Monday, January 28, 2008

Louisiana Presidential Primaries

I don't write about politics very often, though I do vote almost every time there is an election in my area. I do admit to missing one or two local elections but that is very rare.

As an eighteen year old teenager, like almost everyone in Louisiana back then, I joined the Democratic party and when I voted I usually voted democratic. I did not vote in the 1980 presidential election even though I was twenty at the time. I was in the Navy and at the time of the election I was on board the USS Francis Hammond. The Francis Hammond, FF 1067, was at the time of the election deployed to the Gulf of Oman, which is near the Straits of Hormoz just off the coast of Iran, but I very strongly supported Ronald Reagan. As one serving in the US Armed Forces I had a strong dislike for the feeble leadership of Jimmy Carter. Reagan was the only Republican I would have voted for that then.

Four years later, I was back in South Louisiana and still a moderately loyal member of the Democratic Party. I was married, and my wife was pregnant for our first child. I was working as a labourer, doing odd jobs at a local refinery. I met a guy at the plant that was very active in the Democratic Party and he had been a delegate at an earlier Democratic Presidential convention. He told me that he had a copy of the Democratic Party Platform. I mentioned that I would like to read it and he loaned it to me.

I took the Platform home, read it from cover to cover and returned it to it's owner. The next time I had a day off I went to the parish courthouse and changed political parties. I was disturbed by what I read in the platform.

I was now a Republican and got more involved in the political process. I now voted "mostly" Republican, but I did vote independent on occasion and for Democrats I liked if they were running for local offices.

I was never a "party" guy. I have always been willing to vote for the person I thought best even if they belonged to the "liberal" party, because there were still some good Conservative Democrats.

When the Republicans had control of the Congress and the Presidency they proved to be just as addicted to pork (though it was a different cut off the pig) as the Democrats had been. I got more and more disgusted by them, so when I moved and had to update my voter registration, I decided to register independent. I no longer belong to any political party, and I've been registered this way for nearly four years.

Now to the Primary. I will not be able to vote in the primary because you have to be a member of one of the major parties to participate and I am not. With that said, there is NO ONE one the Democratic side of the ticket that I could, with a good conscience, vote for. On the Republican side, depending on who wins the nomination, I MAY BE able to vote for their candidate next November. IF I do I may have to hold my nose when I do it. I may decide to vote third party, but we are to far from that day to even think about it right now. I did vote third party once before (and no it was not for Ross Perot). It is always an option.

Deo Vindice,

What I'm Reading

I don't read very fast, in fact I read at about the pace of a crippled turtle, but I do try to read when ever I have spare time. These days I'm reading a number of things. My latest read was John Nevin's 1840's book, A Mystical Presence: A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinistic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist. I found this to be a very telling and exciting book. I found Charles Hodges review on the book and I've printed it out and hope to read it soon.

I'm meandering my way through a new biography about Mormon founder Joseph Smith. The books is Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by historian Richard Bushman. Bushman is a well respected historian and a Mormon.

I'v also started reading the writings of Pope Gregory the Great. These writings are in the Second Series of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers volume XII. I've read the editor's Prolegomena and I'm now reading Gregory's The Book of Pastoral Rule. When I finish this I plan to continue reading Pope Gregory's letters.

Coram Deo,

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A few days ago I became involved in a discussion about the legality or constitutionality of secession. I have long believed that the secession one or more states from our federal union was and is lawful under the United States Constitution. I wrote about this issue a number of years back that article is here: The Constitution and Secession

The discussion I'm presently involved in is at the history section of Christian Forums.

Before the War Between the States (some folks call it the Civil War) New England, which was the section most hostile to Southern secession, had a long history of secessionist movements. This has been brought up in the discussion and here are some of the points made on that issue:

John Quincy Adams speaking before the Historical Society of New York in April (I think) 1839:
"With these qualifications we may admit the same right as vested in the people of every state in the Union, with reference to the General Government, which was exercised by the people of the United Colonies with reference to the Supreme head of the British Empire, of which the formed a part; and under these limitations have the people of each State in the Union a right to secede from the Confederated Union itself. Here stands the right! But the indissoluble union between the several States of the Confederated Nation is, after all, not in the right but in the heart. If the day should ever come (may Heaven avert it), when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other...far better will it be for the people of the dis-United States, to part in friendship from each other, than to be held together by constraint..."

In 1842 we find that John Quincy Adams presented a secession petition in the U.S. Congress for some of his fellow Massachusetts citizens:
Congressional Globe, volume XI, page 977
MONDAY, January 24th.--In the House. Mr. [John Q] Adams presented the petition of sundry citizens of Haverhill, in the State of Massachusetts, praying that Congress will immediately adopt measures favorably to dissolve the union of these States.
First. Because no union can be agreeable and permanent which does not present prospects for reciprocal benefit; second, because a vast proportion of the revenues of one section of the Union is annually drained to sustain the views and course of another section, without any adequate return; third, because, judging from the history of past nations, that union, if persisted in in the present state of things, will certainly overwhelm the whole nation in destruction.

Here are the resolutions of 1844 that were the approved by the Mass. Legislature and signed by the governor:
1. Resolved, That the power to unite an independent foreign State with the United States is not among the powers delegated to the General Government by the Constitution of the United States.
2. Resolved, That the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, faithful to the compact between the people of the United States, according to the plain meaning and intent in which it was understood and acceded to by them, is sincerely anxious for its preservation, but that it is determined, as it doubts not the other states are, to submit to undelegated powers in no body of men on earth; That the project of the annexation of Texas, unless arrested on the threshhold, may tend to drive these states into a dissolution of the union, and will furnish new calumnies against republican governments of exposing the gross contradiction of a people professing to be free, and yet seeking to extend and perpetuate the subjection of their slaves.
3. Resolved, That his Excellency, the Governor, be requested to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolves to each of the Senators and Members of the House of Representatives of this Commonwealth in the Congress of the United States.
4. Resolved, That his Excellency, the Governor, be requested to transmit a copy of the same resolves to the Executive of the United States and of the several States. Approved by the Governor, March 15, 1844

This is a fluid discussion and so in response to the other guy in the discussion, I next turn to the Articles of Confederation. The Articles formed the first version of the United States, but confederated government formed by the Articles weas soon replaced by the U.S. Constitution, which formed a wholly new form of government and created a wholly new version of the United States. The U.S. under the Articles was short lived though it claimed to be a perpetual union. I start by quoting the preamble to the Articles:

To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.
Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Notice that the Articles proclaimed a perpetual union, but in less than seven years this perpetual union was dissolved by those same states when nine of the thirteen ratified the new Constitution of the United States.Remember what Article VII of Constitution says? It says, "The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same." So according to the Constitution when nine states ratified the Constitution they would cease to be part of the "perpetual Union between the States" under the Articles of Confederation and would form a new Union under the Constitution. As I mention in the earlier posts, North Carolina and Rhode Island did not immediately ratify the Constitution and were not part of the Unites States when the New U.S. came into being under the new Constitution. All the other states had seceded from the U.S. under the Articles and formed a new U.S. under the Constitution.

Coram Deo,

Saturday, January 05, 2008


I love life. It is all that I know. My life began 48 years ago in my mother's womb. The meaning of life is an all together different thing than what is life. All our lives are different and we all see things from different vantage points. Still all are lives are finite and relatively short. To live for 100 years is, for us,a very long life, still this is a relatively short period of time.

What is important in this life? Is it pleasure? Is it adventure? Is it doing great things?

I don't think any of the items mentioned above is (in the big picture) all that important. The great deeds preformed by men will all be forgotten in the long run.
We tend to think the exploits of great military leaders to be acts of greatness. We think of Alexander's conquest of Persia or Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul to be great acts of greatness, but are they really? I don't think so.

I admit that these are important items in Western history. Alexander's conquest brought Hellenistic culture to much of the world. This laid the foundation, linguistically, for the coming of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Julius Caesar and the Romans united the Mediterranean world so that Gospel of Christ could quickly spread without having to cross national boundaries.

God used the selfish exploits of ungodly men and military accomplishments of egocentric leaders such as Julius Caesar and Alexander of Macedonia to lay the groundwork for the coming Saviour. We live in a fallen world and big events are mostly the acts of ungodly evil men, but even when men do things for evil, God uses these same acts to accomplish His holy will, which is for good and for the salvation of the world.

The meaning of life for the Alexander or Caesar was all about "ME." Power for ME. Glory for Me, Wealth for ME. Sexual exploits and pleasure for ME. Monuments for to ME. ME is the god of Men like Alexander and women like Cleopatra and their god is a god of death and destruction.
The God of Scripture is the God of life and salvation. In the Bible the writer of Ecclesiastes deals with the meaning and purpose of human life. It is, as a whole, very depressing. In it we find a writer who has sought meaning and purpose in armies and he finds this to be void of purpose. He seeks fulfilment in sexual exploits and is disappointed. He seeks to make life worth living by architectural achievements that would last a millennia and this too left him without meaning. In the end he repents and concludes "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

The writer of Ecclesiasties found out the truth. All else is vanity and death.

Coram Deo,