Tag archives: America

Son of Thomas

by Robert Morrison

November 15, 2012

I met Jacob for coffee this week. He didnt look a day older than when I first met him as a University of Virginia undergraduate fourteen years ago. Jacob was then a sharp Washington intern and I enjoyed hearing his familys story of coming to America. Jacobs parents are Christians who left India to come here seeking a better life for their children.

Jacob and I were headed to a Capitol Hill briefing on the threat of sharia law to Americas freedoms. He has returned from a two-year stint in Defense Studies at a graduate school in India. He has made himself an expert in jihadist ideology and its global transmission through the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

I was keenly interested in how this young American would react to living in the country of his parents. He said that when his class went to hear Sec. of State Hillary Clinton when she made an appearance in India, his classmates found her condescending and ill-informed.

Indian students of national defense are upset that Americans can be so naive. Why has America lined up behind Pakistan when the official motto of the Pakistani Army is “Faith, Piety, and Jihad in the Way of Allah” (“Iman, Taqwa, Jihad-fi-Sabilillah“)? Why is the U.S. showering billions in aid on the Pakistanis?

Well, the standard answer is that the Pakistanis have the nuclear bomb and we dont want to alienate them. But China and Russia also have nuclear weapons. So does India. We dont seem to feel it necessary to pay them off.

Pakistan is an ally in the war on terror, we explain. The Indians are too polite to laugh in our faces. Despite years of promises to the U.S., the ISI, Pakistan’s equivalent to the CIA, continues to permit terrorist training camps to be run in Pakistan. From those camps, jihadists are sent throughout the world, including the U.S. Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American who attempted to bomb Times Square in 2010, was trained in one such location.

Surely, Pakistanis were helpful in tracking down Osama bin Laden, werent they? They let him lounge with his wives a mile outside the gates of their West Point for years. If they knew this, they were treacherous. If they did not know this, they were spectacularly incompetent. In either case, we are wasting our money.

It should be no mystery which case was true. A few weeks after our helos had lifted off, with the body of bin Laden wrapped to sleep with the sturgeons, the Pakistani regime arrested the man who helped us finger the mastermind of 9/11. So much for Pakistani friendship.

Jacob thinks we Americans could learn a lot from Indians. They have a lot more experience with jihad than we do. (Like a thousand years!)

Jacob and I move on to other topics. Hes a recent convert to Orthodox Christianity. Although it is not widely known in the West, Orthodox Christians strongly believe the Apostle Thomas traveled to India as a missionary as early as A.D. 52. There, he founded a church which has survived to this day. I tell him that I was brought to faith in Christ by reading Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the heroic Russian Orthodox writer, so I will always have a soft spot for our Orthodox brethren.

Also, I pointed out the important scene in the movie Luther. When young Martin is studying for his doctorate, his professor recites the Latin maxim: Extra ecclesia non salus est. Outside the [Roman Catholic] Church, there is no salvation. Immediately, Brother Martin objects: What about the Eastern Church? Even then, he recognized the kinship he had with Christians outside the communion of the Catholic Church. As a Lutheran, I could hardly fail to appreciate that scene. It may have been a pivotal moment in the Reformation.

I asked Jacob how he coped with the multitude of India’s languages. He explained that while he picked up some Hindi and Tamil from his classmates, they were eager to practice their English with him. It actually gave him an opening to discuss Christianity with them.

As the noted literary critic E.D. Hirsch wrote in Cultural Literacy, the only way you can understand English is to read the Bible. Thats because English contains hundreds of biblical allusionsthe widows mite, the extra mile, the good shepherd, the widow and the unjust judge, becoming a Jonah, the camel and the eye of the needle, just for starters. Hirsch was not a Christian, but he recognized the central role the Bible has played in the development of our English language.

One of the tragedies of the education establishment going even beyond the erroneous court rulings against Bible readings is that our national literacy has declined seriously since the 1960s. Hirsch was concerned about the disparate impact of this decline on minority students, in particular.

I mentioned to Jacob my greatest joy: My almost four-year old grandson has been attending a Lutheran pre-school. His first lesson was God made me. He is now memorizing Bible verses. Mine for him will be this: Gods Word Stands Forever.

My grandson is the only white child in his class. The rest of the school is comprised of immigrant and minority children. When you hear him recite the names of his playmates, you realize that America is changing. Yes, thank God, America is changing. In certain ways, she is becoming more deeply Christian. It is considered politically incorrect to state this, but the majority of America’s immigrants identify themselves as Christians and have enriched American culture through their unique contributions.

As we leave for our meeting, Jacob helps me with my tangled trench coat. Its a gracious gesture from the young to the old from this Son of Thomas. If we have the wit, and the faith, we will thank God for young Americans like Jacob.

American Demography: Meet the Parents


February 22, 2012

Over the weekend, the New York Times published a front page article by Jason Deparle and Sabrina Tavernise reporting on new data by Child Trends (For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage, Feb. 18, 2012). But the objective data that the unassuming title portends quickly gives way to a remarkable synthesis of logical flaws, selective data interpretation, and glaring oversights which all culminate in an irredeemably confused analysis of contemporary American demography.

Click here to read more about this topic on the MARRI blog.

The Bible and the Founding of Our Country

by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 7, 2011

FRC’s friend Daniel Dreisbach holds a Ph.D. from Oxford University and a law degree from one of America’s most prestigious law schools (the University of Virginia). He is also a full professor in the Department of Law, Justice, and Society at American University. When Dr. Dreisbach speaks, the academic world listens.

His latest article is titled, “The Bible in the Political Rhetoric of the American Founding,”1 and is published as the lead article in the current edition of the American Political Science Association’s Politics and Religion Journal. Dr. Dreisbach reviews in thorough detail in what ways and how often America’s Founding Fathers used the Bible in their political discourse. Putting it simply, they used it constantly. As he writes in his article, “The Bible and biblical precepts penetrated the core beliefs of many founders and the ubiquitous manifestations of those beliefs in public and private utterances.” In another section of the paper, he observes that the Bible “was also a source of normative standards and transcendent rules to order and judge public life.”

Of course, as Dr. Dreisbach also notes, sometimes the Founders quoted Scripture simply because the broad cultural familiarity with the King James Version. “The nature of political rhetoric,” as he notes, means that sometimes they used biblical phrasing “for literary, rhetorical, or political purposes.”

Yet with that said, there can be no doubt that the teachings of the Word of God had a profound effect on the beliefs and actions of those who created our Republic. “Both influential and ordinary citizens drew on biblical language, ideas, and themes in thinking and talking about the political challenges that confronted them,” Dr. Dreisbach concludes.

Biblical illiteracy is widespread in our time. Still, an acquaintance with the Bible is essential to understanding the foundations of our country and culture. Even more, biblical principles are eternal. They were critical at the nation’s beginning, and remain so today.

To listen to Dr. Dreisbach’s FRC lecture on the Christian roots of America’s founding, click here.

1 “The Bible in the Political Rhetoric of the American Founding,” Politics and Religion Journal, December 2011.

Why America Celebrates the Fourth of July”

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 1, 2011

FRC’s colleague at the Heritage Foundation, scholar Matt Spalding, several years ago wrote a moving piece describing why Americans celebrate our national independence day. At the end of the article, Matt gives a series of quotes from great American leaders on the meaning of the Declaration of Independence and closes with a well-documented summary of what the signers of the Declaration endured during the Revolutionary War. For education, inspiration, and healthy dose of gratitude for the sacrifices of those who have made the enjoyment of our God-given rights possible, read “Independence Forever: Why America Celebrates the Fourth of July.”