WISDOM FROM SCRIPTURE
“Listen now to [me]; I will counsel you, and God will be with you… choose able men from all the people–God-fearing men of truth who hate unjust gain–and place them… to be their rulers… If you will do this, and God so commands you, you will be able to endure. and all these people also will go to their [tents] in peace.” Ex. 18:19-23 AMP
“Choose wise, understanding, experienced, and respected men… and I will make them heads over you.” Deut. 1:13 AMP
“Uprightness and right standing with God (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) elevate a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Prov. 14:34 Amp
“When the [uncompromisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh.” Prov. 29:2 AMP
“They set up kings, but not from Me [therefore without My blessing]…” Hos. 8:4 AMP
“That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.” Job 34:30
WISDOM FROM THE FOUNDERS
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” — John Quincy Adams
“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, ‘just men who will rule in the fear of God.’ [Exodus 18:21] The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.” — Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), pp. 336-337, 49.
“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” — John Jay (1745-1829), Original Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, President of the American Bible Society
“But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.” — Samuel Adams
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” — Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256, in the Boston Gazette on April 16, 1781.
“Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.” — Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. III, p. 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775.
“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character… When a citizen gives his suffrage [vote] to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country.” — Noah Webster, Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education to which is subjoined a Brief History of the United States (New Haven: S. Converse, 1823), pp. 18, 19.
“Those who wish well to the State ought to choose to places of trust men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation… [And t]he people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.” — John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. IV, pp. 266, 277.
“Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.” — Daniel Webster, The Works of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1853), Vol. II, p. 108, from remarks made at a public reception by the ladies of Richmond, Virginia, on October 5, 1840.
“Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good and the government cannot be bad… But if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn… [T]hough good laws do well, good men do better; for good laws may want [lack] good men and be abolished or invaded by ill men; but good men will never want good laws nor suffer [allow] ill ones.” — William Penn quoted from: Thomas Clarkson, Memoirs of the Private and Public Life of William Penn (London: Richard Taylor and Co., 1813) Vol. I, p.303.
“Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature… [I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation… it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” — James A. Garfield, The Works of James Abram Garfield, Burke Hinsdale, editor (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1883), Vol. II, pp. 486, 489, “A Century of Congress,” July, 1877.
WISDOM FROM FOUNDING ERA CLERGY
“Consider well the important trust… which God… [has] put into your hands… To God and posterity you are accountable for [your rights and your rulers]… Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you… [L]ook well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust… Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant; or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. Think not that men who acknowledge not the providence of God nor regard His laws will be uncorrupt in office, firm in defense of the righteous cause against the oppressor, or resolutely oppose the torrent of iniquity… Watch over your liberties and privileges – civil and religious – with a careful eye.” — Matthias Burnett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, An Election Sermon, Preached at Hartford, on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803 (Hartford: Printed by Hudson & Goodwin, 1803), pp. 27-28.
“…From year to year be careful in the choice of your representatives and the higher powers [offices] of government. Fix your eyes upon men of good understanding and known honesty; men of knowledge, improved by experience; men who fear God and hate covetousness; who love truth and righteousness, and sincerely wish for the public welfare… Let not men openly irreligious and immoral become your legislators… If the legislative body are corrupt, you will soon have bad men for counselors, corrupt judges, unqualified justices, and officers in every department who will dishonor their stations… Never give countenance to turbulent men, who wish to distinguish themselves and rise to power by forming combinations and exciting insurrections against government…” — “The Republic of the Israelites, an Example to the American States,” by Samuel Langdon, Concord, New Hampshire, 1788)
“Those who rule over others must be just, ruling in the fear of God. They ought to be so in their private capacity; maintaining a care to exhibit in their conduct towards all they are concerned with, a fair transcript of that fundamental law of the religion of Jesus, as well as eternal rule of natural justice. They must be just in their use of power; confining it within the limits prescribed in the constitution they are under. Whatever power they are vested with ’tis delegated to them according to some civil constitution. And this, so long as it remains the constitution, they are bound in justice to conform themselves to: To be sure, they ought not to act in violation of any of its main and essential rights…” — Rev. Charles Chauncy, May 27, 1747, Boston
“The Church must take right ground in regard to politics… The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics, or the Lord will curse them. They must be honest men themselves, and instead of voting for a man because he belongs to their party, Bank or Anti-Bank, Jackson or Anti-Jackson, they must find out whether he is honest and upright, and fit to be trusted. They must let the world see that the church will uphold no man in office, who is known to be a knave [a base, unscrupulous swindler], or an adulterer, or a Sabbath-breaker, or a gambler. Such is the spread of intelligence and the facility of communication in our country, that every man can know for whom he gives his vote. And if he will give his vote only for honest man, the country will be obliged to have upright rulers. All parties will be compelled to put up honest man as candidates. Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter but the time has come when they must act differently, or God will curse the nation, and withdraw his Spirit. As on the subject of slavery and temperance, so on this subject, the church must act right or the country will be ruined. God cannot sustain this free and blessed country which we love and pray for unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God. It seems sometimes as if the foundations of the nation are becoming rotten, and Christians seem to act as if they think God does not see what they do in politics. But I tell you, he does see it, and he will bless or curse this nation according to the course they take.” — From “Lectures on Revival of Religion” by Rev. Charles Grandison Finney, 1835
WISDOM FROM OTHER SOURCES
“The qualifications of a candidate should not be issue-oriented as much as character-oriented. They should be ‘able’ and ‘experienced’ men of course for the position which they seek. Beyond that, Scripture says they should be men who ‘fear God,’ that is, they should be Christians, as affirmed by John Jay. They should also be ‘men of truth’ and ‘wise and discerning’ men. This means that they should be Christians with the Biblical worldview — men who reason from absolute truth, not human wisdom. Many candidates may claim to be Christians but do not hold to a Biblical worldview. Former President Jimmy Carter was example of a Christian whose mind was unrenewed by Scripture and thus reasoned and governed from a ‘humanistic’ worldview. Finally, Scripture says that our representatives must ‘hate dishonest gain.’ This means that beyond a correct worldview, they must have Christian character, a godly home life, and pure motives.” — From page 265 of “America’s Providential History” by Mark A. Beliles and Stephen K. McDowell of Providence Foundation
Know any other maxims from Scripture or history on this topic? Feel free to share them in the comments section below. We’d love to see them!
We have to get this movie to Wilson! Then, when it gets here, we have to get everyone we know to watch it, hopefully packing the theater every night!!
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He was eight years old, sometime in the early 1800s, when he was sent as a slave to Baltimore to live with a ship carpenter named Mr. Hugh Auld. As Frederick Douglass wrote in his Narrative, “Going to live at Baltimore laid the foundation, and opened the gateway to all my subsequent prosperity.” But what happened in Baltimore that propelled Frederick so powerfully into “all” his future success? Well, soon after Frederick arrived at the Auld home, Mrs. Auld started teaching him the ABCs, after which he learned to spell small words. But, when Mr. Auld found out about this, he became angry and forbade Mrs. Auld from ever teaching him again, “…telling her, among other things that it was unlawful, as well as unsafe to teach a slave to read.” He went on to say, in front of young Frederick, “If you give a (n-word) an inch, he will take an ell. A (n-word) should know nothing but to obey his master–to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best (n-word) in the world…if you teach that (n-word) how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy.”
These words changed Frederick forever. As he later wrote, “These words sank deep into my heart…I now understood what had been to me a most perplexing difficulty–to wit, the white man’s power to enslave the black man. It was a grand achievement, and I prized it highly. From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom.” Frederick learned that education and slavery are incompatible. So, “Though conscious of the difficulty of learning without a teacher,” he said, “I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read.”
But how did he learn to read with so much against him at such a young age (between eight and fifteen years old)? Well, as he later wrote, “The plan which I adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in the street. As many of these as I could, I converted into teachers. With their kindly aid, obtained at different times and in different places, I finally succeeded in learning to read. When I was sent of errands, I always took my book with me, and by going one part of my errand quickly, I found time to get a lesson before my return. I used also to carry bread with me, enough of which was always in the house, and to which I was always welcome; for I was much better off in this regard than many of the poor white children in our neighborhood. This bread I used to bestow upon the hungry little urchins, who, in return, would give me that more valuable bread of knowledge.”
Then, as Frederick stated, “I wished to learn how to write, as I might have occasion to write my own pass,” from slavery to freedom. And this is how he learned to write (and may I remind you that he did this between the age of eight and fifteen): “The idea as to how I might learn to write was suggested to me by being in Durgin and Bailey’s ship-yard, and frequently seeing the ship carpenters, after hewing, and getting a piece of timber ready for use, write on the timber the name of that part of the ship for which it was intended. When a piece of timber was intended for the larboard side, it would be marked thus–“L.” When a piece was for the starboard side, it would be marked thus–“S.” A piece for the larboard side forward, would be marked thus–“L. F.” When a piece was for starboard side forward, it would be marked thus–“S. F.” For larboard aft, it would be marked thus–“L. A.” For starboard aft, it would be marked thus–“S. A.” I soon learned the names of these letters, and for what they were intended when placed upon a piece of timber in the ship-yard. I immediately commenced copying them, and in a short time was able to make the four letters named. After that, when I met with any boy who I knew could write, I would tell him I could write as well as he. The next word would be, “I don’t believe you. Let me see you try it.” I would then make the letters which I had been so fortunate as to learn, and ask him to beat that. In this way I got a good many lessons in writing, which it is quite possible I should never have gotten in any other way. During this time, my copy-book was the board fence, brick wall, and pavement; my pen and ink was a lump of chalk. With these, I learned mainly how to write. I then commenced and continued copying the Italics in Webster’s Spelling Book, until I could make them all without looking on the book. By this time, my little Master Thomas had gone to school, and learned how to write, and had written over a number of copy-books. These had been brought home, and shown to some of our near neighbors, and then laid aside. My mistress used to go to class meeting at the Wilk Street meetinghouse every Monday afternoon, and leave me to take care of the house. When left thus, I used to spend the time in writing in the spaces left in Master Thomas’s copy-book, copying what he had written. I continued to do this until I could write a hand very similar to that of Master Thomas. Thus, after a long, tedious effort for years, I finally succeeded in learning how to write.”
Of course, true to Mr. Auld prediction, Frederick became “somewhat unmanageable” as a slave as he grew in knowledge and understanding, because, again, as he had learned, “education and slavery were incompatible with each other.” He also said, “I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason.” He understood this from personal experience. For example, when he was eventually transferred to a new plantation, his new master “succeeded in breaking me. I was broken in body, soul, and spirit. My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!” By his own admission, Frederick was beaten into a beast by whips and rods. His zeal and desire was ripped from him. At times, the numerous whelps on his back from the physical abuse would be the size of a man’s finger. Yet, he did not quit. Instead, in a sense, he resurrected from the dead and then set his gaze anew upon his “pursuit of happiness.” And soon after that he began teaching other slaves to read and write, which set ablaze the fire of freedom in others. (At one time, he had over 40 students.)
Ultimately, his passion for learning, which had liberated his mind, drove him to flee to the north for his freedom where he connected with the anti-slavery movement and soon became a renowned orator, writer, and editor.
In conclusion, as we consider Frederick Douglass’ life, as we ponder all he endured on his trek from slavery to freedom, what can we deduce? What lessons can we learn from his example? That learning is the way to freedom, that personal success is our personal responsibility, that when we “pick ourselves up by our boot-straps” we can create our own straps, and that self-determination and self-interest are powerful forces in the human spirit. When Frederick met hellish opposition, did he call the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), or the government for help? Did he allow institutional slavery and racism to keep him down? When he was beaten with rods and whips, did he relinquish himself to pity-parties or Affirmative Action? Education was Frederick’s ticket out of slavery because it gave him vision which led to incredible freedom and prosperity. He didn’t make excuses or blame others for his troubles. He didn’t wait for favorable circumstances. He didn’t hide behind victimhood or the race card, but used His God-given ingenuity, passion, and persistence to become the self-made man of merit he was born to be.
Note: All quotes were taken from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass.
Written by Joel M. Killion
From the perspective of a retired educator, I would like to share some facts about the Common Core standards that cause me concern.
The 2009 stimulus bill allocated $435 billion for the Race to the Top incentive. In order to compete for the money the states had to agree to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative sight unseen. Forty-five states adopted CCS before the standards were even written. Keep in mind that in 2009 states were desperate for education dollars. Also, state legislatures are not normally in session at the time the grants were issued and returned. The timetable of events was:
January 2009: Stimulus bill
November 2009: Grants to apply for money for Race to the Top were released
January 2010: Grants were due
March 2010: Preliminary standards released
June 2010: Final draft of standards
Common Core standards have not been field-tested nor are they supported by research. Their standards are actually well below current standards of high-performing countries or the best state standards. There will be significantly less reading of the classics and more informational or technical texts. Math standards are not up to current expectations. For example, when I was teaching the students mastered multiplication skills in fourth grade. With Common Core, that is now a fifth-grade skill and division a sixth-grade skill.
Common Core standards were developed by three private organizations: Achieve Inc.; National Governors Association; and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Achieve is part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the other two are private trade associations out of Washington, D.C. States will have very little involvement in the program. They agreed to implement Common Core standards without deviation, with one exception … states may add to the curriculum, up to 15 percent. By doing so, the states have ceded control over educational standards to entities outside the state.
Common Core requires a massive amount of data mining on students from preschool to 20 years of age. It will track over 400 data points including health-care history, disciplinary history, family voting history, etc. Just recently Polk County, Fla., has been in the news because three schools there conducted iris scans (Eyeswipe Nano) on students without parental consent. This procedure is one of many included in the data collection process of CCSSI. For more info on data collection go to www.education.gov.