Friday, May 27, 2011

Separation of Church & State? Where is It?

The Lord is our judge
The Lord is our lawgiver
The Lord is our king
- Isaiah 33:22

On May 22, Dr. Andy Woods blessed us with a lesson on the often touted non-existent Constitutional statement regarding the wall of separation between church and state.

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free expression thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

So, where is the separation of church and state clause? It's in the USSR Constitution, not ours. Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to a Baptist church to assure the elders that the government would not interfere with church doctrine. He'd turn over in his grave if he knew how his reassurance to a church has been twisted and corrupted to ban Christianity.

The two cases (1962 & 1963), which illegalized Biblical and Christian teachings in public schools, failed to cite a single precedent. In fact, no court has cited precedent prior to 1947, censoring our history between the founding of this country and the post WWII era. And the courts selectively applied their rulings to only Christians. Militant secularization is pushing America away from its Judeo-Christian roots. Humanism and other pagan practices are permitted in schools, but don't try to read a verse from the Psalms.

The proponents of Roe v. Wade also cited no precedent, but used a "penumbra," a shadow that lurks behind the wording, dependant on which way the sun shines on the particular document. The law itself is unconstitutional because it gives the federal government license to interfere with the laws of each sovereign state. The courts have usurped their power by recreating the Constitution instead of interpreting it. In Isaiah 33:22, God established three separate branches of government:

  1. Judicial - interpret the law (The LORD is our judge)
  2. Legislature - create law (The LORD is our lawgiver)
  3. Executive - to enforce the law (The LORD is our king)

The U.S. Supreme Court has pursued and claimed legislative powers. Their motto has become, "With five votes, we can do anything."

Here's my opinion:

How did this happen? It's the frog in heated water syndrome. We let it happen while we were distracted by other issues that seemed important at the time. Can we change it back? Perhaps. But it will take years of appealing, and only then if we elect public servants who know what the Constitution says.

Get your pocket-sized copy of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution by visiting Study it, learn it... and the next time someone says you can't pray in public because of "separation of church and state," tell them this isn't the Soviet Union! --------------------------------------------------------------------- Dr. Andy Woods, B.A., Th.M., J.D., Ph.D, Professor of Bible and Theology at the College of Biblical Studies, adjust professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, author and Senior Pastor at Sugarland Bible Church in Sugarland, TX.

My apologies for the weird formatting. I can't seem to convince blogspot that I don't want the extra spacing. Maybe it's feeling overly generous. I'm techno-challenged.

Monday, May 23, 2011

FBI and other members of the Government Alphabet Soup

Held captive in a tiny hut deep in the Guatemalan rain forest, Ted Bohannon and his friend, Donald Gregory, have one goal: take the four children imprisoned with them and escape. Two years later, Ted's widowed sister Jennifer Ryaan paces in her living room. A mysterious note with a Guatemalan postmark appeared in her mailbox that afternoon. Someone knows her missing brother's fate. And her friends couldn't have picked a worse time to set her up on a blind date with airline pilot Jack McGowan. FBI agents, who investigated the original case, received new information about Jennifer's brother from a confidential informant. With Jennifer's permission, they set up phone taps and surveillance. A clandestine meeting in Paris brings Jack under the cross hairs of their suspicion. Jennifer refuses to believe Jack is involved, but how can she argue with such compelling evidence as photos of Jack with two international crime bosses? A tug-of-war between Jennifer's feelings for Jack and her determination to locate her missing brother is overshadowed by two strange men from Guatemala. Are they stalking her? _______________________________________________ My research for this novel began with visits to the Department of State website. I chose Guatemala because of the crime reports and warnings listed on this site. From there I visited the FBI's national website, where I requested information via an e-mail message. Neal Schiff, their liaison in Washington, DC called me the next day. Through many phone calls, he gave me the "inside scoop" (as much as he could without having to kill me-tee hee) of the Bureau's methods of handling this type of international incident. One of my co-workers, who has relatives who served in missions in Central America, confirmed my earlier research. Her uncle was kidnapped while living in Guatemala and held for several months before the family could come up with the ransom. After receiving payment, his abductors returned him (albeit a mere shadow of his former self). Unfortunately, not all victims survive their captivity. One purpose of this novel is to hint at this oft' swept under the rug multi-million dollar industry that continues to grow in Central America, as well the horrendous market of child trafficking. When you plan to travel abroad, please check the D.o.S. website, and heed their warnings. ( And hang onto your children, even if you're at a theme park in Main Street, USA.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pach's Place in "Obedient Heart"

Pach's Place (pronounced Patches) is South Tampa's answer to "Cheers." In this neighborhood eatery, open for breakfast and lunch, everybody knows your name. My husband suggested the owners put one of those in/out planners on the wall so we regulars can move our little button to the "in" position when we arrive. This is one of the few real restaurants I mention in my novel, "Obedient Heart." The characters meet there for breakfast on several occasions, and FBI agents nab one of the villains (after he finished his omelet). I spoke with a member of the staff about being featured in my novel. He whole-heartedly agreed to allow me to host a book signing event there. A professionally designed poster, with the book cover on it, will read, "Look for Pach's Place on Page --- of Obedient Heart!" Named for the original owner, the late Al Pach, this little diner kept it's small-town neighborhood flavor. All the more reason to use it as a source of nourishment for Jennifer Ryaan and her friends in "Obedient Heart." The completed, award-winning novel of 100k words is presently in a holding pattern, while my agent Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency, shops it to publishers. Go Joyce!