The subject of immorality is out in the open. Perhaps the first thing we need to do is to identify exactly what we mean by immorality. We are not always talking about sexual immorality. God’s law does say “Thou shall not commit adultery.” That seems clear, but in essence, we are talking about wrong behavior. This could range from evil and wicked acts such as stealing, murder, adultery, lying and corruption in many forms. Any way one looks at it, it is always associated with doing wrong and being offensive. Wrong behavior is a way of living avoided by most people who want to live good, honorable lives and teach it to their children. For those readers who may be unfamiliar with what exactly the 10 Commandments are, this picture gives the list that was given to Moses.
Probably everyone has broken one or more of these Holy Laws at one time or another. We may ask ourselves, however, in modern interpretation…what have we made our Gods? Have we never used God’s name in vain? Do we honor a special day to worship? How many truly honor our Mother or Father and show them that they are honored? We may not have killed, committed adultery, but saying something false or repeating a gossip against someone…or even stretching the truth is probably something we have all done. You get the point.
How is all this relevant to us in this time of electing our next President of the United States? What responsibilities do our candidates have in this matter of immorality or morality? What about the press that labors on the off color or inappropriate comments because that is what they think we, the people, want to hear?.. or do we?
Let’s come straight to the point… disgusting and inappropriate words and behaviors are being aired into our homes day and night. Most of us allow it. Our children are watching and hearing our reactions to whatever we are seeing. We have friends who limit T.V. or do not have TV at all in their homes. The reason? They are protecting their children. Children, at early ages, hear and have to deal with the obscene statements made on T.V. Unfortunately, they are often made by political candidates and others. Sometimes they are hearing their own family saying things that are offensive. They watch women who are willing to go on T.V. and give in the most descriptive, detailed way inappropriate sexual behavior toward them. The young are most observant and hear more than we think. They wonder what is the meaning of words like racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic…or may ask who is “deplorable” or what does “irredeemable” mean? It is too much…too young…too depressing. Could we even say it is immoral to poison the minds of the innocent? In this world of cell phones, computers, TV, video games and movies, is it any wonder that young people are often suicidal? We worry about mental health and instability in our society. How much are we contributing to this? Children need to have a child’s life because adulthood will come soon enough. Giving them freedom to watch and see everything and anything is not responsible parenting. Hats off to those parents who place boundaries. Maybe it is time for adults to do the same for themselves.
This is not saying that everyone should have their heads in the sand about what is going on in the world or in the political world, but as the young grow up, there will be time for discussions on topics they don’t understand. How much poison are we bringing into society because most are glued to their T.V. sets. Is our nation going down a slippery slope with no way to return to the normal and the decent? Even many adults have had enough. Yes, God knows our hearts and what is happening to our nation. There is need for transformation, just as there is a need for protecting our young. We, as adults, need to take control of our lives or we may be dragged down into the muck and the mire.
The highest honor in America is to be the President of a free country…following Lincoln and other great leaders. In recent years, the people of our nation seem to ignore immoral ways. People who believe in being moral and following the commandments for living are criticized and branded as “old fashioned” or “out of touch.”
One may be interested in how “out of touch” our founding fathers were when they wrote the Constitution and our great Washington monuments were built with inscriptions that announced the beliefs of out nation. Do you know the following?
- Walking up the steps to the U.S. Capitol Building, which houses the Supreme Court, set into the top of the building is a row of the world’s law givers who are facing Moses and the Ten Commandments.
- As one enters the Supreme Court, the two large oak doors also have the Ten Commandments engraved on the lower part of the door. Inside the courtroom is another display of the Commandments where the judges are seated.
- There are Bible verses etched in stone over the Federal Buildings and are displayed in state capitals.
- James Madison, our 4th President and Father of our Constitution said: “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
- Patrick Henry, a Founding Father and patriot said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians…not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
- Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher…whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.
Were these men backward and out of touch? After reading these facts about men who worked to build our nation, one may ask how far away from morality have we come? Many in our country do not seem to trust what any member of Congress or the President has to say. Truth and trustworthiness is at its lowest ebb. Political correctness and their next election are in the forefront. Cooperation between parties in order to get things done for the benefit of all seems non-existent.
It does not appear to matter, in modern days, that a President was impeached for his immoral ways and then reelected. Those who have the option of leading this country into a better, higher, and more moral way also demean those who teach that immorality is not acceptable, whether one is in office or simply a citizen.
This came to light when a leaked email called the Catholic faith “severely backward” and hoped that Catholics would “demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship.” (article by Eric Scheener) It is assumed that those writing the emails are aware that the Christian faith, whether Catholic or Protestant, takes their so called “backward” views from the commandments of the Bible. Concerning these emails, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York said, “Were it any other religion…Jewish or Muslim faiths…there would be an apology…”
Apologies may not be the answer for no one seems to take apologies seriously. The hearts of the people and the country’s leaders need to be changed according to the Reverend Billy Graham. Now in his 90’s, Reverend Graham has been teaching what the Holy Scriptures has to say about being moral or immoral for over 60 years. It is estimated that Reverend Graham has given God’s message of forgiveness and salvation to about 2.2 billion people in 185 countries on 6 continents. This is what he had to say just a few years ago, still holding the same view today. Some would say he has not “evolved” enough. Others would say that he is being true to the principles of morality within the Christian faith and is a voice of warning to our nation.
“Our early fathers led our nation according to biblical principles. ‘Hope and change’ has become a cliche in our nation, and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed. Our country is turning away from what has made it so great. But far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly, is to know that God knows our every thought. He knows our hearts need transformation.” Dr.Graham
To be transformed is to be changed in our spirits and souls. Psalms 139:2 and 26:2; Isaiah 64:8
“The man with a conscience fights a lonely battle against the overwhelming forces of inescapable situations which demand decisions. . . . Some who seek to escape from taking a stand publicly find a place of refuge in private virtuousness. Such a man does not steal. He does not commit murder. He does not commit adultery. Within the limits of his powers he does good. He must be blind and deaf to the wrongs which surround him. It is only at the price of an act of self-deception that he can safeguard his private blamelessness against contamination through responsible action in the world. Whatever he may do, that which he omits to do will give him no peace. Either this disquiet will destroy him or he will become the most hypocritical of Pharisees.” Derrick Bonhoeffer
My writing has taken me into a new series called, The Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a collection of books that celebrate the life and work of the people who live in and around the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway of Virginia and North Carolina. In researching my stories of the books, it has been my privilege to interview a number of people whose roots go back generations. Many small, family grave plots can be seen in the hills. Some have a small flag or stone that reads that the person was a Civil War member of the Confederacy dating back into the 1800’s. They are proud of their history and do not think of their confederate flag as a symbol of racism or bigotry, but of the bravery of the men who fought against those who had invaded their land and homes.
Hearing their stories has brought to mind how tied the people are to their mountains and their history. The “Yankee” troops that marched through these valleys and hills during the Civil War, marched on afterward to return to their northern states.
The people of the South pulled themselves up to endure rebuilding and hardship, becoming a strong part of “one nation under God”. Slavery was no more. The long road to equality began far after the ships arrived with its human cargo from Africa.
As an retired educator, I know the emphasis that I put on history in the classroom, but it has almost become, in recent years, politically incorrect to talk about slavery…even the Emancipation Proclamation which freed them. It appears that the climate of the country is to bury our heads about the past. Remembering it no more must be the road to the future. I think that this way of thinking is wrong for we should learn from our past. In all fairness, the nation must have believed that they had passed racial tensions and elected an African American President twice to follow in the footsteps of Presidents like Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. When we see violence in our streets and children who can’t walk to school in our large cities without the fear of being shot, one wonders if we have learned anything from the strife of the past.
We have a fabric in America that is woven from many different threads and backgrounds. Most school children today probably do not know that there are descendants of Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the Declaration of Independence, who meet each year to celebrate who they are and to tell their stories. Many are highly educated because education was placed as a priority. (See video at end)
Who exactly was Thomas Jefferson? He certainly was a man of great contradictions. A graduate in law from the College of William and Mary, he at times defended slaves seeking freedom, but owned a large number of slaves himself. He represented Virginia in the Continental Congress…drafting the law for religious freedom…served as a governor and became the U.S. Minister to France…served as Secretary of State under President George Washington. He penned “all men are created equal.” and had a strong belief in states rights.
Jefferson also became the 3rd President of the United States. There were many issues to deal with, as there are today, for this nation. Jefferson’s were concerning trade and pirates. He doubled the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase. Not only was there controversy with slavery, but he began the removal of Indian tribes to the newly organized Louisiana Territory….but signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves. (Yes, a difficult, but talented man to understand in the midst of a growing, new nation. ) Jefferson’s talents were in mathematics, surveying, horticulture and mechanics.
He was a Christian well versed in linguistics and spoke several languages.”Baptized in his youth, Jefferson became a governing member of his local Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, VA. Influenced by Deist authors during his college years Jefferson abandoned “orthodox” Christianity. In 1803 he asserted, ‘I am Christian, in the only sense in which Jesus wished any one to be.’ Jefferson later defined being a Christian as one who followed the simple teachings of Jesus.”
He was the founder of the University of Virginia after leaving public office.
(Story behind picture of Lucy Cottrell was the daughter of Dorothea (Dolly) Cottrell, a house servant at Monticello who, after 1826, became the property of George Blaetterman, a professor at the University of Virginia. About 1850 Dolly and Lucy Cottrell went to Maysville, Kentucky, with the professor’s widow, who freed them five years later. In this daguerreotype Lucy Cottrell is holding Charlotte, daughter of Blaetterman’s foster son.)
Jefferson must have taken it literally that all of his hundreds of slaves belonged to him to do with as he liked. After the death of his wife in 1782, he had a relationship with Sally Hemings and fathered at least one of her children. This may have been the beginning of those who now have Jefferson as part of their heritage. Nevertheless, despite the events in his life that makes him controversial, he is consistently ranked as one of the countries “Greatest Presidents”. Presidents are often making decisions to foster their own legacy. History will play out whether the time in office points to greatness or the lack thereof.
Video. Turn on sound and enlarge for best viewing.
Throughout history and in more modern history, there is a lesson of rising above rejection. Let’s look at the meaning of rejection and how it affects our lives.
Rejection: The noun rejection can refer to the actual act of rejecting something or to the feeling one has after being rejected. In other words, you might have feelings of rejection after experiencing the rejection of others.
When we are finding love in our lives, we may have experienced rejection when someone turned us down for a date…or even a marriage proposal. Rejection is also felt when a person may ask for a divorce. It could even mean when family members decide not to be part of the family unit. These are all hard experiences. Many people experience; feel terrible about it and then decide that life must go on and rise above it.
In history, we read about the lives of very famous people who have experienced rejection in the public arena and made amazing comebacks. Here are a few to consider:
Abraham Lincoln is one of our most famous Presidents. His heart-aches, illnesses, and rejections should encourage anyone to keep trying. This list is long, but worth reading:
- 1832 Lost job Elected company captain of Illinois militia in Black Hawk War
- 1833 Failed in business
- 1834 Elected to Illinois State Legislature
- 1835 Sweetheart died
- 1836 Had a nervous breakdown
- 1842 A jealous man challenged him to a duel. Abraham Lincoln traveled to Alton to meet James Shields in a duel. Friends of both opponents negotiated a truce, and the duel was averted.
- Reelected to Illinois Legislature and received license to practice law
- 1837 Led Whig delegation in moving Illinois state capital from Vandalia to Springfield. He became law partner of John T. Stuart
- 1838 Defeated for Speaker, but was nominated for Illinois House Speaker by Whig caucus Re-elected to Illinois House (running first in his district)
Served as Whig floor leader
- 1839 Chosen presidential elector by first Whig convention and admitted to practice law in U.S. Circuit Court
- 1840 Argues first case before Illinois Supreme Court
Re-elected to Illinois state legislature
- 1842 Admitted to practice law in U.S. District Court
- 1843 Defeated for nomination for Congress
- 1844 Established own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner
- 1846 Elected to Congress
- 1848 Lost nomination (Chose not to run for Congress, abiding by rule of rotation among Whigs.)
- 1849 Rejected for Land Officer Admitted to practice law in U.S. Supreme Court
Declined appointment as secretary and then as governor of Oregon Territory
- 1854 Defeated for U.S. Senate
- 1856 Defeated for nomination for Vice President
- 1858 Again defeated for U.S. Senate
- 1860 ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A few other modern-day Presidents had their setbacks before winning the Presidency.
Former California Gov. Ronald Reagan ran for the 1976 Republican presidential nomination. Incumbent President Gerald Ford beat him in the crucial New Hampshire and Florida primaries. Though Reagan was able to win some of the later contests that year, Ford edged him out at the convention.
In his first race for office, Bill Clinton narrowly lost to incumbent Republican House member John Paul Hammerschmidt of Arkansas. He later became attorney general and then governor. But he lost his first gubernatorial reelection race in 1980.
George W. Bush also entered political life by challenging an incumbent House member. In 1978, he ran against Texas Democrat Kent Hance, who mocked the Yale graduate as a clueless preppy from Connecticut. Hance won.
Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library
- Barack Obama ran in an Illinois Democratic primary against Representative Bobby Rush. Like George W. Bush, he found that an Ivy League education was not necessarily an advantage. Representative Rush exploited Obama’s Harvard law degree to suggest that he was out of touch with the district. Rush smashed him by a two-to-one margin.
To all aspiring writers, take hope from some of the best and most successful.
Rejection Letters from publishers:
JK Rowlings got 12 rejections before making a billion dollars on Harry Potter.
Dr. Seuss’s rejection said “Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”
William Golding wrote The Lord of the Flies, selling 15 million copies. His rejection letter said, “An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull”
As all can see, perseverance is always the best policy if we believe we have something to give to this world. I write because I enjoy it and it’s challenging. I may never have a great book published that the world will remember or make a fortune. That is not my goal, but joy in what I do is worth all the effort. In fact, my mind is completely absorbed, when I am writing, from the disappointments that could bring me down.
Rising above your rejections, whatever they may be, will bring renewed life and hope into your world. Never give up!
I was impressed by a video and several news articles that I saw during the Christmas holidays. I think they speak for themselves. Leadership is extremely important to a nation and to the world. Political correctness has mired us down in the lack of ability to speak in faith and in truth.
Christmas was not a happy place for those who walked to church in Nigeria …only to worship, not to be murdered. In this place that was supposed to be a place of peace came the ugly reality of those who would wipe out peace. Christians around the world are under attack. This is the truth of persecution that has always been a part of the Christian faith throughout history. Taking up one’s cross is exactly that. It was never expected to be easy. However, one needs to call it what it is and be unafraid to speak for faith and truth.
Christmas Day in Nigeria …..Five Christian Churches bombed
“A string of bombs struck churches in five Nigerian cities Sunday, leaving dozens dead and wounded on the holiday, authorities and witnesses said.
The blasts mark the second holiday season that bombs have hit Christian houses of worship in the west African nation. In a statement issued late Tuesday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called the bombings “a dastardly act that must attract the rebuke of all peace-loving Nigerians.”
(The following news article on leadership to protect a nation)
“Nigeria lacks competent leaders to tackle its security problems”, a former military ruler said on Monday, following Christmas Day bomb attacks on churches by Islamist militants that killed more than two dozen people.
Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner who lost the last presidential election in April to incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, said in a statement in a Nigerian daily that the government was slow to respond and had shown indifference to the bombings.
The Boko Haram Islamist sect, which aims to impose sharia law across Africa’s most populous country, claimed responsibility for three church bombings, the second Christmas in a row it has caused carnage at Christian houses of worship.
Security forces also blamed the sect for two explosions in the north and fear is growing that Boko Haram is trying to ignite a sectarian civil war in a country split evenly between Christians and Muslims who for the most part co-exist in peace.
“How on earth would the Vatican and the British authorities speak before the Nigerian government on attacks within Nigeria that have led to the deaths of our citizens?” Buhari said in the statement published by Punch newspaper.
“This is clearly a failure of leadership at a time the government needs to assure the people of the capacity to guarantee the safety of lives and property,” Buhari said.”
Yes, leadership is most important. Perhaps we all need to listen again to an inspirational message from a former President of the United States.