THE IRON PEN by Daniel Hite

May 24, 2020

Increased Devotion to the Cause

Filed under: holidays,Liberty,veterans — danielhite @ 5:53 pm
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Happy Memorial Day
We can really celebrate this holiday by acting on President Abraham Lincoln’s admonition at the conclusion of his Gettysburg Address:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

I encourage you to take “increased devotion to that cause,” the cause of liberty.

…Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  — 2 Corinthians 3:17

December 30, 2010

*Kill Lame Ducks

Lame Duck Session:  An outgoing majority imposing its “last chance” agenda before it becomes the new minority

It’s like the 2001 White House transition when the outgoing administration trashed the place before they left. Sore losers have no place in positions of leadership. Lame Duck Sessions should be banned as part of Congressional reform. Congress has no business transacting controversial, non-vital business when they should be closed for business and home for the holidays. The American voters have spoken and Congress should capitulate. Period.

*With apologies to Ducks Unlimited

December 23, 2010

Two Christmas Miracles

I am not so naive as to think that Jesus was born on December 25, but when celebrated on any date, the incarnation of Jesus Christ and entry into this world is the miracle of miracles–a mystery that hailed the redemption of the earth and brought tidings of great joy to all people.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: you will find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”  (Luke 2:8-14 ESV)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6,7 ESV)

The Word–Jesus–became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) in the fullness of God’s timing (Galatians 4:4)–at exactly the right time.  The hour of God’s deliverance always comes at exactly the right time. There is no guesswork about it…God knows exactly where we are and exactly what we need.

As for the second Christmas miracle, we do have another historical account, but this one fell exactly on December 25, 1776: General George Washington and his troops miraculously crossed the Delaware River to evade surrounding armies and to invade the Hessian forces at Trenton. This Christmas miracle preserved the Continental army to eventually secure and establish our newly birthed nation. At exactly the right moment, God delivers. Our trust, hope, expectation, and deliverance are in Him and Him alone. This Christmas, I am praying that God will deliver us once again and that His people will seek that wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption that is in the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30,31) who was born that Christmas Day. May God once again bless America as we put our trust in Him and may you and yours have a blessed and merry Christmas.

November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks for the Establishment Clause

How times have changed. The “establishment clause” of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is used today to restrict virtually all religious speech in the public arena, especially with regard to any governmental connection. Many argue this position from a historical perspective, but I think they could not be more wrong to do so, unless they consider the framers to be unenlightened and ignorant men without the equivalence of contemporary legal prowess. One merely needs to review the time frame of the passage of the First Amendment and its juxtaposition to President Washington’s first Thanksgiving proclamation. In fact, the title of this article is exactly what Washington and Congress were doing–without contradiction. Here is the timeline:

September 25,1789 – Congress proposes to the states the Bill of Rights

October 3, 1789 – Washington’s National Thanksgiving Proclamation

November 20, 1789 – New Jersey first state to ratify the Bill of Rights

So, what’s the big deal? Contemporary interpretation of the “establishment clause” is commonly referred to as the “separation of church and state.”  If this were true, then our first president certainly would not have offered the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation which would have categorically violated today’s interpretation, but instead, his proclamation enhanced the genuine meaning of the “establishment clause”–to restrict Congress from passing a law establishing a national religion.  Congress, by joint resolution, requested the presidential proclamation. One week following the submission of the First Amendment to the States, Washington published his proclamation. A simple reading settles the issue that establishment of religion does not mean the separation of God and government:

(emphasis mine)

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Can it be any plainer than this? Give thanks for the plain truth of the matter.

November 23, 2010

Some Presidents understand

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the everwatchful providence of almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

—President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

(How times have changed…read the 2010 proclamation:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/11/23/presidential-proclamation-thanksgiving-day. Although politically correct with at least some personal mention of the Almighty, it is definitely an improvement over the “sanitized and secularized” proclamation of 2009:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-proclamation-thanksgiving-day. I am thankful this year for the improvement. –DH)

November 20, 2010

Don’t Forget Thanksgiving

It is a bit disconcerting when businesses move directly from Halloween to Christmas promotions and virtually skip over one of America’s most important holidays–Thanksgiving. Costumes, candy and gifts are big sellers for non-grocery retailers and about all Thanksgiving has going for it, commercially, is groceries. A retailer would have to be committed to the holiday itself and not just the profitability of it.  The history of Thanksgiving–its origin, purpose, and Presidential proclamations certainly warrant more than a casual mention in the history books and by school teachers. American students need to know the truth of it, and certainly not some “sanitized” version. Of course, it is very difficult to secularize Thanksgiving, although it has been and continues to be tried. Forgetting Thanksgiving is tantamount to forgetting God as well as avoiding a significant part of American history. When our family made a move in the summer of 1961, I distinctly remember my new third grade public school teacher leading us in a prayer before our lunch period every day. When I started fourth grade, the prayers went missing and never returned. At that time, I was not aware that in the summer of 1962, corporately thanking God for our food was banned from the public schools. Now, fifty years later, we may hear of a “pardon” for a turkey, but no proclamation of thanks to God for his benevolent provision and protection–in government nor government run schools. All I ask for is an acknowledgment of In God We Trust whether in schools or in the retail stores of our land. It is God who has blessed our land and I believe we are currently living on the blessings given to our forefathers. If retailers really believed that God is their provider, they would see the profitability in promoting a day of thanksgiving to Him and His all-wise providence.

November 13, 2010

Don’t let the holidays get you down

It is so easy to let holiday shopping and crowds and busy-ness steal the joy and gratitude that Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about. How about making a pact this holiday season…less running around and more relationships…less perspiration and more inspiration…less have to and more want to…less me and more you…less toy and more joy…less attitude and more gratitude. There is a reason for the season and, if we don’t forget it, just maybe, someone else will be touched by our perspective and that act of kindness and consideration.  Give the gift of joy and gratitude to others this season. Let this joyous time be seen and heard by those around you. Surprise someone around you…it might become contagious! Watch this planned spontaneity that happened just two weekends ago:

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