Seven Reasons Why Americans Should Vote for Trump in 2016

by Dr. Norman L. Geisler

September 26, 2016


Basically, there are only two realistic alternatives in the coming presidential election. Either we stay on the same liberal path we have been on for years or else we try something new. But why Trump?

A Prolegomena [Introduction] to Any Future Politics

Trump is a Flawed Candidate

A common charge against Trump is that he is a flawed candidate. But in a Two Party system, such as we have, our choices are limited. We do not have perfect candidates with whom to replace imperfect ones. In fact, there are no perfect candidates on the ticket. Jesus is not running! We have only imperfect candidates from which to choose. However, some are more imperfect than others.

“The Lesser of Two Evils”

In politics, as in life, sometimes we must choose the so-called “lesser of two evils.” So when both presidential candidates have high negatives, we must choose the one with fewer. A friend once described his dilemma to me as a choice between “a known devil and a suspected witch.” If so, then we should choose the suspected witch!

A More Excellent Way

Actually, we are never really faced with a situation where all the alternatives are evil. One alternative is always the greater good. The doctor who amputates to save the patient’s life is not doing an evil by cutting off his leg. He is doing a greater good. We never have a moral duty to do a moral evil. So our choice in the presidential race is never between two evils, but it is of which one is the better candidate, the greater good. But before we decide this, we must avoid a tempting alternative, “the cop out option.”

Staying Home Does Not Help

Not voting is a cowardly way out. It gives away our God-given responsibility to do our best, even in bad situations. Sitting it out is like the doctor deciding not to amputate to save the patient because he does not want to cut off someone’s leg. If we don’t vote, then we have no voice in the outcome. Someone else will decide for us. Indeed, if we don’t vote, then there will be one less vote for the best candidate who may lose because of our failure to participate in the election. In this case, staying home is a morally bad decision

Power Corrupts….

Our Founders believed that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is why they built checks and balances into our system. We have a Two Party system, States can recall votes, and citizens can impeach bad candidates. The major check is “We the People.” The candidates have terms to their offices, and we get to vote for who will serve the next term. And it is our duty to choose the best one the next time.

 

Some Reasons to Vote for Trump

Given the foregoing reality, there are several reasons to believe that Donald Trump is a better moral choice. . .

[To read the rest of this article, please visit “The Exchange” at http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2016/september/why-trump-is-best-candidate-for-president.html]

 

Copyright 2016 – Norman L. Geisler –  All rights reserved


To read other articles by Dr. Geisler on voting, politics, and conservative principles, visit http://normangeisler.com/trump

I am Put Here for the Defense of the Gospel: Dr. Norman L. Geisler: A Festschrift in His Honor

IAPHFDOTG

I Am Put Here for the Defense of the Gospel: Dr. Norman L. Geisler:

A Festschrift in His Honor

Edited by Terry L. Miethe

Pickwick Publishers | 2016

480 pages

Order at Wipf&Stock and use “Geisler” as a 40% off coupon code!

Or purchase from AMAZON. 

Contents

Preface by Ravi Zacharias · xi

Introduction by Terry L. Miethe · xiii

Tributes to Norman L. Geisler

Thanks for the Memories by William E. Nix · xxi

A Tribute to Norman L. Geisler by Patty Tunnicliffe · xxiii

A Personal Story by John Ankerberg · xxvii

Yesterday, Today, and Forever: Personal Reflections on a Favorite Professor

by Timothy Paul Erdel · xxix

A Tribute to Dr. Norman L. Geisler by Mark M. Hanna · xxxii

Personal Experience with Norm by Grant C. Richison · xxxiv

Biographical Reflections about Norm Geisler by Winfried Corduan · xxxv

Norma Turbulenta: “Stormin’ Norman” by Donald T. Williams · xxxvii

Apologetics

chapter 1: Using Apologetics in Contemporary Evangelism by David Geisler · 1

chapter 2: Distinctive Elements of a Judaeo-Christian Worldview by William E. Nix · 22

chapter 3: Our Faith Seeks Their Understanding: Evangelistic-Apologetics & Effective Communication by Ramesh Richard · 57

Biblical Studies

chapter 4: Beware the Impact of Historical Critical Ideologies on Current Evangelical New Testament Studies by F. David Farnell · 76

chapter 5: Building Babel: Genesis 11:1–9 by Thomas Howe · 99

chapter 6: The Task of Bible Exposition by Elliott Johnson · 122

chapter 7: God’s Ultimate Purpose for Creation by Grant C. Richison · 135

chapter 8: Text Versus Word: C. S. Lewis’s View of Inspiration and the Inerrancy of Scripture by Donald T. Williams · 152

Philosophy

chapter 9: Some Features of Finite Being in St. Thomas Aquinas by Winfried Corduan · 169

chapter 10: Unamuno and Quine: A Meta-Philosophical Parable Concerning Faith, Reason, and Truth by Timothy Paul Erdel · 192

chapter 11: Open Theism, Analogy, and Religious Language by Joseph M. Holden · 204

chapter 12: Defending the Handmaid: How Theology Needs Philosophy by Richard G. Howe · 233

chapter 13: Aristotle: God & The Life of Contemplation, or What is Philosophy & Why is it Important? by Terry L. Miethe · 257

chapter 14: The Enlightenment, John Locke & Scottish Common Sense Realism by Terry L. Miethe · 281

Ethics

chapter 15: Big Data, Big Brother, and Transhumanism by J. Kerby Anderson · 297

chapter 16: Using Expository Preaching to Address Ethical Issues in Our Day by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. · 307

chapter 17: Moral Absolutes and Moral Worth: A Proposal for Christian Ethics Inspired by Norman Geisler by Richard A. Knopp · 317

chapter 18: A Christian Response to Homosexuality by Patty Tunnicliffe · 346

Other Religions & Cults

chapter 19: Why They Blow Themselves Up: Understanding Islamic Suicide Bombers from a Christian Perspective by John Christian · 370

chapter 20: A Theological and Apologetical Assessment of Positive Confession Theology by Ron Rhodes · 382

Norman L. Geisler’s Impact

chapter 21: The Impact of Norman Geisler on Christian Higher Education by Wayne Detzler · 400

chapter 22: A Detroit Yankee in King Cotton’s Court: Love Expressed in the Thought and Writings of Norman Geisler by Paige Patterson · 417

Tabula Gratulatoria: Testimonials to Dr. Geisler’s Impact on our Time · 427

“Geislerisms” · 431

About Norman L. Geisler · 433

IAPHFDOTG-frontandback

“We the People…” (Christians Should Vote)

 

“We the People…”

by Dr. Norman L. Geisler

 

Introduction

America belongs to “We the people.” It does not belong to the Congress. It does not belong to special interest groups. It does not belong to the Courts. It belongs to “We the people….” The original Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, declared:

Providence [God] has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty—as well as the privilege and interest –of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Yes, he preferred those who follow a Christian ethic and voted accordingly. And contrary to a widely misinterpretation of the First Amendment, the Constitution does not forbid establishing morality but only establishing one national religion. It says, “Congress [The Federal Government]. Shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion….”

Indeed, historically Congress (upheld by the Supreme Court) did establish the Judeo-Christian morality, including virtually all of the Ten Commandments at one time or another.

Politically speaking, the basic problem in America is that “We the people” have lost control of our government. How have we done this? Three things come to mind. First, “We the people” are not all registered to vote. Second, “We the people” who are registered do not all vote. Third, “We the people” who do vote do not all vote our convictions.

“We the people” are not all registered to vote.

A. 35% of eligible Americans are not registered. So, the people who don’t vote decide almost all the elections. Yet “we the people” complain about our government when we have not all even participated in it. The truth is the “we the people” who don’t vote could change America.

“We the people” are not all registered to vote.

Further, “We the people” who are registered do not all vote. In 2004 only 64% of us voted. And in the off presidential year of 2002 only 43% voted. That is minority rule. But if we don’t vote, we don’t have a voice—and should not voice a complaint!

“We the people” who do vote do not all vote our convictions.

Sadder still, is the third problem: those who are Christians and do vote do not always vote their convictions. Two exit poles of one relatively recent elections revealed that about two-thirds of Americans put issues over character. Indeed, a large percent of people admitted that they voted for a president they did not even trust! The solution to this situation is simple.

First of all, we should vote principle over party

We expect preachers to rave about the need for morality in public like, but listen to the words of a famous non-Christian, Mark Twain: “This is an honest nation–in private life. The American Christian is a straight and clean and honest man, and in his private commerce with his fellows can be trusted to stand faithfully by the principles of honor and honesty imposed upon him by his religion. But the moment he comes forward to exercise a public trust he can be confidently counted upon to betray that trust in nine cases out of ten, if `party loyalty’ shall require it….” (Twain, Christian Science, 359).

That hits the nail right on the head. Most Americans—even politicians—have good private ethics, at least in principle, if not in practice. But how many times have we heard them say: “I personally do not believe in doing X, but I would not vote for a law that forbid others from doing it.” This is a private ethic with no public ethic.

Second, we should vote morals over money.

Recently, a presidential candidate, when asked when human life began, replied: “That is above my pay grade.” I radio talk show host ask me what I thought of that answer. My reply was, “Lower his pay grade!” I could have added, raise his moral standard. The only sitting president ever to write a book was Ronald Reagan—and it was on abortion. When asked a similar question, he replied, “If you aren’t sure, then don’t shoot.” The fact is, we are sure. Human life begins at conception. It is a scientific fact. An unborn pig is a pig. An unborn horse is a horse. And an unborn human is a human. We don’t even need science; we just need common sense.

Third, we should vote conviction over convenience

What would we think of a political leader who said, “I personally do not believe in killing little children (infanticide), but I would not vote for a law that forbids others from doing it.” What about rape, incest, spouse abuse, and child abuse? Is it all right as long as this is part of our private practice but not our public policy? Does anyone really want to live in a country where our civic leaders claim not to practice murder privately but refuse to pass a law to forbid it publicly!

The Persistent Myth: We Cannot Legislate Morality

One of the underlying problems is that even many Christians have bought into the legal and social myth that “We Can’t legislate morality.” But this is constitutionally, historically, and socially wrong. The High Court pronounced: “We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity…. [We are] people whose manners…and whose morals have been elevated and inspired…by means of the Christian religion” (Ruggles, 1811).

Socially, all laws affirm that one behavior is right and another wrong. But right and wrong are a matter of morality. So, all good laws legislate morality. We cannot avoid legislating morality. The only question is whose morality is going to be legislated.

Historically, our leaders had no hesitation in answering this question. In Colonial days, Sixth President of United States asserted that “If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and “Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free” (The Right Constitution …, Letter VI).

Even the Declaration of Independence speaks of “Nature’s Law’s” that come from “Nature’s God” and are manifest in “unalienable” God-given rights. President John Adams saw it correctly: “Private and public Virtue is the only foundation of Republics.” When the Mormons taught and practiced polygamy, the Supreme Court ruled (Beason, 1889): “Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries…. They tend to destroy the purity of the marriage, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman and to debase man.”

Mark Twain was right: “[The Christian] has sound and sturdy private morals, but he has no public ones…. There are Christian Private Morals, but there are no Christian Public Morals, at the polls, or in Congress or anywhere else–except here and there and scattered around like lost comets in the solar system” (ibid., 361).

What is the solution to our political and moral problems in America? Well, for starters Christians must vote character over convenience. We must vote morals over money and principle over party. And above all, we must vote life over death.

Since the right to life is the right to all other rights—the dead have no rights—necessarily the right to life becomes the primary moral principle in judging public officials. If Germans citizens had a chance to vote for Hitler, knowing he was engaged in a holocaust, and Hitler had a good plan for the economy and the environment, what would be the overriding issue? Should they vote money over morals. Should they have voted party (Nazis) over principle? But Hitler only killed 12 million human beings (I speak as a fool when I say “only”). Americans, since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion (Jan 22, 1973) have killed 48 million unborn human beings by abortion.

How then shall we vote? For candidates that favor abortion or for those who oppose it? Every Christian—indeed, every moral person—has a moral duty to put conviction of convenience, principle over party and vote for life.

President President James Garfield (1831-1881) wrote: “The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.” Yes, “We the people” are response, and “We the people must take responsibility for our actions. James Madison “the Father of US Constitution” declared: “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” (Memorial & Remonstrance, 1785). Our first president, George Washington, declared in his First Inaugural Address that “There is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…. [So] the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.” The Wisest man who ever lived put it this way: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).

 

Copyright © 2008 Norman L. Geisler – All Rights Reserved

 

The Conservative Agenda: Its Basis and Its Basics

The Conservative Agenda:

Its Basis and Its Basics


by Norman L. Geisler


Introduction

As I listen to liberals articulate their agenda, I am struck by the stark contrast between true conservatism and liberalism. In point of fact, I am struck by the unAmerican nature of political liberalism. Indeed, the basics of conservativism are identical with the basis of Americanism. The natural birth of conservativism is the same as the national birth of America: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” There are numerous basic principles of conservativism contained in our National Birth Certificate: The beliefs in 1) a Creator, 2) Creation, 3) God-given moral absolutes; 4) Governments are ordained of God; 5) the Providence of God, and 6) a final day of judgment. Other principles, like 7) the freedom of speech, 8) the right to political dissent, 9) the right to bear arms, 10) a government based on the consent of the governed, and 11) freedom against tyranny are also implied in The Declaration of Independence.

However, the most fundamental principles of conservativism are the first three: Creator, creation, and God-given moral absolutes. These are the foundation of our country, our constitutions, our courts, and our conservative agenda. And the erosion of these principles in the courts portends the condemnation of our country, as the prospects of restoring them offers hope for our preservation.


The Basis of Conservativism

A conservative is someone who wishes to conserve the basic principles on which our country was founded. He wants to protect, preserve, and achieve the application of these principles to our country. So, the basis of conservativism is the grounds for the basics of conservativism. This being the case, let me speak first about the origin of conservativism.

The Origin of Conservativism

Conservativism is firmly rooted in the principles of The Declaration of Independence which is the basis of Americanisms. That The Declaration of Independence is our founding document and the birthday of our country has been firmly established in a recent brilliant Amicus Brief before the High Court titled Gonzales v. Planner Parenthood (2007).

The Original States

Gonzales demonstrates that all the original states endorsed The Declaration, and every state since has been required to form a government that is in conformity with the U. S. Constitution “and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.” As late as August 21, 1959 Hawaii was admitted to the United States based on the same basis, namely, that it concurred with “the principles of the Declaration of Independence.”

The Articles of Confederation (1781)

In the pre Constitution Articles of Confederation document drafted in 1777 and ratified in 1781 all agreed in “cooperation between the States” and sent “delegates of the United States of America” to participate. This acknowledges that the country already existed before this time and had delegates to send. Indeed, following the spirit of The Declaration of Independence, these Articles spoke of the “Great Governor of the world” who “authorize[d] us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual union.”

The Northwest Ordinance (1787)

Likewise, in The Northwest Ordinance was created in 1787 to serve for those territories that would seek thereafter to become States of the already existing United States. It too borrowed from The Declaration of Independence, insisting that “religions, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government…shall forever be encouraged.” In its introductory legal document it insists that “the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty… formed the basis whereupon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected….”

The U. S. Constitution

In 1789 The Articles of Confederation were replaced by The United States Constitution and thus became the national government mandated by The Declaration of Independence. It begins, “We the people of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Clearly, the “United States” already existed or they could not be doing this “for” the nation. Indeed, as The Constitution says, they were only making “a more perfect union” than the one already in effect for 13 years. The new Constitution did not create a new nation. It simply created a new document to govern the already existing nation. This new Constitution was “for the United States of America.” It was not the creation of the United States. Article VI makes it clear that it was only providing a better government for the nation that already existed. It affirms that the nation already existed and had an initial form of government under The Articles of Confederation which in turn was based on The Declaration of Independence. For The U.S. Constitution affirms that “all the debts contracted and engagements entered into before the adoption of this Constitution shall be valid against the United States under this Constitution as under the Confederation….”

Indeed, the draft of The Constitution (1787) ends with a reference to the ratification of the Constitution, speaking of “the Independence of the United States of America” as the “twelfth” years before it (in 1776).

As late as 1961 in McGowan v State of Maryland, Justice Douglas wrote: “The institutions of our society are founded on the belief that there is an authority higher than the authority of the State; that there is a moral law which the State is powerless to alter; that the individual possesses rights, conferred by the Creator, and which governments must respect.” It then refers to the familiar words of The Declaration of Independence as a basis of this affirmation, saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evidence, that all men are created equal….” Justice Douglas adds, “And the body of the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights enshrine those principles.”

On the Jubilee of The U. S. Constitution, President John Quincy Adams wrote: “This act [i.e., the Constitution] was the compliment to the Declaration of Independence; founded on the same principles, carrying them out into practical execution, and forming with it, one entire system of government….”(1).

Indeed, the Founders and presidents dated their government from the time of The Declaration (in 1776), rather than from The Constitution [in 1789]. This included Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Jackson and even Abraham Lincoln. In his famous Gettysburg Address (1863) Lincoln said: “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation….” But eighty seven years before 1863 when Lincoln gave the famous address was 1776, the year of The Declaration of Independencewhen America was born.

The Implication of Conservativism

If The Declaration of Independence is our founding document, then its principles are our founding principles. And a conservative is one, who by definition, wants to conserve these principles. As already noted, the most basic of these are the first three. So, we will concentrate on them and their implications for a truly conservative agenda.

Creator

Contrary to current judicial shyness about recognizing God, our founding document and our founders had no reluctance to acknowledge the Creator. This is obvious in numerous way. First, The Declaration itself refers to the “Creator” and “Nature’s God.” Also, The Articles of Confederation speak of “the great Governor of the World.” Further, the father of the Constitution, James Madison, declared that “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of “the Governor of the Universe” (Memorial & Remonstrance, 1785).

What is more, Congress has been opened by prayer to God from the very beginning. And presidential oaths have been taken in the name of God, adding “so help me God.” This is to say nothing of “In God we trust” on our coins, above the head of the president of the House of Representative’s, and in the fourth stanza of our National Anthem.

Further, early presidents with the consent of Congress invoked “God” in their thanksgiving proclamations, such as Washington, Adams, and Madison. The First National Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1777 was signed by Henry Laurens, President of the Continental Congress. It affirmed that: “…it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received, and to implore such further blessings….” Later, George Washington declared that “…it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour” (Oct. 3, 1789).

What is more, the Constitutions of many States refer directly to God. In my own State the Constitution begins: “We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union … do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

Like other States, the Tar Heel Constitution even went so far as to disqualify atheists from holding office, saying, in Article VI, Section 8: “Disqualifications of office. The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.” There is no scarcity to official references to God by our Founders and in our founding documents. And a conservative is someone who wishes to confess openly and conserve perpetually this God-given and God-acknowledged heritage, including our Pledge of Allegiance “under God.”

Creation

Further, in addition to acknowledging “the Creator and Ruler of the world,” a conservative is one who believes that “all men are created equal.” He does not believe, as the Scopes evolutionary textbook did in 1925, that the “Caucasians” are the “highest type” of human beings (2). Nor does he believe as Charles Darwin did (in The Descent of Man) that vaccinations and laws to help the poor should be eliminated because it preserves the weaker breed that natural selection would have eliminated. Darwin wrote: “We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick: we institute poor laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small pox”(3).

Nor does a conservative believe, as Hitler did in Mein Kampf, that “If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile”(4). In short, there are moral implications to Darwinian evolution, namely, if natural selection explains common ancestry, then there is nothing wrong with eliminating the weak and undesirable among us.

In short, if there is not a Creator and Moral Law-Giver, then man is just an animal without any God-given rights, and those in power are under no moral obligation to preserve these rights. A true conservative finds Darwinianism and its social consequences to be contrary to every fiber of his being and loudly proclaims with our founding Fathers and documents that “all men are created equal” and, hence, are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” foremost among them are the rights to life and liberty.

God-given Moral Laws

Nietzsche was right: If God is dead, then there are no God-given moral laws. As the French atheists Jean Paul Sartre put it: As a person without God, “I was like a man who’s lost his shadow. And there was nothing left in heaven, no right or wrong, nor anyone to give me orders…. I am doomed to have no other law but mine”(5). The simple truth is that if there is no absolute Moral Law Giver, then there are no absolute moral laws. Or, in Jeffersonian terms, “Nature’s Laws” come from “Nature’s God.” Both logic and history inform us that we cannot separate the Moral Law from the Moral Law-Giver and that we cannot have good government or society without an absolute standard for good.

The Destruction of the Declaration

Liberals are deconstructionists. They want to deconstruct the Constitution. Conservatives are reconstructionists. We want to reconstruct the Constitution the liberal courts have deconstructed to conform with the way the framers constructed it. Sadly, liberals, to borrow the title of Ann Coulter’s excellent best seller, are truly “Godless.” Of course, this is not necessarily true in their private lives, but it is in their public policy. For they would eliminate God from government and government schools. But a government less God is literally a God-less government. Mark Twain said it well: “ The American Christian is a straight and clean and honest man, and in his private commerce with his fellows can be trusted to stand faithfully by the principles of honor and honesty imposed upon him by his religion. But the moment he comes forwards to exercise a public trust he can be confidently counted upon to betray that trust in nine cases out of ten, if ‘party loyalty’ shall require it….” He continues, “There are Christian Private Morals, but there are no Christian Public Morals, at the polls, or in the Congress or anywhere else–except here and there and scattered around like lost comets in the solar system”(6). The more recent godless trend in our government can be demonstrated by the Supreme Court decision between 1961 and 1987 discussed later. First, lets look at the historical record.

The Humanist Manifestos

Beginning with the first Humanist Manifesto in 1933, Secular Humanism declared itself a “religion” with three fundamental principles(7): No Creator, no creation, and no God-given moral absolutes. In their own words, they declared there is–

No Creator.–“Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.” In brief, there is no Creator of the world or of mankind.

No Creation.–“Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.” In short, mankind was not created but evolved by natural processes.

No God-Given Moral Absolutes.–“Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantee of human values” That is to say, there are no God-given moral absolutes.
So here we have a self-proclaimed religion of Humanism that is opposed to three fundamental principles of The Declaration of Independence. But since The Declaration is the founding document of America, The Humanist Manifesto is at the core an anti-American religion. And since it is a religion less God, then it is a God-less religion.

But one may argue that the First Amendment permits freedom of religion–even for Humanist religions. In response, a serious case can be made against the thesis that by freedom of religion was meant also freedom from religion. And it may also be argued that “religion” as meant by the founding Fathers was not intended to include atheism. Indeed, many States incorporated anti-atheist statements in their constitutions. Even the Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled in Kneeland, 1838 that “[The First Amendment] embraces all who believe in the existence of God. This provision does not extend to atheists because they do not believe in God or religion.”

Be this as it may, even granted that Humanism (without belief in God) is a religion (asTorcaso v. Watkins said in 1961), nonetheless, neither Humanism nor any non-theistic religion has the right to be the established (i.e., favored) religion in government schools.

The Humanist Courts

A Humanist culture will ultimately produce humanist courts. It took a generation or two to do it, but it eventually happened. And granted that Humanism is a religion, then it would follow that Humanism–or at least its central religious beliefs–have become the established beliefs in our public schools. Just how this happened is a matter of record.

1925–At the Tennessee Scopes Trial ACLU attorneys argued that teaching evolution was part of their religious rights, claiming that permitting the “teaching of a particular doctrine that comes from a particular religious book…contravene the provision of our constitution”(8). But, as we have seen, evolution is a particular doctrine from a particular religion called Humanism.

1933–John Dewey signed Humanist Manifesto I (1933) which proclaims a religious point of view that denies the fundamental beliefs of The Declaration of Independence – Creator, creation, and God-given moral absolutes.

1934–John Dewey wrote a book called the A Common Faith in which he declared: “Here are all the arguments for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class, or race. Such a faith has always been implicitly the common faith of mankind. It remains to make it explicit and militant”(9). During the next decades Dewey concentrated on training teachers in this militant Faith to indoctrinate our children in our tax-supported government schools. Within a generation Humanist had achieved their first major victories in the Supreme Court.

1961–In Torcaso v. Watkins the High Court proclaimed that “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others” (emphasis added). Then in rapid-like decisions the Supreme Court began to make ruling after ruling that eliminated the Creator, creation and God-given moral absolutes as an official part of our government school programs.

1962 (Engel)–State required devotional prayers were banned from public schools. We had been praying in American schools for some 300 years before that with no perceivable damage to our children or our freedoms.

1963 (Abington)––State required devotional Bible-readings was barred from public schools. It is worthy of note that our earliest schools were started to teach children to read the Bible with the 1647 “Old Deluder Satan Law”(10).

1968 (Epperson)–Laws forbidding teaching evolution was declared unconstitutional. This was done in spite of the fact that evolution is opposed to creation, a doctrine embedded in our American Birth Certificate and at the basis of our freedoms.

1973 (Roe and Doe)–De facto abortion on demand was approved by the High Court in these two decisions. This too flies in the face of the fundamental constitutional right to life stated in The Declaration of Independence and in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of The Constitution.

1990 (Stone)–-The display of the Ten Commandments was forbidden in public schools. With this ruling, not only was the legal history of the these moral principles reversed but so was the moral foundation necessary for good government and education called for by our early Fathers.

1987 (Edwards)–Laws requiring teaching creation, if evolution is taught, were struck down. This ruling not only enshrined naturalistic evolution and eliminated teaching the crucial creation pillar of our founding document, but it established (contrary to the First Amendment) a crucial tenet of non-theistic religions.

Thus ended a generation of liberal, High Court rulings that in effect established the central tenets of Religious Humanism in our tax-supported institutions of learning. For they favored the central teachings of non-theistic religions, like Secular Humanism, over the opposing tenets of other religions, namely, orthodox theistic religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Indeed, these Court rulings favored religious beliefs that were opposed to the foundational documents of America. All true conservatives cringe at these anti-American conclusions.

The Tragic Conclusion

Religious Humanist John Dunphy summed up their Humanist strategy well in his 1983 article in The Humanist journal:

“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classrooms by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new Faith: A religion of humanity…. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers. For they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach…”(11).

Indeed, this is precisely what happened between 1961 and 1987 when the Supreme Court ruled that government cannot endorse teaching Creator, creation, or God-given absolutes in America’s public schools, even though these are the basic principles of The Declaration of Independence on which our government is based. So, in effect the courts ruled that teaching the great truths of The Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional! These judicial decisions are not only unconstitutional, but they are unAmerican. Thus, if Thomas Jefferson returned today, he would discover that he was being forced to pay taxes to public schools that were teaching his children that The Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional. I have no doubt what the proclaimer of “Taxation without representation” would do: He would start a second American revolution!


The Basics of Conservativism

The basic principles of conservativism are the basic principles of Americanism–those embedded in our Birth Certificate–The Declaration of Independence. It is from these principles that we derive the conservative agenda. Foremost on the list are the beliefs in a Creator, creation, and God-given moral absolutes. Let me briefly comment on each area.

The Creator

If we are ever going to be successful in reestablishing the conservative agenda in America, then it cannot be done without overcoming the hostility to invoking God in the public square and overcoming the antagonism toward acknowledging Him in our schools. Contrary to the tragic ruling against teaching creation along side of evolution in public schools, our founders had no such problem in giving due credit to the Creator.

Fortunately, the vestiges of our religious heritage can still be found in our culture. Last time I looked God’s name was over the president’s head in The House of Representatives in the phrase “In God we trust.” Nor has it been minted out of all our coins. Indeed, it is still found in the last stanza of the National Anthem, though it is seldom sung outside of churches. Yes, his name is still invoked to call Congress into session. Ironically, the US Marshall still invokes God’s blessing at the opening session of Federal Court when he prays: “…God bless the United States and this honorable Court.” Yes, we still pay military Chaplains who can use God’s name, and presidents still take oaths in God’s name. And liberals have not yet physically deconstructed the Jefferson or Lincoln Memorials–even though they may wish to do so if they could.

A certain tragic irony emerges from eliminating God and any prayer to Him from our public school. After the Virginia Tech massacre, someone put the following on the internet which I summarize: “Dear God: Why don’t you do something about all the violence in our schools like the mass slaughters at Columbine and Virginia Tech. Signed, Johnny.” To his surprise He received a reply: “Dear Johnny: Sorry, I am not allowed in school anymore. Signed, God”!

Actually, there are at least ten good reason for prayers in the public school which I wrote to the editor of The Charlotte Observer, and my then honorable Senator Jesse Helms put into the Congressional record. We should have voluntary class prayer because:

1) Our government was based on religious principles (of which prayer was a part) from the very beginning.

2) The First Amendment does not separate God and government but actually encourages religion (which includes prayer) in the Free Exercise clause.

3) Early Congressional actions such as The Northwest Ordinance (1787) encouraged religion in public schools of which prayer was a part.

4) Early Presidents, with congressional approval, made proclamations encouraging public prayer.

5) Congress has prayed at the opening of every session since the very beginning.

6) Schools had prayer for some three hundred years before the Supreme Court ruled that State mandated class devotional prayers were unconstitutional (Engel, 1962).

7) Since the High Court outlawed state mandated class devotion prayer and Bible reading the nation has been in steady moral decline.

8) Morals must be taught, and they cannot properly be taught without religious sentiments like respect for the Creator since both logically and practically there will not be respect for an absolute moral law without respect for an absolute Moral Law Giver.

9) Forbidding prayer and other religious expressions in public schools establishes in effect the religion of Secularism.

10) To forbid the majority the right to pray because the minority objects, is to impose the irreligion of the minority on the religious majority.

If theistic children who do not believe in Darwinian evolution, sex education, and homosexual life-styles are exposed to these contrary beliefs without violation of their rights, then why can’t the tiny minority of atheist’s children to be exposed to voluntary prayers?

Creation

My experience as the lead expert witness for teaching creation alongside of evolution in the 1981 Arkansas “Scopes II” trial taught me invaluable lessons. The State had passed a “balanced treatment” law which was the reverse of Scopes I (1925). It read in essence, if you teach evolution, then you must also balance it off by teaching creation, but one does not have to teach either. The evolutionists at the Scopes I Trial (1925) spoke in favor of teaching both views. John Scopes said: “Education you know, means broadening, advancing. If you limit a teacher to only one side of anything, the whole country will eventually have only one thought, be one individual. I believe in teaching every aspect of every problem or theory”(12). ACLU attorney Malone pled: “For God’s sake, let the children have their minds be kept open–close no doors to their knowledge; shut no door from them…. Let they have both. Let them both be taught. Let them both live”(13). The irony is that creationists were called “bigots” many times at the Trial. But let not the kettle call the pot black. If it was bigotry in 1925 when only creation was taught in schools, then it is still bigotry in 2007 when only evolution is being taught.

God-Given Moral Absolutes

The Conservative agenda is a moral agenda. Yes, we believe in legislating morality. In fact, really everyone does, even those who deny it(14). Since virtually all good laws prescribe some behavior as good and others as bad, there are really no such laws that do not legislate morality. No civil society is without legislation on moral issues, forbidding theft, abuse, rape, and murder. Indeed, even liberals favor these laws, as well as others condemning racism, hate crimes, and genocide. The truth is that everyone favors legislating morality. The only question is whose’s morality will be legislated. The conservative answer has always been “God’s”! From the very beginning our founding document spoke of “Nature’s Laws” that come from “Nature’s God” or “the unalienable rights” of the “Creator.” Among these are the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Indeed, most all of the Ten Commandments have been put into law at one time or another.

Laws Protecting Life

First and foremost on the list is the right to life. For the right to life is the right to all other rights. Those who are not allowed to live, are not allowed to have any other rights. And this right to life extends to both ends of life, thus opposing both abortion and euthanasia. At the time of The Declaration abortion was forbidden by both English Common Law from which our law was derived and an early American law which in 1716 forbid midwives to perform abortions(15). And the unborn were defined in the dictionaries of the day as a “child in the womb” and a child as a “very young person”(16). This leaves no doubt about the framers views against abortion.

Historically, being against abortion was not a uniquely Christian view for even the ancient pagan Hippocratic oath opposed both abortion and euthanasia, pledging, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anyone if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.” Whatever minor intramural debate there may be about capital punishment for guilty criminals, there should be absolutely no doubt about the wrongness of giving capital punishment to innocent babies by abortion!

Resetting the Conservative Agenda

There are some who wish to refocus the conservative agenda away from the life and death issues of abortion, euthanasia, terrorism, and pro-family values to other things like poverty, privacy rights, Gay rights, animal rights, and environmental concerns. The conservative response is based in our founding national documents and its fundamental principles.

On Pro-Life

1. We believe in the unalienable right to life of all humans, born and unborn, young and old–whatever their ethnic orientation..

2. We believe there is no right to do a wrong, and that it is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings of any size, age, color or creed. The unalienable right to life takes precedence over questionable right of privacy. Killing innocent human beings in private is no more justifiable than killing them in public.

3. We believe it is hypocritical to focus on saving baby seals while we destroying baby humans at the rate of over 3000 per day by abortion.

4. We believes in the unalienable right to life of the born and unborn, not in alienating the unborn from their right to life.

5. We believe that the right to privacy of the mother does not take precedence over the right to life of the child.

On Civil Rights

1. We believe in civil rights for all persons, but we do not believe in uncivil actions against any person.

2. We believe that abortion is the worst violations of civil rights because it violates the very basis of all civil rights–the right to life itself. The right to life is the right to all other rights. Hence, those who are not allowed to live are deprived of all their civil rights.

3. We believe that homosexuals have civil rights but that homosexual activity is a civil wrong against themselves and their society. We do not believe there are any rights to do a wrong. Likewise, polygamist, pedophiles, and rapist have civil rights, but their activities as such are not civil rights; tey are uncivil wrong. And we believe is wrong to give rights to do a wrong.

4. We believe the evident truth that “all men are created equal” opposes slavery, racism, and ethnic discrimination.

On The Family

1. We believe that our domestic constitution should begins with “We the parents of our children, in order to form a more perfect society, establish the family to insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

2. We believe that a family consisting of one male and one female, and whatever children with which God blesses us. And we pledge ourselves to preserve the family as the basic unit of society, the teacher of social skills, moral values, and the duty of good citizenship.

3. We believe that since the roots of most social problems begin in the family that we should be doing everything we can to strengthen the family, not to weaken it. To be pro-family is to be pro-society, and to degrade the family by approving of distorted unions is destructive of our society.

4. We believe that divorce is generally harmful to the family and should be discouraged and diminished.

On Homosexuality

1. We believe that civil rights for homosexuals should not be a pretext for civil wrongs done by homosexuals–both against themselves and society. We believe that if laws against smoking can add seven years on the average to ones life, then laws restraining homosexual activity, which can add some 20-30 years to their lives, should be welcomed as well(17).

2. We believe that uncivil behavior is not the basis for a civil union. In the beginning God did not unite Adam and Steve but Adam and Eve.

3. We believe that since no homosexual union has ever produced a child, then only babies produced by homosexual unions should be adopted by homosexuals.

On Education

1. We encourage home schools, private schools, and parental control of public schools, not government control of our tax-supported institutions.

2. Since we firmly believe that taxation without representation is tyranny, we believe that the majority view of creation, held in some form by over 75 percent of Americans, should be represented in public schools. And we thank Judge Antonia Scalia for his brilliant defense of this in his dissenting opinion in the 1987 Edwards case.

3. We believe that sex education is best done by parents, not the schools. If the school is to be involved, it should be with parental permission and review of the curriculum. We believe children should not be taught a sex course in “how to” but, if any, they should be taught one in “why not” to get involved in sex before marriage.

4. We believe that no child should be left behind and that, if necessary we should spank their behind to help accomplish this. We believe discipline is a necessary condition for proper education and the moral law (as expressed in the Ten Commandments) is necessary for proper discipline.

5. The Ten Commandments are represented on the East end of the Supreme Court, over the Chief Justice’s head, and on the upper wall, and we see no reason the same Court should forbid our school children from having them on their walls.

6. We believe that no harm was done for 300 years of school classes talking to the Creator in public schools and much harm has been done in the generation since prayer has been locked out of school classes.

7. We believe that the Bible, the world’s best seller, should be read, not banned, from public school classes.

8. We believe that if it was bigotry in 1925 to teach only one view of origins in public schools when only creation was taught, then it is still bigotry today to teach only one view of origins when only evolution is being taught.

On God and Government

1. We believe in government based on God, not a government without God.

2. We believe civil laws should be based on unchanging Divine principles; , not on changing human precepts.

3. We believe in the cooperation of religion and state and in the encouragement of religion by the state, not in the separation of religion from the state or in the antagonism against religion by the state.

On Poverty

1. We believe that poverty cannot be voted out of existence but that it should be worked out of existence. We believe poverty is better addressed by private compassion than by public compulsion.

2. We believe in making a living by working, not in making a living at not working.

3. We believe our economy is best served by capitalism, not collectivism. We believe that the economy is best served by private entepenureship, not by public ownership.

4. While we are concerned about the poor life of those born, we are even more concerned about those who by abortion were never allowed to be born.

On Crime and Punishment

1. We believe the punishment should fit the crime and that it is fit to punish a crime.

2. We believe that focusing on criminal rights to a fair trial should not overshadow the need to protect non-criminal’s rights to happy life.

3. We believe in the rights of innocent citizens to be protected from the wrongs of guilty criminals.

4. We believe criminals should be treated as persons to be punished, not patients to be treated. We believe forced “rehabilitation” is a violation of personhood. We believe proper punishment is the best form of rehabilitation.

5. We believe it is a gross inconsistency to protest capital punishment for guilty criminals while one engages in capital punishment on innocent babies.

On War

1. We believe in the right to protect our right to life.

2. We also believe that fighting terrorist is better done on their soil than ours and that we must fight fire with fire, not with mere fiery anti-war rhetoric.

3. We are more concerned about actual global terrorism than debatable global warming. Indeed, I believe that alleged global warming could be significantly diminished by circulating less liberal hot air used in attacking the Commander in Chief in his fight against global terrorism.

4. Yes, we still believe in the Second Amendment and the old NRA slogan that “when guns are outlawed then only outlaws will have guns.”

 

Conclusion

In summation, conservatives believe in life, liberty, and happiness based on God’s law and achieved in a context of freedom of religion and speech. In short, we believe in a godly, not a God-less government. Put another way, we believe The Declaration of Independence.

I close with a quote from its author. My favorite line on any monument in our nation’s capitol is from the Jefferson Memorial. Standing in front of the magnificent statue of Thomas Jefferson and looking over the water toward the White House one can read these words engraved in large marble letters: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?


Notes

1. Robert C. Cannada, America’s Rule of Law (National Lawyers Association Foundation, 2002).

2. George William Hunter, A Civic Biology (New York: American Book Company, 1914), 196.

3. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, in The Great Books edition, 323.

4. Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1939),162.

5. Jean Paul Sartre, No Exit and Three Other Plays:The Flies (New York: Vintage Books, Random House, 1947), 122.

6. Mark Twain, Christian Science (NY: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1906), 359-361.

7. It added other principles, but these are among the first and most basic listed in theHumanist Manifesto I (1933).

8. The trial transcript is published in The World’s Most Famous Court Trial: Tennessee Evolution Case (Cincinnati, Ohio: National Book Company), 51-52.

9. John Dewey, A Common Faith (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1934), 87.

10. This was so named from its first line of the law which goes on to affirm that if our children are taught to read the Bible they will have the best defense against Satan who wishes to deceive them.

11. Paul Kurts, The Humanist (Jan/Feb., 1983), 26.

12. Cited in P. William Davis, The World of Biology, 2nd ed. (NY: McGraw-Hill, 1979), 610.

13. Cited in T. C. Mercer, ed., The World’s Most Famous Court Trial (Cincinnati: National Book Company, 1925), 299.

14. See Norman .L. Geisler and Frank Turek, Legislating Morality (Eugene, Or: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998).

15. See James Witherspoon “Reexamining Roe: Nineteenth-Century Abortion Statutes and the Fourteenth Amendment.” St. Mary’s Law Journal 17 (1985), 32.

16. See Dennis J. Horan, “Abortion and Midwifery: A Footnote in Legal History,” in Hilger, Horan, and Mall EDS, New Perspectives on Human Abortion (Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America., 1981), 199.

17. See Geisler, Legislating Morality, Chap. 9.

 

Rick Warren on Gay Marriage (2009)

Rick Warren on the Gay Marriage (Union) Issue

By Norman L. Geisler

September, 2009

A Brief History of the Facts As We Have Them

Recently there has been controversy over Pastor Rick Warren’s views on the Gay Marriage (Union) Issue. First, let’s state the facts as we have received them.

In the Fall of 2008 Warren told his church: “We support Proposition 8 [which opposed Gay marriages]– and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8.” Warren informs us that this was only after being prodded by members of his congregation to give them guidance and state his views on the issue. This was in view of the impending vote in California on Proposition 8.

On Monday night (April 6, 2009) on CNN’s Larry King Live, Pastor Rick Warren said: “I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never — never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop. 8 was going.”

The next day Warren appeared on the Hugh Hewitt show and said this: “First place, anybody who knows me knows I am not a political activist. I am not an anti-gay activist. When the Prop. 8 issue thing started a year and a half earlier before the thing, I never made a single statement, I never went to any meetings, never released an endorsement. It’s just not my agenda. Everybody has an agenda they’d like for me to promote, but my agenda is the Peace Plan, and the churches and the training, and all of the stuff we’re working on, and it just wasn’t my agenda” (from the Show’s transcript).

Further, Warren said, “On the very last week before the vote, I had five or six letters come in from members saying Pastor Rick, how do you want us to vote on this? What do you think? Give us the basis. Well, I do a video newsletter for our own people. And in that, I said I don’t believe that the historic definition of marriage should be changed. Okay, I’m not saying that people of the same sex don’t love each other. I’m sure they do. I’m saying marriage is a term that historically should not be redefined, because if you redefine it once, it’s going to get redefined over and over. For an example, if there is gay marriage, what does that do for a bisexual person?”

What is more, Warren tells about being on Belief Net where Steve Waldman who asked Warren “…would you consider gay relationships a marriage. And I said no, I said no more than I would consider incest to be a marriage, or no more than I would consider, and I just gave him a bunch of other relational things. And his follow up question was so you consider those things all to be the same? And I said oh, of course I do. Well, it sounded like I was equating homosexuality with pedophilia and… HH: Incest. RW: …incest, which I totally disavow. I don’t believe that at all, never have believed it, and don’t believe it.”

Then Warren acknowledged: “Obama called me the first week of December” and ask him to pray at his inauguration. Warren agreed. Then Warren said, “I was thrilled to be a part of it. But I knew I was going to take shots. And so what I did is I made a commitment [to whom?] that I would not publicly speak about any reaction, I wasn’t going to fan the flames between that offer when it got out, and I didn’t put it out, he put it out, and when I actually did the inauguration.”

Then Warren said, “And so I didn’t say anything about it. I did write an apology to the major gay leaders that I happen to know personally, friends of mine, and I said hey guys, this thing about me saying I believe gay relationships are the same thing as pedophilia and incest, I do not believe that and never have believed that, and I don’t. I don’t believe you should call gay relationship marriage. I would oppose that. But that’s not the same thing. And somehow, we’ve got to learn that you can love somebody and still disagree with them.”

Sorting Out the Apparent Conflict

When I received all this information, I wrote Rick Warren and asked him to explain the apparent conflict between his two statements:

  1. In Oct, 2008 Warren told his church: “We support Proposition 8 — and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8.”
  2. On Monday night (April 6, 2009) on CNN’s Larry King Live, Pastor Rick Warren said: “I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never — never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop. 8 was going.”

I have not yet heard from him, but to be charitable one could interpret the second statement as meaning he had not released any public statement on the issue but merely spoke privately to his own church. Other may challenge whether a pastor’s statement to his whole church-which includes how they should vote-is merely a private pastoral statement.

What is Warren’s View

First of all, it seems clear that Warren is opposed to Gay marriage and that he was opposed to legalizing it in California. He has not changed on this issue.

Second, in the above statements Warren leaves open the door for legal Gay unions as long as they are not called “marriages.” He needs to clarify his position on this matter since, for there is little more than a semantical difference between the two. After all, the “union” would provide virtually all the legal privileges that a “marriage” would.

Third, Warren’s claims not to be “a political activist” is problematic at best. For one thing, he informed his whole congregation how to vote on this Gay marriage issue. Not only is this one of the largest congregations in the country, but through this grape vine Warren’s views went out to much of the rest of the country. What could be more effective political activism than this! For another thing, if it is viewed as a non-public statement, it reveals a lack of moral courage not to take a public stand on crucial moral issues of the day. Warren has one of the biggest “bully pulpits” in the land. After all, he is viewed by many as “America’s pastor.” He was chosen to give the prayer at the presidential inauguration. Not to use his pulpit to America for moral good is moral cowardice.

Fourth, it does not take much reading between the lines of what Warren said in these interviews to see that he is more concerned about making peace between opposing moral view points than taking a stand on the one he believes is right. After all, he admits not being a “political activist” on the issue. He admits not attending any meetings of the anti-Gay marriage groups. He admits trying to appease Gay leaders on his view. He admits not releasing any statement to the public on the issue. In his own words, “I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never — never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop. 8 was going.” Well, shame on him. Indeed, Warren admits not even giving his congregation guidance until after he was prodded to do so by members of his congregation. But as Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” For better or for worse, Rick Warren is the de facto leader of evangelicalism. And, in my humble opinion, I would much rather have someone with the convictions and courage of Jerry Falwell emerge on the scene. As far as evangelicalism’s public voice is concerned, Moses is dead and there is as yet no Joshua to replace him.

Update

On Sunday September 6, 2009 I met with Rich Warren in his office after the morning service at his Saddleback Church in California. I found him to be a very friendly, gracious, and generous man. We had a friendly conversation about several things. I asked him about the conflict in his views on the Gay Marriage issue (mentioned above). He explained that he did not consider a private communication to his church to be a political campaign. He said he did not wish to get involved in political issues since he was an evangelist. As such, he wished not to take partisan views so as not to alienate any whom he wished to win to Christ. I found him a man passionately concerned about evangelizing the whole world. Indeed, his church has a ministry in over 160 or the 190 some countries in the world.

I pointed out that homosexuality and abortion were not politically partisan issues but were moral issues on which Christians should speak out. He agreed. He brought up the issue of speaking to non-Christian groups as part of his evangelistic outreach. I pointed out that I believed that it was not wrong to go to these groups, provided that we give them a Christian message when we are there. Again, he agreed.

My own conclusion to the conversation is essentially what I concluded in the above article, namely, that Christians do have a moral obligation to speak out publicly on these moral issues, such as homosexuality and abortions. And I believe this is possible without being politically partisan. Thus, a man with such as national and global pulpit as Rich Warren has could have a tremendous influence, should he chose to exercise it more vigorously and extensively. This could be done without taking political sides or closing the door for the Gospel.

 

Copyright © 2009 Norman L. Geisler – All Rights Reserved

The Crusades: Were they Justified? (2015)

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The Crusades: Were they Justified?

Norman L. Geisler

2015

 

 

Recently president Barak Obama made a moral comparison between the Crusades and recent attacks and atrocities of the Radical Islamic group called ISIS, known for beheading, crucifying, and even burning its captives. Not only is there no moral equivalence between the actions of the Crusades and ISIS, this comparison reveals a serious lack of understanding of the Crusades.

The Prologue to the Crusades

Between 1095 and 1400 there were some nine Crusades or expeditions of Western (European) Christians into the Eastern Mediterranean designed to recover the Holy Land from Muslim hands. These were encouraged by the Catholic Church and involved the death of thousands of people.

The Prologue to the Crusades: 500 Years of Muslim Advance

The Crusades can only properly be understood in terms of the 500 years of Muslim advance into the West that preceded them. Muhammad was born in A.D. 570 Mecca in present-day Saudi, Arabia. In 630 he led an army of 30,000 to conquer Mecca. By 711 Muslims took Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Jerusalem. By 732 they had invaded Spain and were turned back at Tours, France by Charles Martel. In 846 they attacked outlying areas of Rome. By the end of the 9th century Muslim pirates had established havens all along the Mediterranean coast, threatening commerce, communication, and pilgrim traffic for the next century. They controlled some 2/3 of Christendom. As a result, many Christians and Jews were enduring persecution at Muslim hands.

 

The Plea for the Crusades

By 1071 Eastern Christians sent appeals to the Western Christians for help. In 1095 Pope Urban II responded by calling on the Knights of Christendom to assist, and the first Crusade began what turned out to be a several hundred years of conflict.

The Purpose of the Crusades

Contrary to some modern secular charges, the Crusades were not colonial attempts to accumulate land and possessions. The primary purpose was spiritual. They wished to liberate the Christian captives from oppression by Muslims. Further, they desired to restore Christian access to the holy sites around Jerusalem. This is not to say that no unnecessary deaths and pillaging occurred. Regretfully, it did.  However, the primary purposes were noble.

 

The Participants of the Crusades

The Crusaders consisted of Western Christians who loved their fellow believers in the East many of whom had lost their homes, land, and even their lives. This opens the door to address several widely held myths about the Crusades that call for a response.

 

Myth #1: The Crusades were wars of unprovoked aggression

against a peaceful Muslim world minding its own business.

 The truth is that the Crusades were a reaction to 500 years of Muslim aggression into dominantly Christian countries. The Crusades were in essence a defensive action against the spread of Islam by the sword. They were undertaken largely out of concern for fellow Christians in the East. In fact, many great saints supported the Crusades, including Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, and peace-loving Francis of Assisi. Troops prayed and fasted before battles and praised God after them. Even many Muslim respected the ideals of the Crusaders.

Of course, there were sins of overreactions by some Crusaders. But most of these were deeply regretted and forgiveness was sought by Christians who participated in them. Unfortunately, this was not so for Muslim exploiters who felt little remorse but looked to a future in Paradise as a reward for their endeavours in stomping out the infidels.

Myth # 2: The Crusades were colonialist imperialists after booty and land.

This charge is contrary to the facts of history. Most Crusaders undertook the 2000 mile trek at great sacrifice of their own wealth. Many sold or mortgaged their own homes, most of which were not recouped. Most never occupied the land they gained from the Muslims. They went out with a sense of duty to God.

Myth # 3: When the crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099,

they massacred ruthlessly.

This criticism is overstated. Of course, people were killed, but it was not ruthless. It was usually in accord with the norms of war for that time. Cities that resisted were captured and subjugated to the captors, but inhabitants of cities that surrendered were not killed. However, the people who surrendered most often retained their property and worshiped freely (see SALVO, issue 27 [Winter, 2013], pp. 60-62).

The Perversion of the Crusades

If this is so, then why do most people today have a distorted view of the Crusades? It was not always so. During the Middle Ages nearly all Christians in Europe believed the Crusades were morally justified. The modern distortion of the Crusades began with French humanist Voltaire (1694-1778) who abhorred Christianity (see his Philosophical Dictionary). The contemporary anti-crusade stance was set by Sir Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades (1951-1954) and popularized by a BBC/A&E documentary (1995).

Only recently has this negative attitude begun to be corrected. Professor Rodney Stark is a case in point. He wrote, “Not only had the Byzantines lost most of their empire; the enemy was at their gates.” Hence, “the popes, like most Christians, believed war against the Muslims to be justified partly because the latter had usurped by force lands which once belonged to Christians and partly because they abused the Christians over whom they ruled and such Christian lands as they could raid for slaves, plunder and the joys of destruction” (Rodney Stark, God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (HarperOne, 2009), pp. 33, 248) Other authors have added to this re-evaluation of the Crusades (see also Thomas F. Madden, The New Concise History of the Crusades, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 2005).

 


 

Dr. Geisler is a philosopher, theologian, and ethicist who has authored two books devoted to the subject of ethics: The Christian Love Ethic (Bastion Books: 2012) and Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options (Baker Academic:1989, 2010)