Right Opinion

A Day for a Document, a Day for We the People

Tony Perkins · Sep. 18, 2018

It’s a day without barbeques or fireworks, but it’s no less monumental. Yesterday was Constitution Day, when we recognize that 231 years ago, our Founding Fathers signed a document that would become the foundation for the world’s greatest superpower and defender of freedom.

What exactly makes this piece of parchment, rather than any other, so great? Fundamentally, it is that the power of government is vested in “We the People,” as Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Don Willett artfully explained in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend.

But without the freedom of religion, it is impossible to answer the following question: What kind of “People” should we be?

Freedom of religion is enshrined in our Constitution through the First Amendment, and rightfully so. John Adams said to the Massachusetts Militia, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Without religion and its guiding principles, the People have no guide, no rule, no script upon which to base their decisions.

Today, though Christians experience great hostility from popular media, members of all faiths are under threat as our government and culture seek to untether morals from religion. What will result, if these forces are left unchecked, is a society that abides by morals ad hoc and according to the whim of the most powerful political force. It is a society that fails to honor the Constitution Adams spoke of and supported.

The recent unearthing of President Ronald Reagan’s letter to his father-in-law shows just how important it is to include faith in the discussion. President Reagan is revered not only for his successful conservative policies but for his tremendous character as well. Though Reagan emerged from a generation that consider faith more of a personal matter, a culture that stamps out faith in the public square in the name of so-called “nondiscrimination,” “inclusion,” or “tolerance” risks denying how deeply the role of faith is connected to our decisions about government and our personal lives.

Adams’s words of warning are just as relevant today as they were in 1798 and those words should make clear that attacks on religious freedom are ultimately attacks on the very foundation of the Constitution. To ensure the Constitution continues to stand, let’s fortify and strengthen the foundation.

Originally published here.

The Gipper and the Gospel

It was a Saturday in August of 1982. President Ronald Reagan woke up that morning in the White House to headlines about U.S.-Soviet negotiations over nuclear weapons, a fierce tax debate in Congress, and rising unemployment rates. Reagan Library records show he spent much of the day “working on a speech about the economy.” Yet, as the president noted in his diary that day, it was his father-in-law’s eternal destination that occupied his thoughts. “More of Saturdays work plus a long letter I have to write to Loyal. I’m afraid for him. His health is failing badly,” wrote Reagan.

That summer day Reagan put his heart into sharing the gospel in a four page hand written letter to Dr. Loyal Davis, a famous neurosurgeon who apparently was an unbeliever. That letter remained private until it was discovered among Nancy Reagan’s personal belongings and published by the Washington Post on Friday. He opens the letter sharing about the power of prayer in his own life and a testimony about how God healed him of a painful ulcer. Reagan then turns his letter directly to the gospel:

“All in all there were a total of one hundred and twenty three specific prophesys about his life all of which came true. Crucifixion was unknown in those times, yet it was foretold that he would be nailed to a cross of wood. And one of the predictions was that he would be born of a Virgin.

"Now I know that is probably the hardest for you as a Dr. to accept. The only answer that can be given is — a miracle. But Loyal I don’t find that as great a miracle as the actual history of his life. Either he was who he said he was or he was the greatest faker & charlatan who ever lived. But would a liar & faker suffer the death he did when all he had to do to save himself was admit he’d been lying?

"The miracle is that a young man of 30 yrs. without credentials as a scholar or priest began preaching on street corners. He owned nothing but the clothes on his back & he didn’t travel beyond a circle less than one hundred miles across. He did this for only 3 years and then was executed as a common criminal.

"But for two thousand years he has … had more impact on the world than all the teachers, scientists, emperors, generals and admirals who ever lived, all put together.

The apostle John said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

“We have been promised that all we have to do is ask God in Jesus name to help when we have done all we can — when we’ve come to the end of our strength and abilities and we’ll have that help. We only have to trust and have faith in his infinite goodness and mercy.

"Loyal, you and Edith have known a great love — more than many have been permitted to know. That love will not end with the end of this life. We’ve been promised this is only a part of life and that a greater life, a greater glory awaits us. It awaits you together one day and all that is required is that you believe and tell God you put yourself in his hands.”

Ronald Reagan’s timing was always impeccable. Only 10 days later, Nancy’s father reportedly “sought out a hospital chaplain, and prayed with him.” “I noticed he was calmer and not as frightened,” the Post quotes Nancy. Two days later, Loyal passed into eternity.

President Reagan came from the World War II generation of Americans who were inclined to be private about their faith. Yet here he pours out everything he has to reach his father-in-law’s heart.

Reagan’s strong faith in God and the Bible clearly gave him an understanding of salvation and the policies he pursued as president. As Billy Graham explained in his autobiography, “One night…the President got into a discussion about the question of salvation — who was going to be saved and who was going to be lost. He gave her {Nancy} his views on conversion and the new birth right out of the Bible.” Graham went on to say that Reagan “often asked me questions about the biblical view on important topics” including abortion.

The collapse of the Soviet Union will always figure prominently in Reagan’s legacy. Communism did not just fade away; it was defeated in large part by the uncompromising leadership of one man, President Ronald Reagan. Of course, he not only made the world a safer place, his commitment to his faith in Jesus Christ and devotion to truth made America a better place. As this letter reveals, he truly lived with an understanding that our legacy will be rooted in our eternal relationship with God, through the Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ.

Originally published here.

A Tale of Two Secretaries

When he left his post as Secretary of State on January 20, 2017, you may have thought John Kerry’s days of touring the globe downplaying American exceptionalism were over. Not so fast.

Over the past few months, America’s former chief diplomat hasn’t quite put the diplomacy game aside. The man who brought us the Iran nuclear deal (which President Trump scrapped earlier this year) has been at it again. The former Secretary of State recently revealed that he has been holding meetings with Iranian officials without sanction of the Trump administration. President Trump responded via Twitter:

John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!

Late last week, Trump’s own Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, was asked about the president’s tweet. Pompeo explained in no uncertain terms that Kerry was out of line:

“What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented. This is a former secretary of state engaged with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and according to him — you don’t have to take my word for it; these are his answers — he was talking to him. He was telling them to wait out this administration,” Pompeo said.

“You can’t find precedent for this in U.S. history, and Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behavior. It’s inconsistent with what the foreign policy of the United States is as directed by this president, and it is beyond inappropriate for him to be engaged in this,” he said.

Pompeo is right, and Kerry’s actions underscore just how different the Trump administration’s attitude toward diplomacy is from that of the previous administration. Donald Trump’s selection of Mike Pompeo as secretary is a case in point. Under Pompeo’s brief tenure, things are getting done at State. From the start, his unprecedented meetings with North Korea showed that Mike Pompeo is a man of action — a sharp contrast to the shadowy John Kerry.

Mike Pompeo is the first secretary of state to preside over an international religious freedom summit hosted by the U.S. government, an event which is doing much good for those persecuted worldwide like the Uighur Muslims of China. If foreign policy watchers care at all about these horrific situations, they will understand the efforts of Secretary Pompeo and the Trump administration are the best hope these persecuted have. The Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom produced the Potomac Declaration, an international religious freedom rallying cry, along with plans for the International Religious Freedom Fund and Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program. These efforts are unprecedented for their possibility of helping correct religious freedom and human rights abuses in every corner of the globe, yet Pompeo’s critics would act like they don’t exist.

If you’ll be attending the 2018 Values Voter Summit this week, you’ll get to hear Secretary Pompeo in-person this Friday in Washington, D.C. He’ll be discussing the Trump administration’s efforts to advance religious freedom around the world. He’s just one of the many speakers in the lineup at one of the most exciting venues for social conservatives all year. There’s still time to register!

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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