History

Founding fathers never discussed wall of separation between church and state

School civics classes teach that the Constitution guarantees the right to remain silent, freedom of speech, equal protection under the law, and a wall of separation between church and state. Except the founding document never actually talks about a wall. “It’s something that the courts and anti-religious groups created to keep religion out of our public square,” says John Bursch, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom. Like so much of founding-era wisdom, the concept of separation of church and state sprung from the mind of Thomas Jefferson — though he was not part of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, nor was he in that first Congress that drew up the amendments that would become the Bill of Rights. The third of those 12 amendments sent by Congress to the states for ratification included the admonition that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Only 10 of the 12 amendments were ratified at the time — the first two didn’t earn enough states’ approval — which is how the third amendment became the First Amendment in late 1791. Enter Jefferson a decade later, in early 1802, now in the White House and being battered by his political enemies, the Federalists. Publicly pious and eager to show it, they promoted days of fasting and prayer and wanted Jefferson to follow John Adams’ lead and proclaim them from the newly opened White House. He fired off a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, in which he laid out his vision of “a wall of separation between church and state.” The Library of Congress in the 1990s decided to try to figure out more about what was behind Jefferson’s letter. They roped the FBI into helping out, and the bureau used its state-of-the-art lab facilities to recover the rest of Jefferson’s original draft. The draft reveals that Jefferson originally wrote of a “wall of eternal separation between church and state.” And the draft also reveals that Jefferson had no intention of it being “a statement of fundamental principles; it was meant to be a political manifesto, nothing more,” James Hutson wrote for the Library of Congress. Indeed, he says, two days after he wrote the letter, he attended a prayer service held in the chambers of the House of Representatives. Jefferson would attend similar services “constantly” throughout his presidency, Mr. Hutson wrote. Rob Natelson, a leading constitutional scholar who now heads the Independence Institute’s Constitutional Studies Center, said turning to Jefferson for wisdom about the Constitution would be like asking someone on the political fringe today. “If you want to understand the Constitution, you’re much better off looking at people like James Wilson,” he said. The letter to the Danbury Baptists was obscure for decades, only gaining new attention when Jefferson’s writings were published in 1853 and reprinted in 1868 and 1871, Mr. Hutson wrote. But some important people took notice. In 1879, the Supreme Court, in a case dealing with a Mormon who cited his religious duty as a defense against bigamy charges, cited Jefferson’s letter to the Baptists as the guiding light of the First Amendment’s establishment clause. “Coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured,” wrote Chief Justice Morrison Waite for the unanimous court. “Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.” In 1947, the court for the first time would extend that separation to the states, ruling that the “wall must be kept high and impregnable” — yet also ruling that New Jersey could provide busing for Catholic school students and not run afoul. In the 1980s, then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist would complain that the court had bungled things by citing Jefferson as the expert, calling the wall language a “misleading metaphor.” And the high court has repeatedly struggled to figure out what the wall looks like and when its impregnability is threatened.

And that’s precisely because there is no so-called separation of church and state.  As this article properly points out, it is NOWHERE to be found in any of our founding docs; certainly not in our Constitution or our Bill of Rights.  It was a phrase coined by Jefferson in a letter to a group of Baptists in Connecticut.  That’s it!  Don’t believe me?  Then pick up a copy of “The Myth of Separation” by Dr. David Barton  (www.wallbuilders.com).

Newt Gingrich: George Washington experienced America’s first Christmas miracle – And it changed our history

As I gather with family and friends for the holiday, I like to think about the most important Christmas moments that we have shared together. This year, as I was thinking about it, I also thought about the most important Christmas moments in American history. My mind immediately went to the first – George Washington’s victory at the Battle of Trenton on Dec. 26, 1776. Indeed, this risky assault actually amounts to America’s first Christmas miracle, which I explain in this week’s episode of “Newt’s World.” In December 1776, Washington and the Continental Army were not in good shape. They were badly in need of a victory, having had a run of devastating defeats with no significant successes. Not only that, Trenton was being defended by Hessian mercenaries, who were highly trained and well-equipped. The odds in a straight-up fight were not good. So, Washington had to do something unexpected – attack the day after Christmas. However, on Christmas Day, the weather was horrible. Washington’s roughly 2,400 soldiers – many of whom did not have shoes – had to march through wet snow, sleet, and driving rain to the Delaware River, where they then crossed in the dead of night. Once they started crossing the river, the weather was made worse by a Nor’easter that had hit the East Coast. Journals from Washington’s men described the storm as “a perfect hurricane.” Further, once they were over the river, they knew they had to march for several more hours before they engaged in a battle. The weather and slow crossing had put them three hours behind schedule, and some officers were debating just calling off the attack. Soldiers reported their muskets weren’t operable in the weather, the temperature was in the high 20s, the rain kept coming. It was a disaster. Still, Washington was determined. He told the men to use their bayonets if their rifles wouldn’t fire, and they continued the march. Calling off the attack was not an option for him. For all these reasons, the Battle of Trenton should have been a complete failure, and likely the beginning of the end of America’s independence. Yet, miraculously, it was the exact opposite. The attack on Trenton lasted only an hour. Of the approximately 1,350 Hessians defending the city, 900 surrendered after Washington’s swiftly executed surprise attack. Not only did the Continental Army suffer few casualties – soldiers picked up a good deal of munitions and equipment that once belonged to the Hessians. It was genuinely a miracle for the Americans, and it shaped our country and our world for centuries to come. I hope you will listen to this week’s episode of “Newt’s World” and hear more about America’s Christmas Miracle. Just click here.

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Dr. Newt Gingrich (R) is the host of the “Newt’s World” podcast and author of the New York Times bestsellers “Understanding Trump and Trump’s America.”      🙂

Ancient 3,000-year-old tablet suggests Biblical king may have existed

The study of an ancient tablet that dates back nearly 3,000 years suggests that the biblical King Balak may have been an actual historical figure. Published in Tel Aviv: The Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, the study looks at the Mesha Stele and makes the determination that after looking at new photos of the cracked tablet, Balak existed, though the researchers are not 100 percent certain of it. “After studying new photographs of the Mesha Stele and the squeeze of the stele prepared before the stone was broken, we dismiss Lemaire’s proposal to read (‘House of David’) on Line 31,” the researchers wrote in the study’s abstract. “It is now clear that there are three consonants in the name of the monarch mentioned there, and that the first is a beth. We cautiously propose that the name on Line 31 be read as Balak, the king of Moab referred to in the Balaam story in Numbers 22–24.” It’s Line 31 that is tempering the researchers’ enthusiasm. There are “[a]bout seven letters are missing from the beginning of the line [31], followed by the words (“sheep/small cattle of the land”),” the study’s abstract adds. The abstract continues: “Next there is a vertical stroke that marks the transition to a new sentence, which opens with the words (“And Hawronēn dwelt therein”). Evidently a name is expected to follow. Then there is a legible beth, followed by a partially eroded, partially broken section with space for two letters, followed by a waw and an unclear letter. The rest of the line, with space for three letters, is missing.” The Mesha Stele, which is also known as the Moabite Stone, is an inscribed tablet that dates back to 840 B.C. and was discovered in 1868 by researcher Frederick Augustus Klein. It had previously been theorized that Line 31 was a reference to the House of David. However, the researchers, led by the study’s lead author, Israel Finkelstein, believe the letter “B” is there and it is not a reference to “beth,” the Hebrew word for “house,” but rather Balak. Although the study’s authors, Finkelstein, Nadav Na’aman and Thomas Römer, have theorized that Balak may have been an actual person, their “proposal is very tentative,” Ronald Hendel, a professor of the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, told Live Science. Hendel was not involved in the study. Hendel also told Live Science that according to the Bible, King Balak existed 200 years prior to the tablet’s creation, so a reference to him is unlikely. The researchers have acknowledged this discrepancy, with Finkelstein telling Live Science: “[T]he study shows how a story in the Bible may include layers (memories) from different periods which were woven together by later authors into a story aimed to advance their ideology and theology. It also shows that the question of historicity in the Bible cannot be answered in a simplistic ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.” Researchers have attempted to reconstruct the tablet, which was smashed after a dispute between its previous owners, Bedouins, and a group that was attempting to purchase the stone, Live Science adds, but time and destruction have made it hard to read. It’s now housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Fascinating!!     🙂

What lies beneath the Transylvanian castle that imprisoned ‘Dracula’?

A historic Transylvanian castle that may have once imprisoned Vlad the Impaler — likely inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula — still stands today. But what lies beneath it? Because of centuries of rebuilding and additions, archaeologists weren’t sure where the castle’s original foundation lay. However, new research using radar scans of the ground beneath the structure is revealing what’s going on below the building’s imposing facade. The findings were presented on Wednesday (Dec. 12) here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Castelul Corvinilor — also known as Corvin Castle, Hunedoara Castle or Hunyadi Castle — began as a fortress built in central Transylvania (now Romania). The structure’s oldest stone fortifications date to the 14th century, and its transformation from fortress into a castle was well underway by the 15th century, according to lead researcher Isabel Morris, a doctoral candidate with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University in New Jersey. In the 15th century, the bloodthirsty despot Vlad III, prince of Wallachia, aka Vlad the Impaler, was purportedly imprisoned in Castle Corvin by Hungarian Gov. John Hunyadi (Ioan de Hunedoara), who oversaw the castle’s first expansion, according to the Romanian tourism website Rolandia. Two more expansions to the castle, in the 17th and 19th centuries, followed Hunyadi’s efforts. Consequently, the building is a hodgepodge of construction from different periods, Morris said. It has also been the subject of numerous excavations; however, maps of the site are inconsistent, and much of the archaeological record is missing, presenting challenges to scientists exploring the castle today, Morris explained. For this reason, she and her colleagues chose ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to conduct their surveys. “In order to do a good job with our reconstruction, we need to know where all these pieces are,” she told Live Science. The scans helped the researchers identify an administrative complex built during the 17th century, Morris said. The radar also revealed places where parts of the castle were held up by bedrock and supported by built-up, human-made structures. “That’s important moving forward for conserving this exciting historic site,” Morris said. Already-reconstructed rooms in the castle’s depths include a torture chamber — with a model of an unfortunate victim bound and hung from the ceiling — but it is unknown if the grim chamber ever housed the infamous Vlad the Impaler.

Fascinating!!    🙂

Confederate monuments: This 124-year-old women’s group is fighting to keep them around

On the first anniversary of the Charlottesville protests, which turned deadly in clashes between white nationalists and anti-fascists on opposing sides of whether to keep a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in the Virginia city, a group of persistent activists is fighting to protect the controversial statues. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), a 124-year-old organization, issued a rare public statement after the Charlottesville riots last summer: “We are grieved that certain hate groups have taken the Confederate flag and other symbols as their own,” the UDC’s president general, Patricia M. Bryson, wrote following the August clashes that resulted in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer and the brutal beating of DeAndre Harris. However, while Bryson insisted that the UDC condemned anyone who “promotes racial divisiveness or white supremacy,” she argued that the Confederate ancestors honored by these memorials “were and are Americans.” In the year since the riots, more than 30 cities across the United States have removed or relocated Confederate statues and monuments amid an intense, ongoing debate about race and history. Bryson issued a call of her own a year ago: “Join us in denouncing hate groups and affirming that Confederate memorial statues and monuments are part of our shared American history and should remain in place.”

Agreed!!  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

King David’s city discovered? Ancient site linked to biblical kingdom, archaeologists say

Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered an ancient site that may offer fresh insight into the ancient biblical kingdom of David and Solomon. Researchers from Bar-Ilan University have been excavating the remains of a large house dubbed the “Governor’s Residence” that was destroyed by a fire in an 8th century B.C. Assyrian military campaign. The impressive four-room home, located at Tel ‘Eton in the Judean foothills, had at least two stories and its ground floor extended over 2,420 square feet. Occupying high ground at the top of a mound, the house was carefully built with deep foundations. Large masonry stones were placed in the corners and entrances of the building and high-quality building materials were used, according to experts. The discovery could shed new light on the joint kingdom ruled by David and his son Solomon, which is described in the Hebrew Bible, but has long divided historians. Also known as the united monarchy, the territory is said to have included the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. While some experts believe that the kingdom existed in the 10th-century B.C., others have questioned its existence, citing a lack of evidence of royal construction at the center of the region where the kingdom is said to have existed. However, part of the building at Tel ‘Eton has been dated to a period in history that coincided with the supposed joint kingdom, according to Prof. Avraham Faust and Dr. Yair Sapir. The archaeologists recently published their findings in the journal Radiocarbon. “Surprisingly, radiocarbon dates from within the floor make-up and from within a foundation deposit that was placed below the floor indicate that the building had already been erected in the 10th century BCE, between the late 11th century and the third quarter of the 10th century BCE. This date is in line with other finds related to the construction, like the foundation deposit itself,” said Prof. Faust, in a statement. The construction of such a major residence at the top of a mound, with commanding views over the local area, marks an important event in the site’s history, according to Faust and Sapir, particularly when viewed in the context of the ancient city’s growth. However, the archaeologists note that “the association with David is not based on direct archaeological evidence, but solely on circumstantial grounds.” Nonetheless, the erection of the residence and the growing size of Tel ‘Eton could make a link to the David plausible, the researchers say, noting that the King is said to have existed in the nearby Judean highlands. Another site at Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Judean highlands, about 12.5 miles north of Tel ‘Eton, has also been linked to David, Haaretz reports. Jerusalem and other biblical cities such as Hebron, are also located in the Judean hills. There have been a number of fascinating finds in the region in recent years. A trove of bronze coins, the last remnants of an ancient Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, were recently discovered near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In February, archaeologists announced the discovery of a clay seal mark that may bear the signature of the biblical Prophet Isaiah. Last November, new evidence dated Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Roman era, matching historical records. Other finds include the skeleton of a pregnant woman, dating back 3,200 years, in Israel’s Timna Valley, at a place once called King Solomon’s Mines. At the site of an ancient city on the West Bank, archaeologists are also hunting for evidence of the tabernacle that once housed the Ark of the Covenant. Some experts also believe they have found the lost Roman city of Julias, formerly the village of Bethsaida, which was the home of Jesus’ apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip.

Fascinating!!  To see some photos, click on the text above.    🙂

Inside JFK’s door-to-door search for a French call girl — and why she had to look like Jackie

In May 1961, an elderly woman in Paris heard a knock at the door of her six-story walk-up apartment. It was only the most powerful man in the world. The president of the United States was going door-to-door hoping to find the call girl he had discreetly arranged to meet. John F. Kennedy, it turned out, used a fake excuse about a doctor’s visit to attend a long-arranged dalliance while in Paris for a crucial summit, only to wind up in the wrong building, knocking on the doors of random Parisians who were left with the surprise of their lives. The tale of this ill-advised but ultimately, er, successful liaison is recounted in “Madame Claude: Her Secret World of Pleasure, Privilege, & Power,” by William Stadiem (St. Martin’s Press). Madame Claude, born Fernande Grudet on July 6, 1923, in Angers, France, was one of the world’s most successful madams. Starting in 1957, she ran an exclusive, high-class prostitution ring that offered a very specific type of woman — tall, supermodel-gorgeous, classy and upscale (or at least trained to appear so) — to the world’s richest and most powerful men. The young women who worked for her were known as Claude girls, which became a well-known and powerful brand. She scouted them carefully, paid for plastic surgery if needed, and ultimately hoped to marry them off to aristocracy. “A date with a ‘Claude girl’ was one of those pinnacle Paris experiences,” writes Stadiem, “like staying at the Ritz or dinner at Maxim’s or wearing a Lanvin suit . . . an apotheosis of luxury that the French do better than any other nationality.” According to Stadiem, Madame Claude’s client list included the world’s most successful men of the time: Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Sammy Davis Jr., former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, three generations of Gettys, the Shah of Iran, Marlon Brando, Darryl Zanuck, Groucho Marx. If you were rich, famous and male in the 20th century, chances are Madame Claude knew what you liked in bed, and provided exactly that. For Kennedy, his desired liaison required almost as much detailed preparation as an actual political summit. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco in April 1961, Kennedy thought a meeting in Europe with French and Soviet leaders Charles de Gaulle and Nikita Khrushchev, respectively, could serve as a reset for his presidency. He decided that he and first lady Jackie Kennedy would embark on their first official European tour. This would be the trip where Jackie so entranced the French that Kennedy famously introduced himself as “the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.” But while Jackie was thrilled at the prospect of meeting novelist and newly appointed French Culture Minister Andre Malraux, one of her literary idols, her husband looked to fulfill a different sort of fantasy. “If JFK had a type, it was the wholesome, snooty, proper, preppy girl whose flaunted untouchability he could violate . . . girls like Jacqueline Bouvier,” writes Stadiem, who notes that Kennedy learned about Madame Claude from Sinatra. “Here was a madam who specialized in exactly what JFK was after.” The liaison, Stadiem writes, was arranged directly between Madame Claude and Pierre Salinger, Kennedy’s press secretary. When Salinger first proposed the arrangement, Claude turned him down, fearing the many things that could go wrong if the president’s visit to a prostitute went haywire. But Salinger, the brains behind many of Kennedy’s most impactful speeches, convinced Claude that any problems could work in her favor — that a scandal would make her a legend to the sex-comfortable French, and that a successful dalliance would bring her to the attention of the world’s most powerful men. “‘Rise to the occasion,’ Salinger exhorted Claude. ‘Do it for your career. Do it for your country,’ he riffed, paraphrasing JFK’s inaugural address. ‘Think big!’ ” Stadiem writes. “Weighing risks and rewards like the shrewd banker she might have otherwise been, Claude decided to go for it.” On the trip, Kennedy hoped to hook up with French actress and Jackie Kennedy-lookalike Anouk Aimée, who had just appeared in the Federico Fellini hit “La Dolce Vita.” The president, Stadiem writes, had been “obsessed about her.” “What does he want her for? He’s already got her,” Claude, referring to Aimée’s resemblance to the president’s wife, asked Salinger. “The explanation was that JFK liked the package more than the contents,” Stadiem writes. “He was drawn to Jackie’s looks but wanted a more seductive, sexual version.” Aimée, however, was horrified at the suggestion, rejecting it outright — not for any reticence about a paid encounter, but because she considered Kennedy a “puerile warmonger.” Claude told Salinger only that she was away on business and, therefore, unavailable. While Claude searched for a suitable replacement, Kennedy and Salinger spent much of their time in the month before the summit determining how they would fit this diversion, for which they had a maximum of one hour, into the two-day trip without anyone finding out. They even had a code, speaking about “buying Jackie a gift saddle at Hermès” whenever they needed to discuss the side excursion. “If the world had any idea how much of his time was focused not on NATO or Algeria or Vietnam, but on a hot date from Madame Claude, the perception of history would have been dubious, to say the least,” Stadiem writes. Claude found Kennedy’s dream date in a 23-year-old Sorbonne graduate who worked as a fitting model for Givenchy. That last detail added an intriguing element to the liaison. Kennedy and the first lady fought incessantly about the trip, as the president wanted the former Ms. Bouvier to dial down her natural “Frenchness” and reflect a more American image. On this front, Jackie thought her husband should stuff it. Salinger and Claude, aware of this, both thought that a Jackie lookalike adorned in a dress from the most French of designers would be like “waving a red cape at a bull; the bull was sure to charge, as was the president.” For secrecy’s sake, it was determined that the dalliance would take place at the young woman’s apartment.

JFK was a well-known womanizer and cheat.  And yet, the liberal media just gave him a pass and fawned over him….referring to his presidency as “Camelot.”   Why?  Because he was a liberal Democrat and a Kennedy.  He could do no wrong.  The liberal media still fawns over him.  Ridiculous..   Anyway, to read more of this story, click on the text above…