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Congress Must Cut Spending to Match Hike in Debt Ceiling ‘Dollar for Dollar,’ Heritage Foundation President Says

Congress Must Cut Spending to Match Hike in Debt Ceiling ‘Dollar for Dollar,’ Heritage Foundation President Says

Fred Lucas  @FredLucasWH / February 01, 2023

“There has to be first and foremost a dollar-for-dollar correspondence to whatever dollar amount is added to the debt ceiling with spending cuts,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts says. Pictured: A screen shows the national debt clock in New York after the U.S. hit its debt limit and the Treasury Department started using extraordinary measures to avoid default Jan. 19. (Photo: Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting about the nation’s debt ceiling Wednesday with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., it’s clear some negotiation will be required, Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts told reporters. 

McCarthy’s fellow House Republicans’ metaphor is that they will be “using the debt ceiling fight today, this week, this spring, as an opportunity to put a wrench in the president’s plan to expand the government,” Roberts said Wednesday morning.

“What we’re looking for is an absolute rejection of a real misnomer, which is there is something called a ‘clean’ debt limit increase,” said Roberts, who leads the conservative think tank that is the parent organization of The Daily Signal. “There has to be first and foremost a dollar-for-dollar correspondence to whatever dollar amount is added to the debt ceiling with spending cuts.”

A poll last week found 61% of Americans favor offsetting an increase in the amount of debt with spending cuts. 

The debt ceiling is the federal limit of how much the federal government is allowed to borrow. The U.S. national debt is $31.5 trillion. The government reached the debt limit of $31.4 trillion on Jan. 19. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierrehas said raising the debt ceiling is “something that should be done without conditions,” and added that the White House is “not going to be negotiating over the debt ceiling.” 

Long term, Roberts said, lawmakers must look at more responsible defense spending and reforms to how much debt the Federal Reserve may incur. Heritage’s president expressed support for both McCarthy and the House’s GOP committee chairmen, while voicing disappointment in Senate Republicans. 

Roberts said that the nation’s safety-net programs should be strengthened and reformed. This assertion comes as McCarthy and other Republicans have fended off unfounded allegations from Biden and fellow Democrats that the House’s new Republican majority wants to cut Social Security and Medicare. Roberts said reforms to safety-net programs will deliver stronger “21st century programs.”

No lawmaker supports a default on debt service payments, Roberts said, and he projected the chance of one at only 1% or 2%. 

“We understand there are philosophical and partisan differences between the president and the speaker, but it’s good they are meeting and it reveals that even though the president has been fairly steadfast rhetorically in saying he wouldn’t negotiate, that there might be some negotiating going on,” he said. 

McCarthy is doing the right thing at the moment, Roberts said, but expressed disappointment with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“We are deeply disappointed. All of Heritage, our 700,000 supporters, are deeply disappointed in the lack of support that Leader McConnell is offering Speaker McCarthy,” Roberts said. “I can just tell you, as someone who spends as much time outside D.C. as I can, that moderate conservatives to strident conservatives—who are really driving the movement right now—they believe that is a betrayal.”

Roberts acknowledged that some may be surprised that a conservative think tank would call for more responsible spending, but stressed that’s consistent with conservatives’ strong-on-defense principles: 

We care so deeply about America’s peace through strength that when we look at the fiscal situation in 2023 in contrast with the fiscal situation in 1983, I don’t see how those who are dyed-in-the-wool Reaganites can have faith in the U.S. Defense Department’s fighting a one-front war, let alone a two-front war, if there continues to be an absence of accountability on so much of the spending. 

It’s important to stop spending military dollars on wrongheaded diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, but that won’t be enough, Heritage’s president said. 

“We’ve got to have a hard conversation about which missiles and munitions programs … need to be in place for what I hope never happens, which seems to be an increasing likelihood with each passing month, which is some sort of confrontation with China,” Roberts said. 

Answering a reporter’s question on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, he noted that Germany isn’t meeting its NATO obligations even as it criticizes the United States. 

“That needs to be tied to Congress—not the president of the United States—telling NATO allies it’s time to pony up, [and] chief among them … would be our friends in Germany,” Roberts said. He added: “Heritage is going to drive really hard until we see Germans in particular forced by our Congress to pull their weight and shut their damned mouths.” 

Another priority is limiting the amount of debt the Federal Reserve may accumulate, Roberts said.

“We are trying to impose handcuffs on the Federal Reserve with the amount of debt they can incur,” Roberts said. “We have to have a statutory cap on assets. Congress has to return to running the show when it comes to fiscal responsibility.” 

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 


March 20, 2021

Office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Whitehouse,

I noticed you that signed a 2017 letter strongly supporting the filibuster.
Why are you thinking about abandoning that view now?

Does your change of view have anything to do with Biden now being in office?


Democrats distance themselves from previous pro-filibuster stance, citing GOP obstruction

More than half of current Senate Democrats and VP Harris signed 2017 letter supporting filibuster when GOP was in control

Tyler Olson

By Tyler Olson | Fox News

As progressives push hard for Democrats to eliminate the legislative filibuster after gaining control of the Senate, House and the presidency, many Democratic senators are distancing themselves from a letter they signed in 2017 backing the procedure.

Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Chris Coons, D-Del., led a letter in 2017 that asked Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to preserve the legislative filibuster. As it’s existed for decades, the filibuster requires 60 votes in order to end debate on a bill and proceed to a final vote.

“We are writing to urge you to support our efforts to preserve existing rules, practices, and traditions” on the filibuster, the letter said.

Besides Collins and Coons, 59 other senators joined on the letter. Of that group, 27 Democratic signatories still hold federal elected office. Twenty-six still hold their Senate seats, and Vice President Harris assumed her new job on Jan. 20, vacating her former California Senate seat.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., speaks as the Senate Judiciary Committee hears from legal experts on the final day of the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Coons has softened his support for the legislative filibuster in recent years after leading an effort to protect it in 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., speaks as the Senate Judiciary Committee hears from legal experts on the final day of the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Coons has softened his support for the legislative filibuster in recent years after leading an effort to protect it in 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

But now, the momentum among Senate Democrats is for either full abolition of the filibuster or significantly weakening it. President Biden endorsed the latter idea Tuesday, announcing his support for a “talking filibuster.”

KAMALA HARRIS SUPPORTS CHANGE TO FILIBUSTER IN SENATE TO LIMIT MINORITY PARTY POWER

“I don’t think that you have to eliminate the filibuster, you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days,” Biden told ABC. “You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking.”

The legislative filibuster has been a 60-vote threshold for what is called a “cloture vote” — or a vote to end debate on a bill — meaning that any 41 senators could prevent a bill from getting to a final vote. If there are not 60 votes, the bill cannot proceed.

The “talking filibuster” — as it was most recently seriously articulated by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., in 2012 — would allow 41 senators to prevent a final vote by talking incessantly, around-the-clock, on the Senate floor. But once those senators stop talking, the threshold for a cloture vote is lowered to 51.

Harris’ office confirmed to Fox News Wednesday that she is now aligned with Biden on the filibuster issue. She’d previously taken an even more hostile position to the filibuster, saying she would fully “get rid” of it “to pass a Green New Deal” at a CNN town hall in 2019.

The legislative filibuster has been a 60-vote threshold for what is called a “cloture vote” — or a vote to end debate on a bill — meaning that any 41 senators could prevent a bill from getting to a final vote. If there are not 60 votes, the bill cannot proceed.

The “talking filibuster” — as it was most recently seriously articulated by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., in 2012 — would allow 41 senators to prevent a final vote by talking incessantly, around-the-clock, on the Senate floor. But once those senators stop talking, the threshold for a cloture vote is lowered to 51.

Harris’ office confirmed to Fox News Wednesday that she is now aligned with Biden on the filibuster issue. She’d previously taken an even more hostile position to the filibuster, saying she would fully “get rid” of it “to pass a Green New Deal” at a CNN town hall in 2019.

Coons, who led the 2017 letter along with Collins, has also distanced himself from his previous stance.

Vice President Kamala Harris attends a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., as President Pro Tempore of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. Harris has changed her stance on the legislative filibuster since signing a letter in 2017 backing it. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)

Vice President Kamala Harris attends a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., as President Pro Tempore of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. Harris has changed her stance on the legislative filibuster since signing a letter in 2017 backing it. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP) (AP)

BIDEN SUPPORTS CHANGING SENATE FILIBUSTER 

“I’m going to try my hardest, first, to work across the aisle,” he said in September when asked about ending the filibuster. “Then, if, tragically, Republicans don’t change the tune or their behavior at all, I would.”

Fox News reached out to all of the other 26 Democratic signatories of the 2017 letter, and they all either distanced themselves from that position or did not respond to Fox News’ inquiry.

“Less than four years ago, when Donald Trump was President and Mitch McConnell was the Majority Leader, 61 Senators, including more than 25 Democrats, signed their names in opposition to any efforts that would curtail the filibuster,” a GOP aide told Fox News. “Other than the occupant of the White House, and the balance of power in the Senate, what’s changed?”

“I’m interested in getting results for the American people, and I hope we will find common ground to advance key priorities,” Sen. Tim Kaine. D-Va., said in a statement. “If Republicans try to use arcane rules to block us from getting results for the American people, then we’ll have a conversation at that time.”

Added Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va: “I am still hopeful that the Senate can work together in a bipartisan way to address the enormous challenges facing the country. But when it comes to fundamental issues like protecting Americans from draconian efforts attacking their constitutional right to vote, it would be a mistake to take any option off the table.”

“Senator Stabenow understands the urgency of passing important legislation, including voting rights, and thinks it warrants a discussion about the filibuster if Republicans refuse to work across the aisle,” Robyn Bryan, a spokesperson for Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said.

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2018, file photo, Sen.Bob Casey, D-Pa., speaks to reporters in the studio of KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. Casey has reversed his stance on the legislative filibuster since signing a 2017 letter in support of it. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

FILE – In this Oct. 26, 2018, file photo, Sen.Bob Casey, D-Pa., speaks to reporters in the studio of KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. Casey has reversed his stance on the legislative filibuster since signing a 2017 letter in support of it. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Representatives for Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., pointed to recent comments he made on MSNBC.

“Yes, absolutely,” Casey said when asked if he would support a “talking filibuster” or something similar. “Major changes to the filibuster for someone like me would not have been on the agenda even a few years ago. But the Senate does not work like it used to.”

MCCONNELL SAYS SENATE WILL BE ‘100-CAR PILEUP’ IF DEMS NUKE FILIBUSTER

“I hope any Democratic senator who’s not currently in support of changing the rules or altering them substantially, I hope they would change their minds,” Casey added.

Representatives for Sen. Angus King, I-Vt., who caucuses with Democrats, meanwhile, references a Bangor Daily News editorial that said King was completely against the filibuster in 2012 but now believes it’s helpful in stopping bad legislation. It said, however, that King is open to “modifications” similar to a talking filibuster.

The senators who did not respond to questions on their 2017 support of the filibuster were Sens. Joe Manchin. D-W.Va.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Maize Hirono, D-Hawaii; John Tester, D-Mont.; Tom Carper, D-Del.; Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Jack Reed, D-R-I.; Ed Markey, D-Mass.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

Some of these senators, however, have addressed the filibuster in other recent comments.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Wednesday was asked if she supported changing the filibuster threshold by CNN and said she is still opposed to the idea. “Not at this time,” Feinstein said.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Hirono has changed her opinion on the legislative filibuster since signing a 2017 letter supporting it. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Hirono has changed her opinion on the legislative filibuster since signing a 2017 letter supporting it. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Sen. Maize Hirono, D-Hawaii, meanwhile said last week she is already for getting rid of the current 60-vote threshold and thinks other Democrats will sign on soon.

“If Mitch McConnell continues to be totally an obstructionist, and he wants to use the 60 votes to stymie everything that President Biden wants to do and that we Democrats want to do that will actually help people,” Hirono said, “then I think the recognition will be among the Democrats that we’re gonna need to.”

The most recent talk about either removing or significantly weakening the filibuster was spurred by comments from Manchin that appeared to indicate he would be open to a talking filibuster. He said filibustering a bill should be more “painful” for a minority.

Manchin appeared to walk back any talk of a talking filibuster on Wednesday, however.

“You know where my position is,” he said. “There’s no little bit of this and a little bit — there’s no little bit here. You either protect the Senate, you protect the institution and you protect democracy or you don’t.”

Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., both committed to supporting the current form of the filibuster earlier this year. Sinema was not in the Senate in 2017.

Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said their comments gave him the reassurance he needed to drop a demand that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., put filibuster protections into the Senate’s organizing resolution.

But with Manchin seeming to flake at least in the eyes of some, other Democrats are beginning to push harder for filibuster changes.

I read this about you and your Democratic friends several years ago in the Senate:

Senate rejects ‘Cut, Cap, Balance’

By SCOTT WONG

07/22/2011 10:58 AM EDT

Updated 07/22/2011 04:25 PM EDT

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted Friday to block a Republican measure that would force Congress to pass a stringent balanced budget amendment and cap spending before increasing the debt ceiling. 

The legislation, a conservative priority, never had a chance of passing, but the strictly party-line 51-46 vote to table the “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill highlighted the partisan divide in Washington over how to tackle spending and raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit.

REPUBLICANS WANT TO SLOW SPENDING NOW AND I ADMIT THAT WASN’T ALWAYS THE CASE!!!

The federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation. We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruptionThe scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes you made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.

Sincerely, 

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733 everettehatcher@gmail.com

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7-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady announces he’s ‘retiring for good’ On 60 MINUTES this quote from TOM BRADY: …There’s times where I’m not the person that I want to be. Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it’s gotta be more than this. I mean this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean I’ve done it. I’m 27. And what else is there for me? More than this…” 

7-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady announces he’s ‘retiring for good’

https://youtu.be/TvVhkj5xdqM

NICK BROMBERG

Tom Brady says he’s retiring again. And this time it’s for real.

Brady posted a video to social media Wednesday morning announcing his retirement for the second time. He retired after the 2021 season but reversed course six weeks later. Wednesday, he said he was done for good.

“Good morning guys, I’ll get to the point right away. I’m retiring for good,” Brady said.

“I know the process was a pretty big deal last time so when I woke up this morning I figured I just press record and let you guys know first. I won’t be long-winded, you only get one super-emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year.”


Brady leaves football with the most Super Bowls of any player in NFL history and will be a surefire first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Fame member. He’s the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and QB wins in both the regular season and postseason. Brady’s teams went to 10 Super Bowls and won seven of them. Six of those victories came with the New England Patriots while his final Super Bowl win in February of 2021 came with the Bucs.

“Tom Brady will be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play in the NFL,” commissioner Roger Goodell said after Brady retired in 2022. “An incredible competitor and leader, his stellar career is remarkable for its longevity but also for the sustained excellence he displayed year after year. Tom made everyone around him better and always seemed to rise to the occasion in the biggest moments. … It has been a privilege to watch him compete and have him in the NFL.”

Brady, 45, announced his second retirement exactly a year after he said he was retiring following the 2021 season. The first retirement came after his Buccaneers lost to the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs. This retirement comes after the Bucs lost a round earlier in the playoffs to the Dallas Cowboys.

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 16: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 16, 2023 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Tom Brady said Wednesday that he was “retiring for good.” (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brady retires exactly a year after he retired in 2022

After retiring on Feb. 1, 2022, Brady said he was coming back to the Buccaneers in early March for a 23rd season. That return to football wasn’t a smooth one both on and off the field. Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen confirmed their divorce in late October amid months of reports about their relationship following Brady’s decision to continue playing.

The Buccaneers also had their worst season with Brady at quarterback. While Tampa Bay won the NFC South, it did so with an 8-9 record and an offense that didn’t look in sync for much of the season. The team’s running game was virtually non-existent for much of the season as Brady threw a league-high 733 passes.

No other QB threw more than 700 passes in 2022 or had more than Brady’s 490 completions. He finished third in passing yards behind likely MVP Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. But the Bucs averaged just over 18 points per game in 2022; just seven teams averaged fewer points per game.

Tampa’s offensive struggles were on full display in the playoff loss to the Cowboys. Dallas dominated Tampa Bay in the 31-14 win, and the Bucs made myriad coaching moves below head coach Todd Bowles after the season was over.

Those moves included the departure of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. The move to change coordinators was seen as a possible way to keep Brady around for a 24th season. But that looks extremely unlikely to happen now.

Assuming this retirement sticks, Brady ends his career as a three-time first-team All-Pro selection and a 15-time Pro Bowler. He’ll finish his career with 89,214 career regular-season passing yards and 649 passing TDs to just 212 interceptions. He’ll also end his career with 35 postseason victories over 48 games and 13,400 passing yards and 88 touchdown passes in the playoffs.

Brady’s next step now that his career appears to be officially over could be a move to the broadcast booth. Brady previously signed a contract with Fox Sports to be a game analyst when his playing career is over, though the emergence of former NFL tight end Greg Olsen as an excellent broadcaster could complicate Brady’s immediate broadcast future. Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt are set to call the Super Bowl with the Chiefs and Eagles and Fox has said that it has no plans for Brady to be involved with its coverage of the game.

How Brady’s retirement affects the Bucs’ salary-cap situation

Brady signed a two-year deal worth $50 million when he joined the Buccaneers after the 2019 season. His compensation for the 2022 season after he came back was $15 million and his decision to retire has a significant impact on Tampa’s 2023 salary cap.

Because of the deferred money involved in Brady’s contracts with Tampa Bay, the Bucs will take an $11 million hit against the salary cap in 2023 and $24 million over 2024. Brady was set to have a dead cap hit of $35 million against the Bucs’ cap in 2023 had he signed with another team.

With the cap moving up to $224 million in 2023, Brady’s retirement is the best financial decision for Tampa Bay if he wasn’t going to return to the organization. With a roster that was built to chase Super Bowls with Brady on it, the Bucs need to make over $50 million in contract cuts and adjustments to get under the cap for next season.


In this earlier post below was this video and quote.

On 60 MINUTES this quote from TOM BRADY: …There’s times where I’m not the person that I want to be. Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it’s gotta be more than this. I mean this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean I’ve done it. I’m 27. And what else is there for me? More than this…” 

—-

After Life on Netflix


https://youtu.be/eIGGKSHMQOM

Ricky Gervais plays bereaved husband Tony Johnson in AFTER LIFE

Tony and his wife Lisa who died 6 months ago of cancer

(Above) Tony and Anne on the bench at the graveyard where their spouses are buried.

May 12, 2020 
Ricky Gervais 


Dear Ricky,  

This is the 25th day in a row that I have written another open letter to you to comment on some of your episodes of AFTER LIFE, and then I wanted to pass along some evidence that indicates the Bible is historically accurate.

As you know I am writing you a series of letters on Solomon’s efforts to find a meaning and purpose to life. Solomon tried to find a meaning and purpose to life UNDER THE SUN in the Book of Ecclesiastes in all of the 6 “L” words and looked into  learning(1:16-18),laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).  

In season two of AFTER LIFE there is the following discussion: 


Matt: Okay everyone listen up. That was Mr. Middleton. Some of you know that he owns everything, the newspaper and the building. He wants to stop running the paper. He wants to close the paper and then sell the building. 
Tony: Probably sell it to a property developer. This would be luxury flats. 
Kath: I will be alright. Tambury Brewery already said they would take me on. I think the boss fancies me. 
Tony: Well that is the end of the Tambury Gazette kids. Don’t worry we will just get another [crappy] job that barely pays enough to live. 

Sandy: This is the only job I have ever liked. I won’t have a job. My mum is disabled and my daddy can’t work. My brother and sister are in school and they get nothing as it is. (Starts to cry.) 

Tony: Okay. 
Sandy: So I got to find another job that I hate. 
Tony: Okay we will save the paper. 
Sandy: How?

Tony: We will get more revenue. Kath will get more. 
Kath: How?

Tony: You are really good at your job. You will charge more for advertising, like Tambury Brewery. They will pay more, won’t they. Or we will get a loan. Happens all the time. We will buy the building and we will pay back the loan with the profit from the paper and it will be our business to make it work. So don’t worry. 
Sandy: You promise? You will save the paper? 
Tony: Yeah. We will. 
—-

Tony is involved in a very worthwhile effort to save the newspaper but ultimately will it being meaning to his life UNDER THE SUN?

Ravi Zacharias quoted Jack Higgins, author of The Eagle Has Landed, “When you get to the top, there’s nothing there.” Tom Brady’s 2005 60 MINUTES INTERVIEW makes SOLOMON’s Point in ECCLESIASTES 2:11 “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

Emptiness

One of the most common refrains we hear from those who have reached the pinnacle of success is that of the emptiness that still stalks their lives, all their successes notwithstanding. That sort of confession is at least one reason the question of meaning is so central in life’s pursuit. Although none like to admit it, what brings purpose in life for many, particularly in countries rich in enterprising opportunities, is a higher standard of living, even if it means being willing to die for it. Yet, judging by the remarks of some who have attained those higher standards, there is frequently an admission of disappointment. After his second Wimbledon victory, Boris Becker surprised the world by admitting his great struggle with suicide. 

Jack Higgins, the renowned author of The Eagle Has Landed, has said that he had known as a small boy is this: “When you get to the top, there’s nothing there.”

Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, (Word Publ., Dallas: 1994), p. 56

In June 2005, 60-Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft spoke with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady about his success on and off the field. What he said about being satisfied in life surprised everyone.

BRADY: …There’s times where I’m not the person that I want to be. Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it’s gotta be more than this. I mean this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean I’ve done it. I’m 27. And what else is there for me? “More than this…” 

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Uploaded by EdenWorshipCenter on Jan 22, 2008

EWC sermon illustration showing a clip from the 2005 Tom Brady 60 minutes interview.

To Download this video copy the URL to www.vixy.net

Below you will see several video clips of both Tom Brady and Tim Tebow. Evidently despite all the super bowl rings Brady is still looking for true satisfaction, and Tim Tebow has already found it in a relationship with Jesus Christ (the article below indicates this.)

Tom Brady, the answer is Jesus Christ!

Uploaded by HarvestTV on Jan 28, 2008

Everyone needs Jesus, even Super Bowl champions. See the rest of Pastor Greg Laurie’s message “What Do You Live For?” at www.harvest.org.

_____________________________

Tim Tebow at Lipscomb University (04.17.2010) 4 of 4.wmv

Uploaded by PositiveRoleModels4U on Apr 28, 2010

Tim Tebow’s Inspirational Speech at Lipscomb University on Saturday, April 17, 2010 (Nashville, TN) video 4 of 4

_________________

Tim Tebow

Quarterback :: Denver Broncos 

Many Gator fans may think that Tim Tebow is a “miracle” quarterback, but his parents say he was actually a miracle baby.

Bob and Pam Tebow were Christian missionaries in the Philippines in 1987 when Pam, Tim’s mother contracted amoebic dysentery, the leading cause of death in the country. She was pregnant with Tim—her fifth child—at the time, very dehydrated and very sick when she went to her doctor who advised her to abort the baby because of the powerful medicines she would have to take to survive. But they decided against abortion and instead prayed. Both mom and baby survived.

“We thought we lost the baby about four times,” Tim’s dad, Bob, says. “He’s a miracle baby, so we’ve reminded him of that hundreds of times.”

Tim, now a strapping 6-3, 240 lb. 2007 Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida, keeps his humble beginnings in mind to stay grounded. “I am fortunate to have family members, coaches and teammates around who can help me stay focused on the right things,” Tim says. “For me, every day includes four things: God, family, academics and football, in that order. If those get jumbled around and you get the wrong one first, you can have a lot of problems.

“I am no different than anyone else—despite what people may think—because I am a Gator football player,” Tim adds. “Through everything I do…and just by living…I want people, when they see me, to say, ‘There’s something different about this guy, and that’s because he has a relationship with Jesus Christ.’”

Tim, who began his walk with Christ as a six-year-old, according to BPSports, says, “I want to take this platform that I have—being a quarterback and being at the University of Florida—and use that to help people…and to be that role model, that example for kids. That’s the reason I think I’ve been blessed to have the success that I’ve had.”

Tim, who will lead Florida against the Oklahoma Sooners in the January 8 BCS National Championship Game in Miami, uses his influence as a Gator football player in every game. In the blacks under his eyes, he has the words “Phil. 4:13” written in white lettering, referencing the verse in Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

During his 2008 spring break, instead of hanging out at the beach, he spent his week as a missionary in the Philippines with his dad’s ministry, The Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association. He has traveled to the Philippines several summers to minister to orphans and the poor there.

“Meeting all of those different people who have nothing and are poor gave me an appreciation for what I and my family have, and provided me with the perspective of taking nothing for granted,” Tim says. “It also allowed me to see the effect that I could have on those people. For some, the belief in Christ is all that they have and is much more important than money or material possessions.”

He also has spoken at several prisons across the state of Florida, talking to them about his Christian faith and offering the opportunity for the prisoners and guards to ask Jesus into their hearts as Savior and Lord.

Tim tells the crowds, “I found true satisfaction, true happiness, and it is not by having your name in a newspaper, it is not by winning trophies, it is not by winning championships, it is by having a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Tim Tebow Prison Sermon

Uploaded by GatorSports on May 2, 2011

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow preaches a sermon with inmates at the Lake City Correctional Facility.–(Aaron Daye/The Gainesville Sun)

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Tom Brady ESPN Interview

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“There’s Gotta Be More Than This…” – Tom Brady

February 6, 2017 Featured Post

Inspired by both the Super Bowl and our first Sunday Night Chapel of the spring 2017 semester, our Director, Andy Deane, wrote this article for calvarychapel.com:

In what many are calling the most exciting Super Bowl game ever played, Tom Brady ended the debate over who is the greatest quarterback of all time. He is the only quarterback to win five Super Bowl games, and it’s a record that may last decades. At one point the Patriots were down 25 points, and I found myself congratulating a

pastor friend who lived in Georgia on a great victory. But, as one commentator put it, “Tom Brady saved his most ruthless performance for the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl.” The unlikely, and terribly suspenseful, comeback sent the game into the first overtime period in Super Bowl history before the Patriots forced their way into the end zone to win it in overtime.

As I sat there in amazement, watching the celebration, I turned to my wife and said, “Isn’t this the guy that 10 years ago said…” After searching online, I found the sobering interview with Tom Brady I was looking for.

In June 2005, 60-Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft spoke with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady about his success on and off the field. What he said about being satisfied in life surprised everyone.

BRADY: …There’s times where I’m not the person that I want to be. Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it’s gotta be more than this. I mean this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean I’ve done it. I’m 27. And what else is there for me?

KROFT: What’s the answer?

BRADY: I wish I knew. I wish I knew…

Watch the clip starting around the 55-second marker:

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Tom Brady “More than this…” 


After watching what was the best game I’ve ever seen, I went over to the auditorium at Calvary Chapel Bible College for our first Sunday Night Chapel. As I sat there in worship, we sang the song Crowns written by Hillsong. As I listened to the song, and personally found great joy and peace in the Lord, I found myself praying for Tom Brady. As you read the lyrics, you may see why. The chorus goes like this:

My wealth is in the cross
There’s nothing more I want
Than just to know His love
My heart is set on Christ
And I will count all else as loss
The greatest of my crowns
Mean nothing to me now
For I counted up the cost
And all my wealth is in the cross

Until these words ring true in the heart of every person, they will find themselves saying, “There’s gotta be more than this.” What people experience after they come down from amazing highs in life was described by Solomon thousands of years ago when he wrote, “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

17 pieces of evidence for the accuracy of the Bi le below:

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1. Yahweh inscription, c. 1400 BC

This photo displays a reproduction of the oldest known inscription of the name “Yahweh,” the personal name of God (cf. Exodus 3). The writing is in hieroglyphs and is dated to c. 1400 BC. The inscription was discovered in the temple built by the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III in Soleb, which is in modern day Sudan. The text refers to a group of wandering followers of Yahweh who are possibly the Israelites; however, this is uncertain at this time.

NOTE: The inscription shown here is not related to the purported inscription from Jebel al-Lawz. Though Jebel al-Lawz may someday prove to be the Biblical Mt. Sinai, the purported inscription from there currently lacks scholarly support.

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2. Israel outside of the Bible

This engraved slab of granite is more than ten feet tall and was found in 1896 in Western Thebes, Egypt. It contains the oldest* certain reference to “Israel” outside of the Bible, and is referred to as the Merneptah Stela. It was carved c. 1210 BC in hieroglyphs and is currently located in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. (Note: the word “Israel” is the darkened section in the second line from the bottom, which can be seen more clearly by clicking on the photo to enlarge it.)

*The Berlin Pedestal may contain a reference to Israel that is older than the Merneptah Stela.

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3. King David

This inscribed basalt stone contains an ancient reference to the Biblical King David. Being roughly a foot tall, it was written in Aramaic in the mid 9th century BC and is known as the Tel Dan Stela. The text actually refers to the “House of David,” meaning his royal family. Found during excavations in the ancient city of Dan in 1993/94, it is now located in the Israel Museum.

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4. King Solomon

In the Biblical passage found in 1 Kings 9:15 it notes that King Solomon constructed the city wall for the town of Gezer.  Archaeologists working at the site have now identified Solomon’s wall, and the photo displayed here shows the remains of the gated portion.PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION: © BiblePlaces.

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5. Pharaoh Shishak

This wall carving within the Karnak Temple complex in Egypt commemorates Pharaoh Shishak’s military exploits, including an invasion into Israel, c. 925 BC. Shishak is referred to in the Bible, and most scholars believe the invasion depicted in the carving is the same event noted in the Bible in 1 Kings 14:25. The carving displays a large image of the god Amun leading a number of captive cities by ropes. The scene is damaged; but, among others, it lists the Israelite city of Megiddo as one of many attacked by the Egyptians. Click “Read more” below to see the sequence of Egyptian pyramid development from the first pyramid to the Great Pyramid.

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6. King Ahab

This limestone monument, known as the Kurkh Monolith, is approximately seven feet high and is now located in the British Museum. Discovered in 1861 in Kurkh, Turkey, it was originally carved in c. 852 BC by the Assyrians. The cuneiform writing on the monument refers to a battle involving King Ahab of Israel, who is also frequently referred to in the Bible (cf. 1 Kings 16-22).

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7. Moabite Stone

The Moabite Stone, also called the Mesha Stela, is an inscribed black basalt monument written in the Moabite language in c. 835 BC. It stands nearly four feet tall and was found in 1868 in the land of ancient Moab, now modern Jordan. It contains references to Biblical figures such as Israelite King Omri and Moabite King Mesha (cf. 1 and 2 Kings), as well as the covenant name of God, YHWH (cf. Exodus 3). It is now located in the Louvre.

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8. Israelite kings

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III was made in c. 827 BC in ancient Assyria. It is about six and a half feet in height and is made of fine grained black limestone. The cuneiform text reads, “Tribute of Jehu, son of Omri….”  Both Jehu and Omri were Israelite kings who are referred to in the Bible (cf. 1 & 2 Kings). A close-up photo showing an Israelite, possibly Jehu, bowing to the king of Assyria can be seen by clicking “Read more” below. The obelisk was found in 1846 in Nimrud and is now in the British Museum.

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9. King Hazael

This inscribed basalt slab is known as the Stela of Zakkur. It refers to the Aramaic king Hazael who is also referred to in the Bible in such passages as 1 Kings 19:15. The item was discovered in 1903 at Tel Afis in Syria and dates to approximately 800 BC. The artifact is about 24 inches tall and the language is Aramaic. It is now located in the Louvre.PHOTO

USED WITH PERMISSION: © BiblePlaces.comEmail ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinteresthttps://apis.google.com/u/0/se/0/_/+1/fastbutton?usegapi=1&source=blogger%3Ablog%3Aplusone&size=medium&width=300&annotation=inline&hl=en&origin=http%3A%2F%2Fbibleandarchaeology.blogspot.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbibleandarchaeology.blogspot.com%2F2011%2F09%2Fuzziah-re-burial-inscription.html&gsrc=3p&jsh=m%3B%2F_%2Fscs%2Fapps-static%2F_%2Fjs%2Fk%3Doz.gapi.en.Rf1K0P5IJVE.O%2Fm%3D__features__%2Fam%3DAQ%2Frt%3Dj%2Fd%3D1%2Ft%3Dzcms%2Frs%3DAGLTcCNZ6t72TrLdRouGl8wNgklzWb5Tig#_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe%2C_renderstart%2Concircled%2Cdrefresh%2Cerefresh&id=I8_1432125514420&parent=http%3A%2F%2Fbibleandarchaeology.blogspot.com&pfname=&rpctoken=43931483

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10. King Jeroboam II

This seal is a bronze cast replica of the original found at Megiddo in c. 1904.  The Hebrew lettering reads, “belonging to Shema, servant of Jeroboam.” Scholars believe that the original seal was from King Jeroboam II* who is referred to in such passages as 2 Kings 13:13. The original was made in the 8th century BC of jasper and measured about 1 x 1.5 inches.  Unfortunately, the original is now lost but the replica remains in a private collection.*Some scholars suggest that the seal comes from Jeroboam I instead of Jeroboam II, but this is not widely accepted.

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11. King Ahaz

This clay seal impression from the 8th century BC contains the Hebrew text, “Belonging to Ahaz [son of] Jotham, King of Judah.” Ahaz was a Biblical king referred to in the books of 2 Kings and Isaiah. Fingerprints can be seen on the left side of the impression, possibly those of Ahaz himself. The artifact is roughly one-half inch in size and is now in a private collection. Click on “Read more” below to see how a seal such as this, along with a string, were used to secure a papyrus document.NOTE: Though the likelihood of authenticity is very high, the provenance of this item is unknown.PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION: © Z.Radovan/www.BibleLandPictures.comRead moreEmail ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinteresthttps://apis.google.com/u/0/se/0/_/+1/fastbutton?usegapi=1&source=blogger%3Ablog%3Aplusone&size=medium&width=300&annotation=inline&hl=en&origin=http%3A%2F%2Fbibleandarchaeology.blogspot.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbibleandarchaeology.blogspot.com%2F2010%2F12%2Fking-ahaz-seal.html&gsrc=3p&jsh=m%3B%2F_%2Fscs%2Fapps-static%2F_%2Fjs%2Fk%3Doz.gapi.en.Rf1K0P5IJVE.O%2Fm%3D__features__%2Fam%3DAQ%2Frt%3Dj%2Fd%3D1%2Ft%3Dzcms%2Frs%3DAGLTcCNZ6t72TrLdRouGl8wNgklzWb5Tig#_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe%2C_renderstart%2Concircled%2Cdrefresh%2Cerefresh&id=I10_1432125514427&parent=http%3A%2F%2Fbibleandarchaeology.blogspot.com&pfname=&rpctoken=24027052

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12. Sargon II

This brick refers to the Assyrian King Sargon II who reigned from 721 to 705 BC. It is inscribed in cuneiform text and is located in the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago. The brick was found in the ancient Assyrian city of Khorsabad during excavations that took place from 1929 to 1935. Sargon is also referred to in the Bible in Isaiah 20:1. Click “Read more” below to see a giant lammasu, the winged bull deity from ancient Assyria.


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13. Hezekiah’s Tunnel (probable)

In the Biblical passage found in 2 Kings 20:20 there is a reference to a “tunnel” built by King Hezekiah in Jerusalem to bring water into the city c. 700 BC.  A tunnel in Jerusalem, likely built by Hezekiah, is still open and visitors can walk through it. It is about one-third of a mile long, and the water is roughly knee deep. Some scholars question if this is the exact tunnel built by Hezekiah; but, in any case an ancient Hebrew inscription was found in the tunnel showing Jewish presence in Jerusalem in antiquity. Click “Read more” below to see a picture of the ancient inscription.

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14. Sennacherib Prism

This artifact is known as the Sennacherib Prism. It was made in ancient Assyria in c. 700 BC of baked clay and is approximately 15 inches tall. The cuneiform script in the Akkadian language refers to Israelite King Hezekiah and to Assyrian King Sennacherib, both of whom are in the Biblical text (cf. 2 Kings 19:9). In the inscription the Assyrian talks about trapping Hezekiah in Jerusalem like a caged bird. The artifact was purchased from a Baghdad antiquities dealer in c. 1919 and is now in the Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago. It is one of eight such prisms found so far (e.g. Taylor Prism, British Museum).

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15. Siege of Lachish

This wall relief carving depicts the siege of Lachish, telling the story from the Assyrian point of view. The carving was created in c. 700 BC and was discovered in the 1850s in the ancient city of Nineveh, Assyria. The full original panel measured sixty-two feet in length and was nearly nine feet tall. The same events are recorded in the Bible in 2 Kings 18-19. The relief now resides in the British Museum.(NOTE: If you click on the photo and enlarge it, the detail is really quite engaging. The defenders are throwing flaming torches, the attackers have battering rams, etc. In the lower right there are even depictions of victims being impaled.)

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16. King Manasseh

This clay prism, known as the Esarhaddon Prism, was made by the Assyrian king Esarhaddon in 673-672 BC. It refers to “Manasseh king of Judah,” who is also frequently referred to in the Bible in such passages as 2 Kings 20:21. The prism is written in cuneiform script and was found in the 1920s in the ruins of Nineveh. It is made of clay and is about 13 inches high. It is now located in the British Museum.

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17. Pharaoh Tirhakah

This wall carving was fashioned in the 7th century BC in the Edifice of Tirhakah in the Karnak Temple complex, which is located in modern day Luxor, Egypt. The building is made of sandstone and the carving shows Pharaoh Tirhakah on the left and baboons on the right worshipping the Egyptian god Re. Pharaoh Tirhakah, originally from the Kingdom of Cush,  is referred to in the Bible in both 2 Kings 19:9 and Isaiah 37:9.

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The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002

PS: What is the meaning of life? Find it in the end of the open letter I wrote to you on April 23, 2020. 

Below is the workforce of THE TAMBURY GAZETTE

Seen below is the third episode of AFTERLIFE (season 1) when Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats to cheer him up but it turns into disaster!!!

——

—-

Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

Mandeep Dhillon as Sandy on her first assignment in ‘After Life’. (Twitter)

A still from ‘After Life’ that captures the vibe of the Tambury Gazette. (Twitter)

Michael Scott of THE OFFICE (USA) with Ricky Gervais

After Life on Netflix

After Life on Netflix stars Ricky Gervais as a bereaved husband (Image: Netflix)

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Psychiatrist played by Paul Kaye seen below.

The sandy beach walk

Tony Johnson with his dog Brandi seen below:


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Related posts:

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April 12, 2013 – 5:45 am

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Biblical ArchaeologyFrancis SchaefferProlife | Edit|Comments (0)

John MacArthur on fulfilled prophecy from the Bible Part 2

August 8, 2013 – 1:28 am

I have posted many of the sermons by John MacArthur. He is a great bible teacher and this sermon below is another great message. His series on the Book of Proverbs was outstanding too.  I also have posted several of the visits MacArthur made to Larry King’s Show. One of two most popular posts I […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Adrian RogersCurrent Events | Edit|Comments (0)

John MacArthur on fulfilled prophecy from the Bible Part 1

August 6, 2013 – 1:24 am

I have posted many of the sermons by John MacArthur. He is a great bible teacher and this sermon below is another great message. His series on the Book of Proverbs was outstanding too.  I also have posted several of the visits MacArthur made to Larry King’s Show. One of two most popular posts I […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Adrian RogersCurrent Events |Tagged Bible Prophecyjohn macarthur | Edit|Comments (0)

John MacArthur: Fulfilled prophecy in the Bible? (Ezekiel 26-28 and the story of Tyre, video clips)

April 5, 2012 – 10:39 am

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John MacArthur on the Bible and Science (Part 2)

August 1, 2013 – 12:10 am

John MacArthur on the Bible and Science (Part 2) I have posted many of the sermons by John MacArthur. He is a great bible teacher and this sermon below is another great message. His series on the Book of Proverbs was outstanding too.  I also have posted several of the visits MacArthur made to Larry […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit|Comments (0)

John MacArthur on the Bible and Science (Part 1)

July 30, 2013 – 1:32 am

John MacArthur on the Bible and Science (Part 1) I have posted many of the sermons by John MacArthur. He is a great bible teacher and this sermon below is another great message. His series on the Book of Proverbs was outstanding too.  I also have posted several of the visits MacArthur made to Larry […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit|Comments (0)

Adrian Rogers: “Why I believe the Bible is true”

July 9, 2013 – 8:38 am

Adrian Rogers – How you can be certain the Bible is the word of God Great article by Adrian Rogers. What evidence is there that the Bible is in fact God’s Word? I want to give you five reasons to affirm the Bible is the Word of God. First, I believe the Bible is the […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Adrian RogersBiblical Archaeology | Edit|Comments (0)

The Old Testament is Filled with Fulfilled Prophecy by Jim Wallace

June 24, 2013 – 9:47 am

Is there any evidence the Bible is true? Articles By PleaseConvinceMe Apologetics Radio The Old Testament is Filled with Fulfilled Prophecy Jim Wallace A Simple Litmus Test There are many ways to verify the reliability of scripture from both internal evidences of transmission and agreement, to external confirmation through archeology and science. But perhaps the […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Biblical ArchaeologyCurrent Events | Edit|Comments (0)

Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part M “Old Testament prophecy fulfilled?”Part 3(includes film DEATH BY SOMEONE’S CHOICE)

April 19, 2013 – 1:52 am

  I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis SchaefferProlife | Edit|Comments (0)

Evidence for the Bible

March 27, 2013 – 9:43 pm

Here is some very convincing evidence that points to the view that the Bible is historically accurate. Archaeological and External Evidence for the Bible Archeology consistently confirms the Bible! Archaeology and the Old Testament Ebla tablets—discovered in 1970s in Northern Syria. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Biblical Archaeology | E

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 4 Carl Sagan Review by LARRY VARDIMAN of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Larry Vardiman noted, ”Earlier in the day I had the opportunity to briefly talk with him during a break in presentations at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. I introduced myself and found him very cordial but extremely animated and energetic in attempting to convince me that the Bible is not a valid source of truth and that science has proven it wrong”

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot

BY LARRY VARDIMAN, PH.D.  *   |

THURSDAY, JUNE 01, 1995

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On December 6, 1994, Carl Sagan, author of Cosmos, well-known astronomer and speaker, appeared before the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco to introduce his new book, Pale Blue Dot.1

Earlier in the day I had the opportunity to briefly talk with him during a break in presentations at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. I introduced myself and found him very cordial but extremely animated and energetic in attempting to convince me that the Bible is not a valid source of truth and that science has proven it wrong.

I was puzzled at his enthusiasm until I purchased and read his book. In it he presents the case that the earth and man are not at the center of the universe or God’s attention. In fact, he stresses that science has disproved the Bible and that man is an insignificant species on a remote planet whirling through the vast reaches of space. He suggests space exploration and colonization as a vision for developing anew meaning in life to replace that given historically by religion.

Since Carl Sagan is such an effective spokesman for the naturalistic world view which prevails in the modern scientific community, and for his concept that a creator God is an outdated “geocentrist conceit” concocted by our less enlightened forefathers and foisted upon the human culture, I felt a review and rebuttal of his new book was in order.REVIEW

At the heart of Dr. Sagan’s argument for a universe without a creator is the progressive disillusionment he believes science has handed those who believe in religion. This he calls “The Great Demotions.” He suggests that observation of the night-time sky by our ancestors led to a misplaced sense of importance of man:

And if the lights in the sky rise and set around us, isn’t it evident that we’re at the center of the Universe? These celestial bodies—so clearly reveals that we are special. The Universe seems designed for human beings. It’s difficult to contemplate these circumstances without experiencing stirrings of pride and reassurance. The entire Universe, made for us! We must really be something.

This satisfying demonstration of our importance, buttressed by daily observations of the heavens, made the geocentrist conceit a transcultural truth—taught in the schools, built into the language, part and parcel of great literature and sacred scripture. Dissenters were discouraged, sometimes with torture and death. It is no wonder that for the vast bulk of human history, no one questioned it.

Over the past 300 years, Sagan says, science began to strip away this “geocentrist conceit” starting with Copernicus’ finding that the earth revolved around the sun rather than the sun around the earth. Next it was determined that our earth is only one of a myriad of worlds, the sun is only one of our galaxy, and our galaxy is only one of a myriad of galaxies in the universe. Apparently, there is nothing special about our position in the universe. Einstein’s theory of relativity then discredited the view held by Newton and all other great classical physicists that the velocity of the earth in space constituted a “privileged frame of reference.” Next, the age of the solar system was calculated to be about 4.5 billion years old and the universe about 15 billion. The final demotion was the conclusion by Darwin that man is not a special creation but, rather, evolved in the primordial ooze from simple, single-celled organisms. Man is simply the end-product in a long chain of evolutionary change.

These “great demotions” lead to the conclusion that there is no meaning or purpose in our existence. Sagan bemoans this loss of meaning by lampooning the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden:

There was a particular tree of which we were not to partake, a tree of knowledge. Knowledge and understanding and wisdom were forbidden to us in this story. We were to be kept ignorant. But we couldn’t help ourselves. We were starving forknowledge—created hungry, you might say. This was the origin of all our troubles. In particular, it is why we no longer live in a garden: We found out too much. So long as we were incurious and obedient, I imagine, we could console ourselves with our importance and centrality, and tell ourselves that we were the reason the Universe was made. As we began to indulge our curiosity, though, to explore, to learn how the Universe really is, we expelled ourselves from Eden. Angels with a flaming sword were set as sentries at the gates of Paradise to bar our return. The gardeners became exiles and wanderers. Occasionally we mourn that lost world, but that, it seems to me, is maudlin and sentimental. We could not happily have remained ignorant forever.

Sagan admits several times in his book that “there is in this Universe much of what seems to be design.” Yet, he can not bring himself to attribute this design to a Designer. He does go so far as to say in one place that, “Maybe there is one [a designer] hiding, maddeningly unwilling to be revealed.” However, he finally concludes that the evidence does not require a Designer. He also admits that without a Designer there is no purpose and without purpose man cannot survive. Sagan has been building a justification for the remainder of his book. He now states in egotistical terms his agenda for the human race:

The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal. On behalf of Earthlife, I urge that, with full knowledge of our limitations, we vastly increase our knowledge of the Solar System and then begin to settle other worlds.

REBUTTAL

The crux of Sagan’s arguments is the validity of his “great demotions.” Has science shown the Bible to be untrue and that the earth and man are insignificant random combinations of molecules near a remote star in a vast, uncaring universe? I do not believe that the sun revolves around the earth. However, I strongly hold to the view that man is at the center of God’s care and concern, if not very near the center of His creation.

The Bible nowhere says that the sun revolves around the earth. It simply uses the common everyday reference system we are all familiar with when referring to the motions of the sun. References to sunrise and sunset appear in the newspaper each day, and there is no difficulty in understanding their meaning. Similar terms are used in surveying, nautical navigation, even orbital mechanics. They communicate information just as does the Bible.

In the covenant with Abraham God implied that there is a myriad of stars in the universe. He said, “look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them….”Sagan believes some of these stars may have planets circling them with life on them. However, Sagan recently admitted in a radio interview that after 25 years of searching for intelligent life, he has been unable to find evidence of life anywhere else in the universe. (Sagan has stated that he would even be happy to find stupid life.) He went so far as to say, “there must be something unique about the earth.” Einstein’s theories of relativity and the great ages of our solar system and universe both have yet to be proven. If relativity can be shown to be true, some believe the effect could possibly explain the apparent great times of light traveling from distant stars.2

The theory of evolution is the greatest house of cards of all. It flies in the face of the well-founded Second Law of Thermodynamics, cannot be supported by the fossil record, violates common sense in the development of complex systems, and could not even occur in 15 billion years.

These “great demotions” then are the result of misapplying faulty theories rather than validating God’s statements in Scripture regarding our position and purpose.

God has declared our standing as follows:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

It is evident from only these few selected Scripture passages that God created the universe and cares for us to the point of providing His own Son as a sacrifice for our sins. In our finiteness we don’t fully understand an infinite God, but how dare we arrogantly deny such a God.REACTIONS

Dr. Sagan is an excellent writer and public speaker. He has a very engaging writing style and dares to discuss controversial issues. His Cosmos series and book sold more copies than any science book ever written in English. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for his writing. However, he is wrong. Carl Sagan is blinded to the evidence that God exists and created man as His special object of love and concern.

This point of view among so many scientists today is described in Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Dr. Sagan has rejected out of hand the evidences he has clearly seen for design in the universe. Although he has expressed a reluctant need to find a Designer, he has given up on the search and has constructed his own “Tower of Babel.”

A recurrent theme throughout the book is his allegorizing of the Biblical account and an assumption that it is a transcription of man’s uninformed experiences. No place is given to the possibility that Scripture is inspired by the Creator. Dr. Sagan’s goal in Pale Blue Dot is to substitute his “creation myth” and purpose for “Earthlife” for the creation account and dominion mandate found in Genesis. Sagan even raises the specter of “becoming like the Most High.” I fear for men who would place themselves in such opposition to God and His Word.CONCLUSIONS

Because of the kinship I feel toward scientists like Carl Sagan, I am saddened greatly by their actions. Scientists have the greatest opportunities of all to see the evidence of God’s marvelous provision for man in His creation. Those who can’t see God’s hand in the universe around them should be encouraged to ask God to reveal Himself to them. God is not hiding. He is waiting for us to see Him. Please pray for Carl Sagan and others like him who, in their conceit declare, “There is no God!” (Psalm 14:1).REFERENCES 

1. C. Sagan. Pale Blue Dot (Random House, 1994), 429 pp.
2. R. Humphries. Starlight and Time (Master Books, 1994), 133 pp.

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Robert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo LlinasElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlaneDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin BanajiPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax TegmarkNeil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the 1st video below in the 45th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them.
Carl Sagan. Credit: NASA

Carl Edward Sagan (/ˈsɡən/; SAY-gən; November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space, the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the hypothesis, accepted since, that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to, and calculated using, the greenhouse effect.[3]

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true. Biblical Archaeology is Silencing the critics! Significantly, even liberal theologians, secular academics, and critics generally cannot deny that archaeology has confirmed thebiblical record at many points. Rationalistic detractors of the Bible can attack it all day long, but they cannot dispute archaeological facts.

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______________   George Harrison Swears & Insults Paul and Yoko Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking […]

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The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, created in 1990, is the country’s first modern private school choice program. Right in line with Milton Friedman’s 1955 idea for a tuition voucher, the program offers private school vouchers to low‐ and middle‐​income families who live in Milwaukee!

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System – Failures in Educatio…

Milton Friedman – Educational Vouchers

JANUARY 27, 2023 3:28PM

Friday Feature: School Choice Milestones

By Colleen Hroncich


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As we wrap up our National School Choice Week look at the history of school choice, I’m going to explore some notable milestones in the U.S. over the years. For more in‐​depth coverage, be sure to check out our new School Choice Timeline.

When we talk about school choice, we generally mean a program where public funding follows students to nonpublic schools. This becomes particularly important after the mid‐​1800s, when state governments began to mandate taxpayers fund and children attend specific schools established and run by local government entities. Prior to that, education was typically a private or local concern—the domain of parents or small communities.

The oldest school choice program in the U.S. is Vermont’s town tuitioning program. Vermont’s founding constitution, adopted in 1777, required the legislature to establish a school in each town. As the state grew and the population became more dispersed, some towns could not support a public school. In 1869, the legislature passed a law allowing students from a town without a public school to attend any public or private school in or outside of Vermont, with the sending town paying the receiving school’s tuition. Originally, parents could choose religious private schools, but that option was removed by the state’s supreme court in 1961. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Carson v. Makin overturned a similar ban on religious schools in Maine’s town tuitioning program. In response, the Vermont Secretary of Education notified superintendents that “School districts may not deny tuition payments to religious” schools that otherwise meet the criteria for the program.

The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, created in 1990, is the country’s first modern private school choice program. Right in line with Milton Friedman’s 1955 idea for a tuition voucher, the program offers private school vouchers to low‐ and middle‐​income families who live in Milwaukee. In its first year, 341 students used vouchers to attend seven private schools in the city. This year, 129 schools in the metro Milwaukee area are participating in the program, enrolling nearly 29,000 students. The value of the voucher increases when state aid to school districts increases. Today there are 26 voucher programs running in 15 states plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

Arizona introduced the Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the nation’s first tax credit scholarship, in 1997. It provides tax credits to individuals who donate to school tuition organizations that provide scholarships for private school tuition. While the tax credits are worth 100% of the donation, they’re capped at $611 per donor. There is no cap on scholarship values, students can receive multiple scholarships, and every K–12 student in the state is eligible to participate in the program. There are now 26 tax credit scholarship programs in 21 states.

While I’ve long known that Milton Friedman is considered the father of school vouchers, I only recently learned he later suggested “partial vouchers”—which sound a lot like education savings accounts (ESAs). Here’s how he described them in a 2006 EducationNext interview:

Moreover, there’s no reason to expect that the future market will have the shape or form that our present market has. How do we know how education will develop? Why is it sensible for a child to get all his or her schooling in one brick building? Why not add partial vouchers? Why not let them spend part of a voucher for math in one place and English or science somewhere else? Why should schooling have to be in one building? Why can’t a student take some lessons at home, especially now, with the availability of the Internet? Right now, as a matter of fact, one of the biggest growth areas has been home schooling. There are more children being home schooled than there are in all of the voucher programs combined. 

Friedman’s words proved prophetic when Arizona created the nation’s first ESA in 2011: the Empowerment Scholarship Account program. Originally limited to students with special needs, the program allows parents who opt out of public school to receive a portion of state education funding in an account that can be used for a variety of approved educational purchases—like private school tuition, tutoring, or education therapies.

Other states adopted similar ESAs that were restricted to various populations (students with special needs, military families, economically disadvantaged families, children assigned to low‐​performing public schools, etc.). In 2021, West Virginia made a huge jump forward with Hope Scholarships, an ESA that’s open to every child in public schools (93% of kids in the state). Last year, Arizona re‐​claimed the ESA crown by becoming the first state with universal eligibility. Already this year, Iowahas joined the universal ESA club and Utahis on the verge. Other states are poised to follow suit. After decades of baby steps, universal school choice is on the march.

Our coverage this week—Neal’s introductory post, my look at Milton Friedman, Neal’s exploration of religion and school choice, and my piece on school choice and the courts—has been designed to highlight Cato’s new School Choice Timeline. There are a lot of misconceptions about the origins and goals of school choice. We hope the timeline adds clarity to conversations around school choice so it can be debated on its merits rather than with false attacks about its origins.

Censorship, School Libraries, Democracy, and Choice

A big advantage of living in a constitutional republicis that individual rights are protected from “tyranny of the majority.”

  • Assuming courts are doing their job, it doesn’t matterif 90 percent of voters support restrictions on free speech.
  • Assuming courts are doing their job, it doesn’t matter if 90 percent of voters support gun confiscation.
  • Assuming courts are doing their job, it doesn’t matter if 90 percent of voters support warrantless searches.

That being said, a constitutional republic is a democratic form of government. And if government is staying within proper boundaries, political decisions should be based on majority rule, as expressed through elections.

In some cases, that will lead to decisions I don’t like. For instance, the (tragic) 16th Amendment gives the federal government the authority to impose an income tax and voters repeatedly have elected politicians who have opted to exercise that authority.

Needless to say, I will continue my efforts to educate voters and lawmakers in hopes that eventually there will be majorities that choose a different approach. That’s how things should work in a properly functioning democracy.

But not everyone agrees.

report in the New York Times, authored by Elizabeth Harris and Alexandra Alter, discusses the controversy over which books should be in the libraries of government schools.

The Keller Independent School District, just outside of Dallas, passed a new rule in November: It banned books from its libraries that include the concept of gender fluidity. …recently, the issue has been supercharged by a rapidly growing and increasingly influential constellation of conservative groups.The organizations frequently describe themselves as defending parental rights. …“This is not about banning books, it’s about protecting the innocence of our children,” said Keith Flaugh, one of the founders of Florida Citizens Alliance, a conservative group focused on education… The restrictions, said Emerson Sykes, a First Amendment litigator for the American Civil Liberties Union, infringe on students’ “right to access a broad range of material without political censorship.” …In Florida, parents who oppose book banning formed the Freedom to Read Project.

As indicated by the excerpt, some people are very sloppy with language.

If a school decides not to buy a certain book for its library, that is not a “book ban.” Censorship only exists when the government uses coercion to prevent people from buying books with their own money.

As I wrote earlier this year, “The fight is not over which books to ban. It’s about which books to buy.”

And this brings us back to the issue of democracy.

School libraries obviously don’t have the space or funds to stock every book ever published, so somebody has to make choices. And voters have the ultimate power to make those choices since they elect school boards.

I’ll close by noting that democracy does not please everyone. Left-leaning parents in Alabama probably don’t always like the decisions of their school boards,just like right-leaning parents in Vermont presumably don’t always like the decisions of their school boards.

And the same thing happens with other contentious issues, such as teaching critical race theory.

Which is why school choice is the best outcome. Then, regardless of ideology, parents can choose schools that have the curriculum (and books) that they think will be best for their children.

P.S. If you want to peruse a genuine example of censorship, click here.


More Academic Evidence for School Choice

Since teacher unions care more about lining their pockets and protecting their privileges rather than improving education, I’ll never feel any empathy for bosses like Randi Weingarten.

That being said, the past couple of years have been bad news for Ms Weingarten and her cronies.

Not only is school choice spreading – especially in states such as Arizona and West Virginia, but we also are getting more and more evidence that competition produces better results for schoolkids.

In a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Professors David N. Figlio, Cassandra M.D. Hart & Krzysztof Karbownikfound that school choice led to benefits even for kids who remained stuck in government schools.

They enjoyed better academic outcomes, which is somewhat surprising, but even I was pleasantly shocked to see improved behavioral outcomes as well.

School choice programs have been growing in the United States and worldwide over the past two decades, and thus there is considerable interest in how these policies affect students remaining in public schools. …the evidence on the effects of these programs as they scale up is virtually non-existent. Here, we investigate this question using data from the state of Florida where, over the course of our sample period, the voucher program participation increased nearly seven-fold.We find consistent evidence that as the program grows in size, students in public schools that faced higher competitive pressure levels see greater gains from the program expansion than do those in locations with less competitive pressure. Importantly, we find that these positive externalities extend to behavioral outcomes— absenteeism and suspensions—that have not been well-explored in prior literature on school choice from either voucher or charter programs. Our preferred competition measure, the Competitive Pressure Index, produces estimates implying that a 10 percent increase in the number of students participating in the voucher program increases test scores by 0.3 to 0.7 percent of a standard deviation and reduces behavioral problems by 0.6 to 0.9 percent. …Finally, we find that public school students who are most positively affected come from comparatively lower socioeconomic background, which is the set of students that schools should be most concerned about losing under the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program.

It’s good news that competition from the private sector produces better results in government schools.

But it’s great news that those from disadvantaged backgrounds disproportionately benefit when there is more school choice.

Wonkier readers will enjoy Figure A2, which shows the benefits to regular kids on the right and disadvantaged kids on the left.

Since the study looked at results in Florida, I’ll close by observing that Florida is ranked #1 for education freedom and ranked #3 for school choice.

P.S. Here’s a video explaining the benefits of school choice.

P.P.S. There’s international evidence from SwedenChileCanada, and the Netherlands, all of which shows superior results when competition replaces government education monopolies.

———-

Portrait of Milton Friedman.jpg

Milton Friedman chose the emphasis on school choice and school vouchers as his greatest legacy and hopefully the Supreme Court will help that dream see a chance!

Educational Choice, the Supreme Court, and a Level Playing Field for Religious Schools

The case for school choice is very straightforward.

The good news is that there was a lot of pro-choice reform in 2021.

West Virginia adopted a statewide system that is based on parental choice. And many other states expanded choice-based programs.

But 2022 may be a good year as well. That’s because the Supreme Court is considering whether to strike down state laws that restrict choice by discriminating against religious schools.

Michael Bindas of the Institute for Justice and Walter Womack of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference make the case for a level playing field in a column for the New York Times.

In 2002, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution allows school choice programs to include schools that provide religious instruction, so long as the voucher program also offers secular options. The question now before the court is whether a state may nevertheless exclude schools that provide religious instruction. The case, Carson v. Makin, …concerns Maine’s tuition assistance program. In that large and sparsely populated state, over half of the school districts have no public high schools. If a student lives in such a district, and it does not contract with another high school to educate its students, then the district must pay tuition for the student to attend the school of her or his parents’ choice. …But one type of school is off limits: a school that provides religious instruction. That may seem unconstitutional, and we argue that it is. Only last year, the Supreme Court, citing the free exercise clause of the Constitution, held that states cannot bar students in a school choice program from selecting religious schools when it allows them to choose other private schools. …The outcome will be enormously consequential for families in public schools that are failing them and will go a long way toward determining whether the most disadvantaged families can exercise the same control over the education of their children as wealthier citizens.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized on this issue earlier this week.

Maine has one of the country’s oldest educational choice systems, a tuition program for students who live in areas that don’t run schools of their own. Instead these families get to pick a school, and public funds go toward enrollment. Religious schools are excluded, however, and on Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear from parents who have closely read the First Amendment.…Maine argues it isn’t denying funds based on the religious “status” of any school… The state claims, rather, that it is merely refusing to allocate money for a “religious use,” specifically, “an education designed to proselytize and inculcate children with a particular faith.” In practice, this distinction between “status” and “use” falls apart. Think about it: Maine is happy to fund tuition at an evangelical school, as long as nothing evangelical is taught. Hmmm. …A state can’t subsidize tuition only for private schools with government-approved values, and trying to define the product as “secular education” gives away the game. …America’s Founders knew what they were doing when they wrote the First Amendment to protect religious “free exercise.”

What does the other side say?

Rachel Laser, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, doesn’t want religious schools to be treated equally under school choice programs.

Here’s some of her column in the Washington Post.

…two sets of parents in Maine claim that the Constitution’s promise of religious freedom actually requires the state to fund religious education at private schools with taxpayer dollars — as a substitute for public education. This interpretation flips the meaning of religious freedom on its head and threatens both true religious freedom and public education.…The problem here is even bigger than public funds paying for praying, as wrong as that is. Unlike public schools, private religious schools often do not honor civil rights protections, especially for LGBTQ people, women, students with disabilities, religious minorities and the nonreligious. …If the court were to agree with the parents, it would also be rejecting the will of three-quarters of the states, which long ago enacted clauses in their state constitutions and passed statutes specifically prohibiting public funding of religious education. …It is up to parents and religious communities to educate their children in their faith. Publicly funded schools should never serve that purpose.

These arguments are not persuasive.

The fact that many state constitutions include so-called Blaine amendments actually undermines her argument since those provisions were motivated by a desire to discriminate against parochial schools that provided education to Catholic immigrants.

And it’s definitely not clear why school choice shouldn’t include religious schools that follow religious teachings, unless she also wants to argue that student grants and loans shouldn’t go to students at Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Liberty, and other religiously affiliated colleges.

The good news is that Ms. Laser’s arguments don’t seem to be winning. Based on this report from yesterday’s Washington Post, authored by Robert Barnes, there are reasons to believe the Justices will make the right decision.

Conservatives on the Supreme Court seemed…critical of a Maine tuition program that does not allow public funds to go to schools that promote religious instruction. The case involves an unusual program in a small state that affects only a few thousand students. But it could have greater implications… The oral argument went on for nearly two hours and featured an array of hypotheticals. …But the session ended as most suspected it would, with the three liberal justices expressing support for Maine and the six conservatives skeptical that it protected religious parents from unconstitutional discrimination.

I can’t resist sharing this additional excerpt about President Biden deciding to side with teacher unions instead of students.

The Justice Department switched its position in the case after President Biden was inaugurated and now supports Maine.

But let’s not dwell on Biden’s hackery (especially since that’s a common affliction on the left).

Instead, let’s close with some uplifting thoughts about what might happen if we get a good decision from the Supreme Court when decisions are announced next year.

Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I think we’re getting close to a tipping point. As more and more states and communities shift to choice, we will have more and more evidence that it’s a win-win for both families and taxpayers.

Which will lead to more choice programs, which will produce more helpful data.

Lather, rinse, repeat. No wonder the (hypocriticalteacher unionsare so desperate to stop progress.

P.S. There’s strong evidence for school choice from nations such as SwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

Free To Choose 1980 – Vol. 06 What’s Wrong with Our Schools? – Full Video
https://youtu.be/tA9jALkw9_Q



Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Kerry McDonald
Kerry McDonald

EducationMilton FriedmanSchool ChoiceSchooling

Libertarians and others are often torn about school choice. They may wish to see the government schooling monopoly weakened, but they may resist supporting choice mechanisms, like vouchers and education savings accounts, because they don’t go far enough. Indeed, most current choice programs continue to rely on taxpayer funding of education and don’t address the underlying compulsory nature of elementary and secondary schooling.

Skeptics may also have legitimate fears that taxpayer-funded education choice programs will lead to over-regulation of previously independent and parochial schooling options, making all schooling mirror compulsory mass schooling, with no substantive variation.

Milton Friedman had these same concerns. The Nobel prize-winning economist is widely considered to be the one to popularize the idea of vouchers and school choice beginning with his 1955 paper, “The Role of Government in Education.” His vision continues to be realized through the important work of EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, that Friedman and his economist wife, Rose, founded in 1996.

July 31 is Milton Friedman’s birthday. He died in 2006 at the age of 94, but his ideas continue to have an impact, particularly in education policy.

Friedman saw vouchers and other choice programs as half-measures. He recognized the larger problems of taxpayer funding and compulsion, but saw vouchers as an important starting point in allowing parents to regain control of their children’s education. In their popular book, Free To Choose, first published in 1980, the Friedmans wrote:

We regard the voucher plan as a partial solution because it affects neither the financing of schooling nor the compulsory attendance laws. We favor going much farther. (p.161)

They continued:

The compulsory attendance laws are the justification for government control over the standards of private schools. But it is far from clear that there is any justification for the compulsory attendance laws themselves. (p. 162)

The Friedmans admitted that their “own views on this have changed over time,” as they realized that “compulsory attendance at schools is not necessary to achieve that minimum standard of literacy and knowledge,” and that “schooling was well-nigh universal in the United States before either compulsory attendance or government financing of schooling existed. Like most laws, compulsory attendance laws have costs as well as benefits. We no longer believe the benefits justify the costs.” (pp. 162-3)

Still, they felt that vouchers would be the essential starting point toward chipping away at monopoly mass schooling by putting parents back in charge. School choice, in other words, would be a necessary but not sufficient policy approach toward addressing the underlying issue of government control of education.

In their book, the Friedmans presented the potential outcomes of their proposed voucher plan, which would give parents access to some or all of the average per-pupil expenditures of a child enrolled in public school. They believed that vouchers would help create a more competitive education market, encouraging education entrepreneurship. They felt that parents would be more empowered with greater control over their children’s education and have a stronger desire to contribute some of their own money toward education. They asserted that in many places “the public school has fostered residential stratification, by tying the kind and cost of schooling to residential location” and suggested that voucher programs would lead to increased integration and heterogeneity. (pp. 166-7)

To the critics who said, and still say, that school choice programs would destroy the public schools, the Friedmans replied that these critics fail to

explain why, if the public school system is doing such a splendid job, it needs to fear competition from nongovernmental, competitive schools or, if it isn’t, why anyone should object to its “destruction.” (p. 170)

What I appreciate most about the Friedmans discussion of vouchers and the promise of school choice is their unrelenting support of parents. They believed that parents, not government bureaucrats and intellectuals, know what is best for their children’s education and well-being and are fully capable of choosing wisely for their children—when they have the opportunity to do so.

They wrote:

Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else. Social reformers, and educational reformers in particular, often self-righteously take for granted that parents, especially those who are poor and have little education themselves, have little interest in their children’s education and no competence to choose for them. That is a gratuitous insult. Such parents have frequently had limited opportunity to choose. However, U.S. history has demonstrated that, given the opportunity, they have often been willing to sacrifice a great deal, and have done so wisely, for their children’s welfare. (p. 160).

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Today, school voucher programs exist in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. These programs have consistently shown that when parents are given the choice to opt-out of an assigned district school, many will take advantage of the opportunity. In Washington, D.C., low-income parents who win a voucher lottery send their children to private schools.

The most recent three-year federal evaluationof voucher program participants found that while student academic achievement was comparable to achievement for non-voucher students remaining in public schools, there were statistically significant improvements in other important areas. For instance, voucher participants had lower rates of chronic absenteeism than the control groups, as well as higher student satisfaction scores. There were also tremendous cost-savings.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has served over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools.

According to Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation and a prolific researcher on the topic, the recent analysis of the D.C. voucher program “reveals that private schools produce the same academic outcomes for only a third of the cost of the public schools. In other words, school choice is a great investment.”

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was created in 1990 and is the nation’s oldest voucher program. It currently serves over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools. Like the D.C. voucher program, data on test scores of Milwaukee voucher students show similar results to public school students, but non-academic results are promising.

Recent research found voucher recipients had lower crime rates and lower incidences of unplanned pregnancies in young adulthood. On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

According to Howard Fuller, an education professor at Marquette University, founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and one of the developers of the Milwaukee voucher program, the key is parent empowerment—particularly for low-income minority families.

In an interview with NPR, Fuller said: “What I’m saying to you is that there are thousands of black children whose lives are much better today because of the Milwaukee parental choice program,” he says. 
“They were able to access better schools than they would have without a voucher.”

Putting parents back in charge of their child’s education through school choice measures was Milton Friedman’s goal. It was not his ultimate goal, as it would not fully address the funding and compulsion components of government schooling; but it was, and remains, an important first step. As the Friedmans wrote in Free To Choose:

The strong American tradition of voluntary action has provided many excellent examples that demonstrate what can be done when parents have greater choice. (p. 159).

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Kerry McDonald

Milton Friedman

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Defending Milton Friedman

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What a great defense of Milton Friedman!!!!   Defaming Milton Friedman by Johan Norberg This article appeared in Reason Online on September 26, 2008  PRINT PAGE  CITE THIS      Sans Serif      Serif Share with your friends: ShareThis In the future, if you tell a student or a journalist that you favor free markets and limited government, there is […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 3 Carl Sagan noted, “A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality” (My 1995 correspondence with Sagan) Adrian Rogers v Carl Sagan concerning infanticide!!!

Carl Sagan Planetary Society cropped.png

Sagan in 1980
Born
Carl Edward Sagan

November 9, 1934

Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died December 20, 1996(aged 62)

Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Resting place Lake View Cemetery (Ithaca, New York)
Alma mater University of Chicago
(BA, BS, MS, PhD)
Known for
Spouse(s)

(m. 1957; div. 1965)​

(m. 1968; div. 1981)​

(m. 1981)​

Children 5, including Sasha, Dorion and Nick
Awards Klumpke-Roberts Award(1974)
NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal(1977)
Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction (1978)
Oersted Medal (1990)
Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science (1993)
National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal (1994)

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Robert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo LlinasElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlaneDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin BanajiPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax TegmarkNeil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the 1st video below in the 45th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true.In 1838 American biblical scholar Edward Robinson shook up the archaeological world by discovering Hezekiah’s Tunnel mentioned in the Bible. There is meaning in life available to anyone who will put their faith in Christ, and peace can’t be found in a Guru. Why not take a few minutes and just read the short chapter of Psalms 22 that was written hundreds of years before the Romans even invented the practice of Crucifixion. 1000 years BC the Jews had the practice of stoning people but we read in this chapter a graphic description of Christ dying on the cross.

The last few posts have dealt with material from Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer.

Carl Sagan asserted, “A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality.” I would go one step further. A morality that is based on selfishness will take us further down the road to infanticide.

Adrian Rogers observed:

Pro-choice is rooted in selfishness. Pro-choice advocates want you to beliece that abortion is really an act of mercy. But the truth is that 97% of the abortions in America are convenience abortions.

The following fictional letter suggests what could well lie in the logical outcome of a policy of eliminating unwanted people.

January 22, 2023

Dear Mom:

Can you believe it is already the year 2023? I’m still writing ’22 on everything! It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting in the first grade and celebrating the change to a new century.

I know we really haven’t chatted since Christmas, Mom, and I’m sorry. Anyway, I have some difficult news to share with you, and I really didn’t want to call and talk face to face.

But before I get to that, let me report that Ted’s had a big promotion, and I should be up for a hefty raise this year if I keep putting in all those crazy hours-you know how I work at it. Yes, we’re still struggling to pay the bills.

Little Timmy’s been okay at Kindergarten, although he complains about going. But then, he wasn’t happy about the day care center either. So what can we do? He’s been a real problem, Mom. He’s a good kid, but quite honestly, he’s an unfair burden on us at this time in our lives.

Ted and I have talked this through, and we have finally made a choice. Plenty of other families have made the same choice and are really better off today.

Our pastor is supportive of our choice. He pointed out the family is a system, and the demands of one member shouldn’t be allowed to ruin the whole. The pastor told us to be prayerful and to consider all the factors as to what is right to make our family work. He says that even though he probably wouldn’t do it himself, the choice really is ours. He was kind enough to refer us to a children’s clinic near here, so at least that part is easy.

Don’t get me wrong, Mom-I’m not an uncaring mother. I do feel sorry for the little guy. I think he heard Ted and me talking about it the other night. I turned and saw him standing at the bottom of the stairs in his PJ’s with his little teddy bear that you gave him under his arm-and his eyes were sort of welled up with tears.

Mom, the way he looked at me just about broke my heart, but I honestly believe this is better for Timmy too. It’s not fair to force him to live in a family that can’t give him the time and attention he deserves.

And please, Mom, don’t give me the kind of grief that grandma gave you over your abortions. It’s the same thing, you know. There’s really no difference.

We’ve told Timmy he’s just going in for a vaccination. Anyway, they say the termination procedure is painless. I guess it’s just as well that you haven’t seen that much of little Timmy lately. Please give my love to Dad.

Your daughter,

—-

Pure fiction, yes. But I wonder if the time is not coming coming.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers

Carl Sagan pictured below:

_________

Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer

I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan, and in his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

Image result for carl sagan ann

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

Abortion and the slippery slope argument above

This conjures up the specter of predominantly male, predominantly affluent legislators telling poor women they must bear and raise alone children they cannot afford to bring up; forcing teenagers to bear children they are not emotionally prepared to deal with; saying to women who wish for a career that they must give up their dreams, stay home, and bring up babies; and, worst of all, condemning victims of rape and incest to carry and nurture the offspring of their assailants. Legislative prohibitions on abortion arouse the suspicion that their real intent is to control the independence and sexuality of women…

And yet, by consensus, all of us think it proper that there be prohibitions against, and penalties exacted for, murder. It would be a flimsy defense if the murderer pleads that this is just between him and his victim and none of the government’s business. If killing a fetus is truly killing a human being, is it not the duty of the state to prevent it? Indeed, one of the chief functions of government is to protect the weak from the strong.

If we do not oppose abortion at some stage of pregnancy, is there not a danger of dismissing an entire category of human beings as unworthy of our protection and respect? And isn’t that dismissal the hallmark of sexism, racism, nationalism, and religious fanaticism? Shouldn’t those dedicated to fighting such injustices be scrupulously careful not to embrace another?

Adrian Rogers’ sermon on animal rights refutes Sagan here

There is no right to life in any society on Earth today, nor has there been at any former time… : We raise farm animals for slaughter; destroy forests; pollute rivers and lakes until no fish can live there; kill deer and elk for sport, leopards for the pelts, and whales for fertilizer; entrap dolphins, gasping and writhing, in great tuna nets; club seal pups to death; and render a species extinct every day. All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life.

Genesis 3 defines being human

And even with that protection, casual murder is an urban commonplace, and we wage “conventional” wars with tolls so terrible that we are, most of us, afraid to consider them very deeply… That protection, that right to life, eludes the 40,000 children under five who die on our planet each day from preventable starvation, dehydration, disease, and neglect.

Those who assert a “right to life” are for (at most) not just any kind of life, but for–particularly and uniquely—human life. So they too, like pro-choicers, must decide what distinguishes a human being from other animals and when, during gestation, the uniquely human qualities–whatever they are–emerge.

The Bible talks about the differences between humans and animals

Despite many claims to the contrary, life does not begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain that stretches back nearly to the origin of the Earth, 4.6 billion years ago. Nor does human life begin at conception: It is an unbroken chain dating back to the origin of our species, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Every human sperm and egg is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, alive. They are not human beings, of course. However, it could be argued that neither is a fertilized egg.

In some animals, an egg develops into a healthy adult without benefit of a sperm cell. But not, so far as we know, among humans. A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?

Hundreds of millions of sperm cells (top speed with tails lashing: five inches per hour) are produced in an average human ejaculation. A healthy young man can produce in a week or two enough spermatozoa to double the human population of the Earth. So is masturbation mass murder? How about nocturnal emissions or just plain sex? When the unfertilized egg is expelled each month, has someone died? Should we mourn all those spontaneous miscarriages? Many lower animals can be grown in a laboratory from a single body cell. Human cells can be cloned… In light of such cloning technology, would we be committing mass murder by destroying any potentially clonable cells? By shedding a drop of blood?

All human sperm and eggs are genetic halves of “potential” human beings. Should heroic efforts be made to save and preserve all of them, everywhere, because of this “potential”? Is failure to do so immoral or criminal? Of course, there’s a difference between taking a life and failing to save it. And there’s a big difference between the probability of survival of a sperm cell and that of a fertilized egg. But the absurdity of a corps of high-minded semen-preservers moves us to wonder whether a fertilized egg’s mere “potential” to become a baby really does make destroying it murder.

Opponents of abortion worry that, once abortion is permissible immediately after conception, no argument will restrict it at any later time in the pregnancy. Then, they fear, one day it will be permissible to murder a fetus that is unambiguously a human being. Both pro-choicers and pro-lifers (at least some of them) are pushed toward absolutist positions by parallel fears of the slippery slope.

Another slippery slope is reached by those pro-lifers who are willing to make an exception in the agonizing case of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. But why should the right to live depend on the circumstances of conception? If the same child were to result, can the state ordain life for the offspring of a lawful union but death for one conceived by force or coercion? How can this be just? And if exceptions are extended to such a fetus, why should they be withheld from any other fetus? This is part of the reason some pro-lifers adopt what many others consider the outrageous posture of opposing abortions under any and all circumstances–only excepting, perhaps, when the life of the mother is in danger.

By far the most common reason for abortion worldwide is birth control. So shouldn’t opponents of abortion be handing out contraceptives and teaching school children how to use them? That would be an effective way to reduce the number of abortions. Instead, the United States is far behind other nations in the development of safe and effective methods of birth control–and, in many cases, opposition to such research (and to sex education) has come from the same people who oppose abortions.continue on to Part 3

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The attempt to find an ethically sound and unambiguous judgment on when, if ever, abortion is permissible has deep historical roots. Often, especially in Christian tradition, such attempts were connected with the question of when the soul enters the body–a matter not readily amenable to scientific investigation and an issue of controversy even among learned theologians. Ensoulment has been asserted to occur in the sperm before conception, at conception, at the time of “quickening” (when the mother is first able to feel the fetus stirring within her), and at birth. Or even later.

Different religions have different teachings. Among hunter-gatherers, there are usually no prohibitions against abortion, and it was common in ancient Greece and Rome. In contrast, the more severe Assyrians impaled women on stakes for attempting abortion. The Jewish Talmud teaches that the fetus is not a person and has no rights. The Old and New Testaments–rich in astonishingly detailed prohibitions on dress, diet, and permissible words–contain not a word specifically prohibiting abortion. The only passage that’s remotely relevant (Exodus 21:22) decrees that if there’s a fight and a woman bystander should accidentally be injured and made to miscarry, the assailant must pay a fine.

Neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas Aquinas considered early-term abortion to be homicide (the latter on the grounds that the embryo doesn’t look human). This view was embraced by the Church in the Council of Vienne in 1312, and has never been repudiated. The Catholic Church’s first and long-standing collection of canon law (according to the leading historian of the Church’s teaching on abortion, John Connery, S.J.) held that abortion was homicide only after the fetus was already “formed”–roughly, the end of the first trimester.

But when sperm cells were examined in the seventeenth century by the first microscopes, they were thought to show a fully formed human being. An old idea of the homunculus was resuscitated–in which within each sperm cell was a fully formed tiny human, within whose testes were innumerable other homunculi, etc., ad infinitum. In part through this misinterpretation of scientific data, in 1869 abortion at any time for any reason became grounds for excommunication. It is surprising to most Catholics and others to discover that the date was not much earlier.

From colonial times to the nineteenth century, the choice in the United States was the woman’s until “quickening.” An abortion in the first or even second trimester was at worst a misdemeanor. Convictions were rarely sought and almost impossible to obtain, because they depended entirely on the woman’s own testimony of whether she had felt quickening, and because of the jury’s distaste for prosecuting a woman for exercising her right to choose. In 1800 there was not, so far as is known, a single statute in the United States concerning abortion. Advertisements for drugs to induce abortion could be found in virtually every newspaper and even in many church publications–although the language used was suitably euphemistic, if widely understood.

But by 1900, abortion had been banned at any time in pregnancy by every state in the Union, except when necessary to save the woman’s life. What happened to bring about so striking a reversal? Religion had little to do with it.Drastic economic and social conversions were turning this country from an agrarian to an urban-industrial society. America was in the process of changing from having one of the highest birthrates in the world to one of the lowest. Abortion certainly played a role and stimulated forces to suppress it.

One of the most significant of these forces was the medical profession. Up to the mid-nineteenth century, medicine was an uncertified, unsupervised business. Anyone could hang up a shingle and call himself (or herself) a doctor. With the rise of a new, university-educated medical elite, anxious to enhance the status and influence of physicians, the American Medical Association was formed. In its first decade, the AMA began lobbying against abortions performed by anyone except licensed physicians. New knowledge of embryology, the physicians said, had shown the fetus to be human even before quickening.

Their assault on abortion was motivated not by concern for the health of the woman but, they claimed, for the welfare of the fetus. You had to be a physician to know when abortion was morally justified, because the question depended on scientific and medical facts understood only by physicians. At the same time, women were effectively excluded from the medical schools, where such arcane knowledge could be acquired. So, as things worked out, women had almost nothing to say about terminating their own pregnancies. It was also up to the physician to decide if the pregnancy posed a threat to the woman, and it was entirely at his discretion to determine what was and was not a threat. For the rich woman, the threat might be a threat to her emotional tranquillity or even to her lifestyle. The poor woman was often forced to resort to the back alley or the coat hanger.

This was the law until the 1960s, when a coalition of individuals and organizations, the AMA now among them, sought to overturn it and to reinstate the more traditional values that were to be embodied in Roe v. Wade.continue on to Part 4

If you deliberately kill a human being, it’s called murder. If you deliberately kill a chimpanzee–biologically, our closest relative, sharing 99.6 percent of our active genes–whatever else it is, it’s not murder. To date, murder uniquely applies to killing human beings. Therefore, the question of when personhood (or, if we like, ensoulment) arises is key to the abortion debate. When does the fetus become human? When do distinct and characteristic human qualities emerge?

Section 8 Sperm journey to becoming Human

We recognize that specifying a precise moment will overlook individual differences. Therefore, if we must draw a line, it ought to be drawn conservatively–that is, on the early side. There are people who object to having to set some numerical limit, and we share their disquiet; but if there is to be a law on this matter, and it is to effect some useful compromise between the two absolutist positions, it must specify, at least roughly, a time of transition to personhood.

Every one of us began from a dot. A fertilized egg is roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The momentous meeting of sperm and egg generally occurs in one of the two fallopian tubes. One cell becomes two, two become four, and so on—an exponentiation of base-2 arithmetic. By the tenth day the fertilized egg has become a kind of hollow sphere wandering off to another realm: the womb. It destroys tissue in its path. It sucks blood from capillaries. It bathes itself in maternal blood, from which it extracts oxygen and nutrients. It establishes itself as a kind of parasite on the walls of the uterus.By the third week, around the time of the first missed menstrual period, the forming embryo is about 2 millimeters long and is developing various body parts. Only at this stage does it begin to be dependent on a rudimentary placenta. It looks a little like a segmented worm.By the end of the fourth week, it’s about 5 millimeters (about 1/5 inch) long. It’s recognizable now as a vertebrate, its tube-shaped heart is beginning to beat, something like the gill arches of a fish or an amphibian become conspicuous, and there is a pronounced tail. It looks rather like a newt or a tadpole. This is the end of the first month after conception.By the fifth week, the gross divisions of the brain can be distinguished. What will later develop into eyes are apparent, and little buds appear—on their way to becoming arms and legs.By the sixth week, the embryo is 13 millimeteres (about ½ inch) long. The eyes are still on the side of the head, as in most animals, and the reptilian face has connected slits where the mouth and nose eventually will be.By the end of the seventh week, the tail is almost gone, and sexual characteristics can be discerned (although both sexes look female). The face is mammalian but somewhat piglike.By the end of the eighth week, the face resembles that of a primate but is still not quite human. Most of the human body parts are present in their essentials. Some lower brain anatomy is well-developed. The fetus shows some reflex response to delicate stimulation.By the tenth week, the face has an unmistakably human cast. It is beginning to be possible to distinguish males from females. Nails and major bone structures are not apparent until the third month.By the fourth month, you can tell the face of one fetus from that of another. Quickening is most commonly felt in the fifth month. The bronchioles of the lungs do not begin developing until approximately the sixth month, the alveoli still later.

So, if only a person can be murdered, when does the fetus attain personhood? When its face becomes distinctly human, near the end of the first trimester? When the fetus becomes responsive to stimuli–again, at the end of the first trimester? When it becomes active enough to be felt as quickening, typically in the middle of the second trimester? When the lungs have reached a stage of development sufficient that the fetus might, just conceivably, be able to breathe on its own in the outside air?

The trouble with these particular developmental milestones is not just that they’re arbitrary. More troubling is the fact that none of them involves uniquely humancharacteristics–apart from the superficial matter of facial appearance. All animals respond to stimuli and move of their own volition. Large numbers are able to breathe. But that doesn’t stop us from slaughtering them by the billions. Reflexes and motion are not what make us human.

Section 9 Sagan’s conclusion based on arbitrary choice of the presence of thought by unborn baby

Other animals have advantages over us–in speed, strength, endurance, climbing or burrowing skills, camouflage, sight or smell or hearing, mastery of the air or water. Our one great advantage, the secret of our success, is thought–characteristically human thought. We are able to think things through, imagine events yet to occur, figure things out. That’s how we invented agriculture and civilization. Thought is our blessing and our curse, and it makes us who we are.

Thinking occurs, of course, in the brain–principally in the top layers of the convoluted “gray matter” called the cerebral cortex. The roughly 100 billion neurons in the brain constitute the material basis of thought. The neurons are connected to each other, and their linkups play a major role in what we experience as thinking. But large-scale linking up of neurons doesn’t begin until the 24th to 27th week of pregnancy–the sixth month.

By placing harmless electrodes on a subject’s head, scientists can measure the electrical activity produced by the network of neurons inside the skull. Different kinds of mental activity show different kinds of brain waves. But brain waves with regular patterns typical of adult human brains do not appear in the fetus until about the 30th week of pregnancy–near the beginning of the third trimester. Fetuses younger than this–however alive and active they may be–lack the necessary brain architecture. They cannot yet think.

Acquiescing in the killing of any living creature, especially one that might later become a baby, is troublesome and painful. But we’ve rejected the extremes of “always” and “never,” and this puts us–like it or not–on the slippery slope. If we are forced to choose a developmental criterion, then this is where we draw the line: when the beginning of characteristically human thinking becomes barely possible.

It is, in fact, a very conservative definition: Regular brain waves are rarely found in fetuses. More research would help… If we wanted to make the criterion still more stringent, to allow for occasional precocious fetal brain development, we might draw the line at six months. This, it so happens, is where the Supreme Court drew it in 1973–although for completely different reasons.

Its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade changed American law on abortion. It permits abortion at the request of the woman without restriction in the first trimester and, with some restrictions intended to protect her health, in the second trimester. It allows states to forbid abortion in the third trimester, except when there’s a serious threat to the life or health of the woman. In the 1989 Webster decision, the Supreme Court declined explicitly to overturn Roe v. Wade but in effect invited the 50 state legislatures to decide for themselves.

What was the reasoning in Roe v. Wade? There was no legal weight given to what happens to the children once they are born, or to the family. Instead, a woman’s right to reproductive freedom is protected, the court ruled, by constitutional guarantees of privacy. But that right is not unqualified. The woman’s guarantee of privacy and the fetus’s right to life must be weighed–and when the court did the weighing’ priority was given to privacy in the first trimester and to life in the third. The transition was decided not from any of the considerations we have been dealing with so far…–not when “ensoulment” occurs, not when the fetus takes on sufficient human characteristics to be protected by laws against murder. Instead, the criterion adopted was whether the fetus could live outside the mother. This is called “viability” and depends in part on the ability to breathe. The lungs are simply not developed, and the fetus cannot breathe–no matter how advanced an artificial lung it might be placed in—until about the 24th week, near the start of the sixth month. This is why Roe v. Wade permits the states to prohibit abortions in the last trimester. It’s a very pragmatic criterion.

If the fetus at a certain stage of gestation would be viable outside the womb, the argument goes, then the right of the fetus to life overrides the right of the woman to privacy. But just what does “viable” mean? Even a full-term newborn is not viable without a great deal of care and love. There was a time before incubators, only a few decades ago, when babies in their seventh month were unlikely to be viable. Would aborting in the seventh month have been permissible then? After the invention of incubators, did aborting pregnancies in the seventh month suddenly become immoral? What happens if, in the future, a new technology develops so that an artificial womb can sustain a fetus even before the sixth month by delivering oxygen and nutrients through the blood–as the mother does through the placenta and into the fetal blood system? We grant that this technology is unlikely to be developed soon or become available to many. But if it were available, does it then become immoral to abort earlier than the sixth month, when previously it was moral? A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality; for some, it is also an unacceptable morality.

And why, exactly, should breathing (or kidney function, or the ability to resist disease) justify legal protection? If a fetus can be shown to think and feel but not be able to breathe, would it be all right to kill it? Do we value breathing more than thinking and feeling? Viability arguments cannot, it seems to us, coherently determine when abortions are permissible. Some other criterion is needed. Again, we offer for consideration the earliest onset of human thinking as that criterion.

Since, on average, fetal thinking occurs even later than fetal lung development, we find Roe v. Wade to be a good and prudent decision addressing a complex and difficult issue. With prohibitions on abortion in the last trimester–except in cases of grave medical necessity–it strikes a fair balance between the conflicting claims of freedom and life.What do you think? What have others said about Carl Sagan’s thoughts on 

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Carl Sagan states in the above article, “A morality that depends on, and changes with, technology is a fragile morality” and this is challenged by Francis Schaeffer’s assertion, “If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, then society is absolute.” Francis Schaeffer, How Shall We Then Live? (Old Tappan NJ: Fleming H Revell Company, 1976), p. 224. 

It really comes down to your basis for morality and secular humanists like Sagan only have relativistic value systems that change constantly.

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Iowa and Utah Lead States on School Choice Progress in the New Year

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System – Failures in Educatio…

Milton Friedman – Educational Vouchers

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Iowa and Utah Lead States on School Choice Progress in the New Year

Jason Bedrick  @JasonBedrick / January 23, 2023

Iowa Utah School Choice

Iowa and Utah have made the first moves this year to give families greater say in their children’s education. Moreover, evidence is debunking opponents’ charges that choice harms rural students and homeschoolers. (Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images)

COMMENTARY BY

Jason Bedrick@JasonBedrick

Jason Bedrick is a research fellow with The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy.

As America celebrates National School Choice Week, two states—Iowa and Utah—have made the first moves this year to empower families with a greater say in how their children are educated. Additionally, the evidence from states with robust school choice policies is debunking opponents’ charges that choice harms rural students and homeschoolers.

Last week, the education committees in both the Iowa House of Representatives and Iowa Senate advanced Gov. Kim Reynolds’ education choice bill, the Students First Act, which would make K-12 education savings accounts, or ESAs, available to all Iowa families.

With an ESA, a family that opted their child out of the public school system would be able to access the state’s portion of per-pupil spending on public schooling—about $7,600—to use for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, curricular materials, special-needs therapy, and more.

In an open letter, Reynolds emphasized that most Iowans will likely continue to choose district public schools for their children. But the governor noted, “For families who otherwise can’t afford a private school that may be a better fit for their children, [the Students First Act] makes new opportunities attainable.”

On Friday, the Utah House of Representatives passed the Utah Fits All Act by a vote of 54-20. The bill would create multiuse scholarships worth about $8,000 annually for all K-12 students. The scholarships would work similarly to an ESA, except without the ability to save unused funds for future expenses. The measure also included a pay increase for district schoolteachers.

“I believe that supporting education means supporting the best approach for educating each individual child and our state,” said bill sponsor state Rep. Candice Pierucci. “So this bill works to emphasize a focus on individualized student learning and finding ways to give parents additional tools and options for their kids’ education.”

Last year, Arizona became the first state to offer ESAs to every student. In 2021, West Virginiaenacted an ESA policy that’s open to all students switching out of a district school or entering kindergarten. Numerous other states are poisedthis year to follow their lead, including Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.

As The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorialthis weekend, opponents of school choice are raising concerns about how these policies might affect rural school districts:

Public schools are sometimes the only option in rural areas and school choice will ruin them, the argument goes.

But as Corey DeAngelis recently wrote in these pages, rural districts have as much to gain from school choice as anywhere else. If public schools are truly the best, or the only, option, students won’t go elsewhere. A Heritage Foundation report recently documented that rural school districts haven’t suffered in Arizona, where school choice is flourishing.

(The Heritage Foundation is the parent organization of The Daily Signal.)

Indeed, not only have Arizona’s rural schools not shown signs of harm, they’ve actually improved considerably over the last two decades in Arizona’s robust school choice environment.

As described in the aforementioned Heritage report, from 2007 to 2019, Arizona rural students’ fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress increased by a combined 21 points while scores in rural schools nationally decreased by two points. In science, Arizona’s rural schools increased a combined 22 points while rural schools nationwide only increased by four points.


National Assessment of Educational Progress gains and declines for rural students, pre-pandemic.

On the most recent national assessment, post-pandemic, Arizona’s rural students were still up a combined nine points while rural students nationally dropped 17 points from 2007.


National Assessment of Educational Progress gains and declines for rural students, post-pandemic.

Others have raised concerns about the potential for education choice programs to lead to regulations on homeschooling. Government shekels, the argument goes, lead to government shackles. However, there are states with shackles but no shekels and others with shekels but no shackles.

All of the states that the Home School Legal Defense Association lists as “high regulation” when it comes to homeschoolers are states that lack an education savings account policy. Meanwhile, the states with the highest ESA participation—Arizona and Florida—are considered “low regulation” states by the association.

In weighing whether to support ESA policies, homeschoolers should examine how such policies have worked in states like Arizona that have had them for more than a decade. To that end, the Arizona-based think tank Goldwater Institute recently published an essay by Michael Clark, a homeschool dad whose family uses the ESA, about the experiences of homeschoolers in Arizona with the ESA.

Clark observed that the ESAs “have not encroached on homeschool freedoms,” but they have “provided life-changing services and resources for children with learning and developmental disabilities” and “encouraged educational entrepreneurship, leading to new and more affordable educational opportunities for all students, including homeschool students.”

The ESAs have also made it possible for many more families to educate their children at home, thereby strengthening the coalition of those willing to fight to protect homeschool autonomy.

Of course, the devil is in the details. It is crucial that education choice policies are well-crafted and ensure that homeschool autonomy is respected. Thus far, ESA policies have been designed to do just that.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state. 

Censorship, School Libraries, Democracy, and Choice

A big advantage of living in a constitutional republicis that individual rights are protected from “tyranny of the majority.”

  • Assuming courts are doing their job, it doesn’t matterif 90 percent of voters support restrictions on free speech.
  • Assuming courts are doing their job, it doesn’t matter if 90 percent of voters support gun confiscation.
  • Assuming courts are doing their job, it doesn’t matter if 90 percent of voters support warrantless searches.

That being said, a constitutional republic is a democratic form of government. And if government is staying within proper boundaries, political decisions should be based on majority rule, as expressed through elections.

In some cases, that will lead to decisions I don’t like. For instance, the (tragic) 16th Amendment gives the federal government the authority to impose an income tax and voters repeatedly have elected politicians who have opted to exercise that authority.

Needless to say, I will continue my efforts to educate voters and lawmakers in hopes that eventually there will be majorities that choose a different approach. That’s how things should work in a properly functioning democracy.

But not everyone agrees.

report in the New York Times, authored by Elizabeth Harris and Alexandra Alter, discusses the controversy over which books should be in the libraries of government schools.

The Keller Independent School District, just outside of Dallas, passed a new rule in November: It banned books from its libraries that include the concept of gender fluidity. …recently, the issue has been supercharged by a rapidly growing and increasingly influential constellation of conservative groups.The organizations frequently describe themselves as defending parental rights. …“This is not about banning books, it’s about protecting the innocence of our children,” said Keith Flaugh, one of the founders of Florida Citizens Alliance, a conservative group focused on education… The restrictions, said Emerson Sykes, a First Amendment litigator for the American Civil Liberties Union, infringe on students’ “right to access a broad range of material without political censorship.” …In Florida, parents who oppose book banning formed the Freedom to Read Project.

As indicated by the excerpt, some people are very sloppy with language.

If a school decides not to buy a certain book for its library, that is not a “book ban.” Censorship only exists when the government uses coercion to prevent people from buying books with their own money.

As I wrote earlier this year, “The fight is not over which books to ban. It’s about which books to buy.”

And this brings us back to the issue of democracy.

School libraries obviously don’t have the space or funds to stock every book ever published, so somebody has to make choices. And voters have the ultimate power to make those choices since they elect school boards.

I’ll close by noting that democracy does not please everyone. Left-leaning parents in Alabama probably don’t always like the decisions of their school boards,just like right-leaning parents in Vermont presumably don’t always like the decisions of their school boards.

And the same thing happens with other contentious issues, such as teaching critical race theory.

Which is why school choice is the best outcome. Then, regardless of ideology, parents can choose schools that have the curriculum (and books) that they think will be best for their children.

P.S. If you want to peruse a genuine example of censorship, click here.


More Academic Evidence for School Choice

Since teacher unions care more about lining their pockets and protecting their privileges rather than improving education, I’ll never feel any empathy for bosses like Randi Weingarten.

That being said, the past couple of years have been bad news for Ms Weingarten and her cronies.

Not only is school choice spreading – especially in states such as Arizona and West Virginia, but we also are getting more and more evidence that competition produces better results for schoolkids.

In a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Professors David N. Figlio, Cassandra M.D. Hart & Krzysztof Karbownikfound that school choice led to benefits even for kids who remained stuck in government schools.

They enjoyed better academic outcomes, which is somewhat surprising, but even I was pleasantly shocked to see improved behavioral outcomes as well.

School choice programs have been growing in the United States and worldwide over the past two decades, and thus there is considerable interest in how these policies affect students remaining in public schools. …the evidence on the effects of these programs as they scale up is virtually non-existent. Here, we investigate this question using data from the state of Florida where, over the course of our sample period, the voucher program participation increased nearly seven-fold.We find consistent evidence that as the program grows in size, students in public schools that faced higher competitive pressure levels see greater gains from the program expansion than do those in locations with less competitive pressure. Importantly, we find that these positive externalities extend to behavioral outcomes— absenteeism and suspensions—that have not been well-explored in prior literature on school choice from either voucher or charter programs. Our preferred competition measure, the Competitive Pressure Index, produces estimates implying that a 10 percent increase in the number of students participating in the voucher program increases test scores by 0.3 to 0.7 percent of a standard deviation and reduces behavioral problems by 0.6 to 0.9 percent. …Finally, we find that public school students who are most positively affected come from comparatively lower socioeconomic background, which is the set of students that schools should be most concerned about losing under the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program.

It’s good news that competition from the private sector produces better results in government schools.

But it’s great news that those from disadvantaged backgrounds disproportionately benefit when there is more school choice.

Wonkier readers will enjoy Figure A2, which shows the benefits to regular kids on the right and disadvantaged kids on the left.

Since the study looked at results in Florida, I’ll close by observing that Florida is ranked #1 for education freedom and ranked #3 for school choice.

P.S. Here’s a video explaining the benefits of school choice.

P.P.S. There’s international evidence from SwedenChileCanada, and the Netherlands, all of which shows superior results when competition replaces government education monopolies.

———-

Portrait of Milton Friedman.jpg

Milton Friedman chose the emphasis on school choice and school vouchers as his greatest legacy and hopefully the Supreme Court will help that dream see a chance!

Educational Choice, the Supreme Court, and a Level Playing Field for Religious Schools

The case for school choice is very straightforward.

The good news is that there was a lot of pro-choice reform in 2021.

West Virginia adopted a statewide system that is based on parental choice. And many other states expanded choice-based programs.

But 2022 may be a good year as well. That’s because the Supreme Court is considering whether to strike down state laws that restrict choice by discriminating against religious schools.

Michael Bindas of the Institute for Justice and Walter Womack of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference make the case for a level playing field in a column for the New York Times.

In 2002, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution allows school choice programs to include schools that provide religious instruction, so long as the voucher program also offers secular options. The question now before the court is whether a state may nevertheless exclude schools that provide religious instruction. The case, Carson v. Makin, …concerns Maine’s tuition assistance program. In that large and sparsely populated state, over half of the school districts have no public high schools. If a student lives in such a district, and it does not contract with another high school to educate its students, then the district must pay tuition for the student to attend the school of her or his parents’ choice. …But one type of school is off limits: a school that provides religious instruction. That may seem unconstitutional, and we argue that it is. Only last year, the Supreme Court, citing the free exercise clause of the Constitution, held that states cannot bar students in a school choice program from selecting religious schools when it allows them to choose other private schools. …The outcome will be enormously consequential for families in public schools that are failing them and will go a long way toward determining whether the most disadvantaged families can exercise the same control over the education of their children as wealthier citizens.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized on this issue earlier this week.

Maine has one of the country’s oldest educational choice systems, a tuition program for students who live in areas that don’t run schools of their own. Instead these families get to pick a school, and public funds go toward enrollment. Religious schools are excluded, however, and on Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear from parents who have closely read the First Amendment.…Maine argues it isn’t denying funds based on the religious “status” of any school… The state claims, rather, that it is merely refusing to allocate money for a “religious use,” specifically, “an education designed to proselytize and inculcate children with a particular faith.” In practice, this distinction between “status” and “use” falls apart. Think about it: Maine is happy to fund tuition at an evangelical school, as long as nothing evangelical is taught. Hmmm. …A state can’t subsidize tuition only for private schools with government-approved values, and trying to define the product as “secular education” gives away the game. …America’s Founders knew what they were doing when they wrote the First Amendment to protect religious “free exercise.”

What does the other side say?

Rachel Laser, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, doesn’t want religious schools to be treated equally under school choice programs.

Here’s some of her column in the Washington Post.

…two sets of parents in Maine claim that the Constitution’s promise of religious freedom actually requires the state to fund religious education at private schools with taxpayer dollars — as a substitute for public education. This interpretation flips the meaning of religious freedom on its head and threatens both true religious freedom and public education.…The problem here is even bigger than public funds paying for praying, as wrong as that is. Unlike public schools, private religious schools often do not honor civil rights protections, especially for LGBTQ people, women, students with disabilities, religious minorities and the nonreligious. …If the court were to agree with the parents, it would also be rejecting the will of three-quarters of the states, which long ago enacted clauses in their state constitutions and passed statutes specifically prohibiting public funding of religious education. …It is up to parents and religious communities to educate their children in their faith. Publicly funded schools should never serve that purpose.

These arguments are not persuasive.

The fact that many state constitutions include so-called Blaine amendments actually undermines her argument since those provisions were motivated by a desire to discriminate against parochial schools that provided education to Catholic immigrants.

And it’s definitely not clear why school choice shouldn’t include religious schools that follow religious teachings, unless she also wants to argue that student grants and loans shouldn’t go to students at Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Liberty, and other religiously affiliated colleges.

The good news is that Ms. Laser’s arguments don’t seem to be winning. Based on this report from yesterday’s Washington Post, authored by Robert Barnes, there are reasons to believe the Justices will make the right decision.

Conservatives on the Supreme Court seemed…critical of a Maine tuition program that does not allow public funds to go to schools that promote religious instruction. The case involves an unusual program in a small state that affects only a few thousand students. But it could have greater implications… The oral argument went on for nearly two hours and featured an array of hypotheticals. …But the session ended as most suspected it would, with the three liberal justices expressing support for Maine and the six conservatives skeptical that it protected religious parents from unconstitutional discrimination.

I can’t resist sharing this additional excerpt about President Biden deciding to side with teacher unions instead of students.

The Justice Department switched its position in the case after President Biden was inaugurated and now supports Maine.

But let’s not dwell on Biden’s hackery (especially since that’s a common affliction on the left).

Instead, let’s close with some uplifting thoughts about what might happen if we get a good decision from the Supreme Court when decisions are announced next year.

Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I think we’re getting close to a tipping point. As more and more states and communities shift to choice, we will have more and more evidence that it’s a win-win for both families and taxpayers.

Which will lead to more choice programs, which will produce more helpful data.

Lather, rinse, repeat. No wonder the (hypocriticalteacher unionsare so desperate to stop progress.

P.S. There’s strong evidence for school choice from nations such as SwedenChile, and the Netherlands.

Free To Choose 1980 – Vol. 06 What’s Wrong with Our Schools? – Full Video
https://youtu.be/tA9jALkw9_Q



Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Kerry McDonald
Kerry McDonald

EducationMilton FriedmanSchool ChoiceSchooling

Libertarians and others are often torn about school choice. They may wish to see the government schooling monopoly weakened, but they may resist supporting choice mechanisms, like vouchers and education savings accounts, because they don’t go far enough. Indeed, most current choice programs continue to rely on taxpayer funding of education and don’t address the underlying compulsory nature of elementary and secondary schooling.

Skeptics may also have legitimate fears that taxpayer-funded education choice programs will lead to over-regulation of previously independent and parochial schooling options, making all schooling mirror compulsory mass schooling, with no substantive variation.

Milton Friedman had these same concerns. The Nobel prize-winning economist is widely considered to be the one to popularize the idea of vouchers and school choice beginning with his 1955 paper, “The Role of Government in Education.” His vision continues to be realized through the important work of EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, that Friedman and his economist wife, Rose, founded in 1996.

July 31 is Milton Friedman’s birthday. He died in 2006 at the age of 94, but his ideas continue to have an impact, particularly in education policy.

Friedman saw vouchers and other choice programs as half-measures. He recognized the larger problems of taxpayer funding and compulsion, but saw vouchers as an important starting point in allowing parents to regain control of their children’s education. In their popular book, Free To Choose, first published in 1980, the Friedmans wrote:

We regard the voucher plan as a partial solution because it affects neither the financing of schooling nor the compulsory attendance laws. We favor going much farther. (p.161)

They continued:

The compulsory attendance laws are the justification for government control over the standards of private schools. But it is far from clear that there is any justification for the compulsory attendance laws themselves. (p. 162)

The Friedmans admitted that their “own views on this have changed over time,” as they realized that “compulsory attendance at schools is not necessary to achieve that minimum standard of literacy and knowledge,” and that “schooling was well-nigh universal in the United States before either compulsory attendance or government financing of schooling existed. Like most laws, compulsory attendance laws have costs as well as benefits. We no longer believe the benefits justify the costs.” (pp. 162-3)

Still, they felt that vouchers would be the essential starting point toward chipping away at monopoly mass schooling by putting parents back in charge. School choice, in other words, would be a necessary but not sufficient policy approach toward addressing the underlying issue of government control of education.

In their book, the Friedmans presented the potential outcomes of their proposed voucher plan, which would give parents access to some or all of the average per-pupil expenditures of a child enrolled in public school. They believed that vouchers would help create a more competitive education market, encouraging education entrepreneurship. They felt that parents would be more empowered with greater control over their children’s education and have a stronger desire to contribute some of their own money toward education. They asserted that in many places “the public school has fostered residential stratification, by tying the kind and cost of schooling to residential location” and suggested that voucher programs would lead to increased integration and heterogeneity. (pp. 166-7)

To the critics who said, and still say, that school choice programs would destroy the public schools, the Friedmans replied that these critics fail to

explain why, if the public school system is doing such a splendid job, it needs to fear competition from nongovernmental, competitive schools or, if it isn’t, why anyone should object to its “destruction.” (p. 170)

What I appreciate most about the Friedmans discussion of vouchers and the promise of school choice is their unrelenting support of parents. They believed that parents, not government bureaucrats and intellectuals, know what is best for their children’s education and well-being and are fully capable of choosing wisely for their children—when they have the opportunity to do so.

They wrote:

Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else. Social reformers, and educational reformers in particular, often self-righteously take for granted that parents, especially those who are poor and have little education themselves, have little interest in their children’s education and no competence to choose for them. That is a gratuitous insult. Such parents have frequently had limited opportunity to choose. However, U.S. history has demonstrated that, given the opportunity, they have often been willing to sacrifice a great deal, and have done so wisely, for their children’s welfare. (p. 160).

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Today, school voucher programs exist in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. These programs have consistently shown that when parents are given the choice to opt-out of an assigned district school, many will take advantage of the opportunity. In Washington, D.C., low-income parents who win a voucher lottery send their children to private schools.

The most recent three-year federal evaluationof voucher program participants found that while student academic achievement was comparable to achievement for non-voucher students remaining in public schools, there were statistically significant improvements in other important areas. For instance, voucher participants had lower rates of chronic absenteeism than the control groups, as well as higher student satisfaction scores. There were also tremendous cost-savings.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has served over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools.

According to Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation and a prolific researcher on the topic, the recent analysis of the D.C. voucher program “reveals that private schools produce the same academic outcomes for only a third of the cost of the public schools. In other words, school choice is a great investment.”

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was created in 1990 and is the nation’s oldest voucher program. It currently serves over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools. Like the D.C. voucher program, data on test scores of Milwaukee voucher students show similar results to public school students, but non-academic results are promising.

Recent research found voucher recipients had lower crime rates and lower incidences of unplanned pregnancies in young adulthood. On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

According to Howard Fuller, an education professor at Marquette University, founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and one of the developers of the Milwaukee voucher program, the key is parent empowerment—particularly for low-income minority families.

In an interview with NPR, Fuller said: “What I’m saying to you is that there are thousands of black children whose lives are much better today because of the Milwaukee parental choice program,” he says. 
“They were able to access better schools than they would have without a voucher.”

Putting parents back in charge of their child’s education through school choice measures was Milton Friedman’s goal. It was not his ultimate goal, as it would not fully address the funding and compulsion components of government schooling; but it was, and remains, an important first step. As the Friedmans wrote in Free To Choose:

The strong American tradition of voluntary action has provided many excellent examples that demonstrate what can be done when parents have greater choice. (p. 159).

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Kerry McDonald

Milton Friedman

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Defending Milton Friedman

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Dan Mitchell: “Prioritization” and Debt Limit Nonsense

DEBT LIMIT – A GUIDE TO AMERICAN FEDERAL DEBT MADE EASY.

“Prioritization” and Debt Limit Nonsense

Back in 2016, here’s what I said about the debt limitduring some congressional testimony (and I made very similar points in some 2013 testimony).

https://youtu.be/_n7t904DJjg

Near the end of my testimony (about 4:55) I discuss “prioritization,” which is what would happen if the debt limit is not raised and the Treasury Department has to decide which payments are made (and which payments are delayed).

I then pointed out that federal tax revenues in 2017 were expected to be 11 times greater than annual interest payments.

As such, there obviously would have been plenty of cash available to make interest payments, as well as to finance other economically or politically sensitive items (I assume, for instance, that Treasury would have prioritized monthly Social Security benefits as well).

Would this have been messy? Yes. Would it have been uncharted territory not covered by the law? Yes. But would it have been better than default, which would have caused turmoil in financial markets? Another yes.

Which now brings us to the present day. We’re now in another debt limit fight, so I decided to look at the most-recent data from the Congressional Budget Office to see whether the federal government will still have plenty of cash so that interest payments on the debt can be prioritized.

Lo and behold, annual tax revenue this fiscal year is going to be more than 11 times greater than annual interest payments. Just like in 2017.

In other words, we presumably can sleep easy. There’s plenty of money to pay interest on the debt.

There would only be a default if Joe Biden or Janet Yellen (the Treasury Secretary) deliberately chosenot to prioritize. And the odds of that happening presumably are way below 1 percent.

Some people may wonder why we should accept even that small risk? Why not simply increase the debt limit so that the odds of a default are 0 percent?

That’s a fair point, but it must be balanced by the recognition that the United States is on a path to long-run economic and fiscal chaos. So I can also understand why some lawmaker say the debt limit should only be raised if accompanied by some much-need spending restraint.

And, for those who care about real-world evidence, that’s what has happened in the past. Indeed, Brian Riedl notes that it’s the only plausible vehicle for altering the nation’s fiscal trajectory.

I’ll close by expressing pessimism that House Republicans will achieve anything in the current fight over the debt limit.

We won’t get something really good, like a spending cap. But I start with very low expectations, so I guess I’m happy that Republicans are at least pretending to care once again about excessive government spending.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step!

P.S. I partially disagree with Brian Riedl’s list. The 1990 Bush tax increase was not a “deficit-reduction law.” And it was post-1994 spending restraint that produced a balanced budget, not Clinton’s 1993 tax increase.

P.P.S. Remember that debt is bad, but it should be viewed as a symptom. The underlying disease is excessive government spending.


JANUARY 10, 2023 10:05AM

Cut Spending to Stabilize Debt: A Debt Limit Plan for the New Congress

By Romina Boccia


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Following a massive bipartisan increase in emergency spending during the COVID-19 pandemic that contributed to inflation reaching a 40‐​year high, the 118th Congress should shift fiscal gears. It’s time to cut deficit spending to spur economic growth and complement the deflationary actions of the Federal Reserve.

Federal debt is at economically damaging levels and growing at an unsustainable rate. Additional deficit spending threatens to make inflation worse and burden the economy by misallocating resources from higher‐​growth projects toward politically‐​directed spending. The 118th Congress has a key opportunity to adopt responsible, pro‐​growth fiscal policy that controls spending and stabilizes the debt.

Fiscal year (FY) 2022 ended with a $1.4 trillion deficit (how much Congress spent by borrowing) that consumed 5.5 percent of U.S. GDP. To put that in perspective: The first time ever the deficit exceeded $1 trillion was in 2009, when the U.S. was in the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Not that Congress can cure a global financial crisis by throwing money at it, but they did try. The next time deficitsexceeded $1 trillion we were in a 100‐​year pandemic and Congress tried to spend its way out of that, too. Now that the pandemic is over, why is it that trillion‐​dollar deficits go on for as far as the eye can see?

Members of Congress worked so well across the aisle together to increase spending, certainly they should have no problems working together again. Only this time, their charge should be to stabilize debt with a credible fiscal plan and legislation that enacts it. Such a plan should achieve a firm target, such as freezing debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) or achieving primary balance (balancing non‐​interest spending with revenues) before the end of the decade. Congress’s plan should be backed up with concrete policy proposals that score sufficient savings to achieve the fiscal target. 

How hard could this be? It’s not like bipartisanship only works in the context of increasing spending. Or does it? Recent spending increases benefited from horse trading of “your pet project for mine,” as evident by the return of earmarks—parochial spending that was banned for a decade due to frequent instances of waste and corruption. A recent Peterson Foundation poll identified that 9 out of 10 voters expect members of Congress to work together to reduce the federal debt. Constituents are about to find out if bipartisanship will also work when it comes to making tough choices.

The gross federal debt (including government trust fund debt for programs like Social Security) approached $31 trillion (120 percent of GDP), of which debt borrowed in credit markets reached $24.3 trillion (95 percent of GDP). Debt that’s this high, compared to the size of the economy, and growing from there, is bad. It hurts growth and makes a fiscal crisis more likely.

The fiscal outlook is yet worse. After adjusting the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections, federal debt held by the public is projected to grow to 138 percent of GDP by 2032. Adjustments include higher‐​than‐​expected inflation and interest rates, new deficit spending in late 2022, slower‐​than‐​expected economic growth, and the likelihood that middle class tax cuts will be extended past 2025. See figure 1 for alternative projections, compared to a scenario assuming tax cuts will expire (don’t hold your breath), and CBO’s original projections. And even these debt growth scenarios could be too optimistic if there’s a major crisis or prolonged recession. So, let’s not make things even worse.

The federal debt limit specifies the maximum amount of government bonds that Treasury may issue. Treasury is projected to run up against this limit sometime in the summer or fall of 2023. When Congress confronts the federal debt limit this year, members should pair the inevitable increase in the debt limit with reforms that reduce spending and debt growth.

Yes, I said it: Congress will eventually increase the debt limit. But before doing so, they should change the course of future spending. Whether to increase the debt limit or not is the wrong question. Lawmakers should instead grapple with “How will we slow the growth in the debt and avoid a fiscal crisis?”. Effective policies will reform health care and old‐​age entitlements, the main drivers of rising debt.

Congress should also cut and cap discretionary spending for most government programs, including seizing such low‐​hanging fruit as eliminating parochial spending by restoring the earmark ban. With deficits in the trillions, just say no to that overpriced trolley extension in your downtown restoration plans that few people will ever ride. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars would be wasted, except for the giggles and maybe the cute Instagram reel.

What about tax increases? They’re mostly window dressing and could be more harmful than helpful. Spending reforms will be most effective in stabilizing the debt without undermining economic growth. That’s not just convenient theorizing on the part of this limited‐​government libertarian, but evident when reviewing relevant data from previous deficit consolidation efforts. 

A Heritage Foundation report distilling lessons from European austerity efforts, which I co‐​authored, illustrates that increasing taxes was less effective in reducing deficits than spending cuts, with tax increases further damaging the economy. The most successful fiscal adjustments, judged by their impact on deficits and economic growth, reformed social programs and reduced the size and compensation of the government workforce.

Another study by Andrew Biggs, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI); and Kevin Hassett, a former scholar at AEI; and Matthew Jensen, then the founding director of the Open Source Policy Center, drew similar conclusions: 

“Spending‐​based fiscal adjustment accompanied by supply‐​side reforms‐​such as liberalization of the markets for labor, goods, and services; readjustments of public‐​sector size and pay; public pension reform; and other structural changes‐​tend to be less recessionary or even lead to positive economic growth.” 

Here are some commonsense benchmarks Congress should adopt before increasing the debt limit in 2023:

  • Adopt a credible fiscal plan that will control spending and debt growth, freezing debt as a percentage of GDP at a minimum, or better yet, aiming for primary budget balance (excluding interest costs) before the end of the decade.
  • Establish a bipartisan commission to reform major entitlement programs, especially Social Security and Medicare, including fast‐​tracking the commissions’ recommendations in Congress.
  • Reduce and cap discretionary spending, returning discretionary spending to pre‐​pandemic (FY 2019) levels and limiting the growth of new budget caps to no more than 2 percent annually.
  • Restore the earmark ban.

One more thing: in the event of a recession, Congress should avoid new stimulus spending. Fiscal stimulus in the form of new cash payments or enhanced unemployment benefits would represent the same demand‐​boosting subsidies the federal government pursued during the COVID-19 pandemic that contributed to record‐​high inflation. So, that would not be helpful. 

Also, government spending today entails future costs from the likely displacement of higher‐​value private economic activity toward government‐​directed projects, a misallocation of capital, greater debt, reduced incentives to work and invest, and the prospect of higher future taxes that tamper investment. Any relief should thus focus on eliminating regulatory barriers to investing and hiring and relying on existing automatic stabilizers which will kick in without lawmakers pushing new emergency spending. This will enable the private sector to emerge from recession without additional deficit spending that would likely do more harm than it would help.

Now, let’s get to work!

This commentary presents a brief summary of my recent Cato policy brief “A Fiscal Agenda for the 118th Congress.” You can find the full piece here.

President Clinton Signing the Balanced Budget Bill (1997)

Newt Gingich Explains How He Balanced the Budget as Speaker of the House

Ronald Reagan Talks About Balancing the Budget on Johnny Carson’s Tonigh…

President Reagan’s Remarks on Balanced Budget Amendment on July 12, 1982

—-

February 11, 2021

Office of Barack and Michelle Obama
P.O. Box 91000
Washington, DC 20066

Dear President Obama,

I wrote you over 700 letters while you were President and I mailed them to the White House and also published them on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org .I received several letters back from your staff and I wanted to thank you for those letters. 

I have been reading your autobiography A PROMISED LAND and I have been enjoying it. 

Let me make a few comments on it, and here is the first quote of yours I want to comment on:

The realignment Johnson foresaw ended up taking longer than he had expected. But steadily, year by year—through Vietnam, riots… and Nixon’s southern strategy; through busing, Roe v. Wade, urban crime, and white flight; through affirmative action, the Moral Majority, union busting, and Robert Bork; through assault weapons bans and the rise of NEWT GINGRICH …and the Clinton impeachment—America’s voters and their representatives became more and more polarized.

Page 607

As it so happened, the same mid-December week we announced the deal with McConnell, Bill Clinton joined me in the Oval Office dining room for a visit. Whatever tensions had existed between us during the campaign had largely dissipated by then, and I found it useful to hear the lessons he’d learned after suffering a similar midterm shellacking at the hands of Newt Gingrich in 1994. At some point, we got into the nitty-gritty of the tax agreement I’d just made, and Clinton couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.
     “You need to tell that to some of our friends,” I said, noting the blowback we were getting from certain Democratic circles.
     “If I have the chance, I will,” Clinton said.
     That gave me an idea. “How about you get the chance right now?” Before he could answer, I walked over to Katie’s desk and asked her to have the press team rustle up any correspondents who were in the building. Fifteen minutes later, Bill Clinton and I stepped into the White House briefing room.
     Explaining to the startled reporters that they might like to get some perspective on our tax deal from the person who’d overseen just about the best U.S. economy we’d experienced in recent history, I turned the podium over to Clinton. It didn’t take long for the former president to own the room, mustering all of his raspy-voiced, lip-biting Arkansas charm to make the case for our deal with McConnell. In fact, shortly after the impromptu press conference began, I realized I had another commitment to get to, but Clinton was clearly enjoying himself so much that I didn’t want to cut him off. Instead, I leaned into the microphone to say that I had to leave but that President Clinton could stick around. Later, I asked Gibbs how the whole thing had played.
     “The coverage was great,” Gibbs said. “Though a few of the talking heads said that you diminished yourself by giving Clinton the platform.”
     I wasn’t too worried about that. I knew that Clinton’s poll numbers were a whole lot higher than mine at the time, partly because the conservative press that had once vilified him now found it useful to offer him up as a contrast to me, the kind of reasonable, centrist Democrat, they said, that Republicans could work with. His endorsement would help us sell the deal to the broader public and tamp down any potential rebellion among congressional Democrats. It was an irony that I—like many modern leaders—eventually learned to live with: You never looked as smart as the ex-president did on the sidelines.

There are two main things that Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton teamed up on and accomplished and they were a balanced budget and welfare reform!

Kevin Williamson rightly noted:

“Reagan deficits” and “Clinton surpluses.” Presidents do not write the national budget, balanced or otherwise, nor do they create deficits or surpluses. Congress does that, by passing tax bills and appropriations bills. There were no Reagan deficits, nor were there Clinton surpluses: There were Tip O’Neill deficits and Newt Gingrich surpluses.

R PLUSMAGAZINEDECEMBER 31, 2011, ISSUE

How Speaker Newt Balanced the Budget

By KEVIN D. WILLIAMSONDecember 15, 2011 4:00 AM

And why President Newt would not

In the United States, our political discourse is extraordinarily democratic, and therefore extraordinarily stupid, and the immortality of certain myths — the Social Security “trust fund,” the impact of foreign-aid spending on the federal budget — makes it nearly impossible to discuss the fundamental facts of American government. Here are two phrases that should be struck from our political lexicon, their use designated an occasion for corporal punishment: “Reagan deficits” and “Clinton surpluses.” Presidents do not write the national budget, balanced or otherwise, nor do they create deficits or surpluses. Congress does that, by passing tax bills and appropriations bills. There were no Reagan deficits, nor were there Clinton surpluses: There were Tip O’Neill deficits and Newt Gingrich surpluses.

The governors in the Republican presidential field all can boast of having worked with legislatures to achieve balanced budgets. Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman can boast of having done so in situations that replicate in miniature the national fiscal picture — locked-in spending outpacing tax revenues reduced by recession and subsequent slow growth — but with an important difference: Unlike the federal government, states and cities do not really have much choice but to balance their budgets. It is a lucky thing that this is so, and one that bears further consideration: Most of our states and cities operate under legal prohibitions against operating deficits, but the federal example suggests that restraints on borrowing are easily set aside, and many of our states and cities have excellent credit ratings that would enable them to borrow at attractive rates. The real constraint here seems to be an informal norm against states’ and cities’ borrowing to finance regular operating deficits, even though they do borrow large sums for capital projects.

No such norm prevails at the federal level, where balanced budgets or surpluses require a combination of sober fiscal realism and delicate bipartisan diplomacy. Newt Gingrich has many fine qualities, but he is not the most obvious man for the job when the job calls for realism and delicate bipartisan diplomacy, virtues with which the former Speaker is associated by no sentient political being. But the facts are not to be denied: Under a fiscal course set by Newt Gingrich and his Republican congressional allies, the United States reported a budget surplus of $69.3 billion in 1998 and of $125.6 billion in 1999. Gingrich resigned from the House that year, but it was the continuation of Gingrich’s policies that produced the subsequent surpluses of $236.2 billion in 2000 and $128.2 billion in 2001. But this is not a conservative success story, conventionally understood: Gingrich balanced the budget in no small part by knuckling under to Democratic demands, including relatively high taxes, and by helping to entrench the myth that our entitlement liabilities are only a kind of fiscal hypothesis, something that can be made to vanish into the fiduciary ether with a flourish of the magical wand of government accounting practices. While Speaker Gingrich does deserve some credit for the millennial budget surpluses, President Gingrich would be crucified for attempting to revisit the policies that produced them — and conservatives would drive in the nails.

The foremost contributor to the Gingrich surpluses was taxes, and the main contributor on that front was the payroll tax, receipts from which far exceeded payouts to Social Security and Medicare. Because such excess payroll-tax receipts are by law automatically spent on federal securities, they camouflage the true extent of federal indebtedness. Thus the fiscal paradox of the Gingrich surpluses: Even though the federal government reported hundreds of billions of dollars in budget surpluses, the total national debt continued to climb, by $113 billion in the surplus year of 1998, by $130 billion in 1999, by $18 billion in 2000, and by $133 billion in 2001. What happened was in fact a redistribution of federal liabilities from publicly held debt to intragovernmental debt in the form of securities held by the so-called trust funds that support the major entitlements according to the epic fiction that is the federal ledger. The debt held by the public in the form of Treasury bonds and notes went down, but intragovernmental debt went up by an amount that exceeded that reduction. This of course makes those Gingrich surpluses look less attractive in retrospect. More important, it points to the major fiscal challenge in the coming years, when the entitlement programs will be the major driver of federal deficits. Social Security already is in a permanent deficit, and, with some $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, Social Security and Medicare will prove impossible to sustain, especially with an aging population. If deficit hawks can take heart from anything, it is that the major Republican presidential contenders have credible plans for reforming Social Security and that most of them — the notable exception is Gingrich — have credible plans for reforming Medicare.

But the Gingrich surpluses were not accounting gimmickry only. There were real reforms, too — reforms that were enacted by and large over Republican objections, Gingrich’s in particular. Again, a very large role was played by taxes, specifically by the tax increases in the 1990 budget deal between Pres. George H. W. Bush and congressional Democrats, and the tax increase in the 1993 budget. The former so enraged Gingrich, who was at the time the minority whip, that he hung up on chief of staff John Sununu when Sununu called with the news. The latter helped to bring Republicans to the majority — every Republican had voted against it — and Gingrich to the speakership.

It also increased federal revenue substantially by steeply increasing the top tax rate (from 31 percent to 39.6 percent), inflicting new taxes on the middle class (raising the gasoline tax, for instance), raising the corporate-income tax, lifting the income cap on Medicare taxes, and increasing taxes on Social Security benefits, among other things. Conservatives, in thrall to something called Hauser’s Law — which is a law of economics in the same sense that Lady Gaga is a lady — argue that federal revenues always stay roughly the same regardless of tax rates, but this is demonstrably untrue. Federal tax receipts neared 21 percent of GDP in 2000, about one-sixth higher than their post-war average of 17.7 percent. The difference between 18 percent and 20 percent may not seem like very much, but when you are talking about a share of an economy equal to a quarter of the world’s economic output, the numbers are very large indeed. In fact, with the exception of World War II, there was not a year in American history in which federal spending broke 21 percent until 1975, when there began a long run of very high spending that ended with the Gingrich ascendancy in 1994. When Republicans won their landslide in 1994, federal spending was 21 percent of GDP; by 2000, it was down to 18.2 percent — a real reduction in federal spending relative to the size of the economy, if not in absolute terms. You may not remember 1994–2000 as a time of savage austerity measures: We had welfare reform, a reduction in military spending, and generally sensible restraint that endured until the peculiar economic ideas of Pres. George W. Bush and Rep. Tom DeLay went into effect, with the goal of reducing the putative budget surplus — to “return the surplus to the American people,” as DeLay put it — as though such surpluses were a permanent victory, and as though the real debt were not mounting in spite of them. If tax receipts today were comparable to the millennial levels, then the 2013 deficit would run about $418 billion; if we are collecting taxes at the current level, that deficit will be $1.4 trillion.

Conservatives are justified in balking at the idea that one in five dollars should be consumed by the parasitic class in Washington. But the lowest level of federal spending that Republicans have brought us in recent decades was 18.2 percent in 2001. Until such a time as there is evidence to the contrary, it probably is safe to think of 18.2 percent as a practical floor on federal spending, regardless of which party is in power. Perhaps some future Republican majority will do a better job of containing costs, but there is scant reason to think that likely: The most effective statutory constraint on federal spending, the so-called Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rules, were undermined by Republicans, who chafed under the rules’ constraints when they desired to cut taxes without cutting spending.

This is a case, then, of picking our poison. Tax increases are undesirable for any number of reasons, some of them moral — if you go to bed with the devil, expect to wake up with a burning sensation — and some economic: Higher taxes may retard growth and certainly will cause massive amounts of capital to be reallocated from productive purposes to unproductive ones. Tax increases are a drag on growth, but so are endless substantial deficits. The best method of balancing the budget would be spending cuts, but there is no constituency in Congress, or in the country, for cuts of the requisite depth — and, in any case, those cuts would have real economic effects, too, though effects that probably would be less undesirable in the long run than entrenching the federal state at its current bloated level. The 2013 deficit will probably run right around $1 trillion; if Republicans are not prepared to cut $1 trillion in spending, then they should make their peace with tax increases — or make their peace with endless deficits, until such a time as the weight of them produces an avalanche that will destroy the economy of this country and seriously disrupt that of the rest of the world. Those are the choices.

Incidentally, except where noted, none of the deficit numbers above includes the mounting liabilities for Social Security and Medicare, which are the most significant fiscal threats as we move forward. Put simply, no balanced-budget program that fails to incorporate robust entitlement reform will prevent the eventual insolvency of the United States. But no entitlement-reform deal that neglects the rest of the deficit will prevent that outcome, either. The trick is to do both, and Newt Gingrich’s experience suggests that higher taxes — and let’s not use the euphemism “revenues” — probably will need to be a part of that picture.

Like higher taxes, bipartisanship is not a good on its own; given the perverse character of the contemporary Democratic party, it would be better to describe bipartisanship as a necessary evil. Faced with the master politician Bill Clinton, Gingrich had little choice but to cut relatively liberal deals, and contemporary Republicans will have little choice about doing so, either, regardless of what happens in 2012: A long-term solution, one that will stick, will require buy-in from both parties, and to proceed as though this were not the case is deeply unconservative, to the extent that wishful thinking is unconservative. The essential thing for Republicans to do is to identify and encourage the best deficit-reduction impulses that the Democrats harbor. (This may require the use of an advanced microscope.) The PAYGO rules, for example, were hated by congressional Republicans, because Democrats used them against unfunded, irresponsible tax cuts of the sort in which congressional Republicans specialize, and PAYGO finally was abandoned in 2002. Subsequently, the deficit more than doubled, from 1.5 percent of GDP in 2002 to 3.2 percent in 2008, then leaping to 10 percent of GDP in 2009. PAYGO was not perfect, but it is preferable to trillion-dollar deficits. Bipartisan compromise is not perfect, either, but it beats default and national impoverishment.

We are well past the point at which it is sufficient to achieve moral victories, ideological victories, or mere political victories. Political victories are a necessary but not a sufficient condition for achieving the business at hand, which is, to put it baldly, a matter of national survival. That fact already is beginning to sink in among Republican budget hawks: “Broad-based tax reform” is a Republican euphemism for tax increases, though it is not only a euphemism: It is important that our tax code be reformed along the most growth-oriented lines, those that minimize the distortion of economic decision-making, rather than along the class-warfare lines preferred by Pres. Barack Obama and his congressional allies. Phasing out the deductions for mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable giving, and the like would go a long way toward closing future deficits while removing destructive distortions from the tax code. It is even more critical that we enact similar reforms in the handout-ridden corporate tax code. A general policy of flattening and simplifying the tax regime — a model that has partisans in both parties — is greatly preferable to further politicizing the code with more brackets and more exemptions that encourage rent-seeking on a massive scale.

If Republicans find themselves in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House after 2012 — which seems to me the most likely outcome at this point — they will need to act quickly and decisively to pass a legislative program that reforms the major entitlements and brings spending and taxing into some kind of sensible alignment. But in order to balance the budget, a President Gingrich would almost certainly be obliged to accept policies that Speaker Gingrich opposed, and that most Republicans will continue to oppose — until, once again, they have no choice.

KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON is the roving correspondent for National Review and the author of BIG WHITE GHETTO: DEAD BROKE, STONE-COLD STUPID, AND HIGH ON RAGE IN THE DANK WOOLLY WILDS OF THE ‘REAL AMERICA.’


 I have praised over and over and over the 66 House Republicans that voted no on  raising the debt ceiling before. If they did not raise the debt ceiling then we would have a balanced budget instantly.  I agree that the Tea Party has made a difference and I have personally posted 49 posts on my blog on different Tea Party heroes of mine.

I have posted articles on my blog (www.thedailyhatch.org) about the balanced budget efforts of very prudent people like Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733 everettehatcher@gmail.com

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 2 of 7)

February 10, 2012 – 12:09 am

  Aside from its harbor, the only other important resource of Hong Kong is people __ over 4_ million of them. Like America a century ago, Hong Kong in the past few decades has been a haven for people who sought the freedom to make the most of their own abilities. Many of them are […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current EventsMilton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 1of 7)

February 3, 2012 – 12:07 am

“FREE TO CHOOSE” 1: The Power of the Market (Milton Friedman) Free to Choose ^ | 1980 | Milton Friedman Posted on Monday, July 17, 2006 4:20:46 PM by Choose Ye This Day FREE TO CHOOSE: The Power of the Market Friedman: Once all of this was a swamp, covered with forest. The Canarce Indians […]

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 1-5 

Debate on Milton Friedman’s cure for inflation

September 29, 2011 – 7:24 am

If you would like to see the first three episodes on inflation in Milton Friedman’s film series “Free to Choose” then go to a previous post I did. Ep. 9 – How to Cure Inflation [4/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980) Uploaded by investbligurucom on Jun 16, 2010 While many people have a fairly […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Current Events | Tagged dr friedmanexpansion historyincome tax bracketspolitical couragewww youtube | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman believed in liberty (Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 1)

April 19, 2013 – 1:14 am

Charlie Rose interview of Milton Friedman My favorite economist: Milton Friedman : A Great Champion of Liberty  by V. Sundaram   Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three US Presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – died last Thursday (16 November, 2006 ) in San Francisco […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

What were the main proposals of Milton Friedman?

February 21, 2013 – 1:01 am

Stearns Speaks on House Floor in Support of Balanced Budget Amendment Uploaded by RepCliffStearns on Nov 18, 2011 Speaking on House floor in support of Balanced Budget Resolution, 11/18/2011 ___________ Below are some of the main proposals of Milton Friedman. I highly respected his work. David J. Theroux said this about Milton Friedman’s view concerning […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton Friedman | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

December 7, 2012 – 5:55 am

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Milton FriedmanPresident Obama | Edit | Comments (1)

Defending Milton Friedman

July 31, 2012 – 6:45 am

What a great defense of Milton Friedman!!!!   Defaming Milton Friedman by Johan Norberg This article appeared in Reason Online on September 26, 2008  PRINT PAGE  CITE THIS      Sans Serif      Serif Share with your friends: ShareThis In the future, if you tell a student or a journalist that you favor free markets and limited government, there is […]

Open letter to President Obama (Part 293) (Founding Fathers’ view on Christianity, Elbridge Gerry of MA)

April 10, 2013 – 7:02 am

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here. There have […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding FathersPresident Obama | Edit |Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 5, John Hancock)

May 8, 2012 – 1:48 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 4, Elbridge Gerry)

May 7, 2012 – 1:46 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 3, Samuel Adams)

May 4, 2012 – 1:45 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 2, John Quincy Adams)

May 3, 2012 – 1:42 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

The Founding Fathers views concerning Jesus, Christianity and the Bible (Part 1, John Adams)

May 2, 2012 – 1:13 am

There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war with religion in our public life. Lillian Kwon quoted somebody […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

President Obama and the Founding Fathers

May 8, 2013 – 9:20 am

President Obama Speaks at The Ohio State University Commencement Ceremony Published on May 5, 2013 President Obama delivers the commencement address at The Ohio State University. May 5, 2013. You can learn a lot about what President Obama thinks the founding fathers were all about from his recent speech at Ohio State. May 7, 2013, […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding FathersPresident Obama | Edit | Comments (0)

Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning the founding fathers and their belief in inalienable rights

December 5, 2012 – 12:38 am

Dr. C. Everett Koop with Bill Graham. Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 4) THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY Published on Oct 7, 2012 by AdamMetropolis The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding FathersFrancis SchaefferProlife | Edit |Comments (1)

David Barton: In their words, did the Founding Fathers put their faith in Christ? (Part 4)

May 30, 2012 – 1:35 am

America’s Founding Fathers Deist or Christian? – David Barton 4/6 There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Tagged governor of connecticutjohn witherspoonjonathan trumbull | Edit | Comments (1)

Were the founding fathers christian?

May 23, 2012 – 7:04 am

3 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton There were 55 gentlemen who put together the constitution and their church affliation is of public record. Greg Koukl notes: Members of the Constitutional Convention, the most influential group of men shaping the political foundations of our nation, were […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Founding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

John Quincy Adams a founding father?

June 29, 2011 – 3:58 pm

I do  not think that John Quincy Adams was a founding father in the same sense that his  father was. However, I do think he was involved in the  early days of our government working with many of the founding fathers. Michele Bachmann got into another history-related tussle on ABC’s “Good  Morning America” today, standing […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in David BartonFounding Fathers | Edit | Comments (0)

“Sanctity of Life Saturday” Taking on Ark Times Bloggers on various issues Part E “Moral absolutes and abortion” Francis Schaeffer Quotes part 5(includes the film SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS) (editorial cartoon)

July 6, 2013 – 1:26 am

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortion, human rights, welfare, poverty, gun control  and issues dealing with popular culture. Here is another exchange I had with them a while back. My username at the Ark Times Blog is Saline […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Arkansas TimesFrancis SchaefferProlife | Edit |Comments (0)

Article from Adrian Rogers, “Bring back the glory”

June 11, 2013 – 12:34 am

I truly believe that many of the problems we have today in the USA are due to the advancement of humanism in the last few decades in our society. Ronald Reagan appointed the evangelical Dr. C. Everett Koop to the position of Surgeon General in his administration. He partnered with Dr. Francis Schaeffer in making the […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Adrian RogersFrancis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning the possibility that minorities may be mistreated under 51% rule

June 9, 2013 – 1:21 am

Francis Schaeffer: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race” (Episode 4) THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY Published on Oct 7, 2012 by AdamMetropolis ____________ The 45 minute video above is from the film series created from Francis Schaeffer’s book “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” with Dr. C. Everett Koop. This book  really helped develop my political […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Carl Sagan Part 1  “All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life” (My 1995 correspondence with Sagan)

Carl Sagan, in full Carl Edward Sagan, (born November 9, 1934, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.—died December 20, 1996, Seattle, Washington), American astronomer and science writer. A popular and influential figure in the United States, he was controversial in scientific, political, and religious circles for his views on extraterrestrial intelligence, nuclear weapons, and religion. Sagan wrote the article “life” for the 1970 printing of the 14th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1929–73).

Sagan attended the University of Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in physics in 1955 and 1956, respectively, and a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960. From 1960 to 1962 he was a fellow in astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, and from 1962 to 1968 he worked at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. His early work focused on the physical conditions of the planets, especially the atmospheres of Venus and Jupiter. During that time he became interested in the possibility of lifebeyond Earth and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), a controversial research field he did much to advance. For example, building on earlier work by American chemists Stanley Miller and Harold Urey, he demonstrated that amino acids and nucleic acids—the building blocks of life—could be produced by exposing a mixture of simple chemicals to ultraviolet radiation. Some scientists criticized Sagan’s work, arguing that it was unreasonable to use resources for SETI, a fantasy project that was almost certainly doomed to failure.

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Robert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo LlinasElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlaneDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin BanajiPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax TegmarkNeil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the 1st video below in the 45th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true. The Bible has fulfilled prophecy in it, and 53 historical notable people in the Bible have been confirmed through archaeological evidence! Also there is compelling evidence that the Bible contains sound medical principles that clearly predate their more recent discovery by thousands of years

Carl Sagan asserted, “All these beasts and vegetables are as alive as we. What is (allegedly) protected is not life, but human life”

Francis Schaeffer refutes this with his teaching on Genesis 3!!

In the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, the 4th chapter is called THE BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY and it includes these words below:

The Personal Origin of Man
The Scriptures tell us that the universe exists and has form and meaning because it was created purposefully by a personal Creator. This being the case, we see that, as we are personal, we are not something strange and out of line with an otherwise impersonal universe. Since we are made in the image of God, we are in line with God. There is continuity, in other words, between ourselves, though finite, and the infinite Creator who stands behind the universe as its Creator and its final source of meaning.
Unlike the evolutionary concept of an impersonal beginning plus time plus chance, the Bible gives an account of man’s origin as a finite person make in God’s image, that is, like God. We see then how man can have personality and dignity and value. Our uniqueness is guaranteed, something which is impossible in the materialistic system. If there is no qualitative distinction between man and other organic life (animals or plants), why should we feel greater concern over the death of a human being than over the death of a laboratory rat? Is man in the end any higher?
Though this is the logical end of the materialistic system, men and women still usually in practice assume that people have some real value. All the way back to the dawn of our investigations in history, we find that man is still man. Wherever we turn, to the caves of the Pyrenees, to the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, and even further back to Neanderthal man’s burying his dead in flower petals, it makes no difference: men everywhere show by their art and their accomplishments that they have been and have considered themselves to be unique. They were unique, and people today are unique. What is wrong is a world-view which fails to explain that uniqueness. All people are unique because they are made in the image of God.
The Bible tells us also, however, that man is flawed. We see this to be the case both within ourselves and in our societies throughout the world. People are noble and people are cruel; people have heights of moral achievement and depths of moral depravity.
But this is not simply an enigma, nor is it explained in terms of “the animal in man.” The Bible explains how man is flawed, without destroying the uniqueness and dignity of man. Man is evil and experiences the results of evil, not because man is non-man but because man is fallen and thus is abnormal.
This is the significance of the third chapter of Genesis. Some time after the original Creation (we do not know how long), man rebelled against God. Being made in the image of God as persons, Adam and Eve were able to make real choices. They had true creativity, not just in the area we call “art” but also in the area of choice. And they used this choice to turn from God as their true integration point. Their ability to choose would have been equally validated if they had chosen not to turn away from God, as their true integration point, but instead they used their choice to try to make themselves autonomous. In doing this, they were acting against the moral absolute of the universe, namely, God’s character – and thus evil among people was born.
The Fall brought not only moral evil but also the abnormality of(1) each person divided from himself or herself; (2) people divided from other people; (3) mankind divided from nature; and (4) nature divided from nature. This was the consequence of the choice made by Adam and Eve some time after the Creation. It was not any original deformity that made them choose in this way. God had not made them robots, and so they had real choice. It is man, therefore, and not God, who is responsible for evil.
We have to keep pointing out, because the idea is strange to a society by which the Bible has been neglected or distorted, that Christianity does not begin with a statement of Christ as Savior. That comes later in its proper setting. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created….” Christianity begins with the personal and infinite God who is the Creator. It goes on to show that man is made in God’s image but then tells us that man is now fallen. It is the rebellion of man that has made the world abnormal. So there is a broken line as we look back to the creation of man by God. A chasm stands there near the beginning, the chasm which is the Fall, the choice to go against God and His Word.
What follows from this is that not everything that happens in the world is “natural.” Unlike modern materialistic thought on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Christianity does not see everything in history as equally “normal.” Because of the abnormality brought about by man, not everything which occurs in history should be there. Thus, not all that history brings forth is right just because it happens, and not all personal drives and motives are equally good. Here, then, is a marked difference between Christianity and almost all other philosophies. Most other philosophies do not have the concept of a present abnormality. Therefore, they hold that everything now is normal; things are now as they always have been.
By contrast, Christians do not see things as if they always have been this way. This is of immense importance in understanding evil in the world. It is possible for Christians to speak of things as absolutely wrong, for they are not original in human society. They are derived from the Fall; they are in that sense “abnormal.” It also means we can stand against what is wrong and cruel without standing against God, for He did not make the world as it now is.
This understanding of the chasm between what mankind and history are now and what they could have been – and should have been, from the way they were made – gives us a real moral framework for life, one which is compatible with our nature and aspirations. So there are “rules for life,’ like the signs on cliff tops which read: DANGER – KEEP OUT. The signs are there to help, not hinder us. God has put them there because to live in this way, according to His rules, is the way for both safety and fulfillment. The God who made us and knows what is for our best good is the same God who gives us His commands. When we break these, it is not only wrong, it is also not for our best good; it is not for our fulfillment as unique persons made in the image of God….

The Importance of Genesis
So the Bible is the key to understanding the universe and its form and the mannishness of man. Without this key our observations are out of perspective; we do not know what we are looking at. This being the case, our conclusions about what we are seeing can be massively in error.
Unless we are told about our beginnings, we cannot make sense of our present history. And secular study is incapable of doing that. This is not to say that the study of history and science is irrelevant or useless, but when secular study is finished, the most important questions are left unanswered. It can tell us much of patterns and statistics, but not the reason or meaning or significance of it all. Twentieth-century people know something exists, but have no way of saying what that something amounts to.
This is where the early chapters of Genesis are so important. These chapters give the history that comes before anything that secular historians have been able to ascertain, and it is this presecular history which gives meaning to mankind’s present history.
Some people mistakenly believe that one can “spiritualize” away the history of the first chapters of Genesis and that this will make no difference. They argue that these chapters are not history but something like parables. This type of thinking depreciates the factual content, which gives information about history and the cosmos. Those who do this sometimes imagine that doing this makes little or no difference. But it changes everything. For these chapters tell us the why (the significance and meaning) of all the subsequent history which historians can know through their investigations. These chapters tell us also the why of our own personal history.
For this reason we can say that in this sense the early chapters of Genesis are more important than anything else we could have. They are the very foundation on which all knowledge rests. So we learn from them that before the creation of the universe, the infinite-personal God existed and that He created the universe (the space-time continuum) by choice, out of nothing. The Creation was not without a cause.
The infinite-personal God was its cause. He chose to create, He willed to create, and “it was” – it came into being.

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.
Revelation 4:11

As we have seen already, we learn also about the fact that man was made “in the image of God,” a person, and that then there was a space-time Fall.
All the information given by the Bible flows out of the information given in the early chapters of Genesis. If we are to understand the world as it is and ourselves as we are, we must know the flow of history given in these chapters. Take this away and the flow of history is lost.Take this away and even the death of Christ has no meaning.
So the Bible tells us who we are and who other people are. It tells us how people are differentiated from all other things. We do not need to be confused, as is much of modern mankind, about people’s distinction from both animal life and the complicated machines of the second half of the twentieth century. Suddenly people have unique value, and we can understand how it is that each of us is different as a person.
Furthermore, we can see that all people are similarly to be distinguished from non-man and that therefore we ourselves must look on others as having great value. Anyone who kills a person is not killing just another member of the same biological species, but one of overwhelming value, one made in the image, the likeness, of God.
Any person, no matter who he or she is – a stranger or a friend, a fellow-believer or someone who is still in rebellion against God, anyone of any age, before or after birth – any and every person is made after the likeness of God.
Each man, woman, and child is of great value, not for some ulterior motive such as self-gratification or wealth or power or a sex object or “the good of society” or the maintenance of the gene pool – but simply because of his or her origin.
This flow of history that springs from Genesis has implications for every aspect of our lives. Each of us stands in the flow of history. We know our origin – a lineage more ancient than the Queen of England’s or the Pilgrim Fathers’. As we look at ourselves in the flow of space-time reality, we see our origin in Adam and Eve, and we know that God has created every human being in His own image.

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Recently I have been revisiting my correspondence in 1995 with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan who I had the privilege to correspond with in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1996 I had a chance to respond to his December 5, 1995letter on January 10, 1996 and I never heard back from him again since his cancer returned and he passed away later in 1996. Below is what Carl Sagan wrote to me in his December 5, 1995 letter:

Thanks for your recent letter about evolution and abortion. The correlation is hardly one to one; there are evolutionists who are anti-abortion and anti-evolutionists who are pro-abortion.You argue that God exists because otherwise we could not understand the world in our consciousness. But if you think God is necessary to understand the world, then why do you not ask the next question of where God came from? And if you say “God was always here,” why not say that the universe was always here? On abortion, my views are contained in the enclosed article (Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan {1990}, “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.)

I was introduced to when reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT written in 1968.

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Francis Schaeffer when he was a young pastor in St. Louis pictured above.

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Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers

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(both Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer mentioned Carl Sagan in their books and that prompted me to write Sagan and expose him to their views.

Carl Sagan pictured below:

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_________

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Francis Schaeffer

I mentioned earlier that I was blessed with the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Sagan. In his December 5, 1995 letter Dr. Sagan went on to tell me that he was enclosing his article “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. I am going to respond to several points made in that article. Here is a portion of Sagan’s article (here is a link to the whole article):

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Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan pictured above

 “The Question of Abortion: A Search for Answers”

by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan

For the complete text, including illustrations, introductory quote, footnotes, and commentary on the reaction to the originally published article see Billions and Billions.

The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed.

Is it wrong to abort a pregnancy? Always? Sometimes? Never? How do we decide? We wrote this article to understand better what the contending views are and to see if we ourselves could find a position that would satisfy us both. Is there no middle ground? We had to weigh the arguments of both sides for consistency and to pose test cases, some of which are purely hypothetical. If in some of these tests we seem to go too far, we ask the reader to be patient with us–we’re trying to stress the various positions to the breaking point to see their weaknesses and where they fail.

In contemplative moments, nearly everyone recognizes that the issue is not wholly one-sided. Many partisans of differing views, we find, feel some disquiet, some unease when confronting what’s behind the opposing arguments. (This is partly why such confrontations are avoided.) And the issue surely touches on deep questions: What are our responses to one another? Should we permit the state to intrude into the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives? Where are the boundaries of freedom? What does it mean to be human?

Of the many actual points of view, it is widely held–especially in the media, which rarely have the time or the inclination to make fine distinctions–that there are only two: “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” This is what the two principal warring camps like to call themselves, and that’s what we’ll call them here. In the simplest characterization, a pro-choicer would hold that the decision to abort a pregnancy is to be made only by the woman; the state has no right to interfere. And a pro-lifer would hold that, from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive; that this life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it; and that abortion is tantamount to murder. Both names–pro-choice and pro-life–were picked with an eye toward influencing those whose minds are not yet made up: Few people wish to be counted either as being against freedom of choice or as opposed to life. Indeed, freedom and life are two of our most cherished values, and here they seem to be in fundamental conflict.

Let’s consider these two absolutist positions in turn. A newborn baby is surely the same being it was just before birth. There ‘s good evidence that a late-term fetus responds to sound–including music, but especially its mother’s voice. It can suck its thumb or do a somersault. Occasionally, it generates adult brain-wave patterns. Some people claim to remember being born, or even the uterine environment. Perhaps there is thought in the womb. It’s hard to maintain that a transformation to full personhood happens abruptly at the moment of birth. Why, then, should it be murder to kill an infant the day after it was born but not the day before?

As a practical matter, this isn’t very important: Less than 1 percent of all tabulated abortions in the United States are listed in the last three months of pregnancy (and, on closer investigation, most such reports turn out to be due to miscarriage or miscalculation). But third-trimester abortions provide a test of the limits of the pro-choice point of view. Does a woman’s “innate right to control her own body” encompass the right to kill a near-term fetus who is, for all intents and purposes, identical to a newborn child?

We believe that many supporters of reproductive freedom are troubled at least occasionally by this question. But they are reluctant to raise it because it is the beginning of a slippery slope. If it is impermissible to abort a pregnancy in the ninth month, what about the eighth, seventh, sixth … ? Once we acknowledge that the state can interfere at any time in the pregnancy, doesn’t it follow that the state can interfere at all times?

Related posts:

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 52 THE BEATLES (Part D, There is evidence that the Beatles may have been exposed to Francis Schaeffer!!!) (Feature on artist Anna Margaret Rose Freeman )

______________   George Harrison Swears & Insults Paul and Yoko Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking […]

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 50 THE BEATLES (Part B, The Psychedelic Music of the Beatles) (Feature on artist Peter Blake )

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 49 THE BEATLES (Part A, The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s Cover) (Feature on artist Mika Tajima)

_______________ The Beatles documentary || A Long and Winding Road || Episode 5 (This video discusses Stg. Pepper’s creation I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 48 “BLOW UP” by Michelangelo Antonioni makes Philosophic Statement (Feature on artist Nancy Holt)

_______________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: _____________________ I have included the 27 minute  episode THE AGE OF NONREASON by Francis Schaeffer. In that video Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.” How Should […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 47 Woody Allen and Professor Levy and the death of “Optimistic Humanism” from the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS Plus Charles Darwin’s comments too!!! (Feature on artist Rodney Graham)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 ___________________________________ Today I will answer the simple question: IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE AN OPTIMISTIC SECULAR HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD OR AN AFTERLIFE? This question has been around for a long time and you can go back to the 19th century and read this same […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 46 Friedrich Nietzsche (Featured artist is Thomas Schütte)

____________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: __________ Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” , episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”, episode 8 […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 45 Woody Allen “Reason is Dead” (Feature on artists Allora & Calzadilla )

Love and Death [Woody Allen] – What if there is no God? [PL] ___________ _______________ How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason) #02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer 10 Worldview and Truth Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100 Francis Schaeffer […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 44 The Book of Genesis (Featured artist is Trey McCarley )

___________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: ____________________________ Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?) Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro) Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1) Dr. Francis Schaeffer […]

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 2 Carl Sagan: Ken Ham notes in 1989: Carl Sagan presents the Big Bang theory as if it were fact. We need to ask him the same sort of questions God was putting to Job: “Were you there, Carl, when the earth came into existence? Do you know anyone who was there, Carl? Do you know anyone who has all the information?”

Were You There?

BY KENNETH HAM   |

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 01, 1989

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cartoon

What a science lesson God had for Job! God was teaching Job the philosophy of science, a lesson everyone needs to learn.

I like to paraphrase the verse this way: “Were you there, Job, when I made the earth? Did you see Me do it, Job? Did you observe how it happened, Job? Were you there to see Me create the world, Job?”

Millions of people in today’s world are taught that the earth and the entire universe resulted from the Big Bang, a cosmic explosion which occurred up to twenty billion years ago involving all the matter and energy in the universe. In most instances in public education, this is taught as if it were fact, and the gullible public, by and large, just accepts it as so. Yet there is no scientific proof for the Big Bang theory. It is just a story, based on the speculations of scientists–fallible human beings who do not know everything and who were not there to see it happen.

Carl Sagan presents the Big Bang theory as if it were fact. We need to ask him the same sort of questions God was putting to Job: “Were you there, Carl, when the earth came into existence? Do you know anyone who was there, Carl? Do you know anyone who has all the information?”

The other important fact God was teaching Job was that only God knows everything (has all information–all evidence). No human being has all the information. In fact, compared to what God knows, we fallible human beings know next to nothing. Follow through the words to Job in Chapter 38: “Who shut up the sea? . . .Hast thou commanded the morning? Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? Where is the way where light dwelleth? Knowest thou it?…. Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?….. Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven?….

Can’st thou send lightings”?. . . .

We need to take the points God was teaching Job and apply them to the way theories of origins are taught to our children. When they are told that the universe and life evolved over billions of years, they need to ask two basic questions: “What observer saw all this happen? What scientist has all the information (all the evidence) who can therefore scientifically prove that evolution happened?” The answer? According to evolutionary theories, there were no observers to these long ago events, and there is no human being who knows everything! Evolution is not a scientific theory; it is a belief based on the words of sinful, fallible humans who have a small, finite amount of information. Thus when it comes to connecting the past to the present to try and explain how the world came into existence, scientists could be totally wrong. In fact, evolutionary theories themselves “evolve,” as these scientists keep finding information that causes them to change their ideas. The most that can be said is that some of the evidence can be interpreted along the lines of the Big Bang scenario, but that is certainly not the only interpretation possible, nor is it the best interpretation possible.

The Bible teaches plainly concerning Jesus Christ, the One “who created all things” (Colossians 1 :16), “in Him… are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). The Creator God, who has always been there, “”changeth not,” and knows all things (has infinite knowledge). The only way we could ever come to the right conclusions about anything is by starting with the word (knowledge) of the One who knows everything, and build all our thinking, in every area, upon that basis.

It is interesting to note that God’s Word, in II Peter 3, gives us the prophecy that in the last days people will deliberately choose not to believe that God created the world (described in Genesis 1:1-8) or believe that He sent a worldwide Flood as a judgment against sinful men (Genesis, Chapters 6-9) and that He will come back to judge the world a final time, with fire.

Sadly, the prophecy of people deliberately choosing not to believe God’s Word is being fulfilled before our very eyes. The majority of people today believe the universe started with a big bang. Next the galaxies and later the sun formed, and the earth finally came into existence covered with “fire” (a hot molten blob)—exactly opposite of what the Bible says. They are taught there never was a worldwide Flood—exactly the opposite of what the Bible teaches. They are often taught that the earth will die of the cold because of the earth’s freezing over when the sun runs out of energy—exactly the opposite of what God’s Word teaches us.

We need to ask ourselves this question: “Where do we put our faith and trust? In the words of scientists who don’t know everything, who were not there? Or in the Word of God—the God who does know everything—and who was there?

At the Institute for Creation Research, our highly qualified and experienced scientists study the scientific data regarding origins, and claim their research shows that the evidence from the universe fits perfectly with what the Word of God says, and not well at all with the evolutionary theories of men!

Carl Sagan’s Big Bang theory is WRONG! How do we know that for sure? Because God was there—Carl Sagan wasn’t! God knows everything—Carl Sagan doesn’t! This world did NOThave a fiery start from a big bang, but it surely will have a fiery end with a big bang, for “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Peter 3:10).

What hope is there then? “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13).

What should we do about it? “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (II Peter 3:14).

We can also be diligent in telling others about the truth of creation, man’s rebellion, the need of salvation, and warning them of the coming Big Bang!cartoon

DID YOU KNOW. . .

that the evidence for the Big Bang theory is missing?

MISSING ORIGIN–Where did matter come from?

MISSING FUSE–What ignited it?

MISSING STAR FORMATION–An explosion won’t produce planets, stars, or galaxies.

MISSING ANTIMATTER–There’s not much found.

MISSING TIME–Evidence indicates the earth is young.

MISSING MASS–There’s not enough.

MISSING LIFE–Life has never been found outside the earth.

MISSING NEUTRINOS–Where are they?

THE BIG BANG THEORY IS WRONG!

For further information, see Astronomy and the Bible by Dr. Donald B. DeYoung, available from ICR.

File:Who's Out There (1973).ogv

File:Who's Out There (1973).ogvPlay media

Sagan is one of those discussing the likelihood of life on other planets in Who’s Out There? (1973), an award-winning NASA documentary film by Robert Drew.

From People For Life.com

A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer
The following address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.

What we have, and take so poorly for granted, is unique. It was brought forth by a specific world view and that specific world view was the Judeo-Christian world view especially as it was refined in the Reformation, putting the authority indeed at a central point — not in the Church and the state and the Word of God, but rather the Word of God alone. All the benefits which we know — I would repeat — which we have taken so easily and so much for granted, are unique. They have been grounded on the certain world view that there was a Creator there to give inalienable rights. And this other view over here, which has become increasingly dominant, of the material-energy final world view (shaped by pure chance) never would have, could not, has, no basis of values, in order to give such a balance of freedom…It is the same with the television programs. Public television gives us many things that many of us like culturally, but is also completely committed to a propaganda position that the last reality is only material / energy shaped by pure chance. Clark’s Civilization, Brunowski, The Ascent of Man, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos — they all say it. There is only one final view of reality that’s possible and that is that the final reality is material or energy shaped by pure chance.

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Robert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo LlinasElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlaneDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin BanajiPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax TegmarkNeil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

<a style="font-style:normal;font-variant-caps:normal;font-weight:normal;letter-spacing:normal;orphans:auto;text-indent:0;text-transform:none;white-space:normal;widows:auto;word-spacing:0;box-sizing:border-box;background-color:transparent;color:#c01823;text-decoration:none;margin:0;padding:0;border:0;font-size:13px;font-family:Lato, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Verdana, sans-serif;vertical-align:baseline;transition:color 0.2s linear, background 0.1s linear, border-color 0.1s linear;text-align:left;-webkit-text-size-adjust:100%;" title="Remember when Carl Sagan trashed Star Wars on late-night TV?” href=”https://lithub.com/remember-when-carl-sagan-trashed-star-wars-on-late-night-tv/”&gt;

Carl Sagan

nitially an associate professor at Harvard, Sagan later moved to Cornell where he would spend the majority of his career as the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences. Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books.[5] He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca’s Brain, Pale Blue Dot and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos, has been seen by at least 500 million people in 60 countries.[6] The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the 1985 science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items,[7] are archived at The Library of Congress.[8]

Sagan advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of SciencesPublic Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.

In  the 1st video below in the 45th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

CARL SAGAN interview with Charlie Rose:

“…faith is belief in the absence of evidence. To believe in the absence of evidence, in my opinion, is a mistake. The idea is to hold belief until there is compelling evidence. If the Universe does not comply with our previous propositions, then we have to change…Religion deals with history poetry, great literature, ethics, morals, compassion…where religion gets into trouble is when it pretends to know something about science,”

I would respond that there is evidence that Christianity is true. The accuracy of the Bible has been confirmed by archaeology over and over in the past and one of the amazing finds was in 1948 when the Dead Sea Scrolls had copies from every Old Testament Book except Esther! One of the most powerful recent discoveries involved the bones of the high priest Caiaphas who questioned Christ in 30 AD.

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______________   George Harrison Swears & Insults Paul and Yoko Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles The Beatles:   I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 51 THE BEATLES (Part C, List of those on cover of Stg.Pepper’s ) (Feature on artist Raqib Shaw )

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 50 THE BEATLES (Part B, The Psychedelic Music of the Beatles) (Feature on artist Peter Blake )

__________________   Beatles 1966 Last interview I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about them and their impact on the culture of the 1960’s. In this […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 49 THE BEATLES (Part A, The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s Cover) (Feature on artist Mika Tajima)

_______________ The Beatles documentary || A Long and Winding Road || Episode 5 (This video discusses Stg. Pepper’s creation I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 48 “BLOW UP” by Michelangelo Antonioni makes Philosophic Statement (Feature on artist Nancy Holt)

_______________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: _____________________ I have included the 27 minute  episode THE AGE OF NONREASON by Francis Schaeffer. In that video Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.” How Should […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 47 Woody Allen and Professor Levy and the death of “Optimistic Humanism” from the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS Plus Charles Darwin’s comments too!!! (Feature on artist Rodney Graham)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 ___________________________________ Today I will answer the simple question: IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE AN OPTIMISTIC SECULAR HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD OR AN AFTERLIFE? This question has been around for a long time and you can go back to the 19th century and read this same […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 46 Friedrich Nietzsche (Featured artist is Thomas Schütte)

____________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: __________ Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” , episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”, episode 8 […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 45 Woody Allen “Reason is Dead” (Feature on artists Allora & Calzadilla )

Love and Death [Woody Allen] – What if there is no God? [PL] ___________ _______________ How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason) #02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer 10 Worldview and Truth Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100 Francis Schaeffer […]

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___________________________________ Francis Schaeffer pictured below: ____________________________ Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?) Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro) Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1) Dr. Francis Schaeffer […]

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“Music Monday” TODAY MARKS THE 42ND ANNIVERSARY OF JOHN LENNON’S TRAGIC DEATH

TODAY MARKS THE 42ND ANNIVERSARY OF JOHN LENNON’S TRAGIC DEATH 

WRITTEN BY LOGAN PHILLIPS ON DECEMBER 8, 2022

John Lennon

John Lennon shot 12-8-80 Howard Cosell tells the world twice John Lennon…

On this day, December 8, 1980,  John Lennon of the Beatles, was shot and fatally wounded outside of his home in the Dakota, in New York City.  Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman, a Beatles fan who was enraged by Lennon’s lifestyle and his comments back in 1966 where John Lennon had stated that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus”.

Chapman had waited for Lennon at the Dakota on the 8th of December. Earlier that evening, Chapman had actually met Lennon, who signed his copy of the album Double Fantasy.  Afterward, John left for a  recording session.   Later that night, Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, returned to the Dakota. As Lennon and Ono approached the entrance of the building, Chapman fired five rounds from a .38 special revolver, four of which hit Lennon in the back. Chapman remained at the scene reading The Catcher in the Rye until he was arrested by the police. Later Chapman said he was inspired by the fictional character Holden Caulfield from the novel The Catcher in the Rye, a “phony-killer” who despises hypocrisy. Lennon was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital in a police car, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:15 p.m.

After the news broke a world of fans came out to share their grief, crowds gathered at Roosevelt Hospital and in front of the Dakota.  There were even reports of fans committing suicide over the tragedy. The next day, Lennon was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.  Chapman later pleaded guilty to murdering Lennon and was given a sentence of 20 years to life imprisonment. He has been denied parole 12 times since he became eligible in 2000.

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of John Lennon’s tragic death. Even decades later, few deaths in the history of music have had the same kind of worldwide response,  John Lennon was truly a revolutionary in the world of rock music.   No band can compare to what The Beatles had done for music in the 1960s especially in the west creating a sound that pushed rock music and “youth culture” to new horizons never seen or heard before.

While there is no bringing John Lennon back, we can be grateful that what he left behind from the Beatles to his solo work will continue to live on forever.

—-

Can You Imagine?

October 5, 2018 
Reflect   –   4min read

John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” is one of the enduring classics from the 1970s. Lennon was a member of the Beatles and an avid political activist. “Imagine” is an anthem of Secularism and remains extremely popular to this day. In fact, it practically sums up the secular worldview in three minutes. You can listen to a modern version here.


Living for Today

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

According to Jacques Berlinerblau, professor and director of the program for Jewish civilization at Georgetown University, “The secularish are here-and-now people. They live for this world, not the next.”1 Secularism is all about this world. In fact, this world is all there is—no heaven, no hell. Lennon asks us to imagine what the world would be like if we didn’t have ideas like heaven and hell. According to Secularists, there would be a lot fewer wars and less hatred. If we all just lived for today, there could finally be peace.

While Christians disagree with this view, we can admit that some Christians have been “so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good.” As Christians, we cannot deny the doctrines of heaven and hell, but we often get confused in how we think about those concepts.2 We imagine heaven as the final destination where we will escape from the evil world. But Genesis 1-2 tells us that God created a good world of order and beauty. He created humans to live in relationship with him and set them about the task of bringing more of his goodness and beauty into the world. God’s world is not an evil place, it is a broken place that God is going to restore.

Revelation 21-22 is a vision of heaven and earth finally uniting. God isn’t going to discard the world; he’s going to redeem and remake it. Our final hope is not in the clouds, but here in God’s restored world, when heaven and earth are unified as the Kingdom of God.

Living Life in Peace

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

Secularism ultimately envisions a kind of utopia where humans, working together without the interference of God or religion, can create a world of peace and harmony. Lennon’s vision sounds wonderful, but it is a denial of the sin nature in human beings. Since the Fall in Genesis 3, all people have inherited a sin nature (Rom 5:12), which means that left to our own devices we will look to our own interests.

According to Francis Schaeffer, when Adam and Eve sinned, four separations occurred. Man was separated from God, from himself, from his neighbor, and from creation.3 The Bible and the history of the world affirm that we cannot repair these rifts on our own. The doctrine of sin isn’t just about humans being imperfect beings who make mistakes; rather, it is about rebels going against their Creator, incapable of doing what is good on their own.

Part of Jesus’ mission on earth was to initiate the Kingdom of God, bringing peace and healing those separations caused by the fall. Though the Kingdom of God will not be fully established until Christ returns, we can anticipate his arrival by working through the power of the Holy Spirit as Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20) to a lost and dying world.

Sharing All the World

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

For Lennon and Secularists, utopia will be people doing what feels good in a world with no religious rules or regulations, everyone living in peace and sharing everything. And we will get there only when we shed religion, personal possessions, and outdated morality. If we are going to get to utopia, we all have to do it together. According to secularist Sam Harris, part of the problem with religion is that religious people identify “with a subset of humanity rather than with humanity as a whole.”4

In reality however, Lennon, Harris, and other secularists have identified themselves with their own subset. Secularism is as much a religion as Christianity is. But Christianity (contra Harris and Lennon) is for the world. The heaven we imagine (and the one that Scripture speaks of) will be one in which God’s Kingdom is finally established and all the world is living together in harmony under his just rule.

However, we won’t get there on our own merits. To be part of that kingdom we must be reconciled to God through his son, Jesus. When that relationship is restored, we are loosed upon the world to anticipate God’s Kingdom by bringing his justice and peace into our homes, communities, and indeed, the whole world.

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Come Together – John Lennon (Live In New York City)

George Harrison – Here comes the sun Subtitulada en Español

LET IT BE

_-

The Beatles – Yellow Submarine

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July 23, 2015 at 4:24 am

9474 words

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