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The Greatest Question

Posted on by jtcopeiv

The greatest question that ever faces an individual is whether or not they follow Jesus Christ.  One answer offers “eternal life,” the other “eternal fire”.  The greatest question facing America as a nation today is the same, whether she is a Christian country, or whether she is not.  All of the individual questions facing our nation today: sanctity of life and marriage, representation without taxation, illegal immigration, public education … they all lead back to this question.  One answer offers a resurgence of liberty and freedom for all, the other tyranny and slavery.  So, what difference does it make anyway? 

First of all, it is important to know what Jesus Christ’s teachings are.  He taught on many subjects and you can look throughout both the new and old testament for specific cases.  All of his teachings though can be summed up by two commandments.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  As a nation, we must acknowledge the many blessings that God has provided us and that those blessings come not from our own efforts but from his kindness, grace, and mercy, “for no people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States” (James Madison).  As an individual, we must treat our fellow citizens just as we would want them to treat us. 

Secondly, it is important to note that our country was founded by men who believed deeply in God the Father of Jesus Christ.  That belief effected how they set up America; you can see it throughout their writings.  John Hancock, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence summed up the responsibilities of both leaders and citizens.  “Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”  Thomas Jefferson, our third president, also acknowledged the ties between God and the rights of each citizen.  “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”  Mr. Thomas Paine summed up the relationship between America and God best.  “But where; say some, is the King of America?  I’ll tell you, friend, He reigns above.”  The abundance of quotes and commentary by our founders and leaders thereafter, on their dependence and reverence for God, is enough to fill up volume upon volume.  If America was set up by men who derived their rights from God, and who followed Him, it is impracticable and self-destructive now, over two centuries later, to say that we must have nothing to do with God and Jesus Christ in the laws and institutions of our country. 

Christianity is the only system that provides equality before the law, justice for those in the minority opinion, and bases the worth of a man upon merit as opposed to race, creed, ethnicity, or gender.  Look at the examples of other countries in the world.  Communists monitor their citizens, restrict their access to news and information, and dictate how many children they can have.  Even now the Chinese are herding thousands upon thousands of minorities into “re-education” centers.  Islamic nations treat women as second class citizens, and harass and kill Christians and other minorities.  Just within the last few years Pakistani politicians, who defended a Christian woman on death row simply for being Christian, were assassinated.  India with Buddhists, Hindus, and others still has the caste system which controls social interactions, job placement and today, voting.  Even the freedom enjoyed by people in Western Europe is but a remnant of the Christian influences on those nations. 

That we were founded as a Christian country appears as immutable as is the fact that a large and increasingly vocal percentage of Americans are pushing to completely alienate us from that association with God and Jesus Christ.  Perhaps we are even now past the point where we can vote our way out of disagreement.  For how can you argue in good faith with politicians whose character is “deplorable,” who rally their supporters with the claim that “we’re going to impeach the m-f’er,” and who speak of the “the evil doings of Israel” against the backdrop of a region that continually supports terrorist organizations?    

When politicians who claim to defend minorities introduce legislation for dissolving the Electoral College which was created specifically to prevent the mob from running over minorities, how much debate is left to us?  Our founders could not convince the British of their need to be able to have representation in order to be taxed.  The south despite having a valid argument of states’ rights, could not understand that they had a fatal flaw in their immoral attachment to the particular type of slavery they practiced.  The allies could not negotiate with men who based the worth of men on supposedly superior racial heritage, and threatened their independence with the front end of a machine gun.  Perhaps we now have a political class and those brother and sister citizens who support them, that will not be dissuaded from the idea that we will accept mob rule and a systematic destruction of the only system in the world that has given men and women freedom and liberty, rights given by their Creator, and worth based upon their merit. 

This is the only system that will work for America.  Generation after generation has acknowledged this to be true.  For this reason we must reinstate the teachings of Jesus Christ at the heart of our beloved America … whether by voting or by other methods.  As Patrick Henry stated, “Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the First his Cromwell; and [King] George the Third may profit by their example.”  Perhaps we might add to this, the Colonists had King George and Parliament, the North had the South, the Allies the Axis, and those seeking to remake America away from her founding in liberty and freedom granted by God may profit by their example. 

-JT Cope IV

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Love God With All You Have

Posted on by jtcopeiv

In a world and a country that seem to be spinning rapidly out of control, we need to focus on what brings stability.  Leaders appear less and less concerned with the welfare of their citizens and more and more concerned with what will bring them power.  Wars continue in multiple regions as they have been for years and even decades.  Volcanoes erupt, tsunamis wash away whole towns, refugees flee from one country to another and back again, and loved ones who tie us to our history pass away.  So where in all this do we turn for stability?  Where do we find security that transcends not just generations or centuries or the lifespan of nations, but thousands of years of human history and all of the eons that make up the history of the universe?  A number of folks will try to tell you today that there are multiple different sources and places to find this stability.  Anything from forms of government, to meditation to self-awareness, self-care, or self-anything are purported to provide stability and inner peace … but they are temporary at best.  The only source that brings stability and safety to either an individual or a nation, is God. 

So for the individual, how does God bring this stability?  What does he offer and what does he require?  And as mentioned a few days ago here, why do we need to draw closer to him as Americans?  As far as stability goes, God brings it to each of us because he simply does not change.  His word is the same today as it was in the year 1945 or 1245.  Now, different people do try to make His word mean different things, some for bad purposes and some because they are truly trying to better understand Him.  Translation can add another monkey wrench in, but for the most part these are small matters and fleeting.  His word overall is still the same as it was near the end of the Roman Empire, regardless of who is in charge, what our financial situation is, or where we are living.  In addition to this God offers the greatest gift in all the universe, eternal life.  He offers this because he loves us. The only requirement for this unbelievable gift is faith in His Son Jesus Christ, that he died on the cross for our sins, and that he was raised from the dead.  For as God’s word says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’”

Drawing near to Jesus is most important for us as individuals, but drawing near to him as a nation is not far behind.  First of all, America was founded upon the principles of Christianity, and thereby works only when her people adhere to those values and ethics.  A recent response to one of the last articles here was that “America was not founded on Christianity.  Exactly the opposite.”  Ignoring the insinuation here that America was therefore founded on Satanism, and focusing on what I think was the intent of the comment, that no Christian values or ethics were intended to be part of this country, I could not disagree more vigorously.  You do not have to look long or hard to find examples of this in the writings of our founders.  John Adams, our second president prayed that, “that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Foundation of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessings upon this nation.”  George Washington noted that “…reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in the exclusion of religious principle.”  The list goes on … and on.  The point being a country, much like a machine, works best when it is being run in the manner for which it was designed.  America was designed by men who believed in God the Father of Jesus Christ, not in any ambiguous being.  These men designed the country to function for a people who believed the same, and America will not work to being equality of justice, freedom and liberty regardless of race or gender, and all the other blessings that come from her laws otherwise.   

So as this New Year develops, continue to draw near to Jesus.  Individually your eternal life depends upon that relationship.  As a nation our blessings and success, the support of our allies, and the vanquishing of our foes, depends on our national relationship with God and his Son, Jesus.  As President Adams noted, “righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”  If you have not thought about or developed a relationship with Jesus yet, I urge you too; there is no greater decision to be made in all your life.  And if you have not thought about the importance of our relationship to him as a nation, I urge you too there as well.  Many storm clouds seem to be gathering on the horizon for America, folks, but as we have weathered many storms before when our citizens put their faith and trust in God and Jesus Christ, so we can again, if only we will. 

-JT Cope IV

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Resolutions for America

Posted on by jtcopeiv

This year instead of making individual resolutions like losing weight, reading a certain number of books, buying that dream house, getting that new promotion, or the like, perhaps we should make some resolutions as a country.  I would like to offer up two New Year’s Resolutions for America here.  One, to draw closer to Jesus Christ as a nation.  Two, to be prepared.  You may wonder why these two, and I’ll do my best to explain over the next few paragraphs.

For the first, why do we need to draw closer to Jesus as a nation?  Well, in order to answer that we first need to look at what Jesus taught.  He taught on a myriad of subjects during his earthly life, but they were all summed up by two commands, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Everything hangs “on these two commandments.”  We need these teachings on an individual bases.  For who does not want their spouse, their children, their parents or their friends to treat them as they would like to be treated?  We need Jesus’ teachings just as much on a national basis though.  As one of our founding fathers, Dr. Benjamin Rush, noted we need “the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and all those sober and frugal virtues which constituted the soul of republicanism.”  America was founded on the principles of Jesus Christ and without those teachings at the core of our country, she cannot function properly.  John Adams’ quote that I love so much fits here, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  More importantly than all of this however is that Jesus offers the only path to eternal life.  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  There is no other way, folks. We must have faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  He is our only hope for salvation, both individually, and as a nation. 

For the second, what do we need to be prepared for and why?  We need to be prepared for the great chance, that in the end, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how much we plead or how obvious the answer is, our brother and sister Americans will reject the need for our country to draw closer to Jesus.  Not only that, but the increasingly apparent outlook that they will also reject us based upon our belief that this is true.  You can see this already in the way a growing percentage of the country votes on particular issues.  Life is not sacred to a large number of American voters, but the ability for a woman to murder a baby is.  Marriage between a man and a woman is not sacred to a large number of American voters, but the ability for a man to make love to a man or a man to physically alter his body to claim to be a woman is.  Taking by force from one man to give to another is just fine to a large number of American voters.  Criminals are not criminals to a large number of American voters.  You can see this in the example right now in California.  A police officer, a legal immigrant no less, is dead at the hands of a criminal immigrant.  This American is dead in a large part because of the great number of his fellow citizens pushing to allow criminal immigrants to be allowed to stay in our country or aiding them in hiding from authorities.  There are a myriad of other examples why our brothers and sisters will likely reject not just us, but Jesus himself.  Colonists had the British parliament and King George.  The North had the South.  The Allies had the Axis powers.  We now have fellow citizens who choose to ignore and attempt to destroy the foundation of the country, and the politicians they elect. 

If we do not draw closer to Jesus our country cannot function.  If we do not start to be prepared our families will be caught even more off guard with more chance of being left out in the cold, and perhaps the world will be left in decades or centuries of darkness.  Pretending something isn’t happening doesn’t make it so, and you cannot legislate morality.  James McHenry accurately stated, “In vain without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions.  Bibles are strong entrenchments.  Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses and at the same time enjoy quiet conscience.”  We cannot make people do what is right, but we can protect the widow and the orphan and our families from them, and we can fight to prevent them from destroying the country we love.  We just must draw close to Jesus, and we must be prepared. 

-JT Cope IV

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Education Must be Based on Merit, Not on Race

Posted on by jtcopeiv

There are many problems with our education system, and this author is becoming intimately familiar with a number of them.  Longer days and longer school years, but yet in the vast, vast, majority of schools, no better results than twenty plus years ago.  Low pay and low retention for teachers, particularly skilled teachers.  The added stress on students from social media and broken homes.  The list goes on, and on … and on.  Certainly one of the greatest problems with our public education system, though, has to be the treatment of students by the education system based upon superficial traits such as skin color.  We will never have a robust and thriving public education system while we give preferential treatment to certain classes of students over others. 

A perfect example of this is outlined in a recent article by Jason Riley in the Wall Street Journal.  In it Mr. Riley discusses some of the disastrous results schools across the country have seen over the past four years after a guidance letter went out from the federal government implying “threatened federal action” if schools did not reduce black suspension rates.  Of course, schools scared of losing federal funding or finding themselves on the receiving end of civil-rights lawsuits, found a way to reduce black suspension rates.  Schools relaxed policies and suspension requirements.  This led, not shockingly to anyone who has ever served inside a classroom, or been a parent for that matter, to more disorder in the classroom and a less safe environment according to students in those classrooms. 

Mr. Riley discusses one case in particular, one of those “interviews a journalist never forgets.”  In Harlem a father pulled his son out of a public school and placed him in a charter school.  The reason, however, was not for smaller class numbers, better test scores, or higher college acceptance rates.  The reason was that his son was attacked in a school bathroom.  The father said the school was “chaotic, that bullying was rampant, and that his son, a sixth-grader at the time, had become terrified of the place.”  The father said he was just “looking for an escape.”  What else is to be expected though when the law is not applied equally to all regardless of race or anything else other than citizenship?  This is painfully apparent in the current illegitimate political class of our country, but that story will have to wait for another day.  Furthermore, violence may have been the symptom here that induced the father to pull his son out, but the underlying issue that caused the increase in violence in the school in the first place was that children were being treated based upon skin color, not the merit of their actions.  And there is an even deeper issue at the heart of the matter. 

As to the treatment of children based upon skin color though, you cannot treat students differently; period.  Kids do make a number of unintelligent decisions, they are kids.  For the most part, though, they are much smarter and more perceptive than we as adults often give them credit for.  I saw this in the Marine Corps in spades.  An eighteen-year-old PFC sees everything … everything.  They know when an officer or staff NCO is showing favoritism when they change the rules to suit their own interests.  They know when an officer of staff NCO treats them or their unit differently because they look different or sound different.  High school students instinctively know this too, and as soon as a teacher or administrator treats a student in a manner differently than they do other students in the same situation, that student has just lost all respect for that teacher or administrator.  If a senior football star gets caught drinking and pays a lesser penalty than a freshman third stringer, they see.  If a “C” student gets detention after too many tardies, but a “straight-A” student gets a pass, they see.  If a student gets help on a test because they “need” accommodations, but a student that does not have those accommodations has to take the test without help, they see.  And if you punish one student because they have one skin tone, but do not punish another student because they have a different skin tone, they see. 

However, the real problem in our education system is not racism, poverty or lack of opportunity.  The real problem, and it applies to all facets of the education system, is something far deeper.  The real problem is something that has crept into the home and spread its dark tendrils farther and farther out over the past half-century and more.  The real problem is the expulsion of God out of the bedroom, the living room, and the class room.  Oh, out of the town halls and political gatherings too, but the improvement of those must grow up from the community, not be forced down upon the community.  Trickle-down measures, while they work fantastically for economic issues because of morality, cannot function in moral issues.  The morality of a society must come from the bottom up.  Yes, you must have leaders set a good example just as in any organization, but you must have members of that organization, in this case citizens of America, that are willing to follow the example set. 

So what is the solution to our education system woes?  The solution is to have leaders who act morally and ethically.  The solution is to also have citizens that are willing to support and encourage those leaders who are willing to take a stand.  Where, though, does this example come from?  Where do we look for a light to guide us down the dark path we find ourselves on?  The answer is the ethics and morality taught by Jesus Christ.  The answer is to treat “your neighbor as yourself.”  Do you want to be treated based upon your actions?  Do you want to be rewarded or judged within society based upon your talent and skill and ability to contribute to the whole?  Of course, any honest and decent person will say yes, resoundingly.   

Even more than that, the answer to our country’s problems in education is God and Jesus himself.  For, as Mr. William McGuffey noted, “That man is to be pitied … who can honestly object to imbuing the minds of youth, with the language and spirit of the Word of God.”  This applies to the country as a whole.  God doesn’t care about race or ethnicity or gender.  He did make people different, give them different talents.  He did make men and women different.  All that God requires, though, is belief in Jesus as His one and only Son.  The sooner we get that notion returned to the heart of our beloved America, the sooner our institutions and country will begin to right themselves.

-JT Cope IV

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Why America Must be a Christian Country

Posted on by jtcopeiv

“The question is, folks, is America a Christian country, or is she not?”  This question recently posted has generated a little bit of angst in response.  Responses have come in such as “No, it is a democratic republic” or “Christianity is a religion, not a government”.  Perhaps it was not clear in the wording that it was not implied America should have a president that is a priest, or that all members of congress should also be members of the clergy?  I think, however, that the meaning of the question was quite clear.  The wording of the question is not the problem.  The problem in our country is that a large and growing percentage of the American population do not want America to be a Christian nation.  They either would like to pretend that America can function and provide “liberty and justice for all” without the Jedeo-Christian ethics that underpin her foundation, or they are not interested if all people have liberty and justice.  They want, by default of their voting actions, what others in the world have: class systems, shared mediocrity, lack of freedom to choose marriage, profession, or number of children, and subservience based upon gender or race.

Let us assume for a moment that the question was unclear.  What exactly does it mean to be a Christian country?  Well, as is often the case in geology when looking at rocks or strata, it is sometimes easier to start with what something is not, as opposed to identifying what it is.  As stated previously, being a Christian country does not mean that you have a theocracy.  It does not mean that being a member of the clergy is a prerequisite for serving in public office.  It does not mean that you must take an oath to serve God and Jesus Christ in order to operate a business.  And perhaps, most importantly, it does not mean that you must be an avowed Christian in order to be a citizen.  Being a Christian country does, however, mean that you use Judeo-Christian ethics as the basis for your foundation; which America did.  Look at the founding documents.  It does mean that the ethics and morals of Christianity are woven into the fabric of your laws and institutions; which they are in America.  Look at the inscriptions on so many of our buildings, such as the Washington Monument and the inscription at its very top, “Laus Deo,” which means “Praise to God.”  It means that those who choose to serve in the government, while they do not have to be Christians themselves, must agree to uphold those tenets whilst they are in office.  Hence presidents swearing into office with their hand on a Bible, and the last line in the enlistment of military personal being the request, “so help me God” for help in executing their duties.  It also means that while citizens do not have to be Christian in their individual lives, they must acknowledge the importance of those values and precepts in the continuing proper functioning and maintenance of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”


So, was America founded as a Christian country?  Except for those who refuse to have an honest discussion, there can be no doubt that she was.  The Declaration of Independence declares that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights …”  Our second president, John Adams, felt that, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other …”  John Jay, the First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court believed that, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”  And the earthly father of our nation, George Washington considered it, “an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the dearest county to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them, to His holy keeping.”

Also, by religious freedom, what were these men primarily referring to?  George Washington on this subject stated, “I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.”  Our first president required men to be good citizens, and to be accountable to God alone in their personal relationship with Him.  Notice President Washington did not say the public life of a person was only accountable to God; the public life of a person must also be accountable to the country.  To clarify as seems necessary, it was a matter of being able to worship God without the controlling influence of the Church of England, not to worship other Gods or to keep God’s influence out of the government.  Even Thomas Jefferson, who seems to be the modern darling of proving that Christianity did not or should not have any role in the founding and functioning of America, argued for religious freedom not in serving multiple different gods or no god, but specifically in serving God and Jesus Christ.  “My views … are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions.  To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself.  I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others.”  President Jefferson was opposed to using religion as a controlling and persecuting factor, he was not opposed to Jesus Christ affecting either the citizenry or the government. 

So why must America be a Christian country?  The apparent answers are too look around and ask some questions.  What other countries offer people the ability to worship any god they want in the privacy of their own homes?  Even in much of western society, holding to the tenets of Christianity or Judaism is frowned upon if not outright outlawed; i.e. the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman or the belief that life is sacred.  What county also offers men the ability to become whatever they have the merit to achieve?  Certainly not in communist China, or the class systems of India, and even the mobility that is still present in Europe is a holdover of the influence of Christianity.  There are a myriad of other examples too lengthy to offer up in a single article.  In the end America must be a Christian country for a number of reasons.  She was founded as one, and she functions only based upon having a citizenry that is “moral and religious.”  The valuing of life, liberty, and freedom, regardless of race, or creed, come only under this Judeo-Christian system.  When we see the county faltering, as in the civil war, as we do now, the cause is invariably our citizens straying from a sincere attachment to “his doctrines in preference to all others.”  Without Jesus Christ at the center of our country, there is no America, at least not one that will do anything more than limp along as a bystander or serve as a disorderly tyrant to the rest of the world.  Our founders knew this and so do we, some of us, for our own unknown reasons, simply choose to pretend otherwise. 

-JT Cope IV

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Why America Needs Christmas

Posted on by jtcopeiv

As we approach Christmas tomorrow, we find ourselves as a country in desperate need of it. We find America besieged on almost every front. Though few are willing to openly talk about it, we desperately need to. Our families are crumbling, our popular culture is encouraging the deterioration, criminals and terrorists probe every inch of our borders, and we appear to be abandoning our allies in multiple parts of the globe. We need what Christmas brings and what it chases away, for it is the only thing that can save America from the dust bin of failed experiments across history. Even more, without the shining city on the hill that America has been for over two centuries, the world is at great risk of falling for decades or even centuries into darkness, much like when Rome fell and issued in the Dark Ages.

If all of this sounds a bit melodramatic to you the reader, consider the following. In a gallop poll this year 71 percent of respondents said they thought divorce was “morally acceptable”. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Terry Teachout describes how well Hollywood has secularized a holiday about the birth of Jesus Christ into “a commercially sanctioned opportunity for everyone in America, including Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, pagans, agnostics and atheists, to take the day off, eat to excess, sing sappy songs and spend money they may or may not have on gifts they may or may not feel naturally inclined to give.” A national cable news network recently ran a piece praising and celebrating an 11-year-old drag queen. We are having a rabid debate based upon spending less than 0.2 percent of the federal budget to build a wall that will help keep out both criminals and terrorists from coming illegally into our country, while at the same time spending between 40-50 percent of the federal budget on social welfare programs. And within the last two weeks our president announced the withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan with no announced plan for continuing to support the allies on the ground that we have developed with blood, sweat, and tears.

So as a country we do not think we need to honor a vow to another human being, before God no less, to love them forever. We portray Christmas as nothing more than a money spending operation. We celebrate and promote darkness in our youth. We do not think we need to protect our country from criminals and terrorists. We do think we need to steal money from our fellow citizens to give to other citizens who have not worked to earn it. And we do not feel we need to be concerned with a minor detail such as abandoning our allies oversees in areas rife with terrorism, crime, and torture and with them surrounded by leaders from other countries who want them gone by any means. These are a small and wide ranging sampling of our countries issues at the moment, but they all tie back to one thing over and over again, a decay in the moral fiber of America. This decay is spreading from the family to culture to politics. That is the problem, folks, not the specific issues, but the overall attitude of a large and growing section of our country’s citizenry.

Now, how does this all relate back to Christmas and why America needs it so much? What could Christmas have to do with sentiments about divorce, criminal immigration and terrorists, and troop withdrawals? Again, it is the sentiment, in addition to the actual deeds themselves that show us. Christmas is a holiday celebrating the birth of a young boy some two thousand years ago, give or take a year or two and a month or two. Christmas, despite the attempts of network executives, cultural icons, and politicians is not about songs, or presents, or money, or snowmen, or happy holiday movies; and I enjoy all those things, but they are not the point. So what is the point of Christmas, and again how does it tie into all the earlier topics?

Well, I do not think there can be a better answer to that than one from an American icon in the true sense of the term, Charlie Brown. In A Charlie Brown Christmas, in response to the question from Charlie Brown, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus responds, “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.” His response follows:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. … That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

This is indeed what Christmas is all about. A babe who became a man who taught that loving God with all your heart and mind and soul, and loving your neighbor as yourself were the greatest commandments on earth. Encompassed by these two commands are everything else good and worthy in the world: loyalty to your spouse, honoring your father and mother, defending the widow and the orphan, loyalty to your friends, and service to your country among others. We need this man, this Jesus, and his teachings. For as John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” We must have Jedeo-Christian ethics and morals at the core of our country, and so by default we must have Jesus as the core. This does not mean, as a recent commenter on one of my Instagram posts incorrectly insinuated that all Americans must be Christians. It does mean though without His ethics our country has no option but to fail, with them no possibility but ultimate success. We need Jesus today desperately.

When A Charlie Brown Christmas came out many people both from CBS and from those working on the show, did not want the verses of scripture included. Shultz response was, “… if we don’t, who will?” We need to have this mentality, folks, all year long, but especially now. As George Washington, the father of our country said, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more then those of the United States.” We have indeed been blessed by God in this country, but we cannot take it for granted, or disregard the source and cause of that blessing. America needs Christmas, because she needs Jesus Christ.

–JT Cope IV

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The Fate of America.

Posted on by jtcopeiv

The fate of America is directly tied to the morality of her citizens. The lessons our children need are those of character and integrity.  Our founding fathers knew this.  Benjamin Franklin Morris once stated that, “the chief security and glory of the United States of America has been, is now, and will be forever, the prevalence and domination of the Christian faith” (Richard Lee, The American Patriot’s Bible, 2009).  The two key objects of the Christian faith are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  These commandments include all the character and integrity there is.  America, not all of her individual citizens but her as a whole, must preserve this faith as the basis for her laws, institutions, and actions or she will fall.

And yet, are we teaching our children about character and integrity?  Are our institutions?  Well, let us take a look at some of our nation’s institutions: the Boy Scouts of America, our education system, and the National Art Gallery.  These are not all inclusive, folks, not even close.  They will, though, serve as a sampling of what is going on, what we are passing on to the next generation, across the country.  

The Boy Scouts of America is considering filing for bankruptcy according to a 12 December article by Katy Ferek.  The organization founded in 1910 and with core goals of teaching outdoor skills, character, and leadership claims the cause is due to the mounting cost of litigation for sexual-abuse cases dating back decades.  It is interesting to note however that the Boy Scouts enrollment has dropped some 300,000 members in the last five years (Washington Times, 2018) at the same time leadership attempted to gain members by adopting “gender-neutral inclusivity” and allowing girls, homosexual scout leaders, and transgender members.  Their membership purging has surely hurt revenue.  Regardless, however, of if the cause for considering bankruptcy is paying for sexual misconduct lawsuits, or declining membership due to including transgender and homosexual members and leaders, it is immorality that has brought the scouts low.  It is a failure to adhere to their original beliefs and objectives of teaching character, integrity, and leadership. 

Tackling what is going on in the American education system is at once overwhelming and incredibly simple.  Though there are dramatic issues within our institutions both higher and lower, they have much less than we try to pretend to do with money, quality of teacher, or poverty levels; those are merely symptoms of the larger problem.  The larger problem is that more and more of our children come from broken families or families not made up of a father and a mother.  The larger problem is that we not only allow, but insist upon superficial considerations such as skin color and financial background to weigh in on whether college students get financial aid going into colleges or universities, or whether they are even admitted in.  The larger problem is that we give some students additional support and yet honor their grades the same as we do with students who do not receive that same additional support.  In kindergarten all the way up through twelfth grade people read tests to certain students, write tests with extra accommodations such as bolded words and fewer answer choices, and give them extra time, and yet their GPA scale is the same as those without these “accommodations”.  This substantially feeds into the nonsense of the “No Child Left Behind” mentality.  We have diluted and inflated the grading system so much that our college students now even need lessons that it is “ok to fail”.  Check out the recent article by Ms. Korn of the Wall Street Journal titled Failure 101.  This would be unnecessary if we focused more on showing our children love based upon who they are and not what they can do.  If we concentrated more on developing kids of character and integrity, and less on making sure no one felt bad because they were not making the same grades as everyone else, they would intrinsically know it was not only “ok to fail,” but that it was bound to happen from time to time.  They would also realize that their worth was not wrapped up in being exactly the same as everyone else. To make matters worse we laud schools based upon what percentage of their students are minority, female, or “underprivileged”.  There is no requirement for character, no reward for showing integrity or discipline in moral issues.  So as a nation we encourage students based upon gender, skin color, race, or parent’s financial status, not on merit.  We make little to no mention of integrity, courage, or character as a requirement for college or university enrollment or high school graduation.  Then we balk at how far behind we are falling in the world.  We look aghast upon the corruption of our business, military, and political leaders.  Truly, what else should we expect?

Thirdly, the National Art Gallery is hiring a new head, Ms. Kaywin Feldman.  As Mr. Roger Kimball notes in his latest piece The National Gallery of Identity Politics, Ms. Feldman’s ideas on what should be displayed have little to do with the quality of art or passing on American “civilization’s highest values.”  Her concerns have much more to do with promoting base exhibitions on race, gender, and crime.  In a recent piece for Apollo magazine, Ms. Feldmen notes that, “As long as the staff and trustees at American museums remain predominantly white, it will be difficult for museums to tackle the often painful but important contemporary issues that we must address.”  Yet again we are being told that superficial traits, this time skin color, are a determining factor in whether a person can deal with crime, war, poverty, homelessness, broken families, pestilence, and tyranny.  And yet again the problem is not a lack of the “correct” external qualities, but our country’s growing lack of internal qualities such as diligence, commitment, and courage. 

In the end, folks, this is a very short list, a non-exhaustive list, but you cannot have “the home of the brave” without real courage and character.  Not the kind of courage indicated by a person coming out of a closet, or breaking laws, but the kind of courage that has a high school student stand up to a bully, help the kid no one wants to talk to, or induces an eighteen year old to stand and get shot at by people who serve a religion that tells them to kill others of different belief in order to protect his friends and serve his country.  Most importantly this character must come from somewhere?  Where?  Is it something just inherent, like an instinct?  No, it must come from outside of the person.  If it comes from their parents, then it must come from outside their parents.  Eventually you must get to the point where it comes from God, God who requires a belief in His Son.  And His Son who models, kindness, caring, and support for those weaker then ourselves.  His Son who also models acknowledgement and adherence to the truth, and who tells us “to go and sin no more” not to go on the way we were and have a good time.  His Son who models treating our neighbor as ourselves and love with all He has of His Father.  Without this example infused into our laws and institutions, America will indeed fail.  With this infused into our country’s soul we cannot help but succeed in the end.  To quote Mr. William McGuffey, whose McGuffey Reader sold over 120 million copies between 1836 and 1960 (Richard Lee, The American Patriot’s Bible, 2009), “In a Christian country, the man is to be pitied, who, at this day, can honestly object to imbuing the minds of youth with the language and spirit of the Word of God.”  The question is, folks, is America a Christian country, or is she not?  She has been in the past, but does she still remain so? The answer predetermines our fate in history. 

— JT Cope IV

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Bookstores are not Responsible for our Children’s Education

Posted on by jtcopeiv

When you think of America, what thoughts come to mind?  Hope perhaps? Freedom or liberty?  Courage and integrity?  Faith?  Family? You may have a long list, or a rather short one, but I would venture to guess that sex, abortion, gender identity, and eating habits don’t make the list.  They certainly would not be the first things I taught my children about America, nor anywhere near the first or most important, especially to children under the age of ten or twelve.  Perhaps though, it needs to be somewhere on my radar.  Perhaps before I spend time talking with them about clothes, food, animals, toys, their friends, or their favorite music, I need to spend a little time talking with them about these other more uncomfortable topics. 

You may be thinking “this guy is crazy.”  Kids are kids just for a little while and they need to enjoy it and so do we!  In past years I would have been inclined to agree with you.  A recent article by Dave Seminara in the Wall Street Journal about the children’s section at Barnes & Noble, as well as my own trips to this beloved bookstore chain, brings that line of reasoning into question, though.  As Mr. Seminara notes in his article there are a number of books prominently displayed now that describe the “mistreatment” of illegal immigrants, the life and musings of socialist or communist Supreme Court justices, and portrayals of vegan t-shirt wearing heroines.  My own trips with my children can add to this list how-to books on being a feminist, and books on the need to be understanding and encouraging toward lesbian relationships.  These books are not hidden in a corner somewhere but proudly displayed in the front and middle of the children’s section and promoted as books on empowering or encouraging children to be leaders. 

The first question that may come to mind is why Barnes and Noble feels it necessary to set up multiple book displays across the country promoting illegal immigration, feminism, socialism, veganism, homosexuality.  There are certainly enough different forms of media which send out this message.  Everywhere from radio to television, the internet and magazines, movies, and newspapers blare these messages out constantly.  To quote Mr. Seminare, “unless you lock your children in a screen-less cave in Idaho” they are going to get this message on a daily basis; truly on an hourly basis. This may get your heart rate up and your blood boiling a little; it certainly did for me.  Once you calm down though, your vision clears, and you have hustled your children away from the book with a baby in diapers yelling though a megaphone about how to be a “feminist”, you realize the question of why is not the important one.  Barnes and Noble is a private company and they can do as they see fit.  No one is forcing us to patronize them, and really, we already know the answer to why.  There are, however, at least a couple of salient points to learn from this, lessons that need teaching or reminding of at least. 

First, the world’s interests are not our children’s best interests.  In fact, there is a large chunk of American and Western society that has interests that are decidedly dangerous to our children.  We should not be surprised that a nationwide bookstore chain which promotes selling everything under the sun has inappropriate and immoral titles more and more frequently in the children’s section.  Just because a book is written doesn’t mean it is worth reading. We should recognize this and realize that we have to be vigilant with what our children are exposed to … constantly.  Even if you are in places that have always seemed a safe haven to you or your spouse, that doesn’t mean they remain so forever.  As the old proverb says, “riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.”  One source may provide wonderful and accurate information to our children for a while, but with new leadership and a new generation, that may well change. 

The second point is that perhaps in addition to talking about all the good things in America we need to have some further conversations with our children.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but perhaps we need to stop being so selfish, cowardly, and lazy.  These days, at family functions, at work, in the church, and even in our own homes, it seems that non-confrontation is the chosen method of communication, at least if you have conservative views.  I get it.  I am the most Charlie Brown, go-along-get-along, want everybody to like them kinda guy there is.  Perhaps though talking about the new pet or the latest increase in our Instagram followers, the new job, the new bed we got, how great our last golf game was, the new Christmas decorations we bought, or even how awesome the last deer hunting expedition was, we should be talking more about the things which will affect the lives of our families for years or decades?  No, we don’t have to talk constantly about them.  No, we don’t have to talk about them from the point of view of one political party or another.  And no, we don’t have to be harsh or rude when we talk about them.  But as the so common line goes about teenagers and sex, “if you are not talking to them about it, their friends are.”  This is just as true for morality, history, politics, and our country across the spectrum.  My mother-in-law once told me “you cannot assume other parents morals are the same as yours, no matter how much you know them.”  Well, we cannot assume that with booksellers, teachers, or their friends either. 

I mention schools here briefly, for it is a much larger and more important topic than a bookstore simply for the fact that the bookstore is not forcibly requiring attendance and taking your tax money to teach your children what it wants with very little input from you.  My oldest came home last night explaining how cruel and mean the colonists were to steal all the land and imprison all the Native Americans.  Now, before all the drivel about how true that statement is begins, there is nothing stopping any of you from voluntarily giving your home, land, and money back to any one of the many Native American tribes still in existence today.  America has done a great deal more good than harm over the centuries of its young existence, particularly compared with other countries.  Of course all of this good stems from the source of creation of our laws and statutes, and that is our tie to Jesus Christ.  As that tie fades we find our good fades too, hence a “reputable” bookstore selling children books on homosexuality, socialism, and promoting crime.

In the end I would offer a few thoughts.  One, we need to draw a little closer to Jesus in all aspects of our life, not just on Sunday in a pew.  Two, we need to spend a little more time amongst our friends and families talking about the things in life that affect our future and a little less about the superficial things that only affect our here and now.  Three, we need to be a lot more involved in our children’s education, whether that means more PTA meetings or homeschooling.  And lastly, we can never grow complacent.  Fight the good fight continually, folks.  God bless you and yours and America!

–JT Cope IV

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Who Truly Cares for the Homeless and the Orphan?

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Evening, folks!  Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  Kind of a dreary, misty day here at the moment.  School is wrapping up, thankfully for both students and teachers.  Oh, and we did end up with a new puppy today.  My wife and I have decided it is either some kind of German Shepard or Husky mix (we are not exactly dog experts).  Some one dropped it off on a country road and the people there just could not keep him.  Only time will tell if Katie and I are as crazy as we seem.  And even though it is not exactly a Christmas puppy, to say the kiddos will be excited is a bit of an understatement.  

So, today I am going to talk a bit about a couple articles I read last night.  The first was a piece by Laura Kusisto and Nour Malas in the Wall Street Journal on the homeless problem in America.  Now you could make plenty of comments about how interesting it is that a sudden increase in homelessness across the country appears after seven years of decreases, whilst unemployment is lowering and wages are increasing, but I would like to talk about something else.  I would like to talk about how nearly one-quarter of all the homeless people in America live in either New York or Los Angeles; one-quarter, folks.  That is an astounding figure, but so is the amount of money being spent on the homeless problem.  New York alone, according to the article, increased their spending on homeless services by about $172 million dollars this year!  Los Angeles, in 2016, approved spending $1.2 billion over the next ten years to build housing for homeless people.  A few questions come to mind from this information.  Both of these cities are run, and have been for years, by people who individually or by party affiliation support redistribution of wealth via graduated taxation and social welfare programs.  Add to this the oft heard cry of how cruel and uncaring people who do not support wealth redistribution and socialist policies are, and you have an interesting conundrum.  How can it be that the places that are the political heart and soul of welfare programs and wealth redistribution, who supposedly care most about the “poor and the homeless”, are places with huge populations of homeless?  The answer is simple; you cannot spend enough, or give enough money to make a problem go away.  Even more importantly, those people who espouse working for a living, who decry the stealing of funds from one man to give to another, they are not cruel or heartless.  As stated for two millennium “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”  You cannot claim that the policies that create more homelessness are the kind ones while at the same time claiming that those who do not support policies which induce homelessness are uncaring about said homeless.  The problem, as with all government run social welfare programs is, you cause people to become dependent upon the handouts to the point where they have no will to or knowledge of how to lift themselves up out of the dependency they find themselves in.  Perhaps that is what some want?  

The second article was by Melissa Korn and Melanie Grayce West, also from the Wall Street Journal.  They noted that there are now several universities installing vending machines that offer Plan B, the morning after pill.  These pills are designed to prevent a pregnancy from starting, and at at least one university are either free or cost a mere fifteen dollars.  What does it say about a country where we spend tuition dollars (and tax dollars in the case of the University of California campuses mentioned in the article) so that students can cheaply purchase pills in order to have sex outside of marriage with less moral obligation or concern.  This is akin to spending tax dollars to purchase free alcohol for under age kids so that they do not get arrested trying to buy it on their own.  The end result of both is an attempt to prevent men and women from having to take responsibility for their own actions.  This is not some glorious, brilliant plan that is trying to improve the lot of downtrodden or ignorant masses.  This is a simple ploy to alleviate moral responsibility, develop new supporters, and create a new problem to need government oversight and intervention.  The problem is not that without Plan B or like contraceptives we create a huge huddled mass of unwanted children, the problem is that we refuse to prevent having huge huddled masses of orphaned children by taking responsibility for our own actions as adults.  

Check out these articles if you get the chance folks.  They delve into the issues more than I do here and it is good to know as much as we can.  Let me know what you think on theses issues as well; I am interested.  Remember to spread the word, be ever vigilant, and pray every once in a while.  This time of year stop and stare at some Christmas lights too.  Y’all have a great day.  God bless you and yours and America!

Respectfully,

JT Cope IV

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Daily Posts – Grace, Love, And Merit.

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Evening, folks!  Hope y’all had a great weekend.  I ran across an interesting commentary recently.  The commentary was on a country centuries past and the relationship between their success and their declining morality, which in turn accounted for their eventual downfall as a nation.  The commentary discussed in particular how as this country became more and more economically successful, and how they gained more and more land, their moral compass pointed a little less and less north, and they became more and more proud.  I can’t help but look at our own beloved America and think that the more and more successful we have become financially, and the less and less (seemingly) we have had to fear from other countries, the more and more moral debauchery we have experienced.  Greed is increasing.  Debt is ballooning.  Millions of innocents are being murdered.  Sexual deviancy of every kind is celebrated as courageous.  Laws are ignored, or only applied selectively.  Our education is in shambles.  The list could go on.  There is a factor that ties in both the experiences of the country from ages ago and America now.  That factor is that both Israel in the past and America now have reached the point where very few actually serve God.  Oh we pay lip service to Him, but we very little know his Word or follow His laws.  We may discuss problems with immigration, education, finances, and a myriad of other legitimate policies, but they all start and end with our relationship to God.  I am not advocating a theocracy by any means.  Each man and woman should be allowed to worship God in whatever manner they see fit.  But if we do not acknowledge the distinctive contributions and foundation of Jesus Christ in our laws and institutions, those laws and institutions will fall apart … just like our relationship with Him.  

We cannot justify ourselves by works.  Only God’s grace can save us.  Only His grace can bring us into eternal life with Him.  But you cannot show faith in His Son, and therefore His grace, without works.  You must show how grace and mercy impact your life.  

We make excuses.  We cause ourselves anxiety.  We make up monsters in our head.  Love is not difficult, folks.  The actions themselves are very simple.  We just make it hard.  We get in our own way and cause the destruction of our own relationships.

The only things that should matter are …  Are you the best at what you do?  Do you make the organization better than someone else of your same talent could?  Within the last the implied question must be, do you have the moral fortitude to stand tall when everyone else falls away?  Any other superficial considerations are not only unimportant, but counterproductive.  

For all ages.  Take a visit to a place where good still fights evil and where you are proud for the right reasons.  Countryside.

Y’all have a great day folks!  Enjoy your people.  Do whatever little bit you can to turn our country back to God and Jesus Christ.  Not in the sense of forcing people to worship Him, but in giving them the opportunity of knowing Him and of focusing on the FACT that if we do not have a country that functions on Judeo-Christian precepts, we have a county that is already on the way to failure.  Talk about the good things too, not just the bad.  Talk about and show even more love and kindness and mercy, just do not give an inch to evil at the same time.  Being kind is not mutually exclusive to holding firm.  Oh, and as always, stare at some Christmas lights!  God bless you and yours and America!

— JT Cope IV

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