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Self, Sex, and State: The Three-Poisoned Gods of Our World

Anthony Esolen: “Self, Sex, and State” are no trinity, to be sure, but a triad. Find one, and the other two will not be far away.


  1. I have written before of the three-poisoned god of our world: Self, Sex, and State. These poisons dance about in a nice perichoresis of mutual corroboration. It is hard to tell which of the three is father or son or spirit proceeding from them both. If you look to sheer gigantic size, you might think that the first begetter was the State. If you look at the rotten hole of evil where a good heart should be, you might think it was the Self. If you look at actual begetting and a wrong approach to created order, you might think it was Sex.

Let us be as wise as serpents here, consider each possibility. Suppose the principle devil is State. Imagine it in the person of Milton’s Beelzebub, in the council of Pandemonium. He is about to recommend not open war, as Moloch advises, or hiding, as Belial advises, but a sly side-move against the new created world and man there placed:

                         With grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A Pillar of State; deep on his Front engraven
Deliberation sat and public care;
And Princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic though in ruin.

You desire to increase your power, to grow the State at the expense of those you rule. How to do that? Satan’s plan, put in the mouth of Beelzebub, is to sever the new creatures from God, the source of their freedom and their strength. That must inevitably sever them from virtue both natural and supernatural.

To accomplish it, Satan appeals to Eve’s sense of Self, but in strange isolation, as if she were a kind of island-goddess to whom every creature must bow in homage. “Sovereign mistress,” he flatters her, begging her pardon for daring to address her, while suggesting that her beauty cannot be rightly prized by any of the creatures among which she lives, not even her loving husband Adam, bearer of the image of God:

                                           One man except,
Who sees thee? (and what is one?) who shouldst be seen
A Goddess among Gods, adored and served
By Angels numberless, thy daily Train.

Divide and conquer: so does Satan extend his realm, by every petty peacock of a king and queen self-ruled, and therefore self-enslaved.

Such enslavement in man is made manifest most clearly, the book of Genesis suggests, in sex: in what should have bound man and woman to one another, and each generation to those that came before and to those that will follow. “Be fruitful and multiply,” says God when he blesses the first human couple, but the fall turns what should have been pure blessing into a source of trouble, division, treachery, and violence.

The wisest king who ever lived did not withstand the temptation, for Solomon, Milton says, “beguiled by fair Idolatresses, fell / To idols foul.” A thousand wives had he, but his sons would fall out with one another and divide his kingdom. His kingdom – not Satan’s.

But we might begin with the idol Sex. We remove it from its natural order, and we make our children and our neighbors bear the cost of the ensuing chaos. Love is not Love, despite what the smug and silly sign on your neighbor’s yard says. “Spirits when they please,” says Milton, describing the fertility gods of the Phoenicians, “can either Sex assume, or both,” to “execute their airy purposes,/ And works of love or enmity fulfill.”

“Such love is hate,” says the poet Spenser. Sexual sin does its worst to keep children from growing up with a mother and father who have plighted their troth for life. Since man is by nature a social creature, when he sins against what binds him in wedlock and what binds the generations, he sins against society.

He calls it liberty when it is mere thoughtlessness and worship of Self. It cramps or tends to destroy altogether the liberty of his neighbors, because what strong and self-sustaining families no longer do, State must attempt. Every antisocial sin must give State leave to intrude where it does not belong, to provide a semblance of that order while families and the parishes, schools, and towns they build used to provide. He who sells wheelchairs is pleased to find cripples.

In the end, says C. S. Lewis, there are only two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.” In the dead hollow of every sin, there is a false Self, a wraith, a phantasm, an idol. “I am that I am,” says God, revealing to Moses his name beyond all circumscribing names. (Ex. 3:16)

But I am a creature: I am circumscribed. I derive my being from God, and at every moment my existence is sustained only by his will. When I set myself against God, I slip back toward non-being, toward the hollow that is well suggested by the Germanic word Hell. 

But as I fall, I assert my false independence with all the greater desperation. I must be my own, exist on my own. The magnetic poles that draw me are two. If I am soft and tender, I turn to Sex as the boldest expression of Self: sex, as I will, when and how and with whom I will.

These days, swallowed up in idiotism, I may even fashion my own “identity,” turning sex in upon itself in self-abuse of any of a thousand kinds. If I am hard and ruthless, I turn to State and its accoutrements. I worship power, wealth, and prestige of my own, or I bow to State as the extension of or the realization of sheer will. State will save us, State must be our cure. It hardly matters then in what form State appears.

No trinity, to be sure, but it is a triad. Find one, and the other two will not be far away.

COLUMN BY

Anthony Esolen

Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. Among his books are Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World, and most recently The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a professor and writer in residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, in Warner, New Hampshire.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

“The Devil and Karl Marx”: A Review

Robert Orlando: In his new book, Paul Kengor plunges a stake into the heart of the devil and Karl Marx. But as we know, such vampires are not so easily killed.


Paul Kengor is a teacher and writer who has always had an eye for the spiritual dimension in history, politics, and economics. (He was the perfect partner for me in our book and documentary film, The Divine Plan: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Dramatic End of the Cold War.)

Prof. Kengor’s new book, The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism’s Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration, is a hammer and sickle dismantling of the diabolical character of Karl Marx (1818-1883). As Michael Knowles writes in the book’s foreword, “Kengor knows, like few others writing today, that terms such as collectivism and individualism only take the debate so far. . . .Ultimately the fight comes down to spiritual warfare: good versus evil.”

Indeed, Kengor’s book is all about the clash of the modern, devilish forces of socialism and communism – the key Marxist systems – against the eternally divine force of faith.

The book opens with a portrait of Marx’s formative early years, an approach similar to Paul Johnson’s in Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky (1988). Johnson was accused of being moralistic for judging Marx’s ideas through the lens of his character. Of Marx’s writings, Johnson says their “actual content can be related to four aspects of his character: his taste for violence, his appetite for power, his inability to handle money and, above all, his tendency to exploit those around him.”

Professor Kengor goes even further, depicting Marx as possibly under the Devil’s spell. The young Marx wrote some very dark poems filled with the sort of anti-religious sentiments that would inspire his Communist Manifesto. “It is in part, a tragic portrait of a man,” Kengor writes, “but still more broadly so, an ideology, a chilling retrospective on an unclean spirit that should have never been let out of its pit.”

Here’s an example from Marx’s poem, “The Pale Maiden” (1837):

Thus Heaven I’ve forfeited,
I know it full well.
My soul, once true to God,
Is chosen for Hell.

Kengor (like Johnson) makes the case that Marx, a self-absorbed intellectual, never lived out his own convictions when it came either to money or the redistribution thereof, evidenced by his dismissive attitude towards providing for those under his care. For instance, Marx exhausted the resources and goodwill of his parents, and instead of becoming remorseful or apologetic, he defiantly disowned them once they were no longer of value to him.

When it came to money, everything Marx touched turned to straw. His combustible life was filled with tragedy, debts, and, with the exception of the death of his wife Jenny, an apparent lack of regret in the face of his greatest losses. Family suicides, sexual exploits (including the possible abuse of a family maid) enflamed his life with bloody anger and fueled his revolutionary spirit. In this troubled background are the origins of his communist worldview – a complete rebellion against anything traditional or sacred. Thus the title of Kengor’s book.

Although I agree with the inescapable connection Kengor makes between Marx’s life and his philosophy, I might not place so much emphasis on the man’s early life. Many historical figures were wayward in youth, even some of our saints. Paul the Apostle aided and abetted murder as he tried to violently eradicate the Early Church. We don’t define Augustine by the reckless years prior to his conversion. In fact, these men are saints precisely because they changed.

In Marx’s case, of course, he never changed. He drank the nectar of the devil (my words), and it poisoned him – just as communism poisoned so much of the world.

The middle sections of the book track the rise and fall of the Left’s great messiah and his closest apostle, Friedrich Engels. It continues with a history of Marx’s disciples, from Vladimir Lenin in Russia to Saul Alinsky in the United States.

Kengor also explains how these and other henchmen have assaulted the Catholic faith. Although vigorously opposed by Catholic leadership, Marxism would nonetheless gain a foothold in parts of the Church. Kengor highlights Pope John Paul II’s success in his confrontation with Marxism and communism. Having lived much of his life in a communist regime, St. John Paul knew well Marxist ideas, which enabled him to deal effectively with the liberation theologians in South America.

I think of Kengor as plunging a stake into the heart of the devil and Karl Marx. But as we know, vampires are not so easily killed. Marxism in the 20th century used class warfare, and that was mostly a failure. In the 21st century, Marxists are employing identity politics, lately with some success. But the aim is the same: to sow cultural destruction. If this doesn’t make you angry, you’re not breathing.

Bizarrely romantic revolutions – from Mao’s China to Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone – Marx’s ill-conceived utopias aren’t just destructive, they’re murderous. The death toll of communism worldwide exceeds 100-million! Kengor calls it “nothing short of diabolical – truly a satanic scourge, a killing machine.”

Without question, America has had its share of betrayals and unrealized ideals, but what other country has made such progress with the rule of law, individual freedom, and shared prosperity?

Marx believed religion was a drug (the opium of the people) used by the wealthy to maintain disproportionate power. In retrospect, of course, communism peddles its own drug: an idealized global world, in which inequality disappears in the obliteration of all human distinctions. Kengor sees the seeds of our current flirtation with Marxism in the promotion of sexual freedom, “that plagues us to this today.”

Scripture teaches that, after the Resurrection, Lucifer was left only with the power to accuse, with rhetoric his only weapon. This is why Satan and Marxists prey on the most vulnerable: those least sure of their own identity. Satan comes as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:1), but he and his disciples, Marxist groups such as Antifa and the founders of the Black Lives Matter organization, bring only darkness.

Paul Kengor shows us the light.

COLUMN BY

Robert Orlando

Robert Orlando is a filmmaker, author, and entrepreneur. He’s the founder Nexus Media, and his latest films include The Divine Plan, and Citizen Trump. He also has a new book, The Tragedy of Patton: A Soldier’s Date with Destiny, forthcoming in November. His work has been published in HuffPost, Patheos, Newsmax, and Daily Caller. As a scholar, he specializes in biography, religion, and military history.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Catholic and “catholic”

Fr. Paul D. Scalia: The Church’s children should resemble her. We ought to strive to be catholic (universal) in our zeal, our mercy, and our embrace of Truth.


In today’s Gospel, our Lord likens the Kingdom of heaven to “a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.” (Mt 13:44-52) This net, which gathers not just one kind of fish but fish of every kind, serves as a good description of what we confess every Sunday: the Church is catholic.

Now, most people probably think of “Catholic” as the brand name of a particular Christian denomination. Yes, we speak colloquially of the Catholic Church as distinct from the Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist churches, etc. But that’s a fairly recent designation, only since the Reformation. Before the Church was “Catholic” she was already “catholic.” It’s a truth we find expressed in the Church’s earliest years. The word “catholic” means universal, embracing and bringing all things together into a unity (from the Greek kata holos, “according to the whole).

Now, the distinction and relation of “Catholic” and “catholic” is important: one cannot be Catholic without also being catholic. To be a member of the Church means to share in her catholicity. So, what does that entail?

First, the Church is catholic – universal – in the most obvious sense: for all people. “Here comes everybody” is James Joyce’s famous description of the Church. She welcomes all comers, embraces and incorporates all people – “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, all peoples, of every race, nation, and country throughout the world.” (Rev 7:9) She leaves no group or kind of people beyond her mission and solicitude.

Now, catholic in this sense does not mean everyone thrown together willy-nilly, as you might toss all your clothes into the closet. Rather, it means all people brought together as one, as a unified whole. In the United States, we are now witnessing what happens to a society when its various peoples have lost their principle of unity. The Church, however – and, in the end, only the Church – is truly universal because she both embraces all people and makes them one body in Christ.

The implications of this universality should be clear. It means, first, that we welcome all people into the Church. Anyone who repents and believes is welcome regardless of any accidental qualities.  Further, this catholicity requires that we actively seek to bring the Gospel to all peoples, and all peoples to the Church.

Second, the Church is catholic in the sense that she forgives all sins. This is a consequence of her being the continuing presence of Christ Himself in the world.  Our Lord has authorized her to act and speak in His Name. He entrusted to her ministers His own power to forgive, a power limited only by a person’s desire to be forgiven.

Through the ministry of the Church, any of our sins, from the most trivial to the most severe, can be forgiven when we repent and ask forgiveness. Which also means that we should desire the extension of that forgiveness and reconciliation. Indeed, we should participate in the Church’s ministry of reconciliation. As such, our own personal forgiveness should extend as far as the Church’s, from the most trivial slight to the gravest sin against us. As regards forgiveness we can never say, “thus far and no further.”

Throughout her history, from Tertullian to Calvin, the Church has seen plenty of rigorists who would like to shorten the reach of her mercy. Like the slaves in the parable of the wheat and tares (Mt 13:24-43), they want a Church of saints not sinners. In the current “cancel culture,” the mobs of secular rigorists give us a sense of just how brutal a society is that desires pure justice (or what passes for it) and no mercy.

Finally, the Church is catholic in the sense that she possesses all truth. Everything necessary for salvation is found within her doctrine. All religions possess some aspects of the truth. Only Christ’s Church possesses the fullness of the truth.

Notice that the net in the parable brings in “all kinds of fish,” both the desired and the undesired. Similarly, the Church holds both pleasing truths (human dignity, forgiveness, heaven) and hard truths (sin, judgment, hell). To be Catholic means to assent to all that the Church teaches – not just to the parts we like.

The Church’s history is littered with heresies, a word that indicates the choosing of one truth to the exclusion of others (Greek again haerisis, not kata holos). Those who do so cease to be catholic, because they are embracing not the fullness of the truth but only the parts they like. If we call ourselves catholic, we must show ourselves to be truly catholic, embracing all truths — not just the convenient ones.

Mother Church’s children should bear a resemblance to her. So it is that we ought to strive to be catholic in our zeal for souls, in the reach of our mercy, and in our embrace of the truth.

COLUMN BY

Fr. Paul D. Scalia

Fr. Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Va, where he serves as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy. His new book is That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

NEW YORK CITY: “IDOL” painted on 100-year-old statue of Virgin Mary

Leftists have been indulging in an orgy of destroying statues lately, but their favored graffiti for statues is “RACIST” and the like, not “IDOL.” A Leftist may have done this, or conceivably some fanatical Protestant, although that is extremely unlikely. But could it have anything to do with the introduction into Miami of a large population of people who believe that Christianity is a false, indeed idolatrous, religion, and that they are commanded to fight unbelievers so that Allah may punish them by the hands of the believers (cf. Qur’an 9:14-15)?

Could it have anything to do with the Qur’an’s suggestion that the destroyed remnants of ancient non-Muslim civilizations are a sign of Allah’s punishment of those who rejected his truth? “Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth.” (Qur’an 3:137) The ruins of non-Muslim civilizations thus bear witness to the truth of Islam. What ensues from that idea? The creation of more ruins.

Watch the video. Is the perpetrator wearing a robe or thobe? Or is this the work of a Leftist who is unwittingly (or knowingly) advancing the same agenda as that of the Islamic State and the Taliban?

“Vandals Allegedly Target Statues of the Virgin Mary in Boston, Queens,” by Amy Furr, Breitbart, July 12, 2020 (thanks to the Geller Report):

Two statues of the Virgin Mary were reportedly vandalized over the weekend in Boston, Massachusetts, and Queens, New York.

At around 10:00 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a call about a fire in the area of 284 Bowdoin Street in Dorchester, the Boston Police Department said in a Facebook post.

“On arrival at Saint Peter’s Parish Church, officers observed a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which had been set on fire,” the department noted…

In a similar instance on Friday, the Diocese of Brooklyn said the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was investigating the vandalization of another statue of the Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens.

“Security footage shows an individual approaching the 100-year-old statue shortly after 3 a.m. Friday morning and daubing the word ‘IDOL’ down its length,” the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported.

Friday, the Brooklyn Diocese Press Office tweeted video footage of the alleged incident:

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Pro-life Hour met with counter-demonstration in Ottawa

Posted by Eeyore

This is a few moments from two intersections where a one hour pro-life expression took place. At one corner there was a counter-demonstration which seemed to attempt to profane the Catholic Church, suggesting that for them, it is more than a right-to-abort issue, and perhaps more of a complete rejection of Western values.

On the Knights’ Stand…

Picking up trash and donating school supplies used to be considered good deeds. Now, they could disqualify you from public service! That’s the absurd conclusion of at least two Democratic senators, who are holding one judicial nominee hostage for daring to help a couple of Catholic charities.

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) aren’t exactly champions of religious liberty. After skewering Amy Coney Barrett, Russell Vought, and other nominees of faith, it probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that Brian Buescher, the president’s pick for U.S. District Judge, was next on the Democrats’ hit list. During his hearing in late November, the liberal duo insinuated that anyone who’s a member of a Catholic organization is incapable of being “fair or impartial.” “[Your beliefs] don’t suddenly go away just because you become a judge,” Hirono argued.

But what are those “extreme” beliefs Hirono is talking about? Social service, for one. As the Knights of Columbus explained in an open letter to both senators, what’s so objectionable about giving away more than $4,000 worth of coats to needy children or collecting diapers to mothers in need? There’s nothing nefarious or controversial about donating pop tabs to help the developmentally disabled or providing an ultrasound to a clinic — unless you’re a U.S. senator bent on religious intolerance.

“We recently read about statements which expressed the fear that the Knights of Columbus held many extreme beliefs,” the organization wrote. “It is our great pleasure to assure you that this fear is not grounded in any truth. The Knights of Columbus in general, and O’Boyle Council in particular, are dedicated to the three fundamental principles of charity, unity, and fraternity.” The group went on to explain all of the good the Knights are doing for the local community. “We hope this list of activities help to assure you that we are simply a group aiming to do God’s work while building friendships.”

Despite those assurances, Hirono asked in a follow-up questionnaire of Buescher if he would quit the Knights of Columbus. After all, she wrote, “it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.” Senator Harris followed suit, demanding to know if the Nebraskan was aware of the group’s fanatical pro-life and pro-marriage positions.

But what’s so radical about an opinion that the plurality of Americans hold? Based on last November’s exit polling (of primarily Democratic-leaning voters), man-woman marriage is still the predominate view (48-45 percent) in America! If anyone’s extreme, it’s the increasingly anti-Catholic Democratic Party, who believes that the only people who are fit to hold down a job in this country are the men and women who reject the Bible’s teachings.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who’s had enough of the far-Left’s religious tests, blasted his colleagues for trying to undermine Buescher’s qualifications with another faith-based witch-hunt. “Hopefully, in the eyes of Democrats, you are not disqualified to be a judge because of your religious affiliations and beliefs.” Later, he promised that he and the rest of the Senate majority “will not tolerate disqualifying judicial nominees because of charitable works and personal religious opinions.”

With two more senators in his column heading into 2019, President Trump has a chance to add even more solid constructionists to the bench. Let’s just hope that none of them have to go through what so many nominees already have: a bigoted interrogation meant to chase Christians out of public service. America was founded on faith predominately by people of faith. It’s time for Democrats to stop their religious test.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by FRC is republished with permission.

The Answer To Our Nation’s Ailments Is So Easy To See.

This week has witnessed the destructive and sinister actions of two deranged and evil men who sought to sow havoc and hatred upon others.  The first, of course, was the attempted (or feigned) mail bombings by an unstable individual in Miami targeting prominent Democrats.  The second is the vicious, senseless, and horrible mauling of Jews assembled within their own synagogue in Pittsburgh for the purposes of prayer, fellowship, and worship.  Obviously, neither of these events is in any way tolerable in a Republic or in American society.   And although there is, I expect, complete unanimity on this matter, the consensus breaks down with the attempt at identifying the root cause of our malady.

Many explanations can be posited for the deterioration in the interactions between Americans we have recently witnessed.  Some blame the faster-paced society in which we live.  Others discuss video games and television violence.  Still others suggest that the issue lies in the vitriol with which politicians and reporters alike engage the public and each other.  And of course, the deceitful opportunists will go further and place the blame squarely on the President of the United States.

In reality, the problem is much more elemental than this and vastly more ominous.  What we are witnessing is, quite simply, the latest manifestation of the eternal battle of good against evil where evil is winning.

The devastating consequences of a society’s abandonment of God have played out on numerous occasions.  God’s destruction of His creation in response to widespread corruption, the Jews’ struggles with their own moral frailties as they trekked across the desert in search of the Promised Land, the destruction of Sodom due to its wretchedness even before Lot’s escape, Israel’s suffering brought about by David’s moral indiscretion are but a few examples of the inverse relationship between destruction and famine and closeness to God.

But the association is not merely a physical one. Patrick Henry was correct when he wrote that religion “hath a natural tendency to correct the morals of men, restrain their vices, and preserve the peace of society.”  It was an insight shared by Congress in its creation of the Northwest Ordinance prompting it to include the words in Article 3 of its charter, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Unfortunately, the agenda-driven courts bent on sealing any porousness in the wall of separation between church and state described by Thomas Jefferson, abandoned those fundamental concepts.  And the results, similar to the countless examples painted for us in the Bible, have been nothing short of cataclysmic.  In the same time since the courts stripped our schools of prayer, the United States has seen the dissolution of its relationship to God, a deterioration in the collective faith of its citizens, and an acceleration in the hostility, hatred, and overall mayhem taking place within its borders.

Make no mistake about it, what we are witnessing is no less a complete destruction of a society than the evaporation of Sodom.  Only this time the destruction is much more foundational than a physical one.  We are witnessing the destruction of a nation’s soul, and those pointing to Donald Trump, or the Republicans, or social media, or anything short of our devolving devotion to God is losing sight of the real culprit.  The culprit is evil itself, and the only path to salvation lies in following the mandates of a Judeo-Christian God.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist Pages. It is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash.

End of the Democratic Party: Meet the Faces of the Socialist Democrat Party of America

The Democratic Party is fielding candidates that show just how far they have moved away from the party of Thomas Jefferson.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland, in a 2013 article in the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence titled “The Emerging Red-Green Alliance: Where Political Islam Meets the Radical Left” noted:

No matter how unlikely it may seem, radical Leftists and Islamists have come closer in recent years. Drawing on substantial ideological interchange, and operating at both state and non-state levels, the two movements are building a Common Front against the United States and its allies. In this article, we use framing theory to examine the contemporary convergence of political Islam and the radical Left. Both radical Leftists and Islamists have utilized the master frame of anti-globalization/anti-capitalism and the master frame of anti-colonialism/anti-imperialism to elicit support from the widest possible range of people. The emerging Red-Green alliance presents a complex challenge that will require careful attention from U.S. and European policymakers.

Here’s a video flashback when Chris Matthews asks key leaders of the Democratic Party about the difference between a Socialist and Democrat:

Today America’s Democratic Party resembles a real red/green alliance.

The Democrats are truly the party of Karl Marx and Mohammad. The new faces of the Democratic Party are either Socialist Democrats, like Ocasio-Cortea or Islamists, like Linda Sarsour and Rep. Keith Ellison. Many have written about the coming Red/Green alliance. We are now seeing it in the form of candidates who are winning Democratic Party primaries.

Watch Ocasio-Cortex try to describe the difference between Socialism and Democratic Socialism on ABC’s The View:

The Oxford Dictionary defines Socialism and Democratic Socialism as follows:

Socialism:

A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism. (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.

Democratic Socialism:

A form of socialism pursued by democratic rather than autocratic or revolutionary means, especially by respecting a democratically elected legislature as the source of political change; (also more generally) moderate or centrist socialism.

Groups like Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Occupy Wall Street, Women’s March and Families Belong Together all demand radical changes to American policies.

The July/August 2017 issue of The Atlantic had an article titled “What’s Wrong With the Democrats?” by Franklin Foer. Foer wrote:

Leaderless and loud, the Resistance has become the motive power of the Democratic Party…  The feistiness and agitation of the moment are propelling the party to a new place.

But where? The question unnerves Democrats, because the party has no scaffolding… Resistance has given the Democrats the illusion of unity, but the reality is deeply conflicted…

To produce a governing majority, the party will need to survive an unsettling reckoning with itself. Donald Trump didn’t just prevail over the Democrats; he called into doubt their old truths. [Emphasis added]

The Democratic Party is eating its own. Watch this video about how Hispanic Democratic Socialist candidate Ocasio-Cortex won the Democrat primary in New York because she targeted her Democratic opponent was white.

As a young man I was a JFK Democrat. He was my American idol. It was the time of Camelot and at the peak of American economic, political and military power. JFK embodied a vision of the future that Americans embraced.

The party of JFK is long gone. Rising from its ashes is the red/green alliance.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is titled “Red Green Axis, Alliance, Flag A” by CaciqueCaribe.

Judicial Secularists Attack Religious Freedom

On June 7, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida dealt the latest blow to religious freedom in our country.

The case arose from a request by Cambridge Christian High School, which had earned the opportunity to compete in the 2A division playoffs finals, to use the stadium’s public announcement system in prayer prior to the beginning of the game. The team’s opponent was another Christian school equally devoted to serving God and to conducting itself in His image with every activity it undertakes.

Citing issues of potential coercion and fearing that such prayer might be offensive to others, Dr. Roger Dearing, the executive director of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), declined the request.

Of course, in so doing, Dr. Dearing dismissed the fact that the same FHSAA had approved such a request in 2012. He also dismissed the national tradition of engaging in prayer prior to the start of a football game. And most astoundingly he ignored that both teams, meaning all parties involved, wished to engage in a unified prayer as one community under Christ.

Following the denial, Cambridge Christian brought the case to the judiciary for consideration. After all, they weren’t asking for the announcer to lead everyone in prayer. They weren’t asking for the FHSAA to buy new equipment. They weren’t even asking for the game to be delayed for one moment because, in point of fact, the two teams were going to pray on the field and in front of the fans anyway.

No. The only question they were asking was, “Hey, man, can I borrow your microphone?”

Court predictably quashed religious freedom

But almost predictably, the court ruled against religious freedom citing issues of perceived endorsement of religion by government and of the infringement praying might have on the rights of others (yes, this is not a misprint).

Every time I learn of a case like this, I am baffled at the extent to which the state squashes the public’s ability to pray in an open forum merely because of government’s presence. This catastrophic road upon which the Supreme Court of the United States has placed us suppresses our right to worship and to pay reverence to God — in direct violation of the original intent First Amendment.  It ignores the spiritual aspects of human existence, and most importantly, casts aside the foundational roles of religion and religious worship in our nation’s birth.

Repeatedly, I am told that the reason for following this road is the wall of separation between church and state espoused by Thomas Jefferson in his letter written on the first day of 1802 to the members of the Danbury Baptist Church.

But there is so much that runs counter to this assertion.

First, President Jefferson’s comment was completely extrajudicial in nature.

Second, the concept of a wall of separation between church and state has been tainted by the agenda-driven nature of the Supreme Court’s 20th-century opinions. Following the 19th-century Court’s introduction of Jefferson’s wall into the legal corpus, the first two 20th-century cases invoking it did so in an effort to keep the government from interfering with state-based, religious-supporting programs.

But in 1947, the Court changed direction to one that would inhibit, rather than support, religious worship. With its McCollum decision, the court prohibited Bible verses from being recited in public schools, and later, it struck down prayer in schools as well as the observance of even a bland and neutral moment of silence.

The subsequent deterioration in the nation’s moral posture and the breakdown in the family as a central societal unit are the predictable consequences of these actions.

An alternative route ensuring freedoms

But lost in these recitations is the overt bias the Court displayed in selecting Jefferson’s wall of separation in its interpretation of the First Amendment.

Let’s consider a few similarly applicable observations made by some of the nation’s foundational greats in equally extrajudicial fashion.  George Mason, in writing the Virginia Bill of Rights, wrote, “all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and. . . it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.” His proposed amendment was subsequently approved by the Virginia legislature, the same legislature Madison and Jefferson inhabited — a far greater weight of influence than one man’s personal letter.

Based on Mason’s language, would it not have been more appropriate for a 20th century court to hold that in interpreting the First Amendment we should recognize that our nation was created with the purpose of guaranteeing that all men be able to engage in Christian forbearance? If so, wouldn’t using a public microphone for spontaneously requested prayer be not only allowed, but encouraged?

Or how about using John Marshall, the most prolific justice in the history of the Supreme Court? When asked about the nexus of Christianity and the nation’s government, he wrote in a letter, just like Jefferson did, that, “The American population. . . is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institution did not presuppose Christianity.”

Consequently, wouldn’t a more appropriate truism for the Supreme Court to follow in its interpretation of the First Amendment be that the United States of America, through its foundation and its culture, presupposes Christianity?

Or consider the observation made by Justice Joseph Story, one of the early members of the Supreme Court, who extra-judicially wrote, “My own private judgment has long been (and every day’s experience more and more confirms me in it) that government cannot long exist without an alliance with religion to some extent; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundations of free government.”

From this, wouldn’t a more appropriate guide for the interpretation of the First Amendment be that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests, foundations, and existence of these United States of America?

Back the need for a legislative override

If any of these guides had been adopted instead of, or perhaps in addition to, Jefferson’s wall of separation, imagine how different American jurisprudence would be as it relates to religious liberty and our freedom to worship! Sharia law would be an impossible legal threat, and the concepts of love for one’s neighbor and respect for the dignity of man would be freely taught in our schools under the direct supervision of the community’s parents.

From this analysis a few conclusions may be reached.

First, there is no inherent reason for Jefferson’s wall of separation, at least as the courts apply it today, to be the only compass in interpreting the First Amendment of the Constitution. So long as all religious views are respected, the government can peacefully cohabitate with worshipers be they Christian, Jewish, or any peace-loving faith.

Second, neither the people of this great nation nor its elected representatives selected the road our nation has traversed regarding religious liberty. Instead, it was embraced by an oligarchy of legalists unaccountable to the will of the people.

Consequently, if it is true that the Courts have interpreted the Constitution in a manner inconsistent with the will of the people, then isn’t it up to We The People, as the true purveyors of the Constitution, to override an opinion of such a Court and reverse an ill-conceived opinion? We know, through their writings, that at least Jefferson and Madison would think so.

Truly, the road we are following regarding our religious freedom is nothing short of harrowing. It has diminished our sense of morality and has curtailed our abilities to teach our children that there are things bigger than themselves.

It is time for our country to navigate back to the road built upon Christian forbearance; the same road that would lead us to the shining city on the hill.

RELATED ARTICLE: 2 Cases Threaten to Shut Down Public Prayer. Why the Supreme Court May Need to Act.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act.

Religious Protection Gone Wild

The First Amendment guarantees Americans the freedom of religion in the “establishment” clause:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Words matter, so the first question that must be answered is a matter of definition. What is religion?

The dictionary defines religion as:

  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
  2. A particular system of faith and worship.
  3. A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes superhuman importance.

Dictionaries have been used for centuries to help codify the meaning of words in an attempt to make language useful. Without accepted specific meanings for words it is impossible to communicate through language effectively. Language is the common denominator of speech. Even biblical stories express the importance of the meaning of words as they are understood or misunderstood in any language. The most famous example is the biblical story of The Tower of Babel that begins with everyone on Earth speaking the same language and able to understand each other. Whether the scattering of people around the world was a punishment for hubris or not, the consequence was that people began speaking different languages and could no longer understand each other.

But what happens when people speaking the same language no longer understand each other because they interpret the meaning of the same words differently? That is the situation we are facing in contemporary American society today.

The second question that must be answered is a matter of interpretation. What does religion mean to you?

Thomas Jefferson wrote eloquently on the subject in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists who worried about their minority status in Connecticut. Jefferson was reassuring the Baptists that being a minority religion would not be a problem in a Protestant majority state as far as the federal government was concerned.

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”(Wikipedia)

Jefferson’s letter clearly indicates that for Jefferson, religion was a matter of Man and God. Jefferson’s interpretation was the widely accepted and understood view of religion in the early 18th century. By the 20th century the U.S. Supreme Court “incorporated” the Establishment Clause and expanded its application from the federal government to the state governments as well.

The practical application of the freedom of religion also requires a uniform understanding of the meaning and interpretation of the word religion. The Exercise Clause clarifies the supremacy of Constitutional laws and freedoms over religious laws and freedoms. This is particularly important in contemporary America because we are facing “religious” practices of Islam that threaten our Constitutional freedoms.

The Free Exercise Clause distinguishes between religions beliefs and religious practices. It is the equivalence of distinguishing between thinking and doing. In America an individual is free to think murderous thoughts but he is not free to murder. Islam is a religion governed by religious Sharia Law that endorses honor killings, female genital mutilation, murder of apostates, murder of homosexuals, wife beatings, child marriage and pedophilia. American jurisaprudence does not have the will or authority to change people’s beliefs whether they are citizens of the United States, guests in this country, here illegally, or citizens of other countries, but we most certainly have the right and legal obligation to disallow any and all practices in conflict with the U.S. Constitution and our cultural norms. Free Exercise Clause (Wikipedia)

“Freedom of religion means freedom to hold an opinion or belief, but not to take action in violation of social duties or subversive to good order.”[28] In Reynolds v. United States (1878), the Supreme Court found that while laws cannot interfere with religious belief and opinions, laws can be made to regulate some religious practices (e.g., human sacrifices, and the Hindu practice of suttee). The Court stated that to rule otherwise, “would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government would exist only in name under such circumstances.”[29] In Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940), the Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied the Free Exercise Clause to the states. While the right to have religious beliefs is absolute, the freedom to act on such beliefs is not absolute.

In Jefferson’s time as in Truman’s time the meaning of the word religion was understood as items 1 and 2:

  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
  2. A particular system of faith and worship.

Seventy years later in 2017 we must reconsider the meaning of the word religion and ask the question What is Islam?

Islam is not a religion like Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, or Judaism. Islam is a unified supremacist socio-political system with a military wing and a religious wing. Islam is governed by religious sharia law. The goal of Islam since the 7th century is to make the world Islamic and impose sharia law worldwide.

Islam is tyrannical in its demand for conformity to its barbaric sharia laws. Islam is intolerant. Islam is a political force seeking world dominion and cannot be allowed religious protections like the Baptists in Connecticut during Jefferson’s times.

Islam is far more like the Nazis during Hitler’s time. Consider this question. What if Hitler declared Nazism to be a religion. It certainly qualifies as a religion according to Item 3. A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes superhuman importance.

If Adolph Hitler declared his Nazism a religion would the left-wing liberal apologists for Islam defend Nazism and its determination to rule the world and rid the Earth of every Jew? Would the lefty-wing liberals declare murder of Jews protected by religious freedom? How is this different from allowing Muslims to perpetrate honor killings, female genital mutilation, murder of apostates, murder of homosexuals, wife beatings, child marriage, and pedophilia.

There is no difference.

If, as apologists for Islamic barbarity claim, Islamists have perverted their religion – then it is also true that they have perverted our concept of religious freedom. Islam is not a religion like any other and its savage practices do not deserve protection under our religious freedom laws and the free exercise clause.

U.S. Catholic bishops complicit in Muslim persecution of Christians

Recently I was interviewed about the persecution by Catholic bishops of Catholic priests who enunciate unpopular truths about Islam.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

“Islamic Expert: US Bishops Complicit in Muslim Persecution of Christians,” by Anita Carey, ChurchMilitant.com, May 8, 2017:

DETROIT (ChurchMiltant.com) – A prominent Islamic expert is comparing the bishops’ silence on terrorism to sex abuse cover-up. Robert Spencer, an Islamic terror expert and author of 16 books on Islam, released an editorial Sunday excoriating the U.S. bishops’ actions to punish clergy and schoolteachers who speak out against Islam, including Spencer himself.

“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops moves actively and swiftly to silence and demonize voices that tell the truth about the Muslim persecution of Christians,” Spencer noted, naming various bishops who’ve refused him, as well as other Muslim critics, a platform in their dioceses.

“You can reject every element of the Nicene Creed and everything the Church teaches, and still the U.S. Catholic Bishops will consider you a Catholic in good standing,” he continued. “But if you believe that Islam is not a religion of peace, you have no place in the U.S. Catholic Church.”

Church Militant spoke with Spencer on his thoughts regarding the reasons why the U.S. bishops are so reluctant to speak out against the evil of Islam.

CM: At what point do you think the bishops started to pander to a politically correct agenda?

RS: This is an outgrowth of the confusion that overtook the Church in the wake of Vatican II, and the popular but erroneous idea among liberal Catholics that the Church had discarded its tradition and dogmas and essentially embraced the leftist agenda. This idea took root in earnest in the 1960s, but began germinating long before that.

CM: Knowing the historical conflicts between Islam and Christianity, why would the bishops be so quick and severe toward those who are informing the laity? Why would they want the laity ignorant?

RS: This mystifies me, but my best assessment is that this is an outgrowth of the spirit of Vatican II, which called upon Muslims and Christians to set aside ancient antagonisms and find common ground. There is a general assumption among the bishops that just as Christianity has changed since the time of the Crusades, so also has Islam, and dialog will iron out any remaining differences.

In reality, this is an unfounded assumption, as Islamic teaching has not changed, and still contains an imperative to wage war against Christians and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law. I would expect that most bishops, however, would dismiss the idea that Islamic teaching contains such an imperative as an “Orientalist” and “Islamophobic” false claim. They, however, are the ones who are ignorant.

CM: What do you think the bishops’ problem is with your talks and position on Islam?

RS: I’m told that Bp. Nicholas Samra believes that I am “spreading hate,” and since I was a member of his diocese, he himself told me that many bishops had approached him at the USCCB conference telling him that he had to “do something” about me. They apparently believe that I am harming the dialog they are conducting with Muslims, and they apparently also think that this dialog is producing results, even though Muslim persecution of Christians has increased exponentially since it began.

For my part, I reject the charge that I am spreading hate, and challenge Samra or any other bishop to quote a single hateful statement from my work. I am exposing facts that many would prefer to keep concealed; the “hate” charge is simply an attempt to make people of good will turn against my work.

CM: If the bishops do start to speak out against Islam, will it make Christian persecution worse or start an all-out war? 

RS: In Islamic law, Christians must live in subservience and submission to Islamic law. If they speak out about their plight, it will get even worse for them, and their lives could be forfeit. Thus they generally adopt an attitude of publicly praising and siding with those who persecute them, so that it won’t get even worse for them. This is the attitude that the bishops now appear to have adopted as well: Samra himself told me that I shouldn’t speak out against Muslim persecution of Christians, as doing so would only make matters worse for Middle-Eastern Christians.

While I am aware of that possibility, at the same time to dissimulate about the nature and magnitude of that persecution only misleads Christians outside the Middle East into complacency. It also just validates and reinforces violent intimidation. It is incumbent upon the bishops as messengers of the truth to tell the whole truth about what is happening to the Christians of the Middle East, and to reject a submission to Islamic intimidation that would condemn our children and our children’s children to slavery. To accept that intimidation and lie or remain silent because of it is only to encourage more such intimidation. They could speak out while working to ensure that the United States and other powers do everything they can to protect the remaining Christians in the Middle East from further persecution.

CM: What can the faithful do to influence the bishops or fight back against the liberal media?

RS: Call them to tell the truth. When they issue statements about Islam that are dishonest and misleading, challenge them. I have been severely criticized for criticizing bishops. Many Catholics seem to think that to do so is disloyal to the Church. On the contrary, I believe that not to call out bishops when they are sinful and wrong is even more disloyal to the Church. It is the kind of thinking that led to the pedophilia scandals.

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Offending Certain People is OK

When it comes to offending, only certain people matter.

The list of offended people is seemingly approaching a mile in length. Whether it is feminists, black lives matter grumps, homosexuals, trans-genderites, animal lovers, lesbians, socialists, bisexuals, communists, Muslims, atheists, pro-abortion advocates, pro agenda 21 zealots, open border and illegal immigrant supporters, etc., etc. of course there are numerous other special interest and dangerous groups and individuals who are overly sensitive. Yet they are the first ones to verbally and sometime physically rip into those who do not agree with their destructive motives and missions.

Recently, president Obama stated “Congress will still be gridlocked. State houses will continue to roll back voting rights and write discrimination into the law.” The sensitive president also said, “we see it right here in Mississippi, just two weeks ago, how swiftly progress can hurdle backward, how easily it is to single out a small group and marginalize them because of who they are, or who they love.” The president has made a career out of promoting his warped view of offending certain people or progressive oriented groups.

I have also noticed a consistent theme among the variety of easily offended people promoters. They go out of their hypocritical way to offend Christians, American Patriots, Black Americans who don’t want to be hyphenated or African Americans, pro-lifers, those who appreciate the successful traditional family, capitalism, or even men or women who just want to use a plain old fashion rest room. Those same offenders are of course themselves offended by everything that is good for America, the traditional family, the free market economy and free speech for all sovereign citizens are the biggest hypocrites throughout humanity. To be perfectly honest, progressive hypocrisy is one of the most dangerous of all aspects of American society today.

Not only to certain groups like Christians, or people who simply want bathrooms for either women or men, but to our beloved republic as a whole. Hypocritical progressive hypocrisy is one of the most destructive aspects of today’s American society. The progressives have for decades bemoaned the racist history of America. Yet they ignore and are not offended by the current ongoing racist traditions of Muslims who actually believe that black people do not have souls. To add insult to their evil societal injury, the progressives (including president Obama) seek to flood America with Muslims who make KKK members look like Boy Scouts. Oops! Remember how the hypocritical easily offended progressives were offended by the Boy Scouts because of their one-time practice of traditional Biblically based values?

When good education is replaced with immoral, politicized, progressive indoctrination that includes an exaggeration of the problem of racism in America. The end result is the multi-generational decline in the quality of life, for the very sovereign citizens the progressives like to say they are trying to help. An even bigger insult is the fact that the progressives actually know that their so-called solutions will not work. For me, that is very offensive.

Progressives are often offended by what is good because, their goal is to fundamentally change America into the total evil opposite of the great republic she was meant to be. When president Obama assumed office, he openly told the American people that he would “unite the country.” However, behind closed doors he plotted the opposite and through numerous deeds of his, our republic is more divided now than during almost any time since the civil war.

But at least during the civil war era, the lines of division were clearly defined. Both sides were ready and willing to fight for their position. The major issues were states rights, slavery and a little economics thrown in for good measure. People were offended by clearly defined issues or practices. Not stupid stuff like bathroom use identification, the denial of Christian prayers in school while allowing or teaching Muslim prayers. Or even, whether students can sing the national anthem in public. Just recently, aa group of middle school students from North Carolina visiting the 911 memorial in New York City. They were inspired to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice serving others dealing with the aftermath of the Muslim attacks. As a result, the students began singing the national anthem. But because of political correctness and certain people being easily offended, they were ordered to stop. Of course, after being embarrassed on FOX News, the students were allowed to return to the 911 memorial and sing.

I am willing to bet that those hypocrites who didn’t want to hear the national anthem performance would not lift a finger or a decibel of verbal protest if a mob of black lives matter grumps were to show up and block roads while shouting their hateful garbage. It is sad we have society where people are more offended by a patriotic song by students than many foul occurrences in our nations streets. Such as thousands of Muslims blocking streets in Brooklyn, NY on a recent Friday morning, as they tried to intimidate Americans while they bumped their heads on the pavement while calling out to their little god. Yes, my fellow American, our republic is divided like never before.

But despite the hypocrisy of our easily offended sensibilities today, I remain optimistic that through it all “We the People” will band together and through the wisdom of God, wrestle America away from those who are hell bent on destroying her through offenses and hypocrisy.

Personal Character Conquers Another Welfare-State Tragedy

On a fateful day he’ll never forget, 18-year-old Lawrence (“Larry”) Cooper, an unmarried black man and high school dropout, found himself on the wrong side of the law. He attempted an armed robbery of a store in downtown Savannah, Georgia. It was April 1987. The cash involved? A mere $80, enough to finance his cocaine habit for less than a day. Larry was caught and sent to a maximum-security prison.

One month after Larry’s arrest, his son was born. The boy wouldn’t see his father outside of a cell until November 2015, when his dad was finally released.

“I wasn’t there to even sign the birth certificate,” Larry told me just a month ago.

These lamentable chapters of the Larry Cooper story are distressingly familiar in America.

Today, incarcerated black American males number about 750,000. That’s more than the entire prison populations of India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel, and England combined. In August 2013, a report from the Sentencing Project on Racial Disparities in the United States Criminal Justice System revealed that “one of every three black American males born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime.”

The leading cause of incarceration of black males is nonviolent drug offenses. This is no accident. As President Richard Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser and Watergate co-conspirator John Ehrlichman revealed in a 1994 interview,

We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

The next leading causes are false accusations, then crimes against persons, followed by crimes against property. Economist Thomas Sowell argues convincingly, as do many others, that the genuinely criminal behavior — the violations of person and property — have much less to do with racism and poverty than they have to do with the debilitating, family-busting policies of the welfare state. (And it doesn’t help that poor, inner-city families are often trapped in lousy government schools.) Sowell observes,

Murder rates among black males were going down — repeat, down — during the much lamented 1950s, while [they] went up after the much celebrated 1960s, reaching levels more than double what they had been before. Most black children were raised in two-parent families prior to the 1960s. But today the great majority of black children are raised in one-parent families. Such trends are not unique to blacks, nor even to the United States. The welfare state has led to remarkably similar trends among the white underclass in England over the same period.… You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large.

Larry Cooper was one of the statistics, a prime candidate for exhibit A in this national tragedy. But today, he’s well on his way to a life of honor and redemption. Perhaps the jury on him is still out, but I’m betting he’s a hero in the making.

Growing up in Savannah in the 1970s and ‘80s, Larry faced the challenges posed by a broken family.

“My dad had 33 kids with six or seven women,” he informed me in a February 2016 interview over breakfast.

“Mom and Dad separated early, so Dad just wasn’t around. I saw him maybe twice a year.”

As a teenager, Larry started skipping school, stealing, smoking marijuana, and then doing cocaine.

“I dropped out of school when I was 16 and it broke my mama’s heart,” he said. His mother implored him to find employment so he took a landscaping job that lasted only a week before he was in the streets again.

Hanging out with the wrong people, trapped in a vicious circle of using drugs and stealing what he could to afford more — and with only a brokenhearted mother at home to offer any hope at all — Larry was headed for destruction. His poor choices caught up with him two years later with a 10-year sentence for armed robbery. But things would get much worse before they would get better.

Bad behavior, including aggravated assault, earned Larry additional prison time — a grand total of 28 years. He went in at age 18 and emerged at 47. It will be another decade before he can say he’s been a free man for as long as he wasn’t.

“Over the years while behind bars,” Larry says, “I thought more and more about what my mama had told me. She said this would happen if I didn’t straighten up. She prayed hard for me, all the time. She visited me as much as she could. I still remember how bad I felt when she once came to see me but was turned away because I was ‘in the hole’ for bad things I done. But she never gave up on me.”

I asked Larry what the low point of his time in prison was. I expected it might have been a run-in with a guard or another inmate, an ugly incident of short duration.

His answer: “Seven years in solitary confinement.”

Seven years?” I exclaimed.

“Yes, and every day it was the same: one hour out in the yard, 15 minutes in the shower, and then 22 hours and 45 minutes in solitary,” he replied. “At first, I was in despair. But then I started reading and then writing to folks, exercising in my cell and thinking hard about what had happened to me and what was going on in my life. It took those long hours by myself to make me come to my senses and start feeling bad about the people I stole from, all the friends and family I had hurt. Things mama told me finally started to have an effect on me.”

Larry’s mother arranged his baptism when he was a child, but he never made time to read more than a few words of the Bible — or anything else, for that matter. A prison chaplain introduced him to a Bible study course conducted by mail. Larry enrolled and completed it.

“That’s when my life really began to change,” he told me. “Ever since that course, I’ve been a different man. I’ve settled down. I use my brain now. I’m no longer the man I used to be.”

Larry’s personal and spiritual recovery were well underway before I’d ever heard of him. His reading had brought him into contact with ideas of political and economic liberty. He wrote my former place of employment in Michigan, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, asking for more information. My old colleagues there forwarded his letter on to me at FEE, and that began a correspondence that now fills two shoeboxes on a shelf in my home office.

Never before had I contemplated developing a friendship with a man in prison. I wouldn’t know how to begin. If Larry hadn’t taken the initiative to contact me, such an undertaking would never have happened. I now count it as a great blessing in my life.

Larry was much more diligent in writing than I was, I confess with some remorse.

“I had more time on my hands than you did,” he jokes.

But I’m pleased to have helped deepen his understanding of liberty by sending him many books and articles.

“Were there any particular things I sent you that made a big impact?”

Without skipping a beat, he replied, “Yes. One was your book, A Republic — If We Can Keep It and the other was What It Means to Be a Libertarian by Charles Murray.” The reader will excuse me, I hope, if I report this with a smile and considerable pride.

Larry and I corresponded but never spoke by phone until after his release. I was looking forward to the day when I could finally drive down to Savannah to spend time with him. Until we met, I didn’t even know what he looked like, but we embraced as if we were brothers.

We dined at the Bonefish Grill on Abercorn Street, then went to see the fantastic film Race about Olympian Jesse Owens. The next morning, we had breakfast, and I recorded the interview with him that this article is based on before visiting the public library on Bull Street so I could show Larry how to create his first email account.

I learned much from Larry during that breakfast interview. For example, he opposes the drug war from a vantage point I’ve never experienced — from inside prison walls where, he says, “drugs are everywhere.” I asked him where they come from.

“All sorts of ways and places,” he said. “Guys out on work detail get ‘em. People throw ‘em over the prison gate. Guards and officers bring ‘em in.”

Larry’s views on current issues are interesting, but his personal transformation is, to me at least, positively captivating. As the well-known expression puts it, “I love it when a plan comes together.” The sad part of it is that Larry’s mother, one of the few anchors in his life, died just three months before he earned his freedom.

“At first I couldn’t believe it,” he recalled. “She was living for the day I would get out, which was the day after Thanksgiving, 2015. It really hit me at Christmas. At my first Christmas dinner as a free man in 28 years, family and old friends got together. Everybody was there but mama. It took me so many years to realize how important your character is. Thanks to mama and my faith, I’m not going to ever let it slip again.”

The Salvation Army in Savannah is generously providing Larry with a place to live and a church to attend on Sundays as he puts his new life together. He’s working two jobs, one with a prestigious catering service and the other with a local staffing firm that places him in short-term stints at manual labor.

He doesn’t want welfare.

“I try to earn every penny I get,” he asserts proudly. He’s both optimistic and excited about his future. He’d love to start a new family.

“I want to prove to myself that I can be a good independent man and make amends for what I did. I take one day at a time, but my spirits are real good.”

After all Larry’s been through and with freedom so new to him, I suppose there’s a chance of a relapse. Surely there will be occasional bumps on his ongoing road of recovery. I hope I’ve encouraged him and can continue to do so.

There are many lessons here: Strong families and good parenting can make all the difference in the world. Building character for navigating the pitfalls of life is a priceless undertaking you’ll likely never regret. Don’t underestimate the value of a mother who never gives up on a wayward son. Through an inner transformation, in this case facilitated by a spiritual renewal, even the seemingly incorrigible can turn his or her life around. Never miss an opportunity to encourage someone who is clearly trying to do the right thing.

I intend to stay in touch with Larry Cooper. I’ll watch his progress and assist with it if and when I can. He’s already taught me a valuable truth: that heroes aren’t always the ones who make the headlines or the history books. They may just be on the other side of a wall.

For further information, see:

Lawrence W. ReedLawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.

Donald Trump is a ‘Christian Nationalist’

I have written that Donald Trump went from running a campaign, to heading a movement and is now leading an insurgency. Until today I could not define what was driving this insurgency. I may now have the answer.

Karl Marx wrote: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people“.

Donald Trump is viewed by his followers as the heart of a heartless world, the soul fighting a soulless government and he understands that it is morals that drives him and the American dream. It is religion that is inextricably linked to politics in America. It is something citizens have not seen since the American Revolution.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”

Gandhi also said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Michael Savage in his column “Here’s how to define Donald Trump” writes:

And I want to define something for you.

Here’s something important. People don’t know how to define Donald Trump.

I’ve defined him as a moderate nationalist. But I’m going to redefine Donald Trump for everyone listening to this show around the world on “The Savage Nation,” because I’m the idea man. I’m known as the idea man.

And here’s your idea. Take it, run with it, drop it, reject it, debate it.

Trump is a Christian nationalist.

No one’s said that.

He’s proud to be a Christian. He is a proud Christian, and he’s a proud American nationalist.

This is anathema. This is anathema to the media. This is anathema to the university America haters. This is anathema to the thuggish left who has taken over everything in this country and threatens everybody by threatening your advertisers if you dare speak out about their communism and their desire to control every aspect of our life from top to bottom, telling us what we’re supposed to think about sexuality.

Everything; they tell us what we’re supposed to think.

Well, finally we have someone who said: “Drop dead. We’re not your slaves. We’re not slaves of the radical left. We’re not gonna eat this garbage anymore, and we’re fighting back.”

And he is the man carrying the banner of this Christian nationalism, and that is why he’s ruffling feathers around the world, because they’re used to stamping on us.

They have disrobed the Statue of Liberty and molested her. The radical left has disrobed her and rolled her in mud, and the Statue of Liberty is crying, and Donald Trump wants to clean her and clothe her again! [Emphasis added]

Read more.

Trump is a church militant. The Church Militant comprises the souls on Earth engaged in battle against the forces evil. The evils that Trump and the insurgency are battling are: political correctness, political power, collectivism, Communism, socialism and radical Islamism. All of which are forces of evil.

I can now define the insurgency as a “Christian insurgency” and Donald Trump embodies the core of it.

This is why Trump is winning.

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The Bible and Hayek on What We Owe Strangers by Sarah Skwire

It’s so much easier to sympathize with our own problems and with the problems of those we love than with the problems of complete strangers.

Adam Smith observes in The Theory of Moral Sentiments that our ability to sympathize with ourselves is, in fact, so out of all proportion to our ability to sympathize with others that the thought of losing one of our little fingers can keep us up all night in fearful anticipation, while we can sleep easily with the knowledge that hundreds of thousands on the opposite side of the world have just died in an earthquake.

Hayek makes the same point in The Fatal Conceit:

Moreover, the structures of the extended order are made up not only of individuals but also of many, often overlapping, sub-orders within which old instinctual responses, such as solidarity and altruism, continue to retain some importance by assisting voluntary collaboration, even though they are incapable, by themselves, of creating a basis for the more extended order. Part of our present difficulty is that we must constantly adjust our lives, our thoughts and our emotions, in order to live simultaneously within different kinds of orders according to different rules.

It may not be the best part of our humanity, but it is a very human part. We care more about those we see more often, understand more thoroughly, and with whom we share more in common.

And maybe that’s not so bad. We treat family differently, after all. My daughter will get a giant pink fluffy stuffed unicorn from me on her birthday. I don’t believe that I am similarly obligated to provide fuzzy equines for all other eight-year-olds. Different treatment is a way of acknowledging different kinds of bonds between people and different levels of responsibility to them.

All of this is on my mind because the other night, after I gave a talk on liberty and culture, an audience member and I had a discussion about banking, debt, and interest rates during which he carefully explained to me how Jews lend each other money for no interest, but when they lend to Christians, the sky’s the limit. Everyone knows it, because it’s in the Bible.

He was right, sort of. It is in the Bible, sort of.

It’s right there in Deuteronomy 23:

You shall not give interest to your brother [whether it be] interest on money, interest on food, or interest on any [other] item for which interest is [normally] taken. You may [however], give interest to a gentile, but to your brother you shall not give interest, in order that the Lord your God shall bless you in every one of your endeavors on the land to which you are coming to possess.

But textual interpretation is a tricky business. And textual interpretation of a text that has existed for thousands of years and been wrangled with by millions of interpreters — well, it doesn’t get much trickier than that.

But it seems worth noting that the word used here (both in translation and in Hebrew) is literally “brother.” This has been interpreted over the years to mean “fellow Jew.” But the word, as given, is brother.

What I think the passage means to emphasize by using this word — regardless of whether we are talking about literal brothers, or just “brothers” — is the importance and of treating those who are closest to us with particular care and concern. The kind of business relationship that is part of Hayek’s extended order, or that is located in an outer ring of Smith’s concentric circles of sympathy, doesn’t come with extra moral responsibilities to one another. A price is agreed on. A bargain is struck. An exchange is made. Everyone is content. But in an intimate order — with brothers or sisters, husbands or wives, parents or children — we have a responsibility to give more and do more than in the extended order.

And so observant Jews are told that they should not pay or charge interest to brothers — whomever they consider those brothers to be.

Though it has been interpreted uncharitably by many over the years, this passage from Deuteronomy is not a passage about cheating the outsider. This is a passage about taking special care of those who are closest to our hearts. It’s hard to find anything to object to in that.

Sarah SkwireSarah Skwire

Sarah Skwire is the poetry editor of the Freeman and a senior fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. She is a poet and author of the writing textbook Writing with a Thesis. She is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.