Did Jefferson Really Edit Out the Miracles from his Bible?

Aug 4, 2019

Once in a while, the myth that Thomas Jefferson edited down the Bible in order to remove the miraculous, resurfaces. He supposedly did this because he was essentially an unbeliever who thought that religion had no place in the public square.

A couple of years ago, I teamed up with a pastor from Jefferson’s home town of Charlottesville, Virginia, Dr. Mark Beliles, to write a book on the faith of our third president. The book is Doubting Thomas: The Religious Life and Legacy of Thomas Jefferson (MorganJames, 2014).

There are two main points to our book.

1)         Whatever serious doubts he may have privately held later in life, Jefferson was not a lifelong skeptic. In fact, when he was most productive and helpful to the country, he was from all outward appearances a practicing Christian. This would include when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom (1777, passed in 1786), which says that because of the example of the “holy author of our religion” (Jesus), people should be free to believe or disbelieve.

2)         Regardless of whatever theological unorthodoxy he held (later in life), he did not believe in the separation of God and government—which is the way the ACLU and other secularists try to portray him.

For example, on a regular basis, when he was president, Jefferson attended the Christian worship services held at the U.S. Capitol building—services he approved of, which continued long after he was president.

As president, Jefferson took time one night in 1804 to cull through the sayings of Jesus as found in the four Gospels. Why did he do this?

The title he himself put on this unpublished work gives us a clue: The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted From the Account of His Life and Doctrines as Given by Matthew, Mark, Luke & John; Being an Abridgement of the New Testament for the Use of the Indians Unembarrassed with Matters of Fact or Faith Beyond the Level of Their Comprehensions.

This abridgement, clearly intended for the Indians, was not a biography of Jesus, only His “philosophy” as the title states. As such it left out most material found in the Gospels that did not fit the goal of compiling a “philosophy,” but there is no evidence of a motive to delete all of the miracles or evidences of Jesus’ divinity.

As our third president, Jefferson had made the largest land addition in American history with the Louisiana Purchase. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of Native-Americans, many of whom had never heard about Jesus, were added to American territory. He wanted them to benefit from the moral teachings of Jesus Christ.

Jefferson believed: “Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.” (Letter to William Canby, September 18, 1813).

Much thought in the Christian world has gone toward important theological matters like the nature of Christ (as fully divine and fully human), and the nature of the Godhead—Three Persons, One God (the Trinity). Jefferson felt (perhaps condescendingly) that such matters of theology and philosophy were beyond the Indians. As a result, he wanted to simplify Christ’s teachings. He may have been misguided, but there’s no evidence that his motive was secularization or anti-supernaturalism, as many today claim.

Jefferson wanted the Native-Americas benefit from Jesus’ moral teachings–things we take for granted, like: the golden rule (i.e., do unto others as you would have them do unto you, Matthew 7:12) or the command to love one another, as Christ loves us (John 13:33).

There is no evidence I am aware of that Jefferson ever published “The Philosophy of Jesus.” There is evidence that around 1819, he created a second version of his private book, this time in English (the King James Version), in French, in Latin, and in Greek (the language of the Gospels). It was only published long after his death. (See Mark Beliles, The Selected Religious Letters and Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 2013, pp. 397-429).

Apparently, he used this compilation of the teachings of Jesus for his own personal edification.

Here are some miracles that remain the so-called “Jefferson Bible”:

Jefferson’s approach to the Bible, to strip away some of its rich doctrine in Christology or in the beauty of the Godhead, is not commendable or worthy of imitation. But contrary to what some atheists say today, Jefferson was not on a crusade to edit the miracles out of the Bible.

http://www.jerrynewcombe.com/7452-2/

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Spiritual highlights during Apollo 11’s moon landing

Chuck Norris relates little-known religious observations during historic event

I read a fairly wide array of books and periodicals. One of the latter I really enjoy is the American Family Journal.

In the July 2019 issue, Associate Editor Rusty Benson interviewed Stephen McDowell, historian, prolific author and founder of Providence Foundation. It is a phenomenal interview on the founding of our nation.

Last week, I wrote my column titled, “In God We Must Trust.” Humbly speaking, it’s a must read, especially for those who might have missed it because of the holiday weekend. I believe patriot articles should be read all summer long and not just bottled up on July 4, especially since the Declaration of Independence was ratified in July and the engrossed copy signed on Aug. 2 (at least by the remaining delegates). We also celebrate our Constitutional birth on Sept. 17 – its 232nd anniversary this year.

Stephen McDowell’s interview almost reads as a sequel to my last column. I addressed the power of the role of God and religion in our republic. McDowell narrows the subject to discuss the role of Christianity and the Bible. Let me give you a few highlights.

In McDowell’s article, “Christianity and the Constitution,” he quotes a prestigious literary journal of 1867: “The American government and Constitution is the most precious possession which the world holds, or which the future can inherit. This is true – true because the American system is the political expression of Christian ideas.”

That is why McDowell explained in his interview: “The power and form of the Declaration and the Constitution are biblical. Power being the underlying ideas that are reflected, and form, the structure of how our government was set up and flows out of those ideas.”

The Declaration begins by saying “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“Now that statement is full of biblical ideas. First, the founders recognized that absolute truth exists. Right and wrong, moral and immoral, legal and illegal – these emanated from a Creator,” McDowell said.

He added, “…the rulers, as well as the people, are subject to the laws. No man [or woman] is above the law. We are a self-governing republic in which power emanates from the people, who themselves are under the Creator.”

McDowell elaborated, “We live in God’s world, not in a made-up world of Karl Marx or Darwin or any other political philosopher. God created it to function based upon a set of physical and moral laws. If we violate His laws, we suffer the consequence. The Bible teaches that, and history confirms it.”

By quoting extensively from the founders, McDowell builds a case that we must return to our founders’ faith, civility and morality. They weren’t perfect, but they built our republic upon the bedrock of Christianity.

As our second president John Adams wrote to our third president Thomas Jefferson on June 28: “The general principles, on which the fathers achieved Independence, were the only principles in which, that beautiful assembly of young gentlemen could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united: and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence.”

Speak of great men of old and amazing patriots who had some pivotal sacred moments, I bet few students today learn that the crew of Apollo 11, whose moon landing we commemorate this week on its 50th anniversary (July 20), had themselves some profound Christian moments when they were up in space and particularly on the moon.

Some have religiously categorized astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin as the deist (Armstrong), the Christian (Aldrin) and the atheist (Collins) who went to the moon. But that’s an oversimplification.

The truth is, Armstrong was a Christian (not a Muslim, as some falsely reported), Collins was a nominal Episcopalian and Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church back in Houston.

Perhaps the most under-reported story about Armstrong’s faith concerned his visit to Israel following his historic trip to the moon, which is conveyed in Thomas Friedman’s award-winning book, “From Beirut to Jerusalem” (winner of the National Book Award).

The story goes that Armstrong was taken on a tour of the old city of Jerusalem by Israeli archeologist Meir Ben-Dov. When they arrived at the Hulda Gate, which is at the top of the stairs leading to the Temple Mount, Armstrong asked Ben-Dov whether Jesus had stepped anywhere around there.

“These are the steps that lead to the temple,” Ben-Dov told him, “so He must have walked here many times.”

Armstrong then asked Ben-Dov if those were the original stairs and Ben-Dov confirmed that they were indeed.

“So Jesus stepped right here,” Armstrong asked. “That’s right,” answered Ben-Dov.

To which Armstrong replied with this monumental statement: “I have to tell you, I am more excited stepping on these stones than when I was stepping on the moon.” Wow!

Speaking of stepping on the moon, before Armstrong and Aldrin actually did, they made another historic step. While Collins stayed back in the lunar module, Armstrong looked on respectfully as fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin performed a communion ceremony before the two set foot on the moon.

 

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion. (Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion.
(Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

Former White House Special Counsel Charles Colson, who served under President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1970, once wrote a column about it, the details of which Armstrong confirmed.

Colson wrote, “What you may not know, however is that for many of the early astronaut heroes, the ‘right stuff’ included deep religious faith. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are best known as the first astronauts to land on the moon and take that ‘giant leap for mankind.’ But you probably don’t know that before they emerged from the spaceship, Aldrin pulled out a Bible, a silver chalice, and sacramental bread and wine. There on the moon, his first act was to celebrate communion.”

Buzz made the following announcement to Mission Control during that spiritual moment: “Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way.”

Aldrin reported later: “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture [Jesus’ words in John 15]: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’”

(That scripture reminded me of something I read earlier in Stephen McDowell’s interview: “Christianity has brought great blessing to mankind. … But if we remove the Christian faith and its principles, then we’re going to get worse and worse fruit. That’s what’s been happening the past century.”)

It is especially fitting and poignant that Aldrin also read Psalm 8:3-4 on the moon: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; ‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?’”

Aldrin later wrote in Guideposts magazine: “The very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church reported that: “Each year since 1969, Aldrin’s church, Webster Presbyterian, holds a Lunar Communion service to commemorate Buzz Aldrin’s celebration on the Moon.”

 

A handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service, featured in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, 2007. (Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo)

A handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service, featured in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, 2007. (Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo)

Speaking of sacred scripture, I just have to include what else I read on the website of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church about NASA, the Bible and the moon:

The Apollo Prayer League was a group of NASA engineers, scientists, administrators and astronauts. The League was headed by Rev. John Stout, a NASA Information Scientist and chaplain who worked closely with the astronauts and NASA personnel.

The Apollo Prayer League created a microfilm Bible and 300 microfilm copies were carried to the lunar surface. The microfilm is about 1.5 inches square, and yet contains all 1,245 pages of the King James Bible. These pages so small that they must be read under a microscope. This Lunar Bible is the only complete copy of the Bible to have flown to the surface of the Moon.

The microfilm Lunar Bible was flown on three Apollo missions. It was packed onboard Apollo 12 spacecraft, but was mistakenly left on the Command Module. It was then placed onboard Apollo 13, and was with the astronauts during their perilous return to Earth after the explosion of the Service Module. The Lunar Bible copies were finally carried to the Moon in the pocket of astronaut Edgar Mitchell on Apollo 14.

I’d bet my Texas ranch that your child or grandchild wouldn’t learn the above sacred and historical facts today about the Apollo missions in any public school. How sad. So it’s going to take us patriots to get the word out. Please share this column with everyone you know during this 50th anniversary week of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/spiritual-highlights-during-apollo-11s-moon-landing/

Dismantling Atheists’ ‘Treaty of Tripoli’ Argument

Bill Federer recounts logic behind incendiary ‘America is not a Christian nation’ verbiage

May 31, 2019

Treaty of Tripoli-2

 

The Treaty of Tripoli is of particular interest as secularists attempt to use its wording as a definitive expression of the intent of America’s founders regarding religion and government.

An in-depth examination, though, may prove this untenable.

In March of 1785, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson met in France with Tripoli’s ambassador Abdrahaman regarding Muslim Barbary pirates attacking and capturing American ships in the Mediterranean and imprisoning American sailors. Jefferson asked what the new nation of the United States had done to provoke Muslims.

Jefferson wrote to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay: “The ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of the prophet, it was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.”

Jefferson bought a translation of the Qur’an to learn why Muslim pirates would perpetrate unprovoked attacks and enslaved captives.

Jefferson wrote to John Jay, 1787, explaining his efforts to ransom captured American sailors through the mediation of the Catholic Order of Mathurins, which was later disbanded during the French Revolution: “There is an order of priests called the Mathurins, the object of whose institution is to beg alms for the redemption of captives. They keep members always in Barbary, searching out the captives of their country, and redeem, I believe, on better terms than any other body, public or private. It occurred to me, that their agency might be obtained for the redemption of our prisoners at Algiers. … The General … of the order … undertook to act for us, if we should desire it. He told me that their last considerable redemption was of about 300 prisoners who cost them somewhat upwards of 1,500 livres apiece…that it must be absolutely unknown that the public concern themselves in the operation or the price would be greatly enhanced.”

Congress directed Jefferson and Adams to borrow $80,000 from Dutch Bankers to pay tribute, as Jefferson wrote to John Jay, 1787: “If Congress decide to redeem our captives … it is of great importance that the first redemption be made at as low a price as possible, because it will form the future tariff. If these pirates find that they can have a very great price for Americans, they will abandon proportionally their pursuits against other nations to direct them towards ours.”

John Jay, who later would be the first chief justice, wrote to the president of Congress Richard Henry Lee, Oct. 13, 1785: “Algerian Corsairs and the Pirates of Tunis and Tripoli (would cause Americans to unite, since) the more we are ill-treated abroad the more we shall unite and consolidate at home.”

In 1788, Jefferson arranged for John Paul Jones, referred to by some as the “Father of the American Navy,” to fight for Empress Catherine the Great of Russia against the Muslim Ottoman navy near the Crimean Peninsula during the 2nd Russo-Turkish War, 1787-92.

Jefferson wrote to General George Washington: “The war between the Russians and the Turks has made an opening for our Commodore Paul Jones. The Empress has invited him into her service. She insures to him the rank of rear admiral… I think she means to oppose him to the Captain Pacha, on the Black Sea. … He has made it a condition, that he shall be free at all times to return to the orders of Congress … and also, that he shall not…bear arms against France. I believe Congress had it in contemplation to give him the grade of admiral, from the date of his taking the Serapis. Such a measure would now greatly gratify him.”

John Paul Jones wrote in “Narrative of the Campaign of the Liman” of victoriously sailing his flagship Vladimir against the Turks near the Black Sea’s Dnieper River. The night before the battle, Jones and a Cossack sailor silently rowed out to scout the position of the Turkish fleet. On the side of one Turkish ship, Jones chalked in giant letters: “To be burned. Paul Jones.”

In the next day’s battle, that ship was among those destroyed by Jones.

Jones was then appointed U.S. Consul to negotiate the release of captured U.S. Navy officers held in the dungeons of Algiers.

When John Paul Jones died suddenly, Joel Barlow filled the post. U.S. Consul Joel Barlow tried to stop Tripoli’s Barbary Pirates from continuing to terrorize the seas and capturing American sailors.

In 1793, Muslim Barbary pirates captured the U.S. cargo ship Polly. The Muslim captain justified the crew’s brutal treatment: “… for your history and superstition in believing in a man who was crucified by the Jews and disregarding the true doctrine of Allah’s last and greatest prophet, Mohammed.”

In 1795, Muslim Barbary Pirates of Algiers captured 115 American sailors. The U.S. paid ransom of nearly a million dollars.

Tripoli followed Shari’a Law which prohibited them from making treaties with ‘infidel’ Christians:

  • Infidels are those who declare: “God is the Christ, the son of Mary” (Sura 5:17)
  • Infidels are those that say “God is one of three in a Trinity” (Sura 5:73)
  • Believers, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies (Sura 5:51)
  • Believers, do not make friends with those who have incurred the wrath of Allah (Sura 60:13)
  • Infidels are your sworn enemies (Sura 4:101)
  • Make war on the infidels who dwell around you (Sura 9:123)
  • Prophet, make war on the infidels (Sura 66:9)
  • When you meet the infidel in the battlefield strike off their heads (Sura 47:4)
  • Muhammad is Allah’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the infidels (Sura 48:29)

As Joel Barlow realized that Islamic law forbade Muslims from making friendship alliances with infidel nations, he tried to separate in their minds that they were not negotiating with the Christian religion, but with a “nation-state.” This was a necessary distinction to make, as Muslims had been at war with the “Christian nations” of Europe for over 1,000 years.

The concept of a “nation-state” where citizens had freedom of conscience to join or leave a religion as they wished was unfamiliar and unwelcome to fundamental Muslims, as it still is today among groups like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The wording of the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797 was not intended to devalue Christianity’s historical contribution to the founding of America, but rather it was an attempt to negotiate with Muslims using phraseology which would oblige them to honor the treaty.

With that background, the wording of the Treaty of Tripoli was: “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion, – as it has in itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of the Musselmen-, and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

Noted religious critic and anti-theist Christopher Hitchens admitted in his work “Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates” (2007): “Of course, those secularists like myself who like to cite this Treaty must concede that its conciliatory language was part of America’s attempt to come to terms with Barbary demands.”

In grammar, a comma indicates a qualifying relationship between a dependent clause and an independent clause. The phrase “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion,” is followed by a comma indicating that the preceding dependent phrase is qualified by the subsequent phrase which should always accompany it, “-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the law, religion or tranquility of the Musselmen.”

Additionally, where the Treaty of Tripoli says the “government of the United States of America” it was referring to the “federal” government. This is significant as Joel Barlow was negotiating on behalf of the “federal” government, which was prohibited by the First Amendment from having jurisdiction over religion, as religion was under each individual state’s jurisdiction.

(i.e., North Carolina Constitution, 1835: “No person who shall deny … the truth of the Christian religion … shall be capable of holding any office”; Maryland Constitution, 1851: “No other test … ought to be required … than a declaration of belief in the Christian religion. …”)

In fact, it was the states’ jealous desire to keep religion under their jurisdictions that motivated the states to insist that a First Amendment be added to the U.S. Constitution to prohibit the federal government from inter-meddling with restraints on religion.

This was not the case in most European countries which had established churches, or in fundamental Muslim countries which controlled citizens’ religious life through threats of death or dismemberment.

The original Arabic translation of the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli revealed the Islamic understanding of religion and government being synonymous: “Glory be to God! Declaration of the third article. We have agreed that if American Christians are traveling with a nation that is at war with the well preserved Tripoli, and (the Tripolitan) takes (prisoners) from the Christian enemies and from the American Christians with whom we are at peace, then sets them free; neither he nor his goods shall be taken. … Praise be to God! Declaration of the twelfth article. If there arises a disturbance between us both sides, and it becomes a serious dispute, and the American Consul is not able to make clear his affair, and the affair shall remain suspended between them both, between the Pasha of Tripoli, may God strengthen him, and the Americans, until Lord Hassan Pasha, may God strengthen him, in the well-protected Algiers, has taken cognizance of the matter. We shall accept whatever decision he enjoins on us, and we shall agree with his condition and his seal; May God make it all permanent love and a good conclusion between us in the beginning and in the end, by His grace and favor, amen!”

John Adams’ Secretary of War James McHenry protested the language of the Treaty of Tripoli, writing to Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Jr., Sept. 26, 1800: “The Senate … ought never to have ratified the treaty alluded to, with the declaration that ‘the government of the United States, is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.’ What else is it founded on? This act always appeared to me like trampling upon the cross. I do not recollect that Barlow was even reprimanded for this outrage upon the government and religion.”

Immediately after Jefferson was inaugurated president, the Pasha of Tripoli demanded $225,000 to keep his Barbary pirates from seizing American ships, confiscating cargo and selling crews into slavery. When Jefferson refused to pay, the Pasha declared war – the first war after the U.S. became a nation.

Jefferson stated in his first annual message to Congress, Dec. 8, 1801: “Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary states, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to (announce) war on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean, with assurances to that power of our sincere desire to remain in peace, but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack. The measure was seasonable and salutary.

“The Bey (lord) had already declared war. His cruisers were out. Two had arrived at Gibraltar. Our commerce in the Mediterranean was blockaded and that of the Atlantic in peril. The arrival of our squadron dispelled the danger. One of the Tripolitan cruisers having fallen in with and engaged the small schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lieutenant Sterret, which had gone as a tender to our larger vessels, was captured, after a heavy slaughter of her men, without the loss of a single one on our part. The bravery exhibited by our citizens on that element will, I trust, be a testimony to the world. … We are bound with peculiar gratitude to be thankful to Him that our own peace has been preserved through a perilous season.”

On Dec. 29, 1803, the 36-gun USS Philadelphia was cruising the Mediterranean when it ran aground on an uncharted sand bar off the coast of North Africa. Muslims surrounded it and captured its crew. They imprisoned Captain William Bainbridge and his 307 man crew for 18 months.

To keep this ship from being used by Muslim pirates, Lieut. Stephen Decatur sailed his ship, Intrepid, Feb. 16, 1804, into Tripoli’s harbor and set the USS Philadelphia ablaze. British Admiral Horatio Nelson called it the “most bold and daring act of the age.”

After negotiations, for $60,000 and 89 Muslim prisoners captured in skirmishes, the crew of the USS Philadelphia was released, less six who had died in captivity and five who converted to Islam, much to the annoyance of the rest.

When the Pasha of Tripoli offered the five converts the choice of staying in Tripoli or returning to America, four decided to renounce Islam and return home. Horror covered their faces as the insulted Pasha ordered guards to drag them away, following the instruction in Hadith al-Bukhari: “Mohammed said, Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.”

In April of 1805, Jefferson sent in the Navy and Marines, led by Commodore Edward Preble, Commodore John Rogers, Captain William Eaton, Lieut. Stephen Decatur, and Lieut. Presley O’Bannon. They seized the Barbary harbor of Derne and the terrorist attacks temporarily cease, giving rise to the Marine Anthem: “From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. …”

Many “mamluke” slave-soldiers had their curved scimitar swords confiscated, which became the Marine “mamluke” sword. Marines were called “leathernecks” for the wide leather straps they wore around their necks to prevent them from being beheaded, as Sura 47:4, stated: “When you meet the infidel in the battlefield, strike off their heads.”

Jefferson then had a new Treaty of Peace and Amity with Tripoli, April 12, 1806, but this time it was negotiated from a position of strength and therefore it did not contain the controversial conciliatory wording of the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli.

Francis Scott Key wrote a song to honor the Navy and Marines titled “When the Warrior Returns from the Battle Afar,” published in Boston’s Independent Chronicle, Dec. 30, 1805, being written to the same tune that nine years later Key would use for the “Star-Spangled Banner”:

In conflict resistless each toil they endur’d
Till their foes shrunk dismay’d from the war’s desolation:
And pale beamed the Crescent, its splendor obscur’d
By the light of the Star-Bangled Flag of our nation.
Where each flaming star gleamed a meteor of war,
And the turban’d head bowed to the terrible glare.
Then mixt with the olive the laurel shall wave
And form a bright wreath for the brow of the brave.

During James Madison’s term as president, Muslims broke the treaty and a second Barbary War began. In 1815, Congress authorized naval action with six European countries to fight Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli. Commodores Decatur and Bainbridge led 10 warships to the Mediterranean and forced the Dey (ruler) of Algiers to release American prisoners, to stop demanding tribute and to pay damages. Tunis and Tripoli also agreed.

Of the negotiations, Frederick C. Leiner wrote in “The End of the Barbary Terror – America’s 1815 War Against the Pirates of North Africa” (Oxford University Press): “Commodore Stephen Decatur and diplomat William Shaler withdrew to consult in private. … The Algerians were believed to be masters of duplicity, willing to make agreements and break them as they found convenient. … Commodore Stephen Decatur and Captain William Bainbridge both recognized that the peace could only be kept by force or the threat of force.”

The annotated “John Quincy Adams – A Bibliography,” compiled by Lynn H. Parsons (Westport, CT, 1993, p. 41, entry #194, The American Annual Register for 1827-28-29, NY: 1830): “Our gallant Commodore Stephen Decatur had chastised the pirate of Algiers. … The Dey (Omar Bashaw) … disdained to conceal his intentions; ‘My power,’ said he, ‘has been wrested from my hands; draw ye the treaty at your pleasure, and I will sign it; but beware of the moment, when I shall recover my power, for with that moment, your treaty shall be waste paper.’”

The Islamic term for treaty, “hudna,” has historically been observed, when weak make treaties till strong enough to disregard them.

In 1816, Muslims again broke their treaty. The Dutch and British, under Sir Edward Pellew, bombarded Algiers, forcing them to release 3,000 European prisoners. Algiers renewed its piracy and slave-taking, causing the British to bombard them again in 1824. It was not until 1830, when the French conquered Algiers, did Muslim Barbary Piracy cease.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote in “Fear God and Take Your Own Part” (1916, p. 351): “Centuries have passed since any war vessel of a civilized power has shown such ruthless brutality toward noncombatants … especially toward women and children. The Muslim pirates of the Barbary Coast behaved at times in similar fashion until the civilized nations joined in suppressing them.”

After an in-depth examination of the history surrounding the Treaty of Tripoli makes it is clear that its unique wording was simply a futile attempt to negotiate with Muslims whose Islamic law precluded them from honoring treaties with “infidel” Christians.

Secondly, the Treaty of Tripoli was negotiated on behalf of the “federal” government and, prior to the 14th Amendment of 1868 and Justice Hugo Black’s 1947 Everson decision, religion was considered to be under each individual state’s jurisdiction.

Finally, if one insists on considering the Treaty of Tripoli as an expression of the Founders’ intent regarding religion and government, then all other treaties and acts of Congress should also be examined, such as the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War, ratified by the Congress of the Confederation, January 14, 1784: “In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity. It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith … and of the United States of America, to forget all past misunderstandings and differences. … Done at Paris, this third day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three.”

The Congress of the Confederation, July 13, 1787, passed “An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio,” which is listed in the United States Code Annotated as one of the nation’s four most significant government documents.

It was introduced in Congress by Rufus King, a signer of the Constitution, approved in the House, July 21, 1789; in the Senate, August 4, 1789; and signed by President Washington, Aug. 7, 1789, during the time the First Amendment was formulated.

Article VI prohibited slavery within the territory that was to become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and the eastern part of Minnesota. The Northwest Ordinance included:

Section 13 … For extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected…

Article I. No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments in the said territory. …

Article III. Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

In 1787, the Congress of the Confederation designated special lands for: “… for the sole use of Christian Indians and the Moravian Brethren missionaries, for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity.”

There was no record of any objection to U.S. Constitution ending with the phrase: “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the twelfth.”

This is of significant note, as just a few years later France had a bloody Revolution and established a Constitution without any reference to “our Lord.” The French Republican Calendar retroactively made 1791 the new “Year One” as their intent was to have a completely secular government.

On Dec. 3, 1803, the Congress of the United States of America ratified a treaty with the Kaskaskia Indian Tribe. Two similar treaties were made with the Wyandots, 1805, and the Cherokees, 1806: “Whereas the greater part of the said tribe have been baptized and received into the Catholic Church, to which they are much attached, the United States will give annually, for seven years, one hundred dollars toward the support of a priest of that religion, who will engage to perform for said tribe the duties of his office, and also to instruct as many of their children as possible, in the rudiments of literature, and the United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars, to assist the said tribe in the erection of a church.”

In 1822, the United States Senate ratified the Convention for Indemnity Under Award Of Emperor Of Russia as to the True Construction of the First Article of the Treaty of Dec. 24, 1814, which began: “In the name of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity.”

On Jan. 20, 1830, Congress was addressed by President Andrew Jackson: “According to the terms of an agreement between the United States and the United Society of Christian Indians the latter have a claim to an annuity of $400, commencing from the 1st of October, 1826, for which an appropriation by law for this amount … will be proper.”

President Jackson stated in his second annual message to Congress, Dec. 6, 1830: “The Indians … gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.”

Congress heard President Andrew Jackson’s third annual message, Dec. 6, 1831: “The removal of the Indians beyond … jurisdiction of the States does not place them beyond the reach of philanthropic aid and Christian instruction.”

In 1838, Congress stated in an Act: “Chaplains … are to perform the double service of clergymen and schoolmaster.”

In 1848, the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty ending the Mexican War, which brought into the Union California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming: “In the Name of Almighty God: The United States and the United Mexican States … have, under the protection of Almighty God, the Author of Peace … signed the … Treaty of Peace. … If (which God forbid) war should unhappily break out between the two republics, they do now solemnly pledge … all churches, hospitals, schools, colleges, libraries, and other establishments for charitable and beneficent purposes, shall be respected, and all persons connected with the same protected in the discharge of their duties, and the pursuit of their vocations. … Done at city of Guadalupe Hidalgo, on the second day of February, in the year of the Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight.”

On Dec. 2, 1895, the U.S. Senate ratified a treaty attempting to end the Genocide of Armenians. President Grover Cleveland stated: “By treaty several of the most powerful European powers … have assumed a duty not only in behalf of their own citizens … but as agents of the Christian world … to enforce such conduct of Turkish government as will refrain fanatical brutality, and if this fails their duty is to so interfere as to insure against such dreadful occurrences in Turkey as have shocked civilization.”

There are also numerous Acts of Congress regarding chaplains, national days of prayer, national days of fasting, and national days of thanksgiving.

These acknowledgments of religion, God, and Christianity contained in official treaties and acts of Congress are sufficient enough to invalidate the out-of-context Treaty of Tripoli sentence-fragment from being used as the definitive statement of the Founders’ intentions regarding religion and government.

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/05/dismantling-atheists-treaty-of-tripoli-argument/

America’s Founders on National Day of Prayer

April 29, 2019 by Chuck Norris

This Thursday, May 2, is the 67th Annual National Day of Prayer. The theme this year is “Love One Another,” which couldn’t be a better one when it comes to praying for others.

The National Day of Prayer has been an annual observance since 1952, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation and world. It was created by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, and annually observed by presidents ever since on the first Thursday of May. Its approval flew through the Congress almost seven decades ago as a way to help separate America as a country with a godly heritage and to aid her success against atheistic communism. (In 1956, the motto “In God We Trust” was also universally printed on all U.S. currency for the same basic reasons.)

Despite that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions with prayer in the case of Marsh vs. Chambers (1983), critics try to oppose the National Day of Prayer’s constitutionality by saying it didn’t exist prior to 1952 as a national observance. But all one must do is go back to the founders and framers of the Constitution to understand that, whether one looks at Creator-language in such pivotal documents as the Declaration of Independence or the role religion played in establishing ethics and morality even in political arenas, not one justice or government official back then would oppose a national day of prayer. In fact, they would be advocates for it.

The NDP website explained, “The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history. …”

Recently I read another excellent article by historian David Barton at the Wallbuilders website, titled, “Founding Fathers on Prayer.” In it, Barton details many of our founders’ ponderings and passions about prayer. Let me give you a small sample.

In 1789, after being urged by Congress on the same day they finished drafting the First Amendment, President Washington issued a thanksgiving proclamation stating, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

President John Adams declared that America’s independence “ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

Benjamin Franklin was particularly eloquent on the power of prayer in government, as he addressed those who attended the Constitutional Convention:

In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us, who were engaged in the struggle, must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, That God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. … I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business.

Franklin’s question still needs to ring from the corridors of Congress to the halls of our public schools and homes: “And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?”

James Madison, the so-called father of the Bill of Rights as the drafter of the ratified ten amendments, agreed: “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in [America’s founding] a finger of that Almighty Hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the Revolution.”

Even Thomas Jefferson, who is often pitched by progressives as the secularist among the founders, said in 1808 near the end of his second term as president: “Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.”

(To understand more about our founders’ views on everything – especially their often-overlooked or misunderstood religious views and practices – and to keep up to date on current trends and culture wars, I highly encourage you to check out the resources at Wallbuilders. In addition, listen regularly to Wallbuilders Live, an excellent historical and political commentary show hosted by former Texas State Representative and constitutional expert and educator Rick Green and historian David Barton, who interview great patriots and culture warriors every week.)

The NDP website gives these “fun facts” about prayer and politics:

  1. There have been 146 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the president of the United States (1789-2017).
  2. There have been 69 presidential proclamations for a National Day of Prayer (1952-2017). Gerald R. Ford (1976), George H. Bush (1989-91), Barack H. Obama (2012), and Donald J. Trump (2017) are the only U.S. presidents to sign multiple National Day of Prayer Proclamations in the same year.
  3. Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
  4. Thirty-five of the 45 U.S. presidents have signed proclamations for National Prayer. Three of the presidents who did not sign a proclamation died while serving in office. Two presidents, not included in the count – William Howard Taft and Warren Gamaliel Harding – signed Proclamations for Thanksgiving and Prayer.
  5. Records indicate there have been 1,526 state and federal calls for national prayer since 1775 and counting.

The NDP website added, “In 1988, the law [for a national day of prayer] was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.”

The NDP website also explained the significance of this Thursday this way:

The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as it enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.

Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, [the National Day of Prayer] has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Every year, local, state, and federal observances were held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances – organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. At state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stopped their activities and gathered for prayer.

For all the above reasons, I urge every American to locate and join a group in your local community on this National Day of Prayer, and bow your head in prayer with millions across the country, beseeching God to protect, forgive and heal our land, as well as submit us to His rule and reign as our founders did. You can find a local NDP event in your area here. Also, click here for NDP promotional tools or to livestream the National Observance in Washington, D.C.

Again in the words of President George Washington, let us remind everyone we know with our words and actions: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

https://www.wnd.com/2019/04/americas-founders-on-national-day-of-prayer/

It’s Not The Equality Act, It’s The Homosexual Supremacy Act

Don’t let the left and the Talking Snake Media lie to you. They lie to us all by the words they hope will drive and dominate the narrative.

One of those words is “equality.” They have deceived more people by this one word than perhaps by any other. After all, who could be against equality? If they can create a linguistic narrative driven by the notion of “equality,” then if we oppose it they tag us as people who are against fairness and equal rights for all and as people who are nothing more than blackguards and bigots.

But the reality is that not all behaviors are equal in moral value and should not be treated the same. The behavior of a man who robs a bank is not morally equivalent to the behavior of a man who withdraws money from his own account at the same bank. Even though the behaviors have a superficial similarity – they both involve a man walking out of a bank with money in his pocket – we leave the one alone and throw the other one in prison.

The behavior of a man engaged in the act of sodomy with a homosexual partner is not morally equivalent to the behavior of a man who is engaged in loving and conjugal union with the wife of his youth. It is moral blindness and even stupidity to pretend otherwise.

We discriminate all the time against behaviors that are contrary to public policy and the social good. That’s what public policy is all about, identifying behaviors, such as violence and theft, that are harmful to society and social tranquility, and deciding what sanctions are appropriate for socially destructive conduct. The law is, should be, and should only be, about behavior, not ideas or thoughts.

As Thomas Jefferson said (emphasis mine):

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.”

So, we do not punish citizens for their thoughts, but for their actions only, actions that hurt others. We punish them for what they do, but not for what they want to do. They may want to do some pretty terrible things, but as long as they never take action on those impulses, the law and public policy are not concerned.

That’s what is slippery and dangerous about the left’s concentrated effort in the last couple of decades to switch the conversation from “sex” to “gender.” “Sex” is a biological and genetic term. It’s objective, determined by an individual’s DNA. “Gender,”  however, is entirely subjective and non-quantifiable. Gender is a matter of something that is entirely in someone’s mind and the way in which he views himself.

That’s why “gender identity” is a term that is particularly dangerous for legal purposes, since someone’s gender identity can change from day to day and even from hour to hour, without anyone being the wiser. We are all compelled to accept their entirely subjective view of their sexual identity and accept their inner sense of themselves as objectively binding on us. This is obviously irrational and cannot possibly provide a stable basis for public policy.

The first line of the bill (“The “Equality Act”) sounds innocent enough:

“To prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.”

Leftists in Congress are attempting right now to sell a lethal piece of legislation under this term in the so-called “Equality Act,” which is proposed as a revision and an improvement over Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

But there is no equality in this bill for anyone who believes that homosexuality is non-normative sexual behavior and something that should not be promoted, subsidized, and celebrated, especially in our schools.

That’s why I call this bill “The Homosexual Supremacy Act,” since it elevates homosexuality and gender confusion above anything and everything else in the moral universe. Everyone will be required to bow the knee before the Baal of Sodom or face punishment.

If religious liberty and heterosexual normativity come in conflict with the LGBT agenda, liberty and normalcy is guaranteed to lose every time. It’s worth the reminder that every advance of the LGBT agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty. This bill is no exception.

In fact, this law would specifically prohibit even a challenge to any of its provisions. The Religious Liberty Restoration Act of 1993 (signed into law by a Democrat president, Bill Clinton) is specifically overwritten in this bill:

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993…shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title.”

Read at face value, no one would even be allowed to go to court to challenge any part of this tyrannical bill.

There is no religious exemption in this bill. None. You might as well take the First Amendment and its guarantee of the free exercise of religion and tear it right out of your copy of the Constitution.

The reality is that in any circumstance covered by this bill, somebody is going to be discriminated against, either a Christian vendor or a member of the LGBT community. Either the Christian baker will be discriminated against by being forced to bake the cake, or the lesbian couple will be discriminated against by not getting their cake from their vendor of choice.

There is no middle ground. It’s not possible for there to be no discrimination. Discrimination will occur. The only choice is who will be discriminated against. In this bill, the only ones who could even possibly be discriminated against are people of Christian faith.

Either sexually confused teens will be discriminated against by being required to use the shower that corresponds to their biological sex, or sexually normal teens will be discriminated against by being forced to put up with that nonsense or get punished.

“Shelters” are included. Christian-run shelters (like the Salvation Army) will be forced to allow males who think they are females to bunk down with female residents. Adoption agencies are in there as well. Christian adoption agencies will be compelled to place vulnerable young children into same-sex households, despite the known harms associated with same-sex parenting.

“Conversion therapy” will be outlawed. No parent will be allowed to seek professional help for a sexually confused son or daughter to reconcile their mental identity with their biological identity. Their child will be condemned to the psychological torment of this dissonance until the day they commit suicide, which 41% of transgenders do.

Employment is covered. Christian bookstore owners will be required to hire tattooed transgenders or face the wrath of the United States government. Housing is included. Christian landlords will be required to rent to flamboyant same-sex couples or face punishment.

We have often predicted that the left will not be content until they have confined the church to the space inside the four walls of their buildings. Well, this law will do it. But it’s even worse than that. Since there are no religious exemptions in this bill, churches will be ordered to allow transvestites and transgenders to use whatever bathroom and shower facilities they want regardless of the age or sex of who else might be in there.

If this bill is passed into law, overnight we will become more like China than the land of the free and the home of the brave. It would be impossible to find a law that represents a greater threat to religious liberty than this one.

If we value the Constitution crafted by the Founders, and the religious liberty which is an inalienable right from our Creator, we’d better get busy stopping this bill as soon as humanly possible.

As Ronald Reagan famously said:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

It’s freedom or slavery. And it’s time to choose between them.

Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”

Host of “Focal Point” on American Family Radio, 1:05 pm CT, M-F  www.afr.net

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

https://barbwire.com/its-not-the-equality-act-its-the-homosexual-supremacy-act/