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The philosopher Plato said
The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves.
Cicero's (106 - 43 BC) was one of the most powerfully, persuasive people of his day. He had this to say about the public in 1st Century BC, Rome.
The poor: work and work,
The rich: exploit the poor,
The soldier: protects both,
The taxpayer: pays for all three,
The wanderer: rests for all four,
The drunk: drinks for all five,
The banker: robs all six,
The lawyer: misleads all seven,
The doctor: kills all eight,
The undertaker: buries all nine,
The Politician: lives happily on the account of all ten.
Did you hear about the two guys who were marooned on a desert island? After a year they couldn’t stand each other. One day Rufus found an old green bottle washed up on the shore. He rubbed it, and, voila! – a genie appeared. George saw what was happening, and grabbed the bottle – Gimmie a wish, genie.
The genie refused, saying, Rufus found me, he gets to make a wish. But, I tell you what – whatever he wishes for, money, women, power – I’ll give you twice what he gets.
George said, Sounds good!
Rufus just smiled and said, Okay, genie, beat me half to death!
THEY PAID THE PRICE
Americans, you know the 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence that first 4th of July--you know they were risking everything, don’t you? Because if they won the war with the British, there would be years of hardship as a struggling nation. If they lost they would face a hangman’s noose. And yet there where it says, "We herewith pledge, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor," they did sign. But did you know that they paid the price?
When Carter Braxton of Virginia signed the Declaration of Independence, he was a wealthy planter and trader. But thereafter he saw his ships swepted from the seas and to pay his debts, he lost his home and all of his property. He died in rags.
Thomas Lynch, Jr., who signed that pledge, was a third generation rice grower and aristocrat--a large plantation owner--but after he signed his health failed. With his wife he set out for France to regain his failing health. Their ship never got to France; he was never heard from again.
Thomas McKean of Delaware was so harrassed by the enemy that he was forced to move his family five times in five months. He served in Congress without pay, his family in poverty and in hiding.
Vandals looted the properties of Ellery and Clymer and Hall and Gwinett and Walton and Heyward and Rutledge and Middleton. And Thomas Nelson, Jr. of Virginia raised two million dollars on his own signature to provision our allies, the French fleet. After the War he personally paid back the loans wiping out his entire estate; he was never reimbused by his government. And in the final battle for Yorktown, he, Nelson, urged General Washington to fire on his, Nelson’s own home, then occupied by Cornwallis. And he died bankrupt. Thomas Nelson, Jr. had pledged his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor.
The Hessians seized the home of Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey. Francis Lewis had his home and everything destroyed, his wife imprisoned--she died within a few months. Richard Stockton, who signed the Declaration of Independence, pledging his life and his fortune, was captured and mistreated, and his health broken to the extent that he died at 51. And his estate was pillaged.
Thomas Heyward, Jr. was captured when Charleston fell. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside while she was dying; their thirteen children fled in all directions for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves and returned home after the War to find his wife dead, his children gone, his properties gone. He died a few weeks later of exhaustion and a broken heart.
Lewis Morris saw his land destroyed, his family scattered. Philip Livingston died within a few months of hardships of the War.
John Hancock, history remembers best, due to a quirk of fate--that great sweeping signature attesting to his vanity, towers over the others. One of the wealthiest men in New England, he stood outside Boston one terrible night of the War and said, "Burn Boston, though it makes John Hancock a beggar, if the public good requires it." He, too, lived up to the pledge.
Of the 56 signers of the Declaration, few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes--from Rhode Island to Charles...
Bedouin camel drivers in the mid-East understand how relationships can get out-of-balance this way. Camels are notoriously moody. Their selfish ways are legendary.
From time to time a camel-driver senses his camel is fed-up with the owner. Wanting to head-off an explosion, the owner will hand his own outer coat to the camel. The camel will bite, spit-at, and trample the coat into the desert floor, until all that is left is a thread or two. Once the camel’s anger is spent, the relationship can get back on balance.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
--John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address Washington, D.C. January 20, 1961
A RELIGIOUS ASSUMPTION
In America, unlike any other country of the time, the Founders envisioned a land where people of all faiths could worship God without fear of persecution. The freedom to worship would, in turn, cultivate the piety and virtue necessary for the success of self-government. Washington noted that it would be folly to believe that national morality could be sustained without the support and guidance of religion. And although the Founders provided the widest scope for religious liberty, they presupposed that the principles of the Judeo-Christian tradition would be enshrined in the hearts of all citizens. These religious principles, Benjamin Rush argued, should be encouraged for they “promote the happiness of society and the safety and well being of civil government.”
SOURCE: William J. Bennett. Our Sacred Honor: The Spirit of America. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
A. Todd Coget
[America’s Sin of Self-Sufficiency, Citation: Richard Halverson, "The Question Facing Us," Preaching Today, Tape 46.]
In 1863 President Lincoln designated April 30th as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Let me read a portion of his proclamation on that occasion:
"It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, who owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by a history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as ...
Dr. Martin Wiles
On January 20, 1953, Dwight Eisenhower, his wife, family, and Cabinet members went to the National Presbyterian Church before his inauguration as 34th president.
After the service, Ike went back to the hotel suite to write a prayer that he would read during the inauguration ceremonies.
He wrote: “Almighty God, give us, we pray thee, power to discern right from wrong, and allow our words and actions to be governed thereby and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people, regardless of station, race, or calling, so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and thy glory. Amen.”
Construction workers attempt to use God to take what is Caesars. (Matt 22:15-21)
In the late 1970’s large numbers of skilled construction workers, commonly referred to as “Boomers”, traveled the country looking for work on electric power plant maintenance projects. These were short-term (4-8 weeks), high-overtime (60-70 hours a week) projects.
The Boomers loved the overtime, but hated to pay taxes. So they came up with a scheme. Suddenly, our payroll department noticed something unusual about the W-4’s many of the Boomers were filling out at time of hire. As you know for most people the normal number of tax exemptions is 2, 3, 4 or so depending on family size. The higher the number of exemptions, the less tax is withheld from the weekly paycheck. These Boomers were filing W-4’s with 99 exemptions, which had the effect of eliminating any tax withholding from their paycheck.
Needless to say, the IRS took exception to this practice and required these workers to justify their claim of exemption from withholding taxes.
The Boomers were ready for the IRS. Each promptly produced a letter/certificate from a so-called School of Theology in Illinois which declared the Boomer to be an ordained minister. The Boomer’s letter was on stationary from the Church of This or the Church of That in Illinois, professing that he/she was the pastor of that church and that all labor was rendered in the name of God and all earnings belonged to the Church and were therefore tax exempt.
Well, the IRS didn’t buy that either and the scheme was squashed.
The Boomers were not unlike the Pharisees. They wanted to use God to deny Caesar what is Caesars. The boomers were just greedy. The Pharisees were greedy too, but mostly wanted to trap Jesus. BIG MISTAKE!! Jesus set them all straight and sets us straight by commanding us to “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. We, like Jesus, are not OF this world, but we are IN this world. Thus we are called be both good citizens and good Christians.