HOW AN IDEA BECOMES LAW

 

  • An Idea Is Developed . . . A legislator draws from numerous sources in deciding what should be introduced in the Legislature as a bill. Major sources for ideas are constituents (CITIZENS), legislative Interim Committees which have studied the issue, government agencies, special interest groups, lobbyists, the Governor, or the legislators themselves. I often hear people commenting negatively on the huge number of bills introduced each year (700, 800, sometimes close to 900 bills), but the most of the bills are necessary or innocuous — appropriations bills; fixing language that was not quite technically correct; fixing language that was too broadly interpreted by the courts; sun-setting or extending previous legislated programs, setting up commissions or study committees, etc.

 

  • The Bill is Drafted . . . The idea is submitted to the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, a nonpartisan legislative staff office, in the form of a bill request. The assigned bill drafting attorney reviews existing law, researches the issues, and prepares the bill in proper technical form. The bill is given a number. A fiscal review is conducted and a “Fiscal Note” is attached. The bill is also reviewed for statutory or constitutional concerns.

 

  • The Bill is Introduced. The bill is introduced into the respective house of the Legislature and referred to its Rules Committee. If a Representative is the Sponsor, it originates in the House of Representatives and is a House Bill (labeled with HB- and a number). If a Senator is the sponsor, it originates in the Senate (labeled with SB- and a number)

 

  • The Bill Receives Standing Committee Review and Public Input. The Rules Committee assigns the bill to a standing committee which, in an open meeting, reviews the bill and receives public testimony. This is the most important part of the process because it is here that ordinary citizens can voice their opinion. The committee may make motions to do a variety of things to the bill. They can amend (change the language somewhat), substitute (replace the entire bill with something similar), hold (keep it in committee for review at a future time), table (set aside in a way that it requires a 2/3 vote to have it returned for review), or make a favorable recommendation (send it to back to the body — the House or the Senate — for floor debate and a vote).

 

  • The Bill Is Debated and Is Voted on by the Body. If the standing committee returns the bill with a favorable recommendation, the bill is debated in open session. During floor debate, the bill can be amended, substituted, circled (delayed for future consideration) or tabled (set aside). When a final vote occurs, the bill must receive a majority (38 votes in the House or 15 votes in the Senate) in order to pass.

 

  • The Bill Must Pass Through Both Houses of the Legislature. The procedure is repeated in the other body — House bills go to the Senate and Senate bills go to the House. After the bill has passed in both houses, it is signed by both presiding officers (the Senate President and the Speaker of the House).

 

  • The Bill goes to the Governor for Action. The Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel prepares the bill in final form. This is called the “enrolled” bill which is sent to the Governor for Action. He can choose to sign the bill into law, veto it, or allow it become law without his signature. The legislature CAN choose to convene a Veto Over-ride session (usually in May) and over-ride the governor’s veto, but it requires a 2/3 majority to do so.

 

  • The Bill Becomes Effective. An enacted bill is effective 60 days following adjournment of the Legislature (this year it will adjourn at midnight on Thursday, March 14th), unless a specific date is specified in the bill.

 

 

 

The History of Our National Anthem

 

In 1814, Great Britain was again at war with America.  Although the United States had won their independence 29 years earlier, Great Britain was enraged at America’s demands for an independent Canada, as well as America’s friendship and free trade with France.  “There is no public feeling in this country stronger than that of indignation against the Americans,” declared the London Times on April 15, 1814.  Conflict between the two nations had erupted into full-scale war.  The defeat of Napoleon’s “Grand Army” had freed an additional 14,000 veteran British soldiers to join in the battle against America.  By April, Great Britain was well entrenched in America and was winning the war.

The newly arriving soldiers pillaged the East coast of the United States, burning ships at anchor, razing manufacturing plants, torching private homes, and taking what property they could carry away.   On August 24th, after a short battle, British forces set fire to Washington D.C., plundered the city and burned the White House, most of the public buildings, and many private homes.  The British next set their sights on Baltimore, some 30 miles northeast of the nation’s capital.

Baltimore is situated on a beautiful natural harbor on the Patapsco River, which flows into Chesapeake Bay.  Because of its location, Baltimore was a major port city which carried on extensive trade with France.  This was an additional reason why the British particularly disliked the people of Baltimore.  The rag-tag American militia, shopkeepers and farmers built trenches and defended the city from a land invasion.  Fort McHenry guarded the city from a waterborne attack. Flying above the fort was a huge American Flag.  The flag was 30 feet tall, 42 feet long, and made of 400 yards of cloth. The 2 foot tall stars were “spangled” (off-set at different angles so they would appear to twinkle when the flag was blown).   It had been specially made, “so large that the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance.”

On Sunday, September 11th, the first ship in the British fleet arrived at the mouth of the Patapsco River as the people of Baltimore were attending church.  On hearing that the British had arrived, church services adjourned all over the city.  The Reverend John Gruber concluded his services with the prayer, “May the Lord bless King George, convert him and take him to heaven, as we want no more of him.”

At 5:46 AM on September 13th, most of the fleet of 50 British ships opened fire on Fort McHenry.  Their long-range cannons could fire 400 pound cannon balls a distance of 2½ miles with accuracy.  But because the cannons from the fort drove the fleet back to a 4-mile circumference, their cannons were less than accurate.  British gunners hoped to make each shrapnel-filled bomb explode shortly before impact by correctly trimming the length of each fuse.  British cannons shot over 3,000 cannon balls towards Fort McHenry throughout the day, and continued until early the next morning.  Many bombs exploded in midair, far from the fort, others continued burning after impact and were doused with water to keep them from exploding.  Miraculously, four inches of heavy rain also extinguished many of the bombs.  At 1:00 AM, all grew silent.

From the deck of the Minden, Francis Scott Key watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry.  As a young attorney, he was aboard to negotiate the release of prisoners.  From his vantage point, the silence was worse than the bombardment.  An amphibious nighttime assault was ordered and the troops rowed for shore.

The city of Baltimore, as well as the British fleet waited through the long night to see whose flag would be flying.  At day break, a single cannon shot was heard from the fort, signifying that the fort was occupied, but by whom?  Finally, as the early morning mist and smoke began to clear, Key saw through the distance the stars and stripes still flying over the fort and the British rowboats in retreat.  Now confident of a complete American victory, Key took an old letter from his pocket and began to write on the back of the words of The Star-Spangled Banner.  Only four Americans had been killed in the long assault, yet the battle was the turning point of the war.

“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light; what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight; o’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air; Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.  Oh, say does that Star – Spangled Banner yet wave; o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

In 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed a bill declaring this as our national anthem.  Long let it wave!

Selecting the Best Candidates

 

On November 6th, 2012, people across America will vote for the next President as well as other state and local offices. Over the next few weeks campaign advertising will flood television and radio stations, internet sites, and billboards and signs that line America’s roadways. The challenge for all Americans will be to sift through the rhetoric and campaign promises and choose candidates who can be trusted to honor and defend the United States Constitution, to seek inspiration from God, and to learn from wise constituents and advisors. We encourage voters to study the candidates and become actively engaged in supporting good, wise and honest people for public office.

We the People have been charged with the responsibility and authority to preserve a free government. It is not enough to wring our hands and moan about conditions in America. We must become informed and carry out our civic duty to hold elected officials accountable for their actions in office. These officials take an oath to support the U.S. Constitution. As a people, we have the right to expect our leaders to understand this document and serve according to the limits placed on the office they hold. On Election Day, we have the opportunity to vote out those who have not been true to this sacred trust and vote in others who will remain committed to the cause of liberty.

Samuel Adams explained that if we want to secure liberty, we must avoid corruption in government. He said, “neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manner are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.”

Adams went on to say that public officials should not be chosen if they are lacking in experience or training. The people should seek out candidates who have proven virtue and demonstrated wisdom. He said the task of the electorate is to choose those whose “fidelity has been tried in the nicest and tenderest manner, and has been ever firm and unshaken.” (Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, 1:22)

Our Founding Fathers experienced a tyrannical government and were well acquainted with the weakness of human nature, especially in those placed in a position of power. To protect the people from the ambitions of those holding a political office, they prepared a system of government that would “bind men down by the chains of the Constitution.” Instead of placing all authority under one head, they created a mixed government with a balance of power between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the Federal Government and a division of power between Federal, State, and Local Governments.

Thomas Jefferson explained the purpose,

“The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions he is competent to . . . It is by dividing and subdividing these

republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.”

James Madison also explained the balance between State and Federal governments when he said, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”

Furthermore, the 10th Amendment states “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

While the Founders did not believe in BIG government, they did believe in a STRONG government. They recognized the dangers of tyranny (too much government) as well as anarchy (too little government). They created a political system for a strong government in the balanced center.

As we consider who to vote for during this election cycle, we should consider candidates who are in line with the Founders. Will this candidate respect the restrictive chains of the Constitution? Does this candidate understand the limitations placed on the level of government to which he aspires? If the candidate is pushing for more government than the Founders did, they are suggesting programs that are to the left of the Founder’s balanced center. If they are proposing programs that would mandate less government involvement, they would be to the right of the Founders’ balanced center.

So, how do we choose who to vote for? We suggest three characteristics we should look for to identify Constitutional Candidates.

1. A strong belief in God, and a life of moral and righteous living. If a candidate does not have these traits, how can we trust his sacred “Oath of Office?”
2. A knowledge of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers. Again, each elected official will be taking an Oath of God to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States. How can our leaders do that if they don’t know the Constitution?
3. Those that hold office must be and remain teachable. The whole nation will be praying for their safety and heavenly guidance, and they must be willing to learn from the myriad of experiences as well as from well-selected advisors.
As we approach Election Day, we recommend that all eligible voters study the issues, evaluate the candidates, and vote for the individual who will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the liberties that it protects.

A Statesman’s Guide to Proper Lawmaking

 

Just ten years before Thomas Jefferson died and after many years of observing people in offices of political power, he commented: “Our legislators are not sufficiently apprised of the rightful limits of their powers….” He could have made the same observation in our day nearly two centuries later. Evidence is plentiful to show that when people are elected to public office and especially after they have been in office awhile, they begin to feel they have authority to do about anything they want as long as they can get enough votes to do it.

Any honest student of the U. S. Constitution can easily outline the limits of power of the federal government. That document gives Congress, for example, the power to do about 20 things which can be itemized quickly by reading Article I, Section 8. The 10th Amendment clearly limits the federal government to those express powers outlined and says that all other powers remain with the states and the people. Although the tenth amendment is violated daily on the federal level, no Congressmen can plead innocent of knowing the tenth amendment prohibitions – they are there for all to see.

But what about the vast area of government activity on the state and local levels? Are there specific delineations of powers in state constitutions and city charters so that there can be no misunderstanding as to the powers delegated to these levels of government?

About twenty years ago I undertook the laborious task of reading every bill that was introduced into the legislature of my state. Even though most bills die in committee, I wanted to know what legislators in my state were thinking. I soon discovered that most legislators must think there are no bounds to their lawmaking. I was astonished to see a bill for about any wish any political person ever had. Would you like to give a home to all the poor people? There was a bill to do it! Would you like to provide health care for all the so-called poor people? There’s a bill! Would you like to regulate mothers as to what they can feed their children? There’s a bill! Do you want to save people from their own “stupidity”? There’s lots of bills to do that! You name the idea – any idea, and there probably has been a bill introduced to cover it.  I was amazed. I went again to my state�s Constitution to see if there were perhaps some limitations put on lawmakers as there are on the federal level. Even though most state constitutions are many times longer than the U.S. Constitution, there are few clearly defined limits as to what legislators should be doing and what should be off limits to them. I could not agree more strongly with Jefferson’s observation that our legislators are seriously lacking in understanding as to what their role really is.

Whether limits of power are spelled out in constitutions or not, honest legislators should be bound by higher principles of conduct toward those whom they serve. These higher principles should ring so loudly in the ears of public officials that even in the absence of specific written limits, they should know their bounds.

It is hoped that a discussion of these higher principles will provide a better understanding of the proper role of government and the proper role of an elected public official within that government.

The Origin of Human Rights

Any discussion of government power will always lead the honest student back to the question “Where did our human rights come from?” There can be only two possible answers to this question. Either they were given by God or they are granted by government. If one concludes they are bestowed by government, then one also must accept the idea that these rights can be denied by government. The Founding Fathers flatly rejected this concept and in the Declaration of Independence declared “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” They further defined the “pursuit of happiness” as the right to have and enjoy the fruits of one’s labors.

Volumes have been written attempting to prove that human rights were God-given, but to the Founders it was so logical and self-evident, the discussion need not be carried further. All individuals have the same God-given rights.

 

Sincerely,

Earl Taylor, Jr.

 

 

Mike Leavitt was the 14th Governor of Utah. Below is his response to Rick Santorum’s charges regarding Mitt Romney and the 2002 Olympics.

 

Fitting the profile

by Mike Leavitt, Guest columnist

Thanks to some charges leveled by former Sen. Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney’s stewardship of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games has become the subject of a curious controversy. Among other things, Santorum has suggested that Mitt succeeded thanks only to a “federal bailout.” As I was governor of Utah at the time, I’m in a unique position to set the record straight.

Here are the facts:

Four years before the Games were to begin, they got caught up in a scandal. Sponsors began to withdraw and the budget of the Games was nearly $400 million over anticipated expenditures. A new leader was needed. Utah was at risk financially, and I personally engaged in the search for the right person. I found Mitt Romney, who had a distinguished career in business, helping to start new companies and turn around failing ones.

Within weeks of his arrival, Mitt had laid out a revitalized vision for the Games. Mitt assembled a new team to bring the budget under control. I repeatedly heard him explain that if the budget was to be balanced, every spending request had to be divided into needs and wants. He called on the people of Utah to volunteer to close the gap. I’ll never forget the ad he placed in Utah papers. It read: “Help wanted; hard work, no pay, better hurry.” Fifty thousand people responded.

When the Games had concluded, they were an unqualified success. In a world still reeling from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, people across the globe were assured that they could gather in safety to celebrate the highest qualities of the human family. Mitt Romney’s leadership had turned the $400 million deficit into a $100 million surplus. It was a spectacular turnaround. Sen. Santorum’s suggestion that only a “federal bailout” made all this possible is flatly wrong. We looked to the federal government only to assist with security and necessary infrastructure. Throughout, Mitt did the right thing, and he did it extraordinarily well.

After the Olympic Games had concluded, Mitt Romney returned to Massachusetts where he was elected governor. His state had a $3 billion deficit and the economy needed a turnaround. With the same discipline he used in business and the Olympics, at the end of four years he turned it into a $2 billion rainy-day fund.

The bottom line is this: The profile of the person we were looking for to rescue the Olympics matches almost perfectly what United States needs in our next president. We need a leader who can return us to fiscal responsibility, discern between those things that are needs and wants, and inspire a demoralized people to believe again. Mitt Romney is a leader who can do those things, and more.

Leavitt served as Utah’s governor from 1993-2003

America’s Search for a Constitutional Executive

The Founders of America did not have a very good experience with executives, either in their study of history or in their own day. Whether they were known as kings, monarchs, protectorates, dictators, tyrants, or whatever else, the Founders knew that once a person comes into some authority either by choice of the people or by conquest, he almost always begins to accumulate more and more authority over those whom he governs. They knew it was the nature of mortal man.

Itemizing the tyranny of King George III

No better record exists showing the tyrannical actions of a run-away ruler than what the Founders themselves itemized in the Declaration of Independence. They listed about thirty grievances against the king. The Founders surely recognized that this is the pattern of power-hungry executives. Below are listed seventeen of the thirty grievances. As you read and ponder them, perhaps you will sense that most of them sound very familiar to modern-day Americans because they seem to recur every time an executive begins to act like a dictator. The Founders wrote:

  1.   .1   He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  2.   .2  He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their       operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  3.   .3  He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  4.   .4  He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
  5.   .5  He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
  6.   .6  He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  7.   .7  He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
  8.   .8  He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
  9.   .9  For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;
  10.   .10  For imposing taxes on us without our consent;
  11.   .11  For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;
  12.   .12  For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;
  13.   .13  For suspending  our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  14.   .14  He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
  15.   .15  He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and      conditions.
  16.   .16  In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a      tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
  17.   .17  Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. They, too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.

The Decision not to even have an Executive
in the new American Government

As a result of their fear of runaway executives, the Founders decided to not even have an executive in their new government. They would go with just a loose confederation of states in the Articles of Confederation. Surely this would solve the problem of those ever-power-hungry executives. But it was not long before some of them realized this was a wrong decision. How do you fight a war with no civilian authority in charge who could make and enforce decisions? While General Washington and his men were out in the field bleeding and starving and freezing to death, the states were arguing over who would send supplies and the congress was powerless to enforce any request.

A Hard Lesson results in a Wise Decision

As happens with many lessons in life, the process of learning those lessons is a great teacher. Perhaps the Founders had to learn this way, but it almost made them lose the Revolutionary War. During the war they always seemed to be on the razors edge of defeat. When the Founders finally decided to do something about the Articles of Confederation, one of the first problems they tackled was the lack of an executive. They decided an executive branch was necessary. But should it be a multiple executive? And how should the executive be chosen? All of those questions took a lot of debates to answer. In the end, the decision was reached by consensus that there should be one president, but only if the Constitution held him tightly to a very few enumerated areas of responsibility. They also invented a system of checks to make it as tight as possible to prevent a president from amassing too much power. He could not do the things that kings were so fond of doing throughout history. He could not make law, he could not build himself an army, he could not decide to go to war, he could not interfere with the economy, etc. In fact, the Founders gave him the power to function in only six areas:

  1.   .1  He is the Chief of State and represents America to the world.
  2.   .2  He is the Commander-in-chief of the military which Congress would control.
  3.   .3  He is the CEO of the executive branch.
  4.   .4  He is the chief diplomat of the United States , but any agreement with another nation must be ratified by the Senate.
  5.   .5  He recommends to Congress legislation he feels the nation needs.
  6.   .6  He represents the conscience of the nation in granting pardons and reprieves.

An effective executive reflects a special
talent in working with people

A truly effective executive is a problem solver. He recognizes the true nature of a problem by shining light on it from all angles, making sure, as much as possible, that there are no hidden shadows that would upset the solution once found. He has much experience in gathering the facts and listening to different points of view. He surrounds himself with people who have the welfare of the whole in mind without being slanted by personal agenda. He recognizes that human nature exists in everyone and that most people, while perhaps thinking they are objective, many times represent one side of the problem or solution.

An effective executive, especially in government, recognizes that there are people on both sides of issues, sometimes representing philosophies of competing political parties. Perhaps they could be represented by the two wings of the American Eagle.

Wing # 1 might be thought of as the wing of compassion. It represents the philosophy that government should solve everyone’s problems and they dream of elaborate problems to try to do that. If left uncontrolled, this wing would head directly to tyrannical executive.

Wing # 2 might be thought of as the wing of conservation. It represents the philosophy that government should do very little. If this wing were the only one functioning, the people would lose confidence in government, take matters into their own hands which in turn would lead toward anarchy.

If either of these wings fails to do its part, the eagle will soar to one direction or the other. But as long as both wings are operative and work in conjunction with each other, the American Eagle will fly straight upward.

This is the work of a great executive to keep both wings operative and flying in a symmetrical, coordinated pattern. It is not an easy task, given the sometimes strong opinions of people.

Perhaps likening an executive to a seasoned judge is instructive. A good and effective judge will listen to both sides, each represented by an advocate. He will weigh the evidence, study the law, meditate on possible solutions, consider the effect of solutions on both sides, and make a decision which preserves both law and equity or fairness. This is what the Founders envisioned for an executive in his limited role as president of the United States of America .

Jefferson expresses the need
to maintain balance in government

In a conversation with President Washington, Thomas Jefferson expressed concern over the growing presence of those who want more centralized, powerful government:

“There does not pass a week, in which we cannot prove declarations dropping from the monarchical party that our government is good for nothing, is a milk and water thing which cannot support itself, we must knock it down, and set up something of more energy.”

Jefferson later expressed concern over a growing number from his own party, which if left unchecked could lead to anarchy:

“I see with infinite pain the bloody schism which has taken place among our friends in Pennsylvania and New York , and will probably take place in other States. The main body of both sections mean well, but their good intentions will produce a great public evil.”

Jefferson wisely saw the need for maintaining the government in the balanced center of the political spectrum where the Constitution had placed it. In 1803, he wrote:

“Our business is to march straight forward … without turning either to the right or left.”

The delicate nature of exercising executive power

Suppose you were the captain of a huge barge loaded with grain and headed down the Mississippi River when you suddenly realized you were going in the wrong direction. What do you do? Cramming it immediately into reverse would cause irreparable damage. You must gradually slow it down, turn it round and then make your way back up river. That takes skill and time. It takes an experienced captain.

America must choose an experienced captain for its next executive to carefully navigate the political waters which are so turbulent and filled with danger and intrigue. If we have as our leader for the next four years, a person who has already failed as an executive or one who has never had executive experience, it will be like appointing a person to be a judge on the Supreme Court who has never been a judge! Only more disaster looms.

Surely the American people need to use great wisdom in the choice we make in the upcoming elections. The Founders would no doubt recommend we choose someone who reverences the constitutional limitations of the executive and at the same time has the wisdom and experience necessary to gradually restore America to its proven greatness.

Sincerely,

Earl Taylor, Jr.

 

Abraham Lincoln – A Servant of the People

Abraham Lincoln exemplified the heart of a servant throughout his life. Lincoln did not aspire to leadership positions but was elected by his peers because of his servant nature. He maintained his role as servant throughout the various positions to which he would be elected. As president of the United States, Lincoln often concluded his letter with the phrases, “Your friend and servant,” “Your obedient servant,” and “Your humble servant,” and in the White House, he never alluded to himself as “president” and he asked others to call him “Lincoln” instead of “Mr. President.”

As a servant to the people, Lincoln sought the guidance and support from the Almighty God. During the Civil War, a clergyman said to Lincoln, “I hope the Lord is on our side.” Lincoln replied, “I am not at all concerned about that for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that this nation should be on the Lord’s side.” Lincoln worked diligently to do that which was right without concern for power, position, and popularity.

There were many that advised Lincoln against signing the Emancipation Proclamation. As he was about to sign the document, Lincoln was asked, “Are you certain this is the right course of action?” Lincoln replied, “I never, in my life have felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper.”

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery and recalled the day of emancipation that came when he was a boy. He wrote, “As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. . . After the reading [of the Emancipation Proclamation] we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see. For some minutes there was great rejoicing and thanksgiving.”

Lincoln is today honored as one of the United States’ greatest presidents, even though he had no concern for such praise. Lincoln led the nation as a humble servant. He successfully lead the country through the civil war—preserving the Union while freeing four million people who were in the bondage of slavery.

Lincoln efforts to serve the Nation and free the captives would cost him his life. At the age of 56, Lincoln was assassinated. The Bible declares, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, KJV) The following is one of the many tributes written after his death:

“To the memory of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, who died a martyr to his country, falling under the hand of a traitor assassin on the night of the 14th day of April 1865. The fourth anniversary of the beginning of the great War of Rebellion, through which he led the nation to a glorious triumph. . . The Great Republic loved him as its Father, and reverenced him as the preserver of its national life. The oppressed people of all lands looked up to him as the anointed of liberty, and hailed in him the consecrated leader of her cause. He struck the chains of slavery from four millions . . . with a noble faith in humanity. . . By his wisdom, his prudence, his calm temper, his steadfast patience, his lofty courage, and his loftier faith, he saved the Republic from dissolution. By his simple integrity, he illustrated the neglected principles of its Constitution, and restored them to their just ascendancy. By all the results of his administration of its government, he inaugurated a New Era in the history of mankind. The wisdom of his statesmanship was excelled only by its virtuousness. Exercising a power which surpassed that of kings, he bore himself always as the servant of the people, and never its master.”

                       

Posted by Cameron C. Taylor

 

The American Tradition of Fasting for Heaven’s Help

 

Last month our message reminded readers of the desperate situation our country found itself in during the months leading up to 1787 when many factors combined to bring near collapse. It seemed only a miracle could save the colonists at that point. The writing and adopting of the Constitution provided that miracle, but only after the hard work and active faith on the part of many colonists. This letter contains the description of one specific action on the part of many colonists which seemed, perhaps more than any other, to draw on the powers of Heaven sufficiently so as to appear to have been what some leaders actually called miraculous intervention.

Proclamation of the National Day of Humiliation,
Fasting, and Prayer by the Continental Congress

On two occasions before the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed, the Continental Congress pleaded with the people of the colonies to come together on specific days in the spirit of fasting and prayer. The first set aside was July 20, 1775, not long after the Battles of Lexington, Concord , and Bunker Hill . The second was May 17, 1776, just two months after General Washington’s successful siege of Boston from the British and about five weeks before the Congress would adopt the Declaration of Independence. Here is the text of the second Proclamation:

“In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publicly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.

“The Congress, therefore, considering the warlike preparations of the British Ministry to subvert our invaluable rights and privileges, and to reduce us by fire and sword, by the savages of the wilderness, and our own domestics, to the most abject and ignominious bondage: Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprises, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; and by inclining their hearts to justice and benevolence, prevent the further effusion of kindred blood.

“But if, continuing deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and inflexibly bent, on desolation and war, they constrain us to repel their hostile invasions by open resistance, that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honorable and permanent basis – That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorrupt able patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity.

“And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labor on the said day.

(Note: The word “humiliation” had a different meaning in colonial days than it seems to today. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined humiliation as “The act of abasing pride; or the state of being reduced to lowliness of mind, meekness, penitence and submission.”)

Fasting: Humble Appeal to Heaven for Help

The colonists could bear many testimonies of the power of fasting to call down the powers of Heaven on their behalf. We have previously cited the famous prayer meeting in the Old South Meetinghouse in Boston in 1746, when the congregation had gathered in a spirit of fasting and prayer and called upon God to stop the approaching French fleet from destroying the colonists’ coastal cities. Miraculously, a violent storm arose in the Atlantic and, instead, destroyed nearly every one of the French ships! The colonists could cite dozens of such stories to modern day Americans.

Ellis Sandoz, editor of the wonderful two-volume work entitled, “Political Sermons in the Founding Era” writes:

“Days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving were proclaimed for particular occasions throughout the eighteenth century and even earlier. Such times were nationally proclaimed (“recommended”) at least sixteen times by the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War; and the entire American community repaired to their various churches on such days of fasting, prayer, and humiliation to repent of sins, seek forgiveness, and implore God to lift the affliction of their suffering from them….”

Apparently, the effective use of fasting among the colonists was known outside the American continent, especially in England . One British friend to the American cause, a Dr. Price, wrote concerning an impending crisis:

“In this hour of tremendous danger, it would become us to turn our thoughts to heaven. This is what our brethren in the colonies are doing. From one end of North America to the other, they are fasting and praying. But what are we doing? Shocking thought! we are ridiculing them as fanatics, and scoffing at religion. We are running wild after pleasure, and forgetting everything serious and decent at masquerades. We are gambling in gaming houses; trafficking for boroughs; perjuring ourselves at elections; and selling ourselves for places. Which side then is Providence likely to favor? In America we see a number of rising states in the vigor of youth, and animated by piety. Here we see an old state, inflated and irreligious, enervated by luxury, and hanging by a thread. Can we look without pain on the issue?”

Fasting the right way for the right reason

Because the colonists were so successful in fasting to help them after all they could do for themselves and because they and their preachers were serious students of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, we assume they were well acquainted with the counsel of Isaiah, as he admonished that a true fast that God recognizes is one that is not flashy or showy, one that includes sincere repentance, and one where the person show a genuine willingness to help the poor and the needy. He told his fellow Israelites they are fasting for show and contention and for this reason God does not respond to their prayers:

“Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

“Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

“Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?”

Isaiah then describes the elements of a fast that would be acceptable to the Lord:

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To lose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

“Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

Then Isaiah describes the beautiful blessings that awaits one who fast with a humble, penitent spirit and desires to care for those who are less fortunate:

“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.

“Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:

“And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58: 3-11)

Isaiah’s requirement to help the poor and the needy through fasting is completely consistent with Jesus’ emphasis on helping the poor as a determinant to enter heaven. In Matthew 25, he said:

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

“Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee?

“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25: 34-40)

Fasting seems to be a wonderful method to offer help to the truly needy and thereby be able to expect the assistance of Heaven. It has even been suggested that if all Americans would fast just two meals and give the value of those meals to help the poor, there would be no hungry or homeless in the United States. What a welfare program indeed!

Faith and Good Works Precede the Miracles

It would seem if modern Americans wish to call down the blessings of heaven on our country, we must follow the example of early Americans who successfully used this pattern of sincere prayer and fasting to do so. Perhaps we should begin in our families, our churches, and in all our associations to seriously instigate a periodic fast and prayer for our country. Certainly our cause is as just, and we are perhaps as equally in need of a miracle today to preserve that which was miraculously produced in their day.

Sincerely,

Earl Taylor, Jr.

“My Freedom Library’s” Principles

 

Government: We believe government exists solely to protect the people’s God-given rights.

The Constitution: We believe the constitution was prepared by wise men acting under the inspiration of God, and if honored and followed as the founders intended, it will assure the American people of a national government that will not violate their unalienable rights.

Human Life: We believe in the fundamental human right to life for the unborn, ourselves, and our posterity.

Taxes: We oppose all tax increases and demand tax cuts at every level. We support major cuts in federal spending.

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The Economy: We believe a free market economy is the most effective way to motivate all citizens to be productive and to develop their talents and abilities.

Education: We believe in the right of parents to guide the education of their children without oppressive government regulation.

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2012: The Need for the Miracle again – The US Constitution

The US Constitution

History is an amazing teacher. There is almost nothing which happens today that has not happened in some form in the past. If we just knew our history, we could tell what would happen when we do certain things by just looking at the consequences when those same events happened before. The key is to learn and cherish the lessons of history so that we can both avoid the tragedies of the past mistakes and at the same time enjoy the blessings of past successes.
So it is with present-day America. What is happening today is an incredible replay of what happened 225 years ago. Because of certain economic, social, and political problems which magnified themselves, especially during the four years after the end of the Revolutionary War, the tiny, new country of the United States was on the verge of collapse. Some of our Founding Fathers were so concerned that they actually felt nothing short of a miracle could save us. Do the following descriptions of events in 1787 sound familiar to us today?

The Expectation that the Nation would soon Collapse – in 1787

Foreign nations and even many Americans did not think the nation could endure much more. England kept her troops on the Canadian border so they could move in quickly to take over. Spain began to seize territory along the Mississippi. Among Americans there was even talk of secession and the forming of three new confederations – New England, Middle States, and the South.

Worthless Money Was Destroying Our Society – in 1787

Because there was no national monetary system under the Articles of Confederation, hundreds of entities began printing paper money. John Adams lamented:
“I am firmly of the opinion … that there never was a paper pound, a paper dollar, or a paper promise of any kind, that ever yet obtained a general currency [as money] but by force or fraud, generally by both. That the army has been grossly cheated; that the creditors have been infamously defrauded [some closed their shops to prevent being paid off with worthless paper money]; that the widows and fatherless have been oppressively wronged and beggared; that the gray hairs of the aged and the innocent, for want of their just dues, have gone down with sorrow to their graves, in consequence of our disgraceful depreciated paper currency.”

National Humiliation reached the its low point – in 1787

The exciting idea of self-government began to turn sour. It seemed the growing problems were too much for a new nation to handle. The inability to solve such problems as huge mounting debts, lack of military readiness, breaking long-standing agreements, disdain of foreign powers, etc. was humiliating. Alexander Hamilton lamented:
“We may indeed with propriety be said to have reached almost the last stage of national humiliation. There is scarcely anything that can wound the pride or degrade the character of an independent nation which we do not experience.
“Are there engagements to the performance of which we are held by every tie respectable among men? These are the subjects of constant and unblushing violation.
“Do we owe debts to foreigners and to our own citizens contracted in a time of imminent peril for the preservation of our political existence? These remain without any proper or satisfactory provision for their discharge.
“Are we in a condition to resent or to repel the aggression? We have neither troops, nor treasury, nor government.
“Is respectability in the eyes of foreign powers a safeguard against foreign encroachments? The imbecility of our government even forbids them to treat with us. Our ambassadors abroad are the mere pageants of mimic sovereignty.”

A Very Real Potential of Economic Collapse from Huge Debt – in 1787

Founders Francis Corbin and Thomas Johnston were aghast to think of having to borrow money to pay interest on money previously borrowed!
Johnston : “The United States are bankrupt. They are considered such in every part of the world. They borrow money, and promise to pay. They have it not in their power, and they are obliged to ask of the people, whom they owe, to lend them money to pay the very interest.”
Corbin: “The consequences of deranged finances … what confusions, disorders, and even revolutions, have resulted from this cause, in many nations! …The debts due by the United States and how much is due to foreign nations! No part of the principal is paid to those nations; nor has even the interest been paid as honorably and punctually as it ought. Nay, we were obliged to borrow money last year to pay the interest. What! borrow money to discharge the interest of what was borrowed, and continually augment the amount of the public debt! Such a plan would destroy the richest country on earth.”

A Spirit of Profligacy Is Engulfing the People – in 1787

In times of depression, both economical and moral, people often turn to the vices to forget or run from their ills. Listen to John Williams of New York describe the situation in 1787:
“Unhappily for us, immediately after our extrication from a cruel and unnatural war, luxury and dissipation overran the country, banishing all that economy, frugality, and industry, which had been exhibited during the war.
“Sir, if we were to reassume all our old habits, we might expect to prosper. Let us, then, abandon all those foreign commodities which have hitherto deluged our country, which have loaded us with debt, and which, if continued, will forever involve us in difficulties. How many thousands are daily wearing the manufactures of Europe, when, by a little industry and frugality, they might wear those of their own country! One may venture to say, sir, that the greatest part of the goods is manufactured in Europe by persons who support themselves by our extravagance. And can we believe a government ever so well formed can relieve us from these evils?
“What dissipation is there from the immoderate use of spirits! Is it not notorious that men cannot be hired, in time of harvest, without giving them, on an average, a pint of rum per day? So that, on the lowest calculation, every twentieth part of the grain is expended on that particle; and so, in proportion, all the farmer’s produce.

The Federal Government Hanging By A Thread – in 1787

Fisher Ames was convinced that the federal government was headed for dissolution and anarchy if a stronger Constitution is not adopted:
“Who is there, that really loves liberty that will not tremble for its safety, if the federal government should be dissolved. Can liberty be safe without government?
“The period of our political dissolution is approaching. Anarchy and uncertainty attend our future state. But this we know — that Liberty, which is the soul of our existence, once fled, can return no more.
“The Union is essential to our being as a nation. The pillars that prop it are crumbling to powder. The Union is the vital sap that nourishes the tree. If we reject the Constitution, — to use the language of the country, — we girdle the tree, its leaves will wither, its branches drop off, and the mouldering trunk will be torn down by the tempest…. The Union is the dike to fence out the flood. That dike is broken and decayed; and, if we do not repair it, when the next spring tide comes, we shall be buried in one common destruction.”

A Breakdown of Law and Order Was Turning Good Neighbors into Enemies – in 1787

Listen to John Smith, a patriot and spokesman from Massachusetts in 1787, describe what he observed happens in a nation when freed government breaks down and when anarchy then leads to tyranny:
Smith: “Mr. President, I am a plain man, and get my living by the plough. I am not used to speak in public, but I beg your leave to say a few words to my brother plough-joggers in this house. I have lived in a part of the country where I have known the worth of good government by the want of it. There was a black cloud that rose in the east last winter, and spread over the west…. I mean, sir, the county of Bristol ; the cloud rose there, and burst upon us, and produced a dreadful effect. It brought on a state of anarchy, and that led to tyranny. I say, it brought anarchy. People that used to live peaceably, and were before good neighbors, got distracted, and took up arms against government…. I am going, Mr. President, to show you, my brother farmers, what were the effects of anarchy, that you may see the reasons why I wish for good government. People, I say, took up arms; and then, if you went to speak to them, you had the musket of death presented to your breast.
“They would rob you of your property; threaten to burn your houses; oblige you to be on your guard night and day; alarms spread from town to town; families were broken up; the tender mother would cry, `O, my son is among them! What shall I do for my child?’ Some were taken captive, children taken out of their schools, and carried away. Then we should hear of an action, and the poor prisoners were set in the front, to be killed by their own friends.
“How dreadful, how distressing was this! Our distress was so great that we should have been glad to snatch at anything that looked like a government. Had any person, that was able to protect us, come and set up his standard, we should all have flocked to it, even if it had been a monarch; and that monarch might have proved a tyrant; — so that you see that anarchy leads to tyranny, and better have one tyrant than so many at once.”

The Desperately Needed Miracle Happened – in 1787

Two hundred twenty-five years ago, the Founders barely escaped these disasters. They struggled to adopt the Constitution and its marvelous saving principles. George Washington called it a miracle:
“It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the delegates from so many different states … should unite in forming a system of national government.”
James Madison wrote saying it was “impossible to consider the degree of concord which ultimately prevailed as less than a miracle.”
After only two years so many problems had been solved that Washington was able to write:
“The United States enjoys a scene of prosperity and tranquility under the new government that could hardly have been hoped for.”
The next day he wrote to David Humphreys:
“Tranquility reigns among the people with that disposition towards the general government which is likely to preserve it…. Our public credit stands on that [high] ground which three years ago it would have been considered as a species of madness to have foretold.”

The Miracle Can Happen Again In Our Day – in 2012

We could continue to enumerate problems that existed in 1787, but do the ones listed sound very familiar? Did you also notice what the only real solution was in 1787? It remains the only solution in 2012.

Over the past few years My Freedom Library has distributed thousands of pocket-size copies of the Constitution. We are prepared to distribute thousands more this year alone to help Americans do today what Americans did in 1787 – bring our nation back from the brink of disaster.
Our hope is that Americans will become so conversant with this little booklet that they can teach directly from it, they can ask questions directly from it, they can challenge false political philosophies directly from it, they can show candidates directly from it that it really is the only political platform they need.
Re-energizing this document will save America. Will you commit to do it yourself?

(Click on this link or copy and paste this address into your browser to order your Pocket Constitution)
http://www.myfreedomlibrary.com/products/books/Pocket_Constitution.html

Sincerely,
Earl Taylor, Jr.