Friday, August 30, 2013

Vote Hancock 2016!


Cherished readers,

I welcome you to The Good Report, and I thank you for your time and attention.  Today, August 30, 2013 is a historic day in the history of the United States of America, and in world history.  It is the day that I, John Hancock, submit my candidacy for President of the United States of America in 2016. The reason that this is a historic day is not because I am announcing my candidacy, but because it is the day that the United States of America becomes united once again, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.





Political Party: 

Liberal, Conservative, or Libertarian? Republican, Democrat or Independent? Constitution, Green, or any previous party?  None of the above.  I am announcing a new political party: The Versatile Party.
 
Vision: 

Unity and Justice.  The vision of the Versatile Party is to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Political Philosophy: 

Truth and Integrity.  The political philosophy of the Versatile Party is to preserve and promote freedom of conscience and religion; to protect the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and to defend virtue and integrity.  In a word, the political philosophy of the Versatile Party is truth.

Political Platform: 

The planks in the political platform of the Versatile Party are simple, and relate directly to the vision and the political philosophy of the Versatile Party, namely: We stand for unity, justice, truth, integrity, liberty, freedom, and virtue.

God bless the United States of America!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Title of Liberty

"And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole." - Alma 46:12


Long, long ago a courageous captain and commander of armies rent his coat and and wrote these words upon it:  "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole." (Alma 46:12)

This mighty man of God called his banner "the title of liberty," and he rallied people of faith and goodwill to defend the truth.  He was angry with those who were seeking to destroy the liberty of his people, particularly conspiring and cunning men in the government.  He and his people covenanted with God and with each other that they would stand fast in the faith of Christ, and strive to preserve the liberty that God had given them.

He had this "title of liberty" hoisted upon every tower, "and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites." (Alma 46:36)

While I am not a captain nor a commander of armies, I am a lover of liberty with the desire to defend truth, and this symbol is a reminder to me of Moroni's courage.  The parts of the symbol correspond to the ancient title of liberty:  "In memory of our God, our religion" = middle circle / "our freedom" = red triad /  "and our peace" = white triad / "our wives, and our children" = blue triad.

Liberty is a precious gift.  In the words of the father of the United States of America:

"I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." - George Washington, First Inaugural Address




Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dreams Deferred?

"...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17)

In November of 1861 Julia Ward Howe penned the immortal lyrics of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, which contains the following stanza: 

"In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on."

Confederate forces had fired on Fort Sumpter in South Carolina on April 12 of that same year, thus initiating the hostilities of the American Civil War.  Like Lincoln, Howe considered the scourge of war to be a manifestation of God's wrath. Subsequently, the words of her anthem have often been changed from "let us die to make men free," to "let us live to make men free."  But one thing is clear: Howe believed that there were things worth dying for.

True to Howe's anthem and subsequent interpretations, Abraham Lincoln lived and died to make men free.  Lincoln rightly understood and opposed the evil of slavery, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 and working toward the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, while striving to preserve the Union.

A century later (and 50 years ago, today), Martin Luther King, Jr., standing symbolically in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., delivered his monumental I Have a Dream speech. Not many years later, and not unlike Lincoln, King was assassinated.  A sniper's bullet struck him down shortly after he had delivered his last speechI Have Been to the Mountaintop.  King was only 39 years old.

King eloquently described his dream with terms such as "brotherhood" and the need to "make justice a reality for all of God's children." He wished to see "justice [roll] down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."  In one of the most famous lines of his speech, King declared: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

But this was not all.  Martin Luther King, Jr. drew upon the words of Isaiah, declaring: "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be engulfed, every hill shall be exalted and every mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains and the crooked places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."  King worked to hasten the day when "all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, 'Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.'"

The Apostle Paul taught the Galatians in an epistle to "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" (Gal. 5:1), and he taught the Romans in an epistle "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:2)  As Christians, both Lincoln and King stood fast in the liberty that only Christ can bring. (see John 8:32)

But what about today?  Has King's dream been fulfilled, or, to quote Langston Hughes (a poet and a contemporary of King), is it merely a dream deferred?  Is President Barack Obama the fulfillment of the dream and the new mouthpiece for both Lincoln and King?  Are there other dreams, or is this the American Dream?  


Approximately six hundred years B.C. a prophet and his family escaped from persecution in Jerusalem, and while tarrying in a tent in the wilderness, this prophet had a dream:

"Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision." (1 Ne. 8:2)

In this dream, the prophet Lehi "beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy." ( 1 Ne. 8:10)  Lehi partook of the fruit of the tree and his whole soul was filled with joy.  He desired to share this fruit with his family and with others.  Lehi's son Nephi, upon hearing his father's account of the dream, desired to know the truth of the dream for himself:


"And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men." (1 Ne. 10:17)

In answer to Nephi's inquiry, he was also blessed with a dream, or a vision, like the dream of his father. He saw and heard many things, and learned the interpretation of the dream.  Not only this, but Nephi's vision stretched from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and further into the future, to see the fate of his posterity, the discovery and colonization of America, and even the end of the world.  All of this is recorded in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  

In conjunction with the Bible, the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ, sets forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and "tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come."  It teaches the truth that the Apostle Paul, the poet Julia Ward Howe, President Abraham Lincoln, and the civil rights clergyman Martin Luther King, Jr. understood and valiantly defended, namely that "...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17, see also Alma 61:15)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cleave



The first and great commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Matt. 22: 37-40).  Another word that is often used in the scriptures to describe this kind of love is the word "cleave," hence the Apostle Paul counsels us to "cleave to that which is good" (Romans 12:9).  Paul's missionary companion Barnabas, being filled with the grace of God, exhorted the early Christian's of Antioch "that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord." (Acts 11:23)

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Jacob used a similar expression to expound upon the great commandment: 

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts." (Jacob 6:5, see also Helaman 4:25)

Toward the end of the Book of Mormon, Moroni echoed Jacob's teaching by recording the words of his father's sermon:

"For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens." (Moroni 7:28)

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—" (Moroni 7:46)

Cleave to good, to God, to charity.  The Doctrine and Covenants also provides insights into what it means to cleave:

"For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things." (D&C 88:40)

Cleave to intelligence, cleave to light.

The commandment that is closest to the first great commandment is reflected in the second great commandment, and finds expression in another verse:

"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else." (D&C 42:22)

This is true.  These are things I wish to remember always:

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Ne. 25:23-26)

As certain crusaders journeyed to the Holy Land, they cleaved unto Christ, singing Most Beautiful Lord Jesus:

"1. Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer the moonlight
And all the stars in heav'n above;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
And brings to all the world his love.
2. Fair are the meadows,
Fairer the woodlands,
Robed in the flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer.
He makes the sorrowing spirit sing.
3. Beautiful Savior!
Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Thee will I honor, praise, and give glory,
Give praise and glory evermore!
Evermore!"


Air Jordan

How is it that I have dedicated a blog to all things virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy and have not yet included a post about one of the greatest basketball players of all time?  No, I'm not talking about LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. I'm not talking about Larry Bird or Magic Johnson.  I'm not even talking about Michael Jordan.  Oh, wait, yes I am.

I realize that there have been many great basketball players since the day that Naismith first hung a peach basket from the rails of a gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts, and I also realize that athletes should hardly ever be revered as role models.  Nevertheless, Michael "Air" Jordan has brought the joys of basketball to untold numbers of fans throughout the United States, and indeed, the world.

I used to have a collection of Jordan paraphernalia that included everything from posters and pennants to books, magazines, cereal boxes and videos.  In retrospect, it may not have been the most productive use of time, but then again, neither is blogging.  For now, let it suffice to include just one video of Jordan highlights. There are simply too many to number, but this is as good a summary as any.


          

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Unplugged


One of my lifelong goals is to learn how to play the guitar well.  My youngest brother is a very talented musician, and he always inspired me to develop the musical part of my soul.  I especially enjoy the classical guitar, such as the music of Andres Segovia, and the sublime artistry of classic rock musicians such as Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits fame... "Brothers in Arms" (#3) is celestial quality, as is "Sultans of Swing" (#1) ) and who can forget Eric Clapton... just to name a few.

While I will probably never reach such levels of musical mastery in this life, at least I can dream. And everyone needs a starting point, right?  Of course right.  Therefore, today is a new beginning in my budding musical career. After the violin and piano lessons of my childhood gradually gave way to practicing basketball and other sports, and after the girls that inspired me to write music in my youth have all up and married, today is a great day to begin afresh.  So, without further ado, I give you three songs: two simple covers, and one original composition.

The House of the Rising Sun (The Animals)

Blackbird (The Beatles)

The Song of the Cricket (original)

And here is a bonus song that I wrote not too long ago:

Abide (original)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

End Sinistrophobia


As we all know, today is officially International Left-Handers day (see also, here).  It is about time that we put an end to bigotry against southpaws and the sinister spreading of sinistrophobia (as a side note, according to one urban dictionary, sinistrophobia is also the fear of heterosexuality).

As part of a minority that comprises only 7-10% of the world's population, I am ready to let my voice be heard, and to claim my rights.  The discrimination against me and against my people has been unrelenting. As one of the victims of constant harassment I will lend my left hand to the cause to end discrimination against left-handers. Why are some people left-handed and others not?  Some scientists have surmised that higher levels of testosterone in utero can increase the chances of the baby being a lefty.  Whatever the cause, please help end discrimination against lefties. Stop the hate. Thank you for your support of this important cause.          

Friday, August 9, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Engraving

-"For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.

Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world." (1 Ne. 6:4-5)

-"And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.

Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard." (2 Ne. 4:15-16)

-"Wherefore, I, Nephi, to be obedient to the commandments of the Lord, went and made these plates upon which I have engraven these things.

And I engraved that which is pleasing unto God. And if my people are pleased with the things of God they will be pleased with mine engravings which are upon these plates." (2 Ne. 5:31-32)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

She Makes the Silence Speak

On September 23, 1995 Gordon B. Hinckley, then President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, read The Family: A Proclamation to the World as part of his address during the General Relief Society Meeting.

The next day I turned 19 years old, and to be honest, the news of the recent proclamation didn't strike me as particularly earth-shattering.  For one thing, since it was first read to the Relief Society, I wasn't present. When I finally did catch wind of it, I was probably too busy thinking about girls, basketball, and my freshman year classes to pay very close attention its message.  Furthermore, the information probably sounded repetitive and close enough to common sense so as not to merit more than a cursory notice.

Little did I know at the time that the message of the proclamation was not only prophetic, but revolutionary in more ways than one.  The following lines from the proclamation are just one example to consider:

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.  In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."

To my 19 year old ears, this phrase would have sounded like such a basic truth, and one that was, at least at one time, generally accepted, if not supported, by the culture at large. The truth remains that,

"ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

Amidst all of the commotion and confusion surrounding issues of gender, there appears to be a subtle attack being waged against both men and women, but particularly against women, mothers and motherhood.  Much of this attack may be attributed, as even several women have pointed out to me, to rampant and radical feminist philosophies.  On the surface, these theories seem to promote the rights of women and female success in the name of "individuality," "diversity," and "equality," while in reality they undermine essential characteristics of the divine nature and destiny of women.

Fortunately, there is enough evidence in ancient and modern scripture, as well as in the inspired works and words of honest truth-seekers, to remind us of the sacred and divine role of women and mothers. Even the Lord himself was not averse to describing His divine and loving concern for God's children in feminine or maternal terms:  

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matt. 23:37)

"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." (Isaiah 49:15)

The pioneer LDS poet and early Relief Society president Eliza R. Snow penned the immortal words of the hymn "O my Father":

"In the heavens are parents single?
No; the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason, truth eternal
Tells me I've a mother there.

When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on hight?
Then, at length, when I've completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you."

In his book Joseph Smith the Prophet, LDS scholar Truman G. Madsen reported that an early leader of the primary and young women's organizations, Lillie Freeze, recalled a prophecy of the Prophet Joseph Smith: "He said the time would come when none but the women of the Latter-day Saints would be willing to bear children." (Joseph Smith the Prophet, p. 39. Original source of quote: Young Woman's Journal, Nov. 1890, 81)

Even though this is only a second hand account, it is clear that many women who have children or who desire to have children may feel marginalized and even ostracized in a modern culture that promotes radical feminist theories, such as the notion that womanhood and motherhood are merely social constructs established and maintained by an oppressive white male patriarchy, or the idea that truly intelligent and successful women can only find fulfillment through a successful career outside of the home.  

Expressions of feminist theories flood media and news sources and fill movie screens.  The modern heroines take the form of a "Brave" Merida who expresses the desire not to marry, and the irrepressible Katniss Everdeen who shudders at the thought of having children.  Of course, societal pressures are pervasive enough to influence almost everyone, but the onslaught against the home, against women and mothers is becoming increasingly pernicious.  As Elder Neal A. Maxwell once pointed out, 

“Some mothers in today's world feel 'cumbered' by home duties and are thus attracted by other more 'romantic' challenges. Such women could make the same error of perspective that Martha made. The woman, for instance, who deserts the cradle in order to help defend civilization against the barbarians may well later meet, among the barbarians, her own neglected child.”  (
Neal A. Maxwell, Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward)

Nothing can change the truth that we are the literal spirit offspring of Eternal Parents who watch over us all with loving kindness, and who make the sun to rise on the evil and the good, sending rain on the just and the unjust. The divine nature and destiny of men and women has not changed, nor will it ever change.  As one French female vocalist has sung, a mother is "like the stars" and "makes the silence speak."


Saturday, August 3, 2013

FAIR Conference

Yesterday, at the FAIR Conference (Foundation for Apologetic Research and Information) Professor Ralph C. Hancock, gave a thought-provoking speech entitled Mormonism and the New Liberalism: the Inescapability of Political Apologetics.  His speech followed Michael R. Ash's Shaken Faith Syndrome, Part Deux, Ron Barney's Joseph Smith's Visions (a very insightful presentation), and a panel discussion called Charity Never Faileth: Seeking Sisterhood Amid Different Perspectives on Mormon Feminism on feminism and Mormonism with Neylan McBain, Valerie Hudson, Wendy Ulrich, Kris Fredrickson and Maxine Hanks.  (For the rest of the conference agenda, see here.)  The members of the panel on feminism placed great emphasis on Articles of Faith 1:9 "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God" as if to imply that the proper interpretation of this verse of scripture is that eventually the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will adopt feminism as a vital philosophy. As many in the audience were writing questions on 3x5 cards and turning them in, I did the same, but my question was ignored or discarded.  One of the panelists claimed that Jesus Christ was a feminist and that he taught that equality was "the basis of all social philosophy."  My question for the panelists was simply, "Where in the standard works or scripture, ancient or modern, does the Lord state or imply that 'equality is the basis of all social philosophy'? and since 'feminism' is a modern term, in what way was Jesus Christ a 'feminist'? How does the modern 'feminism' differ from the alleged 'feminism' of Christ during his time?" I would be interested, although probably not surprised, to know what their response might have been.

In any case, I would like to provide a summary of Professor Hancock's remarks below:

MORMONISM AND THE NEW LIBERALISM: THE INESCAPABILILTY OF POLITICAL APOLOGETICS

In the first place, Hancock pointed out that religion and politics, while certainly distinct, are never quite separate, and that they spring from the same source.  Politics asks questions such as "What is Justice?" "What are the ends, the objectives of man?" and "Which rights belong to individuals and communities?"  These questions necessarily rest on a more fundamental question, namely, "What is good"? and such a question has a religious dimension.  In the words of Alexis de Tocqueville:

"When a religion seeks to found its empire only on the desire for immortality…, it can aim at universality; but when it comes to be united with a government, it must adopt maxims that are applicable only to certain peoples… Religion, therefore, cannot share the material force of those who govern without being burdened with a part of the hatreds to which they give rise.” (DA 283)

Hancock points out that while the LDS Church's official position is to maintain political neutrality,
clearly common principles are essential to both. Quoting Tocqueville again:

"There is hardly any human action, however private it may be, which does not result from some very general conception men have of God, of His relations with the human race, of the nature of their soul, and of their duties to their fellows. Nothing can prevent such ideas from being the common spring from
which all else originates."

This concept is something that Elder Robert Wood, Emeritus 70 has also seen very clearly:

"…institutionally as a church we have certain vital interests… [for example] to insure that the communities in which we live will be morally healthy (which is to say, to reflect certain family and personal values which we believe are essential for the propagation of the gospel and are essential for the viability of any free community). So the church institutionally and necessarily has an interest in the political sphere because it affects even our mission as the Latter-Day kingdom."

James Madison wrote in Federalist 51: "Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be, pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.”

In other words, any understanding of what is right, of justice, is dependent upon one's understanding of what is good.  Hancock reminds us that the Church does encourage responsible citizens (see The Family: A Proclamation to the World) to play an active role in the communities and nations in which they live.

Moreover, as Hancock explained, no religion can be wholly neutral concerning political matters, because no political order can be neutral concerning fundamental moral questions.  John Stuart Mill (who may be considered the founder of liberalism) stated: “…in all political societies which have had a durable existence, there has been some fixed point; something which men agreed in holding sacred; [something] placed beyond discussion.”  (“Coleridge,” CW 10, 133)

But liberalism has many meanings, and there is a distinction between classical and modern liberalism. Classical liberalism is concerned with liberty or freedom, and the connection between equality and freedom. It is this kind of liberalism that conservatism seeks to conserve.

But the "New Liberalism", as Hancock calls it, makes claims to define the meaning of human existence, and to answer "essentially religious questions about human purpose.  It aims to replace a traditional view of what is sacred with a radically new understanding of human existence." The distinction between classical and modern liberalism could also be understood as the distinction between "practical" and "theoretical" liberalism.  As Hancock states: "Practical liberalism is compatible with a traditional and religious view of morality and the family; in fact, it presupposes it.  Theoretical liberalism aims to replace traditional morality with its own view of human meaning." As George Washington once stated in his farewell address:

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. .. [and] great pillars of human happiness, [the] firmest props of the duties of men and citizens."

Traditional morality and religion were not suspect, and the Founders agreed on what Tocqueville called the indirect role of religion in American politics:

“Of all countries in the world, America is the one in which the marriage tie is most respected and where the highest and truest conception of conjugal happiness has been conceived.  …  Despotism may be able to do without faith, but freedom cannot …. How could society escape destruction if, when political
ties are relaxed, moral ties are not tightened?  And what can be done with a people master of itself if it is not subject to God.”

As Elder Christofferson recently explained: "The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. ("Moral Discipline," October 2009)

Unlike practical liberalism, theoretical liberalism aims to create its own understanding of human existence, casting aside all dependence on traditional morality and religion, and derives from the "radical beginnings of modern thought: there is no authority above human beings."

This leads to a kind of radical individuality which found expression in the cultural and political upheaval of the 60s and 70s

The links for the text of the FAIR speeches will soon be available on the FAIR website, so this is just something to whet your appetite in the mean time.