Daily Archives: July 4, 2012

Thomas Fleming: What Life Was Like in 1776

Almost every American knows the traditional story of July Fourth””the soaring idealism of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress’s grim pledge to defy the world’s most powerful nation with their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. But what else about revolutionary America might help us feel closer to those founders in their tricornered hats, fancy waistcoats and tight knee-breeches?

Those Americans, it turns out, had the highest per capita income in the civilized world of their time. They also paid the lowest taxes””and they were determined to keep it that way.

By 1776, the 13 American colonies had been in existence for over 150 years””more than enough time for the talented and ambitious to acquire money and land. At the top of the South’s earners were large planters such as George Washington. In the North their incomes were more than matched by merchants such as John Hancock and Robert Morris. Next came lawyers such as John Adams, followed by tavern keepers, who often cleared 1,000 pounds a year, or about $100,000 in modern money. Doctors were paid comparatively little. Ditto for dentists, who were almost nonexistent….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History

The Full Text of America's Declaration of Independence

In Congress, July 4, 1776.


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world….

Worthy of much pondering, on this day especially–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History

Local Paper Editorial–Americans find inspiring unity when the chips are down

…all Americans should find timely inspiration in seeing how much they can count on their fellow Americans when disasters strike.

Those riding to the rescue in Colorado included four North Carolina Air National Guard crew members killed Monday when a C-130H3, based in Charlotte, crashed while on a firefighting mission in Colorado.

Meanwhile, as of Tuesday, 22 deaths had been blamed on storms and widespread power outages in seven states, from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic, and Washington, D.C.

….utility workers from as far away as Mississippi, Florida and Canada battled an intense heat wave as they strived to restore power….

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

The Full Text of America’s National Anthem

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
”˜Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ”˜In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

–Francis Scott Key (1779-1843)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Music

David McCullough–A Momentous Decision

“In Philadelphia, the same day as the British landing on Staten Island, July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress, in a momentous decision, voted to ‘dissolve the connection’ with Great Britain. The news reached New York four days later, on July 6, and at once spontaneous celebrations broke out. ‘The whole choir of our officers … went to a public house to testify our joy at the happy news of Independence. We spent the afternoon merrily,’ recorded Isaac Bangs.”

“A letter from John Hancock to Washington, as well as the complete text of the Declaration, followed two days later:

“‘That our affairs may take a more favorable turn,’ Hancock wrote, ‘the Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve the connection between Great Britain and the American colonies, and to declare them free and independent states; as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed to transmit to you, and to request you will have it proclaimed at the head of the army in the way you shall think most proper.’ “Many, like Henry Knox, saw at once that with the enemy massing for battle so close at hand and independence at last declared by Congress, the war had entered an entirely new stage. The lines were drawn now as never before, the stakes far higher. ‘The eyes of all America are upon us,’ Knox wrote. ‘As we play our part posterity will bless or curse us.’
“By renouncing their allegiance to the King, the delegates at Philadelphia had committed treason and embarked on a course from which there could be no turning back.

“‘We are in the very midst of a revolution,’ wrote John Adams, ‘the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations.’

“In a ringing preamble, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the document declared it ‘self-evident’ that ‘all men are created equal,’ and were endowed with the ‘unalienable’ rights of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ And to this noble end the delegates had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

“Such courage and high ideals were of little consequence, of course, the Declaration itself being no more than a declaration without military success against the most formidable force on Earth. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, an eminent member of Congress who opposed the Declaration, had called it a ‘skiff made of paper.’ And as Nathanael Greene had warned, there were never any certainties about the fate of war.

“But from this point on, the citizen-soldiers of Washington’s army were no longer to be fighting only for the defense of their country, or for their rightful liberties as freeborn Englishmen, as they had at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill and through the long siege at Boston. It was now a proudly proclaimed, all-out war for an independent America, a new America, and thus a new day of freedom and equality.”

—-David McCullough, 1776

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History

Title IV Complaint Filed Against Philip Turner

A Statement by Dr Philip Turner received by email
When I learned that complaints had been registered against the Bishops who might serve as witnesses in the case involving the diocese of Quincy and against those Bishops who had submitted an Amicus brief in the Fort Worth case, I wondered if a complaint had also been made against me. I also may be a witness in the Quincy case and was among those who submitted the Amicus brief. Accordingly, I enquired as to whether a complaint against me had been lodged with my diocese. I was told by an unimpeachable source that in fact a complaint against me had been received. I have not seen the complaint. I do not know what the complaints are or who the complainants are. The process is said to be confidential at this point, but confidentiality of this sort means that the nature of the complaint and the identity of the complainants are withheld from the accused member of the clergy. Only the complainants and the diocesan office know the relevant information. It is my belief that this complaint will be judged to be both without substance and frivolous. Nevertheless, an anonymous complaint whose source and content are unknown to the accused is not a matter about which I feel it right to remain silent.

Philip Turner

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

An Open Thread on Independence Day 2012

Let us hear your thoughts, in whatever direction they may go.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History

[Nature] Physicists declare victory in Higgs hunt

“It’s really an incredible thing that it’s happened in my lifetime,” said Peter Higgs, the theorist after whom the boson is named, struggling not to cry in front of the crowd.

The announcement comes nearly 50 years after Higgs and four other theorists predicted the existence of the boson. The particle was originally invoked to explain why particles called W and Z bosons have mass, whereas photons ”” particles of light ”” do not. W and Z bosons mediate the weak nuclear force (which governs certain types of radioactive decay), and photons mediate the electromagnetic force. So by explaining the difference in their masses, the Higgs boson allowed physicists to unite the two forces into a single ‘electroweak’ force.

Read it all – there is a report from Reuters and the Huffington Post explains it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: It was the Flag of the Union

“Today we stand on an awful arena, where character which was the growth of centuries was tested and determined by the issues of a single day. We are compassed about by a cloud of witnesses; not alone the shadowy ranks of those who wrestled here, but the greater parties of the action–they for whom these things were done. Forms of thought rise before us, as in an amphitheatre, circle beyond circle, rank above rank; The State, The Union, The People. And these are One. Let us–from the arena, contemplate them–the spiritual spectators.

“There is an aspect in which the question at issue might seem to be of forms, and not of substance. It was, on its face, a question of government. There was a boastful pretence that each State held in its hands the death-warrant of the Nation; that any State had a right, without show of justification outside of its own caprice, to violate the covenants of the constitution, to break away from the Union, and set up its own little sovereignty as sufficient for all human purposes and ends; thus leaving it to the mere will or whim of any member of our political system to destroy the body and dissolve the soul of the Great People. This was the political question submitted to the arbitrament of arms. But the victory was of great politics over small. It was the right reason, the moral consciousness and solemn resolve of the people rectifying its wavering exterior lines according to the life-lines of its organic being.
“There is a phrase abroad which obscures the legal and moral questions involved in the issue,–indeed, which falsifies history: “The War between the States”. There are here no States outside of the Union. Resolving themselves out of it does not release them. Even were they successful in intrenching themselves in this attitude, they would only relapse into territories of the United States. Indeed several of the States so resolving were never in their own right either States or Colonies; but their territories were purchased by the common treasury of the Union. Underneath this phrase and title,–“The War between the States”–lies the false assumption that our Union is but a compact of States. Were it so, neither party to it could renounce it at his own mere will or caprice. Even on this theory the States remaining true to the terms of their treaty, and loyal to its intent, would have the right to resist force by force, to take up the gage of battle thrown down by the rebellious States, and compel them to return to their duty and their allegiance. The Law of Nations would have accorded the loyal States this right and remedy.

“But this was not our theory, nor our justification. The flag we bore into the field was not that of particular States, no matter how many nor how loyal, arrayed against other States. It was the flag of the Union, the flag of the people, vindicating the right and charged with the duty of preventing any factions, no matter how many nor under what pretence, from breaking up this common Country.

“It was the country of the South as well as of the North. The men who sought to dismember it, belonged to it. Its was a larger life, aloof from the dominance of self-surroundings; but in it their truest interests were interwoven. They suffered themselves to be drawn down from the spiritual ideal by influences of the physical world. There is in man that peril of the double nature. “But I see another law”, says St. Paul. “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind.”

–Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914). The remarks here are from Chamberlain’s address at the general dedicatory exercises in the evening in the court house in Gettsyburg on the occasion of the dedication of the Maine monuments. It took place on October 3, 1889. For those who are history buffs you can see an actual program of the events there (on page 545)–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, History

Long, Too Long America

Long, too long America,
Traveling roads all even and peaceful you learn’d from joys and
prosperity only,
But now, ah now, to learn from crises of anguish, advancing,
grappling with direst fate and recoiling not,
And now to conceive and show to the world what your children
en-masse really are,
(For who except myself has yet conceiv’d what your children en-masse
really are?)

–Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Poetry & Literature

The Faith of Our Founders

What was the Founders’ attitude toward religion in the country?

Public virtue was seen as necessary for a republic, and most believed that virtue was produced by religion. There was a strong view that religion was necessary to turn out good citizens.

Many of the Founders were well versed in religious and theological matters. How did this affect their work as architects of the republic?

They could quote Scripture. Jefferson and others were tutored by ministers. They were an extremely biblically literate generation. This certainly shaped their view of Providence. The extent to which they believed in Providence would be unimaginable today.

Adams and folks like that continually quoted [Jesus’] statement that a swallow cannot fall without God’s knowledge. Washington talks about the invisible hand of Providence. Their biblical knowledge convinced these people that there was an invisible hand of God, and that there was a moral government of the universe.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for Independence Day Wednesday 4th July 2012

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and who lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Reading for Independence Day Wednesday 4th July 2012

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! The LORD looks down from heaven, he sees all the sons of men; from where he sits enthroned he looks forth on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all, and observes all their deeds. A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield. Yea, our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let thy steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in thee.

[Psalm 33:12-22]

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

South Carolina Standing Committee Statement

It was with great sadness that we heard of the decision of the Presiding Bishop’s office and Bishop Clayton Matthews to “initiate a disciplinary process” against nine faithful Bishops of the Church (including Bishop Salmon) for their “action in signing affidavits in opposition” to The Episcopal Church’s motions for Summary Judgment in the Dioceses of Quincy and Fort Worth. These Bishops are facing disciplinary actions for simply expressing their faithfully held factual understanding and belief that The Episcopal Church is not the unitary hierarchical body claimed by its attorneys in litigation. That this action has been possible validates our concerns with the changes made to the Title IV disciplinary canons. That such an attempt is being made to silence the remaining conservative voices in the church is a troubling sign of what may lie ahead. As the details of the charges and their nature are made clear in the days ahead, their seriousness and character will become evident. Until then, we as the Standing Committee wish to express first our unswerving support for Bp. Salmon and the eight other faithful bishops facing disciplinary action along with him. We similarly express our united contempt for such a predictably partisan use of the disciplinary canons and we pray that those responsible will have the good sense to promptly drop these proceedings. They can only bring further injury and dishonor to the Church we love.

If you wish to see such, you may find a signed copy here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

[Allan Haley] Bishopsgate Plot Thickens: Complaint Timed to Intimidate Witness

Bishop Howe writes, in part:
[blockquote]I am at a complete loss to know how the filing of this brief could constitute an offense for which any of us could be charged!

At this point, formal “charges” have not been filed. A “complaint” has been submitted, but we have not been told who filed it.

My understanding is that Bishop Matthews (Director of the Office for Pastoral Development, and “Intake Officer” regarding this matter) could dismiss the complaint on his own reconnaissance – unless the Presiding Bishop were to direct otherwise….[/blockquote]
Well, Bishop Howe — and any others who may be wondering about both the timing and the substance of these complaints — let me shed some further light on the matter for you.

It turns out that in the Diocese of Quincy litigation, each side was scheduled to file last Friday, June 29, a list of the witnesses, both lay and expert, whom they plan to call to the stand at the trial scheduled for next April.

What a curious coincidence, then, that on the day before the Anglican Diocese of Quincy had to file its statement (i.e., on June 28), one of the Bishops which they planned to list as an expert witness received an email from the Intake Officer, the Rt. Rev. F. Clayton Matthews, that a complaint had been lodged against the Bishop for providing testimony earlier in that same case.


When it comes to Church property litigation, Bishop Buchanan and those attorneys all work directly for the Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Who just happens to be the “Diocesan Bishop” with authority to agree to dismiss the complaints filed against the Bishops.

Enough said. This whole affair reeks to high heaven.

Read it all [Update: Also available on Anglican Ink here]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

What is it that the Bishops are saying about the Polity of The Episcopal Church?

The Elves weren’t sure, so we thought we would find out. Follow the links and see what you think:

1. The key document:

Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church April 2009 Pdf with notes or online text without notes

2. For an overview/summary:

Losing Their Nerve: What The Courts Would Discover If They Examined TEC Polity Afresh – A talk given in February 2010

3. The full research paper supporting the Bishops’ Statement:

Is The Episcopal Church Hierachical? September 2008 [89 pages] Pdf

Read as much as you wish and this will be added to the Resources section at the foot of the main index post

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

[BBC News] Higgs excitement at fever pitch

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are expected to reveal on Wednesday the strongest evidence yet for the Higgs particle.

Anticipation is high and rumours have been rife about the announcement……

But why has so much time and effort been invested in detecting the boson?

“The Higgs boson gives other particles mass, which sounds simple,” Tara Shears, a particle physicist at Liverpool University, told BBC News.

“But if particles didn’t have mass, you wouldn’t have stars, you wouldn’t have galaxies, you wouldn’t even have atoms. The Universe would be entirely different.”

Read and watch it all if you wish

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology