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The Hughes Report
Monday, May 19, 2008
The Most Dangerous Branch
Topic: Original Intent
A Thumbnail History of Supreme Court Revisionism

by Paul A. Hughes

Throughout the country, public officials solemnly swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.  The Constitution defines our government and protects the rights of citizens and sovereign states.

The Framers expended much less ink on the Supreme Court than any other branch of government.  The Court was expected to be, in Alexander Hamilton’s words, “the least dangerous branch.”  From the beginning, however, judges and legal philosophers have sought to reshape government in ways that they could not achieve by democratic means as prescribed by the Constitution:  legislation and amendment.  Those who gain the power of the Bench too often succumb to the temptation of oligarchy, rule by an elite by judicial fiat == making the Supreme Court, in the end, truly “the most dangerous branch.”

The following short history is hardly comprehensive, but lists pivotal Court cases and trends that have effectively changed the meaning and intent of constitutional provisions.  These items reveal the desire of revisionists to deny the letter of the Constitution, while showing preference for special interests; a disdain for precedents and the democratic process, as well as the people; tortured interpretations of provisions in order to insure desired outcomes and create new law; the erosion of state and individual rights while trumpeting new, special rights; lofty language envisioning a “living” Constitution that ignores the actual Constitution; and an expansion of raw judicial power.

This history should be sufficient to convince the reader how crucial it is to elect a president and senators who will nominate and approve justices that truly believe the law means what it says, not what it can be made to say.

Calder v. Bull (1798)

In a minority opinion, Justice Samuel Chase objected to a legislative act on the grounds that it violated the spirit, though no specific provision, of the Constitution.

Marbury v. Madison (1803)

In its decision, the Court originated the principle, and assumed the power, of judicial review of legislation, not explicit in the Constitution.  Consequently, the Court opened the door to undermining the democratic process by overruling the will of the people, as expressed by their representatives.  Judge Robert Bork called Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion “a curious blend, an essay resting the power to invalidate statutes of Congress on the original understanding of the Constitution and yet reaching the question of that power without justification.”[1]

Fletcher v. Peck (1810)

This case stems from the infamous Yazoo Land Fraud of 1794.  Marshall in his opinion proposed that there are natural limits to legislative power, in this case regarding the seizure of property, referring to “the nature of society and of government” for justification.  Justice William Johnson supported Marshall, stating flatly that “my opinion on this point is not founded on the provision in the constitution of the United States . . . ,” but rather, “the reason and nature of things” which, he hyperbolized, “will impose laws even on the deity.”

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

Marshall, in his opinion, suggested that the bare fact that power to regulate commerce was vested in Congress by the Constitution was sufficient to strike down steamboat regulation in New York.  Since Congress had not indeed acted in the case, this approach would effectively insert the judicial branch in the process at will, bypassing Congress.  This insertion principle has been adopted and applied to various cases to this day.

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

Chief Justice Roger Taney, backed by a pro-slavery majority, actively sought to read a right to own slaves into the Constitution.  He cited the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment, which states, “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”  Ignoring the plain meaning of the text, which simply mandates a fair process before seizure, Taney created the principle of “substantive due process,” asserting a slaveholder’s inherent right to his property.  Law professor John Hart Ely called substantive due process “a contradiction in terms.”[2]  The principle was later applied to Lochner v. New York, Roe v. Wade, and other decisions.

Hepburn v. Griswold (1870)

In finding against an act of Congress to issue paper money, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase found, following Marshall, that the act was not “consistent with the spirit of the Constitution.”  He held that paper currency, being of no inherent value, violated the restriction that “no State shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts” (Article I, Section 10).  He deflected criticism that the provision applied only to the states, suggesting that the Framers “intended that the spirit of this prohibition should pervade the entire body of legislation . . . .”  Chase also regarded that the spirit of the Due Process and Just Compensation clauses of the Fifth Amendment had been violated.

Loan Association v. Topeka (1874)

The Court struck down a Kansas law that allowed cities to issue public bonds to encourage private business.  In the lone dissent, Justice Nathan Clifford wrote, “Courts cannot nullify an act of the State legislature on the vague ground that they think it opposed to a general latent spirit supposed to pervade or underlie the constitution . . . .  Such power is denied to the courts, because to concede it would be to make the courts sovereign over both the constitution and the people, and convert the government into a judicial despotism.”

Davidson v. New Orleans (1877)

Justice Samuel Miller, who had lead the activist majority in Loan Association, applied the principle of substantive due process originated in Dred Scott, asserting that a fair hearing alone was insufficient to deprive a citizen of property.

Allgeyer v. Louisiana (1897)

In order to strike down a state insurance compliance law, the Court expanded “liberty” in the Due Process clause beyond “liberty of person” to “the right of the citizen to be free in the enjoyment of all his faculties; to be free to use them in all lawful ways; to live and work where he will; to earn his livelihood by any lawful calling; to pursue any livelihood or avocation, and for that purpose to enter into all contracts which may be proper, necessary and essential to his carrying out to a successful conclusion the purposes above mentioned.”  This language left the determination of what would be deemed “lawful” entirely open to future interpretation by the Court itself, in denial of the democratic legislative process of the states.

Lochner v. New York (1905)

Justice Rufus Peckham, who had written the unanimous opinion in Allgeyer v. Louisiana, also wrote the majority opinion in Lochner.  The Court struck down a statute that limited working hours for bakers, asserting an inherent right to buy and sell labor.  In his opinion, Peckham expressed consternation at the people being “at the mercy of legislative majorities.”  Most notable is Peckham’s claim of judicial police power, by which courts may strike down legislation even in the absence of specific constitutional provision.

The New Deal (1933-)

Once President Franklin Roosevelt succeeded in packing the Court with cooperative justices, the judicial branch largely ignored Tenth Amendment provisions limiting federal power.  Businesses could no longer count on due process of law, as the federal government vastly expanded regulatory activity without restraint.

United States v. Carolene Products Co. (1938)

The Court upheld legislation prohibiting interstate shipment of a certain milk product.  The crucial item in the opinion, written by Chief Justice Harlan Stone, are the words “discrete and insular minorities.”  Those words, which appear in a footnote, stem from Stone’s musings on the Fourteenth Amendment relative to Due Process, and presumably refer to certain undefined minorities not otherwise enumerated in the Constitution.  The footnote effectively opened the door to a new era of minority and special interest politics.

Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942)

Buck v. Bell (1927) had previously upheld the forced sterilization of the mentally retarded in Virginia.  Oklahoma now passed a law whereby certain classes of repeat criminals could likewise be sterilized.  Justice William O. Douglas objected that the statute made some crimes punishable by sterilization while other crimes of similar gravity were not.  Moreover, he conceived procreation to be “one of the basic civil rights of man” that was “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race,” opposing the law on the basis of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment   Robert Bork later observed that the decision created the principle of “substantive equal protection” by being “really a substantive due process case masquerading as a decision under the equal protection clause.”[3]

The Warren Court (1953-1969)

Columbia Professor Milton Handler wrote that the Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren was conspicuous for its “disrespect for precedent, even those of recent vintage, the needless obscurity of opinions, the discouraging lack of candor, the disdain for the fact finding of the lower courts, the tortured reading of statutes, and the seeming absence of neutrality and objectivity.”[4]

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)

Brown combined multiple cases that were, as Justice Warren wrote, “premised on different facts and different local conditions, but a common legal question justifies their consideration together in this consolidated opinion.”  Together, they challenged the Plessy v. Ferguson precedent (1896), which had established the “separate but equal” principle.  Rather than rely on the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which had never historically been understood to prohibit segregation (and consequently thought weak), Warren’s opinion was based on evidence of unequal educational opportunity for black students and a “sense of inferiority” inherent to segregation.  In retrospect, some legal experts regret that the Court did not perceive in the text of the Constitution sufficient grounds for doing the right thing, resorting instead to a decision based purely on moral conceptions.  Others, however, consider Brown the archetype of a “living” Constitution and “progressive” judicial system freed from slavish dependence on obsolete language and ideas.

Bolling v. Sharpe (1954)

A school segregation case parallel to Brown, Bolling originated in Washington, D.C.  While Brown, not truly decided on Fourteenth Amendment grounds, was presumed to have satisfied its Equal Protection provision, that amendment applied only to the states, not to the federal District of Columbia.  The Warren Court, therefore, drew upon the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment, which is federal, gave it substantive status, and declared it equivalent to the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  This scheme served to invent the concept of an Equal Protection component of the Due Process clause, and apply Equal Protection guarantees to all federal legislation.[5]

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)

The State of Connecticut had on its books an 1879 statute outlawing the use of contraceptives, but no record exists that it had ever been enforced.  Estelle Griswold, Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, and Dr. C. Lee Buxton, a professor at Yale School of Medicine, opened a birth control clinic in New Haven in order to initiate a test case, with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union.  The case initially resulted in a fine of $100 each.  In his majority opinion, Justice Douglas asked indignantly, “Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives?  The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship,” as if such action and the institution of marriage had actually been threatened.  Douglas cited “a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights -- older than our political parties, older than our school system,” describing marriage as “a relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees.”  Lacking specific “right of privacy” and “zone of privacy” provisions in the Constitution, Douglas asserted that “specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance,” echoing resorts to “the spirit of the Constitution” in the past.

In his dissent, Justice Potter Stewart noted that “the Court refers to no less than six Amendments to the Constitution:  the First, the Third, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Ninth, and the Fourteenth.  But the Court does not say which of these Amendments, if any, it thinks is infringed by this Connecticut law.”  He concludes, “With all deference, I can find no such general right of privacy in the Bill of Rights, in any other part of the Constitution, or in any case ever before decided by this Court.”  Justice Hugo Black, in a separate dissent, concurred:  “The Court talks about a constitutional ‘right of privacy’ as though there is some constitutional provision or provisions forbidding any law ever to be passed which might abridge the ‘privacy’ of individuals.  But there is not.”  Robert Bork has described the “right of privacy” device as “a loose canon in the law.”[6]

Katzenbach v. Morgan (1966)

According to Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, states are reserved the right to set voter qualifications.  Following the passage of the Voting Rights Act (1965), a literacy test for voting in New York was challenged.  The Court was in the position of having to choose between support for the Act and a provision of the Constitution.  The majority opinion, written by Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., vested in Congress the power to overrule a clear constitutional provision by citing the general Enforcement Power granted Congress in Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment.

United Steelworkers of America , AFL-CIO-CLC v. Weber (1979)

In direct contradiction to Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1973), the Court found that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allowed racial preferences.  In Chief Justice Warren Burger’s dissent, he found the majority decision “contrary to the explicit language of the [Civil Rights Act] and arrived at by means wholly incompatible with long-established principles of separation of powers.  Under the guise of statutory ‘construction,’ the Court effectively rewrites Title VII to achieve what it regards as a desirable result.  It ‘amends’ the statute to do precisely what both its sponsors and its opponents agreed the statute was not intended to do.”  Justice William Rehnquist labeled the decision Orwellian, writing that “the Court rejects ‘a literal construction of § 703(a)’ in favor of newly discovered ‘legislative history,’ which leads it to a conclusion directly contrary to that compelled by the ‘uncontradicted legislative history’ unearthed in McDonald and our other prior decisions.

Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972)

Striking down a Massachusetts law that forbade sale of contraceptives to unmarried persons, the Court extended the “right of privacy” beyond the bounds described in Griswold to sexual relationships outside of marriage.  Moreover, put together, they suggest a constitutional right to sexual gratification.

Roe v. Wade (1973)

In 1970, Linda Coffee, a women’s rights advocate, and Sarah Weddington, soon to be elected a Texas state representative, sued in behalf of “Jane Roe” (Norma McCorvey) for the right to obtain a legal abortion.  Reaching far back into ancient history, and leaning heavily on the “right to privacy” created in Griswold, Justice Harry Blackmun’s majority opinion encompassed 51 pages.  In his lone dissent, Justice Rehnquist faulted the majority for violating its own rule of thumb never to “formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is to be applied” by a sweeping removal of almost all restrictions imposed on abortion by the states.  He expressed doubt that any “right of privacy” is involved in the case.  Even the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, he wrote, are “not guaranteed absolutely against deprivation, only against deprivation without due process of law.”  Rehnquist worried out loud that in its handling of the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court “will accomplish the seemingly impossible feat of leaving this area of the law more confused than it found it.”

Judge Bork is more blunt.  He writes that “in the entire opinion there is not one line of explanation, not one sentence that qualifies as legal argument.  Nor has the Court in the sixteen years since ever provided the explanation lacking in 1973.”[7]

Bowers v. Hardwick (1986)

A police officer discovered Hardwick engaging in homosexual sodomy in his home, punishable by law in Georgia.  The District Attorney decided not to prosecute, but Hardwick filed suit on the grounds that the law was unconstitutional and “placed him in imminent danger of arrest.”  The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that “homosexual activity is a private and intimate association that is beyond the reach of state regulation by reason of the Ninth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”  If upheld, the case would effectively create a “right to homosexuality.”  The Court disagreed with the Eleventh Circuit that “prior cases,” including Skinner, Griswold, and Eisenstadt, “have construed the Constitution to confer a right of privacy that extends to homosexual sodomy.”  On the contrary, the Court asserted that “none of the rights announced in those cases bears any resemblance to the claimed constitutional right of homosexuals to engage in acts of sodomy that is asserted in this case,” and deprecated the attempt to expand the Due Process clauses of the Bill of Rights to include all kinds of consensual behavior.  A dissent by Justice Blackmun is conspicuous for resorting to the concept of a “right to be left alone,” described as “the most comprehensive of rights” by Justice Louis Brandeis in Olmstead v. United States (1928).  The Bowers decision was later overruled by Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

Texas v. Johnson (1989)

Gregory Johnson burned an American flag in downtown Dallas while a group chanted, “America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you.”  No one was arrested for protesting, but Johnson was charged with Desecration of a Venerated Object under state law.  Five justices held that Johnson’s act was political speech protected by the First Amendment.  Justice Rehnquist’s dissent recalled at length the history of the flag, and cited a litany of federal and state laws prohibiting contemptuous treatment.  “I cannot agree,” he wrote, “that the First Amendment invalidates the Act of Congress, and the laws of 48 of the 50 States, which make criminal the public burning of the flag.  He quotes Chief Justice Warren’s dissent to Street v. New York (1969):  “I believe that the States and the Federal Government do have the power to protect the flag from acts of desecration and disgrace.”  In a separate dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens considered that “it cannot be true that the flag . . . is not itself worthy of protection from unnecessary desecration.

The Infiltration of Foreign Law

On the premise that the Constitution is insufficient to adapt to a complex and changing world, the liberal wing of the Supreme Court has begun to look to foreign and international legal philosophy for guidance and support.  In a dissent to the death penalty case Knight v. Florida (1999), Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, after consulting the laws of many countries, “A growing number of courts outside the United States -- courts that accept or assume the lawfulness of the death penalty -- have held that lengthy delay in administering a lawful death penalty renders ultimate execution inhuman, degrading, or unusually cruel.”  He granted that “Obviously this foreign authority does not bind us.  After all, we are interpreting a ‘Constitution for the United States of America.’”  Breyer continued, however, that “this Court has long considered as relevant and informative the way in which foreign courts have applied standards roughly comparable to our own constitutional standards in roughly comparable circumstances.  In doing so, the Court has found particularly instructive opinions of former Commonwealth nations insofar as those opinions reflect a legal tradition that also underlies our own Eighth Amendment.”  He summarized that “Willingness to consider foreign judicial views in comparable cases is not surprising in a Nation that from its birth has given a ‘decent respect to the opinions of mankind’” (which point is itself unsubstantiated).

In a speech to The American Society of International Law, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions . . . is in line with the view of the U.S. Constitution as a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification.  I am not a partisan of that view.  U.S. jurists honor the Framers' intent ‘to create a more perfect Union,’ I believe, if they read the Constitution as belonging to a global 21st century, not as fixed forever by 18th-century understandings.”[8]  (One should note that in the preamble to the Constitution, it is properly “We the people” who act “to create a more perfect Union,” through their elected representatives and the prescribed amendment process.)  Ginsburg applied the 1994 United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to her concurrence to the affirmative-action lawsuit Grutter v. Bollinger (2003).

Lawrence v. Texas (2003) was a homosexual conduct case resembling Bowers v. Hardwick.  In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing voter who occupies the seat on the Court originally intended for Robert Bork, made pointed reference to “other authorities pointing in an opposite direction” to those guiding Bowers.  Those of foreign provenance were the 1957 Wolfenden Report advising repeal of homosexual conduct laws in England, codified in 1967; and Dudgeon v. United Kingdom (1981), based on the European Convention on Human Rights.

In Roper v. Simmons (2008), a juvenile death penalty case, Kennedy cited Article 37 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, other international conventions, and British law.  He noted “that only seven countries other than the United States have executed juvenile offenders since 1990:  Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and China,” and concluded, “It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty . . . .”

Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissent, provided a comprehensive, point-by-point repudiation of Kennedy’s opinion, especially the infusion of foreign law.  He began by proposing that “the basic premise of the Court’s argument -- that American law should conform to the laws of the rest of the world -- ought to be rejected out of hand.”  To illustrate his point, he enumerated elements of U.S. law, such as trial by jury and search and seizure protection, that he did not think his opponents would be willing to surrender; and relaxed separation of church and state, and greater restrictions on abortion, that they would never be willing to adopt.  “The Court,” he challenged, “should either profess its willingness to reconsider all these matters in light of the views of foreigners, or else it should cease putting forth foreigners’ views as part of the reasoned basis of its decisions.  To invoke alien law when it agrees with one’s own thinking, and ignore it otherwise, is not reasoned decisionmaking, but sophistry.”

“To the contrary,” he wrote, “they are cited to set aside the centuries-old American practice -- a practice still engaged in by a large majority of the relevant States -- of letting a jury of 12 citizens decide whether, in the particular case, youth should be the basis for withholding the death penalty.  What these foreign sources ‘affirm,’ rather than repudiate, is the Justices’ own notion of how the world ought to be, and their diktat that it shall be so henceforth in America.


1.  Robert H. Bork, The Tempting of America:  The Political Seduction of the Law (NY: The Free Press, 1990), p. 22.
2.  John Hart Ely, Democracy and Distrust:  A Theory of Judicial Review (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980), p. 18.
3.  Bork, 64.
4.  Milton Handler, The Supreme Court and the Antitrust Laws:  A Critic’s Viewpoint, Georgia Law Review 339 (Spring 1967).
5.  See Bork, 84,182.
6.  Bork, 97.
7.  Bork, 112.
8.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “A Decent Respect to the Opinions of [Human]kind:  The Value of a Comparative Perspective in Constitutional Adjudication,” speech to The American Society of International Law, Washington, D.C., April 1, 2005.

© 2008 Paul A. Hughes
Located at http://www.geocities.com/westloop/godstrombone/constitution-history.pdf

Posted by hughes at 5:23 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, July 12, 2008 11:06 AM CDT
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Modern Worship Music - a Rant in Time
Topic: Music
Lately, I have been indulging in a series of rants on my e-mail groups, on the state of worship music today, especially that targeted at youth.  I began by saying that "when I hear the typical, contemporary, folk-rock so-called worship music, with meandering melody, unnatural chord progressions, difficult-to-follow rhythms, and choppy, disjointed lyrics, which have the collective effect of slowly cranking a screw into the base of the skull, I think to myself, lame, repetitive, boring, and in the case of those who write and perform their own songs, self-serving."

Then I lamented that the Church has "failed the latest generations of young people in not exposing them to better music and teaching them sound music principles, instead surrendering the whole industry to semi-talented guys with guitars who know a handful of chords, but no theory, and no taste."

Someone else mentioned the old Broadway musicals, like Oklahoma, as an example of tasteful, enjoyable music, prompting a reminiscence, and possibly my last word on the subject:

"When I was a kid, before we had things like cassette tapes or 8-tracks, we had a stack of records, many of them 45-rpm's that my parents had collected.  There was quite a mix, from children's music (Disney, mostly) to pop music like Julius LaRosa, Doris Day, the Hilltoppers, and the Sandpipers.  I remember getting the 33-rpm sound track albums from Mary Poppins and the Sound of Music, which we literally wore out.  We knew the Do Re Mi song by heart.

"Also included were the sound tracks, in 45-rpm, to the musicals South Pacific, Oklahoma, and the Desert Song.  These were the Broadway casts, not the movie sound tracks.  We would put on a stack of records and listen to them over and over.  This was long before I found out, while watching Northern Exposure, that listening to show tunes was supposed to be a "gay" thing.  Luckily, in my innocence, it did not affect me that way.

"In high school, I played in the orchestra for 3 musicals:  Brigadoon, Oliver, and Carnival.  While attending Bible college in Waxahachie, a friend talked me into trying out for the community theatre production of South Pacific.  She then dropped out when she did not get a lead role, but I was recruited to play not one but 4 small parts, with chorus singing and a handful of lines.

"I could also go on to describe how I was introduced to Gilbert & Sullivan, classical music, and jazz.

"My point is that I was introduced to a lot of quality, fun, and rewarding music from an early age, which no doubt has shaped both my musical taste and my opinion of contemporary worship and youth music, as I recently expressed.  The true magic of the "old" music is encapsulated in one word, MELODY, plus lyrics sculpted to suit it.  

"Sad to say, few young people today are exposed to any music other than their own.  Without a frame of reference, how can they begin to judge what is good?  They are like people born stranded on a desert island, who make up their own language, and when finally exposed to civilization, simply cannot relate.

"My solution, as before, is to have a variety of music styles in church, rather than just one, not only to appeal to a broader cross-section of the community, but to expose narrowly-experienced people to new and perhaps better influences."


Posted by hughes at 11:23 AM CDT
Before You Vote Third Party . . .
Topic: Politics
I wrote this reply to a guy who was tempted to vote Third Party.

Food for thought:  

In 1992 and 1996, a third-party candidate, Ross Perot, split the conservative vote and gave us 8 years of Bill and Hillary Clinton, elected on a mere plurality.

A president must have support in Congress to get anything done.  Look at how purposely obstructive Democrats in Congress have stonewalled Social Security reform, approval of judicial appointments, etc., throughout the Bush Administration.  No third party has exercised significant power in Congress in modern times.

Chances of electing a third-party president are infinitesimal.  A third-party or write-in vote would be wasted, and help elect a Liberal.

It is crucial, due to the history of liberal judicial activism in the Supreme Court, that all future appointments be conservative, or at least holding to the original understanding of the Constitution.

Two suggestions:

1.  Put pressure on McCain to commit to specific conservative positions, in spite of his own inclinations.

2.  If you cannot vote FOR McCain, then at least vote AGAINST a liberal, i.e., any and all Democrat candidates.


Posted by hughes at 10:41 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 10:44 AM CDT
Monday, April 21, 2008
Happy San Jacinto Day!
Topic: Texana
Happy San Jacinto Day!  On this day in 1836, 800 or so Texas volunteers, including a band of Tejanos under Juan Seguin and some Louisiana militia, defeated a superior force of the Mexican Army under dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

Knowing his army only had one good fight in it, Sam Houston lured Santa Anna to the plain of San Jacinto, a well-known spot east of Harrisburg on the way to Lynch's Ferry, near the estates of Lorenzo de Zavalla and David G. Burnet.  The site is bounded on the west by Vince's Bayou, on the north by Buffalo Bayou, and on the south and east by swamp adjacent to the confluence of the San Jacinto River with Trinity/Galveston Bay.

After Houston's army had escaped the pursuing Mexicans at the Brazos crossing, Santa Anna heard that the Texas government had fled from Washington-on-the-Brazos to Harrisburg.  Santa Anna led a light force to Harrisburg, too late to capture the government, then burned the town.  Houston took up the heavy floorboards of a farm house near present-day Clinton to build a raft to ferry his army to the south side of Buffalo Bayou in order to reach San Jacinto.

Houston camped his men under the trees on Buffalo Bayou, near where the Battleship Texas is now moored.  Santa Anna encamped on the next low ridge to the south, and was joined by reinforcements.  The first day, there were some skirmishes and cannon exchanges between the two sides.  Houston sent Deaf Smith with a patrol to destroy Vince's Bridge, so that the Mexican Army would have no ready escape.

The next day, in broad daylight, Houston marched his men in a broad front through tall grass up the ridge, rolling along their two cannon, the "twin sisters" donated by the citizens of Cincinnati.  Some distance from the Mexican rampart, with the cries, "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad," they loosed several volleys of musket fire, then charged.  Houston, on horseback, had two horses shot from under him, one of the musket balls shattering his ankle.  The battle quickly turned to hand-to-hand fighting.  The main battle lasted about 18 minutes.  Overnight, Santa Anna was captured, having shed his general's uniform, and was forced to sign a document promising to relinquish Texas.

There were two other Mexican armies in Texas, however, which might have overturned the results, had they been better organized.  That of General Urrea became mired in the Spring mud, and barely limped back to Matamoros.

The battle, which may be considered a work of Divine Providence, secured the independence of Texas, eventual statehood, and after the Mexican War, led to the acquisition of much of the western United States.  Those who criticize the Mexican War should realize that Texas continued to be threatened by Mexico, in spite of Santa Anna's promise.  Mexican armies occupied San Antonio twice in 1842, and the war was directly sparked by General Arista's invasion across the Rio Grande and attack of a U.S. Army patrol in 1846.

Copyright 2008 The Hughes Report.  May be freely shared for non-commercial purposes if this notice remains attached.

Posted by hughes at 1:04 PM CDT
Friday, April 4, 2008
Liberals' False Answers to Sex, Abstinence
Topic: US Society & Culture
I recently started getting together a comprehensive list of known STDs, along with their health risks, statistics, and whether they are curable.  It is quite a long list.  I have not found this information readily available all in one place, so that is what I hope to do.  In particular, I have noticed how many of these diseases are not prevented by condom use, and how many can be spread by oral sex.

In my opinion, it is a betrayal by our government, news media, education system, and popular culture that they will not promote abstinence, saying it is inherently religious, old-fashioned, or unreasonable, while giving our youth the false impression that a condom or a pill is a panacea.  If "Just say no" is good for drugs, then why not for premarital sex?

I will probably post the list on a Web page.

Also, regarding being "punished with a baby," I find that that attitude is at the core of left-wing liberal ideology.  Laurence Tribe, considered a constitutional law authority by the media and the liberal establishment, in support of Roe v. Wade, considered childbirth "the subordination of women to men through the exploitation of pregnancy" and an "historical parallel between the subjugation of women and the institution of slavery."  He wrote, "To give society--especially a male-dominated society--the power to sentence women to childbearing against their will is to delegate to some a sweeping and unaccountable authority over the lives of others . . . ."  [Tribe, American Constitutional Law (1988), pp. 1353, 1354].

In truth, the only women who can be said to be forced to bear children are those raped or incested, which typically accounts for 1 to 3 percent of abortions.  Meanwhile, it was recently reported that almost 70 percent of black babies are being born to single mothers.


Posted by hughes at 7:23 PM CDT
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
"Punished with a Baby"
Topic: Democrat Watch

See John Brody, "Obama Says He Doesn't Want His Daughters Punished with a Baby," March 31, 2008, at:


My reply to Brody's site:

Obama's "punished with a baby" remark was no slip of the tongue.  This is the radical feminist view -- a litmus test embedded in the Democrat Party -- of hostility toward the traditional family paradigm.  They consider motherhood to have been a primary instrument by which patriarchal societies have subjugated women.

Also couched in Obama's rhetoric is his view that if one of his daughters becomes pregnant and she does not want it, the baby has to die.  A baby is a baby, with individual chromosomes at the point of conception.  This is unconscionable, and would be shocking if US society had not turned a blind eye to the truth for these several decades.

Posted by hughes at 4:24 PM CDT
Sunday, March 30, 2008
A Liberal Demagogues Prophecy
Topic: Anti-Christian
Rick Herrick, author of The Case Against Evangelical Christianity, published "I'm Sick of Pastors with Big Mouths," in the Houston Chronicle, March 30, 2008, pp. E1, 5, in which he says that Bible prophets were usually wrong, and preachers are "arrogant" to claim to speak for God.


My reply, which I sent to the Chronicle:

Rick Herrick has Bible problems.  He only believes select parts of it, and does not understand Bible prophecy.

Take his hyperbolic conclusion that the Prophets "were wrong with most of their predictions."  He adduces the example of Isaiah 19, in which Egypt is to be conquered, and "the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians" (v. 23).  Indeed, Assyria was conquered and incorporated into Babylon, which later joined Persia, and eventually conquered Egypt.  Then Alexander's conquests led to the founding of Alexandria, the size and splendor of which was second only to Rome, and in which the Jews prospered and multiplied.

Were that not fulfillment enough, the culmination of the submission of the Nations awaits the coming of the Messiah, to orthodox Christians his "Second Coming," to establish his Kingdom on Earth.

This Millennial Kingdom ought not be confused, as is Herrick, with the Kingdom of God (in Matthew, "heaven") foretold in the Gospels and Epistles.  Jesus told his interrogators that the kingdom of which He spoke was "not of this world" (John 18:36).  His kingdom was already unfolding, as in the parables of Matthew 13 (mustard seed, leaven, hidden treasure, pearl of great price), and was already "in the midst" (Luke 17:21) of those who believed.

Christ's kingdom came to fruition with the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus had said "dwells with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:17), and was inaugurated at Pentecost (Acts 2).

Bible prophecy is a glass half full -- not mostly empty, as Herrick purports.  Given the supernatural, it can all come true; to deniers, it is all personal opinion.

The Old Testament prophet whose prophecies did not come true was to be killed.  In this Age of Grace, thankfully, "all" who are spiritual "may prophesy one by one" and "let the others judge," while recognizing that "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1 Corinthians 14:29, 31, 32).

One who errs may rightfully be corrected, if honestly mistaken, and censured if malicious -- but no one needs to die.

--Rev. Paul Hughes, M.Div., author of Christ in Us: the Exalted Christ and the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (2006).

Posted by hughes at 5:50 PM CDT
Friday, March 28, 2008
The Obamas and Their Money
Topic: Democrat Watch
A recent article reported that the Obamas have made up to $2.6 million a year the last several years, while giving to charity from under 1% to over 5% of their income per year.  It goes on to say that they have saved little.

Read the article:

Meanwhile, "Once Barack won his senate seat, Michelle Obama was promoted to vice president for external affairs and her salary jumped from $121,910 to $316,962 per year"

Elsewhere, the Obamas have complained about having to pay off their student loans, and Barack said that he hopes his daughters, being tall, will be able to attend college on basketball scholarships.


Posted by hughes at 11:42 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, March 28, 2008 11:53 AM CDT
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Teach a Man to Fish School of Social Justice

"Give a man a fish, and you will feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime." 

I, being conservative, am of the "teach a man to fish" school of social justice, which includes making room for said man at the pier, then requiring him to actually "fish or cut bait."

Liberals are of the "give a man to fish" school of thought, and are glad to keep such man dependent on getting fish, voting for those who give out fish, and continuing the practice of taxing the money to buy fish away from those who actually do the fishing.


Posted by hughes at 7:13 PM CDT
The Prophet Jeremiah (Wright)?
Topic: Politics
Barack Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, recently canceled a spate of speaking engagements, including three sermons scheduled next Sunday at Houston's Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.  Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle published a letter by Rev. William Lawson, Pastor Emeritus of Wheeler Avenue, defending both Obama and Wright.

His letter begins with inflammatory accusations, saying that "Obama has been attacked below the belt, under the table, in the back.  Someone is attempting to lynch him politically."  All cast the lowest of aspersions all who would criticize Obama.

Lawson reiterates the mantra of Wright's defenders that his extremist statements are just "30-second sound bites" taken out of context.  He goes on to compare Wright to "the prophets" in that "he does chastise the government for its injustices and its mistreatment of the poor, the minority, the children in insufficiently supported schools, in the absence of decent health care, in unforgivably low wages.  God sent the prophets," Lawson writes, "to accuse the leaders of Israel for the mistreatment of the powerless.  And the Jesus of Christians taught us to praise God, but He spoke negatively to the government leaders of His day:  'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees ... hypocrites! ... Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?'"

Jeremiah Wright the prophet?  Rev. Wright's speech was rife with hyperbole, distortions, and outright lies, laced with venom and vitriole.  I would remind both Revs. Wright and Lawson that beyond God's general injunctions against lying and bearing false witness, the Old Testament prescribed that false, lying prophets were to be executed.  Period.  See, for instance, Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and Jeremiah 20:6.

Read Lawson's letter at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/5651689.html.


Posted by hughes at 6:18 PM CDT
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Reaction to Wright and Politics in the Pulpit
Topic: Christianity

Over 20 years ago, I attended a white campmeeting in rural East Texas.  The preacher, who was from Mississippi, railed at great length against liberalism.  He actually said, "We might be legalistic, but it's better to be legalistic than liberal!"

Everybody seemed to voice their approval of this message.  I was aware, first, that the preacher was playing to the predispositions of his audience by preaching against "those people out there" who were not "right like us."  Moreover, I marveled at their ready acceptance of one extreme over another, as if there were no rational alternative.  I wanted to get up and leave, but I had left my trombone on the podium, and would have had to walk up in front of the whole church and pack it up.  Maybe I should have done so, with a flourish.  It seemed unwise at the time to do so without due consideration.

This episode made me begin to realize and recognize that pastors and congregations tend to purge out diversity -- for lack of a better term -- from their midst, by extremes of message or methodology, thereby imposing a "sameness" on the congregation.  It would seem that the saying, "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down," is not limited to Japan.

I can think of other episodes.  Once when I had relocated and was looking for a church, I tried out one whose pastor, every service, called everyone forward and told everybody to hold hands.  As a single man and a stranger, I was not comfortable with holding hands in that way, either with strange men or other men's wives or children or teenagers.  I also noticed the discomfiture of those who awkwardly stayed in their seats, and seemed stigmatized by non-participation.  I have come to regard such handholding as a mere gimmick to give the semblance of unity where there may be none.

Finally, cutting things short, I will mention that small community churches tend to become intermarried and thus increasingly closed to "outsiders," and I have suspected some pastors of trying to achieve permanence in their position by driving non-sycophants from the church.  The point is, it is good to preach a solid Gospel and have unity in the church, but having a narrow and exclusive ministry, in which favored persons are well served and others not at all, is hardly the same thing.


Posted by hughes at 12:49 PM CDT
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The Liberation Theology of Jeremiah Wright
Topic: Democrat Watch
Christians should rightly object to the teachings of Jeremiah Wright on the basis of his Liberation Theology alone, let alone his racism.  (Just as I will vote against Obama on the basis of his liberalism alone, absent other factors.)

Liberation Theology was spawned by Marxists in Latin America as, among other things, a justification for revolution and other violence, based on social injustice, real or perceived.  The bare fact is that there has been immense injustice in Latin America, the indigenous peoples being historically treated as slaves, and kept as an underclass, by a European elite.

Theologically, however, Liberation both draws from social justice themes in Scripture, especially the Exodus, to an unbalanced degree, and imposes social justice themes upon scriptues contrary to their context and literal meaning.  In short, all Scripture is viewed through leftist-colored glasses.  That which does not fit the template is ignored.  Needless to say, a shaded interpretation of Scripture is neither honest nor a source of ultimate Truth.  But the aim of its practitioners, as noted by the Catholic Church, is not orthodoxy but orthopraxis (which can be defined as Political Correctness).

Both Feminist Theology and Black Theology, the latter founded by Wright's hero James Cone, are foundationally based on Liberation Theology.

It must be said, however, in spite of my introductory statement, that even if Liberation Theology gets a pass, one must take issue with Wright on the lies, distortions, and inflammatory speech readily found in his sermons.

Posted by hughes at 1:44 PM CDT
Friday, March 14, 2008
What Obama's Pastor Said
Topic: Democrat Watch
Recently, Barack Obama has begun to be called into question for his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright of the Trinity Unity Church of Christ.  Obama has attended Trinity for 20 years, where Wright married him and his wife, and baptized both their daughters.  Currently, Wright has taken a sabbatical to work in the Obama campaign.  Obama has stated, "What I value most about Pastor Wright is not his day-to-day political advice. He's much more of a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible and that I'm not losing myself in some of the hype and hoopla and stress that's involved in national politics" (Chicago Tribune, Jan. 2007).  Obama credits Wright for a sermon that inspired the title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope."

Below are a selection of statements for which Rev. Wright is on record.  Judge for yourselves.

"Jesus was a poor black man who lived in a country and who lived in a culture, that was controlled by rich white people! The Romans were rich. The Romans were Italians, which means they were European, which means they were white -- and the Romans ran everything in Jesus' country.  It just came to me within the past few weeks, y'all, why so many folk are hatin' on Barack Obama.  He doesn't fit the model!"

"Hillary never had to worry about being pulled over in her car as a black man driving in the wrong!  I am sick of Negroes who just do not get it!  Hillary was not a black boy raised in a single parent home! Barack was.  Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people!  Hillary can never know that!  Hillary ain't never been called a n_____!  Hillary has never had her people defined as nonpersons!  Hillary ain't had to work twice as hard just to get accepted by the rich white folk who run everything, or to get a passing grade when you know you are smarter than their C-students sitting in the White House.  Hillary ain't never had her own people say she wasn't white enough!"

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God bless America?  No, no, no! Not God bless America. God d__n America!  -- it's in the Bible -- for killing innocent people!  God d__n America for treating our citizens as less than human. God d__n America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

"Racism is alive and well. Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. No black man will ever be considered for president, no matter how hard you run Jesse, and no black woman can ever be considered for anything outside what she can give with her body."

"Hillary is married to Bill and Bill have been good to us?  No, he ain't!  Bill did us just like he did Monica Lewinsky!  He was riding dirty!"

[Just after 9/11] "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye.  We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

“America is the #1 killer in the world. We invaded Grenada for no other reason than to get [Prime Minister] Maurice Bishop.”

"America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. . .  We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns, and the training of professional killers. . . . We bombed Cambodia, Iraq and Nicaragua, killing women and children while trying to get public opinion turned against Castro and Qadhafi. . . . We put Mandela in prison and supported apartheid the whole 27 years he was there. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God."

“We invaded Panama because Noriega would not dance to our tune anymore.”

“We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians, and called anyone that spoke out against it as being Anti-Semitic.”

“We do not care if poor black and brown children cannot read and kill each other senselessly. We abandoned the city back in the 60's, back when the riots started. And it really doesn't matter what those ‘Nnnn . . . natives’ do to each other, we gave up on them and public education of poor people who live in the projects. . . . We, with VCRs, TVs, CDs, and portable phones have more homeless than any nation in the world.”

"In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01. White America and the Western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just 'disappeared' as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns."

He calls the United States the "USKKK of A."

"Black women are being raped daily in Africa. One white girl from Alabama gets drunk at a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country and that stays in the news for months."

“We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that Third World people live in grinding poverty . . . .  God has got to be SICK OF THIS S___!"

"When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens. Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen . . . .  His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening.  He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest."

"Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience.  His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation's most powerful critics.  His love for Africa and African American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose."

"No, we would call it Christianity. We've been saying that since there was a white Christianity; we've been saying that ever since white Christians took part in the slave trade; we've been saying that ever since they had churches in slave castles.  We don't have to say the word 'white.' We just have to live in white America, the United States of white America . . . .  As I was trying to say to you, liberation theology . . . I've come to find out he doesn't know anything more about theology than I know about brain surgery. . . .  If you're not going to talk about theology in context, if you're not going to talk about liberation theology that came out of the ‘60s . . . black liberation theology, that started with Jim Cone in 1968, and the writings of Cone, and the writings of Dwight Hopkins, and the writings of womanist theologians, and Asian theologians, and Hispanic theologians . . . then you can talk about the black value system.

Posted by hughes at 7:18 PM CDT
Hell in a Handbasket
Topic: God Help Us!
In the news:

At least 1 in 4 teenage girls in the U.S. has a sexually-transmitted disease.  Teenagers no longer admit that oral sex is sex, and public sexual performances are becoming an increasingly popular activity at teen parties.  Almost 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers.  In the wake of the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal, some of the media elite are suggesting that prostitution be legalized:


Modern American society lacks a moral compass, after decades of concentrated left-wing efforts to divorce Western culture from its Christian mores.

One may agree with Detta O'Cathain, Member of Parliament, who said regarding the recent abolition of blaspemy laws in Britain,

"The essential question is:  should we abolish Christian beliefs and replace them with secular beliefs? As long as there has been a country called England, it has been a Christian country, publicly acknowledging the one true God.

"Noble lords may cry freedom, but I urge them to pause and consider that the freedom we have today was nurtured by Christian principles and continues to be guided by them."


Posted by hughes at 7:16 PM CDT
Who Will the Candidates Be?
Topic: Politics
I do not claim clairvoyance, but would like to get my presidential campaign predictions on record, based on my observations of the political climate around the country.  Then in the aftermath, we can see how well I did, or not.

Hillary Clinton will be awarded the nomination, through either the undemocratic superdelegate system, or by making a deal with the Democratic National Convention.  She will accomplish this feat by working her deep party connections and making some very big promises to special interests.

Barack Obama will be her running mate, being assured that he will be guaranteed the nomination in 8 years.  His supporters will be mollified by even more promises, in this case of greatly expanded social programs.

John McCain will choose for his running mate -- this is the most daring prediction -- former Democrat Joseph Lieberman.

It is more difficult to predict who will ultimately win the presidency, but I am leaning toward McCain, and will predict that white male voters will be found to be fed up with group politics and political correctness, and rise up in record numbers.

Posted by hughes at 7:14 PM CDT
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Visit to Ron Paul's Hometown
Topic: Politics
I returned from Lake Jackson yesterday, and had promised friends to report what I heard there about Ron Paul.  I preached both services at a church in Lake Jackson on Sunday.  In the morning, my message concerned pastors (shepherds) who neglect or abuse the flock, and will be held responsible for not doing their job.  In the evening, I spoke on the text, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels," which refers to the Gospel message, entrusted to mere mortals, who nevertheless were willing to endure hardship and abuse for its sake.  I used an actual clay pottery vessel as an illustration.

After each service, I went out to eat and fellowship with members, and not being a big talker anyway, kept my ears open for comments on their "favorite son."  In one case, I asked them to tell me about him, but otherwise did not intrude myself with questions, preferring to garner an objective view.  Overall, they seemed to agree that he was a fine man with a reputable medical practice, who told people the truth as he saw it, without obfuscation.  On the other hand, they did not express  approval of his policies, in particular his anti-war stance, and apparently were not active supporters.  In general, they seemed more supportive of President Bush, especially his willingness to take on the terrorists -- in contrast to Bill Clinton, whose response to attacks during his administration had been token at best.

I did see some Ron Paul signs around town, but there did not seem to be much fanfare.  There are a lot of Hispanics in the area, who are likely Democrat voters.

Lake Jackson seems to be a very nice little city, forming a metropolitan area with adjacent Clute and Richwood.  It is located SSW of Houston, SW of Alvin (Nolan Ryan's hometown), and just a few miles inland from the popular Freeport resort area.  The trip by road was just about 100 miles for me, living as I do East of Houston.  The terrain to the immediate SW seems to be low-lying and swampy, so that the town is not expanding in that direction.  A local park I visited had a hike and bike trail going to the other side of a high levee, with "watch for alligators" warning signs.  There were a lot of large water birds around the area, including herons, egrets, and seagulls.

Nearby Brazoria was the headquarters of Stephen F. Austin's "Old Three Hundred" colony.  He was originally buried there at his plantation, but was later moved to the state cemetery in Austin.  A 70-foot statue of Austin stands north of Lake Jackson near Angleton, like the statue of Sam Houston at Huntsville.  Brazoria was the first capitol of the Republic of Texas.  Unfortunately, the capitol and other historic buildings were destroyed in the 1900 Galveston hurricane, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, in which an estimated 10,000 died.


Posted by hughes at 3:43 PM CST
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Fool Me Twice...
Topic: Democrat Watch

Fool Me Twice...

It's deja vu all over again!

In 1992, the US was coming out of a recession.  There was a noted uptick in the Economy by the 3rd Quarter.  But it was campaign season, and the Democrats and the Big Media were in full spin mode.  "It's the Economy, Stupid!" was the Clinton campaign slogan.

"Worst economy in fifty years!," Bill trumpeted over and over.  Sure enough, people began to worry and wonder.  They held off spending.  Our little contracting business stopped getting calls.

It was a lie.  Later, when the lie was exposed, Clinton supporters justified it, saying, "But if he hadn't lied, he wouldn't have gotten elected, and be able to carry out his great policies."  Yes, I heard people say that on national TV.


Now it's campaign season again, and the Media is once more talking down the Economy.  They started out by putting it under a microscope, wondering out loud why it was not faltering under the weight of Katrina, the War, oil prices, the mortgage crisis, etc.  Then they questioned, on every newscast and in every column, how much longer can we live in this dream world?  Is there a recession around the corner?

At last, this constant drumbeat, which the Media does so well, has begun to take a toll.  Sadly, our Economy is no longer based on Production, but Consumerism.  In other words, it is spending-driven.  As soon as spending coughs, the Economy gets a cold.

So fight the System.  Get out there and spend money, and buy American, for the country.  It's the Economy, stupid!


Posted by hughes at 5:02 PM CST
Thursday, January 3, 2008
The Preacher's Mistake
Topic: Christianity
The Preacher's Mistake

by William Croswell Doane

The parish priest
Of austerity,
Climbed up in a high church steeple
To be nearer God,
So that he might hand
His word down to His people.

When the sun was high,
When the sun was low,
The good man sat unheeding
Sublunary things.
From transcendency
Was he forever reading.

And now and again
When he heard the creak
Of the weather vane a-turning,
He closed his eyes
And said, "Of a truth
From God I now am learning."

And in sermon script
He daily wrote
What he thought was sent from heaven,
And he dropped this down
On his people's heads
Two times one day in seven.

In his age God said,
"Come down and die!"
And he cried out from the steeple,
"Where art thou, Lord?"
And the Lord replied,
"Down here among my people."

William Croswell Doane
First Bishop of Albany

Posted by hughes at 1:32 PM CST
New Year's Resolutions Worth Making
Topic: Christianity
Some Resolutions Are Worth Making

New Year's has come around again, and what do people think of at New Year's?  Resolutions.

But New Year's resolutions, or what passes for them, are not what they used to be.  People don't often take resolutions seriously anymore.  We hear about resolutions that have been broken than those which have been kept.

However, there are some resolutions that are worth making, and keeping.  Many of these we find in the Word of God.  Allow me to mention just a few:

1.  "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19).  The Bible says that God's ways lead to life, but man's ways lead ultimately to eternal death.  Jesus said, "I am the Way the Truth, and the Life; no man comes unto the Father except by me" (John 14:6).  God gives us the freedom to choose which way we will go.  Resolve to choose life in 2008.

2.  "Choose you this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15).  After the death of Moses, Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land and helped them conquer it.  Then he called all the people together.  Joshua reminded them of what God had done for them, and that they must remain faithful to Him.

Like Israel did later, we often play games with God.  We figure we can do our own thing now, and serve God later.  But later is often too late.  God calls us to choose--get off the fence, get in or get out.  God hates lukewarm believers (Revelation 3:15-16).  Resolve to serve God in 2008.

3.  "Repent and be baptized . . . and you shall receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).  On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood and told the crowd that Jesus, whom they had crucified, was in fact the Son of God.  It was Jesus, now exalted to the right hand of God, who produced the miracle of speaking in tongues that they had just seen and heard.

Troubled, the people began to ask, "What are we to do?"  Peter told them, essentially, that they must repent of their sins and undergo a conversion experience; and about 3000 were saved that day.  Even saints need to repent now and then.  Resolve to be repentant, to live a converted life, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit in 2008.

4.  "I do not want you to be ignorant!" (Romans 11:25, etc.).  Again and again, both Peter and Paul admonish the Church not to walk in ignorance, but in knowledge and truth.  The Bible and the preaching of God's Word are readily available to everyone today.  Willful ignorance of God's will is inexcusable (Romans 1:18-32).  Resolve to study God's Word faithfully and to know God's perfect will for your life in 2008.

5.  "Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:1-2).  Someone has said that the problem with a "living sacrifice" is that it keeps crawling off the altar.  God does not call most of us to die for Him, but He calls all of us to live for him.  Resolve to keep sacrificing your selfish will and lending yourself to do God's will in 2008.

6.  "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16).  Paul recognized his own physical weakness and inability to be perfect before God in his own strength, try as he might.  He said, "What I want to do, I do not do; but what I hate, that I do" (Romans 7:15).

Paul knew he needed the power of God to work through him in order to overcome sin.  Desire to obey God and willpower are not enough (see Galatians 3:3).  Serving God absolutely requires the power of the Holy Spirit working through us.

How do you let the Holy Spirit work in and through you?  It involves all I have said before:  choosing life in Christ, choosing to serve God faithfully, being repentant and undergoing a real conversion experience, being knowledgeable of God's will for your life, offering yourself up to God continually and sacrificially to do His will, and much more.  Walking in the Spirit means being motivated by the Spirit of God rather than by your own desires.  Sure, it's hard, but it must be done.

There are many more great resolutions which we can draw from the Bible.  For instance, just look at those listed in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22.  We can learn a great deal from these admonitions.

So let us resolve together to walk by God's Spirit, not by our flesh, in 2008.
©1992, 2008 Paul A. Hughes.  First Published in the Polk County Enterprise, January 5, 1992, p. 5B.

Posted by hughes at 1:29 PM CST
Friday, December 14, 2007
Al Gore, Ban Ki-Moon, and Environmental Hypocrisy
Topic: Global Warming
Al Gore made a show of taking public transportation to his Nobel ceremony in Oslo, but his extensive luggage was transported by a Mercedes van.  Rumor has it, he took a private jet to Oslo in the first place.

In his Nobel speech, Gore likened "Global Warming deniers" to those such as Neville Chamberlain, onetime British prime minister, who tried to appease Adolf Hitler before World War II:

"We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency, a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here.  However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world's leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler's threat, and I quote, 'They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved only to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.'"

Gore did NOT note that Global Warming advocates are largely Socialists, whom Churchill would consider a far greater threat than the weather.

When asked by CNN correspondent Jonathan Mann, "The Associated Press, among other sources, is reporting that your family home near Nashville, Tennessee, used $1,200 a month in electricity, which is 10 times the average for homes nearby. . . .  Is it true?  Are you a little less green than you seem?" Gore replied, "There's a global warming denier group that put out misleading information."  Pressed by Mann, Gore continued with a rather extensive "non-answer":

"No, [AP] reported what that group said.  And the, the, look, when you try to make a case like this, you are going to have, you're going to have people try to attack the messenger in order to get at the message.  They have not been able to succeed.  But the most important element of this is the message.  And part of what they, part of what these deniers try to communicate is that the only way to solve this crisis is for individuals to make changes in their own lives."

Even the editor of the Harvard Crimson, Peter W. Tilton, takes Gore to task:

"Many Americans would naturally assume Gore follows the green lifestyle he widely promotes, and they would be wrong.  Gore and his wife Tipper, whose children all live elsewhere, reside in a behemoth 20-room mansion outside of Nashville that used nearly 23,000 kilowatt-hours last August, more than twice the annual -- yes, annual -- energy usage of a typical American home.  Gore's preferred mode of transportation between stops on his international publicity tour is his private jet, which spews out CO2 emissions at the rate of a small army of SUVs."

Meanwhile, world leaders have gathered in Bali to talk about climate change, traveling in more private jets than can be parked at the local airport.  The "experts" are calling the Bali conference "the world's last chance to avoid disaster."  The US has been severely criticized for not acceding to the Kyoto accords, by which developed countries are heavily fined for not meeting strict, arbitrary emissions reductions.  In November, however, Weather Channel founder John Colement called Global Warming "the greatest scam in history."  Economist Noel Sheppard calls it a "tax the rich scheme," noting that "rich countries" really means "United States."

Early in December, recently elected Australian prime minster Kevin Rudd, a liberal who had promised to sign on to Kyoto, backed out when he found out the tremendous economic cost his country would incur, noting that other countries "do not necessarily accept those targets, nor do they accept those targets as binding targets for themselves."

Peter Foster of the Financial Post (Dec. 6) writes, "The real theme of this United Nations gabfest . . . is whether globalization and trade liberalization will be allowed to continue . . . or whether the authoritarian enemies of freedom . . . will succeed in using environmental hysteria to undermine capitalism and increase their Majesterium."  He continues, "Just at the point where Marxism was being consigned to the dustbin of history, the more or less concealed power lust that had fed it found a new cause in the environment."

Reporters from more conservative newspapers, namely Environment & Climate News, were denied press credentials and entry to the Bali conference.  Critics also question the intent of Ban Ki-moon, head of the United Nations, to take an around-the-world flight immediately after the conference, including attending a music concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Similarly, Al Gore was isolated from the press at a London fundraiser by an efficient force of bodyguards; and invited guests, who had paid £1,000 to £50,000 to attend, felt insulted by his lack of access, in addition to his £100,000 fee.

On December 13, Gore told an international audience that it is the US that is the biggest obstacle to rescuing the planet, drawing enthusiastic applause and cheers.

"I am going to speak an inconvenient truth.  My own country the United States is principally responsible for obstructing progress in Bali."

Posted by hughes at 3:47 PM CST

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