose to elevate to the pinnacle of power and authority. Admiring Britains storied past as I doexcept, of course, for the tyrannical King George IIII would ask my British friend if any nation on earth has been so blessed with great leaders as America has. For Britain, the list of great leaders might include Gladstone and Disraeli, Churchill and Thatcher. But, under their parliamentary system, the voters chose the parties and the parties chose the Prime Ministers.

I sincerely believe our fathers chose well in the 1930s honoring the four presidents of Mount Rushmore. With apologies to the Beatles, I call Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and TR the Fab Four. But I would go further. I believe we could confidently choose four more presidents for a Mount Rushmore II.

My list of chief executives to honor since TR would include, as it must, his cousin Franklin. Critical as we must be of many aspects of FDRs New Deal, and mindful of his troubles in dealing with Stalin during World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt was nonetheless the dominant political figure of the first half of the twentieth century. In ending World War II, FDR applied th lessons cousin Theodore taught about ending the first World War.Invade Germany, demand unconditional surrender, try the German ruling elite for war crimes, de-Nazify it, but welcome the German people back into the fold of the West.FDRs personal qualities of courage, optimism, and resilience are surely traceable to his faith. My father is a deeply religious man, his son told Winston Churchill when the leaders first met. These qualities admirably equipped FDR to lead a nation crippled by depression and through the crucible of world war.

Harry Truman surely deserves a place on Rushmore II. Truman came into office suddenly on FDRs death. He had been vice president less than 90 days. He had to meet Stalin at Potsdam and press him to keep his Yalta agreements. As a faithful ally, he informed Stalin in general terms of the existence of the atomic bomb. Stalin, whose spies kept him well informed, wished Harry success in using it. That decision was critical. Since the 1960s, leftists here and abroad have been trying to indict Truman for dropping two atomic bombs on Japan. But in recent scholarship from Dr. Wilson Miscamble of the University of Notre Dame, and others, we know that Trumans decision doubtless saved the tens of thousands of allied POWs who were threatened by a kill all order of Japans military. For the Truman Doctrine, which saved Greece and Turkey from Communist subversion, for the Marshall Plan and NATO, for issuing the order to de-segregate the U.S. military and for recognizing Israel in 1948, Truman earned his place.

Dwight D. Eisenhower attained greatness the old fashioned way: he earned it. Son of an impoverished family, he graduated from West Point and rose to be a five-star general. He won the allied victory in Western Europe and became the first military chief of NATO. Elected president in a landslide, he worked behind the scenes to end racial segregation, all the while bringing Americans together. After concluding a durable truce in Korea that preserved South Koreas freedom, he never lost another American in combat. He lost no territory to the Communists. Ikes Interstate Highway System and the St. Lawrence Seaway transformed America and put us on the path to be a military and industrial superpower. Eisenhower built a nuclear navy but resisted panic in the wake of the Soviets sputnik moment.

 

My final nominee, of course, is Ronald Reagan, the greatest president of my lifetime and the man I was so proud to serve. Reagan overcame moderate Republicans, liberal Democrats, a hostile media, a skeptical academy, and a sluggish bureaucracy to change the world. He faced down an Evil Empire by stressing U.S. resolve, rearmament, and American exceptionalism. Reagan defended human life in the womb and human lives at risk from Communist brutality. He lowered taxes and eliminated thousands of unnecessary federal regulations. The boom his policies spurred lasted until 2008. He saw America as a Shining City on a Hill. Reagan formed a heroic bond with the American people. When liberals groused about naming Washingtons National Airport for Reagan, we conservatives responded: If Bill Clinton had done so much, youd be demanding we re-name the country for him.

We the People chose these great men to be our presidents. Even though Washington and Eisenhower were military heroes, they had to appeal to the people for support. Jefferson, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt might have qualified as aristocrats, but it was the American voters who elevated them.

Under each of these great American leaders, we were citizens, not subjects. Nearly two years ago, the National Archives announced with some fanfare that they had uncovered an earlier draft of Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence. In it, Mr. Jefferson had crossed out the word subjects and penned in citizens. It was, the archivists told us, the first time we thought of ourselves as citizens.

Constitutional self-government has never been in greater danger. Unless Americans today awaken to our peril, we will find we are subjects once again, taught to believe that it is only in government that we and move and breathe and have our being.

Tough Economic Times for Millennials

by Chris Gacek

February 20, 2012

Patrice Hill of the Washington Times has published the first installment of a two-part series on the economic difficulties facing millennials (Millennials Forced to Put Lives on Hold). The unemployment rate is 15.8% for those ages 18-29 which is twice the national average. Among the problems facing Millennials is student debt an issue of great interest here at FRC:

The result was an explosion of student-loan debt as families stretched to send their children to school. Todays college freshmen are taking on twice the load of student debt as freshmen did 10 years ago, according to Standard & Poors Corp. It is becoming more common for students to take on as much as $100,000 in debt just to get a bachelors degree.

While taking on debt to get the education and training needed to obtain good jobs makes sense, the dearth of entry-level job openings since the Great Recession started in late 2007 has made it impossible for many graduates to pay off their loans, said S&P analyst Robert McNatt. Defaults among young graduates have escalated to levels near 9 percent.

While graduates can postpone payments on their loans until they get jobs, the debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy and can become a serious burden for people who have had trouble securing regular work or high-paying jobs, Mr. McNatt said.

 

Sir Isaac Newtons Theological Writings Posted Online by the National Library of Israel

by Chris Gacek

February 17, 2012

Sir Isaac Newton was, most likely, one of the ten greatest scientist who ever lived. #1 is a distinct possibility. Newton also believed that theological and scientific investigations were not alien to each other. He was deeply interested in the Jewish people believing that that they would ultimately return to their ancient lands.

Aron Heller (AP) wrote a fascinating article this week describing how some 7,500 pages of Newtons handwritten notes have been placed online by Israels national library (National Library of Israel). The collection is available here or displayed here.

Hellers account of how Newtons theological papers ended up in an Israeli museum is fascinating:

How his massive collection of work ended up in the Jewish state seems mystical in its own right.

Years after Newtons death in 1727, his descendants gave his scientific manuscripts to his alma mater, the University of Cambridge.

But the university rejected his nonscientific papers, so the family auctioned them off at Sothebys in London in 1936. As chance would have it, Londons other main auction house — Christies — was selling a collection of Impressionist art the same day that attracted far more attention.

Only two serious bidders arrived for the Newton collection that day. The first was renowned British economist John Maynard Keynes, who bought Newtons alchemy manuscripts. The second was Abraham Shalom Yahuda — a Jewish Oriental Studies scholar — who got Newtons theological writings.

Yahudas collection was bequeathed to the National Library of Israel in 1969, years after his death. In 2007, the library exhibited the papers for the first time and now they are available for all to see online.

The widespread availability of these papers should make it easier for Christian scholars to examine Newton’s writings on science, theology, the Bible, and the Jewish people. One scholar noted that they have found “no negative expressions toward Jews” by Newton.

To Rebuild Society, We Should Rethink our Foundation

by MARRI

February 17, 2012

Social repair requires sociological thinking, says David Brooks, in his February 13th New York Times column. Sociological data consistently has revealed the significant role the intact family can have in reweaving the disintegrating social fabric. However, sociological thinking must be done within the correct paradigm. Patrick Fagan, director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, states that Sociology done well cannot but reflect the way God made man. A correct anthropology in light of our state as fallen creatures must inform attempts at social repair. Sociology is reflective, but cannot be fundamentally reparative. Repair begins with grace from outside us that constrains our passions and reorders our will to what is good. The family is one means of such grace and the data cannot help but reflect the goodness of this first structure.

Click here to learn more.

Communists on the March

by Robert Morrison

February 17, 2012

Here’s an interesting story. This photo shows two Communist banners hung on the Acropolis at the base of Parthenon. Note the KKE - the initials of the Greek Communist Party.

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Notice that the mainstream media never mentions the presence of Communists in massive demonstrations—here or abroad. The Communists can rally by the thousands, brandish hammer-and-sicklebanners—and get into violent fights with the police. They can smash windows, stomp police cars, and set fire to public facilities and you will never read about it or see it so described on TV.

Oh, you may see the demonstrations, the clashes, but the anchors will decorously look away from the red stars and Communist slogans. As Marx said: Whoare you going to believe, me or your own lying eyes? Actually, that was Groucho, not Karl.

I took my 15-year old son to Seattle on a business trip in 1996. He wanted to see the place where he was born. We took in the great tourists sites, including the first Starbucks and Pike Place Market. But then we saw a large demonstration that threatened to turn violent. Justice for Janitors, read the placards. Most of the marchers were Hispanic and many of the signs were in Spanish. They were being hemmed in by Seattle mounted police.

A horse will not step on a man intentionally. But a horse can betripped and made to fall on a man. Or it can be spooked and, in panic, run over a man.

I showed my son the Communist organizers who were on walkie-talkies in those pre-cell phone days. Their instruments were bigger than their shoes, but they needed them. They stood up on a hill, at a very safe distance. They were egging on the marchers, urging them to get in closer to the horses. If one or more of the horses injured a demonstrator, the Communists would have a new martyr for their cause. Justice for Julio would be their signs in their next demonstration.

What I am not saying here is that every time workers strike or demand better working conditions, the Communists put them up to it. Nor am I saying that Hispanics are being manipulated by Communists. That was the charge of too many in the 1960s who wanted to maintain segregation, who called Civil Rights a Communist ploy.

What I do want to point out is that the mainstream media—colorfully called the Drive-By media by a famous fur ball behind the Golden Microphone—do in fact drive by whenever they come upon Communists instigating violence.

The Greek Communist Party—KKE in the photo from USA Today—has been trouble for decades. Prime Minster Winston Churchill flew to Athens on Christmas Day, 1944. He wanted to put down the Communist attempt to seize control of Greece as the Nazis were being driven out. The American Left hooted and booed at Churchill, calling him imperialistand war monger. But Churchill prevailed. And Greeces freedom was maintained.

After the Second World War, President Harry Truman began aiding Greeceand Turkey in their efforts to stay out of the Communists grasp. The Greeks and Turks surely hated each other, but they feared being dragged behind the Soviet Unions Iron Curtain even more.

So, the next time you go by an Occupy Wall Street encampment or happen upon union demonstrators sitting in at the Wisconsin State Capitol, or your state capitol, make it a point to check out the literature on view there. You may be surprised to learn that the Communists, who were supposed to have vanished like those demons on Bald Mountain when the Evil Empire collapsed, have not gone away. In fact, they never left!

Around the Corner: Douglass and Lincoln at Fords Theater

by Robert Morrison

February 16, 2012

One of the many advantages of working in Washington is to be literally around the corner from history. Fords Theater, where President Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, has been refurbished and used to stage many an interesting play about the nations storied past. Its a short walk from my office to step into time.

Last night, I attended Necessary Sacrifices, a play about the sometimes stormy relationship between editor, orator, abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Lincoln. Richard Hellesen has taken the two brief office meetings between the harried president and the acknowledged leader of Americas black community and turned them into compelling drama.

We have no detailed record of the face-to-face meetings except from the powerful memoirs of Frederick Douglass. So, the playwright uses well-known statements by both men to build on their dialogue. Its certainly acceptable dramatic license. If Douglass and Lincoln did not actually say all that they say to each other in this two-hour presentation, they certainly delivered their lines in one context or another.

Both men were ravenous readers. Lincoln consumed many newspapers each day and used his endless stream of visitors to pump them for information. Frederick Douglass had learned from childhood the power of reading to liberate. When Hugh Auld, his Baltimore master, learned that his sweet wife was teaching the boy Frederick to read, he raged at the dear woman. Reading will ruin the best n_____ in the world! Frederick quickly learned that literacy was his ticket to freedom.

The Douglass character is played by Craig Wallace. Initially, I thinkWallace is a bit too short and too stocky to accurately convey the impression of Frederick on stage. But he has a powerful basso profundo voice that shakes the farthest reaches of the theater. In that, he soon assumes the commanding platform presence that made Frederick Douglass one of the highest paid and eagerly sought after speakers in Americaas well as Canada, Scotland, and England. Elegantly attired in vest and suit, his Douglass is conscious of the honor he is being paid in visiting Mr. Lincoln.

Douglass starts off calling Lincoln Excellency, but Lincoln waves all that folderol away. Lincoln called his younger law partner, William Herndon, Billy, but most of his political associates he calls by their last names, as they call him Lincoln. He does pay Frederick the respect, however, of calling him Mr. Douglass.

David Selbys Abraham Lincoln is a marvel. He looks the part, but better than that, he knows his character thoroughly. President Lincoln certainly seems august as he comes on stage in his familiar stovepipe hat and three-piece black suit. But soon, Lincoln is slouched in his chair, running his fingers through his hair, throwing a bony leg over the arm of the threadbare chair.

You can readily see why so many Americans of refined manners thought Lincoln uncouth, even vulgar. Selbys voice pierces. Its not the Disneyland Lincoln you get, no somber baritone. Instead, its a tenor that at first is irritating but is soon compelling. The accent is Hoosier. Rustic. No, lets be honest with Honest Abe. Hes a hick. You can easily imagine this Lincoln calling out Mr. Cheerman, for Chairman. And saying skeered for scared.

But is he ever shrewd. The play is not so much a debate as a verbal wrestling match. Their first meeting was in August, 1863, eight months after the Emancipation Proclamation, so Douglass concentrates on enlistment of black troops, equal pay for Negro, or colored, soldiers, as they were called.

Douglass is incensed that his promises to young black men seem not to have been honored by the War Department. Lincoln has reasons for all the invidious discrimination. He reminds Douglass of the New York Draft Riotshundreds killed, Negroes lynched, a colored orphanage burned down. And this in the north?

Lincoln threatens rebels with reprisals if they continue to murder colored soldiers they capture. (My own great uncle, Jonas Lipps, was one of those prisoners of war so threatened.) But he drags his feet in carrying out that order.

Returning to my seat after intermission, I note the bizarre sign posted at the entrance to the theater: Firearms Prohibited. This is Fords Theater.

The second act shows Lincoln and Douglass meeting in August, 1864. Hes convinced he is going to be defeated in the November election. The Democratic nominee is Gen. George B. McClellan, whom Lincoln had fired two years earlier because he had the slows.

Lincoln makes Douglass the most amazing offer. I want you to be my agent in the South.

Once I am defeated, I can do nothing more about the Emancipation Proclamation. McClellan will probably revoke that executive order on the Inaugural Stand, as soon as he takes the oath. Lincoln appeals to Douglass to go into the unconquered South and lead millions of slaves out of bondage. Lincoln knows that only when they enter Union lines, will they be legally free. He will thus present McClellan with an insurmountable obstacle: Will the new president actually re-enslave millions?

Frederick Douglass never has a chance to play the role of Americas Black Moses. Thats because Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman wins a critical victory. Atlanta is ours, and fairly won. Atlantas fall, and Gen. Phil Sheridans campaign of destruction in the Shenandoah Valley, the breadbasket of the Confederacy, change everything. Lincoln is overwhelmingly re-elected. Long Abraham a little longer, reads the caption on one famous cartoon that November.

Re-elected, Lincoln will send the Thirteenth Amendment to the states for ratification. He signs the amendment. No president before or since has signed an amendment to the Constitution. As with his Proclamation, his whole heart and soul are in the measure.

In one of the plays many humorous moments, Lincoln invites Douglass to sit in his presidential chair. Its rather battered and worn, he says, but youd be amazed how many want to sit in it. They still do, Mr. President!

In the climactic finale, Douglass avoids being ejected from the Inaugural Reception at the White House on March 4, 1865. Lincoln spies his towering figure in the crowd of white faces. He summons him to the head of the line. Douglass, come here. He asks his friend, his antagonist, what he thinks of the Second Inaugural Address. Mr. Lincoln, it was a sacred effort.

Its the last time they will ever meet. Five weeks later, in this theater, Lincoln will be assassinated. That summer of 1865, Lincolns widow sends his walking stick to Frederick Douglass. In a silent, but poignant gesture, actor Craig Wallace takes up Lincolns walking stick and with it salutes the Presidential Box where Lincoln sat that moody tearful night.

The Social Conservative Review: February 16, 2012

by Krystle Gabele

February 16, 2012

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.


Dear Friends,

Despite his claim of finding a “compromise” on requiring religious organizations that offer health insurance to include contraception and abortifacients, President Obama has only superficially cost-shifted the burden of payment.

Religious leaders across the spectrum understand the threat: If Uncle Sam can mandate that they violate their consciences through an obvious fiscal sleight-of-hand, religious liberty and the free exercise of conscience experience erosion not easily repaired and all too easily exploited. Such respected scholars as Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon and Princeton’s Robert George - and FRC’s own Dr. Pat Fagan - have published an open letter stating, in part:

The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutions who are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization. This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand. It is an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith and conscience.”

Last week, FRC President Tony Perkins hosted a distinguished panel of leaders from across the theological, educational, and political spectrum to discuss the grave implications of this threat. You can view a video of the webcast, titled “Healthcare Mandate: Violating the Separation of Church and State,” here.

FRC also urges you to sign the Manhattan Declaration’s “Mr. President, I Still Believe” to let Mr. Obama know that social conservatives will not accept the diaphanous and condescending coverlet of faux accommodation. Are you prepared to take action - at the least, to write, speak out, and pray - to retain our precious liberties of religion and conscience?

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice President

Family Research Council

P.S. February is the month when we celebrate Valentine’s Day - which is the latest publication of FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute, “162 Reasons to Marry,” is so timely. You can download a copy for free here.


Educational Freedom and Reform

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Legislation and Policy Proposals

Government Reform

Regulation

Waste/Fraud/Abuse

Health Care

Abstinence

Conscience Protection

Health care reform: Political and Legislative efforts

Homosexuality

Human Life and Bioethics

Abortion

Bioethics and Biotechnology

Euthanasia and End of Life Issues

Stem Cell Research

To read about the latest advances in ethical adult stem cell research, keep up with leading-edge reports from FRC’s Dr. David Prentice, click here.

Human Trafficking

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Religious Liberty

Religion in America

Secularism

International

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International Economy and Family

Religious Persecution

Sharia law — U.S., foreign

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Other News of Note

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Barack Obama, Gentleman

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 14, 2012

So, Barack Obama urged the men of America - he called them “gentlemen,” specifically - to “go big” on Valentine’s Day. He said he speaks from experience that it is unwise to forget.

Good counsel. Yet why did this man whose views on marriage are “evolving” (read that, becoming ever more sympathetic to homosexual unions) not include “ladies” in his exhortation?

Perhaps because it is only normal for a man to think of traditional marriage when he talks about Valentine’s Day. The husband and the wife, the boy and the girl: Heterosexual romance is what comes to mind when one thinks heart-shaped candy boxes or red roses sent with a private note.

As a man married for three decades, I appreciated the President’s charge. Yet in it was a subtle reminder of what we all know, intuitively: Love is something to be shared by a man and a woman.

Mr. Obama’s call to remember that gallantry, affection, and initiative are qualities a man should possess, and direct toward the female love of his life, likely was unintentional. Still, it was welcome.

Ninth Circuit Marriage Decision: Take This JokePlease.

by Peter Sprigg

February 13, 2012

In the past, there has been controversy about American courts using foreign court decisions as an argument in favor of a particular decision.

But what about using jokes?

Thats exactly what the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit did last week. In support of their ruling that adoption of Californias marriage amendment, Proposition 8, violated the Constitution, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing for the 2-1 majority in the case, consulted such eminent jurists as Shakespeare, Lincoln, Sinatra, and Marx. Groucho Marx, that is. Oh, and dont forget Monroe. Not James, the president, but Marilyn, the movie star.

These sources were cited by Judge Reinhardt to illustrate the social importance of marriage. He declared, We need consider only the many ways in which we encounter the word marriage in our daily lives and understand it, consciously or not, to convey a sense of significance. He proves the point with this passage:

Groucho Marxs one-liner, Marriage is a wonderful institution … but who wants to live in an institution? would lack its punch if the word marriage were replaced with the alternative phrase. So too with Shakespeares A young man married is a man thats marrd, Lincolns Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory, and Sinatras A man doesnt know what happiness is until hes married. By then its too late… . Had Marilyn Monroes film been called How to Register a Domestic Partnership with a Millionaire, it would not have conveyed the same meaning as did her famous movie … .

I wonder if it never occurred to Judge Reinhardt that quoting jokes might be taken as a less-than-serious way of arguing that amending the California constitution violates the Constitution of the United States. I also wonder if it even occurred to him that the four jokes he quoted were all ones denigrating marriage. They might make a reader puzzled as to why homosexuals are so desperate to redefine the institution in order to live in it.

In any case conservatives can legitimately say that Judge Reinhardts decision was a joke. The proof is right there, in Section V.B.

Tony Perkins Responds to Pseudo-Compromise of Conscience Rights Mandate

by FRC Media Office

February 10, 2012

Video Transcript:

Hello, I’m Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council here in Washington D.C.

The White House was in damage control this week as the opposition to their latest mandate has reached historic proportions. Religious leaders have said if all else fails they would rather go to jail than comply with the Obama Administration’s mandate that religious organizations provide contraceptive, abortifacent drugs and sterilization as part of the healthcare coverage.

To pu this in the proper context, as I have spoken with Protestant and Catholic religious leaders, the opposition was not about contraception, but rather a violation of the religious freedom and conscience rights of Americans.

Hoping to quell the uprising the President announced that a compromise was being put forth that would provide the drugs and services to employees without the religious organization having to pay for them. The insurance company would provide the contraception to the employees free of charge. This service would not appear on the organization’s list of services, so they are not responsible for providing something they are morally and religiously opposed to. Right?

It’s not that easy.

How will the insurance company pay for this? The Administration says it is good business, because it saves the insurance company money in the long run because they don’t have to pay for the cost of pregnancies.

Really. If this is good for business and saves money, why didn’t the insurance companies do this years ago? Nothing has prohibited insurance companies from providing contraceptives.

Insurance companies are not charities. They will be offsetting the costs by increasing the administrative costs of organization plans, and religious employers will still have to pay for those plans.

So, goes the old saying, there is no such thing as a free lunch. So there is no such thing as a clear conscience when you violate the tenants of your faith, whether it is in writing or not.

One of the wisest men who ever lived once said: “If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ Does not He who weighs the hearts consider [it]? He who keeps your soul, does He [not] know [it]? And will he [not] render to [each] man according to his deeds?”

It was true when Solomon wrote it, and it is true today.

This latest fig leaf from the Obama Administration is not only deceptive, this mandate remains fundamentally wrong and still violates the religious freedoms and conscience rights of Americans.

Even if this compromise were legitimate, it applies only to religious organizations. The freedom of religion was granted to every American, not just those who work at religious organizations.

This is yet another example of President Obama’s flawed view of our rights as Americans. He has repeatedly said he supports the freedom of worship. Freedom of worship is what happens within the four walls of a church or possibly under the roof of your own home.

The freedom of religious, which our Constitution serves to protect, recognizes our ability to lives our lives according to our faith, just as the Bible instructs us to do.

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