At what point would you use lethal force against an unarmed assailant? Have you ever thought about that question before? I mean seriously thought about it, not just as a fleeting cogitation during the commercial break of your favorite police drama. Have you ever sat down and planned how you would respond to different types of assaults on yourself or others with the consideration of using lethal force?
Last year, one of my friends posted a video on facebook excoriating everyone who did not wear a mask in public. I wrote this friend a letter explaining that his statements were very wrong and very hurtful. We never received a response from this friend, but he did soften his tone shortly thereafter. With the current rise in cases, I have seen several other friends make statements about masks that are similar to what this other friend said last year, and I have decided to share publicly the letter that I wrote to him. Here is the text of that letter:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
These famous words form the opening paragraph of one of the most influential documents in all of human history – the American Declaration of Independence. According to this paragraph, the American claim to independence was established upon “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” but what did Thomas Jefferson mean by this phrase? Nearly all of the modern historians who have written about this phrase have accused Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration of abandoning the God of the Bible and erecting a more deistic god of nature in His place. But this accusation is entirely false. Jefferson’s reference to the laws of nature and of nature’s God had a very specific meaning that was well understood by eighteenth century Americans.
July 4th, 1776, has long been celebrated as the birth of our nation, but is that really the day that America became independent of Britain?
The first recorded celebration of the 4th of July occurred on the first anniversary of that date in 1777 in the city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence had been signed. A reporter in Philadelphia wrote of the event:
There has been much debate over the years regarding the view of immigration and border control that was shared among the founding fathers of our nation. Historians on both sides of the argument have attempted to co-opt the founders into their camp, and there is so much misinformation on the subject that it is difficult to ascertain anything about the actual view of our founders without abandoning modern research and returning to the original source documents from those great men who formed our nation.
From 1997 to 2002, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) forced children in the foster care system of New York to take experimental medication that made them severely ill and had potentially lethal side effects. In 1997, Pfizer conducted an illegal drug trial on two hundred children in Nigeria that left fifty children dead and many others with severe brain damage and paralysis. Between 1932 and 1972, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted an illegal study of syphilis patients at the Tuskegee Institute, which resulted in the death of 128 of the study participants.
The history of medicine is replete with examples of people being ruthlessly subjected to unethical testing. The potential for amassing wealth from drug sales has often proven to be too great a temptation for those in the medical profession, and countless innocent lives have been lost as a result. When these practices are exposed, we are understandably outraged, and the demand for justice echoes around the globe. Unless, that is, the victims of this injustice were killed before they were even born.
More than three months have passed since the 2020 presidential election, and many conservatives are still claiming that the results were the results of massive fraud. After a scathing public rebuke from the Georgia Secretary of State's office, the Trump campaign dropped all of their lawsuits challenging the election results in that state, and the claims that Dominion and Smartmatic somehow rigged the election in Biden's favor have been soundly refuted. (For example, we now know that Smarmatic machines were not used anywhere in the nation except in Los Angeles County.) But many conservatives are still clinging to the false claim that there are thousands of affidavits which prove that massive election fraud occurred during the 2020 election.
It is with great hesitancy that I write unto you this day, and I fear that this letter may prove to be my last. The dreaded tea ships have been in our harbor for now seventeen days. We have exhausted all peaceful means of returning the despised cargo to England, but as a show of our good intentions, we will attempt once more to reason with the Governor this evening. If this final attempt meets with the same treatment as those previous, then we will have no other recourse but to take action. In so doing, let it be known that we bear no animosity toward the Crown nor toward parliament. We act not in rebellion to our King but in sincere adherence to the laws and the rights of Englishmen; assuredly knowing that it is the duty of every citizen to uphold the law and that the Crown itself is made subservient to that noble statute. Thus armed with the knowledge that our course is just, we have pledged to each other our lives and our honor, holding both sacred but neither so dear as to be of greater value than the defense of freedom. This evening, we will take action much sought to be avoided but nonetheless necessary, and it may be that this action will bring upon us the end of our lives upon this earth.
If you've followed any Christian media at all over the past week, you've probably heard about John Piper's controversial article in which he says that he will not be voting for either Trump or Biden in the upcoming presidential election. There have been several responses to Piper's article from other Christian leaders, but most of them have too poorly reasoned to be worth consideration (including one in which Albert Mohler neglected to quote a single passage of Scripture and based his argument instead on the philosophy of Voltaire). One of the better responses came from the hand of Wayne Grudem, and I would like to take a moment to share my response to Grudem's response to Piper.
Not too long ago, I taught a Sunday School series on Using the Law Lawfully. In that series, we analyzed all 613 of the laws in the Old Testament to determine which of them still applied to modern Gentile believers. One of the laws that we looked at was the prohibition against crossdressing found in Deuteronomy 22:5, and I think that we established a pretty good understanding of that law and how it applies to us today. Here is the outline from that lesson:
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)