June 9, 2008

On Some Events and People of June

By Donald G. Mashburn

The month of June brings us Father’s Day, Flag Day and a flurry of weddings. And dates that history and our memory file bring to mind, such as June 6, 1944, D-Day, the day Allied Forces began the climatic battle of WW II that changed the course of the war against Germany, and the political landscape of Europe.

On June 5th, Ronald Reagan died. On June 6, Capt. Robert F. Scott and his team reached the South Pole shortly after Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian team reached it. Unfortunately, Scott and his team all starved to death on the return journey.

June produced future president George H. W. Bush, actors Andy Griffith and Stan Laurel, and Great Britain’s King George V.

Some June birthdays have special meaning to your humble servant. One belonged to an exceptional lady, Neoma Ritchie, who died recently at 100. She would have turned 101 on June 25, and I looked forward to being there.

Neoma was an unusually intelligent and kind woman whose Christian faith enriched and strengthened my own.

Such people are not often honored the way the world honors its famous and infamous. But should we ever get around to honoring the quiet heroes, the ones who helped make this nation special, there will be countless monuments to the Neomas among us.

Other special birthdays give me feelings of pride, humility and love because they produced special people. Among those I’ve been privileged to love and observe are two who have made the world around them a better place.

The first, a beautiful girl named Teresa, arrived June 9. One could fill a book describing the joys this pretty young girl brought to the lives of those around her, and still not get them all listed. She grew into a young lady for whom the term “beautiful” was very apt, and with a rare combination of personality and disposition.

That disposition made her a delightful companion, whether out on the lake fishing, in the backyard playing catch, or traveling to strange places whose people and languages were different from our own.

She finished college, married Michael, a nice young basketball coach, and became a teacher in the public schools. As her three children reached tutoring age, she home schooled them, and taught classes for other home school students. Two of her children have graduate degrees, while the third will be a junior. All three drew generously from the gene pool of their mother’s looks and disposition.

And consistent with her upbringing, and strong Christian faith, she has given her talents and time in a selfless manner that comes, for her, as natural as breathing.

That she’s my daughter makes it all the more wonderful. And having been privileged to see the development of this remarkable, pretty woman is a Father’s Day gift I’ll treasure.

The second of the special “June People” arrived in my life on June 7. As a young boy, Donnie also was often referred to as “pretty,” and his good looks were enhanced by his natural shyness. With maturity, he outgrew “pretty” and had to make do with “handsome.”

The shyness gave way – somewhat – to a more mature self-assurance and purpose. He felt the call to be a minister at about 16, and although he was athletically gifted, sports never exerted a pull strong enough to deflect him from his course to the ministry.

College, seasoned with bits of football and track, provided the path to seminary. And to the altar, for while at the university, he met his future wife, Cathy.

Since seminary, his two pastorates have spanned a quarter-century. He and his wife produced three beautiful children, and consistent with their calling and nature, have added two more by adoption. All have been home schooled.

As pastor of Strassburg Baptist Church, Marion, Kan., he’s called “Brother Don,” or “Pastor Don.” I’m proud to call him, “Son.”

So June carries a lot of meaning for me, most of it God-sent pleasure. A good portion of that pleasure comes from knowing two special human beings as my daughter and son, and as friends.

Happy Birthday, Teresa Bergman!

Happy Birthday, Rev. Don (“Donnie!”) Mashburn!


Do-Nothing Democrats an Ever-Present Danger

By Donald G. Mashburn

Gasoline at more than $4.00 a gallon. Crude oil mere pennies below $140 per barrel, and may top $150 any day. And what has Congress been doing? They’ve been doing what Congress does best: holding hearings and posturing before the television cameras.

One wonders just how much pain at the pump American motorists must endure before they bring to account – at the polls – the ones responsible (the U. S. Congress) for their gasoline price misery.

Just how high do prices of gasoline and crude oil have to go before voters tell Liberal Democrats to stop blocking development of our own oil reserves? And to stop pandering to special interest groups? And to start working with American industry to produce more of our own oil?

We should tell them that our natural resources – oil, natural gas, coal – belong to us, the people, not to environmental activists who are anti-business, and don’t hesitate to put their activist agendas ahead of American security and economic well-being.

Congress, aided and abetted by those who want to perpetually hamstring American business, has let U.S. production decline to some 5 million barrels per day, while we consume some 21 million barrels of petroleum products every day.

We should ask Congress why they let our production dwindle to such a low level, while blocking offshore drilling, and drilling the barren coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

We should demand that Congress permit, encourage and expedite development of our own petroleum reserves, and simultaneously promote the use of coal and development of nuclear power generation.

As long as voters are willing to trade their birthright of free enterprise development of fuel resources for the mess of pottage of the liberal agenda of Democrats, we can expect fuel shortages and higher prices.

Folks that won’t be happy with $200 per barrel oil and $5 a gallon gasoline, should check to see how their congressional representatives voted on drilling in the ANWR and offshore, and if their representatives voted to stifle oil U.S. production, vote for their opponents.

And Congress’ negligence amounts to much more than high prices for gasoline and heating oil, it affects our national security. Our military should be able to rely on a secure supply of fuel for whatever they are called to do.

As long as our Do-Nothing Congress opposes the American oil industry, and prefers to send American dollars to foreign petroleum exporters, Congress is an ever-present danger to our freedom and security.

Free Exercise, Not Theocracy

By Nathan Tabor

Liberal support for the removal of prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments from public buildings, and other expressions of religious belief in the public square is premised upon the United States as a “secular nation.” When conservatives object to such removals, liberals remind them of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution: Congress may make no law respecting the establishment of a religion.

All too often, that is where the discussion ends – by allowing the secular left to set the terms of the debate, conservatives cannot hope to win such an argument.

Rather, the premise upon which liberals base their argument must be examined and challenged, in order to make way for a debate, which is both fair and educational.

Is America, in fact, a secular nation?

We may be heading in that direction (aided by the ACLU and other harpies of political correctness), but the simple fact is that America was not founded as a secular nation. Judeo-Christian precepts are embedded in this country’s very DNA, for America was founded as a haven for open religiosity.

While the Church of England was imposing its will on citizens of the British Empire, Roger Williams was founding Rhode Island as an oasis of religious freedom, and Puritans, Anabaptists, Lutherans, and Catholics of all nationalities were streaming into the American colonies.

All these people of different cultures and divergent beliefs were bound together by virtue of what they were leaving behind – religious persecution – and what they sought: the freedom to worship God without interference from the government.

While liberals and secularists alike claim they are scrubbing the public square of religious content in order to “protect” Americans from “religious oppression,” the American tradition is not one of theocracy, but of religious freedom.

In order to catch a glimpse of true theocracy in practice, one has only to look at Saudi Arabia, where a body of clerics sets the laws, which the Royal Family endorses. For example, petty theft can be punishable by the loss of one’s hand. Capital sentences are carried out by beheading.

Or one might consider Iran, where the Revolutionary Council and the Supreme Ayatollah (religious leaders all) control the apparatus of government right down to the names, which appear on the presidential ballot.

After considering the nature of genuine theocracy, it is laughable to think that America bears any resemblance to such a thing.

However, as the culture wars rage on, it is likely that the secular left will continue to employ the same tired theme of “American theocracy.”

No doubt those who feel this way would be profoundly disturbed to read these words:

“The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure.”

The author of this passage was none other than John Locke, the English political philosopher who was Thomas Jefferson’s primary inspiration for the ideas, which are contained in the Declaration of Independence.

“Secular nation,” indeed.

Nathan Tabor publishes and writes for his grassroots political forum, TheConservativeVoice.com, and is the founder and president of the Faith, Family, Freedom Alliance.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of contributors are their own, and are not necessarily those of Sage Commentary.