Thursday, March 31, 2011

Flunking Liberty

The following article was written by Ben Crystal and was published in the March 31, 2011, Personal Liberty Digest. * *

Flunking Liberty

by Ben Crystal
March 31, 2011 *

A story in a recent edition of Newsweek detailed an effort to determine the civic pride of our fellow Americans. The left-leaning journal offered 1,000 readers—they borrowed a few hundred from US Weekly—the opportunity to take the same citizenship test required of all prospective ingredients in our ever-expanding melting pot.

Keep in mind, with President Barack Obama’s dereliction of duty in dealing with illegal immigration, I’m not certain if that many people have actually taken the citizenship test recently. *

I have no interest in burdening you with another maudlin monologue about Americans’ lack of civic pride (not to mention civic understanding). Lectures about the need for the people of the fruited plain to make time in between episodes of “Jersey Shore” to learn about the Bill of Rights are boring, depressing and trite. *

Besides, anyone who really cares about the travails of “Pauly D.” and “J-Woww” is unlikely to give a damn how many voting members are part of the U.S. House of Representatives. The answer, by the way, is 435. If you answered correctly, then congratulations are in order. You just wrecked the national grade curve. I’d make some teacher’s pet crack, but something tells me most of the teachers’ union layabouts drew the same blank as the rest of the class. *

Never let it be said that Ben Crystal isn’t as helpful as he is suave, debonair and quick-witted. Instead of standing on the dais and acting as if I have suede patches welded to my elbows, I’m going to invite each of you to partake of a little academic challenge. Call it: The Personal Liberty Digest’s™ Super-Citizen Survey. There’s no time limit, and you’re welcome to cheat. Think of it as an exercise in “outcome-based education.” If you don’t know the answer, just do as Obama does: Lie. *

And remember, kids: There are no stupid answers, only stupid people. I wouldn’t worry too much about the stupid people. They’re over at telling each other how tolerant they are for hating everyone who isn’t just like them. *

To wit: *

Question 1: Sarah Palin is: *
A. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
B. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
C. Capable of making a kill shot from a moving helicopter. (AWESOME!)
D. Pretty hot. * *

Questions 2: Michelle Bachman is: *

A. A spiritual godmother of the Tea Party movement.
B. A potential 2012 Republican nominee for President.
C. Terrifying to Democrats who are unused to women who still look like women.
D. Pretty hot. * *

Question 3: Hillary Clinton is: *

A. The Secretary of State (for now).
B. Not running for President in 2012 (honest!).
C. Dean Rusk, compared to her boss.
D. Less hot. * *

Question 4: Libya is:

A. A nation in North Africa.
B. A nation in the throes of civil war.
C. A nation with which the United States is NOT currently at war.
D. A rash which can be cleared up with a non-prescription ointment.

Question 5: Moammar Ghadhafi:

A. Is the dictator of Libya and a sponsor of the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing.
B. Keeps a bedroom decorated just in case his special friend Louis Farrakhan drops in for a romantic evening.
C. Dresses like Elizabeth Taylor (the late 80′s-onward version, not the Cleopatra version).
D. Has to be the front runner for the Keith Richards look-alike contest.

Question 6: Scott Walker is:

A. The duly-elected Governor of Wisconsin.
B. Standing up to Democrat-sponsored union thugs on behalf of children.
C. A union-busting hero.
D. Obviously related to Hitler somehow.

Question 7: The Service Employees International Union:

A. Is a group of dangerously violent thugs officially endorsed by the Democrat Party.
B. Puts the “hug” in “thug.”
C. Wears purple because it’s so slimming.
D. Is probably watching me from across the street.

Question 8: Sendai is:

A. That new sushi joint down the street.
B. A Japanese city devastated by a recent tsunami.
C. Nowhere near Rio, Mr. President.
D. Still nicer than Detroit.

Question 9: Despite a series of bailouts and so-called “stimulus” packages, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently:

A. Lower than it was during the Carter Administration.
B. Lower than it is in Kenya.
C. Lower than it is in Detroit.
D. Higher than it is in George Soros’s front office.

Question 10: Common Cause, and ACORN are:

A. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
B. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
C. A group of Democrat Party adjunct organizations.
D. About as collectively intelligent as the kids in the Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit.

Question 11: Kinetic Military Action is:
A. A euphemism for a limited-scope military engagement.
B. A nice way of describing the sort of marching done by the New Black Panther Party. (Listen, fellas. I love the berets. But you’re wearing them like mimes, not soldiers.)
C. Obama’s desperate attempt to look like a wartime leader.
D. Probably a waste of time, under the current circumstances.

Question 12: The Huffington Post has banned Andrew Breitbart from its front page because:

A. Breitbart is a bigot.
B. Breitbart is a liar.
C. Breitbart is mean.
D. Ex-Obama Administration laughingstock Van Jones said he would hold his breath until the Huffpo shunted Breitbart to the even-less-read back sections.

Question 13: Joe Biden is:

A. The Vice President of the United States.
B. Neil Kinnock’s number one fan.
C. Sy Sperling’s favorite client.
D. That weird-looking old dude who f-bombed the President last year.

Question 14: Nancy Pelosi is:

A. The former Speaker of the House; and now the House minority leader.
B. Even more surprised-looking in real life.
C. Still planning to “drain the swamp.”
D. No longer two heartbeats from the Oval Office.

Question 15: Harry Reid is:

A. The Senate Majority Leader.
B. Deputy Droop-a-Long’s long-lost brother.
C. Oddly obsessed by hookers in Nevada.
D. Eminently qualified to hold Pelosi’s purse.

Question 16: Obamacare is:

A. A plan to deliver top-quality healthcare to every American, regardless of ability to pay.
B. A bureaucratic monstrosity which is more about government intervention in your life than it is about healthcare.
C. Really just the reanimated corpse of the mid-90s “Hillarycare.”
D. Probably going to force you to watch reruns of “House” to determine whether or not you have cancer.

Question 17: President Obama’s energy policy entails:

A. Exploiting domestic resources, including fossil fuels, in order to lessen the economic burden on his constituents without sending billions to corrupt and/or hostile foreign powers.
B. Signing an executive order requiring all Americans to drive mopeds to work.
C. Paving Kansas, Nebraska and parts of the Dakotas in photovoltaic cells.
D. Aiming Ed Schultz at a bunch of windmills.

Question 18: The national debt of the United States is now:

A. Worth about 97 percent of the U.S. annual GDP.
B. Increasing at a geometric rate.
C. Rapidly approaching one of those numbers that end up being used as a name for a search engine.
D. Still smaller than Michael Moore’s waistline.

Question 19: President Obama hails from:

A. Hawaii.
B. Kenya.
C. Chicago.
D. A secret laboratory in Warren Buffett’s basement.

Question 20: The current Head of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States is:

A. John Boehner.
B. Harry Reid.
C. Barack Obama.
D. Oprah.

If you struggled with this exam, fret not. Many of your compatriots are still trying to figure out if Dean Rusk is that guy who’s married to Tori Spelling. In administering the actual citizenship test, Newsweek was likely demonstrating Americans’ lack of civic understanding. But they forgot that civic understanding may not mean the same thing to everyone.

An old colleague of mine used to say that “civic duty” encompasses everything from jury duty to picking up after Rover when he does his business on the sidewalk. That colleague of mine is entirely correct; albeit enormously optimistic.

In the age of Obama, I have learned to set my sights a bit on the low side. Don’t take stuff which isn’t yours. Don’t hit girls. Don’t make your mother cry. And once in a while, learn something useful. You can’t always count on British MP’s to do your homework for you, Mr. Vice President.

I’d tell everyone to go back to school, but there’s no point. The teachers are all cutting class to go scream at the Governor of Wisconsin.

–Ben Crystal

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Week In History

The following was in the March 23, 2011, online edition of Personal Liberty Alerts

The Stamp Act

On March 22, 1765, the British Parliament passed an odious piece of legislation known as the Stamp Act. It imposed a tax on every piece of paper used by colonists in America, including all legal documents, licenses, newspapers and other publications... and even playing cards.

The colonists were outraged by this "taxation without representation" and launched massive protests. After a decade of appeals accomplished nothing, Patrick Henry urged Virginia's House of Burgesses to adopt his Stamp Act Resolves. When the legislators approved four of the resolutions, Virginia Governor Fauquier (who was appointed by the King) ordered the assembly dissolved.

The next day, on March 23, 1775, Henry gave his famous speech, which ended with, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, Give me Liberty or Give me Death." Within a month, Britain and the colonies were at war, Fauquier fled his post, and Patrick Henry was named Governor of Virginia.

I think you know how the story ends.

--Chip Wood

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Nation Can Endure

These are the pillars upon which any nation’s national security rests:

-Faith in God and in the universal brotherhood of all mankind.

-Strong homes and family ties.

-A political climate and governmental system that protects man’s inalienable rights.

-Elected government officials who are wise and good, and a vigilant, informed citizenry.

Today we are in a worldwide battle, the first of its kind in history between two opposing systems, freedom and slavery; between the spirit of Christianity and the spirit of the antichrist for the bodies and souls of men. May God grant that we will win the battle by alertness, by determination, by courage, and by an energizing realization of the danger.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Are we willing to pay the price? The days ahead are sobering and challenging and will demand the faith, prayers, and loyalty of all men to the truth. As the ancient apostle declared: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:12.)

May God give us the wisdom to recognize the danger of complacency, the threat to our freedom, and the strength to meet this danger courageously.

(Source: Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, published 1977)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brotherly Love

Missouri Mormons Open Their Church To Muslim Neighbors
Reported by Dan Rascon for the online Meridian Magazine
Wednesday, March 02 2011

Exactly 7:45 in the evening and the call for 8 o'clock prayer, is heard in a mosque 1300 miles east of Salt Lake City in St. Louis, Missouri. One by one fellow worshippers arrive. They stand side by side, touching shoulders, wall to wall.

They are Muslims, and according to their faith, Islam, they are supposed to pray 5 times a day.

"We are praying to God," said Mufti Minhajuddin, the Muslim leader in St. Louis. "We stand up and we praise him and then we bow down and praise him as well ."

Their holy book is called the Quran which contains 6,600 verses of what Muslims believe to be direct revelation from god to their prophet Mohammed.

"We believe in the prophets of God, that God created this world and sent down the prophets throughout the ages who were inspired with revelation and taught mankind what is the meaning of our existence," said Minhajuddin.

One o'clock in the afternoon the next day, and the same call for prayer is heard, but it's not coming from a mosque. Oddly enough, it's coming from an LDS church building in St. Charles, Missouri, about 25 minutes west of St. Louis.

And they are not Latter-day saints coming inside the gym to worship. They are Muslims. 15 to 30 of them come here every Friday to call upon god in prayer.

"Friday prayer is very important for us afternoon, just like {Christians} gather on Sundays," said Magbool Khan, the Muslim leader in St. Charles, "'s very important that Muslims gather on Friday and pray."

This all came about because of LDS member Deborah Coffey who works with other faiths as part of the Interfaith Counsel in St. Charles.

"I didn't see it as unusual, I didn't see it as uncomfortable," said Coffey.

Several years ago the Muslim leaders came to the Interfaith Counsel in St. Charles asking for a place to worship on Friday's.

So Deborah went to her stake president Terry Slezak.

"When it was first brought to my attention that there was an opportunity I didn't hesitate," said Slezak. "Their desire was to have a place to gather to pray to God, and to me it's like if we were in a place where the church was not strong enough and we didn't have a building and we wanted to pray to God I would hope that someone would reach out to us."

"I actually took it as an honor that they would feel comfortable coming to us," said Coffey.

St. Louis is a fascinating city. It sits on the edge of the Mississippi river, the dividing line to the state of Illinois. It's best known for its 630 foot architectural wonder called the Gateway Arch. The metropolitan area is home to about 75 thousand Muslims and 14 thousand Mormons.

The Muslims in St. Charles, are hoping to one day build a mosque on a piece of land a short distance away from the LDS church where they currently worship in order to keep up with the growth.

No date has been set for the construction of the mosque in St. Charles. At this time they are still in the process of purchasing the land, so it could be a while before anything is built.

The LDS church says there is no time limit for the Muslims to worship at their building.

Before the arrangement the only place they had to go to in St. Charles was the home of Nadeem Farooqui, a nice home but too small for worship on Fridays.

"This is actually my living room," said Farooqui. "It's not big enough to serve the whole community."

So they grab their carpets out of a closet and roll them out inside the LDS church's gym, take off their shoes, and begin their 30 minute worship service.

For Mormons the gym is usually a place for social activities like basketball. But it's the plainness of the gym that the Muslims prefer. There are no benches or podiums or images of Jesus Christ like in some of the other rooms.

There have been a few occasions when the gym is being used by the LDS congregation. So the Muslims go to the primary room. But inside the primary room there are images of Christ - so they cover them up and go about their service.

Muslims believe that Jesus Christ was a great prophet but not the son of god like Christians do. But who believes what is no matter to the two faiths, at least in St. Charles

"We don't have a need to proselyte they don't have a need to proselyte. It's not a missionary tool at all, it's strictly a friendshiping tool, building that friendship," said Coffey.

"Quran teach you all good things just like a Bible. Quran don't teach you to go hurt any another person or anything like that," said Khan.

And so the Muslims continue to go, week after week, praising god, and thanking him for this place of worship.

"They are very good, they're very nice people, very polite, very cooperative. Very nice peoples," said Mir Asif, a Muslim worshipper.

"It was a blessing for us that we have a bigger place, said Khan. "God bless Mormon church they opened the door for us and we are very pleased, very happy and god will give them a reward."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can We Preserve What They Wrought?

by Ezra Taft Benson
posted at

"Today we live in a land choice above all other lands. We live amid unbounded prosperity—this because of the heritage bequeathed to us by our forebears—a heritage of self-reliance, initiative, personal industry, and faith in God, all in an atmosphere of freedom.

"Were these Founding Fathers and pioneer forefathers to counsel us today in their fundamental beliefs, so manifest by their acts, what would they say to us?

"First: They would counsel us to have faith in God. It was by this faith that they were sustained in their privations, sacrifices, and suffering. They placed their trust in God. He was their defense, their refuge, and their salvation. Their faith is perhaps best expressed by the father of our country, George Washington: 'The success, which has hitherto attended our united efforts, we owe to the gracious interposition of Heaven; and to that interposition let us gratefully ascribe the praise of victory, and the blessings of peace.' (To the Executive of New Hampshire, November 3, 1789, Writings, 12:175.)

"Yes, it was this faith in God that sustained them in their hours of extremity. We too will need this same faith to sustain us in the critical days ahead.

"Second: They would counsel us to strengthen our homes and family ties. Though they did not possess our physical comforts, they left their posterity a legacy of something more enduring: a hearthside where parents were close by their children, where daily devotions, family prayer, scripture reading, and the singing of hymns were commonplace. Families worked, worshiped, played, and prayed together. Family home evening, now a once-a-week practice among the Saints, was to our pioneer forebears almost a nightly occurrence.

"Can we not see in their examples the solutions to problems threatening families today? Were we to pattern our homes accordingly, divorce would be eliminated, children would be welcomed and guided, and love between parents and children would abound. There would be no generation gap. Family unity and solidarity, crowned with love and happiness, would prevail.

"Third: They would counsel us in the dignity of work, to practice thrift, and to be self-sustaining. Theirs was a philosophy that neither the world nor government owes a man his bread. Man is commanded by God to live by the sweat of his own brow, not someone else’s. In his First Inaugural Address, Thomas Jefferson counseled us toward a wise and frugal government, one that 'shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it had earned.'

"The Founding Fathers would be in complete agreement with this counsel from Brigham Young: 'Beautify your gardens, your houses, your farms; beautify the city. This will make us happy, and produce plenty.' (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 302.) 'To be slothful, wasteful, lazy and indolent . . . is unrighteous.' (Ibid., p. 303.) “Learn to sustain yourselves; lay up grain and flour, and save it against a day of scarcity.” (Ibid., p. 293.) '. . . If you cannot obtain all you wish for today, learn to do without.' (Ibid., p. 293.) 'Be prompt in everything, and especially to pay your debts.' (Ibid., p. 303.)

"Finally: These noble founders and pioneers—our benefactors—would counsel us to preserve the freedoms granted to us by God. They knew that the foundation of this nation was spiritual, that the source of all our blessings was God. They knew that this nation can only prosper in an atmosphere of freedom.

"Those intrepid forebears knew that their righteousness was the indispensable ingredient to liberty, that this was the greatest legacy they could pass on to future generations. They would counsel us to preserve this liberty by alert righteousness. Righteousness is always measured by a nation or an individual keeping the commandments of God.

"In the outer office of the Council of Twelve hangs a painting by Utah artist Arnold Friberg, depicting George Washington, the father of our country, on his knees at Valley Forge. That painting symbolizes the faith of our forebears. I wish it could be in every American home.
In the 1940s, while serving as the executive officer of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in Washington, D.C., I saw in a Hilton Hotel a placard depicting Uncle Sam, representing America, on his knees in humility and prayer. Beneath the placard was the inscription “Not beaten there by the hammer and sickle, but freely, responsibly, confidently. . . . We need fear nothing or no one save God.”

"That picture has stayed in my memory ever since. America on her knees—in recognition that all our blessings come from God! America on her knees—out of a desire to serve the God of this land by keeping His commandments! America on her knees—not driven there in capitulation to some despotic government, but on her knees freely, willingly, gratefully! This is the sovereign remedy to all of our problems and the preservation of our liberties.

"Yes, those valiant patriots and pioneers left us a great heritage. Are we prepared to do what they did? Will we pledge our lives, our possessions, our sacred honor for future generations and the upbuilding of God’s kingdom on this earth?

"Hear the challenge made to us—their descendants and beneficiaries—at the dedication of 'This Is the Place' monument, at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, July 24, 1947:
'Can we keep and preserve what they wrought? Shall we pass on to our children the heritage they left us, or shall we lightly fritter it away? Have we their faith, their bravery, their courage; could we endure their hardships and suffering, make their sacrifices, bear up under their trials, their sorrow, their tragedies, believe the simple things they knew were true, have the simple faith that worked miracles for them, follow, and not falter or fall by the wayside, where our leaders advance, face the slander and the scorn of an unpopular belief? Can we do the thousands of little and big things that made them the heroic builders of a great Church, a great commonwealth?' (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Address at the Dedication of 'This Is the Place' Monument, July 24, 1947; in Improvement Era 50:626.)

"There should be no doubt what our task is today. If we truly cherish the heritage we have received, we must maintain the same virtues and the same character of our stalwart forebears—faith in God, courage, industry, frugality, self-reliance, and integrity. We have the obligation to maintain what those who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor gave to future generations. Our opportunity and obligation for doing so is clearly upon us. May we begin to repay this debt by preserving and strengthening this heritage in our own lives, in the lives of our children, their children, and generations yet unborn."

(Source: Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, published 1977)