Yearning to Breathe Free

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Inscription on the Statue of Liberty

One of the first things people used to see when they emigrated to these United States of America for decades was the gleaming statue in New York Harbor.  What most people saw was the start of the new life.  They were close to the truth, and millions of men and women have looked on that statue and been reminded of the costs of liberty and the responsibility we all share to ensure that it never dies from this Earth again.

It never will.  That statue welcomed those immigrants in days past as a beacon of hope at the end of a long journey.  Read that inscription again, but instead of Lady Liberty saying it… imagine them as the words of Christ.  In fact, He often said much the same things…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless and tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

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The Death Of The Republic

This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.

Benjamin Franklin

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Revelation 3:15-17

The opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy. It’s not giving a damn.

Leo Buscaglia

Love cannot endure indifference. It needs to be wanted. Like a lamp, it needs to be fed out of the oil of another’s heart, or its flame burns low.

Henry Ward Beecher

I intend to explore for the rest of the week and beyond what seems to me to be the a serious threat to our republic, and what could ultimately be it’s death.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are staring at the gaping maw of tyranny – it is here, it is now, it is ongoing with the various and rapid-fire scandals at IRS, the Department of Justice, at NSA, and the full court press that these federal authorities are putting on the Bill of Rights and the liberties and freedoms enshrined therein.

You may say that scandals happen to every administration and the warning of encroaching tyranny is sounded every few years and nothing ever seems to come of it, but I believe we have entered a new highly dangerous point in the history of the experiment of American liberty.

I believe that we are under attack.  The attack is not coming from some other country or even one person or group in particular.  We are the enemy, because the root of the problem is apathy, indifference, and a lack of love.

Tune in tomorrow for why WE are the enemy to our own liberty.

Lust and Power

If you’ve ever watched or read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the lust for power is well imagined in the lust for the One Ring.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

The lust for the ring of power was great.  It was known to contain great power and endowed the bearer with magical abilities such as invisibility, unusually long life, and others, but at a great price.  It was a corrupting force.  Regardless of the intent of the person who possessed the ring, no matter how it was used, the ring only answered to the one who made it.

Let’s unpack the concept that Tolkien was trying to convey.  The first and most obvious layer is that power corrupts.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton

“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778

The lure of the power in the ring was impossible to resist.  Men would do anything to gain possession of that power – lie, cheat, steal, kill.

Take a look around at all disconcerting tyrannies that I have written extensively about to date.  Those tyrannies are either aimed at obtaining, preserving, or strengthening power.

Yesterday, May 30th, the NSA’s Utah Data Center went live.  The center has the capability to capture, record, and analyze every form of electronic communication in the domestic United States every single day.

The Department of Homeland Security has expanded it’s mission from just protecting modes of travel to protecting and actively policing within the United States.

The warrantless wiretaps on the AP, the targeting of individual reporters such as James Rosen, the IRS’ unequal treatment of conservative, Tea Party, and Jewish groups are all methods being used to silence opposition and whistleblowers through intimidation.

More than 70 percent of federal spending goes to dependency programs.  The threat of removal of these programs ensures that dissension is unthinkable lest the life support that 128 million Americans rely on for subsistence be taken away.  These people have become serfs of the new feudal masters within the government (both elected and unelected).

Schools in Florida, under the guise of an insidious program called Common Core, scanned and retained the irises of school children for their “safety” and “security.”

These are just a few instances of huge power grabs, shows of naked force.  Each one by itself could be written off as nothing, an overreaction or overreach by overzealous bureaucrats, but together in concert they are much more.  They take on the mantle of a full blown tightening of the vise of tyranny on the citizens of the United States.

Now you might even be saying that I’m overreacting because I disagree with President Obama politically on nearly every issue, but it goes far beyond that.  I would disagree with these steps regardless of which party or President was in power at the time because I see these for the lure of power that they are and will be going forward.  That power becomes a drug for the person who wields it – they need it, and not to know that they have it, but they will need to exercise it in growing frequency in order to fulfill their craving for it.  The power will corrupt them.  Even if they began with the best of intentions, that power will destroy them.

The bureaucrats and politicians that come next will see the One Ring before them.  It will call to them, not with the clarion call of liberty, but with the sinister whisper of influence, authority, power, and strength, but those powers can only be wielded by the creator of the ring.

Who is the creator of the ring?

In Tolkien’s tale, Sauron, the Dark Lord, is the creator of the ring, but even he can be destroyed by it because he is ultimately dependent on it as well.  So did Sauron create the authority, power, and strength that were endowed into the ring or did he simply channel them there?  Let’s back this up to theology now… did Satan create the power that he yields?

The short answer is no.

God created Satan as Lucifer the angel.  Satan is dependent on God for his very existence.

One day the angelscame to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.

Job 1:6

The authority, power, and strength that Satan holds were benefits of his created nature and were gifts of his position in the hierarchy of heaven.  It is Satan’s intent to disobey and rebel against God that corrupts those gifts.  Just as Satan rebels and corrupts those great and mighty gifts that God bestowed on him at his creation, the government – the politicians and bureaucrats, the authorities, the individual branches and big players have intents and purposes that run counter to the Constitutionally-directed role of the government and it’s relationship with the people altogether.  The small tyrannies summed together will corrupt even the best intended of those men and women because they will beg to be used… the temptation is too great.

THAT is why we rail against these overreaches.  THAT is why we sound the watchman’s call as the abuses and usurpations mount.

The enemy is not just at the gates.

The enemy is now within the city walls.

If we do not stand and fight and defeat these self-obtained powers, then we will lose whatever scrap of liberty that we have left on this Earth except for the hope that we have in Christ.

If power corrupts, we must rid ourselves of it.  If we do not want a corrupt government controlling every step we take in our lives, we must disrupt and dismantle it’s power to do so or we will find ourselves prisoners in our own country.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Repetition

Adversity toughens manhood, and the characteristic of the good or the great man, is not that he has been exempted from the evils of life, but that he ha surmounted them.

Patrick Henry

Stars may be seen from the bottom of a deep well, when they cannot be seen from the top of a mountain. So many things are learned in adversity that the prosperous man dreams not of.

Charles Spurgeon

God takes hold when we break down. We go as far as we can and then God takes hold when we can’t go any farther.

A.P. Gouthey

“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 1:8

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it.

Daniel 3:17

Lead

Sometimes, the best lessons are taught in the shortest phrases.

Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.

Henry Ward Beecher

Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey.

Denis Diderot

Strength under control.  Gentleness cannot exist unless it comes from strength under control.  Christ said that the meek shall inherit the earth.  I do not believe that Christ meant meek as we understand it, which is as a synonym for weak, but rather that he meant that those with strength who control it well will inherit the earth.  A strong man can force his will for a time, but he can be overcome. A virtuous man, with strength at his disposal that he willingly chooses not to exercise, cannot be overcome by any force arrayed against him because that man, with strength under control, has allies in others who wish to follow him, to emulate him, and to be like him.  Isn’t that the model that Christ Himself modeled for us by submitting to death on the cross?  Christ, the commander-in-chief of the armies of heaven itself and the physical manifestation of the living God, the Creator of the universe, held his hand – and look at what happened.  The Roman guard at the cross saw it firsthand – that ultimate power, so controlled.

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Mark 15:39

An Absolute Right

I know that some of you read what I write because I try to always bring things back to God, to those of you I apologize for my focus as of late has been on the works of men.  It’s not that I hate lost sight of God through all of this hyperbole and vitriolic hatred highlighted by the political left’s insistence on punishing all gun owners for the actions of evil men, but that I have recognized it for the threat that it is.  I do not say it lightly when I say that any attempt to ban, confiscate, or register any firearms will not be met kindly by myself or many others like me.  I will not hypothesize on what I will and won’t do in that event as we have not crossed that bridge yet, but I fear that there are short-sighted politicians who are flirting with the idea far too much.

So why do I consider it a threat?  If I believe that nothing man can do can hurt me as Scripture tells us, than why does it matter?

It matters because of the long-term results of those efforts.  That violent crime rates go up following such actions each and every time – rape, armed robbery, gun crime, assault, home invasions, murder – across the board in every instance in history.

It matters because of the actions of democratically elected governments that move to ban the last protection of the minority in the face of oppression and tyranny – the ability to use adequate force in defense of liberty and freedom.

Wait, what?

Let’s play a quick hypothetical: let’s say that the United States passes a law either by legislation or executive order (Don’t get me started on how egregious this idea would be, but can you say casus belli?) that bans further purchase of certain semiautomatic firearms and then requires those that are permitted by a grandfathering clause to be registered with the federal government.  What is to prevent the next mass shooting from causing the same politicians from deciding to now confiscate all of those registered firearms?

You see, without registration, confiscation is exceptionally difficult and dangerous.  There aren’t enough law enforcement officers and agents and every level of the government combined to confiscate the firearms of 100 million gun owners (and let’s not mistake ourselves, every modern semiautomatic handgun and rifle would be part of this round up since they can accept magazines of whatever capacity the manufacturer wants to build and distribute).  With registration, the politicians would be able to “target” the population for confiscation more effectively and eliminate unnecessary searches, etc.

Once a significant amount of the population is disarmed, there is not enough manpower to offer significant resistance against oppression or tyranny.  This isn’t me just speculating, it is documented history.  Just in the last hundred years we have the following instances.

Turkey (1915-1917). 1-1.5 million Armenian Christians killed.  Turkey required permits to own firearms at all and total registration (which led to targeted confiscation from the Armenian population).  Gun control laws were passed in 1866, 1911, and 1915.

USSR (1929-1945). 20 million political prisoners. Total registration and confiscation laws passed in 1918, 1920, and 1926.

Nationalist China (1927-1949). 10 million communist sympathizers and political opponents. Total registration and confiscation laws passed in 1914 and 1935.

Nazi Germany & Occupied Europe (1933-1945). 20 million political opponents (communists, anti-fascists), gays, Jews, Gypsies, and others. Total registration laws passed in 1928. Confiscation laws passed in 1938.

The People’s Republic of China (1949-1952, 1957-1960, 1966-1976). 20-35 million political opponents and “enemies of the state.” Total registration laws and ban on private ownership laws passed in 1951 and 1957.

Guatemala (1960-1981). 100,000-200,000 Mayans, indigenous peoples, and political enemies. Registration laws passed in 1932. Prohibition on bearing arms laws passed in 1947. Total ban and confiscation laws passed in 1964.

Uganda (1971-1979). 300,000 Christians and political enemies. Registration law passed in 1955. Confiscation law passed in 1970.

Cambodia (1975-1979). 2 million educated people and political enemies. Total registration law passed in 1938.

Rwanda (1994). 800,000 Tutsi people. Registration and confiscation laws passed in 1979.

Other notable government-sanctioned murders are as follows:

Japan (5,964,000 noncombatants during WWII), Vietnam (1,678,000), North Korea (1,633,000), Pakistan (1,503,000), Mexico (1,417,000), Yugoslavia (1,072,000 from 1944 to 1987), Czarist Russia (1,066,000 from 1900 to 1917).

Grand total, not counting other genocides such as those in Bosnia during the 1990s, or Darfur in this past decade, stands at 88,533,000 killed by their GOVERNMENT.  88 million is a conservative estimate, the grand total is surely higher.

That is why I fight so hard about this issue.  The very people put into power to protect your freedoms and liberties can turn around and use their authority to kill you, your family, and everyone you love.   With just one exception, the gun control laws passed “to save just one life” were turned around and used by future regimes to target minorities and political enemies.  In that one case, the SAME regime used those laws to target their internal enemies.

Semiautomatic firearms of military pattern in the hands of the people of America defend every single person in this country from the same fate now and decades in the future, because any attempt to push this country in that direction will and can be met with equal force of arms.  THAT is what the Second Amendment enshrines.  THAT is what is what George Washington and the other founders meant when they wrote or spoke the following.

If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 29

Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people

Tench Coxe

The Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.

Samuel Adams

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?

Patrick Henry

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.

Patrick Henry

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.

George Washington

Those, who have the command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed by the fear of an armed people.

Aristotle, quoted by John Trenchard & Water Moyle

For further reading, I highly encourage you to read Daniel Polsby’s Of Holocausts and Gun Control.

[The Founding Fathers] rejected the concept of a state monopoly of armed power–“the most dangerous of all monopolies,” according to Madison–in favor of “the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.”

Daniel Polsby

*Statistics regarding genocide from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership & Marmatt.com.

III

Happy Thanksgiving

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.

Thomas Jefferson

Give thanks as you enter the gates of his temple.
    Give praise as you enter its courtyards.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
The Lord is good. His faithful love continues forever.
    It will last for all time to come.

Psalm 100:4-5

Food for Thought

Virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible.  These are the tactics we should study. If we lost these, we are conquered, fallen indeed.  ….so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger.

Patrick Henry

The diminution of public virtue is usually attended with that of public happiness, and the public liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals.

Samuel Adams

No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.

Samuel Adams

Can the Republic be restored?  Are you willing to look within yourself for the answer to that question?    What have you done today to deserve the blessings of liberty and freedom?

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