Friday, June 23, 2017

Education and Patriotism

Sunday, October 9, 2016, 17:15
This news item was posted in Education category.
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By the Rev. Dr. Joe Renfro

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem, as he said he was doing to protest what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.  He said,  “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” He told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game that: “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Many people are blaming our societal demise on racism. Masses have been caught up in the “Black Lives Matter” movement that was spawned by the killings of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, two young black men.  Trayvon was a troubled teen and had a history of violence with multiple expulsions from school.  He threatened the neighborhood watch man when he was asked to leave the area, and the watchman shot him in self-defense.  Michael Brown had just robbed a convenience store, all of which was later observed on film, and he attacked the policeman so much that the policeman shot him in self-defense.  The courts did not convict either the night-watchman nor the policeman of murder. Brown and Martin are not the kind of individuals who should be admired and honored, as the Black Lives Matter crowd is doing. These kinds of people do not honor the black race! They do not honor people of darker skin. This whole matter is an inversion of values, putting the bad in place of the good and the good in place of the bad.

Because the police seek to determine law and order, and often times they kill blacks or Hispanics, more in proportion does not mean we should condemn our land or not honor the flag this is the symbol for what our nation stands. You have lawless whites as well as lawless blacks and Hispanics, and people should be judged by their behavior and not by their color!

Patriotism was once vibrant in America, as our nation looked to God in thanksgiving for all his great blessings. Our founding fathers for the most part all looked to the Fatherhood of God, as basic to the foundation of this nation.

Presbyterians were leaders in colonial education. In fact, at age sixteen, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton were all being schooled by Scots who had come to America as adults. The scholars from Scotland were held in the highest esteem in colonial America because of the preeminence of Scottish thinkers and Scottish universities at that time. (The Founding the Founders — by Robert Curry) –

John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian and the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence, taught a course in moral philosophy, which was most certainly the most influential single course in early America’s history.

Beyond his enormous influence as an educator, he was as well one of the most important of the Founders. He was an early and influential champion of American independence, and much more than merely a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, he played a central role in the signing. When the Declaration was completed and ready to be signed, the signers-to-be wavered. For two days they hesitated to affix their signatures.  But Witherspoon rose to the occasion, speaking in his famously thick Scottish accent:  “There is a tide in the affairs of men, a nick of time. We perceive it now before us. To hesitate is to content to our own slavery. That noble instrument upon your table, which ensures immortality to its author, should be subscribed this very morning by every pen in this house. He that will not respond to its accents and strain every nerve to carry into effect its provisions is unworthy the name freeman.” His speech broke the logjam and the delegates then swiftly signed the Declaration.

We are observing, however, an erosion of patriotism, much because we are seeing an erosion of the faith and Judeo-Christian values that made this country great. Patriotism is not black, white, or brown, nor is it male or female, nor does it have educational requirements, nor is it just for the young or old, but rightly understood, it should be seen as a value applauded by all Americans!

In America we are witnessing an “inverted morality.”  What was once regarded highly and respected is classified now as being evil, ignorant, and deplorable.  During the past few decades we have seen a shift from the ideas of what was termed “the moral majority,” to the progressive ethics that attack Christian faith and the Judeo-Christian culture that was basic to our land.

During my twenty-six years of teaching in the public schools I was fortunate to serve a good part of it in a Lavonia (Georgia) Elementary School, where the principal, Boyd Outz, despite the dictates from the government, looked to the dictates of the One above all governments, and every morning there was the pledge of allegiance and devotional of sorts (often Bible reading and prayer) as part of the opening ceremonies for the day. This was done with the intent of cultivating patriotism, for it was esteemed to be an important part of education.

Psalm 33:12 says:  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance.”  I Peter 2:9 says: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  The light of the gospel gives a motivation to responsible living, and this at one time was very basic in our land.

However now, one of the U.S. presidential candidates called conservative Christians the “deplorables,” using various progressive values to show how she regarded Conservative Christians as being deplorable.  She painted these “deporables” as being “sexists,” “homophobics,” “racists,”  “xenophobics,”  “Islamophobics,” and “bigots.”

The inversion of morality is very much evident, as everywhere you are hearing about the so-called terrible evils such as racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, bigotry, or Islamophobia destroying our land.  All these concepts are but vague terms, most often used by individuals who see things from bias or from prejudices in relationship with others.  These concepts and distractions that Satan has created to keep us from seeing what sin really is–any want of conformity to the law of God – an inversion of morality!

But what is “sexism?”  Most of it is defined by a general context of blaming one sex for all the so-called injustices that might apply in one area—neglecting the extra benefits one sex might have realized because of the sex. There is male and female—and God’s word makes us one in Christ. We are equal, but we are different, and what is wrong with that?

What is “homophobia?  There is a huge difference in observing that homosexual activities often have bad consequences and the biblical condemnation of it.  Saying one hates homosexuals just because they don’t applaud their lifestyle is faulty thinking. You can love the homosexual as a person without loving his or her lifestyle. The Bible condemns it because it is a harmful lifestyle!  Look at the overall problems in homosexuality. Call a spade a spade; what is wrong with that?

What is “racism? Most of it is defined by the group that wishes to attack another group in all kinds of ways according to race, but minorities can be just a racist are the majority that they might be accusing. I wonder why we can’t just let people be people.  Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians have higher standards of living in America that anywhere else in the world.  The Christian religion has been the greatest emancipator of people by taking away racial categorizing and emancipating slaves.  But let’s not forget it was the Muslims largely who sold slaves in Africa to the slave traders, and it is in Islamic countries where slavery is still very much part of their culture.

What is “xenophobia?”  It is an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.  But what is meant by “unreasonable?” Does it mean that we in America should open the doors to all types of people, whether they honor our laws and national interests, having our nation provide them food, clothing, employment, housing all at the expense of the government? Does it mean that we should provide jobs for these, while many of our returning vets are on the streets and without jobs?  The Bible teaches we are to first take care of our own households.

What about “Islamophobia?”  There are many good Muslims, but should we not be aware of the continual teachings of Koran that tells the Muslims to kill, subdue, and overcome those who do not conform to Islamic laws?  We can’t close our eyes to the fact that freedom is not characteristic of Islamic lands!

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission says the deeply held Christian faith is a code for bigotry.  “Bigotry” is another one of those evils I forgot to mention along with the five I mentioned earlier in this message!  But “bigotry” is much like the other concepts, as the real meaning depends on who is defining it and for what purpose.  The Ten Commandments are not bigotry, but they are just good common sense, if you follow what they tell you to do or not to do. The Bible is not a book of bigotry!

Nevertheless, The Commission on Civil Rights has released a terrifying report that lays the groundwork for legal persecution of Christians in America. It will attach our freedom of speech, our freedom of the press, and our freedom of worship.  Can you believe it!   Check it out!

The report, entitled “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties,” asserts that religious liberty and the free exercise of religion are in truth merely an excuse for bigots and racists to get away with discrimination.

We honor the flag of our nation, for it stands for the overall character of us as a people. Yes, there are flaws that need correcting, but to attack patriotism or the flag that stands for our nation is very bad. Colin Kaepernick has the right to not honor the flag, a right he would not have in many nations on earth!

The U.S. helped knock down Hitler’s Festung Europa, the Nazi-controlled European continent that might have been otherwise unbreakable. The Japanese and Soviet Empires might still be imprisoning entire swathes of the world had it not been for America. The United States has done more to help other nations and peoples that any other modern nation on earth.

Many flags supporting patriotism in the Western world have the cross of Christ as part of their display.  Cross flags have been flown on a variety of flags over the years and one thing to note is that there are several styles of crosses. For example, the Greek cross is used on the flag of Switzerland, the Symmetric cross can be seen on the flag of England and the Scandinavian cross seen on the flag of Finland.

Part of our National Anthem is: “O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!  Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land.  Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!  Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto – “In God is our trust,” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” This is a statement of patriotism, and it is not freedom from religion, but it is an affirmation of the religion that enables us to be free and to seek equality for all—even choosing to be non-religious.

I was thinking that there are parties in this land who will not salute or stand for the American flag, nor say the Pledge of Allegiance, but who would then stand and applaud the Gay Pride flag created by LGBT,  (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride.  The rainbow flag was popularized as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride and diversity by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. This version is also sometimes called ‘the freedom flag’. The different colors symbolize diversity in the gay community, and the flag is used predominantly at gay pride events and in gay villages worldwide in various forms including banners, clothing and jewelry.  It has since 1979 consisted of six colored stripes, as they say—red for life, orange for sunlight, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony, and violet for spirit. But there is such a thing as false flags, and many of us truly question very much how much this Gay Pride flag affirms the things it says it does…

Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana said, “A man’s feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.”  You don’t plant your feet in the world, and from that perspective survey your own country. Rightly understood you can best effect the world positively from your own country.  The republic that our fore-fathers set up had Judeo-Christian underpinnings, and if we fail or acknowledge this and not base our actions accordingly we as a nation will fail.

Many, including various religious groups, choose not to honor our nation by standing up for the National Anthem, or by not saying the Pledge of Allegiance, which is their right in America.

But the progressive media saw Kaepernick’s response as a way to undermine patriotism and move more toward the so-called classless society of Communist thinking.  However, the gospel has already established the classless society, as Galatians 3:28 says,There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” The Communist flag is a false flag, where the flag of our nation, which is based on Christ’s teaching to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is the true flag.  I would not desire to stand for the false flags, such as the Gay Pride flag, nor the flags of Communism, but I consider it an honor to able to stand for the Flag of the United States and to say the Pledge of Allegiance!

If and as we learn and practice Christ’s ways the false flags of discrimination will fade, and the true flags of what is right will prevail!

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