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And how shall they hear without a preacher?
            – Romans 10:14

Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad.” That was the explosive headline from last Wednesday in the New York Post announcing a Wikileaks-like disclosure of sensitive emails from a computer belonging to Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son. 

The Post published two more stories related to the first.  You can read them here and here.

If true, and it is the opinion of this author that the emails are genuine, the revelations in these stories ought to be enough to force Joe Biden’s resignation as Democratic presidential candidate.  Not that this will happen.  It almost certainly will not.  But in any nation where a Christian view of right and wrong holds, using one’s official position to enrich oneself at the expense of the nation one is supposedly serving is not only a sin, but a crime. 

Public officials on the take is one of the chief characteristics of corrupt nations.  Speaking of the degeneracy of Judah in his day, the prophet Isaiah wrote of the nation’s political leadership, “Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards” (Isa. 1:23).  In times past, Isaiah tells us, Jerusalem, “was full of justice.”  But now it was corrupt.  It had become a sort of banana republic. 

Much more could be said on the topic of corruption, both of Joe and Hunter Biden and of government In the United States more generally, but that is not the main focus of the main focus of this post, so I will leave it at that. 

Getting a bit closer to our main topic, receiving almost as much attention last week as the Hunter Biden stories themselves was the blatant censorship of them by the major social media companies.  For example, the main Twitter account of the New York Post (NYP), the newspaper that broke the stories, was locked, as was the account of President Trump’s press secretary and that of the Trump campaign itself, all because they shared links to the first of the stories released on Wednesday, October 14. 

Facebook likewise made it difficult to share the link on its platform.  Andy Stone, a former Democratic political operative and current Facebook employee, tweeted, “While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want to be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners.  In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.” 

So, we have a former Democratic operative working to reduce the distribution of a story unfavorable to Joe Biden on Facebook. No election interference to see here!       

Of course, Twitter’s and Facebook’s quick actions to suppress and discredit the Hunter Biden story should surprise exactly no one, given the blatant attacks on free speech from the social media companies in recent years.

Although censorship in various forms had been going on for some time previously, it was in August 2018 that the social media giants really raised their game.  Most notably with the banning of Alex Jones from all the major social media platforms in the course of one or two days early that month. 

Since that time, the purges have not ceased.  Just last week there was another wave of purges from YouTube, with several established and large channels being removed as if they never had existed. 

As with the recent revelations about Hunter Biden and how he leveraged his connection to his highly placed father to enrich himself, much more can be said about the censorship problem on the social media platforms.  But as this also is not the main focus of this post, I likewise will pass over commenting further on this matter for now.

As the title of this post suggests, the main focus of this post, and likely the next few posts, will be on making the Christian, Biblical case for free speech. 

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Amy Coney Barrett and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As if 2020 weren’t already tumultuous enough, the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has managed to stir things up even more. 

Talk, not only of Ginsburg’s death, but also of her replacement, has dominated the news since her death on Friday, September 18.  Perhaps the most notable feature of the discussion has been controversy about whether Donald Trump should name her replacement now or wait until after the November election.

This is a discussion that should not even come up.  The president has the right to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court and the Senate has a right to hold confirmation hearings.  About this there is no question.  The Democrats don’t like it, but their not liking something is not the same as it being illegal or unconstitutional. 

Noteworthy but unsurprising was the reaction of many Democrats to the possibility that Donald Trump would nominate a new justice to replace Ginsburg before the election.  Not only did they argue that a nomination of a new justice must wait until after the election, but actually threatened violence should the President and the Senate attempt to carry out their constitutionally mandated duties. 

And the threats of violence were not coming from some dark corner of the internet or from obscure people, but from several high-profile Democrats and progressives on Twitter and other high-profile platforms.  Reza Aslan, a writer who has written numerous books, produced a series on world religions for CNN and is currently a professor of creative writing at University of California, Riverside, took to Twitter and threatened that, “If they [the Republicans] even TRY to replace RBG [Ginsburg] we burn the entire…thing down.” 

Canadian professor of Political Science Emmett Macfarlane tweeted, “Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS.” 

Scott Ross, a member of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission tweeted, “If you can’t shut it down [the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice], burn it down.”

Playwright Beau Willimon commented on Twitter, “We’re shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election.”

In the pages of GQ, writer Laura Bassett threatened, “If McConnell jams someone through, which he will, there will be riots.”   

It’s tempting to say that such threats have become the modus operandi of Democrats and progressives in recent years.  But in truth, Democrats and progressives have a longstanding tradition of using violence and threats of violence to get their way.  It’s how they roll.  Not for nothing did Samuel D. Burchard refer to the Democrats as, “the party whose antecedents are rum, Romanism, and rebellion.”  Burchard made the comment in 1884.  It was true then, and it is true today.

Since the matter of selecting a new justice is a matter of supreme importance both to Democrats and Republicans, and since the upcoming Senate  confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg, promises to dominate the headlines in the coming weeks, perhaps overshadowing even the upcoming election, it seemed good to this author to take the opportunity to weigh in. 

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

“To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumelious to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and of all equity and justice.”

To modern ears could a more offensive sentence be found in all of literature?  Not having read all of literature, this author does not pretend to be able to answer that question definitively.  Yet with that said, it is hard to imagine an idea more repugnant to 21st century readers than this quote from John Knox’s essay “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women” (hereafter, TMR).

We have, all of us living in the West in the early 21st century, been steeped in feminist theory from our youth up to the point where, for most of us, Knox’s words are little more than noise from a bygone era with no relevance for us today, except perhaps as a cautionary tale to warn us about how bad the bad old days really were.

Liberal Democrats, were they to read Knox, would quickly be triggered, alternating between outrage, ridicule and calls to have his ideas removed from social media.  Conservative Republicans, on the other hand, would attempt explain away what Knox wrote by saying that he was a product of his age, that what he was really writing against was 16th century liberal women and that if he were alive today he would gladly support a female presidential candidate so long as she was pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and promised to fight against the Green New Deal. 

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

“I wouldn’t vote for her.”  That was Ayn Rand’s curt response to a question from a woman in the audience of the Phil Donohue show.  She had asked Rand, “Do you believe that there is going to be a day when there is going to be a female in the White House as President and how do you feel about that?”

From the questioner’s reaction and from that of the audience, Rand’s answer was not expected, neither was it appreciated.  You can see the 1979 clip for yourself here:

Worth noting is how shocking and controversial Rand’s statement was as far back as 41 years ago.  Now this was the Phil Donohue Show, and Donohue himself was a feminist, and his audience, most likely, tended to skew liberal.  But that said, it is not clear that the audience reaction from a conservative Republican audience would have been much different.  Certainly in 2020, any Republican expressing anything remotely approaching Rand’s statement would quickly find himself making an apology tour. 

Donald Trump has expressed his support for a female president on more than one occasion.  In late August, Business Insider ran the headline “Donald Trump plugs Ivanka as the first female president claiming Kamala Harris is ‘not competent’ enough for the top job.” Note, Trump’s objection to Kamala Harris was not that she was a woman, but that she was not the right woman.  Further, he promoted his daughter as the right person to be the first female president.

There have been rumors for some time that Trump has wanted to see his daughter in the Oval Office, and the prominent role she had at last month’s Republican Convention and the statement reported in Business Insider certainly support those rumors.  It would not shock this author to see Ivanka declare herself as a presidential candidate in 2024 with the full blessing of her father.  Of course, she will have other female rivals to the throne, quite possibly including former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. 

In fact, it would not surprise this author at all if the 2024 election doesn’t bring us the choice between a Republican woman and a Democratic woman presidential candidate.  It’ll be pick your poison. Of course, the conservatives and liberals will tear one another apart with each side passionately denouncing the choice of the other party, while both parties miss the fundamental error they are committing.  That is to say, both sides will be equally ignorant that, in the words of John Knox, “To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumelious to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and of all equity and justice….”   

Yes, way back in 1558 John Knox dropped the mic, so to speak, on the matter of government by women in his devastating treatise “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.”  In it, Knox did not argue, as so many feminized men are prone to argue today, that this or that woman was unfit to hold public office because of her position on this or that issue.  No, Knox’s argument was more fundamental and more Biblical than that.  Knox argued that the Bible prohibited women from severing in civil government altogether. 

Knox was right.

After reading it, I want to stand, applaud and praise the Lord for the insight and courage that he gave the Scotsman.

So impressive is “The Monstrous Regiment” that had Knox done nothing else in his life except to write that treatise, it would be enough to qualify him for Christian hero status.  Without a doubt, “The Monstrous Regiment” is one of the greatest political treatises ever written by a Christian and a serves as a model for how Christian scholars ought to use the Scriptures when dealing with political questions. 

Let’s take a closer look at Knox’s work to see if we can identify what makes it so devastating. 

For our walk through, I’ll be using the Trinity Foundation’s edition of “The Monstrous Regiment” titled “The Place of Women.”

Worth noting is that “The Place of Women” was first published by the Trinity Foundation in August 1984, most likely as a response to Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale’s choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his vice-presidential running mate in that year’s election.

Since that time, other women have followed in her footsteps, most notably Sarah Palin, who served as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, Hillary Clinton who headed the Democratic ticket in 2016, and now Kamala Harris who’s Democrat Joe Biden’s pick for vice-president.    

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

As of this writing in early September 2020, Americans find themselves faced with another presidential election in just two short months.  As is the American custom, much ink has been spilled over the past year concerning the November election.  In reality, the spilling of ink began much earlier.  With so much election commentary out there, surely, it would seem, there’s nothing more this author could add to the mix that hasn’t already been discussed thousands of times and by people much better qualified.

But this would be a mistake.

There is one topic, and a significant one to be sure, that, on the one hand, is a prominent feature of the 2020 presidential election but, on the other hand, has received hardly any commentary at all.  

Joe Biden’s March 15th promise, and the fulfillment of that promise, to choose a woman running mate. 

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Another week, another American city torched by “mostly peaceful protesters.” Police in riot gear clear a park during clashes with protesters outside the Kenosha County Courthouse late Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. | David Goldman/AP Photo

“In the second century of the Christian Era, the empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind.” With this sentence did Edward Gibbon open his famous Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  Gibbon’s work, first published in 1776, is a sweeping work of history, following the fortunes of the Roman Empire from its height in the second century AD to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.  

It may come as a surprise to some people to find that the Roman Empire lasted into the 15th century.  When we think about the fall of Rome, we tend to focus on the collapse of the Western Empire in AD 476 and forget that Rome had a vibrant eastern portion that did not fall until its capital, Constantinople, fell to the Turks nearly seven hundred years later.  We call this eastern empire Byzantium, but the Byzantines did not call themselves Byzantines.  The term “Byzantine Empire” did not come into use until well after the fall of Constantinople.  No, the people we call Byzantines did not use this term.  They called themselves Romans.   

After the spilling of much ink, Gibbon concludes his work with a chapter in which he discusses what he believes to be the four main causes of the fall of Rome.  He lists them as: 1) The injuries of nature, 2) the hostile attacks of the Barbarians and Christians, 3) the use and the abuse of the materials, and 4) the domestic quarrels of the Romans.  Was Gibbon right in his assessment?  That is for another time to discuss.

Although Gibbon’s work is likely the first to come to mind when people think about decline and fall histories, his was not the first work to describe the chain of events leading from civilizational greatness to civilizational collapse.  As this author has mentioned before in this space, the Old Testament can be viewed, at least in part, as the history of the decline and fall of ancient Israel, or the Hebrew Republic as the 19th century American Presbyterian writer E.C. Wines called it. 

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Black Lives Matter protesters march through Portland, Oregon on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.

  • Isaiah 1:7

Is America under the judgment of God?  Many Christians think so, this author among them. 

Some of our largest, most prosperous and best-known cities are literally burned with fire and will take years to recover, if they ever do. Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Chicago and New York have seen massive riots and property destruction on a level that few Americans could have imagined just six months ago.  On the internet one can view the daily, destructive handiwork of Antifa in Portland and Seattle.  The Portland riots have been going on for three months now and show no sigh of abating.  In fact, the riots may be spreading, as there are reports just today (8/23/2020) that the sort of disturbances that have been going in the Portland have spread to Denver.       

Our political system is a mess.  The Democrats have veered off in a radical socialist/social justice direction.  So overt is their radicalism that it has caused concern even among some of the older, mainstream liberals in the party.  The Republicans, relatively speaking a saner bunch, have nevertheless lost their moorings in many ways.  There was a time, not all that long ago, when Republicans at least pretended to be the party of fiscal restraint.  Yet under President Trump debts and deficits have exploded and almost no one says a word.  When Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) objected to the house passing the budget busting $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill without a vote, he was denounced by President Trump as a, “third rate Grandstander.”  Trump went on to say that Massie should be thrown out of the Republican party.  That was Massie’s reward for standing up for the Constitution.

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Pastor John MacArthur speaks at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, July 26, 2020. Video screengrab via Vimeo/Grace Community Church

We ought to obey God rather than men.

  • Acts 5:29

Back in April, this space featured a post titled “Church, Sate and Coronavirus: Does the Civil Magistrate Have the Authority to Ban Church Gatherings?” It was a complaint principally inspired by a threat made by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to punish Christians for gathering for worship on Easter Sunday.   According to an article published on the Gateway Pundit website, “The state of Kentucky is cracking down on Easter weekend worshippers by recording the license plates of people who attend services and forcing them to ‘self-quarantine’ for two weeks afterwards.”

Go to church on Sunday as the Good Book commands; Governor Beshear sics his hall monitors on you and rewards you with two weeks house arrest.  What a guy.

The intervening four months since the above article appeared have seen a continuation of the coronavirus Caligulas’ crackdown on American Christians’ liberty to worship.  As such, it seemed good to revisit this issue. 

Of course, the coronavirus Caligulas don’t limit themselves to cracking down on Christians.  There are plenty of examples of governors and mayors decreeing this or that thing verboten that no one until just a few months ever so much as thought would be banned for any reason.

All this in the name of fighting the dreaded “second wave.”

But for now, these other outrages I elect to pass over.  Not because I think them unworthy of discussion, but because time and space would fail me were I to go through them all. 

If you’re inclined to learn more about the ways in which big government, big pharma and various and sundry globalists are joining forces to use Covid to strip you of your God-given, Constitutionally guaranteed, liberties, there is no better source than the Ron Paul Liberty Report.  There you will find dozens of videos on the Covid crisis made over the past five months.

One recent video that is especially relevant to our discussion today aired Thursday, August 13 and is titled “Defiance! 6,000 Attend ‘Illegal’ California Church Service.”        

This video concerns the decision by Grace Community Church (John MacArthur’s church) to hold services in defiance of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s July 13 ban on indoor church services on the state’s COIVID-19 monitoring list.  This affects about 80 percent of California’s population.  The California Governor’s decision to ban indoor services altogether followed a ban earlier in the month on singing in church

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