Sunday, March 29, 2009

American Leadership - An Example From History

William Travis was the leader of the Alamo when it fell. On March 3, 1836 Travis addressed the men within the walls of the Alamo. As their leader he had to deliver the tough message and admit his mistakes. He had been requesting assistance from others to come and help defend the Alamo, and on March 3 he was informed that no one was coming. He called a meeting and said, "I have deceived you by the promise of help…" and then went on to explain that his calls for help will go unanswered. He went on to say, "Our fate is sealed. Within a very few days - perhaps a very few hours - we must all be in eternity. This is our destiny and we cannot avoid it…"

After his speech, he drew a line in the sand with his sword and asked, "I now want every man who is determined to stay here and die with me to come across this line." All but one soldier crossed that line in the sand.

This is an example from history of great American leadership in action. Travis did not willingly or knowingly deceive his men about help - he did let them know that he had requested it. But some may have felt he had deceived them to keep them from running away, so he accepted the blame for that. He told his followers the real deal, he didn't hide the truth from them.

That is what a good leader does - if it's perceived that you made a mistake or actually made a mistake, own up to it and let your people know. Always share the true picture with your people so they can make informed decisions. Travis' speech was true, for within 3 days he and his men gave their lives at the Alamo.

Cross-posted at Back to the Constitution

Monday, March 23, 2009

March 31 - Participate in Red Envelope Day

On March 31st I'm asking everyone who reads this to participate in Red Envelope Day. By participating you are taking a stand for life and taking a stand for what is right. Please participate and encourage everyone you know to participate as well. Thank you!

Cross-posted at Back To The Constitution

Friday, March 13, 2009

Foxx: A Dictionary of Spending

The following article by NC Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is from an email newsletter.

$5,700,000,000,000 tab rung up in six months
By Congresswoman Virginia Foxx

The approach of springtime is notable for two things in Washington: cherry blossoms and budget season. Washington’s famous cherry trees haven’t yet emerged from their winter hiatus, but the budget juggernaut is already in full swing. As you can probably imagine, it’s not a pretty picture.

Before we take a closer look at the budget it is important that we lay some groundwork. The past six months have witnessed an historic and unprecedented spending spree in Washington.
In the rush to bailout anything that moves, almost any fiscal context has been lost. Stimulus package, bailout, trillion dollar budget deficits. Each of these terms has steadily lost meaning over the course of our economic meltdown. For the sake of clarity here are a few definitions and please bear with me if you are one of those who have this all down pat.

TARP bailout: passed by Congress last fall and signed by President Bush. This program set aside $700 billion to buy the so-called toxic assets (mostly bad mortgage debt) held by America’s banks. Of this amount, $350 billion was made available immediately and the second half required Congressional sign-off. The second $350 billion was recently approved by the Senate for President Obama to use as he see’s fit. I joined a bipartisan group in voting against the TARP bailout in 2008 and 2009.

Stimulus package: passed by Congress in February. This package had a price tag of about $800 billion. Despite the promise of no earmarks, it was plagued from the start with pet projects and carve-outs for special interests. President Obama pushed for its passage as a job creation measure. Because it contained little in the way of job-creating tax cuts and instead was stuffed full of expensive big government programs that will do almost nothing to revive our economy, I voted against it.

Omnibus appropriations: nine separate budget bills totaling $410 billion that passed the House in late February. As a holdover from last year’s spending legislation this bill finishes the job of appropriating money to many federal agencies. It contains about 9,000 earmarks and represents an 8.3 percent increase over the previous year’s spending. This massive bill included spending gems such as money for tattoo removal programs in California and huge funding increases for UN programs that promote and provide abortions around the world.

Housing bailout: a plan proposed by President Obama in mid-February that will spend $275 billion in an effort to stabilize the housing market. The problem with this housing bailout plan lies in the simple fact that it rewards bad behavior—something called “moral hazard” by economists. This plan will use taxpayer money to lower the payments of homeowners who bought houses they can’t afford.

Of course more than 90 percent of American homeowners are current on their mortgages and are not in danger of losing their homes. This plan does not give those who played by the rules a fair shake. Instead it rewards bad behavior and risky lending practices. In turn it punishes hardworking families who are paying their mortgages on time and are trying to make ends meet in a troubled economy.

President Obama’s Budget Request: last but certainly not least, President Obama presented his proposed budget to Congress in the last week of February. It will serve as a guideline for next year’s federal spending. This year, federal spending will approach $4 trillion–a one-third increase in the size of government in a single year. His budget blueprint for next year totals $3.5 trillion and provides $750 billion for yet another bank bailout (see TARP bailout), $646 billion in taxes on energy and an overall increase in non-defense spending of 9.3 percent.

All told these proposals and programs total about $5,700,000,000,000 in federal spending—a number thought inconceivable until now.

I am sure that many of the loudest voices in favor of government bailouts in the banking sector, the housing market, and anywhere else that “needs” an infusion of your tax dollars sincerely believe runaway spending is the cure for what ails this economy.

The proponents of massive government spending claim that this money will stimulate the economy. That remains to be seen and with very little of the money going to actual job-creating projects, I’m convinced that it may simply inflate our debt and do more harm than good.
But even if these programs, from bank bailouts to bloated budgets, fail to achieve their purpose, America has an ace up its sleeve. America is a strong and resilient nation and I am confident that once again American ingenuity and hard-working Americans will bring us back—even if today’s policies are flawed and misguided.

Foxx Opposes "Card-Check" Union Legislation

The following is from a press release from NC Congresswoman Virginia Foxx.

Foxx voices opposition to union ‘card-check’ legislation
Co-sponsors Secret Ballot Protection Act to preserve workers’ rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (NC-05) today voiced strong opposition to union “card check” legislation that was introduced today. The legislation, the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, halts workers’ rights to vote by secret ballot in union organizing elections.

“Because I support workers’ rights to unionize without harassment, I must oppose this anti-worker legislation, Foxx said. “The secret ballot is a foundational element of a free and open society. Its demise would signal a serious decline in freedom in America, not to mention a harsh blow to struggling workers in today’s tough economy.”

Card check legislation strips workers of truly free choice in union organizing elections, opening the elections to coercion and intimidation. Instead of mandating a secret ballot vote, this legislation changes the rules to allow for unionization by a public signing of cards by workers.

In theory, those signing cards would support joining a union: hence the term, “card check.” However, rather than allowing workers to make their choice in secrecy, the act would end workers’ right to privacy in one of the most important decisions they make about the future of their workplace.

“This whole card check idea has a whiff of big-brotherism,” Foxx said. “With card check, someone’s always looking over your shoulder. This simply blows the unionization process wide open to fraud and intimidation.”

Rep. Foxx is also an original cosponsor of the Secret Ballot Protection Act—legislation that preserves workers’ right to a secret ballot in unionization elections.

Foxx voted against the Employee Free Choice Act in 2007 when it was brought up for a vote in the 110th Congress. Even Obama supporter and advisor, businessman Warren Buffet opposes card check legislation.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Speak Up For Those Who Can't

The Obama administration makes it very clear where they stand on abortion. This is what it says on the White House’s site: “President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Administration. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case.” President Obama is clear on his position, and some of his recent actions back-up his support of aborting life.

God has also made His position clear on the subject of abortion. He is the Author of life and He is the One that gave us the right to life. Even a cursory view of Scripture makes it irrefutable that God is the Author of life. Take a few moments to look at Genesis 20:18; 29:31 and 30:2. In Deuteronomy 30:19 He says, “…Therefore choose life…” (ESV) (While I understand the context of this verse is not dealing with abortion, however, it does make the Lord’s position clear.)

There is no middle ground between these two positions.

I still cannot reconcile our nation’s founding documents with our government’s policy of taking life. Their can be no misunderstanding what our founding fathers meant when they wrote, “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.” The Declaration of Independence rightly declares we have the unalienable right to life and this right comes from our Creator (God), not from our government. This also is clear in the very next sentence from the Declaration, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Putting these truths together you can say God has given man the unalienable right to life, and government has been instituted to secure this right.

Proverbs 31:8-9 says we need to speak for those that cannot speak and to defend the rights of the needy. Who is more silent than a baby in the womb? Who is more defenseless than a precious baby in the womb? Will you speak for them and defend them?

(This article is cross-posted at Back To The Constitution)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Separation Of Church And State

Open your Bible to Hezekiah 7:14 and you will read the well-known and oft quoted verse, “Heaven helps those who help themselves.” Ok, the fact of the matter is that verse, although often quoted, is not in the Bible. The book of Hezekiah is not in the Bible either, in case you were wondering! My point is, no matter how hard you look in the Bible you will not find that quote despite the popular belief that it is a biblical quote.

There is a similar belief about the well-known and oft quoted phrase, “the separation of church and state.” Popular belief is that this phrase is in the Constitution. The fact of the matter is the phrase is not in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. (Maybe it’s in Hezekiah 7:15!)

While he was President, Thomas Jefferson received a letter from the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut. They wrote their letter on October 7, 1801 (ten years after the First Amendment had been ratified) because of their concern with Connecticut’s history of a state church. Historically, Connecticut’s official state church had taken action against Connecticut Baptists such as taxation and imprisonment. As an example of the persecution the Connecticut Baptists had suffered, the following happened in 1744: “…fourteen persons were arrested for holding a Baptist meeting, . . . tried, fined, and driven on foot through a deep mud (in February) to New London, a distance of twenty-five miles, and thrust into prison, without fire, food, or beds, where they remained, enduring dreadful sufferings, for several weeks." (The Baptists Encyclopedia, 1881)

It was this historical background that prompted the Danbury Baptist Association to write to President Jefferson concerning their fears of a state or even a federal church. They wrote in part, “Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty: that Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor. But sir, our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter, together with the laws made coincident therewith, were adapted as the basis of our government at the time of our revolution. And such has been our laws and usages, and such still are, [so] that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation, and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights. And these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgments, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore, if those who seek after power and gain, under the pretense of government and Religion, should reproach their fellow men, [or] should reproach their Chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dares not, assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.”

Jefferson responded on January 1, 1802 and his letter stated, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature would "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” And there you have it, the phrase “separation of church and state.”

Even more interesting is Jefferson’s original draft of his letter. The original draft, which was not sent, showed Jefferson clearly stating that as President he would not preside as leader over a state church. Jefferson wrote, “I have refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion, practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church, but subject here [in America], as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect…” In other words, the President of the United States is not a religious leader or head of a state church.

I hope this has put the “separation of church and state” phrase in its proper perspective. It is not in the Constitution or Declaration of Independence. It was merely one phrase in a letter from President Jefferson trying to assure a group of Connecticut Baptists that the US would not have a state church.

Cross-posted at Back To The Constitution