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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Monday, November 14, 2005

Loss of Civil Liberties and the Decline of Democracy

As the war on terrorism becomes the emphasis of the Bush administration civil liberties and rights to privacy are being curtailed significantly. Bank accounts and other financial assets are open to federal investigation without a warrant according to some sources.

However, the Republicans are not the only party to advocate the violation of civil and personal freedoms in our allegedly free society. Democrats would love to take away the right to bear arms and own firearms. Those on the liberal left who oppose the freedom of religion also oppose the basic freedom of speech on the part of the religious since churches and other religious organizations are not allowed to endorse political candidates. This is a blatant violation of the separation of church and state and clearly shows state interference in the freedom of religion since churches can and should endorse certain moral standards, which they in turn would want elected officials to endorse. Thus, banning churches from endorsing political candidates effectively bans churches and their members from collectively participating in the election of officials friendly to their concerns. However, labor unions and other leftist organizations may freely endorse political candidates for political office without fear of financial or legal reprisals.

Men are increasingly vilified as perpetrators of domestic violence as a pretence for taking away their right to own firearms, live in their own home, or see their own children whom they are ordered by the courts to support. Alarmingly, restraining orders can be issued merely on the word of an alleged victim without any corroborating evidence or any burden of proof placed on the accusing party.

When a society has succumbed to blatant violations of the rule of law it is headed in the direction of totalitarianism. While courts may order individuals into state endorsed "counseling", religious counselors are demeaned as "unqualified" or "unlicensed by the state." Americans are quick to forget the use of insane asylums by the Soviets to silence political and religious dissidents. Some of the same tactics are being employed here in the United States.

The current debate about whether intelligent design should be allowed to be presented in public schools is another indicator of the erosion of civil liberties and individual freedoms. While teachers are required to teach Darwinian evolution, they cannot mention their own personal views on religion or science at the risk of losing their employment. The state dominates the minds of teachers and students alike. However, in a free society any and all views on a subject should be freely discussed at the discretion of both teachers and students. Requiring or forbidding teachers to teach the curricula without free discussion of and interaction with said materials is equivalent to state sanctioned propaganda and is no different from Soviet propaganda or Nazi propaganda.

Though I voted for George W. Bush, Jr. for president of the United States, I am increasingly appalled by the positions his administration have taken on prisoner of war policies at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the use of torture to obtain information from enemy prisoners, and the erosion of civil liberties of American citizens. It seems to me that the United States is at risk of becoming the monster we have fought against in the Cold War. When we refuse to recognize the innate and inalienable rights of men endowed to them by their Creator, including enemy combatants in the war against terrorism, we risk destroying the very foundations of democracy we claim to be protecting. The Bush administration is refusing to recognize basic principles of the Geneva Convention, a fact that ought to worry us all.

The dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Harry Truman, president of the United States during World War II was also a gross violation of the Geneva Convention since hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians, including men, women and children, were targeted by a weapon of mass destruction. Yet, we hear no American apologies to Japan or the world for that atrocity. To admit that we committed a war crime would be too much of a loss of face for the United States.

We claim to be the prime example of a free democratic society and a prosperous capitalist economy. But the reality is that we have become more like a totalitarian society than any of us are willing to admit. When we as a nation violate the inalienable rights of men, including enemy combatants like the Japanese and Muslim terrorists, when we take away the civil liberties of men based on scant evidence presented by disgruntled spouses and girl friends, when the government may invade the privacy of citizens without warrant then we are in danger of losing the essentials of the ideal free society we claim to be defending. It is only a short step from slow erosion to the bursting dam of complete totalitarianism. And the sad part is that such erosion is being perpetrated upon our nation by both political parties, Republican and Democratic.

The wake up call is now. Do something about it by voicing your opinions in church and by writing your senators and congressmen. Christians especially ought to be vigilant in protecting religious freedoms by becoming more involved in the political process. May God have mercy on us all.

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