And yes, today’s federal holiday is still, and always has been, declared in federal law, as Washington’s Birthday, not any so-called amorphous “President’s Day” requiring celebrations of 44 Presidential oath takers:
The following are legal public holidays under federal statute 5 USC 6103:
New Year’s Day, January 1.
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the third Monday in January.
Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.
Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
Independence Day, July 4.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.
Veterans Day, November 11.
Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.
Christmas Day, December 25.
This is the law.
So why do most calendars and so many people refer to this day as “Presidents Day“?
In 1968, Congress passed the Monday Holidays Act, which moved the official observance of Washington’s birthday from Feb. 22 to the third Monday in February. Some Democrats had wanted to change the name of the holiday as well, to Presidents’ Day, in honor of both Lincoln and Washington, but that proposal was rejected by Congress, and the holiday remained officially Washington’s Birthday.
Nevertheless, there was a popular misconception (perpetuated by Democrats, calendar companies and used car dealers) that the day had been officially renamed.
Liberal Democrats have been trashing American history as a tragedy and the Founding Fathers as mere slave owners for the past 40 years.
General George Washington watched thousands fall on the battlefield so that we could ordain and establish self government based on the rule of law as opposed to the tyrannies of the rule of men, whether they be Kings, Despots or Judicial Oligarchs. He nearly lost his life many times leading Revolutionary War battles. As our first President he astounded the world by peacefully giving up power to his successor.
Yet, all the “reformers” care to recall is that he was a slaveowner. Yes, he was a slaveowner, but he fathered a nation that put slavery on the path to destruction and which has freed more of humanity from tyranny than in all of human history. Ironically, many of the so-called reformers that would have us celebrate James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon, also conveniently looked the other way when evaluating the greatest enslavers and murderers of humanity in the Soviet Union and Red China.
The true reformer was the man whose birth we celebrate today. The man who admitted chopping down a cherry tree and went on to chop down the barriers to Liberty so that men could be truly free.
Happy Birthday President Washington!
[Originally published at Redstate.com in 2009.]
[Our guest essayist, Dr. Mark DeVine, is associate professor of history and doctrine at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the author of Bonhoeffer Speaks Today: Following Jesus at All Costs.]
Wayne Grudem’s defense of a vote for Trump evoked an avalanche of repudiation, a veritable beat down by an array of theologically likeminded, #NeverTrump “friends.” A vote for Trump would be “wicked,” they said. It would violate Christian conscience and stain one’s reputation. We’ll come back to Grudem and his critics, but first let’s revisit a few chapters from the extraordinary life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor, theologian, and conspirator to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
A few days before his departure from New York City Bonhoeffer wrote to Reinhold Niebuhr:
“. . . I have had time to think and to pray about my situation and that of my nation and to have God’s will for me clarified. I have come to the conclusion that I have made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people. . . . Christians in Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose; but I cannot make that choice in security . . .”
Key features of Bonhoeffer’s thinking would survive all the way to the gallows of Flossenburg concentration camp: that the will of God is discerned for a Christian, particularly in what he called “boundary situations,” only through intense, sustained prayer and reflection upon the word of God; that obedience in such situations more often leads disciples into, not away from, suffering—“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” His realization that, however global one’s human and Christian identity, one’s national identity also counts and must impinge upon pursuit of the will of God and discernment of “true patriotism.”
But Bonhoeffer’s stated motive for the return to Germany weakened with time, namely the quest to salvage his moral standing in the eyes of others for the sake of future usefulness. The path from pacifist to conspirator to double agent to encourager and even volunteer to commit tyranticide forced Bonhoeffer to let go of such motives and hopes. Obedience to the will of God required decision after decision Bonhoeffer expected to so stain his reputation, so compromise his character in the eyes of others, as to disqualify him from the sort of future constructive role he once thought his return might make possible.
In a 1942 Christmas letter prepared for fellow conspirators Hans von Dohnanyi, Hans Oster, and Eberhard Bethge, Bonhoeffer wrote:
“We have been the silent witnesses of evil deeds; we have been drenched by many storms; we have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretense; experience has made us suspicious of others and kept us from being truthful and open; intolerable conflicts have worn us down and even made us cynical. Are we still of any use?”
Should he survive, Bonhoeffer expected his ordination as a minister of the word of God would be stripped from him. He had, in a thousand ways, knowingly dirtied his hands in the conspiracy—even to the point of volunteering to carry a bomb to Hitler.
Not that Bonhoeffer came to despise his own moral “reputation” as worthless or indifferent (adiaphora). His immersion in the Psalms taught him the crucial importance of reputation, both to God and to his children. The same Psalms where “putting to shame,” and “being put to shame” figure repeatedly and prominently as central preoccupations, also teach that the one committed to doing God’s will cannot secure and must not attempt to secure his own reputation himself. The obedient servant looks to his master alone for vindication:
Then I shall not be put to shame, having fixed my eyes on all your commandments (Psalm 119:6)
Being put to shame is the opposite of being blessed. My life is put to shame when that which I relied upon breaks apart. For then I have nothing left that could give my life meaning and due, nothing to which I could appeal. My life becomes a mockery and shames me. I relied upon my own strength, and I became weak and sick. I counted on my property, and it was taken from me overnight. I trusted in reputation and power, and fell deep. I took pleasure in my honesty, and was overcome by sin. In the same way anyone’s life can be put to shame if they consider “mere flesh their strength” (Jer. 17:5). But if my gaze seeks not people, honors, and riches in the world but God’s commandments alone, then I will not be put to shame. For God’s commandments cannot break apart because God himself holds on to them and with them everyone who looks to them. I will never have to be ashamed of heeding God’s commandments. . . . Even if the world’s judgment is against me, God’s judgment speaks for me. I look at God’s commandments when I base my decisions neither on other people nor even my own thoughts or experiences, but rather when I ask ever anew, even if contrary to my pious thoughts and experiences, for what God commands me. I can be put to shame even by my most pious decisions and ways but never by God’s commandment. God alone, not my piety, will preserve me from shame and dishonor.
And how does the Christian discern this commandment of God?
“. . . only the entire richness of God’s commandments can guide me safely through life. Thus I can be certain that there is no situation in my life for which God’s word would not give me the necessary advice. But serious attention, tireless asking, and learning are necessary to recognize the right commandment and to recognize the inexhaustible kindness of God in all his commandments. The harder the world confronts and judges me, the more dire and miserable my way becomes, the firmer my gaze must stay directed toward God’s commandments . . . .”
We know what came to “trump!” other considerations as Bonhoeffer tirelessly asked of God’s word for the right commandment of God for him. Amid rising demands for an Aryan Clause in the church, this urgent and overriding concern emerges perhaps most vividly in an address delivered to a group of pastors in 1933. Here the 27-year-old Bonhoeffer identified “three possible ways in which the church can act toward the state.” The third way “is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to jam a spoke in the wheel itself.”
The overriding concern? Not one’s reputation, not making some sort of statement about one’s own integrity, but doing what one could to help others, to serve others, to reduce or prevent the suffering of others. In Jesus Christ, for the Lutheran Bonhoeffer, God shows himself as the God who is for us (pro nobis), making his Son “the man for others,” and his followers servants of those same “others” in his name.
Bonhoeffer bemoaned as scandalous the spectacle of church leaders who, though poised to pop the Champagne corks to celebrate Hitler’s arrest or assassination from a safe distance, were unwilling to soil their own consciences or their own hands to see the deeds done themselves. They wanted the spoke hurled, just not by them:
“The man with a conscience fights a lonely battle against the overwhelming forces of inescapable situations which demand decisions. . . . Some who seek to escape from taking a stand publicly find a place of refuge in private virtuousness. Such a man does not steal. He does not commit murder. He does not commit adultery. Within the limits of his powers he does good. He must be blind and deaf to the wrongs which surround him. It is only at the price of an act of self-deception that he can safeguard his private blamelessness against contamination through responsible action in the world. Whatever he may do, that which he omits to do will give him no peace. Either this disquiet will destroy him or he will become the most hypocritical of Pharisees.”
Between the 1933 address and one of the last letters penned at Tegel prison 11 years later, Bonhoeffer’s prizing of righteous action over clean conscience-fixated recoil into an ostensibly reputation-preserving and character-protecting safe space deepened.
I thought I could acquire faith by trying to live a holy life, or something like it. I suppose I wrote The Cost of Discipleship as the end of that path. Today I can see the dangers of that book . . . . .
“I discovered later, and am still discovering right up to this moment, that it is only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith. One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman . . ., a righteous man or an unrighteous one, . . . By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In doing so we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world . . . .”
For Bonhoeffer, when the suffering of others is at stake, virtue acts to stop, prevent, or mitigate the suffering. It acts not for itself but in service to others, even if such service threatens to soil ones ostensibly “clean hands,” or jeopardizes one’s present or potential future reputation, or even one’s life. It does not understand sanctification as a cooperative effort between believers and God to make one clean. “Already you are clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). It understands sanctification as a divine setting apart of justified sinners for holy use—to serve others. Sanctifying of oneself means yielding to the prior and fundamental divine sanctification of oneself for such use.
For Bonhoeffer, Christian virtue does not turn opportunities for such service into occasions for self-display, self-expression, or self-protection. It does not shrink back from the moral cesspool that is this world and settle for some lesser and less urgent cause fixated on oneself rather than others.
Could such virtue in 2016 treat as less urgent the potential harm a sitting president of the United States might unleash upon hundreds of millions around the globe than some chance to display the purity of its conservative or liberal credentials or to teach a political party a lesson by staying home on election day or to cast a protest vote for a candidate who cannot win? No.
I see, and Grudem too seems to see, two wheels rolling towards hundreds of millions of actual people, each bound to discharge its own unique mix of help and harm. He has one spoke to jam into one wheel and perhaps prevent deliverance of one package of potential hurt to others. Retreat from that binary choice offers no platform of superior sanctity on which to preen, no pulpit from which to educate others, no paddle with which to spank a political party, and certainly no ostensibly “spiritual” refuge within which to pursue personal or private virtuousness. Others’ lives are in the path of two wheels, one of which shall roll over them. The names of these wheels are Trump and Hillary. No other names and no other options enter in. Surely Election Day 2016 beckons each voting age American follower of Jesus Christ to jam his or her one spoke into one of those two wheels.
Mark DeVine is associate professor of history and doctrine at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the author of Bonhoeffer Speaks Today: Following Jesus at All Costs.
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Works, Volume 15 (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012), p. 210
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship.
 Ten Years After, employed as the Prologue to Letters & Papers From Prison: New Greatly Enlarged Edition, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (New York, Macmillan, 1971), p. 16
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 15 (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012), pp. 507-508.
 Ibid, p. 508.
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Geoffrey B. Kelly and F. Burton Nelson eds. (San Francisco: HarperSanfrancisco, 1995),p. 132
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics (New York: Touchstone, 1995), pp. 68-69.
 Bonhoeffer, Letters & Papers, pp. 369-370.
President of the United States and self-appointed lawyer for the Orlando Islamic Terrorist (I refuse to name him and I used Islamic instead of Islamist intentionally. Let’s quit pretending the Koran and Hadith don’t say what they say) today mocked the notion that identifying radical Islamist terrorists as such makes any difference. Lawyer Obama said labeling the terrorists as such won’t stop them from hating us because we wrongfully hate them. El Rushbo mentioned how Democrats seem to revert to lawyer mode after every terrorist attack to offer excuses for the terrorists. DeVine Law has since 9/11/2001 asked how paid agents of terrorists would act any differently than Democrats do for free?
Of course, Obama refuses to accurately name the enemy because then when he doesn’t do what he can to defeat them and protect us, he would be exposed as weak, cowardly or worse, not of a mind to protect the country he serves and is sworn to defend. He would rather blame guns, bitter Christian clingers to same etc. He lives to fundamentally transform the greatest nation in history, by far, all he can before he leaves office. Waging war against a named enemy conflicts with the notion that the US is the main evil on earth. The Democrats’ notion.
This reminds of 1998 when I, still a Democrat two years before my conversion, was thrilled when President Bill Clinton promised to wage war against Al Qaeda after they felled two of our embassies in Africa. Usama bin Laden later said that when the US didn’t invade Afghanistan after that he finally concluded that he would attack the US homeland of the “weak horse”. Having left Saddam Hussein in power and allowing him to taunt us and the U.N. had inspired his terrorists attacks on us prior to 9/11.
Meanwhile, after 9/11 Citizen Bill asked, before the rubble of the Towers had cooled:
Why do they hate us?
Democrats refuse to believe what the terrorists say and what the Koran and Hadith command them to do. Kill the infidel. But we are “Islamophobic”? Question: Were there ever people identified as “Nazi-phobic”? We think not, but sadly the Democrats not naked John F. Kennedy did similarly mock fear of an Evil Empire ten times more murderous than Hitler’s, with there appeasement of the worldwide Communism in the USSR, Red China and Cuba.
This while the Bill and Hillary Clinton Foundation was accepting millions from Sharia Law nations where gays are pushed off buildings for being illegally gay.
Obama and the Democrats blame Orlando, 9/11 and everything in between of Christians (we “punish” gays by treating them in our hospitals) and America. We actually might agree with Obama that “America” shares responsibility for radicalizing the Orlando Islamic Terrorist with his radical Muslim father, radical Muslim mosque, ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups. But not by anti-gay, Southern White-male Christians. No. The radicalization in this country is done by Obama’s Democrat Party academia, press and media arms which teach children in grammar school through college to hate America, much as Obama’ mother, dreams from his father, grandparents, Choom Gang, Communist Frank Marshall Davis, the (always said in hushed reverential tones) “Reverend” Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jeremiah “G-Damn America Wright, and other radical, liberal Democrat mentors taught him.
Obama says that the most beautiful sound on earth is the (creepy to us) call to morning prayer in Islam. Reminds eerily of the love of smell of napalm in the morning to me or the modern version, i.e. what Pulse smelled like last Sunday morning. Meanwhile the anodyne War on Extremism has produced: Obama surrendered Iraq to ISIS and gave Iran $150B. Attorney General Lynch warned that informants after the San Bernadino Islamic terrorist attack that they could be charged with a hate crime for bigotry against Muslims. I’m sure that helped get intel to prevent future Orlandos…..not.
Fellow Americans, this is who Democrats nominate and elect. You are not required to participate. Their appeasement can be Trumped.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
DeVine Law Gamecock’s oracle alter ego remains on sabbatical on Portugal’s offshore islands where he has resided since retiring from political predictions after the 2012 debacle. He refuses to engage in imagining the electoral machinations of a people that would re-hire an epic economic and national security failure. Cockstradamus also continues to leave paranoid schizophrenics to medical doctors. Yours truly remains roosted atop Stone Mountain of Georgia and together we share our plans for the new Leap Year aka the latest chance to not put a Democrat in the Oval Office.
Our number one resolution is to never apologize for the fact that Donald Trump leads GOP presidential nomination polls until the Democratic Party apologizes for ever nominating Barack Obama for president. He and his party have decimated the military; prevented all but bankers, the 1%, their cronies, and Mexican drug mules from bailing themselves out since the Housing Bust; persecuted Christians and conservatives via Lois Lerner’s IRS; appeased the Terror State of Iran that Jimmy carter created; and fundamentally transformed the only nation in the history of the world that didn’t need to be so transformed.
Number two, reject the notion that there is any silent conservative majority in the United States or even in the Republican Party.
Three, work to make sure that the most electable non-Democrat is elected president and hope that he or she has the courage to fix a few things Democrats and their enablers in the establishment GOP and wrecked, e.g. job-killing Obamacare etc.
Four, continue watching less TV, no liberal political TV I know what they are going to say before they say it), no commercials, no political arguing, and less PC ESPN non-live game programs.
Five, tip my bartenders more.
Six, remind Democrats to vote on Wednesday.
Seven, make no more resolutions until 2017.
Joint (lest Cockstradamus be further emasculated) predictions: Carolina Panthers win their first Super Bowl, Clemson wins the CFP, Lebron James leads Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship, Atlanta Braves win 60+ games, Little E wins Sprint Cup, and Ted Cruz is elected President of the United States.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
DeVine Law Gamecock moved from Spartanburg, S.C. to Atlanta in the Summer of 2001 and came face to face with the Left in power and in the raw. I came face to face with stifling Political Correctness. I came face to face with liberal racists who treated Blacks like disabled children. I came face to face with visceral hostility to people of faith in the Democratic Party and the cowardice of people of faith within it worse than I had ever seen. And I worked with a Black conservative who called me out and told me to read Robert Bork’s books.
Why was I ripe for a conversion? I now see that I probably stayed in the Dem Party despite having misgivings about it since soon after I first came of age because to have converted in my hometown would have meant almost a betrayal of my friends and a surrender to many people I despised in the Republican Party who I knew. Continue reading
By all means remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House de facto outdoor museum grounds, if for no other reason than to see what totem will be the next device used by Democrats to try and paint Republicans as racist per se and themselves as paragons of racial virtue.
This native gamecock of South Carolina’s first thought after first hearing of the Charleston Church Shooting was my recent debate with death penalty opponents, most of whom were Democrats and many of whom were South Carolinians, in which I advocated for capital punishment only in rare heinous cases. I had hoped that the first reaction from liberal Democrat death penalty absolutists would be to re-visit their absolutism.
But no, the first priority of too many Democrats upon learning last Wednesday that Dylann Roof had murdered nine members of Charleston, South Carolina’s historic Emmanuel AME Church, was to re-visit the A.D. 2000 compromise signed off on by all parties and races, which removed the Confederate Flag from a position of sovereignty atop the State House Dome to the grounds next to its Confederate Memorial. Continue reading
President Barack Obama via his State Department’s Marie Harf said, earlier this week, that the United States “cannot win this war by killing [Islamic State fighters] . . . [and that] we need, in the medium- to longer-term, to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs, whether . . .”
One hundred and fifty years ago today, Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman left Columbia, S.C. in ruins after having killed enough Confederate rebels in the Palmetto State and Georgia to ensure eventual victory in the War Between the States. Sherman understood the root causes of pride, arrogance, greed and slavery, i.e. sin, and that killing enough of the “causers”, in their heretofore untouched antebellum paradise, would tear out the roots for generations.
German Nazis and Imperial Japanese had their root causes torn out via just enough killing by FDR’s Patton and HST’s Enola Gay. Yes, Ms. Harf, after the killing there may be time to deal with root causes in a non-violent way with Marshall Plans or MacArthur viceroys, but only after enough enemies are dead so as to concentrate the minds and hearts of the survivors.
In fact, Marie’s boss Barack inherited a root cause-prevention device in Iraq when he took office in 2009. President George W. Bush, after staying the course there and overcoming the Democrat enemy’s “Bush-Lied” campaign in the homeland, surged to victory over al Qaeda and Saddam’s Baathists, with the aid of freedom-seeking Iraqis, by killing tens of thousands of those that had been trained to wage jihad over here, before we put at risk their homeland over there. In the process, we gathered intel via waterboarding and by having stayed the course and earning the trust of Muslim informers – which led, ironically, to President Obama’s only finest moment, i.e. the killing of Usama bin Laden after Obama had opposed the surge and waterboarding, or as I like to call it, nose-swabbing. Continue reading
Seventy years ago this month, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, with a little help from Communist spies in the latter’s administration, made sure that Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union won WWII and eastern Europe didn’t.
Britain had declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939 because it invaded Poland from the west. It seems lost to history that the invasion was part of the Nazi-Soviet (Molotov-Ribbentrop) Pact under which the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. Yet just six years later, the British prime minister and U.S. president agree to trust Joseph Stalin with Poland and all of the rest of Eastern Europe, from Finland and thru the Baltics to the Balkans. Might as well have a straight line running through the heart of Germany and Europe writ large.
Thankfully, the United States developed the atom bomb before either Der Fuhrer or Uncle Joe; or all of Europe, America and Planet Earth would have descended into the same Dark Age that millions behind the Iron Curtain did thanks to our betrayal of freedom on the coast of the Crimea in February of 1945. Holocaust survivors liberated from Auschwitz were merely transferred from a German concentration camp to a Stalin gulag.
Seventy years later, President Barack Obama seems intent opon facilitating the development of an Islamic nuclear bomb by the leading sponsor and fomenter of terrorism since 1979. Ironically, just as the U.S. armed the USSR before Pearl Harbor (and after) via Lend-Lease, Russia has helped Iran develop nukes for years.
Just what is the affinity of the latest Democratic Party president to Iranian mullahs he begged to have lunch with even as they mowed down peaceful Green Revolutionaries in the streets of Tehran? Is it that B. Hussein sees pre-Barack America and non-Jeremiah Wright Christianity as just as great a Satan as does Iran’s Supreme Leader? After all, it was Christians in Middle Age Crusades that abused Mohammedans; Britain and America that invented slavery; and Republicans that didn’t evolve on gay marriage fast enough.
But wait, didn’t The Prophet of Islam (that must not be slandered) launch the first land-grabbing, forced-conversion crusades? Write holy books and receive one from Allah that made all women chattel slaves? And what about gay rights in Islam? And wasn’t it Christians that abolished slavery in the West? I think so.
Obama has already handed over American-surge freed allies in Iraq to ISIS as surely as millions were sentenced to Stalin’s Gulag Archipelago by the Yalta Conference-communiques of the Big Three.
DeVine History in Real Time
Of course, FDR knew a day of infamy when he saw one at Pearl Harbor and acted accordingly to defend the nation. Obama and the Democrats conveniently now see 9/11 as akin to crime mayors must minimize so small businesses will open stores and pay taxes. Does anyone doubt that the Bush waterboarded-KSM & al Qaeda friends would have carried out those follow-ups to 9/11 had a Gore, Kerry, Hillary or Obama been Commander in Chief?
If Iran gets the bomb as Obama legacy-enhancement, will there even be an Israel for a latter-day Reagan (with assists from Trumans, Ikes and Nixons) to liberate? At least Uncle Joe had the good manners to commit genocide across ethnic lines and without making movies of it.
There was no basis upon which FDR and Churchill could justify any trust in Stalin that he wouldn’t be as least as bad a jailer as Hitler. Nor is there any basis upon which Iran can be trusted today as they build a new Persian Empire across the Middle East. You thought amnesty for illegals was bad? Obama isn’t finished with executive fiats just yet.
Could someone, maybe even a Boehner or a McConnell, at least try and make him stop?
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson