Here Is A Video For You To Watch – Emotional
Be prepared to shed a tear. [I did.]
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31 KJV)
These animals show such kindness to other animals. May they remind us to show kindness to those around us; to critters and especially our human acquaintances.
“And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Peter 1:7 KJV)
“For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalms 117:2 KJV)
“Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11 KJV)
Please Click the Link to View A Very Great Video – http://www.andiesisle.com/thenatureofgod.html
This was sent to me by our Mission’s Pastor Peter Brock.
What an interesting article that James J. S. Johnson wrote on his blog. I thought you might enjoy it. The video of an actual dog slide ride is really challenging.
Celebrating the Life-Saving Heroism of Alaskan Dog Mushers (and their Sled Dogs)
James J. S. Johnson, JD, ThD, CNHG
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10
Imagine a celebration of Siberian husky sled dogs, harnessed together as a racing team, guided by their human driver (called a “musher”), zooming across frigid snow trails in rural Alaska: this is what happens in a commemorative festival/event called the IDITAROD TRAIL RACE. (See the YouTube video footage below.)
The Iditarod is an outdoors reenactment-like celebration of dogsled mushing, to remember the heroic relay race – through day and night, blizzard winds, snow, and ice – to save human lives, during a life-or-death crisis in January-February AD1925, when a highly contagious diphtheria plague struck like a serial killer, menacing the almost-unreachable population of Nome, Alaska.
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WHY BIRDWATCHING IS WORTHWHILE
3 Lessons from a Box Turtle: Independence, Patience, and Frugality
Dr. James J. S. Johnson
Peter seeing him [i.e., the apostle John] saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man [i.e., John] do? Jesus saith unto him [i.e., Peter], If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me. (John 21:21-22)
Peter was quick to check on what others would or should be doing, but the Lord reminded Peter that personal accountability is more important. Yes, our lives are interdependent – however, practicing independence (especially as it applies to individual accountability) is an important life skill. And that is also true of how box turtles live their humble lives, providing an object lesson to birdwatchers. Plus, turtles provide 2 more lessons for birdwatchers, as we shall see.
Turtle traits and birdwatching? Life lessons?
Recently I was reading an ecology perspective (a few excerpts of which are quoted hereinbelow) about the life of a Box Turtle – and it reminded me of 3 reasons why I enjoy birdwatching. [By the way, for a short video on Eastern Box Turtles, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-blYc9GkyFs .]
Specifically, birding is a worthy investment for economic reasons – and because it encourages recreational independence, and patient resilience. More on those three reasons below. (Of course, there are other worthy reasons for birdwatching – perhaps I will address them some other time.)
BOX TURTLE LIVING: DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY.
Imagine driving down a country road, where a turtle is slowly crossing – you try to avoid squashing the poor reptile, by swerving to miss it. Being a slow pedestrian, in traffic contexts, is a distinct disadvantage. However, the turtle’s slowness is more of an advantage, most of the time, because its independent lifestyle is never in a rush to “keep up with the Joneses”.
Instead of allowing the image of a lethargic, indifferent creature to mislead you [as you consider the lifestyle of a rural turtle], envision these pedestrians as animals enviably insulated form [most of ] the vagaries of their setting. In fact, land tortoises seem more divorced form environmental stresses than any other Appalachian vertebrate.
The turtle’s habitat provides our first hint of its independence. Box turtles live in a variety of terrestrial situations—though permanent water does not seem to be a requirement. High densities of these reptiles commonly occur in woodlots with large trees, canopy gaps, and a diversified ground cover. The turtles bask in openings in the canopy and munch on a variety of short plants. The close ground cover of woody shrubs and leaf litter provide shelter. To feed and bask, box turtles also frequently enter open areas adjacent to the woods. . . . .
[Quoting George Constanz, “Box Turtle’s Independence”, in HOLLOWS, PEEPERS, & HIGHLANDERS: AN APPALCAHIAN MOUNTAIN ECOLOGY, 2nd ed. (W. Va. Univ. Press, 2004), page 127, emphasis added.]
Another one of the box turtle’s built-in advantages is its patient resilience – it can survive a “tough neighborhood”, climatologically speaking. (Patience, of course, is a benefit for any birder.)
One environmental condition [that] turtles do respond to is a cold snap in autumn. Box turtles enter hibernation with the first killing frost. A wet fall [i.e., a rainy autumn] without a sudden freeze provides good conditions for entering hibernation. Dry weather, which makes digging difficult, and a sudden freeze may trap some individuals above ground. Surprisingly, box turtles do not hibernate below the frost line, but remain dormant at depths of up to five inches below the leaf litter. . . . .
Members of the genus Terrapene, which includes the eastern box turtle, hibernate in shallow terrestrial burrows that feature a vertical extension to the surface. In cold spells, turtles turn their heads farthest from the opening. In Ohio, the average turtle spends 142 days in a burrow under three inches of leaf litter with its plastron [i.e., the ventral (“belly”) surface of the turtle’s shell] recessed two inches into the soil. In such shallow retreats, box turtles are exposed to freezing temperatures, yet they usually survive. Able to supercool to only -1.1 C [i.e., just below freezing] this strategy cannot be its entire secret [of winter weather survival]. . . .
In an astounding adaptation [i.e., an amazing design-feature that fits the turtle for filling that habitat], the box turtle is able to survive the freezing of 58 percent of its body water for seventy-three hours, making the box turtle the largest animal known to exhibit freeze-tolerance. . . . .
[Quoting George Constanz, HOLLOWS, PEEPERS, & HIGHLANDERS: AN APPALCAHIAN MOUNTAIN ECOLOGY, 2nd ed. (W. Va. Univ. Press, 2004), pages 128-129.] In other words, turtles wait during “tough times” – and their patience is routinely rewarded. (Likewise, birdwatchers who are patient and still are more likely to enjoy seeing the birds, especially if binoculars are handy – as opposed to scaring the birds off (by movements that startle them) due to spectator impatience.
A third advantageous trait of the box turtle is its metabolic frugality – turtles are slow to spend their energy, so that means they don’t need to eat a lot to replenish spent energy!
A box turtle’s daily behavior seems to be divorced form the caprice of its immediate environment. The condition of a turtle at any particular time appears more an integration of its past experiences than a reflection of its present stresses [due to three of the turtle’s anatomical/physiological design-features]. . . . .
Most obviously, a box turtle’s shell takes the edge off environmental extremes by buffering its body from environmental stresses such as heat and drought. During severe drought, the tortoises do not concentrate around creeks—they merely seek moist sites within their home ranges, make a form [i.e., a depressions in surface vegetation, descending into only about one inch of topsoil] under a pile of leaves, and rest peacefully. Second, their forms and hinged plastrons protect and conceal them from what few predators they do have, such as raccoons. And third, box turtles have a low metabolism. Coupling that with omnivorous food habits, they enjoy a high supply—low demand economy and do not need to hustle. They eat insects, earthworms, strawberries, [other] fruits, mushrooms, and many other foods, yet they burn these calories slowly. In these ways, box turtles enjoy a tremendous hedge against environmental stresses.
[Quoting George Constanz, HOLLOWS, PEEPERS, & HIGHLANDERS: AN APPALCAHIAN MOUNTAIN ECOLOGY, 2nd ed. (W. Va. Univ. Press, 2004), page 131, emphasis added.]
In other words, the box turtle is frugal about metabolically “spending” its food energy – if it doesn’t spend a lot it doesn’t need a lot to live on. As the old saying goes, which surely applies to animal metabolism: “if your output exceeds your input, your upkeep is your downfall”.
So how does this apply to birdwatching?
First, just as turtles are relatively independent, birdwatching is a pastime for those who are independent – there is no need for popular approval for birdwatching. Birdwatching can be done as a group, yet it also can be done individually. Is birding “popular”? Forget about “peer pressure” or “fashionableness” – birdwatching is worthwhile whether it is “in season” or “out of season”. Independent-minded people are often birdwatchers, because birding is a wonderful avocation regardless of whether others do or do not appreciate it.
Second, just as turtles are patient and calm, birdwatching requires patience for best viewing results.
Third, just as turtles are economical in their metabolic “spending” habits, birdwatching is a pastime that is perfect for people of modest means, as well as for people of surplus means who are frugal with their resources. Many “hobbies” are expensive – but not birdwatching!
Although it is certainly possible to spend a lot of money (as a birdwatching), such as by taking a birding vacation to Costa Rica, a lot of birdwatching opportunities can be enjoyed with just a bird-book, binoculars, notepad, and pen. Having an inexpensive “hobby” provides a very real economic freedom – so one need not worry about the cost of birdwatching! Furthermore, many educational resources, about birds, are available (free of charge) on the Internet, including the God-honoring blogsite LEESBIRD.COM !
So, enjoy your birdwatching opportunities – it’s good for practicing independence (instead of trying to “keep up with the Joneses”), it develops your patience, and it’s economically responsible!
Box Turtle on cloudy day: Animal Hub
Eastern Box Turtle near grass: Mark Swanson
Eastern Box Turtle close-up: Matt Reinbold
Eastern Box Turtle in leaves: Wikipedia
5 Eastern Box Turtles video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-blYc9GkyFs
A friend sent me this in an email and it is just to good to not pass on.
A curious Cheetah got up close and personal with a Jeep on safari at the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya when the animal jumped into the back seat of a jeep. The wild cat, with its razor sharp claws and teeth, sure is one kitty you’d rather not have curling up on your lap. But, nevertheless, the bold animal hopped into the back seat of a jeep as it drove through the African plains – much to the shock of an Irishman inside.
After entering the vehicle, it slowly sauntered over to Mickey McCaldin until it was barely a foot away from his face. Family friend David Horsey captured the tense standoff between the pair as it looked like the cheetah was going to make himself comfortable on Mickey’s lap. David, 62 from Mombasa, Kenya, said: ‘I’ve been living in Kenya all my life and I’ve never seen anything like this. ‘The cheetah just wasn’t scared of getting up close and personal. At first Mickey was really relaxed but I think he was quite concerned it might try and sit in his lap.
‘Unlike a domestic cat, you certainly don’t want that.’
At first, the cheetah simply looked at Irish tourist Mickey McCaldin curiously, but then it moved closer as if to curl up on his lap
At one point, the large cat was so close to Mickey that it was only about a foot away from his face Family friend David Horsey captured the tense standoff between the pair, including the moment that the animal leapt into the safari jeep making himself comfortable: The cheeky cheetah and his family casually lounged atop the group’s Land Cruiser jeep
David captured the pictures on June 12, as the group tracked a well-known family of cheetahs, whose mother is called Malaika. Having followed them for a couple of days previously, they observed that the family hadn’t had a kill for several days. David said: ‘The family had been looking for a gazelle for a few days with no luck. ‘As we’d been around for a couple of days, I think they were used to the jeep so the mom jumped on top to get a better view. ‘I think the other cheetah tried to follow her up but went a different way. ‘Once it had got bored of Mickey it turned away and looked out of the vehicle for a few minutes. ‘It just jumped out afterwards.’
Photographer David, 62 from Mombasa, Kenya, said: ‘I’ve been living in Kenya all my life and I’ve never seen anything like this’
Surprise of their lives! The safari group was comprised of a guide, as well as Mickey, his wife, sister, photographer David and David’s wife. Mickey was out on vacation with his wife and sister, who are friends of David and his wife Vicky. David said: ‘Vicky and I have lived in Kenya all our lives but we never feel the urge to leave. ‘People always ask us where we’re going on vacation and it’s always around the game reserves. ‘You never know what you’re going to come across – just like this.’
Maybe these Cheetahs are practicing for when this verse will be fulfilled in the future.
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 65:24-25 KJV)
BIRDS WITH A MEMORY TO ENVY from Creation Moments
“Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.” (Job 38:41)
The shy bird called Clark’s nutcracker collects food during the growing season and stores it for the cold winter months. In one year, a bird will store between 22,000 and 33,000 seeds in as many as 2,500 locations, which can be more than ten miles apart. But does the little bird remember where he put all those seeds?
Biologists tracked the activity of Clark’s nutcrackers in the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona. A small army of researchers tracked the birds’ seed gathering and storing activities. One of the first things they discovered was that the birds quickly figured out that they were being observed. Some refused to store food when researchers were watching them. Others faked storing seeds when they were watched. Back in the lab, researchers studied the storing activity of Eurasian nutcrackers. After the birds stored seeds in a large sand floor, the birds were removed. Then the seeds they stored were dug up. When the birds were allowed to return, they quickly discovered that their seeds had been stolen, so they refused to store any more seeds. In the end, researchers concluded that the nutcrackers recover as many as two-thirds of their stored seeds within 13 months.
The remarkable memory of these little birds is their gift from God that enables them to be fed all year around.
Father, I thank You because You are gracious and generous, not just to the birds, but also to me. Amen.
Science News, 2/14: 2004, pp. 103-105, Susan Milius, “Where’d I Put That?”
“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:19 KJV)
Even though this was posted before, 6 years ago, it was still very interesting and worth reviewing. Interesting Things – Birds With a Memory to Envy. That is why Creation Moments. “Repetition aides learning,” or so they say. Here are some more articles along this same chain of thought.
FOSSIL INVENTORY: SURPRISES FOR SOME by Creation Moments
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:24)
Everyone will remember those school textbook diagrams showing the ever-upward progression of living organisms, including man. We recall the horse series, found in textbooks and the museum displays showing the evolution of the horse – the first stage as a small mammal and, after several transitions, the modern horse. The claim that fossils in the rock layers show a progression from simple life in the lowest layers to the most complex life at the top accompanies these diagrams.
Recently, the journal Science, reported that paleobiologists who study these fossils reevaluated all the fossil-bearing rocks that have been found in the last 180 years. What was their reaction to the meaning of the fossil record after their new inventory? “We may have been misled for twenty years,” said one scientist. Another commented, “For the first time, a large group of people is saying paleobiology has been making a mistake.” Why are they reacting this way? They have had to conclude, on the basis of the fossil evidence, that there never was an ever-upward progression of complexity of life forms as they had expected. The species that are represented in the fossil record show no evidence of the classic evolutionary development traditionally found in school textbooks.
In short, the fossil record supports the biblical claim that all the kinds of animals appeared about the same time.
I thank You, Lord, for the great diversity and beauty You have created in the living world. Amen.
Creation, 9-11: 2001, p. 7, “Fossil re-count limits diversity.” Visual: Horse series diagram promoting evolution. Courtesy of the Institute for Creation Research. (Permission Creation Moments ©2016
It is good to see that some of the evolution scientist, paleobiologists) are opening their eyes to the true evidence.
“But now ask the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee;” (Job 12:7)
Almost everyone in the world today knows of the terrible disaster that struck the coasts of South East Asia. The North American news media gave daily body counts, reported human tragedy and inflicted damage … yet, as far as is known, none mentioned the animals.
However, Asian reports from the damaged areas comment not only on the ability of trees to withstand the devastating waves but the almost total absence of animal deaths. It appears that the animals, from flamingos to elephants, took off for the hills long before the humans. The Chinese have done extensive investigations on animals and earthquake detection but are at a loss to explain it. Chinese scientists simply conclude that animals have far greater sensitivity than the best of scientific instruments.
Reuters reported from Thailand that the elephants used in the tourist business at Khao Lak began to “cry” at 9 am, about the time of the quake. Some elephants broke their hefty chains, but they all raced away toward the jungle-clad hills, taking their surprised tourists and guides with them. Some people were even picked up by the elephants using their trunks. They all came to a point on high ground where the waves stopped just short of where they stood. Three thousand, eight hundred people died in that area. God is merciful to those sensitive enough to His warnings.
YOUNG BLOOD by Creation Moments
“His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.” (Job 41:24)
As dinosaur bones containing blood vessels and blood cells are continually being found, more and more laboratories are assigning dates to these bones in the thousands, not millions, of years. This makes evolutionists just like the patient who goes to his doctor, convinced that he is dead. After failing to convince the patient he is alive, the doctor pricks the man’s finger, causing it to bleed. “See?” the doctor says. You must be alive because dead men don’t bleed.” And the patient replies: “Imagine that! Dead men do bleed after all!”
Blood vessels found in a supposedly 80-million-year-old hadrosaur fossil. Evolutionists know full well that dinosaur bones that are millions of years old should not have blood and blood vessels in them. To defend their position, they usually say the bones were contaminated, throwing off the dating. But North Carolina State University said that their researchers “have confirmed that blood vessel-like structures found in an 80 million-year-old hadrosaur fossil are original to the animal, and not biofilm or other contaminants.”
But like the patient who kept thinking he was dead, the university went on to say that their findings “add to the growing body of evidence that structures like blood vessels and cells can persist over millions of years.”
Evolutionists just won’t admit that their evolutionary dating of dinosaurs has finally been falsified. After all, that would be like admitting that the Bible is right, and this is something that atheistic evolutionists will never do.
Heavenly Father, without You opening the eyes of evolutionists, I know it is impossible for me to get them to believe. Open their eyes to the truths found in Your infallible Word, I pray. Amen.
“Researchers Confirm Original Blood Vessels in 80 Million-Year-Old Fossil,” NC State News, 12/1/15.
Balancing High Risks: Mountain Climbing and the First Amendment
By James J. S. Johnson
When an American astronaut reverently quotes from Psalm 24, and is promptly faulted by a critic—for “violating” the so-called “separation of church and state”(1)—it is time to learn a lesson about balance, from the agility of mountain goats, adroitly ambulating alpine ascents of the Rocky Mountains.
Indeed, mountain goats provide creation science “gems”, plus a picture of how we need balance in the political arena, where Christians are routinely shoved—and told to shut up, to avoid “offending” non-Christians. (Of course, it is offensive to Christians when they are told to “shut up”, but since when did unbelieving critics care about “offending” Christians?)
Why are mountain goats a picture of this problem? Because safely balancing a mountain goat’s body, on steep alpine slopes—and safely balancing individuals’ civil liberties (such as an astronaut’s religious freedom and free speech rights)—are both examples of high-stakes balancing acts. To appreciate this comparison (in this introductory review of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment), mountain goats must be matched to their intended natural habitat, just as the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment must be matched to its intended political context.
Consider, first, the agility of a mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus), the sure-hoofed bovid that habituates the heights of North America’s Rocky Mountains and Cascade Range.(2)
“For those of us who admit to some fear of heights, the Mountain Goat is an animal to be admired … This shaggy animal, its back hunched in a manner somewhat suggestive of a Bison, is a master at negotiating the steepest of precipices. Mountain Goats are truly alpine creatures. They commonly rest on high-elevation snowfields and find most of their food among the plants of alpine meadows. Their hooves are structured to [optimize] balance and grip; the outer hoof is strongly reinforced and the bottom is lined with rubbery material, making the whole structure rather like a good hiking boot. These animals nonchalantly cross dizzying ledges, sometimes even at a trot.”(3)
In fact, the high-altitude dexterity of the mountain goat is so phenomenal that it routinely spends most of its time on precipitous terrain steeper than a 40o angle, and sometimes at pitches steeper than 60o!, especially during winter.(4)
Furthermore, the leg bones of the mountain goat are engineered to maximize a functional mix of precision balancing (such as perching all four hooves on a small spot), front-forward pulling power, propulsion leverage and maneuverability (for running and jumping), and stability (due to a low center of gravity) against tipping over.(4)
“A mountain goat climbs with three-point suspension. … Lifting one limb at a time [it] frequently pauses to assess the situation, tests the footing, and if needed turns back and selects a different route. Slow, sure consistency allows life on rock steeper than the angle of repose. Because they are most likely the ones to find themselves in a tight spot, kids do most of the go-for-broke climbing. Although a kid might take four or five missteps per year, it salvages the situation almost every time.”(4)
Thus, the mountain goats are aptly designed for moving on rocky slopes. Mountain goats are instinctively careful, and they apply their characteristic agility, as they test their environment. (Indeed, when predatory cougars try to attack them, the God-given instinct of mountain goats to flee, successfully, is often implemented by their agility and speed in and up these jagged rocky slopes and precipices!)
But without the right physical traits for maintaining balance on rugged rocks—traits which God installed on Day 6 of Creation Week—mountain goats could not thrive, as they do, upon the harsh talus slopes and felsenmeer of their high-elevation habitat.
“The [mountain goat hoofprint] track’s squarish imprint is created by the hoof’s spreading tips. The sides of the toes consist of hard keratin, like that of a horse hoof. Each foot’s two wraparound toenails are used to catch and hold on to cracks and tiny knobs. … The front edge of the hoof tapers to a point, which digs into dirt or packed snow when [it] is going uphill. In contrast to a horse’s concave hoof, which causes the animal to walk on the rim of its toenail, a [mountain] goat’s hoof has a flexible central pad that protrudes beyond the nail. The pad’s rough texture provides [skid-resistant] friction on smooth rock or ice yet is pliant enough to impress itself into irregularities on a stone. Four hooves X 2 toes per hoof = 8 gripping soles per animal. As [mountain] goats descend a slope the toes spread widely, adjusting tension to fine-tune the grip. … This feature makes them more likely to catch onto something. It also divides the downward force of the weight on the hoof so that some of the animal’s total weight is directed sideways. Because there is less net force on each downward [pressure] line, the foot is less likely to slide. Think of it as the fanning out of downward forces over numerous points of friction.”(4)
In a word, BALANCE. God purposefully designed high-elevation mountain goats for balance, because living life among high alpine rocks is a high-risk lifestyle.
Yet the same is equally true to balancing religious liberty rights (and responsibilities) in American society. Legitimate needs of both “church” and “state” are deliberately balanced with the God-given personal liberty rights of individuals. Like a mountain goat perched atop a precarious precipice, safeguarding those God-given religious freedoms is no lackadaisical endeavor. The securing of those fundamental freedoms was not (and is not) easily obtained, nor is it easy to maintain those freedoms amidst the ubiquitously power-greedy politics of both “church” and “state”.(5)
In a word, the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment is purposefully designed for BALANCE.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. (5)
It is to this legal text that the “separation of church and state” concept is frequently attached. However, not all opinions are equal, regarding what that phrase of 16 words (in the First Amendment) mean. Why? Because, as a matter of honesty and valid interpretation, the real meaning of any message must be matched to the message-composer’s intent.(6)
Thus, the only legitimate understanding of the First Amendment’s meaning is the understanding that matches the meaning assigned to it by the (human) source of its words.(5),(6),(7)
Yet, as a text drafted by statesmen of the late 1700s (principally by James Madison, who condensed an earlier version by George Mason), the authorial intent balanced a rejection of government-“established” church organizations, with affirmation of peaceful expression of individual religious beliefs and moral values.(6)
In other words, the First Amendment anticipated that Christians may freely express their religious viewpoints, at the personal level—yet Congress shall not officially endorse (“establish”) any specific ecclesiastical organizations, such as Baptists or Presbyterians or Anglicans or Methodists. This balancing of freedom and order—free exercise of religion, without any federal sponsorship of a particular religious denomination or hierarchy—fits the overall checks-and-balances equilibrium designed in 1791.(6)
“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance, Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national establishment which should give to a [religious] hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.”(8)
To put it mildly, this political balancing act is neither easily obtained nor easily maintained. But this balance was carefully planned for–intended—by America’s founding fathers. Yet now the phrase “separation of church and state” is used to force-fit an off-balanced understanding of the First Amendment. How did that happen?
In short, the constitutional jurisprudence of America became “evolutionized”, during the late 1800s, upsetting the proper balance between religious liberty and governmental interference.(5),(6),(7),(8),(9)
“Twentieth-century jurisprudence is based on a Darwinian world view. Life [supposedly] evolves, men [supposedly] evolve, society [supposedly] evolves, and therefore laws and constitutions [supposedly] evolve. According to the Darwinian principle, the Constitution’s meaning evolves and changes with time. … [Thus modern judges, implementing evolutionary humanism as jurists, my disagree about what a law “now means”] — But neither the majority nor the minority [of such evolutionary law judges] deny the basic evolutionary interpretation. They merely question at which stage of the evolutionary scale we are! This is not the way the founding fathers viewed constitutional interpretation. They saw the Constitution as the supreme law, and also as a covenant or contract. The Constitution like all legal documents was viewed as a fixed document, to be interpreted according to its plain meaning. And if its meaning was ambiguous as applied to a specific situation, it was to be interpreted according to the intent of those who wrote it, signed it, and ratified it. James Madison expressed this view when he wrote, ‘(If) the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the Nation … be not the guide in expounding it, there can be no security for a faithful exercise of its powers’.”(9)
How evolutionary thinking infected American law will be reviewed, God willing, in a sequel to this introductory article.(10) Meanwhile, don’t believe it when someone tells you that the First Amendment “prohibits” an individual astronaut from reverently reading his Bible in space—or from sharing that personal fact via Facebook.(1)
And, as you appreciate the originally intended balance, designed in the First Amendment, don’t forget to thank God—for how He equipped agile mountain goats, to inhabit some of the most precarious places in the Rocky Mountains, as He exhibits (and we enjoy learning about) His creative glory and bioengineering genius.(2)
(1) On April 3rd of AD2016, via Facebook, U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams said: “We finally have a quiet Sunday and I’m reading, ‘The Earth is the LORD’s and all that fills it’ in Psalm 24 and viewing this sight [referring to photographs of Earth, seen from the International Space Station]. No matter how long you’re here [in space], the grandeur strikes and the wonder never fades.” To this posting a God-hating protest retorted, on Col. Jeff Williams’ Facebook page: “Jeff Williams could you please leave your personal religious views out of your public posts. You are a government employee. In America we have a separation of church and state. Don’t use your publicly funded position to promote personal views. Teachers shouldn’t and neither should astronauts. I enjoy the photos from space. I have followed astronauts photos for over two years without religious bias in the captions. Your post elevates (no pun intended) man’s divisiveness on Earth to Space. Please keep it private and keep posting these wonderful scientific pictures without the religious OPINIONS.”
(2) The rope-like “backbone” ridge chain of North America’s West is called the Western Cordillera. Included in its geographic system are the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Range, the primary high-elevation range of most North American mountain goats. George Constanz, Ice, Fire, and Nutcrackers: A Rocky Mountain Ecology (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2014), page 215.
(3) John Kricher, A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain and Southwest Forests (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), pages 235-236. As illustrated in Job 39:1, Israel’s mountain goat is named for how this bearded climber masters its rocky alpine habitat: ya‘alê-sâla‘ literally means “ascender of cliff-rock”. See also Psalm 104:18a.
(4) Constanz, Rocky Mountain Ecology, pages 224-226, with quotes frompages 225-226.
(5) U.S. Constitution, First Amendment (Free Exercise and Establishment clauses), ratified 1791. The vast majority of the world’s nations prohibit the “free exercise” for religious liberty, either by establishing a specific religion to the prejudice of others, or by persecuting theistic religions in general. The most thorough historical analysis of the First Amendment is provided in Rector, etc., of Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457, 12 S.Ct. 511 (1892), by Justice David Josiah Brewer. To bypass the jurisprudential relevance, of the Holy Trinity Church ruling, is to demonstrate careless misunderstanding of what the First Amendment was originally designed (and originally used) to accomplish. The balancing of civil government powers, ordained by God’s delegation, with jurisdictional limits to facilitate religious freedom, accords with relevant Scriptures, e.g., Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1-4; Daniel 2:21 & 4:25—and with Israel’s separation of religious offices (tribe of Levi) from the monarchy (tribe of Judah).
(6) George Mason’s religious liberty tenet, which he had drafted (12 years earlier) for the Virginia Declaration of Rights, became the precursor for Virginia’s proposal (to Congress) to approve a religious freedom amendment for the “new” Constitution: “That Religion or the Duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by Reason and Conviction, not by Force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural, and unalienable Right to the free Exercise of Religion according to the Dictates of Conscience, and that no particular religious Sect or Society of Christians ought to be favored or established by Law in preference to others.” Notably, the entire Bill of Rights (i.e., Amendments 1 through 10) limited federal government powers. Ironically, most of the Constitution’s later amendments have expanded those powers. John Eidsmoe, Institute on the Constitution: A Study on Christianity and the Law of the Land (Marlborough, NH: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1995), pages 71-73. See also John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1987), pages 77-178, especially pages 93-112. Ironically, Thomas Jefferson (author of the phrase “separation of church and state”) was undeniably absent—in France!—during the Constitution’s drafting and early ratification (which processes prompted the Bill of Rights amendments), so his opinion of the First Amendment’s “intent” is interpretatively irrelevant.
(7) Importantly, the First Amendment’s meaning is contextually blended to the axiological fabric of the Declaration of Independence (referring to our “Creator”, “Nature’s God”, “the Supreme Judge of the world”, and “Divine Providence”), and to the Christian worldview evidenced by the U.S. Constitution’s Article VII (which refers to Jesus Christ as “our Lord”).
(8) Eidsmoe, Institute on the Constitution, page 76, quoting Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston: Hilliard, Gray & Co., 1833), vol. II, page 593.
(9) John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1987), pages 391-392, quoting James Madison.
(10) The evolutionary mantra-phrase, “natural selection”, promotes animistic powers to inanimate elements of “nature”, not dissimilar from the polytheistic nature-worship of the ancient pagans. See, e.g., James J. S. Johnson, “Norse and Germanic Mythology”, Chapter 14 in World Religions and Cults, Volume 2 (Green Leaf: Master Books, 2016, edited by Bodie Hodge & Roger Patterson), especially at pages 271-272 & 287-288. See also, accord, James J. S. Johnson, “How Can a Mechanical ‘Cardinal’ Make ‘Selections’?“. For a thorough analysis of this “bait-and-switch” tricky-terminology problem (of “science” falsely so-called), see generally Randy J. Guliuzza’s “Darwin’s Sacred Imposter: Natural Selection’s Idolatrous Trap“, Acts & Facts, 40(11):12-15 (November 2011).
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32 KJV)
I receive an email today and was shocked to read what is going on in California. This is supposed to be America! You can do any sinful act and get by with it, but when a seven-year old boy is treated like the following story, it is outrageous. This country was founded on the Bible and Christianity and now, we are not allowed to say anything? Lord help America. We are headed for collapse. Read this article:
“School Calls Sheriff to Stop 7-Year-Old From Handing Out Bible Verses”
Jun 2, 2016 From Liberty Council
Liberty Counsel has demanded that Desert Rose Elementary School correct an outrageous violation of a first grader’s constitutional rights. The situation started with an encouraging note and Bible verse from mom Christina Zavala, tucked into a packed lunch for her little boy (“C”). The seven-year-old boy read the note and verse, and showed them to his friends during lunch time at school.
Mrs. Zavala’s daily note for her son soon turned into an expectation by the other children during lunch, who excitedly begged C for copies of the notes, which grew to include short stories from the Bible to provide context for the verses.
However, when one little girl said “teacher – this is the most beautiful story I’ve ever seen,” “separation of church and state” was the response, and the notes were banned from lunchtime distribution. C was told that the school gate was the only location at which he could give the Bible verses to his friends, and only after the bell rang.
On April 19, 2016, Mrs. Zavala wrote the school to correct its misinformation, but the only response was that C was reprimanded again, in front of the whole class, and again told to stop talking about religion or sharing his mother’s notes. C returned home in tears.
The Zavalas and C complied with the school gate directive, and soon, as many as 15 fellow students looked forward to the after-school Bible notes. However, on May 9, 2016, Principal Melanie Pagliaro approached Mr. Zavala at that location, and demanded that C only hand out the notes on a public sidewalk, far from the exit, off school property. The family immediately complied.
Later that day, however, a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff knocked at the door of C’s home, demanding that C’s note sharing cease altogether because “someone might be offended.” C’s family then asked Liberty Counsel to help protect their child’s constitutional freedoms.
This is a clear, gross violation of the rights of a child. That the school district enlisted a police officer to intimidate C and his family makes this case even more outrageous. “I would expect something like this to happen in Communist Romania, where I went to elementary school, but cops don’t bully 7-year-olds who want to talk about Jesus in the Land of the Free”said Horatio “Harry” Mihet, Esq., Vice President of Legal Affairs & Chief Litigation Counsel of Liberty Counsel.
*** I went on-line to see if it is true and here are some of the other links to this outrageous story: ***
Fox News Opinion – School sends sheriff to order child to stop sharing Bible verses
Liberty Counsel – School Calls Sheriff to Stop 7-Year-Old From Handing Out Bible Verses
WND – School sends deputy to warn 7-year-old about Bible verses
Santa Monica Observer – School Calls Sheriff to Stop 7-Year-Old From Handing Out Bible Verses
Canada Free Press – Desert Rose Elementary School – School Calls Sheriff to Stop 7-Year-Old From Handing Out Bible Verses
Washington Times – Elementary school sends deputy to boy’s home to warn him about sharing Bible verses: Report
Just last evening, while reading from Taking Back The Good Book, by Woodrow Kroll, I yellow highlighted the following:
“America had a splendid heritage in the Word of God. We built our government on it. We built our laws on it. We built our lives on it. But when we began to put the Bible on the back burner, a New America was formed. It’s an America that is not friendly toward the Bible, an America that doesn’t read the Bible or respect it. It’s an America in which Bible illiteracy is rampant.
Sadly, it’s our America. We gave it life. And now we are reaping what we have sown.”
Shame on that teacher, shame on the principal, shame on the school district, shame on California courts and legislatures, and shame on the U. S. Government – all of them for allowing all kinds of sinful acts, which I won’t innumerable, yet not allowing the Word of God to be read at lunch, when this country, government, and schools were based on the Word of God. You can only turn your back on the truth for only so long. Lord help us!
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32 KJV)
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:11-15 KJV)