As the “About” page says, Dakota Voice, LLC began in 2005 as a print newspaper covering issues of interest primarily to conservatives and Christians. The focus at that time was primarily on events and issues within South Dakota, but there was always an eye to national and international events that were of concern to South Dakotans as well as so many other people.
Over time, the time and expense of publishing and distributing a print newspaper became prohibitive, and Dakota Voice became exclusively online, and concentrated more on national issues.
Dakota Voice, operating from www.dakotavoice.com, has published more than 10,000 articles over the past seven years with readers from around the world. That’s not bad for a “one horse operation” with a handful of writers.
But there is a time and season for everything, and the time for DakotaVoice.com is drawing to a close. It’s time for American Clarion to take hold of the torch and run forward into the future.
As the new flagship of Dakota Voice, LLC, AmericanClarion.com will have a fresh look, fresh layout, fresh organization, with some fresh emphases. The new name will reflect our commitment to being a strong and clear voice for American values–and for America herself–as well as our focus on the challenges and opportunities facing America.
We will continue to monitor and report on issues from the Rapid City HQ, as well as things going on across the state of South Dakota that conservatives and Christians care about. The structure of the new website will feature four basic category areas: Rapid City, South Dakota, National, and International. There may also be special sections going forward, such as the “Upcoming Election” section already in place. These sections will allow readers to more easily hone in on their area of primary interest, while still being able to survey our entire offerings with ease.
Our articles come from a variety of sources. Some are from syndicated columnists that you’ll recognize from across the nation, while others are exclusively published at American Clarion by writers from all over our country. Still others come to us via various newswire services within South Dakota and nationally.
Speaking of writers, we’re also looking for conservatives and Christian writers who would like to help us be the best clarion possible for American freedom and values. Writing experience is nice, but a passion for our kind of values and a desire to serve up truth in the public square is the most important qualification, so if you think you might like to do some writing at American Clarion, drop us an email at [email protected]. We’re looking for writers on local Rapid City issues, South Dakota happenings, national and international current events. You can be a topical writer (concentrating on things like homeschooling, education reform, Christian living, culture, youth, election issues, or whatever trips your trigger as long as it’s within the realm of what you’re not supposed to talk about at parties–politics or religion), and you can write as much (daily or even several times a day) or as little (once a week, once every two weeks, once a month, or just whenever you have a fire in your belly about something that you can’t put out without writing about it). We reserve the right to negotiate an edit of a submission, or reject a submission outright if it runs too far askance from our standards–but we don’t require lockstep agreement (80% or 90% is close enough). If you’re interested, let us know!
We’ll continue to feature fun and informative political cartoons from great groups like Americans for Limited Government and the Patriot Post.
You’ll also see more featured videos in our sidebar–videos we think you may enjoy, or that may provide information you need to know about (information you won’t hear from the “mainstream” media).
Also in our sidebar you’ll find recommended reading from a variety of news outlets, commentaries, and featured blog posts from some of the best political blogs in South Dakota and across America.
We’ll also feature a list of “Recommended Resources” ranging from important publications we should all be familiar with or have close at hand (the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Federalist Papers, etc.) as well as important policy organizations that we sometimes partner with or receive information from or both.
American Clarion is available in a variety of manifestations across cyberspace, too. You can receive updates from AmericanClarion.com in your favorite RSS reader via our RSS feed, or receive a daily digest of our articles through your email. In addition to the home platform at AmericanClarion.com, we have a Facebook feed where our articles will also be posted along with other quick-hit items from a variety of other sources of interest. We also have a Twitter feed, as well as a YouTube channel where our future exclusive video content will be housed. Look for mobile apps for your Android, iPhone and iPad in the near future. And if you are a business or organization who would like access to thousands of viewers a day to promote yourself, there are ad slots available that are just waiting for your ad.
In the coming year, we’ll be watching a number issues closely. We’ll be monitoring the freshly hot conflict between South Dakota Republicans who are concerned about the party’s Leftward drift, and more liberal “Republicans” who seem to be contemptuous of Republican values and platforms. The hotly-contested GOP presidential primary will likely hold our attention for many weeks if not months to come, as we see a similar battle played out in the national GOP between real Republicans and those who want to play Democrat-lite. Internationally, world events may hold some interesting developments, from the recent withdrawal from Iraq, to the slow drawdown in Afghanistan, to what may happen with Israel and a nearly-nuclear terror-supporting Iran.
It will require great agility to keep up with such a busy year and a clouded future, but by the grace of God, our new flagship American Clarion will be ready to serve as the watchman we have been called to be, and continue to demolish the pernicious lie everywhere it is found so that our readers will not be taken captive by slickly-packaged deception.]]>
Mary Did You Know? – A moving song and video about the coming of the Savior of the world.
SD Governor’s Clemency and Commutations – South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has granted executive clemency at the recommendation of the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles to more than a dozen individuals, and commuted sentences of many more. Check this list to find out the names.
Occupy Wall Street Hypocrisy – This video is a great primer on the hypocrisy of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It’s the same hypocrisy the Left has been promoting for decades, and it stinks just as bad (well, maybe worse from these unwashed modern-day hippies) as it ever did from the “respectable” mainline socialists in the Democrat Party. Remember it well, America, and keep it firmly fixed in your mental vision as we enter election year 2012. We have a country to save from these narcissistic maggots.
SD Republican Legislator Scorecard – The Life and Liberty Group in Rapid City sponsored a Pre-Session Legislative Forum Tuesday evening. During the gathering, a Republican Legislator Voting Scorecard, prepared by the Life and Liberty Group, was released. The scorecard examined the votes of South Dakota’s state senators and representatives on several votes in the last legislative session. With so many tools now available to alert voters to legislators who do not live up to the banner under which they sought office, the people will be watching the 2012 session (about to begin in a few days) very closely. And there will likely be some primary challenges in the 2012 election, as well as some new faces in Pierre next year.
Hope Via Oil, Gas and Coal – In spite of the best efforts of this Administration, America is on the verge of an energy revolution with consumer costs plummeting due to secure North American sources of oil and natural gas. Innovative technologies for unleashing huge oil shale deposits in North Dakota and neighboring Canada combined with natural gas discoveries primarily located in the northeastern United States will be the building blocks for a second American century.
Another Gospel – The Bible doesnt leave us hanging. It shows us the way home, how were supposed to get across the gulf that exists between us and God. The question that needs to be asked is: do you believe in personal salvation based upon the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus? Or do you believe in a collective salvation which is diametrically opposed to the truth who was born in a manger, lived a perfect life, died on a cross in payment for sin, and rose from the dead.
Ron Paul: Bush Happy Over 911 Attack – One can admire, Ron Paul’s dedication to the U.S. Constitution and the limited government it mandates. But his craziness simply eclipses any good he brings to the table, including his insistence that the 911 terrorist attack that killed nearly 3,000 Americans was an “inside job” and that President Bush was full of glee to see it happen.
2012 Restoration Rally Planned for SD Capitol – Christians from across the state of South Dakota will be gathering at the Capitol Building in Pierre on Tuesday, January 10 to pray for state legislators and the laws that will be considered this session. Find out how you can join in the event.
Seven Financial Resolutions for the New Year – Financial resolutions usually don’t even last until the end of January. Making a permanent change in our behavior requires both time and a steely resolve. We can only develop financial character one action at a time. Here are seven practices to take you from pauper to prince or princess if you add one each year. Share your resolution with everyone you meet. You are 10 times more likely to act on a goal that you have articulated to someone else. Don’t wait until you have everything perfect to take ownership verbally.
Everything on the computer should not go into the trash – There are oceans of stuff, yes, stuff, on the computer that we wade through that should go straight to the trash. Then, every now and then something pops up that needs to be shared. That is the basis for today’s column. This column generally deals with and is about South Dakota issues. Today’s column tells how the American Dream is being destroyed.]]>
In the 20-plus years that I have worked as a conservative activist, I’ve spoken on almost 200 university campuses — usually to Republican and conservative groups.
Over time, I have observed changes in attitude among many young Republicans — and I believe these shifts help explain the rise of Ron Paul.
When I first started lecturing early in the 1990s, leading heroes of Republican youth were Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley Jr.
Individual freedom, respect for constitutional limitations on government and traditional values was the message. There was a sense of purpose. America was a “shining city on a hill,” as Reagan so often quoted the Puritan pilgrim John Winthrop.
Now, increasing numbers of my campus hosts ask that I not talk about “values.” Leave out the stuff about marriage, family and abortion, please, and just talk about the economy.
The materialism and moral relativism that created our left-wing culture is now infecting our youth on the right. Young Republicans may be pushing back on government, but too often their motivation is like that of their left-wing contemporaries: a sense of entitlement and a desire to claim rights, with little interest in corresponding personal responsibilities.
David Yepsen, who directs the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, recently described Ron Paul’s success as a “resurgence of the libertarian and isolationist wings of the Republican Party,” resulting from “hard times and unpopular wars.”
But overlooked is the important role of youth.
Among registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who support Paul, 67 percent are under age 34. Among supporters for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, such youths account for 37 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
This youthful surge has helped Paul’s very successful fundraising, heavily driven by small contributions via the Internet. Among Republicans who’ve raised the most funds, Paul got 48 percent of his support from small donors. For Romney and Rick Perry, the shares were 10 percent and 4 percent.
And youth have been critical in Paul’s ground organization. I watched this play out when Paul won the straw poll at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, where I spoke last October.
Busloads of youthful Paul supporters arrived just to hear his speech and to pay and register so that they could vote. They put him over the top.
They have little interest in a Reagan-like “shining city on a hill” message, or talk about a threatening “evil empire” abroad.
To the contrary, they are excited by the “leave me alone” candidate who thinks the rest of the world is not our business. Apparently, they share Paul’s indifference to the looming threat of a nuclear Iran or the almost complete absence of freedom in most Islamic nations.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Steve Huntley reports that, by one estimate, more than 200,000 persecuted Coptic Christians will have left Egypt by year’s end. He reports a dramatic drop in the presence of Christians throughout the Middle East. Bethlehem’s Christian population is now a third of what it was 35 years ago.
The only exception is Israel, where Christians have more than quadrupled since 1948. But Paul sees no distinction between Israel and its neighbors, nor does he think Americans should care.
Self-centered materialism, which leads our youth to support such indifference to global realities, is also driving the collapse of the American family.
Census Bureau statistics show that today 20 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 are married. Fifty years ago, 59 percent of them were.
In his farewell speech, Reagan issued a warning to the nation: “Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?”
I doubt that Ron Paul’s vision of America is what Reagan had in mind.
Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education and author of the new book White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay. Prior to her involvement in social activism, Star Parker was a single welfare mother in Los Angeles, California. After receiving Christ, Star returned to college, received a BS degree in marketing and launched an urban Christian magazine.]]>
It’s the same hypocrisy the Left has been promoting for decades, and it stinks just as bad (well, maybe worse from these unwashed modern-day hippies) as it ever did from the “respectable” mainline socialists in the Democrat Party.
Remember it well, America, and keep it firmly fixed in your mental vision as we enter election year 2012. We have a country to save from these narcissistic maggots.]]>
The payroll tax debate has been and will continue to be at the forefront of the political back and forth in Washington, D.C., with Republicans continuing to agree with President Obama that a full year extension is the best alternatives, and President Obama and the Senate Democrats refusing to take yes for an answer.
Over the past month, Obama made grand, uncontested public pronouncements about what people could do with an extra $40 a month through his legacy media messaging partners.
What those partners were either too lazy or deliberately missed is that the payroll tax cut that is being extended for at least another two months has already been spent by consumers.
At least that is what Obama himself admitted as far back as March of 2011, when he said, “Gas prices are hurting individuals right now and obviously taking some of that tax cut that we gave them and forcing them to use it on gas, as opposed to buying other items.” In fact, Obama’s own Department of Energy estimated that gasoline price increases alone would cost the average U.S. consumer around $700 per year.
And many analysts believe that oil prices will continue to rise significantly in the upcoming year based upon supply and demand factors.
On top of this prediction, over the next three years, U.S. consumers will face the costs of just announced Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that the Administration itself admits will likely drive around 75 coal fired electricity generating plants into extinction over the next three years, creating major jumps in electricity bills for many consumers.
However, in spite of the best efforts of this Administration, America is on the verge of an energy revolution with consumer costs plummeting due to secure North American sources of oil and natural gas.
Innovative technologies for unleashing huge oil shale deposits in North Dakota and neighboring Canada combined with natural gas discoveries primarily located in the northeastern United States will be the building blocks for a second American century.
The North Dakota miracle has turned the formerly sleepy state into a booming economy which by the end of 2012 will likely become the second largest oil producing state in the nation passing both California and Alaska.
The oil find in Alberta, Canada is even more stunning, with some oil experts estimating the reserves at eight times the size of the Saudi Arabian fields.
This dramatic increase in North American oil production, if accompanied by a national energy policy that allowed for the development of many known Alaskan and Gulf of Mexico reserves could be the key to a U.S., and worldwide economic recovery.
While it is hard for the economic geniuses in the Administration to fathom that oil, coal and natural gas are the fuels that make our nation and the world run rather than the preferred 15th century technology windmills and costly and inefficient solar.
The North Dakota oil finds and their rapidly accelerating delivery to markets along with the massive expansion of natural gas development signify that our nation is on the edge of a cheap, reliable energy driven economic boom.
It turns out that we have massive oil and natural gas reserves, well beyond the imagination of those limited mid-20th century doomsayers whose dire, yet false, predictions of the world running out of oil filled baby boomers heads with an acceptance that fossil fuels needed to be phased out for our very survival.
As readers of Ayn Rand’s classic, Atlas Shrugged, can attest, it is no secret that there are massive deposits (estimated at 2 trillion barrels) of shale oil in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah alone. Let alone the untapped new reserves found in Texas which are projected to be almost as large as the North Dakota field and the natural gas discoveries in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.
In fact, the estimates for our nation’s natural gas reserves have reversed course so incredibly that the U.S. will soon become a net exporting nation of the clean burning fuel. The revolution in natural gas development has resulted in some observers calling the United States, “the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration even calls the massive shale natural gas reserves and their development, “a game changer.”
What are the effects of all these new oil and gas discoveries? Economic revitalization, resurgence as the natural gas boom itself is expected to create a million new industrial jobs in the next fifteen years according to PriceWatershouseCoopers.
Additionally, job creation related to the still Obama Administration unapproved Keystone XL pipeline would result in thousands of new jobs and more than $6.8 billion in economic activity.
Throughout the economy, lower fuel costs will result in lower core business costs, effectively giving the economy a massive market driven stimulus that will free up resources for other business expansion activity and the resultant job creation.
Secure domestic fuel supplies also has the impact of making our nation less reliant on some of the most reliably unreliable oil exporting nations in the world, allowing U.S. based companies to have dependable, inexpensive energy to run their businesses.
Of course, the wild card in the whole equation is a government and its environmentalist allies that seem determined to drop-kick any domestic energy development which falls outside the politically favored alternative energy dynamic.
Hopefully, unlike the payroll tax fight, the Obama Administration will just get out of the way and say yes to this manna from heaven which has the capacity to bail out him out from the tragic results of three years of policies seemingly designed to turn America into a third world nation.
America has the resources, the manpower, the economic system and the initiative to make the 21st century the next American century, if our political leaders will only let her.
Rick Manning is the Communications Director of Americans for Limited Government and the former Public Affairs Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor. Americans for Limited Governmentis dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. They work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Their goal is to harness the power of American citizens and grassroots groups in order to put the people back in charge in states across the country.]]>
The first thing I find interesting is that “progressive” isn’t really a “new” label. It’s one liberals have been trying for a number of years, though they may be right in that it could be increasing in favorability (as the education level of the average American diminishes, that is).
The article says that according to a new Pew poll, “progressive” has 67% approval among Americans. After all, why shouldn’t such a name receive great approval? Who doesn’t like progress? Who doesn’t want to move ahead and make progress. Who doesn’t want to see innovative and exciting new things?
Interestingly, when we look at what a “progressive” really is–just a repackaged liberal–the picture is quite different. The label “liberal” gets only a 39% approval rating and a 50% negative rating.
Is it clear now why liberals want to call themselves “progressives”? Obviously, they recognize that most Americans reject liberalism for the corrosive, anti-American, self-destructive doctrine that it is. So they have to “repackage” their poison with a better-sounding name to fool people into buying the same old rot. Incidentally, “progressivism” is really a regressive ideology, one centered around the old-world regressive idea that elites can run your life better than you can, the pre-American idea that the average person doesn’t need and shouldn’t have too much freedom.
Is it clear now why, in the “mainstream” media, we never hear mention of “liberal” policies or “liberal” politicians. There are no liberals, in their liberal minds. In the minds of the “mainstream” media, there are only evil conservatives (which interestingly, still comes in at a very popular 62% despite decades of relentless and non-stop slander and demonization by the “mainstream” media and other elites), and “moderates” (another rehabilitative name for “liberal”).
As the buyer should beware, so should the voter. Slick labels don’t always mean something good inside the packaging. In the case of the “progressive” label, it’s the same old poison that is destroying the greatest nation on the face of the earth.
Stick with the conservative brand: the brand that stands for freedom, fairness, justice, and the American way.]]>
During the gathering, a Republican Legislator Voting Scorecard, prepared by the Life and Liberty Group, was released. The scorecard examined the votes of South Dakota’s state senators and representatives on several votes in the last legislative session:
HB 1133: “The Home School Bill” (A bill to revise certain provisions relating to the excusal of a child from school.)
HB 1192: “The Registration/Fee Increase Bill” (A bill to increase certain registration fees for the use of motor vehicles on the public highways.)
HB 1217: “The Pro-Life Consent Bill” (A bill to establish certain legislative findings pertaining to the decision of a pregnant mother considering termination of her relationship with her child by an abortion, to establish certain procedures to better insure that such decisions are voluntary, uncoerced, and informed, and to revise certain causes of action for professional negligence relating to performance of an abortion.)
HB 1248: “The Extension of Sales Tax Sunset Bill” (A bill to extend the sunset of the one-half percent increase in the gross receipts tax imposed on visitor-related businesses.)
SB 65: “The Private School Bill” (A bill to allow nonpublic schools accredited by certain accrediting agencies other than the Department of Education to become members of the South Dakota High School Activities Association.)
SB 89: “The Street Assessment Bill” (A bill to clarify a municipality’s ability to assess a fee for street maintenance.)
SB104: “The Bullying Bill” (A bill to require each school district to develop a policy to prohibit bullying that meets certain requirements.)
SB 161: “The Discrimination Bill” (A bill to prohibit certain unfair or discriminatory practices based on veteran or military status.)
SB 176: “The Human Trafficking Bill” (A bill to provide for the crime of human trafficking, to establish the elements and degrees of the crime, and to provide penalties for the violation thereof.)
In recent months, conservative groups around the state have released several scorecards which reveal many “Republicans” in the state legislature don’t vote very Republican.
First was the South Dakota Freedom Index which looked at issues primarily from the perspective or advancing or limiting freedom.
Then there was the Republican Platform Scorecard which examined how legislators voted on issues that related to specific planks of the South Dakota GOP Platform.
The Republican Party has massive majorities in both houses of the legislature. Yet last year, many pieces of legislature that are “textbook Republican” could not get passed–many did not even make it out of Republican-controlled committees. Such failed legislation includes a Health Care Freedom Act to oppose ObamaCare, a Second Amendment bill, a bill to do the job of blocking illegal immigration that our federal government REFUSES to do, and authorizing drug testing for welfare recipients when government workers have reason to believe the recipient is using drugs.
A Republican legislature that cannot or will not pass textbook Republican legislation to protect the taxpayers and their interests is beyond pathetic. It is primarily a failure of RINO leadership. When people elect a Democrat, they expect liberal votes in accordance with the typical Democrat stance. When people elect a Republican, they don’t expect more Democrat votes–they expect a representative who will vote according to Republican values.
With so many tools now available to alert voters to legislators who do not live up to the banner under which they sought office, the people will be watching the 2012 session (about to begin in a few days) very closely. And there will likely be some primary challenges in the 2012 election, as well as some new faces in Pierre next year.]]>
On December 5, I helped him with a bill for an unpaid balance of $4,909.54. On December 9, I helped him with a bill for an unpaid balance of $13.23. On December 27, I helped him with a bill with an unpaid balance of $375.87. That adds to $5,298.64.
In each case, I researched the problem and wrote a letter to get the problem corrected. The amounts were small, medium, and large. It doesn’t matter. He was our client. We know that the Medicare system is not perfect. When mistakes happen and problems occur, we do our best to protect our senior citizen clients from financial harm.
The service that I gave to this client was FREE OF CHARGE. Does your insurance agent or agency deliver the same high standard of service to the senior citizens that you know? If not, why not?
Woodrow Wilcox is the senior medical bill problem solver at Senior Care Insurance Services in Merrillville, Indiana. That is the largest senior citizen oriented insurance agency in the Midwest. For over six years, Woodrow Wilcox has helped senior citizens with medical bill problems with Medicare and VA clinics.He has saved senior citizens over $600,000 in wrongful charges. For more health care articles by Wilcox, visit www.medicareproblems.net or www.woodrowwilcox.com.
© 2011 Woodrow Wilcox. Re-published here with the permission of the author.]]>
One can admire, as I do, his dedication to the U.S. Constitution and the limited government it mandates. But his craziness-manifest in advocating the legalization of poison for the American public and in his blame-America-first attitude toward foreign policy–just wipes all that out.
There are a lot of areas in which I disagreed with the Bush Administration, and a lot of things the administration did that as a conservative I opposed.
But to imply much less state outright, as Ron Paul has done, that the Bush Administration was behind the 911 terrorist attack that slaughtered nearly 3,000 Americans and that the Administration was “glee[ful]” about the attack goes beyond the pale.
The amount of history this radical libertarian-in-Republican-clothing has to ignore to reach his conclusions is mind-boggling. He sounds like he’d be far more at home in a group of flag-burning potheads than in a group of Republicans.
This dope-peddling, blame-America-first nut has no business getting anywhere near the Oval Office.]]>
A Pew Research Center national survey found that nearly one-in-five Americans (18%) believe President Obama is a Muslim and 43% don’t know what religion has our president’s allegiance. The study goes on to say that 34% of Conservative Republicans believe the president is a Muslim as do 30% of those who disagree with his policies. Amazingly it also shows that only 46% of Democrats believe Mr. Obama is a Christian. After more than two years campaigning and two years in office this confusion about the spirituality of the leader of our nation is without precedent.
As a retired pastor and a continuing follower of Jesus Christ I have often been accused of practicing an exclusivist belief that discriminates between believers and is intolerant of opposing views. I have often had other believers and non-believers beat me about the ears with Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
The problem with this is that it is addressing the believer who judges non-believers. In a more related passage I Corinthians 1 5:12 Christians are taught, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” Therefore when the President goes on record declaring why he became a Christian it is appropriate for others who profess to be Christians to weigh in, offering their considered judgments and reactions. I say “converted to Christianity” because according to Islamic tradition President Obama as the son of a Muslim Father was born a Muslim. As a youth in Indonesia he attended an Islamic school and ostensibly lived as a Muslim and was accepted as a Muslim by those around him. His official records from Indonesia list him as a Muslim, so I don’t believe it is inaccurate or partisan to say he converted to Christianity.
Moving on to the statement which has opened this door for a Christian to render and express a judgment. Reacting to the many questions concerning his faith, President Obama shared why he became a Christian, telling a group of residents in New Mexico that he had become a “Christian by choice.” The reason for that choice being “the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead – being my brother and sister’s keeper.”
Not to be doctrinaire, there is an answer to the question, “Why have I become a Christian?” that is Biblically sound and universally accepted by those of an Evangelical, Pentecostal or (dare I say it) Fundamental view of the Bible and of faith, and the one our President shared is not that answer. The answer, which directly addresses the belief that Jesus is THE Way is found in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” This exclusivity, this belief that salvation is found only in the acceptance of Jesus, in the belief that He is God from all eternity, that He came to Earth to bear the burden of our sins, that He died, rose again and ascended into Heaven to come back again one day for those who have chosen Him is the source and the summit of the faith.
It all relates to the fact that human beings have been separated from God. Most of us notice along the way that there is something out of phase in this world, something not quite right. As in, “Why do bad things happen to good people,” or “What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?” Personally I spent thirty years wandering about in a fog thinking, “There’s got to be something more” until I came to the end of myself, read the Gospels, and had to decide whether this good news that there is a way back to God is either true or a lie. I decided it is true, confessed Jesus as my risen Lord, and began a new life.
This “something’s not quite right” situation is aptly expressed in Romans 5:12-14, “You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in— first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.”
The Bible doesn’t leave us hanging. It shows us the way home too. How are we supposed to get across this gulf that exists between us and God? Someone has to pay the price. And in Romans 5:6-8 it tells us “Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.”
That’s it. He paid the price and we get the benefit. Any other answer than one which conforms to this is “Another Gospel.” How do we know this and where does Dr. Owens get off saying this is the one, the only answer? The ancient creeds (or statements of belief) of the Church testify that this is the Gospel as received by the Apostles and as delivered to the Church.
Paul the principal author of the New Testament warns us in Galatians 1:6-8 when speaking to believers who were wandering from this simple Gospel, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
And this is what the narrative of our President tells us: he believes another gospel a gospel based on collective rather than individual salvation. He spent more than twenty years sitting in the pew listening to Reverend Wright. I know he claimed to have never heard anything like the Reverend’s famous “God Damn America” tirade, but is that believable? The President has said Rev. Wright is the one who led him to the Lord. Rev, Wright performed the President’s wedding ceremony, and baptized his children. Most telling of all Mr. Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope is named after one of Wright’s sermons, so it strains credulity to believe he sat there for twenty years and never heard his Pastor preach week in and week out the tenants of Black Liberation Theology, which is a variant of Liberation Theology.
Liberation Theology was condemned by the Catholic Church, whose South American priests developed it as a heresy and not as a true reflection of the Gospel as received by the traditional church. Pope Benedict went so far as to say, “the visible consequences’ of the ‘deceitful principles’ of liberation theology have been ‘rebellion, division, dissent, offense, anarchy [that] are still being felt.’” And it is this gospel our President follows.
The question that needs to be asked is: do you believe in personal salvation based upon the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus? Or do you believe in a collective salvation which is diametrically opposed to the truth who was born in a manger, lived a perfect life, died on a cross in payment for sin, and rose from the dead. President Obama has said he believes his salvation is impossible without a national collective salvation. Christ tells us salvation is possible for all who believe in Him. Paul tells us that whoever confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in his heart that God has raised Him from the dead will be saved. I don’t know about you, but I know in whom I believe.
Celebrate the season and remember the reason.
Dr. Robert R. Owens teaches history, political science, religion, and leadership for Southside Virginia Community College. Dr. Owens is the author of “America Won the Vietnam War,” “The Asuza Street Revival,” and called “The Constitution Failed.” He is available for speaking engagements.]]>
Financial resolutions usually don’t even last until the end of January. Making a permanent change in our behavior requires both time and a steely resolve. We can only develop financial character one action at a time. Here are seven practices to take you from pauper to prince or princess if you add one each year.
Read through the list. If you already practice the resolution, move on to the next one. Adding one behavioral change is labor enough for the next 12 months. Keep it long enough for practice to become habit, and you are on your way to developing a millionaire mindset.
Share your resolution with everyone you meet. You are 10 times more likely to act on a goal that you have articulated to someone else. Don’t wait until you have everything perfect to take ownership verbally.
First, and most critical, resolve to be and stay debt free. You may have a fixed-rate fixed-year traditional mortgage on your house but nothing else. No equity line of credit on your house. No car payments. Certainly no credit card debt. You have to learn to live within your income, which sometimes means going without. Millionaires are frugal. Learn to enjoy it.
Second, automate saving enough to get the entire match that your company’s 401(k) plan offers. Usually this translates to saving 5% of your salary while the company contributes a 4% match, the fastest way to get an 80% return on your money. Most Americans forgo this match, believing they need to spend 100% of their salary. But you can learn to think like a millionaire and live well on 95% of what you make.
Next, fully fund your Roth IRA ($5,000 in 2012 and $6,000 if you are older than age 50). If you can’t manage the entire amount in January, put in $416 monthly.
Automating deposits in an employer-defined contribution plan is easy. Fortunately, automating saving in a Roth IRA or a taxable savings plan is equally painless. Most brokers offer an automatic money link between your checking account and an investment account. Set your savings on autopilot.
Fourth, save an additional 5% of your salary in a taxable account. Again, set up an automated transfer. You need taxable savings for a host of financial planning opportunities as well as for a plethora of life’s challenges.
By now you are saving 15% to 20% of your salary and living off the remainder. Learning to live deferring many of your wants until later is a crucial habit that millionaires have cultivated. Money makes money. And the money you need to make money is called “capital,” defined in textbooks as “deferred consumption.” Money spent is gone forever. Money saved and invested works for you, adding income every year.
Fifth, save an additional 10% for charitable giving. Many millionaires might suggest being generous should be number one on your list. But until you have your own financial security on track, it is difficult to help others don their own oxygen masks.
No matter where you think charity belongs in your priorities, a sensitivity to the truly needy will change your perspective about distinguishing needs and wants. Many millionaires live simply in order that others may simply live.
Save this additional 10% in your taxable account. By now you are saving 15% in a taxable account. For your charitable giving, gift the investments from the account that has appreciated the most.
No matter which worthy organizations you support, you can donate up to 20% more if you give appreciated stock instead of cash. If you sell $1,000 worth of appreciated stock, you will have to pay the capital gains tax, 15% in 2012 and rising to 20% after that. If most of the stock’s value is appreciation, the tax owed approaches $200, leaving only $800 for charitable giving. But if you give the stock directly to the charitable organization, you can take the full $1,000 tax deduction, and the organization will not have to pay any taxes when it sells the stock.
Up until now you may have been giving cash to charities. Now that you are developing some taxable savings, run your giving through your taxable investments. For every $1,000 of appreciated investments donated, use the $1,000 in cash you would have gifted to buy additional investments. Think of this as planting the saplings you will harvest later for future gifting.
After several years, your $1,000 worth of cash should have grown to $2,000 worth of investments. Gifting a $1,000 worth of appreciated investments leaves the original $1,000 to keep increasing in value and fund future giving. This is one reason why frugal supersavers can be much more generous than those whose rich lifestyles preclude saving and investing.
Sixth, save an additional 10% in your taxable account for unknown unknowns. If your response is to ask, “Like what?” remember that you can’t plan for everything. But you can save cash for the unexpected.
Families inevitably encounter cash flow problems because of unanticipated expenses. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, your budget cannot handle large unplanned outlays such as the car breaking down, the roof leaking or emergency medical bills.
When a financial crisis strikes, you will be glad to have an emergency fund. Afterward, see if you could have predicted the expense, and adjust your plan accordingly. Budget each month for the inevitable expense of buying your next car. Budget for replacing your roof. The more you can foresee these expenses, the more this category can fund discretional big purchases instead of financial emergencies.
At this point you are saving more than 35% of your salary and living on less than 65%. This is the benchmark for a millionaire mindset. As you save and invest, the appreciation on your investments can provide income that replaces your salary, bringing you closer to financial freedom. When you can replace all of your income, you are free to retire or tackle challenges that do not make you any money.
Every 25% of your salary you save replaces over 1% of your regular income in retirement. Money makes money, which then gives you the gift of financial freedom.
The seventh and final challenge is to expand this financial engine beyond 35% toward 50%. Living off half your income requires a frugal lifestyle compared with your income. Impossible, you say? Unless you are among the truly needy, there are families out there living comfortably on less than half of what you earn.
And if you are among the genuinely wealthy, the only obstacle standing in your way is being accustomed to an affluent lifestyle. Learn to value financial freedom over opulence. Developing an engine of wealth production takes foresight and self-restraint in addition to time and patience. But the reward is financial peace and contentment.
David John. Marotta CFP®, AIF®, is President of Marotta Wealth Management, Inc. of Charlottesville providing fee-only financial planning and wealth management at www.emarotta.com. Subscribe to his blog at www.marottaonmoney.com. Questions to be answered in the column should be sent to questions at emarotta dot com or Marotta Wealth Management, Inc., One Village Green Circle, Suite 100, Charlottesville, VA 22903-4619.
AT ISSUE: There are oceans of stuff, yes, stuff, on the computer that we wade through that should go straight to the trash. Then, every now and then something pops up that needs to be shared. That is the basis for today’s column. This column generally deals with and is about South Dakota issues. Today’s column tells how the American Dream is being destroyed.
DICK LAMM, a former governor of Colorado, attended an immigration overpopulation conference in Washington, D.C. He gave a most poignant speech, not on how to save America, but how to destroy it. He laid out eight steps for the destruction of the greatest nation on earth; eight steps that bear repeating again and again.
His address, somehow, made its way to my computer that needs to be shared with my readers. While space in today’s column will not permit the full text of his message, I am highlighting each step. Also, I must confess that Lamm’s speech has been buried for some time in my computer, but with all the talk today about immigration, diversity and multiculturalism, his words are as meaningful today, or maybe more so, as they were back when he made that speech.
Lamm said, “If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let’s destroy America. It is not hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that an autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.”
FIRST, HE SAID, turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History has shown that no nation can survive the tension, conflict and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures.
Second, or the next method to destroy our nation is to invent multiculturalism and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. Make an article of belief that all cultures are equal…
Third, Lamm said, “We could make our United States an Hispanic Quebec without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity…
“Fourth: I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second under class, unassimilated, undereducated and antagonistic to our population…?
“MY FIFTH POINT for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of victimology. I would get all minorities to think that their lack of success was the fault of the majority…
“My sixth plan for America’s downfall would include dual citizenship, and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other, that is, when they are not killing each other…
“Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits; make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of diversity. I would find a word similar to heretic in the 16th century that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking…
Finally, Lamm said, he would censor the book, “Mexifornia,” by Victor Hansen Davis that explains how immigration, both legal and illegal, was destroying the entire state of California. He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all vestiges of the American Dream.
“His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America…”
AT THE END OF HIS speech, there was no applause. In fact, a chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud above every attendee at the conference. Every American in that room knew that everything Lamm listed was proceeding methodically, quietly, darkly, yet pervasively across the United States today…
Is the content of his address scary? That is an understatement, especially when we have witnessed such change within miles of us. For example, across the nation there are more than 100 languages our educational system must contend with. They are ripping the foundation of our educational system and our national cohesiveness. Locally, for example, this is evident by the many languages the Sioux Falls School District as well as one of the largest industries in South Dakota must contend with.
This immigration monster needs to be stopped. If we don’t it will rage like a California wildfire and destroy everything in its path, especially the American Dream,? Lamm concluded.
Is the former governor of Colorado one of those radicals on the immigration issue? Perhaps. And perhaps we all should be a little more radical about preserving the American Dream. Hopefully, we are not too late….
Gordon Garnos was long-time editor of the Watertown Public Opinion, retiring after 39 years with that newspaper. Garnos, a lifelong resident of South Dakota except for his military service in the U.S. Air Force, was born and raised in Presho.]]>
I suspect Mary did know a great many of these things. But given that we now have the benefit of hindsight in understanding God’s great plan through Jesus (and we still probably only scratch the surface in appreciating what it all means), I’m sure she had no idea of many others.]]>
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Ironically, the freedom enjoyed in the West far and above the rest of the world is due to the Judeo-Christian worldview that influenced the development of the West for nearly 2,000 years. But with the advent of modern secularism, many freedoms are being trampled underfoot in the name of “progress” and “diversity.”
Listen to this report about how Calgary’s Muslim mayor welcomed the Occupy Wall Street Marxists into city hall, but charged a Christian preacher with trespassing.]]>