Author archives: Robert Morrison

May Day! May Day! For Britain and for US

by Robert Morrison

May 4, 2015

For Britain, it is May Day. May Day was last Friday. The First of May has been a traditional holiday in Britain and Europe for centuries. Since the French Revolution, however, May Day represented workers and the Left.

May Day!” is also the international distress call (M’aidez—from the French for help me!) Next Friday, there will be an important national election in Great Britain. It could have profound influence on America. Polls are unusually volatile this time, but British Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, could win and be installed in Number 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister.

If that happens, Britain will lurch dangerously to the Left. Among a raft of radical proposals, Miliband is promising (or threatening) to make “Islamophobia” a crime if Labour wins a majority in the House of Commons. Under the parliamentary system, the House of Commons wields almost unchecked power.

Ed Miliband certainly would not claim to be anti-Jewish. His own parents were Jewish refugees from Hitler’s murderous regime. They sought asylum in Britain. But Ed Miliband is a true believer—not in God, he’s an atheist—but in Marxism. As hard as that may be to believe, it is nonetheless true.

Ed Miliband had to oust his own brother David for the leadership of Britain’s Labour Party. But mostly, he repudiated “New Labour,” the shift toward moderation represented by the long tenure of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Just as President Obama sought out Marxist professors in college, Ed Miliband is the product of the most left-leaning background imaginable (during his American stay, he even developed a fanatical loyalty to an American baseball team: the Boston Red Sox!)

Britain’s socialists make it easy for voters: They wear red. Their posters and buttons are red. Even their ties, when they wear them, are red.

The reason the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron is in trouble is not because he’s not compassionate enough; it’s because he’s not conservative enough.

He is wedded to the increasingly troubled, bureaucratic, undemocratic European Union (EU). And Cameron ignored mounting evidence that maintaining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is vital for a flourishing civil society. He cast aside reasonable concerns when he rammed through Parliament a bill to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples. This caused deep misgivings among many of the Tories’ grassroots supporters.

These traditional Tory voters have been moving to the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP). Party leader Nicholas Farage is anti-EU and is raising sharp questions about Britain’s immigration policies, which Cameron has maintained.

Cameron has recently made statements supporting Christians persecuted abroad—which is more than President Obama has done. But at home, Prime Minister Cameron’s government is not meeting the challenge of Islamism.

Several years ago, the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-ali told a group at the Heritage Foundation that England is daily losing her historic identity. England, the prelate said, is characterized by Common Law and the Christian religion.

Every day, said the Pakistani-born bishop, Britain is giving in to Islamist demands.

Bishop Nazir-ali has been threatened with death for speaking out against Islamism. When asked if muezzins should be permitted to call the Muslim faithful to prayer his English diocese of Rochester, Bishop Nazir-ali, replied: “Yes, of course. As soon as church bells can be rung in Saudi Arabia!”

Ed Miliband would not agree on the importance of a Christian culture. And Leftists here are trying to stamp out all evidences of Christianity from our public life as well.

An example of what Britons call “the looney Left” and a cringing surrender to political correctness is seen in the horrific story of sex trafficking in Rotherham. Columnist Mona Charen spoke to Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” audience about the horror of Rotherham, England. English girls were trapped by a ring of pedophiles, most of them of Pakistani origin, most of them Muslim. Unwilling to confront this issue, British Labour Party local officials and police abandoned 1400 girls to sexual slavery.

We can expect more, not less, of this if Ed Miliband wins in Britain. Despite the fact that his fled from murderous anti-Semitism, Ed Miliband could be the man who makes it a crime to criticize any practice of Islam. Thus, objection to female genital mutilation, or dishonor killings, or death threats against apostates will be punishable by fines and prison.

For all his academic brilliance, Ed Miliband seems unaware that modern Islamist radicalism traces its origins to the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt in 1928.

Hassan al-Banna rejected the paganism of Germany’s National Socialist Party (NAZI), but he admired their organizational skill and he fully embraced their Judenhass (Jew hatred). We have been concerned about Muslim Brotherhood influence in our own government as well as in Great Britain. President Obama welcomed and gave millions in foreign aid to Egypt’s MB-dominated government in 2011. (Only when it was overthrown by popular demonstrations and Egypt’s military had to step in did Mr. Obama cut off aid to Egypt.)

Britain has no First Amendment—which is a major reason why we do! Still, Britain’s history of free speech and tolerance of dissent will be at risk if Ed Miliband gains the power to impose his austere brand of socialism.

FRC has long noted that Britain legalized abortion and homosexuality before the U.S. did. Labour in Britain also legalized suicide. That is why what happens in Britain doesn’t necessarily stay in Britain. All of these changes started there and came here. With President Obama equally determined to “fundamentally transform” America, a victory for Labour next Friday could give a sense of inevitability to these dangerous trends. May Day, indeed!

President Reagan’s Shining City on a Hill…and Ours

by Robert Morrison

April 27, 2015

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to a student group at my Alma Mater, University of Virginia. My topic was Jefferson and Madison and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. But during the question and answer period, my audience of Young America’s Foundation listeners peppered me with questions about Ronald Reagan. They seemed most interested in my service in the Reagan administration. For young conservatives, especially, but for young Americans generally, Reagan is a wonderful story.

The media in his time could not believe that Reagan was so popular on campus, so well-loved by the young. He returned that affection fully. The young liked Ronald Reagan because he liked them. Columnist George Will commended Reagan’s optimistic vision of the future, saying “he spoke to the future in the accents of the past.” So, for the young, he offered an appealing vision, but one firmly rooted in this country’s storied past. As President, Ronald Reagan quoted the Founding Fathers more than his four predecessors combined, as Heritage Foundation’s Andrew Busch tells us. And, alas, he cited the Founding Fathers more than any of his successors.

After a tumultuous two decades for America, President Reagan said his favorite placard was not one of protest. From his Presidential limousine, he pointed out a college cheerleader holding a sign. It said: “He’s old but he’s cute.”

Ronald Reagan explained for all of us what his vision was. He spoke of the Shining City on a Hill in his Farewell Address in 1989. I thought of his vision as I drove past the U.S. Capitol at dawn earlier this month. There was Reagan’s Shining City on a Hill!

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

That’s Ronald Reagan’s love of poetry. It’s his vision. But it also had policy content. And what Ronald Reagan sought to do for America is in many ways what Family Research Council seeks to do. His pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-faith agenda is very much what inspires our organization’s efforts. It’s why I am so grateful to have served in his administration and to have followed up with service in an organization dedicated to Faith, Family, and Freedom.

President Reagan made America strong and respected again. After four years of Jimmy Carter’s misrule (1977-1981), Americans yearned to see their country become once again what Winston Churchill called us: the Great Republic.

Ronald Reagan was pro-life. In fact, he was the first politician to call himself “pro-life.” Prior to Reagan, all those who defended the inalienable right to life were cast in the “anti” mode. The media casts us this way, still.

Reagan knew that it was better to be for something than against. He cut all federal funding for Title X, the so-called family planning program, from his federal budget all eight years of his presidency. He understood how these programs are abused and how these funds support Planned Barrenhood (Parenthood). This outfit kills more than one thousand unborn children every day. They are the world’s largest trafficker in abortion. Liberals in Congress put those funds back in the budget, but Reagan made that important statement.

He spoke about the right to life of unborn children—in his State of the Union Addresses, his messages to Congress, and in hundreds and hundreds of handwritten letters to pro-life constituents. He even spoke of the unborn in his Inaugural Addresses. President Reagan every year issued Sanctity of Human Life Proclamations, many of which lauded the life-saving work of Pregnancy Care Centers staffed and funded by Christian citizens.

Since I had served in the Reagan administration in the Education Department, I knew how strong President Reagan was for parents’ rights, including the parental right to choose a public, private, religious or home school for their children.

Reagan was pro-marriage. I was recently pressed by a student group that wanted to know what Reagan thought of giving marriage rights to same-sex couples. I was hard-pressed to remember if he had ever spoken of that idea—since no one was talking of men marrying men in the 1980s.

Then, it struck me. YES! He did have a view. As with pro-life, Reagan was pro-marriage. First, he became the only Republican candidate for President since 1928 who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment. It was the redoubtable Phyllis Schlafly, of course, who led the fight in the trenches against ERA. Second, it was Ronald Reagan as President who validated her brave effort and those of the tens of thousands of American women who understood what ERA would mean. It would mean drafting women and ordering them into combat, forcing Americans to pay for abortion-on-demand, including sex-selection abortions that overwhelmingly target unborn baby girls, and ERA would mean ending marriage by permitting men to marry men. It would also mean men invading women’s rest rooms and locker rooms, claiming to have changed their sex.

Finally, Reagan’s Shining City figure of speech derived from the famous sermon by John Winthrop to the Puritans in 1630. Sailing on the Arbella on the always-dangerous Atlantic. Massachusetts Bay Colony’s first governor told his fellow colonists the eyes of the world would be upon them, as “a citee upon a hill.”

Reagan’s love of poetry came first from his love of the Bible. He read it regularly from the days of his youth. He actually proclaimed 1983 the Year of the Bible. The atheizers howled, of course. But his Proclamation showed how the Bible had been a formative influence in the life of this self-governing People.

When President Reagan went to the Berlin Wall in 1987, he called upon the Soviet dictator, Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” But there was another part of his speech that was of great significance. Reagan pointed to the East German Communists’ radio tower on their side of that brutal and ugly wall. They’ve tried to paint out the defect in globe atop that tower, Reagan told his listeners. They’ve tried to sand blast it and etch it out with acid. But still, when the sun strikes that globe, it reflects the Sign of the Cross.

This part of the speech was never covered in the West. Not surprising. The media didn’t like the man or his message.

But Americans did. And especially Young Americans.

In the spirit of President Reagan, Family Research Council is committed to protecting the unborn from the moment of conception onward. To learn more about our work and the resources we make available at no charge, go to www.frc.org

Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day

by Robert Morrison

April 16, 2015

Stand by. The White House will shortly post a statement on www.whitehouse.gov by President Obama on Holocaust Remembrance Day. We feel confident they will do so. Or, perhaps, it will be posted on the State Department website at www.state.gov. Any minute now.

To underscore the importance of America’s relation to a free and democratic Israel, FRC President Tony Perkins will be leading a trip to the Holy Land this fall. You can find details here.

In the meantime, we might read this short but convincing statement from our good neighbor to the North.

April 16, 2015

Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day:

Yom HaShoah is a day to commemorate the six million innocent Jewish men, women and children who were systematically murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

On this day, Canadians across the country reflect on the unique horror of the Holocaust, pay tribute to the innocent victims, honour the brave survivors, and recognize the righteous individuals who risked their lives to save others, in many cases strangers to them.

The Holocaust was one of the darkest chapters in human history. It is essential that we never forget the lessons it taught us and that we continue to educate future generations about the damaging effects of anti-Semitism.

That is why our Government is committed to Holocaust remembrance and education both here in Canada and abroad. Here at home, we support organizations that combat anti-Semitism and racial hatred in all its forms and promote Holocaust remembrance and education, including through the building of a national Holocaust Monument in Ottawa.

In the international arena, our Government has taken a lead role in promoting Holocaust awareness and in the global fight against the persistent scourge of anti-Semitism, including the new anti-Semitism that masks direct attacks on the Jewish people by disproportionately singling out the State of Israel for censure. In 2011, Canada was the first country to sign the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism, and, in 2013-2014, Canada chaired the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – an organization with which we continue to work closely as an active member country.

On this day, I encourage all Canadians to participate in a Holocaust remembrance ceremony to honour both the victims and the survivors, and to join in efforts to combat all forms of anti-Semitism. Let us all commit to ‘never again’.”

Our leader Barack Obama’s first telephone call as President in January 2009 was placed to PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas’ Ph.D. dissertation was written at Moscow State University in the days of the USSR. It denied the Holocaust.

It is therefore especially important that our Commander-in-Chief should acknowledge this day.

As we await the White House Statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day,

it might be valuable to watch this video. It shows how Israelis observe this day.

Along with millions of Americans, FRC welcomes efforts to bring peace through strength to the Middle East

And let us also remember today, especially, to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.

His Truth is Marching On April 15, 1865

by Robert Morrison

April 16, 2015

My friend Jacob Rudolfsson from Sweden joined me this morning with roughly a thousand people outside Ford’s Theater in Washington.

We had come for an early morning tribute. Today is the 150th Anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination. Doctors who rushed to the Presidential Box that night in the theater knew the stricken leader could not survive a trip back to the White House, so they ordered him to be carried across the street. They placed him in the back room of the Petersen House. They had to position the 6’4” Lincoln diagonally on the bed for his final hours.

At 7:22 am on Saturday, April 15, 1865, he was pronounced dead. Today, the church bells of Washington tolled at that hour. It was after that long death vigil that Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton uttered his most famous words:

Now he belongs to the ages.”

The Secretary of War had spent the night in the Petersen House. “Mars,” as Lincoln playfully called his sternly efficient military Supremo, had briskly taken command of the deathwatch. He gave orders all night. He had to. No one knew how far the plot extended.

The keepers of the death watch in the Petersen House soon learned that Sec. of State William H. Seward had also been attacked that bloody night. One of the co-conspirators, a muscular young giant of a man, had pushed past soldiers and family members to enter Seward’s sickroom.

The cagey Seward, an experienced New York politico, was recovering from a near-fatal carriage accident and was savagely hacked that night. Only the metal and leather brace on his neck saved him from death.

John Wilkes Booth was a major actor of his day. He had starred in many roles on stage and was known for his athleticism. He was to demonstrate his style when he shot the President and then leaped to the stage. But he did not plan on catching his spur on the bunting draped on the Presidential Box. Hitting the stage at an angle, he broke his ankle.

Still, he held up his bloody dagger and yelled: “Sic Semper Tyrannis!” Thus ever to Tyrants is Virginia’s state motto. When reports of Booth’s actions circulated, many people throughout the North naturally thought Booth might have been part of a Virginia-based conspiracy.

Booth had used his dagger to slash at Major Henry enrHenryRathbone. The army officer was the escort for Miss Clara Harris that evening. She was the daughter of a U.S. Senator.

Several other couples had declined the President’s invitation to join him and Mrs. Lincoln in the reserved box for that Friday performance of “Our American Cousin.” Had all of the invited ones accepted, there might have been no way for Booth to enter the crowded box.

Booth could have shot the President almost any day. Lincoln had seen his elder brother Edwin Booth perform various Shakespeare plays. Had John Wilkes Booth simply presented a calling card to the White House Head Usher, he might well have been admitted to the President’s office. He then could have shot Lincoln at his desk.

But John Wilkes Booth craved an audience for his evil deed. James Swanson was also one of the speakers at this morning’s event. He related the story of the assassination in his excellent book, Manhunt. Booth the actor hid out in the Maryland woods for days. Injured and in pain, hungry, hunted, Booth nonetheless demanded newspapers. He wanted to read his “reviews.” He was shocked to find himself condemned North and South.

Today, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell spoke appreciatively of the American people—all of the people—whom Lincoln served and loved. Crowded together on Tenth Street, we witnessed a military band. They were outfitted in Union blue uniforms of the Civil War.

They played song after song on period instruments. The tunes echoed the heritage of faith and freedom that Americans in 1865 unashamedly sang and shared. “The Battle Cry of Freedom,” “The Old Hundredth (Praise God from whom All Blessings Flow),” “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” and “America (My Country `Tis of Thee”). These great tunes alternated with lesser known songs of the era.

It was especially moving to see the window washers stop in their labors on the upper floors of the buildings that now overshadow Ford’s Theater and the Petersen House. They were watching the scene below with interest. Some of them might not have understood the English being spoken, but they knew they were a part of this history, too. After all, Lincoln’s dying hours were spent in the home of the Petersens, immigrants from Germany.

Perhaps the most powerful moment was when Jacob and I joined the assembly to sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” It’s worth reading the lyrics to understand how our history cannot be understood without reference to the cause for which Abraham Lincoln and hundreds of thousands of others fought and died:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

He is trampling out the vintage where grapes of wrath are stored;

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,

His truth is marching on.

Jacob’s presence reminds me of the universal appeal of Lincoln’s ideals. Last week, attendees at the Lincoln Cottage heard a discussion of the new Don Doyle book, The Cause of All Nations. That work emphasizes the international implications of our American Civil War.

To conclude this morning’s Lincoln Observance, bagpipers in kilts skirled “Amazing Grace.” At least one New York regiment in the Civil War had been uniformed as Scots Highlanders. And what was “Amazing Grace” if not the ex-slaver John Newton’s expression of repentance for his regretted past and his joy at his redemption by Jesus Christ? Once blind, he now can see.

Without the freedom to speak and to pray, to sing and to witness, how could America have survived that terrible fiery trial? And without our flag of freedom, why should the world care about America?

If this column has been helpful, Family Research Council recommends ‘We Have Long Remembered,’ a 2013 at FRC lecture by Prof. Daniel Dreisbach on the enduring greatness of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

This is the Lord’s Doing” Appomattox April 9, 1865

by Robert Morrison

April 9, 2015

One hundred and fifty years ago today we saw the greatest victory in American history. Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on this date in the crossroads village of Appomattox Courthouse. Gen. Lee was dressed in his finest gray uniform. He wore a gold sash and a jeweled ceremonial sword.

Ulysses S. Grant was the commanding general of all Union armies. He arrived late at the home of Wilmer McLean to receive the surrender of Lee’s army. Although there were yet Confederate forces in the field (notably Gen. Joseph Johnston’s army in North Carolina and Gen. Kirby Smith’s in Texas), everyone knew that Lee’s surrender marked the effective end of four bloody years of America’s terrible Civil War. We had lost 630,000 young men in battle.

In Washington, the commissioner of public buildings, Benjamin Brown French, strung a huge banner across the face of the Capitol. The Capitol’s dome had just recently been completed. President Lincoln had pressed to finish the work. It would symbolize the enduring nature of our sacred Union, he thought.

Lighted at night, the banner read:

This is the Lord’s Doing; It is Marvelous in our Eyes

Most Americans at the time would have recognized the Bible reference. It is from 118th Psalm, verse 23. It is hard to imagine that a similar Scripture passage could be used on a public building today. The atheizers would cry out that it was a violation of the First Amendment. They would demand equal time for their own messages of doubt and disbelief. As my colleague, FRC’s distinguished Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell, has written, “The fanatical authoritarianism of the political left is plunging this country headlong into a very dark place from which many nations never return.”

That dark place was far away from the “stillness at Appomattox.” The fierce struggles that had gone on for days came to a sudden halt. Young soldiers had been killed as recently as that Sunday morning. But as the two West Pointers—Lee and Grant—met in the front parlor of the McLean House, all was silent and subdued.

Gen. Grant had been suffering a blinding headache for more than a day prior to meeting Lee, but he would later recall that as soon as Lee’s written message came to him on the road, his headache departed. An expert horseman, Grant rode swiftly to meet the Southern commanding general. Grant could have been shot at almost any point along the way by a Southern sharpshooter, or even killed by “friendly fire” in the confusion of the opposing lines in these last hours of combat.

For their historic encounter, Grant wore a private’s uniform jacket with his general’s stars pinned on the shoulder. His uniform was still spattered with spring mud. Lee, taller, and immaculately attired, had told his lieutenants he might become Grant’s prisoner by the end of the day and should appear at his best.

He was not to be Grant’s prisoner. Nor were any of the remaining thousands of the starving rebel host made prisoners. When he was informed that many of these Confederate scarecrows had not eaten in days, Grant ordered generous provisions for them all. Many of those rations were even supplied by Grant’s black soldiers.

With Lee, Grant agreed to let the rebel officers keep their horses and to allow any enlisted man who claimed a horse or mule to take his animal home for spring planting. “This will have a most beneficial effect upon my men,” said Lee.

It would help also to reconcile the bleeding nation. Grant was following President Lincoln’s orders to the letter. Lincoln had never used the word “enemy” or “foe” in any public address. At his Second Inaugural, just a month prior, he had spoken of the need to “bind up the nation’s wounds.”  In an important shipboard conference with Generals Grant and Sherman and Admiral Porter, the President had urged his commanders to “let `em up easy.” It was a wrestler’s term for being gracious to a defeated opponent.

When Gen. Grant returned from his meeting with Gen. Lee, his troops began shouts of acclamation and his powerful artillery commenced a One-Hundred Gun salute to the Union victory. Grant immediately ordered a cease fire. “The rebels are our countrymen once again,” he said, and he would permit no word or gesture to humiliate them.

Instead, Grant designated his heroic subordinate, Major General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of Maine, to oversee the formal surrender of Confederate flags and weapons. Chamberlain was a good choice. He had been the one to stand with his Twentieth Maine volunteers at Little Round Top at Gettysburg nearly two years earlier. His regiment of fishermen and lumberjacks had held at a critical moment in that crucial thee-day battle.

As these ragged Southern soldiers laid down their weapons and their rebel flags, Chamberlain saluted his opposite number, Gen. John Bell Gordon. Gordon, in the spirit of the day, tapped his horse’s flanks with his spurs and executed a most graceful bow in return. Both men would carry the wounds of war to their graves.

Americans are now in a great controversy over life, marriage, religious freedom, and civil rights. We even see a clash over the teaching of America’s past. Spurred by the advocate of a so-called Common Core, some of our brightest history students will be taught of our history with hardly a mention of Appomattox.

So much of our nation’s exceptional character can be seen in that “Stillness at Appomattox.” It represented the best of America. Gen. Grant would later write that he had to honor the valor and devotion of his opponents—even though he thought their “Lost Cause” was “one of the worst that men ever fought for.”

In this, Grant reflected the deep convictions of his Commander-in-Chief.  Abraham Lincoln’s long battle against slavery was finally culminating in that dreadful institution’s alleviation from American soil. 

Yet despite, their mutual antipathy for the central cause of the horrors of four years of war, both Lincoln and Grant wanted to welcome, not indemnify, their erring brothers back into the union.  o other country in the Nineteenth Century dealt with a massive rebellion with such leniency, such compassion, “with malice toward none.” In neighboring Canada, the British hanged rebels who demanded no more than a government by consent of the governed. In Mexico, the French-backed “Emperor” Maximilian would be put up against a wall and shot by nationalist forces. In France, just a few years after Appomattox, thousands of Paris “Communards” were shot by the forces of the born-in-blood Third Republic.

Americans need the Appomattox story today. President Reagan said it in his Farewell Message: “If we forget what we have done, we will forget who we are.” Remembering Appomattox—the Lord’s doing—is an important way of remembering who we are.

Abraham Lincoln: “The Judgments of the Lord” March 4, 1865

by Robert Morrison

March 4, 2015

Some might say he was clinging to his guns and religion. Abraham Lincoln began his Second Inaugural Address with a reference to the military situation. Gen. Grant’s powerful army then held the rebel Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in a death grip, besieging it at Petersburg, with the Confederate capital of Richmond sure to fall to Union forces.

Lincoln expressed his satisfaction with “[t]he progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends…” He moved on to a brief recitation of the causes of the Civil War.He offered no condemnation of his foes as he related in a factual manner the reason for this most terrible of all of America’s wars.

By the time Lincoln spoke, most of the 630,000 lives that would be lost in this struggle had already perished. It was to protect and extend the institution of Negro slavery that white men came to sword points. “And the war came.”

He “would not play the Pharisee,” he often said. Almost alone among Northern leaders, Lincoln did not cloak himself or the Union cause in all righteousness. He knew what the Founders knew. Slavery was largely confined to the Southern States. He had told his dearest friend Joshua Speed how he “crucified his feelings” on seeing shackled slaves conveyed South “like trout on a line.” Now, it was almost as if he were speaking to his slaveholding friend as he acknowledged the sin of the whole nation in the offense of slavery.

Lincoln knew Massachusetts was the home of Abolitionism. But its great ports had also carried on what President Jefferson had called that “execrable traffic.” Great Yankee merchant families had made their fortunes. And some of those fortunes were built on bones.

Lincoln would not now disavow his anti-Slavery convictions. He evinced a decent respect for the opinion of mankind against “wringing one’s bread from the sweat of other man’s faces.” Still, he urged his countrymen to “judge not lest ye be judged.”

He knew how ships might leave West Africa with six hundred souls crammed naked and chained into stinking cargo holds and arrive in the Americas with only two hundred yet living. The worst of Southern plantations, Lincoln knew, could not approach horror of the Atlantic Slavc Trade in the bondsman’s “two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil.”

While Confederate President Jefferson Davis railed against the barbarism of his Yankee foes, Lincoln condemned no one. He never accused. He never sought to pluck the speck from his neighbor’s eye. Instead, he had mused in private and sometimes among small groups how the Almighty might have given victory to either side on a single day during the four-year Golgotha of “this fiery trial.”

What if Pickett’s Charge had succeeded at Gettysburg? What if Vicksburg had held?What if Gen. Sherman had been defeated before Atlanta?

When Jefferson Davis tried to rally his ragged rebels against Sherman’s all-conquering host, he boasted that the grizzled red-haired devil would meet the same fate in Georgia that Napoleon met in Russia. In one of his few recorded jokes, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had replied: “And who will supply the snow?”

If we look for a sublime example of American Exceptionalism, we will find it here. What other nation could conclude a four-year bloody Civil War with such an Address? Lincoln called for “malice toward none, charity for all.”

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether,” Lincoln said of the wholly unexpected bloody, protracted and revolutionary struggle. Not only had the Union been preserved, but the cause of Disunion—human bondage—had perished in the fires.

Abolitionist editor and orator Frederick Douglass that day entered the White House, the first time a black man was an honored guest an Inaugural reception. The President asked him his opinion of the address. “Mr. Lincoln, it was a sacred effort.”

Lincoln called America “the last best hope of man on earth.” Yet in our time, in our land, a thousand unborn children are beheaded daily by an organization that is sheltered and funded by our own taxes. This dread toll deprives our people of genius and industry. Every child born in America has the potential to earn a million dollars.

We know the truth about these unborn millions. “Ultrasound has made it impossible to deny that that thing in the womb is a human being,” writes TIME magazine’s Joe Klein. We agree with Lincoln that “nothing stamped in the divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon.” And yet we proceed as if the judgments of the Lord are not intended for us, and that His justice will sleep forever.

America’s Resilience

by Robert Morrison

February 19, 2015

Many of my friends, not surprisingly, consider these the worst of times. They tell me they fear for the survival of our country and certainly for the survival of civil and religious freedoms we cherish. There is no doubt that under this administration, our liberties have been imperiled. No administration in history has targeted religious freedoms.

For example, in the little-noticed case of Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC (2012), the Obama administration tried to order The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod* (LCMS) to change its 170-year definition of who is and who is not a commissioned minister in that 2.4 million member church body. This was a stunning example of denial of religious freedom, but the Obama administration took its unprecedented interpretation of constitutional law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Happily for freedom, the Obama administration’s tortured reading of the laws was rejected by the High Court by a vote of 9-0. Such unanimous rulings are very rare in the Supreme Court, as we know. But it is an indication of the radicalism of this administration that it was so determined to crush freedom that it would boldly go where no administration in 223 years had gone before.

Members of our U.S. military—our all-volunteer force—are daily feeling the lash of political correctness. As President Obama seems to make every allowance for Islam at home and abroad, his administration has banned Bibles in military hospitals while covering up Christian symbols at VA hospitals and threatening chaplains with discipline if they even mention faith in Christ as part of suicide prevention programs. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed for me that the high religiosity of Black women was a major factor in their low rates of suicide.

Several years ago, Coast Guard Admiral Dean Lee courageously stood up for freedom and faith at the National Prayer Breakfast. He said what so many in the military feel: That Christian faith is under attack.

The admiral reminded me of my own time in the Coast Guard and his courage encourages me still. It also reminds me of the hope we have for real change in our country.

The ship on which I served was in the news recently for an historic drug bust. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell (WHEC-719) seized $423 million worth of cocaine. When we consider that it cost about $20 million ($142 million in 2014 dollars) to build the Boutwell in 1967, and that she has been serving our country every since, it seems in this case, the American taxpayers certainly got their money’s worth.

I’m very proud to have served on the Boutwell. But I certainly wasn’t proud on my last day on that vessel. I was leaving the Coast Guard in Seattle in 1978 when I was given a ride home by some of my enlisted friends. These Quartermasters—highly intelligent guys who made the mid watches in the Bering Sea enjoyable—offered me a joint! I was heartbroken. No wonder we were never able to catch the pot smokers on our ship. They were being tipped off. It depressed me and filled with a sense of betrayal.

Four years later, I was living in Connecticut with my wife, a lieutenant commander in the Navy. She came home from Naval Hospital Groton and said we should take a tour of the Cutter paying a visit to the Coast Guard Academy across the Thames River in New London.

I hesitated. I was concerned as I recalled my last day in the service. But overcame my doubts and proudly accompanied my wife. She received a snappy salute from a “squared away” young Seaman Apprentice standing guard at the brow of the ship. He offered us a tour of the Cutter. From that first encounter through the hour-long visit, we saw nothing but hard-working seamen who seemed proud of their ship and their mission.

What had changed? The Navy and Coast Guard had dropped the lax attitude of the 1970s toward sideburns, mustaches, beer-in-the-barracks and had instituted a Zero Tolerance policy for drugs. I didn’t like the fact that my wife had to take drug tests in the presence of Navy Corps Waves, but the policy worked. It largely eliminated the abuse of drugs in the sea services.

Pride in the uniform was restored. Gone were the sideburns. Gone, too, was the 1970’s policy of requiring civilian attire in Washington, D.C. for military officers going to and from work at Headquarters. Instead, officers and enlisted were required to wear their uniforms.

It almost goes without saying the change in those four years (1978-82) was dramatic. And it reflects in no small way the changes in leadership at the top. President Jimmy Carter had been swept out in a landslide and Ronald Reagan was swept in. Reagan loved and respected our all-volunteer military. He made our troops proud to serve again and proud of their uniforms.

When liberal reporters challenged Reagan the candidate in 1980, they said: “You seem to criticize a lot in the Carter administration, Governor. What would you do differently?”

Everything,” Reagan responded with a smile. And he did change everything.

America has been richly blessed by God. We are a resilient country and our hope for change has not died. All that is needed is a leader who will approach the tasks set before him or her with that same determination: Do everything differently.

*The author’s own denomination.

17 FEB 1943, 17 FEB 1985 and Today

by Robert Morrison

February 17, 2015

This day was observed, almost as a holiday, in our family. My dad would point out the day that he was torpedoed in World War II. His ship, the SS Deer Lodge, was sunk by the German U-516 on this day in 1943. The lone merchant vessel’s skipper had signaled “Abandon Ship” as soon as the submarine’s periscope was sighted. Deer Lodge, plodding along at three knots, never had a chance.

It was almost seventy years later that a member of the crew, and a close friend of my father, would tell me of “Pop’s” role that night. My father never did. Leslie Morrison ran around the deck of the sinking ship and unlatched the pelican hooks so that the rubber lifeboats would float free as the ship went under. Without that courageous effort, his surviving friend, Manuel Dias told me, all the men might have died in the cold waters off South Africa. I was proud of my dad before Manny told me that story. Afterward, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Pop never boasted of his exploits in World War II. Few of those in that Great Generation did. But he did like to talk about having been in Shanghai in August, 1941. He was an avid photographer and wanted to get a picture of the Chinese city from the middle of the bridge that separated the Japanese-occupied sector from the International Zone.

There was a Japanese Marine with a rifle and bayonet standing on the white line that marked the border. Pop went right up to the line. Chinese civilians were forced to kowtow to their Japanese overlords, but Pop didn’t bow and didn’t back off. He went right up to that line and started taking pictures. The Japanese Marine put his bayonet point at my father’s belly.

Hearing this story thirty years later, we blanched. What was he thinking? He might have been run through. (Realizing this was before our parents met, we his children were rather personally involved in this telling.) How could you take that risk, we asked?

Oh, he wouldn’t bother me: I am an American Citizen,” our father said with an easy assurance.

Fast forward to 1985. I was serving in the administration of Ronald Reagan. President Reagan was just two months younger than my dad. He, too, spoke of the time when any American Citizen could put a little U.S. flag in his lapel and go anywhere in the world and still be safe.

I drafted a letter this day in 1985 for President Reagan to send to Congress. In it, I wrote:

Unless the rising generation is taught to read using phonics, I fear they will not achieve literacy, the basic tool of citizenship.” I was proud of that draft letter and happy to see it cleared by the Under Secretary and the Secretary and on its way to the White House.

Returning to my office after lunch, however, I was surprised to see my draft letter back on my desk with a large RED circle around those words: “I FEAR.” In the margin, in a hand writing not President Reagan’s, was a note in red:

THIS PRESIDENT HAS CONCERNS. HE HAS NO FEARS.

 

That rebuke startled me. It inspired me all the while I worked for President Reagan. And it continues to thrill me. Of all the virtues that Ronald Reagan possessed and shared with us, his courage stands out as the greatest.

This is a day for me to remember my father’s quiet courage and to recall how Ronald Reagan’s courage inspired so many of us. He was, in many ways, like a tough Irish cop talking a troubled young man down from the ledge. In this case, that troubled person was Western Civilization itself. As George Will memorably put it: “He calmed the passengers…and the seas.”

This is what we need more than anything else today. We face a monstrous tyranny, but we should not fear them. With courage and determination, they too will be overcome.

George Washington: He’s Still There

by Robert Morrison

February 16, 2015

Today is Presidents Day. By Act of Congress it is Washington’s Birthday. President Obama recently invited reporters into his kitchen and told them he the first president since George Washington to brew spirits in the White House. He was quickly corrected: George Washington laid the cornerstone for the White House, but he never lived to set foot in it.

I am more interested in distilling the spirit of George Washington than in his distilling of spirits. George Washington was described in a famous eulogy by Henry “Lighthorse Harry” Lee as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” He was viewed by Americans for most of our 238 years as the greatest of presidents.

Arguably, Lincoln is the only serious competition as our greatest president. But that first great American Chief is always there setting the standard.

It is no exaggeration to say Washington was the most unifying of our presidents. Who else could win the nation’s highest office with back-to-back unanimous votes in the Electoral College? Thomas Jefferson pleaded with Washington to serve for (he never had to run for) a second term.“North and South will hang together if they have you to hang on,” Mr. Jefferson wrote to President Washington. Even that early, in 1792, the specter of disunion loomed.

Abraham Lincoln was the most divisive of our presidents. That does not diminish his standing, And it says more about us than about him. Still, it must be acknowledged. What other presidential election could have sparked a bloody four-year Civil War?

We can certainly thank God it did not come to that in the disputed 1876 election between Tilden and Hayes. In the 1960 cliff-hanger between Kennedy and Nixon, the winner’s margin was only 114,000 in popular votes. In the famous instance of Bush v. Gore in 2000, 537 votes in Florida and a Supreme Court ruling determined the outcome.

.

Through all of this, George Washington was the model. He certainly was for Abraham Lincoln. Young Abe read Parson Weems’ biography as a boy. And when as President-elect he departed Springfield for Washington, D.C. in 1861, he told his loving neighbors he knew not when, nor whether, he would see them again.

The task before him, he sadly noted, was greater than that shouldered by great Washington. It was. And that word “whether” proved to be prophetic. Lincoln never again saw his Springfield neighbors.

My favorite image of President Barack Obama remains The New Yorker cover from January 2009 that welcomed his first inauguration. He was hailed as “First.” He was.

[http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47112000/jpg/_47112111_01_26_2009friedman_obama.jpg]

Enslavement of Black Americans has rightly been called our nation’s “original sin.” The Founders struggled with it. How to gradually emancipate the slaves without sparking a race war was a question that haunted them. How could they prepare slaves for freedom so that they did not wind up like sailors suddenly given a wild liberty? How could they persuade white Americans to accept their fellow Americans of African descent as full and equal citizens?

Barack Obama in 2009 had a God-given opportunity to knit together the frayed fabric of America. He might have overcome the bitter divisions of Red State and Blue State, of liberal and conservative. He spoke of Americans in “flyover country” as people who would cling to their guns and their religion. It was for him as cutting a comment as dismissing 47% of the electorate.

He never looked to the Founders, or to Lincoln, for that matter, as a guide. He seems to resent the Founders for their failure to solve the slavery question. He coldly dismissed the Constitutional Convention:

I could not have walked through that front door.”

Most historians agree with that harsh assessment, regrettably. But I am not so sure. If young Barack Obama had arrived in Philadelphia, at the First Continental Congress, as a graduate of Harvard, and walking into the Old State House arm-in-arm with John and Samuel Adams, he might just have gained entry. The Secretary of Continental Congress was the Evangelical, Charles Thomson, an opponent of slavery. Or, had this Columbia University graduate been elected along with the staunchly anti-slavery Alexander Hamilton from New York State, he might have been admitted as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. An anti-slavery spirit was moving among the delegates from most of the northern states in the 1780s. They might have seen an intelligent and eloquent young Barack Obama as a key ally in their efforts to eradicate what almost all then considered a stumbling block for on our claims to represent “A New Order of the Ages.”

George Washington was a slaveholder. He presided over the Constitutional Convention in serene silence as his good friend Gouverneur Morris denounced slavery. Witty, urbane Morris condemned as “a curse of Heaven” upon all those states that continued to be shackled to it. Perhaps Morris’ stinging words moved Washington to free his slaves in his will.

Might the whole horror of the Civil War—with its 630,000 dead and its vast destruction of property—have been avoided if only every slaveholder had followed George Washington’s splendid example and voluntarily freed his slaves? Washington’s own motto—Deeds, not Words—could have been their inspiration. See what he did.

Barack Obama seems unwilling to give a presidential pardon to any of the Founders. He has an idea for “fundamentally transforming this country.” And he’s dead set on achieving it by any means necessary.

I’ve always found the “Progressives’” angry criticisms of the Founders on the slavery question more than a little hypocritical. The Founders tried, failed, and tried again and again to find a way out.

Today’s Progressives know that unborn children are human beings. Joe Klein told them so in TIME Magazine in 2012. “Ultra-sound has made it impossible to deny that that thing in the womb is a human being,” the liberal journalist wrote. Progressives like President Obama, however, live in that denial every day.

George Washington wanted the promise of freedom extended “to millions yet unborn.” He did his best personally and politically to fulfill that promise. When Progressives in the 1920s began their angry assaults on George Washington’s historic reputation, President Calvin Coolidge just pointed out his office window at his Monument: “He’s still there.”

 

Auschwitz Liberated 1.27.45

by Robert Morrison

January 27, 2015

The 2001 BBC film Conspiracy can be viewed on YouTube. The film opens servants preparing a great feast in an elegant mansion. Next, we see a snowy scene, looking down upon a forested lakeside villa The date of this gathering is January 20, 1942.

Black cars roll up to the front door of an elegant mansion. Out of those cars step dignified middle-aged European men who appear to be bankers or diplomats. They look sober and occupied in thought in their heavy topcoats and snap-brim fedoras.

Inside, the kitchens, halls, and conference room are being prepared. Tapestries and fine paintings line the walls, richly woven Oriental rugs are rolled out for the distinguished guests.

Liveried servants put out cut flowers—a festive touch for the dead of winter. At first, this film would appear to yet another episode of the popular PBS series Downton Abbey, with maids and butlers and footmen polishing the silver, placing name cards at each seat of the conference table. The best of salmon, meats and cheeses, caviar, wines and liqueurs are provided for the conferees.

A small plane circles above, preparing to land on the lake. On its wings we see Swastikas. This will be no party at a grand English country home. No, this is Wansee, a fashionable district in Berlin. As yet, this section on the outskirts of Hitler’s capital has not suffered bomb damage from nightly air raids by the Royal Air Force.

They are soon followed by an assortment of men in uniform. All the Mercedes have swastika flags. Out of these vehicles steps an assortment of men in military uniforms. Most are trim and fit. These are the notorious SS, the elite Nazi force with the Death’s Head on their high-peaked caps. Others of the conferees are fat and swinish. These are the Nazi party hacks.

British actor Kenneth Branagh, one of that nation’s greatest dramatic stars, plays SS General Reinhard Heydrich. Branagh makes no attempt at a German accent. But within minutes, he is Heydrich.

Slick, blond, affecting a hail-fellow-well-met manner, he moves the meeting along with Teutonic efficiency. Soon, very soon, it becomes clear what these men mean by the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Europe.” They are there to plan mass murder of the Jews.

One of the participants, the tall and courtly civilian, Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzlinger, is the Deputy Chief of the Reich Chancellery. He alone is troubled enough by what he is hearing to get up from the table and walk into the hallway. He comes back into the meeting, pale and shaken.

That we have determined to systematically annihilate all the Jews of Europe—that possibility has been explicitly denied to me by the Führer,” he says, expecting that Hitler’s personal assurances will stop the trains on their way to Auschwitz.

Heydrich does not miss a beat. Smiling benevolently, he says: “And it will continue to be.
Holocaust denial is born in that Wanseekonferenz—the same room in which the mass murders are planned in chilling detail.

We will outfit Auschwitz with “shower rooms.” They victims will be herded into the gas chambers, told they are there for de-lousing. They will be gassed and their bodies burned at the rate of 2500/hour. Sixty thousand innocent men, women, and children will be killed every day at Auschwitz.

Heydrich thanks the Americans—whom it is noted—have just come into the war against Germany. He notes with ironic detachment that American techniques of mass production—the assembly line invented by Henry Ford—will be used to effect genocide.

At 60,000 a day, we will advance the human race in a space of time so short Charles Darwin would be astonished,” says the grinning Heydrich. At his elbow is the ever eager to please SS Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann. This conference is Eichmann’s project. So will be the Final Solution.

Agreeing grimly is a familiar face. Playing the part of SS Chief, Gen. Heinrich Müller is Brendan Coyle, known now to millions as John Bates, Lord Grantham’s faithful valet in the Downton Abbey series.

As Müller, he unsmilingly repeats Heydrich’s evolutionary message: Charles Darwin would be astonished.

Is there any one of these conferees who doubts that Darwin’s description of all Nature as a struggle for “the survival of the fittest” applies as well to the Nazis’ war on the Jews?

Within months, Heydrich will be known as the Butcher of Prague in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. In June, 1942, Heydrich was assassinated by Czech resistance fighters parachuted in by the British. In reprisal, the entire Czech village of Lidice will be wiped off the face if the earth, even pets.

That leaves Eichmann to carry out the mass murder of the Jews.

All of this ended long ago. Threescore and ten years ago. Surely, the world wants no more of this kind of thing. Surely, the Liberation of Auschwitz on this date in 1945 means that the entire world has pledged “Never Again.”

Today, President Obama is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He joins Saudi rulers who allow no Jews to live in their country. They are in mourning for King Abdullah, who refused to let the U.S. question Madani al-Tayyib in 1998. Al-Tayyib was the finance chief of al Qaeda. He might have helped us unravel the 9/11 plot before it occurred. Abdullah refused the urgent request of then-Vice President Al Gore. Abdullah’s refusal is documented on p. 122 of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Did President Obama know of this refusal to help us when he bowed to King Abdullah in London in 2009? Does he know that the Saudis are funding Islamist extremist throughout the world with their petrodollars?

King Abdullah was only upholding a family tradition in his refusal to help us or to even recognize the possibility of a Jewish state in the Mideast. Abdullah’s father was Abdul Aziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia. Abdul Aziz fathered all the kings of Saudi Arabia until today.

When President Roosevelt met with King Abdul Aziz on February 14, 1945, just a few weeks after the Liberation of Auschwitz, he pleaded with the Arab ruler to agree to let desperate Jews settle in their ancient homeland in Palestine. Nothing doing, the king told the president. But, millions of Jews have been murdered by the Nazis in Poland and Germany, FDR told the king, appealing to his humanitarian instincts.

Then there should be plenty of room in Poland and Germany to settle the remainder of the Jews, the Saudi king told Roosevelt. So much for humanitarian.

From that date until this—seventy years later—the official position of Saudi Arabia and virtually every member of the Arab League is their own translation of the Nazis’ call:

Juden raus. Jews get out! U.S. policy in the Mideast might be more successful and more honorable if we recognized that basic fact.

Appeasement of Hitler did not stop the trains rolling into Auschwitz. Appeasement of Islamists—whether of the Saudi or Iranian stripe—will not stop war or genocide now.

The most admired man in the Muslim majority lands is Hassan Nasrallah. This leader of Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon is armed and paid by Iran. He wants Jews to gather in Israel. But only so it will save him the trouble of “hunting them down.”

Is it any wonder Mr. Obama’s Mideast policy is in shambles?

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