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“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” said George Santayana. And if American citizens do not learn our country’s great history of freedom, we might not only repeat painful lessons but lose those hard-won freedoms as well. A great place to start learning is with 50 Core American Documents, compiled by Christopher Burkett.
Many times when we study history, we read a synthesized version of it from an author writing several years (or even decades) after an important American era has passed. There isn’t anything wrong with this, provided that the historian is accurate in his or her portrayal of the events and the people involved in the events. But in this compilation, the “middleman” has been cut out, as you will read the words spoken or written by the history makers themselves. There is no “spin” or interpretation of what was said, but just the words right from the originator.
These documents will take you back to before there was a United States of America, and then through some of the most pivotal and paradigm-shifting times in our history. Truly this compilation of documents should be required reading for anyone serious about understanding and safeguarding the freedoms we enjoy in this great land.
I highly recommend this book to you!
In our American history, we have many valuable lessons. Some of these lessons come from sad chapters that now we have the benefit of hindsight to see the error of our ways. But with this hindsight, there should come insight into the issues which currently face us.
Slavery was an abhorrent evil that plagued our country. Thankfully there were strong men who forcefully and persuasively spoke out against the horrors of slavery; men like Frederick Douglass. His address “What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?” is a masterpiece of statesmanship!
Those under the oppression of slavery had no choice. They weren’t allowed speak for themselves, so they depended upon free men and women to speak for them.
Much the same today, babies who are aborted in the womb have no choice, no voice. They cannot speak for themselves, so it is up to us to speak out for them against this abhorrent evil that plagues our country.
I would ask you to consider some of the words of Frederick Douglass where the terms for slavery are replaced with the terms for abortion.
“Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding [aborted baby] on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate [abortion]—the great sin and shame of America! …
“The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. …
“Let it be thundered around the world, that, in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America, the seats of justice are filled with judges, who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding in the case of [an unborn baby’s] liberty, hear only [the abortionist]! …
“A religion which favors [‘choice’] against the [unborn baby]; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, [pro-choice] and [pro-life]; which says to the [baby in the womb, you don’t matter]; and to the [abortionist, continue on]; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and [killers] of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies His fatherhood of [all human life], and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. …
“The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold [abortion]; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in connection with its ability to abolish [abortion]. The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. … Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against [abortion]; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds….
“O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.”
“It happens that we meet together once every year, sometime about the 4th of July. … We run our memory back over the pages of history [to 1776]. We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers. They were iron men. They fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understand that by what they then did, it has followed that the degree of prosperity that we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done, of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it. …
“We have [among us immigrants] who are not descendants at all of these men. … If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none. … But when they look through that old Declaration of Independence, they find that those old men say that ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ And then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration. And so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.” —Abraham Lincoln
Erwin Lutzer shares valuable history lessons in his book When A Nation Forgets God. In this book, he reveals some scary parallels between Nazi Germany and the current trends in the United States. To help bolster his case, Dr. Lutzer shares many historical quotes. Here are a few of them.
“The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment—or as the Nazis like to say, ‘Of blood and soil.’ I’m absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other of Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.” —Victor Frankl, psychologist and Holocaust survivor
“It would be misleading to give the impression that the persecution of Protestants and Catholics by the Nazi state tore the German people asunder or even greatly aroused the vast majority of them. It did not. A people who had so lightly given up their political and cultural and economic freedoms were not, except for a relatively few, going to die or even risk imprisonment to preserve freedom of worship.” —William Shirer, in The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich
“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” —Benjamin Franklin
“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same words we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny.” —Abraham Lincoln
“This generation is not accidental; each step logically follows from what has preceded: the loss of the Bible leads to the loss of God, for in the Bible God is most clearly revealed; the loss of God leaves man at the naked mercy of his fellows, where might makes right.” —John Warwick Montgomery
“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think!” —Adolf Hitler
“Create a critical mass of people who cannot discern meaning and truth from nonsense, and you will have a society ready to fall for the first charismatic leader to come along.” —Richard Terrell
“The desire to believe something is much more persuasive than rational argument.” —Winston Churchill
“The magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.” —Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf
“There is no problem in the wider culture that you cannot see in spades in the Christian Church. The rot is in us, and not simply out there. And Christians are making a great mistake by turning everything into culture wars. It’s a much deeper crisis.” —Os Guinness
Dr. Erwin Lutzer discovers some scary parallels in the culture that gave rise to the Nazis and what is happening in America today. Please check out this book! You can read my review by clicking here.
“The role of the church [in Nazi-controlled Germany] was minimized by privatizing faith and instituting laws about what could or could not be said from a pulpit.”
“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that God must be separated not just from government, but from every sphere of American life. Religion—particularly Christianity—must be ousted from government, from law, education, and the workplace.
“Thus with the so-called public square free of any hint of religious values, the vacuum is then filled with secular values: the cheapness of human life (abortion and euthanasia), the promotion of all forms of immorality (including homosexual marriages), and the sexualization of schoolchildren (often with pornography and the ridicule of traditional values).”
“As Americans we must keep in mind that the First Amendment was not intended to mean that atheists and agnostics have veto power over all those who believe in God.”
“Of course the United States is not Germany, and, as we have observed, parallels between us and the Nazi era can easily be overdrawn. But there is this abiding lesson: satan was right when he said, ‘All that and man has he will give for his life’ (Job 2:4). Survival is a powerful drive within us all, and most of us are willing to compromise our values in order to live. And if the government can guarantee our financial future, we support that government even if we intuitively suspect we are being led down a dangerous path.”
“Moral relativists who believe that laws are nothing more than the result of social conditioning, subject to the whim of leaders and nations, would have to agree with Goehring, Hitler’s designated successor, when at Nuremberg he insisted, ‘This court has no jurisdiction over me, I am German!’ By what laws then, should the Nazis be tried? And what would be the basis of such laws? At Nuremberg, Robert H. Jackson, chief counsel of the United States, argued that there was ‘a law about the law’ that stood in judgment of all men in all countries and societies.”
“We are not required to win our political battles; we are expected to show our commitment even in the face of threats and sanctions. We must not permit the lawmakers or the courts of America to discourage us from doing what we must: representing Christ in our personal and corporate witness. As our freedoms are curtailed, our witness becomes more focused, more challenging. Let us be obedient to a higher law, the law as given us by the Supreme Court of the Universe.”
“When Hitler starved children, he called it putting them on a ‘low-calorie diet.’ And the extermination of Jews was called ‘cleansing the land.’ Euthanasia was referred to as ‘the best of modern therapy.’ Children were put to death in ‘Children’s Specialty Centers.’ … Sanitized terms were used to camouflage unspeakable crimes. Planned massacres were spoken of in clinical terms to mislead the naïve and to assuage the conscience of the perpetrators.”
“Important though the right leaders might be, we must always remember that God is neither Republican nor Democrat. When the Cross is wrapped in the flag of a political party, it is always distorted or diminished.”
“I believe that the spiritual climate of America will never be changed unless we have a revival of what we used to call ‘the laymen.’ That is, we need ordinary people living authentically for Christ in their vocations, among their neighbors, and in positions of influence.”
I will be sharing some more quotes from When A Nation Forgets God soon. Stay tuned, or better yet, subscribe to my blog so you will be notified as soon as these new quotes are posted.