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Newsletter for July 2002

The Pastor’s Pen 

What panoply of emotions we Americans are experiencing as we enter into our annual 4th of July celebration of freedom & independence. The murderous attacks of Muslim terrorists on September 11th have galvanized us as one nation under God, united, standing together, shoulder to shoulder, putting differences aside and focusing once again upon all that makes America great.  And now another attack; the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that our Pledge of Allegiance is “unconstitutional” because of the phrase “one nation under God”; a phrase added to our pledge in 1954 and heretofore unchallenged. 

Perhaps this foolish interpretation of the separation of Church and State will bring another positive reaction from a people who have become apathetic and apologetic for the blessings bestowed upon our nation.  The Founding Fathers would blink unbelievingly at this misinterpretation of their intent.  They clearly were looking to prevent the establishment of a State Religion, having just won freedom from England, a kingdom with a state religion, namely the Church of England. It was not freedom FROM religion, but freedom OF religion they wished to protect and preserve.  It was not freedom FROM God, but freedom to worship God they cherished.  Just the mere mention of God, does not promote any particular religion, not even Christianity, for all religions have their own interpretation of God. 

What a sad misapplication of their “establishment clause”.  But perhaps this will further awake a sleeping America to stand up for what is right and say, “enough is enough!” 

The consequences of banning God because some reject Him are grave.  

Rom 1:16-22

16           For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

17           For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith."

18           For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19           because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

20           For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

21           For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22                Professing to be wise, they became fools,  (NAS) 

As a freedom-loving people, worshipping a freedom-loving God, we cherish Thomas Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence, that each individual has a God-given "inalienable right" to "life”, “liberty and the pursuit of happiness".   

Those founding fathers who crafted the "Declaration of Independence" also drafted our Constitution; a document that shapes our freedom along the prescribed guidelines and responsibilities necessary to make freedom work; our freedom to govern, to serve, to defend, to protect, to honor and to be loyal. The political and personal freedoms we celebrate every Independence Day remind us that with freedom comes responsibility. That which is taken for granted is forfeited.  Only if we cherish, protect, speak up for, promote and defend our liberty will we remain free.

So this Independence Day let us stand up, speak up and show up, so that liberty and justice for all will rule the day!

Jeff Booth 

Red Skelton the original standup comic, a man who was funny without being crass, who could make all laugh and never needed or used vulgar and distasteful language to do so; penned a very interesting commentary to the Pledge of Allegiance:

I - - Me; an individual; a committee of one.

Pledge - - Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance - - My love and my devotion.

To the Flag - - Our standard; Old Glory; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody's job.

United - - That means that we have all come together.

States - - Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.

And to the Republic For which it stands - - Republic--a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

One Nation Under God- - One Nation--meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible - - Incapable of being divided.

With Liberty - - Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice - - The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.

For All - - For All--which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands; one nation Under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God.  

Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?   -- Red Skelton.

I wonder if Mr. Skelton realized that in addition to being a comic he was also somewhat of a prophet.  This past month America took a giant step way from God.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that our pledge of allegiance is unconstitutional because of the words “Under God”. 

Yes, there was an outcry from many Americans who deplored this action, yet in a number of national polls some 14% of “Americans” upheld the action of the court.  These anti-God and anti-Christian individuals are joining forces with others such as the gay movement to bring political “correctness”.  They are unashamed and quite vocal in proclaiming their abdominal cause. 

It is time for Christians to stand up and be heard as voices crying out to God!  Time for our voices, as God fearing American’s to be heard loud and clear!  We as a nation are so very blessed by God, yet we seem to be so silent about proclaiming Him, shame on us!

Jesus said if we deny Him, He would deny us.  I get some very interesting emails along with some that are completely dumb.  Of recent date a cute story about throwing darts at a picture has been making the rounds.  At the bottom of the story the writer says if you don’t forward this to x number of individuals then you don’t love Jesus, you are denying Him.  Brethren, denying Jesus is NOT about forwarding emails, denying God, denying Jesus is about how we live our lives every day.  Nothing wrong with the emails, but there is much more to our Christian calling.  We are called not to be passive, but to be active in our Christianity. 

If you are silent about God, don’t expect that He will be vocal about you.  If your light is out or hid under a basket, don’t expect that Jesus will shine for you.

What has happened regarding the pledge of allegiance is only one of many items that cry out for the return of Jesus, and cry out for our voices to be heard, our actions to be seen.

The world is listening and watching, will they see Christians in action and hear voices praising God, or will perversion prevail?  The choice is ours; God is also watching, and listening!

-Joe Kirkpatrick 

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